About Penny

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

Marching for Science, or Why I am Behind at #365papers

I’ve been doing so well. Papers read and posts written for 107 papers thus far this year. Then suddenly… Silence.

It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about science. Quite the contrary.

I haven’t been reading or posting because I went there. I marched. In Washington DC. With 40,000 of my science colleagues.

With planning the trip, travel, and actually being there and trying to take in all of Washington’s museums and sights, well… It just didn’t happen.  Nevertheless, I will catch up. I have papers selected. I’m ready to read.

In the meantime, enjoy some photos:

My updated profile pic for the March for Science

Continue reading

U is for Uintatherium – #AtoZChallenge – 2017 – Uintan Mammals

U is for Uintatherium

Uintatherium was a massive hoofed mammal that lived during the Eocene epoch. Superficially, they were rather rhinoceros-like, though they were not related.

A reconstruction of Uintatherium.
Credit: Dmitry Bogdanov CC 3.0 By SA

Notably, Uintatheres had many horns and protuberances on their skulls, in addition to robust tusks.

Cast of Uintatherium anceps (Leidy, 1872) – syn. Dinoceras mirabile (Marsh 1872) skull, neck vertebrae.
Credit: Jebulon [Public Domain]

Ethanol Can Help – #365papers – 2017 – 110

#365papers for April 20, 2017

Farrell, Plevin, Turner, Jones, O’Hare, and Kammen, 2006, Ethanol can contribute to energy and environmental goals: Science, v. 311, p. 506-508.

What’s it about?

An important question about producing ethanol from crops is whether or not the energy costs of production outweigh the energy gained from the ethanol produced. The authors here take six previous studies that had very different results and come up with a means to compare them. In doing so, they are able to show where ethanol can, in fact, yield greater energy than it costs to produce. Continue reading

Biofuels for Our Engines – #365papers – 2017 – 109

#365papers for April 19, 2017

Agarwal, 2007, Biofuels (alcohols and biodiesel) applications as fuels for internal combustion engines: Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, v. 33, p. 233-271.

What’s it about?

This lengthy paper is a summary of the types of biofuels (that is liquid fuels produced from crops) that can replace ethanol and diesel in common engines used for transportation and agriculture. It goes into the sources of such fuels, some of the mechanisms to make the fuels, and efficiencies. Continue reading

O is if Ourayia – #AtoZChallenge – 2017 – Uintan Mammals

O is for Ourayia

Ourayia is a fossil primate, which, like Notoparamys, is related to tarsiers. Like many fossil mammals, it is best known for its teeth.

VPPU.011236: Ourayia uintensis: HYPODIGM. Utah. Uintah County. Kennedy’s Hole, Uinta Basin. Princeton 1895 Hatcher Expedition. Coll: Hatcher, J. B. 25 Mar 1895. Tertiary. Late Eocene. Uintan. Uinta Fm. Middle Uinta B.
Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Natural History,
Division of Vertebrate Paleontology, Yale University; peabody.yale.edu