Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Monday, January 31, 2011

German scientists to study mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan

Trend, M. Aliyev, Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan.31

German scientists will study mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan.

Researchers from Germany's Kiel University have visited the Institute of Geology of the Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences in this regard, the institute told Trend today.

The scientists delivered reports on Egypt's underwater mud volcanoes to a wide audience at the institute. The reports were dedicated to research conducted by Kiel University experts in the delta of the Nile River.

Scientists at the Institute of Geology spoke about ground mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan at the meeting. An excursion to the mud volcanoes was organized for the guests.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gulf Spill Dispersants Surprisingly Long-lasting

Dispersant impacts on environment a major concern, expert says.

National Geographic News, Brian Handwerk, Jan 27, 2011

A boat cuts through surface oil near the site of the Deepwater Horizon
wellhead (file picture). (
Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic)

Massive amounts of chemical dispersants pumped into the Gulf of Mexico to break up the BP oil spill remained deep underwater for months, new research shows.

In an unprecedented tactic, U.S. authorities pumped some 800,000 gallons (3,028,000 liters) of dispersants directly into the flow of oil at the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, at about 4,000 and 5,000 feet (1,200 and 1,500 meters) deep. Most of the dispersant was applied in May and June, and the wellhead was capped in July.

No one knew how effectively the dispersants would work. But a new analysis shows the dispersants lingered for months pretty much right where they were put—trapped in subsurface plumes of oil and gas.

"The dispersants got stuck in deep water layers around 3,000 feet [915 meters] and below," said study leader David Valentine, a microbial geochemist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"We were seeing it three months after the well had been capped. We found that all of that dispersant added at depth stayed in the deepwater plumes. Not only did it stay, but it didn't get rapidly biodegraded as many people had predicted.

"We don't know where exactly everything has gone since the last study, but dilution is continually decreasing the concentration," he added.

Dispersant Ingredients a Trade Secret

For the study, scientists tracked a key component of dispersant called dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS) as the spill's deepwater plume of oil, natural gas, and dispersant moved southwesterly through the Gulf.

Some 640,000 pounds (290,000 kilograms) of DOSS was injected between April and July, a huge number made all the more daunting because the chemical comprises only ten percent of the total dispersant volume, according to the study, published online January 26 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Likewise, these figures don't include an additional 1.4 million gallons (5.3 million liters) of dispersant that was dumped onto the ocean surface. Early experiments show, however, that deepwater dispersants never mixed with surface dispersants. In September DOSS was still present in significant concentrations even 200 miles (322 kilometers) from the wellhead.

Not surprisingly, subsurface concentrations of dispersant were highest at the wellhead and gradually declined with time and distance as Gulf waters mixed naturally.

According to Texas Tech University environmental toxicologist Ronald Kendall, the ingredients of the dispersants are trade secrets, so scientists didn't even know what was in the dispersants until after heavy use had begun.

"I think this continues to reveal how little we knew about the dispersants and how limited we were in predicting their fate in the environment," Kendall said.

"And we still have a huge lack of knowledge related to what their ecotoxicological consequences are going to be. This represents a still unfolding ecotoxicological experiment on a huge scale."

Jury Still Out on Dispersant Decision

The new data will also help scientists understand to what extent marine organisms such as coral and tuna were exposed to dispersants. Already, one preliminary study has shown deep-water coral has been severely affected.

Kendall is concerned about deep-ocean animals. They can often be more sensitive to environmental disturbances, he said, because they've evolved more specialized survival skills.

"These organisms have developed capabilities to live under high pressures, with low oxygen levels, and with no sunlight. It's a more rigorous and perhaps less changing environment, and all of a sudden a wave of chemical dispersants comes by. What does that mean for the environment? I don't know. I really don't. But it concerns me significantly."

Of course oil carries its own environmental consequences, and these are perhaps worse when it's not dispersed.

That's why study leader Valentine called the tough decision to use enormous quantities of chemical dispersants at the wellhead an uncertain choice between "bad" and "worse."

"I think the jury is still out on whether or not it was the best decision," he said.

