Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7110 on: Aug 2nd, 2012, 09:34am »
Syrian rebels capture tank as Aleppo battle rages
By Hadeel Al Shalchi ALEPPO, Syria Thu Aug 2, 2012 9:50am EDT
ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) - Syrian rebels turned the gun of a captured tank against government forces on Thursday, shelling a military airbase expected to be used as a staging post for army reinforcements in the battle for Aleppo.
President Bashar al-Assad's troops meanwhile bombarded the strategic Salaheddine district in Aleppo itself with tank and artillery fire while rebels tried to consolidate their hold on areas they have seized.
In the capital Damascus, troops overran a suburb on Wednesday and killed at least 35 people, mostly unarmed civilians, residents and activist organizations said.
The fighting for Syria's two biggest cities highlights the country's rapid slide into full-scale civil war 17 months on from the peaceful street protests that marked the start of the anti-Assad uprising.
World powers have watched with mounting concern as diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution have faltered and violence that has already claimed an estimated 18,000 lives worsens.
More than 180 people were killed in Syria on Wednesday, 133 of them civilians and 45 of them members of Assad's forces, according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The rebels' morale was boosted when they turned a government tank's gun on the Menakh airbase 35 km (25 miles) north of Aleppo - a possible staging post for army reinforcements.
"We hit the airport using a tank that we captured from the Assad army. We attacked the airport a few times but we have decided to retreat at this time," a rebel fighter named Abu Ali told Reuters.
The pro-opposition Observatory said government forces at the airbase had used artillery and rocket launchers to bombard the town of Tel Rifaat, which lies between the airbase and Aleppo, Syria's commercial center.
Reuters correspondents heard heavy weapons fire on Thursday morning from Salaheddine in southwest Aleppo, a gateway to the city of 2.5 million people that has been fought over for the past week.
Heavily armed government troops are trying to drive a force of a few thousand rebel fighters from the city in battle whose outcome could be a turning point in the conflict.
Although government forces have made concerted efforts to take Salaheddine, a full-out assault on the city as a whole has yet to take place.
Mobile phone connections have been cut since Wednesday evening, leading to speculation among residents that an increase in military action might be imminent.
The rebels are consolidating areas they control in Aleppo, attacking police posts and minor military installations with some success. They claim to have seized three police stations this week.
NEW ATROCITIES ALLEGED
In Damascus, still a government stronghold but a scene of combat in the past two weeks, government troops faced new accusations of atrocities after they overran a suburb on Wednesday.
"When the streets were clear we found the bodies of at least 35 men," a resident, who gave his name as Fares, said by phone from Jdeidet Artouz, southwest of Damascus.
"Almost all of them were executed with bullets to their face, head and neck in homes, gardens and basements."
Syrian state television said "dozens of terrorists and mercenaries surrendered or were killed" when the army raided Jdeidet Artouz and its surrounding farmlands.
In a rallying cry to his troops on Wednesday, Assad said their battle against rebels would decide Syria's fate.
But his call-to-arms, in a written statement, gave no clues to his whereabouts two weeks after a bomb attack on his inner circle.
Assad, who succeeded his late father Hafez 11 years ago to perpetuate the family's rule of Syria, has not spoken in public since the bombing in Damascus killed four of his close security aides, although he has appeared in recorded clips on television.
His low public profile has fuelled speculation about his grip on power since the attack in which his brother-in-law died.
FOOD RUNNING SHORT
The fighting in Salaheddine district, part of a rebel-held arc stretching to the northeast of Aleppo, has left neither side in full control.
On Al-Sharqeya Street, residents and shop owners looked in awe at the damage. Some searched through what was left of their buildings - huge piles of concrete and twisted metal.
"I saw death before my eyes," said Abu Ahmed as he abandoned his home. "I was hiding in the alleyway of my building when I heard the whiz of the artillery. Look at my street now."
They said the damage was caused by helicopter fire targeting a rebel brigade based in a school. It missed the school and hit the residential buildings instead.
"This dog Assad and his men are so blind they can't even target a brigade properly," said Abu Ahmed, waving a plastic bag with his meager belongings inside.
State television said on Wednesday the army was pursuing remaining "terrorists" in one Aleppo district and had killed several, including foreign Arab fighters.
Some foreign fighters, including militant Islamists, have joined the battle against Assad, who accuses outside powers of financing and arming the insurgents.
Aleppo had long stayed aloof from the uprising but many of its 2.5 million residents are now caught up in battle zones, facing shortages of food, fuel, water and cooking gas. Thousands have fled and hospitals and makeshift clinics can barely cope with casualties after more than a week of combat.
"The humanitarian situation is deteriorating in Aleppo and food needs are growing rapidly," said the World Food Programme, announcing plans to send emergency food supplies for up 28,000 people.
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation said up to three million Syrians are likely to need food and other aid in the next 12 months because the conflict has prevented farmers from harvesting their crops.
In a shift toward increased foreign involvement in the war, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a secret order authorizing American support for the rebels, according to U.S. sources familiar with the matter.
The order, approved earlier this year, broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.
The lightly armed insurgents are battling a well-equipped army that has overwhelming superiority on paper. But the rebels have managed to capture some tanks and heavy weapons and their ranks are swelled by army defectors.
The rebels, however, are united mostly by loathing of Assad, and have failed to come together despite pressure from the West, Turkey and Sunni-ruled Arab states who back their cause.
(Additional reporting by Erika Solomon in Aleppo, Dominic Evans in Beirut and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by Giles Elgood; Ediitng by Angus MacSwan)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7112 on: Aug 2nd, 2012, 09:56am »
Published on Aug 1, 2012 by shogun338
UFO ORB appears out of nowhere and becomes brighter than the stars then vanishes . Best viewed in full screen .Starting at 1.44 video is speed up 16 times showing 11:00 to 11:30 pm . Only second night filming with the Samsung SCB-2000 , so I'm still working with the settings . Video was recorded between 11:00 -11:30 PM . Camera is facing the Big Dipper. Filmed over the Ohoopee river in Georgia USA .
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7114 on: Aug 3rd, 2012, 09:48am »
Shyamalan comes to scripted TV for the 1st time for Syfy's Proof
By Blastr Staff 9:01AM on Aug 3, 2012
Is there life after death? Looks like M. Night Shyamalan is about to find out. And he's going to find out on Syfy, as he comes to scripted TV for the first time with Proof, about the son of a billionaire tech genius who'll lay a huge reward on you if you can deliver him that elusive proof of life after death.
The acclaimed director will be joined behind the scenes by Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Marti Noxon, with whom he'll co-write and executive produce.
New York, NY - August 3, 2012
-- Syfy has finalized a deal with feature filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs, Unbreakable) and television Executive Producer/Showrunner Marti Noxon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Mad Men, Fright Night) to produce the scripted pilot project Proof, it was announced today by Mark Stern, President of Original Content, Syfy and Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions.
Shyamalan and Noxon will co-write the project and serve as Executive Producers. Ashwin Rajan, who heads Shyamalan's Blinding Eagle label, will also serve as Executive Producer. Shyamalan intends to direct the pilot and Universal Cable Productions will produce.
Shyamalan recently wrapped After Earth starring Will and Jaden Smith for Sony Pictures. Proof marks his first foray into scripted television.
Noxon is currently scripting the film adaptation of The Glass Castle for producer Gil Netter and Lionsgate.
In Proof, after the tragic accident and sudden death of his parents, the son of a billionaire tech genius offers a large reward for anyone who can find proof of life after death.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7115 on: Aug 3rd, 2012, 09:52am »
New York Times
Russia Sends Warships to Syria, Officials Say
By ELLEN BARRY and ALAN COWELL Published: August 3, 2012
MOSCOW — Unnamed Russian defense officials told news agencies on Friday that three warships, with 360 marines aboard, have been deployed to the Syrian port of Tartus and will arrive within several days.
The port is not large enough to accommodate all the landing vessels, so two of them will remain offshore and the third will drop anchor, an official told Interfax, on the condition of anonymity.
The ships, now in the Mediterranean Sea, are expected to stay for several days and deliver water and food to the small Russian naval base there, then return to the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.
The official did not say whether the marines would remain in Syria or whether there are any plans to evacuate the estimated 30,000 Russian citizens in the country.
A few hours later, the Foreign Ministry released a statement underlining the urgency of finding a replacement for Kofi Annan, the United Nations and Arab League envoy who resigned on Thursday, and of maintaining the United Nations presence in Syria.
The statement said Russia had done everything possible to support Mr. Annan’s cease-fire plan but opposition forces had refused to negotiate, supported by “our Western partners, and certain regional states.”
“Moreover, despite the decisions of the U.N. Security Council and Geneva, they continued to supply political, moral, material, technical and financial assistance to Syrian opposition groups, thereby encouraging the irreconcilability of antigovernment forces,” the statement said. News of the Russian deployment emerged as fighting appeared to intensify in parts of Damascus, the Syrian capital, with both government officials and rebels reporting a mortar attack on the Yarmouk Palestinian camp, home to 150,000 people, in the Syrian capital.
Syria’s state-run SANA news agency blamed the attack on “an armed terrorist group” — its usual name for foes of President Bashar al-Assad — and identified 12 people it said had been killed.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group based in Britain, said 21 people had died. Activists said footage posted on the Internet and showing wrecked buildings and bodies covered in blankets came from the Yarmouk camp, but there was no immediate way of verifying the origin of the footage.
In its account of the attack, SANA quoted Palestinian leaders in the camp as saying that he compass of the Palestinian people “would ever remain pointing to Palestine” — apparently an indirect warning to Palestinians to avoid siding with the rebels.
The Syrian Observatory said at least 133 civilians died in fighting Thursday and reported continued clashes on Friday in around Damascus, the city of Hama further north and in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and commercial center, which has been the focus of much of the violence.
The latest fighting came a day after Mr. Annan announced that he was quitting at the end of the month, attributing his decision to what he described as Syrian government intransigence, increasing militancy by Syrian rebels and the failure of a divided Security Council to rally forcefully behind his efforts.
Foreign Secretary William Hague of Britain said on Friday that Mr. Annan’s decision represented “a bleak moment” for diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict. While Britain will intensify its support for the rebels, he said in a BBC radio interview, its help will not involve weapons. “We are helping elements of the Syrian opposition but in a practical and nonlethal way,” he said.
As tensions have risen in Syria this summer, there have been several reports that Russia was deploying warships, but each time they have been followed by official denials. Military experts say Russia’s naval base in Tartus is tiny, understaffed and would be difficult to defend in a conflict.
Russian officials, who have insisted for months that Mr. Annan’s mission was the only acceptable way forward, continued to express regret over his departure, and a top Foreign Ministry official suggested that he was pressured to withdraw by proponents of military intervention.
“He is an honest international broker, but there are people who want to take him out of the game in order to have free hands for military actions. That is already clear,” wrote Gennady Gatilov, a deputy minister of foreign affairs, on his Twitter account.
Ellen Barry reported from Moscow, and Alan Cowell from London.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7116 on: Aug 3rd, 2012, 09:57am »
'UFO Triangle' Is Alien Hotspot, Believers Claim
updated 8/2/2012 5:46:13 PM ET
On July 8, 1947, a crash in Roswell, N.M. described by local papers as a "flying saucer" lit a fire in America: UFO fever. And today, just over 65 years later, some Central Californians believe their region remains a UFO hotspot, the bottom leg of a "UFO triangle" as mysterious as Bermuda's.
Jeffrey Gonzalez is one of such, the founder of Sanger Paranormal Society and a UFO-chaser for the past four years. He even runs a 24-hour UFO hotline: people call and he investigates claims of UFO sightings.
“No, I’m not crazy. It’s an obsession, it’s a hobby,” Gonzalez told FoxNews.com.
He works as a phone company technician during the day and solves mysteries of the unknown during his time off. He says his background in electronics helps him use the tools to investigate the paranormal.
“I go out to the location to where these events happen, I’ll talk to the witnesses I will take reference points and I will make sure it’s real,” he said.
Gonzalez drives a research vehicle or “Paranormal Ambulance” equipped with the requisite gear necessary to investigate UFOs: a Geiger counter, an EMF scanner, infrared cameras, and of course, a Sony HandyCam camcorder with night vision.
“If a witness reports a sighting more than one time or says something crashed then we’ll go out and stake out the area in case the craft comes back. Because if it does come back then we’ll be ready,” he told FoxNews.com.
The Geiger counter tests for radiation and the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) reader monitors different types of energy. Infrared cameras are very helpful during stakeouts, he said; they can see up to 300 feet in pure darkness.
“We’ll usually park outside from about 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the morning,” he said.
Gonzalez is part of a new National Geographic series called Chasing UFOs. A recent survey conducted by National Geographic finds that 80 million Americans believe in UFOs.
