Who will win the UK elections? Let's ask the I Ching.

The election campaign is now under way in the country I live in. The way it works here is the Prime Minister takes a trip off to Buckingham Palace, tells her Majesty it’s time for an election, and she dissolves Parliament. Then everyone goes home and campaigns for exactly four weeks, and then if the voters still have any energy left, they go out to vote. I find I always need to point out that no one actually gets to vote for Prime Minister—you just get to vote for your Member of Parliament (and, if the local elections are being held the same date, as they will be this time, your local councilors). The leader has already been determined because he (or she) is the leader of the party. So now we have Gordon Brown of the Labour Party, David Cameron of the Conservatives, and Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats all criss-crossing the country like mad, kissing babies, eating strange foods, doing the usual things that party leaders generally do during actual election campaigns, and pretending to look happy about it. This is particularly gruesome in Brown’s case–when he tries to smile, the results are mildly terrifying. Continue reading

Gravity-measuring satellites and GPS confirm Greenland ice melting, affecting more of Greenland Ice Sheet

Over the last decade or so, scientists have tracked a significant loss of ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS). While some of that loss has been as a direct result of surface melting, most of it presently appears to be a result of warmer ocean waters melting the ice tongues that stretch out into fjords. Essentially, the warmer water melts the bottom of the glacier and makes it more likely to break up, and as the ice tongue breaks up, the glacier behind the tongue starts to move faster, dumping yet more ice into the ocean.

There has been a significant amount of study of the GIS, and multiple independent lines of evidence have shown that Greenland’s glaciers are thinning and thus losing mass. These include satellite radar altimetry, the GRACE gravity mapping satellites, and both airborne and satellite laser altimetry. Now a peer-reviewed paper published in March shows that another analysis of GRACE and new GPS data has found that mass loss has spread from the warmer southeast coast to the comparably cooler northwest coast, significantly increasing the amount of Greenland coastline affected by mass loss. Continue reading

The S&R Interview: 22 questions with Danielle Kimak Stauss of Rabbit Velvet

Lilac, lovelace / remind me of / your true grace

About four years ago I tripped across a band called The Lost Patrol. Since then I’ve noted their work a number of times: they made my best CDs for 2007 and 2008 reviews; their music served as a key element in a piece on the nonlinearity of influence; and they were the subject of a TunesDay post on the band’s “epic retro-futurism.”

Their lead singer when I found them was one Danielle Kimak Stauss, a woman whose hypnotic vocals haunted Steven Masucci’s vast, empty musical landscapes with an ice-cold passion that bordered on the transcendent. After 2007’s superb Launch & Landing Stauss and the band parted ways, and while LP has produced two wonderful CDs in the interim (featuring new singer Mollie Israel), Danielle was nowhere to be heard. Continue reading