U.S. News: Navy Researchers Investigate Small-Scale Autonomous Planetary Explorers
Date Released: Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Source: Naval Research Laboratory
Image: Electron microscope image of the microbe, Geobacter sulfurreducens, the core of the microbial fuel cell-based system.
Robotic exploration to remote regions, to include distant planetary bodies, is often limited by energy requirements to perform, in repetition, even the simplest tasks. With this in mind, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are looking into a novel approach that could some day aid scientific space and planetary research without the need for power-intense options often used today.
Integrating the NRL developed technologies in microrobotics, microbial fuel cells, and low power electronics, space robotics scientist Dr. Gregory P. Scott at NRL's Spacecraft Engineering Department inspires a novel autonomous microrover, weighing in at nearly one-kilogram and powered by an advanced microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology.
"The goal is to demonstrate a more efficient and reliable energy source for use in powering small robotic vehicles in environments where the option for human intervention is non-existent," said Scott. "Microbial fuel cells coupled with extremely low-power electronics and a low energy requirement for mobility addresses gaps in power technology applicable to all robotic systems, especially planetary robotics."
The MFC was selected because of its long-term durability owing to the ability of microorganisms to reproduce and the bacterium's high energy density compared with traditional lithium-ion power sources. This research explores in more detail the use of microbes as a power source and moves to eliminate the existing bulk associated with MFC infrastructure, such as large, power intensive pump systems and MFC mass and volume requirements.
A portion of the energy generated by the MFC will be used to maintain onboard electronics and control systems with the remaining energy directed toward slowly charging a battery or capacitor until a sufficient amount of electricity is collected. Once sufficient power is stored, the system can then discharge this collected energy to activate a more power intensive scientific instrument or to propel the rover forward using a novel tumbling or hopping locomotion system.
Focusing on a pure culture anaerobic bacterium, such as Geobacter sulfurreducens, as the core of the microbial fuel cell-based system, the power generation technology for this research would have an exceptionally long lifetime, beneficial for recharging onboard batteries or capacitors and providing for long-duration scouting missions.
"As we move forward in the utilization of MFCs as an energy generation method, this research begins to lay the groundwork for low powered electronics with a long-term potential for space and robotic applications," adds Scott.
Through his selection as a Fellow to the newly re-instated NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, Scott was awarded a research grant to investigate the initial phase of this innovative concept.
The MFC research group at the Naval Research Laboratory has a proven track record of developing novel biological power generation systems both within the laboratory and in the field. NRL researchers have provided real-world demonstration of these systems as a practical alternative to batteries for low-power consuming applications. Much of this success has been in the proof-of-concept practical applications of MFC-powered maritime sensors.
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
Daniel Parry, 202-767-2541
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, January 03, 2012 @ 14:38:09 MST (365 reads) (Read More... | 4148 bytes more | U.S. News | Score: 5)
Global News: Here's a Good 3 Minute Clip of 9/11 Worth Seeing Again
See photo and Slow Motion Gif. below
Here's a Good 3 Minute Clip of 9/11 Worth Seeing Again!
You can see the extra "belly" on this plane as compared in the video.
And then there's that 'flash" right before contact.
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, January 03, 2012 @ 13:25:53 MST (1647 reads) (Read More... | 1179 bytes more | Global News | Score: 5)
U.S. News: Expert: Wastewater well in Ohio triggered quakes
Editor: Waste from Injection Wells like the one pictured and other drilling operations is then poured into other empty wells in order to dispose of it. Now experts are coming forward and saying that all this activity is responsible for the recent earthquakes in the area, on reported as high as 4.0
By THOMAS J. SHEERAN
CLEVELAND (AP) -- A northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor quakes in the Youngstown area since last spring, a seismologist investigating the quakes said Monday.
Research is continuing on the now-shuttered injection well at Youngstown and seismic activity, but it might take a year for the wastewater-related rumblings in the earth to dissipate, said John Armbruster of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y.
Brine wastewater dumped in wells comes from drilling operations, including the so-called fracking process to extract gas from underground shale that has been a source of concern among environmental groups and some property owners. Injection wells have also been suspected in quakes in Arkansas, Colorado and Oklahoma, Armbruster said.
Thousands of gallons of brine were injected daily into the Youngstown well that opened in 2010 until its owner, Northstar Disposal Services LLC, agreed Friday to stop injecting the waste into the earth as a precaution while authorities assessed any potential links to the quakes.
