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An earthquake of magnitude 4.9 occurred only 15 minutes ago 47 km south of Lambaréné, Gabon, the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) reported.
The quake hit at a shallow depth of 10 km beneath the epicenter near Lambaréné, Moyen-Ogooué, Gabon, early evening on Saturday 6 March 2021 at 6:08 pm local time. The exact magnitude, epicenter, and depth of the quake might be revised within the next few hours or minutes as seismologists review data and refine their calculations, or as other agencies issue their report.
Our monitoring service identified a second report from the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) which listed the quake at magnitude 5.3.
Based on the preliminary seismic data, the quake should not have caused any significant damage, but was probably felt by many people as light vibration in the area of the epicenter.
Weak shaking might have been felt in Fougamou (pop. 5,600) located 40 km from the epicenter, and Lambaréné (pop. 20,700) 47 km away.
VolcanoDiscovery will automatically update magnitude and depth if these change and follow up if other significant news about the quake become available. If you’re in the area, please send us your experience through our reporting mechanism, either online or via our mobile app. This will help us provide more first-hand updates to anyone around the globe who wants to know more about this quake.

Testimony from a confidential informant who helped the FBI identify people charged with facilitating terrorism right from their homes in Jackson count, providing new information on the case.

The informant, going only by the name “Dan” and not showing his face—for their safety—testified he’s feared for himself and his daughter throughout this entire experience. This all started with the Facebook algorithm recommended the militia group “wolverine watchmen” to the informant, who joined willingly, because he was interested in their training. But after being moved to an encrypted chat, he knew something wasn’t right.

The “Dan” didn’t set out to be an informant at all.

But after Pete Musico told the informant in a chat he had gone to a law enforcement officer’s home, threw a Molotov cocktail at it, and was attempting to map out locations of other law enforcement officers homes to hurt them, “Dan” went to a friend in local law enforcement who then took things to the FBI.

In court on Friday we heard the army veteran who, after being honorably discharged for injuries received in combat in Iraq, felt a sense of obligation to what would become months of investigating the group “Wolverine Watchmen” and others (described as a far right, anti-government, anti-law enforcement militia) with these three men, charged with providing material support for terrorism for their involvement in facilitating Adam Fox’s plan to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who they met at protests throughout the summer at the State Capitol and invited to their militia training as what the informant referred to as a “VIP guest”

Protests throughout the summer in opposition to Whitmer’s lock-downs were used to recruit new members, the informant testified.

“Dan”, says that at Operation Gridlock Pete Musico, claimed to have a bomb in his car and throughout their protests the group maintained strategic positions while at the state capitol.

“Putting themselves in tactical positions to enter the capitol, Paul wanted to bum rush the capitol.” “Dan testified.

The informant says Paul Bellar attended the meeting at The Vac Shack with Adam Fox and they even took an oath with Fox promising to follow through with their plans.

“We made decisions as a group, that we would be the shadow group,” said “Dan”. “It started with kidnapping law enforcement, and then it switched to politicians,”

At this point in the investigation, Musico and Joe Morrison, the face of Wolverine Watchmen, had taken a back seat feeling they had been too visible at protests throughout the summer.

Whether the three men in court today will be bound over for trial has not yet been ruled by the judge. If convicted, Musico, Morrison, and Bellar will all face at least 20 years in prison

From twitter: [email protected]
Greg Ehrie, our VP of Law Enforcement and Analysis, joined @OutFrontCNN
last night to discuss disturbing new evidence that members of law enforcement and insurrectionists were communicating leading up to the Jan. 6 attacks. Watch now.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Before Jan. 6, a man who drove by St. Louis County Officer Michael Coletti’s house said he would have rolled his eyes if he noticed the black Three Percenters flag flapping from the officer’s flagpole.

He knew the FBI had linked the Three Percenters to a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor.

Surely, a police officer would know that, he would have thought.

Then, the FBI linked the group to the Capitol attack.

The man who took the picture noticed the flag there Jan. 6.

Surely, the officer will take it down now, he thought.

Instead, it kept flapping.

The officer's squad car sat in his driveway not far away.

So, the man snapped a few pictures of it and sent it to the police department to lodge a complaint.

He also sent it to his college roommate, an ATF agent.

He asked me not to use his name or anything that could identify him because he is fearful of retaliation for speaking out.

“He’s saying he’s for insurrection, ‘I’m for what happened at the Capitol,’” he said. “I don’t know what else to think.

“It’s like someone flying an al-Qaeda flag the day after 9/11. I saw so many county police cars over there while the flag was up, you start to think it must be OK in that culture. I don’t want to live in a world where I’ve got militia men enforcing the law.”

Coletti declined my request for an interview to understand why he flew the flag.

Its origins lie deep within the dark web, but somehow it crept its way to mainstream platforms. Separating conspiracy from fact made difficult by QAnon's takeover.

Police say an arrest has been made after a 15-month-long investigation into vandalism of America's Stonehenge in Salem.

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - Several explosions were set off on Wednesday in Pinal County, but all for a good reason. A training exercise called the "Raven's Challenge" was put on by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Through five trainings a year for the dangerous trade, they teach bomb technicians tricks, tools and team-building skills.

Technicians come here from across the country and around the world. They learn what to look for, how to handle and how to investigate explosive situations.

Each scenario is modeled after real-world situations, with a few that are made up.

"What you’re about to see is what we don’t want to happen. But if it does happen, and it sometimes does, then we go into the post-blast investigation mode," explained Johnny Green with ATF.

The exercises include bombs in tunnels, buildings, trains, buses and airplanes.

One of the exercises was based on a recent event in Australia, which was a suspicious bag in the overhead compartment of an airplane.

"This gives him the uptake to work on an airplane. Most of them don’t get that unless they work at an airport or near one," explained Mike Eggleston, Raven’s Challenge instructor.

What’s considered an emerging threat? Bombs in ATMs. The threats are up 400% in recent years. Demonstrators didn’t show this exercise, saying it would be like giving a potential crook your PIN number.

Some technicians are rookies and others are sharpening their skills. They're learning anything from putting on a bomb suit, to working with robots, how to remove and dismantle a bomb and set off a small explosion to prevent a large one.

"What are the explosives and devices we recover, what are the containers they are in and how do we deploy countermeasures," Green said.

ATF bomb technicians honing skills in Pinal County

The men are accused of being members of a militia group which planned and trained for a violent kidnapping of the governor and a possible attack at the State Capitol.

A confidential informant who tipped the FBI to an alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer is scheduled to testify Friday morning at a pre-trial hearing of three alleged plotters.

Pete Musico, Joseph Morrison and Paul Bellar are facing numerous charges, including providing material support for terrorist acts.

Prosecutors say the informant was a member of the group, Wolverine Watchmen, with the three defendants.

The plot allegedly involved not only kidnapping the governor, but also a plan to storm the state Capitol building. The investigation led to more than a dozen men being charged with state and federal terrorism charges.

For the past two days, the FBI agent who supervised the informant into the alleged plot sat on the witness stand in a Jackson County court room.

Thursday, defense attorneys pressed Special Agent Henrik Impola on how he could tell the difference between people talking about committing political violence, like storming the state Capitol building or kidnapping the governor, and actually planning on doing it.

Defense attorney Nicholas Somberg and Impola clashed on that issue at one point during Thursday’s Day 2 of the pre-trial hearing.

“I mean, you would agree, guys kind of talk crap with their friends, when they're with their boys?” asked Somberg.

“They can,” responded Impola. “It’s not the type of talk I talk in the locker room.”

But it’s an issue for the judge hearing the case.

Nearing the end of Thursday’s hearing, District Court Judge Michael Klaeren admitted he’s struggling with the issue of “where’s that line where an idea becomes a plan.”

It will be up to the judge to decide if there’s enough evidence to bound over the three Jackson County suspects for trial.

Five other defendants are facing state similar state charges. Five others have been charged federally.

One person arrested as part of the alleged plot has agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

A 45-minute “earthquake swarm” reported this week near Oregon’s Mount Hood has the U.S. Geological Survey offering explanations — and reassurance the volcano is not becoming more active.

