There. I just saved you all the bother of moving to Minnesota.
Cicadas are winged insects that evolved around 1.8 million years ago during the Pleistocene epoch, when glaciers advanced and retreated across North America. Cicadas of the genus Magicicada spend most of their lives below the ground, feeding on the juices of plant roots, and then emerge, mate, and die quickly. These creatures display a startling behavior: Their emergence is synchronized with periods of years that are usually the prime numbers 13 and 17. (A prime number is an integer such as 11, 13, and 17 that has only two integer divisors: 1 and itself.) During the spring of their 13th or 17th year, these periodical cicadas construct an exit tunnel. Sometimes more than 1.5 million individuals emerge in a single acre; this abundance of bodies may have survival value as they overwhelm predators such as birds that cannot possibly eat them all at once.
Some researchers have speculated that the evolution of prime-number life cycles occurred so that the creatures increased their chances of evading shorter-lived predators and parasites. For example, if these cicadas had 12-year life cycles, all predators with life cycles of 2, 3, 4, or 6 years might more easily find the insects. Mario Markus of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, Germany, and his coworkers discovered that these kinds of prime-number cycles arise naturally from evolutionary mathematical models of interactions between predator and prey. In order to experiment, they first assigned random life-cycle durations to their computer-simulated populations. After some time, a sequence of mutations always locked the synthetic cicadas into a stable prime-number cycle.
Earth's current atmospheric CO2 concentration is almost 390 parts per million (ppm). Adding another 300 ppm of CO2 to the air has been shown by literally thousands of experiments to greatly increase the growth or biomass production of nearly all plants. This growth stimulation occurs because CO2 is one of the two raw materials (the other being water) that are required for photosynthesis. Hence, CO2 is actually the "food" that sustains essentially all plants on the face of the earth, as well as those in the sea. And the more CO2 they "eat" (absorb from the air or water), the bigger and better they grow.
via David St. Lawrence's Making Ripples
Click on the image to view the video. As the page says "It is an explosive with no use other than a novelty."
An explanation from Matthew Jenks:
What you see there is nitrogen triiodide. The beauty of nitrogen triiodide is that, when it's wet, it's completely stable. When it dries out, the shit's as touchy as an overweight, middle-aged man about his car. As you can see, just brushing it with a feather can get it to go off. Later in my chemical career, my undergraduate professor for gen chem, quantitative analysis and p chem, Dr. Awesome, told me about how his room mates would whip up some nitrogen triiodide (he called it ammonia triiodide) and then those wily chemists would paint Dr. Awesome's keyhole (to his door, you sick f**ks) with the wet stuff. That way, when he finally rolled back to the dorm, he'd stick his key in the door and BLAM! Instant Heart Failure!!!
He said he was usually tipped off when he would step in front of his door and he'd hear a faint "Paff!" come from under his foot where he had stepped on a spot where the nitrogen triiodide had dripped off the paintbrush and dried on the floor. We chemists know how to have an awesome good time.
A long, long time ago I knew a couple of guys who were really into this stuff. It was amazing how big a bang a teeny-tiny grain of this stuff could make.
It starts with recent reports of sharks in the swamps of Louisiana:
Walker has pictures of bull sharks that were caught among the inland waters in Louisiana. He says sharks have likely been around these parts for decades. However, they're noticing them more because they now take huge samples of species in different waterways in Louisiana and that's turning up sharks. It's no surprise for long time Atchafalaya swamp tour guide Curtis Allemond. "Oh, I used to catch 'em up on the river when the river's low, yeah (laughs)," he said when asked if he had ever seen any sharks in the swamp.
The bull shark is particularly troubling for Walker, in part due to their natural threatening nature. "They're fairly aggressive sharks. They're probably responsible for the majority of the attacks on human beings." Walker says there are no known inland shark attacks in Louisiana. The bull sharks are not just hanging around the bayous and swamps. They have been caught some 900 miles up the Mississippi River.
"They have been captured in St. Louis. They have traveled 2500 miles up the Amazon. They have some mechanism in their make-up that allows them to process freshwater and not require high salinity to live." It may seem hard to believe that in the deep swamp of Louisiana bull sharks, one of the most dangerous species of shark, are swimming in the swamp.
