Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why the Italy Quake Was So Severe

[NY Times] The combination of a shallow fault and old, unreinforced masonry buildings led to widespread devastation in the earthquake that struck central Italy early Wednesday.
The magnitude-6.2 quake killed at least 241 people and left hundreds more injured. Many people were trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings.
Like other villages and towns in the mountainous area, Amatrice, where the mayor lamented that “half the town no longer exists,” has stone churches and other buildings that were constructed centuries ago, when little if anything was known about earthquakes. Unless they have been reinforced in recent years, such structures are easily damaged or destroyed by shaking.
“Even 100 years ago, they didn’t know how to build structures to withstand earthquakes,” said David A. Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes, England.
The earthquake was less powerful than many recent deadly quakes. The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015, for instance, killing 8,000 people, released roughly 250 times more energy.
But the Italian quake was very shallow: According to the United States Geological Survey, it occurred about six miles below the surface. “Shallow earthquakes cause more destruction than deep earthquakes because the shallowness of the source makes the ground-shaking at the surface worse,” Professor Rothery said.
Video from Amatrice and other towns near the quake center showed heaps of masonry rubble from buildings that had been shaken apart.
Earthquakes are set off by the movement of the earth’s crust, which is divided into large sections called tectonic plates. The Apennine Mountains, where the quake occurred on Wednesday, are in an area where one plate, the African, is moving under another, the Eurasian. Read More

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

This is How South Florida Ends

[Gizmodo] It’s a scorching midsummer day, and the sawgrass is still under a pale blue sky. Waist-deep in water and sinking slowly into the muck, I fend off mosquitos as a man from South Florida’s Water Management District mixes a bag of salt into a hot tub-sized bucket on the side of the road. Thirty feet away in the marsh, another city official wearing waders and a bug hat stands on a narrow steel walkway, dangling the end of a long hose over a plexiglass chamber.
The experiment seems innocuous enough. Seawater is being added to a freshwater wetland, and scientists are observing what happens. The grim subtext is that this same experiment is about to play out in real life and on an enormous scale, from here in the southern Everglades, to Miami forty miles east, to the Florida Keys due south. If scientists are correct, much of South Florida will be underwater by the end of the century.
Standing next to me, pulling strands of what looks like a moss-covered scarf out of the water, is Viviana Mazzei, an ecology PhD student at Florida International University. It’s a periphyton mat, she explains, a unique symbiosis of algae, bacteria, and other microorganisms that forms the base of the Everglades’ food chain. When the saltwater comes, it’s expected to die, with profound ecological consequences.
“The urgency for doing this work has never been greater,” Tiffany Troxler, the FIU ecologist leading the experiment, told me later that week over the phone. “The Everglades is a world treasure, and we’d like for people to continue coming here to enjoy it for a long time.”
Today, the Everglades is fighting a war. Its adversary—rising sea levels brought on by man-made climate change—is relentless and merciless. It’s coming faster than we think. And unlike an earlier war between man and the so-called river of grass, this fight will have no winners.
The first war on the Everglades began over a century ago, when European colonists arrived in South Florida intending to grow crops and build cities, and instead found themselves wading through a mosquito-infested swamp. It was a dreary, dismal, abominable place, “suitable only for the haunt of noxious vermin, or the resort of pestilential reptiles” according to an early government report.
In other words, it was America’s last frontier, and man’s God-given right to conquer it. And so, men conquered, or at least they tried. For decades, efforts to tame the wetlands proved futile. The tides turned in 1928, when a devastating hurricane flooded Lake Okeechobee—the enormous freshwater reservoir that fed wetlands to south—sending nearly three thousand Everglades pioneers to a watery grave. That disaster prompted the US Army Corps of Engineers to erect an enormous dike around the lake, cutting off the Everglades’ lifeblood and draining hundreds of thousands of acres for agriculture. East, west, and south of Lake Okeechobee, the Army Corps dug thousands of miles of levees and canals to move water around in a more orderly fashion. Read More

Go flexitarian: A three-week plan to eat less meat

[CNN] Cutting down on animal protein does more than slash calories -- it lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as your risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The vegetables, legumes, and whole grains that will replace the meat help shield you from developing these chronic diseases, too. "Plants are nature's pharmacy," says Kate Geagan, RD, author of Go Green Get Lean ($5, "They're brimming with protective nutrients and antioxidants that you just can't get from animals." You don't have to go full vegetarian -- our plan ups your plant protein without depriving you of that Saturday-night steak.
"Meat can have a place on your plate if you're passionate about that -- just shift the proportions," says Geagan. Here's how to nail the balancing act. 
Shop for substitutes: Stock up on at least three foods that can replace meat in many dishes. "Mushrooms, beans, and chickpeas are my go-tos," says Elle Penner, RD, a dietitian and blogger.
Combine proteins: In as many meals as you can this week, swap half the meat with an equal serving of plant protein; mix chickpeas with half the usual amount of chicken, say, or black beans with half the ground beef.
Trim the bacon: Reduce your intake of sausages and bacon big-time. "They contain a ton of sodium, preservatives, and fat," says Penner. Read More

Climate change is thawing deadly diseases. Maybe now we'll address it?

