Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5190 on: Oct 5th, 2011, 12:15pm »
Solyndra e-mails: Dept. of Energy was poised to approve $469 million for firm
By Carol D. Leonnig Wednesday, October 5, 9:14 AM
The Obama administration’s Department of Energy was poised last summer to give Solyndra a second major taxpayer loan of $469 million, even as the company’s financial situation was growing more dire.
The Energy Department was actively pushing to provide the second loan guarantee to the troubled solar-panel manufacturer in April and May 2010, when Solyndra’s auditors warned the company was in danger of closing due to its rapidly mounting debts and expenses, according to complete e-mails just released by a House committee investigating the original loan.
White House career staffers, who had first raised concerns in the fall of 2009 about the Department of Energy providing Solyndra with its first taxpayer-backed loan of $535 million , wrote e-mails in gallows humor in April 2010 about the prospect of giving Solyndra more money. That spring, industry analysts were publicly questioning how the Silicon Valley startup could so quickly be running out both the federal loan and $933 million in private capital.
“Apparently the loan size for Phase II is $469 million,” one Office of Management and Budget analyst wrote of DOE seeking a second loan for Solyndra. The analysts’s name was not released by the committee. “I’ve been told we should expect the see that project soon for conditional commitment.”
Another joked: “Possible to close and default on one before closing on a second could be a new record.”
The agency didn’t shelve the idea for a second loan until October 2010, a Department of Energy spokesman has confirmed. That was the month that Solyndra executives and investors first warned the department that the company was facing the threat of having to liquidate without emergency cash.
Solyndra, which suddenly shut down on Aug. 31 and sought bankruptcy protection, has left taxpayers on the hook for repaying that first half-billion-dollar loan. Its also left many, both Republicans and Democrats, questioning why the Obama administration was so supportive of the startup. Republicans have alleged the administration was showing favoritism to a firm backed primarily by investment funds tied to a major Obama campaign bundler, George Kaiser.
Solyndra, the first clean energy company that the fledgling administration backed with a stimulus-funded loan, had been a showcase of Obama’s effort to spur a clean energy industry on U.S. soil. Obama personally visited the firm in May 2010, after being warned not to go by a donor and adviser in the venture capital field who noted the auditors’ warnings the firm could very likely fail.
Even in May 2010, Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s top advisers — his senior adviser on stimulus , Matt Rogers, and his chief of staff, Rod O’Connor — were telling the White House not to worry about the auditors’ warnings on Solyndra’s finances. They also referenced the need for more federal money for Solyndra.
O’Connor told a top White House adviser to Vice President Biden that the warnings were exaggerated, when a venture capitalist and Obama donor had flagged the company’s finances as a reason the president shouldn’t visit Solyndra as scheduled on May 25. O’Connor also raised the issue of more government support for Solyndra
“Bottom line is that we believe the company is okay in the medium term, but will need some help of one kind or another down the road,” O’Connor wrote on May 24.
Rogers, who had been a senior consultant at McKinsey before joining the administration and returned to that company last fall, told the White House the same day that such auditors’ warnings were typical for startups. Rogers acknowledged shifts in the market that were not favoring Solyndra, but stressed the short term and raised no concerns about the president visiting the company in a high-profile press conference touting Solyndra’s work.
Rogers predicted the company could run into trouble in 18 to 24 months if European markets stumbled, but stressed “the company should be strong going into the fall with their new facilities on line.”
The next day, Obama headlined a press event carried on national television broadcasts from Solyndra’s warehouse, and called the company an “engine of economic growth.”
Solyndra filled out the application for a second loan days after receiving the first one in September 2009. The agency had put Solyndra’s request for a second loan guarantee on a fast-tracked, priority list, two sources familiar with the company’s application told the Post. The sources asked to remain anonymous because the probes of the loan are ongoing.
A Department of Energy confirmed the agency had been reviewing Solyndra’s second loan application through much of last year.
“Solyndra inquired about applying for a second loan guarantee, but DOE and Solyndra mutually agreed not to pursue that application until after the project we were already supporting was complete,” LaVera said in a e-mailed response to the Post’s questions.
