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Haiti earthquake could be 3rd largest deathtoll in past 100 yrs
The News - Natural Disasters
January 23, 2010
The Haitian government said Friday that more than 110,000 people have been killed in the deadly Jan. 12 earthquake, which could make the number of deaths resulting from a quake the third highest since the beginning of the 20th century. (KYODO NEWS )
Earth Not Properly Protected from Asteroids
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 22, 2010

The United States must do more to safeguard the 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 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 catalogue 90 percent of the nearby asteroids that are 460 feet (140 meters) across or larger as directed by Congress.

Strong hurricanes may double?
The News - Natural Disasters
January 22, 2010

The strongest Atlantic hurricanes may almost double in frequency by the end of the century as the planet warms, US scientists said yesterday in the journal Science.

Occurrence of the most destructive hurricanes may rise 81 percent over 80 years while the total number of storms, including weaker systems, is projected to drop by 28 percent, the researchers said. The net effect may be to increase property damage by 30 percent, Tom Knutson, a coauthor of the study, said.

“There will be fewer storms, more of these more intense storms, and it works out to some increase in damage potential,’’ said Knutson, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The 81 percent rise translates to about a doubling over a century, he said.

Haiti at risk for another big aftershock
The News - Natural Disasters
January 21, 2010
haiti risk big earthquake aftershock
Haiti can expect more aftershocks in coming weeks, and while the usual pattern suggests they will become weaker and less frequent, another one as strong as Wednesday's jolt is certainly possible, scientists say.

The battered nation has felt more than 45 significant aftershocks since the Jan. 12 quake. Wednesday's event, originally estimated at magnitude 6.1 but later revised to a 5.9, tied an earlier aftershock as the strongest so far.

These events are a sign the land is adjusting to "the new reality of the rock layers," said Bruce Pressgrave, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Eric Calais of Purdue University, who has studied earthquake potential in the region, said aftershocks could continue for several weeks and that another jolt as strong as Wednesday's would not be surprising.

"They will be less and less frequent, but large ones can still strike," he said. So buildings are still at risk, especially those already weakened, he said.

Humans Might Have Faced Extinction 1 Million Years Ago
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 21, 2010
New genetic findings suggest that early humans living about one million years ago were extremely close to extinction.

The genetic evidence suggests that the effective population—an indicator of genetic diversity—of early human species back then, including Homo erectus, H. ergaster and archaic H. sapiens, was about 18,500 individuals (it is thought that modern humans evolved from H. erectus), says Lynn Jorde, a human geneticist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. That figure translates into a total population of 55,500 individuals, tops.
Eight UFO cases that generate news
The News - Weird-Strange
January 21, 2010
ufo cases explored
UFO investigators see references to rocket ships, aliens and astronauts that go back to the days when humans first put chisel and paintbrush to rock. More than 6,000 years later, objects that are unidentified - at least at first - continue to appear in the skies and generate buzz.

Take, for example, the blazing pinwheel that appeared in Norwegian skies in December 2009, shown here. The sight sparked speculation that aliens were sending earthlings a signal. Other researchers speculated – and the Russian military later confirmed – that a missile failed.

NBC space analyst James Oberg says the incident fits into a long tradition of UFO sightings over Russia that are caused by secret military and space activities. Even when there's a prosaic explanation for the sightings, they can provide useful information about covert activities. ( 8 Pages @ MSNBC )

Istanbul Earthquake? Expect one along the North Anatolian Fault
The News - Natural Disasters
January 19, 2010
istanbul earthquake future
The chain of earthquakes along the North Anatolian fault shows a gap south of Istanbul. The expected earthquakes in this region represent an extreme danger for the Turkish megacity. A new computer study now shows that the tensions in this part of the fault zone could trigger several earthquakes instead of one individual large quake event.

In the latest issue of Nature Geoscience Tobias Hergert of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology and Oliver Heidbach of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences present the results of the computer simulation, which was developed within the framework of the CEDIM (Centre for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology).project "Megacity Istanbul."

The Izmit-Earthquake of August 1999 resulted in 18,000 death victims and was, with a magnitude of 7.4, the most recent quake of a series, which began in 1939 to the east of Turkey and gradually ran along the plate border between the Anatolian and the Eurasian Plate from east to west. Therefore, the next quake in this series is expected to take place west of Izmit, i.e. south of Istanbul. The city has, thus, a threatening earthquake risk.

Yellowstone swarm of earthquakes
The News - Natural Disasters
January 19, 2010
Yellowstone National Park has been rattled by more than 250 earthquakes in the past two days following a period of 11 months of quiet seismic activity in the park.

