Field Life of Bone Hunters Revealed in 100-Year-Old Glass Slides By Danielle Venton September 13, 2011 | 6:30 am Categories: Animals
Image: Record Unit 424, image # SIA2011-1415/Smithsonian Institution Archives.
A collection of newly digitized glass lantern slides, showing early 20th century paleontological digs and the preparation of fossils for display, is now available to the public from the Smithsonian Institution Archives and the National Museum of Natural History: http://siarchives.si.edu/ http://www.mnh.si.edu/
Taken between 1900 and 1931, the images date from pre-PowerPoint times, when glass lantern slides were the preferred way for researchers to share images. Glass lantern slides were introduced in 1849, about 10 years after the invention of photography. They made it possible for large crowds to view images, rather than a few people at a time. Slides changed photography from an intimate art form to an educational and lecturing tool.
Several of the slides collected here show expeditions in the western United States, led by paleontologists Erwin Hinckley Barbour, J.L. Wortman and James William Gidley. Today, the most is known about Gidley, according to sources in the Smithsonian’s paleontology department.
Gidley initially worked at the National Museum preparing fossils for exhibit. In time, he became assistant curator of mammalian fossils, holding the position from 1911 to 1931. Gidley gained fame for his work on early mammals, especially horses, at a time when the evolution of early mammals was a novel topic for paleontologists.
“He spent a lot of time in the field as a curator, doing very detailed field work,” said Thomas Jorstad, an information specialist for the paleontology department at the Smithsonian. “And he was known for being a genial, cordial and helpful man.”
Jorstad is building comprehensive database for these and other images, which will eventually be available online to researchers and the public. They may, he said, be of more than historical or nostalgic value.
“Comparing what historic sites look like now to old photographs helps people track geological changes,” Jorstad said. “We may see a river widen, or a mountain move.”
The photographs may also guide modern paleontologists to new fossils, Jorstad said. The third image in the gallery, for example, shows two men (probably Gidley and a colleague) with a wagon. It could be useful for people doing field work in the area.
Knowing where fossils were found in the past might help them decide where to dig. It could also help them correlate strata between areas, or determine the age of rocks.
“Geologically they have value,” said Jorstad. “And aesthetically they are very cool, showing what the early days of field work were like.”
Curating the images occupied Jenny Mathias’ summer internship with the Smithsonian’s Field Book Project. The project’s goal is to share an inside view of what it is like to do field research.
A hand-painted lantern slide shows Erwin Hinckley Barbour, J.L. Wortman and James William Gidley on a paleontological expedition for the Smithsonian Institution’s Division of Vertebrate Mammals. The slide is part of a collection taken between 1900 and 1935 at the Grand Canyon and other unnamed locations in Arizona's Painted Desert, showing the excavation and transport of dinosaur footprints.
James Murdoch Recalled to Parliament for More Phone-Hacking Questions 7:05 AM PDT 9/13/2011 by Mimi Turner
The News Corp. deputy COO will give evidence after the Culture Committee hears from former Wall Street Journal boss Les Hinton.
LONDON - James Murdoch will have to return to the House of Commons to face another tricky questioning session about phone-hacking, but not until the committee hears from former Wall Street Journal boss Les Hinton.
Committee chairman John Whittingdale told Sky News there were "more questions" he wanted to put to Murdoch, but that others would testify first to give a fuller picture of events.
Hinton was chief executive of News International during the period that hacking has been revealed to be extensive, and authorized the payment of legal fees and other payments to former staff members including Andy Coulson, jailed reporter Clive Goodman and jailed former investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
The payments continued well after the employees had left the company.
Hinton is the most senior News Corp. staff member to have resigned over the growing crisis - which opened a new front Tuesday with the disclosure that a cache of new documents numbering thousands of documents potentially relevant to phone-hacking victims had come to light.
It came during a preliminary hearing at The High Court, where Mr Justice Vos - the judge hearing civil cases against the News of The World - said he would take five "lead cases" in the actions that will be heard in the new year.
