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Doofus writes "Masao Yoshida, director of the Daichii Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, has passed away. Colleagues and politicos in Japan praised his disobedience during the post-tsunami meltdown and credited him with preventing much more widespread and intense damage. From the article: 'On March 12, a day after the tsunami, Mr. Yoshida ignored an order from Tepco headquarters to stop pumping seawater into a reactor to try and cool it because of concerns that ocean water would corrode the equipment. Tepco initially said it would penalize Mr. Yoshida even though Sakae Muto, then a vice president at the utility, said it was a technically appropriate decision. Mr. Yoshida received no more than a verbal reprimand after then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended the plant chief, the Yomiuri newspaper reported. "I bow in respect for his leadership and decision-making," Kan said Tuesday in a message posted on his Twitter account.'"

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Earlier this week, relentless monsoon rains and Tropical Storm Trami wreaked havoc in the Philippines, causing at least ten deaths and severely flooding wide swaths of the capital Manila. Flood-battered residents from coastal areas and mountainous regions appealed for help, after days of some of the Philippines' heaviest rains on record. The floods began receding yesterday, even as authorities evacuated thousands of residents along Manila's overflowing rivers and braced for more chaos in outlying provinces. Trami is now bearing down on heavily populated northern Taiwan, prompting schools and offices to close. [24 photos]

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Publication: Epic new book reveals previously unseen photographs of the surface of Mars

Posted by Liv Siddall,
Thursday 03 October 2013

Everyone’s talking about going to visit Mars now that the option is now sort of available. To be honest, there are actually some people I would happily wave off as they careered off to an uninhabitable planet that can be up to 250 million miles away. For those of us who prefer a simple life on watery, flowery earth, here is a truly exciting book to be released this year by Aperture.

The coffee-table-groaning publication is made up of astounding and previously unseen photographs of the surface of Mars. Cosy it is not, but epic, cratered and cracked it is. The surface is like monochrome close-up of a Dominos pizza, round, fiery and has been on fire for the majority of it’s life. As well as the jaw-dropping imagery that reside on its glossy pages, the design of This is Mars has been impeccably thought out by Xavier Barral. “Conceived as a visual atlas, the book takes the reader on a fantastic voyage — plummeting into the breathtaking depths of the Velles Marineris canyons; floating over the black dunes of Noachis Terra; and soaring to the highest peak in our solar system, the Olympus Mons volcano. The search for traces of water also uncovers vast stretches of carbonic ice at the planet’s poles.” See and blow your mind even more here on their site then call up NASA to pre-book your seat on the one-way rocket to the planet itself.

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There's no single culprit responsible for deforestation: around the world, forest cover is lost because of fires, disease, logging, clear-cutting, and myriad other factors. And the environmental consequences threaten to be severe, especially given that deforestation causes an estimated 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

And before experts can effectively mitigate the problem, they need to know where it's happening — and to what extent. Now, a collaborative effort led by the University of Maryland (and including both Google and NASA) has created the first-ever high-resolution map that tracks forest gains and losses over time. Described this week in the journal Science, the map's creation depended on more than a decade of satellite imagery provided by Landsat — a satellite program operated by the US Geological Survey to capture and store images of Earth — combined with the processing prowess of Google Earth Engine.

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A video from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme explains global warming and projected changes in the near future. I wanted them to provide more contrast to the data they showed over the globe, but the story itself is an interesting one.

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Every year, farmers in Indonesia clear large swaths of forest by setting deliberate slash-and-burn fires, sending clouds of smoke into the atmosphere, choking neighbors, including Malaysia and Singapore. This season has been the harshest in years -- in Singapore yesterday, the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) rose to the highest level on record, reaching 371, prompting government officials to warn residents to stay indoors, and urging the Indonesian government to take action. Indonesia accused Singapore of acting "like a child", and warned it to stay out of domestic affairs. Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the haze could persist for weeks or longer, as the two nations prepare for emergency talks to ease the crisis. [18 photos]

A woman wears a mask as the Singapore Central Business District is covered with haze Thursday evening, June 20, 2013. Singapore urged people to remain indoors amid unprecedented levels of air pollution Thursday as a smoky haze wrought by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia worsened dramatically. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)     

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The annual monsoon rains have come heavy and early to India, swelling the Ganges, India's longest river, sweeping away houses, stranding thousands, and and killing more than 100 so far. Record downpours fell in Uttarakhand state, situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, causing mudslides and flooding mountain villages. The high water is now reaching the capital of New Delhi, where nearly 2,000 people have been evacuated to government-run camps on higher ground. Authorities there said the situation would ease as the level of the Yamuna River was expected to start receding Thursday afternoon. [23 photos]

A submerged idol of Hindu Lord Shiva stands in the flooded River Ganges in Rishikesh, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, on June 18, 2013. Torrential monsoon rains have cause havoc in northern India leading to flash floods, cloudbursts and landslides as the death toll continues to climb and more than 1,000 pilgrims bound for Himalayan shrines remain stranded. (AP Photo)     

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