Tag Archives: CO2 levels

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Sunday 25th January 2015

The generation game? Who are Ireland’s future political leaders

Who of today’s strong performers could become tomorrow’s political figureheads?

In politics, predictions made when there is no short-term prospect of a change of leader can become moot by the time that change occurs.

In the past it has been generally easier to predict leaders on the Fianna Fáil side. Micheál Martin, Brian Cowen, Bertie Ahern, Albert Reynolds and Charles Haughey were all obvious contenders. In marked contrast, Enda Kenny would not have featured as a strong contender on the Fine Gael side in the late 1990s, but then circumstances conspired to elevate him to the leadership.

Which of today’s strong performers could become tomorrow’s political figureheads?

FINE GAEL? Leo Varadkar
One of the most capable performers in the Dáil, he has been a rising star since emerging on the scene a decade ago. He is very bright, ideologically driven, a clear thinker. He can absorb lots of information and then does what few politicians do well: makes clear decisions and shows good management skills. There’s a bit of spin to his straight-talker reputation. He is not collegial, which sometimes annoys colleagues. It’s impossible to say if his disclosure last weekend that he is gay will have an impact, positive or negative, on his prospects.

Simon Coveney. ?
He’s still in his early 40s but has been around for a long time. He’s not the world’s greatest debater and is very much a policy and details person. He has been a good Minister for Agriculture and thinks his way through positions – he has taken a contrarian stand, for example, saying “clean and green” Irish agriculture should get exemptions from climate-change action. Comes from a long-established Fine Gael family and would appeal to traditionalists. His comments this week about potentially sharing power with Fianna Fáil were quite damaging to him.

Frances Fitzgerald. ?
Unlike Varadkar and Coveney, Fitzgerald sided strongly with Enda Kenny in the last leadership battle. She was rewarded with a senior ministry and has been promoted to Justice. She’s also playing a key role in electoral strategy. Some colleagues criticise her for being slow to decide on issues such as publication of the Children and Family Relationships Bill. Others like her calm and steady style. It has certainly worked for her since she took over from Alan Shatter. The children’s-referendum campaign was not her finest hour, however, and the same-sexmarriage referendum will be a huge test.

LABOUR, Alan Kelly
Kelly could be the first leader of Labour based outside Dublin since Dick Spring, two decades ago. He trounced the opposition in the deputy-leadership contest and is the favourite to succeed Joan Burton when she steps down. He has a reputation as being assertive, although some colleagues would prefer a Labour leader who was subtler and more urbane.

Alex White,
If you are looking for subtle and urbane look no farther than the deputy for Dublin South. He contested the leadership and has loyal supporters but has not made the same ministerial mark as Kelly. It depends on what kind of leader Labour wants after the next election. White might be seen as a good compromise or caretaker choice. His main challenge is trying to retain his seat.

FIANNA FÁIL Michael McGrath
It’s very strange for the leader of Fianna Fáil and its finance spokesman to share a constituency. It is a sign of Michael McGrath’s strength that he managed to win a second seat for Fianna Fáil in Cork South Central in 2011. McGrath, an accountant, is very assured in his brief and a prodigiously hard worker. He has a quiet, self-confident style and is not given to dramatics. He’s the obvious frontrunner in Fianna Fáil. What might stand against him is that he’s quite conservative on moral questions.

Billy Kelleher
Fianna Fáil has a handful of bright TDs in their 30s and 40s, including Timmy Dooley, Niall Collins, Dara Calleary and Barry Cowen. But the popular Billy Kelleher has been very strong since taking over the health portfolio. Humorous and puckish, he can also bring gravitas to his Dáil performances when required, and has delivered well-researched critques of health policy. He is also more liberal than McGrath. He made an outstanding speech last year on abortion.

SINN FÉIN, Mary Lou McDonald
How long more will Gerry Adams remain as leader? How long is a piece of string? To the outside world Mary Lou McDonald seems the obvious choice to succeed him. She is articulate, intelligent and politically ruthless when necessary. She appeals to non-Sinn Féin voters in her roles as deputy leader and spokeswoman on public expenditure. But although her defence of Gerry Adams and her recent use of Dáil privilege to smear, without any evidence, former politicians as Ansbancher account holders may appeal to core supporters, they could dilute her appeal to prospective supporters.

Pearse Doherty,
He has mellowed a lot in the past few years. The first Sinn Féin politician to give credibility to the finance brief, he is an excellent debater and commands the portfolio very well. Doherty discounts any leadership ambition but is the closest rival to McDonald in the South. The two strongest northern contenders are John O’Dowd and Conor Murphy.


Lucinda Creighton, There’s no doubt that Lucinda Creighton will lead her new party – whatever they decide to call themselves – into the next Dáil and possibly into government. She is outspoken and very ideological and would have been seen as a potential future leader if she had stayed in Fine Gael. The new party will be a big gamble for Creighton: the weight of history is against smaller parties surviving beyond the medium term. At present it seems she has burned her bridges with Fine Gael, but, like her political forebear in Connacht James Dillon, she may eventually return to the fold.

Shane Ross, who is as opportunistic as he is talented, is likely to lead a group of Independents into the next Dáil and possibly into the next government. Ross does passion and outrage better than most Irish politicians and is astute when it comes to choosing his campaigns. A brilliant speaker, he also has a knack of leaving his past behind. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Michael Fingleton and Anglo Irish Bank in the past. Ross may be a maverick but as a former stockbroker and senior journalist with the Independent group he is seen very much as an establishment figure. If he and his colleagues enter government he would be the obvious contender for the most senior ministerial portfolio on offer.

NEW LEFT ALLIANCE, Richard Boyd-Barrett and Paul Murphy?
It’s unlikely that any alliance that comes out of smaller parties and groups will itself become a party in the short term. So the question of a leader may be moot. That might not be a good tactic, as the lack of a leadership figure may have contributed to the demise of the United Left Alliance. If there is a new alliance the most obvious contenders to lead it would be Richard Boyd-Barrett and Paul Murphy. They are similar in terms of style and presentation – down to the megaphones that both carry in the boots of their cars. Boyd-Barrett, who represents People Before Profit in Dún Laoghaire, has been a very effective TD and brought a lot of visibility to the street campaigns and protest favoured by the militant left. Murphy is a recent arrival but is committed and well informed. He got a savaging from opponents for the water-charge protest against Joan Burton, but the controversy did him little harm among his supporters.

Aer Lingus ‘to accept’ bid from British Airways owner IAG

Irish airline Aer Lingus is set to approve a new takeover bid by British Airways owner IAG, 

IAG, which also controls Iberia in Spain, has submitted a fresh bid – which could be approved next week – of around €2.50 (£1.87) per share.

The deal – which values the carrier at about €1.3bn (£971m) – could face political resistance because the Irish government still owns 25% of the firm.

The Irish carrier rebuffed two bids from IAG last year.

By acquiring Aer Lingus, IAG would gain more take-off and landing slots at Heathrow – valued at around £30m per pair – allowing it to operate more flights.

Senior Gardaí broke rules on penalty points


The Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald insists there is no longer “any hiding place” for Gardaí who cancel penalty points.

She was commenting after it emerged an internal Garda report found six senior Gardaí cancelled penalty points in breach of policy after the Garda Commissioner ordered that the practice should cease.

These included a number of cases where the officers cancelled points outside their area.

The report, which will be seen by the Cabinet next week, examined allegations made by a Garda whistleblower.

Sergeant Maurice McCabe claimed last September that abuse of the penalty point system was continuing despite efforts by senior Garda management to clamp down on questionable practices.

Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan introduced a new policy last June that penalty points could only be cancelled centrally. Despite this, some 54 breaches later took place.

The report revealed that in nine cases, six superintendents or acting-superintendents cancelled penalty points.

This was done either in breach of the policy or outside their own district.

The incidents occurred despite the fact officers had previously been disciplined over cancellations and the issuing of firm directions by Commissioner O’Sullivan and her predecessor, Martin Callinan.

The report also revealed that at least two gardaí had points cancelled in questionable circumstances and one superintendent cancelled penalty points four times without signing the forms properly.

Another garda had penalty points cancelled a total of six times, but his previous history was never checked.


The cases are being forwarded to the Garda Ombudsman, although a number of officers involved will escape punishment as they have already retired.

Ms Fitzgerald said the report represented “a cultural shift” for the force.

“I welcome it in terms of the detail that is in it, the monitoring that it represents and the evaluation of the system both before and after June,” she said.

“It is a cultural shift. There is no hiding place for anyone.”

The establishment of a new Garda unit with powers to verify reasons for cancellations is one of 20 recommendations in the report.

Mary Robinson says 2015 will be a crucial year for climate change


UN Special Envoy says greater urgency needed to tackle issue, Former President and UN Special Envoy on Climate Change Mary Robinson.

UN Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson has said that 2015 will be a crucial year for climate change.

She said December’s UN conference in Paris will offer an opportunity to set binding climate targets that will be critical the world’s development goals.

The World Economic Forum in Davos, the former President of Ireland said that there needed to be a greater urgency around tackling climate change this year.

“I follow the science very closely. We have very little time left. We are the last generation to be able to do something about climate, and the first generation to understand how serious it is.”

Mrs Robinson participated in a private climate change discussion forum in Davos on Friday alongside businessman Richard Branson and other senior business and civic society leaders. The forum was organised by Bteam, a non-profit initiative which brings together business leaders with a commitment to sustainable development and climate change targets.

Speaking following the meeting, Mrs Robinson said that Davos offered a good opportunity to highlight climate and development issues.

“Davos brings together business leaders, political leaders, civil society leaders and faith leaders,” she said. “Unusually in this meeting there was a common purpose. The business leaders are going to share what they’re doing, the civic society leaders are going to share their ideas and we’re going to cross-message.”

Asked about the role business could play in the fight against climate change, Mrs Robinson, who chairs the Mary Robinson Foundation- Climate Justice centre, said that there was already significant buy-in from the business community.

“I think there are a very significant number of business leaders who are way ahead of politicians at the moment in understanding the climate issue, and understanding that you can’t do business in a climate-conflicted world and that’s the way they see it.”

Mrs. Robinson also pointed out that the session had been co-chaired by three women – herself, Christiana Figuerafrom Costa Rica, who is executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Chang and Nigerian-born Amina J Mohammed, the special advisor to the UN Secretary general on post-2015 development goals. “Women are still not very present in Davos so I think we sent a good signa,” she said.

Climate change has emerged as a major theme on the agenda of the World Economic Forum in Davos in recent years, thanks to the participation of high-profile campaigners such as former US vice-president Al Gore and Matt Damon, who last year addressed the forum on the challenges surrounding the provision of clean water globally.

Speaking at a session on Saturday, Mexican chemist Mario Molina – who won the Nobel Prize for his research on the impact of CFC’s on the ozone layer – said scientists needed to do more to communicate the threat of climate change. Mr Molina also said that corporates should be fined for their emissions.

Tackling climate change also featured in the key-note speech from French president Francois Hollande, who will host the global environment conference at the end of the year. He urged business leaders to contribute to a fund to fight climate change on Friday.

Outlining the impact of increasing CO2 levels on temperature in a key-note address, climate change campaigner and former US vice-president Al Gore, said the average global temperature has increased dramatically in the last decade, giving rise to extreme weather events. “The cumulative amount of man- made global warming pollution now in the atmosphere traps as much extra heat energy every day that would be relied by 400,000 Hiroshima class atomic weapons going off every day,” he said.

He said that 14 of the 15 hottest years measured had been in the first 14 years of the 21st century, with 2014 being the hottest year on record.

New Horizons probe eyes Pluto for a historic encounter


When it gets to Pluto, the New Horizons probe will have a packed schedule of observations

A Nasa probe is to start photographing the icy world of Pluto, to prepare itself for a historic encounter in July.

The New Horizons spacecraft has travelled 5bn km (3bn miles) over nine years to get near the dwarf planet.

And with 200m km still to go, its images of Pluto will show only a speck of light against the stars.

But the data will be critical in helping to align the probe properly for what will be just a fleeting fly-by.

Pluto will be photographed repeatedly during the approach, to determine the probe’s position relative to the dwarf planet, explained Mark Holdridge, from the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Baltimore.

“We then perform a number of correction manoeuvres to realign our trajectory with the reference trajectory, thus ensuring we hit our aim point to travel through the Pluto system,” he said.

Any initial correction is likely to be made in March.

The Pluto system has five known moons. Others may be discovered in the coming months

When New Horizons arrives at Pluto it will be moving so fast – at almost 14km/s – that going into orbit around the distant world is impossible; it must barrel straight through instead.

One complication is that the seven different instruments aboard the spacecraft need to work at different distances to get their data, and so the team has constructed a very elaborate observation schedule for them all.

But what this means is that very precise timing will be required to make sure the flyby runs smoothly.

The closest approach to Pluto is set for around 11:50 GMT on 14 July – at a miss distance of roughly 13,695km from the surface.

Mission planners want the exact timings nailed to within 100 seconds. New Horizons will know then where and when to point the instruments.

