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Blue Planet

Earth headed for sixth mass extinction

© AFP

The rapid depletion of Earth's biodiversity indicates that the planet is in the early stages of its sixth mass extinction of life since becoming habitable 3.5 billion years ago, according to a new study published in Science.

Human activity, including a doubling of its population in the past 35 years, has driven the decline of animal life on Earth, the researchers concluded.

There has been a 25 percent average decline rate of remaining terrestrial vertebrates, and a 45 percent decline rate in the abundance of invertebrates. These losses will continue to have innumerable impacts on species that depend on the delicate balance of life on Earth for their own survival.

"We tend to think about extinction as loss of a species from the face of Earth, and that's very important, but there's a loss of critical ecosystem functioning in which animals play a central role that we need to pay attention to as well," said Rodolfo Dirzo, lead author of the study and a biology professor at Stanford University.
Binoculars

Wrong time, wrong place: Rare plover from the Arctic tundra turns up in Tamworth, UK


Bird-watchers get into a palaver over Pacific Golden Plover
Dozens of dedicated bird watchers have been getting into a flap at a beauty spot near Tamworth after an ultra-rare bird flew in - thousands of miles from where he should be.

Flustered 'twitchers' have descended on the RSPB's Middleton lakes armed with long-lens cameras after a Pacific Golden Plover was spotted in the site's Jubilee Wetlands.

The arrival of the bird, which is spotted gold and black on the crown, back and wings, was quite a surprise.

That's because at this time the year it should be in its breeding ground, thousands of miles away in the Arctic tundra, from northernmost Asia into western Alaska.

Ambulance

Gulf of Mexico dying from polluted and poisoned bioterrain, thanks to BigAg, Big Oil and BigPharma

There have been several significant developments over the past few decades in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) which now require special and immediate attention. The multitude of oil spills - both large and small - require extraordinary remediation measures, as well as the application of safe and proven technologies which will not make the existing hydrocarbon pollution worse. There are other major sources of water pollution in the GOM which have also became apparent, particularly since the eye-opening 2010 BP oil spill.

The Gulf of Mexico is Dying: A Special Report On The BP Gulf Oil Spill

The BP Gulf Oil Spill drew the world's attention to the GOM for a variety of reasons. The sheer volume of oil spilt was unprecedented, as were its profound and lasting effects on a large geographic area. Because it occurred in such a large body of water, many population centers were adversely impacted as they continue to be up to this very day. However, it was the incompetent and negligent oil spill response from BP that received the justified scrutiny of the entire world.

Some have since advanced the notion that global oil spill response has been forever changed for the better, because of how profoundly BP mismanaged the spill for all to see. In this regard, they speak of a literal sea change regarding the methodologies and modalities, process and procedure, science and technology that are now accepted by many of the nations of the world.

The entire world watched in horror as millions of gallons of the dispersant Corexit were used to 'disappear' the gushing oil in the Macondo Prospect throughout 2010 and beyond. Disappearing the oil actually meant sinking it, after micronizing it, so that both BP and the US Federal Government could be 'applauded' for a successful response. However, the known health risks/dangers and environmental damage caused by Corexit became so well publicized that it has now been banned in those countries which have learned from the BP fiasco. The following article provides more details in this regard.
Arrow Down

Earth is opening up: Two more holes are discovered in Siberia

Reindeer herders find more craters in the far north in a deepening puzzle for scientists.
© Local residents
The funnel is a perfectly formed cone, say locals who are mystified at how it was formed. Its depth is estimated at between 60 and 100 metres and its diameter - more than four metres.
Millions of people around the world glimpsed the first giant hole after it was revealed by The Siberian Times here and on The Siberian TimesTV here.

Now news has emerged of two new similar formations in the permafrost, prompting more intrigue about their creation.

Comment: Consider the following excerpt from Superluminal Communications dated 26 of July, 2014:
Q: (Data) I would like to ask about this hole that opened up in Siberia that makes like a sinkhole that also has ejected material around. What caused this hole?

A: Gases exploding within the earth. We told you that an infinitesimal slowing of the earth rotation would cause things to "open up". Expect more of that in future as well. You did not ask what sparked the "explosion"? We can tell you to once again think of greater current flow.

Q: (L) So an electrically sparked inner earth explosion. That's creepy!

(Pierre) Earth opening up, gas released, and more electric current discharged.

(Perceval) I wonder could that be caused by a lightning strike, for example?

A: Yes.

Q: (L) So a lightning strike could strike the earth, and if the gas was within a...

(Pierre) These crazy fires everywhere... Gas, lightning, fireball, boom boom.

(Kniall) Did something like this happen in Harlem? There was a gas explosion in a building, and then the appearance of a sinkhole. It could have been the same kind of thing.

(L) Remember some time ago we asked about all the fires, and they talked about electrical sparking or something then? Even back then. It's not all necessarily fireballs.

(Perceval) They said that all those fires in like frozen land with scrub and bogs was gas.

(L) It's freakin' gas being released, and sparks.


Ice Cube

Arctic summer sea ice extent nearing a decade record

You probably haven't heard about this from the mainstream media.

