Why do plants grow better after rain than when you water them?

Ever noticed that when you water your lawn/garden it politely says “thank you,” but essentially doesn’t look much different unless it was drought stricken to start? But then it rains, and it’s like the plant version of the “Hallelujah Chorus”! The plants not only perk up, but they practically leap up and suddenly you have new growth, flowers or a need to mow your lawn. Most people notice, but otherwise don’t think much of it, but some of us look at this dichotomy and think “What? Isn’t my water good enough for you? What does rain water have that mine doesn’t, or is it the chlorine slowing it down?”

Well, here’s the answer, and it isn’t the chlorine:

Composition of air

Most people think that air is primarily oxygen, since this is the gas we need to survive. However, the major component of air is nitrogen – 78.09% of it! Nitrogen is completely inert, meaning it the under normal conditions it has no positive or negative effects on our bodies (unless you scuba dive, but that’s not part of this post). Oxygen is only about 20.95% of the air we breathe, with the final 0.96% made up of trace gasses such as carbon dioxide (0.03%) and argon (0.93%).

So what does this have to do with plants? Nitrogen is a natural fertilizer, and when it rains it washes out of the air and fertilizes the plants as well as giving them a drink. (What a cool way God has designed to both water and feed the plants!)

Why doesn’t the atmosphere doesn’t contain a higher concentration of oxygen? It wasn’t designed to, for (at least) 2 excellent reasons:

  • Breathing pure oxygen for extended periods of time leads to oxygen toxicity (and a particular danger for premature babies that is better understood now than in the past);
  • oxygen is a potent accelerant, so if there was a greater concentration in the air, fires would be more common and more intense.

As Bill Nye, the Science Guy used to say, “Now you know…!”

Cosmic Rays and their effect on earth

Reposted from:  Space Weather, including links, with my own emphasis noted.
Updated: Sept. 29 2016 // Next Flight: Oct. 1, 2016

Sept. 20, 2016: Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We’ve been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expressed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly “down to Earth” form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 12% since 2015:

Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth’s magnetic field, (see also Climate and Earth’s Magnetic Field) which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.

The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth’s atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.

 

Aeromobil Flying Car Makes A Majestic Lift-Off

Aeromobil Flying Car Makes A Majestic Lift-Off.

Technology is really advancing quite quickly. Here is an actual flying car!

This is an old post, but this is still pretty cool so I am reposting it. This blog post has more pictures and two YouTube videos about it.

aeromobil-3-0-6

 

Online Moon Phase Calendar

Sometimes you just want to know the phase of the moon. Is it waxing (getting larger) or waning (getting smaller)? When will be the full moon exactly? Stop any arguments about whether the moon is full today or not. Or maybe you are planting by the moon and need to keep track of that.

Here is an incredibly cool site with that kind of moon information.

I have created a static image for August 2016 because that image won’t show any other way.

August 2016 moonphase

However, click on the site link and you will see where you can find the moon phase calendar, full moon calendar, and other cool moon information.

Moon Giant website – Today’s moon phase

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Geeking out to science music videos!

Arrgghh! Enough politics!

Time to lighten up and have fun with SCIENCE (music videos)! Not boring ones, either.

You don’t even have to pretend to understand, but maybe they’ll impress your friends.

At the very least they will wobble your brain nicely.

So what is your field of battle?

But what are facts if you don’t have love?

Sigh…talk nerdy to me!

Then there’s this…this…whatever. I don’t understand all he’s talking/singing about, but he does it so beautifully! (Maybe he is ze Frenchman?)


Have I blinded you with science?

(Lyrics follow for those who simply MUST know what he is saying – like me)

It’s poetry in motion, she turned her tender eyes to me,
as deep as any ocean, as sweet as any harmony.
Mm, but she blinded me with science,                   “She blinded me with science!”
and failed me in biology.

When I’m dancing close to her,                               “Blinding me with science, science!”
                                                                    “Science!”
I can smell the chemicals.                                         “Blinding me with science, science!”
                                                                    “Science!”                          “Science!”

Mm, but it’s poetry in motion, and when she turned her eyes to me,
as deep as any ocean, as sweet as any harmony.
she blinded me with science,                                   “She blinded me with science!”
and failed me in geometry.

When she’s dancing next to me,                             “Blinding me with science, science!”
                                                                    “Science!”
I can hear machinery!                                                “Blinding me with science, science!”
                                                                    “Science!”

It’s poetry in motion! And now she’s making love to me.
The spheres are in commotion; the elements in harmony.
She blinded me with science,                                   “She blinded me with science!”
and hit me with technology.                                     “Good heavens Miss Sakamoto,
.                                                                               you’re beautiful!”

I…I don’t believe it! There she goes again!
She’s tidied up, and I can’t find anything!
All my tubes and wires, and careful notes, and antiquated notions.

But! It’s poetry in motion, and when she turned her eyes to me –
as deep as any ocean, as sweet as any harmony
Uh, she blinded me with science,                             “She blinded me with, with science!”
She blinded me with…

Songwriters: THOMAS DOLBY, JONATHAN KERR

.

.

But I can’t resist one last song for all those who have ever wondered “What IS love?”

Video

Solar Ice Maker: No Moving Parts, No Electricity!

And interesting concept I ran across…

* * * * * *

Intended for disaster relief situations, refugee camps, and developing nations the bright minds at San Jose State University have created an ice making machine that uses the heat from sunlight to power a chemical reaction. Read the full article for the details on this very “cool” technology!

Source: Solar Ice Maker: No Moving Parts, No Electricity | greenUPGRADER

Is it possible there is a true alternative to damaging wind turbines?

I am sad to say that I initially was one who thought wind turbines were good. Wow, was THAT wrong! Clearly the Law of Unintended Consequences is at work to a massive degree, here! Having said that, although I am reluctant to make that mistake again, I would like to share an interesting alternative. HOWEVER, I would LOVE to hear other people’s ideas of ANY potential downsides to this, because it really does seem to have some promise. My only suggestion would be to emulate the shape and action of leaves…

http://inhabitat.com/vibro-wind-piezoelectric-pads-harness-wind-energy-without-turbines/

And here we have been told it’s ‘climate disruption’ causing local weather changes, when it’s actually deforestation

Hmm. I seem to recall learning about this effect over 30 years ago.

Watts Up With That?

From the University of Maryland the department of Al Gore’s Kilimanjaro claims: Deforestation is messing with our weather — and our food

New study, the first of its kind, investigates cooling and warming effects of forests at both a global scale and a high spatial resolution

Annapolis, Md — New research published today in Nature Communications provides insight into how large-scale deforestation could impact global food production by triggering changes in local climate. In the study, researchers from the United States and China zero in on albedo (the amount of the sun’s radiation reflected from Earth’s surface) and evapotranspiration (the transport of water into the atmosphere from soil, vegetation, and other surfaces) as the primary drivers of changes in local temperature.

The research is the first global analysis of the effects of forest cover change on local temperature using high-resolution NASA global satellite data. A peer-reviewed paper based on…

View original post 1,024 more words

Upheavals in Physics: The Speed of Light Exceeded

I wish this would actually display part of the article, but check this out! What a concept.

 

Upheavals in Physics: The Speed of Light Exceeded – Chuck Missler – Koinonia House.

Free Energy Nitinol Heat Machines invented in the early 1970

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel_titanium

According to a portion of that article: Demonstration model heat engines have been built which use nitinol wire to produce mechanical energy from hot and cold heat sources. A prototype commercial engine developed in the 1970s by engineer Ridgway Banks at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was named the Banks Engine.

However, the applications are not limited to just energy production. The article continues… More

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