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The Sky Is Falling Sometime In The Next Few Weeks

from The Guardian

China’s Tiangong-1 space station will crash to Earth within weeks

Experts say it is impossible to plot where module will re-enter the atmosphere, but the chance is higher in parts of Europe, US, Australia and New Zealand


The Tiangong-1 space station, which is expected to come crashing to earth within weeks.

China’s first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth within weeks, but scientists have not been able to predict where the 8.5-tonne module will hit.

The US-funded Aerospace Corporation estimates Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere during the first week of April, give or take a week. The European Space Agency says the module will come down between 24 March and 19 April.

In 2016 China admitted it had lost control of Tiangong-1 and would be unable to perform a controlled re-entry.

The statement from Aerospace said there was “a chance that a small amount of debris” from the module will survive re-entry and hit the Earth.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on March 5, 2018 by Editor

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Sandwiches Top Cause of Global Warming

from New Atlas

Is the humble sandwich a climate change culprit?

by David Szondy

Sandwiches have a surprisingly large carbon footprintSandwiches have a surprisingly large carbon footprint(Credit: Taden1/Depositphotos)

Scientists at the University of Manchester have found a surprising global warming culprit – sandwiches. In the first study of its kind, the researchers carried out an in-depth audit of various sandwiches throughout their life cycles and found the triangular meals could be responsible for the equivalent annual carbon emissions of 8.6 million cars in Britain alone.

In 1762, or so the story goes, the fourth Earl of Sandwich rocked the culinary world when he couldn’t be bothered to leave the gambling table to eat and ordered the servants to just stick some meat between two slices of bread for him. Since then, the modern sandwich has become one of the most popular of food formats.

According to the British Sandwich Association (BSA), the United Kingdom spends £8 billion (US$11.3 billion) annually on 11.5 billion sandwiches, with half made at home and the other half bought at shops, supermarkets, kiosks, and service stations. To better understand the environmental impact of all these sarnies, the Manchester team looked at over 40 different sandwich types, recipes, and combinations as well as how they are made, packaged, transported, and stored. In addition, they considered the waste produced in making them, as well as the stale, rotten, or simply outdated sandwiches that are thrown away.

What the researchers found was that not all sandwiches are created equal and that some varieties have larger carbon footprints than others. The highest footprint was found in premade, prepackaged, all-day-breakfast sandwiches. These contain eggs, bacon, and sausage and are kept packaged and refrigerated until sold and eaten – all of which is estimated to add up to 1,441 g (3.18 lb) of carbon dioxide equivalent, or roughly the same as driving a car for 12 miles (19 km).

[ click to continue reading at New Atlas ]


Posted on March 4, 2018 by Editor

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Supervolcano Surging

from The Express

Yellowstone ERUPTION: Supervolcano under ‘STRAIN’ – experts find magma chamber pressure

YELLOWSTONE is “under strain” according to a group of seismologists who are monitoring the potentially catastrophic volcano, prompting fears an eruption is imminent.



Yellowstone will erupt again one day.

A process known as deformation, where subsurface rocks subtly change shapes, is occurring beneath the surface of Yellowstone which alerts experts.

Researchers state deformation occurs when there is a change in the amount of pressure in the magma chamber and experts are keeping an eye on the development.

Seismologists from UNAVCO, a nonprofit university-governed consortium, are using “Global Positioning System, borehole tiltmeters, and borehole strainmeters” to measure minute changes in deformation at Yellowstone.

In an article for the Billings Gazette, David Mencin and Glen Mattioli, geodesists with UNAVCO, say “the strain signal is larger than would be expected if the crust under Yellowstone were completely solid”.

[ click to continue reading at The Express ]

Posted on February 13, 2018 by Editor

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Sneak Attack

from LiveScience

Why the Asteroid Approaching Earth Was Only Spotted 5 Days Ago

By Elizabeth Howell

Why the Asteroid Approaching Earth Was Only Spotted 5 Days AgoAsteroid 2018 CB will pass closely by Earth on Friday, Feb. 9, at a distance of about 39,000 miles. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Almost exactly five years ago, a truck-size celestial rockunexpectedly exploded in the atmosphere above Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Feb. 15, 2013. As town officials dealt with broken glass and hundreds injured, people worldwide asked why nobody spotted the 51-foot-across (17 meters) object sooner, in time to warn residents.

