Sunday, 13 March 2011

Japan Quake moved Earth on its Axis and moved the island by 8 Feet

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/japan.earthquake.tsunami.earth/index.html?hpt=T1#
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12726297

As many of you will know, several days ago a massive earthquake struck off the coast of Japan sending a huge tsunami across the islands. The extent of the damage is huge with tens of thousands still missing and an unfolding humanitarian disaster as Japan struggles to cope with the homeless and hungry.
At the same time the quake damaged the nuclear plants at Fukushima, where a huge explosion yesterday may have set of a sub critical meltdown in one of the reactors.
Explosion at Fukushima power station
New data from GPS and GSI also seems to indicate that the huge Earthquake did more than just devistate the Japanese mainland. It appears that it was so big it moved the islands of Japan by up to 8 feet. The earhquake, caused by the shifing of the 'ring of fire' techtonic plates by more than 18m in an area 250 miles by 100 miles, may also have shifted the globe on its axis by nearly 4 inches.
Images released by NASA show Japan's northeast coast before, left, and after flooding from the quake-induced tsunami.

Sudan - through the eyes of some Welsh students

At aberystwyth university we run a Crisis Simulation every semester in which around 50 students travel to a stately home/hotel called Gregynog near Newtown and attempt to solve an international 'crisis' in three days. This semesters sim was on the breakdown of Sudanese relations after the cancellation of the pivital referendum in the Abeyei Region. I, along with three others was a member of the UN team. You learn a lot in these crisis sims and i thought i'd put a few lessons on here:
  • Dealing with terrorist organisations is not necessarily a bad thing (we had very good contact with the Darfur Rebel Groups and almost brought down the Chinese government)
  • If you need to get something done don't ask the UN Security Council (the US and China disliked each other so nothing ever got done)
  • If you want diplomacy never ask the OTC (We had a few members of the Officer Training Corps and they REALLY wanted a war)
  • The Gods (the team of lecturers running it) will agree to anything on the third day (we declared war on France because it sold arms and started WWIII. Oh, and the Dalai Lahma became head of the UN)
  • Ideas in the bar don't generally plan out (we generally spend most evenings getting a bit tipsy in the bar and some 'amazing' idea normally comes up to be shot down the very next morning)
  • The South Sudanese are far too easy going (they solved the crisis a day early by ageeing to all the Bashir Governments demands)
  • The Gods will get bored and attempt to start a war (they gave tanks and AA guns to the Darfur Rebels and created a four-helicopter 'Black Hawk Down' for the US in the middle of Kartoum)

Friday, 4 March 2011

Wales backs a 'Yes' referendum

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-12648649

Wales has voted Yes in the referendum to give law making powers to the welsh assembly government.
'When the last result was declared, all 22 counties except one - Monmouthshire - backed change. Turnout is provisionally put at 35%.
The final result saw 517,132 vote Yes, and 297,380 say No - a 63.5% to 36.5% winning margin'

However, while Yes campaigners celebrate, members form the No campaign have certain criticisms:
  • They see the low turnout as worrying and not really a true representation of the people of Wales
  • They argue there is no coherent plan towards devolution rather policy changes such as this referendum seem to be random
  • because of this they see the move towards devolution as the federalising or even disintegration of the UK as a whole
However, today marks an important change in UK, and especially Welsh, politics whatever your vote may have been.

ZOMBIE FUNGUS AHHHHHHHHHHH

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/02/zombie-creating-fungi-cordyceps_n_830558.html

4 new forms o the so-called zombie fungus have been discovered in Brazil where they infect ants and make them do strange things!

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miroslav-volf/god-versus-allah_b_829955.html

Very interesting and no-nonsense article from one someone who really knows their stuff. It draws upon historical and modern examples to argue that while each faith has a slightly different interpretation of God they essentially believe in the same being.

Libya captures dutch crew

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12645675

Libyan army has captured a Dutch Lynx helicopter and crew who attempted to fly out two Europeans because it entered Libyan airspace 'in breach of international law.' It was taken outside the town of Sirte (one of col. gadaffi's last remaining strogholds as the Dutch, represented by the pirate hunter 'Tromp' are doing everything to get them back.

Latest Libya update: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12644435

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Tractor Beam technology reaches new levels

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12620560

This is quite cool though not up to Star Wars levels yet :P

BskyB takeover

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12631875

BskyB have accepted the offer of Murdoch's News Corp for the news giant to buy out the remaining 61% of Sky on the condition that Sky News becomes a spin off company in its own right with an independent chairman and majority of the board. However opposition groups including rival news firms argue that this takeover puts too much media control in the hands of one group.
This takeover does raise interesting questions about the control of what we see as 'free' media. Murdoch's empire already includes the Sun, the Telegraph, the Times and the Financial Times;
Is this too much influence for one organisation?
Indeed does it affect the news we read and see on TV?
Can any news be objective if it all comes from a single source?
At least would this not allow a variety in angles and focus?
But then does the size and control of the BBC necessitate the same questions?