Monday, November 9, 2015

PLANETARY TREMORS: India-Eurasia Convergence - 12 Earthquakes Jolt Andaman And Nicobar Islands In 24 Hours!

USGS earthquake location.

November 9, 2015 - ANDAMAN SEA
- The sea around the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago has witnessed 12 earthquakes in 24 hours, with almost all measuring 5 and more on the Richter scale, but no tsunami alert has been issued.

The region on Sunday saw nine quakes, of these, one was recorded in North Sumatra region in Indonesia while others have been recorded in and around the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

According to the National Seismological Division, a body under the Ministry of Earth Science that tracks seismic activities, three jolts were recorded on Monday which measured 4.9, 5.1 and 4.9 respectively on the Richter scale.

All earthquakes were recorded at a depth of 10-60 kms.

The area around the Andaman and Nicobar islands and the Indonesian archipelago is known to be a high seismic zone and often records tremors.

This is also the region which witnessed massive quake in 2004 that resulted in tsunami killing thousands across India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

Prof Kusalaraj, a scientist at the Centre for Earth Science at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, said this may the result of 2004 earthquake as the some "adjustments" keep happening beneath, years after a major quake strikes a region.
She also cited that adjustments could still be seen happening in Chile and Alaska when two major earthquakes struck in 1960s.

"The Andaman-Sumatra subduction zone has been experiencing an earthquake swarm activity starting on November 8 extending on to November 9. The activity seems to be a byproduct of the India-Eurasia convergence along the Sunda trench. Although such swarms are rare, them happening during the relaxation phase of a great earthquake (2004) is not very surprising. I do not see any big concern.

"The swarm is seen to be growing north of Sumatra and south of the Nicobar Islands. The largest of the events (6.4) occurred on November 8, following which the events have been lower in magnitude," Kusalaraj said. - Times of India.


INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Train Hits Road Grader, Causes Derailment In Des Moines County, Iowa - Third Freight Train Derailment In 3 Days!

Photo Courtesy: Eastern Iowa Fire Grounds Photo

November 9, 2015 - IOWA, UNITED STATES
- Crews were called to the scene of a train derailment Monday morning, November 9, 2015.

The Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office says it happened at Hwy 34 and 210th Ave. west of Danville, Iowa where a road grader was struck by a train.

The collision caused 2 engines and 19 rail cars to jump the track. Train traffic in that area has been shut down. The derailed cars were carrying coal.

Photo Courtesy: Eastern Iowa Fire Grounds Photo

Photo Courtesy: Eastern Iowa Fire Grounds Photo

Photo Courtesy: Eastern Iowa Fire Grounds Photo

The driver of the road grader, 39-year-old Brian Rhan of Ferguson, Iowa was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Burlington.

His condition is not known. The road grader was owned by Cessford Construction Company.

On Saturday, a freight train with 32 cars, belonging to Warren Buffett's BNSF, had derailed north of Alma, Wisconsin prompting several road closures and a voluntary evacuation of the affected area.

Then on Sunday, barely 24 hours later, in another Wisconsin derailment incident, a train, this time with 100-car, carrying crude oil, derailed near the intersection of S. Montgomery St. and West St. in Watertown on Sunday afternoon.

The Mayor said the derailment happened around 2:00 p.m. - KWQC.


GLOBAL AWAKENING: Embracing Of Mother Nature And Detaching From European Vampirism - SeaWorld To Phase Out Killer-Whale Shows By 2017!

SeaWorld San Diego's signature killer whale show will be phased out in 2016 and replaced with a new orca experience,
the Orland-based company announced Monday. — John Gastaldo
November 9, 2015 - CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - SeaWorld, in a move to rebuild its brand and combat declining attendance, will phase out its traditional Shamu show in San Diego and replace it with one that is less about tricks and more about orcas' natural behaviors in the wild.

Next year will be the last for the theatrical performances and coming in 2017 will be what SeaWorld Entertainment describes as an entirely new orca experience, designed to take place in a more natural setting. The announcement, made during a Monday morning presentation by senior SeaWorld executives, is part of a multi-pronged effort by the Orlando-based company to refocus the public's attention on its conservation efforts while also growing revenues and stabilizing the business.

