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Tue, 25 Apr 2017
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The 'March to Silence' - Shots fired at building housing leading climate skeptic scientists

© Image via Google Maps Street View
National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building.
A total of seven shots were fired into our National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) building here at UAH over the weekend.

All bullets hit the 4th floor, which is where John Christy's office is (my office is in another part of the building).

Given that this was Earth Day weekend, with a March for Science passing right past our building on Saturday afternoon, I think this is more than coincidence. When some people cannot argue facts, they resort to violence to get their way. It doesn't matter that we don't "deny global warming"; the fact we disagree with its seriousness and the level of human involvement in warming is enough to send some radicals into a tizzy.

Our street is fairly quiet, so I doubt the shots were fired during Saturday's march here. It was probably late night Saturday or Sunday for the shooter to have a chance of being unnoticed.

Maybe the "March For Science" should have been called the "March To Silence".

Campus and city police say they believe the shots were fired from a passing car, based upon the angle of entry into one of the offices. Shell casings were recovered outside. The closest distance a passing car would have been is 70 yards away.

This is a developing story. I have no other details.


Eruptions continues at Poas volcano in Costa Rica, 48 hours of continuous activity

Poás Volcano, Costa Rica, photo from April 21.
48 hours of continuous eruptive activity at Poás Volcano were marked this Saturday at 10:12 p.m. with a strong explosion that was captured by the cameras of the National Seismology Network, this explosion only lasted one minute and threw rocks at high temperatures in the areas close to the crater:


Volcano on Nishinoshima island erupts, lava heads to sea

© Kotaro Ebara
A photograph taken on April 21 from an Asahi Shimbun aircraft shows smoke mixed with ashes being blown out from a vent on Nishinoshima island, part of the Ogasawara island chain.
A volcanic bomb shot up about 100 meters into the sky and molten rock rolled down toward the sea on April 21 as Nishinoshima island, about 1,000 kilometers south of Tokyo, erupted for the first time in 17 months.

"Intensive volcanic activity will continue for a while. Lava will eventually reach to the sea," said Setsuya Nakada, a volcanology professor at the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute.

An estimated 100,000 cubic meters of lava has flowed to the surface since the eruption, according to Nakada, who observed the erupting volcano from an Asahi Shimbun aircraft.

"The volcanic activity level of Nishinoshima island is nearly the same level of that in 2014 when it was active," he added.


Volcano erupts on Manam Island, Papua New Guinea

Volcano on Manam Island
The volcano on Manam Island in Bogia, Madang in Papua New Guinea has erupted on Sunday evening, forcing many who had moved back there fleeing for safety, the local newspaper reports.

Paul Maburau, the ward councillor for Dugulava village on the island, said they saw flames coming out at around 7pm when many villagers were preparing to have dinner.

He said fire was coming out of both craters of the volcano - the one between Bokure village and Kualang village, and the one between Dugulava and Warisi villages.

Maburau said more blasts came during the night and continued through yesterday.


Indigenous peoples around the world tell myths which contain warning signs for natural disasters - Scientists are now listening

© Photo by Taylor Weidman/LightRocket/Getty
Native knowledge - A Moken woman stares out to sea.
Shortly before 8am on 26 December 2004, the cicadas fell silent and the ground shook in dismay. The Moken, an isolated tribe on the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean, knew that the Laboon, the 'wave that eats people', had stirred from his ocean lair. The Moken also knew what was next: a towering wall of water washing over their island, cleansing it of all that was evil and impure. To heed the Laboon's warning signs, elders told their children, run to high ground.

The tiny Andaman and Nicobar Islands were directly in the path of the tsunami generated by the magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Final totals put the islands' death toll at 1,879, with another 5,600 people missing. When relief workers finally came ashore, however, they realised that the death toll was skewed. The islanders who had heard the stories about the Laboon or similar mythological figures survived the tsunami essentially unscathed. Most of the casualties occurred in the southern Nicobar Islands. Part of the reason was the area's geography, which generated a higher wave. But also at the root was the lack of a legacy; many residents in the city of Port Blair were outsiders, leaving them with no indigenous tsunami warning system to guide them to higher ground.

Humanity has always courted disaster. We have lived, died and even thrived alongside vengeful volcanoes and merciless waves. Some disasters arrive without warning, leaving survival to luck. Often, however, there is a small window of time giving people a chance to escape. Learning how to crack open this window can be difficult when a given catastrophe strikes once every few generations. So humans passed down stories through the ages that helped cultures to cope when disaster inevitably struck. These stories were fodder for anthropologists and social scientists, but in the past decade, geologists have begun to pay more attention to how indigenous peoples understood, and prepared for, disaster. These stories, which couched myth in metaphor, could ultimately help scientists prepare for cataclysms to come.

