Monday, February 28, 2011

How do we Know? Climate deniers...This is how we know

This is the newest installment from the The National Science Foundation. It is a series of videos, of which I hope to run all, which show, in step-by-step fashion, HOW WE KNOW> I am so pleased to be able to bring you a concise solid program, without all the usual lapses and gee...well... and maybe's in it. This time we will see how it really should have been done in the beginning. I realize a lot of people have never been looking for a fight. They get told so many things, from both sides, that it gets pretty murky. I really hope this time the wait proves to have been worth it. 
Video #1 Why study climate change? Follow link for the whole series.






Friday, February 25, 2011

Fracking - An American Crisis

Kristal Alexander
So , they came to my Mountains and ripped all the trees out and ran all the wildlife out to place there loud ass drills all over the place. If your neighbor says go for it they have the right to drill your land....right of passage law. Everybody has to say no to the drilling or we're screwed. Say goodby to your trees and your peaceful yard.

Try having YOUR tap water do this!

Cause Bulletin

Louise Maartens Venter

Fracking may ignite Karoo water conflict

Posted by Louise Maartens Venter on Feb 25
http://www.savingwater.co.za/2010/09/...

by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 05 September 2010

A battle is brewing between local people and major energy companies looking to exploit possible sources of shale gas in the Karoo.


Shale gas is natural gas stored in rocks that are rich in organic material such as dark colored shale
And at the heart of the conflict will be the one thing that is really scarce in the Karoo – water.

Five companies… Read More

Support the cause. Be counted:

I-read-this

about 2 weeks ago · Report




  • are still those people out there who still don't get it. I was told by a friend to stop my protests as companies like Shell, Bundu, Falcon and even Sasol exist so that I may gallavant in my car. Denial! Denial! Denial! Join the cause Stop Hydraulic Fracturing in the Karoo and sign the petition people. We don't want to end up like Pensyllvania.
    Tuesday at 5:29pm ·  1 person
  • Bianca E.A. Prinsloo
    Gideon, Its sooo ridiculous, 15 years and then what? We spend millions (billions more like) for the next 100 trying to clean it all up? It just doesn't make sense. Lousie, gallivant in your car? OH PLEASE! Unless you're driving to Durban J...
    See More
    Tuesday at 6:40pm

Pasted from <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Fracking-Save-the-Karoo/127935643945365



I have to admit, I kept seeing the term FRACKING, and wondered what it meant, like most people,it went on my mental list. " I need to find out what all the fuss is" I told myself. It gets harder and harder to absorb just how quickly these things get developed and overpoweringly huge. Before you have had a chance to leisurely look it up and get a grip on whether it is something that is totally scary. Then I read who developed it...Halliburton!. No wonder it got so big so fast. It is getting to be a full-time job just watching those guys.
Of course, it didn't take long to read about special rights and 'Freebies'(no need to disclose chemicals used, etc) that their good buddy Dick Cheney had included in the last round of EPA legislation just for this process...before we had even heard of it. Here are some folks that have felt the pain. I think I've included all the links. See what you think...Jeff Darling





Fracking is getting too big and nobody who is paying the price now knew what they were getting into.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Week 3 - Great Decisions- Germany Rising

The third in our Great Decisions series, hosted by the World Affairs Council of West Michigan: Introduced by Ellen Estrada
 Dr.Gunther Hega, Department of Political Science, Western Michigan University, was the speaker. Originally Dr.Jackson Janes had been scheduled to speak, but flight problems due to weather made this impossible. In a greatly appreciated surprise showing, Dr. Hega, who is Dr. Janes friend and colleague, stepped in and offered to give his own lecture. In another bit of serendipity, Dr. Hega’s prepared PowerPoint presentation, is almost identical in content to what was scheduled and is also fittingly titled, ‘Germany Rising’.Dr. Gunther Hega is an Associate Professor, Comparative and European Politics Department of Political Science, Western Michigan University. "I was born in the German Province of Swabia, home of the Poets Schiller and Hoelderlin, on All Saints Day, in the year the Berlin Wall was built.Hega has been with Political Science Department at Western Michigan University since 1994. He got his degree in Germany at Tubingen and his PH.D at washington University. He was honored in 2004 by the Political Science Honor Society for "Outstanding Teaching." Dr. Hega also has a recent Book on "Consensus Democracy", and has written for many journals and publications concerning this field.
Dr. Hega also conducts several research projects in this fieldhttp://homepages.wmich.edu/~hega/research.html .

The lecture Germany Rising is a summary of the recent rise in fortune of Germany.
The world has undergone significant pain in the last three years in conjunction with the housing market derivative crisis in the U.S.
Record setting unemployment, currency devaluation, countries on the brink of bankruptcy in nearly every country in the world, especially those categorized as ‘The West’ have been a long, heartbreaking tale. Germany has been no exception. However, in 2010, something radically changed, it is being hailed as : "Germany's Economic Miracle."  It was a bleak picture for everyone in the EU, Greece and Ireland having fallen hardest,and the 2008-9 economic outlook, (GDP) was -4.7% . Then, in 2010  the same GDP had moved to +3.6%  so, in one year the Deutschland rocketed from 4.7% Shrinking economy to 3.6% Growth.  Coming out of virtual depression,  it is a miracle. with figures now showing unemployment of 7.2 %  and a trade SURPLUS 11.2%.  So, how does one country change from depression to economic Miracle overnight? Dr. Hega has put together a rational explanation. Much has to do with trade with China, much with how they have dealt with their unions.(Contrary to business as usual), In fact the unions have been a central partner in this great comeback. Here is how it works; the government, business and the Unions all sit in on negotiations. There is never a question that employees have a right to get paid, or businesses to make a profit. The stake of the Government is legislated. In this way, no one has had an unfair advantage, which is what gets messy. It was not a matter of getting in to a problem, all currencies are currently anchored to the dollar. When the dollar fell apart everybody did.Germany, however, could respond more quickly, and did. The other thing Germany did was sell technology to make products, instead of products. It gave them an advantage in a down market. This is Hega says "a matter of many small things, that happened over time." The Professor is also quick to point out that it isn't easily mimicked.
I Highly Recommend the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygPXIMbf0qc
Please join us for next week's Great Decisions lecture:Payback Time? The Global Financial Crisis (Panel Discussion)All Star Panel with Jack Lessenbury as Moderator
jeffcrafter
I like to write about the things I am surrounded by every day. For me it is science, education, nature, and environment.writing done in ways that bring those together and deliver greater understanding to people. These are things I like, and expect to write about.
Reports on: Science, news, events

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Breaking; Governor Scott Walker- allegedly talking to sponsor-he thinks

Breaking Story
A New York  underground newspaper, The Buffalo Beast, called Governor Walker and pranked him . Allegedly, while talking to an editor, the Governor was led to believe that he was talking to one of the Koch brothers. These are the billionaire brothers who are Walker's primary sponsors, according to CNN.The politics are getting ugly.  It is because this has gotten to be such a circus that I decided to bring this to you. - Jeff Darling

"In a direct assault on the First Amendment, Scott Walker's administration is blocking access in the Wisconsin Capitol to opposition websites," Wisconsin Democratic Party press secretary Graeme Zielinski told CNN.

Part One


Part Two

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Climate Deniers celebrate Record Temps

Record year for Greenland Ice Sheet...Melting
It has been quite a winter.I know many people here who have been raising all kinds of crazy ideas that they were going to prove against global warming because of record cold along the Southern U.S. parts of Europe,all over the place. Every place but where we needed it. Greenland and the Arctic. There we had record High temps. It goes without saying that this is another example. NASA is carrying the story.



2010 was an exceptional year for Greenland’s ice cap. Melting started early and stretched later in the year than usual. Little snow fell to replenish the losses. By the end of the season, much of southern Greenland had set a new record, with melting that lasted 50 days longer than average.
This image was assembled from microwave data from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) of the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program. Snow and ice emit microwaves, but the signal is different for wet, melting snow than for dry. Marco Tedesco, a professor at the City College of New York, uses this difference to chart the number of days that snow is melting every year. This image above shows 2010 compared to the average number of melt days per year between 1979 and 2009.
The long melt season primarily affected southern and western Greenland, where communities experienced their warmest year on record. After a warm, dry winter, temperatures were particularly high in the spring, getting the melt season off to a strong start. The early melting set the tone for the rest of the season, leading to more melting all the way into mid-September.
When snow melts, the fine, bright powder turns to larger-grained, gravely snow. These large grains reflect less light, which means that they can absorb more energy and melt even faster. When the annual snow is melted away, parts of the ice cap are exposed. The surface of the ice is also darker than snow. Since dark ice was exposed earlier and longer in 2010, it absorbed more energy, leading to a longer melt season. A fresh coat of summer snow would have protected the ice sheet, but little snow fell.
Melting ice in Greenland freshens the seas near the Arctic and contributes to rising sea levels around the world. It is unclear just how much melting ice from Greenland will push sea levels up, largely because the melting is occurring much more quickly than scientists predicted. Current estimates call for an increase of up to 0.6 meters by 2100.NASA story here

