Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14239 on: Feb 8th, 2016, 10:22am »
Indian Man May Be First Ever Confirmed Meteorite Death
Daniel Oberhaus February 8, 2016 // 05:00 AM EST
On Saturday, a mysterious explosion at the Bharathidasan Engineering College in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu left one dead and three injured. According to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the cause of the explosion was determined to be a meteorite, e.g. a piece of a comet or asteroid that makes it to Earth’s surface.
The victim of the meteorite explosion was a bus driver for the college. He was reportedly walking near one of the college’s buildings when the meteorite struck the ground close by, shattering the windows of the building and leaving a crater in the Earth. The man sustained serious injuries from the fallout and was pronounced dead on Saturday. In a statement released Sunday, Jayalalithaa promised 100,000 rupees (approximately $1,600 USD) to the family of the deceased and 25,000 rupees (approximately $400 USD) to each of the other three injured victims.
This marks the first human fatality directly attributed to a meteorite with any certainty, which makes sense considering just how unlikely it is for this to happen. It’s hard to tell exactly how many meteorites make it to Earth each year, but a study conducted in 1996 pegs the number a somewhere between 18,000 and 84,000 meteorites that are over 10 grams annually. Overall, the odds of getting hit by a meteorite are about 1 in 125,000. For a US citizen this is approximately the same odds of dying by legal execution or dog bite, which is still more likely than dying by lightning strike (1 in 164,968).
Despite the weak chances, there have still been a number of close calls in history, many of which have been helpfully compiled by Harvard’s International Comet Quarterly. Many readers may remember the meteorite which exploded over the Chelyabinsk region in 2013, causing millions of dollars in damage and injuring over 1200 people, but despite the size of this event there were no fatalities. Other meteorites have dismembered people (including a Chinese woman who allegedly had her arm “torn off” by a meteorite in 1915) and one woman in Alabama was directly struck by a meteorite in 1954. But all survived to tell the tale.
Based on the data compiled in the International Comet Quarterly, it seems as though Indians are particularly vulnerable to meteorite attacks. In 1825 a man was allegedly struck by a meteorite and killed, although no fragments of the offending meteorite could be recovered. In 1827 another Indian man was wounded “severely in the arm” by a meteorite, and a 2003 meteor shower destroyed several houses and injured 20 people in the Indian state of Orissa.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14241 on: Feb 9th, 2016, 08:16am »
Good morning Swamprat & all of our Lovely UFOCasebookers
Meet the roachbot: Scientists hope crushable robotic insects may help in disasters
When buildings collapse in future disasters, the hero helping rescue trapped people may be a robotic cockroach.
Repulsive as they may be, roaches have the remarkable ability to squish their bodies down to one quarter their normal size, yet still scamper at lightning speed. Also, they can withstand 900 times their body weight without being hurt.
The amazing cockroach inspired scientists to create a mini-robot that can mimic those feats of strength and agility.
The researchers hope swarms of future roach-like robots could be fitted with cameras, microphones and other sensors and then used in earthquakes and other disasters to help search for victims. The skittering robots could also let rescuers know if the rubble pile is stable.
Cockroaches “seem to be able to go anywhere,” said University of California at Berkeley biology professor Robert Full, co-author of a study about the prototype cockroach robot. “I think they’re really disgusting and really revolting, but they always tell us something new.”
The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The palm-size prototype, called the Compressible Robot with Articulated Mechanisms, or CRAM, looks more like an armadillo and walks sort of like Charlie Chaplin when it’s compressed. It’s about 20 times the size of the roach that inspired it. And it’s simple and cheap.
Co-author Kaushik Jayaram, a Harvard robotics researcher, said the most difficult part was the design, but after that he used off-the-shelf electronics and motors, cardboard, polyester and some knowledge of origami.
All told, the prototype probably cost less than US$100, Jayaram said. He figures if mass-produced, with sensors and other equipment added on, the robots could eventually cost less than US$10 apiece.
