Friday, May 27, 2011

Global Economic Rebound Weakens on Quake, Oil, Debt Crisis

May 27, 2011 - The world economy is losing strength halfway through the year as high oil prices and fallout from Japan’s natural disaster and Europe’s debt woes take their toll. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now expects global economic growth of 4.3 percent in 2011, compared with its 4.8 percent estimate in mid-April, while UBS AG has cut its projection to 3.6 percent from 3.9 percent in January. Downside risks also include a shift to tighter monetary policy in emerging markets. “The world economy has entered a softer patch with the incoming growth data mostly disappointing,” said Andrew Cates, an economist at UBS in Singapore. “We suspect this soft patch will endure for longer.” Data this week backed that outlook as reports showed Chinese manufacturing expanding at the slowest pace in 10 months, orders for U.S. durable goods dropping the most since October and confidence among European executive and consumers sliding for the third straight month. Investors are tuning in, pushing the MSCI World Index of stocks in advanced economies down 4.2 percent this month.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Volcano Plume Over North America

The May 21st eruption of Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano sent a plume of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, and today that plume is swirling over the high latitudes of North America. A 5-day movie from the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 (GOME-2) onboard Europe’s MetOp satellite shows the SO2 in motion:
(video link)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Interactive look at the Icelandic Volcano

Dramatic video shows tornado hit Oklahoma

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Volcanic ash 'covering the world'

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thick ash cloud from Icelandic volcano will disrupt flights in UK

LONDON (AP) — Britain's Met Office says a dense ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano could hit Scotland and disrupt flights as early as Monday night.
Spokesman David Britton said an ash cloud classifed as high-density is expected to cover parts of Scotland by 6 a.m. local time (0500 GMT; midnight EDT) Tuesday.
Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said Monday that aircraft cannot fly through high-density ash clouds, though they may be able to fly through lower-density clouds.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Above-Average Hurricane Season Looming

NOAA: 3 To 6 Major Hurricanes Could Form Over Atlantic This Year
CNN -- Three to six major hurricanes could form over the Atlantic Ocean this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday in its annual hurricane season forecast. It will be an above-average season this year, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said. The agency expects 12 to 18 named storms this year, including six to 10 that will become hurricanes. Of those, between three and six could be major hurricanes -- storms that reach Category 3, 4 or 5 -- with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher.

COUNTDOWN: 2 days left? Songs For The Impending Apocalypse

The Huffington Post - It's the end of the world as we know it. Apparently. Harold Camping, the man behind the May 21, 2011, judgement day "campaign" is thoroughly convinced that the day marks the beginning of the end. Then again, he did get it wrong once before. In any case, there's still a chance we're all doomed on Saturday (or at least 2012 for that matter - it's totally going to happen). So there's only one question left to ask. What would you listen to as humanity came to an end? Hard rock? Classical? Something on the lighter side? We've put together some of the quintessential end of the world songs below, but we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to tell us about your doomsday soundtrack below, but then again none of that's going to matter in a few days anyway.


2011 May 19 20:15:23 UTC
* Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 20:15:23 UTC


Magnitude 5.2 - CHILE
2011 May 19 17:05:11 UTC
* Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 17:05:11 UTC

Magnitude 3.1 - NEVADA
2011 May 19 17:23:50 UTC
* Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 17:23:50 UTC

Magnitude 2.4 - ARKANSAS
2011 May 19 17:12:25 UTC
* Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 17:12:25 UTC

New ‘Area 51′ Book Claims Stalin Behind Roswell UFO

Annie Jacobsen recently released a book entitled ‘Area 51′. The book is creating a lot of buzz because in the book, Jacobsen reports that the infamous Roswell UFO crash wasn’t a UFO, but a spy plane sent by the USSR. It had crashed during an electrical storm. As far as the report of there being alien bodies strewn about…well, Jacobsen claims to have uncovered that these were “alien-like children” who were piloting the craft. Apparently they were sent to the US to create a HG Wells type of panic. Crazy right? Well it gets crazier. Jacobsen says in her book that these “alien-like children” were Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele’s creation. Which is kind of creepy since we know the Third Reich was deeply involved in the occult and dark magic. Although Hitler and his men were involved in the occult, there is no proof to corroborate Jacobsen’s claims. And by proof I mean detailed documents that talk about these types of experiments on mutated pilots and spy crafts sent to the US.

Predictor of May 21 doomsday to watch it on TV

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The U.S. evangelical broadcaster predicting that Judgment Day will come Saturday says he expects to stay close to a TV or radio to monitor the unfolding apocalypse. Harold Camping, 89, previously made a failed prediction that Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994. But the head of the Christian radio network Family Stations Inc says he is sure an earthquake will shake the Earth on May 21, sweeping true believers to heaven and leaving others behind to be engulfed in the world's destruction over a few months.``We know without any shadow of a doubt it is going to happen,'' said Camping, whose Family Radio broadcasts in more than 30 languages and on U.S. and international stations. His supporters have posted about 2,200 billboards around the United States about the coming apocalypse, and dozens of followers are driving across the country to spread the news. Volunteers also handed out pamphlets warning about May 21 as far away as the Philippines, telling people God had left clear signs the world was coming to an end.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

QUAKE WATCH: 5.6 New Guinea, 3.2 Nevada

2011 May 18 18:51:27 UTC
* Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 18:51:27 UTC

Magnitude 3.2 - NEVADA
2011 May 18 19:18:35 UTC
* Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 19:18:35 UTC

Film of cosmic chaos, end of Earth wows Cannes

CANNES, France (Reuters) - A cosmic collision brings the end to all life in "Melancholia," a grand cinematic vision from Danish maverick director Lars Von Trier that had the Cannes film festival buzzing with excitement on Wednesday. The movie, starring Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg as troubled sisters facing imminent death, brings stunning images on Earth and beyond and sets the tragedy to the swirling music of Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde." Von Trier stunned Cannes two years ago with his sexually explicit and brutally violent "Antichrist," and the shock tactics returned on Wednesday when he told a press conference that he sympathized "a little bit" with Adolf Hitler.

CDC WARNING: Public to Prepare for 'Zombie Apocalypse'

May 18, 2011 - Are you prepared for the impending zombie invasion?
That's the question posed by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in a Monday blog posting gruesomely titled, "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse." And while it's no joke, CDC officials say it's all about emergency preparation. "There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for," the posting reads. "Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That's right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you'll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you'll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency." The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for "flesh-eating zombies" much like how they appeared in Hollywood hits like "Night of the Living Dead" and video games like Resident Evil. Perhaps surprisingly, the same steps you'd take in preparation for an onslaught of ravenous monsters are similar to those suggested in advance of a hurricane or pandemic.

SKYWATCH: Endeavor Exiting the Clouds

On Monday, space shuttle Endeavor departed the launch pad at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the last time, heading towards a two-week-long mission to the International Space Station. A historic moment, one which presented the final departure of one of the great machines man has ever built.
A while back, shuttle Discovery did the exact same thing, but it would appear Endeavor has drawn a lot more attention to it than its predecessor. For reasons unknown – perhaps humanity is only beginning to realize, now that the second shuttle is on its way out the door, that one of its greatest achievements, manned space exploration, will enter a cone of shadow – we are witnessing a flood of Endeavor photos, much more than we did with the Discovery. None of them, not even the ones taken by professional photographers, comes even close to this one, taken by a Jane Doe with the camera of her phone. The photo, taken by Stefanie Gordon of Hoboken, New Jersey – who happened to be at the right time, in the right place, in a plane going from New York to Palm Beach – shows the Endeavor as it shoots out from under the rug of clouds, leaving behind a swirling trail of smoke, air and water particles.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pa. researchers' find leads to new dinosaur

HARRISBURG (AP) — A new dinosaur may sound like a contradiction in terms, but that's just what's been identified by alert researchers at the State Museum of Pennsylvania.
The State Historical and Museum Commission said Tuesday that museum experts in 2004 realized the specimen from the late Triassic period was something new, and confirmation findings were published last month in "Proceedings of the Royal Society B," a scholarly journal.
The dinosaur's remains had been in a large mudstone block from New Mexico with other fossils, on loan from Carnegie Museum of Natural History for the State Museum's "dino lab" exhibit that lets visitors watch a technician uncover prehistoric remains.
The Carnegie museum removed the specimen, which was forwarded to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
Fossil preparer Kevin Dermody, a museum volunteer, found the skull of what is now being called Daemonosaurus chauliodus.
Its first name is derived from Greek words "daimon," or evil spirit, and "sauros," lizard or reptile. Chauliodous, or buck-toothed, refers to its front teeth.

