Recently in Science Category

Modest earthquake this morning - from the USGS Earthquake center:

M 5.4 - 227km W of Bandon, Oregon

No Tsunami warning at this time

This is where the big one will happen - these Mag 9 quakes happen every 300-500 years and the last one happened in January 26th, 1700 - 318 years ago.

Another shake

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An aftershock to the July 12th 4.1 Mag earthquake. From the USGS:

M 2.5 - 3km W of Monroe, Washington

Nothing much else to report.

Over 50 earthquakes today. None under 2.5 Mag (my lower threshold for reporting) and several over 4.0. All of them shallow. What is going on?

This has been around for a while - surfaces every other year or so. From The Guardian:

Indoor carbon dioxide levels could be a health hazard, scientists warn
Indoor levels of carbon dioxide could be clouding our thinking and may even pose a wider danger to human health, researchers say.

While air pollutants such as tiny particles and nitrogen oxides have been the subject of much research, there have been far fewer studies looking into the health impact of CO2.

However, the authors of the latest study – which reviews current evidence on the issue – say there is a growing body of research suggesting levels of CO2 that can be found in bedrooms, classrooms and offices might have harmful effects on the body, including affecting cognitive performance.

And some numbers:

Traditionally, the team say, it had been thought that CO2 levels would need to reach a very high concentration of at least 5,000 parts per million (ppm) before they would affect human health. But a growing body of research suggests CO2 levels as low as 1,000ppm could cause health problems, even if exposure only lasts for a few hours.

The team say crowded or poorly ventilated classrooms, office environments and bedrooms have all been found to have levels of CO2 that exceed 1,000ppm, and are spaces that people often remain in for many hours at a time. Air-conditioned trains and planes have also been found to exceed 1,000ppm.

OK - let us look at a real-world environment with elevated levels of CO2 in the breathing air. Submarines. They spend months under water and they do scrub the CO2 out of the breathing air but not all of it. This is not needed and much easier to allow a certain level to accumulate. From Anthony Watts, October 17, 2012:

Claim: CO2 makes you stupid? Ask a submariner that question
From Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, something that might finally explain Al Gore’s behavior – too much time spent indoors and in auditoriums giving pitches about the dangers of CO2. One wonders though what the Navy submarine service has to say about this new research:

We try to keep CO2 levels in our U.S. Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels. – Senate testimony of Dr. William Happer, here

This is backed up by the publication from the National Academies of Science Emergency and Continuous Exposure Guidance Levels for Selected Submarine Contaminants

which documents effects of CO2 at much much higher levels than the medical study, and shows regular safe exposure at these levels…

Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm (Hagar 2003). – page 46

…but shows no concern at the values of 600-2500 ppm of this medical study from LBNL. I figure if the Navy thinks it is safe for men who have their finger on the nuclear weapons keys, then that is good enough for me.

Sigh. Fake Science. Rhetoric and not actual facts. One last quote from the researcher at the Guardian article:

“There is enough evidence to be concerned, not enough to be alarmed. But there is no time to waste,” said Dr Michael Hernke, a co-author of the study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stressing further research was needed.

Of course "further research was needed" - that is Dr. Hernke's source of income. Salary and operating costs for his lab. He wants a bigger rice bowl and is willing to prostitute science to get it. Do these people have no shame?

About that climate catastrophe

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The Gang Green keeps telling us that our planet is losing plant life hand over fist. Not so. Carbon Dioxide is a key part of photosynthesys - it is plant food and the more of it that goes into our atmosphere, the more plants grow.
From Human Progress:

Rejoice, the Earth Is Becoming Greener
Amid all the talk of an imminent planetary catastrophe caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, another fact is often ignored: global greening is happening faster than climate change. The amount of vegetation growing on the earth has been increasing every year for at least 30 years. The evidence comes from the growth rate of plants and from satellite data.

In 2016 a paper was published by 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries that analysed satellite data and concluded that there had been a roughly 14% increase in green vegetation over 30 years. The study attributed 70% of this increase to the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The lead author on the study, Zaichun Zhu of Beijing University, says this is equivalent to adding a new continent of green vegetation twice the size of the mainland United States.

