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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 49062 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #3345 on: Mar 16th, 2011, 09:28am »

Wired Danger Room

U.S. Drones Are Now Sniffing Mexican Drugs
By Spencer Ackerman
March 16, 2011 | 8:48 am
Categories: Drones


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Photo: U.S. Air Force


Next, the narcocorridos will sing about the pilotless planes above the heads of their patrons.

It used to be that the Department of Homeland Security flew drones over the U.S.-Mexican border to keep watch for illegal immigrants. That proliferation of military technology to a civilian mission isn’t without its share of malfunctions: not only did the communications systems occasionally fritz out, but on at least one occasion, a small drone — the property of the Mexican government — crashed into an El Paso backyard. But now the drones are taking on a new mission: hunting drug gangs in Mexico.

According to a previously undisclosed agreement between President Obama and his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, the Pentagon is authorized to fly unmanned surveillance flights over Mexico, a big expansion of U.S.-Mexico information sharing on counternarcotics. One of drones used for the mission is the Air Force’s Global Hawk, reports the New York Times, soaring at up to 60,000 feet with a multitude of sensors. (Calm down, it’s unarmed.)

It’s not known how many flights the Global Hawk has made above Mexico. But the Times reports that the drones helped catch the killers of Jaime Zapata, one of two special agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service shot and killed on the road between Mexico City and Monterrey.

The drone flights are part of an expansion of U.S.-Mexican anti-drug cooperation that’s risen to match the furious violence brought by the drug cartels. (Violence, the Mexican government is quick to point out, that relies on trafficked American guns.) In the heart of Mexico City, at 265 Paseo de la Reforma, an office building is stacked with U.S. intelligence, law enforcement and military officials from the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and many other agencies.

According to the Times, a second “fusion center” to merge U.S. and Mexican intel will soon open. It’s not clear if that center, the previous one, or a different facility receives data swooped up by the Global Hawks. Nor is it clear what role if any the Mexican government plays in directing the drone flights. An anonymous U.S. official quoted by the Times’ Ginger Thompson and Mark Mazzetti merely assures, “counternarcotics activities [are] conducted at the request and direction of the Mexican government.”

Still, welcome to yet another civilian mission for the drones. A much smaller unmanned spy vehicle, colloquially known as the Flying Beer Keg, is now in the hands of Miami-Dade police (who, it should be noted, also hunt for drugs, if Rick Ross is to be believed.) And while the Department of Homeland Security isn’t so enthusiastic about using drones for bomb detection inside the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration is slowly warming to the idea of remotely piloted planes inside U.S. airspace. There are also Global Hawks flying in support of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

No wonder Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Air Force that the era of the drone will outlast the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Terrorists and insurgents have already had to make adjustments to the drones hunting them overhead. Now it’s the cartel’s turn.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/03/u-s-drones-are-now-sniffing-mexican-drugs/#more-42549

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« Reply #3346 on: Mar 16th, 2011, 11:58am »

Science Daily

Large Hadron Collider Could Be World's First Time Machine, Researchers' Theory Suggests

ScienceDaily (Mar. 15, 2011)

If the latest theory of Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho is right, the Large Hadron Collider --
the world's largest atom smasher that started regular operation last year --
could be the first machine capable of causing matter to travel backwards in time.


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Illustration of singlet time travel theory. When a pair of protons collide in the Large Hadron Collider,
the resultant explosion may create a special type of particle,
called a Higgs singlet, that is capable of traveling forward and back in time.
It would do so by leaving familiar three-dimensional space to travel in an extra dimension.
(Credit: Jenni Ohnstad / Vanderbilt)




"Our theory is a long shot," admitted Weiler, who is a physics professor at Vanderbilt University, "but it doesn't violate any laws of physics or experimental constraints."

One of the major goals of the collider is to find the elusive Higgs boson: the particle that physicists invoke to explain why particles like protons, neutrons and electrons have mass. If the collider succeeds in producing the Higgs boson, some scientists predict that it will create a second particle, called the Higgs singlet, at the same time.

According to Weiler and Ho's theory, these singlets should have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past.

"One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes," Weiler said. "Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example. However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future."

Unsticking the "brane"

The test of the researchers' theory will be whether the physicists monitoring the collider begin seeing Higgs singlet particles and their decay products spontaneously appearing. If they do, Weiler and Ho believe that they will have been produced by particles that travel back in time to appear before the collisions that produced them.