COUNTDOWN: 4 days left, for your pets too?

Profiting on Doomsday?
By SUSANNA KIM May 17, 2011 - Wondering about the fate of your pets after Judgment Day? Well, for $135, a loving atheist will care for your animal if you're not around anymore. Eternal Earthbound Pets offers a service to rescue and take care of pets once their owners have been taken away to the heavenly realms. Though doomsayers say this Saturday will be the latest day of reckoning that's not expected to leave animals behind either. Bart Centre of New Hampshire, co-owner of the pet business, launched it in June 2009. He has zero belief in Judgment Day, but began to see an increase in sales inquiries in December, which, he believes, is related to Family Radio's heavy marketing campaign around the May 21 date.

Monday, May 16, 2011

SKYWATCH: Moon Halo Alert

According to folklore, tonight's waxing full Moon is the "Flower Moon." It gets its name from northern spring flowers, which bloom in abundance during the month of May. Watch the Moon rise in the east at sunset and you might notice something else in bloom--an icy moon halo. Peter Rosén sends this example from Stockholm, Sweden:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Great Flood of 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

El Nino Will Get More Extreme, Study Suggests

May 13, 2011 - By Charles Q. Choi - Ancient trees reveal that the El Niño and La Niña events that wreak havoc on climate worldwide have been even more extreme than anyone knew, a revelation that suggests wilder swings in the future as the world gets warmer. El Niño and La Niña are the warm and cold phases, respectively, of the pattern known as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the eastern half of the tropical Pacific. Forecasting how this pattern will behave a few months in advance is now routine. However, the task of predicting its long-term behavior is hampered by the relatively short history scientists have of monitoring it. Now an international team of scientists has peered back into the history of this climate pattern by analyzing trees up to 1,100 years old.

5-21-11 COUNTDOWN: 8 Days left?

THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL May 13, 2011 - When would the world end? How would it end? And what would become of those who were alive on the momentous date? The topic has picked up steam in recent months, as several end-of-time prophecies have become widely discussed. One of the chief prognosticators is Harold Camping, the 89-year-old president of Family Stations Inc., an Oakland, Calif.-based religious broadcasting network that boasts more than 150 outlets across the United States, as well as other stations around the globe. Along with his contention that the church age ended in 1988 and his call for people to leave organized congregations, Camping for several years has been promoting May 21, 2011, as Judgment Day. As the date draws closer, Camping has come under increasing fire from Christian leaders who contend the Bible says no one knows when Jesus Christ will return and the world will end.

Triple-digit selloff on the Dow

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) 12:45 p.m.  -- Stocks fell Friday afternoon, with all three indexes down more than 1%, as the dollar gained ground and commodity prices pulled back. The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) slipped 132 points, or 1% led lower by JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500).

Inflation Rises At Fastest Rate Since '08

May 13, 2011 NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Inflation accelerated to its fastest annual pace in two and a half years in April, as surging gas prices continued to hit American consumers. The Consumer Price Index, the government's key inflation measure, rose 3.2 percent over the last 12 months ended April 30, according to Friday's report from the Labor Department. It was the biggest 12-month jump since October 2008. More than half of the increase was due to rising energy prices, the government said. Gas prices alone surged 3.3 percent in April, and are up 33.1 percent over the past year. Meanwhile, food prices rose 0.4 percent during the month, or 3.2 percent over the last 12 months.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Inflation diet: same price, less product

BOSTON (MarketWatch) — Economists are worried not only about inflation, but also deflation, and now it appears U.S. consumers need to worry too. The problem is that the new look is a few ounces smaller than the old packaging. Or there has been some other creative way to have shoppers pay the same money as always without recognizing that they are bringing less home. Barring a change in the way packaging is regulated, consumers need to change habits — or at least be more attentive — in order to make their dollars go farther and minimize the effects of this cost-inflation/product-deflation cycle. Retail prices in the two stores are roughly the same, but we were buying less. For instance, a “half-gallon” container of orange juice from Tropicana is actually 59 ounces; a roll of toilet paper is shorter, the “new-look” salad dressing is four ounces smaller, and so on. Mind you, the manufacturers aren’t discussing the pricing/packaging change.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Earthquake watch: Wednesday

2011 May 11 18:14:35 UTC   

Magnitude 5.3 - SPAIN
2011 May 11 16:47:26 UTC

2 quakes hours apart in Spain cause damage, deaths feared

MADRID (AP) — Two earthquakes in quick succession have caused major damage in the Murcia region of southeast Spain and fatalities are feared, an official said.
The official with the Murcia regional government said the quakes had magnitudes of 4.4 and 5.2. He said the epicenter of Wednesday's quakes was close to the town of Lorca and the second came about two hours after the first.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with department policy.