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Zealand Earthquake!!

New!!! New Zealand  Earthquake!!


At a little before 1;00 pm New Zealand time  a 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand. There are reported to be fatalities. The Earthquake registered 6.3 on the Richter and was reported to have come from 2.5 miles deep






Sunday, February 20, 2011

Climate Deniers Want the Facts- I Give you the Truth as Best I Can

Konza Prairie Site: Rainfall manipulation plots allow observations of precipitation patterns.
One of many test and research sites of NSF

I give the climate deniers the best truth I can. I often utilize sources such as Universities, Government (Like the NSF, always reliable), and various scientists that I think can be considered reliable. I recently found, for instance, that Ladies and Gentlemen of the U.S. Congress and Senate had been referring regularly to a "list of 100" which referred to a list of scientists of the highest repute who "Deny Climate Change Exists." I am in the middle of running down the facts on this as yet, but I can assure you, I intend to give you better vetting of my facts than this.
As a part of this ongoing proofing of information, I ran across a very good article on an NSF (National Science Foundation) site that showed a series of the verification and data collection sites they use. I thought it would be a good use of a Sunday morning to show you the article and some of the research areas.
It is my intention to always deal with the facts and the truth in every bit of this, no matter where they lead.
I give you the article in part and tell you I intend to give a summary. n March 2, view a webcastof the Long-Term Ecological Research symposium of the webcast that the NSF will have ...Jeff Darling

Now from the NSF:


NSF Forum: Understanding Climate Change Through Long-Term Ecological Research

Human activities such as burning of fossil fuels and land use change have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide by 40 percent since the start of the industrial revolution, researchers have found.
The result is a hotter Earth, with warmer average temperatures around the globe and a future climate system that will be more variable, and with more extreme events, says Scott Collins, a scientist at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Sevilleta Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Site in N.M.
Sevilleta is one of a network of 26 such NSF LTER sites around the world.  
This winter's historic snows may be but one harbinger of what lies ahead.
Regionally severe winter weather may be linked to a planet whose temperature is going up, scientists say, not down. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture and, as large land masses like North America cool over winter months, increased snowfall results.
On Wednesday, March 2, 2011, NSF will host a symposium titled, "Understanding Climate Change: Perspectives from Long-Term Ecological Research."



BioCon4 is an LTER experiment to study how plants will respond to climate change.


                        Scientists conduct night-time warming experiments to document climate change.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hits and Messes II







Week two of my Class/Lecture Series on "Great Decisions" in which the four Grand Rapids area colleges participate. You can view a different take, one which I work on with my editor at the Rapidian. Find it at www.rapidian.org.rapidian. Great Decisions is put on by the World Affairs Council of West Michigan, and I thank them. Enjoy



Hits and Messes   > Part ii              

Dr. Stewart Patrick, Senior Fellow and Director, Program on International Institutions and Global Governance, at the Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C., was the speaker at tonight’s lecture. Host of the event, Ellen Levey, Chairperson of the Great Decisions program for World Affairs Council of West Michigan, introduced Paul Carrier, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, who spoke briefly on the system of support the Great Decisions series enjoys. The speaker was then introduced. Needed: a New World Order was based primarily on the speaker’s book: The Origins of American Multilateralism and the Dawn of the Cold War*. ‘The Great Decisions Study Guide”, available at the door, is also helpful.
Needed: a New World Order, quickly defined its meaning, in that it is NOT a one world Government, but a reckoning of the parts played by the actors in world Governance. These actors are The U.N., the World Health Organization and the World Monetary fund  to name a few.  The place they occupy, and the power they wield have undergone major change since the post-World War II world in which they were conceived. That the U.S. is no longer willing or able to be the sole benefactor in a world of “China Rising” and ever increasing numbers of countries joining the World Stage, are the message of the talk.

