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 31 
 on: Today at 05:11 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Canadian man charged with criminal negligence after python kills boys

Connor Barthe, 6, and brother Noah, 4, asphyxiated by snake
Jean-Claude Savoie, 38, owns exotic pet store below his apartment

Associated Press in Campbellton
Tuesday 31 March 2015 19.01 BST Last modified on Tuesday 31 March 2015 19.34 BST

Canadian police have charged a man in the death of two young brothers who were asphyxiated by a python at his home.

Jean-Claude Savoie was charged with criminal negligence causing death, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced on Tuesday. The charge carries a possible life sentence.

Connor Barthe, six, and his four-year-old brother Noah were found dead on 5 August 2013 in Savoie’s apartment in Campbellton, New Brunswick.

Police say the 45kg (100lb) African rock python snake escaped a glass tank through a vent and slithered through a ventilation pipe. Its weight caused the pipe to collapse, and it fell into the living room where the boys were sleeping. Autopsies concluded that the boys died from asphyxiation.

Savoie, 38, owns an exotic pet store beneath his apartment. Following the deaths of the two brothers, wildlife officers removed animals from the store. Twenty-three reptiles that are banned in the province without a permit were seized and four alligators were euthanised.

African rock pythons have been banned in New Brunswick to all but accredited zoos since 1992. Those zoos must obtain a permit to keep the animals.

 32 
 on: Today at 05:08 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Porpoises use ‘sound searchlight’ to track down prey

March 31, 2015
Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – @BednarChuck

When hunting, porpoises have the ability to switch their echolocation beam from a wide field to a narrow one and vice versa, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark reported in a study published earlier this month in the journal eLife.

According to BBC News, the research reveals how the aquatic mammals (as well as their cousins the whale and the dolphin) send out a series of clicking and buzzing noises, then honing in on the echoes given off by their would-be prey. Essentially, they can fine-tune their sound beams like a flashlight to trap a fish and prevent it from escaping, the UK media outlet added.

“Toothed whales use sonar to detect, locate, and track prey,” the study authors wrote. “They adjust emitted sound intensity, auditory sensitivity and click rate to target range, and terminate prey pursuits with high-repetition-rate, low-intensity buzzes.”

“However, their narrow acoustic field of view (FOV) is considered stable throughout target approach, which could facilitate prey escape at close-range,” they added. “Here we show that, like some bats, harbor porpoises can broaden their biosonar beam during the terminal phase of attack but, unlike bats, maintain the ability to change beamwidth within this phase.”

They studied video, MRI, and acoustic-tag recordings and found that the flexibility of this sonar beam is modulated to accommodate changing spatial relationships with their prey, as well as the acoustic complexity of their surroundings. While whales and bats generate and transmit sounds using different techniques, researchers explained that both creatures can adaptively change their FOV, indicating that this trait played an important role in the evolution of echolocation.

Danuta Wisniewska of Aarhus University told BBC News that she and her colleagues hope that uncovering these acoustic secrets could help them develop a way of keeping porpoises and other types of toothed whales from becoming trapped in fishing nets.

The research was conducted using harbor porpoises in a semi-natural enclosure at a conservation research facility in Denmark. At the center, the creatures still had access to the seafloor, and the only thing separating them from a nearby harbor is a net. Fish were able to enter the area so that the porpoises could continue to hunt while the scientists monitored their activity.

The creatures were outfitted with sound-detecting tags and an array of microphones was place to detect sound elsewhere in the enclosure, the website explained. Wisniewska and her co-authors conducted a series of experiments to determine where the sound energy was being directed. One of the experiments involved adding fish into the water to entice the porpoises to hunt.

They found that the porpoises switched from a exploratory clicking type of echolocation to a more intense, focused and high-frequency buzz to obtain a continuous echo from their would-be prey. The beam, which is produced by a fatty structure in the head known as the melon, could be broadened or narrowed by as much as 50 percent, the researchers reported.

“If you were trying to find your car in a car park, you could use a narrow beam over a long distance and still see a lot. But when you’re trying to get your keys into the car, you would switch to a wider beam,” Wisniewska told the BBC. “This is similar to what we see in porpoises.”

“My research suggests that they really attend to their target, so we could be seeing a sort of attention blindness,” she added, explaining that the creatures could be focusing so intently on their prey that they ignore their surroundings, thus wandering into a fishing net.

 33 
 on: Mar 31, 2015, 01:18 PM 
Started by Daniel - Last post by Daniel
Rad,
I have been wondering/considering the relationship of the 7th house to the manifestation of not just relationships, but to life circumstances as well as. The Descendant is the gateway threshold to the 2 upper quadrants that are the expression of our outer world. Venus as ruler of the 7th house also represents the magnetic frequency, relative to our values and priorities, that we unconsciously project outward, and that is the determinant of what experiences we will necessarily attract through circumstance, and by what we call “fate”. Carl Jung said "What is not brought to consciousness, comes to us as fate." Do we objectify ourselves through outer circumstances as well as relationships? Does this dynamic of the nature of experience operate also through and relative to the 7th house archetype?

Prayers for peace,
Daniel

 34 
 on: Mar 31, 2015, 09:47 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria from Texas cattle are airborne, spread through dust: study

BY Victoria Taylor
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, March 30, 2015, 5:50 PM

Superbugs may be blowing in the wind.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria from cattle yards are airborne and can be spread to humans on dust particles, a new study revealed.

This means dangerous microbes that don't respond to drugs — and transfer antibiotic resistance to other bacteria — could potentially travel from Texas ranches to populated areas.

"We don't know where it is blowing," said co-author Phil Smith, a professor of environmental toxicology at Texas Tech University. "We can't control the wind."

Many cattle yards are located in dry and dusty areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas and eastern Colorado.

Ranchers and farmers use antibiotics to treat sick animals or make livestock grow faster. The drugs will kill most of the intended bacteria, but the microbes that aren't affected will thrive and multiply. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria end up in cow dung that becomes dry and brittle. When the wind kicks in, the germs get swept away in a cloud of dirt.

The Texas Tech team collected dust downwind from 10 commercial cattle farms in the Lone Star State. Researchers found that samples were loaded with antibiotic-resistant DNA sequences — meaning dust is now “a viable mechanism of transport," Smith explained.

Deadly superbug outbreaks, including the one at UCLA earlier this year, are often linked to tainted medical scopes. Drug-resistant bacteria also travel from person to person through direct or indirect contact.

Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in the U.S. At least 23,000 Americans die every year from infections caused by these superbacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The White House recently announced a sweeping plan to fight the threat of dangerous superbugs. The initiative also calls on farmers to limit antibiotic use on animals being raised for food.

 35 
 on: Mar 31, 2015, 07:56 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Orca baby boom continues with discovery of fourth calf

Originally published March 30, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Whale-watching crews spotted a new baby orca in the Salish Sea on Monday, marking the fourth documented southern-resident killer-whale birth in three months.

By Paige Cornwell
Seattle Times staff reporter

Whale-watching crews spotted a new baby orca in the Salish Sea on Monday, marking the fourth documented southern-resident killer-whale birth in three months.

The calf was spotted among the J-pod near Galiano Island, B.C., about noon, according to the Pacific Whale Watch Association.

Researchers spotted the calf while watching the subgroup known as the J16s with its 3-month-old calf, known as J50, according to the association, which represents 29 whale-watch operators in Washington and British Columbia.

“We were assuming we had only the J16s,” naturalist and researcher Jeanne Hyde said in a news release. “And as they passed in front of the boat, I saw a small calf surfacing next to J16 and said ‘there’s the baby.’ But then J50 surfaced behind all the rest.”
 
The calf has heavy fetal folds, indicating that he or she is a newborn.

The birth brings the endangered killer-whale population to 81. A female calf in the J-pod was spotted in late December and a second calf was spotted in early February.

The third calf, in the L-pod, was observed a few weeks later.

Monday’s sighting hasn’t yet been confirmed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 36 
 on: Mar 31, 2015, 07:28 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Court Charges Nemtsov Suspects with Contract Killing

by Naharnet Newsdesk 31 March 2015, 16:01

All five suspects being held over the brazen murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov have been charged with taking part in a contract killing, a Moscow court said Tuesday.

Moscow city court said in a statement that the accused -- all from Russia's volatile North Caucasus region -- had been charged with murder carried out for financial gain.

Former deputy prime minister Nemtsov was shot dead in front of the Kremlin in central Moscow on February 27 in the highest profile slaying of a political critic in the fifteen years that President Vladimir Putin has been in charge.

