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Distorted GPS Signals Reveal Hurricane Wind Speeds
The News - Natural Disasters
July 15, 2013
hurricane hunter airplane
By pinpointing locations on Earth from space, GPS systems have long shown drivers the shortest route home and guided airline pilots across oceans. Now, by figuring out how messed up GPS satellite signals get when bouncing around in a storm, researchers have found a way to do something completely different with GPS: measure and map the wind speeds of hurricanes.

Improved wind speed measurements could help meteorologists better predict the severity of storms and where they might be headed, said Stephen Katzberg, a Distinguished Research Associate at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and a leader in the development of the new GPS technique. On a global scale, experts hope to use the new measurement method to better understand how storms form and what guides their behavior.
 
Report: Brinks Vaults Are Being Depleted: “Has the Appearance of a Run On the Bank”
The News - Economy
July 15, 2013
brinks bank run
The price of gold and silver has seen a massive decline as of late, prompting one analyst to suggest that there is no compelling fundamental reason to own precious metals and the only thing investors can do now is “hope and panic, in that order.”

But while current prices and technical charts may leave some with the feeling that gold’s bull run is over and the bubble has popped, others are scooping up as much yellow and silver metal as they can find, and in some cases they’re doing it by the tens of thousands of ounces.

According to recent data from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, private investors are rapidly exchanging their paper holdings and turning them into deliverable physical assets, an indication that the purported ‘free market’ price for gold on global exchanges is grossly undervalued. [SHTFPLAN]
 
Some Volcanoes 'Scream' at Ever Higher Pitches Until They Blow Their Tops
The News - Natural Disasters
July 15, 2013
volcano scream
It is not unusual for swarms of small earthquakes to precede a volcanic eruption. They can reach a point of such rapid succession that they create a signal called harmonic tremor that resembles sound made by various types of musical instruments, though at frequencies much lower than humans can hear.

A new analysis of an eruption sequence at Alaska's Redoubt Volcano in March 2009 shows that the harmonic tremor glided to substantially higher frequencies and then stopped abruptly just before six of the eruptions, five of them coming in succession.

"The frequency of this tremor is unusually high for a volcano, and it's not easily explained by many of the accepted theories," said Alicia Hotovec-Ellis, a University of Washington doctoral student in Earth and space sciences.
 
Revolutionary cancer treatment brings scientists closer to cure
The News - Current Events
July 14, 2013
cancer cells
A single-storey workshop on a nondescript business park in Oxfordshire is not the sort of place where you would expect scientific revolutions to take place. But behind the white-painted walls of this small start-up company, scientists are talking about the impossible – a potential cure for cancer.

For the past 20 years, the former academics who set up Immunocore have worked hard on realising their dream of developing a totally new approach to cancer treatment, and finally it looks as if their endeavours are beginning to pay off. In the past three weeks, the company has signed contracts with two of the biggest players in the pharmaceuticals industry which could lead to hundreds of millions of pounds flowing into the firm's unique research on cancer immunotherapy – using the body's own immune system to fight tumour cells.
 
78 Skills Everyone Should Know
The News - Disaster Preparedness
July 14, 2013
78 skills survival
Survival is based largely on two things: a positive mental attitude and knowledge. With those two covered, you can make up for any lack of tools. Knowledge doesn’t break, wear out, and short of forgetting a thing or two, you generally can’t lose it.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of skills I think everyone should know. This is by no means a “complete” list because there is always room to learn more, and the more you know, the greater your chances of survival. But this will give you a solid foundation and a far broader skill set than most people. Everyone should know how to... [LINK]
 
'Radioactivity found in Swiss lake' near nuclear plant
The News - Climate-Environment
July 14, 2013
Swiss nuclear leak
Scientists have discovered a radioactive substance in sediment under a Swiss lake used for drinking water and situated near a nuclear plant, the Le Matin Dimanche weekly reported Sunday.

While scientists cited in the report stressed there was no danger to human health, the discovery raises concerns about safety practices and a lack of transparency at the Muehleberg nuclear plant in northwestern Switzerland. The plant is believed to have caused a spike in cesium 137 found in the sediment of Lake Biel and dating back to 2000 through the discharge of contaminated waste water into the Aar river that feeds into the lake, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) downstream, the weekly reported.
 
