Venezuela’s Maracaibo Lake is known as the Lightning Capital of the World

If one likes lightning storms, then the most extreme lightning place on earth is Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. It has so much lightning that it is known as the lightning capital of the world.

So much lightning lights up Lake Maracaibo, that sailors used to use it to guide their ships and it earned itself the nickname “Lighthouse of Maracaibo.”

Venezuela is a very beautiful country and rich in many things. One can enjoy its tropical beaches, lush rain-forests, and intense displays of lightning. Venezuela has more than just the craziest lightning hot spot in the world, it also boasts Angel Falls – the highest waterfalls in the world.

Lake Maracaibo is a large brackish tidal bay (aka a tidal estuary) and is variously thought of as a lake, bay, or lagoon.

In the past, it was once a true lake and the largest in South America as well as being one of the oldest lakes on Earth – some 20-36 million years old.

The lake is famous for its weather phenomenon called Catatumbo lightning which makes Lake Maracaibo produce more lightning than anywhere else on earth. If one is a lightning enthusiast, consider adding this to a future itinerary.

The lightning is thought to be the result of winds blowing across the lake and the surrounding swampy plains. The air masses meet the high mountain ranges of the Andes, the Perijá Mountains, and Mérida’s Cordillera. These ranges enclose the plain below from three sides.

Towering Mountain Ranges Hem The Lake In From Three Sides Trapping The Air.

Heat and moisture are collected across the low plains and create electrical charges with the end result being many thunderstorms. There is almost continuous lightning (mostly within the clouds).

The area around the lake is also particularly rich in oil and vast quantities have been removed from this region ever since it was discovered. Also gold and diamonds are plentiful in Venezuela.

Since early explorers, Lake Maracaibo has been known as the “Lighthouse of Maracaibo” and its lightning is visible for miles around. It may come as a surprise but the first colonists of Venezuela were not the Spanish but rather the Germans.

Guinness World Record: Lake Maracaibo Holds The Record For The Highest Concentration of Lightning.

It was the Germans who named the colony “Klein-Venedig” or “Little Venice” – that the Spanish later changed to Venezuela.

German activity here lasted from 1528 to 1546 and Venezuela was the most significant part of German colonization of the Americas (there were some others). But eventually the Spanish took over.

According to a study, Africa has the most lightning hot spots in the world, followed by Asia, South America, North America, and Australia (not much happening in Europe).

On average the earth produces around 44 flashes of lightning every second annually. It produces the most (around 55 flashes per second) in the boreal summer and the least (around 35 flashes per second) in the austral summer.

On average, Lake Maracaibo has some 233 flashes per square kilometer every year with thousands occurring per night. Often there is no thunder – just lightning. And the lightning occurs in around 300 nights in the year with September being the peak month.

Unfortunately, for the last 10 years or so, Venezuela has been sanctioned by the USA and IMF at put on a designed people’s list of countries they would never visit. But hopefully in the future things will change and the country will be safe to visit again. It is a very rewarding country to explore.

So for the greatest density of lighting in the world, go to Venezuela. But if one is in Africa (and especially DR Congo with five of the top 10 world lightning hot spots) one can find many lightning hotspots lighting up the sky.

The / ABC Flash Point News 2022.

Suriname History Legend

First explored by the Spaniards in the 16th century and then settled by the English in the mid-17th century, Suriname became a Dutch colony in 1667. With the abolition of African slavery in 1863, other labor workers were brought in from India and colonial Java, Indonesia, forcing former slave tribes into the jungle.

The Netherlands granted the colony its so-called independence in 1975. Five years later, the civilian government was replaced by its military leaders that soon declared Suriname a socialist republic.

It continued to exert control through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic style election.

In 1990, the military overthrew the civilian leadership, but another elected government – a four-party coalition – returned to power in 1991.

The coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005 and ruled until August 2010, when voters returned former military leader Desire Bouterse and his opposition coalition to power.

President Bouterse was again reelected unopposed in 2015. Opposition parties campaigned hard against Bouterse in the lead up to the May 2020 elections and, in July 2020, a Dutch imposed coalition led by Chandrikapersad Santokhi’s VHP and another military coupe-leader Ronnie Brunswijk’s ABOP was installed.

The SANTOKHI government promised to tackle Covid-19, the economic crisis it inherited due to sanctions and other type of restrictions, due to American and Dutch government corruption and imprisonment schemes.

Suriname’s border with Brazil is 515 km long, while its border with French Guyana stretches 556 km. Its maritime border totals 386 km and is the smallest divide. The largest national border extends 836 km with a British South American country, just called Guyana.

