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Mon, 17 Jan 2022
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5.7 magnitude earthquake strikes Vanuatu

A 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck off Vanuatu early this morning but no tsunami warning was immediately issued.

The US Geological Survey says the quake hit just after 1 o'clock, 157 kilometres south-east of the capital city of Port Vila.

It was registered at a depth of 38 kilometres.

It was the second earthquake to strike the area in three hours, following a 5.1 magnitude quake earlier.

Igloo

Film-makers taking on our 'global warming hysteria'

A new Irish film claims that climate change guru Al Gore is an alarmist and that those who think they are saving the planet are only hurting the poor

If the advance publicity is anything to go by, Not Evil Just Wrong will do for Al Gore what Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 did for George W Bush.

"This is the film Al Gore and Hollywood don't want you to see," declares the website for the latest work by film-makers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer. The site even features a big picture of Gore, with his lips in the photograph seemingly digitally enhanced to make them look like Heath Ledger's Joker from the latest Batman film.

The website goes on to say that their latest film - which takes on what are described as global warming alarmists - is "the most controversial documentary of the year". Indeed, it could very well be the most controversial. And Al Gore and Hollywood may well not want you to see it. And in that respect, Gore and co are actually succeeding for the moment. Because there is no completed film. Not yet anyway.

Bizarro Earth

BBC shunned respected TV botanist Bellamy for denying 'man-made' global warming

Bellamy
© The Daily Express
SHUNNED: Naturalist David Bellamy
For Years David Bellamy was one of the best known faces on TV.

A respected botanist and the author of 35 books, he had presented around 400 programmes over the years and was appreciated by audiences for his boundless enthusiasm.

Yet for more than 10 years he has been out of the limelight, shunned by bosses at the BBC where he made his name, as well as fellow scientists and environmentalists.

His crime? Bellamy says he doesn't believe in man-made global warming.

Here he reveals why - and the price he has paid for not toeing the orthodox line on climate change.

Igloo

Why I would rather be called a heretic on global warming

Am I worried about man-made global warming? The answer is "no" and "yes".

No, because the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction has come up against an "inconvenient truth". Its research shows that since 1998 the average temperature of the planet has not risen, even though the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has continued to increase.

Yes, because the self-proclaimed consensus among scientists has detached itself from the questioning rigours of hard science and become a political cause. Those of us who dare to question the dogma of the global-warming doomsters who claim that C not only stands for carbon but also for climate catastrophe are vilified as heretics or worse as deniers.

I am happy to be branded a heretic because throughout history heretics have stood up against dogma based on the bigotry of vested interests. But I don't like being smeared as a denier because deniers don't believe in facts. The truth is that there are no facts that link the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide with imminent catastrophic global warming. Instead of facts, the advocates of man-made climate change trade in future scenarios based on complex and often unreliable computer models.

Frog

In Egg, Frog Knows Predators Already

Some say it's never too late to learn new things, but can it be too early?

Apparently not, if the behavior of wood frogs is any indication. Those amphibians can learn to identify predators while still in the egg, according to new research by Alicia Mathis of Missouri State University in Springfield and several colleagues.

After hatching, many amphibians and fish learn to recognize a predator by associating its odor with an alarm pheromone released by injured conspecifics. Mathis' team wondered whether frogs might have that cognitive capacity even earlier, as embryos.

For three hours a day, on six consecutive days, the team exposed wood-frog eggs to water from a bucket containing crushed tadpoles mixed with water from a bucket housing fire-belly newts. (The newts, native to Asia, are unfamiliar to wood frogs, but eat tadpoles of other species.) A control group received newt water alone.

Life Preserver

Couple rescue rare albino hedgehog

Image
© Kent
London -- A British couple say they took a rare albino hedgehog they found to a wildlife sanctuary to protect it from predators.

Julie Packham of Kent county said she and her husband, Nick, spotted the hedgehog in their garden because its white color made it stand out in the dark, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

"We saw this white hedgehog and could not really believe our eyes. He was literally glowing in the dark," Packham said about the spiny nocturnal animal the couple dubbed Midnight.

Packham said fearing the rare animal would eventually be attacked by predators in the area, she and her husband drove 250 miles round-trip to the Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital.

Info

Groups decry Yellowstone cell phone plans

Jackson WY -- U.S. park officials, trying to find a happy medium, say they want the national park system to include telecommunications as part of their planning.

A proposal by Yellowstone National Park that expanded cell phone towers and installed wireless Internet in its hotels -- were televisions are banned -- has drawn the ire of environmentalists, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
Yellowstone National Park
© UPI Photo/A.J. Sisco
Yellowstone National Park

"There are some people who feel lost without an electronic connection and there are other people who feel that cell phones shouldn't be in parks at all, said Lee Dickinson, who coordinates cellular permits for the National Park Service.

In September Yellowstone officials issued a plan that proposed expanding cell phone use in developed areas and installing wireless Internet service in the park's hotels. Cell phone service would be excluded from the park's backcountry and off most of its roads, the Times reported.

Hourglass

Wild Bees Possibly Infected By Commercially Bred Bees

Commercially bred bees used pollinate greenhouse crops may be spreading diseases to wild populations, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto and published in the journal PLoS ONE.

Bee populations have been collapsing across North America in recent years, alarming not only scientists but also the food industry. Honeybees alone pollinate 130 different food crops, responsible for $15 billion worth of food and ingredient revenue each year.

Compass

Tsunami warning follows strong quake off Indonesia

A powerful earthquake struck waters off eastern Indonesia early Monday, generating tsunami warnings for coastlines within 600 miles of the epicenter.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake's preliminary magnitude at 7.5 and said it struck 13 miles beneath the sea. It was centered 54 miles from Gorantalo, a coastal town on Sulawesi island.

Fauzi, an official with the local geological agency who goes by only one name, put the magnitude at 7.7. He did not have any immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Info

Finches keep the beat with a mental metronome

Image
© Frank Sundgaard Nielsen
Wild zebra finch pair. The males are distinguished by an orange cheek patch
The way birds can sing the same song at the same speed day after day has long been a mystery. Now it has emerged that an area in the brains of zebra finches acts as a kind of music box, controlling the speed at which the birds sing. A similar mechanism may also help to control the speed of human speech.

Michale Fee and Michael Long at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology investigated by implanting small coolers at various sites in the finches' brains. The devices cooled that part of the birds' brains by up to 6.5 °C.