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Sun, 05 Dec 2021
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Syringe

Manila to slaughter 6,000 pigs to stop Ebola spread

The Philippines will slaughter 6,000 pigs at a hog farm north of the capital Manila to prevent the spread of the Ebola-Reston virus, health and farm officials said on Monday.

But the government has lifted a quarantine on a second hog farm after tests by experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and Food and the Agriculture Organisation (FAO) showed no more signs of the disease.

The country has more than 13 million heads of swine and the discovery of Ebola-Reston on two hog farms north of Manila was isolated, the government said.

Sun

Now well over 30 days without a cycle 24 sunspot

The last time we saw would could have been a cycle 24 sunspot, was on January 20th, 2009, but it was an oddball, and not clearly part of cycle 23 or 24. Spaceweather.com wrote that day:
A new sunspot [1011] is emerging inside the circle region - and it is a strange one. The low latitude of the spot suggests it is a member of old Solar Cycle 23, yet the magnetic polarity of the spot is ambiguous, identifying it with neither old Solar Cycle 23 nor new Solar Cycle 24. Stay tuned for updates as the sunspot grows.
The last time we had a true cycle 24 spot was on January 10th thru the 13th, with sunspot 1010, which had both the correct polarity and a high latitude characteristic of a cycle 24 spot. But since then no other cycle 24 spots have emerged.

Attention

Heavy Snows Across Europe

Up To 2m of New Snow In Seven Days for Austria And Switzerland

Image
© Ski Info

It is still snowing heavily in Austria, German and Switzerland with many resorts receiving more than a metre of new snow in the past week. Switzerland had the largest falls of all with Sorenberg reporting an incredible 210cm (seven feet) of snow falling in the past seven days (the biggest fall of 60cm/two feet yesterday, February 17th). St-Cergue La Dole came close with 200cm (6.6 feet), 50 cm of which also fell yesterday. Zermatt continues to have the biggest snow depth in Europe and probably the world with 7.12m (24 feet) on the glacier.

In Austria the greatest snowfall of the past week has accumulated at the Zugspitzplatt Ehrwald which reports 135cm (over four feet) of new snow. Salbach Hinterglemm Leogang added 80cm (nearly three feet); the SkiWelt (including Söll and Going) 70cm (over two feet) and St. Anton am Arlberg 55cm (nearly two feet). The Kleinwalsertal area on the boarder between Austria and Germany received 65cm (Over two feet) of new snow in the past week, which according to Ralf Koberle of Kleinwalsertal Tourismus is, "Natural snow of the best quality - so our snowmakers take a break." The resorts with the most snow in the country now have nearly four metre (13 feet) depths.

Binoculars

Calls Mount for Obama to Fire NASA Climate Chief

Calls are mounting for President Barack Obama to fire James Hansen, the controversial figure in charge of climate studies at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Hansen has a record of allegedly doctoring temperature data to hype his argument that global warming is a crisis. The new calls for his resignation or termination come following his appearance in a video calling for civil disobedience at a protest at a power plant in Washington, DC.

"It is plainly improper for someone on the U.S. government payroll to advocate civil disobedience on behalf of a non-government advocacy group," said Dan Miller, executive vice president of The Heartland Institute and former chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission. "As long as a public official is on the public payroll, his first loyalty is to his constituency, not to some outside pressure group calling on people to break the law," Miller said.

Chalkboard

Media Credibility, Not Ice Caps, In Meltdown

Eco-warriors and media hype aside, the fact is, as we head into 2009, that the world's ice mass has been expanding not contracting. Which will surprise evening news junkies fed a diet of polar bears floating about on ice floes and snow shelves falling into the oceans. But if a whole series of reports on ice growth in the Arctic, the Antarctic and among glaciers are right, then it is truth in the mainstream media (MSM) that's in meltdown not the polar ice caps.

