Sunday, December 4, 2011

Don't worry about end of the world in 2012, Mayan tablet doesn't predict apocalypse. The end is not near. At least that's according to a German expert who says his decoding of a Mayan tablet, which references a 2012 date, denotes a transition to a new era and not a possible end of the world as others have read it. The interpretation of the hieroglyphs was presented for the first time this week at the archaeological site of Palenque in southern Mexico. His comments came less than a week after Mexico's archaeology institute acknowledged there was a second reference to the 2012 date in Mayan inscriptions, touching off another round of talk about whether it predicts the end of the world.
The German expert says the inscription describes the return of mysterious Mayan god Bolon Yokte at the end of a 13th period of 400 years, known as Baktuns, on the equivalent of Dec. 21, 2012. Mayans considered 13 a sacred number. There's nothing apocalyptic in the date, he says. The text was carved about 1,300 years ago. The stone has cracked, which has made the end of the passage almost illegible. He says the inscription refers to the end of a cycle of 5,125 years since the beginning of the Mayan Long Count calendar in 3113 B.C. The fragment was a prophecy of then ruler Bahlam Ajaw, who wanted to plan the passage of the god. "For the elite of Tortuguero, it was clear they had to prepare the land for the return of the god and for Bahlam Ajaw to be the host of this initiation." Bolon Yokte, god of creation and war, was to prevail that day in a sanctuary of Tortuguero. "The date acquired a symbolic value because it is seen as a reflection of the day of creation. It is the passage of a god and not necessarily a great leap for humanity."
Last week, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology said a second inscription mentioning the 2012 date is on the carved or molded face of a brick found at the Comalcalco ruin, near the Tortuguero site. It is being kept at the institute and is not on display. Many experts doubt the second inscription is a definite reference to the date cited as the possible end of the world, saying there is no future tense marking like there is in the Tortuguero tablet. The institute has tried to dispel talk of a 2012 apocalypse, the subject of numerous postings and stories on the Internet. Its latest step was to arrange the special round table of Mayan experts this week at Palenque.

**Be not afraid of going slowly.
Be only afraid of standing still.**

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
12/3/11 -

12/2/11 -

Japan Quake Lifted Seabed 16 Stories - LARGEST EVER RECORDED. Japan's devastating March 11 earthquake shifted the seabed by as much as 165 feet (50 meters) — the largest slip yet recorded, a new study says. That's considerably larger than in previous reports, which in May put the shift at 79 feet (24 meters). This giant movement probably caused the massive tsunami. The seabed may also have risen by as much as 33 feet (10 meters).
The earthquake was the first in a subduction zone — a place where one tectonic plate is diving under another — in which scientists have been able to look directly at movement of pieces of Earth's crust right up to the edge of the fault line. Because subduction-zone earthquakes occur deep beneath the ocean, they are invisible from land. In the past, scientists have had to deduce seabed shifts via seismic waves emitted by an earthquake. But that requires computer modeling, and the results can be frustratingly uncertain. But the new research will "open up a new level" in understanding how subduction zones behave and generate tsunamis.
Even so, the before-and-after pictures of the seabed shift aren't perfect. The Japanese team's original surveys were taken several years before the earthquake, and the "after" surveys were taken nearly two weeks later.
"The displacement [of the seabed] included everything that occurred between the surveys." That includes not only the devastating earthquake but its aftershocks, as well as any less destructive "creeps" — or small movements — that might have occurred before the March temblor. Still, it's a major find, because few subduction zones have been mapped well enough to allow such before-and-after images to be compared at all.

Hundreds of houses collapse in China quake. - The moderate earthquake in northwestern China on Thursday destroyed hundreds of homes and damaged many more, but caused no reported casualties. Nearly 300 houses collapsed in Kashi prefecture, in China's vast and sparsely populated Xinjiang region, when the 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck late Thursday, damaging nearly 2,000 more.
Nearly 1,500 people were evacuated from their homes. Tents and other relief materials were being transported to the quake-hit region. Xinjiang is a vast region with a population of around 20 million. A 5.4-magnitude quake struck the region in November, destroying more than 50 houses and damaging hundreds more. An August quake of 5.2-magnitude injured at least 26 people, three of them critically, and destroyed more than 30 homes.


TAIWAN - Volcano spews mud, natural gas in Pingtung. The mud volcano in southern Taiwan erupted Thursday, almost a year since its last eruption. The mud volcano in Wandan, Pingtung County, erupted around 3 a.m. near a cemetery area, ejecting mud and releasing natural gases. Residents in the neighboring ignited the natural gases coming out from the volcano, hoping to end the eruption as soon as possible. The mud volcano usually erupts once or twice a year. It last erupted on Dec. 21 in an area around the Huang Yuan Holy Temple, north of the cemetery. The eruptions have been moving south. In early years, the eruptions occurred at the peak of Liyu Hill further north from the temple.
During the Japanese colonial years, there were attempts to explore the natural gas resources in the area. The natural gases also facilitated the area's brick making business. At the peak of the business, there were eight kilns in the area. The kilns were closed after clay sources ran out, but they have now become sites of cultural interests for tourists. The mud ejected from the volcano has also created unique geological attractions, boosting the local tourism. The mud volcano was dormant for nine years between 1979 and 1988.

