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Reef
The Arctic isn't the only thing that's shrinking. New analysis comes to the shocking conclusion that half of Australia's Great Barrier Reef is gone. The culprits?
Yet according to this new study, the degradation is less directly linked to these usual suspects. Just 10 percent of the loss was attributable to bleaching. The study found coastal storms were the leading culprit that caused 48 percent of the damage, and the remaining 42 percent was a result of an exploding population of the crown of thorns starfish that preys on coral.

Don’t mistake these causes for reason to think climate change isn’t responsible. After all, an increase in intensity of coastal storms is undoubtedly a symptom of planetary warming.

  • That is one weird-looking dinosaur!
  • Glenn Beck (yes, he's still barking in carnivals) invokes a less-than-scientific, convoluted religious explanation for why Romney is losing, he's really winning!
  • As the Arctic melts and the Barrier Reef succumbs, our friends in the lucative denial industry continue to lie their way to riches, who cares if they're stone-cold busted?
  • The Big Bang, evolution -- it's all lies from the pit of hell!
  • Hell yes, I'd do it!
    After literally years of preparation -- physically, mentally, financially and technologically -- Baumgartner and his team are ready to execute his ultimate ascent via balloon-powered pressurized capsule to the intimidating height of 120,000 feet, at which point he will jump, freefalling to Earth at supersonic speeds through frigid and virtually airless stretches of atmosphere.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good Morning (8+ / 0-)

    Been reading James Hansen's book!

    It's a must read IMO

    Happy Science Saturday !

  •  Bizarre Species of Miniature Dinosaur Identified (6+ / 0-)

    the revenge of Big Bird(s)

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:05:11 AM PDT

  •  Tragic that the nation that put a man on the moon, (12+ / 0-)

    developed the polio vaccine, the computer chip and so on is also the nation of the creation museum and organized climate change denialists. As the biggest per capita users of fossil fuels we should be the ones who lead the world to a better method of producing energy but instead we are the morons in the back of the classroom shooting spit balls at the teacher while she tries get us to line up and exit the building as it burns.

  •  failure (5+ / 0-)

    The US lags in science education, there are many possible causes, but it should be understood that children learn from their parents.  If mommy and daddy deny scientific facts, so will they.  Intuition rules.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:06:50 AM PDT

  •  No apologies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jim in IA

    Amazing, this revisionist reframing of the candidates own views concerning energy policy.  

    Mitch Romney actually wrote a book in 2010 placing him squarely in the camp of those concerned over natural resource limitations. From "No Apology; The Case for American Greatness." , on page 232, here are consecutive paragraphs interspersed with my comments:

    "In recent years, there’s been a view in Washington that we should simply 'let the market work' by taking a hands-off approach, rather than adopt a proactive and comprehensive set of energy policies.  That prescription is exactly the right one in most economic sectors, but it falls short when it comes to energy.  And it ignores the fact that we have policies in place right now that distort how the energy markets function."
    This shows that the government should be proactive when it comes to funding energy strategies, and leave the free-market to selling french fries, etc. Hello alternative energy research and funding, and kudos to the non-Luddite Mitt.
    "Our own policies interfere with free-market mechanisms.  We subsidize domestic oil and gas production with generous tax breaks, penalize sugar-based ethanol from Brazil, and block investment in nuclear energy.  Our navy assumes the prime responsibility for securing the oil routes from the Middle East, effectively subsidizing its cost.  Thus, we don’t pay the full cost of Middle East oil, either at the oil-company level or at the pump."
    Oil prices are now $5 a gallon in California, blamed on refinery problems. Yea, sure. Mitt knows that this is a global issue.
    "Market economists also identify a number of externalities – real costs that aren’t captured in the price of fuel – the most frequently cited of which are the health-care costs of pollution and the climate costs of greenhouse gases.  There is a further externality: potentially leaving the next generation in the lurch by using so much oil and energy ourselves – domestic and imported – that our children face severe oil shortages, prohibitively expensive fuel, a crippled economy, and dominion of energy by Russia and other oil-rich states.  No matter how you price it, oil is expensive to use; we should be encouraging our citizens to use less of it, our scientists to find alternatives for it, and our producers to find more of it here at home."
    Mitt is no contradictory Malthusian cornucopian. He appears to be a realist, at least in his writing. Who knows what he thinks personally, or if his religious beliefs differ.  Notice how he uses the word "dominion" when it comes to Russia and its fossil fuel resources. Of course, a Dominionist would use the word dominion.
    "Many analysts predict that the world’s production of oil will peak in the next ten to twenty years, but oil expert Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, presents a compelling case that Middle Eastern oil production may have already reached its peak.  Simmons bases his contention on his investigation into the highly secretive matter of the level of reserves in the Saudi oil fields. But whether the peak is already past or will be reached within a few years, world oil supply will decline at some point, and no one predicts a corresponding decline in demand. If we want America to remain strong and wish to ensure that future generations have secure and prosperous lives, we must consider our current energy policies in the light of how these policies will affect our grandchildren."
    That paragraph sums up his realist concerns over fossil fuel resource limitations, and the need to pursue alternative strategies in line with mitigation and adaptation views of those concerned over climate change.

