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Support science and education with Wide Computing

Posted by Larry Dickson
Larry Dickson
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on Thursday, 18 July 2013
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

Crawlspace3Larry Dickson's Kickstarter project intends to revive the neglected half of computing that is the most friendly to original science.

This countercultural Wide Computing brings raw data from multiple inexpensive sensors, and even robotics, within reach of anyone with a C compiler. Simple, independent programs handle transmission and postprocessing, including heavy data streams. "Hiccups" can be prevented even if latency limits are very tight. No complex GUIs or interface specifications are needed.

The beauty of this is that it brings real science within reach of volunteers. You can make original contributions without multi-million dollar budgets and corporate bureaucratic approval. This is really important, because it can restore honesty to science!

In addition it is an educational tool that is unequalled in the bureaucratic computing world. The friendly new concept of a graphics slave has roused particular interest. More information is on the web site LAZM.org.

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Become a Face of Climate Change

Posted by Chris Conant
Chris Conant
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on Monday, 22 April 2013
in Climate Change

Screen shot 2013-04-22 at 11.41.46 AMIt is April 22nd again, which means that it is Earth Day!  This year, earthday.org has created an impressive collage on their website, and are inviting everyone to get involved.  The meaning of the collage is to put as many faces with the impacts of climate change.  This doesn't just include humans, it is encouraged to also post pictures of animals and areas being effected by climate change.

The major focus for earthday.org is to target the major businesses and governments that lead in producing the most carbon polution.  They will target these businesses and governments by displaying the digital collages on bigscreens outside of their offices and headquarters.  However, their major focus isn't to just try and bring down these businesses.  The real goal is to encourage entrepeneurs to create campaigns and facilities to use clean technology.

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Do You Like Coffee? How About Trees? Caribou has You Covered!

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Sunday, 31 March 2013
in Clean Fun

The second largest coffeehouse chain in the country (and if you live outside the land of Starbucks you maycaribou-project-7-tree-april have heard of them) the alliterative Caribou Coffee has buddied up with Project 7 to plant trees for Earth Month.

Project 7, founded in 2008 by entrepreneur Tyler Merrick, is a company that makes a small selection of everyday items like organic fair-trade coffee and t-shirts that can be purchased online at their website. While offerings like their sugar-free gum can be readily purchased at stores like Walmart or Target.

For every purchase of a Project 7 product, the company makes charitable contributions to non-profit organizations that correlate with the “seven areas of need:” Feed the Hungry, Heal the Sick, Hope for Peace, House the Homeless, Quench the Thirsty, Teach them Well, and Save the Earth.

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Americans Would Like to Prepare for Extreme Weather

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Saturday, 30 March 2013
in Climate Change

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and their partner the Center for Ocean Solutions jointly atlantic-pier-grafixarcommissioned a survey that found that an overwhelming majority of Americans would like to prepare for superstorms like Sandy and other factors associated with global warming like sea level rise.

This finding does not correlate with what we normally observe before disasters, this cycle: ambivalence caused by a 24 hour news network and weather reports that like to cry wolf, unpreparedness, and then panic.

The survey was conducted by GfK Custom Research over the Internet with a nationally representative probability sample of 1,174 American adults, 18 and older, at the beginning of the month for over a week (March 3rd-18th). The survey was administered in both English and Spanish and shows that not wanting to fall into the ocean can cross language barriers and cultures.

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Friday Creature Feature: The Bull Shark

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Thursday, 28 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

On April 7, 2011 a bull shark with two heads was discovered inside the uterus of an adult bull shark that two-headed-baby-bull-shark-Courtesy of Patrick-Rice-Shark-Defense-Florida-Keys-Community-Collegehad been caught by a fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico.

The unborn shark was first taken to the marine science department at Florida Keys Community College and was then transferred to Michigan State University (MSU).

At MSU Michael Wagner, an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife, and his team used MRIs to confirm that the baby shark had two distinct heads, hearts, and stomachs with the rest of the body joined together in back half of the animal to form a single tail only a mother shark could love.

These observations meant researchers were able to confirm that this was not a case of conjoined twins but a single bull shark with two heads the first-ever found.

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Is Living in A Cold City Bad for the Environment?

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Thursday, 28 March 2013
in Earth Blog

Sometimes there are headlines that can make a person say, “Duh.”green-mittens-jdurham-mfile

Take for instance this headline that introduces a study recently published in the journal Environmental Research Letters: “Cold Cities Less Sustainable Than Warm Cities, Research Suggests.” Anecdotal evidence, the sort of information you can gather from people sitting on a park bench, can support a claim like that.

However, the data Dr. Michael Sivak, at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute, presented in his paper after analyzing the artificial heating and cooling in two big cities is far better than any empirical evidence I can give you about living in a place that is freezing in the winter and so hot in the summer the carpet in a house can feel like it’s on fire.

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NASA Hosts Its First Google+ Hangout in Spanish

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Wednesday, 27 March 2013
in Clean Fun

Tomorrow Thursday, March 28, NASA will hold its first-ever Google+ Hangout en Espanol from 3:30 - 4:30 NASA-STEM-event-January-2013PST (6:30 - 7:30 p.m. EDT). The Hangout will be conducted at the library as part of a partnership between Science4Girls and libraries. It will also be great way to wrap up National Women's History Month.

