Tuesday, April 23, 2013

There will be no update on Wednesday this week.

**I dream of a better tomorrow,
where chickens can cross the road
and not be questioned about their motives.**


Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -
None 5.0 or higher.

Yesterday -
4/22/13 -

China quake rescuers battle landslides - Rescuers have been hampered by clogged roads, debris and landslides as they search for survivors of the powerful earthquake in mountainous southwest China that has left at least 192 dead.
Huge boulders blocked rescue vehicles along roads leading to some of the worst-hit areas, and some areas were only accessible by foot along broken passes through the rough terrain. Survivors including the elderly were carried out on the backs of neighbours as well as by helicopter, as rescuers were also bolstered by thousands of civilian volunteers who rushed to the area to help. State broadcaster CCTV showed orange-suited emergency workers making desperate dashes past cliff-edges, trying to avoid sudden landslides in a region weakened by more than 2000 aftershocks.
Industrial diggers clawed through debris including the mangled remains of cars and motorbikes crushed by tumbling rocks, to clear roads also clogged by huge queues of traffic. The 6.6-magnitude quake which hit Sichuan province on Saturday has left another 23 missing and more than 11,000 injured, while some 17,000 families have lost their homes.
Forecasts of rain in the disaster area raised fears of deadly landslides. "I dare not go anywhere near a mountainside. Many people are worried that the rain will bring more devastation."

Volcano Webcams

Rumbling Chilean Volcanoes - Laguna del Maule, Lascar, Copahue, Antuco.


No current tropical storms.


India - Unseasonal rains due to the presence of a trough that hovered from Madhya Pradesh to south Tamil Nadu across Rayalaseema and Telangana. The heavy unseasonal rains that lashed various parts of the state have left behind a trail of destruction. Almost all seasonal crops were damaged in the four North Coastal districts of the state.
Nearly 12 varieties of crops including paddy, maize and lemon were badly affected by the rains. Even salt beds at Kakinada and some others part of the state were also hit by the pre-monsoon rains. "We are presently touring the affected areas to assess the losses. We will submit a memorandum to the government on the crop loss. About 25% of the crops were affected by the rains."
On Sunday too, many areas in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts received rains associated with strong winds. Electric poles and coconut trees were uprooted at Sankaraguptam village of Malikipuram mandal in East Godavari district. Paddy crops of Rabi season was submerged in the rainwater at Pithapuram.
Though the rains brought relief to people from the scorching summer heat, farmers in many places expressed displeasure over the sudden change in the weather. In Srikakulam, mangoes and cashew nuts fell down due to winds causing heavy loss to farmers. "Already mango crop was severely hit by pests and Cyclone Nilam in November. The unseasonal rains have only compounded the problems."
The rains also affected the aquaculture mostly in East Godavari district. A farmer from Amalapuram shortage of oxygen resulting from continuous rains had cause damaged to aquaculture ponds. There are chances of more moderate to heavy rain with thunderstorms and lightning in parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The Mississippi River is topping out at some problematic spots and there is growing concern that spring floods are far from over. The good news is that most businesses and homes are high and dry, though hundreds of acres of farmland are under water, bridges are closed and countless roads are impassable.
The river was at or near crest at several places Sunday between the Quad Cities and near St. Louis. Some towns in the approximate 100-mile stretch of river from Quincy, Ill., to Grafton, Ill., reached 10-12 feet above flood stage. An inch or more of rain is in the forecast as well as continuing accumulation of snow to the north, especially in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Flood watchers along both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers know that once that snow - record levels, in some cases - melts, a lot of it ends up in the big rivers.
The current flooding is bad enough. Rain last week started the whole mess, causing the Mississippi and many other rivers to surge in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Flooding has now been blamed in three deaths - two at the same spot in Indiana and one in Missouri. In all three cases, vehicles were swept off the road in flash floods.
Spots south of St. Louis aren't expected to crest until late this week, and significant flooding is possible in places like Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Cairo, Ill. Adding to concern is the forecast. An inch of rain was likely in many places Monday night into Tuesday, some places could receive more than that. "That's not what we want to see when we have this kind of flooding, that's for sure."
Forecasters said up to 6 inches of new snow were possible in the Black Hills area of South Dakota through Monday morning. But it may stay cold long enough to the north to make for a gradual melt. Of greater concern, is the Red River in North Dakota, which could see significant flooding in the coming weeks. Sandbagging was beginning this week in Fargo and Cass County to prepare for FORECAST RECORD AMOUNTS OF HIGH WATER along the Red River and its tributaries.
In Grand Rapids, Mich., the Grand River peaked at 21.85 feet Sunday night, topping the previous record of 19.64 feet set in 1985. Flood stage is 18 feet. Hundreds of volunteers filled sandbags to stack around downtown buildings. The city will spend at least $500,000 on flood defenses. The Illinois Governor declared at least 41 counties disaster areas from flooding. Flooding along the Fox and Des Plaines rivers has left many roads impassable in communities such as Lisle, Gurnee and Des Plaines, and in some cases residents are getting around in canoes.


Space debris collisions expected to rise - Fortunately, there have been very few collisions in orbit so far. Unless space debris is actively tackled, some satellite orbits will become extremely hazardous over the next 200 years, a new study suggests.
The research found that catastrophic collisions would likely occur every five to nine years at the altitudes used principally to observe the Earth. And the scientists who did the work say their results are optimistic - the real outcome would probably be far worse. To date, there have been just a handful of major collisions in the space age.
The scientists were most concerned with low-Earth orbit (that is, below 2,000km in altitude). This is where the majority of missions returning critical Earth-observation data tend to operate. All six modelling groups came out with broadly the same finding - a steady increase in the numbers of objects 10cm and bigger over the 200-year period. This growth was driven mostly by collisions between objects at altitudes between 700km and 1,000km.
The low-end projection was for a 19% increase; the high-end forecast was for a 36% rise. Taken together, the growth was 30%. These are averages of hundreds of simulations. For the cumulative number of catastrophic collisions over the period, the range went from just over 20 to just under 40. Somewhat worryingly, the forecasting work made some optimistic assumptions.
One was a 90% compliance with the "25-year rule". This is a best-practice time-limit adopted by the world's space agencies for the removal of their equipment from orbit once it has completed its mission. The other was the idea that there would be no more explosions from half-empty fuel and pressure tanks, and from old batteries - a significant cause of debris fragments to date. "We're certainly not at 90% compliance with the 25-year rule yet, and we see explosion events on average about three times a year. It is fair to say this is an optimistic look forward, and the situation will be worse than what we presented in the study."
"So one message from our study is that we need to do better with these debris-mitigation measures, but even with that we need to consider other approaches as well. One of the options obviously is active debris removal." Research groups around the world are devising strategies to catch old rocket bodies and satellites, to pull them out of orbit. Previous modelling work has indicated that removing just a few key items each year could have a significant limiting effect on the growth of debris.
There are some 20,000 man-made objects in orbit that are currently being monitored regularly. About two-thirds of this population is in Low-Earth orbit. These are just the big, easy-to-see items, however. Moving around unseen are an estimated 500,000 particles ranging in size between 1-10cm across, and perhaps tens of millions of other particles smaller than 1cm. All of this material is travelling at several kilometres per second - sufficient velocity for even the smallest fragment to become a damaging projectile if it strikes an operational space mission.
Two key events have added significantly to the debris problem in recent years. The first was the destructive anti-satellite test conducted by the Chinese in 2007 on one of their own retired weather spacecraft. The other, in 2009, was the collision between the Cosmos 2251 and Iridium 33 satellites. Taken together, these two events essentially negated all the mitigation gains that had been made over the previous 20 years to reduce junk production from spent rocket explosions.


WHO ponders preponderance of older men with H7N9 - In a new perspective, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged the puzzling preponderance of older men among H7N9 influenza patients in China and suggested that studying the habits of elderly Chinese men may help provide some answers.

Natura Pet Products is voluntarily expanding its March 29, 2013 recall of dry pet foods because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.