Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks

Summer is over in the northern hemisphere, but it’s been another chilling season for researchers who study Arctic sea ice.

“It’s definitely a bad report. We did pick up little bit from last year, but this is over 30 percent below what used to be normal,” said Walt Meier, a research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

This past summer, the Arctic sea ice dwindled to its second lowest level. Arctic sea ice is usually 1 to 3 meters, or as much as 9 feet thick. It grows during autumn and winter and shrinks in the spring and summer.

Scientists have monitored sea ice conditions for about 50 years with the help of satellites. Changes in the past decade have been alarming to climate researchers and oceanographers.

“It is the second lowest on record. … If anything, it is reinforcing the long-term trend. We are still losing the ice cover at a rate of 10 percent per decade now, and that is quite an increase from five years ago,” Meier said. “We are still heading toward an ice cover that is going to melt completely in the summertime in the Arctic.”

Arctic ice helps regulate and temper the climate in many other parts of the world. The less ice there is, the more dramatic the impact. Huge sheets of ice reflect solar radiation, keeping our planet cool. When that ice melts, huge expanses of darker, open ocean water absorb the heat instead, warming things up.

Although few humans live in the Arctic, the disappearance of this ice cover can have effects far beyond the few residents and the wildlife of this harsh region. Ice cover loss can influence winds and precipitation on other continents, possibly leading to less rain in the western United States and creating more in Europe.

“That warming is going to spread to the lower latitudes, to the United States, and it’s going to affect storm systems and storm tracks, the jet stream; that’s going to affect crops and all sorts of things,” Meier predicted.

So, just how much ice is disappearing?

Less than 30 years ago, there would still be 7 million square kilometers or 2.5 million square miles of ice left at the end of an Arctic summer. That’s now dropped by almost 40 percent.

“Seven million square kilometers roughly corresponds to an area of the lower 48 United States. So back in the early 1980s, the lower 48 states would be covered in sea ice in the summer,” Meier said. “Now we’ve essentially lost sea ice east of the Mississippi River and even beyond. So that’s a significant amount of area.”

“The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears,” according to Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “They are dependent on the Arctic sea ice for all of their essential behaviors, and as the ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving, drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don’t have access to their usual food sources.”

Scientists have noticed increasing reports of starving Arctic polar bears attacking and feeding on one another in recent years. In one documented 2004 incident in northern Alaska, a male bear broke into a female’s den and killed her.

In May, the U.S. Department of Interior listed the polar bear as a “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act. In a news release, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne stated, “loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat. This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future, the standard established by the ESA for designating a threatened species.”

What is the future for Arctic sea ice? Some scientists believe that in just five years, the Arctic may be ice-free during the summer.

“The Arctic is kind of the early warning system of the climate,” Meier said. “It is the canary in the coal mine, and the canary is definitely in trouble.”


Bush officials sneak-attack nation’s wildlife

In the excitement of the Olympics, the run-up to the presidential conventions and the flurry of late summer vacations, it was easy to miss the Bush administration’s stealth attack on the Endangered Species Act last week. A proposed regulation would simply eliminate independent scientific reviews that have been required for over 30 years.

“I have been working on the Endangered Species Act for 15 years and have never seen such a sneaky attack,” declared John Kostyack, executive director of wildlife conservation and global warming at the National Wildlife Federation.

In a proposal, first reported by the Associated Press, biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service would no longer have input into the actions of many other federal agencies in evaluating projects that could impact endangered species.

Essentially it would be up to officials at agencies like the Forest Service, the Minerals Management Service and the Department of Transportation to decide for themselves if a new timber allotment, mining project or road would harm endangered animals and plants, without consulting third-party biologists from Fish and Wildlife.

Many of the agencies, which would now be making decisions affecting the fate of species themselves, don’t even have biologists on staff to make such determinations. The proposal presents a conflict of interest, which could effectively gut the Endangered Species Act, by asking the very agencies the act regulates to also enforce it. A 2008 Fish and Wildlife Service memorandum obtained by environmentalists states that when agencies regulated themselves in the past, they consistently violated the Endangered Species Act.

If the new regulation is approved by the Department of the Interior in the next couple of months, it would undercut the authority of the Endangered Species Act. “With this change, the Bush administration threatens to undo more than 30 years of progress,” said Kostyack. “This move is consistent with other efforts by the administration to cement industry-friendly policies before leaving office in January.”

The Department of the Interior maintains the new regulation won’t change the Endangered Species Act. Only Congress can do that. If agencies choose not to consult the Fish and Wildlife Service under the proposed policy, and fail to protect endangered species, they will be liable. “There is nothing that allows an agency of the federal government to not obey the Endangered Species Act, and the agencies are liable under civil and criminal penalties if they do not obey,” says Tina Kreisher, director of communications for the Department of the Interior.

Back in May, when the Department of the Interior reluctantly listed the polar bear as a threatened species, due to global warming ravaging its habitat, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne specified that he would make rules in the future to try to limit the scope of that listing. Now he has done just that.

Announcing the proposal last week, the Department of the Interior asserted that greenhouse gas emissions are exempt from regulation under the Endangered Species Act. It stated the “proposed rule is consistent with the FWS [Fish and Wildlife Service] current understanding it is not possible to draw a direct causal link” between the fate of a species, like the polar bear, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmentalists say the Bush administration’s motive is to preempt environmental groups from suing the government in the name of protecting the polar bears when the feds do things that would increase greenhouse gas emissions, like approving new coal-fired power plants.

To add insult to injury, the Bush administration said it will accept public comment on the proposed changes for a mere 30 days, and it will not accept such comments via e-mail, which is the common way that many environmental groups activate their memberships to fight egregious policies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is now accepting public comment about the proposed changes through Sept. 15 on the Regulations.gov Web site.

Rep. Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.V., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, called the proposed changes to the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act “deeply troubling.” Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Environment and Public Works committee, said that they’re “illegal.” The senator from California has legal precedent for that charge. In 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved hundreds of pesticides for use without consulting either the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Services about their implications for endangered wildlife and sea critters. When environmental groups sued, a federal judge ruled against the EPA.

“It takes great hubris to resurrect an issue the court has already definitely struck down,” stated Patti Goldman, an attorney for Earthjustice. “This is like a zombie movie … their proposal to toss the Endangered Species Act over the cliff died, but now has somehow come back to life.”

The Department of the Interior has tried to drum the Fish and Wildlife Service out of endangered species decisions before. In 2004, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management began allowing timber sales without first consulting biologists for Fish and Wildlife about the potential impact on endangered species. Environmental groups are currently suing the agencies in federal court in Washington over the policy. But before a judge has ruled on the legality, the agency’s own scientists weighed in.

In 2008, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a memorandum documenting an audit of how well those agencies regulated themselves. The result: Without the oversight of Fish and Wildlife, the agencies violated the Endangered Species Act 62 percent of the time.

The Department of the Interior failed to publish the results of that review in the federal register. Now, it is attempting to implement a policy that its own biologists at the Fish and Wildlife Service have documented does not work.

“This is akin to a drug company suppressing results showing that a medicine is killing people, and then trying to put the medicine broadly on the market,” says Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson, Ariz.

In the last seven and a half years, the Bush administration has been no friend to the nation’s flora and fauna, refusing to consider extending protections to the likes of the polar bear until it’s been sued in court to do so by environmental groups. So, it’s probably a good thing for wildlife that the Bush administration is itself an endangered species.

A spokesperson for the Obama campaign told the Associated Press that if elected president, the candidate would kill the new regulation. “As president, Senator Obama will fight to maintain the strong protections of the Endangered Species Act and undo this proposal from President Bush,” Obama campaign spokesman Nick Shapiro told the AP. “After over 30 years of successfully protecting our nation’s most endangered wildlife like the bald eagle, we should be looking for ways to improve it, not weaken it.”

Sen. John McCain’s campaign office had no comment.

Brushy Creek UFO Scare

Starting in February 1973 police in Piedmont, Mo., received over 500 reports of UFO sightings in this rural area.

“YOU WON’T believe this,” Reggie Bone told a FATE reporter, “but I don’t think there’s anyone around here who hasn’t seen one.”

Bone should know because his sighting on the night of February 21, 1973, precipitated the great Brushy Creek UFO scare and brought flying saucers back into the headlines four years after the Condon Committee declared them a dead issue. In sheer quantity of reports the Missouri flap parallels the famous waves of the mid-1960’s. UFOS, whatever they are, probably are going to be as significant a part of the ’70’s.

