Archive for January 13, 2011

Magnetic Pole Shift May Close Airports

January 13, 2011 Comments off


The recent changes at Tampa Bay International Airport regarding magnetic pole re-calibration and runway closure, chart alignment and runway number paint, could become a normal procedure for airports across the land. As an example nearby Peter O’Knight Airport is also scheduling similar changes at their facility.

It’s no surprise to many people that the Earth’s magnetic north pole has always wobbled over geological time, but what may be surprising is the speed at which the magnetic north pole has been recently moving and accelerating.

Although the magnetic north pole was first scientifically located in 1831, during 1904 it was discovered that the pole had begun moving to the northeast at about 9 miles a year (15 kilometers). Scientists in 1989 discovered that the pole shift speed was accelerating and had increased to 35 miles a year (56 kilometers), and was heading directly towards Read more…

Huge asteroid will hit Antarctica in 2012?

January 13, 2011 Comments off

Update: Jan 13, 2011.

If you caught Starfire Tor on CoastToCoastAM last week you may have heard her mention that ‘they’, the PowersThatBe know that an incoming near earth object is going hit earth sometime in the next 2 years. There is evidence to suggest the object is going to strike one of the poles… most likely the south pole. Special Scientific teams have been down in Antarctica mapping the ice shelf for probable weak points. The object is rumored to be 800 meters wide and when it hits the south pole the entire ice shelf will collapse within months.

A University of British Columbia Professor published an online article that projected an 800m asteroid would hit Antarctica in the fall of 2012. His article was on the website Read more…

Categories: Space Tags: , , , ,

Iran announces new satellite launch plan

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Iran is planning to launch a new satellite into orbit by the end of March, according to the country’s semi-official Fars News Agency.

Wednesday’s announcement for the planned launch of the Fajr — or “Dawn” — satellite follows a recent statement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on strengthening the country’s space-based presence.

The satellite “will be launched into space from an Iranian launch-pad and will have an Iranian exchange station and control station,” Ahmadinejad said, according to Fars.

Iran’s first research satellite — named “Omid,” or “Hope” — completed 700 orbits over seven weeks before reentering the Earth’s atmosphere last April, Fars noted.

Ahmadinejad asserted that Iran now plans to send astronauts into space by 2019 as opposed an earlier announced timeline of 2024, Fars reported.

Categories: Iran Tags: , , , , ,

Airports Consider Using Private Security Screeners

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Following the furor over invasive airport security screenings and personal pat-downs, some airports are now considering replacing government security screeners with private companies.

It’s a step the new chairman of the House Transportation Committee has been urging the nation’s airports to take. But it’s not clear travelers would notice much of a difference.

The Kansas City International Airport is one of 17 in the United States where the screeners work for private contractors, not the Transportation Security Administration.

The airport’s director, Mark VanLoh, is expecting to be busy this winter: “I will be giving a lot of tours in the next few months from airports all over the country coming to Kansas City to check us out.”

Using private contractors does make a difference, VanLoh says.

“In my opinion, these contract employees — they’re not federal employees; they’re not guaranteed a job for life,” he says. “If they don’t meet the performance goals or maybe they’re consistently rude, or maybe they miss objects that go through the machine, they are terminated. I can’t remember how easy that would be to do with a federal employee. I don’t think it is.”

Under TSA Supervision

Kansas City was one of the first airports after the Sept. 11 attacks to use screeners hired by private contractors. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, which created the TSA, also gave airports the option of using private security screeners. Those that have range in size from San Francisco’s international airport to the regional facility in Tupelo, Miss.

With private screeners, the security line operates the same way it does at airports where TSA handles the screening: Travelers remove their shoes; take out their laptops. They go through the same full-body scanners Read more…

South African Corn Rises as Dry Weather Stresses Argentina Crop

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Corn in South Africa advanced as dry weather continues to stress crops in Argentina, the world’s largest shipper of the grain after the U.S., raising concerns that global stockpiles may be depleted.

White corn for March delivery, the most active contract on the South African Futures Exchange, gained 28 rand, or 2.2 percent, to close trade at 1,328 rand ($194) a metric ton. Meal made from the grain is the country’s staple food.

Argentina will continue to have a rainfall deficit in the seven days from yesterday, Telvent DTN Inc. said in a forecast. The lack of rain, combined with above-normal temperatures, will stress pollinating corn and developing soybeans, it said.

Yellow corn for March delivery advanced 36 rand, or 2.6 percent, to 1,442 rand a ton. The grain is used mainly as animal feed in South Africa.

Wheat for March delivery fell 1 rand to 2,888 rand a ton.

Gains or losses for the most active contracts of three additional crops today were as follows. All prices are in rand and the crops are sold per ton:

            Today’s Price   Previous Close   % Change
Sunflowers       4,219           4,186          +0.8
Soybeans         3,320           3,270          +1.5
Sorghum          1,500           1,500           0.0

Wikileaks Founder: Our Enemy is China

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Wikileaks may have targeted the US with its ongoing releases of sensitive State Department documents, but China is its real “technological enemy,” according to founder Julian Assange.

In an interview with the left-leaning British weekly magazine the New Statesman, Assange called China the “worst offender” for its censorship of information online.

Associated Press
Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.

“China has aggressive and sophisticated technology that places itself between every reader inside China and every information source outside China,” Assange told the magazine. “We’ve been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get information through.”

The controversial head of Wikileaks is being held in the UK and is awaiting a verdict in extradition hearings over whether he will be turned over to Swedish authorities where he is wanted for questioning over accusations of rape and sexual assault.

The Australian-born hacker has said he is worried that the US may retaliate against him for publishing a series of State Department documents on the Wikileaks site. Since late November 2010 the organization has released Read more…

Categories: wikileaks Tags: ,

US banks foreclosed on record 1 million homes in 2010

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US banks repossessed a record one million homes in 2010, and are predicted to surpass that number in 2011. RealtyTrac said about five million homeowners were at least two months behind on their mortgage payments. Among the worst hit states were Nevada, Arizona, Florida and California. Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate for the fourth year in a row, with one in 11 homes receiving a foreclosure notice. RealtyTrac said more than half the nation’s foreclosures occurred in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois and Michigan. 2.9 million US households were subject to a foreclosure filing last year, up 1.6% from 2009. RealtyTrac’s senior vice-president Rick Sharga said: “2011 is going to be the peak.” Foreclosures slowed toward the end of 2010 amid revelations banks had improperly documented them, but the pace is expected to pick up in the first quarter of 2011.

Categories: Banks Tags: , ,

Mount Etna blasts lava, ash into the sky

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Mount Etna, the famous Sicilian volcano, turned on the fireworks Wednesday as it shot lava hundreds of feet into the air.

Volcanic tremors at Mount Etna, on the Italian island, were detected around 4 p.m. EST on Tuesday. The tremors peaked the next morning and lava began erupting at the Southeast Crater, about 4,500 feet high. The crater pit overflowed with lava and ash plumes spewed into the air, which forced a local airport to halt service. The ash plumes had stopped after nearly 12 hours today, according to the Italian Institute of Vocanology, citing surveillance cameras observing Etna.

But more eruptions could be on the way.

“This eruption is very similar to more than 200 episodes of lava fountaining at the summit craters of Mount Etna — including 66 from the Southeast Crater in the year 2000,” said Boris Behncke, a volcanologist and expert on Mount Etna. “The same vent that erupted last night already produced nearly identical — though longer-lasting — episodes in September and November 2007 and most recently on May 10, 2008.”

Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and one of the world’s most well-known. While 2010 was an exceptionally calm year for Etna, it is nearly constantly active and there is rarely a full year that passes without some eruptive activity on Etna, Behncke told OurAmazingPlanet.

“We expected Etna to return to activity in this period,” Behncke said. “There had been lots of premonitory signals.” Read more…

Categories: Nature Tags: , ,

Sri Lanka flooding forces more than 300,000 to flee homes

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Mudslides bring death toll to 21 as government says more than 1 million people affected by rains

    Sri Lankan rescuers evacuate residents of the eastern district of Batticaloa by boat as floods rise Sri Lankan rescuers evacuate residents of the eastern district of Batticaloa by boat as floodwaters rise. Photograph: AFP/Getty ImagesMore than 300,000 people have been forced out of their homes by flooding in Sri Lanka, with no sign of a let-up in the torrential rain on the island nation’s east coast. 

    Three more people were killed by mudslides today, bringing the death toll to 21, officials said.

    The government’s Disaster Management Centre said more than 1 million people had been affected by the rains, with 325,000 made homeless.

    Many villages remain cut off from supplies despite a huge relief effort i Read more…

Devastating fungus ravages common banana crops

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WASHINGTON — A fungus scientists have dubbed “the HIV of banana plantations” has ravaged huge crops of the cavendish variety — the only kind of banana available in American grocery stores.

The spread of the soil-borne fungus Tropical Race IV has ruined crops across China, the Philippines and Australia, and is expected to spread next to Central America, where American distributors get the fruit.

Two teams of scientists are trying to genetically engineer cavendish bananas that are resistant to the fungus.

There are thousands of kinds of bananas worldwide, but the Cavendish, discovered in a Chinese household garden by a nineteenth-century British Explorer, represents 99 percent of the international market, according to a New Yorker report.

Most other exported varieties won’t withstand the international trip or ripen too quickly.

The New Yorker reports in 2008 Americans ate 7.6 billion pounds of Cavendish bananas, which at 60 cents a pound are also very cheap.

Categories: Food Crisis Tags: ,