Five men, including prime suspect Zaur Dadayev -- a former high ranking Chechen police officer -- were detained a week after the murder.

Dadayev at first confessed to the killing but later retracted his statement, with rights activists saying he was likely tortured into admitting his guilt.

Close allies of Nemtsov have dismissed official hypotheses that the opposition politician's death could be linked to his support for the publication of cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in French weekly Charlie Hebdo, given that all the suspects are Muslim.

Russia's opposition has accused the Kremlin of being behind the assassination, which occurred in a heavily policed area as Nemtsov was working on a report about the involvement of Russian troops in the Ukraine conflict.

The Kommersant daily on Monday quoted an anonymous source as saying that investigators had identified the person who supplied the gun and car to the suspects and promised to pay them around 80,000 euros each for the hit.

Source: Agence France Presse

 37 
 on: Mar 31, 2015, 07:18 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
USA

Indiana Republicans to amend 'religious freedom' law in face of backlash

State legislators say law is not anti-gay and blame the reaction on a ‘mischaracterisation’. ‘What we had hoped for was a message of inclusion’

Amanda Holpuch in Indianapolis
Monday 30 March 2015 18.04 BST Last modified on Tuesday 31 March 2015 00.13 BST
Guardian    

Indiana’s Republican legislative leaders said on Monday they were working on adding language to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to make it clear that it does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The move comes amid widespread outcry over the measure that prohibits state laws that “substantially burden” a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of “person” includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Brian Bosma, the speaker of the Indiana house of representatives, and David Long, the state senate president pro tem, said in a press conference that similar laws existed across the country and had not generated the backlash that Indiana’s had seen.

Bosma blamed the reaction on a “mischaracterization” of the law by both opponents and some supporters.

“What we had hoped for with the bill was a message of inclusion, inclusion of all religious beliefs,” Bosma said. “What instead has come out as a message of exclusion, and that was not the intent.”

In the days since Governor Mike Pence signed the RFRA, reaction has been swift and fierce.

The law is meant to protect citizens’ religious freedoms, and supporters such as Bosma and Long point out that Indiana is the 20th state to adopt its own version of RFRA, which Bill Clinton signed into federal law in 1993 when he was president.

The next day, the social media campaign #BoycottIndiana took over Twitter, and on Saturday hundreds gathered at the statehouse in Indianapolis to rally against the bill.

By Monday night, protesters were gathering again, this time in front of the Indianapolis City-County building. Protesters recited the pledge of allegiance, shouting the “for all” at the end of the oath.

    — Charlie De Mar (@CharlieDeMar) March 30, 2015

    The pledge is recited. The last two words "for all" screamed by crowd pic.twitter.com/N7X4QQTCfu

Local businesses across the state capital have posted signs bearing the message that Indiana citizens, known as Hoosiers, will “not serve hate”.

The band Wilco canceled a performance in Indiana in protest to the law, and major Indiana-based businesses such as Angie’s List have put expansion plans on hold and other companies, like Salesforce.com, have stopped sending employees there for business.

“This is not just a gay issue, this is a Hoosier issue,” said city councilman Zach Adamson, the first openly gay elected councilman in Indianapolis. “We are, as a people, incensed about it.”

In October 2014, a surprise decision by the US supreme court made same-sex marriage legal in Indiana. Adamson, and many others, believe that the state’s RFRA was enacted in retaliation to this change.

“What was the impetus for creating this? What happened that all of a sudden you had to do this here?” said Adamson. “The answer is nothing – they lost the marriage battle and they are very upset.”

That “they” includes Pence, who has said he would support legislation to clarify the RFRA law, Senate Bill 101, but is adamant that it remains in place and that it is not state-sanctioned discrimination. He has also said that making LGBT citizens a protected class is “not on his agenda”.

Pence, long admired by billionaire conservative donors Koch Brothers, was seen as a dark horse Republican presidential candidate for the 2016 election, though this recent public relations disaster has in effect guaranteed he will not be on the ballot.

************

Indianapolis Mayor Puts RFRA on Ignore, Conventions Reassess Indiana

By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
PoliticusUSA
Tuesday, March, 31st, 2015, 7:54 am      

We have seen individuals, we have seen companies and we have seen cities, and now entire states, denounce Indiana’s embrace of religious tyranny.

