[ News Blog of Survive2012 ]

Storm Warning for 2012

The next solar maximum could be 50% higher than the last! Although this is unlikely to harm us much, if combined with a reduction of strength or reversal of the magnetic poles, it could cause some major problems.

Source: NASA

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Radix: Prophecy in Fiction?

I've only just heard of this book, and have ordered it - Radix by A.A. Attansio. It sounds uncannily similar to my own ideas, ideas based on science and history:

"The story takes place in a future earth after it becomes transformed from a beam of energy/radiation that washes over the earth from a super-massive black hole in the galaxies core."

Source: Future Hi

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Space elevators: killer radiation!

Space elevators are touted as a novel and cheap way to get cargo, and possibly people, into space one day. So far, they have barely left the drawing board, but ultimately robots could climb a cable stretching 100,000 kilometres from Earth's surface into space.

But there is a hitch: humans might not survive thanks to the whopping dose of ionising radiation they would receive travelling through the core of the Van Allen radiation belts around Earth.

Solutions include moving the elevator away from the equator, which will only reduce the radiation slightly, and shielding, but "a shield would weigh down the whole apparatus, disrupting the natural motion of the cable."

Source: New Scientist

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Radiation Shielding in Space

he Earth's protective atomsphere protects us from cosmic radiation - but in space the options are to provide shielding or take a gamble. Experts are unsure of how much radiation is safe, but at least this article mentions the possible shielding materials (handy for those who want to cover all cataclysmic possibilities on Earth):

The best option is where the shielding material also adds to the structural integrity of a ship as a whole. "When any material used as a radiation shield can serve a dual purpose, mission costs can usually be reduced," says Rapp. "For space radiation shields, materials with high hydrogen content generally have greater shielding effectiveness, but often do not possess qualities that lend themselves to the required structural integrity of the space vehicle or habitat." Rapp adds that graphite nano-fiber materials heavily impregnated with hydrogen may one day form the basis of future spacecraft shielding. But for now, radiation tests are predominantly conducted using aluminum or regolith shielding (virtually all of the lunar surface is comprised of regolith).

..."A 400-day round trip transit to and from Mars, and about 560 days on the surface... with 15 g/cm2 of aluminum shielding [would equal] about double the allowable annual dose for each leg of the trip to and from Mars." At the very least, Rapp says that at this time: "radiation effects and the effectiveness of shielding remain uncertain."

Source: ScienceAGoGo

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Supernova - Twice As Bright!

A supernova more than twice as bright as others of its type has been observed, suggesting it arose from a star that managed to grow more massive than theoretically predicted.

Why is this big news? Well, whatever the safe distance (in light years) from a supernova used to be, you can now half it. Or more. If they have found one that is twice as bright, you can guarantee that one 10x as bright will occur somewhere in the Universe

Source: New Scientist

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Gigantic Ultraviolet Pulse Beam

A Cosmic Trigger Event will occur on the 17th of October 2006.

This is the beginning, one of many trigger events to come between now and 2013. An ultraviolet (UV) pulse beam radiating from higher dimensions in universe-2 will cross paths with the Earth on this day. Earth will remain approximately within this UV beam for 17 hours of your time. This beam resonates with the heart chakra, it is radiant fluorescent in nature, blue/magenta in color. Although it resonates in this frequency band, it is above the color frequency spectrum of your universe-1 which you, Earth articulate in. However due to the nature of your soul and soul groups operating from Universe-2 frequency bands it will have an effect. The effect is every thought and emotion will be amplified intensely one million-fold. Yes, we will repeat, all will be amplified one millions time and more. Every thought, every emotion, every intent, every will, no matter if it is good, bad, ill, positive, negative, will be amplified one million times in strength.

Don't think bad thoughts, kids! Or the big blacklight from space will getcha!

Source: sethd8.wordpress.com

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Could a GRB do us harm?

At the tale end of an article explaining why we are safe from GRBs:

"It seems that the very nature of the Milky Way precludes these dangerous explosions from going off in our galaxy, let alone anywhere near enough to obliterate us."

