Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mystery deepens: Radar captures mysterious turbulence over Beebe, Ark. as doomed birds take flight



By: Mark Johnson

CLEVELAND - They looked like newly developing thunderstorms, but they were not. Storms were well east of the Little Rock, Arkansas radar when the mysterious anomalies began to appear. Four times between 9pm, December 31st and 1am on January 1, these circular radar echoes popped up on NEXRAD Doppler radar, expanding outward and then fading away. All in about 15 to 20 minutes. What's more, each time, these anomalies developed in the exact same spot: over Beebe, Arkansas.





At about 11:30pm, on New Years Eve, thousands of red-winged blackbirds began falling from the sky over Beebe. Beebe is located just under 30 miles form the Little Rock radar sight. That's close enough for any high-powered doppler radar to detect plumes of smoke, large colonies of insects...and large flocks of birds. In fact, its very common to see birds and insects taking flight on radar. it shows up as a large circular echo that gradually expands outward before disappearing a few minutes later.




If you talk to residents of Beebe, Arkansas, they'll tell you millions of birds fly over the area and roost nearby during this time of year. Its a popular bird route north and southward between the Ozark Plateau and the Mississippi River to the east.

The first radar image here shows the mysterious circular echo developing at 10:26pm, December 31st right over Beebe. Note the brighter colors in the center of the echo. That's a large concentration of...something...rising into the air. A few scans later, the echo fades, only to appear again just after midnight in the same spot.

Was it birds? No large fires were reported in Beebe from 9pm through 1am that night. So we can rule out the smoke theory. The fireworks theory may have spooked the birds, but fireworks would be too small to show up on radar. Besides, there were not 4 separate fireworks shows in the same location lasting 20 minutes each in Beebe, Arkansas on New Years Eve.

We are reasonably certain that these strange radar "plumes" are birds. So, what made them fall from the sky? The first reports of dead birds came in to Beebe authorities right around 11:30pm on New Years Eve. The first bird flights that appeared on radar took place just after 9pm. No bird deaths from those first take-offs.

Our first clue may be found on on the second image posted here. This is an image of "spectrum width" or "turbulence" taken at 10:21 pm on December 31, 2010. Spectrum width is a measure of the differences in object speeds within each pixel on the radar. In other words, as birds dart back and forth in different directions from each other, radar would show a high Spectrum Width in that area. In the second 3D doppler image, the orange and red areas are areas where the birds are taking flight in the air, moving at variables speeds, and directions near each other. Black birds don't like to fly very high. The flying flock is located below 2,500 hundred feet in the image. But, now notice the orange bullseye of turbulence just above the main flock between about 7,000 and 12,000 feet. this is the only image that contains this "plume" so high up in the atmosphere.

CONCLUSION: Remember, red-winged blackbirds have poor eyesight. They don't fly at night. If the birds were startled by loud noises, such as celebratory New Years Eve fireworks in Beebe, they would have left their earthly roost to take flight. What if some of the birds became disoriented from stress and darkness and actually flew straight up, high in the sky as our turbulence image suggests? Those birds may have literally "passed out" due to lower oxygen levels and then fell to the ground. Just after this spectrum width image appeared on radar, residents began seeing birds fall from the sky. Hmmm...

What do you think? Leave me you comments below.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Food Shortage Coming-Are You Ready?



The Economic Collapse Blog

Have you noticed that most Americans seem to know far more about American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Justin Bieber and their favorite sports teams than they do about world affairs? Most Americans cannot even find Tunisia and Algeria on a map, and if you told them that food riots are happening in those nations right now most of them would not even care anyway. We have become a very self-centered, self-involved and self-absorbed nation. Quite a few people have accused this column of being obsessed with "doom and gloom", but the truth is that the world really is falling apart out there. What are we supposed to do? Are we all supposed to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is going to be okay? Should we all not try to warn others so that they can prepare for what is coming? Until people understand that we are facing absolutely massive problems they are not going to be motivated to take significant action, and hopefully those of us that are proclaiming "doom and gloom" are doing a good enough job of describing what is really going on out there that some people are starting to wake up and actually make changes.

Most Americans may not care, but the food riots that are starting to erupt around the globe are actually very serious.

Well, here we are in 2011 and the price of oil hasn't even reached $100 a barrel, and yet the food riots are already beginning.

Violent food riots are being reported in Tunisia, in Algeria, in Chile and in Mozambique.

In Tunisia, the riots have been so intense that the President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has been forced to step down and flee for his life.

Yes, that is how serious things are getting already.

Unfortunately, it looks like the global food situation is only going to get even worse.

Australia is a major food producer and right now they are experiencing flooding of Biblical proportions. In fact, it has been reported that at one point the flooding covered an area greater than France and Germany combined.

In Brazil, another major food producer, horrific flooding has killed more than 500 people so far. This flooding is being called the "worst-ever natural disaster" in the history of Brazil.

Meanwhile, record cold temperatures and record snowfalls are playing havoc with winter crops all over the Northern Hemisphere.

But even before all of these weather disasters struck the price of food had been going up significantly. The UN recently announced that the global price of food hit an all-time high during the month of December, and world leaders all over the globe are openly expressing concern about what 2011 is going to bring.

Sadly, the truth is that there has been a trend of rising food prices for quite some time. According to Forbes, corn is up 94% since June, soybeans are up 51% since June, and wheat is up 80% since last June.

As one of my readers recently pointed out to me, it usually takes about six months for the prices of agricultural futures to filter down into the supermarkets. So the very high prices for agricultural commodities that we are seeing right now should really start to be felt around the globe by the middle of 2011.

In addition to everything else, reports continue to come in of thousands of birds and millions of fish suddenly dying all over the globe, and nobody seems to really know what is causing it.

Do you want some more doom and gloom?

*There are reports of "panic buying" of silver and other precious metals right now.

*Investors are bailing out of municipal bonds at an absolutely staggering rate.

*S&P and Moody's have both warned once again that the United States is in danger of having its credit rating slashed if it does not get government debt under control.

*U.S. housing prices have now fallen further during this economic downturn than they did during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Meanwhile, America's economic infrastructure continues to be taken apart piece by piece.

The United States is losing more jobs to China. In fact, the United States is losing more high technology "green jobs" to China.

Evergreen Solar, a company that manufactures solar panels, is closing their factory in Devon, Massachusetts and they are moving their production facilities to China. This is going to result in the loss of 800 good American jobs.

The following is what the company had to say in a statement about the move....

"Solar manufacturers in China have received considerable government and financial support and, together with their low manufacturing costs, have become price leaders within the industry."

Is it any wonder that a recent survey found that 47 percent of Americans now believe that China is the world's leading economic power while only 31 percent still believe that the United States is the world's leading economic power?

As America continues to lose good jobs, millions of Americans find themselves simply unable to pay the bills. In fact, at this point one out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government-run anti-poverty program.

As things have fallen apart in the United States, many private citizens have tried to step forward and do what they can to help people, but now in many areas of the country the government is actually stepping in and shutting down these private avenues of assistance.

For example, in the city of Houston, Texas a couple named Bobby and Amanda Herring has been feeding homeless people for over a year. They never left behind any trash and no trouble was ever caused.

But now the city of Houston is shutting them down.

Why?

Because they don't have a permit.

So will they be able to get a permit? Well, it turns out that city officials are saying that this "Feed a Friend" effort most likely will be denied one.

Apparently the city "officials" believe that the homeless "are the most vulnerable to foodborne illness" and that therefore the warm meals that the Herrings were providing for them were potentially dangerous.

Can you believe this?

This is what happens when political correctness and bureaucracy get wildly out of control.

Now it is illegal to go out and feed homeless people?

What is American turning into?

As the economy continues to fall part, the iron grip of the government is likely only going to get tighter as it desperately tries to keep order.

But do we really need to be giving tickets to 6-year-olds?

Yes, you read that correctly.

According to one recent report, police in Texas have given "1,000 tickets to elementary school children in 10 school districts" over the past six years.

For more examples of how America is turning into a police state, please see my recent article entitled "Almost Everything Is A Crime In America Now: 14 Of The Most Ridiculous Things That Americans Are Being Arrested For".

America is rapidly becoming a very dark place.

The truth is that there is a reason why so many websites are now reporting so much "doom and gloom". Things really are getting bad out there.

Sadly, most Americans have only known tremendous prosperity all of their lives, so they can't even conceive of what it would be like to go through difficult times.

Most Americans have been conditioned to believe that while we may have brief "recessions" once in a while, in the end our economy will always get better and the good times will continue to roll.

But the good news is that an increasing number of Americans are waking up and are trying to warn their family and friends about what is coming.

So do you believe that the food shortages and the food riots are going to get even worse throughout the rest of 2011? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below....