Sharknado: the most terribly good movie of the summer
The News - Humor
July 14, 2013
sharknado
Sharknado, pundemic on Twitter, has restored the B-movie back to its rightful place in American life: cult summer blockbuster and universal inside joke. To join in you don't need a TV or even to have seen the movie. You only must appreciate absurdity  -- and tolerate portmanteaus:

In case the title left anything to doubt, a quick summary of the film: a tornado spews sharks into Los Angeles. One lands in Tara Reid's pool, another bounces off a barstool. Helicopters throw bombs at the weather. A character named 'Fin', played by a Chippendales dancer, leaps into the open jaws of a projectile Great White and chainsaws his way out of its rubber belly, screaming. The tagline reads: "Enough said".
 
Hurricane Sandy Was 1-in-700-Year Event
The News - Natural Disasters
July 14, 2013
Hurricane Sandy 1 in 700
Hurricane Sandy's devastating storm track is a rare one among hurricanes; a new statistical analysis estimates that the track of the storm — which took an unusual left-hand turn in the Atlantic before slamming into the East Coast — has an average probability of happening only once every 700 years.

"The particular shape of Sandy's trajectory is very peculiar, and that's very rare, on the order of once every 700 years," said Timothy Hall, a senior scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies who co-authored the study. That means that in any particular year, the chance of such a storm track happening is 0.0014 percent. The storm's near-perpendicular strike on the coast was a major factor in the severe flooding seen in New York, New Jersey and other nearby states, Hall added. But the rareness of the storm's track doesn't mean that the coast is safe from other severe storms.
 
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The News - Current Events
July 14, 2013

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Typhoon Soulik threatens chaos in China and Taiwan as flood toll mounts
The News - Natural Disasters
July 12, 2013
Typhoon Soulik
China and Taiwan braced on Friday for the impact of Typhoon Soulik as the toll of dead and missing from torrential rain across large parts of China climbed beyond 200. Soulik was expected to hit northern Taiwan later on Friday, before crossing the narrow Taiwan Strait and slamming into China's provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang on Saturday.

"Government departments must place saving people's lives as their top priority," Chinese state media quoted premier Li Keqiang as saying, as officials scrambled to tackle the floods.
 
Get Ready For The Next Great Stock Market Exodus
The News - Economy
July 12, 2013
stock market exodus
In the years 2006 and 2007, the underlying stability of the global economy and the U.S. credit base in particular was experiencing intense scrutiny by alternative economic analysts. The mortgage-driven Xanadu that was the late 1990s and early 2000s seemed just too good to be true. Many of us pointed out that such a system, based on dubious debt instruments animated by the central banking voodoo of arbitrary fractional reserve lending and fiat cash creation, could not possibly survive for very long. A crash was coming, it was coming soon, and most of our society was either too stupid to recognize the problem or too frightened to accept the reality they knew was just over the horizon. [SHTFPLAN] [ALTMARKET]
 
Air Pollution Responsible for More Than 2 Million Deaths Worldwide Each Year,
The News - Climate-Environment
July 12, 2013
air pollution kills
More than two million deaths occur worldwide each year as a direct result of human-caused outdoor air pollution, a new study has found. In addition, while it has been suggested that a changing climate can exacerbate the effects of air pollution and increase death rates, the study shows that this has a minimal effect and only accounts for a small proportion of current deaths related to air pollution.

The study, which has been published today, 12 July, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, estimates that around 470,000 people die each year because of human-caused increases in ozone. It also estimates that around 2.1 million deaths are caused each year by human-caused increases in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) ? tiny particles suspended in the air that can penetrate deep into the lungs, causing cancer and other respiratory disease.
 
Man Swims 5 Hours To Save His Family After Their Boat Capsized
The News - Current Events
July 11, 2013
man swims saves family
John Franklin Riggs swam for hours to reach help for his family, including two children, after their boat capsized in a storm. Riggs climbed rocks along the shoreline in the dark and knocked on the door of the first house he saw early Wednesday.