Anyone who has spent time around small children gets used to the question 'why?' Why is the sky blue? Why do birds fly? Why does thunder make such a loud noise? A friend's mother told us that thunder was God going bowling in the sky. Nature need not be scary and unpredictable, even if it was controlled by forces we could neither see nor understand.

The human penchant for stories and meaning is nothing new. Myths and legends provide entertainment, but they also transmit knowledge of how to behave and how the world works. Breaking the code of these stories, however, takes skill. Tales of gods gone bowling during summer downpours seems nonsensical on the surface, but know a little about the sudden thunderclaps and the clatter of bowling pins as they're struck by a ball, and the story makes sense.


New eruptive phase begins at Mount Etna, Italy

© Boris Behncke
Mount Etna, April 13, 2017.
A new eruptive phase began at Etna in the evening of 13 April from several vents on the SE crater complex. The most active vent, starting from 22:27 local time was the one at the base of the crater which also had been active during mid March-early April, feeding a new lava flow that started to descend into Valle del Bove.

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Costa Rica's Poas Volcano spews plume three kilometers high

© Xinhua
Photo taken on April 14, 2017 shows the Poas Volcano spewing smoke and ash in Alajuela province, north of San Jose, capital of Costa Rica.
Just two days after suddenly erupting with enough force to leave a crack in the dome of its crater, Costa Rica's Poas Volcano on Friday spewed a plume of smoke and ash more than three kilometers into the air.

The national volcano and earthquake monitoring agency Ovsicori said the volcano erupted twice, with the stronger eruption occurring at 7:57 a.m. local time (13:57 GMT), preceded by a smaller eruption some 18 minutes earlier.

"The plume, visible from different points in the country, went higher than three kilometers, according to Javier Pacheco of the Oviscori," the daily La Nacion said.

On Thursday, officials decided to temporarily close the Poas Volcano National Park through Friday to minimize visitors' and locals' exposure to ash and gases that can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and skin.

The closing was also designed to give vulcanologists an opportunity to "carry out the necessary studies and assessments" of Wednesday's unusual phreatic eruption, or blast of steam mixed with volcanic material.

Officials maintained a "green alert" for seven nearby cantons, which warns area residents to avoid coming into contact with fallen ash, especially if suffering from respiratory problems.

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Fresh eruption at Indonesia's Sinabung volcano

© Bernama
The Sinabung volcano in western Indonesia has begun to erupt today, creating a 3,000-metre pillar of dust and smoke.

The volcano, nearly 2,500m tall, has erupted in recent days, according to the local disaster prevention agency.

Local authorities have banned people from travelling to area of 7km from the crater's radius.

Sinabung is one of 130 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which has continuously erupted since 2013.

At least 23 people were killed by the volcano's eruption in 2014 and 2015. The following eruptions forced thousands of people to evacuate, causing huge losses to the local economy.


Nearly 1,000 to be evacuated as volcanic activity increases in East Indonesia

© volcano.si.edu
Banda Api
Authorities are preparing to evacuate nearly 1,000 people living in dangerous zones as Banda Api volcano in Maluku province in eastern Indonesia has turned more active, officials said Thursday.

Mount Banda Api in Maluku Tengah district has issued several tremors in the past few days, forcing authorities to ban any activity within a 1-km. radius from the crater, Devi Kamil, head of the observation unit of the national volcanology agency said.

"We have issued a recommendation for evacuation. There must not be any activity in the area of 1 km. from the crater," the volcanologist told Xinhua over the phone.


SOTT Earth Changes Summary - March 2017: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Planetary environmental chaos continued unabated this month. Several spectacular fireballs were seen from one end of the world to the other. Wildfires ravaged several mid-West states while unusually strong winds hit Illinois and New York. Madagascar got slammed by a ferocious storm as did Brazil, New Zealand and France.

Severe flooding hit several parts of the globe, but the worst affected was Peru where dozens of people died and hundreds of thousands have been left with no homes. With freak tidal waves from Iran to South Africa, strange 'gas' explosions in the UK and methane gas leaks in Russia, not to mention snow off the coast of Africa and lightning scoring direct strikes on cars, March was a pretty intense month for the planet and its inhabitants.