Weiler and Ho's theory is based on M-theory, a "theory of everything." A small cadre of theoretical physicists have developed M-theory to the point that it can accommodate the properties of all the known subatomic particles and forces, including gravity, but it requires 10 or 11 dimensions instead of our familiar four. This has led to the suggestion that our universe may be like a four-dimensional membrane or "brane" floating in a multi-dimensional space-time called the "bulk."

According to this view, the basic building blocks of our universe are permanently stuck to the brane and so cannot travel in other dimensions. There are some exceptions, however. Some argue that gravity, for example, is weaker than other fundamental forces because it diffuses into other dimensions. Another possible exception is the proposed Higgs singlet, which responds to gravity but not to any of the other basic forces.

Answers in neutrinos?

Weiler began looking at time travel six years ago to explain anomalies that had been observed in several experiments with neutrinos. Neutrinos are nicknamed ghost particles because they react so rarely with ordinary matter: Trillions of neutrinos hit our bodies every second, yet we don't notice them because they zip through without affecting us.

Weiler and colleagues Heinrich Päs and Sandip Pakvasa at the University of Hawaii came up with an explanation of the anomalies based on the existence of a hypothetical particle called the sterile neutrino. In theory, sterile neutrinos are even less detectable than regular neutrinos because they interact only with gravitational force. As a result, sterile neutrinos are another particle that is not attached to the brane and so should be capable of traveling through extra dimensions.

Weiler, Päs and Pakvasa proposed that sterile neutrinos travel faster than light by taking shortcuts through extra dimensions. According to Einstein's general theory of relativity, there are certain conditions where traveling faster than the speed of light is equivalent to traveling backward in time. This led the physicists into the speculative realm of time travel.

Ideas impact science fiction

In 2007, the researchers, along with Vanderbilt graduate fellow James Dent, posted a paper titled "Neutrino time travel" that generated a considerable amount of buzz.

Their ideas found their way into two science fiction novels. Final Theory by Mark Alpert, which was described in the New York Times as a "physics-based version of The Da Vinci Code," is based on the researchers' idea of neutrinos taking shortcuts in extra dimensions. Joe Haldeman's novel The Accidental Time Machine is about a time-traveling MIT graduate student and includes an author's note that describes the novel's relationship to the type of time travel described by Dent, Päs, Pakvasa and Weiler.

Ho is a graduate fellow working with Weiler. Their theory is described in a paper posted March 7 on the research website http://arxiv.org/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315163330.htm

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« Reply #3347 on: Mar 16th, 2011, 2:29pm »

grin

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« Reply #3348 on: Mar 16th, 2011, 4:27pm »

Wired Autopia

Smart Catches Saturday Night Fever
By Keith Barry
March 16, 2011 | 1:31 pm
Categories: Autopia WTF? Dept., Design



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What’s small, round, covered in mirrors and usually moving very slowly? Why, a Smart Electric Drive glittered up like a disco ball, of course.

Completely covered in mirrored glass from roof to hubcaps, the disco Smart even has mirror-finish window glass. In addition to dangerously reflecting sunlight into the windshields of oncoming motorists, pedestrians can use the mirrored surfaces to make sure their mustaches and medallions don’t clash with their wide lapels and abundant chest hair.

Curiously, the Smart has nothing to do with disco. It wasn’t commissioned by the Bee Gees or Tavares, and we know Disco Stu doesn’t advertise. The car is actually a prop for art-rockers Apparatjik, a high-concept supergroup consisting of a-ha’s Magne Furuholmen, Coldplay’s Guy Berryman, Jonas Bjerre of Mew and producer Martin Terefe. The Smart will glitter on the screen in a movie called Pixel City, filmed — of course — in Berlin.

We have no idea how a car covered in shards of glass passes European pedestrian-safety regulations, but assume Euro-NCAP must have a clause for artistic license.

Photos: Smart

http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/03/smart-catches-saturday-night-fever/

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« Reply #3349 on: Mar 16th, 2011, 5:20pm »

NASA’s All Sky Fireball Network


Intro: The NASA All-sky Fireball Network is a network of cameras set up by the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) with the goal of observing meteors brighter than the planet Venus, which are called fireballs. The collected data will be used by the MEO in constructing models of the meteoroid environment, which are important to spacecraft designers.

This website displays fireball data in the form of images, movies, diagrams, and text files. The data is organized by date.

Click on a date in the list on the left to see the fireballs detected that night. If the page appears blank that means no fireballs were detected, probably because of bad weather.