And not only did Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard denounce the bill, but Monday, he called upon the Indiana General Assembly to either repeal it or add the necessary protections to it.

As a trump, he signed an executive order – a Declaration of Non-Discrimination – which IGNORES the RFRA:

    1. The City hereby affirms its policy that no vendor, contractor, grant recipient, or anyone receiving public funds or benefits of any kind shall discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, or United States military service veteran status, and any breach of this policy shall continue to be considered a mutual breach of the relationship with the city.

    2. The City hereby requests the Indiana General Assembly and the Governor to expressly add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in state law.

    3. The City hereby requests the Indiana General Assembly and the Governor to expressly exempt the City’s ordinances, resolutions, executive or administrative orders, regulations, customs, and usages from RFRA’s application.

So you may put your “No gays” sign up, but if you do, you give up doing business with the City of Indianapolis and its Republican mayor.

All these groups, individuals and cities are now joined by unions.

The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which has 1.6 million members, is pulling its 2015 Women’s Conference out of Indianapolis in response to Indiana’s codifying of religious tyranny into law. In October, 900 women planned to meet in Indianapolis. They will meet somewhere else now, and take their money with them.

In a release published on their blog yesterday, AFSCME states:

    This past week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law a bill that legalizes discrimination, allowing businesses to refuse service to customers simply because they are gay or lesbian. Further, since Governor Pence claims disingenuously that it is about religious freedom, his law protects any business owner who refuses to hire someone of a different religion from their own.

    This un-American law sets Indiana and our nation back decades in the struggle for civil rights. It is an embarrassment and cannot be tolerated. As such, AFSCME will move our 2015 Women’s Conference in October from Indianapolis to another state. Additional details about the conference’s new location and any necessary date change will be announced as they become available.

The punches keep coming, low and hard, as Indiana Governor Mike Pence staggers from the repeated blows. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act looks more and more like a mistake. Pence admits it may need some “clarification” while it’s architects smile with glee as the law does precisely what it was intended to do: permit “No Gays” signs all over Indiana.

It cannot be tolerated. And AFSCME, if Governor Pence does not, gets this:

    Throughout our proud history, our union has stood up whenever injustice has occurred – be it for striking sanitation workers in Memphis in 1968, or for the victims of apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. Governor Pence’s law, motivated by ultra-right-wing zealots, is an affront to the vast majority of those in our nation who believe that every American deserves equal treatment under the law, no matter whom they love or where they worship.

    AFSCME is pulling our Women’s Conference out of Indiana this fall as a sign of our disgust and disappointment with Governor Pence’s discriminatory law. We stand with the ever-growing number of corporations and associations who are taking similar action this week, and demanding fairness for all in the state of Indiana.

Levi Strauss and The Gap yesterday joined the list of corporations denouncing the RFRA, saying in a statement,

    As Indiana, Arkansas, and states around the country enact and consider legislation that perpetuates discrimination, we’re urging State Legislatures to stand up for equality by repealing and voting against these discriminatory laws.

    These new laws and legislation, that allow people and businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation, turn back the clock on equality and foster a culture of intolerance.

    Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped.

    At Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., we are proud to say we are open to business for everyone.

It is difficult to imagine that the RFRA being revised or watered down. Its supporters don’t even want it “clarified” after all. But until Indiana does something to reverse the course they have taken, the hits will keep coming.

After all, no more are Levi Strauss and The Gap the only companies denouncing RFRA, AFSCME is not the only organization re-evaluating Indiana as a convention site.

There are literally dozens of others.

The question now is, have Indiana bigots done more to rock their own cause back on its heels than any liberal or progressive group could have ever imagined?

**********

Indiana Lawmakers Admit “No Gays” Signs Will be Allowed

By: Adalia Woodbury
PoliticusUSA
Monday, March, 30th, 2015, 6:16 pm   

Americans, businesses and cities condemned Indiana’s RFRA ever since Governor Mike Pence signed it in to law.  Pence tried to claim his critics didn’t understand the law, but that blew up in his face when, during a press conference, the House Speaker and the Senate Pro Tem admitted that No Gay signs would be allowed in Indiana.

