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'Sun dog' captures the attention of Caledon residents

Residents across Caledon were looking to the skies Thursday morning (Feb. 11) as a ...

4/15/2016

Monster Humanoid Godzilla-Like Marine Iguana Scares British Media


The headlines are telling about a recent reptile video making the rounds on social media:
And what exactly was the Godzilla-like creature that got British tabloid writers into a panic? A mere marine iguana that grows to about 4 to 5 feet in length and feeds exclusively on algae that it rasps off rocks on the ocean bottom.
The British media, though, would have you thinking otherwise, what with the allusions to Godzilla terrifying the divers who captured the footage of this particular reptile at Cabo Marshall, a dive site off Isabela in the Galapagos island chain, the only known islands in which these lizards can be found.
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The Daily Star was the biggest offender. It says the lizard caused panic among the humans who encountered the reptile, but the only “panic” the divers may have encountered would be either: 1. running out of air as they filmed this magnificent creature swimming in the ocean, or 2. running out of space on the video camera used to capture the footage. The Daily Star also reported the lizard as a 7-footer. At 7 feet in length, this particular iguana would be about the average size of a Komodo dragon, a reptile that can grow to 10 feet in length and has been documented to attack humans. Most reputable information outlets describe the marine iguana as averaging 3 to 5 feet in length, its size varying based on what island in the chain it is found.
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Does this creature look like a humanoid Godzilla? Via Steve Winkworth/YouTube
Does this creature look like a humanoid Godzilla? Via Steve Winkworth/YouTube
“The hungry lizard was filmed by Steve Winkworth as it prowled like a cynical hunter before surfacing for air,” the Daily Star story reports.
Yes sir, that cynical hunter is 100 percent vegetarian. That’s right. The marine iguana is no more a cynical hunter than a cow.
The coverage of the reptile on another British news site, the Mirror, was a bit tame compared to the Daily Star. The writer did say the iguana was as big as the divers who were swimming near and next to it, but forced perspective of the video must be taken into account coupled with the fact that water tends to magnify imagery. But you have to give points to the Mirror for at least calling the marine iguana what it is, a herbivore.
Yahoo News Australia (‘Mini-Godzilla’ marine iguana filmed in incredible underwater feeding session) also got it right mostly. It, however, reported the reptile at 6 feet in length. But you have to love that headline, too.
The marine iguana is not a monster, though Charles Darwin apparently called them disgusting clumsy lizards. Nor are they “humanoid Godzillas.” They are just lizards that feed exclusively on algae. And, they are not the size of a human. The coverage of this Godzilla-Like Humanoid Lizard Bigger Than A Human Monster? Lame. Winkworth’s video, though, is absolutely brilliant!

Petcha.com
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4/12/2016

Mexico City gets choked by worst smog in decades

Mexico City is in the grips of a pollution crisis.
Authorities have issued the first smog alerts for the city in more than a decade and recently implemented restrictions on when cars can be on the road. On Wednesday, for example, two-in-five cars were ordered off the road because the pollution reached such high levels.
In addition, Mexico City closed a loophole in its existing rules that kept about 20 percent of cars off the road each day. Now, even vehicles certified as low-emission will also be banned on designated days, typically based on a number on their license plates.
The pollution problem isn't new for Mexico City. Some driving restrictions have been in place for years. But still, according to the Wall Street Journal, the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness estimates that 1,823 people each year die prematurely in Mexico City because of air pollution. The city's geography is a major factor in the city's bad air. Surrounded by mountains, during the city's dry season, smog just sits and accumulates.
Warmer tempeatures — it's been in the mid-80s this week — also contribute to the thick smog.
The new, tighter restrictions are set to remain in place until the rainy season arrives this summer.
In the meantime, the city is offering free bus and subway rides as a way to get people off the road. And it's also proving to be a profit center for some businesses. Uber has a major presence in the city and is setting high surge prices.
According to a story in Quartz, Uber was charging a 9.9x surge on rides in Mexico City on Wednesday. In response, the app has been pushing its UberPool service, which allows users to share a ride with others going the same direction for a lower price.
In the meantime, environmentalists and scientists wonder if the new restrictions will actually reduce the pollution at all. They blame new freeways and a court decision that reversed a ban on older model cars for getting more vehicles moving on the streets.
So what are residents to do? The World's Global Nation editor Monica Campbell, who lives in Mexico City, said there are a few options that really boil down to this: Stay indoors, or try to escape the city for some fresh air. Hear more from her:

This story first published on PRI.org.
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4/07/2016

30 kg of ice falls from the sky

Reeling under an early heat wave, people in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh received a cool surprise — an ice chunk weighing about 30kg falling from the sky.
The chunk, believed to be a megacryometeor (ice-stone) or blue ice, came crashing down in a field on Monday, creating a three-foot-deep crater upon impact. This comes nearly three months after a similar incident in Sagar district in which a 60-year-old woman was injured.
The latest incident occurred at Nousar village in Timarini, 40km from Harda district headquarters. The field belonged to Raj Kumar Patil, whose younger brother Jitendra Patil was irrigating it at the time. On hearing the thundering sound, locals came running to the field to find the chunk had broken into three.
Jitendra said another chunk came crashing down in a field nearby. “I was very scared. Nearly 14 seconds after the first chunk of ice fell, another smaller chunk fell in a nearby field. We informed other villagers who came rushing,” he said.
Harda collector Srikant Banot said he will inspect the site and also rope in geologists and other experts. He said in all probability, it was blue ice from a plane flying overhead at a great height. He said he had sent the sub-divisional magistrate to the spot to submit a report.
According to a research paper, ‘Isotopic studies of megacryometeors in western India’ published in March 2013, ice-stones or megacryometeors form suddenly even during non-cloudy, clear sky when there is no thunderstorm activity.
“Although their formation is not clearly understood, they are considered to have an origin different from large hailstones. The research paper is based on four unusually large ice-stones weighing several kilograms which fell in western India (Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra ) during October–November 2010.
According to authors of the research paper, many causal mechanisms have been hypothesized for the formation and fall of megacryometeors that include aircraft icing, blue ice or waste water released from aircraft lavatories, leakage from aircraft water tanks, condensation trails of jet planes and extraterrestrial origin.
They also pointed out that, according to Martinez-Frias who has collected data on ice-stones falls across the world, “megacryometeor fall frequency has increased since 1950 and that 46 fall events have been recorded between 2001 and 2006 alone”.

Hindustantimes
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4/01/2016

Die off in Pacific far worse than anything ever seen before

Scientists estimate as many as 500,000 Murres may have died in total, washing up on beaches along just about every Alaska coastline, as well as turning up in more unlikely places like Palmer.

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