Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Well, not if you're a heavily-armed religious survivalist group from Craftsbury in Vermont, USA, which is currently embroiled in an escalating dispute over a 150-year-old road the town says is public - but the church says is theirs.
Several people - including a public official - claim they have been threatened and intimidated by the group
The religious group Mission New England reside in a 276-acre compound near the town and isn't keen on people using the public trail on Coburn Hill Road in Craftsbury. Maps indicate the trail is a public right-of-way through the group's compound, but members have erected 'no trespassing' signs and bared the way with a locked gate.
A group of cyclists claim that when they tried to use the trail, they were "surrounded by at least a dozen men who all came running out of what they had claimed to be a church".
Town Lister Willy Ryan says he has been threatened and intimidated several times over the years when he has gone to the compound to assess the property values. The most ominous came this year by a man packing a gun. "He said well you are now on private property and I would tread lightly if I were you, because your life might be in jeopardy," Ryan said.
Ryan says the man with the gun was John Maniatty, the reported leader of the church group. He has websites that detail how Mission New England is a born-again Christian group, explaining why its member are survivalists driven by the notion that the world is coming to an end. Maniatty owns a gun shop in Morrisville. On the websites he has instructional videos demonstrating how to fire high-powered firearms, including fully automatic weapons.
As for the town road issue, Mission New England has offered a land swap that would result in the disputed road being turned over to the survivalist group. It's unclear whether town officials are interested in that deal.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Well, according to "the UK government's chief scientific adviser" John Beddington, the world is doing all it can to make sure he's not ...
The BBC is reporting Beddington's warning of a possible 'perfect storm' crisis in 2030.
As the world's population grows, competition for food, water and energy will increase. Food prices will rise, more people will go hungry, and migrants will flee the worst-affected regions.
Specifically, he points to research indicating that by 2030 "a whole series of events come together":
The world's population will rise from 6bn to 8bn (33%)
Demand for food will increase by 50%
Demand for water will increase by 30%
Demand for energy will increase by 50%
Monday, 24 August 2009
All you have to do is hurtle a few comets at Earth, and its orbit will be altered. Our world will then be sent spinning into a safer, colder part of the solar system.Well, that's alright then ... !
Greg Laughlin, Don Korycansky and Fred Adams of the Nasa Ames Research Center in California came up with the plan, which involves carefully directing a comet or asteroid so that it sweeps close past Earth and transfers some of its gravitational energy to Earth, nudging it slightly away from the Sun. Since life on Earth is able to thrive thanks to the planet's position in our solar system's Goldilocks Zone ("not too hot, not too cold"), shifting it around to control temperatures isn't that crazy. Actually, scratch that - read further into the article and you'll soon realise just HOW crazy it actually is ...
Engineers would have to be very careful about how they directed their asteroid or comet towards Earth. The slightest miscalculation in orbit could fire it straight at Earth – with devastating consequences.
It is a point acknowledged by the group. ‘The collision of a 100-kilometre diameter object with the Earth at cosmic velocity would sterilise the biosphere most effectively, at least to the level of bacteria,’ they state in a paper in Astrophysics and Space Science. ‘The danger cannot be overemphasised.’
There is also the vexed question of the Moon. As the current issue of Scientific American points out, if Earth was pushed out of its current position it is ‘most likely the Moon would be stripped away from Earth,’ it states, radically upsetting out planet’s climate.
Friday, 21 August 2009
Having just spent a couple of weeks in Kenya and seeing the ecological, political AND humanitarian effects of lack of water, this piece by Brian Richter, director of the non-governmental Global Freshwater Program at The Nature Conservancy, is very alarming.
The front pages of Kenya's newspapers are still dominated by the Mau controversy over the near-total destruction of one of the country's key forest 'water towers' that has left the nation's capital. Nairobi, facing severe water shortages and power black-outs, with a dry summer undoubtedly about to lead to crippling food shortages. And that's just one country, a single country that technically shouldn't be facing a water crisis - if only politicians hadn't handed out publicly-owned forest to ordinary people, which they understandably then converted into farm land.
And the world is only going to get thirstier ...
Let us start with our global population, expected to rise from nearly seven billion to nine billion in just a few decades. That is why more than half the world's population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030.
At the same time, in populous nations such as China and India, improvements in living standards and personal incomes are linked to greater consumption of clothing, meat, and water.
It takes 140 litres of water to produce one cup of coffee; 3,000 litres to make a hamburger; and 8,000 litres to create a pair of leather shoes. All of these processes require a vast amount of water to grow crops, feed cows, or produce leather.
On top of that, climate change will bring less rain to many regions, and cause it to evaporate more quickly almost everywhere.
Accordingly, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that "the proportion of the planet in extreme drought at any time will likely increase".
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Deep in the Arctic Ocean, water warmed by climate change is forcing the release of methane from beneath the sea floor.
