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[VIDEO] Strange Colours, Clouds & Light Over Niagara, Ontario

08/07/2012

Strange colours & light over Niagara, Ontario, Canada today.

The heat continues in the area and there was no rain.  Cirrus clouds have been idling by all day in the light, warm breeze.

Cirrus clouds (cloud classification symbol: Ci) are a genus of atmospheric clouds generally characterized by thin, wispy strands, giving them their name from the Latin word cirrus meaning a ringlet or curling lock of hair. The strands of cloud sometimes appear in tufts of a distinctive form referred to by the common name of mares’ tails.

Cirrus clouds generally appear white or light grey in color. They form when water vapor undergoes deposition at altitudes above 5,000 m (16,500 ft) in temperate regions and above 6,100 m (20,000 ft) in tropical regions. They also form from the outflow of tropical cyclones or the anvils of cumulonimbus clouds. Since these cirrus clouds arrive in advance of the frontal system or tropical cyclone, they indicate that the weather conditions may soon deteriorate. While they indicate the arrival of precipitation (rain), cirrus clouds themselves produce only fall streaks (falling ice crystals that evaporate before landing on the ground).

What was interesting was that there had to be a correlation with the composition of the clouds and how light was refracted through them.  Most likely, these clouds were composed of solid ice particles.

There could be many other explanations, which I encourage readers to leave their comments about.

Was hoping some kind of unidentified flying object or meteor would fly by at the same time but, alas, not.

Maybe HAARP? 🙂

But what do I know?

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12 Easy Tips – Your Own Home #Energy Audit – Save $ On Your Energy Bills

05/01/2012

Heat moves from the warm side of a barrier to the cold sideThis means that your home loses heat in the winter and gains it in the summer. The goal is to block this heat movement if you can.

All materials resist the movement of heat to some extent. The higher the Resistance to heat movement, the higher the R-value. Insulation helps!!!

Biggest Waste of Energy is Air Getting In.  All of the holes, gaps, and cracks in a home’s walls, ceiling and foundation are areas where there is no resistance to heat movement. The goal is to plug as many of these leaks as you can.

If you added up all of the holes, gaps and cracks in the average Canadian home they would add up to the area of one standard window.   If not plugged, it would be the equivalent of leaving a window open year round. 

So how can we improve the envelope of our home & save money?

Your Own Home Energy Audit Plan

1. SIDE WALL INSULATION

  • The first question to ask is, “Do you know if you have side wall insulation?” If you do, there is nothing to do here. Move on to the next item.
  • If you do not have wall insulation and you are interested in adding some, contact a professional insulation installer (you can find them in the Yellow Pages under insulation), for an estimate.
  • Remember, if you have a choice between attic or wall insulation, insulate your attic. You get more savings.
  • Walls without insulation can be insulated in various ways. Possibly, the simplest is to drill holes in the home’s siding, and blow insulation through the holes into the wall space. A plug is placed into the hole to prevent weather infiltration.
  • If you don’t know if your walls are insulated you may be able to find out by trying a simple test. Take off an exterior wall switch plate (either plug or light switch). If there is a small gap between the electrical wiring box and the wall, look to see if insulation is visible.

2. EXTERIOR SWITCH PLATES

  • While you are evaluating your exterior walls for insulation, you can check for switch plate insulation. Air can leak into and out of a home though switch boxes (plugs, light switches) in your home’s outer walls. Switch boxes usually don’t seal well. Placing a foam gasket behind the switch cover can help plug this leak. These gaskets may be purchased at a hardware or lumber store.

3. ATTIC INSULATION

  • The first question to ask is, “Do you know if you have attic insulation?” If you do, the next question is, “How much is there?” If you have attic insulation, and it is 12″ – 14″ deep, there is nothing to do here. Move on to the next item.
  • If you do not have attic insulation, or the depth is 6″ – 8″ or less, and you are interested in adding some, contact a professional insulation installer (you can find them in the Yellow Pages under insulation), for an estimate. Remember, if you have a choice between attic or wall insulation, insulate your attic. You get more savings.
  • Attics can be insulated in various ways, and with various materials. Some common types of insulation are fiberglass rolls (batts), fiberglass loose fill and cellulose loose fill.
  • Some insulation materials, like cellulose, can be dumped into an attic, but more commonly is applied with a blower machine. Blower machines may be rented, however, if you are not comfortable with performing this on your own, contact an insulation professional
  • If you don’t know if your attic is insulated, try to find your access door and check. Use a ruler to measure the depth. If you don’t know where your access door is located, or don’t have one, contact an insulation professional to check for you.
  • Remember to insulate and weather-strip your attic access door.

4. WINDOWS

  • Windows can be a large energy waster. You want to ensure that you’re getting the best performance out of what you have. Because glass has a very low resistance to heat movement, your goal here is to reduce air infiltration. You also want to take advantage of shading at the appropriate times.
  • Make sure the window seals well. If the window is loose in its track, install some weather stripping to tighten it up.
  • If you have cracked or missing panes, have them replaced.
  • If you have storms, use them during heating and cooling season.
  • If you notice cracks between the wall and window molding, apply caulk to plug this leak.
  • If you have shades, open them on sunny winter days to gain solar heat. Close them on hot sunny days to reduce solar heat gain.
  • During cold winter weather, use clear plastic window wraps to stop air infiltration.
  • If you are interested in replacing your windows, contact a professional contractor for an estimate.
  • There are some efficient windows out there. Generally, you want to look for a double pane, argon gas filled window with a low emittance (low E) rating.

5. DOORS

  • Doors can also be a large energy waster. Some door materials have a low resistance to heat movement. Foam filled steel doors are very efficient. However, hollow wood doors are not. You want to ensure that you’re getting the best performance out of what you have. Your goal here is to reduce air infiltration.
  • Make sure the door seals well. If the door is loose or warped so you can see daylight around it when it is closed, install some weather stripping to tighten it up.
  • Make sure the threshold seals the bottom of the door. Again, if you can see daylight under the door when it is closed, replace the threshold.
  • If you have a storm door, use it during heating and cooling season.
  • If you notice cracks between the wall and window molding, apply caulk to plug this leak.
  • If you are interested in replacing your doors, contact a professional contractor for an estimate. There are some efficient doors out there. Generally, you want to look for solid core door, or one that has insulation inside. Steel doors with magnetic closing are a good choice.

6. FIREPLACE

  • A fireplace provides a large opening for heat to transfer in and out of a home. Fireplaces can have a negative efficiency. This means that they can take more heat out of a home than they provide. Your goal here is to stop air infiltration.
  • Make sure the flue damper closes and seals tightly.
  • Keep the damper closed when not using the fireplace.
  • Install a tight sealing set of glass doors to stop air movement.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you may consider installing a sealed gas-burning fireplace. These systems are much more efficient. Contact a professional installer for more information.
  • If you don’t use a fireplace, consider adding board insulation to resist more heat transfer. Make sure the insulation is removed before any fire is built.
  • Remember that when a fireplace is in use, even though you may feel warm while near it your furnace can be running more to replace the heat that is being drawn up and out of the home.

7. THERMOSTAT SETTING

  • Where you set your thermostat setting is a comfort issue. Some of us know that we can save money if we set our thermostat lower in the winter and higher in the summer. Some are willing to pay the higher prices to remain comfortable. Our goal here is to remember that there may be other lower cost ways to keep warm or cool.
  • Turn your thermostat down 5 – 10 degrees in winter when you go to bed at night and use an extra blanket if you need one. Your furnace will have to catch up in the morning, but you will save more than the catch up will cost.
  • Turn your thermostat down 5 – 10 degrees in winter when you are not at home. Your furnace will have to catch up when you get home, but you will save more than the catch up will cost.
  • During cold weather, while home and before going to bed, turn your thermostat down 5 degrees and dress warmer, or use a blanket or comforter.
  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat that will make changes in temperature settings automatically. Contact a heating and air conditioning professional for more information.
  • Turn your thermostat up 5 – 10 degrees in summer when you are not at home. Your air conditioner will have to catch up when you get home, but you will save more than the catch up will cost.
  • Turn your thermostat up 5 – 10 degrees in summer when you are home and use fans to remain cool. Fans use much less energy than your air conditioner.
  • During hot, humid weather, try running your air conditioner in the morning for a short time (20 minutes) to clear the home of humidity. This may cause you to run your air conditioner less during the day.

8. WATER HEATER & WATER TEMPERATURE

  • A water heater heats and holds water. As heat moves out of the tank, the water is heated to match the thermostat setting. Your goal here is to keep as much heat in the tank as possible.
  • Newer water heaters have adequate insulation built into them. Older water heaters may benefit from the installation of a water heater insulation jacket. You may also save by installing the first 6 feet of water pipe insulation. These products may be purchased at a hardware or lumber store.
  • Water temperature is another comfort issue. We may know that we can save money if we turn our water heater temperature down, but we want hot water. You can check your water temperature with a candy thermometer.
  • Reduce your water heater temperature.
  • Install a water heater insulation jacket.
  • Install 6 feet of hot water pipe insulation.

9. RIM JOIST INSULATION

  • A clean furnace filter helps your furnace and air conditioner run more efficiently. A dirty filter makes your system work harder to move warm and cool air around your home.
  • Replace dirty furnace filters with clean ones on a regular basis. Every 2-3 months may be appropriate unless the weather is very hot or very cold. Then every month may be necessary. This should be done year round.

11. CRAWL SPACE / FLOORS

  • If your home does not have a basement, it may have a crawl space under the floors. The floor is not a good insulator. Warm air will move in and out of the room through the floor into the unconditioned space below. There are two goals here, stop any air infiltration through the floor and corners, and raise the resistance to heat movement with insulation.
  • If your home has living space above a garage, or a portion of the home is extended over mid-air, the floors here will loose energy if they are not insulated and the holes plugged.
  • The first question to ask is, “Do you know if you have a crawl space, or unconditioned space below a floor ?” If you do, ask the next question, “Is the floor insulated?” If you have floor insulation, and it is at least 6″ deep, there is nothing to do here. Move on to the next item.
  • If you have a crawl space or a floor over an unconditioned space and do not have floor insulation, and you are interested in adding some, contact a professional insulation installer (you can find them in the Yellow Pages under insulation), for an estimate.
  • Because the insulation must be attached to the underside of the floor, fiberglass roll insulation is usually used.
  • If you don’t know if you have a floor over an unconditioned space or if it’s insulated, try to find your access door and check. The access door may be on the outside of the home. If you don’t know where your access door is located, or don’t have one, contact an insulation professional to check for you.
  • Remember to insulate and weather-strip your crawl space access door.

12. DUCTS IN UNCONDITIONED SPACES

  • If your home has furnace or air conditioner ducting that runs through unconditioned spaces (areas not heated or cooled), you may be reducing the efficiency of your system. Ductwork does not resist heat movement well.
  • Warm or cool air is created by your furnace or air conditioner and then blown to parts of your home. If the ducts that carry this conditioned air moves through an unconditioned space, it can loose or gain heat (depending on the season). Your furnace or air conditioner must work harder to satisfy your thermostat. Special duct insulation may be purchased at a hardware or lumber store.
  • Likewise, if the ductwork has cracks or gaps in it, it will loose air. There are two goals here, improve the resistance to heat movement in the ducts, and reduce air movement out of the ductwork. Duct taping the joints and corners of your ductwork can reduce air losses.
  • Insulate your ductwork that moves through unconditioned space.
  • Duct tape all cracks and gaps in your ductwork.

content: DOE

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The Valley of Headless Men – Nahanni Canada

01/01/2012

The Nahanni Valley of Canada’s Northwest Territories has been called one of the last truly unexplored places in the world. Lying above the 60th Parallel, it is accessible only by air, water or a long overland journey from the village of Tungsten. As a result, much of the area remains unexplored, despite being declared a national park in 1976, and a World Heritage Site in 1978.