These could potentially include comedy actor Steve Coogan, the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, and the mother Christian Small, who was killed in the 7/7 terrorist bombings in London.
All are thought to have been phone-hacking victims.
The test cases will be heard in January in a bid to estimate the scale of damages likely to be claimed by more than 3000 possible victims of phone-hacking by investigators at the now shuttered News of The World.
James Murdoch is expected to be recalled in November to clarify evidence he gave at a session on July 19, when he claimed he was unaware that phone-hacking had been widespread at the newspaper as far back as 2007.
In his evidence session and in a subsequent statement, Murdoch said his recollection was "very clear" that he had not been informed that illegal practices were widespread.
The News Corp. deputy COO's evidence had been contradicted by former News International legal manager Tom Crone and former News of The World editor Colin Myler.
Giving evidence last week, the pair said that the matter had been discussed at a meeting with Murdoch, and that the implication that phone-hacking was not restricted to one reporter had been "clear."
However, neither was able to give a clear recollection of what was discussed at the meeting or explain why no further action had been taken, given that the conclusion that illegal phone-interception had been known about in 2007. News International bosses had maintained until early this year that no such evidence existed.
"It was the reason that we had to settle the case, and in order to settle the case we had to explain it to Murdoch and get his authority to settle, so it would certainly have been discussed," Crone told the Parliamentary select committee last week.
"I cannot remember the detail of the conversation and there isn't a note of it. The conversation lasted for probably less than fifteen minutes…what exactly was said I cannot recall."
However, following the evidence session on Sept. 6, James Murdoch issued a statement dismissing Crone and Myler's testimony as "unclear" and stating that he stood by his earlier evidence.
13 September 2011 Last updated at 08:26 ET New emotion detector can see when we're lying
By Hamish Pritchard Science Reporter
A sophisticated new camera system can detect lies just by watching our faces as we talk, experts say.
The computerised system uses a simple video camera, a high-resolution thermal imaging sensor and a suite of algorithms.
Researchers say the system could be a powerful aid to security services.
It successfully discriminates between truth and lies in about two-thirds of cases, said lead researcher Professor Hassan Ugail from Bradford University.
The system, developed by a team from the universities of Bradford and Aberystwyth in conjunction with the UK Border Agency, was unveiled today at the British Science Festival in Bradford.
This new approach builds on years of research into how we all unconsciously, involuntarily reveal our emotions in subtle changes of expression and the flow of blood to our skin.
We give our emotions away in our eye movements, dilated pupils, biting or pressing together our lips, wrinkling our noses, breathing heavily, swallowing, blinking and facial asymmetry. And these are just the visible signs seen by the camera.
Even swelling blood vessels around our eyes betray us, and the thermal sensor spots them too.
Traditional lie detection depends on the venerable polygraph, first developed in 1921, a much more invasive apparatus with a set of wires attached to the skin. This new device promises non-invasive, even covert truth tests in real time.
"We bring together all this well-established work on expressions, these recent developments in thermal imaging, techniques for image tracking of subjects and our new algorithms into one operational system," said Professor Ugail.
So far, the team has only tested its lie detector on willing volunteers rather than in a real-life, high stakes situation. Later this year, though, they plan to deploy it in a UK airport, probably running alongside experienced immigration officers as they conduct security interviews. The algorithms can then be tested against the verdicts of these officers.
"In a real, high-stress situation, we might get an even higher success rate," noted Professor Ugail, who believes he'll eventually be able to detect around 90% of those who are lying, which is similar to the performance of the polygraph.
The researchers acknowledge, though, that these tests can never be 100% accurate.
What they detect are emotions, such as distress, fear or distrust, and not the act of lying itself. Fear can sometimes be the fear of not being believed rather than the fear of being caught.
Russian Rocket Delays Risk Turning International Space Station Into Ghost Town
Published September 13, 2011
Astronauts are prepping to leave -- but not shutdown -- the International Space Station
Houston, YOU have a problem.
With no space shuttles to take astronauts to the International Space Station, the U.S. relies upon Russian rockets. But amid deep concerns over a recent rocket crash, Russia on Tuesday announced it was postponing the launch of the latest space station crew to Nov. 12 -- mere days before the final astronauts on the orbiting laboratory are due to return to Earth.
That makes the potential for an unmanned International Space Station very real -- and NASA could have seen it coming, said Christopher C. Kraft, the former director of NASA's Manned Spaceflight Center.
"You can't put your head in the sand about the fact that you're going to have failures," he told FoxNews.com. Failures are to be expected in vehicles as old as the Soyuz -- or the American shuttle for that matter, Kraft said.
The space shuttle was a crucial alternative, said Art Harman, director of The Coalition to Save Manned Space Exploration.
"The political and budgetary rush to scrap the shuttles was so strong that all the risks inherent in relying upon any single source, much less the Russian system in particular, were downplayed or ignored," he told FoxNews.com.
"They've got no prepared alternate landing site for routine use, which therefore forces home our crews in each case a month earlier than the Soyuz expiration dates alone would require. That's incredible negligence," he said.
NASA believed the Soyuz craft would keep the International Space Station manned and supplied while the nascent commercial space industry in the U.S. developed replacement spacecraft. But Russia has encountered a disastrous string of issues that may make that policy untenable.
In a string of spectacular failures, Russia has lost four spacecraft over the past 10 months. In December, a rocket and its payload of three communications satellites fell into the Pacific Ocean after failing to reach orbit. A military satellite was lost in February, and in mid-August the Express-AM4, described by officials as Russia's most powerful telecommunications satellite, was lost.
Without shuttles, and without Soyuz, the space station may be in danger.
"The whole thing is a damn house of cards," Kraft told FoxNews.com. "Without the space shuttle, you leave yourself extremely vulnerable to losing the whole space station," he said.
That has far greater implications than it sounds, he noted. For example, NASA has been promoting the privatization of space flight as a replacement for the space shuttle.
"Without the space station, there is no market for the commercial vehicles. Zero," Kraft said.
Astronauts have been living aboard the station, without interruption, for almost 11 years. NASA has insisted last month's accident will have no adverse influence on the International Space Station crew, because their existing supplies of food, water and oxygen are sufficient.
"That's true," Kraft told FoxNews.com. "They have a very good complement of equipment. The question is, do they have the right equipment? And can they use if it they have to?"
He noted that extra-vehicular activity, or EVA, was often required to repair the station or add a new part. If the station is damaged, however, how would crew perform that operation?
"If you've got a damaged space station and you couldn't do an EVA, the U.S. shuttle would have been the only other vehicle with an EVA capability."
By retiring the shuttle, he said, we've impacted our ability to perform that and other operations.
"It was the best vehicle, best rocketship, best launch vehicle we have ever built in this country. And with modernization, it could be the vehicle to use for the next 20 years," Kraft said.
September 13, 2011 G.O.P. Gains House Seat Vacated by Weiner By THOMAS KAPLAN
A little-known Republican businessman from Queens, channeling voter discontent with President Obama into an upset, won election to Congress on Tuesday from the heavily Democratic district in New York City last represented by Anthony D. Weiner.
The Republican, Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, defeated Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the scion of a prominent Democratic family in Queens, in a nationally watched special election.
With 84 percent of the precincts counted early Wednesday, Mr. Turner was leading Mr. Weprin by 54 percent to 46 percent, according to The Associated Press.
National Republican leaders immediately trumpeted the victory as a sign of trouble for Mr. Obama’s re-election effort. “An unpopular President Obama is now a liability for Democrats nationwide,” Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement.
But Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said the district’s large concentration of Orthodox Jews made it unusual and meant the race had few national ramifications.
“In this district, there is a large number of people who went to the polls tonight who didn’t support the president to begin with and don’t support Democrats — and it’s nothing more than that,” she said in a telephone interview.
