The Quake: The Reactors: A Status Report

CNN has an overview of what we know –and don’t know– about the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi.

Status report: Reactor-by-reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant –

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Speaking of Meltdown: Arctic Ice Reaches Maximum, Begins Seasonal Melt

On March 7, 2011, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.64 million square kilometers (5.65 million square miles). The maximum extent was 1.2 million square kilometers (463,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average of 15.86 million square kilometers (6.12 million square miles), and equal (within 0.1%) to 2006 for the lowest maximum extent in the satellite record.

Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis

A tip of a fur-covered hat to Maximum meltdown : Class M

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Red River Rising

Well, not yet, but soon. This year’s record snowpack fell on saturated frozen ground. If spring rains melt it all at once, residents along the Red will face record-breaking floods.

There is a huge amount of snow on the ground in North Dakota along the tributaries of the Red River, thanks to fall precipitation that was 150% – 300% of normal, and winter snows that have dumped up to 400% more precipitation than usual. If one were to melt this snow, it would amount to 4 – 6 inches of rain. If heavy rains occur at the same time that the snow melts, there is the potential for the greatest flood in history to affect the cities of Fargo and Grand Forks, the largest and third largest cities in North Dakota. NWS is giving a 35% chance that Fargo will see its greatest flood in history this spring, up from the 20% chance they gave in their February spring flood outlook.

The situation is similar in Minnesota, which has received about double its normal precipitation over the past 3 to 4 months, resulting in the 5th snowiest winter on record in Minneapolis. Snow depths are in excess of 20 inches over wide swaths of of the state, and this snow has a very high water content equivalent to 4 – 6 inches of rain. NWS is giving a 95% chance that the Mississippi River at St. Paul will exceed major flood stage this spring.

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground

North Dakota around Fargo is one of the flattest places on earth. This makes the extent of flooding and thus the area under risk notoriously difficult to predict.

Think of a “normal” topographic map, with contour lines nestled inside one another. Water flooding such a map will fill up along the contours.

Not so North Dakota. Outside the river valleys themselves, the contour lines are few and far between. Once water gets out of the valley, it goes everywhere.

And where does it break out? You can’t be sure of that either. The map you have probably does not show last year’s erosion, insignificant when the water follows more contoured terrain, but a serious breach in flood defense in the Dakotas.



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Elizabeth Taylor Dies

“What a dump!”

Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress famed for her beauty, her jet-set lifestyle, her charitable endeavors and her many marriages, has died, her publicist told CNN Wednesday. She was 79.

Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79 –

*Suggested epitaph, from the opening scene of “Who’s Afraid of Virgnia Wolfe?”

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Radiation’s Most Immediate Effect: Panic Buying

A top Japanese official urged residents of the nation’s capital not to hoard bottled water Wednesday after Tokyo’s government found that radioactive material in tap water had exceeded the limit considered safe for infants.

“We have to consider Miyagi and Iwate and other disaster-hit areas,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. “I’d like to again urge consumers not to purchase more bottled water than they need.” …

Edano’s words seemingly fell on deaf ears as Tokyo residents made a dash for bottled water.

Tests detect radiation above limits for infants in Tokyo water –



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The Larval Form



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Twelve Insane Roller Coasters

So this is how they play with the gravity well on planet earth. Think of what we could do on the surface of a neutron star. Of course, the ultimate would be a black holercoaster.

From Oobject

Incredible Roller Coasters


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