There is a 90 percent chance that a global El Niño will hit in 2014, The Guardian reports. An El Niño starts as a huge pool of warm water swelling in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon that triggers weather events around the world. It's not clear what makes the unstable Pacific Ocean-atmosphere system turn into an El Niño, but weaker trade winds that blow to the west are a key component.
In India, under El Niño conditions, it's likely that weaker monsoon rains will cause problems for the country's food supply, while Australia will probably see soaring temperatures and droughts. It's not all disastrous, though: The western half of the United States could see the rain that is so desperately needs.
This El Niño is being predicted by the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, which The Guardian says is considered one of the most reliable prediction centers. Principle scientist Tim Stockdale says it's "very much odds-on for an event" because of the high level of warm water in the Pacific, but "what is very much unknowable at this stage is whether this year's El Niño will be a small event, a moderate event — that's most likely — or a really major event."
The last major El Niño hit in 1997 and 1998, and about 23,000 people were killed worldwide due to droughts, cyclones, floods, and wildfires. Read more about the impact of an El Niño, especially on countries like India and Australia, at The Guardian. Catherine Garcia
Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for federal corruption charges. Silver, 72, was found guilty on all accounts, including taking millions in bribes from real-estate and medical interests, at trial last November.
Silver was in power in the state for more than two decades. "I failed the people of New York. There is no question about it," Silver wrote in an April letter to the judge, as reported by The Associated Press. "What I have done has hurt the Assembly, and New York, and my constituents terribly, and I regret that more than I can possibly express."
More than 30 New York state lawmakers have left office surrounded by criminal or ethical allegations since 2000, with Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara calling the state government a "cauldron of corruption." Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr., was sentenced to 14 years for corruption late last year.
"Because of me, the government has been ridiculed. I let my peers down, I let the people of the state down, and I let down my constituents — the people of lower Manhattan that I live among and fought for. They deserve better," Silver wrote. Jeva Lange
Given the choice between Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a former top aide to one-time GOP nominee John McCain says he'd choose Clinton any day. "I'm with her," Mark Salter, who served as both chief of staff for the Arizona senator and as senior advisor on his 2008 presidential campaign, tweeted Thursday, referencing Clinton's campaign slogan.
the GOP is going to nominate for President a guy who reads the National Enquirer and thinks it's on the level. I'm with her.
— Mark Salter (@MarkSalter55) May 3, 2016
Salter's slam on Trump on the day of the decisive Indiana GOP primary is far from his first anti-Trump screed. He's written numerous op-eds about the damage Trump could cause to the party and, in a Real Clear Politics piece published in February, he warned that Trump is "making us the worst we can be to satisfy his own vainglory." "If you can see him plainly and you love our country," Salter wrote, "you must vote against him. Even if that means electing Hillary Clinton."
If Trump wins Indiana tonight — as the polls are predicting he will — Salter had better ready his ballot for Clinton. Becca Stanek
Scientists may finally have an explanation for how water creates those mysterious streaks marking Mars' surface. A new study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests that it's not salty water flowing downhill that's creating the streaks on the Red Planet as scientists initially thought, but rather water that's boiling out of Mars' soil.
With the help of a special chamber that modeled the climate conditions of Mars on a hot summer day, researchers were able to take some of the guess work out of deducing how water in Martian atmospheric conditions might behave. Scientists had previously thought the streaks were evidence of liquid water on Mars, but found this theory hard to prove — especially because Mars' exceptionally thin atmosphere makes it nearly impossible for water to stay in its liquid state for long.
When scientists put ice in the chamber with the same low atmospheric conditions found on Mars, they found it melted, as expected. But when the water started to boil, there was a surprise: When the boiling water emerged to the surface, it evaporated so quickly that it blasted dust and debris off the ground. The displaced dust exposed the darker ground underneath and created what appeared to be little ridges — not all that different from those streaking Mars' surface.
Watch the researchers' simulation of what's happening up on Mars, below. Becca Stanek
You know Megyn Kelly as the fiery Fox News anchor who has made headlines this election cycle for daring to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump. But that's far from the first time Kelly has been bold and confident in her interactions with a man — take a look below at how her husband, the entrepreneur Douglas Brunt, summed up his first date with Kelly, courtesy of Humans of New York. Kimberly Alters
“We started dating shortly after she acquired a stalker—bad start, I know. So she had security with her 24/7. Our first date went great. It was the kind of night that was clearly going to end with a kiss. But I had to kiss her in front of the security guards. It was awkward. It was like our parents were watching. The next morning she knocked on my hotel room door. She was alone. She walked into the room, and said: ‘I can do better.’”
Indiana lives and dies by basketball, so it should come as no shock that its politics does, too. "Basketball might not be the single deciding factor in any state race, but in Indiana, it puts points on the scoreboard. It wouldn't be a surprise at the end of the day to see victories from candidates who have made the strongest efforts at capitalizing on the statewide love for the sport," The Atlantic recently wrote.
Here at The Week, we've put that to the test. Below is our official Indiana Primary Scorecard, as determined by the show of b-ball love. Jeva Lange
- Donald Trump
Trump holds a wide margin in Hoosier State polls, and he's got the basketball chops to have earned it. Trump is the only candidate to have the official endorsements of three of the state's legendary coaches: former Purdue University coach Gene Keady, former Indiana Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight, and former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps. While Trump should have won this category in a landslide, he gets docked one point for misspelling Knight's name in a tweet.
Scorecard: Coach endorsements (3 points) - misspelling (-1 point) + making fun of Ted Cruz for saying "basketball ring" ( 1 point) = 3 points
- Ted Cruz
Cruz really put in an effort here, but failed to stick the landing. In an elaborately staged campaign speech that referenced the film Hoosiers, Cruz infamously misspoke and called the basketball hoop a "ring." Cruz makes up points for apologizing for the error and pushing that he was actually a b-baller himself in high school.
Scorecard: Hoosier reference (1 point) - "ring" gaffe (-2 points) + former basketballer (1 point) = 0 points
- John Kasich
In an effort to stop Trump, Kasich vowed he wouldn't campaign in Indiana. That being said, Kasich might be the only candidate running to have actually shot around with an NBA team.
- Bernie Sanders
Sanders is this election's resident Brooklynite and therefore basketball is in his blood. To the surprise of no one, he put his moves on display for basketball-obsessed Hoosiers at Purdue.
Scorecard: Getting his game on (1 point) = 1 point
- Hillary Clinton
In 2010, Clinton wrote an email to an aide asking, "Are you still in basketball-crazed Indianoplace?" Clinton has since apologized for the dismissive attitude, saying "even people in Indiana make that joke." But Indiana hasn't forgotten, Hillary. Indiana never forgets.
Scorecard: "Indianoplace" (-2 points) = -2 points
The Rio Tinto Argyle mine in Western Australia is responsible for turning up most of the world's rare pink diamonds — and now it's revealed something even rarer. Rio Tinto Diamonds announced Tuesday that its annual showcase this year will feature a massive violet diamond discovered in the mine. The stone was more than twice the size of the next-largest violet diamond found in the mine; in its original state, the diamond was more than nine carats, and after being cut and polished it stands at 2.83 carats.
While Rio Tinto has not put a fine point on the diamond's worth, its incredible rarity ensures the price tag will be high. Pink and red diamonds, which are much less rare than violet diamonds, are worth "about 50 times more than white diamonds," Discovery News reports. (Argyle pink diamonds, for instance, sell for about $1-2 million per carat.) According to Rio Tinto, only 12 carats of polished violet diamonds have been produced for its annual tender in the last 32 years.
The rare violet diamond will go on display beginning with private trade viewings in June. It will then travel to Copenhagen, Hong Kong, and New York with Rio Tinto's annual pink diamonds showcase. Becca Stanek
With a decisive primary looming in Indiana, Ted Cruz didn't mince words when going after Donald Trump on Tuesday, slamming the Republican frontrunner for being a "serial philanderer."
"[He] describes his battles with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam," Cruz said. "That's a quote, by the way, on The Howard Stern Show."
While Cruz's attack might be too little, too late, it's still hilarious (or depressing?) that we've reached this point in the race. Watch the whole uncomfortable rant, below. Jeva Lange
More from Cruz: Trump is "proud of being a serial philanderer." pic.twitter.com/Tej4GpFDTl
— PolicyMic (@PolicyMic) May 3, 2016