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Kawaguchiko, Japan

Hello, and thanks for taking the time to read about me!

As I’m writing this, it’s a cold, wintry evening in Colorado. Snow squalls have been blowing in and out all day. I ran this morning before the worst of it came through — seven miles on the winding, dusty trails behind my house. In the last mile, the wind started howling, the temperature dropped, and the icy snow brought tears to my eyes as it stung my face. I love a challenge like that, but I’m not crazy, either. …

How one company is harnessing the power of biomimicry to fight climate change

The White Cliffs of Dover. Photo by Dan Senior on Unsplash

Concrete is one of the most consumed materials in the world, but our dependence on it comes at a cost. The concrete industry accounts for 8 percent of total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. Efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of concrete have failed to make a substantial difference. San Francisco Bay Aggregates (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blue Planet Systems) is attempting to change that by commercializing a method for converting CO2 into limestone aggregate.

Concrete is made of aggregate, cement, and water. In 2019, the US alone produced 1.53 billion tons of crushed stone aggregate valued at…

Finding purpose in having no purpose at all

Photo by Michael Bennett on Unsplash

I’m writing this during one of the late winter storms that are common to Colorado. By tomorrow morning, there will be a half foot of new snow on the ground. It’s a comfort to know the world can completely change while I’m safe and warm in my bed.

The morning will also bring a slew of snowshoers and cross country skiers to the trails behind my house. I’ve noticed something about them. The snow will bury an evidence of the trails, but people will seek them out anyway. They could go anywhere…

Remineralization on the Isle of Jersey

Image by Sean Nyatsine on Unsplash

The island of Jersey juts out of the English Channel just off the coast of Normandy, France. The people who live there don’t consider themselves part of the UK any more than they consider themselves part of France. It should come as no surprise, then, that the people of Jersey are taking their own approach to managing the natural resources that make the island unique in fighting climate change.

One of the people at the forefront of moving Jersey toward a more sustainable future is Glyn Mitchell, a carbon farmer with the Carbon Farm Project. The project is part of…

Discovering life on another planet may turn out to be no big deal

Photo from NASA on Unsplash

As I’m writing this on February 18th, 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover is getting used to its new surroundings after successfully touching down on the surface of Mars. Scientists will use the rover to look for evidence of life on the red planet and secure samples to return to Earth for more testing (hopefully). Accompanying Perseverance is Ingenuity, a robotic unmanned rotocraft. So yeah, space helicopters are a real thing now.

I’m really excited about what Perseverance will find. We’ve been getting closer and closer to finding evidence of life on Mars. This mission feels like it might be the one…

XPrize Carbon Removal aims to sequester 10 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2050

Photo by Grant Ritchie on Unsplash

The XPrize Foundation recently announced the largest prize in its history. The foundation partnered with Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation to offer $100M for innovations designed to reduce carbon dioxide in the air and oceans. Registration for XPrize Carbon Removal begins on Earth Day 2021. The contest aims to spur innovation, raise awareness, and accelerate the development of new technologies and ideas. Teams will have just four years to obtain measurable results, but the timeline is tight for a reason. The effects of climate change are already being felt around the world. …

How scientists track down clues to Earth’s history

Garnet sand beach on Goodenough Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo credit: Professor Paul Fitzgerald

Geology is a forensic science. It doesn’t easily lend itself to experimentation, leaving geologists with observation as their primary tool of investigation. Yet our planet is notoriously good at covering its own tracks. If a crime was committed a billion years ago, plate tectonics and erosion have likely removed any evidence of it. What remains is often an incomplete picture, a patchwork of clues that could each mean many different things on their own, or nothing at all. It’s up to the scientists to put a complete story together.

Subduction, burying the evidence

Geologists have become very crafty at looking for clues, often arriving…

Don’t miss this opportunity to boost your savings

Photo by Micheile Henderson

If you’re self-employed, you already have a lot to worry about besides retirement planning. You fulfill every role in your company from the executive suite to the cleaning crew. Absolutely nothing gets done unless you do it yourself. Most of these roles probably aren’t your specialty either, and tackling them can seem daunting. Since you still need time to do actual work, vital components of your business, like retirement planning, can get pushed to the side. Planning for your future doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, though. If you were self-employed in 2020, now is the perfect time to…

Space is cold, empty, and arguably more hospitable than Earth in 2020

Photo by John Fowler on Unsplash

As I reflect back on this year, I can’t help but ask myself, “isn’t 2020 over yet?” The pace might be glacial, but we’re getting there. Truthfully, it hasn’t been all bad. If you were fortunate enough to achieve escape velocity this year, there was a lot going on outside of Earth’s gravitational pull.

Users rate articles even if they haven’t read them, new research shows

Photo by Karsten Winegeart

See if this sounds familiar: You sit down at your computer ready to read a few stories on your favorite social media site. You start scrolling through your feed and come across an article with a catchy title on a subject that interests you. You read the first couple of paragraphs and think, “this writer must be a genius, because I agree with everything they’re saying!” You up-vote the article without reading the rest of it and move on to the next one.

I admit to being guilty…

Debbie Patskowski

Geoscientist, runner, and writer. I will never stop being curious about the world.

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