Saturday, May 23, 2009

a bit more of the earth from space

One of NASA's many jewels is its Earth Observatory. I like the Natural Hazards section, with its volcano plumes and blowing sand, and its now-and-then unusual features like the ice in Saginaw Bay:

I never would have imagined -- at least, not right now, we'll see what a geography degree brings me -- chlorophyll, along with the other things they map.

The US Space Program isn't all about astronomy. It's invaluable to geographers, too, and I'm glad we don't ignore it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Michael Palin to head up the RGS!

Well travelled - 105/365
Originally uploaded by alexjcrawford.
From Emma Quilligan:
On June 1st, Michael Palin will be named as the new president of the Royal Geographical Society. The former Monty Python star has been travelling the world for more than three decades and says that his love of geography stems from school field-trips as a boy in Sheffield. He may therefore use his new position to promote geography in schools, previously arguing that the subject should be made “relevant, lively, stimulating, adventurous and…fun.


I love what I call "Palin's geography stuff." His *delight* with it -- his response to locals, his enthusiasm, his pure amateur joy at discovery -- is one of those things that helps feed my own, like John McPhee's, or David Attenborough's.



This is really a beautiful article in The Atlantic Monthly:
The Hearty Food of Mongolian Winter.

Perhaps as much as with any National Geographic story, I felt like I had a sense of what hanging out in a Mongolian home is like.

Sharing water in the Klamath Basin

Dangit, I finally just got the Klamath Water Wars book (Water War in the Klamath Basin: Macho Law, Combat Biology, and Dirty Politics) as a birthday present from my friend Sue ... and now, finally, the war is over. No?

The Klamath Tribes and farmers have agreed to drop their state water rights battle pending approval of a federal agreement leading to removal of dams on the Klamath River.
The settlement filed Wednesday with the Oregon Department of Water Resources mirrors the water issues in the dam removal plan, known as the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.

(there's more at that link)

There's so little water in that area, and so much life depends on it -- salmon, migrating birds, farmers, ranchers, the water table.

The current cessation of hostilities is "pending approval of a federal agreement leading to removal of dams on the Klamath River." I'll certainly continue reading the book, and hope for the best.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Earth from the Space Shuttle

Originally uploaded by marymactavish.
Wow! Check out these fabulous cloud photos from STS-125, the final Hubble servicing mission.

I found them on's The Big Picture.

Some are NASA photos (and thus free to use with attribution) but some are copyrighted to Getty, AP, and at least one private individual.


I love the way the clouds in the streaky, mackerel-sky photo outline the west coast of Baja so beautifully, and the swirls in sea over . . . where is that? Africa?

Click through to The Big Picture to see more photos, including the non-NASA photos, and a great display of some of the tools the astronauts use -- and all the pictures are (of course) BIG.

This mission has driven me to nail biting and tears more than once. I love it. I am captivated. I envy the folks who get to do the EVAs, am sorry for those who aren't. I cheer Megan, who is from my area, and Drew, who is just the epitome of grace under pressure. And today, when John Grunsfeld knocked the cap off of an antenna, I carried my laptop around to do a few things I had to do around the house, because I couldn't leave the live feed, my heart was in my throat in sympathy with poor John. "I feel sick," he said. But they let him fix it, and he did, and everything's fine now.

Go John.

Go Atlantis and your crew, go Hubble.

Go human exploration of space.