Earth Changes


Spring arrives with wintry weather in east as celestial events punctuate the week

To start the week, two large eruptions from the sun's corona occurred Sunday, which sparked a powerful solar storm.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a statement Tuesday warning that the geomagnetic storm could potentially impact power grids and GPS tracking.

The geomagnetic storm that resulted allowed the aurora borealis and aurora australis to ignite, providing stargazers with a spectacular light show.


French coast hit with biggest 'tide of the century'

After the excitement of Friday's solar eclipse, thousands of visitors have flocked to France's coastal areas for the chance to see the biggest tide in 18 years.

Thousands of visitors made their way to coastal areas in Brittany and Normandy on Saturday morning to catch this year's spring tides, which are billed to rise as high as 14 meters above their usual level following Friday's solar eclipse, which saw the Earth, moon, and sun in alignment.

Referred to as the 'tide of the century' in the French press, the phenomenon actually takes place every 18 years; this week's is the first of this millennium, and follows exceptionally high tides seen on March 10, 1997.

Bizarro Earth

Mexico City shaken by earthquake that struck more than 100 miles away

© Reuters
Mexico City locals flooded the streets after the quake
An earthquake that caused buildings to sway and forced people to flee onto the streets in the Mexican capital happened more than 100 miles away.

The quake hit at 4.30pm local time in the state of Puebla near Tulcingo del Valle - around 100 miles away from Mexico City.

But residents of the faraway capital were forced to flee shaking buildings.

The city is vulnerable to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds that iggle like jelly when quake waves hit.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said many evacuations were reported in the capital but officials received no reports of damage or injuries.

The quake had a depth of 31 miles.

A magnitude-8.1 quake in 1985 that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City was centered 250 miles away on the Pacific Coast.


Elephant herd tramples man to death in Dhepapalli, India - third fatality in 15 days


Elephant on a bad day.
A herd of elephants trampled Kasi Nath, 70, to death at Dhepapalli, 80 km from here, under Ganjam district's Sorada forest range yesterday.

Patra was going to catch a bus to Sorada when he confronted the wild elephants. He died on the spot, said divisional forest officer (DFO), Ghumusar South, R K Mallick. He said the kin of the deceased would get Rs 3 lakh as compensation in tune with government policy.

The herd also damaged maize crops. This was the third death in the district by elephants in last 15 days. A wild tusker crushed two persons to death at Dolaba, 40 km from here, near Digapahandi on March 4. While one died on the spot, the other succumbed to his injuries at MKCG Medical College and Hospital here the next day.


Farmer killed by elephant near Gudalur, India


Asian elephant.
A man was killed by an elephant near Gudalur on Thursday. Forest sources told The Hindu that the animal attacked Baapu Kutty alias Hamza (72),a farmer of Pakkanna, when he came out of his house early morning.

In the darkness, he failed to spot the elephant. People in the vicinity raised an alarm, but he did not hear them.

The elephant pushed him down before moving away.

The pachyderm was seen in the area a few times recently.

Nilgiris Collector P.Sankar handed over a cheque for Rs. three lakhs to the family of the victim. - D.Radhakrishnan

Arrow Down

Dead gray whale found off Torrey Pines State Beach, California

© Thomas Melville
A backhoe drops a whale carcass into a dump truck on the west side of Fiesta Island at about 3 p.m. Thursday, March 19.
A dead gray whale was found floating in the waters near Torrey Pines State Beach Thursday morning, San Diego Lifeguard officials confirmed.

The young whale -- measuring approximately 15 to 20 feet in length -- was discovered about 250 yards off the shore. Lifeguards confirmed the animal was dead when they reached it just before 10 a.m.

Aerial video showed dozens of birds hovering over the carcass, which was floating belly up in the water.

San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Lee Swanson said lifeguards were waiting to see if the whale would drift to the shore before beginning any recovery operations. Swanson said officials were trying to determine if the whale would wash up on a city or state beach in order to then decide who would then be responsible for getting rid of it.


