Sunday, November 30, 2008

What color is Middle "C"? Musical Pitch Related to Color

I purchased a program called Absolute Pitch which plays notes at random and assigns colors to help you learn to experience the unique "C"-ness of the "C" note in an atonal context. In the version I paid for Absolute Pitch 2.22 the test part isn't working, but I'm hoping the programmer gets back to me soon with a fix. The Absolute Pitch does a great job in terms of choosing the most distinct 12 color pitches, but shouldn't "Middle C" be yellow, sun colored?


As far as colors go, I've seen others assigned to the notes.
circle of fifths

Is any one color "correct" for a particular note, or is this an individual choice? What I want to see is a translation of  audio frequencies to visual frequencies. If found this low resolution map which looks interesting, but I don't want to use black and grey as colors. Middle C is 261.626 hertz and

The wavelength of each band of color in the visible spectrum (measured in nanometers, nm) can be halved repeatedly until the rate of its vibration falls within the octaves of the audible spectrum (measured in Hertz, Hz), giving a table of musical notes that correspond to each color (see Figure 2).

Eric L. Wagner of has an interesting analysis with a chart:
Light is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum, higher in frequency than radio waves, but below X-rays. Wavelengths we can see are between approximately 380nm and 780nm. Curiously, the spectrum of visible light, between ultraviolet and infrared, is almost exactly an octave, with the visible edge of ultraviolet having double the frequency (and half the wavelength) of the visible edge of infrared. ... 

Corresponding light-spectrum harmonics were computed from equal temperament musical pitches, using a reference of A440 and a half-step frequency ratio of 21/12. Given the speed of light, C = 299792458 meters/second, and λ=C/F, wavelengths were computed for each frequency. The 780.75nm "F" falls outside of the 380-780nm range but I added it for interest. Note that exactly 12 pitches fit within the range. The light spectrum "C" is 41 octaves above middle-C

F -- 349.228231 Hz ~ 383.980501 THz ~ 780.749171 nm
F# -- 369.994423 Hz ~ 406.813170 THz ~ 736.929087 nm
G -- 391.995436 Hz ~ 431.003540 THz ~ 695.568436 nm
G# -- 415.304698 Hz ~ 456.632344 THz ~ 656.529179 nm
A -- 440.000000 Hz ~ 483.785116 THz ~ 619.681028 nm
Bflat -- 466.163762 Hz ~ 512.552476 THz ~ 584.901004 nm
B -- 493.883301 Hz ~ 543.030432 THz ~ 552.073033 nm
C -- 523.251131 Hz ~ 575.320702 THz ~ 521.087555 nm
C# -- 554.365262 Hz ~ 609.531052 THz ~ 491.841158 nm
D -- 587.329536 Hz ~ 645.775654 THz ~ 464.236235 nm
Eflat -- 622.253967 Hz ~ 684.175473 THz ~ 438.180657 nm
E -- 659.255114 Hz ~ 724.858663 THz ~ 413.587466 nm
F -- 698.456463 Hz ~ 767.961002 THz ~ 390.374586 nm

My eye has trouble telling the difference between the different reds, greens and purples in this chart above. Anyway, when I take the visible spectrum and use a ruler in a graphics program and put Middle C exactly in the middle, I get this color, a mix of sun and green grass.

The Real Middle "C"

(html: #7bb81c)


Mile-long secret tunnel in central London for sale

25856297A stuffy, noisy mile-long secret Cold War tunnel is up for sale in London, asking price $7.4 million -- it's only five minutes' walk from my office, too, connecting up Chancery Lane with the Thames. It's only got two lifts, which means you couldn't possibly get fire-code approval to run it as a hotel or club, but there's all kinds of intriguing possibilities (e.g. ball pit) for this much subterranean volume.

... During the cold war, the British government instructed its telephone department, which later became BT, to set up a secret communications system based on the latest technology that would be able to survive a nuclear attack.

It was the beginning of the busiest period for the tunnels, with almost 200 workers spending their days and nights underground to route up to two million calls a week across the 6,600 phone lines. In 1963, the hot line established between Moscow and Washington after the Cuban missile crisis ran through the London tunnels.

The buzzing complex soon became known as “underground town,” with its own recreation room complete with dartboards and billiard tables, a movie theater and two dining halls. Workers often spent the night in sleeping rooms ... - boing

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Roger Miller - King of the Road


I have an odd recurring day dream where for some reason I'm the only musician left on Earth and the only songs that get passed on are the ones I have learned. As a result, I can play and sing hundreds of songs from memory.

My current quest, as you know if you follow this blog, is to acquire perfect "absolute" pitch.

As part of that, right now I'm working on internalizing one octave of a piano keyboard. My goal is to be able to "play" a paper version of a piano keyboard from Middle C down one octave and sing the correct notes.

To help learn the intervals, I've also been using certain songs. Besides being one of the best songs ever written, King of the Road is interesting because it contains every note, the entire major scale, in one octave. So does the "Do Re Me Fa So La Ti Do" song, but King of the Road is much more fun to sing.

The version above (and the Dean Martin version and the combo Roger Miller Dean Martin version ) his first vocal note is A#/Bb, but if you transpose it up to C and sing it in that key, you'd sing every white key on a piano keyboard from Middle C down an octave. I'm still looking for a version in C. Here is one that starts in G#/Ab.

The closest to C I've found is this: FretKiller from Long Island, New York has a version that starts in B, up a 1/2 step from the Roger Miller version:

Hmm. Not sure what the problem is. This video plays fine on youtube, but when embedded, it says the video is no longer available.

P.S. In my version I sing the corrected "Bang-Gor" Maine, not "Bang-er" Maine the way it was written because Bang-Gor is the way the people of the city of Bangor pronounce it.

Police Eying Wal-Mart Trample Video

At 5:03 a.m. Friday, customers surged toward a Long Island Wal-Mart store's entrance. A 34-year-old temporary employee was killed when a "throng of shoppers . . . physically broke down the doors, knocking him to the ground," according to a statement from Nassau County officials. He was declared dead at a hospital at 6:03 a.m. - latimes

Police were reviewing video from surveillance cameras in an attempt to identify who trampled to death a Wal-Mart worker after a crowd of post-Thanksgiving shoppers burst through the doors at a suburban store and knocked him down.