After the latest and largest quake Saturday at 4.0 magnitude, state officials announced their beliefs that injecting wastewater near a fault line had created enough pressure to cause seismic activity. They said four inactive wells within a five-mile radius of the Youngstown well would remain closed. But they also stressed that injection wells are different from drilling wells that employ fracking.
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, January 02, 2012 @ 16:11:21 MST (863 reads) (Read More... | 2675 bytes more | U.S. News | Score: 4.4)
Global News: Concordia Station in Antarctica Season’s greetings from the other extreme
Concordia Station in Antarctica
Season’s greetings from the other extreme
22 December 2011
It is summer in Antarctica and the new crew for the Concordia research station will soon arrive. And since the place is second only to space for harsh conditions, they have been trained courtesy of ESA.
The Franco–Italian operated Concordia research base in Antarctica is a place of extremes, especially during the long, dark winter.
Now, during the summer, it is around –30°C and the Sun shines around the clock, but Antarctica will gradually show its other face starting from February.
Installing Radomex instrument at Concordia
Temperatures will drop to –80°C and, as the outpost sits atop a high ice plateau at 3200 meters, air pressure is a third less than at sea level – thin enough to threaten the crew’s health.
Venturing out requires not only warm clothing but also almost spacewalk procedures.
The environmental conditions are much like on the Red Planet, so the station is a light version of a Mars base. Two domes shelter 12 people against the forces of nature while they pursue scientific studies and test new technologies.
“I'm tired, worn out,” wrote ESA researcher Eoin Macdonald-Nethercott. He was a member of the last crew to over-winter at the site. Eoin lived and worked for more than a year at Concordia before coming home in December – later than planned because of several delays from adverse weather.
Eoin inside the Concordia station
“Still happy though. I do like this place. Just like working in a hospital, the only currencies here are responsibilities and priorities.
“There are teams working side by side and sharing expertise whilst working toward their own diverse goals.
“And I find the people that come here are particularly friendly, perhaps sharing a camaraderie based on the feeling that it’s a special place to be.”
Team spirit in the middle of nowhere
After Eoin, the next ESA-funded crewmember for the coming winter is another Briton, Alexander Kumar. He will write a blog at www.esa.int/concordia starting in January.
ESA has been involved in the physiology, psychology and operational aspects of Concordia since its inception. In addition to being the base doctor, Alexander’s main task will be research.
Since 2006, ESA has offered ‘human behaviour and performance’ training for the crews, helping them to cope with the eight months of dark and cold.
The crewmembers are carefully selected and psychologically screened. They are totally isolated from March to October, dependent only on a satellite link and onsite resources.
Concordia station and aurora australis
“The new crew are mostly unaware of the effects of long isolation, lack of stimuli and confinement caused by the Antarctic winter,” says Loredana Bessone, astronaut trainer at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
“It will take all of their efforts to remain a team throughout the winter, so our main task is to develop them into united and determined team.”
Walking outside at Concordia
Adapted astronaut training
ESA’s approach is derived from the training provided for astronauts and flight control personnel.
“We go through the ‘forming, storming and norming’ phases, to get the team through a series of successes, reflect and act upon errors, and get ready to go through the same processes once the whole team meets again at Concordia at the beginning of the winter,” explains Loredana.
“Like astronauts, the crew is faced with running a base in extreme conditions, with very diverse goals and cross-cultural differences amongst team members.
“But these are also the keys to survival and success.”
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, January 02, 2012 @ 13:56:50 MST (348 reads) (Read More... | 5150 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4)
Iran test-fires more missiles during navy drill
English.news.cn 2012-01-03 02:47:37
TEHRAN, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Iran successfully test-fired long- and short-range missiles during its military drill in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday, state media reported.
The launch of the missiles came one day after the Islamic republic test-fired an anti-radar, mid-range missile during the naval drills in its southern waters.
The home-made, coast-to-sea Qader (Mighty) missile fired on Monday could hit the target "successfully" and could destroy it, said the official IRNA news agency.
Deputy commander of Iran's Navy Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Mousavi was quoted as saying by IRNA on Monday that the ultra- advanced Qader missile has been upgraded in terms of its radar and satellite systems, as well as in its accuracy of hitting targets, its range, and smart radar-evading systems in comparison with its previous generations.
The surface-to-surface missile of Noor (Light) was also launched by the Iranian navy in the drills on Monday, Mousavi said, adding that the ultra-advanced Noor missile has also been upgraded in comparison with its previous generations, according to the state IRIB TV.
The older model of the Noor missile was test-fired from the domestically-manufactured destroyer Jamaran off the southern shores of the Persian Gulf in March 2010, the local satellite Press TV reported on Monsay.