Dozens of earthquakes, most not felt on the surface, came in succession around 12:13 p.m. Monday, centered about a half mile southwest of the volcano, geologists say.

Data show the quakes came from 3 to 4 miles beneath the summit, officials said Tuesday. The volcano is about 50 miles east of Portland

Read more here:

State seismologists on Thursday raised Alert Level 1 in Mt. Pinatubo due to the persistence of seismic activity in the volcano.

Satellites detected something incredible in the air over Lake Michigan this week.

Volcanic plumes!

According to the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) University of Wisconsin-Madison, a GOES East satellite captured a narrow ribbon of hazy airborne aerosols late on Wednesday

The particles became visible looking toward the sunset as forward scattering of sunlight increased, according to CIMSS.

Satellites later detected sulfur dioxide clouds traveling over the North Pacific and Canada as well, which they determined was likely from the Feb. 24-25 eruption of Mt. Etna in Italy.

“This is pretty incredible,” staff wrote on Facebook. “Volcanic plumes over Lake Michigan. Now that’s a rare event.”

Considered Europe’s largest and most-active volcano, Mt. Etna on the east coast of Sicily has erupted seven times in the past two weeks.

In Greek mythology, the deadly monster Typhon was trapped under the mountain by Zeus and the forges of Hephaestus were said also to be underneath it.

NIWA [email protected]
1️⃣3️⃣ hours of seismic activity in 1️⃣3️⃣ seconds
Dozens of quakes have caused shaking around NZ today…

Have a watch

Data: @gnsscience

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Some residents of West Hartford may have felt some shaking this morning as a 1.9 earthquake was reported.

The area was between the UConn Health Center and Westfarms Mall.

Police said they had gotten a few calls about the earthquake and they had checked the area but saw no damage.

Meteorologist Dan Amarante said a quake that small would have sounded like distant thunder.

Did you feel it or hear it?

Mark reports tonite the towns and counties are fed up with state and are planning to take back their freedom.

The source of potentially hazardous solar particles, released from the Sun at high speed during storms in its outer atmosphere, has been located for the first time by researchers at UCL and George Mason University, Virginia, USA.

These particles are highly charged and, if they reach Earth’s atmosphere, can potentially disrupt satellites and electronic infrastructure, as well as pose a radiation risk to astronauts and people in airplanes. In 1859, during what’s known as the Carrington Event, a large solar storm caused telegraphic systems across Europe and America to fail. With the modern world so reliant on electronic infrastructure, the potential for harm is much greater.

To minimize the danger, scientists are seeking to understand how these streams of particles are produced so they can better predict when they might affect Earth.

In the new study, published in Science Advances, researchers analyzed the composition of solar energetic particles heading towards Earth, and found they had the same “fingerprint” as plasma located low in the Sun’s corona, close to the middle region of the Sun’s atmosphere, the chromosphere.

Co-author Dr Stephanie Yardley (UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, MSSL) said: “In our study, we have observed for the first time exactly where solar energetic particles come from on the Sun. Our evidence supports theories that these highly charged particles originate from plasma that has been held down low in the Sun’s atmosphere by strong magnetic fields. These energetic particles, once released, are then accelerated by eruptions that travel at a speed of a few thousand kilometers a second.

“Energetic particles can arrive at Earth very quickly, within several minutes to a few hours, with these events lasting for days. Currently, we can only provide forecasts of these events as they are taking place, as it is highly challenging to predict these events before they occur. By understanding the Sun’s processes better we can improve forecasts so that, when a major solar storm hits, we have time to act to reduce risks.”

Lead author Dr David Brooks (George Mason University and Honorary Associate Professor at UCL MSSL) said: “Our observations provide a tantalizing glimpse into where the material that produces solar energetic particles comes from in a few events from the last solar cycle. We are now starting a new solar cycle, and once it gets going we will use the same techniques to see if our results are generally true, or if these events are somehow unusual.

“We are lucky in that our understanding of the mechanisms behind solar storms and solar energetic particles is likely to advance quickly over coming years thanks to data that will be gained from two spacecraft — ESA’s Solar Orbiter and the NASA Parker Solar Probe — that are heading closer to the Sun than any spacecraft has been before.”

In the study, researchers used measurements from NASA’s Wind satellite, located between the Sun and Earth, to analyze a series of solar energetic particle streams, each lasting at least a day, in January 2014. They compared this to spectroscopy data from the JAXA-led Hinode spacecraft. (The EUV Imaging Spectrometer onboard the spacecraft was built by UCL MSSL and Dr. Brooks is a member of the mission’s Operations Team in Japan.)

They found that the solar energetic particles measured by the Wind satellite had the same chemical signature — an abundance of silicon compared to sulfur — as plasma confined close to the top of the Sun’s chromosphere. These locations were at the “footpoints” of hot coronal loops — that is, at the bottom of loops of magnetic field and plasma extending out into the Sun’s outer atmosphere and back again.

Using a new technique, the team measured the coronal magnetic field strength at these footpoints, and found it was very high, in the region of 245 to 550 Gauss, confirming the theory that the plasma is held down in the Sun’s atmosphere by strong magnetic fields ahead of its release into space.

Solar energetic particles are released from the Sun and are accelerated by solar flares (large explosions) or coronal mass ejections — ejections of huge clouds of plasma and magnetic field. About 100 solar energetic particle events occur every 11-year solar cycle, although this number varies from cycle to cycle.

The latest findings support the idea that some solar energetic particles originate from a different source than the slow solar wind (the origin of which is still debated), as they are confined in specific conditions in hot coronal loops at the core of the source region. A faster solar wind is emitted continuously by the Sun; its encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere can generate the Northern Lights.

The high-energy particles released in January 2014 came from a volatile region of the Sun which had frequent solar flares and CMEs, and an extremely strong magnetic field. The region, known as 11944, was one of the largest active regions on the Sun at the

The strongest geomagnetic storm of the new solar cycle
(so far) ... right on cue, the strongest storm of new Solar Cycle 25 erupted.

I can't remember a day like this for multiple large earthquakes ... seriously.

Dr. Steven J. Gibbons @stevenjgibbons

Oh goodness. Magnitude 8(!) #earthquake in the #Kermadec islands North of #NezZealand now. Data from @IRIS_EPO
- I can't remember a day like this for multiple large earthquakes ... seriously.

Two massive earthquakes have struck off the coast of mainland New Zealand, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, spurring two separate tsunami warnings. The first warning was revoked.

The first earthquake, of 7.3 magnitude, hit at 1:27 pm UTC, 94 miles from the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand, according to the Geological Survey. The earthquake shook at a depth of 20.8 km.

The second, slightly more powerful quake struck at 5:41 pm UTC, with a magnitude of 7.4 and a depth of 55.6 km. It hit near the Kermadec Islands off mainland New Zealand.

No injuries have been reported.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz told TV New Zealand, “I’ve heard reports of little bits of damage, nothing major at this stage.”

Geologist Helga Kristín Torfadóttir, who is a PhD candidate in volcanology and petrology, and who runs the popular @geology_with_helga page on Instagram, spoke today with RÚV English to answer a few questions about what's going on under the Reykjanes peninsula.

The situation remains very fluid and it is impossible to predict precisely what will happen, but scientists are able to make predictions with a good level of confidence: "We have, of course, a lot of geological knowledge from this area. There are a bunch of people working within different areas within geology and geophysics, and by combining all those data we are finally seeing what is really going on," Helga Kristín says. "It has been a very quick event. It's been a week and every day we have to evaluate what is really going on: is this going to die down?"

To helga Kristín the probable answer is still no, despite the fact that activity levels dropped slightly overnight: "I think we should be expecting an eruption soon. It's very unlikely that this is going to go completely down, but it could go down and then pick up again in maybe a few weeks or a few days, but we will get an eruption eventually. It's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when," she says.

‘Lava bombs raining down’: Officials give grim warning over erupting Pacaya volcano in Guatemala

Authorities are preparing to race thousands of people to shelters with Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano spewing burning cinders and lava bombs into the air, putting five towns in the area at risk.

The volcano erupted, expelling lava for several hours and prompting the country’s meteorological institute to warn incandescent volcanic blocks could rain down on nearby towns.

Officials stopped short of ordering evacuations following the so-called strombolian eruption, explosions that consist of relatively mild blasts but eject burning cinders and lava bombs.

One of the Central American country’s most active volcanoes, Pacaya began to expel lava at dawn on Wednesday, creating an immense column of smoke, video footage showed.

“The Pacaya volcano has a very high level of activity, which has generated a strombolian type eruption, with strong explosions,” the meteorological institute, Insivumeh, said in a statement.

David de Leon, spokesman for the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction, said civil protection teams were checking several facilities that could be used as shelters as lava continued to flow late Wednesday.

Insivumeh said five towns, home to around 3000 people, were at risk from burning projectiles from the volcano, which is located 28km south of Guatemala City.

Pacaya experienced minor activity for a month before erupting on Wednesday.
Guatemala volcano fires ash 3km into air

The Pacaya volcano has been spewing ash columns 3200 metres into the air since February.

The National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (Insivumeh) warned the volcano’s high level of activity is accompanied by ashfall on villages more than 25km away, as well as lava flow.

Pacaya, a strato-volcano with an elevation of 2552 metres, also caused rumbles and vibrations around the surrounding areas and villages located on its slopes, while ballistic material fell about 500 metres around the crater.

In a new study, scientists looked at sunspots -- darkened patches on the Sun caused by its magnetic field -- at low resolution as if they were trillions of miles away. What resulted was a simulated view of distant stars, which can help us understand stellar activity and the conditions for life on planets orbiting other stars.

"We wanted to know what a sunspot region would look like if we couldn't resolve it in an image," said Shin Toriumi, lead author on the new study and scientist at ?the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science at JAXA. "So, we used the solar data as if it came from a distant star to have a better connection between solar physics and stellar physics."

Sunspots are often precursors to solar flares -- intense outbursts of energy from the surface of the Sun -- so monitoring sunspots is important to understanding why and how flares occur. Additionally, understanding the frequency of flares on other stars is one of the keys to understanding their chance of harboring life. Having a few flares may help build up complex molecules like RNA and DNA from simpler building blocks. But too many strong flares can strip entire atmospheres, rendering a planet uninhabitable.

To see what a sunspot and its effect on the solar atmosphere would look like on a distant star, the scientists started with high-resolution data of the Sun from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and JAXA/NASA's Hinode mission. By adding up all the light in each image, the scientists converted the high-resolution images into single datapoints. Stringing subsequent datapoints together, the scientists created plots of how the light changed as the sunspot passed across the Sun's rotating face. These plots, which scientists call light curves, showed what a passing sunspot on the Sun would look like if it were many light-years away.

The civil protection agency gave a press briefing at 16.00. It was broadcast live on most radio and TV channels and the highlights in English are below.

The briefing ended at 16.21 and the main messages were that an eruption has not begun close to Keilir mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula, but is likely to start within hours. The eruption will probably last a week or two and lava will not threaten buildings or infrastructure, though gas could cause some people some discomfort on some days. Daily life continues as before. The eruption is not expected to be large, if it occurs at all. People are nevertheless asked not to visit the site.

Víðir Reynisson, head of Civil Protection, and Kristín Jónsdóttir, team leader for operational natural hazard monitoring are leading the meeting.
Kristín says there is now an almost-constant stream of small earthquakes under Reykjanes peninsula right now.
The activity is centred along a line between Keilir and Litla Hrútar and the surface is showing signs of sinking, which would indicate an imminent eruption.
It is not yet known precisely where the lava will break through the surface, but it is clear it will be in an unpopulated area.
There is no emergency situation taking place.
People are asked not to try and visit the area.
Reykjanesbraut remains open as usual.
While the eruption will not pose a direct danger, the Met Office will pay close attention to wind directions. Gas pollution from the eruption could prove uncomfortable on some days, Kristín says, but historical data shows the gas cloud is unlikely to prove dangerous in towns.
The volcanic activity does increase the risk of larger earthquakes -- though the expected maximum magnitude is still between 6 and 6.5.
If an eruption does start, it would be typical for seismic activity levels to reduce.
The eruption is likely to be short -- though it is possible that it could be the start of a series of eruptions.
The updated likely lava flow scenario was updated at 16.00 and predicts a more southerly lava flow than previously forecast. That does not appear to increase the risk to buildings or infrastructure.
Such a volcanic eruption is dangerous close up, as gas concentrations decrease rapidly with distance. People are therefore asked not to visit the eruption, if one begins. Police hope not to need to close roads, but will be monitoring the situation closely.
The aviation alert level has been raised from yellow to orange, and will be set at red if an eruption begins. The colour codes are intended to help pilots and airlines flying to and over the peninsula.
Parents are advised to discuss the seismic and volcanic activity with children openly, and not to let children rely on the media for updates that they might misinterpret.
A red aviation alert would likely mean all flights to and from Iceland stopping for a short time, but the level will quickly be reduced to orange for areas away from the immediate eruption zone, allowing access to planes.

SMS messages will be sent to all mobile phones if very urgent information needs distributing to the public quickly.
The press briefing ended at 16.21.

International Online research Seminar «The Secret Doctrine by Blavatsky»
For all those who study and are interested in the Theosophical works of H. P. Blavatsky!
Study of the 1nd Stanza, the 3rd Sloka of the Secret Doctrine by HPB - "Universal Mind was not, for there were no AH-HI (celestial beings) to contain (hence to manifest) It", is presented by:
Vladimir Yaryi, Evgeniya Shaboornikova — Theosophical Society of Russia, “Adamant” Lodge (Moscow, Russia),
Ifigenia Kastamoniti - Theosophical Society of Greece, European School of Theosophy (Greece, Athens),
Arni Narendran - Theosophical Society of India, “Blavatsky Lodge” (India, Mumbai),
Esther Zigane - Theosophical Society of Australia, “Sunshine Coast Lodge” (Sunshine Coast, Australia),
Brigitte Taquin,​ the French Theosophical Society, "H.P. Blavatsky Lodge”​ (France, Paris).
Sergey Roshchupkin - doctor of physical and mathematical sciences, Professor of the Higher school of engineering and physics, Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University (Saint Petersburg, Russia)
Sergey Kolganov, candidate of philosophy, Department of Moscow Aircraft Institute (Russia, Moscow)
Anne Kelly - Theosophical society of England (UK)

The next seminar is devoted to the study and research of the I Stanza, IV Sloka of the I volume of the "Secret Doctrine" by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
We ARE WAITING for you on March 27 at 15 o'clock. (Moscow time).
It's easy to be together!

A United States Army veteran says the military has to have an “honest reckoning” with systemic racism that historians say has been pervasive within its ranks since its inception.

Black Veterans Project executive director Richard Brookshire said Wednesday on CBSN, “We have seen the military tackle something like gays being able to serve openly, and the witch hunt that was ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and the ruining of careers around ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ So we know they have the capacity” to address the issue of white nationalism.

Black service members account for 17% of active duty personnel. More than half of minority service members say they have seen white nationalism or racism among fellow troops, according to the Black Veterans Project. Black members of the military are also between 32% and 71% likelier to face punishment.

Brookshire said the organization, established in 2018, was born out of a recognition that there was a lack of a digital conversation around racial justice and inequity in the military. The group aims to educate not only African Americans, but also Americans nationwide about the heroism and issues facing Black service members, as well as hold the military accountable.

He said he wanted the organization to be one that could provide more in-depth research to push for the military to do “its due diligence, not only about correcting and redressing the long harms that have been made against Black veterans, but ensuring that diversity and equity in the ranks as it stands now — white nationalism in the ranks as it stands now — was addressed.”

“Without Black veterans being front and center in the conversation about their service, their experiences, that history will be lost,” Brookshire said.

The Black Veterans Project recently called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to release racial data after a New York Times opinion piece criticized what the author called the “racist legacy” of the department under former President Trump.

Brookshire said last year the group also pushed Mr. Trump’s defense department to release racial bias survey data they had been “hiding from public view.”

“They only released one year of that data, and in that, almost over 40% of Black folks who experienced discrimination said that they had fear of reporting for fears of retribution,” he said, adding the information was “just the tip of the iceberg.”

New Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the first African American to serve in the role, has acknowledged racism in the armed forces. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month he vowed to “fight hard to stamp out sexual assault, to rid our ranks of racists and extremists, and to create a climate where everyone fit and willing has the opportunity to serve this country with dignity.”

In one of his first acts as Pentagon head, Austin issued a “stand down” order across the military to address extremism in its ranks — particularly racism and white supremacy — following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. At least 22 of those arrested over the attack are veterans and three are currently enlisted in the military, according to military service records and court documents obtained by CBS News.

Austin later told journalists that the military-wide probe would likely reveal a larger problem than expected.

Though Brookshire acknowledged the appointment of Austin as defense secretary and his subsequent actions were a step in the right direction, he said “a lack of wanting to dedicate resources” and “a lack of real courage in wanting to confront the fact that” white nationalism is “so insidious” have contributed to the military’s inaction so far.

The veterans’ group leader called Austin’s stand-down a “necessary first step,” but called on the Pentagon to go further.

“They have to ask more pointed questions. They have to organize resources, they have to actually enforce the policies that they already have in place” he said. “They can’t merely continue down the task force rabbit hole. They can’t merely just pay lip service by appointing personnel.”

Who really shot JFK? Are there aliens at Area 51? Is Bigfoot real? Not only do conspiracies come in all shapes and sizes, they’re also quite popular. A study from the University of Chicago shows that half of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory but that doesn’t mean everyone on board.

Evansville Fire Department Division Chief Mike Larson says he’s not a conspiracy theorist and instead lives “day by day.” German Township Fire Department Assistant Chief Tamara Carr says she doesn’t believe there are aliens at Area 51 or Bigfoot is real.

Jesse Fivecoate, who taught a class about conspiracies last Fall at Indiana University, says the theories offer more than just an explanation for strange events. Fivecoate says conspiracies offer people a means to understand an increasingly interconnected world that he says doesn’t always make sense.

Fivecoate warns, however, that intensely following a conspiracy theory could severely impact someone’s mental health and perhaps lead to psychosis. In 2016, a North Carolina man fired a gun inside a Washington D.C. pizza parlor at the center of a conspiracy theory, though no one was injured.

Vanderburgh County Commissioner Jeff Hatfield says every American should be concerned about the growth of conspiracy theories, especially those surrounding the 2020 election. Hatfield adds that more should be done through history and civics education to combat the spread of conspiracy theories.

INDIANAPOLIS — It's a gut-wrenching reality for many people right now: family members becoming strangers because of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

You've likely heard about QAnon and may think it's only affecting Americans on the fringe.

But 13News talked with everyday Hoosiers whose loved ones bought into the lies.

They wanted to share how it started, why it took hold and how QAnon is tearing families apart.

QAnon grew out of the shadows online: a conspiracy theory about a secret cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophile politicians and elite Hollywood celebrities.

Followers believe "Q" is a government insider with high security clearance, who drops coded clues anonymously online to fight the "deep state." Donald Trump is seen as savior, who will rescue America.

The premise sounds strange, yet over the past few years, QAnon has spiraled into a major movement of misinformation and at times, violence, including the Capitol insurrection.

It's also gathered thousands and thousands of followers.

"QAnon is the mother of all conspiracies," explained Dr. Joe Pierre, Health Sciences Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA. "The idea that it's the mother of all conspiracy theories really refers to the fact that there are, in fact, a lot of different sub-beliefs, false beliefs, under the larger QAnon umbrella, from the election to the pandemic."

"There's a long history to this sort-of thing. It plays on some well-founded concerns and anxieties and suspicions that people have about our political system," said Carl Weinberg, adjunct associate professor of history at Indiana University. "I think that there are people out there who are ripe for this kind of conspiracy theory because there are real problems in their lives that they're trying to find explanation for."

It's taken hold of families, too, shattering relationships right here in Indiana. The people left after QAnon consumes their friend or family member's attention are often referred to as "QAnon Casualties."

