Monday, November 19, 2012

Global Love Letters intro to the movement Part 1 of 4

Learning to Love Volatility

In a world that constantly throws big, unexpected events our way, we must learn to benefit from disorder, writes Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Several years before the financial crisis descended on us, I put forward the concept of "black swans": large events that are both unexpected and highly consequential. We never see black swans coming, but when they do arrive, they profoundly shape our world: Think of World War I, 9/11, the Internet, the rise of GoogleGOOG +2.02% .
In economic life and history more generally, just about everything of consequence comes from black swans; ordinary events have paltry effects in the long term. Still, through some mental bias, people think in hindsight that they "sort of" considered the possibility of such events; this gives them confidence in continuing to formulate predictions. But our tools for forecasting and risk measurement cannot begin to capture black swans. Indeed, our faith in these tools make it more likely that we will continue to take dangerous, uninformed risks.
Some made the mistake of thinking that I hoped to see us develop better methods for predicting black swans. Others asked if we should just give up and throw our hands in the air: If we could not measure the risks of potential blowups, what were we to do? The answer is simple: We should try to create institutions that won't fall apart when we encounter black swans—or that might even gain from these unexpected events.
Fragility is the quality of things that are vulnerable to volatility. Take the coffee cup on your desk: It wants peace and quiet because it incurs more harm than benefit from random events. The opposite of fragile, therefore, isn't robust or sturdy or resilient—things with these qualities are simply difficult to break. Read More

California Tackles Climate Change, But Will Others Follow?

Daniel Stone
Can California save the planet?
The state that has instigated every key U.S. effort to curb fossil-fuel emissions since the 1960s now will tackle the greatest challenge of all—reining in greenhouse gases—with a cap-and-trade system launched this week.
In a closed three-hour auction conducted online Wednesday, California's energy companies and large manufacturers placed their bids for 62 million permits that essentially give them the right to pollute. Using these chits and a healthy number of free permits California has allocated them, the businesses begin in January operating in a market-based program that officials hope will cut the state's carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent over the next eight years. (Related: "Pictures: Nine Surprisingly Gassy Cities")
The aim is ambitious, and for advocates of action on climate change, there is a larger goal still. They are hoping that California will lead the way to the kind of broader action on global warming that has been stymied both in Washington, D.C., and in international negotiations. (Related: "Climate Change Talks Hinge on 'Green Growth,' says De Boer")
"I think this will show that you can decouple economic growth from emissions growth," said Tim O'Connor, director of the Environmental Defense Fund's California Climate Initiative. "We think California will be the best of all examples. This is the strongest and boldest move yet in the U.S. to combat climate change." Read More

Monday, November 12, 2012

A consciousness of gratitude, a heart of thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Hymn
Our forefathers gave thanks to God, In the land by the stormy sea, For bread hard wrung from the iron sod, in cold and misery. Through every day meant toil and strife, In the land by the Wintry sea, They thanked their God for the gift of life, How much the more should be. — Charlotte Stetson. Blessings and thanksgiving enable us to increase every good that is in our life, until our world is filled with it. Take the time now to turn your thoughts upon something in your life that seems small now, or seems inefficient or insufficient. Say my soul magnifies the Lord (law) in me. Then realize that you are increasing your good, affairs and life by the power of spirit in you. God gives the increase, the process and the means is through a consciousness of gratitude, and a heart of thanksgiving. Let's go a step further and look at money, health, relationships, careers and retirements. Specifically look at something that is the key to a better life, empowered or increased life. If you have a little good or you want and need more good in your life, recognize it. If you desire more then turn your thoughts to abundance, increase, plenty and again say my soul magnifies the good in me. You have planted seeds and they shall grow according to your happy consciousness and willingness to let them grow and increase. You have found the key. Your increase shall continue until your whole world is filled with enough good to use and to share. Be grateful for your increase in all areas of your life.
Say positive statements like "I thank you Father," "I appreciate my good," and "I bless my good everywhere in my me, with an attitude of gratitude, I am grateful and appreciative. I give thanks, I give myself wholly to acknowledging the one presence, one power that is in everyone and everything." Refuse to think or speak negative words of any kind that would indicate poverty, lack or limitation. Read More

Poles apart: satellites reveal why Antarctic sea ice grows as Arctic melts

The mystery of the expansion of sea ice around Antarctica, at the same time as global warming is melting swaths of Arctic sea ice, has been solved using data from US military satellites.
Two decades of measurements show that changing wind patterns around Antarctica have caused a small increase in sea ice, the result of cold winds off the continent blowing ice away from the coastline.
"Until now these changes in ice drift were only speculated upon using computer models," said Paul Holland at the British Antarctic Survey. "Our study of direct satellite observations shows the complexity of climate change.
"The Arctic is losing sea ice five times faster than the Antarctic is gaining it, so, on average, the Earth is losing sea ice very quickly. There is no inconsistency between our results and global warming."
The extent of sea ice is of global importance because the bright ice reflects sunlight far more than the ocean that melting uncovers, meaning temperature rises still further. Read More

Canals and streets look the same in Venice

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Climate change, or crap shoot? Experts weigh Sandy's causes

(Reuters) - A huge storm barrels down on the United States, wreaking havoc with punishing winds, record flooding, heavy snowfall and massive blackouts. Is the main culprit climate change or a freak set of coincidences?
Sandy wiped out homes along the New Jersey shore, submerged parts of New York City, and dumped snow as far south as the Carolinas. At least 50 people were reported killed in the United States, on top of 69 in the Caribbean, while millions of people were left without power.
Some scientists say that the key to Sandy's impact may be an extremely rare clash of weather systems, rather than the warmer temperatures that scientists have identified in other hurricanes and storms.
"It's a hybrid storm, which combines some features of tropical hurricanes with some features of winter storms, that operate on quite different mechanisms," said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of Atmospheric Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
While Emanuel said that there is a clear link between climate change and general trends toward more intense tropical hurricanes, in the case of Sandy more long-term study is required to determine whether climate change played a major role. Read More

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife

When a neurosurgeon found himself in a coma, he experienced things he never thought possible—a journey to the afterlife.

As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences. I grew up in a scientific world, the son of a neurosurgeon. I followed my father’s path and became an academic neurosurgeon, teaching at Harvard Medical School and other universities. I understand what happens to the brain when people are near death, and I had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the heavenly out-of-body journeys described by those who narrowly escaped death.

The brain is an astonishingly sophisticated but extremely delicate mechanism. Reduce the amount of oxygen it receives by the smallest amount and it will react. It was no big surprise that people who had undergone severe trauma would return from their experiences with strange stories. But that didn’t mean they had journeyed anywhere real.

Although I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.

