egwenna: (science)
Or anyone who might know the answer to this question because my brain is fried and my google foo has returned too many useless hits:

How is rain formed?

Specifically, you are standing on a moor (Scotland-ish) and it is a steady drizzly mist. You have magic. You want it to stop. Does something need to heat up, cool off? Does the pressure need to go up, down? Once upon a time I knew the answer to the question, but it escapes me now and for some reason I've gotten an 1800's exerpt on weather over lakes talking about when the sun goes down, and people talking about lasers to cause condensation and none of it's helping me.

Oh, and Isaac proved this morning that he does have a death wish. I'm pretty sure he's responsible for yeasterday's computer weirdness (all sorts of print previews were open and other proof that little fingers had been there) and this morning he had a blast using Word alllllll over my NaNo novel, pasting things that were in the buffer and typing away and he eliminated a huge chunk of what I'd written yesterday. I almost ... well, no I did pretty much loose my cool. Fortuantely, he hadn't hit save, so a 'revert' brought it all back and I backed-up. I just did a full back up of my computer a few weeks ago, looks like I need to be doing it more frequently. :-p

(another link I want to keep in case I ever need this again:
egwenna: (Default)
Study shows bacteria are common in snow
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
Thu Feb 28, 10:38 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Those beautiful snowflakes drifting out of the sky may have a surprise inside — bacteria. Most snow and rain forms in chilly conditions high in the sky and atmospheric scientists have long known that, under most conditions, the moisture needs something to cling to in order to condense.

Now, a new study shows a surprisingly large share of those so-called nucleators turn out to be bacteria that can affect plants.

"Bacteria are by far the most active ice nuclei in nature," said Brent C. Christner, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Louisiana State University.

Christner and colleagues sampled snow from Antarctica, France, Montana and the Yukon and they report their findings in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

In some samples as much as 85 percent of the nuclei were bacteria, Christner said in a telephone interview. The bacteria were most common in France, followed by Montana and the Yukon, and was even present to a lesser degree in Antarctica.

The focus on Pseudomonas in the past has been to try and eliminate it, Christner said, but now that it turns out to be a major factor in encouraging snow and rain, he wonders if that is a good idea. Would elimination of this bacteria result in less rain or snow, or would it be replaced by other nuclei such as soot and dust?

"The question is, are they a good guy or a bad guy," he said, "and I don't have the answer to that."

What is clear is that Pseudomonas is effective at getting moisture in a cloud to condense, he pointed out. Killed bacteria are even used as an additive in snow making at ski resorts.

Which raises the question, Christner said, of whether planting crops known to be infected by Pseudomonas in areas experiencing drought might help increase precipitation there by adding more nuclei to the atmosphere.

It would be interesting if this detail could help curb droughts, but all I could think of was how much Isaac likes to eat snow and while I always knew it was a little gross, now I think it more gross.

(whole article:
egwenna: (Default)
Finally got my hands on Vol 1 of Brian Vaughan's Y: The Last Man and actually managed to read the whole thing. Had to renew it twice to do so, but I finished.

For a graphic novel the art was okay. I'm a big fan of Michael Turner and Joseph Michael Linsner and a lot of the art I see isn't to my tastes, but this was okay. Didn't interfere with reading the story and nicely filled in all the bits that didn't get written.

And, if you can suspend all disbelief and just roll with the premise, the story was pretty good. But it is a serious suspension. All males, of all species, all over the world, die horrifically, instantaneously. Except two. For no apparent reason unless you're willing to add magic to the world. As a fantasy reader, I'm willing to go with that because science sure as hell can't support that. Not the instantaneous part, at least.

There was a write up of the science angle here: Evolution of a sex ratio observed (which is where I picked up the reading suggestion) and here: Y: The Last Man and Blue Moon Butterflies, which mostly references the first link.

I think the thing I liked most, if for no other reason that it satisfies my cynicism, is that the world berift of men, doesn't look much different than the world with men. Just now there's no one to victimize except ourselves. And victimize, we do. The same flaws so many attach to men are now glaringly apparent in the surviving women. They resort to violence. Bullying. Manipulation. In the aftermath things are a mess, there is chaos and plenty of people looking out only for themselves and their own agenda. There are, of course, also those people trying to restore order.

In other words, there are still good guys, still bad guys and nothing is simple. There's even a mysterious/covert group hailing from Gen. Washington's time and those are always good for a little adventure and intrigue. Especially when the last man and the woman charged with chaperoning him don't like each other very much.

I think the characters we get as focal points are sufficiently developed and having Yorick as an escape artist was a fun and useful choice for the writer. Of course, why that first chick had handcuffs mystifies me... but, regardless, the story is off to a good start and I should get vol 2 in a few days.
egwenna: (Default)
A disorderly mind eventually gets to the point.

I think I followed a link off [ profile] kadath's journal, to .... some journal I've been to several times but now can't find a link to. Hmm. I hate when that happens. [ profile] princejvstin might know what I'm talking about, I know he reads it too.

Anyway, on this link, or maybe I clicked through to the next entry (my memory is so shoddy these days) was a review for "The Last Man." There was some discussion of the science/biology regarding the premise. I think it's highly unlikely that any virus could systematically wipe out all males, especially since some lower mammals are already starting to breed without it (based off another half remembered article in ... I think the magazine from the Museum of Natural History).