The website is automatically updated every morning at 8:00 am Central Time. Only the last 3 weeks of data is available online.

http://fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov/
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« Reply #3350 on: Mar 16th, 2011, 5:48pm »

on Mar 16th, 2011, 5:20pm, Swamprat wrote:
NASA’s All Sky Fireball Network


Intro: The NASA All-sky Fireball Network is a network of cameras set up by the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office (MEO) with the goal of observing meteors brighter than the planet Venus, which are called fireballs. The collected data will be used by the MEO in constructing models of the meteoroid environment, which are important to spacecraft designers.

This website displays fireball data in the form of images, movies, diagrams, and text files. The data is organized by date.

Click on a date in the list on the left to see the fireballs detected that night. If the page appears blank that means no fireballs were detected, probably because of bad weather.

The website is automatically updated every morning at 8:00 am Central Time. Only the last 3 weeks of data is available online.

http://fireballs.ndc.nasa.gov/


Thanks Swamp!

Speaking of fireballs:




Uploaded by MOREseeingUFOsPA on Mar 15, 2011

Reupload from HACKED main channel: seeingUFOsPA


~

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« Reply #3351 on: Mar 16th, 2011, 7:36pm »





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« Reply #3352 on: Mar 16th, 2011, 7:47pm »

ScienceDaily

Naval Sonar Exercises Linked to Whale Strandings, According to New Report


ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2011) — Scientists have long been aware of a link between naval sonar exercises and unusual mass strandings of beaked whales. Evidence of such a link triggered a series of lawsuits in which environmental groups sued the U.S. Navy to limit sonar exercises to reduce risk to whales.

In 2008, this conflict rose to the level of the US Supreme Court which had to balance potential threat to whales from sonar against the military risk posed by naval forces inadequately trained to use sonar to detect enemy submarines. The court ruled that the Navy could continue training, but that it was essential for the Navy to develop better methods to protect the whales.

The knowledge most critical to protecting these whales from risk of sonar involves measuring the threshold between safe and risky exposure levels, but until now it has not been known how beaked whales respond to sonar, much less the levels that pose a problem. "We know so little about beaked whales because they prefer deep waters far offshore, where they can dive on one breath of air to depths of over a mile for up to an hour and a half," said Peter Tyack, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Now, an international team of researchers reports in a paper led by Tyack the first data on how beaked whales respond to naval sonar exercises. Their results suggest that sonar indeed affects the behavior and movement of whales.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316153133.htm
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« Reply #3353 on: Mar 17th, 2011, 08:41am »

on Mar 16th, 2011, 7:47pm, Swamprat wrote:
ScienceDaily

Naval Sonar Exercises Linked to Whale Strandings, According to New Report


ScienceDaily (Mar. 16, 2011) — Scientists have long been aware of a link between naval sonar exercises and unusual mass strandings of beaked whales. Evidence of such a link triggered a series of lawsuits in which environmental groups sued the U.S. Navy to limit sonar exercises to reduce risk to whales.

In 2008, this conflict rose to the level of the US Supreme Court which had to balance potential threat to whales from sonar against the military risk posed by naval forces inadequately trained to use sonar to detect enemy submarines. The court ruled that the Navy could continue training, but that it was essential for the Navy to develop better methods to protect the whales.

The knowledge most critical to protecting these whales from risk of sonar involves measuring the threshold between safe and risky exposure levels, but until now it has not been known how beaked whales respond to sonar, much less the levels that pose a problem. "We know so little about beaked whales because they prefer deep waters far offshore, where they can dive on one breath of air to depths of over a mile for up to an hour and a half," said Peter Tyack, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Now, an international team of researchers reports in a paper led by Tyack the first data on how beaked whales respond to naval sonar exercises. Their results suggest that sonar indeed affects the behavior and movement of whales.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316153133.htm


Good mornin' Swamp!
I hope you are having a good day so far.
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« Reply #3354 on: Mar 17th, 2011, 08:45am »

New York Times

March 16, 2011
Long Pause for Japanese Industry Raises Concerns About Supply Chain
By DAVID JOLLY

TOKYO — Japan’s vaunted “just in time” approach to business has become “wait and see.”

Much of Japan’s industry seemed to remain in a state of suspension Wednesday, as the devastation from an earthquake and tsunami, combined with fear and uncertainty over the nuclear calamity, made it difficult for corporate Japan to think about business as usual.

And that has left many overseas customers and trading partners in something of an information vacuum, unsure how soon the effects of any supply-chain disruptions would make themselves felt — and how long they might last.

