Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Galapagos volcano erupts, could threaten wildlife

© AP Photo/Galapagos National ParkIn this photo released by Galapagos National Park, La Cumbre volcano erupts in Fernandina Island, in the Galapagos islands, Ecuador, Saturday, April 11, 2009. The Galapagos National Park says La Cumbre volcano began spewing lava, gas and smoke on uninhabited Fernandina Island on Saturday after four years of inactivity.
Ecuador officials say a volcano is erupting in the Galapagos Islands and could harm unique wildlife.

The Galapagos National Park says La Cumbre volcano began spewing lava, gas and smoke on uninhabited Fernandina Island on Saturday after four years of inactivity.

The park says in a statement the eruption is not a threat to people living on nearby Isabela Island.

But it says lava flowing to the sea will likely affect marine and terrestrial iguanas, wolves and other fauna.


Catlin Arctic Team in Peril?

Catlin Arctic Survey Team
© unknownPen Hadow and Martin Hartley of the Catlin Arctic Survey battle the elements in the name of science, and their own survival.

The three-person team of British explorers on the Arctic ice cap may or may not be in danger, depending upon which of the team's representatives back at headquarters in London is doing the talking.

Martin Hartley, Pen Hadow, and Ann Daniels have been on a "scientific" mission to measure sea ice thickness that is routinely measured by satellite and buoys. Unfortunately, just about all of their equipment failed as soon as the team got onto the ice, due to what the BBC has reported as unexpected wind chill values as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius.

On the health front, according to Catlin Arctic Survey medical adviser Doctor Martin Rhodes, the team are battling chronic hypothermia. Additionally, Martin Hartley has frostbite on one foot, photographs of which are on the mission website, with a disclaimer for the faint of heart.

Bizarro Earth

Nova program focuses on rain of comets 12,900 years ago

© Royal BC Museum, Victoria, British ColumbiaImpact victim? Nanodiamonds suggest to some scientists that a huge impact did in the mammoths.

Last night at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, a dozen faculty members and students gathered for a "mammoth barbecue" before the U.S. Public Broadcasting System's NOVA program laid out the story of the provocative--and highly controversial--proposal that a huge impact drove the mammoths and dozens of other large North American animals to extinction 12,900 years ago. The verdict?

"It was NOVA theater," says geologist and host Nicholas Pinter. "It was enjoyable, there were nice animals, but there was skepticism [expressed at the gathering] about the impact story." That, despite the first revelation of evidence from Greenland, added further support to an extraterrestrial killer.

Cloud Lightning

Hurricanes peak a day after lightning

A global analysis of lightning during hurricanes has bolstered observations that the worst winds come a day after the bolts strike.

Forecasters struggle to predict peak hurricane winds. So Colin Price of Tel Aviv University in Israel and colleagues studied all category 4 and 5 hurricanes between 2005 and 2007. Out of 58 hurricanes, 56 showed a significant correlation between lightning activity and wind speed, with peak winds arriving 30 hours after the lightning on average. Price believes the lightning may be caused by a change in wind patterns (Nature Geoscience, DOI: link).

Cow Skull

Zambia: Mysterious cattle disease found

Dundumwezi Member of Parliament Edgar Singombe has called on the Department of Veterinary and Livestock Development to ascertain a cattle disease that is killing animals in large numbers in Kasukwe ward.

Mr Singombe told Zanis in Kalomo that several herds of cattle were dying from an unknown disease in the areas around Jongolo, Habusala and Mutubyangulu villages in chief Chikanta's area.

He lamented that despite the matter being reported to the veterinary department last week, no efforts have been made to date.


US: Mysterious Bat-Killing Disease Found In 2 Virginia Caves

First, the frogs began disappearing, with as many as 122 species becoming extinct worldwide since 1980. Then honeybee colonies began to collapse. Scientists fear that bats might be next.


Antarctic Sea Ice Up Over 43% Since 1980: Where Is The Media?

© National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado
Sea ice at Antarctica is up over 43% since 1980 and we hear nothing in the news, yet Arctic ice is down less than 7% and they're all over it! We've been waiting for the main stream media to pick up on the increase of Antarctic ice but so far they've been totally absent. Guess its doesn't fit the plan.

Still no sign of the national media on the extraordinary growth of sea ice at the antarctic. They sure haven't missed a chance to point out the relatively small loss of ice at the arctic. Did did it ever occur to them that perhaps there is a natural process at work that has shifted ice growth from one pole to the other? Do they not want to admit that there are things man doesn't yet understand about how this planet works?


New 'Dracula Fish' Has Fake Fangs

dracula fish 1
© Natural History Museum in London Male members of the newly discovered Danionella dracula fish have vampire-like "teeth," as seen in this scanning electron micrograph.
A newly discovered minnow species called the dracula fish apparently spent 30 million years redeveloping superficial fangs after losing its vampire-looking teeth earlier in its evolution.

The tiny freshwater fish finding may reveal more about how lost structures re-evolve, as well as how evolution can cause some species to mature early. Scientists named the fish Danionella dracula in honor of its large, tooth-like jaw structures.

"This fish is one of the most extraordinary vertebrates discovered in the last few decades," said Ralf Britz, a fish researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

Britz found the minnow in a stream in northern Myanmar, during a collecting trip. The transparent fish measures somewhat less than one inch long and represents one of the smallest fishes and vertebrates.

Cloud Lightning

US: Tornado devastates small Arkansas town, killing 3

Mena - Battered residents of this western Arkansas city waited for daylight Friday to dig out from a "direct hit" by a tornado that killed three people, injured at least 30, and flattened homes and businesses.

The twister sliced through the Ouachita Mountains community shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday. The county sheriff described the sky turning green, while the airport manager said darkness fell quickly as the twister crossed the Oklahoma line 10 miles away.


Can Government Scientists Save the Planet by Nuking Yellowstone National Park to Halt Global Warming?

Of all the hare-brained ideas about climate change I've heard in the last few years, this one takes the grand prize: John Holdren, the new science advisor to President Obama, is actively considering radical geoengineering ideas in order to halt global warming. One such idea now being discussed with the Obama administration involves -- get this -- launching enormous amounts of pollution particles into Earth's upper atmosphere to block the sun's rays and "chill" the planet.

Let me explain why this is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. And keep in mind this is not about the debate of whether global warming is even real or not, since that's a different article altogether. This is about the short-sighted stupidity of even considering polluting the atmosphere in order to protect us from the CO2 pollution we've already dumped into the atmosphere.

First off, there's the whole idea that intentionally launching pollution into the atmosphere is, by any reckoning, a dangerous ecological experiment that potentially puts the entire Earth ecosystem at risk. Let's face it, folks: Human beings have proven themselves to be remarkably bad at anticipating the ecological effects of their own actions. The ramifications of such misguided efforts to fight global warming simply cannot be foreseen by any scientist (or group of scientists).