Thursday, June 12, 2014

EARTH CHANGES: Monumental Signs Of The Times - Antarctic Sea Ice Area Is 1,157,000 SQUARE KILOMETERS Above "Normal"; Weird Clouds Form Before Midlands Storm In The UK; Dramatic Lightning Display Over Cologne, Germany; Below Normal Temperatures Cover 90% Of The North Atlantic; Rare Funnel Cloud Hovers Over Florida Beach; Ground Surrounding Alaska's Shrinking Lakes Is Re-Freezing; With 70 Days Of Potential Arctic Melting Left, Temperatures Are Well Below Freezing; Anger Rises As India Swelters Under Record Heat Wave; And Almost Two Years Since The North Pole Had A Normal Summer Day! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 12, 2014 - EARTH - The following stories constitutes some of the latest incidents of Earth changes across the globe.

Antarctic Sea Ice Area Is 1,157,000 SQUARE KILOMETERS Above "Normal"

Global sea ice extent is 678,000 sq km above the 1981-2010 mean.

Sea Ice Update June 11 2014

- Ice Age Now.

Weird Clouds Form Before Midlands Storm In The UK
An unusual cloud formation, known as Undulatus Asperatus, appears over the region amid downpour.
Photograph by @AGJMills

This was the scene above the Midlands today, as an unusual cloud formation brought thunder and lightning as well as torrential downpours to the region.

The "Undulatus Asperatus" clouds turned the sky dark during the unseasonal June weather. There were reports of localised flooding as heavy rain was interspersed with sunshine as the weather turned distinctly sour.

People were still recovering from Saturday's stormy weather when more storms hit Bridgnorth today.

The National Police Air Service, based at Halfpenny Green Airport near Bridgnorth, was set to be deployed to help to look for a missing person in the town. But the service had to be grounded due to lightning strikes around the airbase.

The storms also delayed the start of practice rounds for the PGA Euro Pro Tour at Astbury Hall Golf Course, near Bridgnorth.

There was also flooding in Albrighton, with one person taking to Twitter to warn people of trouble on the roads.

David Gregory-Kumar tweeted to say: "Flash flooding around Albrighton. Just had to drive through half a foot of water. Take care out there."

Over the weekend, about 7,000 lightning bolts were thought to have struck the country, containing an estimated 1.75million kilowatt-hours of energy.

The Met Office could not confirm the exact number of strikes but a spokesman said: "We were drawing up warm, humid air from the south, North Africa way, and at the same time we had low pressure coming in from the Atlantic. It's the combination of those two things that provided enough energy for the lightning strikes."

Lightning across the country hit at least three homes, including one in South Molton, Devon, which caught fire, while 18mm of rain fell in an hour at Santon Downham, in Suffolk.

But amid all the gloom there is also some good news - with the Met Office saying this summer could see the hottest average temperatures since 2006.

VisitEngland spokeswoman Angelah Sparg said: "Tourism businesses had a slow start to the year with the floods, so they will welcome the forecast of a good summer.

"Good weather is a great way to entice people out and about."

Unfortunately, though, thunderstorms and rain are expected to return during this week. - Shropshire Star.

Dramatic Lightning Display Over Cologne, Germany
Strange lightning video recorded over Cologne Germany on June 9 2014. Shutterstock/ Frank L Junior

This beautiful lightning display appeared today over Cologne, Germany. I don't think I've ever seen lightning behave like this.

WATCH: Lightning display in Germany.

- YouTube.

Below Normal Temperatures Cover 90% Of The North Atlantic
I masked off all above normal temperatures in the North Atlantic as white, and you can see that more than 90% of the region above 10N is below normal temperature. Kevin Trenberth says that the small warm spot near New Jersey is caused by global warming.

atl_anom.gif (792×576)

- Real Science.

Rare Funnel Cloud Hovers Over Florida Beach
Funnel cloud near Jax Beach.Allie Scott

A funnel cloud hovered for a brief time over the Atlantic Ocean near Atlantic Beach Wednesday afternoon. The rare weather phenomenon could be seen for miles inland.

