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If The World's Population Were Reduced To 100
The News - Current Events
May 01, 2010

Must see : http://www.cracktwo.com/2010/05/if-worlds-population-were-reduced-to.html - If you were to break the World population down to just 100 people, this scrolling picture series will make you appreciate what you have all that much more.

 
Oil Spill : "Potential mega-disaster"
The News - Climate-Environment
May 01, 2010

The cord-grass marshes of south Louisiana are nurseries for baby shrimp, stalking grounds for blue crabs, and barriers that slow down waves before they bite off more of the mainland. On Friday, they were becoming defenseless sponges for sticky, dark oil.

The locals said the foul-smelling mass had the goopy look of chocolate mousse. The scientists said the enormous slick had the potential to bring environmental ruin to this treasured coastline.

The oil is spilling out of the seafloor at 5,000 barrels a day, maybe much more, from a well about 50 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, and it could soon eclipse the volume of the infamous Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. That disaster spilled oil onto rocky Alaskan beaches, but it is at least possible to wash oil off a rock. In the Gulf, the oil is floating into wetlands that could hold on to its toxins for years. And, scientists said, the spill's damage could be magnified by its awful timing.

Among the animals that live along the Gulf Coast, this is the time for hatching and rearing: Species as diverse as pelicans, shrimp and alligators are all reproducing, or preparing to. That could bring sensitive young animals in contact with toxic oil or cause their parents to plunge into oily waters looking for food.

Already, rescuers from Delaware were using Dawn blue dish soap to clean the first bird found to be "oiled" in the disaster, the Associated Press reported. The bird, a young northern gannet, had been turned from white to black."I can't imagine we're not going to have some mass casualties" among these birds, said Michael Parr of the American Bird Conservancy. "It's got to be about the worst time right now" for an oil spill to hit.

One environmentalist said the scenario created "a potential mega-disaster." Along the Gulf, they were waiting for it with a dread usually devoted to hurricanes.

 
'Unprecedented' tornado study
The News - Natural Disasters
April 30, 2010
massive tornado study

An international team of researchers are embarking on what has been described as the most ambitious tornado study in history.

An array of instruments will be deployed across the US Great Plains, where violent twisters are more common than anywhere else on the planet. It is hoped that the data gathered will improve tornado warnings and forecasts. More than 100 scientists will be involved in the study, which will continue until the middle of June.

"Tornadoes rank among the most destructive weather events on Earth," said Dr David Dowell, one of the project's principal investigators and a scientist for the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

"It is imperative that we learn more about how they develop and why some are so powerful. "

 
Gulf Coast threat: "This has got all the characteristics of a Category 5 hurricane"
The News - Climate-Environment
April 30, 2010
oil slick satellite 2010

What makes an oil spill really bad? Most of the ingredients for it are now blending in the Gulf of Mexico. Experts tick off the essentials:

  • A relentless flow of oil from under the sea
  • Ttype of crude that mixes easily with water
  • A resultant gooey mixture that is hard to burn and even harder to clean
  •  Water that's home to vulnerable spawning grounds for new life
  • Coastline with difficult-to-scrub marshlands.

Gulf Coast experts have always talked about "the potential for a bad one," said Wes Tunnell, coastal ecology and oil spill expert at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. "And this is the bad one. This is just a biggie that finally happened." It hasn't quite become a total disaster yet. But it's hard to imagine it not being devastating, said Ed Overton, who heads a federal chemical hazard assessment team for oil spills. The Louisiana State University professor has been testing samples of the spilled crude. He compared what's brewing to another all-too-familiar Gulf Coast threat: "This has got all the characteristics of a Category 5 hurricane."

If conditions don't change quickly, devastation of the highest magnitude is headed for somewhere along the coast, said Overton, who works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 
Scientists to hit the road for tornado research
The News - Natural Disasters
April 30, 2010
More than 100 scientists, students and others are preparing to leave Saturday in search of tornadoes.

They are participating in this year's version of the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment, or VORTEX2, and hoping to have more twisters to examine than last year, when they traveled about 10,000 miles over a months time, and the weather yielded only a single tornado to study.

