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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 79960 times)
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« Reply #3540 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 07:55am »

Thanks for that article Swamp. And good morning to you.
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« Reply #3541 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 08:00am »

LA Times

Japan's nuclear workers try to trace leak, dump radioactive water

Milky bath salts are added to the water, which continues to flow despite efforts to plug the leak. Concern grows about the amount of tainted water being dumped.

From Times Wire Services
5:54 AM PDT, April 4, 2011
TOKYO

Workers used a milky bathwater dye Monday as they frantically tried to trace the path of radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear plant.

The crack in a maintenance pit discovered over the weekend was the latest confirmation that radioactivity continues to spill into the environment. The leak is a symptom of the primary difficulty at the Fukushima Daiichi complex: Radioactive water is pooling around the plant and preventing workers from powering up cooling systems needed to stabilize dangerously vulnerable fuel rods.

The plant operators also deliberately dumped 10,000 tons of tainted water -- measuring about 500 times above the legal limit for radioactivity -- into the ocean Monday to make space at a storage site for water that is even more highly radioactive.

Engineers have turned to a host of improvised and sometimes bizarre methods to tame the nuclear plant after it was crippled in Japan's magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami on March 11.

Efforts over the weekend to clog the leak with a special polymer, sawdust and even shredded newspapers failed to halt the flow at a cracked concrete maintenance pit near the shoreline. The water in that leak contains radioactive iodine at rates 10,000 times the legal limit.

Suspecting they might be targeting the wrong channel to the pit, workers tried to confirm the leak's pathway by dumping several pounds of milky bath salts into the system, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday.

"There could be other possible passages that the water may be traveling. We must watch carefully and contain it as quickly as possible," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the Nuclear Safety and Industrial Agency.

Radioactive water has pooled throughout the plant because the operator has been forced to rely on makeshift ways of pumping water into the reactors -- and allowing it to gush out wherever it can -- to bring down temperatures and pressure in the cores.

Government officials conceded Sunday that it will likely be several months before the cooling systems are completely restored. And even after that happens, there will be years of work ahead to clean up the area around the complex and figure out what to do with it.

The makeshift system makes it difficult to contain the radiation leaks, but it is aimed a preventing fuel rods from going into a full meltdown that would release even more radioactivity into the environment.

"We must keep putting water into the reactors to cool to prevent further fuel damage, even though we know that there is a side effect, which is the leakage," Nishiyama said. "We want to get rid of the stagnant water and decontaminate the place so that we can return to our primary task to restore the sustainable cooling capacity as quickly as possible."

To that end, the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said it jettisoned the 10,000 tons of water Monday, clearing space in a waste-storage facility. The government decided to allow the step as "an unavoidable emergency measure," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.

An additional 1,500 tons will be dumped from a trench under the plant's units 5 and 6. That water is threatening to interfere with the workings at those units, whose reactors are under control.

Radioactivity is quickly diluted in the ocean, and Edano said the dump should not affect the safety of seafood in the area.

The crisis has unfolded as Japan deals with the aftermath of twin natural disasters that decimated large swaths of its northeastern coast. Up to 25,000 people are believed to have died in the disaster, and tens of thousands lost their homes. Thousands more were forced to flee a 12-mile radius around the plant because of the radiation.

The 8-inch-long crack was discovered in the maintenance pit over the weekend. It is sending radioactive water into area that is normally blocked off by a seawall, but a crack was also discovered in that outer barrier Monday.

Though it later authorized the dumping of slightly radioactive water, the government said Monday it was growing concerned about the sheer volume of contaminated materials spilling into the Pacific. It is not clear how much water has leaked from the pit so far.

"Even if they say the contamination will be diluted in the ocean, the longer this continues, the more radioactive particles will be released and the greater the impact on the ocean," Edano said. "We are strongly urging TEPCO that they have to take immediate action to deal with this."

The crisis has sparked protests in Japan and raised questions around the world about the safety of nuclear power. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency told delegates at a nuclear safety conference Monday that the industry cannot afford to ignore these concerns.

