The Water Cycle - Animation

This animation shows the entire process of the water cycle throughout the course of a day.

Geologic Time Scale

Printable Geologic Time Scale - Geologcial Time Line from the-geography.blogspot.com

How Bullwinkle Taught Kids Sophisticated Political Satire

Culture critic Beth Daniels argues the cartoon moose even allowed viewers to reckon with nuclear war
By Beth Daniels, Zócalo Public Square

Mr. Chairman, I am against all foreign aid, especially to places like Hawaii and Alaska,” says Senator Fussmussen from the floor of a cartoon Senate in 1962. In the visitors’ gallery, Russian agents Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are deciding whether to use their secret “Goof Gas” gun to turn the Congress stupid, as they did to all the rocket scientists and professors in the last episode of “Bullwinkle.”

Another senator wants to raise taxes on everyone under the age of 67. He, of course, is 68. Yet a third stands up to demand, “We’ve got to get the government out of government!” The Pottsylvanian spies decide their weapon is unnecessary: Congress is already ignorant, corrupt and feckless.

Hahahahaha. Oh, Washington.

That joke was a wheeze half a century ago, a cornball classic that demonstrates the essential charm of the “Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends,” the cartoon show that originally aired between 1959 and 1964 about a moose and a squirrel navigating Cold War politics.

Last month, we lost the great June Foray, the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and many others. Her passing gave me pause to reflect on how important the show was during my formative years and how far-reaching is its influence on satire today. “Bullwinkle” was, like so many of the really good cartoons, technically before my time (I was born the year it ended). My sister and I caught it in syndication as part of our regular weekend cartoon lineup of Looney Tunes, “Jonny Quest,” and “The Jetsons,” from elementary through high school.

It wasn’t that Bullwinkle the character was especially compelling. He was an affable doofus with a loyal heart, if limited brainpower. Rocky was the more intelligent straight man: a less hostile Abbott to Bullwinkle’s more secure Costello. They were earnest do-gooders who took every obviously shady setup at face value. Their enemies were far cleverer, better resourced, and infinitely more cunning, but Rocky and Bullwinkle always prevailed. Always. For absolutely no good reason. It was a sendup of every Horatio Alger, Tom Swift, plucky-American-hero-wins-against-all-odds story ever made.

What we didn’t know in the ‘70s, when we were watching, that this was pretty subversive stuff for a children’s program made at the height of the Cold War. Watching this dumb moose and his rodent pal continually prevail against well-funded human saboteurs gave me pause to consider, even as a kid, that perhaps it is a silly idea to believe that just because we’re the good guys we should always expect to win.

The animation was stiff but sweet, the puns plentiful and painful. The show poked fun at radio, television, and movie tropes, and took playful aim at Cold War spycraft. Part of the fun was that Bullwinkle wasn’t a regular cartoon, but an animated half-hour variety show. And “variety shows” used to be so much of a Thing that I am stunned there is no niche cable network devoted to them today.


Every episode of “The Bullwinkle Show” featured two cliffhanger segments in the adventures of Bullwinkle J. Moose and Rocket J. Squirrel, pitted against master spies Boris and Natasha, all narrated breathlessly by erstwhile radio star William Conrad. Between each serial installment were stand-alone features, including “Peabody’s Improbable History,” wherein Mr. Peabody, a genius dog and his pet boy, Sherman, travel through time to make terrible puns; “Fractured Fairy Tales,” updated twists on Grimm Brothers classics; “Dudley Do-Right,” a parody of silent melodramas starring a cleft-chinned Canadian Mountie; and “Aesop & Son,” modernized versions of Aesop’s fables as told by Charlie Ruggles, star of silent and classic films. Other features included “Bullwinkle’s Corner,” an over-enunciated poetry reading, and “Mr. Know-It-All,” in which Bullwinkle tries and fails to teach us something.

The Variety Show format enabled three things. First, its gloss of adult sophistication completely undercut by silliness was incredibly attractive to me and my sister. Secondly, it got us to delight in the work of a revolving cast of top-notch, old school voice actors who’d grown up in radio and knew how to sell a line. June Foray, for example, is the common thread that weaves together the everyman fast-talkers of Warner Brothers films (she voiced Granny and Witch Hazel for Looney Tunes), the pop culture and political satire of Stan Freberg, and the Cold War kiddie fare of “Bullwinkle” (as Rocky, Nell Fenwick, Natasha, and more).

