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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 114193 times)
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7425 on: Oct 6th, 2012, 7:29pm »

Prayers for your son, JM!

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #7426 on: Oct 7th, 2012, 08:58am »

Good morning journryman57,

Your son is in my prayers every day. It's a hard road for our troops. They are a blessing and are appreciated.

Crystal


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« Reply #7427 on: Oct 7th, 2012, 09:02am »

Reuters

Suspicions, doubts linger after pope's butler verdict

By Philip Pullella
Sun Oct 7, 2012 9:47am EDT

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The swift conviction of Pope Benedict's former butler leaves lingering suspicions that he was a pawn in a much larger Vatican intrigue involving infighting in the papal court and alleged corruption at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church.

Despite the Vatican's desire to quickly turn the page on one of the worst scandals in its recent history, the trial of Paolo Gabriele for leaking sensitive documents has left many questions unanswered, leading some to call it a whitewash.

Gabriele's trial was concluded at lightening speed, ending on Saturday after only four hearings and it was an open secret that proceedings would end before a three-week gathering of bishops from around the world began on Sunday.

"The Vatican whitewashes it all," headlined Il Fatto Quotidiano, one of the newspapers that published material leaked by Gabriele, who had privileged access to the papal apartments.

While other commentators were less categorical about the possibility of orchestrated cover-up, most agreed that the trial left many unsolved mysteries and lingering contradictions.

"It seems to me there was a clear effort by the Vatican to keep any revelations within boundaries," said John Allen, an author of numerous books on the Catholic Church and the papacy.

"Their attempt at transparency by holding the trial in the first place was only partly successful," he told Reuters.

Gabriele was sentenced to 18 months in detention, to be served under house arrest in anticipation of a papal pardon.

The documents he leaked constituted one of the biggest crises of Pope Benedict's papacy, embarrassing the Vatican as it struggled to overcome a string of child sex abuse scandals involving clerics and mismanagement at its bank.

Gabriele told investigators he had acted because he saw "evil and corruption everywhere in the Church" and that information was being hidden from the pope.

JUDGE FAULTED

But Italy's leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, listed 10 questions left unanswered by the trial. Chief among them was whether a simple man like Gabriele, who said he acted out of his "visceral" love for the pope and the Church, had acted alone.

In pre-trial testimony Gabriele acknowledged he had come under the influence of several Vatican officials, including a confessor to whom he gave copies of sensitive documents. The confessor later destroyed them.

Gabriele told the court that from his position he was able to see how easy it was for a man with the pope's power to be manipulated by others but said that those who influenced him could not be called "accomplices".

Some commentators faulted the judge for not pursuing other lines of questioning regarding who "influenced" the butler. One Italian television report asked why the priest confessor who received copies of documents from Gabriele and later destroyed them was not accused of aiding and abetting.

The priest's identity had been encrypted until the last day of the trial, when it was only revealed in the prosecution's summing up. The priest was not called to testify.

One court move that raised eyebrows was its decision to reject a defense request to accept as evidence the results of a separate investigation into the scandal, dubbed "Vatileaks" by Italian media, carried out by three cardinals.

The court ruled that since the cardinals' commission was appointed by the pope, who is the monarch in the Vatican City, its findings were reserved for his eyes and would remain secret.

The court heard how Gabriele, who served the pope his meals and helped him dress, photocopied sensitive documents under the nose of his immediate superiors in a small office adjacent to the papal living quarters in the Apostolic Palace.

He then hid more than 1,000 copies and original documents, including some the pope had marked "to be destroyed," among many thousands of other papers and old newspaper clippings in a huge wardrobe in the family apartment inside the Vatican walls.

A MOLE OR A LONE AGENT?

Gabriele began hoarding documents in 2006 when he started working as the pope's butler but some question why he only leaked them this year. Was he a mole awaiting orders from other Vatican officials?

As a member of the small, select group known as "the papal family", Gabriele's privileged access was such that he was one of fewer than 10 people who had a key to an elevator leading directly to the pope's apartments.

Many Vatican-watchers are skeptical that a butler could have acted totally alone and suggest he may have been forced to take the blame in order to shield bigger players inside the Holy See.

Marco Politi, author of several books on the Vatican, wrote that the court proceedings seemed like a "script where everyone was playing their role" - a firm but benevolent prosecution, a lukewarm defense and the prospect of a papal pardon.

Newspaper commentators asked if Gabriele had cut a deal with the Vatican, agreeing not to divulge much of what he knew in exchange for a papal pardon and continued employment in a low-profile job in the city-state.

One commentator wrote that the Vatican wanted to keep Gabriele on a short leash because it was horrified at the prospect of him leaving the Vatican and writing his memoirs.


(Reporting By Philip Pullella)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/07/us-pope-butler-idUSBRE89609T20121007

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« Reply #7428 on: Oct 7th, 2012, 09:06am »

Washington Post

Capitol Assets: Congress’s wealthiest mostly shielded from effects of deep recession

By Dan Keating, Scott Higham, Kimberly Kindy and David S. Fallis
Published: October 6

If you could peer deeply into how the 535 members of Congress handle their money, what would you find?

