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Topics - 8hertz
« on: September 25, 2013, 08:26:29 AM »
What 95% certainty of warming means to scientistshttp://news.yahoo.com/95-certainty-warming-means-scientists-153904135.html
Associated Press SETH BORENSTEIN 19 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — Top scientists from a variety of fields say they are about as certain that global warming is a real, man-made threat as they are that cigarettes kill.
They are as sure about climate change as they are about the age of the universe. They say they are more certain about climate change than they are that vitamins make you healthy or that dioxin in Superfund sites is dangerous.
They'll even put a number on how certain they are about climate change. But that number isn't 100 percent. It's 95 percent.
And for some non-scientists, that's just not good enough.
There's a mismatch between what scientists say about how certain they are and what the general public thinks the experts mean, specialists say.
That is an issue because this week, scientists from around the world have gathered in Stockholm for a meeting of a U.N. panel on climate change, and they will probably release a report saying it is "extremely likely" — which they define in footnotes as 95 percent certain — that humans are mostly to blame for temperatures that have climbed since 1951.
One climate scientist involved says the panel may even boost it in some places to "virtually certain" and 99 percent.
Some climate-change deniers have looked at 95 percent and scoffed. After all, most people wouldn't get on a plane that had only a 95 percent certainty of landing safely, risk experts say.
But in science, 95 percent certainty is often considered the gold standard for certainty.
"Uncertainty is inherent in every scientific judgment," said Johns Hopkins University epidemiologist Thomas Burke. "Will the sun come up in the morning?" Scientists know the answer is yes, but they can't really say so with 100 percent certainty because there are so many factors out there that are not quite understood or under control.
George Gray, director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at George Washington University, said that demanding absolute proof on things such as climate doesn't make sense.
"There's a group of people who seem to think that when scientists say they are uncertain, we shouldn't do anything," said Gray, who was chief scientist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the George W. Bush administration. "That's crazy. We're uncertain and we buy insurance."
With the U.N. panel about to weigh in on the effects of greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of oil, coal and gas, The Associated Press asked scientists who specialize in climate, physics, epidemiology, public health, statistics and risk just what in science is more certain than human-caused climate change, what is about the same, and what is less.
They said gravity is a good example of something more certain than climate change. Climate change "is not as sure as if you drop a stone it will hit the Earth," Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer said. "It's not certain, but it's close."
Arizona State University physicist Lawrence Krauss said the 95 percent quoted for climate change is equivalent to the current certainty among physicists that the universe is 13.8 billion years old.
The president of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Ralph Cicerone, and more than a dozen other scientists contacted by the AP said the 95 percent certainty regarding climate change is most similar to the confidence scientists have in the decades' worth of evidence that cigarettes are deadly.
"What is understood does not violate any mechanism that we understand about cancer," while "statistics confirm what we know about cancer," said Cicerone, an atmospheric scientist. Add to that a "very high consensus" among scientists about the harm of tobacco, and it sounds similar to the case for climate change, he said.
But even the best study can be nitpicked because nothing is perfect, and that's the strategy of both tobacco defenders and climate deniers, said Stanton Glantz, a medicine professor at the University of California, San Francisco and director of its tobacco control research center.
George Washington's Gray said the 95 percent number the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will probably adopt may not be realistic. In general, regardless of the field of research, experts tend to overestimate their confidence in their certainty, he said. Other experts said the 95 percent figure is too low.
Jeff Severinghaus, a geoscientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said that through the use of radioactive isotopes, scientists are more than 99 percent sure that much of the carbon in the air has human fingerprints on it. And because of basic physics, scientists are 99 percent certain that carbon traps heat in what is called the greenhouse effect.
But the role of nature and all sorts of other factors bring the number down to 95 percent when you want to say that the majority of the warming is human-caused, he said.
« on: June 20, 2013, 03:01:08 PM »
Developer: Kan. caverns could preserve human racehttp://news.yahoo.com/developer-kan-caverns-could-preserve-human-race-071249444.html
By BILL DRAPER | Associated Press – 8 hrs ago ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — After most of the world's population is wiped off the map by a wayward meteorite or hail of nuclear missiles, the survival of the human race might just depend on a few thousand people huddled in recreational vehicles deep in the bowels of an eastern Kansas mine.
That's the vision of a California man who is creating what he calls the world's largest private underground survivor shelter, using a complex of limestone caves dug more than 100 years ago beneath gently rolling hills overlooking the Missouri River.
"I do believe I am on a mission and doing a spiritual thing," said Robert Vicino, who has purchased a large portion of the former U.S. Army storage facility on the southeast edge of Atchison, about 50 miles northwest of Kansas City, Mo. "We will certainly be part of the genesis."
Before it comes time to ride out Armageddon or a deadly global pandemic, though, Vicino says the Vivos Survival Shelter and Resort will be a fun place for members to take vacations and learn assorted survival skills to prepare them for whatever world-changing catastrophe awaits.
Jacque Pregont, president of the Atchison Chamber of Commerce, said some people think the shelter plan sounds creepy or that Vicino has "lost his mind," while others are excited because they will finally get a chance to tour the property.
Atchison is known as the birthplace of Amelia Earhart and one of the most haunted towns in Kansas, Pregont said, so the survival shelter is likely to add to the town's tourism draw.
"It's quirky, and quirky gets attention," she said.
Recent Hollywood movies have done big business exploring themes about threats to the human race, either through climate shifts, meteor impacts or zombie invasions. And the National Geographic Channel show, "Doomsday Preppers," documents the efforts of Americans who are preparing for the end of the world with elaborate shelters and plenty of freeze-dried rations.
Paul Seyfried, who belongs to a group that promotes preparing for manmade or natural disasters, said Americans have become complacent ever since the death of John F. Kennedy, the last president who urged people to build fallout shelters.
"There has been no war on our soil in over 100 years, so the horror of war is not stamped indelibly in Americans' minds," said Seyfried, a member of The American Civil Defense Association's advisory board.
Ken Rose, a history professor at California State University-Chico, is an outspoken critic of underground shelters. Though he acknowledged that interest in underground shelters is growing, he called projects like the Kansas facility a "colossal waste of time and money."
"Some people are just obsessed by this idea," Rose said. "... Without minimizing the terror threat here today, the threats were much greater at the height of the Cold War. At least then anxiety was based on a realistic scenario."
The Kansas caverns are 100 feet to 150 feet below the surface and have a constant natural temperature in the low 70s. They are supported by thick limestone pillars six times stronger than concrete and will have blast doors built to withstand a one-megaton nuclear explosion as close as 10 miles away, Vicino said.
Other than being surrounded by more than a mile and a half of 6-foot-high chain-link fence topped with sharp rows of barbed wire, the land above ground isn't distinguishable from expanses of hills and trees that surround it. The proposed shelter's entrances — nondescript concrete loading docks tucked discretely into the wooded hillside — are easily defensible against any potential intruders provided there's not a full-scale military attack, Vicino said.
The Army used the caverns — created by limestone mining operations that started in the late 1880s — for decades as a storage facility before putting them up for auction last year. The winning bid in December was $1.7 million, but financing fell through and the site was put up for sale again.
Springfield, Mo., investor Coby Cullins submitted his winning $510,000 bid for the property in early April, and he immediately started looking for ways to use it. One of his ideas was to lease the land to a company that builds survival bunkers.
Vicino, whose company is based in Del Mar, Calif., said he received an email from Cullins and flew to Kansas two days later to check out the property. Vicino agreed to purchase 75 percent of the complex, rather than lease it, while Cullins retained the rest and is marketing it to local businesses.
The complex consists of two fully lighted, temperature-controlled mines with concrete floors. The east cave, which Cullins owns, encompasses about 15 acres and contains offices, vaults, restrooms and other developed work spaces. The much larger west cave, which covers about 45 acres, is mostly undeveloped and will be converted into the Vivos facility.
The shelter will have enough space for more than 1,000 RVs and up to about 5,000 people. Members will be charged $1,000 for every lineal foot of their RV to purchase their space, plus $1,500 per person for food. That means a person who plans to park a 30-foot vehicle in the shelter with four people inside will pay $30,000 for the space and $6,000 for food.
Actual sales won't begin until a "critical mass" of reservations are received and processed, Vicino said, which hasn't happened yet at the Kansas shelter.
