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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 15760 times)
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« Reply #7800 on: Dec 27th, 2012, 10:36am »

Wired

Mountains of Madness: Scientists Poised to Drill Through Ice and Into Antarctic Gothic Horror

By Douglas Fox
12.27.12, 6:30 AM

What might lurk beneath Antarctica’s 5 million square miles of ice was the subject of speculation by sci-fi writers in the 1930s. One of the icy products this subgenre of Antarctic Gothic horror spawned is HP Lovecraft’s novella, The Mountains of Madness, in which scientists drill beneath Antarctica’s ice — only to discover horrid things preserved there. Now, scientists are finally enacting Lovecraft’s scenario: Over the next several weeks they are drilling into three subglacial lakes hidden beneath thousands of feet of ice in Antarctica.

What they will find as they sample the lakes and send cameras into their bellies remains to be seen. But one thing is already clear: Lovecraft was actually right about far more than his readers could have realized.

In Lovecraft’s story, a team of researchers from Miskatonic University flies into an unexplored region of Antarctica and bores through the ice. They discover fossil dinosaur bones with disturbing puncture and hacking wounds that cannot be attributed to any predators known to science. Soon after, they uncover the source of some of those wounds: fossils of a leathery-skinned beast with a “five-ridged barrel torso … around the equator, one at [the] central apex of each of the five vertical, stave-like ridges are five … flexible arms or tentacles.” The beast’s body is topped by a “five-pointed starfish-shaped” head.

The fossils aren’t quite dead.

As they thaw in the sun, the beasts reawaken. They slaughter 12 members of the expedition, carefully dissecting one of them and carting away another as a brown-bag lunch.

Two surviving members of the expedition find an ancient city entombed in the Antarctic ice sheet which once belonged to the beasts. There, they discover a disturbing truth: This race of five-armed Elder Ones had arrived from space over 600 million years ago. They spawned all life on Earth, including that destined to evolve into humans … in order to provide a source of food.

Lovecraft wrote Mountains of Madness at a time when Antarctica’s interior remained mostly blank. Airplanes had only just begun to venture inward from the coasts — Robert Byrd made his famous, first-ever flight over the South Pole in 1928 — and Lovecraft’s novella, written in 1931, echoes that expedition. It’s easy to smirk at Lovecraft’s five-armed monsters, described ad nauseam, including precise dimensions in feet and inches. It’s easy to conclude that Lovecraft tried too hard to invent something that was truly alien.

But the ensuing decades have shown that Lovecraft was right on one profound matter: Antarctica’s cold wastes do indeed preserve some very old things, some of them dead — and some, still alive.

Geologists exploring one end of the Transantarctic Mountains (perhaps Lovecraft’s “mountains of madness”) have found shreds of plants, dead for up to 20 million years, protruding from the gravel and fluttering in the wind. These mosses represent the last stand that plants made on the continent before being extinguished by endless winter. The subsequent cold and dry have preserved them from decay. Plop a bit of this moss into a bowl of water and its delicate leaves and stems inflate like soft sponges. The scattered twigs of southern beech trees that are found here still contain enough organic matter that they smolder and smoke if placed over a flame.

Not all of the deep-time holdovers are dead, though. Antarctica’s cold coastal waters preserve an ecosystem like no other Earth. Scientists call it Paleozoic, reminiscent of between 250 and 540 million years ago. It is dominated by echinoderms, the ancient phylum of animals including starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars, and lily-armed crinoids, whose bodies have five-fold symmetry — which brings us back to Lovecraft’s race of five-tentacled Elder Ones mummified beneath the ice.

“They sound like echinoderms to me,” said Richard Aronson, a veteran Antarctic marine biologist at Florida Institute of Technology. “Hilarious.”

Lovecraft points out that his Elder Ones inhabited the deep sea before emerging onto land. He goes to great lengths to describe the holes at the top of their heads, analogous to the water circulation pores in starfish. The author may have been more correct than he ever knew.

Lovecraft wasn’t the first author, or the last, to tell of scary things in Antarctica.

In 1938, several years after Lovecraft wrote Mountains of Madness, John W. Campbell published Who Goes There — a novella that became the basis for two famous movies, The Thing from Another World, and The Thing, released in the 1950s and 1980s, respectively. And a century earlier, in 1838, Edgar Allen Poe published The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. In this book, a ship penetrates deeper into the southern ocean than ever before: The ice eventually gives way to warm seas and subtropical islands, populated by hostile natives reminiscent of those described by early European explorers in the Pacific.

The seas surrounding Antarctica were little known when Poe published his book. But by the time Lovecraft wrote his novella, multiple visits had been made to the continent, forcing the monsters to retreat into the poorly mapped interior, and under the ice. It may be time for the monsters to retreat once more.

A combination of ice-penetrating radar, seismic sensing, and laser altimetry has revealed well over 100 subglacial lakes hidden beneath Antarctic’s ice. Between now and the end of January, teams from the United States, Russia, and Britain are drilling into three of them.

The British team is preparing to drill into Lake Ellsworth, which sits beneath 10,000 feet of ice and has not seen the light of day for millions of years.

This week, a convoy of tractors will depart from the American-run base McMurdo Station. Those 13 tractors, towing 24 massive sleds of equipment and fuel exceeding half a million pounds, will cross 900 miles of ice before stopping at a nondescript spot 370 miles from the South Pole. There, almost in sight of Lovecraft’s “mountains of madness,” beneath 2,500 feet of ice, sits Lake Whillans, which has not seen daylight for 500,000 to a million years. Two kerosene-fueled generators, totaling nearly half a megawatt, will power a hot-water drill. Once activated in mid-January, that drill could bore an 18-inch-diameter hole into the lake within as little as one day.

At the same time, the Russians are drilling just above Lake Vostok, which sits under 12,350 feet of ice and has remained isolated from the outside world for up to 30 million years. The drillers at Vostok will extract fresh bits of ice, frozen lake water that gushed into the bottom of the borehole when the lake was first punctured last February.

The light that these explorations shed on Antarctica’s sunless waters will drive the monsters further underground.

The subglacial lakes will probably be found to harbor microbes, but much more. Finding those organisms will reveal plenty about life’s limits, particularly, about the ability of ecosystems to survive in places with minimal nutrients and without sunlight as an energy source. This will provide clues to what life, if any, could survive in liquid oceans that lurk beneath many miles of ice in other parts of the solar system, on Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

The teams are sterilizing drill equipment to avoid contaminating the pristine subglacial ecosystems, using a combination of ultraviolet light, hydrogen peroxide, and water filtration. But their work is still bound to have impacts on the ecosystem of fictitious monsters.

Aspiring sci-fi horror writers needn’t necessarily forsake Antarctica altogether, says Reed Scherer, a paleontologist from Northern Illinois University, who is part of the team drilling into Lake Whillans. But monsters capable of ripping heads off or chasing down frightened geologists as they flee on snowmobiles will require more carefully though-out habitats. That kind of stuff requires a speedy metabolism. “In order for something to have a high enough metabolic rate that it would be scary to us, it would have to have heat,” says Scherer. Volcanoes sealed under the ice sheet could provide one possible niche, he says. “There’s lots of water and a heat source for things to have a high metabolic rate.” Aerial surveys of irregularities in the Earth’s gravitational and magnetic fields have revealed a handful of possible volcanoes beneath the ice of West Antarctica.

Monsters of the Lovecraft variety — the kind that will butcher a tenured university professor and take him along as camping provisions — might also find credible habitats on Europa or Enceladus, at least until space probes can disprove their existence.

But even as scientific insight banishes bone-crunching monsters from Antarctica, it could also lay the groundwork for new ones. Even just a little new information from the lakes could fuel a new generation of science fiction, points out Brent Christner, a microbiologist with Louisiana State University who will help to identify and culture whatever microbes are found in Lake Whillans this year.

Microbes could turn out to be the ultimate monsters in this scenario.

more after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/12/antarctic-gothic-horror/all/

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« Reply #7801 on: Dec 27th, 2012, 10:47am »







UFOs 'Secret Access' - Documentary

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« Reply #7802 on: Dec 27th, 2012, 10:52am »



Please be an angel



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http://www.soldiersangels.org/




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« Reply #7803 on: Dec 28th, 2012, 10:03am »

Defense News

Russian Investigators Question Ex-Minister in Graft Probe

Dec. 27, 2012 - 10:39AM
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MOSCOW — Russia’s ousted defense minister is to be questioned by investigators as part of a probe into multimillion-dollar embezzlement by his former employee, an official said Dec. 27.

Anatoly Serdyukov, who was sacked by President Vladimir Putin last month over a corruption scandal in his ministry, has been summoned to the Investigative Committee for questioning, the committee’s spokesman, Vladimir Markin, told Russian news agencies. Markin said the summons was for Dec. 28.

Serdyukov’s lawyer, Genrikh Padva, said investigators had already held an initial meeting with Serdyukov, the Interfax news agency reported.

Putin explained the dismissal of a top minister by the need for a thorough investigation into a suspected $100-million property scam at a defense ministry holding company, which was headed by a 33-year-old woman rumored to be the minister’s mistress. The woman, Yevgenia Vasilyeva, has been placed on house arrest in her luxurious apartment.

Serdyukov has not been charged with any crime, however, and Dec. 27 was the first time investigators mentioned him as a part of the graft probe, following media reports that the ex-minister had left the country. His lawyer dismissed such allegations, saying Serdyukov has been in Moscow.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20121227/DEFREG01/312270004/Russian-Investigators-Question-Ex-Minister-Graft-Probe?odyssey=tab

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« Reply #7804 on: Dec 28th, 2012, 10:08am »

Seattle Times

Originally published December 28, 2012 at 7:00 AM
Page modified December 28, 2012 at 7:13 AM

Chicago has logged its 500th homicide of 2012.
The Associated Press

The last time the city reached the 500-homicide mark was in 2008, when the year ended with 512 killings. Last year, city records show Chicago had 435 homicides.

On Thursday, officials with the Chicago Police Department said the city was one homicide away from the 500 mark. Hours later, a 40-year-old man was fatally shot in the Austin neighborhood on the city's West Side. Police say Nathaniel Jackson was found on the sidewalk outside a convenience store with a gunshot wound to the head late Thursday.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office says Jackson was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital early Friday.

Jackson's death remains under investigation. No arrests have been made.


http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020007295_apuschicagohomicides.html

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« Reply #7805 on: Dec 28th, 2012, 10:14am »

Wired

How Stellar Stylists Turn Astronomical Data Into Amazing Space Images
By Rachel Gross
12.28.12, 9:30 AM



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Image: Microsoft Research; Nasa


Cassiopeia A is a 330-year-old ball of red-hot gases and space dust. But with the right makeup and some expert attention, this former star can still look positively radiant. When it’s time for Cassiopeia’s close-up, NASA turns to data visualizers, the photo stylists of the astronomy world. These artistes take homely black-and-white images and transform them into jaw-dropping Technicolor portraits that expose the universe in all its glory. Aren’t they creating false standards of interstellar beauty? “We’re trying to present the object as true as we can,” says Robert Hurt, visualization scientist for the Spitzer Space Telescope, who has crafted hundreds of astronomical images. “We don’t want to glamorize the galaxy.” Here’s how visualizers transform Cass into a cover girl.

gallery after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/12/20-12-st_nasapsd/

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« Reply #7806 on: Dec 28th, 2012, 10:21am »




Published on Dec 26, 2012


This was seen between 2-3pm on Christmas Day in Chester County PA. The higher black object hovered in the same spot for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. These lights then appeared below it.

We have several stills of the black object, which is why I didn't focus on that in the video. The flashing was new and so incredible, and were weren't sure how long that would last. The black object had been in the same spot for over 2 hours at this point.






Published on Dec 27, 2012
Zombietom69

Uploaded by girl245689 and here is what they said about it.
Original video
http://youtu.be/NYLlwZSZnj0 (see above)

I have attempted to enhance the black object and the flashing object. This is a pretty interesting video, I don't know what it is or even if it is real.
This was in Chester County in Pennsylvania and was recorded on Tuesday, 25th December 2012.


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« Reply #7807 on: Dec 29th, 2012, 10:45am »






Published on Apr 25, 2012
Just Imagine (full movie) (1930)
by MiHiVidz

Just Imagine is a 1930 science fiction musical comedy directed by David Butler. The film is probably best known for its art direction and special effects in its portrayal of New York City in an imagined 1980. It has never officially been released on VHS or DVD

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_Imagine

This film is now in the Public Domain.

Category
Entertainment

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« Reply #7808 on: Dec 29th, 2012, 1:34pm »

The Wrap

Harry Carey Jr., Actor in John Ford's Stock Company, Dies at 91

Published: December 28, 2012 @ 4:46 pm


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By Jon Thurber

Harry Carey Jr., a character actor best known for Western roles in films directed by John Ford, died Thursday. He was 91.