The same question could be asked of another asteroid that will whiz harmlessly past the Earth today (Feb. 9). NASA said this object, nicknamed 2018 CB, may very well be bigger than one that broke up over Chelyabinsk. The asteroid was only spotted on Sunday (Feb. 4) by the Catalina Sky Survey. Early estimates of 2018 CB’s size range between 50 and 130 feet (15 and 40 m) in diameter. The object will fly by Earth at about 5:30 p.m. EST (2:30 p.m. PST) at less than 20 percent of the distance from the Earth to the moon. That’s about 238,855 miles (384,400 km) from us.

“Asteroids of this size do not often approach this close to our planet — maybe only once or twice a year,” Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said in a statement from the agency.

[ click to continue reading at LiveScience ]

Posted on February 9, 2018 by Editor

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Parts of the planet could be rendered uninhabitable

The Sun

Earth’s magnetic poles could be about to FLIP sparking chaos and mass blackouts

Parts of the planet could be rendered uninhabitable by the reversal, experts have warned

By Brittany Vonow

 The change could cause disastrous repercussionsGETTY IMAGES

THE Earth’s magnetic poles could be about to flip, sparking chaos and making large parts of the planet uninhabitable, it has emerged.

Experts have warned that the change is extremely likely with the magnetic field weakening by 15 per cent over 200 years.

According to an Undark report, the flip could cause “devastating streams of particles from the sun, galactic cosmic rays, and enhanced ultraviolet B rays from a radiation”.

The report warned that satellite timing systems that govern electric grids could fail, causing a ripple effect that would shut off lights, computers and phones. Even flushing the toilet could become impossible, according to the article.

The article shared concerns from Daniel Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who warned “that parts of the planet will become uninhabitable during a reversal”.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on February 4, 2018 by Editor

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Nothing To See Here

from ABC News

Scientists say rash of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on ‘Ring of Fire’ not connected


Volcanic eruptions in Japan, the Philippines and Bali. Massive earthquakes in Alaska and Indonesia.

The rash of natural disasters over the past two days have one common denominator: they all occurred along the so-called Ring of Fire, a sprawling horseshoe-shape geological disaster zone.

At least five different events occurred on the Ring of Fire on Monday and Tuesday, including a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that rattled the town of Kodiak, Alaska, and the eruption of Mount Kusatsu-Shirane near a ski resort northwest of Tokyo.

[ click to continue reading at ABC News ]

Posted on February 2, 2018 by Editor

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Gangnam Style

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Editor

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Clear Water Bad

from The Chicago Tribune

Lake Michigan has become dramatically clearer in last 20 years — but at a steep cost

by Tony Briscoe

Zebra musselsIn this May 3, 2007 photo, Inland Seas Education Association instructor Conrad Heins holds a cluster of zebra mussels that were taken from Lake Michigan off Suttons Bay, Mich. (John L. Russell / AP)

Decades ago, Lake Michigan teemed with nutrients and green algae, casting a brownish-green hue that resembled the mouth of an inland river rather than a vast, open-water lake.

Back then, the lake’s swampy complexion was less than inviting to swimmers and kayakers, but it supported a robust fishing industry as several commercial companies trawled for perch, and sport fishermen cast their lines for trout. But in the past 20 years, Lake Michigan has undergone a dramatic transformation.

In analyzing satellite images between 1998 and 2012, researchers at the Michigan Tech Research Institute were surprised to find that lakes Michigan and Huron are now clearer than Lake Superior. In a study published late last year, the researchers say limiting the amount of agricultural and sewage runoff in the lake has had an immense impact. However, the emergence of invasive mussels, which number in the trillions and have the ability to filter the entire volume of Lake Michigan in four to six days, has had an even greater effect.

“When you look at the scientific terms, we are approaching some oceanic values,” said Michael Sayers, a research engineer at Michigan Tech and co-author of the study. “We have some ways to go, but we are getting a lot closer to Lake Tahoe. A lot of times, you’ll hear from people that the water is so blue it compares to something in tropical areas.”

[ click to continue reading at Chicago Tribune ]

Posted on January 28, 2018 by Editor

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Erect Knotweed

from are technica

Hunting for the ancient lost farms of North America

2,000 years ago, people domesticated these plants. Now they’re wild weeds. What happened?

Posted on January 26, 2018 by Editor

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They’re Coming

from ABC News

Earthquake-causing meteor leaves southeast Michigan residents awestruck


Residents of southeast Michigan were left a bit shaken Tuesday night after a big bright flash lit up the sky and the ground beneath them shook.

A flying saucer? No. A shooting star? Not quite.