“Fractured Fairy Tales” were narrated by veteran actor Edward Everett Horton, a Warner Bros. stable favorite, and featured Daws Butler (Elroy Jetson), a Stan Freberg comedy show veteran, along with Paul Frees and June Foray. Before giving voice to Dudley Do-Right’s nemesis Snidely Whiplash, Hans Conried was better known as Captain Hook in Disney’s “Peter Pan,” as well as for his years’ long yeoman’s work on radio mystery shows, “I Love Lucy,” and “Burns and Allen.”

Finally, the show’s format and depth of talent connected my sister and me to a world of comedy that was well before our time, but helped us navigate what came afterwards. Apart from Sesame Street and the Electric Company (whose cast was a gift to future Broadway lovers) the cartoon landscape during the 1970s was bleak. I don’t know what happened during the Summer of Love to cause formerly respectable shops like Hanna-Barbera to go from “Jonny Quest” to “Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels,” but it can’t have been pretty. In those grim years when cable was not yet available to the common man and one had physically to get up to change the channel (or make one’s sister do it), we relied on three networks, a local PBS affiliate, and a couple of random UHF stations for our home entertainment. By setting the contemporary junk fare right up against reruns of infinitely better material, regular television gave my sister and me a great education in quality satire, voice recognition, and genius parody.

There was also the added benefit of our mother’s healthy collection of comedy albums—Stan Freberg, Tom Lehrer, Nichols & May, and Woody Allen—all of which are of the same era as “Bullwinkle” and feature some of the same performers. My parents and these comedians belong to the so-called “Silent” Generation—that cohort born between 1925 and 1945­—too young to be the Greatest and too old to be Boomers. Born during times of economic insecurity, this group came of age during the McCarthy Era and is marked, understandably, by a desire not to rock the boat too much. While they weren’t as culturally radical as the Boomers of the ’60s, the artists and cultural provocateurs of the Silent Generation loved to take a whack at the Eisenhower status quo, not to mention psychoanalysis and the Bomb.

Because we loved these old records and shows, my sister and I ended up singing along with Tom Lehrer about German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun (about whom we knew nothing), did the Vatican Rag and the Masochism Tango (ditto).

And so, through Bullwinkle, we were granted access to nearly a century’s worth of comedy and satire, three generations of backhanded patriotism tempered with gentle skepticism going back to vaudeville, a sort of atavistic psychic tool chest for navigating strange and scary times.

Bullwinkle was there when PBS pre-empted all programming to air the Watergate hearings in the summer I was eight, my last before sleepaway camp. At P.S. 19, we were still having bomb drills and the Cold War was still very much on, as was a hot war in Vietnam, but there was no recognition of these facts in the “Archies” or “Hong Kong Fooey.” Bullwinkle’s immunizing effect continues today. Had we only dreck like “Land of the Lost,” would we be prepared to contemplate Russian cyber-bots interfering in our presidential elections?

Bullwinkle’s playful critique lives on today in “Spongebob” and “The Simpsons,” shows whose creators openly acknowledge their debts. (Spongebob’s Squidward’s voice is Ned Sparks; Plankton is Walter Brennan. All the male Simpsons have Bullwinkle & Rocky’s middle initial “J.”) These shows are a loving critique of the ways American ideals and American reality are often out of whack. And it’s a good thing, because suddenly the original great theme of Bullwinkle—fear of nuclear annihilation—is back. 

Beth Daniels writes a classic movie blog and watches entirely too much television. She wrote this for Zócalo Public Square. Source: Smithsonian Magazine,

Emerald Weighing More Than 600 Pounds Found in Brazil

  • The massive emerald, which weighs 794 pounds and stands around 4.3 feet high was unearthed a month ago, 200 metres deep inside the Carnaiba Mine in Brazil
  • Experts predict the enormous emerald rock could fetch around £238million
  • Whopping 360kg emerald discovered in Brazil worth $308 million 
PIC FROM Paulo Peixinho DPJ Filmes / Caters News.
An enormous £238million emerald rock discovered in a gem mining field in Brazil is being kept under heavy security in a secret location as the owner exclusively revealed he is living in fear of kidnapping, extortion and armed robbery.

The private holder, who can only be identified by his initials FG, said the giant stone is extremely rare because of its 'considerable size and the quality of its gigantic crystals'.

He revealed that while it would need a forklift truck to lift the huge cluster of jewels, the risks of a heist are high in Brazil where criminal gangs use explosives to raid banks and carry powerful firearms.