Southeastern Missouri seems an unlikely place for something so out of the ordinary. In a heavily-forested section of Wayne County between two giant man-made lakes in the eastern Ozarks, Clearwater and Wappapello, the Brushy Creek area encompasses Piedmont (population 1500) to the north and Mill Spring (population 225) to the south. The region is rich in both natural beauty and lead deposits but is not known for much else. Certainly its friendly but skeptical inhabitants were unprepared for a UFO invasion or the international attention following in its wake.

High school basketball coach Bone was no believer in UFOs — at least not before the night of February 21 when with two team managers and three of his players he was returning home along U.S. Highway 60 near Ellsinore, Mo., about 20 miles south of Piedmont. They were in poor spirits after losing a crucial tournament game by seven points and were rehashing their defeat. Suddenly Bone, who was driving, noticed a “bright shaft of light beaming down out of the sky.”

A few miles later as the car passed through the Brushy Creek area, player Randal Holmes noticed something else. “Look!” he shouted. “There’s that thing we saw back on Highway 60!” Bone pulled over to the side of the road and the six piled out.

“It looked like it was about 200 yards off the road hovering over an open field,” Bone said later. (Investigators from the International UFO Bureau (IUFOB) of Oklahoma City later estimated the object probably was about 400 feet above the ground.) “it was impossible to determine the size or shape because of the darkness. Anyway, we saw four lights that looked like portholes: red, green, amber and white. We figured they were about three or four feet apart, all in a row.”

“We just stood there and watched it for about 10 minutes,” Cary Barks, another witness, added. “Then all of a sudden the lights went directly up in the air with absolutely no noise and just disappeared over a hill.”

Half an hour later Mrs. Edith Boatwright of nearby Mill Spring saw the same or a similar object flying low near her farmhouse. “It was about 10:00 P.M.,” she told FATE. “I was lying on my bed — I wasn’t asleep — when I saw a flashing light. We live close by the highway so I thought something had happened on the road. I got out of bed quickly and looked over the lower part of the curtain and I could see very plainly a craft just clearing the utility wires. It was in a horizontal position. I think there were people in it. I could see objects inside but could not make out any form of a person. It made a very quiet noise like a whoosh slowly and evenly. When it changed into a vertical position, it made a louder noise, like a quiet motor pulling.

Edith Boatwright of Mill Spring, Mo., sketched the UFO she observed near her farmhouse on the night of February 21, 1973, as it flew low with its lights flashing.

“It didn’t have any chopper blades on top like a helicopter, just some rotary-like blades in front where an umbrella-like part extended up. It was about 30 or more feet long — very beautiful light-colored body with a darker tail.

“There were no lights on in our house at the time. I watched it for about one or two minutes. It was about 200 or 250 yards from my window, flying below the oak treetops.”

At first Mrs. Boatwright thought the object was “some kind of new nuclear-powered helicopter” but changed her mind in the next few days when she heard about the flood of UFO sightings. It is worth noting, however, that the “whooshing” sound Mrs. Boatwright reported was not heard by other southeastern Missouri UFO witnesses. Conceivably helicopter blades could have made that sound and IUFOB’s Daniel Garcia who interviewed the witness believes it is at least possible that the object was a military aircraft dispatched to the area to look for Bone’s UFO. Arguing against this idea is the fact that the craft as described by Mrs. Boatwright did not look like a helicopter.

Whatever the case, in the next two months the Boatwrights’ farm was to play host to other UFOs including one that apparently landed on a hill behind the house. “We didn’t try to go near it as we had company coming at the time,” Mrs. Boatwright explains.

On February 22, the night after the original Bone-Boatwright sightings. Roy and Beth Burch and Mrs. Kathy Keith, driving in the Brushy Creek area, spotted an object “blinking green, white, amber and red.” Burch tried to chase the UFO along the highway.

“Roy started speeding up to get a close look at it,” Mrs. Keith said. “He was doing about 70 miles an hour but we still lost it. We got to the Creek area and there were some other Piedmont people standing on the road looking at it.”

One of them, Bob Smith, had binoculars focused on the UFO but he could not make out any shape. The lights were visible for 10 minutes longer and then sank over a hill.

Four nights later, on the 26th, Pat Toney and Will Freeman watched a luminous object moving over the trees near the Tip Top Mountains. The UFO about 500 yards away “was solid with prongs on it,” Miss Toney informed the IUFOB. “A red light was on it.”

By far the great majority of sightings in the Piedmont-Brushy Creek-Mill Spring area were the kind UFOlogists call “nocturnal lights” — brilliant flashing lights far enough away that witnesses cannot discern their source.