"We cannot take a 'business as usual' approach," Yukiya Amano said.

The operator said Monday it is ordering fencing that is typically used to contain oil spills. The screens are not designed to trap radioactivity but might curtail the flow of water and thus reduce the spread of contamination, said TEPCO manager Teruaki Kobayashi. It was not clear when they would arrive.

All of the plant's reactors were designed by General Electric, and the company's CEO met Sunday with TEPCO's chairman. Jeffrey Immelt told reporters Monday that more than 1,000 engineers from GE and its partner Hitachi are helping to analyze the problems at the plant.

Immelt also offered assistance in dealing with the electricity shortage brought on by damage to Dai-ichi and other power plants. Japan is expecting a shortfall of at least 10 million kilowatts come summer.

Gas turbines are on their way from the U.S. with both long- and short-term capabilities, Immelt said.

Japan Internet conglomerate Softbank Corp. said Monday that CEO Masayoshi Son will donate $120 million of his personal wealth plus his salary until he retires to help tsunami victims.

Softbank, the only Japanese mobile carrier offering the iPhone, will also give away mobile phone handsets to tsunami orphans and pay their phone bills until the children turn 18, said company spokeswoman Makiko Ariyama.

Son's 10 billion yen donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society and other nonprofit organizations is the biggest by an individual to quake and tsunami victims, Ariyama said.

Son, 53, will also donate all of his annual salary each year to aid organizations until he retires.

His salary was 108 million yen ($1.3 million) in the fiscal year through March 2010. Apart from Son's personal wealth and salary, Softbank said the company will give 1 billion yen to the Japanese Red Cross to support the disaster victims.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-japan-nuclear-20110405,0,2720438.story

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« Reply #3542 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 08:06am »

Telegraph

Britain's oldest working television set, which was manufactured by Marconi in 1936, is expected to sell for more than £5,000 at auction.

1:26AM BST 04 Apr 2011

The machine was bought for almost £100 three weeks after television transmissions began. But Mr GB Davis of Dulwich, south–east London would have only been able to able to watch it for a few hours.

The nearby Crystal Palace and its transmitter burned down three days after Mr Davis bought the Marconi type–702 set on November 26. The area could not receive pictures again until 1946.


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Britain's oldest working television has been dusted off for auction
Photo: BNPS



The 75-year-old set comes with a 12-inch screen and is contained in a walnut and mahogany case with the picture being reflected onto a mirror that opens from the top.

There are more 18th century Stradivarius violins in existence that pre-war TVs and this set has only had two owners.

Television pioneer John Logie Baird and the Marconi company were responsible for the set which was created using Britain's secret radar research.

Only 30 per cent of the components in this set have been replaced – all with identical parts – and it works perfectly.

It has a pre-sale estimate of 5,000 pounds, but experts at Bonhams, which is selling it, expect it to sell for much more.

For 5,000 pounds today you could buy a top-of-the-range set with high definition, 3D, surround sound and more channels than you could ever watch.

The set cost Mr Davis 99 pounds. 15 shillings. 0d – over half the annual average wage of the day and equivalent to almost 4,000 pounds today.

Its number is H1007, and it is thought the numbers began at 1,000 meaning this is 007, the James Bond of TVs.

Bonhams specialist Laurence Fisher said: "This is being sold by the late owner's family and is the oldest working TV set in Britain.

"These sets were really a side effect of our secret radar research and they are very similar inside to the radar.

"Logie Baird and Marconi had separate companies but used the same people to make the sets, but Marconi became the most popular maker.

"Baird made the first mechanical television in 1926 and this was the first electronic version.

"I've handled 38 pre-war tells and this is the finest and even comes with the original invoice.

"It cost a huge amount and the owner must have had wealth and means.

"Its case is made from walnut and mahogany to give a two-tone effect and doesn't have wheels and is quite a big lump.

"The picture is reflected onto its lid and at the time it was bought there was only one hour of television a day. And only one channel.

"Unfortunately for the original owner he would have been able to only watch three hours of programmes on it.

"This was because three days after he bought it the Crystal Palace burned down and that was where the transmitter was.

"And his area did not receive pictures again until after the war. But at least people who visited him would know he had one, even if he couldn't use it.

"Programmes at the time would have all be live and there were plays which were grand productions like you would have at the theatre.

"It was the first time people could see the faces of those whose voices they knew so well from the radio.

"It is a very rare thing and there are collectors who would love to have it."

Bonhams Mechanical Music and Scientific Instruments sale is being held at Knightsbridge, London, on April 19.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8425738/Oldest-working-television-set-expected-to-sell-for-5000.html

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« Reply #3543 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 08:11am »

Wired

April 4, 1975: Bill Gates, Paul Allen Form a Little Partnership

By Randy Alfred
April 4, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 20th century, Business and Industry, Computers and IT


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Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen were all smiles in 1983
just after delivering MS Dos for the Tandy laptop and signing a contract to write MS-DOS for IBM.
(Doug Wilson/Corbis)



1975: Bill Gates and Paul Allen create a partnership called Micro-soft. It will grow into one of the largest U.S. corporations and place them among the world’s richest people.

Gates and Allen had been buddies and fellow Basic programmers at Lakeside School in Seattle. Allen graduated before Gates and enrolled at Washington State University. They built a computer based on an Intel 8008 chip and used it to analyze traffic data for the Washington state highway department, doing business as Traf-O-Data.

Allen went to work for Honeywell in Boston, and Gates enrolled at Harvard University in nearby Cambridge. News in late 1974 of the first personal computer kit, the Altair 8800, excited them, but they knew they could improve its performance with Basic.

Allen spoke to Ed Roberts, president of Altair manufacturer MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), and sold him on the idea. Gates and Allen worked night and day to complete the first microcomputer Basic. Allen moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in January 1975 to become director of software for MITS. Gates dropped out of his sophomore year at Harvard and joined Allen in Albuquerque.

Allen was 22; Gates was 19. Altair Basic was functioning by March. The “Micro-soft” partnership was sealed in April, but wouldn’t get its name for a few more months.

The fledgling company also created versions of Basic for the hot-selling Apple II and Radio Shack’s TRS-80.

Microsoft moved from Albuquerque to Bellevue, Washington, in 1979. It incorporated in 1981, a few weeks before IBM introduced its personal computer with Microsoft’s 16-bit operating system, MS-DOS 1.0.

The thriving young company moved again in 1986, this time to a new corporate campus in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft stock went public in March 1986. Adjusting for splits, a share of that stock [MSFT] is worth about 320 times its original value today (or about 160 times, even accounting for inflation).

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/04/0404bill-gates-paul-allen-form-microsoft/

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« Reply #3544 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 08:16am »

Science Daily

Rare Discovery of Plant Genus
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2011) —

The Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) has played a significant role in identifying a new genus,
Yasunia, with two confirmed species from Ecuador and Peru, Y. quadrata and Y. sessiliflora.


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Yasunia. The Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) has played a significant role in identifying a new genus, Yasunia,
with two confirmed species from Ecuador and Peru, Y. quadrata and Y. sessiliflora.
(Credit: Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden)



New species are often found among the samples that are gifted to the Missouri Botanical Garden for identification. While hundreds of new plant species are identified each year, new genera are extremely uncommon, and being coupled with the two new species makes Yasunia very distinctive.

Henk van der Werff is the Head of Monographic Studies Department at the Missouri Botanical Garden. He explains, "There are many new species found mostly in the tropics each year. Typically, new species differ in minor characteristics from their close relatives. New genera differ in major characteristics from their relatives and such a find is truly a matter of luck and perseverance."

