Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Little Ice Age

A new study indicates that a cool spell that started in the 13th century, sometimes called the Little Ice Age, appears to have been caused by a series of volcanic eruptions and sustained by sea ice.

During the cool spell, which lasted for about 600 years, advancing glaciers destroyed northern European towns and froze the Thames River in London.

It is not known how many people died as a result.

No one can say if or when this will happen again but it is just one more demonstration of how vulnerable our climate is to sudden change. With all the pollution and green house gasses we are pumping out each year and the ever fluctuating solar cycle. We really don't know what sudden event could change every thing we take for granted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Time to stock up on gas

If you have any extra cash you may want to consider stocking up on a little extra gasoline.  Iran has shrugged off Europe's oil embargo and moved ahead with plans to hold naval exercises alongside the oil tanker shipping lanes it has threatened to block.

Now we all know that Iran cant win a war against the West and they would be foolish to start one. But it may be in their interest to disrupt shipping a little bit. In fact they would not even have to do anything really nasty to disrupt the shipping. If Iran simply sent a few mine layers out into the shipping lanes and had them drive around for a bit. And perhaps dump some large objects into the water. That would be all it would take to shut down the shipping for a few days while the Western Navies look for the non existent mines. All the while the price you pay at the pumps will go way up.

I am off to the gas station.

Monday, January 23, 2012

More Bird Flu

A 39 year old man in southwest China died of bird flu on Sunday after three days of intensive care treatment in hospital. And in related news two separate teams of scientists trying to develop a vaccine for the H5N1 strain of bird flu have agreed to temporarily postpone their research because of growing concern that a highly-infectious airborne version of the virus the researchers are working with could fall into the hands of terrorists or escape the laboratory and trigger a deadly pandemic.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

12 Infected With New Swine Flu Strain

A new strain of swine flu that's not covered by this season's vaccine is believed to have infected 12 people in the USA. The 12 people infected live in Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Officials for the Centers for Disease Control say the sample size of H3N2 infections is too small to know whether it will pose a threat to the population at large.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Russia's failed Mars probe, Phobos-Grunt, is about to fall back to Earth - quite probably on Sunday

Get your hard hat on. The spacecraft has been losing altitude rapidly in recent days and will soon be pulled into the top of the atmosphere where most of it will be destroyed. Estimates suggest that only about 200kg will survive the fiery plunge and hit the ground. But that's still going to totally mess up your day if you get it on the noggin. So keep looking up.

Universal Flu Vaccine Could Be Available by 2013

Annual flu shots might soon become a thing of the past, and threats such as avian and swine flu might disappear with them as a vaccine touted as the "holy grail" of flu treatment could be ready for human trials next year.