Archive for May, 2013

A Blast of a Find: 12 New Alaskan Volcanoes

Date: 31 May 2013 Time: 02:32 PM ET



Behm Canal underwater volcano, Alaska
One of the newest volcanic vents discovered in Southeast Alaska is an underwater volcanic cone in Behm Canal near New Eddystone rock.
CREDIT: James Baichtal, U.S. Forest Service

In Alaska, scores of volcanoes and strange lava flows have escaped scrutiny for decades, shrouded by lush forests and hidden under bobbing coastlines.

In the past three years, 12 new volcanoes have been discovered in Southeast Alaska, and 25 known volcanic vents and lava flows re-evaluated, thanks to dogged work by geologists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Forest Service. Sprinkled across hundreds of islands and fjords, most of the volcanic piles are tiny cones compared to the super-duper stratovolcanoes that parade off to the west, in the Aleutian Range.

But the Southeast’s volcanoes are in a class by themselves, the researchers found. A chemical signature in the lava flows links them to a massive volcanic field in Canada. Unusual patterns in the lava also point to eruptions under, over and alongside glaciers, which could help scientists pinpoint the size of Alaska’s mountain glaciers during past climate swings.


“It’s giving us this serendipitous window on the history of climate in Southeast Alaska for the last 1 million years,” said Susan Karl, a research geologist with the USGS in Anchorage and the project’s leader. [Image Gallery: Alaska’s New Volcanoes]

Volcano forensics

The project kicked off in 2009 as part of an interdisciplinary effort to better understand volcanism in Southeast Alaska, Karl said.

The team’s first result, from a volcanic pile about 40 miles (70 kilometers) south of Mount Edgecumbe, was an intriguing match in time to the panhandle’s biggest volcano. The team planned to test if the two were related, sort of a geologic genetic test. But even though the two volcanoes had erupted at about the same time in the past, their chemistry was wildly different. It was like one volcano was a freshwater fish and the other came from the salty ocean. And what really captured the geologist’s attention were signs that the little volcano squeezed out lava that oozed next to glaciers.

“That’s when we realized we had a whole new kind of volcano separate from Mount Edgecumbe,” Karl told OurAmazingPlanet.

Lava chemistry holds forensic clues that reveal what was happening in Earth’s crust and mantle when the magma formed. The unusual chemistry sent Karl and her collaborators hunting for more rocks to test. This meant days-long backpacking trips into remote wilderness or submersible dives to underwater volcanoes.

New Alaska volcanoes in Behm Canal
Underwater volcanoes and cinder cones pockmark Behm Canal.
CREDIT: James Baichtal, U.S. Forest Service

Not only did they find the same unique chemical signature at other sites, the team stumbled upon new volcanoes overlooked by earlier mappers.

“We’re convinced now there’s probably a whole bunch of green knobs out there covered with timber that may be vents that may have never been mapped,” said James Baichtal, a geologist with the U.S. Forest Service based in Thorne Bay, Alaska, and a project leader.

Connection to Canada

Now comes the CSI twist. All of these newly tested lavas in Alaska are kissing cousins to volcanoes in Canada, such as Mount Edziza, which last erupted about 10,000 years ago.

The connection makes perfect sense, Karl said. “I’m actually surprised no one has hypothesized it before,” she said. “It made total sense that this volcanic province would extend across Southeast Alaska, and now I have the data to show that’s the case.”

Little known outside of Canada, Mount Edziza is part of the Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province, a broad swath of volcanoes and hot springs some 1,250 miles (2,000 km) long and about 375 miles (600 km) wide.

Karl’s big picture meets approval with scientists studying Canada’s volcanoes.

“I knew there were volcanics to the west in Alaska, but I didn’t know they were nearly [this] extensive,” said Ben Edwards, a volcanologist at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, who is not involved in the project but has visited the new volcanoes with Karl and Baichtal. “They have really found a lot more places than we realized, but there’s certainly no reason for them not to be there. It makes a lot of sense.”


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Thousands blockade European Central Bank in Frankfurt (VIDEO, PHOTOS)


Published time: May 31, 2013 08:12
Edited time: May 31, 2013 13:50

The entrance of the ECB is blocked by over 3,000 ‘Blockupy’ protesters in a march against austerity. ‘Blockupy’ has announced the coalition has “reached its first goal” of the day.

Anti-capitalist protesters have taken to the streets of the financial heart of Frankfurt a day ahead of Europe-wide gatherings planned for June 1 to protest leaders handling of the three-year euro debt crisis.

“We call up everyone to join our protests.”



