Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Russia Plans to Save Earth From Rogue Asteroid; ‘No Nuclear Explosions,’ Space Chief Promises

“Perminov said the asteroid “will surely collide with the Earth in the 2030s.”

By Nathan Hodge
Vlad Putin, we’re sorry we ever made fun of you. In an interview today with Voice of Russia radio, Russia’s space agency chief said discussions would begin soon over a plan to save the world from a collision with a massive asteroid. It’s not clear how, exactly, the Russians plan to deflect Apophis, a chunk of rock the size of two and a half soccer fields that was first discovered by astronomers in 2004. Anatoly Perminov, the space agency head, promised that there would be “no nuclear explosions” and that everything would be done “on the basis of the laws of physics.”
Astronomers initially guessed that Apophis had a reasonably good chance of smashing into Earth on its first flyby; NASA now reckons that the chances of that have gone from slim (one-in-45,000) to almost none (four-in-a million). But despite the lower NASA estimate, the Russians aren’t so sure. Perminov said the asteroid “will surely collide with the Earth in the 2030s.” Read Entire Article
Eclipses by James Kelleher
December 31, 2009
Lunar Eclipse7:22 PM UT
16 Degrees Gemini
Ardra Nakshatra (Editor's Note: Ardra's deity is Rudra, the lord of the storm and the god of destruction.)

Do you realize that in ancient times, astrologers were beheaded for not alerting the emperors in advance about eclipses? Eclipses were taken as negative omens. It's true, they're not the greatest days for important new beginnings or advancing one's material affairs. On the other hand, there is really no need to make them into dreaded events. In fact, eclipses are wonderful for introspection, meditation, cleaning house, letting go of old baggage, quiet time or any other spiritual pursuit. The idea of paying attention to eclipses, or any astrological event for that matter, is simply to harmonize your action with the astrological weather. Read Entire Article

"Blue Moon" to Shine on New Year's Eve
by Andrew Fazekas
For the first time in almost 20 years, a bright "blue moon" will grace New Year's Eve celebrations worldwide. If the skies are clear, revelers looking up at midnight will get an eyeful of the second full moon of the month—commonly called a blue moon. The last time a blue moon appeared on New Year's Eve was in 1990, and it won't happen again until 2028. Read Entire Article

Monday, December 21, 2009

'God bless us, every one'

"Sustainability is more popularly discussed in terms of physical objects - for example, green buildings - but the principles of sustainability apply quite adequately to the structure of our cultural and civic lives as well."

by James Polk
The Christmas season is when we Americans - no matter what race, religious affiliation (or none), and national origin - find a space in our busy schedules to come together and spend some quality time with family and friends. At Christmastime, we shower each other with gifts, plan parties, bake assorted sweet morsels and find ourselves spontaneously wishing merriment to everyone we meet.
Petty grievances are set aside as diverse individuals congregate at family get-togethers and office parties. Disagreements fade as we find ourselves connecting with estranged acquaintances and saying nice things to people who we may otherwise secretly (or not so secretly) hold in contempt and avoid like the plague for 11 1/2 months of the year. Festive decorations, over-the-top lighting, and Christmas carol soundtracks remind us to put away our hard feelings and celebrate the good in everybody.
All of a sudden, we seem to appreciate the value of "community." Read Entire Article

Titan lake: Stunning Nasa image confirms surface liquid on Saturn's largest moon

Nasa has captured a stunning image of light reflection in the northern hemisphere of Titan, the largest moon of the planet Saturn, illustrating the presence of surface liquid on the planetary body. The image, taken by the Cassini Spacecraft's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer on July 8, is the first of its kind.
Scientists had previously discovered lakes of surface liquid in the moon's southern hemisphere using infrared. It makes Titan the only other body besides Earth believed to harbour liquid on its surface. Known as a specular reflection, the glint of light has been the focus of Cassini's mission since the craft made contact with Saturn in 2004. Read Entire Article

Philippine volcano gets louder, could erupt soon

LEGAZPI, Philippines — Philippine troops on Monday pressed the last 3,000 villagers who have refused to heed government warnings to leave the danger zone around a volcano that experts say is ready to erupt. Tens of thousands of people have already been evacuated from the foothills of Mayon, which on Monday emitted lava fountains, powerful booming noises and other signs of an approaching eruption. But authorities are having trouble keeping villagers away from their homes and farms, said Gov. Joey Salceda. Read Entire Article

Washington area digs out from record-setting snowfall

The Washington area struggled to return to normal Monday after a snow-drenched weekend, with most students and many workers enjoying an unexpected day off, and panicked holiday travelers struggling to rebook canceled flights at area airports. Rush hour was expected to be considerably lighter than usual, because many schools were closed and the federal government closed its agencies in the region. The Metrorail system was open and most buses were running. Highway and road conditions ranged from mostly clear to very slick. D.C. government offices were operating on a regular schedule, officials said, as were several county governments, with liberal leave policies in effect. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said three of the four runways were open at Washington Dulles International Airport, and the main runway at Reagan National Airport is open as well. Still, Mark Treadaway, an airports authority spokesman, predicts it will take "several days before the volume is worked through the system." Read Entire Article

Saturday, December 05, 2009

To Deflect an Asteroid, Try a Lasso, Not a Nuke

By Adam Mann
To save the world from the real threat of a major asteroid impact, one engineer has imagined a scheme similar to George Bailey’s wish to lasso the moon for his sweetheart in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
The plan is to attach a gigantic weight to an Earth-bound asteroid using an enormous cord. This crazy-sounding contraption would change the asteroid’s center of mass and subsequently its trajectory, averting a potentially catastrophic scenario.
Aerospace engineer Major David French of the Air Force Institute of Technology mathematically modeled how different weights and lengths of tether would affect a killer asteroid’s orbit over time. The results are in the December issue of Acta Astronautica.
He found that, in general, longer tethers and larger masses would more significantly change the asteroid’s orbit. The alteration would occur slowly, taking anywhere from 10 to 50 years.
The technique would require no simple mission. The cosmic counterweight would tip the scale at billions of pounds, while the rope would range anywhere from six miles (about the height of Mount Everest), to 60,000 miles (long enough to wrap around Earth two and a half times).
This solution may sound unrealistic, but the threat is real. To date, NASA’s Near Earth Object Program, which tracks asteroids and comets that could approach the planet, has cataloged more than 5,500 objects. About 1,000 of these are classified as “potentially hazardous,” meaning they could wipe out a city, spawn giant tsunamis or, in the worst case, eradicate life with a planet-shrouding cloud of debris. Read Entire Article

A UFO apocalypse?

A UFO apocalypse is unfolding every single day before our very eyes. Are constant UFO sightings globally accompanied by dire Mayan prophesy of a polar shift along with solar flares and earthquakes as well as other cataclysms the writing on the wall for humanity and the planet?
Interestingly, the web-bot project also predicts a pole shift in 2012. Ufology and the countless UFO sightings seem to be waking up humanity even though far too many are just not paying attention. The forever recurring theme of waking up human consciousness with its unimaginable impact is what this seems to be all about. How many will come out of all of this unscathed? Tibetan monks with an alleged ability to remote view have seen for 2012 a world rattling with unprecedented turmoil with extraterrestrials intervening on a grand scale. Some claim we already have ETs intervening and leaving their indelible impact now all over the planet. Every government on earth should be investigating every genuine sighting: but they are not. Read Entire Article

Global warming may require higher dams, stilts

"Some biologists point to how nature has handled the changing climate. The rare Adonis blue butterfly of Britain looked as if it was going to disappear because it couldn't fly far and global warming was making its habitat unbearable. To biologists' surprise, it evolved longer thoraxes and wings, allowing it to fly farther to cooler locales."