Good grief. I should run away from the computer now. Clearly, one cup of coffee is not sufficient this morning.

AnyWAY..... I thought the book sounded interesting enough to promptly look it up on my library's site and drop it in my virtual bookbag. When I was getting ready to take the little man, I put in my request. They call me to tell me it's there, we run in, he gets a few things, I pick up my book and we're back out before there are incidents.

This morning, I had a moment where I could read. I was so excited. It's such a rare event! And I had my coffee and I sat down, and the baby was playing happily and...... it's the wrong book. They gave me Book 3 of the series instead of Book 1. *sigh*

egwenna: (Default)
“Many people just sit down and accept the inevitable, and if you accept the inevitable you will get it,” he says.
I've always believed that a great deal of aging is in our heads. I've watched the differences between my various grandparents, other people's grandparents, and even people my own age. So much is what we expect. I decided to go the Oil of Olay route a long time ago and fight it every step of the way.

1st Signs of Dementia May Be Physical
Mental Declines Come Later, Study Suggests
Older people in the earlier study who reported exercising three times a week or more developed Alzheimer's a third less often during the six-year-old study than people who exercised less.
Granted, it's not going to be that simple.
He also points out that older people who exercise regularly may have other habits that could help reduce their Alzheimer's risk.

“They are probably more disciplined,” he says. “They may eat a better diet or be more socially engaged. They may be doing any number of things that seem to be positive.”
They've found hormones that are linked to Alzheimer's (and have theories as to why women suffer less often than men), and I think (hope, pray) that one day we'll have a way to fight this. In the meantime, all we can do is the best we can do.

Me, I'll be at the gym.
egwenna: (Default)
This makes sense to me:

Fear of Snakes Drove Primate Evolution, Scientist Says

An evolutionary arms race between early snakes and mammals triggered the development of improved vision and large brains in primates, a radical new theory suggests.

The idea, proposed by Lynne Isbell, an anthropologist at the University of California, Davis, suggests that snakes and primates share a long and intimate history, one that forced both groups to evolve new strategies as each attempted to gain the upper hand.

To avoid becoming snake food, early mammals had to develop ways to detect and avoid the reptiles before they could strike. Some animals evolved better snake sniffers, while others developed immunities to serpent venom when it evolved. Early primates developed a better eye for color, detail and movement and the ability to see in three dimensions-traits that are important for detecting threats at close range.

Humans are descended from those same primates.

(the article continues:

Pronghorn antelope, the fastest thing on our continent, evolved to out run early cheetas. Makes sense that not becoming dinner also drove some of our early evolution. After all, something pushed us hard enough that we are radically different from other animals. The quest for food isn't enough.

Plus, the conflict between mammals and snakes continues. An article in Natural History magazine detailed how rattlesnakes were becoming increasingly toxic. People bitten need far more antidote then they used to. Apparently the squirrels are developing an immunity, so the vipers are getting heavier cannon-fire and the venom contains a higher concentration of neurotoxin than it used to, causing much woe for the unwary humans who tangle with them.

Of course, the article also had something funny to say about victims of rattlesnake bites:
The doctors’ conclusion was that the typical snakebite victim is male and under thirty, with a blood-alcohol concentration of more than 0.1 percent at the time he is bitten.

Unless I get careless while hiking, I think I'm safe.
egwenna: (Default)
The Rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004. Even though they were designed to last just three months, both are still exploring two years later.


Jul. 30th, 2005 01:47 pm
egwenna: (Default)
Images from the 30-day Ocean Explorer expedition mounted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy.


Apr. 26th, 2005 05:06 pm
egwenna: (Default)
The Hubble space telescope went into orbit fifteen years ago today.
egwenna: (Default)
A story of motherhood... I hope she makes it:

Eggs Hatching for Aurora the Octopus
egwenna: (Default)
NASA Turns to Mexican Lake for Clues to Alien Life

I keep hoping there is (other life, that is)and this sounds like another place I'd like to visit. Of course, these days that list is getting longer with little hope of getting shorter in the near future.
egwenna: (Default)
Something like this would make for a really cool dive. There's a palace in Egypt thought to be Cleopatra's that is underwater and either the Lighthouse of Rhodes, or the Colossus that is also underwater, but viewable. I'm not sure if they're open to the public, but I'm hoping I can go see them one day. This might make an excellent addition to the list:

Indian divers find more archaeological evidence of an ancient city uncovered by December's tsunami.
egwenna: (Default)
Tiny Animals Dominate Deep-Sea Trenches -

We find life in the strangest places, again seeming to promise that it must exist somewhere else as well.

In other news... )

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Sadly I spent most of the day throwing things away or packing, although the gym gave me a free smoothy. :-)


Jan. 28th, 2005 05:09 pm
egwenna: (Default)
Study: Hydrogen Fuels Yellowstone Microbes

I think this almost guarantees that there is life out there. It might not be anything we can talk to, but I bet some nifty, potentially wicked little microbes are inhabiting places we haven't been to yet.

Back in the mundane world.. )


Jan. 6th, 2005 09:08 pm
egwenna: (Default)
I guess it makes sense. They're mammals, they breath air and therefore must have air spaces.... but I confess to being among the people who wouldn't have thought this could be:

Whales 'suffer from the bends'


egwenna: (Default)

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