The climate is tropical, moderated by trade winds, while the terrain exists of rolling hills and has a narrow coastal plain with swamps. The highest point is Juliana Top at 1230 meters in altitude.

Natural resources are mostly managed by foreign entities control its oil reserves (Chevron-Rockefeller), timber (Bruynzeel), hydro-power, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore.

Billiton in Suriname is one of the world’s largest mining companies, it is involved in the production of iron, steel, copper, silver, aluminum, oil and gas. The company also has interests in engineering and transportation. BHP Billiton’s headquarters are in Melbourne, Australia.

CIA World Fact Book / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.

Polar bears caught feeding on a Whale Carcass in the Arctic

Polar bears in the Arctic struggle more and more to get a good meal. Sea ice is declining because of climate change, forcing polar bears to retreat to land, away from their main prey of seals.

Then a dead sperm whale appeared on a beach in Svaldbard, Norway, providing a well-needed meal for the bears. This majestic scene was captured by wildlife film-maker Jeff Wilson who was in the area directing the Disney nature film Polar Bear

Wilson explained that when there’s enough food, there’s little competition between the bears. That’s when you get really interesting interactions. It was just a whole bunch of bears happy in their own skin, playing with one another.

And this sperm whale may have been feeding bears for two years. It has re-appeared after winter ended and the ice melted. We believe there’s about 3 billion calories in a sperm whale.

While this plentiful meal can satiate the polar bears for now, their population is still at risk. Their future is very bleak, said Wilson. Solutions depend on humanity shifting its lifestyle and energy consumption if polar bears are to have any chance at all.

Polar bears live for about 25 to 30 years and weigh a whopping 900 to 1,600 pounds.

They live in the Arctic and are extremely good swimmers. In fact, some were spotted swimming hundreds of miles from land, sometimes using sheets of ice as a floating device.

Because of their freezing habitat, they rely on their thick fur coats and layers of fat to keep them warm. Even the bottom of their paws have fur to protect from the cold and help them grip ice.

While they are known for their stark white coat that blends into their snowy environment, the skin underneath is black to attract the warmth from the sun.

As far as food goes, polar bears mostly prey on seals, frequenting areas of ice where seals may surface for air. But they would also eat carcasses, like dead whales in this case.

These bears are the top of the food chain with no natural enemies. They don’t typically fear people, making those kinds of encounters extremely dangerous.

The Premier Daily / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.

What makes the Ring of Fire so Dangerous

The Ring of Fire is over 40,200 km (25,000 miles) long chain of tectonic activity, including earthquakes, volcanoes, mountains, islands, and natural disasters. That activity is sometimes devastating for the region. However, it also played a key part in creating it.

This area in the South Pacific where three plate tectonics regularly interact, is causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Commonly known as the Ring of Fire, it goes through the coasts of South and North America, Asia, and New Zealand.

It is home to the world’s deepest trench- the Mariana Trench (11 km or over 7 miles under sea level). The earthquakes happen due to the tension created when the plates move sideways past one another.

In the places where plates are subducted (one moves under another), geological structures like mountains and trenches appear. When the rock is subducted, it turns to magma, and that causes volcanic activity.

The Earth’s tectonic plates lay on lava, and because of that, they aren’t stable. The Ring of Fire is a unique place, where many of them meet and interact with each other.

In America, the Cocos Plate and the Nazca Plate are subducted by the South American Plate. Moreover, the first one is also subducted by the Caribbean Plate. The North American Plate subducts the Pacific, which is also subducted to the south in Japan.

In southwest Asia, smaller plates interact with each other and the Pacific Plate, creating a complex system. The collisions and subduction of plates cause 90% of earthquakes globally. They also change the geology of every region within their reach.

The Andes and their volcanic belt formed due to the subduction of the Nazca and Antarctic Plates under the South American Plate. There are four major volcanic zones, separated by volcanism-free gaps. The Northern Volcanic Zone extends from Colombia to Ecuador.

The Central goes through Peru and Chile, and the Southern through central Chile. Finally, the Austral Volcanic Zone goes through Patagonia. Besides volcanic activity, the region is full of geothermal activity with its hot springs and geysers. It could be a source of clean energy; however, it’s not used now.

The North American part of the Ring of Fire goes through the American Cordillera. There is a 900km volcanic activity belt in central-southern Mexico, called the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. The Cascadia subduction zone is home to 20 major volcanoes in the US.

It also produces earthquakes with a magnitude of 9 or even higher! The most recently active region is Alaska, Mount Redoubt erupted in 2009. It also holds the record for the world’s second-largest earthquake.