In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death. Read More

New planet discovered in Earth’s back yard

LONDON/CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — A stronomers have found a new planet, the closest yet outside our solar system and just an astronomical stone’s throw away at four light years, raising the chances of finding a habitable planet in Earth’s neighbourhood.
Researchers say the new planet is too close to its sun to support known forms of life, with a surface temperature estimated at 1,200 degrees Celsius. But previous studies suggest that when one planet is discovered orbiting a sun, there are usually others in the same system.
The new Earth-sized planet, announced in science journal Nature by Stephane Udry and Xavier Dumusque at the Geneva Observatory, orbits one of the suns in Alpha Centauri, roughly 40 trillion kilometres away.
“It’s a landmark discovery because it’s very low mass and it’s our closest neighbour,” said Udry. “Its orbit is very close to its star and it must be much too hot for life as we know it but it may well be just one planet in a system of several.”
Commenting on the find, University of California astronomer Greg Laughlin said: “This is our back yard, so to find out that planet formation occurred there is just extraordinary.”
Since the discovery of the first exoplanets — those outside our solar system — in the early 1990s, more than 800 have been found but this one is the closest to Earth.
Getting there is extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future. Laughlin estimates it would take about 40,000 years to travel to the new planet with current propulsion technology.
It was detected using the HARPS instrument on a telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla site in Chile. The device is able to pick up tiny changes in the colour of the light coming from a host star as it wobbles under the gravitational influence of orbiting planets. Read More

Maine earthquake felt across New England

Maine earthquake: The 4.0 temblor hit around 7:12 p.m. Tuesday and its epicenter was about 20 miles west of Portland, Maine. The Maine earthquake shook buildings and rattled dishes, but caused no injuries or serious damage.

A US Geological Survey map shows the location of the earthquake about 20 miles west of Portland, Maine.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hot enough for ya... to stop denyin'?

Fearsome, if mysterious, images of climate change: On the left, Greenland's surface ice on July 8, 2012. On the right, July 12. The composite images from three NASA satellites show that the extent of summer melt accelerated from 40 percent of the surface to 97 percent in four days. Most of the thick ice below remains, but scientists say the breadth and speed of the surface melt was unprecedented, and thus far unexplained. (AP Photo/Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI/NASA GSFC, and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory
Hoo-boy, been something of a scorcher, no? As you might have guessed, Earth to Philly kind of took Hoo-boy, been something of a scorcher, no? As you might have guessed, Earth to Philly kind of took the summer off. Hey, it was just too hot to blog!And even though a weather-climate correlation should always be heavily qualified (and never are by the "Omigod, a snowstorm! So much for global warming!" crowd), it's getting harder and harder to ignore the day-to-day situation that suggests a larger trend.
July 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded in the contiguous United States. During that month, the surface ice in Greenland disappeared so quickly that slackjawed scientists are still scratching their heads over how such a thing could be possible. And Richard Muller, one of the most prominent voices for what may be politely termed climate-change "skepticism" has loudly proclaimed that he was 100% wrong - the planet is indeed warming, he says, and "humans are almost entirely the cause."
Still, as we approach a cliff of no-turning-back finality, there's a distinct lack of public discourse about what needs to happen soon to avoid such a point. Earth to Philly will keep hammering away to help get this message out, but ours is a tiny (and shrill?) voice compared to who we need to hear from: At the very least, Romney and Obama should be making bold policy prescriptions that explicitly address this crisis with urgent foresight. Read More

Sunday, July 15, 2012

An Esoteric View of the 1960s and '70s

by Garry Gilfoy
Firstly, I want to make the claim that the evolution of consciousness is central to humanity's task, which, by the way, is the development of freedom -- refer to our creation myth with its starting point of eating from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" and being denied eternal life and turned from the face of God. We were cut off, as it were, but not needlessly. The journey is long and it's slow and it's often a painful thing to witness, but we have an eternity to create freedom for a cosmic order where it doesn't otherwise exist. (For the whole of the BIG picture you'll just have to get my book.)
So, some recent historical perspective. When Jiddu Krishnamurti repudiated the claims of the theosophists that he was the new messiah, we assume that this assertion and the course of history prove him correct. With the aid of hindsight, however, we might consider that he has played a unique role in the advancement of our global spiritual consciousness.
In the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th, Helena Blavatsky's Theosophical Society was a highly respected form of spiritualism embraced by many of Europe's intellectual elite. Krishnamurti was spotted by Charles Leadbetter, a Society leader and clairvoyant, who claimed him as a World Teacher and vehicle for the Maitreya. This was quite a claim. Among other things it caused Rudolf Steiner, the great mystic, scientist and pedagogue and at that time head of the German and Austrian branch of the Theosophical Society, to leave it and form The Anthroposophical Society. There would be only the one capital-I Incarnation, he asserted.
From the dim-witted boy he was purported to be, Krishnamurti received a good education both intellectually and spiritually. Although he went on to deny Theosophy's claims of him, he became a spiritual teacher of great renown in the West, taking up residence in California. Events would conspire to give him a central role in momentous societal shifts. Read More

‘Monsanto Rider’: Biotech companies to gain immunity from Federal law on 2013 Ag Bill

By Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins
The Secretary of Agriculture would be required to grant a permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, regardless of environmental impact.
While many Americans were firing up barbecues and breaking out the sparklers to celebrate Independence Day, biotech industry executives were more likely chilling champagne to celebrate another kind of independence: immunity from federal law.
A so-called “Monsanto rider,” quietly slipped into the multi-billion dollar FY 2013 Agricultural Appropriations bill, would require – not just allow, but require – the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. All the farmer or the biotech producer has to do is ask, and the questionable crops could be released into the environment where they could potentially contaminate conventional or organic crops and, ultimately, the nation’s food supply.
Unless the Senate or a citizen’s army of farmers and consumers can stop them, the House of Representatives is likely to ram this dangerous rider through any day now. Read More

The Ecology of Disease

(NY Times) THERE’S a term biologists and economists use these days — ecosystem services — which refers to the many ways nature supports the human endeavor. Forests filter the water we drink, for example, and birds and bees pollinate crops, both of which have substantial economic as well as biological value.
If we fail to understand and take care of the natural world, it can cause a breakdown of these systems and come back to haunt us in ways we know little about. A critical example is a developing model of infectious disease that shows that most epidemics — AIDS, Ebola, West Nile, SARS, Lyme disease and hundreds more that have occurred over the last several decades — don’t just happen. They are a result of things people do to nature.
Disease, it turns out, is largely an environmental issue. Sixty percent of emerging infectious diseases that affect humans are zoonotic — they originate in animals. And more than two-thirds of those originate in wildlife. Read More

NOAA releases comprehensive 2011 State of the Climate report

On Tuesday, July 10, 2012, NOAA released the 2011 State of the Climate report. This report is a peer reviewed paper that was compiled by 378 scientists from 48 countries around the world. This report looks at the extreme weather events that occurred in 2011. It also analyzes global climate indicators and monitoring stations and instruments used on land, sea, ice, and sky. The report says that 2011 was the coolest year on record since 2008, but it remained above the 30-year average (1981-2010). La Nina – the cool phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation – was the major cooling factor, globally, in 2011. At the same time, the influence of human-caused global warming on the climate system continues to grow. The report identified “human fingerprints” in more than two dozen climate indicators examined by this international research team — from air temperatures to ocean acidity. More specifics of the report below.
According to NOAA, La Niña played a major role in the crazy weather events that occurred in 2011, such as the violent tornado outbreaks in the United States, severe droughts in southern United States, northern Mexico, and East Africa, and one of the worst summer heat waves in central and southern Europe since 2003. Read More

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Colorado wildfire of 'epic proportions' displaces 32,000; tests firefighters

(CNN) -- Predicted thunderstorms could complicate efforts Wednesday to tame an explosive wildfire that has already chased some 32,000 residents from their homes near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The fire doubled in size overnight and by Wednesday morning, 15,324 acres were burning with only 5% contained, said Rich Harvey, incident commander of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
"You saw yesterday as bad a fire behavior as you are going to see anywhere, anytime," he said, referring to extremely dry, hot and windy conditions. "We expect further trouble from the weather today."
Thunderstorms seem like a good thing in the midst of hot, arid conditions, but they bring with them strong winds that can gust in any direction. "That will make work for firefighters more difficult," Harvey said. Read More

Sea levels on US East Coast rising rapidly: Should residents be worried?

The pace of sea-level rise along a swath of the US East Coast – from north of Boston down to North Carolina's Cape Hatteras – is accelerating three to four times faster than the worldwide average, according to a new study from the US Geological Survey (USGS), turning the region into a hot spot for sea-level rise.
At stake: the increased vulnerability of coastal communities to severe damage from storm surges or even high surf caused by storms off shore.
The prime suspect: global warming, through its direct effect on heating water at the ocean surface as well as the effect warmed seawater and air temperatures can have on speeding the pace at which Greenland is losing ice.
Warmer seawater in the North Atlantic and increasing amounts of fresh water from melting Greenland ice can slow ocean-circulation patterns in the ocean basin, which can trigger the accelerated rise, modeling studies have suggested. Read More

1969 meteorite yields material previously unknown to science

[Christian Science Monitor] Scientists have discovered a new mineral embedded in a meteorite that fell to Earth over 40 years ago, and it could be among the oldest minerals, formed in the early days of our solar system. The mineral is a type of titanium oxide and has been named panguite, after Pan Gu, the giant from ancient Chinese mythology who established the world by separating yin from yang to create the Earth and the sky.
“Panguite is an especially exciting discovery since it is not only a new mineral, but also a material previously unknown to science,” says Chi Ma, from Caltech and author of a new paper detailing the discovery.
The Allende meteorite arrived at Earth in 1969 as an exploding fireball in the skies over Mexico, scattering thousands of pieces of meteorites across the state of Chihuahua. The Allende meteorite is the largest carbonaceous chondrite—a diverse class of primitive meteorites—ever found on our planet and is considered by many the best-studied meteorite in history. Read More

Monday, June 18, 2012

Are We Causing Earth Changes?

Deepak Chopra
Natural disasters are not a message from God but a message from ourselves.
The spiritual answer is, “Of course we are, because Mother Nature is disturbed by our lack of love and respect for her.” The scientific answer is, “Of course we are, but only indirectly through decades of reckless pollution.” Everything depends on what level of consciousness dominates your awareness. All answers are tangled, yet in the untangling I believe that science will one day connect Earth changes and human awareness.
The great spiritual traditions have clearly mapped how a person regains the status of a creator. As power returns, everything changes in ways that cannot be guessed at in the state of alienation and separation.
How things get better as consciousness evolves:
  • You begin to feel again; numbness lifts.
  • You regain a sense of being benign. You belong here and are cherished.
  • Your desires turn from self-destructive to self-empowering.
  • Your thoughts have a benign effect on your environment.
  • Reality shifts in an evolutionary direction for everyone else.
  • The laws of creation re-emerge under the control of human awareness.
  • It becomes commonplace to live from the level of the soul.
All these changes occur by degree, steadily growing stronger as a person goes deeper inside. [Source]

Sun Region Releases Two Solar Flares

Two M-class solar flares along with coronal mass ejections (CMEs) have been released by a region on the sun, titled AR 1504, a recent report has revealed.
It has been noted by NASA that the sun has discharged a blow of electrically charged particles towards the planet, which possibly points to the occurrence of a geomagnetic activity on Saturday. However, the agency says that the situation would not be concerning.
While the first flare peaked on June 13 at 9:17 AM EDT and lasted for three hours. The second one lasted for a long while, as per the report, and it peaked at 10:08 AM EDT on June 14.
Goddard’s Space Weather Center, which analyzed the flares, has told that the CME linked with the first flare was at a speed of 375 miles per second. Also, there would be a little effect on Earth because of its slow speed.
Though, on the other hand, the second CME, which was at a high speed of 800 miles per second, is likely to have an adverse effect on Mars and the Spitzer spacecraft.
It is being anticipated by the Space Weather Center that the CMEs would probably reach the planet by June 16. [Source]

City Block-Size Asteroid 2012 LZ1 Zips by Earth as Scientists Watch

A newly discovered asteroid the size of a city block cruised past Earth well beyond the orbit of the moon Thursday night (June 14), providing a rare treat for scientists and telescope-equipped observers.The 1,650-foot-wide (500-meter) near-Earth asteroid 2012 LZ1 came within 3.3 million miles (5.3 million kilometers) of our planet during its closest approach at 8 p.m. EDT Thursday (0000 GMT Friday). Since that's about 14 times the distance between the Earth and the moon, the asteroid was never close enough to threaten Earth, or to be seen by most backyard skywatchers.
But folks who stayed inside could get a good look on their computers. The Slooh Space Camera, an online observatory website, streamed live views of 2012 LZ1's flyby that were captured by a telescope in the Canary Islands, off the west coast of Africa. [Source]

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Rise of the New Economy Movement

"One recent calculation is that 400 individuals at the top now own more wealth than the bottom 160 million."

Gar Alperovitz / 2012 What's the Real Truth?

The broad goal is democratized ownership of the economy for the “99 percent” in an ecologically sustainable and participatory community-building fashion. The name of the game is practical work in the here and now—and a hands-on process that is also informed by big picture theory and in-depth knowledge.
Thousands of real world projects — from solar-powered businesses to worker-owned cooperatives and state-owned banks — are underway across the country. Many are self-consciously understood as attempts to develop working prototypes in state and local “laboratories of democracy” that may be applied at regional and national scale when the right political moment occurs.
The movement includes young and old, “Occupy” people, student activists, and what one older participant describes as thousands of “people in their 60s from the ’60s” rolling up their sleeves to apply some of the lessons of an earlier movement.
Explosion of Energy
A powerful trend of hands-on activity includes a range of economic models that change both ownership and ecological outcomes. Co-ops, for instance, are very much on target—especially those which emphasize participation and green concerns. The Evergreen Cooperatives in a desperately poor, predominantly black neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio are a leading example. They include a worker-owned solar installation and weatherization co-op; a state-of-the-art, industrial-scale commercial laundry in a LEED-Gold certified building that uses—and therefore has to heat—only around a third of the water of other laundries; and a soon-to-open large scale hydroponic greenhouse capable of producing three million head of lettuce and 300,000 pounds of herbs a year. Hospitals and universities in the area have agreed to use the co-ops’ services, and several cities—including Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Amarillo, Texas are now exploring similar efforts. Read More

