Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EXTRATERRESTRIAL MEMES: A Major "Game-Changer" Evidence in the Search For Alien Life - "All Stars in the Universe Have Planets"?!

Astronomers working with the Kepler spacecraft have announced new evidence suggesting that there are far more potentially habitable planets in our galaxy than we had believed. And just as surprisingly, these planets emerged much longer ago than expected — a revelation that could have profound implications in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. What does it mean? We talked to the head of SETI, who explained why this news changes everything. The researchers came to this conclusion by studying the way that planets are formed. Conventional thinking suggests that no planets can form until the requisite raw materials are present — something that can't happen until stars pour considerable amounts of silicon and oxygen into the Universe. These elements form the basic building blocks of rocks, which in turn are the stuff that planets are made out of.

But researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovered that the base elements required to form rocky planets formed very quickly after the formation of the Universe. Moreover, they discovered that Earthlike planets can still take shape with a limited variety of elements available, including systems with only one-quarter of the Sun's metal content. What this suggests is that rocky planets can form almost anywhere in the galaxy — and they have been doing so for billions of years. To conduct their research, the Kepler team examined more than 150 stars known to have planets. They measured each stars' metal-producing qualities, and contrasted that to the sizes of their planets. The researchers noticed that large planets tended to orbit stars with high solar metallicities, and that smaller worlds could be found in both metal-rich and metal-poor stars. Their discovery indicates that giant planets prefer metal-rich stars, but little ones don't care. Given the insight that the galaxy is strewn with small, rocky planets, it's quite possible that life is far more ubiquitous than we think. This realization will have serious implications to SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

To get a sense of what this recent discovery means to SETI, we contacted Seth Shostak, the SETI Institute's Senior Astronomer, to get his reaction. Shostak tells io9 the discovery could certainly speed up the search for ET as there are simply more targets out there. "The message we've been getting from the planet hunting community is loud and clear," said Shostak, "and that message is that all stars have planets." And not only that, he added — "Most of them might have small planets, too, and not just gas giants." He admitted that the announcement from the CfA will require a change in thinking, and that change could impact on the way SETI conducts its search. In particular, Shostak would like to spend more time looking at the center of the Galaxy. "There's more energy and more stuff in there." he said. Moreover, now that we know that potentially habitable planets can form around virtually any kind of star, it's important to focus our attention on star-rich areas, "And the deeper you look into the galaxy," said Shostak, "the more chance you have of detecting targets." At the same time, however, Shostak admitted that, by virtue of a galaxy filled with Earthlike planets, it actually doesn't matter where we look. The important thing to know is that life is potentially everywhere. Shostak also admitted that the discovery reaffirms the idea that life could have emerged in the Galaxy a long time ago. "It's been possible to have worlds with life for quite some time now," he said, "there could be life out there that's billions of years old." The complete study has been published in the journal, Nature. - IO9.

AGE OF OBAMA AND BIG BROTHER NOW: End of America and the Emerging Global Police State - Thousands of Military Drones to be Deployed Over U.S. Mainland!

A recent Department of Defense report to Congress as well as a number of media investigations have exposed government plans to deploy tens of thousands of drones over the US mainland in the coming years. An investigative report published over the weekend by the Christian Science Monitor cited the government’s own estimates that “as many as 30,000 drones could be part of intelligence gathering and law enforcement here in the United States within the next ten years.” 

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as “drones,” are extremely sophisticated remotely-operated aircraft, developed and manufactured by the military-industrial complex in recent years at a cost of billions of dollars.  Drones vary in size from the four-pound RQ-11B Raven surveillance drone, which can be launched by hand, to the giant MQ-9 Reaper combat drone, manufactured by Northrup Grumman. The Reaper has a maximum take-off weight of 7,000 pounds, including up to 3,000 pounds of bombs, missiles and other armaments.  The infamous MQ-1 Predator drone, armed with 100-pound Hellfire missiles, is the Obama administration’s favored weapon in its illegal assassination program. A Predator drone was used in the unprecedented assassination of a US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, in Yemen last September.  With a push of a button, thousands of pounds of high explosives can be dropped on anyone, anywhere in the world, with startling precision. Safe behind video screens at military bases within the US, military drone operators refer to their victims as “bug splats.” Thousands of innocent civilians have already been murdered in this way in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere. An April Department of Defense report, titled “Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability,” reveals that a massive drone infrastructure is already being erected within the US, with billions of dollars being allocated, bases being erected, thousands of pilots and crews being trained, and inventories being stockpiled. 

