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Thu, 20 Jan 2022
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Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.0 quake hits Indonesia's Sumatra

Jakarta - A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra island on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, although there was no tsunami warning or reports of damage or casualties.

The quake was centered 141 km (88 miles) south southwest of Bengkulu city at a depth of 35 km, the agency said in a bulletin on its website.

An official at Indonesia's meteorology agency said the quake could be felt in Bengkulu and Lampung provinces in southern Sumatra, but there was no report of damage or casualties.
Jakarta map
© Reuters

Bizarro Earth

Faroe islanders told to stop eating 'toxic' whales

Chief medical officers of the Faroe Islands have recommended that pilot whales no longer be considered fit for human consumption, because they are toxic - as revealed by research on the Faroes themselves.

The remote Atlantic islands, situated between Scotland and Iceland, have been one of the last strongholds of traditional whaling, with thousands of small pilot whales killed every year, and eaten by most Faroese.
 pilot whale slaughter
© Adam Woolfitt/Robert Harding/Corbis
The traditional pilot whale slaughter may become a thing of the past.

Anti-whaling groups have long protested, but the Faroese argued that whaling is part of their culture - an argument adopted by large-scale whalers in Japan and Norway.

Meteor

Canada: Fragments of last week's 10-tonne meteor found

Remnants of the 10-tonne space rock that lit up the prairie skies last week have been found near Lloydminster.

Better Earth

Rocks evolve too, geologists claim

A landmark scientific study co-authored by a Canadian geologist has identified a sudden explosion of mineral diversity after the emergence of life on Earth, and advanced a "revolutionary" theory that rocks have been evolving -- much like plants and animals -- throughout the planet's history.

Wouter Bleeker, an Ottawa-based researcher with the Geological Survey of Canada, is one of eight members of an international team whose theory of "mineral evolution" -- the idea that many of the Earth's rocks are dynamic "species" which emerged and transformed over time, largely in concert with living things -- is generating a major buzz in the global scientific community since its publication last week in a U.S. journal.

"The key message," Mr. Bleeker told Canwest News Service, "is how closely intertwined the mineral world is with life and biology." He said human teeth -- with their key ingredient of apatite -- are vivid reminders that the "seemingly static, inorganic" physical Earth should be viewed more like a "living organism" underpinning the biosphere.

But the new theory is also being hailed as a potential tool in the search for life on other planets since it offers new ways of perceiving the interactions between rocks and living things. Probes of distant planets should be seeking evidence of biological processes that may have shaped alien landscapes, the scientists contend.

Phoenix

Underwater volcano found off Washington coast

Crew members of a research ship say they were surprised to find a volcano more than 10,000 feet underwater off the coast of Washington.

Jeremy Weirich, the operating officer on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship Okeanos Explorer, said the volcano was found while crew members were testing a new mapping program on underwater topography 200 miles off the Washington coast, The Seattle Times said Monday.

"It turns out we had this great volcano in the spot we were testing," Weirich said.
The discovery of the large underwater volcano was not an entire surprise to researchers as NOAA scientists have estimated that 95 percent of the world's oceans haven't been explored.

Igloo

410 low temperature records set in the US during the past week

US record lows
© Hamweather

Fish

Ocean Growing More Acidic Faster Than Once Thought

University of Chicago scientists have documented that the ocean is growing more acidic faster than previously thought. In addition, they have found that the increasing acidity correlates with increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a paper published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Nov. 24.

"Of the variables the study examined that are linked to changes in ocean acidity, only atmospheric carbon dioxide exhibited a corresponding steady change," said J. Timothy Wootton, the lead author of the study and Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.
Dead mussels as well as live mussels
© C.A. Pfister, University of Chicago
Dead mussels as well as live mussels with open, eroded shells are possible symptoms of stress from declining ocean pH and increasing acidity.

The increasingly acidic water harms certain sea animals and could reduce the ocean's ability to absorb carbon dioxide, the authors said. Scientists have long predicted that higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide would make the ocean more acidic. Nevertheless, empirical evidence of growing acidity has been limited.

Bizarro Earth

Stubborn glaciers fail to retreat, awkward polar bears continue to multiply

Second only to the melting of the Arctic ice and those "drowning" polar bears, there is no scare with which the global warmists, led by Al Gore, more like to chill our blood than the fast-vanishing glaciers of the Himalayas, which help to provide water for a sixth of mankind. Recently one newspaper published large pictures to illustrate the alarming retreat in the past 40 years of the Rongbuk glacier below Everest. Indian meteorologists, it was reported, were warning that, thanks to global warming, all the Himalayan glaciers could have disappeared by 2035.

Igloo

Snow depths in Switzerland up to five times normal

Here's an email from skier Rhys Jagger

The chart below documents snow depths in Switzerland compared to the long-term mean.

Fish

Researchers Discover Secret Of Speedy Dolphins

There was something peculiar about dolphins that stumped prolific British zoologist Sir James Gray in 1936.

He had observed the sea mammals swimming at a swift rate of more than 20 miles per hour, but his studies had concluded that the muscles of dolphins simply weren't strong enough to support those kinds of speeds. The conundrum came to be known as "Gray's Paradox."
Image
© Rensselaer/Tim Wei
A single frame from a research video tracking the flow of water around Primo, a retired U.S. Navy bottlenose dolphin, with visualized information illustrating the water flow. The arrows indicate in which direction the water is moving, and the colors indicate the speed. The red and dark blue arrows signify the fastest-moving water.

For decades the puzzle prompted much attention, speculation, and conjecture in the scientific community. But now, armed with cutting-edge flow measurement technology, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have tackled the problem and conclusively solved Gray's Paradox.

"Sir Gray was certainly on to something, and it took nearly 75 years for technology to bring us to the point where we could get at the heart of his paradox," said Timothy Wei, professor and acting dean of Rensselaer's School of Engineering, who led the project. "But now, for the first time, I think we can safely say the puzzle is solved. The short answer is that dolphins are simply much stronger than Gray or many other people ever imagined."