Criminal charges were possible, but identifying individual shoppers in Friday's video may prove difficult, said Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, a Nassau County police spokesman.

Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said.

At least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals for observation or minor injuries. The store in Valley Stream on Long Island closed for several hours before reopening.

Police said about 2,000 people were gathered outside the Wal-Mart doors before its 5 a.m. opening at a mall about 20 miles east of Manhattan. The impatient crowd knocked the employee, identified by police as Jdimytai Damour, to the ground as he opened the doors, leaving a metal portion of the frame crumpled like an accordion.

"This crowd was out of control," Fleming said. He described the scene as "utter chaos," and said the store didn't have enough security. ... Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like "savages."

"When they were saying they had to leave, that an employee got killed, people were yelling `I've been on line since yesterday morning,"' she said. "They kept shopping."  ... - cbsnews

DVD's priced as low as $1.88 were flying off the shelves, while Wal-Mart employees stood at the entrance handing out 20" Symphonic flat screen TVs that were on sale for $68.97. -cnn

Advertising, it works.

Fake Traffic Stops On YouTube Lead To Wis. Arrests

Two men are accused of outfitting a 1997 Lincoln with red and blue flashing lights, using it to make fake traffic stops ... and then posting video of themselves doing it on YouTube. An anonymous tip led Monroe County sheriff's detectives to the online video last Thursday.

On Monday, charges of being party to false imprisonment, impersonating an officer and disorderly conduct were filed against 20-year-old Cody Hobson and 21-year-old Ronald Lyons, both of Sparta.

According to a criminal complaint, two motorists were stopped Nov. 18, but the men didn't make contact with either driver, and a third stop was attempted. During one stop, one of the men remarked that, "No matter how many times we do this, this (expletive) never gets old."

Hobson and Lyons were freed on $5,000 signature bonds. They are due back in court next Monday. ... - cbs

I wonder if they'll nail these guys next:

Man arrested for attempted bible thumping

photo_servletAuthorities say a street preacher almost hit several runners with a Bible during a holiday race in Clearwater.

Police say 48-year-old Mark Alan Sutto was delivering a street sermon when he interfered with the Turkey Trot 10K on Thursday by shouting at runners, getting in their way and waving a large Bible in their path.

An arrest report says Sutto refused to stop disturbing the run, even after several warnings. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

He remained in jail Saturday on $150 bail. - mftb

There was another attack by a man using a bible last month in New Zealand.
Mr Hawkins says the six candidates were fielding audience questions when "all of a sudden this guy came to the front and he didn’t stop at the microphone". "He got up on the stage and put the bible above his head and threw it down at me." - stuff

And a guy named John A. S. once had a dream of being beaten to death by a bible.

Indian allegations alarm Pakistan

A claim of responsibility for this week's attacks was made by a previously unknown group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen - a reference to a mainly Muslim region of India.

According to a statement leaked to Indian newspapers, the one alleged militant captured alive, named as Azam Amir Qasab, said the Mumbai militants had received training from an Islamist group once backed by Pakistani intelligence, Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Pakistan banned the group in 2002 at US insistence. - bbc


Ajai Sahni, the executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in Delhi ... react to the terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai and discuss the claims of Pakistani involvement in them.

Some related links:
Mumbai attacks: Are they British?

  • Mumbai's chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said two "British-born Pakistanis" were among eight gunmen captured alive during bloody shoot-outs with soldiers.

Taj Mahal hotel owner: We had warning (cnn)

Indians claim terrorists took orders from Pakistan

Armed Teams Sowed Chaos With Precision

Terrorists at Taj fired from everywhere: commando

Commandos battle well-trained, ruthless gunmen

Police find explosives at Taj hotel

Was computer expert aged 36 the mastermind?

  • One possible mastermind and Simi member is Abdul Subhan Qureshi, a 36-year-old computer engineer suspected of being behind multiple bombings in Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad earlier this year. Qureshi, also known as Tauqeer, is from Mumbai and his expertise with internet security could have played a vital part in pulling off such an ambitious plot, said Mr Neill. "He is an IT whizz-kid so it is quite possible he is the person investigators will be concentrating on. ... Simi has declared jihad on India, the aim of which is to establish Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam) by forcefully converting everyone to Islam.

India's day of reckoning - World -

  • In May the Lashkar-e-Toiba head, Abdul Subhan Qureshi, threatened to attack tourist sites unless the Government withdrew its support for the United States, and it has claimed responsibility for the recent bombings in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi.

Here is 21 year old Azam Amir Qasab, the lone terrorist captured who told officials at the hospital, “We had been instructed to kill to the last death.”


Indian Intelligence is good at getting the truth. Hopefully they'll know more than the people who instructed this filth know by the time they are done with him. The game is complicated with many potential players internationally. This may not escalate, but keep your eye on the ball. Both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons. In the event of a nuclear war India would "win" but such a war would be horrible beyond anything in recorded human history. I don't think it will come to that, but some on the fringe believe India faced a nuclear war prior to known history. The terrorists could certainly be radical Islamist terrorists as it seems, but those who seek real peace should keep an eye on the possibility that India and Pakistan are being "played" by war profiteers pulling the terrorist's strings.

Here is some background:
Pakistan warns that US-India nuclear deal could lead to new arms race

  • India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, and though a peace process has stabilised relations since 2004, they remain deeply distrustful of each other.

Securing Pakistan's Nukes

  • The U.S. is spending $100 million to secure Pakistan's nukes.  ... Pakistan has about 60 operational nuclear weapons, upon which the U.S. has been spending an average of 16.7 million dollars per year.

More Nukes to Pakistan?

  • Pakistan is by far the country in which terrorists are the most likely to get their hands on nuclear arms, either by capturing them, having them slipped to them by cooperative elements in the military or intelligence services, or by overthrowing the failing government.

Should the UK sell arms to India and Pakistan? (2002)

  • India already has a £1bn order with British Aerospace for Hawk trainer jets and is now asking the MoD about the purchase of Sea Harriers, fully-fledged combat jets.

