Earth ChangesS


What really prompts the dog's "guilty look"

guilty dog
What dog owner has not come home to a broken vase or other valuable items and a guilty-looking dog slouching around the house? By ingeniously setting up conditions where the owner was misinformed as to whether their dog had really committed an offense, Alexandra Horowitz, Assistant Professor from Barnard College in New York, uncovered the origins of the "guilty look" in dogs in the recently published "Canine Behaviour and Cognition" Special Issue of Elsevier's Behavioural Processes.

Horowitz was able to show that the human tendency to attribute a "guilty look" to a dog was not due to whether the dog was indeed guilty. Instead, people see 'guilt' in a dog's body language when they believe the dog has done something it shouldn't have - even if the dog is in fact completely innocent of any offense.

During the study, owners were asked to leave the room after ordering their dogs not to eat a tasty treat. While the owner was away, Horowitz gave some of the dogs this forbidden treat before asking the owners back into the room. In some trials the owners were told that their dog had eaten the forbidden treat; in others, they were told their dog had behaved properly and left the treat alone. What the owners were told, however, often did not correlate with reality.

Bizarro Earth

Strong 6.3 magnitude earthquake hits Vanuatu

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck off the Vanuatu islands in the Pacific Ocean on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but local police said there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The quake was centred 38 miles (60 km) west-northwest of Port Vila and had a depth of 33 miles, the USGS said.

Eye 2

Kenya drought to persist, says report

Kenya is among several sub-Saharan Africa countries that will continue experiencing severe drought as a result of climate change, a new report shows.

The 2009 Global Assessment Report on Disasters and Risk Reduction says parts of North Eastern Province will continue to receive insufficient rains, thereby exposing them to 'a very high' frequency and intensity of famine.

Other parts of the country, which have been receiving minimal rains, are also set to experience cases of famine.

The latest development will not be good news to Kenyans, who have been grappling with increased cases of drought brought about by poor rain patterns in the recent past.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.4 - Eastern Kazakhstan

© US Geological Survey
Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 17:17:40 UTC
Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 11:17:40 PM at epicenter

44.708°N, 78.864°E

26.4 km (16.4 miles)

50 km (35 miles) SE of Taldyqorghan, Kazakhstan

210 km (130 miles) WNW of Yining, Xinjiang, China

225 km (140 miles) NE of Almaty, Kazakhstan

900 km (560 miles) SE of ASTANA (Tselinograd), Kazakhstan

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Magnitude 5.0 - Coquimbo, Chile

© US Geological Survey
Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 21:22:08 UTC
Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 05:22:08 PM at epicenter

30.649°S, 71.526°W

35.4 km (22.0 miles)

80 km (50 miles) SSW of Coquimbo, Chile

115 km (70 miles) NNW of Illapel, Chile

240 km (150 miles) SSW of Vallenar, Chile

320 km (200 miles) NNW of SANTIAGO, Chile

Bizarro Earth

Moderate earthquake shakes city in southern Peru

© US Geological Survey
Arequip - A moderate earthquake rattled Peru's second-largest city of Arequipa on Saturday and sent residents rushing out of their homes, but there were no immediate reports of damage, witnesses said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the 5.4- magnitude quake was 17 miles (28 km) from Moquegua, a copper-rich province near Arequipa, at a depth of 34 miles (54 km).

Evil Rays

India: Ivory smuggle: five arrested

Thiruvananthapuram - The Forest Department on Friday arrested five persons in connection with the poaching of a wild elephant for its tusks in Shangili forest in Kollam district in May this year.

Forest Range Officer, Kulathupuzha, S.A. Jaleel, said the tusks weighing 15 kg were confiscated from the warehouse of an artefact dealer, William Siliva, at Muttathara in the city. William has been arrested. Jaleel said artisans working for William had converted one of the tusks into a Krishna idol and the other into a Krishna Leela carving.


Australia: Cold weather smashes records

A bumper start to the ski season, Canberra frozen, snow over the Melbourne hills, widespread severe frost and records are falling.

The cold snap is abating slowly, but not before a final icy sting that has seen records fall across the southeast in the last 24 hours. Frost under clear skies last night was severe in much of the inland, notably Canberra's -5.8 degrees this morning, their coldest for June in nine years.

Yesterday, Thredbo reached a high of -6.4 degrees, the coldest maximum recorded in New South Wales for 31 years. Last night, Cabramurra's minimum fell to a 12 year low of -6.8 degrees. Coastal locations also felt the cold with Montague Island's mercury levelling out at three degrees last night, their coldest June night in 37 years.


Chicago: Cool, soggy June is dampening spirits

A sea of black metal chairs, stacked to the sky outside a popular outdoor dining spot, told the story better than any meteorologist. The weather has been awful as of late.

As of Thursday, precipitation had marred 8 of the last 11 days, the National Weather Service says. For May, the skies opened up on 14 days; in April, it rained 18 days.

No, it's not always like this. In place of picnics, bike rides and long lunch hours under sunny skies, outdoor waiters are missing out on tips, Little Leaguers are losing practice time and school-age kids are trapped inside on their first precious days of summer break.

Chicago's official rainfall is 5.36 inches above normal year-to-date, said Andy Boxell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, and the rainy days continue a pattern that began last year.


Climate Rorshach Test as News

Apparently an AP news article out today on how we don't know if global warming is making the winds blow with less gusto is not a parody, despite all indications to the contrary. For benefit of readers I have condensed it as below:
Not so windy: Research suggests winds dying down

By SETH BORENSTEIN - 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) - The wind, a favorite power source of the green energy movement, seems to be dying down across the United States. And the cause, ironically, may be global warming - the very problem wind power seeks to address.

The idea that winds may be slowing is still a speculative one, and scientists disagree whether that is happening. . .

Still, the study, which will be published in August in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research, is preliminary. There are enough questions that even the authors say it's too early to know if this is a real trend or not. But it raises a new side effect of global warming that hasn't been looked into before. . .