Tag Archive: University of California Berkeley


The Sydney Morning Herald

March 20, 2014

Laila Kearney

Fierce solar blasts that could have badly damaged electrical grids and disabled satellites in space narrowly missed Earth in 2012, researchers say.

 

The bursts would have wreaked havoc on the Earth’s magnetic field, matching the severity of the 1859 Carrington event, the largest solar magnetic storm ever reported on the planet. That blast knocked out the telegraph system across the United States, according to University of California, Berkeley research physicist Janet Luhmann.

 

“Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous,” Luhmann said.

 

A series of images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory show the first moments of an X-class significant solar flare in different wavelengths of light. Flares are often related to coronal mass ejections.A series of images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory show the first moments of an X-class significant solar flare in different wavelengths of light. Flares are often related to coronal mass ejections. Photo: Reuters

 

A 2013 study estimated a solar storm like the Carrington Event could take a $US2.6 trillion bite out of the current global economy.

 

Massive bursts of solar wind and magnetic fields, shot into space on July 23, 2012, would have been aimed directly at Earth if they had happened nine days earlier, Luhmann said.

 

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Source Do you think he’s alive???…….

Author Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

…..

New UC Berkeley Test Reveals Fantastically High Cesium Levels on California Roadside

Christina Sarich

NationofChange / News Report

Published: Thursday 20 February 2014

For all the naysayers who said that Fukushima radiation wasn’t hitting the West Coast, here’s a new one for you. UC Berkeley lab tests are now showing high levels of cesium in cattle feed from a California dairy farm that was sent to a lab nine months prior to the test results being received  – a long delay that suggests levels are much higher now. Then, the one-two-punch – asphalt along a roadside in the sunny city which catches plenty of rainfall was then measured, much more recently, and a disturbing 3579 pci/kg were found. By anyone’s standards, that cannot just be chalked up as background radiation. Fukushima fallout isn’t just coming via ocean currents. It is in our rain, air and soil now.

After more than three years of government cover ups – from Japan, and within our own US agencies, the evidence is coming out from citizensUniversitiesonce-silenced scientists, and other reputable agencies making it almost impossible to keep the true damage of the Fukushima fallout quiet.

Those who have been looking for evidence – who haven’t seen fish washing up on their shores, or animals dying on their farms, insects with strange deformations – here’s the evidence. Radiation won’t kill you right away. It’s like other biotech and weaponized weather tactics our governments are using against their own people – it’s a soft kill that the disbelieving will wallow in, sadly, until they are already too far gone to realize the ‘conspiracy’ was truly to wipe out masses of people – whether it was done ignorantly for profit by the nuclear industry our as a false flag event to keep as all in check, and under totalitarian rule, will not matter.

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freespeechtv·

Published on Nov 6, 2013

Dr. Annalee Newitz is an editor of i09, was a lecturer at UC Berkeley, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a journalist at Wired, and author of ‘Scatter, Adapt, and Remember’.

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How Smart Dust Could Be Used To Monitor Human Thought

Elise Ackerman, Contributor

A few years ago a team of researchers from Brown University made headlines after they successfully demonstrated how a paralyzed woman who had lost the use of her arms and legs could control a robotic arm using her brainwaves. In a video, Cathy Hutchinson imagines drinking a cup of coffee, and the robotic arm brings the cup to her lips.

The scene is amazing, but also a little disturbing. Hutchinson is connected to the robotic arm through a rod-like “pedestal” driven into her skull. At one end of the pedestal, a bundle of gold wires is attached to a tiny array of microelectrodes that is implanted in the primary motor cortex of Hutchison’s brain. This sensor, which is about the size of a baby aspirin, records her neural activity. At the other end of the pedestal is an external cable that transmits neural data to a nearby computer, which translates the signals into code that guides the robotic arm.

This method, known as BrainGate, pretty much defined state-of-the-art brain-computer interfaces at the end of the last decade. If the idea of a rod-through-the-head computer interface makes you cringe, you are not alone.

For some time, a small team of researchers at UC Berkeley has been working on plans for a less invasive, wireless monitoring system. Earlier this month, they released a draft paper: “Neural Dust: An Ultrasonic, Low Power Solution for Chronic Brain-Machine Interfaces.”

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FARM NEWS

by Staff Writers
Austin TX (SPX)


Bees will move longer distances to find patches of flowers that are rich in species; it’s not floral density that determines how far a bumblebee will fly, but floral diversity.

Landscapes with large amounts of paved roads and impervious construction have lower numbers of ground-nesting bumblebees, which are important native pollinators, a study from The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Berkeley shows.

The study suggests that management strategies that reduce the local use of pavement and increase natural habitat within the landscape could improve nesting opportunities for wild bees and help protect food supplies around the word.

The study also suggests that increasing the number of species-rich flowering patches in suburban and urban gardens, farms and restored habitats could provide pathways for bees to forage and improve pollination services over larger areas.

The findings have major implications for global pollinator conservation on a rapidly urbanizing planet.

“We are potentially in a pollinator crisis,” said Shalene Jha, lead author and assistant professor of biology at The University of Texas at Austin. “Honey bees are declining precipitously, and wild bees have also been exhibiting population declines across the globe. Native bees provide critical pollination services for fruit, nut, fiber and forage crops. Understanding how bees move around the landscape can help us both preserve biodiversity and improve crop yields.”