Dwarf Planet Pluto – Demoted but undiminished

Hubble’s best is a synthetic composite of multiple views. What are those shapes?

For people who grew up with the idea that there were “nine planets”, this is the moment they get to complete the set.

Robotic probes have been to all the others, even the distant Uranus and Neptune. Pluto is the last of the “classical nine” to receive a visit.

Of course, this 2,300km-wide ice-covered rock was demoted in 2006 to the status of mere “dwarf planet”, but scientists say that should not dull our enthusiasm.

The dwarfs are the most numerous planetary class in the Solar System, and Nasa’s New Horizons probe is one of the first opportunities to study an example up close.

The first set of navigation pictures may not be anything special, but by May, the probe will be returning views of Pluto that are better than anything from Hubble. Come July, the view should be spectacular, said Andy Cheng, the principal investigator on the probe’s main camera, which is called LORRI.

As Rebecca Morelle reports, even the Hubble Space Telescope could only capture blurry images of Pluto

“The most recent surprise we had was with the Rosetta mission. Hubble had made a ‘shape model’ of Comet 67P but no-one expected it to look like a rubber duckie,” he told BBC News. “I am more than hopeful that we will get similar surprises with New Horizons – it’s what we should expect.”

Those surprises could include yet more moons (five are currently known) and possibly even rings like those seen around some of the bigger planets.

Pluto is currently 5bn km from Earth. It has taken New Horizons more than nine years to get to the dwarf’s doorstep.

Once the flyby is complete, the probe will be targeted at an even more distant object in the Kuiper Belt – the name given to the icy domain beyond the main planets. Scientists think this region of space may contain many thousands of Pluto-like objects, some of which may even rival Mars and Earth in size.

The first optical navigation images should be back on Earth by Tuesday at the latest. They will show Pluto with its largest moon, Charon.

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Sunday 13th April 2014

Missing Malaysia airlines flight plane MH370

Thrown around like a fighter jet in attempt to dodge radar


There have been claims the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was ‘thrown around like a fighter jet’ in a bid to dodge radar

The missing Malaysia Airlines flight was “thrown around like a fighter jet” in a bid to dodge radar detection after it disappeared, Malaysian military investigators reportedly now believe.

An unnamed source cited by The Sunday Times added that officials are now convinced that the plane was “flown very low at a very high speed”.

The source concluded: “And it was being flown to avoid radar.”

It is also possible that the flight surged to 45,000 feet – 10,000 above its normal cruising altitude of 35,000 feet – after disappearing, before dropping to as low as 5000 feet, reports by investigators have suggested.

The low altitude would fit in with a report by Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper that co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid tried to make a mid-flight phone call shortly before the plane disappeared.

In order for the phone signal to reach the reported telecommunications tower near the Malaysian city of Penang, the plane would needed to have been flying under 7000 feet.

The newspaper report said the signal ended abruptly before contact was established.

Brendan Howlin confident cuts in Irish health budget will be met


Minister Howlin responds to the revelation that HSE expects a shortfall of €200m

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin has expressed confidence the budgetary targets on health spending will be met.

His comment follows the revelation in The Irish Times yesterday that the Government has been told close to €200 million in health savings for this year will not materialise.

The Minister, speaking today on RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, said the Haddington Road agreement on pay and productivity in the public service pay was a “negotiated enabler’’ of real savings.

“Every line department in the HSE directly was involved in the negotiations and signed off on it,’’ he added.

“Like every other department, I know that it is going to live up to the targets because it is part of the overall budgetary arithmetic.’’

Last week, senior Department of Healthand HSE officials provided a confidential consultancy report to Mr Howlin’s department setting out the potential shortfall in the figures.

Under the HSE’s service plan for the year, the health service was expected to generate savings of €290 million under the Haddington Road agreement which came into effect last July.

The plan also earmarked further pay savings of €108 million to be achieved by additional measures.

However, the report, drawn up by PA consultants, suggested none of the €108 million euro in savings was likely to be delivered and the €290 million euro basic target would not be fully reached.

Students from Sligo Institute of Technology help autistic teens in Valhalla campus


The interns are currently living and volunteering at St. Christopher’s Jenny Clarkson campus, a residential treatment center that helps teens with behavioral and learning disabilities.

VALHALLA – A college exchange program is allowing five students from Ireland to help autistic teens in Valhalla.

