BAN #41: Melting Greenland, Rose blooms, Boulder magazine

September 3, 2018 Issues #41

Subscribers, along with vast amounts of angular momentum, make the world go ‘round.

Is it hot in here, or is it just anthropogenic global warming?

Climate change is real, y’all 

I’m happy to hear that NASA has a new research plane and base of operations to study the melting ice of Greenland. The researchers have been dropping hundreds of probes off the coast of Greenland, which sink into the water and measure temperature and salinity as they do. In this way scientists can better understand how the ocean is helping melt the ice on the huge island, which stores about 10% of the entire planet’s fresh water in the form of ice.

The new plane can use a shorter runway to take off and land, which means they can fly out of Greenland itself instead of Iceland, which otherwise adds hours to the flight. It also means weather is not quite as critical an issue, which is good, because the end of summer is the best time to do these flights and that’s when former hurricanes tend to go up to those parts of the world to die. So this is a win-win for NASA and climatologists.

[Narhwals in the Arctic; their environment and migration patterns will be studied by the Oceans Melting Greenland researchers. Credit: University of Washington/K. Laidre]

So why am I telling you this? I like seeing new research being done in better ways, but also I will admit that sometimes I am a shallow man. It’s really because the name of the project is Oceans Melting Greenland.


Follow o’ the Letter

Someone you should follow on social media

I was born into relative privilege. Middle class family in a mostly white affluent area of northern Virginia, able to go to a good school, with parents who could afford to send me to college (though my dad worked two jobs to pay for all the kids). It’s easy — easier than I’d prefer — to slip into a kind of lazy thinking that assumes other people have that same experience.

Meet Rose Ferreira. Her story is… not the same as mine. Born in the Dominican Republic, her culture (and that of the US) imposed a very different set of values on her. She struggled to break free of them, and the telling of that tale is best left to her. I strongly urge you to read it. 

“I decided to become unapologetic about my life because not everyone is born into good circumstances or is able to follow ‘traditional’ paths in life.  Some individuals rely on survival to even dare to dream. Perseverance can become one’s greatest power.”

[Rose loves space exploration, and is a big fan of the Space Shuttle. Obviously. Credit: Rose DF]

Despite a series of setbacks, any one of which would likely have been enough to do me in, she has persisted, and they have forged her into someone we can all see as a role model. She works in NYC providing medical care, but also spends time on social media promoting science, especially astronomy and space exploration. Her passion and love for them shine through like, well, like a star. For example, read this thread she posted just last night.

And, despite the slings and arrows flung her way for her sin of being a woman on the internet, she holds her head high and steadfastly stands strong to support herself and other women who want to communicate or learn about science.  

I have an immense respect for her and what she’s doing. So follow her on Twitter, on Instagram, and help her make this planet a place where anyone can learn and talk about what they love.

Upcoming Appearances/Shameless Self-Promotion

Where I’ll be doing things you can watch and listen to or read about

I was interviewed by Matthew King for Boulder Magazine, and you can read it online at their website. It’s a fun interview, talking mostly about asteroid impacts. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a small error though; I was a consultant on the movie “Arrival”, not “Interstellar”. I’ll add I liked “Arrival”. In fact I need to give it a rewatch. It’s on Netflix.

Blog Jam

What I’ve recently written on the blog, ICYMI

Monday, August 27, 2018: Eating an asteroid a year helps a baby planet grow

Tuesday, August 28, 2018: An elliptical galaxy… kinda

Wednesday, August 29, 2018: Now well beyond Pluto, New Horizons sees its next target

Thursday, August 30, 2018: Carina’s star-spangled chaos

Friday, August 31, 2018: New stunning infrared maps sees through Titan’s haze (includes an update where I learned something about methane freezing. Yes, seriously.)

Et alia

You can email me at (though replies can take a while), and all my social media outlets are gathered together at Also, if you don’t already, please subscribe to this newsletter! And feel free to tell a friend or nine, too. Thanks!