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Sun, 28 Aug 2016
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Top 10 ways to destroy all the water on earth

© Fergregory
I love looking at lists of our culture's greatest achievements. I'm always astounded, for example, to read of the stupendous effort that went into building the Pyramids of Giza: At least 10,000 people worked for 30 years to erect giant tombs for their leaders.

And I don't see how anyone could contain excitement when reading, to provide another example, that the Hoover Dam is "one of man's greatest achievements" because it brought "order to the rampaging Colorado River, maker of the Grand Canyon and lifeline of the American Southwest."

And who could possibly disagree with sentiments like "Each time I see a building rise into the sky, the sight of the plumbing pipes—the final arteries of a marvelous life-sustaining system—evokes a special feeling of wonder and pride."

But one thing bothers me about these lists: They hold back from showing the most unbelievable and important accomplishments, the ones that really showcase this culture's power, that get to the core of what this culture is about, the ones that make plumbing pipes seem trivial.

So I've started making lists of my own. Here's a list of some of this culture's greatest accomplishments having to do with water.

Comment: see also:

Bizarro Earth

''No one is safe": Experts warn major quakes all across the world imminent as planet is overdue for high-magnitude quakes

© REUTERS/ Kyodo
After an earthquake killed hundreds in Italy earlier this week, experts warn that an even worse disaster is imminent, as the planet is overdue for high-magnitude earthquakes along Earth's largest fault lines.

UTS Geotechnical and Earthquake Engineering senior lecturer Dr. Behzad Fatahi warned on Friday that "no one in the world is safe," and that the question isn't "if" they will occur, but "when."

"There are alot of magnitude 6-plus earthquakes overdue in the Middle East, India, China, Japan and the US," Fatahi told news.com.au. "There are some fault lines that have not released their energy for a while."

If a fault line, represented by two tectonic plates moving at different speeds and in different directions relative to each other, does not release energy, pressure continues to build, and the longer they go without releasing, the more powerful it will be when they finally do.

"There are at least five to 10 that are overdue, but we don't know when they're going to happen. The question is not will they be activated. The question is when."


Freaky barnacle with 'tongues' discovered by crab fisherman in California

© Mathew Wallace/Cater
An alien-like sea creature has been discovered in California and it's baffling experts.
This is the moment a fisherman is shocked by the weird creature he came across while crab netting at Port Hueneme Pier, near Oxnard in California, USA.

On the outside, the skin has a slippery and spiky shell with six massive openings dotted around its surface.

From the various holes, organs similar to mussels and sporting what appear to be teeth shoot out from behind rainbow-coloured flaps.

Despite being viewed more than 600,000 times on social media, nobody has been able to identify the sea monster.

Mathew Wallace, from Palmdale, California, said: "I have never seen anything like this creature in 40 years of sport fishing.


15 thousand without power in Indiana as tornado approaches

A number of tornado warnings have been issued for the Indianapolis, Indiana area, with hail and high winds hitting several locations and leaving thousands of residents without power.

There were several reports of a funnel cloud on the west side of the city.


August snow on Pikes Peak, Colorado

It's snowing in Colorado!
Welcome to August in Colorado.

While highs reached 81 degrees in Denver Tuesday, on Pikes Peak, there was snow.

Temperatures on the 14er plunged to 33 degrees this afternoon - and in addition to cold, there was also a dusting of snow!

Pikes Peak stands at 14,114 feet - a little bit higher in elevation than Denver's 5,280 feet.

The earliest date of the first snowstorm in Denver? Sept. 3 (that was back in 1961). And for those of you new to the state, that means winter can start any time.

By the looks of this photo, it's already started on Pikes Peak!


Rare tornado wreaks havoc northwest of Ural mountains in Russia

© Евгений Торлопов/YouTube
A rare tornado has ripped through the suburbs of Syktyvkar, a provincial capital in northwest Russia, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.

The twister tore off the roofs of several buildings and fences, felled several trees and power line posts, turned over a van and also damaged a crane at a local lumber mill.

After the tornado as I was on the road my neighbor called me and said, 'You have no home anymore.' My wife almost fainted," Ruslan Izyurov told Komiinform, a local news agency.

