Australian valley a ‘natural laboratory’ to test carbon sequestration theory


Australian valley a 'natural laboratory' to test carbon sequestration theory
Co-author Professor Dietmar Müller from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney. Credit: University of Sydney

Geoscientists at the University of Sydney have discovered a natural laboratory to test claims that the carbon captured during the erosion and weathering of common rocks could be a viable mitigation strategy against global warming.

That laboratory is the Tweed River valley in north-eastern New South Wales.

“When common rocks, known as olivine, chemically break down, they absorb carbon dioxide to form carbonates that can then be washed into the oceans,” said lead author of the study, Kyle Manley, a student at the University of Irvine in California, who started the research while studying at Sydney.

“In that way, river valleys like the Tweed can act as carbon sinks.”

The carbonates formed in this process later become the shells of marine animals and corals. Over millions of years, these remnants can form huge undersea carbonate structures. Occasionally they are pushed above sea level, such as the White Cliffs of Dover in England.

In order to combat global warming, some have proposed olivine weathering and its carbon capture could be harnessed to absorb millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“But those ideas haven’t really been tested at scale,” said Mr Manley, who started the study while on undergraduate exchange at the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney, completing it at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Research now published in the journal Frontiers in Earth Sciences, will allow scientists to test these claims in the Tweed catchment area, a 1326 square kilometre region, and in other regions that act as carbon sinks.

Co-author Dr. Tristan Salles from the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney said: “We ran seven scenarios up to 2100 and 2500 to see

New Theory Suggests Tunguska Explosion Was A 656 Foot-Wide Asteroid’s Near-Miss With Earth


On the morning of June 30, 1908, the ground trembled in Central Siberia, and a series of flying fireballs, causing a “frightful sound” of explosions, were observed in the sky above the Stony Tunguska River. Strange glowing clouds, colorful sunsets, and a weak luminescence in the night were reported as far as Europe.

Likely many thousand people in a radius of 1.500 kilometers (or 900 miles) observed the Tunguska Event. However, due to the remoteness of the affected area, eyewitness testimonies were collected only more than half of a century after the event, and most were second-hand oral accounts. In 2008, unpublished material collected by Russian ethnographer Sev’yan Vainshtein resurfaced, including some first-hand accounts of the event.

Despite its notoriety in pop-culture, hard scientific data covering the Tunguska Event is sparse. Since 1928 more than forty expeditions have explored the site, taking samples from the soil, rocks, and even trees flattened by the explosion, with ambiguous results. Some seismic and air-pressure wave registrations, recorded immediately after the blast, survive to this day and surveys of the devastated forest mapped some thirty years later. The explosion was powerful enough to flatten more than 80 million trees.

Based on the lack of hard data, like a crater or a meteorite, and conflicting accounts, many theories of widely varying plausibility were proposed over time.

At the time of the event, international newspapers speculated about a volcanic eruption. Russian scientists, like Dr. Arkady Voznesensky, Director of the Magnetographic and Meteorological Observatory at Irkutsk, speculated about

Tableau’s Latest Theory: Analytics Ubiquity With Einstein


Data visualization technologies are supposed to make information easier to understand, faster to comprehend and provide an opportunity for all users (including non-technical ones) to see trends, outliers and anomalies. Given this drive for clarity of vision, it would have been disappointing to see a firm in this space try to label its annual technical convention as anything less than a virtual attempt to replicate what a normal industry gathering normally looks like.

As a company in the information business, Tableau Software thankfully saw the need for a bit of self-deprecating humor in the year of Covid-19 and so called its event Tableau Conference-ish.  

Hands-on real-world (virtual) whoops

The company normally uses its annual convention to get hands-on and real world with its users; as such, keynotes are typically filled with corporate big picture statements that are quickly followed up with practical use case demonstrations. Now past its first full year as a Salesforce company after acquisition in June 2019, the company obviously had to shift those demonstrations online. The audience whoops were virtual (users really get excited about this stuff), but the love was still there for the most part.

Tableau president and CEO Adam Selipsky is still in place post-Salesforce — and Tableau Conference looks set (in a post Covid world) to carry on as a standalone event given the size of the company in its own right and the size of its user base.

Key among the news items this year were plans to bring together Tableau’s data analytics and visualization technologies with parent company Salesforce’s Einstein Analytics. If further proof of keeping the Tableau brand name intact were needed, Salesforce’s Einstein Analytics will now be renamed Tableau CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and form part of

QAnon: What you need to know as this strange, pro-Trump conspiracy theory gains steam



QAnon followers continue to grow in numbers. 

Getty Images

QAnon, a conspiracy theory that started on anonymous message boards and holds that US President Donald Trump is fighting a battle against evil, has jumped from the online world to everyday life. Now the broad and baseless hoax is influencing politics, with dozens of congressional candidates professing belief in a cabal of Satanist Democrats, child-trafficking elite and a deep state determined to topple the president. Just to be absolutely clear: These are bogus claims. 

The conspiracy theory appears to have started in 2017 when an online poster using the handle “Q” claimed ties to President Donald Trump. Other conspiracy theorists found and amplified Q’s posts, known as Q drops, expanding the audience for the cryptic messages. Three years on, QAnon continues to grow at a quick clip, and the FBI says it poses a threat to the nation. 

Understanding QAnon requires a look at where the conspiracy theory started, what its followers believe and how it’s provoked acts of violence in the real world. The hoax has troubled lawmakers enough to prompt a bipartisan resolution condemning it.

Here’s what you need to know about the weird world of QAnon.

QAnon sounds wild. What can you tell me about it? 

QAnon is an online conspiracy theory that claims Trump is waging a secret war against a deep state of Democratic elites and Hollywood stars who are pedophiles and Satan worshipers. Cannibalism is in there someplace too. Really, that’s what they believe. 

The conspiracy theory dates back to October 2017, when an anonymous post on a message board said extradition agreements had been struck with several countries “in case of cross

New measurements of the solar spectrum verify Einstein’s theory of General Relativity


New measurements of the solar spectrum verify Einstein's theory of General Relativity
Artistic representation of the Sun, the Earth and the Moon (not to scale) with the space-time curvature of Einstein’s General Relativity over the spectrum of sunlight reflected from the Moon (in colors from blue to red). The spectrum is taken with the HARPS instrument and calibrated with the LFC. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).

An international team of researchers led by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has measured, with unprecedented accuracy, the gravitational redshift of the Sun, a change in frequency of the lines in the solar spectrum which is produced when the light escapes from the gravitational field of the Sun on its way to Earth. This work, which verifies one of the predictions of Einstein’s General Relativity, is to be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The General Theory of Relativity, published by Albert Einstein between 1911 and 1916, introduced a new concept of space and time, by showing that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time which is felt as gravity. In this way, Einstein’s theory predicts, for example, that light travels in curved paths near massive objects, and one consequence is the observation of the Einstein Cross, four different images of a distant galaxy which lies behind a nearer massive object, and whose light is distorted by it.

Other well known effects of General Relativity are the observed gradual change in Mercury’s orbit due to space-time curvature around the “massive” Sun, or the gravitational redshift, the displacement to the red of lines in the spectrum of the Sun due to its gravitational field.

The gravitational redshift is an important effect for satellite navigation systems such as GPS, which would not work if General Relativity was not put into the equations. This effect depends on the mass and the radius of an