Wednesday, June 18, 2014

RATTLE & HUM: "Sudden, Quick Vibration" - Mysterious Banging And Shaking In Auckland, New Zealand?!

June 18, 2014 - NEW ZEALAND - A series of mysterious "explosions" have been reported across west and north Auckland, but police are mystified.

Reports of loud ''bangs'' followed by houses shaking began about 5pm, in the Hibiscus Coast area.

Inspector Tony Edwards of police northern communications said police received reports of the bangs from the Herald Island - Greenhithe area about the same time.

More reports came in a while later from the Ranui - Scenic Drive area in West Auckland.

A Fire Service worker came in to work later and confirmed they had heard the noises in the Red Beach area, which is on the Hibiscus Coast.

Edwards said people had variously described the noises as sounding like gun-shots and loud explosions.

Police had checked with the Air Force, which has a base in Whenuapai, but turned out not to be not responsible, and neither was Paremoremo prison.

Lines companies had not reported any electrical disturbances and Geonet is not showing any tectonic activity in the Auckland area.

Arkles Bay resident Will Trayes said he heard the noises about 4pm.

His house shook with a "sudden, quick vibration" for two or three seconds and he heard a slight rumble similar to thunder.

Six or seven minutes later it happened again and then again six or seven minutes after that.

His sister said she thought it was a truck going past the house, he said.

''I wasn't worried, I was just wondering if there was going to be a bigger shake."

A local Facebook page was inundated with 450 comments after Kelly de Rooy posted: "Holy hell, was that an earthquake I just felt in Stanmore Bay? My entire house just shook".

Sally Louise Dodsworth wrote: ''3 big shakes here in Stillwater'' while Deborah Johnston said: ''We heard real weird noise too and the cupboards were vibrating in Red Beach.''

Kathryn Wales wrote: ''Can anyone see Rangitoto???? THat's not blowing up is it???''

Astronomer Alan Gilmore, at Tekapo's Mt John Observatory, discounted the theory that it could have been a meteor creating a sonic boom.

Gilmore was interested at first, saying it was possible and there had been other meteor-caused booms in New Zealand in the past.

However, his enthusiasm dimmed when told there were reports of three bangs five minutes apart.

The chance that three meteors would all strike in the same place separated by a regular interval was very, very low, he said.

"I think you'll have to look for a terrestrial explanation," he said.

The noises remain a mystery. - Stuff.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Yellow Alert Has Been Declared For Ecuador's Tungurahua Volcano - Series Of Explosions Send Ash And Fire Into The Sky!

June 18, 2014 - ECUADOR - The National Secretariat for Risk Management of Ecuador today decided to change from orange to yellow the alert in Tungurahua Volcano, 80 km south of Quito, given the decline in activity.

According to a report of the Geophysical Institute of the National Polytechnic School, the volcanic activity at Tungurahua has remained low in the recent days, so the authorities decided to change the level of the alert. 

In the first months of the year, the volcano showed an increased activity with columns of ash and gases that rose reaching four kilometers above the crater, causing the orange alert to be declared in the affected areas. 

WATCH: A series of explosions send ash and fire into the sky above Banos, Ecuador, as tourists catch the eruption of Tungurahua. 

Although the alert level was changed, the Secretariat said that provintial and cantonal Emergency Operations Committees should keep on alert in order to react to any situation to protect the citizens.

At an altitude of five thousand 20 meters above the sea level, Tungurahua volcano erupted in 1999 and since then high activity periods with others of relative calm have been interspersed. - Prensa Latina.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Civil War In Ukraine Spirals Into Chaos - United Nations Says That 356 People Have Been Killed, Including 257 Civilians, In Eastern Ukraine Military Campaign! [PHOTOS+VIDEOS]

June 18, 2014 - UKRAINE - At least 356 people, including 257 civilians, have died since the beginning of the “anti-terrorist” operation in Ukraine’s eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, according to UN calculations. There were 14 children among the dead.

