Saturday 30 April 2016

Radio NZ discusses overpopulation

Climate change denier, Jim Mora replaces Kim Hill to discuss the limits of growth with an Australian academic who clearly still defends infinite growth.

Vegetarianism seems to be the answer (sic) as well as a bit of tinkering around the edges.

Corey Bradshaw: Population Limits

Jim Mora talks to the Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide, whose research interests include population dynamics, extinction theory, invasion biology, and climate change impacts and mitigation

Chronicling the melt of Arctic Ice in Greenland

Harold Hensel continues to chronicle the disappearance of ice in the Arctic.

Someone, at least is doing this work for the Greater Good.

Thank you Harold!

Towards the summer ice melt in the Arctic

This view is on the right side of Greenland. The Ice is flowing into the Greenland Sea. This is the same location for each consecutive image. The purpose is to show the dynamics of the ice flow out of the Arctic Ocean. We may be witnessing the prelude to a nearly ice free Arctic Ocean this summer.

An ice free Arctic Ocean is dangerous. The heat that will be absorbed from the sun, along with heat arriving from the Gulf Stream and rivers, may be enough to thaw out methane hydrates on the Artic Ocean floor. It may also unplug cracks that are stopping geologic or mantel methane from coming up.

This event may turn out to be one of the most significant events in human history. A lot depends on the weather in the Arctic this summer. Why am I sharing this? Because we are all in this together and I want other people to be aware of what is happening.

This is April 9th. The dates are on the lower left hand corner. It is helpful to focus on one iceberg and try to follow it before it disappears.

April 11th. April 10th was cloudy

April 12h

 April 13th
April 14th

It looks like the big chunk on the left moved about 20 miles in one day.

Extreme heat across south Asia

Extreme heat wave kills 300 across South Asia with hottest month still ahead (PHOTOS)

© Mukesh Gupta
© Mukesh Gupta / Reuters

29 April, 2016

South Asia has been setting temperature records: A roasting heat wave has been ripping through much of the region since early April. Hundreds of people suffered severe heat strokes in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, while the death toll in India exceeded 300.

Scorching temperatures have allowed at least three countries to set new all-time national heat records with Thailand, which has kept records since 1950, leading the way.

After Sukhothai, Thailand set the first record of 111.7 degrees Fahrenheit (44.3 degrees Celsius), on April 12, on Friday a remote, mountainous province in northern Thailand, Mae Hong Son banked in a record in with 112.3 degrees Fahrenheit (44.6 degrees Celcius), according to Christopher Burt, a weather historian with He added that since April 19, more than 50 urban areas have recorded heat records.

A Thai man takes covers from the heat. © Adrees Latif
A Thai man takes covers from the heat. © Adrees Latif / Reuters

As of now we can say we’ve broken the record for the highest temperatures over the longest duration in 65 years – and the season isn't over yet,” said Surapong Sarapa, head of the Thai Meteorological Department's weather forecast division.
Starting from March, the extreme heat has claimed the lives of as many as 21 people, Thai Department of Communicable Disease Control said Thursday. 

Thirteen of the victims succumbed to heat outside their homes, two in vehicles, one in a temple, and five in houses. Authorities called for the population to stay indoors and drink lots of water to avoid heatstroke.

A farmer walking at his drought-hit rice field in Nonthaburi province outside Bangkok. © Christophe Archambault
A farmer walking at his drought-hit rice field in Nonthaburi province outside Bangkok. © Christophe Archambault / AFP

All-time national heat records have also been seen in Cambodia and Laos. The new all-time record high for Cambodia was set on April 15 at 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit (42.6 degrees Celcius) in Preah Vihea. Laos set its own national all-time high temperature of 108.14 Fahrenheit (42.3 Celcius ) in Seno.

Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam are also feeling the heat. But it seems that India has been hit the worst, where hundreds of people have died.

A Cambodian girl fills water in a container at a village in Kandal province on April 27, 2016. © Tang Chhin Sothy
A Cambodian girl fills water in a container at a village in Kandal province on April 27, 2016. © Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP

At least 300 people died of heat-related illness this month, AP reported, as temperatures this month break the 111 Fahrenheit ( 44 degrees Celsius) mark.
India's Centre for Holistic Development (CHD), a non-governmental organization, is reporting that 244 unidentified bodies have been found on the streets this month, mainly homeless, with up to 50 percent having died from the heat.

Of this, 80 per cent are of homeless people. Out of that figure, 40 to 50 per cent are heat-related deaths, which could have been prevented had proper facilities been put in place. A homeless person is already undermined by malnourishment, drug addiction, lack of access to timely medical intervention, tuberculosis and other immunity compromising diseases; dehydration and extreme exposure (to heat or cold) then is a fatal blow,” CHD's Sunil Kumar Aledia told the Hindu Times.

