Japan’s Hokkaido prefecture has some of the oldest culture in the world.  Now, it has some of the newest land, due to a  bizarre landslide that thrust several tons of seabed to the surface.  The resulting land formation covers an area 12 sq. km (7.4 sq. mi).  The landslide is believed to have been caused by a large volume of melted snow.  Professor Hiroshi Fukuoka believes a further contributing factor to the landslide was “the ground has become fragile on some of the coasts that have become cliffs. That is because of exposure to waves.”

Meanwhile, Floridians were no doubt seeking exposure to waves as temperatures soared past 97ºF (36.1ºC) in Coral Gables.  The stifling heat was record breaking.  In Boca Raton, it was 99ºF (37.2º.)  Any temperature higher than 90ºF (32ºC) can be dangerous.  Outdoor work or exercise should be avoided in such conditions.

While cold can be dangerous, it can also be necessary for survival.  Ice roads that support the oil industry in Canada often shut down early, which forces drilling rigs to close.  Polar bears and Inuits depend on thick Arctic ice for food.  Scientists who study Arctic sea ice risk their lives to provide the world with vital information.  Now RCMP suspect that two of them, sadly, made the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of knowledge.  Scientists that die for their work are often not labelled as heroes, but I submit that perhaps they should be.  A pilot spotted the missing team near an area of open water.  Their sled dog was found sitting nearby.  Their equipment was intact, and they had sent out an emergency distress message.

In other news, a wild fire is burning in possibly the worst place it could in the world: Chernobyl.  The nuclear danger is obvious, but what makes the problem especially bad is the amount of non-nuclear fuel around in the area.  Because of the high radiation levels, bacteria and fungi that break down dead plant matter, known as decomposers, cannot prosper.  In other words, there is limited decay.  Of course, the best fuel for fire is dead leaves and trees, but normally dead trees eventually decompose, making way for moss and eventually becoming soil, but this is not the case here, or more accurately, it hasn’t been yet.  There are living trees around also that contribute fuel for fires.  Furthermore, this fire is extremely serious as Ukraine is “catastrophically” ill-equipped to handle this sort of disaster.  Alarmingly, it is only 10 miles (16km) from the reactors, and only three miles from spent fuel repositories.  Damage to these structures could result in high doses of radiation in Ukraine.

Unfortunately, the tragic events we reported on are in no way a full reflection of what has been going on in the world.  If you would like to see all of our headlines from the past week, please click here.


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