The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space.
Last year, 22-time Emmy award-winning reporter John Stofflet posted this news video he created for KING-TV in 2004, featuring Paul Smith and his artistic talents.
Watch A Writhing Aurora in Real Time
I love me some auroras. They are the visual manifestation of an invisible force field, tongues of light that illuminate Earth’s magnetic shell, which by shielding this blue orb from the onslaught of the charged radiation known as solar wind, makes life itself possible.
As charged particles belched from the sun strike our planet’s magnetic carapace, they are diverted poleward on electromagnetic conduits and eventually thrust into the upper atmosphere at Earth’s higher latitudes. There, collisions with atmospheric molecules illuminate the sky in green and red atomic excitation spectra. Their downward orientation makes them appear like needles pushing in from space itself, or as if one was gazing upward at a flag flapping vertically in the wind.
None of that have I ever witnessed with my own eyes, because I live at far too equatorial a latitude for even the largest solar storm to deliver this show to my front door. In learning about auroras through time lapses and astrophotography, which I have done my fair share of here on It’s Okay To Be Smart, I suppose I’ve always assumed they were a slow, gradual thing to behold, moving alomst imperceptibly, but definitely moving, like the way we can watch a cloud dissipate without ever really seeing it happen.
This video of a recent aurora over Yellowknife, Canada tells a different story. It is moving in real time. Stunning work from photographer Kwon O Chul. Not every aurora moves this fast, but this video completely changes the way I look at auroras.
I’ve often thought of the auroras as Earth’s own performance art, as if the sun is thanking us nightly for the simple act of noticing. But for this private light show, it is we who should be thanking the sun.
For more beautiful aurora science check out one of the first videos I ever made for the It’s Okay To Be Smart YouTube channel:
Don’t worry, Cthulhu is still fast asleep and no one has heard from the Kraken for centuries. This nightmarish maw is the beak of a female colossal squid, one that weighed 770 lbs (350 kg), measured nearly 11.5 feet long ( 3.5 m) and was recently dissected by scientists during a live webcast from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand. The squid was found by Captain John Bennett and his crew in Antarctic waters back in December 2013. She’s only the second intact colossal squid specimen ever recovered, providing an extraordinary opportunity for scientists to learn more about this mysterious species.
The squid’s eyes measured nearly 14 inches in diameter. The better to see you with, my dear. She also had three hearts, all the better to love you to tiny, bite-size pieces.
NASA TV Previews, Broadcasts U.S. Space Station Spacewalks
Three astronauts of the International Space Station Expedition 41 crew will conduct two spacewalks outside the orbiting laboratory Tuesday, Oct. 7 and Wednesday, Oct. 15 to replace a failed power regulator and relocate a failed cooling pump. NASA Television will provide comprehensive coverage, beginning with a preview briefing Friday, Oct. 3.
Centuries hence, when current social and political problems may seem as remote as the problems of the Thirty Years’ War are to us, our age may be remembered chiefly for one fact: It was the time when the inhabitants of the earth first made contact with the vast cosmos in which their small planet is embedded.
SpeechVive Inc. announced Wednesday (Sept. 10) the commercial launch of the SpeechVive device intended to help people with a soft voice due to Parkinson’s disease speak more loudly and communicate more effectively.
The device is now available to try as a demo through the National Parkinson’s Disease Foundation’s Centers of Excellence prior to purchasing. People who suffer from a soft voice due to Parkinson’s disease can make an appointment at any of these centers: the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix; the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Struthers Parkinson’s Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Baylor College of Medicine, Waco, Texas.
"We are providing demo units and training at no cost to as many of the National Parkinson’s Centers of Excellence as are interested in offering SpeechVive in conjunction with or as an alternative to speech therapy," said Steve Mogensen, president and CEO of SpeechVive. "We also are offering the SpeechVive units and training to professionals at Veterans Administration Medical Centers across the country. The first VAMC to offer SpeechVive is in Cincinnati, Ohio."
