Earth ChangesS

Cloud Lightning

Up to eleven inches of rain, flooding in southwest Nebraska

Up to eleven inches of rain has lead to flooding in parts of southwest Nebraska. A flash Flood warning is in effect this for the area. Last night, the National Weather Service says storms dropped six inches or more of rain across Perkins and Chase counties. The service says the highest rain amount came just west of Champion, at nine-point-seven-three inches and over eleven inches was reported near Imperial. Extensive flooding has been reported in Imperial, Champion and Lamar. Officials say U-S Highway Six west of Imperial is under two feet of water, and many county roads in western Chase County are washed out. Frenchman Creek is also overflowing the dam at Champion.

Cloud Lightning

Flood may be third highest on record - Missouri

Steve Henson knew it was raining hard, but when the water rose to within two feet of his house west of Waco on Monday, he decided that he and his expectant wife would head for higher ground.

"I did not want her to go into labor and we wouldn't be able to get out," he said. "There was so much rain, I could not believe it."

©Roger Nomer
Water threatens to overtake a stalled car in Joplin, Missouri

Bizarro Earth

Series of Quakes Hit near Mammoth Lake California

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake hit early Tuesday morning near Mammoth Lakes. It's one in a series of quakes since early in the morning.

People from Madera and Fresno have been calling the Action Newsroom Tuesday morning to report feeling the shaking.
The US Geological Survey says there have been 12 quakes since midnight. The strongest was a 4.9 magnitude quake.

Cloud Lightning

Torrential rain causes flooding and chaos in North Ireland

Torrential rain caused massive flooding across Northern Ireland today as days of Mediterranean style weather ended in thunder storms causing traffic chaos.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said it was inundated with more than 200 emergency calls in a 90-minute period as the province was the North was engulfed by the deluge.


Interesting Discovery! Research shows leaderless, group dynamic honeybee organizing

Undergraduate education generally involves acquiring "received knowledge" - in other words, absorbing the past discoveries of scholars and scientists. But University of North Carolina at Charlotte senior biology major Andrew Pierce went beyond the textbooks and uncovered something previously unknown.

Pierce's discovery has to do with detecting a significant new detail concerning the behavior of the European honeybee - perhaps the most studied and economically important insect on Earth. Beyond agriculture, the finding may also have key implications for understanding the dynamics of all social animals, including man.

Pierce's recently reported his research in an article appearing in the behavioral biology research journal Ethology, with co-authors Lee Lewis and UNC Charlotte biology professor Stanley Schneider, Pierce's mentor. Pierce was first author on the paper - a rare achievement for an undergraduate.

"It was a very good work and an impressive achievement for a student researcher - he got a publication as an undergraduate," Schneider noted. "I really like working with our undergraduate honors students - they are so bright."

Pierce, age 22, has been working as a researcher in Schneider's lab for the past two years through a UNC Charlotte Honors College program that fosters research experiences for undergraduates.

Magic Wand

Study shows lizard moms dress their children for success

Mothers know best when it comes to dressing their children, at least among side-blotched lizards, a common species in the western United States. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have found that female side-blotched lizards are able to induce different color patterns in their offspring in response to social cues, "dressing" their progeny in patterns they will wear for the rest of their lives. The mother's influence gives her progeny the patterns most likely to ensure success under the conditions they will encounter as adults.

In a paper published June 10 in the online early edition of the journal Ecology Letters (and in a later print issue), the researchers reported that female side-blotched lizards give an extra dose of the hormone estradiol to their eggs in certain social circumstances. The extra hormone affects the back patterns of lizards that hatch from those eggs, creating either lengthwise stripes down their backs or bars stretching from side to side. Whether they get stripes or bars depends on the genes for other traits.

"This is the first example in which exposure to the mother's hormones changes such a fundamental aspect of appearance. Even more exciting is that the mother has different patterns at her disposal, so she can ensure a good match between back patterns and other traits that her offspring possess," said Lesley Lancaster, a UCSC graduate student and first author of the paper.


Death of giant shark remains a mystery

It's the biggest fish in the ocean, and one of the most magnificent creatures any diver could ever hope to encounter.

So when dive boat captain Jeff Torode heard Sunday afternoon that a 30-foot whale shark was spotted off the coast of Boca Raton, he steered the Aqua View toward the sighting. The placid, filter-feeding sharks are not rare, but it is uncommon for divers to see them because they prefer deep water.

©Joe Marino
A dead whale shark encountered Sunday off South Florida by divers out of Pompano Beach.


Kilimanjaro's shrinking snow not sign of warming

The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania have been diminishing for more than a century but probably not due to global warming, researchers report.

While the retreat of glaciers and mountaintop ice in the mid-latitudes -- where much of the world's human population lives -- is definitely linked to global climate change, the same cannot be said of Kilimanjaro, the researchers wrote in the July-August edition of American Scientist magazine.


China 'gets the message' on controversial tiger farms: NGO

Pressed by conservationists to shut down breeding farms housing some 5,000 tigers, China hinted Tuesday it may abandon a proposal to legalise domestic trade in furs and tiger-bone medicine.

A document drafted by Beijing, to be submitted for approval to the UN body regulating wildlife trade, said nations that breed the endangered species "on a commercial scale should implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers."

The language is significant, says conservationists, because it may signal a reversal of China's position, and because it removes any possible justification for maintaining large populations of genetically-compromised tigers that cannot be released into the wild.

"The managed, coordinated zoo population of tigers is in the hundreds, which is enough to maintain genetic diversity," said Kristin Nowell, an expert on illegal tiger trade at wildlife monitoring network TRAFFIC, one of dozens of conservation and wildlife groups sharply critical of the farms.


Brussels authorities alarmed over silkworm appearance

Brussels authorities held an extraordinary session devoted to a silkworm invasion of the Belgian capital, a radio station reported Tuesday.

"The Brussels governor held an extraordinary session of the capital's government to coordinate measures to fight the larvae after it became known that these insects appeared in the city," Radio Contact reported.

A number of cities in the northern region of Flanders have been attacked by silkworm larvae. Firefighters and army units are fighting the insects.