Nature vs. Industrial Light and Magic

April 20, 2010

Nature wins.  You can’t dream up effects like this.

From Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD), a photo of Iceland’s latest fuming, smoking European nightmare.  Wow.  Just wow.

Ash and Lightning Above an Icelandic Volcano Credit & Copyright: Marco Fulle (Stromboli Online)

Ash and Lightning Above Eyjafjallajökull, an Icelandic Volcano - Credit & Copyright: Marco Fulle (Stromboli Online)

How did Marco Fulle of the Stromboli team of volcano observers get that photograph?  More of his great photos, here.


Tip of the old scrub brush to Gormogons.


Teaching poetry badly, denying the captains of our souls

April 20, 2010

At the Poetry Foundation’s blog, Harriet, Wanda Coleman wrote about running into a student who hated to write poems, because she’d been conditioned to think poetry is difficult and dense:

I am forever grateful for that nameless White female, who, in her clunky shoes and calf-length tweed skirts, passed out poems on mimeograph paper to her first-grade students. When talking to students myself, I often tell the story of the very prim and ebony Mrs. Covington who challenged her junior high school English class to memorize “Invictus” before telling us who had authored the poem.

Words to teach by.  “Invictus?”  You know it, even if you don’t think you do.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

A poem written in 1875 by William Ernest Henley.  Wikipedia describes it well enough:

At the age of 12, Henley became a victim of tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate directly below the knee. It was amputated at the age of 25. In 1867, he successfully passed the Oxford local examination as a senior student. In 1875, he wrote the “Invictus” poem from a hospital bed. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.

How is your National Poetry Month going?  Go read Harriet.

Annals of global warming: March 2010, warmest March ever

April 20, 2010

NOAA's tracking of temperature change from 1971-2000 base, for March 2010

From NOAA, released April 15, 2010

Global warming slowed or stopped?  Let’s look at the facts:

NOAA: Global Temps Push Last Month to Hottest March on Record

April 15, 2010

The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to NOAA. Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January – March period on record.

NOAA’s (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) report points out — again — that local weather is not world climate:

  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for March 2010 was the warmest on record at 56.3°F (13.5°C), which is 1.39°F (0.77°C) above the 20th century average of 54.9°F (12.7°C).
  • The worldwide ocean surface temperature was the highest for any March on record –1.01°F (0.56°C) above the 20th century average of 60.7°F (15.9°C).
  • Separately, the global land surface temperature was 2.45°F (1.36°C) above the 20th century average of 40.8 °F (5.0°C) — the fourth warmest on record. Warmer-than-normal conditions dominated the globe, especially in northern Africa, South Asia and Canada. Cooler-than-normal regions included Mongolia and eastern Russia, northern and western Europe, Mexico, northern Australia, western Alaska and the southeastern United State

News continues to roll in about the investigations of the stealing of e-mails from England’s Hadley Climate Research Unit (CRU), and the news is that the scientists who documented global warming were accurate and honest.  Alas, such reports do not slow the anti-science denialist mob provocateurs.

So, we have assurance that the scientists are honest and hardworking.  Their hard work shows the planet warming, and the most likely proximate cause of the warming is human-caused effluents.

Did your newspaper cover the story?  How will denialists react?  Will anyone really notice?

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