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Bizarro Earth

Tonga: Earthquake Magnitude 6.1 - 12th Oct 10

Tonga Quake_121010
Earthquake Location
Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 12:02:55 UTC

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 01:02:55 AM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

20.485°S, 173.951°W

9.9 km (6.2 miles)


150 km (90 miles) ENE of NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga

205 km (125 miles) S of Neiafu, Tonga

495 km (305 miles) E of Ndoi Island, Fiji

2115 km (1320 miles) NE of Auckland, New Zealand

Cloud Lightning

US: Hail brings Brooklyn to a near standstill in a freaky, fast but furious storm

© Arvind S. Grover
Lightning strikes the NYC skyline during Monday night's short, freak storm.
A freak autumn storm turned parts of the city into a winter wonderland on Monday night, pounding some of Brooklyn and Manhattan with hail the size of quarters.

The ferocious front blew in out of the east, hitting the city at about 8:30 p.m. and prompting multiple severe storm warnings and flash flood warnings.

Joann Binns, 61, of Manhattan, said she was pelted by hail a quarter-inch in diameter.

"I started running. There were ice stones," said Binns, who sought shelter under the marquee outside Madison Square Garden. "They hit me and I said, 'I'm outta here.' They hurt."

The storm prompted transit officials to reroute the F subway line and suspend the G line because of station flooding. The wicked weather also delayed the Jets' game against the Minnesota Vikings in the Meadowlands for 45 minutes because of lightning.

Comment: For more information on unusual weather in New York, see this Sott article:

New York City Hit by a TORNADO: One Person Killed and a Trail of Destruction Left as 100mph Winds Rip Through City

Better Earth

Message in a Bottle: From Florida to Ireland on the Gulf Stream

From Florida to Ireland_2
© Jim McMahon
The bottle traveled northeast along the Gulf Stream from Florida to Ireland.
Last week, 17-year-old Adam Flannery was walking along a pebble beach on Ireland's west coast when he saw a rubber-corked bottle with a note inside.

The message explained that the bottle was part of an experiment. It contained directions for anyone who found the bottle to contact Ethan Hall at Melbourne High School in Melbourne, Florida.

Adam and his father did as the message in the bottle asked and contacted Hall, a marine-science teacher.

Hall told Florida Today that he used to joke with students that their bottle might find them an Irish pen pal if they were lucky. But none of his students' bottles had ever traveled to another country in all the years he had been using the experiment.


Animals Said to Have Spiritual Experiences

© iStockPhoto
Spiritual experiences originate within primitive parts of the human brain, structures shared by animals, like dogs.
Ever have an out-of-body experience? Your dog may have too.

The Gist
  • A neurologist and other scientists argue animals are capable of having spiritual experiences.
  • The researchers hold that spiritual experiences originate within primitive parts of the human brain, structures shared by animals.
  • The challenge lies in proving what animals experience.
Animals (not just people) likely have spiritual experiences, according to a prominent neurologist who has analyzed the processes of spiritual sensation for over three decades.

Research suggests that spiritual experiences originate deep within primitive areas of the human brain -- areas shared by other animals with brain structures like our own.

The trick, of course, lies in proving animals' experiences.

"Since only humans are capable of language that can communicate the richness of spiritual experience, it is unlikely we will ever know with certainty what an animal subjectively experiences," Kevin Nelson, a professor of neurology at the University of Kentucky, told Discovery News.

Bizarro Earth

US: 2 Injuries Reported After 2 Quakes Hit Arkansas

The U.S. Geological Survey says two small earthquakes have struck two areas in Arkansas more than 150 miles apart. Local officials say no injuries or damages have been reported from either quake.

An estimated 3.8-magnitude quake shook the small town of Guy in Faulkner County at about 8:30 a.m. Monday. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake happened 15 miles north-northeast of Conway and 40 miles north of Little Rock.

Another quake hit at almost the exact same time about 150 miles away in northeast Arkansas. The U.S. Geological Survey says the 3.9-magnitude earthquake was centered about 15 miles southeast of Paragould.


