WEIRD WORLD PT8/August 2011
The events noted in this blog does not include massive animal deaths because I have a series covering this. It does not include the most weather or earthquake events due to the massive numbers involved. I also don’t include the sinkhole due to the series covering this on the blog as well.
- Mon, 01 Aug 2011 16:31 CDT
OC Fisher, a reservoir in West Texas, turned blood-red in recent weeks — what’s left of it anyway. Due to unrelenting drought in Texas, the lake has almost entirely dried up, leaving thousands of dead fish behind. As of the last week in July, when this photo was taken, bacteria had turned the stagnant dregs of the lake red. A Texas lake that turned blood-red this summer may not be a sign of the End Times, but probably is the end of a popular fishing and recreation spot. A drought has left the OC Fisher Reservoir in San Angelo State Park in West Texas almost entirely dry. The water that is left is stagnant, full of dead fish – and a deep, opaque red. The color has some apocalypse believers suggesting that OC Fisher is an early sign of the end of the world, but Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries officials say the bloody look is the result of Chromatiaceae bacteria, which thrive in oxygen-deprived water. “It’s just heartbreaking,” said Charles Cruz, a fish and wildlife technician with Texas Parks and Wildlife in San Angelo, Tex.
- Tue, 02 Aug 2011 10:00 CDT
Catatumbo lightning in 2010.A mysterious symphony of rapid-fire lightning bolts used to create the greatest light show on Earth over the Catatumbo River in Venezuela — until suddenly they stopped and no one knew why.
- Tue, 02 Aug 2011 15:02 CDT
It’s a mysterious jam session of light…hammered all night, nearly every night. There’s 40,000 bolts of lightning up to 300 nights a year. The indigenous people of northwest Venezuela near the Catatumbo River call this phenomenon “Ri Ba-Ba” (or the River of Fire in the Sky). Scientists know it as one of the lightning capitals of the world.
- Wed, 03 Aug 2011 16:41 CDT
Some thought it as ‘horrifying’, others labeled it ‘unbelievable’ and one man even described feeling a shock wave from a sonic boom. But this was not the end of the world – rather a freak outbreak of hailstones that centred over the Queens area of New York City. Some of the hailstones were as big as baseballs and smashed car windows, punctured outdoor furniture and sent people scurrying inside.
- Wed, 03 Aug 2011 16:29 CDT
Lightning struck seemingly in front of a double rainbow in suburban Washington, D.C., yesterday (Aug. 1). All the action was caught on video. The rare moment happened as thunderstorms moved through the region early Monday morning, reported the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang blog. The storms hit Fairfax, Va., bringing little rain, but creating a double rainbow as the sunlight poked through the clouds. Lightning appears to cut through the bows in the video.
- Thu, 04 Aug 2011 22:42 CDT
Salinity may be to blame-Montrose – It seems Shark Week has taken on a whole new meaning in south Alabama. More than 14 sharks washed ashore just a little more than a mile down Montrose Beach.
- Sat, 06 Aug 2011 04:39 CDT
Anchorage – Leona Baldwin’s husband saw it first, and she got on the marine radio to alert others in the remote Alaska village of Kivalina that a strange orange goo was sitting on top of the town’s harbor. The news attracted all the townspeople, anxious to get a gander of the phenomenon that covered much of the harbor and then began washing ashore Wednesday. The next day it rained, and residents found the orange matter floating on top of the rain buckets they use to collect drinking water. It was also found on one roof, leading them to believe whatever it was, it was airborne, too. By Friday, the orange substance in the lagoon had dissipated or washed out to sea, and what was left on ground had dried to a powdery substance. Samples of the orange matter were collected in canning jars and sent to a lab in Anchorage for analysis. Until results are known, Kivalina’s 374 residents will likely continue to wonder just what exactly happened in their village. “Certainly at this point it’s a mystery,” said Emanuel Hignutt, a chemist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation lab in Anchorage.
- Sat, 06 Aug 2011 14:27 CDT
Aurora-On the evening of the 5th of August 2011 the Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights were seen as far South as Southern England! At approximately 18:00 Universal Time (19:00 BST) the Earth’s magnetosphere was hit by a coronal mass ejection from the sun, triggering a powerful geomagnetic storm and Aurora.
