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Earthquakes were worst natural disaster the past decade
The News - Natural Disasters
January 29, 2010
earthquakes worst natural disaster past decade

Almost 60% of the people killed by natural disasters in the past decade lost their lives in earthquakes, a UN-backed report has revealed.

Storms were responsible for 22% of lives lost, while extreme temperatures caused 11% of deaths from 2000 to 2009.

In total, 3,852 disasters killed more than 780,000 people, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).

Asia was the worst-affected continent, accounting for 85% of all fatalities. The decade's deadliest disaster was the 2004 Asian tsunami, which killed more than 220,000 people when a series of waves devastated coastal areas around the Indian Ocean.

Cyclone Nargis, which swept across Burma in 2008 claimed 138,000 lives, while the European heatwave of 2003 was blamed for 72,000 deaths. Data from CRED estimated that a further two billion people were affected by the catastrophes, which left a trail of destruction that cost in excess of US $960bn (£598bn).

 See Also : The Worst Natural Disasters by Death Toll, Natural Disasters List - Mother Earth's wrath

 
Solar Flare to hit Earth in 2012?
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 30, 2010

Will a solar flare hit Earth in 2012?

Well, an analyst on FOX news has stated in clear terms there theoretically should be a solar storm, increased activity, and a potential solar flare that could DRASTICALLY interfere with Earth.

This site does not make predictions. This is a clear cut interview from a leading theoretical physicist. There are so many 2012 predictions and 2012 prophecies being touted around, so we will as always leave this up to you to interpret.

 

 
Should we be seeking contact with extraterrestrials?
The News - Weird-Strange
January 29, 2010
hostile aliens ufos
In 2008, NASA beamed the Beatles song "Across the Universe" into deep space, sending a message of peace to any extraterrestrial who happens to be in the region of Polaris, also called the North Star, in 2439.

"Amazing! Well done, NASA!" Paul McCartney said. "Send my love to the aliens."

Who could argue with such a well-meaning, positive initiative? Quite a few, actually. As the citizens of Planet Earth strive ever more enthusiastically to reach E.T., some experts say numerous messages zipping through the cosmos are confusing or little more than space spam.

Others ask who has the right to represent our world to the galaxy -- or question the wisdom of bellowing out our presence in what may be a hostile neighbourhood.

 
Rise in natural disasters over past decade
The News - Natural Disasters
January 28, 2010
natural disasters rise 2000 to 2009

There has been a "dramatic" rise in natural disasters during the past decade, the director of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) said on Thursday.

"The number of events have gone up very, very dramatically," CRED Director Debarati Guha-Sapir said in Geneva.

During the 2000 to 2009 period, there were 385 disasters, an increase of 233 percent since 1980 to 1989, and of 67 percent since 1990 to 1999, according to CRED data.

Though earthquakes made up 60 percent of natural disasters from 2000 to 2009, climate-related events, such as droughts, storms and floods, have made up the majority of disasters overall, increasing tenfold since data was first collected in 1950.

 
Universe Is 30 Times More Run Down Than Thought
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 28, 2010
universe run down

Cars run out of petrol, stars run out of fuel and galaxies collapse into black holes. As they do, the universe and everything in it is gradually running down. But how run down is it? Researchers from The Australian National University have found that the universe is 30 times more run down than previously thought.

PhD student Chas Egan and Dr Charley Lineweaver from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics have computed the entropy of the universe. Scientists compute entropy to find out how efficient an engine is or how much work can be extracted from a fuel or how run down and disordered a system is. Using new data on the number and size of black holes they found that the universe contains 30 times more entropy than earlier estimates.

"We considered all contributions to the entropy of the observable universe: stars, star light, the cosmic microwave background. We even made an estimate of the entropy of dark matter. But it's the entropy of super-massive black holes that dominates the entropy of the universe. When we used the new data on the number and size of super-massive black holes, we found that the entropy of the observable universe is about 30 times larger than previous calculations," said Mr Egan.

 
Climate change to triple Australia fire danger
The News - Climate-Environment
January 28, 2010
Australia climate change fires
Climate change could more than triple the risk of catastrophic wildfires in parts of Australia, a top environmental group warned Thursday, almost a year since savage firestorms that killed 173 people.

Greenpeace warned that, without a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the frequency of severe fire danger in drought-parched southeastern Australia would grow threefold by 2050.

"Catastrophic" conditions similar to those ahead of February's so-called "Black Saturday" wildfires which killed 173 people in towns around Melbourne would occur once every three years, instead of once in every 33.

"The frequency of catastrophic fire danger could increase more than tenfold in Melbourne, and the number of total fire ban days could triple in Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra by 2050," according to a Greenpeace report entitled "Future Risk."

