Stories tagged On this day

Tell us about something that happened today in history, and make it relate to current science.

The new cap BP has placed on the leaking oil well a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico seems like it might actually be working. That means that for the for the first time in almost three months, oil has stopped flowing from the well.

I'm hesitant to let out a cheer for this, if only because we've already had quite a few gotcha-moments with "solutions" in the response to the oil leak. Right now the pressure from the well is being monitored to determine if the cap should stay tightly sealed onto the well or not—if the pressure stays high, that's good, but if the pressure drops, it could mean that the pipe has ruptured underground, which would be bad. Leaks beneath the sea floor would be much more difficult to manage, because the oil would seep up through the sediment in many places, instead of gushing from one broken pipe.

Anyway, here's hoping that the cap holds, leak free, until relief wells are completed and the leaking well can be shut off entirely. Stay tuned...

I've been spending a lot of time in dentists' offices lately. (That's a whole different post.) While waiting for today's appointment, I stopped in at a nearby coffee shop and was given a "fortune" with my iced tea. It said, "Build communities, not empires." Now, the motto around here has always been, "First the museums, then the world." Or maybe, "We got swagger." We're working on empires, but we've always thought of Buzz as a community. So how are we doing? Are the stories on Science Buzz interesting? Do you post your own, or leave comments/questions? Are there particular writers or kinds of stories you follow? Buzzketeers, here's your chance: let us know what you think.

Eyjafjallajökull isn't the only volcano to rock our modern world. Thirty years ago today Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington State, making it one of the most spectacular and devastating volcanoes in the history of the United States. For those of us who were not alive or old enough to remember the event, here is a haunting description of the explosion from Boston.com:

"On May 18th, 1980, thirty years ago today, at 8:32 a.m., the ground shook beneath Mount St. Helens in Washington state as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck, setting off one of the largest landslides in recorded history - the entire north slope of the volcano slid away. As the land moved, it exposed the superheated core of the volcano setting off gigantic explosions and eruptions of steam, ash and rock debris. The blast was heard hundreds of miles away, the pressure wave flattened entire forests, the heat melted glaciers and set off destructive mudflows, and 57 people lost their lives. The erupting ash column shot up 80,000 feet into the atmosphere for over 10 hours, depositing ash across Eastern Washington and 10 other states."

And for everyone, here are some fabulous Boston.com photos to commemorate the event.

Bear Awareness Week

by Joe on May. 16th, 2010

Its bear awareness week and the Minnesota Zoo staged a very effective demonstration...

We have a chick!

by Liza on May. 14th, 2010

Yummy: The first-hatched Sherco chick of 2010 enjoys a little breakfast.
Yummy: The first-hatched Sherco chick of 2010 enjoys a little breakfast.Courtesy Raptor Resources/Xcel Energy
Almost out: We should see two more chicks make their debut appearance any time now.
Almost out: We should see two more chicks make their debut appearance any time now.Courtesy Raptor Resources/Xcel Energy
The first of the eggs out at the Sherco nest box has hatched, and it looks like two others are well on their way.

Gaylord Nelson: OG Earthdude.
Gaylord Nelson: OG Earthdude.Courtesy Library of Congress
So, you know, get natural!

Pull that mattress out of your yard! Stop flushing batteries down the toilet! Surprise your parents by having them come home to a brand new green roof! Buy some lead-free ammunition! Make your own soap out of fat rendered from things you find on the riverbank! Instead of watching TV tonight, turn off all the lights in your house, and chase your dog around in the dark! Practice photosynthesizing sugars from carbon dioxide! Offer to carry any motorcycle-riding neighbors around on your back, while you make "vroom-vroom" noises! Add a candle to your Gaylord shrine!

Earth Day is for everyone!

.
A series of strong earthquakes struck a far western Tibetan area of China on Wednesday, killing at least 400 people and injuring thousands as houses made of mud and wood collapsed, trapping many more, officials said. Fox News.

The Large Hadron Collider recorded its first record-breaking proton collisions today, smashing subatomic particles into each other with about 3.5 times as much energy as any other experiment.

I don't know about all of you, but I haven't been consumed by a micro black hole yet. Or maybe I have, and I just don't realize it. If that's the case, don't even worry about it—life in the hole is pretty much like it was on the outside.

Learn more about why water is important

Water
WaterCourtesy José Manuel Suárez
National Geographic has lots of links and photos related to water issues(click link to learn more).

Water affects every aspect of our lives, yet nearly one billion people around the world don't have clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion still lack basic sanitation. World Water Day, celebrated annually on March 22, was established by the United Nations in 1992 and focuses attention on the world's water crisis, as well as the solutions to address it. waterday.org

NOAA/USGS and US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) forecast charts are showing a new predicted crest for the Mississippi River here in downtown St. Paul at a whopping 19.8' late on 3/25.

That's 2 feet higher than predicted yesterday, and would make the 2010 flood #7 on the top-ten list of recorded floods at this site.

Check out our full feature on the 2010 Mississippi River flooding.