Thursday, January 29, 2009


Global Warming? Think for a moment… Is it real????? Hmmmm! Yes! WAIT! Don’t leave! Take a few moments and read this one. It is a little long, but trust me, I have shortened this, REALLY! And this is right up my alley; I studied this extensively in school, so give it a chance!!!! And please do not argue with me with anything that you heard from Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. I like them both, but they are not scientists, just conservatives like me, but I however understand the Earth System Processes, well more than they do!

Temperatures on a global average have been on the rise. (Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100 years ending in 2005) This is a fact! No, I do not like Al Gore. His work is flawed and inconsistent. And he has bad hair. Does this mean that everyone is experiencing a warming? No. Some places are cooling and some are warming. This is an “average” global temperature increase, “average.” And yes, I know some of you are thinking, I am really cold right now. Yes! It is winter. HELLO! Really though, this is what happens when there is a climate shift, weather begins to see extremes. When a climate begins to change, bad things can happen. (I really like this, but then again, I am a natural disaster “FREAK,” as long as nobody gets injured or killed) If you have noticed in the past few years there has been an increase in extreme weather events. I know my friends in Arkansas thinks so. So when it gets colder than usual and you say, Wow! Global Warming huh! You are correct! When it snows in June you say, Wow! Global Warming huh! You are correct again! There are those that may say, well I thought they said back in the 70’s and 80’s that we were going into an ice age? Yes, this is the pattern that the earth should be going into. (This is what is great about science; new discoveries are made, let’s see what we can figure out next!) Does this mean an Earth covered in ice? No! Although, here in Utah this could be very bad, anyone remember the great prehistoric pluvial lake, Lake Bonneville, from the Pleistocene? I don’t, I was not around yet, but our mountains and shorelines remember. Take a look sometime if you are in the area, remarkable!

There are cycles that the Earth goes through called Milankovitch cycles, named after a Serbian civil engineer and mathematician, Milutin Milanković, that helped to determine these various orbital variations. These orbital variations are eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth's orbit and they are very complicated, so I will not bore you with them. Feel free to read about them if you can’t fall asleep. Talk about "moving!" These cycles show that we should be headed toward what looks like an ice age, but we are not. We are warming! (Sorry Phoenix! It is getting hotter!) This is where the confusion begins.

There is a direct correlation with warming to the industrial revolution. Also, there is a direct correlation to the increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere with the industrial revolution. By the way, the levels of CO2 have been measured from the top of Mount Kīlauea, Hawaii. Far away from any heavily polluted areas. It is very hard to ignore this evidence. So, Yes! global warming is happening. Now this is where the argument about global warming can begin.

Since it is a fact that temperatures have been on the rise, now we need to ask why. Is it anthropogenic? (Dang humans!) Perhaps! This is where there is such a debate. This is where I feel the real question should be. Is Global Warming Man Made? I personally believe that we have had some sort of an impact on climate change. To what extent? I am not sure. To actually know how much is very hard to track. Could there be some variable that we do not know? Yes! Could we, as humans, have just set off a tipping point and caused the warming to occur, or a climate shift to occur? Perhaps! There are just too many variables to consider. Whatever has caused this to happen may never be known. On the flip side we have also been helping to cool our planet with the sulfates we have been releasing into the atmosphere. This was discovered through methods called pan evaporation. (Cool Huh!) Pans of water are measured for the amount of evaporation that occurs over time. Evaporation is related to temperature and solar insolation or sunlight. The temperature has been increasing over the past years, but the amount of evaporation has been decreasing. Long story short, this has been because of the amount of sulfates that have been releases into the atmosphere. These sulfates block the amount of solar insolation the Earth receives. Now, could we have actually been slowing the rate of warming, very likely! Can you say, “Global Dimming!” (Very interesting study performed the day after 911 when all the planes were grounded, let me give you a little hint, no vapor trails!)
So, as you can see there are so many factors to consider. Since we do not know how much man has contributed to global warming, it is hard to say what we need to do, or if anything. My problem with these global warming extremists is that they think that we can fix this with no problems. They also paint a very dim picture of our future. It has taken a long time for this problem to happen and it is going to take a very long time to correct the problem. I personally feel, too little too late! I believe we are past the point of no return. The damage has been done. I am not an extremist when it comes to the global warming issue, but if we know we are contributing then it is our responsibility to do what we can to stop polluting our atmosphere. Even though I feel. it is too late, let's be good stewards of our Earth. Ultimately, the Earth will fix itself as it has done many, many times in the past. We will probably not be around to see this, but Earth will take care of this problem. Think About It!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I have been thinking of many different topics to post. Asteroids! Comets! Jupiter! Global Warming! Global Dimming! Extinction! But, I do not have any of these ready yet. Lucky You! So, since my wife tagged everyone on her blog with these questions, I will participate.