From February 21 into late April sightings occurred almost nightly. The Piedmont police received over 500 reports and IUFOB director Hayden Hewes told FATE he and his associates, who conducted a detailed investigation, interviewed 200 witnesses. Most of the sightings were fairly routine as UFO reports go and not very revealing. We will concentrate on the more unusual sightings.

MOST RESIDENTS saw the UFOs more than once. Even so, Earl Turnbough’s experience was unique for he had three unusually vivid sightings of more than just lights.

His first encounter took place around 9:00 P.M. about the first of March. Turnbough had just passed over a hill on Highway 49 when he spotted something “lit up like a circus” hovering over the road in front of him. The lights went out within seconds and presumably the object escaped in the darkness.

Two weeks later on March 14 as Turnbough drove through the same area in a thunderstorm he saw an amber light hovering 30 feet above a field less than 200 yards from him.

“I slowed down and watched for five or 10 minutes,” Turnbough said. “When the lightning flashed I could see a dome-shape with sort of an antenna at the top. This amber light was shining from the antenna. All the other lights were off. I would say the thing was between 15 and 20 feet in diameter. It wasn’t making any noise at all.”

He saw a UFO for the third time a week later. “I was feeding cattle at the farm just about dark and I saw this thing come down over Brushy Creek,” he explained. “It was about a thousand feet in the air and shaped like a top. I couldn’t tell if it was rotating or if the lights were just flashing. The lights were yellow, green and red. They could’ve been portholes for all I know. The object sailed over the farm and didn’t make a sound.”

March 14, the same night as Turnbough’s second sighting, Mrs. Maude Jefferis, a photography teacher at Piedmont’s Clearwater High School, took a series of pictures of “a small reddish ball” high in the air. She spotted the object around 11 o’clock and mounting a Crown Graphic 4×5 camera on a tripod, she took a 10-minute time exposure which unfortunately shows little more than a dot in the night sky.

“As a professional photographer,” she said, “I cannot explain the object. It is not a lens flare or light reflection.”

Mrs. Jefferis is referring to a theory proposed by Dr. J. Allen Hynek of Northwestern Univer- sity, former U. S. Air Force UFO consultant, who arrived in Piedmont on March 31, talked briefly with eight persons and left 24 hours later. Hynek’s suggested explanation also has been disputed by photographic experts at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who say that a lens flare would be widespread over the entire negative rather than a small speck. They further point out that the lens in Mrs. Jefferis’ camera is coated to prevent flares.

That same evening Carl Laxton saw an object shaped, he told IUFOB, “like a barrel with protrusions like arms sticking out of it . . .

“The only way I could see the shape of this thing was when the object seemed to tilt; a brilliant white light appeared to go behind it. The object was tilting from a vertical to a horizontal position and then back to a vertical position again. Then it moved straight up and disappeared into the night sky.”

Seven days later, on March 21, Mrs. Jean Coleman and Mrs. Cathy Leach were crossing the Clearwater Dam about 9:00 P.M. when they saw an object rise out of the lake. Theirs is one of the most spectacular sightings reported.

They were first alerted by a “red flash” on the lake. Stopping their car, they got out to see blinking lights ascending. Each time a red light flashed, the object got brighter.

“We could see it climbing,” Mrs. Coleman said. “It looked like the lights were red, white and yellow. There was no sound. We tried to make out the shape but each time the lights went out we could see nothing . . . We watched it for four or live minutes until it circled out of sight.”

Ken Johnson, owner of the Piedmont Boat Dock, confirmed the women’s story. Shortly be- fore they saw the UFO leaving the water, unnamed campers told Johnson they had seen a “bright light moving right under the surface of the lake.” These latter “aimed a flashlight beam at the traveling light and it went out immediately.”

Later in March two divers from the East Side Divers Supply Company of Granite City, Ill., made three attempts to explore the lake for evidence of the underwater UFO. Unfortunately, unusually heavy spring rainfall (seven inches in March) had raised the water level 30 feet above normal. The lake was extremely murky and the divers found nothing in its depths.

GRAND TOWER, Ill., on the Illinois-Missouri border, is almost 60 miles northeast of Piedmont but the UFO Oscar Wills sighted the evening of March 22 sounds very much like those from Brushy Creek.

