Tag Archives: spring

An angry math blog sparked a scientific revolution

It began with a frustrated blogpost by a distinguished mathematician. Tim Gowers and his colleagues had been grumbling among themselves for several years about the rising costs of academic journals.

They, like many other academics, were upset that the work produced by their peers, and funded largely by taxpayers, sat behind the paywalls of private publishing houses that charged UK universities hundreds of millions of pounds a year for the privilege of access.

So, in January this year, Gowers wrote an article on his blog declaring that he would henceforth decline to submit to or review papers for any academic journal published by Elsevier, the largest publisher of scientific journals in the world.

He was not expecting what happened next. Thousands of people read the post and hundreds left supportive comments. Within a day, one of his readers had set up a website, The Cost of Knowledge, which allowed academics to register their protest against Elsevier.

The site now has almost 9,000 signatories, all of whom have committed themselves to refuse to either peer review, submit to or undertake editorial work for Elsevier journals. “I wasn’t expecting it to make such a splash,” says Gowers. “At first I was taken aback by how quickly this thing blew up.”

keep readingAcademic spring: how an angry maths blog sparked a scientific revolution

La Niña leaves on Thursday – El Niño could be coming

Changes are brewing in the equatorial Pacific, and they could profoundly affect weather across the U.S. and much of the globe next winter and spring.

La Nina, which has held sway since last fall, will be officially declared a goner Thursday, an official at the Climate Prediction Center in Maryland told InsideClimate News. And while nobody is quite certain what will happen next, some long-range forecast models are pointing to the possible emergence of the opposite phenomenon: El Nino.

Climate scientists are still trying to determine what role climate change plays in the La Nina/El Nino cycle. One study by scientists with NASA and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle suggests global warming may already be affecting the intensity and impacts of El Nino.

Regardless of climate change’s role, a shift away from this year’s La Nina could dramatically alter temperature, precipitation and extreme-weather patterns.

…keep readingAdios, La Nina. Hola, El Nino?

 

// Photo – Vinoth Chandar

Renewable energy production variability by hour of day, and by season (graph)

- …illustrate the variability of wind and solar generation relative to the comparatively smooth output from other generation sources

- Power produced by geothermal, biomass, biogas, and small hydro generators can be easily dispatched, meaning it can be either increased, decreased, or controlled to remain fairly constant.

- Wind resources are often more available at night.

- Solar power is not generated until the sun comes up, and can increase and decrease quickly as the sun rises, sets, or is blocked by cloud cover. However, much of California’s utility-scale solar capacity is based on concentrating solar technology, which embodies enough thermal storage to continue generating power for a few hours after the sun goes down

- The variability of wind and solar power generation leads to challenges in power system operations and planning.

- The contribution towards total generation from eligible renewable resources also varies seasonally. For the dates charted above, the amount of renewable generation as a percentage of the total generation ranges from 8% on Oct 18, 2011 to 14% on May 9, 2011.

via - Today in Energy, EIA

Reveling in Ranunculus

Ranunculus, with their layered, crepe-like petals that explode in blooms of red, yellow, orange, white and pink, are cheery in the Fall and equally festive in the Spring. The bright beauties spread their rainbow happiness in small pots on tables, as part of larger plant containers and along the front of home borders. They are also a favorite among Spring brides.

Those available during bulb season in October and November are sold as dormant tubers, and grow into the beautiful, tall plants that make excellent cut flowers. These start their lives right here in Southern California in the famous “Flower Fields’ of Carlsbad. When planting these “bulb” varieties, known as Tecolote ranunculus, in flower beds, it’s best to place them in the middle so other plants can conceal their shaggy bases.

Flower Fields of Carlsbad, CA

In England, the common name for Ranunculus is “Buttercup,” apparently because of various legends linking it to dairy cows and butter. There’s also supposed to be a Native American myth associated with the varieties that grow in the Pacific Northwest: Coyote was tossing his eyeballs in the air for fun, and either Eagle or Buzzard swooped by and took them. So Coyote took Ranunculus to use as his new eyes. Hence, the common name in that region, “Coyote Eyes.”

via, my favorite nursery, Roger’s Gardens

 

// Photos – Kanonn, Superfem, Sakura Chihaya+, Hello-Julie

The benefits of raised bed gardening

It’s springtime and I’ll be out doing some planting today. Yesterday, at the farmers market, I picked up four seedlings: Pepper, Heirloom Tomato, Thai Basil, and Mexican Squash.

Before getting started I looked up what a ‘raised bed’ was. I had been hearing a lot about them and was wondering why they’re so popular. Turns out they have several endearing features:

  • Conserve water
  • Extend the planting season
  • Reduce weeds
  • Reduce the need to use poor native soil
  • Higher yields
  • Serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails
  • Can be planted earlier in the season because the soil is warmer when it is above ground level.

Raised bed gardening is a form of gardening in which the soil is formed in 3 – 4 foot wide beds, which can be of any length or shape. The soil is raised above the surrounding soil (approximately 6 inches to waist-high), is sometimes enclosed by a frame generally made of wood, rock, or concrete blocks, and may be enriched with compost.

The vegetable plants are spaced in geometric patterns, much closer together than conventional row gardening. The spacing is such that when the vegetables are fully grown, their leaves just barely touch each other, creating a microclimate in which weed growth is suppressed and moisture is conserved.

Additionally, waist-high raised beds enable the elderly and handicapped to grow vegetables without having to bend-over to tend them.

via Wikipedia

 

// Photo via mccun934

At the market – in season – March the beginning of Spring

I found a fantastic column from writer Carol Golden in San Diego Magazine. “At the Market – what to watch for this month:”

March is a transitional month, like pubescence for produce. We’re tired of root veg, but strawberries haven’t come of age. Thanks be to peas—the hint of light, sweet green we crave as days grow warmer. Eat whole sugar snaps raw, chop into salad, or lightly steam. For English peas, channel your inner grandma and sit with a bowl to shell them. Add the peas and a little water to a skillet, cook until the water evaporates. Or live dangerously with a knob of butter and sea salt. Sauté briefly, eat, and smile. Spring is almost here.

Keep reading for a CSA from Poppa’s Fresh Fish company – $25 for a box (25% off retail)  of local fish, mixed fish, shelled fish, or simply wild salmon.

And, Claravale Farm is bringing their raw milk to the dairy desert of Southern California. Did you know that it is near impossible to find milk, cheese, ice cream, or butter at farmers markets in Orange County and San Diego?

Well the milk man is back, at least at one farmers market in San Diego!