5 Simple Ways To Prepare For The Coming Food Crisis

Recently there has been an incredible flurry of news reporting about food shortages and the pending global food crisis. Everyone who looks at the indicators would agree that this crisis is only likely to worsen. It is estimated that the Australia floods alone could cause a 30% jump in food prices. Although the average shopper already can feel the food inflation, it is difficult to recognize the severity of the looming food shortages. After all, there are still 15 types of colorfully-boxed Cheerios packing the isles, which gives us the illusion of abundance.

The truth is that we are headed for large food production shortfalls, manipulated or not, while middle-class food demand grows massively in the developing world. For decades the world’s agriculture community produced more than enough food to feed the planet, yet some now believe we are reaching “Peak Food” production levels. In turn, other experts believe the “food bubble” is about to burst, and not even the biotech companies can save us.

However, there are still vast unused stretches of fertile land that can be used around the globe, and the U.S. ethanol mandates that reportedly consume at least 25% of the corn harvest could be reduced to ease the burden. Therefore, it seems that despite the extreme weather and dwindling harvests, food production still has room to increase, but not without foresight and planning.

Additionally, the current systems for growing food are fully dependent on oil to achieve high levels of production, while livestock production is running at full concentration-camp capacity; the end product must then travel thousands of miles to get to store shelves. Clearly we can see the fragile nature of this system, especially on human health and the environment. Consequently, solving the so-called “food crisis” is far more complex than simply fixing statistical supply and demand issues.

Indeed, these are turbulent times where humanity appears to be nearing Peak Everything. Ultimately, solutions to the food crisis will begin at the local level. There are cutting-edge farming techniques gaining popularity that produce a large variety of crops by mimicking nature, as well as innovative techniques for small-scale food production at home or in urban buildings. These hold promise for easing local hunger.

Personal ways to protect yourself from food shortages may seem obvious to some, but many feel the task can be insurmountable. To the contrary, here are 5 simple ways to protect yourself from the coming food crisis:

1. Create a Food Bank: Everyone should have a back-up to the everyday food pantry. In this environment, you should consider your personal food bank far more valuable than a dollar savings account. Start by picking up extra canned goods, dried foods, and other essentials for storage each time you go to the store. Also, hunt for coupons and shop for deals when they come up. Devise a plan for FIFO (first in, first out) rotation for your food bank. It is advisable to acquire food-grade bins to store your bulk dried foods, and be sure to label and date everything. Besides the obvious store-able foods like rice and beans, or canned goods, some other important items to hoard are salt, peanut butter, cooking oils, sugar, coffee, and powdered milk. If you don’t believe the food crisis will be too severe, then buy items that you would eat on a normal daily basis. But if you believe the crisis will be sustained for some time, purchasing a grain mill to refine bulk wheat or corn may prove to be the most economical way to stretch your food bank. Some emergency MREs are also something to consider because they have a long shelf life.

2. Produce Your Own Food: Having some capacity to produce your own food will simply become a necessity as the food system crumbles. If you don’t know much about gardening, then start small with a few garden boxes for tomatoes, herbs, or sprouting and keep expanding to the limits of your garden. And for goodness sakes, get some chickens. They are a supremely easy animal to maintain and come with endless benefits from providing eggs and meat, to eating bugs and producing rich manure. Five laying hens will ensure good cheap protein for the whole family. If you have limited growing space, there are brilliant aquaculture systems that can produce an abundance of fish and vegetables in a small area. Aquaculture is a contained organic hydroponic system where the fertilized waste water from the fish tank is pumped through the vegetable growing trays which absorb the nutrients before returning clean water to the fish tank. Set high goals for independent food production, but start with what’s manageable.

3. Learn Food Preservation: Food preservation comes in many forms such as canning, pickling, and dehydrating. In every case some tools and materials are required along with a good deal of knowledge. If you can afford a dehydrator, they all usually come with a preparation guide for most foods. You can also purchase a vacuum sealer if you have the means. A good vacuum sealer should come with thorough instructions and storage tips, and will add months if not years to many food items. If you’re a beginner at canning, start with tomatoes first. It’s easy and very valuable when all your tomatoes ripen at the same time and you want fresh pasta sauce in the winter. A bigger ticket item that is nice to have for food preservation is a DC solar powered chest freezer. It is the ultimate treasure chest.