The interns are currently living and volunteering at St. Christopher’s Jenny Clarkson campus, a residential treatment center that helps teens with behavioral and learning disabilities.

The volunteers attend Sligo Institute of Technology back in Ireland and have plans to work in social care.

The college in Ireland has been sending students to St. Christopher’s Jennie Clarkson campus every year for nearly a decade.

The goal of the program, which lasts three months, is to expose both sides to different cultures and create meaningful bonds.

A hostile world that turns its back on the elderly


An 89-year-old woman recently decided to end her own life because she could no longer cope with the pace and reach of an impersonal digital world. So how can the aged cope?

Marie O’Gorman, who turns 80 this month, taught her grandchildren in Armenia to knit using Skype. Having won the inaugural ‘Silver Surfer’ award – an Age Action and Google initiative to recognise older people who have made the internet part of their everyday lives – Marie’s prize was a laptop and she has used it since then to keep in touch not only with her five children, 20 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, but with nieces and nephews scattered around the globe.

“My daughter Edel and her family moved to Armenia 10 years ago,” explains Marie, a widow. “It was hard at first because it would often take weeks for their letters to arrive and the phone signal was bad, so a friend said to me, ‘Why don’t you learn to do emails?’ I went on an Age Action computer course and it gave me a whole new life. Now I email family members all over the world, from London to Los Angeles. I have five grandchildren in Armenia and when the older ones wanted to know how to knit some fancy lace scarves, I showed them on Skype. They were thrilled and went off to show their Armenian friends how to knit too.

“They text me to let me know when they want to Skype and they line up all the things they want to show me on a table. And when my youngest grandchild, baby Lois, was born a few months ago I got to see her on Skype too.”

Marie’s enthusiasm for new technology, though inspiring, is most unusual for a woman her age. If anything, older people often see themselves as disconnected from the ‘global village’ of the worldwide web and their sense of isolation can have tragic consequences. Last month, an 89-year-old English woman took her own life at a Swiss euthanasia clinic after complaining that she felt left behind by the digital age.

In a world where over half of the planet’s adult population now spend most of their waking hours plugged in to the internet, telephone, TV or other technology, the retired art teacher who wanted to be known only as Anne, lamented what she called a “lack of humanity” in the modern world.

“We are becoming robots,” she said. “Adapt or die, they say. At my age, I feel I can’t adapt, because the new age is not an age that I grew up to understand.”

‘It’s the kind of story that stops you in your tracks and makes you wonder, is this where the world is heading?” says Seán Moynihan, CEO of the voluntary organisation ALONE. “And if it is, we need to tread cautiously.

“Now more than ever we need to help older people stay connected and linked in with the community. The world is full of virtual friends, but nothing can replace human contact.”

The suicide of this disillusioned pensioner throws into stark focus the isolation that many older people feel in an age where texting, tweeting, blogging and Instagramming are the status quo. Technology now drives almost everything we do, from paying household bills, booking flights online and downloading books, to the GPS systems that allow us to find our way anywhere without ever having to stop and ask for directions.

Scientists have already developed robots that can serve you tea and mow your lawn, yet the closer we get to technology, the wider the generational divide becomes. While more and more business and government services are moved online, thus reducing operating costs, figures show that over half of 60 to 74-year-olds in the Republic of Ireland have never used the internet (CSO 2012) and most don’t know how: 46pc of the over-65s cited lack of skills as the main reason they didn’t go online (Eurostat).

There are numerous initiatives to help older people get to grips with technology, such as Age Action’s Getting Started programme, which delivers training on computers, the internet and mobile phones to the over-55s, BT’s Connected Communities initiative and the Google-sponsored Get Your Folks Online,an online Age Action course that makes it easy for people to pass on internet skills with others, as well as a variety of local, community-based classes taking place in local libraries, techs and parish halls across the country.

Yet for every pensioner who has taken to the web, there are many who remain resolutely disconnected.

“Many older people feel there is no role for them anymore,” says Eamon Timmins, Head of Advocacy and Communications with Age Action. “I recently spoke to a woman who pointed out that if her daughter wants a recipe for apple pie, she can get it on the internet. I had to remind her that it wouldn’t be her apple pie, the one her daughter remembers and loves the best.

“The real motivation for older people to embrace technology is to keep in contact with their families. It’s the Irish granny who has breakfast every Saturday with her grandchildren in Sydney thanks to Skype, or the old man who builds a connection with his grandsons through swapping game Cheats. If people are willing to take the plunge, technology can bring endless opportunities.”