A gunman walks by thirty coffins prepared for the funerals of anti-goverment rebels killed during heavy fighting
at Donetsk airport on May 26, outside a Donetsk morgue May 29, 2014 (Reuters / Yannis Behrakis)

The results prepared by the UN special commission in Ukraine have been presented by Gianni Magazzeni, head of European Department of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

According to Magazzeni, the final body count includes 257 civilians (of them 14 children), 11 more died in Mariupol plus two staff members of Voda Donbassa company . The remaining 86 victims are the servicemen of Ukrainian army, including several dozen paratroopers and nine crew members of Ilyushin-76 who died in the recent plane crash not far from Lugansk airport.

The funeral for Slavyansk hospital nurse who died during the shelling of the hospital 16 June, 2014
(RIA Novosti / Andrey Stenin)

Five people were killed after the Ukrainian air force bombed the Lugansk regional administration. Volunteer Corps
members are seen here carrying the body of a person killed during the air strike June 2, 2014
(RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov)

The results prepared by the UN Special Commission in Ukraine have been presented by Gianni Magazzeni, head of the European Department of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.
According to Magazzeni, the body count includes 257 civilians (and among them, 14 children), while 11 more died in Mariupol, plus two staff members of the Voda Donbassa (Donbass Water) company .

WATCH: Moment of shell explosion hit Russian TV crew in E.Ukraine.


WATCH: Russian journalist killed in Ukraine mortar shelling.

The remaining 86 victims are the servicemen from the Ukrainian army, including several dozen paratroopers and nine crew members of Ilyushin-76 who died in the recent plane crash not far from the Lugansk airport.

Earlier Wednesday, Russia’s Investigative Committee said that over 100 civilians have been killed, 200 injured and hundreds of homes destroyed in Kiev’s military campaign in eastern Ukraine.

A house damaged by fighting between Ukrainian and anti-government forces is seen in the eastern Ukranian
city of Slaviansk June 16, 2014 (RIA Novosti / Shamil Zhumatov)

A destroyed house following what locals say was overnight shelling by Ukrainian forces is seen in
the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk June 10, 2014 (Reuters / Gleb Garanich)

The Investigative Committee intends to launch an investigation against the governor of Dnepropetrovsk, Igor Kolomoysky, and the Ukrainian interior minister, Arsen Avakov.

According to the Investigative Committee’s information, starting from April 12, Avakov and Kolomoysky organized and managed the military operation carried out by the Ukrainian military, the National Guard and Right Sector armed fighters, and the Dnepr special forces of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, created and financed by Kolomoysky. - RT.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Geological Authorities Are Reporting That Peru's Sabancaya Volcano Has Become Active After 15 Years Of Silence - Emits Plumes Of Smoke, No Thermal Anomalies Observed!

June 18, 2014 - PERU - Geological authorities are reporting that the Sabancaya volcano in southern Peru has become active after 15 years of silence.

Activity at Sabancaya has slowly increased since late February.  Photo: El Comercio

According to information released by the Peruvian Geophysical Institute (IGP), Sabancaya has erupted several times. The first recorded activity at Sabancaya was in 1750, and the volcano became active again in 1784. 200 years later, in 1986, the volcano once again displayed activity. Now, the volcano is once again active, having gradually intensified since late February.

Speaking to El Comercio, IGP investigator Orlando Macedo said “All this activity is part of an expected process. Before the eruption, tremors were occurring closer and closer to the volcano and the crater. However, the process is taking longer than that which we saw at the Ubinas Volcano, when everything happened in a matter of days. In the case of Sabancaya, this could go on for several months.”

In addition to seismic activity, Sabancaya has also emitted plumes of smoke. No thermic anomalies have been observed by the IGP.

According to the IGP, three seismic monitoring stations are keeping watch over activity at Sabancaya.

Sabancaya, located in the southern region of Arequipa, is part of a volcanic complex that includes Hualca-Hualca and Ampato. - Peru This Week.

