2018: The Year of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

15073790937_a2b5f1e61f_bSloshing of Earth’s core may spike major earthquakes

By Paul VoosenOct. 30, 2017 , 1:45 PM

The number of major earthquakes, like the magnitude-7 one that devastated Haiti in 2010, seems to be correlated with minute fluctuations in day length.

SEATTLE—The world doesn’t stop spinning. But every so often, it slows down. For decades, scientists have charted tiny fluctuations in the length of Earth’s day: Gain a millisecond here, lose a millisecond there. Last week at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America here, two geophysicists argued that these minute changes could be enough to influence the timing of major earthquakes—and potentially help forecast them.

During the past 100 years, Earth’s slowdowns have correlated surprisingly well with periods with a global increase in magnitude-7 and larger earthquakes, according to Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado (CU) in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick at the University of Montana in Missoula. Usefully, the spike, which adds two to five more quakes than typical, happens well after the slow-down begins. “The Earth offers us a 5-years heads up on future earthquakes, which is remarkable,” says Bilham, who presented the work.

Most seismologists agree that earthquake prediction is a minefield. And so far, Bilham and Bendick have only fuzzy, hard-to-test ideas about what might cause the pattern they found. But the finding is too provocative to ignore, other researchers say. “The correlation they’ve found is remarkable, and deserves investigation,” says Peter Molnar, a geologist also at CU.

The research started as a search for synchrony in earthquake timing. Individual oscillators, be they fireflies, heart muscles, or metronomes, can end up vibrating in synchrony as a result of some kind of cross-talk—or some common influence. To Bendick, it didn’t seem a far jump to consider the faults that cause earthquakes, with their cyclical buildup of strain and violent discharge, as “really noisy, really crummy oscillators,” she says. She and Bilham dove into the data, using the only complete earthquake catalog for the past 100 years: magnitude-7 and larger earthquakes.

In work published in August in Geophysical Research Letters they reported two patterns: First, major quakes appeared to cluster in time

—although not in space. And second, the number of large earthquakes seemed to peak at 32-year intervals. The earthquakes could be somehow talking to each other, or an external force could be nudging the earth into rupture.

Exploring such global forces, the researchers eventually discovered the match with the length of day. Although weather patterns such as El Nino can drive day length to vary back and forth by a millisecond over a year or more, a periodic, decades-long fluctuation of several milliseconds—in particular, its point of peak slow down about every three decades or so—lined up with the quake trend perfectly. „Of course that seems sort of crazy,“ Bendick says. But maybe it isn’t. When day length changes over decades, Earth’s magnetic field also develops a temporary ripple. Researchers think slight changes in the flow of the molten iron of the outer core may be responsible for both effects. Just what happens is uncertain—perhaps a bit of the molten outer core sticks to the mantle above. That might change the flow of the liquid metal, altering the magnetic field, and transfer enough momentum between the mantle and the core to affect day length.

Seismologists aren’t used to thinking about the planet’s core, buried 2900 kilometers beneath the crust where quakes happen. But they should, Bilham said during his talk here. The core is “quite close to us. It’s closer than New York from here,” he said.

At the equator, Earth spins 460 meters per second. Given this high velocity, it’s not absurd to think that a slight mismatch in speed between the solid crust and mantle and the liquid core could translate into a force somehow nudging quakes into synchrony, Molnar says. Of course, he adds, “It might be nonsense.” But the evidence for some kind of link is compelling, says geophysicist Michael Manga of the University of California, Berkeley. “I’ve worked on earthquakes triggered by seasonal variation, melting snow. His correlation is much better than what I’m used to seeing.”

One way or another, says James Dolan, a geologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, “we’re going to know in 5 years.” That’s because Earth’s rotation began a periodic slow-down 4-plus years ago. Beginning next year, Earth should expect five more major earthquakes a year than average—between 17 to 20 quakes, compared with the anomalously low four so far this year. If the pattern holds, it will put a new spin on earthquake forecasting.

doi:10.1126/science.aar3598

Creating the South Korean Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

https://i1.wp.com/d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/359168/north-korea-missile.jpg

Perhaps It’s Time For South Korea To Go Nuclear

By Doug Bandow • February 14, 2018

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un plays the international game with style. He sent his sister, Kim Yo-jong, to the Olympic games in the Republic of Korea. And he extended an invitation for South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang. It’s impossible for the ROK leader to say no.

Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration isn’t happy. Even before the North’s dramatic move, Vice President Mike Pence demonstrated his great displeasure at the North Koreans’ presence in the Olympics, which he called a “charade.” Then, he refused to stand when Pyongyang’s athletes entered the stadium and studiously ignored the presence of not only Kim Yo-jong but also the North’s nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam (no relation). Had Pence approached them with his hand outstretched he would have grabbed the initiative for the Trump administration. But instead he refused to even glance in the North Koreans’ direction, as if doing so would make them disappear.

Of course, there is no reason to believe that Kim Jong-un has decided to mend his evil ways and abandon nuclear weapons, respect human rights, hold elections, and accept unconditional reunification. But the North Koreans really didn’t use their participation “to paper over the truth about their regime, which oppresses its own people & threatens other nations,” as Pence tweeted before leaving for Korea. After all, lots of thuggish dictators, including several proclaimed to be “friends” by President Trump, sent delegations, without much affecting their reputations.

Pyongyang’s grand gestures were aimed less at Seoul and more at the Trump administration. After all, the two Koreas have fielded joint sports teams before, most recently in the 2014 Asia Games, without lasting impact. Moreover, the last two leftish ROK presidents held summits with Kim Jong-il, the father of the present ruler—many missile and nuclear tests ago. Along the way Pyongyang collected some $10 billion in aid and other revenue as part of the “Sunshine Policy,” without yielding peace. The regime is focused on self-preservation.

Officials in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea told me they had no intention of being “swallowed” by the South. But South Korea does not threaten Pyongyang’s security. Last summer my North Korean interlocutors dismissed the ROK as a “puppet” of America. In truth, while the South is a vibrant democracy with one of the world’s largest industrial economies, it has subcontracted its security to the U.S. The American military even has operational control over South Korean forces in wartime. And all the “big guns” are in Washington’s hands.

Moreover, the advanced U.S. military position—roughly 30,000 troops stationed on the peninsula, a Marine Expeditionary Force on Okinawa targeted for a Korean conflict, and much more within reach via sea or air—threatens more than retaliation for another North Korean invasion. Washington has demonstrated its willingness to oust foreign governments at its pleasure. Even without Seoul’s consent the U.S. could start a preventive war.

Hence North Korea’s push to create not only nuclear weapons, but missiles to strike America. In Muammar Khadafy’s final moments he might have thought, if only I hadn’t given up my missiles and nukes. The North’s Kim seems unlikely to ever utter those words, whatever happens to his rule. For the DPRK, talking to the ROK is usually a waste of time, other than attempting to shake free a few loose won.

But not in this case. President Trump’s belligerent behavior made the otherwise meaningless gesture worthwhile. The Kim regime is looking for some insurance until it creates a nuclear deterrent which is unquestionably secure. In this way the president probably deserves, as he shamelessly demanded, credit for Pyongyang’s softening. But the North offered only process, an inter-Korean summit, not substance, acceptance of denuclearization. Indeed, the purpose of offering the former was to avoid the latter.

And the Olympics gambit was successful, in part because it pushed President Moon back to his left-wing roots. After reaching agreement with Pyongyang on the Olympics, he declared: “We are facing a precious opportunity to resolve the North Korean nuclear issues in a peaceful manner and open up the path of establishing peace on the Korean peninsula now.” At Moon’s request, the U.S. reluctantly agreed to postpone military exercises with South Korean forces. Pleasant video of smiling North Koreans, and especially the attractive Kim Yo-jang, filled the South’s airwaves. The North even raised questions about “dependence on the outsiders,” meaning the U.S. And talk of military options at least temporarily faded.

In return, Pyongyang offered the prospect of fewer provocations and better relations. Again. Said Kim Jong-un in his New Year’s Day address: “The South Korean authorities should respond positively to our sincere efforts for a detente.” Of course, there was no mention of ending missile or nuclear developments, let alone eliminating existing arsenals. The North’s objective is not to surrender its sovereignty, but to get Seoul to assert its sovereignty against Washington. Since none of Pyongyang’s attitudes or positions have changed, there is no reason to believe that it is willing to offer anything more of value.

Which makes North Korea’s Olympics participation, by normal terms, a bad deal for the allies. After all, so far Pyongyang has given up nothing. But “normal” means that Korean policy is set in Washington. That was inevitable so long as the ROK was essentially helpless, unable to defend itself against the DPRK and its allies.

