$100 Million Gift from Gordon and Betty Moore Will Bolster Graduate Fellowships

News Writer: 
Alyce Nicolo and Wayne Lewis

Gordon (PhD ’54) and Betty Moore
Credit: Courtesy of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Trustees Gordon (PhD ’54) and Betty Moore have pledged $ 100 million to Caltech, the second-largest single contribution in the Institute’s history. With this gift, they have created a permanent endowment and entrusted the choice of how to direct the funds to the Institute’s leadership—providing lasting resources coupled with uncommon freedom.

“Those within the Institute have a much better view of what the highest priorities are than we could have,” Intel Corporation cofounder Gordon Moore explains. “We’d rather turn the job of deciding where to use resources over to Caltech than try to dictate it from outside.”

Applying the Moores’ donation in a way that will strengthen the Institute for generations to come, Caltech’s president and provost have decided to dedicate the funds to fellowships for graduate students.

“Gordon and Betty Moore’s incredibly generous gift will have a transformative effect on Caltech,” says President Thomas F. Rosenbaum, holder of the Institute’s Sonja and William Davidow Presidential Chair and professor of physics. “Our ultimate goal is to provide fellowships for every graduate student at Caltech, to free these remarkable young scholars to pursue their interests wherever they may lead, independent of the vicissitudes of federal funding. The fellowships created by the Moores’ gift will help make the Institute the destination of choice for the most original and creative scholars, students and faculty members alike.”

Further multiplying the impact of the Moores’ contribution, the Institute has established a program that will inspire others to contribute as well. The Gordon and Betty Moore Graduate Fellowship Match will provide one additional dollar for every two dollars pledged to endow Institute-wide fellowships. In this way, the Moores’ $ 100 million commitment will increase fellowship support for Caltech by a total of $ 300 million.

Says Provost Edward M. Stolper, the Carl and Shirley Larson Provostial Chair and William E. Leonhard Professor of Geology: “Investigators across campus work with outstanding graduate students to advance discovery and to train the next generation of teachers and researchers. By supporting these students, the Moore Match will stimulate creativity and excellence in perpetuity all across Caltech. We are grateful to Gordon and Betty for allowing us the flexibility to devote their gift to this crucial priority.”

The Moores describe Caltech as a one-of-a-kind institution in its ability to train budding scientists and engineers and conduct high-risk research with world-changing results—and they are committed to helping the Institute maintain that ability far into the future.

“We appreciate being able to support the best science,” Gordon Moore says, “and that’s something that supporting Caltech lets us do.”

The couple’s extraordinary philanthropy already has motivated other benefactors to follow their example, notes David L. Lee, chair of the Caltech Board of Trustees.

“The decision that Gordon and Betty made—to give such a remarkable gift, to make it perpetual through an endowment, and to remove any restrictions as to how it can be used—creates a tremendous ripple effect,” Lee says. “Others have seen the Moores’ confidence in Caltech and have made commitments of their own. We thank the Moores for their leadership.”

The Moores consider their gift a high-leverage way of fostering scientific research at a place that is close to their hearts. Before he went on to cofound Intel, Gordon Moore earned a PhD in chemistry from Caltech.

“It’s been a long-term association that has served me well,” he says.

Joining him in Pasadena just a day after the two were married, Betty Moore became active in the campus community as well. A graduate of San Jose State College’s journalism program, she secured a job at the Ford Foundation’s new Pasadena headquarters and also made time to come to campus to participate in community activities, including the Chem Wives social club.

“We started out at Caltech,” she recalls. “I had a feeling that it was home away from home. It gives you a down-home feeling when you’re young and just taking off from family. You need that connection somehow.”

After earning his PhD from Caltech in 1954, Gordon Moore took a position conducting basic research at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University. Fourteen years and two jobs later, he and his colleague Robert Noyce cofounded Intel Corp. Moore served as executive vice president of the company until 1975, when he took the helm. Under his leadership—as chief executive officer (1975 to 1987) and chairman of the board (1987 to 1997)—Intel grew from a Mountain View-based startup to a giant of Silicon Valley, worth more than $ 140 billion today.

Moore is widely known for “Moore’s Law,” his 1965 prediction that the number of transistors that can fit on a chip would double every year. Still relevant 50 years later, this principle pushed Moore and his company—and the tech industry as a whole—to produce continually more powerful and cheaper semiconductor chips.

Gordon Moore joined the Caltech Board of Trustees in 1983 and served as chair from 1993 to 2000. That same year, he and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating positive outcomes for future generations in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world.

Among numerous other honors, Gordon Moore is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and a recipient of the National Medal of Technology and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Caltech News tagged with “GPS”

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Biosphere Collapse: The Biggest Economic Bubble Ever

10-Earth-APThe global environment collapses as in the pursuit of short-term growth, humanity overruns natural ecosystems including the atmosphere that make Earth habitable. Together we urgently address inequity, climate change, overpopulation and natural ecosystem loss or alone we each face the horrors of economic, social, and ecological collapse.

“Horrendous inequity whereby a few hundred people possess half of Earth’s wealth as more than one billion live on less than $ 1.50/day is evil incarnate and will kill us all… The human family will only avert biosphere collapse if we choose to live more simply, share more with others, go back to the land, have fewer kids, protect and restore ecosystems, grow more of our own food, end fossil fuels, and embrace social justice and love.” – Dr. Glen Barry


Newspapers are full of disastrous warnings if economic growth does not return to Greece, or if it drops a couple points in China. Rarely in human history have so many been so fundamentally wrong about a matter of such importance as the desirability, and even the possibility, of perpetual economic growth.

The real threat to human well-being is not that there is too little economic growth. Rather, it is that there is too much, and that we have overshot how much growth can occur without collapsing our shared environment.

The industrial growth economy is ravaging natural ecosystems. Stocks of natural capital – including water, soil, old-growth forests, wild fish, etc. – are being pillaged to artificially inflate short-term economic growth numbers.

Modern industrial capitalism’s narrow focus upon GDP growth as a measure of a society’s well-being utterly fails to account for the very real and detrimental costs of liquidating Earth’s natural life-support systems.

Infinite growth on a finite planet is a recipe for disaster. Nothing grows forever and trying inevitably rips apart any system seeking to do so.

Continued ravaging of Earth’s natural ecosystems for short-term growth is the biggest economic bubble ever. Such a short-term, myopic focus upon economic growth can only end in social and ecological collapse.

The problem

The global ecological system is collapsing and dying. The biosphere – our one shared environment that makes Earth habitable – is having its constituent ecosystems liquidated for resources. Inequitable overconsumption has achieved such momentum that key ecological planetary boundaries have been surpassed, raising the very real possibility of humanity pulling down the biosphere as we collapse.

Far more is at stake than abrupt climate change as natural ecosystem loss, ocean dead zones, freshwater scarcity, soil erosion, nitrogen deposition and many other aspects of ecological decline merge and worsen the others.

This sudden surge of human impact upon the naturally evolved biosphere – as human numbers went from one to seven billion in just over a century – can fairly be characterized as willful ecocide.

Yet this relentless industrial growth continues to be falsely equated with progress. Many are unlikely to respond to warnings of imminent doom from specialists until they are much more uncomfortable and unhappy than they are now. By then it will be too late.

Progress to avoid global biosphere collapse has been impeded by numerous other maladies that plague the human condition including inequity, permawar, disease, abject poverty, and authoritarianism. Horrendous inequity whereby a few hundred people possess half of Earth’s wealth as more than one billion live on less than $ 1.50/day is evil incarnate and will kill us all.

The vision

Exponential economic growth on a finite Earth can only end in collapse. Humanity must embrace a steady state economy – whereby the increment of natural capital harvested is replenished annually – or being ends. Large and connected natural ecosystems must remain the context for human society.

The human family will only avert biosphere collapse if we choose to live more simply, share more with others, go back to the land, have fewer kids, protect and restore ecosystems, grow more of our own food, end fossil fuels, and embrace social justice and love.

Those that are smarter and work harder will still have more, but not grotesquely so. Basic needs of all of humanity, natural ecosystems, and kindred species will be met.

The challenge of our time is to quickly embrace these necessities while remaining free, and extending the benefits of an economically secure and free existence to all of Earths inhabitants. Human settlements must be compelled to live within the limits of their bioregions, linking human being with local ecological limits.

Failure in efforts to promote fewer children, end fossil fuels, and to restore natural ecosystems will mean worsening widespread ecological havoc, mass death and the bad sort of anarchy, before humanity and Earth drop into nothingness.

The transition

A better life than endless consumption of toxic crap that kills ourselves and others is possible. It requires returning to the life-giving envelope of natural ecosystems and valuing experience over stuff. Much is already known regarding proven techniques to live and work more sustainably, educate yourself and start transitioning your family to live more lightly upon Earth.

We each must seek to go back to the land. More of our subsistence will have to come from what we can produce from the land and soil and sun and hard labor. The future of work lies in permaculture, regenerative enterprises, and creative self-expression that nurture learning and human evolution.

The Jeffersonian vision of agrarian democracy requires living full healthy lives upon the land, from the fruit of our own hands and minds, will rejecting authoritarianism and its pernicious hate, bigotry, and scapegoating. We must join with others in our community to re-localize our existences, as we fully embrace the global family.

For capitalism to have any future as we mobilize to avoid biosphere collapse, a global carbon tax that seeks to rapidly phase out fossil fuels, and de-industrialization of all activities that negatively impact the biosphere, will prove essential. Otherwise industrial capitalism will have to swiftly be replaced at any cost.

In America and the world we are already witnessing the rise of authoritarian demagoguery in response to rising scarcity. The charlatan nature of such political thought must be outed as we commit to green liberty and transitioning to socially just ecological sustainability. Together let’s make it so.


** Dr. Glen Barry has written Earth Meanders essays for over a decade. He intends to do so more frequently and seeks your financial support at http://www.climateark.org/shared/donate/ and opportunities to syndicate and otherwise publish these deep ecology and liberty writings.


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Alone in the Darkness: Mariner 4 to Mars, 50 Years Later

News Writer: 
Rod Pyle

On November 28, 1964, an Atlas-Agena rocket lofted Mariner 4 from pad 39 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Just three weeks before, the attempted launch of Mariner 3 failed to deliver the spacecraft into the proper trajectory when the rocket’s fairing would not open to release the spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

July 14 marks 50 years of visual reconnaissance of the solar system by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), beginning with Mariner 4’s flyby of Mars in 1965.

Among JPL’s first planetary efforts, Mariners 3 and 4 (known collectively as “Mariner Mars”) were planned and executed by a group of pioneering scientists at Caltech in partnership with JPL. NASA was only 4 years old when the first Mars flyby was approved in 1962, but the core science team had been working together at Caltech for many years. The team included Caltech faculty Robert Sharp (after whom Mount Sharp, the main target of the Mars rover Curiosity, is named) and Gerry Neugebauer, both professors of geology; Robert Leighton and H. Victor Neher, professors of physics; and Bill Pickering, professor of electrical engineering, who was the director of JPL from 1954–1976. Rounding out the Caltech contingent was a young Bruce Murray, a new addition to the geology faculty, who would follow Pickering as JPL director in 1976.

“The Mariner missions marked the beginning of planetary geology, led by researchers at Caltech including Bruce Murray and Robert Sharp,” said John Grotzinger, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology and chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. “These early flyby missions showed the enormous potential of Mars to provide insight into the evolution of a close cousin to Earth and stimulated the creation of a program dedicated to iterative exploration involving orbiters, landers, and rovers.”