Even General Motors, a company that might seem to benefit from disruptions to Japan’s auto industry, finds itself in a period of watchful waiting. For one thing, the new Chevrolet Volt plug-in-hybrid from G.M. — whose sales could conceivably benefit from any production snags in Toyota’s popular made-in-Japan Prius — depends on a transmission from Japan.

Mark L. Reuss, G.M.’s president for North American operations, said Wednesday that he did not yet know whether his company could count on an uninterrupted flow of that Volt component from Japan.

“We just don’t know from a supply standpoint; there’s so many great things that come out of Japan for the whole industry,” he said, speaking to reporters after a speech at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Here in Tokyo, Japan’s business capital, many companies — whether Japanese or foreign — were distracted Wednesday by plans for removing their employees from the potential path of radiation from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant 140 miles north. Telephone calls and e-mails to many corporate headquarters in Tokyo simply went unanswered.

Air Liquide, a French company that is the world’s biggest producer of industrial gases, has closed its head office in Tokyo and moved its operations 250 miles south to Osaka.

The German auto giant BMW, which has 800 employees in Tokyo, is sending its few dozen German employees home and offering local workers safer locations within Japan.

Even the America unit of the Japanese auto company Nissan has ordered any employees traveling in Japan on business to return home.

Within Japan, Nissan has suspended many of its manufacturing operations at least through the weekend because “it is still taking time to arrange delivery of parts from our suppliers,” the company said in a statement. Nissan’s engine plant in Iwaki, near the coast in the earthquake-stricken region, remained out of action, the company said.

Meanwhile, many American electronics companies remain uncertain — or decline to say — whether supplies of crucial components from Japan will hit air pockets. But Dallas-based Texas Instruments acknowledged that one of its Japanese factories would be at least partially out of action until July and would not resume shipping at full capacity until September.

The plant, in Miho, 40 miles north of Tokyo, suffered extensive damage from the quake. It primarily makes chips that convert analog and digital signals, which are used in a wide range of products, including cellphones, digital televisions, computer peripherals and medical equipment — and accounts for about 10 percent of Texas Instruments global output, by revenue. Kimberly Morgan, a company spokeswoman, declined to name any of the plant’s customers.

Technology analysts say the most persistent worry for digital device makers is the supply from Japan of so-called NAND flash — the lightweight storage chips used in smartphones, tablet computers, digital cameras and a variety of other components. Toshiba, the world’s second-largest maker of the chips behind Samsung of South Korea, has closed some production lines.

SanDisk, the third-largest maker of NAND flash, which owns two factories in Japan jointly with Toshiba, said those factories were operating. But the company, based in Milpitas, Calif., said it was concerned about the reliability of Japan’s transportation and electricity networks.

“It will probably be many days or perhaps many weeks before we can assess the entire situation,” said Mike Wong, a SanDisk spokesman.

The tsunami caused extensive damage to seaports along the northeast coast of Honshu, Japan’s largest island. And while only one — Sendai-Shiogama — ranks among the country’s largest ports, all play a role in receiving goods from abroad and serving as feeders to the nation’s major seaports farther south.

“The situation is quite bad” for the northeastern ports, said Yoshiaki Higuchi, director of planning for the Japan Port and Harbor Association, “but at the moment we aren’t even certain about the extent of the damage.”

A reporter who visited two other small port towns, Minamisanriku and Ofunato, found that the docks and port facilities were almost completely destroyed. In Ofunato, many of the materials that had been stacked on the docks, like lumber, were carried by the waves into the town, where they crashed into homes and added to the destruction, residents said.

Sendai-Shiogama has particular importance for some companies, including the electronics makers Sony, Canon and Pioneer and the brewer Kirin. It ranks about 13th among Japanese ports in container shipments, Mr. Higuchi said. Together, the 10 most affected ports make up about 10 percent of Japan’s container trade, he said.

Mr. Higuchi said it would probably be six months to a year before the Sendai port was again functioning fully, because a gantry crane that handles containers had fallen and the sea wall appeared to have been damaged.

Mario Moreno, an economist who analyzes seaborne trade data for Piers Global Intelligence Solutions, said it was too early to tell how the crisis in Japan would affect trade with the United States long term. Short term, however, “trade is going to weaken in the months ahead,” he said.

Air freight companies, too, have experienced disruptions because of damage to airports in the northeast and the cascading effect on traffic to and from other airports farther south. The American giant FedEx, for example, shut service to much of eastern Japan, including Tokyo, after the quake.

FedEx said Tuesday that it hoped soon to resume its pickup and delivery in eastern Japan, excluding Fukushima, Miyagi and parts of Ibaraki prefectures, but it warned that delays could continue.

Various companies trying to ship their products into Japan are also facing problems.

All last weekend, Brian Terasawa, the regional director of Asia-Pacific operations for Commodity Forwarders, a freight-forwarding company based in Los Angeles that specializes in perishable products, and his colleagues worked on the telephone with air carriers to get their customers’ shipments through to Japan.

Air transport has resumed, but only at a fraction of the normal pace. Before, his company was shipping 80 tons a day to Japan, including radicchio, Mexican asparagus, tomatoes and chilled or frozen pork. On Wednesday, only about 10 to 20 tons went through.

The problem, Mr. Terasawa said, is the embargo airlines are putting on goods flown to Japan, particularly Narita International Airport near Tokyo. Mainly, only mail and relief supplies are making it through, with a little room left over.

“Domestically, they don’t have food and vegetables in Japan — they don’t have enough and they are afraid about keeping the shelves stocked,” he said.

“We’ve been trying to explain to the airlines that the perishables that we are trying to send through them are relief items. But that’s not clicking with them.”


Reporting was contributed by Ken Belson in Tokyo, Martin Fackler in Ofunato, Japan, Liz Alderman in Paris, Mark Getzfred in New York, Nick Bunkley in Detroit, and Miguel Helft and Verne G. Kopytoff in San Francisco.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/17/business/global/17ports.html?ref=business

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« Reply #3355 on: Mar 17th, 2011, 08:51am »

LA Times

Isolated and angry amid Fukushima nuclear crisis

An awful reality is setting in for those trapped near the stricken nuclear plant: People are afraid to help them.

By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
March 17, 2011
Reporting from Yamagata, Japan

Residents describe spooky scenes of municipal cars driving down near-empty streets telling people to stay indoors, but they've seen few other signs of outside help.

Aid agencies are reluctant to get too close to the plant. Shelters set up in the greater Fukushima area for "radiation refugees" have little food, in part because nobody wants to deliver to an area that might be contaminated. And with little or no gasoline available, not everyone who wants to leave can get out.

Radiation fears mingled with a sickening sense of abandonment Wednesday.

"People who don't have family nearby, who are old or sick in bed, or couldn't get gasoline, they haven't been able to get away from the radiation," said Emi Shinkawa, who feels doubly vulnerable. Her house was swept away by the tsunami.

Her daughter, Tomoko Monma, knows she's lucky: At 9 a.m. Wednesday, she piled her family into the car, thankful for her husband's foresight in setting aside enough gasoline for them to make their escape.

But she's angry that people living outside the 12-mile evacuation zone around the nuclear plant weren't given help finding public transportation or the gasoline to drive away in their own cars. Monma lives 21 miles from the plant.

"We've gotten no help. We've gotten no information," said Monma, 28, who sat cradling her thumb-sucking 2-year-old daughter on the tatami mats that had been laid out in a sports center in Yamagata, 100 miles inland, which now serves as a shelter for people fleeing Fukushima.

"The government is demanding that we don't go out, but it isn't bringing us anything," Katsunobu Sakurai, the mayor of a city close to the exclusion zone, complained in an interview with the national NHK television network. "Truck drivers don't want to enter the city. They're afraid of being exposed to radiation…. If the government says we're in a dangerous area, it should take more care of us!"

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission warned American citizens Wednesday that they should move at least 50 miles away from the Fukushima plant, which is leaking significant amounts of radioactivity. That warning is significantly stronger than the Japanese government's warning to keep 12 miles away.

Foreign aid workers in the area have been assessing the radiation risks, but many chose to remain just outside the 12-mile zone Thursday morning.

Casey Calamusa, a communications officer with Federal Way, Wash.-based World Vision who is coordinating the operation in Tokyo, said a three-member team went to Fukushima on Wednesday to distribute supplies such as water, blankets and diapers at an evacuation center. The team was equipped with protective masks and suits and stayed outside the exclusion zone, he said.

"They were playing it pretty safe. They were talking to local authorities and letting them know we wanted to help the evacuees," Calamusa said. "There is an imperative to help those people — they've had to leave their belongings behind and they're staying in shelters in near-freezing weather."

