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Interesting Geography stuff for InterHigh

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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Is this the option you would go for?

Posted by Lindy on July 2, 2011


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Want to see where Osama bin Laden was?

Posted by Lindy on May 5, 2011

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Notes to subscribers

Posted by Lindy on May 1, 2010

Please could you use the categories already there as often as you can.

But also add tags – any you think useful

Makes searching more effective!

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Louisiana Oil Spill Crisis Spirals out of control!

Posted by alec8c on April 29, 2010

Quite revelant to how humans can damage biomes or ecosystems and make them fragile environments, this oil spill seems to have been disastrously underestimated:

NEW ORLEANS — Government officials said late Wednesday that oil might be leaking from a well in the Gulf of Mexico at a rate five times larger than initial estimates have suggested.

In a hastily called news conference, Rear Adm. Mary Landry of the Coast Guard said a scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had concluded oil is leaking from the site of a rig blast at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day, not 1,000 as had been estimated.

While emphasizing that the estimates are rough, given that the leak is 5,000 feet below the surface, Landry said the new estimate came from observations made in flights over the spill, studying the trajectory of the spill and other variables.

Doug Suttles, chief operating officer for exploration and production at BP, said a third leak had been discovered as well. Officials had previously spoken of two leaks in the riser, the 5,000-foot-long pipe that connected the rig to the wellhead and is now detached and snaking along the sea floor. Landry said President Barack Obama had been notified. She also opened up the possibility that if the government determines BP — which leased the rig and is responsible for the cleanup — cannot handle the spill with the resources available in the private sector that the Department of Defense could become involved to contribute technology.

Wind patterns may push the spill into the coast of Louisiana as soon as Friday night, officials said, prompting consideration of more urgent measures to protect coastal wildlife, including using cannons to scare off birds and employing local shrimpers to use their boats as makeshift oil skimmers in the shallows.

Part of the oil slick was only 16 miles offshore and closing in on the marshlands at the southeastern tip of Louisiana, where the Mississippi River empties into the ocean. Already 100,000 feet of protective booming has been laid down to protect the shoreline, with 500,000 feet more standing by, said Charlie Henry, an oil-spill expert for NOAA.

“It’s premature to say this is catastrophic,” Landry said. “I will say this is very serious.”

On Wednesday, cleanup crews began corralling concentrated parts of the spill and burning it. The process has been tested effectively on other spills, but weather and ecological concerns can complicate things.

Landry called the burn “one tool in a tool kit” to tackle the spill. The other tactics include using remote-controlled vehicles to shut off the well at its source on the sea floor, an operation that has so far been unsuccessful; dropping domes over the leaks at the sea floor and routing the oil to the surface to be collected, an operation untested at such depths that would take at least two to four more weeks; and drilling relief wells to stop up the gushing cavity with concrete, mud or other heavy liquid, a solution that is months away.

An explosion and fire on the rig April 20 left 11 workers missing and presumed dead. The rig sank two days later. The riser that connected the rig to the wellhead detached and fell to the sea floor.

Officials activated a dramatic plan last night to set fire to a spreading oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, amid fears that it could reach the US coastline as early as tomorrow.

The oily tide, which spans 100 miles (160km) at its longest and 40 miles at its widest, has moved to within 20 miles of Louisiana. The United States Coast Guard said that it had conducted a test burn on an area of about 500 sq ft (46 sq m).

The controlled burn involves containing patches of the oil-water mixture inside booms and igniting them, probably using a flame-thrower device slung from a helicopter.

It would pollute the atmosphere with columns of smoke and ash thousands of feet high and experts say that only about 3 per cent of the pollutant could be removed this way.

However, it could be enough to prevent the black tide from overwhelming onshore wildlife habitats and sensitive marshland.

“We realise there are benefits and trade-offs,” said Rear-Admiral Mary Landry, of the Coast Guard, who is leading the Government’s response to the disaster. She described the incident as potentially “one of the most significant oilspills in US history”.

The interfaces between land and sea, and fresh and salt water are immensely productive, creating nursery grounds for almost all of the commercially important fish species in the Gulf.

Burning emulsified oil before a relief well can be drilled is an act of desperation, passing the problem from ocean to atmosphere to keep the coastlines of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida breathing. The plan is an admission that the $6 million a day (£4 million) operation to bring the crisis under control has failed.

BP, Britain’s second-largest company, was facing more questions yesterday over its role in the incident after the US Government announced three separate investigations into the cause of the disaster.

Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, said that the company was co-operating fully with the investigations by the Department of the Interior and the Department of Homeland Security, the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

It came to light yesterday, however, that BP rejected calls last year for stricter rules on offshore drilling proposed by US regulators. In a letter in September, Richard Morrison, BP’s vice-president of production for the Gulf of Mexico, said that the group was “not supportive of the extensive prescriptive regulations” proposed by America’s Minerals Management Service.

Oil started oozing out of the well last Tuesday when a surge of pressure forced its way up a pipe leading from the seabed to the Deepwater Horizon rig, causing it to erupt in a fireball. Eleven people were killed and 115 escaped in life capsules.

BP has drafted in experts from around the world to join a 1,000-strong task force.

But Aaron Wiles, of the Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental group in New Orleans, told The Times: “They haven’t shown any ability to contain this spill. We are concerned that the response is insufficient and that BP is not expending the necessary resources. As it stands already, this is a significant environmental catastrophe. If it comes ashore it gets even worse.”

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Triplet of natural disasters

Posted by alec8c on April 15, 2010

India-Bangladesh storm

At least 100 people have died in a powerful storm that hit areas on the border between India and Bangladesh.

Many more are injured or trapped in rubble as about 50,000 houses were hit by winds of up to 160 km/h (100mph). The deadly winds ravaged tin, concrete and mud houses and brought down trees. “The storm has left a trail of destruction everywhere,” West Bengal’s civil defence minister Srikumar Mukherji told local television in the North Dinajpur district.

Medical and food supplies have been rushed to the area after the cyclone struck overnight on Tuesday.North-eastern areas of West Bengal and Bihar states and the Bangladeshi state of Rangpur were worst-hit, said officials.

It is the most violent storm in this area since Cyclone Aila hit eastern India and Bangladesh in May last year, killing more than 150 people.West Bengal’s Uttar Dinajpur district was struck badly, with nearly 40 dead.

Much of the district is without power because electricity poles collapsed after trees uprooted by the storm fell on them. Survivor Abhijit Karmokar told local television that many had been killed or injured by flying debris.


“Some of these tin roofs just sliced through people… it was total darkness… we stood no chance,” he said.

Indian authorities say emergency supplies have been rushed to the area and temporary shelters have been set up for those who had lost their homes.

Emergency teams have been pouring into western China’s Qinghai province, a day after a deadly earthquake devastated the mountainous region.

Thousands of homeless and injured people await relief. The epicentre of the earthquake that struck on 14 April is about 50km (31 miles) west of Jiegu, the main town of Yushu county, about 800km away from Xining.

Officials say 617 people died and 9,980 were injured when the tremor hit early on Wednesday – 313 remain missing. Rescuers tore at the rubble with their bare hands and shovels, as emergency convoys battled through sandstorms and sleet to disaster-hit Yushu county.


Chris Hogg, BBC News, Qinghai province
In one direction on the road to Yushu county, long convoys of heavy-lifting equipment, military vehicles, relief supplies, soldiers and police are heading to the worst-affected area.In the other, one or two families of refugees are heading away from the quake zone. What looks like all they could salvage from their homes is packed on the back of small tractors.It’s bitterly cold here – they try to shelter from the wind, huddling among their small possessions. Meanwhile, in the area behind them the rescue operation continues.It’s very hard to reach this rural area, 4,000m above sea level, and rescue teams have travelled considerable distances from neighbouring provinces.There are shortages of tents, as well as medical workers, equipment and supplies. The relief effort has been further hampered by a series of aftershocks.

“Freezing weather, high altitude and thin air have all made rescue efforts difficult,” Hou Shike, deputy head of China International Search and Rescue, told official news agency Xinhua.

Snaking rescue convoys rumbled in the early hours of Thursday along the 1,000-km (620-mile) highway separating Yushu from the Qinghai provincial capital, Xining.

