Tuesday, June 3, 2008

China earthquake death toll rises to 67,183

BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from China's May 12 earthquake increased by more than 2,100 to 67,183 as of midday Tuesday, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

A total of 361,822 people were injured and 20,790 others are missing in the 8.0-magnitude quake that struck the southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12.

More than 45.61 million people were affected and about 15 million have been relocated, according to the office.

As of 7 p.m. on Monday, the quake had left 66,674 dead and 350,133 injured in Sichuan alone. A total of 83,988 people had been rescued and more than 6.7 million had been relocated.

A total of 64,719 bodies had been buried in the province.

Hospitals have treated 84,810 injured, of whom 54,374 have been discharged, while 16,288 remain hospitalized and 6,363 have been transferred to other parts of the country for treatment.

Signs of the Crossing of Nibiru

Global and Solar System Warming
Earth is heating up lately, but so are Mars, Pluto and other worlds in our solar system, leading some scientists to speculate that a change in the sun’s activity is the common thread linking all these baking events.
Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University who monitors studies and news reports of asteroids, global warming and other potentially apocalyptic topics, recently quoted in his daily electronic newsletter the following from a blog called Strata-Sphere:

“Global warming on Neptune's moon Triton as well as Jupiter and Pluto, and now Mars has some [scientists] scratching their heads over what could possibly be in common with the warming of all these planets ... Could there be something in common with all the planets in our solar system that might cause them all to warm at the same time?”
In what is largely a reversal of an August announcement, astronomers today said Pluto is undergoing global warming in its thin atmosphere even as it moves farther from the Sun on its long, odd-shaped orbit.

Pluto's atmospheric pressure has tripled over the past 14 years, indicating a stark temperature rise, the researchers said. The change is likely a seasonal event, much as seasons on Earth change as the hemispheres alter their inclination to the Sun during the planet's annual orbit.
They suspect the average surface temperature increased about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or slightly less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Global Warming on Pluto Puzzles Scientists
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
Mars is being hit by rapid climate change and it is happening so fast that the red planet could lose its southern ice cap, writes Jonathan Leake.
Scientists from NASA say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period.

New Storm on Jupiter Hints at Climate Change
By Sara Goudarzi
Staff Writer
Global Warming Detected on Triton
There may not be much industrial pollution on Neptune's largest moon, but things are hotting up nonetheless...
The Earth is not alone in suffering global warming. According to observations made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and several ground-based instruments, temperatures on Neptune's largest moon have increased dramatically since the Voyager space probe swung by in 1989. So much so, in fact, that Triton's surface of frozen nitrogen is turning into gas, making its thin atmosphere denser by the day.
"At least since 1989, Triton has been undergoing a period of global warming," confirms astronomer James Elliot, professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Percentage-wise, it's a very large increase."
Elliot and colleagues from the Lowell Observatory and Williams College report their findings in the June 25 issue of the journal Nature. Triton's 5 percent increase on the absolute temperature scale from about -392 to -389 degrees Fahrenheit would be like the Earth experiencing a jump of some 22 degrees Fahrenheit in just nine years.

Myanmar cyclone: Burma death toll jumps to 78,000

The official death toll of the cyclone disaster in Burma has risen to 78,000, as the country's military regime continues block aid from reaching 2.5 million survivors.

According to state television, as of May 15 more than 55,000 people were missing and almost 20,000 have been injured in the worst disaster in the country's history, which hit two weeks ago.

Independent experts have said the actual number is probably far higher, with British officials saying the total dead and missing could be more than 200,000.

The great oil swindle: How much did the Fed really know?

By Mike Whitney
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 3, 2008, 00:26

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The Commodity Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) is investigating trading in oil futures to determine whether the surge in prices to record levels is the result of manipulation or fraud. They might want to take a look at wheat, rice and corn futures while they're at it.

The whole thing is a hoax cooked up by the investment banks and hedge funds who are trying to dig their way out of the trillion dollar mortgage-backed securities (MBS) mess that they created by turning garbage loans into securities. That scam blew up in their face last August and left them scrounging for handouts from the Federal Reserve. Now the billions of dollars they're getting from the Fed are being diverted into commodities which are destabilizing the world economy; driving gas prices to the moon and triggering food riots across the planet.

For months we've been told that the soaring price of oil has been the result of Peak Oil, fighting in Iraq, attacks on oil facilities in Nigeria, labor problems in Norway, and (the all-time favorite) growth in China. It's all baloney. Just like Goldman Sachs prediction of $200 per barrel oil is baloney. If oil is about to skyrocket then why has G-Sax kept a neutral rating on some of its oil holdings like Exxon Mobile? Could it be that they know that oil is just another mega-inflated equity bubble -- like housing, corporate bonds and dot.com stocks -- that is about to crash to earth as soon as the big players grab a parachute?

There are three things that are driving up the price of oil: the falling dollar, speculation and buying on margin.

The dollar is tanking because the Federal Reserve's low interest monetary policies have kept interest rates below the rate of inflation for most of the last decade. Add that to the $700 billion current account deficit and a national debt that has increased from $5.8 trillion when Bush first took office to over $9 trillion today and it's a wonder the dollar hasn't gone �Poof� already.

According to a January 4 editorial in the Wall Street Journal: �If the dollar had remained 'as good as gold' since 2001, oil today would be selling at about $30 per barrel, not $99. The decline of the dollar against gold and oil suggests a US monetary that is supplying too many dollars.� Wall Street Journal 1-4-08

The price of oil has more than quadrupled since 2001, from roughly $30 per barrel to $127, WITHOUT ANY DISRUPTIONS TO SUPPLY. There's no shortage; it's just gibberish.

Real-Time Solar Wind June-3, 2008,

Real-Time Solar Wind DATA

Click to get values and an explanation

USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

CHAITEN- Southern Chile 42.833°S, 72.646°W; summit elev. 1122 m

Based on observations of satellite imagery and pilot reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 21 and 23-27 May ash plumes from Chaitén rose to altitudes of 3-6.4 km (10,000-21,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted N, NE, E, and SE. Cloudy conditions occasionally inhibited observations. A thermal anomaly was present on 26 May.

SEMERU Eastern Java (Indonesia) 8.108°S, 112.92°E; summit elev. 3676 m

USGS reported that during 15, 17-19, and 21 May, ash plumes rose from Semeru's summit, rockfalls descended the flanks, and multiple pyroclastic flows traveled 500-3000 m from the active crater. On 21 May, incandescent material was propelled from the summit. Based on visual observations and increased seismicity, CVGHM raised the Alert Level from 2 to 3 (on a scale of 1-4). The community was advised not to go within 4 km from the summit on the SE flank.


y/m/d h:m:s
MAP 6.1 2008/06/03 17:31:32 -8.219 120.281 10.0 FLORES REGION, INDONESIA
MAP 6.2 2008/06/03 16:20:52 -10.405 161.336 89.9 SOLOMON ISLANDS

Syria lambasts Israel, US over nuclear claims

DAMASCUS, June 3 (AFP) Jun 03, 2008
Syria's official press lashed out at the United States and Israel on Tuesday over claims it was building a secret nuclear reactor, and said the Jewish state's own atomic facilities should be subject to international inspection.

UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Monday that his inspectors would this month visit the site of the suspected reactor that was bombed by Israeli warplanes in September last year.

The site at Al-Kibar was attacked after Israeli and US intelligence concluded it was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, but the Syrians have denied the allegations.

"The American and Israeli claims are false. Instead, Israel should be called on to submit its own nuclear installations to international inspection so at least we know how many nuclear weapons it possesses," Syria's official Ath-Thawra newspaper said in an editorial.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear armed power in the Middle East but has a policy of neither confirming nor denying its arsenal and is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

On Monday, ElBaradei criticised Israel for attacking the site before the International Atomic Energy Agency had a chance to inspect it, and the United States for waiting until April to pass on intelligence alleging that the reactor had a military purpose and was built with North Korea's help.

