Has Earth’s Inner Core Shifted It’s Spin-Cycle…Again?

Thousands of kilometres beneath your feet, Earth’s interior might be doing something very weird. Many scientists think that the inner core spins faster than the rest of the planet — but sometime in the past decade, according to a study, it apparently stopped doing so…

“We were quite surprised,” say Yi Yang and Xiaodong Song, seismologists at Peking University in Beijing who reported the findings today [January 23rd] in Nature Geoscience.

The results could help to shine light on the many mysteries of the deep Earth, including what part the inner core plays in maintaining the planet’s magnetic field and in affecting the speed of the whole planet’s rotation — and thus the length of a day. But they are just the latest instalment in a long-running effort to explain the inner core’s unusual rotation, and might not be the final word on the matter…

Researchers discovered the inner core in 1936, after studying how seismic waves from earthquakes travel through the planet. Changes in the speed of the waves revealed that the planet’s core, which is about 7,000 kilometres wide, consists of a solid centre, made mostly of iron, inside a shell of liquid iron and other elements. As iron from the outer core crystallizes on the surface of the inner core, it changes the density of the outer liquid, driving churning motions that maintain Earth’s magnetic field…

Now, Yang and Song say that the inner core has halted its spin relative to the mantle. They studied earthquakes mostly from between 1995 and 2021, and found that the inner core’s super-rotation had stopped around 2009. They observed the change at various points around the globe, which the researchers say confirms it is a true planet-wide phenomenon related to core rotation, and not just a local change on the inner core’s surface.

Now, we ALL can feel unsteady on our feet.

Egg prices have soared 60% in a year. Here’s why!

The rising cost of eggs in the U.S. is denting household budgets. Americans in recent years have increased the number of eggs they consume while reducing their intake of beef and venison, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Egg consumption has grown in part because more families are eating them as their main protein substitute, Los Angeles Times reporter Sonja Sharp told CBS News. “Each of us eats about as many eggs as one hen can lay a year,” she said.

As demand for eggs has risen, production in the U.S. has slumped because of the ongoing bird, or “avian,” flu epidemic. Nearly 58 million birds have been infected with avian flu as of January 6, the USDA said, making it the deadliest outbreak in U.S. history. Infected birds must be slaughtered, causing egg supplies to fall and prices to surge…

Egg prices in December rose 60% from a year earlier, according to Consumer Price Index data released Thursday. Across U.S cities, the average price for a dozen large grade A eggs was $4.25 last month, according to figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis…

Sharp said prices will likely not fall again until after new chickens are born without the infection and grow to egg-laying age. More than 300 flocks of farm-raised poultry have been hit by the outbreak as of last Friday, according to USDA data.

And don’t hold your breath waiting for prices to return quickly to the “good old days” following a return to previous production scale. There isn’t an oversupply of producers or distributors in the GOUSA willing to be the first to give up inflated prices.

Wooden Ships

My favorite version. David Crosby, Graham Nash, Grace Slick. Doing nothing but making beautiful music together.

Yes, I remember moments like this in my life back in the day. Never wanted to work hard enough at it to find the big time. Singing with folks who wanted to hear the music, the words, feel the sound and emotion…was always enough. Even after I stopped.

We’re going to miss you, David.

Watch the skies!

In a quiet Thursday report dump, the Pentagon released declassified intelligence on hundreds more of what it now refers to as “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or UAPs for short.

The Director of National Intelligence’s report, which is the second since the Department of Defense opened its All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) earlier in Joe Biden’s presidency, lists a whopping 366 total new incidents the Pentagon admits to having knowledge of, though a majority of those did have non-extraterrestrial explanations.

In total, as Vice notes in its write-up of the report, 163 of the UAP sightings on radar seemed to be balloons of some sort, 26 were probably drones, and six others were categorized as miscellaneous clutter, defined by the Pentagon as “birds, weather events, or airborne debris like plastic bags.”

That leaves 171 unexplained events out of the 366 new UAP reports that remain “uncharacterized and unattributed.”…”Some of these uncharacterized UAP appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities,” the report continues, “and require further analysis.”

And a complete unwillingness to perform that further analysis, attribution, a touch of science.

Romans mixed concrete that lasted better than many modern-day batches

The majestic structures of ancient Rome have survived for millennia — a testament to the ingenuity of Roman engineers, who perfected the use of concrete.

But how did their construction materials help keep colossal buildings like the Pantheon (which has the world’s largest unreinforced dome) and the Colosseum standing for more than 2,000 years?

Roman concrete, in many cases, has proven to be longer-lasting than its modern equivalent, which can deteriorate within decades. Now, scientists behind a new study say they have uncovered the mystery ingredient that allowed the Romans to make their construction material so durable and build elaborate structures in challenging places such as docks, sewers and earthquake zones.

The study team, including researchers from the United States, Italy and Switzerland, analyzed 2,000-year-old concrete samples that were taken from a city wall at the archaeological site of Privernum, in central Italy, and are similar in composition to other concrete found throughout the Roman Empire.

They found that white chunks in the concrete, referred to as lime clasts, gave the concrete the ability to heal cracks that formed over time. The white chunks previously had been overlooked as evidence of sloppy mixing or poor-quality raw material.

That doesn’t mean that “old” is always better than new. Just that it can be. 🙂

A feminist community emerging from the war in Ukraine

Inside a shelter dubbed ‘FemApartment’, residents support one another as they help others affected by the Ukraine war…Boisterous female laughter emanated intermittently from the corner unit of a drab, Soviet-style residential building. Sandals and a pink lamp sat at the entrance to the warmly-lit apartment, reached via the gloomy communal corridor…

Twenty-three-year-old Mira Kapitan, a cheery copywriter and hip-hop artist originally from a suburb of Kyiv, had just popped mackerel in the oven. Also in the kitchen was her flatmate Tanya Vynska, an 18-year-old political science student with dyed orange hair…

The suburban Lviv apartment where Mira and Tanya live – known affectionately as “FemApartment” by its residents – was originally meant to be a temporary home to five young women. Now, however, it is a refuge for the women – strangers to one another until June last year – for as long as they need.

The women were forced to flee from different parts of Ukraine – mostly in the country’s northeast – when the full-scale invasion by Russia began in February 2022. Unable to afford to rent a room in Lviv, they found themselves homeless, but through TikTok and other social media, they learned about a shelter for women involved in different types of community activism.

Not so rare in these circumstances. Often…in a wartime context…what is needed to survive the toughest times survives to move on to other places, other times. Often initiated by the best people caught up inside a disaster.