Volcano Lightning Electrifies Japan Eruption

National Geographic, Jan 28, 2011

Electric Tentacle From Kirishima (Photograph from Takaharu/Reuters)

A "tentacle" of lightning stretches over Japan in a long-exposure picture taken Thursday of the ash plume rising from Shinmoedake peak, one of the calderas of the Kirishima volcano complex. Shinmoedake began erupting Wednesday, coating nearby villages and farms with ash and prompting authorities to ask for voluntary evacuations within a 1.2-mile (2-kilometer) radius.

Volcanic lightning is still a mystery, though it may be that electrically charged silica—part of magma—interacts with the atmosphere when it flies out of a volcano, Steve McNutt of the Alaska Volcano Observatory told National Geographic News in February 2010.

Kirishima is a grouping of about 20 volcanic peaks on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu (map). The site featured in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, serving as the secret base of the main villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

Although the complex is often active, Wednesday's eruption is the strongest recorded atKirishima since 1959, ABC News reports.

Related Articles:

Friday, January 28, 2011

UN Head Calls for ‘Revolution’ to Save Environment

Jakarta Globe, January 28, 2011 

Davos, Switzerland. United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said Friday the current economic model is an environmental “global suicide pact” that will result in disaster if it isn’t reformed.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said Friday the current
economic  model is an environmental “global suicide pact” that
will result  in disaster if it isn’t reformed. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  
Ban said that political and business leaders need to embrace an economic revolution in order to save the planet.

“We need a revolution,” the secretary-general of the UN told a panel at the World Economic Forum on how best to make the global economy sustainable. “Climate change is also showing us that the old model is more than obsolete.”

He called the current economic model a recipe for “national disaster” and said: “We are running out of time. Time to tackle climate change, time to ensure sustainable ... growth.”

His words received a mixed reception from fellow panelists including Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Walmart CEO Mike Duke and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. 

Associated Press

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Gooey" New Mud Volcano Erupts From Arabian Sea

Underwater seeps formed new island off Pakistan, satellite shows.

National Geographic News, Victoria Jaggard, January 26, 2011

Satellite pictures of the Pakistani coast in February (left) and November 2010.
Photographs courtesy Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, EO-1/NASA)

There's a new island in the azure waters off Pakistan, but you might want to hold off on vacation planning: The tiny dot is a mud volcano that will likely disappear before it sees 1,001 Arabian nights.

Pakistani fishers reported the new mud volcano in the Arabian Sea in late November, and NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite snapped a picture of it (right) on January 11. The volcano was not in a satellite picture of the same region taken last February.

According to NASA, mud volcano "islands" have appeared in the Arabian Sea before, and most have washed away within a few months. In fact, the January picture shows tan sediments steaming from the new mud volcano, suggesting it is eroding and will soon vanish.

Mud volcanoes, which can appear on land or underwater, form when underground layers of silt or clay become pressurized either by tectonic activity or by a buildup of hydrocarbon gases.

Pakistan's mud volcanoes are driven by plate tectonics: The Arabian plate is subducting—or diving under—the Eurasian landmass, churning up sediments that form Pakistan's coastal plains and an offshore slope.

Underneath the plains, subduction is also melting rock into magma, which infuses the groundwater with heat and volcanic gases. The resulting acidic brew dissolves the rocks above into a slurry of mud and hydrocarbons, which then seeps through faults in slow eruptions.

Most mud volcanoes stand only a few inches to several feet high, but the land-based ones on Pakistan's plains can rise up to 330 feet (100 meters). Some of these peaks have been known to spew gas plumes that spontaneously combust, sending tongues of fire high into the sky.

At about two miles (three kilometers) offshore, the new mud volcano is probably poking up from water that's about 98 to 197 feet (30 to 60 meters) deep, said James R. Hein, a U.S. Geological Survey senior scientist in Menlo Park, California.

Its surface mud is relatively cool but "is likely water-saturated, so stays gooey to souplike depending on the amount of saturation," Hein said.

Like hydrothermal vents, underwater mud volcanoes—known as cold seeps—can have their own unique ecosystems filled with life-forms that get most of their energy from chemical sources, such as methane, he said. (See pictures of "Medusa" worms found at a mud volcano near Spain.)

