Organic Universe

Organic Universe
Please bookmark our new site!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Farmed fish, the dark side

© ENN.com
Environmental News Network | Jun 27, 2014 | Roger Greenway

It seems as more and more of the fish available to us in the supermarket and in restaurants is farmed. Is this good or bad? Probably a bit of both. Raising fish in fish farms doesn't impact the wild fish to any great extent, but fish farms must be well situated, and well run to prevent problems. They are not natural ecosystems!

Aquaculture has become a booming industry in Chile, with salmon and other fish farmed in floating enclosures along the South Pacific coast. But as farmers densely pack these pens to meet demand, diseases can easily pass between fish — for example, an outbreak of infectious salmon anemia that emerged in 2007 caused the deaths of more than a million fish and threatened to cripple the industry. And unsustainable aquaculture methods can have a wider impact, spreading disease to the world’s already vulnerable ocean fisheries and contaminating the environment.

Earlier this year, Tamara Awerbuch Friedlander, an instructor in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), traveled to Chile to work with faculty members at the University of Antofagastato develop research and an academic curriculum focused on preventing the spread of diseases and parasites among farmed fish, and from aquacultures to the wild fish population, without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.

Awerbuch Friedlander uses mathematical modeling to study the complex social and biological systems behind the spread of diseases, and has previously focused on AIDS and Lyme disease, among others. In Antofagasta, she taught a three-week course on mathematical modeling to students, based on the long-running course she developed and teaches at HSPH. She described her approach as holistic. "I teach students to look at a range of factors relevant to the spread of a disease — such as ecological impact and human behavior — to develop a mathematical model. This can then be used to explore the effect of each factor in the presence of the others as well as new interventions."

Fish farm in southern Chile image via Shutterstock.

Read more at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Tyson Foods dumps more than 18 million pounds of toxic chemicals into America's waterways each year

© Natural News
Natural News | Jun 29, 2014 | Jonathan Benson

Our most precious natural resource, clean water, is threatened by the continued environmental release of toxic chemicals from heavy industry, which includes the factory food industry. Four of the top 10 worst polluters in the U.S. today, according to a new report, are food manufacturing companies, with chicken giant Tyson Foods topping the list as among the worst, releasing more than 18 million pounds of toxic waste into the nation's waterways annually.

The Environment America Research and Policy Center is sounding the alarm about this travesty, warning that if something isn't done to curb the problem now, millions of Americans will suffer from a lack of clean water. The group is pushing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore Clean Water Act protections that will safeguard against the unmitigated release of harmful waste into rivers, lakes and other sources of freshwater in the interest of public safety.

According to the group, more than 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals are released into the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and other precious watersheds across the country every year. In addition, nearly 10% of this waste is dumped by food companies, such as Tyson Foods, which routinely unleashes heavy metals, such as mercury and arsenic, as well as toxic nitrates from its chicken processing plants into rivers and the groundwater.

Cargill, Perdue Farms and Pilgrims Pride among top U.S. polluters

According to the report, Tyson Foods is responsible for the bulk of the toxic waste released by the food industry at large, clocking in at more than 18 million pounds of dumped waste annually. However, other major industry players are also heavy polluters, including corporate food giant Cargill, which as you may recall spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat California's Proposition 37 ballot measure that would have mandated the labeling of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

"Of the top 10 parent companies by total pounds of toxics released, four are corporate agribusiness companies (Tyson Inc., Cargill Inc., Perdue Farms Inc., and Pilgrims Pride Corp.)," explains Environment America.

"Corporate agribusiness facilities ... were responsible for approximately one-third of all direct discharges of nitrates into our waterways, which can cause health problems in infants and contribute to 'dead zones' in our waters."

These are astounding figures that show just how damaging these companies are to our nation's environmental health. If you eat at places like KFC and McDonald's, both of which source their chicken from Tyson Foods, you are inadvertently supporting this continued destruction of our natural environment, not to mention the health of our children.

"Nitrates are toxic, particularly to infants consuming formula made with nitrate-laden drinking water, who may be susceptible to methemoglobinemia, or 'blue baby' syndrome, a disease that reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen throughout the body," adds the report. "Nitrates have also been linked in some studies to organ damage in adults."

Voice your support for Clean Water Act protections to preserve the quality and safety of America's water supply

In order to address this ongoing problem, Environment America is calling on the EPA to restore Clean Water Act protections that will preserve more than two million miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands across the country from continuing to serve as toxic dumping grounds for corporations. For too long, polluting industries have gotten away with abusing the environment for their own financial gain, resulting in more than half of America's streams becoming compromised.

You can support these efforts by contacting the EPA and urging the agency to restore Clean Water Act protections against polluting industries:

Sources for this article include:

http://www.environmentamerica.org
http://www.sourcewatch.org
http://ballotpedia.org
http://ballotpedia.org
http://www.regulations.gov
http://www.environmentamerica.org

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Earth’s North Magnetic Pole Moving to Siberia

Image: ap.smu.ca
Sleuth Journal | Jun 28, 2014 | Luis Miranda

The first results of the Swarm mission, the group of three satellites launched in November by the European Space Agency (ESA), confirm the general trend on the Earth’s magnetic field weakening and the movement of the Magnetic North Pole towards Siberia.

According to project leaders who spoke in Copenhagen, the weakening is greater in the western hemisphere, but in other areas as South India, the opposite phenomenon has occurred.

The measures recorded by Swarm since last January also confirm the progressive movement of the Magnetic North Pole towards Siberia. Experts meeting in Copenhagen felt that within 5,000 to 10,000 years there will be a reversal in the magnetic field, a phenomenon that has occurred several times before in the history of the planet. The last one took place 780,000 years ago.

Nils Olsen, one of the scientists leading the project, described as “excellent” preliminary data provided by the mission, but stressed that they’ve had “too little time” to draw wider conclusions on measurements offered by the satellites whose observations will continue for four years.

The alterations detected in the first Swarm results are based on the Earth’s core magnetic signals. For the following observations other sources of measurement are also included as the mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere, which enable a better understanding of various natural processes.

See the simulation below:


The Swarm mission blasted off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia in November to study the processes inside the Earth, better understand its magnetic field and why this bubble that shields the planet from cosmic radiation and charged particles that arrive via the solar wind is getting weaker.

The mission, using European and Canadian technology also aims to implement practical applications, such as improving the accuracy of satellite navigation systems and earthquake prediction as well as making more efficient the extraction of natural resources.

The scientific data will be open to the entire research community and will be available for download through the tracking station in Kiruna, Sweden, where it will be processed, distributed and archived in the Center for Earth Observation of of the ESA.

Weather Warfare: Beware the US Military’s Experiments with Climatic Warfare

Global Research | Jun 29, 2014 | Prof Michel Chossudovsky

‘Climatic warfare’ has been excluded from the agenda on climate change.

This article was first published on Global Research on December 12, 2007.

“HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems globally.”


“‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.”


Pdf version of article on Weather Warfare by Michel Chossudovsky, The Ecologist, December 2007 (pdf)

Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.

Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.

Read more..

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Colorado halts fracking wastewater injections after earthquakes hit the state

AFP Photo / Getty Images / David McNew
RT | Jun 27, 2014

Following the detection of a small earthquake, Colorado state regulators have put a halt to the disposal of fracking wastewater into an injection well located in Weld County.

According to Reuters, the announcement was made by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which directed High Sierra Water Services to observe a 20-day stoppage as a result of the situation. A 2.6 magnitude earthquake was recorded on Monday, and geologists believe it was linked to the ongoing fracking operation nearby.

This earthquake marked the second time in less than one month that an earthquake struck the area. On May 31, a 3.4 magnitude tremor was recorded in the same area, sparking theories that High Sierra’s oil and gas exploration was to blame.

“In light of the findings of CU’s team, we think it’s important we review additional data, bring in additional expertise and closely review the history of injection at this site in order to more fully understand any potential link to seismicity and use of this disposal well,” COGCC Director Matt Lepore said in a statement released to the Colorado Independent earlier this week.

This isn’t the first time time controversial fracking process – which involves injecting water, sand, and various chemicals into layers of rock, in hopes of releasing oil and gas deep underground – has been linked to earthquakes. Much of the blame has been pinpointed on the waste disposal process, which is comprised of storing toxic wastewater deep underground wells often located near fault lines.

Although the US Geological Survey notes that faults are “pervasively fractured” at depth, it states that “the injected wastewater counteracts the frictional forces on faults and, in effect, ‘pries them apart’, thereby facilitating earthquake slip.”

While previous studies have suggested there is a link between fracking and earthquakes, a COGCC spokesman told Reuters, "We believe it is probably the first time” such a connection has been made in Colorado, which is notorious for experiencing earthquakes as a result of coal mining.

Already in Oklahoma – which, as RT reported in February, has already seen a massive spike in earthquakes over the past few years – seismologists have connected the increased earthquake activity to fracking. Research in Texas has also concluded with similar results.

Speaking with Mint Press news about the recent decision in Colorado, environmental activist Gary Wockner welcomed the decision.

“Better safe than sorry—injecting fracking wastewater has definitely caused earthquakes in other states and it could be the cause here too, so it’s smart of COGCC to halt this activity,” he said.

The move also comes as some Colorado citizens in Lafayette file a lawsuit against the state for trying to invalidate a ban on fracking the city imposed last year. The measure passed with the support of 60 percent of residents, and halts new oil and exploration operations in the area.

Fukishima: No End in Sight for Nuclear Meltdown | Interview with Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear

BreakingtheSet | Jun 27, 2014 | CHANNEL

Abby speaks with Paul Gunter, reactor oversight director at Beyond Nuclear, discussing the many unanswered questions surrounding the ongoing nuclear crisis at Fukushima Japan, including the construction of a massive underground 'ice wall' and the rate at which contaminated water continues to pour into the Pacific Ocean.

Obama Administration Secretly Weakening EPA Rules

© PopularResistance.org
PopularResistance.org | Jun 27, 2014 | Farron Cousins

One of highest hopes that environmentally-minded Americans had for President Obama when he first entered office was that he would finally put an end to the secrecy that marred the former Bush administration when it came to environmental policy.

The image of then-Vice President Dick Cheney meeting in secret with dirty energy industry leaders was still fresh in our heads as we went to the polls in 2008, and we were all but certain that the country chose a leader that would leave those dark days in the past.

Sadly, those hopes for a policy change were dashed before the end of Obama’s first year.  He talked a big game on the campaign trail, but when it came to acting on those promises, that rhetoric proved to be just as hollow as his predecessor’s.

Obama doubled down on coal, oil, and fracking, while allowing renewable energy investments to fall.  But the most disturbing part of the story is that Obama and his officials have been working in secret to weaken environmental standards that his administration has been patting themselves on the back for in public.

Recently, a federal judge expanded a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that was filed against the Small Business Administration (SBA), which claims that officials within the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been working to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) power plant pollution standards.  The administration has been dragging its feet in providing the information requested, even after the court ruling, which has led environmental groups to file a complaint against the White House.

At issue is the EPA’s failure to update standards for existing power plants as required by the Clean Air Act — a move that the U.S. Supreme Court had previously said was required of the agency.  The current rules have not been updated since 1982, and environmental groups say that the lack of updating is due to influence from the White House itself.

EarthJustice, one of the groups leading the charge, issued the following statement in regards to the complaint:

The Obama administration worked behind the scenes to weaken the EPA’s proposal, and now they are trying to cover their tracks…The public has a right to know about the political pressure that forced the EPA to rewrite its proposal to allow for much dirtier waterways and put our health at risk.”


EPA sent over a strong rule to the White House that would get arsenic and other toxics out of our water using affordable treatment technologies. But the White House over-ruled EPA scientists and re-wrote the rule to include options that would give coal plants a free pass to continue using our waterways as their own private waste dumps. Now the White House is refusing to comply with FOIA and release information related to their review of EPA’s rule or justify why it should be withheld from the public.”

The Sierra Club joined EIP and EarthJustice in December in a lawsuit seeking a response from the administration in regards to their Freedom of Information Act request seeking information on the SBA’s role in weakening the EPA’s proposed power plant rules.  In January, the White House rejected the request, which prompted the current lawsuit.

The move by the administration to ignore the FOIA request is just the latest in a long line of environmental information obstruction.  And the OMB has been at the forefront of that obstruction for years.

As early as 2010, just one year after Obama was sworn in, the OMB proposed a change to the formula by which the EPA created new rules for automobile pollution and other global warming-related pollution rules.

ThinkProgress described the new formula as the equivalent of the OMB “putting a thumb on the scales” in favor of the dirty energy industry, allowing their projected costs of compliance to carry more weight that the anticipated health and environmental benefits.

Also in 2010, the EPA was about to put a rule in place that would have required air quality monitoring stations for power plants in areas with a population greater than 350,000 people.  According to ThinkProgress, emails showed that the OMB once again stepped in and made the EPA change their rule so that it only applied to populations greater than half a million, exempting many large metropolitan areas.

Ironically, many industry leaders like Dow Chemical didn’t have a problem with the original 350,000 population threshold, and considered the original proposal to be “quite reasonable.”

In 2012, the OMB interfered in the EPA’s proposed particulate rules, where the latter agency was attempted to lower the allowable amount of particulates in soot down to 12 micrograms per cubic meter.  According to documents obtained by the Washington Post, the OMB forced the EPA to increase the limit from the proposed 12 to 13.

Mother Jones has pointed out that, under President Obama, the OMB is the office where environmental standards go to die.  Among the rules they list as either “dying” or “stalled” within the OMB are rules on industrial boilers, ozone pollution rules, toxic chemical rules, and coal ash standards.

President Obama’s bold statements on climate change and his commitment to the environment have been severely undermined by his administration’s willingness to weaken environmental protections behind closed doors.

While we may not be getting environmental policy written by the dirty energy industry as we did with the Bush Administration, the results are still too similar — the public interest is not being served, while polluters continue to enjoy undue influence and secrecy.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Graham Hancock Breaks the Set on TED Censorship, Lost Civilizations & War on Consciousness

BreakingtheSet | Jun 27, 2014 | CHANNEL

Abby Martin interviews author and philosopher, Graham Hancock, about the mysteries of ancient civilization, hidden societies from the past, censorship by TED Talks and the difficulty in getting these ideas accepted by mainstream archaeologists and historians.

Grasp The Nettle (Full Documentary)

WeAreChange | Jun 27, 2014 | CHANNEL

Grasp The Nettle graspthenettlefilm.com follows the exploits of a ragtag band of land rights activists in London as they struggle against corporations, government, police - and themselves - in their efforts to create alternative communities outside the framework of consumer society.

How Military Exercises Are Killing Millions of Sea Creatures Every Year | Brainwash Update

Breaking the Set | Jun 26, 2014 | CHANNEL

Abby Martin goes over the effect war games have on the environment, citing the US and China engaging in the world's largest naval exercise, as well as how the use of sonar testing harming millions of marine mammals.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Study Finds Increased Chance of Autism for Children Born Near Commercial Pesticide Use

6-year-old working in
a blueberry field in
North Carolina, 2008,
(photo: Heather
Anderson, AP)
ALLGOV | Jun 25, 2014 | Noel Brinkerhoff

University researchers are warning pregnant women that living too close to farm fields sprayed with pesticides can dramatically increase the risk of their child becoming autistic.

The UC Davis MIND Institute released a study showing expectant mothers exposed to certain agricultural chemicals, specifically organophosphates, face a 60% higher chance of having autistic offspring. The danger is especially prevalent during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Dr. Irva Hertz-Picciotto, senior author of the report and professor and vice chair of the university’s Department of Public Health Services, warned women who reside near croplands to “leave town or keep their children away or close the windows” during pesticide spraying. Those at risk include residents near fields growing cantaloupes, melons, oranges, tomatoes, cotton and alfalfa, where organophosphates are employed.

The most commonly applied pesticide in the study, Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate, was phased out for household use by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2000 because it has potential to cause neurological effects.

The study is not the first from UC Davis to link autism with agricultural pesticide exposure. In 2007, university researchers warned of “an association” between the two, according to the Fresno Bee.

To Learn More:

UC Davis Study Links Autism To Pesticides (by Barbara Anderson, Fresno Bee)

UC Davis Study Finds Link Between Pesticides, Autism
(by Edward Ortiz, Sacramento Bee)

The Conditions of Solar Maximum

June 2014, the Sun emits 3 X-class solar
flares in 24 hours. Credit: NASA/SDO
Thunderbolts.info | Jun 25, 2014 | Stephen Smith

Sunspot activity has dramatically increased.

The Sun exhibits a solar cycle that lasts approximately 22 years, oscillating in output strength and the number of sunspots visible across its surface. This last 11 year period, when the number of sunspots was expected to increase, there was a “delay”; the Sun remained quiescent past its predicted time.

Since late February 2014, however, that quiescent period ended with the eruption of a large solar flare from an active sunspot region, and then several other powerful shocks from ever more energetic sunspots, as shown in the image at the top of the page. Solar max has arrived.

According to consensus opinions, solar flares, or coronal mass ejections (CME), occur when magnetic loops in the Sun’s atmosphere “reconnect” with each other, causing a short circuit. The explosive release of “magnetic energy” is said to accelerate the superheated gases out into space. No one knows what “magnetic reconnection” is, but it is offered as the only explanation by heliophysicists for the flaring phenomenon.

Since CMEs increase auroral brightness and frequency when they meet Earth’s magnetic field, they are a flow of charged particles. Although space scientists refer to the ion stream pouring out of the Sun as a “wind,” and that atomic fragments “rain down” on Earth, that they are attracted to and follow the polar cusps should definitively establish their electrical nature.

Wal Thornhill states that: “While enormous time and resources have been poured into the effort to understand stars based on a single outdated idea, those familiar with plasma discharge phenomena have been paying close attention to the observed phenomena on the Sun and finding simple electrical explanations. After 100 years of neglect, an electrical model of stars is just beginning to emerge.”

Conventional thinking suggests that the Sun accelerates charged particles into space in the same way that sound waves are amplified. Eruptions in the photosphere travel outward through “acoustical wave-guides,” known as magnetic flux tubes. Structures called spicules rise thousands of kilometers above the photosphere and carry the hot gas with them. Its overall behavior suggests that it is electromagnetic in nature, and not kinetic or acoustic.

The Sun is the locus of positive charge with respect to interstellar plasma. Sunspots appear when electric discharges penetrate the photosphere, allowing electric current to flow into its depths. Electromagnetic flux tubes expose the Sun’s cooler interior. No doubt those flux tubes are also involved with connecting the Sun’s electromagnetic environment with Earth’s ionosphere, as well.

As the electric Sun theory relates, sunspots, flares, coronal heating, and all other solar activity most likely results from fluctuations in electrical input from our galaxy. Birkeland current filaments slowly rotate past the Solar System, supplying more or less power to the Sun as they go. The Sun could experience cyclic influences involving its galactic circuit, as well.

The circuit connecting the Sun is of unknown length, but probably extends for thousands of light-years. How much electrical energy might be contained in such magnetically confined “transmission lines”? No one knows, but astronomers are continually “surprised” by the incredible detonations that they observe from solar flares.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2012 Serbian Wildfires

Suspicious0bservers | Jun 25, 2014 | CHANNEL


Paper: http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/03...

www.Suspicious0bservers.org
www.ObservatoryProject.com

Monsanto Security Tries to Block Reporters at Headquarters

TruthStream Media | Jun 24, 2014 | Aaron Dykes


Despite preaching “transparency” in its corporate policy, Monsanto is so secretive it has worked overtime behind the scenes to block GMO labeling, influence politicians and intimidate free speech – even outside its own headquarters.

 

Monsanto – often dubbed “The World’s Most Evil Corporation” is a $15 billion U.S.-based multinational agrochemical and genetically modified seed company. Despite the fact that millions all over the world consume Monsanto’s GM seeds hidden in unlabeled food products every day – primarily in the form of GMO corn, soy, oil and beet sugar – the people of the United States and other parts of the globe are not allowed to know what they are eating. This is to the outrageous point that the company’s lobbying firm is suing the State of Vermont for trying to mandate GMO labeling (after voters demanded it).

Yet, one of Monsanto’s own official tenets in its company “pledge” is transparency.

But Truthstream Media.com reporters found out the hard way that the company is very protective of its image, of public information about its operations and of its political clout.

THIS VIDEO shows what happens when you try to film on a public sidewalk outside Monsanto’s world headquarters in Creve Couer, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis) – where no parking signs and restrictive city ordinances have already attempted to intimidate and shutter public demonstrations and news reporters.

RELATED: City passes ordinance to protect Monsanto world headquarters from protesters
http://truthstreammedia.com/city-passes-ordinance-to-protect-monsanto-world-headquarters-from-protesters/

Report: World's Oceans on Brink of Collapse

(photo: epSos. de/Creative Commons/Flickr)
Common Dreams | Jun 24, 2014 | Nadia Prupis

Global Ocean Commission says rescue needed within five years 

The world's oceans face irreparable damage from climate change and overfishing, with a five-year window for intervention, an environmental panel said Tuesday.

Neglecting the health of the oceans could have devastating effects on the world's food supply, clean air, and climate stability, among other factors.

The Global Oceans Commission, an environmental group formed by the Pew Charitable Trust, released a report (PDF) addressing the declining marine ecosystems around the world and outlining an eight-step "rescue package" to restore growth and prevent future damage to the seas. The 18-month study proposes increased governance of the oceans, including limiting oil and gas exploration, capping subsidies for commercial fishing, and creating marine protected areas (MPAs) to guard against pollution, particularly from plastics.

"A healthy ocean is a key to our well-being," said Jose Maria Figueres, co-chair and former president of Costa Rica. "Unless we turn the tide on ocean decline within five years, the international community should consider turning the high seas into an off-limits regeneration zone until its condition is restored."

Government subsidies for high seas fishing total at least $30 billion a year and are carried out by just ten countries, the report said. About 60 percent of such subsidies encourage unsustainable practices like the fuel-hungry "bottom trawling" of ocean floors -- funds that could be rerouted to conservation efforts or employment in coastal areas.

Meanwhile, environmental nonprofits and governmental bodies are starting to recognize the insufficient protections offered by systems like the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which aims to regulate portions of the ocean but cannot actually enforce any laws. The report includes a proposal to ratify the UNCLOS, increasing and extending its oversight to 64 percent of the ocean which is currently outside of national jurisdiction.

"Without proper governance, a minority will continue to abuse the freedom of the high seas, plunder the riches that lie beneath the waves, take more than a fair share, and benefit at the expense of the rest of us, especially the poorest," said Trevor Manuel, co-chair of the commission and former minister of finance of South Africa.

Failure to reverse the decline of the ocean's ecosystems would be an "unforgivable betrayal of current and future generations," said David Miliband, co-chair and former British foreign secretary.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Report Exposes Companies That Dumped 206 Million Pounds Of Toxic Chemicals Into U.S. Waterways

BlackListed News | Jun 23, 2014

© Courtesy BLN
Research from Environment America shows that 2012 was a bigger year for toxic chemical dumping than most of us could have imagined.

An oil well pump site is reflected in flood waters near Greeley, Colo. Colorado’s floods shut down hundreds of natural gas and oil wells, spilled oil from one tank and sent inspectors into the field looking for more pollution. (AP/Ed Andrieski)

Research from Environment America shows that 2012 was a bigger year for toxic chemical dumping than most of us could have imagined.

Industrial facilities across the U.S. dumped more than 206 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways in 2012, according to the “Wasting Our Waterways” report. The figures about the nation, as a whole, are stark, as are figures about individual regions and companies. For instance, Tyson Foods Inc. alone dumped more than 18.5 million pounds—about 9 percent of the nationwide total.

“America’s waterways should be clean—for swimming, drinking and supporting wildlife,” said Ally Fields, clean water advocate for Environment America’s Research and Policy Center. “But too often, our waters have become a dumping ground for polluters. The first step to curb this tide of toxic pollution is to restore Clean Water Act protections to all our waterways.”

Hope for such a legislative restoration explains the report’s timing. It arrives as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers restoring protections to about 2 million miles of waterways. The public comment period for the proposal ends in October.

“Looking at the data from our report [last week], you can see why polluters might oppose any efforts to better protect our waters,” Fields said. “That’s why we are working with farmerssmall businesses and hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans to make sure our voices for clean water are heard in Washington D.C.
“The future of the waterways we love—from the Chesapeake Bay to the Colorado River—hangs in the balance.”
Here are some other findings:
  • Watersheds receiving the highest volumes of toxic pollution were the Lower Ohio River-Little Pigeon River (Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky), the Upper New River (Virginia) and the Middle Savannah River (Georgia and South Carolina).
  • Of the top 10 parent-companies releasing the largest amount of toxins, four are corporate agribusiness companies: Tyson, Cargill Inc., Perdue Farms Inc. and Pilgrims Pride Corp.
  • Industrial facilities released more than 1.4 million pounds of chemicals linked to cancer into 688 local watersheds during 2012, including arsenic, benzene and chromium. The North Fork Humboldt River watershed in Nevada received the largest release of carcinogens among local watersheds, followed by the Lake Maurepas watershed in Louisiana.
The report also provides a state-by-state breakdown of the toxic dumping, along with a ranking of dumping companies around the country.

“It’s high time that we restore protections for the drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans,” said Fields. “That’s why [we released] this report and running an ad in Politico as part of a broad effort to educate the public and engage elected officials to weigh in with the Obama administration in support of its Clean Water Act rulemaking.”

Source: Mint Press

Stunning increase in earthquake activity in Oklahoma linked to oil and gas drilling

© AP PHOTO/SUE OGROCKI
In this Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011 file photo, Chad
Devereaux works at cleaning up the bricks that
fell from three sides of his in-laws' home in
Sparks, Okla., after two earthquakes hit the
area in less than 24 hours.
Sott.net | Junw 20, 2014 | Polly Mosendz / The Wire

Between 1978 and 2008, Oklahoma had just two earthquakes with a magnitude over 3.0. In 2014, thus far, there have been around 200 such earthquakes there, more even than the highly unstable state of California. (They've had 140.) Experts believe the unusual increase in earthquakes is linked to the number of wastewater wells connected to oil and gas drilling.

Wastewater wells occur when oil and gas companies inject wastewater deep underground. Scientists believe that the wastewater acts as a lubricant in existing fault lines, causing more movement. Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, has also been linked to earthquakes, though the majority of Oklahoma's tremors were caused by wastewater wells.

Wastewater well
The USGS and Oklahoma officials are adding monitor stations to best determine which wastewater wells are causing the earthquake issue. There are currently 15 permanent stations and 17 temporary stations.

Thus far, none of the earthquakes in Oklahoma have caused major damage. However, USGS geophysicist Rob Williams believes it is only a matter of time, "Given the rate of earthquakes over the last six months, it's concerning enough to be worried about a larger, damaging earthquake happening, let alone what might happen in the future."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Receding Swiss glaciers reveal 4000 year old forests - Warmists try to suppress findings

© Climate Change Dispatch.com
Sott.net | Jun 21, 2014 | Larry Bell \ Newsmax

Dr. Christian Schlüchter's discovery of 4,000-year-old chunks of wood at the leading edge of a Swiss glacier was clearly not cheered by many members of the global warming doom-and-gloom science orthodoxy.

This finding indicated that the Alps were pretty nearly glacier-free at that time, disproving accepted theories that they only began retreating after the end of the little ice age in the mid-19th century. As he concluded, the region had once been much warmer than today, with "a wild landscape and wide flowing river."

Dr. Schlüchter's report might have been more conveniently dismissed by the entrenched global warming establishment were it not for his distinguished reputation as a giant in the field of geology and paleoclimatology who has authored/coauthored more than 250 papers and is a professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Then he made himself even more unpopular thanks to a recent interview titled "Our Society is Fundamentally Dishonest" which appeared in the Swiss publication Der Bund where he criticized the U.N.-dominated institutional climate science hierarchy for extreme tunnel vision and political contamination.

Following the ancient forest evidence discovery Schlüchter became a target of scorn. As he observes in the interview, "I wasn't supposed to find that chunk of wood because I didn't belong to the close-knit circle of Holocene and climate researchers. My findings thus caught many experts off guard: Now an 'amateur' had found something that the [more recent time-focused] Holocene and climate experts should have found."

Other evidence exists that there is really nothing new about dramatic glacier advances and retreats. In fact the Alps were nearly glacier-free again about 2,000 years ago. Schlüchter points out that "the forest line was much higher than it is today; there were hardly any glaciers. Nowhere in the detailed travel accounts from Roman times are glaciers mentioned."

Schlüchter criticizes his critics for focusing on a time period which is "indeed too short." His studies and analyses of a Rhone glacier area reveal that "the rock surface had [previously] been ice-free 5,800 of the last 10,000 years."

Such changes can occur very rapidly. His research team was stunned to find trunks of huge trees near the edge of Mont Miné Glacier which had all died in just a single year. They determined that time to be 8,200 years ago based upon oxygen isotopes in the Greenland ice which showed marked cooling.

Casting serious doubt upon alarmist U.N.-IPCC projections that the Alps will be nearly glacier-free by 2100, Schlüchter poses several challenging questions: "Why did the glaciers retreat in the middle of the 19th century, although the large CO2 increase in the atmosphere came later? Why did the Earth 'tip' in such a short time into a warming phase? Why did glaciers again advance in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1980s? . . . Sooner or later climate science will have to answer the question why the retreat of the glacier at the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850 was so rapid."

Although we witness ongoing IPCC attempts to blame such developments upon evil fossil-fueled CO2 emissions, that notion fails to answer these questions. Instead, Schlüchter believes that the sun is the principal long-term driver of climate change, with tectonics and volcanoes acting as significant contributors.

Regarding IPCC integrity with strong suspicion, Schlüchter recounts a meeting in England that he was "accidentally" invited to which was led by "someone of the East Anglia Climate Center who had come under fire in the wake of the Climategate e-mails."

As he describes it: "The leader of the meeting spoke like some kind of Father. He was seated at a table in front of those gathered and he took messages. He commented on them either benevolently or dismissively."

Schlüchter's view of the proceeding took a final nosedive towards the end of the discussion. As he noted: "Lastly it was about tips on research funding proposals and where to submit them best. For me it was impressive to see how the leader of the meeting collected and selected information."

As a number of other prominent climate scientists I know will attest, there's one broadly recognized universal tip for those seeking government funding. All proposals with any real prospects for success should somehow link climate change with human activities rather than to natural causes. Even better, those human influences should intone dangerous consequences.

Schlüchter warns that the reputation of science is becoming more and more damaged as politics and money gain influence. He concludes, "For me it also gets down to the credibility of science . . . Today many natural scientists are helping hands of politicians, and are no longer scientists who occupy themselves with new knowledge and data. And that worries me."

Yes. That should worry everyone.

Swarm reveals Earth’s changing magnetism

Changes in Earth’s magnetic field from January to June 2014
as measured by the Swarm constellation of satellites. These
changes are based on the magnetic signals that stem
from Earth’s core. Shades of red represent areas of
strengthening, while blues show areas of
weakening over the 6-month period.

Credit: ESA/DTU Space
Science Daily | Jun 20, 2014

The first set of high-resolution results from ESA's three-satellite Swarm constellation reveals the most recent changes in the magnetic field that protects our planet.

Launched in November 2013, Swarm is providing unprecedented insights into the complex workings of Earth's magnetic field, which safeguards us from the bombarding cosmic radiation and charged particles.
Measurements made over the past six months confirm the general trend of the field's weakening, with the most dramatic declines over the Western Hemisphere.

But in other areas, such as the southern Indian Ocean, the magnetic field has strengthened since January.
The latest measurements also confirm the movement of magnetic North towards Siberia.

These changes are based on the magnetic signals stemming from Earth's core. Over the coming months, scientists will analyse the data to unravel the magnetic contributions from other sources, namely the mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.

This will provide new insight into many natural processes, from those occurring deep inside our planet to space weather triggered by solar activity. In turn, this information will yield a better understanding of why the magnetic field is weakening.

"These initial results demonstrate the excellent performance of Swarm," said Rune Floberghagen, ESA's Swarm Mission Manager.

"With unprecedented resolution, the data also exhibit Swarm's capability to map fine-scale features of the magnetic field."

The first results were presented June 19, 2014 at the 'Third Swarm Science Meeting' in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sofie Carsten Nielsen, Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science, highlighted the Danish contribution to the mission. Swarm continues the legacy of the Danish Ørsted satellite, which is still operational, as well as the German Champ mission. Swarm's core instrument -- the Vector Field Magnetometer -- was provided by the Technical University of Denmark.

Denmark's National Space Institute, DTU Space, has a leading role -- together with 10 European and Canadian research institutes -- in the Swarm Satellite Constellation Application and Research Facility, which produces advanced models based on Swarm data describing each of the various sources of the measured field.

"I'm extremely happy to see that Swarm has materialised," said Kristian Pedersen, Director of DTU Space.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Storms hit southern China: 26 dead, 337,000 evacuated

Photo: RIA Novosti
Voice of Russia | Jun 22, 2014

At least 26 people died, three were missing and some 337,000 were evacuated as summer storms brought torrential rain and flashfloods to much of southern China, the government said Sunday.

High winds, floods and landslides destroyed about 8,700 homes and damaged 66,000 others, affecting some 4.9 million people in nine southern provinces since June 18, the Ministry of Civil Affairs reported.

The National Meteorological Centre forecast more heavy rain in large areas of southern China Sunday and Monday.

Several dozen people perished in weather-related deaths in the region earlier this month.

Fracking boom depletes, pollutes US water supplies

Mixed messages: a warning sign at a
fracking site in Pennsylvania.

Photo: Ostroff Law / Wikimedia Commons.
The Ecologist | Jun 20, 2014 | Valarie Brown

The US's 'dash to frack' for oil or gas, which has transformed the country's energy market, is seriously depleting and contaminating aquifers and surface water supplies, writes Valerie Brown. The choice facing America is plain - energy, or water? 

Since the onset of the fracking boom almost a decade ago, every state in the US has been examining its geological resources in the hope of finding oil or gas it can access through this extraction method.

Almost half the states are now producing at least some shale gas, with a few - Texas, Pennsylvania, California, Colorado, North Dakota - sitting on massive deposits. Nearly half a million wells in the US were producing shale gas in 2012.

But while many countries now seek to bolster their economies by following the American lead in exploiting this controversial new source of fossil fuels, campaigners in the US are warning of serious collateral damage to the environment: the depletion and contamination of vital water supplies.

A single 'frack' uses 5 million gallons of water

The process of fracking, short for 'hydraulic fracturing', involves injecting water, sand and chemicals down vertical wells and along horizontal shafts - which can be several miles long - to open up small pores in the rock. This releases the methane for capture.

Fracking a well just once uses upwards of five million gallons of water, and each well can be fracked 18 times or more.

Texas alone used an estimated 25 billion gallons of water for fracking in 2012, according to a recent report by Ceres, a not-for-profit group advising investors on climate change.

And where surface water is lacking, as in Texas, underground aquifers are being emptied at record rates.

While fracking's water use still trails behind personal and agricultural uses, demand is accelerating even while much of the US is suffering extreme drought, which is probably caused or worsened by climate change exacerbated, ironically, by burning fossil fuels.  

The 'Halliburton loophole'

There is no overarching policy regulating how the industry uses water. In the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a provision known as the 'Halliburton loophole' exempts oil and gas operations from almost all federal air and water regulations, leaving protection of these basic life necessities to the states.

Texas does not require operators to report groundwater use, but new regulations in California require operators to state where they will get their water and how they will dispose of their wastewater.

Even in the face of a drought emergency, the state's well operators still plan to take most of their water from surface sources, says Kyle Ferrar, California state co-ordinator of the Fractracker Alliance, a not-for-profit data analysis group.

Radioactive, toxic effluents

Disposing of the water when fracking is complete is also challenging. The wastewater is a mixture of the injected freshwater, fracking chemicals, and deep formation water, which is usually briny and often mildly radioactive.

It can't be recycled for typical water uses, as few public drinking water or sewage treatment plants are equipped to remove fracking contaminants. In fact, some of these contaminants react with chlorine compounds to form trihalomethanes, which can cause liver and kidney damage.

The most reasonable wastewater solution appears to be re-using it in subsequent fracking operations - a practice that is growing in popularity among American well operators because it can reduce the amount of new water required. Waste can also be injected into spent oil and gas wells, much as CO2 is sequestered.

The US Environmental Protection Agency operates an underground injection control programme, which it administers directly in some states and allows state government to run in others.

But many operators still pump the waste into large surface ponds lined with plastic, allowing the water to evaporate and carry some contaminants into the atmosphere. Storm runoff can also transmit wastewater from ponds and landfills to surface and groundwater systems.

How's this? Send the waste water in Ohio

Pennsylvania is struggling to balance its resources in the face of the fracking boom. In 2011, the Department of Environmental Protection asked the state's gas well operators to stop discharging waste into surface waters.

Because Pennsylvania's geology is not conducive to stable injection wells, operators now ship much of their wastewater next door to Ohio, which encourages the practice as an income source.

In 2011, at least half the wastewater stored in Ohio came from out of state, according to the Environment Ohio Research & Policy Center. Many Ohio environmentalists object to taking other states' waste - partly because the fracking boom has resulted in some shady practices.  

Illegal dumping, contaminated aquifers

"Dumping seems to be a really ongoing problem", explains Julie Weatherington-Rice, senior scientist at Bennett & Williams Environmental Consultants in Ohio.

"We're seeing dumping down old mineshafts and dumping on roads where the spigot at the end of the tank is allowed to dribble all the way to the well."

In March, a Youngstown company admitted it had dumped thousands of gallons of waste into a stormwater sewer feeding into a river system. Testing revealed that the waste contained benzene, which is a known carcinogen, and toluene, a nervous system toxicant.

If concrete wellbores or seals at the wellhead are misaligned or corroded, methane and chemicals can migrate into potable water aquifers - something that the small town of Dimock, Pennsylvania, learned the hard way in 2009.

Exploding wells

Most Dimock residents have individual water wells. Shortly after Cabot Oil and Gas began fracking in the area, a resident's backyard water well exploded.

After it was determined that Cabot's operations were the source of the methane contamination, a consent agreement with the state required Cabot to supply Dimock's drinking water.

But the state allowed Cabot to stop supplying water in 2011, without testing residents' well water, according to a report by StateImpact, a project of National Public Radio stations.

Because many residents still don't have potable water as a result of the contamination, volunteers from around the state are holding local events to raise money to supply water to Dimock, says Karen Feridun, an activist with Berks Gas Truth, an anti-fracking group. The situation remains unresolved for the long term.

America faces a choice - energy or water?

Although Pennsylvania and Texas have been hit especially hard by the effects of shale gas extraction, no part of the US is exempt.

Even the Pacific Northwest, long insulated from fossil fuel extraction and burning by virtue of its massive hydropower projects and deep layers of flood basalt covering any oil or gas-bearing formations, is now vulnerable.

The region faces the prospect of liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipelines and a massive increase in trains carrying oil and coal through the scenic Columbia River Gorge to west coast ports for shipment to China. LNG terminals are also being planned for gas shipment from the US east coast to Europe.

At some point, campaigners warn, all Americans may have to choose between energy and clean water.

"Make sure [fracking's] not taking your drinking water or your irrigation or the water that your herds need to survive", says Weatherington-Rice. "When this happens, you've lost that water forever."



Valerie Brown is a science writer focusing on climate change and environmental health. Based in Oregon, USA, she is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and Society of Environmental Journalists.

In 2009, Valerie received the Society of Environmental Journalists award for Outstanding Explanatory Reporting in Print for her article Environment Becomes Heredity for the Miler-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy's Pacific Standard journal. 

This article was originally published by Climate News Network.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The largest disease outbreak that we know of ever in the oceans” now hitting West Coast — Potential for “global extinction

© Earthfix
ENE News | Jun 16, 2014

Macleans, June 13, 2014: From Alaska to Mexico—and all along the B.C. coast—an iconic animal is disappearing. For reasons that remain baffling to scientists, starfish are dying by the millions, in the grips of a mysterious wasting disease that dissolves their bodies into goo. “I’d do beach walks along a 50-m stretch of shoreline, and count 500 or 1,000 of them,” says Chris Harley, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia who’s been monitoring sea stars (as scientists call them) for nearly two decades [...] Revisiting one of these sites recently, he found a single sea star. […] “This is one of the largest wildlife die-offs that we know of,” [Seattle Aquarium veterinarian Lesanna Lahner] says. “It’s a signal in the ecosystem that something’s not right.”

Eugene Weekly, June 12, 2014: “The way the rate has accelerated, I don’t think most sea stars along the Oregon coast are long for this world,” says Bruce Menge, a marine ecologist with Oregon State University.

KUOW News, June 16, 2014: “It’s a lot worse than it was last week,” says [Drew] Harvell, a marine epidemiologist at Cornell University. [...] “It’s the largest mortality event for marine diseases we’ve seen,” Harvell said. “It affects over twenty species on our coast and it’s been causing catastrophic mortality.” [...]

From what Harvell and her team see as they survey beaches [of Washington's San Juan archipelago], there’s not much time for these starfish [...] “My expectation is that within the next month all of the stars will die.” The team checked this rocky patch last week and found 10 percent of the stars showed signs of the wasting syndrome. Today they estimate that number has increased to more than 40 percent. [...]  Harvell said, “This area has some of the highest biodiversity of sea stars in the world. We’re not just losing one keystone species, we’re losing a whole guild of stars.” And the stars here are what’s called an endemic species, meaning they only live on this shoreline and nowhere else on the planet, she explained. If sea stars are wiped out along these shores, there’s a potential for not just local, but global extinction.

EarthFix (Oregon Public Broadcasting, KCTS9, KUOW), June 15, 2014 — Drew Harvell, Cornell University: “This is the largest disease outbreak that we know of ever in the oceans. [...] I’m expecting that in the next two weeks we will lose virtually all the stars at this site [in Washington] [...] To lose all of them at once, we don’t even know what’s going to happen.”

Watch the EarthFix video here

Air Pollution Seen as Playing Role in Mental Health Disorders

ALLGOV | Jun 20, 2014 | Noel Brinkerhoff


(photo: Getty Images)
Some neurological conditions such as autism and schizophrenia may be linked to exposure to air pollution, a new study shows.

Experts at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that subjecting young mice to air pollution causes unhealthy changes in their brains, including the enlarging of the same areas found in humans diagnosed with autism and schizophrenia.

The research showed the changes tended to occur more often in males, and that other troubles like memory loss, learning disability and impulsivity became prevalent. The findings support those of earlier studies indicating a link between air pollution and autism in children.

Last year, JAMA Psychiatry reported a correlation between children living in areas with high levels of traffic-related air pollution and autism. In fact, these kids were three times more likely to develop the condition.

“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that air pollution may play a role in autism, as well as in other neurodevelopmental disorders,” Deborah Cory-Slechta, professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study, said.

Earlier this year, a Harvard University study showed that exposure in the womb to diesel, lead, manganese, mercury, methylene chloride and an overall measure of metals was “significantly associated with autism spectrum disorder,” with the highest association from exposure to diesel exhaust, according to a story in the Provo Daily Herald.

“Air pollution contains many toxicants known to affect neurological function and to have effects on the fetus,” the Harvard study stated.

Episode 2 Symbols of an Alien Sky: The Lightning Scarred Planet, Mars (Full Documentary)

Thunderbolts Project | Jun 20, 2014 | CHANNEL

Newfound Dinosaur Sported 'Wings' on its Head

Live Science | Jun 19, 2014 | Elizabeth Palermo
This artist reconstruction reveals the
horned dinosaur Mercuriceratops Gemini,
a new species of horned dinosaur that
sported winglike ornamentation on the
sides of its skull.
Credit: Courtesy Danielle Dufault

Move over Triceratops: There's a new horned dinosaur in town, and its cranial ornamentation is even more impressive than the three-horned dinosaur the world has come to know and love.

A study of the recently discovered species, Mercuriceratops gemini, provides more details on this flashy dinosaur, which possessed not only the standard trifecta of facial horns, but also a giant, winglike frill protruding from the back of its skull.

"The butterfly-shaped frill, or neck shield, of Mercuriceratops is unlike anything we have seen before," said David Evans, co-author of the new study and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, in a statement. "Mercuriceratops shows that evolution gave rise to much greater variation in horned dinosaur headgear than we had previously suspected." [See Images of a Flashy Horned Dinosaur]

The research describing the new species is based on fossil evidence collected from Montana as well as Alberta, Canada. Mercuriceratops gemini lived about 77 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period, and was approximately 20 feet (6 meters) long and weighed more than 2 tons. Like Triceratops and other ceratopsid dinosaurs, Mercuriceratops was a plant-eating dinosaur, and researchers believe it had a parrotlike beak, as well as two long brow horns above its eyes.

Its headgear, though, is in a league all its own.

"Mercuriceratops took a unique evolutionary path that shaped the large frill on the back of its skull into protruding wings like the decorative fins on classic 1950s cars," said Michael Ryan, lead author of the study and curator of vertebrate paleontology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio, in the statement. "It definitively would have stood out from the herd during the Late Cretaceous."

The dinosaur's name, Mercuriceratops, is a combination of "Mercury" — the Roman God best known for his winged helmet — and "ceratops," a Greek word meaning "horned face." The second part of its name "gemini," is Latin for "twins" and refers to the fact that paleontologists uncovered two nearly identical specimens of the species, the first in north-central Montana and the second at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dinosaur Provincial Park, in Alberta, Canada.

The study detailing the two findings, published online in the journal Naturwissenschaften, focuses on skull fragments of Mercuriceratops found at each site. Originally, scientists believed the specimen they had uncovered at the Judith River Formation of Montana was simply a distorted fossil from the remains of a more common ceratopsid species. But the discovery of a nearly identical specimen collected from the Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta suggested otherwise.

Fossils of the horned dinosaur Mercuriceratops
Gemini
were discovered in Montana as well as
in a quarry in Dinosaur Provincial Park,
Alberta, Canada (shown here).
Credit: Courtesy Philip J. Currie
"The Alberta specimen confirmed that the fossil from Montana was not a pathological specimen, nor had it somehow been distorted during the process of fossilization," said Philip Currie, professor and Canada research chair in dinosaur paleobiology at the University of Alberta, in the statement. "The two fossils — squamosal bones from the side of the frill — have all the features you would expect, just presented in a unique shape." (The squamosal bone is located in the skull of vertebrates.)

As to the question of why Mercuriceratopsdeveloped such a prominent skull ornament, the researchers presented a number of possibilities.

"Horned dinosaurs in North America used their elaborate skull ornamentation to identify each other and to attract mates — not just for protection from predators," Ryan said. "The winglike protrusions on the sides of its frill may have offered male Mercuriceratops a competitive advantage in attracting mates.”

Follow Elizabeth Palermo on Twitter @techEpalermo, Facebook or Google+. Follow us @livescienceFacebookGoogle+. Original article on Live Science.