Met Office: British winter was the coldest for 31 years

Met Office figures recorded a December-to-February mean UK temperature of just 1.51C, while the 1971-2000 average is 3.7C

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A driver eases through Great Chart in Ashford, Kent, during what the Met Office has now confirmed as the coldest UK winter for 30 years. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

After suffering snow, sleet, rain and consistently freezing temperatures, the knowledge that the Met Office has officially recognised winter 2009-10 as the coldest in 31 years brings with it a certain grim satisfaction.

Provisional figures from the forecaster show the UK winter ‑ which in forecasting terms lasts from the start of December until the end of February ‑ has been the harshest, in temperature terms, since 1978-79.

The news may come as little surprise to those affected by snow in December and January, when falls of up to 2ft saw councils’ grit supplies run low, travel chaos and the return of the Guardian’s snow day live blog.

Read moreMet Office: British winter was the coldest for 31 years

Study: 100 Percent of Fish in US Streams Contaminated with Mercury

(NaturalNews) In a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), every single fish tested from 291 freshwater streams across the United States was found to be contaminated with mercury.

“This study shows just how widespread mercury pollution has become in our air, watersheds and many of our fish in freshwater streams,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that builds up in the food chain at ever higher concentrations in predators such as large fish and humans. It is especially damaging to the developing nervous systems of fetuses and children, but can have severe effects on adults, as well. The pollutant enters the environment almost wholly as atmospheric emissions from industrial processes, primarily the burning of coal for electricity. It then spreads across the plant and settles back to the surface, eventually concentrating in rivers, lakes and oceans, where it enters the aquatic food chain.

The number one cause of human mercury poisoning in the United States is the consumption of fish and shellfish.

Read moreStudy: 100 Percent of Fish in US Streams Contaminated with Mercury

Common Weedkiller Atrazine Turns Male Frogs Into Females

See also:

Study: Serious birth defects linked to the agricultural chemical atrazine


atrazine-turns-male-frogs-into-femalesAn atrazine-induced female frog (a genetic male) is shown (bottom) copulating with an unexposed male sibling. This union produced viable eggs and larvae that survived to metamorphosis and adulthood. Yet, because both animals were genetic males, the offspring were all males. (Tyrone Hayes photo)

BERKELEY —Atrazine, one of the world’s most widely used pesticides, wreaks havoc with the sex lives of adult male frogs, emasculating three-quarters of them and turning one in 10 into females, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, biologists.

The 75 percent that are chemically castrated are essentially “dead” because of their inability to reproduce in the wild, reports UC Berkeley’s Tyrone B. Hayes, professor of integrative biology.

“These male frogs are missing testosterone and all the things that testosterone controls, including sperm. So their fertility is as low as 10 percent in some cases, and that is only if we isolate those animals and pair them with females,” he said. “In an environment where they are competing with unexposed animals, they have zero chance of reproducing.”

The 10 percent or more that turn from males into females – something not known to occur under natural conditions in amphibians – can successfully mate with male frogs but, because these females are genetically male, all their offspring are male.

“When we grow these guys up, depending on the family, we will get anywhere from 10 to 50 percent females,” Hayes said. “In a population, the genetically male females can decrease or wipe out a population just because they skew sex ratios so badly.”

Read moreCommon Weedkiller Atrazine Turns Male Frogs Into Females

CHILE EARTHQUAKE: 8.8 Magnitude Quake Hits Chile, 1,000 Times More Powerful Than The Haiti Earthquake

A milder earthquake hit Japan:

Japan Earthquake: Tsunami Warnings Downgraded After 7.0 Quake Off Japan Coast (Huffington Post)


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Rescuers searched for victims and survivors after an apartment complex collapsed in Concepcion.

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A woman sat in front a quake-damaged house in Talca, Chile. Residents were also jolted by at least 20 aftershocks measuring over 5.0 on the magnitude scale, with one topping 6.9.

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A photo of Santiago, Chile after the quake. Uploaded by Twitter user @Gonzalezcarcey.

UPDATE: 8:25 a.m. — 1,000 times more powerful than the Haiti earthquake– From the New York Times:

Phone lines were down in Concepcion as of 7:30 a.m. and no reports were coming out of that area. The quake in Chile was 1,000 times more powerful than the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that caused widespread damage in Haiti on Jan 12, killing at least 230,000, earthquake experts reported on CNN International.

UPDATE: 8:00 a.m. — 78 and rising — AP now reports that the death toll is at 78 and rising. Officials have no information yet on number of injured.

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“Calm after #terremoto. Impressive to see Divine Church Providence without cupola.” Photo uploaded to Twitpic by Twitter user @HMartinez.

UPDATE: 6:43 a.m. — 47 dead — Reuters now reports that 47 people have died in the quake.