Look Now for Venus to Cross the Sun, or Wait Another Century

Kenneth Chang /

Observing the dark circle of Venus cross the face of the Sun on June 3, 1769, from his farm about 20 miles northwest of here, David Rittenhouse left a curious gap in his account of that day.      
An exhibit at the American Philosophical Society museum offers a possible explanation: “Exhausted and excited, he is said to have fainted shortly after the transit began.”
This rare conjunction of orbital mechanics was perhaps the most anticipated scientific event of that century. Expeditions set off for the far corners of the Earth, including one by Capt. James Cook, who sailed to Tahiti.
They went in hopes of answering one of the most vexing scientific questions of the day: How far away is the Sun?
“This was the big unknown for astronomy,” said Owen Gingerich, an emeritus professor of astronomy and history of science at Harvard. Without that number, much else about the solar system was also uncertain: the size of the Sun, the distance between planets.
The next transit of Venus will occur next Tuesday, and will be visible, at least for a while before sunset, across the United States. In New York and along the East Coast, the Sun will be low in the sky, requiring observers to find locations not be obscured by trees or buildings. (A west-facing window up high in a skyscraper could be a good place to watch.) The usual precautions about not looking directly at the Sun apply. Special eclipse viewing glasses can be used, or the image of the Sun can be projected through a pinhole or binoculars onto a sheet of paper.
While no longer of great scientific import, as it was to Rittenhouse and Captain Cook, a Venus transit is still a rare and striking event, occurring in pairs, eight years apart, about once a century. The last transit occurred in 2004, and almost no one alive today will be around for the next one, 105 years from now, on Dec. 11, 2117. (That one will not be visible at all from most of the United States. New Yorkers, however, will have a prime viewing spot for the following transit, on Dec. 8, 2125.) Read More

Bluefin tuna record Fukushima radioactivity

"All the fish examined in the study showed elevated levels of radioactive caesium - the isotopes 134 and 137."

Jonathan Amos /

Pacific Bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California have been found to have radioactive contamination from last year's Fukushima nuclear accident.

The fish would have picked up the pollution while swimming in Japanese waters, before then moving to the far side of the ocean.

Scientists stress that the fish are still perfectly safe to eat.

However, the case does illustrate how migratory species can carry pollution over vast distances, they say.

"It's a lesson to us in how interconnected eco-regions can be, even when they may be separated by thousands of miles," Nicholas Fisher, a professor of marine sciences at Stony Brook University, New York, told BBC News.

Fisher and colleagues report their study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They examined the muscle tissues of 15 Bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) taken from waters off San Diego in August 2011, just a few months after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

These were animals whose parents would have spawned in Japanese waters and spent one to two years locally before heading to feeding grounds in the eastern Pacific. Read More

Thirty-six years of failure: a brief history of climate change

Doug Craig /

In late June of 1988, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the government of Canada sponsored "the World Conference on Our Changing Atmosphere: Implications for Global Security".
More than 300 scientists and policy makers from 46 countries attended and released a Conference Statement that said in part, "Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war. The Earth's atmosphere is being changed at an unprecedented rate by pollutants resulting from human activities, inefficient and wasteful fossil fuel use and the effects of rapid population growth in many regions."
"The 1988 conference...put climate change on the global agenda and proposed a specific initial target for a global reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases - 20% below 1988 levels by 2005 - on the way to a much larger ultimate reduction, to be set following further research and debate."
To put this into perspective, nine years later, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that virtually every nation on Earth signed, except for the US, involved a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Eleven years later, President Obama, in turn, pledged to reduce American emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. This could be called goalpost shifting.
It is like a 200 pound man setting a goal to weigh 175 pounds in one year. A year later when he weighs 250 pounds, he sets a goal to weigh 225 pounds in one year. A year later when he weighs 300 pounds, his new goal is to weigh 275 pounds in one year. And so on. Our objective from the beginning appears to have been to set goals, not reach them. And when we fail to reach previous goals, we just set new ones. Anyway, the media and the public have a short memory and barely care. And in an election year, the fate of the planet is low on our list of priorities. Read More

Researchers conclude that climate change led to collapse of ancient Indus civilization

"A new study combining the latest archaeological evidence with state-of-the-art geoscience technologies provides evidence that climate change was a key ingredient in the collapse of the great Indus or Harappan Civilization almost 4000 years ago. The study also resolves a long-standing debate over the source and fate of the Sarasvati, the sacred river of Hindu mythology."

Once extending more than 1 million square kilometers across the plains of the Indus River from the to the Ganges, over what is now , northwest India and eastern Afghanistan, the Indus civilization was the largest—but least known—of the first great urban cultures that also included Egypt and Mesopotamia. Like their contemporaries, the Harappans, named for one of their largest cities, lived next to rivers owing their livelihoods to the fertility of annually watered lands.
"We reconstructed the dynamic landscape of the plain where the Indus civilization developed 5200 years ago, built its cities, and slowly disintegrated between 3900 and 3000 years ago," said Liviu Giosan, a geologist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and lead author of the study published the week of May 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Until now, speculations abounded about the links between this mysterious ancient culture and its life-giving mighty rivers."
Today, numerous remains of the Harappan settlements are located in a vast desert region far from any flowing river. In contrast to Egypt and Mesopotamia, which have long been part of the Western classical canon, this amazingly complex culture in South Asia with a population that at its peak may have reached 10 percent of the world's inhabitants, was completely forgotten until 1920's. Since then, a flurry of archaeological research in Pakistan and India has uncovered a sophisticated urban culture with myriad internal trade routes and well-established sea links with Mesopotamia, standards for building construction, sanitation systems, arts and crafts, and a yet-to-be deciphered writing system. Read More

Friday, May 11, 2012

Game Over for the Climate

New York Times
GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”
If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.
Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.
That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels. Read More

Vibe Report – May 2012

by Nancy Ward
We are into the 5th month of 2012 and as I sit with the energies scanning the past 4 months I see and feel erratic fluctuations pulling and pushing like a sawing motion, accompanied by drops in elevation down into sinkholes, then popping out like cartoon toast from a toaster boing-ing up and slow spiraling down to land gently on soft moss that soon morphs into mud and turns into a slurry that cascades us with it to the edge of a precipice and off we go because there’s no other choice and instead of falling, we’re floating and then suddenly falling and then going up and on and on it goes. Yikes!
At times I’ve also felt like I’m on a carnival ride – the Cup and Saucer. I’m sitting in the cup and it begins to spin and the larger saucer is also spinning, faster and faster, at different rates and sometimes different directions. Centrifugal forces are bringing up our issues for integration and lightening up.
We may be feeling a little dizzy or nauseous, experiencing digestive issues, sudden feelings of panic, or a general flat-lining feeling that leaves us staring into space. Surges of energy are entering our nervous system affecting our physical bodies, our emotional/mental body and blurring the lines of reality. I’m not even sure I can explain what that means, but so-called reality seems a bit fuzzy at times, along with the flow of time itself. And the sun… what’s up with the sun? The light seems different somehow and yet I can’t quite put my finger on it. It seems “old” or diffused… the shadows seem long even at mid-day. Read More

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Connecting More Dots to See the Invisible