It's rare for such mud volcanoes to breach the water's surface, Hein added. The researcher isn't aware of any that have lasted long enough to support island living, although it's possible the mud contains some bacteria that thrive above the waves.

Related Article:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

VW unveils an ultra-efficient car

BBC News, By Jorn Madslien, Business reporter, 25 January 2011

Volkswagen has made a car it says can travel 313 miles on a gallon of diesel, and that emits just 24 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre travelled.

Improved aerodynamics and weight reductions
enable the car to use a smaller engine
The XL1, which seats two adults, combines a 0.8 litre two cylinder diesel engine with an electric motor.

The car is constructed around a carbon fibre reinforced polymer monocoque to reduce the weight to just 795 kilos.

German rival BMW is also making an electric carbon fibre car, while Mercedes is to make carbon fibre parts.

Their efforts show how the motor industry is increasingly working to improve aerodynamics and reduce weight, in order to supplement improvements in cars' engines.

On the engine front, electrification is becoming mainstream even though pure electric cars are expected to remain niche products for decades yet.

Global Car Industry

Instead, carmakers are increasingly combining conventional solutions, such as petrol or diesel engines, with battery-powered solutions.

"All sorts of mixes will come to the fore," said Jim O'Donnell, BMW North America's chief executive, in an interview with BBC News.

The Volkswagen XL1 is to be formally unveiled at the Qatar motor show on Tuesday night.

The carmaker says it can accelerate from nought to 100 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour) in 11.9 seconds.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wind chill warnings across Canada

BBC News, 24 January 2011

Wind chill warning are in place across much or east and central Canada as Canadians brave some of the lowest winter temperatures in decades.

There was "sea smoke" off Halifax Nova Scotia, a
phenomena caused by cold air passing over warmer
Quebec City temperatures fell to -25C. Wind chill made it feel more like -40C.

Other parts of east and central Canada are experiencing similar lows and the severe temperatures were set to remain until Tuesday morning.

Despite being a country used to extreme weather, many residents are finding the latest cold snap hard to bear.

Last year's relatively warm winter had raised expectations according to David Phillips, Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada, who told the BBC: "I think we were seduced into thinking this was what winters were going to be."

Upside down

Some of mildest weather is currently being seen in the northern Arctic regions.

The city of Whitehorse in Yukon was enjoying a relatively balmy -1C on Monday.

"We often think that winter begins in the north," said Mr Phillips.

"But we have had some very high temperatures. It's almost as if the weather was upside down."

Further south, in Ottawa, the temperature reached -28.6C, the lowest recorded since 1970. Montreal fell to -22C.

"It's freezing," said Louis Thibaut, who runs a winter clothing store in the city.

He noted that locals, caught off guard, had been buying-up heavy duty outdoor wear.

"People spend from $600 to $800 on jackets on goose down jackets which are good to -40 degrees," he said.

Americans are being warned that the cold front is heading their way next.

Residents in the north-eastern states of Maine and Vermont have been warned to expect similar temperatures to those seen in Canada.

Many schools have already been closed, in preparation for expected blizzard conditions.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Quantum states last longer in birds' eyes

NewScientist, 20 January 2011 by Rachel Courtland, Magazine issue 2796.

"BIRD brain" is usually an insult, but that may have to change. A light-activated compass at the back of some birds' eyes may preserve electrons in delicate quantum states for longer than the best artificial systems.

There's a compass in my eyes (Image: Kim Taylor/NsaturePL)
Migrating birds navigate by sensing Earth's magnetic field, but the exact mechanisms at work are unclear. Pigeons are thought to rely on bits of magnetite in their beaks. Others, like the European robin (pictured), may rely on light-triggered chemical changes that depend on the bird's orientation relative to Earth's magnetic field.

A process called the radical pair (RP) mechanism is believed to be behind the latter method. In this mechanism, light excites two electrons on one molecule and shunts one of them onto a second molecule. Although the two electrons are separated, their spins are linked through quantum entanglement.

The electrons eventually relax, destroying this quantum state. Before this happens, however, Earth's magnetic field can alter the relative alignment of the electrons' spins, which in turn alters the chemical properties of the molecules involved. A bird could then use the concentrations of chemicals at different points on its eye to deduce its orientation.

