Voyager Leaves The Solar System – What an amazing and historic time

I am 57 years old and it may all be down hill from here. Seriously. In humankind’s 100,000 year history we just threw a spear out of here. In terms of what we were promised – you know warp drive, aliens and foreign civilizations it is kind of drab; but in terms of goal posts, it is a huge leap. Some might even say a quantum leap. All I can say is WOW.

http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2012/10/more-evidence-that-voyager-has-exited-the-solar-system/

More evidence that Voyager has exited the solar system

Friday, October 5, 2012

A science blog with Eric Berger

Something very, very interesting is happening with Voyager 1, the human probe that’s the very farthest from Earth.

New data from the spacecraft, which I will discuss below, indicate Voyager 1 may have exited the solar system for good. If true, this would mark a truly historic moment for the human race — sending a spacecraft beyond the edge of our home solar system.

At last check, NASA scientists said they were not yet ready to officially declare that Voyager 1 had officially exited the solar system by crossing the heliopause.

To cross this boundary scientists say they would need to observe three things:

1. An increase in high-energy cosmic rays originating from outside our solar system

2. A drop in charged particles emanating from the sun.

3. A change in the direction of the magnetic field.

As I reported in June,  in regard to the first point, scientists have observed a sustained increase in galactic cosmic rays during recent months.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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OK Back To The Solar Installments Around The World – Just a brief stop Friday

Now that we know that humans are going to be in pretty bad shape because of climate change, let’s go back to the meditation on what could have saved us if we would have started building them sooner. Large Solar Power Plants. I am not posting any pretty pictures, just the test.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39836641/ns/us_news-environment/t/worlds-largest-solar-plant-gets-us-ok/#.UA2duaCkNyU

World’s largest solar plant gets U.S. OK

$6 billion project in Calif. aims to power at least 300,000 homes

msnbc.com staff and news service reports

updated 10/25/2010 6:07:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Calling it a major milestone, the Obama administration on Monday approved what investors say will be the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant and one that more than doubles all of U.S. solar output and can power at least 300,000 homes.

The project in the Mojave Desert near Blythe, Calif., is the sixth solar venture authorized on federal lands within the last month. All are in desert areas.

“The Blythe Solar Power Project is a major milestone in our nation’s renewable energy economy and shows that the United States intends to compete and lead in the technologies of the future,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in announcing the approval.

Construction on the $6 billion plant is expected to start by the end of 2010, with production starting in 2013. Developer Solar Millennium, a company based in Germany, says the plant will generate 1,066 construction jobs and 295 permanent jobs.

The project had run into opposition by some environmentalists due to wildlife concerns.

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Go there see the pictures and read. More tomorrow.

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Earth Day – A trashy celebration to end this year’s posts

This headline is priceless. The article is meh.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/23/local-parks-trashed-on-earth-day_n_1447179.html

San Francisco Parks Trashed On Earth Day: Celebrations Are Not Very Eco-Friendly, Huge Messes Left Behind

By Posted: 04/23/2012 5:52 pm Updated: 04/24/2012 1:39 pm

San Francisco may be the greenest city in the nation, but some residents have a funny way of showing their appreciation.

On Earth Day, Marina district residents took their celebrations a little too far, leaving behind a Fort Mason disaster zone.

Our friends over at SFist alerted us to this heinous trashing:

Not to get all hippie-preachy or anything, but this is kind of an offensive amount of trash, right? Do normal and reasonable human beings not look at that mess and say, “…maybe we ought to like, I don’t know? Take some of this trash with us? To a trash can?” or “Maybe we should bring that coffee table back home?” We’ve seen our share of litter-y days in Dolores Park and some embarrassing trash pileups in Golden Gate Park, but leaving actual pieces of living room furniture is a whole new level of prickish park use.

Fort Mason wasn’t the only park to take a hit on Earth Day. Mission residents also woke up to a severely less beautiful Dolores Park this morning.

One resident told Mission Local, “I’m not sure who angers me more, the people who came to enjoy the park on Saturday and left this mess or Rec and Park, which continues to ignore the complaints and warnings of neighbors about the park’s abuse.”

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Earth Day’s History is Fascinating – and 1970 was so long ago

I celebrated the first Earth Day but I think it was Gaylord Nelson’s day, the April date. I do not know. I was a freshman in high school. I think I did it by myself because I don’t think anyone was interested. I think I drew a picture of the Earth and hung in my locker. Something like that. It was pretty lame, but you have to start somewhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day

Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth‘s natural environment. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network,[1] and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.[2] In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day.[3] Earth Day is planned for April 22 in all years at least through 2015.[4]

The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. He proposed March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature’s equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. About the same time a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations.[5][6] Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Earth Day The Organization – I have probably posted about this group before

But posting every year gets it out there. I know that I have never posted anything from their blog. This is about Earth Day in India and I though it was cool because it shows how far the idea has spread.

http://www.earthday.org/blog/2012/05/01/guest-blog-corbett-foundation-mobilizes-india-earth-day-2012

Guest Blog: Corbett Foundation Mobilizes in India for Earth Day 2012

5/1/12 | Earth Day Network

Guest blog by: Zaara Kidwai

Between April 14 and 23, the Corbett Foundation (TCF) carried out a series of events and activities for Earth Day 2012 in Corbett, Kutch, Bandhavgarh and Kanha, India. We engaged schoolchildren here in a variety of interactive seminars and competitions designed to teach them and their communities about the importance of sustainable living and preserving the environment.

