The boats always come back – and when they do, Australia will have to draw on fresh reserves of cruelty | David Marr | Comment is free | theguardian.com

“There were guys who wet themselves and shit their pants out of total fear,” said the man from Manus. “There was blood everywhere; faces kicked in, noses – it’s all head injuries. I just remember blood everywhere I looked. Blood everywhere.”The nation holds its nose, averts its eyes. This isn’t us. Tony Abbott assured Andrew Bolt at the weekend, “We are by nature a generous and welcoming people.” But we will not be deterred by these regrettable events. We have to stop the boats. “And thank God the boats are stopping.”

via The boats always come back – and when they do, Australia will have to draw on fresh reserves of cruelty | David Marr | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Slope Streaks on Mars

Planetary Geomorphology Image of the Month

Post by Dr Norbert Schörghofer, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.

Slope streaks are a form of down-slope mass movement on the surface of Mars that frequently occurs on Mars today (Image 1 and 2). Slope streaks were first identified on high-resolution Viking Orbiter images, but their present-day activity was only discovered in Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images.

Image 1. A portion of a Mars Orbiter Camera image taken on 1999-10-28. Image 1. A portion of a Mars Orbiter Camera image taken on 1999-10-28.

Image 2: An Image of the same area taken on 2002-06-10. A large new slope streak formed, while numerous other streaks persisted. North is up and illumination is from the lower left (Schorghofer et al. 2007). Image 2: An Image of the same area taken on 2002-06-10. A large new slope streak formed, while numerous other streaks persisted. North is up and illumination is from the lower left (Schorghofer et al. 2007).

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Australia’s climate extremes increasing as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, report reveals – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australia is getting wetter despite drought across much of the country, a climate report has revealed.

The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology’s latest State of the Climate report is a snapshot of how Australia’s weather has changed over the last two years.

Average rainfall has increased in Australia since 1900, with above-average falls in Australia’s north offsetting a drop in annual rainfall in the south.

The report shows south-east Australia experienced a 15 per cent decline in late autumn and early winter rainfall since the mid-1990s.

via Australia’s climate extremes increasing as carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, report reveals – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics | Mother Jones

Each night at dinnertime, a familiar ritual played out in Michael Green’s home: He’d slide a stainless steel sippy cup across the table to his two-year-old daughter, Juliette, and she’d howl for the pink plastic one. Often, Green gave in. But he had a nagging feeling. As an environmental-health advocate, he had fought to rid sippy cups and baby bottles of the common plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA), which mimics the hormone estrogen and has been linked to a long list of serious health problems. Juliette’s sippy cup was made from a new generation of BPA-free plastics, but Green, who runs the Oakland, California-based Center for Environmental Health, had come across research suggesting some of these contained synthetic estrogens, too.

via The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics | Mother Jones.

How Dogs Read Our Moods: Emotion Detector Found In Fido’s Brain : Shots – Health News : NPR

A paw on the leg. A nose nuzzling against your arm. Maybe even a hop onto your lap.

Dogs always seem to know when you’re upset and need extra love, even though they hardly understand a word of what you say. How can that be?

Dogs were happy to go into the brain scanner when they saw more experienced dogs sitting quietly in the machines.

Dogs were happy to go into the brain scanner when they saw more experienced dogs sitting quietly in the machines.

Courtesy of Eniko Kubinyi

Our four-legged friends have a little patch of their brain devoted to deciphering emotions in human and dog voices, scientists Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

via How Dogs Read Our Moods: Emotion Detector Found In Fido’s Brain : Shots – Health News : NPR.

The Wild Beauty of Iceland’s Uninhabitable Landscapes | Raw File | Wired.com

Iceland’s epic vistas, vast glaciers, soft light and ominous volcanoes make beautiful abstract art in Emmanuel Coupe-Kalomiris’s aerial photos. He’s made striking visuals out of the island’s natural formations without focusing on their actual geography.

“I wanted something that doesn’t have context, no sense of scale,” says Kalomiris. “I wanted it to be lost. In the end it doesn’t really matter what you’re looking at. It’s supposed to be just pure visual pleasure.”

via The Wild Beauty of Iceland’s Uninhabitable Landscapes | Raw File | Wired.com.

Ptarmigan May Be Tops in Adapting to Winter Weather | Audubon Magazine

What’s brown and black but white all winter? The ptarmigan is unique among birds for molting into snow-white plumes for half the year. In fact the three species of ptarmigan—rock, willow, and white-tailed—may be among the best-adapted birds for surviving the frigid winter temperatures of northern climes and high elevations.

Like other critters that live in snowy places, including the ermine and the Arctic fox, the ptarmigan’s gray-brown summer garb transforms into a brilliant bright white each year when the snow begins to fall. (Technically, the white-tailed and rock ptarmigan have black outer tail feathers, but they’re barely visible under most circumstances.)

via Ptarmigan May Be Tops in Adapting to Winter Weather | Audubon Magazine.