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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 45355 times)
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« Reply #3015 on: Feb 20th, 2011, 11:53am »

Paul!!! I love Paul!!!




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« Reply #3016 on: Feb 20th, 2011, 3:03pm »

Health Guidance

Spring Fever

Contrary to the popular belief, spring fever is not merely a state of mind, but a drastic adjustment in our internal composition. It’s more of a physical process that occurs due to hormone and chemical changes in our body because of seasonal changes. Statistics reveal that nearly half of the citizens living in northern latitudes of Canada and United States experience intense spring fever symptoms.

That being said, there is a darker side to spring fever which often goes unnoticed. While the desire for sex, socialization and overall wellbeing would be on the high, some people might end up getting bored very easily performing routine tasks. In some cases, individuals have also complained about excess fatigue and body aches due to increase in activities. Overflow of energy often compels an individual to work harder. As a matter of fact, recent studies has unleashed the fact that school going kids do not report to school for a few days at the onset of spring because of the uncontrollable feeling to venture outside.

Remember, outburst of energy can potentially backfire. There are times when not only kids but also adults display reckless behavior. Recent studies have recorded an increase in accidents during the spring season. Also, reports of depression and suicide are reported to be at its peak during this season. That being said, there is no direct relationship that can be built up between spring and these fatal incidents.

In conclusion, while spring is usually associated with increase in energy level and positive feelings, it might lead to uncomfortable situations as well, especially if emotions or feelings run out of control. However, if one is able to exercise physiological control, then one doesn’t have to worry a bit about spring fever. Remember, spring is a short lived season. Enjoy it to the maximum. Whether your body takes it positively or not, it will readjust itself as per seasonal changes, and the feelings associated with spring will sound less profound with changes in season.

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/13426/1/What-Is-Spring-Fever.html


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« Reply #3017 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 08:42am »

New York Times

February 21, 2011
Qaddafi’s Son Warns of Civil War as Libyan Protests Widen
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and MONA EL-NAGGAR

CAIRO — Antigovernment protesters who took control of Libya’s second-largest city of Benghazi celebrated in the streets on Monday after a turbulent and bloody night in which the heir-apparent son of the nation’s strongman, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, warned in a televised speech that Libyans would fall into civil war if they threw off his father’s 40-year-long rule.

The six-day-old uprising had reached the capital, Tripoli, where government buildings on Monday were in flames and police were noticeably absent from the streets. There were signs of growing disunity within the government and reports that several senior officials including the country’s justice minister had resigned and joined the protesters.

In a rambling, disjointed address delivered about 1 a.m. on Monday, the son, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, played down the uprising sweeping the country, which witnesses and rights activists say has left more than 220 people dead and hundreds wounded from gunfire by security forces. He repeated several times that “Libya is not Tunisia or Egypt” — the neighbors to the east and west that both overthrew their veteran autocrats in the space of the last six weeks

The revolt shaking Libya is the latest and most violent turn in the rebellion across the Arab world that seemed unthinkable just two months ago and now poses the greatest threat in four decades to Colonel Qaddafi’s autocratic power. The United States condemned the Qaddafi government’s lethal use of force.

Witnesses in Tripoli interviewed by telephone on Monday said protesters had converged on the capital’s central Green Square and clashed with heavily armed riot police for several hours after Mr. Qaddafi’s speech, apparently enraged by it. Young men armed themselves with chains around their knuckles, steel pipes and machetes, as well as police batons, helmets and rifles commandeered from riot squads. Security forces moved in, shooting randomly.

By the morning, the capital was relatively quiet, and most businesses and schools remained closed, several witnesses said. But there were several government buildings on fire — including the Hall of the People, where cabinet ministers are thought to meet —and reports of looting. Protesters were seen taking down pictures of Colonel Qaddafi and burning them. Police were noticeably absent from the streets, but a heavy security presence remained in front of the state television building, and the palace that serves as Colonel Qaddafi’s residence.

News agencies reported that several foreign oil and gas companies were moving to evacuate their workers from the country on Monday. Portugal also sent a plane to Libya to pick up its citizens and other residents of the European Union, while Turkey sent two ferries for its construction workers stranded in the strife-torn country, The Associated Press reported.

The Quryna newspaper, which has ties to Colonel Qaddafi’s son, Seif, said protests have hit the oil town of Ras Lanuf, where some workers were being assembled to defend a refinery complex from attacks.

As the Colonel Qaddafi appeared to dig in for a long fight, Quryna reported that his justice minister, Mustafa Mohamed Abud Al Jeleil, had resigned in protest over the deadly response to antigovernment demonstrations.

Al-Manara, an opposition website, reported that a judge and former justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil in Tripoli and a senior military official, Col. Abdel Fattah Younes in Benghazi, resigned and joined the protesters. Abdel Monem Al-Howni, Libya’s representative to the Arab League, also resigned.

“I no longer have any links to this regime which lost all legitimacy,” he said in a statement reported by news agencies . He also called what is happening in Libya ”genocide.”

