29 September 2009, jd2020 @ 1:59 am

Nature created this eerie lighting in Australia on September 23,2009.

Through this dust storm, Australia’s worst in some 70 years, the skies exchanged colors from orange, pink, red and yellow from morning to night. Why?
Because tiny particles can scatter sunlight. Light interacts differently with minuscule particles than with objects in the macroscopic world. If the sky were filled with dust particles that were each significantly wider than the largest wavelength of visible light—i.e., if each one were much more than 750 nanometers wide—then the atmosphere would appear to be approximately the same color as the particles themselves. (In this case, orange.) But many of the dust particles hanging over Sydney were probably less than 750 nanometers. Sunlight scatters when it hits such small particles; its various color components are redirected in a complicated pattern, and only limited wavelengths of light pass through to the observer. In such situations, which physicists still don’t understand perfectly, the atmosphere can take on any number of colors, from blue to deep red, and can even look different depending on where the observer is standing.

Why is the dust orange in the first place? Because there’s so little vegetation. Southeastern Australian soil is composed of weathered ferric rocks. The iron makes the resulting clay minerals—like nontronite, saponite, and volkonsokite—orange-ish. This process is certainly not unique to the land Down Under. Many regions started out orange but eventually transitioned to brown or black as vegetation sprang up in the fertile clay and composted into dark organic matter. The climate around Sydney is too arid for trees and shrubs to proliferate, so the area retains its original hue. The lack of vegetation also explains the frequent dust storms. Clay is flaky, and there aren’t many trees or roots to prevent it from sweeping across the plains.
Read more @ Slate.com

Very nice photo collection of the freak dust storm @ Boston.com

29 August 2009, jd2020 @ 3:32 pm

So I happened to be at a local park yesterday and couldn’t help taking note of how many plastic bottles I saw just strewn about as trash. Not to mention numerous styrofoam cups and containers. We’ve all seen this, but the bizarre thing was that there were trash cans set up all over the park. Even plastic bags had made their way into the beautiful water. It was a shameful sight since it was obvious that the trash had been tossed. C’mon parents, make an effort to change your ways and influence your children to be aware.

By complete coincidence, I saw this on the net today…
Picture was taken 1,000 miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch by SEAPLEX researchers during an expedition to study the North Pacific Ocean Gyre.

10 July 2009, jd2020 @ 12:40 am

Ever been confused by all the letters and squiggles used by scientists?

Sixty Symbols is a collection of videos about physics and astronomy presented by experts from The University of Nottingham. Choose a symbol and see a video about it.

25 May 2009, jd2020 @ 10:17 pm

turn it in for reuseRecycle! check out Earth911.com
Recycling info for many different items. Household, auto, electronic…

  • In 2006, Americans drank about 167 bottles of water each but only recycled an average of 23 percent.
  • That leaves 38 billion water bottles in landfills.
  • Bottled water costs between $1 and $4 per gallon, and 90 percent of the cost is in the bottle, the lid and the label.
  • Eight out of 10 plastic water bottles become landfill waste.
  • Plastic bottles can take up to 1000 years before they begin to decompose once buried.
  • If everyone in NYC gave up water bottles for one week, they would save 24 million bottles from being landfilled. One month on the same plan would save 112 million bottles, and one year would save 1.328 billion bottles from going into the landfill.

Don’t Throw Away Your Television

9 May 2009, jd2020 @ 12:20 am

101 facts about planet earth

Take this cool question and answer trivia quiz about Earth.

6 May 2009, jd2020 @ 11:31 pm

Thought this was worth a look. These guys have put together a visual of quantities of sugar in common foods and drinks. Some surprises for sure!

sugar in your coke

Good video explination of the flow of electricity through your heart.

29 April 2009, jd2020 @ 1:03 am

Astounding facts about my heart…

  • Your body has about 5.6 liters (6 quarts) of blood. This 5.6 liters of blood circulates through the body three times every minute. In one day, the blood travels a total of 19,000 km (12,000 miles)—that’s four times the distance across the US from coast to coast.
  • The heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime—that’s enough to fill more than 3 super tankers.
  • lub-DUB, lub-DUB, lub-DUB. Sound familiar? If you listen to your heart beat, you’ll hear two sounds. These “lub” and “DUB” sounds are made by the heart valves as they open and close. See the valves in action.Julia Forte Artwork
16 April 2009, jd2020 @ 8:13 pm

This little robot (Keepon) and others like it are being used to help children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). It turns out that the children more readily accept “Keepon” as a means of social interaction, creating an an environment to help therapists draw the child out socially and study their emotional states. Quite an entertaining piece of helpful technology with cameras in its eyes and nose. Heck, I’d like to have one. Its a rockin stress reliever! Check out Keepon groovin to “I Turn My Camera On” by Spoon.

Check out more about Marek Michalowski, a Ph.D student in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, and Hideki Kozima of Miyagi University in Japan and their robotic ideas at Beatbots.net

7 April 2009, jd2020 @ 11:35 pm

Check out the changes in the International Space Station over the last seven years. Its become quite a space junk target.

Below, I had to throw in the cool picture of Stephen Hawking giving a lecture.

ISS 12/2001

ISS 12/2001

Stephen Hawkings
Dr. Stephen Hawking, a professor of mathematics at the University of Cambridge, delivers a speech entitled “Why we should go into space” during a lecture that is part of a series honoring NASA’s 50th Anniversary, Monday, April 21, 2008, at George Washington University’s Morton Auditorium in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Paul. E. Alers)

13 March 2009, jd2020 @ 5:34 pm

If you’re unfamiliar with Google Earth, here is a good reason to download and get into it. Not only can you take virtual 3D trips around planet Earth, but you can also tour Mars in the new 5.0 version of Google Earth. Check out this video!

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