By today’s standards, Mariner Mars was a virtual leap into the unknown. NASA and JPL had little spaceflight experience to guide them. There had been just one successful planetary mission—Mariner 2’s journey past Venus in 1962—to build upon. Sending spacecraft to other planets was still a new endeavor.  

The Mariner Mars spacecraft were originally designed without cameras. Neugebauer, Murray, and Leighton felt that a lot of science questions could be answered via images from this close encounter with Mars. As it turned out, sending back photos of the planet that had so long captured the imaginations of millions had the added benefit of making the Mars flyby more accessible to the public.

Mariner 3 launched on November 5, 1964. The Atlas rocket that boosted it clear of the atmosphere functioned perfectly (not always the case in the early years of spaceflight), but the shroud enclosing the payload failed to fully open and the spacecraft, unable to collect sunlight on its solar panels, ceased to function after about nine hours of flight.

Mariner 4 launched three weeks later on November 28 with a redesigned shroud. The probe deployed as planned and began its journey to Mars. But there was still drama in store for the mission. Within the first hour of the flight, the rocket’s upper stage had pushed the spacecraft out of Earth orbit, and the solar panels had deployed. Then the guidance system acquired a lock on the sun, but a second object was needed to guide the spacecraft. This depended on a photocell finding the bright star Canopus, which was attempted about 15 hours later. During these first attempts, however, the primitive onboard electronics erroneously identified other stars of similar brightness.

Controllers managed to solve this problem but over the next few weeks realized that a small cloud of dust and paint flecks, ejected when Mariner 4 deployed, was traveling along with the spacecraft and interfering with the tracking of Canopus. A tiny paint chip, if close enough to the star tracker, could mimic the star. After more corrective action, Canopus was reacquired and Mariner’s journey continued largely without incident. This star-tracking technology, along with many other design features of the spacecraft, has been used in every interplanetary mission JPL has flown since.

At the time, what was known about Mars had been learned from Earth-based telescopes. The images were fuzzy and indistinct—at its closest, Mars is still about 35 million miles distant. Scientific measurements derived from visual observations of the planet were inexact. While ideas about the true nature of Mars evolved throughout the first half of the 20th century, in 1965 nobody could say with any confidence how dense the martian atmosphere was or determine its exact composition. Telescopic surveys had recorded a visual event called the “wave of darkening,” which some scientists theorized could be plant life blooming and perishing as the harsh martian seasons changed. A few of them still thought of Mars as a place capable of supporting advanced life, although most thought it unlikely. However, there was no conclusive evidence for either scenario.

So, as Mariner 4 flew past Mars, much was at stake, both for the scientific community and a curious general public. Were there canals or channels on the surface, as some astronomers had reported? Would we find advanced life forms or vast collections of plant life? Would there be liquid water on the surface?

Just over seven months after launch, the encounter with Mars was imminent. On July 14, 1965, Mariner’s science instruments were activated. These included a magnetometer to measure magnetic fields, a Geiger counter to measure radiation, a cosmic ray telescope, a cosmic dust detector, and the television camera.

About seven hours before the encounter, the TV camera began acquiring images. After the probe passed Mars, an onboard data recorder—which used a 330-foot endless loop of magnetic tape to store still pictures—initiated playback of the raw images to Earth, transmitting them twice for certainty. Each image took 10 hours to transmit.

The 22 images sent by Mariner 4 appeared conclusive. Although they were low-resolution and black-and-white, they indicated that Mars was not a place likely to be friendly to life. It was a cold, dry desert, covered with so many craters as to strongly resemble Earth’s moon. The atmospheric density was about one-thousandth that of Earth, and no liquid water was apparent on the surface.

When discussing the mission during an interview at Caltech in 1977, Leighton recalled viewing the first images at JPL. “If someone had asked ‘What do you expect to see?’ we would have said ‘craters’…[yet] the fact that craters were there, and a predominant land form, was somehow surprising.”

Leighton also recalled a letter he received from, of all people, a dairy farmer. It read, “I’m not very close to your world, but I really appreciate what you are doing. Keep it going.” Leighton said of the sentiment, “A letter from a milkman…I thought that was kind of nice.”

After its voyage past Mars, Mariner 4 maintained intermittent communication with JPL and returned data about the interplanetary environment for two more years. But by the end of 1967, the spacecraft had suffered tens of thousands of micrometeoroid impacts and was out of the nitrogen gas it used for maneuvering. The mission officially ended on December 21.

“Mariner 4 defined and pioneered the systems and technologies needed for a truly interplanetary spacecraft,” says Rob Manning (BS ’81), JPL’s chief engineer for the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator and formerly chief engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory. “All U.S. interplanetary missions that have followed were directly derived from the architecture and innovations that engineers behind Mariner invented. We stand on the shoulders of giants.”

Caltech News tagged with “GPS”

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New VP for Student Affairs Named

News Writer: 
Douglas Smith

Credit: Lance Hayashida/Caltech

Joseph Shepherd (PhD ’81), the C. L. “Kelly” Johnson Professor of Aeronautics and professor of mechanical engineering, is leaving his post as dean of graduate studies to succeed Anneila Sargent (MS ’67, PhD ’78), the Ira S. Bowen Professor of Astronomy, as vice president for student affairs. Shepherd’s new role is effective September 15.

Sargent, who served the campus as the leader of student affairs the last eight years, announced in March that she was leaving the post to return to research and teaching full time. Shepherd, who joined the Caltech faculty in 1993, has served the last six years as the dean of graduate studies.

We recently sat down with Shepherd to talk about his past role and his new one, his strengths and goals, and his experience at Caltech.


Q: What does the vice president for student affairs do?

A: Student Affairs includes the offices of the undergraduate and graduate deans as well as obvious things like the registrar, undergraduate admissions, fellowships and study abroad, the career center, the health center, and the counseling center. It also includes things you might not think of—athletics; performing and visual arts, which includes the music programs, the theater program, the various arts programs, and all of the faculty and instructors that make these programs possible; and a whole group of organizations lumped under “auxiliaries.”

