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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 79159 times)
philliman
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« Reply #3300 on: Mar 13th, 2011, 2:05pm »

A Month Later, "Homeless Man with a Golden Voice" Is Abandoned by His Corporate Friends

In early January, a journalist in Ohio came across a homeless man possessed of a "golden radio voice." That man, as you probably know, was Ted Williams, and the journalist's video footage of him quickly became a hit on the internet and television. Williams got a makeover seemingly overnight, and soon he was doing voiceovers for Kraft products, appearing in TV ads, and fielding an announcing job offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. But then reality struck.

After getting into an altercation with his daughter, an altercation for which he was not arrested, Williams was pressured into going into rehab for alcohol addiction by TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw. He then left almost immediately, saying he felt rushed and that the process (i.e. being broadcast on Dr. Phil live from rehab) felt "scripted." Williams then checked himself into a sober living house for voiceover actors in Los Angeles, where he could come and go as he pleased, but where he still needed to submit to drug tests and promise to remain clean.

Eventually came word that Williams had long ago abandoned his nine children. And then The Smoking Gun released his rap sheet. Ultimately, it turned out that the man with the golden voice did not have such a golden history.

Alas, in the aftermath of his troubled second chance, Williams is still making minor appearances—the Los Angeles Times reports he was recently at a milkshake shop—but Kraft hasn't brought him back, his TV ads have been pulled, and the Cavaliers' job offer has been reneged. He's been abandoned almost as quickly as he was embraced, and for nothing more egregious than any other common celebrity infraction.

...

Read the rest here:
http://www.good.is/post/a-month-later-homeless-man-with-a-golden-voice-is-abandoned-by-his-corporate-friends/
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« Reply #3301 on: Mar 13th, 2011, 2:14pm »

Hey Phil!
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« Reply #3302 on: Mar 13th, 2011, 2:18pm »

Nate Phelps Speaks Out On Anti-Gay Westboro Baptist Church

By On Top Magazine Staff
Published: March 13, 2011


Nate Phelps, the son of Rev. Fred Phelps who helms the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church, has called his father a “sociopath.”

According to St. Louis-based gay weekly The Vital Voice, Nate spoke to a 500-person crowd on Thursday at Clayton High School.

“I think he's a sociopath,” Nate said of his father. “I think that he fits that based on his inability to empathize with others, his calculated cruelty, and by laughing at the harm he causes. I've seen that growing up with him.”

Many of Nate's 12 siblings remain in the Topeka, Kansas-based church known for coining the phrase “God hates fags” and picketing at the funerals of fallen soldiers, because their deaths are the price America pays for its acceptance of “the sin of homosexuality.”

Nate described how he escaped his father's home: “I knew I was going to do it when I turned 15 or so. I bought a car when I was 17 – hid it – no one knew it was mine. [I] packed my stuff up and at 11:30 on the night of my 18th birthday, I backed it into the driveway and loaded it up ad went inside. [I] waited for the clock to hit midnight and then I left.”

Nate now lives in Canada.

http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=7802&MediaType=1&Category=26

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« Reply #3303 on: Mar 13th, 2011, 3:04pm »

Japan Times

Global rescue teams arrive to lend hand
By MASAMI ITO
14 March 2011
Staff writer

Facing the chance that more than 10,000 people were dead in the wake of the deadly earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan, international rescue teams have been arriving to give assistance.

On Sunday morning, teams with search dogs arrived at Narita International Airport from Germany and Switzerland, bringing 41 members and three dogs from Germany and 27 workers and nine dogs from Switzerland. A 15-member Chinese emergency team, the first dispatched to Japan, and a team of 72 rescuers from the U.S. with search dogs arrived later in the day. "I am very grateful for the warm support of the international community," Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Saturday evening.

The Foreign Ministry said the German and Swiss groups will head to the city of Tome, Miyagi Prefecture, while the U.S. team is expected to head to Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture. The destinations are subject to change, depending on the situation at each place, the ministry said.

As of Sunday afternoon, 69 countries, regions and international organizations including Russia, France, the U.K., and the International Committee of the Red Cross have offered help. While there are many offers for international support, however, the disaster zones are still in a state of confusion and more coordination is needed before Japan can accept all aid offers, a government official said.

A team of 45 people from New Zealand, which was hit by a deadly quake last month in Christchurch where 15 Japanese remain missing, was to arrive later Sunday. Also due were 72 rescue workers and two dogs from Australia.

On Saturday evening, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd expressed his condolences over the many deaths and missing to his Japanese counterpart, Takeaki Matsumoto.

A team from Singapore that arrived Saturday is expected to go to the city of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, while a South Korean team is set to engage in rescue activities in Sendai.

Voice of Russia help

MOSCOW (Kyodo) Voice of Russia, the Russian government-run international radio station, said Saturday it will air a special program to convey messages from overseas residents facing difficulty contacting families and friends in Japan in the aftermath of Friday's earthquake.

The station will accept any messages in Japanese, English and Russian on a 24-hour telephone hotline and will deliver them in its Japanese-language program aired daily between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., as well as on its website pages, which feature a number of other Asian and European languages.

The phone number for the services is 7-495-9506484. The broadcaster is also accepting messages through e-mail at letters@ruvr.ru.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110314a5.html

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« Reply #3304 on: Mar 13th, 2011, 6:58pm »

The Hill

State Dept. spokesman stepping down after comments on alleged Wikileaks leaker
By Emily Goodin - 03/13/11 01:26 PM ET


State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley is stepping down under pressure from the White House regarding controvesial comments he made about the man accused of leaking secret cables to Wikileaks, according to a report.

Crowley will step down as early as Sunday afternoon, CNN reported, because administration officials were furious with his suggestion they are mistreating Army Private Bradley Manning, who is being held in solitary confinement in a military prison under suspicion he leaked classified State Department cables to the Wikileaks website.

Last week, before an audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Crowley was asked about allegations Manning is being tortured.

He responded the government's treatment of Manning is "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid," but added, "nonetheless Bradley Manning is in the right place," Crowley said, according to reports.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed Crowley departure in a release Sunday afternoon.

"It is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Philip J. Crowley as assistant secretary of state for public affairs. P.J. has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian. His service to country is motivated by a deep devotion to public policy and public diplomacy, and I wish him the very best," she said.

Crowley also issued a statement, in which he acknowledged his comments about Manning.

"My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership.

"The exercise of power in today's challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values. Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation," he said.

Michael Hammer, who came to the State Dept. from the National Security Council at the White House, will replace Crowley, according to a release.

Hammer's official title will be assistant secretary of state for public affairs and he must be confirmed by the Senate.

Crowley tweeted Sunday afternoon: "Mike Hammer will do a great job as my successor at State. He and I worked together 12 years ago on the NSC staff at the White House."

BBC reporter Philippa Thomas was in the audience at MIT for Crowley's speech last week and blogged about his comments, which caused a firestorm on the Internet.

President Obama was asked about them at his press conference on Friday.

He said he had asked the Pentagon Manning's confinement were "appropriate" and received assurances that it was.

"I can't go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety as well," Obama said.

Amnesty International has called Manning's treatment "unnecessarily harsh and punitive," and liberals have also questioned his treatment.

Manning is reportedly confined to a windowless cell for 23 hours a day at the military prison in Quantico, Va.,, is stripped down to his boxers at night and is not given pillows or blankets.

Defense officials claim he is on suicide watch and the procedures are for his safety.

Crowley is considered an expert on international relations and has long been a public face on foreign policy. His ties to the government date back to the Clinton administration, when he was spokesman for the National Security Council.

-- This post was last updated at 5:16 p.m.



http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/149161-state-dept-spokesman-out-because-of-comments-on-alleged-wikileaks-leaker

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« Reply #3305 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 08:58am »

New York Times

March 14, 2011
Second Explosion at Reactor as Technicians Try to Contain Damage
By HIROKO TABUCHI and MATTHEW L. WALD

TOKYO — The risk of partial meltdown at a stricken nuclear power plant in Japan increased on Monday as cooling systems failed at a third reactor, possibly exposing its fuel rods, only hours after a second explosion at a separate reactor blew the roof off a containment building.

The widening problems underscore the difficulties Japanese authorities are having in bringing several damaged reactors under control three days after a devastating earthquake and a tsunami hit Japan’s northeast coast and shut down the electricity that runs the crucial cooling systems for reactors.

Operators fear that if they cannot establish control, despite increasingly desperate measures to do so, the reactors could experience meltdowns, which would release catastrophic amounts of radiation.

It was unclear if radiation was released by Monday’s explosion, but a similar explosion at another reactor at the plant over the weekend did release radioactive material.

Live footage on public broadcaster NHK showed the skeletal remains of the reactor building and thick smoke rising from the building. Eleven people had been injured in the blast, one seriously, officials said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that the release of large amounts of radiation was unlikely. But traces of radiation could be released into the atmosphere, and about 500 people who remained within a 12-mile radius were ordered temporarily to take cover indoors, he said.

The country’s nuclear power watchdog said readings taken soon after the explosion showed no big change in radiation levels around the plant or any damage to the containment vessel, which protects the radioactive material in the reactor.

“I have received reports that the containment vessel is sound,” Mr. Edano said. “I understand that there is little possibility that radioactive materials are being released in large amounts.”

In screenings, higher-than-normal levels of radiation have been detected from at least 22 people evacuated from near the plant, the nuclear safety watchdog said, but it is not clear if the doses they received were dangerous.

Technicians had been scrambling most of Sunday to fix a mechanical failure that left the reactor far more vulnerable to explosions.

The two reactors where the explosions occurred are both presumed to have already suffered partial meltdowns — a dangerous situation that, if unchecked, could lead to a full meltdown.

Later Monday, Mr. Edano said cooling systems at a third reactor at Fukushia Daiichi had failed. The water level inside the reactor had fallen, exposing the fuel rods at its core despite emergency efforts to pump seawater into the reactor, he said.

“The pump ran out of fuel,” Mr. Edano said, “and the process of inserting water took longer than expected, so the fuel rods were exposed from the water for a while.”

Plant workers then renewed efforts to flood the reactor with seawater, and readings showed that some of the water had started to accumulate within the reactor, he said.

Exposure for too long a period of time can damage the fuel rods and raise the risk of overheating and possible meltdown.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy director-general at Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said workers were also battling rising pressure within the reactor. They have opened vents in the reactor’s containment vessel, which houses the fuel rods, a measure that could release small amounts of radiation, he said.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant and the Fukushima Daini power station, about 10 miles away, have been under a state of emergency.

On Monday morning, Tokyo Electric, which runs both plants, said it had restored the cooling systems at two of three reactors experiencing problems at Daini. That would leave a total of four reactors at the two plants with pumping difficulties.

“I’m not aware that we’ve ever had more than one reactor troubled at a time,” said Frank N. von Hippel, a physicist and professor at Princeton, explaining the difficulties faced by the Japanese.

“The whole country was focused on Three Mile Island,” he said, referring to the Pennsylvania nuclear plant accident in 1979. “Here you have Tokyo Electric Power and the Japanese regulators focusing on multiple plants at the same time.”“

In what was perhaps the clearest sign of the rising anxiety over the nuclear crisis, both the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Russian authorities issued statements on Sunday trying to allay fears, saying they did not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach their territory.

Late Sunday night, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Japan had added a third plant, Onagawa, to the list of those under a state of emergency because a low level of radioactive materials had been detected outside its walls. But on Monday morning, it quoted Japanese authorities as saying that the radioactivity levels at the Onagawa plant had returned to normal levels and that there appeared to be no leak there.

“The increased level may have been due to a release of radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant,” the agency said. The Onagawa and Daiichi plants are 75 miles apart. The operator of the Onagawa plant, Tohoku Electric Power, said that levels of radiation there were twice the allowed level, but that they did not pose health risks.

Soon after that announcement, Kyodo News reported that a plant about 75 miles north of Tokyo was having at least some cooling system problems. But a plant spokesman later said a backup pump was working.

The government was testing people who lived near the Daiichi plant, with local officials saying that about 170 residents had probably been exposed. The government earlier said that three workers had radiation illness, but Tokyo Electric said Monday that only one worker was ill.

The problems at Fukushima Daiichi appeared to be the most serious involving a nuclear plant since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. A partial meltdown can occur when radioactive fuel rods, which normally are under in water, remain partially uncovered for too long. The longer the fuel is exposed, the closer the reactor comes to a full meltdown.

Technicians are essentially fighting for time while heat generation in the fuel gradually declines, trying to keep the rods covered despite a breakdown in the normal cooling system, which runs off the electrical grid. Since that was knocked out in the earthquake, and diesel generators later failed — possibly because of the tsunami — the operators have used a makeshift system for keeping cool water on the fuel rods.

Now, they pump in new water, let it boil and then vent it to the atmosphere, releasing some radioactive material. But they are having difficulty even with that, and have sometimes allowed the water levels to drop too low, exposing the fuel to steam and air, with resulting fuel damage.

On Sunday, Japanese nuclear officials said operators at the plant had suffered a setback trying to bring one of the reactors under control when a valve malfunction stopped the flow of water and left fuel rods partially uncovered. The delay raised pressure at the reactor.

At a late night news conference, officials at Tokyo Electric Power said that the valve had been fixed, but that water levels had not yet begun rising.


Hiroko Tabuchi reported from Tokyo and Matthew L. Wald from Washington. Michael Wines contributed reporting from Koriyama, Japan, and Ellen Barry from Moscow.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/world/asia/15nuclear.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #3306 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 09:00am »

New York Times

March 14, 2011
Renault Security Official Arrested in Espionage Case
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Prosecutors in Paris said Monday that a member of Renault’s internal security service had been arrested and accused of inventing claims of industrial espionage against the carmaker that drew nationwide attention.

The prosecutors said preliminary charges for “organized fraud” have been filed against the Renault employee.

Bloomberg News reported that Renault had called an emergency board meeting to discuss the case.

The security agent, whose name was not released, has been placed in detention pending further investigation. The agent was detained at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport as he tried to board a flight for Africa.

Renault had suspended three executives and filed a criminal complaint in January after saying the men had been caught trying to sell its electric car secrets overseas.

All three — Michel Balthazard, a member of the management committee; Bertrand Rochette, Mr. Balthazard’s assistant; and Matthieu Tenenbaum, a former deputy director of the electric car program — had maintained their innocence.

After investigators could not verify the original claims, their focus shifted to a possible scam. Renault’s chief operating officer, Patrick Pélata, told the French daily Le Figaro last week that “a certain number of factors lead us to doubt” the previous assertions.

At issue was the evidence on which the charges were based. The Swiss and Liechtenstein bank accounts the men were charged with creating to channel their payments for spying have not been found, even though a secret source had supposedly provided detailed information.

Adding to the mystery, Renault’s own security officials, who — with the aid of a contact in Algeria — had carried out the company’s internal investigation after the men were anonymously denounced, have refused to divulge to either French intelligence or the company their source for the account data.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/business/global/15renault.html?ref=business

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« Reply #3307 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 09:04am »

Telegraph

Hacker group Anonymous releases 'Bank of America emails'

A group called Anonymous has released material relating to mortgages issued by a major US bank.

7:22AM GMT 14 Mar 2011

The leak was apparently made by a former employee of Balboa Insurance, a subsidiary of Bank of America which provides mortgage and car insurance for banks and home insurance for consumers.

He describes how major insurance lenders outsource the tracking of loans to companies like Balboa, and makes allegations that fraud took place.

However, the claims do not appear to be supported by the emails released so far.

The apparent leak contains personal emails, screen shots and statements from the former employee, who says he worked for the company for seven years.

But much of the information posted online appeared to have been rapidly removed, with many links leading to blank pages.

The leaks were announced on Twitter by a user called OperationLeakS.

Ahead of the publication of the documents, a Bank of America spokesman said they were stolen by a former Balboa Insurance employee.

"We are confident that his extravagant assertions are untrue," the spokesman said.

Bank of America was not immediately available for further comment.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8379992/Hacker-group-Anonymous-releases-Bank-of-America-emails.html

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« Reply #3308 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 09:11am »

Wired

March 14, 1879: Mr. Big
By Tony Long
March 14, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 19th century, People, Physics


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1879: Albert Einstein is born in Ulm, Germany.

Perhaps the greatest physicist of all time, Einstein is most widely remembered for his theory of relativity (which contains the formula for mass-energy equivalence, E=mc², a visual flourish every bit as iconic as Beethoven’s “dum-dum-dum-DUUUM”). Talk about the tip of the iceberg.

Despite early speech difficulties, it was apparent to everyone that young Albert was more than your basic precocious kid. By the age of 12, he had mastered Euclidean geometry, moved on to calculus and possessed a solid grasp of deductive reasoning.

Still in his teens, Einstein wrote his first scientific paper, “The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields.” He got cocky and decided to skip the rest of high school. Still 16, he attempted to enroll in the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, but failed the entrance exam. He was forced to return to high school, graduating the following year.

He also renounced his German citizenship in order to avoid military service. (He did, however, help develop a gyroscope for use in German U-boats during World War I.) He reacquired his citizenship after accepting a professorship in Germany, then renounced it again after the Nazis came to power.

Einstein was working at the patent office in Bern, Switzerland, when he published his so-called Annus Mirabilis Papers, which only helped establish the foundation of modern physics by changing long-held views on space, time and matter.

From 1907 on, Einstein was developing his theory of general relativity http://archive.ncsa.uiuc.edu/Cyberia/NumRel/GenRelativity.html
which posits that gravitation is not determined by force but is instead a manifestation of curved space and time. (Follow that link if you want to read more on the subject from people who actually understand it.)

Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work in theoretical physics.

Beyond science, though, Einstein was also a political man — and a paradox. He was a nonpious Jew who embraced a Spinozan view of God, yet became a passionate Zionist who worked tirelessly for a Jewish homeland. He loathed Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, as he loathed all authority, yet enlisted in many communist-inspired organizations, partly because of his equal disdain for capitalism. He helped develop the atomic bomb, then — after Hiroshima and Nagasaki — became an outspoken opponent of nuclear weapons.

After coming to the United States, Einstein denounced McCarthyism and racism with the same fervor that he criticized the Europeans for their various transgressions.

For all of those reasons, and perhaps in spite of a few of them, at the close of the 20th century Einstein was selected as Time magazine’s Person of the Century.

His birthday is Pi Day: 3.14.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/03/0314albert-einstein-born-1879/

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« Reply #3309 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 09:17am »

Wired

Sperm Whales May Have Names
By Brandon Keim
March 14, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Animals


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Image: NOAA. Audio: Luke Rendell.


Subtle variations in sperm-whale calls suggest that individuals announce themselves with discrete personal identifier. To put it another way, they might have names.

The findings are preliminary, based on observations of just three whales, so talk of names is still speculation. But “it’s very suggestive,” said biologist Luke Rendell of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews. “They seem to make that coda in a way that’s individually distinctive.”

Rendell and his collaborators, including biologists Hal Whitehead, Shane Gero and Tyler Schulz, have for years studied the click sequences, or codas, used by sperm whales to communicate across miles of deep ocean. In a study published last June in Marine Mammal Sciences, they described a sound-analysis technique:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/06/whale-talk/
that linked recorded codas to individual members of a whale family living in the Caribbean.

In that study, they focused on a coda made only by Caribbean sperm whales. It appears to signify group membership. In the latest study, published Feb. 10 in Animal Behavior, they analyzed a coda made by sperm whales around the world. Called 5R, it’s composed of five consecutive clicks, and superficially appears to be identical in each whale. Analyzed closely, however, variations in click timing emerge. Each of the researchers’ whales had its own personal 5R riff.

The differences were significant. The sonic variations that were used to distinguish between individuals in the earlier study depended on a listener’s physical relationship to the caller: “If you record the animal from the side, you get a different structure than dead ahead or behind,” said Rendell. But these 5R variations held true regardless of listener position.

“In terms of information transfer, the timing of the clicks is much less susceptible” to interference, said Rendell. “There is no doubt in my mind that the animals can tell the difference between the timing of individuals.” Moreover, 5R tends to be made at the beginning of each coda string as if, like old-time telegraph operators clicking out a call sign, they were identifying themselves. Said Rendell, “It may function to let the animals know which individual is vocalizing.”

Rendell stressed that much more research is needed to be sure of 5R’s function. “We could have just observed a freak occurrence,” he said. Future research will involve more recordings. “This is just the first glimpse of what might be going on.”

That individual whales would have means of identifying themselves does, however, make sense. Dolphins have already been shown to have individual, identifying whistles. Like them, sperm whales are highly social animals who maintain complex relationships over long distances, coordinating hunts and cooperating to raise one another’s calves.

Sperm-whale coda repertoires can contain dozens of different calls, which vary in use among families and regions, as do patterns of behavior. At a neurological level, their brains display many of the features associated in humans with sophisticated cognition. Many researchers think that sperm whales and other cetacean species should be considered “non-human persons,” comparable at least to chimpanzees and other great apes.

Compared to primates, however, studying the behaviors and relationships of whales is extremely difficult. They don’t take well to aquariums, and observations in the wild take place on their aquatic terms.

What’s been observed so far are just “the crude behavioral measures we get by following them in a boat,” said Rendell. “I’d argue that there is probably a vast amount of complexity out there in sperm whale society that we have yet to understand. As we get to know more about them, we’re going to continue to reveal complexities that we didn’t anticipate.”

Audio: From a 2008 study: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/sperm-whale-names/Overlapping%20and%20matching%20of%20codas%20in%20vocal%20interactions%20between
of overlapping codas in pairs of sperm whales. One animal produces 1+1+3, the apparent group-level identifier. Both then produce overlapping 4R codas. After that, the first whale continues with 4R, while the other switches to 1+1+3. Finally, both make 1+1+3. The full meaning of such exchanges remains unclear, but they appear to reinforce social bonding.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/sperm-whale-names/

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« Reply #3310 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 11:41am »

on Mar 14th, 2011, 09:17am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Wired

Sperm Whales May Have Names
By Brandon Keim
March 14, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Animals


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Image: NOAA. Audio: Luke Rendell.


Subtle variations in sperm-whale calls suggest that individuals announce themselves with discrete personal identifier. To put it another way, they might have names.

The findings are preliminary, based on observations of just three whales, so talk of names is still speculation. But “it’s very suggestive,” said biologist Luke Rendell of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews. “They seem to make that coda in a way that’s individually distinctive.”

Rendell and his collaborators, including biologists Hal Whitehead, Shane Gero and Tyler Schulz, have for years studied the click sequences, or codas, used by sperm whales to communicate across miles of deep ocean. In a study published last June in Marine Mammal Sciences, they described a sound-analysis technique:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/06/whale-talk/
that linked recorded codas to individual members of a whale family living in the Caribbean.

In that study, they focused on a coda made only by Caribbean sperm whales. It appears to signify group membership. In the latest study, published Feb. 10 in Animal Behavior, they analyzed a coda made by sperm whales around the world. Called 5R, it’s composed of five consecutive clicks, and superficially appears to be identical in each whale. Analyzed closely, however, variations in click timing emerge. Each of the researchers’ whales had its own personal 5R riff.

The differences were significant. The sonic variations that were used to distinguish between individuals in the earlier study depended on a listener’s physical relationship to the caller: “If you record the animal from the side, you get a different structure than dead ahead or behind,” said Rendell. But these 5R variations held true regardless of listener position.

“In terms of information transfer, the timing of the clicks is much less susceptible” to interference, said Rendell. “There is no doubt in my mind that the animals can tell the difference between the timing of individuals.” Moreover, 5R tends to be made at the beginning of each coda string as if, like old-time telegraph operators clicking out a call sign, they were identifying themselves. Said Rendell, “It may function to let the animals know which individual is vocalizing.”

Rendell stressed that much more research is needed to be sure of 5R’s function. “We could have just observed a freak occurrence,” he said. Future research will involve more recordings. “This is just the first glimpse of what might be going on.”

That individual whales would have means of identifying themselves does, however, make sense. Dolphins have already been shown to have individual, identifying whistles. Like them, sperm whales are highly social animals who maintain complex relationships over long distances, coordinating hunts and cooperating to raise one another’s calves.

Sperm-whale coda repertoires can contain dozens of different calls, which vary in use among families and regions, as do patterns of behavior. At a neurological level, their brains display many of the features associated in humans with sophisticated cognition. Many researchers think that sperm whales and other cetacean species should be considered “non-human persons,” comparable at least to chimpanzees and other great apes.

Compared to primates, however, studying the behaviors and relationships of whales is extremely difficult. They don’t take well to aquariums, and observations in the wild take place on their aquatic terms.

What’s been observed so far are just “the crude behavioral measures we get by following them in a boat,” said Rendell. “I’d argue that there is probably a vast amount of complexity out there in sperm whale society that we have yet to understand. As we get to know more about them, we’re going to continue to reveal complexities that we didn’t anticipate.”

Audio: From a 2008 study: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/sperm-whale-names/Overlapping%20and%20matching%20of%20codas%20in%20vocal%20interactions%20between
of overlapping codas in pairs of sperm whales. One animal produces 1+1+3, the apparent group-level identifier. Both then produce overlapping 4R codas. After that, the first whale continues with 4R, while the other switches to 1+1+3. Finally, both make 1+1+3. The full meaning of such exchanges remains unclear, but they appear to reinforce social bonding.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/sperm-whale-names/

Crystal


And here's me thinking right up to this very moment that only us humans give names to our children and all animals! Wow...those whales must be SMART!!!

I'm reeling with this line of scientific research, shocked/emotional actually.

Thanks for posting it, Crystal.


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« Reply #3311 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 12:06pm »

Hi Purr,

I was gobsmacked when I read this. I looked at my dog Haley and thought, "I wonder what she calls me?" grin

Seriously it's amazing. Glad you enjoyed it Purr.

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« Reply #3312 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 12:10pm »

Wired Danger Room

Despite Contamination, Navy Copters Keep Aiding Japan
By Spencer Ackerman
March 14, 2011 | 8:19 am
Categories: Navy







As the world braced for a possible core meltdown in Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the U.S. Navy kept its helicopters flying to provide earthquake and tsunami relief.

The Navy’s Pacific-based 7th Fleet announced on its Facebook page that the aircraft carrier in position, the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, had been moved slightly away from the Fukushima Daiichi plant after finding low-level radioactive contamination “in the air and on its aircraft operating in the area.” But the Navy said that operations to provide disaster relief had already resumed north of Sendai.

Most important to those relief efforts: helicopters. As depicted in the video above, released by the Navy on Sunday, Navy helicopters like the Reagan’s SH-60 Seahawks are delivering “water, blankets and food” and scouring the stricken areas for survivors. Ten operations already launched today, despite the repositioning.

And it was the copter crews that flew into the “low-level” radiation areas. According to The New York Times, the helicopters were 60 miles from the plant, “suggesting widening environmental contamination.”

The contamination may be spreading. But so is the Navy’s assistance role in the relief effort. The 7th Fleet said it expects the U.S.S. Tortuga to arrive on Tuesday at the eastern coast of Hokkaido, carrying two heavy-lift MH-53 helicopters. It’ll pick up Japanese troops and vehicles and send them on to Aomori, in northern Honshu. Four more ships are expected to arrive starting on Wednesday: the Blue Ridge, the Essex, the Harpers Ferry and the Germantown.

Retired Capt. Jan van Tol, who commanded the Essex during the 2005 tsunami relief missions in Indonesia, explained that heavy-lift helicopters are needed “given the likely damage to coastal transportation infrastructure and the rugged Japanese terrain.” He told Politico, “Essex is on her way up from Malaysia (means a week away…), and other big decks will no doubt be assigned. They’re the real assets for this given their heavy helo lift capacity, though the carriers will no doubt get the headlines with their SH-60s. Remember that operating the heavy helos is not merely a matter of the deck space (of which the CVNs obviously have a lot more), but also of the aircraft maintenance capability needed to keep the helos operating (and I expect they’ll be worked very heavily).”

The enormous human and environmental damage of Friday’s quake and tsunami have yet to be fully tallied. But as of Monday, the Japan Meteorological Agency registered at least three aftershocks greater than magnitude 7.0 and some 44 aftershocks greater than 6.0.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/03/despite-contamination-navy-copters-keep-aiding-japan/

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« Reply #3313 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 2:34pm »

Daily Mail

Miracle of the baby girl plucked from the rubble: Four-month-old reunited with her father after incredible rescue

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:56 PM on 14th March 2011


For days, he must have feared his baby girl was dead.
Helpless in the rubble following the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the baby girl had survived for three days in the remains of the city of Ishinomaki in the state of Miyagi.
Against the odds, the four-month old was rescued apparently safe and unharmed after being spotted a member of Japan's Self-Defense Force.


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Joy: The member of Japan's Self-Defense Force member holds the four-month-old baby girl in Ishinomaki, northern Japan after her rescue.


But today, the joyful reunion of father and daughter was interrupted by another tsunami warning.
Amid sirens and the fear of further devastation, the fear on his face is clear to see, as he tries to flee to safety.


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Upon hearing another tsunami warning, a father tries to flee to safety with the baby girl he has just been reunited with.


The country has been hit by more than 100 aftershocks since Friday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake, with experts warning a second huge quake - almost as powerful as the first - could hit the country, triggering another tsunami.

Thousands of people have been killed, and some 180,000 have been evacuated from an area surrounding an unsafe nuclear power plant, which became unstable in the disaster.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1366155/Japan-earthquake-survivor-reunited-baby-daughter--tsunami-warning-sounds.html

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« Reply #3314 on: Mar 14th, 2011, 3:56pm »

Wired Science

North America Safe From Radioactive Particles
By Brandon Keim
March 14, 2011 | 1:29 pm
Categories: Energy, Environment



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Image: Atmospheric simulation for radioactive particles released March 11. The blue represents particles released about
300 feet into the air, and red about 1,000 feet. The black star is the location of the Fukushima Daiichi plant./Jeff Masters and NOAA.




Radioactive particles from the failing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station pose little immediate risk to North America, and should fall into the Pacific before reaching western shores.

Using a publicly available modeling system for airborne pollutants developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters has modeled the spread of radioactive plumes. So far, the “great majority of these runs” have seen the plumes float over the Pacific, reaching eastern Siberia and the western coast of North America in about a week.

“Such a long time spent over water will mean that the vast majority of the radioactive particles will settle out of the atmosphere or get caught up in precipitation and rained out,” wrote Masters. “It is highly unlikely that any radiation capable of causing harm to people will be left in the atmosphere after seven days and 2000-plus miles of travel distance.”

A press release issued March 13 by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission echoed Masters’ speculation. “Given the thousands of miles between the two countries, Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity,” (pdf) they announced.

The March 11 earthquake disrupted cooling systems that pump fresh water onto fuel rods inside the plant’s reactors. Even when reactors are shut down, the rods continue to produce heat. Without cooling, the rods could melt, releasing radioactive steam inside. (See Nature.com’s Great Beyond blog for an excellent anatomy of the disaster.)

Repair crews are now using fire pumps to flood the plant’s reactors with seawater. It’s a touch-and-go process, however, and steam buildup produced explosions on Saturday and again Monday morning. A partial meltdown is now taking place. A full meltdown is possible but unlikely. In the meantime, steam from the reactors will send radioactive particles airborne.

According to the Pentagon, soldiers aboard the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, now sailing the Pacific, were exposed to a month’s worth of radiation in one hour from particles blown out to sea. Winds over Japan blew east across the Pacific last week, and are expected to do so for the next week.

Masters noted that the Chernobyl disaster failed to spread “significant contamination” beyond 1,000 miles, and that disaster was far worse than Fukushima Daiichi has been. This release could, however, continue for months, until the fuel rods have completely spent themselves.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/03/nuke-fallout-risk/

Crystal
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