Thursday, May 31, 2007

Friday Field Foto #19: Trough cross-bedding

I'm puttin' these up a day early because we are actually going on a 4-day field trip starting tomorrow. Yay!This photo is a shot looking down on the bedding plane of cross-bedded sandstone. The pencil is in the area between two migrating arcuate dunes. If you're lucky enough to get a bedding plane exposure of cross-stratified deposits you can use them as paleocurrent indicators. In this case, the pencil is pointing downstream.
This is in a shallow-marine unit of the Cretaceous in central Utah.

All Friday Field Fotos are taken by me unless otherwise noted.

Where on (Google)Earth #13?

Alright, no more foolin' around...I think this one might be rather difficult.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Blogging at sea

Go check out the series of posts in the last few days over at Deep Sea News. They are blogging while at sea. Good stuff.

I especially like this post for this beautiful bathymetric image of Monterey submarine fantastic. They are observing the biology in these high relief areas of the canyon and its tributaries.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Flocking starlings

I found a couple videos of starlings flying in incredibly dynamic flocks. They seem to create one larger collective organism. I would love to see this in person some day.

This first video, from England, actually has some narration about the birds during the first half.

This second video is much shorter and shot in Rome.

Watching these complex patterns is simply mesmerizing. Enjoy!

Making waves

Back in April I showed a multibeam bathymetric (sea floor topography) map from offshore Half Moon Bay not too far down the coast from San Francisco.

PopSci has a nice little article talking more about how the underlying structure that produces the sea-floor topography as well as the coastal promontory focus the wave energy toward a point called Mavericks. This has some of the biggest waves on the west coast of North America and hosts an annual surfing competition.

Check out this virtual fly-over animation as well.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Creation fantasy camp coverage over at Pharyngula

As most of you know by now, a creationist "museum" is opening in Kentucky and receiving a lot of fanfare (mostly of the mocking and negative sort, thankfully).

I briefly considered writing a post about it, but then found Pharyngula's incredible compilation of media and blogosphere reactions to the story.

The reaction from science-minded bloggers is overwhelmingly negative (correctly so) toward the opening of such an amusement park. But, as Pharyngula points out, the media as their heads up their asses:

Journalists, you have a problem. Most of the articles written on this "museum" bend over backwards to treat questions like "Did Man walk among Dinosaurs?" as serious, requiring some kind of measured response from multiple points of view, and rarely even recognized the scientific position that the question should not only be answered with a strong negative, but that it is absurd. Let me ask any reporters out there: when you cover a story about a disaster, say the destruction of a town by a tornado, do you also feel obligated to get a few pithy quotes from a few people who want to argue that the disaster was a good thing, or that the residents deserved it?
Head on over to Pharyngula for much, much more.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday morning funnies - expanding Earth theory

Grab yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy some Sunday morning funnies.

I can't decide if this is for real or a parody of someone trying to be serious, or something else. Either way, it is entertaining. Neal Adams, an American comic book artist, has a website and various videos out there talking about the expanding Earth theory. That's right...the spreading of the Atlantic and eastern Pacific indicate that the Earth has to have grown in the last couple hundred million years. What about subduction? This is what Neal says about subduction:

There is no subduction. No plates subduct. Subduction is unscientific and untrue, the ramifications of which are world shaking. And… the Earth grows! (You may have heard this before, so I caution you. This is not your father’s Earth expanding theory.) Earth is growing, not expanding, and therein lies the past-error who's answer lies in physics and not geology.
Very compelling argument against subduction. If you are in the mood for some fun reading, check out Neal's full treatise on why subduction is a stupid theory.

That was the "scientific" part, but wait...there's more. Here, Neal is getting a little nasty:
40 years ago your discipline was in a position to lead all of science into a new age of discovery but you wimped out. You, basically, had no balls.
You could have given a growing Earth theory an open chance for a complete examination, but you closed your doors.
WORSE, you accepted subduction, a theory that has not been seen or proved for all these 40 years, as gospel out of fear.
Why did you do it?
You were bullied into it. But worse again you allowed yourselves to be bullied shame!
Nothing, nothing in the "proofs" of subduction is there that can't easily be explained by another concept within the plate tectonics.
You will be the laughed at generation of geologists who believed in the subduction theory. Just like those who believed the Sun went around the Earth or the Earth was flat and you could fall off the edge. You are the duped generation of geologists.
I never realized some people were so strongly anti-subduction. Anyway, now that subduction is neatly out of the way, Neal gets to his real message. If plates don't subduct but they are created at spreading centers then -- the Earth has to be growing!