“I have witnesses calling me -- law enforcement, doctors, lawyers, and military personnel that have pictures that they have captured over Fresno,” Gonzalez said.
Fresno lies at the bottom of the "Nevada Triangle" a region that includes Area-51 and China Lake. Gonzalez says this area is similar to the Bermuda Triangle where many planes have disappeared without a trace over the last 50 years.
“There’s a lot of military presence and there could possible be a lot of top secret military craft flying over our skies,” Gonzalez said.
According to the non-profit National UFO Reporting Center there are roughly 5,000 UFO sightings reported each year. Gonzalez has people throughout the city of Fresno who serve as sky watchers. These people sit outside for hours watching the sky for anything out of the ordinary.
Sky watcher Robert Dorson saw his first UFO 25 years ago, and today he loves watching for UFOs from his roof where he captures video on his camera.
“I’ve got the best footage. I got the close and the best footage. All hours of the night and day I’m out here watching,” Dorson told FoxNews.com.
Are you a believer, or still just a skeptic? Start being more observant and perhaps you might see something unusual, they explained.
“It’s turned out to be more than a hobby now it’s a passion of mine to find out what are these things flying over Fresno. Are they military or are they something else? And I think I’m getting pretty darn close,” Gonzalez said.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7117 on: Aug 3rd, 2012, 10:01am »
Originally published August 2, 2012 at 9:21 PM Page modified August 3, 2012 at 6:44 AM
Strangers' gifts send boxer Queen Underwood's sister to London
When Queen Underwood fights at the London Olympics, her older sister will be watching because others heard her story and offered support.
By Don Shelton Seattle Times sports editor
Hazzauna Underwood discovered several reasons why she couldn't go to London to watch her little sister compete in the Olympic Games — money, work, two young daughters.
Yet those reasons disappeared because of something else, something as uplifting as how two sisters overcame past abuse, and as unexpected as their path to healing — the generosity of strangers.
Hazzauna leaves for London on Friday and will be ringside Sunday when her sister, Queen, has her first bout in Olympic women's boxing. How both sisters found their way to London is the latest chapter of their unlikely story.
When a July 20 Seattle Times story explained that Hazzauna, 30, couldn't afford to travel to the Olympics, readers began sending money and support. She says she received about two dozen donations worth several thousand dollars.
Cappy's Boxing Gym on Capitol Hill, where Queen learned the sport, paid for her Olympics tickets. Another Seattle company, which wished to remain anonymous, paid for her accommodations and upgraded her airfare. Someone else sent $8.
Hazzauna still can't believe her good fortune.
"I think it's truly a blessing that people found in their hearts to give assistance to someone they didn't even know," said the introverted Hazzauna. "I wasn't expecting anything at all. At first, it was a little embarrassing, but it ended up being a positive thing.
"I'm so appreciative of everything, even the smallest amount. Anything anyone was able to give, they gave from their hearts, and that's all that matters."
Queen Underwood, a 5-foot-6, 132-pound boxer who went to Garfield High School, is considered a dark horse to win a medal in the first Olympics with women's boxing.
In what some consider the toughest opening-round draw, she faces medal contender Natasha Jonas of Great Britain — not to mention her opponent's rowdy home fans — at 6:30 a.m. PDT Sunday. If Queen wins, she would box No. 1-seeded Katie Taylor of Ireland, a four-time world champion, on Monday.
"She's going from one top person to the No. 1," U.S. assistant coach Gloria Peek told The Associated Press. "Queen can rise to the occasion, though. She has done it before, and she can do it again."
Long odds mean little to the Underwood sisters, who have had to overcome obstacles all their lives. They survived sexual and physical abuse from their father as they grew up, according to a story in The New York Times. Hazzauna was first raped when she was 12 but endured the ongoing abuse hoping Queen, younger by two years, wouldn't suffer the same fate. But eventually Queen, whose first name is Quanitta, was abused, too, beginning in seventh grade.
The sisters' bond is a strong one, which made Hazzauna's story of not being able to see Queen's finest athletic moment so irresistible.
"Knowing what they've been through, they need to be together," said Amanda Licorish, Hazzauna's close friend.
"It's hard to understand the bond we have," Hazzauna said. "I guess there is a special bond that's created when you've endured certain things in life. It's kind of like a lock and key."
