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large aftershock earthquake in christchurch, nz- more damage than last time

Christchurch cathedral collapsed, its high spire gone. Photo: Stuff.co.nz
Christchurch cathedral collapsed, its high spire gone. Photo: Stuff.co.nz

“ "Multiple fatalities have been reported at several locations in the central city, including two buses crushed by falling buildings. A doctor and emergency services are attending," police said in a statement.”

Approximately 400,000 people are in the city centre during the work day. Last time, the city centre was mostly empty, that quake being at night.

There is a lot of devastation, including collapsed buildings, in the centre of Christchurch, with some estimates of deaths already at 200, and rising.

While New Zealand is in an earthquake zone, this is the worst damage done by an earthquake in New Zealand since the Napier quake of 1931, when 256 people died and the centre of that town was burnt out.

Note that, despite this earthquake being a little over a tenth of the strength of the last one in September 2010, it was much nearer to the centre of the city, and much nearer the surface. Hence the actual experience of the disturbance for those caught in it was much more violent.

Christchurch earthquakes
22 February 2011 - Lyttelton 4 September 2010 - Darfield
time of day early afternoon 4 am
distance from city centre approx. 10 km 30 km
depth approx. 5 km 33 km
Richter scale 6.3 7.1

Satellite map of Christchurch, New Zealand.  Image: google.com
Satellite map of Christchurch, New Zealand.
Earthquake epicentre: Lyttelton.
Image: google.com

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Christchurch quake aftershocks since 4 September 2010
Christchurch quake aftershocks since 4 September 2010
Image: christchurchquakemap.co.nz

Christchurch University are tracking aftershocks in the region since the September 2010 earthquake. A fault is deemed to be running west to east (left to right), with the aftershocks tending to move eastwards. So far they have plotted nearly five thousand aftershocks, shown in the map above. For more details go to christchurchquakemap.co.nz.

A useful selection of pictures showing some of the chaos in Christchurch.

related material
experiencing a 7.1 quake, christchurch new zealand - from our roving correspondent invincy
tectonics: tectonic plates - floating on the surface of a cauldron
earthquake severity
Richter scale
JMA seismic intensity scale


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on the dire state of so-called peer-reviewed ‘science’

In five short pages.

“The situation is even worse when a subject is fashionable. In recent years, for instance, there have been hundreds of studies on the various genes that control the differences in disease risk between men and women. These findings have included everything from the mutations responsible for the increased risk of schizophrenia to the genes underlying hypertension. Ioannidis and his colleagues looked at four hundred and thirty-two of these claims. They quickly discovered that the vast majority had serious flaws. But the most troubling fact emerged when he looked at the test of replication: out of four hundred and thirty-two claims, only a single one was consistently replicable.

“This doesn’t mean that none of these claims will turn out to be true,” he says. “But, given that most of them were done badly, I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

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archean expansion? - genetic archæology

small part of a clear reproduction of the gene tree chart. source: infocrats.org
small part of a clear reproduction of the gene tree chart (the small online version also expands greatly).
source: infocrats.org

“To peer back in time, the researchers created family trees of closely related genes. It is similar to a family tree — with aunts, uncles and cousins — but instead of family members, the "branches" are DNA sequences from different organisms.

“ "What we found when we constructed these gene trees for all these different gene families is that 27 percent of the roots of these trees all seem to be dated to this period in Earth's history," ...”

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atomic weights can be variable - eleven named so far

“The biennial review of atomic-weight determinations and other cognate data has resulted in changes for the standard atomic weights of 11 elements. Many atomic weights are not constants of nature, but depend upon the physical, chemical, and nuclear history of the material.” [Quoted from iupac.org]

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“Atomic weight and atomic number are two different things.

“Atomic number refers to the number of protons in an atom. It starts at 1 with hydrogen and goes up sequentially to element 118, ununoctium, on the latest table of known elements.

“Atomic weight is calculated based on the number of isotopes of any given element. A handful have only one isotope and therefore a stable atomic weight, but most elements have more than one isotope, carbon 12, 13 or 14, for example.

“ "We take a weighted sum of the isotopes ... and calculate the atomic weight based on the masses of each of the isotopes," explained Wieser.

“The first elements that are changing from a fixed atomic weight to an interval are hydrogen, lithium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, silicon, sulphur, chlorine and thalium.” [Quoted from news.yahoo.com]

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So the revised weights are
“hydrogen, Ar(H), is [1.007 84; 1.008 11] from 1.007 94(7);
lithium, Ar(Li), is [6.938; 6.997] from 6.941(2);
boron, Ar(B), is [10.806; 10.821] from 10.811(7);
carbon, Ar(C), is [12.0096; 12.0116] from 12.0107(8);
nitrogen, Ar(N), is [14.006 43; 14.007 28] from 14.0067(2);
oxygen, Ar(O), is [15.999 03; 15.999 77] from 15.9994(3);
silicon, Ar(Si), is [28.084; 28.086] from 28.0855(3);
sulfur, Ar(S), is [32.059; 32.076] from 32.065(2);
chlorine, Ar(Cl), is [35.446; 35.457] from 35.453(2);
thallium, Ar(Tl), is [204.382; 204.385] from 204.3833(2).

“The standard atomic weight of germanium, Ar(Ge), was also changed to 72.63(1) from 72.64(1).”

“The interval is used together with the symbol [a; b] to denote the set of atomic-weight values, Ar(E), of element E in normal materials for which a = Ar(E) = b. The symbols a and b denote the bounds of the interval [a; b].” [Quoted from iupac.org]

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commemorating almost 30 years of nasa space shuttle

“No cameras were harmed in the making of these movies.”

A long, extraordinary video, compiled from 125 engineering cameras used to monitor the behaviour of NASA Space Shuttles as they take off.

The commentary is by two of the engineers/scientists responsible for the safe functioning of the shuttles.

The first shuttle, STS-1, flew on 12 April 1981. This was the twentieth aniversary of the first manned space flight, made by Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1. STS-1 was the first, and only, US manned maiden test flight of a new spacecraft system (there had, however, been atmospheric test flights of the Space Shuttle orbiter - the craft containing the astronauts that flies back to Earth that is carried into space by the rocket). This rocket was the first to use a solid-fuel system and was the first of 27 flights of the orbiter Columbia.


45:15 mins

Random interesting space shuttle fact:
Only the first two space shuttles had their large external tank (ET) painted white. Painting was stopped in order to save the overall shuttle weight - the weight of paint used being about 272 kilograms/600 lb. Thus, most ETs are orange.

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