Germany Rising: February 21, 6P.M.:Great Decisions next lecture will be given by   
Dr. Jackson Janes, Executive Director, American Institute for Contemporary German studies at Johns Hopkins University. This lecture will explore the role of the new, United, Germany in the European Union. Much has been made of the economic powerhouse Germany has become in the new Europe, financing the saving of Greece and Ireland. The Speaker’s Essay :’ The Need for a Narrative, will explain this, the need for networks and answers, and much more.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Caltech Makes New Link to Ancient Climate Change

A new paper by a Caltech team headed by John Eiler has made some rather remarkable discoveries about our world 450 million years ago. By using a new Isotope cantered technique, Eiler has shown the Ordovician mass extinction to have been caused by climate change.The new science involved shows promise along a range of time periods.  The truth about climate science is that it is science, and that means the answer you get is what you get. That is what science is.



PASADENA, Calif.—About 450 million years ago, Earth suffered the second-largest mass extinction in its history—the Late Ordovician mass extinction, during which more than 75 percent of marine species died. Exactly what caused this tremendous loss in biodiversity remains a mystery, but now a team led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has discovered new details supporting the idea that the mass extinction was linked to a cooling climate.
"While it’s been known for a long time that the mass extinction is intimately tied to climate change, the precise mechanism is unclear," says Seth Finnegan, a postdoctoral researcher at Caltech and the first author of the paper published online in Science on January 27. The mass extinction coincided with a glacial period, during which global temperatures cooled and the planet saw a marked increase in glaciers. At this time, North America was on the equator, while most of the other continents formed a supercontinent known as Gondwana that stretched from the equator to the South Pole.

To follow the rest of the story, please follow this link;  http://media.caltech.edu/press_releases/13400

For a taped interview, expressing this news in the author's own voice and words;
Paper's Author Eiler speaks

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Amid charges of global warming hoax, new warning on climate change


Amid charges of global warming hoax, new warning on climate change




Photo, courtesy pixomar




A report Tuesday on the latest climate-change research shows emissions rising quickly and ice caps melting faster than projected. The report comes amid a controversy over hacked scientists’ e-mails that some say point to a global warming hoax.
By Peter N. Spotts, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / November 25, 2009
Global carbon-dioxide emissions are rising fast, global temperatures continue to climb at a pace in line with projections, and polar regions are losing ice faster than climate models have projected.
These are some of the recent research findings highlighted by a group of 26 climate scientists in a report released Tuesday dubbed The Copenhagen Diagnosis.
The purpose of the effort, say researchers from eight countries, including the US, is to update policymakers and the public about the pulse of the planet ahead of the climate-treaty negotiations scheduled to begin in the Danish capital Dec. 7. The assessment comes amid a controversy over hacked e-mails of climate scientists – including a few who contributed to this effort – that global warming skeptics are using to question climate science.
www.csmonitor.com/USA/2009/1125/p02s01-usgn.html


In the United States, climate deniers are at an all-time high. They feel that by talking loudly, and talking enough, they can somehow change the truth. I have to admit I am unable to understand it. I can do nothing more than report . This is, yet again, more evidence of the real picture, as science sees it.This announcement, made today, is another in a long string of moves by the United Nations, to put this issue to rest so we can get on with the necessary moves to ameliorate the results as much as possible.
Unfortunately, there are vested interests who stand to gain vast sums of money by delaying the necessary actions. This is done at the risk of every man woman and child in the United States and the world.
Please help us to act...Jeff Darling: Editor


Authors of the landmark 2009 climate report "The Copenhagen Diagnosis" estimate that by 2020 industrial nations must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by  around 40% below 1990 levels to secure a decent chance of avoiding dangerous human interference with the climate system.
The Copenhagen Diagnosis authors used IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) projections as well as post-AR4 analysis to estimate that emissions reductions of around 40% from industrial nations are needed to make it likely to keep global warming below 2°C.
In their report released 25 November of this year, the authors noted that many nations had publically recognized the importance of this 2°C limit. Yet the authors said today that this 2°C warming threshold could be crossed as early as 2040 unless significant mitigation measures were taken urgently.

The report also noted that global warming continues to track early IPCC projections based on greenhouse gas increases. Without significant mitigation, the report concluded that global mean warming could reach as high as 7 degrees Celsius by 2100.
The report found that:
  • Both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass and contributing to sea-level rise at an increasing rate.
  • The area of summer sea ice remaining during 2007-2009 was about 40% less than the average projection from the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.
  • Global sea-level rise may exceed 1 meter by 2100. Without significant mitigation, sea-level rise of several meters is to be expected over the next few centuries.
If long-term global warming is to be limited to a maximum of 2°Celsius above preindustrial values, average annual per-capita emissions in industrialized nations will have to be reduced.  Since the landmark 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted and ratified by virtually all nations including the US, emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels have risen by more than 40%, said the authors.
"The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change pledged to avoid dangerous human interference with the climate system. Yet recent emissions growth sets us on a pathway toward significant climate change, unless deep emission cuts are secured urgently", said Professor Matthew England, an author of the report.
The Copenhagen Diagnosis, a year in the making, was released worldwide last month.
The report concluded that several important aspects of climate change are already occurring at the high end, or even beyond, the expectations of just a few years ago.
  • The report found that global ice sheets are melting at an increased rate; Arctic sea ice is thinning and melting much faster than recently projected, and future sea-level rise is now by around 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050.


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Harvest of Knowledge-and The Ability to Make a Difference


Email this pagePrint this page 

Press Release 11-028 
A Scientific Gold Rush: Electronic Mining of Published Research
The journal Science publishes an important paper on harvesting vast amounts of "metaknowledge"
Image of an upraised open hand with a background consisting of text and binary code.
Perspective article argues that electronically-mined research may lead to future breakthroughs.
Credit and Larger Version
February 10, 2011
The knowledge of knowledge. The science of science. Riddles? No. A burgeoning and important field of scientific research that examines research itself, say University of Chicago Sociology Assistant Professor James Evans and Post-doctoral Scholar Jacob Foster. Their analysis, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is published in a perspective piece to appear in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Science.


The Harvest of Knowledge:by Jeff Darling
Take a look at the future:   the knowledge of knowledge, Metaknowledge.
Here is the way, for many of those souls who, having the background, ability and desire to find their way to produce the scientific paper or write the article of a lifetime. They do it without spending millions in research money or setting up a fantastic laboratory. No need for anything but a sharp mind and a clear understanding.

There are many of us who wish to contribute to the growing body of science. There are countless of us who blog, do our own study, join groups that work on things together, We learn, of course and we sometimes gather some pretty good info. With these techniques, we can do more than help NASA look at pieces of the Moon, or small patches of the Galaxy in the infra-red. With the correct tools, we can make real discoveries of our own. Maybe instead, we find we really hate that kind of work, but at least we find out before we pour tens of thousands into the verdict. I see this methodology as invaluable.

According to CoAssistant Professor James Evans and Post-doctoral Scholar Jacob Foster Mining the data that have already been gathered by others will be the future. It is pointless to continue grubbing for details for every piece of research. Many times the work of gathering has been done. Better to get to the model of a new truth by going over this research from a different perspective, or maybe combining two sets of work that together make a new set of figures. There
is the metaknowledge future. the future of mining is one I am eager to see.


To find the rest of this NSF story
http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=118609&org=NSF&from=news

program ContactsJulia I. Lane, NSF (703) 292-5145 jlane@nsf.gov
Related WebsitesPowerful new ways to electronically mine published research may lead to new scientific breakthroughs:http://news.uchicago.edu/news.php?asset_id=2249
NSF's Science of Science and Innovation Policy program:http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=501084
Examples of natural language processing awards:http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/stis1993/nsf93133/nsf93133.txt





Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pale Blue Dot


The Pale Blue Dot-21st Anniversary
(the dot in the small box is Earth, seen through the ring of Saturn, by the voyager spacecraft, on February 14, 1990)

It was twenty one years ago that the great astronomer and American Icon, Carl Sagan, made a suggestion to his friends at NASA. The Voyager spacecraft was in a position that would make for a rare opportunity. From the suggestion, they took a photo. Voyager took a photo. It showed our home Earth, in a way that nothing ever had. Carl called it 'The Pale Blue Dot'.