By SETH BORENSTEIN (AP)
With the world losing the battle against global warming so far, experts are warning that humans need to follow nature's example: Adapt or die.
That means elevating buildings, making taller and stronger dams and seawalls, rerouting water systems, restricting certain developments, changing farming practices and ultimately moving people, plants and animals out of harm's way.
Adapting to rising seas and higher temperatures is expected to be a big topic at the U.N. climate-change talks in Copenhagen next week, along with the projected cost — hundreds of billions of dollars, much of it going to countries that cannot afford it. Read Entire Article

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gratitude guide: six simple ways to give thanks

"Giving and receiving are one in truth. What you offer returns to you multiplied. "

North Bay Practical Spirituality Examiner - by Amara Rose

Offer an ear. The greatest need most people have is to be heard. You can listen someone into healing just by being fully present to receive what they want to share. This is mutual gift giving.

Offer a hand. When you spot your elderly neighbor out raking leaves, wander over and ask to assist; suggest you need the exercise. He may be longing for someone to talk to, so you'll be a double dose of gratitude.
Name those you love. Think of all the people you love, and start naming them out loud. Reach back in memory to former teachers, old school pals, people who've helped you along life's journey. As you continue to name them, you're acknowledging the gift they've been in your life... Read Entire Article

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Divorce has negative impact on the environment

"A UN report has concluded, furthermore, that women are better at dealing with the effects of climate change, such as droughts and flooding."
Divorce is having a negative impact on climate change. The break-up of the family unit is leading to a situation in which the emission of harmful gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect is increased: The need for two houses and two cars, for example, means the consumption of household energies is at least doubled. This is the conclusion of a report by the UN entitled "State of the World Population", which explains how the growth of the global population is complicating society's ability to cope with the consequences of climate change. The study also points out that women, as well as contributing less to global warming, are better than men at dealing with its effects. This is especially noticeable in developing countries where women tend to carry out more agricultural tasks, and therefore take on the responsibility of fetching water and firewood for cooking - at the same time caring for their families - activities that are greatly affected by drought, floods and other natural disasters.
Read Entire Article

The World’s Largest Earthquake-Safe Building

The new terminal at Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen Airport is the world's largest earthquake-safe building. You're looking at the over two million square feet of scaffolding that support it, all resting on top of giant geological roller skates.
Instead of being built on top of the soil, the whole structure rests on over 300 isolators. These giant bearings let the building move laterally during an earthquake... Read Entire Article


Wired thinks that Roy A. Gallant's 1950 classic science books need to be updated with 21st-Century style and information. They're right, but while their artwork may be flashier and more accurate, it is not necessarily clearer. Take these two examples... Read Entire Article

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2012 Doomsday? Best Selling Bible Scholar Reveals 'The Ancient's Deepest Secrets'

The hotly anticipated disaster movie "2012" scheduled for worldwide theatrical release this week is already controversial. NASA's senior scientist for its Astrobiology Institute, David Morrison in an article last week responded angrily to the film's marketing campaign, saying it exploits people's fears about the end of the Mayan "long count" calendar in 2012 as leading to global catastrophe. At least one modern Mayan elder named Apolinario Chile Pixtun agreed with Morrison's point of view, claiming the year 2012 represents "transformation" and the dawn of "a new earthly order", not the end of the world.
According to internationally recognized researcher and author of the new book "Apollyon Rising 2012," Thomas Horn, the biggest secrets related to the year 2012 and this transformative 'new earthly order' have been hidden in plain sight for hundreds of years, including in Washington DC and at the Vatican. That secret has to do with what numerous ancient societies believed about the year 2012--that it marked the date on which "the gods" would return to earth, heralding the start of a new pagan golden age. While the Maya get most credit for fixing this date, they were not alone among ancient cultures around the world that viewed 2012 as prophetically important, says Horn. For instance, the Hindu Kali Yuga calendar started approximately during the Mayan Fifth Great Cycle and also predicts global earth changes around the year 2012.

From NASA: 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won't End?

Remember the Y2K scare? It came and went without much of a whimper because of adequate planning and analysis of the situation. Impressive movie special effects aside, Dec. 21, 2012, won't be the end of the world as we know. It will, however, be another winter solstice. Much like Y2K, 2012 has been analyzed and the science of the end of the Earth thoroughly studied. Contrary to some of the common beliefs out there, the science behind the end of the world quickly unravels when pinned down to the 2012 timeline. Below, NASA Scientists answer several questions that we're frequently asked regarding 2012.
Read Entire Article

Crazy Weather

Tornado that hit Lincoln City rare, but did serious damage
The tornado that touched down in Lincoln City late last week left behind a path of destruction that may have been only 150 yards long and 80 yards wide. But the National Weather Service said it "ended up doing considerable damage."
Only one October was colder….
…than this one since records for Wichita began being kept in 1888, according to the National Weather Service.
As El Niño grows stronger, so does hope for wet winter
Conditions are developing that could provide wet weather patterns to California this winter, according to weather experts.

Friday, November 06, 2009

50,000 dead starfish found on Irish beach

Extreme weather conditions have killed tens of thousands of starfish and left them strewn across a sheltered beach.
A carpet of pink and mauve echinoderms, a family of marine animals, appeared yesterday morning on Lissadell Beach in north Co Sligo. The adult starfish, measuring between 7cm and 20cm in diameter and estimated to be up to 50,000 in number, stretched along 150 metres of the strand.
Read Entire Article

Elizabeth Clare Prophet

Its 'Mother' dead, doomsday sect's future in doubt
By MATTHEW BROWN (AP) – 9 hours ago
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Members of a Montana-based sect whose influence expanded as it prepared for a nuclear holocaust that never came, now search for new directions after the death of Elizabeth Clare Prophet — "Mother" to her thousands of followers. The Church Universal and Triumphant still keeps its 750-person underground shelters stocked with food — "insurance," its leaders say, against possible dark days ahead. Yet with Prophet gone, it's uncertain the spiritual movement she embodied will prove as lasting as all the concrete and steel hidden beneath a Montana mountainside north of Yellowstone National Park.
Read Entire Article

Happy Birthday, Mom!

"Mom, on your 67th birthday, I want to tell you: You didn’t fail me. You taught me a lot. The most important thing you ever taught me was the object lesson of what happened in your community. Learning this was worth all the anguish and all the lost years."

By BlackSun / April 8th, 2006 / Elizabeth Clare Prophet
It was a pleasant afternoon at the Royal Teton Ranch. My mom, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and I were walking outside of her house at the Ranch Headquarters in Corwin Springs, Montana. It was on one of several trips I made to the Paradise Valley in 1997 and 1998. Having left the CUT community at the end of 1993, I went back on a number of occasions to visit family and friends, and for two weddings (one of my sister Erin to John Devine, and the other of my stepfather Edward Francis to his beloved Eileen).
I had made a special trip down to the Ranch to see my mom. I was worried about her. Her mental capacity had been diminishing for some time–she was starting to exhibit the classic loss of inhibitions characteristic of Alzheimer’s patients. Following her divorce from Edward, her fourth husband, she had begun to carry on a series of highly indiscreet emotional and physical affairs with male followers and hangers-on. She had also been actively performing “karmic readings” in which many church members were publicly humiliated. She carried on brazenly at the end, her sense of spiritual infallibility persisting far past her decline of inhibitions.

Meteor explodes over Indonesia

Just when you think it’s safe to live on Earth, along comes a reminder that there are things whizzing around the solar system that can sneak up on us. On October 8 a rather large asteroid exploded high above Sulawesi, Indonesia. According to a press release from NASA's Near Earth Object Program, the blast released energy equivalent to 50,000 tons of TNT (that’s 110 million pounds). The blast trail was recorded and is posted on You Tube (where else?). Estimates of the meteor’s size range from 5 to 10 meters. Had it survived to hit the ground, it could have done considerable damage to the area around its impact, but wouldn’t have posed a global threat.
Read Entire Article

Cosmic pattern to UK tree growth

The growth of British trees appears to follow a cosmic pattern, with trees growing faster when high levels of cosmic radiation arrive from space.

By Matt Walker Editor, Earth News
Researchers made the discovery studying how growth rings of spruce trees have varied over the past half a century. As yet, they cannot explain the pattern, but variation in cosmic rays impacted tree growth more than changes in temperature or precipitation.
The study is published in the scientific journal New Phytologist.
Read Entire Article

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat

The ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has continued to retreat rapidly, declining 26 percent since 2000, scientists say in a new report.
Yet the authors of the study, to be published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reached no consensus on whether the melting could be attributed mainly to humanity’s role in warming the global climate.
Eighty-five percent of the ice cover that was present in 1912 has vanished, the scientists said.
Read Entire Article

Friday, October 30, 2009

Earthquakes

Japan Rocked By 6.8 Earthquake
Tokyo, Japan (AHN) - South-west Japan was rocked on Friday by an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale. According to officials, there were no immediate reports of damage.
The quake, originating off the coast of Amami Oshima island 31 miles below the ocean floor struck at 4:03 p.m. local time. It directly affected the Amami islands and Kagoshima province.
The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami information bulletin but said, "no destructive widespread tsunami threat exists."
Japan is subject to 20 percent of the world's most powerful earthquakes.

Los Alamos Lab Faces Earthquake Threat, Experts Warn
Experts said this week that a fire sparked by an earthquake beneath the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico could let loose a cloud of potentially lethal plutonium, the Los Angeles Times reported (see GSN, May 15). There are "major" safety issues at Los Alamos that require "both immediate and long-term actions," the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board stated in a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Engineers have found that a fault line below the nuclear-weapon site could produce a significantly more powerful ground disturbance than previously thought possible. Above this fault are possibly thousands of pounds of plutonium at the TA-55 complex. Read More

Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Strikes Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia — A powerful earthquake struck deep under the sea in eastern Indonesia on Saturday, causing panic and sending residents running out of their homes, officials and witnesses said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0, but at a depth of 86 miles was too far below the earth's surface to cause a tsunami. Read More

Dramatic simulation video shows Seattle earthquake destruction
A video released by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) shows a computer animated simulation of the destruction that could be realized in Seattle by a major earthquake. The dramatic video shows the devastating effect that a quake would have to the city’s Alaskan Way Viaduct. Read More

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The real Cassandra of the crisis

"Lawyer Brooksley Born had warned that the completely unregulated and unobserved trade in derivatives could bring down the entire financial system..."

By LEON HADAR, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

MOST of those who follow economic news are familiar by now with the name of Nouriel Roubini, an economics professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, who was one of the few economists who had predicted the financial crisis more than three years ago.
In a speech at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he warned of an impending collapse of the global financial system and a deep recession.
But there was apparently another Cassandra, who unlike Roubini hasn't been transformed into an instant celebrity, but who more than 10 years ago had not only warned that the completely unregulated and unobserved trade in financial derivatives could bring down the entire financial system, but who also had the guts to stand up to then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan and other powerful figures in Washington and Wall Street. Greenspan and his acolytes were opposed to any attempt by the federal government to interfere with the workings of the free market.
Read Entire Story

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lost Greek city that may have inspired Atlantis myth gives up secrets

Helena Smith in Athens, guardian.co.uk
The secrets of a lost city that may have inspired one of the world's most enduring myths – the fable of Atlantis – have been brought to light from beneath the waters off southern Greece.
Explored by an Anglo-Greek team of archaeologists and marine geologists and known as Pavlopetri, the sunken settlement dates back some 5,000 years to the time of Homer's heroes and in terms of size and wealth of detail is unprecedented, experts say.
"There is now no doubt that this is the oldest submerged town in the world," said Dr Jon Henderson, associate professor of underwater archaeology at the University of Nottingham. "It has remains dating from 2800 to 1200 BC, long before the glory days of classical Greece. There are older sunken sites in the world but none can be considered to be planned towns such as this, which is why it is unique."
Read Entire Article

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Native American Chief Addresses Deaths In Sweat Lodge

Chief Arvol Looking Horse Speaks Out
by All Nations Indigenous Native American Indian Cultural Center

"...Our ceremonies are about life and healing, from the time this ancient ceremonial rite was given to our people, never has death been a part of our inikag¹a (life within) when conducted properly. Today the rite is interpreted as a sweat lodge, it is much more than that. So the term does not fit our real meaning of purification.
Inikaga is the oldest ceremony brought to us by Wakan Tanka (Great Spirit). 19 generations ago, the Lakota/Dakota/Nakota Oyate (people), were given seven sacred rites of healing by a Spirit Woman ­ Pte San Win (White Buffalo Calf Woman). She brought these rites along with our sacred C¹anupa (pipe) to our People, when our ancestors were suffering from a difficult time. It was also brought for the future to help us for much more difficult times to come."


A white man, James Arthur Ray, who owns a company called Spiritual Warrior charges 60 people almost $10,000 each, or more than a half a million dollars, then directs them not to eat or drink for three days before allowing them to cook in a sweat lodge. Each person is then allowed only a space equivalent to two foot by 3 foot space to sit until they “see the light” or die! His Twitter site even says “something must die before something new can be born.” How many things are wrong here? Well first this traditional Native American event is truly a spiritual event, not a “For Profit Event”. Second, the true event is held by a person of native indian descent who have knowledge and understandings of the nature of the spiritual journey. It appears that once again greed interfered with common sense. Why would anyone pay these outrages fees to be conducted by someone who doesn’t even know or understand the spiritual meaning or significance?
Read Entire Article

The Nobel Prize: A Tool For Shifting Consciousness?

by Dr. Judith Rich
"...I see the call to action as one for humanity to restore its consciousness to its natural and authentic state of oneness. I see the human race being invited to take a collective leap of consciousness so as to enter a new paradigm, one in which war is obsolete and has no relevance for how the world works. We either make this leap or we're bound for extinction, either through war or through cataclysmic environmental changes..."
Now that just about the entire world has weighed in on whether or not President Obama deserves to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the fact remains: he was awarded the prize. What's with all the petty chipping and harping about his worthiness? Even those on the left are taking shots. Are we sore winners or what? "Oh this old prize? Heh, it's nothing! Who cares what five Norwegian men think?" Can we please just accept this honor in a way befitting a nation that elected to the highest office in the land, a man whose vision struck joy in the hearts of the rest of the world? Instead of celebrating this honor, we're diminishing it. Any club that would have Obama as a member can't be worth belonging to, right? Wait! He's OUR president! WE elected him, remember? I think we need a massive dose of "shift" about now. We've become a bunch of curmudgeons. We're like the woman who receives a compliment on the new dress she's wearing and responds with "What, this old rag? I just pulled this out of my closet and haven't worn it in years." We no longer know how it feels to feel good or proud of ourselves. And for good reason. After all the havoc we created in the last eight years, maybe the Norwegians are trying to get a message to us that we finally did a good thing by electing Obama.
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Dangerous Hurricane Rick still growing off Mexico

(AP) – MEXICO CITY — Hurricane Rick strengthened into an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm off Mexico's Pacific coast on Saturday and forecasters said it could strike the Baja California Peninsula sometime next week. Authorities in the resort of Acapulco closed the port to small craft after Rick kicked up heavy waves and gusts of wind. "There are waves of 7 to 8 feet, and gusts of wind," said Victor Cruz Lopez, the watch officer at the port captain's office. The storm had sustained winds near 150 mph (240 kph) and it was expected to grow into a monster Category 5 storm with winds surpassing 155 mph (250 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reported, though it said the storm was likely to lose much of that punch before hitting land. Rick was centered about 290 miles (470 kilometers) south of the port of Manzanillo, west of Acapulco, on Saturday afternoon and was moving northwest near 15 mph (24 kph), the center said.
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Leader of controversial church group dies

from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
By AMANDA RICKER and KARIN RONNOW, Chronicle Staff Writers