The term “auxiliaries” is misleading, because they’re central to student life. Housing and dining are the biggest parts, but there are services like the C-Store, the Red Door Café, the Caltech Store and Wired.


Q: What makes this role exciting for you?

A:  People speculate about what it is that makes Caltech a great school. A lot of folks say, “Well, it’s because it’s so small.” But I think it’s also because we work with people instead of creating some bureaucratic mechanism to solve problems. We say, “All right, what’s the issue here? How can we resolve this?” instead of, “We need to create a rule. And then we need to create a group to enforce the rule.” My approach is to ask, “What do we want the outcome to be?” In Student Affairs, you want the outcome to be something that supports the students, supports the faculty, and then you make sure that it’s not going to adversely affect the Institute.


Q: Are there any changes coming, any initiatives you want to establish?

A: We need to think about how we build on the strengths we have and improve the things that we’re weakest at. Before you make any changes to an organization, you need to understand those two things. There are a lot of parts to Student Affairs, so I need to understand the strong points of those organizations, and then get them to help me formulate what’s important to do.

You always have to be careful of unintended consequences. As they say in chess, you want to think several moves deep. All right, suppose we do that. What will it mean for different parts of our population? Do we make this choice based on the data we have, or do we need more data? Will there be effects on people we haven’t thought about? Maybe we need to go talk to those people.

When you have the authority to change things, you also have the responsibility to ask, “Are these the right changes?” Nothing happens in isolation. Anything you do is invariably going to wind up touching quite a few people.


Q: You’ve been dean of graduate studies since 2009. Did you consider taking a breather before jumping into this?

A: Well, much to my surprise, I found that being the dean of graduate studies was rewarding in many different ways. Sometimes you had to do some difficult things, but I actually liked being the dean. I was able, to some extent, to continue my research. I did some teaching—although last year I taught a major course all three terms, and I had my research group—and I was the dean of graduate studies. That taught me a lesson: a man’s got to know his limitations.

So when I was asked if I would take this position, I did think about taking a break and not doing it. I enjoy my research and I enjoy teaching. I enjoy working with students, but I also enjoy trying to help the Institute as a whole. Here at Caltech, we pride ourselves on the notion that we have this very special environment. We have this small school, and we have dedicated professionals that work together with faculty to nurture that environment—having faculty who are invested in participating in the key administrative roles is essential.

When I was a graduate student here, my adviser was Brad Sturtevant [MS ’56, PhD ’60, and a lifelong faculty member thereafter]. Brad was the executive officer for aeronautics [1972-76]. He was in charge of the committee that built the Sherman Fairchild Library and he was on the faculty board. He emphasized to me that being involved in administration was just as valuable as all the other aspects of being a faculty member. He was a dedicated researcher, but he also felt strongly that you should be a good citizen. You should contribute.


Q: It seems like this is more than just a duty to you, though.

A: I’m looking forward to it. I’m also very conscious of the responsibility. I think it’s going to be important for us all to think about how we maintain the excellence of the Institute and that we imagine how this place is going to evolve. As society evolves around us, we will naturally wind up changing. We need to do that in a thoughtful way so that we continue to be the special organization that we are.

At the end of the day, I’m counting on help from the faculty and staff. Caltech works because of the committed individuals within our organizations, the personal connections we form as we work together and the cooperation across the campus that these connections enable.  It’s a collective enterprise.

I think administration is not something that’s done to people. It’s being responsible for making sure that folks have the right work environment, the right job assignments, and the right resources. It’s making sure we’re doing the right things with the finite resources we have. One of our former presidents said something that’s always stuck with me: an administrator’s goals are not about their own career so much as helping the careers of others. You need to think about how you’re helping the people working for you, because they have goals and aspirations. That’s where you take your satisfaction.

Caltech News tagged with “GPS”

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Understanding Monsoons

News Writer: 
Lori Dajose

Clouds forming over Mexico during the North American monsoon season in 2004.
Credit: Simona Bordoni/Caltech

Studies of the global environment are complex, involving interactions between oceans, solid earth, biological systems, and the atmosphere, over time scales ranging from nanoseconds to millions of years. Investigating and understanding these complicated and interconnected systems is the goal of Caltech’s Ronald and Maxine Linde Center for Global Environmental Science. To that end, the center hosts workshops that bring together scientists from a range of disciplines to discuss current research and collaborate on solutions to pressing issues facing the global environment.

“The Linde Center workshops aim to provide a venue for a small group of scientists and engineers to discuss and put forward cutting edge, ‘future-looking’ plans for global environmental science,” says Paul Wennberg, the R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering and director of the Linde Center.

The topic of the center’s latest workshop, held May 18–22, was monsoons, circulation patterns that develop over subtropical continents (up to around latitude 30 degree north and south of the equator) in response to seasonal variations in the amount of solar radiation received in these regions. Monsoons are characterized by seasonally reversing winds and summertime rainfall. Although monsoons occur across the globe, they are more often studied in Southeast Asian countries—where warm, moist air from the Indian Ocean brings humidity and rainfall during the summer, while winds from the northeast produce dry winters—and in West Africa. Because of their effects on the water supply, monsoons have a large impact on society, especially in densely populated countries and rapidly growing economies. And, as noted by the workshop organizers, “with projected increases in population and pressure for food and water security, understanding how anthropogenic climate change will affect monsoons is both a priority and a major challenge in climate science.”

Indeed, the workshop—entitled “Monsoons: Past, Present, and Future” and co-led by monsoon researcher Simona Bordoni, assistant professor of environmental science and engineering at Caltech—was focused on understanding how monsoons have changed and how they will change in the future, across a variety of time scales, in response to different forcing agents—perturbations of Earth’s energy balance caused by changing environmental parameters such as solar variability or human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.

