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Water scarcity by 2030: True for every second person on earth, UN says
The News - Climate-Environment
October 08, 2013
earth water shortage 2030
About a half of the global population could be facing water shortages by 2030 when demand would exceed water supply by 40 percent, says United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Opening the Water Summit in Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday, the UN chief warned against unsustainable use of water resources.

Water is wasted and poorly used by all sectors in all countries. That means all sectors in all countries must cooperate for sustainable solutions. We must use what we have more equitably and wisely,” Ban said, as cited by the UN website. -- “By 2030 nearly half the global population could be facing water scarcity. Demand could outstrip supply by 40 per cent.”
 
Is Homeland Security Preparing for the Next Wall Street Collapse?
The News - Current Events
October 08, 2013
america collapse
Reports are that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is engaged in a massive, covert military buildup. An article in the Associated Press in February confirmed an open purchase order by DHS for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. According to an op-ed in Forbes, that’s enough to sustain an Iraq-sized war for over twenty years. DHS has also acquired heavily armored tanks, which have been seen roaming the streets. Evidently somebody in government is expecting some serious civil unrest. The question is, why?

Recently revealed statements by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the height of the banking crisis in October 2008 could give some insights into that question. An article on BBC News on September 21, 2013, drew from an explosive autobiography called Power Trip by Brown’s spin doctor Damian McBride, who said the prime minister was worried that law and order could collapse during the financial crisis.
 
5 Popular Beliefs That Are Holding Humanity Back
The News - Humor
October 08, 2013
5 things holding back humanity
Humans believe in a lot of stupid shit, and we do something stupid as a result of those beliefs about, oh, once every five seconds. And sure, most of you reading this are educated types who don't believe in Bigfoot or psychic readings, but there are a whole bunch of equally stupid/harmful superstitions out there that are so commonly held that we don't even think of them as such. Very few of us don't fall victim to at least a few of them.

In fact, I'm something of an expert on this because I believe literally hundreds of idiotic things, and also because I wrote a ridiculous best-seller about an apocalypse brought about by people believing in apocalypses. And I say that, in order to keep humanity from imploding, we have to give up believing ... [CRACKED]
 
Paris post le apocalypse! Eerie video!
The News - Weird-Strange
October 07, 2013
paris apocalypse
  • French filmmakers recorded timelapse videos at locations around Paris
  • Using photo-editing tools, they removed all signs of people and cars 
  • It is set to an eerie soundtrack with soundbites about the fragility of life
  • The four-minute film ends with tagline 'Don't forget out planet is fragile'

City streets left abandoned, desolate Ferris wheels turning with no-one on board and traffic lights aimlessly switching from red to green without a single car in sight to see them change. These are just some of the haunting images from a short video by French filmmakers showing what post-apocalyptic Paris could look like. Called Hypocentre, the four-and-a-half minute film shows the usually bustling areas around the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees and the streets of Montaparnasse empty and devoid of people and cars.
 
Archaeologists unearth Sweden's Pompeii Archaeologists unearth Sweden's Pompei
The News - Natural Disasters
October 05, 2013
Pompei disaster
  • Violent attack took place on the island of Öland, just off the Swedish coast
  • Bodies of the victims have remained 'frozen in time' since the 5th century
  • Why the fort has been left untouched for 1,500 years remains a mystery

Swedish archeologists have uncovered the remains of a brutal fifth century massacre at a remote island fort, described as being 'frozen in time' like the ruins of the Roman city of Pompeii. Bodies of victims slaughtered in the violence on the island of Öland, just off the Swedish coast, have remained untouched for centuries, and were found to resemble a modern day crime scene. Before they attack, the fort appears to have been a peaceful and prosperous place, where people lived comfortably in small huts and reared livestock for meat.
 