- Sat, 06 Aug 2011 11:04 CDT
An iceberg more than four times the size of Manhattan has been slowly drifting along Canada’s eastern seaboard, according to NASA. Chunks of the giant iceberg – dubbed Petermann Ice Island – have broken off and rubbed up against some Canadian shores, though NASA said the iceberg was not likely to hit land, but probably run aground on the sea floor just off the coast, posing a real danger to offshore oil rigs and ships at sea.
- Sat, 06 Aug 2011 16:14 CDT
These fishermen thought they were in the middle of the classic horror movie The Fog when they saw this amazing cloud form on the horizon. They had been fishing in the English Channel when a huge cigar-shaped cloud suddenly appeared miles in front of them. The mile-long bank of cloud rolled silently and eerily towards their boat, 30 miles south of Dartmouth, Devon, and within a few minutes the vessel Gemini was shrouded in a dense mist.
- Sun, 07 Aug 2011 13:35 CDT
This image released by the District Governor of Spitsbergen’s office shows the dead male polar bear which had attacked youths who were camping on a remote Arctic glacier as part of a high-end adventure holiday at Spitsbergen, Svalbard archipelago, in Norway, Friday, Aug. 5, 2011 . The polar bear was shot and killed by other members of the group. The attack took place on the Svalbard archipelago, which is home to about 2,400 people and 3,000 polar bears and one British youth was killed in the attack. The polar bear that killed a British teenager and mauled four others was starving and significantly underweight, Norwegian officials said Sunday.
- Mon, 08 Aug 2011 18:04 CDT
Noctilucent clouds over Reykjavíc. Night-shining “noctilucent” clouds create a magical glow in the night skies over Reykjavíc, Iceland in this beautiful photo by Örvar Atli Þorgeirsson, taken on August 6. In the foreground is “The Sun Voyager” (Sólfar), an iconic steel sculpture located on the city waterfront representing a Viking ship.
- Tue, 09 Aug 2011 15:00 CDT
“We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island-Eminent Australian scientist Professor Frank Fenner, who helped to wipe out smallpox, predicts humans will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change. If past is prologue, 70,000 years ago the human population was reduced to small isolated groups in Africa, apparently because of drought, according to an analysis by researchers at Stanford University. The estimated the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to expand again in the early Stone Age. Tiny bands of early humans, forced apart by harsh environmental conditions, coming back from the brink to reunite and populate the world. Truly an epic drama, written in our DNA.” Wells is director of the Genographic Project, launched in 2005 to study anthropology using genetics. The report was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. The migrations of humans out of Africa to populate the rest of the world appear to have begun about 60,000 years ago, but little has been known about humans between Eve and that dispersal. The new study looks at the mitochondrial DNA of the Khoi and San people in South Africa which appear to have diverged from other people between 90,000 and 150,000 years ago.
- Tue, 09 Aug 2011 10:09 CDT
Rogue wave reaching a height of 60-foot plus hit a tanker headed south from Valdez, Alaska, in February 1993. The ship was running in about 25-foot seas when a monster wave struck it broadside on the starboard side. In 1995, an 84-foot wall of water pummeled an offshore oil rig in the North Sea. This massive wave wasn’t a tsunami triggered by an earthquake – it was the first documented occurrence of a “rogue wave.” Rogue waves are enormous waves that occur far out at sea seemingly in isolation and without an obvious cause. They have been plaguing sailors since the advent of seafaring, yet it wasn’t until monitoring equipment on the rig captured the telltale data that scientists could confirm that freak waves, as they’re also known, were not just the product of a sea-soaked imagination. But in the years since then, the study of rogue waves has yielded as many questions as answers. Scientists have examined the wave patterns to look for clues as to how this seemingly random phenomenon could occur. New research suggests that atmospheric pressure may play a role. “Maybe this isn’t just a wave problem, which is how we’ve been looking at this for the past decade,” said Tim Janssen, associate professor of oceanography at San Francisco State University, who was not involved with the study. “This time, let’s step out of the box and say maybe there’s atmospheric variation going on.”
