Geology & Geophysics News

Ghoulish Places, Ghost Corals, and Other Ghastly News of the Week

What Earth and space science stories are we recommending this week?

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Thirteen Ghoulish Place-Names Across the Globe. Here’s a fun compilation from our own Eos to get you in the mood this All Hallows’ Eve.

Faith Ishii, Production Manager

 

Halloween Costumes Will Create 2,000 Tonnes of Plastic Waste in the UK This Year, Environmental Charity Warns.

When all the spooky business is done this year, try to find ways to keep old costumes, decorations, and pumpkin buckets out of landfills. You can donate them, reuse them, repurpose them, recycle them. But don’t let today’s Halloween fun pollute Halloweens of the future.

Kimberly Cartier, Staff Writer

 

A Key to Coral Bleaching Events? Location, Location, Location.

Underwater photo of bleached staghorn coral
The diverse family of staghorn corals (Acroporidae) is among the most susceptible to thermal stress, turning large stands of coral heads into fields of coral rubble. Credit: Tim McClanahan

Coral bleaching is a complex process, but while warming water temperatures certainly play a major role, it seems intuitive (doesn’t it?) that the occurrence of bleaching events would correlate with reef latitude—that is, the closer a reef is to the equator, the more likely its coral is to bleach, because the ocean is warmer at low latitudes. Surprise! That’s not the case, according to a new study that indicates that longitude is actually a better predictor of bleaching events than latitude.

Timothy Oleson, Science Editor

 

General Motors Sides with Trump in Emissions Fight, Splitting the Industry. As someone who grew up in Southern California when emissions regulations quite visibly cleared the air in front of my very eyes, I’m captivated by the drama unfolding between the state, the Trump administration, and the automobile industry that earlier this summer exhibited the frankly shocking behavior of…doing the right thing. It’s replete with questions involving federal versus states’ rights, long- versus short-term economics, what it takes to get a fuel-consuming industry to not only act but potentially act against its own interest—and whether we really care about the motivations behind it if it ends with cleaner air to breathe. This week’s article is the latest chapter.

Heather Goss, Editor in Chief

 

Selfie of Mars Curiosity rover on Mars
Just left of Curiosity are two drill holes, Glen Etive 1 (right) and Glen Etive 2 (left), where the rover extracted samples for its first wet chemistry experiment. The rover can analyze the chemical composition of rock samples by powderizing them with the drill, then dropping the samples into a portable lab in its belly called the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

New Selfie Shows Curiosity, the Mars Chemist.

Curiosity is doing “wet chemistry” work on Mars. Note the lack of a white lab coat and eye protection. Tsk, tsk.

—Nancy McGuire, Contract Editor

 

Excavating AI. A nice complement to this opinion piece in Eos on artificial intelligence, this essay dives deep into the training sets used when teaching computers to recognize and classify images. “There are categories for Closet Queen, Convict, Crazy, Failure, Jezebel, Kleptomaniac, Pervert, Schizophrenic, Second-Rater, Spinster, Waverer, and Wimp.”

Caryl-Sue, Managing Editor

Citation: AGU (2019), Ghoulish places, ghost corals, and other ghastly news of the week, Eos, 100, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019EO136274. Published on 31 October 2019.
Text © 2019. AGU. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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