Archive for the ‘News’ Category

California’s Big Sur coast – ‘considered one of the finest images’ by Wikipedia


The end of the California drought hasn’t been all good news for everyone, due partly to what may be ‘the largest mudslide in the state’s history’.

A massive landslide that went into the Pacific Ocean is the latest natural disaster to hit a California community that relies heavily on an iconic coastal highway and tourism to survive, and it adds to a record $1 billion in highway damage from one of the state’s wettest winters in decades, reports SFGate.

The weekend slide in Big Sur buried a portion of Highway 1 under a 40-foot layer of rock and dirt and changed the coastline below to include what now looks like a rounded skirt hem, Susana Cruz, a spokeswoman with the California Department of Transportation, said Tuesday.

More than 1 million tons of rock and dirt tumbled down a saturated slope in an area called Mud Creek. The slide is covering up about a one-quarter-of-a-mile (0.40-kilometer) stretch of Highway 1, and authorities have no estimate on when it might re-open. The area remains unstable.

“We haven’t been able to go up there and assess. It’s still moving,” Cruz said. “We have geologists and engineers who are going to check it out this week to see how do we pick up the pieces.”

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Instant beach


Nature reverses its own vanishing trick on the western Irish coast. The ‘freak tide’ seems to have lasted ten days.

An entire Irish beach that was washed away 33 years ago has reappeared – virtually overnight thanks to a freak tide, as ITV News reports.

The beach near the village of Dooagh, on Achill Island, vanished in storms in 1984 when waves washed away all the sand. Almost all the village’s hotels, guesthouses and cafes shut down because all that was left was rocky terrain.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of sand were dumped on the beach over ten days in April during a freak tide, re-creating a 300m-long beach.

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Map readers required?


H/T Climate Depot

Another story from the ‘Climate change causes everything’ file. Fortunately Colombia has not over-reacted.

TODAY VENEZUELA – Venezuela tried to downplay its illegal entry of troops into Colombia this week by claiming the constantly changing direction of a river near the border accidentally led the soldiers beyond their jurisdiction.

Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said the Venezuelan soldiers entered Colombia’s eastern department of Arauca as a result of the Arauca River, which she said is constantly changing its flow and direction.

A diplomatic commission still has to clarify the incident, which is reportedly expected in the coming hours.
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French anti-pollution car stickers


A colour-coded badge of honour or shame for every car under new French regulations. UK MoT certificates won’t do for city visitors.

UK drivers planning to go to France in the coming months are going to require new ‘clean air’ stickers or face on-the-spot fines for failing to display them, as CLM reports.

Paris, Lyon and Grenoble introduced the new Crit’Air scheme in January to tackle vehicle pollution in their city centres, with another 22 towns and cities said to be planning to follow suit over the next few years.

The scheme requires all vehicles to clearly display an air quality certificate windscreen sticker, or vignette, according to how much they pollute.
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The satellites won’t land as the surface pressure – 92 times that of Earth – and heat of Venus would destroy them. Instead they will look for a ‘mysterious substance’ thought to be lurking in its atmosphere.

NASA has spent $3.6 million to build 12 small satellites to explore the planet Venus in search of a mysterious substance that absorbs half the planet’s light, reports The Daily Caller.

The CubeSat UV Experiment (CUVE) mission will launch the satellites to investigate atmospheric processes on Venus. The 12 satellites vary in size. One is less than four inches across and weighs a few ounces. Another weighs 400 pounds.
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Planetary detective work [credit: superwasp.org]


Pattern recognition is still best left to humans it seems.

You don’t need to be a professional astronomer to find new worlds orbiting distant stars, as Phys.org reports.

Darwin mechanic and amateur astronomer Andrew Grey this week helped to discover a new exoplanet system with at least four orbiting planets. But Andrew did have professional help and support.

The discovery was a highlight moment of this week’s three-evening special ABC Stargazing Live, featuring British physicist Brian Cox, presenter Julia Zemiro and others.
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Size comparison of GJ 1132 b (aka Gliese 1132 b) with Earth [credit: Wikipedia]


Early indications from models suggest that ‘an atmosphere rich in water and methane would explain the observations very well.’

Astronomers have detected an atmosphere around the super-Earth GJ 1132b, reports the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy.

This marks the first detection of an atmosphere around a low-mass Super-Earth, in terms of radius and mass the most Earth-like planet around which an atmosphere has yet been detected.

Thus, this is a significant step on the path towards the detection of life on an exoplanet. The team, which includes researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, used the 2.2 m ESO/MPG telescope in Chile to take images of the planet’s host star GJ 1132, and measuring the slight decrease in brightness as the planet and its atmosphere absorbed some of the starlight while passing directly in front of their host star.

While it’s not the detection of life on another planet, it’s an important step in the right direction: the detection of an atmosphere around the super-Earth GJ 1132b marks the first time an atmosphere has been detected around a planet with a mass and radius close to that of Earth (1.6 Earth masses, and 1.4 Earth radii).
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What could possibly go wrong? Like all pumped storage, every ‘refill’ uses more electricity for the pumping than is generated by its water release. The UK is also looking to develop similar schemes. The motivation is the intermittency of renewables.

The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia is set to turn its Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine in Bottrop into a 200 MW pumped-storage hydroelectric plant reports PEI.

The facility will act like a battery and will have enough capacity to power more than 400,000 homes, according to state governor Hannelore Kraft.

Other mines may also be converted after Prosper-Haniel because the state needs more industrial-scale storage as it seeks to double the share of renewables in its power mix to 30 per cent by 2025, she said. North-Rhine Westphalia generates a third of Germany’s power.
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Image credit: liveandletsfly.com


Wake turbulence rules for A380s require other aircraft to observe minimum separation distances of 5-8 miles in a variety of situations.

A harrowing freak air accident that has only just been revealed saw an Airbus A380 commercial jetliner flown by Emirates cause a much smaller business jet passing beneath it to flip upside down and plummet thousands of feet, reports the IB Times. The incident is a sharp reminder of why passengers should always wear their seat belts.

According to information obtained by the Aviation Herald, on the morning of 7 January an Emirates Airbus A380-800 was flying from Dubai to Sydney. While the aeroplane was en route over the Arabian Sea, roughly about 630 nautical miles southeast of Muscat, a Bombardier Challenger 604 business jet operated by German carrier MHS Aviation passed by 1,000ft beneath it.
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Mount Etna: BBC crew caught up in volcano blast 

Posted: March 16, 2017 by oldbrew in News, volcanos

Mount Etna, Sicily


Etna is known to be very active but this may have been an unusually large eruption by its own standards.

A BBC team and a number of tourists have suffered minor injuries after being caught up in an incident on the erupting volcano Mount Etna in Sicily, reports BBC News.

“Many injured – some head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises,” tweeted BBC science reporter Rebecca Morelle. Lava flow mixed with steam had caused a huge explosion, which pelted the group with boiling rocks and steam, she said.

About eight people had been injured, with some evacuated from the mountain by rescue teams, she added.
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Artist’s impression of Dogger Bank island [credit: The Independent]


The construction agreement is planned to be signed on 23 March 2017, reports The Independent.

A vast artificial island is to be built at Dogger Bank in the North Sea, complete with a harbour, airstrip and homes, to help provide a vast new supply of renewable energy, under plans drawn up by two companies with the blessing of the European Union.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub would act as a hub for offshore wind turbines and a new place to put solar panels, according to the German and Dutch arms of electricity firm TenneT and Danish company Energinet. The firms will sign a deal creating a consortium to develop the plan further in Brussels on 23 March in the presence of European Energy Union Commissioner, Maos Sefcovic.

Torben Glar Nielsen, Energinet’s Danish technical director, said: “Maybe it sounds a bit crazy and science fiction-like, but an island on Dogger Bank could make the wind power of the future a lot cheaper and more effective.”
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s-bahn
Hard to see bus and train operators giving 40 days of discounts to ‘help the climate’ as so-called climate experts fondly imagine. Pollution, congestion and climate fears all get rolled into one issue.

For years German cities have suffered under the effects of polluted air, mainly caused by diesel cars. But now that it’s nearly the Christian season of abstaining before Easter, experts have a novel solution, as The Local explains.

The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) and other climate protectionists are encouraging Germans to go on a ‘car fast’ for the season of Lent leading up to Easter.

Katrin Dziekan of the UBA suggested special discounts on Deutsche Bahn and regional train services could be offered to those who abstain from cars for the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
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Channel Tunnel [image credit: BBC]

Channel Tunnel [image credit: BBC]


The project is described as ‘vital’, which may raise questions about the present state of these two national grid systems. The idea that it will help support increased electric car use – that’s one of its claims – is a bit weak as so few people want them.

A major new project to install an interconnector linking the electricity markets of Britain and France via the Channel Tunnel has just put down its foundations, reports PEI.

The foundation stone of the Folkestone Converter Station was laid on Thursday by Jesse Norman, UK Minister for Industry and Energy. The ElecLink 1 GW Direct Current link is expected to cost around £580m.

The project will generate approximately 300 new jobs during the construction phase together with ongoing jobs needed for the operations and maintenance throughout the life of the project.
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Credit: ABC News

Credit: ABC News


Tough conditions for many as the southern California weather continues its winter wild streak.

One of California’s strongest storms in years – dubbed a “bombogenesis” or “weather bomb” – has hit the state, killing at least four people and bringing torrential rain and floods.

Power cuts hit 150,000 households and sinkholes swallowed cars. Hundreds of homes were evacuated amid fear of mud slides near Los Angeles. More gusts, heavy rain and flash floods are expected on Saturday but the storm is due to subside by Sunday.
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Campus snowball fight, Vancouver [image credit: Daily Hive]

Campus snowball fight, Vancouver [image credit: Daily Hive]


Imagine the global headlines if this was record heat in summer. Cold weather gets far less international attention. Locals are used to snow but not this much all at once.

You weren’t imagining it – the snowstorm which began Friday dumped a record amount of powder on Vancouver, according to Environment Canada.

Preliminary estimates reckon a huge 12 cm of snow fell on Vancouver on Friday, breaking the previous record of 10.7 cm back in 1946, reports the Daily Hive.

OK, we know it’s not anything like the depths of white stuff they get in Toronto or Montreal, but hey, we’ll take it as that’s a 71-year record!
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Fairy circles in Namibia's Marienfluss valley  [image credit: Thorsten Becker]

Fairy circles in Namibia’s Marienfluss valley
[image credit: Thorsten Becker]


An attempt last year to explain the Australian version of this phenomenon was covered here.

One of nature’s greatest mysteries — the ‘Fairy Circles’ of Namibia — may have been unraveled by researchers at the University of Strathclyde and Princeton University, reports ScienceDaily.

The cause of the circular patches of earth surrounded by grass, which are arranged in honeycomb-like patterns in huge areas of the Namib desert, has been the source of scientific debate for decades.

The new research, published in scientific journal Nature, suggests that the interaction between termite engineering and the self-organization of vegetation could be jointly responsible for the phenomenon.
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Credit: boereport.com

Credit: boereport.com

The oil will travel one way or another, whether there’s a Keystone pipeline or not.

Canadian pipeline builder TransCanada announced it had submitted an application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, a controversial project that has been given the green light by US President Donald Trump, reports Phys.org.

Trump on Tuesday gave a conditional go-ahead for the project, which was put on hold by former president Barack Obama over environmental concerns. Calgary-based TransCanada said in a statement it had filed a “presidential permit application” with the US State Department for approval of the project.
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Credit: hackersnewsbulletin.com

Credit: hackersnewsbulletin.com


Were some people too ready to believe this ‘news’?
H/T Climate Change Dispatch / Daily Caller

When the Badlands National Park’s official Twitter account began publishing posts on global warming, news outlets frantically ran headlines about a defiant federal agency sticking it to the Trump administration.

The media’s fever-pitch only increased once the tweets were taken offline, with some celebrities joining the fray and tweeting about the “fascism” and “censorship” being pushed by the Trump administration.

Reporters pointed out the Badlands tweets came after the Trump administration issued a “gag order” to federal employees, preventing them from talking to the press, issuing official statements on social media. “With new rules like this in place, where’s the public going to get its scientific information?” opined New York magazine writer Madison Malone Kircher.

It turns out, Badlands National Park wasn’t trying to defy Trump. A former employee “compromised” the park’s Twitter account to post about global warming. Moreover, the Trump administration did not ask the park to remove the tweets, they did so voluntarily.
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bbcnews
Believe it or not the BBC is going into the Ministry of Truth business. Perhaps it’s well-intentioned now but there’s always a risk of mission creep. The inference that the BBC’s own news is never misleading is interesting.
H/T Lord Beaverbrook

The BBC is to create a dedicated team which will identify and expose “fake news” stories being shared on Facebook and other social media, reports INews. The BBC said it was not seeking to “police the internet”.

But its Reality Check team will identify and correct the most egregious examples of fabricated stories and outright “lies” circulated by fake news sites.

James Harding, BBC Director of News and Current Affairs, told staff: “The BBC can’t edit the internet, but we won’t stand aside either. We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.”
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dellers
Well, gave them a black eye at least. Climate whingers have managed to score an own goal by referring JD to the press complaints people and losing the case. Having taken some stick he naturally seizes the opportunity to rub it in.

Meet Dr Phil Williamson: climate ‘scientist’; Breitbart-hater; sorely in need of a family size tube of Anusol to soothe the pain after his second failed attempt to close down free speech by trying to use press regulation laws to silence your humble correspondent.

Williamson – who is attached to the University of East Anglia, home of the Climategate emails – got very upset about some articles I’d written for Breitbart and the Spectator pouring scorn on his junk-scientific field, Ocean Acidification.

In my view Ocean Acidification is little more than a money-making scam for grant-troughing scientists who couldn’t find anything more productive to do with their semi-worthless environmental science degrees. The evidence that Ocean Acidification represents any kind of threat is threadbare – and getting flimsier by the day.
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