Mousavi also said Iran fired a short-range missile of Nasr ( Victory) to the pre-determined targets on Monday, said IRIB.
The advanced Nasr missile which had already been test-fired on different vessels and for sea-to-sea targeting, on Monday was launched from a coastal launch pad to hit a naval target. The missile hit the target with 100 percent precision and destroyed it completely, said the local Fars news agency.
The smart Nasr missile is a good complement for Iran's coastal defense units which are equipped with various types of missile and artillery systems. Nasr can increase the Navy's targeting capabilities in any possible confrontation with those enemy vessels infiltrating the country's territorial waters, said the report.
Earlier this year, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced that the country's Navy equipped its new high-speed vessels named Zolfaqar with Nasr missiles capable of destroying three-ton weigh vessels.
On Monday, Mousavi said that some observers from the "friend and allied" countries of the Islamic republic are witnessing some operations of the Iranian navy during the drill. The report did not refer to the nationality of the foreign observers to the drill.
Iran began a 10-day naval drill in the Strait of Hormuz on Dec. 24 amid increased tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
The member of Iran's Majlis (parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Esmaeil Kowsari said Monday that the recent navy maneuvers showed the country's might and power, Fars said.
Kowsari said that the wargames performed as a show of power to the non-regional forces in the region, adding that if the United States and its allies send hundreds of warships and nuclear-armed submarines to the region, they will not be able to impede Iran's progress.
Rapporteur of the Iran's Majlis ( parliament) National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazzem Jalali said Monday that Iran will block the Strait of Hormuz if its interests are threatened, Fars reported.
Iran will use all its capabilities and possibilities to defend the country against foreign threats and the country will use the Strait of Hormuz as a defensive tool and will close the waterway if it comes under threat, Jalali told Fars.
Jalali described the Strait of Hormuz as the world's strategic energy bottleneck, and said Iran does not like to close the strategic waterway and wants all countries to use it for transporting their energy needs, but in case Iran comes under threat, it will be obliged to use all its defensive tools.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense warned Iran against any attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz which is one of the world's most important oil passage.
"This is not just an important issue for security and stability in the region, but is an economic lifeline for countries in the Gulf, including Iran," Pentagon press secretary George Little said. "Interference with the transit or passage of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated."
Little's remarks came after Iran's top officials threatened to seal off the important oil passage. Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said last week that Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz if the West imposes sanctions on its oil exports.
Following an International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran' s nuclear program in November, the United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions against Iran. Certain western countries have also said that they are considering sanctions against Iran's Central Bank and Iran's crude exports.
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, January 02, 2012 @ 11:37:01 MST (303 reads) (Read More... | 5672 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4)
Scientists have made a major breakthrough that could soon see human sperm grown in the laboratory.
Sperm being prepared for IVF treatment Photo: Eddie Mulholland
10:53AM GMT 02 Jan 2012
The development opens up the possibility of infertile men being able to father their own children rather than using donor sperm.
Researchers in Germany and Israel were able to grow mouse sperm from a few cells in a laboratory dish.
In a world first a team headed by Professor Stefan Schlatt, at Muenster University in Germany, were able to grow sperm by using germ cells. These are the cells in testicles that are responsible for sperm production.
Scientists grew the sperm by surrounding the germ cells in a special compound called agar jelly to create an environment similar to that found in testicles.
Prof. Mahmoud Huleihel, who also grew the sperm at Israel's Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, said: "I believe it will eventually be possible to routinely grow human male sperm to order by extracting tissue containing germ cells from a man's testicle and stimulating sperm production in the laboratory."
Permanent Magnetic Motor from Argentina (see below for rough translation)
Dmitri J. Robaina:
It's pretty simple actually. He's basically saying that the device is very simple. It has no batteries (as he demonstrates later on in the video when he lifts the machine off the desk). The only thing he acknowledges is fairly complicated was the creation of the rotor that he keeps pointing to (it's the big one with extra blue parts sticking out). That rotor is designed to alternate the magnets so it can keep rotating. And to the far left of the device, where all the cables are at, there's a simple device that creates the electricity from the rotating magnets and sends it to the big main rotor (with the blue things sticking out) so it can power the magnet alternating device that keeps the machine rotating.
Then at the bottom it's a simple LED light just to show that it can produce electricity. But he also says that this model is for presentation purposes only.
He says they have a bigger one that produces 1hp. It's all being presented by the company on the card in front of the device.
20 minutes ago · Like
He did explain a little bit about the technology involved in alternating the magnets, but yeah it's too technical for me as well. Everything else in the machine he says is very simple.
