Mayor Francis Suarez and American Conservation Coalition’s Benji Backer discuss momentum in the conservative climate movement.
Erosion, sinking land and sea rise from climate change have killed the Louisiana woods where a 41-year-old Native American chief played as a child. Not far away in the Mississippi River delta system, middle-school students can stand on islands that emerged the year they were born.
NASA is using high-tech airborne systems along with boats and mud-slogging work on islands for a $15 million, five-year study of these adjacent areas of Louisiana. One is hitched to a river and growing; the other is disconnected and dying.
Scientists from NASA and a half-dozen universities from Boston to California aim to create computer models that can be used with satellite data to let countries around the world learn which parts of their dwindling deltas can be shored up and which are past hope.
“If you have to choose between saving an area and losing another instead of losing everything, you want to know where to put your resources to work to save the livelihood of all the people who live there,” said lead scientist Marc Simard of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
To figure out where to shore up dying deltas, NASA is studying water flowing in and out of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya and Terrebonne basins, sediment carried by it, and plants that can slow the flow, trap sediment and pull carbon from the air.
Hog Bayou, part of the Wax Lake Delta in the Atchafalaya Basin, is seen from a plane in St. Mary Parish, La., Tuesday, May 25, 2021. In geological time, young means thousands of years. On that scale, Louisiana’s Wax Lake Delta is taking its first breaths. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Louisiana holds 40% of the nation’s wetlands, but they’re disappearing fast — about 2,000 square miles (5,180 square kilometers) of the state have been lost since the 1930s. That’s about 80% of the nation’s wetland losses, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Using two kinds of radar and a spectrometer that measures more colors than the human eye can distinguish, high-altitude NASA airplanes have been collecting information such as water height, slope, sediment, and the types and density of plants. Some measurements are as precise as a couple of centimeters (less than an inch).
On boats and islands, scientists and students from across the country take samples and measure everything from currents to diameters of trees. Their findings will be used to calibrate the airborne instruments.
“I’ve been working here 15 years, and one of the toughest parts about working in a delta is you can only touch one little piece of it at any one time and understand one little piece of it at one time,” said Robert Twilley, a professor of oceanography and coastal sciences at Louisiana State University. “Now we have the capability of working with NASA to understand the entire delta.”
The Mississippi River drains 41% of the continental United States, collecting 150 million tons (130 million metric tons) of sediment per year. But, largely because of flood-prevention levees, most sediment shoots into the Gulf of Mexico rather than settling in wetlands.
“Deltas are the babies of the geological timescale. They are very young and fragile, in a delicate balance of sinking and growing,” NASA states on the Delta-X project website.
Andre Rabay, research scientist for the LSU Department of Oceanography and Coastal Science uses a real time kinetic (RTK) GPS to take measurements on Mike Island, part of the Wax Lake Delta in the Atchafalaya Basin, in St. Mary Parish, La., Friday, April 2, 2021. NASA is using high-tech airborne systems along with boats and mud-slogging work on islands for a $15 million study of these two parts of Louisiana’s river delta system. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In geological time, young means thousands of years. On that scale, Louisiana’s Wax Lake Delta is taking its first breaths. It dates to 1942, when the Army Corps of Engineers dug an outlet from the lake to reduce flood threats to Morgan City, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) away. Sediment from the Atchafalaya River filled the lake, then began creating islands in the Gulf.
The new islands are thick with black willows and, in spring, thigh-high butterweed topped with small yellow flowers.
Older wetlands in areas surveyed by Delta-X aircraft are more diverse, their soil rich with humus from generations of plants. Along nearby Hog Bayou, blue buntings and scarlet tanagers dart through magnolia branches and skinks skitter up trees. In swamps, ospreys nest atop bald cypresses and alligators float in the water below.
In addition to working at LSU, Twilley has spent about nine years as executive director of Louisiana Sea Grant College Program, which uses the Wax Lake Delta as a classroom for middle- and high-school students.
“We take kids and make them stand on land that was formed the year they were born.” Twilley said.
In contrast, the adjacent Terrebonne Basin is shrinking so rapidly that the government is paying to move the Isle de Jean Charles band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians from a vanishing island to higher ground.
Tree roots are exposed along Hog Bayou, part of the Wax Lake Delta system, in St. Mary Parish, La., Saturday, May 1, 2021. NASA is using high-tech airborne systems along with boats and mud-slogging work on islands for a $15 million study of these two parts of Louisiana’s river delta system. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
That band isn’t the only Native American group losing ground.
“The wooded areas we used to run through as children — they’re dead,” said Chief Shirell Parfait-Dardar of the Grand Caillou/Dulac Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha Indians, based less than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the Wax Lake Delta.
“Ghost forests” are common in degrading deltas where salt water intrudes as land sinks and erodes, LSU’s Twilley said.
