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Mass extinctions : Small but deadly
The News - Science-Astronomy
July 27, 2013
mass extinctions
As every schoolchild knows, the dinosaurs were wiped out in an instant, when a rock from outer space hit what is now southern Mexico. That happened 66m years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period. Well-informed schoolchildren also know that this mass extinction was neither unique nor the biggest. The geological record speaks of four others since animal life became complex at the beginning of the Cambrian period 541m years ago.

What neither these clever schoolchildren nor anyone else knows, however, is whether these extinctions had similar causes. But evidence is accumulating that the biggest extinction of all, 252.3m years back, at the end of the Permian period, was indeed also triggered by an impact. Nevertheless, though the trigger was the same, the details are significantly different, according to Eric Tohver of the University of Western Australia.
 
Mysterious hum driving people crazy around the world
The News - Weird-Strange
July 27, 2013
It creeps in slowly in the dark of night, and once inside, it almost never goes away. It's known as the Hum, a steady, droning sound that's heard in places as disparate as Taos, N.M.; Bristol, England; and Largs, Scotland. But what causes the Hum, and why it only affects a small percentage of the population in certain areas, remain a mystery, despite a number of scientific investigations.
 
Striking images of lightning storms raining down on Earth
The News - Climate-Environment
July 26, 2013
lightning from orbit
  • Astronaut Karen Nyberg has captured the images from the International Space Station earlier this week
  • One of her images captured an elusive red sprite, where instead of shooting down towards the ground, lightning explodes in the clouds

Stunning pictures from the top of the world show a unique view of lightning storms as they rain down on Earth. The stellar images take storm chasing to new heights, having been snapped from a space station 400 miles above the Earth. One of the most the impressive images shows the early morning Californian skies above Los Angeles and San Diego aglow with powerful flashes of lighting.

 
Top 10 Deadliest Canadian Disasters (INFOGRAPHIC)
The News - Natural Disasters
July 26, 2013
 
How Close Could I Get To The Sun And Survive?
The News - Science-Astronomy
July 25, 2013
close to sun
Of all the bodies in our solar system, the sun is probably the one we want to give the widest berth. It gushes radiation, and even though its surface is the coolest part of the star, it burns at about 9,940°F, hot enough to incinerate just about any material. As such, there are no plans to send a manned mission in its direction anytime soon (Mars is much more interesting, anyway), but it can’t hurt to figure out at what distance a person would want to turn back. You can get surprisingly close. The sun is about 93 million miles away from Earth, and if we think of that distance as a football field, a person starting at one end zone could get about 95 yards before burning up.
 
Robots to Patrol Cities by 2040
The News - Politics / Corruption
July 25, 2013
robot police by 2040
Robots will be patrolling cities by 2040 according to Professor Noel Sharkey, who predicts their tasks will include asking for ID, tasering and arresting suspects as well as crowd control.

In an article entitled 2084: Big robot is watching you, Sharkey, a robotics professor at the University of Sheffield, forecasts a world in which the jobs of surveillance, security and law enforcement have largely been handed over to artificial intelligence. WIthin the next 30 years, Sharkey asserts that, “Humanoid walking robots would be more in use for crowd control at games, strikes and riots. Robots will patrol city centres and trouble spots where fights are likely to break out.”
 
FAULTLINE: L.A. council OKs soaring Hollywood skyscrapers
The News - Natural Disasters
July 24, 2013
LA earthquake risk
The Los Angeles City Council has approved a plan that would radically alter the Hollywood skyline despite warnings from state officials about the project's proximity to a major earthquake fault line.

The 13-0 vote Wednesday in favor of the Hollywood Millennium project allows New York-based developer Millennium Partners to build two skyscrapers and more than 1 million square feet of office, hotel and retail space on several vacant parking lots surrounding the iconic Capitol Records building. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was a leading champion of new development in Hollywood during his three terms representing the neighborhood on the City Council, announced Wednesday that he would sign the deal.
 
Apocalyptic, fiery clouds gathering over Midwest captured in video
The News - Climate-Environment
July 24, 2013
apocalyptic clouds
Eerie round, orange clouds were spotted over a Michigan town, making the sky appear "on fire" and leading residents to worry that wild weather was coming.

The bizarre sight formed in the skies over the Michigan town of Iron Mountain at around 8:30 p.m. local time, and led to worries that severe thunderstorms or tornadoes were approaching. National Weather Service Warning Coordination meteorologist Jeff Last, who posted images of the curved, tinted clouds to Twitter, said they were a rare phenomenon called Mammatus, which means "breast cloud."
 
9 Tips to avoid the summertime prepping slump
The News - Disaster Preparedness
July 23, 2013
summer prepping slump
It’s so easy for the hot, lazy days of summer to just sort of run into each other until the day arrives when it’s time once again to get the kids ready for school, and we ask, where did the summer go?

If your prepping goals have taken a break right along with your pledge to have the kids do daily math drills and read for at least 30 minutes every day, then here are a few tips to avoid the summertime prepping slump. [TSM]
 
How Would the U.S. Respond to a Nightmare Cyber Attack?
The News - War-Draft
July 23, 2013
cyberwar attack
It’s been a busy summer for computer security mavens. The U.S. and China locked horns on cyber espionage, Edward Snowden allegedly leaked classified intelligence about National Security Agency (NSA) monitoring programs that target communication networks, and the Cobalt malware took 13 U.S. oil refineries offline. If you missed that last one, that’s because it was fictional—a scenario created for a student cyber attack challenge held on June 15 at American University in Washington, D.C.

