Krakatoa Volcano Has Just Erupted

The infamous volcano Krakatoa erupted Friday, spewing a large plume of ash 9 miles into the air.

At approximately 11 p.m. local time, the volcano’s loud eruption was reportedly heard by Indonesians in the country’s capital, Jakarta, more than 90 miles away. Images taken from a webcam near the area show lava flowing from the volcano.

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The strong eruption is believed to be the most forceful since December 2018, when it produced a deadly tsunami that killed over 400 people on the coasts of southeastern Sumatra and western Java.

In 1883, the volcano erupted with a massive explosion that was 10,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The eruption killed approximately 36,000 people, destroyed hundreds of villages, and ash traveled as far as Europe. Later studies show that eruption likely lowered global temperatures for years

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Ganga river water becomes fit for drinking in Haridwar, Rishikesh during India’s lockdown

As Reported in Times Travel, Times of India on 10th April 2020.

When the ancient Yamuna River in Delhi has reached a remarkable level of purity due to the absence of industrial pollutants in the last many days of India-wide lockdown, how can River Ganga show its sparkling clear waters to the nation?

Well, news has it that Ganga waters at Rishikesh and Haridwar have become very clean according to the observation made by BD Joshi, Environmental Scientist and Ex-professor at the Gurukul Kangri University. According to Joshi, it is after a long time that Ganga water has become good for achaman (ritual sipping) in Haridwar. Joshi also added that the cause behind cleaner Ganga water is a 500 per cent decrease in total dissolved solid (TDS), industrial effluent, dharmashalas, sewage from hotels and lodges. 

Ganga river water becomes fit for drinking in Haridwar, Rishikesh during India’s lockdown

Credit: iStock

On the other hand, Tanmay Vashishth, Ganga Sabha General Secretary, told TOI that Ganga has never appeared this clean. RK Kathait, State Pollution Control Board (PCB) regional officer said that there is a visible difference in the quality of Ganga water. Apparently, this change has been ushered by the lack of human activities as no pilgrims have been visiting the twin holy towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh. 

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand PCB is keeping a tab on the quality of Ganga water. A PCB chief scientific officer SS Pal told TOI that the Ganga water in Haridwar is worth bathing in and good for drinking after necessary treatment. In Rishikesh, the water is good for drinking after disinfection.
Pal also said that the presence of sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Uttarakhand has also improved Ganga water quality.

Edit by

Tinda Anand


Space weather reported on 7th Jan 2020

Jan. 6th, something unexpected happened in the soil of northern Norway. “Electrical currents started flowing,” reports Rob Stammes, who monitors ground currents at the Polarlightcenter geophysical observatory in Lofoten. This chart recording shows the sudden surge around 1930 UT:

“It seemed to be some kind of shockwave,” says Stammes. “My instruments detected a sudden, strong variation in both ground currents and our local magnetic field. It really was a surprise.”

NASA’s ACE spacecraft detected something as well. About 15 minutes before the disturbance in Norway, the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth abruptly swung around 180 degrees, and the solar wind density jumped more than 5-fold. Earth may have crossed through a fold in the heliospheric current sheet–a giant, wavy membrane of electrical current rippling through the solar system. Such crossings can cause these kind of effects.

While currents flowed through the ground, auroras filled the sky. Rayann Elzein photographed the corresponding outburst of lights from Utsjoki, Finland:

What a surprise!” says Elzein. “The auroras were sudden and dynamic, with fast-moving green needles and several purple fringes!”

The auroras and ground currents were caused by the same thing: Rapidly changing magnetic fields. High above Earth’s surface, magnetic vibrations shook loose energetic particles, which rained down on the upper atmosphere, creating auroras where they struck. Just below Earth’s surface, magnetic vibrations caused currents to flow, triggering Rob Stammes’ ground sensors.

“We couldn’t see the auroras in northern Norway because of cloud cover,” says Stammes, a little ruefully. “We had to be satisfied with the electricity underfoot.”

As reported in space weather

Jolly Good Vegan

The Jolly Sailor, Ashlett Creek

Sun, Sea and Vegan

I have personally been put off eating out not because of the lack of choice, but as foodie and a reasonable cook, when I have found vegan I have always thought i could do it better.

My friend took me for a drive and surprised me yesterday, with not only beautiful views, a lovely friendly pub with home cooked food and a wonderful Vegan Menu.

The chef was updating the menu as we arrived, she came out to have a chat and seemed as excited as I was to be offering such a wonderful Vegan menu; Beetroot Burger, Jack fruit Burger, Spicy Oriental Burger although not on the menu the chef offered a Moroccan Burger too! It was Sunday they has an option for vegetarians, with “the best roasties ever” and a mushroom and cheese bake.

Jolly Sailor Vegan Menu

I wanted to sample the whole menu, however, I had never tried Jack Fruit so I went for the Jack Fruit Burger and my friend had the Vegetarian Roast.

I didn’t get to try the dessert menu as I was extremely satisfied with the main, but looking forward to trying the Key Lime pie or Caramel Brownies next time, the chef did mention that some of these are bought in.

A meal for 2 and 2 drinks cost around £20 so very reasonably priced too.

Jack fruit Burger with chips or Sweet Potato Fries
Vegetarian Roast with Cheese Bake

The Jolly Sailor (Ashlett Creek) is a 160 year old pub on the edge of the New Forest and Banks of Southampton Water. This Beautiful old smugglers Inn is a wooden and brick structure an open fire. This Dog Friendly pub has a lovely 45 minute walk along the coast for a leisurely stroll to Calshot Beach, along a coastal path where you can take in views of the Isle of Wight, Southampton Water and Spinnaker Tower (Portsmouth).

Openied Rating 10/10

Savers in Germany charged for Saving

Should we be worried?

A German co-operative Bank is charging retail customers interest on there savings reported The Financial Times on 19th November 2019

Reuters reported on 19th September 2019- German watchdog opposes ban on bank charges for customer deposits

European Central Bank has charged banks to store their cash since 2014, with the deposit rate currently at minus 0.4%.

Banks in Germany paid 2.4 billion euros to the central bank to hold cash in 2018, the German government said in response to a parliamentary enquiry on negative interest rates.

Some banks have passed on that cost to their corporate and wealthy clients, but banks had shied away from charging regular savers until now, Savers with as little as 1 Euro will be charged.

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Negative rates in Europe, Paypal censorship, Zimbabwean capital controls and Australian Bank defrauding customers, The Crypto Lark explains more:

by Tinda Anand. Openied

Solar breakthough by startup backed by Bill Gates

Heliogen site California

A startup backed by Bill Gates has achieved a solar breakthrough aimed at saving the planet.

Heliogen, a clean energy company that emerged from on Tuesday, said it has discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius.

Heliogen created a solar oven — one capable of reaching temperatures that are roughly a quarter of what you’d find on the surface of the sun.

The breakthrough means that concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes. In other words, carbon-free sunlight can replace fossil fuels in a heavy carbon emitting industry.

“We are rolling out technology that can beat the price of fossil fuels and also not make the CO2 emissions,” Bill Gross, Heliogen’s founder and CEO, told CNN Business. “And that’s really the holy grail.”

Heliogen, which is also backed by billionaire Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, believes the patented technology will be able to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry. Cement, for example, accounts for 7% of global CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

“Bill and the team have truly now harnessed the sun,” Soon-Shiong, who also sits on the Heliogen board, told CNN Business. “The potential to humankind is enormous. … The potential to business is unfathomable.”

Heliogen, backed by Bill Gates, has achieved a breakthrough that could allow cement makers to transition away from fossil fuels. The company uses artifical intelligence and an array of mirrors to create vast amounts of heat, essentially harnessing the power of the sun.

Unlike traditional solar power, which uses rooftop panels to capture the energy from the sun, Heliogen is improving on what’s known as concentrated solar power. This technology, which uses mirrors to reflect the sun to a single point, is not new.

Concentrated solar has been used in the past to produce electricity and, in some limited fashion, to create heat for industry. It’s even used in Oman to provide the power needed to drill for oil.

The problem is that in the past concentrated solar couldn’t get temperatures hot enough to make cement and steel.

“You’ve ended up with technologies that can’t really deliver super-heated systems,” said Olav Junttila, a partner at Greentech Capital Advisors, a clean energy investment bank that has advised concentrated solar companies in the past.

Using artificial intelligence to solve the climate crisis

That means renewable energy has not yet disrupted industrial processes such as cement and steelmaking. And that’s a problem because the world has an insatiable appetite for those materials. Cement, for instance, is used to make the concrete required to build homes, hospitals and schools. These industries are responsible for more than a fifth of global emissions, according to the EPA.

That’s why the potential of Los Angeles-based Heliogen attracted investment from Gates, the Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder who recently surpassed Amazon(AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person. 

“I’m pleased to have been an early backer of Bill Gross’s novel solar concentration technology,” Gates said in a statement. “Its capacity to achieve the high temperatures required for these processes is a promising development in the quest to one day replace fossil fuel.”

Heliogen, founded by Bill Gross, must convince industrial companies it’s worth the investment to switch over to its solar technology.

While other concentrated solar companies attacked this temperature problem by adding steel to make the technology stiffer and sturdier, Heliogen and its team of scientists and engineers turned to artificial intelligence.

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Heliogen uses computer vision software, automatic edge detection and other sophisticated technology to train a field of mirrors to reflect solar beams to one single spot.

“If you take a thousand mirrors and have them align exactly to a single point, you can achieve extremely, extremely high temperatures,” Gross said, who added that Heliogen made its breakthrough on the first day it turned its plant on.

Heliogen said it is generating so much heat that its technology could eventually be used to create clean hydrogen at scale. That carbon-free hydrogen could then be turned into a fuel for trucks and airplanes.

“If you can make hydrogen that’s green, that’s a gamechanger,” said Gross. “Long term, we want to be the green hydrogen company.”


For now, Heliogen is squarely focused on solar. One problem with solar is that the sun doesn’t always shine, yet industrial companies like cement makers have a constant need for heat. Heliogen said it would solve that issue by relying on storage systems that can hold the solar energy for rainy days.

Now that it has made this breakthrough, Heliogen will focus on demonstrating how the technology can be used in a large-scale application, such as making cement.

“We’re in a race. We just want to scale as fast as possible,” said Gross. 

After the large-scale application, Soon-Shiong said Heliogen would likely be ready to go public.‘Nervous and scared.’ Coal workers fear for pensions after Murray Energy bankruptcy

In the meantime, Heliogen will require a healthy dose of capital to scale and it’s working with investors on a private round of funding. Soon-Shiong signaled he plans to invest more in Heliogen. Heliogen declined to provide information on how much money it has raised so far.

“This is an existential issue for your children, for my children and our grandchildren,” Soon-Shiong said.

Heliogen’s biggest challenge will be convincing industrial companies using fossil fuels to make the investment required to switch over. Gross said the company has been talking to potential customers privately and plans to soon announce its first customers.

“If we go to a cement company and say we’ll give you green heat, no CO2, but we’ll also save you money, then it becomes a no-brainer,” said Gross.

Its biggest selling point is the fact that, unlike fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, sunlight is free. And Heliogen argues its technology is already economical against fossil fuels because of its reliance on AI.

“The only way to compete is to be extremely clever in how you use your materials. And by using software, we’re able to do that,” Gross said.

As reported by

Matt Egan, CNN Business
and Updated 11:04 AM EST, Tue November 19, 2019

Climate change: ‘Clear and unequivocal’ emergency, say scientists

A global group of around 11,000 scientists have endorsed research that says the world is facing a climate emergency.

The study, based on 40 years of data on a range of measures, says governments are failing to address the crisis.

Without deep and lasting changes, the world is facing “untold human suffering” the study says.

The researchers say they have a moral obligation to warn of the scale of the threat.

Released on the day that satellite data shows that last month was the warmest October on record, the new study says that simply measuring global surface temperatures is an inadequate way of capturing the real dangers of an overheating world.

So the authors include a range of data which they believe represents a “suite of graphical vital signs of climate change over the past 40 years”.

These indicators include the growth of human and animal populations, per capita meat production, global tree cover loss, as well as fossil fuel consumption.

Some progress has been seen in some areas. For example, renewable energy has grown significantly, with consumption of wind and solar increasing 373% per decade – but it was still 28 times smaller than fossil fuel use in 2018.

Taken together, the researchers say most of their vital signs indicators are going in the wrong direction and add up to a climate emergency.

“An emergency means that if we do not act or respond to the impacts of climate change by reducing our carbon emissions, reducing our livestock production, reducing our land clearing and fossil fuel consumption, the impacts will likely be more severe than we’ve experienced to date,” said lead author Dr Thomas Newsome, from the University of Sydney.

By Matt McGrath for BBC New

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Landmark Environment Bill moves forwards

See the light…

Environmental principles will be enshrined in law and measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.

Environment Bill passes second reading by MPs unopposed and will now progress to Committee stage.

The Government’s landmark Environment Bill to tackle the biggest environmental priorities of our time has moved a step closer to becoming law following its second reading by MPs (Monday 28 October).

After the debate, the Bill now progress to the Committee stage for further scrutiny and onto the next stages of the Parliamentary process for becoming law.

The transformative Environment Bill, introduced to Parliament two weeks ago, will help ensure that we maintain and improve our environmental protections as we leave the EU.

The Bill will build on the UK’s strong track record and sets out a comprehensive and world-leading vision to allow future generations to prosper. Environmental principles will be enshrined in law and measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.

Legislation will also create legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards.

The office’s remit will include all climate change legislation, enabling the office to hold the government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. By also championing nature-based solutions, the Bill demonstrates our commitment to tackle climate change.

The Bill also places the bold ambition of our flagship 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing and grants powers to enhance nature and habitats and combat the devastating effects of plastics on our natural environment. Introducing charges for a number of single use plastic items will build on the success of the government’s 5p plastic bag charge, which has cut sales from the biggest supermarkets by 90% since 2015.

Opening the second reading, Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

This Government recognises the profound importance of the great environmental challenges of our time.

We are the first government to set the goal that this generation should leave the natural environment in a better state than it was bequeathed to us. And this is the first government to make a legally binding commitment to become a net zero carbon economy.

This is a truly landmark piece of legislation, enshrining environmental principles in law, requiring this government and its successors to demanding and legally binding targets and creating a world-leading environmental watchdog to hold them to account.

During the debate, many MPs expressed support for the Bill but raised points about the Office for Environmental Protection’s independence and funding, as well as how the targets system will work. Air quality, water and plastics were also discussed.

Closing the debate, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

The substance of this debate is the greatest issue of our time. The Environment Bill will make a much needed step change to protect and enhance our environment.

There are big ambitions in the Bill, and rightly so. We must talk about all the issues in Committee, and I hope that everyone will join in. This is a transformative Bill that will give a whole new approach to environmental protection and enhancement.

Extensive and continued collaboration with the Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Northern Ireland Civil Service has also enabled us to bring forward measures that we expect to see adopted outside of England, for example measures which aim to increase recycling rates. We will continue to work with them as the Bill progresses through Parliament.

Published 29 October 2019From:Department for Environment, Food & Rural AffairsRebecca Pow MP, and The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers

Coinbase Earn and Learn

By Invitation Only

Coinbase Earn and Learn

Coinbase’s mission is to create an open financial system, where anyone in the world can participate on from their computer or smartphone. To bring this vision about, blockchain technology will need to be more accessible, both in the sense of making cryptocurrencies easier to obtain and easier to understand.

Coinbase Earn allows users to earn cryptocurrencies, while learning about them in a simple and engaging way. The idea is for users to understand more about an asset’s utility and its underlying technology, while getting a bit of the asset to try out. To manage demand, we’re launching Coinbase Earn today in invite-only mode with a single asset: ZRX. Over time, we plan to add more educational content as well as the ability to earn other cryptocurrencies.

If you’ve received an invite to Coinbase Earn by email, you can go to the Coinbase Earn ZRX page to earn small amounts of cryptocurrency by completing educational tasks like short video lessons and quizzes. But if you haven’t received an invite yet, don’t worry — you can still view all educational content on the Coinbase Earn page for free, and can sign up on the to be notified as more educational tasks are available.

Learn: simple and engaging cryptocurrency education

In a survey of Coinbase customers and non-customers alike, we found that one of the biggest barriers preventing people from exploring a new digital asset was a lack of knowledge about that asset. Many of the people we surveyed expressed a strong desire to begin learning about new and different crypto assets beyond Bitcoin, but didn’t know where to begin.

That’s why we’re launching Coinbase Earn with tasks related to asset education. The educational content will be publicly available for any curious party to learn more about an asset, even if they haven’t yet received an invite to begin earning.

Earn: a new way to access cryptocurrency

Traditionally, the two ways people have obtained cryptocurrency are through mining or buying. Mining cryptocurrency typically requires technical knowledge and high upfront costs, while buying cryptocurrency can require disposable income to exchange for cryptocurrencies.

Earning cryptocurrency is a third option. It has the potential to expand the blockchain user base from the tens of millions of people with the resources to mine or buy crypto to the billions of people who now have smartphones. This is because one can — in theory — earn crypto simply by clicking buttons on a phone or laptop.

If you dont’ already have an account, its free to sign up to look around here

Courtesy of coinbase blog