Earth ChangesS


When Industrious Ants Go Too Far

Nature is full of mutually beneficial arrangements between organisms - like the relationship between flowering plants and their bee pollinators. But sometimes these blissful relationships have a dark side, as Harvard biologist Megan Frederickson describes in an article in The American Naturalist.

Generally, the relationship between ants and plants is a great example of biological mutualism. Myrmecophyte plants - otherwise known as ant-plants - often provide home for several species of ants. The plant shelters ant colonies in hollow spaces in its limbs or leaves. The ants, in turn, protect the plant against threats from other insects or encroaching vegetation. The ants get a home; the plant gets protection - everybody wins.

But sometimes the delicate balance is tipped toward one partner or the other.


Fish May Actually Feel Pain And React To It Much Like Humans Do

© iStockphoto/Dieter SpearsFish don't make noises or contort their faces to show that it hurts when hooks are pulled from their mouths, but a Purdue University researcher believes they feel that pain all the same.
Fish don't make noises or contort their faces to show that it hurts when hooks are pulled from their mouths, but a Purdue University researcher believes they feel that pain all the same.

Joseph Garner, an assistant professor of animal sciences, helped develop a test that found goldfish do feel pain, and their reactions to it are much like that of humans.

"There has been an effort by some to argue that a fish's response to a noxious stimuli is merely a reflexive action, but that it didn't really feel pain," Garner said. "We wanted to see if fish responded to potentially painful stimuli in a reflexive way or a more clever way."

Garner and Janicke Nordgreen, a doctoral student in the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, attached small foil heaters to the goldfish and slowly increased the temperature. The heaters were designed with sensors and safeguards that shut off the heaters to prevent any physical damage to a fish's tissue.

Bizarro Earth

Southeastern Iran - Earthquake Magnitude 5.6

© US Geological Survey
Date-Time Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 10:04:30 UTC

Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 01:34:30 PM at epicenter

Location 27.855°N, 61.502°E

Depth 106.8 km (66.4 miles)

Distances 195 km (120 miles) SSE of Zahedan, Iran

260 km (160 miles) NW of Turbat, Pakistan

315 km (195 miles) NNE of Chabahar, Iran

1290 km (800 miles) SE of TEHRAN, Iran


Moscow sizzles in record-breaking temperatures

sunny moscow
© Unknown
Moscow enjoyed record temperatures for April 29 with highs of 24.7 degrees C (76.5 F), breaking the previous record set in 1999 by 0.2 degrees C, the capital's Meteonovosti reported on its website on Wednesday.

The record was set at 3:00 pm local time [11:00 GMT] and according to the website, temperatures could rise even higher later in the day

"This is not the final reading of today's maximum temperature. With sun and a light wind, it may be higher by the evening...therefore, the final maximum temperature will be registered in the late evening," the website reads.

Bizarro Earth

Contrary to Recent Hypothesis, 'Chevrons' Are Not Proof of Megatsunamis

A persistent school of thought in recent years has held that so-called "chevrons," large U- or V-shaped formations found in some of the world's coastal areas, are evidence of megatsunamis caused by asteroids or comets slamming into the ocean.

University of Washington geologist and tsunami expert Jody Bourgeois has a simple response: Nonsense.

The term "chevron" was introduced to describe large dunes shaped something like the stripes you might see on a soldier's uniform that are hundreds of meters to a kilometer in size and were originally found in Egypt and the Bahamas.

Comment: The only problem with this debunking theory is that the chevrons in Madagascar are made of material from the ocean floor with sediment hundreds of meters deep and containing microfossils that are fused with metals typically formed by cosmic impacts.
© New York TimesChevrons in Madagascar

Unless sea level has changed drastically in 5,000 years this "counter theory" (which is not a theory at all since it's not explaining what has caused these chevrons) is far more worthless than the theory it's trying to replace.

Better Earth

NASA: Clean-air regulations, not CO2, are melting the ice cap

Acid-rain countermeasures could drown London

New research from NASA suggests that the Arctic warming trend seen in recent decades has indeed resulted from human activities: but not, as is widely assumed at present, those leading to carbon dioxide emissions. Rather, Arctic warming has been caused in large part by laws introduced to improve air quality and fight acid rain.

Cloud Lightning

US: Drowning deaths raise toll from Kansas storms to 5

The death toll from days of heavy rain in Kansas rose to five Wednesday when authorities found the bodies of two people in a car submerged in a flooded creek.

A 26-year-old Parsons man and a 22-year-old Springfield, Mo., woman were found by Labette County sheriff's deputies in Pumpkin Creek in southeast Kansas, the state Division of Emergency Management said.

The couple had been reported missing Tuesday evening. Authorities believe they were traveling west on a road and were swept into the creek at a low-water crossing.

Better Earth

Inconvenient Eisdicken - "surprising results" from the Arctic

This is a news story from Germany outlining another Arctic ice measurement expedition. This one was conducted by flying the scientists across the north polar ice cap using the WWII era workhorse Douglas DC-3 airplane equipped with skis, and towing an airborne sounder twenty meters above the ice surface. It makes the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey look rather pointless, but then we knew that. BTW "Eisdicken" translates to "ice thickness". - Anthony

From Radio Bremen. Translated from German by Google web page translator: Original | Translated

Cloud Lightning

The Pacific Ocean's Influence on Climate Change: How Low Will the PDO Go?

Long-term variations in ocean circulations produce pronounced patterns of sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies that directly impact weather and climate. The most influential long-term oceanic cycle is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a large-scale phenomenon in the North Pacific that produces inter-decadal oscillations of cool and warm SST anomalies, with each phase typically lasting 20 to 30 years. During the cool (negative) phase of the PDO, a large horseshoe-shaped area of cooler than average SST extends from the central equatorial tropics northeastward to the Mexican and U.S. coastlines, then northward along the Canadian and Alaskan coastlines. During the warm (positive) phase the pattern is reversed with warm SSTs replacing the cool SSTs. The Atlantic Ocean experiences a similar oscillation known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) which has profound impacts on the number and intensity of Atlantic hurricanes as well as Arctic sea ice extent.


NBC Affiliate Meteorologist Rips MSNBC for Apocalyptic Global Warming Special

Future Earth MSNBC program
© unknown

Michigan affiliate's chief meteorologist slams disingenuousness of MSNBC's 'Future Earth' special; GE's financial stake in cap-and-trade passage.

NBC Universal and its networks have been criticized for the global warming alarmism it parades on a regular basis. However, now the criticism is coming from its own affiliates.

Prior to its April 26 airing on MSNBC, shows on NBC had been promoting the first part of the climate special "Future Earth" - an MSNBC program that used computer animation to show the possibilities of a polar icecap melting. That prompted Bill Steffen, a meteorologist for NBC's Grand Rapids, Michigan affiliate, to call out MSNBC for that special.