“He came to the right house,” said Angela Byrd, whose dog’s barking awakened her. She found 46-year-old Riggs outside, soaking wet and barefoot.

“He said, `I’ve been swimming since sundown; I need help,’ ” she told the Daily Times.
 
Distant earthquakes can affect oil, gas fields : Study
The News - Natural Disasters
July 11, 2013
distant earthquake damage
The powerful earthquake that rocked Japan in 2011 set off tremors around a West Texas oil field, according to new research that suggests oil and gas drilling operations may make fault zones sensitive to shock waves from distant big quakes.

It's long been known that large quakes can trigger minor jolts thousands of miles from the epicenter. Volcanically active spots like Yellowstone National Park often experience shaking after a large distant event. Less is known about the influence of remote quakes on fault lines that have been weakened by man-made activity like the deep disposal of wastewater at the Texas oil field. A new study led by researchers at Columbia University and published Friday in the journal Science suggests a strong quake that strikes halfway around the globe can set off small to mid-size quakes near injection wells in the U.S. heartland.
 
Solar Tsunami Used to Measure Sun's Magnetic Field
The News - Science-Astronomy
July 11, 2013
solar tsunami
A solar tsunami observed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Japanese Hinode spacecraft has been used to provide the first accurate estimates of the Sun's magnetic field. Solar tsunamis are produced by enormous explosions in the Sun's atmosphere called coronal mass ejections (CMEs). As the CME travels out into space, the tsunami travels across the Sun at speeds of up to 1000 kilometres per second.

Similar to tsunamis on Earth, the shape of solar tsunamis is changed by the environment through which they move. Just as sound travels faster in water than in air, solar tsunamis have a higher speed in regions of stronger magnetic field. This unique feature allowed the team, led by researchers from UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory, to measure the Sun's magnetic field. The results are outlined in a paper soon to be published in the journal Solar Physics.
 
Why the Southwest Keeps Seeing Droughts
The News - Climate-Environment
July 11, 2013
2013 southwest drought
Severe drought parched the Southwest from Texas to California and heat waves set record-high temperatures. A New Mexico firestorm nearly killed 24 firefighters.

Sound familiar? Those were actually the events of 1950 in America, not 2013. In that year, natural cycles in Pacific and Atlantic oceans' sea-surface temperatures combined to create extreme heat and drought across the United States. And the pattern is repeating. About 10 years ago, the two ocean patterns flipped into the same drought-causing phase as in the 1950s. Because of the change, climate scientists have predicted drier-than-normal conditions in the Southwest for the next 20 to 30 years. But this time, unlike in the 1950s, the climate patterns are getting a boost from global warming, making the heat and drought more extreme.
 
Pictures: Extremely Wild Weather
The News - Climate-Environment
July 10, 2013
Volcano Lightning, Landslides, Tornadoes, and More...
 
Pandemic Risk? Troubling Traits of H7N9 Avian Flu Virus
The News - Current Events
July 10, 2013
H7N9 virus
The emerging H7N9 avian influenza virus responsible for at least 37 deaths in China has qualities that could potentially spark a global outbreak of flu, according to a new study published July 10, 2013 in the journal Nature.

An international team led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tokyo conducted a comprehensive analysis of two of the first human isolates of the virus from patients in China. Their efforts revealed the H7N9 virus's ability to infect and replicate in several species of mammals, including ferrets and monkeys, and to transmit in ferrets -- data that suggests H7N9 viruses have the potential to become a worldwide threat to human health.
 
Animated: How The West Coast Will Look Under 25 Feet Of Water
The News - Climate-Environment
July 10, 2013
west coast under water
Back in April, artist Nickolay Lamm put together a collection of illustrations of what some of the East Coast's popular tourist destinations would look like under 25 feet of water, the potential sea level rise expected in the next few centuries. Since then, he's added a few new destinations along the West Coast in California.

Lamm, who used sea level rise data and maps from Climate Central, first posted the images on the blog for StorageFront.com, a search engine for self storage. We went ahead and put them into GIF form to really show the difference in water levels. The basic moral: Head for the hills, California beach bunnies. [POPSCI]
 
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