Comes the names of some scientists who believe we should be fearful of gamma-ray bursts:

Adrian Melott of the University of Kansas in Lawrence and Brian Thomas of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas - who warned of the dangers of GRBs - are not convinced that our galaxy is safe. Thomas points out that the Milky Way could merge with or swallow smaller, metal-poor galaxies suitable for GRBs.

Also, a study by Armen Atoyan of the University of Montreal in Canada and his colleagues, due to be published in The Astrophysical Journal, claims that a source of gamma rays in our galaxy, about 40,000 light years away, is a remnant of a GRB that went off about 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. Luckily it wasn't pointed at us, says Atoyan. "If he is right, it provides a counter argument," says Melott.

Stanek, however, argues that the source seen by Atoyan is more likely the leftovers of an unusually energetic supernova.

Merging with another galaxy, that might take a few years... but if a GRB (or unusually energetic supernova for that matter) has happened in our backyard, it can certainly happen again... at a moment's notice

Source: New Scientist

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Elderly Astronomers Agree on Cosmic Rays = Evolution

I no longer feel like an idiot...

...after decades of focusing their attentions skyward, the Meinels – now in their 80s – are grappling with a question that seems, at first light, to be far, far away from astronomy. Namely: Why did modern humans and other species emerge some 40,000 years ago?

Their answer: Cosmic radiation, which the Meinels will elaborate on June 20 in a noon public lecture at the University of San Diego, part of the annual meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Coming from almost anyone else, the suggestion that a burst of cosmic radiation profoundly mutated life on Earth and altered the course of human evolution would probably be dismissed as outrageous science fiction.

But Aden and Marjorie Meinel have been both serious and significant players in astronomy for a good chunk of the last century. ...Marjorie's interest was inherited: Her father, Edison Pettit, was one of the founding astronomers of the 102-year-old Mount Wilson Observatory, east of Los Angeles. Aden's interest evolved over time. It began as an apprentice in Mount Wilson's optics shop, through a stint in the Navy as a rocket engineer and at the California Institute of Technology, where his doctoral dissertation eventually resulted in the world's first solid Schmidt spectrograph – a device for measuring and charting wavelengths of light in space.

With Marjorie serving as adviser, editor and muse (and mother to their seven children), Aden launched a career designing, developing and directing observatories around the world. He helped establish the first national observatory at Kitt Peak, southwest of Tucson, Ariz., in the 1960s, then moved to Steward Observatory and taught at the University of Arizona. At various times, he helped build telescopes in India and China. In the 1980s, he and Marjorie moved to the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena where they helped launch space-based telescopes like the Hubble. Aden retired in 1993, Marjorie in 2000.

While reading a story about ice-core research, Aden wondered whether the core samples also contained information about cosmic radiation levels over the Earth's history. To his and Marjorie's surprise, an examination of existing ice core data showed a significant surge in radiation roughly 40,000 years ago – about the same time, they noted, that modern humans emerged in Eurasia, and numerous other species in the northern hemisphere were either undergoing significant change or disappearing altogether.

“That's when we first became tempted to put two and two together,” said Aden. “If there was a large surge of cosmic rays, and there's good evidence that these rays can (cause mutations), the question becomes, did they help create new species of life?

“Our findings indicate that two very rare occurrences happened at roughly the same time, which suggests that how we've evolved might not be just slow, random mutation and natural selection. Maybe we are partly the product of cosmic radiation.”

The Meinels even have a likely source for the radiation: the gaseous remains of a dying star called the Cat's Eye nebula discovered by William Herschel in 1786.

According to their hypothesis, the nebula began emitting a burst of radiation roughly 200,000 years ago. “Around the time that Neanderthals began to appear,” said Aden.

Approximately 40,000 years ago, the frequency and intensity of the radiation surged, spawning in the Meinels' view, a host of evolutionary changes. “Then, about 10,000 years ago, the Earth passed out of the nebula's jet of cosmic rays, ending the accelerated mutations,” said Aden.