But that world long ago disappeared. South Korea has taken its place among the first rank of nations. Yet its security remains in the hands of American presidents, most of whom know little of the Koreas and have no incentive to sacrifice U.S. interests on the ROK’s behalf. Today that means an aggressive, coercive approach, topped by threats of war. And it is based on the belief that any conflict would occur, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) coldly put it, “over there,” meaning the Koreas.

Which is why North Korea’s Olympic politics actually is a win for Americans, if not the Trump administration. First is creating a communication channel which might also encourage a U.S.-North Korean dialogue. Axios reported that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster believed “resumed communications by the North Koreans are diversions and don’t have any effect on its determined pursuit of nuclear weapons.” However, President Trump said “I would love to see them take it beyond the Olympics.” Indeed, “at the appropriate time, we’ll get involved.” Hopefully he is serious.

Second, the North Korean gambit makes a U.S. attack less likely. President Trump could act over the objection of Seoul and without using any American forces based in the ROK. However, doing so would be less effective and more dangerous, especially if the U.S. made no preparations for North Korean retaliation. And it likely would rupture the alliance.

Third is to channel South Korean nationalism in a positive direction. Katina Adams, a State Department spokeswoman, said “We are in close contact with the Republic of Korea about our unified response to North Korea.” However, Washington analysts worry about the North driving a “wedge” between the U.S. and South Korea. In fact, the president said “if I were them I would try.”

Continuing positive signs from the North could encourage the Moon administration to step back from President Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy. For instance, during last year’s presidential campaign candidate Moon proposed restarting the Kaesong industrial park, which likely would run afoul of sanctions passed after its closure.

Such a step might be unwise in Washington’s view, but the Korean challenge most directly affects South Korea. Seoul should take the lead.

Keeping the ROK dependent on America is in neither country’s interest. Of course, the bilateral relationship goes back more than seven decades. The vice president waxed enthusiastic: “the sons and daughters of our two nations have stood together in defense of our most cherished values.” However, younger South Koreans remember military dictatorships rather than the Korean War, and are more likely to bridle at the costs of dependence.

Indeed, though the ROK benefits from U.S. defense subsidies, Seoul could pay a very high price for that backing. And much more than host nation support, at issue in upcoming burden-sharing negotiations. The ROK could find itself dragged into a catastrophic conflict by its ally. With the potential for mass death and destruction. Washington’s hostile reaction to a possible South-North détente should remind South Koreans about the dangers of placing their security in the hands of a self-interested superpower half a world away.

At the same time, Washington is coming to realize that guaranteeing the South’s security is not cheap. The U.S. soon might find its homeland under nuclear attack if it comes to the ROK’s aid in a war with the North. While the South is an attractive friend, the relationship does not warrant risking the incineration of one or more major American cities.

There is much on which the U.S. and ROK can and should cooperate on. But the South, with 45 times the GDP and twice the population of the North, is well able to defend itself. Then its future would not be subject to Washington’s whims. And if the North moves ahead with its missile and nuclear programs, it might be better for the ROK to create a countervailing arsenal than expect the U.S. to maintain a nuclear umbrella that holds Americans hostage. At the very least, the mere mention of such a possibility might get Beijing’s attention and spur greater action against the North.

There is no simple answer to the challenge posed by a nuclear North Korea. But the starting point of any Korea policy remains preventing an unnecessary conflict. And the North’s participation in the Olympics has, however imperfectly, slowed the momentum to war. For that Americans should be thankful.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Tripwire: Korea and U.S. Foreign Policy in a Changed World and co-author of The Korean Conundrum: America’s Troubled Relations with North and South Korea.

The Saudi Nuclear Horn Is Real (Daniel 7:7)

Proliferation Expert: Saudi Threat to Develop Nuclear Weapons Is ‚Serious‘

by Benjamin Kerstein

 

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Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s warning that his country will build a nuclear bomb if Iran does so is “serious,” a proliferation expert told The Algemeiner on Thursday.

In fact, according to Andrea Stricker, a senior policy analyst at the Washington, DC-based Institute for Science and International Security, the Saudis have already made moves to develop their own nuclear capabilities.

“It looks like they’re seeking to facilitate a basis to obtain nuclear power capabilities in a way that could be used to make nuclear weapons later down the road,” Stricker said. “But it takes time to develop nuclear infrastructure. So that’s why if they want to be ready for the end of the nuclear deal with Iran they have to start now.”