The quakes have been gaining strength, with a 3.1 tremor recorded at 11:03 a.m. today. A 2.9 quake was recorded at 12:38 p.m.

Prof. Robert B. Smith, a geophysicist at the University of Utah and one of the leading experts on earthquake and volcanic activity at Yellowstone, said that the activity is a "notable swarm."

"The swarm is located about 10 miles northwest of Old Faithful, Wyo., and nine miles southeast of West Yellowstone, Montana," said Smith.

Jamie Farrell, a doctoral student in geophysics who works with Smith at the University of Utah, said that as of 3 p.m. today, 270 quakes have been recorded in the past two days. Farrell said the quakes are occurring in an area about 5 miles from where the largest swarm of quakes was ever recorded in October 1985. Quakes in the current swarm have ranged in magnitude of 0.5 to 3.1.

Farrell said there have been reports of at least one of the tremors being felt in the park, but he is expecting more reports as the earthquakes continue.

Smith said such swarms are "relatively common." Today's tremors seem to be normal tectonic activity, and is "not an indication" that some sort of volcanic activity will occur.

Earthquake Threat Lurks For United States
The News - Natural Disasters
January 17, 2010
As disaster crews and scientists investigate the havoc wrought in Haiti, questions emerge as to whether such a vastly destructive disaster could happen at home in the United States. In fact, cities are located near dangerous earthquake zones all throughout the country, from the most infamous on the West Coast to potential time bombs in the Midwest and even on the Eastern Seaboard.
Extent of Haiti earthquake destruction clear
The News - Natural Disasters
January 17, 2010

The destruction caused at the epicentre of Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti is even more dramatic than in the ruined capital, a BBC correspondent says.

Tens of thousands of people there are living in the open, and the population is in profound shock, he says.

Survivors in the capital, Port-au-Prince, have become desperate as they wait for aid gradually being handed out under an international relief effort.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to arrive in Haiti on Sunday.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the first senior Western official to arrive in Haiti on Saturday.

She told Haitians that the US would be "here today, tomorrow and for the time ahead", asserting that "Haiti can come back even better and stronger in the future".

The US has launched what President Barack Obama called "one of the largest relief efforts in its history" following the earthquake, which killed tens of thousands of people and left many more homeless.

 haiti earthquake destruction death toll

Haiti Earthquake Devastation blamed on lack of building codes
The News - Natural Disasters
January 14, 2010
haiti earthquake death destruction
In many ways, the catastrophic quake that struck Haiti on Tuesday was the perfect storm: A massive, shallow eruption below a densely populated city with few, if any, building codes.

The magnitude 7.0 quake occurred along the boundary separating two major tectonic plates, the Caribbean and North American plates.

Most of the movement along these plates is what is known as left-lateral strike slip motion, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, with the Caribbean Plate moving eastward in relation to the North American Plate.

Kate Hutton, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology, said the quake was similar to quakes seen along the San Andreas Fault: It was shallow, a fact that enhances the intensity and makes it more localized to the region right along the fault.

"We are not surprised by any of it," Hutton said.

The Haiti quake had many similarities with the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in Northern California. That quake, said Tom Heaton, director of Caltech's Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory, "caused a lot of damage, but it wasn't a disaster like this in terms of the number of people injured and killed."

Haiti Earthquake Disaster Little Surprise to Some
The News - Natural Disasters
January 14, 2010

The devastating magnitude 7.0 quake that ripped through Haiti Tuesday, reportedly killing thousands, did not catch everyone by surprise.

In an interview last week for an unrelated story, Robert Yeats, a professor emeritus in geoscience at Oregon State University in Corvallis and co-author of a June 1989 article for Scientific American "Hidden Earthquakes," said that an imminent big west coast earthquake concerned him far less than a "big one" that might occur in Haiti, due to the large fault near the capital city of Port-au-Prince - and the poverty-driven low level of earthquake-preparedness there.

"If they have an earthquake on this fault that runs through Port-au-Prince," the death toll would be tremendous, he said January 6.

Haiti Earthquake Occurred in Complex / Active Seismic Region

Doomsday Clock - Six minutes to midnight
The News - Current Events
January 14, 2010

The minute hand of the famous Doomsday Clock has been moved to six minutes to midnight - one minute further away from human annihilation than before.

The timepiece in New York conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction, which is represented by midnight.

It is changed periodically by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists board, which includes Professor Stephen Hawking and 18 other Nobel scientists.

Haiti earthquake death toll around 50,000+
The News - Natural Disasters
January 14, 2010
haiti earthquake death toll
The Red Cross estimates 45,000-50,000 people have died in Haiti's devastating earthquake, as rescue teams race against time to find survivors.

The US is sending up to 3,500 troops and 2,200 marines but correspondents say aid is so far only trickling in.

