Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2805 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 08:04am »
Weird News A UFO Is Still a UFO: From Antiquity to Today Feb 4, 2011 – 7:43 AM by Lee Speigel
Circular ships, vertical aerial cylinders, spheres, disks, wheels in the sky, hat-shaped things, flying pillars or columns and triangular-shaped objects.
At first glance, you might think those are common, almost daily, descriptions of UFOs reported by eyewitnesses. Well, yes ... sort of. Those are the actual words, found in ancient texts, that characterize unidentified flying objects, spanning biblical accounts through the 1800s.
And that's exactly what two leading researchers have done: trace the huge numbers of UFOs reported that couldn't possibly be attributed to or misinterpreted as artificially constructed objects seen in the sky.
In their book "Wonders in the Sky," (Tarcher/Penguin) renowned computer scientist and astronomer Jacques Vallee and scholar/historian Chris Aubeck tackle the question of how to interpret all of the unexplained aerial sightings that occurred before the age of industrialization.
Vallee, who was a featured panelist discussing UFOs at last month's highly touted Global Competitiveness Forum in Saudi Arabia, served as the model for the French scientist portrayed by Francois Truffaut in Steven Spielberg's classic 1977 UFO film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
"My passion was always about when did this phenomenon start? That's a question that any scientist should be asking when you're confronted with a new phenomenon. When did it really begin? So we wanted to go as far back as we could, and to stop before there was anything human in the sky," Vallee told AOL News.
To that end, Vallee and Aubeck examined more than 500 unexplained aerial sightings, including one case from 1513 in Rome, Italy. The eyewitness: celebrated sculptor, painter and architect Michelangelo. What he saw: a flying triangle.
"He was so impressed, he made a painting of it, but the painting didn't survive. We only know about it from art historians," Vallee said. "For cases like this to have survived, they had to come from people who were not weirdos and cranks, because these cases come from the archives of historians, castles, dukes and kings and the church, and they had been investigated. The cases that have survived the test of time have been the ones that have credibility."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2806 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 08:14am »
British Border Agent Fired for Putting Wife on Terrorist Watch List By Kim Zetter February 3, 2011 | 1:03 pm Categories: Watchlists
A UK border agent lost his job after authorities discovered he’d placed his wife on a terrorist watch list in an attempt to rid himself of her.
The woman was left stranded in Pakistan for three years because she was unable to fly back to the UK after visiting relatives, according to the Daily Mail.
The agent’s act was only detected after he applied for a promotion, and a background check revealed that his wife was on the watch list. He was reportedly sacked for “gross misconduct.”
The unidentified agent worked at the UK Border Agency’s headquarters in South London. He worked with a unit that was responsible for maintaining the watch list. His promotion would have given him an even higher security clearance.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2807 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 08:18am »
Stephen King Shares His Thoughts on 'The Stand' Movie, Suggests Casting
"I didn’t know anything about the remake until I read about it on the Internet," the author says of the news that THR broke Monday.
February 3 11:04 PM by Kimberly Nordyke
As The Hollywood Reporter broke exclusively Monday, Warner Bros. and CBS Films are teaming for a film adaptation of Stephen King's grand opus The Stand.
Want to know what King himself thinks of the idea?
"I didn’t know anything about the remake until I read about it on the Internet," he told his former employer, Entertainment Weekly (King was a columnist for the magazine until recently).
Still, he has some thoughts about it. The author said it would be impossible to make it as a two-hour movie and suggested it would likely be better as a trilogy.
"Historically speaking, movie studios blow the budget on things like this, so maybe it’ll be fun to look at," King said. "The dough certainly isn’t going to me, although if it is a trilogy, and if it makes a lot of money, I might be able to buy a chicken dinner at Popeye’s. Great slaw!"
As for casting, he argued that "no one will be able to top Gary Sinise," who played central character Stu Redman in the 1994 ABC miniseries.
"He was perfect," King said, although he suggested Jake Gyllenhaal as his "runner-up pick." He added that Billy Bob Thornton would be "cool" as the Trashcan Man.
