A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature

A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature Spanning 1753 to 2011

Some warn you of flooding and storm;
Some say there’s no cause for alarm.
So we re-ran all the stats,
And hold on to your hats:
The weather is going to get warm.

Rohde, Robert; Muller, Richard A.; Jacobsen, Robert; Muller, Elizabeth; Perlmutter, Saul; Rosenfeld, Arthur; Wurtele, Jonathan; Groom, Donald; and Wickham, Charlotte (2012): A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature Spanning 1753 to 2011. Draft of an article submitted to the Journal of Geophysical Research.

(Something very scary, in honor of the day!)

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Future volcanism at Yellowstone caldera

Future volcanism at Yellowstone caldera: Insights from geochemistry of young volcanic units and monitoring of volcanic unrest
Featured science article at GSA Today

Rumbley tumbley,
Yellowstone Caldera
Someday is going to
Just up and explode.

Even with tools like
Geobarometry
We won’t have time to
Get out of the road.

Girard, Gillaume and Stix, John (2012). Future volcanism at Yellowstone caldera: Insights from geochemistry of young volcanic units and monitoring of volcanic unrest. GSA Today v. 22 issue 9 pp. 4-10.

(you use two unfamiliar sesquipedalians in your abstract, you get a double dactyl.)

Optimum Mating Rates under Traumatic Mating

Female Fitness Optimum at Intermediate Mating Rates under Traumatic Mating
online at PLoS ONE

A sea slug’s two sexes in one;
Screw and get screwed’s how it’s done.
And with buns in the oven,
They’re game for more lovin’!
I guess getting screwed is just fun.

Lange R, Gerlach T, Beninde J, Werminghausen J, Reichel V, et al. (2012) Female Fitness Optimum at Intermediate Mating Rates under Traumatic Mating. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43234. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043234

(note: “getting screwed is just fun” was not the conclusion this article came to, I just like it better than theirs.)

Salmon and Science

Salmon, Science, and Reciprocity on the Northwest Coast
Available online (html) through Ecology and Society

Give some fish to a neighbor who’s poor,
And he’ll eat for a year– that’s the score.
As for teaching him, now–
We still haven’t learned how.
We’d do better to look to before.

Johnsen, D. B. 2009. Salmon, science, and reciprocity on the Northwest Coast. Ecology and Society 14(2): 43. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art43/

The Catatumbo Lightning

Microfísica del relámpago del Catatumbo
pdf en Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina y El Caribe, España y Portugal (Redalyc)

In the clouds south of Lake Maracaibo
Are unending flashes of skyglow.
But spaceships it’s not!
It’s methane from rot,
From the swamps south of Lake Maracaibo.

Falcón, Nelson; Williams, Peter; Muñoz, Angel; Nader, Dia. (2000). Microfísica del relámpago del Catatumbo. Revista INGENIERÍA UC, junio.

This paper is in Spanish; I got through it on the strength of my schoolgirl Spanish, Google Translate, and how utterly cool the subject matter is. ymmv.

(Este papel es en español; yo comprendí en la fuerza de mi español muy mal de escuela, Google Translate, y mi entusiásmo por la sujeta [y también, mi español muy mal es más mejor que el resumen en inglés en la original!])

The Cantabrian Orocline

Buckling an Orogen: The Cantabrian Orocline
Featured Science Article in GSA Today, July 2012

Buckling in neat folds, the
Variscan Orogen
Rose from the earth’s crust
(And all of that schist);

So why are its ridges all
Subperpendicular?
Forces came later that
Added a twist.

Gutiérrez-Alonso, G., Johnston, S.T., Weil, A. B., Pastor-Galán, D. and Fernández-Suárez, J., 2012, Buckling an Orogen: The Cantabrian Orocline: GSA Today, v. 22 issue 7, pp. 4-9

(articles that suffer from superabundances of sesquipedalian hexasyllabicals may end up with double dactyls insead of limericks. Double dactyls are quite likely to make less sense.)

The 52-Hz Whale

Twelve years of tracking 52-Hz whale calls from a unique source in the North Pacific
PDF available online through the Defense Technical Information Center

Our hydrophones show us the trail
Of a Whale with a wondrous wail;
Though long it may call,
There’s no answer at all;
It is The World’s Loneliest Whale.

Watkins, W.A., Daher, M.A. and George, J.E. 2004. Twelve years of tracking 52-Hz whale calls from a
unique source in the North Pacific. Deep-Sea Research, Part I, pp. 1889-1901

Why do you only post limericks?

1. Because limericks are fun.

2. Because if I didn’t put myself under strict constraints, I would end up writing an essay instead, and then I would never get around to posting anything.

3. Because I want you to go read the original paper.

Playing telephone has been a problem in writing about science and other research for decades – there’s long been a tendency, especially among non-specialists (but also sometimes in the field), to base your summary on someone else’s summary on someone else’s summary until it’s sixty years before someone thinks to check the original article and discover that it didn’t say what the first person thought it said.

The internet simultaneously makes this easier – people will reblog something until I have to follow a chain back through a dozen links before I find someone who even mentions the name of the scientist – and less excusable. Because so often (especially with high-publicity discoveries!) the original research is right there for anyone to look at. And we should break the habit of thoughtlessly repeating the distorted whispers, and learn to go look for the original sources before we spread it on, and learn that getting information from the original paper really isn’t that scary.

So go read a peer-reviewed paper! And next time you’re reblogging a story about some cool new discovery, trace back as close as you can to the original source before you pass it on.

Lava Cooling at Heimaey

Lava-Cooling Operations During the 1973 Eruption of Eldfell Volcano, Heimaey, Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-724
(html webpage)

Up north there’s a town called Heimaey,
And no-one’s as badass as they.
When the hot lava flows,
They just pull out a hose,
And the lava’s turned back by cold spray.

Citation:
Includes English translations of:
Þorbjörn Sigurgeirsson, 1974, Hraunkæling [Lava cooling]: Tíminn, 19 January 1974, p. 8, 9, and 13. Slightly revised version of a lecture given by Prof. Thorbjörn Sigurgeirsson at Norræna húsið; [Nordic House], Reykjavík, Iceland, on 4 November 1973. English translation by unknown U.S. Department of State translator. Additional translation and edit by Richard S. Williams, Jr., U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole Field Center, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 025431598.

Valdimar Kr. Jónsson and Matthías Matthíasson, 1974, Hraunkæling á Heimaey – Verklegarframkvæmdir [Lava cooling on Heimaey – Methods and Procedures]: Tímarit Verkfræðingafélags Íslands, v. 59, no. 5, p. 70-81
and p. 83. English translation by Sigrún Rockmaker, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State. Additional translation and edit by Richard S. Williams, Jr., U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole Field Center, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543-1598.

The Cryptic African Wolf

The Cryptic African Wolf: Canis aureus lupaster Is Not a Golden Jackal and Is Not Endemic to Egypt
Online at PLoS ONE

For a jackal, the Striped or Black Backed’ll
Do fine, but if Goldens you tackle,
Remember C. aureus,
Always notorious,
Is sometimes a wolf, not a jackal.

Rueness EK, Asmyhr MG, Sillero-Zubiri C, Macdonald DW, Bekele A, et al. (2011) The Cryptic African Wolf: Canis aureus lupaster Is Not a Golden Jackal and Is Not Endemic to Egypt. PLoS ONE 6(1): e16385. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016385