Monday, March 11, 2013

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria - New Wave Of 'Superbugs' Poses Dire Threat, Says England's Chief Medical Officer; The CDC Warns Of SARS-Related Virus From Middle East; And Says Frogs With Salmonella Could Still Be In Homes!

March 11, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - Antibiotic-resistant bacteria with the potential to cause untreatable infections pose "a catastrophic threat" to the population, England's chief medical officer warns in a report calling for urgent action worldwide.  If tough measures are not taken to restrict the use of antibiotics and no new ones are discovered, said Dame Sally Davies, "we will find ourselves in a health system not dissimilar to the early 19th century at some point".  While antibiotics are failing, new bacterial diseases are on the rise. Although the "superbugs" MRSA and C difficile have been reduced to low numbers in hospitals, there has been an alarming increase in other types of bacteria including new strains of E coli and Klebsiella, which causes pneumonia.  These so-called "gram negative" bacteria, which are found in the gut instead of on the skin, are highly dangerous to older and frailer people and few antibiotics remain effective against drug-resistant strains. 

This undated image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS. A new coronavirus has been tied to 14 illnesses with eight deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
As many as 5,000 patients die each year in the UK of gram negative sepsis – where the bacterium gets into the bloodstream – and in half the cases the bacterium is resistant to drugs.  "Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat," said Davies. "If we don't act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can't be treated by antibiotics. And routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection.  "That's why governments and organisations across the world, including the World Health Organisation and G8, need to take this seriously."  There has been an 85% reduction in MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which has meant that many large, acute hospitals have no more than two or three cases a year. But there are now 50 to 100 cases of gram-negative bacteria infection for every MRSA case, according to Professor Mike Sharland of St George's hospital in London, an adviser to the Department of Health on the use of antimicrobials (antibiotics and antivirals) in children.  "This is your own gut bugs turning on you. Between 10% and 20% are resistant to drugs. We do not yet know why they are on the rise, although some hospital procedures, such as the use of catheters, may be implicated. Many are in the very young or older population," he said. "

Amoxicillin, the commonest antibiotic prescribed by GPs.
There is a lot of work going on through Public Health England and the Department of Health to try to work out why it has suddenly risen." In the second volume of her annual report, Davies calls for politicians to treat the threat of the new bugs and the failing antibiotics as seriously as they did MRSA. She wants action across government departments – involving the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in particular – because of the use of antibiotics in farming.  She is asking for the threat to be added to the government's strategic risk register, which will make it easier to raise as an issue abroad. Drug resistance is a global problem as the resistant strains of bacteria travel the world.  Multi drug-resistant TB and even some cases of extremely drug-resistant TB (only treatable with difficulty and with last-line antibiotics) have come to Britain.  Antibiotics fail because bacteria develop resistance to the drugs over time. In the decades after the invention of penicillin it did not seem to be a problem because drug companies developed new versions. But no new classes of drugs have been discovered since 1987 and the pipeline has now dried up.  Davies wants to find ways to give the pharmaceutical industry incentives to invest in finding new antibiotics. Most companies have given up because the search has become hard and, because resistance always develops, their lifespan is not long, so there is not much profit to be made.  The sort of incentives that could be offered have not yet been decided, but Davies praised the Innovative Medicines Initiative in Europe, a new public/private partnership. Other recommendations in the report include more education for medical students and qualified staff on the use of antibiotics and encouragement for women to be vaccinated where appropriate in pregnancy, for instance to protect their baby against whooping cough.

The Department of Health said it would shortly publish a five-year action plan to tackle the issues of antibiotic resistance raised in the report, which will include measures to ensure the drugs are prescribed only when they are needed.  Experts warmly welcomed the report. But Richard James, former director of the centre for healthcare associated infections at the University of Nottingham, pointed out that the UK could not solve the problem on its own and global action in countries where antibiotics are over-used, wrongly used and can sometimes – even in southern Europe – be bought over the counter, was vital.  "Anyone reading the report will realise that there are no magic bullets," he said. "The majority of the 17 recommendations relate to actions in the UK alone but there is acknowledgment of the requirement for the UK government to campaign for this issue to be given higher priority internationally."  He suggested exploring the use of a tax on antibiotic use and also measures to encourage the developments of alternatives by small biotechnology companies and universities, such as vaccines.  Laura Piddock, professor of microbiology and deputy director of the institute of microbiology and infection at the University of Birmingham and director of Antibiotic Action, said she was glad Davies was drawing political attention to the antibiotic discovery void.  "However, there are an increasing number of infections for which there are virtually no therapeutic options, and we desperately need new discovery, research and development; the UK is extremely well-placed to do basic discovery and research for new antibacterial molecules," she said.  The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) said Davies was right to raise concern. "Antimicrobial resistance is a serious and growing problem," said chief executive Stephen Whitehead, noting the Innovative Medicines Initiative in Europe. "There are, however, pharmaceutical companies actively involved in researching and developing new antimicrobial medicines.  "But more still needs to be done and we believe that for there to be a continual supply of effective antibiotics, a comprehensive review of the R&D [research and development] environment and good stewardship are required urgently." - Guardian.

WATCH: New wave of 'superbugs' poses dire threat, says chief medical officer.

CDC Warns Of SARS-Related Virus From Middle East.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new warning to state and local health officials about a virus that is related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and appeared for the first time in September 2012.  The virus is a coronavirus, which is the same family of virus as the common cold and SARS. Asia dealt with a SARS outbreak in 2003. The new virus sprang up last year in the Middle East, but has since been seen in Great Britain. The CDC said a worldwide total of 14 cases have been documented since April 2012 with eight of those cases leading to death.

No cases have been reported in the United States thus far. But, the CDC said the virus has clear evidence of human-to-human transmission. According to the CDC, people traveling to the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries would have the highest risk of possible transmission. Of the three cases seen in Great Britain, one came from a 60-year-old man who had traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The man developed severe lower respiratory tract disease and tested positive for influenza A and novel coronavirus infection. The second patient lived in the same and had an underlying medical condition which could have made him more susceptible to illness. The third patient also had direct contact with the oldest patient, but did not require hospitalization due to the coronavirus. - CBS Miami.

CDC Says Frogs With Salmonella Could Still Be In Homes.
File photo of frogs. (credit: ROMEO
GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)
They live underwater, eat bloodworms, and are promoted on pet websites. But African dwarf frogs can carry salmonella.  An outbreak tied to the frogs sickened nearly 400 people, mostly children, from 2008 to 2011. 

Since these miniature amphibians can live up to 18 years, some linked to the outbreak may remain in U.S. home aquariums. That’s according to government researchers in a Monday report from the journal Pediatrics.  Five outbreak-linked cases also occurred last year. No one died. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises washing hands after touching the frogs’ aquarium water and says young children should not clean aquariums. 

The California breeder linked to the outbreak briefly suspended distribution and cooperated with authorities. - CBS Atlanta.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: More Sinkholes Keep Popping Up In America - Massive Sinkhole Forces Pennsylvania Family To Evacuate In Bethlehem Township!

March 11, 2013 - UNITED STATES - It seemed like any other Sunday for Doris Jenkins. The Bethlehem Township resident got up bright and early to walk her dog. As soon as she stepped out of the house however, she immediately saw something that would change the lives of her and her family forever.  "I came around the corner and said, 'oh my God!'" said Jenkins. "My daughter's car was there. I woke her up and told her to get the car out of there!" 

