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Sat, 01 Apr 2023
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Earth Changes


Now I'm a chick! Gianni the gender-bending rooster starts to lay eggs, baffling scientists

© Caters News Agency
Gianni the former rooster has taken to laying eggs and trying to hatch them
Gianni started life as a red-blooded cockerel and would often wake his Italian owners up crowing on his farm in Tuscany.

But when a fox raided Gianni's enclosure and killed all of the hens inside, Gianni felt it was time for a change. Within days the bird was laying eggs and trying to hatch them as he began his new life as a hen.

The sex-change chicken has baffled scientists at the UN's Farm and Agriculture Organisation, who are now planning to study Gianni's DNA to see what made him change.

An expert at the centre said: 'It may be a primitive species survival gene. With all the females gone he could only ensure the future of his line by becoming female.'

Comment: Hmm...perhaps this sheds some light on this poor rooster's plight: "Scientists are warning that manmade pollutants which have escaped into the environment mimic the female sex hormone oestrogen" from Men under threat from 'gender bending' chemicals.


Canada: Snowstorm blows into Calgary area

Calgary is forecast to get a blast of 20 centimetres of snow by Thursday evening, one week after basking under sunny 20 C skies. Rain was already turning to wet snow Wednesday in some parts of Calgary, which is under a winter storm warning from Environment Canada.

The agency warned of "dangerous winter weather conditions" for Calgary and surrounding areas, including Airdrie, Sundre, Okotoks, Olds and Strathmore. More than a dozen flights have been cancelled at the Calgary International Airport.

The RCMP said Highway 533, west of Nanton from Highway 2 to 22, is not recommended for travel because of heavy snow and poor road conditions. An intense weather system is also bringing winds gusting up to 70 km/h.


Swedish climatologist explains that the climate is self-regulated and the outlook is very cold

Swedish climate expert Dr. Fred Goldberg has said that carbon dioxide is not the main cause of the global warming. The climate change is not affected by human action, but mainly by the solar activities and ocean currents such as PDO (Pacific Decadal oscillations). He even predicts that the earth is going to experience colder winters in the following years or even decades.

Goldberg stressed that man should separate the concept of climate change from environmental issues. He holds that climate change is natural and caused by the sun activity, but the urban heat island effect and environmental problems are mainly caused by human activities and behavior. In an exclusive interview with People's Daily Online, Goldberg explained his ideas.

History of climate on earth

"We could have an ice age any time," Dr. Goldberg says, "Over the past one million years, we have experienced eight ice ages. Eighty percent of the last million years was ice age. We are lucky to live in this short inter-glacial period."

Arrow Up

Organic Agriculture Beats Biotech at its Own Game

Organic agriculture's recently recognized benefits for improving food security don't depend on a boost from genetically modified (GM) technology. While the chemically-based systems that GM requires could be cleaned up with organic techniques, there's no clear reason to degrade organic standards to accept the downsides that come with biotech-produced crops as they are currently managed.

Recently, there have been renewed efforts to pressure organic agriculture to abandon one of its foundational principles and accept genetically modified crops. While there may be nothing inherently wrong with contemplating a theoretical overlap between biotech crop genetics and organic farming systems, there's not a compelling set of reasons to do so, either.

Bizarro Earth

Italy: Ischia volcano eruption concerns

The volcano of Ischia, a resort island famed for its thermal waters off the coast of Naples, could potentially erupt, Italian disaster experts said.

Guido Bertolaso, the head of Italy's civil protection agency, said that while Vesuvius was more commonly considered the nation's most worrisome volcano, Ischia, which last erupted 700 years ago, was experiencing a build-up of magma.

No eruption is imminent, but "if I had to say which is the volcano with the most loaded gun barrel, I'd say it's not Vesuvius but the island of Ischia", Mr Bertolaso said in Rome.

Ischia, a short hydrofoil trip from the port of Naples and the chic vacation island of Capri, is often overrun with Italian and foreign visitors seeking to ease their aches and pains in pools filled with thermal waters pumped in from the sea.

Ischia's "magma chamber is loading up", said Mr Bertolaso, whose agency's mandate includes both disaster relief and prevention. An eruption on Ischia "could be worse than a hypothetical Vesuvius eruption", he said.


Girl lucky to be alive after sting by deadly jellyfish

© AFP/File/Lawrence Bartlett
A sign outside a hotel warns swimmers of box jellyfish, in Darwin. A 10-year-old Australian girl who survived being stung by the world's most venomous creature, may have rewritten medical history, an expert said Tuesday
A 10-year-old Australian girl who survived being stung by the world's most venomous creature, the deadly box jellyfish, may have rewritten medical history, an expert said Tuesday.

Schoolgirl Rachael Shardlow lost consciousness after being badly stung by the jellyfish while swimming in a river in eastern Queensland state with her brother in December, but lived to tell the tale.

"When I first saw the pictures of the injuries I just went, 'you know to be honest, this kid should not be alive'," said Jamie Seymour, professor of zoology and tropical ecology at James Cook University.

"I mean they are horrific. Usually when you see people who have been stung by box jellyfish with that number of the tentacle contacts on their body, it's usually in a morgue," he told public broadcaster, the ABC.

Often deadly, the box jellyfish has long, trailing tentacles and is able to squeeze through even the smallest of nets as it is only the size of a fingernail.

Evil Rays

Keeping Track of Grizzly Bears in the Northern Rockies

© Kim Keating , U.S. Geological Survey
A female grizzly bear family rambles through Yellowstone National Park. USGS researchers study population dynamics of these bears, as well as hazards they face. This information is used by resource managers and decision makers.
Rural areas with human development can lessen grizzly bear survival in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and innovative bear rub tree surveys can successfully monitor grizzly population dynamics in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, suggest two new studies released by the U.S. Geological Survey in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

The studies highlight dynamic tools to assist in conservation and management of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems, the two largest strongholds for grizzly populations in the contiguous United States.

While previous studies identified roads and developed areas as primary hazards, the new findings also indicate that rural home development and areas open to fall ungulate hunting can negatively affect bear survival in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Scientists used 21 years of grizzly bear tracking information to develop a model that predicts areas hazardous to grizzlies.

"Our research shows that bears living in areas with human development and activity including roads, campgrounds, lodges, and homes have a greater chance of dying than bears living in more remote and secure areas," said Chuck Schwartz, a USGS wildlife biologist and lead of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

Bizarro Earth

Violence of Baja quake seen in desert fish video

Death Valley National Park - The violence of this month's big Baja California earthquake was captured in scientists' video of tiny fish that live in a deep Mojave Desert cavern.


Hundreds of Crab Shells Show Up on North Oregon Coast

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Bizarro Earth

Volcano spews sand, ash over Guatemala

© photovolcanica.com
Overview of Santiaguito lava dome complex from Santa Maria, Dec. 2007
The Santiaguito volcano showered sand and ash on Monday over a large area of western Guatemala in an "unusual" and "violent" display, the national seismological institute said.

The institute said winds were carrying the ash in a northeasterly direction from the 2,500 metre (7,500 foot) high volcano in the province of Quetzaltenango, 206 kilometres west of the capital.

The ash plume spread across six provinces, raising fears of damage to crops, the institute said while classes were suspended at schools in three provinces.

Santiaguito's worst eruption occurred in 1929 when 2500 people were killed.

Comment: For more information on this volcano see this link.