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U.S. Suffers $8 Billion In Climate-related Disasters

on July 13, 2016 - 6:52am

Elevated tornado activity linked to climate change. Courtesy/commons.wikimdia.org

NATIONAL News:

We are only halfway through 2016 and the United States has already seen eight weather and climate-related disasters* that have each met or exceeded $1 billion in damages.

These eight disasters resulted in the loss of thirty lives, and caused at least $13.1 billion. Since 1980 the United States has sustained 196 weather and climate disasters in which overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. The total cost of these 196 events exceeds $1.1 trillion.

We are only halfway through 2016

Will Schmidt Receives Community Youth Award

on July 12, 2016 - 1:36pm
PEEC Volunteer Coordinator Christa Tyson sits with Will Schmidt the June recipient of the Community Youth Award, presented last Friday. Courtesy photo
 
Sue Watts, winner of the Spirit of the West earlier this year holding her handcrafted award by Richard Ronquillo for her work at PEEC. Courtesy photo
 
C’YA News:

Will Schmidt took home the Community Youth Award for June, from Champions of Youth Ambitions (C’YA).

Schmidt, 15, has been a PEEC volunteer since 2012 volunteering regularly, caring for the educational animals and conversing with visitors, participating in public outreach events

LANL Students Bring Virtual Reality To Nature Center

on July 12, 2016 - 10:07am

The community is invited to try out the new Oculus Rift virtual reality machine at 7 p.m., July 19 at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Thanks to Los Alamos National Laboratory students, the technology of the future, virtual reality, is now available at the Los Alamos Nature Center.

The community is invited to grab a pair of headsets, kick back and enter a virtual world brimming with possibilities in which the boundaries of visualization technologies are pushed at 7 p.m., July 19, at the Los Alamos Nature Center.

HTC’s Vive and Oculus’ Rift are two up-and-coming

Hunter College Creates Super Sniffer Mice

on July 12, 2016 - 7:49am

Destined to be the bomb detector of the future. Courtesy/commons.wikimedia.org

HSNW News:

Researchers at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York, have created super-sniffer mice that have an increased ability to detect a specific odor, according to a study published 7 July in Cell Reports. The mice, which can be tuned to have different levels of sensitivity to any smell by using mouse or human odor receptors, could be used as land-mine detectors or as the basis for novel disease sensors.

The technology, a transgenic approach to engineering the mouse genome, could also

Calling All Teens Interested In Science And Art: Projecting Particles Lab At ScienceFest 2016

on July 11, 2016 - 7:38pm

Scene from ScienceFest 2015. Courtesy/LACDC

LACDC News:

This year's Los Alamos ScienceFest will host a one of a kind workshop for high school aged teens.

Artist Agnes Chavez will lead the workshop, which will explore how to create a live projection art performance using an iPad app called Tagtool. Participants will learn about particle physics concepts, and how physics theories are expanding our understanding of who we are and where we come from.

The students will work in teams over the course of a 2-day workshop to storyboard, design and perform their science based projection

PEEC: New Laser Light Shows July 31 - Aug. 7

on July 11, 2016 - 10:01am
 
PEEC News:
 
Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is bringing all new Laser Light Shows to the Los Alamos Nature Center July 31 through Aug. 7.
 
Choose from up to four different shows each day. Enjoy laser shows choreographed to music as a full-dome experience in the nature center planetarium.
 
With 14 unique laser light shows, there is truly something for everyone. Music fans will love to see how laser light transforms their favorite bands in Laser Rock, Laser Retro, and Laser Viny.

Craig Martin Guides Hike To Bandelier’s Upper Crossing

on July 11, 2016 - 6:26am
View of Upper Frijoles Canyon. Photo by Craig Martin
 
PEEC News:
 
Saturday, July 16, local trails expert Craig Martin will lead a hike to Upper Crossing. The four-mile hike includes 400 feet of elevation gain, incredible views of Frijoles Canyon, a walk through an old growth Ponderosa Pine Forest, beautiful wildflowers, and a chance to glimpse some unusual plants near the end of the trail. This hike, organized by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is one of many events to help people get outside and enjoy nature.
 
To hike Bandelier’s Upper Crossing with Martin,

PEEC Family Night With Melissa Mackey July 12

on July 10, 2016 - 10:33am

PEEC offers hands-on fun July 12 at the Los Alamos Nature Center’s Family Night. Photo by Sandra West

PEEC News:

Family Night is 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 at the Los Alamos Nature Center and features a night of games and songs around the campfire with Mesa Public Library’s Melissa Mackey.

The nature center will be open until 8 p.m. for exploring the exhibits.

Family Night is held the second Tuesday of every month at the nature center and thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, this program is free to attend.

For more information about this and other programs

PEEC: Volunteerism And Youth

on July 10, 2016 - 9:21am
PEEC volunteer. Courtesy/PEEC
 
PEEC volunteer. Courtesy/PEEC
 
 
By CHRISTA TYSON
PEEC Volunteer Coordinator
  • You’re never too young to change the world. – unknown

Los Alamos is known as “one of the best places to raise children.”As a parent, I can attest to the blessings this area offers. We have amazing schools, easy access to the natural beauty of our surrounding open spaces, and endless programs geared toward educating, enriching and enlivening the youth here. We have many programs that support and uphold families.

A benefit often overlooked, is the opportunity for the youth of

Dawn Maps Ceres Craters Where Ice May Accumulate

on July 9, 2016 - 9:32am
This artist's concept shows NASA's Dawn spacecraft heading toward the dwarf planet Ceres. Courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech
 
NASA/JPL News:

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Scientists with NASA's Dawn mission have identified permanently shadowed regions on the dwarf planet Ceres. Most of these areas likely have been cold enough to trap water ice for a billion years, suggesting that ice deposits could exist there now. The findings were published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
 
"The conditions on Ceres are right for accumulating deposits of water

Keeping Pets Safe In Summer Heat

on July 9, 2016 - 8:05am
A trio of dogs ride in a boat. Courtesy photo
 
By ERIN ASKLAND
Dog Training and Behavior Expert

 

Each summer, hundreds of dogs are harmed as a result of being left in hot cars or outside without enough water or protection. Heat waves, like the one most of the country is experiencing, are especially dangerous for pets, as high temperatures can lead to dehydration, heat stroke, sunburn and even death in just a few minutes. A few preventative measures can easily protect dogs from heat wave hazards.

Watch for Heatstroke
Dogs can develop heatstroke fairly quickly.

Western Tent Caterpillar, Western Spruce Budworm Active On Santa Fe National Forest

on July 8, 2016 - 2:24pm
Spruce budworm larvae on white fir. Courtesy/Dr. Andrew Graves, USDA Forest Service
 
SFNF News:
 
SANTA FE  Forest Service entomologist Dr. Andrew Graves confirms that the western tent caterpillar that feasted on the Santa Fe National Forest’s aspen groves last year is back for more. And this year, the mixed conifer forests at lower elevations are feeling the effects of another defoliator, the western spruce budworm.
 
The damage is clear to visitors to areas along NM State Highway 475, the road to the Santa Fe ski area.

Big Day Of Birding In Los Alamos County July 12

on July 8, 2016 - 9:30am

Mouser Williams speaks at the Los Alamos Nature Center at 7 p.m., July 12. Photo by Minesh Bacrania

 

PEEC News:

Join local birder Mouser Williams as he shares the history and passion behind the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “Global Big Day” program.

Los Alamos birders competed in the event in May, during which time Mouser set out to find and identify 100 bird species in Los Alamos County in a single day.

Tuesday, July 12 at 7 p.m. at the Los Alamos Nature Center, hear his story about his attempt to set a county record.

Williams has lived in Los Alamos for 14 years as a local birding

Special Planetarium Show With Astrophysicist Galen Gisler Explores Origins Of Universe

on July 8, 2016 - 6:51am
The night sky. Courtesy photo
 

PEEC News:

Using examples visible in the July night sky, astrophysicist Galen Gisler will discuss the beginning of the universe and when and how it began as part of a special planetarium show at the Los Alamos Nature Center at 7 p.m. today.

The show will explore two independent streams of evidence for the world’s beginning and conclude with a brief sketch of the physics of the Big Bang itself.

Gisler was born under the dark and starry skies of eastern New Mexico and eventually found his way back to his home state.

PEEC Amateur Naturalist: Mr. Holmes And The Geometry Of Dandelions

on July 7, 2016 - 8:07pm
By ROBERT DRYJA
Los Alamos
 
Holmes now was particularly restless as a result of two events. First, he had just deduced that a particular diamond was a copy due to the angles of its facets. The angles had not matched the angles of the genuine article. Second, it was summer and he wanted to conduct his weekly explorations of the Jemez Mountains. I anticipated he would make some connection between geometry of the diamonds and what he observed as we hiked along a trail.
 
The case of the Geometric Dandelion. Courtesy photo
 
“My interest this week is in the recovery of plant life along

Santa Fe Raptor Center Visits Nature Center July 13

on July 7, 2016 - 9:00am

Learn about New Mexico’s feathered friends July 13 at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Watch the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) take flight with an exciting visit from the Santa Fe Raptor Center at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 at the Los Alamos Nature Center.

Thanks to a sponsorship from Del Norte Credit Union, Dr. Kathleen Ramsay will present New Mexico’s most intriguing birds. Meet the raptors up close and learn about their lives and their work as education animals. Nature Center staff also will be available to answer questions.

Flipping Crystals Improves Solar-Cell Performance

on July 6, 2016 - 11:46am

Three types of large-area solar cells made out of two-dimensional perovskites. At left, a room-temperature cast film; upper middle is a sample with the problematic band gap, and at right is the hot-cast sample with the best energy performance.  Image courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratory. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

  • Perovskite research team spin-casts crystals for efficient and resilient optoelectronic devices

In a step that could bring perovskite crystals closer to use in the burgeoning solar power industry, researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Northwestern University and Rice

WIPP: New Waste Acceptance Criteria Released

on July 6, 2016 - 9:53am
WIPP News:
 

The Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) issued the revised Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC) June 27 for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) to transuranic (TRU) waste generator site programs across the DOE complex.

 
Changes in WAC criteria for WIPP are being made in response to findings of the Accident Investigation Board’s report on the radiological release at WIPP in February 2014.
 
The WAC Revision 8 goes into effect on July 5 and TRU waste generator site programs will temporarily suspend certification of TRU waste, pending a determination that they comply with the revised

HD3, NMDA And NMSU Announce 'Innovation And Discovery In Agriculture And Food' Nov. 9-10

on July 6, 2016 - 7:21am
HD3 News:
 
The High Desert Discovery District (HD3) – New Mexico’s first privately-led high technology start-up accelerator – the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) and New Mexico State University (NMSU) announced that they will co-host the next HD3 Discovery Day™ - “Innovation and Discovery in Agriculture and Food” - November 9-10 in Las Cruces.
 
The event will focus on statewide innovation and commercialization opportunities within or that impact the agriculture, value-added food products and food industries.
 
“You can think of this event as Shark Tank for the agricultural

Hands & Voices Event At Nature Center July 9

on July 6, 2016 - 7:00am

HANDS & VOICES News:

Hands & Voices New Mexico Chapter (HVNM) is hosting an event in Los Alamos at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center.  Event is scheduled for Saturday, from 10:30 to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9.

There are three components to the event, and they are all FREE!:

  • 10:30 a.m.: Participate in the PEEC program nature hike.
  • 11:45 a.m.:  Learn about the college transition as a deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) student from Chloe Madsen Keilers, a sophomore at Stanford.
  • 12:15 p.m.: Meet, mingle and munch with other families with D/HH children, D/HH adults, and professionals who

Nature On Tap: Recent Astronomy Findings July 7

on July 5, 2016 - 6:57pm
PEEC News:
 
The community is invited to Nature on Tap to discuss the latest findings in astronomy 5:30-7 p.m., at UnQuarked in Central Park Square.
 
Local astronomers and astrophysicists Dr. Paul Arendt, Dr. Galen Gisler and Dr. Rick Wallace will provide an engaging discussion about black holes, NASA's Juno probe, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the night sky, and upcoming planetarium shows.
 
Paul Arendt received his PhD in physics at Ohio State University and now works in commercial manufacturing and the Applied Research & Development of Materials department at LANL.

EM, Industry Managers Across DOE Complex Participate In National Cleanup Workshop

on July 5, 2016 - 6:52pm
DOE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Managers from EM field offices and cleanup contractors across the DOE cleanup program are set to take part in the 2016 National Cleanup Workshop, scheduled to be held Sept. 14-15 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Va.
 
Planned participants include:
  • Doug Hintze, Manager, DOE-EM Los Alamos Field Office
  • Bryan Bower, DOE Project Director, West Valley Demonstration Project
  • Sue Cange, Manager, DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management
  • Jack Craig, Manager, DOE Savannah River Operations Office
  • Robert Edwards, Acting Manager, DOE

PEEC Gala Honors U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich As ‘Champion of Nature’

on July 5, 2016 - 7:47am

Honored ‘Champions of Nature’ Becky Shankland, Chick Keller, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Paul Arendt display their awards. Courtesy photo

VCNP Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos introduces U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich. Courtesy photo

Sen. Martin Heinrich praises the virtues of outdoor spaces like the VCNP for the people of New Mexico. Courtesy photo

PEEC News:

Saturday evening the Los Alamos Nature Center became “A Starry Night in Seville” as more than 100 guests feasted on Spanish tapas, wines, beers and desserts. 

The program featured an award to U.S. Sen.

What It Means To Shop Green

on July 5, 2016 - 6:40am

Courtesy/EPA.org

SHOPPING GREEN News:

Do you want to buy products that are good for the environment? Many companies bet that you do. They make claims and design packages to promote the green attributes of their products. But what do those claims tell you?

The Green Guides, enforced by the FTC, explain standards for truth in green advertising. The Guides’ message for businesses: you must have sound science to back up the green claims you make for your products.

The Guides’ message for you: when you shop, look for specific information on packages and products that explains why the product

Santa Fe National Forest Conducts Environmental Analysis To Revise Forest Plan

on July 5, 2016 - 6:35am
SFNF News:
 
SANTA FE  The Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) has announced its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in conjunction with the development of a revised forest plan to guide the strategic management of the SFNF for 10 to 15 years. 
 
The Notice of Intent (NOI) was published in the Federal Register, initiating a formal scoping period to identify issues for analysis in the EIS.
 
The revision of the forest plan is a multi-year process that has three phases:
  • An assessment of current conditions and trends on the forest
  • The development of a revised plan that

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