Source: SignOnSanDiego

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Solar Flares increase stroke risk

A Slovakia doctor claims to have linked peak solar flare activity to an increase in strokes and brain haemorrhages, Reuters reports.

Dr Michal Kovac started probing incidence of strokes in southern Slovakia's Nove Zamky back in the 1980s "after observing unexplained increases in stroke patients on certain days, weeks, months and years". He subsequently discovered a correlation between 11 year peaks in coronal mass ejections and strokes.

Kovac also found that fewer people suffered strokes when the moon was at its apogee. His findings, published in the Bratislava Medical Journal further the idea that people are physically affected by "fluctuations in the earth's geomagnetic field".

Source: The Register

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2012: Super SunSpot Cycle Peak

According to physicist Mausimi Dikpati, the next sunspot cycle will be 30-50 percent stronger than the current cycle, and it will peak in 2012.

Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, have used a new model of the sun's interior to refine predictions of future sunspot activity. By using data going back over a century, the scientists were able to determine that the sun's magnetic field has a memory of around 20 years. This model was able to predict the past six cycles with around 97 percent accuracy, and has led to revised predictions about the next cycle, number 24.

Sources: ArtsTechnica + New Scientist

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Males can inherit the vices of their father - via DNA

Still more evidence accumulating, showing that DNA mutations can be inherited, which gives us the possibility of cosmic radiation causing rapid evolution. The study shows that men who smoked prior to puberty have fatter children than those who don't. Not a big deal, but who knows what else is being inherited besides a tendency to put on weight...

THE sins of the fathers are, indeed, visited on subsequent generations. Nutrition and smoking in early life may influence the health of men's sons and grandsons, a new study has revealed.

These striking inherited effects are thought to be due to subtle chemical changes to DNA known as "epigenetic" modifications (see "Mapping the epigenome"). And they could have big implications for public health: the behaviour of today's children, for example, may be stacking up problems for future generations.

Marcus Pembrey, a clinical geneticist at University College London, and colleagues at Umeå University in Sweden, have two lines of evidence for health effects being passed down the male line.

Source: New Scientist - Jan 7 2006

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Cosmic rays can create cloudy days

"The odds of a cloudy day increase by around 20 per cent when the cosmic ray flux is high," says Harrison, amounting to a few extra days of cloudiness per year.

When cosmic rays hit the atmosphere they produce charged particles which seem encourage the growth of cloud droplets. Compared with greenhouse gases the effect of cosmic rays on climate is small. But it could help explain some of the more mysterious changes in climate Earth has experienced in the past.

Source: New Scientist

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Solar storms damage ozone levels

For me the key point is that the power of the sun can let in harmful radiation...

Ozone in Earth's stratosphere protects the planet against harmful ultraviolet radiation. Most of the gas lies in the lower- and mid-stratosphere, where observations have shown a thinning above the poles caused mainly by man-made chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Electron funnel

The domino-like effect began in October and November 2003, when the Sun unleashed a record barrage of radiation and charged particles toward Earth.

The planet's magnetic field funnelled some of the storm's electrons into the upper atmosphere above the poles. The electrons hit nitrogen molecules there, breaking some of them into nitrogen ions. Those reactive atoms then combined with nearby oxygen molecules to form molecules of nitrogen oxide - levels of which rose in November and December 2003, according to the satellite data.

Finally, downward-blowing winds in a polar vortex above the Arctic pushed these molecules into the stratosphere. There, each nitrogen oxide molecule could rip apart hundreds of ozone molecules, just as CFCs do. The effect remained even into July 2004, according to Randall's observations.

Source: New Scientist

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Astronomers find source of short GRBs

Well, they haven't determined anything more than, the two they observed, came from a long way away.

If they all come from so far away, they believe that magnetars cannot be causing them.

The breakthrough came when, for the first time, astronomers were able to accurately pinpoint the locations of two recent short GRBs. They traced the bursts to relatively distant galaxies, bolstering the prevailing theory that the GRBs arise from collisions involving dense stellar corpses, called neutron stars.

...GRBs are volleys of very high energy photons that can originate from any direction in the sky and come in two classes. "Long" bursts last from seconds to minutes and have been found to coincide with powerful supernovae, suggesting they form when massive stars explode and their cores collapse into black holes.

But until recently "short" bursts - lasting just a split-second - have proved frustratingly elusive, disappearing without a trace before researchers could pinpoint or study them.

...Astronomers had suggested flare-ups in highly magnetised neutron stars, called magnetars, might produce short bursts. But these flare-ups can only get so strong before they destroy the stars, putting an upper limit on how far away a magnetar-based GRB can be observed. These bursts occurred about 10 times farther away than this limit, ruling out a magnetar source.

Source: New Scientist + Sky and Telescope

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Superflares could kill astronauts

Which makes me wonder... what if the recent superflare was tiny compared to one that may come soon?

A study of the most powerful solar flare of the past 500 years suggests that another like it would carry enough punch to kill astronauts in a poorly shielded spacecraft. The crew of a future mission to Mars might be at risk unless their craft is made of the right materials.

Solar flares send high-energy protons streaming through the solar system, and the radiation is sometimes intense enough to endanger the health of astronauts. In January, the two men on the International Space Station had to shelter in the bulkier Russian side of the station during a particularly powerful series of flares.

Source: New Scientist

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Gravity Waves = 2012 cataclysm??

If once-in-5-or-10-thousand-year Gamma Ray Burts are predictable, then here is a prime candidate for the cause of a 2012 cataclysm. The combination has been mentioned previously on my Survive 2012 site, but here is some proof of sorts.

I've reproduced the article text in full, just in case it disappears elsewhere.

On December 26, 2004 a magnitude 9.3 earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra in Malaysia. It caused a powerful tsunami which devastated coastal regions of many countries leaving over 240,000 people either dead or missing. It was the worst tsunami to affect this area since the explosion of Krakatoa. The earthquake that produced it was so strong that it exceeded by a factor of 10 the next most powerful earthquake to occur in the past 25 years.

• Indonesian 9.3 Richter earthquake: December 26, 2004 at 00 hours 58 minutes (Universal Time)

It is then with some alarm that we learn that just 44.6 hours later gamma ray telescopes orbiting the Earth picked up the arrival of the brightest gamma ray burst ever recorded!

• Gamma ray burst arrival: December 27, 2004 at 21 hours 36 minutes (Universal Time)

This gamma ray blast was 100 times more intense than any burst that had been previously recorded, equaling the brightness of the full Moon, but radiating most of its energy at gamma ray wavelengths. Gamma ray counts spiked to a maximum in 1.5 seconds and then declined over a 5 minute period with 7.57 second pulsations. The blast temporarily changed the shape the Earth's ionosphere, distorting the transmission of long-wavelength radio signals.

It was determined that the burst originated from the soft gamma ray repeater star, SGR 1806-20, a neutron star 20 kilometers in diameter which rotates once every 7.5 seconds, matching the GRB pulsation period. SGR 1806-20 is located about 10 degrees northeast of the Galactic center and about 45,000 light years from us, or about twice as far away as the Galactic center. It released more energy in a tenth of a second than the Sun emits in 100,000 years. Other gamma ray bursts have been detected whose explosions were intrinsically more powerful than this one at the source of the explosion, but since those explosions originated in other galaxies tens of thousands of times more distant, the bursts were not nearly as bright when they reached our solar system. What makes the December 27th gamma ray burst unique is that it is the first time that a burst this bright has been observed, one that also happens to originate from within our own Galaxy.

Astronomers have theorized that gamma ray bursts might travel in association with gravity wave bursts. In the course of their flight through space, gamma rays would be deflected by gravitational fields and would be scattered by dust and cosmic ray particles they encountered, so they would be expected to travel slightly slower than their associated gravity wave burst which would pass through space unimpeded. After a 45,000 year light-speed journey, a gamma ray burst arrival delay of 44.6 hours would not be unexpected. It amounts to a delay of just one part in 9 million. So if the gravity wave traveled at the speed of light (c), the gamma ray burst would have averaged a speed of 0.99999989 c, just 0.11 millionths slower. There is also the possibility that at the beginning of its journey the gravity wave may have had a superluminal speed.

The 9.3 Richter earthquake was ten times stronger than any other earthquake during the past 25 years, and was followed just 44.6 hours later on December 27th by a very intense gamma ray burst, which was 100 fold brighter than any other in the past 25 year history of gamma ray observation. It seems difficult to pass off the temporal proximity of these two Class I events as being just a matter of coincidence. A time period of 25 years compared to a time separation of 44.6 hours amounts to a time ratio of about 5000:1. For two such unique events to have such a close time proximity is highly improbable if they are not somehow related. But, as mentioned above, gravity waves would very likely be associated with gamma ray bursts, and they would be expected to precede them.

Many have inquired if there might be a connection between these two events. Not thinking of the gravity wave connection, astronomers have been reluctant to admit there might be a connection since they know of no mechanism by which gamma rays by themselves could trigger earthquakes. They admit that the December 27th gamma ray burst had slightly affected the ionization state of the Earth's atmosphere, but this by itself should not have caused earthquakes. However, if a longitudinal gravity potential wave pulse were to accompany a gamma ray burst, the mystery becomes resolved. The connection between earthquakes and gamma ray bursts now becomes plausible.

In his 1983 Ph.D. dissertation, Paul LaViolette called attention to terrestrial dangers of Galactic core explosions, pointing out that the arrival of the cosmic ray superwave they produced would be signaled by a high intensity gamma ray burst which would also generate EMP effects. He also noted that a strong gravity wave might be expected to travel forward at the forefront of this superwave and might be the first indication of a superwave's arrival. He pointed out that such gravity waves could induce substantial tidal forces on the Earth during their passage which could induce earthquakes and cause polar axis torquing effects. In his book Earth Under Fire (as well as in his dissertation), he presents evidence showing that the superwave that passed through the solar system around 14,200 years ago had triggered supernova explosions as it swept through the Galaxy. Among these were the Vela and Crab supernova explosions whose explosion dates align with this superwave event horizon. He points out that these explosions could be explained if a gravity wave accompanied this superwave, it could have produced tidal forces which could have triggered unstable stars to explode as it passed through.

He wrote at a time when gamma ray bursts had just begun to be discovered, and when no one was concerned with them as potential terrestrial hazards. In recent years scientific opinion has come around to adopt LaViolette's concern, as can be seen in news articles discussing the SGR 1806-20 gamma ray outburst. They note that if this gamma ray burst had been as close as 10 light years it would have completely destroyed the ozone layer. By comparison, the Galactic superwaves LaViolette has postulated to have been generated as a result of an outburst of our Galaxy's core and to have impacted the Solar system during the last ice age would have impacted the solar system with a cosmic ray electron volley having an energy intensity 100 times greater than this hypothetical 10 light year distant stellar gamma ray burst. In comparision, SGR 1806-20 has been estimated to have a stellar progenitor mass of 150 solar masses, whereas our Galactic core has a mass of 2.6 million solar masses. In its present active phase, SGR 1806-20 is estimated to have a luminosity 40 million times that of the Sun, whereas during its active phase the Galactic center could reach luminosities of 400 trillion times that of the Sun. So it is understandable that if the Galactic center were to erupt, it would produce a gamma ray burst and a gravity wave far more intense than the outburst from this star.

If anything, the December 27, 2004 gamma ray burst shows us that we do not live in a peaceful celestial environment. And if the December 26th earthquake was in fact part of this same celestial event, we see that this stellar eruption has claimed many lives. For this reason, it is important that we prepare for the possibility of even stronger events in the future, the arrival of superwaves issuing from the core of our Galaxy. Like the December 26th earthquake and the December 27th gamma ray burst, the next superwave will arrive unexpectedly. It will take us by surprise.

As a next step, it is advisable to investigate data from gravity wave telescopes to see if a celestial gravity wave may have arrived immediately prior to the December 26, 2004 earthquake. Since seismic waves from the Indonesian earthquake would have taken some time to propagate through the Earth to these gravity wave antenna, their signature could be distinguished from the gravity wave coming from SGR 1806-20. LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravity Wave Observatory), which consists of two correlated telescopes, one in Washington and one in Louisiana, each having a 4 kilometer long laser interferometer beam path, was in the process of being made operational and may not have been collecting data at that time. Nevertheless their research team is being contacted to see if any data may be available for this time period. Another gravity wave antenna that may have been operational during the December time period is the TAMA antenna in Japan.

The LIGO research team had earlier investigated whether there might be a correlation between their gravity wave data and a particularly strong gamma ray burst (No. 030329) that was recorded in 2003 and identified with a supernova occurring in a galaxy about 2600 light years away. They found no correlation with their data. They operated on the stated assumption that the gravity wave would have traveled at the speed of light and would have been nearly coincident with the gamma ray pulse. However, as mentioned above there is little likelihood that the gamma ray burst and its gravity wave burst would arrive coincidentally. Moreover, the December 27th gamma ray pulse had a far higher intensity, so there is a greater possibility that its gravity wave is registered in the LIGO data.

The December 27th GRB was not accompanied by any rise in the cosmic ray background, indicating that if it was accompanied by cosmic rays their intensity was unable to exceed the relatively constant extragalactic background flux arriving from distant galaxies. A Galactic superwave, on the other hand, would most likely produce a substantial rise in these levels.

Note that almost two months passed before the December 27th gamma ray burst found its way into news media stories. If unusually intense activity were to occur in the near future as the beginning stages of a superwave arrival, it is hoped that scientists will not keep this knowledge to themselves but rather allow the global news media to disseminate the story quickly to inform the world.

Experiments carried out by Eugene Podkletnov show that a shock front outburst produces a longitudinal gravitational wave that travels forward with the burst. He has found that this gravity wave pulse has a speed in excess of 64 times the speed of light (personal communication). Also Guy Obolensky has produced spark discharge electric potential shock fronts and observed them to propagate forward at speeds as high as seven times the speed of light. Observations suggest that the gravity wave from an expanding stellar explosion will decrease its superluminal speed and eventually approach the speed of light as the shock front expands. But meanwhile, the gravity wave will have obtained a headstart over the electromagnetic wave radiation component traveling in its wake (light waves, gamma rays, etc.). So one would expect that the gravity wave from such an outburst (and its resultant earthquake activity) would precede the gamma ray burst component.

Source: Etheric.com

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Biggest explosion in 400 years

Astronomers say they have been stunned by the amount of energy released in a star explosion on the far side of our galaxy, 50,000 light-years away. The flash of radiation on 27 December was so powerful that it bounced off the Moon and lit up the Earth's atmosphere.

...If the explosion had been within just 10 light-years, Earth could have suffered a mass extinction.

...SGR 1806-20 is sited in the southern constellation Sagittarius. Its distance puts it beyond the centre of the Milky Way and a safe distance from Earth.

"Had this happened within 10 light-years of us, it would have severely damaged our atmosphere and would possibly have triggered a mass extinction," said Dr Bryan Gaensler, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who is the lead author on one of the forthcoming Nature papers.

"Fortunately there are no magnetars anywhere near us."

The previous biggest explosion obeserved by humans would've been the supernova of 1604.

Source: BBC

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Nuclear Radiation: Good for your health?

In 1983 a group of 180 apartment buildings was completed in Taiwan. Somebody had made a serious mistake. They had mixed into the concrete a considerable amount of highly radioactive cobalt 60.

This meant that ultimately 10,000 people lived in buildings for from 9 to 20 years so radioactive that they received an average of 74 mSv of radiation per year in 1983, declining thereafter as cobalt 60 has a half life of 5 + years. This compares with a rate of 0.5 mSv above background which is the normal maximum exposure for radiation workers & total of 15 mSv maximum safe limit for land fit for habitation according to US government standards.

...A thorough & methodical tracing of all the 4,000 families by a team led by W. L Chen of Taiwan's Director of Medical Radiation Technology of Taiwan's National Yang-Ming University (the full report is available in English on www.jpands.org ) has resulted in an unequivocal & spectacular result. Cancer rates in that highly radioactive building are down to 3.6% of prevailing Taiwanese rates.

This study...has such well-defined boundary conditions & in proving a reduction in cancers of 96.4% has such a clear result that there can no longer be any intellectual doubt whatsoever. Radioactivity, up to 50mSv, is good for us.

Hiroshima did not appear to fit the predicted scientific pattern, and there are places in India & Iran with background radiation of 15mSv or higher with no observed increase in cancer... So perhaps beneficial mutations are also possible?

Source: Pravda

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"Safe Zone" flooded with radiation

Researchers at the University of Colorado have discovered that a region around the planet, previously thought to be free of radiation, is actually awash with high energy particles. This so-called "safe-zone" sits in between the radiation-stuffed Van Allen belts. This region is normally shielded by the Earth's plasmasphere, but during the particularly intense solar storms last year, this was eroded somewhat and the "safe-zone" was flooded with ions. Some radiation still remains today, researchers have found.

Last year's storms were unusually intense, but that doesn't mean the zone is safe. Once every 11 years, when solar activity peaks, radiation will be more than strong enough to flood the space between the Van Allen belts, and smaller peaks in the intervening years could also cause problems.

Source: The Register

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Mysterious Gamma Rays from our own Galaxy

A European team have discovered a new, unidentified, very high energy gamma-ray source in our Galaxy. I get quite concerned whenever I hear the phrase "suggesting the emergence of a new class of high energy gamma-ray sources of unknown nature"...

The discovery of this source, TeV J2032+4130, is of particular interest because there are only a few very high energy sources in our Galaxy; most of them lie outside our Galaxy.

Additionally, this source does not show any counterpart at other wavelengths, notably at X-ray wavelengths. This team was also involved in the recent discovery of a similar unidentified source, suggesting the emergence of a new class of high energy gamma-ray sources of unknown nature.

The source TeV J2032+4130 has very interesting features. It is most likely located within our own Galaxy, which is remarkable since there are only a few very high energy gamma ray sources in our Galaxy. The centre of our Galaxy is a famous gamma ray source. Another well-known source is the Crab Nebula (see right picture), the remnant of a supernova explosion. In both cases, the corresponding sources also have strong emission at X-ray wavelengths, suggesting the presence of accelerated electrons.

On the contrary, TeV 2032+4130 does not show any counterpart at other wavelengths, notably at X-ray energies. The lack (or at least the low level) of X-ray emission of TeV 2032+4130 suggests that the gamma ray emission arises from the interaction of accelerated cosmic rays with the local ambient matter.

TeV J2032+4130 is located in the Cygnus region, an extremely active star-formation region. It contains a large number of X-ray and low energy gamma-ray sources. To explain the gamma rays emitted by TeV J2032+4130, the HEGRA collaboration looked for sites in this region that could accelerate cosmic ray particles to high enough energy. Such sites could be supernova remnants, expanding clouds of gas that represent the outer layers of exploded stars named supernovae. However, no such supernova remnant has been identified yet in this region. The team believes that TeV J2032+4130 might be related to the “OB stellar association” Cygnus OB2. An OB association is a grouping of very hot and massive young stars. Such an association is named “OB” because these stars have O and B spectral types. Cygnus OB2 is thought to be powering the entire region via the intense stellar winds emanating from its stars.

Source: Innovations Report

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