The SpeechVive device also is available to try at the M.D. Steer Speech and Hearing Clinic at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The technology was developed over the past decade by Jessica Huber, associate professor in Purdue’s Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and licensed through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. The focus of Huber’s research is the development and testing of behavioral treatments to improve communication and quality of life in older adults and people with degenerative motor diseases.
SpeechVive reduces the speech impairments associated with Parkinson’s disease, which cause people with the disease to speak in a hushed, whispery voice and to have mumbled speech. People with Parkinson’s disease are commonly affected in their ability to communicate effectively.
"The clinical data we have collected over the past four years demonstrates that SpeechVive is effective in 90 percent of the people using the device," Huber said. "I am proud of the improvements in communication and quality of life demonstrated in our clinical studies. I look forward to seeing the device on the market so that more people with Parkinson’s disease will have access to it."
More than 1.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and it is one of the most common degenerative neurological diseases. About 89 percent of those with the disease have voice-related change affecting how loudly they speak, and at least 45 percent have speech-related change affecting how clearly they speak.
Using a sophisticated combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques, scientists at Stanford University have shown that the extreme atmospheric conditions associated with California’s lengthy drought are likely caused by today’s global warming conditions.
The new research shows that the immediate cause of the California drought appears to be a stubborn “blocking ridge” over the northeastern Pacific, which climate scientists have charmingly dubbed the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, or “Triple R.” It prevented winter storms from reaching California during the 2013 and 2014 rain seasons. And according to lead researcher Noah Diffenbaugh, this persistent region of high atmospheric pressure was much more likely to form in the presence of modern greenhouse gas concentrations.
"Our research finds that extreme atmospheric high pressure in this region – which is strongly linked to unusually low precipitation in California – is much more likely to occur today than prior to the human emission of greenhouse gases that began during the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s," noted Diffenbaugh in a Stanford statement.
The new research, which will be added as a supplement to this month’s issue of The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, is being described as one of the most comprehensive studies to investigate the link between climate change and California’s ongoing drought. More from the Stanford statement:
Blocking ridges are regions of high atmospheric pressure that disrupt typical wind patterns in the atmosphere. “Winds respond to the spatial distribution of atmospheric pressure,” said Daniel Swain, a graduate student in Diffenbaugh’s lab and lead author of the study. “We have seen this amazingly persistent region of high pressure over the northeastern Pacific for many months now, which has substantially altered atmospheric flow and kept California largely dry.”
Blocking ridges occur periodically at temperate latitudes, but the Triple R was exceptional for both its size and longevity. While it dissipated briefly during the summer months of 2013, it returned even stronger by fall 2013 and persisted through much of the winter, which is normally California’s wet season.
"At its peak in January 2014, the Triple R extended from the subtropical Pacific between California and Hawaii to the coast of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska," said Swain, who coined the term "ridiculously resilient ridge" last fall to highlight the unusually persistent nature of the offshore blocking ridge.
Like a large boulder that has tumbled into a narrow stream, the Triple R diverted the flow of high-speed air currents known as the jet stream far to the north, causing Pacific storms to bypass not only California but also Oregon and Washington. As a result, rain and snow that would normally fall on the West Coast was instead re-routed to Alaska and as far north as the Arctic Circle.
Using the Triple R as a benchmark, the researchers compared geopotential heights (i.e. an atmospheric property related to pressure) between two sets of climate model experiments. One set represented the current state of our climate and the associated levels of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, while the other was kept at a level similar to those that existed prior to the Industrial Revolution.
Computer modeling showed that the conditions associated with the Triple R are far more likely to occur now.
"In using these advanced statistical techniques to combine climate observations with model simulations, we’ve been able to better understand the ongoing drought in California," Diffenbaugh added. "This isn’t a projection of 100 years in the future. This is an event that is more extreme than any in the observed record, and our research suggests that global warming is playing a role right now."
Read the entire study at The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Supplemental information via Stanford University.