President Michele Bachelet has declared a “state of catastrophe,” according to the Associated Press:

SANTIAGO, Chile – A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, collapsing buildings, killing at least 16 people and downing phone lines. President Michele Bachelet declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile and said the death toll was rising.Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

“We have had a huge earthquake, with some aftershocks,” Bachelet said, appealing from an emergency response center for Chileans to remain calm. “Despite this, the system is
functioning. People should remain calm. We’re doing everything we can with all the forces we have. Any information we will share immediately.”

Bachelet said early reports were that 16 people had been killed, and “without a doubt, with an earthquake of this magnitude, there will be more deaths.”

In the 2 1/2 hours following the 90-second quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 11 aftershocks, of which five measured 6.0 or above.

She urged people to avoid traveling in the dark, since traffic lights are down, to avoid causing more fatalities.

The quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT; 1:34 a.m. EST), the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

In Santiago, the capital, modern buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, but many older ones were heavily damaged, including the Nuestra Senora de la Providencia church, whose bell tower collapsed. An apartment building’s two-level parking lot also flattened onto the ground floor, smashing about 50 cars whose alarms and horns rang incessantly. A bridge just outside the capital also collapsed, and at least one car flipped upside down.

In the coastal city of Vina del Mar, the earthquake struck just as people were leaving a disco, Julio Alvarez told Radio Cooperativa in Santiago. “It was very bad, people were screaming, some people were running, others appeared paralyzed. I was one of them.”

Bachelet said she was declaring a “state of catastrophe” in 3 central regions of the country, and that while emergency responders were waiting for first light to get details, it was evident that damage was extensive.

UPDATE: 5:56 a.m. — 17 dead — At least 17 people have died in Chile’s earthquake, according to radio reports from Santiago. Reuters:

Local radio said 17 people were killed and President Michelle Bachelet confirmed six deaths, saying more were possible. Telephone and power lines were down, making a quick damage assessment difficult in the early morning darkness.”Never in my life have I experienced a quake like this, it’s like the end of the world,” one man told local television from the city of Temuco, where the quake damaged buildings and forced staff to evacuate the regional hospital.

UPDATE: 4:49 a.m. — Live broadcast — A USTREAM webcast of CNN’s live coverage of the Chile earthquake:

Read moreCHILE EARTHQUAKE: 8.8 Magnitude Quake Hits Chile, 1,000 Times More Powerful Than The Haiti Earthquake

Canada On The Verge Of Approving Enviropigs – Millions Of Canadians Will Soon Be Eating Mouse/Pig Hybrids

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The Canadian government is on the verge of approving the introduction of extremely bizarre genetically modified pigs into the Canadian food supply.

These new mouse/pig hybrids have been dubbed “enviropigs” and are being touted as being much better for the environment.  This new “breed” of Yorkshire pigs was created by scientists in Ontario at the University of Guelph, who spliced in genes from mice to decrease the amount of phosphorus produced in the pigs’ excrement.

So soon millions of Canadians will be eating meat from mouse/pig hybrid creatures and most of them will not even realize it.  It is expected that approval for this new “brand” of pigs will be sought in the United States as well.

But this is hardly the first time that scientists have mixed two kinds of animals together in an attempt to create creatures that will be beneficial for humanity.

The truth is that scientists around the world are now creating bizarre hybrid “animals” on a regular basis.  Over the past couple of decades the field of genetic modification has made extraordinary advances, and now researchers and scientists seem very eager to exploit these new technologies.

So what kind of weird, mysterious creatures have scientists been creating?

Well, what would you think of a cat that glows in the dark?

They really exist.

A genetically modified cat named Mr. Green Genes was the very first fluorescent cat created in the United States.  Under an ultraviolet light, Mr. Green Genes puts off a very strange bright green glow.

So perhaps in the future not only can your cat cuddle up to you and keep you warm – it could also serve as a night light.

But U.S. researchers were not even the first ones to do this to cats.  A team of scientists in South Korea had previously created a cat that glows red under ultraviolet light.

Now why in the world would scientists do this kind of a thing?

Well, because they can.

But scientists have created creatures that are even more bizarre than fluorescent cats.

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One Canadian company is actually producing spider goats.

Yes, it is true.  A Canadian company known as Nexia has created goats that are genetically modified to be part spider.

The reason for this bizarre genetic modification is to get goats that will produce spider silk protein in their milk.  This spider silk protein is then collected, purified and spun into incredibly strong fibers.

Reportedly, the fibers that are produced are more durable than Kevlar, more flexible than nylon, and stronger than steel.

This substance has industrial and military applications that are apparently extremely valuable.

But when you tell most people that spider goats exist they will just laugh at you.

If that is the response that you get when you tell someone about spider goats, just show them the following video.

The YouTube video posted below contains a television news report that discusses how these spider goats are created and what this company is doing with the spider silk that these spider goats are producing….

So does all of this tampering with the environment disturb you?

After all, at least scientists are not creating human/animal hybrid creatures, right?

Wrong.

Read moreCanada On The Verge Of Approving Enviropigs – Millions Of Canadians Will Soon Be Eating Mouse/Pig Hybrids

Suspected Sabotage: Oil spill reaches Italy’s River Po

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An oil spill has reached Italy’s River Po after the suspected sabotage of a former refinery led to large amounts of oil pouring into a tributary.