 
Honesty from scientists in global warming debate required
The News - Climate-Environment
January 28, 2010

Scientists must be more 'honest and open' about the uncertainties of global warming, the Government's chief scientific adviser declared yesterday.

Professor John Beddington said climate researchers should be less hostile to sceptics who question their predictions.

But he added that the underlying physics of climate change - that carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels warms the planet - was 'unchallengeable'.

Professor Beddington's comments follow a series of blunders by climate scientists.

Last week, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was forced to apologise after wrongly claiming most of the Himalayan glaciers would vanish within 25 years.

The warning, which appeared in the IPCC's 2007 report, turned out to be taken from a news story from New Scientist magazine in the late 1990s based on an interview with a glacier expert. The expert later admitted his comment was speculation.

The same report also exaggerated claims that global warming will increase the number of tropical storms.
 
Forecasting Solar Flares - Solar Weather Predictions
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 26, 2010
solar flare space weather predictions
A team of solar scientists says they have improved on approaches that predict the eruption of solar flares, violent bursts of energy that can damage satellites, threaten astronauts in orbit and even disrupt the power grid on the ground. Space agencies, airlines, satellite operators and power utilities would like to have access to better forecasts of all kinds of space weather - the charged particles and streams of radiation spewed out in irregular burps and blasts by the sun.

To that end, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research scientist Alysha Reinard and her colleagues made use of data from the Global Oscillation Network Group (GONG), a set of six telescopes around the globe that together keeps a continuous watch on the sun. GONG takes helioseismology measurements, tracking oscillations on the sun's surface that point to its convective inner workings.
 
Fundamental uncertainty in climate change, science tsar says
The News - Climate-Environment
January 26, 2010
climate change uncertainty

The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.

John Beddington was speaking to The Times in the wake of an admission by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that it grossly overstated the rate at which Himalayan glaciers were receding.

Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.

He said that public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly-disputed issues.

 
NASA's WISE Eye searches for Near-Earth Asteroid
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 26, 2010
NASA WISE Asteroid program
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has spotted its first never-before-seen near-Earth asteroid, the first of hundreds it is expected to find during its mission to map the whole sky in infrared light. There is no danger of the newly discovered asteroid hitting Earth.

The near-Earth object, designated 2010 AB78, was discovered by WISE Jan. 12. The mission's sophisticated software picked out the moving object against a background of stationary stars. As WISE circled Earth, scanning the sky above, it observed the asteroid several times during a period of one-and-a-half days before the object moved beyond its view. Researchers then used the University of Hawaii's 2.2-meter (88-inch) visible-light telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea to follow up and confirm the discovery.

The asteroid is currently about 158 million kilometers (98 million miles) from Earth. It is estimated to be roughly 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) in diameter and circles the sun in an elliptical orbit tilted to the plane of our solar system. The object comes as close to the sun as Earth, but because of its tilted orbit, it will not pass very close to Earth for many centuries. This asteroid does not pose any foreseeable impact threat to Earth, but scientists will continue to monitor it.

 
Deadly Quake in a Seismic Hot Zone
The News - Natural Disasters
January 26, 2010

To scientists who study seismic hazards in the Caribbean, there was no surprise in the magnitude 7 earthquake that devastated the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, two weeks ago.

Except, perhaps, in where on the island of Hispaniola it occurred.

“If I had had to make a bet, I would have bet that the first earthquake would have taken place in the northern Dominican Republic, not Haiti,” said Eric Calais, a geophysicist at Purdue University who has conducted research in the area for years.

The fault that ruptured violently on Jan. 12 had been building up strain since the last major earthquake in Port-au-Prince, 240 years ago. Dr. Calais and others had warned in 2008 that a quake could occur along that segment, part of what is called the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone, although they could not predict when.

haiti earthquake deadly seismic hotzone
 
Are we alone? We may soon find out
The News - Weird-Strange
January 26, 2010
Rapid technological leaps forward in the last 10 years mean mankind is closer than ever before to knowing whether extra-terrestrial life exists in our galaxy, one of Britain's leading scientists said on Tuesday.

Astronomer and President of the Royal Society (academy of science) Martin Rees said science had made enormous progress in the search for planets grouped around other distant stars — a discipline he stressed did not exist in the 1990s.

"Now we know that most of the stars, like the sun, are likely to have planetary systems around them and we have every reason to suspect that many of them have planets that are rather like our earth," Rees told Reuters in an interview.

 
Scientists predict California 'super storms'
The News - Natural Disasters
January 24, 2010
california super storm
Think the recent wild weather that hammered California was bad? Experts are imagining far worse.

As torrential rains pelted wildfire-stripped hillsides and flooded highways, a team of scientists hunkered down at the California Institute of Technology to work on a "Frankenstorm" scenario — a mother lode wintry blast that could potentially sock the Golden State.

The hypothetical but plausible storm would be similar to the 1861-1862 extreme floods that temporarily moved the state capital from Sacramento to San Francisco and forced the then-governor to attend his inauguration by rowboat.

The scenario "is much larger than anything in living memory," said project manager Dale Cox with the U.S. Geological Survey.

 
UN Climate change blunders - Global Warming / Natural Disasters
The News - Climate-Environment
January 24, 2010
The world's leading climate change scientists have been caught out making unfounded claims about global warming for the second time in just over a week.

Experts appointed by the United Nations said rising temperatures were to blame for an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

But it has emerged that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based the statement, made in 2007, on an unpublished report that had not been properly reviewed by other scientists. 

  Cockermouth flooding

False warning? Ministers linked floods in Cumbria last year to global warming

The report's author has since withdrawn the claim, saying there is not enough evidence to link climate change to worsening natural disasters, and criticised the use of his data as 'completely misleading'.

t follows the IPCC's admission that it was wrong to state in its influential 2007 Fourth Assessment Report that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035.

That assertion was based on ' speculation' featured in an eight-year-old article in New Scientist magazine.

 
Aliens could be hostile! Duhhh...
The News - Weird-Strange
January 24, 2010
hostile aliens

Scientists searching for alien life should get governments and the UN involved lest we unwittingly contact hostile extraterrestrials, a British astronomer has warned.

Mr Marek Kukula, public astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, said: "Part of me is with the enthusiasts and I would like us to try to make proactive contact with a wiser, more peaceful civilization."

But he warned: "We might like to assume that if there is intelligent life out there it is wise and benevolent, but of course we have no evidence for this.

"Given the consequences of contact may not be what we initially hoped for, then we need governments and the UN to get involved in any discussions," he told The Sunday Times.

 
Haiti capital earthquake death toll 'tops 150,000'
The News - Natural Disasters
January 24, 2010
Haiti Earthquake 150,000 dead

The confirmed death toll from Haiti's devastating earthquake has risen above 150,000 in the Port-au-Prince area alone, a government minister has said.

Communications minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said the count was based on bodies collected in and around the capital by state company CNE.

Many more remain uncounted under rubble in the capital and elsewhere, including the towns of Jacmel and Leogane.

The search for survivors has officially ended and the focus has shifted to aid.

As the death toll in Haiti has risen, it has become clear the 12 January quake is one of the worst natural disasters to have struck in recent years.

 
Terrorist threat level raised to 'severe'
The News - War-Draft
January 24, 2010

Britain's terrorist threat level was raised tonight from “substantial” to “severe” - meaning that counter-terrorism agencies believe an attack is “highly likely”.

The measure was approved at a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee and announced by Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary.

The Times understands that the decision to raise the threat level is connected to the conference on Afghanistan taking place at Lancaster House, London, next Thursday.

Sources said there had been intensive discussions throughout the day relating to intelligence suggesting a possible attempted “spectacular” by an al-Qaeda affiliated group.

 
U.S. must do more about asteroids
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 24, 2010
us asteroid impact policy
The United States must do more to safeguard Earth against destruction by an asteroid than merely prepping nuclear missiles, a new report has found.

The 134-page report, released Friday by the National Academy of Sciences, states that the $4 million spent by the United States annually to identify all potentially dangerous asteroids near Earth is not enough to do the job mandated by Congress in 2005.

NASA is in dire need of more funding to meet the challenge, and less than $1 million is currently set aside to research ways to counter space rocks that do endanger the Earth — measures like developing the spacecraft and technology to deflect incoming asteroids — the report states.

An early draft of the report, entitled "Defending the Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard-Mitigation Strategies," was released in August 2009. The final report, written by a committee of expert scientists, says NASA is ill-equipped to catalog 90 percent of the nearby asteroids that are 460 feet (140 meters) across or larger, as directed by Congress.

The United States should also be planning more methods of defending Earth against an asteroid threat in the near-term. Nuclear weapons should be a last resort — but they're also only useful if the world has years of advance notice of a large, incoming space rock, the report states.

 
Could tsunamis offer an electric warning?
The News - Natural Disasters
January 24, 2010
A killer surge of sea water racing across an ocean should, theoretically, generate an electrical current that ought to be detectable by existing undersea cables, say researchers.

The idea has been successfully modeled using what's known about the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It looks like the wave moving through the Earth's magnetic field probably generated a small electrical current. That, in turn, could be absorbed by undersea cables and ought to be noticed as a telltale power surge.

If so, then undersea cables could be a quick way to detect and monitor dangerous tsunamis in the open ocean.

 
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