The report identifies 110 military bases that will serve as drone launch sites. The deadly Predator and Reaper drones will operate out of Creech Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, Holloman AFB and Cannon AFB in New Mexico, Fort Drum in New York, Grand Forks in North Dakota, Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota, Whiteman AFB in Missouri, and the Southern California Logistics Airport, among others.  The accompanying map, from an Air Force power-point presentation released this month, shows current and projected locations for drone bases within the US.  The Department of Defense report argues for lifting the current framework of restrictions on drone flights over the US on the grounds that it “does not provide the level of airspace access necessary to accomplish the wide range of DoD UAS missions at current and projected operational tempos (OPTEMPOs).”  The language of the report is revealing and ominous. “This constraint will only be exacerbated as combat operations shift from abroad and systems return to US locations,” the report states. It expressly refers to plans to “conduct continental United States (CONUS)-based missions.”  In January, Congress passed HR 658, which requires the Federal Aviation Administration to take steps to facilitate the integration of drones “into the national airspace system.” President Obama signed the bill on February 14 with no public discussion or comment. Since Obama signed the bill, hundreds of drones have already begun flying over the US to spy on and monitor the population. A recent ABC News investigative report entitled “UAVs: Will Our Civil Liberties Be Droned Out?” outlined the possibility of drones buzzing overhead becoming “a fact of daily life.”  ABC News reported: “Drones can carry facial recognition cameras, license plate scanners, thermal imaging cameras, open WiFi sniffers, and other sensors. And they can be armed.” - WSWS.
WATCH: Phantom Eye - Pentagon builds gigantic mega-drone.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Earth Crust Displacement - Astonishingly Strange and Massive Holes Appearing in Russian Forests?!

A strange phenomena is happening in some Russian forests. People are finding strange, deep holes.  They appear in the dense forest, in the places you can’t get on the car or truck to bring any device to drill the ground. There is no soil nearby that should be taken from such deep hole.  When people are brave enough to venture into the holes, they find that they end abruptly in the darkness.  There are no any reasonable ideas on how these holes appear and what they are being used for.  No one knows who or what is digging these holes or why. - Slightly Warped.
See larger images of the holes HERE.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Rocks Near Islands, Aleutian Islands, Alaska!

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck Near Islands, Aleutian Islands in Alaska on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 15:56:34 UTC.

The tremor was located at 53.392°N, 171.635°E, with a shallow depth of 20.9 km (13.0 miles). The epicentre was 120 km (75 miles) northwest (301°) from Attu Station, AK; 417 km (259 miles) southeast (116°) from Nikol'skoye, Komandorskiye Ostrova, Russia; 865 km (537 miles) east (82°) from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia; 3161 km (1964 miles) northeast (41°) from Tokyo, Japan.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Aleutian arc extends about 3,000 km from the Gulf of Alaska to the Kamchatka Peninsula. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the North America plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Aleutian Islands and the deep offshore Aleutian Trench. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving northwest at a rate that increases from about 55 mm per year at the arc's eastern edge to 75 mm per year near its western terminus. In the east, the convergence of the plates is nearly perpendicular to the plate boundary. However, because of the boundary's curvature, as one travels westward along the arc, the subduction becomes more and more oblique to the boundary until the relative plate motion becomes parallel to the arc at the Near Islands near its western edge.

Subduction zones such as the Aleutian arc are geologically complex and produce numerous earthquakes from multiple sources. Deformation of the overriding North America plate generates shallow crustal earthquakes, whereas slip at the interface of the plates generates interplate earthquakes that extend from near the base of the trench to depths of 40 to 60 km. At greater depths, Aleutian arc earthquakes occur within the subducting Pacific plate and can reach depths of 300 km. Since 1900, six great earthquakes (M8.3 or larger) have occurred along the Aleutian Trench, Alaska Peninsula, and Gulf of Alaska: M8.4 1906 Rat Islands; M 8.6 1938 Shumagin Islands; M8.6 1946 Unimak Island; M8.6 1957 Andreanof Islands; M 9.2 1964 Prince William Sound; and M8.7 1965 Rat Islands.

Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.

MYSTERY: The 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.

Shanghai, China - June, 2012.

Shenzhou-9 Program Launch, China - 16th of June, 2012.

San Jose, California, United States - 17th of June, 2012.

Vichy, France - 16th of June, 2012.

