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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 42,872

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Environmental Scientist

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Praying Mantis Species Named After Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Scientists paid homage to the Supreme Court justice with a species discovered when its females were treated equally.
The Notorious R.B.G. is now the one handing out nicknames.

Scientists at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History announced Wednesday they named a new species of praying mantis, Llomantis ginsburgae, after the 83-year-old Supreme Court Justice.

“We named it for her in honor of her commitment to women’s rights and gender equality,” said Sydney Brannoch, a Ph.D. student at Case Western Reserve University who led research into the Llomantis genus, along with Gavin Svenson, in a video posted to YouTube by the Cleveland museum.

The museum says the research is the first formal study to use female genital structures to delimit a new species of praying mantis.

“As a feminist biologist, I often questioned why female specimens weren’t used to diagnose most species,” Brannoch says in the announcement. “This research establishes the validity of using female specimens in the classification of praying mantises. It is my hope that our work not only sets a precedent in taxonomy but also underscores the need for scientists to investigate and equally consider both sexes in other scientific investigations.”

more
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/02/praying-mantis-species-named-after-ruth-bader-ginsburg.html

Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Weakening And We Don’t Know Why

New data released by the European Space Agency reveals that Earth’s magnetic poles are weakening much faster than was previously thought. The data was collected by the ESA’s Swarm satellites, a set of three orbital satellites designed to track the strength, direction and variations of the Earth’s geomagnetic field.

This recent set of measurements reveals that our geomagnetic field is weakening by around 5% a year, which is nearly ten times faster than previous estimates. According to the a press release by the ESA, the data shows that the field is weakening faster in some places than others:

It shows clearly that the field has weakened by about 3.5% at high latitudes over North America, while it has strengthened about 2% over Asia. The region where the field is at its weakest – the South Atlantic Anomaly – has moved steadily westward and weakened further by about 2%.

This new data might foreshadow a coming reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles, an event thought to occur around every 100,00 years, with the last reversal happening during the human Stone Age. While some Doomsday sayers believe that this magnetic reversal could mark the end of life on Earth, the consensus among geoscientists is that the worst effect could be the re-labeling all of Earth’s compasses.

more
http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2016/05/earths-magnetic-field-is-weakening-and-we-dont-know-why/

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'Dirty Blizzard' sent 2010 Gulf oil spill pollution to seafloor

Scientists working in the Gulf of Mexico have found that contaminants from the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill lingered in the subsurface water for months after oil on the surface had been swept up or dispersed. In a new study, they also detailed how remnants of the oil, black carbon from burning oil slicks and contaminants from drilling mud combined with microscopic algae and other marine debris to descend in a "dirty blizzard" to the seafloor.

The work, published May 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirms that contaminants found in the water column and on the seafloor were indeed from the Deepwater Horizon spill, and not from the many natural oil seeps in the Gulf. The initial dispersal of materials in the water made pollutants hard to detect, but the eventual accumulation of "marine snow" concentrated the toxins on the seabed, where they can enter the food web, possibly affecting fish and corals in deep waters.

The findings suggest that the ecological effects of oil spills could last longer than previously thought. The paper comes on the heels of the most recent spill, detected May 12. About 88,200 gallons of oil were released from an underwater pipeline operated by Shell about 90 miles off the coast of Louisiana, according to news reports. Much of the oil has been recovered, and there are as yet no reported impacts on wildlife. But scientists are just beginning to assess the effects.

"We knew oil pollutants can be carried downward by marine snow, but we didn't expect the pollutants to stay in the water for such a long time," said Beizhan Yan of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, an environmental chemist who is lead author of the study.

more

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160530153258.htm
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