In Benghazi, the starting point of the revolt, three witnesses said that special military forces called in as reinforcements had instead helped the protesters take over the local army barracks. “The gunshots you hear are the gunshots of celebration,” said Abdel Latif al-Hadi, a 54-year-old Benghazi resident whose five sons were out protesting.

Protesters remained in control of Benghazi on Monday, and online videos showed protesters flying an independence flag over the roof top of a building in Benghazi, and a crowd celebrating what they called “the fall of the regime in their city.”

The younger Mr. Qaddafi blamed Islamic radicals and Libyans in exile for the uprising. He offered a vague package of reforms in his televised speech, potentially including a new flag, national anthem and confederate structure. But his main theme was to threaten Libyans with the prospect of civil war over its oil resources that would break up the country, deprive residents of food and education, and even invite a Western takeover.

“Libya is made up of tribes and clans and loyalties,” he said. “There will be civil war.”

Recalling Libya’s colonial past, he warned, “The West and Europe and the United States will not accept the establishment of an Islamic emirate in Libya.”

There was no sign that Colonel Qaddafi, 68, intended to allow the revolts that have taken down the longtime leaders in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt to fell him as well. Colonel Qaddafi for decades has skillfully cultivated tribal rivalries to avoid any threat to his authority.

“We will fight until the last man, until the last woman, until the last bullet,” his son said in his televised speech. The younger Mr. Qaddafi has been the government’s principal spokesman, especially on the subject of reform.

Over the last three days his security forces have killed at least 223 people, according to a tally by the group Human Rights Watch. Several people in Benghazi hospitals, reached by telephone, said they believed that as many as 200 had been killed and more than 800 wounded there on Saturday alone, with many of the deaths from machine gun fire. And after protesters marched in a funeral procession on Sunday morning, the security forces opened fire again, killing at least 60 more, Human Rights Watch said.

The man who was the government’s chief spokesman until a month ago, Mohamed Bayou, called on Libya’s leadership to begin a dialogue with the opposition and discuss drawing up a Constitution. “I hope he will change his speech to acknowledge the existence of an internal popular opposition,” he said in a statement, referring to the younger Qaddafi, according to Reuters.

The escalating violence in Libya — a cycle of funerals, confrontations, and more coffins — has made the revolt there the bloodiest in the wave of uprisings sweeping the region.

Under Colonel Qaddafi’s idiosyncratic rule, tribal bonds remain primary even within the ranks of the military, and both protesters and the security forces have reason to believe that backing down will likely mean their ultimate death or imprisonment.

But in a break with the Qaddafi government, the powerful al-Warfalla and al-Zuwayya tribes came out against Colonel Qaddafi on Sunday. “We tell him to leave the country,” a spokesman for the al-Warfalla told the pan-Arab news channel Al Jazeera.

The Libyan government has tried to impose a blackout on the country. Foreign journalists cannot enter. Internet access has been almost totally severed, with only occasional access, though some protesters appear to be using satellite connections or phoning information to services outside the country. Al Jazeera, viewed by many as a cheerleader for the democracy movements stirring the region, has been taken off the air. Several people and intermediaries said Libyans were reluctant to talk to the foreign press via phone, fearing reprisals from the security forces.

Benghazi, the traditional hub of the country’s eastern province, has long been a center of opposition to the Qaddafi government, centered in the Western city of Tripoli. In 1996, Benghazi was the site of a massacre at the Abu Slim prison, when security forces killed about 1,200 prisoners. Those killings have since become a cause for Qaddafi critics there.

Opponents of the government had set Thursday, Feb. 17, as the day of a demonstration dubbed the “day of rage” and inspired by the protests in Tunisia and Egypt. But on Tuesday, the security forces detained a prominent opposition lawyer, Fathi Terbil, who represented many of the families of prisoners killed in the massacre, and members of the families led the protesters into the streets the next day.

By Sunday, Fathi Terbil had been released and set up a live online video broadcast that appeared to emanate from the roof of the Benghazi courthouse overlooking what residents call their Tahrir Square. “Free Libya Radio,” he called it.

“We are expecting people to die today, more people than before,” Mr. Terbil said early on Sunday, before the latest round of funerals and shootings began.

“If anything happens to us today, we are not going to leave this place,” he said. “I’m not afraid to die, I’m afraid to lose the battle, that’s why I want the media to see what’s going on.”

“At least if we die, so many people can witness, I can protest from everywhere,” he added, “Long live a free Libya. We are determined to fight till the end for our country.”

On Sunday morning, residents of Benghazi described an ongoing battle for control of the city, with a population of about 700,000. Thousands of protesters had occupied a central square in front of the courthouse. As they had for days, they were chanting the slogans that echoed through the streets of Tunis and Cairo before — “The people want to bring down the regime.”

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/world/africa/22libya.html?ref=world

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« Reply #3018 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 08:44am »

New York Times

February 21, 2011
BP to Pay $7.2 Billion for India Energy Fields Stake
By VIKAS BAJAJ

MUMBAI, India —BP said on Monday that it would pay $7.2 billion to buy into India’s fast growing oil and natural gas business, the company’s second big deal in two months.