In Canada, tectonic activity appears in various areas, including British Columbia, Yukon, and Vancouver. Many unique volcanic forms, including tuyas, can be found nearby Canadian volcanoes.

About 10% of the world’s volcanoes are in Japan, and 1500 earthquakes are recorded each year. That phenomenon appears due to the Pacific Plate’s subduction and the Philippine Sea Plate.

The largest recorded earthquake in the country (and 5th in the world) happened in March 2011; it was a 9 magnitude earthquake. Other natural disasters, including tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, are frequent.

In Indonesia and the Philippines, the world’s most active volcanoes are responsible for many catastrophes and a dozen of thousands of deaths. Finally, the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula is also a very active region, with 160 volcanoes, 29 active.

The North Island of New Zealand is home to many active, youthful volcanoes. Earthquakes appear quite frequently due to interaction between the Indo-Australian and Pacific plates. Wellington, the country’s capital, is within the highest-risk zone.

Finally, the Ring of Fire is completed by Antarctica in the south. There are many volcanoes due to the Antarctic Plate’s interaction with the surrounding structures.

In the second half of the 19th-century, scientists first concluded that the Japanese Islands lay in a ‘circle’ that went through Pacific shores. Today we know it is the most tectonically active region in the world. 81% of major earthquakes appear within the Ring of Fire.

There is also a lot of volcanic activity; 22 of the 25 largest eruptions appeared in the last 11,700 years. California’s transform fault (a border between the Pacific and North American plates), called the San Andreas Fault, generates a dozen micro-earthquakes every day.

However, there are too weak, and humans don’t feel them. Another fault, the Queen Charlotte Fault, is in British Columbia, and in 1949 it generated Canada’s largest recorded earthquake, magnitude.

Secrets of Universe / Crickey Conservation Foundation 2022.

Lake Tanganyika holds 16% of the World’s Fresh Water

Lake Tanganyika flows through 4 African countries: a little in each of Burundi & Zambia, & more than 40% in each of the Democratic Republic of Congo & Tanzania, making this the second largest (& second deepest) lake in the world.

The lake holds 16% of the world’s available freshwater & this biologically rich habitat is home to around 500 fish species that stay within 20 meters of its warm, well-oxygenated surface.

Two beautiful rain-forests border the lake: the spectacular Mahale Mountains National Park & the Gombe Stream National Park. Both parks are known to offer excellent chimpanzee trekking safaris & are also home to a variety of other primates, forest birds & butterflies.

Mahale Mountains National Park is home to the world’s largest population of chimpanzees & is – without a doubt – one of the most beautiful national parks in Tanzania.

Visitors to Lake Tanganyika are spoils for choice! They can choose between water activities such as diving, snorkeling & sailing or land-based activities such as forest hikes or excursions to local fishing villages.

Of course, the highlight of Mahale Mountains National Park is exciting chimpanzee trekking safaris through the rain forest – most definitely one for the bucket list!

Tanzania was colonized in a process parallel to many other African settlements. The Europeans took over the native’s land which caused trouble and resistance. Ultimately, it was a long and strenuous process for the proud people of Tanzania to gain their independence. 

Tanzania was under German rule from 1880 to 1919 and was occupied by the British from 1919 to 1961. Germany came to power through their trade and establishment of the land and crops.

As the Germans colonized, they produced crops such as sisal, cotton, and plantation-grown rubber.

They also profited and sold items like coffee, copra, sesame, and peanuts. Germany’s aggressive actions caused resistance by the Arabs along the coast. The people of Tanzania were treated poorly; moreover, 75,000 Africans were killed due to German military action or lack of food.

During World War I British and Belgian forces occupied Tanzania. The British developed the territories economy, giving Africans the opportunity work for wages on plantations.

Tanganyika gained its independence from Britain in 1961 and Zanzibar gained its freedom in 1963. In 1964 The Republic of Tanzania was formed by the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. 

In conclusion, the Tanzanians overcame the obstacles the Germans put forth. The Republic of Tanzania proudly gained its independence at the same time as many of its neighboring countries. These breakthroughs in Africa history were signs for civil right movements to come. 

Africa Unwind Company / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.

Top Ten Pesticide-Soaked Fruits and Vegetables to Avoid in the USA

About one billion pounds of conventional, synthetic pesticides are used each year in the United States to control weeds, insects, and other so-called pests.

This number began rising in the mid-1990’s, with the advent of genetically modified foods, which are engineered in a lab to withstand large spraying of Roundup herbicides. Other GMO crops such as Bt corn produce pesticides within the plant itself.

These crops are typically used to make processed food products like corn chips, including America’s favorite brand which was recently busted for misleading “natural” labels.

The overuse of pesticides is a real problem in the United States, and it shows no signs of slowing.

In order to educate consumers on the pitfalls of pesticide use, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases lists each year warning consumers about the dangers of pesticides in certain crops.

Based on this year’s lists, the top ten pesticide-soaked crops to avoid are as follows: 

10. Pears – With their soft skin, pears are one of the most vulnerable crops to pesticide residues soaking into them. They came in number ten on this year’s list in large part because of the sheer number of pesticides found within.

9. Peaches – A gourmet fruit sold at a premium price, peaches also have soft skin and were detected to carry a relatively toxic load of synthetic pesticides. The more you consume pesticide-laced fruits and vegetables like these, the more likely you will find pesticide residues in your blood.

8. Cherries – More than 90% of cherry samples tested positive for two or more synthetic pesticides.

7. Bell and hot peppers – Peppers have been on the EWG’s list for years, including in recent years when two types of hot peppers were discovered to be extraordinarily toxic, poisoning a certain group of consumers.

Recent research has shown that non-organic hot peppers could contain trace levels of highly hazardous pesticides that are highly toxic to the human body, according to recent research.

With this in mind, organic hot peppers are worth the extra money.

6. Grapes –Grapes are one of the healthiest foods for the lymphatic system. But if you consume non-organic grapes regularly, the pesticides within could take a serious toll. More than 90 percent of non-organic grape samples tested positive for two or more pesticides this year.

5. Apples – Apples are seen as the most wholesome food you could ever eat. Rich in pectin, a fiber that binds to and removes toxins from the body, and other key nutrients, apples are a nutritional powerhouse.

But conventional U.S. apples have been banned in Europe due to pesticides that are not allowed overseas.

4. Nectarines – More than 90% of nectarine samples also tested positive for two or more pesticides on this year’s EWG list.

Nectarines have soft skin which means it is difficult to fully wash off pesticide residues, even if you decide to use the number one most effective method.

3. Kale, Collard and Mustard Greens – One sample of kale, collard and mustard greens had as much as 21 pesticide residues. You’re better off buying organic whenever possible.

2. Spinach – More than 90% of spinach also tested positive for two or more pesticide residues on this year’s list.

In recent years, spinach tested to have the most pesticide residue by weight of any produce item, and it may be especially harmful to children if consumed too often.

1. Strawberries- 

These soft-skin fruits finished number one for dirtiest produce item in the United States this year.

Previous tests on strawberries have found up to 54 different pesticide residues.

No wonder former strawberry farmer Jim Cochrane decided to switch to organic after he was poisoned by chemicals on his own strawberry farm.

Conventional strawberries may be cheap and delicious, but they exact a price in terms of our health, the health of farmers, and the health of our soil and environment.

Alt Health Works / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.

Curacao Dolphin Academy produkt Mosa pleegt zelfmoord in Saudi Arabie

De 7-jarige dolfijn Mosa die door het Seaquarium op Curacao aan Saudi Arabie verkocht werd is overleden.

Volgens de Dolphin Academy gaat het om een noodlottig ongeval en botste Mosa met een hoge snelheid tegen een wand van het bassin in het Midden Oosten, waarin de dolfijn werd gehouden en opgesloten.

Door de klap onstonden interne bloedingen, waarbij ook bloed in haar longen kwam. Dit ongeval bleek fataal te zijn voor het leventje van Mosa.

De directeur en mede-eigenaar Adriaan “Dutch” Schrier liet eerder vijf op Curacao geboren dolfijnen het eiland verlaten richting het Fakieh Aqaurium in Saudi Arabie. Dit ondanks de beslissing van de rechter in kort geding, dat ze Curacao niet mochten verlaten!

Volgens Mirto Murray, advocaat van Curacao Public Aqaurium NV, had Animal Rights zich tot de verkeerde partij gericht. Want Curacao Dolphin Academy en Curacao Public Aquarium gingen namelijk niet over de verkoop en levering van dolfijnen aan het Fakieh Aqaurium in Saudi Arabie.

De dolfijnen bij Dolphin Academy Curacao en Curacao Dolphin Therapy Center worden geleased van de houdstermaatschappij en zijn geen eigendom van beide instanties. De beslissing om het aantal dolfijnen te reduceren is dan ook afkomstig van de holding.

