Sunday, May 20, 2012

BIG BROTHER NOW: The Emerging Global Police State - "Big Brother" Lamp Posts Can Hear, See and Bark "Obey!" at You!

America welcomes a new brand of smart street lighting systems: energy-efficient, long-lasting, complete with LED screens to show ads. They can also spy on citizens in a way George Orwell would not have imagined in his worst nightmare.

Street lights that can spy installed in some American cities.
­With a price tag of $3,000+ apiece, according to an ABC report, the street lights are now being rolled out in Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh, and may soon mushroom all across the country. Part of the Intellistreets systems made by the company Illuminating Concepts, they have a number of “homeland security applications” attached.

Each has a microprocessor “essentially similar to an iPhone,” capable of wireless communication. Each can capture images and count people for the police through a digital camera, record conversations of passers-by and even give voice commands thanks to a built-in speaker.
Ron Harwood, president and founder of Illuminating Concepts, says he eyed the creation of such a system after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Hurricane Katrina disaster. He is “working with Homeland Security” to deliver his dream of making people “more informed and safer.” “The system represents Big Brother on steroids,” commented the website, which sees Intellistreets as a major threat to privacy. - RT.
WATCH: "Intellistreets" world debut.

MONUMENTAL GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Danger Zone - Astoundingly Massive Landslide in the Swiss Alps Disappears 300,000 Cubic Meters of a Mountainside!

A landslide in the Swiss Alps caused 300,000 cubic meters of rock to slide down a mountainside, reports CNN.

The collapse happened in intervals over the course of several hours.  Astounding footage of the landslide, which was provided by Swiss Broadcasting, shows rocks cascading down the hillside into the valley below.  The incident took place Monday near Preonzo in southern Switzerland.

So far, no casualties have been reported, according to EuroNews.  While geologists say the cliff remains stable since Monday's incident, the area has been classified as a danger zone, with 500,000 cubic meters of debris that could still come down, World Radio Switzerland reports. - Huffington Post.
WATCH: Massive landslide in the Swiss Alps.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Low-Frequency Earthquakes - Tiny Tremors May Cause Some Surprisingly Large Tsunamis?!

Mysterious small tremors in the most earthquake-prone areas on Earth may be the cause of surprisingly large tsunamis, researchers say. These findings might also shed light on the huge tsunami generated by the disastrous magnitude 9.0 quake that hit Japan in 2011.

This map shows the March 11, 2011 magnitude-9.0 mainshock off Tohoku and 166 aftershocks of magnitude 5.5 and
greater until May 20. Warmer color indicates more recent events. Larger symbol indicates greater quake magnitude.
Nearly all of the 10 largest recorded earthquakes on Earth happened along subduction zones, where one of the tectonic plates making up the planet's surface is diving beneath another. The shallow regions of these zones are often not seismically active by themselves, but occasionally strange tremors are recorded from these locales that are rich in very-low-frequency seismic waves. These shallow areas also seem to be home to so-called tsunami earthquakes, which generate tsunamis far stronger than one would expect for the amount of seismic energy they release. The Keicho quake of 1605 that caused disastrous tsunamis in Japan and killed thousands might have been one such earthquake. To see if there were any links between the very-low-frequency events and tsunami earthquakes seen in the shallows of subduction zones, scientists in Japan used three ocean-bottom seismometers to analyze a swarm of very-low-frequency events in 2009. These occurred in the shallowest parts of the Nankai Trough, a part of a subduction zone near southwestern Japan that is rocked by giant earthquakes every century or so — most recently in 1946, when a magnitude 8.2 event killed an estimated 1,300 people.
The researchers discovered that the very-low-frequency quakes — ranging from magnitudes of 3.8 to 4.9 — can last 30 to 100  seconds. This is unusually long when compared with the 1-to-2 -second duration of ordinary earthquakes with comparable magnitudes. Although these very-low-frequency quakes get their name from seismic waves detected on land, the researchers discovered these events are actually rich in high-frequency waves as well. High-frequency waves tend to weaken with distance as they go through matter, which is why land seismometers did not detect these waves but ocean seismometers closer to the quakes did. The long duration of the quakes and the high-frequency waves now seen from them suggest these events may be caused by fluid seeping into fractures in the rock, making it easier for parts of the earth to slip past each other and generate tsunami earthquakes.
These findings suggest that authorities should keep a closer eye on the shallow areas of subduction zones. For instance, the huge tsunamis generated by the magnitude 9.0 quake that struck Japan in 2011 might be due in significant part to a slip in the shallow parts of the Japan Trench lying east of the country's main island.  "It is very important for us to monitor continuously seismic activities close to the trench," researcher Hiroko Sugioka, a seismologist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology at Yokosuka, told OurAmazingPlanet. "It is mitigation against unexpectedly large tsunami disasters."  The scientists detailed their findings online May 6 in the journal Nature Geoscience. - MSNBC.