Jen Jerndal
We are four months into the emblematic year 2012. Let’s look back to the build-up during 2011 and recall the following events and trends:
The Arab Spring revolutions spreading from Tunisia to Egypt, from Libya to Syria, and from Bahrain to Yemen;
The Spanish INDIGNADOS movement that spread to other countries in Europe and to the US.
Unprecedented riots and looting in London, Manchester and Birmingham and other places;
Luxury cars being burnt in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and other German cities;
The biggest protests ever in Israel, with nearly half a million people taking to the streets in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, demanding social justice;
Students and teachers in Chile claiming free higher education in masssive anti-government demonstrations were met with massive confrontations by riot police;
A major grass-root protest campaign in India against corruption;
During labour riots in China, police and fire vehicles were set on fire;
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York and across the United States has been spreading over the Atlantic into Europe, Asia and Oceania, with cascading consequences.
Riots in Greece against the “austerity measures” imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the former Goldman Sachs executives turned “saviours” of the Euro. Read More

Friday, May 4, 2012

Love versus Fear

by Sarah Nean Bruce
[Sarah Nean Bruce is a storyteller and filmmaker. Read more from her at]

LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL (fear is conditional)
LOVE IS STRONG (fear is weak)
LOVE RELEASES (fear obligates)
LOVE SURRENDERS (fear binds)
LOVE IS HONEST (fear is deceitful)
LOVE TRUSTS (fear suspects)
LOVE ALLOWS (fear dictates)
LOVE GIVES (fear resists)
LOVE FORGIVES (fear blames)
LOVE CHOOSES (fear avoids)
LOVE IS KIND (fear is angry)
LOVE IGNITES (fear incites)
LOVE EMBRACES (fear repudiates)
LOVE CREATES (fear negates)
LOVE HEALS (fear hurts)
LOVE IS MAGIC (fear is superstitious)
LOVE ENERGIZES (fear saps)
LOVE IS AN ELIXIR (fear is a poison)
LOVE INSPIRES (fear worries)
LOVE DESIRES (fear Joneses)
LOVE IS PATIENT (fear is nervous)
LOVE IS BRAVE (fear is afraid)
LOVE IS RELAXED (fear is pressured)
LOVE IS BLIND (fear is judgmental)
LOVE RESPECTS (fear disregards)
LOVE ACCEPTS (fear rejects)
LOVE DREAMS (fear schemes)
LOVE WANTS TO PLAY (fear needs to control)
LOVE ENJOYS (fear suffers)
LOVE FREES (fear imprisons)
LOVE BELIEVES (fear deceives)
LOVE “WANTS” (fear “needs”)
LOVE versus fear: what do you feel?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Transit of Venus

Transit of Venus: Where to Be Location, location, location. Whether and when you can see the 2012 transit of Venus depends on your location. Key highlights include the four "contacts" near the beginning and end of the transit when Venus appears to touch the edge of the sun. Most of North America sees the beginning of the transit in the afternoon and evening (find a clear western horizon!) on June 5, whereas much of Eurasia sees the end of the transit in the morning (find a clear eastern horizon!) on June 6. Click to access and enlarge PDF version of map showing visibility of 2012 transit of Venus. Courtesy of Fred Espenak (NASA GSFC), who provides additional transit of Venus data from NASA. Read More

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Russian cosmonaut Popovich: ETs warn Cataclysms will unify human consciousness

by Alfred Lambremont Webre, JD, MEd
A group of prominent Russian scientists, including Russian cosmonaut Dr. Marina Popovich, PhD, as well as Victoria Popova, Dr. Sc., Ph.D., and Lidia Andrianova Ph.D. have announced a discovery of extraterrestrial communications in pictograms that extraterrestrial intelligence has placed in crop circles and in stone monuments around the world. The group has created a dictionary of over 250 extraterrestrial pictograms for interpreting crop circles and stone monuments such as "Stonehenge and Avebury stone circles in the UK, Machu Picchu, Chavin de Huantar and the Nazca Lines in Peru, the pyramid of Chichen-Itza and the pyramids of the moon and the sun in Mexico and the Moai of Easter Island and others." Dr. Marina Popovich, PhD, Victoria Popova, Dr. Sc., Ph.D., and Lidia Andrianova Ph.D. write in their co-authored book “Letters of Extraterrestrial Civilizations: The Last Warning”, “Extraterrestrial civilizations (ETC) warn: the weakening of Earth's magnetic field has reached a critical value, and threatens the life of mankind. ETC’ instructions in crop circles indicate how to escape from global cataclysms which will begin very soon.”  

ET pictograms predict global cataclysms
 The Russian scientist group states that the extraterrestrial pictograms communicate that “Extraterrestrial civilizations (ETC) predict three preliminary catastrophes followed by global cataclysms of a magnitude beyond anything experienced in living memory. There will be a short time period between all these events." They continue, “ETC warn that civilization has to be pre-informed about the scenario of global cataclysms [before the] beginning [of the] event. A civilization that is not informed has no chance to make the Transition in time and to prolong life. First pre-cataclysm will be related with interruption of global system of communication – phone, Internet. Pre-informed civilization will avoid shock and chaos of super-powerful disaster and has a chance to make the Transition in time.” The Russian scientist group “emphasizes that this is a natural cycle of the planet. Part of this process is the development of human consciousness to a point where humanity will have a ‘window of opportunity’ to make the transition to a higher plane of existence. They explain that this point in history can be seen as a kind graduation for humanity to a higher and more subtle level of experience, a type of metamorphosis for humanity connected with ascension. Nobody can be saved individually, as the transition can be made only through the synchronous unification of human consciousness. The Russian scientist group states, “The time for humans to escape the devastation through the unification of consciousness will be shortly after the first pre-cataclysm. After second pre-catastrophe humanity will have no chance to prolong life because number of people [remaining alive] will be not enough to start up the mechanism of the transition. In the future humanity will join a galactic community of evolved extra-terrestrial civilizations, linked through consciousness.” [See their YouTube below.] Read More

2012. Our Transition. Part 1. Extraterrestrial civilizations' messages for Earth civilization

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Discussing the Coming Climate Crisis With Heidi Cullen

Record-breaking heat. Floods. Droughts. Tornadoes. Don’t believe the skeptics—the evidence of climate change is all around us. An interview with climatologist Heidi Cullen. 

Record-breaking heat. Floods. Droughts. Tornadoes. Don’t believe the skeptics—the evidence of climate change is all around us. An interview with climatologist Heidi Cullen. 
Cullen is in the habit of keeping a close eye on the weather: Climate Central is a nonprofit science research organization headquartered in Princeton, N.J. Before she joined them, Cullen, who holds a doctorate from Columbia University, was the Weather Channel’s first on-air climate expert.

We had just been through a March of record-shattering heat, and we were roasting through mid-April days. On top of that, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, most of the U.S. is experiencing an unusually dry period, with southern Florida bone dry. More than 63 percent of Georgia is in the worst two levels of drought, the highest of any state.

Because of the dry, windy conditions, wildfires and brush fires have been raging along the East Coast from New England to Florida; billowing black clouds from New Jersey Meadowlands fires have been visible from midtown Manhattan. And in much of New England, stream flow levels were at record lows—with Vermont, though still reeling from last summer’s disastrous floods, abnormally dry.

“We may have just broken another record,” Cullen says of the recent heat wave. “That’s what we do these days. We break records.”

