Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Boxing Day

First: Go check out Dan's explanation of the meteorology that drove the blizzard. I'll wait. (My post is pure fluff.)

Okay, back? Here we go:

The timelapse video of the world filling with snow is fabulous. Poor little clcok!

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

Yesterday's blizzard on the northeast coast of the United States hit hard, snarling the subways and traffic, and giving people either a night stuck on a train or in a station or airport, or else a day indoors staying warm..

A satellite camera took a great shot as it moved on, leaving people to shovel out and make snow angels.

(photo: NASA Goddard)

What was your Boxing Day Blizzard 2010 like? (I'm in the San Francisco bay area. Here, it was just cool and wet.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

rompin' in a winter wonderland!

Oooh, this video now contains geographilic information, so I can post it! Yay!

Bailey's human says:
I shot this video on VHS-C in my backyard, near Ward, Colorado (8,700' elevation) during a blizzard in the late 1990's; a local weatherman said it was the most measureable snow (if memory serves, it was 54" in 48 hours) from the least amount of moisture ever.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On the Earth Day of Christmas ....

For a proper Christmas celebration this year, check out last year's Twelve Days of Earth Science from
Highly Allochthonous. It's beautifully silly and fun, and I wish I'd thought of it - and might just copy the idea. :D

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Basking Shark, Red Sea

Now I feel like I really must go kayaking in the Red Sea.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

time-lapse solstice eclipse

My writing fu just seems stuck lately, what with planning for impending baby, some health issues, and .... well, I have no other excuses. But here's neat time-lapse video of last night's eclipse!

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse from William Castleman on Vimeo.

I have a bookmark file full of things to write about, and rather than go on hiatus, I think I'll toss them up as I'm able. I apologize.

- Mary

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Google Earth skydiving

I wonder if my acrophobia would kick in.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

NYC historical photos - but from whom?

Aerial view of midtown Manhattan looking west from the East River
July 1944

I hope the original credits/copyright appear in the comments soon, here and/or in response to the flickr photo you can get to if you click through.

Here's another unattributed photo that I haven't found a source for. Would love to know, as I'm sure not all of these are in the public domain or creative commons. So many good photos like that are out there in the wild.

One of my favorite things about Flickr is that I can explore the creative commons photos there, and both use them and give credit where it is due.

Friday, December 03, 2010

our brightly colored slimy neighbors of the deepish

From the National Science Foundation
Sea slug species Elysia chlorotica feeding on Vaucheria litorea, a yellow-green algae. E. chlorotica sequesters chloroplasts from the algae into specialized cells lining the digestive diverticulum, and the chloroplasts are photosynthetically functional for 9 to 11 months. Nuclear-encoded, algal chloroplast genes necessary to the function of the sequestered chloroplasts have been horizontally transferred and integrated into the slug genome. (Date of Image: 2009)

Nudibranchs are SO COOL.

They poop poison if they don't ingest it as defense. They dress up as poisonous critters.

And many people don't even know they exist.

Click through for image credit,
all are some form of creative commons licensed or otherwise allowed appropriate to this venue.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Winter in Star City

Star City, Kazakhstan
November 2010
Temperature -25C

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saving the Coral Reef One Stitch at a Time

Saving the Coral Reef One Stitch at a Time - This gorgeous video isn't embeddable, but please go look. I'm currently not crocheting because my rheumatoid arthritis is acting up, but I would really love to know what your crafting work is, if you craft, and if there's a way you connect it to your love for the earth, or protecting the planet and its ecosphere.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Aurora Borealis from Tromsø, Norway

Aurora Borealis timelapse HD - Tromsø 2010 from Tor Even Mathisen on Vimeo.

The rate of timelapse if evident when the shots include moving clouds. In fact, where the clouds are thicker, the effect is glowing and magical.

little cat feet

San Francisco's fog is a lively, fluid, beautiful thing that keeps our midsummer beautifully moderate.

Summer in San Francisco from Michael Winokur on Vimeo.

Michael Winokur has put together a video showing our fog illuminated by lights, by sun, from above, from below, and (my favorite thing ever), as it pours like cream over the ridges of the Peninsula and Marin Headlands.

I found this via Sutro Tower (no, really - the Bay Bridge also tweets, I love the internet) on Twitter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

shimmering emerald curtains

I've never seen the Aurora Borealis, just the Aurora Australis - and it looks exactly like this, just from below:

(European Space Agency pic)

I saw it from -32.7ish latitude in South Australia -- quite far north, for an aurora.

