Sunday, February 19, 2012

ANCIENT ALIENS: Season 4 - The Mayan Conspiracy!

The History Channel continues its popular series on extraterrestrials, alien theories and ancient civilizations with season four of Ancient Aliens. The following video playlist constitutes program two, entitled The Mayan Conspiracy.

The Mayan civilization dominated Central America for nearly 2000 years, but by the 9th century A.D., the great Mayan cities were abandoned, and the Mayan people vanished. What could have happened to this advanced culture? Might the Maya have left clues as to how they surpassed other cultures in science, mathematics, time keeping, and most importantly, astronomy? In recent years, hieroglyphs have been decoded to reveal that the Maya were able to accurately predict shifts in the Earth's axis every 26,000 years. Inscriptions on the sarcophagus of their most prominent ruler, King Pakal, tell of a journey to the Milky Way. And a sophisticated calendar foretells of the end of the world in 2012. Most striking is their belief that knowledge was passed to them by otherworldly beings who descended from the sky. Could the ancient Maya have actually conspired with extraterrestrial visitors to plan the future--and even the very end of the world? - History Channel.
WATCH: The Mayan Conspiracy.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - Iran Halts Oil Exports to Britain and France!

Iran has halted oil shipments to Britain and France, the Oil Ministry said Sunday, in an apparent pre-emptive blow against the European Union after the bloc imposed sanctions on Iran's crucial fuel exports.

The EU imposed tough sanctions against Iran last month, which included a freeze of the country's central bank assets and an oil embargo set to begin in July. Iran's Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi had warned earlier this month that Tehran could cut off oil exports to "hostile" European nations. The 27-nation EU accounts for about 18 percent of Iran's oil exports. "Crude oil exports to British and French companies have been halted," Oil Ministry spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad-Rahbar said on the ministry's website. "We have our own customers and have no problem to sell and export our crude oil to new customers." Britain's Foreign Office declined comment, and there was no immediate response from French officials. The semiofficial Mehr news agency said crude exports were halted Sunday to the two countries. It also said the National Iranian Oil Company has sent letters to some European refineries with an ultimatum to either sign long-term contracts of two to five years or be cut off.

Mehr did not specify which countries were sent the ultimatum, but Spain, Italy and Greece are among Europe's biggest buyers of Iranian oil. Iran's targeting of Britain and France appeared to be a political decision to punish the two countries for supporting tougher sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program. Sunday's announcement follows a flurry of contradictory signals by Iran about backlash against the EU for imposing a boycott on Iranian oil. Last week, state media said Iran was planning to cut off oil exports to six EU nations, including France, but later reports said the nations were only told that Iran has no problem finding replacement customers for the European shipments. The EU sanctions, imposed last month, were part of Western efforts to target Iran's critical oil sector in attempts to rein in Tehran's nuclear program. The West fears Iran's nuclear program aim to develop atomic weapons. Iran denies the allegations, and says the program is for peaceful purposes like producing electricity and medical isotopes. - Huffington Post.

TERMINATOR NOW: Rise of the Machines, Monolithic Bee - Scientists Invent Method to Mass-Produce Metal Swarm of Robot Insects; Harvard Experts Create Tiny Robot Bees That "Pop Up" Out of Sheets of Metal and Carbon Fibre!

Harvard scientists have invented a method of mass-producing robot insects - creating 'sheets' of tiny robot bees that pop up ready for action.

When activated, a 2.4 millimetre-tall robot insect 'pops up' out of the sheet. The scientists say they aim to create 'swarms' of independently flying robot insects. The entire product is approximately the size of a U.S. quarter, and dozens of the microrobots could 'pop up' out of a single sheet. The scientists say they were inspired by origami and pop-up books. The sheets consist of carbon fibre, plastic film, titanium brass and ceramic, laser cut into a sheet.They are assembled by robots and can be mass-produced rapidly. The 18-layer structure incorporates flexible hinges that allow the three-dimensional product—just 2.4 millimeters tall—to assemble in one movement, like a pop-up book.

The Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory has been working for years to build bio-inspired, bee-sized robots that can fly and behave autonomously as a colony. 'We can generate full systems in any three-dimensional shape,' says Professor Robert Wood. 'We've also demonstrated that we can create self-assembling devices by including pre-stressed materials.' 'In a larger device, you can take a robot leg, for example, open it up, and just bolt in circuit boards. We're so small that we don't get to do that.' Pointing to the 'bee's body, Wood says, 'Now, I can put chips all over that. I can build in sensors and control actuators.' The Harvard Office of Technology Development is now developing a strategy to commercialize this technology. As part of this effort, they have filed patent applications on this work. - Daily Mail.
WATCH: Pop-up Fabrication of the Harvard Monolithic Bee (Mobee).

ANCIENT ALIENS: Season 4 - The Doomsday Prophecies!

The History Channel continues its popular series on extraterrestrials, alien theories and ancient civilizations with season four of Ancient Aliens. The following video playlist constitutes program one, entitled The Doomsday Prophecies.

The Maya created the most sophisticated calendar systems in the ancient world, and according to many scholars their Long Count Calendar will come to an end on December 21, 2012. What does this mean for mankind? Some researchers believe it will usher in the return of Bolon Yokte--a mysterious god associated with creation and war. Could this god actually be an extraterrestrial as some ancient astronaut theorists believe? Other scholars believe the end of the calendar will bring about a series of catastrophic events that may threaten the very existence of mankind. They point to a rare galactic alignment that will coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar as proof of an impending geological catastrophe. If these doomsday prophecies prove to be true, will it mean the end of the world as we know it? Or could it reveal some profound truth about the origins of the human race? - History Channel.
WATCH: The Doomsday Prophecies.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Mount Sakurajima Continues Its Record-Breaking Activity - Produces Explosive Plumes to Altitudes of 10,000 Feet!

According to the Weekly Volcanic Activity Report from the Smithsonian's Global Volcanism Program and the US Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program,  Mount Sakurajima's explosive release of gas, ash or rock continues unabated.

Zoom-in image of the latest eruption from Mount Sakurajima.
Based on information from JMA, the Tokyo VAAC reported that during 8-14 February explosions from Sakurajima produced plumes that rose to altitudes of 1-3 km (3,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted E and SE. On 11 February an ash plume that rose to an altitude of 2.4 km (8,000 ft) a.s.l., drifted E, and later dissipated. A pilot observation indicated an ash plume rising to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifting NE on 11 February.

Geologic Summary.
Sakurajima, one of Japan's most active volcanoes, is a post-caldera cone of the Aira caldera at the northern half of Kagoshima Bay. Eruption of the voluminous Ito pyroclastic flow was associated with the formation of the 17 x 23-km-wide Aira caldera about 22,000 years ago. The construction of Sakura-jima began about 13,000 years ago and built an island that was finally joined to the Osumi Peninsula during the major explosive and effusive eruption of 1914. Activity at the Kita-dake summit cone ended about 4,850 years ago, after which eruptions took place at Minami-dake. Frequent historical eruptions, recorded since the 8th century, have deposited ash on Kagoshima, one of Kyushu's largest cities, located across Kagoshima Bay only 8 km from the summit. The largest historical eruption took place during 1471-76.
WATCH: Live Sakurajima camera.

MYSTERY: Symbols of an Alien Sky, Man-Made or Natural Phenomena - The Latest UFO Sightings And Aerial Anomalies Around the World?!

Here are several of the latest unidentified flying objects (UFOs) seen recently across the globe.

UFOs in the sky above Homestead in Florida on Thursday, the 16th of February, 2012.

Third Millennium International report with Jaime Maussan about the images of strange objects near the Sun.

UFOs filmed over General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport in Tijuana, Mexico on Thursday, the 16th of February, 2012.

UFOs over Palmyra in Utah on Tuesday, the 14th of February, 2012.

Daytime UFO over Hamburg, in Germany on the 3rd of February, 2012.

Jaime Maussan and Yohanan Diaz reports on UFO sighting over Mexico City's International Airport on the 25th of December, 2011.

Strange bright object was filmed hovering above Edmonton in Alberta, Canada on Sunday, the 12th of February, 2012.

Jaime Maussan reports on the increase in sightings of UFO "motherships" around the world. These large configurations of lights seem to be one object, and are often seen interacting with smaller individual orbs of light.

This unknown object was seen and recorded in the sky above Pass Christian in Mississippi on the 12th of February, 2012.

This triangle-shaped object was recorded in the night sky above Oregon on Monday, the 6th of February, 2012.

Report about the UFO activity above Popocatépetl, an active volcano in Mexico, on the 20th of January, 2010.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Negros Earthquake Death Toll Now 51 - Over 1,700 Aftershocks Recorded in the Philippines!

The death toll from a magnitude-6.9 quake that rattled Negros last February 6th, went up to 51 Saturday morning, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

In its 7 a.m. Saturday update, the NDRRMC said the latest fatality was from La Libertad town in Negros Oriental province. At least 112 were hurt while 62 were missing, including 26 from Guihulngan City and 36 from La Libertad town, it added. The NDRRMC identified the latest fatality as Lorey Pabol, 39, of Solonggon village in La Libertad. Pabol was previously reported missing.

Bartolome Bautista, deputy director of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS),
points to the epicenter of the magnitude 6.9 earthquake which hit central Philippines on Monday
Feb. 6, 2012 during a news conference at suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines.
Officials said the quake in central Philippines killed at least five people as it destroyed buildings,
triggered landslides that buried dozens of houses, trapping residents and listed 29 more as missing.
(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Also, it noted that as of 8 p.m. Friday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology had detected 1,719 aftershocks, 104 of which were felt. The NDRRMC said the quake had affected 63,697 families or 319,155 people in 180 villages in nine towns and two cities in two  provinces. Of these, 4,790 families or 23,490 people are being served in 74 evacuation centers. Damage to infrastructure such as roads and bridges amoutned to P383.059 million. At least 6,306 houses were destroyed and 9,177 damaged. The NDRRMC said the city council of Guihulngan passed a resolution during a special session declaring Planas village, where a landslide occurred, as a memorial ground for those who died in the quake. - GMA Network.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: The Dawn of Biological Terrorism - Medical Experts Have Decided to Publish Research Details of Deadly Influenza Strain?!

Medical experts have decided that research on a lethal influenza strain should be published in spite of worries that terrorists could use the information.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that 22 experts meeting Thursday and Friday in Geneva decided the danger of a natural epidemic is greater than one created by terrorists.The meeting was organized by the World Health Organization. "The group consensus was that it was much more important to get this information to scientists in an easy way to allow them to work on the problem for the good of public health," Fauci said. "It was not unanimous, but a very strong consensus."

The flu strain in question is a modified form of the H5N1 strain known as bird flu. That strain has high mortality in people but does not spread easily from person to person, reducing its dangerousness. In 1918, a less virulent but highly contagious strain of flu killed 50 million people around the world. Research at the University of Wisconsin and Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands was suspended because of the uproar over the virus. The work was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. - UPI.

THE DELUGE: Tropical Cyclone Giovanna Kills 17 in Madagascar - Destroys 8,475 Houses; 40,000 Persons Displace; $118 Million in Damages; and Over 200,000 People Affected!

The intense tropical cyclone named Giovanna that hit Madagascar on Monday and Tuesday has affected nearly 200,000 people, the government said.

Transport activities have also suffered in the deadly aftermath of Madagascar's cyclone Giovanna.
Around 40,000 people were displaced because of the resulting floods, according to the National Office for Disaster of National Preparedness (BNGRC). Tents have been installed on safe places to shelter the victims with humanitarian efforts underway. The category four tropical storm claimed 17 lives, injured 77 with four reported missing. High winds and heavy rainfall destroyed about 8,475 houses with 4,230 completely crushed. Some 3,930 houses had their roofs torn off, and 315 others filled with water. Over 100 schools, hospitals, churches, and offices were also damaged. Landslides, ripped trees, and ruined bridges ruined have made transport almost impossible, especially on the national road serving the capital city Antananarivo and the city port of Toamasina. Unofficial data say financial losses could be as heavy as, if not more than, 2008 where a cyclone caused damage estimated at $118 million. This reporter noted further unreported damage in the district of Moramanga, where collapsing houses are said to have claimed six lives. - Africa Review.

On infrared imagery from the NASA AIRS instrument, some thunderstorms from northeast to southeast
of the center of Cyclone Giovanna were strong (purple) on imagery captured on Feb. 17, 2012.
Rainfall data from NASA's TRMM satellite revealed that parts of Madagascar's east coast received over a foot (30 cm) of rainfall from Cyclone Giovanna's passage, and new satellite data shows Cyclone Giovanna re-strengthening and turning back toward southeastern Madagascar. Giovanna then tracked across central Madagascar and entered the Mozambique Channel where the warm waters re-energized the storm. On February 17, 2012, NASA's Aqua satellite flew over Cyclone Giovanna. On infrared imagery from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument, bands of thunderstorms from northeast to southeast of the center of Cyclone Giovanna appeared strong in an image captured at 1023 UTC (5:23 a.m. EST). Five hours later at 1500 UTC (10 a.m. EST), Giovanna's maximum sustained winds were near 55 knots (63.3 mph/102 kph). The center of circulation was about 445 nautical miles (512 miles/824 km) south-southwest of Antananarivo, Madagascar, near 25.8 South and 43.2 East. It was moving southeastward at 2 knots (2.3 mph/3.7 kph). The forecasters at the Joint Typhoon Warning Center expect Giovanna to track over southern Madagascar over the weekend of February 18 and 19 with gusty winds and heavy rainfall. Giovanna is expected to then dissipate over the southeastern part of the island by February 20. - Science Codex.

BIG BROTHER NOW: "Minority Report" is Real - FBI Wants to Use Social Networks to Prevent Future Crimes!

The FBI is looking into the creation of a new application that would allow them to not only monitor on-going threats, but also predict potential terrorist attacks and other crimes before they even happen. Here's everything you need to know, and why you should be concerned.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the creation of an application that would allow it to better mine social media content, in an attempt to more accurately identify, target and fight “emerging threats” in real-time. The application could also be used to predict potential threats before they even happen. According to a Request for Information (RFI) posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the FBI says it hopes to “determine the capability of industry to provide an Open Source and social media alert, mapping, and analysis application solution.” This tool would allow the FBI to “quickly vet, identify, and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats” using “publicly available” information posted to social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as local and national news publications.

Big Brother 2.0

Of course, monitoring social media is nothing new for the law enforcement community. At present, however, it’s simply too ineffectual and inefficient for the FBI’s needs. “Social media is a valued source of information to the [FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC)] intelligence analyst in routinely monitoring events,” says the RFI. “Analysts have standing intelligence issues that they monitor as a matter of daily course around the globe. It is also seminal in their effort to provide initial information about single events of significance to law enforcement. Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations.” The application the FBI hopes to have built would simply make this process easier and more thorough. Here’s how the FBI envisions the app working: The information gathered from news and social media outlets would be overlaid onto a digital map, pinpointing the location of the “breaking events,” along with all other relevant contextual data. Additional information, including US domestic terror data, worldwide terror data, the location of all US embassies, consulates and military installations, weather conditions and forecasts, and traffic video feeds, would also be overlaid on the map. A robust search feature would also be incorporated into the app, which would allow the ability to “instantly search and monitor key words and strings in ‘publicly available’ tweets across the Twitter Site and any other ‘publicly available social networking sites/forums,” according to the RFI. The FBI wants the search function to allow for simultaneous key word searches “that can look at 10 or 20 separate incidents/threats at the same time within the same ‘window.’” The ability to monitor tweets and other social media data in a minimum of 12 foreign languages, and to “immediately translate” those posts into English, is also outlined as a required feature of the application.

The future is now

All of that seems fairly straight forward. In fact, we are surprised the FBI doesn’t already have such an application at their disposal, since all of the features it outlines are well within the capabilities of a skilled software development team. Not to mention the fact that much of what the FBI hopes to use already exists in different parts. Websites like,, and make it possible to quickly and easily search for key words being posted publicly to Twitter and Facebook. All the FBI’s dreamed-up app would do is combine these features into a single product, and expand them with additional governmental and law enforcement data, and mapping tools. However, the FBI doesn’t just want to know about what’s happening now; it also wants to predict events that are about to happen — to predict the future. If that sounds suspiciously like Minority Report, you’re not alone. “Social media will be critical to meeting the intelligence objectives stated above because it provides unique access to communications about the special event [i.e. political conventions, national holidays, or sporting events] in advance of its occurrence,” reads the RFI. As with the ability to search tweets and updates, using social media to predict the future is nothing new. In March 2011, the Journal of Computational Science showed that tweets could be used to predict upcoming fluctuations of the Dow Jones Industrial Average to an accuracy of 86.7 percent. And just this month, the Rand Corporation analyzed tweets from 2009 that used the hashtag #IranElection, and found that an increase in swear words in tweets could be used to predict where and when protests and other forms of public discontent would occur. Using predictive technology isn’t limited to academics, governments, or corporations, either. The website allows anyone with an account to access troves of information about potential upcoming events, including product releases, stock fluctuations, and even upcoming vacation plans of private individuals.

Is everyone a target?

In other words, the worlds of Aldous Huxley and George Orwell have already arrived. The FBI simply wants to create a custom application that combines already-available technology, and streamlines it, in an attempt to do their job better. That’s all good and well when if it’s used to stop truly “bad guys,” like terrorists who want to blow up a football stadium. The problem is, who do they consider “bad guys” nowadays? Hackers like Anonymous? Wikileaks supporters? Occupy Wall Street protesters? Everyone?
The most cautious (and possibly wisest) among us would say all of the above. And it’s increasingly hard to refute their warnings. Late last year, President Obama signed the latest iteration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a law that comes up for annual renewal. The problem with this year’s version, say critics, is that it includes provisions that would allow the US military to detain anyone — including US citizens — anywhere in the world, without trial or due process, if they are suspected of terrorist activities. Moreover, NDAA provides such an ambiguous definition of “terrorist activity” that groups like Occupy Wall Street or Anonymous could fall under this perilous category. It must be pointed out that President Obama included a signing statement with NDAA that guaranteed that his administration would not use the law to indefinitely detain US citizens. Needless to say, that has done little to quell the cognizant public’s outrage. So, what to make of all this? Most obviously, it is now painfully clear that everything we post online is being watched. And if the FBI gets its new application — which seems to us an inevitability — the eyes with which it sees our tweets and updates will have bionic vision, and even the ability to peer into the future. What is less obvious is how the government’s quest to protect the public good will be abused to trample legitimate free speech and lawful public dissent. In short: Big Brother is real. He is watching. So be careful what you say online today — it could be used against you tomorrow. - Digital Trends.
WATCH: "Minority Report" Trailer.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Gradual Awakening - Mount Fuji Volcano in Japan Shows Signs of Volcanic Unrest!

Reports are appearing about unrest and signs of a possible awakening of Mt Fuji volcano in Japan.

The ash plume has reached more than 1 km height.
According to a report which includes an unclear photo of the area, a row of new craters, the largest 50 m in diameter, has appeared on the eastern flank of the volcano at 2200 m elevation. Steam was observed erupting from these vents.
Sulphur deposits in the crater creek of Papadayan volcano.
The observation joins other signs suggesting a gradual reawakening: A swarm of earthquakes including 4 of magnitude 5 have occurred northeast of Mt Fuji on and after 28 January. An earlier 6.4M quake occurred under the volcano on 15 March 2011. The report also mentions increased activity from a fumarole vent at 1500 m elevation and hot spring areas at the eastern flank observed since 2003. 

These locations seem to be aligned geographically, and are probably connected. Dr. Masaaki Kimura of Ryukyu University is quoted to admit that there is an increased risk of and eruption on the eastern flank and that the status of the volcano should be closely monitored.
- Volcano Discovery.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Climbers Warned as Indonesia Gamalama Volcano Erupts Ash!

Nature-loving tourists have been warned not to climb Mount Gamalama in North Maluku after the frequently active volcano started emitting ash again over the past week. Darno Lamane, of Gamalama’s observation post, said the volcano, which covers the entire island of Ternate, was still very dangerous for anyone climbing its upper reaches.
A Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG), scientist, pictured in his office in
Bandung, West Java, monitoring the increase activity of the Gamalama Volcano in Ternate, North Maluku.
Darno added that it was impossible to say whether the mini-eruptions would become more intense or subside. A severe eruption in early December destroyed more than 100 houses and left farmers devastated after ash smothered fruit trees and crops. The cost of that eruption was estimated at Rp 15 billion ($ 1.6 million). - Jakarta Globe.