Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dimming the Sun

New evidence has masked the full impact of global warming suggests the world may soon face a heightened climate crisis.

In the early 21st century, it's become clear that air pollution can significantly reduce the amount of sunlight reaching Earth, lower temperatures, and mask the warming effects of greenhouse gases. Climate researcher James Hansen estimates that "global dimming" is cooling our planet by more than a degree Celsius (1.8°F) and fears that as we cut back on the pollution that contributes to dimming, global warming may escalate to a point of no return. Regrettably, in terms of possibly taking corrective action, our current understanding of global dimming has been a long time in the coming, considering the first hints of the phenomenon date back to 18th-century observations of volcanic eruptions.
Go to Nova's Dimming the Sun Website

Scientists fear impact of Asian pollutants on U.S.

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- From 500 miles in space, satellites track brown clouds of dust, soot and other toxic pollutants from China and elsewhere in Asia as they stream across the Pacific and take dead aim at the western U.S.
A fleet of tiny, specially equipped unmanned aerial vehicles, launched from an island in the East China Sea 700 or so miles downwind of Beijing, are flying through the projected paths of the pollution taking chemical samples and recording temperatures, humidity levels and sunlight intensity in the clouds of smog.
On the summit of 9,000-foot Mt. Bachelor in central Oregon and near sea level at Cheeka Peak on Washington state's Olympic Peninsula, monitors track the pollution as it arrives in America.
By some estimates more than 10 billion pounds of airborne pollutants from Asia - ranging from soot to mercury to carbon dioxide to ozone - reach the U.S. annually. The problem is only expected to worsen: Some Chinese officials have warned that pollution in their country could quadruple in the next 15 years.
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China quake kills 27, destroys 180,000 homes

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese rescue teams carrying tents, quilts and sacks of rice rushed Sunday to reach survivors of an earthquake that killed at least 27 people, turned tens of thousands of homes into rubble and cracked reservoirs.
The 6.1-magnitude quake struck Sichuan province on Saturday along the same fault line as the May 12 earthquake that killed nearly 70,000.
Dozens of evacuees were assembled on a primary school field in Panzhihua, footage from state broadcaster China Central Television showed. Wrapped in quilts, the evacuees, including children and the elderly, lay on plastic sheets and mats on the ground.
Saturday's quake killed 22 people in Sichuan and five in the neighboring province of Yunnan, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The quake damaged major bridges and cracked three reservoirs, the agency said.
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Deadly Gustav Assaults Cuba

HAVANA, Aug. 30 -- Gustav slammed into Cuba's tobacco-growing western tip as a monstrous Category 4 hurricane Saturday, while tens of thousands of Cubans scrambled to flee the path of the fast-growing storm.
Forecasters said Gustav hit Cuba's mainland after passing over its Isla de la Juventud province, where screaming 150 mph winds toppled telephone poles and mango and almond trees, and peeled back the tin roofs of homes.
Isla de la Juventud civil defense chief Ana Isla said there were "many people injured" but no reports of deaths on the island of 87,000 people south of mainland Cuba. She said nearly all its roads were washed out and that some regions were heavily flooded.
Cuba's top meteorologist, José Rubiera, said the hurricane's massive center hit the country's mainland near the community of Los Palacios in Pinar del Rio -- a region that produces much of the tobacco used to make Cuba's famed cigars. There, the storm knocked down power lines, shattered windows and blew the roofs off some small homes.
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New Orleans Mayors Warns of 'Storm of the Century'

ABC News

Resident Larry Denny Won't Evacuate, Says 'Someone Has to Protect My Home'

But for Denny's wife Charlotte, excuses about the levees readiness are not good enough.
"If those levees don't hold, it will be the end [for New Orleans]," said Charlotte. "We are hanging on by our fingernails."
"I went to Hoover Dam and I didn't see any leaks; why should our levees be leaking?" said Denny. "It's terrifying."
The predicted wind speeds, said Nagin, are yet another aspect of the storm that he says the city simply cannot beat.
"There is not a building in this city rated above 150 mph [in wind resistance]," said Nagin.
In the Lower Ninth Ward, one of the areas hit the hardest during Katrina, most residents had already fled town -- not willing to take the same risk at the Denny family and others like them who were determined to stay for the storm.
The Lower Ninth Ward seemed like a ghost town, other than a few stragglers still packing cars -- and one man simply walking down the street crying and screaming, "Why are you doing this to me?" It was clear that the area was listening to Nagin's warnings.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

What if our enlightenment has to do with light?

Over the past year I have heard numerous contemporary spiritual teachers, such as Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and Marianne Williamson, predict a profound shift in consciousness accompanied with an evolution to the next stage of humanity.
Where? When? How? I wanted to know. Could it be the fervor of an election year and promise of change? Could it be related to the intriguing prophecies of 2012 which predict a major transformation?
But then, like Goldilocks, something felt “just right” when I read Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation (August issue of Ode) What if our enlightenment has to do with light?

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Go to: Democratic Energy, Every car, home or landowner will become an electricity producer at the same time. Away with dependence on oil and electricity companies!

Eco communities: Living the green life

By Mark Tutton for CNN

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The term "eco community" might conjure up an image of bearded hippies tending an allotment before sharing a mung bean stew. But as today's urbanites become more concerned about reducing their carbon footprints, some are finding that modern eco communities offer them a way to live sustainably without foregoing their home comforts.
Communities that put an emphasis on green values range from isolated eco villages to sophisticated co-housing projects.
Co-housing was dreamed up in Denmark in the idealistic 60s. It allows residents to live in communities where they own their own homes but are actively involved in running their own neighborhoods, which often include a common house where shared dining and other activities are an option.
Sarah Berger, from the UK Co-housing Network, told CNN, "More and more people keep contacting us about getting involved in co-housing communities -- there's an unquenchable thirst for this sort of thing."
As well as co-housing being widespread in Europe, the U.S. Co-housing Association claims there are more than 150 co-housing communities in the U.S.

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Earth's warming threatens Alaska's vast forests

Here in a 13,700-year-old peat bog, ecologist Ed Berg reaches into the moss and pulls out more evidence of the drastic changes afoot due to the Earth's warming climate.
Rooting through a handful of mossy duff, Dr Berg, an ecologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, shows remains of shrubs and other plants taking hold over the last 30 years in a patch of ground that has long been too soggy for woody plants to grow.
In other words, the ground is drying out, and the peat bog is turning into forest.
"There has been a big change," Dr Berg said. "Core samples taken from the bog show moss nearly 22 feet under the ground, with no sign of trees or shrubs growing here for centuries. In 50 years, the bog could be covered by black spruce trees."
Records indicate that Alaska has already experienced the largest regional warming of any US state - an average five degrees Fahrenheit since the 1960s and about eight degrees Fahrenheit in the interior of the state during winter months.

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Sloshing Inside Earth Changes Protective Magnetic Field

By Jeremy Hsu

Something beneath the surface is changing Earth's protective magnetic field, which may leave satellites and other space assets vulnerable to high-energy radiation.
The gradual weakening of the overall magnetic field can take hundreds and even thousands of years. But smaller, more rapid fluctuations within months may leave satellites unprotected and catch scientists off guard, new research finds.
A new model uses satellite data from the past nine years to show how sudden fluid motions within the Earth's core can alter the magnetic envelope around our planet. This represents the first time that researchers have been able to detect such rapid magnetic field changes taking place over just a few months.

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Magnitude 4.5 earthquake shakes eastern Japan

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) - A earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.5 jolted eastern Japan on Wednesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The quake, at 3:13 p.m. (2:13 a.m. EDT), was felt in Tokyo.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning was issued.

