State of emergency in effect as Hurricane Lane barrels toward Hawaiian coastline

August 23, 2018 by  
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Hurricane Lane is swiftly moving along its course toward Hawaii, where a hurricane warning is in effect for Maui and the Big Island. A hurricane watch has also been issued for Kauai and Oahu. According to the National Weather Service , the storm has now been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make contact with the state later today. Related: After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over The NWS reported that “the center of Lane will track dangerously close to the Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday.” In addition, the organization noted that, “regardless of the exact track of the storm center, life-threatening impacts are likely over some areas as this strong hurricane makes its closest approach.” Despite the storm’s demotion from a Category 5 to a Category 4, many locals are comparing Hurricane Lane to the devastating Hurricane Iniki, which hit Hawaii in 1992. Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation on Tuesday in case Hawaii needs relief for “disaster damages, losses and suffering.” In a news release from the Governor’s office , Ige said, “Hurricane Lane is not a well-behaved hurricane. I’ve not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I’ve seen with this storm. I urge our residents and visitors to take this threat seriously and prepare for a significant impact.” Related: The Eye of the Storm dome home can withstand hurricanes — and it’s officially on the market Residents have already “rushed to stores to stock up on bottled water, ramen, toilet paper and other supplies,” according to an Associated Press report. With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and rainfall accumulations of between 10-15 inches, the storm is expected to cause flash-flooding and landslides in Hawaii. In addition, the NWS has reported the possibility of “large and potentially damaging surf.” As the hurricane continues to approach the Hawaiian coastline, many residents are hoping Lane will show a little more mercy than 1992’s Iniki, which killed six people and caused $1.8 billion worth of damage. Numerous government buildings have closed as the state’s residents prepare for the storm. Via NPR Image via Shutterstock

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State of emergency in effect as Hurricane Lane barrels toward Hawaiian coastline

Bottlenose dolphins spotted in Canadian Pacific waters for the first time

April 20, 2018 by  
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Bottlenose dolphins typically reside in tropical or warm-temperate waters around the world — but researchers recently glimpsed a group of around 200 of the dolphins and around 70 false killer whales off northern Vancouver Island’s west coast in Canada. They said this sighting is “the only occurrence of common bottlenose dolphins recorded in Canadian Pacific waters” — and a warming trend could be to blame. In July 2017, Halpin Wildlife Research , working with Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Department of Environment and Climate Change , documented the dolphins and whales. In research published this month in the journal Marine Biodiversity Records , the three researchers involved said the sighting “is the most northerly record” for common bottlenose dolphins “in the eastern North Pacific .” Related: A beluga whale living with dolphins learned to “speak their language” Lead author Luke Halpin said in a statement , “The sighting is also the first offshore report of false killer whales in British Columbia. To see the two species traveling together and interacting was quite special and rare. It is known that common bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales seek each other out and interact, but the purpose of the interactions is unclear.” Warming in eastern North Pacific waters between 2013 and 2016 could be the reason for the presence of the dolphins and whales. Halpin said he’s documented warm-water species in British Columbia waters since 2014, including a loggerhead turtle and a swordfish . He said, “With marine waters increasingly warming up, we can expect to see more typically warm-water species in the northeastern Pacific.” + BioMed Central + Marine Biodiversity Records Images via Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith on Flickr and the National Park Service

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Bottlenose dolphins spotted in Canadian Pacific waters for the first time

Mice are eating nesting seabirds in the Pacific alive

March 28, 2018 by  
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On the Midway Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, invasive mice are attacking nesting albatrosses , causing gruesome wounds that bleed profusely and can cause birds to abandon their nests or die. Why would mice do this? Scientists think it may be because they are drinking the birds’ blood. Non-native species cause a majority of seabird extinctions around the world, and mice have become a particularly bad problem on the island since 2015, attacking the birds from behind and causing open wounds on their heads and necks. The Midway Atoll is home to the world’s largest colonies of Black-footed and Laysan albatross. The common house mouse was introduced along with the black rat to the island about 75 years ago. While the rats have been eliminated on the island, mice have thrived without any competition. The mice have learned to sneak up behind the albatross while they nest, taking them by surprise. The mice may be causing these wounds to obtain hydration and sustenance from the birds’ blood. Related: New Zealand just eradicated 200,000 mice from a single island Nesting Albatross are particularly vulnerable because instead of leaving their nest, they refuse to abandon their eggs – so mice can easily attack them. The attacks began two years ago, and have since spread across the entire island. “Albatross did not evolve in contact with mice and they are defenseless against them. Albatrosses’ natural behavior – sitting on their egg for weeks at a time – leaves them particularly vulnerable to this emergent threat. In the first year, birds were killed (eaten alive) and nests abandoned in three areas on the island. The next year, the attacks, deaths, and nest abandonment spread across the entire island and increased exponentially,” said the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). USFWS wants to work to remove the mice – something that was just successfully accomplished in New Zealand – but debate continues on how to best do that. “The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to eradicate all mice from Midway Atoll using the rodenticide Brodifacoum 25D Conservation, a pelleted rodenticide bait intended for conservation purposes for the control or eradication of invasive rodents on islands or vessels.” Via IFLScience Images via USFWS

