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SFI: Mutualism - What Do We Know... Dec. 14

on December 11, 2015 - 8:12am
Judie Bronstein, University of Arizona
SFI News:
The Santa Fe Institute (SFI) seminar, "Mutualism: What Do We Know, and Where Do We Go From Here?" is 12:15 p.m., Monday Dec. 14, at Collins Conference Room in Santa Fe.
Abstract: In this talk, I review the checkered history of the study of mutualism, a field that has only coalesced in the past 20 years.
I will identify six major research directions, then present our own recent work on hawkmoth-plant relationships to show how they can be integrated to move our understanding forward.
I conclude by discussing pressing issues surrounding

WIPP Workers Perform Filter Replacement

on December 10, 2015 - 3:32pm
Radiological workers ready used filters for off-site disposal. Courtesy/WIPP
WIPP News:
As recovery operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant continue, increased work activity in the underground results in higher levels of airborne salt dust, increasing the frequency with which filters are replaced. Last week, workers performed a filter replacement on WIPP’s Underground Ventilation System.
WIPP’s ventilation system has two filter units. Each unit has 84 separate filters arranges in four layersmoderate efficiency filters, high efficiency filters, and two layers of HEPA

Rain, Snow, Wind And Colder Weather Returning

on December 10, 2015 - 3:08pm

NWS News:

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque has issued a weather advisory for northern and central New Mexico favoring the northern mountains, northeast highlands and maybe far northeast plains.

Strong to potentially damaging winds are expected, followed by wintry weather beginning late tonight through Saturday night. Key Impacts:

  • Significant cool down from near record highs Thursday-Friday to 5 to 15 degree below normal temperatures during the weekend.
  • Snow accumulations Friday night through Saturday night favoring the Colorado border area with secondary impacts to the

PEEC Amateur Naturalist: Insect Camouflage

on December 10, 2015 - 10:54am
Los Alamos

Insects have different kinds of camouflage to hide themselves. A praying mantis may grow to be up to six inches long, but how many people have seen such a large one?

A praying mantis may be so well camouflaged that it can capture a hummingbird that is coming to a flower for nectar.

A praying mantis selects plants that match its color rather than changing its color to match a plant.

Brown praying mantis. Courtesy photos






Rosy praying mantis. Courtesy photos






Green praying mantis. Photo by Sally King/Bandelier






Ceres’ Bright Spots Likely Brine Deposits

on December 10, 2015 - 10:20am

This image, made using images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows Occator crater on Ceres, home to a collection of intriguing bright spots. The bright spots are much brighter than the rest of Ceres' surface, and tend to appear overexposed in most images. This view is a composite of two images of Occator: one using a short exposure that captures the detail in the bright spots, and one where the background surface is captured at normal exposure.

Planetarium Showing 'Exoplanets' Film This Weekend

on December 9, 2015 - 11:42am

Exoplanets poster. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Pajarito Environmental Education Center is bringing Exoplanets back to the Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium at 2 p.m., Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.

Exoplanets takes audiences on a journey to observeplanets beyond our solar systemand uncover the science and astronomy behind their discovery. This full-dome film was produced by Casper Planetarium.

Tickets may be purchased by phone or at the nature center for $6 for adults and $4 for children. This movie is recommended for ages four and up. The movie starts promptly at 2 p.m. and seating is limited.

Learn About The Sun At Planetarium Show Friday

on December 8, 2015 - 11:34am
Solar filaments through a telescope. Courtesy photo

PEEC News:

Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is holding a special show in the Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11.

Rick Wallace will explore the sun and its effects on our planet, moon, astronauts, and future colonies on other planets.

This special planetarium show is $6 for adults and $4 for children. Tickets are available by calling or stopping by the nature center. Seating is limited.  Planetarium shows are suitable for ages four and up.

LANL's Science In 60 seconds: The Hunt For Antarctic Meteorites

on December 8, 2015 - 10:27am

LANL scientist Nina Lanza has signed up to spend nearly six weeks in a tent on the Antarctic ice sheet. ScreenShot/LANL

LANL News:

She’s the “coolest” thing in science, searching the ice sheets of Antarctica for meteorites from outer space.

Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Nina Lanza has signed up to spend nearly six weeks in a tent on the Antarctic ice sheet. Why would anyone do such a thing? For science, obviously!

In the premiere episode of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s “Science in 60” video series, Lanza gives us the low-down in 60 seconds on the why and how of hunting

Santa Fe National Forest Closes El Cajete Mine Area

on December 8, 2015 - 10:11am

SFNF News:

The Santa Fe National Forest today issued a temporary closure order for the El Cajete pumice mine in the Jemez Ranger District. 