Offers of help showed up on Queen's Facebook page as soon as the story was published. Hazzauna calls the response "awesome, an outpouring of hope."
Other problems had to be worked out, though. Hazzauna is a registered nurse who works the night shift at Harborview Medical Center, and she is a single mom to two daughters, ages 7 and 8. Her supervisor moved her shifts to accommodate the trip, and relatives will watch her daughters during her weeklong absence.
Her flight through Philadelphia leaves Friday morning and arrives in London on Saturday. She returns a week later, Aug. 10.
Queen was thrilled to find out her big sister could come, Hazzauna said; her daughters, not so much.
"They're excited, but they want to go," she said of Ahjanai, 8; and Orlaan, 7.
The whole experience has reinforced Hazzauna's belief in the goodness of others, something that was tested during the sisters' horrific childhoods.
"Awesome," is the word Hazzauna uses to describe the outpouring of support. And that word is how she describes the support she and her sister always have provided each other.
"I think it's awesome how we've been each other's support system and backbone for umpteen years," Hazzauna said. "It's her road, but she wants me there in her corner. I'm excited to be there and support her in such a fundamental and awesome accomplishment. This is once in a lifetime."
She hopes her sister wins, of course, and maybe even brings home a medal. But that, Hazzauna Underwood insists, isn't what's important.
"She's a winner at heart," she says of her little sister. "Nothing else matters at the end of the day."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7119 on: Aug 4th, 2012, 09:11am »
Iran test fires short-range missile with new guidance system
Sat Aug 4, 2012 6:12am EDT
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has successfully test fired a new short-range missile equipped with a guidance system it plans to install on all future missiles it builds, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday.
"With the fourth-generation of the Fateh 110, the armed forces of our country are able to target and destroy land and sea targets, enemy headquarters ... missile seats, ammunition sites, radars and other points," Vahidi said in quotes carried by Islamic Republic News Agency.
The Fateh 110 has a range of around 300 km (180 miles), IRNA reported, meaning it would only be able to strike Iran's immediate neighbors.
The announcement follows mounting tension over Iran's nuclear facilities, which the Islamic Republic says are geared solely towards electricity production, but which Western countries believe are aimed at developing an atomic bomb.
"Using new guidance methods, target-striking systems were installed on the missiles and during the flight test... its ability to hit the target without deviation was proven," Vahidi said according to IRNA.
"In future programs all future missiles built by the Defense Ministry will be equipped with this capability," he added.
Iranian officials have threatened in the past to close the Strait of Hormuz, the neck of the Gulf through which 40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil exports pass, in retaliation for sanctions levied against its crude exports, or military action.
Such a move would risk a military response from the United States, which has built up its military presence in the Gulf.
Vahidi also said the missile was intended as a defensive weapon. "These capabilities are defensive and would only be used against aggressors and those who threaten the country's interests and territorial integrity," he said.
(Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Jon Hemming)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7121 on: Aug 4th, 2012, 09:27am »
Lasers, Cameras and Particle Detectors: Mars Rover’s Super High-Tech Science Gear By Adam Mann August 3, 2012 | 11:55 am Categories Science
Assuming it safely passes through its terrifying and complex descent sequence, NASA’s newest rover, Curiosity, should get its wheels on the Martian surface in just two short days, at 10:32 p.m. Pacific on Aug. 5. The size of a small SUV, Curiosity is packed with 10 state-of-the-art instruments that will allow it to answer questions about Mars’ wet history, current atmosphere and climate, and the possibility of ancient or contemporary life.
Curiosity represents a scientific and engineering leap over the previous rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and its nuclear-powered battery will allow it to rove day and night. Over the course of its two-year initial mission, the probe will climb up a 3-mile-high mountain in the middle of Gale Crater, poking, prodding, and drilling into the soil and rocks.
Here we take a closer look at the individual instruments that will help Curiosity make the next breakthrough discoveries about the Red Planet.
From the moment the rover hits the Martian atmosphere it will start taking data. Studded in 14 locations around the probe’s heat shield are devices known as the Mars Science Laboratory Entry Descent and Landing Instrument (MEDLI). This equipment will provide information about Mars’ atmosphere and the dynamics of the rover’s descent, analyzing Curiosity’s trip to the surface and providing information helpful in designing future Mars missions.
