Sun and Silhouette

Several months ago, I came across a web site featuring the remarkable astronomical photography of Thierry Legault; I did not have this weblog then, but a post at Bad Astronomy reminded me of this photograph. While there are several amazing pictures there, the following one is truly a jewel, a photograph that prompts you to look at the familiar in a different way. Take a look at our sun:

Copyright Thierry Legault.
Copyright Thierry Legault/Eurelios. Used with the author’s permission.

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Wind Power

A wind farm in Germany. Source: Bodoklecksel, Wikipedia

Wind power, as a form of so-called green energy, has been slowly gaining popularity. It has several disadvantages—as with other methods of energy production, the manufacture and maintenance of equipment may have indirect effects on pollution. There are also concerns about impacts on wildlife, especially birds, though this seems to be diminshed with newer designs. And wind power is intermittent and relatively low-density; it is uncertain how much of the world’s energy demand could be met through wind power alone.

And yet, wind power has some significant advantages. It is quite appealing because once wind turbines have been constructed, no fuel is required, and maintenance is generally low. Unlike hydroelectric power, the environmental impact is small, though wind farms do require a relatively large amount of land. As Wikipedia summarizes, “Wind energy is ample, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and mitigates the greenhouse effect if used to replace fossil-fuel-derived electricity.”

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Holiday Mammoth

Olduvai George just posted a nice little holiday card at his blog, commemorating the celebrations many cultures have near the winter solstice (in the Northern hemisphere—it’s the summer solstice in the Southern hemisphere).

What Are You Going to Do About Global Warming?

Temperature record for the past 150 ears
Source: Wikipedia

What are you going to do to help stem the ever increasing release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere? To help diminish the effect humanity has been having on Earth’s climate? To ensure that future humans can enjoy the same planet we do?

First of all, if you haven’t yet seen An Inconvenient Truth, I strongly recommend that you do so now. I recently watched it, and was quite impressed—impressed enough that I promptly purchased my own copy and invited several friends over to watch it. There is plenty of information on the Internet if you want to know more about the film; below is part of the e-mail I sent to my friends when inviting them to see it.

2006 Weblog Awards

Today is the last day to vote in the 2006 Weblog Awards. There are 45 categories; Flash is required to vote. Several very good candidates are up for Best Science Blog; I’ve mentioned at least three on this weblog already, and I encourage you to take a look at all of them. But the one I read most often, and the one I’ve voted for, is Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy, and he’s got quite a rivalry going with P. Z. Myers’ Pharyngula. Mr. Plait has asked webloggers to help him out by encouraging people to vote for him, so consider yourself so encouraged. Also, you may wish to peruse the other finalists for an introduction to some of the other excellent weblogs out there. The voting closes today at midnight Eastern time (0500 UTC 16 Dec, I believe).