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Ladybug

Monster insect mimic lures prey with siren song

Everything was going to plan for the male cicada looking for love. High in his tree in the dry bush country of eastern Australia, he started his serenade. First he gave a bright chirruping prelude, then urr-chip, urr-chip, urr-chip. Right on cue came an answering click. Each time the cicada repeated his urr-chip, there was that click again. His luck was in: a female was signalling her interest. The cicada began to move slowly towards the source of the clicks, singing as he went. The closer he got, the louder the clicks, and soon he could make out a telltale trembling among the leaves. Sure of his target now, he made his final move.


Cloud Lightning

US: Last week's Atlanta flooding set records

The U.S. Geological Survey says Atlanta area flooding last week involved magnitudes so great the odds of it happening were less than 1 in 500 in many areas.

"The USGS can reliably say just how bad these floods were. They were epic!" said Brian McCallum, assistant director of the USGS Water Science Center in Georgia.

On Tuesday, USGS crews said they measured the greatest flow ever recorded (28,000 cubic feet per second) on Sweetwater Creek near Austell, Ga.

In Georgia, the USGS maintains a network of more than 300 stream gages that provide data in real time. Data from those gages are used by local, state and federal officials for numerous purposes, including public safety and flood forecasting by the National Weather Service.

Bizarro Earth

Japan: Earthquake Magnitude 5.9 - Ryukyu Islands

Image
© USGS
Date-Time:
Monday, September 28, 2009 at 19:22:57 UTC

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 04:22:57 AM at epicenter

Location:
27.943°N, 127.867°E

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

Distances:
200 km (125 miles) N of Naha, Okinawa, Japan

480 km (300 miles) SSW of Kagoshima, Kyushu, Japan

535 km (335 miles) NE of Ishigaki-jima, Ryukyu Islands, Japan

1410 km (880 miles) SW of TOKYO, Japan

Butterfly

Butterflies' Migrational Timekeeper Found

Butterflies
© Monarch Watch/Chip Taylor
Migrating monarch butterflies need their antennae to navigate.
Monarchs may navigate using clocks in their antennae.

Every autumn, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies pour out of southern Canada, funnel through the United States to the central Mexican highlands and land in groves of fir trees no larger than the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The Sun is a crucial tool for navigating this precise 4,000-kilometre flight path - but it's a moving target. To maintain their southward bearings while the Sun crosses the sky, the insects must keep track of the time of day to continuously correct their internal compass. Neurobiologists have assumed that this clock is in the monarchs' brain together with the rest of the navigation circuitry, but new research reported in Science reveals that it may actually reside in the antennae.

"This is a novel function for the antennae, and a huge surprise overall," says lead author Steven Reppert of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. "It brings us closer to understanding how time and space are integrated on [the monarchs'] remarkable migration."

Cloud Lightning

U.S. Northeast May Have Coldest Winter in a Decade

The U.S. Northeast may have the coldest winter in a decade because of a weak El Nino, a warming current in the Pacific Ocean, according to Matt Rogers, a forecaster at Commodity Weather Group.

"Weak El Ninos are notorious for cold and snowy weather on the Eastern seaboard," Rogers said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Washington. "About 70 percent to 75 percent of the time a weak El Nino will deliver the goods in terms of above-normal heating demand and cold weather. It's pretty good odds."

Warming in the Pacific often means fewer Atlantic hurricanes and higher temperatures in the U.S. Northeast during January, February and March, according to the National Weather Service. El Nino occurs every two to five years, on average, and lasts about 12 months, according to the service.

Magnify

Dust storms spread deadly diseases worldwide?

dust storm disease
© Tim Wimborne/Reuters
A dust storm blankets Sydney's iconic Opera House at sunrise
Huge dust storms, like the ones that blanketed Sydney twice last week, hit Queensland yesterday and turned the air red across much of eastern Australia, are spreading lethal epidemics around the world. However, they can also absorb climate change emissions, say researchers studying the little understood but growing phenomenon.

The Sydney storm, which left millions of people choking on some of the worst air pollution in 70 years, was a consequence of the 10-year drought that has turned parts of Australia's interior into a giant dust bowl, providing perfect conditions for high winds to whip loose soil into the air and carry it thousands of miles across the continent.

Cloud Lightning

Philippine storm leaves 106 dead and missing

Image
© AP Photo/Pat Roque
Two women scrape mud from the floor at her home after floodwaters subsides Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009 in Manila's Marikina City, Philippines. More than a month's worth of rain fell in just 12 hours as Tropical Storm Ketsana slammed ashore in the Philippines, killing scores of people and stranding thousands on rooftops in the capital's worst flooding in more than 42 years.
Rescuers plucked bodies from muddy floodwaters and saved drenched survivors from rooftops Sunday after a tropical storm tore through the northern Philippines and left at least 106 people dead and missing.

It was the region's worst flooding in more than four decades. The government declared a "state of calamity" in metropolitan Manila and 25 storm-hit provinces.

Tropical Storm Ketsana roared across the northern Philippines on Saturday, dumping more than a month's worth of rain in just 12 hours. The resulting landslides and flooding have left at least 83 people dead and 23 others missing, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said.

Many parts of the capital remained flooded Sunday, although waters were fast receding.

TV footage shot from military helicopter showed drenched survivors still marooned on top of half-submerged passenger buses and rooftops in the suburbs of Manila. Some dangerously clung on high-voltage power lines while others plodded through waist-high flood waters.

Umbrella

Flash floods kill five in Turkey

Flash floods and landslides caused by heavy rain have killed five people in northeastern Turkey overnight, according to local media reports.

The casualties included three members of one family who died when their house was crushed by a landslide on Wednesday night near the border with Georgia, Anatolia news agency reported.

A five-story building in the town of Kale collapsed and several buildings and a mosque in Demiciler were heavily damaged, DPA reported.

Bizarro Earth

Canada: Earthquake Magnitude 4.8 - Northwest Territories

Image
© USGS
Date-Time:
Friday, September 25, 2009 at 23:01:35 UTC

Friday, September 25, 2009 at 05:01:35 PM at epicenter

Location:
66.578°N, 131.165°W

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

Distances:
216 km (134 miles) SSE (149°) from Inuvik, NWT, Canada

247 km (154 miles) NW (307°) from Norman Wells, NWT, Canada

473 km (294 miles) NE (50°) from Dawson, Yukon Territory, Canada

779 km (484 miles) ENE (68°) from Fairbanks, AK

Bizarro Earth

Congo-Tanzania: Earthquake Magnitude 5.3 - Lake Tangayika

Image
© USGS
Date-Time:
Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 13:26:36 UTC

Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 03:26:36 PM at epicenter

Location:
7.592°S, 30.444°E

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

Distances:
25 km (15 miles) WSW of Kipili, Tanzania

135 km (85 miles) WNW of Sumbawanga, Tanzania

975 km (610 miles) W of DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania

990 km (620 miles) SW of NAIROBI, Kenya