The project starts Saturday and continues through June 15. The goal is to learn more about how, when and why tornadoes form. [ USA Today ]

 
New California seismic map - Updated from 1994
The News - Natural Disasters
April 29, 2010
california seismic map new
California geology officials have released an updated state seismic activity map that they hope will improve earthquake preparedness and construction decisions.

The map, which had not been updated since 1994, includes more than 50 surface fault lines discovered over the last two decades and compiled in a painstaking process.

The map was unveiled Tuesday at The Tech Museum in San Jose as the California Geological Survey celebrated its 150th anniversary. The Geological Survey also presented an updated version of a second map that identifies the makeup of rock and soil. [ MSNBC NEWS ] - [ 2010 Geological map California ]

 
Asteroid coated with ice suggests ingredients for life came from space
The News - Science-Astronomy
April 29, 2010
asteroid impact life on earth
Astronomers have detected a coating of ice and organic chemicals on one of the largest asteroids in the solar system.

The space rock, called 24 Themis, is roughly the size of Sicily and orbits the sun in the main belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, more than 300 million kilometres from Earth.

The discovery supports the idea that asteroids may have brought plentiful supplies of water and organic material to Earth in the distant past and so set the stage for the emergence of life.

Two independent groups confirmed the composition of the asteroid's surface after observing the 200km-wide rock using Nasa's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) which sits on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Analysis of infrared light glinting off the surface of the asteroid revealed that some wavelengths were being absorbed by water molecules. Further investigation suggested complex organic molecules were also present. The findings are reported in two papers in the journal Nature.

 
Study to measure impact of volcanic ash on marine life
The News - Natural Disasters
April 29, 2010
volcano ash ocean

Scientists are looking at what impact volcanic ash from the recent eruption in Iceland has had on marine biology.

A team of researchers will spend a month at sea, studying a region of water in the North-East Atlantic.

They say the information will provide "unique data" on how the dust affects the chemistry and biology of seawater.

The eruption under a glacier in south-west Iceland created a vast ash cloud that spread across northern Europe.

"It is a very interesting and unique situation that we find ourselves in," said Eric Achterberg from the UK's National Oceanography Centre, which is leading the study.

"It will provide an angle that we did not expect."[ BBC NEWS ]

 
Earth could be at risk of an invasion by aliens living in 'massive ships'
The News - Weird-Strange
April 26, 2010
stephen hawking alien invasion
Stephen Hawking has revealed he strongly believes in aliens and warned that Earth could be at risk from an invasion .

In a documentary series, the renowned astrophysicist argued that it is 'perfectly rational' to assume intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.

And in an extraordinary series of assertions, he said Earth might be at risk from what he imagines to be 'massive ships' which could try to colonize our planet and plunder our resources.

 
12 Twisted Tornado Facts
The News - Natural Disasters
April 26, 2010
Despite improved warnings and forecasts over the past few decades, tornadoes still cause many deaths each year. To learn a little more about these violent storms, here are 12 facts that illustrate how destructive tornadoes can be, where they can occur and how to prepare for them.
 
The ash cloud that never was
The News - Natural Disasters
April 25, 2010

The Mail on Sunday can today reveal the full extent of the shambles behind the great airspace shutdown that cost the airlines £1.3 billion and left 150,000 Britons stranded - all for a supposed volcanic ash cloud that for most of the five-day flights ban was so thin it was invisible.

As the satellite images of the so-called 'aerosol index' published for the first time, right, demonstrate, the sky above Britain was totally clear of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajoekull volcano. [ DAILY MAIL UK ]

 
Donít talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking
The News - Weird-Strange
April 25, 2010
stephen hawking aliens
THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist - but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.

The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.

Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.

Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved. [ TIMES ONLINE ]

 
9 killed as tornado strikes Miss.; others injured
The News - Natural Disasters
April 25, 2010
Mississippi official say the death toll has risen to nine from a devastating tornado that flattened homes and businesses in the state. More than a dozen others have been injured.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said five people were killed in Choctaw County, 3 in Yazoo County and 1 in Holmes County. No names have been released and details are not available.

