So, the correlation between wealth and education makes sense - the wealthier the nation, the more educated (presumably), therefore the more likely to believe in evolution. So why is the USA such an outlier? (*smacks forehead on table repeatedly*) - LINK
An array of detectors, part of the USArray/EarthScope Facility, picked up the microscopic movement of the earth in the wake of the August 23, 2011, Mineral, Virginia quake. Though I didn't notice the 5.9 quake, detectors as far as California and Canada measured displacement down to microns. Check out the ripples the Array picked up and where they concentrated. Why does movement continue in the New Madrid area after much of the movement has abated? Or for that matter, why are the detectors so dense throughout the plains?
..And for fun, check out this animated map of twitter reports as the earthquake occurred.
National Geographic's Cynthia Gorney has an article on the drastic drop in Brazil's fertility rate and what has contributed to it. The piece, called "Brazil's Girl Power," looks at a sharp drop in the number of children being born to each woman, a number that has plummeted over a mere two generations. "What took 120 years in England took 40 years here..something happened." - LINK
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal brings up an interesting point - there are lots of parasites that alter the behavior of their hosts, in many cases making their hosts more prone to predation, which ensures the parasite a new host. The Toxoplasma gondii protozoa is a brain parasite that likes to be in the gut of cats. So what happens when it gets eaten by a rat? It moves into the rat's brain, then "erases" the rat's fear of cats. Once the rat is no longer afraid of cats (though still afraid of everything else), it won't run away when a cat attacks it and eats it. Thereby eating the Toxo parasite. Thereby putting the parasite right where it wants to be: in the cat's intestines.
Funny thing is, the Toxo parasite has also infected a certain percentage of human brains (and hides pretty well). Infection varies by country - France and Germany, for example, have a high rate of infection while South Korea has a very low rate of infection.
What is to stop these parasites from changing human brains like they do to rats? Do they perhaps make people more prone to loving the primary host, the cat? Do they turn people into crazy cat ladies? If one parasite can do this, what other parasites are in our bodies altering our behavior? And finally, if they vary by country, are they to some extent influential on the culture of a people?
Speaking of Duke professors, Frank Stasio recently interviewed Duke University Professor of Conservation Ecology on WUNC's The State of Things. Pimm's book, The World According to Pimm, has long been on my AP Environmental book list. If you are thinking of reading the book, or have read it in the past, it's a good interview to listen to. Then go to Flyleaf and buy the book! - LINK
In Georgia, the golden-winged warbler is endangered. Do they clearcut to provide open spaces for the bird to thrive? Or is clearcutting too destructive?
It's Tree Huggers vs. Bird Lovers in the ultimate throwdown.
Listen to the story on NPR's All Things Considered - LINK
I'm back after a much needed and successful vacation (in which I discovered Disney World has little to no recycling going on), a fried motherboard on my 2-year old desktop, and a destructively sly virus on my laptop which managed to thwart all my attempts to eradicate it. The good news is that we now have a new desktop plus all the salvaged parts from the old one; the bad news is I am much poorer and still have no laptop - the reimaging program was down, the person who administers said program was on vacation, and our IT person at work has no administrator privileges either. School system. Enough said.
Anyway, a few weeks ago, an article appeared in the Independentfeaturing Dr. Orrin Pilkey and his son Keith. Many of you know that Dr. Pilkey is a fan favorite of Mr. Greenberg, and for good reason. Pilkey is a world famous climatologist from Duke University, whose new book is entitled Global Climate Change: A Primer. Like me and many other scientists, Pilkey is tired of the know-nothing denialists out there, and he makes no apologies about going after them in this book. Climate change is occurring, the facts are right in front of us, and we need to understand what the real hoax is - the interest groups who sow seeds of doubt and dissent for their own financial gain.
And true to form, the responses in this week's Indy feature a know-nothing who claims to be smarter than Dr. Pilkey.
Who is Riss?
"No one warned me that life would involve science, except my science teacher. But, of course, he's going to say that. He's got a job to protect."
- Stephen Colbert, I Am America (And So Can You)
E - The Environmental Magazine
Environmental News Network
Environment News Service
Information is Beautiful
NASA Goddard Institute
National Science Foundation
WUNC NPR News
WUNC The State of Things