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Mon, 03 Oct 2022
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Remember that Ash Cloud? It Didn't Exist

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No ash cloud here: Deep blue skies over London April 16. So, if planes weren't grounded for 6 days because of the "ash cloud"...
Britain's airspace was closed under false pretences, with satellite images revealing there was no doomsday volcanic ash cloud over the entire country.

Skies fell quiet for six days, leaving as many as 500,000 Britons stranded overseas and costing airlines hundreds of millions of pounds.

Estimates put the number of Britons still stuck abroad at 35,000.

However, new evidence shows there was no all-encompassing cloud and, where dust was present, it was often so thin that it posed no risk.

The satellite images demonstrate that the skies were largely clear, which will not surprise the millions who enjoyed the fine, hot weather during the flight ban.

Jim McKenna, the Civil Aviation Authority's head of airworthiness, strategy and policy, admitted: 'It's obvious that at the start of this crisis there was a lack of definitive data.

'It's also true that for some of the time, the density of ash above the UK was close to undetectable.'

Magnify

Mice Make Own Morphine

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© N. Grobe & N. Weir
Mice can synthesize morphine from various intermediate chemicals.
Mammals could have opiate factories.

Mammals may possess the biochemical machinery to produce morphine - a painkiller found in the opium poppy, according to a new study.

Meinhart Zenk of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri, and colleagues detected traces of morphine in the urine of mice after injecting chemical precursors of the drug. They report their findings today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.[1]

Like other opioids, morphine is a potent, potentially addictive pain reliever. Scientists have speculated for decades that animals naturally synthesize morphine because specialized receptors in the brain respond to the drug. Trace amounts of morphine had been found in human urine and cells.[2] But studies using living animals yielded inconclusive results because of possible contamination from external sources of morphine in their food or in the environment.

Bizarro Earth

Taiwan: Earthquake Magnitude 6.5 - Southeast of Taiwan

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© USGS
Date-Time:
Monday, April 26, 2010 at 02:59:50 UTC

Monday, April 26, 2010 at 10:59:50 AM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location:
22.247°N, 123.733°E

Depth:
10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Region:
SOUTHEAST OF TAIWAN

Distances:
245 km (150 miles) SSW of Ishigaki-jima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan

270 km (170 miles) ESE of T'ai-tung, Taiwan

270 km (170 miles) NE of Basco, Batan Islands, Philippines

2145 km (1340 miles) SW of TOKYO, Japan

Bizarro Earth

US: Earthquake Magnitude 4.0 - Southern Texas

Image
© USGS
Date-Time:
Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 02:10:41 UTC

Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 09:10:41 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location:
27.762°N, 97.891°W

Depth:
5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program

Region:
SOUTHERN TEXAS

Distances:
8 km (5 miles) SW (226°) from Rancho Banquete, TX

15 km (10 miles) WNW (288°) from La Paloma-Lost Creek, TX

16 km (10 miles) W (270°) from Spring Garden-Terra Verde, TX

48 km (30 miles) W (273°) from Corpus Christi, TX

570 km (354 miles) S (191°) from Dallas, TX

Cloud Lightning

US: Tornadoes tear through Southeast, killing 10

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© AP Photo/ The Meridian Star, Paula Merritt
A tornado ripped through the Meehan area in Lauderdale County, Miss., Saturday, April 24, 2010, leaving damage to the The walls of the Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church were blown out as a ripped through the Meehan area in Lauderdale County, Miss. on Saturday, April 24, 2010, leaving damage to the Green Grove Missionary Baptist Church.
Yazoo City, Mississippi - Tornadoes ripped through the Southeast on Saturday, killing 10 people in Mississippi and injuring more than a dozen others. Roofs were torn off businesses, homes were splintered, vehicles were overturned and roads were blocked by toppled trees.

Gov. Haley Barbour told The Associated Press there was "utter obliteration" in parts of Yazoo County, an area known for cotton, catfish, blues music and picturesque hills rising abruptly from the flat Mississippi Delta.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said five people were killed in Choctaw County, including two children. Four victims were in Yazoo County and one was in Holmes County.

More than 15 other counties were also damaged. The swath of debris forced rescuers to pick up some of the injured on all-terrain vehicles the west-central part of the state.

Tornadoes were also reported in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, and the severe weather continued to track eastward.

In Yazoo City about 40 miles north of Jackson, Malcolm Gordon, 63, stood with members of his family peering through a broken window. Above them, the roof was gone, a tree lay across part of the house and power lines stretched across the yard in a neighborhood made up of modest houses and mobile homes on a street that winds around hills and ravines. The smell of shredded pine trees hung the warm breeze.