Just in: Bedbugs can kill you

ATLANTA (AP) — Hate insects? Afraid of germs? Researchers are reporting an alarming combination: bedbugs carrying "superbug" germs.
Canadian scientists detected drug-resistant MRSA bacteria in bedbugs from three hospital patients from a downtrodden Vancouver neighborhood.
Bedbugs have not been known to spread disease, and there's no clear evidence that the five bedbugs found on the patients or their belongings had spread MRSA or a second less dangerous drug-resistant germ.
However, bedbugs can cause itching that can lead to excessive scratching. That can cause breaks in the skin that make people more susceptible to these bacteria, noted Dr. Marc Romney, one of the study's authors.
The study is small and very preliminary, "But it's an intriguing finding" that needs to be further researched, said Romney, medical microbiologist at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.
The hospital is the closest one to the poor Downtown Eastside neighborhood near the city's waterfront. Romney said he and his colleagues did the research after seeing a simultaneous boom in bedbugs and MRSA cases from the neighborhood.
Five bedbugs were crushed and analyzed. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, was found on three bugs. MRSA is resistant to several types of common antibiotics and can become deadly if it gets through the skin and into the bloodstream.
Two bugs had VRE, or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus Faecium, a less dangerous form of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Both germs are often seen in hospitals, and experts have been far more worried about nurses and other health-care workers spreading the bacteria than insects.
It's not clear if the bacteria originated with the bedbugs or if the bugs picked it up from already infected people, Romney added.
The study was released Wednesday by Emerging Infectious Diseases, a publication of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Scientists Try to Counter Rome Earthquake Fear for May 11

by Edwin Cartlidge - Empty schools, semiabandoned offices, and huge traffic jams. That is the potential scenario in Rome tomorrow, as inhabitants flee the Italian capital for fear that a catastrophic earthquake will strike their city. Their concern comes in response to rumors that an obscure Italian scholar had warned years ago that Rome would be razed to the ground by a huge tremor on 11 May 2011. But geologists are trying to calm the situation, arguing that there is no scientific basis for such a prediction and pointing out that in fact the scientist in question, the self-taught Raffaele Bendandi, never actually made the forecast attributed to him. Bendandi died in 1979 at the age of 86, having made over the course of his lifetime hundreds of predictions of earthquakes from his home in Faenza in central Italy. His strategy was to calculate the gravitational force exerted on Earth’s crust as the moon, the sun, and the planets change their position relative to one another. Rumors of his supposed 11 May prediction have been circulating for at least several months, via the Internet, through word of mouth, and in the country’s media, with apprehension only increasing as the date draws near. Indeed, according to press reports, there will be as many as 20% more public workers in Rome taking the day off tomorrow as compared with

SKYWATCH - Update: Planet alignment

PLANETS AT DAWN: No coffee? No problem. To wake up any morning this week, all you need to do is look out the window. Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are aligning in the eastern sky for a spectacular dawn conjunction. Mariano Ribas photographed the gathering on May 9th from his home in Buenos Aires, Argentina: "It was an awesome morning with an unforgettable view: four planets packed in just a 7º piece of sky," says Ribas. "The very compact Venus-Mercury-Jupiter triangle was simply hypnotic. And Mars, below them, was faint but still clearly visible to naked eye. Marvelous planetary gathering, but the best is yet to come." Indeed, on May 11th, Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the Solar System, will converge to form a pair less than 1/2 degree apart. Set your alarm for Wednesday morning and begin the day with an eye-opener--no caffeine required.

National Emergency Alert System Set To Launch In NYC

May 10, 2011 8:35 AM NEW YORK, (CBSNewYork) – A new national alert system is set to begin in New York City that will alert the public to emergencies via cell phones. Presidential and local emergency messages as well as Amber Alerts would appear on cell phones equipped with special chips and software. The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said the system would also warn about terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Army Corps battles rising Mississippi

New Orleans (CNN) -- Waging war against flooding of historic proportions that has already affected thousands of people in eight Midwestern and Southern states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a spillway Monday north of New Orleans to calm the rising Mississippi River.