CEO Joel Manby, who joined the company in March, was short on specifics as to what the new orca shows will entail. He did stress, however, that the planned overhaul was not conceived as a way to appease its critics.

"We start everything by listening to our guests and evolving our shows to what we’re hearing, and so far that’s what we’ve been hearing in California, they want experiences that are more natural and experiences that look more natural in the environment," said Manby. "But it’s not universal across our properties."

In its bid to boost attendance, which in San Diego plunged 17 percent last year, the company said Monday it will bring a new, “very marketable” attraction to the Mission Bay park, although no details were offered.

The new attraction will mean shelving, at least in the short term, a $100 million plan to nearly double the killer whale tanks at the San Diego park. Manby said the company will redeploy one-third to one-half of the $100 million for the new attraction.

"We haven't had a good attraction there in a while," he said of SeaWorld San Diego.

The move comes amid efforts at both the state and federal level to clamp down on SeaWorld by ending the captive breeding of orcas. SeaWorld has already vowed to fight a recent ruling by the California Coastal Commission to bar it from breeding its orcas as a condition of moving forward with the tank expansion project.

On Friday, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, said he planned to introduce federal legislation that would prohibit the breeding of captive orcas, end the capture of wild orcas and stop the import and export of the killer whales.

"We know, with the regulatory environment out there with orcas and what’s happened in California with the reputation, we’d be foolish if we didn’t look at options," Manby said. "We're not comfortable putting $100 million into a market when there are regulatory questions. Until that whole issue settles, then we’ll make a decision at that time."

As SeaWorld Entertainment moves toward revamping the iconic Shamu show, it’s unclear whether its other two namesake parks, in Orlando and San Antonio, will follow suit.

Theme park consultant Dennis Speigel said he believes it’s inevitable.

"You can't do it at one park and not do it at the other parks," said Speigel, president of Ohio-based International Theme Park Services, Inc. "That's not the way our industry operates."

In totality, Speigel said SeaWorld's presentation amounted to "getting back to basics" under new management. "They're going to listen to their guests and continue to react to guests, and they're not going to overreact to antagonists."

SeaWorld parks, most notably the one in San Diego, have been seeing declines in attendance over the last year following the 2013 release of the critical documentary, "Blackfish," which has aired repeatedly on CNN and brought negative publicity to SeaWorld. The company has fought back with a prolonged media campaign defending what it says are the parks' humane practices, and that effort will continue, SeaWorld said Monday.

"I’m a little surprised that they were open to pulling the plug on the orca show, but I think it’s smart and I think it shows that the new management team is willing to put everything on the table and tackle some of the taboos that the prior team was unwilling to address," said James Hardiman, an analyst who covers SeaWorld for Wedbush Securities.

The move, though, is not likely to silence its critics who still want to see an end to captive breeding. Across the three SeaWorld parks, there are 24 orcas, 11 of them in San Diego.

“The decision by SeaWorld to phase out killer whale shows in San Diego is a welcome step along the path towards ending the captivity of these magnificent creatures,” said Schiff. “Much more needs to be done, however, and I would urge the company to curtail the breeding of their orcas and partner in the creation of ocean sanctuaries. The fact still remains that as long as SeaWorld holds orcas in captivity, the physical and psychological problems associated with their captivity will persist.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, SeaWorld's most persistent critic, repeated its call for an end to the breeding of orcas in captitivity and urged the parks to build sea sanctuaries for the marine mammals.

"An end to SeaWorld's tawdry circus-style shows is inevitable and necessary, but it's captivity that denies these far-ranging orcas everything that is natural and important to them." said PETA Foundation Director of Animal Law Jared Goodman.

Some visitors to SeaWorld San Diego said they would be upset if the park eliminated all orca shows. But a toned-down show might meet with less resistance.

Christine Saponara, 35, a city planner from Los Angeles, arrived at SeaWorld late Monday morning and expressed relief that SeaWorld was backing away from its traditional orca shows, adding that there are too many signs that killer whales are both highly intelligent and are suffering in captivity. She held out hope that SeaWorld would come up with a way to show orcas in a more natural environment.

“It’s a good thing,” she said. “Maybe we can see things in a more natural way.”