The event was a sort of a hybrid Model U.N. hackathon cyber war games exercise, involving 65 college and graduate students (including myself) who are training for careers as future cyber warriors and policy makers. In many ways the Cyber 9/12 Student Challenge mirrors the U.S. government’s own Cyber Storm exercises, with the important exception that the student exercise isn’t mandated by Congress to strengthen cyber preparedness in the public and private sectors.
 
CIA wants to control the weather, climate change
The News - Climate-Environment
July 23, 2013
CIA weather control
The CIA is funding a study examining various ways mankind can geo-engineer the planet -- blocking or limiting the sunlight that reaches the Earth, stripping carbon dioxide from the skies, seeding the clouds and so on.

The project, a panel called “Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts,” is backed by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA -- and the U.S. intelligence community.
 
China earthquake: death toll rises with thousands left homeless
The News - Natural Disasters
July 23, 2013
china earthquake 2013
The death toll from two earthquakes in China's western Gansu province has climbed to 89, with more than 500 people severely injured, after 1,200 buildings collapsed and tens of thousands more were badly damaged, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The quakes hit eight towns in the remote and mountainous Minxian and Zhangxian counties, about 105 miles (170 kilometres) south-east of the provincial capital, Lanzhou, from 7.45am on Monday (12.45am BST), Xinhua said. -- "Many have been injured by collapsed houses," said a Minxian county doctor surnamed Du. "Many villagers have gone to local hospitals along the roads."
 
6 Reasons why normal people shy away from the prepper world
The News - Disaster Preparedness
July 22, 2013
6 reasons people shy away from prepping
“Don’t use that term!” she said. “It makes you sound like a crazy survivalist.”

Well, I’m not crazy and I don’t consider myself to be a survivalist in the traditional sense, but if we hope to draw others into the ranks of preparedness, our loved ones in particular, then maybe we should consider how others perceive us.

Here are a few reasons why I think “normal” people shy away from anything related to the prepper world. [TSM]
 
Armageddon Online Hosting Renewal Drive
The News - Announcements
July 22, 2013
please donate :)
Dear AO readers : As most of you know, I have been involved with Armageddon Online for more than a decade. If you support the hard work and time I stick into the site, why not consider a donation? There are benefits -- check out the perks of being a contributor - and put some money in my tip jar if you appreciate the site. I FELL WAY SHORT LAST TIME AROUND, SO PLEASE -- IF YOU CAN SPARE IT, CONSIDER A DONATION. THANK YOU TO ANY AND ALL WHO HELP OUT!
 
The 10 Worst Places To Live In The Universe
The News - Science-Astronomy
July 22, 2013
worst places to live in the universe
Recently, we told you about an exoplanet that rains glass. Sideways. Which got us thinking: 1.) we will never complain about the weather here on Earth again and 2.) surely that's got to be the worst place to live in the entire universe. But no! With the help of NASA and Kepler astronomers and a couple physicists, we found nine additional wildly inhospitable planets. Of course, you wouldn't survive too well anywhere in the universe that isn't Earth, but these places would be particularly awful--places with conditions "well-matched to Dante's visions of hell," as physicist Steve Tufte describes one of the planets. Check out the most miserable planets in the universe.
 
Japan's Fukushima Operator Acknowledges Contaminated Water Flowing into Sea
The News - Climate-Environment
July 22, 2013
fukushima contamination sea
The operator of Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Monday that contaminated ground water had likely been flowing into the sea, acknowledging such a leakage for the first time.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, made the announcement a day after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner scored a decisive victory in elections to the upper house, cementing his grip on power.The head of Japan's new Nuclear Regulation Authority, created since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami wrecked  Fukushima, said this month he believed contamination of the sea had been continuing since the accident.
 
Dozens reported dead in China earthquake
The News - Natural Disasters
July 22, 2013
Gansu China Earthquake
A strong earthquake struck a rural part of western China on Monday morning, killing at least 75 people, according to state media.

The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland with a population of 26 million. That makes it one of China's more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns, with a total population of about 2.7 million. The government's earthquake monitoring service said an additional 459 people were injured.
 
Earthquake Sends Kiwis Screaming From Wellington Buildings
The News - Natural Disasters
July 22, 2013
new zealand earthquake 2013
New Zealanders ran screaming from buildings in Wellington yesterday as a magnitude 6.5 earthquake blew out windows and caused part of the city’s port to slide into the sea.

The earthquake struck at 5:09 p.m. local time and was centered offshore, 57 kilometers (35 miles) south-southwest of the capital city, at a depth of 14 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was New Zealand’s biggest quake since a magnitude 6.3 killed 185 people in the South Island city of Christchurch two years ago, and the strongest to hit the central region of the country since 1942, GNS Science seismologist John Ristau said.
 
Catastrophic Mud Eruption Had Natural Causes, Study Finds
The News - Natural Disasters
July 21, 2013
Mud eruption Indonesia
A catastrophic mud eruption in Indonesia blamed on drilling by an oil company might instead have natural causes, new research suggests.

In 2006, the largest mud volcano on the planet was born when steam, water and mud began erupting on the Indonesian island of Java. At its height, it spewed 6.3 million cubic feet (180,000 cubic meters) of boiling mud per day, enough to submerge a football field under nearly 110 feet (34 m) of earth. The mud volcano still erupts with outbursts like a geyser.
 
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