Check out Neal's video here explaining the expanding Earth theory. It's several minutes long, but well worth it.

I do like Neal's illustrations and animations...very well done. Perhaps his science page is simply a different outlet to produce his art, I don't know. If anyone out there knows the skinny on this guy, drop a comment....this was one of those things I found on the internet and now I need to get back to work.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

End of Suburbia

I recently watched the documentary End of Suburbia and, inspired by Thermochronic's comments on gasoline prices, I figured it was a good time to post my thoughts about the film.

This documentary is essentially about Peak Oil, which is the notion that we are very close to producing half of the Earth's oil reserves (if we haven't already). What this means is that once we hit that peak, production will decline. Couple this decline in supply with an increase in demand over the next half-century and we have a recipe for global say the most adamant peak oil theorists.

I'm not going to spend time on this post discussing peak oil as such. If you don't know much about peak oil, it behooves you to learn a bit about it before watching End of Suburbia. There are differing viewpoints from petroleum geologists as well as economists regarding the validity of global oil production being described by a bell curve, but let's save that for another time. So, for the rest of this post, i'm going to focus on the film.

This film discusses the theory, evidence, and implications of peak oil within the context of the American suburbs. This is what I like about this film. The information and commentary regarding this issue are woven into a narrative about the origin, rise, and predicted demise of the suburban landscape. Instead of a boring encyclopedic presentation of what peak oil is and what it means, the creators of End of Suburbia asks a key question: Is suburban living sustainable? The subtitle of the film is Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream so you can probably guess what they think the prospects are.

The American suburbs evolved from the combination of post-WWII prosperity and the rise of the affordable automobile. That is, everyone can have a car. Why? Because cars are relatively cheap? That's part of it for sure, but more important in this equation -- cheap and abundant fuel to run the cars. They do a great job in the film of emphasizing the underlying issue of peak oil: it's not about running out of oil in an absolute's about running out of cheap oil. It is an economic as well as geologic issue.

So, fast forward from the prosperous and enthusiastically pro-capitalism 1950s to the turn of the century. We now have a situation where many people drive over 100 miles a day to commute from their unnecessarily large (and poorly constructed) home in the suburbs to their place of work and back. The original suburbs of the 1950s/1960s feel like the inner city compared to these 'exurbs' that are far out on the fringes of a metropolitan area, the so-called suburban sprawl. These areas are designed around the automobile. This is the only way to get around. You know these places...we all do, that's where you can find Target, Chili's, Best Buy, and all the other mega-stores. Try being a pedestrian in this environment and you certainly risk your life.

So, now as Americans are feeling the effects of more expensive fuel it is getting more difficult to sustain this lifestyle. The film does a great job of painting a rather bleek picture of the future of this kind of life. Like most documentaries, End of Suburbia includes a combination of narration that presents the information and interview clips with various people for additional information and commentary.

The last part of End of Suburbia takes a turn from the thesis of a doomed civilization to more optimistic thoughts. They discuss the ideas of people returning to urban settings, sometimes referred to as 'new urbanism', where most of what residents need for everyday life is within walking distance (or at least a much shorter trip on public transportation or car). The filmmakers also touch on the idea of buying locally grown and produced goods to cut down on the ridiculous distances the stuff we buy and consume is transported (why do I need an apple from New Zealand in California?).

Personally, I loved this film. I was raised in American suburbia and didn't think about what it actually was and how it was set up until recently...that is what I knew. For me, these kinds of films (or books, essays, websites, etc.) are important for my own education and awareness.

Call me a pessimist, but I tend to think that it takes significant events to produce significant change. Will we need to experience a Great Depression II to collectively change our ways? I hope it doesn't come to that, but I fear it will. The best-case scenario in my opinion would be continued high fuel prices to wake the public up to the realities of our energy situation. I have set up my own lifestyle to anticipate the future higher gasoline prices (i.e, buying a high-MPG car, having only one car for two of us, taking the commuter train as much as possible, living in a neighborhood where we can walk to the market, taking the bus when we can, etc.).

