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Fri, 29 Sep 2023
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Earth Changes

Bizarro Earth

Learning from the horses

One "patient" fell asleep. Another compulsively searched for food. The third, curious and easily distracted, wandered off.

The future doctors were perplexed. First-year students in Stanford University's School of Medicine, their impressive GPAs and MCAT exam scores didn't matter to these dusty volunteers.

But the students quickly discovered that other skills did. Like patience. Persistence. Rapport. Over a single afternoon, their "patients'' - three horses at Menlo Park's Webb Ranch - started paying attention.


New Coral Reef Discovered In The Seychelles

Researchers from the Department of Biological Sciences have discovered a previously unknown coral reef in the Seychelles.
coral reef on Curieuse Island
© University of Essex
A coral reef on Curieuse Island.

Dr Dave Smith and Dr Dave Suggett visited Curieuse Island as part of an ongoing study funded by Mitsubishi Corporation in conjunction with the Earthwatch Institute. They were joined by PhD student Seb Hennige as well as local Seychelles collaborators.

The island, which is managed by the Seychelles Centre of Marine Research and Technology-Marine Protected Areas (SCMRT-MPA), is home to over 200 giant tortoises but it was thought no coral reefs were present.

Dr Smith said: 'Diving revealed an extensive coral reef to the south of the island, at a depth which would not be visible to the occasional snorkeller.'


Mercury Pollution Causes Immune Damage To Harbor Seals

Methylmercury (MeHg), the predominant form of mercury found in the blood of marine mammals and fish-eating communities, could be more damaging to seals than has previously been thought. New research shows that MeHg harms T-lymphocytes, key cells in a seal's immune system. Similar results were also found for human lymphocytes.
Harbor seal swimming
© iStockphoto/Andy Raatz
Harbor seal swimming.

Mercury exposure is known to occur as a result of man-made pollution and natural events such as volcanic eruptions.

According to the lead author of this study, Krishna Das of the Université de Liège, Belgium, "Mercury is known to bioaccumulate and to magnify in marine mammals, which is a cause of great concern in terms of their general health. In particular, the immune system is known to be susceptible to long-term mercury exposure". In order to determine the scale of this problem, the authors carried out analysis of the blood mercury levels of harbour seals caught in the North Sea and tested the effects of MeHg in lab experiments.


Magnitude 4.5 quake in Greece, no injuries

Athens - Officials say an undersea earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 4.5 has shaken southern Greece. The moderate temblor caused no damage or injuries.

The Geodynamic Institute of Athens says the quake occurred at 5:17 a.m Thursday near the coastal town of Xylokastro, about 60 miles west of Athens.

Greece is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries.


Earthquake kills at least 72 in Kyrgyzstan

The 6.6-magnitude quake near the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan hit the remote village of Nura hard, bringing down dozens of buildings and injuring more than 100 people in addition to the confirmed deaths, Emergency Situations Minister Kamchybek Tashiyev said.

Later Monday, Health Ministry spokeswoman Yelena Bayalinova said the death toll was 72.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Frequency in Eastern Indonesia Increases

Jakarta: Mid-scale earthquakes occurred in the water the southern part of Indonesia, Thursday (23/10) early morning. It increases the quantity of earthquakes found in eastern Indonesia in the last 24 hours.

According to the Meteorology & Geophysics Agency (BMG), the earthquake measured five on the Richter scale with an epicenter at 11.7 south latitude and 116 east longitude or 335 kilometers away on the southeast side of Nusadua, Bali.


Strong earthquake strikes near Papua New Guinea

A strong earthquake has struck in the ocean near Papua New Guinea, but there have been no reports of injury or damage and no tsunami warnings have been issued.

Comment: A magnitute 5.8 earthquake struck Papua New Guinea last Saturday, October 18th.

Cloud Lightning

Kenya: Three children die as lightning strikes

Three children died following a lightning strike at Kisima Village in the newly-created Buuri District.

According to the Kenya Red Cross Society, the incident in Eastern Province on Wednesday occurred around 6pm.

Cloud Lightning

Drought-stricken island of Cyprus welcomes rain

Athens/Nicosia - The drought-stricken island of Cyprus welcomed its first rain storm in recent months Wednesday which ended up causing flooding to many parts of the eastern Mediterranean island. Heavy storms forced the closure of two main roads in the capital Nicosia and emergency crews were called in to evacuate more than 300 homes due to heavy flooding.


Rare Corals Breed Their Way Out Of Trouble

Rare corals may be smarter than we thought. Faced with a dire shortage of mates of their own kind, new research suggests they may be able to cross-breed with certain other coral species to breed themselves out of a one-way trip to extinction.
Acropora pichoni from Kimbe Bay
© Maria Beger, courtesy of ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Acropora pichoni from Kimbe Bay.

This finding, released by scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, has raised hopes for the ability of the world's corals to withstand the rigors of changing climates and human impacts, says lead author Zoe Richards.

"Coral reefs worldwide face a variety of marine and land-based threats and hundreds of corals are now on the red list of threatened species. It is often assumed that rare coral species face higher risks of extinction than common species because they have very small effective population sizes, which implies that they may have limited genetic diversity and high levels of inbreeding and therefore be unable to adapt to changing conditions," Zoe says.