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.
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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."
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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