1. Read the textbook assignments, list questions you have about
the reading, and ask them during class time.
NOTE: GO TO THE FOLLOWING TO SEE THE VIEWGRAPH ON EVOLUTION OF EARTH'S ATMOSPHERE. THERE IS ALSO A LISTING OF COMPOSITION OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF
OBJECTS IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM, SUCH AS THE SUN, JUPITER, AND ROCKY PLANETS.
1b. For an interesting discussion of the contribution
of methane gas to global warming, go to the following couple of
websites: (both short & easy)
sure to click on the pictures at the second site to see the sources of methane
gas under normal circumstances, and note the connection of sudden releases with
tectonic plate motions. For a look at how the Sun's irradiance
(luminosity) has varied over the past few solar cycles, see the following (and
note the number scale on the vertical axis):
the past 30 years, the Sun's irradiance has varied +- 1 part in 1367, or +-
0.07%: this is not responsible
for the global climate change observed during the last
1c. The best layman's explanation
I've seen for the appearance of the ozone hole over the Antarctic is at the
following University of Cambridge website: http://www.atm.ch.cam.ac.uk/tour/
See the following links for the mounting circumstantial evidence for the causes
of the "great dying" 250 million years ago, when most ocean- and land-based
comprehensive, well-organized site about all aspects of Mars exploration. Good
links to other sites also.
1f. For Mars aficionados, here's
an article from the NY Times about getting to Mars.
Before you sign up for a trip to Mars, you might want to look into this
research, which is investigating the effects of cosmic radiation on brain
neurons and living tissue in general. The dose to Skylab 4 astronauts mentioned
in the article is higher than the allowed annual dose for nuclear plant
workers. Also, the mean lethal dose (one-time exposure) is about 600 rem - 50%
of people with that one-time dose will die, rapidly and extremely miserably.
* For a good introduction to the concept of magnetic fields, go to the
following website - it contains good sketches as well as clear
For a good discussion of the location, motion, and reversal of Earth's magnetic
field, which I go over in class, see
1h. Here are a couple of links to articles on the reported claim
that finding DNA in dinosaur bones proves that the dinosaur remains could not be
at least 65 million years old, as claimed by scientists using age-dating
methods. The second of the two references carefully examines the peer-reviewed
articles of the reputed discoverer and compares those findings with the
interpretation of a well-known creationist.
November 30, 2007 posting at physicist Bob Park's website briefly explores some
news and Bob's comments on the connection between science and religion - an
age-old pseudo-debate that seems destined to last as long as humans. Yours
truly has near-zero interest in the topic, but some students of astronomy
exhibit high energy on the subject. A much more extensive exploration, set in
the context of a Supreme Court case in the 1980's, is at the following
1j. Since I began researching world oil supply in early 2004,
I've become a regional reporter on the subject of Peak Oil, which will someday take the prize for the most
under-reported, unavoidable threat ever faced by humans at the global
level. Here are 3 links that provide a sampling of relevant entries to
thinking about the subject and how humans might react to changes you will see in
This links you to
a group led by an expert retired oil geologist (Colin Campbell) - one whose
predictions are in line with those of over a dozen other retired, out-spoken oil
geologist experts. Almost all these guys worked for major
oil companies. Lots of links to other articles, people, etc. And just in case you doubt that U.S. oil policy is synonymous with
foreign policy, do a little google research on the "Carter Doctrine" formulated
in 1979, and think back over the past 25 years of U.S. military engagements and
attempts at regime change in oil-producing countries.
Kurt Vonnegut, during his 81st year, reflecting on our world and ending in his
usual fashion with an unexpected, stark conclusion. I guess he's read an
excellent summary book on the subject of peak oil - a book by Richard Heinberg
called "The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial
Societies." Heinberg does the best job I've seen of thinking
about the consequences of running shorter on oil as time moves on. This could
turn out to be one of the most important books of the 21st century. Paul
Roberts wrote a similar book (and it's also very good) called "The
End of Oil." Roberts is a reporter and writes a little more
smoothly than Heinberg - he's also interviewed a large cross-section of
people. Roberts' latest book has the even more worrisome title
"The End of Food." Reading one of these books would be
doing yourself a huge favor. More recently,
Heinberg authored an essay with what I am 100% sure is the most important
question of the 21st century: "What Will We Eat as the Oil Runs
a long essay, but you need to read it. As of May
2008, the world food production and distribution system is already showing early
signs of the approaching collapse - soaring food prices worldwide
and soaring fertilizer prices and
you get hooked on learning about your energy deficient future, this webpage from
WCC's Physics 109 course contains dozens of links to internet information on the
subject. I also list books I've read that I recommend, including a short
description of what the books are all about. If you want to involve yourself in
WCC's 2006-08 Issue of the (2) Year(s) (concerning climate change, peak oil, and
sustainable living) please see Barry Maxwell or Courtenay Chadwell-Gatz. You
can contribute to the community AND get credit (via the 'contract learning'
route) for your efforts.
is an interesting page describing what we know (from several linked methods)
about the long-term history of Earth's temperature.
Respond with written answers to the unit 9 discussion
questions. I'll take questions about these during class time. Assess
your responses by comparing with my unit 9 DQ responses on this web-site,
as instructed on my responses page. Turn these in the first day of unit 10.
3. Print out the unit 9 quiz and circle your
answer choice for each question. I'll take questions about the quiz via e-mail. Turn these in the first day of unit 10.