Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14028 on: Dec 20th, 2015, 10:45pm »
Abby Martin interviews retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former national security advisor to the Reagan administration, who spent years as an assistant to Secretary of State Colin Powell during both Bush administrations. Today, he is honest about the unfixable corruption inside the establishment and the corporate interests driving foreign policy.
Hear a rare insider's view of what interests are behind U.S. wars, the manipulation of intelligence, the intertwining of the military and corporate world, and why the U.S. Empire is doomed. http://multimedia.telesurtv.net/v/the...
« Last Edit: Dec 20th, 2015, 10:47pm by Sys_Config »
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14032 on: Dec 21st, 2015, 1:58pm »
Northrop accelerating B-2 bomber modernization and preparing for Long Range Strike Bomber work
December 15, 2015
Artist's concept of the updated LRS-B-2
Despite Northrop being gagged from discussing the Long Range Strike-Bomber pending the verdict of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) bid protest review there is some information. Northrop has hinted that if its plan prevails final assembly will occupy the same Building 401 hangar at Palmdale’s Plant 42 site used for the construction of the B-2 stealth bomber in the 1980s and 1990s. Although only 21 B-2s were built, the east side of Building 401 supported up to 11 bombers on the line during peak production.
In 2014, Northrop received a $10 billion contract to modernize and sustain the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 stealth bomber for a decade. In 2014, Northrop Grumman completed a USAF review of a new software package for the fleet. The upgrade, known as the USAF's 'Flexible Strike Phase 1' program, was created to streamline weapons management software on the aircraft, according to Northrop Grumman. The aircraft previously had several standalone software programs that each managed a specific mission.
The Flexible Strike program is the first B-2 modernisation effort to take advantage of the new communications infrastructure Northrop Grumman created for the first increment of the B-2 EHF satellite communications program. That infrastructure included faster processors, a fibre optic network, and increased onboard data storage.
With concerns about the size and availability of the B-2 bomber fleet, Northrop is meanwhile speeding up maintenance on the 1980s-era aircraft. The company sought to reduce the time that it takes to overhaul each of the 20 bombers in the Air Force’s fleet from 560 days down to one year.
Advancements in the stealth coatings — from the initial days of painting the B-2 by hand to today’s robot-based application — are helping to keep more B-2s in operation. Previously the coatings had to be replaced every seven years to maintain their low radar cross section, but the Air Force has agreed to extend that to every nine years.
Along with a faster maintenance schedule, the B-2 has seen a number of upgrades to its radar system, adding Link 16 communications and new weapons, including the ability to carry two Boeing-made Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs. Future enhancements are planned as well. Engineers are working to integrate the B-61 tactical nuclear bomb and Northrop is in the acquisition planning phase of adding protections for nuclear missions via the use of Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications.
Long Range Strike Bomber
The Air Force plans to buy up to 100 LRS-Bs to replace B-52s and B-1s, which are slated to retire in the mid-2040s. Initial operating capability is expected in the mid-2020s, with nuclear certification planned two years after service entry. The program is targeting a cost of around $550 million per aircraft; a basic enabler of this price point will be a mature production system. Together with Sites 3 and 4, the expanded footprint of Northrop’s production sites at Plant 42 will grow to a total of around 3 million square feet with the addition of Sites 7 and 8.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14035 on: Dec 22nd, 2015, 08:44am »
Stonehenge tunnel survey reveals new sites, and mysteries
Archaeologists are mapping the area before road is replaced and teasing secrets from the ancient landscape
21 December 2015
Some 3,400 years before the roaring torrent of the A303 road sliced the Stonehenge landscape in half, some people cut a beautiful pit a metre deep into the chalk with no tools except picks made of red deer antlers.
They may have had primitive tools, but there was nothing primitive about their skills: the bottom of the pit was so neatly levelled that you could balance a beaker of mead on it without spilling a drop.
As druids and tourists head towards Stonehenge for the winter solstice, which falls this year on 22 December, when the midwinter sun should set framed perfectly by the giant stones, Historic England archaeologists are hard at work teasing ancient secrets out of the landscape.
The newly discovered pit was immaculately cut to hold a huge wooden post. A neat trench links to a second equally impressive pit for another massive post: in the rolling chalk downland, they would have been visible for miles. The line of the trench seems to lead on towards the neighbouring field full of curious Waitrose pigs, under a later bank but carefully jinking to avoid an earlier long barrow.
But what is it? Phil McMahon, Historic England archaeologist, and his opposite number at the National Trust, Nick Snashall, laughed and shrugged.
“A gateway? A boundary marker? A palisade? The truth is we just don’t know,” Snashall said. “We won’t even have a date [that it was created] until we get the lab results back.”
“This is keyhole surgery,” McMahon said. “We’re throwing up as many questions as we answer.”
Their survey – including aerial photography, ground penetrating radar, the study of centuries of maps showing now-vanished monuments, and excavations yards from winter crops and the pigs – is assessing the presumed route of a major intervention planned in the landscape, a tunnel to replace the present road. After decades of argument, in which traffic on one of the main arteries to the west has increased to the point that the road frequently becomes a fume-belching linear car park, replacing the road with a tunnel to the south of the present line has been included in the government’s five-year roads plan.
Tourists very rarely venture across the road – at busy times it is almost impossible on foot – but thousands of monuments, recorded and still to be discovered, including round and long barrows, linear monuments, burial mounds and ring shaped banks which once surrounded ponds, lie among the fields and clumps of woodland.
Many of the known sites have never been excavated, and the survey has also revealed some new ones, including two burials spots which may date from the iron age – laboratory work is continuing on all the organic finds – and a puzzling square enclosure which could be prehistoric, Roman or medieval, almost on the shoulder of the road. But the survey has demolished the claims of other sites. One presumed burial mound, which appeared from the air to have an exciting surrounding circle of pits for burials or ritual deposits, proved to be a medieval dew pond. The survey has also shown how intensively the landscape was farmed for thousands of years: one long barrow was completely ploughed out above ground by the time the Romans arrived.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, believes that this time the will is really there to solve the road problem: “I know my predecessors have said this before, but I do believe this time it is going to happen. It may be a bit of a cliche, but I really do believe we now have a once in a generation chance to reunite the landscape setting of one of the world’s most famous ancient monuments. The re-sited visitor centre has already made a major contribution, but the road was the great outstanding problem.
“There are still many questions to resolve about the details of the tunnel and where the portals should be sited, but I think the advantages of a tunnel of at least 2.9km, which is what the government is proposing, far outweighs the disadvantages.”
While broad agreement has been reached between Historic England, the statutory authority for ancient monuments, the newly split off English Heritage, which has guardianship of Stonehenge itself and the new visitor centre, and the National Trust, which owns thousands of surrounding acres of land, nothing happens at Stonehenge without passionate argument. Every move the archaeologists make is watched by the Stonehenge Alliance – a group that includes local residents, landowners, historians, druids and the Campaign to Protect Rural England – who argue for a much longer tunnel with the entrance and exit placed well outside the world heritage site (WHS). The alliance believes that doing nothing about the road would be much better than doing the wrong thing.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14037 on: Dec 22nd, 2015, 1:18pm »
Panic Hits Indian Village as Many See Small Alien
December 23, 2015 by Paul Seaburn
Residents of the Indian village of Boliyar are in a panic after many of them witnessed a small strange being wandering around at night. In this case, “strange” means the being is the size of a small child with a human face that speaks in an unknown language and sometimes runs on all fours. Alien? Human-cat hybrid? Something else?
Boliyar is on the Netravathi River near the southwestern coast of India but far enough away that it is surrounded by a forest where a strange creature could hide. The reports of sightings seem to begin around December 5th. One of the first witnesses said she felt she was being followed at night. The follower was this child-sized creature that chased her to her house while shouting the unknown language, then ran into the forest.