The spill began early on Tuesday when someone broke into the plant near Monza, now an oil depot, and opened the taps, Italian news reports said.

They said an estimated 600,000 litres (158,500 gallons) of petrol and oil were released in to the River Lambro.

Efforts to prevent the spill reaching the Po failed.

Read moreSuspected Sabotage: Oil spill reaches Italy’s River Po

Here Comes The Next Bubble: Carbon Trading

‘Carbon Trading’ should not even exist:

Prof. Ian Clark: ‘Rises in C02 lag 800 years behind temperature rises!’ – You will pay taxes for nothing!

Study: CO2 levels remained constant since 1850! (University of Bristol)

This has nothing to do with saving the planet.

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And you will be presented the bill in form of higher prices.


Forget CDOs and other inventions of the great credit bubble. That’s all old hat. Investment bankers are moving on to an area of securities trading that is potentially even more lucrative, and what’s more, even has a social value – saving the planet. Or supposedly so, anyway. I’ve long had my suspicions about the great carbon trading bubble, and I’ve had them pretty much confirmed by a brilliant article which has been drawn to my attention by one Mark Schapiro in Harper’s magazine.

According to Mr Schapiro, carbon trading is now the fastest growing commodities market on earth. Since Kyoto signatories bought in to the cap and trade concept in 2005, there have been more than $300bn carbon transactions, prompting several investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays, to set up their own carbon trading desks. But that’s just the start. If President Obama and his supporters can institute a cap-and-trade system in the United States – and that’s a big if for this increasingly marooned presidency – demand could explode into a $2 to $3 trillion market.

And here’s the great thing about it. Unlike traditional commodities markets, which will eventually involve delivery to someone in physical form, the carbon market is based on lack of delivery of an invisible substance to no-one. Since the market revolves around creating carbon credits, or finding carbon reduction projects whose benefits can then be sold to those with a surplus of emissions, it is entirely intangible.

Read moreHere Comes The Next Bubble: Carbon Trading

Leading Scientist Warns of Ice Age: ‘Most of Europe Will Be Under Ice’

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Professor Vladimir Paar

A leading scientist has revealed that Europe could be just five years away from the start of a new Ice Age.

While climate change campaigners say global warming is the planet’s biggest danger, renowned physicist Vladimir Paar says most of central Europe will soon be covered in ice.

The freeze will be so complete that people will be able to walk from England to Ireland or across the North Sea from Scotland to northern Europe.

Professor Paar, from Croatia’s Zagreb University, has spent decades analysing previous ice ages in Europe and what caused them.


“Most of Europe will be under ice, including Germany, Poland, France, Austria, Slovakia and a part of Slovenia,” said the professor in an interview with the Index.hr.

“Previous ice ages lasted about 70,000 years. That’s a fact and the new ice age can’t be avoided.

“The big question is what will happen to the people of the Central European countries which will be under ice?

“They might migrate to the south, or might stay, but with a huge increase in energy use,” he warned.

“This could happen in five, 10, 50 or 100 years, or even later. We can’t predict it precisely, but it will come,” he added.

And the professor said that scientists think global warming is simply a natural part of the planet.

“What I mean is that global warming is natural. Some 130,000 years ago the earth’s temperature was the same as now, the level of CO2 was almost the same and the level of the sea was four metres higher.

“They keep warning people about global warming, but half of America no longer believes it as they keep freezing,” he said.

And he added: “The reality is that mankind needs to start preparing for the ice age. We are at the end of the global warming period. The ice age is to follow. The global warming period should have ended a few thousands of years ago, we should have already been in the ice age. Therefore we do not know precisely when it could start – but soon.”

Read moreLeading Scientist Warns of Ice Age: ‘Most of Europe Will Be Under Ice’

Former Managing Director of Monsanto India: Monsanto ‘Faked’ Data for Approvals

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The debate on genetically modified (GM) brinjal variety continues to generate heat. Former managing director of Monsanto India, Tiruvadi Jagadisan, is the latest to join the critics of Bt brinjal, perhaps the first industry insider to do so.

Jagadisan, who worked with Monsanto for nearly two decades, including eight years as the managing director of India operations, spoke against the new variety during the public consultation held in Bangalore on Saturday.

On Monday, he elaborated by saying the company “used to fake scientific data” submitted to government regulatory agencies to get commercial approvals for its products in India.

The former Monsanto boss said government regulatory agencies with which the company used to deal with in the 1980s simply depended on data supplied by the company while giving approvals to herbicides.

“The Central Insecticide Board was supposed to give these approvals based on the location and crop-specific data from India. But it simply accepted foreign data supplied by Monsanto. They did not even have a test tube to validate the data and, at times, the data itself was faked,” Jagadisan said.

Read moreFormer Managing Director of Monsanto India: Monsanto ‘Faked’ Data for Approvals