The funnel cloud was part of a strong storm system that hit the First Coast just after lunch time. The funnel cloud nearly touched down in the area between Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach. FCN Meteorologist Mike Prangley says it was not classified as a waterspout because it did not touch down on the ocean.

WATCH: Rare funnel cloud hovers over Florida beach.

Prangley said the First Coast could see an increase in waterspouts and funnel clouds in the coming months due to the water temperatures rising above 80 degrees.

There were no reports of damage due to Wednesday's funnel cloud. Many viewers sent us photos and videos of the rare event. - First Coast News.

The Ground Surrounding Alaska's Shrinking Lakes Is Re-Freezing
New permafrost is forming around Twelvemile Lake in Alaska.Martin Briggs, US Geological Survey

But researchers pooh-pooh the evidence, insisting that the icy ground will only last another 70 years because of "global warming."

How did they come to that conclusion? Computer modeling, of course. It's amazing what you can make a computer do.

Some Alaskan lakes have shrunk since the 1950s, while others have expanded, says a recent article in Live Science. "Earlier studies suggest that melting permafrost plays a role in the shifting lake sizes," the article explains. "For example, lakes may drain away when the shallow permafrost below them thaws, like opening the drain in a tub .... where permafrost is thicker and melts more slowly, lakes may grow as the melting ice adds to their extent."

In other words, it makes no difference whether those lakes expand or shrink, it's still caused by global warming.

The ground is thawing? Blame global warming. The ground is freezing? Blame global warming.

As I said, it's amazing what you can make a computer do.

Twelvemile Lake - so-named because it's 12 miles from the town of Fort Yukon - is one of millions of lakes that dot Alaska's permafrost landscape. (Permafrost is soil containing ice that stays frozen for more than two years.)

"These lakes are the bellwether of climate change," says Martin Briggs, lead study author and a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Briggs is certain that the permafrost at Twelvemile Lake is new, because he's been tracking vegetation growth near the receding lake during the past 20 years.

As the lake receded, bands of willow shrubs grew on the newly exposed shores, and patches of permafrost recently appeared under the shrubs.

Briggs, along with Prof. Jeffrey McKenzie from McGill's Dept. of Earth and Planetary Science, concluded that the extra shade provided by the new shrubs both cooled and dried the soil, enabling the ground to now remain frozen year-round.

According to their computer simulations (there's that computer thing again), the permafrost at Twelvemile Lake could reach a maximum of 20 feet (6 meters) in about 45 years, and then start melting again.

Oh, wait. Maybe it's simply a natural cycle

The article waits until the very end - the final two paragraphs - before mentioning that some lakes "are shrinking simply because the region is receiving less rainfall than 30 years ago."

According to a study led by USGS research geologist Lesleigh Anderson, "Central Alaska regularly goes through wetter and drier periods, such as those driven by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a climate cycle that flips sea-surface temperatures in the north Pacific every 20 to 30 years."

Hmmm. Shall we believe the computer models?

Or shall we believe the actual physical observations showing that these wet/dry fluctuations are the result of a natural cycle?

Anderson's study was published July 24, 2013, in Geophysical Research Letters. The permafrost study was published on Feb. 14, s 2014, also in Geophysical Research Letters.

Despite Warming, Ground Refreezes at Alaska's Shrinking Lakes

New permafrost is forming around shrinking Arctic lakes

New permafrost is forming around shrinking Arctic lakes

Thanks to Jim Shepherd and Marc Morano for these links
"Permafrost around Alaskan lakes is growing," says Jim. "And yet the warm-mongers insist that it is only temporary and in seven decades will start to decline due to global warming. Who will be around in 70 years to verify such biased reporting?"
- Ice Age Now.

With 70 Days Of Potential Arctic Melting Left, Temperatures Are Well Below Freezing

COI | Centre for Ocean and Ice | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

- Real Science.

Anger Rises As India Swelters Under Record Heatwave
A man protects himself from sun with a cloth as he sits on top of a cycle rickshaw carrying
laundry on a hot summer day in the old quarters of Delhi June 11, 2014.

Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Swathes of north India are sweltering under the longest heat wave on record, triggering widespread breakdowns in the supply of electricity and increasingly angry protests over the government's failure to provide people with basic services.

The power crisis and heat wave, which some activists say has caused dozens of deaths, is one of the first major challenges for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was elected three weeks ago partly on promises to provide reliable electricity supplies.

In Delhi, where temperatures have hit 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) for six days straight, residents marched through the streets in protests organised by opposition parties on Thursday. In the north of the city, people enraged by night-long outages clashed with police and torched a bus, media reported.

Delhi is suffering staggered cuts as power companies ration spikes in demand as people crank up air coolers to fight the heat. Modi has inherited the shortages from his predecessors, and power distribution is partially the responsibility of state governments.

Residents staged sit-in protests outside electricity substations in Uttar Pradesh late on Wednesday, days after protesters had set substations on fire and taken power officials hostage after weeks of daily blackouts.

"God alone can provide any relief from the prevailing power crisis," said A.P. Misra, director of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation. Having drawn on all available supplies, Misra said power would only return once rain arrived and demand fell.

The protests and collapse in the power supply underline how ill-equipped much of India remains to sudden surges in temperature, which many worry are happening more frequently because of changes in the climate and rapid urbanisation.


For L.D. Chopra, a 76-year old asthmatic in Delhi, the power cuts almost mean the difference between life and death.

Chopra was taken to hospital on May 31 after falling unconscious when a machine he depends on for oxygen support switched off in the outages, he told Reuters.

Like Chopra's home in the east of the city, much of Delhi has been without power for 10 hours per day in the last week, after a jump in demand and damage from a thunderstorm overwhelmed the grid, causing blackouts.

Seventy-nine unidentified bodies were discovered in Delhi in the last four days, said the Centre of Holistic Development, a group working to end homelessness. Founder Sunil Kumar Aledia attributed the high number of deaths to the extreme weather.

India has long-suffered deadly heatwaves. Periods of extreme temperatures have led to thousands of deaths since the 1990s, largely in rural areas where basic infrastructure is poor.

R.K. Jenamani, director of the meteorological office in Delhi, said his research did not point to any long-term trend of rising temperatures.

But a combination of urbanisation, extensive use of concrete and more cars did appear to be changing microclimates within and near cities, exacerbating the impact of heatwaves, he said.

Temperatures were rising faster earlier in the day and staying higher for longer in congested built-up areas, he said.

The World Bank warned in a report last year that parts of India were rapidly becoming "heat-islands", and that urban planners needed to act to counteract the dangers.

"We are witnessing more serious and more extreme events," said Anumita Roychowdhury at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), warning about the impact on public health.

The heatwave has led to a jump in deadly ozone pollution in Delhi to levels that exceed government limits, the CSE said, with levels rising up to 315 percent in the city since June 1.

"We need to watch and assess this trend very carefully in this climate-challenged world," said Roychowdhury. - Reuters.

Almost Two Years Since The North Pole Had A Normal Summer Day
Summer temperatures at the North Pole have been persistently below normal for almost two years. The last summer day which reached the mean was in August, 2012. Every summer day in 2013 and 2014 has had below normal temperatures, with this year running far below normal.

COI | Centre for Ocean and Ice | Danmarks Meteorologiske Institut

 - Real Science.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Genes Found In Nature Have Potential To Cause A Severe Pandemic In The Future - Similar To The 1918 Influenza Virus That Killed 40 MILLION People!

June 12, 2014 - HEALTH - An international team of researchers has shown that circulating avian influenza viruses contain all the genetic ingredients necessary to underpin the emergence of a virus similar to the deadly 1918 influenza virus.

Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with Spanish influenza in a hospital ward at Camp Funston. The 1918 pandemic
was one of history’s most devastating outbreaks of disease, resulting in an estimated 40 million deaths.
Credit: U.S. Army

Searching public databases, the researchers, led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, identified eight genes from influenza viruses isolated from wild ducks that possessed remarkable genetic similarities to the genes that made up the 1918 pandemic flu virus. The 1918 or "Spanish flu" pandemic was one of recorded history's most devastating outbreaks of disease, resulting in an estimated 40 million deaths worldwide.

The new work was published today (June 11, 2014) in the journal Cell Host and Microbe. It shows that "there are gene pools in nature that have the potential to cause a severe pandemic in the future," says Kawaoka, an international authority on influenza and the senior author of the new report.

To assess the risk posed by a virus that could acquire all eight of the 1918-like genes, the team used reverse genetics methods to generate a virus that differed from the 1918 virus by only 3 percent of the amino acids that make the virus proteins. The resulting virus was more pathogenic in mice and ferrets that an ordinary avian flu virus, but was not as pathogenic as the 1918 virus and it did not transmit in ferrets via respiratory droplets, the primary mode of flu transmission.

Since pandemic risk escalates when a virus become transmissible, Kawaoka's group then conducted additional experiments to determine how many changes would be required for the avian 1918-like virus to become transmissible in ferrets, a well accepted model for influenza transmission studies. The researchers identified seven mutations in three viral genes that enabled the pathogen to transmit as efficiently as the 1918 virus. The resulting virus, composed of genetic factors circulating in wild and domesticated birds, demonstrates that the genetic ingredients for a potentially deadly and pandemic pathogen exist in nature and could combine to form such a virus, according to Kawaoka.

The new study is important because it shows the potential risk of circulating strains of avian influenza viruses, Kawaoka explains. Knowing what genes to look for, he says, can help predict the likelihood of an emerging strain of pandemic flu and, importantly, help scientists devise strategies for countering such a pathogen.

Critically, the research provides additional insight and evidence for the mechanisms responsible for adaptation of avian influenza viruses to mammals. One mutation in the novel transmissible 1918-like avian virus, for example, is responsible for increased virus growth in mammalian cells. Mutations in hemagglutinin, a protein found on the surface of influenza viruses that binds to host cells, alter the protein's stability, a change that could potentially enhance the virus's ability to infect the upper respiratory tract of humans.

The same mechanisms were associated with effective transmission of H5N1 avian viruses, as reported in an earlier study, and the newly emergent H7N9 virus infecting humans in China also seems to possess some of the same qualities.

A key finding of the new study, notes Kawaoka, is that sera from individuals vaccinated with the current seasonal influenza vaccine (which protects against 2009 H1N1 influenza, a related virus) reacted with the novel transmissible 1918-like avian virus. That discovery suggests that protection against a potential pandemic threat exists in the currently available vaccine. In addition, the team showed that the novel transmissible virus is expected to be sensitive to the antiviral medication oseltamivir.

The transmission studies were conducted under specially designed high-containment conditions, using commensurate biosafety practices, at UW-Madison with approval of the university's Institutional Biosafety Committee. The draft manuscript was reviewed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in keeping with the institute's implementation of the United States Government Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern.

"The point of the study was to assess the risk of avian viruses currently circulating in nature," explains Kawaoka, who, in addition to his appointment as a professor in the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, holds a faculty position at the University of Tokyo. "We found genes in avian influenza viruses quite closely related to the 1918 virus and, to evaluate the pandemic potential should such a 1918-like avian virus emerge, identified changes that enabled it to transmit in ferrets.

"With each study, we learn more about the key features that enable an avian influenza virus to adapt to mammals and become transmissible," says Kawaoka. "Eventually, we hope to be able to reliably identify viruses with significant pandemic potential so we can focus preparedness efforts appropriately."

Journal Reference:

Tokiko Watanabe, Gongxun Zhong, Colin A. Russell, Noriko Nakajima, Masato Hatta, Anthony Hanson, Ryan McBride, David F. Burke, Kenta Takahashi, Satoshi Fukuyama, Yuriko Tomita, Eileen A. Maher, Shinji Watanabe, Masaki Imai, Gabriele Neumann, Hideki Hasegawa, James C. Paulson, Derek J. Smith, Yoshihiro Kawaoka. ''Circulating Avian Influenza Viruses Closely Related to the 1918 Virus Have Pandemic Potential''. Cell Host & Microbe, 2014; 15 (6): 692 DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2014.05.006  - Science Daily.