Colorado, United States - 9th of June, 2012.

Winnipeg, Canada - 15th of June, 2012.

Buffalo, New York, United States - June, 2012.

MASS FISH DIE-OFF: The Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) Virus Devastates Canada's Salmon Farms - British Columbia Farms Culled Over 500,000 Infected Fish, Millions Die Annually!

Last month a virus broke out in several open water salmon farms in British Columbia that has the region's fish farm owners scrambling to mitigate their losses. Called infectious hematopoietic necrosis (IHN), the rabies-like virus was found among salmon in floating net pens belonging to Mainstream Canada, the biggest producer in the region. As a result, B.C. farms culled over 500,000 fish infected with IHN, which spreads rapidly and can kill up to 100 percent of a fish farm's population. And it's just the latest disease scandal to hit the province's salmon farming industry.

 Dead salmon in British Columbia (these ones died from natural causes).  © Carol Browne.
Critics of the industry say that the farms should have seen this coming. Their own alarm bells have been ringing ever since Rick Routledge, a professor at Simon Fraser University, claimed that wild sockeye tested by his lab in 2011 showed that another more serious virus, one that causes infectious salmon anemia (ISA), was present in B.C. waters. The government seized his samples and declared through their own testing that the virus was not present (since a verified case of the disease would be treated like other serious outbreaks such as mad cow disease under international convention, this would be devastating to the industry. In 2007, ISA caused a $2 billion loss to the Chilean salmon farming industry, and was found to be imported on Atlantic salmon eggs shipped from Norway).  Diseases like these are suspected by First Nations, activists, and fishing groups to be one cause of the drastic declines among some wild salmon populations that the province has witnessed in recent years. Home to some of the biggest wild salmon runs in the world, B.C.'s provincial government has also welcomed the salmon farming industry eagerly over the years, allowing 100 farms to be established in its waters. But activists charge that the open water pens are often located directly on the migration routes of wild salmon, where, as in the case of Chile, exotic diseases imported with the Atlantic salmon could multiply and spread into surrounding waters.

Industry figures dispute that the farms breed and spread such diseases, pointing out the Canadian government's negative findings, but a 2011 paper in Science supported Routledge's findings. And fellow researcher-turned-activist Alexandra Morton also maintains that the flu-like symptoms brought about by diseases like ISA can explain why millions of wild salmon die annually in B.C. rivers before they reach their spawning grounds. Responding recently to the forced closure of the Fraser River sockeye fishery for three consecutive years, Canada convened an official inquiry that gathered dozens of researchers including Morton, government biologists, tribal members, fish farmers, and others to testify about the possible causes of the devastation. Such testimony to the Cohen Commission, as it's called, revealed that the federal government had known about the likely presence of ISA in B.C. waters since 2006, but has kept that information secret, infuriating wild salmon defenders. The commission is due to release its findings later this year. - GRIST.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Shallow 5.1 Magnitude Quake Strikes Off the Coast of Oregon!

A moderate earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon with 5.1 magnitude on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 13:40:57 UTC.

The tremor was located at 43.431°N, 127.330°W, with a shallow depth of 13.5 km (8.4 miles). The epicentre was 239 km (148 miles) west of Bandon, Oregon; 252 km (156 miles) west of Coos Bay, Oregon; 324 km (201 miles) west of Roseburg, Oregon; 344 km (213 miles) northwest of Grants Pass, Oregon. The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center says no tsunami is expected.

On April 11th of this year, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck about 160 miles off the Oregon coast, but there are no reports of damage. The quake was reported at west-northwest of the coastal city of Bandon.
From violent shaking on Portland-area faults, to "the big one" waiting to happen just off the coast, scientists estimate anywhere from a 10 to 25 percent chance of an 8-point or higher earthquake in the next 50 years.  "The question is not if we're going to have an earthquake," James Roddey with the Oregon Department of Geology told KOIN. "It is when it's going to happen."  There's a 700-mile-long earthquake fault about 75 miles off the Oregon coast.  "If it's a magnitude 8.8 earthquake, it doesn't matter where it occurs along the Cascadia subduction zone," said one expert. "It's still going to shake the hell out of the state."  The shaking could go on for as long as three minutes, and could wipe out portions of the Interstate-5 corridor, said a Portland State University geologist.  After a Portland-area spring earthquake in 1993, which hit 40 miles south of Portland, building codes changed to account for earthquakes. Still -- in the big one -- scientists say older brick and mortar buildings will be destroyed and tall buildings downtown will sway back and forth.  "In fact, with so much shaking, windows are expected to rain down from buildings -- along with their outside facades -- creating piles of rubble here several feet deep. There's the potential for you not to be able to drive anywhere," said the Portland State University geologist in a 2011 interview with KOIN.

