Archive for the ‘World Events’ Category

US ship moves due to radiation

March 14th, 2011 by Mariah

CNN) — Tests detected low levels of radioactivity on 17 U.S. Navy helicopter crew members when they returned to the USS Ronald Reagan after conducting disaster relief missions in Japan, the military said Monday.


No further contamination was detected after the crew members washed with soap and water, the Navy said.


In addition, the Navy said the U.S. 7th Fleet has temporarily repositioned its ships and planes away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after detecting low-level contamination in the air and on its planes in the area, the Navy said.


One ship was operating about 100 miles northeast of the power plant when “airborne radioactivity” was detected, the Navy said.

The Navy’s statement, however, provided some perspective, noting that the maximum potential radiation dose received by personnel when the ship passed through the area was “less than the radiation exposure received from about one month of exposure to natural background radiation from sources such as rocks, soil, and the sun.”


On Sunday, the USS Ronald Reagan started delivering aid in the coastal regions of Japan’s Miyagi prefecture.


Crew members, in conjunction with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces, conducted 20 sorties delivering aid pallets.


Eight U.S. and Japanese helicopters were used to distribute the pallets, according to Sgt. Maj. Stephen Valley of U.S. Forces Japan.


Workers are scrambling to cool down fuel rods and prevent a full meltdown in three reactors at the earthquake-hit plant. Radioactive steam has been released, intentionally to lessen growing pressure in the reactors.

Supermoon threat to earth?

March 11th, 2011 by Mariah

On March 19, the moon will swing around Earth more closely than it has in the past 18 years, lighting up the night sky from just 221,567 miles (356,577 kilometers) away. On top of that, it will be full. And one astrologer believes it could inflict massive damage on the planet.

Richard Nolle, a noted astrologer who runs the website, has famously termed the upcoming full moon at lunar perigee (the closest approach during its orbit) an “extreme supermoon.”

When the moon goes super-extreme, Nolle says, chaos will ensue: Huge storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters can be expected to wreak havoc on Earth. (It should be noted that astrology is not a real science, but merely makes connections between astronomical and mystical events.)

But do we really need to start stocking survival shelters in preparation for the supermoon? [Photos: Our Changing Moon]

The question is not actually so crazy. In fact scientists have studied related scenarios for decades. Even under normal conditions, the moon is close enough to Earth to make its weighty presence felt: It causes the ebb and flow of the ocean tides.

The moon’s gravity can even cause small but measureable ebbs and flows in the continents, called “land tides” or “solid Earth tides,” too. The tides are greatest during full and new moons, when the sun and moon are aligned either on the same or opposite sides of the Earth.

According to John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, particularly dramatic land and ocean tides do trigger earthquakes. “Both the moon and sun do stress the Earth a tiny bit, and when we look hard we can see a very small increase in tectonic activity when they’re aligned,” Vidale told Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to

At times of full and new moons, “you see a less-than-1-percent increase in earthquake activity, and a slightly higher response in volcanoes.”

The effect of tides on seismic activity is greatest in subduction zones such as the Pacific Northwest, where one tectonic plate is sliding under another. William Wilcock, another seismologist at the University of Washington, explained: “When you have a low tide, there’s less water, so the pressure on the seafloor is smaller. That pressure is clamping the fault together, so when it’s not there, it makes it easier for the fault to slip.”

According to Wilcock, earthquake activity in subduction zones at low tides is 10 percent higher than at other times of the day, but he hasn’t observed any correlations between earthquake activity and especially low tides at new and full moons. Vidale has observed only a very small correlation.

What about during a lunar perigee? Can we expect more earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on March 19, when the full moon will be so close?

The moon’s gravitational pull at lunarperigee, the scientists say, is not different enough from its pull at other times to significantly change the height of the tides and thus the likelihood of natural disasters. [Infographic: Phases of the Moon Explained]

“A lot of studies have been done on this kind of thing by USGS scientists and others,” John Bellini, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told Life’s Little Mysteries. “They haven’t found anything significant at all.”

Vidale concurred. “Practically speaking, you’ll never see any effect of lunar perigee,” he said. “It’s somewhere between ‘It has no effect’ and ‘It’s so small you don’t see any effect.’”

The bottom line is, the upcoming supermoon won’t cause a preponderance of earthquakes, although the idea isn’t a crazy one.

“Earthquakes don’t respond as much to the tides as you’d think they would. There should actually be more of an effect,” said Vidale.

Most natural disasters have nothing to do with the moon at all. The Earth has a lot of pent up energy, and it releases it anytime the buildup gets too great. The supermoon probably won’t push it past the tipping point, but we’ll know for sure, one way or the other, by March 20.

Widespread destruction from earthquake in Japan

March 11th, 2011 by Mariah

Tokyo (CNN) — The morning after Japan was struck by the most powerful earthquake to hit the island nation in recorded history and the tsunami it unleashed — and even as the earth continued to twitch with aftershocks — the disaster’s massive impact was only beginning to be revealed.

The 8.9-magnitude temblor, which was centered near the east coast of Japan, killed hundreds of people, caused the formation of 30-foot walls of water that swept across rice fields, engulfed entire towns, dragged houses onto highways, and tossed cars and boats like toys. Some waves reached six miles (10 kilometers) inland in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan’s east coast.

Buildings collapsed by the score, and numerous fires were ignited.

Hundreds more people were missing, Japanese media reported, citing local and national police. Tens of thousands of people were displaced, according to Japan’s Kyodo News Agency.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the “enormously powerful” earthquake had caused “tremendous damage over a wide area.”

The quake, which struck at 2:46 p.m. (12:46 a.m. ET), prompted the U.S. National Weather Service to issue tsunami warnings for at least 50 countries and territories.

The epicenter of Friday’s main quake was located off Miyagi Prefecture, about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
Cars ablaze in wake of Japan quake Also in Miyagi, officials reported that a train had derailed and authorities had lost contact with four trains in coastal areas, Kyodo reported, citing the East Japan Railway Company.

Japanese broadcasters showed video of collapsed buildings and reported widespread power outages and transportation disruptions. In Tokyo, rail service was suspended overnight, elevated highways were shut early Saturday and surface streets remained jammed as commuters — thousands of whom had spent the night in shelters — tried to get to their homes in outlying areas.

Video aired by Japanese broadcaster NHK showed extensive fires in Miyagi and in the port city of Hakodate, in the southern part of Hokkaido island in northern Japan. An oil refinery was burning in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo, according to NHK. And Kyodo News said fires could be seen in extensive areas of Kesennuma in Miyagi.

Aerial views of Kesennuma showed plumes of white smoke emanating from the center of the city and large, black areas the flames had already traversed.

In the city of Minamisoma in Fukushima Prefecture, all that was left of many structures were their foundations. Only concrete and steel buildings appeared to have withstood the wash. No people were visible in the streets of the town, whose population on Friday had been 70,000.

And a dam in Fukushima Prefecture failed, washing away homes, Kyodo reported. There was no immediate word of casualties, but the Defense Ministry said 1,800 homes were destroyed.

The National Weather Service sent a warning to 50 countries and territories it said could be affected by the tsunami.

Scores of aftershocks jarred the country Saturday, punctuated by a pair of strong earthquakes in the early morning, including one with a magnitude of 7.1 and another with a magnitude of 6.6.

Radioactive material may have leaked from an atomic power plant in northeast Japan, a major electric company said Saturday, according to a news agency report.

Citing the Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s Kyodo News Agency said that radioactive substances may have seeped out of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, about 160 miles (260 kilometers) north of Tokyo.

And cooling problems appeared to have spread to another of the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s nuclear plants.
Moment of the Japan quake Kyodo reported the power company alerted authorities that the cooling system at three units of the Fukushima Daini plant — which is distinct from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors — also failed. That prompted Japanese authorities to add that plant to its emergency list, along with the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Kyodo said.

The agency also reported Saturday that the same agency ordered the power company to release a valve in the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s “No. 1″ building, to relieve growing pressure.

Citing Japan’s nuclear safety agency, Kyodo said radiation levels were 1,000 times above normal in the the control room of the facility’s “No. 1.”

Prime Minister Kan told reporters he would board a helicopter to inspect the plant and the rest of the affected region from a helicopter.

The government had ordered the evacuation of residents nearest the plant as efforts to keep it cool after it was shut were initially hampered.

The confirmed death toll stood at 202 in nine prefectures, not counting the 200 to 300 bodies — apparently drowned — found in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Kyodo said, citing police. It reported that 673 people were unaccounted for.

But NHK, also citing police, said at least 427 people were confirmed dead and more than 740 were missing across several prefectures.

Kyodo predicted the death toll would surpass 1,000.

The news agency, citing Japan’s defense forces, also said 60,000 to 70,000 people were being evacuated to shelters in the Sendai area of Miyagi Prefecture.

The prime minister said an emergency task force had been activated, and he appealed for calm. The government dispatched 8,000 troops to assist in the recovery effort and asked for U.S. military assistance, according to Kyodo.