Throughout the week, the Corbett office of TCF organized activities such as environmental film screenings, presentations, health awareness sessions and quiz competitions for 6th-10th graders in 11 schools in and around the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

TCF–Kutch celebrated a one-day mega event on April 22 with children from two schools in Bhuj: Army Public School and Matruchaya Girls School. The event was organized in collaboration with the Gujarat Forest Department, Kutch West Division. A total of 125 students participated in the event, which included a screening of a film about conserving the Great Indian Bustard followed by a drawing and poster-making competition.

TCF-Bandhavgarh organized a nature walk for school children followed by a visit to an interpretation center. They also distributed solar lanterns to the Kulohawah village, located inside the Bandhvagrah Tiger Reserve, and organized an exhibition of traditional crafts.

TCF-Kanha organized an environmental awareness rally and a roadside clean-up in which 70 students and villagers from four villages participated. The rally started in Manjitola village; then, participants marched to the Mukki gate of the Kanha Park. Along the way, students chanted slogans like “Save Earth, Save Life, One Earth, One Chance.”

We hope our efforts will motivate people around us to adopt an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Final Post On Lawn Care For This Year – Who knew that there was a whole organization

I mean really, a whole organization dedicated to the safe cultivation of lawns? But it is true.

http://www.safelawns.org/blog/

PBS Program to Showcase Glenstone’s Organic Lawn

The natural lawn care movement in the United States will get a major boost in August when Growing A Greener World, hosted by Joe Lamp’l, showcases the organic lawn renovation at Glenstone, the modern art museum in Potomac, Md. The episode, estimated to be watched by nearly a million people nationwide in its first run, is scheduled to be aired in late August.

SafeLawns was on-hand, both to observe and to participate in the segment. We have been the lead consultants on the project since its inception in July of 2010 and the Growing a Greener World team is the first film crew to be allowed on the 160-acre Glenstone property, which has not had any synthetic chemicals used on its grounds since our arrival.

The two-day shooting session began in dreary, cold and wet conditions on Monday that ultimately led the crew indoors to the College Park laboratory of Dr. Mark Carroll and Dr. Thomas Turner, the two University of Maryland scientists who are working on an organic lawn research project with SafeLawns and Glenstone. The following day in Potomac, however, temperatures were in the 60s under brilliant blue skies.

“When you look at this place, the only thing you can say is ‘Wow,’” said Lamp’l, who is in his third season with this show.

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Good there and read. More tomorrow.

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The Grass Is Always Greener Next Door – And many people don’t even believe in lawns as a legitimate space

In fact, some are so radical as to imply that our yards should be filled with food plants and locally indigenous plants. I personally believe that is food overkill but at least there would be no hunger in America. Here is more on lawns if you like them.

http://www.organiclawncare101.com/

The Grass is Greener … and Safer!

Lawns may have been invented in Europe, but they’ve reached their apotheosis in North America. For those in the U.S. of A, that green, green grass ranks right up there with apple pie, backyard barbecues and softball. For Canadians it’s proof of place, both a responsibility and a privilege, like wearing decent clothes when you leave the house. Keep your teeth clean and your grass green. In the lower 48 states and much of southern Canada, grass is practically an obsession.

The problem with the perfect lawn is that it wreaks havoc on both your wallet and the environment. Between 30 and 40 million acres of land in the U.S. are devoted to turfgrass (see Curbing the Lawn), and Americans collectively spend big bucks — about $40 billion annually — on seed, sod and chemicals. In Canada, which has around one tenth the population of the U.S., sales from all lawn and garden products have risen steadily over the past five years, to over $2 billion by 2007. Click on “Canadian lawns and gardens: Where are they the ‘greenest’?” for more on this.

