The facts are in; climate change is real.

Climate change map

This map shows how 2015 temperatures compare with long-term averages. Blue areas were cooler than their long-term averages; red areas were warmer.

2015 Was the Hottest Year Ever

Things are definitely heating up. Spurred by global warming and a “super El Niño,” 2015 smashed records, becoming by far Earth’s hottest year since record-keeping began in 1880.

Worldwide surface temperatures were on average 0.90 degrees Celsius warmer than the 20th century average of 13.9°, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA reported January 20 in a joint announcement. That’s well above the previous record of 0.74 degrees above average set in 2014 (SN Online: 1/16/15). The 0.16-degree difference between the two years is the largest margin by which an annual temperature record has ever been broken.

Science News
January 20, 2016

Certain people have claimed for a decade that “global warming,” if it was ever real, has stopped. In this post, I’ve accumulated a few facts that should put an end to that myth.

Climate change doubters like to point out that climate is complex and it comes in cycles, but they don’t like to recognize El Nino and La Nina as part of that complexity. 1998 was an El Nino year, so it broke temperature records by even more than would otherwise have been expected. When the next few years weren’t quite as hot, the doubters smugly and prematurely pronounced victory over those of us who accept climate change as a fact. (Don’t misunderstand. I wish they were right. I wish climate change was a hoax. It just isn’t so.)

Another time, we’ll discuss some of these complexities, but right now I want to demolish this myth that climate change is not real.

The following chart from the White House shows it graphically. Not only was 2015 the hottest year on record, but the trend has been steadily up for at least 50 years.

World temperature chart since 1880

The White House report continues that the globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 were 2.39°F above the 20th century average and broke the previous annual record (2007) by an incredible 0.45°F.

According to the NOAA, during 2015, the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.39°F (1.33°C) above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years in the 1880–2015 record, surpassing the previous record of 2007 by 0.45°F (0.25°C). This is the largest margin by which the annual global land temperature has been broken.

NASA agrees.

NASA global warming - climate change graph

2015 was Planet Earth’s warmest year since modern record-keeping began in 1880, according to a new analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Credit: daulon/ (sunset image); NASA/JPL (data and overlay).

Not only are temperatures climbing, but they’re climbing faster than usual the past couple of years. While 0.45°F in eight years doesn’t sound like much, it is. Think of the cumulative effect. It’s almost five Fahrenheit degrees between now and the end of the century. That’s enough to melt glaciers, change weather patterns, and raise sea levels. We’ll talk more about it in future posts.

(World Meteorological Organization director-general Michel) Jarraud rejected climate sceptics’ arguments that the science underlying predictions of man-made climate change was flawed.

“It’s not about believing or not,” he said. “It’s a matter of seeing the facts. The facts are there.”

Paul Williams, climate scientist at the University of Reading, agreed: “All the thermometer readings, satellite observations, tree rings, ice cores and sea-level records would have to be wrong.”

Scientific American
November 25, 2015

Eight of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 2005, and the years 2011-2015 have been the hottest five-year period on record.

“Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA’s vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

The facts are in; climate change is real.




Cars that never made it to production

Technology is one of the products of science, along with knowledge and understanding; so I include technology under the heading of “science stuff. The cars on this page represent the technology of the 1950s.
My first car was a silver 1947 Dodge that I paid $65.00 cash for. I was driving a green ’56 Ford when I got married the first time. After a while, I traded it for a black ’59 Ford convertible. The only convertible I ever had or wanted. Neither of my Fords looked much like the ones here.
The ’50s were the last decade that cars were so distinctive you could see a 6-inch square almost anywhere on any car and easily identify the make and model. It was in the ’60s that they started cutting out cars with cookie cutters. They’ve all looked pretty much alike ever since.
They were pure fantasy on wheels, machines designed to make the heart race and the mind ask, “What if?”
These 1950’s concept cars were automotive art built to attract public attention, test wild engineering ideas and give motorists a fleeting glimpse down the highway of tomorrow.

Here are the cars from the ’50s

While it’s not always obvious because of the spacing, each car is identified below its picture. The light blue “Jetson’s” convertible at the bottom was not identified in the list I received.







1951 BUICK XP-300




1958 FORD X-2000



195? MERCURY D 524 
This car was never shown to the public.



1953 FORD X-100



1956 Pontiac Club de Mer.


Source: From an email list circulating the internet.

Full Disclosure: I have not attempted to verify the makes and models of these cars, but I can vividly remember the distinctive styles on the roads when I was a young man. These particular models are said to have “never made it to production.” The ones on the highways were not too different, though a little less flamboyant, I suppose.

In case you wonder, my first car was a gray 1947 Dodge that looked about like this one, except mine didn’t have the skylight. I paid $65.00 cash for it (borrowed from my Uncle Jim) in late 1959, while everybody else was driving those fancy cars with all the fins and fabulous grills and other decorations. It was definitely NOT often referred to as a “chick magnet.”

1947 Dodge photoPhoto by dok1

After seeing the others, do you wonder why whoever took this picture was so ashamed of his plain looking old car that he tried to hide it behind a tree?


