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The most magical views of space (pictures)
The News - Science-Astronomy
July 29, 2013
beautiful space pictures
  • Run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the winner of the competition will be announced on 18 September
  • The images show the British landmarks of Durdle Door in Dorset and the Pennines in a new light
  • Judges received over 1,200 entries from amateur and professional photographers across the globe

An image of Venus crossing the sun over the Black Sea in Romania and astral clouds of rose-coloured gas revealing star formations in distant galaxies are just two of the incredible images shortlisted for the 2013 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. The competition, which is now in its fifth year, is run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Sky at Night Magazine. It received a record number of over 1,200 entries from enthusiastic amateurs and professional photographers from around the globe.

 
Lunacy? People do not sleep easy on nights when there is a full Moon
The News - Weird-Strange
July 28, 2013
full moon lunacy
It sounds like an idea dreamed up over a few beers in the pub one evening. And that, those involved freely admit, is exactly what it was. As Christian Cajochen and his colleagues put it in their paper on the matter in Current Biology, “We just thought of it after a drink in a local bar one evening at full Moon.”

“It” was a way of testing the persistent but unproven idea that the full Moon affects human behaviour, generally for the worse. In prescientific days this was expressed in terms like “moonstruck” and “lunatic”. It found even more sinister manifestation in the form of the lycanthrope, who did not sleep when the Moon was full, but turned into a wolf instead. Though few now believe in werewolves some modern thinkers still suspect the Moon’s phase affects sleep patterns, and on that particular moonlit night Cajochen and his buddies realised they already had the data needed to find out.
 
How Much Radiation Can You Take?
The News - Disaster Preparedness
July 28, 2013
radiation survival
We all know radiation is dangerous and can have severe effects on the body; we only need to look at the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster or the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki to see their horrific effects. But how much radiation can a body take? Can you recover? And what are the signs and symptoms of radiation poisoning?

The first thing you have to understand about radiation is you can’t see it, smell it or taste it. The only time it will be visible is the fallout after a nuclear blast. This dust will have the appearance of dusty snow. Apart from that you won’t have any idea your in a radioactive zone without proper detection equipment
 
Heatwaves will make crops produce smaller grains
The News - Climate-Environment
July 28, 2013
2013 erxtreme heat
"The wheat is usually green at this time, but its already gone brown," says Laurence Matthews, overlooking a bone-dry and dusty field on his 3,000-acre farm near Dorking in Surrey. "It's like a tinderbox: there's a real risk of fire."

The summer heatwave is having a dramatic effect on his crops. "Without water, the plants just shut down," he says. But it is the twists and turns of increasingly erratic weather that is making farming more difficult, Matthews says. "In spring 2012, it was unbelievably dry and hot, then from April it just rained right through to 2013, which made it very difficult to get our crops established."
 
Pardon Me! Mother Earth Burps Up Methane Bubbles During Earthquakes
The News - Natural Disasters
July 28, 2013
Earth Burp Methane Earthquake
The long-suspected link between earthquakes and underwater methane bursts has finally been confirmed, reports a study published today (July 28) in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Though the temblor wasn't caught in the act, the strong shaking left clues in methane-rich mud and sand offshore of Pakistan, where two of Earth's tectonic plates collide at the Makran subduction zone. In 1945, a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck along the subduction zone, killing at least 300 people and triggering a tsunami. Recently, researchers studying methane seeps in the Arabian Sea discovered unexpectedly large quantities of methane gas and minerals such as barite and sulfate just below the seafloor surface, on a ridge near the Makran subduction zone. The minerals and gas accumulate at a certain rate, so the team could calculate when the methane indicators first appeared — between 1916 and 1962. Combined with other clues, such as seismic surveys of disturbed sediments, the scientists concluded that the 1945 earthquake released methane gas into the ocean.
 
4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work
The News - Economy
July 28, 2013
poverty no work
Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend. The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.
 
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]
 
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