King also predicted that Molly Ringwald won't be reprising her character from the mini. Nor would she be playing the Trashcan Man, he quipped.
The horror maestro -- a noted music junkie who sprinkles his books with lots of song references -- also urged filmmakers include "a lot of heavy-metal for the soundtrack."
As for when he expects a film might hit theaters? King referenced a quote that Stand readers will recognize: "M-O-O-N, that spells 'you probably won’t see this anytime soon.' And when you do, Woody Allen won’t be directing it. Or Molly Ringwald."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2808 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 08:24am »
Northern Mars Landscape Actively Changing
ScienceDaily (Feb. 3, 2011) — Sand dunes in a vast area of northern Mars long thought to be frozen in time are changing with both sudden and gradual motions, according to research using images from a NASA orbiter.
Three images of the same location taken at different times show seasonal activity causing sand avalanches and ripple changes on a Martian dune. Every year, dune fields at high latitudes are covered by a seasonal polar cap of condensed carbon dioxide (dry ice). Sand sliding down the dune carves out new alcoves at the top and adds to the debris apron on the bottom. The top image was taken in the Martian summer when the dunes were free of seasonal dry ice. Spring found the region covered by a layer of seasonal ice (middle). Evaporation of this seasonal ice layer shows up as dark streaks of fine particles carried to the top of the ice layer by escaping gas. As the ice changes from solid to gas, gas flowing underneath destabilizes the sand and causes it to avalanche down the dune. The bottom image shows the resulting changes, revealed during the following summer after the ice was gone. New wind ripples can be seen on the debris apron. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took these images, each showing an area of 285 x 140 meters, centered at 84 degrees North latitude and 233.2 degrees East longitude. (Credit: NASA/JPL/The University of Arizona)
These dune fields cover an area the size of Texas in a band around the planet at the edge of Mars' north polar cap. The new findings suggest they are among the most active landscapes on Mars. However, few changes in these dark-toned dunes had been detected before a campaign of repeated imaging by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which reached Mars five years ago next month.
Scientists had considered the dunes to be fairly static, shaped long ago when winds on the planet's surface were much stronger than those seen today, said HiRISE Deputy Principal Investigator Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Ariz. Several sets of before-and-after images from HiRISE over a period covering two Martian years -- four Earth years -- tell a different story.
"The numbers and scale of the changes have been really surprising," said Hansen.
A report by Hansen and co-authors in this week's edition of the journal Science identifies the seasonal coming and going of carbon-dioxide ice as one agent of change, and stronger-than-expected wind gusts as another.
A seasonal layer of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice, blankets the region in winter and changes directly back to gaseous form in the spring.
"This gas flow destabilizes the sand on Mars' sand dunes, causing sand avalanches and creating new alcoves, gullies and sand aprons on Martian dunes," she said. "The level of erosion in just one Mars year was really astonishing. In some places, hundreds of cubic yards of sand have avalanched down the face of the dunes."
Wind drives other changes. Especially surprising was the discovery that scars of past sand avalanches could be partially erased by wind in just one Mars year. Models of Mars' atmosphere do not predict wind speeds adequate to lift sand grains, and data from Mars landers show high winds are rare.
"Perhaps polar weather is more conducive to high wind speeds," Hansen said.
In all, modifications were seen in about 40 percent of these far-northern monitoring sites over the two-Mars-year period of the study.
Related HiRISE research previously identified gully-cutting activity in smaller fields of sand dunes covered by seasonal carbon-dioxide ice in Mars' southern hemisphere. A report four months ago showed that those changes coincided with the time of year when ice builds up.
"The role of the carbon-dioxide ice is getting clearer," said Serina Diniega of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., lead author of the earlier report and a co-author of the new report. "In the south, we saw before-and-after changes and connected the timing with the carbon-dioxide ice. In the north, we're seeing more of the process of the seasonal changes and adding more evidence linking the changes with the carbon dioxide."
