Daily Archives: January 13, 2014

Views from the Solar System (181)

Frozen Lake Sharpe, South Dakota

NASA – The Missouri River rises in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, and flows generally to the southeast for 3,767 kilometers (2,341 miles) to its confluence with the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri. It is the longest river in North America. The river does not follow a straight southeasterly course along this distance, but includes many meander bends such as the one in this astronaut photograph from the International Space Station. This particular bend is occupied by Lake Sharpe, an approximately 130 kilometer (80 mile) long reservoir formed behind the Big Bend Dam on the Missouri River near Lower Brule, South Dakota. The lake surface is frozen and covered with snow, presenting a uniform white appearance.

As meander bends develop, they tend to assume a distinctive U shape. Over time, the river channel can continue to cut into the ends of the “U,” eventually bringing them so close together that the river then cuts across the gap to achieve a shorter flow path and cut off the meander bend. When this happens and the meander ceases to be part of the active river channel, it may become an oxbow lake. The distance across the narrow neck of land (image lower right) associated with this meander is approximately 1 kilometer (0.62 miles). However, the river flow is controlled by the Big Bend Dam downstream, so the natural process of meander cutoff has been significantly slowed.

Snow cover also highlights circular agricultural fields on the small peninsula within the meander bend. This type of field indicates center-pivot irrigation, where water is distributed from a central point radially outwards using sprinklers to cover the field area. Crops grown here include corn and soybeans, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s CropScape database.

Astronaut photograph ISS038-E-23651 was acquired on Dec. 26, 2013, with a Nikon D3X digital camera using a 1000 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 38 crew. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed.

> View annotated image

Image Credit: NASA
Caption: William L. Stefanov, Jacobs, NASA-JSC

Is nuclear power the answer on climate change?

By Richard Schiffman – James Hansen’s latest press conference was positively scary.

“Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole” Hansen writes in an essay, “is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny (pdf) and Tooth Fairy.”

His assertion is controversial for a number of reasons.

Nuclear power generation is now flourishing in only three countries, France, Russia and China — all nations where the state has aggressively subsidized its development. more> http://tinyurl.com/pxomfm8

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Boeing’s Big Bet On American Creativity — And Why It’s A Loser

By Eamonn Fingleton – Almost everything the Apple computer company sells these days comes with this memorable statement of origin: “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China.”

The implication is obvious: a few brilliantly creative, latte-quaffing, hybrid-driving Americans did the real work, while low-skilled Chinese assembly workers, laboring in serf-like conditions and earning a few dollars a day, meekly did the rest.

Of course no one disputes the fact that America’s past record of inventiveness has been extraordinary. Probably close to one-third of all the major inventions of the last 100 years have been American.

What really made the difference was that, thanks to factors that were to prove all too transitory, 20th-century Americans had greater opportunities for invention. Because they were richer, far more of them studied advanced engineering and science. Moreover, taking the century as a whole, America’s huge corporations greatly outspent foreign rivals in research and development. more> http://tinyurl.com/nsnwzl3

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Scientists to study Pacific Ocean’s “global chimney”

R&D – Although few people live in the Western tropical Pacific Ocean region, the remote waters there affect billions of people by shaping climate and air chemistry worldwide.

With the warmest ocean waters on Earth, the Western tropical Pacific fuels a sort of chimney whose output has global reach.

The region feeds heat and moisture into huge clusters of thunderstorms that loft gases and particles into the stratosphere, where they spread out over the entire planet and influence climate. more> http://tinyurl.com/oktapjl

How global warming can make cold snaps even worse

By Eric Holthaus – “Sure is cold outside, amirite? Minneapolis is as cold as Mars right now. Crazy, huh? So much for that whole global warming thing, eh?”

Snow and ice are disappearing from the Arctic region at unprecedented rates, leaving behind relatively warmer open water, which is much less reflective to incoming sunlight than ice.

Since the difference in temperature between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes helps drive the jet stream (which, in turn, drives most US weather patterns), if that temperature difference decreases, it stands to reason that the jet stream’s winds will slow down. Why does this matter? more> http://tinyurl.com/lm7bpl9

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US CONGRESS – LEADER’S WEEKLY SCHEDULE Week of January 13th MONDAY, JANUARY 13TH 1) H.R. 1513 – To revise the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station and certain land along Plum Run in … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH SENATE FLOOR: Sen. Paul Opposes Yellen Nomination to Federal Reserve – January 6, 2013, YouTube [VIDEO 20:37] Sens. Paul and McConnell Introduce Economic Freedom Zones Act of 2013, US Senate Sen. Paul Press Conferece with White House Press … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Senator Rubio Delivers Address on 50th Anniversary of the “War on Poverty”, YouTube [VIDEO 29:13] Senator Rubio Joins the Hosts of FOX and Friends, YouTube [VIDEO] Rubio Continues The Poverty Discussion On CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, YouTube [VIDEO] Senator … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Roadmap, ccsfforward.com Future Credit Students, ccsf.edu CALL FOR ENTRIES, White House

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CONGRESS WATCH McConnell, Paul Push Economic Freedom Zones as Amendment to UI Extension, YouTube [VIDEO 6:19] 8 Ky. counties included in ‘Promise Zone’, Associated Press/kentucky.com McConnell Helps Restore Tobacco Buyouts, Associated Press/wkms.org McConnell Honors Kentucky Son and Music Legend Phil … Continue reading