"We are not the only ones who suffered. A neighbor's home is on its side. People lost greenhouses, warehouses, roofs. Cars were damaged, dogs flew 20 or 30 meters along with their houses," he added.


Blood-sucking insects form 'mosquito tornadoes' in Yekaterinburg, Russia

'Mosquito tornadoes'
Massive numbers of blood-sucking insects swarmed together in a Russian city to create a series of "mosquito tornadoes" on the horizon.

The video, filmed Aug. 13 in Yekaterinburg, shows the mosquitoes gathered into huge groups around sunset.

The swarms form into spiral-like clouds that resemble tornadoes spinning in the evening sky.

The filmer said each "mosquito tornado" is composed of millions of the insects.


Next few weeks to yield several Atlantic tropical storms, hurricanes as busy season continues

Following a tropical storm threat in the Bahamas and Florida into this weekend, an uptick in tropical systems will continue for the next six to eight weeks. The potential exists for significant impact on lives and property from the Caribbean to the United States and Canada.

The average peak of the Atlantic hurricane season lies ahead.

With the inhibiting factors of El Niño removed, a busy September and October are likely in terms of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes. El Niño is part of a natural cycle of warm tropical Pacific Ocean water. Generally, when waters of the tropical Pacific are warm, weather patterns cause gouges of disruptive winds and dry air over the Atlantic.

The El Niño/La Niña cycle is in a neutral state and swinging toward a La Niña state, which produces cool tropical Pacific water and generally creates light winds and promotes moist air over the Atlantic.

During an average season, the period from September and into October brings water temperatures near their annual peak, plenty of moist air and little in terms of disruptive winds in the tropics.

"We continue to expect above-average numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes this season for the Atlantic basin," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski. "This season we expect 14 tropical storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes," Kottlowski said. On average, there are 11 tropical storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes each year over the Atlantic basin.

Comment: It looks at though we are in for more wild weather in September and October. See our latest SOTT Earth Changes Summary - July 2016: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs to get an idea of what may lie ahead.


Another 'rare' circumhorizontal arc seen in Tennessee skies

© Keith Brown
Did you happen to notice a strange, horizontal-looking rainbow cloud in the sky on Monday? Many people contacted the WATE 6 On Your Side Storm Team asking about it.

It looked like a rainbow, but we didn't have any rain Monday. These really aren't rainbows. They are called circumhorizontal arcs.

They form by light passing through wispy, high-altitude cirrus clouds. They are rather rare because they are only seen when the sun is very high in the sky, more than 58 degrees above the horizon. Another important factor is that the hexagonal-shaped ice crystals within the high, thin cirrus clouds need to be thick plates with their faces parallel to the ground. So, as you can imagine, this is often a difficult task to get these events to occur at the same time.

When the sun's light enters through a vertical side of this ice crystal and leaves from the bottom face, it refracts, or bends in the same way that light passes through a prism. If the cirrus's crystals are aligned just right, the whole cloud lights up in a spectrum of colors.
© Keith Brown

Comment: A few days before, another not-so-rare circumhorizontal arc was seen in North Carolina. It appears to be happening more often due in part to atmospheric conditions that include increased particulates in the atmosphere from a rise in volcanic ash, dust and 'meteor dust' left by fireballs exploding in our atmosphere.


Discovery of dead harbor seals alarms beachgoers in New Hampshire

© Seacoast Science Center
Harbor seals like this one have been showing up on New Hampshire beaches.
The discovery of several dead harbor seals on New Hampshire beaches has alarmed beachgoers, but experts say this is the time of year when young seals that have struggled to survive on their own are likely to die.

Members of the Seacoast Science Center's Marine Mammal Rescue Team have responded to as many as seven dead harbor seals found on beaches in Hampton, North Hampton, Rye and Seabrook over the past week. Three other seals were found alive.

According to Sarah Toupin, assistant Marine Mammal Rescue Team coordinator, the period from late August into October is a time when seal weanlings often wash up on the beaches. Some are deceased while others may be weak and fighting to live.

Most of the seals found within the past week were young.