You would see a diversity of investment strategies and results, from those who put their money into riskier, high-growth funds to those who own safe municipal bonds. The legislators range from the super-rich to the deep-in-debt, from inherited wealth to married wealth to no wealth at all. They are entrepreneurs and farmers, oilmen and ranchers, lawyers and real estate developers.

You would find that, contrary to many popular perceptions, lawmakers don’t get rich by merely being in Congress. Rich people who go to Congress, though, keep getting richer while they’re there.

The wealthiest one-third of lawmakers were largely immune from the Great Recession, taking the fewest financial hits and watching their investments quickly recover and rise to new heights. But more than 20 percent of the members of the current Congress — 121 lawmakers — appeared to be worse off in 2010 than they had been six years earlier, and 24 saw their reported wealth slide into negative territory.

Those findings emerge from an ongoing examination of congressional finances by The Washington Post, which analyzed thousands of financial disclosure forms and public records for all members of Congress.

Most members weathered the financial crisis better than the average American, who saw median household net worth drop 39 percent from 2007 to 2010. The median estimated wealth of members of the current Congress rose 5 percent during the same period, according to their reported assets and liabilities. The wealthiest one-third of Congress gained 14 percent.

Because lawmakers are allowed to report their holdings and debts in broad ranges, it is impossible for the public to determine their precise net worth. They also are not required to reveal the value of their homes, the salaries of their spouses or money kept in non-
interest-bearing bank accounts and their congressional retirement plan.

For its analysis, The Post used the midpoint of the range of each reported holding and tracked the figures over time to determine whether the relative wealth of lawmakers had increased or declined between 2004 and 2010. Previous studies of congressional wealth have looked at Congress as a whole, rather than tracking the financial trend for each individual lawmaker. The Post created an in-depth financial portrait of each member of Congress.

Among the findings:

●The estimated wealth of Republicans was 44 percent higher than Democrats in 2004, but that disparity has virtually disappeared.

●The number of millionaires in Congress dropped after the Great Recession; the 253 who have served during the current session are the smallest group since 2004. The numbers are likely to be underestimated because lawmakers are not required to list their homes among their assets.

●Between 2004 and 2010, 72 lawmakers appeared to have doubled their estimated wealth.

●At least 150 lawmakers reported receiving more income from outside jobs and investments than from their congressional salaries of $174,000 for rank-and-file members.

●Representatives in 2010 had a median estimated wealth of $746,000; senators had $2.6 million.

●Since 2004, lawmakers reported more than 3,500 outside jobs paying their spouses more than $1,000 a year. The lawmakers are not required to report how much the spouses are paid or what they did for the money.

●Lawmakers’ wealth is held in a variety of ways: 127 primarily in real estate, 117 in institutional funds, 75 in their spouses’ names, 51 in essentially cash, 36 in specific stocks and bonds, 32 in high-turnover trading, 30 in business ownership and 20 in agriculture. More than 40 had reported assets of $25,000 or less.

The Post also found that some congressional financial interests intersected with public actions taken by legislators: 73 lawmakers sponsored or co-sponsored legislation that could have benefitted businesses or industries in which either they or their families were involved or invested. The Post will report on several of those cases Monday.

Because of the imprecise financial disclosure system, estimations of wealth can be off by millions. For example, reports for Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) between 2004 and 2010 show that her wealth most likely increased by as little as $1 million or as much as $20 million, as framed by the changes to the lowest and highest possible totals of her reported assets. The Post analysis, which takes the midpoint of the ranges, estimated the increase at $11 million.

That figure is inaccurate, said her spokesman, Matt Dennis.

“The Loweys’ net worth did not increase by anywhere near $11m from 2004-2010 — the metric you’re using presents a hugely distorted picture,” Dennis said in an e-mail.

He declined to provide more accurate values for the assets of Lowey, a 12-term congresswoman, who is married to a partner in a White Plains, N.Y., law firm.

“They’re entitled to a certain level of privacy with their finances,” Dennis said in an interview. “That’s why the system is the way it is. They want a certain standard of disclosure without sacrificing their personal privacy.”

more after the jump:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/capitol-assets-congresss-wealthiest-mostly-shielded-in-deep-recession/2012/10/06/5a70605c-102f-11e2-acc1-e927767f41cd_story.html?hpid=z1

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« Reply #7429 on: Oct 7th, 2012, 09:12am »

Der Spiegel

05.10.2012

Congestion in the Death Zone

The Story Behind another Deadly Year on Everest

By Lukas Eberle

This year was the deadliest on Mount Everest since 12 climbers died on the mountain in 1996. But storms and avalanches were not the culprit. Instead, congestion in the Death Zone combined with inexperience resulted in a half-dozen deaths in just one May weekend.

He takes off his oxygen mask and takes a couple of careful breaths. His throat quickly begins to constrict. The air is so thin that Aydin Irmak, 46, feels as if he were suffocating. He quickly puts the mask back on. Then he looks around. Is this the place, he wonders? Irmak is walking across a slightly sloping area of ice, under a deep blue sky. He sees a small glass case with a Buddha statue inside. Yes, this is the place. Irmak is standing on the summit of Mount Everest.

