Wednesday, November 6, 2013

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Scientists State That Lake Toba's Dormant Supervolcano, Could Erupt At Any Time In Indonesia!

November 06, 2013 - INDONESIA - A dormant supervolcano lying beneath Lake Toba in Indonesia has the potential to erupt again, scientists have said.

Geologists believe Mount Toba, which has erupted at fairly regular intervals over the last 1.2 million years, still poses a threat with its huge magma chamber and should be studied to assess the risk of a fresh eruption.




The president of the Indonesia Geological Experts Association, Rovicky Dwi Putrohari, has told the Jakarta Post about the danger Mount Toba poses.

"Our researchers were able to find the location and dimensions of the magma chamber of Mount Toba," he said. "Later research will find out the potential volume of magma in the volcano for triggering an eruption."

Tomography studies detected the magma chamber beneath Lake Toba. They found it was located at a depth of between 20 and 100km.

Putrohari said that a number of studies relating to the supervolcano were presented during a three-day conference held by the Indonesian Geological Experts Association and the Indonesian Geophysics Experts Association.

Studies showed that Mount Toba has erupted four times in the past - 1.2 million years ago, at 840,000 years ago, 500,000 years ago and then again around 74,000 years ago.


Mount Sinabung in Indonesia erupted earlier this month (Reuters)

The last eruption is recognised as the biggest known eruption ever to have taken place on Earth. The Toba catastrophe theory relating to this eruption suggests the event caused a decade-long global volcanic winter that was possibly followed by 1,000 years of cooling.

The blast was 100 times greater than the largest volcanic eruption in recent history - Mount Tambora in 1815.

Indonesia has around 120 active volcanoes currently being monitored, one of which has become increasingly active in recent months. Mount Sinabung spewed ash 7km into the sky earlier this month, leading over 1,600 to evacuate their homes.

Putrohari said the magma chamber still inside Mount Toba could erupt at any time if the Sumatra fault line reactivated, as it runs directly through the volcano.

"A quake could reactivate the magma chamber which is so far dormant. That's why we believe Mount Toba could erupt again at any time. When it will be, we don't know. Thorough and continuous research is needed to find that out."

Andi M Adiwinata, from the Indonesian Geophysics Experts Association, added: "The researchers are currently working to find out how big the potential threat from Mount Toba is. Despite being categorised as inactive, its development needs further monitoring." - IBT.


MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: "Usually Large Event" - Hundreds Of Shearwater Birds Found Dead On Beaches In Waikato, New Zealand?

November 06, 2013 - NEW ZEALAND - Nearly 200 seabirds have been found dead along Waikato's west coast beaches.

A total of 184 short-tailed shearwater, a migratory bird that typically breeds on the islands between Tasmania and Victoria, have been washed ashore between Waikorea beach and Taharoa, south of Kawhia.


The short-tailed shearwater - Source: Wikimedia Commons


It is not known when the birds died and were washed ashore, but numbers are said to be "unusually large" by one expert.

Hugh Clifford, who organised the beach patrol on behalf of the Waikato branch of the Ornithological Society, said the number of short-tailed shearwater found this year was much higher than normal.

"There would be millions of them passing down through the Tasman Sea on the southern migration.

"Some of them were pushed closer to New Zealand and the food conditions may have been unfavourable, causing them to perish."

Each year during the southern hemisphere winter, the short-tailed shearwater migrate about 15,000 km to the Northern Pacific, before making their way back towards southern Australia to breed around October.

Mr Clifford said when a large number of birds are found dead along the coast, it is called a "wreck".

The beach patrols, which took place at Waikorea, Taharoa, Ruapuke and Kawhia, found an average of seven birds for each kilometre walked.

The number of short-tailed shearwater found this year is the highest in more than a decade and dwarfs tallies recorded in previous years.

In 2012, the Waikato beach patrols found only eight short-tailed shearwater among 344 dead seabirds.

Dr Graeme Taylor, a principal science advisor at the Department of Conservation, said a wreck was usually the result of strong onshore winds and poor feeding conditions.

"Onshore winds will drive the birds towards the coast and as a result the weakened birds will fight to try to get back towards the ocean, but lose the battle."

The exhausted birds plunged into the sea and were then washed ashore dead.

Dr Taylor said poor feeding conditions in the North Pacific could also play a part.

"They don't eat anything in migration. They basically fatten up in the North Pacific before they come south."

In 2011, 29,934 seabirds were found strewn along Waikato's coast - part of the largest wreck in more than a decade. - TVNZ.


GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Insurer Claims Texas Brine Ignored Warnings On The Sinkhole!

November 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Texas Brine ignored warnings from its own people and others for nearly 15 years that disaster loomed if the company continued mining a troubled Assumption Parish salt-dome cavern, which created a massive sinkhole after collapsing in 2012, according to one of its insurers.


Sinkhle caused by Texas Brine's failed underground salt dome cavern.
Advocate staff photo by Travis Spradling.


In a federal lawsuit, Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc. cites internal Texas Brine reports, memos and an email suggesting Texas Brine officials were warned with increasing specificity since the mid-1970s — before the cavern was even permitted and mined — that the area where the cavern was planned was close to the salt dome’s outer face.

This proximity could mean the cavern would be a “risky” venture if mined too deeply, the suit claims.

Texas Brine went ahead even as internal warnings continued in the late 1990s and 2000s.

Liberty’s lawsuit also quotes internal documents portraying Texas Brine as pushing back against suggestions from the one-time well owner, Vulcan Materials Co., to mine the cavern at a shallower depth than had been planned to avoid the deeper trouble areas.

By 1998, the suit claims, Texas Brine was evaluating which way to proceed: continue mining at 5,700 feet deep despite concerns about being too close to the edge of the salt dome or mine at far shallower depths and raise the widely known risk of a cavern roof cave-in that could cause disastrous damage to nearby caverns.

“Texas Brine knew in 1998 that the western wall of Oxy Geismar #3 was already ‘precariously’ close to the edge of the salt dome, and that to continue increasing the level of salt reserves mined could ‘cause a disaster,’” the Liberty lawsuit concludes.

The Liberty suit was filed Oct. 22 in U.S. District Court in Houston and also names Occidental Chemical Corp., the owner of the well, as a defendant. A status conference has been set for 10 a.m. Jan. 13 before U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes.

Liberty, which faces $50 million in exposure as Texas Brine’s third insurer in line, is asking Hughes to declare the company does not owe Texas Brine or Occidental under the policy because of their prior knowledge.

In early October, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources had to borrow $8 million from the state treasury to keep up with the sinkhole expenses as state expenses overall approached $10 million.

Texas Brine’s primary insurer, Zurich American Insurance Co., said in a recent filing in a state court suit over the sinkhole that the limits of its liability “are exhausted.”

According to the Liberty lawsuit, American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co. is next in line. Liberty starts paying after the first $75 million in excess coverage.


Aerial of the sinkhole and surrounding vicinity.  Advocate staff photo by Bill Feig.

In a statement Tuesday, Texas Brine denied “many of the specific allegations made in the suit,” including Liberty’s claims that there is no coverage under its policy.

“For many months, we have been working closely with our insurers to resolve issues between us, and it is unfortunate that Liberty filed this suit at this time, particularly since information provided to Liberty in confidence was inappropriately used in making these claims,” the Texas Brine statement says. “We will deal with this issue in the litigation.”

DNR officials said in a statement that the agency is “still holding the company accountable for the damage caused by their failed cavern and we’ll continue to do so until the situation is made right.”

“Buyout actions are currently being processed and cleanup response by the company is ongoing,” the statement said.

DNR officials said they could not speculate about whether the new disclosures would lead to regulatory actions against Texas Brine because the lawsuit only provides excerpts.

“The Office of Conservation has never been provided with the documents referenced, nor made aware of their existence prior to the filing of the Liberty lawsuit,” DNR maintains.

Liberty did not file the full documents that the suit quotes. Brian Martin and two other Houston attorneys for Liberty have not returned several messages for comment, including on Tuesday.


Trees collapse into a slurry, top near an empty lot close to Bayou Corne. Advocate staff photo by Adam Lau.

Scientists working on the sinkhole believe the massive subterranean cavern in question, known as Oxy Geismar No. 3, was mined too closely to the outer face of the Napoleonville Dome.

The cavern’s supporting salt sidewall collapsed below 5,000 feet underground and rock flooded into the cavern. This shift in rock created further underground movement that led the Bayou Corne-area sinkhole to surface on Aug. 3, 2012, scientists believe.

The hole is now 26 acres, has led to a 15-month-long evacuation of about 150 homes in the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities, home buyouts, the emptying of surrounding storage caverns and a barrage of lawsuits against Texas Brine and Occidental.

Texas Brine mines the caverns from deep, solid columns of salt known as salt domes with wells drilled and pumped with fresh water. The water dissolves the salt and leaves behind a cavity.

The watery brine byproduct is shipped by pipeline to petrochemical plants along the Mississippi River while the salt left remaining around the newly hollowed-out cavity provides structural support.

Texas Brine is relying on insurers to cover mounting costs to state and local governments on the sinkhole response and the company’s own response.

What Texas Brine and DNR knew about the cavern’s well-being before Aug. 3, 2012, has swirled since the sinkhole emerged and become fodder for lawsuits already.

Many suits cite a January 2011 letter to DNR where Texas Brine official Mark Cartwright warns about the cavern’s “proximity to the edge of salt” and that “a breach of the salt dome appears possible.”

DNR and Texas Brine officials have since said that, at the time, no one could have envisioned that a salt wall collapse could lead to an unprecedented sinkhole.

In contrast, cave-ins at the cavern roof, or top, are well-known causes of sinkholes and are guarded against.

Texas Brine also has said that the letter’s reference to the “cavern” really was industry parlance for an access well to the cavern. In late 2010, Texas Brine prospected for new salt mining above the cavern by boring through the access well’s metal casing.

The well and cavern later failed a pressure test and were plugged in June 2011. Texas Brine officials have said they believed the problems were limited to the well only.

Vulcan, which sold the Oxy 3 well and the rest of its chemicals business to Occidental in 2005, has been sued separately by Texas Brine over the sinkhole.

Vulcan officials said Tuesday that they are still gathering information about that suit. - The Advocate.



MASS MAMMAL DIE-OFF: 5 Endangered Whales Found Dead On Russia’s East Coast?!

November 06, 2013 - RUSSIA - The remains of five endangered gray whales have been found washed ashore in Russia’s most northeasterly region, a nongovernmental marine life organization said Tuesday.




“The remains belong to gray whales of the Chukotka-California population, which have been put on Russia’s Red List of threatened species,” Marine Mammal Council deputy head Andrei Boltunov said.

“We need to register all the cases of these animals’ death and investigate the reasons of the incident,” he said.

In September, a team of Russian scientists found the remains of ten gray whales washed up on the 800-kilometer (500-mile) stretch of the Chukotka coast during an aerial survey. No cause of death has been determined.

Large numbers of polar bears have been attracted to the sites where the carcasses were found, prompting scientists to warn local residents of the danger from the animals.

“Close attention should be paid to the crowds of polar bears near the remains of whales and walruses washed ashore,” said Viktor Nikiforov, head of the World Wildlife Fund’s Polar Bear Patrol program. - RIA NOVOSTI.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: 16 Killed, Over 90 Wounded In Double Bombing In Syria! [PHOTOS]

November 06, 2013 - SYRIA - Eight people were killed in a blast in central Damascus on Wednesday, while in Sweida in the south of the country, eight intelligence officers died in a suicide bombing at an air force intelligence headquarters.

A total of over 90 people sustained injuries in the attacks.


People gather around wreckage after a car bomb in Suweida city, November 6, 2013, in this
handout picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA. (Reuters)

People gather around the scene of a bomb explosion in front of of al-Hijaz train station in central Damascus
November 6, 2013, in this handout picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA. (Reuters/SANA)

Sweida is under government control and is home to Syria’s Druze minority and has remained largely neutral in the 2 1/2-year civil war.

“A suicide attacker  detonated himself in a car bomb in front of the air force intelligence headquarters in Sweida, killing the intelligence branch chief and seven other officers,” Rami Abdel, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said in a statement.

 Another 41 people were wounded in the attack, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Right’s a major, who earlier had been identified as a colonel, was killed in the blast.

In central Damascus a car bomb exploded in Hejaz Square, killing eight people and wounding 50, including women and children, the SANA news agency said.


A man carries an injured child after a bomb explosion in front of the al-Hejaz train station in central Damascus
November 6, 2013 in this picture provided by Syria's national news agency SANA. (AFP Photo)

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows damages windows in a
building on Hijaz square, where eight were allegedly killed and another 50 wounded in a bomb blast
on November 6, 2013 in Damascus, Syria. (AFP Photo)

Some of the wounded are in critical condition. The blast was caused by an improvised device planted at an office entrance in a construction area.

SANA blamed terrorists for the attack. Typically, this is how state media describe the motley array of rebel groups fighting against President Bashar Assad.

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group, cited conflicting reports that the explosion may have been caused by a mortar shell, and not a bomb.

 There were also reports of a mortar bomb landing near the army’s General Staff headquarters in Umayyad Square, although there was no immediate news on casualties.


A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on November 6, 2013, shows Syrians
carrying an injured man after a bomb explosion allegedly rocked the heart of the Syrian capital Damascus. (AFP Photo)

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on November 6, 2013, allegedly shows
shard of glass on classroom table after a bomb explosion rocked the heart of the Syrian capital Damascus. (AFP Photo)

People gather around wreckage after a car bomb in Suweida city, November 6, 2013, in this handout
picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA. (Reuters)

Rebel forces have frequently planted bombs and carried out mortar strikes in Damascus since the conflict began in March 2011. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the bloodshed and over 2 million people have been displaced as refugees.

At least 30 people were killed on October 20, when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden truck near the premises of an agricultural vehicle company, in the city of Hama. The explosion also set off a fuel truck, which increased the damage and casualties. At the beginning of the war in Syria, Hama was the scene of large-scale anti-government demonstrations.

On April 30, at least 13 people were killed and over 70 injured after a massive car bomb in Damascus. The bomb went off in the Marjeh district, a historic part of the capital, near the Semiramis hotel, which was once home to the Ministry of Interior Affairs. - RT.



WAR ON MOTHER NATURE: Mass Fish Die-Off - Disturbing Photos Of 10,000 Dead Fish Show What Happens When Waste Is Dumped Into A Lake In Shenzhen, China!

November 06, 2013 - CHINA - More than 10,000 fish were found dead near a sewage drain in a lake in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

This is not the first time this has happened in Shenzen — last year 50,00 fish were found floating in a pond near an industrial area last year — and it won't be the last as long as sewage and industrial waste are routinely dumped into Chinese rivers and lakes.


Workers collect dead fish at a park in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, November 5, 2013.

orkers collect dead fish at a park in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, November 5, 2013.

Dead fish are seen at a park in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, November 5, 2013.


Shenzen is also the site of "gutter oil" street food.

- Business Insider.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For November 6, 2013 - Updates On Sinabung, Klyuchevskoy, Karymsky, Shiveluch, Zhupanovsky And Batu Tara!

November 06, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe, courtesy of  Volcano Discovery.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): (5 Nov) The frequency and size of explosions seems to be picking up. Another eruption occurred this afternoon around 15:20 local time, sending an ash plume to 25,000 ft (7.5 km) altitude (VAAC Darwin).