[Guardian] Earlier this month, an outbreak of anthrax in northern Russia caused the death of a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother and put 90 people in the hospital. These deadly spores – which had not been seen in the Arctic since 1941 – also spread to 2,300 caribou. Russian troops trained in biological warfare were dispatched to the Yamalo-Nenets region to evacuate hundreds of the indigenous, nomadic people and quarantine the disease.

Americans are likely to associate anthrax with the mysterious white powder that was mailed to news media and US Senate offices in the weeks following 11 September 2001. The bacteria – usually sequestered in biological weapons labs – killed five people and infected 17 others in the most devastating bioterrorism attack in US history.
But in Russia, the spread of illness was not the result of bioterrorism; it was a result of global warming. Record-high temperatures melted Arctic permafrost and released deadly anthrax spores from a thawing carcass of a caribou that had been infected 75 years ago and had stayed frozen in limbo until now. This all suggests that it may not be easy to predict which populations will be most vulnerable to the health impacts of climate change. Read More

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Louisiana flooding is the country’s ‘worst natural disaster’ since Hurricane Sandy, Red Cross says

[Washington Post] Five days into this disaster, adrenaline is giving way to exhaustion and — for many of those who left their homes amid rising water — a constant, churning anxiety about the future.
Thousands are still holed up in shelters or at friends’ houses on high ground, relying on Facebook videos and word-of-mouth for an answer to the question on everyone’s tongues: How bad is the damage?
“We still don’t know the state of our house,” said Justin Sylvest, 21, who lives with his girlfriend and their 11-month-old in Denham Springs, a town east of Baton Rouge that was among the hardest hit.
The three of them had been staying since Sunday at an emergency shelter on the vast grounds of the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, southeast of Baton Rouge. Sylvest said the shelter had provided everything his family needed, starting with formula for the baby and clean clothes.
But a shelter’s still a shelter, a gymnasium lined with cots with no personal space or guaranteed quiet — all the more difficult for a young father who isn’t sure whether his family has a place to live or a way to pay the bills. He said he hadn’t slept much.
“I don’t even know when I’ll be able to go to work,” Sylvest said, taking a drag on a cigarette. “It’s going to be a lot getting back to normal.”
After two feet of rain began falling Thursday night, water rose quickly in Baton Rouge and then migrated east and south, leaving a vast swath of damage. At least 40,000 homes have been damaged, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards (D). The death toll has risen to 13.
Roads remain flooded and closed, while schools, businesses and government offices have been shut down for days. The country has not seen a natural disaster this bad since 2012, when Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast, according to the American Red Cross.
“The current flooding in Louisiana is the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy,” Brad Kieserman, vice president for disaster services operations and logistics for the Red Cross, said in a statement. “The Red Cross is mounting a massive relief operation, which we anticipate will cost at least $30 million and that number may grow as we learn more about the scope and magnitude of the devastation.” Read More

Wildfire Burns With Ferocity Never Seen By Fire Crews

[Bloomberg] A wildfire with a ferocity never seen before by veteran California firefighters raced up and down canyons, instantly engulfing homes and forcing thousands of people to flee, some running for their lives just ahead of the flames.
By Wednesday, a day after it ignited in brush left bone dry by years of drought, the blaze had spread across nearly 47 square miles and was raging out of control. The flames advanced despite the efforts of 1,300 firefighters.
Authorities could not immediately say how many homes had been destroyed, but they warned that the number will be large.
"There will be a lot of families that come home to nothing," San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said after flying over a fire scene he described as "devastating."
"It hit hard. It hit fast. It hit with an intensity that we hadn't seen before," he said.
No deaths were reported, but cadaver dogs were searching the ruins for anyone who was overrun by the flames.
The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known.
Five years of drought have turned the state's wildlands into a tinder box, with eight fires currently burning from Shasta County in the far north to Camp Pendleton just north of San Diego.
"In my 40 years of fighting fire, I've never seen fire behavior so extreme," Incident Commander Mike Wakoski said a day after the latest blaze broke out Tuesday in Cajon Pass, a critical highway and rail corridor through mountain ranges that separate Southern California's major population centers from the Mojave Desert and Las Vegas.
Residents like Vi Delgado and her daughter April Christy, who had been through a major brushfire years before, said they had never seen anything like it either. Read More

