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Archives – March, 2011

Japan Crisis: Live Updates

It’s more than a week since Japan was struck by massive 9.0 earthquake, followed by Tsunami and then the nuclear plant fiasco. All along this, efforts were being made to avert any kind of nuclear crisis, search for the survivors, provide basic amenities like food, water and shelter to the victims. Last week’s efforts to tackle the nuclear fiasco brought mixed results; the situation at the nuclear facility is relatively better as of now, but there has also been reports of presence of Iodine isotopes in spinach ad milk from the area creating fear that the isotopes might have already entered the foodchain. The number of people who lost their lives or are missing has now crossed more than 20,000 and is expected to reach about 25,000 or even more. Most of the people who lost their lives are elderly who couldn’t outpace gushing waters brought by Tsunami waves. The search for survivors is on but hopes of finding any survivors are getting dimmer each passing day. Amidst all these, there’s also some positive news such as rescue of 81 year grandmother and her teenager grandson after they spent 9 days beneath the rubbles. Now Japan embarks the rehabilitation and rebuilding stage which is not going to be easy and would require help and support of everyone. So donate and help out whichever way you can. Choose your organization of choice such as Redcross or simply Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation and support Redcross’ disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific.
For live TV coverage from Japan, please visit my earlier post. For live updates on the crisis, follow the twitter updates below.

Image 1 credit: | Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters | A man checks lists of evacuees at an evacuation center in Rikuzentakata March 18

Image2 credit: | Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images| A man comforts a woman as she cries in front of her damaged home in the town of Watari in Miyagi prefecture on March 14, 2011.

Leave a Comment March 21, 2011

Weekend Video: Cyclotrope And (Notes On) Biology

After a long break from regular blogging, I am back. Continuing with the weekend video series, this weekend’s video showcases two very innovative videos which I am sure will bring some smile on your face and make you relax. The first video, Cyclotrope, by Tim wheatley  uses a cycle of 18 images that is spun at a certain speed so that the frame rate of the camera filming it gives the illusion of animation. It’s insane, it’s awesome, and it’s cool. Watch yourself and come up with your own adjectives to describe the video.

What notes did you take in your biology class or for that matter any other class which  was of not much interest to you? Maybe you drew some cartoons or did some typography work in your notebook. If you did so, maybe you can relate very well to this second stop-motion video. The video is just brilliant and fun to watch.

Leave a Comment March 20, 2011

“Supermoon” Or Superhype

There is a huge media-hype going around concerning the “supermoon” which is going to happen on March 19th, 7 PM UT, which is about 3 PM US Eastern time. So what is this supermoon and what is the hype about. As we all know, moon orbits around the earth in an elliptical orbit with one side of the orbit being closer to earth (perigee; 363,000 Km from earth) while the other being farther (apogee; 410,000 Km from earth). At it’s perigee, moon is closer to earth by about 50,000 km than the average distance at apogee. This distance fluctuates due to various reasons and influences and on March 19th, moon will be at a distance of 357,000 km from earth which is about 6,000 km closer than usual perigees which happens every month. At apogees, moon looks bigger and brighter, and tonight moon will appear to be about 14% bigger than usual and about 30% brighter, permitting weather conditions and your viewing location. Coinciding with the closest perigee is the full moon event which makes the event very rare. Last such full moon event occurred during March of 1983.

Many media outlets and individuals are linking this event as a reason for Japan’s earthquake. They are even predicting that many more natural disasters can happen due to moon’s increased effect of gravity on earth. All this is hoax and pseudoscience and moon has nothing to do with Japan’s earthquake nor this supermoon event (or perigee-Syzygy as it is scientifically called) is going to cause any serious natural disaster.

Just like any other perigee moon, which happens every month, tides will be higher. Perigee full moon will result in additional 3-5% gravity pull by moon resulting slighlty higher tides than usual. Due to lunar effect at perigee, tides are higher by few cms than usual. Geographical locations can amplify the effect to about 15 cms, but none of these is going to cause Tsunami, or floods or massive earthquakes. The supermoon event of March 1983 did not cause any havoc, but this doesn’t stop people like Richard Nolle from circulating wrong information and creating panic. He, by the way, is an astrologer with no scientifc background as such.

Moon does have an effect on earth, but not to the level of causing 9 level earthquake. If that was the case, we would be witnessing a massive earthquake or strom every month whenever the moon is at it’s perigee. If moon was the reason for Japan’s earthquake, why it happened on the date when moon was closer to apogee rather than perigee?? More than 1,000 earthquakes occur every year and moon revolves around the earth every month and we have been studying moon for ages; if there was any correlation between moon and major earthquakes, we would have deciphered it by now. So, let’s look at the full perigee moon tonight, possibly at the horizon with objects in foreground to get an awesome view, and not panic or spread panic.

Image credit: |AP Photo/Keystone, Alessandro Della Bella

1 Comment March 18, 2011

Live Updates On Japan Crisis

1 Comment March 17, 2011

The Japan Crisis

After Japan was struck by 9.0 magnitude earthquake, followed by 23-33 ft Tsunami which completely wiped away various cities in north-east coast of Japan, the country is now facing danger of nuclear meltdown and resulting effects from radiation leaks. It’s tough times for the people of Japan, our heart and wishes go out for them. I will be posting updates, news, pictures and other related info hereon.

Image credits: | Reuters| Associated press

Leave a Comment March 17, 2011

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