Intrigued by the idea that, if the RP mechanism is correct, a delicate quantum state can survive a busy place like the back of an eye, Erik Gauger of the University of Oxford and colleagues set out to find out how long the electrons remain entangled.

They turned to results from recent experiments on European robins, in which the captured birds were exposed to flip-flopping magnetic fields of different strengths during their migration season. The tests revealed that a magnetic field of 15 nanoTesla, less than one-thousandth the strength of Earth's magnetic field, was enough to interfere with a bird's sense of direction (Biophysical Journal, DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2008.11.072).

These oscillating magnetic fields will only disrupt the birds' magnetic compass while the electrons remain entangled. As a weaker magnetic field takes longer to alter an electron's spin, the team calculated that for such tiny fields to have such a strong impact on the birds' compasses the electrons must remain entangled for at least 100 microseconds. Their work will appear in Physical Review Letters.

The longest-lived electrons in an artificial quantum system - a cage of carbon atoms with a nitrogen atom at its centre - survived for just 80 microseconds at comparable temperatures, the team points out. "Nature has, for whatever reason, been able to protect quantum coherence better than we can do with molecules that have been specially designed," says team member Simon Benjamin of the Centre for Quantum Technologies in Singapore.

Thorsten Ritz of the University of California, Irvine, who helped perform the robin experiments, cautions that the RP mechanism has yet to be confirmed. But he is excited by the prospect of long-lived quantum states. "Maybe we can learn from nature how to mimic this," he says.

Related Article:

Violent Seismic Activity Tearing Africa in Two

Der Spiegel, By Axel Bojanowski, Jan 20, 2011

Northeastern Africa is no longer like it once was. The earth there is in upheaval.
University of Bristol / Lorraine Field)

The fissures began appearing years ago. But in recent months, seismic activity has accelerated in northeastern Africa as the continent breaks apart in slow motion. Researchers say that lava in the region is consistent with magma normally seen on the sea floor -- and that water will ultimately cover the desert.

Cynthia Ebinger, a geologist from the University of Rochester in New York, could hardly believe what the caller from the deserts of Ethiopia was saying. It was an employee at a mineralogy company -- and he reported that the famous Erta Ale volcano in northeastern Ethiopia was erupting. Ebinger, who has studied the volcano for years, was taken aback. The volcano's crater had always been filled with a bubbling soup of silver-black lava, but it had been decades since its last eruption.

The call came last November. And Ebinger immediately flew to Ethiopia with some fellow researchers. "The volcano was bubbling over; flaming-red lava was shooting up into the sky," Ebinger told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Afar Triangle (Spiegel Online)
The earth is in upheaval in northeastern Africa, and the region is changing quickly. The desert floor is quaking and splitting open, volcanoes are boiling over, and seawaters are encroaching upon the land. Africa, researchers are certain, is splitting apart at a rate rarely seen in geology.

The first fracture appeared millions of years ago, resulting in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The second fracture, stretching south from Ethiopia to Mozambique, is known as the Great Rift Valley, and it is lined with several volcanoes. Millions of years from now, it too will be filled with seawater.

Could Go Quickly

But in the Danakil Depression, in the northern part of the valley, the ocean could arrive much sooner. There, low, 25 meter (82 foot) hills are the only thing holding back the waters of the Red Sea. The land behind them has already dropped dozens of meters from previous levels and white salt deposits on the desert floor testify to past encroachments of the sea. But lava soon choked off its access.

For now, no one can really say when the sea will finally flood the desert. But when it does, it could go quickly. "The hills could sink in a matter of days," Tim Wright, a fellow at the University of Leeds' School of Earth and Environment, said at a recent conference hosted by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco.

In the last five years, the geologic transformation of northeastern Africa has "accelerated dramatically," says Wright. Indeed, the process is going much faster than many had anticipated. In recent years, geologists had measured just a few millimeters of movement each year. "But now the earth is opening up by the meter," says Loraine Field, a scholar at the University of Bristol who also attended the conference.