The restricted area, a total of 87 acres, runs north along N.M. 4 between the Sierra Los Pinos subdivision and mile post 34. 

The closure will allow reclamation efforts on the site, including erosion control and revegetation, to stabilize. The order will stay in effect until Oct. 31, 2017, unless it is rescinded earlier.

All activities are prohibited within the closure area.

LANL Receives Second Presidential Award

on December 8, 2015 - 8:23am

Los Alamos National Laboratory recently received a second presidential award as a climate champion. From left, Mathew Moury, Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security; Michael Sweitzer, NNSA; Josh Silverman, Director, DOE Office of Sustainability Support; Christy Goldfuss, Director, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Denny Hjeresen, LANL Waste Management Division; Leslie Hansen, LANL Environmental Protection Division and Jessica Arcidiacono and NNSA Sustainability Program Eric Bradley, DOE Office of Sustainability Support. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:


Roger This: All Aboard For The Paris Accord

on December 6, 2015 - 12:54pm
Los Alamos Daily Post

The first week of the 21st meeting of the of the Conference of Parties (COP21) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is drawing to a close in Paris.

During this time the Earth has theoretically warmed an additional .0008degreesFahrenheit. That calculation is according to my own back-of-the-envelope extrapolation of a very broad scientific consensus that we are approaching a warming rate of about .04 degrees F per decade.

The alarming problem about these miniscule estimates is that we are beginning to cross a red

2015 Earth Treasures Show Rocks On!

on December 6, 2015 - 12:35pm
A presenter explains how geodes are created to a young visitor at the 2015 Earth Treasures Show. The show continues today at the Masonic Temple, 15th and Canyon in Los Alamos. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
A variety of jewels for the wrist. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Children create Rock Monsters at Saturday's Earth Treasures Show. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
The main display hall attracts many vendors and visitors. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Real crystal balls! Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
A young man

Chamisa School Recycle Bowl Challenge

on December 5, 2015 - 7:55am

Poster Contest grand prize winner Lia Rushton with County Environmental Services Manager Angelica Gurule, Chamisa Recycle Bowl Coordinators Megan Lee and Sabina Johns and poster contest coordinator Renee Mitsunaga. Courtesy photo

Grand Prize winning poster by Lia Rushton. Courtesy photo



Chamisa Elementary School and Los Alamos County worked together to enter the National Competition, Keep America Beautiful-Recycle Bowl Challenge. The challenge took place Oct. 19 to Nov. 15.

A GREEN TEAM comprised of fourth and fifth grade students and teachers helped students at lunch

DPU Seeks Input On Carbon Neutrality Definition

on December 5, 2015 - 6:41am
The Board of Public Utilities (BPU) will review various recommendations included in the July 7, 2015 Future Electrical Energy Report over the next three Board meetings. 
First up is the recommended definition for "Carbon Neutrality" which will be considered for adoption at at 5:30 p.m., at the Dec. 16, Board meeting scheduled in Council Chambers, 1000 Central Ave. in Los Alamos.
Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) officials encourage Los Alamos citizens to go online to the County’s open forum at and provide feedback on the recommended

Head Of CTBTO Dr. Lassina Zerbo Visits Los Alamos

on December 4, 2015 - 7:41am

CTBTO Executive Secretary Dr. Lassina Zerbo

NNSA News:

LAS VEGAS ― Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), visited NNSA’s Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) Nov. 23, as part of a multi-day itinerary that also included tours of national laboratories overseen by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

While at Los Alamos, Zerbo discussed the laboratory’s technical support of the CTBTO

NMED To Host Public Listening Sessions

on December 4, 2015 - 7:19am
NMED News:
New Mexico Environment Department to Host Public Listening Sessions for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SIP Call for Startup, Shutdown and Malfunction (SSM) Operations.
On May 22, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final action to ensure states have plans in place that are fully consistent with the Clean Air Act and recent court decisions concerning startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) operations.
In response to this final action, the New Mexico Environment Department Air Quality Bureau will be required to revise 20.2.7 NMAC - Excess Emissions

Cleaning Up Abandoned Mines Could Cost Billions

on December 4, 2015 - 7:13am
CWP News:
DENVER — A new report from the Center for Western Priorities finds the cost of cleaning up the 100,000 abandoned mines on national public lands across the American West could reach $21 billion.
The analysis shines a light on the costs Western states would be saddled with if national public lands were handed over to the states, a proposal which is gaining traction among some fringe anti-government groups and elected officials.
The recent environmental catastrophe at Colorado’s Gold King Mine highlighted the risk that abandoned mines pose to Western water, wildlife, recreation,