8 TV Shows I enjoy watching:

1. The Universe (The History Chanel)

2. That 70's Show

3. Dr. Who

4. CHiP's

5. Supernova (comedy on PBS, hard to find)

6. Jimmy Neutron

8. Glenn Beck

8 Things that happened yesterday:

1. Did laundry

2. Vacuumed

3. Took the kids to the library

4. Cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner

5. Had a beach party at home with the kids (see )

6. Cleaned house

7. Read "T. REX and the CRATER of DOOM"

8. Wrestled with kids

8 Things I am looking forward to:


2. April 13, 2029, Asteroid, "Apophis" And YES! FRIDAY the 13th!

3. 2036, Asteroid, "Apophis" BACK AGAIN! This is the time to really watch or feel!

4. Betelgeuse, a red super giant, to go "supernova"

5. March 20, 2009 Vernal Equinox (close enough!)

6. April 2009, Koen

7. September 5, 2009 Utah Football!

8. My wife to have Koen and feel much better and get out of the bed. I LOVE YOU SHARI!

8 Things on my wish list:

1. Telescope

2. New laptop

3. New Desktop

4. A masters degree

5. A Ph. D.

6. Greater mathematical abilities

7. Greater Scriptural knowledge

8. Global Warming! It is cold out there!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Goldilocks and the Three Planets

(Image: Venus - ESA, Earth - ESA, Mars - ESA © 2007 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/ RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Once upon a time there were three planets that lived in the the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The first planet was Venus, the second was Earth, and the third was Mars. As these planets moved on with their own orbital variations a Small Solar System Body or comet named Goldilocks, broke free, gravitationally speaking, from the Kuiper Belt.

While on her journey through the inner Solar System and before being thrown out into interstellar space, Goldilocks decided to pass by each of these three planets. Upon her visit by Venus she found that it was much too hot there for her nuclei consisting of loose collections of ice, dust and small rocky particles. Venus was much too close to the sun, her water would never be able to flow freely, it would turn into a gaseous state and would just evaporate into the atmosphere. She also found the atmosphere to be too thick and heavy. She would never be able to live on this planet and help support life. It was like a sauna. It was “Too Hot!” She then moved on to pass by Mars, because of her orbit she would have to come back later to visit Earth. While on her pass by Mars she found that it was too cold there. Once again her water would never be able to flow freely. The atmosphere there was too thin, because Mars has no continental drift. This causes all the particles in the atmosphere to become trapped within the surface of Mars. All of her water would remain in a solid or frozen state. She would never be able to help support life there. It was “Too Cold!” Now it was time to visit Earth. Upon her pass by Earth she found that the temperature was just right and her water was able to flow freely in a liquid state. There was also continental drift there on Earth. This allows particles from the atmosphere that become trapped on the ground to be brought back, once again, to the atmosphere through volcanic activity. The Earths medium sized atmosphere was just right. It allows for perfect temperatures and the ability to support life. It was “Just Right!”

As Goldilocks moved on before being thrown out into interstellar space she hoped that by chance, orbitally speaking, that she might pass close enough to massive Jupiter in hopes of being influenced, gravitationally speaking, on her trajectory. She hoped to be nudged just enough to one day return close enough to Earth and to be pulled into its atmosphere and burn up upon entry and release her nuclei and help support live on a planet that is “Just Right.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Waning gibbous Moon or Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is my favorite astrophysicist (because I have so many) will be on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." He will be on Monday, January 19th. I have read many of his books, journal articles, and essays. I have also watched many interviews with him, documentaries, and television shows he has appeared on. He is a very interesting and entertaining man with a great sense of humor. I actually try to emulate his style when I blog. I try to make what most people may find boring a little more entertaining and fun. So, if you have nothing else to do on Monday night, (which you should not, because the full moon is waning and all visible passes of the International Space Station with magnitude -2.3 will already have occurred earlier than evening) watch Jay and his interview with Neil. You will not be disappointed!

Make your decision what you will do, watch a waning gibbous moon or Neil deGrasse Tyson.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Biggest and Brightest!

Did you miss it?

Did you see it?

Do you Care?

Saturday night was the biggest and brightest full moon of the year 2009. You had to be on top of it this year. Just as in December 2008 the moon was very close, relatively, to Earth on Saturday night. It appeared about 14 percent bigger in our sky and 30 percent brighter than some other full moons that will occur during 2009. And just in case you were wondering, Yes! on Saturday night the moon was at perigee, the closest point to us on this orbit. See, you are learning from my blog. Hey! It could win you a game in Jeopardy!

But, just in case you were not able to view this event I captured, the best I could, the bright full moon rising over Mt. Timpanogos in Utah County, Utah. I was a little irritated with some sort of atmospheric phenomenon, visible mass of droplets, or frozen crystals floating in the atmosphere, but I did the best I could. Enjoy! (To see images in better detail, click on the image!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Don't tell me, "PLEASE!"

In the 1980's I moved to Los Alamos, New Mexico with my family where my father took a job with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). LANL is the birthplace of the atomic bomb. LANL is very secure and secret facility, a government facility run by the University of California. They do a great deal of research that is very secret and for very good reasons, mostly national defense. My father is a very, very smart man. He has a B.S. in mathematics and a M.S. in Nuclear Engineering. Well, my father worked in nuclear power for many years before working at LANL. When he took the job a LANL he received a very intense background check to gain employment. My father worked with nuclear weapons while working for LANL. My father was never able to tell us what he did, just that he worked with nuclear weapons. He often stated, "If I told you what I did, I would have to kill you." This show how important these secrets were and are. My father is now retired from LANL and still keeps his vault closed. I know he will continue to do this because of his integrity. Now that I have rambled I will get to the point of this post.

As many of you may know I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes we are referred to as LDS or Mormon. (Feel free to visit or if you have any questions) Some of you may know that we believe in the Bible and also believe and use other scriptures as a Testament of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Well, the other day while reading in the scriptures, I came across a scripture that has become my new favorite. This passage is when God is speaking to Moses about the creation of the Earth (one of my favorite topics) and many other worlds. This scripture is in the Book of Moses in the "Pearl Of Great Price."

"Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth." (Moses 1:5)

When I read this the first thing I thought of was when my father would joke with me about, if he told me what he did at work, he would have to kill me. Well, I believe this to be a little bit bigger than me and my father. This is the "ultimate" I can't tell you everything I do without having to kill you. Not that either my father or God would have killed either Moses or myself, but it shows you how important things can be on this Earth and throughout the universe. Mostly how important Gods Creations are.

WOW! What a wonderful creation this Earth is and not to mention all the "creations" throughout the universe. I am sure Moses thought the same as I did, "Don't tell me, PLEASE!"

Thursday, January 8, 2009


(Image: Don Davis/NASA)

Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go your way. You just can not seem to get going. I am sure that we all have at one point in our life. Well, I hope I can help. I can assure you that things could be worse. I will have you put yourself in the place of someone else or time for a few moments and perhaps this will help you when you are having a bad day.

Imagine you are some creature (you get to chose what you want to be, Tyrannosaurus Rex is a good choice),

(Artwork by Publiphoto/Photo Researchers, Inc.)

or pre-human living (I will let you chose this for imaginations sake. Pretend you went back in time) on Earth near the end of the Cretaceous period, nearly 65 million years ago. You are going on with your day, hunting for food (prehistoric grocery shopping), sending the offspring off to history class (Jurassic Period 1010), or getting ready for work at the angiosperm nursery or Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta farm (it is your imagination call it what you want). It is a clear warm day (duh! it's the Cretaceous, only about 18 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than current temperatures) and things are going pretty well for you and you family. It is very easy to breath the air that is very rich with oxygen, some 150% more than modern levels, and there is a good global warming on right now (some 6 times pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide SWEET!), life could not be any better. You are strolling along with you significant other, claw in claw, or hand in hand, depending on your evolutionary progress, along the beach the warm waters near the the swamps of what is modern day eastern Utah.

(Image: Unite States Geological Survey,

You are gazing across the warm shallow seas(modern day Colorado/Kansas) toward the east in hopes of a magnificent sunrise. Suddenly, to your surprise you see an asteroid around 10 km (6 mi) in diameter heading to Earth (better look fast).

(Image: Joe Tucciarone,

Within seconds this impacts Earth near the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico and releases 400 zettajoules of energy, Yes! this is a lot. This is 2 million times more powerful than the most powerful man-made explosive device ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba (dang Soviet Union, you just had to be bigger huh!), this was only, only, 50 megatons (weak! well, not really). Okay, so now what do you do? Run? Perhaps. Cry? Perhaps. Dig a hole? this would be best (lucky subterranial creatures, you moved on). Whatever you do, you are about to have the worst day ever. No matter where you are on Earth, you are in for a very bad day. The impact would have caused some of the largest megatsunamis in the world (sorry Indonesia, you ain't got jack!), reaching over thousands of feet high. A cloud of super-heated dust, ash and steam would have spread from the crater, as the impactor burrowed underground in less than a second. Excavated material along with pieces of the impactor, ejected out of the atmosphere by the blast, would have been heated to incandescence upon re-entry, broiling the Earth's surface and possibly igniting global wildfires; meanwhile, enormous shock waves spawned global earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The emission of dust and particles could have covered the entire surface of the Earth for several years, possibly a decade, creating a harsh environment for living things to survive in. The shock production of carbon dioxide caused by the destruction of carbonate rocks would have led to a dramatic greenhouse effect. Another consequence of the impact is that sunlight would have been blocked from reaching the surface of the earth by the dust particles in the atmosphere, cooling the surface dramatically (BRRRR, and I thought Utah was cold). Photosynthesis by plants would also have been interrupted (no more salads), affecting the entire food chain. As you can see, not a good day.

So, I hope that I have helped anyone that might have been going through a hard day. Think about it! Things could always be worse. Try to look at the brighter side of things, unless the brighter side is an asteroid! Have a Great Day! Things are pretty good on Earth right now.

Oh! And by the way. We could have and event happen similar to this, but not on such a grand scale, happen off the coast of California in the year 2036. Stay tuned! Can you say,
(Image: Science Photo Library)
Could this be another story? Think About It!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


(Rick Reilly, Writer for ESPN magazine and

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Utah! That's the way we "ROLL"

Congratulations to Utah! My Utes did it! They "Rolled" the Alabama, "Roll Tide." Should they be considered for a number "1" ranking? YES! What else do they have to do. They completed a perfect regular season. They went to a BCS bowl game (Again). They received a great opponent Alabama, who by the way was ranked number 1 for 5 straight weeks. They "Rolled" them 31 to 17, much more that Florida was able to do when they ended Alabama's perfect season. They are 13-0 this season and deserve to be number "1." Although they will probably not give it to them, we know that they deserve to be number "1" after all that they have accomplished.


Friday, January 2, 2009


Let's go Utah. Let's "Roll" the "Rolltide." Good luck today. You are Mountain West Conference Champions 2008. You are the original BCS Busters. This is your second BCS Bowl game. You have a perfect 12-0 season. AGAIN! You have a 10-3 bowl game record, which is the highest percentage in the nation for teams who have been to more than 10 bowls. You have won 26 conference championships. GO UTES! OH! And if you do lose, it won't be to a unranked 7-5 team.