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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

A Peek Inside the World's Largest Cave

by Katie Hosmer on January 16, 2013

Located in the Quang Binh province in Vietnam, the Son Doong Cave is the world's largest cave. The biggest section of the cave is more than 650 feet wide, almost 500 feet high, and approximately 5.5 miles long. According to the website, parts of the space are so massive that there are caverns big enough to fit an entire city street inside them.

Set along the Laos border, this largest single passage is part of a network of 150 other caves. It is located in a very remote jungle area within Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park and was rediscovered in 2009 by a group of British cavers.

"Son Doong" means "mountain river," and is aptly called such because the formation was created millions of years ago when river water eroded the limestone underneath the mountain. There is still much to discover, but so far, inside, explorers have found a fast-flowing river, giant stalagmites standing more than 230 feet high, and a tiny jungle, nicknamed "Garden of Edam."


Rupert Murdoch attacks liberal policies for making injured woman obese

Talk about kicking a lady while she’s down.

Conservative billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch took a swipe Wednesday at the overweight woman who broke an arm when the sidewalk beneath her suddenly cracked, sending her plunging six feet.

“How did fat lady who fell thru street get to 400 lbs?” Murdoch tweeted. “Welfare, stamps, etc? Then leave us all with 20yrs immense health bills.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/murdoch-blames-liberals-obesity-article-1.1241330

Thursday TOON Roundup 3- The Rest




Thursday TOON Roundup 2- Roidstrong

Thursday Toon Roundup 1- The Wave of Gun toons continues unabated

Blue Mars

Kevin GillJan 2, 2013
A Living Mars

A conception of an ancient and/or future Mars, flush with oceans, clouds and life.

This is a view of the Western hemisphere with Olympus Mons on the horizon beyond the Tharsis Montes volcanoes and the Valles Marineris canyons near the center. The height of the clouds and atmosphere are largely arbitrary and set for the sake of appearance and coverage over the exaggerated terrain elevations (~10 times elevation exaggeration). The eye is about 10,000 km (~6,200 miles) from the surface.


Mars would have to have a lot of greenhouse gasses to keep that ocean from freezing, but it is a compelling image

Tom Toles Rant- Can't lose for winning

By Tom Toles
The GOP now has to go into the wilderness and soulsearch and strategize and all the rest, but NOT because they have lost all the battles. Actually it’s because they won. If you think that the function of a conservative party is to check and correct the excesses of the opposing progressive party, I’d say they achieved virtually everything that they could reasonable have hoped for. Not that they are reasonable, which is why they are smoldering with sulfurous smoke. But let me count some of the ways they won.

Let’s start with the idea that Democrats are squandry redistributionists who plotted to take away the hard-earned wealth of the rich and give it away so everybody has the same amount of money. How did the Democrats do on that score? Or that runaway gun control the Democrats enacted over the last thirty years? Over-regulation of the financial industry of the sort that would thwart Wall St.’s ability to make a little money? How about all those Democratic hippie peace types’ plan to cut the Pentagon budget down to a nub and prevent us from getting into entangling foreign shooting wars? How have all these liberal projects been going since 1980? And that anti-energy policy that would put the fossil-fuel industry out of business?

No, the GOP got pretty nearly everything it wanted and all that remains is the lunatic residue of their agenda. THAT is why the nation has tired of the GOP. It’s ready to turn around and work with a chastised, reformed, centrist and sane Democrat majority.


Dark Nebula Hides Star Birth

Dark nebulas, or dark clouds in space are intriguing because they appear to be “holes” in the sky where there aren’t any stars. But they really are just blocking our view. Also called absorption nebulas, these dark, smokey clouds of gas and dust block light from the regions of space behind it. This new image from ESO shows a dark cloud called Lupus 3 along with a cluster of brilliant stars.

While the dark cloud and the bright cluster of stars appear to be very different, they are in fact closely linked. The cloud contains huge amounts of cool cosmic dust and is a nursery where new stars are being born. We likely wouldn’t be able to see the absorption nebula unless it was silhouetted against the much brighter region of space produced by the star cluster, since absorption nebulas do not create their own light.

As light from space reaches an absorption nebula it is absorbed by it and does not pass through. It is likely that the Sun formed in a similar star formation region more than four billion years ago. The stars seen here are probably less than one million years old.
Lupus 3 lies about 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius. The dark section shown here is about five light-years across.

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/99467/dark-nebula-hides-star-birth/

High Rez image of Mercury from MESSENGER probe

Every now and then a new gem of a color-composite appears in the Flickr photostream of Gordan Ugarkovic, and this one is the latest to materialize.

This is a view of Mercury as seen by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft during a flyby in October 2008. The image is a composite of twenty separate frames acquired with MESSENGER’s narrow-angle camera from distances ranging from 18,900 to 17,700 kilometers and colorized with color data from the spacecraft’s wide-angle camera. (North is to the right.)

The images that made up this mosaic were taken two and a half years before MESSENGER entered orbit around Mercury on March 19, 2011 UT, becoming the first spacecraft ever to do so and making Mercury the final “classical” planet to be orbited by a manmade spacecraft.

Since that time MESSENGER has completed well over 1,000 orbits and taken more than 100,000 images of the first planet in the Solar System, which filled in most of our gaps in Mercury’s map and showed us many never-before-seen features of the planet’s Sun-scoured surface. And just this past year MESSENGER’s extended mission helped confirm what could be called its most important discovery of all: water ice on Mercury’s north pole.

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/99451/a-hi-res-mosaic-of-mercurys-crescent/

Whole Foods CEO: Obamacare Is ‘Like Fascism’

By Sy Mukherjee on Jan 16, 2013 at 11:32 am

In an interview with NPR, Whole Foods CEO and self-professed libertarian John Mackey revived his previous criticism of Obamacare — but this time, with a new twist. While Mackey incorrectly denounced the landmark health reform law as “socialism” in a controversial 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed, the multimillionaire CEO has revised his assessment and now considers Obamacare — also incorrectly — to be closer to “fascism”:

“Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it, and that’s what’s happening with our healthcare programs and these reforms.”

Although fascist nations do often control their “means of production,” Mackey seems to have forgotten that they usually utilize warfare, forced mass mobilization of the public, and politically-motivated violence against their own peoples to achieve their ends. By contrast, Obamacare regulates some of the insurance industry’s shoddiest practices and imposes a small tax penalty on Americans who refuse to purchase government-subsidized private insurance.

That hasn’t stopped other conservative critics of Obamacare from making similar statements. In 2011, former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum decried that America was falling into the throes of fascism, and that the health reform law was the “final death knell.”

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