Thursday, January 29, 2009

NASA Telescope Spots Weather Changes Outside This Solar System

By Ryan Flinn

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Researchers have spotted shifting weather outside the solar system for the first time, on a “hot- headed” planet where the temperature swings by more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of hours.
Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, an infrared observatory, scientists measured heat from a planet as it sped behind its star 190 light years from Earth. The temperature on planet “HD 80606b” jumped to 2,240 degrees Fahrenheit (1,227 degrees Celsius) from 980 in six hours, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a statement.

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Earthquakes: California, Kentucky, and Oklahoma!

Magnitude-4.2 quake shakes isles off Calif. coast

Minor earthquake felt in southeastern Kentucky

Earthquake reported in central Oklahoma

Cold, dark nights ahead in wake of deadly ice storm

More than a million households remain without power after snow and ice slammed the country from Texas to Maine, disrupting hundreds of flights and forcing Kentucky state troopers to use four-wheelers to find stranded residents.
Warmer weather Thursday was proving to be both a blessing and a curse, as sections of eastern Oklahoma and northern Arkansas began the grueling process of recovering from the latest ice storm.

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It's so hot eggs are frying on the ground in Australia... while at least 20 are killed by ice storms in America

Extreme weather is causing chaos on different sides of the globe as Australia endures searing heat of up to 46c while at least 20 people were killed by ice storms in America.
The heatwave in southern Australia is causing transport chaos by buckling rail lines and has left more than 140,000 homes without power as the heat took its toll on the power grid.
It was so hot an egg was pictured literally frying on the tennis court at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

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Climate change could be ‘irreversible’ for 1,000 years? Gulp!

By Pete Spotts, Christian Science Monitor

Irreversible is a tough word, especially when applied to the effects of global warming.
But physics alone suggests that even now, the changes that humans are imposing on Earths’ climate system will last for at least 1,000 years and likely far longer. That’s the gist of a new study by an international team of researchers led by Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Heat sends Southwest climate back in time

Effect of natural drought cycle and climate change is restoration of the grasslands of centuries ago.

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff Staff Writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Bandelier National Monument, N.M. - For 15 years, Craig Allen, a scientist with the US Geological Survey, has monitored a 2.7-acre plot here in northern New Mexico. During that time, he’s witnessed smaller tree species succeeding larger ones. He’s seen dry years, bark-­beetle infestations, large-scale tree dieback, and finally, a shift toward grassland. To Dr. Allen, these changes tell a tale of combined human impacts – overgrazing, fire suppression, and climate change. And they underscore how human activity can amplify the effects of natural cycles to alter a landscape dramatically.
The American Southwest may be drying, one of the predicted consequences of human-induced global climate change. Less water in an already semiarid region will affect how, and for what, people use water. Allen also suspects that tree dieback here may be part of a worldwide phenomenon. As temperature extremes have inched higher in semiarid regions globally, forests have succumbed to heat stress.

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2012 — The End of the World, or A New Beginning?

By Michael M. Martino Jr.

December 24, 2012. I write this knowing there is very little time left for me and the few who have found a place of refuge from the horror—if only for a little while. It began with darkening skies three days ago and has turned into an unimaginable storm of death and despair. The ground has opened up like huge jaws of death, swallowing entire neighborhoods, streets, cars and people. Geysers of steam are rising from the center of the earth, emitting heat that previously was thought to exist only in the depths of hell itself. In the afternoon of December 21, a mountainous ocean wave fed by repeated tremors and massive quakes washed across the land. Those in waterfront communities were killed instantly, their bodies now littering the land like scraps of paper. All at once, the entire Earth seemed to tilt like an amusement park ride, and we became closer to the skies that were now filled with a choking stench of gas and death. The night sky was different than I have ever seen, and despite the cover of smoke the stars seemed to be close enough to touch. It was dazzling, but the beauty of the spectacle escaped me.

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Tools of Personal Transformation - Forgiveness

From an early age we are told forgiveness is an important virtue we should practice, but we are only told to forgive, we are not shown how to forgive and mean it. In the Lord's Prayer we ask God to "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us," But I don't think forgiveness should be regarded as prescriptive morality. Prescriptive morality never works and is frequently a form a self- righteousness in disguise--a mask for the ego.
The best way to understand forgiveness is to realize that to forgive and to ask for forgiveness is the best use of one's energy and also one of the most important paths to self-healing. The absence of forgiveness is holding a grievance or resentment and also a subtle desire to seek vengeance. In short it is hostility. Many studies have shown that although anger can be a healthy release of pent up energy, hostility is not healthy, and it is the number one emotional risk factor for premature death from cardiovascular accident (stroke and heat attack).

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Commentary: Humans are called to higher consciousness

During many years of human development, neuroscientists believe there are several discerned levels of maturation in the human brain. Where are we in the 21st century?
Reptilian level: Who would know better than people living in Louisiana that alligators fear nothing and will attack anything that comes in their pathway? As humans developed, the reptilian "attack mode" diminished. However, we still witness human behavior of the reptilian quality. Warfare is a manifestation of injustices, deprivation of necessary resources for survival and, most of all, a horrible failure in diplomacy.
Mammalian level: Chief Seattle said, "If the animals were to disappear, we will die a spiritual death." By our alienation from nature, we are indeed starving spiritually.
Above those inferior ways of behavior remains the highest level: With divine intervention attainment of the highest level is our salvation as a species capable of self-destruction.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

What is sustainable food?

by Jennifer Litz, Indianapolis Sustainable Food Examiner

Do you know where your food comes from? If Googlability is a good benchmark of popularity, the world is abuzz with supporting its local farmers, community supported agriculture and being mindful eaters: Type in “sustainable food” and the search engine brings up over 11 million results.
Not quite that many know what it means. Its name implies that sustainable food is self-sufficient and capable of being produced continually, which it is. But unlike organic food, which is now regulated by the FDA if it is to have such billing, sustainable food is more a philosophy about the way a food is produced and eaten.
The tenants of sustainability—nourishing the land via biodiversified plants that enrich soil; conservation of resources like water; assurance of animal welfare; and economically and socially just farmer and worker conditions—imply the consumer’s inclusion in this full-circle ideology. The sustainable food movement is for people who are mindful about what they eat.
For example: A food cannot have been produced with pesticides, man-made fertilizers, genetically modified organisms or prodded with hormones, antibiotics or ionizing radiation to be certified 100 percent organic (there is a variety of other USDA organic stickers). Organic practices offer potential for reducing harmful ingredients, like the herbicide Atrazine, which has turned male frogs into hermaphrodites in experiments.
But in his June 4, 2006, article “Mass Natural,” premier food writer and naturalist Michael Pollan ("In Defense of Food"; "The Omnivore's Dilemma") decried the rise of big organic farms that supply to places like Safeway and Wal-Mart. He described organic feedlots whose cows nosh “organic" grain in cramped conditions--though they’re meant to eat grass, and milk’s good fat content suffers when they don't. Mass organic demand also encourages more imported veggies that take long, petroleum-burning trips from places like Argentina and China. These conditions and practices aren’t sustainable in any sense of the word.

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Autism and the incarnation process

by Lynn Hayes

Sorry to be a bit stuck on this topic, but I found this while researching the astrology/autism connection and thought this might interest my readers. It's from an article written in 2000 by astrologer Sandra Weidner:
We are all incarnated. Any one who has looked upon the body of a deceased loved one--unless too shattered from grief to see--has the clear sensation, "he/she is no longer in this." We are Life which has assumed material form in order to enter a material world. For a time. For certain purposes. The spiritual is never as limited as the material. To come here, we have to take on limitations. For one, a body is required. It represents one part of our admission ticket. The other is formed by our group as well as individual reasons for coming....
So, yes, we are all incarnated. Some of us, however, are more incarnated than others. Our physical bodies make it appear we are all equally here. We are not. Autistic children are one of the groups of people who are less here. Their physical bodies are here; their identities are considerably somewhere else. Most families of autistic children already know that. They just cannot explain why. Here, using this universal language of creation--astrology--it becomes understandable. ...Here's where it gets really interesting:
I borrow from the work of Jungian psychologist, Erich Neuman. It is from his book, The Child:
The young of the higher mammals are born in a state of relative maturity; either immediately or shortly after birth they are small adults which not only wholly resemble adult animals but are also capable of living unaided. In order to attain a similar state of maturity the human embryo would require a pregnancy of from twenty to twenty-two months. In other words, the human child, after the nine months it spends in the womb, requires another year [italics ours] to attain the degree of maturity that characterizes the young of most other mammals at birth.