EXTREME WEATHER: Deadly and Intense Heat Wave Spreads Across India - Unofficial Reports of 41 Deaths?!

A heat wave across parts of India, most notably the northeast, has turned deadly.

Unofficial reports have indicated that as many as 41 people have passed away from heat-related illness during the heat wave; however, the Indian government has only confirmed two deaths at this point.  The worst of the heat wave has been felt across Odisha, while Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have also felt the effects of this latest heat wave, which include power shortages.  The high temperature averaged 45 C across Odisha on Friday, marking the highest average of the year to this point. The high temperature reached 46.5 C in Titilagarah. 

The heat continued on Saturday with many locations once again averaging 44 to 46 C during the hottest time of the day.  A building ridge of high pressure is the culprit behind the heat wave and unfortunately it is not expected to weaken anytime soon. No storm systems approaching the region will allow the ridge to continue to build and bring unrelenting heat to northeast India through at least the middle of next week. - Accu Weather.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Shaky Weekend in New Zealand - Christchurch Hit by Series of Aftershocks; 17 Tremors Over the Weekend!

New Zealand's second largest city of Christchurch was hit by another series of aftershocks over the weekend, the largest of which measured magnitude-4.8 at 0506 GMT Sunday, the country's geological hazard monitoring system GeoNet reported.

GeoNet duty seismologist Caroline Holden said the aftershocks overnight were all part of the same fault system that had rocked Christchurch previously but the magnitude-4.8 shock was the largest since January 14. GeoNet data show the city was hit by six earthquakes Sunday (local time) measuring more than magnitude-3.0. Christchurch has been hit by around 10,000 earthquakes since a magnitude-7.0 earthquake hit the city on Sept. 4, 2010. The most-devastating one was a magnitude-6.8 earthquake on Feb. 22, 2011, that killed 185 people and devastated much of the central business district. - Wall Street Journal.

Christchurch was struck by its biggest aftershock in months last night, after a weekend of jolts.  The 4.8 magnitude quake occurred just after 5pm last night at a depth of 8km.  It struck 20km east of the city.  Earlier in the day, at 9:35am a 4.1 magnitude quake hit near Rolleston.  According to Geonet duty seismologist Caroline Little there was a total of 17 aftershocks, though police say there are no reports of damage. - 3 News.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: The "Ring of Fire" - Annular Solar Eclipse on May 20, 2012!

On May 20, 2012, a annular solar eclipse will be visible across the Pacific from the coast of China to the southwestern USA.

The eclipse starts on May 21st in China and moves eastwards to southwestern USA on May 20, 2012. Unfortunately the eclipse will be visible only in limited parts of the Earth. Eclipse will be visible in east of China, South Korea, Japan, Pacific and the west of USA and Canada. Map of the eclipse path, here also check the Google map of the eclipse path, here. On the Google map click on your location to see the eclipse times. Animated map of the eclipse, here. An annular eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the outline of the Moon. - Astro Madness.
WATCH: Annular solar eclipse of May 20, 2012.


The sun is our nearest star and a warm light in the cold depths of space. It can also be a tantalizing target for skywatchers during solar eclipses and rare planetary transits across its surface, when viewed from Earth. But the sun is, first and foremost, a bright star and observers must take care during observing sessions. 

WARNING: NEVER look directly at the sun through binoculars, a telescope or with your unaided eye. Serious eye damage and even blindness can result. Scientists and experienced skywatchers use special filters and glasses to safely observe the sun. Some methods are described in the Infographic above. One of the easiest ways to observe the sun is with a pinhole projector. To make one, you will need two cards. One card should have a small hole punched in it, while the other card remains blank. The light through the card with the hole can then be projected onto the blank card, allowing a solar eclipse or large sunspots to be seen. A pair of binoculars can also stand in for the pinhole, with the light from the sun being projected onto the blank card through the eyepiece. Special eclipse glasses and welder's goggles rated at 14 or higher are also acceptable for solar viewing.

use regular sunglasses to observe the sun as they do not provide adequate protection.