NEW ZEALAND - Study predicts 6km Auckland 'ring of death'. An Auckland volcano would create a probable 6km ring of death as the "base surge" of superheated gases and ash exploded outward at ground level, a newly published study says. And the results indicate the number of people evacuated in the 2008 volcano emergency simulation – named Ruaumoko – was "much smaller than the one suggested by a rational cost-benefit analysis". Almost everyone caught in a base surge dies, for example, in the 1987 eruption of Mt Pelee on the Carribean island of Martinique, 26,000 people caught in the base surge perished and only two survived. By studying the effects of Auckland's numerous previous volcanoes and analogous volcanoes worldwide, the authors estimated that a new volcano would have a base surge with a 3km radius. "You can't rule out the possibility of it going 6 or 7km".
The volcano that created Lake Pupuke on Auckland's North Shore had a blast radius of 3km, Orakei basin 1.8km and Motukorea (Browns Island) 1km. Smaller volcanoes around the world had base surges of 250m but the largest volcanoes had surges with a 5km radius. A worrying "outlier" in the data is that Rangitoto, the most recent volcano, was the biggest by far and outside the conventional volcano field. A volcanic eruption would probably be preceded by a series of earthquakes up to magnitude 4.5 to 5 as the magma made its way to the surface. "The worst case scenario is hours [of notice], but probably it would be weeks. We would start to see the earthquakes get more frequent." A big issue was "we don't know where it's going to come up".
It had been thought that old volcanoes were safe from re-erupting but evidence was mounting that at least some, such as Rangitoto, had erupted at least twice. The probability of an explosion increased on whether the explosion was "wet" or "dry". The base surge relies on the interaction between magma and water so, if the volcano vent occurred in or near the Waitemata or Manukau harbour areas, the probability of an explosion rose dramatically compared to a land-based "dry" eruption. The Ruaumoko simulation was based on an eruption in the area around the sewage treatment ponds near Mangere. The civil defence exercise showed an evacuation area into central Auckland as far as about Mt Eden, to Penrose in the east and Lynfield in the west. The new projections show the blast surge of such a volcano would require about three times the area to be evacuated – including practically the whole southern half of the Auckland isthmus out to about Titirangi and most of South Auckland.

No current tropical storms.


Swiss ski resorts hit by drought - Swiss mountains have remained snow-free this year. The traditional start of Switzerland's ski season has been marred by a shortage of snow across the Alps. The autumn has been THE DRIEST ON RECORD in the country. Big resorts such as Davos or St Moritz have been able to open a few runs with the help of snow cannons. Others have delayed the start of the season. There was some snow in parts of the Swiss Alps early on Saturday, but observers say this was not enough to kick-start the struggling ski season. Alpine resorts in neighbouring countries are also experiencing shortages of snow.


Legionellosis (Legionnaires' disease) cases have increased sharply in the northeastern United States this year, for unknown reasons. Massachusetts had recorded 211 cases as of Nov 23, compared with 118 for all of 2010, while Connecticut had 72 cases, versus 47 last year. Increases were also reported for New York, 526 versus 379 cases; Pennsylvania, 450 and 299; and Maine, 18 and 11. Experts have not been able to identify a cause for the increase. Possible causes being considered included increased testing due to greater awareness of the disease, changes in climate, more air conditioner usage, and an increase in the number of seniors, who are more susceptible. Legionellosis is a form of pneumonia caused by inhaling Legionella bacteria, which are typically found in contaminated water in places such as cooling towers, whirlpool baths, showers, and faucets. The CDC estimates the number of hospitalized legionellosis cases at 8,000 to 18,000 per year but says the true incidence of the disease is unknown because diagnostic testing is underused. Fewer than 5% of people exposed to the bacteria contract the disease, but the case-fatality rate ranges from 5% to 30%.

-Golden Glen Creamery of Bow, WA is voluntarily recalling Butter produced on November 2, 2011 because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
-Front Row Produce of St. Louis MO is recalling its 10oz pint and 10lb bulk grape tomatoes supplied by Rio Queen Citrus, Mission TX, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
-Giant Eagle, Inc. performed a voluntary market withdrawal of all Valu Time brand canned pumpkin purchased on or after August 30, 2011, as well as all Food Club brand canned pumpkin purchased on or after October 28, 2011 as a result of the product not meeting quality standards.
-Trans-Ocean Products, Inc. of Bellingham, Washington is recalling its 4 ounce “transOCEAN Wild Alaska Sockeye Smoked Salmon” because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
-Flowers Foods has pulled off store shelves in certain Florida and southeast Georgia counties loaves of its Nature’s Own Butterbread because they may contain small flakes of aluminum.