As Mr. Turner declared that the election had been a referendum on the president, his buoyant supporters, gathered at a restaurant in Howard Beach, Queens, shouted “Yes, we can,” appropriating the galvanizing phrase of Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign. Mr. Turner predicted that voters elsewhere would also rebuke Mr. Obama in the elections next year.
“We have lit one candle today,” he said. “It’s going to be a bonfire pretty soon.”
Mr. Weprin, however, did not concede defeat.
“This is not over yet; this is going to be a long night,” he said in brief comments to his supporters at a pub in Forest Hills, Queens. “Hopefully we can still pull this out.”
The unexpectedly tight race stirred anxiety among Democrats already worried about elections next year for president, the House and the Senate. The Turner campaign had eagerly courted disenchanted Democrats, and outside polling places around the district on Tuesday, multiple longtime Democrats confessed that despite concern about Mr. Turner’s eagerness to slash federal spending, they chose him hoping that his election would get lawmakers’ attention.
“I am a registered Democrat, I have always been a registered Democrat, I come from a family of Democrats — and I hate to say this, I voted Republican,” said Linda Goldberg, 61, after casting her ballot in Queens. “I need to send a message to the president that he’s not doing a very good job. Our economy is horrible. People are scared.”
Mr. Turner will become the first Republican since 1920 elected to represent the Ninth Congressional District, which now stretches from the Rockaways to Forest Hills and encompasses a swath of middle-class and working-class neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens. The district is predominantly white and has long been known for its large Jewish population, though it has become increasingly diverse in recent years.
Mr. Weprin, 55, a former city councilman and son of an Assembly speaker, was nominated by local party leaders to run after Mr. Weiner, a Democrat, resigned in June following his admission that he had sent sexually explicit messages to women he had met online.
Mr. Turner, 70, ran against Mr. Weiner in the last election but has never held office. He mounted a surprisingly forceful campaign, painting Mr. Weprin as a party insider who would support the status quo.
Mr. Turner capitalized on discontent in some corners of the Jewish community with Mr. Obama’s posture toward Israel and his handling of the Middle East peace process. Former Mayor Edward I. Koch, a Democrat, urged voters to rebuke the president by voting for Mr. Turner.
The emergence of Israel as an issue was a surprise, because Mr. Weprin is an observant Jew and strong supporter of Israel. But Mr. Weprin’s support in the Orthodox community had already been weakened by his vote to legalize same-sex marriage, and several voters interviewed on Tuesday said the Israel issue was a major factor in their decision to support Mr. Turner, who is Roman Catholic. Mr. Turner repeatedly criticized Mr. Obama on Israel.
Mr. Weprin fought back by seeking to appeal to the district’s many older voters, telling them that Mr. Turner was in sync with the Tea Party and would seek to weaken Social Security and Medicare.
Erik Huneke, 35, a history Ph.D. candidate who voted for Mr. Weprin, said that setting aside discussion of national symbolism, there was no question that Mr. Weprin’s platform better suited the political leanings of most voters in the district.
“It’s understandable for people to be upset,” Mr. Huneke said. “But it would be nice if people had a longer-term perspective in terms of why they’re hurting now. It’s not just Obama’s fault.”
Mr. Weprin’s campaign made a central issue out of the future of federal entitlement programs, persuading voters like John Doherty, 64, a Democrat from Middle Village, Queens, to worry about whether Mr. Turner would favor deep cuts.
But Mr. Doherty, a retired social worker, said his concern about entitlement programs had been overshadowed by the opportunity he saw to express his unhappiness about the economy in the special election.
“We need to deliver a message to Washington,” he said. “We need jobs, and we need to focus on the economy, and we need to stop fighting with one another.”
The campaign was short — Mr. Weprin and Mr. Turner were chosen as nominees by their respective parties in early July — and attracted little attention or money for many weeks. As it became clear, however, that Mr. Turner might win, Mr. Weprin received a cash infusion from national Democrats, who spent more than $600,000 on television advertisements criticizing Mr. Turner. Mr. Weprin had also raised significantly more money than Mr. Turner and had the assistance of labor unions and strong local party organizations.
Both campaigns enlisted senior party figures to bolster their candidates. Mr. Turner trumpeted endorsements not only from Mr. Koch, but also from former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and former Gov. George E. Pataki. Both made appearances with Mr. Turner and urged New Yorkers to vote for him as a way to admonish the president, for whom they did not have kind words.
On the Democratic side, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and former President Bill Clinton recorded automated phone calls to voters for Mr. Weprin, and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who formerly represented the Ninth District, campaigned with him, as did the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn.
The upset in New York came the same day that, in a special election in Nevada’s Second District, an open seat was won by Mark Amodei, a Republican, over Kate Marshall, a Democrat. While Mr. Amodei’s victory was hardly a surprise, as the district has been held by a Republican since it was created in the 1980s, his defeat in the more Democratic leaning parts of the district demonstrated the challenge Democrats face in a country frustrated with high levels of joblessness and no near end in sight to economic woes.
The New York loss is an embarrassment to Representative Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Mr. Israel just a few months ago had expressed hope that the Democrats could move to take back control of the House; now his party appears to be facing a challenge defending seats it already holds.
Colin Moynihan, Jim Rutenberg, Jennifer Steinhauer and Tim Stelloh contributed reporting.
When it starts raining up here on the north Puget Sound it gets muddy. But it isn't too bad as far as tracking through the house. The Girls hate the rain so they will go to the door, I open it, they look out, look back at me like I'm crazy and walk away. Spoiled prissy little things I guess.
by Alejandro Rojas Curious About UFOs? You're in Good Company Posted: 9/13/11 04:18 PM ET
People interested in UFOs are typically stereotyped as young nerdy Star Trek fans, but the truth is altogether different. I had this same expectation when I attended my first UFO meeting. I lived near the headquarters of the largest UFO research organization in the country, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), and the first time I walked into a meeting, to my surprise, I found mostly retirees. The man in charge was a retired engineer, John Schuessler, who spent years working at Johnson Space Center, beginning with NASA's first manned space missions.
Among the attendees were engineers, retired law enforcement and retired military personnel, who for one reason or other took the issue of UFOs very seriously. Schuessler's interest was that some of the craft described by credible witnesses were highly advanced, and that if we could glean some of this technology from the characteristics described in UFO sightings, it could be utilized to enhance our space program. He became aware of the UFO phenomenon when he found out first hand that astronauts had been seeing things in space they couldn't explain.
Astronaut Gordon Cooper, one of the first men in space, went public with his extraordinary UFO encounters. He says in 1951 he and other Air Force jet pilots saw a group of "metallic, saucer-shaped vehicles". He also says in 1957 a camera crew he supervised filmed a saucer like craft land in the desert at Edwards Air Force base. He was ordered to give the film to a courier and never saw it again. Another astronaut, Edgar Mitchell, says he knows UFOs are real from speaking with his colleagues. He also grew up in Roswell, New Mexico, where he says an extraterrestrial craft really did crash in 1947.
These gentlemen weren't the only men of science to be interested in the subject, in fact modern UFO studies were started by scientists. One of the first and most important, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, was an astronomer who researched UFOs as a consultant for the Air Force. He disagreed with the Air Force's stance that there was nothing to the issue and started the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).
Another early UFO organization, whose members were mostly military, was the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) founded by renowned physicist Thomas Townsend Brown in 1956. Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter was one of NICAP's more prominent advisors. In a letter to congress in 1960, he wrote: "Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense."
Democrat Bill Clinton had an interest in UFOs and Hillary was the president's liaison with Laurence Rockefeller, who was petitioning the White House to begin official investigations into the matter. John Podesta, Clinton's Chief of Staff and co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Project, called for an end to UFO secrecy at the Washington Press Club in 2002. Jimmy Carter said he had a UFO sighting, so did Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Republican Ronald Reagan had a UFO sighting and continually referenced extraterrestrial invasions. Gerald Ford, while a congressman in Michigan in 1966, called for a congressional inquiry into UFOs.
More recently, a book titled, UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record, has shed light on some of the more credible evidence. The foreword is written by John Podesta and it has been endorsed by well-known physicist, Michio Kaku and astronomer Derrick Pitts. Kaku has been writing and talking about UFOs and the importance of taking the phenomena serious for years. Pitts was convinced of the phenomenon's importance by the book, stating: "I am not saying that UFOs are ET spacecraft. I am saying [that] here, there is some mystery, and we should be able to address it scientifically, without all the stigma involved."
This is just a brief sample of some of the accomplished people interested in the subject. Polls typically show that anywhere between 30 to 50 percent of the population take UFOs seriously. The results from a Gallup poll in 1966 showed that college and high school graduates were nearly 20 percent more likely to believe the issue was "something real" than people with only a grade school education.
I was inspired to write this blog entry when a friend of mine lost his battle with cancer and passed away last week. Gary Huffman was a retired senior engineer from the Rocky Flats nuclear facility outside of Denver, Colorado. Literally a rocket scientist, who started frequenting UFO lectures after he had his own extraordinary sighting. He was one of the smartest, most honest and forthright people I knew. Thinking of him made me contemplate the long list of other impressive people who have studied this enigmatic mystery.
14 September 2011 First look Ultimate Suit from SPIDER-MAN: EDGE OF TIME by Tiberius
Here is your first look at the "Ultimate Spider-Man" costume from Activision's upcoming Spider-Man: Edge of Time. Players will be able to choose this suit during game play. The game arrives on shelves on October 4.
According to SuperHeroHype the games is "a focused, action-packed adventure set in two connected and evolving timelines, from the contemporary times of the Amazing Spider-Man to the corrupted future world of Spider-Man 2099, against the backdrop of a rich, tightly crafted narrative by acclaimed Marvel veteran Peter David (co-creator of the comic book series "Spider-Man 2099").
The game features all-new "cause-and-effect" gameplay, where players will see how the immediate and sometimes unexpected effects of their actions as one Spider-Man changes the timeline of the other Spider-Man."
This sounds like a lot of fun and I have to admit I would love to use this suit. Which would you choose?
World’s First ‘Blue’ Rose Soon Available in U.S. By Danielle Venton September 14, 2011 | 12:37 pm Categories: Miscellaneous
Long a symbol of the unattainable, blue roses will be for sale this fall in the United States and Canada.
Named “Applause,” the rose is genetically modified to synthesize delphinidin, a pigment found in most blue flowers. The rose was first released in in Tokyo in 2009, after 20 years of research by Suntory, a Japanese company that also distills whisky, and its Australian subsidiary, Florigene (now Suntory Flowers). Today Suntory announced the rose will be for sale at select florists in North America, beginning early November. While the flower might appear more silver-purple than sky-blue, Applause is the nearest to a true blue rose yet.
Arguably the world’s best loved flowers, humans have cultivated roses for more than 5,000 years. Roses can signify love, beauty, politics and war.
Blue roses have a mythic quality because they, until recently, were impossible to grow. Roses appear naturally in many shades of red, pink, yellow and white, but lack the natural ability to produce blue pigments. For centuries, blue roses have conjured unrequited love or the quest for the impossible.
Blue roses traditionally available through florists have been white roses dyed blue. Suntory and Florigene achieved the blue color inserting a delphinidin-producing gene from a pansy into an Old Garden ‘Cardinal de Richelieu’ rose. When debuting in Japan, Applause was sold for 10 times the price of normal roses.
When it starts raining up here on the north Puget Sound it gets muddy. But it isn't too bad as far as tracking through the house. The Girls hate the rain so they will go to the door, I open it, they look out, look back at me like I'm crazy and walk away. Spoiled prissy little things I guess.
~ "When you master your mind, you master your life." ~
~ In every action there is an equal and opposite reaction ~