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Fri, 08 Dec 2023
The World for People who Think

Earth Changes


The case of the disappearing Great Lake

"Where did the water go?" asks Ted Shalifor, manager of a marina and campground on Lake Superior's Chippewa Indian Reservation.

Red Flag

Pacific prawn identified as first male creature to get its period

The whiteleg shrimp, which is native to the eastern Pacific Ocean and farmed in South America for food, is the first creature ever identified whose male has a monthly reproductive cycle (or "period.") This startling discovery, by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, sheds new light on the widespread belief that males are always ready to mate.

Known in Latin as Litopenaeus vannamei, the creature is not really a shrimp, but a prawn that is caught from Sonora in Mexico to northern Peru. A small amount is also farmed off the waters of Texas.

The males of the species produce two "packets" of sperm that are stuck to the female during intercourse. If the male does not use these packets, they are liable to become so hard that the male is unable to ejaculate them. As a result, the sperm in effect have a "use-by" viability date, after which the male becomes impotent.


Arctic Spring Comes Weeks Earlier Than A Decade Ago

In the Earth's cold and icy far north, the harsh winters are giving way to spring weeks earlier than they did just a decade ago, researchers have reported in the June 19th issue of Current Biology, published by Cell Press. The finding in the Arctic, where the effects of global warming are expected to be most severe, offers an "early warning" of things to come on the rest of the planet, according to the researchers.

"Despite uncertainties in the magnitude of expected global warming over the next century, one consistent feature of extant and projected changes is that Arctic environments are and will be exposed to the greatest warming," said Dr. Toke T. Høye of the National Environmental Research Institute, University of Aarhus, Denmark. "Our study confirms what many people already think, that the seasons are changing and it is not just one or two warm years but a strong trend seen over a decade."


EU to ban cat and dog fur trade

The European Parliament has backed a ban on cat and dog fur imports, in a move to curb the slaughter of millions of cats and dogs in China.

MEPs say shoppers buy goods made with the fur unknowingly, because exporters attach false labels.

It is used in coats, linings for boots and gloves, stuffed toys, and even homeopathic aids for arthritis.

MEPs have agreed with EU member states on the text of the law, which will come into effect from 31 December 2008.

Take 2

Australia braces for third storm, bulk carriers weigh anchor

Areas worst affected will be the NSW mid-north coast, the Hunter, Sydney, as well as the Illawarra and south coast regions.

Alpine areas above 1200 metres in the southern tablelands, south-west slopes and the ACT will also be lashed by the storm.

Widespread damaging winds and locally destructive gusts of up to 125km/h in some coastal areas, as well as flash flooding, are expected later today.

Cloud Lightning

Record downpour prompts flood watches near Calgary

Residents living near Calgary have been placed on notice after tributaries of the Bow River surged with as much as 70 millimetres of rain over the weekend.

Flood watches were in effect in several soggy communities, including Ghost River, Jumpingpound Creek and Waiparous Creek.

Cloud Lightning

Ukraine farmers suffer in worst drought for century

Svitlana Nadich is almost beyond hoping that even a little rain will fall on her brittle, parched wheatfields in southern Ukraine.

The $20,000 investment made by four village families, the sowing and care in applying fertilizer, all appear to be in vain as the region endures its worst drought in more than a century.


Colorado: Bugs killing off Aspen's namesake tree

EAGLE COUNTY - With each new day, city officials in Aspen find more dead or dying aspen trees. They say the culprit is a tiny insect known as the Willow Scale.

Red Flag

Developing: Wildfire whips up, out of control in Western Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS - A wildfire continues to grow quickly in Garfield County, forcing authorities to shut down roads and issue evacuations as the flames spread.


Update: Kilauea rumbles on, 260 quakes on Big Island

The event's duration has scientists unsure what will be left when the shaking stops

Geologists from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are baffled by a swarm of more than 260 small earthquakes that shook the upper East Rift Zone of Kilauea over the course of several hours yesterday.