Check out the trailer to End of Suburbia and then rent it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Field Foto #18: Lousy outcrop

Unfortunately, this has been my 'field site' for the last several weeks...depressing.
I'm jealous of those who are out there looking at rocks in their natural habitat right now. But, we have a long weekend field trip coming up next week!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Where on (Google)Earth #12?

Ron has owned this competition for the last several installments...but he is supposed to away from a you others out there may actually have time to search around for this one.

Good luck!

Spectacular photographs of Klyuchevskoy Volcano on Kamchatka

Click on the image above to see a whole bunch of great photographs of the Klyuchevskoy Volcano on Kamchatka, which has been erupting for the last few weeks.

Link via

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Visualizing complex networks

I came across this interesting website, called Visual Complexity, that has a collection of images from various projects that aim to map and produce visualizations of complex networks. These include biological, computer systems, social networks, the web itself, and others.

The image below is a map of the blogosphere from here.

The value of these to me aren't so much in using them as a in to navigate the blogosphere with the above image....but to appreciate the nature of networks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Debris flow video ... updated

A few weeks ago I posted this video of a debris flow event caught on film in California. At the time, I did not know much about it. Thanks to a YouTuber, we can now see a much longer video and we know much more about the event (thanks bapyou!).

This version runs a little over 4 minutes and has a bunch of information up front about the the actual event.

NEPTUNE sea laboratory

NEPTUNE (North-East Pacific Time-Series Undersea Networked Experiments), which I posted about last month, will be a state-of-the-art observational system in the ocean and on the sea floor off the coast of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. It will deliver data real-time and be interactive

This is very exciting. The Earth's oceans are the last frontier on this planet regarding scientific exploration and observation. We still have yet to actually document many of the processes that occur in the submarine realm. The NEPTUNE website (check it's pretty cool) lists a few of these:

  • massive storms
  • erupting submarine volcanoes
  • giant earthquakes
  • marine mammal feeding and hunting patterns
  • phytoplankton blooms in the upper ocean
  • releases of microbes that live in the rocks beneath the seafloor and thrive on a diet of volcanic gas
And, of course, what everybody wants to see caught in the act -- turbidity currents!
Oh wait...I guess that's just me.
Sediment transport is indeed one of their goals...I will be very interested to see the data come in and published in the coming years.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Avulsion dynamics and experimental sedimentation

Back in February during Just Science Week, I posted a bit about some of the work being done regarding experimental sedimentation (see here).

I highlighted the work being done by sedimentologists and dynamicists at the University of Minnesota's St. Anthony Falls Lab in particular.

The video below is from some of their work...I encourage you to explore their data archive if you want to find more. This video shows a time lapse of sedimentation occuring on an experimental delta. This particular experiment nicely shows the dynamics of shifting pathways of sediment transport and/or deposition/erosion, otherwise known as avulsion. The deposit here would be more akin to a braided fan delta as it is not developing long-lived channels with cohesive levees.

The annotation shows where and when avulsion and expansion of channelized flow occurs. Also keep your eye on where deposition is occuring. This interplay of deposition and avulsion continues in a very dynamic (and seemingly unpredictable) fashion. Qualitatively, this isn't really anything we haven't known for a long time. The point with these experiments is that we can measure every last little detail. These researchers are really just scratching the surface -- eventually they would like to try develop some fundamental quantitative relationships that might lead to predictive guidelines. But, it will take many years of experimentation to amass the data needed to converge on these relationships.

The photo below is shown on SAFL's web page shows that they are now experimenting with systems that do produce cohesive levees, which is a key ingredient for understanding the dynamics of most river deltas.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Field Foto #17: Clast imbrication

Today's field photograph comes from the Valley of Fire region in Nevada. A few years ago we organized a student-led field trip to this area to check out some of the fantastic geology on display.

This particular photo shows nice clast imbrication in a Cretaceous alluvial fan sequence. Note the three clasts just below the pencil stacked on each other showing the paleocurrent direction to the right. If you go hike around on a modern alluvial fan or stream with cobbles in it, you will likely find small piles of imbricated clasts just like this.

1980 Mount St. Helens eruption anniversary

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the famous Mount St. Helens eruption. At 8:32 am on May 18th, 1980 the volcano erupted as half the mountain slid off the side.

This GoogleVideo would not properly embed on the blog (and I can't be bothered to figure it out), but if you click on the image below it will take you to the page where you can view that famous clip of the eruption.

The geoblogosphere has had some discussions in recent months regarding the accuracy and quality of Wikipedia when it comes to geologic information. In this case, I think the Wikipedia entry on Mount St. Helens does a decent job at laying out the important information. And, as Wikipedia entries go, it has a very nice list of notes and external sites at the bottom of the page to get more information.

Below is a map of the ash fallout from the 1980 eruption. I wonder why there is that isolated patch in Oklahoma?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Internet radio in danger

If you live in the U.S. and enjoy public radio on the web, please visit this site to learn more about what could happen to public radio and what you can do to try and help it.
If you are inclined to let your representative know, they made it extraordinarily easy to accomplish that.

Also check out for additional a lot of you, I listen to streaming internet radio because let's face it...corporate radio is lame.

I found out about all of this on my favorite internet station, SomaFM, based here in San Francisco. They have 11 favorite is Groove Salad...nice, ambient music that is especially good as background music while working (or trying to work).

Humpback whales in Sacramento

Two humpback whales, a mother and her calf, have found themselves about 90 miles from the Pacific Ocean. They swam through the Golden Gate and then upstream through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where they are now apparently hanging out.

The mother was injured by a boat propeller and has a 2-foot long 6-inch wide gash near her dorsal fin. Marine biologists are hoping to lure the wayward animals toward the Pacific with recordings of whale songs where they can find food and the salty water can heal the mother's injury.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Where on (Google)Earth #11?

I've been slackin' on putting together a good post on this blog the meantime, enjoy this latest installment of Where on (Google)Earth?

This one might be difficult...i'm zoomed in a little more than usual.
Good luck!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Catalina Island wildfire

If you're following the news even a little bit, you've probably heard about the wildfire burning up Catalina Island, which is offshore of southern California. Click image above or quote below to read story and see more photos. Although many people live on the island, much of it is a wildlife refuge.

Despite being well offshore, Catalina has been left parched by the lack of rainfall that has made the rest of Southern California particularly susceptible to wildfires like the one in Los Angeles' Griffith Park this week.

Here is a batymetric map showing the island. See more here.

Friday Field Foto #16: Sand injectites

Okay, back to Patagonia for this week's photo.

This isn't in my specific field area, but very close to it and in the same formation. What's really cool about this area is the presence of clastic dikes....or, what have now been termed "injectites", as in the injection of sand. In this photo you'll notice the light-colored streaks cutting up and to the right across the flat-lying strata. These features are sandstone.

Injectites have been recognized for over a hundred years, but have been more appreciated in recent years. Oil companies searching for petroleum in the North Sea have seen huge networks and complexes of injectites with seismic-reflection data. And I mean huge...some of the individual sandstone "dikes" can be kilometers long cutting sub-vertically through the strata.

In the case above, the orientation of this swarm of injectites are parallel to a growth fault (i.e., syn-depositional) lower in the section.

There is still much debate about the mechanics of these things...what kinds of overpressures are required, how fast is the unlithified sand injected, and so on.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Video of flash flood

Here is a great video of a flash flood in Thompson Canyon, which is in Utah and very near these outcrops. This particular video was shot by Doug Jerolmack last summer. I found this on Paul Heller's website, which is a great resource for videos of clastic sedimentation.

Note the debris-rich front of the flow, full of twigs, sticks, and other stuff (pause at 00:19). After some time, the debris-poor part of the flow comes through.

Pause at 00:34 and note the levee of woody debris that has formed on the edge of the flow. This is a defining characteristic of these types of flows and help keep it going by providing additional confinement.

At 00:43-00:47 (end of footage) note the standing wave that has formed.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I think Google is going to show up at my apartment one day and digitize me. They are unstoppable.

A friend and colleague of mine was raving about GoogleBooks to me the other day, so I decided to give it a look. WARNING: be prepared to spend some time!

One of the nice things about this book search engine is that you can tell it to return "full view" books. Most of the newer books out there and probably most mainstream fiction is only available as a preview (which is useful in its own right).
But...if you search the "full view" books you can find some really neat things.

