Iceberg Headed for Sub-Antarctic Island Could Threaten Wildlife

first_img– Advertisement – It’s unpredictable what could happen if the iceberg were to run aground near South Georgia, said M Jackson, a glaciologist who is an explorer with the National Geographic Society. Such episodes are not unheard-of but greater attention is usually given to them when they pose a threat to people and wildlife, she said.- Advertisement – An iceberg roughly the size of Delaware that is headed toward the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia has experts worried about the possibility of it blocking wildlife from food sources and threatening the island’s ecosystem.The iceberg, known as A68a, was about 400 kilometers, or about 250 miles, away from the coast of the British island territory of South Georgia as of Wednesday, the British Antarctic Survey said.- Advertisement – There is a chance that if A68a does run aground, it could disrupt part of South Georgia’s ecosystem, affecting some of the areas and paths that animals, such as seals and penguins, travel to hunt and gather food.“Essentially, seals and penguins birth on land, then commute back and forth into the ocean to source and return with food to feed their young,” Dr. Jackson said. “The iceberg might disrupt this, and seals and penguins might not be able to source and deliver food to their land-based pups and chicks, potentially triggering widespread starvation.”Douglas R. MacAyeal, a professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago who has studied the behavior of large icebergs, compared A68a with another large iceberg, B-15A. In the 2000s, B-15A struck parts of Ross Island in the Ross Sea as well as the other icebergs surrounding it, disturbing the island’s penguin colonies. Some colonies went years without hatching chicks. The disturbance led to some penguins interbreeding with those from different colonies.“This led to a genetic benefit of exchange, of genetic material from different, normally isolated, cohorts,” Dr. MacAyeal said in an email. “In my view: If A68a were to encounter the island itself or the shoals around it, it would be spectacular for a few days but would not lead to an ecosystem catastrophe.”Some experts predict A68a will eventually break into large pieces as a result of strong currents.“The Southern Ocean around South Georgia is an utterly wild place with strong currents and sea-swell that will ‘flex’ the iceberg on top of the grounding point, causing it to stress and fracture much like a ship,” Dr. MacAyeal said.If the iceberg does break close to the island’s coast, there’s the potential that it could displace large amounts of seawater “that can inundate coastal communities,” Dr. Jackson said.This kind of hazard is something experts have had to grapple with as climate change has led to ice melting and ice systems breaking at significant rates.“I am doubtful given the increasing rate of ice melt worldwide that this is the last time we’ll see this,” Dr. Jackson said. “I wouldn’t be surprised in the years to come if we continue to see bigger icebergs presenting bigger hazards to communities of people and wildlife alike.”center_img The iceberg broke off from the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017 and is about 100 miles long and 30 miles wide. The trajectory of the iceberg could change and steer clear of the island, because it’s in the strongest ocean current where waters are not impeded by continents. This means the iceberg could easily sail past the island, all depending on the course nature takes. – Advertisement – The iceberg may run aground near the island and be a few weeks out from the island’s coast, said Andrew Fleming, a remote sensing manager with the survey.last_img read more

O’Neill: Let’s make each goal count

first_img Amazingly, Northern Ireland have drawn a blank in their last nine friendles on the road – with that number rising to 11 when you include Carling Nations Cup defeats against the Republic of Ireland and Wales. Indeed, their last away goal outside of qualification came in Finland in 2006, with a teenage Kyle Lafferty grabbing the winner in a 2-1 success. Northern Ireland are hopeful of ending an embarrassing drought in away friendlies when they take on Cyprus on Wednesday night, with manager Michael O’Neill calling on his side to make every goal count. Suspension effectively ended his campaign and the arrival of his second child ruld him out of a subsequent friendly in Turkey. He has spoken with contrition about his red card and is eager to make amends should he get the chance on Wednesday. O’Neill has been critical of the 26-year-old’s contribution during his time in the job, but remains a fan and is eager to get the best out of him in future. “There’s a lot of talk about Kyle and I think at times he’d probably prefer if there was a bit less talk. He just wants to get on with it and play,” said O’Neill. “I don’t think it’s a case of Kyle having to put things right, but for various reasons we’ve had a six-month period without seeing him. “He is (at) an interesting place in his career. “I’m very pleased by the reports I’ve had from Italy and he’s got eight goals for Palermo which is a decent return. There’s also a chance of him playing in Serie A next year, which must be very exciting for him. “But it’s about finding that consistency on the international stage as well because a focused, fit Kyle Lafferty is a big positive for us. “He gives our play a different dimension and if we are going to be successful, Kyle has a big role to play in that.” Northern Ireland have two more friendlies, in Uruguay and Chile, before beginning their Euro 2016 qualifiers in September. Press Association A trip to Nicosia to face a side ranked 122nd in the world presents a wonderful chance to put an end that sequence, but O’Neill knows his side are never going to be a free-scoring outfit and must learn to edge close games when Euro 2016 qualifying begins later this year. “We’ll pick a team with a lot of attacking options against Cyprus and we want to see that bear fruit,” O’Neill told Press Association Sport. “We want to see the team play on the front foot with a smile on their faces. You would obviously like to come away from home and score goals on a regular basis but that’s just not Northern Ireland and it never has been. “The only people who can change that are these players, but we have to accept where we are. We’re not a nation who are going to score a huge number of goals and we never have been. “But if you look at the statistics (from World Cup qualification) one of the most interesting for me was that Greece won eight games and only scored 12 goals. “We have to look at how countries like that progress and qualify for tournaments.” It would be fitting if Lafferty was the man to end his country’s barren streak, with the Palermo striker back in the squad after a self-induced six-month exile. He last played in the 4-2 defeat by Portugal last September, sent off 13 minutes after coming off the bench. last_img read more

Google has unveiled the first prototype of its sel

first_imgGoogle has unveiled the first prototype of its self-driving vehicle. The vehicle was first revealed in May, but the car Google presented was just a mockup without headlights.“Since then, we’ve been working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car—for example, the typical ‘car’ parts like steering and braking, as well as the ‘self-driving’ parts like the computer and sensors,” Google wrote on its Google+ page. “We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.”Google will be testing the car on its test track throughout the holidays and hopes to get the vehicle on the road in 2015. The company’s safety drivers will continue to manage the car for the time being.Microsoft announces Azure Media Services live streaming with new PlayReady encryptionMicrosoft is beefing up security in its live-streaming cloud services, adding PlayReady encryption to Azure Media Services. PlayReady is an encryption technology to protect both on-demand video technology and live streams. According to a blog post from Azure Media Services program manager Mingfei Yan, PlayReady can work with a combination of other Azure-supported security mechanisms and protocols, including HTTP Live Streaming, Smooth Streaming and MPEG DASH and AES dynamic encryption for live streaming.A full list of PlayReady setup instructions is available in the blog post.Apple’s first automatic security updateApple has rolled out its first automatic security update to help defend against newly discovered bugs, Reuters has reported. The update was pushed out to Mac computers in order to fix a bug affecting the computer’s network time protocol. The company decided to push the update out automatically in order protect customers and minimize possible damage. Apple introduced automatic security updates about two years ago, but this was the first time the company took advantage of the technology.last_img read more