photo science

Disappearing Lake

Shrinking Aral Sea, 2000-2016

Shrinking Aral Sea, 2000-2016In the 1960s, the Soviet Union undertook a major water diversion project on the arid plains of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The region’s two major rivers, fed by snowmelt and precipitation in faraway mountains, were used to transform the desert into farms for cotton and other crops. Before the project, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers flowed down from the mountains, cut northwest through the Kyzylkum Desert, and finally pooled together in the lowest part of the basin. The lake they made, the Aral Sea, was once the fourth largest in the world.Although irrigation made the desert bloom, it devastated the Aral Sea. This series of images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite documents the changes. At the start of the series in 2000, the lake was already a fraction of its 1960 extent (yellow line). The Northern Aral Sea (sometimes called the Small Aral Sea) had separated from the Southern (Large) Aral Sea. The Southern Aral Sea had split into eastern and western lobes that remained tenuously connected at both ends.By 2001, the southern connection had been severed, and the shallower eastern part retreated rapidly over the next several years. Especially large retreats in the eastern lobe of the Southern Sea appear to have occurred between 2005 and 2009, when drought limited and then cut off the flow of the Amu Darya. Water levels then fluctuated annually between 2009 and 2016 in alternately dry and wet years. In 2014, the Southern Sea’s eastern lobe completely disappeared.As the Aral Sea has dried up, fisheries and the communities that depended on them collapsed. The increasingly salty water became polluted with fertilizer and pesticides. The blowing dust from the exposed lakebed, contaminated with agricultural chemicals, became a public health hazard. The salty dust blew off the lakebed and settled onto fields, degrading the soil. Croplands had to be flushed with larger and larger volumes of river water. The loss of the moderating influence of such a large body of water made winters colder and summers hotter and drier.In a last-ditch effort to save some of the lake, Kazakhstan built a dam between the northern and southern parts of the Aral Sea. Completed in 2005, the dam was basically a death sentence for the southern Aral Sea, which was judged to be beyond saving. All of the water flowing into the desert basin from the Syr Darya now stays in the Northern Aral Sea. Between 2005 and 2006, the water levels in that part of the lake rebounded significantly and very small increases are visible throughout the rest of the time period. The differences in water color are due to changes in sediment.

Posted by NASA Earth on Thursday, September 1, 2016

Unfortunately this isn’t just a magic act.  The above video shows the disappearance of the the once great Aral Sea in Kazakhstan.  This is a completely man-made “phenomenon” when the Soviets diverted water that fed into the lake for irrigation of crops.  Over time naturally, humans got greedy and wanted more water until eventually one of the largest lakes in the world was split up into four individual lakes 10% of it’s former glory.

It’s a sad overview of the effects of man, and with satellite technology, it’s even easier to see the effects.  Typical me would say that this is the result of the terrible Soviets, and communism, and I would be partially right, but at it’s core, it’s a trait of humanity in general, not limited to a single source of politics.

{Peta Pixel|NASA Earth}

a stumble science

Chernobyl: A Truer Story

Yesterday I did a post about Chernobyl Disaster, and how I thought it was caused.  Today, I’ll stick with the official story of what happened.

Elephant's Foot

The above photo depicts what had been named “The Elephant’s foot” a massive blob of melted concrete, glass, sand, and raw nuclear core material.  This is what’s left from Reactor Number 4.  When it was discovered, it was giving off 10,000 roentgens per hour, for comparison, it would take about 1/10 of that to give a human a lethal dose of radiation.  This isn’t a particularly long exposure photograph, instead, the massive amounts of radiation coming off of this blob of metal is what’s causing the human there to look transparent.  That is indeed, crazy dangerous.

Here’s a video that goes over some of the events of the clean up in September of 1986.  It’s long, but it’s cool, I liked it, you should watch it too.  It’s crazy that people wouldn’t take the radiation monitors with them when they went to work.  Did they just not care?

I didn’t know that the robotics didn’t work well, or at all.  Instead they had go in and clean up by hand.  They knew that what they were doing was dangerous, and that each person who came after them was in less danger, but they still had to do it, and had to clean up.  Each shift was only up to a minute long cleaning the roof of the building.  Hundreds of soldiers there moving things one shovel at a time.  Seriously, watch the above video.

{Physics Forums}

science strange

Alternate History Thursday: Chernobyl

The first, and still, most dangerous and deadly nuclear accident revolves around the Chernobyl power plant in the Ukraine.  Many things can be said about the accident, but I’m about to dive into an alternate theory on what caused the terrible disaster.  Yes it will be outlandish.  Yes it will be crass.  Yes, it won’t make sense.  But come on, do you really expect anything less of me?

awesome photo science the greatest video

Underwater AK-47

It should come as no surprise to you that I am a fan of the Soviet Made AK-47.  Well, actually, maybe it should, considering just how anti-Soviet I actually am, but there’s just no denying a well made machine, and one thing the AK-47 is, is a well made machine, (at least, the original Soviet made versions, the newer Chinese made ones not so much).

The AK-47 is legendary for it’s ability to be subject to the harshest conditions man can dream up, and still fire.  Well, reddit user Onlydead has a high speed video of someone firing an AK-47, while it’s underwater.  There’s not much else to it, but I thought it’s worth the 19 seconds of your time. (60 if you include all the reading you had to do already, sorry).

awesome photo

Soviet Ghosts

Communist Train

Rebecca Litchfield has as pretty interesting photography project – taking photos of abandoned buildings from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  She calls the exhibit Soviet Ghosts, and there are some pretty interesting photos there.  It’s not exactly like all other photos of abandoned places.  At least these were once home to the 2nd most powerful nation on earth.

It’s interesting to see how just how far the once great nation has fallen.  Although, me calling a communist nation great has it’s problems.  I mean great in that it was able to be a credible threat to the United States of America.  But that’s the only way I’d call the USSR “great”.

Ghost 1

I like this circle building with snow in it.  I don’t know what is, her caption says it’s Freeze – Bulgaria, but it might as well be an abandoned Rebel base on an ice planet for all I know.  Pretty cool if you ask me.

But, let these photos be a lesson to you all,  Communism, not even once.

{Photography Blogger}

awesome haha! internet photo

Soviet Bear Will Fix You

Soviet Bear

As a general rule of thumb, I hate Communists.  Any and all, they are the sworn enemy of all that is Good and Free and American.  However, a particular unique student, or students have started their own campaign for Student Council elections.  It’s hard to tell how serious the whole campaign is, but it’s pretty damn funny, that’s for sure.

They have taken to making parodies of all the officially entered student’s posters.  The Soviet Bear posters are better.  About 100x better, that’s for sure.  I especially like the irony one of the Class poster:

This is the first poster I’d gather:


Here’s the counter by Soviet Bear:

Bear Class

Indeed.  I wonder how many heads that went over at that High School?

Anyway, this is all fun and games, but let me just tell you this.  I would not be voting for Soviet Bear in that election.  He’s Communist, and Commies are the enemy, always.