Arctic approaches ten year summer sea ice maximum

Thanks to jbird for this link
"Check it out while there is still time, i.e. before they change the data," says jbird.
Source: ocean.dmi.dk
Sun

Drought draws rattlesnakes close to California homes

man and snake
© www.dcnr.state.pa.us
Rattlesnake removal from their temporary residences near homes and parks.
The drought is bringing out all kinds of animals, but one has a bite you don't want to mess with.

Len Ramirez says his rattlesnake removal business says this is one of the busiest year's he's seen in nearly 30 years. And it's only halfway done. "We've made four calls today, and tonight I don't know how many I'm going to make this evening, but it's going to be a long evening," he said.

A room where he keeps rattlesnakes he catches before releasing them into the wild is evidence of how busy he's been. "We've removed 72 rattlesnakes this week," he said.

Drought conditions have kept the calls coming in from people spooked by a snake that's way too close for comfort. "For a lot of homeowners just moving in from the Bay Area, first-time encounter with a rattlesnake is very scary," he said.

More snakes are coming closer to homes, something he says is likely because of the drought. People aren't watering as much, so there isn't water all over the ground away from homes. That leads rodents that are a food source for the snakes closer to homes in search of water.

He says pets could be most at risk if they accidentally sniff a spot a rattlesnake calls home. He also recommends keeping garage doors closed.

Comment: Snake bites can cause severe swelling, bruising pain at the bite site, internal bleeding and sometimes breathing problems. If treated with antivenom at a hospital, they are rarely fatal. Since snake bite kits have recently been considered an outmoded and dangerous idea and the Sawyer Extractor is not very effective, the best recommendation is to dial 911 and get to a hospital ASAP. Immobilize the bitten limb and keep it below the level of the heart...but get help pronto.

Windsock

UK freak lightning & hail plunge commuters into 'Zombie Apocalypse'

As is usually the case, Britain has paid for its blast of summery weather with lashings of hail, lightning strikes and flooding.

Storms hit the Hove, Brighton and Worthing areas of Sussex during Monday morning rush hour.

A lightning strike caused electrical supply problems for rail passengers while some commuters were forced to struggle through a hail storm in an experience described by one as a "zombie apocalypse".

uk lightning

Lighting strikes at Hove, Sussex
Ice Cube

Coolest Summer on record In the US

The frequency of 90 degree days in the US has been plummeting for 80 years, and 2014 has had the lowest frequency of 90 degree days through July 23 on record. The only other year which came close was 1992, and that was due to dust in the atmosphere from Mt Pinatubo.
coolest summer
© Unknown
Cloud Lightning

Freak California weather: Wildfires, lightning and drought wreak havoc in US state leaving 1 dead

sand fire3
© Max Whittaker
Members of the CAL Fire Vina Helitack crew battle a spot fire as the fast-moving wildfire called "Sand Fire" burns near Plymouth, California
Two wildfires in northern California destroyed 13 homes on the weekend, while one man died after being struck by lightning in the south of the state

Wildfire has ravaged the drought-stricken region of northern California obliterating 13 homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds on the same weekend that thunderstorms and freak lightning swept through the south of the state killing one.

As many as 1,900 fire personnel are battling a raging blaze in the Sierra Navada foothills amid a dangerous combination of high winds and temperatures above 38C.

The sand fire has burned through roughly 3,800 acres or six square miles since it started on Friday, but still threatens at least 515 properties, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) says.

It is now 50 per cent contained - with a fire-fighter sustaining minor injuries - as it continues to rip through the border of Amador and El Dorado counties, five miles north of the city of Plymouth.

Authorities have listed its cause as "vehicle into dry vegetation," leading to a blaze that has also resulted in the destruction of 38 outbuildings.
Cloud Lightning

Lightning Strikes 14 People In California

© Instagram/gunner_cuz
A lifeguard works to resuscitate a person struck by lightning Sunday on the beach in Venice in an image captured by a surfer and shared on social media.
A 20-year-old man died Sunday after lightning struck or rattled 13 people at a popular Los Angeles beach and a golfer on Catalina Island during summer thunderstorms that swept through Southern California, authorities said.

The man was taken from Venice Beach and pronounced dead at a hospital Sunday afternoon, Los Angeles County coroner's Lt. Larry Dietz said. His identity was not immediately released.

Confirmation of the cause of death was pending an autopsy. Dietz said he can't confirm whether the man was a swimmer who was pulled from the water and given CPR.

Twelve other people, including a 15-year-old boy, were examined after the strike on the beach, in the water and on the famed Venice Beach boardwalk. Los Angeles fire spokeswoman Katherine Main said they had effects ranging from anxiety to needing CPR, although not all may actually have been struck. Nine went to hospitals.

Steve Christensen said his friend had been body-surfing and was sitting on the beach when lifeguards began searching for a missing swimmer.

"He (Christensen's friend) went out to the water to find him and walked right into him," Christensen said. "He was face down on the bottom."

Christensen said his friend pulled the man, who appeared to be in his 20s, from the water, and lifeguards began CPR before taking him away on a truck.
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