A spokesman for the U.S. military bases in Japan said all service members were accounted for and there were no reports of damage to installations or ships.
U.S. President Barack Obama offered his condolences and said the United States was standing by to help “in this time of great trial.”

The U.S. Navy initiated reconnaissance flights to map the disaster zone and was moving the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan into position to assist the Japanese government with relief efforts, defense officials said.

Two search-and-rescue teams, totaling more than 140 people, were en route, the U.S. Agency for International Development said.

Images from Japanese media and CNN iReporters showed smoke pouring from buildings and water rushing across fields, carrying away entire structures.

“I wasn’t scared when it started … but it just kept going and going,” said Michelle Roberts, who lives in central Tokyo. “I won’t lie, it was quite scary. But we are all OK. We live on the third floor, so most everything shook and shifted.”

The quake toppled cars off bridges and into waters underneath. Waves of debris flowed like lava across farmland, pushing boats, houses and trailers. About 4 million homes had no power in Tokyo and surrounding areas.

The quake also disrupted rail service and affected air travel. Hundreds of flights were canceled, Kyodo said. Some 13,000 people were stranded at the Narita airport, and 10,000 were stuck at the Haneda airport, the news agency said. Flights into and out of both airports had resumed Saturday.

At Tokyo Station, one of Japan’s busiest subway terminals, shaken commuters grabbed one another to stay steady as the ground shook. Dazed residents poured into the streets, and offices and schools were closed. Children cried.

Residents said that although earthquakes are common in Japan, Friday’s stunned most people.

“This was larger than anyone expected and went on longer than anyone expected,” said Matt Alt, who lives in Tokyo.

“My wife was the calm one. … She told us to get down and put your back on something, and leave the windows and doors open in case a building shifts so you don’t get trapped.”

Richard Lloyd Parry said he looked through a window and saw buildings shaking from side to side.

“Central Tokyo is fine from what we see, people are calm … and not going inside buildings,” he said.

Such a large earthquake at such a shallow depth — 15.2 miles (24.5 kilometers) — creates a lot of energy, said Shenza Chen of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The impact was felt far and wide. In McKinleyville, California, a wave swept three men into the Pacific Ocean as they were reportedly trying to take photos of the incoming tsunami waves, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Two of the men returned to shore, but one died, officials said.

Japanese government officials said large tsunami waves were still a risk to coastal Japan, and they urged residents in coastal areas to move to higher ground.

The tsunami brought waves of nearly 7 feet to a harbor in Maui, authorities said, but other areas reported lower levels.

On the U.S. mainland, wave heights from Alaska to California ranged from under a foot to over 8 feet. The highest measurement, 8.1 feet, was at Crescent City, California.

Tsunamis are a series of long ocean waves that can last five to 15 minutes and cause extensive flooding in coastal areas. A succession of waves can hit — often the highest not being the first, CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said.

Humanitarian agencies were working with rescue crews to reach people affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

“When such an earthquake impacts a developed country like Japan, our concern also turns to countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, which might not have the same resources,” said Rachel Wolff, a spokeswoman for World Vision.

Wolff said her agency is helping people in Japan and teaming up to help others in countries along the path of the tsunami.

The quake was the latest in a series around Japan this week.

On Wednesday, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Honshu, the country’s meteorological agency said. Early Thursday, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck off the same coast.

Friday’s quake is the strongest earthquake in recorded history to hit Japan, according to U.S. Geologic Survey records. The previous record was an 8.6-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Chubu Region near southwestern Honshu on October 28, 1707, that may have killed 5,000 people, CNN meteorologist Sean Morris said.

That quake generated a 33-foot (10-meter) tsunami wave, and some scientists believe the quake may have triggered the eruption of Mount Fuji 49 days later, Morris said.

The world’s largest recorded quake took place in Chile on May 22, 1960, with a magnitude of 9.5, the USGS said.

Olympics 2010

December 21st, 2009 by Mariah

Des plus brillants exploits…With glowing hearts… is the motto for the 2010 Winter Olympics, which will kick off with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron on February 12, 2010 in Vancouver, BC. Considered one of the most beautiful and live-able cities in the world, Vancouver and its surrounding areas are popular visitor destinations that offer a variety of accommodation options. And with the 2010 Winter Games just a few months away, demand for rooms is extremely high. Finding accommodation close to the Games venues –in downtown Vancouver or the surrounding areas – may be challenging. If you do not mind a little travel during your vacation, Victoria, neighbor to Vancouver is absolutely beautiful. A great alternative to the crowded hotel atmosphere is to stay at a Bed and Breakfast.

Below we’ve listed our favorites in the Vancouver and surrounding areas.