Hangout participants will hear the stories of two prominent Hispanic women at NASA: Erika Podest and Michela Munoz Fernandez both of JPL. Participants will be able to ask questions and learn more about about Science,Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) careers at NASA.

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A Bigger Population Means A Greater Need To Prepare for Bad Weather

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Tuesday, 26 March 2013
in Earth Blog

NOAA says that if the current population trends continue, the United States coastal population will grow weather-vane-stryker-mfilefrom 123 million people to nearly 134 million people smugly ensconced in coastal communities by 2020.
The agency noted the coasts are already crowed and the projected increase in population will put more people at risk from extreme coastal weather and storms like Sandy. Get out! Get out while you still can! I hear the Midwest and Northeast are both nice and roomy.

However, don’t be surprised when a storm like Sandy affects you when you thought it wouldn’t because you don’t live on the Atlantic

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Galveston is the Next City to Get Blue Trees

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Monday, 25 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Vegetation

"I realized that forests are the lungs of the world," Konstantin Dimopoulos said in a press release that blue-trees-houston-announced his most recent art installation in Houston, Texas: trees painted blue.  Not pink not green, but ultramarine!  This is a vibrant color to make the viewer think about a world without trees and deforestation.

The press release pointed to a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report three years ago that said 32 million acres of forests were lost due to natural causes or were cleared for other uses between 2000 and 2010. That means 3.2 million acres were lost per year during that time frame.

"Through my work I am striving to address global issues and provide a visual platform to effect change," said Konstantin Dimopoulos. "So many universal concerns seem larger than an individual's power of influence, and I want to evoke in people the idea that we can all contribute to change in a positive way."

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Ford Has Water Conservation Goal In Sight

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Sunday, 24 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Water

On Friday Ford Motor Company announced they were over halfway toward their current goal of using an car-water-sign-claritaaverage of only four cubic meters of water per vehicle during manufacturing globally by 2015. The company reduced the average amount of water used to make each vehicle by 8.5 percent between 2011 and 2012.

"Ford recognizes the critical importance of water, and is committed to conserving water and using it responsibly," says Robert Brown, the vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
"Many vehicle manufacturing processes require water and the resource is used at every point in our supply chain."

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Bag Bans Move Forward Despite Opposition

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Saturday, 23 March 2013
in Earth Blog

Do you remember Hilex Poly? They are the plastic bag manufacturer based in South Carolina that single-use-bag-krosseel-mfileexpressed disappointment when a single use plastic bag ban passed in Seattle two years ago.

On Wednesday Hilex Poly was awarded the 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers Environmental Division's Award for Plastics Recycling Technologies and Applications. Which sounds more like the title of a textbook than an award for innovations in plastics recycling solutions and commitment to sustainability. The company received the award for its "Bag-2-Bag®" recycling program.

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Friday Creature Feature: Southern Stingray

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Friday, 22 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

At Stingray City in the Cayman Islands, the place to go for all your stingray needs, tourists can interact Southern-Stringray-wiki-2with the southern stingray (Dasyatis americana). You can pet, feed, swim, kiss, and take photos with stingrays in the shallow waters of the Caribbean and all of this is available with one easy payment of $44.44! (No CODs, shipping yourself to Grand Cayman not included.)

These vacation memories will eventually go viral and land the human subjects of the photo on the talk show circuit explaining to the five people left who still watch daytime television what the word “photobomb” means.  

Stingray City, a tropical petting zoo, was the subject of a study published this month on PLOS ONE that explored the impact “interactive ecotourism” is having on the stingrays.

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The Ants Go Marching Into My House Ten By Ten

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Thursday, 21 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

Many years ago when I was in high school, and not much smarter than I am now, I had a theory that ants Fire ants USDA copywould one day take over the world.  Ants fascinated me because they were so many different types of ants and these itty-bitty creatures were all capable of doing the most amazing things despite their size.

Our assumption is that no creature so small or that mindlessly lives in a hive-called a superorganism-could ever defeat us. But look at this io9 article from last year written by Robert T. Gonzales that presents ten facts that illustrate that ants are poised to one day enslave us all.

For instance take Fact #6 from Gonzales’s list:

“In their Pulitzer-prize winning book The Ants, researchers Bert Holldobbler and Edward O. Wilson estimate that there are upwards of 10,000,000,000,000,000 individual ants alive on Earth at any given time.”

And do you know where all 10,000,000,000,000,000 of those ants are right now? In my kitchen, living room, dining room, bathroom, and bedroom.

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Researchers Find What They Are Looking For With GPS and Polar Bears

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Wednesday, 20 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

Dr. Seth Cherry of the University of Alberta and a team studied polar bears in the extremely cold polar-bear-cubs-collar-Andrew-Derocher-University-Alberta-OEB-0056conditions of the western Hudson Bay for ten years to see what impact, if any, climate change and its affect on the ice’s melting and forming would have on the polar bear’s ice-based habits.