German riot police scuffle with protestors in front of the European Central Bank (ECB) head quarters during a anti-capitalism "Blockupy" demonstration in Frankfurt, May 31, 2013. (Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach)

German riot police scuffle with protestors in front of the European Central Bank (ECB) head quarters during a anti-capitalism “Blockupy” demonstration in Frankfurt, May 31, 2013. (Reuters / Kai Pfaffenbach)

The ECB spokesman told The Guardian that the Blockupy protests have not disturbed day to day operations at the bank, but would not specify how many bankers managed to come to work.

Apart from those who amassed outside the ECB, a smaller demonstration took place at the nearby Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) headquarters, where around 50 police vehicles had been deployed. The protesters set off by midday.

The crowd, estimated at 2,500 by local authorities, clutched signs demanding ‘humanity before profit’.

Rain-soaked and dressed in ponchos, the crowd is equipped with a wide array of protest props- vuvuzelas, yellow wigs, pots and pans, and mattresses with the spray-painted slogan ‘War Starts Here’.


Image from twitter user@Migs_Bru

Image from twitter user@Migs_Bru

Blockupy’ has become a top-ten Twitter trend in Frankfurt, and at 10:09am (08:09 GMT), user Enough14 tweeted, “Strong Powerful blockade at Kaiserstr. Not one banker will come through here,” in reference to the ECB headquarters.


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Chris Hondros / Getty Images file

A U.S. Marine MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) ration package is seen in a transport vehicle in March 2010 near Khan Neshin, southern Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Marines at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan will lose a key daily meal starting Saturday, causing some to forgo a hot breakfast and others to work six-plus hours without refueling on cooked food, according to Marines at the base and Marine Corps officials.

The midnight ration service — known there as “midrats” — supplies breakfast to Marines on midnight-to-noon shifts and dinner to Marines who are ending noon-to-midnight work periods. It’s described as one of the few times the Marines at Leatherneck can be together in one place.

The base, which is located in Afghanistan’s southwestern Helmand Province, flanked by Iran and Pakistan, also will remove its 24-hour sandwich bar. It plans to replace the dishes long offered at midnight with pre-packaged MREs, said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Cliff Gilmore, who has been deployed in Afghanistan since February.


The moves, though unpopular with many Marines on the ground and their families back home, are emblematic of the massive drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan and the dismantling of U.S. military facilities. More than 30,000 U.S. service members will leave Afghanistan in coming months as the U.S. prepares to hand responsibility for security to Afghan forces in 2014.

While no Marine at Camp Leatherneck agreed to speak on the record, many are privately angry about the hit on base morale.

“This boils my skin. One of my entire shifts will go 6.5 hours without a meal. If we need to cut back on money I could come up with 100 other places,” one Leatherneck-based Marine wrote in an email this week to his wife and shared with NBC News. (The Marine declined to speak on the record.) “Instead, we will target the biggest contributor to morale. I must be losing my mind. What is our senior leadership thinking? I just got back from flying my ass off and in a few days, I will not have a meal to replenish me after being away for over 9 hours.”

Brennan Linsley / AP file

U.S. Marines enter the chow hall for dinner, left, after taking turns clearing ammo from the chambers of their weapons into a barrel, right, at Camp Leatherneck, in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, in September 2009.

Until Saturday, Leatherneck’s dining facility will offer its customary four meals per day. After June 1, the menu drops to three daily meals and, eventually, there will be only two hot meals served, Gilmore revealed in an email to the impacted Marines, adding: “Any time a dining hall meal is eliminated it will be replaced from a plentiful stock of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat — or any one of several creative acronyms our Marines have come up with.)”


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Threatening letters referencing gun control efforts were sent to the president and the mayor

By Jonathan Dienst and Pete Williams
|  Friday, May 31, 2013  |  Updated 11:29 AM EDT
A person of interest is being questioned in connection with threatening letters sent to President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun group, according to law enforcement officials. Jonathan Dienst reports.

NBC 4 New York

A person of interest is being questioned in connection with threatening letters sent to President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his anti-gun group, according to law enforcement officials. Jonathan Dienst reports.


A person of interest is being questioned in connection with threatening letters sent to President Barack Obama, Mayor Bloomberg and the mayor’s anti-gun group, according to law enforcement officials.

Authorities were questioning the Texas man to see if he had information related to the threatening letters, which were similar in content and bore the same postmark on the envelopes. Two of them, sent to Bloomberg and Mark Glaze, the director of the anti-gun group, have tested positive for poisonous ricin. Officials were testing the letter addressed to Obama to see if it contained ricin as well.

The man is described as an Army veteran who is a contractor with the Department of Defense. He has connections to Shreveport, La., where the letters were postmarked, but is not considered a suspect at this time, several officials said.

The interview with the man is just one possible lead in the case, and officials emphasize the development is still part of the early stages of their investigation.

The threatening letter mailed to Obama was received Wednesday at an off-site facility and did not reach the White House, according to the Secret Service.

“This letter has been turned over to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing and investigation,” said Brian Leary, a Secret Service spokesman.