Crystal’s View Vancouver

Enjoy modern comforts in this magnificent, equisite Bed and Breakfast,honeymoon suites with spectacular panoramic Ocean and Vancouver city skyline view.

Manor Guest House

The Manor Guest House is located just over the bridge from the center of downtown Vancouver. They offer their guests FREE parking, FREE wireless, and FREE local & long distance calling!

Aberdeen Mansion

Aberdeen Mansion Bed and Breakfast is a historic, beautifully restored 1905 heritage home with stained glass windows, located in downtown Vancouver.

Kings Corner B&B

With our convenient Vancouver location, you can travel to city sights and attraction by car or public transit system. We’re close to the airport, BC Ferries Terminal to Victoria and the Islands – and we’re only minutes from Downtown, the lovely Queen Elizabeth Park, Stanley Park, and Granville Island Public Market.

Victoria, BCAmore the Sea Oceanfront Retreat & Spa in Victoria

Was rated #1 Bed and Breakfast in 2009 by the Victoria News. They still have availability through the month of February and offer great Specials and Packages!

Abigail’s Hotel

The Abigail’s Hotel is a gorgeous boutique hotel in Victoria that is running an Olympic Games Contest through the end of November.

Albion Manor Bed and Breakfast

Victoria’s Victorian Jewel. Welcome to Victoria’s landmark downtown Bed and Breakfast. We want your stay at Albion Manor to be the crowning touch to your stay in Victoria. Albion Manor is ideally located 5 minutes walk from the Clipper and Port Angeles Ferries, ocean, downtown and Victoria’s major attractions.

Ambrosia Historic B&B Retreat

Our fabulous, five star rated heritage bed & breakfast offers the ultimate in luxury, romance and relaxation, all right in the heart of Victoria’s downtown, three blocks from the water, and one block to Beacon Hill Park. All of our spacious rooms have their own private en-suite bathrooms, which were renovated in 2004.

Amethyst Inn at Regents Park

Amethyst Inn at Regents Park is located in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Experience a 5 Star, award winning 1885 Victorian Mansion. For intimate retreats these romantic suites have fireplaces, and private bathrooms, most with 2 person jacuzzi spa tubs.

Ashcroft House Bed & Breakfast

An 1898 heritage landmark with all modern amenities and oh – that fresh sea air! Ideally located one block to the ocean, Beacon Hill Park, or a beautiful short stroll to Victoria’s famous inner harbor. 5 luxuriously appointed, privately en-suited guest rooms. Sumptuous full breakfasts & fresh baking.

Dreemskerry Heritage B&B

A 1900’s Georgian revival close to downtown, Dreemskerry is nestled in the heart of Rockland, Victoria’s prestigious historical neighborhood, just steps away from the ocean, Antique Row, Craigdarroch Castle, and the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor, the Queen’s representative in British Columbia.

Haro House Waterfront B&B

Waterfront B&B, situated in the beautiful 10 mile point area on Haro Strait. Private one bedroom suite with bathroom, kitchen, livingroom and diningroom. Awake to the sun rising over Mt. Baker. Fall asleep to the sound of the ocean lapping on the shore.

Heathergate House B&B

Heathergate House is a flower bedecked haven of beauty & comfort in the quiet James Bay district of Victoria. The hosts have decorated the B&B and adjoining ‘Cottage’ with English antiques and have achieved a most charming effect. The beauty of the setting is rivaled only by their gracious hospitality.

Hotel Grand Pacific

The Hotel Grand Pacific is modern luxury at its finest. Conveniently located on the Inner Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia, the Grand has everything you look for in a great hotel, exceptional service, wonderful amenities and a premium location.

Humboldt House Bed & Breakfast Inn

Victoria’s Most Romantic Hide-Away. Elegant Rooms with Jacuzzi tubs, and wood-burning fireplaces. Two blocks from the city center.

Marketa’s B&B

Only 500 steps from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, large Edwardian home, newly renovated. Some rooms with jetted or soaker tubs, fireplaces. Full delicious breakfast of your choice from our menu. Walking distance to Parliament BUildings, Royal BC Museum and downtown attractions.

Prior House B&B

Set in a beautiful Victoria garden this Landmark Inn, receiving the coveted 4-Diamond AAA and 5-star Canada Select Awards, is a popular choice for those seeking a romantic Victoria honeymoon destination or British Columbian vacation. Nature lovers will…

Enjoy your Stay at anyone of these great places and come back to tell us about your experience at ”Your Bed and Breakfast Travel Guide” All Reviews are greatly appreciated by all our Members and our Viewers.

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