Vivos also owns a shelter in Indiana with room for 80 people to live comfortably for up to a year. There, members pay $50,000 per adult and $35,000 per child, so a family with two adults and two children would have to come up with $170,000 to be part of the post-apocalyptic generation.
Purchasers will be required to pay for the full balance before taking possession of their shelter space, though the company has offered limited financing in the past with a sizable down payment.
Vicino says he won't say specifically where the Indiana shelter or any of his smaller facilities are located because he fears there would be anarchy in the event of a world-changing catastrophe.
And it doesn't matter who comes knocking at the "moment of truth," Vicino said, they're probably not getting in.
"I've heard people say, 'I will just show up at the door,'" he said. "Our response is, 'great, where is the door?' At our secret shelters, you don't know where to go, and your cash will be worthless at that time."
« on: June 19, 2013, 02:36:58 PM »
http://weather.yahoo.com/nasas-grand-challenge-stop-asteroids-destroying-earth-181226477.htmlNASA's Grand Challenge: Stop Asteroids from Destroying Earth
By Clara Moskowitz | SPACE.com – Tue, Jun 18, 2013 2:12 PM EDT
There may be killer asteroids headed for Earth, and NASA has decided to do something about it. The space agency announced a new "Grand Challenge" today (June 18) to find all dangerous space rocks and figure out how to stop them from destroying Earth.
The new mission builds on projects already underway at NASA, including a plan to capture an asteroid, pull it in toward the moon and send astronauts to visit it. As part of the Grand Challenge, the agency issued a "request for information" today aiming to solicit ideas from industry, academia and the public on how to improve the asteroid mission plan.
"We're asking for you to think about concepts and different approaches for what we've described here," William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human explorations and operations, said today during a NASA event announcing the initiative. "We want you to think about other ways of enhancing this to get the most out of it." [How It Works: NASA Asteroid-Capture Mission in Pictures]
Responses to the request for information, which also seeks ideas for detecting and mitigating asteroid threats, are due July 18.
The asteroid-retrieval mission, designed to provide the first deep-space mission for astronauts flying on NASA's Space Launch System rocket and Orion space capsule under development, has come under fire from lawmakers who would prefer that NASA return to the moon.
A draft NASA authorization bill from the House space subcommittee being debated right now would cancel the mission and steer the agency toward other projects. That bill will be discussed during a hearing Wednesday (June 19) at 10 a.m. EDT.
But NASA officials defended the asteroid mission today and said they were confident they'd win Congress' support once they explained its benefits further.
"I think that we really, truly are going to be able to show the value of the mission," NASA Associate Administrator Lori Garver said today. "To me, this is something that what we do in this country — we debate how we spend the public's money. This is the beginning of the debate."
Garver also maintained that sending astronauts to an asteroid would not diminish NASA's other science and exploration goals, including another lunar landing.
"This initiative takes nothing from the other valuable work," she said. "This is only a small piece of our overall strategy, but it is an integral piece. It takes nothing from the moon."
Part of NASA's plan to win support for the flight is to link it more closely with the larger goal of protecting Earth from asteroid threats.
If, some day, humanity discovers an asteroid headed for Earth and manages to alter its course, "it will be one of the most important accomplishments in human history," said Tom Kalil, deputy director for technology and innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The topic of asteroid threats is more timely than ever, after a meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15, the same day that the football-field-size asteroid 2012 DA14 passed within the moon's orbit of Earth.
« on: June 19, 2013, 06:15:31 AM »
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE95I09720130619Time to stop arguing about climate change, World Bank says
By Nina Chestney. LONDON | Wed Jun 19, 2013 8:46am EDT
(Reuters) - The world should stop arguing about whether humans are causing climate change and start taking action to stop dangerous temperature rises, the president of the World Bank said on Wednesday.
Kim Jim Yong Kim said there was 97 to 98 percent agreement among scientists that global warming was real and caused by human activity.
"If you disagree with the science of human-caused climate change you are not disagreeing that there is anthropogenic climate change. What you are disagreeing with is science itself," Kim told a Thomson Reuters newsmaker event in London.
"It is time to stop arguing about whether (climate change) is real or not," he said.
