US Court Blocks Publication Of eBooks On Google

The web giant has scanned millions of books and made them available online via its eBooks platform.

Google had negotiated the deal to settle a six-year-old class action suit claiming infringement of copyright.

But the New York court said the deal would “simply go too far”, giving Google an unfair competitive advantage.

Copyright concerns

Under the agreement with the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, Google would continue to digitise books and sell access online.

In return, the company would pay $125m (£76.9m) in royalties every year to the copyright owners of the books being scanned.

However, copyright concerns persisted, as the ownership of many of the works being scanned by Google could not be established, meaning many would be unable to claim the royalty payment.

“The [amended settlement agreement] would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case,” said judge Denny Chin.

The US Department of Justice has approved the ruling and said it was the “right result.”

It has been critical of Google’s deal, saying it would give Google exclusive rights to profit from “orphan works”, where the rights holders are unknown or cannot be found.

Gina Talamon, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the agreement “created concerns regarding antitrust, class certification and copyright issues.”

The agreement is also separately being investigated by the US Department of Justice on competition and copyright grounds.

Google’s plan

Google responded to the ruling saying it was ‘disappointing’.

“We’ll review the Court’s decision and consider our options,” said Google’s managing counsel, Hilary Ware.

“Like many others, we believe this agreement has the potential to open up access to millions of books that are currently hard to find in the US today,” she added.

“Regardless of the outcome, we’ll continue to work to make more of the world’s books discoverable online through Google Books and Google eBooks.”

Google has already scanned some 15 million books.

 

Alarming Faultlines

In view of the disaster that struck Japan and alerted another 90 nations as far apart as 11,000 kilometres indicates the power of the tsunami, which, to the world, has come as a new phenomenon only after 2004. It was never really spoken of in historical terms but seems since seismic activity has been on the increase, especially over oceans, the resultant devastation from the silent roil of water speeding at 800 kilometres an hour is a very intimidating prospect in terms of natural disaster.

In the past seven years it is clear that our ability to predict, limit the damage, save lives and ensure that sensitive installations are not constructed on unsafe coastal areas has not achieved technical breakthrough and the warnings are either too late or after the event.

One would have imagined that technology would have been able to get us some control on the planet of what is going on under the sea but that has not happened and never is Man so helpless as when he is faced by the power 
of the surge.

It is a sobering thought that in these circumstances most of the world is on a faultline. Whether it is the San Andreas or the New Madrid line or the South American and Northern American plates or the unstable Eurasian and Indian plates — not to mention the Australian plate — the majority of the world is in some kind of danger of the post earthquake terror from the sea. What makes it that much more hazardous is that these faults are growing and moving and forming ridges and positioning themselves in confrontational sequences. Coastal areas are not only threatened in the six continents but worse, the few hundred island nations are in greater danger and not only are they facing erosion but are now can be engulfed if they happen to be in the way of a giant wall of water.

It seems necessary for the world to come together and work out a solution to the problem because it is pretty obvious it is not going away from the looks of it unless this is a major initiative and all the technology put into the meteorological research there will be a major price to pay.

Is The World Ending? According To Nostradamus

Quatrains by Nostradamus warn of worldwide natural disasters in the year 2012, according to the History Channel’s documentary, Nostradamus 2012. Global warming is nigh.

History Channel aired a documentary in 2009 about the predictions of famous prophet and astrologer, Michel de Nostradamus. Nostradamus 2012, a two-hour look at the prophesies of the end of the world, discusses the possibility of global natural disasters.

Quatrains are four-line poems that Michel de Nostradamus used when writing his famous predictions for the future. The prophecies of Nostradamus were often vague and couched in colorful, ambiguous language so as to escape censorship and ire from the Christian church in the mid 1500s.

 

Predictions of Worldwide Famine

Nostradamus predicted drought and disaster along 48 degrees latitude around the world. His quatrains reference a lack of food, and great famine. Most of the grain belts are found at this latitude. Lack of food from the major breadbaskets of the world — largely in the United States — would result in worldwide famine. Famine is mentioned numerous times in the quatrains of Nostradamus.

 

According to an interview of author John Hogue in the History Channel’s documentary, Nostradamus 2012, if the U.S. were to stop supplying food to the world 100 countries would be affected and 400,000 people would die in just one short year on the continent of Africa alone.

End of the World Predictions of Supervolcanoes Erupting

The quatrains of Nostradamus refer to eruptions of volcanoes and destruction during the end times.

The supervolcano in Yellowstone Park has already moved into the “red zone,” according to Lawrence Joseph, author of Apocalypse 2012. Joseph also asserts that a climax of solar activity can trigger the eruption of volcanoes on earth.

Nostradamus Prophecies of Deadly Tsunami Waves

In 2004, 150,000 people were killed in the tsunami wave from an unusual earthquake in the Pacific Ocean. The quatrains of Nostradamus could be interpreted to have predicted this deadly wave, as it speaks of dead fish and water far inland.

Perhaps the quatrains refer to this event that has already occurred, or perhaps another tsunami will result from a magnetic pole shift, as some scientists fear.

Global Warming and Extreme Weather Predicted by Nostradamus

The quatrains also refer to global warming, as Nostradamus mentions seas heating up, rising, and extreme storms. Some experts interpret his quatrains to have referred specifically to Hurricane Katrina.

Those who believe in Nostradamus’ doomsday prophecies point to the extreme weather observed in the increasingly severe tornado seasons in the midwest of America, the increased severity of the hurricanes over the past decade, and the unusual areas of drought and flooding.

Predictions of Magnetic Pole Shift

Nostradamus’ quatrains allude to blackouts and cataclysmic events caused by a magnetic pole reversal of the Earth.

In the documentary Nostradamus 2012, scientists explain that the Earth’s magnetic field has reversed in the past, and could reverse again. The Earth is currently going through a phase where the magnetic field is weakening due to the solar system’s orbit in the galaxy.

If the magnetic poles were to reverse in the planet, according to scientists, it would trigger a major collapse of all electromagnetic fields including cell phones, and all electronics.

Although many of Nostradamus’ predictions were filled with dire warnings of cataclysmic disasters of famine, war, extreme weather and more, he did leave a message of hope. The hope lies in mankind’s gift of free will. Nostradamus suggests that mankind can choose to slow or even halt global warming; mankind can choose to mature spiritually and prevent war, and mankind can choose to write its own fate in the Book of Life.

Here is a complete list of authors and experts that were interviewed in the 2009 documentary, Nostradamus 2012.

 

 

 

 

Scientific Details Of Japan’s Quake

The fifth largest earthquake ever recorded hit Japan today (March 11), sending huge tsunami waves crashing onshore and reportedly killing at least 18,000 people and many still missing.

The 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck at 2:46 p.m. local time (12:46 a.m. EST), near Honshu, Japan, an island that is home to about 100 million people. The temblor was the fifth in the past two days to hit the region, and major aftershocks can be expected for months, possibly even a year. Despite the massive foreshocks, there was no way to predict that Japan’s biggest-recorded earthquake was looming, said Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Golden, Colo.

“We have big quakes there all the time,” Caruso told OurAmazingPlanet. For all scientists knew at the time, the 6.3-magnitude quake that struck yesterday was the main shock, Caruso said. “Not every big earthquake has a foreshock but they all have aftershocks.”

The rule of thumb for seismologists is that an earthquake’s largest aftershock will be one magnitude smaller than the main shock, Caruso said. That means a 7.9-magnitude earthquake could hit the region even a year from now. Yet aftershocks are already hitting northern Japan now — 35 larger than magnitude 5.0 and 14 larger than magnitude 6 — according to the UGSS.

Big aftershocks are not unusual. In February, a 6.6-magnitude aftershock ruptured near Maule, Chile — almost a year after what is now the sixth largest earthquake in recorded history, a magnitude 8.8, hit in the same region.

