Two More Mysterious Black Holes Open Up at the ‘End of the World’

Crater 1 (Yamal Peninsula)
 Two more mysterious holes have opened up in Siberia after the original crater appeared in the Yamal Peninsula earlier this month.

“Yamal” is a name that literally translates to “end of the land.”

Both new craters were discovered by reindeer herders, who thankfully didn’t fall the estimated 300 feet to the bottom.

In case the thought of bottomless black holes isn’t already conjuring up images of an apocalyptic doomsday, then here are some videos and pictures to ensure you don’t sleep at all tonight.

Scientists are still unsure as to what exactly is causing their appearance. Theories range from meteorites to stray missiles, a man-made prank or even aliens.

However, The Siberian Times reports that the most common belief is that they’re the result of “melting permafrost due to climate change, causing a release of methane gas, which then forces an eruption.”

So basically, these things might keep popping up if humans continue to treat the planet like their own personal trash can.

One of the craters is on the same peninsula as the first one, while the other is on the Taymyr Peninsula.

The first is 98 feet in diameter, the second is 49 feet, and the third is 13 feet.

Crater 2 (Yamal Peninsula)

The third crater is in the Taymyr Peninsula, another region in Siberia.

Marina Leibman, chief scientist of the Earth Cryosphere Institute, told URA.RU, “Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations. It is necessary to be able to predict their occurrence. Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists.”

A researcher at the Russian Scientific Centre of Arctic Research, Dr. Andrey Plekhanov claims that more studies will need to take place in order to determine if climate change is to blame.

Whatever’s to blame, it’s a scary reminder that we need to take better care of our planet.


Hit by Hailstones in Russian’s Altai Region, July 28th

image from omskzdes

Seven people have been injured and thousands of homes and facilities damaged after a heavy hailstorm hit the Russian region of Altay. The hailstones were the size of quail’s eggs, and some even as big as tennis balls.

A woman has been taken to hospital with a head injury.

The hailstorm hit the Altay Region in southern Sibera, over 3,500 kilometers from Moscow.

Many cars were also damaged in the hail, which lasted for about 10 minutes, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

 Over 3,000 homes and facilities were damaged, and about 1,600 square meters of windows were broken in the area during the storm, said Svetlana Lyashko, a representative of the local Emergency Situations Ministry.

A massive electricity outage was registered in the region hit by the hail.

To assess the damage, 15 rescue groups with 102 staff and 27 units of special equipment were deployed to the area.

On Tuesday, meteorologists predict heavy thunderstorms, rain and hail.

The storm came not long after the region was hit by its annual flood season, which this year affected 40,000 people.

Two weeks ago, a similar hailstorm hit the city of Novosibirsk due to the sharp decrease in temperatures: from +41 to +21 Celsius. A video that went viral showed the hail and the people running from a beach, some of them horrified and some trying to joke about the harsh Siberian climate.

Deadliest Diseases in Human History

Authorities across West Africa have announced a series of measures aimed at halting the spread of the Ebola virus, as the pathogen reached a fourth country last week with a death in Lagos, the second-fastest growing city in Nigeria.

The hospital where a man died on Friday, the country's first recorded case of Ebola, was closed and quarantined.

Between 1976, when the disease was first identified, and 2014, fewer than 1,000 people a year have been infected. Yet this year, the largest outbreak to date is the ongoing in West Africa, affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and now, Nigeria.

IBTimes UK looks at other diseases and outbreaks which have claimed thousands of lives in human history.


Also known as Variola vera, the contagious disease caused an estimated 300 to 500 million deaths in the 20th century. As recently as 1967, the World Health Organisation stated that around 15 million people contracted the disease and two million had died that year alone.

Smallpox is characterised by a blistered rash on the skin, as well as a fever.
After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the WHO certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979. To this day, smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely eradicated.

Spanish Flu

In the period from 1918 and 1919, between 50 million and 100 million people died of Spanish influenza. Although most influenza outbreaks kill juvenile, elderly or weakened patients, the 1918 epidemic predominantly killed healthy, young adults.

To maintain morale, wartime censors minimised early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States. However, papers were free to report the epidemic's effects in neutral Spain - creating a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit, causing the nickname Spanish flu.

Symptoms of Spanish flu included chills and fluid in the lungs, which caused patients to drown or develop further infections such as bacterial pneumonia.

Bubonic Plague

Plague is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transferred from animals to humans. It circulates in fleas on small rodents, and without treatment, kills around two thirds of infected humans within four days.

The term bubonic plague is derived from the Greek word meaning "groin". Swollen lymph nodes (buboes) especially occur in the armpit and groin of patients. It is commonly believed to be the cause of the Black Death that swept through Europe in the 14th century – killing an estimated 25 million people.


Malaria kills around two million people annually, which represents at least one death every 30 seconds. Children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable, but the majority of cases are undocumented as they occur in rural areas.

A tropical disease spread by the bite of a mosquito, symptoms include a high fever, sweats and chills, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and headaches.

The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions in a broad band around the equator, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The World Health Organisation estimates that there were 219 million documented cases of malaria in 2010.


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome has led to the deaths of more than 25 million people since it was first recognised in 1981, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.

A brief period of flu-like symptoms may occur during the initial infection of HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus infection), which is normally followed by a prolonged period without symptoms.

Spread mainly by unprotected sexual intercourse, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles and from mother to child, the illness gradually interferes with the immune system, making the person more likely to get infections and tumours which do not normally affect those with working immune systems.

Yahoo UK
29 Jul 2014


River in China mysteriously turns blood-red

The residents of Wenzhou, China, woke up last Thursday to discover that the inner city river had turned blood-red.

Everyone is puzzled, as this has never happened before and nobody knows the cause yet. China Radio International reports:

Inspectors from the Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau are taking samples and analyzing the cause of the incident.

The villagers pointed out that there wasn't a chemical plant along the upper stream.

Local residents say the river was flowing normally at 4am, but it started to redden at around 6am, and in no time at all had turned as crimson as blood.

25 Jul 2014

Earth tremor causes panic in parts of Accra, Ghana

My Ghana

An earth tremor hit parts of Accra on Thursday night with residents of Bortianor and neighbouring communities confirming they felt the earth move.

The Earth tremor which occurred around 8pm lasted for about six seconds.

Residents said though the earth tremor  is not new, last night’s  vibrations were  of a higher magnitude.

Meanwhile the Chief Executive Officer of Development Geo-Information Service (DeGEOSERV), Prof. Emmanuel Amamoo-Otchere is cautioning residents in the affected areas to either relocate or take steps to protect their buildings against earth tremors.

He explained that even though the situation may not be frightening currently, the magnitude could increase and cause major destruction to life and properties in earthquake prone zones.

Records indicate that in 1615,  earthquakes occurred in Ghana with magnitude greater than 6.0 on the Richter Scale.

The last three major earthquakes occurred in Ghana in 1862, 1906 and 1939. The 1862 Accra earthquake with a magnitude 6.5 on the Richter Scale killed three people and caused considerable damage.

The Osu Castle was destroyed. The effects of this earthquake were felt in Togo and in Benin. Two magnitude 4.6 and 4.9 seismic events occurred in Accra in 1871 and 1872.

The epicenter of the 1906 earthquake was near Ho collapsing buildings and causing severe damage.

25 Jul 2014


All the lawns are brown: California's Catastrophic Drought

California’s Central Valley was once known as America's food basket providing vast supplies of fruit, vegetables and meat, but as these recent photographs show the devastating effects of the state’s worst drought in decades has played havoc on the region leaving much of it unfit for farming.

And it's not just farms in the region, as luxury homes and golf clubs have also been left with scorched earth where once there had been lush grass.

The most populous U.S. state is in its third year of what officials are calling a catastrophic drought, leading farmers to leave fallow nearly a half-million acres of land and leaving some small communities at risk of running out of drinking water.

Thousands of workers facing losing their jobs and farmers in the state are facing losses of $1.7 billion, according to recent economic study of what may be the state's driest year on record.

As many as 14,500 full time and seasonal jobs could be lost as a result of the drought, as farmers fallow land and there are fewer crops to plant and pick, according to the preliminary study.

Altogether, 410,000 acres may be left unplanted in the San Joaquin Valley alone, the analysis showed, as farmers enter the growing season with about two-thirds of the water that they need.

By comparison, a drought in 2009 led to the fallowing of 270,000 acres of cropland and the loss of 7,500 jobs, the study showed.

Most farmers in California rely on irrigation rather than rain, many purchasing supplies from federal and state projects that pump from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. But less water than normal is available from those sources this year.

Last week, Lake Mead dropped to the lowest levels since the reservoir was filled upon the completion of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s.

The everlasting drought for the past 14 years has forced waters down more than 130 feet since a high-water mark was last reached in 2000.

As entire marinas run dry, the Bureau of Reclamation fears that an ongoing drought could force the agency to declare a shortage by 2017, which could ultimately affect the more than 40 million people that rely on Lake Mead for water.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited drought-stricken homeowners on Friday in Central California, saying drought and climate change would require major investment to secure future water supplies.

Vilsack also announced $9.7 million in new emergency drought aid to help rural Californians hurt by the state's three-year drought.

A drought monitor sponsored by the federal government says 81 percent of the state is experiencing major agricultural losses and widespread water shortages or restrictions.

All but one of the state's 58 counties are now federally designated disaster areas because of the drought, making farmers and ranchers eligible for emergency loans, according to the agriculture department.

California Gov. Jerry Brown also is pushing for heavy investment to secure state water service, including a proposed $15 billion to build giant tunnels to carry water from the San Francisco Bay Area to the state's water-thirsty south.

Daily Mail
24 Jul 2014

This year's mayfly hatch in the Mississippi River reached Biblical proportions

The mayfly emergence is an annual event in which mayflies leave the Mississippi River after one or two years of incubation. The flies live for up to 36 hours before they return to the water, lay a new crop of eggs, and die.

The La Crosse, Wisconsin branch of the National Weather Service (NWS) reports that the mayflies caused a three-vehicle car crash as they descended over the town. The flies caused a bow echo on the NWS radar, which normally occurs during heavy rains, and proceeded to make a Wisconsin road slick, causing a driver to lose control of her car. Two people were injured in the crash, and one was treated at a local hospital.


This week, Jupiter is passing behind the sun. Normally that would make it difficult for radio astronomers to pick up Jupiter's shortwave radio bursts. Because the sun is so quiet, however, Jupiter is still able to maake itself heard. "I was able to capture distinct narrow-band radio emissions from Jupiter on July 21st," reports Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico. They are the sloping lines in this dynamic spectrum he recorded using a RadioJove Project dual dipole antenna.

"At the time Jupiter was 6.3 Astronomical Units (585,621,586 miles) distant from Earth," he adds. "I think this is a neat observation because it means there is always the possibility of receiving Jupiter radio emissions here on Earth--even when the sun is in the way and Jupiter is very distant."

Jupiter's radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet's magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian "S-bursts" and "L-bursts" mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach. Here are a few audio samples: S-bursts, S-bursts (slowed down 128:1), L-Bursts. The type of emissions Ashcraft picked up on July 21st were S-bursts.

23 Jul 2014


The five biggest threats to human existence

We have a duty to prevent existential threats from becoming reality. Here are some of the greatest facing humanity

In the daily hubbub of current “crises” facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come. Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now. I use the word “hope” because we face risks, called existential risks, that threaten to wipe out humanity. These risks are not just for big disasters, but for the disasters that could end history.

These risks remain understudied. There is a sense of powerlessness and fatalism about them. People have been talking apocalypses for millennia, but few have tried to prevent them. Humans are also bad at doing anything about problems that have not occurred yet (partially because of the availability heuristic – the tendency to overestimate the probability of events we know examples of, and underestimate events we cannot readily recall).

If humanity becomes extinct, at the very least the loss is equivalent to the loss of all living individuals and the frustration of their goals. But the loss would probably be far greater than that. Human extinction means the loss of meaning generated by past generations, the lives of all future generations (and there could be an astronomical number of future lives) and all the value they might have been able to create. If consciousness or intelligence are lost, it might mean that value itself becomes absent from the universe. This is a huge moral reason to work hard to prevent existential threats from becoming reality. And we must not fail even once in this pursuit.

With that in mind, I have selected what I consider the five biggest threats to humanity’s existence. But there are caveats that must be kept in mind, for this list is not final.

Over the past century we have discovered or created new existential risks – supervolcanoes were discovered in the early 1970s, and before the Manhattan project nuclear war was impossible – so we should expect others to appear. Also, some risks that look serious today might disappear as we learn more. The probabilities also change over time – sometimes because we are concerned about the risks and fix them.

Finally, just because something is possible and potentially hazardous, doesn’t mean it is worth worrying about. There are some risks we cannot do anything at all about, such as gamma ray bursts that result from the explosions of galaxies. But if we learn we can do something, the priorities change. For instance, with sanitation, vaccines and antibiotics, pestilence went from being an act of God to a question of public health.

Nuclear war

While only two nuclear weapons have been used in war so far – at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the second world war – and nuclear stockpiles are down from their the peak they reached in the cold war, it is a mistake to think that nuclear war is impossible. In fact, it might not be improbable.

The Cuban missile crisis was very close to turning nuclear. If we assume one such event every 69 years and a one in three chance that it might go all the way to being nuclear war, the chance of such a catastrophe increases to about one in 200 per year.

Worse still, the Cuban missile crisis was only the most well-known case. The history of Soviet-US nuclear deterrence is full of close calls and dangerous mistakes. The actual probability has changed depending on international tensions, but it seems implausible that the chances would be much lower than one in 1,000 per year.

A full-scale nuclear war between major powers would kill hundreds of millions of people directly or through the near aftermath – an unimaginable disaster. But that is not enough to make it an existential risk.

Similarly the hazards of fallout are often exaggerated – potentially deadly locally, but globally a relatively limited problem. Cobalt bombs were proposed as a hypothetical doomsday weapon that would kill everybody with fallout, but are in practice hard and expensive to build. And they are physically just barely possible.

The real threat is nuclear winter – that is, soot lofted into the stratosphere causing a multi-year cooling and drying of the world. Modern climate simulations show that it could preclude agriculture across much of the world for years. If this scenario occurs billions would starve, leaving only scattered survivors that might be picked off by other threats such as disease. The main uncertainty is how the soot would behave: depending on the kind of soot the outcomes may be very different, and we currently have no good ways of estimating this.

Bioengineered pandemic

Natural pandemics have killed more people than wars. However, natural pandemics are unlikely to be existential threats: there are usually some people resistant to the pathogen, and the offspring of survivors would be more resistant. Evolution also does not favour parasites that wipe out their hosts, which is why syphilis went from a virulent killer to a chronic disease as it spread in Europe.

Unfortunately we can now make diseases nastier. One of the more famous examples is how the introduction of an extra gene in mousepox – the mouse version of smallpox – made it far more lethal and able to infect vaccinated individuals. Recent work on bird flu has demonstrated that the contagiousness of a disease can be deliberately boosted.

Right now the risk of somebody deliberately releasing something devastating is low. But as biotechnology gets better and cheaper, more groups will be able to make diseases worse.

Most work on bioweapons have been done by governments looking for something controllable, because wiping out humanity is not militarily useful. But there are always some people who might want to do things because they can. Others have higher purposes. For instance, the Aum Shinrikyo cult tried to hasten the apocalypse using bioweapons beside their more successful nerve gas attack. Some people think the Earth would be better off without humans, and so on.

The number of fatalities from bioweapon and epidemic outbreaks attacks looks like it has a power-law distribution – most attacks have few victims, but a few kill many. Given current numbers the risk of a global pandemic from bioterrorism seems very small. But this is just bioterrorism: governments have killed far more people than terrorists with bioweapons (up to 400,000 may have died from the second world war Japanese biowar program). And as technology gets more powerful in the future nastier pathogens become easier to design.


Intelligence is very powerful. A tiny increment in problem-solving ability and group coordination is why we left the other apes in the dust. Now their continued existence depends on human decisions, not what they do. Being smart is a real advantage for people and organisations, so there is much effort in figuring out ways of improving our individual and collective intelligence: from cognition-enhancing drugs to artificial-intelligence software.

The problem is that intelligent entities are good at achieving their goals, but if the goals are badly set they can use their power to cleverly achieve disastrous ends. There is no reason to think that intelligence itself will make something behave nice and morally. In fact, it is possible to prove that certain types of superintelligent systems would not obey moral rules even if they were true.

Even more worrying is that in trying to explain things to an artificial intelligence we run into profound practical and philosophical problems. Human values are diffuse, complex things that we are not good at expressing, and even if we could do that we might not understand all the implications of what we wish for.

Software-based intelligence may very quickly go from below human to frighteningly powerful. The reason is that it may scale in different ways from biological intelligence: it can run faster on faster computers, parts can be distributed on more computers, different versions tested and updated on the fly, new algorithms incorporated that give a jump in performance.

It has been proposed that an “intelligence explosion” is possible when software becomes good enough at making better software. Should such a jump occur there would be a large difference in potential power between the smart system (or the people telling it what to do) and the rest of the world. This has clear potential for disaster if the goals are badly set.

The unusual thing about superintelligence is that we do not know if rapid and powerful intelligence explosions are possible: maybe our current civilisation as a whole is improving itself at the fastest possible rate. But there are good reasons to think that some technologies may speed things up far faster than current societies can handle. Similarly we do not have a good grip on just how dangerous different forms of superintelligence would be, or what mitigation strategies would actually work. It is very hard to reason about future technology we do not yet have, or intelligences greater than ourselves. Of the risks on this list, this is the one most likely to either be massive or just a mirage.


Nanotechnology is the control over matter with atomic or molecular precision. That is in itself not dangerous – instead, it would be very good news for most applications. The problem is that, like biotechnology, increasing power also increases the potential for abuses that are hard to defend against.

The big problem is not the infamous “grey goo” of self-replicating nanomachines eating everything. That would require clever design for this very purpose. It is tough to make a machine replicate: biology is much better at it, by default. Maybe some maniac would eventually succeed, but there are plenty of more low-hanging fruits on the destructive technology tree.

The most obvious risk is that atomically precise manufacturing looks ideal for rapid, cheap manufacturing of things like weapons. In a world where any government could “print” large amounts of autonomous or semi-autonomous weapons (including facilities to make even more) arms races could become very fast – and hence unstable, since doing a first strike before the enemy gets a too large advantage might be tempting.

Weapons can also be small, precision things: a “smart poison” that acts like a nerve gas but seeks out victims, or ubiquitous “gnatbot” surveillance systems for keeping populations obedient seems entirely possible. Also, there might be ways of getting nuclear proliferation and climate engineering into the hands of anybody who wants it.

We cannot judge the likelihood of existential risk from future nanotechnology, but it looks like it could be potentially disruptive just because it can give us whatever we wish for.

Unknown unknowns

The most unsettling possibility is that there is something out there that is very deadly, and we have no clue about it.

The silence in the sky might be evidence for this. Is the absence of aliens due to that life or intelligence is extremely rare, or that intelligent life tends to get wiped out? If there is a future great filter, it must have been noticed by other civilisations too, and even that didn’t help.

Whatever the threat is, it would have to be something that is nearly unavoidable even when you know it is there, no matter who and what you are. We do not know about any such threats (none of the others on this list work like this), but they might exist.

You might wonder why climate change or meteor impacts have been left off this list. Climate change, no matter how scary, is unlikely to make the entire planet uninhabitable (but it could compound other threats if our defences to it break down). Meteors could certainly wipe us out, but we would have to be very unlucky. The average mammalian species survives for about a million years. Hence, the background natural extinction rate is roughly one in a million per year. This is much lower than the nuclear-war risk, which after 70 years is still the biggest threat to our continued existence.

The availability heuristic makes us overestimate risks that are often in the media, and discount unprecedented risks. If we want to be around in a million years we need to correct that.

21 Jul 2014


Ebola Outbreak Continues to Spread through West Africa

Something deadly is creeping across African borders, undetected.

Since February, an Ebola outbreak has spread from the remote southeast of Guinea across the fluid boundaries of West Africa into Sierra Leone and Liberia. 85 new cases were reported in the second week of July alone, helping to push the death toll to just over 600, and increasing pressure on the global health community to bring the epidemic under control.

But it’s not so easy. The early symptoms of Ebola are hardly unique and therefore they are difficult to detect. The most common signs are fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhea. As the infection progresses, individuals experience internal bleeding, an inability to clot blood, organ failure, and a shutdown of their immune system.

Ebola isn’t airborne, and it can’t survive for very long on surfaces, but it is highly transmissible through contact with blood or bodily fluids. Once infected, up to 90% of victims die (in the case of the current Ebola outbreak, this rate is around 56%).

The first Ebola outbreak occurred in the 1970s, and it claimed 280 lives. As of mid-June, the death toll of the current outbreak was 350, and it has since almost doubled to 603.

So how does the largest and most deadly Ebola outbreak to date get brought under control? Bart Janssens, director of operations for the medical group in Brussels, says this outbreak is particularly challenging because of the mobility of the infected populations and their proximity to major hubs like the capital cities of Guinea and Libera.

The disease can spread more easily than ever with so many outbreak locations and the ease at which individuals can move across borders. Because the virus has a latent period of 21 days, by the time symptoms appear and become contagious many individuals have already crossed a border and brought the virus to another location.

A lackluster international effort?

Given the regional impact that the Ebola outbreak is already having, and what it is still capable of, many feel that the international community has failed to understand the severity of the situation. With no cure or vaccine, medical experts agree that it is absolutely critical to contain the disease before it gets out of control.

Experts are calling for a real political commitment to the reality that this is a major threat to both general health and economic stability.

There has been movement in the past month to approach transmission reduction and prevention from many angles. The WHO has been consulting with anthropologists to stop practices such as eating bush meat or embracing deceased Ebola victims at funerals, and at an emergency meeting in Ghana in early July, health ministers representing 11 countries in the affected region adopted a common strategy to respond to the epidemic.

They agreed to collaborate more closely in order to ensure the outbreak does not spin out of control. The strategy involves WHO opening a sub-regional control center in Guineau to provide technical support.

As the Ebola virus crosses borders and spreads between countries, it becomes increasingly apparent that this is everyone’s problem. As we saw with the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, a disease can now span the world in a matter of days. What begins as one community’s problem ends up a global concern.

Geopolitical Monitor
21 Jul 2014

More than 2070 cold records broken in last 7 days in the U.S.


This compares to only 281 record warm temps.