On Sunday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence tried to stem the backlash against the RFRA a law its critics say legalizes discrimination.  Pence’s attempt to spin his way out of a nationwide backlash was an epic fail.  After doubling down in defense of the bill, Pence repeatedly dodged when asked if the bill allows discrimination against the LGBT community.  He trotted out bizarre theories about internet conspiracies and claimed that critics just don’t understand the bill. And besides, it really is just a law that several other states adopted which is based on the Federal RFRA.

Pence was busted when Indiana’s Senate Pro Tem and the Speaker of the House held a joint news conference admitting that “No Gays allowed” signs would be permitted in areas within Indiana.

If only Pence or someone on his staff took a trip outside right wing world.  He would have known the cat was out of the bag back in January. As reported by Think Progress at the time,

    But while RFRAs advanced in previous years were designed to prohibit the government from burdening the religious beliefs of citizens, Indiana’s bill would allow individuals to use their religious beliefs to defend themselves in court even if the state is not party to the case. Thus, this would allow a business owner to use their religious beliefs to justify refusing services for a same-sex couple’s wedding. As a state law, this would supersede any municipal nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people.

During a joint press conference, Brian Bosma, Speaker of the House and the Senate’s Pro Tem David Long acknowledged that homophobic shop keepers will be allowed to display “No Gays allowed” signs.

Here’s the exchange between the lawmakers and a reporter, as reported by Raw Story.

    “You guys have said repeatedly that we shouldn’t be able to discriminate against anyone, but if you just ignore the existence of this law, can’t we already do that now? Can’t so-and-so in Richmond put a sign up and say ‘No Gays Allowed?'” she asked. “That’s not against the law, correct?”

    “It would depend,” Bosma replied. “If you were in a community that had a human rights ordinance that wouldn’t be the case.”

    “But most of the state does not have that, correct?” the reporter pressed.

    “That’s correct,” Bosma admitted.

Since Pence signed the law, the backlash was swift. #BoycottIndiana trended on Twitter for several days. Celebrities spoke out.  Angie’s List was one of several businesses that registered their opposition to the law with their big corporate dollars.  Then the cities of San Francisco and Seattle announced they would boycott the Hoosier state.  Connecticut was the first state to announce it would boycott Indiana.

Contrary to Pence’s protests that critics just didn’t understand the law, it is now abundantly clear that Pence’s attempt at damage control was the epic fail of epic fails.

Pence and fellow Republicans are trying to walk back the damage with a “clarification” law, but it’s a little late now that the State’s House Speaker has encouraged homophobic shop owners to let Gays know their business is not wanted.

Just like those wonderful religious freedom days when signs like “No Blacks and Jews” or my personal favorite, “No Jews and dogs”, Indiana this was always about hiding behind religion to justify hatred of identifiable groups of people.

Meanwhile, governor, Asa Hutchison is contemplating if he wants to follow the disastrous path of Mike Pence.

Americans see through the ruse that these laws are really just a repeat of the Federal RFRA. For one thing, the Indiana version allows for-profit businesses to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.”  The Federal RFRA passed into law before the Roberts Court asserted that corporations have first civil rights, first in Citizens United and last year in Hobby Lobby ruling.

************

Editorial: Gov. Pence, fix 'religious freedom' law now

12:12 a.m. EDT March 31, 2015
Indianapolis Star

We are at a critical moment in Indiana's history.

And much is at stake.

Our image. Our reputation as a state that embraces people of diverse backgrounds and makes them feel welcome. And our efforts over many years to retool our economy, to attract talented workers and thriving businesses, and to improve the quality of life for millions of Hoosiers.

All of this is at risk because of a new law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that no matter its original intent already has done enormous harm to our state and potentially our economic future.

The consequences will only get worse if our state leaders delay in fixing the deep mess created.

Half steps will not be enough. Half steps will not undo the damage.

Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage.

Gov. Mike Pence and the General Assembly need to enact a state law to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Those protections and RFRA can co-exist. They do elsewhere.

Laws protecting sexual orientation and gender identity are not foreign to Indiana.

Indianapolis, for example, has had those legal protections in place for nearly a decade. Indy's law applies to businesses with more than six employees, and exempts religious organizations and non-profit groups.

The city's human rights ordinance provides strong legal protection — and peace of mind —for LGBT citizens; yet, it has not placed an undue burden on businesses.

Importantly, passage of a state human rights law would send a clear message that Indiana will not tolerate discrimination. It's crucial for that message to be communicated widely.

On a practical level, by basing the state law on a 10-year-old ordinance, the General Assembly could move quickly to adopt the measure without fear of unintended consequences. If lawmakers can't act in the next month, the governor should call a special session immediately after the regular session ends in April to take up human rights legislation.

Why not simply repeal RFRA? First, it appears to be politically unacceptable for the governor and many Republican lawmakers.

Second, there are Hoosiers who support RFRA out of a genuine desire to protect religious freedom. To safeguard that essential freedom, 19 states and the federal government have adopted RFRA laws, largely without controversy. But states like Illinois not only protect religious freedom through RFRA but also provide gay and lesbian residents with protected legal status.

Third, repeal might get rid of the heat but it would not do what is most important – to move the state forward.

We urge Gov. Pence and lawmakers to stop clinging to arguments about whether RFRA really does what critics fear; to stop clinging to ideology or personal preferences; to focus instead on fixing this.

Governor, Indiana is in a state of crisis. It is worse than you seem to understand.

You must act with courage and wisdom. You must lead us forward now. You must ensure that all Hoosiers have strong protections against discrimination.

The laws can co-exist. And so can we.

 38 
 on: Mar 31, 2015, 07:05 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Antarctica may have just recorded its hottest temperatures ever

March 30, 2015
Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – @BednarChuck

The coldest continent on Earth may have just set an all-time record for its hottest day ever, as an Argentinean-operated reportedly recorded temperatures of 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius) on March 24, according to various media outlets.

The temperature reported last Tuesday at Base Esperanza came one day after Base Marambia, a second Argentinean facility located roughly 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Esperanza, reported a reading of 63.3 degrees Fahrenheit (17.4 degrees Celsius), Weather Underground said. Both figures surpass any previously record temperature at their respective locations.

Esperanza’s previous record high of 62.7 degrees Fahrenheit (17.1 degrees Celsius) was recorded back on April 24, 1961, while the previous record high at Marambia was 61.7 degrees Fahrenheit (16.5 degrees Celsium) was on December 7, 1992, the website added.

Indian summer?

If the reports are investigated and verified by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), it would become the highest temperature on record for the entire continent of Antarctica, according to Mashable. The previous record high of 59 degree Fahrenheit (15 degree Celsius) was recorded at Vanda Station, a now-automated facility located near 77 degrees south latitude, in 1974.

“Despite the fact that the temperature record from Vanda appears on the list of world weather extremes maintained by the WMO, the WMO has not yet investigated all-time weather records for Antarctica,” Weather Underground said.

“One surprising aspect of the temperatures measured recently at Esperanza and Marambio are that they occurred in autumn, nearly three months past the usual warmest time of the year in the Antarctic Peninsula,” the website added. December is typically the warmest month in Esperanza.

The average high temperatures in March there are typically just 31.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-0.4 degrees Celsius), meaning that the records were over 30 degrees Fahrenheit (17 degrees Celsius) above average.

We’ll have to wait for verification

To verify the records, the WMO will need to make sure that the equipment was functioning properly when the temperatures were recorded. That process could take several months, but it could be complicated by the very definition of what Antarctica really is.

If the WMO opts to use only observations south of the Antarctic Circle for temperature records in the region, it would exclude the Esperanza reading, even though it is connected to areas that are south of the circle. If they used the landmass of Antarctica, though, the temperatures recorded at Esperanza would likely stand up as the warmest ever recorded, Mashable said.

Weather Underground said that the records “were made possible by an unusually extreme jet stream contortion that brought a strong ridge of high pressure over the Antarctic Peninsula, allowing warm air from South America to push southwards over Antarctica. At the surface, west to east blowing winds over the Antarctic Peninsula rose up over the 1,000-foot high mountains just to the west of Esperanza Base, then descended and warmed via adiabatic compression.”

Thus far, five countries and territories have tied or hit all-time high temperature records so far this year, according to CNBC. The website also states that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on Earth.

 39 
 on: Mar 31, 2015, 07:03 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Bizarre bulge discovered on Ganymede

March 30, 2015
Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – @BednarChuck

A bizarre bulge approximately half as tall as Mount Kilimanjaro has been found on Ganymede, the largest moon in the solar system, and the unusual feature may have something to do with the subsurface ocean recently discovered on the Jovian satellite, according to reports.

The bulge is approximately 375 miles wide and nearly two miles tall, io9 said on Friday, and its cause and purpose currently have astronomers puzzled. Paul Schenk, a planetary scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, said he came across the feature by accident.

Woah, Ganymede. Do you have a thick crust or are you just happy to see us?

Schenk, who reported his findings at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference on March 20, explained to National Geographic that he was attempting to complete the global mapping of the moon’s surface when he spotted the lump, which appears to be made out of thick ice.

The feature suggests that at one time, Ganymede’s icy shell rotated atop the rest of the moon. Schenk believes that the bulge began growing at one of the poles, and then moved into a different position once its mass grew large enough. The shell slid atop the ocean, while the interior of the moon stayed in the same orientation, causing it to wind up at the equator.

“The only place you can get a large mass like that – that’s not related to geology that we know of – is at the cold poles,” he explained. Since the poles are “permanently cold,” it would result in a “significant amount of thickening of the ice shell,” the planetary scientist added.

The phenomenon is known as true polar wander and is comparable to the Earth’s Arctic region moving to the Equator while everything beneath the crust stayed in place, Nat Geo said. It can only occur when a fluid body such as a global ocean separates the rind of a moon from its inner parts, or else the crust would be unable to slide atop the rest of the moon.

If the bulge formed at one of Ganymede’s poles, and if polar wander explains why it is currently located at the moon’s equator, scientists expect that there will be a similar feature opposite this one. Schenk said that they hope to confirm that when the next spacecraft arrives at the moon, but he and his colleagues remain uncertain exactly why the bulge still exists at all.

Okay…but what is it?

“Any ideas about how you support a three-kilometer-high [two-mile] ice bulge, hundreds of kilometers wide, over the long term on Ganymede are welcome,” Bill McKinnon of Washington University in St. Louis, who worked with Schenk on the observations, told Nat Geo. “We’ve never seen anything like it before; we don’t know what it is.”

Schenk and McKinnon first spotted the bulge in images taken by the Galileo spacecraft while searching for a different type of feature – “crop circles,” or deep, concentric grooves in icy shells that are created by the strain of the shell rotating. Crop circles found on Europa suggests that that moon also experienced true polar wander occurred there, and that just like on Ganymede, the poles of the moon are approximately 90 degrees offset from their original location.

Both Jovian moons have subsurface global oceans, which Nat Geo explains is a prerequisite for a wandering icy shell. If Ganymede’s crust actually did move, Robert Pappalardo of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said that it could help explain what has controlled the orientations of all of the moon’s grooves.

“If they all shifted and flipped over by 90 degrees, then we’ve been looking at the wrong orientation to try to understand what formed the grooves. So that’s exciting,” he said. The discovery comes just a few weeks after researchers confirmed the presence of buried ocean on Ganymede by studying auroras on the moon.

 40 
 on: Mar 31, 2015, 07:01 AM 
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Mexican police officer accused of gunning down crocodile — a protected species

A YouTube video clip shows a blue-uniformed man standing beside a water-treatment pond, waiting for the crocodile to appear

AP in Mexico City
Monday 30 March 2015 23.32 BST   

A Mexican policemen is under investigation for killing a crocodile with extended bursts of automatic fire from an assault rifle in the northern state of Sinaloa.

The officer has been placed on leave while he faces investigation in the case. The office of the attorney general for environmental protection said over the weekend that the municipal policeman faces federal charges, because crocodiles are a protected species in Mexico.

The criminal complaint is based on a video clip posted on YouTube. It shows a blue-uniformed man standing beside a water-treatment pond, waiting for the crocodile to appear.

Once the crocodile has been baited in, the policeman opens up with automatic weapons fire, riddling the croc with multiple bursts of bullets. People in civil defense T-shirts appear to cheer the killing.

The incident occurred in the city of Ahome, Sinaloa, near the coast of the Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortes.

The Ahome city government said in a press statement over the weekend that the civil defense official, Sergio Liera, has been placed on leave. Apparently, the presence of the crocodile in a water-treatment retaining pond was viewed as a danger.

“I do not fail to recognize the potential risk the animal represented, and so the decision (to kill it) should be analyzed in view of the danger, and the need to protect the public,” Ahome Mayor Arturo Duarte Garcia said.

But Duarte Garcia acknowledged that “the excess of violence in this case in regrettable.”

Click to watch: caution..extreme violence............ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn3NxtktPVY#t=136

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