Category Archives: News

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.


“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

Live Updates On Japan Crisis

The Japan Crisis

After Japan was struck┬áby 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

Mt Merapi Erupts Again

In one of my previous post, I mentioned about twin disasters of earthquake/Tsunami and volcanic eruption which Indonesia has been facing. Mt Merapi first erupted recently on Oct 26th killing about 44 people. Since then the volcano has been active on and off. On Nov3rd, it erupted again but this time it was 5 times stronger than Oct 26th eruption killing more people and spewing out gases and ashes farther than expected. Till now total number of reported deaths have been 144 and about 160,000 people have been evacuated. Indonesian govt has declared the event as a national emergency and danger zone has been extended to 12 miles from the location of the volcano.In the image above you can see thermal images from NASA’s Terra satellite taken on Oct 30. The thermal data has been then overlaid on the map of the mountain to give an idea of extent of the flow of material from the eruption.

While Mt Merapi has been an active volcano, but this hasn’t deterred people from living on its slopes and fothills. On various occasions volcano activity has disrupted the lives of the villagers. Some might ask why the villagers go and live on the slopes of killer mountain. Well, volcanic activity results in making the surrounding lands very fertile which is good for cultivation and helps in supporting a large population. Indonesia is a very densely populated country and land availability is scarce. So I guess villagers chose to live in the shadow of this killer volcano knowing the fact that it might erupt anytime, but atleast till that time, they will be able to grow food and feed their family and survive and hope that in future if it erupts, they might be lucky enough to survive and continue with their lives.It’s a very very tough choice they have to make.

Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Haiti:Earthquake, Cholera and Now Tropical Storm

Haiti needs a break, break from natural calamities. First it was earthquake in January which shook the whole country and took away more than 300,000 lives. The country is still in rebuilding mode and much is needed to be done. Adding to the misery of people who are already facing hardships, there has been cholera outbreak which has resulted in more than 300 deaths. As of Oct 27th, 4722 cases have been reported and efforts are being made to control the epidemic. The tragedy can’t get worse with tropical storm Tomas looming upon which might get converted to Hurricane strength during the weekend. It’s a sad situation out there and Haitians need a break from natural calamities. In the above picture by Spencer Platt , a young Haitian is crying after loss of her mother to cholera. The picture below was taken by Ramon Espinosa at one of the many camps built for rehabilitation of people displaced after January 2010 earthquake.

Image Credit: Spencer Platt/ Ramon Espinosa/ AP Photo/Getty Images