Elizabeth Clare Prophet, longtime spiritual leader of the controversial Church Universal and Triumphant, died Thursday evening at her apartment in Bozeman. She was 70.
She suffered from advanced Alzheimer’s disease and died with her daughter, Moira, and granddaughter by her side, her daughter, Erin Prophet, said Friday. As the charismatic leader of the New Age sect that many considered cult-like, Prophet led her followers along a path that over the years included apocalyptic predictions, run-ins with local environmental groups, legal trouble and even a late-in-life “miracle” pregnancy that resulted in the birth of her fifth child when she was 55 years old.Prophet retired from the church in 1999, but her followers still call her “Mother” and listen faithfully to the dictations she recorded while channeling messages from the “Ascended Masters” over the years. A much smaller CUT than the one Prophet moved from California to Montana in the mid-1980s continues to operate from its headquarters on the Royal Teton Ranch in Corwin Springs.Although Prophet led a private life, largely away from the church, for the past decade due to her illness, CUT President Valerie McBride said Friday that the woman who led the church for 25 years will be greatly missed. “She has uplifted millions with her message of spiritual liberation and we’re very excited about carrying that message forward,” McBride said. Murray Steinman, former CUT spokesman who, along with Erin Prophet, served as Elizabeth’s legal guardian for the past decade, said despite how the media painted Prophet, she had a brilliant mind and cared about people.“She made a real contribution to not just religious and spiritual thought, but to try to help people lead better lives," Steinman said.
Read Entire Article
Go to New York Times Article

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Google Earth Unveils New Climate Change Map, Al Gore Narrates

Google has added a new feature to its 3D mapping program, Google Earth, that allows you to plot firsthand the devastating predicted effects of climate change until the year 2100. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
"Using data provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the search giant created new layers for Google Earth showing the range of expected temperature and precipitation changes under different global emissions scenarios that could occur throughout the century. The new tools were introduced in partnership with the Danish Government ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Convention in December."

Al Gore, who serves as a Senior Adviser to Google, lent his voice for a short video tour of the new tools — pointing out layers that show sea level changes, ice loss, and rising temperatures. In an effort not to highlight all doom and gloom, Google will also add layers showing what communities around the world are doing to combat climate change and reduce their carbon footprint.
To check out the new Climate Change map, visit here.

2012 Isn't The End Of The World, Mayans Insist

Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly "running out" on Dec. 21, 2012. After all, it's not the end of the world.
Or is it?
Definitely not, the Mayan Indian elder insists. "I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff."
It can only get worse for him. Next month Hollywood's "2012" opens in cinemas, featuring earthquakes, meteor showers and a tsunami dumping an aircraft carrier on the White House.
At Cornell University, Ann Martin, who runs the "Curious? Ask an Astronomer" Web site, says people are scared.
"It's too bad that we're getting e-mails from fourth-graders who are saying that they're too young to die," Martin said. "We had a mother of two young children who was afraid she wouldn't live to see them grow up."
Chile Pixtun, a Guatemalan, says the doomsday theories spring from Western, not Mayan ideas.
A significant time period for the Mayas does end on the date, and enthusiasts have found a series of astronomical alignments they say coincide in 2012, including one that happens roughly only once every 25,800 years.
Read Entire Article

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Two South Pacific earthquakes unlikely to be connected, say seismologists

The earthquakes in the South Pacific occurred in a region of extraordinary geological activity called the Ring of Fire, which stretches from Indonesia to the coast of Chile. Several tectonic plates converge and create enormous pressure in the Earth's crust. Nine out of 10 earthquakes in the world happen in the region.
It is unlikely the two latest earthquakes are connected, according to seismologists. They were caused by slippages in faults that took place 16 hours and 10,000km apart on two different tectonic plates.
The first earthquake, recorded as magnitude 8.0, happened on Tuesday at 6.48am local time around 200km off the coasts of Samoa and Tonga. Because the earthquake was only 10km beneath the Earth's surface, it caused the seafloor to deform, triggering a tsunami that battered the Samoan capital of Apia.
Most earthquakes in this particular region of the Ring of Fire are caused by the Pacific plate pushing underneath the Australia plate, but Tuesday's quake was different. "This time, as the Pacific plate bent under the Australia plate, it essentially cracked and caused this earthquake," said Stuart Sipkin, a geophysicist at the US Geological Survey in Colorado. The tremors were consistent with slippage along a 100km-long crack.
The Pacific plate moves westwards under the Australia plate at the rate of about 9cm a year.
The second earthquake happened on Wednesday about 30 miles from Padang in Sumatra at 5.16am local time. The magnitude 7.6 quake was much deeper, about 80km beneath the seafloor, which is too deep to cause a tsunami. In Sumatra and elsewhere in Indonesia, all of the damage was caused by tremors.
Experts have warned that a major earthquake is long overdue in the region, but those fears centred on a build-up of stress in another subduction zone, where the Australia plate pushes under the neighbouring Sunda tectonic plate. In the past decade, there have been large earthquakes north and south of the Indonesian islands, leading seismologists to expect more in between. The earthquake on Wednesday happened much deeper than expected.
Read Entire Article
WSJ Interactive Map of Earthquakes and Faultlines

Philippines raises alert for new super typhoon

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines placed soldiers and civilian emergency teams on the main island of Luzon on alert on Thursday as a powerful typhoon moved closer, less than a week after an earlier storm killed 277 people in and around Manila.
Parma, a category 4 typhoon, packing winds of 175 kph (108 mph), was 520 km (320 miles) east of the central Philippine island of Samar on Thursday, said chief weather forecaster Nathaniel Cruz.
It was expected to make landfall near northeastern Quirino and Isabela provinces on Luzon by Saturday unless it changed direction.
"It's gathering strength into a category 5 typhoon," Cruz told Reuters, adding it could be the one of the strongest typhoons to hit the country since November 2006 when Typhoon Durian left death and destruction in the central Philippines.
"By Saturday afternoon, Parma could be packing center winds of more than 200 kph and could be weakened once it slams into the Cordillera mountain region in the north."
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Monday, September 21, 2009

UFO classified technology and the secret space program / It's time to blow your mind

"...Just as we had presented in our important summary article, The Big Picture, the problem is one which involves massive potential Earth Changes that could, in extremis, threaten our civilization. The situation had been extensively studied and evaluated and the conclusion had been reached that the public could not be told..."

Sacramento UFO Examiner - Gregory Brewer
The following article may just melt your brain. We can not verify the validity of this information but found it enough to sit us back in our chairs in silence for a few moments while scratching our heads. WOW is all we have to say on this one. Take a few extra minutes and read this article all the way through. It’s worth the entertainment, especially for those of us enthusiasts who have been exposed to so much already. The subject of UFOs and the information we receive can be like a drug habit. It takes more and more to impress the veterans out here. The article below is an excerpt from an interview with Jake Simpson. His bio will follow this article. Please commence with the brain melting now.

Classified technology and the secret space program
Jake emphasized to us that the current state of classified technology was something like 10,000 [ten thousand] years ahead of public sector technology - and was accelerating away from public sector technology at a current rate of 1,000 years per calendar year.
This got our attention.
Jake did not blink when we mentioned time travel, the Mars base, or the advanced fleet of craft which we had been told by Henry Deacon serviced it. Jake told us that some of the advanced craft were capable of traveling from geostationary orbit (22,300 miles) to treetop height in five seconds. (Work it out: that's about 16 million miles per hour - although Jake made it clear that the craft would not actually be moving through space in the normal sense... and would also never be seen unless this was intended.) Some of the craft were "larger on the inside than outside".
Had they traveled to the outer reaches of the solar system? Yes. Beyond our solar system? Yes. Are some of them superluminal (i.e. capable of faster-than-light travel)? Yes. Were some of them very large? Yes. By this time, we were no longer surprised by Jake's answers. The significance of the superluminal craft would be stressed in a subsequent conversation. The human race had had contact with extraterrestrials since before World War II. Jake told us that it was very probable that Eisenhower's 1955 heart attack was at least partially induced by the stress of some of the information he had learned from the extraterrestrials who he had personally met a short time before (after several previous set-up meetings with senior military officials).
Taken all together, Jake told us, the ET visitors came from various races, systems and times, and that human DNA "was compatible" with hundreds of different races. All these ET races, in some meaningful sense, could be said to be "human or human-like”.
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Earthquake hits near Mexicali, felt in Yuma