A study last month found that 97 percent of around 4,000 scientific reports giving an opinion about the cause of climate change since the 1990s said it was mainly human. Sceptics said the survey wrongly omitted thousands of papers which did not give a view.
Governments across the world have agreed to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).
Estimates differ over how high temperatures may rise and over what period of time.
The World Bank and others have estimated that the globe has already warmed by about 0.8 degrees C (1.4F) since the Industrial Revolution and 2 degrees C is widely viewed as a threshold to dangerous changes such as more floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
The World Bank wants more focus on the issue.
In a report on Wednesday, it cited Bangkok as an example, saying much of it could flood within the next two decades if global warming stays on its current trajectory.
Kim said that as extreme weather events continue, public opinion about climate change should start to change.
The lack of an international deal is a "lame excuse" to not tackling climate change, Kim said. In the meantime, any kind of agreements or action should be encouraged.
"The level of seriousness at the top in the United States couldn't be higher. As extreme weather events occur (such as) in the mid-west and Hurricane Sandy etc, other legislators will come around," Kim said.
He noted that China, the world's second largest economy, is also taking climate change very seriously.
Even though China is the biggest CO2 emitter in the world and is still building coal plants, it is investing more in solar and wind power than any other country and ramping up efforts to build cleaner cities and more efficient buildings.
China's efforts to develop its own national carbon market - similar to Europe's, is also positive sign for a global agreement, Kim said.
China launched its first emissions trading scheme this week in Shenzhen, marking a milestone in the country's climate policy.
"If we get China, the U.S. and the EU to agree on a price for CO2 we will have a market mechanism to fight climate change. I hope a practical solution will happen before 2020," he added.
The European Union currently operates the world's largest carbon market, which has been in place since 2005.
The rate of warming since the turn of this century, meanwhile, has slowed more than many scientists had expected after strong rises in the 1980s and 1990s. Some have interpreted this as a sign climate change is less of an immediate threat than thought.
Attempts to agree a plan of action to combat climate change failed at a U.N. conference in Copenhagen in 2009, primarily because of concerns over the economic impact.
(Additional reporting by Anna Yukhananov. Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)
« on: April 30, 2013, 02:38:19 PM »
I find this pretty amazing ice coming out of a body of water like a Volcano.http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/cool-ice-needles-beach-minnesota-145517702.html?vp=1Cool: Ice needles on a beach in Minnesota
By Claudine Zap | The Sideshow – Mon, Apr 29, 2013
Springtime in Minnesota: the sun, the beach, the ice.
Despite temperatures climbing to almost 80 degrees on Sunday, beachgoers to a lake in eastern Minnesota saw spiky mounds of ice in almost volcanic-looking formations along the edge of the beach.
According to a local weather reporter on KARE, the ice needles formed when ice out on the lake was pushed by a strong wind to shore, where warm weather then weakened the ice so that it splintered.
The hearty locals don’t seem to mind the last gasp of winter. One girl is heard exclaiming on the video, “That is so cool.” Literally.
« on: April 30, 2013, 10:17:46 AM »
http://news.yahoo.com/worlds-largest-infrared-space-telescope-shuts-down-forever-160145461.htmlWorld's Largest Infrared Space Telescope Shuts Down Forever
By Miriam Kramer | SPACE.com – 1 hr 9 mins ago
After nearly four years mapping the "hidden universe," the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space has reached the end of its life, European Space Agency officials say.
The $1.4 billion Herschel Space Observatory has exhausted the vital supply of liquid helium coolant that allowed it make the most sensitive and detailed observations of the cosmos in infrared light, ESA officials announced Monday (April 29).
The infrared space telescope's official end was recorded by a ground station in Australia, which recorded an increase in temperature for all of the spacecraft's instruments during the telescope's daily communications session. It began its mission in May 2009. [Amazing Photos from the Herschel Space Telescope]
"Herschel has offered us a new view of the hitherto hidden universe, pointing us to a previously unseen process of star birth and galaxy formation, and allowing us to trace water through the universe from molecular clouds to newborn stars and their planet-forming discs and belts of comets," ESA's Herschel project scientist Göran Pilbratt said in a statement.
Named for famed 18th century astronomer William Herschel, the space telescope was the most powerful infrared observatory ever launched to space until it stopped functioning this week. It has a main mirror 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) across nearly 1.5 times larger than Hubble Space Telescope, and was designed to chart the universe in the far-infrared to sub-millimeter wavelengths of light.