A large sinkhole opened up in the backyard of a home at 1502 2nd St. in Bethlehem Township, Pa., forcing the evacuation of the home and the closing of Wilson Avenue between Second and Third streets. Express-Times Photo | MATT SMITH
A sinkhole had opened up right in the driveway of her house, located on the 1500 block of 2nd Street. Doris, her daughter Inga Jenkins and her granddaughter Claudia Jenkins were forced to evacuate their house.  "I wasn't thinking that this was how I was going to be spend my Sunday afternoon," said Inga while in tears. "It's pretty upsetting to see your driveway start to fall into a hole."  Bethlehem Township Assistant Fire Chief Ron Ford told NBC10's Claudia Rivero that crews have been in the neighborhood all week repairing a break in the sewer line. At this point, Chief Ford says it's unclear whether that work caused the sinkhole.

"We won't be sure how much damage it caused until we get the hole dug out and see where we are with the damage," said Chief Ford.  The Jenkins' home has cracks in the foundation and possible damage to the roof. Too dangerous for the family to live there, the home is the only one in the neighborhood that has been evacuated so far.  "We have to evacuate because of the fumes," said Claudia Jenkins.  "My daughter and I are going to a hotel for two weeks," said Inga. "We'll see what happens."  No other homes have been affected at this time, according to authorities.  There was another report of two small sinkholes that opened up earlier this week at 1470 2nd Street. NBC10 reported on several sinkholes in the Lehigh Valley area over the last year. Several dozen Allentown families were forced to find temporary housing after a sinkhole opened under their street. In 2011, 54 graves were threatened by approaching water from a sinkhole. - NBC Philadelphia.

WATCH: Sinkhole forces Pennsylvania family to evacuate.

Years ago, Doris Jenkins added to her Bethlehem Township home for her daughter and granddaughter to live with her.  At about 4 this morning, Jenkins feared the addition and her daughter’s car would both be swallowed into the Earth.  A hole opened behind 1502 Second St. Township police Sgt. Greg Gottschall estimated it's 25 to 30 feet wide and 10 to 12 feet deep.  That's about as wide as the sinkhole that two weeks ago swallowed much of a Hillsborough County, Fla., home and a man who was in it, although the Florida hole was 100 feet deep.  Jenkins said she was awakened by a loud bang and one of her three dogs scratching at the door. “I didn’t see anything at first because it was dark,” Jenkins said. “But when I went around the corner, I saw it caved in. I told my daughter (to) get the car off the driveway ... "  No one was hurt, but Jenkins and her family were ordered to leave their house.   Authorities couldn't immediately say whether the cave-in was linked to recent work on a township-owned sewer line.

Township Manager Howard Kutzler said the work was performed earlier this week on a force main sewer line at Second Street and Wilson Avenue that dates to the 1970s.  A second leak was suspected today, Kutzler said. He said crews forced a main shutdown and ran a sewage shuttle from the pump station to the manhole to repair the line.  “We have aging infrastructure and we’re looking to fix it,” he said.  Gottschall said earlier this week there had been smaller sinkholes at 1470 Second St. Kutzler also said there were other smaller sinkholes on Wilson Avenue in the vicinity where pipe work was being performed.  Bethlehem Township Fire Marshal Stephen Gallagher deemed the home uninhabitable.  Police, fire and rescue crews, a code enforcement officer and a water company responded, according to police. Kutzler said an engineer from GAI Engineers would assess the sinkhole.

The area was barricaded this afternoon and an “unauthorized entry” sign was posted on Jenkins’ front door as neighbors came to check out the hole.  Jenkins is staying with family while her daughter, Ingeborg, and granddaughter stay at a hotel. Kutzler said there would be no disruption in water and sewer service.  Sinkholes are common in the Lehigh Valley, where porous limestone underground is prone to give way, but the one in Bethlehem Township is larger than most. - Le High Valley Live.

MASS ANIMAL/FISH DIE-OFF IN ASIA: Over 2,800 Dead Pigs Found In The Huangpu River, Shanghai, China; Hundreds Of Chickens Killed Due To Avian Flu In Bihar, India; Large Fish Kill In Chang Feng Park In Shanghai; Thousands Of Chickens Are Dying Of Unknown Disease In Dumuria, Bangladesh; 60,000 Fish Found Dead In Ponds In China; 1,000 lbs Of Dead Fish Found In Kowloon Bay, China; Extreme Weather Kills 18,000 Pashmina Goats In Ladakh, India!

March 11, 2013 - ASIA - A surge in the dumping of dead pigs upstream from Shanghai -- with more than 2,800 carcasses floating into the financial hub through Monday -- has followed a police campaign to curb the illicit trade in sick pig parts.  The effort to keep infected pork off dinner tables may be fueling new health fears, as Shanghai residents and local media fret over the possibility of contamination to the city's water supply, though authorities say no contamination has been detected.  Authorities have been pulling out the swollen and rotting pigs, some with their internal organs visible, since Friday -- and revolting images of the carcasses in news reports and online blogs have raised public ire against local officials.  "Well, since there supposedly is no problem in drinking this water, please forward this message, if you agree, to ask Shanghai's party secretary, mayor and water authority leaders if they will be the first ones to drink this meat soup?" lawyer Gan Yuanchun said on his verified microblog. 

March 7, 2013 - Dead pigs are strewn along the riverbanks of Songjiang district in Shanghai, China. (AP). 

Over 2,800 Dead Pigs Found In The Huangpu River, Shanghai, China.
On Monday, Shanghai officials said the number of dumped adult and piglet carcasses retrieved had reached 2,813. The city government, citing monitoring authorities, said the drinking water quality has not been affected.  Shanghai's Agriculture Committee said authorities don't know what caused the pigs to die, but that they have detected a sometimes-fatal pig disease in at least one of the carcasses. The disease is associated with the porcine circovirus, which is widespread in pigs but doesn't affect humans or other livestock.  Shanghai's city government said initial investigations had found the dead pigs had come from Jiaxing city in neighboring Zhejiang province. It said it had not found any major epidemic.  Huang Beibei, a lifetime resident of Shanghai, was the first to expose the problem when he took photos of the carcasses and uploaded them onto his microblog on Thursday.  "This is the water we are drinking," Huang wrote. "What is the government doing to address this?"  His graphic photos apparently caught the attention of local reporters, who followed up. 

March 7, 2013 - Dead pigs are strewn along the riverbanks of Songjiang district in Shanghai, China. (AP). 

March 7, 2013 - Dead pigs are strewn along the riverbanks of Songjiang district in Shanghai, China. (AP). 
Huang said he's most concerned about water safety. "Though the government says the water is safe, at least I do not believe it -- given the number of the pigs in the river. These pigs have died from disease," Huang said.  The dumping follows a clampdown on the illegal trade in contaminated pork.  In China, pigs that have died from disease should be either incinerated or buried, but some unscrupulous farmers and animal control officials have sold problematic carcasses to slaughterhouses. The pork harvested from such carcasses has ended up in markets. As a food safety problem, it has drawn attention from China's Ministry of Public Security, which has made it a priority to crack down on gangs that purchase dead diseased pigs and process them for illegal profits.  Zhejiang police said on their official website that police have been campaigning to rid the market of unsafe pork meat and that the efforts were stepped up this winter as Chinese families gathered to celebrate the Lunar New Year in February.  In one operation last year, police in Jiaxing broke up a criminal gang that acquired and slaughtered diseased pigs. The provincial authorities said police arrested 12 suspects and confiscated nearly 12 tons of tainted pork meat.  "Ever since the police have stepped up efforts to crack down on the illicit market of sick pigs since last year, no one has come here to buy dead pigs, and the problem of pig dumping is worse than ever this year," an unnamed villager told the Jiaxing Daily newspaper, which is run by the local Communist Party.  Wang Xianjun, a government worker for Zhulin village, told the newspaper that villagers were breeding too many pigs.  Wang said the village had 10,078 dead pigs in January and another 8,325 in February. "We have limited land in the village," he said. "We do not have that much land for burial."  Zheng Fengtian, a professor at the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at Renmin University in Beijing, acknowledged that there is illegal trade in diseased dead pigs in China.  "According to the law, dead pigs must be burned or buried, but if there is not enough regulatory monitoring, it's possible some of them will be sold into the market at low prices," he said, adding that it isn't known how serious the problem is.  - FOX News.

WATCH: Dead pigs found in Chinese river rises to over 2,200.

Hundreds Of Chickens Killed Due To Avian Flu In Bihar, India.
Hundreds of chicken were culled and large quantity of eggs destroyed in Bihar's Purnea district following an outbreak of avian flu, officials said Saturday.  Purnea district magistrate Manish Verma said the administration had issued bird flu alert as a preventive measure.  "We are fully prepared to deal with an outbreak," he said.  He said bird flu was detected after 300 birds of a government poultry farm died suddenly a few days ago.  "We sent blood samples for test. The results confirmed bird flu," Verma told IANS over telephone.  Verma said he had ordered culling of birds as a precautionary measure to check the spread of the virus.  An official of animal husbandry department said 15 teams of officials have been formed to check the spread of bird flu and ensure that birds and eggs were not send outside Purnea, about 350 km from here.  "All the entry of border along the district have been sealed and additional officials deployed to prevent traders from sending birds outside," an official said.  Purnea is a major supplier of chicken across Bihar and neighbouring West Bengal. - Yahoo.

Large Fish Kill In Chang Feng Park In Shanghai, China.
Changfeng Park Silver hoe Huli recently floated from the large number of dead fish, so the outing sightseeing tourists are surprised, puzzled. In the end what happened? Yesterday, reporters came to the park to take a closer look.  Yesterday, readers Wang reflected to the newspaper News Hotline: A few days ago the weekend, she went to Changfeng park, walk along silver hoe Lake in the shore, suddenly found floating on the lake with a turned over the white belly of the fish child. Dead fish head is not large, are about the same size and lighter. Many fish fish scales fall off, some in the head parts bloodshot many rotten.  After her passing is located near the the Nu River Road Park Gate 3 lotus Xiang Ting beside lotus pond and saw a shocking scene: hordes of dead fish, dense lying in pool water plants, pond, see The human scalp tingling: This is in the end is how is it? Is the water quality is not good, or "poison"?  Yesterday afternoon, reporters from the 2nd door to enter in Zaoyang Road Changfeng Park. Standing in the shade on the bridge, and she saw the lake has a lot of dead fish on silver hoe Lake. Under the bridge floats around more everywhere "accumulation point. Reporter rough number one number, only a pile there are 56 ten. And then move forward, pillow flow under the bridge is also a piece of dead fish. Dead fish and the deciduous tree branches falling in the lake intertwined lake dirty, floated one smell. The reporter asked an angler is how is it? The angler said the dead fish are just lay down to go near the carp seedlings may fry poor quality, coupled with hot days, resulting in a low fry survival. He also suggested to reporters Silver the hoe Lake Waterfowl pond to see "where the dead fish even more.  Sure enough, the reporter saw a large number of waterfowl pond near Gate 1 dead fish. Here, the reporter also saw a length of about 30 cm big fish, also belly up floating in the water. The pool water has been stale.  Wang said the lotus pond, is actually part of the silver hoe Lake. Zoo with stones and fence stopped a pool the size of a basketball court, for cultivation of the flowers. Today lotus has been uprooted clear, a layer of moss and fallen leaves floating on the water, the dead fry shining white dotted moss deciduous. In the green forest of the side of the pool, the reporter also saw pools of dead fish scooped be as much as a few of which still linger "was really a bit miserable.  Wang said, she saw the park also sent a timely salvage of dead fish silver hoe lake. "But just yesterday, clean-up, today, dead fish float."

Yesterday afternoon, the reporter learned from the the zoo and silver hoe Lake fish pond contractor, put into the lake of carp seedlings all died a week ago. "The phenomenon continued to have a week and will continue for about 10 days."  A week ago, the pond contractor from Nanhui ordered a batch of carp seedlings, the size of the majority in the 50-100 grams, belong to the "small fry". Transportation, fry placed in a plastic bucket, on the way to be more than two hours. "Many fry scales were injured due to the inevitable bumps and sloshing in the transport process. "Fish smaller, more delicate, more prone to injury." Scales rub off the fish and some died on the spot, some put into the water after the force following the gradual piecewise maw discolor. In addition, the recent temperature jump up high too fast, can also lead to fry poor fitness. Based on experience, "put the fry loss is inevitable," estimated that the mortality rate of this group of carp seedlings in about 20%. That is to say, this put more than 5000 kg of carp seedlings the dead fry will reach more than 1000 kg. The next 10 days there will be a lot of fish bellies death. "  Once the dead fish, fish ponds contractor and park cleaners will try fishing for the first time to go dead fish.  Some people worry about whether the lake water quality deterioration, the other side said that the lake water quality has not deteriorated, the majority of visitors at ease. - News 365. [Translated]

Thousands Of Chickens Are Dying Of Unknown Disease In Dumuria, Bangladesh.
Thousands of chickens are dying of an unknown virus in many farms of Dumuria sub district [Khulna Division]. Due to sudden death of the chickens, the farm owners are facing serious economic loss. On the other hand some illegal traders are selling sick poultry at lower prices in different markets and restaurants. Local unemployed youth people started a poultry farm a few months ago. It has caused huge financial losses of local farmers in last 2 months. They are trying to prevent and control. - Health Map.

