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Submission + - Antarctic Ice hits an all-time record high level

dtjohnson writes: "Two weeks after a new record was set in the Arctic Ocean for the least amount of sea ice coverage in the satellite record, the ice surrounding Antarctica reached its highest ever level. Sea ice extended over 19.44 million square kilometers (7.51 million square miles) in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The previous record of 19.39 million kilometers (7.49 million square miles) was set in 2006." Ice extent is reaching an all-time record high on the bottom of the planet just after ice reached an all-time record low on the top of the planet. What can it mean? Either there will soon be more ice at the top or less ice at the bottom or the planet will become seriously 'bottom heavy.' Now there is something to worry about...

Submission + - Underground condos for sale in Kansas will be humanity's last holdout (dailymail.co.uk)

dtjohnson writes: A developer in Kansas is selling what can be called "Humanity's Last Holdout." He is converting abandoned Atlas missile silos into luxury condos that will allow the occupants to hunker down and withstand war, solar flares, catclysmic weather events, and just about any of your general apocalyptic events. A condo starts at $1 million for a half-floor unit and will include complex life support systems for water, power, and unmentionables. So far, brisk sales have totaled $7 million.

Submission + - Iran deleted from the world's banking computers (wenatcheeworld.com) 4

dtjohnson writes: Iran is being deleted from the world banking system Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) computers as of Saturday at 1600 UTC. Once the SWIFT codes for Iranian banks are deleted, Iranian banks will no longer be able to transfer funds to and from other worldwide banks making Iranian international commerce into a barter operation. SWIFT is taking the action at the request of EU members to comply with international sanctions against Iran due to its program to develop nuclear weapons. The effect will be to drastically hinder Iran's ability to execute international business transactions. This is serious folks.

Submission + - Greenland ice cover loss claims said wrong (bbc.co.uk)

dtjohnson writes: The new "Times Atlas of the World" claims in publicity for its newest edition that global warming has turned 15 percent of Greenland's former ice-covered land "green and ice-free." Now, however, scientists from the Scott Polar Research Institute say those figures, based on data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) are wrong. "Recent satellite images of Greenland make it clear that there are in fact still numerous glaciers and permanent ice cover where the new Times Atlas shows ice-free conditions and the emergence of new lands," they say in a letter that has been sent to the Times. Others have pointed out that if 15 percent of Greenland ice cover had been lost, then sea levels would have risen by 1 meter...which has not happened. Perhaps yet another climategate is brewing.
Space

Submission + - Future Sun may disrupt spacecraft and satellites (bbc.co.uk)

dtjohnson writes: A study published today predicts that solar storms are going to become increasingly disruptive to satellites and communications in the coming decades as the sun cycles towards a minimum of activity. "The work, published in Geophysical Research Letters, predicts that once the Sun shifts toward an era of lower solar activity, more hazardous radiation will reach Earth. The team says the Sun is currently at a grand solar maximum. This phase began in the 1920s — and has lasted throughout the space age....The evidence seems to indicate that although there are fewer solar storms once the Sun leaves its grand maximum, they are more powerful, faster and therefore carry more particles."

Submission + - Thunderstorms produce large amounts of antimatter (nasa.gov)

dtjohnson writes: Scientists have been looking for anti-matter deep in space but now it appears that there is a source much closer to home...thunderstorms. Scientists looking at terrestial gamma ray flashes (TGFs) produced in thunderstorms have discovered that the gamma ray energy transforms into a pair of particles...an electron and a positron...which then sprays out into space as an anti-matter beam. This happens as many as 500 times each day. Perhaps it will not be much longer until anti-matter is harnesses as a source of energy for interstellar warp drive.

Submission + - Solar hemisphere eruption shatters understandings (nasa.gov)

dtjohnson writes: "On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big. It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity."

Previously, solar scientists had considered solar activity to be localized and isolated but the August 1 eruption led to the insight that all localized activity (i.e. 'sunspots') were manifestations of much bigger interrelated solar magnetic activity lurking below the surface. This has implications for models of the Earth's climate which have modeled solar output as a relatively constant input to the Earth's climate varying only slightly on the 11-year sunspot cycle.

Submission + - One percent of human genes come from Neanderthals

dtjohnson writes: A study published in Nature today establishes conclusively that living humans carry between 1 and 4 percent of their genes in common with Neanderthals. Previous studies failed to show intermixing between us and neanderthals. The new, much more rigorous study, was done by sequencing DNA from 3 neanderthal individuals who perished 40,000 years ago and comparing it with DNA from humans in Africa, France, Papua New Guinea, and China. The researchers concluded that humans living today carry between 1 and 4 percent of Neanderthal genes and the intermixing must have happened during a 50,000 year window when neanderthals and humans were living side-by-side in the Middle East. So, the next time you see a neanderthal image, keep in mind that it might be your Uncle Fester.

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