MONUMENTAL WEATHER ANOMALIES: Nebraska Town Devastated - How Rare Are Double Tornadoes?!

June 18, 2014 - NEBRASKA, UNITED STATES -  Twin tornadoes destroyed almost three-quarters of Pilger, a small Nebraska town. According to one expert, the last powerful double tornado on record occurred in 1999.

Near Wisner, Nebraska, 6/16/2014.
Matt Coker

Residents of a small Nebraska town are returning to what is left of their homes Tuesday after a pair of tornadoes flattened nearly every brick structure in its path. Two people are dead.

"It was flatness," homeowner Jerry Meyer told the Omaha World-Herald. "There was nothing on my whole block."

The twin tornadoes on Monday are blamed for destroying almost three-quarters of Pilger, Neb., a town of 350 people located 60 miles southwest of Sioux City, Iowa. In all, four tornadoes struck the region that includes the nearby towns of Wisner, Stanton, and Pender.

The two tornadoes hitting Pilger so hard touched down within a mile of each other and then merged south of Pilger over the Elkhorn River, the National Weather Service reports. While it is not uncommon for one tornado to emerge following the dissipation of a first, it is rare for two tornadoes to operate simultaneously, meteorologists say.

When two tornadoes do appear, one is often stronger than the other. But this was not the case in Pilger, where both tornadoes tore through the landscape with the same intensity.

It is more common for a second tornado to form by orbiting the primary tornado, which ultimately dissipates before the satellite tornado intensifies in strength, according to Greg Carbin, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

"Nothing says there needs to be a gap" between tornadoes, Mr. Carbin told The Washington Post. "There usually is. Monday there wasn't."

Having two at full strength at the same time could mean they were connected to a multiple vortex tornado, which features many tornadoes moving in tandem around a main vortex.

According to Carbin, the last powerful double tornado on record occurred on May 3, 1999. A total of 74 tornadoes touched down across Oklahoma and Kansas, killing 46 people, injuring 800 others, and causing $1.5 billion in damage.

On Monday, about 75 percent of Pilger was either heavily damaged or destroyed, confirmed Stanton County Sheriff Michael Unger. In addition to the two people who died, 16 were hospitalized.

Despite the devastation - the town's middle school, post office, city hall, and firehouse, along with three-quarters of its homes, were among the destroyed buildings - Sheriff Unger said the town was fairly fortunate, considering it had only 10 to 15 minutes of warning before the tornadoes struck.

"We're small-town America. Our motto is, 'We're a town too tough to die,' " he told reporters Tuesday.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) has issued a state of emergency, and he toured the damaged area Tuesday. He told onlookers the town will rebuild.

"This is a tough little town that is not going to die, right?" he asked one resident.

While the tornadoes dissipated near Sioux City, harsh storms pounded surrounding Midwestern states, causing damage and power outages. MidAmerican Energy in Iowa reported more than 29,000 customers without power in Des Moines and 213 without power in Council Bluffs.

Also, a tornado moved from northern Illinois into southern Wisconsin after midnight Tuesday, the National Weather Service says. Platteville, Wis., about 70 miles southwest of Madison, took the heaviest damage: About 40 homes were damaged and five people injured. Three residence halls and the football stadium at the University of Wisconsin satellite campus were also damaged. - Yahoo.

INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: ISIS Attacks Iraq's Largest Refinery In Baiji With Mortars, Gunfire - Expanding Its Sphere Of Control In A Relentless March Towards Baghdad!

June 18, 2014 - IRAQ - ISIS militants have launched an attack on Iraq’s largest oil refinery with mortars and machine gun fire, refinery employees say. The extremist group has been gaining ground in Iraq, seizing control of territory in its mission to create an Islamic state.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Baiji oil refinery, 180km (112 miles) north of Baghdad (Reuters / Thaier al-Sudani)

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) surrounded the refinery last week as it seized control of Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul. In response to the escalation in violence management at the refinery halted operations at the facility and evacuated foreign workers.

