As Climate Changes, Scientists See Irene as a Harbinger

From his vantage point high above the earth in...

“…Are hurricanes getting worse because of human-induced climate change? The short answer from scientists is that they are still trying to figure it out. But many of them do believe that hurricanes will get more intense as the planet warms, and they see large hurricanes like Irene as a harbinger.” (via NYTimes).

Breaking News: Eastern Seaboard Earthquake Today

“A 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked Northern Virginia Tuesday, briefly causing the shutdown of power at a nuclear plant in Louisa County.

The U.S. Geological Survey, headquartered in nearby Reston, Va., said the epicenter of the quake was 34 miles northwest of Richmond, Va., and 87 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. It was the strongest quake in Virginia in more than a century.

The quake struck at 1:51 p.m. at a depth of 3.7 miles.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported the quake was felt in Washington, New York and North Carolina. The newspaper said buildings swayed, and damage reports had begun to trickle in.” (via UPI).

My co-workers and I felt this in the hospital where I work. I saw a large plate glass window in the interview room I was in shimmying and the walls squeaked. It seemed to go on for about 30 seconds. I noted on my watch that the time was 1:53. (Does the two-minute lag reflect the time it took for the vibrations to travel the distance from VA to MA?) I recognized immediately what was happening, as I have been in earthquakes before, when I lived briefly in Tokyo. There have been reports that it was felt as far from the epicenter as Toronto.

Did any of my readers on the Eastern Seaboard feel it?

Chernobyl II

Zone Near Fukushima Daiichi May Be Off Limits for Decades: “Broad areas around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels, several major media outlets said Monday.

The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months.” (via NYTimes).

Higgs signal sinks from view

Large Hadron Collider
Image by John McNab via Flickr

“The Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in all of physics, is proving tougher to find than physicists had hoped. 

Last month, a flurry of ‘excess events’ hinted that the Higgs could be popping up inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s most powerful particle accelerator located at CERN, Europe’s high-energy physics lab near Geneva, Switzerland. But new data presented today at the Lepton Photon conference in Mumbai, India, show the signal fading. It means that “this excess is probably just a statistical fluctuation”, says Adam Falkowski, a theorist at the University of Paris-South in Orsay, France.” (via Nature News).

Street View goes to the Amazon

“We’ll pedal the Street View trike along the narrow dirt paths of the Amazon villages and maneuver it up close to where civilization meets the rainforest. We’ll also mount it onto a boat to take photographs as the boat floats down the river. The tripod—which is the same system we use to capture imagery of business interiors—will also be used to give you a sense of what it’s like to live and work in places such as an Amazonian community center and school.” (via Official Google Blog).