President Barack Obama pledged one of the biggest relief efforts in recent US history and said Haiti would "not be forgotten" in its hour of need.

Aid groups say they need food, water, medical supplies and lifting equipment.

The Red Cross estimates that up to three million people in Haiti have been affected by Tuesday's earthquake.

Haiti Earthquake - "Hellish" - Thousands feared dead
The News - Natural Disasters
January 13, 2010
Haiti Earthquake massive
Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after a powerful earthquake flattened the president's palace, the cathedral, hospitals, schools, the main prison and whole neighborhoods. Officials feared hundreds of thousands may have perished but there was no firm count.

Death was everywhere in Port-au-Prince. Bodies of tiny children were piled next to schools. Corpses of women lay on the street with stunned expressions frozen on their faces as flies began to gather. Bodies of men were covered with plastic tarps or cotton sheets.

President Rene Preval said he believes thousands were killed in Tuesday afternoon's magnitude-7.0 quake, and the scope of the destruction prompted other officials to give even higher estimates. Leading Sen. Youri Latortue told The Associated Press that 500,000 could be dead, although he acknowledged that nobody really knows.

"Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed," Preval told the Miami Herald. "There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them."

Quake-stunned Haitians pile bodies...

France fears everyone inside U.N. HQ dead...

Presidential Palace Collapsed in Haiti Earthquake

Map of Haiti Earthquake and Locations

Up to 3 million in need...
US Red Cross runs out of medical supplies...
VIDEO: Dog bolts from office before quake tremors strike building... 

Doomsday Clock moved today
The News - Current Events
January 13, 2010

The minute hand of the famous Doomsday Clock will be moved at 3pm tomorrow afternoon, for the first time in two years.

The timepiece in New York conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction, which is represented by midnight.

It was created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947, two years after the U.S dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan in World War II. It was originally set at seven minutes to midnight.

The clock has been altered 18 times since then by the Bulletin's scientific board. This now includes Professor Stephen Hawking and 18 other Nobel laureates.

The latest recorded time was two minutes to midnight in 1953 as the Cold War heated up between the U.S and Soviet Union.


Mystery object will whiz past Earth
The News - Science-Astronomy
January 12, 2010
mystery object past earth
A near-Earth object that could be human-made has just been discovered hurtling toward us. On Wednesday, the object called 2010 AL30 will fly by Earth at a distance of just 80,000 miles (130,000 kilometers). That's only one-third of the way from here to the moon — that is, very close.

It will miss us, and if it did hit us, it wouldn't do any damage anyway, but I managed to pick up on some chatter between planetary scientists and found out that the "asteroid," or whatever it is, gives us a new standard: A 10-meter-wide (33-foot-wide) asteroid can be detected two days before it potentially hits Earth. A pretty useful warning, if you ask me.

Expert astronomers will be able to observe it shining with a brightness of a 14th-magnitude star (the approximate brightness of Pluto's weak glow as seen from Earth) as it dashes through the constellations of Orion, Taurus, and Pisces. (Further details about the orbit of 2010 AL30 can be found on NASA's Solar System Dynamics Web site).

Doomsday clock will be moved January 14th
The News - Current Events
January 11, 2010
doomsday clock will move january 14th
Factors In Change to Include Nuclear Proliferation, Weapon Stockpile Shifts, and Climate Change -  Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Will Open Event to World With Real-Time Streaming Web Broadcast.

NEW YORK CITY - NEWS ADVISORY - January 14, 2010 - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) will move the minute hand of its famous "Doomsday Clock " at 10 a.m. EST/1500 GMT on January 14, 2010 in New York City. For the first time ever, the event will be opened up to the general public via a live Web feed at http://www.TurnBackTheClock.org.

The last time the Doomsday Clock minute hand moved was in January 2007, when the Clock's minute hand was pushed forward by two minutes from seven to five minutes before midnight.

The precise time to be shown on the updated Doomsday Clock will not be announced until the live news conference in New York City takes place on January 14, 2010. Factors influencing the latest Doomsday Clock change include international negotiations on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, expansion of civilian nuclear power, the possibilities of nuclear terrorism, and climate change.

Now we're back to global cooling? WHICH IS IT!?
The News - Climate-Environment
January 11, 2010

Britain's big freeze is the start of a worldwide trend towards colder weather that seriously challenges global warming theories, eminent scientists claimed yesterday.

The world has entered a 'cold mode' which is likely to bring a global dip in temperatures which will last for 20 to 30 years, they say.

Summers and winters will all be cooler than in recent years, and the changes will mean that global warming will be 'paused' or even reversed, it was claimed.

  Cyclists ride through the snow in Richmond Park
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