Category Archives: Earth

Who is the Human Ancestor?

 

A paper recently published describes three fossils found in northern Kenya. It was a portion of the facial skeleton and two jaws with teeth, with an age range of 1.78 and 1.95 million years.

Having examined them, anthropologists noted their resemblance to a skull discovered in 1972 (photo), also in Africa, and was assigned a distinct human species called Homo rudolfensis. At that time, the only fossil of its kind and many anthropologists were not sure if it was a separate species or just an individual with unusual features, but one belonging to species already known.

The new fossils, however, supports the idea that it was indeed, a distinct species. Homo rudolfensis differed from other human species 2 million years ago, having a relatively large brain and a face that is elongated and flat.

Long, the oldest known human ancestor was considered Homo erectus, a species of primate with bipedal walking, small skull and prominent arches.

But 50 years ago, a new species was discovered. It was the oldest and the most primitive: the Homo habilis, which coexists with H. erectus. Now, new findings show that all Homo rudolfensis lived then and now about Africa. 2 million years was populated by a variety of primitive human forms.

Imagine human evolution as a single continuous line leading from primates to modern man, but fossil evidence shows that the model was more complex and that our species has evolved like other animal species.

As Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London says, “It is as nature would have built prototypes of different people with different attributes. It is a successful evolutionary plan. ”

 

 

Some 230,000 People Displaced Due to Heavy Rains in Kyushu

 

Around 230,000 people have been forced to flee their homes this Friday on the island of Kyushu, the third largest of Japan located in the south, because of the heavy rains that drench the region.

Only in the Fukuoka prefecture, north of this island, some 121,000 people have been evacuated by the Japanese authorities. At least 41,000 homes have been flooded in this region, and more than 58,000 in the whole island of Kyushu.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency warned that the intensity of rainfall will continue or even increase in some parts of northern Kyushu, including the Fukuoka.

Since Wednesday, at least 20 people have died and seven were missing in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures because of landslides and floods caused by heavy rains.

The governor of the prefecture of Oita, has requested the help of self-defense unit in the field of Nippon Army, after the Kagetsu river flooded the town of Hita.

 

 

Fit Legs: World’s Best Treks

Going on a trek and that has both difficult terrain and asubstantial distance is quite understandably not on top of many a traveler’s ‘must-do’ list. Yet, they give you a chance to see the landscape and experience and understand every aspect of the region like nothing else does. It is precisely for this reason that hiking trails are renowned across the globe. Of course you have to be both super fit and enthusiastic to undertake on one of these monumental journeys that will give you a lifetime of great memories.

Inca Trail – Peru

The Inca Trail in Peru is without a doubt one of the most popular trails on the planet and many travelers and gladly embark on this 33km trek, not just for the amazing views that it offers but also because of the grand destination at the end of it all- the Machu Picchu. Winding around lofty mountains and set amidst famous ancient ruins and cloud forests, this lives up to all the hype that surrounds it.

GR20 – France

Linking the Calenzana with Conca the GR20 in France is the ultimate rush for most trekking enthusiasts. The arduous 15-day hike will give you a glimpse of a wide variety of terrain that includes almost everything that you can ask for. From snow-clad peaks to vast beautiful plains and from glacial lakes to valleys and craters, this 168 km trek has everything packed into one as it is both challenging and unforgettable.

Routeburn Track – New Zealand

New Zealand holidays might not normally include a trek that sees you pass through two national parks and get an unparallel view of the country’s Southern Alps. But the Routeburn Track offers you a three-day and 32Km-long journey that allows you to explore both the Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks.

Everest Base Camp – Nepal

If you are looking for a trek that will give you a new high and offer you a breathtaking experience, then this is it; quite literally! Ending at an altitude of 5,545m, this three-week trek takes you to the base of the world’s tallest peak and that is surely an achievement in itself. Of course, when you have the Himalayas and Mount Everest for backdrop you are pretty much guaranteed stunning scenery.

Pays Dogon – Mali

If you want to experience the ingenious lifestyle of the people in this region of Africa and enjoy a beautiful trek that will take you through soaring cliffs and back into the heart of humanity’s cradle, then this is it. Old and abandoned cliff dwellings will greet you along the way while traveling through the region can vary anywhere between a few days to a couple of weeks depending on your interest and the time you have on hand.

Remains of Carnivorous Dinosaur Found in Argentina

 

BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences today announced the discovery of the remains of a carnivorous dinosaur that can be considered as a new species and could provide key data on the evolution of the distant ancestors of birds.

The new species, presented today by researchers at the museum, was dubbed “Bicentennial Argentina” and its remains were found in the southern province of Black River.

“It is very likely to find a new lineage within the family of coelurosaurs, those dinosaurs that eventually give rise to birds,” the museum spokesperson said in a statement.

The head of the museum and independent researcher of CONICET, Fernando Novas, said that “While there were known members of the tyrannosaurus rex or velociraptor, not much is known about the earliest forms of the coelurosaurs.”

The adults of the coelurosaurs would measure between 2.5 and 3 meters long and were agile and thin. Basing on the shape of its teeth and the presence of claws, they were probably hunters.

“One can suspect that they could have fed on smaller dinosaurs, herbivores or offspring of dinosaurs,” said Novas.

Researchers believe that this dinosaur may have the body covered with feathers.

 

Japan Will Launch a Satellite to Study Global Warming

Japan announced that they will launch a satellite in 2013, together with the European Space Agency, to study the clouds and try to predict accurately the progress of global warming.

