Monday, 15 June 2015

Making tiny earthquakes to understand fracking-driven quakes

In some places, notably Ohio and Oklahoma, the injection of used fracking fluid in deep disposal wells appears to have produced a significant uptick in earthquake activity. The earthquakes are mostly much too small to be felt at the surface, but a magnitude 5.6 quake in Oklahoma was large enough to cause some damage in 2011.

This has made lots of news because of its scale, but it’s not our first experience with injection-triggered earthquakes. It’s a concern for geothermal power designs that inject water to depths where it can turn to turbine-driving steam, for example. And in the future, it could be a concern for efforts to store carbon dioxide in underground reservoirs.

Earthquakes occur where two blocks of rock suddenly slip past each other along a fault, releasing energy that causes the shaking that bothers us up at the surface. The blocks are generally stuck in place by friction, but the strain of being pushed (or pulled) in different directions slowly builds. Eventually, that strain overcomes the friction keeping it in place and the rocks slip some distance along a portion of the fault, relieving strain.

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A Sailing Ship Dripping with Loot Explores the Perceived Status Symbol of Pearls

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Ann Carrington‘s piece “Galleons and Feathers” is inspired by Wing Wo Wave City, an industrial estate in Zhuijang Province, China which manufactures a massive amount of pearl adornment. The piece is formed in the shape of a 3-mast shop, floating over an opulent sea of brooches, earrings, necklaces and tiaras. The work both contains, and is inspired by, these glistening round objects, and Carrington explains on her website that they highlight “the discrepancy between their perceived status of being timeless status symbols of refined taste and wealth (with exotic overtones) and the often very unromantic reality.”

Carrington studied at Bournville College of Art, Birmingham and The Royal College of Art where she graduated in 1987. Carrington was invited by the United Nations in 2010 to produce artwork that raised awareness of current issues, her first work for them presented at the UN Human Trafficking conference in December 2010. She will have a solo show at The Royal College of Art in October 2016. (via Supersonic and Lustik)

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Particle Detectors: Small teams, big dreams

Particle physics is the realm of billion-dollar machines and teams of thousands of scientists, all working together to

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Idaho Republicans want Bible in schools for “astronomy, biology, geology”

Yesterday, we described how legislation in Louisiana may be encouraging teachers to introduce religious material in science classes. But Louisiana is clearly not alone in recommending that its educators engage in constitutionally forbidden activities. Later that day, we were directed to a document suggesting that problems could be brewing in Idaho.

The document is a set of proposed resolutions crafted by the state Republican Party's Central Committee. Among those is Resolution 2015-P20, "A Resolution Supporting Bible Use in Idaho Public Schools." While the Bible could add value to a number of curricula (social studies, literature, and comparative religion, for example, all of which are named in the resolution), it's not widely recognized for being much help with plate tectonics. Yet the resolution also suggests that the Bible should be used in classes on astronomy, biology, geology, world geography, archaeology, music, and sociology. Somehow, chemistry and physics escaped the committee's notice.

While a resolution like this is a long way from becoming law, the Republican Party holds the governorship and large majorities in both houses of the legislature, so there is a heightened risk.

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Collision Course: ONR Testing High-Speed Planing Hulls To Better Understand Wave Slam

Earlier this month, scientists sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) performed experiments to better understand the

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New Hammered Steel Animal Head Sculptures by Selçuk Yılmaz

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Turkish sculptor Selçuk Yılmaz (previously) just completed work on three new mask-like sculptures depicting the heads of a lynx, tiger, and fox. Yılmaz uses thin strands of hammered and welded steel that give each piece a beautiful curved musculature. You can see more details of each piece over on Behance.

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Physicists conduct most precise measurement yet of interaction between atoms and carbon surfaces

Physicists at the University of Washington have conducted the most precise and controlled measurements yet of the interaction

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