“In early fall of 2010, Solyndra informed the Department that it was having an acute liquidity problem and that it would need to raise additional capital to continue operations.,” LaVera said. “Solyndra subsequently hired Goldman Sachs to assist with the equity raise. In early November, it became clear that that effort was not likely to be successful and DOE began to discuss funding alternatives with the company and its existing investors. “
The company closed on Aug. 31. Federal agents executed a surprise search warrant on Solyndra headquarters days later, part of a criminal probe into the company for possible accounting fraud.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5192 on: Oct 5th, 2011, 1:40pm »
Here we go again.........
Ducks dying mysteriously in So. California Published: Oct. 5, 2011 at 1:16 PM
LAKE FOREST, Calif., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Wildlife officials in Lake Forest, Calif., say they're unsure what is killing hundreds of mallard ducks in some ponds, lakes and watersheds in the city.
Officials said after tests were done on duck carcasses they still could not decisively say whether botulism or salmonella is causing the deaths, the Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Tuesday.
"The duck die-off is inconclusive based on the samples we tested," Jared Dever, a spokesman for the Orange County Vector Control District, said. "Speculation in the lab is there may have not been enough bacteria in the bird. The window is still open on botulism pending the testing of a bird carcass with a higher level of toxin."
None of the ducks have died from a vector-borne disease like West Nile virus, the district said, meaning its role in the investigation is done.
"It takes the die-off out of the arena for us because it's not a vector-borne disease -- something that can be transmitted by animals to humans," Dever told the Register. "It will require further testing; only then will you have a clue about how to stop it."
Health officials warned the public to stay away from the possibly highly toxic carcasses.
"I'm hoping it will be over soon," Lake Forest resident Anne Breuer said. "We hardly have any ducks left. I'm hoping someone will figure out what's wrong with them. Now the migratory ducks are starting to come in. God knows what will happen to them."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5193 on: Oct 5th, 2011, 7:44pm »
Mysterious south Brevard bee kill confounds, costs keepers
Losses are plenty, explanations few
6:37 AM, Sep. 30, 2011| Written by JIM WAYMER FLORIDA TODAY
Charles Smith last saw his bees alive early last week.
When the Fellsmere beekeeper checked them Monday, his heart dropped as he saw the mounds of dead bees spilling out of all 400 of his hives off Babcock Street, about a half-mile south of Micco Road near the Indian River County line. Another beekeeper about a mile south found a similar amount of his bees dead, around the same time, Smith said.
“This is a total wipeout,” Smith said as he opened the green wooden hives to show the destroyed honey. “This is all no good. It’s been sprayed.”
He estimates he lost $150,000 in honey proceeds, the bees and their future generations.
The beekeepers aren’t accusing anyone, and Brevard County officials doubt recent mosquito control spraying in the area killed the bees. But the die-off left behind the hallmarks of a pesticide kill, experts say, sparking a whodunit beehive mystery in South Brevard.
“Right now it’s too early to start pointing fingers at anybody,” said Bill Kern, an entomologist with the University of Florida’s Research and Education Center in Fort Lauderdale, who has been following the case. “The fact that it was so widespread and so rapid, I think you can pretty much rule out disease,” Kern said. “It happened essentially almost in one day. Usually diseases affect adults or the brood, you don’t have something that kills them both.”
State agriculture officials gathered dead and dying bees from both hives Thursday to test for pesticides. Results could take several weeks.
“They’re still dying,” Taylor said Thursday. Bees are crucial pollinators.
Farmers can raise avocado yields by 25 percent, for example, by using bees, according to the Florida Farm Bureau. They increase citrus yields, too, and squashes, melons, cucumbers. Cantaloupe can’t produce fruit without them.
Like canaries in a coal mine, bees also reflect the overall health of the environment. The nation has been undergoing a rapid loss of bees over the past few years that may signal a decline in the health of the planet, biologists say, and a symptom of a much larger environmental problem. Bees twitched and struggled Thursday among piles of their dead kin at Smiths lost hives.
“I rolled the dice on my whole life,” said Smith, who switched back to beekeeping from construction and roofing a few years ago after the housing crash. He’s got 32 years experience beekeeping, he said, and he’s had small die-offs in the past, but never anything like this. “I will never get compensated for what I’ve lost.”
He plans to divide up his bees at his other hives, make best with what’s left and keep on the state and county for answers.