Much of that money goes to products that “help” grass only in the most superficial ways and that degrade the soil, pollute any water they reach, and pose serious health threats to humans, their pets, and any wildlife in the area, including birds. As people become aware of these facts, attitudes towards conventional fertilizers and pesticides are beginning to change. In Canada, over 130 communities and two entire provinces have passed laws severely restricting pesticide use, so homeowners and city park services are going organic perforce. In the U.S., where municipalities in many states lack the power to pass such comprehensive laws, a number of cities and towns have restricted the use of pesticides on school grounds or in parks. Furthermore, while many pesticides remain legal in the States, more and more people are becoming aware of the strain that they place on the eco-system. All across North America, people are not only considering going green, but whether the perfect lawn is worth the long-term environmental price we’re paying for it.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Environmental Lawn Care – What a large and confusing subject

We have over the past 3 or 4 years talked about getting animals to trim our grass. We live in the city, it is true but we have only talked about getting 2 animals. We think the village will be OK with it. So far we have talked about alpacas, goats and sheep. Now being small town kids, we assumed that they would roam the yard eating the grass and we would have a level and fertilized yard for free. But that is massively wrong. They require special feeds as supplements, they all require hoof care and must have a vet, and they can not tolerate the Illinois winters, so they have to be sheltered. The long and the short of it is that if you sell their hair to people who use it to make things (you do have to shear them for summer) then you can get close to break even but with only 2 animals it would be tough. So mow we shall for now.

Natural Lawn Care

Lawns do more than make your yard look good.

Lawns absorb water, which helps reduce storm runoff and improve water quality. Lawns also have a significant cooling effect, provide oxygen, trap dust and dirt, promote healthful micro-organisms, prevent erosion and filter rainwater contaminants.

Lawn care, however, has come at a high cost to the environment. According to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation:
  • 30% of water used on the East Coast goes to watering lawns; 60% on the West Coast.
  • 18% of municipal solid waste is composed of yard waste.
  • The average suburban lawn received 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland.
  • Over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually. (Read Healthy lawns, healthy lungs)
  • Per hour of operation, a gas lawn mower emits 10-12 times as much hydrocarbon as a typical auto. A weedeater emits 21 times more and a leaf blower 34 times more.

Where pesticides are used, 60 – 90% of earthworms are killed. Earthworms are important for soil health.

Much of the environmental cost associated with lawn care can be avoided.
Healthy Lawn Basics   

The only way to reduce a dependence on chemical fertilizers is to develop a healthy lawn, which is naturally resistant to weeds, insects and diseases. If you need to fertilize your lawn more than once a year, consider these ways of improving the natural health of your lawn:

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Go there and read more then I frankly could. More tomorrow.

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Next Week Is Earth Week – Actually Sunday is the day

Might as well end the week with a kick off for the next. Earth Day is Sunday, but Springfield can’t seem to get its act together on the actual day. But at least people celebrate it. Happy weekend everyone.

http://digg.com/newsbar/topnews/10_things_we_ve_learned_about_the_earth_since_last_earth_day

April 19, 2012

10 Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since Last Earth Day

Sunday is the 42nd celebration of Earth Day, which was started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson to help educate people about environmental issues and demonstrate public support for a conservationist agenda. With that in mind, we decided it was the right time to recap the most surprising, awe-inspiring and alarming things that we have learned about the Earth and the environment since last year’s holiday:

1. Undiscovered species are still out there: Countless discoveries over the past year reminded us that, despite centuries of research, the planet still has plenty of surprise species in store. Among the many finds include seven new forest mice species in the Philippines, a “psychedelic” gecko in Vietnam and a new type of dolphin in AustraliaA new analysis released last August, billed as the most accurate ever, estimated that a total of 8.7 million different species of life exist on earth.

2. Global warming is already driving up food prices: While many fear that climate change will someday reduce crop yields and cause food prices to rise, a study published last May in Science indicates that this troubling trend has already gotten started. The models used suggest that reduced global yields of wheat and corn are related to global warming. Although the effects are relatively small so far, they may cause severe problems in the future, as climate patterns continue to change and food demand increases.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Vegetable Gardening At The White House – This is an old story but

I loved it when Jimmy Carter put up solar panels and I love it for the same reason when Michelle Obama put in a vegetable garden. It is telling of course that Ronald Regan tore the solar panels off the White House and destroyed them. The division in our culture is so clear. The White House had a vegetable garden all the way up to the 60s or so when it “fell out of favor”. Now it is back and it will be interesting to see what the next occupant does with it when he is elected.

http://environment.about.com/od/greenlivingdesign/a/obama_garden.htm

First Lady Michele Obama Plants Organic Vegetable Garden at White House

Obamas Hope White House Organic Garden Will Cause Healthy Lifestyles to Blossom

From , former About.com Guide

On March 20, 2009, First Lady Michele Obama celebrated the first day of spring by using her famously well-toned biceps to pick up a shovel and break ground for an organic vegetable garden at the White House. (See the official layout [pdf] of the new White House garden.)

Educating Children a Primary Goal of White House Garden
In talking with reporters about the new garden, the first lady got down and dirty about the benefits of good nutrition and the need to educate children, families and whole communities about the importance of a healthful diet, especially at a time when obesity and diabetes have become national health crises.

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, DC, helped the first lady dig up the 1,100-square-foot garden plot on the south lawn of the White House, which is near the tennis courts and the swing set the Obamas installed for their daughters and can be seen by people passing by on E Street. The plan is to have the students stay involved in planting, tending, harvesting and cooking the presidential produce.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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