60,000 Fish Found Dead In Ponds In China. 
Yesterday, at the white layer of dead fish floating in the water Laodeng contracting fish ponds. Southern Reporter Yang Zhenhua photo  Southern News reporter Yang Zhenhua contracting Zhongkai High-tech Zone Lek Town rout fish ponds Dengjin Can these days with a worried frown. From the 1st night, the fish ponds of 60,000 fish all died, the loss of more than 30 million. Two years of sweat down the drain, let his tears. The night he was black plastic bags of suspected installed pesticides found in fish ponds, the Lek forest police station under investigation.  More than 11 points on the evening of March 1, 2011, Dengjin Can, as usual, came to fish ponds patrol watching TV after one week. Huizhou temperatures dropped that night, from the high winds, Deng Jincan took a flashlight to view the fish ponds, suddenly found some fish are in the water near the shore of bounce, there is a big carp floating to the surface of the water, very strange.  Now the other day, more and more fish floating to the surface to reveal a white belly. He found amiss, hastened xiatangji the go view, by the shore of the waters, he also found a set of layers of black plastic bags, exudes Smell. Based on experience, he immediately reported to the police station Lilin police, the police came that night to receive a black plastic bag and a fish pond water samples back to do the inspection.  Dengjin Can Guangxi, working for many years in Huizhou. Yesterday, he briefed reporters on the fish ponds and 12 acres in size, he contracted at the end of 2011 and put 60,000 various fry all kinds of costs add up to more than a year, invested a total of more than 230,000 yuan. Originally planned to fish salvage sale recently, I did not expect this situation now, so that he lost more than 30 million.   Yesterday afternoon, the South is a reporter came to the incident fishponds far smelt fishy fish smell, a white layer of dead fish floating in the surface of the water on the shore. Laodeng yesterday and the day before, he respectively to spend money to hire someone to salvage dead fish every day away ten thousand kilos. The day before yesterday, he hit six net full of fish, found no one is alive, there will be more dead fish float.  A road leading to the fish ponds must door after a long policy of industrial gases companies. , The security of the company said, more than 9:00 that night, he found a man riding a motorcycle to the fish ponds, and quickly turn around and go. Laodeng suspect, is the man with pesticides black plastic bags thrown into the fish pond, and then ran away. The slow release of pesticides gradually poisoned the fish. Many friends around guessing whether retaliation poisoning honest Laodeng thought for a long time, and can only think of water thing with people quarrel, but things over the past few years, not a few years ago and now would like to retaliation.  Yesterday, Lilin police station has been the transfer of the surveillance video of the entrance of the company go back to see. The station director, said yesterday they have pond water samples and black plastic bags sent to test, is expected to come out of the results of a few days, still can not determine whether retaliation poisoning had established non. At present, the event has been filed and is under investigation. - Kaixian. [Translated]

1,000 lbs Of Dead Fish Found In Kowloon Bay, China.
Staff from the environmental protection agency clean
the Kowloon Bay.
5th report of the Kowloon Bay Lake float after the news of hundreds of pounds of dead fish, on March 5 at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, this reporter once again came to the Park in Kowloon Bay any more information. Foul smell in the Park have disappeared, and no dead fish in the Lake. 2 workers are sitting on board the ship to the surface sub lime. "Bottom of the pond is a water pump, spray outward to make lime quick dissolve with water to achieve disinfection effect. "Fishponds told Xinhua, in order to ensure that does not pollute the water, fishing for fish increased speed and salvage of dead fish. "The night of 4th overtime until 9 o'clock at night, and finally all pull out all the dead fish in the Lake, there are more than 1000 kg. "Said one surnamed Yang said staff, fish pond start-up since the previous year, he had been guarding Fishpond, restocking every once in a while to the water, see so many fish died, he was miserable. "Is the boss does not feel bad, I feel bad. ”  It is understood that the dead fish removed, early on March 5, fishpond staff bought a large amount of lime into fishponds. Pull out over more than 1000 pounds of dead fish, early on 5th is taken away by refuse collection vehicles of the municipal environmental protection Bureau. Staff said, "originally intended to bury the dead fish waste pits in the Park, because having too many afraid to decay will have an impact on soil, referred to the environmental protection agency decision centrally. ”  Subsequently, the fishpond contractor boss Wang told reporters that the year after salvaging a total near 2000 pounds of dead fish, after disinfection of the water, and does not intend to put on the new fish right away. "Because of the weather, I plan to next April new fish fry, then more suitable for all fish. ”  So, how long will the complete water quality returned to normal? To this end, the reporters consulted the dezhou city aquatic products Bureau staff, it said, according to size into the Lake after the lime, water quality will be able to return to normal about 3-5 days. - Shuichan. [Translated]

Extreme Weather Kills 18,000 Pashmina Goats In Ladakh, India.
Harsh winter makes these mountain goats grow
extremely warm coating that is six times finer than
human hair and used to produce pashmina wool.
Last year's unusually dry summer and this winter's unprecedented snowfall, the worst in nearly 50 years, in Ladakh's Changtang area has claimed over 18,000 "pashmina" goats, the source of one of the finest varieties of wool that has put the region on the world map.  Changtang is a high altitude plateau in southeastern Ladakh, inhabited by Changpa (Champa) nomads, and known for its harsh and semi-arid weather with very little vegetation. The harsh winter makes these mountain goats grow extremely warm and very soft coating that is six times finer than human hair and used to produce pashmina wool. Its products including shawls, scarves, wraps, stoles are exported worldwide.  "While rains were scanty last summer, the winter witnessed unprecedented snowfall," said Dr Morup of Leh's district sheep husbandry office. Because of the harsh climate no other agricultural activity is possible and the fodder comes mainly from the natural vegetation. Lack of rain last year dried out the natural flora and the heavy snowfall in January and February cut off the region from the rest of the country, preventing fodder supplies. "The goats perished because of extreme cold and lack of food," he explained, adding, "We had supplied 13,000 quintals in November before the closure of the roads, otherwise loss would have been more."  Leh deputy commissioner Tsering Angchok told TOI, "Now, 1100 quintals of fodder have been sent in 62 trucks to the area where these animals are located."  The members of the Ladakh hill council, led by executive councilor Gyurmet Dorjey, are helping in organizing additional stocks of fodder to prevent any further loss of these "golden goats". The council members accuse the Omar Abdullah government of not doing enough to save these rare animals.  "These conditions also threaten the ancient nomadic lifestyle of the Champa people," said Tsewang Namgyal, advisor to YDA, an association of Drukpa Buddhists. Among the three main lineages of Himalayan Buddhism practised in the region, the Drukpa lineage has the largest number of followers. The harsh climate does not permit agriculture and these people are completely dependent on their livestock.  The pashmina wool has an enormous contribution to Ladakh's economy. "This kind of calamities might convince them to quit the nomadic lifestyle and settle in the villages. This will have a huge impact on the local economy," he added.  - Times of India.

SOLAR WATCH: The Calm Before The Solar Storm - NASA Warns "Something Unexpected Is Happening To The Sun" As Solar Wind Energy Source Is Discovered! UPDATE: NASA Shut Down Curiosity Rover On Planet Mars After Solar Flare!

March 11, 2013 - THE SUN - 'Something unexpected' is happening on the Sun, NASA has warned.  This year was supposed to be the year of 'solar maximum,' the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle.   But as this image reveals, solar activity is relatively low. 

Researchers have recently captured massive sunspots on the solar surface - and believed we should have seen more.
NASA Warns "Something Is Happening To The Sun".
'Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent,' the space agency says.  The image above shows the Earth-facing surface of the Sun on February 28, 2013, as observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.  It observed just a few small sunspots on an otherwise clean face, which is usually riddled with many spots during peak solar activity.  Experts have been baffled by the apparent lack of activity - with many wondering if NASA simply got it wrong.  However, Solar physicist Dean Pesnell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center believes he has a different explanation.  'This is solar maximum,' he says.  'But it looks different from what we expected because it is double-peaked.'  'The last two solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks.'  Solar activity went up, dipped, then rose again, performing a mini-cycle that lasted about two years, he said.  