In the past, when engineers looked at trying to create robots that could get into tight places, they thought about shape-changing soft animals like worms, slugs or octopuses, Full said. But the cockroach, which already is studied by roboticists for other abilities, has certain advantages, including crush-resistance and speed.
With nothing in its way, the American cockroach can travel 50 body lengths in a second, which would be the equivalent of a human running more than 1225km/h, Full said. Even when compressed, the cockroach slows to 20 body lengths per second.
Full and colleagues found roaches used a newly identified type of locomotion to squeeze through cracks and crevices based on the ideal amount of belly friction.
Still, the robot designers have no love for the bug that inspired them.
“I’m still creeped out by them,” Jayaram said. “I don’t want them in my house.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14242 on: Feb 9th, 2016, 8:24pm »
Sylvia Thompson October 26, 2015
To the many gullible souls out there who truly think that Barack Obama is "legacy building" in his all-out assault on America, I implore you to bow out of the conversation because you are not seeing clearly.
The term legacy carries positive connotations of something to bequeath that is to the receiver's benefit. Everything that Barack Obama does is calculated to destroy America, which he despises. This man no more cares about legacy than he fears being properly prosecuted by the white political leaders whose responsibility it is to remove him from office.
I focus on white leaders, because whites are still in the majority and they fill the majority of political offices. If the majority of political operatives were of some other ethnicity, I would lodge my complaint against that group. Ethnicity is an issue only because Obama is half-black and he uses that fact to intimidate guilt-conflicted white people. Otherwise, he would have been impeached and likely in prison for treason by now.
Barack Obama's sole aim has been, since he first entered politics and continues as he winds down this presidency, the complete destruction of America as it was founded.
It is an insult to the intelligence of all Americans who must listen to elitist pundits on Fox news and elsewhere, and political drones in either party endeavor to make Obama's behavior fit a pattern of normalcy. Attributing his destructive policies to "legacy building" is either self-delusion on the part of the people who make that claim or cowardliness.
This is my take.
Obama's nuclear deal with Iran has nothing to do with legacy but rather to enable a Muslim nation to wage nuclear war with America and Israel the two nations that he most despises. Does anyone wonder why Russians praise Vladimir Putin despite what the rest of the world might think of him? Putin cares about his country, that's why.
Obama despises the American military because traditionally it has been a mainstay of America's strength, and our strength infuriates him.
Imposition of a polluting homosexual, anti-Christian agenda upon the military ranks destroys unit cohesion and literally terrorizes male members with the prospect of sodomy rape. Such rapes have increased since the forcing of open homosexuality in the ranks, against the will of a majority of members I might add. Couple that with an infiltration of women, for whom all standards of strength must be reduced, and Obama attains his goal of emasculating and demoralizing the forces.
He could not care less about a legacy of making the forces more diverse. Besides, President Truman diversified the military as much as it should be when he integrated it. Obama's objective is its destruction.
Obama reopened relations with Cuba because Cuba is Communist. Legacy is not his concern here either, but rather to scuttle America's attempts to keep Communist influence out of the Americas. That Cuba has major issues with human rights does not matter. Like his Marxist African father before him, he despises the West and all that it represents.
Obama lawlessly declares open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens, because he wants to overrun America with third-world people who bring little more than dependency with them. This tactic not only does not ensure a legacy, but rather it guarantees the eventual conversion of America itself into third-world status, if it is allowed to continue. Bill Clinton started the travesty of increasing the numbers of third-world immigrants at the expense of culturally more suited immigrants from European and European-influenced nations, but Obama has taken the trend to lawless, destructive extremes. He is fully aware that many of these invaders have no intention of assimilating.
It is only the outcry of a majority of Americans that holds back this hateful invasion scheme, and Donald Trump's entry onto the political scene to oppose that scheme is a saving grace for our nation.
These are but a few instances of behavior that display the loathsome character of Barack Hussein Obama. And he is allowed to roam freely through the American landscape poisoning and polluting as he goes, sure in the realization that no one will stop him because he is "black."
The day that we no longer have to hear the prattle about his "legacy building" will not be soon enough for me. Many, many Americans are thoroughly fed up with Barack Obama and the spineless crop of political leaders who ignore his criminality. It is yet unknown whether Republicans will ever garner the backbone to become a true opposition party and hold him accountable. Promising signs are the House conservatives' getting rid of establishment types John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker and Speaker hopeful, respectively, and Donald Trump's entry into the 2016 presidential race with enough money and testicular fortitude to tell the Establishment and the Left where to shove it.
Should these positive trends not continue and the 2016 election cycle yield no movement to counter all the harm that Barack Obama has done to this nation, I think there will be massive disruption. Those folks in the National Rifle Association ads currently running on television seem very serious to me, and that is a good thing.
Sylvia Thompson is a black conservative writer whose aim is to counter the liberal spin on issues pertaining to race and culture.
Ms. Thompson is a copy editor by trade currently residing in Tennessee. She formerly wrote for the Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley California Newsletter and the online conservative blog ChronWatch, also out of California.
She grew up in Southeast Texas during the waning years of Jim Crow-era legalized segregation, and she concludes that race relations in America will never improve, nor will we ever elevate our culture, as long as there are victims to be pandered to and villains to be vilified. America is better served without victims or villains.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14243 on: Feb 10th, 2016, 07:18am »
344 days until Obama leaves office
Good morning all
10 February 2016 by Damien Walter
Science and superheroes: how close are we to creating real superpowers?
As Marvel’s Deadpool hits screens we ask: with three out of five fictional superheroes owing their powers to science, will we ever have real superpowers?
There are, according to the Marvel Super Heroes role-playing game (a source I am choosing to accept as 100% canonical), five general origins for all superheroic powers: Altered Humans (Spiderman, Fantastic Four), High-Tech Wonders (Iron Man, Batman), Mutants (X-Men,) Robots (The Vision) and Aliens (Superman and gods like Thor).
Until quite recently all five of the general origins of super powers seemed entirely beyond reach. But is the high speed advance of science in the 21st century bringing those superpowers based upon it - Altered Humans, High Tech Wonders and Robots - any closer?
Significant physical alterations have seemed largely impossible until very recently. Even breakthroughs in genetics hint at nothing like the weapon-x program that gave Wolverine his admantium bones and Deadpool his accelerated healing. But quantum biology, championed by physicist and broadcaster Jim Al Khalili, suggests an enjoyably speculative direction for extreme human alterations. If quantum tunnelling can explain the high speed transformation of tadpole to frog, surely it’s conceivable quantum effects might also allow a human body to regenerate from a gunshot or samurai sword attack.
Martial arts have been altering humans to pseudo-superheroic levels of power for centuries, with changes more psychological than physical. It seems the US military are at least interested in discovering if the Shaolin monks are skilled in more than just theatre, with a number of research studies underway to militarise ancient Buddhist techniques of mindfulness. Are we producing Jason Bournes and American Ultras in a CIA training facility somewhere? If we aren’t I imagine it’s only because numerous attempts have so far failed.
High Tech Wonders
The speed of technological advancement creates an obvious downside to “high tech” superpowers. Had Lee Majors’s Million Dollar Man been upgraded to the height of early 1970s technology, he would today be the Betamax of superheroes when placed beside, say, a Mark VIII Iron Man suit.
Given our huge industrial base, general robotics might seem a relatively easy challenge to tackle, but has proven much harder than expected. And human/robot interactions of the kind made to look easy in Iron Man are in fact fiendishly hard, at least without the risk of dismembering your pilot. But the news of robotic exoskeletons being used to overcome disabilities shows both that science is already delivering great boons, ad that a full red and gold flying suit of armour might one day be mine … MUAHAHA!
But as anyone who has tried getting through a full day of use on an iPhone 6 will tell you, power supply is the achilles heel of even the coolest gizmos and gadgets. Iron Man’s armour is powered by what appears, from movie schematics, to be a tokamak fusion reactor. We can make these, in fact we’re building one in France. The only problem is it needs to be roughly the size of the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre to produce even a smidgeon more energy than it takes to run.