“I’m going to write this off in my mind,” Smith said. “I’m a tough cookie and I don’t give up.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5195 on: Oct 6th, 2011, 08:02am »
New York Times
October 5, 2011 Bahrain Orders Retrials for Medical Workers By RICK GLADSTONE
Bahraini judicial authorities on Wednesday nullified the convictions and harsh prison terms given to 20 medical workers last week by a special security court prosecuting cases arising from civil unrest in the country. The medical workers were ordered released from custody, with new trials scheduled in a civilian court.
The decision appeared to be at least a tactical retreat by Bahrain’s Sunni monarchy in the face of strong international protests over the punishments, including criticism from the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. The special court had sentenced some doctors and nurses among the defendants to terms as long as 15 years because they had treated demonstrators who were wounded by security forces. Most of the protesters are members of the Shiite majority in the tiny Persian Gulf country.
Bahrain’s attorney general, Ali Alboainain, said in a statement carried by the official Bahrain News Agency that he had studied the judgment that the security court rendered Thursday and had “determined that the cases should be retried before the ordinary courts.”
Citing his department’s authority to ensure “rightful application of the law,” Mr. Alboainain said: “No doctors or other medical personnel may be punished by reason of the fulfillment of their humanitarian duties or their political views. Pending the outcome of the retrials, the accused shall not be detained.”
The security court found that during the height of the protests, the medical workers took over the Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain’s largest public hospital, and used it as a base for antigovernment plots, including the storage of fuel bombs and other weapons. The defendants were also accused of stealing medical equipment and “fabricating stories and lies.”
Supporters of the defendants denied those charges and said the medical workers were put on trial simply because they had treated wounded protesters, out of a duty to treat anyone who came to the hospital.
In what seemed a tacit acknowledgment that the special court had denied the defendants their rights, the attorney general said, “By virtue of the retrials, the accused will have the benefit of full re-evaluation of evidence and full opportunity to present their defense.”
The prosecution of the medical workers has become a signature theme in the course of the Bahrain conflict, and a delicate issue for the monarchy, an important American ally and the host to the United States Fifth Fleet’s naval base. Rights groups have accused the monarchy’s security forces of systematically trying to deny medical services to wounded protesters by mistreating and intimidating doctors and nurses.
Physicians for Human Rights, an advocacy group that has criticized the Bahrain government’s behavior in the protests, reacted cautiously to the attorney general’s announcement. “We are glad for any kind of review of the grossly unjust convictions,” said Hans Hogrefe, the group’s Washington director. At the same time, Mr. Hogrefe said, “The proof will be in the pudding.”
Mr. Hogrefe said he believed that the attorney general’s announcement reflected a “response to the international outcry.”
He and others also noted that the announcement came as Congress began to evaluate the planned American sale of $53 million worth of weapons to Bahrain, including bunker-busting missiles, night-vision technology and dozens of Humvees. Human rights groups have written to Congress urging that the deal be blocked because of rights abuses in Bahrain.
Rights groups estimate that since the unrest began, at least 34 people have been killed, more than 1,400 have been arrested and as many as 3,600 have been dismissed from their jobs.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5196 on: Oct 6th, 2011, 08:05am »
New York Times
October 5, 2011 E.P.A. Panel Issues Plan for Gulf Coast Restoration By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON
A year after its creation, a federal-state working group on Wednesday released a preliminary strategy for addressing long-term environmental problems along the Gulf Coast, including the disappearance of wetlands and a seasonal dead zone caused by runoff from the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico.
Members of the group hailed the document as the first formal agreement on the priorities of coastal restoration, an accord at times hard fought despite a broadly shared acknowledgment that the gulf is in dire shape.
“To me this is big because as the gulf speaks, it speaks with one voice, and says here are the things we need to do to save the gulf,” the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, said in an interview.
That unity was belied somewhat on Wednesday when a Louisiana official on the task force took issue with some elements of the strategy, saying that several important matters had not been addressed. Still, even critics in Louisiana applauded its release and supported the report’s recommendations.
The recommendations vary in specificity and in how soon or easily they could be carried out.
An appendix lists some state-specific restoration strategies, many of which can be acted on quickly.
The larger proposals, like adjustments to the way the Army Corps of Engineers controls the Mississippi River, are more ambitious. Nearly all of them require hefty financing, which is not easy to find in Washington or in any state capital these days.
The report acknowledges it is a “time of severe fiscal constraints” and suggests forming public-private partnerships and other arrangements that could pool or capitalize on existing resources.
President Obama called for the creation of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force last October after the secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, submitted a report on the gulf’s health after the three-month BP oil spill. The task force, which included federal and state officials, consulted nongovernmental organizations and representatives of the private sector.
The strategy, which is being made available for a period of public comment before being submitted to the president, lays out several broad goals and specific means to achieve them
To restore coastal habitat, for example, the report advises using strategic dredging and river diversions to rebuild the rapidly disappearing wetlands of the Mississippi Delta. It also proposes placing ecological restoration on equal footing with flood control and navigation interests in making Mississippi River management decisions.
Corps officials, who have been frequently criticized as ignoring such issues, were involved in the drafting of the strategy, but it remains to be seen whether they can follow these new guidelines with a few changes in policy or whether they will need Congressional authorization.
The report also puts a priority on improving water quality, particularly on countering the giant dead zone that develops in late spring in the Gulf of Mexico. Because the majority of the runoff that fosters the dead zone enters the river farther upstream, this would require the involvement of states that are far from the gulf, setting up significant jurisdictional and political hurdles.
While acknowledging the difficulties, Ms. Jackson said, “We shouldn’t be as a country moving away from thinking about big hard problems.”
The strategy also calls for, among other things, more monitoring of gulf species, the restoration of oyster and coral reefs and a reduction in emissions from oceangoing vessels.
Under the president’s plan, a permanent council would be established to carry out the task force’s strategy alongside federal and state agencies and existing organizations working on the gulf. Its activities would be funded in large part by Clean Water Act penalties stemming from the BP spill in 2010, the biggest in the nation’s history. The spill, resulting from a BP oil-well blowout, killed 11 people and spewed 200 million gallons of crude into the gulf.
The creation of the council, however, depends on Congressional passage of a bill making its way through the Senate that would direct four-fifths of the spill penalties toward coastal restoration. A similar version of the bill was introduced in the House on Wednesday.
The legislation has inched forward slowly, with states initially disagreeing about how the money should be divided up and whether it could be spent on economic projects, like a convention center, rather than exclusively on environmental restoration.
Some of these conflicting forces have been at work within the task force itself.
In a news conference on Wednesday, Garret Graves, the senior coastal adviser for Louisiana and the vice chairman of the task force, said that the strategy “seems to miss some of the gaping holes that are challenging us in southern Louisiana,” mentioning in particular a state-backed plan for an expanded levee system.
Nevertheless, he called the creation of the task force “a great step forward” as it laid out some of the most pressing issues the region faces.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5197 on: Oct 6th, 2011, 08:08am »
Jury awards LAPD detectives $2.5 million
The three detectives filed suit against the department alleging gender discrimination and retaliation by supervisors.
By Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times October 6, 2011
A jury has awarded three veteran Los Angeles police detectives $2.5 million in a gender discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against their supervisors.
The verdict, delivered Friday after only a few hours of deliberation, is the latest in a long string of costly lawsuits brought by LAPD officers against fellow cops and supervisors for retaliation, harassment and other workplace abuses.
Police Chief Charlie Beck has identified the internal strife — and the Los Angeles Police Department's inability to address it quickly — as one of the most pressing issues facing the agency. The recent case is likely to increase pressure on Beck to follow through quickly on reforms he said were intended to bring the issue under control.
A recent Los Angeles Times investigation found that from 2005 to 2010, LAPD officers sued the department more than 250 times and that the city had paid settlements or verdicts totaling more than $18 million in about 45 of those cases. Because taxpayer money is used to cover the payouts, such lawsuits have come under increasing scrutiny as the city's financial problems persist.
The latest case was filed by Dets. Peter Bakotich, Michael Fanning and Debbie Guerrero. In 2009, the three were senior detectives assigned to the department's Fugitive Warrants Section. Problems first arose during a training exercise, when Bakotich, who joined the department in 1972 and recently retired, spoke up to disagree with a lieutenant, Natalie Cortez, who instructed detectives to call a SWAT unit to handle certain fugitive scenarios. Cortez, who, according to Bakotich's attorney, had little experience in fugitive cases, angrily rebuked Bakotich in front of the other detectives, documents show.
Cortez had allegedly confided to Guerrero that she wanted only women officers to fill coveted night-shift supervisor assignments, the lawsuit alleged. Guerrero recalled Cortez saying: "You can say I'm guilty of gender bias, but oh well.... I want women to succeed in this job. You do what I tell you, you'll make it here," according to the court documents. She also allegedly directed Guerrero to spy on the male detectives for her.
Shortly after Bakotich's confrontation with Cortez, a captain stripped the detective of his role running a squad of detectives and relegated him to a desk assignment, Bakotich said in an interview. Fanning and Guerrero tried to intercede by speaking with the captain, Justin Eisenberg, about Cortez's alleged behavior and statements. Eisenberg allegedly rebuffed them, telling them "they had good jobs and they could leave if they wanted," the detectives' lawsuit alleged.
Fanning was soon transferred out of the fugitive section. His new supervisor told him he had been warned that Fanning was "a bad influence" and "poison to a unit," Fanning recalled in the lawsuit. Guerrero claimed Cortez forced her to work despite a knee injury and eventually was pressured to leave the section as well.
The officers filed formal complaints against Cortez, Eisenberg and Cmdr. Kevin McCarthy, who oversaw the fugitive section, but investigators from the department's Internal Affairs Group declined to investigate their claims, according to the lawsuit.
Cortez and McCarthy did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment. Eisenberg denied wrongdoing. A spokesperson for the city attorney's office declined to comment on the verdict other than to say the office was "disappointed" and had not yet decided whether to appeal.
The case echoes other recent ones. In April, for example, two motorcycle officers were awarded $2 million by a jury that found their captain retaliated against them when they complained about being ordered to meet an alleged traffic ticket quota. Gregory Smith, the attorney who represented Bakotich and the others, said he has won five verdicts of more than $1 million against the LAPD in the last year.
Such cases underscore the perception held by some rank-and-file officers that problem supervisors are not held accountable for their roles in workplace discord. "There's a certain arrogance among the brass that they think the rules are different for them," Bakotich said.
Beck declined to discuss the specifics of the current case, but disputed the notion that he goes easy on supervisors. "I am tough on my supervisors.... As with every case, we will look into this one completely. If it turns out there was management misconduct, we will deal with it.
But Beck has acknowledged department supervisors need to be better trained to recognize and resolve simmering problems before they erupt into courtroom battles. He added that coordination between the department and the city attorneys handling the cases is often flawed, and internal affairs investigators need to be more aggressive in looking into officers' claims. Beck said that by the end of the year he expects to hire an outsider to oversee reforms, and he hopes the addition will go a long way toward improving the situation.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5198 on: Oct 6th, 2011, 08:13am »
UFOs and the Maya? Film sounds like more 2012 hype
'Revelations' are likely to be underwhelming, based on history of such claims.
By Benjamin Radford updated 10/5/2011 11:25:44 PM ET
According to film producer Raul Julia-Levy, extraterrestrials contacted the Mayan civilization in Mexico thousands of years ago — and he claims he'll prove it in an upcoming film, "Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond."
Unproven claims of ancient astronauts in the Americas have been made for decades, most prominently by Erich von Daniken, author of the best-selling classic work of pseudoscience "Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past" (Putnam, 1968). Von Daniken wrote that ancient Egyptians had neither the intelligence nor the tools to create the massive pyramids at Giza, and thus they were made by aliens.
Some claim the giant drawings in the Nazca desert of Peru were created by spaceships. In fact, the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca Indians, probably as part of a ceremonial ritual. [Are We Alone in the Universe? New Analysis Says Maybe]
So the claims in this documentary by Julia-Levy (son of late actor Raul Julia) are nothing new — but the evidence for those claims is said to be.
What is this earthshaking new evidence? The filmmakers are being coy about what exactly they have (they want you to go see the movie), but Luis Augusto García Rosado, the minister of tourism for the Mexican state of Campeche, issued a statement that contact between the Mayans and extraterrestrials is "supported by translations of certain codices." (The fact that this stunning revelation was announced by a tourism official — and not, say, a professional archaeologist or anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution — raises suspicion that it may not be based in solid scientific research.)
García Rosado also referred to "landing pads in the jungle" that date back three millennia. It's not clear why aliens would need a designated landing pad for their spaceships, since many eyewitness reports of extraterrestrial craft suggest that they can land on just about any terrain (though maybe alien landing gear technology has improved over the past 3,000 years).
Julia-Levy and others involved in the film were unavailable for comment.