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Move Over, Community Gardens: Edible Forests Are Sprouting Up Across America

[Smithsonian] ​Earlier this summer, Carol LeResche got the phone call she’d been waiting for: A resident of Sheridan, Wyoming, was picking zucchini at Thorne Rider Park. “It’s exactly what we hoped would happen when we put in the food forest,” explains LeResche, the park’s food forest coordinator.
In May, the Powder River Basin Resource Council in Sheridan received a $3,500 grant from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to turn a former BMX park into an edible landscape where all of the fruits, vegetables and nuts are free for the taking. U
nlike some parks with strict “no picking” policies, or parks where foraging is permitted but plantings emphasize aesthetics over edibles and just a fraction of the species can be consumed, food forests are designed to provide bountiful crops that residents are encouraged to harvest. And although there are no solid statistics on the number of food forests—one website that maps the locations of these “forest gardens” lists just 63 sites across the U.S.—the concept appears to be taking root.
At Thorne Rider Park, zucchini are the first vegetables to ripen in the brand new food forest; as the other edibles mature, LeResche hopes residents will dig up potatoes for supper, gather raspberries to make jam or snack on ripe figs plucked straight from the trees. “We think it’s important to put public food in public spaces,” she says.
Food forests may seem like a spin-off of community gardens, but there are distinct differences. Residents often have to pay to rent plots in community gardens, invest in the seeds and devote the labor required to maintain their plots—which can be a burden for low-income families who are strapped for cash and time. In contrast, food forests are funded through grants and, until the forests are self-sustaining, volunteers handle the labor; all hungry residents have to do is show up and pick their fill.
Food forests also provide different kinds of fresh produce than community gardens, emphasizing perennials like fruit and nut trees and berry bushes over annual vegetables. Despite the differences, Rachel Bayer, director of programs for Project Learning Tree, a program of the American Forest Foundation, believes both are important for addressing food deserts. “It’s important to grow a diversity of fruits and vegetables,” she says. “Food forests aren’t better or worse than community gardens; both have their place in urban communities.”
Food forests also offer environmental benefits, providing essential forest canopy that is lacking in urban areas, helping to minimize the heat island effect and providing  community gathering spaces where residents can participate in tours and classes or relax among the fruit trees. Read More

Global warming has brought a hellish heatwave to the Middle East – and it's coming to the rest of the world

[Independent] Record-shattering temperatures this summer havescorched countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia and beyond, as climate experts warn that the severe weather could be a harbinger of worse to come.
In coming decades, U.N. officials and climate scientists predict that the region’s mushrooming populations will face extreme water scarcity, temperatures almost too hot for human survival and other consequences of global warming.
If that happens, conflicts and refugee crises far greater than those now underway are probable, said Adel Abdellatif, a senior adviser at the U.N. Development Program’s Regional Bureau for Arab States who has worked on studies about the effect of climate change on the region.
These countries have grappled with remarkably warm summers in recent years, but this year has been particularly brutal.
Parts of the United Arab Emirates and Iran experienced a heat index — a measurement that factors in humidity as well as temperature — that soared to 140 degrees in July, and Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, recorded an all-time high temperature of nearly 126 degrees. Southern Morocco’s relatively cooler climate suddenly sizzled last month, with temperatures surging to highs between 109 and 116 degrees. In May, record-breaking temperatures in Israel led to a surge in ­heat-related illnesses.
Temperatures in Kuwait and Iraq startled observers. On July 22, the mercury climbed to 129 degrees in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. A day earlier, it reached 129.2 in Mitribah, Kuwait. If confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization, the two temperatures would be the hottest ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.
The bad news isn’t over, either. Iraq’s heat wave is expected to continue this week. Read More

We’re under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII.

