Sunday, February 1, 2015

FUK-U-SHIMA: West Coast Orcas Experiencing 100% Infant Mortality Rate - As Radiation From Fukushima Drifts Across The Pacific Ocean!

February 1, 2015 - PACIFIC OCEAN
- Marine biologists and other researchers are voicing serious concerns regarding the high mortality rate among orcas (killer whales) observed over the past couple of years.

No one has yet proven that there is a direct link between the 100 percent mortality rate seen among orca infants and the effects of the radiation contamination of the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima reactor leak in Japan, but it certainly can't be ruled out as a possibility.

It is rather interesting that the incidence of orca deaths -- not just of infants, but full-grown specimens as well -- has risen sharply since the accident occurred in 2011 and as the radiation has made its way across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast of North America.

Scientists have also noticed odd behavior among orcas recently. Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, senior marine mammal scientist at the Vancouver Aquarium, has been "sounding the alarm" over the unprecedented mortality rate and the changes in behavior seen in orca pods off the coast of Canada and Alaska.

Dr. Barrett-Lennard says that he and other scientists have noticed that the mammals have become strangely quiet over the past two summers. When teams went out to study the pods and record their vocalizations as part of their normal research routine, they were surprised at how little the cetaceans were communicating with each other:

They weren't vocalizing, and that was quite a striking change after years and years of being very familiar with how noisy they are and how easy to find acoustically.

He believes that "something is likely wrong with the ocean environment," as paraphrased by, and that more research is needed to understand the reasons behind the high death rates and the behavioral changes recently observed by the scientists.

Aside from the 100 percent mortality rate among orca infants, many of the matriarchs are dying as well, leading some to speculate that the species may become extinct -- possibly within the next 20 years.

The recent discovery of a carcass off the coast of British Columbia -- that of a 19-year-old orca female, which was believed to be in the late stages of pregnancy, is just one example of the recent orca deaths that have scientists and conservationists worried.

Ken Balcomb, executive director of the Center For Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Washington, said:

Her death doesn't bode well for the southern resident population and certainly not for that matriline. Her mother died young. Her aunt had two sons and she's probably post-reproductive. She hasn't had any babies in the last 12 years. So there's no future.

Balcomb also remarked:

We haven't had any survivals in babies for a couple of years. We have had stillborns and newborns die and a number of whales that appear to be pregnant but didn't ultimately produce any calves. It's like zero survival in birth rate here.

Howard Garrett of Orca Network is another who is expressing deep concerns about the orca population living in the waters near Vancouver and Washington state:

Our hopes are just so fragile already. There was a calf born in early September that lived less than a month and that was the first calf in two years. The last calf that survived was August 2012. There should be two or three births at least per year just to hold steady. We like to see four or five per year. Instead, there have been seven mortalities and no births.

As mentioned above, there is no proven link between the Fukushima radiation leak and the high mortality rate among West Coast orcas, and many other sea animals, as of yet, and more research is needed to determine exactly what is killing the killer whales. And at this point, radiation poisoning can certainly not be ruled out. - Natural News.

ICE AGE NOW: -40C In Siberia - Town Buried In Ice; Residents Turn To Social Media For Help; State Of Emergency Declared! [APOCALYPTIC PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Russia's Dudinka Arctic port.(Reuters / Denis Sinyakov)

February 1, 2015 - SIBERIA
- Apocalyptic images of the Siberian town of Dudinka, where a powerful storm has left residents without water or electricity, have reemerged on social media. Users are pleading for help from local authorities.

WATCH: Russian streets turned into huge frozen block after water pipes burst during storm.

Harsh winds disabled power lines, cutting off the hot water supply to the town's 22,000 residents in mid-January. With temperatures plunging to around -40C and water from pipes frozen on the streets, a state of emergency has been declared in the small northern town.

Although according to local media reports, the boiler was fixed on January 14, residents complained they still had no heating in their homes. Turning to Twitter, they sent out images of their icebound town and cars wrapped in meter-thick ice, adding the message "Dudinka is freezing."

A week after the accident giant icicles still could be seen hanging from frost-covered residential buildings, with people having to use fitness centers in order to take a shower, the Siberian Times reported.

Hot water is provided to local residents from a power plant where it is centrally heated and then piped into homes.

Power and heating has been reportedly restored to schools and kindergartens, but a number of homes are still plunged in dark despair in Krasnoyarsk Krai, a territory in the middle of Siberia that borders the Arctic Ocean. - RT.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Scientists Warn That The Deadly Ebola Virus Has Now MUTATED - Could Become More Contagious And Jump More Easily From Person To Person!

Hundreds of blood samples are being analysed to keep track of the virus

February 1, 2015 - THE EBOLA OUTBREAK
- Scientists tracking the Ebola outbreak in Guinea say the virus has mutated.

Researchers at the Institut Pasteur in France, which first identified the outbreak last March, are investigating whether it could have become more contagious.

More than 22,000 people have been infected with Ebola and 8,795 have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Scientists are starting to analyse hundreds of blood samples from Ebola patients in Guinea.

They are tracking how the virus is changing and trying to establish whether it's able to jump more easily from person to person

"We know the virus is changing quite a lot," said human geneticist Dr Anavaj Sakuntabhai.

"That's important for diagnosing (new cases) and for treatment. We need to know how the virus (is changing) to keep up with our enemy."

It's not unusual for viruses to change over a period time. Ebola is an RNA virus - like HIV and influenza - which have a high rate of mutation. That makes the virus more able to adapt and raises the potential for it to become more contagious.

"We've now seen several cases that don't have any symptoms at all, asymptomatic cases," said Anavaj Sakuntabhai.

"These people may be the people who can spread the virus better, but we still don't know that yet. A virus can change itself to less deadly, but more contagious and that's something we are afraid of."

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Latest figures

There were fewer than 100 new cases in a week for the first time since June 2014.

In the week to 25 January there were 30 cases in Guinea, four in Liberia and 65 in Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organization says the epidemic has entered a "second phase" with the focus shifting to ending the epidemic.

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But Prof Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham, says it's still unclear whether more people are actually not showing symptoms in this outbreak compared with previous ones.

"We know asymptomatic infections occur… but whether we are seeing more of it in the current outbreak is difficult to ascertain," he said.

"It could simply be a numbers game, that the more infection there is out in the wider population, then obviously the more asymptomatic infections we are going to see."

The current outbreak began in south-eastern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone

Another common concern is that while the virus has more time and more "hosts" to develop in, Ebola could mutate and eventually become airborne.

There is no evidence to suggest that is happening. The virus is still only passed through direct contact with infected people's body fluids.

"No blood borne virus, for example HIV or Hepatitis B, has ever shown any indication of becoming airborne. The mutation would need to be major," said infectious disease expert Professor David Heyman.

Virologist Noel Tordo from the Institut Pasteur is in the Guinea capital Conakry. He said:

"At the moment, not enough has been done in terms of the evolution of the virus both geographically and in the human body, so we have to learn more. But something has shown that there are mutations.

"For the moment the way of transmission is still the same. You just have to avoid contact (with a sick person).

"But as a scientist you can't predict it won't change. Maybe it will."

Researchers are using a method called genetic sequencing to track changes in the genetic make-up of the virus. So far they have analysed around 20 blood samples from Guinea. Another 600 samples are being sent to the labs in the coming months.

A previous similar study in Sierra Leone showed the Ebola virus mutated considerably in the first 24 days of the outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.

It said: "This certainly does raise a lot of scientific questions about transmissibility, response to vaccines and drugs, use of convalescent plasma.

"However, many gene mutations may not have any impact on how the virus responds to drugs or behaves in human populations."

'Global problem'

The research in Paris will also help give scientists a clearer insight into why some people survive Ebola, and others don't. The survival rate of the current outbreak is around 40%.

It's hoped this will help scientists developing vaccines to protect people against the virus.

Researchers at the Institut Pasteur are currently developing two vaccines which they hope will be in human trials by the end of the year.

One is a modification of the widely used measles vaccine, where people are given a weakened and harmless form of the virus which in turn triggers an immune response. That response fights and defeats the disease if someone comes into contact with it.

The research may explain why some people survive Ebola and others do not

The idea, if it proves successful, would be that the vaccine would protect against both measles and Ebola.

"We've seen now this is a threat that can be quite large and can extend on a global scale," said Professor James Di Santo, and immunologist at the Institut.

"We've learned this virus is not a problem of Africa, it's a problem for everyone."

He added: "This particular outbreak may wane and go away, but we're going to have another infectious outbreak at some point, because the places where the virus hides in nature, for example in small animals, is still a threat for humans in the future.

"The best type of response we can think of… is to have vaccination of global populations." - BBC.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "Super Saturn" - Gigantic Ring System 200 TIMES Larger Than Saturn Discovered; First Ringed System Seen Outside Our Solar System!


February 1, 2015 - SPACE
- Astronomers have discovered a massive ring system circling the exoplanet or brown dwarf dubbed J1407b. One scientist referred to it as a “super Saturn” due to its size. In fact, it may even be home to a moon the size of Earth.

The discovery marks the first time a ring system has been seen existing outside of our solar system. New analysis shows there are over 30 rings in the system, each measuring tens of millions of kilometers in diameter. Scientists also discovered gaps in the rings, which indicate that satellites (exomoons) may have formed.

The star is much too far away to observe the rings directly, but we could make a detailed model based on the rapid brightness variations in the star light passing through the ring system. If we could replace Saturn’s rings with the rings around J1407b, they would be easily visible at night and be many times larger than the full moon,” Leident Observatory astronomer Matthew Kenworthy said in a news release.

Astronomers analyzed their data from a survey designed to detect gas giants that move in front of their parent star. In 2012, astronomers from the University of Rochester reported the discovery of unusual eclipses occurring on the young star J1407 – the sun around which the Saturn-like J1407b revolves. The scientists proposed that the eclipses were caused by the huge Saturn-like rings of a new exoplanet or brown dwarf.

A ring system 200 times bigger than Saturn's is discovered 430 light-years away.

This planet is much larger than Jupiter or Saturn, and its ring system is roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s rings are today,” said Eric Mamajek, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Rochester. “You could think of it as kind of a super Saturn.”

It is the light curve which tells astronomers that the ring system is bigger than the rings of Saturn, and they contain roughly an Earth’s worth of mass in light-obscuring dust particles.

“If you were to grind up the four large Galilean moons of Jupiter into dust and ice and spread out the material over their orbits in a ring around Jupiter, the ring would be so opaque to light that a distant observer that saw the ring pass in front of the sun would see a very deep, multi-day eclipse
,” Mamajek said.

That's us compared to Saturn and there's things in the universe a million times bigger than Saturn

Mamek also suggested that there’s enough of this material to form exomoons.

In the case of J1407, we see the rings blocking as much as 95 percent of the light of this young Sun-like star for days, so there is a lot of material there that could then form satellites,”he said.

Astronomers expect the rings to become thinner in the next several million years and eventually disappear as satellites form from the material in the disks.

The planetary science community has theorized for decades that planets like Jupiter and Saturn would have had, at an early stage, disks around them that then led to the formation of satellites,” Mamajek explained. “However, until we discovered this object in 2012, no-one had seen such a ring system. This is the first snapshot of satellite formation on million-kilometer scales around a substellar object.” - RT.