Ken Feder, author of "Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology" (McGraw-Hill, 2010) and the "Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology" (Greenwood, 2011), told Life's Little Mysteries that he's heard these claims before and considers them insulting to both the ancient Maya and modern audiences.
"The ancient Maya were perfectly capable of developing sophisticated architecture, a calendar, mathematics, a written language and an elaborate agricultural system without the intervention of extraterrestrials," said Feder, who is also an archaeology professor at Central Connecticut State University. "Claims that the Maya were visited by, inspired by, or mentored by ancient E.T.s is little more than a tired and trite fantasy, wholly and utterly devoid of any confirming evidence."
Julia-Levy insists that the film is a documentary, not science fiction, and dismisses the suggestion that the film is a transparent opportunistic ploy to capitalize on interest in the Maya calendar's apocalyptic view of the year 2012. He said he believes nothing less than the survival of mankind may depend on people watching his film (or at least hearing its messages) "for the good of mankind."
History is full of promised earth-shaking revelations that didn't pan out, including the discovery of Noah's Ark (claimed to have been found in 1973, 1993, 2006, 2010, etc.); the discovery of a Bigfoot body (in 2008); and discovery of proof that the 1947 Roswell crash was real (found in April 2011). Each of these claims came and went, and it seems likely that this latest proof of Mayan/extraterrestrial contact will be added to the list.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5199 on: Oct 6th, 2011, 08:17am »
Sandusky Register (Ohio)
Locals: UFO over Sandusky Tuesday night was 'chart-topper'
by Emil Whitis 08:30 AM Oct 06 2011
A gigantic UFO silently burned its way across the Sandusky sky Tuesday night.
That’s the story from three Camp Street men who happened to look up just as the object tore through the dark yonder at about 10 p.m.
Robert Lowery, a clerk at the 7-11 store on Camp Street, said he was lugging a pile of cardboard boxes to the Dumpster when a bright object in the sky caught his attention.
“It was about the size of a dinner plate,” Lowery said. “You could see the heat coming off it.”
At the same time, about two blocks down Camp Street, Montee Prieur and Daniel Harpst were shooting the breeze next to the Camp Street Bar.
“I looked up and this huge fireball went right over us,” Harpst said. “It was on fire and had a long streaming tail ... I yelled at my buddy Montee who was sitting right next to me, ‘Hey man, check that out.’”
Prieur said he looked up in time to see it.
From their vantage point, the great ball of fire raced overhead for brief seconds before dropping out of sight.
“All I can tell you is it was a UFO,” Prieur said. “I’ve only seen one other thing like it, and that was up in Michigan.”
It’s anyone’s guess how many people saw the mysterious object.
Lowery, in fact, wasn’t going to tell anyone about it.
“I was just kinda like, ‘That was weird,’ but I didn’t think much about it,” Lowery said. “That’s one of those things — if there’s nobody else around to see it, you don’t go around talking about it. People will think you’re crazy.”
But when Harpst came in the store all worked up about the sighting, he asked Lowery about it.
Both men agreed on this much: The object came from the southwest, headed northeast and disappeared somewhere over the lake.
“It was really moving, whatever it was,” Lowery said. “It looked like it went down somewhere around Johnson Island — that would’ve been the main stage. I wonder if anybody over there saw it.”
The whole show lasted about four seconds.
“God, I wish I had a camera,” Harpst said.
Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Great Lakes Region, said radars didn’t show anything extraordinary Tuesday night.
“There was no report of anything unusual last night in that area, or any area for that matter,” Cory said Wednesday.
But local astronomers weren’t surprised at the sighting.
Lois Wolf, director of the Sidney Frohman Planetarium in Sandusky, said it was probably a meteor that survived upper-atmospheric friction.
“They do go by very fast and would burn white,” Wolf said. “It’s not uncommon.”
Retired planetarium director Dick Speir agreed.
“Some meteors don’t burn up in the upper atmosphere, and those that reach the lower levels would produce quite a bit of light,” Speir said. “You’d be able to see it for a long ways — there should be other sightings in Erie County at least.”
Harpst still isn’t convinced of any particular explanation.
“I’ve seen a lot of strange things in my life, but this was a chart-topper,” he said. “And I’ll tell you one thing — it wasn’t no airplane.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5202 on: Oct 6th, 2011, 9:17pm »
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