By Bill McKibben
[New Republic] In the North this summer, a devastating offensive is underway. Enemy forces have seized huge swaths of territory; with each passing week, another 22,000 square miles of Arctic ice disappears. Experts dispatched to the battlefield in July saw little cause for hope, especially since this siege is one of the oldest fronts in the war. “In 30 years, the area has shrunk approximately by half,” said a scientist who examined the onslaught. “There doesn’t seem anything able to stop this.”
In the Pacific this spring, the enemy staged a daring breakout across thousands of miles of ocean, waging a full-scale assault on the region’s coral reefs. In a matter of months, long stretches of formations like the Great Barrier Reef—dating back past the start of human civilization and visible from space—were reduced to white bone-yards.
Day after day, week after week, saboteurs behind our lines are unleashing a series of brilliant and overwhelming attacks. In the past few months alone, our foes have used a firestorm to force the total evacuation of a city of 90,000 in Canada, drought to ravage crops to the point where southern Africans are literally eating their seed corn, and floods to threaten the priceless repository of art in the Louvre. The enemy is even deploying biological weapons to spread psychological terror: The Zika virus, loaded like a bomb into a growing army of mosquitoes, has shrunk the heads of newborn babies across an entire continent; panicked health ministers in seven countries are now urging women not to get pregnant. And as in all conflicts, millions of refugees are fleeing the horrors of war, their numbers swelling daily as they’re forced to abandon their homes to escape famine and desolation and disease.
World War III is well and truly underway. And we are losing.
For years, our leaders chose to ignore the warnings of our best scientists and top military strategists. Global warming, they told us, was beginning a stealth campaign that would lay waste to vast stretches of the planet, uprooting and killing millions of innocent civilians. But instead of paying heed and taking obvious precautions, we chose to strengthen the enemy with our endless combustion; a billion explosions of a billion pistons inside a billion cylinders have fueled a global threat as lethal as the mushroom-shaped nuclear explosions we long feared. Carbon and methane now represent the deadliest enemy of all time, the first force fully capable of harrying, scattering, and impoverishing our entire civilization.
We’re used to war as metaphor: the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on cancer. Usually this is just a rhetorical device, a way of saying, “We need to focus our attention and marshal our forces to fix something we don’t like.” But this is no metaphor. By most of the ways we measure wars, climate change is the real deal: Carbon and methane are seizing physical territory, sowing havoc and panic, racking up casualties, and even destabilizing governments. (Over the past few years, record-setting droughts have helped undermine the brutal strongman of Syria and fuel the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria.) It’s not that global warming is like a world war. It is a world war. Its first victims, ironically, are those who have done the least to cause the crisis. But it’s a world war aimed at us all. And if we lose, we will be as decimated and helpless as the losers in every conflict--except that this time, there will be no winners, and no end to the planetwide occupation that follows.
The question is not, are we in a world war? The question is, will we fight back? And if we do, can we actually defeat an enemy as powerful and inexorable as the laws of physics? Read More

Marine Heatwaves Are Spawning Unprecedented Climate Chaos

[Wired] First seabirds started falling out of the sky, washing up on beaches from California to Canada.
Then emaciated and dehydrated sea lion pups began showing up, stranded and on the brink of death.
A surge in dead whales was reported in the same region, and that was followed by the largest toxic algal bloom in history seen along the Californian coast. Mixed among all that there were population booms of several marine species that normally aren’t seen surging in the same year.
Plague, famine, pestilence and death was sweeping the northern Pacific Ocean between 2014 and 2015.
This chaos was caused by a single massive heatwave, unlike anything ever seen before. But it was not the sort of heatwave we are used to thinking about, where the air gets thick with warmth. This occurred in the ocean, where the effects are normally hidden from view.
Nicknamed “the blob”, it was arguably the biggest marine heatwave ever seen. It may have been the worst but wide-scale disruption from marine heatwaves is increasingly being seen all around the globe, with regions such as Australia seemingly being hit with more than their fair share.
It might seem strange given their huge impact but the concept of a marine heatwave is new to science. The term was only coined in 2011. Since then a growing body of work documenting their cause and impact has developed.
According to Emanuele Di Lorenzo from the Georgia Institute of Technology, that emerging field of study could not only reveal a hitherto underestimated source of climate-related chaos, it could change our very understanding of the climate.
On the other side of the Pacific from “the blob”, Australia has been buffeted by a string of extreme marine heatwaves. This year at least three parts of the coast have been devastated by extreme water temperatures.
Australia, it seems, could be smack in the middle of this global chaos. According to work published in 2014, both the south-east and south-west coasts are among the world’s fastest warming ocean waters.
“They have been identified as global warming hotspots,” says Eric Oliver, an oceanographer at the University of Tasmania. “The seas there are warming fast and so we might expect there to be an increased likelihood or increased intensity of the events that happen there.
“Certainly attention is being focused on ocean changes on the south-east and south-west of Australia.” Read More

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Our oceans aren’t just rising - they’re accelerating, and that’s even worse

It's been hidden from us for 25 years.