Wills, an operating engineer at the Central Illinois Public Service Company’s power generating station on the Mississippi one and a half miles from Grand Tower, first saw the object when fellow-employee, Willis Hughes called from his home to say something was hovering over the transformer yard.

“I went out by myself to take a look,” Wills recounted in an interview with FATE, “and there it was, hovering about 1500 feet in the air and about 200 yards from me.

“It was a round saucer-shaped object about 25 to 30 feet in diameter. It looked like a high-intensity red light with a lot of lights coming out of what seemed to be portholes. The lights were flashing and causing a spinning effect. I couldn’t see any image of its bottom, which may have been concave, I’m not sure.

“I kept walking and got to within 100 yards of it. I looked at it for two or three minutes until it darted behind the power plant almost like a blur. I went north of the power plant to see where it had gone and found it hovering over a water intake pump on the other side of the station. I stood there for a couple of minutes and watched it.”

Wills’ vigil was interrupted by a phone call from another employee (not Hughes) who wanted to know what was going on. By the time Wills got off the phone and enlisted two other men to go outside with him the UFO was gone.

Wills then called Hughes who informed him the object had flown across the river and disappeared into the Missouri hills. Within minutes, however, Wills and his crew saw four jet planes making passes over the plant area as if searching.

“The most amazing part,” Wills says, ” is the way this object moved rapidly with no effort and perfectly silently. I just can’t get over that. I don’t know what it was but I know this much: we don’t have anything like this. “

Wills claimed that a nearly identical object appeared over Grand Tower nearly a month later, on the evening of April 16.

On the night of Wills’ first encounter, March 22, back in Piedmont newsman Dennis Kenney of local radio station KPWB saw “a big orange light, glowing from white to orange. it appeared to just go out and then would come back on.” Gary Sutton, who was with him, snapped eight pictures of it with a 35mm Petri camera loaded with black-and-white infrared film. These photographs show a ball-shaped object with a bright glowing band across its midsection. This sighting took place at 7:30 P.M.

Three hours earlier, at 4:30, a UFO had made a rare daytime appearance. Joe King of Mill Spring and Ron Miller of Piedmont, both students at Southeast Missouri State University (Cape Girardeau), were traveling along Highway 34 near Patterson (eight miles east of Piedmont) when they noticed an oval-shaped object above the nearby treetops. The UFO, “metallic” in appearance, flat on the bottom with a dome on the top, was moving rapidly and leaving no vapor trail.

The following evening, Friday, March 23, Leonard Adams and his 13-year-old daughter Alma of Piedmont encountered a “high-intensity, bright white light” at 7:10.

“It blinked on and off,” Alma recounted, “and every time it blinked it shot up 10 feet. When it got about 300 to 500 feet in the air red and green lights came on and then the object flew horizontally.

“Actually the red and green lights were very dull in comparison with the white light, which was so intense that our eyes couldn’t adjust to it. The light was almost blinding. The farther away the object got, the better you could see the other lights.”

The UFO passed over radio station KPWB, which was not on the air at the time. The next morning the station was unable to sign on because one of its transformers had blown out. Hayden Hewes of IUFOB believes the Adamses’ UFO may. have had something to do with the malfunction but the station’s news director Dennis Hovis, who has conducted his own exhaustive probe into the Brushy Creek flap, disagrees. “It could have been from any number of causes,” he says.

FATE could not confirm any reports of so-called electromagnetic effects but Hovis assured us that some local residents told him of radio and television interference when a UFO was close by. “These people say that when the TV starts rolling and reception gets bad, they can go outside and see a flying object,” Hovis says, adding that some witnesses have heard sounds from the objects — “a sort of high-speed drilling sound.”

Among other reports Hovis has collected is one from a Patterson farm family who heard a high-pitched drilling sound which began around 10 o’clock in the evening all during April. Sometimes it was so loud it shook their house. Too frightened to go outside, they had not, at the time of this writing, discovered its cause. Hovis refuses to release their names to us, explaining that the family in question gave the story to him in confidence.

THE SINGLE most important UFO sighting occurred on April 3 in the daylight. It involved a landing of sorts and provided some physical evidence.

Mrs. Raymond Stucker of Ellsinore traveling down Highway 60 at about noon “saw this thing in the air off to the side of the road,” she told IUFOB investigators. “. . . It looked like something I never saw before. It was round, with the exception of a dome on top . . . three . . . one on top of the other. (*Hewes explains that this means the object had three Pyramiding domes on top, each one smaller than the one below It.) It appeared to have a dull band or something going around the center. The bottom had something like a tripod landing gear.

“The object was hovering just above treetop level off to the right of the road . . . There is a possibility that it came up from the ground and stopped right above the trees.”

She said the UFO was silent and appeared to be made of aluminum.

Two days later Mrs. Stucker led IUFOB officials to the area where they found trees in a 35- foot circle turned counter-clockwise with some of their tips broken off. Geiger counters failed to pick up any unusual radiation but they found a mysterious “ash” near the tops of the trees although there was no evidence the trees had burned.

On Friday, April 13, newsman Hovis and a physicist from Southeast Missouri State University (who has asked not to be identified) made four sightings in the space of three and a half hours. The skeptical scientist had come from Cape Girardeau to see the UFOs for himself and he was not disappointed.

Hovis and the physicist had set up a telescope with a degree-finder on the side in an area near Black River seven miles south-east of Piedmont. At 7:18 P.M. the men saw what Hovis calls a “a light — no visible body or object attached to it — white in color with some yellow.” It was moving from north to south at a 10-degree angle off the horizon. The unnamed physicist speculated it might be a satellite.

At 7:28 a similar iight appeared, moving in the same direction, five degrees off the horizon.

This time the scientist suggested that the booster had followed the satellite into orbit.

But by 9:30 when the third object cruised across the sky the man’s faith in satellites was shaken. This object was traveling south to north, 10 degrees off the horizon and for a brief period it flew toward the witnesses before resuming its northbound course. A fourth UFO, heading from north to south at 10 degrees off the horizon, passed by at 10:45, leaving behind a deeply perplexed scientist.

WHILE NO one has reported seeing UFO occupants Reggie Bone does have a strange story to relate of something he, his wife and two other couples saw around Christmastime in 1971 when they were driving down a little-traveled road in a deserted section of the Brushy Creek area. The time was about 2:00 A.M.

“Suddenly,” Bone says, “we saw this fellow walking up the road toward us in a frogman’s outfit. He was wearing flippers or something resembling them on his feet and he was carrying something in his hands.

“We couldn’t see very well — visibility was poor — so we couldn’t see his face but his body was completely covered. The suit didn’t look wet. Black River is about a quarter-mile away from the road but it’s rather inaccessible from the point where we ran into this figure.

“The temperature was well below freezing and I don’t know of anyone who lives in that area. We were so taken aback that nobody even said anything for several miles. Finally somebody asked, ‘Did you see that?’ “

Bone, with Hovis, has carefully studied the local UFO situation and does not necessarily connect the figure with the mysterious aerial phenomena but he does admit that the recent sightings recalled the earlier incident to his mind. He says he and Hovis found that UFOs have been seen regularly in the more remote sections of Brushy Creek since 1967.

To the UFOlogist, Bone’s 1971 encounter is reminiscent of numerous landing reports that include beings dressed in what witnesses almost invariably describe as “diving suits.” A more mundane explanation for this incident may exist but the story deserves being recorded here for whatever it may be worth.

Dennis Hovis offers the only possible commentary on Brushy Creek’s flying saucer onslaught: “I don’t know what we’re seeing but I do know we’re seeing something. It’s not swamp gas and it’s not satellites either. On the other hand, I can’t say they’re aliens — I’m just a newsman, not a scientist.

“All I’ll say is this, this is some kind of aerial phenomenon. It’s simply unexplainable. From the reading I’ve done lately, I guess that these things always have been around and no one anywhere has ever been able to explain them. “

Massive U.S. Naval armada Heads for Iran

Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the “enemy force”.

The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.

They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group.

Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal (R07) carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone.

The build up of naval forces in the Gulf will be one of the largest multi-national naval armadas since the First and Second Gulf Wars. The intent is to create a US/EU naval blockade (which is an Act of War under international law) around Iran (with supporting air and land elements) to prevent the shipment of benzene and certain other refined oil products headed to Iranian ports. Iran has limited domestic oil refining capacity and imports 40% of its benzene. Cutting off benzene and other key products would cripple the Iranian economy. The neo-cons are counting on such a blockade launching a war with Iran.

Confusion + Truth = Alex Ansary

Meet a hybrid of confusion and truth. Beware this does not happen to you. This guy is someone who lives by slogans and will not listen to reason even if spoken by a master of reason like Alan Watt.