The actor died of natural causes at a hospice facility in Santa Barbara, his daughter Melinda Carey told the Associated Press.

In a more than 50-year career, Carey made over 90 films and was a member of the John Ford Stock Company, making several films with the legendary director. Many of those starred John Wayne and included “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” “The Searchers,” “3 Godfathers “ and “Rio Grande.” His other films with Wayne included “Red River” and “Cahill, U.S. Marshall.”

Other Ford films he appeared in included “Cheyenne Autumn,” " Wagon Master," “Mister Roberts” and “Two Rode Together.”

On television, he was cast as the camp counselor Bill Burnett on “Spin & Marty,” a popular part of “The Mickey Mouse Club” on ABC.

Carey was born in Saugus, Calif., on May 16, 1926. His father was the silent-film Western star Harry Carey Sr. and his mother the actress Olivia Carey. He was called Dobe for his red hair that matched the color of abode*. He served in the Navy as a corpsman during World War II before being transferred home from the Pacific to work on training films with Ford.

After the war, he tried to make a career as a singer but quit to go into movies. His first major movie was the Howard Hawks film “Red River” in 1948.

He is survived by his wife, son, two daughters, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, according to the AP.

http://www.thewrap.com/movies/article/harry-caray-jr-part-john-ford-stock-company-dies-91-70906



*I think he means adobe.

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« Reply #7809 on: Dec 29th, 2012, 1:43pm »







Great Western Movie Themes
uploaded by: river2walk

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« Reply #7810 on: Dec 30th, 2012, 09:57am »

The Hill

Obama hopes to enact new gun-control measures in 2013

By Meghashyam Mali
12/30/12 09:49 AM ET

President Obama on Sunday said he would make gun control a priority in his new term, pledging to put his “full weight” behind passing new restrictions on firearms in 2013.

“I'm going to be putting forward a package and I'm going to be putting my full weight behind it,” said Obama in an interview aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I'm going to be making an argument to the American people about why this is important and why we have to do everything we can to make sure that something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary does not happen again.”

The president in the wake of the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn. school has launched a White House task force led by Vice President Joe Biden to present proposals in January to help stem gun violence. Obama has said that he would seek a broad approach to the problem addressing the role of violence in entertainment and measures to improve mental health care.

But he has also called on Congress to move quickly to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban and a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines.

Obama on Sunday repeated those calls and said he would meet with lawmakers on both sides of the aisles to see action.

“I've been very clear that an assault rifle ban, banning these high capacity clips, background checks, that there are a set of issues that I have historically supported and will continue to support,” said the president.

“I'd like to get it done in the first year. I will put forward a very specific proposal based on the recommendations that Joe Biden's task force is putting together as we speak. And so this is not something that I will be putting off."

But the push for heightened gun control will likely face tough political opposition, with the nation’s largest gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), saying they will oppose any new restrictions.

The group earlier this month held a press conference calling for national program to place armed guards in the nation’s schools, a move they said would be more effective at preventing future tragedies like Newtown.

Obama on Sunday said that he hoped to involve all “stakeholders” in the national debate over gun violence, but expressed unease with the NRA’s proposal.

“I am not going to prejudge the recommendations that are given to me. I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools. And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem,” said the president.

Obama said that he expected even firearm owners to understand the need for new regulations in the wake of the Connecticut shooting.

“I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids,” said Obama.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/274881-obama-hopes-to-enact-new-gun-control-measures-in-2013

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« Reply #7811 on: Dec 30th, 2012, 10:00am »

Telegraph

Britain is losing the war on internet crime, a leading police officer has admitted, after it emerged that cyber crime cost UK businesses around £205 million in lost revenue last year.

By Matthew Holehouse
2:54PM GMT 30 Dec 2012

Commissioner Adrian Leppard, head of City of London police, said online fraud is rising “exponentially”, with the largest number of attacks originating from Eastern Europe and Russia.

In a stark warning to MPs earlier this month, he said police are struggling to keep up with increasingly sophisticated internet criminals.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the commons Home Affairs select committee, suggested to Mr Leppard that internet criminals “keep running rings around some of the best police officers in the country”, adding: “Are we winning this battle?”

Mr Leppard responded: “We are not winning. I do not think we are winning globally, and I think this nature of crime is rising exponentially.”

