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Human Activity Really Is Melting Glaciers, Study Says

Publication: NBC News   Date: August 14, 2014   View Article

Time lapse photography of shrinking glaciers makes a powerful visual case for the impact of human-caused global warming. That’s why, for example, it’s used in former Vice President Al Gore’s slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth, and by GlacierWorks, a nonprofit started by famed mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears to document climate change in the Himalaya.

But is human activity really causing the world’s glaciers to melt? After all, these rivers of ice have been melting ever since the Little Ice Age came to an end nearly two centuries ago, long before humans pumped out enough greenhouse gases to change the global climate. Perhaps the glaciers would be retreating even if humans never once burned a fossil fuel or cleared a forest.

“It seems to be so obvious that when it is getting warmer — and it is getting warmer because of human activity — the glaciers are melting because of human activity, but that actually hasn’t been shown before,” Ben Marzeion, a climate scientist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, told NBC News.

Now it has.

Social Media Could Help Save Species on the Verge of Extinction

Publication: NBC News   Date: May 29, 2014   View Article

Dodo, meet Instagram.

Scientists think that the same technology that brought us the selfie could be used to help save some of the thousands of species tottering on the brink of extinction around the world.

While an untold number of butt selfies and pictures of food are posted on social networks daily, people are also snapping images of birds, flowers, and other creatures that can help researchers who keep a close eye on flora and fauna at the tipping point.

Rat-like image recognition to replace satellites

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 23, 2012   View Article

The images of nearly every major stretch of road taken by Google’s Street View team and the snapshots we capture with our smartphones may soon be all we need to navigate the world, according to an Australian researcher.

That is, we can ditch the expensive satellite and computer technologies that power modern GPS systems and rely on low-resolution pictures instead, Michael Milford, an engineer at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, explained.

Blood-Red Pyramid Tomb Revealed by Tiny Camera

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 29, 2011   View Article

Seen for the first time in centuries, a 1,500-year-old tomb comes to light via a tiny camera lowered into a Maya pyramid at Mexico‘s Palenque archaeological site in April. The intact, blood-red funeral chamber offers insight into the ancient city’s early history, experts say.

The tomb was discovered in 1999, though researchers have been unable to get inside due to the precarious structural state of the pyramid above. Any effort to penetrate the tomb could damage the contents within, according to the team, which is affiliated with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Instead, the archaeologists lowered the 1.6-by-2.4-inch (4-by-6-centimeter) camera through a 6-inch-wide (15-centimeter-wide) hole in an upper floor of the pyramid.

See the world from the space station

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: February 6, 2010   View Article

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have used hand-held cameras to take more than 450,000 photographs of Earth as seen from their orbiting outpost about 220 miles up in the skies since November 2000.

The flexibility to look off to the side, change lenses and choose interesting features to photograph are some of the advantages over stationary Earth-observing cameras on satellites, noted Cindy Evans at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston where the database of images is maintained.

Greatest hits from HiRISE

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: January 6, 2010   View Article

Since 2006, a high-resolution camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has delighted scientists and space enthusiasts with images of the Red Planet in never-before-seen detail. We asked members of the science team working on the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE, to pick some of their favorites.

Pictures: Best Micro-Photos of 2009 Announced

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 8, 2009   View Article

An image of the mustard plant’s male reproductive organ, enlarged 20 times under a microscope, took top honors in the 2009 Small World Photomicrography Competition, announced October 8.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach