Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11460 on: Oct 1st, 2014, 12:02pm »
Dolphins appear to perceive magnetic fields
by Ashley Yeager 1:06pm, September 30, 2014
Captive bottlenose dolphins are quicker to explore a magnetized block than a demagnetized one, suggesting that the dolphins can detect magnetic fields, a new study shows. Past observations of wild dolphins, whales and porpoises had hinted that the animals are sensitive to magnetic fields and use the sensory perception for better navigation. The study provides the first experimental evidence linking the animals' magnetic sense to their behavior, the team writes September 30 in Naturwissenschaften – The Science of Nature.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11461 on: Oct 1st, 2014, 12:06pm »
Mother of 15-year-old 'jihadist' Yusra Hussien says her 'heart is torn' as she pleads with her to 'please come home'
Safiya and Mohammed Hussien speak publicly for the first time since their daughter Yusra ran away from home and flew to Turkey on a suspected mission to join Islamic State fighters in Syria.
By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter 12:54PM BST 01 Oct 2014
The mother of schoolgirl Yusra Hussien, who is believed to be heading to Syria to join Islamic State terrorists, has said her "heart is torn" by her daughter's disappearance as she pleaded with her to come home.
Speaking publicly for the first time since their 15-year-old daughter went missing on September 24, Safiya Hussien said: "Please dear Yusra, I love and I miss you, my heart is torn, and I want you home as soon as possible."
She and Yusra's father Mohammed said they were becoming increasingly concerned for her.
"Yusra, I am your mum, I love you," she said. "Please, please, please, we miss you, come back.
"I love you so much. All your brothers and your sister miss you so, so much.
"The house is not the same as when you left. Please, please - look at me."
At a police press conference in Bristol, Mr and Mrs Hussien read out a statement which said: "We are making this heart-breaking appeal for our daughter, Yusra Hussien.
"As every day passes we become more and more concerned about her safety and welfare.
"Yusra, our daughter, is a very young bright bubbly girl who is loved by not only her family but her peers, teachers and her community.
"She's a typical teenager - she loves to play table tennis and to ride her bicycle and she used to run with her brother, who's the next Usain Bolt.
"Our family is very heartbroken and we are struggling to come to terms with this situation.
"The pain that we as parents feel, at not knowing her safety, is very distressing, and is something we believe every parent can relate to.
"There have been many assumptions and speculations claiming that Yusra is travelling to Syria, that she may be an extremist, or that she is planning to become a jihadist bride, all of which have not, as yet, been proved with any concrete evidence.
"We would like to make a request to the media to not state anything which is both incorrect and not backed by evidence."
Mr and Mrs Hussien added: "Yusra we are missing you, if you are watching this please contact us, you are not in trouble and we are not angry with you. We just want you back home with us."
Yusra is believed to have met up with a 17-year-old girl from London at Heathrow Airport and flown from there to Istanbul. Her family fear they intend to join jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) - also known as Isis or Islamic State - in Syria.
Her friends believe she had been "brainwashed" by extremists via jihadi websites.
Mrs Hussien appealed directly to her daughter: "From your mother - please dear Yusra, I love and I miss you, my heart is torn, and I want you home as soon as possible.
"Your brothers and baby sister are missing you and the house has not been the same since you left."
Mr Hussien said: "From your father - Yusra, I'm not angry, I just want you to be safe. Please come back.
"We are working with the police to find you and we are praying to god that we will find you safe and bring you back home.
"We would just like to thank the Somali community and all the other communities that have shown us their support and love. We also want to give our gratitude to the police for their ongoing support.
"Anyone who can assist the police with any inquiries, could you please do so immediately."
Family friends of Yusra described her as an aspiring dentist and grade A* student who was devoted to her education.
However, they said the girl had recently become tied to her mobile phone and computer after apparently viewing extremist material on chat rooms and forums online.
Afzal Shah, Labour councillor for Easton ward, said it appeared Yusra had "self-radicalised" rather than having been exposed to such material through local institutions.
"The understanding that I have is that it was self-radicalisation as opposed to having anything to do with any institutions," Mr Shah said on Tuesday.
"There may possibly be other individuals involved but that's something the police are looking into. There are so many forums and chat rooms on the internet, it is very easy to get led astray.
"We don't know how she got to that stage, I don't know how long it has been going on for but certainly not long from speaking to the family."
Yusra, who is of Somali descent, left for school at the City Academy, Bristol, as usual on the morning of her disappearance but was not there when her father went to collect her that afternoon.
The girls' disappearance follows that of twins Zahra and Salma Halane, 16, from Manchester, who are thought to have travelled to Syria in July.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11462 on: Oct 2nd, 2014, 10:50am »
GOOD MORNING LOVELY UFOCASEBOOKERS
Exclusive: Anthony Banbury, chief of the UN's Ebola mission, says there is a chance the deadly virus could mutate to become infectious through the air
By Katherine Rushton 4:36PM BST 02 Oct 2014
There is a ‘nightmare’ chance that the Ebola virus could become airborne if the epidemic is not brought under control fast enough, the chief of the UN’s Ebola mission has warned.
Anthony Banbury, the Secretary General’s Special Representative, said that aid workers are racing against time to bring the epidemic under control, in case the Ebola virus mutates and becomes even harder to deal with.
“The longer it moves around in human hosts in the virulent melting pot that is West Africa, the more chances increase that it could mutate,” he told the Telegraph. “It is a nightmare scenario [that it could become airborne], and unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out.”
He admitted that the international community had been “a bit late” to respond to the epidemic, but that it was “not too late” and that aid workers needed to “hit [Ebola] hard” to rein in the deadly disease.
Mr Banbury was speaking shortly before the first Ebola diagnosis was made in the US on Tuesday evening. The man, who contracted Ebola in Liberia before flying to Dallas, Texas, is the first case to be diagnosed outside Africa, where the disease has already killed more than 3,000 people.
The number of people infected with Ebola is doubling every 20 to 30 days, and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has forecast that there could be as many as 1.4m cases of Ebola by January, in the worst case scenario. More than 3,300 people have been killed by the disease this year.
Mr Banbury, who has served in the UN since 1988, said that the epidemic was the worst disaster he had ever witnessed.
“We have never seen anything like it. In a career working in these kinds of situations, wars, natural disasters – I have never seen anything as serious or dangerous or high risk as this one. I’ve heard other people saying this as well, senior figures who are not being alarmist. Behind closed doors, they are saying they have never seen anything as bad,” he said.
However, he added that the UN now has the “political will” and most of the materials it needs to bring the epidemic under control. He flew to Ghana on Sunday, and is leading a mission which aims to rein in the spread of Ebola within the next 90 days.
“We have the political will. We are getting them [the resources]. They are not quite there but we are getting them. Now is the time to implement, implement, implement. It is all about speed now.
“There is a limited window of opportunity. We need to hit it and we need to hit it hard. We haven’t done that but we are doing it now.
"Certainly we are late but the expectation is that we are not too late. We are going to have a very big, fast effort…I have never seen the UN move at this speed or with such coordination. We are seeing the kind of response we need, but yes, it’s a bit late.”
The UN team will need to spend the first 30 days getting emergency infrastructure and training in place, ensuring that aid workers and medical supplies are ready to be deployed wherever there is a new Ebola outbreak. They aim to control the disease as far as possible within those communities.
“We intend to see a significant improvement in the 30 to 60-day window, so that by 90 days the curve is headed in the right direction. We are putting resource in place very fast, and we will continue to flow in. It is not all there at the moment,” Mr Banbury said. “That’s the theory and that’s the plan. If it spreads in an urban setting, then it’s a different story.”
“I would not say I am confident we will succeed [in the 90-day plan] given the absolutely merciless numbers of the spread and what needs to be done to get it under control. These are extremely, extremely ambitious targets, set by doctors. We are blowing down bureaucratic barriers to get things done…but I don’t know if it will be enough…I would not want to give the impression that we can wave a magic wand.”
It is a mistake to treat the Ebola epidemic as just a medical crisis, he added. Instead it is a logistical and economic crisis, whose impact is strongest in those countries hardest hit by Ebola – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – but which may be felt around the world.
“Farmers are being impacted. Markets are being impacted. We will probably see much higher food prices and other people, like restaurant workers, will lose out on wages,” he said
“The crisis is far beyond a medical one. It is very much an economic crisis, both macro and micro. It is going to affect food security and have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people who were able to earn a living as farmers and food workers but are not any longer. The economic shock around this is terrible.”
Other experts, however, believe the risk of the virus becoming airborne risks being overstated.
Professor David Heymann CBE, chairman of Public Health England and professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said no virus transmitted by bodily fluids - as Ebola is - had ever mutated to airborne transmission.
"There has never been a virus transmitted in this manner that converts to a respiratory virus, and there is no evidence that this has ever occurred in the epidemiology," he said at a discussion programme on the virus in London on Wednesday night. He mentioned HIV and Hepatitis B as example of viruses transmitted by bodily fluids that had "never converted to a respiratory virus".
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11463 on: Oct 2nd, 2014, 11:22am »
The Splendid and Spacey World of Star Wars Posters
By Peter Rubin 10.02.14
There are art books that are full of history, pages crammed full of minutia and biography to give you as much context as possible. And then there are the art books that are full of sumptuous, jaw-dropping visuals. After all, these books imagine, you already know the background—why not dispense with the niceties and get on with the art?
We’ll give you one guess which one Star Wars Posters is.
The book, out Oct. 14 on Abrams, is a feast for the senses. (OK, maybe just one sense.) Its 120 four-color illustrations range from A New Hope pre-release concept posters to promotional artwork for the new Disney XD show Star Wars Rebels, and everything in between. The fundamentals are there, thankfully; all six of Drew Struzan’s official studio posters appear, alongside the work of fellow poster-art titans like Tom Jung and John Alvin. But it’s not all so narrowly conventional: there are Mondo prints and videogame covers, cartoon posters and independent one-offs, Japanese one-sheets and German promotionals. It’s just about every Star Wars-related poster you can imagine—which means a lot more than there were in 1985, when Killian’s famed “poster of posters” came out.
Talking about it, of course, isn’t as much fun as looking at it. So while there are still two weeks until the book comes out—and nearly as long until Star Wars Reads Day on Oct. 11—we thought we’d give you a sneak peek now. Say goodbye to your morning.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11468 on: Oct 3rd, 2014, 10:17am »
Hong Kong clashes break out away from Central protest site
By Yimou Lee and Joseph Campbell
HONG KONG Fri Oct 3, 2014 10:58am EDT
(Reuters) - Violent scuffles broke out in one of Hong Kong's most famous and congested shopping districts on Friday, as hundreds of supporters of Chinese rule stormed tents and ripped down banners belonging to pro-democracy protesters, forcing many to retreat.
As night fell and news of the confrontation spread, more protesters headed for the gritty, bustling district of Mong Kok, considered one of the most crowded places on Earth, to reinforce.
Tens of thousands have taken to Hong Kong's streets in the past week to demand full democracy in the former British colony, including a free voting system when they come to choose a new leader in 2017.
Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying agreed to open talks with pro-democracy protesters but refused to stand down. He and his Chinese government backers made clear that they would not back down in the face of the city's worst unrest in decades.
Numbers dwindled at some protest sites in and around the Central financial district as rain fell on Friday and as Hong Kong people returned to work after a two-day holiday.
But in Mong Kok, where notorious Triad criminal gangs operate bars, nightclubs and massage parlours in the high-rise apartment blocks packed together over neon lights and open-air markets, about 1,000 Beijing supporters clashed with about 100 protesters, spitting and throwing water bottles in a side-show to the main protest movement.
Police formed a human chain to separate the two groups amid the wail of sirens.
Some demonstrators held umbrellas for police in the rain while Beijing supporters shouted at police for failing to clear the demonstrators.
"We are all fed up and our lives are affected," said teacher Victor Ma, 42. "You don't hold Hong Kong citizens hostage because it's not going to work. That's why the crowd is very angry here."
Benny Tai, a co-founder of the Occupy Central movement and a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, urged protesters to leave Mong Kok and regroup in Admiralty, the main protest site next to Central.
But more reinforcements were arriving as the three main protest groups threatened to call off any talks with the government unless police stopped the crowd violence against them.
Mong Kok is popular with visitors from the mainland but not as well known to Western tourists as the luxury shopping area of Causeway Bay, on the island of Hong Kong, where pedestrians were trying to remove protest barricades put up by Occupy protesters.
A female student protester wept on the street as she tried to protect the barricades.
"Is this really Hong Kong?" she asked. "Why has Hong Kong become like this?"
Leung refused to bow to an ultimatum from protesters to resign. Police have warned repeatedly of serious consequences if protesters try to block off or occupy government buildings in and around Central.
"The behaviour of these protesters is illegal, extremely unreasonable and inhumane, and is even worse than that of radical social activists and almost complete anarchy," the Hong Kong government said in a statement, adding that people gathering in Mong Kok should leave.
Leung told reporters just minutes before the ultimatum expired at midnight on Thursday that Chief Secretary Carrie Lam would meet students soon to discuss political reforms, but gave no timeframe.
'NEED TO WORK'
Lam on Friday urged protesters to go home.
"Sentiments are running high because of the prolonged strike, which leads to a higher chance of conflict," she said.
The protests have ebbed and flowed since Sunday when police used pepper spray, tear gas and baton charges to break up the demonstrations, which are the biggest since the former British colony was handed back to Chinese rule in 1997.
China rules Hong Kong through a "one country, two systems" formula underpinned by the Basic Law, which accords Hong Kong some autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland and has universal suffrage as an eventual goal.
But Beijing decreed on Aug. 31 it would vet candidates who want to run for chief executive at an election in 2017, angering democracy activists who took to the streets.
While Leung made an apparent concession by offering talks, Beijing restated its resolute opposition to the protests and a completely free vote in Hong Kong.
Beijing, facing separatist unrest in far-flung and resource-rich Tibet and Xinjiang, is unlikely to give way in Hong Kong, fearful that calls for democracy there, especially if successful, will spread to the mainland.
Away from the streets, a hacker website called Anonymous Asia targeted several Hong Kong websites of pro-Beijing groups and Occupy supporters, temporarily disabling them on Friday.
There were also signs of tension between the protesters and government employees.
"I need to go to work. I'm a cleaner. Why do you have to block me from going to work?" said one woman as she quarrelled with protesters. "You don't need to earn a living but I do."
Some protesters suspect authorities are trying to buy time with their offer of talks to wait for numbers to dwindle.
"I hope the chief executive can stop siding with Beijing and do one thing for Hong Kong people," Martin Lee, founding chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, told protesters.
"He should go to Beijing and say 'I cannot really continue to run this place unless you give Hong Kong people what they deserve and what you have promised'."
The protests have been an amalgam of students, activists from the Occupy movement and ordinary Hong Kongers. They have come together under the banner of the "Umbrella Revolution", so called because many of them used umbrellas to ward off pepper spray used by police on Sunday.
The Occupy movement presents one of the biggest political challenges for Beijing since it violently crushed pro-democracy protests in and around Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Hong Kong's benchmark share index, the Hang Seng .HSI, plunged 7.3 percent in September, in part because of the uncertainty surrounding the protests. It was down 2.6 percent on the week on Friday.
(Additional reporting by John Ruwitch, Charlie Zhu, Donny Kwok, James Pomfret, Bobby Yip, Irene Jay Liu, Farah Master, Diana Chan, Clare Baldwin, Kinling Lo, Diana Chan and Jason Subler in HONG KONG; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11469 on: Oct 3rd, 2014, 10:20am »
Sharks have personality traits, study suggests
Date: October 2, 2014
Source: University of Exeter
Some sharks are 'gregarious' and have strong social connections, whilst others are more solitary and prefer to remain inconspicuous, according to a new study which is the first to show that the notorious predators have personality traits.
Personalities are known to exist in many animals, but are usually defined by individual characteristics such as how exploratory, bold or aggressive an individual is.
Research led by the University of Exeter and the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) has shown for the first time that individual sharks actually possess social personalities, which determine how they might interact with group mates in the wild.
In a study published today in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, the team tested for social personality by recording the social interactions of groups of juvenile small spotted catsharks in captivity under three different habitat types.
The species of shark (Scyliorhinus canicula), found throughout the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean, group together by resting around and on top of one another, sat on the bottom of the seafloor.
Working at the MBA in Plymouth, Devon, ten groups of sharks were monitored in large tanks containing three habitats which differed in their level of structural complexity.
Dr David Jacoby, a behavioural ecologist now at the Institute of Zoology, London said: "We found that even though the sizes of the groups forming changed, socially well-connected individuals remained well-connected under each new habitat. In other words, their social network positions were repeated through time and across different habitats.
"These results were driven by different social preferences (i.e social/antisocial individuals) that appeared to reflect different strategies for staying safe. Well-connected individuals formed conspicuous groups, while less social individuals tended to camouflage alone, matching their skin colour with the colour of the gravel substrate in the bottom of the tank."
Professor Darren Croft, of the Centre for Research into Animal Behaviour at the University of Exeter, added: "We define personality as a repeatable behaviour across time and contexts. What is interesting is that these behaviours differ consistently among individuals. This study shows, for the first time, that individual sharks possess social personalities."
He added: "In the wild these small juveniles can make easy prey items for larger fish, so different anti-predator strategies are likely to have evolved. More research, however, is required to truly test the influence of predators on social personality traits in sharks. This study is the first step in that direction."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #11471 on: Oct 3rd, 2014, 8:36pm »
AR-RAQQAH, SYRIA—Frustrating the Islamic extremist group’s efforts to bolster its ranks and expand its influence overseas, representatives for ISIS told reporters Wednesday that they have so far encountered considerable difficulty in finding American recruits who are physically fit enough for jihad. “We’ve been in communication with a number of U.S. citizens who are eager to join in our holy crusade, but unfortunately, not one of them is in decent enough shape to effectively wage war against the West,” said ISIS operative Bakir Hamdani, pointing to a general lack of athleticism among the hundreds of potential American recruits, as well as respiratory ailments and dependencies on a variety of diabetes, blood pressure, and allergy medications that preclude these would-be jihadists from assisting in the establishment of a worldwide Sunni caliphate. “Even though these people are enthusiastic about righteous martyrdom, I honestly don’t see most of them even fitting into a suicide vest, let alone lugging a 40-pound rocket launcher through the desert. The thing is, we can’t inflict terror into the hearts of the masses if our fighters are always doubled over red-faced and winded.” Hamdani added that ISIS’ best course of action was to allow these overweight, sedentary American operatives to continue burdening the U.S. health care system in hopes of eventually bankrupting the nation.
« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2014, 12:05am by Sysconfig »