The National Weather Service eventually solved the mystery, tweeting “USGS confirms meteor occurred around 810 pm, causing a magnitude 2.0 earthquake.”

“After reviewing several observational datasets, the NWS can confirm the flash and boom was NOT thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor. We continue to monitor feeds from astronomical agencies for official confirmation of a meteor,” read a tweet posted nearly two hours before the NWS confirmed it was a meteor.

[ click to read full article at ABC News ]

Posted on January 21, 2018 by Editor

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Dominance & Submission (Radios Appear)

from Prospect

How the internet controls you

Corporate giants have created an entirely new surveillance capitalism. And we’re too hooked to care

by John Naughton

The “dust of exploded beliefs,” the English aphorist Geoffrey Madan once wrote, “may make a fine sunset.” We’re beginning to see that glow over the internet which, if you count back to the design phase in the autumn of 1973, is now over four decades old.

From the moment the internet first opened for semi-public use in January 1983, it evoked utopian dreams. It was easy to see why. Cyberspace—the term coined by the novelist William Gibson for the virtual space behind the screen—really did seem to be a parallel universe to “meatspace,” the term invented by Grateful-Dead-lyricist-turned-essayist John Perry Barlow for the messy physical world that we all inhabit. Cyberspace in the 1980s was a glorious sandpit for geeks: a world with no corporations, no crime, no spam, no hate speech, relatively civil discourse, no editorial gatekeepers, no regulation and no role for those meatspace masters whom Barlow called the “weary giants of flesh and steel.”

But then, gradually, the internet was commercialised and those two parallel spaces merged to create our networked world, in which the affordances of cyberspace combine with surveillance and corporate control. Of course, the internet has brought huge benefits in terms of access to information and efficiency of communication: try imagining our home or work lives without it. But there are serious worries. The online world is populated by several billion mostly passive addicts of devices, apps and services created by a handful of corporate giants. Prying governments and giant companies have acquired the capacity to surveil our every move, both on the internet and, now that so many devices have built-in GPS, in the real world too. Through their ability to monitor our searches these companies—as well as the governments they co-operate with—are able to see our innermost thoughts and desires. (Yes, even our desires: what people search for on Google is incredibly revealing.)

[ click to continue reading at Prospect ]

Posted on January 19, 2018 by Editor

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Record Sierra Wind

from The San Francisco Chronicle

199-MPH Sierra wind gust sets California record

A gust that blasted the summit of a peak at Alpine Meadows in February was the fastest non-tornado wind recorded in the United States in 2017.

The 199-mph gust was also the fastest ever recorded in California, according to the National Climate Data Center’s Extremes Committee, which sanctioned the mark last week.

For comparison, 140-mph winds have been known to pick up and hurl baseball-sized rocks.

“Even in winds of 120 mph you can’t stand under your own force,” says Tom Padham, a meteorologist with the Mount Washington Observatory. “You’re knocked over pretty quickly. You wouldn’t be able to stand back up.”

New Hampshire’s Mount Washington holds the record for fastest wind speed on U.S. soil — 231 mph.

The powerful 199-mph gust whipped Ward Peak in Alpine Meadows ski resort at about 11 p.m. Feb. 20 during a fierce storm driven by an atmospheric river that pummeled the northern Sierra Nevada mountain range.

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on January 15, 2018 by Editor

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Love Love Deuce

from TIME

Why Is Tennis Scored So Weirdly?


Do you have a question about history? Send us your question at history@time .com and you might find your answer in a future edition of Now You Know.

All sports have their own vocabularies, the shorthand lingo to communicate intricacies of rules and how play proceeds. But usually the scoring can at least be counted on to be fairly straightforward. Not so much for tennis.

For the unfamiliar, tennis starts with both players at zero, called love: “Love-all.” One person scores: 15 to love. The server’s score is said first, the receiver’s second. The other now scores, and they’re tied at “15-all.” The next point is 30, then 40, and the following point wins that game. If they tie at 40 it’s called a deuce. From that tie the next person to get a point has the advantage, but generally has to win by two points — that is, to score twice in a row — to win the game. And it doesn’t stop there. Six of these games make a set, and the set must be won by two games or it goes to a tiebreaker. After the set is over, it repeats. To win the whole match requires either winning best of five sets or best of three sets, depending on the competition.

With the Australian Open set to begin on Monday, observers may once again ponder an inevitable question: Why count this way?

