Saturday, May 31, 2008

Climate of Sonaran Desert

Sonoran Desert Climate
Dry Tropical Climate (BW)

The sunlight of the Sonoran desert changes during the day and it gets hotter. Seasonal temperatures range from an average of 52º F in the winter, to 86º F in the summer. In some seasons the temperatures can reach 32º F at night. In some portions of the desert, near the tip of Mexico, the temperature can reach a high of 134º F in the shade.

The Sonoran desert is one of the wettest deserts in North America and averages from 3 to 16 inches of rain a year. It has two rainy seasons, one in the summer and another in the winter. The summer rains are short and heavy and are often followed by a rainbow. The winter rains are longer and lighter and are more widespread.

There are a lot of sand dunes and grasses in the desert. There are also a lot of cacti, herbs, thorny and thornless shrubs. The creosote bush is the most common plant, and the saguaro cactus is the largest and the most conspicuous plant in the desert.

Many desert animals, such as bighorn sheep, pocket mouse, and pronghorn antelope (an endangered species) use cacti and other vegetation as a shelter from harsh weather and as a source of water. The bighorn sheep has adapted to the desert, because it has big feet, good for the rough terrain, and only needs to drink every few days. The pocket mouse has adapted to the desert, because it is very small, is sand colored, and can run fast from predators. It also doesn't need to drink because it gets all the water it needs from the food it eats and retains its urine.

The latitude of the Sonoran Desert ranges from 25º to 33º North, and the longitude ranges from 105º to 110º West.

The Köppen classification of this climate is BWh, where B stands for a dry climate, BW stands for an arid climate with annual precipitation usually less than 15 inches (40 cm.), and h stands for a dry and hot climate with a average annual temperature over 65° F.

Even though the Sonoran desert is one of the hottest North American deserts, it has lots of diverse vegetation and wildlife due to its two rainy seasons.

Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert is a big desert in the southwestern part of North America and people might just think deserts have not a living thing in sight, just hills of sand, well that is not true

The Sonoran Desert is located in North America and covers the southwestern parts of the state of Arizona, southeastern parts of the state of California in the United States and the state of Sonora in Mexico. The Sonoran Desert's location is at latitude 25° to 33° North and longitude 105° to 118° West.

The key to the Sonoran Desert's climate is the amount of rainfall which falls. More rain falls on the Sonoran Desert than any other desert. When it does get rain, the desert is damp, and the air is cool. When it has no rain the desert is really dry and really hot. When the desert is windy, the sand gets picked up and tossed around which creates a sand storm or if the wind is blowing in a certain kind of way, it creates a whirlwind or dust devil. These mini-tornados move across the desert floor and they most often occur in hot weather. The desert valley is hot while up in the mountains it is cool and some mountains are even snow covered.

The seasons are like any other. Spring is a time when flowers bloom if the winter and fall had enough rain that year. There is summer and in the summer it rains the most and that helps summer flowers grow. Then fall comes with a cooler breeze, which lets the deserts summer heat wear away. Winter brings snow to the mountains and cold air to the desert valley.

Precipitation in the desert is probably less then any other North American state, but it is still a lot for a desert. The Sonoran Desert receives 10 or less inches a year; the eastern part of the Sonora desert, in Baja California, receives 10-12 inches because Baja is by the ocean. The ocean storms brew up more often producing more rain, while the western part of the desert only gets about 2 inches and in the mountains they receive 25 inches.

The geography in the Sonoran desert is quite interesting. The Sonoran Desert is located in two states, Arizona and California, and two countries, Mexico and United States. The rivers that flow through the desert are the Colorado River and the Gila River. The Salton Sea, the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean are bodies of water next to the Sonoran desert. The mountains in the Sonoran Desert are Mount Kofa and Mount Catalina; Mount Catalina receives most of the snow.

The Sonoran Desert is a hot place to be. It is sandy with a lot of cactuses, but there are forests on the mountains and it is a lot cooler in the forests. The Indians that lived at the edge of the desert carved designs into the walls or rocks. The plants in the Sonoran desert are very interesting, such as fairy duster, jimson weed (poisonous), tumble weed, night blooming cereus, devils claw, ghost flower, hedgehog cactus and showy four o clock. There are some other plants with out really interesting names: The desert Christmas cactus, prickly pear cactus, desert willow, western wildflower, cave primrose and desert lupine. These desert plants adapt to their climate by seeking coolness. Their roots collect water when it rains. The saguaro cactus has shallow root systems allowing the cactus to store up to 160 liters of rainwater allowing it to live for weeks at a time without water. The other adaptations of the desert plants are that they live in the mountains where shade and coolness is found.

The Sonoran Desert animals fit in to the environment perfectly. Some of the animals in the desert are the Mexican gray wolf (el lobo), the mountain lion (cougar or puma), the great horned owl (Bubo virinus), the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and the rattlesnake. The Sonoran desert is also the home to the Mexican jumping beans. Mexican jumping beans are fruits of a shrub. The movement of the moth larva in the bean makes them jump. The adaptations of the desert animals to the desert home are quit simple. The animals or reptiles can find little hideouts were the sun cannot get to them. Other animals live in the mountains were coolness and shade is found with green forests but the animals have another talent. They sleep in the daytime and the heat does not bother them. Most of the animals are nocturnal, which means they hunt at night when no heat of the day is found.

The Sonoran Desert is changed. We humans have been turning the land from the desert into tourist attractions. These parks have spread for miles taking up the land that belongs to the wild life. Then these creatures are pushed out of their natural habitat. Ranches have also been taking up the desert land and with our livestock. People plant crops and some of the seeds have been picked up by the wind or have been picked up by a bird and the seeds start to grow were they land. This cycle begins again and after awhile the desert starts to have plants that do not belong in the desert.

The Sonoran Desert is a wonderful place but you would never want to be stranded there. The desert has wonderful plants and animals and really beautiful sunsets that fade away on the deserts horizon.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mohave Desert

Mojave or Mohave Desert, is the smallest of the four North American deserts. It lies in South Eastern California at 35° to 36° latitude North and 115° to 117° longitude East. The Mojave Desert is situated between the Great Basin Desert to the north (a cold desert) and the Sonoran desert to the south (a hot desert). The Colorado River runs through the east of it, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west.
The Mojave Desert is special because it has a little bit of everything. People refer to the Mojave Desert as a "high desert" because it has an elevation of 2,000 to 5,000 feet. It changes from a cold desert in the northern section and a hot desert in the southern section. The Mojave Desert covers 25,000 square miles. There are some fascinating features to be found in this desert, especially the Kelso Dunes. The Kelso Dunes are the largest of the Mojave dune fields, reaching 500 to 600 feet in height. When you run down these dunes you can hear an unusual "barking" sound. It is not entirely understood yet but some people believe that grains of quartz and feldspar rubbing against each other cause it.
It is a desert filled with desert scrub like the Brittlebush, Creosote Bush, Joshua Tree, and the Sagebrush. The Joshua tree is found in no other place in the world, except in some places in the Mojave Desert.
The Mojave Desert lies in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The hot, moist air from the Pacific Ocean goes up the Sierra Nevadas and is turned back by the cold air in the mountains. Although some of the rain goes over the mountains, most of it is evaporated by the hot air of the desert before it can reach the ground. The Mojave Desert is considered a dry desert because of the rain shadow effect. Rainfall in the Mojave is very changeable from day to night, and can range from 2.23 to 2.5 inches a year. A large amount of rain that the Mojave gets is in the winter season from October to March.
Animals of the Mojave have light colored feathers and fur to reflect the light of the sun. Desert tortoises have a good adaptation for the desert. They can store up to one quart of water in their bladder. They feed on plants in the spring so that they have enough water to last them the rest of the year.
Plants have adaptations also, such as shallow root systems, spines, and thorns. Shallow root systems can easily absorb rain because they are so close to the surface. Spines store water by expanding like an accordion. In addition, thorns protect the plants from danger.
The Mojave Desert is jeopardized by large cities, such as Los Angeles, which are spreading rapidly through the desert. Military bases are moving in, and farms are developing along the Colorado River. Off-road vehicles are ruining the desert by churning up sand and destroying the shallow root systems. Due to wells and agriculture, the underground water tables are dropping to very low levels. In spite of all these dangers, half of the desert remains in it original condition.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Media advisory: Humanitarian maps on Myanmar cyclone crisis

Please be advised that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is producing up-to-date humanitarian maps on the Cyclone Nargis disaster in Myanmar. The maps are updated as the situation develops. The latest product is a map showing affected populations by townships.

OCHA grants permission to users to visit the site and to download and copy the maps with attribution.

The maps are available at Humanitarian Information Centre - Myanmar: Virtual Fusion (interactive mapping; and MapCatalog (

For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; John Nyaga, OCHA-NY, + 1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570. OCHA press releases are available at or

Source :

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tracking Saudi Oil From Space

At a time of high anxiety over soaring fuel prices and scarce supplies, oil analysts are resorting to satellite imagery to crack one of the industry's biggest unknowns -- whether Saudi Arabia's massive Ghawar field is slipping into depleted old age.

Saudi Arabia has long contended that its famed Ghawar field, responsible for around 7% of global supply, remains in fine shape and will continue to churn out around five million barrels a day for years.

But Saudi Arabia doesn't publish data to back that up. Skeptical analysts in the West insist the field is in decline, an event they say presages a peak in world oil production.

Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd., a New York-based investment research firm, just spent months trying to resolve the debate. Their tools? Cameras fixed to satellites that hover miles above the Saudi desert.

Combing through dozens of high-resolution satellite images of Ghawar going back to 2001, the Bernstein team has concluded in a study sent to clients at the end of April that only part of the vast field "is suffering signs of old age." On the whole, Bernstein says, the field "is being properly managed" and is experiencing only "mild production-decline rates at worst."

Critics of the study, including some who have crunched their own overhead imagery, say the Bernstein study is insufficient and the debate over Ghawar's health is far from over.

"This is junk science," says Houston investment banker Matthew Simmons, who insists that only detailed, on-the-ground records can speak to the field's real condition. Mr. Simmons's 2005 book, "Twilight in the Desert," cited technical papers to argue that Ghawar and Saudi Arabia's other giant fields were showing signs of increasing stress and would soon slip into decline. Mr. Simmons is a well-known proponent of the theory that world-wide oil production may already have hit its all-time peak.

This latest tiff over Ghawar comes as alarm grows on Wall Street and in Washington over whether the world's big crude producers can keep pace with the growing demand for oil in Asia and the Middle East. U.S. benchmark crude closed at a new high of $119.97 a barrel Monday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price of crude has risen 25% so far this year and has increased 95% from a year ago.

Many of the world's other mighty fields, including Mexico's Cantarell and Kuwait's Burgan, have lost their vitality recently and need serious help. Russia just recorded its first quarterly output drop in almost a decade, stoking fears that the world's second-largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia may have hit its own peak. The North Sea and Alaska's North Slope are already in steep decline.

All this has sharpened attention on the health of oil supplies in the Middle East, the world's most abundant crude repository.

Put into production in 1951, Ghawar remains the greatest treasure of hydrocarbons ever found. The Saudis say the field, measuring about 20 miles wide and 175 miles long, spits out as much oil every day as all the oil wells in the U.S. combined. Its output accounts for around 60% of total Saudi production.

Yet no one outside of Saudi Arabia has any sound data on production rates at Ghawar, or the kingdom's other huge fields. The Saudi Arabian Oil Co., better known as Aramco, has long been secretive about data on the kingdom's oil holdings, as are most Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members whose economies are heavily dependent on oil revenue.

"The problem is that silence leads to speculation," says Neil McMahon, who led the Bernstein study as the firm's senior analyst. The motivation, he says, "was to confront the whole peak-oil thing with some real data."

Bernstein has used satellites to probe other mysteries. It dug through overhead images of urbanization patterns in China last year to predict that demand for steel and other metals would hold strong before ebbing slightly around 2010. In 2005, it studied China's ports for evidence -- which it didn't find -- of whether the country was dramatically expanding its fuel-tank farms to hoard oil.

The Saudi study, Mr. McMahon says, was a lot more daunting. Theories of Ghawar's travails were fueled recently by reports that the number of drilling rigs in the kingdom tripled between 2004 and 2007. The spike led to speculation on peak-oil blogs that Aramco was conducting a wave of new drilling not just to add fresh capacity, but to stem rapid output declines in Ghawar and other fields.

Using images of Ghawar from 2004, Bernstein pinpointed more than 2,000 drilling or production sites, many of them old and abandoned. Satellite shots from 2007 found around 10% more drilling sites, mainly concentrated in areas of the field where Aramco was engaged in multibillion-dollar projects to bring on fresh production.

The satellite work also used overhead radar technology to determine whether the field showed any signs of surface collapse -- called "subsidence" in the industry -- that could indicate heavy depletion rates underground. Some of the world's most heavily produced fields in the North Sea and in Venezuela have shown sharp subsidence rates.

Instead, Mr. McMahon says, the radar found the northernmost part of the field, known as Shedgum, "was actually slightly uplifted." Bernstein attributed this rise to heavy water injection and what it surmised was Aramco's use of enhanced oil-recovery techniques, which boosted underground pressure enough to lift the ground level. Companies often turn to such elaborate extraction methods to nurse along fields in sharp decline.

Bernstein concluded that Shedgum, one of the oldest sections of Ghawar, was the only area facing serious challenges.

Aramco declined to comment. The company's former head of reservoir management, Nansen Saleri, said he agreed with the overall conclusion that Ghawar remains largely healthy. But Mr. Saleri, who left Aramco last fall, disputed that Aramco was doing any enhanced recovery work at Ghawar. He said he was also skeptical that Bernstein "can really tell what is going on at Ghawar from overhead imagery."

One skeptical sleuth doing similar work is a hobbyist in Seattle who keeps a Web site called Satellite O'er The Desert and works under the pseudonym of Joules Burn. Using detailed images from Google Earth, the Web site has chronicled what it calls a "remarkable" uptick in drilling across large swaths of Ghawar.

The Web site's assessment so far is that Aramco is engaged in a massive redrilling of Ghawaras part of a "constant struggle to maintain the field's current production level."

Write to Neil King Jr. at

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bahrain plans new reclamation rules

Bahrain will soon finalise new reclamation guidelines to cope with the construction boom, it was revealed.

Billions of dinars are being invested in infrastructure projects and more than 50 sq km have been reclaimed from the sea over the past 50 years, said Works and Housing Ministry Public Works Affairs under-secretary Nayef Al Kalali.

'This trend is set to continue as many multi-billion dollar projects are still in the planning stages with construction yet to begin,' he said.

'Bahrain is in the midst of a construction boom with billions of dinars being invested into infrastructure projects.

'But with the constraints on land for housing, industrial and infrastructure development, land reclamation has become a priority to meet the current demand.'

He said the government realised the need to update reclamation guidelines and requirements to cope with a growth in offshore activity, as well as complement its master plan for an integrated approach to reclamation.

'A previous study, commissioned in 2001, resulted in an initial manual of reclamation guidelines for offshore projects produced by Sogreah Consultants,' he revealed.

'The manual contains detailed guidelines for dredging and reclamation works aimed at preventing degradation and irreparable damage of the kingdom's marine resources.

'We have adhered to these guidelines in all reclamation works since the study was completed.'

However, he said in December 2005 the then Works and Housing Ministry felt the guidelines needed to be updated to take into account the changing shape of the country and the effects of global warming.

'We therefore commissioned WL Delft Hydraulics to review and update the manual accordingly,' said Al Kalali.

The first phase of the new study comprised the review of the Sogreah Consultants report with respect to past, ongoing and planned reclamation work, as well as the derived design parameters.

This review was then used to update the list of reclamation work and design parameters according to new investigations, statistical data analysis and mathematical modelling, which was then passed into a Geological Information System (GIS).

A recommended reclamation level map of Bahrain was also prepared according to the new findings.

A final report on the first phase of the study was presented and distributed to all the governmental authorities concerned.

'The results of the first phase were presented to the Works Ministry in a general meeting with the consultants and stakeholders,' said Al Kalali.

'It focused on agreeing the exact nature of manual according to the recent studies which have been conducted.

'The second phase of the project will start immediately afterwards and will see the production of a new technical manual, which will detail processes, procedures and guidelines for dredging, land reclamation and associated activities in Bahrain.'

A meeting with the consultants and the related governmental stakeholders will be held on Wednesday, at which the new technical manual will be discussed, he added.

Source :

Indian Rocket scientists propel rural growth

Vadodara, May 20 If you thought the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was all about rocket and rocket scientists, think again. ISRO, Ahmedabad has pioneered a number of projects for propelling rural development.

In one such projects, the organisation has used remote sensing satellites for monitoring natural resources and waterbed formation in far off places.

“While the manual process was tedious, interpreting satellite imagery through remote sensing of wasteland, water resource and forestland gave accurate and in-depth analysis of the area with less cost and man power,” said Dr S K Pathan, head of the Geo Informatics and Data Division, ISRO.

Village Resource Centre (VRC), a project under ISRO, has been undertaking tele-medicine and tele-education programmes all across the country involving 15 villages from Kutch, Saurashtra and Anand regions. “The villages, which are far from proper connectivity are chosen for these programmes for the uplift of the rural people,” said Pathan.

He further explained that satellite Cartosat-II, which was launched in March last year, had been the prime link in the project. Cartosat-II, which is among the newest satellites launched by the ISRO, which is at a height of 700 kilometre above the earth surface, has a capacity to capture images at a high resolution of 1 metre and can provide image mapping on 1:7920 scale.

“The tele-medicine and tele-education programmes have to be enforced so as to provide medical help and education to the backward communities, which are not in touch with the mainstream life,” he added.

ISRO is also involved in land and water mapping in villages using remote sensing and geographic information system. The project, known as Watershed Project is also called Natural Resource Programme. “We do a cadastral mapping of parcel level information for land and water bodies using remote sensing,” said Pathan.

The process uses satellite Resourcesat-I for mapping the land, which gives a detailed mapping of the land and waterbed of the area. He further explained that the mapping was an integral part of farming and other agricultural activities.

“It also gives a detailed analysis of the quality of the land, the level of water bed which is useful for agricultural activity. This also helps determine crops that can have maximum yield in that particular soil condition,” said Pathan.

The project is undertaken by NGOs in various villages with technical assistance from the ISRO. The Sadguru Foundation, which is one of the NGOs registered with the ISRO, has been a part of the project for many years.

“After the initial use of the technology, we have taken it forward to various other states. We have been using watershed project in 1,100 villages in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh,” said Harnath Jagawat, director of the Dahod-based Sadguru Foundation. “Remote sensing and GIS have been profusely used for planning, monitoring and evaluation of the land and waterbed in the villages,” he added.

“In the last few years, the production in these villages has increased by about 20 to 25 per cent. We have also installed various methods of irrigation of farmland,” Jagawat said.

Source :

Business Development / Recruitment Consultant - New Zealand

Job Location(s):New Zealand
Do you want to be your own boss working with a leader in the GIS Industry?
Would you like to be able to earn as much as you like?
GISjobs Australia is looking for business partners as it expands it's business around Australia and into New Zealand.
This would be your own business operating under the GISjobs umbrella.
GISjobs Australia would provide you with administrative, marketing and business development support.
You would be given an exclusive area to build your business.
We are looking for people who have a good technical background in the Spatial Industry and sales experience or looking to move into that area. Experience in or with recruitment is desirable but not essential.
Would suit an individual or couple who may currently run a small spatial industry consulting business looking to add to the services they are able to provide. It is the sort of business that could be run from home or small office environment.
This is a business opportunity for people with the motivation and network within the Spatial Industry.Additional InformationPosition Type: Full Time, Business PartnerTo express your interest contact Dean Howell on +61 417 805 998CONTACT INFORMATIONGISjobs InternationalDean HowellMobile Number: 0417 805 998
click to apply online

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Global Warming: Has Anyone Noticed that it’s Over?

click here

Global Cooling

The temperature that matters most on Earth, that of our oceans, stopped going up at least five years ago. Not only did it stop going up, the temperature of the oceans is decreasing. The cooling of the oceans is not caused by greenhouse warming due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide. In fact, it proves rather conclusively that greenhouse warming due to anthropogenic carbon dioxide, or any carbon dioxide at all, is a vast fraud of planetary proportion. Where is this ocean data?

Mum is the word, except: “It is not anything really significant. It may be we are in a period of less rapid warming,” according to Dr. Josh Willis.

That would be fine; except an observed anomaly in the surface, to 2000 meters, of the ocean should be at least 500 times as thermally significant as the same deviation in the atmosphere (I am hoping for comments on this point). The exchange mechanism of energy between ocean and atmosphere is important, of course. That the ocean is a heat reservoir of vast proportion compared to the atmosphere, though, is undeniable.

Except for the reluctance of the guilty parties to recant on the error of their previous incantations, global warming is indeed dead. But the data is already out! There is no need to wait for deniers of science to come clean, however reluctant these may be.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Global Warming's New 'Consensus'

click here

Planning for Moon

Later this year NASA plans to launch its first new missions to the moon in more than 35 years. The goal: To scope out likely spots to land and create a habitat where astronauts can stay for longer than the Apollo program ever dreamed.
But therein lies the controversy: Mars, with its potential stores of oxygen and water, has the highest potential for long-term human habitation. The moon, even in NASA’s manned spaceflight plans, isn’t supposed to be the primary destination for humans’ return to space. Some scientists are asking why we are working so hard to return to a place where we’ve already set foot.
NASA’s plans suggest that the lunar habitat is, to some extent, meant to be a kind of stepping stone, a field laboratory where scientists can test out new technologies, investigate how to mine the surface and figure out how to keep humans alive in the harsh lunar environment. It’s a classroom and staging ground before taking the much bigger and more dangerous leap to Mars.
Meanwhile, the moon is no longer the finish line in a race between two superpowers; instead, other nations are joining in. In addition to the U.S. and Russia, China, Japan, India and other nations have announced plans or have already launched missions of their own to assess and stake a claim in the new era of the space race.
When we last set foot on the moon in 1972, no one imagined it would be more than three decades before we would return. Plans to return humans to the moon are under way - but will the moon be a stepping stone to Mars or a destination all its own?

Researchers in the United States are set to begin testing underwater turbine systems that can produce electricity from ocean water flows.

The projects in Florida are the latest efforts to find alternative forms of energy to reduce the nation's dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. VOA's Brian Wagner has more in this Searching for Solutions report.

The same energy that drives ocean waves and currents may be a rich source of electrical power. Researchers in Florida say even gentle flows of two or three knots are enough to drive a propeller attached to an underwater turbine. Advocates say ocean power could be cheap and help replace oil or coal-based systems that are blamed for global warming.

Douglas Bedgood is president of Keys Hydro Power and says he wants to build a turbine farm in the Florida Keys, "We could upscale this to 10 feet [three meters] across and it would be perfect."

The goal is to harness the energy produced by the rise and fall of waters during the tidal cycle. His group is working on a test turbine that it plans to submerge in a site about nine meters under water between two islands.

"By the end of 2008 or early 2009, we will have several [turbines] just to see how we can manage them as a group. Then another year after, it will be several hundred," Bedgood said.

The first step, however, is to show authorities that the groundbreaking project will not damage wildlife or coastal resources in the popular tourist area. Bedgood says marine life should be unharmed. "For manatees and turtles, our turbines will be mounted up off the [ocean] floor, so they can maneuver through them. And the leading edges of any moving part will have foam rubber cushions on them," he explains.

Alternative energy projects like this one aim to reduce existing strains on the earth's resources, but they do raise concern about causing new problems. Kenny Broad is a professor at the Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Science near Miami. He says new initiatives should proceed with caution.

"Take small steps at first, try to favor things that are reversible, as opposed to just going for it," recommends Broad. "We are all attracted to clean technologies, and we need to develop and promote clean technologies, but in a responsible way."

Similar projects are planned in Europe and other U.S. cities. Just 300 kilometers from Key West, researchers at Florida Atlantic University want to tap the powerful Gulf Stream current that brings warm water north into the Atlantic Ocean.

"So it is a significant velocity with the equivalent energy of some of the world's richest energy sites," says Rick Driscoll, who is head of the university's Center for Ocean Energy Technology. He says one of the biggest challenges is developing equipment that can withstand the intense forces of the current. "It is a lot more challenging to put something in the ocean, and certainly any energy system to go in there has to work and be competitive with existing land-based technologies," notes Driscoll.

He says more investment is needed for new technologies. "There is a lot of significant potential, but there is a limited supply of money out there right now," he adds.

Driscoll says federal and state funding could help U.S. researchers perfect the new technologies and bring the benefits to other countries around the world.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Surveyors / Project Managers

Job Location(s):
This role is only available to residents of Australia
or to those who hold valid working visas or permits

Reference: Survey - (DA) - Bris

LandPartners reputation as a leading built environment consultancy is recognised through its ongoing growth, and high profile involvement in major projects. An opportunity exists for skilled professionals to join our Brisbane team in the following positions:

Surveyor – Major CBD project, great overtime available. Road set out, engineering surveys, huge variety of tasks. Recognised surveying qualifications essential

Surveyor – Pipeline Projects, managing surveys and client liaison, supervising the complete service delivery process. Great mix of office based coordination and away work, great overtime and allowances available. Recognised surveying qualifications essential.

Survey Project Manager (Western Corridor) – Based at our Springfield office, the role is very diverse and involves high level client liaison with many of our leading clients. Great opportunity to progress your project management skills. Qualifications in Survey, GIS, Town Planning or drafting would be an advantage.

LandPartners support their professionals with ongoing skills development, work/life balance, and the opportunity to progress to a variety of roles within the company. We are committed to providing our professionals with a collaborative and consultative culture, combined with access to the latest surveying technology available.

For further information regarding these and other vacancies, please call Human Resources on (07) 3842 1000 or apply now through the Spatial Jobs website.
Additional Information
Position Type: Full Time, Employee
Required Education Level: Certification
Job Starting Date: May 22, 2008
Job Closing Date: June 23, 2008
LandPartners Limited
Andres Hoffman
Level 3/99 Melbourne Street
South Brisbane, 4101
Queensland, Australia
Phone Number: 07 3842 1000
Fax Number: 07 3842 1001
link:Surveyors / Project Managers
Job Location(s):
Queensland - Show on map
This role is only available to residents of Australia
or to those who hold valid working visas or permits

Reference: Survey - (DA) - Bris

LandPartners reputation as a leading built environment consultancy is recognised through its ongoing growth, and high profile involvement in major projects. An opportunity exists for skilled professionals to join our Brisbane team in the following positions:

Surveyor – Major CBD project, great overtime available. Road set out, engineering surveys, huge variety of tasks. Recognised surveying qualifications essential

Surveyor – Pipeline Projects, managing surveys and client liaison, supervising the complete service delivery process. Great mix of office based coordination and away work, great overtime and allowances available. Recognised surveying qualifications essential.

Survey Project Manager (Western Corridor) – Based at our Springfield office, the role is very diverse and involves high level client liaison with many of our leading clients. Great opportunity to progress your project management skills. Qualifications in Survey, GIS, Town Planning or drafting would be an advantage.

LandPartners support their professionals with ongoing skills development, work/life balance, and the opportunity to progress to a variety of roles within the company. We are committed to providing our professionals with a collaborative and consultative culture, combined with access to the latest surveying technology available.

For further information regarding these and other vacancies, please call Human Resources on (07) 3842 1000 or apply now through the Spatial Jobs website.
Additional Information
Position Type: Full Time, Employee
Required Education Level: Certification
Job Starting Date: May 22, 2008
Job Closing Date: June 23, 2008
LandPartners Limited
Andres Hoffman
Level 3/99 Melbourne Street
South Brisbane, 4101
Queensland, Australia
Phone Number: 07 3842 1000
Fax Number: 07 3842 1001

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Exploding Star

Astronomers have been able to capture and record the first moments when a massive star blows itself apart.

After decades of searching, researchers have used the world's top telescopes to observe the remarkable event.

Previously, scientists had only been able to study these "supernovas" several days after the event.

The results, published in the journal Nature, show that within two hours of the blast, a giant fireball scattered radioactive debris across space.
We were in the right place, at the right time
Alicia Soderberg, Princeton University

Exploding stars, or supernovas, are some of the most spectacular events in the Universe, producing the same amount of energy as trillions of nuclear bombs detonating simultaneously.

Typically, they occur when a massive star - more than eight times the mass of the Sun - runs out of fuel and collapses to form a hot relic called a neutron star.

Their extreme brightness allows them to be seen in distant galaxies.

But observers cannot pick up this optical emission until several hours or days after the explosion, so a supernova's first moments are shrouded in mystery.

Death of a star

The event in the constellation of Lynx was captured by pure chance.

Alicia Soderberg, from Princeton University in New Jersey, and her colleagues were using the Swift space telescope to survey the spiral galaxy NGC2770.

They saw an extremely luminous X-ray outburst in an area of sky that had shown nothing bright just two days earlier.

They attribute the outburst to the breaking out of the supernova shockwave, which ploughs its way through the star's gaseous outer layers - blowing it to smithereens.

"We were in the right place, at the right time, with the right telescope," Dr Soderberg explained.

The initial observations were followed up by some of the world's major telescopes. They observed the blast for more than 30 days to rule out the possibility this event could be anything other than a supernova.

"We were able to observe the evolution of the explosion right from the start,” said co-author Edo Berger, from the Carnegie Observatories in California.

"This eventually confirmed that the big X-ray blast marked the birth of a supernova."

Dr Kim Page, from the University of Leicester, who led the X-ray analysis, commented: "This observation is by far the best example of what happens when a star dies and a neutron star is born."

Astronomers say that supernovas are part of the story of how we came to be, because these tremendous explosions created many of the heavy elements from which planets are made.

The authors say the event will help astronomers fill in gaps about the properties of massive stars, the birth of neutron stars and black holes, and the impact of supernovas on their environments.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tropical Rainforests: Climate and Plants

In an average year the climate in a tropical rain forest is very humid because of all the rainfall. A tropical rainforest gets about 150 cm of rain per year. It gets lots of rain because it is very hot and wet in rain forests. The hotter the air, the more water vapor it can hold. It rains usually about 1/8 of an inch per day.
This climate is found near the equator. That means that there is more direct sunlight hitting the land and sea there than anywhere else. The sun warms the land and sea and the water evaporates into the air. The warm air can hold a lot of water vapor. As the air rises, it cools. That means it can hold less water vapor. Then as warm meets cold, condensation takes place and the vapor forms droplets and clouds form. The clouds then produce rain. It rains more than ninety days a year and the strong sun usually shines between the storms. The water cycle repeats often along the equator.
The main plants in this biome are trees. This is important because in the rain forest, some rain never gets past the trees and to the smaller plants and ground below. Trees in this climate reach a height of more than 164 feet. They form a canopy. The forest floor is called understory. The canopy also keeps sunlight from reaching the plants in the understory. Between the canopy and understory is a lower canopy made up of smaller trees. These plants do receive some filtered sunlight.
The tropical rain forest is classified under the Köppen Classification system as Af, meaning tropical forest. The A is given to tropical climates that are moist for all months and which have average temperatures above 18 degrees Celsius. The f stands for sufficient precipitation for all months. The latitude range for my climate is 15° to 25° North and South of the equator.
The annual precipitation of a rain forest is greater than 150 cm. In a rain forest there is a short dry season. In only a month the rainforest receives 4 inches of rain. The rain forest climate is different from a lot of other climates. In other climates, the evaporation is carried away to fall as rain in far off areas, but in the rain forests, 50 percent of the precipitation comes from its own evaporation. A lot of the rain that falls on the rain forest never reaches the ground, instead it stays on the trees because the leaves act as a shield.
The average temperature of a rain forest is about 77° Fahrenheit. The rain forest is about the same temperature year round. The temperature never drops below 64° Fahrenheit. Rain forests are so hot because they are found near the equator. The closer to the equator you are, the more solar radiation there is. The more solar radiation there is, the hotter it is. Rain forest are never found in climates which have temperatures 32° Fahrenheit and below because the plant life will not be able to live in the frost. All the plants will die out if the rain forest is cooler.
The plants that make up the understory of a rain forest have adapted to the small amount of sunlight that they receive. Ferns and mosses do well, along with epiphytes. These are plants that grow on other plants. They can be found growing on branches of tall trees. There are many different plant species found in the rain forest.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


In all types of faults, the different blocks of rock push very tightly together, creating a good deal of friction as they move. If this friction level is high enough, the two blocks become locked -- the friction keeps them from sliding against each other. When this happens, the forces in the plates continue to push the rock, increasing the pressure applied at the fault.
If the pressure increases to a high enough level, then it will overcome the force of the friction, and the blocks will suddenly snap forward. To put it another way, as the tectonic forces push on the "locked" blocks, potential energy builds. When the plates are finally moved, this built-up energy becomes kinetic. Some fault shifts create visible changes at the earth's surface, but other shifts occur in rock well under the surface, and so don't create a surface rupture.

Training Faculty Needed for GIS Training

A training institute is looking for experienced faculty on GIS, Remote
Sensing and Photogrammetry with following,

Educational Qualifications and Experience: Masters in geoinformatics related
subjects (PhD preferred), Experience of imparting training on different
aspects of GIS, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry, Experience of
successfully handling geoinformatics related projects. Should have sound
knowledge of the basic concepts of geography, mapping and related subjects.
Experience in programming will be an added advantage. Should be able to
handle small and large batches, both theory and lab.

Software knowledge: ESRI, Autodesk and ERDAS/ Leica products

In addition to the above, (s)he should be ready to travel (both domestic and
overseas) and work under pressure. Should have good communication skills and
should work in team.

Interested candidates may forward their detail cv to

28th EARSeL Symposium and Workshops

Remote Sensing for a Changing Europe Istanbul Technical University (ITU) 2 June - 7 June 2008 Organiser: EARSeL, ITU Contact: Derya Maktav, Prof. Dr.ÝTÜ Civil Engineering FacultyGeodesy and Photogrammetry Eng. Dept.Remote Sensing Division 34469 Maslak, Ýstanbul, Turkey Istanbul Turkey Phone: +90-212-285 38 08 Fax: +90-212-573 70 27 Email: Website:
Dr. Edward de Bono Six Thinking Hats Workshop New Delhi 4 June - 4 June 2008 Organiser: Genesis Events India Contact: D-31 LGF Kalkaji New Delhi New Delhi , Delhi India Phone: 26221828 Fax: 41629369 Email: Website:
GIS/SIT 2008 - Swiss GI Forum: Added value by Geoinformation 10 June - 12 June 2008 Organiser: Swiss Organisation for Geographic Information Contact: GIS/SIT 2008c/o AKM Congress ServicePostfach CH-4005 Basel Zurich Switzerland Phone: 041 61 686 77 11 Fax: 0041 61 686 77 88 Email: Website:
Location Asia 2008 Hotel Istana 11 June - 12 June 2008 Organiser: GIS Development Contact: A-145, Sector-63, NOIDA Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Phone: +91-120-4260800/08 Fax: +91-120-4260823 Email: Website:
E-learning in Surveying, Geo-information Sciences and Land Administration ITC, Enschede 11 June - 13 June 2008 Organiser: FIG & ITC Enschede Contact: FIG E-learning 2008 SecretariatITC - Ms. Saskia TempelmanP.O. Box 67500AA EnschedeThe Netherlands Enschede Netherlands, The Phone: +31-53-4874333 Fax: +31-53-4874554 Email: Website:
Geo-Environment 2008 Wessex Institute of Technology 16 June - 18 June 2008 Organiser: Wessex Institute of Technology, UK; Complutense University, Spain Contact: Ashurst LodgeAshurstSouthamptonSO40 7AAUK The New Forest United Kingdom Phone: 02380 293223 Email: Website:
deegree day 2008 Universitätsclub Bonn 16 June - 18 June 2008 Organiser: lat/lon, Bonn University Contact: lat/lonAennchenstr. 1953177 BonnGermany Bonn Germany Phone: 0228 18496 0 Fax: 0228 18496 29 Email: Website:
8th Scientific Conference SGEM 2008 “Modern Management of Mine Producing, Geology and Environmental Protection” Congress Center "Dobrudja", Albena Complex 16 June - 20 June 2008 Organiser: Ministry of Environment and Water Contact: 14, "Kliment Ohridsky" Blvd. 1797 Sofia, BULGARIA Varna Bulgaria Phone: +359 2 975 3982 Fax: +359 2 817 2477 Email: Website:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Abu Dhabi Ports Company accepts Excellence in GIS Implementation award

Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) received an award for Excellence in GIS Implementation at GISWORX 2008, the third annual GIS Workshops & Exhibitions for ESRI Users.
The awards acknowledge exceptional GIS implementation programs, highlighting their distinctiveness in cultivating experimentation and innovation in the area of GIS Implementation.
ADPC adopted a unique approach for implementing its Geographical Information System (GIS), ensuring that the tool is an integral part of ADPC’s core business processes, serving simultaneously and in an integrated manner the requirements of its multiple business units and departments, such as Ports, Industrial Zones and Planning and Zones Development.
ADPC is a master developer of ports and industrial zones. Its purpose is to create a sustainable growth platform that spurs economic expansion and diversification for Abu Dhabi by developing world-class infrastructure, real-estate and business services in conjunction with the private sector.
ADPC has been mandated to develop all ports (with the exception of oil & gas and military ports) and related infrastructure in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
ADPC’s principal project, the Khalifa Port & Industrial Zone KPIZ is a central plank of “Plan Abu Dhabi 2030”, and will play a major role in Abu Dhabi’s industrial and economic diversification in serving as a key hub for large scale industrial investments that will be serviced by a state-of-the-art port, transport and other infrastructure facilities and services.
Source :


Job Location(s):
Queensland - Brisbane; Innisfail, Mackay; Sunshine Coast; Townsville

We are currently looking for experienced Surveyors to join our growing teams across Queensland. If you consider yourself a highly competent and professional Cadastral Surveyor to assist in establishing and developing our business, we would love to hear from you.

You will have the opportunity to manage the conduct of all survey functions for allocated projects, including allocation of fieldwork and office resources, management of digital data for the total project and preparation of all types of survey plans. You will manage survey related issues on projects, including liaison with clients and their representatives, communication within the business, general correspondence, assisting with budgets, accounts, and client relationship management.

We would consider someone who:
- Has extensive experience in winning and running survey projects, along with extensive experience in cadastral and engineering surveying
- Can demonstrate experience in development projects and have an understanding of Queensland’s cadastral system
- Enjoys interacting with clients and have a strong client focus
- Has the ability to deliver cost effective survey tasks to clients through efficient deployment of survey resources
- Can deliver accurate, cost effective survey tasks through efficient time management
- Possesses a good working knowledge of different forms of surveying and methodologies for a variety of survey disciplines (topographic, cadastral, estates, control surveys)
- Has comprehensive knowledge of AutoCAD operations and use of associated software
- Can demonstrate a high level of verbal and written communication skills, who is willing to both teach and learn
Additional Information
Position Type: Full Time, Employee
Relocation funds available
You will have the opportunity to work on a wide range of diverse and challenging projects, whilst enjoying many of the added benefits we have on offer for our employees.

PO Box 237
Fortitude Valley, 4006
Queensland, Australia
Phone Number: +61 7 3124 9500

Hot and Dry Desert

A Hot and Dry Desert is, as you can tell from the name, hot and dry. Most Hot and Dry Deserts don't have very many plants. They do have some low down plants though. The only animals they have that can survive have the ability to burrow under ground. This is because they would not be able to live in the hot sun and heat. They only come out in the night when it is a little cooler.

A cold desert is a desert that has snow in the winter instead of just dropping a few degrees in temperature like they would in a Hot and Dry Desert. It never gets warm enough for plants to grow. Just maybe a few grasses and mosses. The animals in Cold Deserts also have to burrow but in this case to keep warm, not cool. That is why you might find some of the same animals here as you would in the Hot and Dry Deserts.

Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth's land surface. Most Hot and Dry Deserts are near the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn. Cold Deserts are near the Arctic part of the world.

Hot and Dry Deserts temperature ranges from 20 to 25° C. The extreme maximum temperature for Hot Desert ranges from 43.5 to 49° C. Cold Deserts temperature in winter ranges from -2 to 4° C and in the summer 21 to 26° C a year

The precipitation in Hot and Dry Deserts and the precipitation in Cold Deserts is different. Hot and Dry Deserts usually have very little rainfall and/or concentrated rainfall in short periods between long rainless periods. This averages out to under 15 cm a year. Cold Deserts usually have lots of snow. They also have rain around spring. This averages out to 15 - 26 cm a year.

Hot and Dry Deserts are warm throughout the fall and spring seasons and very hot during the summer. the winters usually have very little if any rainfall. Cold Deserts have quite a bit of snow during winter. The summer and the beginning of the spring are barely warm enough for a few lichens, grasses and mosses to grow.

Hot and Dry Deserts vegetation is very rare. Plants are almost all ground-hugging shrubs and short woody trees. All of the leaves are replete (packed with nutrients). Some examples of these kinds of plant are Turpentine Bush, Prickly Pears, and Brittle Bush. For all of these plants to survive they have to have adaptations. Some of the adaptations in this case are the ability to store water for long periods of time and the ability to stand the hot weather.

Cold Desert's plants are scattered. In areas with little shade,about 10 percent of the ground is covered with plants. In some areas of sagebrush it reaches 85 percent. The height of scrub varies from 15 cm to 122 cm. All plants are either deciduous and more or less contain spiny leaves.

Hot and Dry Deserts animals include small nocturnal (only active at night) carnivores. There are also insects, arachnids, reptiles, and birds. Some examples of these animals are Borrowers, Mourning Wheatears, and Horned Vipers. Cold Deserts have animals like Antelope, Ground Squirrels, Jack Rabbits, and Kangaroo Rats.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Savanna Biome

A savanna is a rolling grassland scattered with shrubs and isolated trees, which can be found between a tropical rainforest and desert biome. Not enough rain falls on a savanna to support forests. Savannas are also known as tropical grasslands. They are found in a wide band on either side of the equator on the edges of tropical rainforests.

Savannas have warm temperature year round. There are actually two very different seasons in a savanna; a very long dry season (winter), and a very wet season (summer). In the dry season only an average of about 4 inches of rain falls. Between December and February no rain will fall at all. Oddly enough, it is actually a little cooler during this dry season. But don’t expect sweater weather; it is still around 70° F.
read more

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Some Useful Events, Conferences

GeoCAD’08 “1 Decembrie 1918”, University of Alba Iulia 9May - 10March 2008 Organiser: “1 Decembrie 1918” University of Alba Iulia – Faculty of Sciences University of West Hungary – Faculty of Geoinformatics, Székesfehérvár, O.C.P.I. of Alba County Contact: Prof.dr.eng. Maricel Palamariu e-mail: Dimén Levente e-mail: Alba lulia 2008 Phone: 0 Email: Website:
MapWorld 2008, Pitney Bowes MapInfo's 15th annual global user conference The Rio 21 - 23 May 2008 Organiser: Pitney Bowes MapInfo Contact: One Global ViewTroy, NY 12180
Las Vegas 2008 Phone: 518.285.7500 Email: Website:
ASPRS 2008 Annual Conference Oregon Convention Center 28April - 2May 2008 Organiser: ASPRS Contact: 5410 Grosvenor LaneSuite 210Bethesda, MD 20814 Portland , Oregon 2008 Phone: 301 493-0290 Fax: 301 493-0208 Email: Website:
ASPRS 2008 Annual Conference Oregon Convention Center 28April - 2May 2008 Organiser: Am. Soc. for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing Contact: 5410 Grosvenor LaneSuite 210Bethesda, MD 20814 Portland , Oregon 2008 Phone: 301 493 0290 Fax: 301 493 0208 Email: Website:
1Spatial Conference 2008: '1 Source of Truth' Radisson SAS Hotel 29April - 1May 2008 Organiser: Chloe Rooney Contact: Cavendish House, 6 Cambridge Business Park, Cambridge,CB4 0WZ, UK
Stansted 2008 Phone: 01223 420414 Email: Website:

Geoinformatics Forum Salzburg (GI_Forum2008)1 - 4 July, 2008Salzburg University Geo Web 200821 - 25 July, 2008Vancouver, BC, Canada10th International Symposium on High Mountain Remote Sensing and Cartography8 - 11 September, 2008ICIMOD, Kathmandu, NepalINTERGEO20 September - 2 October, 2008Bremen, GermanyGeoinformatics Forum Salzburg (GI_Forum2008)1 - 4 July, 2008Salzburg University Geo Web 200821 - 25 July, 2008Vancouver, BC, Canada10th International Symposium on High Mountain Remote Sensing and Cartography8 - 11 September, 2008ICIMOD, Kathmandu, NepalINTERGEO20 September - 2 October, 2008Bremen, Germany

China seeks U.S. satellite data on quake

16 May 2008 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China on Thursday asked the United States for satellite images of quake-stricken Sichuan province to help locate victims and identify seriously damaged roads and infrastructure, U.S. and Chinese officials said.
The request, hand-delivered to the State Department by a Chinese embassy official shortly before noon EDT, seeks high-resolution imagery of the region surrounding the south-central Chinese city of Chengdu, officials told Reuters.
A State Department spokesman had no immediate comment on how the United States would respond to the request but officials said it was expected to receive a high priority.
A U.S. document obtained by Reuters said China has already received offers of advanced satellite imagery from Japan as well as offers of radar data from Canada and Italy through the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA, has already begun analyzing imagery of the earthquake's aftermath taken from U.S. spy satellites, according to defense officials.
The Bush administration has offered spy satellite images and analysis to foreign governments coping with natural disaster in recent years to help organize rescue and recovery operations.
The State Department would also likely seek imagery for China from civilian government satellite, such as the U.S. Geological Survey as well as private-sector satellite companies, especially before-and-after images of quake-stricken sites, officials said. Half the epicenter town of Yingxiu, where corpses are lined along the river, has been flattened and 90 percent of the buildings remaining look unsafe.
U.S. satellite imagery could produce highly detailed pictures of damage to roads, railways, tunnels, ports and coastlines. A official at the Chinese embassy in Washington said the data could also help save lives by locating desperate victims.
Source :

Friday, May 16, 2008

Project will bring historic maps to life

VITAL answers for Cheshire historians, researchers and family history detectives could now be just seconds away thanks to a groundbreaking new website.

A four-year project to digitise' hundreds of 19th century county tithe maps and transform them into a worldwide computer accessible format could eliminate weeks or months of arduous research.

Launched formally at Chester Racecourse, the accessible map archive was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with a £159,000 grant and has been an instant success with 65,000 visits to the web site recorded in the first weeks.

Exeter University's professor Roger Kain, the county's leading expert on tithe maps said: "There is nothing like this groundbreaking facility anywhere in the UK. It is a fantastic and unmatched resource."

E-mapping Victorian Cheshire has made 480 19th century Cheshire tithe maps available online to help researchers answer questions varying from: where did our ancestors live, who lived in that house, who owned that land and what was it used for?' Younger pupils will also soon find some web pages for Primary school on the web site.

Cheshire County Council's Paul Newman, senior archivist Cheshire Record Office explained: "Not only are the maps now more widely accessible to everyone but the original maps can be kept in a better state of preservation."

To take a look at Victorian Cheshire, at

Source :

“Beacon for Freedom of Expression” Conference at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The idea of the “Beacon for Freedom of Expression” was first proposed during a one-day conference organized by the BA on 19 May 2003, followed by another from 18 to 20 September 2004. The sole purpose behind these two conferences was to raise awareness on challenging issues related to the freedom of expression.
On the occasion of celebrating the rebirth of the Library of Alexandria- the library of humanity- the Norwegian Dialogue Forum for Freedom of Expression has designed and issued a bibliographic database on worldwide censorship and freedom of expression.
This database is considered a unique source of information that is liable to promote dialogue on the universal right to freedom of expression between world cultures and, thus, establish the fact that there no other way of fighting oppression is better than providing free access to information and engaging in dialogue and expression.
By means of joint effort between the Norwegian Dialogue Forum for Freedom of Expression and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the BA`s Dialogue Forum organized and held at its premises the Third International Conference of the Beacon for Freedom of Expression, on Tuesday, 22 April 2008.
The first session, entitled “Freedom of Expression and the Law”, was moderated by TV presenter Bothayna Kamel. Dr. Kadry Hefny, Dr. Hatem El Tahawy, Ambassador Aly Maher El Sayed and Dr. Maged Mouris were the main speakers.
“Access to Information” was the title of the second session, which was moderated by TV presenter Shahira Ameen. The speakers were Dr. Hossam Lotfy, Dr. Hussein Abd El Aziz, Yan Hanningson, Director of the Swedish Institute in Alexandria, and Mrs. Vigidis Scarstein, from the National Library of Norway.
As the conference came to an end, the Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina brought up a consequential issue; namely, the concept that exchange of information is not only concerned with its availability but also with allowing easy access to its domain; a major point that should be borne in mind. In its vision towards a better future, the BA will carry upon its shoulders the heavy burden of addressing all raised questions concerning freedom of expression and disseminating knowledge.


Click to enlarge map

With the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, the League of Nations created the French Mandate of Syria and British Mandate Palestine. Approximately 90% of the British Mandate of Palestine was east of the Jordan river and was known as "Transjordan". In 1921 , the British gave semi-autonomous control of Transjordan to the future King Abdullah I of Jordan, of the Hashemite family. Abdullah I continued to rule until a Palestinian Arab assassinated him in 1951 as he was departing from the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. At first he ruled "Transjordan", under British supervision until after World War II. In 1946, the British requested that the United Nations approve an end to British Mandate rule in Transjordan. Following this approval, the Jordanian Parliament proclaimed King Abdullah as the first ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
image link:
full story

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Turkey Partners with World Bank for Modernization of Land Management Systems

5 May 2008 WASHINGTON, May 1, 2008 – The World Bank today approved a loan equivalent to US$203 million to the Government of Turkey for the Land Registry and Cadastre Modernization Project. The Project will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the land registry and cadastre services.
"The Project constitutes a next generation of Bank operations in the area of land management and cadastre, where the country already has a well functioning property rights regime, but is striving to take the land registry and cadastre data use to the next level by spreading its benefits to people, businesses and multiple sectors, and facilitating better access to real estate information through the e-government platform,” said Wael Zakout, Sector Manager and Task Team Leader for the Project. “This project will also help improve customer service by reducing the time taken to register a property transaction to a few hours, and develop property appraisal function in line with international standards.”
The project will (i) renovate and update cadastre maps to support digital cadastre and land registry information; (ii) make the digital land registry and cadastre information available to public and private entities (iii) improve customer services in land registry and cadastre offices; (iv) improve human resources in the Turkish Land Registry and Cadastre Agency (TKGM); and (v) develop policies and capacity to introduce best international practices in property valuation in Turkey.
While the Turkish Cadastre and Registration system is considered one of the most effective in the region and registration of property transactions is done within one day in many offices, there are still many shortcomings to be addressed to ensure that the system modernizes to reach the same service level as in the European countries. Many of the Cadastre and Land Registry offices rely on manual systems, with old documents, some of them dating back to the Ottoman times. In addition, the TAKBIS system (Turkey’s computerized Cadastre and Land Registry Software) runs in only 140 out of the 1000 offices.
The most challenging aspect is that cadastral maps continue to be in a paper format, vary in accuracy and consistency, and are not linked to the national network. This makes it difficult to support E-government applications as cadastre maps serve as a base mapping for many government applications. Furthermore, in many localities maps are out of date and do not correspond with the ground locations and areas, differing sometimes by up to 10 meters.
The project will be funded by an IBRD flexible variable spread loan. It will have a maturity of 23.5 years including a 5 year grace period.
Source :

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


click here

Global Warming Effect

click here

Aid pledges flood in after China quake disaster

HONG KONG (AFP) - Pledges of aid flooded in Tuesday for tens of thousands of survivors of China's earthquake, as officials warned battering rains and a risk of landslides were holding up relief in the worst-hit areas.
full story

Race to reach China quake survivors

click here

Digital mapping of water lines in Kolkata

The civic authorities have decided to prepare a digital map of the underground water pipes that were laid more than 70 years ago.
“The map will help us identify the problem areas in the water lines,” said Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya. “The pipes were laid 70-80 years ago but there is no map of the network.”
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation will approach the National Urban Renewal Mission for funds — Rs 1,000 crore — for the mapping as well as installation of flow and pressure monitors at strategic points in the network that supplies water to over 2.8 lakh households.
Civic records suggest that over 100 million gallons of filtered water is lost everyday primarily because of leaks in the pipes and unmonitored flow from roadside and household taps.
Almost every day, the civic water supply department gets flooded with complaints about fluctuation in pressures, leaks and uneven distribution.
“We need specific data to resolve these problems. The map will help us understand the reasons behind the fluctuation in pressures and select the right sites for booster pumping stations, ” said Bibhash Maity, the chief engineer in the civic water supply department. “When water meters are finally installed, we will have a fair idea of the extent of water usage.”
The mapping, which will cover the primary water mains and supply lines, will be done in phases. The first phase will cover the area from South Sinthee to Tollygunge.
French firm Seureca had carried out a pilot project using remote sensing technology in Ward 63 and at the Tallah pumping station in 2005.
“The pilot project helped us a lot in improving the water supply management. So, we have decided to replicate the model in the other 140 wards,” said mayor Bhattacharayya.
Work will start soon after the National Urban Renewal Mission authorities approve the scheme. Agencies that had executed similar projects will be invited to submit bids.
“The mapping will take some time as we don’t want to dig up roads. But we want the project to be over by 2015,” said a civic engineer.
Source :

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Over 16,000 soldiers join in disaster relief after Sichuan quake

BEIJING, May 13 (Xinhua) -- As of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, 16,760 Chinese soldiers have joined in disaster relief efforts after a major earthquake jolted southwest China's Sichuan Province Monday afternoon.

China will also send 20 military planes to transport armed forces and armed police to the quake-hit areas, according to the military emergency response office on Tuesday.

Additional 34,000 armed forces from the Jinan and Chengdu military commands are advancing towards the disaster-hit regions by planes, trains, and trucks, and on foot.

A rescue team composed of 227 military medical staffs and seismologists arrived in Dujiangyan City, northwest of Sichuan's capital Chengdu earlier Tuesday morning.

The epicenter of the quake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, is located 31 degrees north latitude and 103.4 degrees east longitude.

The road from Dujiangyan, a city northwest of the provincial capital Chengdu, to Wenchuan, the epicenter, was blocked by rocks and mud slides, holding up rescue, medical and other disaster relief teams, a witness said via mobile phone.

Premier Wen Jiabao asked military personnel waiting in the city to enter into the area as soon as possible even if they had to walk to Wenchuan.

The earlier the troops arrived, the more lives they could save, he said.
read more

Death toll from China quake nears 10,000

full story

Chinese premier calls for all-out effort to help quake affected people

China rushed its troops to the earthquake-struck Wenchuan County of southwest Sichuan province for disaster relief work, with President Hu Jintao ordering all-out efforts to help the affected people.The troops would assist the local government in Wenchuan to guage the situation and help in relief work.Earlier, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale rocked south-west China on Monday.The quake struck Wenchuan County, 100 kms to the north-west of Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan, on Monday afternoon, the bureau said.The quake was felt in Beijing also, with reports of buildings swaying and people running out of their apartments into the streets.Zhengzhou, Chengu and Chongqing also reported major tremors, a Chinese news agency said.Apart from China, the tremors were felt in Bangkok and Vietnam also.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cyclone Nargis and Myanmar floods seen from space

Envisat captures Cyclone Nargis making its way across the Bay of Bengal just south of Myanmar on 1 May 2008, with its Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument working in Reduced Resolution mode to deliver a spatial resolution of 1200 metres.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oxygen Depletion: A New Form of Ocean Habitat Loss

click here

NW Afghanistan hit by plague of locusts

click here


One of the most persistently asked questions has been: How was the universe created? Many once believed that the universe had no beginning or end and was truly infinite. Through the inception of the Big Bang theory, however,no longer could the universe be considered infinite. The universe was forced to take on the properties of a finite phenomenon, possessing a history and a beginning.

About 15 billion years ago a tremendous explosion started the expansion of the universe. This explosion is known as the Big Bang. At the point of this event all of the matter and energy of space was contained at one point. What exisisted prior to this event is completely unknown and is a matter of pure speculation. This occurance was not a conventional explosion but rather an event filling all of space with all of the particles of the embryonic universe rushing away from each other. The Big Bang actually consisted of an explosion of space within itself unlike an explosion of a bomb were fragments are thrown outward. The galaxies were not all clumped together, but rather the Big Bang lay the foundations for the universe.

The origin of the Big Bang theory can be credited to Edwin Hubble. Hubble made the observation that the universe is continuously expanding. He discovered that a galaxys velocity is proportional to its distance. Galaxies that are twice as far from us move twice as fast. Another consequence is that the universe is expanding in every direction. This observation means that it has taken every galaxy the same amount of time to move from a common starting position to its current position. Just as the Big Bang provided for the foundation of the universe, Hubbles observations provided for the foundation of the Big Bang theory.

read more

Saturday, May 10, 2008


a) Drink essential. Drink is essentially necessary for everything in the world as without it nothing can live. Plants die without watery nourishment. Man is also not free from that law. The Quran says: And Allah created every living thing from water (25:4)
b) Manner of Drink. Drinking should always be made in sitting posture and not in standing or lying condition. The Holy Prophet prohibited it (11:78). Before drinking, the name of Allah should be taken by uttering – “In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Beneficent, “and after drink the Almighty Allah should be praised by saying “All Praise if for Allah, the lord of the worlds” (11:89). “At the time of actual drink, no breath should be thrown into the cup or vessel (7:44, 11:88) and generally water should be taken in three breaths (11:75) Drink during actual eating should be avoided as far as possible, but it should be finishing touch to meal.
c) Kinds of Drink. There are various kinds of drink in the world, some are lawful and some unlawful. Of the lawful drinks, the Holy Prophet loved sweet cool drink very much (11:93). The drink of milk and honey were also greatly in favour with him. The usefulness of milk both as drink and food has been guaranteed by the Quran. “And We give you to drink of what is in their bellies from between the faces and blood – pure milk very agreeable for those who drink” (16:66).
d) Drinking of Juices of Fruits and Leaves. With regret to punishment and sin of unlawful drinks such as wine and other intoxicating liquors, they have been dealt with in notes 1218 and 1219*. Anything intoxicants and games of chance Say: In both of them, there is a great sin and mean of profit for men, and their sin is greater then their profit (2:219). This word is sufficient enough to abolish the age long custom of Arabs in drinking intoxicants. It is said that when wine was prohibited, the streets of Medina were flooded with wines and bottles. There are four prohibited intoxicants. (1) Khamar i.e., crude juice of the grapes which being fermented becomes intoxicating. Khamar is produced from two trees, namely vine and date. It is unlawful in its small and great quantities. It is also unlawful to derive any use from khamar (wine) either as a medicine or in any manner, because the use of filth is forbidden. (2) The second prohibited liquor is the boiled juice of grapes called Bazik and Monissaf. The juice of grapes when boiled until a quantity less than two thirds evaporate is called Bazik and when it is evaporated to the extent of one half, it is called Monissaf. (3) The third kind of prohibited liquor is Sikkar and is made by steeping fresh dates in water until they take effect in sweetening it. (4) The fourth kind is Nookoo Zaheeb which is water in which raisins are steeped until it becomes sweet. This is prohibited when it becomes spirituous.

What is Acid Rain ?