The Japanese earthquake ruptured near the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates — huge, moving slabs of the Earth’s crust. The quake was a

megathrust earthquake, where the Pacific plate dove underneath Japan at the Japan Trench. The seafloor was pushed away from Japan sending waves roaring toward Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States.

“The tsunami wave speed in deep water, open ocean, is about the same as a commercial jet’s ground speed,” said Ken Hudnut, a USGS geologist in Pasadena, Calif.

The epicentre of today’s quake was about 15.2 miles (24.4 kilometers) deep, according to the USGS, which is near enough to the surface to set off a tsunami.

 

Four Factors In Oil Price’s Climb

Oil markets churned on Friday as traders tried to figure out how oil’s price would be affected by four different international events: the situation in Libya, violence flaring up in Yemen, the continuing nuclear drama in Japan, and the Chinese government’s decision to raise interest rates.

With so much uncertainty, many traders decided to lighten their positions going into the weekend – but others decided that oil prices will rise, so increased their position. The result was high volume with little price movement. By 1 p.m., the price of oil was very slightly down at $100.69 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in New York.

Oil prices have stayed around $100 per barrel for the past two weeks, reaching a high of $105.44 on March 7. International developments appear to have stalled oil’s rising prices as market analysts try to decipher the impact of recent events.

“There is so much happening, there is so much more historic up-and-down risk than I have ever seen before,” says Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at PFG Best Research in Chicago.

Oil reaches $100 a barrel: Five winners, five losers

 

Libya

Many traders kept their eyes on the shifts taking place in Libya. Shortly after the UN authorized military action against Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan foreign minister declared a unilateral cease-fire.

“It reminds me of Saddam Hussein (former leader of Iraq), who knew how to game the UN diplomatic corps,” says John Kilduff, an energy analyst and founder of Again Capital, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “It will maintain the uncertainty.”

Did the UN make the right decision?

No matter what happens in Libya over the short term, Mr. Flynn expects Libyan oil will remain off the markets. “To me, if Qaddafi does miraculously stay in power, the world will hit him with sanctions and no one will be able to buy their oil.”

Before the uprising, Libya was pumping about 1.65 million barrels of oil – mostly light crude – each day, most of it going to European nations where it was made into low-sulfur diesel and gasoline.

Oil analysts believe most of the Libyan production has been made up by Saudi Arabia.

“They had been increasing their production even before the Libyan revolution,” says Erik Kreil, an analyst at the Energy Information Administration in Washington.

Although much of the Saudi crude was geared more towards industrial uses, the Saudis have indicated they will blend whatever mix their customers want, says Mr. Kreil.

IN PICTURES: Qaddafi burns oil pipelines in Libya

 

Yemen

Although Yemen is not a significant producer of oil, news of violence in the country’s capital, Sana, was also roiling the oil markets.

“It’s another problematic nation in the region,” says Kilduff. “It borders Saudi Arabia and is important from a regional perspective.”

 

China

In another development watched by the oil markets, China’s central bank raised reserve requirements, in an effort to slow inflation. This will slow oil demand to only a minor degree, says Donald Straszheim, senior managing director at ISI Group, which does China research, in Santa Monica, Calif.

Mr. Straszheim estimates China currently imports about 5 million barrels of oil per day. China’s strong economic growth in recent years has increased its demand for oil about 500,000 barrels of oil per day, each year.

“If the economy grows more slowly, which I think it will, that will lower annual demand growth to 400,000 barrels of oil a day, which in the broad scheme of things is just a rounding error,” he says.

 

Japan

Oil traders are also watching the events in Japan. If emergency crews cannot stop the release of radiation from the damaged reactors, it would lower demand for oil, says Flynn since it would delay reconstruction after the earthquake and tsunami. On the other hand, if the Japanese are finally able to gain control over their nuclear reactors, it would add pressure on the price of oil to rise, Flynn says.

 

Violent Pacific, Due To “Ring Of Fire”

Despite its name, the Pacific has the most violent geography in the world. It is surrounded by the ‘ring of fire’ that generates 9 out of 10 earthquakes in the world.

The Pacific is the largest ocean. Its area (which various measures calculate between 150 and 200 million km.) has an area larger than the sum of all continents. There are 20 to 30 thousand islands, the majority of the ones that exist, and slightly less than the total of the liquid water on Earth.

Its ‘Ring of Fire’ in inverted horseshoe shape encompasses whole west coast of the Americas, Alaska, East Asia, Indonesia and New Zealand. This bow is about 40,000 km long and has 452 volcanoes (3 out of 4 that exist on our planet).

Shocks occurring there are caused by the movement of tectonic plates that make and shape the earth’s surface.

The plates can collide between them (as happens when the Pacific is subsumed under the slabs of Northern Australia, creating elevations, volcanoes and earthquakes of New Zealand and New Guinea and Japan, Alaska and Hawaii, respectively) separated from them by opening cracks (like those that occur between the Pacific Plate and the Nazca and Antarctica) or move in opposite directions (such as creating the fault and the earthquakes in California).

While earthquakes can generate death and destruction, they are also responsible for having developed many of today’s living conditions. The 3 most populated islands in the world (Japan, Philippines and Indonesia in Pacific Asia) are fertile (like New Zealand and the Andes), in part because the product of the lava and movements that trigger these shocks.

The two biggest mountain ranges that exist (the Himalayas and the Andes) were created as a result of the sinking of a plate under which it arose. The Pacific plate has produced the largest mass grave (the Marianas that are 11 kilometers deep, is the lowest point of the earth’s crust) and also the highest mountain (Mauna Kea in Hawaii), which measures 10 kilometers from its base to 6 kilometers under the sea. Compared to both, Everest is less than 9 kilometers above sea level.

The Pacific Ocean also produces the climatic oscillation that regularly causes devastation worldwide: El Niño. This is produced when the temperature of tropical seas is altered which creates droughts or heavy rains at its opposite ends, but can also link together several changes in climates as far away as Europe or Africa.

‘Tsunami’ is the most common Japanese word in several languages. This originated in the Asian Pacific, but people around the ocean have designated it by other names. One of them is ‘tidal wave’ as well being called Callao in 1746, which destroyed the largest port of the American Pacific, killing more than 95% of its inhabitants.

 

 

Impacts Of Nuclear Disaster Over The World

1.How long will the radiation be in the reactor area after it is finally contained? Will the radiation spread across the globe via air or sea?

Any releases of radioactivity would tend to be carried to the east across the Pacific, although day-to-day weather could spread it over considerable parts of Japan. Scientists are already forecasting the path of long-range transport through the atmosphere, as they have long practiced in order to track releases from nuclear testing and major accidents. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in the Soviet Union sent radioactive dust particles hundreds and even thousands of kilometers away, with health effects occurring close in. The breadth of the Pacific would seem to be sufficient protection from detectable health effects.

2. Would it be possible to build underground emergency tsunami shelters that would be insulated from the earthquakes that would surely precede the wave?

This is technically possible but probably not a good idea. It would be psychologically difficult to persuade people to go underground to avoid a tsunami. Debris could pile up around or on top of any entrance. And, as in this case, coastal areas hit by a tsunami can remain flooded for several days, a situation aggravated in some areas by ground subsidence.

3.  What is the probability of a magnitude-7 or higher aftershock in Japan? Could the Japan quake lead to other quakes across the globe? Are we having more earthquakes than before? Why are we seeing such a dramatic increase in seismic activity globally?

From past quakes, an estimate of the likely largest aftershock can be made. A magnitude 7—far, far smaller than a 9—sounds reasonably likely. In recent years, seismologists have realized that the biggest quakes can trigger more quakes thousands of kilometers away, but these are typically small and often located at hot springs or volcanic areas already prone to small quakes. Global seismicity has not been going up in the long term; high-profile events like Haiti and Japan make it look as if it is. Quakes can trigger eruptions from nearby volcanoes; nothing from this one so far.

Globally, seismic energy has been released over the years at a fairly constant rate, with the inevitable random fluctuations. Part of the reason we have a sense of greater seismic activity is the notoriety of recent quakes. Haiti was not a big deal seismically speaking, but because of its location, it killed hundreds of thousands and captured world attention. There is a record of quakes in historical and geologic times preserved in sediments on faults or deposited by tsunamis, but it is not complete enough to address global seismicity trends.

4 .Although the safety of the people of Japan is our main priority, what ramifications has the catastrophe in Japan had on wildlife? Especially due to the numerous cars and debris polluting the waters, are there certain Japan-exclusive or endangered species of plants or animals that could see a collapse in population, possibly extinction?

Scientist M. Sanjayan of The Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Virginia, says that the tsunami’s biggest impact on wildlife will be on coastal birds nesting on small islands rather than on the Japanese mainland where they could easily fly away. Indeed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reporting that tens of thousands of birds were buried alive by the waves. (The famed Midway Atoll albatrosses will survive as a species, although their numbers took a beating.) The fate of some other endangered species, such as monk seals, is currently unknown. But although many large mammal casualties will certainly be seen, Sanjayan guesses that most of them were able to ride the waves out with minimal fatalities.

Impacts on wildlife from pollution and radiation leaks are a separate issue, however, and one that is continuing to unfold. Sanjayan says that while species will certainly be harmed by this pollution in the short term, history from Chernobyl and the Bikini Atoll shows that once an area is placed off-limits to human activity, wildlife has a way of rebounding within a few decades.

5. What is the highest intensity of radiation measured so far? What affect will the radiation have on the people of Japan? How many people could it kill?
Keep in mind that news outlets have been reporting the levels in two units: millisieverts (mSv), which is one thousandth of a sievert, and microsieverts (μSv), which is one millionth of a sievert. (All numbers that have been reported are per hour.) So if you’ve been seeing numbers in the thousands, check the units. 3000 μSv/h is equal to 3 mSv/h—equivalent to about 300 chest x-rays, or one head CT scan—which levels at the plant gates have reached at times during this disaster. This New York Times graphic shows how radiation levels around the plant have changed over the past few days with the various explosions that have occurred. The Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum, a nongovernmental organization for nuclear energy, is publishing several updates a day on the plant’s status. The most recent update reiterates that levels peaked at 400 mSv next to unit 3 on Tuesday.

The people most at risk from radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are the workers trying to keep things under control. That’s because the effect on one’s health depends on how near one is to the radioactive sources at the power plant and how long one stays there. Peak radiation levels at the plant were around 400 mSv per hour right in the thick of things, between reactors 2 and 3. According to Peter Burns, former chief executive officer of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the limit recommended by the international community for workers dealing with accidents is 100 mSv—so a worker would reach the limit in just 15 minutes. While health effects may not be immediate, that person would also have an increased risk of developing cancer later in life.

Limiting workers’ exposure is extremely important; if exposed to that peak radiation for 2½ hours (1000 mSv total dose) a person would start to feel sick. If the person stayed there for 15 hours, they would likely die within a month. But as one goes farther away from a radiation source, the dose one receives per unit time falls off exponentially, which is why the Japanese government has evacuated the area around the plant. Within the 20-kilometer perimeter that has been evacuated, levels peaked at 0.33 mSv per hour, equivalent to three chest x-rays per hour—or about 30 days worth of exposure to background radiation. If one stayed there a day, one’s total dose would be about the same as a full body CT scan.

6.Since it seems the radiation will mainly head out to sea, what will its effects be on ocean life?

Effects on marine life should be minimal if the plume is blown over the ocean. Radioactive isotopes are most dangerous when animals’ bodies absorb them, thinking they’re something else. For instance, cesium-137 mimics potassium and is absorbed by muscles, while strontium-90 mimics calcium and is taken up by bones. Since ocean water is full of potassium and calcium in the form of salts, this lowers the chance of an animal’s body taking up radioactive particles by mistake.

Furthermore, since the Pacific is so massive, radioactivity will be diluted to levels far too low to be toxic to aquatic life. A much bigger concern is the plume blowing over land and contaminating plant life or the freshwater supply, which would affect animals (including humans) further up the food chain.