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified some 300 internet fraud gangs worldwide, Mr Leppard told MPs. Groups in 25 countries have chosen Britain as their main target.

The proceeds of online crime are funding al-Qaeda terrorism, he added.

Mr Leppard said half of all fraud in the UK, which costs the country £70bn a year, is now conducted online.

Among the victims are wealthy retired people who are conned out of large sums money in fraudulent share schemes at a cost of £3.5bn a year.

The average cost to the victim is £25,000 and half of those who lose out under the schemes are over 65.

“That is a significant loss to the most vulnerable people in our society,” Mr Leppard said, adding those responsible should receive tougher sentences.

There is “plenty of evidence” that al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are using the proceeds of online fraud to finance their activities, he said. The police and security services are seeking to disrupt those lines of funding.

Retailers have seen online fraud increased by 30 per cent in the last year.

However, Mr Leppard warned that the 800 specialist internet crime officers face being cut by one quarter under spending cuts.

“This is a very worrying criminal trend. The real worry is that, at a time when fraud and e-crime is going up, the capability of the country is going down.”

City of London police covers the Square Mile and specialises in fraud investigations and financial crime.

The National Fraud Authority estimates fraud costs the UK £73bn a year, with the private sector losing £45bn, the state £20.3bn and individuals and families £6bn.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9771627/Britain-losing-the-war-on-cyber-crime-as-costs-hit-205-million.html

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« Reply #7812 on: Dec 30th, 2012, 10:05am »

Seattle Times

Originally published Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 3:53 AM

Pakistan official: 19 killed in attack on Shiites

A suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a bus carrying Shiite Muslim pilgrims in southwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing 19 people, a government official and eyewitnesses said.

By ABDUL SATTAR
Associated Press

QUETTA, Pakistan —

A suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a bus carrying Shiite Muslim pilgrims in southwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing 19 people, a government official and eyewitnesses said.

Earlier Sunday, 21 tribal policemen believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban were found shot dead in Pakistan's troubled northwest tribal region, government officials said.

Pakistan has experienced a spike in killings over the last year by radical Sunni Muslims targeting Shiites who they consider heretics. The violence has been especially pronounced in Baluchistan province, where the latest attack occurred.

In addition to the 19 people killed in the bombing in Baluchistan's Mastung district, 25 others were wounded, many of them critically, said Tufail Ahmed, a local political official. The blast completely destroyed the bus that was hit and damaged a second bus carrying Shiites that was close by.

An eyewitness who was traveling in the second bus told Pakistan's Geo TV that first bus contained over 40 pilgrims headed to neighboring Iran, a majority Shiite country that is a popular religious tourism destination.

A second eyewitness said the bomber rushed by in a pick-up truck, swerved in front of the first bus and slammed on the brakes. The bus slammed into the pick-up truck and then a big explosion occurred.

Neither of the eyewitnesses provided their names while being interviewed on TV.

Shiites make up around 15 percent of Pakistan's 190 million people. They are scattered around the country, but the province of Baluchistan has the largest community, mainly made up of ethnic Hazaras, easily identified by their facial features which resemble those of Central Asians.

Sunni extremists have long carried out attacks against Shiites in Pakistan. But the sectarian campaign has stepped up in recent years, fueled mainly by the radical group Laskar-e-Jangvhi, aligned to Pakistani Taliban militants headquartered in the tribal region. More than 300 Shiites have been killed in Pakistan this year, according to Human Rights Watch.

The violence has pushed Baluchistan in particular deeper into chaos. The province was already facing an armed insurgency by ethnic Baluch separatists who frequently attack security forces and government facilities. But the secessionist violence has been overtaken by increasingly bold attacks against Shiites.

The sectarian bloodletting adds another layer to the turmoil in Pakistan, where the government is fighting an insurgency by the Pakistani Taliban and where many fear Sunni hardliners are gaining strength. Shiites and rights group say the government does little to protect Shiites and that militants are emboldened because they are believed to have links to Pakistan's intelligence agencies.

The 21 tribal policemen who were shot dead were found by officials shortly after midnight Sunday in the Jabai area of Frontier Region Peshawar after being notified by one policeman who escaped, said Naveed Akbar Khan, a top political official in the area. Another policeman was found seriously wounded, said Khan.