Record cold numbers are double and triple the amount of record warm temps.

Look at the Month to Date for the Monthly temp records.


U.S. Daily Records Summary

 U.S. Monthly Records Summary

Ice Age Now
21 Jul 2014

Crop Circle Baffles Villagers in Southern Russia

The appearance of a mysterious crop circle in a southern Russian village has lead some residents to conclude aliens must have paid them a visit.

The unusual marking, about 40 meters in diameter, appeared in a sunflower field on a farm in the Krasnodar region last Thursday, local news site Svet Mayakov reported.

A video uploaded Sunday to the popular Russian social network Vkontakte shows the inside of the crop formation, which consists of a series of squares and rectangles joined together in a seemingly random pattern.

It was not immediately clear what caused the marking, though one resident told Channel Nine television that villagers had seen an unidentified object rising from the field, omitting a beam of light five meters in diameter.

A video camera located on the farm did not pick up any unusual activity, and no one was seen entering the field when the marking is believed to have appeared, news site Svet Mayakov reported.

The Krasnodar region is no stranger to crop circles and accounts for 40 percent of all of those recorded in Russia. A group of amateur enthusiasts convened in the area just last month to collect evidence of the unusual phenomenon.

But there are some who doubt the supernatural aspect of the markings.

"Firstly, I saw a whole swarm of insects and lizards in the fields," alien-hunter Sergei Frolov told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

"Secondly, the plants themselves are broken and scattered in different directions, and in real crop circles they bend at the same angle. Furthermore, there are traces of human footprints in several places in the field."

Moscow Times
17 Jul 2014


UFO-like superstorm over Roswell ,famous 'alien crash site'

Freak weather created a sinister cloud formation at the exact spot where many people in the world suspect America investigated a UFO landing 67 years ago

Storm chaser Jody Miller knows a thing or two about wild weather, but when it comes to unidentified flying objects he's a little cloudy.

That's what makes these dramatic pictures all the more interesting - they were snapped in Roswell, New Mexico, made famous by rumours of an alien crash-landing in 1947.

The swirling, curling shapes of these angry clouds could easily be mistaken for a mothership at the end of its journey from... who knows where?

In fact the cloud formation thrown up by this violent storm is known as a supercell - a storm with a rotating updraft.

The pictures were taken in four hours as one such fierce storm loomed over the city of New Mexico in June.

Also known as a mesocyclone, they can cause hailstorms, flash floods and even tornadoes.

Photographer Jody, from California, said: "Everyone thinks that storm chasing is scary business.

"If you are in the company of a trained meteorologist, as I was, you are in good hands and I never felt any danger.

"Although it looks as though we are right underneath the storms they are still miles away and we watch them pass by from 'photogenic' vantage points."

Jody, who has been chasing storms for two years, added: "One should never try it alone and always rely on a good meteorologist to guide him or her near storms of this nature, as they are indeed violent and do wreak damage on the areas that they pass directly over.

"Most of these storms pass over uninhabited areas but when they do hit towns and cities the results can be tragic - and often are."

18 Jul 2014



Solar activity is very low. July 17th brought the first spotless day in nearly three years. The face of the sun was completely blank and the sunspot number dropped to zero. Now, however, two small sunspots are emerging, circled in this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:

Neither of these small spots has the kind of complex magnetic field that harbors energy for strong flares. The quiet is therefore expected to continue through the weekend. NOAA forecasters estimate the odds of an M-flare in the next 3 days to be no more than 1%.

Before July 17, 2014, the previous spotless day was August 14, 2011, a gap of nearly 3 years. What happened then provides context for what is happening today.

Overall, 2011 was a year of relatively high solar activity with multiple X-flares; the spotless sun was just a temporary intermission. 2014 will probably be remembered the same way.

As new sunspots emerge and grow, the Solar Max of 2014 will pick up where it left off a couple weeks ago when sunspots were abundant. However, because no one can predict the solar cycle, this "All Quiet Event" is worth monitoring.

17 July 2014

Yellowstone Volcano: Supervolcano Eruption Would Last for ‘Many Months,’ Possible Even ‘Years’

An eruption of the Yellowstone National Park supervolcano could last for over a year.

The park sits on top of the world’s largest active volcano, which erupted around 640,000 years ago and sent ash across most of North America.

The two other recorded eruptions are 1.3 million and 2.1 million years ago.

While discussing the effects of an eruption, supervolcano scientist Bob Smith told NBC that an eruption could last for a long time.
“These giant eruptions in Yellowstone – the supervolcano, if you wish — probably last many, many months, maybe even years,” Smith said.

The story also discussed news that is actually six months old–that Smith and other scientists discovered that the magma pool underneath the volcano is about 2.5 times larger than previously thought.

They found that the cavern stretches for more than 55 miles. ”We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger… but this finding is astounding,” Smith, who is a professor at the University of Utah, told BBC at the time.

The team used a network of seismometers to map the gigantic chamber.

“We record earthquakes in and around Yellowstone, and we measure the seismic waves as they travel through the ground,” said Dr. Jamie Farrell, also of the University of Utah.

“The waves travel slower through hot and partially molten material… with this, we can measure what’s beneath.”

One theory is that eruptions happen every 700,000 years ago, but Smith said more data is needed to back that theory up.

“If we were to have another big eruption, it would affect a large area, on the order of several states,” Smith said. “But, as I said, that probability is very, very, very, very small. In my calculations, it’s .0001 percent.”

Epoch Times
July 14, 2014


Strange Shape of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe is approaching Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for a historic mission to orbit and land on the comet's nucleus.

As Rosetta approaches the comet (now less than 10,000 km away), the form of the nucleus is coming into focus. And it is strange:

Some observers have noted the comet's resemblance to a rubber duck. The technical term is "contact binary."

One elongated object appears stuck to a smaller bulbous piece.

No one knows how the comet came to be this way. It could be the result of a slow-motion "sticky collision" between two objects, an odd-shaped fragment of a catastrophic impact, or something else entirely.

One thing is sure: This could present some interesting challenges for Philae, the probe's lander, which is slated to touch down on the comet's surface in early November.

Many questions will be answered by August 6th when Rosetta reaches 67P and goes into orbit.

17 Jul 2014



Frequent fliers who look out the window of their planes often see the shadow of the aircraft dipping in and out of clouds below.

The interplay of light and shadow with water droplets in the clouds can produce colorful rings of light called "glories." On July 13th, Tony DeFreece saw a glory that was not a colorful ring, but rather a heart:

 "I was flying over Oregon when I looked out and saw this heart-shaped figure," he says. "It was one of those moments when the Universe aligns and takes your breath away."

DeFreece suspects, probably correctly, that the shape of the clouds bent the usual circular glory into the heart-shaped apparition. Mystery solved? Not entirely. Glories are caused by sunlight reflected backwards from water droplets in clouds.

Exactly how backscattering produces the colorful rings, however, is a mystery  involving surface waves and multiple reflections within individual droplets. Each sighting is a lovely puzzle, so grab the window seat and keep an eye on the clouds below.

16 Jul 2014


Scientists baffled by gigantic 262ft (80m) hole that has appeared at Siberia's 'End of The World'

An urgent expedition will leaves tomorrow to probe a giant crater that has appeared in gas-rich northern Siberia.

Enormous crater appears suddenly in part of Russia whose name translates as 'the end of the world'

'A scientific team has been sent to investigate the hole and is due to arrive at the scene on Wednesday,' The Siberian Times has reported.

The cause of the hole's sudden appearance in Yamal - which translates as 'the end of the world' - in the far north of Siberia is not yet known.

There has been web speculation about the crater indicating 'the arrival of a UFO craft'.
But one Russian expert says the cause is more likely to be global warming releasing gases under the surface, which then explode like a champagne cork.

Experts say that the darkening around the inner rim of the crater indicates 'severe burning' which scorched its edges.

Another theory is that the hole was formed by a meteorite striking this lonely spot in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, some 20 miles from the Bovanenkovo gas field.

'There is agreement that soil around the hole was thrown out of the crater, large enough for several Mi-8 helicopters to fly into it,' The Siberian Times reported - before adding 'not that they have.'

The expedition organised by the Yamal authorities includes experts from Russia's Centre for the Study of the Arctic, and also the Cryosphere Institute of the Academy of Sciences.

They plan to take samples of soil, air and water from the scene.
They will be accompanied by a specialist from Russia's Emergencies Ministry.

A spokesman for the ministry's Yamal branch has ruled out a meteorite, but says it is too early to say what caused the hole.
'We can definitely say that it is not a meteorite,' he says.

Anna Kurchatova from the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre, thinks the crater was formed by a mixture of water, salt and gas igniting an underground explosion, a result of global warming.

Gas accumulated in ice could have mixed with sand beneath the surface, and then mixed with salt.

Some 10,000 years ago this area was a sea.

Global warming may have caused an 'alarming' melt in the under-soil ice, released gas and causing an effect like the popping of a Champagne bottle cork, Ms Kurchatova suggests.

Yamal, a large peninsula jutting into Arctic waters, is Russia's main production area for gas supplied to Europe.

Daily Mail
15 Jul 2014

Decrypted Ötzi's “Non-Human" DNA

Ötzi also called Ötzi the Iceman, the Similaun Man, the Man from Hauslabjoch, Homo tyrolensis, and the Hauslabjoch mummy) is a well-preserved natural mummy of a man who lived around 3,300 BCE. The mummy was found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, hence the nickname "Ötzi", near the Similaun mountain and Hauslabjoch on the border between Austria and Italy.  He is Europe's oldest known natural human mummy, and has offered an unprecedented view of Chalcolithic Europeans

Much of what we know about Otzi – for example what he looked like or that he suffered from lactose intolerance – stems from a tiny bone sample which allowed the decoding of his genetic make-up. Now, however, the team of scientists have examined more closely the part of the sample consisting of non-human DNA.

"What is new is that we did not carry out a directed DNA analysis but rather investigated the whole spectrum of DNA to better understand which organisms are in this sample and what is their potential function", is how Frank Maixner, from the EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bozen/Bolzano, described the new approach which the team of scientists are now pursuing.

"This 'non-human' DNA mostly derives from bacteria normally living on and within our body. Only the interplay between certain bacteria or an imbalance within this bacterial community might cause certain diseases. Therefore it is highly important to reconstruct and understand the bacterial community composition by analysing this DNA mixture," said Thomas Rattei, Professor of Bioinformatics from the Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science at the University of Vienna.

Ötzi the Iceman while still frozen in the glacier, photographed by Helmut Simon upon the discovery of the body in September 1991

 Unexpectedly the team of scientists, specialists in both microbiology as well as bioinformatics, detected in the DNA mixture a sizeable presence of a particular bacterium: Treponema denticola, an opportunistic pathogen involved in the development of periodontitis.

Thus this finding supports the computer tomography based diagnosis that the Iceman suffered from periodontitis.

Even more surprising is that the analysis of a tiny bone sample can still, after 5,300 years, provide us with the information that this opportunistic pathogen seems to have been distributed via the bloodstream from the mouth to the hip bone. Furthermore, the investigations indicate that these members of the human commensal oral microflora were old bacteria which did not colonise the body after death.

Besides the opportunistic pathogen, the team of scientists led by Albert Zink – head of the EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman – also detected Clostridia-like bacteria in the Iceman bone sample which are at present most presumably in a kind of dormant state. Under hermetically sealed, anaerobic conditions, however, these bacteria can re-grow and degrade tissue.