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, January 02, 2012 @ 10:22:34 MST (1277 reads) (Read More... | 2043 bytes more | Global News | Score: 5)
The two notorious suspects in producing a series of films showing animals being tortured and crushed to death has been arrested in La Union province. Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) shared some details about the manhunt operation for the couple Victor and Dorma Ridon.
"Dorma (“Chita”) and Vicente Ridon, the couple charged with crimes related to the production of a series of "crush" videos in which scantily clad young girls engage in the torture killing of animals, were arrested by the police early on Tuesday morning in Burgos. The arrests came as the result of a year-long investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The Ridons, who have posted bail, have been charged with violations of child abuse (RA 7610) and animal welfare (RA 8485) laws, and expected to face further charges involving human trafficking (RA 9208), and wildlife protection (RA 9147) laws. They are expected to face trial within the year."
"PETA's hotline received more than 200 reports in the week following the group's appeal for help. "
"The vicious disregard for the animal suffering shown in these sadistic videos must be severely punished," says PETA Asia's campaigns manager, Rochelle Regodon. "This is a warning to anyone who would commit cruelty-to-animals crimes: The public takes it seriously and will do all it can to see justice served."
"The "crush" videos depict extreme cruelty to animals, including a rabbit as he or she was skinned alive, rabbits as they flailed and screamed while their ears were cut off and as they were set on fire, a dog as he or she was burned with a clothes iron, a monkey and several dogs as they were repeatedly hit in the eye with the sharp end of a stiletto heel, and puppies as they were crushed until they vomited their own internal organs."
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, January 02, 2012 @ 09:28:21 MST (1138 reads) (Read More... | 2452 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4.33)
A political analyst says under the provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by Barack Obama, Americans opposed to US policies will be arrested as “suspected terrorist”.
US President Barack Obama has just implemented "Police State USA", Michel Chossudovsky, the director of the Center for Research on Globalization, wrote in an article published on the Global Research website on Sunday.
“The passage of NDAA is intimately related to Washington's global military agenda. The military pursuit of Worldwide hegemony also requires the 'Militarization of the Homeland', namely the demise of the American Republic,” the US professor and economist said.
The NDAA, which Obama signed into law on the eve of 2012, provides USD 662 billion in funding for military spending, including military pay raises, weapon systems and funding for the war in Afghanistan in 2012.
The law, which passed by wide majority in Congress, also states the US military has the power to detain terrorist suspects without trial for as long as the so-called US global anti-terror campaign is waged.
The act further contains several provisions that rights groups and advocates have vehemently opposed, arguing that NDAA allows indefinite detention and interrogation of US citizens and non-citizens suspected of being linked to terrorism and deny them legal rights protected by the constitution.
In a statement accompanying his signature, the US president expressed “serious reservations” about provisions related to the detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists, saying that he might not strictly follow certain requirements spelled out in the new law.
“My administration will interpret and implement the provisions … in a manner that best preserves the flexibility on which our safety depends and upholds the values on which this country was founded," Obama said in the NDAA signing statement.
"I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," Obama said. “Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a nation.”
Chossudovsky said Obama's disclaimers were merely a “smokescreen,” adding that if Obama really found the bill unacceptable, “he could have either vetoed the NDAA (H.R. 1540) or sent it back to Congress with his objections.”
“The tendency is towards the establishment of a totalitarian State, a military government dressed in civilian clothes,” Chossudovsky said. “The NDAA authorizes the arbitrary and indefinite military detention of American citizens.”
The NDAA also bans the use of government money to transfer Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States, again in an attempt to force the administration to try them in military rather than civil courts.
Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said “By signing this defense spending bill, President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.”
“The NDAA is 'Obama's New Year's Gift' to the American People. ...,” Chossudovsky concluded.
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, January 02, 2012 @ 08:36:33 MST (381 reads) (Read More... | 3885 bytes more | U.S. News | Score: 4.5)
1/1: Occupied State of the Union
December 30, 2011 in Assemblies, Future Proposals
Occupied State of the Union Address Video Proposal
“He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. ” —Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution
Once a year the President delivers the State of the Union Address to Congress and the Nation. Followed immediately following the speech, the party, not of the President, does a rebuttal response via mainstream media. On January 24, 2012 this event will happen again and we have an opportunity to speak ourselves, through the internet.
Individuals from around the country have worked to write an Occupied State of the Union Address (Cali, Nebraska, Iowa, NJ, IL, NY) within a national working group. This is a once in a year opportunity that we are taking advantage of.
This proposal is for endorsement of participating in this video project.
The Plan: 1) Get the speech submitted to as many Occupies around the country as possible. We will be asking not to release or post the speech online in hopes of protecting the language of it from getting to the press before it is released to the People. This may include livestream. The only thing we can do is ask from this to be kept tight based on the honor code and cross our fingers that people respect this and not leak it to the media.
2) Have those Occupy cities video tape local occupiers reading the speech.
3) Have the video footage uploaded to a secure server for editing.
4) Edit video footage collected into one speech delivered by people from around the country, because we have no single leader.
5) Tease to mainstream media that the American Occupy Movement will be releasing an Occupied State of the Union Address via internet.
6) Release the video simultaneously over the internet through YouTube, Livestreams, and promote it through social media (including hashtag) the moment that the Republican rebuttal is done.
Speech Theme/ Concept The speech has been written by the People and is speaking to the People with the whole world watching. The goal is to awaken those who are empathetic by realizing that “Occupy is a State of Mind” and that we do it every day. It is designed to have an audience of those not active onsite at a local Occupy Movement, do due any number of reasons, including that they do not yet exist locally. It speaks to where they are in their lives. It is not designed to speak to the converted, so to speak. It addresses the economy, money in politics, and ways in which people can engage. Everything in this includes things that have widely been endorsed by the American Occupy Movement. It runs about 8-9 min long. There is no language of the 99% vs. 1% due to the co-opting of that language already for political campaigns. This is a non-partisan speech, just like the Movement and we want to keep it that way. The speech will be read for endorsement at GA’s around the nation.
Timing on this project is tight due to the date of release, endorsements, gathering video, editing together, then re-distributed for release.
Japan was hit with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake Sunday—The strong quake reportedly struck under the sea just south of Japan.
According to the USGS, the quake, that was later lowered to a 6.8 magnitude, struck at around 12:30 a.m. near the Izu Islands, south of Japan. The quake had a depth of around 217 miles below the sea and, struck the region 307 miles from Tokyo.
According to the Associated Press, there have been no reports of damage caused by the quake but shaking buildings in the capital was reported and trains in the area were suspended temporarily for safety checks but later resumed—Additionally, there were no abnormalities reported at power plants.
The earthquake did not generate a tsunami warning for Japan or the United States.
“A strong earthquake has occurred, but a tsunami IS NOT expected along the California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, or Alaska coast. NO tsunami warning, watch or advisory is in effect for these areas,” The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center stated in a report.
The earthquake follows a strong quake this past July and another in March that left thousands dead.
In July, a 7.0 quake struck Japan’s northeastern coast. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated a 7.0 magnitude earthquake with a depth of 10 kilometers. Japan’s Meteorological agency increased the magnitude to a 7.3 magnitude and the depth to 30 kilometers.
The earthquake caused a tsunami warning. Officials urged residents to stay away from the coast and prepare for possible dangerous waves. Japanese officials reportedly predicted the quake could generate tsunami of up to 20 inches. The tsunami warning was later lifted.
In March, one of the strongest earthquakes hit Japan and triggered a subsequent tsunami that devastated the same region and left thousands dead and missing.
Pictures of the March Earthquake & Tsunami in Japan
The massive 9.0 earthquake hit March 11 and wreaked havoc on the region including damaging Japanese nuclear plants and causing cooling system failures and radiation leaks. Thousands had to evacuate the area as plant workers battled to stop the nuclear plants from causing even more damage to the region.
The earthquake’s subsequent tsunami was felt around the world, leading to evacuations of dozens of places including the Philippines and Hawaii. The United States West Coast of Crescent City, California even felt the wrath of the tsunami hours later where dozens of boats were destroyed.
Posted by Informant_News on Sunday, January 01, 2012 @ 16:40:57 MST (1243 reads) (Read More... | 3059 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4.33)
A new Island is forming as volcanic activity continues in Red Sea
An eruption occurred in the Red Sea in December 2011. According to news reports, fishermen witnessed lava fountains reaching up to 30 meters (90 feet) tall on December 19. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites observed plumes on December 20 and December 22. Meanwhile, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite detected elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, further indicating an eruption.
The activity in the Red Sea included more than an eruption. By December 23, 2011, what looked like a new island appeared in the region. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured these high-resolution, natural-color images on December 23, 2011 (top), and October 24, 2007 (bottom). The image from December 2011 shows an apparent island where there had previously been an unbroken water surface. A thick plume rises from the island, dark near the bottom and light near the top, perhaps a mixture of volcanic ash and water vapor.