An earthquake originating in Mexicali was felt in Yuma Saturday afternoon. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the 4.9 magnitude earthquake began at 3:55 p.m.
The USGS said the quake originated at an estimated depth of 6.2 miles below the earth's surface. An aftershock of magnitude 2.7 occurred at the same location at 4:16 p.m. "It was close to Mexicali, so we expect to see minor damage in that area, but it was not very serious," said Richard Buckmaster, a geophysicist with USGS. "It was fairly shallow, and the closer it is to the surface the more likely it is for people to feel more intense shaking. Think of the earth as insulation. The larger the distance between the earthquake and the surface of the earth the better, because most of the shock is absorbed by the time it gets to the surface."
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Asteroid Juno Grabs the Spotlight

Toward the end of September, the sun will turn a spotlight on the asteroid Juno, giving that bulky lump of rock a rare featured cameo in the night sky. Those who get out to a dark, unpolluted sky will be able to spot the asteroid's silvery glint near the planet Uranus with a pair of binoculars. "It can usually be seen by a good amateur telescope, but the guy on the street doesn't usually get a chance to observe it," said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office at JPL. "This is going to be as bright as it gets until 2018." Juno, one of the first asteroids discovered, is thought to be the parent of many of the meteorites that rain on Earth. The asteroid is composed mostly of hardy silicate rock, which is tough enough that fragments broken off by collisions can often survive a trip through Earth's atmosphere.
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Report on global warming predicts dire Illinois consequences

By Jim Tankersley
WASHINGTON -- If global warming continues unchecked, Chicago would see a repeat of the killer 1995 heat wave every summer by the middle of the century, an environmental group says in a study released Wednesday. The report from the Union of Concerned Scientists also predicts that the city's air quality would deteriorate if humans do not scale back greenhouse gas emissions dramatically.Illinois farmers would suffer from droughts, pests and flooding that would more than outweigh any potential benefits from a longer growing season caused by warmer temperatures. Heat stress in cattle could force the state's dairy industry to migrate north.
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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Schwarzenegger to Obama: Declare drought disaster in Calif.

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he wants President Obama to reconsider sending federal disaster aid to help California's drought-stricken communities.
Schwarzenegger petitioned the White House to declare California a major federal disaster area in June, in a bid to get more money for food banks, unemployment assistance and legal services in Fresno County.
Three dry years coupled with restrictions on water pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have cut the irrigation supplies of many San Joaquin Valley farmers and deepened rising unemployment.
As of last week's U.S. Drought Monitor, 43% of the state was listed as being in a severe drought.
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Drought Continues to Plague Australia’s Breadbasket

Conditions in Australia’s most important farming region are the worst on record and are not expected to get better anytime soon. The eight-year-long drought is the worst in a century, ruining crops throughout the Murray-Darling Basin, an area covering 410,000 square miles—the size of France and Spain combined. The basin, which stretches through Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, is considered Australia’s premier farming region, accounting for some 40 percent of the nation’s agricultural production.
Mark Twain once compared the area to America’s Mississippi. But now, Agence France-Presse reports, “Sections of the [Murray] River have become little more than stagnant pools as the drought continues, with banks eroded into crumbling dirt cliffs that leave the roots of gum trees exposed.” One of the river’s paddle boats, the Cumberoona, had to stop operating when water levels became too low three years ago.
Lakes near the Murray’s delta are now below sea level—only man-made barriers stop the sea water flooding in. These lakes are becoming acidic, as the lake bed soils turn into sulfuric acid when exposed to the air. Experts have detected acidity levels higher than battery acid in some of the small streams flowing into these lakes.
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Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production

by Eric deCarbonnel
After reading about the droughts in two major agricultural countries, China and Argentina, I decided to research the extent other food producing nations were also experiencing droughts. This project ended up taking a lot longer than I thought. 2009 looks to be a humanitarian disaster around much of the world. To understand the depth of the food Catastrophe that faces the world this year, consider the graphic below depicting countries by USD value of their agricultural output, as of 2006.
The countries that make up two thirds of the world’s agricultural output are experiencing drought conditions. Whether you watch a video of the drought in China, Australia, Africa, South America, or the US, the scene will be the same: misery, ruined crop, and dying cattle.
China
The drought in Northern China, the worst in 50 years, is worsening, and summer harvest is now threatened. The area of affected crops has expanded to 161 million mu (was 141 million last week), and 4.37 million people and 2.1 million livestock are facing drinking water shortage. The scarcity of rain in some parts of the north and central provinces is the worst in recorded history.

Putin outlines plan to aid farmers suffering from drought

MOSCOW, (PRIME-TASS) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin outlined a plan on Tuesday to aid farmers suffering from the drought.
He was speaking at an official meeting devoted to the agriculture industry.
In particular, Putin instructed the Finance Ministry to consider providing subsidies to regions affected by the drought.
Putin also criticized the Agriculture Ministry and Regional Development Ministry for what he believed were insufficient efforts to promote crop insurance.
The government may increase its subsidies for crop insurance by 1.5 billion rubles this year, compared with the initial plans, Putin said. He said the subsidies were initially projected at 2 billion rubles.
Additionally, Putin suggested prolonging loans provided to grain producers suffering from the drought by up to three years and loans provided to other farmers by nine months.
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100-degree heat, drought, killing Texas cattle

It's not Maryland's weather, but it's important weather news. The deepening drought in Texas, particularly South Texas, is withering rangeland, killing cattle and posing real hardship for ranchers who did not sell off their herds early enough.
"We've had 2 inches of rain in a year's time," said Sammy Gavito, AgriLife Extension agent for Duval County, west of Corpus Christi. "We're about 22 to 23 inches below normal for the year. There isn't enough for them to eat, and it's very hot. We've had almost 50 days in row of almost 100 degrees. That's a record for us down here."
He estimated that the ranchers he spoke with had lost 3 to 5 percent of their herds already, and many of the rest are too skinny to sell at a profit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Talking About Nonduality

by Dr. Gino Yu

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."-Albert Einstein

In late October, many luminaries of the nondual community will be gathering in San Rafael, California, at the Science and Nonduality Conference. For those unfamiliar with the term, nonduality is like the final destination for those wanting to uncover the ultimate Socratic quest to "know thyself." Nonduality is the sudden and absolute realization that all perceived separation is entirely illusory, and that, instead, everything that you experience is, quintessentially, only One. To explain this sense of unicity that underlies the multitudinous universe, nondualists often resort to the metaphor of a movie that's being projected on an infinite screen. Even though the characters and the scenery appear to be separate and interactive, the only thing that's really real is the white, seamless screen that's accepting the melodramatic and illusory story that's being projected upon it. Nondualists claim that, instead of you being just a small and limited character playing a part in your life's story, that, in truth, you're actually the entire infinite screen itself! From their point of view, you are the very context in which ALL of life itself is showing up in. According to the nondualist, your fundamental nature is Pure Consciousness, Itself. In short, "you-are-what-is."
Obviously, a non-dual perspective like that has a built in problem: the moment that you start talking about nonduality is the very same moment that you've re-entered the wonderfully wacky world of duality. So the logical question then becomes; what are all of these non-dualists going to be talking about anyway??
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Upcoming Science and Nonduality Conference

Australia's extreme weather

"Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change because of its hot, dry climate, with the nation's south and main food-growing area along the Murray-Darling river basin already gripped by a seven-year drought."

by Igor Lansorena

Australia's deadliest bushfires, and devastating floods in the nation's tropical north, will increase pressure on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to take firmer action on climate change, environmentalists said on Monday.
At least 108 people were killed in wildfires, fuelled by a record heatwave in southern Victoria state over the past two days, while large areas of Queensland state remain flooded.
Green groups said the severe weather was a result of climate change and would increase pressure on Rudd to take stronger action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming, when he introduces a new climate policy to parliament in May.
"Climate change is an issue like no other. As the impact continues to intensify, so too will the political pressure for action and events like this will become more commonplace," Climate Institute director John Connor told Reuters on Monday.
Australia has set a target to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2020, and will only cut further, to about 15 percent, if there is widespread international agreement on tougher action.
Green groups want the government to cut emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020, as an example to the developing world, particularly India and China, about the need to take firm action to stop global warming.
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Farmers That Plant Trees New Allies in Climate-Change Battle

By Jeremy van Loon

Farmers willing to plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide from industrial pollutants as well as provide alternative sources of fuel are new potential allies in the fight against greenhouse-gas emissions.
A study from the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi, the first to assess global tree coverage on farmland using satellite imagery, said more farmers need to understand the economic benefits of planting trees. Almost half of the world’s total farmland has at least 10 percent tree-cover, researchers say.
Cutting down trees and letting them rot or burn accounts for about a fifth of the greenhouse-gas emissions blamed for global warming, according to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change. In December, more than 180 countries will meet in Copenhagen to work on measures including slowing deforestation and land management in a climate-change treaty.
Farmers are planting trees for a source of fruit and nuts, fuel from wood and wind breaks, with the additional benefit of capturing carbon-dioxide gas that contributes to warming weather across the globe. Trees draw CO2 from the air, using it to grow, then store the carbon in their leaves and wood.
“If planted systematically on farms, trees could improve the resiliency of farmers by providing them with food and income,” said Tony Simons, deputy director-general of the World Agroforestry Center. “When crops and livestock fail, trees often withstand drought conditions and allow people to hold over until the next season.”

Another Little Ice Age? Solar activity and climate change

Some scientists are suggesting that the slow return to a more active phase of the solar cycle may portend a general decline in solar activity. If sunspots shut down, does that mean that we could stop worrying about climate change?

By John Timmer

Over the weekend, a paper published in the American Geophysical Union's journal Eos attracted a lot of attention, as it suggested that the levels of magnetic activity associated with recent sunspots indicated that the sun might be returning to a state of low activity, similar to that of the Maunder Minimum, which occurred in the late 17th century. That change in solar activity was notable for setting off what's called the Little Ice Age, which plunged Europe into a deep chill. Left undiscussed is what that might mean in a world where greenhouse gas changes are threatening a period of extended high temperatures.
To understand how a significant change in sunspot levels might be felt in the Earth's climate, we'll back up and look at how sunspots relate to solar output, how that output gets felt on Earth, and how it interacts with changing levels of greenhouse gasses. The answer appears to be that it could reverse the climate change that occurred during past century, but would only delay the changes expected by the end of this century.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Predicted Ground Motions For Great Earthquake In Pacific Northwest: Seattle, Victoria And Vancouver

ScienceDaily — A new study evaluates expected ground motion in Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver from earthquakes of magnitude 7.5 - 9.0, providing engineers and policymakers with a new tool to build or retrofit structures to withstand seismic waves from large "subduction" earthquakes off the continent's west coast. The Cascadia subduction zone in the Pacific Northwest has produced great earthquakes of magnitude 9.0 and larger, most recently in the 1700s. Now home to millions of people and a vast infrastructure of buildings and other man-made structures, scientists seek to determine the impact of large earthquakes on the region.
To simulate ground motions from a very large earthquake on the local region, this study combined detailed analysis of ground motions recorded from smaller earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest with recorded data from a severe subduction earthquake from another region - the M8.4 2003 Tokachi-Oki quake off the coast of Japan. The authors estimate ground motions for firm ground at the three sites and provide a model that engineers can adjust for local or site-specific soil conditions.

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Typhoons trigger slow earthquakes

By Victoria Gill, Science reporter, BBC News

"Typhoons can trigger imperceptible, slow earthquakes, researchers say."
Scientists report in the journal Nature that, in a seismically active zone in Taiwan, pressure changes caused by typhoons "unclamp" the fault. This gentle release causes an earthquake that dissipates its energy over several hours rather than a few potentially devastating seconds.
The researchers believe this could explain why there are relatively few large earthquakes in this region. Alan Linde from the Carnegie Institution for Science in the US and colleagues monitored movement of two colliding tectonic plates in eastern Taiwan.

Asteroid Probe Set to "Collide" With Earth

Julian Ryall in Tokyo for National Geographic News

A 1,124-pound (510-kilogram) space probe will "collide" with our home planet in June 2010 to simulate an approaching asteroid, Japanese scientists have announced.
The Hayabusa spacecraft is currently on its way back to Earth after a successful mission that landed on and hopefully collected samples from the asteroid Itokawa. Potential samples will be aboard a heat-resistant capsule that will separate from Hayabusa shortly before re-entry into Earth's atmosphere so they can be recovered.
But experts say the main body of the craft will most likely disintegrate during the trip through Earth's atmosphere.
Although the plan was not part of Hayabusa's original mission, scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) recently decided to make the most of the doomed probe's return.
"Even though Hayabusa is not actually an asteroid, it will be on a path that will cause it to collide with the Earth in the same way as an asteroid," said JAXA spokesperson Akinori Hashimoto.
"We will monitor its movements, and the data will enable us to accurately predict the future paths of asteroids that are on course to come close to the Earth."

Greece suffers summer fires

Firefighters are battling wildfires in the centre of Greece that have burnt through forest, farmland and vineyards and threatened homes. The outbreak on Saturday, several kilometres from the city of Thebes, is being fought on four fronts and caused black smoke to be seen in the sky for miles. Farmers and residents were told to evacuate the area, although no casualties were immediately reported. The fires were pushed towards the town of Ritsona, north of Athens, the capital, by strong winds. Police have closed part of a highway leading to Athens.
It is the first fire in Greece this summer and broke out after temperatures reached 30 degrees Celsius. Two years ago the country suffered some of its worst fires in decades, in which at least 67 people were killed and scores of homes were destroyed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Deaths from global warming expected to rise as Earth changes, scientists say

from The Olympian
Researchers think global warming already is responsible for about 150,000 deaths each year and fear that the number may double by 2030, even if we get serious about emissions reductions now.
A team of health and climate scientists from the World Health Organization and the University of Wisconsin at Madison published these findings last year in the science journal Nature. Besides killing people, global warming contributes to about 5 million human illnesses every year, the researchers found. Some of the ways global warming hurts human health include speeding the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever; creating conditions that lead to potentially fatal malnutrition and diarrhea; and increasing the frequency and severity of heat waves, floods and other disasters.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Greenland ice melt may cause dramatic change of northeast coasts

by Candace Lombardi
A new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has found that Greenland's melting ice may have a greater effect on sea level rise on the northeastern coasts of the U.S. and Canada than previously hypothesized.
"If Greenland's ice melts at moderate to high rates, ocean circulation by 2100 may shift and cause sea levels off the northeast coast of North America to rise by about 12 to 20 inches (about 30 to 50 centimeters) more than in other coastal areas. The research builds on recent reports that have found that sea level rise associated with global warming could adversely affect North America, and its findings suggest that the situation is more threatening than previously believed," NCAR said in its preliminary report.
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Read NCAR Press Release

Study looks for Earth-like water worlds

U.S. space agency-sponsored scientists say they have developed a technique for determining whether Earth-like extrasolar worlds have oceans.
"A 'pale blue dot' is the best picture we will get of an Earth-like extrasolar world using even the most advanced telescopes planned for the next couple decades," Nicolas Cowan of the University of Washington said. "So how do we find out if it is capable of supporting life? If we can determine that the planet has oceans of liquid water, it greatly increases the likelihood that it supports life.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Giant Blob Found Deep Beneath Nevada

By Jeanna Bryner
Hidden beneath the U.S. West's Great Basin, scientists have spied a giant blob of rocky material dripping like honey.
The Great Basin consists of small mountain ranges separated by valleys and includes most of Nevada, the western half of Utah and portions of other nearby states.
While studying the area, John West of Arizona State University (ASU) and his colleagues found evidence of a large cylindrical blob of cold material far below the surface of central Nevada.
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Monday, April 27, 2009