“One of the central themes of the discussion,” Bordoni says, “was how modern theories of the fundamental dynamics of monsoons can be used to better constrain future monsoon projections and past monsoon changes and shifts recorded by paleo-proxies”—media such as tree rings and ice cores that preserve information about past climates—”and how these paleo-reconstructions can provide support to emerging hypotheses and guide modeling studies. The implications of these modern theories are only now beginning to be explored.”

Each section of the invitation-only workshop covered a particular subject area within monsoon research, including paleoclimate, aerosols, the intertropical convergence zone (the band of clouds encircling the equator), and thermal contrasts between land and sea. Speakers from institutions around the country gave talks on past and potential future changes in the monsoon cycle, the role of aerosols on monsoon circulation, and monsoon modeling, among other topics.

In a talk entitled “Monsoons on Idealized Continents,” for example, Bordoni discussed how she uses models of “idealized” continental geometry to study how monsoons would develop on hypothetical planets—for example, a planet with land everywhere above 10 degrees north of the equator, and ocean everywhere south of that. Recently, Bordoni and her group also created simulations of an “aquaplanet”—a planet entirely covered with ocean. With the aquaplanet simulations, the team demonstrated that the rapid onset of large-scale monsoons, such as the Asian monsoon, results not from temperature differences between oceans and land, as previously believed. Instead, they found, the rapid appearance of this monsoon is controlled by the interaction between large swirling regions of turbulent air called eddies and the tropical circulation. These eddies, which are generated in mid-latitudes, propagate to lower latitudes towards the subtropics and interact with the tropical circulation, causing it to reverse rapidly, initiating the onset of the monsoon. Bordoni’s group also studies the North American monsoon, which usually occurs during the summer over southwestern North America, when warm and moist air moving northwest from the Gulf of California meets similar air moving northwest from the Gulf of Mexico; the dynamics of the East Asian monsoon and its response to climate changes; the year-to-year variability of the Indian monsoon; and how mountain ranges such as those in Africa and Asia influence the larger-scale circulation of this monsoon.

The workshop was co-led by Timothy Merlis (Ph.D. ’11), an assistant professor in atmospheric and oceanic sciences at McGill University. He gave a talk on tropical circulation changes influenced by various forcing agents. Other speakers from Caltech included Jess Adkins, professor of geochemistry and global environmental science, who gave a talk on historical precipitation variability over Borneo as measured in stalagmites; Salvatore Pascale, a NOAA Climate and Global Change postdoctoral scholar in environmental science and engineering; and Ho Hsuan Wei, a graduate student in environmental science and engineering. Hui Su, a JPL atmospheric scientist, gave a talk on the tropical Hadley cell (a pattern of atmospheric circulation in which warm air rises near the equator, cools as it travels at high altitude toward the poles, then sinks as cold air and warms as it travels toward the equator) and feedback from clouds. In addition, JPL scientist Christian Frankenberg—who will join the Caltech faculty in September as an associate professor of environmental science and engineering—discussed remote sensing of water isotopes.

The previous Linde Center workshop was held February 2–5 and focused on physical, chemical, and biological processes crucial to the circulation and ecosystems of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

Caltech News tagged with “GPS”

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EcoInternet’s Super Spectacular Year with Plans for More

indigenous_womanMid-Year Funding Drive to Raise $ 15,000 for Deep Ecology Advocacy Launches.

EcoInternet has never been more effective than now. We are pleased to have come off a super, spectacular year, and are ready for more success protecting the global environment. Over the past two and a half decades EcoInternet has pioneered use of the Internet for ecological sustainability, and created an award winning global network committed to avoiding ecosystem collapse. Our work is entirely user supported and in order to continue we request your tax-deductible donation at:


Here is a long list of some of EcoInternet’s accomplishments over the past twelve months:

1.) With your funding EcoInternet supported my publication of ground-breaking peer reviewed science entitled “Terrestrial Ecosystem Loss and Biosphere Collapse” which proposes a scientifically valid threshold of 66% for the protection of old-growth forest and natural ecosystems to sustain the biosphere [1]. Other studies have since come out in support of our original finding of a tenth ecological planetary boundary, and we campaign hard to make this science known and relevant to the public.

2.) EcoInternet renewed our non-profit status. As a registered 501c3 your donations to EcoInternet at http://www.climateark.org/shared/donate/ may be tax deductible.

3.) Supported local landowners in Papua New Guinea in protecting ancient cave art in lush rainforests of East Sepik from mining and logging. Local organizers hailed our contribution as instrumental in the victory, and it continues our 25+ year record of excellence in defeating old-growth logging there [2].

4.) EcoInternet’s grueling seven year campaign to get the Forest Stewardship Council and member NGOs including Greenpeace and the Rainforest Action Network to stop greenwashing old-growth forest logging was successful. Our demands that FSC move to end its involvement in primary forest logging were met with commitments to stop certifying industrial logging of intact forests [3].

5.) EcoInternet played a pivotal role in the cancellation for now of a massive iron ore mine in Wisconsin that was to be perched in the hills above Lake Superior [4]. It was particularly gratifying to hand authoritarian Governor Scott Walker, a former classmate of mine, one of his most massive political defeats ever.

6.) EcoInternet has relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii where we have become vocal supporters of the native movement to protect sacred lands including Mauna Kea mountain from industrial telescope development [5]. We have been instrumental in internationalizing the issue through an alert, essay, and constant stream of social media content, reflecting our recommitment to indigenous ecology issues.

7.) Just a couple weeks after our recent launch of an affinity campaign to get Bill Gates to divest from fossil fuels [6], he responded with a commitment to double his renewable energy investments.

8.) EcoInternet continues to innovate on using social media for environmental sustainability including massive and one-of-a-kind action network, newsfeeds, and deep ecology micro-blogs on Twitter and Facebook. All of this is integrated into our new constantly updating home page at http://www.EcoInternet.org/.