Eruption of Sinabung this aftenoon (VSI webcam).

WATCH:  A small pyroclastic flow occurred during the explosion as well, visible on the following webcam time-lapse video:




Another explosion occurred this morning and produced an ash plume rising to 10,000 ft (3 km) altitude (VAAC Darwin).


Klyuchevskoy (Kamchatka): KVERT reports moderate seismic activity (amplitude of volcanic tremor: 5.11 mcm/s), which has doubled over the past days. Video data showed strong gas-steam activity of the volcano. (KVERT)


Karymsky (Kamchatka): KVERT reports ongoing (likely) strombolian and weak vulcanian activity. A thermal anomaly was detected on satellite data over the volcano and an ash cloud moved to 110 km to the east of the volcano. Ash emissions continued this morning.


Shiveluch (Kamchatka): Activity remains elevated. A new ash plume (likely from another partial dome collapse or explosion) was detected this morning at 03:22 GMT at an estimated altitude of 14,000 ft (4,2 km) extending to the east.


Zhupanovsky (Kamchatka, Russia): A small ash plume was reported this morning rising to 7,000 ft (2.1 km) altitude. Most likely, more phreatic explosions occurred again (such as already week ago).


Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Eruptions (strombolian to vulcanian type) continue at the remote island. An ash plume was spotted this morning on satellite images.


Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for November 6, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.



SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: "Discoveries Are Just Beginning" - Surprising Spiral Structure Found At Galaxy's Supermassive Black Hole?!

November 06, 2013 - SPACE - The image above shows the central parts of the nearby active galaxy NGC 1433. The dim blue background image, showing the central dust lanes of this galaxy, comes from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The colored structures near the center are from recent ALMA observations that have revealed a spiral shape, as well as an unexpected outflow, for the first time.




Two international teams of astronomers have used the power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to focus on jets from the huge black holes at the centers of galaxies and observe how they affect their surroundings. They have respectively obtained the best view yet of the molecular gas around a nearby, quiet black hole and caught an unexpected glimpse of the base of a powerful jet close to a distant black hole.

There are supermassive black holes — with masses up to several billion solar masses — at the hearts of almost all galaxies in the Universe, including the Milky Way. In the remote past, these bizarre objects were very active, swallowing enormous quantities of matter from their surroundings, shining with dazzling brilliance, and expelling tiny fractions of this matter through extremely powerful jets. In the current Universe, most supermassive black holes are much less active than they were in their youth, but the interplay between jets and their surroundings is still shaping galaxy evolution.

Two new studies, both published today in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, used ALMA to probe black hole jets at very different scales: a nearby and relatively quiet black hole in the galaxy NGC 1433 and a very distant and active object called PKS 1830-211.

"ALMA has revealed a surprising spiral structure in the molecular gas close to the center of NGC 1433," says Françoise Combes (Observatoire de Paris, France), who is the lead author of the first paper. "This explains how the material is flowing in to fuel the black hole. With the sharp new observations from ALMA, we have discovered a jet of material flowing away from the black hole, extending for only 150 light-years. This is the smallest such molecular outflow ever observed in an external galaxy."

The discovery of this outflow, which is being dragged along by the jet from the central black hole, shows how such jets can stop star formation and regulate the growth of the central bulges of galaxies. This process, called feedback, may explain the mysterious relationship between the mass of a black hole at the centre of a galaxy and the mass of the surrounding bulge. The black hole accretes gas and grows more active, but then produces jets that clear out gas from the surrounding regions and stop star formation.

In PKS 1830-211, Ivan Martí-Vidal (Chalmers University of Technology, Onsala Space Observatory, Onsala, Sweden) and his team also observed a supermassive black hole with a jet, but a much brighter and more active one in the early Universe . It is unusual because its brilliant light passes a massive intervening galaxy on its way to Earth, and is split into two images by gravitational lensing.

PKS 1830-211 has a redshift of 2.5, meaning that its light had to travel for about 11 billion years before reaching us. The light we see was emitted when the Universe was just 20% of its current age. By comparison the light from NGC 1433 takes only about 30 million years to reach the Earth, a very short time in galactic terms.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity predicts that light rays will be deflected as they pass a massive object such as a galaxy. This effect is called gravitational lensing and, since the first find in 1979, numerous such gravitational lenses have been discovered. The lensing can create multiple images as well as distort and magnify the background light sources.

From time to time, supermassive black holes suddenly swallow a huge amount of mass, which increases the power of the jet and boosts the radiation up to the very highest energies. And now ALMA has, by chance, caught one of these events as it happens in PKS 1830-211. The infalling material could be a star or a molecular cloud. Such an infalling cloud has been observed at the center of the Milky Way.

"The ALMA observation of this case of black hole indigestion has been completely serendipitous. We were observing PKS 1830-211 for another purpose, and then we spotted subtle changes of colour and intensity among the images of the gravitational lens. A very careful look at this unexpected behaviour led us to the conclusion that we were observing, just by a very lucky chance, right at the time when fresh new matter entered into the jet base of the black hole," says Sebastien Muller, a co-author of the second paper.

The team also looked to see whether this violent event had been picked up with other telescopes and were surprised to find a very clear signal in gamma rays, thanks to monitoring observations with NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The process that caused the increase of radiation at ALMA’s long wavelengths was also responsible of boosting the light in the jet dramatically, up to the highest energies in the Universe. This energy is emitted as gamma rays, the shortest wavelength and highest energy form of electromagnetic radiation.

"This is the first time that such a clear connection between gamma rays and submillimetre radio waves has been established as coming from the real base of a black hole's jet," adds Sebastien Muller.

The two new observations are just the start of ALMA's investigations into the workings of jets from supermassive black holes, near and far. Combes’s team is already studying other nearby active galaxies with ALMA and the unique object PKS 1830-211 is expected to be the focus of much future research with ALMA and other telescopes.

"There is still a lot to be learned about how black holes can create these huge energetic jets of matter and radiation," concludes Ivan Martí-Vidal. “But the new results, obtained even before ALMA was completed, show that it is a uniquely powerful tool for probing these jets — and the discoveries are just beginning!" - Daily Galaxy.



GLOBAL VOLCANISM: New Ash Explosions From The New Southeast Crater At Italy's Mount Etna - Seismic Unrest And Earthquake Swarm Indicate That "Something" Could Be In The Making?!

November 06, 2013 - ITALY - Seismic unrest continues and gives the general impression that "something" could be in the making at the volcano.


Ash emission from Etna's New SE crater.

Ash emission from Etna's New SE crater.


A swarm of earthquakes at depths around 15-20 km has been going on under the SW flank, suggesting magma could be rising from deeper reservoirs into the volcano's shallower storage areas.

Tremor has been showing a rising tendency, but so far, no particular eruptive activity has been observed.


Depth vs time of earthquakes under Etna during the past 7 days.

Map of recent earthquakes under Etna.

Current tremor signal (ESLN station, INGV Catania).


Since about an hour ago, some relatively strong explosions re-appeared to occur at the New SE crater. This could be a signal that it is heading towards a new paroxysm in the near future.

Tremor continues to rise slowly. The next days (if not hours) will probably give the answer. - Volcano Discovery.



FUK-U-SHIMA: "A Catastrophic Event,... The Most Terrifying Situation I Can Imagine,... All Hell Could Break Loose,... " - Mega-Quake Near Fukushima Would "Decimate Japan, Lead To The Evacuation Of The Entire United States West Coast;" Probability Of A Large Quake In The Next 3 Years Is 95 PERCENT!

November 06, 2013 - JAPAN - The stricken nuclear plant at Fukushima in northern Japan is in such a delicate condition that a future earthquake could trigger a disaster that would decimate Japan and affect the entire West Coast of North America, a prominent scientist has warned.


An aerial view shows the Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima
Daiichi nuclear power plant (Reuters/Kyodo)


Speaking at a symposium on water ecology at the University of Alberta in Canada, prominent Japanese-Canadian scientist David Suzuki said that the Japanese government had been “lying through its teeth” about the true extent of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

He attributed the cover-up to the Japanese government’s collusion with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) that administers the plant.

“Fukushima is the most terrifying situation that I can imagine,” Suzuki said, adding that another earthquake could trigger a potentially catastrophic, nuclear disaster.

“The fourth [reactor] has been so badly damaged that the fear is if there’s another earthquake of a 7 or above then that building will go and all hell breaks loose,” he said, adding that the chances of an earthquake measuring 7 or above in Japan over the next three years were over 95 percent.

“If the fourth [reactor] goes under an earthquake and those rods are exposed, then it’s bye, bye, Japan and everybody on the west coast of North America should be evacuated. And if that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is,” Suzuki said. 


WATCH:  Suzuki and Schindler on Fukushima. 





 ‘Too proud’

Addressing the Japanese government’s attempts to bring the crisis under control, Suzuki said the scientists charged with the plant’s safety “don’t know what to do.”

“The thing we need is to let a group of international experts go in with complete freedom to do what they suggest,” Suzuki said, adding that the only thing impeding this was the “pride” of the Japanese government that was refusing to admit this was necessary.

Suzuki referred to the current scheme of freezing the soil around the reactor to prevent radioactive leaks as “cockamany.”

TEPCO has accepted the US government’s help in undertaking the risky cleanup operation of the Fukushima site. Teams of experts will begin the removal of fuel rods from the fourth reactor in mid-November in a decommissioning process that is likely to take decades. One wrong move in the delicate operation could result in horrific quantities of radiation being released into the atmosphere or trigger a massive explosion.

Dr Helen Caldicott described the risks of removing the rods to RT as “terribly serious” because of the danger of releasing a large amount of radiation.

“Two rods could touch each other in this process which has been done before and there could be a fission reaction and a very large release of radiation.”

Suzuki, a prominent environmental campaigner and scientist from the University of British Columbia, whose television science programs and books have gained a wide international audience, has been very vocal in his criticisms of Japan in its handling of the disaster.


WATCH:  Japanese media given rare look inside stricken nuclear plant. 





Despite his prominence in Canada, Suzuki has been criticized in the past by the media for double standards and his credentials as a scientist have been queried. While his television programs encourage society to consume less fossil fuel and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, Suzuki reportedly lives in one of Vancouver’s most exclusive areas and has faced criticism over his globetrotting airplane travel.

However, with regard to the current situation at Fukushima, a number of scientists have echoed Suzuki’s concerns. Nuclear technology historian Robert Jacobs told RT that there could easily be more destruction at the plant’s fourth reactor.

“If this building were to collapse, which could happen, it would spill these spent nuclear fuel rods all over the ground which would make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics impossible and could threaten all kinds of health problems throughout northern Japan and Tokyo itself,” Jacobs said. - RT.



FIRE IN THE SKY: NASA's All-Sky Cameras Captures 35 Fireballs, Including 26 Sporadics In The First 4 Days Of November!

November 06, 2013 - SPACE - Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs.




Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. 


On Nov. 1, 2013, the network reported 11 fireballs (9 sporadics, 2 Orionids).




On Nov. 2, 2013, the network reported 12 fireballs (9 sporadics, 1 Orionid, 1 Northern Taurid, 1 omicron Eridanid).




On Nov. 4, 2013, the network reported 12 fireballs (8 sporadics, 3 Northern Taurids, 1 Orionid).




In these diagrams of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]


- Space Weather.



INFRASTRUCTURE & SOCIETAL COLLAPSE: Coordinated IED Blasts - Several Explosions Rock Provincial Headquarters Of China's Communist Party Killing One Person And Injuring 8 Others!

November 06, 2013 - CHINA - At least one person has been killed and eight wounded after a series of improvised devices exploded outside an office building of a provincial headquarters of the Communist Party of China in Taiyuan.