A boy cools himself off as he sits under a fountain on a hot summer day in New Delhi. © Adnan Abidi
A boy cools himself off as he sits under a fountain on a hot summer day in New Delhi. © Adnan Abidi / Reuters

The temperature has forced Indian officials in the eastern state of Bihar to ban daytime cooking in some parts of the country to try to prevent accidental fires, after a fire in the village killed 79 people.

The heat wave is also causing severe drought in the much of India effecting crops and livestock. groundwater reservoirs are at just 22 percent capacity in parts of the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat after rivers, lakes and dams have dried up.

India’s meteorological department said Thursday that the heat wave would continue over the weekend and might only get worse during May, which is traditionally the hottest month in India.

Vehicles driving along a road are seen through heat haze in Chandigarh, India. © Ajay Verma
Vehicles driving along a road are seen through heat haze in Chandigarh, India. © Ajay Verma / Reuters

Up South: Kerala Declared As A Drought Hit State

Kerala decided to approach the Centre to declare it 'drought hit' as Malampuzha in Kerala's Palakaad district recorded the highest temperature of 41.7 degrees Celsius in the state for the third consecutive day. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard and also asked the Centre to relax its conditions and guidelines to declare the state as drought hit. A high-level meeting convened by the Chief Minister had decided to ask the Centre to declare the state drought hit early in the day. The worst affected districts are Palakkad, Kollam, and Kasarkod.

India Today Television marks the entry of the nation’s most credible name in journalism - India Today into news television. Powered by a future-ready look and backed with the 40 year legacy of the India Today brand, the channel addresses the news consumption habits of an evolved digital-savvy audience while staying true to the journalistic principles of the India Today Group.

With a paradigm shift in terms of television workflows and technology, the channel sets a new benchmark with a differentiated look. Innovative content formats and multiple news updates on the TV screen give immediacy and choice to the news viewer

More accusations of Russia from the Pentagon

Pentagon claims Russian jet fighter barrel rolled within 25 feet of US reconnaissance plane

© Gleb Garanich
© Gleb Garanich / Reuters

29 April, 2016

A Russian fighter jet pulled an “unsafe” stunt within 25 feet of a US surveillance plane Friday, Defense Department officials said. Russian Admiral Vladimir Komoedov, however, denied any potential harm, wondering why the US was there in the first place.

A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 and a US Air Force RC-135 were in international airspace when the former performed a barrel roll over the latter, CNN reported citing Pentagon officials. While initial reports held that the intercept occurred within 100 feet, the US Defense Department updated that to 25 feet.

"This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved," Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement."More importantly, the unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries."

Word for word, that same part of the Pentagon’s statement has been used recently under similar circumstances. Fifteen days prior to this incident, April 14, another Su-27 fighter jet conducted a barrel roll over another US reconnaissance plane, and between April 11 and 12, the USS Donald Cook ship was flown over by Su-27 fighter jets, with the Pentagon releasing footage.

It was neither a buzz, nor a simulated attack, thus everything is fine. It was not a dangerous maneuver,” the head of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee and former commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Admiral Vladimir Komoedov told Interfax, a non-governmental Russian news station. “Why do they even fly here and provoke Russia? I mean, guys, let’s live in peace, do not provoke Russia into actions you would then ventilate in the press.”

After the April 14 incident, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, "We condemn this kind of behavior. It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous."

At the time, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said, "The reports of foreign media saying that a Russian Su-27 allegedly flew in dangerously close proximity to a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft in the skies over the Baltic Sea on April 14 are not true."

Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, gave an American perspective different from the official responses to the April 14 event.

"We send naval warships, equipped with the latest equipment, 50 miles from Russian territory in the Baltic Sea, conducting military exercises. The Russians are annoyed and irritated, and we say 'Oh my goodness, how aggressive, how dare you,'" McAdams told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clea.

In pursuit of 2017 budget, Pentagon sees danger everywhere

How trees die in droughts

Droughts trigger tree ‘heart attacks’

Research identifying survival traits in different tree species could prove vital in helping to reduce the massive losses caused by heat extremes as the world warms.
by Tim Radford

Around 12 million trees have perished in California in the last year. Image: NoIdentity via Flickr

29 April, 2016

LONDON, 29 April, 2016 – Scientists in the US have identified the factors that make a tree more likely to perish in a drought, after conducting an exhaustive examination of 33 separate scientific studies of tree mortality involving 475 species and 760,000 individual trees.