Security guard attacked by hippo in South Africa

Hippo in water.
A security guard at a KwaZulu-Natal game reserve cannot believe that he is still alive after he was attacked by a hippo while on patrol.

Bongani Makhanya said that he had been patrolling near the Paperbark Lodge at the Tala private game reserve just before his shift ended on Thursday morning, when the startled animal attacked him.

"I did not know that there was a hippo sleeping behind a tree when I walked by. My footsteps obviously disturbed the animal. It came straight at me and was after my head but I blocked it with my arm, so it bit that instead," Makhanya said in a TimesLive report.


Dog viciously mauls a two-year-old girl in Suwannee, Florida


UF Health in Gainesville.
A two-year-old girl was viciously attacked by a dog on Wednesday, March 18, marring her face and upper body with severe wounds that may require cosmetic surgery, according to reports. The attack happened near the intersection of 177th Rd. and 120th Rd. in Western Suwannee County. The girl, Marina Aldama, was treated by medics at the scene until she was life flighted to UF Health in Gainesville. She was in stable condition when she was transported, according to Public Safety Director James Sommers.

"It was a significant dog attack," said Sommers. "She will probably need cosmetic surgery to reattach everything. Her face, shoulders, upper torso, and back of the head were wounded."

According to a report from the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office, Marina was with her mother in a van with the side door open waiting for her father to get lunch around 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Marina was pulled out of the van and attacked by a dog, the report states. The attack was unprovoked, according to the report.


Bark beetles are decimating our forests which may be a good thing

Into the woods...
They gobble up trees and send politicians into a frenzy. But do the bugs know more about climate change than we do?

There is an eerie feel to this grove of lodgepole pines that I can't quite put my finger on as entomologist Diana Six tromps ahead of me, hatchet in hand, scanning the southwestern Montana woods for her target. But as she digs the blade into a towering trunk, it finally hits me: the smell. There's no scent of pine needles, no sharp, minty note wafting through the brisk fall air.

Six hacks away hunks of bark until she reveals an inner layer riddled with wormy passageways. "Hey, looky!" she exclaims, poking at a small dark form. "Are you dead? Yeah, you're dead." She extends her hand, holding a tiny black oval, maybe a quarter of an inch long. Scientists often compare this insect to a grain of rice, but Six prefers mouse dropping: "Beetle in one hand, mouse turd in another. You can't tell them apart." She turns to the next few trees in search of more traces. Pill-size holes pock their ashen trunks—a sign, along with the missing pine scent, of a forest reeling from an invasion.

These tiny winged beetles have long been culling sickly trees in North American forests. But in recent years, they've been working overtime. Prolonged droughts and shorter winters have spurred bark beetles to kill billions of trees in what's likely the largest forest insect outbreak ever recorded, about 10 times the size of past eruptions. "A doubling would have been remarkable," Six says. "Ten times screams that something is really going wrong."

Comment: "Misguided science, out-of-control logging, bad public policy and hundred years of fire suppression created a volatile geography that released the world's oldest forest manager from all natural constraints." - Andrew Nikiforuk

Have we not learned it is a disaster to mess with the natural processes and genomics of Mother Nature? Myopic-thinking scientists and politicians are so short-sighted they can't see the forest for the trees. If nothing else, they should at least comprehend the concept that NOTHING stands alone, all are interconnected and are this way for specific purposes and ecological balances. Unless, of course, you are trying to commit human-induced suicide for the whole planet.

To read full article.


Wolf attacks a dog in Duluth, Minnesota


A wolf.
A Duluth woman has a warning for pet owners after she says her dog was attacked by a wolf.

Maureen Zupancich says her 11-year-old dog Max was attacked Tuesday morning at their home on the Portage Road in Piedmont Heights.

She says the pooch suffered puncture wounds and bruises and had to get stiches and staples.

Zupancich says her husband saw the dog being carried away by the wolf.