[ click to continue reading at TIME Magazine ]

Posted on January 14, 2018 by Editor

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Pharaoh’s Meteorite

from RT

Giza Pyramid mystery chamber may hold Pharaoh’s ‘meteorite throne’

Giza Pyramid mystery chamber may hold Pharaoh’s 'meteorite throne'© Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

A huge void discovered inside the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt late last year may hold an iron throne carved from meteorites, according to new analysis of ancient religious texts.

Giulio Magli, Director of the Department of Mathematics and Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the Politecnico di Milano, studied the Pyramid Texts, religious writings carved into pyramid walls around 2400 BC. Based on his studies, Magli proposes that it’s possible the throne of Pharaoh Khufu – or ‘Cheops’ – lies inside the chamber.

Of course it would not be melted iron but meteoritic iron, that is, fallen from the sky in the form of iron meteorites and again cited in the Texts,” Magli says in his paper.

Explaining the structure of the pyramid, Magli states that before arriving at the funerary chamber there is a gallery. “The newly discovered room is over this gallery, but does not have a practical function of ‘relieving weight’ from it, because the roof of the gallery itself was already built with a corbelled technique for this very reason,” he explains in a statement.

So what was this room used for? Magli offers a possible interpretation that falls in line with existing knowledge on Egyptian funerary religion as documented in the Pyramid texts: “In these texts it is said that the pharaoh,before reaching the stars of the north, will have to pass the ‘gates of the sky’ and sit on his ‘throne of iron.’”

[ click to continue reading at RT ]

Posted on January 13, 2018 by Editor

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Hardcore Wrestling

from The Sun

BLOODY VIOLENT: Inside the bloody world of hardcore wrestling where fighters brawl with shards of glass, barbed wire bats and fan-made weapons in ultra-violent ‘death matches’

These shocking pictures show hardcore wrestlers fighting until they are dripping with blood and hurling themselves into fiery pits full of glass.

By Emma Parry, Digital US Correspondent

IT’S been dubbed the bloodiest sport in the world – where men and women beat each other to a pulp with glass lighting tubes, fan-made barbed-wire bats and other deadly weapons.

This is hardcore death-match wrestling and, according to fans, it’s 100 per cent more brutal than anything you’ve seen on WWE.

With a large and loyal following, these fighters travel across America – and the world – taking part in ultra-violent wrestling events – such as barefoot thumbtack matches – before patching themselves up with superglue and hitting the road.

Others hurl themselves off rooftops or scaffolding into pits of fire, glass, barbed wire – or all three – in front of wild, cheering crowds.

These graphic pictures were taken by photographer Marc McAndrew who spent two years following the wrestlers and documenting their lives….

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on January 12, 2018 by Editor

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Mars Is Where We Were At

from AFP via Yahoo!

Deep, buried glaciers spotted on Mars

By the 2030s, NASA hopes to send human explorers to Mars, the surface of which is seen in a May 2017 handout photo covered in carbon dioxide snow and ice, different from the buried glaciers researchers have spottedBy the 2030s, NASA hopes to send human explorers to Mars, the surface of which is seen in a May 2017 handout photo covered in carbon dioxide snow and ice, different from the buried glaciers researchers have spotted (AFP Photo/HO)

Miami (AFP) – Buried glaciers have been spotted on Mars, offering new hints about how much water may be accessible on the Red Planet and where it is located, researchers said Thursday.

Although ice has long been known to exist on Mars, a better understanding of its depth and location could be vital to future human explorers, said the report in the US journal Science.

Erosion has exposed eight ice sites, some as shallow as a few feet (one meter) below the surface, and going as deep as 100 meters or more, it said.

These underground cliffs appear “to be nearly pure ice,” said the report, which is based on data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2005.

“This kind of ice is more widespread than previously thought,” said Colin Dundas, a geologist at the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Editor

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SpaceX Mystery Messages

from The Daily Express

Top SECRET US satellite launched by SpaceX aims to send ‘unknown group’ MYSTERY messages

SPACEX are to launch a top-secret satellite codenamed project Zuma this Friday, the US Air Force confirmed.


SpaceX cut the feed to the second stage of the launch to keep the Zuma mission top secret during launch.

The mysterious project will see the private space agency launch the satellite allowing an unnamed government organisation to send messages or take photos.

One of the few scraps of information currently available has revealed Zuma will enter into a low orbit around Earth.

What the orbiter’s mission is and who will be operating it is unknown with US authorities so far refusing the release any more information.

[ click to continue reading Express ]

Posted on January 8, 2018 by Editor

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Earth Slows Down, Earth Quakes

from The Mirror

Powerful earthquakes to ravage Earth in 2018 as planet’s rotation temporarily slows

Experts believe there is a correlation between the slowing of the Earth’s rotation and more powerful earthquakes

By Jeff Parsons

The world is entering a period of higher seismic activity this year that will bring more earthquakes with it, scientists have predicted.

While that’s undoubtedly bad news for those living within affected areas, the ability to accurately predict when and where earthquakes will occur is growing all the time.

This prediction comes from the fact that the Earth is currently experiencing a periodic slowdown of its rotation.

Historically, these slowdowns have coincided with peak times for earthquakes and seismic activity.

“So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes [in 2017]. We could easily have 20-a-year starting in 2018,” said Dr Roger Bilham from the University of Colorado.

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Posted on January 3, 2018 by Editor

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Columbus’ Shark

from The Daily Star

Ancient LIVING shark born in 1500s is world’s OLDEST vertebrate and could be 512 years old

A SHARK believed to be the oldest living vertebrate has been discovered in the North Atlantic Ocean.

By Anthony Blair

Ancient sharkINSTAGRAM/@JUNIEL85 / BIZARRE: An ancient living shark has been discovered that’s believed to be up to 512 years old

Danish scientists found the ancient creature — which is believed to be 512 years old and is 18ft long.

The shark is the world’s oldest vertebrate – an animal with a backbone – and may have been born in 1505, when King Henry VIII was just 14 years old.

According to the journal Science, Greenland sharks grow at just one cm a year.

So when they discovered a female shark measuring a whopping 18 feet, they knew this creature had to be incredibly old.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on December 28, 2017 by Editor

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Adopt Horses Now, Please

from The New York Times

The Hard Truth About the West’s Wild Horse Problem


Lesley Barnes

We have a wild horse problem — and it’s having a devastating impact on these majestic animals that so many of us love.

I grew up on a farm in Idaho. No one has to show me how to put a saddle on a horse. I respect these powerful animals and consider them emblems of the West. But though we may envision bands of mustangs sprinting through lush fields of tall grasses, we have to realize that the truth is much bleaker.

The federal government’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is broken, leaving thousands of animals to starve. The Bureau of Land Management says that the nearly 27 million acres it manages for wild horses and burros can sustain only about 27,000 animals. This year, the bureau estimates that there were more than 72,000 wild horses on the land, almost 50,000 too many and all fighting to survive.

Making matters worse, wild horses are very fertile; their population increases 20 percent a year, meaning the number of wild horses will double in the next four years. Overgrazing by these horses has also hurt local deer and elk populations. The range could take a generation to recover.

This isn’t just a horse management disaster, it’s a financial disaster too. In addition to the 72,000 horses it oversees on the range, the B.L.M. keeps about 45,000 horses that it has removed from the wild in corrals, off-range pastures and in sanctuaries. Over their lifetime, these horses will cost taxpayers roughly $1 billion overall, according to the B.L.M. That’s $1 billion we could otherwise spend on defense, education, job training or any other worthy cause.

But the alternative for these horses is starving in the wild. For example, in 2015, the B.L.M. employees were dispatched to a desert in Nevada outside of Las Vegas to round up about 200 wild horses that were reported to be starving to death. Federal land managers had determined that the 100,000-acre expanse where these horses were grazing produced only enough grasses and water to sustain 70 horses.

Bureau employees discovered nearly 500 horses. They had pounded their range to powder; the desert grasses that remained had been eaten to the nubs. Nearly 30 were in such poor condition they had to be euthanized, and many others were on the brink of death.

How can anyone consider this acceptable?

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on December 26, 2017 by Editor

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Mystery Blob Threatens New England

from Science Alert

A Mysterious Blob of Hot Rock Is Building Up Under America’s Northeast

Something is rising from the depths.


578 vermont blob 1Hot rock in the mantle rising toward the surface (Vadim Levin/Rutgers University-New Brunswick

A vast mass of hot rock is welling up underneath Vermont and extending into other subterranean regions below New England, new research shows.

Scientists used a network of thousands of seismic measurement devices in the largest geological study of its kind, detecting the enormous blob upwelling under Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts – and possibly elsewhere.

“The upwelling we detected is like a hot air balloon, and we infer that something is rising up through the deeper part of our planet under New England,” says geophysicist Vadim Levin from Rutgers University – New Brunswick.

Since New England doesn’t have any active volcanoes, the huge build-up is thought to be a geologically recent phenomenon, although in this case that means it could have slowly but steadily been growing for tens of millions of years.

[ click to continue reading at Science Alert ]

Posted on December 23, 2017 by Editor

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Earth Hum

from CBS News

Earth’s mysterious hum recorded underwater for 1st time


 This photo from NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite shows the Eastern Hemisphere of Earth in “Blue Marble” view. NASA/NOAA

Far from the blaring cacophony of cities, towns and suburbs, there are far quieter soundtracks to be found — the murmurs of wind rustling grasses, rushing waves tumbling onto beaches, the creaking of tree branches and trunks.

But underneath all that is yet another soundscape, a permanent, low-frequency drone produced by Earth itself, from the vibrations of ongoing, subtle seismic movements that are not earthquakes and are too small to be detected without special equipment.

Earth is “humming.” You can’t hear it, but it’s ongoing. And now scientists have measured that persistent hum from the ocean floor, for the first time. [What’s That Noise? 11 Strange and Mysterious Sounds on Earth & Beyond]

Most of the movements in the ground under our feet aren’t dramatic enough for people to feel them. Earthquakes, of course, are the big exception, but Earth undergoes far more earthquakes globally than you might suspect — an estimated 500,000 per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Of those, 100,000 are strong enough to be felt, and about 100 of those are powerful enough to cause damage.

But even in the quiet periods between earthquakes, there’s a whole lot of shaking going on.

Since the 1990s, researchers have known that Earth is constantly vibrating with microseismic activity, known as “free oscillation,” scientists reported in a new study describing new recordings of the phenomenon. Free oscillation creates a hum that can be detected anywhere on land by seismometers — equipment used to detect and record vibrations.

[ click to continue reading at CBS News ]

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Editor

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from McClatchy

Here’s how to shut down the internet: Snip undersea fiber-optic cables


A crewman pulls on undersea cable that will be laid in the Caribbean in this 2001 photo from the Port of Miami. The crewman stands in a cable well holding 120 miles of cable.A crewman pulls on undersea cable that will be laid in the Caribbean in this 2001 photo from the Port of Miami. The crewman stands in a cable well holding 120 miles of cable. Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald

Hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable lay on the ocean floors, a crucial part of the global internet’s backbone, and only rarely do ship anchors, undersea landslides or saboteurs disrupt them.

Still, a few voices now call for stronger global mechanisms and even military action to protect the cables against future malicious activity by states, saboteurs or extremists.

“The infrastructure that underpins the internet – these undersea cables – are clearly vulnerable,” said Rishi Sunak, a British member of Parliament and champion of more vigorous action to protect submarine networks. “They underpin pretty much everything that we do.”

Undersea cables conduct nearly 97 percent of all global communications, and every day an estimated $10 trillion in financial transfers and vast amounts of data pass through the seabed routes. Satellites, once crucial but now limited in speed and bandwidth, handle only a tiny percentage of global communications.

[ click to continue reading at McClatchy ]

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Editor

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Massive Penis-shaped Space Rock Befuddles

from The Atlantic

Astronomers to Check Mysterious Interstellar Object for Signs of Technology

Russian billionaire Yuri Milner says if the space rock ‘Oumuamua is giving off radio signals, his team will be able to detect them—and they may get the results within days.


An artist’s impression of the interstellar asteroid 'OumuamuaAn artist’s impression of the interstellar asteroid ‘OumuamuaESO / M. Kornmesser

The email about “a most peculiar object” in the solar system arrived in Yuri Milner’s inbox last week.

Milner, the Russian billionaire behind Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, had already heard about the peculiar object. ‘Oumuamua barreled into view in October, the first interstellar object seen in our solar system.

Astronomers around the world chased after the mysterious space rock with their telescopes, collecting as much data as they could as it sped away. Their observations revealed a truly unusual object with puzzling properties. Scientists have long predicted an interstellar visitor would someday coast into our corner of the universe, but not something like this.

“The more I study this object, the more unusual it appears, making me wonder whether it might be an artificially made probe which was sent by an alien civilization,” Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department and one of Milner’s advisers on Breakthrough Listen, wrote in the email to Milner.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on December 17, 2017 by Editor

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Half of us are in, at least.

from Reuters via Yahoo! News

Are Earthlings alone? Half of humans believe in alien life

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Nearly half of humans believe in alien life and want to make contact, a survey in 24 countries has found, in what researchers said helps to explain the lasting popularity of the “Star Wars” franchise 40 years after the first movie was screened.

On the eve of the release of “The Last Jedi”, researchers published findings that 47 percent of more than 26,000 respondents believe “in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe”.

