Reviews and Blog Posts: science

Colorado's Ghost Glaciers

Landscape from RMNP with and without ice age glaciers. From NPS.

This weekend I hiked up to Arapahoe Glacier in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. It's the largest glacier in Colorado, and definitely an impressive sight--a field of ice covering nearly 40 acres, nestled among towering crags at 12,700 feet. But by glacial standards, Arapahoe Glacier is a pipsqueak. It's tiny compared to great valley glaciers like the one in the second photo, which is in Alaska.

Creatures in the Walls: Fossils at the Central Library

Belemnite fossil

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the fearsome basilisk emerged from its lair and slithered through the walls of Hogwarts. One look at its reflection left people petrified. Here at the Central Library, I'm happy to say we have no basilisks. But we do have creatures in our walls, and they were petrified--literally turned to stone--long ago.

Denver's Famous Dinosaurs

Reconstruction of Stegosaurus by O.C. Marsh

Have you ever heard of Triceratops? How about Stegosaurus? "Brontosaurus"? Of course you have--they're some of the superstars of prehistory; depicted in countless picture books, cartoons, and roadside statues. Many eight-year-olds could give you a scholarly lecture about them. But what many Denverites don't know--even some of the eight-year-olds--is that all three of these dinosaur celebrities were first discovered right in our back yard. They're actually local celebrities, and their discoveries make for some pretty interesting reading.

Forget Mercury Retrograde. Solar Storms are the Real Deal

Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun (NASA image)

Did you know Mercury is in retrograde right now? I didn't, until I saw people posting about it on social media sites. When I looked it up, I discovered that the planet Mercury sometimes appears to move backwards across the sky. People who believe in astrology think that when this happens, communications of all kinds--technological, interpersonal, you name it--go haywire (Mercury was the Roman god of messengers, after all, and he was a bit of a trickster).

How Colorado Got So Rugged: Books on Colorado Geology

Messages in Stone Book Cover

If you want to see geologic marvels, Colorado is the place to be. Tall mountains, deep canyons, desert mesas, dinosaur bones, glacial valleys--this state has it all. But have you ever wondered how it got this way? Why is Colorado so rugged, when states like Iowa and Kansas are so flat? What raised those mountains and carved those valleys?

The castle behind thorns

by Merrie Haskell

Reviewer Rating:
4

The adults in Sand's life have always told him to ignore the broken castle he could see in the distance, but when he awakens inside the castle one morning with no explanation, there's no more ignoring it. Everything in the castle has been broken in two, from the dried but...

The girl with all the gifts

by Mike Carey

Reviewer Rating:
4

The Hungries have taken over the planet, but Melanie and her friends are safe in a boarding school, going to class every day, learning from different teachers after being escorted there by armed guards. But they're not really treated like the children in the stories their teachers read to them....

Lunar Eclipse Tonight - Late Monday, Early Tuesday April 14-15, 2014

Starts 12:30 a.m; peaks 1:46 a.m.; emerges 3 a.m. MDT. Photo credit: NASA.gov

A couple of times a year, the celestial bodies align so that the earth's shadow obscures the moon. The shadow will move across the moon starting just after midnight Mountain Time. The eclipse will be full around 1:46 a.m. and then the moon will emerge from shadow about 3 a.m. The moon will turn a deep reddish color during the eclipse. Lunar eclipses are safe to look at directly. You're looking at the moon, not the sun. It can be viewed with the naked eye or binoculars.

Scintillating Science

Periodic Table of the Elements cupcakes (Chemical Heritage Foundation)

Forget spring, science is in the air! It's everywhere, even on cupcakes (photo courtesy of the Chemical Heritage Foundation).

Science is in our schools - well, OK, it has always been there but is getting a new emphasis (or should I say renewed emphasis) in Colorado schools through the Colorado Department of Education's STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education program designed to help students become better prepared for higher education and life beyond high school.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is back!

oh my gosh he's back!

I’m not sure about you, but I miss seeing Neil deGrasse Tyson on NOVA. Good news! He revamped Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and it is airing on Fox (KDVR 31) starting this Sunday at 8. It’s been a great year and a half for science documentaries and books, so if you need more geek in your week, here’s a list:

Some of my current favorite documentaries:

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