Earth ChangesS


Seeds Of Life: Hybrids and the Emergence of Seed Monopolies

Throughout much of agriculture, a remarkable span of 10,000 years, farmers were largely the stewards of the land and the crops that they grew. Seeds collected from one year's harvest were selected, stored, and used again for successive growing seasons. As Frank Morton, an organic seed breeder explains in this segment of the Seeds Of Life series, the role of the farmer at the center of agriculture began to change with the advent of hybrid seed development beginning with hybrid varieties of corn in the 1930's.


Australia: "Dead" Baby Elephant Calf Born Alive in Sydney Zoo

© Bobby-Jo Vial/ReutersTaronga Zoo veterinarians give treatment to a newborn elephant calf as its mother Porntip (R) stands next to it in Sydney March 10, 2010.
An elephant gave birth to a calf at Sydney's main zoo on Wednesday, surprising vets and keepers who two days earlier declared the baby had died in the womb.

The Asian elephant mother delivered the male baby in the early hours of Wednesday in what Taronga Park Zoo officials said was "unbelievable good fortune".

"Dedicated keepers reported the amazing news early this morning that the calf had been born and was showing signs of life," said zoo director Cameron Kerr.

On Monday, Kerr said despite an expert team of vets who had prepared for every eventuality, the calf had not survived after six days of labor, and ultrasounds found there was no chance of a successful birth.

Officials said they now believe the calf was in a coma throughout the labor. They said the calf had since taken its first steps, but it was too early to know if it would survive.

Bizarro Earth

Best of the Web: Chile: 2nd Aftershock Earthquake Magnitude 6.9 - Within Minutes of Magnitude 7.2

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 14:55:30 UTC

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 11:55:30 AM at epicenter

34.287°S, 71.657°W

44.4 km (27.6 miles)

85 km (55 miles) W of Rancagua, Chile

125 km (80 miles) N of Talca, Chile

130 km (80 miles) SW of SANTIAGO, Chile

140 km (85 miles) S of Valparaiso, Chile

Bizarro Earth

Chile: Earthquake Magnitude 7.2 - Libertador O'Higgins

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 14:39:48 UTC

Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 11:39:48 AM at epicenter

34.290°S, 71.950°W

35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program


110 km (70 miles) W of Rancagua, Chile

130 km (80 miles) NNW of Talca, Chile

140 km (90 miles) SSW of Valparaiso, Chile

150 km (95 miles) SW of SANTIAGO, Chile


Best of the Web: Southern Russia overwhelmed with purple snow

The very morning following the widely celebrated Woman's Day - people in Southern Russia could not believe their eyes when they found purple snow piled on city streets.

Scientists confirmed a multi-coloured snowfall - ranging from light purple to brown - had landed in Russia's Stavropol Region.

Having analysed the samples, climatologists ruled that the snow is perfectly safe. However, eating purple snow is still not recommended as scientists say it is full of dust from Africa.

Comment: Very interesting. According to the media, we are living in a fairy tale, with purple snow and rosy future. While, in fact, the reality is quite different, and far grimmer (no pun intended).

It is not the first time that we hear about the cases of colorful precipitation. Take this and this articles for example. And we are wondering, what's going on?

In one of the previous Connecting the Dots articles, we pondered on a similar topic:
"That reminds us of another interesting event that happened in Siberia at the beginning of 2007.

There is nothing unusual about snow in the towns and endless forests of Siberia. But when locals in the small village of Pudinskoye woke up on Wednesday they immediately noticed something rather strange: the snow falling from the sky was orange...

Russia's environmental watchdog said the snow contained four times higher than normal quantities of iron as well as acids and nitrates.

Curiously enough, there was a sighting of a volleyball size meteorite in a neighboring region two week prior to the orange snow event. And if the meteorite exploded high up in the atmosphere, its very fine particles could easily float around for a couple of weeks or longer. On the other hand, thanks to Victor Clube's work we now know that meteorites are often accompanied by the phenomenon of dust suspended in the atmosphere, so it didn't have to be just an overhead explosion to cause such peculiar precipitation. "
Also, consider the following from Laura Knight Jadczyk's article Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls:
"2001 - 25 July to 23 Sept. - Kerala, India - red rain sporadically fell; staining clothes with an appearance similar to that of blood. Yellow, green, and black rain was also reported. The rains were the result of the atmospheric disintegration of a comet, according to a study conducted at the School of Pure and Applied Physics of the MG University by Dr Godfrey Louis and his student Santosh Kumar. The red rain cells were devoid of DNA which suggests their extra-terrestrial origin. The findings published in the international journal Astrophysics and Space Science state that the cometary fragment contained dense collection of red cells."