In 1993, MBG staff member David Neill collected the first sample in the Amazon lowlands of Ecuador, yet it remained an undetermined specimen due to the lack of detail, particularly of the flower which is needed for identification. Local staff conducting floristic inventory in the Yasuni National Park collected additional specimens from a tagged tree, ensuring that the information necessary for identification would become available. From these samples, it was determined that the characteristics present in the new specimens did not fit into any of the recognized Neotropical genera of Lauraceae.

In 2003 the collection of the second species was located in the upper Rio Utiquinia in Ucayali (Peru) near the border of Brazil. In minor details, it is very different from the Ecuadorian species.

DNA of the two Yasunia species and their related analysis may ultimately result in changes of the classification of the plant family.

"This is an extremely rare and exciting scenario. The two new species that were collected did not belong in a known genus, so what we suddenly had were both two new species and new genus. Usually, when a new genus is discovered, it is associated with only one species. It is very unusual to find two new species belonging to the same new genus. Yasunia with two new species is one of those very rare cases," said Van der Werff.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110330192548.htm

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« Reply #3545 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 08:21am »

Hollywood Reporter

'Battle: Los Angeles' Crosses $100 Million Mark Overseas With Third Consecutive Int'l Box Office Win

3:38 PM 4/3/2011
by Frank Segers

"Sucker Punch" took the weekend's No. 2 overall spot, while "Just Go With It" and "Rango" held steady at No. 3 and No. 4.

A lackluster first quarter on the foreign theatrical circuit for Hollywood’s major studios -- down an estimated 30% on a combined basis from 2010 -- ended with Battle: Los Angeles taking the No. 1 box office for the third consecutive weekend and pushing its overseas tally past the $100 million mark.

The weekend’s No. 1 domestic title, Universal’s Hop, a family-oriented animation and live action blend, made its foreign debut at 2,362 locations in 26 offshore markets for $7 million. The Easter bunny comedy’s No. 1 U.K. debut ($2.5 million at 476 sites) was offset by a No. 6 bow in Germany ($750,000 at 556 spots). Hop finished No. 5 overall on the weekend.

Acknowledging generally soft foreign business, Universal attributed Hop’s anemic gross to the “first warm and sunny weekend of the year, which drew families outside and away from cinemas.” U.K. and European market box office was said to be down more than 25% from the prior weekend. Universal expects improved business as Easter holidays approach.

The weekend’s No. 2 domestic title, Summit International’s Source Code, director Duncan Jones’ thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, opened overseas to $5.6 million drawn from 1,202 screens in seven foreign markets. A second-place U.K. finish behind Hop generated $2.1 million from 407 screens.

The first-place weekend gross for Sony’s Battle: Los Angeles (titled World Invasion in some foreign markets) was $14.7 million drawn from 5,999 screens in 60 markets, hoisting its overseas cume to $100.5 million.

Another title to join the $100 million foreign gross club was Paramount’s No. 4-ranked Rango. The whimsical animation with Johnny Depp voicing the principal character generated $8.8 million from 5,295 venues in 55 markets, hoisting its overseas gross total to $107.7 million.

A first-place France opening ($2.4 million from 451 locations) helped boost Warner Bros.’ Sucker Punch to the weekend’s No. 2 overall spot. Director Zack Snyder’s action-fantasy-thriller grossed $12.4 million at 4,500 screens in 39 markets, hoisting its overseas cume to $21.2 million.

Who says comedy doesn’t travel? Sony’s Just Go With It, costarring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, finished No. 3 thanks to a $10.7 million weekend at 2,281 screens in 44 markets, raising its overseas cume to $76.2 million. A No. 1 Australia bow generated $2.5 million from 310 locations.

Universal’s The Adjustment Bureau, a thriller-romance starring Matt Damon, registered $4.1 million on the weekend from 2,400 situations in 47 territories for a foreign cume of $45.3 million. 20th Century Fox’s Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, the Martin Lawrence cross-dressing comedy, opened No. 3 in France ($1.37 million from 282 sites) for a weekend take of $3.3 million overall from 1,805 sites in 27 markets. Overseas cume stands at $38.3 million.