South Dakota blanketed by several feet of snow as storms hit Great Plains
The News - Climate-Environment
October 05, 2013
snow storm 2013 start
In the span of 24 hours, the scenic Black Hills in South Dakota were coated in up to three and a half feet (1.1 meters) of wet, heavy snow. South Dakota is one of several Great Plains states to have been hit hard by a storm system that has caused millions of dollars in damage. A National Weather Service meteorologist, Katie Pojorlie, said the snow was expected to end later on Saturday, giving people a chance to start digging out from the unusual, record-setting early fall snowstorm.

But wintery weather wasn't the only thing wrapped into the powerful cold front, as thunderstorms brought heavy rain, hail and as many as nine tornadoes to Nebraska and Iowa. Fifteen people in northeast Nebraska were injured in a tornado on Friday, and three died in a car accident on a snow-slicked Nebraska road. Forecasters said the front would eventually combine with other storms to make for a wild and probably very wet weekend for much of the central and south-eastern US.
 
FYI: What Would Happen If You Got Zapped By The Large Hadron Collider?
The News - Science-Astronomy
October 05, 2013
LHC
The scientists at the LHC would like to make two things very clear. First, it's just a horrible idea to put any part of your body in front of the collider's two proton beams. Each beam comprises 320 trillion particles, so the total energy delivered is a blazing 362 megajoules, enough to melt about half a ton of copper. Second, it would be really hard to get in front of a beam, even for someone with a death wish. "If you tried to open any of the access doors to get into the LHC—even though the lights are flashing et cetera—the collider automatically turns off," says Steven Goldfarb, a physicist at the LHC in Switzerland.

That said, let's assume you did manage to squeeze your face inside the collider. What would happen next is unclear. Physical damage would depend upon how many protons collided with nuclei in your flesh and how many zipped through undisturbed, like plankton through a net. Were the beam spitting out single protons, there would be little chance of impact. Considering there are 320 trillion, though, the beam would almost certainly burn a hole through your face. The question is what might that hole look like? When protons smash into a target, a block of copper, say, they fling off secondary particles in different directions, which can themselves incite another round of collisions. As a result, beams create a hole that spreads out laterally the deeper it goes. The same could happen to your body: Rather than boring a hole a few microns wide, a beam might carve out a large cone of tissue.
 
Yellowstone Supervolcano Alert: Most Dangerous Volcano In America Is Roaring To Life
The News - Climate-Environment
October 04, 2013
yellowstone super volcano 2013
Right now, the ground underneath Yellowstone National Park is rising at a record rate.  In fact, it is rising at the rate of about three inches per year.  The reason why this is such a concern is because underneath the park sits the Yellowstone supervolcano – the largest volcano in North America.  Scientists tell us that it is inevitable that it will erupt again one day, and when it does the devastation will be almost unimaginable.

A full-blown eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano would dump a 10 foot deep layer of volcanic ash up to 1,000 miles away, and it would render much of the United States uninhabitable.  When most Americans think of Yellowstone, they tend to conjure up images of Yogi Bear and “Old Faithful”, but the truth is that sleeping underneath Yellowstone is a volcanic beast that could destroy our nation in a single day and now that beast is starting to wake up. The Yellowstone supervolcano is so vast that it is hard to put it into words.  According to the Daily Mail, the magma “hotspot” underneath Yellowstone is approximately 300 miles wide…
 
Government Employees Responsible For Saving Us From Hurricanes Working For No Pay
The News - Natural Disasters
October 03, 2013
Tropical Storm Hurricane Karen 2013
Tropical Storm Karen, currently swirling around the Gulf of Mexico, "is the first tropical storm, possibly hurricane, that's really, truly threatened the U.S. coast in 2013," says Angela Fritz of weather information service Weather Underground. This season was predicted to be a rough one for hurricanes, and it's turned out oddly mild, which has left everyone especially on their toes. Karen is projected to make landfall somewhere between New Orleans and Tallahassee, possibly as a Category 1 hurricane. And most of the people responsible for tracking the storm, warning the public, and studying the storm for use in the future are either not allowed to work or forced to work for no pay.