Global greening has affected all ecosystems – from arctic tundra to coral reefs to plankton to tropical rain forests – but shows up most strongly in arid places like the Sahel region of Africa, where desertification has largely now reversed. This is because plants lose less water in the process of absorbing carbon dioxide if the concentration of carbon dioxide is higher. Ecosystems and farms will be less water-stressed at the end of this century than they are today during periods of low rainfall.

There should have been no surprise about this news. Thousands of experiments have been conducted over many years in which levels of CO2 had been increased over crops or wild ecosystems and boosted their growth. The owners of commercial greenhouses usually pump CO2 into the air to speed up the growth of plants. CO2 is plant food.

The original paper is at Nature:

Greening of the Earth and its drivers
Global environmental change is rapidly altering the dynamics of terrestrial vegetation, with consequences for the functioning of the Earth system and provision of ecosystem services. Yet how global vegetation is responding to the changing environment is not well established. Here we use three long-term satellite leaf area index (LAI) records and ten global ecosystem models to investigate four key drivers of LAI trends during 1982–2009. We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States. The regional effects of unexplained factors suggest that the next generation of ecosystem models will need to explore the impacts of forest demography, differences in regional management intensities for cropland and pastures, and other emerging productivity constraints such as phosphorus availability.

The "environmentalists" are again promoting a narrative while people like Professor Zhu are promoting facts.

California is still shaking

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Lots of smaller quakes are rattling California - 2.5 Mag up to 3.8 or so. All relatively shallow so they will be felt a lot more than deeper ones. There are also six smallish quakes (2.5 Mag to 3.3 Mag) running along the subduction zone - activity is starting to spread.

From the Los Angeles Times:

No deaths reported in the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Southern California
The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked Southern California on Friday night rattled buildings, fractured roadways and left residents on edge, but did not cause any fatalities or major injuries, officials said.

California’s second major earthquake in less than two days struck near Ridgecrest, a Mojave Desert town about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The same area was rattled by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, the largest in nearly two decades, on the morning of July Fourth.

The Friday night earthquake was about 10 times larger, seismologists said. Shaking was felt as far away as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Baja California and Reno, according to crowd-sourced data on the U.S. Geological Survey.

Again, very glad that the stress is being relieved by a bunch of smaller quakes than by one really big one. There were about 20 smaller but still significant aftershocks with this one.

Lots more earthquakes

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Very active system down in California. Seeing 40-50 more quakes since this afternoon. All in the 2.5 to 4 Mag range so nothing life threatening and very happy that this fault is letting off in a series of smaller quakes. One big one with this much stored energy would be catastrophic.

Shake rattle and roll - California

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A whole bunch of earthquakes in Southern California - ranging from 2.6 Mag up to 6.4 Mag. Here is a screen-cap from the USGS quake map (the image is about 30 miles square):

20190704-quake.JPG

From the Los Angeles Times:

Largest earthquake in decades hits Southern California, measuring 6.4 magnitude
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Southern California on Thursday, the largest temblor to hit the region in two decades.

The 10:33 a.m. quake was centered in the Searles Valley, a remote area of Kern County about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, and was felt as far away as Long Beach and Las Vegas.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities, though authorities in the city of Ridgecrest were responding to dozens of emergency calls.

The quake was the largest in Southern California since the 7.1 Hector Mine quake struck the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base in 1999.

Felt as far away as Long Beach and Las Vegas.

Shake rattle and roll - Canada

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Had a bit of an earthquake last night in Canada. 6.2 Mag and only 10km deep off the coast of Bella Bella on Vancouver Island. No tsunami though.

Whole lotta shaking going on

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Off the coast of Oregon - shallow too, only 10km deep:

Eight quakes ranging from 3.2 to 5.4 Mag.

20190622-quake.JPG

This is right where the Cascadia Subduction Zone is located and is the origin of the 9 Mag quakes that happen every 300 to 500 years. Last one was January 26th, 1700. There is a wonderful book that covers this event: The orphan tsunami of 1700—Japanese clues to a parent earthquake in North America. Part detective story, part history and lots of science. Available for free download.

When the big one happens again, we are screwed. Camano Island actually fares really well because we are behind Whidby Island so the tsunami will only be a couple of feet high. The coast will be toast.