Magnetic Vortex Switch Leads to Electric Pulse

"Researchers at the University of Arkansas have shown that changing the chirality, or direction of spin, of a nanoscale magnetic vortex creates an electric pulse, suggesting that such a pulse might be of use in creating computer memory and writing information."
Researchers at the University of Arkansas have shown that changing the chirality, or direction of spin, of a nanoscale magnetic vortex creates an electric pulse, suggesting that such a pulse might be of use in creating computer memory and writing information.
Physicists Sergey Prosandeev and Laurent Bellaiche reported their findings in Physical Review Letters.
“This is new physics,” Prosandeev said. “There are many possibilities that can follow from this.”
The researchers looked at ferromagnets, a class of materials with novel properties at the nanoscale that have the potential to create new, efficient devices. They focused on the recently discovered vortex structure found at the nanoscale, investigating if a possible electric field can be generated when the vortex changes chirality.
“We change the magnetic structure but measure the associated electric field,” Prosandeev said.
They found that switching the direction of the vortex from clockwise to counterclockwise produced a positive electric pulse – and that switching the vortex in the opposite direction created an electric pulse with a negative sign. The resulting electric pulse can thus serve as the fingerprint indicating that switches of vortices did occur, as such a switch is difficult to directly observe.
Switching of some physical properties such as polarization or magnetization currently is used in computer memory and writing and storing information, but because of the larger scale, it requires more energy and materials. Being able to create switches of vortices with less material and energy could create more efficient devices.
The researchers have derived a formula showing the relationship between the magnetic vortex and the electric pulse and have shown how it occurs graphically over time. The next step will be experiments to see this phenomenon in action.
“Theoreticians show what can be the next step,” Prosandeev said. “These relationships can then be applied to technology.”

Earth-like planet discovered

Several gigantic gaseous planets have been spotted orbiting distant stars, but Planet Gliese 581 e could be the lightest planet outside our Solar System ever detected. Located 20.5 light years away from us, it's 1.9 times the mass of Earth, indicating there are probably billions of Earth-sized planets revolving around stars throughout the universe.
The only problem with this planet is that it's so close to its star, it would be uninhabitable. However, three other planets revolve around that same star, and scientists say one of them, Gliese 581 d, could be covered by a large and deep ocean. It's situated far enough away from its star to be habitable. The catch with that one: it's seven times more massive than the earth, which would make human explorers feel awfully sluggish.
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Study links wildfires in Sierra to climate change

A warming climate will fuel larger, more frequent wildfires in the Sierra Nevada and other parts of the West, and the fires will contribute to climate change, according to a new study.
More than 20 international scientists, in the report published Friday in the journal Science, said fire is not only a consequence of climate change but an important cause.
"Fire also influences the climate system. This is what we call a feedback," Jennifer Balch, a fire expert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Scientists determined intentional deforestation fires, many set in tropical areas to expand agriculture or ranching, contribute up to a fifth of the human-caused increase in emissions of carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas helping to boost global temperatures.
The researchers called on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to fully integrate fire into its ongoing assessment of climate change.
Fire-climate feedbacks, they said, have been largely absent from global climate models.
"Extraordinary (fires are) occurring like a rash all over the planet," said David Bowman, a forestry and wildlife expert at the University of Tasmania.
Fire of unprecedented ferocity swept across parts of Australia in February, killing about 200 people.
Similar fire activity can be expected elsewhere as the climate warms, including in the Sierra, where a 2007 blaze at Lake Tahoe destroyed 254 homes, scientists said.
"We are witnessing an increasing amount of so-called megafires," said Thomas Swetnam, an expert on fire history and forest ecology at the University of Arizona. "Unfortunately, I think we are going to see more large fires in the western United States. The western United States is in a bull's-eye."
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Estimating the orbit of Planet X

If Planet X is out there in the icy reaches of the Solar System, we should see its affect on the orbital motion of the inner planets

"Does the Solar System contain undiscovered massive planets or a distant stellar companion of the Sun?" asks Lorenzo Iorio at the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare in Pisa, Italy.
If it does, then the orbital period of such a body would be so long that any gravitational influence on the known planets can be thought of as a constant, tiny perturbation.
Iorio has looked at a the perihelion precessions of Venus, Earth and Mars in the last century and asked whether there is any indication of such a force in action.
Apparently not, he says, but that doesn't rule out its presence. Instead, it has allowed Iorio to place limits on how far away such a planet might be.
His conclusion is that if Planet X is out there and about the size of Earth, it must more than 130 AU away. If it is the size of Jupiter, it cannot be closer than 886 AU and if it were a brown dwarf with a mass around 80 times that of Jupiter, it would have to be more than 3800 AU away.
Let's get looking!

On This Day: San Francisco Struck by Devastating Earthquake

by Kate Davey
On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 am, San Francisco experienced what would become known as the worst earthquake in U.S. history. The city was almost entirely destroyed.

1906 Earthquake Destroys San Francisco
The quake struck about 20 minutes before dawn and came in two shocks lasting a little over a minute. In that brief period of time, the quake left much of San Francisco in ruins. Police officer Jessie Cook said the quake sounded like “the roar of the sea.” Henry Powell, a police lieutenant, also thought of the ocean when he said that Valencia Street started to “roll in waves like a rough sea in a squall, but it sank in places and vomited up its car tracks and the tunnels that carried the cables. These lifted themselves out of the pavement, and bent and snapped.”According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the earthquake released the energy of several nuclear bombs. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the magnitude of the 1906 earthquake was somewhere between 7.7 and 8.3, occurred on the San Andreas Fault and was felt from Oregon to Los Angeles.

Key role of forests 'may be lost'

By Mark Kinver
Science and environment reporter, BBC News

Forests' role as massive carbon sinks is "at risk of being lost entirely", top forestry scientists have warned.

The International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) says forests are under increasing degrees of stress as a result of climate change.
Forests could release vast amounts of carbon if temperatures rise 2.5C (4.5F) above pre-industrial levels, it adds.
The findings will be presented at the UN Forum on Forests, which begins on Monday in New York.
Compiled by 35 leading forestry scientists, the report provides what is described as the first global assessment of the ability of forests to adapt to climate change.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Why Have The Beatles Returned to Maharishi?

"He who does not weep over this world does not know this world. Yet letting go of our obsession with perfect happiness can liberate us. It can free us from the distraction of a constant search for an enlightenment that knows no pain."

by Steve Posner

In accepting filmmaker David Lynch's invitation to play at a benefit concert in New York City's Radio City Music Hall to help fund the teaching of Transcendental Meditation (TM) to a million children, the two surviving mop-tops, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, have reunited to reclaim their 1968 spiritual roots.
It was then that the most celebrated rock group in history traveled to India to meditate with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his Himalayan ashram in Rishikesh. "Say the word, and you'll be free," John, Paul, George, and Ringo had sung a few years earlier, and eventually the word became a mantra, a Vedic sound given to them by Maharishi and their fellow meditators by TM teachers like myself.
When I first learned to meditate, Maharishi predicted that those who practiced his technique just twice a day for twenty minutes would become enlightened. He approximated that it would take somewhere between five and eight years. I began TM on April 18, 1971, but I didn't start meditating regularly until January 1, 1972. After that, I almost never missed my twice-a-day meditation. And if I did, I usually managed to meditate at least once that day. I stopped using the technique sometime in 2000, nearly twenty years past the maximum eight-year prediction for enlightenment.

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Climate clock is ticking

"The ice melt of 2007 seemed to confirm Warwick’s fears. Reports since then claim the Arctic ice could be gone by 2013."

by William Marsden

For most people, news of the ice melt was little more than a distant curiosity. But for climate scientists it was the scariest thing they had seen yet, and what’s more it had caught them completely by surprise.
In the summer of 2007, a large portion of Arctic Sea ice – about 40 per cent – simply vanished. That wasn’t supposed to happen. At least not yet. As recent as 2004, scientists had predicted it would take another 50 to 100 years for that much ice to melt. Yet here it was happening today.
It raised the question: Had global warming suddenly pressed the gas pedal to the floor? If so, the world was in for quite a climate ride – dramatic, jarring changes in climate much sooner than expected. Climate scientists were deeply worried.
“It really caught the scientific community by surprise,” Professor James Ford, a McGill University geographer and Arctic expert recalled. “The Arctic system is close to crossing the threshold beyond which we will get dramatic changes in climate.”

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Swarm of earthquakes dies down but concern lingers

by Kitty Alvarado

Since the magnitude 4.8 earthquake hit the Salton Sea on March 24 many are wondering if the “Big One” is coming.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) has been busy assessing the initial quake and the more than 300 moderate quakes that followed, and while the activity has died down, the question is: what do the swarm of earthquakes mean to the daddy fault line of them all, the San Andreas?
“We’ve been on the edge of our seats,” said Ken Hudnut, a geophysicist with the USGS when asked about the activity just south of Palm Springs.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Mapping Sea-Level Rise

All the melting going on the Arctic has some researchers wondering what the world's coastlines would look like if, say, all of Greenland's ice were to melt, or all of Antarctica's. No expert expects either of these scenarios to happen anytime soon, certainly not in the next century. But as a kind of visual thought experiment, the late Bill Haxby of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University created the striking graphics we present below. In these images, see how the coastlines of four regions—the mid-Atlantic U.S. states, Florida, northern Europe, and Southeast Asia—would change if the planet's seas rose 17 feet and 170 feet, respectively.
Why did Haxby choose these two figures? Well, according to Dr. James White (see Ask the Expert), estimates on how much sea levels would rise given certain major ice sheets melting vary depending on the assumption made about rebound of land once the ice disappears, and on the fact that some ice is below sea level. But given these variables, White says, current widely accepted estimates include sea-level rises of about 23 feet if all of Greenland's ice vanished (or about 20 feet if West Antarctica's ice sheet disintegrated), and about 180 feet if the great ice dome of East Antarctica melted away.
So Haxby was being conservative, but as you'll see, the results are unsettling enough. For good measure, Haxby also threw in sea levels 400 feet lower than they are today, showing how coastlines would have looked 20,000 years ago at the height of the Ice Age.—Peter Tyson

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Glaciers Around The Globe Continue To Melt At High Rates

ScienceDaily — Glaciers around the globe continue to melt at high rates. Tentative figures for the year 2007, of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, indicate a further loss of average ice thickness of roughly 0.67 meter water equivalent (m w.e.). Some glaciers in the European Alps lost up to 2.5 m w.e. The new still tentative data of more than 80 glaciers confirm the global trend of fast ice loss since 1980. Glaciers with long-term observation series (30 glaciers in 9 mountain ranges) have experienced a reduction in total thickness of more than 11 m w.e. until 2007. The average annual ice loss during 1980-1999 was roughly 0.3 m w.e. per year. Since 2000, this rate has increased to about 0.7 m w.e. per year.

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New York Flood Risk to Grow as Weaker Currents Raise Sea Level

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- The Big Apple faces a greater flood risk over the next century as weaker Atlantic currents raise sea levels on the U.S. East Coast by more than in London or Tokyo.
Global warming will alter Atlantic Ocean circulation in a way that will move more water to New York by 2100, Florida State University-led scientists said in a study in Nature Geoscience today. Including the expansion of water as it warms, the total gain may be 51 centimeters (20 inches), they said, not counting effects of melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.

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Worst Floods in Nearly 50 Years Hit Namibia, Neighboring Countries

Parts of southern and southwestern Africa are seeing the worst flooding in about 50 years. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected and are in desperate need of emergency supplies.
One of the worst affected countries is Namibia. Matthew Cochrane of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies spoke to VOA from one of the many flooded towns in Namibia.
"I'm in a little town called Schuckmansberg, which is normally on the Namibian side of the Zambezi River in the Caprivi Strip, which is up in the northeast. But now the only way to access this town is to drive across the border in Zambia, drive along the Zambia side of the river and then catch a boat up for about half an hour to reach this island. It's now totally surrounded by water," he says.

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Obama cites North Dakota floods in call for climate change action

President Obama says potentially historic flood levels in North Dakota are a clear example of why steps need to be taken to stop global warming. Heavy rain and blizzards have caused eight rivers in the state to swell to flood levels and emergency management officials are warily watching the Red River, which could surpass record levels late this week.
"If you look at the flooding that's going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, 'If you see an increase of two degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?'" Obama told reporters at the White House Monday. "That indicates the degree to which we have to take this seriously."
Waters in the Red River were 33 feet this morning, according to CNN. That’s 15 feet above flood stage, and close to the record 41.1 feet set in April 1897, according to the network. The river could exceed those levels by Friday or Saturday, officials say.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Michelle Obama To Plant White House Edible Garden

by Bridgette Steffen: Eleanor Roosevelt’s World War II-era Victory Garden was a shining example to Americans that they could grow their own food. And now Michelle Obama is following in her footsteps, taking up the cause by planting an 1,100 square foot edible garden on the South Lawn of the White House. Her hope is to educate children about locally grown food, inspiring them to eat healthier and encourage their families and community to follow suit.
Petitions for an organic garden at the White House have been circulating for some time now. The new edible garden will have over 55 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as chosen by the White House Kitchen Staff. According to assistant head chef, Sam Kass, the cost of the organic seeds and mulch was only $200. They will plant tomatoes, tomatillos, cilantro, various lettuces, spinach, swiss chard, collards, kale, arugula, berries, herbs, including anise hyssop and Thai basil (there will not be any beets though as President Obama does not like them). Also present will be two hives for honey and a compost pile.
First lady Obama, along with 23 fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School, will begin the garden by digging up the soil, then planting and eventually harvesting the vegetables. The White House Kitchen Staff is looking forward to planning their meals around the vegetables that are in season. Food grown in the garden will be used as ingredients for family meals as well as state dinners and other official events.

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Three Lessons We Still Haven't Learned 20 Years After the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

by J.S. McDougall
It's hard to argue that there's a more lasting and clear example of the destructive force that unchecked corporate greed has on our environment and communities than the Exxon Valdez oil spill that devastated Alaska's Prince William Sound 20 years ago today. Then, like now, we are hopelessly addicted to carbon-based fuels. Oil and coal have exposed our Achilles heel to the Fates, and we tempt them every day that we do not aggressively transition to low-energy lives and sustainable fuel sources. We don't need a power-shift in this civilization as much as we need a power-down.
Take a 10 minute break today, on the anniversary of one of the most tragic--and still unresolved--environmental disasters of our modern energy age, from Twittering, emailing, blogging, IM'ing, Facebooking, and other forms of frantic networking (except in case of emergency) to reflect on the three lessons that we may already intellectually know as individuals, but as a civilization we have yet to learn -- and consider applying them to more recent, larger environmental disasters.
1. Big Energy Means Big Energy Corporations. The video below was shot just four days after the Exxon Valdez dumped between 11 and 38 million gallons of crude oil into the formerly pristine waters of Prince William Sound. The high school gym where this was filmed is packed with the fishermen and women who are just beginning to realize that their lives and livelihoods have been destroyed. Listen to the Exxon representative explain that this oil spill is "a bit of good luck" for the community.
Corporations with allegiance only to profits will never have allegiance to communities. To rid the world of energy corporations that terrorize our communities and natural world, we must stop giving them business by decentralizing our power supply, forming community power co-ops, and taking back control of our fuel sources.

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Healing the bias of 2012

by Angelika Whitecliff

Conjecture about our near future is gaining momentum because of a very specific catalytic date: December 21, 2012. The ancient Mayans had a great civilization and astronomers who were able to calculate an astonishingly accurate, intricate astronomical calendar that lasted tens of thousands of years. It mysteriously concludes on December 21, 2012, thus creating waves of speculation. Yet many indigenous cultures around the world, including Native American, tell of the arrival of the Golden Age, one in which humanity evolves to its next level exemplified by harmonious and conscious relationships with the planet and with cosmic ancestors who will reintroduce themselves. In contradiction, there are new and old doomsday prophecy’s that ignore ideas of a new beginning to instead warn of inevitable collapse and disaster. Many wonder how to reconcile these contradictory viewpoints, and how to most wisely proceed into a future mined with falling financial markets, corporate corruption and global climate change.

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