Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Warmer it Gets... (Part 2)

Last week I published a post about permafrost melting and its effects on climate. The video below gives a more comprehensive view of this very serious problem.
It is amazing how so many people take our survival on this planet for granted, simply ignoring the alarming facts that are happening around us!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Einfach Schön!

This is one of the various videos that can be found on the Deutsche Grammophon's You Tube channel.
Click on the video to watch Magdalena Kožená sing Vivaldi. It is beautiful!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ocean Acidification

When CO2 reacts with water, the result is carbonic acid:

CO2 + H2O H2CO3

Since the Industrial Revolution, the oceans have absorbed nearly 25% of the carbon dioxide produced by burning fuels.

As a result, the ocean acidity has increased 30% since then. If this trend continues, the ocean acidity will double by the end of the century, compared to pre-industrial times.

This will probably cause the extinction of numerous species, and will seriously harm the balance of the food chain all over the world.

Click here to watch a video that explains how it happens.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

That is What "Big" Means

The blue whale is the biggest animal that has ever lived on Earth. 30 meters long, nearly 200 tons heavy...


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Warmer it Gets...

Image: National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

The sonar image above shows methane bubbles being released by the Arctic Ocean floor. As the water temperature increases due to climate change, methane is released by the reserves of methane hydrate beneath the sea bed.

Methane is one of the gases that cause the greenhouse effect and it is far more harmful than CO2 (20 times more damaging). It is estimated that nearly 20 megatons of methane are being released each year by this hydrate deposit, located near Norway.

In addition to that, the melting of the permafrost in Arctic regions has a similar effect. The permafrost covers about 25% of the earth's land area and stores large amounts of organic carbon.

That is the size of the problem.


New Scientist

Innovations Report

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Closer Look

The National Geographic Magazine is famous for its magnificent photos. Frequently their contexts are as fascinating as the photos themselves. In the videos below, the circumstances in which some of such remarkable photos were taken is explained.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Little Jazz

Marcus Miller is an American jazz musician, composer and producer. Although he is a multi instrumentalist, he is best known for his distinct bass playing.

In the video below, he plays "The Panther". It is worth watching.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Who is Afraid of the Black Hole?

By Alexandre Couto de Andrade

Experiments that will be conducted in the world's largest particle accelerator (Large Hadron Collider), located in the northwest suburbs of Geneva, have been the subject of much controversy in recent times.

The gigantic particle accelerator (27 kilometers in circumference), that is part of the Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN), will hopefully help scientists to understand some great mysteries of the universe. If their expectations are fulfilled, the scientists will not only change the way we understand reality, but may also allow the development of revolutionary technologies.

The particle accelerator will recreate conditions that existed just after the Big Bang. The experiments will probably create tiny black holes, that are supposed to almost instantly evaporate. And that is what all the controversy is about. Some scientists, like Prof. Dr. Otto E. Rössler (video below), state that one of these black holes could eventually grow and destroy our planet. The majority of the scientific community, however, does not agree with him. According to most scientists, there are radiation sources in the cosmos that naturally accelerate particles that are constantly colliding with each other all around us. Although the energy involved in such collisions can be much higher than that that will be produced by the experiments, Earth have never been destroyed in billions of years.

Prof. Rössler, however, says that the conditions that occur naturally are different from those that will be created in laboratory. This introduces new variables that may lead to unpredicted consequences.

As a non-scientist, I can only wonder how many of the “certainties” these scientists have go beyond unconfirmed mathematical models. In science, humility should have as much value as skepticism and inquiry.