- Sun, 14 Aug 2011 22:40 CDT
A purple sponge never seen in UK waters has been found off England’s east coast. It was discovered by the Wildlife Trust, who were conducting a seaweed survey of the North Sea. The survey uncovered 131 types of seaweed, including the “reflexed grape weed”, or red seaweed, and three other non-native types, while endangered starlet sea anemones were seen along Suffolk and Norfolk’s coasts. An unidentified sea slug new to Norfolk was spotted, while the unknown purple sponge was discovered during dives off East Runton in the north of the county. A spokesman said: “This survey has thrown up some important finds. They will form a crucial part of our knowledge base of what’s living off the east coast.”
- Sun, 14 Aug 2011 13:50 CDT
SMOKING HILLSIDE-Hope Ranch – An unsolved mystery is smoldering on a dirt hillside below Hope Ranch. Smoke and steam are coming out of the soil, very similar to an event in October of 2006. Geologists have said a landslide five years ago may have opened up a crack in the bluff. That may have added oxygen to an underground super heated tar site. The hot zone is being controlled with sprinklers spraying waters in all directions. A fence is up in the area to keep inquisitive beach walkers away. Santa Barbara County Fire officials say there is no immediate threat to the area or risk to the public.
- Mon, 15 Aug 2011 15:53 CDT
“I was pool side in my apartment in Singapore, when I saw something weird in the skies. As I looked over head I saw some weird cloud shoots of light and puff as the clouds seemed to reform sporadically. I could see that a storm cloud was building, but the light and visual show was intriguing me. So I grabbed my iPhone and recorded this.”
- Tue, 16 Aug 2011 12:13 CDT
Heavy rains and extreme weather are becoming more common in Sweden, according to a study by forecasters at the Swedish meteorological and Hydrological Institute, SMHI.
- Wed, 17 Aug 2011 10:55 CDT
700 A DAY-A broken water main was being replaced in Houston, Texas, on July 27.City imposes water rationing; heat, high use put pressure on pipes across central US It’s not just hot and dry in Houston, the city’s also losing water at an alarming rate due to water main breaks – 700 a day, the mayor said Tuesday.
- Wed, 17 Aug 2011 09:29 CDT
Authorities are investigating reports from around San Diego County of a strong, chemical-like odor. People began making emergency calls about 2 p.m. to report a pervasive and pungent smell variously described as akin to kerosene, diesel fuel, bus exhaust, lighter fluid and other petroleum-based substances, according to Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. On Wednesday afternoon, 10News received dozens of calls from residents who said they smelled what they believed was jet fuel in the air. Residents from areas such as Encinitas, Solana Beach, Pacific Beach, Mira Mesa and La Jolla all reported the odor. Residents living in inland areas such as North Park, Hillcrest and Rancho Bernardo told 10News they smelled the odor in their area.
- Wed, 17 Aug 2011 11:56 CDT
BUGNADOES? Parts of Missouri affected by serious flooding in recent months are having to contend with a bizarre new natural hazard, swarms of bugs that appear in the shape of tornado funnels. The large bug vortexes of flying bugs, which have been referred to by local people as “bugnadoes”, have been spotted throughout low-lying parts of the State in the vicinity of the Missouri River. It is unclear as of yet what species of flying insects is involved. To make matters worse, however, swarms of dragonflies have been seen flying around and feeding on the swirling bug funnels.
- Wed, 17 Aug 2011 09:29 CDT
Authorities are investigating reports from around San Diego County of a strong, chemical-like odor. People began making emergency calls about 2 p.m. to report a pervasive and pungent smell variously described as akin to kerosene, diesel fuel, bus exhaust, lighter fluid and other petroleum-based substances, according to Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. On Wednesday afternoon, 10News received dozens of calls from residents who said they smelled what they believed was jet fuel in the air.
- Thu, 18 Aug 2011 11:06 CDT
The Irrawaddy dolphin, considered sacred to many people in Cambodia and Laos, has declined to just 85 individuals in Southeast Asia’s Mekong River, according to a World Wildlife Fund assessment. Leading researchers now conclude that the population is at high risk of dying out altogether.