Quake shifted Japan; towns now flood at high tide

ISHINOMAKI, Japan (AP) — When water begins to trickle down the streets of her coastal neighborhood, Yoshiko Takahashi knows it is time to hurry home. Twice a day, the flow steadily increases until it is knee-deep, carrying fish and debris by her front door and trapping people in their homes. Those still on the streets slosh through the sea water in rubber boots or on bicycle. The March 11 earthquake that hit eastern Japan was so powerful it pulled the entire country out and down into the sea. The mostly devastated coastal communities now face regular flooding, because of their lower elevation and damage to sea walls from the massive tsunamis triggered by the quake. In port cities such as Onagawa and Kesennuma, the tide flows in and out among crumpled homes and warehouses along now uninhabited streets.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Flooding hits Mississippi Delta

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Parts of the Mississippi Delta are beginning to flood, sending white-tail deer and wild pigs swimming to dry land, submerging yacht clubs, closing casino boats and compelling residents to flee from their homes. The sliver of land in northwest Mississippi, home to hardship and bluesman Muddy Waters, is in the crosshairs of the slowly surging river, just like many other areas along the banks of the big river. To points much farther north, thousands face the decision of whether to stay or go as high water kept on rolling down the Mississippi and its tributaries, threatening to soak communities over the next week or two. The flooding is already breaking high-water records that have stood since the 1930s.

Climate change lowering wheat, corn yields

By Science/AAAS
Global warming has lowered crop yields for corn and wheat between 3 and 5% since 1980, but not for soybeans and rice, a study published in the journal Science finds. "Climate changes are already exerting a considerable drag on yield growth," the paper says. From 1980-2008 global corn production increased, but it would have gone up a further 3.8% without climate change. The percentage for wheat was 5.5%, compared to a model with no climate change. For example, recent studies in France suggest that climate change is an important factor in why wheat yields there have not risen since 1990. Wheat has been especially hard hit in Russia, where wheat yields are down almost 15%, as well as in Turkey and Mexico. Corn yields in China are also down, the paper says.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Study warns of mercury in Arctic

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Global mercury emissions could grow by 25 percent by 2020 if no action is taken to control them, posing a threat to polar bears, whales and seals and the Arctic communities who hunt those animals for food, an authoritative international study says.

The assessment by a scientif

ic body set up by the eight Arctic rim countries also warns that climate change may worsen the problem, by releasing mercury stored for thousands of years in permafrost or promoting chemical processes that transform the substance into a more toxic form.

"It is of particular concern that mercury levels are continuing to rise in some Arctic species in large areas of the Arctic," despite emissions reductions in nearby regions like Europe, North America and Russia, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, or AMAP, said.

Emissions have increased in other parts of the world, primarily in China, which is now the No. 1 mercury polluter, accounting for nearly half of total emissions, AMAP said.

Its report, "Arctic Pollution 2011," was scheduled for release Friday at a scientific conference in Copenhagen, but The Associated Press obtained a copy in advance from researchers involved with the study.

Another report released earlier this week at the meeting of nearly 400 scientists showed melting ice in the Arctic could help raise global sea levels by as much as 5 feet (1.6 meters) this century, much higher than earlier projections.

Both assessments will be handed to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the foreign ministers of Russia, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland at an Arctic Council meeting next week.

Polar bears, beluga whales and seals are among the species that have shown heightened levels of mercury in parts of Arctic Canada and Greenland, the pollution report said. Meanwhile, mercury levels have dropped in other animals in the high north of Europe.

The reasons are not fully understood, but theories include that the European animals are closer to regions where mercury emissions are declining.

The impact of climate change, including melting permafrost and longer ice-free seasons, could also be a factor, the report said, adding more research is needed.

Danish researcher Rune Dietz, one of the lead authors of the study, said the impact is likely to vary across the Arctic region. In eastern Greenland, melting ice may give polar bears easier access to the breeding grounds of seal species with high levels of mercury.

However, at Svalbard in northern Norway, less ice could strand polar bears on land, keeping them away from mercury-rich seafood and forcing them "to eat more plants and terrestrial animals," Dietz told AP on Thursday.

For polar bears, high mercury levels can lead to a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects all aspects of the animal's behavior, survival and reproduction, the study said.