According to Michael Foley, Public Affairs Manager with Age and Opportunity, the benefits of engaging with the internet are enormous at any age.

“I taught an older Jewish man living in Dublin how to do basic things on the computer and once he realised that he could sit down with a cup of coffee and read the Jerusalem Post online, he was delighted.” “Now, tablets have made things even simpler. You don’t have to sit at a desktop pressing keys on a keyboard – all you have to do is swipe and point. It takes away all the scary, unfamiliar aspects of using the internet. Older people may face a bigger hurdle because they haven’t grown up with technology, but it’s never too late to learn.”

The digital revolution… how the elderly lose out

According to Eamon Timmins of Age Action, there are major obsacles facing older people in today’s digital world.

Getting information: “Older people taking our computer training classes complain that many advertisements now feature only website, Facebook or email details for those who want further information,” he says.

“They feel that companies don’t want to talk to them and if they do phone, they’re often frustrated by automated systems”.

Banking and paying bills: “Many banks and utility providers no longer have a local office and some banks have curtailed counter services.

”For older people who are not online, the trek to get to a bank branch can involve a lot of hardship.”

Knowing your rights:

“There is a lot of information out there, but most of it is on the internet. Many older people struggle to find out about their rights, especially as their needs change and they become eligible for new supports and assistance.”

The positives: “The internet offers huge opportunities for those housebound by disability or poor health to share interests with like-minded individuals.

‘Blood moon’ attracts stargazers, amid conspiracy theories


Stargazers and fans of eerie, prophetic-like omens will be in for a treat early Tuesday morning when a total lunar eclipse will occur, turning the full moon red. 

Also called “blood moons,” total lunar eclipses happen about twice a year when the moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow, or umbra.

But what’s up with the creepy red glow that gives the lunar event its nickname?

Well, the red color is actually not unlike a sunset, but from the moon’s perspective NASA describes it as “seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once.” And that red glow from behind the Earth gets projected onto the moon.

This total lunar eclipse will be the first in a series of four appearing every six months, a phenomenon called a “tetrad” – something not particularly rare for this century, according to NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak. (Via CNN)

While a total lunar eclipse is an interesting sight for stargazing hobbyists, for others the oncoming blood moon and tetrad brings something else – tidings of doom.

CTV News writes that, “Conspiracy websites draw parallels between lunar eclipses and historical events, like the fall of Constantinople and the founding of the State of Israel,” and that the last blood moon occurred when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004.

But perhaps the biggest proponent for any conspiracy concerning the upcoming blood moons is Pastor John Hagee, who released a book titled “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change in 2013.” (ViaThe Christian Broadcasting Network)

With all four blood moons being viewable from the U.S., New York Daily News notes Hagee claims that “the four blood moons that will soon appear in the skies over America are evidence of a future ‘world-shaking event.'”

In an interview with Fox News, Hagee emphasized the significance that each blood moon will occur during a Jewish holiday as well.

“To have a blood moon, and then for those blood moons to be on this exact date, is something that just is beyond coincidental.”

As noted by Think Progress, Hagee has caused some controversy before; in 2008 he suggested a connection between God’s wrath toward a gay pride rally planned for New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina.

The next three blood moons will be viewable on Oct. 8, followed by April 4, 2015 and Sept. 28, 2015.

‘CO2 levels at 402 parts per million (ppm,) higher than at any time in last 800,000 years


Carbon dioxide levels last week were higher than at any time in at least the past 800,000 years.

For two consecutive days last week, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth’s atmosphere exceeded 402 parts per million (ppm,) higher than at any time in at least the past 800,000 years, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Carbon dioxide levels tend to peak in May, which means that they are likely to rise even more. According to an article in Mashable, a news and tech website, the latest figures “put humans into uncharted territory.”

Just last month, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a damning report that illustrated the growing dangers of global warming. The panel focused on carbon dioxide emissions and warned about the dangers of inaction.

While some global warming can be attributed to natural trends, the sharp increase in CO2 levels since the advent of industrialization indicates that much of it is man-made; the UN report affirmed with 95% certainty that humans have “been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

Over time, high CO2 concentrations can lead to rising sea levels, heat waves, droughts and floods, posing great risk to coastal communities and human food supply. Experts believe that these worsening environmental conditions could exacerbate existing civil conflicts regarding land, food and water.

“Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy. Denial of the science is malpractice,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last month.