That "St. Louis shark" was actually caught upriver in Alton, Illinois:
According to the Illinois Department of Conservation, two commercial fishermen from Alton, Herbert Cope and Dudge Collins, caught a bull shark in 1937. They found something troubling their wood and mesh traps late that summer. Concluding that it was a fish, they built a strong wire trap and baited it with chicken guts.
The next morning, they caught a 5-foot 84-pound shark, which they displayed in the Calhoun Fish Market where it attracted crowds for days. Although some folks suspected a hoax, the catch was considered authentic. Biologists later concluded from photos that it was a bull shark. Recently, Clint Smith of Alton supplied an old photo of the catch, with the present-day ADM flourmill in the background.
Bull sharks can live a long time in freshwater. In 1972, one was caught 2,500 miles up the Amazon. The journey from New Orleans to Alton is about 1,750 miles. Dams now prevent sharks from entering Illinois.
Minneapolis, MN -- Shortly after Jaws opened in Minneapolis theatres back in the summer of 1975, the number of swimmers using our area lakes and pools plunged significantly. So, when a 10 year-old Minneapolis student approached Minnesota DNR biologist Dan Marais about three fossilized shark's teeth she had found in Minnehaha Creek, he could only smile to himself. More shark tales, he thought. That is, until he actually saw the teeth.
They did, in fact, come from sharks. However, two of the specimens were clearly not fossils, but teeth shed from a contemporary shark. Curious about the origins, Marais called a colleague at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to help identify the teeth and perhaps avoid falling victim to a hoax. What he learned made the small hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year, a report by Gulf marine scientists had warned that the enormous amount of pollution back-flushed into the Gulf of Mexico would cause many species of marine animals to either relocate or perish. That expected decimation of the food chain led to warnings of a possible migration of coastal sharks into rivers where a higher oxygen content would support more aquatic life. Specifically, they were watching for the common Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas). The stuff of legends, this aggressive shark was already known for its ability to live, feed, and even breed in extremely shallow fresh waters. Bull Sharks had previously been documented as far north as the Ohio River. They have also been attributed to most of the attacks on humans worldwide.
Lab technicians positively identified these two teeth as having come from a two-to-three year-old Bull Shark. However, it was a semi-classified document dated February 12, 2006 from the Wisconsin DNR that really set the wheels in motion. On that date, ice-diving biologists captured a nearly comatose five-foot Bull Shark in Lake Pepin, a widening of the Mississippi River. They were responding to reports from several startled salvage divers of a sleeping, "shark-like fish" in the open cab of a pickup truck that had gone through the ice a few weeks earlier. The Wisconsin divers located the truck in approximately 18' of water with the shark still inside, apparently hiding from the swift current. But the cold water had slowed its respiration and metabolism so much that it was barely alive. After an examination, the fish was tagged with a radio location device and released back into the river (Wisconsin regulations do not allow the keeping or transport of live, non-game fish). Sadly, marine biologists doubt the fish will survive until summer without the needed quantity of minerals and trace elements found in saltwater.
Frankly I'm not sure which is scarier: The sharks themselves or the fact that "Jaws" kept eligible voters out of swimming pools.
From Frank Ventura at KOLD Climate Community Blog:
Rabbits, dragons, faces, there is no end to the number of shapes and objects that one may see in all of the different cloud formations; and while seeing giant dogs in the sky might tell a physiologist something about your childhood, these clouds would not be named Nimbuscanis.
The naming of clouds is based on a system proposed by Luke Howard in his Essay on the Modification of Clouds in 1803. Currently there are only three classifications: cumulus, cirrus, and stratus. Now the Cloud Appreciation Society is pushing for a new type of cloud, asperatus, which is Latin for ‘roughened up’.
Tom McMahon,from the University of Arizona Steward Observatory, first brought this story to my attention and he took pictures of these new clouds over Mt. Lemmon.
Although the camera obscura began as a simple pinhole in one all of a darkened room, the arrangement diagramed here produces a brighter, sharper and erect image of great utility. Light from the scene enters the instrument, often through a glass window, and is then reflected vertically downward by a first-surface mirror.
Directly below the mirror is a lens, which focuses the light onto a matte white table.
Observers around the table see a full color image of the outside world; those viewers with their back to the scene see an image that is right side up. Most instruments have controls to rotate and tilt the flat mirror so as to change the area of land or sky that is presented on the table. More advanced instruments use motors to vary the focus and field of view.