Category: Earth

400,000 hit the pavement in New York City for climate march


Click to enlargeJason DeCrow/AP
Demonstrators make their way down Sixth Avenue in New York during the People’s Climate March

An international day of action on climate change brought tens of thousands onto the streets of New York City on Sunday, with organizers predicting the biggest protest on the issue in five years.

Some 100,000 people, including United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and elected officials from the United States and abroad joined the People’s Climate March, ahead of Tuesday’s United Nations hosted summit in the city to discuss reducing carbon emissions that threaten the environment.

Organizers said some 550 busloads of people had arrived for the rally, which followed similar events in 166 countries including Britain, France, Afghanistan and Bulgaria. Thousands more came by public transportation, walked or traveled in private cars…

A crowd including U.S. senators Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island marched along the city’s Central Park, through midtown Manhattan to Times Square, where they stopped for a moment of silence at 12:58 p.m..

Ban, wearing a T-shirt that read “I’m for climate action” marched arm-in-arm with primatologist Jane Goodall and French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal.

“This is the planet where our subsequent generations will live,” Ban told reporters. “There is no ‘Plan B,’ because we do not have ‘Planet B.'”

Meanwhile, the opportunist creeps in Congress came back to work for 4 days after taking several weeks off for vacation. Then – consistent with being the worst Do-Nothing Congress in the history of Republican obstructionism – they shut down until after the mid-term election in November.

Not that anything meaningful would have been accomplished. We are a nation of obstinate and ignorant sheep, complaining about lack of change, fearing change at the same time. Fence-sitting has become the national pastime.

About these ads

Black holes may be more common than previously thought

 

Astronomers from the University of Utah have discovered a dwarf galaxy that is the smallest ever recorded with a supermassive black hole at its center. The galaxy, M60-UCD1, which is located around 54 million light years from our solar system near the M60 galaxy, has been found to contain a black hole with a mass equivalent to 21 million times that of our own sun and whose presence may suggest that such enormous black holes could be more common than previously thought.

“It is the smallest and lightest object that we know of that has a supermassive black hole,” said Anil Seth, lead author of the dwarf galaxy study. “It’s also one of the most black hole-dominated galaxies known.”

The researchers claim that their discovery, which was made using the Gemini North telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, indicates that a large number of other ultra-compact galaxies may also harbor supermassive black holes. Furthermore, they also believe these diminutive galaxies could be all that remains of larger galaxies that have been ripped asunder during collisions with other galaxies…

Dwarf galaxies are generally classified as being less than a few hundred light years across – around 1,700 trillion miles wide – compared with our Milky Way’s 100,000-light-year diameter. M60-UCD1 fits into that category, and whilst most dwarf galaxies exist at relatively large distances from other galaxies, this one is located only 22,000 light years from the center of galaxy M60; much closer to that galactic center than our sun is to the center of our own Milky Way…

Though the theory expounded by the researchers may also possibly indicate that M60-UCD1 is simply made up of a large amount of massive, dim stars, and not as a result of a supermassive black hole, the team believe that its observations confirmed that the mass was concentrated in the galaxy’s center, and this indicated a supermassive black hole. The astronomers also relied on previous research that showed M60-UCD1 was an X-ray source and that gas was being drawn into the center at a rate that indicated similarities to other supermassive black holes in much bigger galaxies.

Yes, I would love to have a close-up look.

Dronie on the Jungfrau


Click to enlarge

Jungfrau is a mountain in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. It rises 13,642 feet high. Nine climbers with the outfitting company Mammut reached the peak. Using a drone with a fisheye lens, they captured a photo of themselves, locked arm in arm, around the peak.

This is one of many outstanding photos that Mammut has staged in the Alps. You can see the rest here, and you really should.

The Jungfrau is a beautiful mountain and standing along with the Monch adjacent to one of the most fearsome climbs in the world – The Eiger. Spent a couple of delightful summers camped below the Eiger while my mate Clyde reconnoitered for a climb of the North Face. Ate lots of tree-ripened apricots from the orchard we camped in. :)

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Enterovirus D-68 (HEV-D68) Update

Although lab confirmation is still awaited in some areas, the outbreak of severe respiratory illness in kids that we saw pop up N.W. Missouri a little over a week ago…and then a few days later in St. Louis…has now been reported in at least four more states.

This week we’ve seen media reports of hospitals being slammed with (mostly young) patients with respiratory infections in Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and most recently Colorado. While test results haven’t come back for all of these locations, local doctors are pointing their fingers at the emerging EV 68 virus.

Click through to the article updating reports around the United States and the world. About 4 days old.

Thanks, Mike

Sleeping on animal skins may be good for babies — and other baby animals. eh?

Sleeping on animal skin may reduce a baby’s risk of developing asthma, research suggests…Germs in the hide and fur prime the immune system not to trigger allergies, scientists believe…The finding comes from a study of 2,441 healthy German infants whose progress was monitored until the age of 10.

More than half (55%) slept on animal skin during their first three months of life. They were 79% less likely to develop asthma by six years of age than children not exposed to animal skin.

The results, presented at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress in Munich, lend support to the “hygiene hypothesis” that suggests too much cleanliness early in life can increase susceptibility to allergies.

Lead researcher Dr Christina Tischer, from the Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen Research Centre, said: “Previous studies have suggested that microbes found in rural settings can protect from asthma. An animal skin might also be a reservoir for various kinds of microbes, following similar mechanisms as has been observed in rural environments.

“Our findings have confirmed that it is crucial to study further the actual microbial environment within the animal fur to confirm these associations.”

Grandma was right. Of course, she only had to content with rural dirt, wild fur. Environments contaminated by industrial pollution probably still aren’t recommended sources for “natural”.

Thanks, Mike

Haboob swallows Phoenix, Arizona

The city of Phoenix, Arizona, was hit by a massive dust storm on Saturday evening…

The haboob left thousands of homes without power and grounded numerous flights at the city’s international airport.

Reports indicated this critter had about a 3000-foot top.

Now, folks over in Arizona will get to listen to Tea Party-types whine for a couple of weeks about this sort of dust storm being called a haboob. Even weather reports are judged on whether they’re white enough.