Cullen noted that her phone didn’t stop ringing during the March heat wave. Whenever there is an unusual weather event, journalists want to know if it is caused by climate change. “In fact, I was just talking to someone at NPR who facetiously asked, ‘How’s your summer going so far?’”

It seemed an appropriate atmosphere in which to ask a climate scientist what’s going on with the weather. And what weather has to do with climate change. Read More

The power of aura

The depth of the soul is immeasurable. Not even the human ego can identify with it. It transcends logic and rationale, to speak through the cosmic realm of consciousness. Human attributes of pride, pretentiousness and arrogance nullify in the face of the spirit. The language of the soul pierces through the physical body. Its interaction is through senses which in spiritual terms are deemed as clairvoyance (sight), clairaudience (hearing/ listening), claircognizance (knowing), clairsentience (feeling/touching), clairalience (smelling). Our five senses have the potential to cover the entire topography of the universe including that of the planets other than earth.
The human aura can expand to thousands of kms, increasing its attraction towards other species like animals, minerals and plants. Lord Buddha’s aura was believed to expand through 3,500 kms from where he stood. Indira Gandhi’s compassed more than 1,000 kms of a region.
As the body moves, so does its aura. They are two bodies but one. In the esoteric science of spirituality, the human aura consists of multiple colours like, pink, green, violet, red and blue. Each colour represents a component of virtue like love, anger, spiritual consciousness, humility, suppression and so on. Read More

Meteor Produces Sound and Fury

A fiery meteor created a thundering explosion and traced a rare daylight fireball seen for about 600 miles across Nevada and California on Sunday, before apparently breaking up harmlessly at high altitude, astronomers said.
NASA researchers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the midair explosion, centered over California's Central Valley east of the San Francisco Bay area, was the equivalent of the detonation of about 3.8 kilotons of TNT—about one quarter the energy released by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.
"The meteor was probably about the size of an SUV," said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. "This was a big one. An event of this size might happen about once a year, but most of them occur over the ocean or an uninhabited area."
There were no reports Monday that any fragments of the object had reached the ground or caused any damage. No major telescope in the region tracked the early-morning fireball. NASA astronomers said the explosion might have been five to 10 miles high, which was high enough to let the sound spread widely. Read More

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Was Earth a Migratory Planet?

"This idea leaves me a little chagrin because it sounds like some of the wacky imaginary planet Nibiru predictions for the 2012 doomsday warnings. What's more, in the 1970s Sagan ridiculed Immanuel Velikovsky's ad hoc theories of a runaway Venus and other colliding planets. Velikovsky's ideas were built around comparative mythology and not dynamical modeling."

by Ray Villard
By all accounts Earth should be a "snowball planet" like the frigid world Hoth in the 1980 Star Wars film "The Empire Strikes Back."

Why? Because common theories of stellar evolution predict that the sun was only 70 percent of its current brightness when it first lit its fusion engine 4.5 billion years ago. The sun has been steadily growing brighter since then and will continue so into the future, eventually evaporating away Earth's oceans.

ANALYSIS: Stellar 'Speed Bumps' Could Shape Baby Star Systems

Once Earth amassed an ocean 4.3 billion years ago it should have quickly frozen over and reflected so much sunlight back into space that it squelched Earth's ability to thaw out for billions of years.

The dilemma, called the "faint young sun paradox," has been know about since the 1950s and was popularized by Carl Sagan. Geochemists and solar physicists have wrestled for answers all these years.
Lowering Earth's reflectivity by reducing cloud cover doesn't work. Models also show that a greenhouse effect from dense carbon dioxide and methane can't warm the Earth enough either. In some simulations, methane and carbon dioxide combine to make a photochemical smog that would have chilled Earth even further. Read More

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Earth Day: John Denver - Spring (Live in Japan 1974)

"Do you care what's happening around you?
Do your senses know the changes when they come?
Can you see yourself reflected in the seasons?
Can you understand the need to carry on?"
~John Denver

Earth Day: The History of a Movement

"Much like 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to a strong narrative that overshadowed the cause of progress and change."

(Earth Day Network) Each year, Earth Day -- April 22 -- marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.
At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.  Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson's New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.  The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.
Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center.
The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.
As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. "It was a gamble," Gaylord recalled, "but it worked."
As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) -- the highest honor given to civilians in the United States -- for his role as Earth Day founder.
As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. It used the Internet to organize activists, but also featured a talking drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa, and hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy. Read More

Are Killer Storms Being Fueled by Climate Change

by Bryan Walsh
(TIME) It could have been so much worse. Over 100 tornadoes ripped through several Plains states in just 24 hours over the weekend. Cars were tossed through the air and houses were pulverized. Hail the size of baseballs fell from the sky, crushing anything left in the open. More than what is ordinarily a month's worth of cyclones struck in a single day, yet miraculously, only one, in the Oklahoma town of Westwood, proved fatal, killing six victims who lived in and around a mobile-trailer park. "God was merciful," Kansas Governor Sam Brownback told CNN on Sunday.
But it wasn't just God or chance. The low death toll was also due to a faster and more insistent warning system by weather forecasters, who put the word out early and often and over many platforms that the past weekend could be a dangerous one for the Midwest, thanks to an unusually strong storm system. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center took the unusual step of alerting people in the region more than a day before what was termed a possible "high-end, life-threatening event." Warnings went out over radios, smart phones and TVs, urging people to stay underground or in a tornado shelter for the duration of the storm. And with memories of the more than 500 people who died in cyclones last year still fresh, residents in the affected areas paid attention and stayed out of harm's way. Read More

Friday, April 13, 2012

Indonesia quake a record, risks for Aceh grow

(Reuters) - The powerful undersea earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra this week was a once in 2,000 years event, and although it resulted in only a few deaths, it increases the risks of a killer quake in the region, a leading seismologist said.
Wednesday's 8.6 magnitude quake and a powerful aftershock were "strike-slip" quakes and the largest of that type recorded, Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore, told Reuters.
"It's a really an exceptionally large and rare event," he said.
"Besides it being the biggest strike-slip earthquake ever recorded, the aftershock is the second biggest as far as we can tell," said Sieh, who has studied the seismically active, and deadly, fault zones around Sumatra for years. Read More

Earthquake outbreak “almost certainly” manmade, scientists say
A spate of earthquakes across the middle of the U.S. is “almost certainly” manmade, and may coincide with wastewater from oil or gas drilling injected into the ground, U.S. government scientists said in a new study.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey said that for the three decades until 2000, seismic events averaged 21 a year in a central U.S. region. They jumped to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011...

TWINS Watch A 2 Million MPH Solar Storm

"Understanding how solar events develop and impact satellites is like understanding the processes that cause extreme weather events on Earth to develop and destroy homes and businesses," says McComas. "Engineers use weather data to know where and how they need to strengthen buildings against various types of weather threats. The more we know about the processes occurring in space, the better engineers can design satellites to protect them from space weather hazards, which is increasingly important in our highly technological world."

(Science 20) On April 5, 2010, the sun spewed a two million-mile-per-hour stream of charged particles toward the magnetosphere, the invisible magnetic fields surrounding Earth.

