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When Sarah Palin booked a flight to Europe, the French immediately surrendered.

calendar   Monday - February 02, 2009

Japan’s Mount Asama erupts near Tokyo.  (lets round up amnasty intl.  and drop them in it.)

Japan’s Mount Asama erupts near Tokyo
Japan’s Mount Asama has erupted, throwing hot rocks out of the crater and depositing a fine layer of ash on parts of Tokyo, some 90 miles to the southeast.

By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
Last Updated: 8:44AM GMT 02 Feb 2009

Television footage showed white smoke rising from the 2,568-meter peak and experts are warning that a second eruption is possible.

The first explosion occurred at 1.51 am, according to Shomei Shirato, of the Japan Meteorological Agency, and was described as “small.” Rocks were thrown more than 1 km from the crater, although there have been no reports of injuries or serious damage.

The agency raised its alert level for the snow-capped volcano on Sunday after detecting signs of increased activity. Traffic in the area has been restricted and 45,000 local people warned to be ready to leave their homes should the danger intensify.

There were no signs of lava escaping from the crater of the volcano and experts from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology are trying to determine whether the initial eruption has eased the pressure within the volcano or is merely a precursor to a far larger explosion.

“Mount Asama has erupted in the past, but they have been mostly small events,” said Dr. Akira Takada, a volcano expert with the institute. “At the moment, we do not have enough data to predict whether there will be a larger eruption now.

“We are collecting and analysing ash from the volcano to try to determine the condition of the magma, but we do not have the answers right now to the interior system of the mountain,” he said.

Mount Asama has had frequent bouts of activity in recent years, with the last major eruption in September 2004.

Most worrying for the experts would be a repeat of the 1783 eruption, which caused the deaths of more than 1,500 people and widespread damage.

The 1783 eruption began with small scale activity in May, building up in intensity and scale before the main detonation in early August.

Japan - part of the Pacific “rim of fire” - has more than 100 active volcanoes and is regularly subject to seismic activity.

volcano


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 02/02/2009 at 12:32 PM   
Filed Under: • Nature •  
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calendar   Thursday - January 22, 2009

Responsible Drinking

Thanks to João Faria da Silva




Peiper sends me things in the mail. Often it’s an envelope full of clippings from the English newspapers, writing about the knife crime, the nulabor government’s latest silliness, etc. Sometimes it’s the real estate section, showing all the gigantic old manor houses up for sale. And so forth; all interesting bits. Sometimes he gets wise and sends me vacation guides to fwance, where they have figured out that they can make money touring groups through all the local wineries, letting them buy bottles by the case right at the source, and even giving the tour in actual English!

A few weeks ago he sent me some coffee. English coffee. I know, that sounds like an oxymoron; England is famous for wonderful tea and God-awful coffee. But what he sent was so ... quintessentially English. “Lazy Sunday”, a blend from Taylor’s of Harrowgate [a-oh my!], a coffee blend made just for reading the Sunday paper and doing to crossword puzzle. And I thought we had specialization here in America! It was very nice, and very light. I noticed the bag was marked “a fair trade product” but didn’t look into that. I wrote back that while it was enjoyable, I usually drink a far stronger blend, more of a “Frantic Monday” than a Lazy Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, the Taylor’s of Harrowgate blend was very tasty. And I adore the brand name. I went around the house for days, playing at being English, saying “Ahye ahm dring-king Tay lawrs ohv Hahro gate” until my wife threw a pillow at me. [yes, I am easily amused.]

So this time, along with another fabulous greeting card, he sends me a little sack of Douwe Egberts. I’d never heard of him. Or it. Douwe Egberts. A brand name that sounds like they should be selling pipe tobacco. This is a much stronger blend, nearly as rich and potent as my usual grind. I like it. But the coffee isn’t sold because it’s good strong coffee. No. This coffee is sold because of the way it’s procured. Really! The blend line is called “Good Origins”, and the selling point of this “Utz Kapeh certified responsible coffee” is that it is “Traceable from farm to cup”. And it is! I hit the company web site, read the spiel, clicked on the links, and found that my beans were grown on the Fazenda Johá farm and picked by João Faria da Silva. Amazing. This is Liberal Guilt gone mad.