[Science Alert] It’s news to no one that our sea levels are rising as a result of global warming, but scientists have finally confirmed something even more worrying - rate at which they’re rising is actually accelerating.
And what’s truly crazy about this situation is it’s been masked from us for more than two decades, thanks to a massive, poorly timed volcanic eruption. Thanks, nature.
On 15 June 1991, Earth sustained the second-largest volcanic eruption of the century - Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines.
Described by the US Geological Survey as "cataclysmic", the eruption spewed forth more than 5 cubic km (1 cubic mile) of debris, and the resulting ash cloud rose some 35 km (22 miles) into the air above.
A typhoon happened to form at the exact same time, blowing ash in all directions, and avalanches of searing hot ash, gas, and pumice fragments filled nearby valleys with volcanic deposits up to 200 metres (660 feet) thick.
The volcano ejected so much matter that day, its groaning summit gave way and collapsed.
The event caused nearly 18 million tonnes (20 million tons) of sulphur dioxide to be deposited into Earth’s stratosphere, and this huge gas cloud managed to reflect so much sunlight, the volcano literally caused global temperatures to drop by about 0.5°C (1°F) from 1991 to 1993.
Amazingly, this all happened at the same time as when NASA and French space agency CNES decided to launch the world's first satellite altimeter, called TOPEX/Poseidon, which would allow scientists to start monitoring sea level changes from orbit.
So from 1992, right when Earth was experiencing a freak cooling period caused by a humungous volcanic eruption, scientists established a whole new way of measuring sea levels, and it’s lead to one of the biggest mysteries in climate science - why rising sea levels have remained so oddly consistent.
In fact, for the first decade of operation, the radar altimeter actually showed a decrease in sea level - not exactly what you’d expect when the planet continues to break temperature records every year, and the melting of our icebergs has accelerated.
"We’ve been looking at the altimeter records and scratching our heads, and saying, 'Why aren’t we seeing an acceleration in the satellite record?' We should be," John Fasullo, a climate scientist from the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, told The Washington Post.
Since the altimeter was launched in 1992, studies based on its data have recorded a consistent rise in sea levels of 3.5 millimetres per year, or about 1.4 inches each decade.
To test if that was accurate, Fasullo and his team decided to develop 40 different climate change models that for the first time treated the effect of the volcanic eruption as one big anomaly, and ended up with a much better representation of what's actually been going on.
"The scientists estimate as a result that sea level not only fell between 5 and 7 millimetres due to a major ocean cooling event in the eruption’s wake, but then experienced a rebound, or bounce back, of the same magnitude once the influence of the eruption had passed," Chris Mooney reports for the The Washington Post.
This rebound made it look like sea levels experienced a sharp increase, followed by a decline, and then ultimately, it appeared to even itself out, but in reality, the results were completely distorted. Read More

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Climate Change Could Be Devastating For Homeowners In Coastal Cities

[Huffington Post] While climate change is a pressing global concern, it isn’t at the top of discussions about the future of the real estate market. But a recent report shows how it could have devastating implications for housing in the U.S.
Almost 1.9 million houses nationwide could be underwater by 2100 if scientists’ more dire predictions come to pass, according to a report from real estate company Zillow released last week. Almost 300 cities would lose at least half their homes, the report states.
Zillow looked at which existing houses would be affected if sea levels rise 6 feet. They determined which houses would be underwater using maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that show how sea level rise will affect coastlines.
According to the EPA, estimates for sea level rise by the end of the century range between 1 and 4 feet, with an uncertainty range of 0.66 to 6.6 feet. In a recent study, researchers argue that earlier predictions don’t sufficiently account for Antarctica’s melting ice and that a more accurate estimate is over 6 feet of sea level rise if greenhouse gas emissions don’t go down.  
Sea levels began to climb in the 1900s, and evidence suggests the rate of their rise has accelerated, according to NOAA. There are three main reasons for rising sea levels, according to National Geographic: water expansion due to warming oceans; glacier and polar ice cap melt; and ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica.
According to Zillow’s report, which is based on an extreme scenario for sea level rise, the nearly 1.9 million houses that would be underwater represent about 2 percent of the housing stock in the U.S. and are worth a combined $882 billion. For comparison, 1.1 million homes were built last year.
Florida would take the largest hit, with one in eight houses underwater if sea levels rise 6 feet. More than 30 percent of homes in Miami would be at risk.
See how homes in Miami and other coastal cities would be affected by 6 feet of sea level rise in Zillow’s maps. Read More

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Kitchen Medicines: 10 Delicious Medicinal Foods That Belong in Every Kitchen

[Conscious Lifestyle] No herbalist should be caught without some recourse in the event of illness or injury. Sometimes the simple application of ice or cold water to an inflammation or a hot salt bath to relieve muscle pain is all it takes. 
And we should all have herbs and spices—themselves powerful medicinal foods—waiting on the kitchen shelf, if we just know how to use them.
Please only buy and use organic herbs, spices and medicinal foods. Non-organic, commercially grown herbs are sprayed with bee- and butterfly-killing pesticides such as nicotinamides, and dried non-organic herbs contain concentrated amounts of pesticide residue, which bioaccumulates in human tissue. By purchasing organic herbs and spices you will be doing your part to encourage organic farming, a practice that can ultimately preserve life on Earth.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Use the fresh or dried leaves of this delicious medicinal food to soothe digestion, stomach cramps, and constipation and to ease headaches and depression. The tea will help the lungs when there is catarrh.

Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

Black pepper is a powerful medicinal food that stimulates digestion and relieves gas. It is warming to the body and helps neutralize toxins when added to meat dishes. Add a few peppercorns to a medicinal decoction when you have a cold. You can also mix powdered black pepper with honey and eat it to help remove phlegm from your system.

Cayenne (Capsicum annuum)

Cayenne is wonderful medicinal food for moving phlegm out of your system—add a pinch to any herbal tea when you are suffering a cold. It actually ­benefits digestion and can help ward off illness when flu and colds are making the rounds. Take a capsule a day to avoid getting a cold, but avoid overuse and never take Cayenne capsules on an empty stomach! (It won’t hurt you but you will regret it; the burning can be intense.)
Mix Cayenne pepper with vinegar and rub the liniment into arthritic joints. If you cut yourself with a knife in the kitchen, reach for the powdered Cayenne. It aids in clotting and stops bleeding (just don’t get any into your eyes—it stings like crazy). Read More

Research: The ‘big one’ could rattle Northwest sooner than first thought

[My Northwest] A major earthquake may hit the Pacific Northwest sooner than scientists originally thought.
New research, published in the journal Marine Geology this week, about the Cascadia Subduction Zone has prompted earthquake experts to re-think the potential timeline and shows that major earthquakes happen more frequently than first thought.
It also brings added importance to earthquake exercises like the “Cascadia Rising” emergency drill that occurred in Washington in June.
Since the 80s, researchers have said major earthquakes occur in our part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone every 500 to 530 years.
But after studying more than 16 times the number of core samples used in previous studies, seismologists now believe devastating quakes occur about every 430 years.
The last devastating earthquake in the area was 315 years ago.
The greater Seattle-area’s last sizeable earthquake, the Nisqually Quake in 2001, may still be fresh in some people’s minds, but the kind of quake researchers are referring to is massive – in the magnitude 9.0 range.
The bottom line is that experts now say the chance of a major earthquake in the next 50 years has increased from 8 to 14 percent to 10 to 17 percent.
Another reminder, according to emergency preparedness experts, is to be ready, because no one really knows when such a quake could hit.

Venus May Have Had Earth-like Climate

[Inquisitor] A long time ago, Venus may have had flowing liquid water and may have featured temperatures similar to the temperatures found on Earth. If so, we can add Venus to the list of planets within our galaxy that may have been capable of sustaining life at some point. Now, Venus features storms of acid and has bone-crushing atmospheric pressure. It’s a hellish planet to consider ever living on, but scientists have been studying the planet for years, and now believe that that very situation was possible around the same time when life was beginning to evolve on our own home planet.
David Grinspoon at the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona told New Scientist that Venus probably once featured warm liquid water oceans that was in contact with rock and organic molecules. Grinspoon says that those are the requirements for life, and so it is possible that Venus once was the home for life. Read More

Humans Have Used All the Earth’s Resources for the Year

[Motherboard] As of yesterday, we’ve officially overspent nature’s resource budget, according to the Global Footprint Network, an international climate research organization. Metaphorically speaking, if Earth were a bank, we’d be in over our heads with overdraft fees.
This year, “Earth Overshoot Day” fell on August 8, based on measurements of each nation’s withdrawal of natural capital. From carbon sinks to fisheries, humanity has taken more from nature than it’s been able to reproduce. Quite simply, we’re in environmental debt.
Since the 1970s, our global “ecological footprint,” or impact on Earth’s ability to generate renewable resources, has widened. Without fail, the Global Footprint Network says, Earth Overshoot Day has fallen earlier every year—between one to three days, on average, over the last four decades. Last year, it coincided with August 15. Read More

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fed Up With Everything? Here’s A Handy Guide To Living Off The Grid