BP will take a 30 percent stake in 23 oil and natural gas fields operated by Reliance Industries, India’s largest private company. The two companies said they would also create a 50-50 joint venture to buy, transport and market natural gas, which is increasingly in demand in India as the country’s economy grows at nearly 9 percent a year.

Last month, BP signed an agreement with Rosneft of Russia to drill in the Arctic. That deal, worth $7.8 billion, was the first big investment by BP after its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

In recent years, India, which imports most of its oil, has opened vast swathes of its territory to oil and natural gas development. Reliance, which is led by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has become India’s largest producer of natural gas because of a rich offshore field in the Bay of Bengal near the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The deal must be approved by Indian regulators, which could take time. Indian officials have yet to approve a deal announced in August by the London-based Vedanta Resources to buy a controlling stake in Cairn India, an oil producing subsidiary of Cairn Energy, which is based in Edinburgh. Officials say they want better terms for Cairn’s Indian partner, the state-owned ONGC, as a condition of approval.

Robert Dudley, who was appointed BP’s chief executive after the Gulf of Mexico spill, visited India in October and met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as well as other officials. BP already has a joint venture with Reliance on one offshore field, and it has a partnership to make solar panels with the Tata Group, a large Indian conglomerate.

“This partnership meets BP’s strategy of forming alliances with strong national partners, taking material positions in significant hydrocarbon basins and increasing our exposure to growing energy markets,” BP’s chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg, said in a statement.

Mr. Dudley has tried to put the Gulf of Mexico disaster behind BP by focusing the company on increasing its business and regaining investor trust. While improving BP’s safety record remained a priority, he said that he also wanted to double BP’s exploration spending by investing in projects in developing economies.

For Reliance, the deal provides cash and, perhaps more important, oil and natural gas expertise that it needs as it explores and produces in fields that cover 270,000 square kilometers, or about 104,000 square miles. The output on Reliance’s most productive natural gas field in the Bay of Bengal has declined in recent months, which has worried analysts and policy makers who are counting on the field to fuel power plants and fertilizer factories.

In addition to its interests in Indian exploration, Reliance has been investing in shale gas fields in the United States, including a joint venture with Atlas Energy to drill in the Marcellus Shale.

Mr. Dudley had pledged to rebuild the company’s reputation after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In his first step as chief executive, he reorganized the company’s critical exploration and production business, removing the unit’s chief, and set out to establish a global safety division.

To help cover the estimated $40 billion in damage claims resulting from the spill, BP has moved to sell about $30 billion in assets, including its share of Pan American Energy, an oil producer in Argentina, to the Bridas Corporation for $7.1 billion.

BP said this month that its earnings rose 30 percent in the fourth quarter, to $5.6 billion, from $4.3 billion the period a year earlier, helped by higher oil prices. The company lost $3.7 billion last year, compared with a profit of $16.6 billion in 2009. BP also restored its dividend in the fourth quarter.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/business/global/22bp.html?ref=business

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« Reply #3019 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 08:47am »

Telegraph

Life on other planets: latest discovery comes after string of recent signs of extraterrestrials

Nasa research indicating that half of the stars in the universe are orbited by planets much like Earth has reignited speculation about the existence of alien life.

8:30AM GMT 21 Feb 2011

Experts examining results from the Kepler telescope have identified more than 1,200 planets in orbit around distant stars, 54 of which are a similar size to Earth and in habitable zones from their suns.

The research follows several recent discoveries which point to the possibility of life on other planets.

Last year, Nasa scientists claimed they had found vital clues which appeared to indicate that primitive aliens could be living on Titan, one of Saturn’s biggest moons.

Data from Nasa's Cassini probe revealed the complex chemistry on the surface of Titan, which experts say is the only moon around the planet to have a dense atmosphere.

Experts suggested that life forms may have been breathing in the planet’s atmosphere and also feeding on its surface’s fuel.

A research paper, in the journal Icarus, claimed that hydrogen gas flowing throughout the planet’s atmosphere disappeared at the surface. This suggested that alien forms could in fact breathe.

A second paper, in the Journal of Geophysical Research, concluded that there was lack of the chemical on the surface Scientists were then led to believe it had been possibly consumed by life.

Researchers had expected sunlight interacting with chemicals in the atmosphere to produce acetylene gas. But the Cassini probe did not detect any such gas.

In 2008, astronomers found organic chemicals on a planet outside our solar system, which was also heralded as a milestone in the hunt for extraterrestrial life.

Researchers identified water in the atmosphere of HD 189733b, a so-called alien planet close to its parent star and too hot for conditions favourable for life as we understand it.

But the ability of scientists to analyse its atmosphere and detect carbon-based molecules was a crucial feat in efforts to find planets that may harbour extraterrestrial life.

The finding, reported in the journal Nature, made the planet one of the best understood of hundreds detected. It was discovered in 2005 in the constellation Vulpecula, a realm so distant that it takes light 63 years to reach Earth.

The achievement demonstrated the ability to detect organic molecules in "Goldilocks zones'' – so-called because they are just right for liquid water, neither too hot nor too cold.