Storm tracking is a difficult science, handled by several branches of government as well as scores of private companies. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the National Weather Service (NWS) are departments within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, pronounced like the name "Noah"), which in turn is under the control of the U.S. Department of Commerce (though President Obama, noting that this makes no sense, announced plans to move NOAA under the control of the Department of the Interior). Then there's FEMA, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security. All of these organizations work with companies like Weather Underground, the Weather Channel, and various laboratories and researchers and university departments. The NWS gets most of the raw data from satellites and radar, which is shared with the private companies. In turn, the private companies can get much more granular on-the-ground data, which they share with the NWS, NHC, and FEMA. It's enormously complex in the best of times, and right now is far from the best of times.
 
Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant operator says another tank leaked toxic water
The News - Climate-Environment
October 03, 2013
Japan Fukushima toxic water leak
The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said on Thursday another tank holding highly contaminated water overflowed, probably sending the liquid into the Pacific Ocean, in the second such breach in less than two months.

Recent site mishaps have returned Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco, to the spotlight, calling into question its ability to execute a complex cleanup that could last decades. The company has vowed to monitor the tanks more closely and improve its water management. Amid mounting international alarm, Japan's government stepped in last month and said it would fund efforts to improvement water management at the plant.
 
The Growing Threat of Space Junk
The News - Science-Astronomy
October 02, 2013
space debris threat
Like many other modern marvels, space exploration has yielded huge technological benefits for humankind, but it can’t help but have the same major side effect as many other advances: It has left a trail of garbage in its groundbreaking wake. The rockets, satellites and probes we have sent into orbit over the decades have created a fast-moving debris field that contains hundreds of thousands of pieces of space junk—even a one-centimeter piece of which can damage or destroy a spacecraft worth millions, or even billions, of dollars. The International Space Station and its crew have had to dodge dangerous debris several times in the past few years. [SCIAM]
 
Gov't Shutdown Science: Why Human Nature Is to Blame
The News - Science-Astronomy
October 02, 2013
government shutdown science
The failure of Congress to reach the agreement needed to avoid a government shutdown, in some ways, can be seen as the result of human nature, and the way people act when they form groups such as political parties, psychologists and sociologists say.

Humans are very tribal beings, and like to form groups, which is great for cooperation and community building, but can have negative consequences in terms of conflict, said Matt Motyl, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of Virginia. "We become better able to fight off other tribes," when we form groups, Motyl said. Problems arise when one group perceives that its members or values are threatened in some way. When this happens, people in parties may act in ways that they wouldn't act as individuals, experts say.
 
Supervolcanoes ripped up early Mars
The News - Science-Astronomy
October 02, 2013
mars supervolcano
Mars may have had giant explosive volcanoes in its ancient past that spewed billions upon billions of tonnes of rock and ash into the sky. Vast areas of collapsed ground in a region of the planet called Arabia Terra are their likely remains, believe Joe Michalski and Jacob Bleacher.

The two scientists report their findings in this week's Nature journal. They say such supervolcanoes would have had a profound impact on the early evolution of Mars. Their gases would have influenced the make-up of the atmosphere and perturbed the climate. And the ashfall would have covered the landscape across great swathes of the planet. It is quite likely some of the deposits the rovers are now encountering on Mars have their origin in colossal blasts.
 
5 Ways the World Might End
The News - Humor
October 01, 2013
SPACE VIRUS
For all of humanity's moxie, optimism, and drive to build a better future, a lot of us spend an extraordinary amount of time imagining how we're going to snuff it en masse. This modern-day parlor game has created armies of "armchair survivalists" -- people who aren't really motivated to do anything proactive to save their own skins, but are really committed to DVRing television shows about preppers prepping. We've become pretty good at imagining what we might do in a variety of apocalyptic events -- if we weren't too lazy to live.