An even greater 61 percent said “yes” when asked if they believe in “some form of life on other planets”. Roughly a quarter said they do not.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Editor

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We Aren’t Going To See Them Coming At First

from The Daily Star

Asteroid that could’ve obliterated NYC skimmed past Earth – and NASA didn’t notice

A MASSIVE asteroid that could have destroyed New York City skimmed past Earth – and NASA had no clue.

By Rachel O’Donoghue

The large space rock – dubbed 2017 VL2 – passed the planet on November 9 at an astonishing distance of just 73,000 miles, which is considered tiny in space terms.

Space boffins think that if the rock measuring between 16 and 32 metres had hit, it could’ve wiped a major city such as New York off the map.

The rock belongs to the Apollo group of asteroids and was first seen at ATLAS-MLO observatory in Hawaii a day later.

It was travelling at a speed of 8.73km/s and would have caused catastrophic damage if it had made impact.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on December 12, 2017 by Editor

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Bitcoin Causing Global Warming

from grist

Bitcoin could cost us our clean-energy future

By Eric Holthaus

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been ignoring the bitcoin phenomenon for years — because it seemed too complex, far-fetched, or maybe even too libertarian. But if you have any interest in a future where the world moves beyond fossil fuels, you and I should both start paying attention now.

Last week, the value of a single bitcoin broke the $10,000 barrier for the first time. Over the weekend, the price nearly hit $12,000. At the beginning of this year, it was less than $1,000.

If you had bought $100 in bitcoin back in 2011, your investment would be worth nearly $4 million today. All over the internet there are stories of people who treated their friends to lunch a few years ago and, as a novelty, paid with bitcoin. Those same people are now realizing that if they’d just paid in cash and held onto their digital currency, they’d now have enough money to buy a house.

But the rise of bitcoin is also happening at a specific moment in history: Humanity is decades behind schedule on counteracting climate change, and every action in this era should be evaluated on its net impact on the climate. Increasingly, bitcoin is failing the test.

Digital financial transactions come with a real-world price: The tremendous growth of cryptocurrencies has created an exponential demand for computing power. As bitcoin grows, the math problems computers must solve to make more bitcoin (a process called “mining”) get more and more difficult — a wrinkle designed to control the currency’s supply.

Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day. And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers. Already, the aggregate computing power of the bitcoin network isnearly 100,000 times larger than the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers combined.

The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge — an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.

[ click to read full article at grist ]

Posted on December 9, 2017 by Editor

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Falcon Drones

from Bloomberg

The Military Is Using Falcons to Build a Drone Killer

A raptor’s approach to targeting prey may one day help protect soldiers and even airports, Air Force-funded research shows.

By Justin Bachman

Throughout history, humans have employed falcons as lethal hunters of other animals. Now those raptors are being sent after drones.

It turns out that many of the skills feathered predators use to find a tasty lunch can be applied to the developing field of drone defense. A U.S. Air Force-funded study by zoology researchers at Oxford University suggests that the means by which a peregrine falcon tracks its quarry could be effective in defending against drones that threaten troops, police or airports.

The researchers fitted the falcons with miniature video cameras and GPS receivers to track their angle and method of attack on other birds, or on bait being towed through the air by a drone. In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S., the falcons’ approach to intercepting its target aligned closely with the rules of proportional navigation, a guidance system used by visually-directed missiles.

The principle is such that a missile—or a falcon on the hunt—will reach a target as long as its line-of-sight remains unobstructed while it closes in. The earliest AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, dating to the 1950s, used this technique with a rotating mirror to “see” the target.

Watch Falcons Close in on Their Prey as Part of Air Force-Funded Drone Research

[ click to continue reading at Bloomberg ]

Posted on December 8, 2017 by Editor

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Quantum Reality Really

from Nautilus

Is Quantum Theory About Reality or What We Know?


Physicists know how to use quantum theory—your phone and computer give plenty of evidence of that. But knowing how to use it is a far cry from fully understanding the world the theory describes—or even what the various mathematical devices scientists use in the theory are supposed to mean. One such mathematical object, whose status physicists have long debated, is known as the quantum state.

One of the most striking features of quantum theory is that its predictions are, under virtually all circumstances, probabilistic. If you set up an experiment in a laboratory, and then you use quantum theory to predict the outcomes of various measurements you might perform, the best the theory can offer is probabilities—say, a 50 percent chance that you’ll get one outcome, and a 50 percent chance that you’ll get a different one. The role the quantum state plays in the theory is to determine, or at least encode, these probabilities. If you know the quantum state, then you can compute the probability of getting any possible outcome to any possible experiment.

