Temperatures in July Were the Highest Ever Recorded on the Planet

Hottest month

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made an announcement that temperatures in July were the highest ever recorded on the planet.

Temperature records have been kept since 1880, but scientists believe that this could be the hottest records since the last 4,000 years. The average temperature of all locations across the globe was 61.86 degrees, higher than the previous peaks in July 2010 and July 2008. July is generally the hottest month in the whole year.

A large part of Central and Western Europe experienced extremely hot climes with several Austrian cities sweltering in the hottest period ever seen in its 249-year recorded climatic history. The United Kingdom and Germany also recorded hottest ever July in their history. In Africa, the average temperature this July was second only to the one recorded in July 2002. The US and portions of West Asia were a couple of the few regions which did not witness such intense heat. While the temperatures recorded in the US were higher than the July average, no peaks were breached in any state.

Bandar Mahshahr in Iran recorded the highest temperatures ever on earth on July 31. The air temperature recorded was 115 and when added to a dew point of 90 degrees, the city’s heat index reached a fuming 165 degrees, NOAA claimed.

Globally, the combined average temperatures over water and land surfaces for the month of July was 1.46 degrees more than the previous average of the 20th century which was 60.4 degrees, claimed the NOAA. This data matches with that issued by the Japan Meteorological Administration and NASA, earlier this week. The data from Japan and NASA also said that this year’s July temperatures beat the previous record of July 2011 by 0.36 degrees.

NOAA also claimed that last month was the 39th consecutive July and the 365th consecutive month when temperatures were above average. Jake Crouch, the climate scientist from NOAA, told the Associated Press that this year is likely to end up as the hottest year in the recorded history. He opined that the report is only reaffirming what we already know; the earth is warming up and it continues to warm up. Reasons for this year’s unprecedented increase in temperatures across the globe are attributed to the enhanced warming effect of El Nino combined with man-made effects on global warming.

NOAA also predicts that a strong El Nino is building up whose effect will be more than the intensity of the 1997 climate event which affected the weather drastically across the globe; from fires in Australia to mudslides in California. There is over 90% possibility that El Nino effects will persist throughout the winter of 2015-16 in the Northern Hemisphere and about 85% possibility it will persist into the spring of 2016 too, said an NOAA forecast.

Rapid Glacier Meltdown in Central Asia Expected to Reduce Amount of Snow by Half by 2050

The rapid meltdown of glaciers in the Tien Shan mountain ranges of Central Asia is expected to reduce the amount of snow by half by the year 2050, as per a report published in the Nature Geoscience, a scientific journal.

The Tien Shan glaciers along with others in Asia, including those on Pamir, Himalayan-Hindu Kush and Kunlan Shan mountain ranges are called the ‘Water Towers of Asia’. Together, these glaciers supply water to about 170 million people living in the region which is about 40% of the world’s population.

The glacier-fed rivers of the region provide food, fisheries, household water, power and jobs and form the core of cultural traditions. These rivers shape the ecosystem and landscape there and hence their importance can never be overstated, explain the United Nations Environment Program on its website. The recently published study reports that the Tien Shan glaciers have already lost 27% of ice since 1961 and could lose nearly half if the prevalent climate trends continue unchecked.

As the Tien Shan glaciers provide water to the Fergana Valley, one of the planet’s largest irrigated areas, the impending meltdown could have an immense impact on the farmers there. The TS glaciers also supply water to Kazakhstan, northern China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The meltdown here is apparently four times that of the global average, the study said.

The glaciers store snow that falls during winter and release it as water when the snow melts during summer. This cycle is critical so that water can reach those places where precipitation is almost non-existent and hence the availability of water is low. The reason why these glaciers are melting is because the winters are cold and dry and hence no snow is collected then. Rising temperatures in summer means the snow is melting faster. This double-hitting of the glaciers is making it particularly vulnerable and sensitive to temperature changes.

Daniel Farinotti, the report’s lead author and a glaciologist at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences said that it was not easy to get accurate and correct readings of the melting of the glaciers because most of the older monitoring programs have been shut down after the breakup of the Soviet Union and the new ones are just being set up. This had led to a significant gap in time when not enough direct measurements are available.

To get a more complete perspective, Farinotti and his research team used a combination of glacial melting models, satellite data and direct observations. Data from NASA’s ICESat satellite, which sends laser pulses from space to glacier surfaces, was used to estimate changes in the thickness of ice. It was clearly seen that if the present global warming rate continues without a check, rapid glacier meltdown will impact water supply severely leading to potential food security issues for a large number of people.

Farinotti said that the only way to save glaciers from melting down is by cutting down increases in global temperatures. Another way to tackle water issues, he said, was to improve irrigation measures and increase efficiency in irrigation processes in the region.

Following the Takata Incident, Toyota Will Buy Air-Bag Units from New Supplier

With the investigation into air-bag inflators by Takata and the recall to more than 35 million car units, the Japanese car maker Toyota is searching for new sources.

Toyota is among the first companies in the car industry to find an alternative for Takata air-bags.

The Takata incident resulted in the biggest automotive recall in the history, with more than 10 car manufacturers recalling millions of vehicles produced by since 2008 in order to replace the problematic air-bags.

Toyota was among the first to look for a new supplier, as the Japanese company has struck a deal with Nippon Kayaku to increase production. Takata was among the world’s leaders in production of air-bags. Nippon Kayaku is a second tier company that doesn’t produce as high amounts of air-bags as Takata, but according to sources in Toyota, they can satisfy the needs of the Japanese car maker.

According to the deal, Nippon will supply Toyota with more than 13 million air-bag inflators starting from July 2016 to July 2020. The move is the most proactive move by any car manufacturer.

The Takata incident started when the company was linked with eight deaths, and more than 100 people injured after having an accident in which the air-bag exploded and sprayed shrapnel inside the car. The cost of the recall will cost car makers millions.

At the moment, not all companies have recalled their cars, but lawmakers in the US are pushing for an even bigger recall. A new investigation can further expand the recall, as law makers are now looking into the side air-bag inflators as well. Previously, the passenger and the driver’s air bags were under scrutiny.

The investigation started following an event in June, when a Volkswagen Tiguan hit a deer and the side air bag of the driver inflated with excessive force. Volkswagen informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on July 15 and last week, the agency asked further information from both Volkswagen and Takata. The two companies have until August 24 to respond.

The pressure is on Takata and other car makers, as two senators in the US Senate called the supplier to recall all vehicles with the troublesome air-bags. The demand could affect more than 50 million units in the US alone.

Toyota is the first company to take precautionary switch, but it won’t come cheap for the Japanese company. According to sources, the switch will cost Toyota between $100 and $150 million. The company has already recalled 12 million vehicles with the troublesome air-bags.

David Beckham Spends Time Biking With Friends on his Triumph Bonneville T100 Motorcycle

David Beckham, the soccer superstar, spent some quality me-time with three of his guy friends biking on his Triumph Bonneville T100, one of his favorite bikes.

He looked totally cool and sporty riding on his beloved bike flaunting his masculinity as he zoomed around the streets of Los Angeles. He looked fashionably hip as he cruised on his T100, wearing black jeans, blue denim shirt and brown brogues with a pocket chain on the side. Being a stickler for rules, he sported a crash helmet with an orange visor for protection. While on the streets of LA, he was fully clothed and, sadly for the on-lookers there, his famed tattoos on his toned arms were not seen.

However during the ride along the marvelous Malibu coast, he and his three friends made an impromptu stopover at a wonderful vantage point to enjoy the spectacular view offered by the undulated Pacific Ocean. Parking his cherished Triumph Bonneville T100 at the roadside, Beckham and his friends decided to sit and enjoy the great ocean view. The four friends were seen sitting on the cliff and relaxing and clicking selfies while enjoying the breathtaking and stunning ocean vista.

The on-lookers at this beautiful vantage point were not disappointed when the stylish former L Galaxy star replaced his denim shirt with a sleeveless black loose-fitting Brixton T-shirt flaunting both his tattoos and his wonderfully toned arms, which were till then covered completely under his blue full-sleeved denim shirt. The celebrity star even remembered to bring along his Limitless baseball cap to replace his helmet and had on his aviators too. The friends seemed relaxed and chilled as they sat together on the side of a cliff, bordering the beautifully calm Pacific Ocean.

His wife, Victoria, the ex-Spice girl and his children were not seen with him. It seemed to be an all-Dad trip and some quality me-time with guy pals. However, the soccer celebrity, known as the complete family man, took off on this biking trip with his guy friends only after his previous night-out double date with Victoria Beckham and another couple, Simon Fuller, the ex-manager of the Spice Girls and his wife Natalie Swanston.

The Beckham Couple Found Spending Family Weekend Time With Kids

The A-list Beckham couple were found spending quality family weekend time with their kids doing various activities.

The entire David Beckham family is in Los Angeles and Victoria Beckham spent her Sunday with her 4-year-old daughter Harper soaking up the sun together. Both the mother and daughter were seen walking and posed for a photo on the pavement looking happy and relaxed and smiling into the camera. Posh posted this picture on Twitter with her comment, ‘Happy Sunday! Hanging out in the sunshine with my best friend’!

The Beckham couple love spending quality time with children and on Friday took their younger sons, Cruz, 10 and Romeo, 12, to a dance recital by little Harper. The couple also spent time with their eldest son, Brooklyn Beckham, on Thursday. In an interview with Suzy Menkes of Vogue recently, Victoria had said she would be happier if Harper chose the fashion route rather than the pop-music route, even though she herself had a lot of fun in her singing career. She also admitted recently that she would be very happy if one of her four children takes the fashion career, especially Harper.

Brooklyn Beckham is the eldest of the four Beckham children and this Sunday, he chose to focus his attention on his youngest sibling, Harper Beckham. The brother-sister duo spent time together making pizza. Brooklyn, who is supposedly keen on a career in films, was seen with his little sister in the kitchen trying to create the Italian delicacy. Brooklyn posted black-and-white photos of their culinary attempt on Instagram. The photo showed a table laden with pizza dough and toppings and depicted Brooklyn as the main chef explaining the intricacies of the activity to his sister while Harper seemed to hang on to his every word.

The aspiring actor holds his own ground in the social media and has 3.9 followers on Instagram. He has been seen bonding with all his three siblings and his parents and there are numerous pictures showing young Brooklyn having a good time with his family. This pizza picture was also immediately lapped up by his followers and got more than 270,000 likes.

Meanwhile, David and his wife, Posh Beckham were seen on a double dinner date with the Spice Girls’ ex-manager Simon Fuller and his wife Natalie Swanston at E.Baldi, the Beverly Hills hotspot. The ex-Spice Girl was wearing a monochrome black ensemble with a deep neckline with a nude strap across. The former pop star celebrity was seen flaunting her cleavage in the black outfit. The sleeveless dress, from her own collection, had breezy side splits too and was paired with Casadei stilettos and a matching black clutch. David was sporting dark jeans and white shirt. Fuller is now the Beckham couple’s manager as well as that of Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One driver.

Toxic Air Pollution in China Taking its Toll, Killing People Daily

The toxic air pollution in China is taking its toll and killing nearly 4,000 people daily, as per the research paper published in the journal PLOS One.

Richard Muller of University of California, Berkeley, who co-authored this paper described the air over China to resemble a place where every person, be it man, woman or child puffed one and half cigarettes each hour! Muller and Robert Rhode, the other co-author of the paper do research work for Berkeley Earth, an organization committed to collating data regarding the global climate.

The paper is a result of a study done on the pollution that clogs China and investigates the ill-effects of this hazard on human health. The startling results included the fact that air pollution in the country killed 1.6 million citizens, annually, which translates to about 1/6th of all premature deaths. The data for the analysis was taken from three sources including two third-party sources and China’s own air quality reporting system.

Although other earlier reports confirmed the death tolls due to air pollution to be in the range of 1-2 million per year, this is the first time, the report was based on the real time data from country’s monitoring system. Although the quality of air is different during different times of the month and the day, the study said that 92% of China’s population breathes polluted air for more than 120 hours every year.

The paper of Muller and Rhode compared the pollution levels of Fresno-Madera, California, which records the highest pollution levels in the US as claimed by the American Lung Association. Here, the residents experience about 47 ‘unhealthy’ days annually. This means that nearly every Chinese breathes highly polluted air that is far worse than the most contaminated region in the US.

The pollutants that were isolated included the worst ones such as pieces of dust, soot and smoke, all of which have the power to infiltrate the lungs and damage them irretrievably. Although most of the pollutants were from fossil fuels, it was a surprising discovery that the origins were not from the most expected regions. For example, while a lot of focus was on Beijing, the country’s capital, the city’s pollution was found to come primarily from the southwest regions.

The data from the three sources was then transferred and run through a model platform of the World Health Organization that connects air pollution to deaths caused by fatal health issues like stroke and lung problems. This framework confirmed an annual number of 1.6 million deaths which translates to about 4,000 people dying every day due to breathing in bad air!

Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift Common Foes of Justin Bieber Collaborate to Create New Song

Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber’s ex-girlfriend, turned to Taylor Swift for help to write a new song in an attempt to counter his new single ‘What do you mean’ which has gone viral recently.

Bieber’s song is supposed to reflect his side of the story about his former relationship with the ‘Good for you’ singer. Swift and Gomez hope to collaborate to release the new song so that Gomez’s version of the soured relationship story is told to the public. She purportedly told multiple social media outlets that she has had enough of giving her side of their old relationship in passive aggressive tones and now she is ready to do more on that front.

She is looking for that perfect song that will tell the world what she feels and Taylor Swift, well-known for her revenge and break-up songs, is going to help her find it. Swift’s own hatred for Gomez’s ex-boyfriend certainly helps the cause for revenge and is delighted to contribute her might, as per an article published in the Celeb Dirty Laundry. The tabloid also reported that earlier this year Gomez and Bieber got together again, but Bieber called it off when he found out that his singer-actress-fashion-designer girlfriend was two-timing him with Orlando Bloom. That he was often found in the company of Kendall Jenner, the American television personality and supermodel, did not help the relationship too.

The release date of the new song is yet to be announced; however, it is purported that this ‘revenge act/song’ is bound to make both their singles a big commercial hit. The collections from Gomez’s new song are expected to exceed that of her last song ‘I want you to know’, which was a collaborative effort with Zedd. The Bieber-Gomez feud is expected to rake in the moolah for both of the singers and make them richer. The fans of Gomez and Swift are expected to be in for a treat if this Gomez-Swift collaboration works, the site reported. The publication also suggested that the new found friends could look at making another music video on the same lines as Swift’s famous ‘Bad Blood’ single and perhaps get another celebrity to throw a few jibes at Bieber.

Ants Use Strong Smelling Power to Protect Their Colonies

A team of research scientists at the University of California has studied ant colonies and have made a startling discovery that ants use their strong smelling power as a tool to protect their colonies.

This study, published in the Cell Reports journal, found that these industrious creatures’ powerful olfactory senses help them to distinguish between the members of their own colony and those from outside. The research team led by Anandasankar Ray, an Indian-born scientist undertook this study to get a better understanding of the little-known communication powers of ants through the use and detection of pheromones.

Hitherto they were aware that ants communicate with each other through the use of hydrocarbon chemicals found on their outer shells or cuticles. The researchers discovered that ants have the most evolved set of powerful olfactory genes and they use it to not only sniff out pheromones, but also can very precisely identify and recognize members of their own colony and differentiate those that do not belong there.

The scientists employed a very powerful electrophysiology method to examine hydrocarbons of the queen and worker ants’ cuticles. They studied the responses of worker ants’ antennal neurons and how these neurons responded to the hydrocarbons. The team theorized that these two types of ants acted as pheromone cues and hence they chose to study them.

Kavita R Sharma, another Indian-born scientist in the University of California research team said that they had discovered that although these hydrocarbons are of very low volatility they were highly sensitive and could detect all the hydrocarbon components on the cuticles as well as the specialized ones on the antennal sensors. In fact, it is believed that the low validity actually facilitated accurate identification as a more volatile form could cause confusion to the ants’ olfactory system. The results on this study led them to believe that the specialized property must be unique to social insects to be used as form of protection from intruders.

