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Earth Changes


Northern Ireland eels suffer mysterious decline

© Stock File / FIS
The eel fisheries of Lough Neagh and Lough Erne are in a poor state.
There have been dire warnings about the future of Europe's largest eel fishery at Lough Neagh: numbers of elvers returning to Europe's rivers and lakes have been mysteriously dropping for years, but this season the decline has hit more fisheries than ever before.

Since 1983, Lough Neagh fishermen have been noticing the low numbers of glass eels returning from the Sargasso Sea spawning grounds.

With a view to the future, they took action, re-stocking their fishing grounds with glass eels bought from healthier fisheries such as the Severn estuary, and that has allowed them to continue meeting their quota of adult eels.

But last season the Severn estuary was the latest fishery to be hit by plummeting glass eel returns and prices for glass eels have shot up - posing a challenge for the Lough Neagh Eel Fishermen's Cooperative as they struggle to find ways to re-stock the lough, reports the Belfast Telegraph.


UN body to look at meat and climate link


Livestock's Long Shadow calculated meat-related emissions from field to abattoir
UN specialists are to look again at the contribution of meat production to climate change, after claims that an earlier report exaggerated the link.

A 2006 report concluded meat production was responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions - more than transport.

The report has been cited by people campaigning for a more vegetable-based diet, including Sir Paul McCartney.

But a new analysis, presented at a major US science meeting, says the transport comparison was flawed.

Sir Paul was one of the figures launching a campaign late last year centred on the slogan "Less meat = less heat".

But curbing meat production and consumption would be less beneficial for the climate than has been claimed, said Frank Mitloehner from the University of California at Davis (UCD).

"Smarter animal farming, not less farming, will equal less heat," he told delegates to the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in San Francisco.

"Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries."

Bizarro Earth

Moderate earthquake shakes Tibet

Lhasa - A moderate earthquake struck several hundreds of kilometers from Tibet's capital on early Wednesday, seismologists said.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake at 10.06 a.m. local time was centered about 364 kilometers (226 miles) north-northeast of Lhasa, Tibet's capital. It struck about 32 kilometers (19.9 miles) deep, which is shallow in earthquake terms.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties from the earthquake.

Bizarro Earth

US: Unusual earthquake rattles New York's Schoharie County

Middleburgh, New York - A light but unusual earthquake rattled Schoharie County, New York on Tuesday evening, seismologists said, but causing no damage or casualties.

The 2.7-magnitude earthquake at 10.25 p.m. EDT was centered about 7 miles east of Middleburgh, a village in Schoharie County, according to the Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismographic Network (LCSN). It said the earthquake was centered about 8.7 miles deep, making it a shallow earthquake.

There were no reports of damage or casualties.

Bizarro Earth

Eastern Turkey: Earthquake Magnitude 5.0

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 14:11:33 UTC

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 04:11:33 PM at epicenter

Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

38.642°N, 40.227°E

10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program


35 km (20 miles) SW of Bingol, Turkey

80 km (50 miles) N of Diyarbakir, Turkey

85 km (55 miles) E of Elazig, Turkey

655 km (405 miles) E of ANKARA, Turkey


Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder Finally Explained: Too Many Chemicals

A combination of toxic chemicals and pathogens are probably to blame for colony collapse disorder in honeybees, according to a study conducted by researchers at Washington State University.

Researchers conducted careful studies to uncover contributors to the disorder, in which seemingly healthy bees simply vanish from a hive, leaving the queen and a handful of newly hatched adults behind.

"One of the first things we looked at was the pesticide levels in the wax of older honeycombs," researcher Steve Sheppard said.

The researchers acquired used hives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, finding that they had "fairly high levels of pesticide residue." When bees were raised in these hives, they had "significantly reduced longevity," the researchers said.


Social Bees Have Bigger Brain Area for Learning, Memory

© Adam Smith
Megalopta bees exhibit a very primitive form of social behavior. Either a bee lives as a solitary queen, going out from her nest to forage for her own food or she can be a social queen -- a stay-at-home mom.
Who's in charge? Who's got food? The brain region responsible for learning and memory is bigger in social bee queens who may have to address these questions than in solitary queens, report scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute who study the tropical sweat bee species, Megalopta genalis in Panama.