The date is May 19, 2012, the temperature is minus 37 degrees Celsius (minus 34.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and the wind is icy. The highest point on earth, at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet), is a godforsaken place. Irmak is the last of 176 climbers to have reached the summit on this day. The others are already making their descent. When he encountered a group on his way up, one climber shouted to him: "Turn around!" But he kept on walking.

There is one rule on Mount Everest: Those who haven't summited by 1 p.m. should turn around. Severe storms often develop as evening approaches. Besides, it's extremely dangerous to spend too much time in the thin air of the so-called death zone, above 8,000 meters.

Irmak is standing on the summit at shortly before 3 p.m. He has never been on a tall mountain before, and he feels a little woozy. Irmak, who has a bicycle business in New York, doesn't know anything about the storms on Everest. Until a few weeks ago, he didn't know what crampons were, either.

Irmak has brought along a small flag, which he sticks into the snow. Then he pulls a digital camera out of the pocket of his down suit. There must be enough time left to take a picture of himself at the summit, he thinks, but the camera isn't working. Irmak removes his right glove to manipulate the battery compartment. A strong gust of wind hits him from behind, and his glove sails off into the abyss below.

Alive but Exhausted

Irmak is all alone on the peak of Mount Everest. He's up there much later than he should be. He has lost his right glove, and he has no idea how he's going to get back down.

When he begins his descent at about 3:30 p.m., the next expedition teams are already preparing for the ascent, 900 meters below at Camp 4, the last camp before the summit.

Pemba Jangbu Sherpa's agency has assigned him to 24-year-old alpinist Nadav Ben-Jehuda, who hopes to become the youngest Israeli ever to climb Everest. Pemba is being paid $6,000 (€4,608) for the job, and will get another $2,000 if his client reaches the summit.

Pemba and his client set out in the evening, hoping to reach the summit by the next morning. They're unaware of the tragedy that is unfolding above them.

The two men are making good progress. It's cold, and the wind is blowing at about 50 kilometers per hour (31 mph). At 10 p.m., at 8,300 meters, they encounter Chinese climber Ha Wenyi. The 55-year-old owner of an import/export business is sitting in the snow off to the side of the route, and his oxygen bottle is empty. He is alive, but he's completely exhausted. Pemba, the guide, helps him reattach himself to the fixed rope. Then he and Ben-Jehuda continue their ascent.

A little later, at 8,400 meters, Pemba's headlamp illuminates a body in the snow. It's Shriya Shah-Klorfine, a 33-year-old businesswoman from Canada. Pemba calls out: "Didi, Didi," or sister, sister. But the climber is dead. The two men continue on their way.

At 11:45 p.m., at 8,500 meters, the light from their lamps falls on a man crouched against a boulder. His thermal suit is torn open, and white down feathers are swirling through the air. He isn't carrying a backpack, he no longer has an oxygen mask, the crampon on his right foot is missing, and his lips are covered with ice.

Aborting the Summit Attempt

The man is Aydin Irmak. His eyes are closed, but he's still breathing. Pemba shakes his shoulder, and Irmak wakes up.

"Can you move your legs?" Pemba asks.
"I think so," says Irmak.
"Where's your equipment?" the Sherpa asks.
"No idea."

Irmak doesn't know what happened, or how he managed to reach this point from the summit.

Pemba and his client abort their summit attempt. They secure Irmak to the fixed rope, place him between them and begin the descent, fighting their way down the mountain. They climb over the dead Canadian woman and reach the Chinese climber. He has since died as well.

The body of Song Won Bin, a 44-year-old mountain climber from South Korea, is lying nearby. After becoming confused and disoriented, he fell off an overhang, which is why the three men can't see him.

They climb down from Camp 4 to Camp 3 and on to Camp 2, at 6,400 meters, which they reach at about 7 p.m. on May 20. There they learn that another climber, German doctor Eberhard Schaaf, also had an accident on Everest. During his descent, he collapsed at the base of the Hillary Step, an almost vertical, 12-meter cliff at 8,760 meters. Schaaf died at shortly after 3 p.m., when Irmak was still standing on the summit.

To be able to stand on the highest point on earth is one of man's biggest dreams -- like flying or traveling to the moon. Every spring, when Himalayan weather conditions are most favorable, alpinists from all over the world attempt to scale Mount Everest. They include professional mountain climbers and scientists, but also a growing number of adventurers who really have no business climbing the world's highest peak. They are people seeking an extreme experience, lured by an expedition industry that is marketing Everest as a tourist destination.

Anyone in halfway decent shape can book the tour to the top of Everest. High-altitude climbing experience isn't necessary, but courage and money are. Sherpas carry the equipment, prepare the route, set up the camps and lay the fixed ropes along which the clients, looking like a chain of pearls, make their way hand over hand toward the summit.

'An Amusement Park'

That's how New York bike shop owner Aydin Irmak made it to Everest. That he managed to come back down alive, however, was a random stroke of luck. If Pemba and Ben-Jehuda hadn't found him in the inky blackness on the mountain that night, he would have been lost. They saved his life.

Since the first ascent on May 29, 1953, by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, some 3,836 people have climbed Mount Everest, with almost three quarters of them making the ascent in the last 10 years. The Himalayan peak has become "an amusement park," says top Italian alpinist Simone Moro, who has summited Everest four times. This spring, 683 climbers from 34 countries attempted to climb the mountain.

It was also a deadly season. Eleven climbers died on Mount Everest in April and May, making 2012 the worst year for fatalities since 1996, when 12 people died.

But this year's deaths were not the result of mountain climbers being caught off guard by a sudden storm, being struck by falling rocks or being buried by an avalanche. They died because they were exhausted, because they were climbing too slowly, or because they ignored the symptoms of altitude sickness and did not turn around in time. More than 300 climbers set out for the summit on the weekend of May 19-20 alone. "I've never seen so many people on one mountain," says extreme mountain climber Ralf Dujmovits.

The crowded conditions led to congestion in the death zone. Six people died, with four of them perishing on the popular South Col route. They lost their lives because all of the adventurers, those who wanted to experience a moment of accomplishment at the highest point on earth, got in each other's way.

Nepal's Tourism Ministry is housed in a large brick building in downtown Kathmandu. Every mountain climber who wants to ascend Everest has to apply for a permit, which costs about $10,000, at an office on the third floor.

more after the jump:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/mount-everest-records-deadliest-year-in-over-a-decade-a-859533.html

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« Reply #7430 on: Oct 7th, 2012, 09:17am »

Wired

The Craziest Things People Have Proposed Putting on the Moon

By Adam Mann
October 5, 2012 | 6:30 am
Categories: Space

You might be excused if, upon reading about a proposal to build a supercomputer on the moon, your first thought was, “Wasn’t there a Heinlein novel about this?”

But the idea is real and a lunar supercomputer could serve some important functions, like processing space science data and helping to alleviate bandwidth problems for the current Deep Space Network. Though many obstacles stand in the way of such a project getting off the ground, it’s not the strangest thing that people have suggested we build on the moon.

It seems that many people in history have thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we did that, but on the moon?” Here we've gathered some of the most outlandish, irrational, and occasionally insane ideas that people have proposed for the moon. You can vote for the one you'd most like to see actually built in the poll below.

Think you have a better idea of your own? Let us know what you'd build on the moon and we'll give the best idea to Wired illustrator Simon Lutrin to conjure it up and publish it on Wired Science. It's the next best thing to actually building it.


gallery after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/10/craziest-moon-ideas/

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« Reply #7431 on: Oct 8th, 2012, 09:55am »

Reuters

Turkey returns fire after Syria attack: official

Mon Oct 8, 2012 10:34am EDT
HACIPASA, Turkey (Reuters)

Turkey's military launched a retaliatory strike after Syria fired a mortar shell into countryside in Turkey's southern province of Hatay on Monday, a Turkish state official told Reuters.

It was the sixth consecutive day of Turkish retaliation against bombardment from the Syrian side of the border, where President Bashar al-Assad's forces are battling rebels.

The exchanges are the most serious cross-border violence in Syria's revolt against Assad, which began in March last year with protests for reform and has evolved into a civil war with sectarian overtones which threatens to draw in regional powers.

The latest mortar round from Syria landed 150-200 meters within Turkey's border in the district of Hacipasa at about 3 p.m. (1200 GMT), the official said.

Turkey's armed forces have bolstered their presence along the 900 km (560 mile) border with Syria in recent days.

Syrian rebel sources in Syria's Raqqa province, bordering the Turkish town of Akcakale where Syrian shelling killed five civilians last Wednesday, said they had seen five Turkish army trucks full of soldiers, patrolling the Turkish side of the border.


(Reporting by Hamdi Istanbullu in Guvecci and Mariam Karouny in Beirut; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Louise Ireland and Nick Tattersall)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/08/us-syria-crisis-turkey-idUSBRE8970J320121008

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« Reply #7432 on: Oct 8th, 2012, 09:59am »

International Business Times

UFO Sightings: 2012 Fleet Video in Jerusalem, Legit This Time? [VIDEOS]

By Arlene Paredes
October 8, 2012 5:16 PM EST

Not one, not two, but a whole fleet - of UFOs?

A fleet of UFO was reportedly sighted on Friday, October 5th over the Dome of the Rock shrine in Jerusalem.

The same location was purportedly filmed in 2011 over another UFO sighting.

YouTube user thirdphaseofmoon uploaded the clip called "Massive UFO Fleet Sighting Incredible Shocking Footage Over Dome OF Rock Jerusalem Oct 5 2012" on the same day. (You can see the video here or play it below.)

The clip description says:

"Massive UFO Fleet Sighting Incredible Shocking Footage Over Dome Of Rock Jerusalem Oct 5 2012 Video captured by AQ"

There is no available information yet on AQ's identity, so the video should be taken with a grain of salt.

