Submarine Volcano in Action

Most of the earth’s volcanoes are underwater. For the first time, using the submersible remotely operated vehicle Jason II, scientists have observed an actual eruption. They were able to move close to the vent, mainly because the physical conditions are so different than on land:

If we were observing this type of eruptive activity on land we would have to run for our lives! At Brimstone Pit the pressure of 560 meters (1837 feet) of water over the site reduces the power of the explosive bursts. Also, the water quickly slows down the rocks and ash that are violently thrown out of the vent.

The rocks formed by submarine eruptions have distinctive characteristics that usually make them easy to distinguish in the field from rocks that were formed on the land. Study of these submarine volcanic environments could lead to a better understanding of how certain types of mineral deposits form.

Image and quote from Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program

Jason II also captured video of the eruption.

For a news article: Underwater Volcano Erupts on Video.

Thanks to Bill M. for the link to the video.

Grace and Peace

My Favorite Study Bible

Is it the Ryrie Study Bible? Scofield Study Bible? NIV Study Bible? Reformation Study Bible?

No, right now it is the NIV Wide Margin Edition—lots of white space on all four sides of the page for notes. I’ve had this for about four years, and I estimate that I have about 3000-4000 comments, underlines, color-coded highlights, and other types of notations. There is room for more, but I have just about worn it out (I purchased the $40 hardcover rather than the $140 leather edition).

My color code scheme: red for what has been accomplished for me through the blood of Christ, green for the attributes of God, blue for prayer. I place short notations in the margin for other topics that are important to me: M for missions, CR for creation, EV for evangelism, F for family, B for baptism, and so on.

I do own an NIV Study Bible and a number of commentaries, but I find it best to put my own writing in the blank margins. This allows me to tailor my “study Bible” for what I’ve learned in my own meditation and study, as well as to put in notes from sermons I hear and books I read. By doing this, the thoughts are reinforced in my memory, and are there in front of me as a starting point the next time I read the passage.

I’d love to do my daily reading and studying with the more literal English Standard Version, but they haven’t come out with a decent wide-margin edition. They have a journal edition coming out in August, but it has a two-inch margin on the outside of the page rather than a one-inch margin on each side of the page, and I’m not sure that I will like that. I’m undecided at this point.

Grace and Peace

Bears in Germany — Found

Bears are common in some parts of Europe—Romania for example—but had not been seen in Germany since 1835. The news article is Bear Reported in Germany, First for 170 Years.

BERLIN (AFP) – A bear has been reported in Germany for the first time since 1835, police at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps said, following the discovery of seven sheep carcasses. The animal crossed into Germany from Austria, where about 30 bears live, and was spotted near the border on Thursday after destroying a beehive.

The German Alps are rugged, but also densely populated. I took the following photograph from the outskirts of Garmish-Partenkirchen, standing right next to the entrance to the U.S. military base there. The highest peak is Zugspitze; at 2962 m (9718 ft) the highest point in Germany.

Bears are, of course, much more common in the United States. Grizzly bears live in Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Washington, though their native range was much larger. Black bears are native to 49 states (not Hawaii), and still live in 40-43 states. The current population of black bears in the U.S. is in the 400,000 range, including >100,000 in Alaska. For a census of black bears in the U.S., click here or here.
Grace and Peace

Are You a Global Warming Skeptic? Part III

Back in March, I had a post about Scientific American’s blog entries on “Are You a Global Warming Skeptic, parts I and II“. Scientific American has updated this with Are You a Global Warming Skeptic? Part III. They posted this on April 24th, but it is still relevant. Rather than bashing opponents of global warming, this summarizes the arguments against global warming, and is worth a read.

The basic arguments people give against global warming were put into the following categories:

  • Global warming is not occuring
  • Present warming is a natural phenomenon
  • CO2 emissions cannot explain the warming
  • Climate models are unconvincing
  • Warming would be a good thing
  • Kyoto is worthless, or worse
  • Can’t trust the enviro-wackos and journalists

I haven’t formed an opinion one way or another on these points, though I would like to (along with 100 other things I’d like to look into).

Grace and Peace

The ID “Debate”

There was a debate/panel discussion over intelligent design at Biola University on May 12th. The ID side was represented by Michael Behe , Paul Nelson, Guillermo Gonzales, Jonathan Wells, and Steve Meyer; all prominent ID-ers. The opposition included a philosopher, journalist, biochemist (the only scientist on this side), and a state university religion professor. I haven’t heard anything about how it went.
I think a strong case can be made for many aspects of ID, but I was disappointed when I saw the list of anti-ID panelists, and think they may have did themselves a disservice by selecting a weak panel of opponents. If a case can be made for ID, it needs to be able to stand up to the tough questions, and tough questioners.

Grace and Peace

Fusion Power?

Breakthrough?: Scientists say they have cleared technical hurdle in fusion research — The headline makes it look like a major breakthrough, but it is just one small step towards commercial fusion power.

Unlikely: Fusion Power: Will It Ever Come? (Science, 10 March 2006) — The full article is not available online, but it outlines a number of obstacles to producing electricity by fusion, and doing so cheaply. Fusion may not be the source of unlimited, cheap energy that some make it out to be.

[As long as the fusion reactors work in SimCity—the only computer game that really matters—I’ll be happy]

Grace and Peace

Bonhoeffer Quotes

Some quotes to ponder, from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Perhaps it would be just as well to ask ourselves whether we do not in fact often act as obstacles to Jesus and his Word.

The command of Jesus is hard, unutterably hard, for those who try to resist it. But for those who willingly submit, the yoke is easy, and the burden is light.

Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end. But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy.

Only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes.

Grace and Peace