The Hudson Bay is a body of water almost completely surrounded by northeastern Canada. It is the second largest bay in world (the Bay of Bengal is the largest) with a surface area of 1,230,000 kilometers2 (470,000 square miles). It is a part of the North Atlantic Ocean but some portions of it are considered to be part of the Arctic Ocean. Whatever way you want to look at the bay it’s still cold and there are polar bears.

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Pocoyo and Jessica Alba Promote Earth Hour 2013

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Tuesday, 19 March 2013
in Clean Fun

Important news from the world of children’s entertainment! A world I should know nothing about (since I pocoyo-friends-at-seahave no children) but I am all too familiar with as more of my friends start to have children or their children discover the magic world of television.

Yesterday the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Earth Hour announced that Pocoyo, the monochromatically dressed and be-hatted toddler with a group of anthropomorphic friends, would be serving his a third term as Earth Hour's Global Kids' Ambassador.

This year’s Earth Hour campaign includes the “I Will If You Will” challenge reminiscent of those school yard rejoinders like “I know you are but what am I?” and “I triple dog dare you!”

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Is Your Home Leaking Money?

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Monday, 18 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Water

The EPA says: “One in every ten homes has a leak that is wasting at least 90 gallons of water per day.”sink-drain-water-griet49-mfile

How do you know if your home is one of the ones leaking enough water to fill up a fish tank commonly found in people’s living rooms? It starts with your water bill and knowing how much water on average your home and its occupants use.

Now that auto pay has become the preferred method of bill paying in many homes it can  be all too easy to ignore the bottom line, blissfully unaware you have a leak. During the winter or seasonal equivalent in your state if water usage for a family of four exceeds 12,000 gallons a month you probably have leak somewhere.

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Nat Geo Wild Announces Short Film Competition

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Sunday, 17 March 2013
in Clean Fun

Today is the last day of the Sun Valley Film Festival but a short film competition they are sponsoring along zebras-zoo-m-hull-mfilewith Nat Geo WILD and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has just begun.

The first annual WILD to INSPIRE Short Film Competition is accepting submissions from April 1 through October 1, 2013.

"WILD to INSPIRE showcases Nat Geo WILD's commitment to supporting filmmakers who are passionate about capturing the awe-inspiring wonder of the natural world that exists both in our own backyards, and in places many of us only dream of going," said Geoff Daniels, the executive vice president and general manager for Nat Geo WILD. "Our goal every day is to take our viewers to new 'wild' places, and we are excited to see where each submission in this competition takes us next."

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Are Shade Balls Still in the Silver Lake Reservoir?

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Saturday, 16 March 2013
in Earth Blog

About five years ago the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) dumped 400,000 blackShade-Balls-2-LADWP-Silver-Lake “shade balls” into the Ivanhoe Reservoir. The reservoir is one of the two concrete basins that are collectively known as the Silver Lake Reservoir in the Los Angeles neighborhood that bears the same name-Silver Lake.

The shade balls are similar to the type you would find in the ball pit of a Chuck E. Cheese’s (hollow and plastic) except obviously far less colorful and their purpose is for science not merriment.

They were placed in the water to act as a relatively inexpensive and safe floating barrier to prevent a chemical reaction between bromate and chlorine caused when California’s perpetual sunlight hits the water. This particular pairing could cause cancer if the bromate was allowed to reach high levels.

While there was only a slim chance Los Angeles residents could get cancer from the water officials decided to go with the balls while the Headworks Reservoir- an underground reservoir that will replace the existing basins for potable water- is being built.

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Friday Creature Feature: Pine Marten

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Friday, 15 March 2013
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

Earlier this week I was chatting with a friend when I linked him this video. It’s safe for work for but if you Martes martes crop-wiki-Dani-Kropivnikare unable to view it I will be more than happy to describe it to you.

During a soccer game (football match) a pine marten (martes martes) works its way onto the field (pitch). The animal proceeds to frantically run around like a deranged streaking fan (fanum rabidus nudus). Unlike a zealous fan the creature left the field on its own a few times but returns, suspends play, and is chased down by several people including a member of FC Zurich: defender Loris Benito.

Benito swoops, tumbles, but manages to snag the animal only to be rewarded with a bite to the finger.  Apparently, as Benito is leaving the field the pine marten escapes the defender (irony) and Zurich goalkeeper David Da Costa is either directed to because he is wearing gloves and accustomed to trying to stop fast moving objects or takes it upon himself to grab the pine marten ending the spectacle.

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Mummies with Heart Disease and an Ancient Sun Dial

Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
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on Thursday, 14 March 2013
in Earth Blog

With all the focus on using the sun’s energy to power our homes we can forget that ancient people used egypt-sun-dial-death-clock-university-baselthe sun to help tell time. We forget about that because our cell phones do that for us and they are portable and don’t weigh as much as a sun dial.

A team of researchers from the University of Basel say that have found one of the world’s oldest sun dials.

A flattened piece of limestone was found during archaeological excavations in the Kings’ Valley in Upper Egypt. Researchers think it could have been used as a sort of time clock to measure the working hours of the men who constructed the final resting places of Egyptians because the fragment was found near the stone huts where the workers were known to live in the 13th century BC.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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