Archive by date | March 2011

Berkeley scientist previews temperature analysis on Capitol Hill

Berkeley scientist previews temperature analysis on Capitol Hill

The buzz about the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature analysis is growing, and today we got our first peak into what that might entail during a hearing by the US House Science and Technology Committee. For those who have not yet heard, this is a new analysis of the historical temperature record by independent scientists who say they are ready to upset conventional wisdom if need be. The preliminary and partial upshot, plotted at the right and available in PDF form here in the testimony of Richard Muller, is that mainstream science holds up.  Read more

GOCE mission reveals the ‘true’ shape of the Earth

GOCE mission reveals the 'true' shape of the Earth

After two years in orbit, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) reached the end of its nominal lifetime in February. But GOCE has enough xenon fuel left to continue its mission until at least the end of 2012.

Earthquake triggering, and why we don’t know where the next big one will strike

Earthquake triggering, and why we don't know where the next big one will strike

As I came through airport security in Connecticut, upon presentation of my California driver’s license, the TSA officer asked me, “Aren’t you folks worried about how that big Japan quake is going to hit you next?” I was glad to be able to tell him that we’re not any more worried than we were before, and that a writer had just made that up. I didn’t ask him where he got that idea, but on my mind already was Simon Winchester’s column in Newsweek magazine on March 13. The article was wrong, and that fact has gotten a lot of traction in the blogosphere—and in real newspapers, if a distinction still exists.

Flamboyant Hawass returns as antiquities minister in Egypt

Flamboyant Hawass returns as antiquities minister in Egypt

It was less than a month ago when Zahi Hawass, the Egyptologist who has made a name for himself with his flamboyant ways, stepped down from the cabinet. Today, however, the prime minister of Egypt’s interim government announced that he was reappointed to the same position.

Fukushima update: Recovery efforts stalled, as hotspot concerns grow

Fukushima update: Recovery efforts stalled, as hotspot concerns grow

After an eventful recent few days at the Fukushima Daichii nuclear power plant, which I’ve reported on here, and here last night —see “Radioactivity spreads in Japan”, today has seen few major developments, and the situation remains very serious. The detection of radioactive hotspots outside of the evacuation zone is a growing concern, with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tonight confirming hotspots Northwest of the plant where radioactivity is so high as to require urgent evacuation of people in the area.  Read more