Seven explosions occurred at around 07:40 local time near the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, South China Morning Post reports.


Photo from weibo.com.

Photo from weibo.com.

People stand on a street after an explosion outside a provincial headquarters of China's ruling Communist
Party in Taiyuan, north China's Shanxi province on November 6, 2013. (AFP/China Out)

One person has been killed and eight wounded and two cars damaged in the blasts, according to official reports.

 The explosive devices were planted in roadside flowerbeds, according to CCTV, which added over 20 vehicles were damaged by the explosions including the passing buses.

Ball bearings likely embedded within an improvised explosive device (IED) were found at the scene, Xinhua reports.


Policemen cordon off a street after an explosion outside a provincial headquarters of China's ruling
Communist Party in Taiyuan, north China's Shanxi province on November 6, 2013. (AFP/China Out)

Massive metal pellets.  Photo from weibo.com.

Photo from weibo.com.

 Taiyuan is the largest city in the northern Shanxi province, with 4 million residents, located about 250 miles northeast of Beijing.

Last week, the Chinese government pointed to Islamists after an attack in central Beijing near Tiananmen Square that left five dead. - RT.



TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - The U.S. Military Is Building An Iron Man Suit!

November 06, 2013 - UNITED STATES - While some may view the Mark series of suits in the Iron Man comics and movies as science fiction, the Pentagon sees a real-world goal.


Iron Man 3, Photograph by Walt Disney Pictures via Everett Collection

A program to incorporate several technologies in a futuristic suit for U.S. special operations forces has started soliciting technical designs to help deploy the first one as soon as next year. The aim of the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (Talos) is to give special ops fighters greater protection inside armor that can withstand bullets, all while downloading live video data from drones and other sources. The suit would have a powered exoskeleton that could help a soldier move quickly while carrying heavy weight. “It also would carry a built-in oxygen supply in case of poison gas, a cooling system to keep soldiers comfortable, and sensors to transmit the wearer’s vital signs back to headquarters,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The suit won’t imitate the movies in one critical way, at least for many, many years: There will be no zooming around the globe at jet speeds. Flight is a fanciful, Herculean technical hurdle, and isn’t core to the suit’s primary goals. A more practical challenge shared with the fictional Tony Stark is perfecting the proper battery to power such a suit, given the perennial conflict between size and weight and the need to keep the suit flexible and not burdensome.

The project is being overseen by the U.S. Special Operations Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Unlike a traditional defense contracting program, the Special Operations Command is gathering technologies required for the project and will itself integrate them into a final suit prototype. A second demonstration of various components for the suit is scheduled for Nov. 20, roughly four months after the initial session in Tampa. About 60 products have been submitted so far, although no funds have been allotted to any company, said Lieutenant Commander Li Cohen. The first fighters assigned to the suits will likely be on “kinetic missions,” she said, where there’s a high probability of combat and weapons fire.

The program is on track to have a “first-generation capability” by summer 2014, according to a video produced by the command. “I am very committed to this because I’d like that last operator that we lost to be the last one that we ever lose, in this fight or in the fight of the future,” Admiral William McRaven, who leads the Special Operations Command, says in the video.

The program has attracted interest from dozens of mostly smaller firms, although Raytheon (RTN) is one of the larger Pentagon contractors that’s expressed interest in Talos and similar efforts. The company declined to comment because the work is competitive. One technology that Raytheon has been working on for several years is an exoskeleton system that would allow a soldier to move heavy weights.

Clark Gregg, the agent who plays Agent Phil Coulson in the Iron Man and Avengers movies and on the ABC (DIS) television show S.H.I.E.L.D., visited Raytheon’s research facility in Utah in 2010 to observe and test the exoskeleton. Raytheon posted a video on its YouTube channel. Consider it a teaser trailer of sorts.


WATCH:  'Iron Man' Actor Clark Gregg Spends a Day With the Raytheon Sarcos XOS 2 Exoskeleton. 





- Business Week.