    It is also strange that Romney is now apologizing over all sorts of stuff he has said in the past. Quite the title for a book, eh?

  •  Science Friday discussed the dying coral yesterday (7+ / 0-)

    and the fact was brought up that the starfish explosion was tied in partly with water pollution.  Sounds weird that they would fare better in dirtier water but it seems that they do. So cleaning up the oceans would be a win win for the coral.

    Just give me some truth. John Lennon--- OWS------Too Big To Fail

    by burnt out on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:20:16 AM PDT

    •  It's industrial agriculture that needs cleaning. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, OceanDiver, burnt out
      According to the study, the starfish in its larval stage feeds on plankton, populations of which surge when fertilizer runoff floods the coastal ocean waters with nutrients. So plentiful plankton can lead to swarms of hungry starfish.
      This is what we're doing to the Gulf via the Mississippi: petroleum fertilizer runoff.   We don't have the plankton, starfish or a giant reef in the Gulf, but the fertilizer generates algal blooms & oxygen-deprived dead zones.  Replacing our industrial monoculture farms with more small organic farms building soil will solve this problem, so all we gotta start with is the small problem of replacing the corn subsidy with a greens subsidy.

      Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

      by Leftcandid on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:55:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've dived the GBR, and the damage (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burnt out, 1world

        due to development and the COT seastar increases from north to south, which is the direction of the prevailing current along the east coast of Australia. The northerly reefs have more abundance, and the farther out reefs are in better shape. Agricultural runoff like from sugarcane fields, and urban runoff especially after big rain event years are a big problem.

        The last time I was there, I talked with locals about the COTS infestation. They said it has always been a part of the reef dynamic, periodically coming through in great numbers and then hardly any for 20 years or so. That it has an important function, grazing down the faster growing staghorn corals which allows the slower growing mound corals to grow also, keeping a good balance of diversity, which is what makes coral reefs so full of life (not just coral diversity but the many fish and invertebrates that make up the ecosystem).

        The normal climate pattern produces big rainfall/runoff years in a cycle that promotes that periodic plankton bloom, and then a starfish population jump. What's changed now is that the nutrient runoff is much more frequent. The coral population balance has been disrupted and also their ability to grow fast enough to maintain grazing pressure. Since everything else in the reef ecosystem depends on the corals, directly and indirectly, these are serious, long term threats.

    •  What about coral diversity? (0+ / 0-)

      Some earlier research on corals had come to the conclusion that coral diversity was important in survival ability (and that certain genotypes were more susceptible to the effects of warming temperatures - to do with thermal tolerance genes). I haven't read the latest paper but wonder if this team knows anything about how polluted water affects thermal tolerance of GBR coral.

      Some of the press coverage is inaccurate in portraying the culprits as being pollution and starfish, because these causal factors can act synergistically with warming temps. Link.

  •  Tipped and rec'ed DarkSyde (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jim in IA

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:21:53 AM PDT

  •  That newly found dinosaur (4+ / 0-)

    reminds me of a prehistoric roadrunner, although the roadrunners are meat eaters and this prehistoric rapture was set up to be a plant eater.

  •  I found this comparison helpful. (5+ / 0-)

    The white states show the extent of the remaining arctic sea ice as of mid-September. It's at a new record low amount.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/...


    Great power comes from great d(Energy)/d(t)

    by jim in IA on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:36:30 AM PDT

  •  Rep. Paul Broun on Lies from the pit of Hell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, bythesea


    BROUN: God's word is true. I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.
    •  How is that asshat (0+ / 0-)

      A M.D.? Was he a proud graduate of a med school that still teaches Alchemy? Is he a Reverend Doctor?

      With his statement there, he has proven unworthy to sit on our Science committee. I would like his ejection to happen sooner than later.

      He has announced that he is incapable of spending our research funds effectively.

      Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance. Kurt Vonnegut

      by ToKnowWhy on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 08:35:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh hell yes I would. (0+ / 0-)

    I've made three jumps in my life, and it is an experience everybody should do at least once.  Summoning the courage to jump of of an airplane gives you a satisfaction that never leaves you.  That guy rocks.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ. (and donate to Bill!)

    by rb608 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 06:59:25 AM PDT

  •  We were in Fiji (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, se portland, ahyums, ssnbbr, 1world

    this summer diving. They suffered a bad attack of sea stars a few years ago from which the reefs are still recovering. However, the reefs at the Namena Preserve are in great shape, the best they've been for decades, proving that these kind of preserves really work.

    •  Spear fishing Maui for invasive fish (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OceanDiver

      There is a company in Maui that will not only teach you how to spear fish, but also teach you how to identify the fish you can hunt including the invasive Roi, which they encourage you to spear.

      Back in the 50's the Roi was introduced from Polynesia and have thrived, pushing out native fish. So, for me it is sort of a win-win situation. The divers get the fun of spearing a fish, and the native ecosystem is actually a little bit the better for it.

      It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

      by se portland on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:30:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is happening in the Caribbean too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        se portland

        with the invasive lionfish population. Dive guides carry spears routinely.

