Science

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ticket Giveaway: Brujeria with The Casualties, Pinata Protest, Flying Donkey Punch, Maldad, Napalm Strike

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2017 at 11:12 AM


Brujeria is a frighteningly punchy all-star death metal/grindcore combo that passes itself off as a murderous, truly evil drug cartel, one into Satan worship and Donald Trump. (Brujeria is Spanish for “witchcraft.”) Yes, they’re lampooning the form, but the music absolutely holds up as some of the heaviest shit ever recorded this side of Scandinavia. So let’s not confuse such skull-splitting din with lightweights like Spinal Tap or Gwar, OK?

It’s no surprise members of Carcass, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Napalm Death fill out the lineup. They’ve been together in one form or another since 1989 and their long-awaited fourth album, Pocho Aztlan, dropped a few months back.

Catch them with The Casualties, Piñata Protest, Flying Donkey Punch, Maldad, and Napalm Strike. at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13 at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. You can buy tickets for $23 a piece or enter to win a pair of tickets from us. Just fill out the form below and keep checking your email—we'll be in touch with winners around noon the day of the show.

Fill out my online form.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Three (Maybe Four) Energy Stories From the News

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 9:06 AM

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  • Photospin
If you go to to Friday's New York Times and AZ Star, you'll find these three energy-related articles:

Sensing Gains Ahead Under Trump, the Kochs Court Minorities. The Koch Brothers have begun a well-funded, new nonprofit business association, Fueling U.S. Forward, which is spreading the fossil fuels gospel to minority communities — almost literally, by funding gospel concerts where Hosannas are sung in praise of God, Coal, Oil and Natural Gas.

Arizona Corporation Commission urged to fix solar net metering 'grandfathering' issue. The ACC slashed the compensation rooftop solar owners will receive for excess energy generation that makes its way onto the grid. The ACC is being asked to improve one small part of a very bad decision by amending the grandfathering rules so people who submit their energy interconnection applications before the deadline will receive the current net metering compensation, as well as people who have their interconnections completed by the deadline. [Note: On Tuesday the ACC amended the rules to include those who submit applications before the deadline.]

China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020. China is funding a huge push to add renewables to its energy grid, both to lower its ridiculously high pollution levels and to try and dominate the world's growing renewable energy markets.

To sum up: U.S. cities have less pollution than they had decades ago and far less pollution than China's smog-choked cities, but courtesy of the expected pro-fossil-fuels, anti-regulation push from the Trump administration, we may slide backwards while China pushes forward. The Brave New Trump Era could harm our environment and our health while it slows our technological advances in the renewable energy arena and loses us potential business worldwide.

The headline for a fourth story from a few days ago reads, Arizona still a force in solar power, despite other states' gains. It's about our growing solar energy sector, which is second in the nation to California. Apparently, we're OK with private businesses setting up vast solar power arrays so they can make lots of money off our abundant sunshine, but we're not so OK with encouraging individual homeowners to fill unused space on their rooftops with solar panels by giving them fair compensation for the energy they produce. Corporate and home solar both reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but home solar can also reduce corporate profits, and that's just not the Arizona way.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Space Spending: A Look at the UA's Investment in Studying the Skies

Posted By on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 at 2:00 PM

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The UA is renowned worldwide for its efforts in space exploration—with involvement in multiple satellite launches, observatories, and projects with NASA, the school is a crucial arm of space exploration in the United States.

However, it comes at a cost.

“We had a little over $600 million in research expenditures, which placed us thirty-third in the country,” said Timothy Swindle, the director and department head at the Lunar and Planetary Lab, speaking of the last fiscal year.

$120 million of that fell under astronomy, as classified by the National Science Foundation.

As far as physical sciences go—physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, and planetary sciences—the UA ranked third in funding, Swindle said, totaling almost $165 million.

In terms of spending, the University of California Berkeley, which was second to Arizona in astronomy funding, spent “a little more than half of what UA did,” Swindle said. “The nation’s universities as a whole spent $567 million.”

Of that total, more than twenty percent was spent at the UA.

“There are only two schools, that being Cal Tech and Johns Hopkins, that spent more on physical sciences total than we did on this category that NSF calls astronomy,” he said.

The UA, however, still spends more than any Ivy League school on astronomy, making it a major hotbed for the science. But those tens of millions of dollars must come from somewhere.

“Certainly, all the money for the space program projects comes from NASA,” said Buell Jannuzi, head of the department of Astronomy at the UA. Christine Hoekenga, a social media lead for the OSIRIS-REx mission said the mission cost $805 million, every penny of which came from NASA. The total did not include the rocket the spacecraft was launched on.

However, with the number of critical space exploration efforts the UA is involved in, the money is being spent wisely.

Much of the astronomy department’s efforts involve mirror telescopes, which are located on Mount Graham and Mount Hopkins. The UA is involved in the construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Being built at Chile's Las Campanas Observatory the project aims to answer several critical questions about the universe, such as how the first galaxies formed, what materials make up the universe, and ultimately, what the fate of the universe may be, according to the Giant Magellan Telescope website.

The construction of the telescope involves planning and cooperation with many other universities around the world, Jannuzi said. “We’re partnered with many other groups, including the University of Chicago, Harvard, the Carnegie Institution in Washington… in the partnership to build the Giant Magellan Telescope,” he said.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

UNESCO Talks Sustainability at the UA

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 11:30 AM

MOUAGIP/CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Mouagip/Creative Commons
In a weekend filled with sustainability initiatives, UNESCO will hold a conference in the UA North Ballroom (1303 E. University Blvd.) to address water scarcity and management as well as desert food systems on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5 until 5 p.m.

Sustainability scholars from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe and Mexico will meet with UA researchers and Tucson community members to talk about climate change and the earth's environment.

According to UANews, conference organizers are expecting 230 community members to attend the conference including international dignitaries, students and faculty. This is a free, all-ages event and space is limited. Online registration is now closed but attendees are encourages to register in-person the day of the conference.

For more information click here

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Light the Candle: OSIRIS-REx Launches Today

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2016 at 10:38 AM

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OSIRIS-REx, the asteroid-hunting space probe designed by the UA Lunar and Planetary Lab in partnership with NASA and Lockheed Martin, is scheduled for liftoff from Kennedy Space Center at 4:05 Tucson time today.

The plucky space probe will spend two years chasing down the near-earth asteroid Bennu and then spend another two years studying the asteroid before flying right up next to it to gather a few ounces of asteroid dust. Then it will fly on back to Earth and send the sample back to the Utah desert.

You can read all about the seven-year mission here.

Watch the liftoff at a launch party at Hotel Congress this afternoon. And the gang at downtown's Borderland Brewing is throwing a Brews for Bennu bash.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Go See Flandrau's New Dome Digital Projection System

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 9:31 AM

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If you didn't think Tucson was cool enough already, the UA Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium is giving you yet another reason. The planetarium opened on the UA campus in 1975, but has recently been completely renovated from its original digs.

Flandrau is a big deal: It's one of only two planetariums in the entire sate, and it's one of only a few nationwide that is part of a university. Considering the UA is world renowned for its studies in astronomy and planetary science, its planetarium should be equally as impressive. 

About two years ago the university decided to begin the renovation process by installing a full dome digital projection system “which is the current state of the art in planetarium projection,” said Shipherd Reed, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Flandarau Science Center. After the technological systems were updated, it became very evident that the rest of the establishment was outdated, prompting an entire building remodel. The remodel includes better acoustics, lighting, and most importantly seating that takes advantage of the cutting edge projection system.
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The Planetarium opened its renovated doors on Saturday, Aug. 27. Go check out the interactive exhibits and the IMAX-esque full dome show. The Planetarium is open seven days a week and offers shows every day except Monday. For more information on specific hours and times of shows visit http://flandrau.org/.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Countdown Is On: UA Is Headed Back Into Space with OSIRIS-REx

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 3:00 PM

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The UA is headed back out to space with a new NASA mission in roughly three weeks.

Asteroid hunter OSIRIS-REx is scheduled for liftoff on Thursday, Sept. 8.

The pretty damn cool science mission, led by Principal Investigator and UA Professor of Planetary Science Dante Lauretta, will spend the next two years chasing down the near-earth asteroid Bennu. Once OSIRIS-REx catches up with Bennu in October 2018, it will start relaying photos and other data back to earth about the makeup of the asteroid. On Independence Day 2020, the robotic spacelab will scoot right on up next to Bennu before reaching out with a robot arm to blast some dust from the surface and catch it with a container. Sometime around March 2021, OSIRIS-REx heads back to earth—hopefully without having been infected with a techo-organic virus that will destroy mankind—and in September 2023, the capsule with the asteroid dust pops loose of OSIRIS-REx and lands somewhere in the Utah desert. From there, the science teams will be off to races with their analysis of the sample.

Asteroids like Bennu are loaded with the primordial building blocks of the planets, so scientists hope to learn more about what the young earth was like and see if they can find clues as to the origin of life.

“To me, the mission is driven by the return of pristine organic molecules from the early solar system so I’m really hopeful that we can get some unique material that isn’t in our meteorite collections,” Lauretta said today at a NASA press conference to update reporters on the looming launch. "It really is a great adventure. We're going out into the unknown and bringing back scientific treasure. I'm looking forward to the day in 2023 when we open up that sample return capsule."

Read more about the OSIRIS-REx and its instrument suite here. Here's a great timeline about the mission. Here's the OSIRIS-REx’s website.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Findings in a 'Living River' says Recently Released Report

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 10:00 AM

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  • BigStock

Living River, a report newly released by Pima County and the Sonoran Institute, reveals that upgrades to water reclamation centers have improved the water quality and surrounding natural environments of the Lower Santa Cruz River. The EPA-funded report has been tracking changing conditions in this part of the river from Oct. 1, 2014 to Sept. 30, 2015.

The Lower Santa Cruz runs year-round through northwest Tucson and Marana and gets much of its water from WRCs Tres Rios and the new Agua Nueva, both of which receive and treat a portion of the over 62 million gallons of sanitary sewage a day seen by Pima County's treatment facilities. The state-of-the-art Agua Nueva, in particular, helps Pima County meet EPA standards of effluent discharges in the Santa Cruz River. This stretch of the river focused on by the report is the largest length of river dominated by effluent (wastewater) in the state. 

Since the improvements to Tres Rios and the establishment of Agua Nueva, the report shows improvements to water quality/clarity and a decrease in odor. The report also states that four species of fish now reside in the river, three more than in previous years. Increased recharge of the aquifer, another positive change, means water pollution no longer flows as far downstream as it used to. Areas that saw a reduction in aquatic habitats as a result of this pollution now "appear to be reverting to a more desert-like environment" according to the release.

Continue reading »

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Staff Pick

Bernadette Peters

One of Broadway's brightest stars, Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage… More

@ UA Centennial Hall Sat., Jan. 21, 8 p.m. 1020 E. University Blvd.

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