Al tijdens de rechtzaak werd namens Sea Aquarium verklaard dat de eigenaar een uitvoervergunning had aangevraagd en verkregen, maar dat de vergunning staat op naam van de eigenaar. Sea Aquarium heeft de vergunning echter niet overlegd of getoond.

Volgens de rechter doet het niet ter zake wie de eigenaar van de dolfijnen is. Sea Aqaurium wordt gezien als uitvoerder van de ongelukkige dolfijnen alleen vanwege het feit dat de dolfijnen op de vlucht naar Jeddah zouden worden begeleid door een of meer medewerkers.

Volgens de stichting werden de dolfijnen Serena en Machu (2012), Mosa (2014), Sami (2015) en Luna (2017) allen op Curacao geboren en voor overplaatsing aanbevolen en daarmee afgevoerd.

De huidige wereld wetgeving maakt het duidelijk dat dieren, die in gevangenschap voor commerciele doeleinden gebruikt worden, vallen onder het fenomeen Aminal Abuse.

Vele aquaria in de VS sloten om die reden vervolgens de deuren, maar op Curacao hecht men daar niet zoveel waarde aan, want het gaat ten slotte om toerisme, en over die vorm van structurele mensenhandel mag geen slecht woord gerept worden. Het gaat tenslotte om geld, en dat maakt recht wat krom is.

Crikcey Conservation Society Curacao

The Bosnian Pyramids

In 2020, doctor Sam Osmanagich and The Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun Foundation is celebrating its 15 th year since multidisciplinary investigations of the Bosnian Pyramids began.

These pyramids are older than the Egyptian pyramids and even older than the Neolithic era. Long back, a lake was found under these pyramids.

Even today, the lake has sterile clean water without any bacteria, algae, fungi, microorganisms, animals, or even moss and mud. Locals call the water of this lake the ‘living water’ because it purifies the body. The pyramids are considered healing rooms where human body regenerates faster and illness disappear.

In 2005, Bosnian born anthropologist Dr Sam Osmanagich announced to the world’s media his discovery, that a group of hills in the vicinity of Visoko, a small town in central Bosnia, were not hills at all but were in fact buried and forgotten Pyramids of both monumental size and extreme age.

The Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun, the largest of the Bosnian Pyramids, is estimated to be at least 300m (900ft) tall. The Bosnian Pyramid of the Moon, though smaller at 190m (600ft) tall, is still over 50m (150ft) taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The response to his announcement was mixed, with equal amounts of excitement from those enthusiastic to esoteric ideas regarding the world’s ancient pyramids.

But there was skepticism from many, including the local Bosnian population, and despite lack of any proper scientific investigation on their part, outright condemnation from academic circles intent on maintaining a crumbling paradigm.

Beginning in 2006, Dr Osmanagich would self-finance investigations of the Bosnian Pyramids in order to obtain empirical evidence to support his controversial pyramid hypothesis.

Using satellites, geo-radar, seismic surveys and topographic analysis, a total of five principle sites were identified for initial investigation (later named Pyramids Sun, Moon, Dragon, Love and Temple of Mother Earth).

Archaeological trenches were excavated across all these principle sites and were overseen by Dr Osmanagich and other experts in the field of archaeology, geology and geophysics.

As well as the surface excavations, core drilling was also conducted, with samples undergoing geo-chemical and material analysis by several specialized university departments internationally.

Results suggested the material was an artificial conglomerate geo-polymer and though it looked like natural stone, it had dissimilar chemical and mechanical properties to the geological material found locally.

Strength tests measured it to be considerably stronger than both the locally found conglomerates and even modern-day concrete.

The evidence obtained supported Dr Osmanagich’s original hypothesis, that these hills under investigation were not just regular hills, but were in fact either, at the very least, modified to look like pyramids.

Or otherwise were completely built from the ground up, by a civilization of great antiquity, unknown to the mainstream version accepted history, using methods of construction unknown to modern science?

Besides the controversies generated by the Bosnian Pyramid Project, there is of course one other thing that differentiates the research taking place in the Bosnian Pyramid Valley to that of any other archaeological project. It is the most open and transparent archaeological site in the world.

Unlike in Egypt for example, where it is almost impossible for anyone outside the clique of Egyptology to undertake independent or even cooperative research freely, the Bosnian Pyramid Valley is open to everyone.

Ancient Origins Network / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.

The World’s major rivers are drying up from Extreme Weather

To be stuck “up a river without a paddle” is an expression for a sticky situation you just can’t get out of. But if that river happens to be in the northern hemisphere this summer, it’s likely the paddle won’t be helpful, anyway.

A painful lack of rain and relentless heat waves are drying up rivers in the USA, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Many are shrinking in length and width. Patches of riverbed poking out above the water are a common sight. Some rivers are so desiccated, they have become virtually impassable.

The partially human-caused climate crisis is fueling extreme weather across the globe, which isn’t just impacting rivers, but also the people who rely on them. Most people on the planet depend on rivers in some way, whether for drinking water, to irrigate food, for energy or to ship goods.

The Colorado River is drying up at its banks and thinning out, as a historic drought in the US West shows little sign of abating.

The river is crucially maintained by two of the country’s largest reservoirs, and to safeguard the river basin, the government has implemented mandatory water cuts and asked states to come up with additional action plans.

One of those reservoirs, Lake Mead, is shrinking in size as water levels drop toward “dead pool” status — the point at which the reservoir won’t be high enough to release water downstream through a dam. Its water levels have been on a downward trend since 2000, but have had a sharper drop since 2020.

And the consequences of the Colorado River crisis are enormous: Around 40 million people in seven states and Mexico rely on the river’s water for drinking, agriculture and electricity.

The Yangtze River in Asia is drying up at its banks and its bed is emerging in some areas. But it’s the Yangtze’s tributaries that are already intensely parched. China has announced a nationwide drought alert for the first time in nine years, and its heat wave is its longest in six decades.

The impact of the drying Yangtze has been enormous. In Sichuan, a province of 84 million people, hydro-power makes up about 80% of electricity capacity.

Much of that comes from the Yangtze River, and as its flow slows down, power generation has dwindled, leaving authorities there to order all its factories shut for six days. The province is seeing around half the rain it usually does and some reservoirs have dried up entirely, according to state news agency Xinhua.

The Rhine starts in the Swiss Alps, flows through Germany and the Netherlands and then flows all the way out to the North Sea. It’s a crucial channel for European shipping, but right now, it’s a nightmare to navigate.

Parts of the river’s bed have emerged above the water’s surface, meaning the ships that do try to pass it must weave around a series of obstacles, slowing the entire process.

The Rhine has many different gauges along the way, including in Kaub, just west of Frankfurt, Germany, where water levels have fallen to as low as 32 centimeters (12.6 inches).

Shipping companies generally consider anything less than 40cm on the Rhine too low to bother with, and in Kaub, less than 75 cm usually means a container ship has to reduce its load to about 30%, according to Deutsche Bank economists.

Low water levels also mean companies pay higher levees to pass, and all these factors make shipping more expensive, a cost usually passed on to consumers.

The River Po cuts right across the top of Italy and flows out east into the Adriatic Sea. It’s fed by winter snow in the Alps and heavy rainfall in the spring, and has a steep fall that brings a fast flow. Typically, devastating floods are more of a problem around this river.

But now, the Po looks very different. Winter was dry in northern Italy, so snow provided little water, and spring and summer have been dry, too, plunging the region into the worst drought its experienced for seven decades. It’s so dried up that a World War II-era bomb was recently found amid its dwindling waters.

A big problem is that millions of people rely on the Po for their livelihood, mostly through agriculture. Around 30% of Italy’s food is produced along the Po, and some of the country’s most famous exports, like Parmesan cheese, is made here.

The Loire in France sustains a valley of vineyards that produce some of the world’s most famous wines.

The river stretches over around 600 miles and is considered France’s last wild river, supporting bio-diverse ecosystems throughout the valley, much of which is protected by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Parts of the river are fairly shallow already, but its levels and flow can change rapidly with the weather and as snow at its source melts. Some sections are so dried out from the lack of rain and extreme heat that people can cross by foot.

Satellite images from the French town of Saumur show more riverbed than water exposed in the Loire.

The patches of land around it in the valley are mostly brown and withered — a year ago, they were a lush and green. Authorities are releasing water from dams into the river, mostly to ensure there is enough to cool four nuclear power plants that sit along it.

The Danube is Western Europe’s longest river and a crucial shipping channel that passes through 10 countries. In Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria, workers are dredging the river just to ensure vessels can still navigate it.

It’s not in as dire a condition as some of Europe’s other rivers, but countries like Hungary are so reliant on the Danube for tourism, the impacts are already being felt. Some cruise ships have been unable to pass parts of the river to even reach Hungary.

Those that are still running can’t stop on their normal routes because so many stations have had to close as water levels on river banks fall. An average 1,600-ton vessel can now only navigate the Hungarian stretch without any cargo, according to the country’s tourist board.

CNN / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.