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Tap-tap-tapping into the body's intelligence

by Caroline Cooney, NY Spirituality and Paranormal Examiner

Our bodies have a highly sophisticated intelligence. The cells in every system in our bodies communicate constantly with each other to ensure our survival, but psychological and physical trauma, or simply the long-term effects of everyday stress, can cause these systems to malfunction, making us more susceptible to health and emotional problems.
Can we undo this damage, clear out the accumulation of stress and trauma that our bodies hold? We can, says New Yorker, Laura Hames, a certified practitioner of BodyTalk, a non-invasive therapy that utilizes biofeedback and a series of tapping and eye movements to promote healing and well being.
Laura first heard about BodyTalk after her close friend and fellow dancer (a New York City Rockette), who suffered through months of debilitating and painful back spasms, was cured after a single BodyTalk session. Laura, a certified Pilates and dance instructor with a BA in Dance and Theater Performance, quickly realized BodyTalk was the natural next step for her
Through the use of a “muscle-testing” biofeedback technique, a BodyTalk practitioner communicates with the body, identifies where there are imbalances or discord, and then, through a series of tapping on the head (stimulating the brain) and sternum (stimulating the heart), signals the body to "rebalance" those areas.
One analogy is that of a computer that no longer responds quickly to a command; instead it freezes, or is otherwise slow and ineffective as a result of various processes, or the computer's "memory", becoming clogged with corrupted or useless files. Essentially, BodyTalk is meant to act as a re-boot for your body and mind – a purging of your physiological, psychological and energetic "cache”.

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We may be cold, but Earth's still warming

By Peter E. Black

The seemingly contradictory widespread frigid cold weather across the United States around Dec. 21 and global warming are quite understandable if we recall some basics.
Those basics begin with the law of conservation of energy: We cannot create or destroy energy. It is not that more heat energy arrives at Earth; it is that all the heat energy arriving here is not leaving. The greenhouse effect traps some of the long wave energy re-radiated from Earth's warm surfaces to space, not the incoming short wave energy that Earth receives from the sun. The greenhouse effect is caused primarily by water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane. If it weren't for the greenhouse effect, we'd freeze.
If Earth cannot re-radiate all the long wave energy from its surface, the amount of energy in the atmosphere warms. Simultaneously, the area of tropical rain forests, tundra, coral reefs and floating vegetation diminishes by human activities. Normally, those plant-rich areas take up large quantities of carbon dioxide. As that occurs, the increased atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in water, making carbonic acid, which makes it difficult for life to survive in the oceans.
As Earth's surfaces, atmosphere and oceans warm, the major mechanism for moving warm equatorial air poleward -- hurricanes or typhoons -- increase in number, intensity and duration. The warm air displaces the cold air at the poles, which moves toward the equator. Being denser and heavier, the cool air slips beneath the warm moist air. The resultant lifting of the unstable warm, moist air and mixing with the cold, dry air from the poles is what causes the more violent weather.

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Cleaning up pollution with pond scum

Algae's ability to soak up carbon dioxide could help make coal-fired Kentucky power plants more environmentally friendly

University of Kentucky researchers are among a growing number around the world looking at algae as a potential answer to our energy puzzle.
Call it the pond scum solution.
While most of the research into these oily aquatic plants focuses on how to turn them into liquid fuels, UK's Center for Applied Energy Research is also looking at using algae to scrub carbon dioxide and other pollutants from coal-fired power plants.
The idea is to use the way algae, like other plants, naturally soaks up carbon dioxide. The algae, which grows quickly, could then be converted into liquid fuel and other products.
"This would not only allow us to continue to use coal in an environmentally acceptable way, but would also allow us to reduce dependence on petroleum," said Rodney Andrews, director of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research and an associate professor of chemical engineering.

Next up: Heavy rain, floods across W. Wash.

By Sandi Doughton
Seattle Times science reporter

Cities across Western Washington are bracing for another slap from a season that has already dealt the region a series of nasty blows.
This time, the pain will come in the form of drenching rain followed by floods and the threat of landslides and avalanches, forecasters warned Tuesday. Some rivers, particularly in Lewis County, could reach record levels, and it's possible Interstate 5 near Centralia could be submerged again — as it was for several days in December 2007.
Major flooding also was forecast on the Skagit River near Concrete, the Snohomish River near Monroe, the Tolt River near Carnation, and the Snoqualmie River near Carnation and Snoqualmie Falls.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Did a Comet Hit Earth 12,000 Years Ago?

Roughly 12,900 years ago, massive global cooling kicked in abruptly, along with the end of the line for some 35 different mammal species, including the mammoth, as well as the so-called Clovis culture of prehistoric North Americans. Various theories have been proposed for the die-off, ranging from abrupt climate change to overhunting once humans were let loose on the wilds of North America. But now nanodiamonds found in the sediments from this time period point to an alternative: a massive explosion or explosions by a fragmentary comet, similar to but even larger than the Tunguska event of 1908 in Siberia. Sediments from six sites across North America—Murray Springs, Ariz.; Bull Creek, Okla.; Gainey, Mich.; Topper, S.C.; Lake Hind, Manitoba; and Chobot, Alberta—yielded such teensy diamonds, which only occur in sediment exposed to extreme temperatures and pressures, such as those from an explosion or impact, according to new research published today in Science.

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