MONUMENTAL PARADIGM SHIFT: Precursors To The Collapse Of The Petrodollar And The United States Corporation - Russia Is Actually Abandoning The Dollar!

June 12, 2014 - RUSSIA - The Russians are actually making a move against the petrodollar.  It appears that they are quite serious about their de-dollarization strategy.  The largest natural gas producer on the planet, Gazprom, has signed agreements with some of their biggest customers to switch payments for natural gas from U.S. dollars to euros. 

And Gazprom would have never done this without the full approval of the Russian government, because the Russian government holds a majority stake in Gazprom.  There hasn't been a word about this from the big mainstream news networks in the United States, but this is huge.  When you are talking about Gazprom, you are talking about a company that is absolutely massive.  It is one of the largest companies in the entire world and it makes up 8 percent of Russian GDP all by itself.  It holds 18 percent of the natural gas reserves of the entire planet, and it is also a very large oil producer.  So for Gazprom to make a move like this is extremely significant.

When Barack Obama decided to slap some meaningless economic sanctions on Russia a while back, he probably figured that the world would forget about them after a few news cycles.

But the Russians do not forget, and they certainly do not forgive.

At this point the Russians are turning their back on the United States, and that includes the U.S. dollar.

What you are about to read is absolutely stunning, and yet you have not heard about it from any major U.S. news source.  But what Gazprom is now doing has the potential to really shake up the global financial landscape.  The following is an excerpt from a news report by the ITAR-TASS news agency...
Gazprom Neft had signed additional agreements with consumers on a possible switch from dollars to euros for payments under contracts, the oil company's head Alexander Dyukov told a press conference.

"Additional agreements of Gazprom Neft on the possibility to switch contracts from dollars to euros are signed. With Belarus, payments in roubles are agreed on," he said.
Dyukov said nine of ten consumers had agreed to switch to euros.
And Gazprom is not the only big company in Russia that is moving away from the U.S. dollar.

According to RT, other large Russian corporations are moving to other currencies as well...
Russia will start settling more contracts in Asian currencies, especially the yuan, in order to lessen its dependence on the dollar market, and because of Western-led sanctions that could freeze funds at any moment.

Over the last few weeks there has been a significant interest in the market from large Russian corporations to start using various products in renminbi and other Asian currencies, and to set up accounts in Asian locations,” Pavel Teplukhin, head of Deutsche Bank in Russia, told the Financial Times, which was published in an article on Sunday.

Diversifying trade accounts from dollars to the Chinese yuan and other Asian currencies such as the Hong Kong dollar and Singapore dollar has been a part of Russia’s pivot towards Asian as tension with Europe and the US remain strained over Russia’s action in Ukraine.
And according to Zero Hedge, "expanding the use of non-dollar currencies" is one of the main things that major Russian banks are working on right now...
Andrei Kostin, chief executive of state bank VTB, said that expanding the use of non-dollar currencies was one of the bank’s “main tasks”. “Given the extent of our bilateral trade with China, developing the use of settlements in roubles and yuan [renminbi] is a priority on the agenda, and so we are working on it now,” he told Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a briefing. Since May, we have been carrying out this work.”

“There is nothing wrong with Russia trying to reduce its dependency on the dollar, actually it is an entirely reasonable thing to do,” said the Russia head of another large European bank. He added that Russia’s large exposure to the dollar subjects it to more market volatility in times of crisis. “There is no reason why you have to settle trade you do with Japan in dollars,” he said.
The entire country is undergoing a major financial conversion.

This is just staggering.