It was one of the most magical experiences of my life, and though I'd love to see another aurora, I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

reduce reuse recycle

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Originally uploaded by NathanAndrewWinters.
These are amazing statistics.

I have bags that I keep in the house, and bags that I keep in the car, and even one hanging from my purse, but somehow, too often I end up at the store with only one bag. When we don't have enough, I use paper bags, because we use those for other things around the house, then I can compost or recycle them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Night Lights

Night Lights
Originally uploaded by europeanspaceagency.
I'm very curious about the illuminated yellow ring here. Could that possibly be illuminated water vapor in the atmosphere, or is it more likely to be an optical effect from the window or camera, or even an artifact? It doesn't seem to be the latter, but I know little about how the various elements in this sort of photography combine. And it seems too even and too far south to have anything to do with auroras, but I could be wrong there, too.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Thin crescent moon and Mars setting behind Sugarloaf Mountain

Lovely video taken tonight. I don't know which Sugarloaf Mountain this is, but the photographer is from eastern Tennessee.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Do you know what's ridiculous about this map?

California to Hawaii

Driving directions to Honolulu, HI
14 days 22 hours
I-5 N
3,748 mi

1. Head west on Terrace Ave toward Tivy Valley Rd 266 ft
2. Terrace Ave turns slightly left and becomes Tivy Valley Rd 0.5 mi
3. Turn right at N Piedra Rd 3.8 mi
4. Turn right at CA-180 W/E Kings Canyon Rd Continue to follow CA-180 W 19.7 mi
5. Take exit 57A to merge onto CA-99 N toward Sacramento 132 mi
6. Continue onto CA-12 E 1.0 mi
7. Continue onto CA-99 N 31.7 mi
8. Take the exit toward San Francisco/I-80 W/I-5 W/CA-99 W 1.2 mi
9. Merge onto CA-99 N/Interstate 305 W 1.3 mi
10. Take the exit onto I-5 N toward Redding
Passing through Oregon
Entering Washington 757 mi
11. Take exit 169 for NE 45th St 0.3 mi
12. Slight left at 7th Ave NE 262 ft
13. Take the 1st left onto NE 45th St 0.7 mi
14. Turn left at Wallingford Ave N 0.9 mi
15. Turn right at N 34th St 292 ft
16. Take the 1st left onto Densmore Ave N 436 ft
17. Turn right at N Northlake Way 285 ft
18. Kayak across the Pacific Ocean
Entering Hawaii
2,756 mi
19. Continue straight 0.1 mi
20. Turn left at Kuilima Dr 0.5 mi
21. Take the 3rd right onto HI-83 W 12.4 mi
22. Continue straight onto HI-99 S/Kamehameha Hwy 6.5 mi
23. Slight left at HI-80 S/Kamehameha Hwy
Continue to follow Kamehameha Hwy2.1 mi
24. Take the ramp onto I-H-2 S 8.1 mi
25. Merge onto I-H-1 E 4.7 mi
26. Take exit 13B toward Halawa Hts. Stadium 0.3 mi
27. Merge onto I-H-201 E 4.1 mi
28. Merge onto I-H-1 E 2.3 mi
29. Take exit 21A for Hawai 61 toward Pali Hwy 0.2 mi
30. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for HI-61 S/Downtown and merge onto HI-61 S/Pali Hwy
Continue to follow Pali Hwy 0.4 mi
31. Continue onto Bishop St 0.2 mi
32. Turn left at S King St 0.3 mi
33. Turn left at Likelike St 446 ft

Honolulu, HI

It's just silly. Why would you waste time and gas driving to Puget Sound only to have to kayak that much farther to Honolulu? Kayaks are available for rental all along Monterey Bay, which is nice and central within California, as well as north and south along the entire coast.


Friday, October 22, 2010

first rickroll in space

I love video of uncontrolled helium balloon descents.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I had to look this up because I am a nerd.

Bridge abstract
Originally uploaded by raindog.
A friend of mine on Facebook asked whether it's true that, as she heard on today's Giants/Phillies broadcast, it's true that there's enough wire in the Golden Gate Bridge to go around the earth three times.

So I looked:

The Bridge's official site says:
Total length of galvanized steel wire used in both main cables: 80,000 mi = 129,000 km

Matt at says:
The circumference of the earth at the equator is 24,901.55 miles (40,075.16 kilometers).

Thus: Yes.