- Fri, 19 Aug 2011 08:41 CDT
Crews are cleaning up after severe storms moved through the Valley Thursday night. Many are eager to see what damage has been done. “It will be interesting to see what it looks like after sunrise,” said Sgt. Ryan Skedel of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
- Fri, 19 Aug 2011 08:41 CDT
ANOTHER HABOOB-Gilbert Arizona-Crews are cleaning up after severe storms moved through the Valley Thursday night. Many are eager to see what damage has been done. “It will be interesting to see what it looks like after sunrise,” said Sgt. Ryan Skedel of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. Sunrise revealed quite a sight. Utility poles blown over by heavy winds snapped like toothpicks along the Hunt Highway where stranded vehicles were still on the road as of 6:20 am Friday. The storm moved through Eloy, Casa Grande, San Tan Valley and Queen Creek before it hit central Phoenix just before 6 p.m. Thursday.
- Mon, 22 Aug 2011 08:00 CDT
Side view of wasp.A warrior wasp? A wasp with jaws longer than its front legs? The new species of wasp that Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, discovered on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, has scientists abuzz. The jaw-dropping, shiny black wasp appears to be the “Komodo dragon” of the wasp family.
“It’s huge. The male measures about two-and-a-half-inches long,” Kimsey said. “Its jaws are so large that they wrap up either side of the head when closed. When the jaws are open they are actually longer than the male’s front legs. I don’t know how it can walk. The females are smaller but still larger than other members of their subfamily, Larrinae.” Kimsey discovered the warrior wasp on the Mekongga Mountains in southeastern Sulawesi on a recent biodiversity expedition funded by a five-year grant from the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program.
- Tue, 23 Aug 2011 17:57 CDT
Giant hailstones struck parts of China causing damage to cars and buildings.
- Wed, 24 Aug 2011 12:49 CDT
ANIMALS SENSE-While many animals at the Smithsonian zoo made alarm calls or ran for cover during the quake, their giant pandas didn’t seem to notice. Here, a female giant panda at Zoo Atlanta.People along the East Coast weren’t the only ones to feel the 5.8-magnitude earthquake Tuesday, as zoo animals in Washington, D.C., let it be known they felt the vibrations, zoo officials said. Some of the animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park even shouted alarm calls or ran up trees seconds before the rest of us felt the shaking.
- Wed, 24 Aug 2011 10:56 CDT
Sky watchers in Europe should be alert for volcanic sunsets. “For the past week, we’ve seen unusual twilight rays probably caused by high-attitude aerosols from Nabro, a volcano which erupted in Eritrea on June 13th,” reports Petr Horalek from the Ondřejov Observatory of the Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. This is how the sky looked on Aug. 23rd. Around 20 minutes after sunset these significant crepuscular rays appeared like shining fingers in the western sky,” he describes. “The rays were so strong, I could see them almost directly overhead; and in the south, they stretched across the horizon like great red and purple stripes.” Purple is one of the telltale colors of a volcanic sunset. Fine volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere scatter blue light which, when mixed with ordinary sunset red, produces a violet hue. Another set of photos taken last night by Martin Popek in the Czech city of Nýdek highlights the purple signature.
- Fri, 26 Aug 2011 11:02 CDT
MOSQUITOES DISAPPEARING-Mosquitoes are now a rare sight in some parts of Africa-Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are disappearing in some parts of Africa, but scientists are unsure as to why. Figures indicate controls such as anti-mosquito bed nets are having a significant impact on the incidence of malaria in some sub-Saharan countries. But in Malaria Journal, researchers say mosquitoes are also disappearing from areas with few controls. They are uncertain if mosquitoes are being eradicated or whether they will return with renewed vigour. Data from countries such as Tanzania, Eritrea, Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia all indicate that the incidence of malaria is dropping fast. Researchers believe this is due to effective implementation of control programmes, especially the deployment of bed nets treated with insecticide.