NASA discovered the most Earth-like planet in the Universe today

NASA and SETI recently announced the intriguing discovery of a second Earth-like planet in our Universe today. This “Bigger, Older Cousin to Earth” is called Kepler-452b and is located in the habitable zone of a Sun-like star in the Cygnus constellation.

It’s not the first time when astronomers discover an Earth-like exoplanet; however, this time the similarities are so many that the newly found planet has all the rights to be called a “second Earth” or “another Earth.”

Kepler-452, the second Earth’s parent star, is located 1,400 light-years away from us. It is a G2-type star, which makes Kepler-452b the first known exoplanet orbiting a similar star to our Sun since the previously discovered Earth-like planets are orbiting smaller and cooler stars.

Found in the habitable zone, the Earth’s cousin is very likely to have liquid water because it is located at the right distance from its sun, providing the temperature necessary for water to exist in its liquid state.

The probability that it has an atmosphere is also very high for the same reason. Since Kepler-452b’s parent star is a bit larger than our Sun, it apparently has a higher average temperature on its surface.

All the above-mentioned facts not only mean that Kepler-452b is extremely similar to our own planet but also make it a perfect candidate to host life.

The similarities of Kepler-452b and the Earth are even more striking than the ones of Kepler-186f, which was discovered last year, bringing new hopes in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Kepler-186f is located in the same constellation, 500 light-years from Earth, and is found in the habitable zone too. However, a huge difference is that its parent star has only half the mass and size of our Sun, which significantly decreases its chances to support life.

The Mind Unleashed / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.

10 Herbs you can Grow Indoors in Water all year long

Winter usually marks the end of fresh local produce (especially if you live in the Northern hemisphere). But what if you could grow some plants indoors without the hassle of mud and planters? Growing herbs indoors isn’t as difficult as when you’re trying to grow vegetables or fruit indoors.

And fortunately for you, the answer to that question is yes. There are over 10 herbs you can grow indoors all winter long, and even without mud (how cool is that?). As a bonus, they make as an attractive addition to any windowsill or desk.

Herbs that root in water and grow throughout winter are perennial herbs. Annual herbs typically only grow one season, produce seeds, and then die (1). Perennials will keep coming back, as long as you pinch off the older leaves as they grow to full size.

Unless otherwise noted, full plants can be rooted from whole leaves with the base intact or from trimmed stems. You can start with herb plants from your garden, or even perennial herbs from the grocery store. Make sure the stems are 6 inches long, and remove the leaves from the bottom 4 inches of the stems.

If using herbs from the grocery store, cut the very bottom of each stem to allow them to absorb more water.

Place the herb stems in glass jars (opaque is best) filled with water (not distilled) and place them in a spot where they get bright direct light for at least 6 hours each day.

Clip each leaf as it grows to full size to encourage the stem to produce more leaves at the top. This will also allow the stem to grow for months at a time.

Whether you want to start a kitchen herb garden as a hobby, or simply want to save money, there are plenty of herbs that you can start with. Fresh herbs make everything taste better. From fresh salads to soups and stews, herbs will bring everything to a whole other level.

Some of the easiest and most popular herbs grown in water are as follows. Basil makes a great pain-relieving supplement, moderates blood sugar levels, and is a potent antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal (2). It is great for relieving coughs, and symptoms of bronchitis.

Sage is great at inhibiting the inflammatory response in the body (3). For this reason, sage can help remediate symptoms that come with ailments like arthritis, bronchial asthma and atherosclerosis.

Peppermint is wonderful for relieving digestive upset and can soothe irritable bowel syndrome quite fast (4). It helps relieve stress, nausea, inflammatory conditions, and is known for its incredible ability to get rid of headaches – fast!

Spearmint contains anti-androgenic properties that helps improve individuals’ suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) (5).

Since spearmint and peppermint possess quite similar properties, the spearmint is also great for treating digestive upsets, as well as nasty headaches. Just like peppermint, spearmint grows quickly.

Oregano has been found to be superior to prescription antibiotics, working as an effective antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and antioxidant. Some test-tube studies have shown that oregano and its components may help kill cancer cells (6).

Lemon balm is a wonderful smelling herb that helps repel mosquitoes, heal cold sores and aids digestion. It is also one of the best for repairing a tired and worn out nervous system. It has even been found to help reduce chronic stress and anxiety (7).

Thymol found in thyme, is known to kill cancer cells, as well as lower blood pressure, prevent tooth decay, ease stomach disorders and kill bacteria and fungi (8, 9). It is also a powerful anti-viral. The essential oil of thyme has been successfully used in keeping mold levels down in the air, particularly when diffused.