The same thing could be happening now, as sunspot counts jumped in 2011 and dipped in 2012, he believes.  Pesnell expects them to rebound in 2013: 'I am comfortable in saying that another peak will happen in 2013 and possibly last into 2014.'  He spotted a similarity between Solar Cycle 24 and Solar Cycle 14, which had a double-peak during the first decade of the 20th century.  If the two cycles are twins, 'it would mean one peak in late 2013 and another in 2015'.  

Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent, as this image shows - despite Nasa forecasting major solar storms.
Conventional wisdom holds that solar activity swings back and forth like a simple pendulum.  At one end of the cycle, there is a quiet time with few sunspots and flares.  At the other end, solar max brings high sunspot numbers and frequent solar storms.  It’s a regular rhythm that repeats every 11 years.  Reality is more complicated.  Astronomers have been counting sunspots for centuries, and they have seen that the solar cycle is not perfectly regular. - Daily Mail.

WATCH: Solar maximum sunspots from the Solar Dynamics Observatory animation.

Solar Wind Energy Source Discovered.
Using data from an aging NASA spacecraft, researchers have found signs of an energy source in the solar wind that has caught the attention of fusion researchers. NASA will be able to test the theory later this decade when it sends a new probe into the sun for a closer look.  The discovery was made by a group of astronomers trying to solve a decades-old mystery: What heats and accelerates the solar wind?   The solar wind is a hot and fast flow of magnetized gas that streams away from the sun's upper atmosphere.  It is made of hydrogen and helium ions with a sprinkling of heavier elements.  Researchers liken it to the steam from a pot of water boiling on a stove; the sun is literally boiling itself away.  “But,” says Adam Szabo of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, “solar wind does something that steam in your kitchen never does.  As steam rises from a pot, it slows and cools.  As solar wind leaves the sun, it accelerates, tripling in speed as it passes through the corona. Furthermore, something inside the solar wind continues to add heat even as it blows into the cold of space." 

The solar wind streams off of the Sun in all directions at speeds of about 400 km/s (about 1 million miles per hour). The source of the solar wind is the Sun's hot corona. The temperature of the corona is so high that the Sun's gravity cannot hold on to it. Although we understand why this happens we do not understand the details about how and where the coronal gases are accelerated to these high velocities. This question is related to the question of coronal heating.
Finding that "something" has been a goal of researchers for decades.  In the 1970s and 80s, observations by two German/US Helios spacecraft set the stage for early theories, which usually included some mixture of plasma instabilities, magnetohydrodynamic waves, and turbulent heating.  Narrowing down the possibilities was a challenge. The answer, it turns out, has been hiding in a dataset from one of NASA's oldest active spacecraft, a solar probe named Wind.  Launched in 1994, Wind is so old that it uses magnetic tapes similar to old-fashioned 8-track tapes to record and play back its data.  Equipped with heavy shielding and double-redundant systems to safeguard against failure, the spacecraft was built to last; at least one researcher at NASA calls it the "Battlestar Gallactica" of the heliophysics fleet. Wind has survived almost two complete solar cycles and innumerable solar flares.  "After all these years, Wind is still sending us excellent data," says Szabo, the mission’s project scientist, “and it still has 60 years' worth of fuel left in its tanks.”

An artist's concept of the Wind spacecraft sampling the solar wind. Justin Kasper's science result is inset.
Using Wind to unravel the mystery was, to Justin Kasper of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, a "no brainer." He and his team processed the spacecraft's entire 19-year record of solar wind temperatures, magnetic field and energy readings and ...  "I think we found it," he says.  "The source of the heating in the solar wind is ion cyclotron waves."  Ion cyclotron waves are made of protons that circle in wavelike-rhythms around the sun's magnetic field.  According to a theory developed by Phil Isenberg (University of New Hampshire) and expanded by Vitaly Galinsky and Valentin Shevchenko (UC San Diego), ion cyclotron waves emanate from the sun; coursing through the solar wind, they heat the gas to millions of degrees and accelerate its flow to millions of miles per hour. Kasper's findings confirm that ion cyclotron waves are indeed active, at least in the vicinity of Earth where the Wind probe operates.
An artist's concept of Solar Probe Plus
approaching the sun where it can test
the ion cyclotron theory.

The solar wind is not like wind on Earth.  Here on Earth, atmospheric winds carry nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor along together; all species move with the same speed and they have the same temperature.  The solar wind, however, is much stranger.  Chemical elements of the solar wind such as hydrogen, helium, and heavier ions, blow at different speeds; they have different temperatures; and, strangest of all, the temperatures change with direction.  "We have long wondered why heavier elements in the solar wind move faster and have higher temperatures than the lighter elements," says Kasper.  "This is completely counterintuitive."  The ion cyclotron theory explains it: Heavy ions resonate well with ion cyclotron waves. Compared to their lighter counterparts, they gain more energy and heat as they surf.  The behavior of heavy ions in the solar wind is what intrigues fusion researchers. Kasper explains: "When you look at fusion reactors on Earth, one of the big challenges is contamination.  Heavy ions that sputter off the metal walls of the fusion chamber get into the plasma where the fusion takes place.  Heavy ions radiate heat. This can cool the plasma so much that it shuts down the fusion reaction."

Ion cyclotron waves of the type Kasper has found in the solar wind might provide a way to reverse this process. Theoretically, they could be used to heat and/or remove the heavy ions, restoring thermal balance to the fusing plasma. "I have been invited to several fusion conferences to talk about our work with the solar wind," he says. The next step, agree Kasper and Szabo, is to find out if ion cyclotron waves work the same way deep inside the sun's atmosphere where the solar wind begins its journey.  To find out, NASA is planning to send a spacecraft into the sun itself. Solar Probe Plus, scheduled for launch in 2018, will plunge so far into the sun's atmosphere that the sun will appear as much as 23 times wider than it does in the skies of Earth. At closest approach, about 7 million km from the sun's surface, Solar Probe Plus must withstand temperatures greater than 1400 deg. C and survive blasts of radiation at levels not experienced by any previous spacecraft.  The mission's goal is to sample the sun's plasma and magnetic field at the very source of the solar wind. "With Solar Probe Plus we'll be able to conduct specific tests of the ion cyclotron theory using sensors far more advanced than the ones on the Wind spacecraft," says Kasper.  "This should give us a much deeper understanding of the solar wind's energy source."

The research described in this story was published in the Physical Review Letters on February 28, 2013: "Sensitive Test for Ion-Cyclotron Resonant Heating in the Solar Wind" by Justin Kasper et al.


Curiosity Rover Shut Down On Mars After Solar Flare.
This flare was captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory in March 2012.
NASA has powered down its Curiosity rover to protect it against a solar flare that is heading towards Mars.  While the rover is designed to withstand punishing weather conditions on the Red Planet, Curiosity recently suffered a computer problem.  "We're being more careful," said Richard Cook, the project manager of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which runs the $2.5bn (£1.7bn) mission.  On Tuesday, scientists noticed a huge flare erupting from the Sun that hurled a stream of radiation in the direction of Mars.