Native tales tell of an unknown evil lurking within 200 Mile Gorge, and most avoid the area. Local oral history also tells of a mountain-dwelling tribe known as the Naha. The Naha were feared by the region’s Dene people, as they often descended to raid nearby villages. These tales end with the rapid, mysterious disappearance of the Naha. No trace of this tribe has ever been found.

The eerie nickname attached to 200 Mile Gorge is the Valley Of The Headless Men. This name comes from a series of unexplained incidents in the Gorge during the Gold Rush of the early 20th century. Two brothers, Willie and Frank McLeod left in 1906 in an attempt to reach the Klondike through Nahanni. Nothing was heard from them for the next two years. Rumours spoke of the two finding the “mother lode” of gold. Despite this, no efforts were made to find them. In 1908, another prospecting expedition discovered two bodies, later identified as the McLeod brothers. Both had been decapitated. This incident would likely have been marked up as just another macabre tale of North had they been the only headless bodies.  In 1917, the body of a Swiss prospector by the name of Martin Jorgenson was found next to his burned cabin. Decapitated. In 1945, the body of a miner from Ontario, whose name seems to be lost to history, was found in his sleeping bag, without a head. A trapper named >John O’Brien was found frozen next to his campfire, matches still clutched in his hand. I cannot find any reference to the state of his head.

Theories abound as to what happened to these men, and others (up to 44 people are said to have disappeared there). Some put these attacks down to grizzly bears, some feuding  prospectors, others natives. Some say the area is naturally heated by hot springs, and is practically a tropical paradise, a Shangri-La if you will, with the valley floor covered in gold nuggets. These theories often speak of the valley being a haven for the Sasquatch. Some even claim the valley is an entrance to the “Hollow Earth”. My view lies somewhere in-between all these. I believe that the native Naha people discovered this sheltered valley, and settled there. Theoretically, food would be plentiful if the valley is the veritable paradise described in some reports. These people then likely became highly territorial over their lands, and killed any trespassers. The decapitation is reminiscent of certain other tribal practices designed to instill fear in their enemies. The image provided is for reference only, and as far as I am aware, there are no images of the 200 Mile Gorge available online.

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Thar She Finally Blows – Cleveland Volcano Spewing 15,000 Feet of Ash

29/12/2011

The Alaska Volcano Observatory said satellite images showed Cleveland Volcano had spewed ash 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) into the air in a cloud that moved east-southeast. U.S. Geological Survey scientist-in-charge John Power called it a small explosion.

“It’s not expected to cause a disruption to big international air carriers,” he said.

But the event drew strong interest from air carriers.

“Any time you put an ash cloud up into the atmosphere, the airlines, the air carriers, air freight companies — it’s a major concern,” Power said.

The ash cloud was significant enough to raise the alert level from yellow, representing elevated unrest, to orange, representing an increased potential of eruption, or an eruption under way with minor ash emissions or no emissions.

Cleveland Mountain is a 5,675-foot (1,729-meter) peak on uninhabited Chuginadak Island about 940 miles (1,512 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

Scientists in July noted increased activity in the crater at the summit of the volcano. Satellite images showed lava building and forming a dome-shaped accumulation.

Chris Waythomas of the USGS said in September that lava domes form a lid on a volcano’s “plumbing,” including the chamber holding the magma. When they grow big enough, lava domes can become unstable and will sometimes collapse. When the magma chamber decompresses it can lead to an explosion as the conduit inside the volcano suddenly becomes unsealed and gases escape.