Officials at Westport, Conn.-based Save the Children were still trying to decide Wednesday whether to dispatch staff to Fukushima, weighing information from the Japanese government and their member group, Save the Children Japan, said spokesman Lane Hartill. The group already has staff responding in Tokyo and the northern city of Sendai.

"This is a first for us. We are a humanitarian organization — we don't know this. We're not nuclear physicists. We want to be able to protect our staff and to help people and their children," Hartill said.

The Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) plant, which opened in 1971, had been a good neighbor in many ways, providing jobs and subsidizing kindergartens, parks and community centers to gain residents' acceptance. Increasingly, those same neighbors are feeling betrayed.

Naoki Nanno, 30, who spent two years as a construction worker on the plant's reactors, complained that Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant's operator, had been too slow in disclosing the problems that have mounted over the last few days. When one of the explosions occurred Monday, at the No. 3 reactor, Nanno was on the telephone with his brother.

"I heard a loud bang and I suspected it was an explosion at the nuclear plant, but they didn't announce it for another 20 minutes are so. There was radioactive material leaking after that explosion — we should have known about it right away," said Nanno, who lives 25 miles from the plant.

Takahiro Kori, 30, lost his house to the tsunami and barely escaped with his life: He could see the giant wave in his rear-view mirror as he sped away. After moving from shelter to shelter in Fukushima, each one with barely any food, he arrived Wednesday in Yamagata.

"I'm disgusted by the whole thing," Kori said.

"We were told our whole lives that the nuclear plant was safe," he said. "They told us even if there is a big earthquake or tsunami, it will never collapse. It all turned out to be lies."

For Japanese, the desperation has an added dimension: Already the name "Fukushima" is laden with something beyond the fear of damaged health.

The Japanese survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki lived the rest of their lives with the stigma of having been exposed to radiation, a stain that years never erased. Known as Hibakushas, they are formally recognized by the government if they lived within proximity of the blasts, and receive a special medical allowance.

But the designation also led to them being ostracized by other Japanese, who feared wrongly that the contamination was contagious or could be hereditary. The result was that many survivors of the bombings, and even their children, lived ghettoized lives because of their exposure to radiation.

The prospect of a similar stigma now worries some of those in and around the Fukushima plant.

"I am worried about the future, " said a 65-year-old retired engineer from Sugagawa City, 30 miles from the plant, who was interviewed by phone and didn't want his name used.

"There could be some rumors that the people from this area are contaminated by radiation, and that people should not get close to us."


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-japan-quake-fukushima-20110317,0,5992544.story

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« Reply #3356 on: Mar 17th, 2011, 08:56am »

Wired

March 17, 1948: William Gibson, Father of Cyberspace
By Scott Thill
March 17, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 20th century, Computers and IT, Culture


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Photo by Louie Psihoyos/Corbis


1948: William Gibson is born in Conway, South Carolina. He later blossoms into legend with the prize-winning fiction that gives the world the term cyberspace.

The death of his father and a move to rural Wytheville, Virginia, propelled Gibson at age 6 to withdraw into his books, especially science fiction. In the 2000 documentary No Maps for These Territories, he called this his “native literary culture.”

The speculative, experimental novels of William S. Burroughs in particular changed Gibson’s perception of what sci-fi could achieve. Through dissatisfaction with his remote environs, he was already attempting to create artificial ones more suitable to his hungry mind and heavy heart.

After the sudden death of his mother, Gibson dropped out of his boarding school in Arizona at 18 and set off in search of solace in a 1960s awash in counterculture. Haunting California and Europe, he eventually landed in Canada to avoid a Vietnam draft call that never came — probably because he admitted at his draft hearing that he was interested in taking every drug on Earth.

With the expired ’60s behind him, Gibson married, fathered a child and, in 1977, earned a B.A. in English from the University of British Columbia. There, he widened his literary spectrum beyond sci-fi, turned on to postmodernity, and wrote his first short story, “Fragments of Hologram Rose,” which would later appear in his seminal 1982 short-story collection Burning Chrome.

The stories of Burning Chrome — particularly the title narrative, first published in Omni — married the noir and experimental aesthetics of Raymond Chandler and William S. Burroughs, among many others. He also mixed in a hefty dose of stylistic swagger inherent to the exploding punk and post-punk scenes of the late ’70s and early ’80s.

The stories prompted like-minded authors like Bruce Sterling, John Shirley, Lewis Shiner, Rudy Rucker and more to form a loose coalition known as the cyberpunk movement. That coalition would go on to renovate not just sci-fi, but speculative literature, science and even journalism, birthing such publications as Wired magazine and others.

