Posts Tagged ‘science’

Saturday, May 18, 2019

William C. Geer Invented Plane-Wing Deicing Device

Based on his remarkable career as an inventor and the immeasurable but tremendous value of three creations of his to businesses and millions of individuals — a better golf ball, gas masks, and the industrial adhesive Vulcalock — it seems there should be a historical marker at William Geer’s birthplace and perhaps a museum wing up north, or at least an exhibit featuring his story. And that’s without even considering his greatest invention of all: the airplane-wing deicer.

That’s right, a North Country man, born and raised, did that. Unlike many inventions that are completely replaced by better alternatives in the future, Geer’s device originating nearly 90 years ago remains a standard, as noted in modern B. F. Goodrich Technical Bulletin 101: “Then, as today, the ice removal process is much the same…. the basic operating principle of the pneumatic de-icing boot hasn’t changed.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 11, 2019

Vulcalock: Inventor William Geer’s Industrial Game-Changer

In the northeast corner of New York, just a few miles from where I grew up, is the village of Rouses Point. Lying directly south of Montreal, it has long provided access for rail shipments to U.S. markets. Where the main highway heading west exits the village is an underpass beneath the rails, so road traffic is not impeded by trains, but it’s a different story within the village, where the tracks cross three streets. I loved it as a young boy when my dad got stuck at one of those crossings, which forced us to sit and watch as sometimes more than a hundred rail cars crawled by — boring for adults, but for a young boy, it was a rare chance to see all sorts of rail cars up close.

Among them were many tanker cars, which — I didn’t know it at the time — resulted from an invention by a little-known North Country man whose work had repercussions around the world. His name was William C. Geer, who, as recently was shared here on Adirondack Almanack, created a golf ball that endured for decades as a professional standard, and a gas mask that helped protect millions of Americans who fought during World War I. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Can North America’s Favorite Birds Drive Conservation Interest?

Boreal Owl Cross-referencing a decade of Google searches and citizen science observations, researchers say they have identified which of 621 North American bird species are currently the most popular and which characteristics of species drive human interest. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Animal Population Estimates: What’s in a Number?

moose by adelaide tyrolForty years ago, amid the surge of legislation that accompanied the rise of the modern environmental movement, New Hampshire passed its first Endangered Species Conservation Act.

The goal was to protect wildlife facing extinction in the Granite State. There was just one problem: they had no list of exactly which species were threatened or endangered. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Migratory Bird Ecosystem Disruption Research Published

Black and white Warbler Using data on 77 North American migratory bird species from the eBird citizen-science program, scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology say that, in as little as four decades, it may be very difficult to predict how climate change will affect migratory bird populations and the ecosystems they inhabit.

Their conclusions are presented in a paper published in the journal Ecography. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Curt Stager: What Climate Deniers Get Wrong

Temperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record. Data sources: NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Met Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit and the Japanese Meteorological Agency. (Graph produced by Earth Science Communications Team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory | California Institute of Technology)In his recent essay for Adirondack Explorer’s column, “It’s Debatable,” that was later re-published in the Almanack, John Droz presented more than an opinion that wind energy is a bad idea for the Adirondack Park.

He also slipped in a mention of the “AGW hypothesis,” meaning that the scientific consensus on “anthropogenic global warming” is mere guesswork. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 31, 2018

Perihelion: Proximity Doesn’t Always Generate Heat

PerithelionFew things seem as remote as the January sun in the North East. We see the light, but we feel almost no heat. In this way, winter can feel like a kind of exile – there’s a sense that the Earth has been flung to the farthest reaches of its orbit.

The idea that the winter sun is remote, however, is misguided. In fact, the Earth is closest to the sun when the Northern Hemisphere is in the deep freeze of winter. This extreme proximity is known as perihelion, and in 2019 it will take place on January 3. Conversely, aphelion – when the Earth is farthest from the sun – takes place during the height of summer, this year on the Fourth of July. The exact dates vary slightly every year, but always occur in January and July. » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 8, 2018

McNulty Named Int’l Field Stations Group President

stacy mcnultyStacy McNulty has been elected president of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS), a more than 50-year old international organization that supports research, education and outreach at field stations.