This popular natural sweetener is best grown at home to avoid genetically modified organisms and pesticides. Stevia helps reduce the desire for nicotine (to help stop smoking), because there is a link between sugar and nicotine cravings.

Rosemary has a sharper taste fresh than dried, and is known to improve memory and cognitive function, stimulate hair growth and prevent inflammation (10). Rosemary can be enjoyed in soups, stews, and sauces. It is also suggested to add rosemary to any potato dish you add to the oven.

Rosemary can help reduce the amount of cancer-causing acrylamide that is created as a by-product of roasting potatoes! This plant has thick stems, so it takes a while to grow roots. But once it gets going, it takes very well.

Tarragon is a great herb to help moderate blood sugar and treat metabolic syndrome. It also acts as a strong antibacterial agent (11). Tarragon may also help relieve pain associated with conditions like osteoarthritis.

Live Love / Crickey Conservation Society 2022

European Heatwave spark multiple Wildfires

European heatwave kills hundreds of people, while jammed electric vehicles spark wildfires that have displaced thousands In France and across the Iberian continent.

Since July 10, 2022 at least 360 people have been killed in Spain due to a massive heatwave and thousands of individuals have been forced to flee southern France due to a wildfire allegedly sparked by a vehicle having mechanical issues.

The Carlos III Health Institute reported Friday that hundreds have died in Spain as temperatures have skyrocketed to 45 degrees Celsius – or 114 degrees Fahrenheit – in the region.

The heatwave has also contributed to massive wildfires in several countries that have scorched thousands of acres of land. In southwest France alone, 12,000 people have been forced to flee to escape multiple blazes.

France’s Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne blamed the fire in the La-Teste-de-Buch region on an electric vehicle that had some sort of issue near a wooden glen. The second ongoing wildfire in France is also being investigated for criminal activity.

About 80% of the forest fires are estimated to have been started by humans, she told France’s BFMTV News. One tourist visiting France told the local press that he and his son were unable to take their belongings as they rushed to avoid the wildfire.

The head of France’s firefighter federation said they are calling for hundreds of thousands of volunteers to help fight the blaze. Our morale is still good but fatigue sets in fast. That’s why we’re calling for a target of 250,000 volunteer firefighters.

Firefighters blame the fires on global warming, claiming that front line workers see its impacts every day. Firefighters and civil security have to deal with the effects on a daily basis. There are also reportedly at least 20 separate wildfires currently blazing in Spain.

Daily Wire / Crickey Conservation Society 2022.

Tropical Storm heading for the Dutch Caribbean Islands and Venezuela

A tropical rainstorm that has been designated as Potential Tropical Cyclone Two by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is forecast to travel across the southern Caribbean Sea while remaining very close to the shores of Venezuela and Colombia in South America this week.

Tropical storm warnings and watches were in effect Tuesday for several Caribbean islands ahead of the developing system’s approach. The storm is fore-casted to pass over the southern Windward Islands Tuesday evening on its track through Venezuela.

While waters are quite warm, dry air is absent and wind shear is low; the rainstorm will struggle with proximity to the large landmass of South America for the balance of this week. In simple terms, wind shear is the presence of strong straight-line breezes that can prevent or limit tropical development.

A hurricane hunter aircraft investigated the storm Monday and satellite images Tuesday morning did not show a strengthening system. Tropical-storm-force wind gusts of 40 mph have been indicated by aircraft in thunderstorms, but satellite images have barely shown any circular motion to the cloud cover thus far.

The northern portion of South America, as well as islands in the southern Caribbean, will be subject to localized heavy rainfall that can lead to flash flooding, as well as gusty winds from strong thunderstorms that can trigger sporadic power outages.

The governments of Venezuela and Colombia issued Tropical Storm Watches for the respective northern coastlines, while warnings remained in effect for Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Islas de Margarita, Coche and Cubagua, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba.

Southern Caribbean islands in the direct path of the tropical rainstorm’s downpours and gusty thunderstorms this week include Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Magarita, Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba.

During June, there has never been a named tropical system in more than 150 years of records near the coast of South America during La Niña conditions.

During a La Niña, cool waters over the eastern part of the tropical Pacific tend to alter weather patterns and knock down wind shear over much of the Atlantic basin. This tends to assist with tropical storm development over the Atlantic.

Since record keeping of Atlantic tropical systems began in the mid-1800’s, only 25 storms have passed within 50 nautical miles of Aruba, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Of those 25 storms, only one brushed by the country during the month of June — an unnamed hurricane on June 29, 1933.

AccuWeather Forecast / Crickey Conservation Society