The latest attack was unleashed at 0400 (0100 GMT) outside two of the facility’s main entrances, sources told Reuters. One mortar struck a spare parts warehouse and plumes of smoke were seen rising from the building.

The refinery is the largest in Iraq and processes 300,000 barrels a day, providing oil for most of the northern region of the country.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A U.S. helicopter lands at the oil refinery in Baiji, 180 km (112 miles)
north of Baghdad February 25, 2009 (Reuters / Sabah al-Bazee)

The ISIS has been advancing on the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad over the past week, seizing cities in the north of the country and expanding its sphere of control. The latest city to fall under the control of the militants was Tal Afar, which has a population of about 200,000 people. The city was taken just before dawn Monday, Mayor Abdulal Abdoul confirmed to AP.

Residents of the occupied areas now worry they may be subject to persecution from the hardline Sunni militants.

"The situation is disastrous in Tal Afar. There is crazy fighting and most families are trapped inside houses, they can’t leave town," a local official told Reuters on Sunday before the city was overrun. "If the fighting continues, a mass killing among civilians could result."

The US-trained Iraqi security forces have proved to be ineffective against the ISIS, with many abandoning their posts in the face of the advancing forces.

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Baiji oil refinery, 180km (112 miles) north of Baghdad (Reuters / Thaier al-Sudani)

The conflict has also stoked regional tensions between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement, saying Riyadh was responsible for encouraging genocide in Iraq.

“We hold them [Saudi Arabia] responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that - which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide,” the Shiite-led cabinet said in a statement issued by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office. The Sunni kingdom had previously accused the Iraqi government of triggering the conflict with its sectarian policies.

The UN has voiced concern the escalating conflict is threatening Iraq’s territorial integrity.

“Right now, it's life-threatening for Iraq but it poses a serious danger to the region,” UN envoy to Baghdad Nickolay Mladenov said on Tuesday. - RT.

EXTREME WEATHER: "It's Pretty Bad" - Tornado Destroys Up To 100 Homes In Essa In Canada's Ontario Province; State Of Emergency Declared!

June 18, 2014 - CANADA - A tornado Tuesday afternoon destroyed or badly damaged up to 100 homes in Canada's Ontario province, authorities said Wednesday after surveying the devastation.

East News/AP Photo/Tulsa World, Gary Crow

"It's pretty bad," government Minister Kellie Leitch told a nationally-televised press conference, adding that the twister destroyed "up to 100 homes."

"Some houses have almost the entire roofs off, some half the roofs off, some the back of the house is collapsed. And it's pretty devastating," she said, AFP reports.

A state of emergency has been declared in the township of Essa, north of Toronto, after Environment Canada reported an "EF-2" twister on the 0-6 Enhanced Fujita scale.

The tornado touched down at 5:20 pm Tuesday in Angus and tracked east for 15 minutes, with winds of up to 180 kilometers (111 miles) per hour.

"The (accompanying) thunderstorms did bring sudden very heavy downpours, gusty winds, and frequent lightning," the government agency said.

The tornado flipped vehicles and scattered debris.

Some 6,000 area homes remained without power Wednesday morning and an emergency shelter has been set up at a nearby military base for as many as 300 people.

There were no reports of serious injuries. - VOR.

TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - HP Unveils THE MACHINE, A Revolutionary ALL-IN-ONE Mega-Powerful Photonic Device; A Portable Supercomputer That Includes A Server, Workstation, PC And Phone!

June 18, 2014 - TECHNOLOGY - HP has unveiled its revolutionary supercomputer, The Machine. The all-in-one device – a server, workstation, PC and phone – uses photonic memory and is portable, potentially opening doors to a more powerful, energy-efficient global computer industry.

'The Machine' (Image from

The Machine will be able to hand vast quantities of data using far less electricity, HP claims, adding that its system will be six times more powerful than existing servers and require 80 times less energy.

