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Tue, 14 Jul 2020
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes
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Snowman

Year of global cooling

Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards.

Better Earth

Saharan Dust has chilling effect on North Atlantic

NASA satellites have provided evidence that the chilling effect of dust was responsible for one-third of the drop in North Atlantic sea surface temperatures between June 2005 and 2006, possibly contributing to the difference in hurricane activity between the two seasons.

Heat from warm ocean surfaces is known to fuel hurricanes, leading to stronger and more frequent storms. During the hurricane season of 2006, however, sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic remained relatively cool and the season saw only five hurricanes, compared to 15 hurricanes in 2005 when the ocean surface was warmer.

Bizarro Earth

Powerful 7.2 quake shakes Alaska's Aleutian Islands

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the western end of Alaska's Aleutian Islands early Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Binoculars

Historic Halos in Oslo

On December 16th, the skies above Oslo, Norway, stunned onlookers with a display of ice halos that "looks set to go down in halo history as one of the greatest ever," says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley.

Binoculars

New Giant Rat, Pygmy Possum Discovered Among Other Beauties



©National Geographic

Mammal expert Martua Sinaga holds a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) rat that may be a species new to science. The rat was found in the remote Foja Mountains of western New Guinea, Indonesia, on a June 2007 expedition, experts announced yesterday.

Syringe

Darwin's Surprise; Why are evolutionary biologists bringing back extinct deadly viruses?



©New Yorker
Disabled retroviruses-fossils of molecular battles that raged for generations-make up eight per cent of the human genome.

Thierry Heidmann's office, adjacent to the laboratory he runs at the Institut Gustave Roussy, on the southern edge of Paris, could pass for a museum of genetic catastrophe. Files devoted to the world's most horrifying infectious diseases fill the cabinets and line the shelves. There are thick folders for smallpox, Ebola virus, and various forms of influenza. SARS is accounted for, as are more obscure pathogens, such as feline leukemia virus, Mason-Pfizer monkey virus, and simian foamy virus, which is endemic in African apes. H.I.V., the best-known and most insidious of the viruses at work today, has its own shelf of files. The lab's beakers, vials, and refrigerators, secured behind locked doors with double-paned windows, all teem with viruses. Heidmann, a meaty, middle-aged man with wild eyebrows and a beard heavily flecked with gray, has devoted his career to learning what viruses might tell us about AIDS and various forms of cancer. "This knowledge will help us treat terrible diseases," he told me, nodding briefly toward his lab. "Viruses can provide answers to questions we have never even asked."

Cloud Lightning

Caribbean hit by tropical storm

Tropical storm Olga, a rare December cyclone, has caused major floods and landslides in the Caribbean, killing at least eight people, officials say.

Hardest-hit was the Dominican Republic, where at least seven died and thousands were forced to flee their homes. One person died in Puerto Rico.

Cloud Lightning

"Madman" sees weekend "Superstorm"

Five days before the first flake falls, AccuWeather's Henry "Madman" Margusity has already loosed the words "blizzard" and "Superstorm" in connection with this weekend's storm. The extreme-weather blogger has even posted a snowmap that gives Baltimore 3 to 6 inches by Monday morning, while western counties sink beneath 6 to 12. He knows it's way too early to be that smart. But he posted it anyway.

Cloud Lightning

Malaysian flood death toll rises, thousands more evacuated

The death toll from widespread floods in Malaysia has risen to six and the number of people evacuated to relief centres increased sharply as heavy rains continued to fall, officials and reports said Tuesday.

A 15-year-old boy is thought to have drowned after he went swimming in a canal in north eastern Kelantan state, the official Bernama news agency reported.

Bernama on Sunday had reported five dead and three missing in the floods, which have hit three states in the peninsula.

More than 15,000 people in total are now housed in relief centres, compared with about 10,800 on Monday, Bernama said Tuesday.

©unknown

Stop

UK: Trafalgar pigeons 'starve to death'

Pigeons in Trafalgar Square are dying from hunger, say government scientists who have conducted post mortems.

Campaigners blame Mayor Ken Livingstone and Westminster council for banning feeding of the birds - a popular tourist pastime that used to provide a supply of food. Since September, feeding has been outlawed in the whole square.

Five pigeon corpses were sent by the Pigeon Action Group to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Suffolk in October.

©Unknown
Going hungry: pigeons found dead in Trafalgar Square had empty stomachs

Agency scientists, who also work for the Department of the Environment, found all five had empty stomachs and protruding bones.