Info

Giant Deep Sea Jellyfish Filmed in Gulf of Mexico

Giant Jellyfish
© BBC Earth News
Amazing footage of a rarely seen giant deep sea jellyfish has been recorded by scientists in Gulf of Mexico.
Remarkable footage of a rarely seen giant deep sea jellyfish has been recorded by scientists.

Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), they captured a video of the huge Stygiomedusa gigantea.

The jellyfish has a disc-shaped bell than can be a metre wide, and has four arms that extend up to six metres in length.

The jellyfish has only been seen 114 times in the 110 years it has been known to science, say researchers.

Professor Mark Benfield from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, US, came across the creature as part of the Serpent project, a collaboration between marine scientists and energy companies, including BP, Shell, Chevron and Petrobras, working in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.0 - Kepulauan Obi, Indonesia

Indon earthquake240410
© USGS
Earthquake Location
Date-Time:
Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 07:41:02 UTC

Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 04:41:02 PM at epicenter

Location:
1.842°S, 128.188°E

Depth:
35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program

Distances:
205 km (125 miles) N of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia

305 km (190 miles) SSE of Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia

1215 km (750 miles) NNW of DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia

2415 km (1500 miles) E of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia

Bizarro Earth

Could Icelandic volcano cause famine?

So far it has caused massive travel disruption, but could the Icelandic volcano bring famine and widespread social disorder?

A French historian says it has happened before.

Emmanuel Garnier argues that a volcanic eruption in Iceland in 1783 brought freak weather conditions in Europe that indirectly led to the French Revolution.

Comment: It is hard to be 100% sure about the direct casual effect between the vulcano eruption and the French Revolution, but such a link is surely interesting to consider in the light of current events.

Are we to expect local climate disruption followed by crop failure and food riots and finally some sort of revolution? If so, this time it is likely to be lead by the psychopaths in power, not the common people.


Better Earth

Whale poop is vital to ocean's carbon cycle

Image
© J Brokowski
The high iron content of whale faeces feeds Antarctic krill in the Southern Ocean and elsewhere
Saving endangered baleen whales could boost the carbon storage capacity of the Southern Ocean, suggests a new study of whale faeces. Whale faeces once provided huge quantities of iron to a now anaemic Southern Ocean, boosting the growth of carbon-sequestering phytoplankton.

So says Stephen Nicol of the Australian Antarctic Division, based in Kingston, Tasmania, who has found "huge amounts of iron in whale poo". He believes that before commercial whaling, baleen whale faeces may have accounted for some 12 per cent of the iron on the surface of the Southern Ocean.

Previous studies have shown that iron is crucial to ocean health because plankton need it to grow. "If you add soluble iron to the ocean, you get instant phytoplankton growth," says Nicol. The amount of iron in whale faeces means that protecting Antarctic whales could swell populations of phytoplankton, which absorb carbon dioxide.

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) feed on the phytoplankton, concentrating the iron in their tissue. And in turn, baleen whales eat the krill.

Bizarro Earth

Canada: Windsor at toxic ground zero, study finds

Pollution
© Rob Gurdebeke, The Windsor Star
Smoke is shown rising from Detroit's Zug Island industrial complex in this 2008 photo. Heavy industry in the Great Lakes region dumped four million kilograms of deadly chemicals into the air in 2007, according to a report by a Canada-U.S. coalition of environmental groups.
Canadian industries are pumping out more cancer-causing carcinogens than their U.S. counterparts in the Great Lakes region and Windsorites are among the hardest hit, says a binational coalition of environmental groups.

Four million kilograms of deadly chemicals -- including mercury, lead, formaldehyde and benzene -- were released by large industries into the air in 2007 from both sides of the border, according to the coalition's report Partners in Pollution 2.

The greatest level of toxins within the Great Lakes basin was found in the stretch between Sarnia and Windsor that included the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and Detroit River areas, the report said.

"The potential to be in contact with toxic substances are higher there than elsewhere," said John Jackson, program director for Great Lakes United, a coalition of citizens groups that monitors toxic substances and participated in the study. "Of course, health is at risk with that."

But determining exact health risks is difficult because of a lack of studies and funding to support that work, he said.

"Cancer is a horrible thing, but it's only one of the impacts," Jackson said. "You have higher numbers of birth deformities, disruption of development of the brain and the ability to reproduce because these substances give a wide range of negative impacts."