The answer they come up with is that the deciding factor is how efficiently trees draw water from the ground to their leaf tips.

This is not a surprising conclusion, but scientists don’t trust the obvious: they like to check these things.

And William Anderegg, assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah, and colleagues report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on a list of 10 tree traits that could play a role in survival or death by drought. These include simple differences such as deciduous or evergreen, rooting depth, wood density, leaf characteristics.

Adapt and survive

Such research matters. In 2002 in the southwestern US, 225 million trees died where they stood because of drought. Texas alone lost 300 million trees in 2011. In California in the last year, 12 million trees have perished.

With losses on this scale, and more drought and heat extremes in store as climates begin to change because fossil fuel combustion worldwide has increased the levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases, foresters and conservationists need to know which species are most likely to adapt and survive, and what these species have that others do not.

These widespread tree die-offs are a really early and visible sign of climate change already affecting our landscapes”

In fact, deciding factors centre on the ability of a tree to draw water through the piping in its tissues. The forest giants may have to pump 200 litres of water every hour at a speed of 50 metres an hour to the topmost leaves, at a pressure of 30 atmospheres.

And the process is at risk of interruption during drought by air bubbles. To put it heartlessly, trees, like humans, can perish from embolism.

It’s a little bit akin to a tree heart attack,” Dr Anderegg says. “You can actually hear this on a hot summer day if you stick a microphone up a tree. You can hear little pings and pops as these pipes get filled with air.”

Those species already adapted to dry climates seem to be less at risk, while those that normally flourish in wetlands are more vulnerable to drought. So far, so obvious. But not all forest physiology is so obvious.

Forest cycle

Late last year, Dr Anderegg and his fellow researchers established that it was the increasing heat of the tropic night that was most likely to change tropical forests into carbon sources, rather than carbon sinks. What mattered was not global warming of itself, but how the warming was distributed through the forest’s diurnal cycle.

And since the world’s forests fulfil a vital role as carbon sinks – sequestering 2.4 billion tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide every year, which is at least a quarter of all the carbon dioxide emissions from factory chimneys, motor exhausts and other human economic activity – what happens to forests as the world warms is vital for humankind as well.

But global warming is also increasing the risk of forest loss by drought and wildfires.

These widespread tree die-offs are a really early and visible sign of climate change already affecting our landscapes,” Dr Anderegg says. – Climate News Network


Tim Radford, a founding editor of Climate News Network, worked for The Guardian for 32 years, for most of that time as science editor. He has been covering climate change since 1988.

Belgium Hands Out Iodine Pills To Entire Population

Amid Rising Fears Of Nuclear Terrorism, Belgium Hands Out Iodine Pills To Entire Population

29 April, 2016

One month after we learned that the Brussels suicide bombers had planted hidden cameras at the home of the top Belgian nuclear official, we now learn that in a disturbing continuation of this storythe entire population of Belgium will be receiving iodine tablets, which helps to limit the effects of radiation on the body, as fears increase around the security of its nuclear power plants.

Iodine pills, which can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland, had previously only been given to people living within 20km (14 miles) of the Tihange and Doel nuclear plants, but Health Minister Maggie De Block said that coverage was extended to 100km. The extended coverage area now encompasses essentially the entire country of 11 million people. "We will provide iodine pills in the whole country."

She added: "It is not linked with the safety of our nuclear plants. The recommendation came after Fukushima … because obviously after Fukushima, we have more information regarding nuclear risks."

The pills will be sent to pharmacies, and the public would be ordered to collect their ration in the event of a meltdown, with children, pregnant women, and those breast-feeding being given top priority.

In response to the announcement, Belgian politician Jean-Marc Nollet said "the government is finally accepting the recommendation of the Health Ministry. Given the population density and the risk of a nuclear disaster, this was absolutely necessary."

The plan to increase the coverage area comes just after Germany had asked Belgium to take two of their reactors offline until "open safety questions are cleared up." Belgium's nuclear regulator AFCN said that it was surprised by Germany's request, and added that the nuclear reactors meet the most strictest of standards. According to RT, the two 33 year old reactors were taken offline in 2012 after defects were found in the walls of the reactors' pressure vessels. AFCN cleared their re-start in November, saying the cracks were hydrogen flakes trapped in the walls of the reactor tank and had no impact on safety.

As we previously reported, following the investigation into the Brussels bombings, it was discovered that the bombers were planning attacks on Belgian nuclear power stations. The brothers involved in the suicide bombing had planted a hidden camera in front of the home of Belgium's nuclear research program director.