This discovery may well play a significant part in the future conservation of the world-famous mummy. "This finding indicates that altered conditions for preserving the glacier mummy, for example when changing to a nitrogen-based atmosphere commonly used for objects of cultural value, will require additional micro-biological monitoring," explained the team of scientists who will now look closer at the microbiome of the Iceman.

University of Vienna
15 Jul 2014


America : Record cold chills Midwest as Northwest bakes

Parts of the Midwest and Plains are getting a brief preview of September and October this week, as temperatures in many areas are dipping from 10 degrees to as much as 30 degrees below average.

Whether the chilly air is from the polar vortex or not -- a raging debate within the meteorological community over the past few days -- temperatures Tuesday morning could dip to record low levels (in the low 50s) in cities such as Chicago, Kansas City and Omaha, the Weather Channel predicts.

"Baseball fans watching Monday's Home Run Derby and Tuesday's All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis may feel like they should be tailgating for a Minnesota Vikings football game in September," says AccuWeather meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

The core of the cool air will spread across the Great Lakes Tuesday through Wednesday, holding high temperatures in the 60s and lower 70s, Pydynowski reports.

By Wednesday morning, temperature records could fall in 30 cities, including Cincinnati, Des Moines and Madison, Wis. The chill should ease by week's end, however.

The Northwest won't be seeing any of the cool air, though, as a heat wave could lead to record high temperatures across the region.

Temperatures in Seattle should be in the upper 80s to near 90 degrees through mid-week, according to the Weather Channel. As of July 12, the city is in 2nd place for its warmest July on record, with temperatures averaging over 5 degrees above-average.

Highs above the 100-degree mark are likely in some locations in the Columbia River Basin, including Boise, Idaho, and Medford, Ore.

USA Today
Jul 14, 2014


First Ever Mid-Summer Snowfall in Russia’s Urals

"It wasn’t just rain and snow, but real snowfall with snowflakes as white as during winter. T melted quickly, of course. A fantastic sight," ITAR-TASS quotes an eyewitness, Valery Semyannikov, as saying.

In some areas of the Chelyabinsk region, snow lay 5-10 cm thick.
It’s the first ever mid-summer snowfall in the South Urals.

The Chelyabinsk weather service predicted "wet and windy weather with moderate to heavy rain throughout the region, thunderstorms and soft hail in the east and ice hail in the mountains."

13 Jul 2014

Climate chaos : Coldest Antarctic June Ever Recorded

The French Antarctic Dumont d’Urville Station

Antarctica continues to defy the global warming script, with a report from Meteo France, that June this year was the coldest Antarctic June ever recorded, at the French Antarctic Dumont d’Urville Station.

According to the press release, during June this year, the average temperature was -22.4c (-8.3F), 6.6c (11.9F) lower than normal. This is the coldest June ever recorded at the station, and almost the coldest monthly average ever – only September 1953 was colder, with a recorded average temperature of -23.5c (-10.3F).

June this year also broke the June daily minimum temperature record, with a new record low of -34.9c (-30.8F).

Other unusual features of the June temperature record are an unusual excess of sunlight hours (11.8 hours rather than the normal 7.4 hours), and unusually light wind conditions.

Dumont d’Urville Station has experienced ongoing activity since 1956. According to the Meteo France record, there is no other weather station for 1000km in any direction.

13 Jul 2014

Three Supermoon In A Row

The Moon's orbit around Earth is not a circle, it's an ellipse. When a full Moon occurs on the near side of the orbit, it looks extra big and bright, and we call it a "supermoon." The first of three such full Moons arrived on July 12th

Today's full Moon is a perigee "supermoon," as much as 14% closer and 30% brighter than other full moons of the year. John Stetson photographed the swollen orb setting over Sebago Lake, Maine, this morning just minutes after sunrise:

"An inferior mirage appears in the foreground where the lake meets the shoreline," points out Stetson.

Thiis was just the first of three supermooons in a row. Two more are coming on August 10th and September 9th.

"This weekend I was on my deck taking some zoom photos of the supermoon when an airplane flew by," says photographer Ralfo Winter. "It was coming in for a landing at New York City."

As explained in a video from Science@NASA, the technical term for this phenomenon is "perigee Moon." A nearby perigee Moon can be 14% brighter and 30% bigger than other full Moons of the year.

This kind of Moon is not particularly rare; they come along every 13 months, more or less.

However, this summer we will have three supermoons in a row. The next one is August 12th. Book your ticket now.

13 Jul 2014

Dying Kids, a Poor Indian Village, Uranium Mines and a Mystery

On a sun-seared afternoon, Sanjay Gope crawls across a dusty courtyard of the low-slung, mud- walled house he shares with 10 members of his family. Stacks of cow dung dry in the heat and chickens rest in the shade.

His grandfather, Debnandan Gope, watches glumly as the boy struggles, face streaked with sweat, one thin forearm, then another, digging into the dirt, his legs and feet carving a winding trail behind him.

About 10 years old -- ages in India’s villages are often estimates -- Sanjay could move normally as a toddler until seizures began to wring the life from his arms and legs. Now, when no family member can assist him, he’s left “to crawl around the ground like a snake,” his grandfather said.

That would be dispiriting enough save for the omen it conjures. An older sister, Sunita, experienced a similar collapse. Her limbs grew so deformed that she couldn’t feed or bathe herself before she died two years ago at 13.

Across the path that runs by Sanjay’s house, Rakesh Gope, a member of Sanjay’s tribe although no direct relation, sits on a dirt floor under the rusting corrugated roof of an open-air room where his grandfather is sleeping. A slight boy with light brown eyes, he attempts to wave but his hands only flap in a spastic flurry. He’s another 10-year-old unable to walk on his own.