- Sat, 27 Aug 2011 10:19 CDT
Another shark attack reported in Russia’s Far EastRescuers in Russia’s Far Eastern region of Primorye are checking a report of another shark attack a day after the swimming ban was lifted, a spokesman for the region’s rescue service said on Saturday. “We received information that a man was attacked by a shark near the town of Slavyanka. The report is currently being verified,” the spokesman said.
- Mon, 29 Aug 2011 15:58 CDT
Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins have been observed trapping small fish in large conch shells that are held in their beaks, then bringing the shells to the surface and shaking them. The shaking causes the water to drain out, and the fish fall into the dolphins’ mouths.-Perth – Dolphins in one western Australian population have been observed holding a large conch shell in their beaks and using it to shake a fish into their mouths – and the behavior may be spreading. Researchers from Murdoch University in Perth were not quite sure what they were seeing when they first photographed the activity, in 2007, in which dolphins would shake conch shells at the surface of the ocean. “It’s a fleeting glimpse – you look at it and think, that’s kind of weird,” said Simon Allen, a researcher at the university’s Cetacean Research Unit. “Maybe they’re playing, maybe they’re socializing, maybe males are presenting a gift to a female or something like that, maybe the animals are actually eating the animal inside,” he added.
- Mon, 29 Aug 2011 00:00 CDT
“Emotional injury, stress and despair”: the impact of climate change on health. Rates of mental illnesses including depression and post-traumatic stress will increase as a result of climate change, a report to be released today says. The paper, prepared for the Climate Institute, says loss of social cohesion in the wake of severe weather events related to climate change could be linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and substance abuse. As many as one in five people reported ”emotional injury, stress and despair” in the wake of these events. The report, “A Climate of Suffering: The Real Cost of Living with Inaction on Climate Change,” called the past 15 years a ”preview of life under unrestrained global warming”. ”While cyclones, drought, bushfires and floods are all a normal part of Australian life, there is no doubt our climate is changing,” the report says. ”For instance, the intensity and frequency of bushfires is greater. This is a ‘new normal’, for which the past provides little guidance…”Moreover, recent conditions are entirely consistent with the best scientific predictions: as the world warms so the weather becomes wilder, with big consequences for people’s health and well-being.” The paper suggests a possible link between Australia’s recent decade-long drought and climate change. It points to a breakdown of social cohesion caused by loss of work and associated stability, adding that the suicide rate in rural communities rose by 8 per cent.
- Tue, 30 Aug 2011 22:36 CDT
Over the past decade and a half, as Monsanto built up its globe-spanning, multi-billion-dollar genetically modified seed empire, it made two major pitches to farmers.
The first involved weeds. Leave the weed management to us, Monsanto insisted. We’ve engineered plants that can survive our very own herbicide. Just pay up for our patented, premium-priced seeds, spray your fields with our Roundup herbicide whenever the fancy strikes, and – voilà! – no more weeds.
The second involved crop-eating insects. We’ve isolated the toxic gene of a commonly used bacterial pesticide called Bt, Monsanto announced, and spliced it directly into crops. Along with corn and soy, you will literally be growing the pesticide that protects them. Plant our seeds, and watch your crops thrive while their pests shrivel and die.
Monsanto focused its technology on three widely planted, highly subsidized crops: corn, soy, and cotton. Large-scale farmers of these commodities, always operating on razor-thin profit margins, lunged at the chance to streamline their operations by essentially outsourcing their pest management to Monsanto. And so Monsanto’s high-tech crops essentially took over the corn/soy- and cotton-growing regions of the country.
- Tue, 30 Aug 2011 19:59 CDT
Jennifer Campbell, supervisor for Pacific Wildlife Care, holds an injured juvenile brown pelican Friday at their recovery facility in Morro Bay. State Fish and Game wardens are trying to figure out why so many brown pelicans are showing up along California’s Central Coast with huge puncture wounds in their chests. The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports that 15 birds have died in recent days from wounds that could have been caused by a knife or other sharp object. Last Thursday three were brought into the Pacific Wildlife Care center in Morro Bay and two had to be euthanized because the injuries were so bad. The third is being treated.