Fazenda Johá is part of the coffee project Terra Forte. This is the biggest coffee project in the world set up around the passion for quality coffee. The worldwide biggest single producer under the management of João Faria da Silva and the and Grande Leste Agropecuaria have joined their efforts to achieve professional management, production and commercialization of specialty coffees. The philosophy of the project is to invest in agricultural techniques, social and environmental projects, provide efficient logistic. Terra Forte is known for its quality coffee and high productivity as well as their social and environmental responsibility.

A little more exploration made me feel ever so much better, knowing that the poor exploited native worker’s lives are actually improved by their long days bending over the coffee bushes picking beans.

Impact on our organization

There was a change in the way we think and act. The farms have become well organized and managed. The workers have received extensive training and can conduct their work much more safely. The environment is respected and protected adequately.

Yeah. Extensive training. And adequate protection. “Jose, pick the red beans, not the green ones! But first you spray the bush with some poison to kill off the spiders and lizards. Then you pick the beans.”

And it’s not just Douwe Egbert doing this. I gather there is a whole worldwide - or at least Europe-wide - movement to better the lives and working conditions of the poor downtrodden natives who grow and pick the coffee. And it’s all “sustainable growth” with “natural fertilizers” that “minimize global impact” because ... the coffee bushes take several years to mature and can produce for a number of seasons, so you don’t just rip the plants out of the ground and shake off the beans. And you have to put all that donkey shit somewhere, so you may as well hide it under the bushes.

Yup, it’s a whole movement. “UTZ certified”:

UTZ Certified Responsible coffee growing

UTZ CERTIFIED is a global non governmental organisation which operates a mainstream certification programme for sustainable coffee based on pillars of economic, social and environmental well being.

Together with UTZ CERTIFIED, we are helping farmers look after their workers, their families and the environment in which they live and work. UTZ CERTIFIED certification assures that:

* Workers and their families have access to healthcare, clean water and decent housing
* Children have access to schooling
* Fertilisers and agrochemicals are used minimally and controlled
* Workers are trained and their labour rights are protected
* The use of water and energy is minimised
* Environmental pollution is reduced

UTZ CERTIFIED certification is renewed annually so you can be sure that it is up to date and continues to adhere to the UTZ CERTIFIED Code of Conduct – a set of criteria for responsible coffee growing practices and efficient farm management.

The UTZ CERTIFIED certification does not dictate or guarantee coffee prices, rather it enables farmers to achieve a better price for their coffee themselves and gain more competitiveness in their market.

You can explore this entire amazing, wonderful, guilt reducing world through the Douwe Egberts portal. I never knew. I never cared, or even knew I should care. Or knew that I should feel bad because I didn’t know that I didn’t know or care.

I’m off to the grocery store to pick up some hamburger. Now that I am enlightened, I’m going to ask the butcher what the cow’s name was, and if she was happy.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/22/2009 at 05:29 PM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessDaily LifeDemocrats-Liberals-Moonbat LeftistsFine-DiningInternationalNature •  
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calendar   Saturday - August 30, 2008

Are All Marine Scientists Moonbats?

Get a load of this bit of silly. Some scientists find a new species of giant clam up in the north end of the Red Sea. There aren’t very many of them ... perhaps that’s why they haven’t been found until now? So right away they spin up a theory ... no, not global warming, not yet ... but that the clams were over fished by early man when they first go the hell out of Africa all those thousands of years ago. Yup, the only reason they can figure that the clams aren’t wall to wall under the sea is because evil humans ate them all once upon a time. Funny though, if most of these wonder clams were eaten up then, then why haven’t they made a comeback since? They’ve had 125,000 years to do it. Even clams must be able to breed better than that.

Oh, clam up already!



image



Giant clams two feet long might have helped feed prehistoric humans as they first migrated out of Africa, new research reveals. The species, Tridacna costata, once accounted for more than 80 percent of giant clams in the Red Sea, researcher now say.

Really? 80%? How do they know? If the sediment is littered with these things, wouldn’t they have been discovered before? And if people caught them, wouldn’t they have taken the damn things OUT of the water onto shore to have their chowder? So wouldn’t there be giants middens lying around? If so, then once again, what took you so long to discover this species?

Today, these mollusks, the first new living species of giant clam found in two decades, represent less than 1 percent of giant clams living there.

This novel clam, whose shell has a distinctive scalloped edge, was discovered while scientists were attempting to develop a breeding program for another giant clam species, Tridacna maxima, which is prized in the aquarium trade. The new species appears to live only in the shallowest waters, which makes it particularly vulnerable to overfishing.