As the particles interacted with the magnetic fields, the incoming stream of energy caused stormy conditions near Earth. Some scientists believe that it was this solar storm that interfered with commands to a communications satellite, Galaxy-15, which subsequently foundered and drifted, taking almost a year to return to its station.

Scientists study the full chain of space weather events from first eruptions on the sun to how the magnetic fields around Earth compress and change shape in response in order to better learn how to protect satellites. During the April 5 storm, two NASA Heliophysics System Observatory missions – the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) and two spacecraft called the Two Wide-Angle Imaging Neutral-Atom Spectrometers (TWINS) – were perfectly positioned to view the storm from complementary viewpoints. Read More

Antarctic Ice Sheet Collapse Linked To Ancient 'Mega Flood'

by Jennifer Walsh
Dramatic warming at the end of the last ice age produced an intense rise in sea level and a massive ice sheet collapse in the Antarctic.
The sea level rise is known as Melt-Water Pulse 1A, and new research indicates it increased sea level by about 45 feet (14 meters) sometime between 14,650 and 14,310 years ago, during the same time as a period of rapid climate change known as the Bølling warming.
Understanding the impacts of earlier warming and sea-level rise is important for predicting the effects of future warming.
"It is vital that we look into Earth's geological past to understand rare but high-impact events, such as the collapse of giant ice sheets that occurred 14,600 years ago," study researcher Alex Thomas of Oxford University said in a statement. "Our work gives a window onto an extreme event in which deglaciation coincided with a dramatic and rapid rise in global sea levels — an ancient 'mega flood.'"
During this period, "sea level rose more than ten times more quickly than it is rising now," Thomas said, with the rising seas resulting from melting ice sheets that had formed during the ice age. "This is an excellent test bed for climate models: If they can reproduce this extraordinary event, it will improve confidence that they can also predict future change accurately." Read More

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Prayer versus Meditation for inner peace: The healing power from within

by Pat Ferguson
Meditation recently received a big boost from one of its most popular participants: Oprah Winfrey. The small town of Fairfield, Iowa, was the recent poster child for Transcendental Meditation’s (aka as “TM”) empowering effects over the mind, body and spirit for both inner peace and healthier living. Perhaps it was their practically non-existent crime culture, or maybe it was their daily call to meditation, attracting over 1/3 of their 95,000 in population that struck the interest of Oprah’s audience. Whatever it was, it’s got a lot of people talking about meditation, its purpose and powerful effect on our overall wellbeing. The question most of us have is the following: “How is “meditation” different from “praying”? What benefits are known about both? Why practice one over the other? Will practicing meditation and/or prayer impact our overall wellness? Do we really have an untapped “power from within” that can be released through prayer and/or meditation? As a society, we usually separate meditation and prayer from three different perspectives (see below)
Transcendental Meditation
Meditation has been around for thousands of years, practiced in all forms of both non-religious and organized religious groups, using a variety of methods. The actual Transcendental Meditation “technique and movement” was first introduced in the 1950’s, by an Indian man named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Known as the “giggling guru”, Maharishi developed a method using various mantras (repetitive sounds) and breathing techniques focused on calming the inner-self, while reaching a spiritual plane of balance and peace from within. From all outward appearances, Mahesh simply wanted to train people to be at peace and to use the power of that peace to help their bodies live as naturally, healthy and balanced as possible. Beyond that purpose, you could say some of the deeper TM methods point toward a religious aspect of Buddhism (calling upon the “gods” from within) while completely steering clear of any one singular faith or religion.
Depending upon a person’s faith prayer is a very personal and profound experience. From being in a conversation with God to being silent while focusing upon God prayer can mirror certain aspects of “meditation” (see below) and provide very much the same results (inner peace/focus/clarity/reflection/purpose). What can be widely different between prayer and TM is based upon who you ask. Read More

Older Age Confirmed for East Africa Rift

The huge changes in the Earth's crust that shaped the face of the African continent are being redefined. The East African Rift system has two main segments, the eastern branch passing through Ethiopia and Kenya and a western branch that forms a giant arc from Uganda to Malawi. The new research says the two rift segments developed together.
The Great Rift Valley of East Africa, the birthplace of the human species, may have taken much longer to develop than previously believed, researchers say.
Scientists from Australia's James Cook University and Ohio University said their findings suggest a major tectonic event as far back as 25 million to 30 million years ago rearranged the flow of large rivers such as the Congo and the Nile to create the landscapes and climates found in East Africa today.
The East African Rift system has two main segments, the eastern branch passing through Ethiopia and Kenya and a western branch that forms a giant arc from Uganda to Malawi.
Most scientists had believed the eastern branch of the region is much older, having developed 15 million to 25 million years before the western branch, but the new research provides evidence the two rift segments developed simultaneously. Read More

Are Ocean Levels And Temperatures On The Rise?

A new study has revealed a global warming and rising of the oceans. Contrasting ocean temperature readings from the 1870s with modern readings, this study reveals an upward rising trend spanning over 100 years.
Dan Roemmich, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego physical oceanographer led the research. He found a .33 degree Celsius (.59-degree Fahrenheit) increase on average in the top portions of the ocean, down to 700 meters. Ocean surface temperatures, however, saw the largest amount of temperature rise at .59 degrees Celsius (1.1 degree Fahrenheit) and down to .12 degrees Celsius (.22 degree Fahrenheit) at 900 meters.
Roemmich’s study is the first to compare the temperature between the voyage of HMS Challenger (1872-1876) and data from modern day readings conducted by ocean-probing robots. These robots continuously report the ocean’s temperature thanks to the global Argo program. Scientists have long believed 90% of Earth’s excess heat in the climate system since the 1960s has been trapped and stored in the oceans.
Roemmich’s study, however, reports the warming trend began much sooner, as soon as 100 years ago. His report was co-authored by John Gould of the United Kingdom-based National Oceanography Centre and John Gilson of Scripps Oceanography. It was published on April 1, 2012, in an advance online edition of Nature Climate Change.
“The significance of the study is not only that we see a temperature difference that indicates warming on a global scale, but that the magnitude of the temperature change since the 1870s is twice that observed over the past 50 years,” said Roemmich, co-chairman of the International Argo Steering Team. “This implies that the time scale for the warming of the ocean is not just the last 50 years but at least the last 100 years.” Read More

4-3- 2012 --Oklahoma 4.0M earthquake = US Army Ammo depot SURROUNDED by ...

Monday, March 26, 2012

HOW TO: make an earthquake

[This video illustrates how an earthquake can be created, topic of the recent controversial theory that the March 20, 2012 7.9 Mexico Earthquake Was Pre-Planned.]

3/25/2012 -- 7.2 magnitude earthquake -- Chile / Andes Mountains

Creating Little Green Men

[...hey, we did it in Atlantis...-L.]
If you thought that the human engineering pseudo-science died out with its Nazi practitioners, think again. The concept is alive and well and being touted as a means to the creation of a human race more in sync with Big Brother’s ideal of a carbon-friendly humanity.
Prof. Matthew Liao of New York University’s Center for Bioethics touts “human engineering” as offering possible solutions to the politically correct green thesis that human beings are becoming a pest threatening the survival of planet Earth. In academic terms his thesis is that “the biomedical modification of humans makes them better at mitigating climate change” (Ethics, Policy and Environment, February 9).
In other words, if we can genetically engineer a species of much smaller human beings, it follows that our environmental footprint on planet Earth will be much smaller and hence the damage we are told we do to planet Earth will be reduced.
Is this guy really serious?
Sadly, it appears he is. He puts his argument this way: “We shall argue that human engineering potentially offers an effective means of tackling climate change …. [A] striking example of human engineering is the possibility of making humans smaller. Human ecological footprints are partly correlated with our size. … [A] more speculative and controversial way of reducing adult height is to reduce birth weight. … [P]harmacologically induced altruism and empathy could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral and market solutions for curbing climate change” (ibid).
Having apparently bought the whole politically correct argument that human beings are planet Earth’s principal pest, heating up the planet at an unacceptably accelerating rate by their general habits of living, Liao posits: “Anthropogenic climate change is arguably one of the biggest problems that confront us today. There is ample evidence that climate change is likely to affect adversely many aspects of life for all people around the world, and that existing solutions such as geoengineering might be too risky and ordinary behavioural and market solutions might not be sufficient to mitigate climate change. Read More

La Niña could set the stage for flu pandemics

(Earth Magazine) In 1918, the Spanish flu spread around the world, claiming between 50 million and 100 million lives — more than 3 percent of the world’s population. The previous fall and winter, La Niña had brought cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperatures to the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. More recently in 2009, swine flu swept across the planet. Again, the widespread outbreak was preceded by La Niña conditions. This link might be more than coincidental, according to new research, and could lead to improved predictions of future pandemics.
In a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University and Marc Lipsitch of Harvard University note that La Niña can alter weather patterns and shift the migration patterns of birds. Such a rerouting of avian flu carriers could set the stage for the rise of novel — and deadly — strains of the virus, they say.
To examine the connection between La Niña and flu pandemics, Shaman and Lipsitch looked at the four most recent, well-dated human influenza pandemics — 1918, 1957, 1968 and 2009 — and then looked at El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions during the fall and winter immediately preceding the emergence of the outbreaks. The researchers found that, indeed, all four pandemics were preceded by La Niña.
The study is limited, however, by the paucity of data, Shaman says. With just four well-dated flu pandemics, the scientists say, it’s unclear whether the relationship is causal, and La Niña affects flu, or coincidental, and the association arose by chance.
If it is causal and La Niña affects the development and onset of pandemic flus, one scenario according to the team is as follows: La Niña brings about cooler sea-surface temperatures and shifts wind and precipitation patterns across the expanse of the equatorial Pacific. Those local changes impact global weather conditions, which in turn affect the resources and habitability along the flyways of migratory birds. Previous research, for example, has found impacts on migratory birds’ health and fitness, molting times, stopover patterns and contact with other bird species.
Like a burned-out traveler on an international flight, stressed birds in the presence of new company are more susceptible to picking up viruses. Conditions for a pandemic arise then, when different strains of influenza simultaneously infect a single host in a process called reassortment.
“Like all viruses, influenza hijacks the cellular machinery of its host and uses it to make copies of itself,” Shaman says. Introduce two or more strains and the host’s cells can make a hybrid strain that’s “radically different, and which the world’s population has no prior exposure to and little immunity against. This new hybrid strain can spread very efficiently around the planet,” he says. “This is a pandemic.”
Shaman notes, however, that “the jury is still out” and more work needs to be done, such as examining the mixing between bird species, and rates of reassortment in response to ENSO. “But the hypothesis we use to explain the relationship makes sense and is testable,” he says. “If evidence from future studies supports this hypothesis — if the relationship is shown to be robust — then we have a framework for developing advanced predictions of pandemic influenza risk. This would enable governments and public health officials to time the allocation of influenza resources better.”
For now, only time will tell what, if anything, follows the 2011–2012 La Niña. “La Niña by itself is not sufficient, it’s just a state that may increase the likelihood of reassortment,” Shaman says. “Many downstream effects, such as changes in weather, in bird behavior, and convergence of divergent flu subtypes, would be needed to facilitate the reassortment that generates the novel pandemic flu strain.”

Venus Visible in Daytime Sky Today

(Discovery News) The planet Venus has been dominating the nighttime sky recently, but did you know it's possible to see the bright world in the daytime? Today (March 26), Venus can be spotted in the afternoon if you know where and when to look.
In fact, a daytime apparition of Venus in the sky was famously spotted by none other than President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
It was March 4, 1865, and the streets of Washington DC were packed with crowds watching the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln for his second term as president. Suddenly someone in the crowd spotted something strange in the sky: a tiny brilliant point of light. Excitement swelled through the crowd as each person pointed it out to their neighbor. The commotion even reached as far as the Lincoln himself, and soon he too was pointing at the brilliant point in the sky.
One of Lincoln's bodyguards, Sergeant Smith Stimmellater, described it this way: "Soon after the President concluded his address, he entered his carriage, and the procession started up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, the escort from our Company following next to his carriage. Shortly after we turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue, west of the Capitol, I noticed the crowd along the street looking intently, and some were pointing to something in the heavens toward the south.[Great Skywatcher Photos of Venus and Jupiter]
"I glanced up in that direction, and there in plain view, shining out in all her star-like beauty, was the planet Venus. It was a little after midday at the time I saw it, possibly near one o'clock; the sun seemed to be a little west of the median, the star a little east. It was a strange sight. I never saw a star at that time in the day before or since. The superstitious had had many strange notions about it, but of course it was simply owing to the peculiarly clear condition of the atmosphere and the favorable position of the planet at that time. The President and those who were with him in the carriage noticed the star at the same time."
This week, nearly a century and a half later, you can duplicate this famous observation. The sky map of Venus in daylight for this story shows where Venus and the moon will appear at 4 p.m. relative to the sun.
Venus is quite easy to see in a clear blue daylight sky, if you know exactly where to look, and if you can focus your eyes on it. What makes today's Venus appearance special is that the waxing crescent moon will be right next to Venus in the sky, showing you exactly where to look, and giving your eyes something to focus on.
Here's how to see it:
Go out around 4 p.m. local time on Monday, and position yourself so that the sun is behind a chimney or rooftop to your right. Blocking the sun is always essential if you're looking anywhere close to the sun. WARNING:Never look directly at the sun with your unaided eye or through binoculars or telescopes without special light filters. Severe eye damage can result. Read More

Venus and the Mayan Calendar: "The serpent depicted on the building was a representation of the Mayan deity Kukulcan, known by the Aztecs as Quetzlecoatl, which is also identified with the planet Venus." The good news?The world is not going to end on Dec. 21, 2012.
So says Dr. Jonathan E. Reyman, Curator of Anthropology for the Illinois State Museum, who presented "The End of Time: Maya, Aztec, Skidi-Pawnee, and Pueblo Views of the End of the World" Tuesday, March 6, at the Illinois Valley Archeological Society lecture at Dickson Mounds.
Dr. Reyman, who is responsible for the inventory and curation of Native American artifacts for the state museum, received his degree from Southern Illinois University, specializing in the American southwest. He also has experience with Native American cultures and artifacts from the eastern and midwestern portions of the U.S., as well as from Mexico and Ecuador. Read More