Gnomeo & Juliet, the animation reworking of Shakespeare, has grossed $72.9 million overseas so far via Disney and Pathe plus other distributors. The Disney portion of the foreign cume stands at $29.5 million thanks to a $3.2 million weekend at 2,183 sites in 17 Disney-handled markets.

The exhibition situation outside of northern Japan continues to improve helped by local school holidays. Fourth round action in the market for Disney’s Tangled fell a modest 5% from the previous stanza, registering $2.6 million from 457 locations. Overall the 3D Rapunzel update drew $3 million on the weekend from 1,471 sites in 32 territories for a foreign gross total of $376.9 million.

Also in Japan, the sixth round for Fox’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader provided $1.36 million from 669 spots, a mere 6% drop from the weekend before. Treader’s foreign cume stands at $308.5 million. Sony and other distributors’ The Tourist has pulled a total of $18.2 million out of Japan thanks in part to a $1 million weekend at 294 screens, a drop of a relatively benign 23% from the prior stanza.

Remaining No. 1 in Italy was 01 Distribution’s release of director Massimiliano’s Nessuno mi puo giudicare (Nobody Can Judge Me), a comedy about a 35-year-old widow who becomes a male escort. Top local language title in France was UGC’s Tous les soleils (Silence of Love), director Philippe Claudel’s drama-comedy, which opened No. 5 with an estimated $1.3 million drawn from 390 locations.

Other international cumes: DreamWorks/Disney’s I Am Number Four, $74.2 million; Paramount’s No Strings Attached, $69 million; Studio Canal’s Ma part du gateau (My Slice of the Cake), $6.4 million over three rounds in France only; Paramount’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, $16.1 million; Focus Features/Universal’s The Eagle, $3.3 million in the U.K. only; Warner’s Red Riding Hood, $15.1 million; Universal’s Office Romance, $11.2 million in Russia only; Paramount’s Morning Glory, $24.7 million; Fox’s Black Swan, $185.8 million (with a Japan release set for May 14); Warner’ The Rite, $55.8 million; Fox’s Gulliver’s Travels, $176.2 million; Universal’s Paul, $32.7 million; and Fox’s Never Let Me Go, $6.1 million.


http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/battle-los-angeles-crosses-100-174211

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« Reply #3546 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 4:04pm »

Fox News

Megascience! Plans Unveiled for World’s Biggest Telescope


Published April 04,

Apparently, size does matter -- especially to scientists.

Plans were unveiled Sunday for the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a $2.1 billion array of telescopes that will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world -- and may help understand such fundamental cosmic mysteries as dark energy and why the universe is the way it is.

Signals from individual radios that make up the massive array of antennas, which is planned to cover one square kilometer of South African or Australian soil, will be combined to form one giant telescope. A decision on its final location will be made in 2012.

“The power of this new telescope project is going to surpass anything we’ve seen before, enabling us to see many more radio-emitting stars and galaxies and pulling the curtains wide open on parts of the great beyond that radio astronomers like me have only ever dreamt of exploring," said Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, prominent radio astronomer and president of the Institute of Physics, in a statement on the new plans.

"The Square Kilometer Array heralds in a post-Einstein era of physics that will help us take huge strides in our attempt to understand the most bizarre objects and the darkest ages of the Universe,” she said.

Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.K. signed a letter of intent in Rome, Italy, declaring their ambition to see the SKA built. The U.K., through the Science and Technology Facilities Council, said it expects to invest about $24 million in the next phase of the SKA.

The SKA project will drive technology development in antennas, signal transport, signal processing, and software and computing, those involved said. The design, construction and operation of the SKA has the potential to impact skills development in science, engineering and in associated industries not only in the host countries but in all project partners.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/04/megascience-plans-unveiled-worlds-biggest-telescope/
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« Reply #3547 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 5:20pm »

Thanks Swamp. I wonder where they will decide to put it?

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« Reply #3548 on: Apr 4th, 2011, 5:59pm »

LA Times

Afghan policeman kills 2 U.S. soldiers

The slayings occur while protests over a Florida pastor's burning of the Koran continue for the fourth day.

