Friday, August 29, 2014

Shell is trying once again to begin drilling in the Arctic

Shell is trying once again to begin drilling in the Arctic

Royal Dutch Shell has asked the United States federal government for permission to begin drilling in the Arctic, not too far off of the coast of Alaska. The company’s previous attempts to begin drilling in the Arctic came to a halt back in 2012 due to numerous pratfalls and violations of federal regulations. It has since revised its plan and resubmitted it for approval.

The revised exploration plan, which the company submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in Anchorage, calls for two drilling vessels to operate in the Chukchi Sea at the same time, rather than the previous plan which called for one in the Chukchi and one in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s north Coast.

Shall has been trying to drill in the Arctic for over a decade, but its attempts have been plagued by numerous challenges and mishaps. The company had to abandon its hopes of drilling in the Arctic this year after it was ruled that the United States government hadn’t properly assessed the potential environmental damage that large-scale oil production could do.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is currently working on an environmental study that Shell hopes will be able to satisfy the court and enable the company to begin drilling in the Arctic.

Read more about the story at The New York Times.

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Climate change is eventually going to hit Hawaii hard

Climate change is eventually going to hit Hawaii hard

A new report from the University of Hawaii is warning the state’s tourism industry to begin preparing to feel the effects of climate change. The report warns that Hawaii will most likely begin seeing a lot more competition from easier-to-access tropical resorts along the coastal regions from Texas to Arizona.

Thanks to climate change, Hawaii is expected to become hotter and drier. That means less cooling trade winds, roaring waterfalls, and gorgeous forest streams, and more droughts. There will also be fewer beaches as the sea levels rise and the coast begins to erode away.

The report was paid for by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, which is looking for strategies to adapt to the inevitable changes. One of the biggest challenges that the state’s tourism industry will face is the rising sea levels. The vast majority of Hawaii’s hotels and resorts are located near the shore, and will soon have to deal with increased flooding and storm surges.

Dolan Eversole, a coastal hazards extension agent for the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program and one of the authors of the report, has said that the earth’s climate is already being changed by rising greenhouse gases from across the globe, however, we won’t experience the major effects for another few decades or so.

Some of Hawaii’s beaches will erode by fifty feet or more by 2050, and some beaches will disappear entirely. More and more, Hawaii is being faced with the choice of a costly retreat from the coast to maintain its healthy sand beaches, or armoring its shorelines in order to protect its hotels while running the risk of losing even more of its shorelines.

Read more about the story at The Huffington Post.

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Louisiana is being swallowed into the Gulf of Mexico

Louisiana is being swallowed into the Gulf of Mexico

Scientists are saying that one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the history of the United States, the rapid loss of land that is occurring in the southeast portion of Louisiana, is on the fast track towards a catastrophic conclusion over the next few decades.

The Louisiana coastline has been shrinking over the last few decades, and the rate at which it gets swallowed into the Gulf of Mexico is increasing every year. It has been estimated that the state loses a chunk of land equal in size to a football field every hour or so.

According to ProPublica: “In 50 years, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes, 16 square miles a year, due to climate change, drilling and dredging for oil and gas, and levees on the Mississippi River.”

“This land being swallowed by the Gulf is home to half of the country’s oil refineries, a matrix of pipelines that serve 90 percent of the nation’s offshore energy production and 30 percent of its total oil and gas supply, a port vital to 31 states, and 2 million people who would need to find other places to live,” according to ProPublica.

Read more about the story at Popular Science.

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Existing power plants will spew forth over 300 billion tons of CO2

Existing power plants will spew forth over 300 billion tons of CO2

Power plants across the globe are going to spew forth more than three-hundred billion tons of carbon dioxide over their expected lifetimes, adding massive amounts of the climate-warming gas to the atmosphere. That number is just from the power plants that are currently in existence, it doesn’t include power plants that have yet to be built.

This is according to findings by scientists from the University of California in Irvine (UCI) and Princeton University. These findings, which appeared in Environmental Research Letters earlier this week, are the first to quantify just how quickly these “committed” emissions are growing, which is around four percent annually, as more fossil fuel-burning power plants are being built.

“Bringing down carbon emissions means retiring more fossil fuel-burning facilities than we build,” said Steven Davis, assistant professor of Earth system science at UCI and the study’s lead author. “But worldwide, we’ve built more coal-burning power plants in the past decade than in any previous decade, and closures of old plants aren’t keeping pace with this expansion. Far from solving the climate change problem, we’re investing heavily in technologies that make the problem worse.”

“We’ve been hiding what’s going on from ourselves: A high-carbon future is being locked in by the world’s capital investments,” said Socolow, professor emeritus of mechanical & aerospace engineering. “Current conventions for reporting data and presenting scenarios for future action need to give greater prominence to these investments. Such a rebalancing of attention will reveal the relentlessness of coal-based industrialization, long underway and showing no sign of abating.”

Read more about the story at Scientific American.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Soul inside

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They See a Pre-Trib Rapture Because They Want to See It


There is something inherently wonderful about the concept of the rapture. It means salvation, joy, and harmony to the majority of Christians. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen the way that most believe.

This is not an article to give evidence about the idea that we will go through tribulation before the return of our Messiah. It’s also not an article that will go into the reasons that the false idea of a pre-tribulation rapture became so popular and why it’s taught in most Christian churches today. That particular conspiracy theory would take much longer than one article to explain. Today, let’s simply discuss the dangers of having a closed mind and the reason that so many do.

The title of this post is unfortunate because there really is not a “they” or an “us” in this debate. The reality is that those who live long enough to see the end days just prior to the return of Jesus Christ will all be faced with tremendous challenges and the type of world that most do not want to consider. The reason that I use the word “they” is in hopes that you, the reader, will soon be willing to open your mind to reality.

When Hope is Blinding

Hope is the cornerstone of a set of emotions bestowed on us by the Creator that drive many of us to do more than we normally could. It is a top-tier emotion that can supersede the base emotions of fear or joy that guide many of us from moment to moment.

With all of the wonderful things that hope brings to humans, it can have a negative effect. In the case of believing in a pre-tribulation rapture, it’s our hopes that play against us to strengthen the delusion. The end days will be marked with the greatest evils the world has ever seen. Millions, even billions of people will die quickly in an unprecedented wave of destruction and chaos. People will be forced to make tough choices unlike anything that we’ve ever had to face.

It won’t be choices about how to pay a mortgage or what to do about the bully at school. These choices will be more important than even the life or death decisions that some are forced to make today. These will be choices about our soul, choices about eternity.

There will be suffering greater than the vast majority of people have ever imagined, let alone experienced.

Many churches have latched onto the concept of the pre-tribulation rapture for two reason:

  • It has been accepted by their peers, publishers, conference organizers, and other religious support bodies. If you preach anything other than a pre-tribulation rapture, you’re not going to get in with the “cool kids” of the modern church movement.

  • People don’t want to hear it. There’s a reason that people like Joel Osteen and Rick Warren are so popular. They tell people that everything is going to be okay, that they can do great things in this life, and that the Bible is not about doom and gloom. As a result, the churches that are preaching the truth about the coming of Yeshua have a challenge with filling their pews.

Hope is empowering in many cases, but in the case of the rapture, it’s debilitating. It is arguably the greatest threat to Christians.

An Open Mind (in this case) is Imperative

Today, many churches and Christians suffer from the negative effects of having an open mind. The Bible is very clear about what we should believe and how we are supposed to live our lives, but many modern churches have abandoned sound Biblical doctrine in order to be more inclusive. This is not the time to go into those things, but rather to focus on the instance when an open mind is most important.

Regardless of what you’re taught at church or on the internet, you must have an open mind about the end days. To believe that we will not have to go through tribulation is a nice thought, but if you are willing to open up to the possibility (truth) that we are going to face the toughest challenges that man has ever faced in the coming days, then you’ll be more prepared to face it when it comes. This is the time to open your mind. If you don’t, you will not be prepared and you are more likely to make very poor decisions that can haunt you for eternity.

It’s human nature to want to believe that good things are ahead in this life. We desperately want to feel like we are going to be spared the hardships that will face the world, that the bad things that are coming will not happen to us. The message of a pre-tribulation rapture is something to be desired. Unfortunately, it’s not the truth.

If through prayer, study, and an open mind you’re able to see the truth, then you will be better prepared when it happens. If you have a closed mind to it, the bad things to come will shock and confuse you. It will be in this time of confusion that many people of faith today will lose their faith. They will feel betrayed. They will fall away. It will cost them their souls.

The Real Hope

This is not bad. No matter how much this world and our current lives pull us in, we have a far greater future. During the times of tribulation is when our faith is most tested. Tribulation is not a time to fear. It is a time to shine. It is an opportunity for us to face the worst that the adversary can throw at us and come through the other end with the greatest hope of eternity still intact.

No man can do it alone. We need to pray constantly for our Father to guide us, for the Holy Spirit to fill us, and for the glory of our Messiah to take us up to Him at the appointed time. There will be many tests and challenges that we will face before that time. When you realize that the hope of men and churches are almost always false, the real hope of a permanent place in Heaven can give you more to live (and die) for than any reward from this world.

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Hundreds of methane plumes have been found along the East Coast

Hundreds of methane plumes have been found along the East Coast

During a sweeping survey of the United States Atlantic Coast, it was discovered that hundreds of gas plumes are currently bubbling up from the sea floor. While ocean explorers have yet to test the gas, the bubbles are almost certainly methane, according to research report that was published yesterday. “We don’t know of any explanation that fits as well as methane,” said lead study author Adam Skarke, a geologist at Mississippi State University.

Between Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and Georges Bank in Massachusetts, around 570 methane seeps are clustered in eight regions, according to sonar and video that was gathered by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration ship Okeanos Explorer between 2011 and 2013. Most of the seeps are on the continental slope break, where the seafloor angles down toward the Atlantic Ocean basin.

Using sound waves, the Okeanos Explorer was able to map the sea floor and detect the methane bubbles. The technique is called “multibeam sonar”, and calculates the distance it takes for sound waves to travel from the ship and then bounce off of the seafloor back towards the ship. The sonar is also capable of detecting the density contrast between gas bubbles and regular seawater.

The vast majority of the methane seeps are in water that is less than 1,640 feet deep. Most of these methane seeps appear to arise from microbes spewing out methane, accord to the researchers. However, the researchers did find some methane vents that were located in deeper waters, at which the ROV Jason glimpsed patches of methane hydrate. This is the icy mix of methane and water that appears when deep ocean pressures and cold temperatures force methane to solidify.

“It was a surprise to find these features,” Skarke said. “It was unexpected because many of the common things associated with methane gas do not exist on the Atlantic margin.”

Read more about the story at Nature.

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