“Acid rain” is a broad term used to describe several ways that acids fall out of the atmosphere. A more precise term is acid deposition, which has two parts: wet and dry.
Wet deposition refers to acidic rain, fog, and snow. As this acidic water flows over and through the ground, it affects a variety of plants and animals. The strength of the effects depend on many factors, including how acidic the water is, the chemistry and buffering capacity of the soils involved, and the types of fish, trees, and other living things that rely on the water.
Dry deposition refers to acidic gases and particles. About half of the acidity in the atmosphere falls back to earth through dry deposition. The wind blows these acidic particles and gases onto buildings, cars, homes, and trees. Dry deposited gases and particles can also be washed from trees and other surfaces by rainstorms. When that happens, the runoff water adds those acids to the acid rain, making the combination more acidic than the falling rain alone.
Prevailing winds blow the compounds that cause both wet and dry acid deposition across state and national borders, and sometimes over hundreds of miles. Scientists discovered, and have confirmed, that sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are the primary causes of acid rain. In the US, About 2/3 of all SO2 and 1/4 of all NOx comes from electric power generation that relies on burning fossil fuels like coal.
Acid rain occurs when these gases react in the atmosphere with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form various acidic compounds. Sunlight increases the rate of most of these reactions. The result is a mild solution of sulfuric acid and nitric acid.
How Do We Measure Acid Rain?
Acid rain is measured using a scale called “pH.” The lower a substance’s pH, the more acidic it is. Pure water has a pH of 7.0. Normal rain is slightly acidic because carbon dioxide dissolves into it, so it has a pH of about 5.5. As of the year 2000, the most acidic rain falling in the US has a pH of about 4.3.
read more

Friday, May 9, 2008

Is Global Cooling Next?

Australia, the land where sinks drain the other way, has alerted Americans that we see Earth’s climate upside down: We’re not warming. We’re cooling.
“Disconcerting as it may be to true believers in global warming, the average temperature on Earth has remained steady or slowly declined during the past decade, despite the continued increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, and now the global temperature is falling precipitously.” Dr. Phil Chapman wrote in The Australian on April 23. “All those urging action to curb global warming need to take off the blinkers and give some thought to what we should do if we are facing global cooling instead.”
Chapman neither can be caricatured as a greedy oil-company lobbyist nor dismissed as a flat-Earther. He was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology staff physicist, NASA’s first Australian-born astronaut, and Apollo 14’s Mission Scientist.
Chapman believes reduced sunspot activity is curbing temperatures. As he elaborates, “there is a close correlation between variations on the sunspot cycle and Earth’s climate.” Anecdotally, last winter brought record cold to Florida, Mexico, and Greece, and rare snow to Jerusalem, Damascus, and Baghdad. China endured brutal ice and snow.
read more

White Holes

White holes are similar to black holes except white holes are ejecting matter verses black holes are absorbing matter. In 1916, Karl Schwarzschild derived the first model of a black hole using Einstein's theory of general theory of relativity. Nothing, not even a particle moving at the speed of light, can escape the gravitational pull of a black hole. The existence of white holes is implied by a negative square root solution to the Schwarzchild metric for space-time-matter continuum.. It is important to remember that black and white holes can be composed from matter or antimatter.

A worm hole, which joins white holes, is known as the Einstein-Rosen bridge and is one of the most fascinating concepts in theoretical physics. In 1962, John Wheeler discovered the Einstein-Rosen bridge space-time-matter metric. Theoretically, a worm hole could be stabilized to allow a safe equilibrium between matter and antimatter white holes. To stabilize the worm hole, the throat of the singularity contains matter and antimatter white holes, which are spherical in nature. The antimatter has a negative mass and exerts a positive surface pressure.

Scientists have questioned the existence of black holes for decades. On May 27, 2004, Edward Churchwell, a University of Wisconsin-Madison astronomer, announced their findings using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope that the Milky Way Galaxy was churned out hundreds of new stars. The black holes in the center of galaxies are composed of condensed matter and antimatter. The black holes have the mass of a billions of suns. The Einstein-Rosen Bridge keeps the matter and antimatter black holes separated. The oscillations between the black holes at opposite ends of the wormhole force the black holes to become white holes that eject matter and antimatter in opposite directions forming the spiral arms of stars within the galactic disk.

The antimatter negative mass ensures the throat of the worm hole lies outside the protected region and the positive surface pressure prevents the throat of the worm hole from completely collapsing. The matter and antimatter properties are not arbitrary or purely theoretical for producing a stable worm hole. Einstein's equations specify what the energy-momentum content of matter must be in an area to produce the needed geometry. Matter and antimatter white holes can stabilize a worm hole.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Electric Currents from Space

When a bright aurora is seen in the auroral zone, a strong magnetic disturbance is usually also observed there. The disturbing magnetic field can be much stronger than that of a magnetic storm but it is strictly local, fading away quickly as one moves equatorward.
This limited extent suggested that the currents which disturbed the field flowed somewhere nearby, probably near the auroral arcs. The Norwegian Kristian Birkeland, who carefully observed auroral disturbances around the turn of the century, concluded that those currents flowed parallel to the ground, along the auroral formation.
Any electric current, however, must flow in a closed circuit, and since it seemed to be caused (like that of the aurora) by processes taking place in distant space, Birkeland proposed that it came down from space at one end of the arc and returned to space at the other end. The drawing here illustrates the idea and was taken from Birkeland's 1903 report on his expeditions to the auroral zone:.
full story

Survey Project Manager - Dubai Project

Job Location(s):
Queensland - South Brisbane - Show on map

Reference: Dubai- Prj Mgt (AF & DD) - Bris

- Cadastral project with international focus
- Coordination of survey drafting
- South Brisbane offices

LandPartners reputation as a highly regarded built environment consultancy is recognised through its ongoing rapid growth, and high profile involvement in many of the Eastern Seaboards leading projects.

Due to this reputation, we are also engaged in projects overseas, particularly in Dubai. We are now seeking an experienced Surveyor/Project Manager to assist the Project leaders in coordinating these international activities.

The ideal candidate will meet the following pre-requisites:
- Minimum 5 years experience in cadastral surveying and drafting, with recognised qualifications preferred;
- Project management capabilities in coordinating tasks and supervising work of junior team members;
- The ability to work internationally for periods of time as required;
- Strong client liaison skills will be highly regarded;
- Computer literacy, with knowledge of AutoCAD or similar essential.

Additional Information

Position Type: Full Time, Employee
Required Education Level: Certification
Job Starting Date: April 28, 2008
The successful candidate will be offered a competitive remuneration package, and the opportunity to be involved in an international project that is diverse and challenging. You will also work with a company that is committed to providing their professionals with a collaborative and consultative culture, combined with access to the latest technologies available.

For further information please call LandPartners Human Resources (in the strictest confidence) on 07 3842 1000, alternatively email


LandPartners Dubai Pty Ltd
Andres Hoffman
Level 3/99 Melbourne Street
South Brisbane, 4101
Queensland, Australia
Phone Number: 07 3842 1000

Click here to find out more about "LandPartners Dubai Pty Ltd"

Click here to see all "LandPartners Dubai Pty Ltd" opportunities

Follow this link to Apply Online

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Senior Project Management, Geospatial Projects

Job Location(s):
United States
California - Sydney, Australia - Show on map

Reference: ZA-123436US

Never has there been a better time to join RailCorp, a leading Australian services organisation focused on the delivery of new, improved infrastructure technologies and capital assets for the benefit of all users of the NSW rail system.

The Senior Project Manager, Geospatial Projects will provide technical expertise relating to Spatial Data, ensuring the accuracy and currency of the GIS configuration. You will provide best practice advice, internally and externally, engaging in innovative geospatial projects interfacing with other divisions to technically advance the business.

You will develop and manage detailed project plans including scope, budgets and specifications for asset management projects; participating in peer reviews and quality management processes whilst providing leadership in planning and technical innovation.

Tertiary qualifications in engineering, surveying or a related discipline are essential, together with extensive experience in project management and an asset rich organisation. You will need to demonstrate a successful background and capability in geospatial related project management with a thorough understanding of current and emerging technologies.

RailCorp is undergoing enormous change through investments in new technology, offering flexible working arrangements, career progression possibilities and the opportunity to contribute to exciting and innovative projects.

Interested applicants can apply online at quoting reference ZA-123436. For more information, please contact Zubyer Athar on (02) 8248 7030 or on Sunday between 4-5pm on 0418 110 797

Additional Information

Salary: from $96,000.00 AUD up to $105,000.00 AUD per year
Position Type: Full Time, Employee
Required Education Level: Bachelors
Job Closing Date: May 2, 2008
19 Day Month
Excellent Career Prospects
Great growth path


Hamilton James & Bruce
Zubyer Athar
Level 11, 20 Bridge Street
Sydney, 2000
New South Wales, Australia
Phone Number: 02 8248 7030
Mobile Number: 0418 110 797

Click here to find out more about "Hamilton James & Bruce"

Click here to see all "Hamilton James & Bruce" opportunities

Follow this link to Apply Online