Additionally, a special camera, the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will be watching the view as the ground rushes up at Curiosity. By taking high-resolution color video during the probe’s landing sequence, MARDI will provide an overview of the landscape during descent and allow geologists back on Earth to determine exactly where Curiosity lands.
Possibly the coolest Curiosity instrument is the ChemCam, which uses a laser beam to shoot rocks (and maybe a Martian or two) in order to vaporize a small sample. A spectrograph will then analyze the vapor, determining the composition and chemistry of the rocks. Situated on Curiosity’s head, ChemCam can shoot up to 23 feet and should provide unprecedented detail about minerals on the Martian surface.
The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument will look at various minerals on the Martian surface. Specific minerals form in the presence or in the absence of water, revealing the history of an area and helping scientists to understand whether or not liquid existed there. Curiosity will drill into rocks to obtain samples for CheMin, pulverizing the material and transporting it into the instrument’s chamber. CheMin will then bombard the sample with X-rays to determine its composition.
The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) will be Curiosity’s weatherman, providing data about daily atmospheric pressure, wind speed, humidity, ultraviolet radiation, and air temperature. REMS will sit on Curiosity’s neck and also help assess long-term seasonal variation in Mars’ climate.
The Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) sits the end of Curiosity’s arm, allowing the rover to place it right up against rocks and soil. It will then shoot X-rays and alpha particles (essentially Helium nuclei) at the materials to identify how they formed.
The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) is one of the most important instruments and the reason that Curiosity can be called a mobile laboratory. Taking up more than half of the rover’s body, SAM contains equipment found in top-notch labs on Earth: a mass spectrometer to separate materials and identify elements, a gas chromatograph to vaporize soil and rocks and analyze them, and a laser spectrometer to measure the abundances of certain light elements such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen – chemicals typically associated with life. SAM will also look for organic compounds and methane, which may indicate life past or present on Mars.
The other experiment important in Curiosity’s search for Martian habitability is the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument, which will look for water in or under the Martian surface. Water, both liquid and frozen, absorbs neutrons differently than other materials. DAN will be able to detect layers of water up to six feet below the surface and be sensitive to water content as low as one-tenth of a percent in Martian minerals.
Curiosity has plenty of eyes to take in the view on the ground. Perched atop its head is the MastCam, two cameras capable of taking color images and video, as well as stitching pictures together into larger panoramas. One of these two cameras has a high-resolution lens, allowing Curiosity to study the distant landscape in detail.
The Mars Hand Lens Images (MAHLI) instrument will provide close-up views of rocks and soil samples near the rover. MAHLI sits at the end of Curiosity’s long, flexible arm, and can image details down to about 12.5 micrometers, roughly half the diameter of a human hair. The instrument will also be able to see in ultraviolet light, which will come in handy during night exploration and funky psychedelic parties.
Rounding out Curiosity’s cameras are the hazard-avoidance Hazcams and navigation Navcams. The Hazcams will watch underneath the rover to prevent it from crashing into any large objects while the Navcams will be mounted on the rover’s mast to help it steer. Both camera sets will be capable of taking stereoscopic 3D images.
Future Mars missions may rely on data from the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD). The first instrument that Curiosity fires up when it lands on Mars, RAD will measure radiation at the Martian surface, determining how plausible it is that microbes exist there. One of RAD’s main selling points is its ability to assess how safe or dangerous the Martian surface would be to future human explorers, calculating the radiation dose future astronauts may receive.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7122 on: Aug 4th, 2012, 09:30am »
Pentagon agrees to ground V-22 aircraft in Japan until crash probes completed
By Carlo Muñoz 08/04/12 06:00 AM ET
A tranche of American hybrid airplane-helicopters won’t be buzzing over the skies of Japan anytime soon.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto announced on Friday that U.S-led operations of the V-22 Osprey aircraft would be suspended in the country until Tokyo is satisfied the aircraft are safe to fly.
"Until that we confirm the safety of it, the United States will refrain from flying Osprey" in Japan, Morimoto said during a joint briefing at the Pentagon.
The Ospreys destined for the Pacific will replace the older CH-46 helicopters flown by Marine Corps units attached to Marine Expeditionary Force III stationed in the region, according to a Pentagon statement.
The first group of V-22s will arrive at the service's air station in Iwakuni in late July, according to the Pentagon. The aircraft, built by Bell-Boeing, is designed to take off and land like a helicopter and fly like a fixed-wing plane.