Researchers are using HiRISE to repeatedly photograph dunes at all latitudes, to understand winds in the current climate on Mars. Dunes at latitudes lower than the reach of the seasonal carbon-dioxide ice do not show new gullies. Hansen said, "It's becoming clear that there are very active processes on Mars associated with the seasonal polar caps."
The new findings contribute to efforts to understand what features and landscapes on Mars can be explained by current processes, and which require different environmental conditions.
"Understanding how Mars is changing today is a key first step to understanding basic planetary processes and how Mars changed over time," said HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona, Tucson, a co-author of both reports. "There's lots of current activity in areas covered by seasonal carbon-dioxide frost, a process we don't see on Earth. It's important to understand the current effects of this unfamiliar process so we don't falsely associate them with different conditions in the past."
The University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory operates the HiRISE camera, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the orbiter. For more about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mro . For more about HiRISE, visit hirise.lpl.arizona.edu: http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2810 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 3:04pm »
Wurdi Youang rocks could prove Aborigines were first astronomers • By Andrew Carswell and Robert Cockburn • From: The Daily Telegraph • February 05, 2011 12:26AM
Early astronomers? ... an aerial view of the Wurdi Youang stone arrangement, also known as the Mount Rothwell site. Source: The Daily Telegraph
What is it? ... Wurdi Youang stone arrangement, also known as the Mount Rothwell site. Source: The Daily Telegraph
IS this just a pile of rocks placed in a semicircle, or proof that Aborigines were the world's first astronomers?
After years of meticulous examination, a group of Australia's most distinguished astro-physicists is starting to believe it's the latter - a discovery that could turn history upside down and render England's famous Stonehenge an also-ran.
Dubbed Wurdi Youang, the strange stone arrangement was found on property near Mt Rothwell, 80km west of Melbourne - its two points set in perfect alignment with the setting sun on a midsummer's day.
CSIRO experts believe the ancient Aboriginal sundial could be upwards of 10,000 years old, an estimate that would have it pre-date the famous neolithic Stonehenge and the only remaining ancient wonder of the world, the Egyptian Pyramids.
Its location is a closely guarded secret.
CSIRO astro-physicist Professor Ray Norris said the precise alignment of the stones proved it was constructed to map the sun.
"This can't be done by guesswork, it required very careful measurements. If it goes back, let's say, 10,000 years, that predates the Egyptians, the Pyramids, Stonehenge, all that stuff," Professor Norris said.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2812 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 4:17pm »
Cdr. Mark Kelly is going into space. Yea!
Astronaut Mark Kelly Decides to Fly Space Shuttle His Wife, Rep. Gabby Giffords, Healing After Tucson Shooting
BY GINA SUNSERI HOUSTON, Feb. 4, 2011
Mark Kelly has been with his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, for every step of her month-long recovery. She was nearly killed when she was shot in the head during a rampage in front of a Tucson grocery store on Jan. 8. Kelly was faced with a difficult choice -- stay with her, or resume training for the last flight of the space shuttle Endeavour, possibly his last chance ever to fly in space.
But ABC News has learned that Kelly will indeed leave his wife's side to board the space shuttle for its final flight. Kelly is expected to announce his decision at a news conference this afternoon at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Last month, Kelly told ABC News' Diane Sawyer, "Ideally I would like to have that conversation with Gabby. I've flown in space three times. I don't have to do it again. My number-one goal is to make sure that my crew is safe and that they can execute this mission safely. And that it's successful."
NASA, at Kelly's request, appointed a backup commander to train with the STS-134 crew. Rick Sturckow, a retired Marine Colonel, has flown four missions into space, and could fly in Kelly's place if needed.
NASA has willingly given Cdr. Kelly time to make his own decision. It has been an agonizing few weeks at the space agency.
Earlier, Chief Astronaut Peggy Whitson told ABC News, "Obviously Mark has trained with this crew for over a year and so he is the ideal person for this crew from a mission risk perspective. It reduces our mission risk from that perspective, if we feel he is ready to go and would be undistracted by the circumstances then we will decide on that. But he, he is a tough guy, as you have seen. He's got his stuff together."
