Science Sunday

Earth Day Retrospective

Saturday we celebrated the 48th instance of Earth Day, a day dedicated to celebrating  the planet we live on and love.

Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who thought (correctly) that the energy of the antiwar movement could be channeled into an environmental movement to improve the planet.

To quote from the Earth Day website:

On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

The above video gently reminds us of both the bad and good developments that have occurred on this planet in the last 48 years.  Take a few moments to expand your worldview, courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History.

Standing Up For Science

A relatively short but informative video about how scientists are coming together, not just for today’s march, but for the coming difficult months and years ahead.  We should be celebrating how the world has successfully tackled global warming and climate change, but the denier in chief is having none of that perspective.

Solid As A Rock

Steve Baragona of Voice of America News talks with a team of scientists core drilling a mountain range in Oman, who are investigating nature’s ways of removing carbon dioxide from the air and chemically binding it to rock in the form of limestone.


Curiosity may not have yet killed the neighborhood cat, but Minute Physics illustrator Henry Reich nevertheless posits the question of whether our innate curiosity is good or bad for our species.

I Had No Idea

I had no idea that a mere 70 million years ago, North America was split in two by a relatively shallow inland sea called the Western Interior Seaway that stretched from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.

In this sea lived carnivorous monsters, whose fossilized remains can be found in modern day Montana.  An elk hunter named David Bradt discovered a new example of one group of these waterborne reptiles called elasmosaurs.

A normal elasmosaur has an enormous neck of length 18 feet, but Bradt’s discovery had a neck of only 7.5 feet.

You can learn more about Bradt’s discovery here.

Fly Me To The Moon

Or at least over New York or San Francisco.

Jeremy and Norman from explore the latest and greatest in VR technology, namely Birdly, a VR system that creates the experience of really flying like a bird over a city.

Newer episodes of Birdly will include other cities, and possibly a flyover of dinosaur land.

Birdly, originally designed by a team from Zurich University of the Arts, is now being marketed by a company called Somniacs.

Author: Bob Mahoney

Physics teacher

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