Archive for May 25, 2011

Iran’s largest lake turning to salt

May 25, 2011 1 comment


AP/Vahid Salemi

An Iranian family walks on the solidified salts of Oroumieh Lake. More photos »

OROUMIEH LAKE, Iran – From a hillside, Kamal Saadat looked forlornly at hundreds of potential customers, knowing he could not take them for trips in his boat to enjoy a spring weekend on picturesque Oroumieh Lake, the third largest saltwater lake on earth.

“Look, the boat is stuck… It cannot move anymore,” said Saadat, gesturing to where it lay encased by solidifying salt and lamenting that he could not understand why the lake was fading away.

The long popular lake, home to migrating flamingos, pelicans and gulls, has shrunken by 60 percent and could disappear entirely in just a few years, experts say — drained by drought, misguided Read more…

Time to shift view of seismic risk – experts

May 25, 2011 Comments off


Knowledge of seismic risk is badly skewed in favour of earthquakes that occur on plate boundaries, such as the March 11 temblor that hit northeast Japan, rather than those that strike deep inland, a pair of scientists said on Sunday.

In commentary appearing in the journal Nature Geoscience, Philip England of Oxford University and James Jackson of Cambridge University say that in seismic terms, the 9.0-magnitude Sendai quake was “a remarkable story of resilience.”

Good civic training and building construction meant that the death rate was “impressively low,” they said. Around 25,000 people died, or 0.4 percent of those exposed to the event, and most of these died from the tsunami that followed.

The March 11 event occurred on a plate boundary, where the jigsaw of plates that float on Earth’s crust jostle and grind and slide under each other.

England and Jackson say plate boundaries are relatively well-studied, but a far greater threat lurks in continental inland areas.

“Death rates in earthquakes within continental interiors have often exceeded five percent and can be as high as 30 percent,” they warn.

According to their count, over the past 120 years, there have been around Read more…

Egypt finds 17 lost pyramids

May 25, 2011 Comments off


Egypt pyramids 2011 5 25

Egyptians ride their camels past the pyramid of Khafre in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, on November 30, 2010. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)

A new satellite survey of Egypt reportedly found 17 lost pyramids along with more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements.

The survey used infra-red images to detect underground buildings, the BBC reports.

Satellites above the earth were equipped with cameras that could pin-point objects on the earth’s surface. The infra-red imaging then highlighted different materials under the surface, it states.

The work was done by a NASA-sponsored laboratory in Birmingham, Alabama.

“To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archeologist,” Sarah Parcak who led the project told BBC.

Meanwhile, Egypt opened the tombs of seven men, including some who served King Tutankhamen, to tourists earlier this week after restoration, the Associated Press reports.

Egypt hopes the tombs in the New Kingdom Cemetery in South Saqqara will draw more tourists to the area.

Egypt’s tourism industry has been badly hit by the revolution that toppled the government in February and subsequent political uncertainty.

The number of tourists to Egypt fell 46 percent in the first quarter, Reuters reported Sunday.

DOJ letter to Texas: ‘TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight …’

May 25, 2011 Comments off


The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to House and Texas Senate leaders Tuesday — reportedly in person — threatening a shut-down of airports if HB 1937 is passed.

The letter claims Rep. David Simpson’s (R-Longview) anti-TSA-groping bill is against federal law and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. We include the text of the DOJ’s letter, as well as a portion of Simpson’s reply, below.
May 24, 2011

[On U.S. Department of Justice, Western District of Texas, stationery. Addressed to Speaker Joe Straus, Dewhurst, the House Clerk and the Senate Secretary]

Dear Leaders,

I write with regard to HB 1937, which I understand will imminently be presented to the Texas Senate for a vote.

This office, as well as the Southern, Northern, and Eastern District of Texas United States Attorneys, would like to advise you of the significant leagal and practical problems that will be created if the bill becomes law. As you are no doubt aware, the bill makes it a crime for a federal transportation official (“TSO”) to perform the security screening that he or she is authorized and required by federal law to perform. The proposed legislation would make it unlawful for a federal agent such as a TSO to perform certain specified searches for the purpose of granting access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation. That provision would thus criminalize searches Read more…

“Tornadocanes”: Amazing Swirling Vortexes Developing Across the World

May 25, 2011 Comments off


“Tornadocanes”: The latest WMD to be unleashed upon the world?!

Directly below from thread @


I think we are starting to see real super storms form whether they be natural or man made. It’s entirely possible that we may start seeing tornadoes that are 50+ miles wide that can take out large cities in one fell swoop.

From Wikipedia: Landphoon, also known as tornadocane, is a term applied to certain Mesoscale Convective Systems that develop a weather radar signature in the shape of a hurricane in low levels. These storms have a central eye free of precipitations with surrounding arms of strong echoes but are really associated with a supercell thunderstorm developing a squall line. These storms are not in any way related to a hurricane other than the fact that they are shaped similarly to one. The only use of the term tornadocane occurred on April 15, 1999 over Duplin County, North Carolina,[1] and the term does not exist in any standard dictionary or glossary.

Read more…

Comet Chunk Slams Into Earth’s Atmosphere

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Residents of Atlanta, Ga., were treated to a rare event on Friday night: a 2-meter wide chunk of cometary material entered the atmosphere right above their heads. The result? Nothing short of spectacular.

The fireball exploded and disintegrated like the Read more…

Chinese Citizens Turn to Gold in One of Greatest Booms in Metal’s History

May 25, 2011 1 comment


The World Gold Council (WGC) released its quarterly “Gold Demand Trends” report last week and, as always, it was filled with fascinating data on the strength of the global gold market. Gold demand grew 11 percent to 981.3 tons during the first quarter of 2011, worth $43.7 billion at quarter-end’s price levels.
The increase was driven by a significant rise in demand for gold as an investment, up 26 percent from a year ago, as emerging markets look to protect their assets from rising inflation. Demand for gold bars and coins was up 62 percent and 42 percent, respectively.
A slight pullback in prices during the middle of the quarter and “persistent high inflation levels” pushed China into the position as the world’s largest market for gold investment. Chinese citizens devoured nearly 91 tons of gold bars and coins, more than double the amount of a year ago.
This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon in China. From 2007 to 2010, investment demand grew Read more…

Joplin storm contained a rare multivortex tornado

May 25, 2011 Comments off


Shawn and Joella Zaccarello of Joplin pitched in Tuesday to help sort through the damage of their uncle’s home, which was destroyed by Sunday evening’s tornado that swept through the city’s central section. DAVID EULITT
Shawn and Joella Zaccarello of Joplin pitched in Tuesday to help sort through the damage of their uncle’s home, which was destroyed by Sunday evening’s tornado that swept through the city’s central section.

JOPLIN, Mo. | The death toll from Sunday’s tornado has risen to 122, making it the eighth-deadliest tornado in U.S. history, the National Weather Service said.

The Joplin twister was upgraded to EF-5, the strongest category on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with winds exceeding 200 mph. The storm was apparently a “multivortex” tornado, with two or more small and intense centers of rotation orbiting the larger funnel, a rare occurrence.

It’s the country’s deadliest storm since 1950.

The number of those still missing isn’t known because many have left Joplin to stay with relatives and friends. Rescue Read more…

Netanyahu says will give up some land for peace

May 25, 2011 Comments off


WASHINGTON – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said explicitly for the first time on Tuesday he was prepared to give up some settlements for peace, but he laid out familiar demands unlikely to draw the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

Treated to standing ovations from US lawmakers just days after strained talks with President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said he was ready for “painful compromises.” But Palestinians swiftly rejected his list of conditions as unacceptable.

The right-wing Israeli leader’s speech to Congress capped a turbulent five-day visit to Washington that laid bare his differences with Obama on how to revive the moribund peace process and raised little hope for getting new talks off the ground any time soon.

Though Netanyahu recognized in the clearest terms yet that Israel would have to abandon some Jewish settlements built Read more…

Medvedev Commits Russia’s Support to Africa

May 25, 2011 Comments off


In a congratulatory message to the continent on Africa Day, the Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, said that his country is ready to continue supporting Rwanda and other African countries in their quest for development.

In his message sent to The New Times, Medvedev said that Africa Day is important for the continent to reflect on its aspirations for freedom, unity, peace, stability and sustainable development.

“In the recent years African countries have been steadily moving on the way of fundamental transformations and modernisation. A lot has been done for acceleration of growth rate, Read more…

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