"There's the potential for not having power or water for weeks."  There are also three major earthquake faults that run shallow through Portland -- with the potential of a 6.5 quake.  The East Bank fault is on the east side of the Willamette River. The Oakfield fault is on the other side of the west hills from Portland. The Portland Hills fault runs along Highway 30 and into downtown Portland.  "A crustal earthquake, if it happens on the Portland Hills fault, is going to be hard, violent shaking," the geologist said.  The shaking could go on for 10 to 20 seconds. On Columbia Boulevard and the airport, shaking soil can become like quick sand. Other areas in the Pacific Northwest are built on ancient river rock accumulations, providing resilience in the face of a quake.  Portland's east hills, the area around the Oregon Zoo and Washington Park are areas reportedly created by old landslides.  "If it's moved once, it has a high chance of moving again."  Bottom line, local scientists say recent earthquakes throughout the world are a reminder to have an emergency plan and to prepare here at home. - KOIN.
Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.

STORM ALERT: Weather Anomalies - Mass Evacuations in Taiwan as the Unusual Tropical Storm Talim is Expected to Bring Heavy Rainfall and Mudslides; Accumulation Could Exceed 1,500mm by Thursday!

Thousands of people in disaster-prone areas of central and southern Taiwan were evacuated Tuesday as Tropical Storm Talim approached, expected to bring up to 1,500 mm of rainfall in the coming days.  The Central Weather Bureau issued a sea warning early in the day, while a land warning for the fifth storm to form in the Pacific this typhoon season was expected to be issued later in the day at the earliest. 

Source: Central Weather Bureau / TT.
Some 700 residents of Laiyi Township in southern Taiwan's Pingtung County have been evacuated, the county government said.  Around 50 military personnel have been deployed in Linbian Township -- which suffered heavily during Typhoon Morakot in 2009 -- to help set up pumps in preparation for any potential disaster.  The Pingtung County government had also instructed residents of Sandimen and Wutai townships, which are under mudslide red alert, to evacuate by noon.  In neighboring Kaohsiung, hundreds of people were evacuated from three villages in Namasia and Liouguei districts.  Meanwhile, about 2,850 residents in mountainous areas who were evacuated during June 11 flooding will remain in two military camps in Kaohsiung as those areas are likely to be hit by floods and mudslides caused by Talim. 

Due to previous heavy rainfall, traffic in some central and southern areas continued to be disrupted, local government officials said, adding that evacuations will continue as soon as the roads are reopened.  The disaster response center in Nantou County, which was activated earlier than scheduled in preparation for any emergencies, said residents along the Lising industrial road were scheduled to be evacuated that day.  A day earlier, hundreds of residents of the county's most remote village were evacuated.  Meanwhile, about 300 residents of a village in Alishan Township were evacuated to a military base.  In related news, Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan County and Keelung County agreed to jointly make a decision regarding cancellation of classes and work, said Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin while inspecting the city's disaster response center.  The suspension announcements will be issued at 5:30 a.m. that day, Hau said.  A meteorology team formed by experts from National Taiwan University have also joined the city's monitoring and emergency notification system, which could help forecast regional heavy rain about 1-2 days sooner than usual, Hau added. - FT News Channel.
The formation and path of Tropical Storm Talim are rare at this time of year in the Pacific, the Central Weather Bureau said Tuesday. 
It is hard to categorize Talim, which developed in the South China Sea and is likely to move up the Taiwan Strait toward the island, said Cheng Ming-dean, director of the bureau's weather forecast center.  To begin with, most storms that approach Taiwan are formed off the Philippines, but few develop in the South China Sea, he said.  Storms that form in the South China Sea can move on an easterly path toward Taiwan only if they are steered by strong southwestern winds, which are rare in June, he said.  Cheng said that in Taiwan's recorded history only 2.9 percent of typhoons that hit the island had diverted from the nine main track patterns that Pacific storms usually take.  "The last time we saw a similar phenomenon was in December 2004 when Typhoon Nanmadol struck," Cheng said, referring to a winter typhoon that killed two people in Taiwan and caused agricultural losses of NT$670 million (US$22.4 million). - FT News Channel.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Magmatic Intrusion of the El Hierro Island, Canary Islands - New Seismic Swarm Under El Golfo Bay!