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Mice are eating nesting seabirds in the Pacific alive

Newly discovered Amazon structures change what we know about ancient civilization

March 28, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of Exeter have discovered 81 earthworks known as geoglpyhs across 1,200 miles of Amazon Rainforest in Brazil . This evidence, outlined in the journal Nature Communications , indicates that the dense, difficult-to-navigate region was once home to up to ten million people prior to European colonization. “There is a common misconception that the Amazon is an untouched landscape, home to scattered, nomadic communities. This is not the case,” said study researcher Jonas Gregorio de Souza in a statement . “We have found that some populations away from the major rivers are much larger than previously thought, and these people had an impact on the environment which we can still find today.” Although scientists are not sure exactly what purpose the geoglyphs served, they believe that they may have been used for ceremonial purposes. Many of them were discovered in close proximity to the remains of villages, which were consistently inhabited by large groups of people between 1250 AD and 1500 AD. These population centers would also have been populated with a wide variety of ethnic groups speaking different languages across the 1,200 mile range. “Our research shows we need to re-evaluate the history of the Amazon,” explained study researcher Jose Irirte in a statement . “It certainly wasn’t an area populated only near the banks of large rivers , and the people who lived there did change the landscape. “The area we surveyed had a population of at least tens of thousands.” Related: Scientists uncover hidden Mayan city of 10M people in Guatemala Scientists believe that they have discovered only one-third of the geoglyphs and man-made structures within the Amazon, while 95% of the Amazon river valley region remains unexplored. By understanding how the Amazon was settled in the past, we may gain a better sense of how to approach sustainability policy today. “The Amazon is crucial to regulating the Earth’s climate and knowing more about its history will help everyone make informed decisions about how it should be cared for in the future,” said de Souza. + University of Exeter Via IFLScience Images via University of Exeter

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Scientists say mass extinction warning signs exist and they can be observed today

March 28, 2018 by  
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Is Earth staring down a mass extinction ? Recent research from an international team of scientists reveals warning signs for the biggest mass extinction in our planet’s history were apparent far earlier than experts had thought — and we can glimpse such indicators now. Around 250 million years ago, the Permian-Triassic mass extinction saw about 90 percent of animal species eradicated, according to the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany, which led the research team. Huge volcanic eruptions and resulting greenhouse gas emissions wiped out scores of creatures. And for decades, scientists thought this so-called mother of all disasters occurred without warning “when seen on a geological time-scale,” the university said. This new research challenges that opinion. Related: Sixth mass extinction on Earth is driven by industrial farming, says leading academic Fossils in Iran hint that the first indicators of the mass extinction appeared as early as 700,000 years before the event itself. Multiple species of ammonoids, an  extinct group of marine animals, died off and surviving ones “became increasingly smaller in size and less complex” as time marched towards the mass extinction event, according to the university. Factors that led to the event are reminiscent of conditions today, according to professor and lead author Wolfgang Kiessling, who said in the statement, “There is much evidence of severe global warming, ocean acidification , and a lack of oxygen. What separates us from the events of the past is the extent of these phenomena. For example, today’s increase in temperature is significantly lower than 250 million years ago.” Even so, warning signs that were present near the Permian Period’s end can be seen in modern times, according to the university. Kiessling said, “The increased rate of extinction in all habitats we are currently observing is attributable to the direct influence of humans, such as destruction of habitat, over-fishing, and pollution. However, the dwarfing of animal species in the oceans in particular can be quite clearly attributed to climate change . We should take these signs very seriously.” Geology published the work earlier this year; scientists from institutions in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Iran contributed. + University of Erlangen-Nürnberg + Geology Images via Dieter Korn

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Scientists say mass extinction warning signs exist and they can be observed today