Warmest, driest winter on record in Canada

© Andrew Wallace/Toronto StarPeople revel in springlike weather at Toronto City Hall on March 8 as temperatures hit 14C
Winter is officially over, according to Environment Canada. And it was one of the warmest and driest across the country since 1948. The national average temperature for this past winter was 4 degrees Celsius above normal.

The previous record was set in the winter of 2005/2006 when it was 3.9 degrees Celsius above normal. The winter of 1971/1972 remains the coldest in Environment Canada's records - at 3.9 degrees below normal.

This winter is also the driest out of the 63 years of record keeping with precipitation across the country down 22 per cent below normal. The previous driest winter was 1977/1978 when precipitation was 20.1 per cent below normal.

Brick Wall

Fundamentalist Politicians - ABC journalists should ignore Chair Newman's anti-science nonsense

The Australian Greens today urged ABC journalists to ignore the anti-science nonsense peddled by the Chair of their board and instead increase their strong coverage of climate change.

ABC Board Chair, Maurice Newman, today told senior ABC staff that climate change was an "emotional issue" and that journalists were too "intolerant" of climate sceptics.

"I trust that ABC journalists will not be cowed by the anti-science speech delivered by the Chair of their board," Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.

Comment: Well, this shows us exactly how our Green Party politicians think and what contempt they have for anybody who dares to violate their party/ religious line.

"How dare anybody suggest that people should have an open mind about climate change!! That is outrageous and anti-science. We can't have the sheeple thinking for themselves about climate change, (or anything else either) We are the experts and they really need to just take our expert opinions and accept them unthinkingly. Your job is just to pay for the programs we implement"


Australia - ABC chair criticises climate change coverage

© AAP: Jeremy PiperMaurice Newman thinks the ABC has been more balanced than others when it comes to climate change reporting
ABC chairman Maurice Newman has attacked the media for being too willing to accept the conventional wisdom on climate change.

In a speech to senior ABC staff on Wednesday morning, Mr Newman said climate change was an example of "group think".

He says contrary views on climate change have not been tolerated and those who express them have been labelled and mocked.

"It's really been the question of what is wisdom and consensus rather than listening perhaps to other points of view that may be sceptical," he said.

But he believes the ABC has been more balanced than other media organisations when it comes to reporting on climate change.

"I think that we've listened to the words of sceptics as well as those who are scientists in the field," he said.

"Climate change is at the moment an emotional issue.

Evil Rays

Australia - ABC Chairman says "Let them speak." Greens say "Nooooo."

Today the Chairman of "our ABC" (it's paid for by Australian taxpayers) said the unthinkable.

It's not that he said man-made global warming was a scam, and he didn't announce that carbon wasn't a pollutant; he just asked for journalists to listen to other points of view.
"At the ABC, I believe we must re-energise the spirit of enquiry. Be dynamic and challenging, to look for contrary points of view, to ensure that the maverick voice will not be silenced."
In a speech to senior ABC staff, he said that climate change was an example of "group-think", and that they should listen perhaps "to other points of view that may be sceptical."
Contrary views on climate change have not been tolerated and those who express them have been labelled and mocked.

I've been around long enough to know that consensus and conventional wisdom doesn't always serve you well and that unless you leave some room for an alternative point of view you are likely to go down a wrong track...


Former Apartheid Spy Appointed to Head UN Climate Change Effort

© Remigiusz Sikora/AFP/Getty ImagesMarthinus van Schalkwyk at the Poznan climate talks in 2008.
This week, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa's tourism minister, was nominated to head the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC). Van Schalkwyk is a former apartheid operative who bartered his way into the black majority government by helping it smear its democratic opposition. He is a statist bureaucrat who is one of the most unpopular political figures in the new South Africa. He is just right for the job.