Regulating Minnesota, outrage of the day, the future of Cirrus, Tsunami boosts dry casks, the dust that ate Phoenix and the Coon Lake water spout.
NASA has a whole lot of "who knows" in its release today about sea ice around Antarctica.
It released a series of images today, showing winter and summer sea ice around the continent, none of which appears to show a trend one way or the other.
Since the start of the satellite record, total Antarctic sea ice has increased by about 1 percent per decade. Whether the small overall increase in sea ice extent is a sign of meaningful change in the Antarctic is uncertain because ice extents in the Southern Hemisphere vary considerably from year to year and from place to place around the continent. Considered individually, only the Ross Sea sector had a significant positive trend, while sea ice extent has actually decreased in the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas. In short, Antarctic sea ice shows a small positive trend, but large scale variations make the trend very noisy.
The year-to-year and place-to-place variability is evident in the past decade. The winter maximum in the Weddell Sea, for example, is above the median in some years and below it others. In any given year, sea ice concentration may be below the median in one sector, but above the median in another; in September 2000, for example, ice concentrations in the Ross Sea were above the median extent, while those in the Pacific were below it.
NASA's cautious assessment contrasts with assertions last week that the ice shelf near the Pine Island Glacier in West Antactica is melting at an increasing rate, and could raise sea levels by 25 centimeters -- almost 10 inches.
By the way, it's the dead of winter in Antarctica now. The temperature at the moment in Vostok is -89 °F. There'll be no melting there today.(1 Comments)
We'll miss you, money.
The New York Times reports the U.S. Treasury did not print any $10 bills. Why bother? Most people are using credit and debit cards for daily expenses.
But it's also a testament to the "staying power" of the bills. Production of paper currency is declining much more quickly than actual currency use because the bills are lasting longer, according to the Times.
Thanks to technological advances, the average dollar bill now circulates for 40 months, up from 18 months two decades ago.(3 Comments)
Connie Scott, of Owatonna, Minn., would like the nation to be as proud of her son's sacrifice for his country as her family is. She knows it's not, however. Her son, Pfc. Brian Matthew Williams, 20, killed himself and until today, the nation didn't honor the death of soldiers who served and died by suicide.
"There's been a lot of disappointment and anger that we don't receive the same recognition that those killed in action receive," she told me this afternoon. "When people find out that a family has lost someone in the military in combat, there's immediately a response. There are recognitions and honors, awards, parades, medals, reporters, and memorial events. When it's announced that another soldier ends his life, it's still uncomfortable."
President Barack Obama did not make a public announcement in ending the government's policy of not sending a condolence letter to the families of soldiers who kill themselves. He issued a press release, instead:
"As Commander in Chief, I am deeply grateful for the service of all our men and women in uniform, and grieve for the loss of those who suffer from the wounds of war -- seen and unseen. Since taking office, I've been committed to removing the stigma associated with the unseen wounds of war, which is why I've worked to expand our mental health budgets, and ensure that all our men and women in uniform receive the care they need.
"As a next step and in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the military chain of command, I have also decided to reverse a long-standing policy of not sending condolence letters to the families of service members who commit suicide while deployed to a combat zone. This decision was made after a difficult and exhaustive review of the former policy, and I did not make it lightly.
"This issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely. They didn't die because they were weak. And the fact that they didn't get the help they needed must change. Our men and women in uniform have borne the incredible burden of our wars, and we need to do everything in our power to honor their service, and to help them stay strong for themselves, for their families and for our nation."
Brian Williams was stationed at a combat outpost in Ramadi, Iraq when he was sent home on leave for the Christmas holiday in 2007. His unit had lost several men and his fiancee wrote him that she loved someone else.
"He didn't talk to me about it," his mother said. "He talked to his siblings and told them a couple of stories. His grandmother asked him how it was and he said it was worse than anything you can imagine."
His job in Iraq was maintaining electronic gear, but he often went out on patrol with his unit. "He was led to believe that he would be keeping the equipment in working order. But he was also part of doing the night patrols where they would go into Ramadi and kick in doors, looking for insurgents," Scott told NPR in a 2010 story.
The day before he was to return to Iraq, Williams took his own life.
"Suicide is rarely about just one issue, and Brian was dealing with several difficult situations in addition to combat," Connie Scott wrote on the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA website. "His eyes were glassy, his completion was gray, and he was restless and unable to eat or sleep. But on the last day of his leave things seemed to change. He talked with all of his friends and family, shared his plans for the future, and he seemed OK, in fact better than ever. We didn't know then what that meant."
Scott, who served on the Department of Defense task force on soldier suicide, does not expect to receive a letter from President Obama and isn't sure whether it would make a difference now if she did. "For surviving families, it's the constant up-and-down that never ends," she said. "How I feel about it today may not be how I feel about it tomorrow." She believes, however, that a presidential condolence letter will bring some comfort to many families.
"What makes a person a hero is the day they sign up, the day they enlist," she said. "Because at that point, they are giving themselves to the government to be used in whatever way the government chooses."
Posted at 4:00 PM on July 6, 2011
by Bob Collins
While many Americans might sleepwalk their way through the occasional playing of the National Anthem, there's no mistaking the hearty singing of the anthem at a U.S. naturalization ceremony.
Today at Bethel University, several hundred new citizens sang as if it meant something to them. A moment later, they said the words from U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery that many have waited a lifetime to say.
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
After they were sworn in as citizens, Judge Montgomery said the country is like a soup of many ingredients and urged the new Americans to help make it a better-tasting dish.
The majority of new citizens are from eastern Africa.