Proposals for a centralised database of fingerprints from across the Continent were revealed yesterday, fuelling fears on all sides of a Big Brother Europe.
The scheme for a computerised collection of personal details drawn from all 27 countries in the EU is the latest in a raft of anticrime measures in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Britain would be expected to contribute all the details held by police. These include fingerprints of suspects and people released without charge, as well as those convicted of crimes. The plan coincides with the Home Office preparing to expand the range of people fingerprinted to include those caught speeding or dropping litter.
Archive for the ‘End of the World Update’ Category
NASA officials say the space agency is capable of finding nearly all the asteroids that might pose a devastating hit to Earth, but there isn’t enough money to pay for the task so it won’t get done. The cost to find at least 90 percent of the 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020 would be about $1 billion, according to a report NASA will release later this week. The report was previewed Monday at a Planetary Defense Conference in Washington.
A man infected with an especially virulent strain of tuberculosis has spent eight months in a hospital jail ward under a court order and may be held until he dies. Robert Daniels has not been charged with a crime, but the 27-year-old violated the rules of a voluntary quarantine, exposing others to a potentially deadly illness. Maricopa County public health officials got a court order to keep him locked up.
If global warming continues at its current rate, the CSIRO report warned, life in the city of Sydney could be completely transformed by the year 2070.
In just one generation, Sydney could slide into a near permanent state of drought. There could be a dramatic rise in deadly bushfires. Temperatures would rise 10 or 15 degrees Fahrenheit, or more. Heat-related deaths would soar from nearly 200 to more than 1,200 a year. The report was very grim reading, especially for the people of Sydney.
Spindly orange sea stars, fan-finned ice fish and herds of roving sea cucumbers are among the exotic creatures spied off the Antarctic coast in an area formerly covered by ice, scientists reported on Sunday.
This is the first time explorers have been able to catalog wildlife where two mammoth ice shelves used to extend for some 3,900 square miles over the Weddell Sea .
At least 5,000 years old, the ice shelves collapsed in two stages over the last dozen years. One crumbled 12 years ago and the other followed in 2002.
Love, career or life out of sorts? If you’re searching for answers in the stars, you may be looking at the wrong ones.
A 13th sign has emerged in the 12-sign zodiac thanks to tiny shifts or wobbles in the Earth’s rotation around the Sun, an Australian astronomer said.
“Basically, the Sun’s apparent path has moved since 3000 years ago when astrology was born,” John Shobbrook, the manager of Australia National University’s Siding Spring observatory told Reuters.
The new sign is Ophiuchus, or the Serpent Bearer, whic falls between November 30 and December 18, placing it between Scorpio and Sagittarius.
A draft UN treaty to determine what would have to be done if a giant asteroid was on a collision course with Earth is to be drawn up this year.
The document would set out global policies including who should be in charge of plans to deflect any object.
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are currently defined based on parameters that measure the asteroid’s potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth.
There are currently 843 known PHAs.
This “potential” to make close Earth approaches does not mean a PHA will impact the Earth. It only means there is a possibility for such a threat. By monitoring these PHAs and updating their orbits as new observations become available, we can better predict the close-approach statistics and thus their Earth-impact threat.
The world can expect a roller-coaster ride of conflict and unrest, natural disasters and a plunge in global stock markets once the Year of the Pig begins, Chinese soothsayers say.
As the world farewells the Year of the Dog on Sunday, believers in Chinese superstitions have been busy consulting fortune tellers, feng shui geomancers and a wealth of new books for the year’s fortunes.
When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.
The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.
One of France’s leading hosiery makers is launching a new line for men next month — pantyhose with a welcome front opening and big feet, available in thick mannish knit but also as sheer tights. Gerbe, which is based in eastern France, said this week that the country’s first hosiery line for men would go on sale in March “due to increasing demand from male clients.”
The words of warning about global warming from the top panel of international scientists Friday were purposely blunt: “warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” the cause is “very likely” man-made, and “would continue for centuries.”
Officially releasing a 21-page report in Paris on the how, what and why the planet is warming — though not telling the world what to do about it — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave a bleak observation of what is happening now and an even more dire prediction for the future.
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level,” the report said.
Russia has flown a team of chemical experts to a Siberian region to find out why smelly, coloured snow has been falling over several towns. Oily yellow and orange snowflakes fell over an area of more than 1,500sq km (570sq miles) in the Omsk region on Wednesday, Russian officials said.
A nice, soft fluffy coat is of little use to a hedgehog. But poor old Glen is having to make do without any prickles – apparently thanks to global warming. Vets believe his freak appearance was caused by the stress of missing out on his winter hibernation.
There is almost no chance that China will become the world’s hegemonic superpower, or that the Chinese yuan will dislodge the US dollar as the key reserve currency in our life-times.
It is ageing faster than any nation in history. Indeed, there is a risk that China’s demographic structure will implode long before the great mass of China’s interior ever become rich. This was more or less the conclusion of a closed-door session of Chinese experts at the Davos gathering, regrettably on “Chatham House” rules so none can be named.
World sea levels will keep rising for more than 1,000 years even if governments manage to slow a projected surge in temperatures this century blamed on greenhouse gases, a draft U.N. climate report says.
The study, by a panel of 2,500 scientists who advise the United Nations, also says that dust from volcanic eruptions and air pollution seems to have braked warming in recent decades by reflecting sunlight back into space, scientific sources said.
Think back to the hottest summer you can remember. Now imagine a summer like that every year. For those of us who are still around by the end of the 21st century, this is what we can expect, according to a new index that maps the different ways that climate change will hit different parts of the world. The map reveals how much more frequent extreme climate events, such as heatwaves and floods, will be by 2100 compared with the late 20th century.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke bluntly warned the U.S. Congress Thursday that failure to act soon to deal with the budgetary strains posed by an aging U.S. population could lead to serious economic harm.
”We are experiencing what seems likely to be the calm before the storm,” Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee as he acknowledged projections that the U.S. budget deficit could hold steady or even narrow in the near-term.
“However, if early and meaningful action is not taken, the U.S. economy could be seriously weakened, with future generations bearing much of the cost,” he added, citing worrisome long-term projections on the cost of programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
Germans were told to stay indoors and many schools across the country closed early on Thursday as a rare hurricane bore down on the country, cutting air traffic at its biggest airport by half. Germany’s DWD meteorogical service said the storm “Kyrill” could generate winds of up to 180 km/h (112 mph) in high and exposed areas and as much as 130 km/h in lower-lying regions. “What’s unusual about this storm is that it will affect the whole country and not just certain zones,” said Christoph Hartmann, a spokesman for the DWD in Offenbach.
Okay, actually just as (contrary to media treatments) a spell of hot weather doesn’t prove global warming, cold weather doesn’t disprove it. But I think that the real cause of this cold snap in the L.A./Hollywood area is that Al Gore has been shortlisted for an Oscar. Al just can’t catch a break.
The world has nudged closer to a nuclear apocalypse and environmental disaster, a trans-Atlantic group of prominent scientists warned Wednesday, pushing the hand of its symbolic Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. It was the fourth time since the end of the Cold War that the clock has ticked forward, this time from 11:53 to 11:55, amid fears over what the scientists are describing as “a second nuclear age” prompted largely by atomic standoffs with Iran and North Korea.
Hat tip to Joey!
Robert Anton Wilson, co-author of the cult classic “The Illuminatus! Trilogy,” a science-fiction series about a secret global society, has died. He was 74. Wilson died peacefully of natural causes at his home Thursday in Capitola in Santa Cruz County, his daughter Christina Pearson said Saturday.
The effects of global warming are being felt around the world and unless international efforts are launched within the next 10 years, species will disappear and the Earth will be a vastly less habitable planet by the end of the century, according to NASA scientist James E. Hansen.
Friday the 13th of April 2029 could be a very unlucky day for planet Earth. At 4:36 am Greenwich Mean Time, a 25-million-ton, 820-ft.-wide asteroid called 99942 Apophis will slice across the orbit of the moon and barrel toward Earth at more than 28,000 mph. The huge pockmarked rock, two-thirds the size of Devils Tower in Wyoming, will pack the energy of 65,000 Hiroshima bombs — enough to wipe out a small country or kick up an 800-ft. tsunami.
Europe’s unseasonably warm winter has almost put paid to a chess match between London and Moscow, using huge pieces carved from ice. The pieces began melting so quickly that some were almost indistinguishable by the time the match finished.
This winter’s curiously warm weather across the Northeast and much of the Midwest has played havoc with more than seasonal businesses. In Washington, D.C., springlike temperatures have faked out flora, causing dogwoods and daffodils to bloom.
“There’s been weird weather all across the United States,” says Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, which was walloped by two major snowstorms last month. He blames an El Niño warming pattern in the Pacific for dry and warm conditions elsewhere. “Another big player is what we call the ‘long-term trend,’ ” said Heidi Cullen of The Weather Channel. “That’s a euphemism for global warming.”
Here in New York, the forecast for this first weekend in January is a high of 68 F! God I love global warming!
A million-dollar stone sculpture, intended to remind future generations of the Earth’s fragility, made its point a bit early — just three months after its unveiling, it collapsed. The 175-ton “Spaceship Earth” lay in ruins at Kennesaw State University after mysteriously falling to pieces last week.
The worrying shrinkage of the Arctic ice pack could leave the northerly ocean virtually devoid of ice in summer by 2040, according to an international study. The research, which appeared on Tuesday in the U.S. journal Geophysical Research Letters, mainly pointed at greenhouse-gas emissions as the culprit.
Whether it’s because of global warming, El Nino, or just a really long warm front, weather in New York City this winter has been awfully strange. With temperatures continually hovering around the 50 degree mark and even occasionally nearing 60, perhaps the most bizarre weather-related incident happened in Brooklyn where a cherry blossoms decided to make an early appearance.
I can personally confirm this, having noticed this very morning a flowering cherry blossom tree in Prospect Park (across the street from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens).
We’re all doomed!
A GREAT coal rush is under way across China on a scale not seen anywhere since the 19th century.
Its consequences have been detected half a world away in toxic clouds so big that they can seen from space, drifting across the Pacific to California laden with microscopic particles of chemicals that cause cancer and diseases of the heart and lung.
Nonetheless, the Chinese plan to build no fewer than 500 new coal-fired power stations, adding to some 2,000, most of them unmodernised, that spew smoke, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.
The coming year marks a great milestone in the human saga, a development similar in magnitude to the agricultural era and the Industrial Revolution. For the first time in history, a majority of human beings will be living in vast urban areas, many in megacities and suburban extensions with populations of 10 million or more, according to the United Nations. We have become “Homo Urbanus.” Two hundred years ago, the average person on Earth might meet 200 to 300 people in a lifetime. Today a resident of New York City can live and work among 220,000 people within a 10-minute radius of his home or office in midtown Manhattan.
The study found “massive” and “widespread” localised ozone depletion in the heart of Antartica’s ozone hole region, beginning in the late 1970s, but becoming more pronounced in the 1980s and `90s. The US government scientists who conducted the study said that there was an almost complete absence of ozone in certain atmospheric air samples taken after 1980, compared to earlier decades. In contrast, the ozone losses in the Arctic were sporadic, and even the greatest losses did not begin to approach the regular losses in the southern hemisphere, the researchers said.
Chipmunks, mice and squirrels are heading for the hills, perhaps chased to higher elevations by a changing climate, scientists report.Since the early 1900s, small mammals in California have shifted their ranges dramatically, mostly to higher elevations.
Scientists compared modern notes with those of past museum director Joseph Grinnell, who investigated the diversity of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds along what he called the Yosemite Transect. With this information, scientists retraced this work, and documented with traps and photos the small mammals in this area that spans portions of the San Joaquin Valley, the Sierra Nevada, including parts of Yosemite National Park.
Summers in the Arctic Ocean may be ice free by 2040—decades earlier than previously expected, according to a new study of the effects of global warming on sea ice. The scenario is predicted by computer models that assume greenhouse gas emissions will continue unabated.