[Good Is] If the idea of the internet, aliens, and Big Brother have got you down then we have your solution: get off the grid.
Living off the grid (OTG) literally refers to living off the government-funded electricity grid, but in a more general sense it also refers to living without any dependence on the government, society, and its products.
A survey cited by USA Today in 2006 reported there were about 180,000 families living OTG. However, it’s likely that number has gone up significantly in the last decade, considering the growth in popularity of homesteading, permaculture, self-reliance, sustainability, tiny homes, and survival.
In order to live OTG successfully, one needs to take into account his or her own specific needs long prior to actually walking away from the modern world. To become truly self-sufficient, he or she would need to provide all electrical power, food, shelter and water. Here, we’ve outlined a few key elements to help think about, and even begin, a life OTG.
At the onset, expect to put in significant effort to establish food production systems. Jason Knight, director, co-founder, and instructor at Alderleaf Wilderness College in Monroe, Washington, who has taught nature skills for nearly two decades with a focus on wildlife tracking and wilderness survival, says, “I would recommend implementing food systems in phases over the course of a few years. Working on big projects in chunks of time on weekends. After that, time spent is primarily on harvesting and maintenance. Once the systems are in place, expect to put in at least 5 to 10 hours a week for harvesting and maintenance.”
Prepare to pick up a few books on the subject and educate yourself on permaculture–a field of study on sustainable living focused on how to integrate all the various systems of living like food, water, shelter and energy in a way that gets every site element to work together. Knight recommends Practical Permaculture by Dave Boehnlein.
There are a lot of things humans can go without, but water just isn’t one of them. Living OTG, there are a few options, most common of which is to have a well drilled and a pump (either electric, wind-driven or hand-pumped) put in place. If there’s a good spring on the property, the water could be potable. “Be sure to have it tested to find out,” says Knight. “And if it’s not potable, sometimes it can be filtered and/or purified.” Read More

All About Shamanism

[Core Spirit] Shamanism is a spiritual practice found in cultures around the world from ancient times up to the present day. First and foremost, shamans’ practices are practical and adaptable. These practices coexist over millennia with varying cultures, systems of government, and organized religious practices.
Many formalized religions, from Buddhism to Christianity, came from ancient shamanic roots and still bear the shamanic threads of deep connection to the divine in all things. But shamanism itself is not a formalized system of beliefs or an ideology. Rather, it is a group of activities and experiences shared by shamans in cultures around the world. These practices are adaptable and coexist with different cultures, systems of government, and organized religious practices.

Nowadays, in non-indigenous cultures, shamanism is studied and practiced as a life path. Following a shamanistic perspective, individuals seek to be in relationship with the spirit in all things. They seek to use information and guidance from non-ordinary reality to intentionally form their own life experience.
This perspective is not inherently contradictory of any religious practice that allows a person to be in direct relationship with whatever they perceive as a higher power.

Just as in ancient times, contemporary people consult with modern day shamanic practitioners for practical and pragmatic solutions to problems in everyday life-from personal illness, professional challenges, or family discord to ancestral issues.
Shamans work in voluntary, ecstatic trance states, which alter their consciousness to travel to the realms of the invisible worlds. Their ability to gain information and make changes in the invisible realms is dependant upon the working relationships they develop with spirits there. In this sense, shamanism is a relationship-based practice of making changes in invisible realms to impact healing, of individuals or communities, in the realm of ordinary reality. Read More

Being A Master

[Ascension Messages] You have embraced many spiritual teachings, learned healing modalities, kept up with cutting edge, esoteric discoveries, and remained positive and uplifted. All your efforts have been helpful in understanding the realities that lie before the community of Masters, now living in the New Era. What exactly is a Master?
True Masterhood is more than just learning. It is Being, maintaining all aspects of your Light Body in a coherent, clear, consistently enlightened state. Think about the great Masters that have walked the Earth, what made them different from those that recognized their specialness? It was not necessarily how much spiritual knowledge they had, but the balance they had created in their lives and the Love they showed others. In fact, when they are remembered, it is for the simplest acts of kindness, which showed them to be operating at the highest level of the human experience. The explanation that has been given over the ages is that these beings were Divine. Masters recognize that everyone is Divine, so that cannot be all there is to being a Master. The Masters that walked the Earth were human, so there must have been something else that made them stand out from the crowd, and in fact, there was. They were Avatars.
An Avatar is a being whose vibration is so high that it raises that of humanity, just by their being alive on Earth. What makes the vibration high is the amount of DNA that is activated in that individual. The Masters that have walked the Earth, Jesus, Buddha, St. Germain were all operating with conscious access to much more of their DNA than most people alive today. When this happens, the amount of Light that is being generated by the person, which, is also integrated into the Crystalline Grid, raises the vibration of humanity as a whole. It keeps the human race from sinking so low that it could no longer continue. So in essence, when it is said that Jesus was a savior, from a certain point of view he was. Just by being on Earth, in the full human capacity, so that all humanity could see what was possible, he brought with him the lift that was needed at the time. In addition, the blueprint of humanity was realigned to an updated version. It is rather like going from Human 2.0 to Human 3.0.
The blueprint of the Higher Self of each person is imbedded in the DNA, which is why connecting with your Higher Self is the first step in the Conscious Human Evolutionary process. The process of becoming your Higher Self is the Rite of Passage into Masterhood. Similarly, the combined energy of all humans that have ever lived on Earth is stored in the esoteric Crystalline Grid of the Earth. Power spots, which exist by Grace, bring forth a continuous influx of higher telluric energy. These places help to stabilize the Earth’s overall vibration. The Crystalline Grid, responds to and records the energy of humanity as a whole. This is obvious to anyone who observes the current condition of the human race compared to that of the Earth’s surface. Read More