Sinking island nation of Tuvalu is actually growing

February 9, 2018 by  
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The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has long been considered at great risk to sinking beneath the rising sea levels of climate change. However, scientists at the University of Auckland have learned that it is actually increasing in size, with the island’s total land area having grown 2.9 percent between 1971 and 2014. “We tend to think of Pacific atolls as static landforms that will simply be inundated as sea levels rise , but there is growing evidence these islands are geologically dynamic and are constantly changing,” study co-author Paul Kench told Phys.org . “The study findings may seem counter-intuitive, given that (the) sea level has been rising in the region over the past half century, but the dominant mode of change over that time on Tuvalu has been expansion, not erosion.” Researchers used aerial photography and satellite imagery to study the geographical changes on Tuvalu’s nine atolls and 101 reef islands. They found that eight atolls and nearly three-fourths of the reef islands grew during the period studied, all while sea level at Tuvalu rose twice as quickly as the global average. Wave patterns and sediment deposits brought by storm activity seemed to have counteracted any “sinking” effects due to sea level rise. Related: 14 Pacific island nations considering world’s first ban on fossil fuels While climate change remains an existential threat to island nations like Tuvalu, this study could prompt a rethinking of how sea level rise will actually manifest in light of compounding factors that resulted in Tuvalu’s growth. “On the basis of this research we project a markedly different trajectory for Tuvalu’s islands over the next century than is commonly envisaged,” said Kench . “While we recognize that habitability rests on a number of factors, loss of land is unlikely to be a factor in forcing depopulation of Tuvalu.” The study authors recognize the need to make drastic changes while acknowledging that there is still time to adapt. “Embracing such new adaptation pathways will present considerable national scale challenges to planning, development goals and land tenure systems,” the authors said . “However, as the data on island change shows there is time (decades) to confront these challenges.” Via Phys.org Images via  Tomoaki INABA/Flickr (1)

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Sinking island nation of Tuvalu is actually growing

This amazing green office is covered with native plants that were rescued on-site

February 9, 2018 by  
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Ho Khue Architects has created a beautiful office space in Da Nang infused with lush native greenery . The Vietnam-based firm constructed the Modern Village Office on an old lot that was covered in native plants. Inspired by the plants’ resilience, the architects transplanted the greenery inside the building to create a soothing office that evokes the spirit of a family village. The architects built the concrete office space on an urban lot that contained some old structures, white pampas grass, and native plants like bamboo shrubs. The architects took the natural state of the lot into consideration and decided to infuse the existing vegetation into the office’s design. The banana trees, yellow bushes and native plants were carefully transplanted on the first floor, where they help create a soothing and welcoming entryway. Some of the plants were also harvested to be used in the ground floor’s water feature. Related: Translucent Ho Chi Minh City office tower infused with greenery helps combat urban pollution More native plants were transplanted on the building’s rooftop, creating a beautiful garden for employees to enjoy. The dense grass and other plants that cover the roof help cool the interior floors underneath. The greenery continues throughout the interior spaces, with long hanging vines and plants in virtually every corner. The 350-square-meter space is bright and airy thanks to the white brick walls and minimal furnishings found inside. The interior is naturally lit by an abundance of windows, and open terraces provide quiet areas for meetings or lounging. Decorative slats on the southwest facade block out the heat and provide natural ventilation. According to the architects, the green office building was designed to give modern workers a healthy environment that provides a relaxing atmosphere: “Working in this modern office evokes feelings reminiscent of childhood and a time when life was simpler. The air flow is fresh from the sea leading to comfortable temperature without being cold. Today’s younger generation may have had little or no time in the countryside. This office has brought the spirit and the heart of the rural areas to the workplace.” + Ho Khue Architects Via Archdaily Photography via Hiroyuki Oki

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This amazing green office is covered with native plants that were rescued on-site

Incredible new "super wood" is as strong as steel

February 9, 2018 by  
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It’s a twig, it’s a branch, it’s… Super Wood! Researchers at the University of Maryland have created a so-called “super wood” that is stronger than many titanium alloys. The research team used a two-step process to drastically increase the density of the wood , thus reinforcing its strength to 10 times that of traditional wood. “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter,” research team co-leader  Teng Li told ScienceDaily . “It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.” To create the super material, the research team first boiled wood in a mixture of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfite. With lignin and hemicellulose partially removed, the wood is then hot-pressed to crush cell walls and forge strong nanofibers. The resulting density provides its super strength. “This kind of wood could be used in cars , airplanes, buildings — any application where steel is used,” research team co-leader Liangbing Hu Hu told ScienceDaily . Related: Milan’s striking wooden UniCredit building is powered by the sun Another of super wood’s special powers is its ability to be sourced sustainably . “Soft woods like pine or balsa, which grow fast and are more environmentally friendly, could replace slower-growing but denser woods like teak in furniture or buildings ,”said Hu. “Given the abundance of wood, as well as other cellulose-rich plants, this paper inspires imagination,” said professor of mechanics and materials at Harvard University Zhigang Suo, who was not involved in the study. The team at University of Maryland has also created a kind of transparent wood, which could be used to replace glass and plastic with more sustainably sourced, stronger alternatives. Via ScienceDaily and New Atlas Images via University of Maryland and Depositphotos

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American women and their dogs rescued after surviving five months at sea in shark-infested waters

October 27, 2017 by  
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Two women from Honolulu, Hawaii , are basking in sweet relief as they and their dogs were rescued after spent five months stranded at sea in shark-infested waters. Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava set a course for Tahiti on May 3rd but suffered engine failure and a broken mast when a storm battered their boat. Fortunately, they had water purifiers, a year’s worth of dog food, and rice, pasta, and oatmeal. The basic supplies kept them alive long enough to be spotted by a Taiwanese fishing vessel roughly 900 miles southeast of Japan . On Wednesday morning, the day after Appel and Fuiava were discovered, the USS Ashland (a 610-foot Navy ship) rescued them from the boat. Said Appel in a statement, “I’m grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [U.S. Navy] on the horizon was pure relief.” Less than a month after the women set sail for Tahiti , they hit a patch of bad weather. Calling for help was impossible, as their only phone went scuba diving on the first day. For five long months, they drifted in the Pacific Ocean , sending out distress calls and waiting for help. “It was very depressing, and it was very hopeless,” Appel said. “The only thing you can do, you use what you can and what you have. You have no other choice.” Believe it or not, lack of food wasn’t the greatest concern – the boat was constantly surrounded by sharks .“We were slowly maneuvering through their living room. They came by to slap their tails and tell us we needed to move along,” Appel said. “They decided to use our vessel to teach their children how to hunt. They attacked at night.” After Fuiava and Appel were brought aboard the USS Ashland, they received medical assistance. They will remain aboard until the Ashland’s next scheduled port of call. Related: US Navy Will Recover the Bombs it Dropped in the Great Barrier Reef On Thursday, footage of the rescue (above) was released. Their reaction to being saved is both exciting and touching. Said Commander Steven Watson, Ashland commanding officer, in a statement: “The US Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation.” Via Gizmodo U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

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American women and their dogs rescued after surviving five months at sea in shark-infested waters

American women and their dogs rescued after surviving five months at sea in shark-infested waters

October 27, 2017 by  
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Two women from Honolulu, Hawaii , are basking in sweet relief as they and their dogs were rescued after spent five months stranded at sea in shark-infested waters. Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava set a course for Tahiti on May 3rd but suffered engine failure and a broken mast when a storm battered their boat. Fortunately, they had water purifiers, a year’s worth of dog food, and rice, pasta, and oatmeal. The basic supplies kept them alive long enough to be spotted by a Taiwanese fishing vessel roughly 900 miles southeast of Japan . On Wednesday morning, the day after Appel and Fuiava were discovered, the USS Ashland (a 610-foot Navy ship) rescued them from the boat. Said Appel in a statement, “I’m grateful for their service to our country. They saved our lives. The pride and smiles we had when we saw [U.S. Navy] on the horizon was pure relief.” Less than a month after the women set sail for Tahiti , they hit a patch of bad weather. Calling for help was impossible, as their only phone went scuba diving on the first day. For five long months, they drifted in the Pacific Ocean , sending out distress calls and waiting for help. “It was very depressing, and it was very hopeless,” Appel said. “The only thing you can do, you use what you can and what you have. You have no other choice.” Believe it or not, lack of food wasn’t the greatest concern – the boat was constantly surrounded by sharks .“We were slowly maneuvering through their living room. They came by to slap their tails and tell us we needed to move along,” Appel said. “They decided to use our vessel to teach their children how to hunt. They attacked at night.” After Fuiava and Appel were brought aboard the USS Ashland, they received medical assistance. They will remain aboard until the Ashland’s next scheduled port of call. Related: US Navy Will Recover the Bombs it Dropped in the Great Barrier Reef On Thursday, footage of the rescue (above) was released. Their reaction to being saved is both exciting and touching. Said Commander Steven Watson, Ashland commanding officer, in a statement: “The US Navy is postured to assist any distressed mariner of any nationality during any type of situation.” Via Gizmodo U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

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American women and their dogs rescued after surviving five months at sea in shark-infested waters

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