According to the local police who have been investigating the reports, the eyewitness accounts have some variations, possibly due to the encounters all being at night. One person thought it might be a big cat because it moved on all fours while another described it as a gorilla because it ran on two legs. Other than the unknown language, the only other sound the creature reportedly makes is a loud cry like a child.
While the Forest Department, the police and local government officials have been asked to do more to find this alien creature, so far the only protection the panicked residents have received is from young male villagers who patrol the area at night. Since the patrols have started, the alien creature has stayed hidden.
What did the villagers see that caused them to panic? It doesn’t sound like an animal, especially with the human face, bipedal running and human-sounding language. India only has one ape, the Hoolock Gibbon, but a number of smaller monkeys that run on all fours. It also has plenty of big cats, but none of them walk on two legs.
India also has its own Bigfoot-like creature – the Mande Burung, which is a large, hairy bipedal hominid. It’s most often reported in northeast India but could be on the move because of development, deforestation or climate change.
India has had a number of UFO sightings in 2015, including one where an alien in an orange uniform was seen by witnesses in Kanagal, which is in the same district as Boliyar and just 180 km (110 miles) away. Could the sightings be related?
What’s panicking the people of Boliyar? An alien? A Mande Burung? A short local teen who likes to pull pranks? Something else?
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14038 on: Dec 22nd, 2015, 4:53pm »
We need more research into this!
Hail the Hydra, an Animal That May Be Immortal
by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor December 22, 2015 08:04am ET
The freshwater polyp, Hydra magnipapillata Credit: Dr. David Plachetzki, University of California
In ancient Greek myth, the Hydra was a multi-headed monster that grew two more heads for every one that it lost. As it turns out, the real-life animal named after this mythical beast may be even more tenacious.
A new study finds that hydra — spindly, freshwater polyps — can live seemingly forever, without aging.
Unlike most multicellular species, hydra don't show any signs of deteriorating with age, according to the new research, published Dec. 7 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"I started my original experiment wanting to prove that hydra could not have escaped aging," study researcher Daniel Martinez, a Pomona College biologist, said in a statement. "My own data has proven me wrong — twice."
Living forever Hydra are a group of invertebrates that look like tiny tubes with tentacles protruding off one end. They grow only about 0.4 inches (10 millimeters) long and eat even tinier aquatic animals.
Hydra are known for their regenerative capabilities. Most of their body cells are stem cells, Martinez said. These cells are capable of continuous division and differentiation into any cell type in the body. In humans, such "totipotent" cells are present only in the first few days of embryonic development. Hydra, by contrast, constantly renew their bodies with fresh cells.
In 1998, Martinez and his colleagues published a study describing how they found no signs of aging in mature hydras over four years. To detect aging, researchers look at senescence, which is defined as an increased rate of death and a decline in fertility with greater age. In that 1998 study, researchers couldn't pin down whether or not hydra fertility declined with age.
The new research involved creating little islands of paradise for 2,256 hydras. The researchers wanted to give the animals ideal conditions, which meant giving each an individual dish, with the water changed thrice weekly, plus meals of fresh brine shrimp.
Over eight years, the researchers found no evidence of senescence in their coddled hydra. Death rates held constant at one per 167 hydras per year, no matter their age. (The "oldest" animals studied were clones of hydras that had been around for 41 years — though individuals were only studied for eight years, some were biologically older because they were genetic clones.) Likewise, fertility remained constant for 80 percent of the individual hydras over time. The other 20 percent fluctuated up and down, likely because of laboratory conditions.
"I do believe that an individual hydra can live forever under the right circumstances," Martinez said.
In the wild, disease, predators and water contamination kill off hydras before they can achieve immortality. But the findings fly in the face of old models that assumed that all animals must decline with age, Martinez said. And that means that studying hydra could help scientists unravel the mystery of why most animals do age.
"I’m hoping this work helps sparks another scientist to take a deeper look at immortality," Martinez said, "perhaps in some other organism that helps bring more light to the mysteries of aging.”