The massive emerald, which weighs 794 pounds (360kg) and stands around 4.3 feet high (1.3metres), was unearthed a month ago, 200 metres deep inside the Carnaiba Mine, a gem-rich mineral exploration area in Bahia, north east Brazil.

The cautious owner said this week: 'I can't reveal anything about the whereabouts of the stone, how it's being kept and how much I paid for it. 'All I can say is the stone is being moved frequently from secure location to secure location under armed guard.

'I cannot take any chances with my family's lives by keeping the stone in one place where it could be found.'

There are only two giant stones with this density of crystals in the world, and according to FG, the other one, the Bahia emerald, which was the subject of a legal dispute over ownership between Brazil and America, 'does not possess the same pure quality as the new Carnaiba emerald'.

The secretive keeper, who is currently finalising the legal paperwork for ownership, described the find as 'a majestic and beautiful monument'.

PIC FROM Paulo Peixinho DPJ Filmes / Caters News
He said: 'This stone has emerald beryls spread all over it. Their quality is superb and by far the best I've ever seen and I've been in the industry for nearly 30 years.' Experts predict the impressive jewelled stone, which contains around 180,000 carats of emerald crystals, could fetch around £238million.

The owner, a 50-year-old married father of one, revealed: 'I've already had calls from interested parties including potential buyers fromEurope, Arab Emirates, America, India and China, who are keen to open negotiations.

'Personally, I don't know what the value of this piece is because it will be led by market demands.'
The Carnaiba emerald was found by members of the Bahia Mineral Cooperative, a group of workers legally authorised to explore the area.

FG explained: 'Extracting the stone was extremely difficult. It took ten of us more than a week to get it out because it was 200 metres down in the ground.

'It was cut out of the area, where it was embedded, in one piece and all hands were needed to lift it to the mine shaft where it was raised to the surface by a winch.'
FG paid each member of the Coop for their share of the gemstone, leaving him as the sole owner of the Carnaiba Emerald.

This jumbo jewel was found in the same mine just one hundred metres from where the Bahia emerald was discovered sixteen years ago.


FG said: 'I saw the Bahia emerald when it was found in 2001. It was shaped flat like a basin and they had to chip away at it to reveal the emeralds underneath. Doing that made it lose a little of its value.

'To my recollection the Bahia emerald doesn't compare to my find which is magnificent in height and sumptuous to look at. 'My one has simply been washed down with water to get rid of the dirt and it retains its appeal and value.'

According to reports, the Bahia emerald, which weighed 44 pounds (20 kg) more than the Carnaiba emerald, was illegally taken out of Brazil to the United States.
Although the Brazilian government claimed the emerald cluster, which was valued at 310 million US dollars, should be returned as part of the nation's heritage, judges ruled otherwise in 2015 and the stone remains in America.


A confident FG said there is no risk of this happening to the new Carnaiba discovery.

His lawyer, Marcio Jandir, explained: 'We have done all the issuance of the certificate of origin, a requirement of the Department of Mineral Production. 'The owner of the stone will have the authorisation to do with it legally what he wants. And any transaction will be handled legitimately.'

FG said: 'For now, I'm keeping the rock heavily guarded and out of sight until I reach a decision on whether to sell it or display it in museums here in Brazil.'

Hatton Garden emerald expert Marcus McCallum commented: 'This is not the type of emerald used for making jewellery, it's more a collector's item which would look spectacular as an ornament in the foray of a wealthy home or make exceptional viewing in a museum.'

Source: Geology IN.

Melting of Greenland ice exacerbates rate of global sea level rise by 50 per cent

By summing up all sea-level contributions— from ocean warming to melting glaciers, a recent study has found that the rate of global sea-level rise has increased by 50 per cent over the past two decades.

Scientists estimate that sea-levels will continue to rise if the effects of climate change are not mitigated. 



The study was conducted by researchers from the CSIRO, the University of New South Wales, the University of Tasmania, as well the Ocean University of China.

Curiously, despite indications that the melting of glaciers and ice sheets were contributing to sea-level rises, there had been no reported increases in sea level observations by satellite altimery (an instrument for measuring height or altitude). 

When comparing and carefully analysing satellite and coastal measurements of sea level, they revealed a small but significant bias in satellite measurements between 1993 and 2003.

Biases ranged from conflicts owing to the differing observational techniques and different data quality control procedures and mapping methods.

