Torrid Video

Halemaumau Crater (USGS)

Wired Science features an amazing 55 second (4 minute real time) video in infrared of a vent in the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea’s Halemaumau crater, obtained by the US Geological Survey two days ago. See Hawaiian Volcano Action.

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

On Books, #42

And the library? It can look like the most archaic institution of all. Yet its past bodes well for its future, because libraries were never warehouses of books. They have always been and will always be centers of learning. Their central position in the world of learning makes them ideally suited to mediate between the printed and digital modes of communication.
– Robert Darnton, The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Active Hurricane Season Predicted

Hurricane Ike 2008 (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration)

View of Hurricane Ike from the International Space Station (NASA)

The day before yesterday, the Atlantic hurricane season began, and is predicted to be among the most active on record. (The season lasts through November 30th.)

While it’s true that Kansas isn’t directly affected by these powerful and destructive storms, their impact – as Katrina emphasized a few short years ago – can be enormous.

The official 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook is a joint product of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Climate Prediction Center. This year the Outlook “calls for an 85% chance of an above normal season. The outlook indicates only a 10% chance of a near-normal season and a 5% chance of a below-normal season.”

They add that “the conditions expected this year have historically produced some very active Atlantic hurricane seasons. The 2010 hurricane season could see activity comparable to a number of extremely active seasons since 1995. If the 2010 activity reaches the upper end of our predicted ranges, it will be one of the most active seasons on record.

“We estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity this season: 14-23 Named Storms, 8-14 Hurricanes, [and] 3-7 Major Hurricanes.” (See the Outlook itself for a much more detailed analysis.)

For additional insights see NOAA’s press release NOAA Expects Busy Atlantic Hurricane Season

At the same time, NOAA is projecting a comparatively quiescent Pacific Ocean season, as indicated by their press release NOAA Predicts Below Normal Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season.

An interesting sidelight can be found in the discussion of hurricane modeling and prediction by Florida State University scientists in this item from Science Daily.

What are the implications of a very active and dangerous hurricane season for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? You may find the answers to your questions in a two-page NOAA factsheet on Hurricanes and the Oil Spill.

For real-time observation of developing and threatening hurricanes using satellite imagery and current reports see NOAA’s Atlantic and Caribbean Tropical Satellite Imagery website, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center website, and Colorado State University’s Tropical Atlantic Headquarters.

NASA’s Hurricane Resource Webpage includes the latest storm images and data from NASA satellites, in addition to a wealth of collateral information, related research news, and links to other good sites.

I’d especially recommend the resources in Hurricanes in [Recent] History, the Hurricane Educational Links and a short but interesting 4-page brochure on NASA’s Role In Hurricane Research.

Hurricane Noel 2007 Infrared (NOAA)

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Orbiting Mars

The European Space Agency has created the first ever short video of how Mars would appear to the eyes of an orbiting astronaut, using a camera on board the Mars Express Orbiter.

Here’s how the ESA explains the production of the video: “This movie was generated from 600 individual still images captured by the Visual Monitoring Camera (VMC) on board Mars Express during the 8194th orbit on 27 May 2010 between 02:00 and 09:00 UTC (04:00-11:00 CEST) and were transmitted to Earth a few hours later via ESA’s 35m New Norcia deep space station in Australia.

“The portion of the movie where the planet beneath the spacecraft was dark has been largely removed since no detail was visible.

“The images show the spacecraft’s slow descent from high above the planet, speeding up as closest approach is passed and then slowing down again as the distance increases. Towards the start of the video, the giant Martian volcanoes can be seen followed by the beginning of the ice coverage around the South Pole as the spacecraft crosses over to the night side of the planet. Shortly after emerging back onto the day side of the planet, the beautiful North Pole can be observed, followed by the long climb away from the planet over the equator. Finally, at the end of the movie, the disk of Phobos can be seen crossing from top to bottom of the image.”

Two separate versions of the video and an animation are each available for download in any of three distinct formats.

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Just Two Days Left ‘Til West Side Clean-Up

If you live west of the Union Pacific line in Haysville, there are just two more days to pick up your permit for the annual PRIDE City Wide Clean-Up. West Side pickup will be conducted this Saturday June 5th beginning at 7:00 am. (East Side pickup will be conducted on Saturday June 12th.)

Permits are available for $10, and can be purchased from the Haysville Community Library until 5 pm on Friday, either at the permit desk in the foyer, or at the front desk.

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kansas Farm Facts

For the latest compendium of statistics on Kansas agricultural production, see Kansas Farm Facts 2009, an 83-page document produced by the Kansas Field Office of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Office in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Who Is Ayn Rand?

Two new biographies of Ayn Rand, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns, and Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller, are featured in Charles Murray’s review in the Claremont Review of Books:

“Ayn Rand never dwelt on her Russian childhood, preferring to think of herself as wholly American. Rightly so. The huge truths she apprehended and expressed were as American as apple pie. I suppose hardcore Objectivists will consider what I’m about to say heresy, but hardcore Objectivists are not competent to judge. The novels are what make Ayn Rand important. Better than any other American novelist, she captured the magic of what life in America is supposed to be. The utopia of her novels is not a utopia of greed. It is not a utopia of Nietzschean supermen. It is a utopia of human beings living together in Jeffersonian freedom.”

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  

eBay Classes in June

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 10:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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