Magnificent New View of Earth from Lunar Orbit

December 2015 Unique view of Earth from the LRO in orbit around the moon
December 2015 Unique view of Earth from the LRO in orbit around the moon

I couldn’t resist.

I didn’t intend to make a science post until I had the site looking good, but this was just too good to wait. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured this unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon. We see the “limb” of the moon (as the visible edge of an astronomical body is called) underneath our planet as it hangs in space showing Africa, the continent where our species evolved, through the clouds.

Earthrise blue marble picture

“The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.”

This new picture shows a fuller earth and brighter, richer colors. (I almost said closer, but it isn’t. It just looks closer. Both pictures were taken from lunar orbit, so the distance is approximately the same.) Regardless, it’s wonderful!

Click the link below to get your full-size original to use for wallpaper on your monitor or whatever else you might want it for.

An interesting tidbit is that there is actually no such thing as earthrise on the moon. It’s an illusion. Since the moon rotates once on its axis every time it orbits earth, the same side of the moon always faces our planet. It wobbles a few degrees, but not enough to notice. That’s why we always see the same “man in the moon.” Or the same “rabbit in the moon,” if your imagination runs that way.

From the position near the moon’s surface where the original picture was shot, earth always seems to hang in the sky like that. And the new picture was shot from a similar position. From behind the moon, earth would never be visible.

Lots of Variety Here

My posts will vary from time to time. Before the end of the year, I’ll probably put up links to a series of new evolution videos. Other times, I’ll write articles ranging from very short to 700 or 1,000 words. Still other times, I’ll post a link to something somebody else already said better than I can. I’m not proud.

Whatever it takes to make science both simple and interesting, that’s what I intend to do. I won’t try to post something every day, though. Once or twice a week will be more usual. And I’ll nearly always include one or more links to source materials.

So don’t change that dial. Stay tuned for lots of great simple science stuff. And be sure to sign up for email notifications.

By the way, we’ll have this site looking like it ought to look really soon. I promise. You’ll be proud for anybody to see it on your screen.




New Simple Science Stuff Blog

As you’ll notice, this site is under construction. We’ll probably begin posting in January 2016. Please check back. You’ll be glad you did.

hubble photoPhoto by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Hello, Everybody. This is

This new site will blog simply and informally about science stuff. Not just strictly science, but all kinds of stuff related to science. For example, Professor Jerry Coyne used the expression “science broadly construed” in a recent blog post and defined it a “a combination of repeatable and testable empirical observations, doubt, and reason.” In other words, not just formal science, but all kinds of sciencey stuff that very broadly uses the scientific methods of observation, reason, skepticism, and testing. We’ll be discussing those kinds of things and calling it “science stuff.” And we’ll do our best to keep it simple.

We may talk about these kinds of things and many more:

  1. How science works.
  2. Science studies nature, so we’ll talk about nature a lot. With pictures and videos.
  3. Technology, because science produces it.
  4. Politics when it affects science and science education.
  5. Religion and dogma when they interfere with science.
  6. Science education.
  7. Anything else that comes up that’s related to science.

Eventually we hope to promote a few Simple Science Stuff books, ebooks, disks, and other materials. Always fascinating, informal, and simple enough so you won’t bruise your brain on it.

This is not a children’s site, but children are welcome.

dna photoPhoto by National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Simple Science Stuff is intended for adults and young people of all ages from about 13 up. A few smart young people even younger might find our site useful, with their parent’s approval. Science stuff will be presented tastefully and accurately, and we welcome everybody.

Since science is the study of nature, there’ll be lots of posts about interesting plant life, animals, animal intelligence, mountain terrain, oceans, and just about everything else in nature. Nature includes space stuff, and I love Hubble Space Telescope photographs. We’ll talk about technology, too, including how things work and how they are improving.

Since science is skeptical in nature, we’ll discuss the importance of demanding sufficient evidence before drawing conclusions.

dna photoWe won’t usually discuss things like politics or religion, but we will sometimes discuss how they affect the study or acceptance of science. Neither can we let this stop us from discussing “controversial” subjects of a scientific nature. For example, evolution and climate change are controversial among many lay people, and especially those of certain religions; but not among scientists. In such cases, we always go with the science.

Our policies will always be flexible, to some extent.

leopard photo

We are sold on scientific methodologies, because they work.tree photo They work very well, in fact. The scientific methodologies of “repeatable and testable empirical observations, doubt, and reason” are by far the best — and probably the only — way to learn real, verifiable, factual information about ourselves, our world, and the universe we live in. Combined with engineering to create incredible technologies, the methods of science took members of the human race from the age of the covered wagon to the moon in a single human lifetime, and created the modern world we live in.

We’ll even admit that science sometimes gets things wrong for a while, that it “keeps changing,” and that scientific fraud exists from time to time. Then we’ll show how science works to prevent and correct those problems.

We’ll talk about how science might change in the future, what almost certainly will never change, how the “scientific method” is designed to be self-correcting, and more. And the whole purpose is to keep it so simple you can understand and so interesting you’ll want to.

Check back soon and often. We’ll be getting started soon.

science photo

Thanks for stopping by.