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Showing posts from May 8, 2016

Earth's New Lightning Capital Revealed

by Ryan Connelly, Student Intern MSFC
Huntsville AL (SPX) May 06, 2016

Daytime and nighttime lightning flash rate density at Lake Maracaibo (top) and Lake Victoria (bottom). White lines represent elevation, and gray lines are country physical boundaries. Image courtesy University of Sao Paulo. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Earth has a new lightning capital, according to a recent study using observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensor onboard NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission. 

Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela earned the top spot receiving an average rate of about 233 flashes per square kilometer per year, according to the study. 

Researchers had previously identified Africa's Congo Basin as the location of maximum lightning activity.

The research team constructed a very high-resolution data set derived from 16 years of space-based LIS observations to identify and rank lightning hotspots. 

They described their research in the Bulletin of the American Mete…

How blockchains could change the world

Ignore Bitcoin’s challenges. In this interview, Don Tapscott explains why blockchains, the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency, have the potential to revolutionize the world economy.

What impact could the technology behind Bitcoin have? 

According to Tapscott Group CEO Don Tapscott, blockchains, the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency, could revolutionize the world economy.

 In this interview with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland, Tapscott explains how blockchains—an open-source distributed database using state-of-the-art cryptography—may facilitate collaboration and tracking of all kinds of transactions and interactions.

 Tapscott, coauthor of the new book Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World, also believes the technology could offer genuine privacy protection and“a platform for truth and trust.”

 An edited and extended transcript of Tapscott’s comments follows.

Interview transcript

In the early 1990s, we said the old …

INDIA 2016 : Gales leave behind a trail of destruction in mango groves

Printed from V 

Vijayawada: Mango growers in Andhra Pradesh have faced the double whammy of poor yields and market slump due to the ban on usage of calcium carbide. 

Compounding their problems, heavy rain and gales caused extensive damage in mango groves across the state. 

Farmers were hoping that their yield would help them recover from heavy losses. 

As it is, there has been a drastic fall in the production of the 'king of fruits' this season as only 50 percent of the groves in AP have flowered so far. 

Thanks to the strong winds on Thursday and Friday, a further decline in yield is certain.
"Despite slashing 60 percent of my produce in April, I was reasonably confident about the remaining trees which flowered late this year. Now, almost all the mangoes which would have matured and become ready for consumption in two-three weeks are rotting on the ground," rued Nuzvid resident K Nageswara Rao.

 A large section of farmers are planning to abandon mango cultivation mainly be…

A Rare Congress and Mixed Signals in North Korea

" A Rare Congress and Mixed Signals in North Korea is republished with permission of Stratfor."


MAY 5, 2016 | 09:15 GMT 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers his televised New Year address on Jan. 1, 2016. As Kim's Workers' Party of Korea prepares to convene its first Party Congress since 1980, North Korea has apparently accelerated its nuclear missiles testing. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)


For the first time in more than 35 years, North Korea is preparing to hold a full Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). 

Originally intended to be a regular occurrence for the WPK, party congresses convened only sporadically until 1980, when Kim Jong Il was named as Kim Il Sung's successor, and juche (loosely translated as self-reliance) was formalized as the government's official guiding philosophy.

In the years since, though the WPK has officially remained at the center of the North Korean political system, party congresses have lost their c…