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Tue, 21 Sep 2021
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Magic Wand

Tiny Digger Turns Deserts into Gardens

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© Andy Zakeli
The endangered bilby helps make the desert bloom.
Australia- Despite its diminutive size, the humble bilby can dig a desert back to life, according to research that reveals the marsupial's vital role in arid environments.

Alex James, a PhD student from the University of NSW, said the bilby's night-time foraging expeditions left the desert surface full of potholes, which made for ideal conditions for nutrient-rich "hot spots" to develop.

Bizarro Earth

Texas Town Hires Geologist After 5 Earthquakes

Cleburne - A fourth earthquake prompted city officials to hire a geologist and then another earthquake happened about an hour before the emergency meeting.

The fifth earthquake took place Tuesday at 6:19 p.m. and the U.S. Geological Survey measured it at a 2.1-magnitude. Cleburne officials called for an 8 p.m. emergency meeting Tuesday after the fourth earthquake, measuring a 2.6, happened that same day at 5:10 p.m.

No damage or injuries have been reported from the tremors.

"I've been here all my life, since 1950. Everybody's worried about it. That's all the talk all over town - earthquakes. You know everybody blames the oil companies, gas companies," said Cleburne resident James Barton. The city's leaders are not ruling gas drilling as a cause.

Evil Rays

We Have Become a Spoiled, Obese, Expectant and Fearful People

Fears_1
© Unknown
I've spent a lot of times in foreign countries. I've seen people in Bosnia eat the bark off of trees and I claim the Appalachian Trail as a previous address.

I may be jaded but I also realize that for thousands of years, people lived without the luxuries that we now consider necessities. In fact, a recent study just found that what we thought were necessities just last year, we think of as luxuries. Things like cell phones, air conditioning.... Not too long ago, electricity and automobiles were luxuries. Maybe as a result, I think that we can all toughen up just a tiny bit.

In 1st world countries, we have become a spoiled, obese, expectant and fearful group of people. We have learned to manipulate nature and our philosophies to our benefit, our comfort and our profit, to the detriment of our planet, our society, our ethics, our health, our children and ourselves:

We live in climate controlled 72 degree homes, offices and cars, 12 months a year.

We demand and get, fat and ripe strawberry's grown in Latin America in the middle of February.

We build our homes further into the woods and mountains and then kill the animals who stray into our yards.

We eat beef that has been doped with antibiotics from birth.

We leave our porch lights on all night, not realizing that 130,00 Americans die every year from fine particulate matter spewing from coal plants.

Bizarro Earth

Typhoons trigger earthquakes on Taiwan

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© Unknown
Often considered a curse, typhoons -- for Taiwan -- could in fact could be a blessing.
Surprised scientists say that typhoons which hit Taiwan unleash long, slow earthquakes, a phenomenon that may save the island from devastating temblors.

Seismologists installed movement sensors in boreholes at depths of 200-270 metres (650-870 feet) in eastern Taiwan, monitoring a spot where two mighty plates, the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian plate, bump and jostle in an oblique, dipping fault.

Over five years, researchers saw a remarkable link between tropical storms and "slow" earthquakes, a seismic beast first identified three decades ago.

Slow quakes entail a slippage in the fault that unfolds progressively over hours or days, rather than a sudden, violent release of the kind that destroys buildings and lives.

The sensors noted 20 such slow earthquakes, 11 of which coincided with typhoons, during the study period.

Phoenix

Three eruptions from Colombia's Galeras volcano

Three volcano eruptions in southwest Colombia sent smoke and ash into the sky and prompted Colombian authorities to declare a red alert in the area.

Authorities believe a larger eruption is imminent from the 14,000 foot Galeras volcano.

Alarm Clock

US: Lake Mohave carp deaths caused by virus

Bullhead City, Arizona - Biologists have determined that a carp die-off in Lake Mohave is being caused by a virus.

Several thousand dead carp have washed up on the shore of the reservoir along the Colorado River in recent weeks. Arizona Game and Fish Department spokesman Zen Mocarski says it appears the Koi herpes virus has now spread downriver and is killing carp in Lake Havasu.

Bizarro Earth

What is the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch?

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As authorities continued their search and recovery mission last week following the deadly crash of Air France flight 447, they thought they had finally begun finding pieces of wreckage from the jet. Various objects floating in the Atlantic Ocean near the crash site were examined closely for any evidence of what happened, until investigators suddenly realized what they were looking at. It wasn't part of the plane; it was just plain old ocean trash.

The mistake highlighted a worldwide problem: marine debris, most of it plastic, that begins in human hands but ends up in the ocean, often inside animals' stomachs or around their necks. Reports about these "garbage patches" have been trickling in for years, but they've picked up steam recently. While the Air France mix-up took place in the Atlantic - and these nebulous, tangled trash heaps are showing up all around the globe - the poster child for plastic pollution remains the sprawling Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world's largest dump.

Heart

Male hummingbirds break speed record for love

Talk about showing off for your lady. During courtship flights, male Anna's hummingbirds sustain accelerations that would cause a fighter jet pilot to pass out.


Bizarro Earth

Supervolcano may be brewing beneath Mount St Helens

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© MAI / Rex Features
The US volcano may be connected to a semi-molten magma chamber that could fuel a giant eruption.
Is a supervolcano brewing beneath Mount St Helens? Peering under the volcano has revealed what may be an extraordinarily large zone of semi-molten rock, which would be capable of feeding a giant eruption.

Magma can be detected with a technique called magnetotellurics, which builds up a picture of what lies underground by measuring fluctuations in electric and magnetic fields at the surface. The fields fluctuate in response to electric currents travelling below the surface, induced by lightning storms and other phenomena. The currents are stronger when magma is present, since it is a better conductor than solid rock.

Graham Hill of GNS Science, an earth and nuclear science institute in Wellington, New Zealand, led a team that set up magnetotelluric sensors around Mount St Helens in Washington state, which erupted with force in 1980. The measurements revealed a column of conductive material that extends downward from the volcano. About 15 kilometres below the surface, the relatively narrow column appears to connect to a much bigger zone of conductive material.

Fish

Jellyfish threaten to 'dominate' oceans

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© Y.Taniguchi/Niu Fisheries Cooperative
Nomura jellyfish are the biggest in the world and can weigh 200kgs.
Giant jellyfish are taking over parts of the world's oceans due to overfishing and other human activities, researchers say.

Nomura jellyfish are the biggest in the world and can grow as big as a sumo wrestler. They weigh up to 200 kilograms and can reach 2 metres in diameter.

Dr Anthony Richardson and his colleagues from CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research says jellyfish numbers are increasing, particularly in South East Asia, the Black Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea.