In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

s-c-i-guy:

600 Million Years and Counting…

I was pretty bored so I decided to make some GIFs of the last 600 million years of our planet’s plate tectonics.

The first GIF is a global mollewide projection. The second one is of the Colorado Plateau and the North American Southwest. The next GIF is of the entire formation of the North American Continent. The fourth GIF is of geologic and tectonic evolution of Europe. And finally the last one is the same as the first except in rectangular format.

I obtained the images from Global Paleogeography and them compiled them one by one into Photoshop with the end result being the above GIFs.

Geology rocks

Even today, interplanetary dust rains down on Earth in vast quantities – typically a hundred tons of it a day – though only a small fraction reaches Earth’s surface. The rest harmlessly vaporizes in Earth’s atmosphere as shooting stars.

More hazardous are the billions, likely trillions, of leftover rocks – comets and asteroids – that have been orbiting the Sun since the early years of our solar system but haven’t yet managed to join up with a larger object.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (via whats-out-there)

brookhavenlab:

Where do our planet’s oceans come from? New research done in part at Brookhaven shows it may come from the rocks deep in the Earth’s mantle.
The water is trapped inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that sits between the Upper Mantle and Lower Mantle in a spot called the Transition Zone about 450 miles beneath the Earth’s surface.
Northwestern geophysicist Steve Jacobsen and University of New Mexico seismologist Brandon Schmandt have found deep pockets of magma in this zone, an indicator of water that is squeezed out of the rocks by enormous pressures and temperatures.
Jacobsen and his team used a diamond-anvil cell at one of the UV beamlines at our National Synchrotron Light Source to mimic those pressures on a sample of ringwoodite. Compressed between two tiny diamonds and laser-heated to almost 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, the sample sweated out its water. 
But it’s not in a form familiar to us — it’s not liquid, ice, or vapor. It’s water trapped in the molecular structure of the minerals in the mantle rock. If just one percent of the weight of mantle rock located in the Transition Zone is H2O, that would be equivalent to nearly three times the amount of water in our oceans!! 

brookhavenlab:

Where do our planet’s oceans come from? New research done in part at Brookhaven shows it may come from the rocks deep in the Earth’s mantle.

The water is trapped inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that sits between the Upper Mantle and Lower Mantle in a spot called the Transition Zone about 450 miles beneath the Earth’s surface.

Northwestern geophysicist Steve Jacobsen and University of New Mexico seismologist Brandon Schmandt have found deep pockets of magma in this zone, an indicator of water that is squeezed out of the rocks by enormous pressures and temperatures.

Jacobsen and his team used a diamond-anvil cell at one of the UV beamlines at our National Synchrotron Light Source to mimic those pressures on a sample of ringwoodite. Compressed between two tiny diamonds and laser-heated to almost 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, the sample sweated out its water. 

But it’s not in a form familiar to us — it’s not liquid, ice, or vapor. It’s water trapped in the molecular structure of the minerals in the mantle rock. If just one percent of the weight of mantle rock located in the Transition Zone is H2O, that would be equivalent to nearly three times the amount of water in our oceans!! 

nationalaquarium:

Did you know? We have maps detailing every mountain and crater on the moon’s surface, but only 5 percent of our ocean has been mapped in high resolution! Learn more about the importance of ocean mapping & exploration.

nationalaquarium:

Did you know? We have maps detailing every mountain and crater on the moon’s surface, but only 5 percent of our ocean has been mapped in high resolution! 

Learn more about the importance of ocean mapping & exploration.

ted:

To really understand climate change, we need to see the big picture. This beautiful globe is an animated climate model, made to help scientists figure out what the eff is going on.

This particular model (which you can see in all its mesmerizing glory at 8:33) shows many atmospheric particles moving around the globe. The reddish-orange is dust streaming off the Sahara; the white is pollution from burning coal and volcanoes; the red dots are fires; and the blue swirls are sea salt whipped into the air by the wind.

All those swirling particles affect our climate. “There are so many different factors at work,” says climate scientist Gavin Schmidt"Everything from how light travels through the atmosphere to how the winds move the ocean around to how rain hits the ground has an effect on what actually happens on Earth both now and in the future."

Watch the full talk here »

for-science-sake:

Sea Pens are located in oceans all over the world in a variety of colours and have fossils dating back to the Burgess Shale.

Despite their plant-like appearance and lack of movement, they are actually a community of organisms living together in each organism; with different regions being responsible for a function such as filtration, reproduction and feeding. These are also able to be kept in aquariums but are very difficult to care for.   

lucienballard:

Doggerland.
A map showing Doggerland, a region of northwest Europe home to Mesolithic people before sea level rose to inundate this area and create the Europe we are familiar with today.
Map via National Geographic magazine.

lucienballard:

Doggerland.

A map showing Doggerland, a region of northwest Europe home to Mesolithic people before sea level rose to inundate this area and create the Europe we are familiar with today.

Map via National Geographic magazine.

skeptv:

1964 M9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake—Causes & Effects

The 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake occurred on Good Friday, March 27th. It and rocked the state with strong ground shaking for 4.5 minutes. At magnitude 9.2, it was the second largest quake ever recorded by seismometers. This animation shows the underlying causes of that earthquake, and tells how research done on the ground deformation contributed to confirmation of early theories of plate tectonics.

via IRIS EPO.


Creatures of the deep: terrifying macro pictures of polychaetes or bristle worms

These tiny monsters may look like they are from another planet but they are in fact creatures from our deepest oceans.

More

sharkchunks:

jtotheizzoe:

One of my favorite GIFs of one of my favorite NASA visualizations to preview Monday’s It’s Okay To Be Smart and get you excited and all that jazz. Think you can guess what tomorrow’s vid is about?

Blue = sea saltGreen = organicsRed = dustWhite = sulfates

Check out the full NASA video below, featuring simulated global “stuff in the air” over a two year period on Earth. Ain’t Earth beautiful? (Even if, as in this case, it’s a 3 million processor-hour computer animation)


It looks so much like Jupiter in motion.

sharkchunks:

jtotheizzoe:

One of my favorite GIFs of one of my favorite NASA visualizations to preview Monday’s It’s Okay To Be Smart and get you excited and all that jazz. Think you can guess what tomorrow’s vid is about?

Blue = sea salt
Green = organics
Red = dust
White = sulfates

Check out the full NASA video below, featuring simulated global “stuff in the air” over a two year period on Earth. Ain’t Earth beautiful? (Even if, as in this case, it’s a 3 million processor-hour computer animation)

It looks so much like Jupiter in motion.

sagansense:

Earth’s upper atmosphere—below freezing, nearly without oxygen, flooded by UV radiation—is no place to live. But last winter, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that billions of bacteria actually thrive up there.

Expecting only a smattering of microorganisms, the researchers flew six miles above Earth’s surface in a NASA jet plane. There, they pumped outside air through a filter to collect particles.

Back on the ground, they tallied the organisms, and the count was staggering: 20 percent of what they had assumed to be just dust or other particles was alive. Earth, it seems, is surrounded by a bubble of bacteria.
Now what? Read the whole story over at PopSci…

sagansense:

Earth’s upper atmosphere—below freezing, nearly without oxygen, flooded by UV radiation—is no place to live. But last winter, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that billions of bacteria actually thrive up there.

image

Expecting only a smattering of microorganisms, the researchers flew six miles above Earth’s surface in a NASA jet plane. There, they pumped outside air through a filter to collect particles.

image

Back on the ground, they tallied the organisms, and the count was staggering: 20 percent of what they had assumed to be just dust or other particles was alive. Earth, it seems, is surrounded by a bubble of bacteria.

imageNow what? Read the whole story over at PopSci

This Ancient Asteroid Strike Was More Insane Than We Realized

Around 3.26 billion years ago — long before the dinosaurs — a massive asteroid measuring nearly 36 miles (58 km) across smashed into the Earth. Geologists have now reconstructed this cataclysmic event, and it was far, far bigger than we thought. Here’s how things went down on that fateful day…

The collision instigated a planetary-wide earthquake measuring more than 10.8 on the Richter Scale. It propelled seismic waves hundreds of miles through the Earth, breaking rocks and setting off other large earthquakes. This earthquake shook the earth for a half hour — about six times longer than the one that struck Japan in 2011…

The event also rebooted parts of the Earth’s tectonic system….

It also triggered tsunamis thousands of meters deep — far bigger than anything that could be generated by conventional earthquakes. These tsunamis swept across the oceans that covered most of the Earth at the time…

The Earth’s surface was completely fried. The sky became red hot, the atmosphere was filled with dust and debris — and the tops of the oceans boiled. Vaporized rock was shot up into the atmosphere where it circled the globe and condensed into liquid droplets before solidifying and falling back to the surface…

goodreasonnews:

katetheatheist:

panteradraco:

katetheatheist:

Your move Christians

lol, we humans count days by the sun, but does God have to do things by our standards?

How else would you count days? How long did time really pass then?

Actually, in a book designed for humans, yeah, a god would have to do things (or at least describe things) by our standards or at least explain this different set of standards.

goodreasonnews:

katetheatheist:

panteradraco:

katetheatheist:

Your move Christians

lol, we humans count days by the sun, but does God have to do things by our standards?

How else would you count days? How long did time really pass then?

Actually, in a book designed for humans, yeah, a god would have to do things (or at least describe things) by our standards or at least explain this different set of standards.

(Source: )