Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mysterious deaths of carp at city lake under investigation - 15th Feb 2011

Dozens of dead fish have been found floating in the Railway Lakes, behind the Lincolnshire Co-operative home store.

THE cause of mysterious deaths of dozens of fish spotted floating on a Lincolnshire lake is being investigated.

The dead carp were seen floating in the Railway Lakes, behind the Lincolnshire Co-operative home store.

A resident in the area saw the fish a week ago when he was out walking and reported the matter to the police.

They were still visible in the privately-owned lake when the Echo went to take photographs.

The Environment Agency is currently investigating the issue after receiving reports about the dead carp.

Agency spokesman Regan Harris said: "We are investigating the ongoing reports concerning the dead carp in the Railway Lakes at Hartsholme Park.

"We are currently trying to trace the landowner so that we can offer them the appropriate advice."

There are several possible explanations for the fish dying, including being poisoned by a gas build-up which could have formed while the lakes were frozen.

The frozen lake could also have lead to a lack of oxygen in the water, making it stagnant and impossible for the fish to breath in.

The owner of the Railway Lakes could not be reached for a comment.

One homeowner near the lakes, who asked not to be named, said: "It is a shame because the place is normally so beautiful. Read More

Dead fish find sparks fears of pollution - 16th Feb 2011

PEOPLE are being urged to keep children and pets away from a local pond amid a pollution scare.
Investigations at Campbridge Park Pond in Livingston are being carried out by West Lothian Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency after around 20 dead fish were reported on the pond's surface last Friday.

The dead fish - mostly roach, perch and pike - and samples of the pond water are being analysed to find the source of the problem, with early indications suggesting a natural phenomenon related to cold weather.

A West Lothian Council spokesman said: "Initial tests do not show any pollution, but tests are ongoing."

Simon Cole, Sepa's unit manager in Edinburgh, added: "Wet weather can stir up the bottom of water bodies and this, combined with low temperatures, can stress fish.

"Water bodies without a natural inflow to replenish water supplies, such as Campbridge Park Pond, can be affected by periods of ice cover such as we have experienced this winter because the levels of oxygen in the water can be much lower than normal." Source

Cold weather bad for shad, sailboat at Lake Hefner


15th Feb 2011 - Dozens of fish are dead at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City after last week’s cold weather.

Last week’s cold weather left a 28-foot sailboat sunk and dozens of dead fish at the Lake Hefner Marina.

The dead fish, many of which are floating under the remains of an ice sheet that covers the lake’s surface in the marina, appear to be threadfin shad.

Chas Peterson, a fisheries biologist with the state Wildlife Conservation Department, said a frozen lake can be a death sentence for shad.

“Threadfin shad are the main species here susceptible to cold,” Peterson said. “That is a concern with several lakes in Oklahoma. Our other species pretty well take care of themselves. They are able to find thermal refuge somewhere.”

Threadfin shad do not tolerate water temperatures below 42 degrees, leading to large die-offs in winter.

Although the city does not stock Lake Hefner with shad, they are a common bait fish for other species stocked in the lake, including largemouth bass and catfish. Read More

Japan confirms another bird flu outbreak, 67,000 chickens to be culled

Feb 16th 2011 - Local Japanese officials confirmed another outbreak of bird flu on Wednesday that left 160 chickens dead at a poultry farm in Kiho, Mie Prefecture in the western Kansai region of the country.

Officials said that genetic testing revealed that the virus found in some of the dead birds was the highly virulent H5 strain that has plagued poultry farms in southern Japan this season, making it the worst national outbreak in Japan since 2004.

A total of 67,000 chickens at the affected farm will be culled and prefectural officials have moved to prohibit any movement of the farm's chickens and eggs within a 10-km cordon.

According to the central government, no humans have been reported infected in Japan this flu season, which began in November.

Furthermore, Japanese agriculture ministry officials said the virus won't affect humans who eat meat and eggs from infected birds if the products are properly cooked.

The ministry officials said that infections among humans are predominantly caused by direct contact with birds infected with the virus. Source

USGS Watching Mount St. Helen's Volcano Following Earthquake Swarm - Tue 15th Feb 2011

The United States Geological Survey is watching the Mount St. Helen's volcano closely after a series of earthquakes struck on Monday. The area around Mount St. Helen's in Washington state has been experiencing minor earthquakes since an initial quake measuring 4.3 in magnitude struck around 10:35 a.m. local time, according to the USGS. Since that first quake, several smaller aftershocks were registered ranging between 1.0 and 2.8 in magnitude.

All of these earthquakes were centered in an area approximately five to six miles north of the Mount St. Helen's crater near the Johnston Ridge Observatory. The quakes were registered at depths between 1.7 and 3.7 miles. In total, at least 12 small earthquakes were registered in the area since the first quake on Monday.

This series of small earthquakes occurring in approximately the same location over a short period of time is known as an earthquake swarm. According to the Global Volcanic Earthquake Swarm Database earthquake swarms are especially common around volcanoes and are often reliable methods of predicting an eruption but the Alaska Volcano Observatory website offered that there may be no need for alarm. The AVO website explained that while earthquake swarms may offer information that a volcano is becoming restless, they are not necessarily indicators of a pending eruption. According to the AVO, "Most seismic swarms are not precursors to eruptions."

The AVO website states that a great deal of seismic data from satellite imagery, deformation, gas measurements and the history of the volcano's geologic past are all taken into consideration when determining an eruption risk.

According to the USGS, seismic activity is common around volcanoes as volcanoes can produce various types of earthquakes--tectonic-type or volcanic-type. Tectonic-type earthquakes around a volcano occur when rocks break along faults or fractures around the volcano. Seismologists must determine if an earthquake near a volcano is tectonic or volcanic as the differences are very subtle. Read More

Death toll in Southern Sudan violence doubles, official says

The number of dead in clashes in Southern Sudan has more than doubled, an official said.

At least 211 people have been killed in recent attacks by breakaway militias loyal to George Athor, Southern Sudan's Humanitarian Minister James Kok said in a statement late Tuesday.

Earlier reports put the figure killed in Jonglei state at 105.

Kok said the attacks had continued until Tuesday evening and the death toll was expected to rise further as the bodies of women, children and other civilians who had fled into the bush were still being found.

The minister accused unspecified "northern actors" of supporting Athor and seeking to destabilize South Sudan. Read more



Mexico: Produce prices skyrocket overnight



Get ready to pay double or even triple the price for fresh produce in the coming weeks after the worst freeze in 60 years damaged and wiped out entire crops in northern Mexico and the southwestern U.S.

The problem started less than a week ago, when our nation was focusing on the Superbowl and sheets of ice falling from Texas Stadium.

Farmers throughout northern Mexico and the Southwest experienced unprecedented crop losses. Now devastation that seemed so far away, is hitting us in the pocketbooks.

"We've had to double and triple some prices and consumers come in and it's quite a shock to them," said Rusty Peake, GM of Food4Less in Southeast Portland. Read more

Chocolate to become as expensive as caviar in near future?

In the not-too-distant future, chocolate will become a rarefied luxury, as expensive as caviar.

John Mason, a Canadian expert on cocoa, first made this prophesy six years ago from his base in West Africa, the epicentre of production. He was confident enough to repeat it, over and over, to the directors of the biggest chocolate companies in the world.

The industry has been ignoring a looming supply problem, one that’s been brought into sharp focus by a political eruption in Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa-producing nation.

Productivity on farms is not keeping pace with demand. Fatal diseases plague the crops. The soils cocoa grows in are depleted. Consumer demand, though, is growing. As standards of living improve in China and India, their new taste for chocolate keeps pace, feeding a worldwide consumption increase of about 2 per cent a year.

“We’re in a bit of a crisis as an industry,” said Chris Brett, vice-president of corporate responsibility and sustainability for Olam International, one of the largest cocoa-buying companies in the world, which sells beans to major chocolate producers, such as Cadbury, Mars and Nestle. Read more

Blood Tests Show Chemicals In Gulf Citizens Blood, US Gov Lied About Gulf Seafood

$2,000 Gold And 10 More Surprising Predictions From Credit Suisse

You're not going to make money betting on the consensus. So if you're looking for contrarian investments, Credit Suisse's Andrew Garthwaite has picked out 11 economic events that are more likely than anyone thinks.

Surprise scenarios include $2,000 gold by year-end. Several factors support this "surprise" including:

  • Gold goes up when real Fed fund rates are negative -- and they are
  • Excess leverage leads to money printing or default
  • China and Japan haven't started buying gold yet
  • Gold does not display characteristics of a bubble
  • The inflation-adjusted gold price is still well-below peak

Credit Suisse is keeping an official target of $1,500 for gold, but it admits that these factors could drive a major surprise to the upside. Read more

California the "most miserable" place to live?

A new survey of the "most miserable cities" in the US suggests that five of the 10 worst are in California. The BBC's Peter Bowes considers whether life in the Golden State has really got that bad.

As I jog along the beach, under wall-to-wall blue sky, with the winter sunshine beating down, I often remind myself that "it doesn't get any better than this".

It has been a glorious week in Los Angeles and much of California. The balmy February weather is proof enough that life in the Golden State can be very good.

For many, the sunshine epitomises the "California dream", although wealth and property ownership usually play a role in the romantic depiction of America's most populous state.

And that's where my argument falls down.

For many people, life should be much better than it is, and a new survey by Forbes magazine concludes that "the Golden State has never looked less golden". Read more

Thanks American taxpayers: GM, Chrysler Manager Bonuses Said to Reach 50% of Salary

General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, which each received government-funded bailouts, may award some managers bonuses of as much as 50 percent of their salary, said four people familiar with the plans.

GM plans to pay bonuses to most managers equal to 15 percent to 20 percent of their annual salary and as high as 50 percent to less than 1 percent of its 26,000 U.S. salaried employees, said one of the people, who asked not to be named revealing internal plans. Bonuses for Chrysler’s 10,755 salaried workers will average about $10,000, with a small group getting as much as half of their salary, one of the people said.

The payouts come as GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. prepare for contract talks this year with the United Auto Workers, which is seeking a share of the industry’s growing prosperity. Ford, the only U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy in 2009, is expected to pay bonuses equal to 10 percent or more of base pay to some salaried staff, said a person familiar with the plan. Read more

UK Dole Queue Lengthens Unexpectedly

The number of jobseekers claiming jobseekers allowance rose unexpectedly in January, with 2,400 more people on the dole.

The total claimant count reached 1.46 million.

Economists were taken by surprise as they had expected a fall in the number.

Unemployment for the three months to December rose to 2.49 million.

Joblessness among 16 to 24-year-olds reached the highest level since records began in 1992.

The youth unemployment rate soared to 20.5% with 965,000 young people out of work.

Source

Note: Unexpectedly??, Sometimes I wonder if I actualy live on the same planet, isnt it obvious that the economy is getting worse?

Solar flare affects shortwave radio communications in southern China - 16 th Feb 2011

BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- A large solar flare accompanied by electromagnetic storms affected shortwave radio communications in southern China on Tuesday, according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

The CMA's space weather monitoring center reported that it had spotted the X2.2-class solar flare at 9:56 a.m. Tuesday Beijing Time.

Xue Bingsen, a researcher with the center, said the solar flare caused sudden ionospheric disturbances in the atmosphere above China and affected shortwave radio communications, according to a CMA statement.

A solar flare is a violent explosion in the sun's atmosphere caused by huge magnetic activity. The flares produce large amounts of radiation that can affect the Earth's ionosphere and disrupt radio communications.

The space weather monitoring center said there is a high probability that large solar flares will appear in the next three days. Source

Note: Warnings that a solar flare could disrupt our communications have been denied by a meteorological expert who has claimed that there is "no evidence" this could happen. Source

Sun fires off major solar flare - Strongest Since 2003 - 16th Feb 2011

The most powerful solar flare in years erupted from the sun on Tuesday, sending a blast of X-rays from a hotspot of activity that may still belch solar storms in the days to come.

The sun unleashed the flare on Tuesday at about 1:44 am (Greenwich Mean Time) from a sunspot region that was barely visible last week. Since then the spot has grown to more than 100,000 kilometers across - nearly eight times the width of the Earth.

The United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado categorized the flare as a class X2.2, the strongest solar flare observed so far in 2011.

"Astronomers have five categories of flares: A, B, C, M and X," explained Bao Xingming, solar physicist with the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"The M and X flares are the most potent and the one that erupted (on Tuesday) was an X2.2, which is just about the most powerful flare we've seen in many years." Read More