But the planes will remain dormant on U.S. airfields at Iwakuni until DOD completes its investigations on recent incidents with the Osprey in North Africa and Florida.
In April, two Marines were killed and two others wounded when an Osprey crashed during a joint U.S. training mission with the Moroccan military.
The Marine Corps tiltrotor went down in the southern province of Tan Tan in Morocco's Guelmim Province, 450 miles south of Rabat, according to reports at the time.
Two months later, an Air Force Osprey crashed during another training mission in Hurlburt Field, Fla., which is home to Air Force Special Operations Command headquarters. Five airmen from the 1st Special Operations Wing were injured during that crash.
In both instances, Marine Corps and Air Force leaders decided not to suspend Osprey operations while military officials conducted investigations into the incidents.
Panetta and Morimoto discussed the progress of those ongoing investigations during their meeting Friday in Washington.
Further discussions are planned for upcoming "joint committee" talks between Washington and Tokyo on the future of the Osprey and other military cooperation issues, the Japanese defense chief said.
"In order to solve these programs, we are actively cooperate and give utmost consideration to ensure the safety of the local population" in Iwakuni and Okinawa, Morimoto said.
Despite the DOD inquiries into recent Osprey mishaps, Panetta was adamant the aircraft will play a vital role in maintaining regional security in the Pacific and bolstering military ties with Japan.
"The Osprey is important to the defense of Japan," Panetta said, adding that the Pentagon's reviews of the Morocco and Florida incidents should be wrapped up by the end of August.
"This is a one-of-a-kind platform [that] provides the speed, the range, the payload needed to cover the vast distances in the western Pacific, and it will enable us to perform humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations, and fulfill our other roles that are critical" to the U.S. alliance with Japan, Panetta said.
The recent hiccups with the Osprey deployment to Japan have been somewhat of a black mark on a relatively solid military relationship between the two allies.
That alliance has become even more important as the Pentagon has shifted its strategic focus increasingly toward the Asia-Pacific region.
U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa, Japan, are already scheduled to redeploy to bases in Guam and a new outpost in Australia as part of the Pentagon's new Pacific strategy.
That Australian base, located in Darwin, is expected to house 2,500 Marines once fully staffed.
On Wednesday, Defense Department officials told Congress that they are considering plans to increase the number of attack submarines and long-range bombers in the Pacific as part of the department's overarching strategic shift to the region.
The details regarding specific numbers of ships, subs and planes, along with where they would be based in the region, are still being reviewed by senior DOD officials, Robert Scher, deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans, told members of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee.
DOD is "taking another look" at basing these additional military assets at the U.S. outpost in Guam, which is already home to Andersen Air Force Base, Naval Base Guam and Naval Forces Marianas, Scher said.
But the massive movements of U.S. weapons and personnel into the Pacific region is based on the support coming from Japan.
Friday's face-to-face meetings between the two defense leaders were key to establishing a "relationship based on trust," Morimoto said. Both leaders "were able to discuss about a lot of important issues, which this very important to set the direction for the future relationship," he added.
Echoing that statement, Panetta reiterated the ongoing spat over the Osprey deployment would not interfere with those long-standing relationships between the Pentagon and partner nations in the Pacific.
"As close allies, we will always respect … the concerns and the circumstances on both sides and work together to develop practical solutions that will allow this vital relationship to continue to move forward in the face of challenges," Panetta said.
"Our hope is to work out a joint way forward . . . in a manner that is befitting this great alliance.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7123 on: Aug 4th, 2012, 09:38am »
Published on Jul 15, 2012 by MovieManiacsDE
Missed the Big Bang Theory panel at this years Comic-Con ? With Host Adam Savage ( Mythbusters ) From left to right: writer/producers Chuck Lorre ( Two and a Half Men ) , Bill Prady ( Gilmore Girls ),and Steven Molaro ( iCarly ), Mayim Bialik ( Amy Farrah Fowler ), Jim Parsons ( Sheldon Cooper ) on a virtual presence device, Kaley Cuoco ( Penny ), Kunal Nayyar ( Rajesh Koothrappali ), Simon Helberg ( Howard Wolowitz ) and Melissa Rauch ( Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz ). Johnny Galecki ( Leonard Hofstadter ) is missing due to a delayed flight.