Oh here it comes!

“These are all strong indications that T. costata may be the earliest example of marine overexploitation,” said researcher Claudio Richter, a marine ecologist at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Fossil evidence that the researchers uncovered suggests the stocks of these giant clams began crashing some 125,000 years ago, during the last interval between glacial periods. During that time, scientists think modern humans first emerged out of Africa, Richter said.

These mollusks could have played a key role in feeding people during that crucial era, serving as a prime target due to their large size, the scientists added. Indeed, competition for these clams and other valuable sea resources “may have been an important driver for human expansion,” Richter told LiveScience.

“and other valuable sea resources” means anything you can catch or that turns up on the beach. Like about 100 billion other fish, squid, and lobsters. No, let’s assume that the local cavemen Oogh and Uugh would ignore those, and go after a clam that weighs 100 pounds and needs a jackhammer to open. Riiiight.

Underwater surveys carried out in the Gulf of Aqaba (north of the Red Sea, between the Sinai Peninsula and Arabian mainland) and northern Red Sea revealed this long-overlooked clam must be considered critically endangered. Only six out of 1,000 live specimens the scientists observed belonged to the new species. This mollusk could be the earliest victim of human degradation of coral reefs in this region, the researchers added.

Natural selection? Survival of the fittest? Adapting to changing conditions? Don’t know what any of that means! If we find some critter, and there aren’t zillions of them, then there is one and only one reason for it: evil human degradations!! Either that, or this bunch of researchers needs an new influx of grant money, so this is just a bid to get some fiscal attention.

Once upon a time you could trust scientists. Now they’ll say anything for money. And it looks like the moonbats have taken over there too.



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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/30/2008 at 05:16 PM   
Filed Under: • Amazing Science and DiscoveriesNature •  
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calendar   Thursday - August 07, 2008

Arctic Heats Up - politically at least

Running down a bunch of links from Peiper’s Global Warming post the other day lead me to a great news site. Called The Barents Observor, it’s all about business and politics up in the Barents Sea area. For those who don’t have a globe handy, that’s the northeast end of the Atlantic Ocean, up east of Greenland, off the coast of Norway and Finland, and over to the northwest corner of Russia. You might tend to think of this area as one of the ends of the Earth, but if it is it’s also one of the busiest ones. You see, why Nancy Pelosi is braying on about saving the planet, what she really means is SCREW AMERICA. Because the people who live up there are working just as fast and as hard as they can to fish and farm and mine and drill the hell out of it, environmental impact be damned. Hey, just like China, Brazil, Africa, India ... and the whole rest of the world.

Just a few examples of what’s going on up in the great white Euro North:

But the big news concerns the Arctic basin itself. With the kindly assistance of a bit of Global Warming (and if you lived or worked up there you’d want to believe in GW harder than children need to believe in Tinkerbell, cuz it’s so freakin cold all the time.) getting some of that damned endless ice out of the way for a while last year, geologists were able to get some decent surveys done of the seabeds up there. And they found oil. And gas. And lots of other resources. So now the race is on. Why is Russia building a new aircraft carrier? Well, one reason is that they’re trying to sell the old one to India. That’s assuming they can put out the fires onboard first. Another reason might be strong arm politics. Russia is looking for oil and gas around Svaalbard (Spitzbergen) Island. And when Russia drills a hole, they usually plant a flag. This could be a problem brewing.

It wasn’t just propaganda that made the Russians plant a flag on the seabed under the North Pole almost exactly one year ago, even if their photos were faked. The race is on, and the prizes are huge. Various groups are trying to settle seabed land claims before the shooting starts, but it’s going to be a rough ride. The US will not be getting a big slice of the pie no matter what, but Denmark looks to be in line to become a new world power due to the size of it’s allocation. And tomorrow Canada will attest that the Lomonosov Ridge, a hump of seabed right under the North Pole, is actually part of the North American land mass ... the implication being that Canada should get control of it. And that ridge is where a huge part of the Arctic resources have been located.

There will be no flag-waving or patriotic chest-thumping, but Canadian scientists are quietly set to make one of this country’s most important assertions of Arctic sovereignty in decades on Friday at a geology conference in Norway.