Nuclear war would do little damage in U.S. (2002)

  • A nuclear war between Pakistan and India could dwarf any catastrophe in world history, killing up to 12 million people in South Asia, but the radioactive fallout likely would not harm Americans half a world away. In fact, because of the combined effects of distance, dispersion and dilution, the increased amount of radiation in U.S. air would be barely measurable, health experts say. ... Still, a Pakistan-India nuclear exchange would set a new standard for human horror: A Pentagon intelligence report estimates that the dead could total 9 million to 12 million, based on population centers that could be targeted.

Bush: U.S. to Sell F-16s to Pakistan (2005)

  • President Bush rewarded a key ally in the war on terrorism Friday by authorizing the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, a move that reversed 15 years of policy begun under his father and that India warned would destabilize the volatile region.

US ready to sell advanced arms to India: Pentagon (2006)

  • "It is our goal to help meet India's needs in the defense realm, and to provide important capabilities and technologies that India seeks. We are on a path to accomplish this," the Pentagon said in Washington.

How India’s New Nuke Deal Might Set Off an Arms Race (2008)

  • ... some observers worry the United States has just helped spark a new arms race.

Bush: India a jobs opportunity

  • An estimated 80 percent of Indians live on less than $2 a day, but India’s middle class has swelled to more than 300 million — a number larger than the entire U.S. population — and India’s exploding economy has created millions of jobs. The country’s outsourcing industry alone is expected to bring in $22 billion in revenue this fiscal year, much of that generated by U.S. companies.

Discovery: Alien of the Deep

Shell Oil Company accidentally films a sea monster at a depth of 2.5km.

National Geographic news 24/11/08, reported the discovery of a previously unseen species of squid. The odd, "elbowed" squid was filmed 11/11/07, at a depth of 2.5 kilometres by the Shell Oil Company who were using an ROV (Remotely operated vehicle) in the Gulf of Mexico.


The squid appears to be a relative of "Magnapinna" squid - or "Bigfin" squid - first discovered in 2001, sightings of which are extremely rare - no adult samples have yet been scientifically examined.

There is something truly fascinating about these secretive creatures.


Wild! If only we could get a shot this clear of bigfoot or some aliens.

Are Modern Humans in Evolution's Fast Lane?

"We are more different genetically from people living 5,000 years ago than they were different from Neanderthals."

John Hawks -University of Wisconsin anthropologist

In a fascinating discovery that counters a common theory that human evolution has slowed to a crawl or even stopped in modern humans, a study examining data from an international genomics project describes the past 40,000 years as a time of supercharged evolutionary change, driven by exponential population growth and cultural shifts.

The findings may lead to a very broad rethinking of human evolution, especially in the view that modern culture has essentially relaxed the need for physical genetic changes in humans to improve survival.

The Door to Hell is in Turkmenistan


The Gates of Hell,  Darvaza Turkmenistan

helllocation1Derweze underground is naturally rich in natural gas. In 1971, during a drilling, geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground on which the drilling rig was placed collapsed, leaving a large gaping hole exposed with a diameter of about 50-100 meters. To avoid poisonous gases coming out of the hole, it was decided to let the gases burn. As of 2008, gases in the underground cavern are still burning without interruption. Locals have named the cavern The Door to Hell.

Okay, obviously I was wrong about hell. It does exist, and all you non believers can go to h..  Turkmenistan. ;-)

'Heavy water' could help us live longer

Mikhail Shchepinov, a former Oxford University scientist, says that the modified drink protects against dangerous chemicals known as free radicals that are known to contribute to conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

He also claims that foods such as steak and eggs could be enriched with the special hydrogen isotope, known as deuterium, raising the possibility of people being able to "eat themselves healthy".


His research has shown that worms live 10 per cent longer and fruitflies up to 30 per cent longer when fed on heavy water, which is slightly sweeter than normal water.

Dr Shchepinov, who runs the biotech firm Retrotope, now wants to test his technology in pet foods, and believes that it could one day be introduced to the food chain to allow humans to enjoy its benefits without taking supplements.

"We don't have to be consuming isotopes as white powder. If you take a pig and feed these things to a pig, all you need to do is consume the pig in a normal fashion," he has said.

But other scientists have warned that Dr Shchepinov's theories are far from proven. Tom Kirkwood, of Newcastle University, told the Daily Mail: "Shchepinov's idea is interesting but . . . the history in the field is cluttered with hypotheses which are only partially supported by the data." - tele

'Evidence' of Saturn moon water

europamarsenceladusHuge plumes of water vapour and ice particles are spewing from Saturn's moon Enceladus at supersonic speeds in a way that strongly suggests they come from liquid water down below the icy surface, scientists said. research, published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, offers new evidence that the moon may harbour an underground ocean of water, meaning conditions might exist that could support life, even if only microbial organisms.

"We think liquid water is necessary for life," Candice Hansen of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

"This is more evidence that there is liquid water there. You also need energy, you need nutrients, you need organics. It looks like the pieces are there. Whether or not there's actually life, of course, we can't say," Hansen said.

One of 60 moons

The Cassini spacecraft in 2005 discovered humongous geysers erupting from fissures near the south pole of Enceladus into space - reminiscent of the famed Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park in the United States but on a grand scale.

Since then, scientists have debated whether this meant that Enceladus (pronounced en-SELL-ah-dus), with a diameter of only 310 miles, was hiding a reservoir of liquid water. It is one of about 60 moons of the dramatic ringed planet Saturn.

EnceladusBased on data collected last year by Cassini's Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph instrument, the researchers said the behaviour of the plumes supports a mathematical model in which the cracks that extend below the surface act as nozzles that channel water vapour from an underground liquid water reservoir.

The geysers continuously shoot plumes into space at more than 1 300 mph, the researchers said.

By using the instrument to observe the flickering light of a distant star as the geyser blocked its starlight, the researchers determined that the water vapour comes from narrow jets as it blasts into space.... - news24

Video about the discovery of ice particles being blown out into space. The four orbs in our solar system with water we currently know of are: Earth, Mars, Europa and Enceladus.

How to View the Tool Bag Lost in Space ... with Binocuars

Amateur astronomers have been monitoring a shiny tool bag that has been orbiting Earth ever since it was dropped last week by an astronaut during a spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

The bag is reportedly about magnitude 6.4, which under most sky conditions is too faint to see with the naked eye.


Veteran spacewalker and Endeavor astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper lost her grip on the backpack-sized bag on Nov. 18 while cleaning up a mess from a leaking grease gun she was carrying to help mop up metal grit from inside a massive gear that turns the space station's starboard solar wings.

