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Fri, 21 Jan 2022
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Better Earth

Drastic climate therapy could make things worse

Better, perhaps, to let the earth look after itself than try to regulate its system through mirrors, clouds and artificial trees

The idea of serious scientists and engineers gathering to discuss schemes for controlling the world's climate would a mere 10 years ago have seemed bizarre, or something from science fiction. But now, well into the 21st century, we are slowly and reluctantly starting to realise that global heating is real. We may have cool, wet summers in the UK, but we are fortunate compared with the Inuit, who see their habitat melting, and Australians and Africans who suffer intensifying heat and drought. We should not be surprised that public policy is edging ever nearer to geoengineering, the therapy our scientists are considering for a fevered planet.

Our senior scientific society, the Royal Society, met at the start of the month to launch the report "Geoengineering the Climate" and to hear from its representative scientists. The meeting was hosted by the president, Lord Rees, and the chairman was Professor John Shepherd, who chaired the study group. The goal, as Prof Shepherd explained in the Guardian in April, was to investigate theories of "intervening directly to engineer the climate system, so as to moderate the rise of temperature" and to "separate the real science from the science fiction".

Comment: Finally. Some common sense regarding "climate change".


Bizarro Earth

Mexico: Earthquake Magnitude 6.4 - Off Coast of Jalisco

Image
© USGS
Date-Time:
Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 07:16:24 UTC

Thursday, September 24, 2009 at 12:16:24 AM at epicenter

Location:
18.992°N, 107.350°W

Depth:
35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program

Distances:
285 km (175 miles) SW of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

315 km (195 miles) W of Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

325 km (200 miles) WSW of Autlan, Jalisco, Mexico

855 km (530 miles) W of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico

Frog

Cockroaches Control Their Breathing to Save Water

Cockroach
© Allen Moore
A cockroach mom shelters her newborn babies.
Many insects have been known for decades to hold their breath when resting, but the reasons have not been well understood. A new study on cockroaches suggests the insects reduce their breathing to conserve moisture.

Cockroaches can hold their breath for up to seven minutes. Their respiratory system is highly efficient but there are no lungs. Instead, the insects draw in air through external valves called spiracles and transport the air directly to the cells via tubes called trachea. To stop breathing, they simply close the spiracles.

The new study, reported in the Journal of Experimental Biology tested the major hypotheses put forward to explain the practice of holding the breath for long periods. One hypothesis is that the insects are trying to build up the carbon dioxide produced during respiration, which makes it easier to expel from the body. Another idea is that they stop breathing to protect themselves from high oxygen concentrations (which can be toxic). The third hypothesis is that the practice aims to regulate water loss.

Frog

Spider-Man lookalike lizard is latest exotic pet craze

Spider-Lizard
© Cater Nrews
Spider-Lizard, Spider-Lizard, does whatever a Spider-Lizard does
A lizard that looks startlingly like Spider-Man - Mwanza flat-headed rock agama - has become the latest fashionable pet.

The vivid red-and-blue colouring is almost uncannily like that of the Marvel superhero, and comic book fans have been flocking to exotic pet shops to snap them up.

Agamas like the Spider-Lizard, as it has become known make good pets, as they become tame and docile if handled regularly. However, they require specialist equipment in the UK to maintain their temperature.

Control Panel

Wild Weather In Australia: Quakes, Hail, Fires and Dust

Australia sand storm
© Elizabeth Stevenson
A dust storm covered a large area of southern Australia
Two small earthquakes struck Melbourne's south-east in quick succession last night, adding to a series of wild weather incidents around the country.

A quake measuring 2.6 on the Richter scale occurred about 20 kilometres south of Frankston around 6:20pm AEST.

A magnitude 3.0 tremor struck further south 14 seconds later.

Residents have reported hearing a loud noise and feeling the ground shake, but the State Emergency Service says it has not received any reports of damage.

Comment: The dust storm was particularly severe and affected all Australian states along the eastern seaboard due to a sudden southerly wind change.

The following video was taken at Broken Hill - watch the day turn into night in less than a minute.

Also see:
Australia: Worst Dust Storm on Record Blankets Sydney, Disrupts Transport


Bizarro Earth

Australia: Worst Dust Storm on Record Blankets Sydney, Disrupts Transport

Image
© Kate Geraghty
An outback dust storm swept across eastern Australia and blanketed Sydney on Wednesday, disrupting transport and placing health authorities on alert for widespread respiratory illness. The dust blacked out the outback mining town of Broken Hill on Tuesday, forcing one mine to shut down, and then swept east, shrouding Sydney in a red glow on Wednesday morning.

International flights were diverted from Sydney, ferries on Sydney Harbour were suspended and commuter motorists warned to take care on roads as visibility was dramatically reduced. Health authorities urged people with asthma or breathing difficulties to stay indoors. The dust set off smoke alarms in some buildings in Sydney's central business district.

Cloud Lightning

US: 7 Dead; 1 Missing In Metro Atlanta Floods

Image
The death toll in Southeast flooding has reached seven after rescuers found the body of a 15-year-old boy in northwest Georgia following days of heavy rain that turned docile creeks into surging rivers.

The teen's body was found in the Chattooga River on Tuesday morning.

In Dawson County, the sheriff said they are searching for the body of a missing college student who is believed drowned. The sheriff said a group of friends were playing in the water Monday night at the Gold Creek Golf Club in a small pond. A male did not come out of the water.

The Hall County dive team is responding to Dawson County to assist. Officials said they are classifying it as a recovery effort.

Bizarro Earth

Google Earth Application Maps Carbon's Course

co2 and google earth
© Tyler Erickson and Google Earth
A Google Earth application reveals carbon dioxide in the lowest part of the atmosphere close to Earth's surface (green tracks) and carbon dioxide at higher altitudes that are immune from ground influences (red tracks).
Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words, particularly when the picture is used to illustrate science. Technology is giving us better pictures every day, and one of them is helping a NASA-funded scientist and her team to explain the behavior of a greenhouse gas.

Google Earth -- the digital globe on which computer users can fly around the planet and zoom in on key features -- is attracting attention in scientific communities and aiding public communication about carbon dioxide. Recently Google held a contest to present scientific results using KML, a data format used by Google Earth.

"I tried to think of a complex data set that would have public relevance," said Tyler Erickson, a geospatial researcher at the Michigan Tech Research Institute in Ann Arbor.

Bizarro Earth

India: Earthquake Magnitude 6.1 - Bhutan

Image
© USGS
Date-Time:
Monday, September 21, 2009 at 08:53:05 UTC

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 02:53:05 PM at epicenter

Location:
27.351°N, 91.425°E

Depth:
10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Distances:
135 km (85 miles) NNW of Gauhati, Assam, India

180 km (110 miles) E of THIMPHU, Bhutan

610 km (380 miles) NNE of Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India

1410 km (870 miles) E of NEW DELHI, Delhi, India

Magnify

New Species Discovered On Whale Skeletons

Whale
© Craig R Smith
When a whale dies, it sinks to the seafloor and becomes food for an entire ecosystem.
When a whale dies, it sinks to the seafloor and becomes food for an entire ecosystem. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have discovered previously unknown species that feed only on dead whales -- and have used DNA technology to show that the species diversity in our oceans may be higher than previously thought.

Dead whales constitute an unpredictable food source - it is impossible to know when and where a whale is going to die, and when it does, the food source does not last forever. Nevertheless, some marine species have specialised in feeding on whale cadavers.