No one knows exactly how many children like this live here and in nearby villages -- only that they are all too easy to find.

Troubling Portrait

Sanjay and Rakesh live near Jadugora, a town of 19,500 people about 850 road miles (1,370 kilometers) from New Delhi in east India’s Jharkhand state. Once ringed by lush tribal forests, Jadugora is today a troubling portrait of modern India, its outskirts a postcard of pastel-painted mud houses scattered amid tidy rice fields, its center the hub of India’s uranium mining industry that is fueling an unprecedented nuclear power boom.

It’s here that state-run Uranium Corp. of India Ltd. is licensed by the Indian government to gouge hundreds of thousands of tons of uranium ore out of the ground each year, while just over a hill, an easy walk from the village, 193 acres of ponds holding mildly radioactive waste stand largely unguarded save for no-trespassing signs.

Mystery Disease
For years, these desperately poor people living in scattered villages in the shadow of these mines have been tormented by a mystery: What’s causing the wasting diseases that are deforming and killing so many of their children?

Sanjay’s 70-year-old grandfather, a bare-chested, barefoot man rendered lean by hard work and a sparse diet, offers an observation shared by many here -- that before the mines came, children did not crawl around in the dirt and die. He might be dismissed as an illiterate, grieving relative of a crippled boy and a dead girl except that outsiders, including the Jharkhand High Court and environmental activist groups, suggest he may be right.

In February, the High Court in the state capital of Ranchi filed a petition that pointed to the mines operated by Uranium Corp. since 1967. Shocked by photographs of the area’s sick and deformed children in the Indian press, the court ordered the company and relevant government agencies to explain what measures they were taking to protect the health of those living in villages around the mines.

‘Health Problems’

“The health problems related to uranium mining are affecting the indigenous people disproportionately in and around the uranium mining operational area,” with as many as 50,000 people “at risk,” the court wrote.

Children living near the mines, the court added, “are born with swollen heads, blood disorders and skeletal distortions. Cancer as a cause of death is more common in villages surrounding uranium operations.”

The High Court isn’t alone in its concerns. In 2007, an Indian physicians group published survey results showing villagers near the mines reported levels of congenital deformities and deaths from such deformities far higher than those 20 miles away.

In 2008, the Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation, a local activist group, collected water samples from 10 Jadugora- area locations, including wells and streams. Seven were shown to have unsafe levels of heavy metals -- including lead, a byproduct of uranium mining, and mercury.

Poor Community

Jharkhand is a poor place, even by India’s standards. Average annual per capita income is equivalent to about $720 despite the existence of substantial coal and uranium reserves. Debnandan Gope, for example, makes 83 cents a day as a field hand -- when he can get work. Illiteracy is common.

People cook on fires fueled by dried cow dung. Women walk the roadsides balancing gleaming metal water jugs on their heads as they go to and from public wells. Village men still plow the land with cattle. Some gather in houses on legs not much more substantial than baseball bats, a result of the meager rice- paste diets common here. Life expectancy is among the lowest in all of India -- 58 years compared with 63.5 for the nation as a whole, according to a 2011 United Nations report.

Many scrounge and scavenge to get by -- even around uranium dumps. Trespassing signs, assuming they can even be read, don’t mean much.

9 Jul 2014


Channel Islands earthquake 'biggest in 90 years'

Met office heard a 'loud rumble and a crashing sound'

Jersey Met Office has confirmed that the Channel Island earthquake was the "biggest for the past 90 to 100 years".

Spokesman Tony Pallot, who felt the quake, said: "We are based at Jersey Airport on the first floor of arrivals, and we suddenly heard this quite loud rumble, crashing-type sound."

Historical map showing all quakes and tremors within the Channel Islands area.    

Tim Phillips, general manager of the Club Hotel and Spa in St Helier, was in a meeting with up to 30 people when the earthquake struck.

He said: "The building shook for about 20 seconds. It wasn't violent, but it was enough to make everyone question what was happening."

British Geological Society warn of quake aftershocks

The British Geological Society has warned of aftershocks following the largest earthquake in the Channel Islands for almost a century.

The BGS spokesman said: "Small earthquakes do occur in this region from time to time. It is not unusual for earthquakes like this to be followed by aftershocks.

"We get an earthquake of magnitude 4 to 4.9 roughly every two years."

Up to 300 earthquakes are detected in the UK by the BGS annually.

11 Jul 2014


AMAZING! Incredible Object Over Milan, Italy Looks Like a Group of Glowing Energy Entities

Milan, Italy

This changes shape in ways we have never seen before. At one point it looks like many orbs, then changes to many angel-like beings. Very fascinating and the color is magnificent.

6 July 2014


New Hot Spot in Yellowstone Melts Asphalt Road. Park Service Closes


The ever-changing thermal geology of Yellowstone National Park has created a hot spot that melted an asphalt road and closed access to popular geysers and other attractions at the height of tourist season, officials said Thursday.

As they examined possible fixes, park officials warned visitors not to hike into the affected area, where the danger of stepping through solid-looking soil into boiling-hot water was high.

"There are plenty of other great places to see thermal features in the park," Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash said. "I wouldn't risk personal injury to see these during this temporary closure."

Naturally changing thermal features often damage Yellowstone's roads and boardwalks. Steaming potholes in asphalt roads and parking lots — marked off by traffic cones — are fairly common curiosities.

However, the damage to Firehole Lake Drive is unusually severe and could take several days to fix. The 3.3-mile loop six miles north of Old Faithful takes visitors past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake.

Unusually warm weather for Yellowstone — with high temperatures in the mid-80s — has contributed to turning the road into a hot, sticky mess.

"We've got some ideas. We're going to try them. Our maintenance staff has really looked at the issue," Nash said.

10 July 2014