Most important, the story “Burning Chrome” marked the first appearance of the term cyberspace — which Gibson would later describe in No Maps for These Territories as an “evocative and essentially meaningless” buzzword that could serve as a cipher for all of his cybernetic musings.

It did that and more, going supernova in his foundational, award-winning debut novel of 1984, Neuromancer. Gibson’s networked artificial environment anticipated the globally internetworked technoculture (and its surveillance) in which we now find ourselves.

The term has gone on to revolutionize popular culture and popular science, heralding the power and ubiquity of the information age we now regard as common as smartphones. Since its invention, “cyberspace” has come to represent everything from computers and information technology to the internet and “consensual hallucinations” as different as The Matrix, Total Information Awareness and reality TV.

From his pioneering Sprawl trilogy to his later Bridge trilogy and beyond into film, television, art and music, Gibson has been variously described as a prophet and a profiteer. He’s even ventured into politics: He and Sterling addressed the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Convocation on Technology and Education in 1993.

In the 21st century that he immeasurably shaped, Gibson remains the planet’s most influential postmodernist revolutionary. The best part? He irrevocably changed culture and technology, indeed the world, without knowing anything about computers. He wrote Neuromancer on a 1927 Hermes portable typewriter.

Lost, lonely bookworms, take heed: You too can change the world, one meaningless buzzword at a time.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/03/0317cyberspace-author-william-gibson-born/

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« Reply #3357 on: Mar 17th, 2011, 09:10am »

Science Daily

Newborn Stars Wreak Havoc in Their Nursery

ScienceDaily (Mar. 17, 2011)

The star-forming region NGC 6729 is part of one of the closest stellar nurseries to Earth and hence one of the best studied.
This new image from ESO's Very Large Telescope gives a close-up view of a section of this strange and fascinating region.
The data were selected from the ESO archive by Sergey Stepanenko as part of the Hidden Treasures competition [1].
Sergey's picture of NGC 6729 was ranked third in the competition.


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This very detailed false-colour image from ESO's Very Large Telescope shows the dramatic effects
of very young stars on the dust and gas from which they were born in the star-forming region NGC 6729.
The baby stars are invisible in this picture, being hidden behind dust clouds at the upper left of the picture,
but material they are ejecting is crashing into the surroundings at speeds of that can be as high as one million kilometers per second.
This picture was taken by the FORS1 instrument and records the scene in the light of glowing hydrogen and sulfur. (Credit: ESO)



Stars form deep within molecular clouds and the earliest stages of their development cannot be seen in visible-light telescopes because of obscuration by dust. In this image there are very young stars at the upper left of the picture. Although they cannot be seen directly, the havoc that they have wreaked on their surroundings dominates the picture. High-speed jets of material that travel away from the baby stars at velocities as high as one million kilometres per hour are slamming into the surrounding gas and creating shock waves. These shocks cause the gas to shine and create the strangely coloured glowing arcs and blobs known as Herbig-Haro objects [2].

In this view the Herbig-Haro objects form two lines marking out the probable directions of ejected material. One stretches from the upper left to the lower centre, ending in the bright, circular group of glowing blobs and arcs at the lower centre. The other starts near the left upper edge of the picture and extends towards the centre right. The peculiar scimitar-shaped bright feature at the upper left is probably mostly due to starlight being reflected from dust and is not a Herbig-Haro object.

This enhanced-colour picture [3] was created from images taken using the FORS1 instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope. Images were taken through two different filters that isolate the light coming from glowing hydrogen (shown as orange) and glowing ionised sulphur (shown as blue). The different colours in different parts of this violent star formation region reflect different conditions -- for example where ionised sulphur is glowing brightly (blue features) the velocities of the colliding material are relatively low -- and help astronomers to unravel what is going on in this dramatic scene.

Notes

[1] ESO's Hidden Treasures 2010 competition gave amateur astronomers the opportunity to search through ESO's vast archives of astronomical data, hoping to find a well-hidden gem that needed polishing by the entrants. Participants submitted nearly 100 entries and ten skilled people were awarded some extremely attractive prizes, including an all expenses paid trip for the overall winner to ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, in Chile, the world's most advanced optical telescope. The ten winners submitted a total of 20 images that were ranked as the highest entries in the competition out of the near 100 images.

