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Earth’s Magnetic North Pole Is Moving So Fast That Scientists Had to Change Its Location

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Earth's Magnetic North Pole
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The magnetic north pole – that point which guides our compasses and GPS systems – has never been static.

But now, the north has moved so fast that scientists have been forced to update their model of the planet’s magnetic field a year earlier than expected.

“Due to unplanned variations in the Arctic region, scientists have released a new model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information said in a press release Monday.

The change is crucial in order to pinpoint the precise location of the pole, ensuring that navigational systems (including mobile phone map-based apps), government organizations, airliners, and others can continue to work with accuracy.

Since 1831, the northern magnetic pole has shifted from Canada’s Arctic regions toward Russia in a relatively smooth manner.

The World Magnetic Model, funded by the U.S. and U.K. militaries, is tasked with tracking the positions of the Earth’s three magnetic poles. Normally, the model only requires an update every five years.

However, in recent years the pole’s drift has quickened its pace, moving in the direction of Russia at unprecedented speed, throwing off GPS systems and placing pilots and maritime navigators at risk – or forcing them to rely on old-school compass-based navigation.

Cierran Beggan, a geophysicist at the British Geological Survey, told The Guardian:

“We know from old ships’ logs that in the past 400 years, the north magnetic pole has hung around northern Canada. Until the 1900s, it moved perhaps tens of kilometers, back and forth.

But in the past 50 years it started to move north, and in the past 30 years it started to accelerate away … It went from moving at about five to 10km [ six miles] a year to 50 or 60km a year today. It’s now moving rapidly towards Siberia.”

The drift is the result of processes deep in the center of the planet, where the liquid outer core comprised of iron and nickel spins and flows like water, serving as a conductor for Earth’s magnetic field.

The recent change in the flow of the fluid is believed to be similar to the formation of a jet stream in the atmosphere, leading to changes in the planet’s magnetic field.

“The north magnetic pole has been caught up in this jet and it’s pushing it rapidly across to Siberia,” Beggan added.

This has caused the World Magnetic Model to lose accuracy at an increasingly higher pace, according to scientists.

“The error is increasing all the time,” Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOAA, told Nature.

However, these changes are all part and parcel of the natural behavior of the Earth and have not been caused by human activity. Rock samples reveal that the Earth’s magnetic field has been in perpetual motion for millions of years.

Migratory animals such as birds, butterflies, and whales use the magnetic field for directions.

If anything, the latest shift in the earth’s magnetic north pole is a learning opportunity for us humans, who only discovered the pole in 1831.

The newest version of the model should remain accurate for the time being, but is on track for another update next year.

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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