Great news on the astronomy front

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From the website for the Thirty Meter Telescope:

Notice to Proceed Issued for TMT on Maunakea
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has issued a notice to proceed (NTP) to the University of Hawaii for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea. The NTP is a formal communication indicating that all pre-construction conditions and mitigation measures specifically required as a condition of the Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) have been met. With the NTP, TMT can proceed with construction.

Henry Yang, Chair, TMT International Observatory Board of Governors, issued the following statement in response to the news:

“TMT is pleased and grateful that the notice to proceed has been issued by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to the University of Hawaii. We remain committed to being good stewards of Maunakea, and to honoring and respecting the culture and traditions of Hawaii. It has been a long process to get to this point. We are deeply grateful to our many friends and community supporters for their advice and for their encouragement and support of the TMT project over the years.”

Wonderful news - everyone had their hands out for a shakedown and it took about five years to settle. Now we can begin with some real science. The TMT is a joint collaboration between the USA, Canada, China, India and Japan. This is a huge project.

And it begins - the moon

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Almost twenty years later than portrayed in the movie but still, better late than never (but better never late).
From Baylor University:

Mass Anomaly Detected Under the Moon’s Largest Crater
A mysterious large mass of material has been discovered beneath the largest crater in our solar system — the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin.

“Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That’s roughly how much unexpected mass we detected,” said lead author Peter B. James, Ph.D., assistant professor of planetary geophysics in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

The crater itself is oval-shaped, as wide as 2,000 kilometers — roughly the distance between Waco, Texas, and Washington, D.C. — and several miles deep. Despite its size, it cannot be seen from Earth because it is on the far side of the Moon.

The study — ”Deep Structure of the Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin” — is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Different crater and, like I said, 18 years later but still - it could be the beginning of something wonderful:

The truth is out there...

A great disturbance in the Force

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Actually, not that bad.

We just had a Mag 2.5 earthquake near Neah Bay. 37km deep so very minor.

They found it - Beresheet

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From NASA:

Beresheet Impact Site Spotted

20190516-beresheet.jpg

The photo above shows the landing site of the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft on a region of the Moon called Sea of Serenity, or Mare Serenitatis in Latin. On April 11, 2019,

SpaceIL, a non-profit organization, attempted to land its spacecraft in this ancient volcanic field on the nearside of the Moon. After a smooth initial descent, Beresheet made a hard landing on the surface.

As soon as its orbit placed NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) over the landing site on April 22, 2019, LRO imaged Beresheet’s impact site. The LRO Camera (LROC) consists of three imagers: a seven-color Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and two black-and-white Narrow Angle Cameras (NAC) mounted on the LRO, which has been studying the Moon from orbit for a decade. NAC captured the Beresheet impact photo.

A lot more at the site - some amazing technology at work. People complain about all the money that NASA spends but they fail to realize all the basic technologies that were developed and are in common (and cheap) use today.

From Central Washington University Geology Professor Nick Zentner:

Roadside Geology Series
Produced by Central Washington University.  These episodes were created for a local television station that no longer lives....but these programs remain.  Filmed by Rick Spencer & Chris Smart.  Edited by Rick Spencer.  2011 - 2012.

Here is the first one:

Happened at 1:27 - it is now 1:38.

No tsunami warning for now. The quake was shallow - only two miles.

Heading outside with the video camera in a few minutes.

Our quiet Sun

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From NASA's Spaceweather:

Experts Predict a Long, Deep Solar Minimum
If you like solar minimum, good news: It could last for years. That was one of the predictions issued last week by an international panel of experts who gathered at NOAA’s annual Space Weather Workshop to forecast the next solar cycle. If the panel is correct, already-low sunspot counts will reach a nadir sometime between July 2019 and Sept 2020, followed by a slow recovery toward a new Solar Maximum in 2023-2026.

“We expect Solar Cycle 25 will be very similar to Cycle 24: another fairly weak maximum, preceded by a long, deep minimum,” says panel co-chair Lisa Upton, a solar physicist with Space Systems Research Corp.

Although there is evidence that the Minimum could last a lot longer - the Sun has several periodic cycles of varying length and they are adding up. Global Warming might soon find itself on the ash-pile of history.

Great news - Electromagnetic Pulses

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Nice to see someone finally waking up to this - thank you President Trump. From The White House:

Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) has the potential to disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems. Human-made or naturally occurring EMPs can affect large geographic areas, disrupting elements critical to the Nation’s security and economic prosperity, and could adversely affect global commerce and stability. The Federal Government must foster sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective approaches to improving the Nation’s resilience to the effects of EMPs.

Really good - I love this as it sets very definite mileposts which are accountable - 90 days, 180 days, one year, etc... For those that do not know about (or who care to ignore) EMPs, these are not uncommon:

Like I said, these happen regularly via natural causes and there is always the chance of a rogue actor detonating a bomb in orbit (North Korea has two satellites in orbit at this time - here and here). Glad to see someone stepping up to the plate and actually doing something to get our nation ready for when it happens again.

I had written about Beresheet and it's curious cargo here and here. Unfortunately, from Haaretz:

Israeli Lunar Spacecraft Loses Main Engine, Crashes on Surface of the Moon
The Israeli moon lander Beresheet on Thursday failed to be the first spacecraft built by the private sector to safely land on the moon. After entering orbit, the spacecraft lost its main engine and went into an uncontrolled descent before it crashed.

The Israeli spacecraft had to tackle one of the biggest challenges of its lunar journey – the landing maneuver, the last stage of which was controlled solely by the spacecraft’s computer.

The landing began as planned, with Beresheet managing to snap two photos, one of which was a "selfie" bearing a sign that reads "Am Yisrael Chai" (meaning "The nation of Israel lives").

After initiating landing protocol, the control room said it lost contact with one of the landing detectors when the spacecraft was less than ten kilometers from the surface.

That has got to hurt - so near and yet so far. Here is one of the photos it took before everything went pear-shaped:

20190411-Beresheet.jpg

I am sure they are already laying plans for Beresheet II

Yikes - International Space Station

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From FOX News:

NASA chief warns that debris from India's satellite destruction could endanger astronauts on the ISS
Floating debris from India’s controversial test of an anti-satellite weapon could potentially place the International Space Station at risk, warns NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

India test-fired its missile on March 27, destroying a satellite in low-earth orbit.

“Intentionally creating orbital debris fields is not compatible with human spaceflight,” he said, during a NASA town hall event at the agency’s headquarters on Monday. “We’re the only agency in the federal government that has human lives at stake here and it’s not acceptable for us to allow people to create orbital debris fields that put at risk our people.”

I get it. India wanted a seat at the adult's table. It wanted to show that it could work in space. They should have considered the consequences a bit more.

Journey North

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Journey North - a great website for a program that has been running for 25 years - a public forum for tracking migration and climate events. Hummingbirds, Monarch Butterflys, Tulip emergence, etc... From their About Page:

About Journey North: In its 25th year, Journey North is one of North America’s premiere citizen science programs for people of all ages. The project has broad participation, with over 60,000 registered sites in the US, Canada, and Mexico — including families, teachers, schools, nature centers, professional scientists and novices. Journey North provides an easy entry point to citizen science, with simple protocols, strong online support, and immediate results. Reported sightings are mapped in real-time as waves of migrations move across the continent. People report sightings from the field, view maps, take pictures, and leave comments. Journey North was founded in 1994 by Elizabeth Howard who led the project for 25 years. Throughout its history, Journey North has been funded by Annenberg Learner, a division of the Annenberg Foundation, focused on advancing excellent teaching in American schools.

A bit too late to join for this year as the hummers are already here but something to sign up for next winter.

Now this is encouraging

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From Science Alert:

Scientists Discover Signs of New Neurons Developing Even in Adult Brains as Old as 87
Human beings grow new brain cells throughout their late adult life, a new study shows, even continuing when people are approaching their 90s.

The findings, which reveal how long neurogenesis really extends in humans, also show the process is suspended in patients with Alzheimer's disease – a discovery that could help us explore new ways to treat the condition.

Most neurogenesis takes place during embryonic development, and by the time people are born, the majority of their neurons has already formed.

But that's not the end of the story. In the 1960s, it was first discovered that adult neurogenesis also occurs in mammals: new nervous system cells continue to grow in the brain, even as animals get older.

Very cool - my Dad died at 94 - he was out for his usual morning walk and keeled over. I am just as if not healthier and in better shape than he ever was so planning for the long haul. Nice to know that the little gray cells are continuing to grow.

Great news - President Trump and EMPs

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This is just icing on the cake - from Tyler at Zero Hedge:

Trump Plans Executive Order To Study Risks Of EMP Attack
In what would be a major about-face for the federal government, President Trump is reportedly preparing to sign an executive order to study the risks of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the US.

Despite the fact that a growing number of scientists and national security experts see an EMP attack on the US electricity grid as one of the greatest terror threats facing the country, the DoD decided in late 2017 to defund a Congressional committee that had been studying the EMP threat since 2001. The DoD terminated funding for the Commission to Assess the Threat to the US from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack in September 2017, just as the threat from North Korea - considered a rogue state that could pull off an EMP attack with one of its nukes - was reaching a fever pitch.

Experts determined that a successful attack doesn’t even require a Super-EMP weapon. What's worse, the Commission concluded that even a primitive weapon could successfully render our infrastructure obsolete. BBG reported that the fear that a 'rogue nation' could shut down the US electricity grid with a well-placed EMP helped inspire the president's order.

Very good news indeed! And, it does not have to be a nuke. I refer you to the Carrington Event of 1859. If this happened now, we would be shut down for months. I keep some radio equipment in a shielded metal box for just an event like this.

Monosodium Glutamate

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Nice story dispelling the myths about MSG - a great source of Umami flavor. From 538:

How MSG Got A Bad Rap: Flawed Science And Xenophobia
As a college student in New York City, I marveled that the city let me eat poached eggs with halloumi cheese and Moroccan spiced pita for breakfast, a spicy-sweet minced meat salad from northern Thailand for lunch, and Singaporean nasi lemak for dinner. My requisites were pretty straightforward: delicious, cheap and served in bulk. But if I was eating Chinese, I added one more: no MSG.

Like many people, I thought MSG — monosodium glutamate, a chemical compound used to enhance the flavor of food — was bad for me, and I was sure I felt terrible every time I ate it. After all, I was sluggish and had headaches and achy limbs whenever I ate a big meal in Chinatown. Now I know that the recurring headaches that plague me have little to do with what I eat. But at the time, avoiding those three letters brought me comfort and let me think I’d be eating some sort of sacredly pure meal made with food, not chemicals. Oh, how young and foolish I was.

That MSG isn’t the poison we’ve made it out to be has been well-established. News stories are written regularly about the lack of evidence tying MSG to negative health effects. (Read here and here, for example. Or herehereherehere and here.) Still, Yelp reviews of Chinese restaurants tell tales of racing heartssleepless nights and tingling limbs from dishes “laden with MSG.” Even when the science is clear, it takes a lot to overwrite a stigma, especially when that stigma is about more than just food.

A great read - history and an interesting look at how junk science can become settled.

Great article on citogenesis at the Theory, Evolution, and Games Group (great website for math nerds):

Danger of motivatiogenesis in interdisciplinary work
Randall Munroe has a nice old xkcd on citogenesis: the way factoids get created from bad checking of sources. But let me summarize the process without direct reference to Wikipedia:

1. Somebody makes up a factoid and writes it somewhere without citation.
2. Another person then uses the factoid in passing in a more authoritative work, maybe sighting the point in 1 or not.
3. Further work inherits the citation from 2, without verifying its source, further enhancing the legitimacy of the factoid.
4. The cycle repeats.

Soon, everybody knows this factoid and yet there is no ground truth to back it up. I’m sure we can all think of some popular examples. Social media certainly seems to make this sort of loop easier.

Randall's cartoon can be found here and it is so true. This is how Global Warming got a foothold even though the actual measured data do not add up. All the "scare quotes" come from tweaked computer models.

Bryant, WA sustained a Magnitude 2.9 earthquake earlier this afternoon. Rattle the plates in the cupboard but no structural damage.

This hits home as I have always had a really good idea of where North was. I have not done any double-blind testing but now I might want to. At least sit in an office chair, spin and shut my eyes. From Science News:

People can sense Earth’s magnetic field, brain waves suggest
A new analysis of people’s brain waves when surrounded by different magnetic fields suggests that people have a “sixth sense” for magnetism.
Birds, fish and some other creatures can sense Earth’s magnetic field and use it for navigation (SN: 6/14/14, p. 10). Scientists have long wondered whether humans, too, boast this kind of magnetoreception. Now, by exposing people to an Earth-strength magnetic field pointed in different directions in the lab, researchers from the United States and Japan have discovered distinct brain wave patterns that occur in response to rotating the field in a certain way.

These findings, reported in a study published online March 18 in eNeuro, offer evidence that people do subconsciously respond to Earth’s magnetic field — although it’s not yet clear exactly why or how our brains use this information.

“The first impression when I read the [study] was like, ‘Wow, I cannot believe it!’” says Can Xie, a biophysicist at Peking University in Beijing. Previous tests of human magnetoreception have yielded inconclusive results. This new evidence “is one step forward for the magnetoreception field and probably a big step for the human magnetic sense,” he says. “I do hope we can see replications and further investigations in the near future.”

During the experiment, 26 participants each sat with their eyes closed in a dark, quiet chamber lined with electrical coils. These coils manipulated the magnetic field inside the chamber such that it remained the same strength as Earth’s natural field but could be pointed in any direction. Participants wore an EEG cap that recorded the electrical activity of their brains while the surrounding magnetic field rotated in various directions.

Makes sense - I'll have to check this out.

From the UK Telegraph:

Japanese scientists take 'significant step' towards bringing the woolly mammoth back to life
With their enormous shaggy torsos and long curved tusks, the imposing creatures last walked on earth during the Ice Age.

Fast forward thousands of years and the woolly mammoth may once again make an appearance on this planet – after Japanese scientists claim to have taken a “significant step” towards bringing the long-extinct animals back to life.

Researchers extracted bone marrow and muscle tissue from the remains of a mammoth named Yuka, who has lain frozen in Siberian permafrost for more than 28,000 years.

As a first step, the team, from Kindai University in Osaka, confirmed the authenticity of Yuka’s extracted tissue samples using whole-genome sequencing techniques.

Scientists then injected cell nuclei from the extinct woolly mammoth’s muscle tissue into mouse cell eggs - resulting in signs of biological activities, according to the study, published by Nature’s on-line journal Scientific Reports.

The paper is here: Nature: Scientific Reports

Signs of biological activities of 28,000-year-old mammoth nuclei in mouse oocytes visualized by live-cell imaging
The 28,000-year-old remains of a woolly mammoth, named ‘Yuka’, were found in Siberian permafrost. Here we recovered the less-damaged nucleus-like structures from the remains and visualised their dynamics in living mouse oocytes after nuclear transfer. Proteomic analyses demonstrated the presence of nuclear components in the remains. Nucleus-like structures found in the tissue homogenate were histone- and lamin-positive by immunostaining. In the reconstructed oocytes, the mammoth nuclei showed the spindle assembly, histone incorporation and partial nuclear formation; however, the full activation of nuclei for cleavage was not confirmed. DNA damage levels, which varied among the nuclei, were comparable to those of frozen-thawed mouse sperm and were reduced in some reconstructed oocytes. Our work provides a platform to evaluate the biological activities of nuclei in extinct animal species.

It has to be Portland - the stupidity is unreal. From Law Blogger Jonathan Turley:

NAACP Declares Portland Earthquake Warnings To Be Racist
There is a bizarre controversy in Portland, Oregon after the city began to put up notices on buildings that it deemed unsafe for possible earthquakes. The city is trying to prepare for “the big one” — a massive earthquake that is now overdue. It is identifying older buildings susceptible to collapse with public signs. However, it is facing a challenge from the NAACP of Portland which has declared the signs to be the embodiment of “white supremacy” and racism. There is also a challenge for building owners.

The NAACP declared that the policy to warn the public “exacerbates a long history of systemic and structural betrayals of trust and policies of displacement, demolition, and dispossession predicated on classism, racism, and white supremacy.” The reason is that many of the older buildings are owned by African Americans that that the posted warnings will make it difficult for them to rent space or sell the property.

Rev. E.D. Mondaine, a pastor at Celebration Tabernacle Church in north Portland and president of the Portland NAACP chapter declared that “We will no longer allow the same principles that have driven us out again. We will no longer allow these things that have driven us from our community.”

Given the projected 50 percent chance of a massive earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Oregon coast in the next 50 years, one would think that the racist act would be not to warn occupants of the danger. Otherwise, these buildings will remain until they are likely to collapse on the occupants.

The new law requires the posting of the signs and the filing of a record of compliance. The warning reads “This is an unreinforced masonry building. Unreinforced masonry buildings may be unsafe in the event of a major earthquake.”

The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a very big deal - history of major earthquakes about every 400-500 years and the last one was January, 1700, just over 300 years ago. The coastal cities will be toast. All we are talking about is a sign on each building warning people of the possibility. I thought education was a good thing. The Rev. is just another fscking self-serving activist looking to get in front of the cameras.

Do not forget - tomorrow is Pi Day

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Tomorrow is 03/14 - the first digits of Pi (3.14159...)

Ways to celebrate can be found at Pi Day - some retailers are offering special Pi deals

An earthquake in Hawaii

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Mag 5.5 on Big Island - more information from the U.S. Geological Survey

Shallow so it was most definitely felt - from Big Island Video News:

Magnitude 5.5 Earthquake Jolts Hawaii Island
A Magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck the south flank of Kīlauea Volcano on Hawaiʻi Island at 12:55 a.m. HST early Wednesday morning.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 6.3 km and was felt all across the Big Island. It was felt strongest in Volcano Village.

For a short time, the USGS website also measured the earthquake at a possible Magnitude 4.8, but later appeared to confirm a Magnitude 5.3 measurement. The strength of the quake was later revised to a 5.5.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which said the earthquake struck “in the Hilina region of Kīlauea Volcano,” reported that no tsunami is expected after the event. “However, some areas may have experienced strong shaking,” the PTWC said.

Japan has plans - the Moon

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They plan to send people to the moon. Toyota is building their rover. From EnGadget:

Japan's moon rover will be made by Toyota
Toyota is going to the moon. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has teamed up with the carmaker to build a pressurized self-driving rover that will land on the lunar surface in 2029. The six-wheeled transporter will be able to carry two humans for a distance of 10,000 kilometers using solar power and Toyota's fuel cell technology. The rover will be about the size of two minibuses, with 13 square meters of habitable space, and the astronauts on board will be able to take their suits off inside the vehicle as they explore. It will land on the moon before the human expedition arrives, and travel independently to meet them.

Here is a short video - watch your volume as there is loud percussion:

Very cool - I love my Highlander.

Clueless - WA State Governor Inslee

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Sad to say but we have an idiot running our state and he wants to run our nation - from Breitbart:

Inslee: Combating Climate Change Foremost Duty of the Next President Because the ‘World’s on Fire’
Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), a 2020 presidential hopeful, said climate change is the most important job for the next president because “the world’s on fire.”

Inslee said, “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climbed change and we’re the last generation that can do something about. We have one shot, that’s the next administration. We have to have this be the primary, first, foremost and paramount duty of the next administration because the world’s on fire and we’ve got to act and we’ve got a climate denier in the White House.”

Not a climate denier - a global warming skeptic. There is a huge difference between these two.
The science was never "settled"

A bit of shaking going on

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Nothing major - largest quake is mag 4.8 but there are a lot of them happening along the Cascadian subduction zone:

20190309-quake.jpg

Great news from Reason:

Life-Saving Golden Rice Finally Gets to Poor Farmers Despite Environmentalist Opposition
Golden Rice which has been genetically engineered to have higher levels of the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene is finally about be to approved for planting by poor farmers in Bangladesh. This a big step toward improving the health of some of the poorest people on the planet. Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness in between 250,000 and 500,000 children each year, half of whom die within 12 months, according to the World Health Organization. A study by German researchers in 2014 estimated that activist opposition to the deployment of Golden Rice has resulted in the loss of 1.4 million life-years in just India alone.

Environmentalist ideologues have fought fiercely for two decades to prevent this crop from being offered to poor farmers in developing countries. Among other things, they hired thugs to rip up test fields of the grain at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

In 2016, an open letter signed by 100 Nobel Laureates directly called on "Greenpeace to cease and desist in its campaign against Golden Rice specifically, and crops and foods improved through biotechnology in general." The laureates pointed out that "scientific and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly and consistently found crops and foods improved through biotechnology to be as safe as, if not safer than those derived from any other method of production. There has never been a single confirmed case of a negative health outcome for humans or animals from their consumption. Their environmental impacts have been shown repeatedly to be less damaging to the environment, and a boon to global biodiversity."

Good - the jerks who oppose things like this are doing so out of willful ignorance. Genetic manipulation is doing the same as what is done by nature and by selective breeding, just faster and more precise.

Light pollution

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I have been very surprised and happy to note that the light pollution at the island is a lot better (way mo' better!) than the farm in Maple Falls - the farm has a lot of particulates in the air and the city of Abbotsford is about 30 miles to the North.

Randal Munroe has a comic about Light Pollution - be sure to hover your pointer over for the hidden message:

The plucky little rover - Curiosity

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Not dead, just sleeping - from NASA:

After a Reset, Curiosity Is Operating Normally
NASA's Curiosity rover is busy making new discoveries on Mars. The rover has been climbing Mount Sharp since 2014 and recently reached a clay region that may offer new clues about the ancient Martian environment's potential to support life.

Curiosity encountered a hurdle last Friday, when a hiccup during boot-up interrupted its planned activities and triggered a protective safe mode. The rover was brought out of this mode on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and is otherwise operating normally, having successfully booted up over 30 times without further issues.

Throughout the weekend, Curiosity was sending and receiving technical data, communicating with the team in order to help them pinpoint the cause of the issue.

"We're still not sure of its exact cause and are gathering the relevant data for analysis," said Steven Lee, Curiosity's deputy project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL leads the Curiosity mission. "The rover experienced a one-time computer reset but has operated normally ever since, which is a good sign," he added. "We're currently working to take a snapshot of its memory to better understand what might have happened."

Very cool - Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012 and was expected to have a two year service life.

Solar cooling - from NASA

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This article is from a couple of months ago but the cooling has continued so it is more than relevant.
From Dr. Tony Philips writing at Spaceweather Sept. 27, 2018:

The Chill of Solar Minimum
The sun is entering one of the deepest Solar Minima of the Space Age. Sunspots have been absent for most of 2018, and the sun’s ultraviolet output has sharply dropped. New research shows that Earth’s upper atmosphere is responding.

“We see a cooling trend,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. “High above Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record for cold.”

These results come from the SABER instrument onboard NASA’s TIMED satellite. SABER monitors infrared emissions from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances that play a key role in the energy balance of air 100 to 300 kilometers above our planet’s surface. By measuring the infrared glow of these molecules, SABER can assess the thermal state of gas at the very top of the atmosphere–a layer researchers call “the thermosphere.”

“The thermosphere always cools off during Solar Minimum. It’s one of the most important ways the solar cycle affects our planet,” explains Mlynczak, who is the associate principal investigator for SABER.

Love it - they are using actual measurements. The usual global warming crap is outputs from partisan computer models. These models have no bearing on reality, they cannot forecast and what is more important, they cannot hindcast.

Now this is interesting

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Not a user but I do like to follow the technology - from New Scientist:

Engineered yeast can brew up the active ingredients in cannabis plants
Genes from the cannabis plant have been added to yeast strains to enable them to make cannabinoids, key chemicals from the plant that have therapeutic value.

The “cannayeasts” should make it possible to turn sugar into pure forms of many different cannabinoids, and to do so more cheaply and with less environmental damage than farming.

“It gives us access to all these rare cannabinoids that might even be better therapeutics,” says Jay Keasling at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the team behind the work.

Our bodies produce cannabinoids to help regulate everything from memory to appetite. Marijuana plants make more than 100 chemicals that can also bind to the cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system.

The main cannabinoid in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is what makes people feel “stoned” when they take cannabis. The next most abundant is cannabidiol (CBD). This helps reduce the symptoms of some forms of epilepsy, and may be useful for treating a few other conditions too. Various forms of CBD, such as e-spliffs, have become fashionable lately, and are claimed to have all kinds of benefits. (CBD is legal in many countries where cannabis remains illegal.)

Yeasts are fascinating little critters - they give us booze and now this.

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