In other news. I've been slacking way off here, and I don't want to. I might ask friends to write guest posts, and I might just frontload like crazy out of my tags, or I might continue to make excuses. We eagerly await the birth of what is bound to be a very smart and cute baby, which is leaving me in a dreamy haze.

I will try, though, to make this blog more readable and comment-friendly.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

NASA GOES-13 Full Disk view of Earth September 24, 2010

How can I not want to work to protect this? Its shield is so fragile, and the space underneath that shield is getting so messy.

NASA GOES-13 Full Disk view of Earth September 24, 2010

NASA/NOAA GOES 13 satellite image showing earth on September 24, 2010 17:45 UTC.

Credit: NOAA/NASA GOES Project

Thursday, September 09, 2010

US Map

US Map
Originally uploaded by Andrew Goldsmith.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

so that's what tornado sirens sound like

This is from a couple of hours ago, as a tornado moved across Dallas, and everyone with a camera found a place to video from.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Christchurch earthquake pictures

Christchurch earthquake
Originally uploaded by johnstewartnz.
(way down at the bottom are quake preparedness commentary and a video)


(Look at that vertical displacement!)
(edit: A couple of friends have since reminded me that "displacement" is a specific geologic term with regard to quakes. This offset might not be ground displacement as much as separation due to liquefaction or localized sinking.)



(above photos by digitalsadhu

Christchurch earthquake

Christchurch earthquake

Christchurch earthquake

Christchurch earthquake
(above photos by John Stewart

Christchurch Earthquake Works a mess

Christchurch Earthquake Works a mess
(above photos by Brendan Gloistein

After I looked at these, I reminded my husband that we haven't replaced the attachment hardware for our bookshelves, so we'll do that this weekend.

We also need to re-inventory our quake kit and find out what we need to replace. My favorite list of supplies is

Folks from Christchurch respond to last night's big quake:

The panicky woman couldn't have known then (and many folks don't know, in general) that the quake wasn't really big enough for a tsunami, especially given as it was centered under land. They're usually from bigger quakes centered under water, with specific seismological conditions. But when the ground has bounced you out of bed in the wee hours of a winter's morning, that's probably not your first thought.

there's a lot going on down there

It's not exactly as good as being on the ISS, but it's still amazing:

Timelapse of Earth from low orbit. The lights below, the aurorae, just lovely. I want to lie in the cupola and stare.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Earl: Now, in AQUAVISION


Oh, how neat is this? The blue shows water vapor, or as the caption states:

Aquavision False color image from GOES-E Satellite taken on September 2, 2010 0000 UTC.

RGB[IR4, IR2, WV] composite. In the image Category 4 Hurricane Earl moves northwest towards a frontal system draped across the North America that had deformed in to a straight wall. The blue water vapor outflow of Hurricane Earl swoops down to the SW, while the overall flow of the frontal system moves water vapor from the tropical system near Baha California up towards Greenland.

Image credits: EUMETSAT / NEODASS / DSRS / NASA / processing by Mike Malaksa

A beer company chimes in on saving the Colorado

And I find this just as a friend from New Mexico tells me of some rather horrible water conservation mayhem in her neck of the woods, so I'm going to get on top of some research -- oooh, content. This blog might have content!

(Note: On a scale of NSFWness, this is a 3 on a 1-10 scale, where 1 is Mister Rogers.)

Hurricane Earl from Space

Hurricane Earl takes up a huge chunk of planet. Regardless of whether the eye makes landfall -- and it still seems likely that the track will curve to the north then east, and miss land -- this is going to make one heck of a stormy Labor Day Weekend on the east coast of North America.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon
Originally uploaded by lrargerich.
‎"The Church says that the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church." — Ferdinand Magellan

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cotopaxi volcano

What a lovely Milky Way, just rotating right over the top of it!

(Found via Lane Hartwell, a local photographer.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Earth from the ISS, cloud shadows

"From space I saw Earth,
indescribably beautiful
and with the scars of national boundaries gone."
Muhammad Ahmad Faris, astronaut

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ah, India

Bangalore to Mysore distance by road is about 140 kilometers. The approximate driving time is 3 hours, including a short brake in between.

En Route to Mysore on the Bangalore - Mysore National Highway

Thursday, July 29, 2010

orographic terminology

My friend Joe asks a specific cloud question:

Joe: Okay, an earth sciencey sort of question for you. In greenland I often saw cloud formations that sort of formed a belt half way up a cliff, e.g.,

Roughly speaking, my question is "does that have a cool name?" and "what's up with that?" Okay, that's two questions. :)

Can you explain? Is there a name for that kind of cloud position/type?

