Earth ChangesS


Resonating Feathers Produce Courtship Song in Rare Bird

© Cornell UniversityA male club-winged manakin
Four years ago, a Cornell researcher reported a bizarre example of sexual selection in a rare South American bird: The male attracts the female by rubbing specialized wing feathers -- more than 100 cycles per second -- to create a high hum, similar to a sustained violin note.

While the researchers speculated how the sound was created, they have since proven that the club-winged manakin's feathers resonate at a particular frequency to create the tone.

The adaptation is a striking example of a species modifying an essential body part for the purpose of attracting a mate.

"We normally don't think of sexual selection transforming areas of critical importance," said Kim Bostwick, curator of Cornell Museum of Vertebrates and lead author of a study published in the Nov. 11 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Bizarro Earth

Best of the Web: Global Warming: "Fixing the Climate Data around the Policy"

Al Gore
© The Minority Report
More than 15,000 people will be gathering in Copenhagen for COP 15: the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Official delegations from 192 nations will mingle with the representatives of major multinational corporations, including Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum. The representatives of environmental and civil society organizations will also be in attendance. Parties & Observers

Heads of state and heads of government are slated to be in appearance in the later part of the Summit event. (See The essentials in Copenhagen - COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009)

It is worth noting that key decisions and orientations on COP15 had already been wrapped up at the World Business Summit on Climate Change (WBSCC) held in May in Copenhagen, six months ahead of COP15.

Better Earth

Glimpse at Earth's Crust Deep Below Atlantic Ocean

© NOCSTOBI sidescan sonar imagery draped over multibeam bathymetry provides a unique 3-D view of an active oceanic core complex at 13°19'N, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Long-term variations in volcanism help explain the birth, evolution and death of striking geological features called oceanic core complexes on the ocean floor, says geologist Dr Bram Murton of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Oceanic core complexes are associated with faults along slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges. They are large elevated massifs with flat or gently curved upper surfaces and prominent corrugations called 'megamullions'. Uplifting during their formation causes exposure of lower crust and mantle rocks on the seafloor.

Murton was member of a scientific team that in 2007 sailed to the mid Atlantic Ridge aboard the royal research ship RRS James Cook to study the Earth's crust below the ocean.

"We wanted to know why some faults develop into core complexes, whereas others don't," he says. "It had been suggested that core complexes form during periods of reduced magma supply from volcanism, but exactly how this would interact with the tectonic forces that deform the Earth's crust was unclear."


Best of the Web: Climategate: Science corrupted

Russia Today interviews Peter Lilly, UK Conservative Party MP and trained physicist regarding the recent leak of thousands of emails demonstrating conclusively that the Earth's climate is cooling. He suspects this will do little to halt the global warming juggernaut as it prepares to convene in Copenhagen for a world summit that "will just agree to meet again."

Bizarro Earth

Flashback Climate of Fear: Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence

There have been repeated claims that this past year's hurricane activity was another sign of human-induced climate change. Everything from the heat wave in Paris to heavy snows in Buffalo has been blamed on people burning gasoline to fuel their cars, and coal and natural gas to heat, cool and electrify their homes. Yet how can a barely discernible, one-degree increase in the recorded global mean temperature since the late 19th century possibly gain public acceptance as the source of recent weather catastrophes? And how can it translate into unlikely claims about future catastrophes?

Cloud Lightning

Ireland: Authorities still on alert as floods abate in many areas

Severe flooding has abated in many areas throughout the State, but the authorities are still on high alert to monitor the potential effects of rainfall and tides in the coming days, according to the emergency body coordinating the situation.

Chairman of the National Emergency Response Coordination Committee (NERCC), Sean Hogan, said today that about 1,500 people had been forced to leave between 500 and 600 homes due to flooding.

The exact figure was difficult to establish, however, as some people had 'self-evacuated' and were not being dealt with through the local authorities' systems.

Up to 6,000 personnel dealing with the flooding emergency at its peak last week, Mr Hogan said at a media briefing in Dublin this evening.


ClimateGate: Much of raw climate data dumped by scientists

Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based. It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

The data were gathered from weather stations around the world and then adjusted to take account of variables in the way they were collected. The revised figures were kept, but the originals - stored on paper and magnetic tape - were dumped to save space when the CRU moved to a new building.


ClimateGate Scandal Demonstrates Intellectual Protectionism of Modern Scientists

The inconvenient release of private email conversations among climate change scientists has been a boon for climate change skeptics. What emerges from the leaked emails is a depiction of a group of scientists who practice "intellectual protectionism" -- meaning they know they're right and they'll do anything to protect their beliefs, even if it means hiding or manipulating data.

Sound familiar? Scientists in the pharmaceutical industry have been practicing this for decades. If you think the ClimateGate emails are revealing, just imagine what kind of similar emails are flying around between Big Pharma scientists who routinely manipulate study data and commit scientific fraud in the name of medicine. Time and time again, we see revelations of manipulated clinical trials where data was intentionally distorted in order to make a dangerous, useless drug appear to be safe and effective.

What ClimateGate scientists and Big Pharma scientists have in common is that they have both abandoned the core principles of good science in their quest to be right. Rather than asking questions of nature and humbly listening to the answers provided by the data, these scientists have staked out a position and decided to defend that position at all costs -- even if it requires hiding or distorting data!

That approach is entirely unscientific, of course. In my mind, it now puts much of the recent global warming science in the same category as Big Pharma's research: Pure quackery.

Bizarro Earth

4.0 Earthquake Hits Southeastern Iran

An earthquake measuring 4 on the Richter scale jolted the town of Fonooj in Sistan-Balouchestan province Southeastern Iran, on Sunday.

The Seismological center of Sistan-Balouchestan province affiliated to the Geophysics Institute of Tehran University registered the quake at 06:55 hours local time (0325 GMT).

The epicenter of the quake was located in an area 59.9 degrees in longitude and 26.7 degrees in latitude.

There are yet no reports on the number of possible casualties or damage to properties by the quake.

Iran sits astride several major faults in the earth's crust, and is prone to frequent earthquakes, many of which have been devastating.

Bizarro Earth

5.3 Earthquake Hits Off Indonesia

A moderate earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia on Sunday in the Molucca Sea, seismologists said.

The USGS said a 5.3-magnitude quake struck at 9.29pm (8.29pm Singapore time, 1229 GMT Sunday), at a depth of 63 kilometres and was centred 150 kilometres west southwest of Ternate, Moluccas.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire,' where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.