Hexbyte Glen Cove Canaries lava peninsula doubles in size as wind change raises risk thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Canaries lava peninsula doubles in size as wind change raises risk

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The lava flow from the Cumbre Vieja volcano pours into the Atlantic Ocean.

Lava from the erupting volcano on La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands that began cascading into the ocean two days ago has already covered an area bigger than 25 football pitches, with concerns rising over worsening air quality in nearby residential areas, experts said on Thursday.

The newly wrought peninsula had doubled in size to 20 hectares (50 acres) since the morning, according to the Volcanic Institute of the Canaries (Involcan).

While the feared explosion and clouds of toxic gases released as the hit the ocean have not materialised, a forecast change in wind may bring new hazards, the Pevolca volcanic emergency committee warned.

“With the weather we are going to have from tomorrow,” marked by a possible change in the direction of winds that have so far dispersed the gases towards the sea, it is possible “the smell of sulphur” will be felt “with greater intensity”, Pevolca official Ruben Fernandez said.

Sulphur dioxide levels increased for the first time on Thursday afternoon in Tazacorte, while the ash particles increased in density in Santa Cruz de La Palma, according to the National Institute of Toxicology.

Since it began on September 19, the dramatic eruption has forced thousands out of their homes, while lava has destroyed hundreds of houses, businesses and huge swathes of banana plantations.

The volcano spewed out rivers of lava that slowly crept towards the sea, eventually pouring into the Atlantic Ocean late on Tuesday.

Thousands of people have been evacuated.

Since then, the rivers of molten rock have not stopped cascading into the sea, creating a growing lava delta.

While the initial impact on the flora and fauna of being submerged under the river of molten rock is devastating, over the longer term, it may prove beneficial—bringing minerals from the Earth’s core to the surface and providing a habitat both underwater and on land for colonisation by species, experts said.

Fernando Tuya, a biodiversity researcher at the University of La Palma, said: “The lava will form a rocky platform that will become a substrate for numerous marine species in the future, that is to say in three to five years.”

As the white-hot lava poured into the sea, it sent plumes of acid fumes into the air that experts said could irritate the skin, eyes and respiratory tracts.

But fears it could affect the were quickly allayed as strong winds dispersed the vapours over the sea.

However that could change with the wind direction predicted to turn around on Friday.

A map locating where lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano has reached the sea on the Canary Island of La Palma.

Disaster zone

Some 300 residents in the nearby town of Tazacorte have been told to stay at home to avoid any chance of inhaling the gases and a 3.5-kilometre (two-mile) exclusion zone remained in place, which also extends two nautical miles out to sea.

“Until we know that these areas are not at risk, these measures will be maintained,” Pevolca’s Ruben Fernandez said on Wednesday evening.

La Palma has been declared a natural , with the lava scorching its way across 476 hectares of land, the local government said on Twitter.

It has so far destroyed 855 buildings, an increase of more than 200 in just over 24 hours, the EU’s Copernicus observation programme said on Twitter.

The eruption of La Cumbre Vieja has forced some 6,000 people to flee their homes but so far, nobody has been injured or killed.

Although the volcano is still erupting, La Palma’s airport resumed operations on Wednesday after flights were suspended at the weekend due to the ash.

On Thursday, farmers were allowed to access their plantations outside the security zone to collect bananas—the chief cash crop on the island.

La Cumbre Vieja lies about 15 kilometres (nine miles) west of the airport as the crow flies, although the has only spilt down the western side of the volcano.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Canaries lava peninsula doubles in size as wind change raises risk (2021, September 30)
retrieved 1 October 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-canaries-lava-peninsula-size.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove Large Chinese rocket segment disintegrates over Indian Ocean thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Large Chinese rocket segment disintegrates over Indian Ocean

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A large segment of the Chinese Long March-5B rocket—seen here during launch on April 29, 2021—has re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean

A large segment of a Chinese rocket re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean on Sunday, China’s space agency said, following fevered speculation over where the 18-tonne object would come down.