But does the quantum state ultimately represent some objective aspect of reality, or is it a way of characterizing something about us, namely, something about what some person knows about reality? This question stretches back to the earliest history of quantum theory, but has recently become an active topic again, inspiring a slew of new theoretical results and even some experimental tests.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Editor

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It’s All In The Wiring

from StudyFinds

A Smarter Person’s Brain Is Simply Wired Better, Study Finds

by Daniel Steingold

FRANKFURT, Germany — Brainiacs happen to have thinking organs that are physically designed to outperform, a new study finds.

Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany looked at brain scans of more than 300 participants, while simultaneously consulting graph theoretical network analysis methods, to try to determine what helps form human intelligence.

Explaining how the brain’s many regions interact with others to varying degrees — think of smaller social groups within broader society— the researchers more specifically sought to understand whether the wiring of certain regions was different among people depending on their level of intelligence.

“This is similar to a social network which consists of multiple sub-networks (e.g., families or circles of friends). Within these sub-networks or modules, the members of one family are more strongly interconnected than they are with people from other families or circles of friends. Our brain is functionally organized in a very similar way,” the researchers explain in a university release.

They found that in more intelligent individuals, two regions associated with the cognitive processing of task-relevant information — the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex — were more tightly connected to other functional areas of the brain.

[ click to continue reading at StudyFinds ]

Posted on December 2, 2017 by Editor

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Super Eruption

from The Mirror

Cataclysmic ‘super eruption’ is MUCH closer than we thought, warns latest research

Scientists at Bristol University have analysed geological records from the last 100,000 years

By Stephen Beech

(Image: Moment RF)

We may be much nearer to a cataclysmic volcanic ‘super-eruption’ than previously thought, warns new research.

That is the conclusion of Bristol University scientists after analysing a database of geological records dated within the last 100,000 years.

They discovered the average time between so-called volcanic super-eruptions is actually much less than previously understood.

Volcanoes and ‘bolides’ – such as asteroids – are geohazards powerful enough to be destructive on a global scale.

One recent assessment described them as capable of returning humanity to a ‘pre-civilisation’ state.

The largest explosive eruptions are termed ‘super-eruptions’, and produce in excess of 1,000 gigatons of erupted mass – enough to blanket an entire continent with volcanic ash, and change global weather patterns for decades.

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Posted on November 29, 2017 by Editor

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from USA Today

The only supermoon of the year will rise Sunday evening

by Doyle Rice

The only supermoon of 2017 will appear in a sky near you Sunday night … weather permitting.

Bigger and brighter than a typical full moon, the term “supermoon” was coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle. According to NASA, it’s used by the media today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.

A supermoon can appear as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than when a full moon is at its farthest distance from Earth, NASA said.

The astronomical term for a supermoon is “perigee syzygy.” (Syzygy is when the sun, moon and Earth are all aligned in a straight line.)

The exact moment of the full moon is the morning of Dec. 3 at 10:46 a.m. ET, (9:46 a.m. CT, 8:46 a.m. MT, and 7:46 a.m. PT), said.

[ click to continue reading at USAT ]

Posted on November 28, 2017 by Editor

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Quantum Bullshit

from Real Clear Science

The Worst Theoretical Prediction in the History of Physics

By Ross Pomeroy

Quantum mechanics has a dark energy problem.

When it comes to scientifically mysterious concepts that begin with the word “dark,” dark matter attracts most of the public attention. Dark energy, however, constitutes 68.3% of the mass of the universe compared to dark matter’s paltry 26.8% (and normal matter’s minuscule 4.9%). It is truly the more consequential of the two “dark” concepts.

Yet we’ll never likely be able to “catch” a particle of dark energy as scientists are striving to do with dark matter. That’s because dark energy is – most likely – just the energy inherent to space, itself, perhaps arising from Quantum foam, composed of virtual particles that flit in and out of existence. As Einstein reminds us, the energy delivered by these virtual particles briefly protruding into space has mass.

When astronomers attempt to measure dark energy’s density in space, they come up with roughly 10^−9 joules per cubic meter, a microscopic but influential amount. However, this observed value, known as the cosmological constant, isn’t remotely close to that which is predicted by the time-tested quantum field theory. As detailed in the textbook General Relativity: An Introduction for Physicists:

[ click to continue reading at RCS ]

Posted on November 26, 2017 by Editor

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