“It seems like they’re trying to do it legitimately,” she added, with the Saudis acquiring civilian technology first, such as plutonium “that would give them the basis to use that plutonium down the road.”

“They want a reactor that could produce plutonium,” Stricker continued. “And they could enrich their own fuel … they could claim they want to enrich uranium for the reactor.”

However, the international community may have some leverage in this case, because “all that would require outside supply,” Stricker said. “So one thing is you don’t want countries to supply them with enrichment or reprocessing capabilities. And you want to obtain commitments that they won’t reprocess or enrich if they are going to get a nuclear reactor.”

Asked whether the Iran nuclear agreement could be amended enough to assuage Saudi concerns, Stricker replied, “I think there’s a possibility. There’s a couple of months left before Europe has to agree to strengthening provisions that [President Donald] Trump has put down. He wants them to agree to extend the limitations on Iran’s nuclear program. And then deal with ballistic missiles and inspections, he wants stronger inspections. So there’s a chance. Sounds like right now they’re having difficulties though.”

The most pressing question, however, is whether all this could lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. “I think it could,” Stricker commented. “Turkey might be the one that would go next. Maybe Egypt. It would take a few decades for all this to happen probably, but we definitely want to deal with the Iran problem now so there’s not a reason for anyone else to go nuclear.”

As to whether such an arms race could lead to an actual nuclear exchange, Stricker surmised, “I guess it’s hard to say. It creates a lot of instability in some ways. If you look at India and Pakistan, they’ve had conventional skirmishes, but it has never gone up to the level of nuclear war. But you never know. It depends on who’s in power.”

More Problems at Indian Point Before the Sixth Seal

See the source image2 Indian Point sirens fail to sound during test

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 4:57 AM MST Updated: Feb 14, 2018 10:42 AM MST

BUCHANAN – Two sirens failed to sound during a test of the emergency siren system at the Indian Point power plant in Buchanan today.

Only 170 of 172 sirens went off  and could be heard for four full minutes in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties. One siren in Putnam and another in Orange County did not sound. Indian Point offcials say they are investigating to find out why the sirens didn’t sound.

Plant officials stress that the sirens are not a signal to evacuate. In an actual emergency, the sirens will sound at full volume to alert the public to tune in to a local EAS radio or television station for important information and direction.

The plant generates as much as 30 percent of the electricity used in New York City and Westchester County. The plant is scheduled to be taken completely offline by 2021 after an agreement between Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and Entergy, the company that owns Indian Point.

The Nuclear Threat from Trump (Revelation 15)

Trump’s Dangerous Nuclear Posture – FPIF

By Kevin Martin, February 14, 2018.

The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released by the Trump Administration last week is self-perpetuation by the nuclear weapons establishment at its worst. It advocates astonishing increases in nuclear weapons, their funding, and the circumstances in which they might be employed, including, incredibly, in retaliation for cyber attacks. The estimated price tag to overhaul the entire nuclear weapons system is $1.7 trillion over 30 years, surely a low estimate if the Pentagon’s history of prodigious budget busting is any guide.

The NPR is outlandish in its picture of a menacing world that can only be held at bay by more U.S. nuclear weapons, including “more usable” nukes. In a short television clip introducing the posture review, a Pentagon official used the word “deterrence” at least four times in about 30 seconds, as if the word itself magically justifies all the additional spending.

But if the U.S. military establishment really believed in deterrence theory, why would it be so concerned that Iran, North Korea, and other countries it doesn’t like might develop a few nukes? After all, those arsenals are dwarfed by almost 7,000 U.S. nuclear warheads, deliverable to any target on Earth in minutes by missiles launched from land or sea, or hours in case of those delivered by planes. No country—including the U.S., by the way—has an effective defense against so many nukes. Surely those countries, even with a few nukes, would be deterred from attacking the US or our allies by the certainty of their own destruction from our vastly superior nuclear arsenal.

On the other hand, North Korea pursued nuclear weapons to address the large conventional and military imbalance between it and the U.S.-South Korea-Japan alliance. North Korean officials have justified the DPRK’s pursuit of a more advanced nuclear arsenal by pointing out that two countries that gave up their nuclear weapons—Iraq and Libya—were invaded, bombed, regime-changed, and turned into failed states.