Their study is the first comparison of the brain sizes of social and non-social individuals of the same species.

"The idea is that to maintain power and control in groups you need more information, so the bigger the group, the bigger individuals' brains need to be." says William Wcislo, Smithsonian staff scientist. "This is called the 'social brain hypothesis' also known as the 'Machiavelli hypothesis'."

Bizarro Earth

Kamchatkan volcano belches out ash to 7 km above sea level

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky - A belching of ash to the altitude of seven kilometers above sea level has been registered over the crater of the Shiveluch, Kamchatka's northernmost active volcano, experts at the regional affiliation of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.

The exuding of ash does not pose any risks for nearby population centers, as no data on the fallout of volcanic dust there has been reported.

The belching was not seen visually and scientists drew a conclusion that it had taken place on the basis of information from seismic observation stations located in the vicinity of the volcano.

They registered "a surface seismic event at the volcano" having a four minutes' duration.

The Shiveluch has the elevation of 3,283 meters and the highest point of its activity, the Young Shiveluch, is located at the elevation of 2,800 meters.

The volcano's basis has a diameter of 45 kilometers to 50 kilometers. It occupies an area of no less than 1,300 sq kilometers.


Global Warming - Six myths about "deniers"

© Murdo Macleod
The 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley aka Christopher Monckton is seen by his home at Carie, Loch Rannoch, Scotland.
They've been compared to "flat earthers" and even "Holocaust deniers". And, as the recent "Climategate" email scandal reveals, they have been blacklisted in certain professional circles. Scientists who disagree with the current consensus on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) are dismissed by some colleagues and politicians as ignorant and irrelevant. Though there are certainly cranks out there who lend credence to this stereotype, not everyone who rejects the idea that global warming is a planetary crisis brought about by burning fossil fuels deserves to be vilified.

There are numerous myths surrounding those who are wrongly labeled "deniers". Most of them can be distilled into six basic accusations:

1. "Deniers" believe the climate has not warmed.

No one questions that there has been a slight, but unmistakable increase in global temperature since the end of the "Little Ice Age" in the early nineteenth century. Global average surface temperature has risen approximately 0.9°C since 1850. But not all scientists attribute this change to the human addition of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the air. Those who oppose the prevailing view on AGW point out that since temperatures began to increase well before CO2 levels were considered significant (c. 1940), a considerable part of this warming is due to natural variations in the climate. Such variations in the past have brought about abrupt climate changes with large swings in temperature.

Numerous articles have appeared in scientific journals over the last several years documenting a warm bias in official temperature measurements. This bias, which may account for up to half of the reported warming, is due largely to changes in land cover - especially the geographic expansion of cities which creates "urban heat islands." An ongoing survey of over 1000 climate reporting stations in the United States, shows that 69% are poorly sited resulting in errors of 2°C to 5°C or more (www.surfacestations.org). Surface data has also been impaired from station dropout. Over two-thirds of the world's stations were dropped from the climate network around 1990. Most of them were colder, high latitude and rural stations.


A Worldwide Fervor Over Climate Change Orthodoxy

Can you hear me? You've been incognizant, but it's over and you're going to be OK. Take deep breaths and relax until your vision clears.

The world is not going to end because of climate change, at least not in the near future.

You are a most fortunate individual. You have been a participant in the biggest inter-dimensional cross rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909! No wait, that's Ghostbusters.

Let me put it differently: There has never been anything quite like this - ever.

The entire world has been embroiled in a persistent, free-floating global fervor (and a really nasty one, too) allegedly based on fervor-less, dispassionate science.

Recently, there was a huge explosion in the climate change orthodoxy factory that was set off by objective evidence we have been deceived and manipulated.

The evidence was the leaked e-mails of the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit (CRU), which are now subject to several official investigations, forcing the head of the CRU to step aside. The e-mails tell a lurid tale of unbecoming, unwarranted, organized and fierce hostility to skeptical climatic researchers, as well as data tampering, anti-scientific secrecy, manipulations of scientific journals, and distortions of peer review that make George Orwell look like a prophet.