Kelly and his crew have trained for a year and a half for this mission, so it won't take much for him to get back into the routine, and the Johnson Space Center is close enough to the hospital that he can see his wife often. His parents live in Houston, and Giffords' mother Gloria is also in Houston, so she is surrounded by family and friends.
Kelly's twin brother, Scott, is currently in orbit on the space station. The brothers had hoped to meet in space, but timing was not on their side -- Mark's mission was pushed back to April 19, and Scott returns to Earth in March.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2813 on: Feb 5th, 2011, 07:38am »
New York Times
February 5, 2011 U.S. and Russia Finalize Arms Treaty By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 8:22 a.m. EST
MUNICH (AP) — The U.S. and Russia have finalized a nuclear arms treaty that limits the number of atomic warheads the two former Cold War foes are allowed to possess.
The New START treaty went into effect Saturday when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton exchanged the ratification papers with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich.
The treaty limits each side to 1,550 strategic warheads, down from 2,200. The pact also re-establishes a monitoring system that ended in December 2009 with the expiration of an earlier arms deal.
The treaty was approved by the U.S. Senate in December after President Barack Obama pressed strongly for its passage. Russia ratified the deal last month.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
MUNICH (AP) — The U.S. and Russia finalize a nuclear arms treaty Saturday, a key foreign policy goal of President Barack Obama that will limit the number of atomic warheads the two former Cold War foes are allowed to possess.
The New START treaty was approved by the U.S. Senate in December after Obama pressed strongly for its passage, and Russia ratified the deal last month.
The treaty goes into effect when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton exchanges the ratification papers with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
New START is a cornerstone of Obama's efforts to "reset" U.S. relations with Russia.
Clinton said that the treaty is "another example of the kind of clear-eyed cooperation that is in everyone's interests."
In addition to New START, she said the U.S. is in talks with Russia about how the two countries can work together to address issues that affect their common security, while maintaining strategic stability.
Suggestions include joint analysis, joint exercises, and sharing of early warning data that could form the basis for a cooperative missile defense system, Clinton said.
Following the exchange of the New START ratification papers, she said she would also talk with Lavrov about "further arms control issues, including non-strategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons and our ongoing work to revive, strengthen and modernize the regime on conventional forces."
Lavrov called New START "a product of the understanding that unilateral approaches to security are counterproductive."
"The principles of equality, parity, equal and indivisible security ... form a solid basis for today's Russian-American interaction in a range of areas," Lavrov said.
"The treaty that enters into force today will enhance international stability."
The New START treaty, negotiated last year, limits each side to 1,550 strategic warheads, down from 2,200. The pact also re-establishes a monitoring system that ended in December 2009 with the expiration of an earlier arms deal.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the treaty's entering into force as "a historical, political milestone on the road to our ultimate goal: achieving a world free of nuclear weapons."
He applauded the "leadership and political commitment" of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and of Obama.
David Stringer and Geir Moulson contributed to this report.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2814 on: Feb 5th, 2011, 07:43am »
Chinese cyber-spies penetrate Foreign Office computers
William Hague told security conference that an attack was repelled from 'a hostile state intelligence agency'
Richard Norton-Taylor and Julian Borger in Munich guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 February 2011 21.01 GMT
China has penetrated the Foreign Office's internal communications in the most audacious example yet of the growing threat posed by state-sponsored cyber-attacks, it emerged tonight.
William Hague told a security conference in Munich that the FO repelled the attack last month from "a hostile state intelligence agency". Although the foreign secretary did not name the country behind the attacks, intelligence sources familiar with the incidents made it clear he was referring to China. The sources did not want to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the issue.
In his speech Hague was reflecting growing anger and concern within the government about the increasing threat posed by cyber-espionage – states, as well as individuals, using cyberspace to steal defence, diplomatic and commercial secrets.
"It is a new development. The UK is prepared to admit the attacks were state-backed," said Alexander Neill, head of the Asia programme at the Royal United Services Institute thinktank.
The foreign secretary said the FO attack came in the form of an email sent to three of his staff "which claimed to be about a forthcoming visit to the region and looked quite innocent". "In fact it was from a hostile state intelligence agency and contained computer code embedded in the attached document that would have attacked their machine. Luckily, our systems identified it and stopped it from ever reaching my staff," Hague said.
In another attack last year, the foreign secretary said Britain's defence industry was "deliberately" targeted. "A malicious file posing as a report on a nuclear Trident missile was sent to a defence contractor by someone masquerading as an employee of another defence contractor," Hague told an audience of western officials and businessmen. "Security meant that the email was detected and blocked, but its purpose was undoubtedly to steal information relating to our most sensitive defence projects."
Hague admitted that a third attack, apparently criminal, had succeeded in evading Britain's defences, with a version of the Zeus malware widely used to extract banking information and other personal details from targeted computers.
"In late December a spoof email purporting to be from the White House was sent to a large number of international recipients who were directed to click on a link that then downloaded a variant of Zeus," Hague said. "The UK government was targeted in this attack and a large number of emails bypassed some of our filters. Our experts were able to clear up the infection, but more sophisticated attacks such as these are becoming more common."
The foreign secretary said government was spending £650m on its cyber defences against such attacks, and working with the private sector. But he added that the international response was "fragmented and lacks focus".
Speaking to journalists later, Hague said: "We're witnessing an exponential rise in the misuse of cyberspace. In a decade, this could be out of control, and we have to start to do the thinking now."
He said Britain was offering to host an international conference this year aimed at establishing global standards.
"Many countries do not share our view of the positive impact of the internet, and others are actively working against us in a hostile manner," he said.
"However as liberal democracies we also have a compelling interest in supporting democratic ideals in cyberspace, and working to convince others of this vision."
General Sir David Richards, chief of the defence staff, last month said the UK needsed its own Cyber Command, similar to that set by by the US defence department. He said that the advance of cyber technology would lead to a "cultural change" in warfare which the UK must be prepared for."We must learn to defend, delay, attack and manoeuvre in cyberspace, just as we might on the land, sea or air and all together at the same time".
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2815 on: Feb 5th, 2011, 07:51am »
Wired Danger Room
Facebook-Powered Protesters Take Aim at Bahrain By Adam Rawnsley February 4, 2011 | 4:50 pm Categories: Info War
First came Tunisia. Then Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan. One of the next Middle Eastern regimes to get hit with protests just might be the tiny kingdom of Bahrain, according to an analysis from a government-connected consultancy.
In Bahrain, activists are using Facebook to try and to organize their own “Day of Rage” set for February 14. In a statement on their page, organizers accuse the government of “suppress[ing] the legitimate rights of the people” and call for a new constitution and investigations into “economic, political and social violations.” Bahrain, a Gulf kingdom ruled by the Sunni Al-Khalifa family, has seen anger at systematic discrimination against the majority Shia population and its lack representation in government spill out into violent protest in the past.
“Tensions between the country’s [Sunni] royal family and the Shia majority could provide a flashpoint for new demonstrations,” according to an analysis prepared on Feb. 2 by the Eurasia Group, a consulting firm with does work for the U.S. intelligence community and others. “Protests would present a more serious risk than unrest in previous years.”
Today, hundreds of protesters turned out for protests at the Egyptian embassy in Bahrain, professing solidarity with anti-Mubarak forces and calling for reforms at home. But the Day or Rage protest looks somewhat smaller — only 84 likes on its Facebook page — and it’s unclear how many protesters will show up on February 14.
Facebook activists had also planned for a demonstration in Syria today and at a number of its embassies abroad. Dubbed “The Syrian Revolution 2011,” its organizers called on supporters to demand an ”end the state of emergency in Syria and end corruption.” Apparently, the demonstration was a fizzle, with no protesters seen in the capital Damascus.
But waiting to see how events in Egypt and Tunisia shake out over the course of the next year will be “hugely important” in gauging the full impact of these movements, McInerney cautions Stephen McInerney, executive director at the Project on Middle East Democracy. The emergence of relatively stable and representative governments in the two countries could provide more inspiration to other protest movements. Prolonged violence and chaos might help to further entrench autocrats under the guise of providing stability.
