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Old 02-14-2013, 04:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I *Really* Love Science!

This week's NOVA episode is excellent! "Earth From Space"

Video: Earth from Space | Watch NOVA Online | PBS Video

A friend gave my family the DVD set of "Wonders of the Solar System" and "Wonders of the Universe" hosted by Brian Cox. It is a BBC series, and I don't think it is available online. If you get a chance, watch it.

This is all the tectonic plate movements since Pangaea and then projected out to 100 million years from now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=uGcDed4xVD4

What science gives you a kick? Neanderthal DNA is kewl... So is a dinosaur with FOUR wings. Why is water the only material to expand when it freezes? Do you know where elements heavier than iron come from?

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Old 02-14-2013, 08:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you heard of the frog that can be frozen alive?

Did you know that due to a bulge around the equator, Ecuador's Mount Chimborazo is, in fact, closer to the moon and outer space than Mount Everest.

The 'Highest' Spot on Earth? : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR

The tube worms that live next to the "smoker" vents on the ocean floor (which are about 450C) do not have a mouth or an anus? They have symbiotic bacteria inside their body just like we do, though.

Why does the moon rotate on it's axis almost exactly the same time as it takes to orbit the earth? Did you know that a day at the beginning of the earth was about 22 hours long? On Venus, a day is longer than a year...
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Old 02-15-2013, 09:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I worked at Argonne National Laboratory for 21 years as a fleet mechanic. The last bunch of years I was there they opened the Transportation Technology R&D Center Argonne Transportation Technology R&D Center - Lithium-ion Batteries, Hybrid Vehicles, Alternative Fuels, Engines, Fuel Cells, PSAT, GREET, TRACC,PHEV, HEV.

In the mid eighties, when the TT R&d Center was first being established, we had side by side gasoline VS CNG, E85, & M85 test fleets. M85 was some nasty stuff.

I got a job offer for more $$ doing fleet maintenance with a major utility and left there in 2001.

Click the link and take a look around. Some pretty amazing science going on there.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The near-miss with the asteroid (about 150 feet!) that is passing the earth only about 17,500 miles away (!!) along with the meteor hitting in Russia pose an important question: how's that space program going?

Reminder: An Asteroid Buzzes By On Friday (But NASA Says Don't Worry) : The Two-Way : NPR

'No Link' Between Meteor That Hurt Hundreds And Asteroid About To Fly By : The Two-Way : NPR

Back on the NOVA program "Earth from Space", I was hoping that they would discuss the GRACE satellites and the gravitational pull of the largest bodies of ice and the effect on the seal level. This is why Mount Chimborazo is closer to space but is not counted as being taller than Mount Everest, and it has a big affect on the tectonic plates, as well.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard
Did you know that due to a bulge around the equator, Ecuador's Mount Chimborazo is, in fact, closer to the moon and outer space than Mount Everest.
Or any other mountain peak on Earth. I learned that in 1985. From "Powder" magazine. Skiers know stuff about mountains.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yup - and do you know why it is pear shaped? And why isn't the level of the sea actually level?
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No, the tectonic plates are a symptom, like sea level. The earth's rotation makes it into an oblate spheroid (rather than a pure sphere) and the Antarctic ice is so massive, that it not only presses the land underneath it down by almost a HALF A MILE - but it also increases the gravitational pull, and this is what pulls the bulge from the rotation southward.

And yes, underwater topography also affects the sea level. But additional gravity of mountains and land ice pull the sea level up around them. Greenland and other large masses of land ice affect the sea level near them, too, along with Antarctica. Another cause of sea level variability is the temperature of the water - warmer water is less dense and it expands, while maintaining the same weight.

Can you imagine what will happen to the tectonic plates if the land ice melts? And expanded sea water spreads out, so it is likely to also affect the tectonic plates.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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...also, don't forget about the Antartica's brine convection "river of salt" that the Artic doesn't have.
Actually it does. See e.g. Thermohaline circulation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for an introduction.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Parts of the Arctic does have similar things called thermohaline columns - to the north and east of Greenland. These are the driver of the Gulf Stream current.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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