"The process takes merely tenths of a second. But within that tiny amount of time, there's a lot going on. The American Chemical Society used a high-speed camera operating a 4,000 frames a second to illustrate the sequence of chemical reactions that take place when a match is struck against a striker. The simple match is a marvelously complex device."
Since we're studying measurement in chemistry, I always show my students this old, award-winning film by Charles and Ray Eames called Powers of 10. Although it's dated, the video provides a great look at size and perspective. I particularly enjoy the alternation of matter and empty space, the notion that this alternation exists at both the macroscopic and microscopic levels.
Others have attempted to detail the power of perspective (like this one); it's amazing to me how well the Eames piece holds up.
I especially like the xkcd take on it:
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.
I've been cleaning old crap out of the basement..just took a load of old electronics parts, wires, etc. to the recycling center, with more to go later. I'm also reading Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff, a so-far wonderful description of what underlies the enormous quantity of "stuff" we purchase, consume, and dispose of. I like the idea of downshifting in my consumption, and this book is a great way to motivate me. In her introduction, she refers to Einstein's observation of paradigms, and how problems cannot be solved from within the same paradigm in which they're created. A paradigm change is needed to steer us away from the consumption-driven economy, and it is probably an enormous undertaking. Leonard reminds the reader in the intro that water is involved in almost everything we buy (I'm going to try to determine my water footprint at the link she provides, www.waterfootprint.org). She also groups those that approach the problem of consumption into several categories:
This pretty much summed up my weekend.
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