Key to the SeaWorld mission going forward, company executives said, will be reminding visitors to its marine parks of its longstanding efforts to rescue injured and stranded animals. Toward that end, the parks will work more with public schools; the company will renew its Saturday morning TV show, “Sea Rescue,” and develop a possible new rescue-themed ride that would mimic the work of its real-life rescue teams, the company said.

SeaWorld also wants to focus more on transforming its theme parks into resort destinations, beginning with a partnership with San Diego-based Evans hotels to develop a SeaWorld-branded hotel on existing land already leased from the city of San Diego by SeaWorld.

The coming changes follow a modest turnaround in the company’s financials, with earnings during the third quarter rising 12 percent, while revenues were largely flat. Companywide, attendance dropped 4 percent last year and .4 percent for the quarter ending Sept. 30, a drop largely due to much steeper declines at the San Diego and Texas parks.

The company’s planned transition to a much different killer whale show marks yet another milestone in the Shamu stadium performances, which changed significantly following the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at the Orlando park who was drowned by a 12,000-pound orca during a performance. Since then, trainers never returned to the water for the parks’ iconic Shamu shows despite a four-year battle waged by the company to overturn federal citations and fines stemming from Brancheau’s death. - The San Diego Union-Tribune.


PLANETARY TREMORS: Nearly 600 Earthquakes In San Ramon During Recent Swarm - USGS!

San Ramon earthquake swarm since Oct. 13, 2015

- A total of 583 small earthquakes have shaken San Ramon, California, in the last three weeks or so – more than five times the record set 12 years ago, according to the latest US Geological Survey updateson Friday. 

"It's the swarm with the largest number of total earthquakes in San Ramon," said USGS scientist David Schwartz, who is more concerned about the size of quakes than he is the total number of them.

Still, the number tops the previous record set in 2003, when 120 earthquakes hit over 31 days, with the largest clocking in at a magnitude of 4.2.

The largest magnitude earthquake in the current swarm, which began on Oct. 13, is a magnitude 3.6. 

In 1990, a total of 351 earthquakes struck in Alamo, about 30 miles east of San Francisco, over 42 days, with the largest recorded at a magnitude of 4.4.

But Schwartz said those numbers might be inaccurate, as technology back then wasn't as sophisticated.

Despite the nearly 600 quakes that have hit San Ramon in the last month, no injuries or damage have been reported. And the USGS noted that activity has been relatively quiet for the last couple of days.

Recent Bay Area Quakes

In the past 24 hours, there have been 33 quakes.

This map shows all earthquakes near the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 24 hours. The darker blue circle shows the range weʼre filtering for.

Tiny, mostly unnoticeable quakes happen all the time in this part of the state. Some spots on the map will have several small quakes layered on top of one another.

NBC Bay Area's quake map shows all earthquakes recorded near the San Francisco Bay Area over the past 24 hours.

  - NBC Bay Area.


PARADIGM SHIFT: Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD Party On Course For Historic Win In Myanmar Elections - Comparable To Nelson Mandela's "Long Walk To Freedom"!

 Myanmar's National League for Democracy party leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves her party headquarters after talking
to supporters about the general elections in Yangon, Myanmar November 9, 2015. (Reuters Photo)

November 9, 2015 - MYANMAR - The landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar’s historic multi-party election is a great triumph in the annals of contemporary political struggles. It marks a stunning comeback for a woman ---- revered as ‘The Lady’ ---- who was robbed of a similar win in 1990 by the military. Subsequently, she survived 15 years of imprisonment and decades of crackdowns on her party by the country’s military rulers.

Although this election has been one of the freest in Myanmar since the ill-fated one in 1990, the NLD entered the fray with a vast disadvantage vis-à-vis the ruling military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USPD). The armed forces, the civilian bureaucracy and the Buddhist fundamentalist clergy abused their powers to try and ensure that the NLD’s win would not be a thumping one.

The apparatus of Myanmar’s ‘deep State’ — which detests Suu Kyi’s star status and mass appeal — engaged in patronage politics and fraudulent vote-buying, press-gagged government employees, and ran a blatantly racist and religiously charged campaign in an orthodox Buddhist nation to paint Suu Kyi as a “candidate of Muslim minorities”.