Earth tremors cause deep fissures to form in the desert floor and the ground in East Africa is shattering like broken glass. Researchers in the Gulf of Tadjoura, which juts into Djibouti from the Gulf of Aden, have recently registered a barrage of seismic shocks. "The quakes are happening on the mid-ocean ridge," Ebinger reports.

Shifting Tectonic Plates

Lava gushes out of fissures in these underwater mountain ranges to constantly create new earth crust -- when it hardens, it becomes part of the sea floor. As the magma surges upward, it spreads the ocean floor on both sides, shifting tectonic plates and causing tremors.

In recent months, the quaking in the Gulf of Tadjoura has been getting closer and closer to the coastline. As Ebinger explains, the splitting of the ocean floor will gradually extend to dry land. This is already the case along some fault lines in the Ethiopian desert, creating a geological spectacle that can otherwise only be witnessed deep below the surface of the ocean.

Even the pattern of earthquakes supports the conclusion that the desert landscape is transforming into a deep seafloor, according to a recent article in the Journal of Geophysical Research published by Zhaohui Yang and Wang-Ping Chen, two geologists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The researchers have recorded several strong earthquakes at a shallow depth in northeastern Africa similar to ones that are otherwise only seen on mid-ocean ridges far out at sea.

In recent months, researchers have also recorded an up-tick in volcanic activity. Indeed, geologists have discovered volcanic eruptions near the earth's surface at 22 places in the Afar Triangle in northeastern Africa. Magma has caused fissures up to eight meters (26 feet) wide to open up in the ground, reports Derek Keir from the University of Leeds. While most of the magma remains beneath the surface, in places like Erta Ale it has made its way above ground.

An Ocean Without Water

Scientists have also noted that the kind of magma bubbling up in the region is the type otherwise only seen spewing forth from mid-ocean ridges deep below the water's surface. One of its signature characteristics is a low proportion of silicic acid. The magma coming out of Erta Ale has the same chemical composition as the kind that emerges from deep-sea volcanoes. The entire region increasingly resembles an ocean floor -- one without water.

The new burst in activity began in 2005, when a 60-kilometer-long fissure suddenly formed in the Afar Depression. Since then, roughly 3.5 cubic kilometers of magma have gushed forth, according to Tim Wright -- enough to cover the entire area of London to an average person's height.

From a geological perspective, the speed with which the magma is pushing forth is astonishing. It has been channeling its way through the rock below the earth's surface at speeds of up to 30 meters per minute, reports Eric Jacques from the Institute of Earth Physics of Paris. Satellite measurements attest to the consequences: In one 200-kilometer stretch welling up with magma, the ground looks like asphalt on a hot summer day. Magma is also pooling up under the Dabbahu Volcano in northern Ethiopia, Lorraine Field reported in San Francisco.

Continuing to Expand

The satellite data has also shown that a much larger area has been scarred by fissures than previously assumed, says Keir. Subterranean currents of magma are also causing ground temperatures to spike in eastern Egypt, a team of geologists from Egypt's National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics recently reported in Seismological Research Letters. At the AGU conference, Columbia University's James Gaherty reported that magma eruptions have ripped a 17-kilometer gash into the desert floor in the northern part of Malawi and that the lateral pressure they have exerted has even lifted the surrounding earth up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) in places.

The most violent upsurge of magma in recent years, though, happened in an unexpected place. In May 2009, a subterranean volcano erupted in Saudi Arabia. A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 5.7 accompanied by tens of thousands of milder tremors forced 30,000 to seek shelter. Magma spewed out of the ground in an area about the size of Berlin and Hamburg combined, Sigurjon Jonsson from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology reported at the AGU meeting. The fact that the eruption took place almost 200 kilometers (124 miles) away from the fault line in North Africa "surprised all of us," says Cynthia Ebinger. And the world's largest geological construction site continues to expand. Loraine Field confirms that more and more magna is pushing its way to the earth's surface, adding that: "The magma chamber is reloading."

Oxford University's David Ferguson predicts a considerable increase in volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the region over the next decade. They will, he says, "become of increasingly large magnitude."