Louisiana is considering two projects that would divert Atchafalaya River sediment to build land in the Terrebonne Basin, but a decision is more than a year away, according to the state Coastal Restoration and Preservation Authority.
Delta-X’s study gets downright granular. A California Institute of Technology team that studies how sediment moves and is deposited on Earth and other planets will analyze the amounts of sediment in high- and low-tide water samples, breaking the particles down into about 100 sizes.
One way LSU researchers measure how much land has been formed by sediment involves sprinkling white feldspar dust on the ground.
Mike Lamb, co-investigator, of the California Institute of Technology, prepares to take water samples to measure the amount of sediment in the water, in the Wax Lake area of the Atchafalaya River delta system, near Franklin, La., Friday, April 2, 2021. NASA is using high-tech airborne systems along with boats and mud-slogging work on islands for a $15 million study of these two parts of Louisiana’s river delta system. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
They return to see how deeply it’s buried by new sediment. They do that by injecting liquid nitrogen into hollow tubes to freeze the dirt and muck around them. When the tubes are pulled up, the frozen “popsicles” show a white ring. They measure from there to the top.
In the Terrebonne Basin, such sedimentation can’t keep up with subsidence and sea level rise. “Thus the wetlands basically drown,” Twilley said.
Planes and boats went out in March and April and will go out again in fall for a second set of measurements. And two international satellites are scheduled for launch next year, each carrying one of the two kinds of radar used over Louisiana.
To gauge how plants affect water movement, long-wavelengths of L-band radar can measure water level changes in open and vegetated channels, NASA’s Simard said. And high-frequency Ka-band radar can measure surface height of open water, showing how it slopes — and where it’s moving.
“All of the tools they’re bringing to bear is really impressive,” said Indiana University sedimentary geologist Douglas Edmonds, who is not part of the project but has worked with many of the researchers.
“The project itself is putting a finger on a really essential question for a lot of deltas around the world — how this deltaic land is formed and what processes take it away,” he said.
Internet down: Multiple global, Australian news sites down including BBC, New York Times, SMH, Age
The Verge, Financial Times and Bloomberg also experienced outages which lasted almost an hour, while locally, The Guardian, Nine, SMH and The Age were affected, including Channel 10 and 10play online. Users have also reported issues with 7Plus.
The outage has gone as far as sites for the White House along with the UK government’s website – gov.UK.
Retail giant Amazon, Reddit, Netflix, Pinterest, Twitch, PayPal and Shopify were also affected.
It appears News Corp sites were unaffected by the outage.
Internet sleuths have suggested a “big attack” but the outage was caused by a data centre provider, San Francisco based Fastly.
Most users were receiving ‘Error 503’ messages when attempting to access the sites and while a fix has been applied, users have been warned that they may “continue to experience decreased cache hit ratio and increased origin load as global services return”.
“When huge outages like this strike the internet, they are generally traced back to some central service provider, such as AWS,” said The Verge, which was forced to communicate through Google Docs.
“In this case, it seems the cause of the problem is due to a company called Fastly, which provides CDN (content delivery network) services to many websites.
The Age confirmed that tech teams for Nine publications, “including this masthead, confirmed that the issue was linked to CDN vendor Fastly.”
CDNs are “graphically distanced” networks of servers, which “help minimise delays in loading web page content, by reducing the physical distance between the servers and users”, according to The Australian’s David Swan.
Those servers are located in “data centres” around the world, connected via subsea cables.
“Fastly is one of four hosting service providers that looks after CDNs, Akamai, Cloudflare and Amazon Web Services, are the other three.
On its website, Fastly said: “The issue has been identified and a fix has been applied. Customers may experience increased origin load as global services return.”
Sites began to return but Fastly failed to indicate what had happened in the first place.
— Rhiannon Williams (@RhiannonJudithW)
Breaking: the internet. Huge parts of the web are currently offline, including Reddit, Twitch, and (regrettably) The Verge. We’ll keep you posted 👍
— The Verge (@verge)
Down Detector shows mass outages hitting major platforms all at the same time.
Cloud services like Fastly and AWS could be the root of the problem: pic.twitter.com/1kGWKckivn
— Dexerto (@Dexerto)
Giant dinosaur species found in Australia, among world’s largest | History News | Al Jazeera
Palaeontologists in Australia have identified a new species of dinosaur, naming it the Australotitan cooperensis and recognising it not only as the largest to ever roam the continent but also among the biggest in the world.
Australotitan, or the southern titan, was a long-necked sauropod that is estimated to have reached 25-30 metres (82-98 feet) in length and 5-6.5 metres (16-21 feet) in height, making it as long as a basketball court and as high as a two-storey building.
The findings were published in the journal PeerJ on Monday.
“It’s been a long time coming, but we are very proud to showcase Australia’s largest dinosaur species,” said Scott Hocknull, a palaeontologist at the Queensland Museum and a co-author of the study. “We know it was a plant-eating dinosaur. It had a very long neck and a very long tail and had the look of a typical brachiosaurus. But it was enormous. It was a titanosaurian.”
Nicknamed Cooper, after the nearby creek where it was first found in 2006, the dinosaur is estimated to have lived more than 90 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, and is estimated to have weighed about 67 tonnes.
“These are the largest dinosaurs that ever walked on earth and based on the preserved limb size comparisons, this new titanosaur is estimated to be in the top five largest in the world,” said Robyn Mackenzie, the director of the Eromanga Natural History Museum, who first spotted the dinosaur’s remains along with her husband on her family farm in southwest Queensland.
Since excavations for dinosaur fossils began in 2005 in the area, known as Eromanga Basin, two other large sauropods have also been discovered. They are nicknamed George and Zac.
“These dinosaur discoveries have opened a whole new world, not just to our family, but to people throughout Australia,” Mackenzie was quoted as saying by the 9News broadcaster. “It has been the most enriching journey.”
Hocknull told Al Jazeera it had been a “very long and painstaking task” to confirm that Cooper was a new species of dinosaur. The palaeontologists’ research relied on 3D scan models of bones to compare the dinosaur with its relatives in Australia and elsewhere in the world.
“When you have a dinosaur bone that weighs 200 kilograms (440 pounds), you can’t just put in a car and take them to other museums for comparison. So, we used 3D technology to scan the bones, so that I can go compare them in different museums and different collections,” he said.
The process took many years, but over that period Hocknell said: “We have been able to figure out that not only is it different, but it is Australia’s largest dinosaur species”.
The palaeontologist said the study found that the Australotitan was most closely related to three other sauropods that lived in Australia during the Cretaceous period – the Wintonotitan and the smaller Diamantinasaurus and Savannasaurus sauropods.
“That means they are one big happy family,” he said.
The new species also share relations with titanosaurians from South America and Asia, said Hocknell, suggesting they may have travelled to the continent from South America via Antarctica during periods of global warmth.
Or, he said, they might have island-hopped across ancient island archipelagos, which would eventually make up the present-day terrains of Southeast Asia and the Philippines.
South African woman gives birth to 10 babies, breaks Guinness World Record – Trending News News
A woman from South Africa’s Gauteng has broken a Guinness World Record as she gave birth to 10 babies at once. The record was previously set by Halima Cisse who gave birth to nine children in Morocco last month.
Gosiame Thamara Sithole’s husband Teboho Tsotetsi told Pretoria News that she delivered 10 babies at a hospital in Pretoria on June 7. The doctor, in fact, after medical scans earlier had detected that she will give birth to eight babies, but instead, she delivered seven boys and three girls by Caesarean section.
Gosiame Thamara, who has six-year-old twins, previously told the Pretoria News that her pregnancy was natural.
“It’s seven boys and three girls. She was seven months and seven days pregnant. I am happy. I am emotional,” Teboho Tsotetsi told Pretoria News.
Before the birth of her babies, Gosiame Thamara Sithole, during an interview with Pretoria News, had said, “I am shocked by my pregnancy. It was tough at the beginning. I was sick. It was hard for me. It’s still tough but I am used to it now. I don’t feel the pain anymore, but it’s still a bit tough. I just pray for God to help me deliver all my children in a healthy condition, and for me and my children to come out alive. I would be pleased about it.”
Gosiame Thamara Sithole (37) from Tembisa has given birth to a village breaking a world record with 10 kids at once last night. She delivered 7 boys and 3 girls. A true meaning of aiyate Sione. pic.twitter.com/pK2Bj15ZTm
— Man’s NOT Barry Roux (@AdvoBarryRoux)
At first, doctors had said that she was expecting six children (sextuplets). Following several other scans, Gosiame Thamara Sithole was told that she will deliver octuplets, but ultimately, gave birth to 10 children.
Gosiame Thamara Sithole had said that the two babies could not be detected initially because they were inside the wrong tube.
Professor Dini Mawela, deputy head of the school of medicine at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, said that Sithole’s case was rare. It was usually caused by fertility treatments, professor said. However, Sithole had clarified earlier that she was not on fertility treatment.
“It’s quite a unique situation. I don’t know how often it happens. It’s extremely high risk (pregnancy). It’s a highly complex and high-risk situation. The danger is that, because there is not enough space in the womb for the children, the tendency is that they will be small. What would happen is that they would take them out pre-term because there is a risk if they keep them longer in there. The babies will come out small, chances of survival compromised. But all this depends on how long she carried them for,” Professor Dini Mawela told Pretoria News.
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