Posted: October 22, 2014, 4:35 pm
Earth’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal at present Scientists predict that the Earth’s magnetic field can flip far faster than previously thought – unleashing a force which Mayan apocalypse believers thought might destroy our planet in 2012. Berkeley scientists say that the Earth’s magnetic field can weaken and dip within just 100 years, before flipping so that compasses point south – an event they admit could wreck the entire world’s power grid and expose the world to deadly cosmic rays. Earth’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal at present, leading geophysicists to predict a flip within a few thousand years – but Discovery news says that could understimate the speed of the change.Authors such as Robert Felix claim that previous reversals have been associated with mass disruptions such as the extinction of Neanderthal man, and with supervolcano eruptions and other apocalyptic events. The ‘flip’ occurs regularly, but there has not been a documented instance for 800,000 years. Read more
Posted: October 21, 2014, 6:41 pm
Astronomers sound alarm after closure of the Australian early-warning program that spotted the Siding Spring comet The Earth has been left with a huge blind spot for potentially devastating comet strikes after the only dedicated comet-spotting program in the southern hemisphere lost its funding, leading astronomers have warned. The program, which discovered the Siding Spring comet that narrowly missed Mars on Sunday, was shut down last year after losing funding. “It’s a real worry,” Bradley Tucker, an astronomer at the Australian National University (ANU) and University of California Berkeley, told Guardian Australia. “There could be something hurtling towards us right now and we wouldn’t know about it.”The Siding Spring survey – named after the observatory near Coonabarabran in central New South Wales, where the Mars comet was first spotted – was the only program in the southern hemisphere actively searching for potentially hazardous comets, asteroids and meteors. Celestial objects that pass within 7.4m kilometres of the earth, or which are more than 150 metres in diameter, are considered potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs). There are 1,508 known cases. The most famous asteroid to have struck the Earth landed in Mexico about 65m years ago, and is believed to have caused or contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. A 20-metre meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere undetected in 2013 and exploded spectacularly (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpmXyJrs7iU) about 30km above Chelyabinsk in Russia, injuring 1,500 people. “It’s essentially like a nuclear bomb going off in the atmosphere,” Tucker said. “These things can do inconceivable damage.” Read more (http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/20/funding-cuts-leave-earth-with-blind-spot-for-potentially-catastrophic-comets)
Posted: October 21, 2014, 3:06 am
With US politicians and the American media engaged in an increasingly acrimonious debate over the strategy guiding the latest US war in the Middle East, the United States Army has unveiled a new document entitled the Army Operating Concept (AOC), which provides a “vision of future armed conflict” that has the most ominous implications. It is the latest in a series of documents in which the Pentagon has elaborated the underlying strategy of preventive war that was unveiled in 1992—that is, the use of war as a means of destroying potential geopolitical and economic rivals before they acquire sufficient power to block American domination of the globe. The document was formally released at this week’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference, an annual event bringing together senior officers and Defense Department officials for a series of speeches and panel discussions, along with a giant trade show mounted by arms manufacturers to show off their latest weapons systems and pursue lucrative Pentagon contracts.
Posted: October 15, 2014, 3:59 am
Three fault segments running beneath Northern California and its roughly 15 million people are overdue for a major earthquake, including one section that lies near the dams and canals that supply much of the state's water, according to a geological study published Monday. The three fault segments and one other in the region are loaded with enough tension to produce quakes of magnitude 6.8 or greater, according to a geological study published Monday. They include the little-known Green Valley fault, which lies near key dams and aqueducts northeast of San Francisco. Underestimated by geologists until now, the fault running between the cities of Napa and Fairfield is primed for a magnitude-7.1 quake, according to researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey and San Francisco State University.
Posted: October 13, 2014, 5:58 pm