All of this and much more was achieved on an annual budget of $ 18,000! These funds were expended on computer equipment, network bandwidth, programmers, and supplies. Yet Honolulu is expensive, and I can’t do this work for free, or even worse at a loss. Our funds are low and we need your immediate support to remain online and active for global ecology: http://www.climateark.org/shared/donate/

Over the next year we intend to continue our development of a new big data based ecological search engine. We are also working on new ecological science that asks just how sustainable are the Pacific Islands using our earlier findings regarding minimum thresholds for natural ecosystems. Our work on insightful deep ecology essays, social media, and action alerts will continue unabated if we can raise $ 15,000 in the next month.

Something big is happening. After a super, spectacular year, EcoInternet is poised for a breakout year defending natural ecosystems, keeping fossil fuels in the group, supporting native rights, and further laying the groundwork for global ecological sustainability through deep ecology action and thought. Please support these efforts to sustain our one shared biosphere.

For Earth,

Dr. Glen Barry
[1] Terrestrial Ecosystem Loss and Biosphere Collapse http://www.ecointernet.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/MEQ-Terrestrial-Ecosystem-Loss-and-Biosphere-Collapse.pdf

[2] VICTORY! Thrilling Rainforest Victory for Karawari Indigenous Cave Art, the Great Nation of Papua New Guinea, and EcoInternet http://www.ecointernet.org/2015/01/22/victory-thrilling-rainforest-victory-for-karawari-indigenous-cave-art-the-great-nation-of-papua-new-guinea-and-ecointernet/

[3] VICTORY: Welcome Baby Steps by Greenpeace and FSC on Ending Old-Growth Forest Logging http://www.ecointernet.org/2014/09/13/victory-greenpeace-fsc-logging/

[4] VICTORY! Walker’s Proposed Wisconsin Great Lakes Mine Perched Above Lake Superior Defeated http://www.ecointernet.org/2015/03/01/victory-proposed-wisconsin-great-lakes-mine-perched-above-lake-superior-defeated/

[5] We Are ALL Mauna Kea: A Sustainable Earth Depends Upon an Indigenist Future http://www.ecointernet.org/2015/06/30/we-are-all-mauna-kea-a-sustainable-earth-depends-upon-an-indigenist-future/

ALERT! Urge Hawai’i to Cancel Telescope on Sacred Mauna Kea or Face Tourism Boycott http://www.ecointernet.org/2015/05/11/alert-urge-hawaii-to-cancel-telescope-on-sacred-mauna-kea-or-face-tourism-boycott/

[6] Action Alert: Demand Bill Gates Divest from Fossil Fuels: If you own fossil fuels, you own climate change http://www.ecointernet.org/2015/06/16/action-alert-demand-bill-gates-divest-from-fossil-fuels-if-you-own-fossil-fuels-you-own-climate-change/


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We Are ALL Mauna Kea: A Sustainable Earth Depends Upon an Indigenist Future

10295789_10206053344285171_3698987057451460139_nHow would you feel if foreigners planned to steal your land to build an eighteen story, eight acre telescope on top of your place of worship, burial sites, and water source?! The native re-awakening occurring now on Hawaii may be the single greatest hope for Earth, all her life and peoples. The #WeAreMaunaKea protectors teach us that genocide and ecocide to look at the stars, or carry out any industrial activity, is no longer culturally acceptable. We must all join native peoples out of love standing up for the land, and good-willed people of all races should be welcomed by native defenders. A powerful global indigenist uprising that along with allies ends industrial ecosystem destruction is Earth’s last best chance for sustainability and avoiding biosphere collapse and the end of being. We all depend upon sacred lands such as Mauna Kea for the environment within which we live.

By Dr. Glen Barry, EcoInternet, Honolulu, Hawaii


Long prophesied by native thinkers, Earth is dying. The global ecological system is collapsing under the weight of industrial development. More ecosystems including the atmosphere have been lost and degraded than the biosphere can bear. Concurrently perma-war, injustice, and inequity have hit epidemic proportions and are worsening ecocide and obstructing solutions.

While social movements of many types work on these issues, the forces of ecocide are pernicious, resolute, and massive. To date the scale of adoption of solutions including smaller families, leaving fossil fuels in the ground, protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, and transitioning our communities to bioregional sustainability have proven orders of magnitude inadequate to stop or even impede the surging industrial growth machine’s gorging upon native ecosystems and peoples.

11378244_1465638397080213_1324334207_nWe got into this predicament as centuries ago ecological colonialism swept from Northern Europe to wage ecocide on ecosystems and genocide upon other non-European peoples. A deadly blend of capitalism, christianity, and militarism sought to liquidate natural ecosystems for perfunctory consumption by some; defended by rigid institutionalized racial, class, and inequity divides.

Against such a desperate backdrop about the only real hope for Earth and all her life that can found is the resurgence of indigenous thought and action such as that playing out in Hawaii. There on the Big Island brave native defenders have taken a dramatic stand against some of the most privileged seeking to steal their sacred Mauna Kea mountain. In an unjust, inequitable, ecologically collapsing world #WeAreMaunaKea (one of the hashtags on Twitter used by the movement) offers a vision of ecological sustainability and social harmony based upon Aloha ‘Aina – love of the land.

#WeAreMaunaKea calls on the Moore Foundation and TMT Hawaii to voluntarily withdraw plans to steal and desecrate native Hawaiian sacred land with an industrial scale telescope. And they do so based upon love of the land and community mobilization in a manner that is applicable to virtually every environmental and social justice struggle. Following in the Gandhian and Martin Luther King tradition of non-violence, their own blend of Kapu Aloha (kindness, love, empathy) stresses bearing witness to ecocide with their bodies, minds, souls, and voices; albeit with a specific Hawaiian flare.

The Aloha ‘Aina protectors demonstrate the ecological Earth ethic needed for the human family and our one shared biosphere to survive. A powerful global indigenist uprising that along with allies ends industrial ecosystem destruction of the landbase is Earth’s last best chance to avoid global ecosystem collapse and achieve global ecological sustainability.


Mauna Kea is a sacred mountain to native Hawaiians and is vital for pure water on the Big Island. Measured from its base in the ocean, Mauna Kea rises over 10,000 m (33,000 ft), significantly higher than Mount Everest. Mauna Kea dramatically affects wind and weather patterns, and its often snow-capped peaks collect water that feeds the aquifer for the Big Island of Hawaii.

There Poli’ahu the Snow Goddess gathers, stores and shares life giving wai (water). So sacred is Mauna Kea that access was limited to only the most reverent of spiritual purposes. Land is sacred to native Hawaiians, and their ancestors believed numerous gods and goddesses inhabit Mauna Kea, and it continues to be revered as a temple. This may appear to be superstitious to some, but it is the basis of a worldview that protected vital ecosystems.

For Hawaiians Mauna Kea is where the sky and earth separated to form the heavens and where the mother and father of the Hawaiian race first met. Mauna Kea holds more than 250 shrines and burial sites and in centuries past its summit was so revered that only high chiefs and priests were allowed to ascend it. The mountain inspires many traditional chants and songs.

There are already 12 teles11142951_1427795734188857_810880267_ncopes scarring the mountain; and the newest, called the Thirty-Meter Telescope, would be 18-stories tall and destroy an additional eight acres of land, and intensify human waste and toxics entering the sensitive ecosystem. Mauna Kea Conservation District Lands are watershed, historic, environmentally and culturally sensitive lands and therefore have special protected status under Hawai’i law. The mountain is home to endangered Hawaiian flora and fauna including the Hawaiian silversword plant, the mamane tree, and the endangered finch-billed species of Hawaiian honeycreeper that lives only on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea.

Sacred lands such as Mauna Kea offer some of Earth’s last intact ecosystems and biodiversity required to sustain humanity and the biosphere. While indigenous peoples account for 4% of global population, occupying 22% of land, their ancestral lands hold 80% of remaining biodiversity. The TMT telescope being built against the wishes of native Hawaiians is neo-colonialism, water and land ecocide, and continues the process of turning sacred Mauna Kea into a poorly managed industrial park. Such is the history of the end of the world.


MaunaKeaProtestsmFor months protestors have camped out on the top of the mountain creating human blockades, there have been dozens of arrests, as well as numerous affinity protests nationally and across social media including on Twitter at #WeAreMaunaKea. Those on the mountain emphasize that they are protectors not protestors. Yet for 95 days and counting #WeAreMaunaKea has kept the forces of ecocide and cultural genocide from stealing and fencing Mauna Kea’s summit.

#WeAreMaunaKea tactics have been exquisite. For months heroic protectors have camped on their sacred mountain ready to block reconstruction, as small groups of average citizens protested street side across the island, building strong public affinity (my wife and I partook once and it was lovely). Native rock ahu alters were built on Mauna Kea in anticipation of renewed efforts to steal sacred lands. Last week after the moratorium on TMT construction had ended, lines of protectors mobilized as construction loomed, one by one getting arrested, as the access road was blocked by boulders strewn to impede access. Meanwhile native protestors and allies sang, danced and expressed love, while many others posted photos and tweeted to build global affinity.

#WeAreMaunaKea continues to demonstrate to the entire world the power of Hawaiian Aloha ‘Aina and Kapu Aloha. Yet at the same time TMT and bought government enforcers have learned quickly to not confuse native Hawaiian’s Aloha with weakness and lack of resolve.

Despite the forces ofCIaF9fuUAAAYOqc.jpg large ecocide and cultural genocide continually seeking to break the native Hawaiian blockade to steal and fence Mauna Kea, for months the movement has grown and strengthened. Native Hawaiians and affinity protestors have drawn a line: no more ecocide and rights abuses on Mauna Kea. In so doing they have set an example for the world of how communities can demand control over their destiny and ecosystems.

The native Hawaiian #WeAreMaunaKea movement is demonstrating the path to global justice and ecological sustainability lies through entire communities swarming industrial debasement of sacred natural ecosystems and based upon Aloha ‘Aina and Kapu Aloha defeating such transgressions. When asked who blocked the road, the entire community roars back I have. This is how ecocide will end globally and sanity return to the human spirit embedded forever in the land.

Native Hawaiians protecting sacred Mauna Kea refuse to accept more occupation, land theft, rights abuses, and ecosystem loss. Similar native movements are occurring globally as indigenous peoples mobilize, and it is something that even settlers by birth must embrace to become re-landed in their own sacred ecosystems. Aloha ‘Aina is all about fully occupying and protecting the sacred land upon which we all depend locally and globally for a liveable Earth.

Most amazing though is that #WeAreMaunaKea – like all great leaps of human consciousness – is arising organically, without central leadership or coordination. Soon all over the world one can envision “Indian” native peoples and allies rising up to defeat “Cowboy” settlers restoring Earth and humanity. Native Hawaiians never consented to sacred Mauna Kea being occupied and destroyed by colonizing astronomy settlers.


The $ 1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), to be 18 stories tall and the second biggest telescope in the world, would be built in the Mauna Kea Conservation District on the Big Island of Hawaii. TMT’s insistence that they will occupy and further desecrate the summit of Mauna Kea despite the heartfelt cries of an entire people is a shameful display of cultural imperialism.

Far from a “clean science,” astronomical projects bring many environmental problems. On Mauna Kea, once untrammeled by humans, thousands of astronomers per year now drive to its summit. They leave behind some 500,000 gallons of human waste annually and introduce toxic chemicals such as ethylene glycol and liquid mercury into the fragile environment. Construction has damaged and leveled the peaks, spewing dust and facilitating human intrusion that is wreaking havoc on this fragile ecosystem.

TMT science on sacred Mauna Kea is a crude expression of white privilege, theft, oppression, and renewed occupation of native Hawaiian land and represents continuation of the age of ecocide, waged under the banner of rationality since European colonialism commenced. In this day and age it is unconscionable that racist land thefts and desecration of native lands continue in the name of “science”.

gordon-moore_416x416Perhaps no one is more complicit in continued raping of the Hawaiian race and their land than Gordon Moore of Intel fame and fortune. His Moore Foundation have pledged a quarter of a billion dollars to the venture, continuing the long history of Western businessmen oppressing native Hawaiians (including those which overthrew the kingdom leading to present day occupation). We expect such things from the Canadian government and other funders of Mauna Kea’s occupation, but it is particularly vicious and reprehensible coming from a man that purports to be visionary and support the environment.

Recently the Hawaiian Supreme Court agreed to rule on the merits of native claims that industrial astronomy is not a valid land use for state conservation lands. Almost immediately following the announcement, TMT Hawaii and the Moore Foundation sought to rush to the top of Mauna Kea’s summit, breaking the peaceful native blockade, to seize and fence the contested land.

Why won’t TMT proponents wait until the coming Hawaiian Supreme Court ruling on telescope before building? What are they afraid of, and are they aware of some illegality in their actions? We hope TMT Hawaii and collaborators are misguided and not evil, yet regardless #WeAreMaunaKea won’t allow more theft and desecration.

TMT science astronomers and their billionaire paymasters are at this very moment scheming to forcibly break native Hawaiian blockade to steal sacred Mauna Kea. And we need your help to stop them – please start by participating in EcoInternet’s action alert:

ACTION ALERT! Demand Those Building TMT Telescope on Hawaiian Sacred Mauna Kea Voluntarily Withdraw

image-640x428-640x428Astronomers have no innate right to steal Mauna Kea from native Hawaiians. There actions do indeed constitute cultural genocide, which is waged not only with murder, but also by stealing and destroying sacred sites causing despair, social disharmony, and collapse of indigenous ways of being.

When will Intel money flowing through the Moore Foundation and the University of Hawaii stop funding ecocide and genocide being waged upon Hawaii’s native peoples and lands?

Gordon Moore’s misbehavior demonstrates further the horrors of inequity whereby 200 people have half of Earth’s wealth and one billion live on less than $ 1.50/day, something which is evil incarnate and will kill us all. Billionaires don’t simply get their way all the time, and are not able to destroy all they want by virtue of great wealth. With great wealth comes even greater responsibility to share and protect.


10929946_828821687186946_4801512549292280884_n#WeAreMaunaKea sends forth a hopeful message of global Aloha ‘Aina – protect and restore land or face biosphere collapse. From Hawaii right around the world – including in Wisconsin and Papua New Guinea where I have recently helped successful native efforts to protect their land – Indigenous peoples lead the way to a sustainable future.

Be clear, native owners of sacred Mauna Kea have not approved its desecration by TMT and they are the only ones that matter. Modern humans destroy ecosystems upon which life depends, native people lead us back, seeking to protect and restore the ancestral garden.

Again, we know that ending fossil fuels and permawar, protecting natural ecosystems and having fewer kids as we share more are necessary to avoid biosphere collapse. But perhaps no single action is more needed to achieve global ecological sustainability than fostering a love and deep devotion to the land.

Globally native peoples are taking back their lands, resisting ecocide, and are leading the way to ecological sustainability. I’m a haole (a white person in Hawaiian), so choose to listen or not. Yet I am married to a Papua New Guinean, have spent many years living in that Pacific Islands’ villages, and have spent 2 ½ decades advocating for indigenous rights and the environment. My life has been lived out of devotion and love of the land.

This I know: In matters of land theft, ecocide, and cultural genocide there can be no common ground. We have to each choose a side. And once chosen, embrace and be embraced. The #WeAreMaunaKea movement faces some obstacles as with its native emphasis by definition it is insular and not particularly welcoming to other races. Yet Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders constitute only 10% of Hawaii’s population. To be successful indigenous movements such as #WeAreMaunaKea need to build bridges to those from all communities that share Aloha ‘Aina and reject further settlement of native lands.

Native peoples should reach out and embrace non-Hawaiians attending their events. While understanding the profound abuses heaped historically on native Hawaiians, it is crucial they stop judging people by race and instead judge them by their actions. You simply can’t do it by yourself, you need allies. Practice aloha towards those of other races reaching out to you in support of love of the land and Mauna Kea. Together #WeAreALLMaunaKea.

CIJuIJiUYAAVQpq.jpg largeI also know that chances to reassert native sovereignty don’t come along often or easily. Given this once in a lifetime chance, it is essential that #WeAreMaunaKea continue in pursuit of total #TMTShutdown. To do so we need a constant stream of social media from the mountain to global supporters to build global affinity. Whatever shall befall Mauna Kea and its protectors, it shall not be in anonymity.

It is well past time for the human family to come together to overcome historical wrongs as we work together for global justice, equity and ecological sustainability. We must nurture a profound love of the land even as we end fossil fuels and protect and restore natural ecosystems.

#WeAreMaunaKea calls for an immediate permanent #TMTShutdown to protect native rights, sacred land, and the Big Island’s water. Today and everyday #WeAreMaunaKea reiterate to the Moore Foundation and TMT Hawaii that the TMT telescope will never be built on our stolen land. Sadly a tourism boycott of Hawaii may be necessary if authorities continue abetting the persecution of native Hawaiians.

All Earth’s people are called to rally to #WeAreMaunaKea‘s just and sustainable plea, and to express their love of Mauna Kea and all sacred land. Only then can one human family live forever with a sacred Earth.


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