That uncertainty — combined with relatively unexpected origin in Tunisia and its swift export to Egypt — has left analysts cautious in their predictions about what might lie ahead.
“It totally rattles the American foreign policy model” of reliance on friendly but undemocratic regimes, says Richard Fontaine, a former associate director of Near East Affairs on the National Security Council during the Bush administration and now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “I don’t know that anybody knows where we go from here.”
“There hasn’t been rhyme or rule in what’s happened already,” says Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East Division at Human Rights Watch. “We could now just sit back and watch and wonder which of the 10, 12, 15 regimes in the region…is going to be next.”
One prediction she is confident to make: Egypt and Tunisia will be a game changer for the region.
“We are never going back to a Middle East that is pre-2011.” she says. “Arabs of the Middle East have proven that with enough popular will they can bring a government to a stop, dead on its heels, with the entire world calling for the president to leave. The Tunisian people have shown, the Egyptian people have shown that this is entirely doable, it’s entirely in their reach.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2816 on: Feb 5th, 2011, 07:58am »
Blast rocks gas terminal in Egypt's Sinai By ASHRAF SWEILAM, Associated Press
Saturday, February 5, 2011 05:45 PST EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) --
An explosion rocked a gas terminal in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, setting off a massive fire that was contained by shutting off the flow of gas to neighboring Jordan and Israel, officials and witnesses said.
Egypt's natural gas company said the fire was caused by a gas leak. However, a local security official said an explosive device was detonated inside the terminal, and the regional governor, Abdel Wahab Mabrouk, said he suspected sabotage.
The blast and fire at the gas terminal in the Sinai town of El-Arish did not cause casualties. The explosion sent a pillar of flames leaping into the sky, but was a safe distance from the nearest homes, said Mabrouk.
The blast came as a popular uprising engulfed Egypt, where anti-government protesters have been demanding the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak for the past two weeks. The Sinai Peninsula, home to Bedouin tribesmen, has been the scene of clashes between residents and security forces. It borders both Israel and the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Islamic militant Hamas.
The terminal is part of a pipeline system that transports gas from Egypt's Port Said on the Mediterranean Sea to Israel, Syria and Jordan.
The head of Egypt's natural gas company, Magdy Toufik, said in a statement that the fire broke out in the terminal "as a result of a small amount of gas leaking."
However, a senior security official said an explosive device was detonated in the terminal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue with reporters.
Mabrouk said the fire was brought under control by mid-morning, after valves controlling the flow of gas were closed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said that it's not clear whether damage was caused to the pipeline leading to Israel. "But as a security precaution, Israel temporarily stopped, by its own initiative, the transfer of gas as procedure dictates," the statement said. Israel has alternative energy sources and is not likely to experience power shortages, the statement said.
The blast also halted the gas supply to Jordan, which depends on Egyptian gas to generate 80 percent of its electricity.
Jordan's National Electric Power Company is resorting to heavy fuel and diesel to keep national power plants running, said the company's director-general, Ghalib Maabrah. He said Jordan has heavy fuel and diesel reserves to generate electricity for three weeks, adding that the shift will cost Jordan $4.2 million a day.
Egyptian authorities expect gas to remain shut off for a week, until repairs are completed, Maabrah said.
The Sinai gas pipelines have come under attack in the past. Bedouin tribesmen attempted to blow up the pipeline last July as tensions intensified between them and the Egyptian government, which they accuse of discrimination and of ignoring their plight.
Egypt has potential natural gas reserves of 62 trillion cubic feet (1.7 trillion cubic meters), the 18th largest in the world.
Egypt began providing Israel with natural gas in February 2008 under a deal by which it will sell Israel 60 billion cubic feet (1.7 billion cubic meters) a year for 15 years.
The deal raised controversy at home, with some in the Egyptian opposition saying the gas was being sold at below-market rates. Others resent Israel's treatment of Palestinians, and say Egypt shouldn't supply energy to Israel.