        However, the lionfish live well below recreational diving depths also, so even if it were possible for divers catch them all, the deeper ones would just come up.

        I've done a lot of diving in the Caribbean, as well as the tropical Pacific where the lionfish is native. I've noticed they are much more bold in the Caribb. Have no native predators, and I guess they know it, behavior shows that. Local dive guides try to teach local predators, like groupers and sharks, how good the lionfish are....we'll see if they pick up on that.

  •  TOMB OF MAYAN QUEEN FOUND (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, 1world

    TOMB OF MAYAN QUEEN FOUND

    What is interesting is that the Queen was of a higher rank than the King. He was a king but she was the "Supreme Warrior."

    Lady K'abel ruled with her husband, K'inich Bahlam, for at least 20 years (672-692 A.D.). She was the military governor of the Wak kingdom for her family, the imperial house of the Snake King, and carried the title Kaloomte', which translates to "Supreme Warrior."

    "The significance of this woman's powerful role as a 'Kaloomte,' a title rarely associated with Maya women, provides tremendous insight on the nexus of gender and power in Classic Maya politics," Olivia Navarro-Farr, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at The College of Wooster and co-director of the expedition, said.

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:04:36 AM PDT

  •  the Great Barrier Reef (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, 1world

    I had the privilege ( and it was a genuine immense privilege) of spending a cumulative week snorkeling various parts of the Great Barrier Reef last month.

    For someone who has always loved the under water world this was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my life - it remains jaw droppingly spectacular.

    The crown of thorns were discussed by the marine biologists along with the myriad other threats faced by the reef, both from within and from outside Australia.

    The world is ( or can be) an immensely beautiful and amazing place, the fact that so much of that is in danger of disappearing across the  across out globe really is painful when you spend any length of time thinking about it. I really wish the kind of concerted worldwide determination that would be needed to stop or even reverse the decline existed instead of the complacency and short term ism which instead rules the day.

    hope springs eternal

    by ahyums on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 07:24:53 AM PDT

  •  Bill McKibben knocked it out of the park last nite (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1world

    on Real Time w/ Bill Maher.

    His polite, succinct and accurate slap down of Foley & Cain was beautiful.

    •  But the CON's do-nothing argument was insane (0+ / 0-)

      His argument was that we shouldn't worry about what the world will be like in 100 years because we don't know what future engineering advances might save our bacon. So Drilly, Baby, Drill. (I couldn't be bothered to look up his name.)

      In the olden days, CONservatives berated liberals for not taking responsibility for their (usually sexual but also financial) actions. What could be more irresponsible than saying "Let's turn this planet into a smoldering cesspit because somebody someday will be able to clean it up."? Does moral bankruptcy lead to insanity or is it the other way around?

  •  Looking at Broun's video over at Digby's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    This is just plain terrifying.  But more terrifying is the sound of his audience agreeing with every word he says.

    Can we finally call out the Republican party for what it has become? It's a cult determined to bring down not just our democracy but our civilization as well.

    These people are no different than barbarians, plucking the pretty bits out of the rubble they create with no real understanding of what they're doing - just the certainty of fanatics. They have embraced cognitive dissonance as a holy cause.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 08:14:59 AM PDT

  •  Paul Broun at Liberty University (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    ..actually made me more disgusted with the Teabag Caucus.

    I didn't think it was possible.

    Perhaps one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 08:34:40 AM PDT

  •  Can someone more knowledgeable than I am (0+ / 0-)

    comment on the Science Blogs article where it says the Big Bang "can actually be consistent with dark matter"?  Is the Big Bang consistent with dark matter, or is it dependent on dark matter?

    I'm not a fan of dark matter.  Observations were made of galaxies and compared to the currently accepted theory.  The observations didn't match the theory, but instead of updating the theory, they updated the observations.  That seems backwards to me.  I don't claim to be a physicist, but I don't see how making up the better part of a universe's matter out of thin ether is preferable to other ideas, like Modified Newtonian Dynamics.

    Your request has bad syntax or is inherently impossible to satisfy. --httpd_err400form

    by Bob Novak Douchebag of Liberty on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 09:06:44 AM PDT

  •  They've known about the Crown of Thorns (2+ / 0-)

    problem since the seventies but have never tried to intervene. Direct action looks to be the only answer, and it would be labor intensive. There is a solution however - start an internet disinformation campaign that powdered dried Crown-of-Thorns is better than rhino horn.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 09:27:53 AM PDT

  •  Thing is ... (0+ / 0-)

    I think God fixes elections as often as he fixes football games.

    He gave us free will, so whether you believe in the power of prayer or no, there is no reason to expect God will step in and change election results.

    www.stacysmusings.wordpress.com

    by Magenta on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 09:39:50 AM PDT

  •  A Scientific Study Concering OPEC Oil Reserves Is (0+ / 0-)

    bound to cause some denial and nervous reaction, because it says that OPEC has made substantially inflated estimates of its reserves. These reserves are used for critical plans civilization has been making all along.

  •  Rotten Ice (0+ / 0-)

    Somewhere over the northern Laptev Sea this August -- I think it was about 400km from the North Pole, but don't quote me on that.

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 10:50:40 AM PDT

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