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Thu, 21 Feb 2019
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Better Earth

Ivory Coast seeks $1 mln for three-headed coconut tree

ABIDJAN - Researchers in Ivory Coast are asking $1 million for a three-headed hybrid coconut tree they believe could substantially boost the tropical nut's yield.

Scientists at Ivory Coast's National Agronomic Research Centre (NARC) discovered the tree after mixing different strains of coconut palm in an effort to build disease resistance.

"We still don't have a buyer, but we are hopeful because we remain in talks with certain partners to buy this hybrid," said Jean Louis Konan, head of NARC's coconut research program.

Researchers decided last year to sell the hybrid to support the research centre, whose 800 hectares (1,980 acres) of coconut trees contain 99 varieties from across the world.

Ladybug

Utah bee population hit by deadly disease, crops could be affected

The mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder, which has led to the loss of millions of bees and in a worst-case scenario could be a threat to the food chain that humans depend on for life, has made its way to Utah.

Gary Dutson is being confronted by the malady firsthand. He has had to sell off 500 acres of farmland that's been in his family for two generations - largely because he's lost so many of his honeybees.

Dutson, who lives outside Delta in eastern Utah, had built up his bee operation to 4,000 hives by last fall when colonies began dying off for no apparent reason. Within months, he lost half his bees in an inexplicable disaster not seen since his father began beekeeping more than 70 years ago.

Until recently, Utah beekeepers seemed to be dodging the mysterious ailment, which has been killing off honeybees in other parts of the nation for the past two years. In 2007 alone, beekeepers lost 30 percent of the 2.5 million managed colonies to diseases, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Cloud Lightning

Tornado knocks vehicles around in N. Carolina, kills 1

Authorities began combing through the wreckage Friday caused by a reported tornado that killed one person and injured three others in central North Carolina.

Bizarro Earth

Chile gives volcano holdouts ultimatum to flee

PUERTO MONTT/FUTALEUFU - Chile on Thursday ordered holdout residents to flee from an erupting volcano in the remote region of Patagonia and vowed to force them out if they refuse to obey.

The military evacuated a small contingent of troops and journalists from near Chaiten volcano in southern Chile before dawn on Thursday after it spat out fiery material.

Chaiten volcano
©REUTERS/Jorge Cortizo
Jose Marciano, wearing a face mask to protect himself from volcanic ash, walks in Futaleufu, near the Chaiten volcano, located some 1,450 km (900 miles) south of Santiago, May 8, 2008.

But some civilians refused to leave two villages near the volcano that began erupting last week for the first time in thousands of years. It has spewed ash that has reached the Atlantic seaboard and the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.

Cloud Lightning

Global Warming or Global Cooling?

The title link is to a great article showing how different sources of historical temperature data tell conflicting stories. Data from NASA implies that global temperatures are increasing while information from the UK Meteorological Office, University of Alabama and Remote Sensing Systems clearly show that temperatures have been falling for quite some time. To further confuse matters, the often cited NASA data did not support global warming until the raw data was massaged to no longer match the original measurements. Older temperatures were interpolated and adjusted downwards, and recent temperatures were presented as higher than the actual raw values that were initially recorded.

Newspaper

Climate change and the recent dengue fever outbreak

Earlier in April of this year the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the health of hundreds of millions of people might be put at risk by the effects of climate change.

Wolf

New Jason Satellite Indicates 23-Year Global Cooling

Now it's not just the sunspots that predict a 23-year global cooling. The new Jason oceanographic satellite shows that 2007 was a "cool" La Nina year - but Jason also says something more important is at work: The much larger and more persistent Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has turned into its cool phase, telling us to expect moderately lower global temperatures until 2030 or so.

Video

Chilean volcano captured blasting ash

Chile's Chaiten Volcano is shown spewing ash and smoke (centre left of image) into the air for hundreds of km over Argentina's Patagonia Plateau in this Envisat image acquired on 5 May 2008.

The 1000 m-high volcano had been dormant for thousands of years before erupting on 2 May, causing the evacuation of thousands. Chaiten Volcano is located in southern Chile 10 km northeast of the town of Chaiten on the Gulf of Corcovado.

Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument processed this image at a resolution of 1200 m.

Satellite data can be used to detect the slight signs of change that may foretell an eruption. Once an eruption begins, optical and radar instruments can capture the lava flows, mudslides, ground fissures and earthquakes.

Image
©ESA
Chile's Chaiten Volcano is shown spewing ash and smoke into the air for hundreds of km over Argentina's Patagonia Plateau in this Envisat's Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) image, acquired on 5 May 2008.

Butterfly

Bee disappearance reaches Northern Ireland: Strange case of the missing bees

Bees are usually the hardest workers in County Armagh orchards, pollinating the apple blossom - but this year fruit growers complain that many bees have simply not turned up.

Bee-keepers, too, are worried about the crash in numbers and some are describing the problem as colony collapse disorder.

Image
©BBC
Some hives are lying empty

Question

US: Dying bats in the Northeast remain a mystery

Investigations continue into the cause of a mysterious illness that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of bats since March 2008. At more than 25 caves and mines in the northeastern U.S, bats exhibiting a condition now referred to as "white-nosed syndrome" have been dying.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently issued a Wildlife Health Bulletin, advising wildlife and conservation officials throughout the U.S. to be on the lookout for the condition known as "white-nose syndrome" and to report suspected cases of the disease.

USGS wildlife disease specialist Dr. Kimberli Miller advises that "anyone finding sick or dead bats should avoid handling them and should contact their state wildlife conservation agency or the nearest U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service field office to report their observation."