The 23 policemen went missing before dawn Thursday when militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons attacked two posts in Frontier Region Peshawar. Two policemen were also killed in the attacks.

Militants lined the policemen up on a cricket pitch late Saturday night and gunned them down, said another local official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Also Sunday, two Pakistani army soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in the North Waziristan tribal area, the main sanctuary for Taliban and al-Qaida militants in the country, security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with official policy.


Associated Press writers Riaz Khan and Rasool Dawar in Peshawar, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020011824_apaspakistan.html

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« Reply #7813 on: Dec 30th, 2012, 10:12am »

The Wrap

Texas Radio Station Apologizes for Falsely Reporting George H. W. Bush's Death

Published: December 28, 2012 @ 12:28 pm
By Alexander C. Kaufman

A Texas radio station apologized on Thursday after falsely reporting the death of former President George H. W. Bush in an e-mail alert.

WBAP, a Dallas-based station, reported that Bush, who has been hospitalized for weeks with bronchitis, died and sent out a breaking news alert to its e-mail followers. The false report was apparently not broadcast.

Spokesmen for Bush have reportedly said that the 88-year-old former president's condition is improving.

"A message erroneously reporting the death of President George H.W. Bush was sent out moments ago by WBAP News," WBAP's correction read. "Mr. Bush has not passed away. We sincerely apologize for this error."

The Dallas Observer first reported WBAP's error.

http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/texas-radio-station-apologizes-falsely-reporting-george-h-w-bushs-death-70891

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« Reply #7814 on: Dec 30th, 2012, 10:14am »

Science Daily

Liquid Crystal Research May Lead to Creation of New Materials That Can Be Actively Controlled

Dec. 24, 2012

— Contributing geometric and topological analyses of micro-materials, University of Massachusetts Amherst mathematician Robert Kusner aided experimental physicists at the University of Colorado (UC) by successfully explaining the observed "beautiful and complex patterns revealed" in three-dimensional liquid crystal experiments. The work is expected to lead to creation of new materials that can be actively controlled.

Kusner is a geometer, an expert in the analysis of variational problems in low-dimensional geometry and topology, which concerns properties preserved under continuous deformation such as stretching and bending. His work over 3 decades has focused on the geometry and topology of curves, surfaces and other spaces that arise in nature, such as soap films, knots and the shapes of fluid droplets. Kusner agrees with physicist and lead author Ivan Smalyukh of UC Boulder that their collaboration is the first to show in experiments that some of the most fundamental topological theorems hold up in real materials. Their findings appear in the current early online issue of Nature.

UMass Amherst's Kusner explains, "There are two important aspects of this work. First, the experimental work by the Colorado team, who fabricated topologically complex micro-materials allowing controlled experiments of three-dimensional liquid crystals. Second, the theoretical work performed by us mathematicians and theoretical physicists while visiting the University of California Santa Barbara's Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP). We provided the geometric and topological analysis of these experiments, to explain the observed patterns and predict what patterns should be seen when experimental conditions are changed."

Kusner was the lone mathematician among four organizers of last summer's workshop on "Knotted Fields" at KITP, which led to this work. The workshop engaged about a dozen other mathematicians and about twice as many theoretical and experimental physicists in a month-long investigation of the interplay between low-dimensional topology and what physicists call "soft matter."

In their experiments, the physicists at UC Boulder showed that tiny topological particles injected into a liquid crystal medium behave in a manner consistent with established theorems in geometry and topology, Kusner says. The researchers say they have thus identified approaches for building new materials using topology.

UC Boulder's Smalyukh and colleagues set up the experiment by first creating colloids, solutions in which tiny particles are dispersed but not dissolved in a host medium, such as milk, paint and shaving cream. Specifically, they injected tiny, different-shaped particles into a liquid crystal, which behaves something like a liquid and a solid. Once injected into a liquid crystal, the particles behaved as predicted by topology.

Smalyukh says, "Our study shows that interaction between particles and molecular alignment in liquid crystals follows the predictions of topological theorems, making it possible to use these theorems in designing new composite materials with unique properties that cannot be encountered in nature or synthesized by chemists. These findings lay the groundwork for new applications in experimental studies of low-dimensional topology, with important potential ramifications for many branches of science and technology."

For example, he adds, these topological liquid crystal colloids could be used to upgrade current liquid crystal displays like those used in laptops and television screens, to allow them to interact with light in new, more energy efficient ways.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121227110803.htm

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