Belgium's Tihange nuclear plant as seen from a nearby cemetery

As a reminder, just recently a nuclear power plant in Germany was infected with not one but several computer viruses, and while authorities tried to quickly downplay any concerns, we can't help but wonder if Europe's next "terrorist event" take place at a nuclear power plant.

Summing things up

After my conversation with Guy McPherson and Kevin Hester...

The gig's over. We're done.

Via Facebook

I've just had someone bail me out for criticising Robertscribbler. "He does good work"

Of course he does!

But then he goes on, like them all, to draw conclusions that are frankly, irrational.

"We are in abrupt climate change but the conclusion we can draw is there is room for optimism"

Well, I refuse to play that game.

How many times can you say, and in how many ways, YOU CAN'T HAVE INFINITE GROWTH ON A FINITE PLANET?!

The gig's over.

We're done.


ISIS Releases "Hit List" Of 3,600 New Yorkers

"We Want Them Dead" - ISIS Releases "Hit List" Of 3,600 New Yorkers

29 April, 2016

In its latest attempt to instill fear far away from the battlefield in Syria, or the recently terrorism-plagued countries of France and Belgium, last week Islamic State supporters published the names and addresses of 3,600 New Yorkers in an apparent "hit list" designed to escalate the group's campaign of sowing fear far from the battlefield in Syria.

According to the CSM the names on the list were released last week by a group calling itself United Cyber Caliphate on the encrypted chat application Telegram, which IS supporters have used to recruit supporters and spread propaganda.  As Reuters adds, the group has urged followers of the militant group to target these 3,600 individuals and to facilitate that the hacker group has posted their personal information with the demand that "we want them #Dead."

The list includes names, home addresses and email addresses. Some of the information appears to be outdated, according to the source, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. It was not immediately clear how IS supporters obtained the names and addresses on the list.

The list targets government employees with the State Department and Homeland Security, according to ABC,but there are also many average residents on the list who are now being informed by Federal officials that they have ended up on the ISIS hit list. NBC New York has gained access to the data, and mapped the locations of New Yorkers on the list. Many of the targeted were from Brooklyn, some from Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens and other surrounding areas.

Locations of ordinary New Yorkers targeted in ISIS-linked cyberattack
Federal agents and New York City police officers have been contacting the individuals on the list to inform them of the posting.

In a statement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said, "While our standard practice is to decline comment on specific operational and investigative matters, the FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of information collected during the course of an investigation that may be perceived as potentially threatening in nature."

One of the victims, an 88-year-old man named Art -- whose last name is being withheld for privacy concerns -- spoke with NBC on Thursday, telling of how the FBI visited and told him that his name was on the list posted Sunday on the private channel of a pro-ISIS group called the United Cyber Caliphate.

The FBI told him to be cautious when he goes out in public and to call 911 immediately if he felt threatened. Still, Art said he is not overly concerned for his safety.

"It sounds like psychological warfare," he said. "Make 3,000 people in this city very upset." FBI and NYPD officials plan to visit the homes of everyone targeted, but say there is no specific threat of violence against them.

An FBI spokeswoman said in a statement, "While our standard practice is to decline comment on specific operational and investigative matters, the FBI routinely notifies individuals and organizations of information collected during the course of an investigation that may be perceived as potentially threatening in nature. "Potential threats may relate to individuals, institutions, or organizations, and are shared in order to sensitize potential victims to the observed threat, and to assist them in taking proper steps to ensure their safety," said the spokeswoman, Carol Cratty.

NBC News terror analyst Laith Alkhouri recently released a report on increasing efforts by pro-ISIS groups to undertake cyberattacks. Last month, a pro-ISIS group hacked into the New Jersey Transit Police website and posted the personal information of officers there. Earlier this week, the same group released what they said was the personal information of some State Department personnel. 

According to Alkhouri the information was posted to a channel accessible only to certain ISIS supporters. It was posted only for a short time, then taken down. He said it is likely the pro-ISIS group posts this way because releasing it more publicly would make them easier for law enforcement to track. And the group knows the information will get out to the public anyway, he said.

What those guys are really trying to do is gain a lot of notoriety by saying we hacked American servers,” he told NBC's I-Team. That may be true but things will change dramatically if one of the named people is actually assaulted or killed.

Alkhouri added that "these guys are trying to advance their capability, they’re trying to advance their skill set, and they’re trying to zoom in on more critical targets," he said. Ken Maxwell, who once headed the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, says law enforcement has to take these kinds of threats seriously, but residents should go about their lives.

That’s something Art says he plans to do. "I’m not going to change my life, I’m not going to let this get me down," he said. "I’m not going to even do what they’re saying be cautious in the street, because it’s nonsense, it's nonsense."

For the sake of some 3,600 New Yorkers, we hope Art is right.