Tag Archives: southern california

Confirmed: Stellar Behemoth Self-Destructs in a Type IIb Supernova

Our Sun may seem pretty impressive: 330,000 times as massive as Earth, it accounts for 99.86 percent of the Solar System’s total mass; it generates about 400 trillion trillion watts of power; and it has a surface temperature of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet for a star, it’s a lightweight. (more…)

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Ways Google Glass Would Be Great for Gaming

Many are speculating the possibilities for the new Google Glass – a wearable computer that displays a screen in front of your eye that you can control by voice command – in industries, such as medicine and education.

One industry in particular that has people excited about the possibilities for using the device is the gaming industry. The Google glass can take gaming to a completely different level in all genres of gaming.

Multiplayer system, role-playing (RPGs) and first-person shooting (FPS) games could potentially be more efficient to play and participate in. The glass right in front of your eye places you in the hub of the action, allowing players to nearly be face-to-face and eye-to-eye with the opponents in their games. What’s more, there is the potential of better accuracy when shooting, with the glass serving as your pinpoint target. (more…)

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Satellites See Double Jeopardy for SoCal Fire Season

PASADENA, Calif. – New insights into two factors that are creating a potentially volatile Southern California wildfire season come from an ongoing project using NASA and Indian satellite data by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; and Chapman University, Orange, Calif.

The scientists tracked the relationship between rainfall and the growth and drying-out of vegetation in recent months, during an abnormally dry year. They found the timing of rains triggered regional vegetation growth in January and early February, which then dried out faster than normal during a period of low rainfall, strong winds and high temperatures in March and April. The combination likely elevates wildfire risks by increasing available fuel. (more…)

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USGS Finds No Influence of Oil Platforms on Contaminant Levels in California Fishes

Fishes residing near oil platforms in southern California have similar contaminant levels as fishes in nearby natural sites, according to two recent reports by the U.S. Geological Survey, which were conducted to assist the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in understanding potential consequences of offshore energy development.

Since the underwater portion of many offshore oil and gas platforms often provides habitat to a large number of fishes and invertebrates, some stakeholders have called for ocean managers to consider a “rigs-to-reefs” option during the decommissioning phase of a platform. This option would maintain some of the submerged structure to function as an artificial reef after oil and gas production has ended. The findings of this study address questions regarding how the industrial legacy of this kind of artificial reef may affect local fish populations. (more…)

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Genomic Detectives Crack the Case of the Missing Heritability

Despite years of research, the genetic factors behind many human diseases and characteristics remain unknown. The inability to find the complete genetic causes of family traits such as height or the risk of type 2 diabetes has been called the “missing heritability” problem.

A new study by Princeton University researchers, however, suggests that missing heritability may not be missing after all — at least not in yeast cells, which the researchers used as a model for studying the problem. Published in the journal Nature, the results suggest that heritability in humans may be hidden due only to the limitations of modern research tools, but could be discovered if scientists know where (and how) to look. (more…)

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Nettles — it’s what’s for dinner!

UCLA scholar, culinary historian champions foraged foods in new book

Today, delicacies like capers, arugula and fennel are at home at Dean & Deluca, Whole Foods and fancy restaurants, but they haven’t always lived the high life.

These and other darlings of the foodie set started out as peasants’ fodder, foraged from rocky outcroppings, empty fields and roadsides, according to a new book by a UCLA professor.

Luigi Ballerini revisits this distant past in “A Feast of Weeds: A Literary Guide to Foraging and Cooking Wild Edible Plants” (University of California Press), which celebrates the foraged foods that are currently enjoying a renaissance in Italy and elsewhere. (more…)

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Could a Hurricane Ever Strike Southern California?

There’s an old adage (with several variations) that California has four seasons: earthquake, fire, flood and drought. While Californians happily cede the title of Hurricane Capital of America to U.S. East and Gulf coasters, every once in a while, Mother Nature sends a reminder to Southern Californians that they are not completely immune to the whims of tropical cyclones. Typically, this takes the form of rainfall from the remnants of a tropical cyclone in the eastern Pacific, as happened recently when the remnants of Hurricane John brought rain and thunderstorms to parts of Southern California. But could a hurricane ever make landfall in Southern California?

The answer, as it turns out, is yes, and no. While there has never been a documented case of a hurricane making landfall in California, the Golden State has had its share of run-ins and close calls with tropical cyclones. In fact, California has been affected by at least a few tropical cyclones in every decade since 1900. Over that timeframe, three of those storms brought gale-force winds to California: an unnamed California tropical storm in 1939, Kathleen in 1976 and Nora in 1997. But the primary threat from California tropical cyclones isn’t winds or storm surge. It’s rainfall — sometimes torrential — which has led to flooding, damage and, occasionally, casualties. (more…)

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Sea Floor Samples Help Explain Arid Southwest

Surface-dwelling algae adjust their biochemistry to surface temperatures. As they die and sink to the bottom, they build a sedimentary record of sea-surface temperature across millennia. Brown’s work on surface temperatures, coupled with work from Texas A&M on rainfall and weather patterns, has helped chart the wetter, lake-filled geological history of the currently arid American West.

During the last ice age, the landscape of the American West was very different. Where now there are deserts and salt flats in the Southwest and Great Basin regions, there once were giant lakes and wetlands. The Great Salt Lake, for example, is a tiny remnant of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which at one time covered almost 20,000 square miles. (more…)

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