4. Store Seeds: The government and the elite have seed banks and so should you. Seeds have been a viable currency in many civilizations past and present. They represent food when scarcity hits. Before the rise of commercial seed giants like Monsanto, local gardeners were adept at selecting seeds from the healthiest plants, saving them, and introducing them to the harvest for the following year, thus strengthening the species. Through local adaptation to pests, genetic diversity was further ensured; it was long-term thinking at its finest. That is why it is important to find heirloom seed banks and learn to save seeds from each harvest.

5. Join or Start a Local Co-Op: Joining local cooperatives is very important, especially when food shortages occur. You may not be able to provide for yourself completely, especially in terms of variety, so having a community mechanism to spread the burden and share the spoils will be critical. If you don’t know if you have a local food cooperative in your area you can search the directory at LocalHarvest.org. You may also be able to get information from your local farmers market. If your area doesn’t have a co-op, then start one. These co-ops don’t have to be big or elaborate. In fact, it may be more optimal to organize it with friends, neighbors, or co-workers. Whether you join or start a cooperative, work to expand the participants and products.

Genetically Modified Organisms for Dummies


Posted by scottyc on January 14th, 2011

What are GMO’s?

Genetics are the software that determine how living things grow. It is the blueprint for our existence and, as such, it is almost as complicated as we are.

We have two strands of DNA. These strands come together in the middle like rungs of a ladder to create a sequence of what are called base pairs. There are about 3 billion base pairs in the human body. A group of these base pairs is a gene – some contain a few dozen base pairs, some a few hundred. There are about 60,000 genes in the human body – some are turned on and some off and nobody has the faintest idea what most of them actually do.

We do know that each gene within a living organism has a specific function. So, when a scientist discovers which gene in a glow worm is responsible for making it glow, they can then “splice” (or merge) this gene into that of a goldfish. The result – a goldfish that glows in the dark. If you think I’m joking, feel free to buy one right now at www.glofish.com

So, what’s the problem?

Genes (like everything in life) are interconnected. As soon as you manipulate one gene, research has shown that other genes around it start to switch themselves on or off in attempt to compensate. Nobody knows what effect this new combination will have and, as far as Monsanto and other GM food companies go, they don’t seem to care. I’ll go into this in more detail later, but a documentary called The World According to Monsanto aired on French TV and very quickly gave the country’s citizens a wake up call. You can watch it here: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=The+World+According+to+Monsanto&emb=0&aq=-1&oq=#.

Genetic modification is a bit like putting blinkers on a horse that’s spent its whole life with his eyes wide open. Suddenly the blinkers go on and the horse goes nuts as it tries to come to terms with what’s going on. It may run faster on the track from time to time, but the animal is never the same again.

Now, if you eat a horse with blinkers on, it’s not that different to eating one without blinkers. However, if you eat foods that have been genetically modified, research indicates that the abnormalities within those genes start becoming part of YOUR genetic makeup. In other words, if you eat GM wheat spliced with a gene that creates a natural pesticide, your own stomach could start producing that pesticide because it’s now part of your genetic blueprint. GM foods given to rats also showed a sudden change in behaviour which greatly reduced their social interaction with other rats. The fact that GM foods can affect the brain like this shows just how connected and susceptible we really are to slight changes in our DNA.

Based on my research, there is so much negative research on GMO that only a corporation with a most vicious of agenda could be responsible for unleashing it on the human public. To me, it’s pretty logical – we are all connected at a quantum level so a small change to our starting point (ie. our genetic blueprint) MUST result in a significant change to us as human beings somewhere down the line, even if this change takes years to manifest. However, my evidence is not conclusive and ironically that’s exactly the whole argument against GM foods. There is simply no way this kind of food should be let loose on the world without proper, independent testing. We cannot rely on the research conducted by the very companies that supply the stuff! Have we learned nothing from the tobacco industry who lied to us all those years ago to tell us that smoking was safe? Or thousands of other products for that matter?

Why would we let this happen?

For one, few people know about them. Also, GM foods have been dubbed the solution to world poverty. They grow better, their yields are higher and they are more resistant to disease than any other kind of farming methods, except proper organic farming. When applied correctly there is no higher yielding, higher nutrient content, healthier or stronger plant in the world than home grown organic food. This is why I am so passionate about this cause.

However, we are not growing our own food. Therefore, there is pressure on our centralised decision making powers to alleviate world poverty by using GM foods that grow well using conventional farming methods. Actually, growing our own food is the solution to world poverty, but there is not much money in it.