Skipping the weak human elements of any high-tech design helps simplify things immensely. But it does raise the minor question, how will a robot think for itself? Artificial Intelligence has been a dream of computer scientists from Alan Turing onwards, and after many decades of negligible to slow progress, 2015 became a watershed year for AI. Google’s “DeepMind” literally taught itself to play Atari Breakout (and 50 other classic video games) in just 120 minutes...I never managed to clear a whole level after year! More recently a DeepMind computing system called AlphaGo beat a champion player of the ancient Chinese game go by five games to nil.
It’s fascinating because nobody, even its creators at Google, really knows how DeepMind plays these games so well. Previous AI champions like IBMs Watson triumphed at single games like Jeopardy after detailed human programming, but DeepMind and other deep learning systems are doing something much more mysterious. Where that might take us is truly hard to know, but for the first time the idea of an emergent AI taking over the internet and igniting a nuclear holocust is a tentative possibility. Sadly, given the rather slower progress on robot bodies, if it wants to manifest physically like The Vision it will have to forego the spray painted body of Paul Bettany in favour of Pepper, the cutting edge of humanoid companion robots.
It seems we’re still a step or two away from scientific super-powers. But here in 2016 they are steps that we are tantalisingly close to taking. And who knows what unforeseen powers technologies like drone swarms or human cloning might lead to. The real question is will they make us superheroes...or villains?
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14245 on: Feb 10th, 2016, 07:35am »
Fascinating. But speaking as a Canadian, and in view of the current political landscape in the US, I find Obama perfectly normal. I've little doubt that there are many intelligent and well-meaning persons governing the US, just as there are in Canada, but I've no doubt the the absolutely best and brightest in Canada and the US are less and less inclined to pursue careers in politics. Certainly, to successfully administer a government and run a country is not just like running a business - they require quite different skills and mindsets. I guess, for the great unwashed, such as myself, the best we can do is be sure to exercise our civic duty to vote, and then hope that the wisdom of the electorate will prevail. - Soryu
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14248 on: Feb 11th, 2016, 06:13am »
Gravitational waves: Einstein was right - and this announcement is the scientific highlight of the decade
A century after Albert Einstein explained his General Theory of Relativity, scientists are expected to announce that they have found gravitational waves - ripples created by the collisions of black holes.
By Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal 10:54AM GMT 11 Feb 2016
Physicists and astronomers are agog. On Thursday, experimenters will report the first detection of a phenomenon that has been long predicted: bursts of gravitational waves generated by cosmic collisions of black holes.
Sadly it is not unknown for hyped-up scientific claims to be mistaken or exaggerated - claims of particles going faster than light, gravitational waves from the big bang, and so forth. I count myself a hard-to-convince sceptic. But what is being claimed will be the culmination of literally decades of effort by scientists and engineers with high credentials, and this time I expect to be fully convinced.
This detection is indeed a big deal: one of the great discoveries of the decade - up there with the detection of the Higgs particle, which caused huge razzmatazz two years ago.
The Higgs particle was a capstone to the so-called standard model of particle physics, developed over several decades. Likewise, gravitational waves - vibrations in the fabric of space itself - are a crucial and distinctive consequence of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
GREAT SPIRITS ALWAYS ENCOUNTER THE MOST VIOLENT OPPOSITION FROM MEDIOCRE MINDS E=MC2
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #14249 on: Feb 11th, 2016, 10:49am »
GOOD MORNING CRYSTAL ~ CASEBOOK ~ CAVE DWELLERS ...
AS THOSE ROCK-N-ROLL THEIR CAVE DWELLING DOORS TO THE WARMTH OF THE CUISINE ~ A LA CASEBOOK CAFE' ~ THE PASSION TO SHARE >>> FOOD FOR THOUGHT <<< RUNS DEEP...
EDIT TO ADD:
“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” ― Stanley Kubrick
GREAT SPIRITS ALWAYS ENCOUNTER THE MOST VIOLENT OPPOSITION FROM MEDIOCRE MINDS E=MC2