It is expected that the EarthCARE satellite increased its accuracy of predictions of global warming, such as increases in temperature, which would help create measures against climate change. This was according to the Aerospace Exploration Agency of Japan.

The clouds have been the major obstacle for scientists in predicting global warming, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations Organization (UNO). 

Equipped with four radar sensors and a special profile, this is a key component of the vehicle to be developed in Japan. The EarthCARE satellite examines the dust and dirt inside the clouds and atmosphere.

The Japanese space agency said the satellite will improve weather forecasts by examining the vertical profiles of clouds and aerosols, and radiation at the top of the atmosphere.

What is Biosphere?

Life can be found in almost any terrestrial environment. But when discussing the climate system, it is convenient to consider the biosphere as a discrete component, like the atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere.

The biosphere affects the albedo of the Earth, either on the ground and in the oceans. Large areas of inland forests have low albedo compared to regions without vegetation, such as deserts. The albedo of a deciduous forest is approximately 0.15 to 0.18, where a forest of conifers is between 0.09 and 0.15. A tropical rainforest reflects much less between 0.07 and 0.15. For comparison, the albedo of sandy desert is about 0.3. Clearly, the presence of forests affect the energy budget of the climate system.

Some scientists think that the burning of fossil fuels is not as destabilizing as logging and destruction of the ecosystems that sustain primary production of oceans (Anderson et al. 1987).

The biosphere also affects the emissions of certain gases flows, such as carbon dioxide and methane. The plankton in the ocean surface uses the dissolved carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. This establishes a gas flow with the ocean. In fact, it fixes the gas from the atmosphere. At death, the plankton transports carbon dioxide to the ocean floor.

It is estimated that up to 80% of the oxygen produced by photosynthesis is the result of the action of ocean algae, especially in the coastal areas.

The biosphere also affects the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere. Billions of spores, viruses, bacteria, pollen and other tiny organic species are transported by wind and solar radiation that affects and influences the overall energy budget. Oceanic primary productivity produces compounds known as dimetilsulfitos, which are oxidized in the atmosphere to form sulfate aerosols that serve as condensation nuclei for water vapor, thus helping to form clouds. The clouds in turn, have a complex effect on the energy budget climate. So, any change in the primary productivity of the oceans may indirectly affect global climate.

 

A supertelescope seek the secrets of the universe

It is being touted as the astronomical equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider, offering new clues about the formation of the universe and is so powerful that even might detect extraterrestrial life.

This is the telescope Square Kilometer Array,an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, one to investigate the dark heart of space, which will shed new light on dark matter, black holes, stars and galaxies.

“This will have a profound impact on how we perceive our place in the universe and our understanding of its history and its future,” says Michiel van Haarlem, Acting Director General of the SKA project.

“We know that we will discover new things. This will be very exciting,” said van Haarlem.

Its name comes from the total size of collection area. The SKA telescope will consist of 3,000 satellite dishes, each about 15 meters wide. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016.

Overall the surface of all plates shall be one square kilometer, all combined to detect radio waves that penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere, emitted by stars, galaxies and quasars.

Two other types of radio receivers—Opening antennas and standard antennas—are combined with the plates to provide continuous frequency coverage from 70 MHz to 10 GHz

“It’s not like an optical telescope which can see a picture of the sky directly. This will go further,” says van Haarlem.

About half of the antennas will be located in a “central region” composed of three different groups of five kilometers. The rest are spread in five “spiral arms” carefully aligned over an area stretching over 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) .

This configuration, scientists say, will create the most sensitive radio telescope ever built.

The project is entering a crucial stage and will be announced which will house the full range of antennas.

There are two locations, one in Northern Cape of South Africa and another in Western Australia.

Brian Boyle, director of the project’s bid in Australia/New Zealand, extols the virtues of Western Australia “peace intrinsic radio” and “excellent geophysics”of the proposed Australian site.

Meanwhile, Bernie Fanaroff, project director of SKA South Africa, said to be the host of the “world’s largest science” will be very important for the country and the continent. 

“It could lead to vastly improve the perception of Africa—by Africans themselves and the rest of the world,” Fanaroff said.

Mexico wants to turn trash into power plant

The Mexico City government launched the call for international tender to convert the recently closed landfill “The Bordo Poniente” a source of energy.

The notice provides for the granting of municipal solid waste found in the landfill of the city for the capture and use for 25 years of biogas generated by them for use as fuel and/or generate electricity.

The landfill, considered one of the world’s largest, was closed last December after 26 years of operation and having exceeded its maximum capacity of 16.9 million tons.

The bidding process

In the bidding process, which ends in August, priority will be given the option that provides for the construction of a biogas power plant, which requires “least subsidy”, and also meets the technical and environmental standards, said the city government said in a statement.

The mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard’s leftist, said that the idea of ​​bidding is that other invest the resources to recover methane gas without using tax dollars.

Reduce 1.4 million tons of C02

This unprecedented project in Mexico will reduce about 1.4 million tons of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas (GHG), said Martha Delgado, head of the Environment of Mexico City.

In the past three years local authorities launched a development plan for the utilization of waste from the landfill to reduce the arrival of waste.

Mexico City, which generates about 12,000 tons of garbage daily, has a population of about 20 million people including conurbation areas.

Earth Becoming an Increasingly Hot Planet

By 2100, the world’s energy consumption will lead to warming of the Earth with 6 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial, said Fatih Briol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, the UN conference on climate change that takes place these days in Durban, South Africa.

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