Wildfires are decimating the Amazon rainforest at unprecedented rates

August 22, 2019 by  
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has clashed with environmentalists since taking office in January. But criticisms are climbing to new levels as Amazon wildfires reach an all-time high in Brazil following a significant increase in deforestation . Between January and August of this year, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) recorded almost 73,000 fires. This is nearly twice the number for the whole of 2018 — 39,759 — and marks an 83 percent increase over this same period last year. Since last Thursday alone, satellite images identified more than 9,500 new fires. Most of these are burning the globe’s biggest tropical forest, located in the Amazon basin. Related: Save the environment by pooping less, says Bolsonaro Bolsonaro has promised to promote mining and farming in the Amazon region, ignoring international worries about deforestation. While wildfires are common in the Amazon’s dry season, farmers sometimes deliberately start fires to illegally clear their lands for raising cattle. INPE said this large number of fires can’t be attributed to the dry season alone. “There is nothing abnormal about the climate this year or the rainfall in the Amazon region, which is just a little below average,” said INPE researcher Alberto Setzer, according to Al Jazeera . Bolsonaro remains unconcerned about the rampant Amazon wildfires caused by queimada, the name for farmers clearing land by fire. “I used to be called Captain Chainsaw,” he said . “Now I am Nero, setting the Amazon aflame. But it is the season of the queimada.” The president also posited another theory: environmentalists who hate him are starting fires to make him look bad. “They are now feeling the pinch from the lack of funding,” Bolsonaro said . “So, maybe the NGO types are conducting these criminal acts in order to generate negative attention against me and against the Brazilian government. This is the war we are facing.” Meanwhile, the Amazon wildfires continue to burn at the equivalence of more than 1.5 soccer fields per minute. Via CNN , Al Jazeera and Reuters Images via Pixabay and NASA

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Wildfires are decimating the Amazon rainforest at unprecedented rates

ALMA: The World’s Largest Telescope Array Powers Up in Chile’s Atacama Desert

March 14, 2013 by  
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The world’s largest telescope array officially opened Wednesday in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) consists of 66 huge antennas directed towards the night sky to gather data and images of neighboring stars and some of the most distant, ancient galaxies. Its telescopes will have better resolution than the famous Hubble Space Telescope , and they will allow astronomers to shed light on how stars are born and how they die. Read the rest of ALMA: The World’s Largest Telescope Array Powers Up in Chile’s Atacama Desert Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ALMA observatory , ALMA telescope array , Atacama desert observatory , Chile telescopes , space exploration , space observing technology , space research , space technology , telescopes , the universe

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ALMA: The World’s Largest Telescope Array Powers Up in Chile’s Atacama Desert

UK Scientists Launch the World’s First Smartphone-Powered Satellite

February 26, 2013 by  
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The world’s first smartphone-powered  satellite was successfully launched into orbit yesterday. STRaND-1 went into space aboard the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Only 11.8 inches tall, the nanosatellite will use an Android-powered Google Nexus One phone to collect scientific data, take pictures of Earth and allow people to upload videos that will play in space. Click here to view the embedded video. The UK mission was developed by the University of Surrey’s Space Center (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). By sending their STRaND-1 spacecraft into space, the UK researchers have beaten  NASA —who had announced similar plans last year—to the punch. Only 11.8 inches tall and weighing 9.5 pounds, the nanosatellite will use the smartphone to run several experimental apps to collect data from space. Unlike conventional smartphones which stop working around 60.000 feet, the one used by STRaND-1 was specially designed for use space. Besides the STRaND-1, other satellites aboard the Indian launch vehicle include an ocean-monitoring satellite developed in collaboration between the Indian Space Research Organization and French Space Agency, the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite, which will look for large asteroids whose orbits might bring them in contact with Earth, as well as two satellites designed to study the brightness of stars. + STRaND-1 Via GMA News

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UK Scientists Launch the World’s First Smartphone-Powered Satellite

NOAA Finds That Climate Change is Reducing Global Labor Productivity

February 26, 2013 by  
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Photo via Shutterstock No one likes working in uncomfortable conditions; it makes us tired, sluggish and unable to concentrate. According to a new report from America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration , the increases in humidity caused by global warming are reducing labor productivity all over the world—and the problem is only likely to get worse. The report, which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change , states that humidity is already reducing people’s working capacity by 10% during peak summer months around the world. What is even more disturbing is that this figure is expected to grow to 20% by 2050. The main cause? Increasing levels of CO2. The research team have said that if these levels aren’t bought under control, by 2200 safe labor would be impossible during the summer. This would include the entire US east of the Rockies. That would not aid employment figures. “So far little has been done to estimate the impact of climate change on labor productivity,” said David Peetz, professor of employment relations at Griffith University. “The impact on productivity shown here, for people not experiencing the increasingly expensive benefits of air conditioning, is going to be quite stark, especially for people in warmer or mid-latitude climates.” “It all points to the fact that it’s much cheaper to deal with it now than to wait until some date in the future.” The report’s main basis for its projections was a combined analysis of humidity and climate change projections with industrial and military guidelines for people’s ability to work under heat stress. That meant that factors such as climate sensitivity, climate warming patterns, future population distributions and technological and societal change were not all included in the final analysis. Professor John Freebairn, an expert in environmental economics at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Economics , said the paper provided “provides a detailed assessment of just one of the ways in which higher temperatures and humidity across the globe would bring additional costs to society.” “It is part of an extended exercise to assess the costs of climate change, and builds more details into the rough early estimates reported by Stern (2006), Garnaut (2008) and many others,” he said. + NOAA via Nature Images © USACEpublicaffairs and Alternative Heat on Flickr

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NOAA Finds That Climate Change is Reducing Global Labor Productivity

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