Wildfire Map: NOAA's Satellites Show North America Ablaze
A new map released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) paints a stunning portrait of North America's ongoing battle against wildfires. The map, based on six months of data collected from NOAA's GOES satellites
, shows a continent glowing with autumnal hues, each dot representing a wildfire picked up by one of NOAA's satellites.
But don't be alarmed if North America seems unusually ablaze. Plots on the graphic represent the lump sum of fire signatures picked up by all of NOAA's satellites, not the actual total number of fires. In layman's terms: if two satellites pick up a thermal signature for the same fire they both record a separate plot on the map. All of that plotting ads up to 323,828 dots, well above the 34,064 fires observed
by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) so far in 2013...
Pantheism in the Prayer Book
It is one of the many benefits, and indeed, one of the purposes of liturgical worship that it cannot easily be manipulated to suit some passing whim. Most liturgical traditions contain the same basic elements: the singing of the Psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, the Confessions, the Creeds, the reading of the Scriptures, and the ancient hymns that have been passed down to us from the early church. The order of service can be an emotional experience, but it is not driven by emotion, nor does it seek that end. The pre-ordained texts for any particular service may speak to current events, but the service cannot be altered to cater to whatever pet political issues the clergy or congregation may have on their minds. It is oriented towards another more stable world, and does not change with the tides of this one. It is what it is. The words are spoken, the truth is heard, and you may take it or leave it.
Unless, of course, one were to rewrite the entire order of service, which is exactly what the Anglican Environmental Network, an official branch of the Anglican Communion, has done. From September 1st
, to October 4th, many churches in the Anglican Communion will celebrate “creation time
,” described as “a time dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation, and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change.”
Obama's Affordable Care Act Looking a Bit Unaffordable
Republicans have long blamed President Obama's signature health care initiative for increasing insurance costs, dubbing it the "Unaffordable Care Act."
Turns out, they might be right.
For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they're currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers' monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act...
UK:Church 'Sued' Over Gay Marriage, and BBC Cheers Polyamory
The ink is not yet dry on David Cameron's gay marriage Bill and already two stories in the news this week show that the Bill's critics have been proved right. A wealthy gay couple say they "have launched" legal action to force gay weddings on the Church of England; and the BBC is cheerleading for polyamory...
Muslim Mob Injures Church Leaders, Choir Members in Nigeria
A Muslim mob with knives and iron rods injured several members of an Anglican church in Nasarawa state on Aug. 17 over a dispute about less than 1 cent in change, area Christians said...
Theft and Sabotage Destroy Nigeria’s Oil Dreams
“Industrial scale oil theft, sabotage and technical problems” have caused output from the oil-rich Niger delta to plummet to a four-year low, the FT reports
, and that’s only the beginning of the story.
in July that thieves were stealing 60,000 barrels of oil every day
—just from Shell’s lines. The Nigerian government, which gets 80 percent of its revenue from oil, lost $10.9 billion between 2009 and 2011 due to theft and sabotage. “Oil fouls everything in southern Nigeria,” Tom O’Neill reported
for National Geographic
back in 2007. “It spills from the pipelines, poisoning soil and water. It stains the hands of politicians and generals, who siphon off its profits. It taints the ambitions of the young, who will try anything to scoop up a share of the liquid riches—fire a gun, sabotage a pipeline, kidnap a foreigner.”
Kim Jong-un's ex-lover 'executed by firing squad'
Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers who were executed by firing squad nine days ago, according to South Korean reports...
Iranian-American Christian Convert’s 8-Year Sentence Upheld
Iranian-American Christian convert Saeed Abedini’s
eight-year prison sentence has been upheld, and his wife told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that none of the objections they made in court were taken into account.
“Iran is keeping Saeed illegally. Saeed’s problem is not political. His problem is in his choice of religion. Saeed is also a US citizen and Iran can’t keep him in prison,” Naghmeh Abedini, who is a US resident, told the Campaign...
Pastors Rally Together to Fight San Antonio’s Discrimination of Christians
“This ordinance is not about preventing discrimination. It is about promoting an intolerant agenda directed at Christians, people of faith, and those who believe that homosexuality is contrary to the natural order,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This ordinance will punish people because of their views on human sexuality. Everyone must wake up and realize the agenda behind this ordinance before it is too late.”
California on brink of allowing non-physicians to perform abortions
...The State Senate passed AB154 by a 25-11 vote on Monday. The bill would authorize midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants to perform first-trimester suction aspiration abortions...
Stats Show Americans Not That into Driving Anymore
Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over?
After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. _ the collective miles people drive _ peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since, even though the economy is recovering and the population growing. Just this week the Federal Highway Administration reported vehicle miles traveled during the first half of 2013 were down slightly, continuing the trend.
Even more telling, the average miles drivers individually rack up peaked in July 2004 at just over 900 per month, said a study by Transportation Department economists Don Pickrell and David Pace. By July of last year, that had fallen to 820 miles per month, down about 9 percent. Per capita automobile use is now back at the same levels as in the late 1990s...