For the complete coverage of the May 20 Annular Solar Eclipse, click HERE. Courtesy of

Click HERE for an extensive state by state view of the eclipse over the United States.

Watch a LIVE STREAM of the eclipse HERE or HERE. Courtesy of the University of Colorado and the Slooh Space Camera.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Fatal 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Near Bologna, Italy - Three Dead, Serious Damage to Buildings! UPDATE: Death Toll Rises to at Least 7!

At 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck just north of Bologna, Italy, on Sunday, causing at least three deaths and collapsing historic structures.

The quake was centered 22 miles north-northwest of Bologna in northern Italy at a relatively shallow depth of 6.3 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey website. It struck at about 4 a.m. local time and was followed about an hour later by one of 5.1 magnitude, according to the USGS. A 4.2 quake had occurred a few hours earlier. One person working a night shift died in the collapse of a factory and two others were killed in the collapse of another building, Reuters repoerted. Rescue officials were checking reports that other people were buried under rubble. The Italian-language website reported that a historic bell tower had collapsed in Ferrara province. "There's been a bit of damage. Some structures have come down with people in them," a person at the Ferrara firefighter headquarters told Reuters over the phone.

First television pictures taken after dawn showed serious damage to historic buildings and rural structures. Parts of a historic fortress in one town collapsed. Thousands of people in the area rushed into the streets after the quake, felt in the cities of Bologna, Modena, Ferrara, Rovigo, Verona and Mantua. said the quake was felt in Italy's financial capital, Milan, and elsewhere in the Lombardy region and in the regions of Tuscany, Veneto, Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.  The last major earthquake to hit Italy was a 6.3-magnitude quake in the central Italian city of L'Aquila in 2009, killing nearly 300 people.  In January, a 5.3-magnitude quake in northern Italy was felt in Genoa, Bologna, Turin and Milan. - MSNBC.
WATCH: First scenes of damage from the earthquake in Italy.

UPDATE: Death Toll Rises to at Least 7!
A strong earthquake struck northern Italy early Sunday, leaving at least seven people dead, authorities said.  Two people were killed in a ceramic factory in Sant'Agostino di Ferrara, and one person died when a work shed collapsed in Ponte Rodoni di Bondeno, said Elisabetta Maffani, spokeswoman for Italy's civil protection agency.  In addition, a woman in Bologna died of a heart attack during an evacuation; a Moroccan national died when the factory he was working in collapsed; and a sixth victim was found dead under rubble in Sant'Agostino, Maffani said. The seventh was located under a collapsed house, according to Alessio Bellodi of the civil protection branch in Bologna.  At least 50 people were injured. Workers were searching through rubble for survivors in Sant'Agostino. - CNN.
WATCH: Damage to a couple of buildings in the Ferrara area.


GLOBAL ECONOMIC CONTAGION: The Euro Zone Crisis - Bank Runs in the United Kingdom; Withdrawals at Santander UK Amid Spain Fears!

Customers with large deposits have started withdrawing cash from Santander, the bank has admitted, as it tried to reassure concerned members of the public that their money is safe.

The high street bank also saw an increase in enquiries by worried savers to its call centres and in its 1,380 branches across Britain yesterday. Customers are worried that the bank will be dragged into the eurozone crisis because it is owned by Spain’s Banco Santander.  On Thursday, Banco Santander, its UK subsidiary and 15 other Spanish banks had their credit ratings downgraded due to their exposure to the struggling Spanish economy. The Spanish banks were hit with more bad news yesterday, as official figures showed bad debts had risen to their highest level in 18 years.  However, shares across the sector shrugged off the concerns to rally strongly, as treasury minister Inigo Fernandez de Mesa said there was little reason for concern as “Spanish banks have plenty of liquidity”. Lenders have about two years of funding, due to the European Central Bank’s emergency support.  Spain is expected to announce shortly that the fund manager BlackRock and consultants Oliver Wyman will conduct an independent audit of the banks as part of month-long stress tests. Their remit will be to assess how much of the €600bn (£483bn) of mortgage debt needs to be written down.  The government will make public the findings of the two-stage audit in an attempt to end speculation about concealed risk. Goldman Sachs has been drafted in separately to assess how much capital Bankia needs, with analysts suggesting the taxpayer could be on the hook for between €12bn and €15bn of new equity.

Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy, said: “The decision to proceed with an external audit of banks’ loan books ... does lend much-needed credibility to the clean-up, it should help draw a line under the losses.”  However, he warned that the taxpayer could be left with a €50bn recapitalisation bill and that any further economic deterioration could see the figure mushroom. The share price rally came despite official figures from Bank of Spain that showed bad debts had risen in March to €148bn, or 8.37pc of all outstanding loans – up from 8.3pc in February and the highest since August 1994.  In the UK, Santander said it had seen a “small increase” in withdrawals yesterday by some of its 25m customers with savings above £85,000. UK deposits are guaranteed up to that level.  Councils such as Kent, Havering and Westminster have all temporarily removed short-term deposits until the pressure on the Spanish banking system has eased.  Santander UK is an independent subsidiary and regulated by the Financial Service Authority. As a result, the Spanish parent cannot access the UK bank’s capital or deposits without UK regulatory approval. - Telegraph.

DELUGE: Flash Floods Kill 19 in Afghanistan - 1,000 Homes Destroyed; 10,000 Evacuated and Many More Missing!

Flood waters ravaged a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 19 people and destroying hundreds of homes, officials said Sunday.  About 60 other people were missing and rescuers were looking for them across Sar-e-Pul, the capital of a province with the same name, said Sayed Faizullah Sadat, the national disaster director in the area. 

Northern Afghanistan gets hit nearly every spring by flash flooding from heavy rains and snow melting off the mountains.  Sadat said 1,000 houses were destroyed and 10,000 people were forced to find shelter in mosques, schools and a teacher-training center.  "Most of these families have lost their houses — all their property, their livelihoods," he said.  According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, the water rose to 1.5 meters on Saturday during the peak of the flooding.  The office said four humanitarian assessment teams tried to get to the city on Saturday, but could not access the area. 

"Most of the roads are blocked by the flooding," said Sayed Jahangir, deputy provincial police chief. "Hundreds of houses have been destroyed. We were able to move people to different places that we think will be safe."  The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority reported that several hundred people were rescued from rooftops.  Flash flooding also has been reported in northern Takhar province.  Mustafa Rasouli, a spokesman for the province, said heavy rains continued Sunday in the area where flash flooding killed two people. He said 3,000 animals, including sheep and cows also were killed, and about 1,000 hectares of farm land had been destroyed in the provincial capital of Taloqan and six other districts.  "Two thousand houses have been partially or completely destroyed," he said. - USA Today.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Deep-Crustal Shear - Recent Zagatala Earthquake in Azerbaijan Destroyed Over 3,000 Homes and Facilities!

The executive power of Zagatala region of Azerbaijan and the forces of the Ministry of Emergency Situations assess damage from the 6-point earthquake occurred 15 kilometers south of Zagatala at 7:46 pm on 18 May. 

Gurban Yetirmishli, director of the National Centre for Seismological Service, says that the Service is in constant communication with the MES forces and the region’s executive authorities.  "According to information received from them, yesterday’s quake has led to collapse of buildings that have come to an emergency or a state of dilapidation from the 7-point quake," Yetirmishli said. 

The 7-point quake that happened on 7 May destroyed or made unusable more than 3,000 homes and facilities.  "Yesterday the Service recorded a 6-magnitude quake, which has become a consequence of deep-crustal shear. On the surface, it was felt at the level of 5.4 points. As we expected, it is natural stress relief occurring after a large earthquake. Aftershocks, even such strong as yesterday’s quake, may continue in the epicenter of disaster for 2-3 months or more," Yetirmishli said. - ABC.AZ.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Disturbance Escalates - 6.0 Magnitude Quake Strikes Off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan!

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck off the east coast of Honshu, Japan on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 07:19:55 UTC.

This is the second 6.0 or over magnitude earthquake over the past 5 hours. Earlier today, another 6.0 magnitude tremor hit the northern region of Italy, killing three people and causing serious damage to buildings.

The Japan quake was located at 39.597°N, 143.242°E, with a shallow depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). The epicentre was 179 km (111 miles) east of Morioka, Honshu, Japan; 181 km (112 miles) southeast of Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan; 251 km (155 miles) southeast of Aomori, Honshu, Japan; and 532 km (330 miles) northeast of Tokyo, Japan.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the focus of the quake was located some 10 km under the sea off the northeastern Sanriku region on the Honshu Island. The tremor was most felt in prefectures of Iwate and Miyagi, and parts of Yamagata. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to properties, and no tsunami warning was issued. "Although there may be slight sea-level changes in coastal regions, this earthquake has caused no damage to Japan," the JMA said.