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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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A response to "moon truthers"

Nine years before I was born Americans landed on the moon for the first time. I wish I had seen it. Jay Barbree has an excellent response here to morons who think the moon landing was faked: ... Buzz (Aldrin) set up various instruments.   One was a multi-mirror target for returning laser beams fired from Earth — laser reflectors that have been used worldwide to determine the distance to within an inch between Earth and the moon. Many universities and governments have used the Apollo ...
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Deadly priorities

For the annual cost of the Drug War, we could have 100 shuttle missions By Reilly Capps I know this is a website about science and the environment, not politics, but I need to note here a couple obvious facts: Our pockets are empty, so we're cutting funding for basic science research. We're shutting down the Space Shuttle. And yet I haven't heard talk of cutting funding for the War on Drugs. Even though it costs $44 billion a year. You know how many people died in the Drug Wars ...
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Goodbye shuttle

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="757" caption="It's been a good run. [NASA Photo"]"][/caption]
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The 'lazy-bones' theory of climate change

MIT study says: One degree hotter, one percent poorer By Reilly Capps (I'm a little busy just now sleeping on couches. This was originally posted in August 2009) Wanna visit a nice, well-off country this summer? The kind with indoor plumbing and a high tourist survival rate? Better bring a sweater. Of the 20 richest countries per capita,  you can ski in at least 14. These are places like Sweden, Canada, and Australia. Only one really hot country, oil-slathered Qatar, slithers ...
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Tomatoes -- our national shame.

I'm too young to remember a time when tomatoes weren't the rock-hard hand grenades they are today. It's only every once in a while that I get to taste a garden-grown heirloom tomato. It's like a different fruit. In "Tomatoland," Barry Estabrook writes about tomatoes as our national shame. Here's an excerpt. ... most Florida tomatoes are bred for hardness, picked when still firm and green (the merest trace of pink is taboo), and artificially gassed with ethylene in warehouses until they ...
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Healthy hicks

Sometimes the news likes to make us Mountain Westerners out to be hicks. When the coasts remember that it exists, Wyoming is usually mentioned as either the home of a meth crisis or else made up of 95 percent closeted homosexuals. But if we're hicks, we're pretty healthy hicks. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="2506" caption="Grand Teton and Teewinot Mountain, Grand Teton National Park. "][/caption] A study just out says Wyoming kids play outside twice as much as the average ...
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Climate fighter rejects a plea bargain

Excellent lengthy interview with Tim DeChristopher, who faces sentencing in one week for disrupting an oil and gas lease auction in 2008. We've written about him a few times, since we think he's one of the most interesting figures in the climate movement today and one of its most original and heart-strong thinkers. ... the government really wanted me to take a plea bargain, because they felt like they needed me to come before the court with my head bowed and say, “I apologize for my ...
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Listen to the eucalyptus trees

Turns out, the bastards have something to say about climate change By Reilly Capps The eucalyptus trees of northern California give the place an elegant, dilapidated charm. They rise high from the ground quickly but then seem to run out of steam, looping back toward the Earth in a graceful swoop. These ones below  are from Golden Gate National Recreation Area, just north of San Francisco, where I camp. And camping on Angel Island, in the nearby San Francisco bay, the eucalyptus ...
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Life finds a way

Life finds a way. You can boil it, burn it, freeze it, zap it, crush it, smoke it or shove it deep into the depths of the Earth, life will find a way to survive. That's what scientists keep finding, as extremophile  -- little animals that love extreme environments (the adrenaline junkies of the animal kingdom) -- keep popping up in unexpected places. This latest little guy was found a mile under the surface and named Mephisto, after the devil. What's amazing is that he is (it is?) much ...
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A billion heartbeats

I stumbled on this, from a story from a dozen years ago: As animals get bigger, from tiny shrew to huge blue whale, pulse rates slow down and life spans stretch out longer, conspiring so that the number of heartbeats during an average stay on Earth tends to be roughly the same, around a billion. A mouse just uses them up more quickly than an elephant. If that doesn't beat all. I'm going to look around for more references to this incredible idea -- that all animals get about a billion ...
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Workers of the world, reuse!

Is collaborative consumption communist? By Reilly Capps I worry what the neighbors will think. And so reading a book called "What's Mine is Yours" in public is terrifying, on account of the fact that I don't want people to think I'm a communist.  The point of the book is that, in the future, we will own many more things collectively, sort of like they did in Russia. So I jettisoned the bright shiny dust jacket and covered up the spine with a copy of "Juggs." But don't worry! I'm no ...
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Denmark can suck a (pickled) egg. China too.

By Reilly Capps [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="170" caption="Danish glasses "][/caption] The Danes have bad food, bad haircuts, high taxes and stupid square glasses. Now they're annoying me with their braggy, showy, environmental boasts. "We're leading in clean energy! We make a ton of money off it! We'll be 100 percent renewable by 2050!" Go stick your head in a windmill, you Viking turds. You got plenty.  Check out this Danish taunting: "Denmark is now one of the most ...
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Little house, lots of possibilities

Waist size, car size, TV size -- we got rich and everything got big. The average American house in 2004 was about two and a half times as big as the average house in 1950 (from 983 square feet to 2,349). That's not true all over. The Chinese, like most Asians, have stuffed many generations into the same small houses. But now that the Chinese are getting rich, it's likely they'll want to expand. But at least one architect has built a smarter (if extremely quirky) house in Hong Kong. Check ...
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Court of climate justice

Like other victories for just causes, the fight against climate change -- many call it climate justice, although that phrase has an odd ring to my ear -- may come through the courts. - RC  
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An ice chunk that dwarfs the Big Apple

Dear deniers of climate change: Anybody know what a gigaton is? Especially when used in this sentence, about the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and colleagues found that the two sheets lost a combined average of 36.3 gigatonnes more than they did the previous year. Giga- means billion. So the ice sheets lost 36 billion tons MORE ice than they did the previous years.  That seems like a lot. [caption id="" align="alignleft" ...
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Politicians fibbing on global warming

By Reilly Capps There are a lot of things that can be debated honestly. The designated hitter. Abortion. Whether the Kardashians ought to be famous. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="104" caption="Khloe Kardashian. Totally famous. "][/caption] But climate change is not one of them. Thankfully, an honest voice spoke up today. In a surprising editorial for the Washington Post, the editorial page editor there, Fred Hiatt, who often leans conservative, calls out Republicans ...
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The cameras and the mystery

The unknowns still outnumber the knowns By Reilly Capps Google Maps knows what America looks like, and so the world is becoming more known. Google can get you from the ice cream shop to the coffee place to the supermarket, tell you how many seconds exactly until the bus arrives, let you see a 360 degree view of streets you're not even on. It's an engineering marvel, and one of the reasons that Google will someday be as powerful as many countries. When Google Maps starts to operate in ...
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Budget cuts, ugly forests?

The new governor of Maine, Paul LePage, said: “Maine’s working families and small businesses are endangered,” he said. “It is time we start defending the interests of those who want to work and invest in Maine with the same vigor that we defend tree frogs and Canadian lynx.” He's one of many governors working to cut the budgets of environmental regulation. When budgets get tight, the first things to go are the things you think are cosmetic. If you're a CEO, the first thing you ...


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