According to HP, today the IT industry uses as much energy as is used by all of Japan to run the immense volumes of data stored in public clouds alone, so this technology will save the energy produced by several nuclear power plants worldwide.

However exciting, the project is still under development and the company isn’t expecting to produce its first prototypes until 2015. The first devices equipped with The Machine are not scheduled to be released until 2018.

The new data transfer system will be based on silicon photonics to transmit data, as an alternative to copper wires, using lasers that are just 1/4 the diameter of a human hair. HP promises it will boost the speed of the system whilst reducing energy requirements.

To operate The Machine, the company has invented a new type of memory called “memristors,” which are fast, allow permanent storage even if the power is cut off and are designed to replace current storage devices.

HP claims The Machine is capable of managing 160 petabytes in 250 nanoseconds. The device’s main difference is that it will be operating clusters of specialized cores while today’s computers operate much smaller numbers of generalized cores. This is seen as the key for the Internet of Things future network, which will bundle together all digitalized knowledge and make it accessible and usable by devices such as The Machine.

HP’s chief technology officer, Martin Fink, said The Machine’s technology could already be scaled down to be used in smartphones, which could eventually lead to making handheld devices with 100 terabytes of memory.

HP's CTO Martin Fink discusses the 'The Machine'

When released, the Machine is expected to replace a data center’s worth of equipment with a single refrigerator-size device.

Naturally, The Machine won’t be able to use any of the existing operational systems, so it will require HP to develop a new OS capable of operating mass data volumes in no time.

Although it was only recently unveiled at Hewlett-Packard's Discover customer event in Las Vegas, the development has already been criticized by Dell, another US computer technology company, who called the attempt "laughable."

“The notion that you can reach some magical state by rearchitecting an OS is laughable on the face of it,” John Swainson, president of software at Dell, told journalists in San Francisco, adding that "the basic elements of computing, like processor and memory, are likely to be reconfigured in some way, but not so radically that existing software won’t run."

HP is much more optimistic, placing high hopes in The Machine. Saying it will not be just for huge supercomputers, the company promises its new technology could be used in smaller devices such as smartphones and laptops. It already sees a variety of future applications, from business to medicine, for The Machine.

“Your doctor could compare your symptoms and genomics with every other patient around the world to improve your health outcomes, instantly, without language barriers or privacy breaches,” HP says.

The company said its device will also address data governance and security issues in an effort to better protect information. - RT.

ICE AGE NOW: More East Coast Icebergs Than Usual In Canada - Some Almost Close Enough To Touch!

June 18, 2014 - CANADA - Just off the coast of Newfoundland float humongous slabs of bright, white ice -- almost close enough to touch.

They floated across the ocean before becoming grounded a few feet off shore in a narrow
section of waters near St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Over the weekend, a large berg floated within metres of the shoreline in St. John's harbour, attracting a crowd of onlookers.

It's just the latest in what's been a banner year for icebergs in Canada's eastern-most province. Tourists are taking in the spectacular sights from the beaches or on guided boat tours. Some are even hopping in the frigid waters to get a closer view.

Massive blocks of ice float closer to shore in Newfoundland, Sunday, June 15

"Icebergs are so plentiful around these parts, we actually put them to good use," says the Newfoundland and Labrador tourism website. Iceberg water, iceberg vodka and iceberg beer are all crafted using the water from the ocean's natural ice cubes.

And though the area usually has plenty of bergs, this year they've been especially plentiful, says iceberg expert Stephen Bruneau.

He said more icebergs than usual survived the trip down south, toward Newfoundland's coast, this year.

"I think it has to do with the harshness of the winter," the Memorial University associate professor told Canada AM earlier this week. "We had more sea ice around, and when we have more sea ice, there tends to be a preservation of the icebergs."

Those planning a trip out to the frosty shores can scout out where the icebergs are in advance using the province's Iceberg Finder, a map regularly updated by a team of tourism staff and satellite trackers. - CTV News.