The planet is made of gas similar, but hotter, to that found on Jupiter. Previous studies predicted that methane and water would be present in its atmosphere, but definitive evidence had not been found. Water has already been detected on another alien world.

Using light analysed by the Hubble Space Telescope, Dr Mark Swain of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and colleagues confirmed the presence of methane. They also reported that they found the signature of water, though carbon monoxide, originally expected to be abundant in the upper atmosphere, was not identifiable.

On Earth, methane is produced by natural sources such as termites, oceans and cows, but also man-made sources such as waste landfills.

A discovery much closer to home also ignited a frenzy of speculation about aliens last year, when experts detected a microbe at the bottom of a lake capable of living in conditions previously thought to be inhospitable to any form of life.

Researchers found a microbe at the bottom of Mono Lake in Yosemite National Park that was thriving in an arsenic—rich environment previously thought too poisonous for any form of life to survive.

It raised the prospect that similar life could exist on planets without the Earth's benevolent atmosphere.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8337518/Life-on-other-planets-latest-discovery-comes-after-string-of-recent-signs-of-extraterrestrials.html

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« Reply #3020 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 08:56am »

Scientific American

'Chemical body burden' researchers and advocates raise questions about biomonitoring studies and hazards regulations

By Robin Lloyd
Feb 20, 2011 11:46 AM

WASHINGTON—The catch-phrase "chemical body burden," or the presence of hazardous chemicals and their residues in humans, has started to be teased apart by researchers and environmental health advocates in recent years.

Good thing, because awareness of this issue is rising in the public sphere, and more Americans are obtaining laboratory results for the extent of chemicals lingering in their bodies, compounds that include pthalates (plasticizers), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), VOCs (volatile organic compounds such as those found in some paints), bisphenol A, lead, arsenic, mercury, asbestos and chlorpyrifos (an insecticide). Tested individuals remain uncertain about how to respond to this information, even as they see potentially linked poor negative health outcomes in their families. Some of these results are made available to subjects participating in household exposures studies who typically are eager to receive their personal results, compare them with national trends and learn how to mitigate impacts.

Correlations among various pesticides, fertility and other health outcomes have been demonstrated in research on animals and sometimes humans too, although mechanisms are not always detailed or known. Are these relationships causal? And even if they aren't, is there a legal requirement to disclose exposure risks to workers and residents? And are researchers liable when they discover potential risks encountered at home, and must they inform study subjects of them?

There's a lot of hedging in the replies to these questions, especially when it comes to regulations relating to the presence of such chemicals in the home, not just the workplace.

For instance, there are "some duties to report some sorts of pollution under some circumstances" to people to whom you are selling or renting a home, according to research presented here Sunday by Shaun Goho of Harvard Law School, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Part of the confusion stems from the fact that it is unclear how hazardous chemicals get into homes or the bodies of residents. Were these hazards endemic to the home or imported from an external source?

Hazardous waste laws, which go by acronyms such as RCRA, CERCLA and EPCRA, are designed to regulate the disposal and clean-up of hazardous synthetic chemicals, but they are written in ways that often make homes largely exempt from regulation.

The Toxic Substances Control Act, aimed at regulating products using PCBs and other chemicals, Goho said, "has not really lived up to what it was intended to do" and is a fairly ineffective law. PCBs are often found in floor polishes and paint, and some studies have found surprisingly high levels in homes. But illegal residential levels of PCBs are not an enforcement priority, he said, among regional and federal agencies.

In terms of disclosure in sales and renting, 37 U.S. states have statutory real estate transfer disclosure forms that require some disclosure of environmental hazards in the home, such as lead, asbestos, urea formaldehyde, pesticides, PCBs and VOCs.

But in other states, there is no clear duty to disclose on any hazardous substances other than lead. "You must answer questions truthfully if asked by the buyer, but how likely is it that buyer is going to ask seller, 'Have you found pthalates in the home?'" Goho said.

Overall, these are "novel issues to consider," he said.

Sharyle Patton of Commonweal, a non-profit health and environmental research group in California, told stories of people responding to their own biomonitoring results. A total of 103 hazardous chemicals showed up in lab results conducted on her body.

"I won the PCB and dioxin contests," she said, talking about similar tests done on a group of colleagues, including the journalist Bill Moyers. "I grew up in little village high in Rockies in Colorado, away from industrial facilities, away from freeways. We raised our own cattle and vegetables. These chemicals in my body are calling cards, but they have no return address. I was outraged."

"You get sense that web of life is also a web of contamination," she said, adding that you can't just "shop your way out of the problem" by using only green cleaning and beauty products. Industrial practices must also change.

Commonweal went on to oversee testing of some residents in California's Central Valley who were concerned about pesticide drift. Subjects were advised of the risks surrounding making their results public and the uncertainties about how to respond to them. Still, some subjects went ahead and obtained results and linked them to experiences with infertility and miscarriages persuasively enough to force some changes in regional regulations surrounding pesticides spraying in schools, health centers and homes.


http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=chemical-body-burden-researchers-an-2011-02-20

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« Reply #3021 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 09:01am »

Science Daily

Can WISE Find the Hypothetical 'Tyche' Planet at Edge of Our Solar System?

ScienceDaily (Feb. 20, 2011)

— In November 2010, the scientific journal Icarus published a paper by astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, who proposed the existence of a binary companion to our sun, larger than Jupiter, in the long-hypothesized "Oort cloud" -- a faraway repository of small icy bodies at the edge of our solar system. The researchers use the name "Tyche" for the hypothetical planet. Their paper argues that evidence for the planet would have been recorded by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).


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This colorful picture is a mosaic of the Lagoon nebula taken by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)


WISE is a NASA mission, launched in December 2009, which scanned the entire celestial sky at four infrared wavelengths about 1.5 times. It captured more than 2.7 million images of objects in space, ranging from faraway galaxies to asteroids and comets relatively close to Earth. Recently, WISE completed an extended mission, allowing it to finish a complete scan of the asteroid belt, and two complete scans of the more distant universe, in two infrared bands. So far, the mission's discoveries of previously unknown objects include an ultra-cold star or brown dwarf, 20 comets, 134 near-Earth objects (NEOs), and more than 33,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Following its successful survey, WISE was put into hibernation in February 2011. Analysis of WISE data continues. A preliminary public release of the first 14 weeks of data is planned for April 2011, and the final release of the full survey is planned for March 2012.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When could data from WISE confirm or rule out the existence of the hypothesized planet Tyche?

A: It is too early to know whether WISE data confirms or rules out a large object in the Oort cloud. Analysis over the next couple of years will be needed to determine if WISE has actually detected such a world or not. The first 14 weeks of data, being released in April 2011, are unlikely to be sufficient. The full survey, scheduled for release in March 2012, should provide greater insight. Once the WISE data are fully processed, released and analyzed, the Tyche hypothesis that Matese and Whitmire propose will be tested.

Q: Is it a certainty that WISE would have observed such a planet if it exists?

A: It is likely but not a foregone conclusion that WISE could confirm whether or not Tyche exists. Since WISE surveyed the whole sky once, then covered the entire sky again in two of its infrared bands six months later, WISE would see a change in the apparent position of a large planet body in the Oort cloud over the six-month period. The two bands used in the second sky coverage were designed to identify very small, cold stars (or brown dwarfs) -- which are much like planets larger than Jupiter, as Tyche is hypothesized to be.

Q: If Tyche does exist, why would it have taken so long to find another planet in our solar system?

A: Tyche would be too cold and faint for a visible light telescope to identify. Sensitive infrared telescopes could pick up the glow from such an object, if they looked in the right direction. WISE is a sensitive infrared telescope that looks in all directions.

Q: Why is the hypothesized object dubbed "Tyche," and why choose a Greek name when the names of other planets derive from Roman mythology?

A: In the 1980s, a different companion to the sun was hypothesized. That object, named for the Greek goddess "Nemesis," was proposed to explain periodic mass extinctions on Earth. Nemesis would have followed a highly elliptical orbit, perturbing comets in the Oort Cloud roughly every 26 million years and sending a shower of comets toward the inner solar system. Some of these comets would have slammed into Earth, causing catastrophic results to life. Recent scientific analysis no longer supports the idea that extinctions on Earth happen at regular, repeating intervals. Thus, the Nemesis hypothesis is no longer needed. However, it is still possible that the sun could have a distant, unseen companion in a more circular orbit with a period of a few million years -- one that would not cause devastating effects to terrestrial life. To distinguish this object from the malevolent "Nemesis," astronomers chose the name of Nemesis's benevolent sister in Greek mythology, "Tyche."

JPL manages and operates the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The principal investigator, Edward Wright, is at UCLA. The mission was competitively selected under NASA's Explorers Program managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Logan, Utah, and the spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

More information is online at http://www.nasa.gov/wise, http://wise.astro.ucla.edu and http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/wise .

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110220204429.htm

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« Reply #3022 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 12:38pm »






Go to http://autonomos-labs.com for more information on the "BrainDriver" and our "MadeInGermany" - an autonomous car by the Freie Universität Berlin.

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« Reply #3023 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 3:56pm »



Wounded Iraq Vet Gets Heckled During Columbia University Speech

Published February 20, 2011
New York Post

Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.

"Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.

Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.

"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting," said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."

Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.

Maschek, who is studying economics, miraculously survived the insurgent attack in Kirkuk. In the hail of gunfire, he broke both legs and suffered wounds to his abdomen, arm and chest.

He enrolled last August at the Ivy League school, where an increasingly ugly battle is unfolding over the 42-year military ban there.

Click here to read more on Columbia's rude welcome for Anthony Maschek.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/20/wounded-iraq-vet-gets-heckled-columbia-university-speech/#ixzz1EcoXT4MR

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3024 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 5:05pm »

SwampRat,
I would expect nothing less from the Socialist/Marxofacist Professorial scum that inhabit Columbia University! Bunch of privileged, spoiled brats who wouldn't stand a chance in the real world! Have no intention to even try to understand what this MAN has taken in grief and hardship! No intention of seeing what this MAN has given to let them spout off in such a moronic manner! They are useful idiots all!

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #3025 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 6:22pm »

on Feb 21st, 2011, 3:56pm, Swamprat wrote:
Wounded Iraq Vet Gets Heckled During Columbia University Speech

Published February 20, 2011
New York Post

Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.

"Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.

Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.

"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting," said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."

Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.

Maschek, who is studying economics, miraculously survived the insurgent attack in Kirkuk. In the hail of gunfire, he broke both legs and suffered wounds to his abdomen, arm and chest.

He enrolled last August at the Ivy League school, where an increasingly ugly battle is unfolding over the 42-year military ban there.

Click here to read more on Columbia's rude welcome for Anthony Maschek.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/02/20/wounded-iraq-vet-gets-heckled-columbia-university-speech/#ixzz1EcoXT4MR

angry


The student hecklers are probably very smug and satisfied about their antics. Sad and boorish behavior on their part.
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« Reply #3026 on: Feb 21st, 2011, 6:35pm »






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« Reply #3027 on: Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:05am »

New York Times

February 22, 2011
Scores Killed in New Zealand Earthquake
By MERAIAH FOLEY

SYDNEY, Australia — Rescue workers spent a cold, rainy night searching through rubble for survivors of a powerful earthquake that struck New Zealand’s second-largest city, Christchurch, on Tuesday, killing at least 65 people.

Photographs and video from Christchurch, a graceful 19th-century city of nearly 400,000 residents, showed people running through the streets, landslides pouring rocks and debris into suburban streets and extensive damage to buildings. Witnesses told of watching the spire of the iconic Christchurch Cathedral come crashing down during an aftershock. One witness called it “the most frightening thing of my entire life,” and television video showed a person clinging to a window in the cathedral’s steeple.

Officials warned that the death toll was likely to rise as scores of people were still missing and feared trapped in the wreckage of several buildings that were flattened by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake or the aftershocks still rocking the city.

“I think we need to prepare ourselves in this city for a death toll that could be significant,” Mayor Bob Parker told reporters shortly after declaring a state of emergency and ordering the evacuation of the city center. “It’s not going to be good news, and we need to steel ourselves to understand that.”

Hundreds of frightened residents crammed into temporary shelters. Mr. Parker warned residents to prepare for a night without electricity and running water. Food and drinking water were being brought into the city overnight, he said.

The rescue mission was further complicated by repeated strong aftershocks and wet, chilly conditions overnight.

Prime Minister John Key said the extent of the devastation was unknown, but that New Zealand had witnessed “its darkest day,” and one of its worst natural disasters.

“It’s an absolute tragedy for this city, for New Zealand, for the people that we care so much about,” he told TVNZ, the national television broadcaster. “People are just sitting on the side of the road, their heads in their hands. This is a community that is absolutely in agony.”

A number of makeshift triage centers and emergency clinics were set up across the city to handle the influx of injured people. Officials said the city’s largest medical facility, Christchurch Hospital, was bracing for multiple casualties. Some victims have been airlifted to hospitals outside the earthquake zone.

By Tuesday afternoon, officials said there were no ambulances available in the city, all were tied up with urgent calls. Video from the scene showed office workers loading their injured colleagues into station wagons and four-wheel drives because of the lack of emergency vehicles.

The Christchurch Airport was closed and said on its Web site that it would reopen Wednesday morning only for domestic flights.

Video from the scene by 3 News New Zealand showed emergency crews pulling shaken and injured victims from damaged buildings, including one four-story structure, the Pine Gould Guinness building, which was nearly flattened. The top three floors of the building, a 1960s-era structure, had collapsed as terrified workers huddled under desks. Video showed one woman clinging to the roof as emergency workers raised a crane to rescue her.

“There was a guy on the second floor who was buried up to his waist in concrete and stuff,” one man, who escaped the Pine Gould building, told 3 News. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

In another building, residents rappelled to safety from a broken window after the stairwell in their 17-story building collapsed.

Officials gave no clear estimates of how many people might have been trapped in rubble, and there were conflicting reports about the number missing in the chaos late Tuesday.

Some witnesses reported seeing people inside the Christchurch Cathedral when its spire collapsed, but it was not clear if anyone was killed. The Associated Press and other news outlets reported that up to 23 Japanese exchange students were trapped in their language school, which was located inside the devastated CTV building in downtown Christchurch.

The earthquake hit the country’s South Island just before 1 p.m. local time, and the United States Geological Survey said it was part of an aftershock sequence from a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that rocked the same area in September, but caused no casualties.

“There is more substantial damage to buildings than there was during the original earthquake,” the civil defense minister, John Carter, told reporters in the capital, Wellington. Tuesday’s tremor was centered about six miles from downtown Christchurch, and was only about three miles underground, possibly making it more destructive.

Though it was shorter in duration and lower in magnitude, many residents said the earthquake felt more violent than September’s.

Several news outlets reported extensive devastation to the nearby seaside town of Lyttelton, nearest the epicenter of the quake.

According to The Associated Press, the earthquake dislodged 30 million tons of ice from the Tasman Glacier in the Southern Alps that slide into a lake, creating waves up to 11-feet high.

The A.P. also reported that an American delegation of 43 government, business and community leaders in the city for a United States New Zealand Partnership Forum meeting were thought to be safe. It said that nine congressmen who attended the meeting had left the city before the disaster.

“The earthquake itself was quite violent, a lot of movement,” said Jason Tweedie, a 40-year-old Christchurch resident who was sitting in his four-wheel drive vehicle when the earthquake struck. “It felt like there were about 10 people shaking the side of it, all at once, it was so much force.”

The force of the earthquake pushed thousands of gallons of water and silt into the streets, Mr. Tweedie said, and in some places the road appeared to open up and swallow several cars in his beachside neighborhood of New Brighton.

Julian Sanderson was in his apartment on the first floor of an old brick movie theater when the walls and ceiling began to crumble around him.

“When it all stopped, I had to kick out the front door to get out,” Mr. Sanderson, 41, said by telephone, standing in front of his nearly collapsed building. “I used to work in that building making furniture, but everything has just changed. What we have now is the clothes that we’re wearing.”

Kevin Drew contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/world/asia/23zealand.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #3028 on: Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:06am »

New York Times

February 22, 2011
Israel Silent as Iranian Ships Transit Suez Canal
By ISABEL KERSHNER

JERUSALEM — Reports that two Iranian Navy ships were passing through the Suez Canal early on Tuesday, heading for the Mediterranean, were initially greeted with a tense silence in Israel where officials have described the move as a provocation.

The passage of the ships was expected to pass without incident. Although there was no immediate official response to the reports, an aide to Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, said by telephone on Tuesday that Israel was obviously not happy at the development. But he reiterated Mr. Barak’s view, expressed in an interview with Fox News last week, that while the move was unwelcome, it should not be blown out of proportion.

Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was the first to draw attention to Iranian plans to send warships through the canal for the first time in decades, telling an audience in Jerusalem last Wednesday that the ships were due to cross that night and warning that “the international community must understand that Israel cannot ignore these provocations forever.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel viewed the Iranian move “with utmost gravity.”

Referring to the turmoil that is sweeping the region, and that brought down the Mubarak regime in Egypt, Israel’s crucial ally over the past 30 years, Mr. Netanyahu said that Iran was trying “to exploit the situation that has been created in order to expand its influence by passing warships through the Suez Canal.”

This, like other developments, he added, underscored his argument that “Israel’s security needs will grow and the defense budget must grow accordingly.”

Israeli analysts said that the Iranians wanted to show a presence beyond their normal reach, making a point both to Israel and to the United States whose forces are stationed in the Gulf.

Israel has been careful not to point a finger publicly at the Egyptian authorities now in charge in Cairo, although the Egyptians had to give permission for the Iranian ships — a frigate and a supply vessel — to pass through the canal.

Citing a possible purpose for the ships’ movement, Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency reported on Jan. 26 that Iranian Navy cadets had been sent on a yearlong training mission to defend cargo ships and oil tankers against Somali pirates, Reuters reported. The Fars report said they would travel via the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea and on through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean.

Israel has long accused Iran and Syria of providing weapons to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite organization with which Israel fought a war in 2006. Israeli military officials said recently that Hezbollah has around 45,000 rockets and missiles buried underground that could be fired at Israel.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/world/middleeast/23suez.html?hp

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« Reply #3029 on: Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:10am »

New York Times

February 21, 2011
Shhh, and Not Because the Fauna Are Sleeping
By FELICITY BARRINGER

MUIR WOODS NATIONAL MONUMENT, Calif. — At times, deep within this vaulted chamber of redwoods, it is almost quiet enough to hear a banana slug slither by. For the National Park Service, that stillness is as vital a component of the site as the trees’ green needles, or the sudden darting rays of sunlight.

A decade after the agency resolved to restore natural sounds to this park in a metropolitan area of seven million people, managers at Muir Woods, in Marin Country just north of San Francisco, have made big strides in vanquishing intrusive noise. Now the background sounds are dominated by the burbling rush of Redwood Creek, the soft sibilant breeze that stirs the redwood branches, the croak of a crow.

Humans do contribute, too, but, with the exception of toddlers’ squeals, their voices tend to be pitched lower than usual.

The impact of noise on wildlife ranging from birds to whales to elk has been a growing focus of scientific study. Increasing evidence suggests that animals in natural settings modify their behavior, though sometimes only briefly, in response to human commotion.

In a 2009 article in Park Science, researchers explained that animals react to human intrusions as if they were suddenly being threatened by predators.

“These disturbances evoke antipredator behaviors and interfere with other activities that enhance fitness,” the article said, like foraging for food, mating and tending to the young. When such disturbances grow frequent, the researchers warned, “population consequences may result.”

By 2001 or so, Muir Woods had in fact long been abandoned by otters and piliated woodpeckers, and park managers had grown concerned that sightings of a pair of northern spotted owls, an endangered species, were becoming more and more infrequent.