"Herschel gave us the opportunity to peer into the dark and cold regions of the universe that are invisible to other telescopes," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science missions. The U.S. space agency was a partner with ESA in the Herschel mission.
The Herschel space observatory is responsible for some amazing images of far-off cosmic wonders, such as its dazzling views of the Eagle Nebula and Andromeda Galaxy. Its helium-cooled instruments allowed astronomers to study far away starburst galaxies and star formation closer to home in the Milky Way.
The coolant kept Herschel's instruments chilled to a temperature of minus 455 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 271 degrees Celsius), but that supply was expected to evaporate over time.
"It feels like losing a member of the family," Herschel mission officials wrote in Twitter post at the mission's end. "Almost 4 incredibly intense years in space."
The Herschel observatory collected more than 35,000 scientific observations and 25,000 hours of data. According to ESA officials, that plethora of data will be Herschel's main contribution to the world of science.
"The archive will become the legacy of the mission," ESA officials explained in a statement. "It is expected to provide even more discoveries than have been made during the lifetime of the Herschel mission."
NASA scientists said the Herschel mission's effect on astronomy will far outlast the four-year mission itself.
"Herschel has improved our understanding of how new stars and planets form, but has also raised many new questions," said Paul Goldsmith, NASA Herschel project scientist at JPL, said in a statement. "Astronomers will be following up on Herschel's discoveries with ground-based and future space-based observatories for years to come."
The space telescope has also paved the way for future missions focused on observing the universe in infrared wavelengths, ESA officials added.
"The mission resulted in a number of technological advancements applicable to future space missions and potential spin-off technologies," ESA officials said. "The mission saw the development of advanced cryogenic systems, the construction of the largest telescope mirror ever flown in space, and the utilization of the most sensitive direct detectors for light in the far-infrared to millimeter range."
Follow Miriam Kramer on Twitter and Google+. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.
« on: April 01, 2013, 04:43:06 PM »
OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
« on: April 01, 2013, 01:06:37 PM »
Don't know if this has been posted. "comet arrived from our solar system’s distant Oort cloud" Mars vs. Comet in 2014: Scientists Prepare for Red Planet Sky Show
By Leonard David | SPACE.com – 3 hrs agohttp://news.yahoo.com/mars-vs-comet-2014-scientists-prepare-red-planet-115018928.html
A close encounter between Mars and Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) in 2014 is creating both opportunity and anxiety in scientific circles. Scientists are in the early stages of assembling a comet-watching campaign that uses a spacecraft currently orbiting the Red Planet, as well as rovers on the Martian surface.
Scientists are also investigating what techniques could be used to prevent cometary debris from hitting Mars-orbiting spacecraft as the comet and planet converge.
The Mars-bound comet was discovered by Rob McNaught on Jan. 3 at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Scientists estimate that this comet arrived from our solar system’s distant Oort cloud and has been on a more than 1-million-year journey.
The comet could contain volatile gases that short-period comets often lack due to their frequent returns to the sun’s neighborhood.
Scientists expect the comet’s closest approach to Mars to occur on Oct. 19, 2014, at about 11:45 a.m. PDT (18:45 GTM).
At that time, the comet will be on the sunward side of Mars. The comet and its tail should be a stunning sight in the predawn Martian sky just before the closest approach, as well as in the post-dusk sky just after the closest approach.
Will the comet hit Mars?
The close encounter will give scientists the opportunity to make observations, said Richard Zurek, chief scientist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Mars Program Office and project scientist for NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
"Given the present uncertainties of the comet's path and size, it is difficult to do any detailed planning now, but that will change by the end of the year, with continued observations of the comet," Zurek told SPACE.com.
New observations of Siding Spring have allowed NASA’s Near-Earth Object (NEO) Office at the JPL to refine the comet’s orbit.
The latest orbital plot places the comet’s closest approach to Mars a little farther out than previously estimated — at about 73,000 miles (117,000 kilometers) from the surface of the Red Planet.
Therefore, the chance that the comet will hit Mars has diminished to about 1 in 8,000, JPL NEO experts said.
Future observations of the comet are expected to refine the orbit predictions further.
Zurek said the comet’s close encounter with Mars is an exciting prospect for researchers. For example, MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment — or HiRISE camera — should get several pixels across the comet nucleus.
"So, there should be some fascinating science that could result from observations by various instruments at Mars of the nucleus, coma and, of course, the tail," Zurek said.
NASA's Curiosity and Opportunity are located near Mars'equator, so their best views of the comet from the Martian surface may come when the comet is visible during the predawn hours, low over the southeast horizon.
However, "More information is needed before we can understand what they might see," Zurek said.
Safety measures on Mars
There is a slight possibility that the comet could graze ? or even hit ? Mars, Zurek said. "If that is not ruled out by future observations of the comet, we will have to start thinking about what precautions we should take," he said.
Those safety measures would include positioning the orbiters so that they are on the other side of Mars at the time of comet impact.
"We are not worrying about that right now, since the probability is very low and likely to be ruled out in the next few months by continued monitoring of the comet's progress," Zurek said.
Even tiny comet dust particles traveling with a relative velocity of 56 km per second (just over 125,200 mph, or 201,600 km/h) could sandblast Mars-orbiting spacecraft. The satellites could potentially be ordered to turn away or feather their solar panels to mitigate the possible dust impacts.
Comet ISON campaign: a rehearsal
Siding Spring isn’t the only comet that will approach Mars within the next two years. Comet ISON, discovered in September 2012, will streak through the inner solar system this October and could be one of the brightest comets ever seen.
However, according to Zurek, the distance between Siding Spring and Mars will be 100 times smaller than the distance between Comet ISON and Mars.
"That's close enough that the orbiters — Mars Odyssey, MRO, and the European Space Agency's Mars Express — at least could see structure in the coma, and tail and make estimates perhaps of particle size, etc.," Zurek said. "ISON observations also would help us practice for Siding Spring's much closer passage a year later.”
"We are certainly expecting to observe Siding Spring with HiRISE and other MRO instruments," added Alfred McEwen, director of the Planetary Image Research Lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson and the principal investigator for MRO's HiRISE.
"Potential hazards to the spacecraft and instruments will be analyzed,” McEwen told SPACE.com. But the probability that this will be a major hazard seems low — at least to me — but the trajectory and comet properties remain poorly known. We have plenty of time to study this and get ready."
Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and co-author of Buzz Aldrin's new book, "Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration," out in May from National Geographic. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.
Copyright 2013 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
« on: October 01, 2012, 10:47:52 AM »
Asteroid Dust Could Fight Climate Change on Earth
By Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor | LiveScience.com – Sat, Sep 29, 2012http://news.yahoo.com/asteroid-dust-could-fight-climate-change-earth-132248031.html
To combat global warming, scientists in Scotland now suggest an out-of-this-world solution — a giant dust cloud in space, blasted off an asteroid, which would act like a sunshade for Earth.
The world is warming and the climate is changing. Although many want to prevent these shifts by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that trap heat from the sun, some controversially suggest deliberating manipulating the planet's climate with large-scale engineering projects, commonly called geoengineering.
Instead of altering the climate by targeting either the oceans or the atmosphere, some researchers have suggested geoengineering projects that would affect the entire planet from space. For instance, projects that reduced the amount of solar radiation Earth receives by 1.7 percent could offset the effects of a global increase in temperature of 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C). The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has noted climate models suggest average global temperatures will likely rise by 2 to 11.5 degrees F (1.1 to 6.4 degrees C) by the end of this century.
"A 1.7 percent reduction is very small and will hardly be noticeable on Earth," said researcher Russell Bewick, a space scientist at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. "People sometimes get the idea of giant screens blocking the entire sun. This is not the case ... as [the device] is constantly between the sun and the Earth, it acts merely as a very light shade or filter."
One proposal to shade the Earth from the sun would place giant mirrors in space. The main problem with this concept is the immense cost and effort needed either to build and launch such reflectors or to construct them in outer space — the current cost to launch an object into low Earth orbit runs into thousands of dollars per pound. Another would use blankets of dust to blot out the sun, just as clouds do for Earth. These offer the virtue of simplicity compared with mirrors, but run the risk of getting dispersed over time by solar radiation and the gravitational pull of the sun, moon and planets. [Top 10 Craziest Environmental Ideas]
Now instead of having a dust cloud floating by itself in space, researchers suggest an asteroid could essentially gravitationally anchor a dust cloud in space to block sunlight and cool the Earth.
"I would like to make it clear that I would never suggest geoengineering in place of reducing our carbon emissions," Bewick told LiveScience. Instead, he said, "We can buy time to find a lasting solution to combat Earth’s climate change. The dust cloud is not a permanent cure, but it could offset the effects of climate change for a given time to allow slow-acting measures like carbon capture to take effect."
The idea would be to place an asteroid at Lagrange point L1, a site where the gravitational pull of the sun and the Earth cancel out. This point is about four times the distance from the Earth to the moon.
The researchers suggest outfitting a near-Earth asteroid with a "mass driver," a device consisting of electromagnets that would hurl asteroid-derived matter away from the giant rock. The mass driver could serve both as a rocket to push the asteroid to the L1 point and as an engine to spew out sun-shielding dust. [5 Reasons to Care About Asteroids]
The researchers calculate that the largest near-Earth asteroid, 1036 Ganymed, could maintain a dust cloud large enough to block out 6.58 percent of the solar radiation that would normally reach Earth, more than enough to combat any current global warming trends. Such a cloud would be about 11 million-billion pounds (5 million-billion kilograms) in mass and about 1,600 miles (2,600 kilometers) wide.
Ganymed has a mass of about 286 million-billion lbs. (130 million-billion kg). An asteroid of this size might make one think of disaster movies, such as "Armageddon"; however, "rather than destroying the Earth, it could be used to help mankind," Bewick said.
Asteroid dust challenges
The main challenge of this proposal would be pushing an asteroid the size of Ganymed to the sun-Earth L1 point.
"The company Planetary Resources recently announced their intention to mine asteroids," Bewick said. "The study that they base their plans on reckons that it will be possible to capture an asteroid with a mass of 500,000 kilograms (1.1 million lbs.) by 2025. Comparing this to the mass of Ganymed makes the task of capturing it seem unfeasible, at least in everything except the very far term. However, smaller asteroids could be moved and clustered at the first Lagrange point."
Safety is another concern.
"A very large asteroid is a potential threat to Earth, and therefore great care and testing would be required in the implementation of this scenario," Bewick said. "Due to this, the political challenges would probably match the scale of the engineering challenge. Even for the capture of much smaller asteroids, there will likely be reservations from all areas of society, though the risks would be much less."
Also, there's no way to fully test this dust cloud on a large scale to verify its effectiveness before implementing it, "something that is common to all geoengineering schemes," Bewick said. "On the global scale, it is not possible to test because the test would essentially be the real thing, except probably in a diluted form. Climate modeling can be performed, but without some large-scale testing, the results from these models cannot be fully verified."
Still, if geoengineers did use asteroids to generate clouds, they could drastically reduce how much dust the projects spew out "should any catastrophic climate response be observed," Bewick said, "with the cloud dispersing naturally over time."
The scientists will detail their findings in the Nov. 12 issue of the journal Advances in Space Research.
« on: June 23, 2011, 08:40:22 PM »
Major quake hits Pacific off Alaska, tsunami warning issued
Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:30PM EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A major earthquake of 7.4 magnitude hit in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday 107 miles east of Atka, Alaska, and at a depth of about 25 miles in the Pacific Ocean, and a tsunami warning was in effect for coastal Alaska, the U.S. Geologic Survey said.
(Writing by Philip Barbara, editing by Peter Cooney)
« on: June 23, 2011, 11:43:59 AM »
Two by two: A real-life Noah’s Ark
By Mike Krumboltz Wed Jun 22, 6:17 pm ET
An hour outside of Amsterdam in Dordrecht, Netherlands, a ship is under construction. But this ain't your typical sailboat, bub. Johan Huibers is building a full-scale replica of Noah's ark.
Yes, that Noah's ark. And Johan, an expert builder, isn't skimping on the details. The ship, which he's been constructing for the past three years, is built to biblical specs. Johan culled information on the ark's size and shape directly from the good book. In the end, the ship is four stories high and the length of a football field. And yes, it's seaworthy.
The result is an incredibly impressive ship, especially considering it was realized simply by a man with a dream--or, perhaps, a nightmare. According to an interview with NBC's "The Today Show," Johan dreamt that Holland suffered a great flood. The next morning, he woke up determined to start preparing for that worst-case scenario.
The ship, which is not to be confused with the theme park in Kentucky that also honors Noah's ark, is generating a lot of interest in the search box. Over the past 24 hours, online lookups for "noah's ark photos" and "noah's ark real ship" have surged.
As for the craft proper, it's not complete yet, but it's getting close. The master plan is to sail the ship up the Thames in time for the London Olympics next year. Expect to see plenty of life-size plastic animals aboard (two of each type, of course).
You can check out the video below for an inside look.
« on: June 22, 2011, 09:35:42 AM »
Does anyone (admin or Mod) has anymore info on the interview with Suzanne Taylor last night. Download didn't completed the show. And Yes, I know show was hack. I'm curious to understand why Suzanne interview hit a hard spot.
« on: June 17, 2011, 10:21:52 AM »
« on: October 20, 2010, 08:16:08 AM »
The Mayan calendar is off. Robert Dean did talk about Jesus death being off by so many years (7). If I recall correctly.http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20101019/sc_livescience/endoftheearthpostponedEnd of the Earth Postponed
by Stephanie Pappas LiveScience Senior Writer - Tue Oct 19, 7:35 am ET
It's a good news/bad news situation for believers in the 2012 Mayan apocalypse. The good news is that the Mayan "Long Count" calendar may not end on Dec. 21, 2012 (and, by extension, the world may not end along with it). The bad news for prophecy believers? If the calendar doesn't end in December 2012, no one knows when it actually will - or if it has already.
A new critique, published as a chapter in the new textbook "Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World" (Oxbow Books, 2010), argues that the accepted conversions of dates from Mayan to the modern calendar may be off by as much as 50 or 100 years. That would throw the supposed and overhyped 2012 apocalypse off by decades and cast into doubt the dates of historical Mayan events. (The doomsday worries are based on the fact that the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, much as our year ends on Dec. 31.)
The Mayan calendar was converted to today's Gregorian calendar using a calculation called the GMT constant, named for the last initials of three early Mayanist researchers. Much of the work emphasized dates recovered from colonial documents that were written in the Mayan language in the Latin alphabet, according to the chapter's author, Gerardo Aldana, University of California, Santa Barbara professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies.
Later, the GMT constant was bolstered by American linguist and anthropologist Floyd Lounsbury, who used data in the Dresden Codex Venus Table, a Mayan calendar and almanac that charts dates relative to the movements of Venus.
"He took the position that his work removed the last obstacle to fully accepting the GMT constant," Aldana said in a statement. "Others took his work even further, suggesting that he had proven the GMT constant to be correct."
But according to Aldana, Lounsbury's evidence is far from irrefutable.
"If the Venus Table cannot be used to prove the FMT as Lounsbury suggests, its acceptance depends on the reliability of the corroborating data," he said. That historical data, he said, is less reliable than the Table itself, causing the argument for the GMT constant to fall "like a stack of cards."
Aldana doesn't have any answers as to what the correct calendar conversion might be, preferring to focus on why the current interpretation may be wrong. Looks like end-of-the-world theorists may need to find another ancient calendar on which to pin their apocalyptic hopes.
« on: September 28, 2010, 08:46:54 AM »
We won't be the alpha dog in the western hemisphere forever.
Even if the U.S. hadn't crashed into a financial crisis, there are demographic, material, and political forces that have been spreading power around the Americas for decades.
Brazil is first among the BRICs (Brazi, Russia, India, and China) -- four economies that are supposed to overtake the six largest Western economies by 2032.
Mexico is first among the MAVINS (Mexico, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, and South Africa) -- six economies we expect to blow away expectations and become leading powers in their regions relatively soon.
Canada and Venezuela are oil powers of the distant future.
Peru and Chile are sitting on a fortune of metals and minerals.
All these countries are cranking up, while America faces plenty of fiscal and demographic problems at home.
Destiny comes to those who listen, and fate finds the rest.
So learn what you can learn, do what you can do, and never give up hope!