Two of those dead in Choctaw county are children.

Gov. Haley Barbour told The Associated Press there was "utter obliteration" in parts of Yazoo County, an area where he is from. More than 15 other counties were also damaged.

The swath of debris forced rescuers to pick up some of the injured on all-terrain vehicles. [ YAHOO NEWS ]

 
Number of tornadoes, hail, and wind reports at decade low
The News - Natural Disasters
April 24, 2010

tornado decade low
tornado season 2010

[ Monthly and Annual U.S. Tornado Summaries ]

 
Favorite Hubble Pictures! 56k Warning :)
The News - Science-Astronomy
April 24, 2010

Celebrate Hubble & 20 years of beautiful images! [ Share your favorite pictures on our forums ] - Everyone must have a favorite, so why not share some of yours? Also, if ya got time, a brief explanation of why you like it.


hubble deep field
eta carine hubble exploding star
rose hubble
orions belt hubble
 
Deadly fungus spreading in US & Canada
The News - Climate-Environment
April 23, 2010

A potentially deadly strain of fungus is spreading among animals and people in the northwestern United States and the Canadian province of British Columbia, researchers reported on Thursday. The airborne fungus, called Cryptococcus gattii, usually only infects transplant and AIDS patients and people with otherwise compromised immune systems, but the new strain is genetically different, the researchers said.

"This novel fungus is worrisome because it appears to be a threat to otherwise healthy people," said Edmond Byrnes of Duke University in North Carolina, who led the study. "The findings presented here document that the outbreak of C. gattii in Western North America is continuing to expand throughout this temperate region," the researchers said in their report, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens found here.

Our findings suggest further expansion into neighboring regions is likely to occur and aim to increase disease awareness in the region." The new strain appears to be unusually deadly, with a mortality rate of about 25 percent among the 21 U.S. cases analyzed, they said.

 
The Sun as you've never seen it - More amazing pictures
The News - Science-Astronomy
April 22, 2010
sdo sun pictures nasa
Soaring tens of thousands of miles away from the Sun's surface, a solar flare explodes with the energy of 100 megaton hydrogen bombs. The fiery plasma, heated to tens of millions of degrees celsius, throws out particles into space at near the speed of light.

It is just one of the spectacular images from a new satellite which it says could give fresh insight into how the Sun works.

The pictures were taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the Sun.

[ DAILY MAIL UK ]

 
US weighs Iran military option
The News - War-Draft
April 22, 2010
iran war ww3
If Iran decides to go for nuclear weapons, the US may not be able to permanently stop this from happening unless it is willing to occupy the country.

This is the candid conclusion of one army general testifying in front of the Senate but one that seems to have gone mostly unnoticed amid a flurry of statements on Iran over the past few days in Washington.

Gen James Cartwright, one of America's top uniformed officers, slowly edged towards that conclusion during a Senate testimony last week, underscoring the difficult choices facing the Obama administration as it weighs what do about Iran. [ BBC NEWS ]

 
Happy 20th anniversary Hubble!
The News - Science-Astronomy
April 21, 2010
hubble 20th anniversary birthday
In the last 20 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized the way humanity views the universe. In many ways, it may have been the most influential telescope since Galileo peered at the night sky with one four centuries ago.

The greatest insights often make the world seem like a larger place than it was before. In Hubble's case, the most important and perhaps most confounding discovery it helped find accomplished just that, by revealing the universe was expanding faster than anyone had known. 

NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope, a joint effort by NASA and the European Space Agency, on April 24, 1990 aboard the space shuttle Discovery to much fanfare that soon fell flat. A flaw in the telescope's optics gave it blurry vision and turned the iconic space telescope into a potential boondoggle in orbit.

Favorite Hubble Links : [ Hubble Site Gallery ] - [ Hubble Heritage Project ] - [ NASA Hubble ]

 
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