Escalation dominance, the notion that our overwhelming military advantage will prevail at every rung on the ladder of conflict, is really U.S. policy, not deterrence. Such is the thinking behind the idea of a “bloody nose” limited attack on North Korea. Some Trump administration officials believe that such an attack would sufficiently disable North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, biological, and conventional military capacity without causing a massive retaliation against South Korea and Japan, which are also home to hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops, their families, and civilians.

There is no legal justification under U.S. or international law for such a preemptive strike. A limited strike assumes perfect military intelligence (still an oxymoron), near clairvoyant knowledge of the adversary’s mindset, and perfect execution of the attack plan. In reality there have been many near-catastrophes with nuclear weapons based on human and technological error, as well as routine military snafus. And North Korea’s conventional military capacity to inflict horrific damage on South Korea is no joke, with estimates running to tens or hundreds of thousands of South Koreans dead in the first day of the outbreak of war. Even former White House official Steve Bannon said there was no military option on the Korean peninsula.

The alternative to a preemptive strike, to the status-quo deterrence theory, and to Trump’s new and dangerous nuclear posture is diplomacy, conducted in good faith and with no preconditions.

That is exactly what South Korean President Moon Jae-in is attempting to do, and his attempt to reclaim some of his country’s sovereignty in negotiations with the North over its nukes and other matters of mutual concern deserves domestic and international support. U.S. officials only state they are ratcheting up “maximum pressure” including economic sanctions. Such sanctions do little to harm the military or Kim Jong-un’s regime. But they do affect ordinary people in a country where the UN estimates that 60,000 North Koreans are at risk of famine. As for diplomacy, the U.S. says it will talk once North Korea gives up its nukes, a non-starter for the North, though the recent thaw between North and South Korea and Vice President Mike Pence’s indication the administration may be more open to talks are heartening.

After the wise decision to delay the massive U.S.-South Korea war exercises, the Olympic Truce runs through late March after the Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. That decision opens up the possibility of various quid pro quos involving a moratorium on the exercises or dramatically scaling them back to ease North Korea’s fears.

Meanwhile, since the Trump administration seems incapable of doing its job, Congress must step in to cancel this spending spree on nukes. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) has for several years introduced the Smarter Approaches to Nuclear Expenditures Act (SANE), S. 1235, and the Peoples Budget in the House of Representatives opposes the $1.7 trillion nuclear weapons escalation. Current legislation in both the House of Representatives and Senate—the No Unconstitutional Strike Against North Korea Act—needs urgent support from legislators and their constituents.

 

Kevin Martin is president of Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund, the country’s largest grassroots peace and disarmament organization with 200,000 supporters nationwide. He also convenes the Korea Collaboration, a network of organizations and activists supporting peace and diplomacy and organizing around the Olympic Truce.

Iran Increases Her Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:4)

See the source imageIran develops missile program as part of defensive doctrine: Leader’s adviser

Press TV

A senior adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says Iran’s development of missiles does not concern any countries as it is totally a matter of domestic policy.

Iran, like any other country, acts according to its conditions, and the manufacturing and development of missiles do not concern foreigners, Ali Akbar Velayati told reporters on Wednesday, after a meeting with European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman David McAllister in Tehran.

Emphasizing that each country chooses its own defense system in proportion to its needs, Velayati said missiles are „defensive means“ in Iran’s doctrine.

“To defend our country, we take measures to develop missiles in line with our national interests, and this is no business of foreigners and we do not allow others to interfere [in this issue],” he said.

Iranian officials have repeatedly warned that the country’s missile program is not open to any negotiations amid efforts by the US specifically to link the Islamic Republic’s missile program to the Iran nuclear deal that was reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in July 2015.

Washington has insisted that Iran’s missile program be put under international surveillance. Tehran says it will not negotiate over the issue under any circumstances.

During his meeting with the EU official, Velayati also talked about Iran’s policies in the Middle East and North Africa, saying the Islamic Republic sought cooperation with all regional countries to help establish stability, security and peace, and stressed that Tehran was opposed to any foreign meddling in the region.

He also highlighted Iran’s contribution to the anti-terrorism battle, saying if it were not for Iran’s support, Daesh would spread its militancy to many parts of the world.

Velayati also called on European countries to adopt “more independent policies” vis-à-vis the Middle East region.

For his part, McAllister praised Iran’s active and cooperative foreign relations.

He also called for further cooperation between the Iranian and the European Parliament, saying the Iranian parliament could play an instrumental role in improving Iran-Europe relations.