Curiosity has had to put its rock analysis on hold until the storm passes.
 The solar burst also spawned a cloud of superheated gas that was heading towards the planet at two million miles per hour.  Bob Rutledge, of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, said the eruption did not appear severe or extreme, but "middle of the road, all things considered".  Powering down Curiosity means there will be a delay before it can resume analysing the pinch of rock powder it collected from a recent drilling.  And because its instruments are turned off, it cannot use its radiation sensor to track the solar particles. "It's just bad timing," said Mr Cook.  While Curiosity sleeps, the Opportunity rover, which has been active on Mars since 2004, is carrying on with its normal activities.  Opportunity was only meant to operate on Mars for around 90 days, but has so far kept going eight years longer than planned.  The solar tempest is not expected to affect Earth.

Curiosity extends one of its arms to show off its complement of tools.
 However, such outbursts have in the past triggered solar storms with the ability to disrupt power grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services.  They are also known to produce shimmering auroras in places further from the poles.  Since Mars lacks a planet-wide magnetic field, it does not experience geomagnetic storms. Instead, the planet sees a spike in radiation.  Powerful solar blasts can cause trouble to spacecraft on and around Mars.  In 2003, an intense solar flare knocked out the radiation detector on the Odyssey orbiter. - SKY News.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Concerns Raised About Second Salt Dome Cavern; Sheriff Says Officials Need To Plan For ‘Sinkhole No. 2’; Giant Sinkhole To More Than Double In Size, "Could Take Out Highway 70, You Could Look At Loss Of Life"; Activist Erin Brockovich Tells Residents Near Sinkhole to "GET OUT" As Gas Pressure Could Result In Explosion!

March 11, 2013 - UNITED STATES - New seismic surveys suggest a second Texas Brine Co. LLC cavern is closer to the Napoleonville Dome’s outer face than previously thought, leading the Assumption Parish sheriff to call Friday for the need to plan for emergence of a second sinkhole in the Bayou Corne area, however unlikely the possibility may be.  Also on Friday, officials announced that Gov. Bobby Jindal will meet with parish officials in Baton Rouge about the sinkhole that formed last year.  That sinkhole was discovered in early August in a swampland area between Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou after the failure of another Texas Brine cavern carved from the same part of the salt dome containing the latest cavern that is starting to raise concerns.  Scientists think the cavern that failed, known as Oxy Geismar No. 3, was mined too close to the outer face of the giant salt deposit and eventually underwent a sidewall collapse. admitting a great amount of rock strata abutting the dome. This led to the sinkhole’s formation, the release of crude oil and methane gas and the evacuation of 350 people from the Bayou Corne area for more than seven months.  Jindal is meeting with parish officials Monday amid building criticism for his decision to decline requests for a sit-down with the evacuated residents.  “The Governor is meeting with local officials from Assumption Parish and state agency directors on Monday to determine what more can be done for citizens affected by this event,” the governor’s press secretary, Sean Lansing, said by email Friday.

Concerns Raised About Second Salt Dome Cavern.
Assumption Parish Police Jury President Martin “Marty” Triche said he got a call from the governor’s staff on Thursday, a day after Jindal sidestepped news reporters’ questions about when he planned to meet with residents affected by the sinkhole.  “I’m anxious to meet with (the governor) on Monday whether it’s in Baton Rouge or in Bayou Corne,” Triche said.  He said he wants to talk to the governor about continued support for oversight and technical analysis as well as leaning on Texas Brine about residents’ requests for buyouts.  The new seismic testing, which the Louisiana Office of Conservation ordered Texas Brine to conduct after the failure of Oxy 3, found that the latest cavern is within 200 feet of the Napoleonville Dome’s outer wall, conservation officials said.  At that distance, the cavern, known as Oxy Geismar No. 1, would be closer to the vertical outer face of the dome than would be allowed under new minimum safety standards that the Office of Conservation is proposing in light of the earlier Texas Brine cavern failure. The proposed standard would set a minimum distance of 300 feet horizontally.  The failure of Oxy 3 is suspected of having at least a months-long build up, preceded by bubbling in area bayous and sharp earth tremors that residents reported feeling at the time.  Patrick Courreges, Office of Conservation spokesman, said the agency has been monitoring the second cavern. Measurements of its internal pressure and of nearby seismic activity do not suggest any sort of failure may be under way, he said.  “We’ve got no indication of that happening right now,” Courreges said. 

The state Office of Conservation is under the state Department of Natural Resources.  Office of Conservation officials said in a statement Friday that previously ordered three-dimensional seismic tests are needed to confirm the distance between Oxy 1’s wall and the outer face of the salt dome. The other testing has a built-in margin of error.  The 3-D data must be submitted to the Office of Conservation on April 21. Monitoring will continue in the meantime, officials said.  Texas Brine and other salt dome operators use fresh water to dissolve hollow cavities from salt domes deep underground and sell the brine to industrial users. Other companies later use the cavities created by the salt brine mining process for storage of oil, gas and other hydrocarbons.  Oxy 1, which was mined for brine from 1976 to late 2011, is on the same 40-acre site as Oxy 3 and the sinkhole. Texas Brine leases the property south of La. 70 South from Occidental Petroleum Corp.  Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack, who plans to attend Monday’s meeting with Jindal, said he wants government officials and area companies to meet to develop contingency plans for a possible “sinkhole No. 2,” however remote.  One of the sheriff’s leading concerns is possible danger posed by a second sinkhole to La. 70 South, a key thoroughfare that is about 950 feet from the Oxy 1 cavern’s outer wall.  “We’ve got to have plans in place where we can move fast,” Waguespack said. “We hope that there’s enough (monitoring in place) to have warning, but you just never know.”  The first sinkhole opened up overnight between Aug. 2 and 3 and was detected by parish officials after residents reported a strong hydrocarbon odor early on Aug. 3 as people awoke. La. 70 was shut for about 24 hours due until area pipelines could be closed.  State Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Pierre Part, said the governor’s staff has been “very involved” in the sinkhole response.

Second Salt Dome Cavern Map.
But the governor could illustrate his involvement by making a trip to Assumption Parish at some point, she said.  “It’s a great idea for him to go. He can dispel the fear that he really has not been on top of it,” St. Germain said.  Sinkhole activist John Achee Jr., who owns a camp in the area, said Jindal needs to give residents 15 to 20 minutes of his time.  “While we are pleased that after seven months he has chosen to grace our officials with his presence, we look forward to seeing him March 19 at our next community meeting on the Bayou Corne sinkhole in person,” he said.  Lansing said the governor tasked the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Louisiana State Police, the state Department of Natural Resources, the state Department of Environmental Quality and the state Department of Transportation and Development with responding to the sinkhole emergency.  “The DNR has said several times that Texas Brine should consider buyouts for residents in the evacuation area who want to leave,” Lansing said.  The Oxy 1 cavern has a cylindrical shape except at the top, where it is much wider across. This creates the overall appearance of a Roman column with an exaggerated capital at the top, a 2011 sonar survey shows.  These kinds of wider areas are called “wings” and usually result from areas where salt dissolves more easily than the rest of the cavern.  Courreges said Oxy 1’s wings are the parts of the cavern closer to the salt dome outer face than expected.  Oxy 1 is about 900 feet northeast of Oxy 3 and extends from 2,492 feet to 3,228 feet underground, shallower than Oxy 3, officials said.  Oxy 1 was the subject of a 1995 Sandia National Laboratories study that suggested the cavern might have breached the salt dome face near the cavern’s bottom. Texas Brine officials said later testing by Texas Brine argued against that conclusion.  Texas Brine spokesman Sonny Cranch said the company agrees with DNR’s assessment of the situation. - The Advocate.

Giant Sinkhole To More Than Double In Size, "Could Take Out Highway 70, You Could Look At Loss Of Life".
Officials are saying there is a second sinkhole that is on the verge of collapsing... Originally Texas Brine reported that this second salt cavern, cavern #1, no problems, but now they say that it may have problems. And we spoke with a Texas Brine representative today who says that the evidence that there was a problem with cavern #1 started months ago. The road leading back to the Texas Brine site started tilting on one side and has been steadily sinking and bulging on the other sides. The road has since been leveled out with limestone, but workers are still on edge that the cavern could cave... The representative from Texas Brine said that if that salt cavern does cave in, it could essentially double the size of the sinkhole, creating a bigger problem. It could even possibly take out Highway 70 with a couple houses as well. So we’re trying to figure out what’s being done now... - WBRZ.

WATCH: WBRZ Broadcast - Giant sinkhole could double in size and take out Highway 70.

WATCH: Activist Brockovich talks sinkhole with Bayou Corne residents.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Year of Celestial Wonder - 'Marsageddon' Comet Scenario Adds To Concerns About Space Threats; Earth Gets A Rush Of Weekend Asteroid Visitors; Three 'Near' Misses In Just One Weekend!

March 11, 2013 - SPACE - It sounds like an "Armageddon" sequel, set on Mars instead of Earth: A supermassive doomsday comet is heading toward the planet in 2014, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. Not even Bruce Willis. The comet presents a good-news, bad-news situation for the Red Planet, and for us earthlings as well. NASA says Comet 2013 A1, also known as Comet Siding Spring, is almost certain to miss Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. However, there's still a chance — a less than a 1-in-600 chance — that Mars could be hit, due to the remaining uncertainty about the comet's path. That uncertainty is likely to be cleared up over the next few months, eventually resulting in an all-clear.

An artist's conception shows a comet streaking through Martian skies. Chris Smith / NASA file.

'Marsageddon' Comet Scenario Adds To Concerns About Space Threats.
Even if the comet did hit, there'd be no negative effect on Earth. However, the "Marsageddon" scenario is already adding to the concern that was generated by last month's Russian meteor blast and a near-miss by a larger asteroid. The case of Comet Siding Spring led Henry Vanderbilt, founder of the Space Access Society, to ask a scary what-if question. "If it was coming straight at us (no more or less likely than it coming straight at Mars), and given our existing space capabilities, could we do anything about it other than prepare to die?" he wrote in a posting to the Moon and Back blog. "The short answer is: Maybe." The comet's size is the most worrisome part of the story. Based on its observed brightness, astronomers estimate that the iceball could be anywhere from 9 to 30 miles (15 to 50 kilometers) in diameter. In comparison, the asteroid that's been blamed for killing off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago is thought to have been 6 miles (10 kilometers) in diameter.

A direct hit on Mars' backside wouldn't tear the planet apart, but it would produce an explosion that Bad Astronomy's Phil Plait estimates at somewhere around a billion megatons of TNT. That would create a huge crater, blast tons of debris into space and perhaps set off a flood reminiscent of the one that washed over Marte Vallis millions of years ago. On Earth, the impact would be a civilization-killer. How do you stop something like that? Scientists have proposed a variety of deflection techniques for smaller objects, when the collision threat can be detected years or even decades in advance. Those techniques range from space-based gravity tractors, to paintball shooters, to laser blasters, to laser bees, to solar sails, to "Armageddon"-style nuclear bombs. Just this week, Iowa State University's Asteroid Deflection Research Center proposed a $500 million mission to test a nuclear-armed asteroid interceptor.

"It's not a laughing matter," center director Bong Wie said in a news release. There would definitely be no one laughing if a 20-mile-wide comet were coming at us with less than two years of advance warning. In that scenario, the only realistic option would be hydrogen bombs, and lots of them. Vanderbilt estimates it would take about 250 megatons' worth of energy to divert an object like Comet Siding Spring. At 1 to 5 megatons per bomb, that would mean 50 to 250 bombs from the nuclear powers' stockpile.  "Whether we can effectively apply that energy to successfully divert the comet, we just don’t know," Vanderbilt wrote. "The problem has been studied a fair amount, and the answers vary. Nobody’s actually tested it. We would, under the circumstances, have little choice but to try." For the time being, Comet Siding Spring is shaping up as a huge near-miss: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's latest estimate has it missing Mars by about 31,000 miles (50,000 kilometers) — and at that distance, not even the debris flying off the comet is expected to affect the Red Planet or the probes flying around it. It helps that the comet's tail will be pointing away from the planet, as explained in this blog posting by the Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla. The comet would make an impressive sight if you were watching it from Mars (magnitude zero or brighter), and NASA's rovers will likely be doing just that. But it isn't expected to reach naked-eye brightness for earthly observers. Chances are that Comet Siding Spring will make its biggest impact as another reminder that we have to address the perils posed by cosmic threats sooner or later. Considering what's happened over the past month, how many more reminders do we need? - NBC News.

Earth Gets A Rush Of Weekend Asteroid Visitors.
An asteroid as big as a city block shot relatively close by the Earth on Saturday, the latest in a series of visiting celestial objects including an asteroid the size of a bus that exploded over Russia last month, injuring 1,500.  Discovered just six days ago, the 460-foot long (140-meter) Asteroid 2013 ET passed about 600,000 miles from Earth at 3:30 p.m. EST. That's about 2-1/2 times as far as the moon, fairly close on a cosmic yardstick.  "The scary part of this one is that it's something we didn't even know about," Patrick Paolucci, president of Slooh Space Camera, said during a webcast featuring live images of the asteroid from a telescope in the Canary Islands.  Moving at a speed of about 26,000 miles per hour, the asteroid could have wiped out a large city if it had impacted the Earth, added Slooh telescope engineer Paul Cox.  Asteroid 2013 ET is nearly eight times larger than the bus-sized asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on February 15. The force of the explosion, equivalent to about 440 kilotons of dynamite, created a shock wave that shattered windows and damaged buildings, injuring more than 1,5000 people.  Later that day, another small asteroid, known as DA14, passed about 17,200 miles from Earth, closer than the orbiting networks of communications and weather satellites. 

WATCH: Huge asteroid whizzes past Earth.

"One of the reasons why we're finding more of these objects is that there are more people looking," Cox said.  Two other small asteroids, both about the size of the Russian meteor, will also be in Earth's neighborhood this weekend. Asteroid 2013 EC 20 passed just 93,000 miles away on Saturday - "a stone's thrown," said Cox.  On Sunday, Asteroid 2013 EN 20 will fly about 279,000 miles from Earth. Both were discovered just three days ago. "We know that the solar system is a busy place," said Cox.  "We're not sitting here on our pale, blue dot on our own in nice safety ... This should be a wakeup call to governments."  NASA has been tasked by the U.S. Congress to find and track all near-Earth objects 0.62 miles or larger in diameter, and estimates about 95 percent have been identified.  However, only about 10 percent of smaller asteroids have been discovered, NASA scientists have said.  The effort is intended to give scientists and engineers as much time as possible to learn if an asteroid or comet is on a collision course with Earth, in hopes of sending up a spacecraft or taking other measures to avert catastrophe.  About 100 tons of material from space hit Earth every day. Astronomers currently expect an object about the size of what hit Russia to strike the planet about every 100 years. - Yahoo.

Three 'Near' Misses In One Weekend.
Asteroid 2013 ET, as big as a city block shot relatively close past Earth at the weekend, could have wiped out a large city.
Discovered just six days ago, the 140m Asteroid 2013 ET passed about 966000km from Earth on Saturday. That is about 2.5 times as far as the moon, fairly close on a cosmic yardstick. "The scary part of this one is that it is something we didn't even know about," Patrick Paolucci, president of Slooh Space Camera, said during a webcast featuring live images of the asteroid from a telescope in the Canary Islands. Moving at a speed of about 41843km/h, the asteroid could have wiped out a large city if it had hit Earth, added Slooh telescope engineer Paul Cox. Asteroid 2013 ET is nearly eight times larger than the bus-sized asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia last month, injuring 1500 people. The force of the explosion, equivalent to about 440 kilotons of dynamite, created a shock wave that shattered windows and damaged buildings. Later that day, a small asteroid, known as DA14, passed about 27680km from Earth, closer than the orbiting networks of communications and weather satellites. "One of the reasons we're finding more of these objects is that there are more people looking," Cox said. Two other small asteroids, both about the size of the Russian meteor, were in Earth's neighbourhood at the weekend. Asteroid 2013 EC 20 passed just 4828km away on Saturday, said Cox. Yesterday, Asteroid 2013 EN 20 flew about 449007km away from Earth. "We know the solar system is a busy place," said Cox. "We're not sitting here on our pale-blue dot on our own in nice safety . This should be a wake-up call to governments." The US Congress has asked Nasa to find and track all near-Earth objects of 1km or larger in diameter. Nasa estimates about 95% have been identified. But only about 10% of smaller asteroids have been discovered, it says. The effort is intended to give scientists and engineers as much time as possible to learn if an asteroid or comet is on a collision course with Earth, in hopes of sending up a spacecraft or taking other measures to avert catastrophe. About 100 tons of material from space hits Earth every day. Astronomers expect an object about the size of the Russian meteor to strike about every 100 years. - Times Live.

PLANETARY TREMORS: California Seismic Swarm - Multiple Quakes Strike Southern California Region; Largest In Greater Los Angeles Since 2010; Could Be Foreshock For Something Larger!

March 11, 2013 - UNITED STATES - A magnitude-4.7 earthquake was felt throughout San Diego County Monday, but there were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage.  The temblor struck at 9:55 a.m. and was centered 12 miles east-southeast of Anza in Riverside County, 14 miles southwest of La Quinta and 16 miles south-southwest of Palm Desert, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey.  The quake was originally reported as large as a magnitude-5.2, but was downgraded a short time later by the USGS. The initial shaker was followed by aftershocks in the area. One quake in Pine Valley measured a magnitude-2.5.

USGS earthquake map and location.
Geologist Pat Abbott, Ph.D., told 10News Monday's earthquakes were "unusual because there were three movements of identical size on the same fault."  Abbott said three separate quakes were reported on the San Jacinto fault line, which runs into the San Andreas Fault. He noted the San Jacinto fault line merges with the San Andreas Fault within the city limits of San Bernardino.  Abbott said the initial magnitude reading of 5.2 was generated by a computer, but was later downgraded after experts evaluated the data. Abbott said he doesn't usually expect earthquakes in the 4s to generate serious damage.

Global Incident Live Earthquakes Map of the USGS Feed showing earthquake swarm.
10News viewers reported feeling the earthquake throughout San Diego County including in Valley Center, Alpine, Poway, Brawley and Point Loma.  "We started to hear the sound and feel the rumble. It almost felt like the house was suspended, like lifted up and suspended for a moment. Then, of course, we heard the sound … I didn't feel too much of a violent shake," said Crest resident Dennis.

WATCH: 5.2 earthquake shakes Southern California.

His 11-year-old son was sick, home from school, when he felt it from his bunk bed.  "[He was] a little scared; [had a] confused look. He wanted to know what had happened, of course we ran outside to see if the world had stopped. It did. There's people doing landscaping and things like that and everything got quiet for a minute," Dennis said.  Mitzi Poulin, who works in Borrego Springs, told 10News the quake was a short, quick jolt that she barely felt.

USGS shakemap.
"It sounded like my guy slammed the door at our storage area where the wine is. I didn't feel it. I heard it," said Poulin, who works at Center Market.  Poulin said it felt like two seconds of shaking.  Claudia from Barrio Logan told 10News she felt it from her home, but her friend felt it even stronger.  "Mine was just a little bit of a swing, just a little bit," said Claudia.  Claudia was on the phone with a friend who was near the beach. Her friend said the quake felt like "two people were on the car, jerking it around."  North County Transit District officials said the northbound Coaster was delayed by 15 to 20 minutes.  Monday's temblor in Southern California hit on the same day as Japan is marking the second anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the country in 2011.  Abbott said the quake's location and magnitude was too low to form any significant tsunami in the Southern California region.

USGS shakemap.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department said there have been no reports of injuries or damages. In addition, Lakeside Fire District said local utilities have not reported any outages.  Mike Lee with the San Diego County Water Authority said there was no damage caused to county water systems by the earthquake.  Lee said there is a system of cameras and sensors at major facilities to spot problems, but no issues were detected Monday.  Sensors at dams and pipes that measure water pressure and changes did not detect anything out of the ordinary.  The sheriff's department urges residents to be vigilant about earthquake preparedness. More information and tips can be found on - ABC 10 News.

WATCH: Swarm of quakes rattle San Diego County.

Southern California Earthquake Largest In Greater L.A. Since 2010.

USGS historical seismicity for Southern California.
The magnitude-4.7 earthquake that rattled Southern California on Monday was the largest centered in the greater Los Angeles area since 2010, officials said.  “It’s been three years since we had anything this size this close to Los Angeles,” said Susan Hough, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. She cited a magnitude-5.4 quake that struck the desert area in July 2010.  Since then, Southern California has experienced quakes larger than Monday's but they occurred closer to the U.S.-Mexico border.  Monday's quake was preceded by a small foreshock, which confused the survey’s monitoring system into recording multiple shocks of various sizes. The temblor was centered a few miles northeast of the San Jacinto fault, Hough said.   The quake struck at a depth of 7 to 8 miles, about 2 miles deeper than a typical quake, Hough said. Deeper quakes cause vibrations to travel farther and are less likely to create aftershocks, she said.   People as far away as Sequoia National Park, about 250 miles away, reported feeling the quake. There were no reports of damage or injuries in the Southland.  Officials initially reported three moderate temblors -- the largest being a magnitude 5.2. Since then, officials said there was only one quake, measuring 4.7 near Anza in Riverside County.  There have been more than 60 aftershocks since then, all relatively small.  “It was a pretty good shake up here.” said Capt. Daniel Heiser of the Riverside County Fire Department. - LA Times.