A new seismic swarm has started last night (18 June) under the El Golfo area. Until now, there were 22 quakes last night and 7 today, including 3 larger than magnitude 2.

Location of earthquakes during the 18th to the 19th of June (IG).
The depth of the new quakes is around 17.5 km, significantly shallower than during the swarm last week. A plausible explanation could be rising magma underneath the island producing magmatic intrusions at decreasing depths. It will be interesting to follow the developments and see whether the number of quakes increases and their depths decrease, in which case a new eruption could be preparing itself for the near to medium future (weeks to months).

Update Sunday, June 17
Another seismic swarm with over 20 earthquakes at depths around 20-25 km under the El Golfo bay just north of the coast has occurred recently. 5 quakes were larger than magnitude 2, the largest being an mag 2.7 event. Probably, this reflects a small magmatic intrusion at depth, but is far from the intensity of quakes preceding the submarine eruption in Oct 2011.

A submarine eruption began south of El Hierro Island in early October, following an intense period of earthquakes starting in July 2011. As of mid February 2012, it is still continuing and still raising speculation about the possibility of the eruption breaking the surface. However, it seems that this scenario is unlikely as there is a trend of decreasing intensity, suggesting the eruption might be approaching an end. However, volcanoes are unpredictable and this eruption could still go on for a very long time as well. - Volcano Discovery.

WORLD WAR III: Major Escalation in the Syrian Crisis - Russia, China and Iran Plan to Stage in Syria the "Biggest Middle East Maneuver" Ever!

Middle East military tensions around Syria shot up again Monday, June 18, with the news reported by the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars that a joint Russian-Chinese-Iranian exercise is to take place in Syria.  It was described as “the biggest of its kind ever staged in the Middle East” with 90,000 personnel, 400 air planes and 900 tanks taking part.

A cordial handshake between Russian and Chinese admir.als
As part of its preparations, Beijing is reported to have asked Egyptian authorities to permit the passage through the Suez Canal in late June of 12 naval ships heading for the Syrian port of Tartus, where Moscow maintains a naval and marine base. debkafile reported earlier this week that Russian naval vessels with marines on board were heading for Tartus. The Iranian media did not itemize their contribution to the joint exercise. debkafile stresses that this would be the first time that substantial Russian and Chinese military strength has ever been deployed in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East. It means that the two powers are prepared to parade their unabashed partnership with the Iranian and Syrian armies for the shared purpose of obstructing US-European-Arab military intervention in Syria.

A large-scale Russian and Chinese military presence in the embattled country would expect to deter the United States from leading a military operation against Bashar Assad and his regime. No date was attached to the report but the exercise may possibly take place before the end of the month  The large-scale maneuver was announced in Tehran on the first day of the nuclear crisis talks in Moscow between Iran and the six world powers, their third attempt to resolve the crisis by diplomacy. However, Russian and Iranian sources close to the talks were pessimistic about progress. An Iranian delegation member complained the atmosphere was harsh and unconstructive. A Russian source saw no way of bridging US-led Western differences with Tehran when the parties reconvene Monday. debkafile also notes that the big joint Russian-Chinese-Iranian exercise “at sea, air and land on Syrian soil,” was released for publication shortly before US President Barack Obama was due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Mexico. - DEBKA.

PLANETARY TREMORS: 5.2 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes and Rattles Melbourne, Australia!

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake has hit the southeastern coast of Australia, 120km from Melbourne. No immediate details on casualties or damage have been released.  ­

Windows rattled and floors rocked as the tremor hit around 8.55pm (AEST) on Tuesday, lasting for almost a minute.  Residents in many suburbs have reported items on shelves falling over.  The news caused immediate panic on the internet. The Geoscience Australia website crashed as people flocked online to see what had happened. 

Hundreds of people from suburbs across Melbourne took to Twitter within seconds of feeling the tremors. Within minutes it was the top Twitter-trending topic worldwide.  The US Geological Survey says the quake occurred at a depth of 9.9 kilometers. 

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the tremor was felt further afield than Melbourne, with reports coming in from Bright and Myrtleford in the northeast and Wonthaggi in the southeast of Victoria.  The joint Australian Tsunami-Warning Center says there is no tsunami threat to Australia. - RT.

Click HERE for additional Details, Summary, Maps and Scientific & Technical information from the USGS.