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Jesus Prayer - Guided Meditation with Gabriel Gonsalves

Bangladesh: Hidden fault could trigger major quake

[CNN] The Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers are critically important, life-giving rivers for hundreds of millions of people living in India and Bangladesh. But the millions of tons of sediment that pile up in the delta region of these rivers, a large portion of Bangladesh, could be hiding the biggest natural disaster the region has ever seen.
According to recently released research from a team of scientists led by Dr. Michael Steckler from Columbia University, buried under miles of sediment lies a locked and loaded megathrust fault that could unleash an earthquake up to 9.0 magnitude in one of the most densely populated regions of the world.
Megathrust faults produce biggest quakes
Megathrust faults occur at subduction zones, where Earth's tectonic plates are colliding with each other and one plate is moving (or "subducting") under another. These faults produce the largest earthquakes, reaching and even exceeding 9.0 magnitude, with recent examples being the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, as well as the 2004 Banda Aceh earthquake and resulting Indian Ocean tsunami.
A vast majority of these megathrust faults and their resulting earthquakes occur under the ocean, which is why they can unleash tsunamis. It is rare to find these types of faults under land, and even more rare -- and potentially catastrophic -- to have one directly underneath such a major population center. The study indicates that more than 140 million people live within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of this fault in Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. Read More

WARNING: We will NOT have enough time to prepare for volcanic super-eruption

[Express] Experts state that we would only have about one year warning if a mega volcano were to erupt catastrophically, putting all life on Earth at risk.
New research shows that although the volcano would need to be building up for tens of thousands of years, as magma becomes packed beneath the surface slowly building pressure, we would only have a year’s notice.
Guilherme Gualda, associate professor of earth and environment sciences at Vanderbilt University and co-author of the study published in PLOS One, said: "The evolution of a giant, super-eruption-feeding magma body is characterised by events taking place at a variety of time scales.
"Now we have shown that the onset of the process of decompression, which releases the gas bubbles that power the eruption, starts less than a year before eruption."
Scientists predict that a life-threatening eruption in the future is inevitable, with the USA’s Yellowstone volcano among the top candidates to blow.
However, the frightening realisation that we would only have a year to prepare would mean that nothing short of a miracle would be required to save us.
Mr Gualda and his co-author Stephen Sutton, of the University of Chicago, analysed dozens of small quartz crystals from a huge volcanic eruption that took place 760,000 years ago in California. Read More

People Who Predict Floods Can’t Assume The Climate Isn’t Changing Anymore

[Think Progess] For decades, ever since scientists began estimating the threat of floods, the stale-sounding concept of “stationarity” has been a big factor in their deliberations. “Stationarity,” the theory that certain things that contribute to floods don’t change over time, traditionally included climate. Assuming a non-changing climate, experts relied on historical flood risk data to gauge the danger of future floods.
But stationarity — as once defined — no longer exists.
“It’s a new way of thinking about risk.” said Doug Plasencia, president of the Association of State Flood Plain Managers Foundation. “We always have estimated flood risk by believing that magnitude and frequency would repeat, meaning that climate and other conditions, such as land use, were relatively stable. But now, with the changes in the climate, that is no longer valid. You have to ask: what’s changed? Are we seeing rainfall events that are unprecedented and more frequent? I think we are absolutely seeing these changes in many parts of the country, and it’s a call to action.”
Climate change has forced scientists, policymakers, flood control managers, urban planners, and especially anyone living in flood-prone areas to rethink how they assess the coming hazards of floods. In recent weeks, a series of terrible flood events in the United States has added a new sense of urgency to their discussions. Even abroad — recently in China, as well as in France, Germany, Nepal, South Africa and India, for example — floods have taken a significant toll on human life and property, exacerbating global concerns.
Increasingly, experts in flood management and climate scientists have come to recognize that global warming — along with geography; topography; land use and development; infrastructure; and cultural beliefs — significantly contributes to the severity and frequency of floods. Read More