Daily Archives

Synthetic lint ends up in oceans

Science News – Every time a garment made from polyester or other synthetic fabric goes through the wash, it sheds tiny plastic fibers. Thousands of them. It turns out that these fibers end up fouling coastal environments throughout the globe, a global research team finds. Read article

EU debt crisis: Italy hit with rating downgrade

Guardian – First the downgrade, then the political backlash. Silvio Berlusconi has just lambasted S&P for cutting Italy’s credit rating – claiming the agency has been influenced by his political opponents and elements in the media. Read article

Tony Blair ‘visited Libya to lobby for JP Morgan’

Telegraph – The executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said officials were told the “ideas” they were ordered to pursue came from Mr Blair as well as one other British businessman and a former American diplomat. “Tony Blair’s visits were purely lobby visits for banking deals with JP Morgan,” he said. Read article

Russia’s Shiveluch volcano erupts

China Daily – A volcano has erupted on Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East, with ash rising to an altitude of 10 km above sea level, RIA Novosti news agency reported Tuesday. During the eruption, a crevice with a depth of about 30 meters was formed on top of the volcano. An earthquake that lasted seven minutes was also recorded, a representative from the Russian Academy of Sciences was quoted as saying. The volcano’s 10-km ash column was the highest during the past month, breaking the record of 8200 meters
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The spy satellite that came in from the Cold War: Visitors flock to see huge secret weapons used by the U.S. that until now were highly classified

Mail Online – The highly classified Hexagon satellite, also known as the Big Bird, which was used to spy on America’s Cold War enemies for more than a decade was never seen by public eyes before – until now. Three of the United States most closely guarded satellites – the KH-7 Gambit, the KH-8 Gambit 3 and the KH-9 Hexagon – were unveiled to the public as part of the National Reconnaissance Office’s 50th anniversary. The vintage satellites – some of them bigger than buses – were displayed to the public on Saturday in a one-day-only exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport, Virginia. Read Article

Alaskan volcano’s behavior poses a challenge for scientists

MSNBC – Anchorage, Alaska — A volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands has been in an unusual low-level eruption for two months, raising the specter of an explosive eruption with little warning, officials at the Alaska Volcano Observatory said on Friday.  Read article

Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever Quits Physics Group over Stand on Global Warming

IBT – Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever resigned as a Fellow from the American Physical Society Tuesday, condemning the group’s official stand on global warming. Read article

Hedge Fund Heavyweight Sees Gold at $2,200

Bloomberg – Gold, platinum and Brent oil will lead gains in commodities as investors seek to protect their assets and shortages emerge, according to Tony Hall, the hedge- fund manager who earned 33 percent for his clients this year. Read Article

The sweet science: Our uncontrollable cravings for treats are triggered by falls in blood sugar

Daily Mail – You might have thought resisting that piece of chocolate cake or extra biscuit was simply a matter of exerting a little will power. But for some of us it’s much more difficult than that – because of the way our brains are wired. Scientists have found that a key part of the brain which stops the body from acting on impulse – and gorging – does not function as well in those who are overweight or obese. Read article

Guatemala hit by four earthquakes

Guardian – Three people dead after quakes ranging in magnitude up to 5.8 hit south of country, collapsing houses and triggering landslides Read Article

Yemen unrest: Saleh forces ‘shell Sanaa protest camp’

BBC – Government forces in Yemen have continued firing shells at a protester camp in the capital, witnesses say. Explosions rocked Sanaa all night, and at least two people had died in the shelling, according to doctors. Government forces launched a crackdown on the protesters on Sunday, killing more than 50 people in two days. Groups of protesters have occupied various parts of the capital for most of the year, calling for the ousting of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Read Article

Editorial Comment – Will NATO be sent in, as in Libya, to “protect civilians” with its bombs and missiles, or does Yemen not have enough oil reserves for that?

