Earth ChangesS


Flashback Thomas Gold: The science maverick who challenged establishment thinking - and quite often turned out to be right

Professor Thomas "Tommy" Gold, who has died aged 84, was the initiator, the pragmatist and the persuader among the trio of young Cambridge scientists who turned cosmology upside down in the 1950s by proposing their controversial and comforting "steady state" hypothesis of the universe. This held centre stage for several years, with Fred Hoyle as its underpinning cosmological philosopher, Hermann Bondi in mathematical support, and Tommy Gold as its extrovert propagandist.

Bizarro Earth

Heretical Thoughts about Science and Society

1. The Need for Heretics

In the modern world, science and society often interact in a perverse way. We live in a technological society, and technology causes political problems. The politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to the problems. Scientific experts are paid and encouraged to provide answers. The public does not have much use for a scientist who says, "Sorry, but we don't know". The public prefers to listen to scientists who give confident answers to questions and make confident predictions of what will happen as a result of human activities. So it happens that the experts who talk publicly about politically contentious questions tend to speak more clearly than they think. They make confident predictions about the future, and end up believing their own predictions. Their predictions become dogmas which they do not question. The public is led to believe that the fashionable scientific dogmas are true, and it may sometimes happen that they are wrong. That is why heretics who question the dogmas are needed.

Bizarro Earth

500 evacuated as Indonesian volcano spews lava

More than 500 people have been evacuated from the slopes of Mount Karangetang, which has been spewing lava and hotclouds on the northern Indonesian island of Siau.

The conditions have forced authorities to raise the area's alert status, with a total of 151 families or 564 people being evacuated from three villages on the slopes of the 1,784-metre volcano.


Are the Bees Dying off Because They're Too Busy?

Are bees dying because factory farms are "overworking" them? California bee farmers who let their hives take it easy find their colonies are thriving.

©Jamie Soja
Leah Fortin's rooftop hive.

Comment: More articles on bees:

· Suddenly, the bees are simply vanishing

· Birds, Bees, Frogs: Our vanishing helpers

· Bees Cause Buzz In Northwest

· Taiwan stung by millions of missing bees

· Destructive Mite Threatens Hawaii Bees

· Bees Vanish, and Scientists Race for Reasons

· Are GM Crops Killing Bees?

You can also share your insights on the Forum.

Cloud Lightning

North Korea admits severe flood damage

North Korea has reported widespread damage to homes, railways and roads following heavy rains that battered the nation last week, in a rare admission of problems within the reclusive country.

"Officials and working people in various parts of the country have turned out as one in the relief and rehabilitation activities," the official Korean Central News Agency said.

"A large acreage of land under cultivation" has been washed away or buried, with roads, railways, houses and public buildings destroyed, it added.


Floods, landslides kill 19 in northwest China

Nineteen people were killed and 37 missing after violent rainstorms triggered floods in northwest China, state media reported Saturday.

The rainstorms, which started to hit the southeastern part of Shaanxi province Monday, destroyed homes and ruined crops, causing 280 million yuan (37 million dollars) in damages, a provincial flood control headquarters official told Xinhua news agency.

Bizarro Earth

4.8 Quake shakes western Greece

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake shook parts of western Greece on Sunday but no damage or injuries were reported, authorities said.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the undersea quake occurred at 14:20 p.m. (1120 GMT) northeast of Paxos island in the Ionian Sea, some 330 kilometers (200 miles) northwest of Athens.

Bizarro Earth

UPDATED! 5.1 Quake Rocks Central Spain

MADRID, Spain -- An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 shook central Spain on Sunday and was felt from Madrid to the southern and eastern coasts, the National Geographic Centre said.

The quake struck near Ciudad Real, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Madrid, at 9:47 a.m. (0747 GMT). No damage was immediately reported.

The Geographic Centre had originally reported the magnitude as 4.7.

"We live close to Ciudad Real and we felt it really strongly," one caller told Cadena SER radio. "This noise came up from beneath us and rumbled away under our feet."

Residents of Madrid said they were woken by the quake.

Cloud Lightning

Hurricane Flossie upgraded to Category 4

HONOLULU - Hurricane Flossie strengthened to a Category 4 storm Saturday as it spun more than 1,000 miles south of Hawaii.

The hurricane could pass by Hawaii late Tuesday or early Wednesday, forecasters said, but by then cooler waters should weaken Flossie considerably to a tropical storm.


Bizarro Earth

Montana wildfires reaching historic proportions

Depending upon who's talking, this year's fire season has already passed by the 2000 and 2003 seasons as the worst since 1910.

©David Erickson / Whitefish Pilot
Scattered flames mark the eastern boundary of the Skyland Fire near the town of Heart Butte on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation on Aug 1 just after midnight.

That supposition is based on where the state is now with maybe one more month of fires ahead before a good rain or snow finally extinguishes the fires for good.

To make matters worse, seven new lightning-caused fires were detected Tuesday in the Swan Lake area, despite a light rain.