Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for November, 2008

Hundreds of millions worldwide face disaster

Posted by feww on November 28, 2008

We import food from New Zealand because there’s no tax on aviation fuel, even though it makes no sense from a planetary standpoint. —Physicist James E. Hansen

“Time is running out to prevent catastrophic consequences from global warming, a leading climate scientist warned a packed audience Thursday at Stanford University.”

Physicist James E. Hansen said hundreds of millions of people will run out of fresh water sources and hundreds of millions of others will be forced to flee their homes by rising sea levels if greenhouse gas emissions stay the same.

[Note: It’s hoped that James Hansen would mention the rapid loss of topsoil in his future lectures.]

“To preserve creation, the planet on which civilization developed, we must draw down carbon dioxide to less than 350 parts per million,” Hansen  said. Read more

[Note: Moderators believe ‘safe’ emission levels are about 260-270 ppm.]

Related Links:

Posted in Climate Change, Congress Dirty Dozen, Ethics of Food and the Environment, Global Warming, Stanford University | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Chevron should pay $27 billion in compensation

Posted by feww on November 27, 2008

Expert estimates cost of oil giant’s environmental damage in Ecuador at $27billion

The oil company Chevron Corp should pay $27 billion in compensation for environmental damage it caused in Ecuador, an expert geologist says.

Antiwar protesters demonstrate outside Chevron Corp headquarters. Source

In a 1990s lawsuit brought against Texaco, which Chevron acquired in 2001, the farmers and indigenous groups in Ecuador contend that the company polluted the forest and damaged their health by dumping about 70 million cubic meters of contaminated water over two decades between 1972 and 1992.

Chevron dismisses the claim arguing that the independent damage report “contains fabricated and erroneous evidence,” and that Texaco was released from any liability because it paid $40 million for an environmental cleanup in the 1990s. Chevron also blames state oil company Petroecuador for most of the pollution.

A final ruling on the case is expected in 2009.

Related News Links:

Chevron’s Environmental record [from Wikipedia]

From 1965 to 1993, Texaco (acquired by Chevron in 2001) participated in a consortium to develop the Lago Agrio oil field in Ecuador. It has been accused of extensive environmental damage from these operations, and faces legal claims from both private plaintiffs and the government of Ecuador. The case has been widely publicized by environmental activists. Chevron claims that it is being unfairly targeted as a deep pocket defendant, when the actual responsibility lies with the government and its national oil company.

Chevron’s activities in Richmond, California have been the subject of ongoing controversy. The project houses over 11 million pounds of toxic materials and has been responsible for over 304 accidents.[11] For illegally bypassing wastewater treatments and failing to notify the public about toxic releases, Chevron’s Richmond refineries were forced to pay $540,000 in 1998.[12] Overall, Chevron is listed as potentially responsible for ninety-five Superfund sites—locations for which the EPA has earmarked funds for cleanup.[13] In October, 2003, the state of New Hampshire sued Chevron and other oil companies for using MTBE, a gasoline additive that the attorney general claimed polluted much of the state’s water supply.[14]

Chevron’s African operations have also been criticized as environmentally unsound.[15] In 2002, Angola became the first African nation ever to fine a major multinational corporation operating in its own waters when it demanded 2 million dollars in compensation for oil spills allegedly caused by Chevron’s poor maintenance.[16]

On October 16, 2003, Chevron U.S.A. Inc. resolved a Clean Air Act settlement, which reduced harmful air emissions by about 10,000 tons a year.[17] In San Francisco, Chevron was filed by a consent decree to spend almost $275 million to install and utilize innovative technology to reduce nitrogen and sulfur dioxide emissions at its refineries.[18] After violating the Clean Air Act at an offline loading terminal in El Segundo, California, Chevron paid a $6 million penalty as well as $1 million More…

Posted in Chevron lawsuit, Climate Change, ecuador, environment, Richard Cabrera | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Volcano Watch No. 47

Posted by feww on November 27, 2008

19 November-25 November 2008

New Activity/Unrest:

Featured Volcano: Dukono

Country: Indonesia
Region: Halmahera
Volcano Type: Complex volcano
Summit Elevation: 1,335 m
Latitude:        1.68°N         1°41’0″N
Longitude: 127.88°E          127°53’0″E

One of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes, Dukono is located at the northern end of Halmahera Island. Dukono has a broad profile and is capped by many compound craters. Dukono has displayed more or less continuous explosive activity since 1933, occasionally accompanied by lava flows. Photo by Vivianne Clavel, June 1991. Source: GVP

Ongoing Activity:

This page is updated on Wednesdays, please see the GVP Home Page for news of the latest significant activity.

Posted in Fuego, Manam, Pacaya, Popocatépetl, Tungurahua | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by feww on November 26, 2008


Source: CIMSS


Tropical Cyclone Six. Still Satellite image dated as shown. Image credit: CIMSS



Source: CIMSS

Posted in Tropical Weather Advisory | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Image of the Day: Polluting Poland!

Posted by feww on November 25, 2008

Energy Dinosaur Poland relies on polluting coal for about 92 percent of its electricity production.

Poland’s 105 coal-burning power plants produce 60 percent of its CO2 emissions

A Greenpeace activist carries a banner during a protest to create a “Stop” sign next to an excavator at Jozwin-2B, a state-owned (KWB) open pit brown coal mine in Konin, western Poland November 24, 2008. REUTERS/Nick Cobbing/Greenpeace /Handout.

“Poland’s economy is based on coal and any real alternative like nuclear, is a long way off,” says Tadeusz Skotnicki, production chief at the 110-year-old Wujek coal mine in the heart of southern Poland’s Silesian coal basin.

Posted in Climate Change, CO2 Emissions, electricity generation, energy, environment | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Colombia’s Nevado del Huila Eruption Kills 12

Posted by feww on November 24, 2008

Lahars and Avalanches triggered by Colombia’s Nevado del Huila eruption kill a dozen people

Nevado del Huila, at 5,365 metres, is the highest volcano in Colombia. Photo: Source. Image may be subject to copyright.

Colombia’s Nevado del Huila volcano erupted at 9:45 p.m. Thursday unleashing two avalanches and waves of lahars and mudslides down the River Paez killing at least a dozen people and destroying about 26 houses, a school, a football stadium and five bridges, the presidential office said. About a dozen others were injured and at least 9 people were reported missing.

Some 12,000 people living in the sparsely populated region, a reservation for Nasa indigenous communities area, about 240km south of Bogota, have been evacuated, the government said.

The worst affected area was reportedly near the town of Belalcázar, in the southwestern Cauca province.

Some 23,000 Colombians were killed when the nearby Nevado del Ruiz volcano erupted In 1985 triggering lahars and mudslides in the country’s worst ever natural disaster known as the Armero tragedy.

Related Links:

Posted in avalanches, colombia, lahars, mudslides, Nasa indigenous communities, River Paez | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

China’s Topsoil Nightmare Is Real

Posted by feww on November 22, 2008

The world can ill-afford the cost of not helping China!

China is losing 4.5 billion tons of soil each year

About 35 % of China’s agricultural land is affected by desertification seriously threatening its ability to feed its population, a nationwide survey revealed.

Desertification in China’s virtually out of control!
Photo: Xinhua

Soil erosion caused by water and wind is removing about 4.5 billion tons of soil each year, Xinhua official news agency quoted from a report by China’s bio-environment security research team.

“China has a more dire situation than India, Japan, the United States, Australia and many other countries suffering from soil erosion,” Xinhua said.

“Beijing has long been worried about the desertification of its northern grasslands, and scaled back logging after rain rushing down denuded mountainsides caused massive flooding along the Yangtze in the late 1990s.” Reuters reported.

Entire villages are being buried in China. Photo: Xinhua

Abot 1.6 million square km of land are being degraded by water erosion each year affecting almost every river basin. Additionally,  2.0 million square km are eroded by wind, the report said.

The three-year survey on soil conservation was the most comprehensive report since 1949 when the Communist Party came to power in China.

In 2003 Chinese experts  estimated that desertification cost the country  a direct loss of 64.2 billion yuan  with indirect economic losses of 288.9 billion yuan, Xinhua said. Their recent report puts the direct losses at 200 billion yuan.

NOTE: By as early as 2012 critically low levels of topsoil will seriously affect food production globally.

[$1 is about 6.8 Yuan]

Related Links:

    Posted in bio-environment security, China, environment, flooding, soil conservation | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

    Oceans, Where Life Started, Are Dying – Part V

    Posted by feww on November 21, 2008

    Wild Facts Series: Weapons Horror Under Water

    Our oceans: Convenient dump sites for chemical weapons

    [And a number of nuclear weapons are lying down there, too!]

    Our oceans have long been used as a convenient weapons dump for the military.  Hundreds of thousands of tons of surplus chemical weapons including large quantities of arsenic, cyanide, mustard gas, sarin gas and VX nerve gas are dumped off the US Atlantic coast as well as off other countries.

    Dumping chemical weapons –  Millions of pounds of mustard gas canisters were jettisoned into the Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey (1964) and elsewhere. (Photo: The U.S. Army)

    The U.S. Army has admitted to dumping 30 million kg (64 million pounds) of chemical weapons alone into U.S. waters between World War II and early 1970s. But that’s only tip of the iceberg because the Army also says years of record have gone missing.

    These weapons of mass destruction virtually ring the country, concealed off at least 11 states – six on the East Coast, two on the Gulf Coast, California, Hawaii and Alaska. Few, if any, state officials have been informed of their existence.

    known dumpsites

    Some of chemical weapons dump sites off the US  Atlantic coast. Image Credit: Daily Press. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Millions of mustard gas-filled ammunition’s were dumped off the United States coasts, and other countries.

    Dead Dolphins – Hundreds of dolphins were washed ashore in Virginia and New Jersey shorelines in 1987 with burns similar to mustard gas exposure. A marine-mammal specialist believes chemical weapons dumped in the ocean by the US Army killed them. (Photo courtesy of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in New Jersey). Source

    Chemical Weapons Disposal By Scuttling – The SS William Ralston filled with more than 300,000 mustard gas bombs and 1,500 1-ton canisters of Lewsite is sunk in the Pacific Ocean off San Fransico in 1958. (Photo: The U.S. Army)

    Here’s a brief chronology:

    1957:  48 tons of lewisite were dumped off the coast of New Jersey.

    1967 –  4,577 tons of mustard agent and 7,380 M55 sarin were dumped.

    1968 – 38 one-ton containers of sarin gas and VX nerve gas were dumped,

    1968 – 1,460 vaults of M55 sarin gas and VX rockets and 120 drums of arsenic and cyanide canisters.

    Barge loaded with mustard gas canisters The canisters were later dumped somewhere in the Atlantic ocean in 1964. (Photo: The U.S. Army)

    For more photos click here!

    The US military secretly dumped chemical weapons in the oceans for decades, from 1944 to 1970.

    Hundreds of people have been seriously injured as some of the weapons have washed up on shore or ended up in fishermen’s nets.

    “Overseas, fishermen have been hurt by chemical weapons the United States secretly sank, from the Riviera to Australia.” John Bull of Daily Press reported.

    “It’s a disaster looming – a time bomb,” said Dr. Gert Harigel, a physicist, who’s a member of the Geneva International Peace Research Institute. “The scientific community knows very little about it. It scares me a lot.”

    The US military created at least 30 chemical weapon dump sites and secretly dumped surplus chemical weapons from the end of World War II until 1970, but has scant record of where some of those dump sites were, or what exactly they dumped there. The extremely volatile dangerous weapons remain corroding in the dump sites.

    Offshore seismic activity can accelerate the leakage and failure rate of chemical weapons, according to Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action.

    “Our ocean floor is littered with chemical weapons. We’re talking about significant sonar pulses, and we don’t know what they would do during the testing stage … All of those canisters have been rotting away, and poking around could have catastrophic results on releasing 64 million pounds of chemical weapons.” Zipf said.


    A bomb disposal expert from Dover Air Force Base, Del., was burned in 2004 by a mustard gas shell found in a driveway. (Photo: The U.S. Army).

    The military, it was revealed, dumped large piles of chemical weapons in the ocean off Hawaii between 1944 and 1946. At least 2,000 conventional munitions lay on the seabed less than 1km off Waianae, Oahu, in a region named Ordnance Reef.

    U.S.-made deadly weapons were dumped off the coasts of at least 11 other countries including Australia, China, Denmark, France, India, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, the Philippines, the former Soviet Union and unidentified “Latin American countries.”

    A treaty which was also signed by the United States in 1975 prohibits dumping of chemical munitions in the ocean, however, it does not cover the dump sites created prior to the treaty date. Further, as the weapons dump sites are considered to be in international waters the U.S. government bears no legal responsibility to remove them, according to Peter Kaiser, a spokesperson for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, at The Hague, Netherlands.

    Dumps Created by Other countries

    After World War II, the Canadian navy dumped thousands of tons of ammunition and explosives into the waters, the report stated.

    In 1973, nearly 100 fishermen were injured by chemical warfare agents dumped by either U.S. occupation forces or the Japanese military toward the end of World War II.

    In 2003 the Australians discovered that their military had dumped more than 30 million kg of chemical weapons off the coast of Brisbane.

    The Canadians, having discovered three major offshore chemical weapons dump sites, believe there may be as many as 1,200 other sites off Nova Scotia and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, north of Washington state, created both the Canadian and the U.S. military.

    Nuclear Weapons Lost in the Water

    And to top it all, the US military has lost 11 nuclear bombs at sea.

    continued …

    Related Links:

    Posted in cyanide, lewisite, Lost Nukes, sarin gas, VX nerve gas | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Volcano Watch No. 46

    Posted by feww on November 20, 2008

    12 November -18 November 2008

    New Activity/Unrest:


    Country:    Japan
    Region :    Hokkaido
    Volcano Type:    Caldera
    Last Known Eruption:    2006
    Summit Elevation:    1499 m
    Latitude:    43.384°N     43°23’3″N
    Longitude:    144.013°E    144°0’46″E

    Ongoing Activity:

    This page is updated on Wednesdays, please see the GVP Home Page for news of the latest significant activity.

    Posted in caldera, Dalaffilla, Holocene Volcanoes, Nevado del Huila | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Vast swarms of locusts sweep across Australia

    Posted by edro on November 19, 2008

    After years of drought, Australia’s harvest faces a different threat

    As farmers prepare to harvest their crops, large swarms of locusts plague Australia

    Vast swarms, some measuring up to seven km long, have been observed at Condobolin, Gundagai, Narrandera and Wagga Wagga.

    The NSW State Government has reportedly dispatched pesticides to farmers to spray about 100,000 hectares of locust bands and has a fleet of nine crop spraying aircraft on standby-the only way they know how to fight the locusts!

    Desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria. Male (on top) and female. Credit: Christiaan Kooyman

    Locust is the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers of the family Acrididae, some of which reached 15 cm in length. These species can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory. They form bands as nymphs and swarms as adults — both of which can travel great distances, rapidly stripping fields and greatly damaging crops. [Wikipedia]

    Related Links:

    Related News and Video Links:

    Posted in Acrididae, Crop spray, grasshoppers, Locust, spraying aircraft, swarming | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Censored by LA Times

    Posted by feww on November 18, 2008

    Public Information Notice

    Censorship by LA Times blog editors works against public interest

    LA Times blog editors have apparently censored links to one or more of the following pages, which our readers posted on their blog.

    FEWW Moderators wonder

    1. Why are LA Times editors working against public interest?

    2. Who are they trying to protect by removing links to FEWW posts?

    Related Links:

    Posted in blogging, SoCal Fires, suppressing info, the right to know | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

    Thought for the Day: The Car Salesman & SoCal Fires

    Posted by msrb on November 18, 2008

    Don’t Buy the Official Story!

    You are being shafted by the fire industry!

    A distraught Joan Kezios, 78, waits to hear about the fate of her home at Sylmar’s Oakridge Mobile Home Park. (Photo: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times). Image may be subject to copyright.

    Because cars are made that way!

    Imagine being told by a car salesman that the car he wants you to buy is a fine car, but you mustn’t drive it faster than 20 mph because its breaks would fail. AND it’s also liable to roll over if driven without a passenger in the front seat. Why? Because the manufacturers design their cars that way!

    Would you seriously consider buying the car? Moreover, would you buy the salesman’s story about the car manufacturers designing their cars that way?

    IF you don’t buy the salesman’s story about the ‘freaky’ cars and their crazy manufacturers, how could you buy the official story that the massive damage caused by SoCal fires every year is inevitable?

    It’s time SoCal residents held state officials responsible for the pain and damage caused by the fires!

    Related Links:

    Posted in brush fires, Mayor Villaraigosa, Montecito, Orange county, wild fires | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Tell Schwarzenegger Damage from Fires Is Preventable!

    Posted by feww on November 17, 2008

    Image of the Day: Mounting Costs of SoCal Fires Blaze the Coffers

    Major damage from SoCal fires can be prevented for just a fraction of what it costs to ‘fight’ the fires

    A firefighter removes a scorched American flag as he works to contain a wildfire fuelled by strong winds in the Sylmar area of Los Angeles November 15, 2008. A fast-moving wildfire in suburban Los Angeles is a threat to the city’s power supply, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said on Saturday. REUTERS/Phil McCarten. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Related Links:

    Posted in Diamond Bar, Orange County fire, San Bernardino, Southland fires, Sylmar Fire | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Shock and Awe Southland Fires Take No Prisoners

    Posted by feww on November 16, 2008

    Southland Fires: ‘Designed’ for rapid dominance

    Tell Schwarzenegger major damage from big fires is preventable!

    As if designed by the same neocon gang who advised Pentagon on the Iraqi invasion, the ‘shock and awe’ Southland fires left behind a trail of destruction, burning hundreds of structures and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

    Baghdad after the 2003 “Shock and Awe” campaign? No, the destruction path blazed by Tea fire in Montecito November 14, 2008. (Photo: Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times). Image may be subject to copyright.

    The Southland fires were fundamentally intelligent, politically bullying, democratically inclined, technically shape-shifting and above all demanding. They demand lots of “respect” [Syn: Money.]

    As if a game of chess played by the world’s top 10 players, they maneuvered through the neighborhoods, wrong footed all concerned, destroyed properties and checkmated thousands of residents. The trail of destruction spanned neighborhoods from Orange County to Santa Barbara.

    Some of the fire-related stats:

    • More than 30,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes
    • Interstate 5 and the 91 and 71 Freeways, were closed down.
    • About 800 mobile homes were destroyed in a a community in Sylmar.
    • Some 100 houses and apartments were damaged or destroyed in Riverside and Orange counties.

    A fire in Corona, Riverside County, named the Freeway Complex fire damaged or destroyed up to 100 homes in Corona then crept through Ana Canyon into Orange County, destroying or damaging about 50 homes in Yorba Linda. The fire then spread to Anaheim Hills, consuming 70 homes and 60 apartments. The fire blackened about 80 sq km.

    Total acreage consumed: 6,000 acres by Saturday night [ was just 5% contained.]

    Sayre fire in Sylmar, which started Friday night, swept through the Oakridge Mobile Home Park destroying at least 500 housing units. By Saturday night It had spread over at least 8,000 acres.

    Tea fire which destroyed 111 homes and threatened 1,500 others, was about 40% contained by Saturday night.

    Schwarzenegger who toured the area devastated by Tea fire said: “When you walk around the area that was destroyed, it looks like hell.”

    He declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles and Orange counties, following similar declaration for Santa Barbara County. Schwarzenegger said: “I feel awful for the people whose homes were destroyed.”

    Major damage from all fires are preventable!

    Well, Gov. Schwarzenegger instead of feeling so awful, lets do something about it. Let’s get an independent report on how to prevent property damage from most of these fires. Here are some hints on what to look for:

    1. The average per acre cost of clearing bushes and shrubs in SoCal’s fire prone areas (the Moderators will tell you if the cost is exaggerated.)
    2. Total acreage of the strategic locations that need to be regularly cleared to prevent 99% of the fire damage from occurring.  (Again, the Moderators would scream blue murder, if the numbers are too high, or too low).

    Related News Links and Update:

    Related Links:

    Posted in Orange county, Santa Barbara, Schwarzenegger, Southland fires, Yorba Linda | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Santa Barbara Fires Update

    Posted by feww on November 15, 2008

    Update 3 a.m. Saturday November 15, 2008

    • Sayre fire has burned nearly 1,600 acres and a large number of structures
    • More than 1,000 structures are threatened
    • About  5,000 residents were under mandatory evacuation.
    • Fire leaped both the 210 and 5 Freeways about 2 hrs ago.

    Firefighters said the blaze was moving “southwest along the northern boundary of the city of Los Angeles ‘with much fuel in front of it.‘”

    Schwarzenegger declares a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County

    Smart Sylmar fire consumes 100 acres, 5 structures, damage toll may increase through Saturday.

    The Tea fire consumed about 115 structures and damaged another dozen residences in the wealthy enclave of Montecito before the “Sundowner” winds died down and the fire stabilized. About 13 people were reportedly injured from smoke inhalation and burns, and a 98-year-old man died after being evacuated.

    Tea fire in Montecito –  The setting sun peeks through bare limbs left after the fire swept through. November 14, 2008. Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Tea fire had reportedly consumed about 2,500 acres by late Friday night local time, leaving a charred landscape behind.

    The authorities have warned that 1,500 homes are still threatened. About 5,500 people remained displaced, according to Santa Barbara County Supervisor.

    “It’s still very unstable, and we’re not by any means ready for people to get back into their homes,” said Santa Barbara Deputy Police Chief.

    In one neighborhood where 15 houses were destroyed, an old house with an old-fashioned yard sprinkler, survived the fire, according to a report.

    A ruptured gas line burns in front of a large estate in the Montecito area of Santa Barbara County, California, November 14, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Meanwhile, another smart brush fire, stoked by high Santa Ana winds, consumed about 100 acres near Veterans Memorial Park, north of Sylmar,  destroying as many as five structures. The blaze which started after 10:00 p.m. local time was reportedly visible across the San Fernando Valley.

    “Gusty Santa Ana winds of up to 70 mph are forecast through Saturday, and a red flag warning remains in effect for canyons and valleys in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties,” a report said.

    The cause of Tea fire [also Sayre and Sylmar fires] is still undetermined/or remains undisclosed [as it now seems to be the norm with all Calif. fires.]

    Related Links:

    Posted in SoCal Fires, Sylmar Fire, Tea Fire, Ventura County, Veterans Memorial Park | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Santa Barbara Tea Fire Targets Luxury Homes

    Posted by feww on November 14, 2008

    For the Latest Wildfire Updates Click on >> Calif Fires 2009

    Montecito fire consumes about 900 acres, 80 homes

    An intelligent brush fire which broke out Thursday at 6.00pm local time in the hills above Montecito, Santa Barbara County, targeted luxury homes with ocean views in the wealthy Cold Springs area destroying about 80 structures.

    People watch a home burn in the hills above Santa Barbara. Many residents were forced to evacuate. (Phil Klein/AP). Source: SFG. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Celebrities who own homes in the area include talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, and actors Rob Lowe and Michael Douglas.

    More than 1,000 firefighters, about 125 fire engines and three water-dropping helicopters were rushed in to battle the blazes at the so-called Tea Fire.

    The cause of Tea Fire is still undetermined/or remains undisclosed [as it now seems to be the norm with all Calif. fires.]

    The Montecito Fire Protection District

    Related News Links:

    Related Links:

    Posted in Cold Springs, mandatory evacuation, Michael Douglas, SoCal Fires, sundowners | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Japan’s CO2 at Record High

    Posted by feww on November 13, 2008

    Japan’s GHG emissions increased to 1.371 billion metric tons of CO2e in 2007/08

    Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2.3 percent last year reaching a record high in the year to March, making her Kyoto goals looking increasingly illusive.

    Japan is now the fourth largest producer of GHG after China (more than 10 times the population of Japan), United States (about 2.5 times the population) and Russia.

    Emissions increased to 1.371 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) for 2007/08 fiscal year, the Ministry of the Environment reported.

    About 93 percent of Japan’s GHG emissions is energy based (comes from fossil fuel consumption).  Japan was expected to cut emissions by about 13.5 percent to achieve its Kyoto 2008-2012 target.

    GHG Emissions in Japan. Undated Photograph: PA/Haydn West. Source. Image may be subject to copyright.
    Emission Data for Japan in 2007/08:

    • Greenhouse gas emissions total: 1.371 billion metric tons of CO2e in 2007/08 [UP from 1.340 billion tons in 2006/07 and 1.261 billion tons in the Kyoto Protocol’s benchmark year of 1990.
    • Manufacturers (energy-based): 476 MMT, up 3.6% from 2006/07, but down 1.3 percent from 1990, due to an increase in industrial output and higher per-kilowatt emissions.
    • Transportation-sector: 249 MMT of CO2e down 1.6 percent from the previous year due mainly to a decline in auto travel.
    • Service-sector: 233 MMT of CO2e, a rise of 1.2 percent (blamed on a hotter summer and colder winter compared with the previous year).
    • Household emissions: 180 MMT of CO2e, a rise of  8.4 percent (due to higher use air-conditioning).
    • Power Generation and oil refining: 78 MMT of CO2e, a rise 3.6 percent.

    The electric power industry has a voluntary target for reducing CO2 emissions to 0.34 kg per kilowatt hour. However, their emission averaged 0.45 kg/kWhr in 2007/08, which means to meet Kyoto goals they need to reduce emissions by about 100 million MMT a year for the next four years, based on the estimated power generation of 931 billion kWhr.

    [Note: All figures provided above should be independently verified!]

    Related Links:

    Posted in Climate Change, CO2e, Emission Data for Japan, environment, Fossil Fuel consumption | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Sea Sponges Use ‘Optical Fibers’ to Transmit Light

    Posted by feww on November 11, 2008

    Why Sea Sponges Beam Light Deep Inside Their Bodies

    An orange puffball sponge Tethya aurantia Photo credit: Steve Lonhart / SIMoN NOAA.

    Sponges grow large by feeding on carbon, nitrogen and other metabolites, which are provided by smaller organisms including algae and cyanobacteria. However, algae and similar organisms require light to survive.

    So, how do they survive deep inside the sponges without any apparent access to light?

    That mystery now seems to have been solved. A team of researchers at the University of Stuttgart have discovered that sponges use glass-rod structures, like optical fibers, called spicules to beam light deep inside their bodies.

    The researchers placed light sensitive paper deep inside living sponges of species Tethya aurantium in a darkened seawater tank and then shone light on the surface of the sponges. When they recovered the  paper, they discovered dark spots corresponding exactly to the end of each spicule, where the light had exited.

    The researchers tested another sponge that grew without the specules, in a control experiment. They confirmed that the light did not transmit without the spicules.

    Porifera: Skeletons

    Sponges, like all animals, possess some sort of a skeleton that gives their bodies shape.

    As a whole, poriferans have diverse skeletal elements including calcareous laminae, organic filaments, and siliceous and calcareous spicules.

    The skeletons of each of the major poriferan groups are distinctive and have been used to reconstruct their evolutionary relationships.

    Spicules come in an array of beautiful shapes, as seen in the SEM images to the right.

    These images were obtained using UCMP’s Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope.

    Spicules are often categorized by size, the larger being megascleres and the smaller microscleres.

    Some spicules are formed of the mineralized substances calcium carbonate and silica, while others are made of an organic substance called spongin.

    Spongin skeletons were and are used as scrubbers in bathtubs, though they are fairly expensive. The ubiquitous bathtub accessory called a lufa is NOT a sponge, but a plant. The mineralized forms are considerably more hard and are not as frequently used for commercial purposes. Image and Caption: UCMP.

    Posted in Ecology, light Transmission, marine biology, spicule, symbiotic | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

    Monsanto’s ‘GM Genocide’

    Posted by feww on November 9, 2008

    GM Genocide: Relieving farmers of hardship and misery!

    Painful Suicides, But the Debts Stay!

    About 150,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide because their genetically modified crops failed, according to official statistics.

    Millions of farmers throughout India have been promised bumper harvests and unheard of income if they switched to planting genetically modified (GM) seeds.

    Enticed by the promise of wealth, they borrowed large sums of money at extortionate interest rates to buy Monsanto’s GM ‘magic seeds’ at staggering prices. They paid “£10 [$16] for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds,” an investigative report said.

    To promote the GM seeds, Indian government even banned traditional varieties from most of its seed banks.

    Unfortunately the expensive ‘magic seeds’ failed to resist pests. The GM cotton seeds, for example, were devastated by bollworms.

    terminator technology
    Vaibhav, left, and Yash, orphans of farmer Rajendra Shankarwar, who committed suicide, stand at the doorway of their house in village Akoli, India, Thursday, April 24, 2008. India’s cotton belt, a land of searing temperatures and backbreaking work, has been hit hardest by an epidemic of suicides. With debts larger than their incomes, these steadiest of workers have become gamblers of the highest stakes, betting their land—and their lives
    on one more good crop.  Photo: Reuters/DayLife. Image may be subject to copyright.

    But the misery didn’t end there. Soon the farmers in drought-stricken areas realized that the GM seeds need twice the amount of water as the traditional seeds.

    After two years of drought, the GM crops died; farmers crippling debts mounted; hope disappeared.

    Enter the ‘Terminator Technology’

    A triple whammy had awaited the unsuspecting farmers all along. Whereas the farmers were previously able to save seeds and replant them the following year, if the crops failed, the GM genetic use restriction technology (GURT) or the ‘terminator technology,’ which renders the second generation of seeds sterile, meant farmers had to buy new seeds every year.

    Many farmers, unable to find a way to repay their debts, took their own lives the cheapest way they knew, with a cocktail of insecticides—a very painful death!

    The debt isn’t written off with the farmers deaths; it stays with the land. The widowed wives and their young children have to pay the debts. They are the real victims of what is called the ‘GM Genocide.’

    Related Links:

    Posted in BT cotton seeds, GM crops, GURT, Seeds of Suicide, terminator technology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Hurricane Paloma strengthens near Grand Cayman

    Posted by feww on November 8, 2008

    Update: NOV 10, 2008 at 23:54 UTC

    The remnant of Paloma which was earlier reduced to a tropical depression is now located between the north coast of Cuba and Andros Island.  Re-development of this system is not expected due to strong upper-level winds, NHC reported.

    Update: NOV 09, 2008 at 06:00UTC

    Paloma weakens as it moves slowly across east-central Cuba. At 06:00UTC the center of hurricane Paloma was near latitude 21.1 north, longitude 77.6 west or about 45 km southeast of Camaguey, Cuba.

    Paloma is moving in northeasterly direction at about 7 km/hr. On the forecast track the center of Paloma will be near the Atlantic coast of east-central Cuba Sunday noon and be nearing the central
    Bahamas by late Sunday/early Monday.

    Maximum sustained winds have decreased to about 155 Km/hr. Paloma is expected to weaken further during the next 48 hrs., even after it has cleared the coast of Cuba, NHC said.

    Update: NOV 08, 2008 at 23:20UTC

    At about 23:20 UTC hurricane Paloma likely made landfall near Santa Cruz Del Sur Cuba with maximum sustained winds of about 200 km/hr.

    Update: NOV 08, 2008 at 12:00UTC

    Maximum sustained winds have increased to about 225 Km/hr with higher gusts. Paloma is an extremely dangerous category Four A hurricane on FEWW Hurricane Scale [category four on the saffir-simpson scale.] NHC expects additional strengthening Saturday, followed by weakening later today through Sunday.

    Dangerous Hurricane Paloma Threatens Grand Cayman, Cuba


    • Paloma is a compact but very dangerous hurricane, currently a category Three A on FEWW Hurricane Scale [category three on the saffir-simpson scale] with sustained winds of about 185 km/hr. 
    • Paloma strengthens as it approaches the Cayman Islands on its way to storm-battered Cuba.
    • Schools, businesses and government offices have closed down in the Cayman Islands.
    • The national weather service in Cayman Islands forecast coastal waves rising to about 9 meters, causing dangerous storm surges in the coastal areas.
    • Paloma drenched Honduras with heavy rains on Thursday, compounding the impoverished country’s misery where recent storms have made as many as 100,000 people homeless.
    • The hurricane is expected to weaken as it reaches Cuba late Saturday, where two previous hurricanes, Gustav and Ike, caused about $5 billion in damages earlier this year.
    • Cuban officials began a major evacuation in the flood-prone areas on Friday moving at least 100,000 people to safe shelters.

    Dangerous Hurricane Paloma – Aviation color enhancement satellite image – Still frame – Nov 8, 2008 at 01:15UTC – Image: NOAA/NESDIS

    Major hurricane Paloma strengthens on the way to Grand Cayman

    • Source: NHC
    • Forecaster: Stewart
    • Date and Time: Nov 8, 2008 at 00:00 UTC
    • Location: At 00:00 UTC the center of hurricane Paloma was located near latitude 18.9 north, longitude 81.1 west or about 50 km south of the eastern end of Grand Cayman and about 440 km southwest of Camaguey, Cuba.
    • Category and Wind Speed: Maximum sustained winds have increased to near about 185 km/hr with higher gusts. Paloma is now a category Three A on FEWW Hurricane Scale [category three on the saffir-simpson scale.] Additional strengthening is possible through Saturday morning.  Afterward gradual weakening is expected to begin by late Saturday.

    Hurricane PALOMA: Tropical Storm Force Wind Speed Probabilities – 120 Hours

    Image: NOAA

    • Direction: Paloma is moving toward the north-northeast at 9 km/hr. A gradual turn toward the northeast is forecast to occur overnight, and that general motion is expected for the next 48 hrs. On the forecast track, the center of Paloma will pass near Grand Cayman tonight, reaching near Cayman Brac Saturday morning, approaching the coast of central Cuba late Saturday.
    • Breadth: Paloma is a compact hurricane. Hurricane force winds extend outward about 35 km from the center, with tropical storm force winds extending outward to about 195 km.
    • Estimated minimum central pressure: 962mb (28.41 inches).
    • Storm surge flooding: 1.5 to 2.5 meters above normal tide levels accompanied by large and dangerous battering waves is expected near the center of paloma in the cayman islands.
    • Storm surge flooding of Storm surge flooding of 2.5 to 4 meters is expected near and to the east of where the center of Paloma makes landfall along the south coast of Cuba.
    • Rainfall: Paloma is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 10 to 25 cm (5 to 10 inches) over the Cayman Islands and central and eastern Cuba with isolated maximum totals of up to 40cm possible. Flash flood and mudslides are also possible, especially in higher terrain, which may be life-threatening over mountainous terrain.

    Posted in Camaguey, Cayman Islands, hurricane Ike, Paloma path, Tropical storm | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Volcano Watch No. 44

    Posted by feww on November 6, 2008

    Erta Ale Erupted

    Update: Nov 7, 2008 – According to the latest news bulletins, the eruption in the Erta Ale, Africa’s largest in historic times,  was due to a fissure between Alu and Dalaffilla volcanoes.

    Erta Ale, an active shield volcano located in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia [located some 600 km from Addis Ababa,] is Ethiopia’s only active volcano. Eye witnesses said the volcano erupted late Monday. Satellite photos show the lava had covered about 300 sq km, a record area.

    The volcano  stands 613 meters tall, with a lava lake, one of only four in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century. It is located in the Danakil Depression, a desert area bordering Eritrea. The area is described as one of the hottest places on earth famed for its salt mines.

    Erta Ale’s last major eruption in 2005 forced thousands of nearby residents to flee. Additional lava flow activity took place in August 2007, forcing the evacuation of hundreds and leaving two missing.

    Erta Ale, Alu, Tat Ali and other Ethiopian highlands are together known as the Danakil Alps. (Sources: Addis Ababa University, various academic and news organizations, Wikipedia).

    Erta Ale, an active shield volcano located in the Afar Region [northeastern] of Ethiopia in the Danakil Desert, is Ethiopia’s only active volcano. License: cc-by-sa-2.0. Credit: posted to Flickr by filippo_jean.

    29 October – 4 November 2008

    New Activity/Unrest:

    Ongoing Activity:

    This Weekly Volcanic Activity Report summary is a cooperative project between the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program.

    Posted in Danakil Depression, Kīlauea, lava, shield volcano, Tungurahua | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Ecological Facts and Fiction

    Posted by feww on November 6, 2008

    Submitted by CASF Members – Edited for brevity by FEWW

    Acquiring Cognizance of Ecological Reality – Part 1

    Acquiring Cognizance of Ecological Reality, ACER, is the thorough understanding of how the ecosystems are faring: How poorly they are functioning, which ones are collapsing.

    In short, ACER provides you with a series of yardsticks to make an informed opinion about the state of our planets ecosystems and enables you to distinguish fact from fiction.

    The root of all ecological problems: Exponential growth

    Exponential Growth is the root of all ecological systems failures. Earth’s resources and the ecosystems services on which life depends are finite. When the demand on natural resources nears the physical limits imposed by nature, ecosystems begin to experience stress and their functions deteriorate progressively until they collapse.

    As they begin to collapse, species are committed to extinction.

    The problem of exponential growth is further exacerbated by human greed: The insatiable urge to make more and more profit, forcing the mechanisms of collapse into “double exponential” territory.

    The Current Economic System

    The current economic system, which has an inherently violent nature, thrives on exponential growth. It transforms more and more of the planets natural resources into merchandise into waste. The mechanisms of exponential growth are unsophisticated. They demand more and more of the planets natural resources made into consumer products that must necessarily have progressively more ephemeral lives in each successive economic cycle.

    The vehicle used for the maximization of monetary profits by the exponential growth consumption system is the carbon-intensive political economy.

    ACER FACT # 1. ‘Green’ energy alone cannot prevent the imminent collapse of ecosystems, which is caused by exponential growth; an immediate radical transformation to ‘zero growth’ could help mitigate the looming mass extinction.

    Continued …

    Posted in carbon-intensive economy, Climate Change, limits to growth, Species Extinction, yardsticks | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Images of the Day: Despair in Palopo, Sulawesi island

    Posted by edro on November 6, 2008

    A Shrinking World!

    A woman cries as she flees from her damaged house in Palopo November 5, 2008. Nearly one thousand families have been affected by floods following heavy rains in Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, an official said on Wednesday, with several casualties and damage to homes.  REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad. Image may be subject to copyright.

    Posted in Climate Change, floods, Indonesia, mudslides | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Selecte Environmental Headlines: US Election Special

    Posted by feww on November 5, 2008

    Sen Barack Obama Elected US 44th President

    In the carefully choreographed 2008 US presidential election, Sen Barack Obama was elected as the 44th US President by a total of 338 Electoral votes [as of Wednesday Nov. 5, 12:00am EST] against his opponent, the former Vietnam “war criminal” pilot, Sen McCain, who had only scored 155 Electoral Votes. (Source)

    Proposition 7 fails by a wide margin

    Proposition 7, a California ballot measure calling for a large increase in the share of renewable power to 50% of electricity generation by 2025 appears to have failed by a wide margin. The measure proposed an annual 2 percent increase in the use of renewable sources for electricity generation reaching 50 percent by 2025. [Currently, only about 13 percent of California’s power comes from renewable sources.]

    Opponents said that the measure would constrict the expansion of renewable power generation in California. (source)

    Bhopal Water Pollution Case Reinstated

    A lawsuit brought on behalf of people of Bhopal, India, contending that thousands of residents and workers were exposed to polluted drinking water after the 1984 Union Carbide factory in Bhopal exploded releasing toxic-gas, was reinstated by a U.S. appeals court.

    Known as the world’s worst industrial disaster, the poorly maintained Union Carbide pesticide factory exploded on December 3, 1984 spewing deadly gas through streets of the central Indian town killing about 15,000 people and injuring at least 100,000. (Source)

    Oh Canada!

    A report by the Conference Board of Canada on the country’s environmental health placed Canada 15th among a total of 17 studied for environmental problems. The report identified Canada’s worst problems as

    • Greenhouse gas emissions
    • Excessive garbage production
    • Extensive waste of fresh water.

    Only Australia and the United States fared worse. Sweden topped the list. (Source)

    Posted in Bhopal, Canada environment, corporate manslaughter, India, Union Carbide | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Viral hemorrhagic fever kills 4 in Johannesburg

    Posted by feww on November 1, 2008

    Killer virus in South Africa identified

    South African health officials  have identified a viral hemorrhagic fever which killed four people in Johannesburg. They believe the bug is a new strain of the deadly arenavirus.

    Vero E6 tissue culture cell infected with an arenavirus.  Image shows extracellular virus particles budding from the cell surface.  Magnification approx. 12,000 times. Image courtesy Cynthia Goldsmith, MS, Infectious Disease Pathology Activity, DVRD, NCID, CDC.

    Epidemic curve of cases of infection with an arenavirus, South Africa, September – October 2008. Source: Special Pathogens Unit and Epidemiology Division, NICD; Gauteng Provincial Outbreak Response Team and partners; SA-FELTP residents; Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of the Witwatersrand and the National Health Laboratory Service. Image may be subject to copyright.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the new strain, which has not been named yet.  that has yet to be named, said Barry Schoub, executive director of the National Insititute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

    “The virus is new in terms of its genetic make up and there is currently no vaccine against it, [and has] high lethal potential for humans.” said Barry Schoub, executive director of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

    South Africa’s department of health first identified the disease in a woman who was airlifted from Zambia to a Johannesburg hospital in September, 2008. AFP reported.

    The female patient, a member of the medical staff who accompanied her, a nurse and a hospital cleaner who came into contact with her, later died.

    “A last person who is currently under observation at a hospital is responding well to (anti-viral) treatment,” said Janusz Paweska, head of a special pathogens unit at NICD.

    What are the Arenaviridae? (Source CDC)

    The Arenaviridae are a family of viruses whose members are generally associated with rodent-transmitted disease in humans. Each virus usually is associated with a particular rodent host species in which it is maintained. Arenavirus infections are relatively common in humans in some areas of the world and can cause severe illnesses.

    The virus particles are spherical and have an average diameter of 110-130 nanometers. All are enveloped in a lipid (fat) membrane. Viewed in cross-section, they show grainy particles that are ribosomes acquired from their host cells. It is this characteristic that gave them their name, derived from the Latin “arena,” which means “sandy.” Their genome, or genetic material, is composed of RNA only, and while their replication strategy is not completely understood, we know that new viral particles, called virions, are created by budding from the surface of their hosts’ cells. (Source: CDC).  Fact Sheet (PDF)

    Related Links

    Posted in CDC, health, Lassa fever, Sabia, West Africa. | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »