Mine Explosion in New Zealand

On Friday, November 19, 2010, workers were trapped after a mine explosion in New Zealand. A robot was dispatched, but it broke down before reaching the men.

(CNN) A second robot has arrived at the site of a coal mine in New Zealand where an explosion trapped 29 workers underground, police said.

But police officials stressed that it remained too dangerous for human rescuers to go underground, and the situation at the mine was growing increasingly grim with each passing hour.

“The situation is bleak. It is grave. And you have to understand that the risk posed by a secondary explosion is real,” Gary Knowles, superintendent of the Tasman Police District, told reporters Tuesday.

American Ghost Lights

(In a Nutshell) Common barn owls  may be responsible for many of the reported “ghost lights” in the United States. According to the nonfiction book author Jonathan Whitcomb, of Long Beach, California, the Gurdon Light of Arkansas, the Ghost Light of Masters Knob (Tennessee), and the Hornet Light of Missouri are all strange flying lights whose behaviors resemble those of Tyto Alba, the barn owl.

The idea that some barn owls have intrinsic bioluminescence is not original with Whitcomb; the Australian Fred Silcock has done extensive research on certain sightings of Min Min lights in Australia. . . .  Whitcomb is an author of cryptozoology books about living pterosaurs, not owls. He has explained that a minority of the reports of American ghost lights do not suggest owls but something far stranger. In Marfa, Texas, . . .  nocturnal flying creature is said to be a living pterosaur . . .

Tourism Instead of Diamonds?

In Botswana, Africa, diamonds have been almost everything in the economy; but that may someday change.

(BBC) Botswana (southern Africa) is the world’s biggest producer of diamonds and an economic success story in Africa – but some experts fear that in 20 years time its reserves may be exhausted. Tourism is now becoming increasingly important as the country anticipates a time when diamonds can no longer provide 50% of its annual revenue.

Less than two million humans inhabit Botswana, but animals are numerous. Indeed, this country could become an ideal tourist attraction someday. The government has devised a plan to expand and develop tourism, hoping to attract a wide range of foreign visitors.

Indonesia Tsunami and Volcanic Eruptions

(The Wall Street Journal – Oct 29, 2010) JAKARTA—The combined death toll from a tsunami and volcanic eruptions in Indonesia climbed to 449, as aid workers shifted their focus to prevent outbreaks of disease among survivors of the twin disasters earlier this week.

. . .  there were still some areas where aid wasn’t getting through because of shortages of boats or inadequate or damaged infrastructure, raising fears of possible outbreaks of malaria and other diseases.

American Baseball Championship

The San Franciso Giants won the first game of the World Series of baseball, 11-7, against the Texas Rangers.

(NYTimes) “The Texas Rangers’ Cliff Lee, one of the most dominant postseason pitchers in recent memory, faced Tim Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, in the most-hyped playoff pitching matchup . . . But this pitchers’ duel fizzled as Lee was knocked out in the fifth inning after giving up seven runs . . .”

If the Giants win this series, it will be the first time they have ever won a World Series. (What other major league baseball team has that distinction?)