Daily Archives

Nigeria fuel subsidy end raises protest fears

BBC – The Nigerian authorities have announced the start of a controversial plan to scrap fuel subsidies – which is expected to push up petrol prices. Read article

Ethiopian troops cross into Somalia

Press TV – Hundreds of Ethiopian troops have crossed a border town in neighboring Somalia in order to fight al-Shabab fighters, witnesses say. Capt. Hashi Nour of the Somali military confirmed that Somali and Ethiopian troops had moved in the town of Beletweyne on Saturday. Following the move, hundreds of Somali residents fled the border town, some 30 km (18 miles) into Somalia, local people said. Read Article

Troops, tanks patrol in northeast Nigeria

Reuters – Heavily armed troops and tanks patrolled the streets of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria Sunday, witnesses said, after the president declared a state of emergency in parts of the north affected by an Islamist insurgency. President Goodluck Jonathan imposed the state of emergency on the northeast, the conflict-prone central city of Jos, and part of Niger state near Abuja Saturday, and closed the borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger in the northeast. Read Article

Iran currency plunges 10% as US strengthens sanctions

Guardian – Iran’s currency value has fallen more than 10% in less than a week to record lows, after a US move to tighten financial sanctions against the Islamic republic. The riyal lurched to as low as 16,800 to the dollar, down from 15,200 at the end of last week. It was valued at 10,500 just a year ago. Read Article

Oil-Drilling Wastewater Seen Causing Earthquake

NPR – A northeast Ohio well used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling almost certainly caused a series of 11 minor earthquakes in the Youngstown area since last spring, a seismologist investigating the quakes said Monday. Research is continuing on seismic activity near the now-shuttered injection well at Youngstown, Ohio, 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. Read article

Editorial Note: Injection wells are an approved method of disposing of wastewater. I am told by groundwater expert in my state that the idea, apparently, is to inject the water deeper than groundwater aquifers, so that the groundwater (a common source of drinking water) is not contaminated. Further, injection wells are not supposed to be located where the earth is slipping and sliding i.e. fault lines. Here is a US (Catskills) PDF about just what an injection well is and what they are used for.

Companies getting very creative with data about you

USA Today – As it becomes easier to gather information on consumers, businesses are crunching personal data in new ways to forecast a wide variety of behavior. In much the same way that credit scores predict how likely you are to pay your bills, a new generation of scores now rate the likelihood that you’ll take your medications or redeem a specific coupon. Read Article

Fiji’s military leader Bainimarama lifting martial law

BBC – The military ruler, who seized power in a 2006 coup, said that consultations on a new constitution would begin next month. “To facilitate this consultation process, the public emergency regulations will cease from 7 January 2012,” he said on Monday. The regulations have been in place since April 2009. Read article

DIY cesium scanning store may be ‘new normal’

[Kashiwa,] The tranquil residential city of 406,000 in Chiba Prefecture rarely enters the national spotlight, except when Kashiwa Reysol, the local soccer team, is playing at home. But on a street just six minutes from JR Kashiwa Station, the Bec-Miru facility that Motohiro Takamatsu opened in October is turning heads by offering residents a chance to scan their own groceries, garden soil and other items for radiation. Read article

Hundreds board segregated bus lines to protest ultra-Orthodox exclusion of women

Haaretz – Hundreds of men and women boarded gender-segregated buses in Jerusalem and Ramat Gan on Sunday, in protest of the exclusion of women from the public sphere and against the segregation of men and women in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods. Despite the friction between the two communities, the protest on board the buses went over relatively quietly. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Fremantle, Western Australia sea levels 1993-2012


Climate Fact Of The Day – Multidecadal variability and late medieval cooling of near-coastal sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical North Atlantic

PALEOCEANOGRAPHY, VOL. 26, PA4224, 11 PP., 2011

Multidecadal variability and late medieval cooling of near-coastal sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical North Atlantic

Henning Kuhnert – MARUM, Universität Bremen,, Bremen,, Germany
Stefan Mulitza – MARUM, Universität Bremen,, Bremen,, Germany

Abstract –
Multidecadal variations in Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SST) influence the climate of the Northern Hemisphere. However, prior to the instrumental time period, information on multidecadal climate variability becomes limited, and there is a particular scarcity of sufficiently resolved SST reconstructions. Here we present an eastern tropical North Atlantic reconstruction of SSTs based on foraminiferal Mg/Ca ratios that resolves multidecadal variability over the past 1700 years. Spectral power in the multidecadal band (50 to 70 years period) is significant over several time intervals suggesting that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) has been influencing local SST. Since our data exhibit high scatter the absence of multidecadal variability in the remaining record does not exclude the possibility that SST variations on this time scale might have been present without being detected in our data. Cooling by ?0.5°C takes place between about AD 1250 and AD 1500; while this corresponds to the inception of the Little Ice Age (LIA), the end of the LIA is not reflected in our record and SST remains relatively low. This transition to cooler SSTs parallels the previously reconstructed shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation toward a low pre-20th century mean state and possibly reflects common solar forcing. READ PAPER

Summer-Fall Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) shown in top graph. Iceland Sea Surface temperatures have also declined over the past 1200 years (4th graph). Note also the significant increase of solar irradiance from the Little Ice Age 1550-1850 to the latter 20th century (5th graph).

Police kill 17 in West Papua, says rights group

ABC – A human rights group says at least 17 people died last week after police using helicopters fired on houses in the Indonesian province of West Papua. Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat reports more than 20,000 people are said to now be homeless after security forces torched the dwellings in the Paniai regency. Read Article

Deep sea, hot spring discoveries may be new animal species

Taiwanese seas threatened by overfishing

UPI — Ocean ecology surrounding Taiwan is threatened by overfishing, a new report warns. The Taiwan Environmental Information Association report, which says the reduced presence of sea life shows that all isn’t well with the local marine ecosystem, urges the government to designate protected marine areas. Read article

Police break up Kurds protesting air strike

Reuters – Anger over the killing of civilians by the Turkish military sparks clashes in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of the country. Read article

Single-parent Britain: One in five children lives with just mum or dad – more than in most of Europe

Daily Mail – A higher proportion of children are being brought up in one-parent families in Britain than in any other major European country. One in five live with a single mother of father – a far higher ratio than in France, Germany or Scandinavian countries. And while the number of married families in the UK is among the lowest in Europe, stable cohabiting relationships are also less common here than in other countries. Read Article

China launches first 3D TV channel

BBC – China has launched its first three-dimensional television channel (3D TV) on a trial basis. The channel, operated by China Central Television (CCTV) and five local stations, aims to be launched formally over the upcoming Chinese New Year. Read Article

Euro Leaders Aim to Buy Time to Save Currency

Bloomberg – European leaders return to work this week seeking to buy time for the Spanish and Italian governments to wrest control over their debt and rescue the single currency from fragmentation in its 10th anniversary year. Some 157 billion euros ($203 billion) in debt will mature in the 17-member euro area in the first three months of 2012, according to UBS AG. Read Article

Victorian lawyers fear rise in use of capsicum spray

ABC – Lawyers in Victoria say they fear recent changes to the Victoria Police manual could lead police to use capsicum spray or foam more often. Capsicum spray, also known as pepper spray, is a crowd control weapon which makes the skin and eyes sting and burn. Read Article

Diet, nutrient levels linked to cognitive ability, brain shrinkage

EurekAlert – New research has found that elderly people with higher levels of several vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids in their blood had better performance on mental acuity tests and less of the brain shrinkage typical of Alzheimer’s disease – while “junk food” diets produced just the opposite result. The study was among the first of its type to specifically measure a wide range of blood nutrient levels instead of basing findings on less precise data such as food questionnaires, and found positive effects of high levels of vitamins B, C, D, E and the healthy oils most commonly found in fish. Read article

Protesters arrested in Russia

Reuters – Russian police arrest dozens of opposition protesters in central Moscow. Read article

‘The world’s dirtiest oil’: Satellite photos reveal the relentless expansion of Canada’s controversial tar sands industry

Daily Mail – These satellite photos show the mine that launched Canada’s controversial tar sands industry. The mine at Fort McMurray, on the banks of the Athabasca River, in cold, remote Alberta, had already been operating for 17 years at the time a U.S. satellite pictured it. Today the Canadian tar sands are recognised as one of the world’s largest oil reservoirs. Read article/see pictures

UK: Housing benefit cuts will put 800,000 homes out of reach, according to study

Guardian – A further 800,000 homes will be put out of reach of people on housing benefit because of government welfare cuts – leaving low income families the choice of cutting spending on food to pay the rent or moving out, according to a study by housing experts. The Chartered Institute of Housing has found there will be thousands more claimants than properties that are affordable on benefits alone, raising the possibility that the poor will migrate to “benefit ghettoes” in seaside towns or the north of England. Read Article

Pacific fears tuna over-fishing in southern waters

ABC – A fishing regulation body has expressed serious concerns about a large influx of tuna fishing vessels in southern Pacific waters. The Pacific Islands Tuna Association (PITIA) said there was an increase in the numbers of displaced southern longline fleets coming from northern Pacific and Indian Ocean fisheries. Read article

German Government Bonds Drop as China, India Manufacturing Boosts Optimism

Bloomberg – German government bonds declined, pushing the 10-year yield higher for the first time in five days as a Chinese manufacturing gauge rose in December, fueling optimism the global economy may stabilize. The losses pushed the yield up from the lowest since Nov. 17 as India’s manufacturing grew at the fastest pace in six months. Read Article