I see this guy as a hybrid because he is awake enough to credit Alan Watt and others, but he has walls that are still up and lives by the slogan  “Out of the box”. Give me a break: we do not need to carry the torch of the Illuminati while we are trying to distinguish it. An “awakened” and informed individual does not take offense when they are approached with the truth no matter what form it may take, especially when it is allowing you to reassess your own beliefs of what the truth really is. Furthermore an awakened individual will not try to stifle any truth even if it is not in accordance with what he or she may perceive to be the truth.

7000 years old. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

If this is not further proof of the dumbing down of the population and mind control then I don’t know what is.

A good example of the sheeple mentality is the belief that our planet is only thousands of years old instead of what the scientific data shows to be more like 4.4 billion years old. Why are these people so easily influenced? I have an idea: Mass Programming from every outlet available to the sheeple. They get together, baa, nod and ultimately agree to not even look at the scientific proof. Are they told not to ask questions and just believe what they are told? Who could keep from asking questions without some from of mind control, or at least social programming at its worst? NOT ME! There is no way a human being is going to tell this human being to just do or believe it and do not ask any questions.

Maybe they should start with exactly how long it takes for a protoplanet to even become a solid object. I will not even address the fossil records and every other aspect of the viewable universe, because quit frankly it is a no brainer no matter how you slice it scientifically.

NASA data show some African drought linked to warmer Indian Ocean

A new study, co-funded by NASA, has identified a link between a warming Indian Ocean and less rainfall in eastern and southern Africa. Computer models and observations show a decline in rainfall, with implications for the region’s food security.

Rainfall in eastern Africa during the rainy season, which runs from March through May, has declined about 15 percent since the 1980s, according to records from ground stations and satellites. Statistical analyses show that this decline is due to irregularities in the transport of moisture between the ocean and land, brought about by rising Indian Ocean temperatures, according to research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This interdisciplinary study was organized to support U.S. Agency for International Development’s Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

“The last 10 to 15 years have seen particularly dangerous declines in rainfall in sensitive ecosystems in East Africa, such as Somalia and eastern Ethiopia,” said Molly Brown of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., a co-author of the study. “We wanted to know if the trend would continue or if it would start getting wetter.”

To find out, the team analyzed historical seasonal rainfall data over the Indian Ocean and the eastern seaboard of Africa from 1950 to 2005. The NASA Global Precipitation Climatology Project’s rainfall dataset provided a series of data covering both the land and the oceans. They found that declines in rainfall in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe were linked to increases in rainfall over the ocean.

The team used computer models that describe the atmosphere and historical climate data to identify and validate the source of this link. Lead author Chris Funk of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and colleagues showed that the movement of moisture onshore was disrupted by increased rainfall over the ocean.

Funk and colleagues used a computer model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to confirm their findings. The combination of evidence from models and historical data strongly suggest that human-caused warming of the Indian Ocean leads to an increase of rainfall over the ocean, which in turn adds energy to the atmosphere. Models showed that indeed, the added energy could create a weather pattern that reduces the flow of moisture onshore and bring dry air down over the African continent, reducing rainfall.

Next, the team investigated whether or not the decline in rainfall over eastern Africa would continue. Under guidance from researchers at USGS, which co-funded the study, the team looked at 11 climate models to simulate rainfall changes in the future. Ten of the 11 models agreed that though 2050, rainfall over the Indian Ocean would continue to increase – depriving Africa’s eastern seaboard of rainfall.

“We can be quite certain that the decline in rainfall has been substantial and will continue to be,” Funk said. “This 15 percent decrease every 20-25 years is likely to continue.”

The trend toward dryer rainy seasons in eastern and southern Africa directly impacts agricultural productivity. To evaluate how potential future rainfall scenarios and shifts in agriculture could affect undernourishment, the team came up with a “food-balance indicator” model. The model considers factors such as growing-season rainfall, fertilizer, seed use, crop area and population to estimate the number of undernourished people a region can anticipate.

Continuing along a “business as usual” scenario – with current trends in declining rainfall and agricultural capacity continuing as it is currently to 2030, the team found that the number of undernourished people will increase by more than 50 percent in eastern Africa.

Still, the food-balance indicator also showed that in the face of a continuation of the current downward trend in rainfall, even modest increases in agricultural capacity could reduce the number of undernourished people by 40 percent.

“A strong commitment to agricultural development by both African nations and the international community could lead fairly quickly to a more food-secure Africa,” Funk said.