Meanwhile, Russians have been pulling money out of U.S. banks at an unprecedented pace...
So in March, without waiting for the sanction spiral to kick in, Russians yanked their moolah out of US banks. Deposits by Russians in US banks suddenly plunged from $21.6 billion to $8.4 billion. They yanked out 61% of their deposits in just one month! They'd learned their lesson in Cyprus the hard way: get your money out while you still can before it gets confiscated.
For those that don't think that all of this could hurt the U.S. economy or the U.S. financial system, you really need to go back and read my previous article entitled "De-Dollarization: Russia Is On The Verge Of Dealing A Massive Blow To The Petrodollar".  The truth is that the U.S. economic system is extremely dependent on the financial behavior of the rest of the globe.

Because nearly everyone else around the rest of the planet uses our currency to trade with one another, that keeps the value of the U.S. dollar artificially high and it keeps our borrowing costs artificially low.
As Russia abandons the U.S. dollar that will hurt, but if other nations start following suit that could eventually cause a financial avalanche.

What we are witnessing right now is just a turning point.

The effects won't be felt right away.  So don't expect this to cause financial disaster next week or next month.
But this is definitely another element in the "perfect storm" that is starting to brew for the U.S. economy.

Yes, we have been living in a temporary bubble of false stability for a few years.  However, the long-term outlook has not gotten any better.  In fact, the long-term trends that are destroying our economic and financial foundations just continue to get even worse.

So enjoy the "good times" while you still can.

They certainly will not last too much longer. - TEC.

RATTLE & HUM: "It's Very, Very Annoying" - Neighbors Tormented By Mysterious Screeching Noise Plaguing Entire Housing Estate In England?!

June 12, 2014 - ENGLAND - A group of neighbours are at their wits end after being plagued with a mysterious screeching sound for two years - but still no one can tell them what is causing it.

Residents on the Stoke Grange estate in Aylesbury are subjected to the unidentified high-pitched sound - which can still be heard with the windows shut - on an almost daily basis, but despite several complaints to the authorities, they are no closer to finding out where it is coming from.

Loré and Nigel Reece, of David Close, say that their double glazing is no match for the 'irritating' sound, which occurs any time of day or night.

Loré, 62, said: "We endure it in the winter months, because you can still hear it with the windows and doors closed.

"It is shrill and very, very annoying. It's very hit and miss but it can go on constantly for anything from ten minutes right up to an hour and a half. It happens at five in the morning, late at night, during the weekends and over bank holidays. It's inconsistent."

The Reeces and their neighbours kept a noise log in the past, but have given up after a lack of action from Environmental Health.

Sandra Walker says the shrill, high-pitched noise is so loud it stops her
from sitting outside in her garden in Stoke Grange, Aylesbury.
The Bucks Herald
Loré, who works as a freelance translator, said: "We've been left in limbo, and nothing seems to be happening. We're just reassured that it's still an 'open case'."

Neighbour Sandra Walker is disappointed that the authorities have not done more to support those affected.

She said: "It's very frustrating. I've never felt properly listened too. If you're in the garden and it goes off, you have to go inside."

Martyn Chuter - environmental health and private sector housing manager for Aylesbury Vale District Council - said: "We are aware of several residents affected by a screeching noise, having received four complaints in the last 13 months.

"Officers have visited the area and have made a number of enquiries but have so far been unable to establish the source of the noise. They will respond to further complaints as appropriate."

Have you heard the mysterious noise too? Call us on 01296 619762. - The Bucks Herald.

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: Dark Matter Paradigm - Dwarf Galaxies Orbiting Andromeda And Milky Way Defy Accepted Theory?!

June 12, 2014 - SPACE - Dwarf galaxies that orbit the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies defy the accepted model of galaxy formation, and recent attempts to wedge them into the model are flawed, reports an international team of astrophysicists. The study pokes holes in the current understanding of galaxy formation and questions the accepted model of the origin and evolution of the universe. According to the standard paradigm, 23 percent of the mass of the universe is shaped by invisible particles known as dark matter.

Image Credit: Observatoire de Paris / GEPI / François Hammer et al.

"The model predicts that dwarf galaxies should form inside of small clumps of dark matter and that these clumps should be distributed randomly about their parent galaxy," said David Merritt, professor of astrophysics at Rochester Institute of Technology. "But what is observed is very different. The dwarf galaxies belonging to the Milky Way and Andromeda are seen to be orbiting in huge, thin disk-like structures."

The study, led by Marcel Pawlowski at Case Western Reserve University, critiques three recent papers by different international teams, all of which concluded that the satellite galaxies support the standard model. The critique by Merritt and his colleagues found "serious issues" with all three studies. The team of 14 scientists from six different countries replicated the earlier analyses using the same data and cosmological simulations and came up with much lower probabilities—roughly one tenth of a percent—that such structures would be seen in the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy.

"The earlier papers found structures in the simulations that no one would say really looked very much like the observed planar structures," said Merritt. "Either the selection of model satellites is different from that of the observed ones, or an incomplete set of observational constraints has been considered, or the observed satellite distribution is inconsistent with basic assumptions. Once these issues have been addressed, the conclusions are different: Features like the observed planar structures are very rare."

The standard cosmological model is the frame of reference for many generations of scientists, some of whom are beginning to question its ability to accurately reproduce what is observed in the nearby universe. Merritt counts himself among the small and growing group that is questioning the accepted paradigm.

"Our conclusion tends to favor an alternate, and much older, model: that the satellites were pulled out from another galaxy when it interacted with the Local Group galaxies in the distant past," he said. "This 'tidal' model can naturally explain why the observed satellites are orbiting in thin disks."

Scientific progress embraces challenges to upheld theories and models for a reason, Merritt notes. "When you have a clear contradiction like this, you ought to focus on it," Merritt said. "This is how progress in science is made."

Merritt co-authored "Co-orbiting satellite galaxy structures are still in conflict with the distribution of primordial dwarf galaxies," to be published in an upcoming issue of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. A pre-print of the paper is available online at

The image at the top of the page is an artist's conception of a dwarf galaxy seen from the surface of a hypothetical exoplanet. A recent study finds that the dark matter in dwarf galaxies is distributed smoothly rather than being clumped at their centers. This contradicts simulations using the standard cosmological model. A paper by Matt Walker (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and co-author Jorge Peñarrubia (University of Cambridge, UK) describing the study was accepted for publication in the The Astrophysical Journal. Lead author Matt Walker said: After completing this study, we know less about dark matter than we did before. - Daily Galaxy.

EARTH CHANGES: Monumental Signs Of The Times - SOTT Earth Changes Video Summary For May, 2014!

June 12, 2014 - EARTH CHANGES - The fifth installment in our new monthly series, the following video compiles footage of 'signs of the times' from around the world during May 2014 - 'earth changes', extreme weather and planetary upheaval.

Highlights this month include: wildfires breaking out in places where snow is falling a.) nearby, and b.) way further south. Several huge dust storms smothering cities in the U.S., the Middle East and Central Asia, while up near the Arctic Circle, Alaska's largest ever forest fire consumed over 200,000 acres. A record-breaking spring heatwave in southwestern U.S. combined with incredibly destructive wildfires to San Diego into a warzone. 150,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes as multiple 'fire-nadoes' torched suburbs.

Unbelievable quantities of hail were dumped in tropical Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as across the U.S., while record-breaking rainfall led to flooding in many places throughout the U.S., the Middle East, southern China, Africa, and Europe. Spectacular electrical storms swept across the U.S. and Europe, while over 3,000 occurred in the Balkans following the worst flooding since record-keeping began, and a horrific 'double-landslide' in Afghanistan buried 2,700 people alive.

Notable mass fish kills happened in New Jersey, Los Angeles and Texas, while ice was still floating on the Great Lakes despite a spring heatwave. Three feet of snow hit Denver despite massive wildfires breaking out elsewhere in the Rockies. Two tornadoes touched down in Ukraine, two days apart, and a number of massive sinkholes opened up, including one that nearly swallowed traffic on a busy street in Russia.

WATCH:  SOTT Earth Changes Summary - May 2014 .