The text of the mailings threatened: “what’s in this letter is nothing compared to what I’ve got planned for you,” police and law enforcement sources said. A photo of the letter sent to Bloomberg, obtained by NBC 4 New York, is pictured below.

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  • The president admitted power and fame can ‘dim your vision’
  • He was speaking at a 100K bike ride attended by several injured veterans
  • Added he doesn’t ‘feel sorry for them’ and that they were ‘volunteers’ in war

By Daniel Bates


He was the most powerful man on the planet for eight years. Now former US president George W Bush has spoken frankly about the  perils of leadership, saying holding on to power for too long can be ‘corrosive’.

Mr Bush, who served two terms in the White House, said he thought being in charge could ‘dim your vision’ because you get carried away with fame.

He admitted that while he was president he came to understand how ‘fame can become very addictive’.

Outspoken: President George W Bush said during a three-day 100K bike ride he doesn't feel sorry for injured vets. Here, the former president stands with one of the riders, retired Staff Sargent Matt DeWitt, who lost his arms on duty in Iraq

Outspoken: President Bush said during a 100K bike ride he doesn’t feel sorry for injured vets. Here, the former president stands with one of the riders, retired Staff Sargent Matt DeWitt, who lost his arms on duty in Iraq

Mr Bush said: ‘I’ve had all the fame a man could want… I don’t long for [fame]. Nor do I long for power. I’ve come to realise that power can be corrosive if you’ve had it for too long.

‘It can dim your vision. And so I came to the conclusion that, you know, I don’t long for fame.’

He also confessed he has deliberately avoided the limelight since leaving office

It is unclear whether the comments will help to rehabilitate his image.  A poll last year found he is the most unpopular living president, with 54 per cent saying they had an unfavourable view of him.

While 43 per cent said they did like him, this was low compared to the two-thirds who said they still liked former President Bill Clinton.

After he came into office in 2001, Mr Bush embarked on two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have resulted in the deaths of 6,471 American troops. Some 32,000 US soldiers were injured in Iraq and 18,000 in Afghanistan.

At least 132,000 civilians have died in both conflicts.

'Bad consequences': Bush, riding with a veteran above, said he knew the injuries many veterans suffer from were part of the 'bad consequences to war'

‘Bad consequences’: Bush, riding with a veteran above, said he knew the injuries many veterans suffer from were part of the ‘bad consequences to war’



Posted on May 30, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Updated yesterday at 11:18 PM

SEATTLE –  John Henry Browne says the memories came flooding back over time.

“He understands the nature of the proceedings,” Browne says about his client SSgt. Robert Bales. “He broke down considerably. The magnitude of it hit him very forcefully.”
Bales has been facing the death penalty, after the Army charged the Lake Tapps soldier with murdering 16 Afghan villagers during an early morning alcohol and drug fueled rampage in March of 2012. Most of the victims were women and children.  Bales is accused of sneaking away from his post to commit the atrocity.
But Browne said, in his only local television interview, that his client will admit to the killings in a plea deal to take the death penalty off the table. The plea is expected to come at a military hearing on Wednesday, June 5th.
If a judge accepts the deal, Browne says at a subsequent sentencing hearing could argue for the possibility of parole. The attorney says the JBLM soldier was under the influence.
“There were steroids. There was alcohol, and sleep aids,” says Browne. “They were provided to him, at this small base, by special forces.”
Browne also argues Bales had a concussive brain injury, prompted by his fourth deployment.
A German filmmaker says some Afghans do believe the system was a problem.
“They are mad at Bales, and mad on the systems. They know Bales as part of the system came out going crazy,” said the journalist Lela Ahmadzai.
CBS/AP/ May 31, 2013, 8:52 PM

Tornado emergency issued in Oklahoma City

Updated at 8:52 p.m. ET

OKLAHOMA CITY The National Weather Service has issued a tornado emergency for the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Weather service forecaster Daryl Williams says the emergency issued Friday evening includes Oklahoma City and some suburbs. The weather service issues an emergency if a storm with tornadoes is heading toward large metropolitan area.

The warning also covered Moore, which was hit by a deadly storm last week.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Betsey Randolph says the OHP has shut down Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City and the OHP issued a warning for motorists to exit I-40 and seek shelter.

Aerial view of a tornado happening in Oklahoma, May 31, 2013.

/ CBS News

State troopers reported a number of injuries.

“Our big concern is to get people off the highways and get them safe,” Gov. Mary Fallin told CNN.

Storm chasers with cameras in their car transmitted video showing a number of funnels dropping from the supercell thunderstorm as it passed south of El Reno and into Oklahoma City just south of downtown. Police urged motorists to leave the crosstown Interstate 40 and seek a safe place.

The scene was eerily like that from last week, when blackened skies generated a top-of-the-scale EF5 storm with 210 mph winds, killing 24 people at Moore, on Oklahoma City’s south side. Friday’s storms were moving just to the north of Moore and appeared not to be as strong as last week’s storm.

“They’re just tooling around right now. They’re starting to dissipate a little bit,” said Nick Mosley, who works at the Love’s Travel Stop in El Reno. Motorists packed the store as the storm approached.

At Will Rogers World Airport southwest of Oklahoma City, passengers were directed into underground tunnels and inbound and outbound flights were canceled.

Damage was reported in Canadian County, immediately to the west of the capital city, and television cameras showed debris falling from the sky and power transformers being knocked out by high winds.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said a number of motorists were injured and that a few were missing. Numerous vehicles were damaged, leaving motorists stranded on the sides of roads, Randolph said.

As the storm bore down on suburban Oklahoma City, Adrian Lillard, 28, of The Village, went to the basement of her mother’s office building with a friend, her nieces, nephews and two dogs.

“My brother’s house was in Moore, so it makes you take more immediate action,” Lillard said while her young nieces played on a blanket on the floor of the parking garage. “We brought toys and snacks to try our best to keep them comfortable.”

Well before Oklahoma’s first thunderstorms fired up at late afternoon, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman was already forecasting a violent evening. From the Texas border to near Joplin, Mo., residents were told to keep an eye to the sky and an ear out for sirens.

Forecasters warned of a “particularly dangerous situation,” with ominous language about strong tornadoes and hail the size of grapefruits — 4 inches in diameter.

Play Video

What factors led to lives being saved in this week’s tornadoes?

CBS News weather consultant David Bernard reported Friday evening that unfortunately, we have those tornado watches in some of the same places we’ve had them from the last couple of nights. Most of them right now are located in Oklahoma, also into southeastern Kansas, and a good chunk of southwestern and central Missouri, numerous severe thunderstorms ongoing right now — also a severe thunderstorm watch covering eastern Minnesota and a good portion of northern and central portions of Wisconsin.

Looking ahead to Saturday, Bernard continued, we have a wide area of potential severe weather extending from central and north Texas right through the Missouri River valley into the Midwest, as far north as Michigan and extending as far east it looks like as portions of Ohio.

Earlier, flash flooding and tornadoes killed three people in Arkansas as powerful storms swept through the nation’s midsection, including a local sheriff who drowned while checking on residents whose house was eventually swamped by rising water, authorities said Friday. Three other people are missing.

The storms rolled across the region overnight, and more bad weather was poised to strike Friday, with tornadoes and baseball-sized hail forecast from Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Flooding also is a concern in parts of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois through Sunday.

Torrential rain, including at least 6 inches in the rugged terrain of western Arkansas, posed the greatest danger the night before. In Y City, about 125 miles west of Little Rock, the Fourche La Fave River rose 24 feet in just 24 hours.

“The water just comes off that hill like someone is pouring a bucket in there,” said Danny Straessle, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation. “This was an incredible amount of water.”


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800 Scientists Demand Global GMO “Experiment” End

Elizabeth Renter

May 24th, 2013
Updated 05/24/2013 at 5:23 am

Did you hear about the 800 esteemed scientists who came together and demanded the production of genetically modified crops and products be stopped? Scientists who called on world powers to re-evaluate the future of agriculture and seek sustainability rather than corporate profits? Don’t be surprised if you haven’t, as the mainstream media won’t touch this one.

Eight-hundred scientists did make such a demand. They made it first over a decade ago and they have updated it over the years, adding signatures and release dates. Still global powers have all but ignored their calls.

The Institute of Science in Society is a non-profit group of scientists from around the world, dedicated to bringing an end to what they refer to as the “dangerous GMO “experiment. In their open letter to the world, they have highlighted why governments need to stop genetically modified crops now – before there are irreversible effects on the health of the people and the health of the earth at large.

The Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments calls for “the immediate suspension of all environmental releases of GM crops and products, both commercially and in open field trials, for at least 5 years.”

They also want patents on organisms, cell lines, and living things revoked and banned. Such patents (a sort of corporate version of “playing God,”) “threaten food security, sanction biopiracy of indigenous knowledge and genetic resources, violate basic human rights and dignity, compromise healthcare, impede medical and scientific research and are against the welfare of animals.”

And as Anthony Gucciardi recently detailed on NaturalSociety, this would be bad news for Monsanto following the recent Supreme Court decision that they have the ‘right’ to patent life.

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Published on May 31, 2013

Jeannette Wicks-Lim: According to official figures 15 percent of Americans live in poverty, real numbers are over 33 percent of Americans cannot meet basic needs

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Published on May 29, 2013

Activists say national union leadership needs to give more support to Black and Latino working class families fighting school closures