SUNY ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC) has been a member for about 25 years according to McNulty, who is an ecologist and associate director of the AEC. Prior to becoming president, McNulty served as board secretary, member-at-large and chair of the Human Diversity Committee. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cornell Researchers Advancing Industrial Hemp

Christine Smart professor of plant pathology and director of the School of Integrative Plant Science discusses Cornell hemp researchAs farmers across the state get ready for the 2018 growing season, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is preparing to oversee a second year of industrial hemp field trials across New York State.

Cornell has been funded to develop, support, and advance the best management practices for optimal growing and processing of industrial hemp. Cornell scientists and research technicians are continuing to study and evaluate potential production barriers (e.g. disease and insect pests) and to identify and breed the best commercially available hemp cultivars for the state’s broad range of agricultural environments. The goals of the program include establishing certified seed production within the state and developing basic agronomic and production-cost information for growing industrial hemp in different locations around New York State. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Adirondack Uranium: A Lewis County Boondoggle

In late summer 1955, after two months of surveying and studying uranium deposits in Saratoga County, Robert Zullo and his partners, George McDonnell and Lewis Lavery, saw their claims publicly dismissed in print by a business rival, who told the Leader-Herald there were “no major deposits of uranium in the Sacandaga region.” Geologist John Bird of Schenectady had been hired by a Wyoming uranium-mining company to survey the area, and after thirty days, he had found uraninite only in “ridiculously small” quantities. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Adirondack Uranium Rush (Part 3)

Under the newly formed Mohawk Mining Company (MMC), the trio of George McDonnell, Lewis Lavery, and Robert Zullo had high hopes of successfully developing uranium deposits they discovered near Batchellerville in Saratoga County. Plans were made for radiometric surveys of the sites, and they began pumping water from two feldspar quarries to examine the deeper rock for additional specimens. Tests were also planned on old piles of mine tailings that caused Geiger counters to react. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Adirondack Rush of ’49: Searching For Uranium

After the big news of a possible uranium ore bed near Plattsburgh failed to pan out in early 1949, the search for ore continued locally and nationally.

Many magazines, including Life (“The Uranium Rush”) and Popular Mechanics (“The ’49 Uranium Rush”) featured stories on the phenomenon that was sweeping the country. The coincidence of timing — the 100th anniversary of the 1849 California gold rush — made for enticing newspaper headlines as well. » Continue Reading.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Science of Hoarfrost and Rime Ice

hoarfrostIn folklore and literature, Jack Frost is often portrayed as a mischievous guy, sort of Old Man Winter’s younger self. He’s a personification of everything cold. In our region he’s a busy guy, at least for half of the year.

And an artistic one.

He gets credit for painting the trees orange and yellow and red in the fall. And we’re all familiar with ground frost, that harbinger of winter that looks like a dusting of snow. This phenomenon occurs when the temperature of objects near the ground falls below freezing. Water in the air freezes onto objects, sometimes as what looks like frozen dewdrops, sometimes as branched crystals. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

An Adirondack Uranium Rush

It’s hard not to think the above title is ridiculous. Believable possibilities would be iron, feldspar, talc, or garnet. But uranium? And on top of that, a rush? With the excitement of hopeful lottery players, folks in the past have swarmed the mountains and lowlands at word of supposed gold discoveries, or silver, or other metals, all of them precious in terms of financial value to the finder. But rushing to find radioactive materials — the stronger the better — in the Adirondacks? Really?

For the first four decades of the twentieth century, large mines at a few locations worldwide provided the bulk of uranium used in America. Discoveries of ore in Quebec and Ontario in the early 1900s caused speculation that deposits existed in the Adirondacks as well due to a shared geological history. In 1914, George Chadwick, professor of geology and mineralogy at St. Lawrence University, opined that “there’s no special reason” why radium-bearing rocks wouldn’t exist in the local mountains. Perhaps none had been found, he said, because no one had looked for them. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Cloning High Sugar Content Maples Focus of Research

NNYADP-funded research has produced the first Northern New York maple “sweet tree” clonesThe Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the first results of a project evaluating the opportunity to clone high sugar maple trees. The long-term goal is to produce rooted “sweet tree” clones that maple producers can plant to enhance their sugarmaking operations.

Cornell University plant pathologist Keith L. Perry conducted the research in collaboration with Joe Orefice, director of the Cornell Uilhein Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid. » Continue Reading.