"It does feel like you've lost your loved one for good because you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's hard because I don't understand for the life of me how anyone can believe this," said one Hoosier, who wanted to remain anonymous. She says her grandmother believes in Qanon. "It seems to have breached all types of people, all backgrounds, you know, educated people, uneducated people. It's like a disease. I mean it's our, I think it's kind of our second pandemic."

"It's fiction to me. It's science fiction! I just thought it would never gain traction and ground with intelligent people, but it has," said Chris Cotton, a Hoosier whose family member he describes as QAnon-curious. "I didn't realize it was really, had nested right in our family."

Cotton's stepson is one of many people who've gone down the rabbit hole of this conspiracy theory.

A study from Indiana University shows 44% of Americans believe at least some false stories started by QAnon, including that pedophiles and cannibals currently serve in U.S. government positions.

On Reddit, 13News found thousands of people sharing horror stories of loved ones lost to the conspiracy and looking for help bringing them back.

The woman whose grandmother became a QAnon follower says it happened through Facebook.

She believes her grandmother, formerly strong, supportive and independent-minded, was likely lured in by a desire to protect children.

"It's just wild. Just like literally overnight, she changed as a person. It's like all those amazing characteristics just kind of disappeared," she said. "She's always been the protector of the family. She was always the one to come to the rescue, and now she's older, and we don't really need her to come to the rescue, so she found a cause that she could still protect people with."

The first observations of a space hurricane have been revealed in Earth's upper atmosphere, confirming their existence and shedding new light on the relationship between planets and space.

Hurricanes in the Earth's low atmosphere are known, but they had never before been detected in the upper atmosphere.

An international team of scientists led by Shandong University in China analysed observations made by satellites in 2014 to reveal a long-lasting hurricane, resembling those in the lower atmosphere, in the polar ionosphere and magnetosphere with surprisingly large energy and momentum deposition despite otherwise extremely quiet geomagnetic conditions.

The analysis allowed a 3D image to be created of the 1,000km-wide swirling mass of plasma several hundred kilometres above the North Pole, raining electrons instead of water.

Professor Qing-He Zhang, lead author of the research at Shandong University, said: "These features also indicate that the space hurricane leads to large and rapid deposition of energy and flux into the polar ionosphere during an otherwise extremely quiet geomagnetic condition, suggesting that current geomagnetic activity indicators do not properly represent the dramatic activity within space hurricanes, which are located further poleward than geomagnetic index observatories."

Professor Mike Lockwood, space scientist at the University of Reading, said: "Until now, it was uncertain that space plasma hurricanes even existed, so to prove this with such a striking observation is incredible".

"Tropical storms are associated with huge amounts of energy, and these space hurricanes must be created by unusually large and rapid transfer of solar wind energy and charged particles into the Earth's upper atmosphere.

"Plasma and magnetic fields in the atmosphere of planets exist throughout the universe, so the findings suggest space hurricanes should be a widespread phenomena."

Hurricanes often cause loss of life and property through high winds and flooding resulting from the coastal storm surge of the ocean and the torrential rains. They are characterised by a low-pressure centre (hurricane eye), strong winds and flow shears, and a spiral arrangement of towering clouds with heavy rains.

In space, astronomers have spotted hurricanes on Mars, and Saturn, and Jupiter, which are similar to terrestrial hurricanes in the low atmosphere. There are also solar gases swirling in monstrous formations deep within the sun's atmosphere, called solar tornadoes. However, hurricanes had not been reported in the upper atmosphere of the planets in our heliosphere.

The space hurricane analysed by the team in Earth's ionosphere was spinning in an anticlockwise direction, had multiple spiral arms, and lasted almost eight hours before gradually breaking down.

The team of scientists from China, the USA, Norway and the UK used observations made by four DMSP (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program) satellites and a 3D magnetosphere modelling to produce the image. Their findings were published in Nature Communications.

Professor Zhang added: "This study suggests that there are still existing local intense geomagnetic disturbance and energy depositions which is comparable to that during super storms. This will update our understanding of the solar wind-magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling process under extremely quiet geomagnetic conditions.

"In additional, the space hurricane will lead to important space weather effects like increased satellite drag, disturbances in High Frequency (HF) radio communications, and increased errors in over-the-horizon radar location, satellite navigation and communication systems."


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