Related Article:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dutch scientist advocates bugs as a green superfood

BBC News, 18 January 2011

Dutch scientist Arnold van Huis has advocated bugs as a healthy, green, alternative food, saying it is time to break old eating habits.

The Callis farm in Ermelo supplies
Prof van Huis and Chef van Gurp
with insects
Insect dishes could be the answer to the global food crisis, shrinking land and water resources and climate-changing carbon emissions, he argued.

"Children don't have a problem with eating insects," he told Reuters.

Prof van Huis gives lectures, tastings and cookery classes with a master chef who prepares Dutch-farmed bugs.

The problem for adults is psychological, he said, and "only tasting and experience can make them change their minds".

Insects are a long-established food in some parts of the world such as Mexico and Thailand.

Worm sprinkles

The professor at Wageningen University said insects had more protein than cattle per bite, cost less to raise, consumed less water and did not have much of a carbon footprint.

To encourage bug consumption, the professor has been working with a local cookery school to produce a cookbook and suitable recipes.

Related stories

Chef Henk van Gurp, who created recipes for mealworm quiche and chocolate pralines with buffalo worms, sees no reason to disguise the ingredients.

He sprinkles mealworms on top of his quiche filling and on the chocolate buffalo worms as protein.

"I try to make my food in a way that people can see what they eat," he told Reuters.

"Once international leading chefs begin preparing this food, others will follow."

'Good for the elderly'

Insects are already bred as food for birds, lizards and monkeys at the Callis family's farm near the university, and now the owners are eyeing the human market.

"It is good food, of high nutritional value and very healthy for elderly people," said Margot Callis, adding that she cannot eat insects herself because she is "allergic to them".

One person who attended a food-tasting at the university, 24-year-old IT consultant Duyugu Tatar, was less than enthusiastic about the quiche.

"The taste was not that awful but the idea of eating them horrified me," he said about Mr van Gurp's sprinkles.

"It was crispy. The taste was not like normal food. Not like meat, vegetable, or fruit. Maybe something like cornflakes.

"It took a lot of courage to eat it. I usually smash them [insects] when I see them. I am not used to eating them. I don't know if I would eat it again."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

200 dead cows found in Wisconsin field, By The Associated Press , 1/15/2011 12:50:48 PM

TOWN OF STOCKTON, Wis. -- An investigation is under way after 200 dead cows were found in a field in the Town of Stockton.

The Portage County sheriff's office says the owner of the cattle has been working with a local veterinarian and it's believed the animals died from the IBR/BVD virus. The virus can cause respiratory and reproductive problems.

WSAW reports samples from the dead cows have been sent to Madison for testing.

Authorities say there is no threat to humans or other animals.

Related Articles:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mysterious sinkhole threatens farmer's house

People’s Daily China, 14:57, January 14, 2011

A mysterious sinkhole suddenly appeared at the vegetable garden of Zhang Shiyin, a villager, in his own yard on Jan. 13, Shuangshan Village, Leshan City of Sichuan Province. The diameter of the sinkhole has increased to about 20 meters and it is severely threatening Zhang's house, but it has not resulted in any casualties until now. (Photo by Chinanews/Liu Zhongjun)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Magnetic Polar Caps Shifting - Finally Mainstream Waking Up

The Tampa Tribune
, January 5, 2011

TAMPA - Scientists say the magnetic north pole is moving toward Russia and the fallout has reached -- of all places -- Tampa International Airport.

Magnetic north pole is moving toward
The airport has closed its primary runway until Jan. 13 to repaint the numeric designators at each end and change taxiway signage to account for the shift in location of the Earth's magnetic north.

The closure of the west parallel runway will result in more activity on the east parallel runway and more noise for residential areas of south Tampa.

The busiest runway will be re-designated 19R/1L on aviation charts. It's been 18R/36L, indicating its alignment along the 180-degree approach from the north and the 360-degree approach from the south.

Later this month, the airport's east parallel runway and the seldom used east-west runway will be closed to change signage to their new designations.

The Federal Aviation Administration required the runway designation change to account for what a National Geographic News report described as a gradual shift of the Earth's magnetic pole at nearly 40 miles a year toward Russia because of magnetic changes in the core of the planet.

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