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Sat, 14 Dec 2019
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Tornado Season Off to Roaring Start

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -Swarms of tornadoes killed at least 10 people across the Midwest, shut down the University of Kansas and damaged so much of Springfield on Monday that the mayor said "every square inch'' of town suffered some effects.

The violent weather started during the weekend with a line of storms that spawned tornadoes and downpours from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley.

On Monday, a second line of storms raked the region, with rain, hail and fierce wind tearing up trees and homes from Kansas through Indiana, and blizzards to the north cutting off power to thousands and shutting down schools in South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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Scientist Reading the Leaves to Predict Violent Weather

When meteorologist Edward Lorenz set up his computer to model the weather in 1960, he had no idea what a complex problem he was taking on. After a while, he realized that any small change in the starting conditions of his program had a huge impact on the outcome of his experiment and in predicting the weather.

Popularly called the butterfly effect, this aspect of chaos theory made Lorenz and others realize that predicting weather with pinpoint accuracy will never be possible.

But scientists are getting closer.

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100 twisters across 5 states

SEDALIA, Missouri - The frozen chicken that Joy Rank had been thawing for dinner was still soaking the next morning in a sink full of water -- a meal abandoned when Rank watched a scene of terror unfold outside her kitchen window.

A tornado tore through the mobile home park she co-owns Sunday night, flipping over one of six occupied homes and killing a 39-year-old woman inside.

"There's not a lot of damage to the homes people live in," Rank said Monday, crying while sipping coffee in the dim candlelight of her kitchen. But "it really bothered me that a girl had to lose her life."

Early reports show more than 100 twisters touched down in a weekend wave that stretched across five states, from Oklahoma to Illinois. Nine of the ten dead were in Missouri.

"It's just amazing how devastating it is," said Mayor Tim Davlin of the Illinois capital of Springfield. "It looks like the pictures we saw a couple months ago after Katrina."

The violent weather was driven by a powerful low-pressure system over the Midwest that pulled warm air out of the Gulf of Mexico. The same phenomenon caused powerful winds that drove deadly wildfires across Texas over the weekend.

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Ready or Not, Bird Flu Is Coming to America - Officials Advise Stocking Up on Provisions -- and Warn That Infected Birds Cannot Be Prevented From Flying In

In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States.

Ready or not, here it comes.

It is being spread much faster than first predicted from one wild flock of birds to another, an airborne delivery system that no government can stop.

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Creamy Pink Snow Covers Russian Region

Creamy pink snow has covered the northern regions of Russia's Maritime territory, news agencies reported Monday.

For some reason, the snow that fell in the densely populated northern regions after a powerful cyclone had acquired a pink color of varying tints.

Experts at the local meteorology centre said sand from neighboring Mongolia was to blame for this unusual natural phenomenon.

Before it arrived in Maritime, the cyclone passed Mongolia, where sand storms had been raging in the desert.

"The winds of the cyclone embraced dust particles that colored the fallouts," the experts said.

February's yellow snowfall with a strong odor and an oily texture was observed on Russia's Far East island of Sakhalin. The color, odor and texture of the snow may have been a result of environmental pollution caused by the island's oil and natural gas industry.

However, experts do not rule out this could be caused by volcanic activity.

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Burst oil pipeline causes 'catastrophe' in Alaska

A burst pipeline in Alaska's North Slope has caused the Arctic region's worst oil spill, spreading more than 250,000 gallons of crude oil over an area used by caribou herds and prompting environmentalists again to question the Bush administration's drive for more oil exploration there.

The leak was first spotted by a British Petroleum worker 11 days ago, and was reported to have been plugged a few days later. Initial hopes expressed by BP that the spill was limited to a few tens of thousands of gallons proved to be over-optimistic. Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation has steadily increased its estimate of the size of the spill, the latest estimate putting it at around 265,000 gallons.

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Chernobyl: A poisonous legacy

Twenty years after a blast in the nuclear plant at Chernobyl spread radioactive debris across Europe, it has been revealed that 375 farms in Britain, with 200,000 sheep, are still contaminated by fallout

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Traces of alien life in Kerala rain: Report

A Kerala scientist claims that the presence of alien life may have been the cause behind the red rain that occurred in the state in 2001.

Dr Godfrey Louis from the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam revealed this fact in a research paper.

Dr Louis collected samples of rain and examined them and his results have the world of astrophysics very excited.

"It was not desert dust, but some cell-like matter of extraterrestrial origin. It could have been due to a meteor shower," he said.

What makes this finding fascinating are reports of a cell-like structure noticed during examination under an electron microscope.

Dr Louis explained interplanetary seeding and how it could have led to life on earth. He also pointed out that the red rain in Kerala could be one such example of interplanetary seeding.

His findings will now be published in a report in the journal Astrophysics and Space Science.


Comment: If it turns out that this "red rain" actually contains some kind of off-planet life forms, that fact could not possibly be more appropriate because, Kerala, where the red rain was discovered, also just happens to be one of the two alleged places that research has revealed the descendants of biology


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Dolphins Discovered Fleeing Warming Tropical Waters

(Miami, Florida) Marine researchers who have been observing the same pod of dolphins off Florida's eastern coast for three years have now, for the first time, photographed the dolphins swimming directly northward.

"These bottlenose dolphins, possibly the smartest creatures on Earth, were observed swimming directly northward", said Prof. Bonita Krillman. "Given the recently observed warming of the tropical oceans, we theorize that this pod is heading poleward in search of cooler waters".

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Dozens of whales found dead after washing up on beach

About 50 whales were found dead Wednesday after they beached for a second time on a Chiba Prefecture beach, despite an earlier attempt to redirect them to the sea, an official said Wednesday.

The dead whales were among a pod of about 70 melon-headed whales that had first beached themselves in Ichinomiya, Chiba Prefecture, early Tuesday morning, said Ichinomiya town official Mieko Ishii.

Surfers and local residents had helped return the whales to sea, but by Wednesday morning the pod had run itself back up on the shore, Ishii said.

She said about 50 whales were found dead, while the remaining 20 -- each measuring about 2 meters long -- were transported to a relatively calm fishing port and would be released into the sea at a later date.

Experts would examine some of the dead mammals to determine a cause of the death, while the remaining will be buried in the town, Ishii said.

The whales resemble dolphins and usually inhabit only deep water. It was not immediately known why such a large number of the whales washed up at one time, Ishii said.