Antarctica 2014: Success at Lewis Bay

Figure 1: Helicopter at Cliffs of Lewis Bay. Note the ice seracs overhead and avalanche debris below. Photo by John Catto

After many delays, Ken Sims is finally on ice—antarctic ice. He is studying the origins of ancient, frozen volcanic islands around Antarctica by analyzing their rocks. Dangers abound, but Ken is willing to brave them for science.

A helicopter at the cliffs of Lewis Bay. Note the ice seracs overhead and avalanche debris below. (Photo by John Catto)

I am back in Antarctica to do what we could not do two years ago because of thin ice, and were not able to do last year because of the “partial” government shut down, which is to sample the volcanic sea cliffs of Mt. Bird at Lewis Bay on Ross Island.

This year we flew down even earlier in the austral spring to accomplish our mission. After a few delays because of bad weather, John Catto and I flew out to Lewis Bay and found that the sea ice was thick enough to land a helicopter on safely. So, we were finally able to sample the lava flows that make up these sea cliffs; the samples which my colleagues and I have now coveted for two years.

Collecting these samples was somewhat sketchy, requiring considerable caution and some luck. The transition between the sea ice —> Read More Here

October 19, 2014: Creating Electricity From Food Waste, Arresting Poachers and More

Many countries don't have a power grid that reaches 100% of their citizens. But Thomas Culhane has an invention that could give light from decomposing food. (photo by James P. Blair/National Geographic)
Many countries don’t have a power grid that reaches 100% of their citizens. But Thomas Culhane has an invention that could give light from decomposing food. (photo by James P. Blair/National Geographic)

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend.

Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below!

HOUR 1

– Following the discovery of a complete skeleton for the 50-foot long spinosaurus, the largest meat-eater to ever walk the earth. Paul Sereno puts what they know about the dinosaur into context. Sereno helped discover and reassemble the large reptile, and explains why the dinosaur had the 7-foot tall sail on its back. He explains that the spinosaurus lived 100 million years ago, and while it’s larger than the famed T. rex, they never would have encountered each other. Sereno also explains that spinosaurus dominated the landscape at a time when there were four other predators that nearly equals it in size.

– One of the toughest challenges that faces developing nations is —> Read More Here

The Facts of Fearbola

When the young woman in the seat next to me asked the flight attendant for a glass of cabernet, I took it as a sign that projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea would not be part of my trip from PHL to LAX. I also took it as a reminder that the Ebola irrationality I’ve slammed in others is not as foreign to me as I’d like to believe.

I’d been in Philadelphia for a conference on science communication. Scientists, social scientists, doctors, journalists and kindred spirits had come together to examine how facts make their way, or don’t, to policy makers and to the public.

Should there be a tax on carbon to reduce greenhouse gases? How should we handle the conflict between parents who don’t want their kids vaccinated, and the public good of herd immunity? If you think that the quality of decisions like those depends on getting the most knowledge to the most people, then you believe what most scientists believe: it’s called the “knowledge deficit” model. Explain to people that 97 percent of scientists agree that humans cause global warming, and they’ll realize that the jury on climate change is not still out. Properly present the —> Read More Here

1 2 3 165