 The idea was to show us in a real way. We are the most special bunch we have ever known. We are the best we have seen. It was in this spirit that we needed to see ourselves in perspective. To see ourselves through the ring of a much larger world. Tosee that we are, sometimes, in some ways, so delicate and fragile, and small. The fact of being able to see ourselves, as we are, is our greatness.

The only other photo I know of that has ever matched The Pale Blue Dot in its impact was the first one from space that captured the whole planet, alone in space, for the first time.
I looked around for a while, for this copy of the Pale Blue Dot, owned by us all. In one location, I found a hundred copies of this photo. These copies were all slightly different from this original, and so they must have all reflected someone's desire to take credit for the photo. Maybe they made a buck from it. Maybe they made a poster.Maybe they hoped someone would think they had taken a jaunt to the rings of Saturn, from which spot they could get a really cool picture of Earth as a pale blue dot, barely showing through the rings. Maybe they just wanted to express their own art. I am sure this is the most likely, although the one about having been to Saturn was funnier.
Oh well, thank you again Carl, for your vision, your wisdom. Happy twenty-first anniversary for another great, original idea.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hits and messes



I try to remember, when I get in a rush to get published. I am what I am and I will take some time to be able to write as well as I would like. Meanwhile, I make progress, I learn and grow. This is everything I can do. Oh, yeah, and enjoy the ride.

I finally have an article in the paper and I thought I should at least have a link to it.

This is a lecture series I take a class in. I have written a story for the local on-line paper(Rapidian.org) and the college tapes it. have a look

link to story

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Amazon Drought; Is anyone else bothered by this?

Is anyone else bothered by this?

In the last few years, more and more climate scientists warn us over and over not to confuse weather with climate.  We all are well aware that the rain forest of the Amazon basin is the heart and lungs of the planet.My question is:  do we observe the warning first, or think ahead and plan possible actions first? Twice in five years the Amazon is in drought. It seems to me this goes beyond weather. This article from Leeds seems not to have shown up on the radar. Why? I really would be interested in any ideas I could generate here. I am going to do my level best to get this story out if I can. Feel free to link to my site and spread it as far as you can.  
Thanks
Jeff



Analyses of rainfall across 5.3 million square kilometres of Amazonia during the 2010 dry season, published in Science, shows that the drought was more widespread and severe than in 2005.Dr Lewis added: "Two unusual and extreme droughts occurring within a decade may largely offset the carbon absorbed by intact Amazon forests during that time......                                                                                                                              New research shows that the 2010 Amazon drought may have been even more devastating to the region’s rainforests than the unusual 2005 drought, which was previously billed as a one-in-100 year event.             Use link to view full story

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/1466/two_severe_amazon_droughts_in_five_years_alarms_scientists

Two severe Amazon droughts in five years alarms scientists




Monday, February 7, 2011

Helios 360

video
The STEREO mission consists of two spacecraft orbiting the Sun, one moving a bit faster than Earth (A-ahead) and the other a bit slower (B-behind). In the time since the STEREO spacecraft entered these orbits near the beginning of 2007 they have been slowly separating. In Feb. 2011 they reach the point at which they are on opposite sides of the Sun and can observe the entire far side of the Sun.
video video

Wow! After all these years, we have a complete picture of the sun. I find it a little breathtaking. I do hope the 2012'ers can now feel certain there are no planets hiding on the opposite side of the sun from Earth.The more important, of course, is the increase in ability.Take for instance the inability to continue broadcasting from the Mars orbiter last week. If we had used a system that reached the entire circumference, it would not have happened. 
In case you missed it, by the way, the orbiter went behind the sun to us. When this happened, the communication had to be stilled because otherwise we would be taking a chance that interference from the Sun would interrupt a part of the signal from us to the orbiter. If it would have killed all instructions, no big deal. Obviously, if it didn't kill any signal, same thing. But, kill a part and anything could happen. Ergo, shut it down. I believe we will find innumerable ways to utilize this ability. (we always do).
Anyway, this is my first try at video, so, enjoy(all 1 or 2 of you)