aNNa’S PReFaCe: There’s a LOT of stuff happening. Not just news, either… I’m noticing an attack on all things Bible on FB from my nonnie friends. It’s outright hostile, and I try to just scroll past, but it hurts. Some of them, I have to say something about. I wish this world weren’t going the direction that it is… and yet at the same time, I’m kind of glad that it is. It means we’re getting closer. Anyhow, I wanted to bring a few things, here. Some are news articles, some are not… but they’re all worth taking a look at:
A new study says that California’s drought is so severe it’s causing the ground to rise. Angela Fritz of The Washington Post reported scientists estimate 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost in the past 18 months. What happens when 63 trillion gallons of water disappear? “As it turns out, 63 trillion gallons of water is pretty heavy,” Fritz wrote. ” … That incredible water deficit weighs nearly 240 billion tons, and as it evaporated, the ground began to shift” — in California’s mountains, by as much as half-an-inch.
What about California’s water supply? The Los Angeles Times reported California’s three largest reservoirs are at roughly 30 percent capacity. …The pairs of photographs below show the stark difference at Lake Oroville between 2011 and 2014.
California’s drought has reached epic proportions. Nearly 60 percent of the state is in exceptional drought—the most severe category—and farmers are depleting groundwater reserves at record rates as wildfires break out north and south. Now there’s something else to worry about: drought-triggered earthquakes.
…Groundwater withdrawal in the Central Valley was accelerating even before the current drought began in 2011. As much as 20 cubic kilometers of Central Valley groundwater may have been pumped out in just the last three years, according to one estimate. That’s about 12 percent of the last 150 years’ total depletion. With less water in the aquifer beneath it to hold it up, the soil throughout the Central Valley is sinking. In some places, the land is dropping as much as a foot a year, damaging roads and other infrastructure and exposing communities to increased flood risk.
But the missing water wasn’t just holding up the soil; it may have been holding the earth down as well. A study published earlier this year in the journal Nature suggested that the more water gets pumped out of the ground in the Central Valley, the greater the chance of earthquakes on the nearby San Andreas Fault.
…William Hammond, a geologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, and coauthor of the Nature article. “When you pump that much groundwater, the load gets taken away and the landscape essentially bounces up. The Sierra Nevada is rising more quickly as a result of groundwater pumping in the Great Valley.”
In the Coast Ranges, that uplift increases the likelihood of quakes on the San Andreas Fault system. Geologists documenting the much studied Parkfield section of the fault have long reported more quakes of magnitude 1.25 or more in late summer and fall. That’s right about when farmers in the Central Valley start firing up their pumps so their crops survive the state’s hottest months—especially in a drought year like this, when deliveries of surface water from California’s massive network of aqueducts have run dry.
Ebola Outbreak out of Control
The Ebola outbreak “continues to accelerate” in West Africa and has killed 1,552 people, the World Health Organization said Thursday. The total number of cases stands at 3,069, with 40% occurring in the past three weeks. …The outbreak, the deadliest ever, has been centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a handful of cases in Nigeria.
Ebola mutating as it travels across Africa
For the first time, scientists have been able to follow the spread of an Ebola outbreak almost in real time, by sequencing the virus’ genome from people in Sierra Leone. The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, offer new insights into how the outbreak started in West Africa and how fast the virus is mutating.
The Ebola genome is incredibly simple. It has just seven genes. By comparison, we humans have about 20,000 genes. …They also immediately shipped diagnostic samples from the patients back to the U.S. and started sequencing the viruses’ genomes.
“We had 20 people in my lab working around-the-clock,” Sabeti says. Their furious pace paid off. After just a week or so, the team had decoded gene sequences from 99 Ebola viruses. The data offered a treasure-trove of information about the outbreak. For starters, the data show that the virus is rapidly accumulating new mutations as it spreads through people. “We’ve found over 250 mutations that are changing in real time as we’re watching,” Sabeti says. … the rapid change in the virus’ genome could weaken the tools researchers have to detect Ebola or, potentially, to treat patients.
…”This study is really an impressive tour de force,” says virologist Stephen Morse of Columbia University. But he says he’s not surprised the virus is mutating so rapidly. … “But Ebola is obviously a concern and very virulent. I’d say it’s too early at this point to speculate on what any mutation or any change, even with rapid evolution, might lead to.”
“The work [treating patients] is just that dangerous,” Sabeti says. “Another British nurse at the hospital has just come down with Ebola. You’re seeing so many infections going on. It’s an extraordinary thing that’s going on right now [in Sierra Leone].”
Canada evacuating Sierra Leone as WHO
announced it is pulling a team out of the country.
Canada is evacuating a three-member mobile laboratory team from Sierra Leone after people in their hotel were diagnosed with Ebola. The World Health Organization earlier announced it is pulling a team out of the country. …Canada said it will send in another team once it is deemed safe. Canada has been rotating three teams of scientists in out and out of West Africa.
The World Health Organization said earlier Tuesday is pulling out its team from the eastern Sierra Leonean city of Kailahun, where an epidemiologist working with the organization was recently infected. Daniel Kertesz, the organization’s representative in the country, said that the team was exhausted and that the added stress of a colleague getting sick could increase the risk of mistakes.
The disease has overwhelmed the already shaky health systems in some of the world’s poorest countries.
ISIS Slaughers 450 Syrian Soldiers since Wednesday
During the past 2 days, ISIS slaughtered 450 Syrian soldiers whom they captured, many were unarmed at the time they were captured. Initially, 250 Syrian soldiers who ran away during the battle for Al Tabka airport were captured and killed. Those soldiers had run away, many leaving their guns behind, and were hiding in fields west of the airport. Not knowing they were dead, Assad then sent in 200 more soldiers to rescue the captured Syrian soldiers, but it was an ambush, and those soldiers were also killed by the ISIS soldiers.
Al-Quaeda and ISIS are Israel’s new Northern Neighbors
Al Qaeda, ISIS, Syrian rebels, and soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bassar al-Assad are engaged in free-for-all and barbaric war that is taking place dangerously close to the Golan Heights border with Israel. The Syrian government announced Sunday that it has reclaimed control only parts of Kuneitra, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. [Israeli] Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has jumped on the chaos to thump his comparison of ISIS with Hamas, while President Barack Obama shocked Americans with a candid appraisal that the United States “does not have a strategy yet”…
UN flees Syrian Border for the safety of Israel
UN troops guarding the border between Israel and Syria were caught on camera today fleeing their posts and running away into Israel with their armored vehicles, after it became too dangerous for them to actually guard the border. The Rebel forces of the Jubhat al Nusra faction took over an area along the border with Israel, on the Golan Heights, after fighting with Syrian troops.
And here we see IDF troops still at their posts along the Syrian border.
UPDATE: Filipino forces have not laid down their weapons, and are still defending 2 UN positions, which is a credit to the Filipinos soldiers, and not the UN.
Hamas vows war in spite of Cease-fire
Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal on Thursday rejected any attempt to disarm his Palestinian Islamist movement in Gaza as demanded by Israel, saying the group’s weapons were “sacred.” “The weapons of the resistance are sacred and we will not accept that they be on the agenda” of future negotiations with Israel, Mashaal told a news conference in Doha… “The issue is not up for negotiations. No one can disarm Hamas and its resistance,” he said of the Palestinian fighters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Hamas achieved none of its demands by the time a “permanent” cease-fire came into effect at 1600 GMT Tuesday. Under the deal, Israel will ease restrictions on the entry of goods, humanitarian aid and construction materials into Gaza, and it extended the offshore area open to Palestinian fishermen. …The Hamas leader called for Egypt, which he praised for mediating the truce, to open its Rafah crossing with Gaza. “It is the duty of our brothers in Egypt to quickly open Rafah,” he said.
…The seven-week conflict claimed the lives of at least 2,140 Palestinians, more than 70 percent of them civilians according to the United Nations, and 64 soldiers and six civilians on the Israeli side.
Birth Pains of Messiah
‘Quiet War’ on David’s Tomb ‘as Dangerous as Arab War’
Rabbi Eldad Shmueli, an activist for the Jewish rights to King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Mount Tzion, on Wednesday called on the public to visit the David’s Tomb Compound to fight the change in status quo that threatens Jewish access to the holy site. Speaking to Arutz Sheva about the impact of Operation Protective Edge, which reached a controversial long-term ceasefire on Tuesday, Rabbi Shmueli said “from the nature of things during the war we were distracted from David’s Tomb, everything moved to the side.” “We need to bring it back to the center,” declared the rabbi.
Early last month in a Knesset Interior Committee meeting chaired by MK Miri Regev (Likud), it was revealed that Christians received permission to hold fixed prayers in the David’s Tomb Compound in a secret deal, which breaches the status quo of the site and breaches the law regarding holy sites. Following Pope Francis’s Israel visit in June and controversial Mass prayer services at the site, it was revealed that Christians were regularly holding fixed prayers at the Compound, in the “Room of the Last Supper” on the second floor and even in the very room of King David’s Tomb marker.
The institution of regular Christian prayers at the site has been raised by rabbis as a move changing the Compound’s status, and one that could prevent Jews from entering the holy site altogether, given that Jewish law forbids entering a Church.
…”The Arabs may be coming at us with explosions and the Christians come wearing ties, but they are no less dangerous. The pope already called for the occupation of all the (holy) sites. This is a quiet war by smart people and we must be prepared appropriately,” noted the rabbi.