The problem for the MSM is that it long ago nailed its colors to the climate alarmist mast. No ice cap meltdown, no rising waters. No disappearing islands, no reason for alarm. No alarm, no story. Worst of all having called yet another global apocalypse wrong: No credibility. So the MSM has a significant stake in running highly selective warm-mongering headlines. Not to mention disparaging those scientists who have the temerity to disagree as 'holocaust deniers' and 'pseudo-scientists'.

Cloud Lightning

UFOs or High Altitude Lightning?

Green
© FMA Research
Sprites over thunderstorms in Kansas on August 10, 2000, observed in the mesosphere, with an altitude of 50-90 kilometers as a response to powerful lightning discharges from tropospheric thunderstorms.
Over 90% of UFO sightings can be easily explained, and are usually visual misinterpretations of meteors, weather balloons, a flock of birds, blimps, or even the Moon. Here's one more to add to the list of items mistakenly identified as UFO's: sprites. No, not the elf or troll-like sprites, but a natural phenomenon which occurs during thunderstorms. "Sprites appear above most thunderstorms," said Colin Price of the Tel Aviv University, "but we didn't see them until recently. They are high in the sky and last for only a fraction of a second."

While there is much debate over the cause or function of these mysterious flashes in the sky, Price says they may explain some bizarre reports of UFO sightings.

Sprites are described as flashes high in the atmosphere, between 35 and 80 miles from the ground, much higher than the 7 to 10 miles where regular lightning bolts usually occur.

"Lightning from the thunderstorm excites the electric field above, producing a flash of light called a sprite," explained Price, head of the Geophysics and Planetary Sciences Department at Tel Aviv University. "We now understand that only a specific type of lightning is the trigger that initiates sprites aloft."

Bizarro Earth

Mass Migrations and War: Dire Climate Scenario

Climate
© AP/R. Robert
If we don't deal with climate change decisively, "what we're talking about then is extended world war," the eminent economist said.

His audience Saturday, small and elite, had been stranded here by bad weather and were talking climate. They couldn't do much about the one, but the other was squarely in their hands. And so, Lord Nicholas Stern was telling them, was the potential for mass migrations setting off mass conflict.

"Somehow we have to explain to people just how worrying that is," the British economic thinker said.

Stern, author of a major British government report detailing the cost of climate change, was one of a select group of two dozen - environment ministers, climate negotiators and experts from 16 nations - scheduled to fly to Antarctica to learn firsthand how global warming might melt its ice into the sea, raising ocean levels worldwide.

Better Earth

Shocking pink tubes help to save albatrosses

Wandering albatrosses
© Mark Jobling / Wikimedia Commons
Wandering albatrosses like this one are critically endangered, partly as a result of getting snagged on fishing lines, but a new scheme is changing that.

Gaudy strips of pink fluorescent tubing are helping to save albatrosses from extinction. They frighten the birds away from baited hooks on fishing lines, which attract, snag and drown some 100,000 albatrosses and petrels a year.

In South African waters in 2008, 85% fewer albatrosses died this way than a year earlier, thanks to the introduction of the pink strips on vessels fishing there for tuna and swordfish.

Flapping in the wind, the strips frighten the birds away from fishing vessels reeling out the lines.

"They form a visible deterrent and a no-go zone close to the bait and fishing gear as it's reeled out," explains Graham Madge of the UK Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which co-launched the Albatross Task Force in 2006 with BirdLife International to stop albatrosses being snagged on hooks and drowning as they try to steal bait.

Bizarro Earth

Residents flee as deadly Australian wildfires flare

Melbourne - Several hundred Australians fled their homes on Monday as wildfires that killed more than 200 people flared again, destroying at least one home and injuring two firefighters.

The deadly combination of strong winds and searing temperatures that whipped up the most deadly fires in Australia's history returned to drive flames toward towns to the east and northwest of Victoria's state capital, Melbourne.

Target

Earthquake strikes between Indonesia and Philippines

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook an area between Indonesia and the Philippines early Monday, geologists said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre was about 310 kilometres south-southeast of General Santos in the southern Philippines.