In comparing the corrected satellite data from 1993 to 2014 with the contributing factors to sea-level rises over these two decades including ocean warming, the melting of glaciers and ice sheets and the amount of water stored on land, it became clear that there was an increased rate of sea level rise over the entire two decades. 

Based on corrected satellite altimetry, the rate of sea level rise went from 2.4 mm per year in 1993 to 2.9 mm per year in 2014, meaning there was a steady increase of about 0.5 mm per year from 1993 to 2014.

Ocean expansion as a result of ocean warming was pinpointed as the number one factor behind the sea-level rises, while glaciers and ice sheets were the second largest contributor. 

"Strikingly, the largest increase came from the Greenland ice sheet, as a result of both increased surface melting and increased flow of ice into the ocean," the scientists told The Conversation

Greenland's contribution to the sea-level rises increased from 5 per cent in 1993, to 25 per cent in 2014. 

"While the rate of ocean thermal expansion has remained steady since 1993, the contributions from glaciers and ice sheets have increased markedly," they said. 

The research points to the need for correction of biases in earlier data to understand the rapid rate of sea-level rises, while also demonstrating the need for effective climate change protocols. 

"If the global community fails to move toward zero greenhouse gas emissions very soon then the planet will see something like 1 metre of sea level rise by 2100," Matt King, a professor in Surveying & Spatial Sciences who was involved in the study, told Australian Geographic. 

"Recent studies have suggested Antarctica could contribute more than previously thought – if this occurs, then sea levels will rise by more than 1 metre by 2100. We can limit the damage but we can also make it worse. This rise will affect coastlines but more than that will have effects on human migration and, potentially, national security."

Matt explains that considering $250 billion of Australian infrastructure sits within 1.1 metre of sea level, building new flood defences may help in some locations, however these are expensive.

"For many locations, planned retreat from vulnerable coastlines needs to be considered well in advance – this will affect private landowners, businesses and governments."

The research was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Source: Australian Geographic.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge

The mid ocean ridge systems are the largest geological features on the planet. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) is a mostly underwater mountain range in the Atlantic Ocean that runs from 87°N -about 333km south of the North Pole- to subantarctic Bourvet island at 54°S.

The MAR is about 3 km in height above the ocean floor and 1000 to 1500 km wide, has numerous transform faults and an axial rift valley along its length.

Scientists discover how world's biggest volcanoes formed

A study led by ANU has solved the 168-year-old mystery of how the world's biggest and most active volcanoes formed in Hawaii.



The study found that the volcanoes formed along twin tracks due to a shift in the Pacific plate's direction three million years ago.

Lead researcher Tim Jones from ANU said scientists had known of the existence of the twin volcanic tracks since 1849, but the cause of them had remained a mystery until now.

"The discovery helps to better reconstruct Earth's history and understand part of the world that has captivated people's imagination," said Mr Jones, a PhD student from the ANU Research School of Earth Sciences (RSES).

"The analysis we did on past Pacific plate motions is the first to reveal that there was a substantial change in motion 3 million years ago. It helps to explain the origin of Hawaii, Earth's biggest volcanic hotspot and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world."

Twin volcanic tracks exist in other parts of the Pacific, including Samoa, and the study found that these also emerged three million years ago.

Mr Jones said this kind of volcanic activity was surprising because it occurred away from tectonic plate boundaries, where most volcanoes are found.

"Heat from the Earth's core causes hot columns of rock, called mantle plumes, to rise under tectonic plates and produce volcanic activity on the surface," he said.

"Mantle plumes have played a role in mass extinctions, the creation of diamonds and the breaking up of continents."

Co-researcher Dr Rhodri Davies from RSES said the twin volcanic tracks emerged because the mantle plume was out of alignment with the direction of the plate motion.

"Our hypothesis predicts that the plate and the plume will realign again at some stage in the future, and the two tracks will merge to form a single track once again," Dr Davies said.

"Plate shifts have been occurring constantly, but irregularly, throughout Earth's history. Looking further back in time we find that double tracks are not unique to young Hawaiian volcanism - indeed, they coincide with other past changes in plate motion."

Hawaii sits at the south-eastern limit of a chain of volcanoes and submerged seamounts which get progressively older towards the north west.

The researchers worked with the National Computational Infrastructure at ANU to model the Pacific plate's change in direction and formation of the twin volcanic tracks through Hawaii.

The study titled 'The concurrent emergence and causes of double volcanic hotspot tracks on the Pacific plate' is published in Nature.