As well as the remote location, which sits at an altitude of around 13,000ft (4,000m), more logistical problems were posed by aftershocks. The quake also knocked out phone and power lines and triggered landslides.

Survivors shivered through Wednesday night in the open as temperatures fell below freezing. In the township of Jiegu, 85% of buildings have been destroyed, officials say.

Several schools collapsed and at least 66 pupils and 10 teachers were among the dead, Xinhua reported. Emergency workers were seen removing dust-covered dead infants from rubble.

‘War zone’

One resident, Lungme, told Xinhua news agency that she and five of her relatives were buried when their home collapsed in Jiegu township, near the epicentre of the quake. “It was all so sudden. I had no time to react,” the agency quoted her as saying. She and four others were dug out but her mother died. “Eight people in one of my neighbour’s family were all buried. They were all dead when they were found,” she said.

Ren Yu, the manager of Jiegu’s Yushu hotel, said that the town “felt like a war zone”. “It’s a complete mess. At night, people were crying and shouting. Women were crying for their families,” the Associated Press news agency quoted him as saying.

“Some of the people have broken legs or arms, but all they can get now is an injection. They were crying in pain.”

Drolma said her brother described a devastating situation in Yushu. “On one of the three main streets he went down – there are just dead bodies everywhere,” she said.

She said that based on what relatives had told her, she believed the death toll would be higher than the figure of 600 currently being reported. Drolma said that people in Yushu were hoping that aid would arrive soon.

“People tried to escape to the mountains but in the mountains it’s really cold and they’ve got no tents, there’s no food – whatever they are wearing, that’s all they’ve got. “I just called my brother and he said he is walking down the street. It’s pitch black, there’s nothing, nowhere to go. He said to me: ‘Sister, how do I keep warm? Who’s going to give me anything? Everyone is just freezing here.'”

Flights have been disrupted across northern Europe by volcanic ash drifting south and east from Iceland.

The ash, which can damage aeroplane engines, was limiting air traffic in countries including the UK, Norway, Sweden and Finland, officials said.

It was produced by a volcanic eruption under a glacier in southern Iceland. As many as 800 people were evacuated on Wednesday from their homes in the area, where flooding was reported as the glacier melted.

Eyewitnesses and local officials said there were two flows of flood water coming off the glacier, and that a road along the flooded Markarfljot river had been cut in several places. By Thursday morning, the disruption to air traffic stretched from the UK to Scandinavia.

‘Large floods’

Oslo airport, which is Norway’s largest, was closed, while Finland’s airport agency Finavia said air traffic to northern Sweden and northern Finland was also affected.


The volcanic ash cloud reached about 55,000ft, Eurocontrol says

In the UK, airports in Scotland were closed while flights at several English airports had been suspended.

The last volcanic eruption at the Eyjafjallajoekull glacier was on 20 March – the first since 1821 – and it forced about 500 people in the sparsely populated area from their homes.

Iceland lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the highly volatile boundary between the Eurasian and North American continental plates. A group of Norweigians including the ambassador who were camping near the volcano were among those expecting to be evacuated late on Wednesday.

“There are large floods on both sides of the volcano, and the road in (to where they are) is blocked and the whole area is isolated due to the floods,” said Per Landroe, a spokesman for the Norweigian embassy. “There are fears that a large bridge will break,” he told AFP.

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Massive earthquake strikes Chile

Posted by alec8c on March 3, 2010

Of course this is the main earthquake, with a tsnami as well.

A massive earthquake has hit central Chile and killed at least 214 people, the interior minister says.

The 8.8 quake caused widespread damage, destroying buildings, bridges and roads in many areas. Electricity, water and phone lines were cut. Chilean President Michele Bachelet said that altogether two million people had been affected.

Several Pacific countries were hit by waves higher than usual after a tsunami was set off by the quake. In French Polynesia waves 6ft (1.8m) high swept ashore, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

In Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand, residents in coastal areas were warned to move to higher ground. Hawaii later lifted its tsunami warning after waves measuring just under 1m (3ft) high struck but caused no damage.

The earthquake struck at 0634 GMT, 115km (70 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 325km south-west of the capital Santiago. It is the biggest to hit Chile in 50 years. At least 85 people died in the region of Maule alone, local journalists there said. Many deaths were also in reported in the regions of Santiago, O’Higgins, Biobio, Araucania and Valparaiso. Television pictures showed a major bridge at Concepcion had collapsed into the Biobio river.

Rescue teams are finding it difficult to reach Concepcion because of damage to infrastructure, national television reported.


In Santiago, where at least 13 people were killed, several buildings collapsed – including a car park where dozens of cars were smashed.

A fire at a chemical plant in the outskirts of the capital forced the evacuation of the neighbourhood.

Haiti, 12 Jan 2010: About 230,000 people die after shallow 7.0 magnitude quake
Sumatra, Indonesia, 26 Dec 2004: 9.2 magnitude. Triggers Asian tsunami that kills nearly 250,000 people
Alaska, US, 28 March 1964: 9.2 magnitude; 128 people killed. Anchorage badly damaged
Chile, south of Concepcion, 22 May 1960: 9.5 magnitude. About 1,655 deaths. Tsunami hits Hawaii and Japan
Kamchatka, NE Russia, 4 Nov 1952: 9.0 magnitude

Damage to Santiago international airport’s terminal will keep it closed for at least 72 hours, officials said. Flights are being diverted to Mendoza in Argentina.

Ms Bachelet declared a “state of catastrophe” in affected areas and appealed for calm.

She said: “We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have.”

Tsunami waves reached the Juan Fernandez island group, reaching halfway into one inhabited area. Local media say that five people died there and several others are missing.

Two aid ships are reported to be on their way.

One resident of Chillan, 100km from the epicentre, told Chilean television the shaking there lasted about two minutes.

Other residents of Chillan and Curico said communications were down but running water was still available.

Many of Chile’s news websites and radio stations are still not accessible.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said the US had aid resources in position to deploy should the Chilean government ask for help.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake struck at a depth of about 35km.

It also recorded at least eight aftershocks, the largest of 6.9 magnitude at 0801 GMT.

The USGS said tsunami effects had been observed at Valparaiso, west of Santiago, with a wave height of 1.69m above normal sea level.

One journalist speaking to Chilean national television from the city of Temuco, 600km south of Santiago, said many people there had left their homes, determined to spend the rest of the night outside. Some people on the streets were in tears.

Chile is highly vulnerable to earthquakes as it is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, on the edge of the Pacific and South American plates.

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Powerful Italian quake kills many

Posted by alec8c on March 2, 2010

Link to video and audio talk:

As you probably know an earthquake has hit Italy pretty badly, here’s some information from the BBC on it:

At least 90 people are believed dead and tens of thousands homeless after an earthquake hit L’Aquila and other towns in central Italy, rescuers say.

About 1,500 people were injured and many people are still missing as rescuers search desperately for survivors trapped beneath rubble.

The 6.3-magnitude quake struck at 0330 (0130 GMT) close to L’Aquila.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is in the city, has promised a “record number of rescuers”.

“Nobody has been left on their own,” he said, adding that a field hospital was being set up to help local medical services. Earlier, he declared a state of emergency.

Altogether, 26 cities and towns have been damaged, officials say. In L’Aquila, 95km (60 miles) north-east of Rome, between 3,000 and 10,000 buildings in the medieval city may have been damaged.

Between 30,000 and 40,000 people are believed to have lost their homes and the authorities are working to find them shelter before nightfall.

The BBC’s Duncan Kennedy in L’Aquila described bemused and confused locals wrapped in blankets and carrying their personal belongings in suitcases walking, like a stream of refugees, through the devastation.

The rescue service is stretched to breaking point as it tries to reach all the devastated buildings and deal with the mounting casualty toll, our correspondent adds.

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Chemists Create Synthetic ‘Gene-Like’ Crystals for Carbon Dioxide Capture

Posted by alec8c on February 12, 2010

It seems we have a new hope in the battle against global warming!

ScienceDaily (Feb. 12, 2010) — UCLA chemists report creating a synthetic “gene” that could capture heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming, rising sea levels and the increased acidity of oceans.

“We created three-dimensional, synthetic DNA-like crystals,” said UCLA chemistry and biochemistry professor Omar M. Yaghi, who is a member of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA and the UCLA-Department of Energy Institute of Genomics and Proteomics. “We have taken organic and inorganic units and combined them into a synthetic crystal which codes information in a DNA-like manner. It is by no means as sophisticated as DNA, but it is certainly new in chemistry and materials science.”

The discovery could lead to cleaner energy, including technology that factories and cars can use to capture carbon dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere.

“What we think this will be important for is potentially getting to a viable carbon dioxide-capture material with ultra-high selectivity,” said Yaghi, who holds UCLA’s Irving and Jean Stone Chair in Physical Sciences and is director of UCLA’s Center for Reticular Chemistry. “I am optimistic that is within our reach. Potentially, we could create a material that can convert carbon dioxide into a fuel, or a material that can separate carbon dioxide with greater efficiency.” The research was federally funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences. The lead author is Hexiang “DJ” Deng, a UCLA graduate student of chemistry and biochemistry who works in Yaghi’s laboratory. “DNA is a beautiful molecule that has a way to code for information,” Yaghi said. “How do you code information in a crystal in the same way that DNA does? DJ and I found out a way to do this. The sequence of organic functionalities that decorates the pores of the crystals is most certainly a unique code. “DJ has illustrated that one member of a series of materials he has made has 400 percent better performance in carbon dioxide capture than one that does not have the same code,” he said. In the early 1990s, Yaghi invented a class of materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), sometimes described as crystal sponges, in which he can change the components nearly at will. MOFs have pores — openings on the nanoscale in which Yaghi and his colleagues can store gases that are usually difficult to store and transport. Molecules can go in and out of the pores unobstructed. Yaghi and his research team have made thousands of MOFs. “We have created crystals of metal-organic frameworks in which the sequence of multiple functionalities of varying kind and ratios acts as a synthetic ‘gene,'” Yaghi said. “With these multivariate MOFs, we have found out a way to incorporate controlled complexity, which biology operates on, in a synthetic crystal — taking synthetic crystals to a new level of performance. “This can be a boom for energy-related and other industrial applications, such as conversion of gases and liquids like carbon dioxide to fuel, or water to hydrogen, among many others,” he said. Yaghi has been collaborating with his former UCLA chemistry colleague and former CNSI director Sir J. Fraser Stoddart on how to take concepts from biology and incorporate them into a synthetic material. “We hope the materials we are creating will introduce a new class of structures that have controlled complexity,” Yaghi said. “Chemists and materials scientists are now able to ask new questions we have never asked before. Also, new tools for characterizing the sequences and deciphering the codes within the crystals will have to be developed.” Carbon dioxide is polluting Earth’s atmosphere and damaging coral reefs and marine life — impacts that are irreversible in our lifetime, Yaghi said.

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coca cola mobile link

Posted by alec8c on February 2, 2010

here’s the link for it by the way… sorry!

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Good example of New farming practices

Posted by Lindy on January 11, 2010

A combined project between the hoteliers around Victoria Falls in Zambia and an innovative research team at a university in South Africa have combined to turn the lives of poor local farmers into high value, top quality producers of fresh food for the local tourist agency.

For example, Fines Mulindi, a smallscale farmer in Zambia’s drought-prone Southern Province, steps carefully between neat rows of onions and okra ready for harvest. Tapping into the lucrative hotel catering supply chain, she has avoided a market dilemma facing millions of farmers across Africa – excessive supply of a few vegetables during certain seasons, leading to heart-breaking wastage and low prices. Backed by financial, educational and technological support, Mulindi is one of over 400 farmers supplying a wealthy neighbour: the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel.

In 2006 two top-class hotels, built by the hotel chain Sun International, introduced a business model to replace imported fresh vegetables with those grown locally. This market-oriented enterprise, intended to cut hotel costs and source fresher produce, has also resulted in quality production education for local farmers. The research institute looked for the varieties of seeds that gave the right quality and could be produced year round in the cliate conditions. Greenhouses and drip irrigation have both been invested in to extend the season and make the best use of scare water. For The Nsongwe group of widows, for example, reinvested US$4,000 of their profits in drip irrigation technology and last year earned an estimated US$21,000

Now local farmers produce over 70% of the fresh produce for these hotels and the scheme has been exported to other tourist centres including neighbouring Botswana.

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