The video, which last for 62 seconds, shows at least three visible moving lights above the Dome of Rock.
Thirdphaseofmoon regularly uploads videos of UFO sightings to YouTube. His videos have been viewed a total of more than 30 million times. He has over 32,000 subscribers.

In January 2011, YouTube user elligael uploaded a purported UFO sighting on the same site. However, it was later described by MUFON to be a hoax.

Could Thirphaseofmoon's October 5 upload be legit?

A particular user seems to be convinced the recent clip, as well as the 2011 UFO video at the same dome, is for real.

User yowzephyr says:

"The UFO over the Dome was already done. It was a big story, remember? Even the major TV networks covered it. Then no less than MUFON concluded that the videos were a hoax. And they were... So what is going on? You have to understand how clever ET is. ET implanted the hoax urge into the hoaxers. Why? Because ET is interested in the Dome. So they used humans to hoax a UFO over it first before they themselves could hover over it. They use the shepherd boy crying wolf ploy to make us lose interest."

Are there reasons to believe the UFO sightings over Jerusalem's Dome of Rock are for real? Watch the videos for yourself.

videos after the jump:
http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/392096/20121008/ufo-sighting-2012-jerusalem.htm

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« Reply #7433 on: Oct 8th, 2012, 10:09am »

Wired

Homeland Security Learns to Love Small Spy Drones
By Spencer Ackerman
October 8, 2012 | 6:30 am
Categories: Crime and Homeland Security

There was a time when the Department of Homeland Security wasn’t enthusiastic about its drone fleet. Unmanned flying surveillance ‘bots had the potential to freak out the public, top DHS science and technology officials worried. That time has evidently passed — particularly for smaller flying spies.

In the coming months, Fort Sill, Oklahoma will become a proving ground to learn what small surveillance drones can add to “first responder, law enforcement and border security scenarios,” according to a recent solicitation to the country’s various drone manufacturers. Each selected drone wil undergo five days’ worth of tests as part of a new program from DHS’ Science and Technology directorate, called Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety or, gloriously, RAPS.

Like many in the military experimenting with drone miniaturization, DHS is thinking small. The drones it wants to bring to Fort Sill will ideally be launched by hand, like the Army and Marines’ Raven. They should weigh under 25 pounds. Assembly should take a matter of minutes, and training for their remote pilots and technician a matter of days. DHS isn’t looking for drones that can loiter over an area for a long time: just 30 minutes to two hours, a hint that the department doesn’t foresee drones becoming a primary surveillance tool. “Law enforcement operations, search and rescue, and fire and hazardous material spill response” are some of the potential drone missions the RAPS program envisions.

Still, it’s something of a turnaround for DHS. Back in January 2011, Ruth Doherty, a DHS science & tech official, expressed skepticism about using drones to patrol for signs of terrorism or to protect big public events like the Super Bowl. “A case has to be made that they’re economically feasible, not intrusive and acceptable to the public,” Doherty told Danger Room at a D.C. conference. In addition to the potential public outcry, drones have been a headache for DHS at times. A DHS ground station in 2010 lost communications with one of the first Predators it used to surveil the southern U.S. border, and the department has had trouble finding enough pilots and technicians to operate its initial drone fleet.

Police shops around the country have only recently begun flying surveillance drones, owing in part to cumbersome Federal Aviation Administration restrictions designed to prevent the robots from slamming into commercial passenger aircraft. That could be an issue for DHS as well. The RAPS drones need a threshold altitude of 1000 feet, well into helicopter territory — above the tops of most skyscrapers — and comparable to the heights reached by “Flying Beer Keg” flown by the Miami-Dade police department.

DHS’ second thoughts on drones may not be so surprising. In recent years, DHS has gotten interested in vastly expanding its surveillance capabilities, exploring cameras reminiscent of military ones that can spy on four square miles at once. And since it’s generally cheaper to fly a small drone over a burning building, nuclear power plant or hostage situation than it is to hire and clear a manned plane or helicopter, it may only have been a matter of time before homeland security opened up to the domestic-drone boom.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/10/robotic-aircraft-public-safety/

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« Reply #7434 on: Oct 8th, 2012, 10:14am »

Science Daily

New Surveys Peer Through Dust to Reveal Giant Supermassive Black Holes
ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2012)

— Scientists at the University of Cambridge have used cutting-edge infrared surveys of the sky to discover a new population of enormous, rapidly growing supermassive black holes in the early Universe. The black holes were previously undetected because they sit cocooned within thick layers of dust. The new study has shown however that they are emitting vast amounts of radiation through violent interactions with their host galaxies.


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Markarian 231, an example of a galaxy with a dusty rapidly growing
supermassive black hole located 600 million light years from Earth.
The black hole is the very bright source at the centre of the galaxy.
Rings of gas and dust can be seen around it as well as
"tidal tails" left over from a recent impact with another galaxy.
(Credit: Hubblesite.org)



The team publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The most extreme object in the study is a supermassive black hole called ULASJ1234+0907. This object, located in the direction of the constellation of Virgo, is so far away that the light from it has taken 11 billion light years to reach us, so we see it as it appeared in the early universe. The monster black hole has more than 10 billion times the mass of the Sun and 10,000 times the mass of the supermassive black hole in our own Milky Way, making it one of the most massive black holes ever seen.

