Time to Vote for the 2017 Volcanic Event of the Year!

Yes, it is that time of the year again. For those of you who read my old blog, Eruptions, you know that each year, I ask the readers to vote for the Volcanic Event of the Year -- or, as I've dubbed it, the Pliny. If you need some refresher on what was all the volcanic activity from the year, check out the Smithsonian/USGS Global Volcanism Program's Weekly Volcanic Activity Report or the abridged highlights of the year in the Atlantic. Here's our Pliny winners from the past: 2009: Saryc

Watch California’s Thomas Fire metastasize into a monster likely made more ferocious by climate change

An animation of satellite imagery offers a revealing perspective on the day-by-day growth of the Thomas Fire "Firefighters achieved huge successes yesterday during a BIG firefight to hold their line & SAVED hundreds of homes in Montecito." That was the news this morning about the horrific Thomas Fire burning in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, as described by the Public Information Officer of the Ventura County Fire Department. Unfortunately, many of the heroic firefighters wil

The Sad World of Uncited Papers

A Nature News feature examines academic papers that have never been cited. According to author Richard Van Noorden, by some estimates up to half of all papers have yet to receive their first citation 5 years after publication, and even 10% of Nobel Prizewinners' papers go uncited. However, Van Noorden reports that these estimates are far too high. For recent papers indexed on Web of Science (WoS), "records suggest that fewer than 10%" remain uncited, and even this is likely an overesti

Your Weekly Attenborough: Pristimantis attenboroughi

Sir David Frederick Attenborough, OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FLS, FZS, FSA, is the best. That sounds like an opinion, but it's pretty much objective fact at this point. The British broadcaster and naturalist has been narrating the wonders of the natural world for over 50 years now, traveling to almost every country on Earth to do so. His crowning achievement is a massive documentary series known simply as the Life collection. Thirteen separate series filmed over the course of 20 years take on

Your Weekly Attenborough: Pristimantis attenboroughi

Sir David Frederick Attenborough, OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FLS, FZS, FSA, is the best. That sounds like an opinion, but it's pretty much objective fact at this point. The British broadcaster and naturalist has been narrating the wonders of the natural world for over 50 years now, traveling to almost every country on Earth to do so. His crowning achievement is a massive documentary series known simply as the Life collection. Thirteen separate series filmed over the course of 20 years take on

Empowering the community to monitor water quality in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda called on Congress to bring lasting relief and recovery to Puerto Rico where thousands remain without electricity or access to clean water nearly three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall. In the interim, the Rincón chapter of the Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) has stepped up its efforts to help communities undertake their own water quality testing and identify places where water ma

Empowering the community to monitor water quality in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

In a recent Washington Post opinion piece, actor and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda called on Congress to bring lasting relief and recovery to Puerto Rico where thousands remain without electricity or access to clean water nearly three months after Hurricane Maria made landfall. In the interim, the Rincón chapter of the Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) has stepped up its efforts to help communities undertake their own water quality testing and identify places where water ma

Ötzi the Iceman Stars in a New Feature Film

From a block of ice to the silver screen; Ötzi the Iceman, an archaeological star, is getting his own feature film. From German director Felix Randau, the movie is a fictionalized account of Ötzi's life and eventual death at the hands of an unknown archer in the Alps. Though the story is mostly fictional, the clothing, props and setting were all recreated with the help of researchers from the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, with the goal of creating a story that could have potentially

Climate Change, Disease and the Fall of Rome

At some time or another, every historian of Rome has been asked to say where we are, today, on Rome’s cycle of decline. Historians might squirm at such attempts to use the past but, even if history does not repeat itself, nor come packaged into moral lessons, it can deepen our sense of what it means to be human and how fragile our societies are. In the middle of the second century, the Romans controlled a huge, geographically diverse part of the globe, from northern Britain to the edges o

Saturn’s Rings Alter Its Ionosphere

In April of this year, NASA nudged the Cassini spacecraft into an orbit that took it through a narrow gap between Saturn’s innermost ring (the D-ring) and the gas giant itself. Over the next few months, Cassini skimmed the upper atmosphere of the ringed planet nearly two dozen times. During 11 of those orbits, Cassini’s Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument took unprecedented measurements of Saturn’s ionosphere — a shell of charged particles that surrounds the planet and shields

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