[2] The astronomers George Herbig and Guillermo Haro were not the first to see one of the objects that now bear their names, but they were the first to study the spectra of these strange objects in detail. They realised that they were not just clumps of gas and dust that reflected light, or glowed under the influence of the ultraviolet light from young stars, but were a new class of objects associated with ejected material in star formation regions.

[3] Both the ionised sulphur and hydrogen atoms in this nebula emit red light. To differentiate between them in this image the sulphur emission has been coloured blue.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110316084411.htm

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« Reply #3358 on: Mar 17th, 2011, 09:15am »

The Hill

State Dept. to evacuate US citizens from Japan amid nuclear crisis
By Ben Geman
03/17/11 07:02 AM ET

The State Department announced late Wednesday it is arranging voluntary evacuations from northeast Japan for family members and dependents of U.S. government officials, signaling growing concern about overheating reactors at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The department is also urging U.S. citizens to defer travel to Japan. It says those already in the country should consider leaving.

President Obama spoke directly to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan Wednesday evening about quake and tsunami relief efforts, a conversation that included discussion of the nuclear emergency, the White House said.

Patrick Kennedy, who is the State Department's undersecretary for management, said the voluntary evacuation plan for diplomats’ family members affects up to 600 people, covering the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the U.S. Consulate in Nagoya and a branch of the department’s Foreign Service Institute.

Kennedy said that while there are still commercial flights out of Tokyo, the department is arranging chartered travel for U.S. government family members who choose to leave, and for "any American citizens who might need assistance."

Desperate efforts to cool the overheating, badly damaged plant continued Thursday as Japanese military helicopters dumped water onto the complex to help prevent increased radiation releases, the Associated Press and other outlets reported.

The U.S. has urged American citizens within 50 miles of the stricken plant to evacuate the area, and Kennedy said the U.S. government is working to facilitate departures.

Kennedy spoke at a briefing with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman, who noted U.S. efforts to stay abreast of the nuclear plant's condition and levels of radiation.

“We’ve heard a lot of conflicting reports. Obviously, there are elevated levels of radiation at the reactors. We are in consultation, comparing notes,” he said.

The Energy Department and Nuclear Regulatory Commission have dispatched experts to the country.

Earlier Wednesday, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko told a House panel of a grave situation at the Fukushima plant, noting there was no water in reactor No. 4 – which was not operating at the time the quake hit – and the fuel rods there were exposed as a result.

“We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures,” he told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Japanese prime minister briefed Obama directly on the “status of Japanese actions to contain the nuclear emergency and to bring the situation under control,” according to a White House summary of the discussion. It noted that Obama “again conveyed his deep condolences at the tragic loss of life and the widespread suffering in Northeastern Japan.”

The two leaders spoke more broadly about the disaster as well. Here’s more from the White House summary released late Wednesday:

“The President briefed Prime Minister Kan on the additional support being provided by the U.S., including specialized military assets with expertise in nuclear response and consequence management. The two leaders also discussed the welfare and safety of American citizens in Japan and the President described steps that the U.S. is taking in this regard. He thanked the Prime Minister for his commitment to help American residents,” the White House said.

The summary adds:

“The Prime Minister expressed Japan’s appreciation for the extensive humanitarian, technical and other support provided by the United States. The two leaders reaffirmed that U.S. and Japanese experts and officials would continue to cooperate closely and they agreed to remain in close touch through this challenging period. The President promised that the United States will always stand by Japan, our close friend and ally. The President expressed his extraordinary admiration for the character and resolve of the Japanese people, and his confidence that Japan will make a full recovery from this disaster.”

The voluntary evacuation will also apply to military families, Kennedy said.

“The Department of Defense is going to implement the State Department-approved voluntary departure for eligible Department of Defense dependents stationed in Japan,” he said.

But Kennedy strongly emphasized that the voluntary evacuation effort will not weaken the U.S. response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami – he noted that “all Embassy, consulate, and other U.S. Government operations continue and are unaffected by this action.”

“The Department of Defense has confirmed that U.S. military services and operations also continue without interruption. U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian assistance teams continue to assist the Japanese authorities throughout the area affected by the earthquake and tsunami,” Kennedy said.

This story was updated at 7:32 a.m.


http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/150365-state-department-green-lights-evacuations-from-japan-amid-reactor-crisis

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« Reply #3359 on: Mar 17th, 2011, 2:44pm »

Please be an angel



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http://www.soldiersangels.org


« Last Edit: Mar 17th, 2011, 2:45pm by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

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