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Wed, 11 Dec 2019
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Cloud Lightning

F-5 tornado wipes out 95% of Greensburg, Kansas

Paramedic Annette Gasten and her German shepherd, Greta, had a grim weekend searching amid the piles of wreckage left by one of the strongest tornadoes to rake across the Plains.

Every business on Greensburg's main street was demolished and officials estimate as much as 95 percent of the town was destroyed. Tree trunks stood bare, stripped of most of their branches. All the churches were destroyed.

At least eight people in this community of 1,500 were dead, putting the state's total death toll at 10. No one was found Sunday in the debris.

"Even though I have been to other disasters, this one was a lot worse - the amount of damage," Gasten said. "It is such a large area that was destroyed that it made it difficult" to search.

Bad Guys

Bt corn "cleared" in Colony Collapse Disorder

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has caused much concern among beekeepers nationwide and it is not clear to date what is causing the die-off.
Genetically modified crops, specifically Bt corn, have been suggested as a potential cause of CCD. While this possibility has not been ruled out, the weight of evidence based on a multitude of studies argues strongly that the current use of Bt corn is not associated with CCD.

Evil Rays

Famous Caymans coral reefs dying, scientists say

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (Reuters) - To coral reef-driven tourism industries like those of the Cayman Islands, there could be a greater cost in ignoring climate change than fighting it.

Attention

Bee imports dying too

Research in the US has found that something is attacking the local bees' immune system, rendering the bees vulnerable to any contagion. Australian bees have been coming to the rescue, trying to make up the numbers to pollinate many of America's crops.

But now the new arrivals are also dying, as North America Correspondent Kim Landers reports.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake swarm strikes Yellowstone

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - Sixteen small earthquakes with magnitudes up to 2.7 shook the park's Pitchstone Plateau last week.

Comment: For background information on Yellowstone earthquake swarms visit this site.


Cloud Lightning

Second wave of tornadoes rakes Plains

Tornadoes tore across the nation's midsection for a second night Saturday, 24 hours after a storm leveled Greensburg, Kansas.

Cloud Lightning

Tornado snatches 1,000 pound pallasite meteorite

GREENSBURG, Kan. The tornado that razed the Kansas town of Greensburg also snatched one of its most valuable treasures. The thousand-pound Brenham pallasite meteorite is gone.

Red Flag

Damage Control: Internet abuzz with bee rumors

The answer to what happened to America's vanishing honeybees is simple, a caller told entomologist May Berenbaum: bee rapture. They were called away to heaven.

No, wait, it's Earth's magnetic field, another caller told the University of Illinois professor.

Comment: Don't worry, its all a joke, you can poke fun at it!

Attention

U.S. Navy Sonar May Harm Killer Whales, Expert Says

Since 1976, whale expert Ken Balcomb has led what is perhaps the longest running study on killer whales, or orcas (Orcinus orca).

Most days, the research biologist studies orcas from the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Washington, and from his home porch perched above Puget Sound, where the animals hunt and play in summer months.

But one day last May, Balcomb and whale-watchers along the coast observed something they had never seen before. "I first heard reports from whale-watchers that orcas where behaving very unusually," Balcomb recalled. "One pod had gathered in a tight group and were moving close to shore."

Balcomb confirmed at the time that strange underwater pinging noises detected with underwater microphones were sonar. The sound originated from a U.S. Navy frigate 12 miles (19 kilometers) distant, Balcomb said. The vessel eventually moved within 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) of Puget Sound.

Bomb

Video: Killer Whales Blasted by U.S. Navy Sonar

Click here to watch the video.

When the killer whales of Washington State's Puget Sound began vanishing, a biologist had to get an earful from the U.S. Navy to pick up clues to the mystery (Washington map).

Using supersensitive microphones, Ken Balcomb has been eavesdropping on the region's resident killer whales, also known as orcas. Unlike their transient brethren, these animals spend their entire lives in the sound.

But Balcomb's years of research unveiled a disturbing trend: Mature orcas were disappearing in the prime of their lives, and no one knew why.