A year after Russian scientists planted their nation’s flag on the North Pole seabed - a controversial demonstration of their country’s interest in securing control over a vast undersea mountain chain stretching across the Arctic Ocean from Siberia to Ellesmere Island and Greenland - the Canadian researchers have teamed with Danish scientists to offer proof that the Lomonosov Ridge is, in fact, a natural extension of the North American continent.

Their landmark findings, the initial result of years of sea floor mapping and millions of dollars in research investments by the Canadian and Danish governments, are to be presented at the 2008 International Geological Congress in Oslo under the innocuous title “Crustal Structure from the Lincoln Sea to the Lomonosov Ridge, Arctic Ocean.”

But the completion of the study represents a key step in Canada’s effort to eventually win rights over thousands of square kilometres of the polar seabed, a potential treasure trove of oil and gas being made more and more accessible as melting ice unlocks our High Arctic frontier.

Yeah right, no chest-thumping indeed:

And on Wednesday, the Department of National Defence detailed plans to conduct a “sovereignty operation” in Nunavut later this month.

The Aug. 19-26 exercise, similar to one conducted last summer, is intended “to project sovereignty in the eastern Arctic” and to test the military’s ability to respond to oil spills and ship emergencies, the department said.

The really frightening part of this whole land-grab situation is that the UN will have to solve it. Worse, it will be under the Jurisdiction of their Law of the Sea Conventions (UNCLOS). That’s not the Law of the Sea Treaty, but it probably isn’t much better or different.

This is a big story, and it’s going to take years to play out. And about the only place I’ve found enough information to be able to put even a few pieces of the puzzle together has been at the Barents Observer news page. It’s like some huge untapped natural resource, just waiting for exploitation. 


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/07/2008 at 08:51 PM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessNatureOil, Alternative Energy, and Gas PricesPolitics •  
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calendar   Friday - July 18, 2008

The incredible moment a leopard attacks a crocodile

image
Clash of the Titans: The leopard attacks a crocodile in Kruger National Park

BE SURE TO SEE LINK FOR A BUNCH MORE DRAMATIC PHOTOS.  NICE KITTY.

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:49 AM on 18th July 2008

These are the incredible pictures which show the first ever leopard attack on a crocodile.

Hal Brindley snapped the amazing moment a leopard snatched a crocodile at a South African game reserve on the only occasion this behaviour has ever been documented worldwide.

The American wildlife photographer was taking pictures of hippos from his car at a waterhole in Kruger National Park when a speeding shape came out of the bushes and headed for the water.

After an initial struggle, onlookers stared in disbelief as the leopard emerged dragging a thrashing crocodile up the bank.

With its’ snout pointing upwards, the crocodile snapped and attempted to fight back as the predators flipped and tumbled in a dramatic battle.

But the leopard, who had it caught by the throat, remained in control as the crocodile’s legs clawed frantically at the cat’s belly, its jaws snapping at air.
There have been recorded cases of crocodiles killing leopards but never the other
way around as the meat a crocodile provides is not sufficient enough to justify the risk.

http://tinyurl.com/5coo89


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Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 07/18/2008 at 02:10 PM   
Filed Under: • Nature •  
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calendar   Wednesday - July 02, 2008

Colourful Kingfisher caught , some awesome photography of a beautiful bird.

Pictured: Colourful Kingfisher caught before being ringed

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:28 AM on 02nd July 2008

Beak wide open and clearly in distress, this bird appears to have hopelessly trapped itself in garden netting.

In fact the tiny kingfisher in this extraordinary photograph was captured by experts recording bird numbers and movements.

They used a fine-mesh ‘mist net’ to trap 26 more specimens including goldfinches, wrens, robins, starlings, goldcrests and reed warblers.
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The work was carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology on the Axe estuary in East Devon last week.

Mike Tyler, who led the exercise, said his team caught five kingfishers in three hours.

‘This is the highest number we have got in one go,’ he said. ‘Kingfishers travel so fast that people tend not to see them.

‘These photographs were taken with a very fast digital camera.’

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The birds were added to the trust’s database which every year logs 800,000 specimens across Britain and Ireland.

All the captives are weighed, measured and given a visual health check before being released with a leg ring (circled right) to identify them if they are found or caught again.

Mr Tyler added: ‘It’s important we do not harm the birds because the idea of ringing them is to see how far they go, where they go, and how long they live.’

imageimage

http://tinyurl.com/5exgp6


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Posted by Drew458   United Kingdom  on 07/02/2008 at 07:24 PM   
Filed Under: • AnimalsNature •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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