The volcanic activity occurred along the Zubair Group, a collection of small islands off the west coast of Yemen. Running in a roughly northwest-southeast line, the islands poke above the sea surface, rising from a shield volcano. This region is part of the Red Sea Rift where the African and Arabian tectonic plates pull apart and new ocean crust regularly forms.
Before the Volcanic activity: Photos from NASA
An eruption occurred in the Red Sea in December 2011. According to news reports, fishermen witnessed lava fountains reaching up to 30 meters (90 feet) tall on December 19. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites observed plumes on December 20 and December 22. Meanwhile, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite detected elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, further indicating an eruption.
The activity in the Red Sea included more than an eruption. By December 23, 2011, what looked like a new island appeared in the region. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured these high-resolution, natural-color images on December 23, 2011 (top), and October 24, 2007 (bottom). The image from December 2011 shows an apparent island where there had previously been an unbroken water surface. A thick plume rises from the island, dark near the bottom and light near the top, perhaps a mixture of volcanic ash and water vapor.
The volcanic activity occurred along the Zubair Group, a collection of small islands off the west coast of Yemen. Running in a roughly northwest-southeast line, the islands poke above the sea surface, rising from a shield volcano. This region is part of the Red Sea Rift where the African and Arabian tectonic plates pull apart and new ocean crust regularly forms.
Bauwens, J. (2011, December 22). Eruption in the Zubair Archipelago, in the southern Red Sea. Accessed December 27, 2011.
Gass, I.G., Mallick, D.I.J., Cox, K.G. (1973). Volcanic islands of the Red Sea. Journal of the Geological Society, 129(3), 275–309.
Global Volcanism Program. (2011, December 20). Weekly volcanic report, 14 December–20 December 2011. Smithsonian Institution.
Accessed December 27, 2011.
Global Volcanism Program. Zubair Group. Smithsonian Institution. Accessed December 27, 2011.
Klemetti, E. (2011, December 19). Potential eruption off the coast of Yemen. Eruptions. Accessed December 27, 2011.
U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service. (1999, January 14). Divergent plate boundaries. Accessed December 27, 2011.
Volcano Discovery. (2011, December 21). Volcanic eruption in the Red Sea (Yemen) reported. Accessed December 27, 2011.
NASA Earth Observatory image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 team. Caption by Michon Scott.
EO-1 - ALI
Volcanic Activity in the Red Sea
December 28, 2011
Posted by Informant_News on Sunday, January 01, 2012 @ 14:54:01 MST (271 reads) (Read More... | 4886 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4.4)
Global News: Iran says it has produced it's first Nuclear Fuel Rod
Photo: Iranian navy boats conduct maneuvers Friday in the Sea of Oman. On Sunday, Iranian officials
announced the test launch of a new medium-range surface-to-air missile. Credit: Ali Mohammadi / Associated Press
REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT -- Iran said Sunday that its scientists had produced the country’s first nuclear fuel rod and its navy had test-fired a new medium-range surface-to-air missile, announcements that were likely to heighten concerns about the country’s disputed uranium-enrichment program.
The Islamic Republic News Agency, or IRNA, reported that the nuclear fuel rod had “passed all physical and dimensional tests” and had been inserted into the core of Tehran’s research reactor.
Iran had said that it would be forced to manufacture the rods because it is barred from buying them on foreign markets. The tubes contain pellets of enriched uranium that provide fuel for nuclear reactors.
Tension has been growing between Iran and the West since a report by the United Nations nuclear inspection agency in November expressed serious concerns about a possible military dimension to the country’s nuclear program.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear payloads for missiles. Tehran denies the charge, saying it needs the technology to generate electricity and produce radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.
On Saturday, President Obama signed a defense bill that includes new penalties against financial institutions that do business with the Islamic Republic’s central bank, an attempt to hamper Tehran’s ability to fund the program. The head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Mohammad Nahavandian, dismissed the move Sunday.
"The Iranian nation and those involved in trade and economic activities will find other alternatives," Nahavandian was quoted as saying by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency, or ISNA.
Posted by Informant_News on Sunday, January 01, 2012 @ 11:44:31 MST (194 reads) (Read More... | 2624 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4.5)
Misc: Blazing Photos of L.A. New Years Arson Fires
Four more car fires broke out in the Los Angeles area New Year's Eve, leaving authorities to probe for links to a series of arson blazes that burned dozens of cars and spread to some structures.
Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters help a man out of his apartment
along with a cage of birds as multiple cars burn in a carport in the
Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011.
One day ago
Hours ago in L.A.
In a sobering counterpoint to the typical revelry of the night, fire trucks were stationed in neighborhoods, police patrolled the city, switchboards took hotline calls and thousands in rewards were offered.
Firefighters quickly put out a car fire at about 6 p.m. Saturday in Hollywood that "fits the profile of concern" authorities have been following for the arsons, fire department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
Posted by Informant_News on Sunday, January 01, 2012 @ 11:32:46 MST (233 reads) (Read More... | 2120 bytes more | Misc | Score: 4.25)
Misc: Dead Blackbirds Fall In Arkansas Town, Again
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
File photo of Black Bird Die off in Beebe Arkansas
January 1, 2012
Thousands of dead blackbirds rained down on a town in central Arkansas last New Year's Eve after revelers set off fireworks that spooked them from their roost, and officials were reporting a similar occurrence Saturday as 2012 approached.
Police in Beebe said dozens of blackbirds had fallen dead, prompting officers to ban residents from shooting fireworks Saturday night. It wasn't immediately clear if fireworks were again to blame, but authorities weren't taking a chance.
Officer John Weeks said the first reports of "birds on the streets" came around 7 p.m. as residents celebrated the year's end with fireworks in their neighborhoods.
"We started shutting down fireworks," he said. "We're working on cleaning up the birds now."
He said police were working with animal control workers and others to remove the birds and determine a death count.
"We're not sure if they're going to continue to fall throughout the night. I can't tell you," Weeks said.
Scientists say the loud cracks and booms from celebratory fireworks likely sent the birds into such a tizzy that they crashed into homes, cars and each other before plummeting to their deaths last New Year's Eve. The birds landed on roofs, sidewalks, streets and fields. One struck a woman walking her dog. Another hit a police cruiser.
Photo from first incident in Beebe Arkansas
The blackbird die-off, coupled with tens of thousands of dead drum fish that washed up on the shores of the Arkansas River, flung the state into the national headlines and drew conspiracy theorists and filmmakers to the town about 30 miles northeast of Little Rock that shares Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe's last name.
Some people speculated that the birds had been poisoned; others said their deaths marked the beginning of the apocalypse.
"It's just got to be a pain in my career," Beebe Police Chief Wayne Ballew said.
Prior to this New Year's Eve, Ballew said he wouldn't be surprised if people sit out on their front porches in case the winged creatures fall from the sky again.
"I guess we could have an annual blackbird watch," he said with a laugh. "People can just bring their umbrellas, open them up and walk through the neighborhood and hope they don't get hit."
Charles Moore didn't plan to have an umbrella at the ready, but said he would have his camera out on New Year's Eve. Last year, he drifted off to sleep before the ball — and birds — dropped.
"When we got up on New Year's Day and walked out to get the paper, we saw all the carnage out there," he said. "So we thought we would be on the watch for it this time."
Posted by Informant_News on Sunday, January 01, 2012 @ 10:36:50 MST (1083 reads) (Read More... | 8711 bytes more | Misc | Score: 4.25)
Global News: Apocalypse Not Now: 2012 Doomsday Predictions Debunked by NASA
On Dec. 21, 2012, many doomsday believers fear the apocalypse — anything from a rogue planet smashing into us to our world spinning end over end. However, the world should expect nothing more next year than the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, NASA says.
Many people point to the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar on Dec. 21, 2012 as evidence of the coming apocalypse, but astronomers have been quick to stress that there is nothing to be concerned about.
According to the ancient Mayan calendar, next year's winter solstice marks the end of a 144,000-day cycle. This cycle, which begins at the mythical Maya creation date, has already been repeated 12 times. The 13th will end in 2012, capping a full 5,200-year Mayan cycle of creation.
This date has long been shrouded in mystery, with many claiming that it will bring destruction to our planet.
Rogue planet Nibiru?
One fear is that a rogue planet that has been dubbed "Nibiru" or "Planet X" is supposedly aimed at Earth. Self-proclaimed Nibiru expert Nancy Lieder, who says she is in contact with the aliens from Zeta Reticuli, first said Nibiru would cause widespread disaster in May 2003, only to change it to Dec. 21, 2012.
"Nibiru is ridiculous because it doesn't exist — it never existed as anything other than a figment of the imagination by pseudo-scientists who don't seem bothered by a complete lack of evidence," astronomer Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object program office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told SPACE.com.
There is no basis for the claim that it might be lurking behind the sun, as it could not have hidden from observation until now, Yeomans said. If such a planet was headed toward Earth by Dec. 21, 2012, it would already be visible to the naked eye.
There are also concerns that planets or stars might line up in ways that will transform Earth. For instance, some theorists claim that from our point of view, the sun will cross in front of the plane of our galaxy on Dec. 21. However, the sun already does this twice a year, Yeomans said.
In fact, the sun will eventually cross the plane of our galaxy. However, the sun is about 67 light-years from the galactic plane, so it should take several million years to do so, Yeomans said. Even then, when our solar system finally does cross the plane, nothing special will occur, he added. [10 Failed Doomsday Predictions]
Some also claim that gravitational effects from planets lining up with each other will somehow affect Earth. However, there is no planetary alignment due on Dec. 21, 2012, "and if there were, it wouldn't cause any problems," Yeomans said.
The only bodies that have any significant gravitational impact on Earth are the moon and the sun, effects we see as the tides. Tidal effects from other bodies in our solar system are negligible at best, and in any case, we have experienced them for millions of years without notice.
Solar storms — deluges of energetic particles from the sun — do happen, usually waxing and waning in cycles that last roughly 11 years. When these charged particles collide with Earth, they can trigger auroras and damage satellites and power lines, although not really inflicting any lasting harm, Yeomans said.
There are accounts of a solar "super-storm" slamming into Earth in 1859. Although that caused relatively little damage back then, there are concerns that such a storm might cause far more harm now that our world is more dependent on electronics.
Yet, there is no evidence that such a super-storm will happen on Dec. 21 of next year, Yeomans said.
There is some alarm that 2012 could see the flipping of Earth's poles — either the planet's geographical poles, which mark the Earth's axis of rotation, or its magnetic poles, which our compasses point toward.
But, there is no reason to fear such an occurrence, scientists said, because the moon stabilizes our planet's spin. The planet's magnetic poles do flip, but over periods of about 500,000 years, and not suddenly, "but over thousands of years," with no evidence of a flip on Dec. 21, 2012, Yeomans said.
Even if the planet's magnetic poles do flip, no real problems would occur, other than the inconvenience of us having to change our compasses from north to south, he added.
The Earth is always vulnerable to impacts by comets and asteroids, but giant impacts are rare, with the last major collision taking place 65 million years ago, ending the Age of Dinosaurs.
Still, astronomers do monitor the sky for near-Earth objects.
"There are no known near-Earth objects in 2012 that present a credible risk to Earth," Yeomans said. "None, zero, zip, nada."
But despite evidence to the contrary, doomsdays theorists have garnered attention, and similar prophecies will continue to proliferate unless scientists become more involved in bringing truth to these outlandish claims, Yeomans said.
Mounting hysteria regarding these unfounded doomsday predictions "will improve only if scientists get more engaged in debunking pseudoscience," he said.
Posted by Informant_News on Sunday, January 01, 2012 @ 09:56:23 MST (387 reads) (Read More... | 18598 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4.33)
Global News: Child sacrificed, liver offered to gods: Indian police
File illustration photo shows villagers
of Dantewada District in the central state …
A seven-year-old Indian girl was murdered in a tribal sacrifice and her liver offered to the gods to improve crop growth, police in the central state of Chhattisgarh said on Sunday.
The body of Lalita Tati was found in October one week after her family reported her missing.
"A seven-year-old girl was sacrificed by two persons superstitiously believing that the act would give a better harvest,"Narayan Das" the police chief of Bijapur district, told AFP by telephone.
The two men was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of killing the girl and offering her liver to the gods in a grisly tribal ceremony. Police said the men had confessed to the crime.
The girl was murdered in a jungle district of Chhattisgarh that is a stronghold of rebel Maoists who have tapped into disaffection among local tribal groups.
Human sacrifices occasionally make headlines in deeply religious and superstitious India, and usually occur in poor areas where some people revere practitioners of black magic.
Two suspected child sacrifices were reported in Chhattisgarh in 2010, while in the same year the decapitated body of a factory worker was found in a temple in the eastern state of West Bengal.
The victims are often ritually killed by witchdoctors to appease gods, spirits or deities.
Posted by Informant_News on Sunday, January 01, 2012 @ 09:45:04 MST (266 reads) (Read More... | 4635 bytes more | Global News | Score: 4.4)
Please help me with my overwhelming expenses due to my battle with prostate cancer. Thank you!
SAFE & SECURE!
Sarah, Sheila, and Claudia!
There are currently, 89 guest(s) and 0 member(s) that are online.
You are an Anonymous user. You can register for free by clicking here