Times Atlas grossly exaggerates Greenland ice loss

New Scientist – Erroneous data about how much ice is vanishing due to climate change are once more at the heart of an explosive controversy. This time, it’s not the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but the venerable Times Atlas of the World that is in the line of fire. Read article

No New F-16’s for Taiwan, but U.S. to Upgrade Fleet

NYTimes – The Obama administration has decided not to sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan but instead to help it refurbish its existing fleet, prompting criticism in Congress that the United States is buckling to pressure from China. Read article

History’s deadliest volcano comes back to life in Indonesia, sparking panic among villagers

Washington Post – Mt Tambora, Indonesia — Bold farmers in Indonesia routinely ignore orders to evacuate the slopes of live volcanoes, but those living on Tambora took no chances when history’s deadliest mountain rumbled ominously this month. Read article

Japan’s Fukushima ‘worst in history’

S&P downgrades Italy debt rating

AFP – Standard & Poor’s today downgraded Italy’s sovereign debt rating, citing economic, fiscal and political weaknesses. The rating agency said it had downgraded Italian debt to “A/A-1″ from a “A+/A-1+” grade. S&P said the downgrade was made because of “Italy’s weakening economic growth prospects” and a view that Italy’s governing coalition would “limit the government’s ability to respond decisively” to events. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – New Climate Index Solves South-west Western Australian Rainfall

CSIRO and Chinese scientists have developed a new climatic index which provides an answer to a riddle that has puzzled researchers for decades: ‘Why has south-west Western Australia experienced dramatic declines in rainfall since the 1970s?’

The Southwest Australian Circulation Index (SWACI) shows how much of the ‘blame’ can be attributed to the weakening of a major atmospheric circulation over the Indian Ocean.

In a paper published in the Journal of Climate, CSIRO statistician Dr Yun Li and climate physicists Professor Jianping Li and Juan Feng from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, say the SWACI also provides researchers with a new tool for predicting annual patterns of wet season rainfall. Read Article

Could China help Europe conquer its debt woes?

BBC – As European leaders face another tumultuous week of crisis talks, austerity cuts and bailout decisions, an offer of help will be fresh in their minds. Last week, China suggested that it might be prepared to help Europe by acting as a buyer of last resort by making a major purchase of euro-denominated bonds. Read Article

Yemen unrest: Death toll from Sanaa clashes tops 50

BBC – Security forces in Yemen have killed more than 50 people in two days of violence against anti-government protesters, activists say, in the country’s bloodiest clashes for months. Snipers in Sanaa fired from rooftops at a protester camp, killing bystanders including a child, witnesses said. Government forces also shelled areas held by troops loyal to the protesters. The opposition has promised to carry on its campaign to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Read Article

Low-Fat Yogurt Intake When Pregnant Linked to Increased Risk of Child Asthma and Hay Fever, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily — Eating low-fat yogurt whilst pregnant can increase the risk of your child developing asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever), according to recent findings. The study will be presented at the European Respiratory Society’s (ERS) Annual Congress in Amsterdam on Sept. 25, 2011. The study aimed to assess whether fatty acids found in dairy products could protect against the development of allergic diseases in children. Read article

Berlin pirate party force FDP to walk the plank

IrishTimes – The Free Democrats (FDP) will exit the capital’s parliament, replaced – in a German premiere – by the “Pirate Party”, a new political alliance pushing civil rights and online data protection. Read article

Deadly earthquake rocks India, Nepal and Tibet

BBC – Dozens of people have been killed and many more injured after a magnitude 6.9 earthquake shook north-eastern India, Nepal and Tibet. Read article

Post-Irene Cleanup May Damage Environment

NPR – Scientists are beginning to get a picture of the environmental impact of Tropical Storm Irene, which ripped through some of the East Coast’s most pristine rivers, triggering hundreds of oil, chemical and sewage spills. Read article

US drone crashes in Pakistan, Taliban nab debris

AP – A suspected U.S. drone crashed in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border and Taliban fighters have gotten hold of the precious debris, Pakistani intelligence officials said Sunday. The unmanned aircraft crashed Saturday night near Jangara village in the South Waziristan tribal area, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. The village is located near the border with North Waziristan. The officials said they learned of the crash by intercepting Taliban radio communications but don’t know what caused it. Both North and South Waziristan are home to many Taliban fighters, though it is unclear whether they shot down the aircraft or if it crashed because of technical problems. Read Article