Dr. Sayre's Frontiers In Science Talks Explore Strategies To Improve Photosynthesis, Increase Energy Yields

on December 3, 2015 - 1:08pm

Dr. Richard Sayre

LANL News:

  • First talk is Monday, Dec. 7 in Albuquerque

Los Alamos National Laboratory molecular biologist Richard Sayre will present two Frontiers in Science lectures, titled, “Hacking Photosynthesis: Growing Plants to Power Our Engines and Feed the World”.

In his talks, which begin Dec. 8, Dr. Sayre will discuss how improving photosynthetic efficiency may result in substantial increases in crop yields.

“Photosynthesis uses light from the sun and carbon dioxide from the air to make sugars that can be converted into energy-rich biofuels,” said Dr.

LANL Researcher Pens Prizewinning Essay On Cancer

on December 3, 2015 - 1:02pm

Ludmil Alexandrov

LANL News:

  • Research focuses on preventing cancer through mutational signatures

Ludmil Alexandrov, of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, made strong points this week in the journal Science about the basic formation of human cancers, winning a 2015 Science & SciLifeLab Prize, on “Understanding the Origins of Human Cancer.”

“I have always been passionate about solving complex genomics puzzles and applying my skills towards better understanding the mechanism underlying cancer development,” said Alexandrov, Oppenheimer Fellow at Los Alamos.

Nature Center Presents Sea Monsters Dec. 5-6

on December 3, 2015 - 12:21pm

WIPP: Safe Havens Increases Underground Safety

on December 1, 2015 - 12:35pm
Safe havens provide life-saving shelter for underground workers in the event of an emergency. Courtesy photo
WIPP News:
The WIPP site has made significant safety improvements. Recently, eight underground safe havens (or refuge chambers) were delivered to the site and will be downloaded into the WIPP underground prior to the restart of waste disposal operations.
The safe havens are about 28 feet long, 8 feet wide and 7.25 feet high and weigh approximately 19,000 pounds.
Each unit is equipped to house 20 people for at least 36 hours in the event of an emergency where workers may not be able to

Public Invited To Trails Webinar Thursday

on December 1, 2015 - 12:04pm


All interested community members are invited to "The Role of Trails in Healthy Community Design" - a live webinar from American Trails  11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3 at the Los Alamos Nature Center, 2600 Canyon Road

The webinar will begin promptly at 11 a.m. and attendance is free.

American Trails is a national trails education and advocacy non-profit. The webinar presenter will be Mark Fenton, a transportation, planning, and public health consultant, author, PBS television host, and active transportation advocate.

Walkable, bike-friendly communities can improve

Local To Global: How Los Alamos County's Good Government Helps Mitigate Climate Disruption

on December 1, 2015 - 9:33am
Los Alamo Sierra Club

The United Nations initiated their Climate Talks in Paris Monday despite the Daesh/ISIS attack Nov. 13.

The refusal to postpone the international meeting accentuates the fact that the world thinks the climate issue is at least as important (or even perhaps what exacerbates) terrorism. Most leaders recognize climate as the most critical concern humans will confront into the next century. Actually, these leaders recognize that this is the most critical issue for humans right now. 

We in Los Alamos know first hand about how climate change has disrupted

Udall Statement On New Mexico Unit Agreement

on December 1, 2015 - 8:08am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement Monday, Nov. 23, on the Secretary of the Interior's decision to further evaluate the impacts and costs of any potential New Mexico Unit Agreement to the Central Arizona Project:
"Today's decision means the Interior Department will move forward with a legally required process to establish a framework for federal participation to study the environmental cost of diverting water from the Gila River.

SFI Seminar: 'Garden - As Symbolic Link Between City And Nature' 3:30 p.m. Today

on December 1, 2015 - 8:06am
Curtis Carter, Marquette University
SFI News:
Santa Fe Institute (SFI) seminar "Garden: As Symbolic Link Between City And Nature" is set for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Noyce Conference Room in Santa Fe.
Abstract: My topic for discussion will address a particular issue: the role of garden as a symbolic link between nature and urban environments.  Garden is one of the elements that significantly enhances the aesthetics of a city environment. Yet this element has received relatively little attention in philosophical aesthetic theory.
This topic is intended as one small step toward addressing