What Penguins Tell Us About Ocean Warming

What Penguins Tell Us About Ocean Warming

One of the featured attractions at the National Aviary is the Penguin Point exhibit. The African penguins on display are used to a warmer climate. (1) In the winter, the Pittsburgh National Aviary provides them with heated areas. The penguins hate having to walk across any snow that accumulates in their enclosure.

While African (and many other species of) penguins are used to warmer climates, they all live in areas where cold water flows near land, and it’s because of chemistry. That little quirk–that penguins live near currents of cold ocean water–is a clue to something profound about the ocean and warns us of a danger of global warming. Continue Reading…

  1. This is one reason African penguins are popular in zoos–you don’t have to keep them refrigerated all year! []

Cambrian Explosion Caused by Many Pieces

Cambrian Explosion Caused by Many Pieces

Before ~541 million years ago, animals were relatively simple and similar. Beginning with the Cambrian period (541-485.4 million years ago), animal life suddenly became abundant and varied. This was called the “Cambrian Explosion.” It was during this sudden (“sudden” in evolutionary terms) change that many modern lineages began, including mollusks, arthropods and the chordates. The variety of animals “blew up” during the beginning of the Cambrian.

Why the sudden diversification of animals in the Cambrian? Continue Reading…

No Methane on Mars

No Methane on Mars

The Curiosity Rover did not detect any methane on Mars during multiple tests. Previously, methane was detected by earthbound telescopes and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and should have been detected by Curiosity (which can detect down to 1.6 parts per billion).

Continue Reading…

Waiting for Part 2? It’s Going To Be a While

I’m creating some graphics for Part 2 of the series on “The Problems with Computer Models.” If I’d thought things through, I would have written the series and begun publishing them, but I didn’t. I’d forgotten about the delays that artwork and research can create in multi-part series. I am working on it as well as working on the interface for the UnSpace website. In the meantime, I’ve been posting articles that I hope are still interesting.

I might need to invest in some graphing software. Creating graphs in the Adobe Publishing Suite is possible but awkward. Maybe I should put up a tip jar…

Dealing with Feral Cats

Our neighborhood has two feral cats that we know of. (1) The question is, what should we do with them?

Continue Reading…

  1. Whether they’re truly feral or strays that have learned to survive in the wild, I don’t know. []

Creationists vs. Christians

Creationists vs. Christians

Once again, the creationists are attempting to destroy people’s faith in God. There’s a “movie” (available on YouTube) titled Evolution Vs. God. I think the movie  attempts to prove that evolution is a “plot” against God. In one of their promotional icons, it says “Shaking the foundations of faith.” They intended that to mean that evolution is shaking the foundations of faith, but maybe even they realize their movie will shake (and destroy) the foundations of faith of a lot of Christians. In an advertising campaign, it’s the alternate interpretations that you need to watch out for, especially if those alternate interpretations are accurate. Continue Reading…

September 21 Bits and Bytes

Here are some links to interesting articles I’ve spotted this morning; I hope you find them interesting also:

I could probably save time by just suggesting you read Bad Astronomer all the time. When I grow up, I want to be Phil Plait.

The Problems with Computer Models (Part 1)

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe (@KHayhoe on Twitter) repeatedly pointed out in a recent excellent Infrastructure and Climate Network webinar (1), that climate models can’t predict what will happen on a particular day in the future. Well, living here in Pittsburgh, where the weather forecast for much of this summer was “Possibility of sunshine, clouds, rain and severe storms,” there’s no surprise that a climate model can’t predict the weather next year. (2) But why do these models fail?

Years ago, I created a simple computer model for weight loss. By looking at that model, you’ll see what that model could and couldn’t do–and why.

Let’s do a science!

Continue Reading…

  1. “High-resolution climate projectioncs: Where do they come from and what can we do with them?”–by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on September 18, 2013 []
  2. It’s possible all the weather forecasters went on vacation at the same time and put up a generic forecast that would cover any situation. I can’t rule that out. []

What’s Come Before

Back in 2004, I started a small Blogspot blog called UnSpace. The blog was about whatever I happened to be interested in at the moment. A lot of times, that “whatever” happened to be about science.

In 2007, I took on a job and the blog became a liability. The possibility that my opinions might become confused with those of my employer was significant. I decided to shut the blog down. During the six years I had that job, I attempted to reactivate the blog, but by then I just didn’t have the time for any sort of regular output.

Recently, I resigned from that job. One of the consequences is that I’m bringing the UnSpace blog back, but the emphasis will be different.

UnSpace will be about science topics. The top categories will be “Physics,” “Chemistry,” “Biology,” “Psychology,” “Mathematics ” and “Science & Religion.” There’s a final topic, “Recursion,” which will be about the UnSpace blog itself.

As a side note: Why the title UnSpace? When I first started the blog, I was reading a couple articles about parallel universes and wondering what was between those universes. “Unspace” was a possible term to describe that, and it seemed to denote going beyond “thinking outside the box.” I was thinking outside the universe (or possibly outside the multiverse, or possibly outside all the multiverses or…well, you get the idea). While I make a strong distinction between speculative physics and practical physics (and understand which is which), I love playing with ideas.

Besides, I own the domain. Using the title UnSpace is cheaper than buying a new domain.