Radar images earlier this month showed the dome had cracked and subsided, Power said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the airline industry get concerned for trans-Pacific flights when an ash cloud has the potential to exceed the 20,000-foot (6,096-meter) threshold, as Cleveland Volcano has done in the past.

Cleveland Volcano’s last major eruption was in 2001. It has had bursts of activity nearly every year since then, and the ash cloud Thursday was not out of character.

“It’s not unexpected for a volcano like Cleveland to do things like this,” Power said. “Unfortunately, Cleveland is one of those that is so remote, we have no on-ground monitoring or instrumentation there, so it’s hard for us to pinpoint things any more accurately than we can do with satellite imagery.”

The observatory Thursday morning had no satellite images of the crater after the eruption.

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Red Sea Volcano – New Island Forms Off Coast of Yemen

27/12/2011
New Island in Red Sea

© NASA
The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this high-resolution, natural-color images on December 23, 2011 showing an island being formed in the Red Sea.
New Island in Red Sea_1

© NASA
Satellite image of the same region from October 24, 2007.

An eruption occurred in the Red Sea in December 2011. According to news reports, fishermen witnessed lava fountains reaching up to 30 meters (90 feet) tall on December 19. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites observed plumes on December 20 and December 22. Meanwhile, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite detected elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, further indicating an eruption.

The activity in the Red Sea included more than an eruption. By December 23, 2011, what looked like a new island appeared in the region. The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured these high-resolution, natural-color images on December 23, 2011 (top), and October 24, 2007 (bottom). The image from December 2011 shows an apparent island where there had previously been an unbroken water surface. A thick plume rises from the island, dark near the bottom and light near the top, perhaps a mixture of volcanic ash and water vapor.

The volcanic activity occurred along the Zubair Group, a collection of small islands off the west coast of Yemen. Running in a roughly northwest-southeast line, the islands poke above the sea surface, rising from a shield volcano. This region is part of the Red Sea Rift where the African and Arabian tectonic plates pull apart and new ocean crust regularly forms.

References:

    • Global Volcanism Program. Zubair Group. Smithsonian Institution. Accessed December 27, 2011.
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TedX – Jacques Vallee – A Theory of Everything (Else) Article & Video

24/11/2011

Dr. Vallee was born in France, where he received a B.S. in mathematics at the Sorbonne and an M.S. in astrophysics at Lille University. Coming to the U.S. as an astronomer at the University of Texas, where he co-developed the first computer-based map of Mars for NASA, Jacques later moved to Northwestern University where he received his Ph.D. in computer science.

He went on to work on information technology research at SRI International and the Institute for the Future, where he directed the project to build the world’s first network-based collaboration system as a Principal Investigator for the groupware project on Arpanet, the prototype for the Internet.

A venture capitalist since 1984, Jacques Vallee has served as an early-stage investor and director of over 60 high-technology companies, a third of which went public through acquisitions or IPOs. Apart from his work with information science and finance, Jacques has had a long-term private interest in astronomy, in writing and in the frontiers of research, notably unidentified aerial phenomena.

His most recent book, The Heart of the Internet, is available free of charge on Google Books. He was awarded the Jules Verne Prize for a science fiction novel in French.

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Second Earthquake of the Day Hits Northern Japan

24/11/2011

Tokyo – Two strong earthquakes rattled northern Japan on Thursday, but neither caused any apparent damage or a tsunami.

A magnitude-6.1 quake struck Thursday evening south of the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.

It hit about 465 miles (750 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo and 19 miles (30 kilometers) below the sea surface. The agency did not issue a tsunami warning.

About 3,900 households in the towns of Erimo and Samani lost electricity shortly after the quake, but power was restored about an hour later, according to the Hokkaido Electric Power Co.

The shaking was not felt in Tokyo, though a morning quake was.

That magnitude-6.0 quake struck just off the coast near the nuclear power plant damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The two shakings are believed unrelated and did not affect the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant or other nuclear plants in the region.

via Associated Press

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