"The deal (to sell gas) was a blow to the pride of Egyptians and a betrayal," former diplomat Ibrahim Yousri told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Yousri led a high court challenge to try to halt Egypt's sale of gas to Israel. Although the high court ruled in his favor in February 2010, the ruling was widely ignored by the government.
Additional reporting by Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan; Ian Deitch in Jerusalem; Diaa Hadid and Sarah El Deeb in Cairo; and Tamer Ziara in Rafah, Gaza Strip.
(This version CORRECTS in first paragraph that gas flow was shut off to Israel).
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2817 on: Feb 5th, 2011, 08:06am »
How Aliens should have ended by Venkman 4 February 2011
I enjoy watching these How It Should Have Ended videos. I find them gratifyingly entertaining. Today they released this new video which shows us how they think James Cameron's Aliens should have ended. Enjoy!
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2818 on: Feb 5th, 2011, 4:48pm »
Race to Reach Antarctica's Giant Buried Lake Vostok Almost Over
By Loren Grush Published February 05, 2011
It’s a race against the clock for a group of drillers as they hurriedly work to hit their goal depth while in an extremely dangerous and foreign environment. No, it’s not the plot of the 1998 sci-fi/action film Armageddon. It’s a true story for a group of Russian scientists in the Antarctic, frantically drilling into the southern-most continent’s largest sub glacial lake – Lake Vostok.
Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) has been overseeing the team’s endeavors for the past few weeks as the scientists have drilled non-stop. The goal: to reach the lake’s isolated water located 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) below the ice sheet’s surface. And the latest update from the camp shows them only 20 meters (164 feet) away from their goal depth.
But they are running out of time. February 6th marks the end of the Antarctic summer – that’s right, summer – which means conditions surrounding the lake turn substantially more hostile and planes will no longer be able to land near the researchers’ base. Currently the team is working in -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit), but during the winter, it can get twice as freezing. Lake Vostok boasts the lowest recorded temperature on Earth: -89.4 degrees Celsius (-129 degrees Fahrenheit).
“I know they will try everything they can to get through this year,” Dr. John Priscu professor of Ecology at Montana State University, told FoxNews.com. “Once they reach the lake water, they want to get the water up through the hole and let it freeze there over the winter. Then they’ll come back next year and start to do research on what they find.”
While there are only a few researchers that are actually working at the lake, scientists around the globe have been waiting with baited breath to see what the Russian’s unearth this weekend.
“We are terribly interested in what they find,” Alan Rodger, a scientist at the British Antarctic Survey, told FoxNews.com.
“This is a lake that we don’t think has been exposed for 15 million years. Therefore, if there is life there, we’re going to have so many questions. How has it evolved over those years, how has it survived, what does it look like? Won’t it be exciting to find something completely new on Planet Earth?”
Scientists are more than a little excited, since they have been waiting for this moment for quite some time. The Lake Vostok project has been years in the making, with initial drilling at the massive lake -- 15,690 square kilometers (6,060 sq mi) -- starting in 1998. Initially, they were able to reach 3,600 meters, but had to stop due to concerns of possible contamination of the never-before-touched lake water.
“Ice isn’t like rock, it’s capable of movement,” Dr. Priscu told FoxNews.com. “So in order to keep the hole from squeezing shut, they put a fluid in the drill called kerosene. Kerosene also grows bacteria, and there’s about 65 tons of kerosene in that hole. It would be a disaster if that kerosene contaminated this pristine lake.”
But the scientists came up with a clever way to make sure this debacle would not occur. They agreed to drill until a sensor warned them of free water. At that point they will take out the right amount of kerosene and adjust the pressure so that none of the liquids fall into the lake, but rather lake water would rise through the hole.
But it’s still uncertain whether or not the team will even get to that point this year. FoxNews.com reached out to AARI for a comment, but received no response – no doubt trying to reach their deadline. But regardless if they make it this weekend or not, scientists say that the real adventure is still yet to come.
“There’s plenty more to do in the coming years,” Dr. Piscu told FoxNews.com. “This is only the beginning.”