Officials in Beijing had said there was little risk from the freefalling segment of the Long March-5B rocket, which had launched the first module of China’s new space station into Earth orbit on April 29.

But the US space agency NASA and some experts said China had behaved irresponsibly, as an uncontrolled re-entry of such a large object risked damage and casualties.

“After monitoring and analysis, at 10:24 (0224 GMT) on May 9, 2021, the last-stage wreckage of the Long March 5B Yao-2 launch vehicle has re-entered the atmosphere,” the China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a statement, providing coordinates for a point in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.

It added that most of the segment disintegrated and was destroyed during descent.

The US military’s Space Command said the rocket “re-entered over the Arabian Peninsula at approximately 10:15 pm EDT on May 8 (0215 GMT Sunday)”.

“It is unknown if the debris impacted land or water.”

Monitoring service Space-Track, which uses US military data, said that the location in Saudi Arabia was where American systems last recorded it.

China has poured billions into its ambitious space programme

“Operators confirm that the rocket actually went into the Indian Ocean north of the Maldives,” it tweeted.

The segment’s descent matched expert predictions that any debris would have splashed down into the ocean, given that 70 percent of the planet is covered by water.

Because it was an uncontrolled descent, there was widespread public interest and speculation about where the debris would land.

American and European space authorities were among those tracking the rocket and trying to predict its re-entry.

Accusations of negligence

Objects generate immense amounts of heat and friction when they enter the atmosphere, which can cause them to burn up and disintegrate. But larger ones such as the Long March-5B may not be destroyed entirely.

Their wreckage can land on the surface of the planet and may cause damage and casualties, though that risk is low.

Last year, debris from another Chinese Long March rocket fell on villages in the Ivory Coast, causing structural damage but no injuries or deaths.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said China had failed to ‘meet responsible standards regarding their space debris’

That, and the one that came down Sunday, are tied for the fourth-biggest objects in history to undergo an uncontrolled re-entry, according to data from Harvard-based astronomer Jonathan McDowell.

The uncertainty and risks of such a re-entry sparked accusations that Beijing had behaved irresponsibly.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin suggested last week that China had been negligent, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson echoed that after the re-entry on Sunday.

“Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” Nelson said in a statement.

“It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”

Chinese state tabloid Global Times slammed US concerns as “shameless hype” in a Sunday editorial.

“It is seriously anti-intellectual to claim that China’s rocket debris is especially risky,” read the article.

“Washington will keep nitpicking and discrediting Beijing over the construction of (the) space station.”

Fact file on China’s propective space station, scheduled to be operational by 2022

China’s space ambitions

To avoid such scenarios, some experts have recommended a redesign of the Long March-5B rocket—which is not equipped for a controlled descent.

“An ocean reentry was always statistically the most likely,” McDowell tweeted.

“It appears China won its gamble (unless we get news of debris in the Maldives). But it was still reckless.”

Chinese authorities had downplayed the risk, however.

“The probability of causing harm to aviation activities or (on people and activities) on the ground is extremely low,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Friday.

Beijing has poured billions of dollars into space exploration to boost its global stature and technological might.

The launch of the first module of its space station—by the Long March rocket that came down Sunday—was a milestone in its ambitious plan to establish a permanent human presence in space.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Large Chinese rocket segment disintegrates over Indian Ocean (2021, May 9)
retrieved 10 May 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-05-large-chinese-rocket-segment-disintegrates.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Read More Hexbyte Glen Cove Educational Blog Repost With Backlinks —

Hexbyte Glen Cove Why lockdowns don't necessarily infringe on freedom thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Why lockdowns don’t necessarily infringe on freedom

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Europe is dealing with its “second wave” of COVID-19. And governments seem powerless to stem the tide. Dutch political leaders find it difficult to convince their citizens to wear face masks. A large majority of French voters think that Emmanuel Macron’s government has handled the pandemic badly. And Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, is facing anger from all sides about the circumstances that led to a new English lockdown.

According to these leaders, the arrival of a second wave has nothing to do with their own policy failures, or poor communication. No, the numbers are rising because Europeans are freedom-loving people and it’s hard to make them follow rules. “It is very difficult to ask the British population, uniformly, to obey guidelines in the way that is necessary,” said Johnson for example, in response to criticism of his government’s testing policy. Similarly, in the Netherlands some were quick to attribute soaring infection rates to the fact that the Dutch are famously averse to being “patronized.”

The same explanation is often invoked to account for why Europe is doing significantly worse than countries in East Asia, where the disease seems more under control. According to some commentators, the authoritarian, top-down political culture of countries like China and Singapore makes it far easier to implement strict measures than in liberal Europe.

Singapore’s “effective crisis management,” for instance, was supposedly made possible by the fact that its government “has always wielded absolute control over the state, with an iron fist and a whip in it.” Conversely, many believe that a devotion to “individual liberty” doomed the west to its ongoing crisis.

Is this true? Is a poorly functioning government indeed the price that must be paid for freedom? If that is the case, then perhaps we had better give up on liberty. After all, anyone who is dead or seriously ill does not benefit much from being free.

Collective freedom

Fortunately, that’s a conclusion we needn’t draw. As history shows, freedom is quite compatible with effective government. Western political thinkers ranging from Herodotus to Algernon Sidney did not think that a free society is a society without rules, but that those rules should be decided collectively. In their view, freedom was a public good rather than a purely individual condition. A free people, Sidney wrote for instance, was a people living “under laws of their own making.”

Even philosophers such as John Locke, it is worth noting, agreed with this view. Locke is often portrayed as a thinker who believed that freedom coincided with , rights that should be protected at all costs against state interference. But Locke explicitly denied that freedom was harmed by government regulation—as long as those rules were made “with the consent of society.”

“Freedom then is not … a liberty for every one to do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and not to be tied by any law,” he wrote in his famous Second Treatise. “But freedom of men under government, is, to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it.”

It was only in the early 19th century that some began to reject this collective ideal in favor of a more individualistic conception of liberty.

A new liberty

In the wake of the French Revolution, democracy slowly expanded across Europe. But this was not universally welcomed. The extension of the right to vote, many feared, would give political power to the poor and uneducated, who would no doubt use it to make dumb decisions or to redistribute wealth.

Hence, liberal elites embarked on a campaign against democracy—and they did so in the name of freedom. Democracy, liberal thinkers ranging from Benjamin Constant to Herbert Spencer argued, was not the mainstay of liberty but a potential threat to freedom properly understood—the private enjoyment of one’s life and goods.

Throughout the 19th century, this liberal, individualistic conception of freedom continued to be contested by radical democrats and socialists alike. Suffragettes such as Emmeline Pankhurst profoundly disagreed with Spencer’s view that the best way to protect liberty was to limit the sphere of government as much as possible. At the same time, socialist politicians such as Jean Jaurès claimed that they, and not the liberals, were the party of freedom, since socialism’s goal was “to organize the sovereignty of all in both the economic and political spheres.”

The ‘free’ West

Only after 1945 did the liberal concept of freedom prevail over the older, collective conception of freedom. In the context of cold war rivalry between the “free West” and the Soviet Union, distrust of state power grew—even democratic state power. In 1958, liberal philosopher Isaiah Berlin, in a one-sided reading of the history of European political thought, stated that “Western” freedom was a purely “negative” concept. Every law, Berlin stated bluntly, had to be seen as an encroachment on freedom.

The cold war is of course since long over. Now that we are entering the third decade of the 21st century, we might want to dust off the older, collective concept of freedom. If the coronavirus crisis has made one thing clear, it is that collective threats such as a pandemic demand decisive, effective action from .

This does not mean giving up our freedom in exchange for the protection of a nanny state. As Sidney and Locke remind us, as long as even the strictest lockdown can count on broad democratic support, and the rules remain subject to scrutiny by our representatives and the press, they do not infringe on our .



This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Citation:
Why lockdowns don’t necessarily infringe on freedom (2020, November 13)
retrieved 14 November 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-11-lockdowns-dont-necessarily-infringe-freedom.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.