There are plenty of humanity-ending scenarios where there's a relative consensus for the best place to ride it out. Zombie outbreak? Shopping mall. New Ice Age? New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Kingdom of spiders? Hunting lodge by Shatner's side. Mayan apocalypse rain date? John Cusack's limo. Here are a few still up for debate. [CRACKED]
 
Scientists pinpoint volcanic explosion EIGHT times bigger than Krakatoa
The News - Natural Disasters
October 01, 2013
samalas volcano indonesia 8 times
  • Eruption thought to be from Samalas volcano on Indonesia's Lombok Island
  • Blast was so large that it left its mark in ice of the Arctic and the Antarctic
  • Historical evidence shows how it disturbed the climate for at least two years
  • Mystery city, preserved in same way as Pompeii, may be buried on the island

An Indonesian volcano is thought be the source of a massive ‘mystery eruption’- the largest that has occurred in the last 3,700 years. The enormous blast, which took place nearly 800 years ago, may have created a ‘Pompeii of the Far East’, according to researchers. They believe this mystery city may lie buried waiting to be discovered on an Indonesian island.
 
What happened to hurricane season? And why we should keep forecasting itů
The News - Natural Disasters
October 01, 2013
2013 hurricane season
As we wrap up September, there have been just two short-lived Category 1 hurricanes in the Atlantic. Yet seasonal forecasts predicted an extremely active season. What’s going on? Before diving into the seasonal forecasts, let’s take inventory on where the season stands.

In an average season,  8 tropical storms, 4 hurricanes, and 1 major (category 3 or higher) hurricane form by this date. This year, we’ve experienced 10 tropical storms, 2 hurricanes, and no major hurricanes. Though we’ve had close to the average number of total storms, most have been short-lived and/or weak. If you went out for a cup of coffee at any time this hurricane season, you would’ve missed many of them. [WP]
 
Could your smartphone detect earthquakes?
The News - Natural Disasters
September 30, 2013
detect earthquake smartphone
  • Sensors can detect earthquakes greater than a magnitude of 5
  • The chip is used in smartphones to change the orientation of the screen
  • The technology will soon be advanced enough to detect smaller quakes

Collecting accurate, real-time data on earthquakes has always been a problem for seismologists. But a tiny sensor found in smartphones could help fill in the gaps by instantly turning your mobile phone into an earthquake sensor. The chip, originally intended to change the orientation of the screen, can detect earthquakes greater than a magnitude of 5, according to a new study.
 
'Killer 50ft-wide asteroid narrowly misses Earth'
The News - Science-Astronomy
September 30, 2013
near earth asteroid 2013
An asteroid similar in size to the one which injured more than a thousand people in Russia in February has narrowly missed the Earth.

Russian experts claim they spotted the 50ft-wide rock pass above the planet travelling at 16km per second. It is believed to have been similar in scale to the one which exploded in the skies above the town of Chelyabinsk, leaving 1,500 people hurt.
 
Shutdown May Hinder California's Rim Fire Cleanup
The News - Climate-Environment
September 30, 2013
california wildfire government shutdown
One of the worst wildfires in California's history continues to burn in Yosemite National Park, where employees will be furloughed if the government can't pass a budget tomorrow (Oct. 1). The Rim Fire has burned more than 257,000 acres (1,040 square kilometers) and is 92 percent contained. (Containment means the fire can still burn, but the flames are trapped within a perimeter, with little chance of escape.)

Very little is left of the extreme blaze, which consumed entire canyons. Now, a few hot spots char the ground in Yosemite National Park, where Park Service policy allows nonthreatening fires to burn themselves out, renewing the forest. "It's burning at very, very low intensity," said Michelle Carbonaro, fire information officer for the Rim Fire. "We suspect they're not calling it [as] out because there are some unsettled weather patterns coming that could stir up fire activity," Carbonaro told LiveScience.
 
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