(I did tell him why the cloud formed there - but beyond that, I know not.)

Joe's going back to Greenland in a few days to take more pictures. Check out the rest of his Above the Arctic Circle work, -- he's good at making geography visible.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Maybe I need a geotat theme blog

Another geotat off tumblr.

In Santa Cruz, once, I saw someone with California on his entire right arm, Lake Tahoe at the elbow, etc. Seeing it move was weird, especially as there aren't any fault that make the state move just like that. ;)

And if you like tattoos, you should definitely check out Carl Zimmer's Science Tattoo Emporium!

Monday, July 26, 2010

way slow lightning

Watch the timestamp move. The whole video is slowed down to 1/300 speed.

It's interesting to watch the big bolts form, and disappear, but I am in love with all the tiny baby bolts.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I love this tattoo so much I could pop

The caption on the tumblr page says,
"pangaea. hoping it will stretch into it’s current positions as I get older and fatter."

Oh yeah. :D

(Note: This is not ink on me. I found it tumblrward.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2009's Atlantic/Caribbean tropical storms, all at once

NASA and NOAA have put together a four-minute time-lapse animation of the 2009 hurricane season:

I find myself trying to peer beyond the bottom right corner, to see what's going on between the Caribbean and Africa.

At least as interesting as watching the tropical depressions form and move, though, are the way clouds form over Central America. I'd like to watch a time lapse of Panamanian skies from the ground below, based on this.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Galilean thermometer in the sun

My friend Den posted this pretty danged awesome time-lapse video of a Galilean thermometer slowly warming up and moving in the sun.

I have no idea how these work. Are you willing to explain to me, or shall I look it up? ;)

Friday, July 16, 2010

the sky is falling

Here's some fascinating video from Yosemite Park, showing and discussing the process of rock falls:

Geologists discuss the rock falls, and their effect on park visitors, and there's some great video from a park visitor.

The video's a granite-lover's dream, with obligatory spectacular views of Yosemite as well.

I'm feeling less inclined to scramble in the talus looking for pikas than I might once have been.

Does the information in this video affect how you would use Yosemite, or whether you would visit the park or similar areas?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

it's like alabaster

What a lovely photo of our moon. When I was little, I thought the daytime moon was translucent, like the little alabaster elephant lantern my grandmother had on a table in the hallway.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

death by clam?

That's a horrible and fascinating phrase.

I have no idea when this short National Geographic web exclusive on will last, but it's here now:

I'm a big fan of molluscs, I find them endlessly fascinating. (I also find them occasionally tasty. I'm about 99% vegetarian, but small bivalves rock my culinary world.)

I didn't really know much about giant clams. I guess I assumed that they lived in the deep sea (they don't), and that they were a lot like large versions of normal clam species. But they have nifty skin not unlike a squid's (less shiftingly chromatophoric*), and I had no idea about their relationship with algae!

Also, let it be said that the diver at the end of this clip is a doofus. Don't go messing with sea animals or coral reefs, Doofus Diver.

*It's amazing what blogger labels as incorrectly spelled. What, that's not a word?

Monday, June 28, 2010

I am surrounded by bad influences

Originally uploaded by riowight.
My husband and his friend Andy discuss CERN placement:
Andy: I wonder why it's specifically on the French-Swiss border.
Casey: Probably more to do with geography than politics
Casey: CERN is a pragmatic bunch.
Andy: I mean, won't that sloow the particles down? They have to whip out their little particle passports and go through particle customs twice per loop.
Casey: Sorry, didn't see the joke coming, you must have sent it faster than the cluons could reach me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Around the world

Found via Design is Mine, a gorgeous collection of globular glory.

I spent hundreds of hours in my childhood poring over globes. I loved the relief globes best, ours at home was worn over the Alps and Andes and Himalaya and Rockies where I'd run the tip of my index finger over the ridges time and time again. I'm currently smitten with a globe I saw in a catalog a couple of years ago that has your basic political map on it until the light inside is turned on, when it becomes a star map. Our local plastic-epoxy-and-stuff store, mostly used by sign-makers and fiberglass-molders, sells inflatable globes that are only so much vinyl and poppable, disposable stuff, and what would I do with one? But I want one.

I think my favorite globe-fact, over my life, has been that if the relief on my favorite kind of globe were true scale, I wouldn't be able to feel them.