Traces of mercury are found in almost all fish and shellfish. At certain levels, it can harm the developing nervous system of a fetus or young child if too much tainted seafood is consumed by the mother or child. The World Health Organization says there are higher rates of mental difficulties among children in parts of the world that rely primarily on fish.

Inuit communities in the Arctic are at risk because their traditional diet includes seal, whale and to a lesser extent polar bear — species on top of the food chain that have accumulated high levels of mercury.

The AMAP report urged health authorities to communicate these risks to Arctic communities, but was cautious about offering diet recommendations because switching to a Western diet — and lifestyle — can lead to other health problems.

"Because the healthy food choices in local stores are quite expensive, if available at all, it is often more affordable but less nutritious processed foods that are chosen," the report said.

Combined with a more "sedentary" Western lifestyle, no longer focused on hunting and fishing, "this new diet increases the risks of developing obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes and coronary heart disease," AMAP said.

The report compiles findings from hundreds of published studies and builds on previous assessments in 1997 and 2002 which found that the pristine Arctic environment is polluted by industries in other parts of the globe.

About 100 tons of man-made mercury emissions are deposited in the Arctic Ocean annually from the air, with a similar amount coming in with ocean currents, rivers and coastal erosion, the report said. Mercury gets into the environment from coal-fired power plants, residential heating systems, waste incinerators and mining operations.

"If measures are not taken to reduce emissions, models suggest that global emissions could increase by 25 percent by 2020," compared to 2005 levels, AMAP said.

But with the best existing technology to reduce emissions, global discharges could instead be lowered by as much as 60 percent, decreasing mercury depositions in the Arctic by 20 percent.

The assessment called for a legally binding global agreement to control mercury emissions and avoid further pollution in the Arctic. Negotiations for such a deal are ongoing under the auspices of the U.N. Environment Fund.

Jobless claims hit 8-month high

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing for jobless aid rose to an eight-month high last week and productivity growth slowed in the first quarter, clouding the outlook for an economy that is struggling to gain speed. While the surprise jump in initial claims for unemployment benefits was attributed to factors ranging from spring break layoffs to the introduction of an emergency benefits program, economists said it corroborated reports this week indicating a loss of momentum in job creation.

Earthquakes: Alaska 5.8 and Japan 6.1

Alaska - Magnitude 5.8
2011 May 05 14:13:01 UTC
* Thursday, May 05, 2011 at 14:13:01 UTC
* Thursday, May 05, 2011 at 06:13:01 AM at epicenter
Location 55.118°N, 160.568°W

Japan - Magnitude 6.1
2011 May 05 14:58:21 UTC
* Thursday, May 05, 2011 at 14:58:21 UTC
* Friday, May 06, 2011 at 12:58:21 AM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 38.173°N, 144.040°E

Earthquake shakes wide area of southern Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A moderately strong earthquake shook Mexico's Pacific coast resort of Acapulco on Wednesday, sending people fleeing into the streets. No damages or injuries were reported. The magnitude-5.8 quake occurred at 8:24 a.m. local time (1324 GMT) and was centered about 85 miles (138 kilometers) east of Acapulco, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on its website. The quake occurred at a depth of nearly 6 miles (10 kilometers). The quake also swayed buildings in Mexico City, where some people were evacuated from buildings.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

SKYNET WATCH: Intel Unveils 3-D Chip Technology

SAN FRANCISCO—-In what it calls a radical shift in semiconductor technology, Intel Corp. said it will start fabricating a new breed of three-dimensional transistors. The company says the next generation of its widely used microprocessor chips will break from the standard practice of creating circuitry in two dimensions on silicon wafers. Instead, Intel plans to fabricate transistors that rise up vertically from a wafer's surface, an approach that's similar to the way high-rise buildings pack more office space in a city.

Read more:

SKY WATCH: Six Planets Now Aligned

If you get up any morning for the next few weeks, you’ll be treated to the sight of all the planets except Saturn arrayed along the ecliptic, the path of the sun through the sky. For the last two months, almost all the planets have been hiding behind the sun, but this week they all emerge and are arrayed in a grand line above the rising sun. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are visible, and you can add Uranus and Neptune to your count if you have binoculars or a small telescope. Astrologers have always been fascinated by planetary alignments, and the doomsayers of 2012 have been prophesying a mystical alignment on Dec. 21, 2012.

Floods 2011

Interactive maps and photo galleries looking at current flood events across the United States, the Army Corp of Engineers' decision to breach a levee in Cairo, Ill., and flood preparations in the South,

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New report confirms Arctic melt accelerating

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and could raise the average global sea level by as much as five feet this century, an authoritative new report suggests.
The study by the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, or AMAP, is one of the most comprehensive updates on climate change in the Arctic, and builds on a similar assessment in 2005.
The full report will be delivered to foreign ministers of the eight Arctic nations next week, but an executive summary including the key findings was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
It says that Arctic temperatures in the past six years were the highest since measurements began in 1880, and that feedback mechanisms believed to accelerate warming in the climate system have now started kicking in.
One mechanism involves the ocean absorbing more heat when it's not covered by ice, which reflects the sun's energy. That effect has been anticipated by scientists "but clear evidence for it has only been observed in the Arctic in the past five years," AMAP said.
The report also shatters some of the forecasts made in 2007 by the U.N.'s expert panel on climate change.
The cover of sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, for example, is shrinking faster than projected by the U.N. panel. The level of summer ice coverage has been at or near record lows every year since 2001, AMAP said, predicting that the Arctic Ocean will be nearly ice free in summer within 30-40 years.
Its assessment also said the U.N. panel was too conservative in estimating how much sea levels will rise — one of the most closely watched aspects of global warming because of the potentially catastrophic impact on coastal cities and island nations.
The melting of Arctic glaciers and ice caps, including Greenland's massive ice sheet, are projected to help raise global sea levels by 35 to 63 inches (90-160 centimeters) by 2100, AMAP said, though it noted that the estimate was highly uncertain.
That's up from a 2007 projection of 7 to 23 inches (19-59 centimeters) by the U.N. panel, which didn't consider the dynamics of ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctica.
"The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, in the mass of the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past 10 years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long-term patterns," AMAP said in the executive summary.
The organization's main function is to advise the nations surrounding the Arctic — the U.S., Canada, Russia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland — on threats to the Arctic environment.
The findings of its report — Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic — will be discussed by some of the scientists who helped compile it at a conference starting Wednesday in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.
In the past few years, scientists have steadily improved ways of measuring the loss of ice into the oceans.
In research reported in March in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, U.S. and European scientists used two independent methods to corroborate their findings: the on-the-ground measurement of ice thickness and movements using GPS stations and other tools, and the measurement of ice mass through gravity readings from satellites.
That team, led by Eric Rignot of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, projected that the accelerating melt of the vast Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets would itself raise sea levels by about 6 inches (15 centimeters) by 2050. Adding in other factors — expansion of the oceans from warming and runoff from other glaciers worldwide — would raise sea levels a total of some 13 inches (32 centimeters) by 2050, they said.
They did not project sea levels to 2100 because of long-range uncertainties.
Currents, winds and other forces would make sea-level rise vary globally, but Bangladesh, Florida and other such low-lying areas and coastal cities worldwide would be hard hit.
The AMAP report said melting glaciers and ice sheets worldwide have become the biggest contributor to sea level rise. Greenland's ice sheet alone accounted for more than 40 percent of the 0.12 inches (3.1 millimeters) of sea-level rise observed annually between 2003 and 2008, AMAP said.
It said the yearly mass loss from Greenland's ice sheet, which covers an area the size of Mexico, increased from 50 gigatons in 1995-2000 to more than 200 gigatons in 2004-2008.
Scientists are still debating how much of the changes observed in the Arctic are due to natural variances and how much to warming caused by the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. AMAP projected that average fall and winter temperatures in the Arctic will climb by 5.4-10.8 F (3-6 C) by 2080, even if greenhouse gas emissions are lower than in the past decade.

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18 more days til... Judgment Day?

“Save the date!” in big, red letters. Then it tells you that Christ is returning on May 21. Their message is simple: The Bible says God warned Noah, Jonah, Lot and Moses about the exact time of destructive Old-Testament events. So they think God also warned modern Christians by establishing a predictive timeline via genealogies and historical dates in the Bible.

Monday, May 2, 2011

SKY WATCH: Planets Align This Month

MORNING PLANETS: The Great Morning Planet Show of May 2011 is underway. Every morning for the rest of this month, you can see a beautiful gathering of four planets in the eastern sky. They are Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury, shown here on May 1st over Magnetic Island in east Australia: