Python Hosting

Written by charlie   
Thursday, 11 September 2014 17:01

Just a quick shoutout to PythonAnywhere!  I have been tinkering with some Python code for a web app and needed to set up Django or web2py, but didn't want to modify a live server or set up an additonal server solely for testing.   I signed up for the free service, and was able to easily choose a version of python, add modules,  set up a Mysql database or a run cron job. I added web2py in less than 30 seconds, with one eye on the game, in comparison to the grief I would have encountered setting it up on a shared server.  For my needs, I found it perfect for running a small test environment and it is highly recommended.

 
 

Words of the Day

Written by charlie   
Sunday, 20 July 2014 02:05
Some new words of the day:

One of my favorite scents is the first minute or two of during a storm, the scent of rain on bare earth.  Apparently it has had a official name all this time.... Petrichor.  Who knew?

Ruderal species, also known as pioneer species, are hardy plants among the first to colonize disturbed areas (recent construction or the sides of a roadway for example), and often stabilize soils.  Depending on the species, they can also outlive their welcome if its an invasive that does not allow the succession of native species.
Additional reading:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrichor
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruderal_species
 

Congo bog

Written by charlie   
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:50

I’ve written previously about peat and its importance to gardeners, scotch drinkers and its role in climate change (carbon sequestration) but apparently, in this golden age of mapping and remote sensing, the world’s largest peatland has just been discovered in the Congo!

I've always considered bogs and fens (Both are considered Mires, but a major difference is water chemistry;  Bog waters are acidic, and fens are neutral to alkaline) as the more mysterious types of wetlands, evoking images of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles in the Scottish countryside.

Like myself, many people are more familiar with northern peat bogs, which are almost entirely populated by spagnatum moss. The Congo bog is different, consisting of a broad range of partially decomposed plant matter, detritus provided by the tropical rain forest.  Due to the constant waterlogged conditions, decomposition happens very slowly, if at all, over the course of centuries and the peat layer slowly deepens, an estimated 5mm per year.

The massive bog wascreated during the last ice age, approximately 10,000 years old and is estimated to be between 40,000 and 80,000 square miles (102,000 sq km to 2024,000 sq km) in size and as deep as 23 feet. For comparison purposes, the state of Pennsylvania comes in at 46,055 sq miles (119,283 sq km). Since there are literally billions of tons of peat, the worlds largest carbon sink may have just been discovered

Prior to this discovery, the worlds largest bog was located in West Siberia, Russia, and covers more than a million square kilometers. Due to climate change and the permafrost melting, forzen bogs found in the tundra have been thawing out and increasingly releasing carbon (CO2) into the atmosphere.

The importance of conserving bogs can hardly be overstated. Consider this quick fact; peatlands cover less than 3% of the Earth's surface, but are believed to contain twice as much carbon as the world's forests.

Additional Reading and Sources

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-26423114

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27492949

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-15756088

http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/bog.cfm

 

Some articles about Peat Bogs

http://www.wired.com/2009/08/bogosphere/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bog/iron-nf.html

 
 
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