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Earth Changes


Are elephants thugs or guardians of the water hole?

© Daryl Balfour/NHPA
Do elephants make other creatures feel safe at water holes?
Are elephants the bullies of the national parks? Should they be culled to give other creatures a look-in at the water hole?

These are questions that were asked recently when figures showed that, as some elephant populations have increased due to reduced poaching and creation of artificial water holes, other herbivore species have declined.

But when Marion Valeix, then at the National Centre for Scientific Research in Beauvoir-sur-Niort, France, set out to discover if the elephants of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe were harming other herbivores by chasing them away from water holes, she got a surprise.

Her team found that members of nine herbivore species (including buffalo, zebra, warthog and wildebeest) rarely backed off when elephants were around. Instead, all herds increased their drinking time - normally between 5 and 10 minutes - by around 2 minutes.


Proof: Humans Cause Global Warming. Humans + Bad Science = Global Warming

Pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today. How and why we are told otherwise?

Gore Obama
© unknown

How many failed predictions, discredited assumptions and evidence of incorrect data are required before an idea loses credibility? CO2 is not causing warming or climate change. It is not a toxic substance or a pollutant. Despite this President Elect Obama met with Al Gore on December 9 no doubt to plan a climate change strategy based on these problems. They make any plan to reduce of CO2 completely unnecessary.

Proponents of human induced warming and climate change told us that an increase in CO2 precedes and causes temperature increases. They were wrong. They told us the late 20th century was the warmest on record. They were wrong. They told us, using the infamous "hockey stick" graph, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) did not exist. They were wrong. They told us global temperatures would increase through 2008 as CO2 increased. They were wrong. They told us Arctic ice would continue to decrease in area through 2008. They were wrong. They told us October 2008 was the second warmest on record. They were wrong. They told us 1998 was the warmest year on record in the US. They were wrong it was 1934. They told us current atmospheric levels of CO2 are the highest on record. They are wrong. They told us pre-industrial atmospheric levels of CO2 were approximately 100 parts per million (ppm) lower than the present 385 ppm. They are wrong. This last is critical because the claim is basic to the argument that humans are causing warming and climate change by increasing the levels of atmospheric CO2 and have throughout the Industrial era. In fact, pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today, but how did they conclude they were lower?

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake - Chile

Chile USGS Earthquake Map
Chile earthquake location.

Earthquake Details

Magnitude: 6.3

* Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 21:19:31 UTC
* Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 06:19:31 PM at epicenter

Life Preserver

Freak Giant Waves destroy funfair in Cannes France

Waves up to several meters high last Sunday evening destroyed the booths and whirligigs of Luna Park in Cannes [South of France], leaving no deaths, as reported on Monday 15th.

"It is as though a war had been fought. Trucks were knocked over, the games damaged. Nothing is left. The whirligigs are not even broken. They exploded. It looks as if the place had been bombed", declared to the AFP Jean-Philippe Boubier, one of the fairground men.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake - Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic USGS Earthquake Map
Dominican Republic earthquake location.

Earthquake Details
Magnitude 5.1

* Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 17:13:48 UTC
* Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 01:13:48 PM at epicenter

Better Earth

Magma Discovered In Its 'Natural Habitat' For First Time

volcanic eruption of molten lava
© iStockphoto/Rick Rhay
A volcanic eruption of molten lava at night as it flows into the ocean on the Big Island of Hawaii.
A crew drilling on the Big Island of Hawaii has discovered magma, the molten rock material - never before found in its natural habitat underground - that is the central ingredient in the evolution of planets and the lifeblood of all volcanoes.

The chance discovery far beneath the Earth's surface gives scientists an unprecedented opportunity to understand the important substance.

"As scientists, we've hypothesized about the nature and behavior of magma in literally countless studies, but before now the real thing has never been found or been physically investigated in its natural habitat within the earth," said Bruce Marsh, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at The Johns Hopkins University's Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Magma is the subterranean form of what, when it is ejected from the earth in volcanoes and cools, is known as lava. Underground, it reaches temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius, or more than 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Magma resides inside the earth and lava is its equivalent on the surface. But once magma erupts, it begins cooling unusually quickly and it loses any gases that it may contain, so it really is a different animal," Marsh said. "We've never seen, until now, the real animal in its natural habitat. And it's not going anywhere: it's caged, so to speak."

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes give blizzard warning

© Stock.xchng
Lightning may precede heavy bands of snow.
A flash of lightning during a snowstorm may be nature's way of signalling that the worst is yet to come.

The combination of snow, lightning and muted thunder occurs occasionally in storms across the temperate regions of North America, Europe and Asia, often near lakes or cyclones. Eyewitness accounts of these rare events, known as "thundersnows", date back thousands of years to ancient China, and suggest that lightning tends to strike in parts of the storm where the most snow is falling.

To verify such accounts, Patrick Market and Amy Becker at the University of Missouri, Columbia, studied 1000 lightning strikes in 24 thundersnows. They had previously shown that bigger snowstorms tend to produce more lightning, reinforcing the expectation that lightning would coincide with the heaviest bands of snow.

Bizarro Earth

Magnitude 5.4 - Southern Italy

Magnitude 5.4

* Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 21:57:45 UTC

* Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 10:57:45 PM at epicenter

* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 39.291°N, 15.485°E

Depth 260.7 km (162.0 miles)


Distances 65 km (40 miles) W of Cosenza, Italy

Cow Skull

Shh! Quiet Bison Get More Sex

Bison with the loudest bellows lose out in the mating game, while the quietest bulls score the most mates and sire the most offspring.

"We were expecting to find that the bigger, stronger guys - the high-quality males - would have the loudest bellows, because they can handle the costs of it," said Megan Wyman, a graduate student in geography at University of California, Davis and the lead author of the study. "But instead, we found the opposite.

Wyman and colleagues also found that the volume of a bison bull's bellow was not related to its weight or age.


Las Vegas gets heaviest snowfall in almost 30 years

© AFP/Getty Images/File/Ethan Miller
Visitors take photos under the famous sign welcoming motorists on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip during a rare snowstorm December 17, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas was grappling with the aftermath of a once-in-a-generation snowstorm on Thursday which coated the famous icons of Las Vegas and forced the closure of the city's airport.
A rare winter storm swept through Southern Nevada Wednesday, dumping the most snow on the valley in nearly three decades, grounding flights at the airport, forcing the closure of major highways and closing schools for today.

"This is the most snow we've had in Las Vegas in almost 30 years," said Chris Stachelski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It's a significant historical event."

The heaviest snowfall occurred in the southeast valley, where about 3 inches of snow had accumulated by 7:45 p.m., with unconfirmed reports of as much as 6 inches in Henderson, he said.