New meat-eater emerges in Madagascar

© Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
This feisty cat-sized creature from Madagascar is the first new species of carnivorous mammal to be discovered in 24 years.

Durrell's vontsira (Salanoia durrelli) was found in the threatened Lac Alaotra wetlands in central eastern Madagascar in 2004. Zoologists took photos of it at the time, and have now confirmed it is a new species after comparing it to specimens of the closely related brown-tailed vontsira (Salanoia concolor).

Named in honour of the late conservationist Gerald Durrell, the new vontsira weighs just over half a kilogram and belongs to a family of carnivores - Eupleridae - only known in Madagascar. It is likely to be one of the most threatened carnivores as their Lac Alaotra wetland habitat becomes threatened by agricultural expansion, burning and invasive plants and fish.

Bizarro Earth

One dead, thousands affected in Philippine floods

© Unknown
One person has drowned and thousands of people have been affected by floods that have swamped a rain-soaked island in the central Philippines, police said Saturday.

Floodwaters rose south of Naujan lake on Mindoro island after heavy rain began falling in the area before dawn Friday, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz told reporters.

In addition to the drowned person, an undetermined number of farm animals was also lost in floodwaters that reached an average of three feet (0.91 metres), he added.

Some 8,148 families were affected in the towns of Socorro and Pinamalayan, and police are on standby to conduct rescues or evacuations where necessary.


US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life'

© Unknown
Newton: "Fie on you, Hansen, Mann, Jones et al! You are not worthy of the name scientists! May the pox consume your shrivelled peterkins!"
Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Here is his letter of resignation to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society.

Anthony Watts describes it thus:
This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science.
It's so utterly damning that I'm going to run it in full without further comment. (H/T GWPF, Richard Brearley).

Comment: The reader may be interested in this article: Bilderbergers Warming To A New Idea?

Bizarro Earth

Wall of Hungary sludge lake will fall

© AP Photos/MTI, Lajos Nagy
Hungarian soldiers wearing protective gear are washed by water jets in Devecser, 164 kms southwest of Budapest, Hungary, Saturday Oct. 9, 2010. Five days ago more than 750,000 cubic meters of toxic sludge spilled out of a nearby reservoir flooding seven villages.
The wall of a reservoir filled with caustic red sludge will inevitably collapse and unleash a new deluge of red sludge that could flow about a half-mile (1 kilometer) to the north, a Hungarian official said Sunday.

That would flood parts of the town already hit by the industrial waste on Monday but stop short of the next town to the north.

Environmental State Secretary Zoltan Illes said recently discovered cracks on the northern wall of the reservoir at the alumina plant have temporarily stopped widening because of favorable weather conditions but will continue to expand, especially at night.

Disaster agency spokesman Tibor Dobson said engineers didn't detect any new cracks overnight, and the older cracks were being repaired, but that it was too soon to consider lowering the current state of alert. Protective walls were being built around the reservoir's damaged area to hold back any further spills and a 2,000-foot (620-meter) long dam was under construction to save the areas of the town of Kolontar not directly hit by Monday's disaster.

Bizarro Earth

Earthquake Experts See the 'Big One' Getting Bigger

© Unknown
The "Big One" that has been forecast for the San Andreas fault could end up being bigger than earthquake experts previously thought.

Recent research showing that a section of the fault is long overdue for a major earthquake has some scientists saying the southern portion of the fault is capable of a magnitude 8.1 earthquake that could run 340 miles from Monterey County to the Salton Sea.

That's significantly stronger and longer than the southern San Andreas' last major rupture, in 1857. Such a temblor would cause much more damage because with a larger stretch of the fault rupturing, a larger area would be exposed to the quake and the shaking would last longer.

Whether such a quake would happen in our lifetime had been a subject of hot debate among scientists. That's because until recently, experts believed that a part of the southern San Andreas that runs through the Carrizo Plain 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles would remain dormant for at least another century.