Khamenei rejects charges Iran seeking nuclear bomb

<A HREF="http://a.tribalfusion.com/h.click/atmNQCUVn54UismdetXTev2dUZaQcJC2mQZaot6tVWJaXrMa1UJf1TZaNSrMFWUU1Wdr4mrQvRbFMYqQt5EJa4qrXnaMH1rf9TWMRoAvZdpsYwpWrJ3Ev83tmt56FZanbQEXGQRXGUXXsFOpTFR2bQPWbjGWmQXREbgOatHKv/http://www.instantconference.com/?Source=TribalFusion&Group=stack160x600" TARGET="_blank"><IMG SRC=http://cdn5.tribalfusion.com/media/1183296/160.jpg WIDTH=160 HEIGHT=600 BORDER=0></A>
TEHRAN, June 3 (AFP) Jun 03, 2008
Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday vehemently rejected charges Tehran was seeking a nuclear weapon, amid mounting concern from the UN atomic agency about the Iranian atomic drive.

"The Iranian nation is not seeking a nuclear weapon," Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state television to mark the anniversary of the death in 1989 of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

"We are seeking nuclear energy for peaceful purposes for daily use and we will continue this path to the envy of our enemies. We will mightily achieve this aim," he added.

Khamenei has in the past frequently stated Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful and that nuclear weapons are against Islam. But the vehemence and detailed explanation of Tuesday's speech were unusual.

His comments come a day after UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei urged "full disclosure" over allegations that Tehran hid key information about weaponisation in its contested nuclear programme.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has in the past months been investigating intelligence given by Western countries that Iran has studied how to make an atomic weapon, much to Tehran's fury.

The watchdog is currently holding its summer meeting of the 35-member board of governors, and the Iranian nuclear programme is a key issue.

In its latest report, the IAEA expressed "serious concern" that Iran was hiding information about alleged studies into making nuclear warheads as well as defying UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment.

But Khamenei said: "You know the Iranian nation is in principle and on religious grounds against the nuclear weapon. Nuclear weapons only incur high costs and have no use. They do not bring power to a nation."

Khamenei also expressed concern that "terrorists" could one day gain possession of a nuclear bomb and cause havoc throughout the world.

"Sooner or later, international terrorists will get their hands on nuclear weapons and bring the security of the world arrogance (the West) and all the other nations to an end," he said.

Monkeys' Brains Operate Robotic Arm

Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News
May 28, 2008

In a mental meeting of monkey and machine, two primates have learned to feed themselves with a robotic arm by controlling the appendage with signals from their brains.

The success boosts hopes for mind-controlled robotic prosthetics that may help disabled humans achieve some mobility.

The experiment employed "visualization" methods of learning that study leader Andrew Schwartz likens to those employed by many professional athletes.

"You show the animal what you want him to do, and neurons in the brain go off as if he were actually doing it," said Schwartz, a neurobiologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Mapping that brain activity enabled Schwartz and colleagues to figure out what nerve cell activity produced the desired physical actions.

Recording the Brain

Probes the width of a human hair were inserted into the neuronal pathways of the monkeys' motor cortex—a brain region that controls voluntary muscle movement.

Physical movement begins as electrical impulses generated by the activity of thousands of nerve cells.

When a monkey envisioned moving the arm, probes captured the neural activity and sent the information to a computer, which mapped that data to specific physical motions.

With U.S. Farmland Maxed Out, Growers Tap Into Reserves

Even though soaring commodity prices are bringing new pressures to increase agricultural output, U.S. farmland is maxed out, he said, limiting any response to price hikes and highlighting how agricultural productivity has failed to keep pace with increasing world demand.

"For about the first time in our history—other than the Second World War and after the Russian grain purchase—most of our good quality land in the United States is in production right now," he said.

About 2 million acres (810,000 hectares) coming out of the reserve program will be put back into production this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Another 6 million acres (2.4 million hectares), much of it formerly hay, pasture, and grassland, will be put into corn, soybeans, and wheat, added Doering, who is also the president of the American Agricultural Economics Association.