For example, I put in "Patagonia geology" as the search term and Darwin's chronicles from the Beagle was right there!

So, this is great...perhaps you are one who makes yourself stay in your office and work instead of getting sidetracked by random books in the library. Well, now you can get even more sidetracked sitting at your desk.

The book of life

Check out this article about a project to build an online archive of the Earth's species.

"The Encyclopedia of Life will provide valuable biodiversity and conservation information to anyone, anywhere, at any time," said Dr James Edwards, executive director of the $100m (£50m) project.

It is said to take 10 years or more to complete. Ideally, this will be a fantastic resource for both researchers and the general public.

The vast database will initially concentrate on animals, plants and fungi with microbes to follow. Fossil species may eventually be added.

That's really cool! Especially with regards to this database as an educational tool, it will be nice for the general public to see both present and past species side-by-side.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Makes me want to travel

You may have seen this's been around for a while. This guy, Matt, has a blog called Where the Hell is Matt?, which chronicles his world travels and bad dancing.

For some reason, I really love this video....I'd love to go to all these places. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Evolution and conservatism

I don't spend too much time with topics like this on this blog but I found this particular article interesting (there are several bloggers over at Scienceblogs that do put a lot of energy into these topics, so you should check it out if you want more).

Yesterday (May 5th), the New York Times science page published an article titled 'A Split Emerges as Conservatives Discuss Darwin'. I am certainly no expert in how Darwinism has been or is being invoked in the past or present by political/social figures. This article cites several books that might be a good sampling of how these ideas have evolved (pun intended).

The other night, the ten Republican presidential candidates were asked if they believe in evolution and three of them said they did not.

For some conservatives, accepting Darwin undercuts religious faith and produces an amoral, materialistic worldview that easily embraces abortion, embryonic stem cell research and other practices they abhor. As an alternative to Darwin, many advocate intelligent design, which holds that life is so intricately organized that only an intelligent power could have created it.

Maybe I am simple-minded, but what does the science of evolution have to do with abortion? This is a rhetorical question and I know the talking points, but this gets right to what I dislike about rigorous political ideologies: that one must agree with or adopt the entire spectrum of perspectives and beliefs to 'be on the team'. As for intelligent design, I'm not going to discuss that here as it has been, in my mind, thoroughly proven to not even be close to scientific practice. Period.

Yet it is that very embrace of intelligent design — not to mention creationism, which takes a literal view of the Bible’s Book of Genesis — that has led conservative opponents to speak out for fear their ideology will be branded as out of touch and anti-science.

Well, I think it's too late on that front. That ideology has already been branded as anti-science.

Some of these thinkers have gone one step further, arguing that Darwin’s scientific theories about the evolution of species can be applied to today’s patterns of human behavior, and that natural selection can provide support for many bedrock conservative ideas, like traditional social roles for men and women, free-market capitalism and governmental checks and balances.

I do like to bring up the concept of the free market with those who feel they have to be both fiscal and social conservatives. The purist view of a free market believes the system self-organizes into an efficient and collectively beneficial construct without the aid of a centralized authority (intelligent designer). This is accomplished through the balance of supply and demand, prices of goods/services, and other market 'forces' and sometimes nudged this way and that (e.g., tweaking of interest rates). There is no need for an intelligent designer! In fact, if you were to tell one of these very proud, so-called 'self-made' individuals that they are the product of the decisions of a centralized authority (intelligent designer) rather than the sum of their individual actions, decisions, and development (evolution) they would be pretty upset with you.

As for how natural selection explains traditional gender roles, I'm simply not versed in such ideas and really don't understand that. What do they mean by 'traditional'? Traditional as in the American family as portrayed on 1950s television, with the man going to work in a suit and the woman staying home wearing a dress and cooking/cleaning for him? What exactly does that have to do with natural selection? Perhaps the argument is that this is the contemporary version of the male venturing out to hunt/gather while the female stays behind to care for the offspring? There's probably a whole blog out there somewhere discussing that.

The technocrats, he [Mr. West, the author of “Darwin’s Conservatives: The Misguided Quest”, 2006] charged, wanted to grab control from “ordinary citizens and their elected representatives” so that they alone could make decisions over “controversial issues such as sex education, partial-birth abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and global warming."

Apparently, a technocrat is one who wants government run by the highly educated. Okay. I always figured that should be give-in...raise your hand if you want ignorance running the government. I suppose the opposition would charge that "technocracy" is steeped in the amoral and materialistic worldview. But, then in that case isn't the government being designed intelligently?

Is that really what the technocrats want -- to "grab control" and make decisions alone? To me, it's about actually using science to guide us to make decisions. What West is doing here is probably my biggest pet peeve --- that it all comes down to all or nothing. The all-or-nothing viewpoint is pervasive in political is completely illogical and unusable but I tend to think it's an unfortunate result (strange attractor?) in the trajectory of how society debates complex issues. Unless it's simplified to a duality of "this vs. that", and whose team are you on, the public can't understand it? But, this is a topic for another time. It's also funny (and sad) how global warming is thrown in with this list of 'controversial issues'.

The institutions that successfully evolved to deal with this natural order were conservative ones, founded in sentiment, tradition and judgment, like limited government and a system of balances to curb unchecked power, he explains. Unlike leftists, who assume “a utopian vision of human nature” liberated from the constraints of biology, Mr. Arnhart says, conservatives assume that evolved social traditions have more wisdom than rationally planned reforms.

Really? I've never heard a conservative put it that way. And what if a particular tradition becomes rigid and outdated? Isn't resisting change not accepting that things are evolving?

To many people, asking whether evolution is good for conservatism is like asking if gravity is good for liberalism; nature is morally neutral. Andrew Ferguson in The Weekly Standard and Carson Holloway in his 2006 book, “The Right Darwin? Evolution, Religion and the Future of Democracy,” for example, have written that jumping from evolutionary science to moral conclusions and policy proposals is absurd.

Well said. Finally...that's a viewpoint that resonates with me. To beat down the ugly head of the all-or-nothingers, I would add that it doesn't mean we can't learn something by discussing these things...the point is to not make the leap.

Then there's a quote by Wiliam F. Buckley about how Darwinism led to the Nazis....are we still doing this? And this is a top thinker?

And then, finally...
Mr. West agreed that “conservatives who are discomfited by the continuing debate over Darwin’s theory need to understand that it is not about to go away”; that it “fundamentally challenges the traditional Western understanding of human nature and the universe.”
All is revealed. Western understanding of human nature and the universe is the concept of evolution. I think he has it backwards on what is being challenged.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Where on (Google)Earth #10?

Okay...Ron has gotten the last few of these....someone else needs to step up!

No clues until there's a few guesses.

happy Saturday.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday Field Foto #15: Pillow basalts

One of the best parts about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is that there is great geology very close by. I snapped this photo just a couple weeks ago when we showing some out-of-town visitors around the area.

These beautiful pillow basalts are exposed out at Point Bonita, which is the most seaward promontory adjacent to the Golden Gate. Barely visible is a seagull in the upper left corner of the photo for scale. This area is part of the Marin Headlands, which is composed of rocks of the Franciscan accretionary complex. Very near to this site are spectacularly folded radiolarian cherts.

In addition to the pillow basalts, which are obviously the main attraction, there is a cool old lighthouse.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Video of debris flow in California

Note: I downloaded this clip a long time ago and, unfortunately, don't know any specific information about it (except that it occurred in California). If you happen to know the details and source of this video, please let me know.

I have a bunch of video clips related to sedimentation that i'll be posting from time to time. This one is a muddy debris flow carrying and/or rolling some rather large boulders.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Stunning new images of Jupiter and its moons

NASAs New Horizons spacecraft, which is on its way to Pluto, returned some incredible new images of Jupiter and its satellites. Check out the entire BBC article here and go here for more images.

The craft was using Jupiter as a slingshot to get out to the outer solar system as was able to get these images during the process. The above image shows the Little Red Spot (which is as big as Earth), a gigantic storm that scientists have had their eye on for some time.

The image below shows the moon Io in the upper left. The blue plume is from the erupting Tvashtar volcano. Europa, which has amazingly different characteristics is seen in the lower right.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

By the numbers

This blog is not a political blog...but once in a while I find it difficult to not comment on the goings-on with regards to American (cause that's where I live) policies and policymakers.

The chart below compares the situation in the Iraq War when mission was declared accomplished (and major combat operations over) four years ago and the situation as of today (via ThinkProgress):