Over 250 plumes of gas have been discovered bubbling up from the sea floor to the west of the Svalbard archipelago, which lies north of Norway. The bubbles are mostly methane, which is a greenhouse gas much more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
While the President, his opponents and US media are more concerned with debating the merits of so-called 'pork barrel' military projects, we're more intrigued by the idea of a) a kitchen that could potentially withstand the end of the world and b) the logic of putting it in a helicopter that ... well ... wouldn't.
"It would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack," Obama mused, said AFP. "Now, let me tell you something: If the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack."
The US Navy charged Lockheed Martin to build a new fleet of 28 helicopters to serve as Marine One in 2005. The new helicopter was to be based on Lockheed's EH-101 aircraft, currently produced by a British-Italian partner.
The new generation of iconic green-and-white helicopters are said to offer the president greater protection and a higher range than current Sikorsky models -- some of which are up to 40 years old.
A double whammy of news for you today, and we're sure we're not the first to point you in the direction of this story - with scientists having another 'no shit, sherlock' brainwave. Actually, that's a bit unfair as it's actually quite useful to study an outbreak of revanantism in the context of it being a 'contagious disease'.
Their conclusion? ...
If zombies actually existed, an attack by them would lead to the collapse of civilisation unless dealt with quickly and aggressively.
In their scientific paper, the authors conclude that humanity's only hope is to "hit them [the undead] hard and hit them often".
Welcome back everyone ...
Monday, 10 August 2009
However, we thought we'd leave you with a little something to remember us by. You may have seen the hoo-ha around former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler, who was 'revealed' by the papers to now be a transvestite living in a squat in rural England. What we *didn't* spot at the time was that he has supposedly become spouting some delightfully apocalyptic ideas.
"Shayler told the local weekly paper: "I have realised that I am Christ and I am here to save humanity. In 2012 it is widely predicted that the world will end. It is predicted there will be a massive change in people's consciousness and we will see the end of Babylon and the end of the world as we know it. My job is to show people the way when this happens. Like Jesus I have been put in prison and punished and have come to see the way."
"He now also maintains a website entitled ''I Am Messiah'' dedicated to his views. It describes how he was convinced that he was the Messiah after seeing a headline in a London newspaper about a US rapper.
"He said that his mission to save the world included growing large quantities of hemp both for food and biofuel. He also admitted smoking large quantities of cannabis."
Friday, 7 August 2009
But The Iranian Time Bomb is a fascinating angle on turn of the century paranoia, this time roping in Iran long before the current on-going issues. Ledeen is well known for his theories that would make even Dick Cheney blush, but this one really does take the biscuit. It appears that foreign leaders believing in the end of the world is justification enough for wiping them out, but it's okay for your own leaders to do so ...
"They openly welcome the end of the world, which would usher in the millennium, under the sway of the long-vanished 12th Iman. They say they intend to precipitate the millennium by using atomic bombs on Israel. That is a chiliastic vision that embraces the murder of millions 0f us."
Thursday, 6 August 2009
"What does this have to do with Obama? It’s simple. Obama has been essential in pushing through cap and trade legislation through the United States Congress, and his Administration has made it a major part of its agenda. But as Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle point out in their tome Fallen Angels, preventing the greenhouse effect would lead the Earth into a devastating ice age. In other words, Obama’s Cap and Trade Agenda will directly lead to Fimbulvetr. As no real American would sponsor legislation that would lead to the Twilight of the Gods, it was necessary for Loki to use his powers to make Obama appear to be an American citizen so that Obama’s election to the Presidency would be assured. "Clearly, Loki’s influence into American Presidential elections should be stopped and Obama should be immediately impeached for making use of a foreign power to obtain the Presidency."
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
But sadly, Earth will have to wait to be sucked into an artifical black hole*, as its long-awaited restart has been postponed until the winter.
CERN attributed the delay to a number of technical difficulties, including vacuum leaks in two sectors of the LHC that had been cooled down to 80 K.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
The claims in a study commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) suggest that under the right circumstances, terrorists could break into computer systems and launch nukes at another nuclear state – triggering a a devastating retaliatory attack.
Without better protection of computer and information systems, the paper suggests, governments around the world are leaving open the possibility that a well-coordinated cyberwar could quickly elevate to nuclear levels: "Though the paper admits that the media and entertainment industries often confuse and exaggerate the risk of cyberterrorism, it also outlines a number of potential threats and situations in which dedicated hackers could use information warfare techniques to make a nuclear attack more likely."
Monday, 3 August 2009
Unfortunately, all those stars may look glittery, timeless and above all else, stationary, but we're in a crowded neighbourhood and there's quite a few lumps of spinning rock out there with 'To whom it may concern' stamped on the side.
According to Wired's The Real Twitpocalypse: Asteroid Alerts Come to Twitter, NASA has set up its own Asteroid Watch Twitter feed to keep you up to date on all the comets, asteroids, and other celestial objects that pose a threat to the Earth. The feed is a companion to the newly-launched Asteroid Watch website, operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
So that's a relief. We already guessed Twitter was a sign of The End, but who knew it'd be the first place we'd hear of it?
And if you're looking for recent near-misses, you can also check out Tom Taylor's lowflyingrocks feed.