The study further found that each cuticle had a combination of multiple cuticular hydrocarbons. The scientists felt compiling the exact composition of the blend could be very useful to code information on other non-colony and colony ants. This study was also able to disprove an earlier model proposed in 2005 which said that worker ants could only sniff out non-nestmates and could not know the hydrocarbons of their own nestmates. In this research, scientists found that worker ants could indeed identify mates from the colony and those from outside the colony.

David Beckham Makes First Public Appearance after His Backlash on Parenting Critics

David Beckham, the English soccer superstar, made his first public appearance in Brentwood, California, after his backlash on parenting critics recently.

He was seen in casual clothes at the Earth Bar presumably after a grueling SoulCycle class at Haig Club. He later updated his Instagram account with a picture of himself at the Haig Club.

For the ones who missed the recent news on the dashing socialite-footballer, a very livid David Beckham took to Instagram to blast the editors of an English tabloid for belittling his wife, Victoria Beckham’s and their parenting skills. The Daily Mail published an article in which a parenting expert criticized the use of a pacifier by Beckham’s four-year-old daughter, Harper Seven Beckham. In the article, the experts opined that she was too old for a pacifier and if the habit is left unchecked, she could run the risk of developing dental or speech related problems later on. The article also featured a photo of David Beckham and Harper with a pacifier in her mouth.

Beckham’s fondness for his family has been covered by the paparazzi many times, including one in February this year, when news of his clicking away at his daughter while she pranced around on the streets of London with his swanky digital camera. The same tabloid carried the news of a warm family meal that Harper had when in Los Angeles this July with her older brothers Romeo and Brooklyn and her father. This time, however, the coverage was of a less pleasant kind and the star footballer wasted no time in making known his displeasure for the tabloid’s rebuke.

Beckham minced no words in his Instagram message slamming the parenting experts and editors while questioning their rights to interfere with the upbringing of his child and talked insultingly about his parenting skills or lack thereof. He said that others do not have any right to chastise parents with regard to their own children and that too without knowing all the facts. He defended his daughter by saying that she had been sick and how it is quite natural for children during sickness or times of fever to resort to pacifiers as it is the most comforting thing for them.

Smallest Supermassive Black Hole Discovered by the Astronomers

Astronomers from the University of Michigan discovered a ‘tiny’ supermassive black hole in the center of RGG118, a dwarf galaxy that is about 340 million light-years away.

The results of this discovery were published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters by Vivienne Baldassare, the first author of the scientific paper. The team at the University of Michigan employed the services of 6.5m Clay Telescope in Chile and Chandra’s X-ray Observatory in NASA to observe RGG118. This galaxy was first identified while conducting the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

The newly discovered black hole is termed ‘tiny’ because it is only 50,000 times the size of the sun and over two times smaller than a similar known object. Additionally, it is 100, 000 times smaller than the biggest black hole found to date! Despite its ‘tiny’ size, this black hole is using up material at a rate comparable to that of the much larger ones.

It is believed that at the core of every big galaxy, our own Milky Way included, there is a supermassive black hole. Astronomers hold two opinions on the formation of these black holes. One hypothesis states that gigantic gas clouds ‘seed’ the black holes while another one states they have evolved from super-colossal stars believed to be 100 times as big as the sun.

The newly discovered black hole is the first one found at the center of a dwarf galaxy. This RGG18 dwarf galaxy is so small that it is most unlikely that it has merged with any other galaxy, and this aspect makes the discovery significant. It gives a new window of opportunity for astronomers to learn more about a ‘younger’ universe. Astronomers believe that larger galaxies have been formed through mergers. Hence, these small galaxies could be analogous to galaxies of an earlier universe and might help the astronomers learn which of the two hypotheses is correct.

By investigating and studying the small galaxies and the interactions with their black holes, astronomers hope to gain more insight into the working of an earlier universe. The black holes of the present day galaxies, including our Milky Way, are dormant. The smaller galaxies such as the RGG118 are known to have active black holes that are still consuming gas, dust and stars. The active central black hole is in the process of shaping the history and helping in the evolution of the small galaxy by regulating the movement of gases and dust and temperature perhaps to form potential stars. Hence, this extremely significant discovery seems to be an ideal subject for investigation and enquiry to take a step forward in understanding as to how our universe came to be.

Factors That Will Lead to Global Population Crossing the 11 Billion Mark by 2100

The global population is set to cross the 11 billion mark by the year 2100, predicts a United Nations report presented to the American Statistical Association in Seattle by John Wilmoth, the director of the UN Population Division.

The world population is expected to soar to 9.7 billion by the year 2050 from the current 7.3 billion and then shoot to 11.2 billion by 2100 as per the UN report’s forecasts. Some believe these numbers to be very conservative, and the global population could reach the 13 billion mark!

The history of world population growth reads like this: from one billion in 1804, it grew to two billion in 123 years; however it took a mere 12 years to expand to seven billion in 1999 from six billion in 1987! This implies that global population is increasing at very fast rates. The primary factors contributing to these explosions in the global population are increased longevity and decreased child mortality, claims John Wilmoth. While these factors are signs of human success in the field of health and science, the question that is being asked is “Are we ready for this population surge?”

The greatest demand created by the population explosion is to be in the healthcare segment. A WHO report in 2006 estimated that 2.3 midwives, nurses, and doctors are needed for every 1,000 living humans. Extrapolating this figure to the year 2050, about 22 million health care specialists would be needed to manage the health of the expected population of 9.7 billion then.

Another disturbing factor in the report is that the rise in population is expected to be far more in poorer geographies, especially Africa. For example, as per Director John Wilmoth, the population of Nigeria is projected to reach 439 million by 2100, almost two and half times its present figure. The report warns that half the world population by 2100 would be Africans. Africa’s expansion in population is attributed to persistently high fertility levels. Africa’s fertility level is at 4.7 children per woman as against the global average of 2.5 children.

Although the total fertility rate (TFR) in the region is on the decline, it is only a quarter of that in Latin America, Asia and the Caribbean in the 1970s! Moreover, in some regions the TFR seems to have stagnated. Already plagued by resource shortages, these situations make it more challenging for the countries in that region to handle associated issues such as eradication of poverty and inequality, management of malnutrition and hunger and delivery of improved education and health systems.

Africa would be the biggest contributor to world population and is expected to continue to do so even if the TFRs fall significantly in the region. What is needed is an unprecedented decline in fertility rates in Africa; else, this imminent explosion of the world population cannot be stopped and impending dangers cannot be thwarted or averted, the report cautions.

Global Warming and Climate Change Hasten Extinction of Butterflies in the UK

Global warming and chronic climate change threaten the survival of six species of butterflies in the UK, says a Natural Climate Change report published under the lead authorship of Dr Tom Oliver from the UK’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH).

The study was a collaborative venture by CEH, the University of Exeter and Butterfly Conservation, Natural England, a charity organization dedicated to saving butterflies.  Although this study was limited to butterflies, the results could be valid for other creatures such as beetles, birds, dragonflies and moths.  Butterflies were chosen for the study on account of them being ideal subjects for the investigation.

Driven by severe droughts, climate change has reached chronic levels which could potentially sabotage the survival of these six endangered butterfly species, including speckled wood, ringlet, large white, large skipper, green-veined white and small white. These six species can disappear forever from this planet by the year 2050, if adequate measures are not undertaken immediately, warns the report. These species are drought-sensitive and the extreme differences between hot and cold climates are proving disastrous for them. The habitats of the butterflies are being fragmented and if left unchecked could potentially endanger them.

There are multiple climate projections which illustrate that drought conditions are going to get more severe and extreme, especially under the influence of increased carbon gas emissions. These projections were made by taking into consideration results of 17 varied climate models and the overall results suggest that if CO2 emissions are not decreased below existing levels, these creatures’ chances for survival beyond 2050 look remote.

While the scenario looks grim and formidable, there are possible solutions powered by human intervention that could ameliorate the effects of such catastrophes. Reduced carbon emissions, habitat restoration or perhaps a combination of both is imperative to delay the extinction of these warm and beautiful creatures at least till 2100. Dr Oliver added that losses are expected to be more severe in dry areas with enhanced habitat fragmentation whereas wet areas which lesser fragmentation could provide the much-needed refuge.

Another measure could be to have biologists intervene to improve the species’ hardiness and survival chances. The report also looks at local conservation methods to help these creatures. However, the effectiveness of these measures is directly linked to effective controls on carbon emissions and habitat restoration. Moreover, there may not be enough time for the butterflies to adapt themselves in order to become more resistant to drought as their population is already quite small. In this cruel race between extinction and evolution, extinction could easily win if effective policy measures such as considerable reduction of carbon emissions along with habitat restoration are not put in place immediately.

Newest Photograph from NASA Shows Dark Side of the Moon in Clear Light

Space scientists refer to it as the dark side of the moon because it is often hidden from people on Earth as well as from the satellites.

The photos of the other side which is partially illuminated by the sunlight will usually be captured once every two years. It is when the NASA satellites orbiting the space atmosphere enter an altitude where it is possible to capture the earth and moon, at once. The rare occurrence happened this July when a new picture was captured. It was such a surprise for the scientists because the so-called “dark side” was brightly lit and showcased perfect details of the moon like never before.

Deep Space Climate Observatory, shortly known as DSCOVR is the one behind this amazing photograph. The satellite controlled by the observatory traveled a long distance, more than 1.6 million miles away from Earth so that it could witness the moon on the other side. Dozens of images were captured in this flight which were later snapped into a single GIF image for the viewing pleasure of billions of people on the planet.

The time is really short as it takes a couple of seconds for the moon to pass earth, but it is an epic shot that breaks many myths. NASA scientists who work with DSCOVR are responsible for sending images every day to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA. The organization is responsible of using those images to predict plenty of daily activities including the weather, vegetation, atmospheric changes and air pressure on Earth. The Earth shots will be captured regularly by an Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera, simply known as EPIC.

The 4-megapixel EPIC shot the images of the moon passing the planet through the Pacific side. Based on the position of the North Pole, it is evident that the entire planet tilts to gargantuan levels during this time of the year. Thanks to gravitational pull, people are still on the surface and don’t fall off during this massive tilt.

Libration is a phenomenon which makes at least 18 percent of the dark side visible. However, it is well-lit by sunlight and doesn’t have any dark areas. Researchers concluded that the name is derived from the fact that it is an unexplored part of the moon and is completely invisible to Earth. The satellite took the shot from a 31-million distance and 3 monochrome layers are used to make it look brighter on the GIF, they added.

Rapper Akon Aims to Use Solar Power to Support African Kids’ Education

With an aim to help the less fortunate children in Africa, rapper Akon has announced that he has planned to commence a new project which will aim to add solar power to help introduce electronic devices in schools.

The music artist has been focusing on helping people in the African continent switch to electricity for many years now. He is a popular hip hop and R&B artist in the United States who has earned a great fortune, but he’s always on the move with new entrepreneurial ideas. A majority of them are geared towards Africa and the 600 million people who thrive in the locality with the help of a candle light.

In the modern era, when the majority of the world has access to smartphones, tablets and uninterrupted internet, there are still parts of the continent that are hardly embraced by technology. Technology firms like Google and Facebook have been doing their part to help the people overcome the hurdles while individuals like Akon have been doing everything on their part to boost the economy.

A country’s growth depends on its younger generation, Akon said in an earlier interview. He initiated the Akon Lighting Africa program which uses solar power to bring light to the 600 million population and has already witnessed phenomenal achievements. Over 14 countries have benefited through the system which has supplied charging stations, home kits and micro generators to bring electricity. A lot of solar street lamps are also setup in specific locations to make easier for the residents to commute at night.

According to a report by PC Tech, Akon wanted to expand the solar power distribution further so that it not only powers televisions and refrigerators, but also computers to allow the children to experience better education. The music artist has personally experienced the situation in Africa as he lived in West Africa till the age of 7 before moving to the United States.

“We have already visited some of the locations where solar power will be used and new smart schools will be setup. Our team has created an outline for the project. The idea is to use solar power in education. However, our main goal is to bring electrification first before promoting education to the darkest corners of the country”, he said.

In his generous motive, Akon is also joined by two individuals named Thione Niang and Samba Bathily. He did a road show earlier visiting important cities in Africa to understand the situation and come up with feasible solutions.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Escapes Maximum-Security Mexico Prison

Drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has escaped from a maximum-security prison in Mexico by tunneling out of the facility. The former leader of the Sinaloa cartel had been incarcerated inside the Altiplano prison facility for the past eighteen months. Guzman apparently escaped the prison by sneaking through a passage in the shower area of his cell that connected to a nearly mile-long tunnel running underneath the prison.

The escape set off a massive manhunt for Guzman, the world’s most famous drug lord, in the early hours of Sunday morning. The Altiplano prison was put on lockdown after Guzman’s escape and police were deployed to the surrounding areas to search for the drug lord. The nearby Toluca airport had all flights grounded to prevent Guzman from flying out of the range of the authorities.

According to Mexico’s national security commissioner, Monte Alejandro Rubido, Guzman was last seen inside the prison around 8 p.m. while being given medication. The discovery of the tunnel indicates that Guzman’s escape was well planned and probably financed by cartel members. The tunnel was illuminated, had PVC piping for ventilation, and was equipped with an adapted motorcycle-on-rails to aid the escape. There are also indications that the escape may have occurred with the complicity of officials inside the prison.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has focused on arresting and incarcerating top drug bosses from all the major cartels during his tenure. The Altiplano federal facility has been called the country’s most impenetrable prison and has held a number of top cartel members over the past few years. However, the failure to hold the country’s most important drug trafficker is a staggering blow for the president’s administration.

This is the second time Guzman has escaped from prison in his drug-running career. He escaped from another Mexican maximum-security prison in 2001. After evading capture for years, Guzman was captured by a team of Mexican commandos in February 2014 while sleeping in a condominium in the beach town of Mazatlan. It is believed that he may be hiding out in the cartel’s hideouts, safe houses and drug ranches in the northern Sierra Madre Mountains.

Serbian PM Chased At Srebrenica Ceremony

The Prime Minister of Serbia was chased by angry memorial visitors during a ceremony for victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia. World dignitaries and thousands of others gathered in Bosnia-Herzegovina to remember the victims. Outrage erupted at the solemn event attended by thousands as Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic walked to the Srebrenica graveyard where other politicians were paying their respects.

It has been 20 years since the Bosnian Serb army killed 7,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. For three days starting on July 11, 1995, ethnic Serb forces gunned down Muslim boys and men in and around Srebrenica in an ethnic cleansing effort. Their bodies were dumped into a mass grave. The slaughter of civilians toward the end of the Bosnian war eventually claimed around 100,000 Muslim lives, including children, women and old men. The event has been called the largest single atrocity in Europe since World War II.

People hissed and yelled as Vucic walked to the site, angered by the appearance of an official from a country that once directed the Bosnian Serbs militants. Members of the shouting crowd then began to throw bottles and rocks at him, forcing him to flee the event. As the crowd got louder and more angry, his dark-suited security staff rushed him up the graveyard’s hill and ushered him into his car. A driver hurriedly spirited him away as the objects continued to fly.

Vucic reported that he was hit in the mouth by a stone, but other than that, he was okay. He said to reporters in Belgrade, “I regret that some people haven’t recognized my sincere intention to build friendship between Serbian and Bosniak people.” He continued, “I still give my hand to the Bosniak people. I will continue with that … and always be ready to work together to overcome problems.”

The U.S. Embassy in Bosnia-Herzegovina released a statement on the matter that said, “Many of the mourners were horrified by the violence and disheartened that it disrupted the solemnity of the anniversary. The U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo shares that sentiment, and urges all to focus once again on the victims of the Srebrenica genocide and their families.” Russia, a Serbia ally, recently vetoed a U.N. Security Council measure that would have labeled the massacre as genocide, inflaming tensions in the region.