These dirty tricks came to a naught because ordinary Myanmarese people associate the USPD with the dark past of military despotism and decisively rejected the corruption and monopolisation of the economy by the army under civilian guise.

Even though Suu Kyi is now 70, she still enjoys the halo of being the daughter of the great freedom fighter Aung San who was assassinated just after Burma, now Myanmar, got independence from Britain.

The Lady has proved to be more than a handful for the generals in civvies, most of whom could not even win their individual parliamentary seats in the NLD’s electoral wave.

An NLD supporter celebrates: Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s party is on course to win the Myanmar election. Photograph: ZUMA Wire/REX Shutterstock

Suu Kyi’s win is comparable to Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’. Yet, even though the NLD is on course to sweep more than two-thirds of the parliamentary seats, Suu Kyi will not become president of Myanmar the way Mandela did after apartheid was overthrown in South Africa.

This is because the military-written Constitution has already disqualified her from assuming the top office of the country on flimsy grounds. Moreover, there is a military-appointed block of 25% of parliamentarians who will never permit the NLD, no matter how many MPs it commands, to amend the Constitution.

The political liberalisation initiated by the former junta in Myanmar from 2010 onwards to overcome international sanctions and isolation was carefully orchestrated by reserving an ‘eminent domain’ for the military, not just in parliament but also in key ministerial portfolios, state institutions and realms of policymaking.

Military higher-ups would not be losing sleep over the USPD’s crashing defeat in the elections since they had taken out enough preemptive insurance to keep dominating the country. The fact that the generals are respecting the NLD’s win and not repeating the usurpation of the people’s mandate like in 1990 means that they are now prepared for indirect rule.

Thus, Suu Kyi faces two challenges: Having to appoint a ‘proxy President’ who must be loyal enough to take orders from her, and to fulfill the expectations of Myanmarese people for civil liberties, peace with minorities, federalism and economic development without enjoying full civilian control over the State structure.

The Lady has admitted that the latest elections were “less than free and fair”, but she had to compromise to work within the confines set by the military to even get this far in Myanmar’s political evolution.

The catchy anthem of the NLD has a stirring line- “Go, go, go away dictatorship”. But what Suu Kyi has secured is a hybrid regime that is definitely more democratic than that of the USPD but less-than-perfect democracy she and her people yearn for.

As a compassionate Buddhist who stuck to non-violence against tremendous odds and who believes in the ethos of embracing enemies, the Lady will now attempt to convert the incorrigible army establishment to work together with her in the interests of Myanmar’s long-suppressed citizens. She certainly has a whopping mandate of people power as a tailwind to try and reform the army for which she has expressed “fondness” for, while never accepting its absolutist excesses.

Myanmar may not be lucky to eventually see its most beloved heroine, now already a septuagenarian, occupying the presidency. But short of that, she has taken her nation closer to democracy and already earned her place in the pantheon. - Hindustan Times.


TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - MIT Built A Snake-Like Robot That Can Morph Into A Phone And A Smartwatch! [VIDEO]

MIT Lineform

November 9, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- Over the past several years, the touchscreen interface has increasingly become one of the most common ways that we interact with our electronic devices.

Our smartphones have touchscreens, our computers have touchscreens and even some of our remote controls have touchscreens — but MIT’s latest invention could change the way that we think about touching our devices. 

Over the weekend, the MIT Media Lab shared a video of a “Shape Changing Interface” called the LineFORM.

This odd looking robot consists of a linear series of motors that are capable of twisting and turning into various shapes, allowing MIT to explore “new possibilities for display, interaction, and body constraint.”

The first series of demos are the most impressive, as a LineFORM sitting on a table detects an arm, wraps up over it and begins functioning as a smartwatch of sorts.

When the user receives a notification, the device will begin twitching. At this point, the user can remove the LineFORM, lay it flat on the table and watch it rearrange into the shape of a “smartphone display.”

Type on the device, pull your hand away and then watch the device morph once again, this time into the shape of a working landline.

You’ve got to see it to believe it:

LineFORM - Actuated Curve Interfaces for Display, Interaction, and Constraint.

- Yahoo.