Animal pollination is estimated to be worth over $200 billion in global crop yields.

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Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

Environmental

climate change and  wildlife

Studies shed light on why species stay or go in response to climate change

by Staff Writers
Berkeley CA (SPX)


The Belding’s ground squirrel has disappeared from 42 percent of the sites in the California mountains where they were recorded in the early 1900s, but noted that some human-modified areas provided an artificial oasis for the squirrel. (Toni Lyn Morelli photo)

Two new studies by scientists at UC Berkeley provide a clearer picture of why some species move in response to climate change, and where they go. One study, published online in the journal Global Change Biology, finds that changes in precipitation have been underappreciated as a factor in driving bird species out of their normal range.

In the other study, published the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers found a sharp decrease in range for the Belding’s ground squirrel, but noted some surprising areas where the species found refuge.

The two studies exemplify the type of research being explored through the Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology, or BiGCB, an ambitious effort to better understand and predict how plants and animals will respond to changing environmental conditions by studying how they have responded to earlier periods of climate change.

The first study’s findings challenge the conventional reliance on temperature as the only climate-related force impacting where species live. The authors noted that as many as 25 percent of species have shifted in directions that were not predicted in response to temperature changes, yet few attempts have been made to investigate this.

“Our results redefine the fundamental model of how species should respond to future climate change,” said study lead author Morgan Tingley, who began the research as a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. “We find that precipitation changes can have a major, opposing influence to temperature in a species’ range shift. Climate change may actually be tearing communities of organisms apart.”

The findings are based upon data gathered from the Grinnell Resurvey Project, which retraces the steps of Joseph Grinnell, founder of the UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, in his surveys of Sierra Nevada wildlife from the early 1900s. The resurvey project, which began in 2003, was led by Craig Moritz, former UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology, and his colleagues at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

For the bird study, the researchers included 99 species in 77 historic survey sites in Lassen Volcanic, Yosemite and Sequoia national parks, as well as in several national forests. In the century that has passed since the original Grinnell survey, summer and winter temperatures have increased an average of 1-2 degrees Celsius in the Sierra Nevada. Yosemite experienced the most warming – with average temperatures increasing by 3 degrees Celsius – while parts of Lassen actually got cooler and much wetter.

Among the bird species that moved upslope are the Savannah Sparrow, which shifted upward by 2,503 meters, and other meadow species such as the Red-winged Blackbird and Western Meadowlark. The ones that shifted their range downslope include both low-elevation species like the Ash-throated Flycatcher and Western Scrub-Jay, and high-elevation species like the Cassin’s Finch and Red-breasted Nuthatch.

“Temperature did not explain the majority of these shifts,” said Tingley, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University’s Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy. “Only when we included precipitation as an explanatory variable did our models adequately explain the movement patterns we observed.”

The researchers found that while rising temperatures tended to push birds to cooler regions upslope, increased precipitation, which is more common at higher elevations, pulled them downslope.

“We believe many species may feel this divergent pressure from temperature and precipitation, and in the end, only one wins,” said Tingley.

Notably, more than half of the bird species in each of the three study regions did not shift their range despite pressures from climate change. “Moving is a sign of adaptation, which is good from a conservation standpoint,” said Tingley.

“More worrisome are the species that have not shifted. How are they adapting? Are they moving, but we just can’t detect it? Or are they slowly declining as environmental conditions gradually become less ideal where they live?”

The answers are complex, as illustrated by the second UC Berkeley paper about range changes for a species of squirrel found in the mountains of the western United States.

In that paper, researchers again used information obtained from the Grinnell Resurvey Project. Through visual observations and trapping surveys conducted throughout the mountains of California, they discovered that the Belding’s ground squirrel had disappeared from 42 percent of the sites where they were recorded in the early 1900s. Extinctions were particularly common at sites with high average winter temperatures and large increases in precipitation over the last century.

“We were surprised to see such a dramatic decline in this species, which is well-known to Sierran hikers and was thought to be fairly common,” said study lead author Toni Lyn Morelli, a former National Science Foundation postdoctoral researcher who was based at UC Berkeley. “In fact, the rate of decline is much greater than that seen in the same region for the pika, a small mountain-dwelling cousin of the rabbit that has become the poster child for the effects of climate warming in the contiguous United States.”

Morelli added that the squirrels are thriving in areas that have been modified by humans. For example, irrigated Mono Lake County Park serves as an artificial oasis that sustains squirrel populations despite otherwise hot and dry conditions in eastern California.

“As predictions indicate that the range of the Belding’s ground squirrel could disappear out of California by the end of the century, these areas might be particularly important for this and other climate-impacted species,” said Morelli, who is now a technical advisor for the U.S. Forest Service’s International Programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Although the Belding’s ground squirrel is widespread, the rapid decline in its distribution is of concern because it is an important source of food for raptors and carnivores. However, the paper suggests that even when climate change causes large range declines, some species can persist in human-modified areas.

“Taken together, these two studies indicate that many species have been responding to recent climate change, yet the complexities of a species’ ecological needs and their responses to habitat modification by humans can result in unanticipated responses,” said Steven Beissinger, professor at UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and the senior author on both studies. “This makes it very challenging for scientists to project how species will respond to future climate change.”

Funding from the National Science Foundation, National Park Service, and California Landscape Conservation Cooperative helped support this research.

 

Related Links
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Climate Science News – Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation