Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Snowfall in Oberlin, Gone by Midday

There was no hint of the early morning trace of wet snow by midday, as sun broke through gray clouds and blue skies chased away even the memory of slush on soggy ground.  

According to the new edition of The Weather Almanac, received today, the last time we scrapped through November with just a trace of snowfall was 2001.  The normal amount (mean) for the month is 5.1 inches (since 1980, as measured at Cleveland Hopkins Airport weather station).  The Weather Almanac is full of interesting data, as well as lengthy, factually accurate narratives on climate topics.   
The section on global warming and climate change is thoroughly updated.  If you want an well-organized, easy to read, detailed account of how climate is changing, minus the hype and political posturing, take a look at pp. 317-352.

Impact of Hydrofracturing for Natural Gas on Ohio's Forests
Cheryl Johncox, Executive Director Buckeye Forest Council
will speak on
Impact of Hydrofracturing for Natural Gas on Ohio's Forests
Thursday Dec. 1, 2011 -  4:30 p.m. 
Heiser Auditorium, Kendal @ Oberlin

Ms. Johncox will describe the environmental hazards associated with fracking, and pressures being brought to bear on landowners to lease public and private lands for drilling.
Sponsored by the Kendal Environmental Concerns Committee and League of Women Voters of the Oberlin Area.  
Martha's Journal, official publication of the Buckeye Forest Council, is named for the last known Passenger Pigeon, who died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.  The Passenger Pigeon, once numbered in the millions throughout eastern forests, in flocks so huge that they took hours to pass while migrating, was driven to extinction in part by human-caused destruction not unlike the continued fragmentation of forests still standing.  
Come learn what effect hydraulic fracturing could have on Ohio's forests.  The public is invited.
Connect with Buckeye Forest Council on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bill McKibben in Craig Auditorium, 7 pm, Nov. 28

Learn more about and Bill McKibben as a spokesperson for Tar Sands Action.

Read one of the dozen books by author Bill McKibben in the college library.

Read Nicholas Stern's review of Eaarth: Making a life on a tough new planet.  Review published in the New York Review of Books 57(11): 35-37, June 2010. Borrow a copy of Eaarth.

Most importantly - show up at the Craig Auditorium to hear one of the most influential environmentalists of our time, and learn more about the potentially disastrous consequences of hydraulic fracturing or fracking: a practice that consumes millions of gallons of water in order to force natural gas from shale beds thousands of feet beneath the earth's surface, leading to methane release in groundwater and surface contamination, in addition to many other negative effects.

Be informed.  More on fracking from the Buckeye Forest Council and New York Times Magazine (Nov. 17, 2011)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New publication from Norm Craig, in J Molecular Spectroscopy

From ScienceDirect
A new publication from Norman C. Craig, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, published October 2011:

Boopalachandran P., N. C. Craig, and J. Laane. 2011. Gas-phase Raman spectra of hot bands of fundamentals and combinations associated with the torsional vibration of s-trans-1,3-butadiene and its deuterated isotopologues. Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy 269:236-241.

OhioLINK users can access this in the Electronic Journal Center.

Supplementary data for this article are available on ScienceDirect and as part of the Ohio State University Molecular Spectroscopy Archives. [download the suppl. figure]

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

On this date in 1772: Lavoisier changed chemistry for all time.

Source: Yale Univ Chem 125
history project
Here is a tidbit of chemistry history, from The Illustrated Almanac of Science, Technology, and Invention: "'A week ago I discovered that sulfur on being heated gained weight.  It is the same with phosphorus,' reported Antoine Lavoisier, 29, in a simple note to the Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences.  The discovery advanced and changed chemistry for all time." (November 1, 1772).  Lavoisier showed that the weight gained equaled weight lost in the air, and established his Law of Conservation of Mass: The mass of the products of a chemical reaction are equal to the mass of the individual reactants.

What seems so basic, now, to any high school chemistry student was of phenomenal importance in 1772, invalidating the old phlogiston theory and establishing Lavoisier as the "Father of Modern Chemistry due to his use of step-by-step experimental procedures, making careful measurements, and keeping accurate records." (Scientific Laws, Principles, and Theories: a reference guide / Robert E. Krebs, p. 205).