The research indicates that that there may be as many as 400 such giant black holes in the part of the universe that we can observe. "These results could have a significant impact on studies of supermassive black holes" said Dr Manda Banerji, lead author of the paper. "Most black holes of this kind are seen through the matter they drag in. As the neighbouring material spirals in towards the black holes, it heats up. Astronomers are able to see this radiation and observe these systems."

"Although these black holes have been studied for some time, the new results indicate that some of the most massive ones may have so far been hidden from our view." The newly discovered black holes, devouring the equivalent of several hundred Suns every year, will shed light on the physical processes governing the growth of all supermassive black holes.

Supermassive black holes are now known to reside at the centres of all galaxies. In the most massive galaxies in the Universe, they are predicted to grow through violent collisions with other galaxies, which trigger the formation of stars and provides food for the black holes to devour. These violent collisions also produce dust within the galaxies therefore embedding the black hole in a dusty envelope for a short period of time as it is being fed.

In comparison with remote objects like ULASJ1234+0907, the most spectacular example of a dusty, growing black hole in the local Universe is the well-studied galaxy Markarian 231 located a mere 600 million light years away. Detailed studies with the Hubble Space Telescope have shown evidence that Markarian 231 underwent a violent impact with another galaxy in the recent past. ULASJ1234+0907 is a more extreme version of this nearby galaxy, indicating that conditions in the early Universe were much more turbulent and inhospitable than they are today.

In the new study, the team from Cambridge used infrared surveys being carried out on the UK Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) to peer through the dust and locate the giant black holes for the first time. Prof. Richard McMahon, co-author of the study, who is also leading the largest infrared survey of the sky, said: "These results are particularly exciting because they show that our new infrared surveys are finding super massive black holes that are invisible in optical surveys. These new quasars are important because we may be catching them as they are being fed through collisions with other galaxies. Observations with the new Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile will allow us to directly test this picture by detecting the microwave frequency radiation emitted by the vast amounts of gas in the colliding galaxies."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121008091546.htm

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« Reply #7435 on: Oct 8th, 2012, 9:07pm »

Hidden in Einstein’s Math: Faster-than-Light Travel?

Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience senior writer
Date: 08 October 2012

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Scientists have extended Einstein's equations for faster-than-light travel. Here a three-dimensional graph shows the relationship between three different velocities: v, u and U, where v is the velocity of a second observer measured by a first observer, u is the velocity of a moving particle measured by the second observer, and U is the relative velocity of the particle to the first observer.
CREDIT: Hill, Cox/Proceedings of the Royal Society A

Although Einstein's theories suggest nothing can move faster than the speed of light, two scientists have extended his equations to show what would happen if faster-than-light travel were possible.

Despite an apparent prohibition on such travel by Einstein’s theory of special relativity, the scientists said the theory actually lends itself easily to a description of velocities that exceed the speed of light.

"We started thinking about it, and we think this is a very natural extension of Einstein's equations," said applied mathematician James Hill, who co-authored the new paper with his University of Adelaide, Australia, colleague Barry Cox. The paper was published Oct. 3 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

Special relativity, proposed by Albert Einstein in 1905, showed how concepts like speed are all relative: A moving observer will measure the speed of an object to be different than a stationary observer will. Furthermore, relativity revealed the concept of time dilation, which says that the faster you go, the more time seems to slow down. Thus, the crew of a speeding spaceship might perceive their trip to another planet to take two weeks, while people left behind on Earth would observe their passage taking 20 years.

Yet special relativity breaks down if two people's relative velocity, the difference between their respective speeds, approaches the speed of light. Now, Hill and Cox have extended the theory to accommodate an infinite relative velocity.

Interestingly, neither the original Einstein equations, nor the new, extended theory can describe massive objects moving at the speed of light itself. Here, both sets of equations break down into mathematical singularities, where physical properties can't be defined.

"The actual business of going through the speed of light is not defined," Hill told LiveScience. "The theory we've come up with is simply for velocities greater than the speed of light."

In effect, the singularity divides the universe into two: a world where everything moves slower than the speed of light, and a world where everything moves faster. The laws of physics in these two realms could turn out to be quite different.

In some ways, the hidden world beyond the speed of light looks to be a strange one indeed. Hill and Cox's equations suggest, for example, that as a spaceship traveling at super-light speeds accelerated faster and faster, it would lose more and more mass, until at infinite velocity, its mass became zero.

"It's very suggestive that the whole game is different once you go faster than light," Hill said.

Despite the singularity, Hill is not ready to accept that the speed of light is an insurmountable wall. He compared it to crossing the sound barrier. Before Chuck Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound in 1947, many experts questioned whether it could be done. Scientists worried that the plane would disintegrate, or the human body wouldn't survive. Neither turned out to be true.

Fears of crossing the light barrier may be similarly unfounded, Hill said.
"I think it's only a matter of time," he said. "Human ingenuity being what it is, it's going to happen, but maybe it will involve a transportation mechanism entirely different from anything presently envisaged."

http://www.livescience.com/23789-einstein-relativity-faster-than-light-travel.html
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« Reply #7436 on: Oct 9th, 2012, 10:16am »

"Hidden in Einstein’s Math: Faster-than-Light Travel?"



Good morning Swamprat cheesy

Great article.

Crystal


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« Reply #7437 on: Oct 9th, 2012, 10:18am »

Reuters

Syria clashes intensify near Turkey border

By Jonathon Burch
Tue Oct 9, 2012 10:14am EDT

HACIPASA, Turkey (Reuters) - NATO said on Tuesday it had drawn up plans to defend Turkey if necessary against any further spillover of violence from Syria's border areas where rebels and government forces are fighting for control.

Rebel suicide bombers struck at President Bashar al-Assad's heartland, attacking an Air Force Intelligence compound on the edge of Damascus, insurgents said. Activists living nearby said the bombing caused at least 100 casualties among security personnel, based on the ambulances that rushed to the scene.

"Assad...is only able to stand up with crutches," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, once a close ally of Assad, told a meeting of his ruling AK Party.

"He will be finished when the crutches fall away."

Erdogan, reacting to six consecutive days where shells fired from Syrian soil have landed on Turkish territory, has warned Ankara will not shrink from war if forced to act. But Ankara has also made clear it would be reluctant to mount any major operation on Syrian soil, and then only with international support.

Syrian forces and rebels have clashed at several sites close to the Turkish border in the last week. There has been no sign of any major breakthrough by either side, though activists said rebels killed at least 40 soldiers on Saturday in a 12-hour battle to take the village of Khirbet al-Joz.

It was not clear whether the shells landing on the Turkish side were aimed at Turkey or simply the result of government troops overshooting as they attacked rebels to their north.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels the 28-member military alliance hoped a way could be found to stop tensions escalating on the border.

"We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary," he said.

Just outside Hacipasa, a village nestled among olive groves in Turkey's Hatay border province, the sound of mortar fire could be heard every 10-15 minutes from around the Syrian town of Azmarin. A Syrian helicopter flew high over the border.

Villagers used ropes and small metal boats to ferry the injured across a river no more than 10 meters wide into Turkey. On the Syrian side, men wearing surgical masks and gloves tended to the wounded on mats laid on the ground.

"They are burning houses in the town," said Musana Barakat, 46, an Azmarin resident who makes frequent trips between the two countries, pointing at plumes of thick smoke in the distance.

"There are rebels hiding in and around the town and they are going to make a push tonight to drive Assad's forces out," he said, a Syrian passport sticking out of his shirt pocket.

A crowd gathered around a saloon car, the blood-stained body of a man who had been pulled wounded from the fighting slumped across its back seat. Those with him said he had been rescued alive but died after being brought over the border.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Monday the "worst-case scenarios" were now playing out in Syria and Turkey would do everything necessary to protect itself.

Gul and Erdogan, in seeking Western and Arab support, have repeatedly warned of the dangers of fighting in Syria spilling over into a sectarian war engulfing the entire region.

Turkey's chief of general staff General Necdet Ozel flew by helicopter to several bases in Hatay province on Tuesday, part of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria.

U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will go to Syria soon to try to persuade President Bashar al-Assad's government to call an immediate ceasefire.

SUICIDE BOMBERS

The militant Islamist group al-Nusra Front said it had mounted the suicide attack on the air force intelligence building in Damascus because it was used a centre for torture and repression in the crackdown on the revolt against Assad.

"Big shockwaves shattered windows and destroyed shop facades. It felt as if a bomb exploded inside every house in the area," said one resident of the suburb of Harasta, where the compound was located.

But much of the fighting in the 18-month-old uprising has concentrated around the border area.

The shelling of the Turkish town of Akcakale last Wednesday, which killed five civilians, marked a sharp escalation.

Turkey has been responding in kind since then to gunfire or mortar bombs flying over the border and has bolstered its military presence along the frontier.

"We are living in constant fear. The mortar sounds have really picked up since this morning. The children are really frightened," said Hali Nacioglu, 43, a farmer from the village of Yolazikoy near Hacipasa.

A mortar bomb landed in farmland near Hacipasa on Monday.

Unlike the flat terrain around Akcakale, the border area in Hatay is marked by rolling hills with heavy vegetation. Syrian towns and villages, including Azmarin, are clearly visible just a few kilometers away.

"It's only right that Turkey should respond if it gets fired on but we really don't want war to break out. We want this to finish as soon as possible," said Abidin Tunc, 49, a tobacco farmer also from Yolazikoy.

NATO member Turkey was once an ally of Assad's but turned against him after his violent response to the uprising, in which activists say 30,000 people have died.

Turkey has nearly 100,000 Syrian refugees in camps on its territory, has given sanctuary to rebel leaders and has led calls for Assad to quit.


(Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman, Adrian Croft in Brussels, John Irish in Paris; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Daren Butler and Ralph Boulton)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/09/us-syria-crisis-idUSBRE88J0X720121009

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« Reply #7438 on: Oct 9th, 2012, 10:21am »

The Hill

Romney surges past Obama in second poll

By Jonathan Easley
10/09/12 08:50 AM ET

Mitt Romney has overtaken President Obama in a Public Policy Polling survey released on Tuesday.

Romney won 49 percent support from likely voters in the poll, compared to 47 percent for Obama.

It’s the first time all year Romney has led in the poll, which was conducted on behalf of the liberal Daily Kos website and the Service Employees International Union. Obama led 49-45 percent in the group’s previous poll, conducted before last week’s debate.

Romney was boosted in the poll by gains among female voters. Obama still leads 51 to 45 over Romney among women, but he had a 15-percentage-point lead in the previous poll.

It’s the second poll in a row to show Romney swinging to a lead following his historic trouncing of Obama at last week’s debate.

A poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center showed Romney with a 4-point lead nationally. In the Pew poll, Romney enjoyed an 18-point swing among female voters.

Romney also stretched his lead among independents in the PPP poll to 48 percent to 42. In the previous poll he led 44-41 among independent voters.

The first debate between Obama and Romney has significantly shifted momentum in the race.

According to Gallup, 72 percent of viewers said Romney won the debate, compared to only 20 percent who said Obama. It was the biggest margin of victory Gallup has ever recorded.

Both the PPP and Pew polls showed a big spike in the number of voters who identify as Republican, evidence that enthusiasm is up among the GOP in the wake of Romney’s strong performance.

Last week, 65 percent of Republicans told PPP they were “very excited to vote.” That number rose to 74 percent this week.

Daily Kos pointed out that the bulk of polling was conducted on Friday, “at the height of Romney’s bounce,” and said polling conducted Saturday and Sunday showed Romney’s lead had receded.

Obama had a 4-percentage-point advantage in the RealClearPolitics average of polls heading into the debate. Obama’s edge has been diminished to 0.5 percentage points in the latest RCP average.

The PPP poll has a 3-percentage-point margin of error.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the advantage Romney has in the PPP poll.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/260915-romney-surges-past-obama-to-four-point-lead-in-second-poll

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« Reply #7439 on: Oct 9th, 2012, 10:29am »

Science Daily

Regenerated Lizard Tails Are Different from Originals, Researchers Discover

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2012)

— Just because a lizard can grow back its tail, doesn't mean it will be exactly the same. A multidisciplinary team of scientists from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona examined the anatomical and microscopic make-up of regenerated lizard tails and discovered that the new tails are quite different from the original ones.

The findings are published in a pair of articles featured in a special October edition of the journal, The Anatomical Record.

"The regenerated lizard tail is not perfect replica," said Rebecca Fisher, an associate professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences, and at the UA College of Medicine -- Phoenix. "There are key anatomical differences including the presence of a cartilaginous rod and elongated muscle fibers spanning the length of the regenerated tail."

Researchers studied the regenerated tails of the green anole lizard (Anolis carolinensis), which can lose its tail when caught by a predator and then grow it back. The new tail had a single, long tube of cartilage rather than vertebrae, as in the original. Also, long muscles span the length of the regenerated tail compared to shorter muscle fibers found in the original.

"These differences suggest that the regenerated tail is less flexible, as neither the cartilage tube nor the long muscle fibers would be capable of the fine movements of the original tail, with its interlocking vertebrae and short muscle fibers," Fisher said. "The regrown tail is not simply a copy of the original, but instead is a replacement that restores some function."

While the green anole lizard's regenerated tail is different from the original, the fact that lizards, unlike humans, can regenerate a hyaline cartilage skeleton and make brand new muscle is of continued interest to scientists who believe learning more about regeneration could be beneficial to humans in the future.

"Using next-generation technologies, we are close to unlocking the mystery of what genes are needed to regrow the lizard tail," said Kenro Kusumi, an associate professor in ASU's School of Life Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and co-author of the papers. "By supercharging these genes in human cells, it may be possible to regrow new muscle or spinal cord in the future."

"What is exciting about the morphology and histology data is that these studies lay the groundwork for understanding how new cartilage and muscle are elaborated by lizards," said Jeanne Wilson-Rawles, co-author and associate professor in the School of Life Sciences. "The next step is understanding the molecular and cellular basis of this regeneration."

Another interesting finding is the presence of pores in the regenerated cartilage tube. While the backbone of the original lizard tail is made of many bones with regular gaps, allowing blood vessels and nerves to pass through, in the regenerated tail, only blood vessels pass through the cartilage tube pores. This observation suggests that nerves from the original tail stump grow into the regenerated tail.

The researchers hope their findings will help lead to discoveries of new therapeutic approaches to spinal cord injuries and diseases such as arthritis.

The research team included Jeanne Wilson-Rawls, Kenro Kusumi, Alan Rawls, and Dale DeNardo from ASU's School of Life Sciences and Rebecca Fisher from School of Life Sciences and University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.

This research was funded by Arizona Biomedical Research Commission -- grant #1113, and National Center for Research Resources and the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP) of the National Institutes of Health -- grant #R21 RR031305.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009092416.htm

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