Earthquake hits Yunnan, south-west China

An earthquake has hit the Yunnan province in south-west China, state media has reported. The quake has knocked down buildings and forced the evacuation of 1,200 people. There are currently no reports of any casualties. The US Geological Survey claims the epicentre was 140 miles west of Dali, in Yunnan and 40 miles south east of Myitkyina in Burma. The earthquake was recorded at a magnitude of 5.3 and at a depth of 8.5km.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Climate Change: Antarctic Fossils Paint Picture Of Much Warmer Continent

"The international team of scientists headed by David Marchant, an earth scientist at Boston University and Allan Ashworth and Adam Lewis, geoscientists at North Dakota State University, combined evidence from glacial geology, paleoecology, dating of volcanic ashes and computer modeling, to report a major climate change centered on 14 million years ago."

ScienceDaily (Aug. 6, 2008) — National Science Foundation-funded scientists working in an ice-free region of Antarctica have discovered the last traces of tundra--in the form of fossilized plants and insects--on the interior of the southernmost continent before temperatures began a relentless drop millions of years ago.
An abrupt and dramatic climate cooling of 8 degrees Celsius, over a relatively brief period of geological time roughly 14 million years ago, forced the extinction of tundra plants and insects and transformed the interior of Antarctica into a perpetual deep-freeze from which it has never emerged.

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Mind set: Earth purifies self?

by Julie Redstone
It may be difficult for us to imagine how the earth, which appears to us to be a solid mass of complexly interrelated parts, may be having an intention to purify and can be undergoing a process we normally associate with human beings on a spiritual path. And even if it is true of the planetary body, we may well wonder how this happens and how it can affect weather patterns. The ‘Great Purification’ of the earth has been spoken of by the Hopi and by other indigenous people as the prelude to a great transition of life and consciousness that the planet shall go through. This transition has also been prophesied within other ancient traditions as well as by individual seers. The purification to which those ancient ones refer is happening all around us. It is revealed in the altered weather patterns that are becoming commonplace around the globe. Today, in the mid-West of the United States where massive flooding is taking place, and not too long ago in the West where fires raged out of control, or in the South where hurricanes took their toll, weather patterns have become extreme, and people everywhere are saying: “I've never seen anything like this before.” Purification of the earth takes place through a shift in the energy configuration that regulates the relationship of impulses within the ‘nerve centre’ of the planetary body as they are transmitted throughout the biophysical system.

Violent storms spawn tornadoes in Chicago area

CHICAGO (AP) — Crews began cleaning up downed trees and restoring power across northern Illinois on Tuesday after a line of powerful storms ripped through the area, spawning at least two tornadoes.
The National Weather Service confirmed that tornadoes touched down in the Chicago suburbs of Bloomingdale and Bolingbrook late Monday. A third tornado touched down in Griffith, Ind.
A tornado and other high winds damaged 25 homes, including two left uninhabitable when winds ripped off parts of roofs, said Bolingbrook Assistant Fire Chief Robert Mierop. No one was injured.

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Death toll mounts from Pakistan floods, thousands displaced

The death toll from flash floods that hit parts of north and east Pakistan on Monday has risen to more than 100, according German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur.
Most of the casualties were in North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and neighbouring tribal areas near the Afghan border, where roofs collapsed and the flooding destroyed several hundred mud houses, DPA said, citing the Urdu-language Express newspaper. The Pakistani paper reported that 25 people died when three rescue boats capsized near Peshawar.
The head of the provincial flood warning centre at Izat Khan told Dawn newspaper that overflowing rivers had devastated an area with a radius of 15 to 18 km.

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Strong earthquake hits western China; 1 killed

BEIJING (AP) — A strong aftershock struck a western Chinese region where a May earthquake killed almost 70,000 people, shaking buildings a few hours after the Olympic torch relay passed through the area Tuesday. One person was killed and 23 injured.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at magnitude-6.0. It struck shortly before 6:00 p.m. local time and the USGS said the epicenter was 30 miles northwest of Guangyuan town in Sichuan province at a depth of 6 miles.

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