There are a couple of commercial reasons for GM foods to be used. Firstly, Monsanto (one of the main GM players) produces the most widely sold pesticide in the world called “Round Up”. It just so happens that they also produce special GM seeds which ONLY ROUND UP WILL WORK ON! In fact, Round Up will kill just about every living thing that comes into contact with it EXCEPT for the specific plant that has been genetically engineered to resist it. Monsanto therefore controls both the seed and the pesticide which only that seed is immune to. Now that’s marketing baby!

Seeds with an expiry date

It gets worse. You see, GM companies have learned to limit the number of times a seed can germinate. So when you buy the seed, that plant can only reproduce a limited number of times. After that, you are forced to go back to the company that supplied the seed (ie. Monsanto and the like) to buy more. This is a bit worrying considering that the most thing beautiful thing about nature is its ability to reproduce indefinitely. We mess with that and we mess with the perpetual survival of not only that species, but potentially any species that feeds on it.

It still gets worse. You see, GM seeds are patented by these companies, so their intellectual property is protected and enforced by the courts. Anyone found in possession of GM seeds without paying for them is therefore “stealing” and anyone caught selling the plant that was grown from these seeds is infringing their copyright. You laughing yet? Try not to because there have already been hundreds of cases where farmers have been successfully sued by Monsanto and others so badly that their farms, often many generations old, have been lost. Serves the farmers though for stealing patented seeds, right?? Well, wrong actually, because in many cases seeds were carried in from next-door farms by winds that blew them accidentally onto their land.

GM companies have serious legal teams in place to fight anyone that stands in their way. How is any little guy to survive an onslaught like this from the giants that seek to control the global food chain through genetic manipulation? The good news is that there are some who are fighting them and a basic understanding of commercial law can easily keep them at bay.

Can GM foods be contained?

Most of the world’s grown food are used to feed animals, not humans. We then eat the meat. Already there are countless cases of farmers who conducted their own research on pigs and cows to see first hand the effect that GM foods have on their livestock. When they eat GM corn, the animals reduced in fertility. Once they go back to their original diet they eventually recover, but then there still is debate on whether they really DO recover now that their genetic makeup has been tampered with. Let’s not forget that the vast majority of these pigs and cows that are fed GM foods have been bred specifically for human consumption.

Once the genetic change has occurred, how do we know this won’t be passed to offspring? I personally think this is pretty unlikely, but still… is it worth the risk? Surely we should not be subjected to GM foods without even being told about it, or being asked to evaluate the research ourselves? Once they are let loose on the population (which still gains momentum despite massive opposition), the genetic screw up could explode across our population like a virus and it could be years before we even know about it! This has actually happened before.

Counter argument: But we’ve been eating GM for years!

This is rubbish. Yes, already we are drinking GM milk (or milk from cows who have been treated with a GM hormone) as well as other direct or indirectly modified foods and this fact alone is raising serious health alarms. But that’s not the point and here’s why: now read this carefully, because this is important…

You can argue that the nectarine is genetically modified and we eat them happily. You can say we breed certain types of funny shaped poodles too. But this is called “selective breeding”. Selective breeding is at the far left on the scale of genetic manipulation because the process is far more natural. If you want to develop a cabbage that is resistant to a certain fungus, you grow a whole bunch of cabbages that are subjected to this fungus. Most cabbages will die out very quickly, but some will be more resistant. Take the seeds from those plants that are resistant and repeat the process again and again and again. The result is a much more resilient cabbage, although it takes several generations to work. The finest wines in the world are the result of modifying the genes within the grape using this method of natural refinement.

The other end of the scale is the short cut and this is where GM foods are. Here we simply “play” with the genetic code so, hey presto, like magic you have the plant that you “think” does what would have taken many generations of natural selection to do. It looks like a lovely, large, juicy red apple, but is it really? What if we’re wrong? There is a very large grey area in this scale indeed and quite frankly, this is a grey area that we simply don’t need to play in. For example, did you know that almost all white corn is GMO?

Are GM foods necessary?

We simply don’t need them. With a little education, we can grow our own food. The issue of soil density and quality is always a factor, but again, the right training with correct companion planting and rotation means that we can grow organic foods in our own backyard with up to 10-20 times the nutritional density of the fruits and veg that we currently buy at local shops. We don’t need to wait for corporations to make GM foods the standard when we can start living healthier NOW! We need to take back the power we’ve always had: the power to grow ourselves.