By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
April 5, 2011
Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan

An Afghan policeman shot and killed two American soldiers Monday in northern Afghanistan, the province's deputy governor said, and protests flared for a fourth straight day in several Afghan cities and towns over an American pastor's burning of the Koran.

The slain Americans were military trainers working in Faryab province, a once-calm area where insurgents have gained a greater foothold over the last year. The episode, the latest in which a member of the Afghan security forces has turned a weapon on Western mentors, pointed up the daunting obstacles to transforming the Afghan police and army into a loyal and professional fighting force.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said it was investigating the deaths of the two service members, but gave no other details. Deputy Gov. Abdul Sattar Bariz said the shooter, a member of the border police, opened fire on the Americans during a meeting with Afghan counterparts in the provincial capital, Maimana.

The assailant fled the scene, Bariz said.

A string of similar incidents prompted Afghan authorities and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to tighten vetting procedures for police and army recruits, but the Afghan forces remain vulnerable to infiltration by insurgents or sympathizers.

Meanwhile, the furor over a Florida evangelical church's Koran burning last month again sent demonstrators surging into the streets in several locales, although the protests appeared to be tapering off in size and ferocity.

For the first day since lethal riots erupted Friday, resulting in the deaths of seven foreign U.N. workers in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, no fatalities were reported Monday in the protests, which have taken 22 lives.

Still, passions ran high. In Jalalabad, the main urban hub in eastern Afghanistan, protesters blocked a main highway and burned effigies of Terry Jones, the Gainesville-based pastor whose congregants put the Muslim holy text on "trial" and burned it, disseminating the images on the Internet.

Other demonstrations took place in the capital of Helmand province, Lashkar Gah, which, like Mazar-i-Sharif, has been designated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai as one of seven areas where his nation's police and army are to assume security control this year. More protests took place in Laghman and Paktia provinces, in eastern Afghanistan.

In Lashkar Gah, the demonstration was cut short by a suicide bombing apparently aimed at the main courthouse. Other than the two attackers, no one was killed, though a policeman and at least one civilian were hurt.

Karzai's spokesman, Wahid Omar, said government delegations had been dispatched to Mazar-i-Sharif and to the southern city of Kandahar, where at least 11 people were killed in two days of demonstrations, to investigate the riots' genesis and the police response.

The spokesman suggested, however, there was little they could have done to contain the violence or protect the U.N. workers without killing many demonstrators.

"Civil police have their limitations in terms of controlling crowds during protests," Omar told reporters. "They were trying not to harm people, which is the duty of every police officer in the world."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan-shooting-20110405,0,2771037.story

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« Reply #3549 on: Apr 5th, 2011, 07:56am »

Thanks for this link Phil.
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« Reply #3550 on: Apr 5th, 2011, 07:56am »

I'm taking a mental health day today. One more piece of news and my head will explode. Jane Austen to the rescue. I'm going to watch the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth five hour version of "Pride and Prejudice". Back tomorrow.



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« Reply #3551 on: Apr 5th, 2011, 5:41pm »

Enjoy your time away from la la land, Crystal!! cheesy

Here is a SpaceX update:

World's Most Powerful Rocket Ready in 2012, SpaceX Says

Published April 05, 2011
| FoxNews.com

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, a 27-engine booster will be ready for launch in one year. The rocket will be company's first entry into "heavy lift" launch, representing a major milestone in the burgeoning commercial space-flight industry.

User ImageSpaceX founder Elon Musk today unveiled the Falcon Heavy, a modified version of the Falcon 9 (pictured) with three times the power. Source: SpaceX

The era of the Space Shuttle is ending. And SpaceX plans to take over.
Elon Musk, the millionaire founder of private space company Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX for short) said the long planned Falcon Heavy vehicle would be ready for liftoff at the end of 2012. The rocket, which he called the most powerful in the world, would be capable of taking men to the International Space Station, dropping vehicles and astronauts on the moon -- and maybe even cruising to Mars and back.
User ImageSpaceX's new Falcon Heavy will compete with the largest commercial launchers available while maintaining cost effectiveness. It consists of a standard Falcon 9 with two additional Falcon 9 first stages acting as liquid strap-on boosters. Source: SpaceX

"This is a rocket of truly huge scale," Musk said at a press conference unveiling the rocket. "With Falcon Heavy, we'll be able to put well over 100,000 pounds into orbit," he said, and possibly as much as 120,000 pounds.

"That's more than a fully loaded Boeing 737 -- with passengers and fuel" and even luggage, Musk said.

The Falcon Heavy consists of a standard Falcon 9 rocket with two additional Falcon 9 first-stage rockets acting as liquid strap-on boosters. The upgraded Merlin engines that power the rocket will generate 3.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff -- the equivalent of 15 Boeing 747s, he said.

It is intended primarily to carry satellites and other such payloads into space, though it will meet NASA's requirements for carrying humans as well.

"It can launch people if need be, and do so safely," he said.

NASA spokesman Michael J. Braukus was cautiously optimistic that the ship would help U.S. interests in space, though he declined to comment on whether Falcon Heavy would be useful for human transport.

"The addition of a third [heavy lift] vehicle to the commercial rocket inventory should help bring down launch costs for unmanned missions," Braukus told FoxNews.com.

But for cargo transport, it will clearly have a role: Musk said this version of the spacecraft would have twice the capability of the space shuttle.

The Falcon Heavy will also dramatically surpass the Delta IV Heavy's 25-ton capacity and the yet-to-be-built Atlas 5 Heavy's 32 tons. It will be assembled at California's Vanderburg Air Force Base, but Musk said it would be able to take off from Cape Canaveral as well.

Musk also claimed the Falcon Heavy would cost a third per flight than the Delta IV rocket, and sets a new world record for the cost per pound to orbit of around $1,000. A launch is estimated at $80 million, the company said, while an Atlas 5 costs as much as $100 million more.

We can realistically contemplate a mission to Mars with this craft, Musk said, because the tremendous capacity of the vehicle would allow it to carry enough fuel to return to Earth successfully.

"Falcon Heavy would be capable of launching people as soon as we've proven it out with a few launches," Musk said. "It opens up a wide range of possibilities, such as a mission to the moon or conceivably even Mars," he said.

"First launch from our Cape Canaveral launch complex is planned for late 2013 or 2014,” Musk said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/05/powerful-rocket-world-ready-2012-spacex-says/#ixzz1IgdcXZm8





« Last Edit: Apr 5th, 2011, 5:42pm by Swamprat » User IP Logged

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« Reply #3552 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 07:34am »

Good morning Swamprat. cheesy

Alan walked by the television before I ran him out with Jane Austen and said, "100 Million of his OWN money spent on that rocket! D**n! I wish I had 100 Million to spend on a rocket!" Amazing! Well I want one! grin

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« Reply #3553 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 07:38am »

New York Times

April 6, 2011
Japan Nuclear Plant Operator Prepares to Inject Nitrogen
By ANDREW POLLACK

TOKYO — The operator of the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said on Wednesday it was preparing to inject nitrogen into a reactor containment vessel at the facility as it continued to try to bring the plant under control.

The move, which could come as early as Wednesday evening, aimed at preventing the possibility of stored-up hydrogen from exploding at the plant’s No. 1 reactor, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company. Japan’s nuclear regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, said there was no immediate chance of an explosion, and the step was being taken as a precautionary measure.

This would be the first time nitrogen is being injected into any of the reactors, Ken Morita, a spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said in an interview. The same approach might later be tried for the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, but the No. 1 unit was chosen first because the pressures and temperatures in that reactor are higher than in the other two.

Hydrogen explosions occurred in some of the reactors in the days following the March 11 tsunami that greatly damaged the nuclear power plant. The explosions damaged the outer buildings around the reactors. The main cause of the explosions was that the fuel rods, normally covered with water, were exposed and heated up, leading the zirconium in the fuel rods to react with water to form hydrogen, Mr. Morita said.

Injecting nitrogen can reduce the amount of hydrogen present.

Introducing nitrogen is one of the steps recommended by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In a confidential assessment dated March 26, the commission said injecting nitrogen, an inert gas, into the containment structures of the plant’s reactors was suggested to purge the units hydrogen and oxygen, which could combine to produce explosions. The document also recommended that engineers continue adding boron to cooling water to help prevent the cores from restarting the nuclear reaction, a process known as criticality.

It was not immediately clear whether the preparations under way came as a result of the commission’s recommendations.

The preparations to inject nitrogen quickly tempered Tokyo Electric’s announcement earlier in the day that it had stopped the leak of tons of highly radioactive water into the ocean. The leak, which came from a six-foot-deep crack in a concrete maintenance pit next to the seawater intake pipes near the Daiichi plant’s No. 2 reactor, was sealed after days of unsuccessful attempts using a variety of materials. In the end, workers plugged the leak by using sodium silicate, which acts as a cement.

The nuclear crisis has persisted for nearly a month since the March 11 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan. The National Police Agency said the official death toll from the quake and tsunami is more than 12,400, and that about 83 percent of those bodies have been identified.

Another 15,000 people remain missing.

On Tuesday, Tokyo Electric said the levels of radioactive material in the seawater near the plant were measured at several million times the legal limit. Iodine 131 in seawater samples at five million times the legal limit, the company said. The samples were collected Monday near the water intake of the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The samples also showed levels of cesium 137 to be 1.1 million times the legal limit. Cesium remains in the environment for centuries, losing half its strength every 30 years.

The utility has been flushing thousands of tons of relatively low-level radioactive water into the Pacific to make room in storage containers for increasing amounts of far more contaminated runoff. The runoff resulted from workers’ pouring huge amounts of water on reactors and spent fuel rod pools to keep them from overheating after their normal cooling systems failed.

The water being intentionally released contains about 100 times the legal limit of radiation, said , the plant’s operator. The more contaminated water that it hopes to contain has about 10,000 times the legal limit.


Kevin Drew contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/world/asia/07japan.html?_r=1&ref=world

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« Reply #3554 on: Apr 6th, 2011, 07:43am »

Telegraph

Twitter stir sparked by mystery river object in Bridgwater

A mystery object spotted floating in a river led a sleepy Somerset town to become an internet hit as intrigue over the item grew.


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The mystery object floats along the River Parrett Photo: SWNS


By Andrew Hough
7:00AM BST 06 Apr 2011

Hundreds of locals flocked to Bridgwater after news spread that an “unidentified floating object” was found in the River Parrett.

The market town, which has a population of almost 34,000, was brought to a standstill after crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the object.

Police were then called amid claims the object, which had washed up close to the town centre’s main thoroughfare bridge, was a dead body.

Within hours of the news being reported on the local newspaper’s website, the topic become one of the most discussed – or trended - issues on Twitter, the micro-blogging website.

The issue was ranked alongside Wayne Rooney facing a two match ban over his foul mouthed outburst at the weekend.

Debate raged about whether the mystery object was something out of paranormal or something as simple as a dead turtle, pig or a dolphin.

Coral Pople told the town's local paper: “I’ve been here for 45 minutes. Everyone was saying it was a turtle – but it looks more like a pig to me.”

Andrew Coles added: “I think it was a pig or cow’s head. But I heard people saying ‘look, you can see a hand.’

"But I think it was just the animal’s ears flopping around.” The object has since disappeared without being identified.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed officers attended the scene but dismissed suggestions of foul play.

"We were made aware of a large number of people looking into the river," he said, declining to comment further.

In 2009 a similar number of onlookers gathered at Town Bridge after a dead cow was spotted floating near the banks of the river.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/ufo/8430279/Twitter-stir-sparked-by-mystery-river-object-in-Bridgwater.html

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