There were other worries besides noise levels. An asphalt walkway was cramping the growth of the redwoods’ surprisingly shallow roots in some places, causing at least one tree to topple. And park visitors were straying from the path into the groves, compacting earth that was meant to be loose and harming the redwoods further.

But the noise question was the most vexing. The pathway could be altered, and was: in many places a slightly elevated boardwalk has replaced it. Visitors are firmly advised to stay on the paths. But the clatter and rumble of garbage can lids and maintenance vans remained.

Today, no Dumpsters or garbage cans are to be found along the trails. Maintenance vehicles powered by electricity glide by almost silently. Workers in emergency vehicles do not idle their engines while resolving whatever problem brought them to the park.

Once the diesel engines had been stilled, visitors began falling into line, heeding a subtle signal that human noises are superfluous here.

But some of the signals are hardly subtle: signs posted near Cathedral Grove in the heart of the park call for silence. Near the entrance to the food and gift shop close to the park’s entrance, a decibel meter measures the sound of a visitor’s voice.

“I could see myself crunching potato chips,” Chris Mueller, a New York City tourist interviewed in the woods, said, referring to the digital readout on the decibel meter.

“Out here it is very quiet,” Mr. Mueller added appreciatively. “The mumbling of the tourists and the babbling of the stream, it has a very calming sense to it.”

What is more, the nocturnal spotted owls have responded: Muir Woods now has two breeding pairs instead of one.

The decade-long campaign for quiet in national parks has been little heard or noticed. The park system provides considerable autonomy to the individual parks, and officials at some parks have worried about noise and taken stronger steps more than have others.

Karen Treviño, the chief of the natural sounds and night skies division of the National Park Service, a system that includes hundreds of parks, monuments and historical tracts, said the noise issues varied widely.

In the Florida Everglades, the rhythmic thudding of electrical generators has been stilled at a campground, and park officials are negotiating with operators of airboats, whose revved-up fans can sound like miniature jet engines, to see how their impact might be reduced. They have also approached officials at Homestead Air Force Base south of Miami about the timing of the sonic booms that shake the saw grass.

For about a decade now at Zion National Park in Utah, a shuttle bus service has replaced most private cars on the main loop at the heart of the canyon. And Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado has now ensured that some campground areas are generator-free and is weighing the best way to tackle motorcycle noise.

The progress at Muir Woods has been largely overshadowed by highly publicized noise battles between managers at the highest-profile parks and companies that pilot small planes and helicopters full of aerial sightseers.

This month, park managers at the Grand Canyon proposed requiring the operators to shift gradually to quieter aircraft, fly higher above the North Rim and refrain from flying at dawn and dusk. Yet Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, introduced legislation last week that could forestall the park’s plan.

The measure, in the form of an amendment, specifies that noise standards “shall be considered to be achieved in the park if, for at least 75 percent of each day, 50 percent of the park is free of sound produced by commercial air tour operations.”

Bill Hedden, the executive director of the Grant Canyon Trust, an Arizona environmental organization, denounced the McCain proposal. “This is an amendment that essentially gives the entire game away to the air tour operators,” Mr. Hedden said. “It redefines what constitutes natural quiet and lets them do any thing they want.”

Asked about the amendment, Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for the senator, warned that tighter regulation by the Park Service “could dramatically threaten tourism jobs and the tax base in Northern Arizona.”

“Senator McCain’s amendment would simply codify the existing definition of natural quiet that has been in place for the past 17 years,” Ms. Buchanan said.

Muir Woods has airplane noise, too — it is within 30 miles of the Oakland and San Francisco airports — but officials here do not worry much about tourist flights because the tree canopy masks the view from above. The park also contends with the whine of cars and especially motorcycles making their way up Mount Tamalpais on roads just above the park.

Before the park quieted its maintenance fleet and other staff-generated noises, managers at Muir Woods had conducted a yearlong inventory of all sounds, natural and otherwise, in four places in the park, said Mia Monroe, a park ranger. To her surprise, Ms. Monroe said, noise from the parking lot and gift shop “bled a quarter-mile into the forest.”

Administrators moved the parking lot about 100 yards farther from the entrance, eliminated the ice machine and installed the decibel meter.

The new concessionaire agreed to make coffee in a way that minimized the odor and to bake its scones and muffins in nearby Mill Valley rather than on site. “So when you walk in the forest, you smell the wonderful fresh air of the forest” — not blueberry scones, Ms. Monroe said.

Mr. Mueller, the New York tourist, savored the smells on his visit. “The scents are extraordinary,” he said. “There’s an intensity to the aromas one associates with dining. You can almost taste the air here, it’s that rich.”

Managers and rangers are careful nonetheless not to attribute specific improvements in the park’s wildlife directly to policy changes like the new boardwalk or sound management or elimination of some invasive weeds. “It’s very, very hard to say what do the peace and quiet, what does the boardwalk, what do any of these things relate to,” Ms. Monroe said. “We don’t know.”

Still, she noted, otters have returned after a 75-year hiatus, and chipmunks are on the rebound.

And if a tree falls in this forest, it is likely to be heard.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/science/earth/22sound.html?ref=us

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