The tool bag cost $100,000 and its loss meant astronauts had to share the remaining tool bag for subsequent spacewalks. The tool bag weighs about 30 pounds (14 kg) and is 20 inches (51 cm) wide, about a foot (30 cm) tall and a hand's-width deep, according to John Ray, STS-126 lead spacewalk officer for the flight. The bag contained two grease guns, a scraper tool, a large trash bag and a small debris bag.

Once the tool bag floated away, some thought they'd seen the end of it. Not quite. A satellite tracker at now is monitoring both the space station and the tool bag.

After sunset on Nov. 22, Edward Light, using 10 x 50 binoculars, spotted the bag in space while he scanned the sky from his backyard in Lakewood, N.J., reported. On the same night, Keven Fetter of Brockville, Ontario, video-recorded the bag as it passed by the star Eta Pisces in the constellation Pisces.

More bag-viewing opportunities are expected.

The tool bag can be seen through binoculars, a few minutes ahead of the space station's orbit. The satellite tracker predicts that the bag will be visible through binoculars from Europe and western North America during a series of passes this week. By late next week, the tool bag should appear in the evening skies over most of North America. ... -

We've only ever lost a few subs with nuclear weapons onboard.

Robert Ballard became famous as the explorer who found the wreckage of the Titanic. But what most people don't know about that expedition is that Ballard also secretly worked with the U.S. Navy to learn more about two lost nuclear submarines.

Ballard shared that nugget when he came to the Tampa Bay area last week for the Coastal Cities Summit, organized by the University of South Florida and other institutions. He spoke with the St. Petersburg Times about the Titanic and his underwater exploration career.

I can only tell you now because they declassified this a few months ago. The Navy was not interested in the Titanic. … I mean, they funded the technology because it had so many military applications. And I was a naval intelligence officer for 30 years, and so I did a lot of missions for the Navy. Many remain classified, my best stuff. Rats …

Yes, the Titanic was a cover for a series of military operations. The Titanic was here, and over here was the Scorpion and over here was the Thresher (as he says this, he arranges three objects on a tabletop, roughly in a line, the center one depicting the Titanic).

And had that not occurred, I probably would not have found the Titanic because they wouldn't have funded me. I mean, if the Titanic was in the Indian Ocean, it'd probably still be in the Indian Ocean. But … it was straddled by two very interesting subs that we had lost — and the Scorpion was lost on war patrol … and it was carrying nuclear weapons. So it was a very hot sub to the Navy …

So the Navy said, look, we never actually tracked that all down, we never found the reactors, we never did environmental studies on them, nor did we ever find the weapons. We'll fund you to build all this stuff and we'll fund you to find the Titanic, although we don't expect you to find it because we're going to have you work most of the time on these subs and give you very little time to actually find the Titanic. I said, I'll take whatever I can get. - tampabay

Some info on the USS Scorpion:
Scorpion carried two nuclear-tipped Mark 45 anti-submarine torpedoes (ASTOR) when she was lost. The warheads of these torpedoes are part of the environmental concern. The most likely scenario is that the plutonium and uranium cores of these weapons corroded to a heavy, insoluble material soon after the sinking, and they remain at or close to their original location inside the torpedo room of the boat. If the corroded materials were released outside the submarine, their large specific gravity and insolubility would cause them to settle down into the sediment.

Key Molecule for Life Found in Habitable Region of the Galaxy

A sugar molecule linked to the origin of life was discovered in a potentially habitable region of our galaxy.

The molecule, called glycolaldehyde, was spotted in a large star-forming area of space around 26,000 light-years from Earth in the less-chaotic outer regions of the Milky Way. This suggests the sugar could be common across the universe, which is good news for extraterrestrial-life seekers.

Molecule_2"This is an important discovery as it is the first time glycolaldehyde, a basic sugar, has been detected towards a star-forming region where planets that could potentially harbor life may exist," Serena Viti of University College London said in a press release.

Previously, glycolaldehyde had only been observed toward the center of the galaxy, where conditions are thought to be too extreme to host habitable planets.

Glycolaldehyde is a key ingredient for life. It helps to build Ribonucleic acid (RNA), which is thought to be the central molecule involved in the origin of life on Earth. Glycolaldehyde is a monosaccharide sugar, the basic unit of carbohydrates. It can react with the chemical propenal to form ribose, the building block of RNA.

"The discovery of an organic sugar molecule in a star forming region of space is very exciting and will provide incredibly useful information in our search for alien life,” said Keith Mason, chief executive of the England’s Science and Technology Facilities Council. - wired

Actor robots take Japanese stage

First there were dancing robots, then house-sitting robots and now a new breed of acting robots is making its big debut on the Japanese stage.

The play, which had its premiere at Osaka University, is one of Japan's first robot-human theatre productions.

Actress Minako Inoue rehearses with her robot cast mateThe machines were specially programmed to speak lines with human actors and move around the stage with them.

Playwright Oriza Hirata says the work raises questions about the relationship between humanity and technology.

The play, called Hataraku Watashi (I, Worker), is set in the near future.

It focuses on a young couple who own two housekeeping robots, one of which loses its motivation to work.

In the play, the robot complains that it has been forced into boring and demeaning jobs and enters into a discussion with the humans about its role in their lives.

So far, the play is only 20 minutes long but it is hoped to become a full-length production by 2010.

The Wakamaru robot is manufactured by Mitsubushi but the software to train it for the stage was developed over two months at the university. ... - bbc

The boy with the extra set of teeth

garvey1At the age of 5, my son Jayan had a routine set of dental X-rays that showed a disturbing fact.

The X-rays revealed that he possessed not one, not two, but three sets of front teeth. There were his baby teeth, his permanent teeth and in between, an extra set. A bonus pair, if you will.

I reacted the way any parent would upon discovering their child has an extra body part:
I freaked. “He has what?!” I yelled at my husband, who had taken him to the appointment. (Having a general fear of dentistry, I avoid going whenever possible.) ..

Humans are normally born with 20 baby teeth and have 32 permanent teeth. As it turns out, Jayan is the proud owner of supernumerary teeth, which are teeth additional to the regular number of chompers and can be found in almost any region of the horseshoe-shaped dental arch. They are most common in the central incisors, or front teeth.

Supernumerary teeth are often hereditary, although pediatric dentist Patrick Arnold of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., says it’s hard to tell what causes them. “A portion of the developing tissue from early on may get pushed off and a tooth bud might split. Or, there also might be hyperactivity of the dental lamina, which is the precursor to a tooth.”

It's also unclear how common supernumerary teeth are in children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry cites a 1999 report in the Journal of Canadian Dental Association, where in a survey of 2,000 British schoolchildren, researchers found that supernumerary teeth were present in 0.8 percent of kids who still had baby teeth. Of the children who already had their permanent teeth, 2.1 percent had supernumeraries.

... - msn

World's oldest person dies at 115

An American woman who was recognised as the world's oldest person for a year has died at the age of 115.

Edna Parker died at a nursing home in Indiana, her family said.

Mrs Parker had been a widow since 1939 and had lived alone in her farmhouse until she was 100. She outlived her two sons, and had 31 other descendants.

With Mrs Parker's death, Maria de Jesus of Portugal, born in 1893, is the world's oldest person, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Stephen Coles, who maintains the centre's list of centenarians, said Mrs Parker's great-nephew told him she died on Wednesday.

She did not drink alcohol or smoke, and led an active life.

Mrs Parker, a teacher before she became a farmer's wife in 1913, advised people to get "more education," the Associated Press news agency reported. - bbc

Queen's Electric Teapot 'Bugged'

SamovarAn electric teapot given to the Queen as a present by Russia has reportedly been removed from Balmoral as a possible security threat. ...

The samovar was identified as a potential bugging device following a recent sweep by the security services.

The ornate red and yellow urn was presented to the Queen by a Russian aerobatics team about 20 years ago, at the tail end of the Soviet era.

It reportedly became a favourite of the Queen Mother, who put it in a corner of a room in the Aberdeenshire estate and apparently showed it off to visitors.

Security services apparently suspected that the complicated eastern European wiring could have concealed a listening device.

If true, the teapot could have listened in to the Queen's conversations with prime ministers, world leaders and members of her family.

One retainer told the Daily Express: "The samovar was always a bit of an enigma. No one could work out what the Russians thought we were going to do with it.

"The wiring looked as if it came from a Second World War tank and it was not exactly pretty. ... "No one ever considered it a security risk until a recent sweep by these spooks with their electronic devices. They swept everywhere imaginable, public and private rooms, and the first thing to go was the samovar." ...

Meanwhile, a former US Navy intelligence officer has claimed that America snooped on the private life of former prime minister Tony Blair.

David Murfee Faulk told an ABC News investigation that Mr Blair - President George Bush's chief ally in the so-called War on Terror - was given the codename Anchory and that his private telephone calls were monitored and recorded and that a file on him was compiled by the US National Security Agency. ... - sky

I once heard that the Russians created an art piece with no electronics which was somehow a bugging device. Based on its shape, it would allow someone outside the room to pick up what was being said.

Follow the 8.5 trillion Government bailout.

Click image to enlarge
The federal government committed an additional $800 billion to two new loan programs on Tuesday, bringing its cumulative commitment to financial rescue initiatives to a staggering $8.5 trillion, according to Bloomberg News.

That sum represents almost 60 percent of the nation's estimated gross domestic product.

Given the unprecedented size and complexity of these programs and the fact that many have never been tried before, it's impossible to predict how much they will cost taxpayers. The final cost won't be known for many years.


To stimulate lending, the Fed said on Tuesday it will purchase up to $600 billion in mortgage debt issued or backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and government housing agencies. It also will lend up to $200 billion to holders of securities backed by consumer and small-business loans. All but $20 billion of that $800 billion represents new commitments, a Fed spokeswoman said.

About $1.1 trillion of the $8.5 trillion is coming from the Treasury Department, including $700 billion approved by Congress in dramatic fashion under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The rest of the commitments are coming from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Housing Administration.

Only about $3.2 trillion of the $8.5 trillion has been tapped so far, according to Bloomberg. Some of it might never be. ... - continued on SF gate

FDA sets safe level for melamine in infant formula

Only one week after finding that US Infant Formula contained Melamine, the FDA has set a "safety threshold" for Melamine that lucky for our baby formula companies is higher than the amounts being added to baby formula. Prasie the FDA; no product recalls will be necessary.

Now then, aside from the fact that one week is way too short to conduct a study, especially for the government, how does anyone KNOW what a safe level of exposure is, since the effects are CUMULATIVE OVER TIME, and can vary widely depending on the body chemistry of the infant's excretory system?

Only one month ago, the FDA said it could not identify ANY safe level of exposure for infants! - wrh

Deep in the Atlantic, a submarine waits on alert with nuclear missiles that would end the world

A Polaris missile breaks through the surface of the water from HMS Resolution, in a test fireDeep beneath the surface of the Atlantic, HMS Vanguard — one of four identical Royal Navy submarines carrying Trident nuclear missiles — is on patrol.

Moving at a fast-walking pace, she is out there right now; undetectable, untouchable and armed with more explosive power than was unleashed by all sides in the duration of World War II.

On board the Vanguard there is a safe attached to the floor of the control room. Inside that, there is an inner safe. And inside that sits a letter. It is addressed to the submarine commander and it is from the Prime Minister.

In that letter, Gordon Brown conveys the most awesome decision of his political career. He made it alone, in the first days of his premiership, and none of us is ever likely to know what he decided. It is the Prime Minister’s answer to a grim but essential question: in the event of a nuclear attack in which Britain is largely destroyed and he is killed before he has time to react, should Britain fire back?


Though the men we met were, beyond doubt, committed to the principle of nuclear deterrence and prepared, if called upon, to deploy their 16 Trident missiles (each one of which can carry multiple warheads), there have been officers in the Royal Navy who doubted their own resolve.

Toby Elliott commanded the Polaris submarine HMS Resolution during the Cold War. In the refined setting of the Army & Navy Club on London’s Pall Mall he later told us about those who had dared to express their concerns.

‘I knew several of my colleagues who went through the commanding officers’ course and who were then selected to command Polaris submarines who said they couldn’t do it,’ Elliott explains.

‘They were very brave to do so. In [some] cases they lost their sea-going appointment and effectively ended their Naval careers.’

HMS Vanguard, pictured sailing from HMNB Clyde, holds missiles that could end the world

Was that because there weren’t other boats for them to command? ‘No,’ says Elliott, ‘it was because they turned down the opportunity, or the invitation, to command a Polaris submarine because they had doubts about their ability to carry out the ultimate act.’ ...

The whole process takes minutes. In other words, in less time than it will take for you to read this article, the ultimate weapon of war — wherever it is — can be brought to action stations and authorised to fire. ...

And then the weapons engineering officer squeezes the trigger to the most devastating weapon ever devised. It clicks softly.

... the missile ... cannot be destroyed inflight. It will travel too far, too fast for there to be any hope of interception. Once you hear that click, as one senior submariner told us, ‘you’re no more than 30 minutes from the end of the world’. - dailymail

The ultimate Darwin award awaits.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Xeno's Perfect Pitch Ear Training Master Course

This series of articles is designed to help you acquire perfect absolute pitch.

My time is limited, so many exercises I've invented work perfectly when you only have a minute here and there during the day. Others exercises are perfect when faced with a long boring trip in the car.

A graduate of Xeno's Perfect Pitch Ear Training Master Course will have the ability to instantly recognize any note heard and also to recall any pitch at will without an external reference. Fully developed, these skills will allow a person to do things which may seem impossible to some: To "play" any note on a paper version of a piano keyboard and hear and sing the correct note, or to correctly tune a guitar to perfect pitch without a tuner. Other benefits: improved creativity and vocal performance.

This course exists only in my mind, but I have started creating and testing the exercises.

Tools you'll need

  • This kit

  • A digital recorder, or memo pad on your cell phone

  • Free "AP Tuner" software (PC computers).

  • Access to a perfectly tuned piano, or electronic version of one.

Exercise 1: The "Hey Jude" method for recall of Middle C.

  • Record the first two notes on something you can keep with you all day.

  • Guess at random times during the day, and check to see if you were correct.

  • If you were wrong. Sing your wrong note and compare to the right one.

Exercise 2: Octaves: Be able to find and recognize the octaves above or below any note.

Exercise 3: Using other songs, be able to find any note in your head if given a Middle C.
[ C ] [ C#/Db ] [ D ] [ D#/Eb ] [ E ] [ F ]  [ F#/Gb ] [ G ] [ G#/Ab ] [ A ] [ A#/Bb ] [ B ] [ C ]

  • Hey (C)  Jude (A), don't (A) make (C) it (D) bad (G). Take (G) a ( A ) sad (Bb) song (?).

The Bigfoot on Mars, With Eyes and Mouth and the Skull on Mars

Check out this enhancement which seems to show facial detail in the bigfoot on mars.

The original from NASA is the highest resolution available, as far as I know. pia10214zoomnasa

You can't add detail where there is none. If you do, the enhancement can be inventing things that aren't really there. There is a rock on mars with real facial detail, however. The "Skull on Mars" is a very interesting rock:

The above 4-way split screen image says a lot about this evidence. Of what portion we can see of it, this object looks incredibly very much like an anatomically correct humanoid skull or perhaps a humanoid statue head sticking out of the ground staring sightlessly upward from its dark empty eye sockets and its general position suggests an unseen body laying on its back under the ground. Note the anatomically general size and shape, the forehead, the empty socket dark eye holes, the bone bridge between the eye holes, the nose projection, and the beginnings of one side of the mouth. Information just not to be ignored. ... - marsanomolyresearch

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Conjoined twins and Species, a Biology Lesson, Part II

Species, how did they form?

A species is a group of organisms which can mate and and produce fertile offspring. Evolution says different species came from common ancestors and result from genetic mutations.

We all know that different things can develop from a single source. One example: All of the different cells in your body came from one single zygote cell.

Evolution says a human and a chimpanzee are like skeletal muscle cells and heart muscle cells. They developed from the same source, but became different. They have similar traits, but they are different.

Cell differentiation from stem cells is something everyone believes in. No religious people claim that stem cells can not become different types of cells, yet, they do claim that humans (Homo Sapiens) and Chimpanzees can't possibly have a common ancestor. This is because our common ancestor was over 6 million years ago and a lot has changed in both species since then.


Here is another view (click to expand) which shows that Neanderthal was another species of


1) Human DNA determines how we look.

2) DNA damage inside our cells happens all the time and is continually repaired.

3) Some DNA damage can not be repaired and becomes  permanent.

4) Genetic mutations are simply these non-repaired changes to our DNA.

5) Genetic mutations get passed on from cell to cell as our DNA is copied during cell division.

6) Genetic mutations get passed on from parent to child when broken DNA in parents is copied into their egg and sperm cells.

7) Conjoined twins are identical twins which come from a single egg and a single sperm. (They are monozygotic.)

8) If the zygote separates into two early enough, you get normal identical twins, but if separation fails to happen after the 13th day, conjoined twins result.

ome from Some DNA has the instructions for cell division, including the
Genetic mutations lead to different physical appearances.

7) Genetic mutations which get passed, over time, create new species.


Identical twins result from tiny genetic mutations within a developing embryo that lead one portion of the embryo to reject the other as foreign, causing the two to split, a researcher proposed last week at a conference of geneticists. ... Judith G. Hail, a pediatrician and geneticist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, says she has found genetic dissimilarities between two twins that arose from the same fertilized egg. One twin has developed as a dwarf, while the other has attained normal height and body proportions, Hall reported at the Short Course in Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. She hypothesizes that this difference resulted from a mutation in one part of the embryo that caused it to split, creating two different "identical" twins. ... geneticists have [also] recorded instances in which one of two otherwise identical twins has Turner's syndrome.  - flib

Only about three pairs of twins per thousand deliveries occur as a result of natural conception. But for IVF deliveries, there are nearly 21 pairs of twins for every thousand.  ... There are a lot of very subtle effects in the body, like different gas concentrations, enzymes or salt solutions - fox

Identical twins are also called "monozygotic" twins. Mono means "one" and a zygote is a single cell that is formed by the union of a sperm and ovum.

Both egg and sperm are gametes, special cells with one half a complete set of chromosomes. When the nuclei of gametes fuse, they form the zygote, which divides and then differentiates into different cell types.

The three times a zygote divides after being created form totipotent stem cells. In mammals, only the zygote and early embryonic stem cells are totipotent, that is, capable of becoming any other cell type.

A Quick Biology Lesson: Identical Twins, Conjoined Twins and How Species Form

I've said the Hensel twins are physical evidence of a component of human and species evolution. This is not the same as saying the twins are a new species! They are not. They, themselves, will not become a new species, yet they illustrate a fact about our biology which is part of the story of how species evolve.

I might just as well choose people with blue eyes as possible progenitors of a new human species for the sake of this lesson, but the twins make a good example because they are physically more noticeably different in their biological configuration. Personality wise, they are two normal healthy girls, inspiring in their ability to cooperate and adapt to their world.  I'd love to meet them.

On with the biology lesson. Follow the links to learn more if you do not understand a particular concept, or to email me or leave a comment if you find an error.


Identical Twins

Identical twins result from one egg and one sperm.

When identical twins split matters. If they split up to 4 days after conception, they will each have their own placenta. If they split 4 to 8 days they will share the same placenta. 8 to about 12 days they share both the placenta and the amnionic sac. If they split after 12 days, they will be conjoined twins.

If you watch with a camera, twins happen when the embryo essentially collapses splitting the progenitor cells in half.

Why does this happen? Many will say no one really knows. I encourage people to use something called Analysis of Competing Hypothesis if you encounter that answer. ACH is a technique used by the CIA and it is something I've used to investigate various mysterious topics such as UFOs. The first step is to open your mind and go on a hunt for as many possible different explanations as you can find. Regarding identical twins, here are the theories I've been able to find so far. What causes an embryo to split in two?

Theory 1: Randomness.
Theory 2: An enzyme in sperm causes the split.
Theory 3: A mutation in the mother's RNA which may control embryogenesis in the first 9 days.
Theory 4: A genetic mutation in the early diving cells leads to rejection of one group of cells by the other.

To simplify ACH somewhat, you next gather facts from various related areas and see which hypothesis is best supported. It takes a special kind of thinking to not jump to conclusions about which theory is correct. Some people find this difficult, but if you can hold the possibilities open while you search, you will have a better chance of finding the right answer.

Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twins are always identical twins. Conjoined twins result when a fertilized egg splits partially. A less accepted theory says that the egg splits completely, but that stem cells then rejoin the split twins.

Conjoined twins are almost always the same sex, blood type, etc. Finding otherwise could support the mutation-rejection theory of why twins split, or might be the result of a mutation that happened after they split. The more genes govern a trait (race, for example) the less likely a difference would be between identical twins.

Yes, conjoined twins could be different sexes. This is because in rare cases identical twins can be different sexes. Don't trust Yahoo Answers. Look at examples from scientific literature:
Monozygotic twins of discordant sex both with 45,X/46,X,idic(Y) mosaicism.
Am J Med Genet. 1991 Nov 1;41(2):239-45.

Monochorionic-diamniotic twins discordant in gender from a naturally conceived pregnancy through postzygotic sex chromosome loss in a 47,XXY zygote.
Prenat Diagn. 2008 Aug;28(8):759-63.

It would be a paradigm shift, but the theory that genetic differences cause twins to split might also be supported by other differences seen in identical twins such as: SchizophreniaType 1 diabetes, Sotos syndrome, Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, trisomy 21, and others.

The assumption made in many twin studies that identical twins have the same exact genes (karyotype) may be WRONG. In other words, identical twins may have become twins because they are not identical. Some conclusions formed on the basis of twins studies may be incorrect. Who compares each twin's exact DNA to see if they are gene for gene identical before performing twin studies? Most researchers just assume they are identical.
cell_differentiationIn the center of the diagram are three of the early steps in the development of a mammal. On the top and bottom are some of the fully-differentiated cell types that will eventually form in the adult.

Another genetic difference between identical twins is that they never have the same mitochondria.  This is true because the mitochondria split into two different sets at the very first division of the fertilized egg-before twinning occurs.
Mitochondria are tiny sacs--so small you need an electron microscope to see them--elongated, like a sausage. Many bop around in each heart, pancreas, or kidney cell. Their job is to burn food and produce energy. Mitochondria have their own genes, separate from the genes inside each cell's nucleus. These genes come only from the mother. - wq

Early Control of Cell Division

Information from suggests that a mutation in the mother's RNA may causes some kinds of twins,  those resulting from a split in the first few days. Since the blastula stage is about 6 to 9 days, other types of twins (including conjoined) may still be the result of a genetic mutation in the developing cells (theory above).
Although fertilization results in union of maternal and paternal genomes, zygotic gene activity is not required until the blastula stage. In fact, after fertilization and through cleavage, the maternal, paternal and zygotic genomes are completely dispensible. This is because in the egg, there exists a stockpile of maternally derived mRNAs which govern embryogenesis through cleavage to the blastula stage. Following the formation of the blastula, zygotic gene transcription is activated, which carries the embryo through the rest of embryogenesis.

Species Formation

What is a species? A species is a group of organisms which can mate and produce fertile offspring.

Why are there different species? Scientists believe that the different species alive today came from common ancestors. We all know that different things can develop from a single source. One example: All of the different cells in your body came from one single zygote cell. Evolution is similar, but on a much larger time scale.

Think of humans and a chimpanzees as skeletal muscle cells and heart muscle cells. They developed from the same source. They have similar traits, but they are different.

I like this example because cell differentiation is as mysterious as evolution to most people, and yet no religious people claim that stem cells can not become different types of cells.

Yet, creationists do claim that humans (Homo Sapiens) and Chimpanzees do not have a common ancestor, that these species have always been what they are today.The problem is a lack of understanding of the time scales involved. This is because our common ancestor was over 6 million years ago and a lot has changed in both species since then. i10-36-familytree

The Hensel twins are an example, if the mutation-rejection theory of twinning is correct, that genetic mutations are happening all the time, all around us.

When mutations give one group an advantage in their particular environment or more attraction to their own kind, they reproduce more and eventually become different enough that they can no longer mate with the group from which they separated. At this point, you have a new species.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jet pack pilot flies across 1,500-foot-wide canyon

A daredevil wearing a jet pack has flown across a 1,500-foot-wide canyon in southern Colorado. The sponsoring Go Fast Sports & Beverage says Eric Scott took 21 seconds to cross the Royal Gorge at 75 mph on Monday. It says he didn't use a parachute while flying across the 1,100-foot-deep canyon. He was wearing a jet pack powered by hydrogen peroxide and developed by Jet Pack International. The company developed it for stunts, promotions and other events for Go Fast. Both companies are based in Denver and were founded by entrepreneur Troy Widgery. - google (with map)

Oops: Member of SWAT team forgets rifle near scene of standoff

A member of the Salt Lake County SWAT team left a loaded M4 rifle near the scene of a standoff Q1x00192_9Friday in White City, Utah.

The Tribune says a "veteran" member of the tactical unit forgot his or her weapon in someone's front yard.

Deseret News reports that a jogger found the rifle about two hours after officers left the scene.

"It's a terrible mistake," Salt Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Levi Hughes tells the paper. "For this to happen one time is unacceptable. The public expects more out of us than this. We're going to take every step possible so that this never happens again."

(File photo of an M4 taken March 27 at the Colt Defense Plant in Connecticut by Richard Lardner, AP.) - usatoday

Pictured: The American toddler who got a set of car keys lodged in his brain ... and recovered unscathed

This brave little toddler has made an astonishing recovery after the horror of having a car key lodged in his brain. The freak accident happened when Nicholas Holderman, 20 months, was playing at home with his two elder brothers. Somehow he managed to fall on to his parents’ car keys, one of which pierced his eyelid and penetrated deep into his brain as these X-ray scans reveal. Miraculously the American tot has since made a full recovery. - dailymail

A toddler has been hailed a miracle after getting a set of keys lodged in his brain. Nicholas Holderman fell on his parents' car keys. One entered his eyelid and penetrated his brainThe 20-month-old US tot has amazed doctors by making a full recovery

The 20-month-old US tot has amazed doctors by making a full recovery

How a shrimp on a treadmill became a Web sensation

YouTube phenomenon is actually a serious experiment, scientists explain ... Since the “running shrimp” video first appeared on a faculty page at Pacific University of Oregon, at least 62 versions of it — many set to such inspiring tunes as the themes from “Chariots of Fire” and “Rocky” — have been posted on YouTube, drawing millions of viewers.

What those who have been amused by the running shrimp may not know is that they’re actually watching serious science, on issues that could affect us all. On Tuesday, David Scholnick and Lou Burnett, the two marine biology researchers who devised the experiment, told TODAY’s Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Al Roker how surprised they were to discover the sensation their courageous crustaceans have become. ... At first, Burnett and Scholnick weren’t sure the little critters would actually run on the rotating belt in their aquarium, or whether they’d last for more than a couple of minutes even if they did.

Energizer shrimp
To their amazement, they found that, like the Energizer Bunny, healthy shrimp just kept going and going and going — just as a sample shrimp did in an aquarium that Burnett and Scholnick brought along with them to Studio 1A.

“We thought they would pedal along, swim and walk for a few minutes, and [instead] just hours and hours went by,” said Scholnick. “We just stopped the experiment because they’d just go on and on.” Some were still going strong after more than four hours.

The shrimp used in the experiments were bred for research and were not taken from the wild. The research was funded by a National Science Foundation grant.... - msnbc

Man arrested for releasing worms on train to scare women

0636870400A JAPANESE man has been arrested for releasing hundreds of beetle larvae inside a moving express train to try to scare female passengers, police say.

"I wanted to see women get scared and shake their legs,'' police quoted 35-year-old Manabu Mizuta as saying.

He was arrested on the spot by a patrolling police officer after releasing the creatures on the Keihan line in Osaka prefecture. "He would go close to women on the train, any woman, and pour out the worms from containers,'' a police spokesman said today.

Local police had been on alert after 18 similar cases of released worms had been reported this month by the same train operator. "When the arrest was made, the man had nearly emptied a container, which is believed to have held 200 worms,'' he said. "You cannot count them because there are so many.''

Mr Mizuta had 10 containers in his backpack estimated to contain a total of 3600 worms, police said. ... - news

Japanese women need to carry tasers. You never know when a guy will start dropping worms on your feet or when a 6-foot-4, 300-pound naked guy will start preaching at you in a church. Hey, it could happen.

Sword-Wielder Killed At Scientology Center

Pedestrians walk past the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre InternationalPolice said a man who waved a pair of Samurai swords on the grounds of a Hollywood Scientology building had a "previous relationship" to the church, but released little other information about the man shot and killed by a security guard.

The unidentified man, described as being in his 40s, approached three guards Sunday in the parking lot of the Scientology Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Terry S. Hara said.  The man was "close enough to hurt them" when one of the guards shot him, Hara said, and after questioning the guards and looking at surveillance tape decided the shooting was justified.

"The evidence itself, it's very, very clear," Hara said. "The security officers were defending their safety."  Police said the tape showed the man appearing at about noon in a red convertible, then approaching the guards with a sword in each hand before he was shot, Hara said.

The man was later pronounced dead at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.  - cbsnews

I walked by there once.

Mystery Solved: The Power of Dolphin Kicks is Reason for High Speed

Dolphins have a kick that would make Olympic gold-medalist Michael Phelps jealous--96 kilograms worth.

How dolphins are able to swim so fast first preoccupied researchers back in 1936, when zoologist James Gray calculated the drag dolphins must overcome to swim faster than 32 kilometers an hour. Gray said dolphins lacked the muscles to swim so fast, and yet they did. This became known as Gray's Paradox.

Gray theorized that their speed possibly had something to do with their skin. Over the decades, scientists found flaws in Gray's work, and most biologists have rejected his theory.

Now a team of US scientists has used sophisticated underwater video to measure the power of a dolphin's tail. They calculate 96 kilograms of thrust more than triple what a top Olympian like Phelps can produce and enough to swim with the zip that confounded Gray seven decades ago.

"There is no paradox. The dolphins always had the muscles to do this," said Frank Fish, professor of biology at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. "Gray was wrong." ... - phenom

Dolphins can swim at sustained speeds of 20 miles per hour, with burst speeds over 25 mph.

Stumble Upon Toolbar Panamanian termite can kill nest invaders in one hit

The termite Termes panamensis (Snyder) can kill a would-be nest invader just by hitting it once on its head, according to a new study.

Marc Seid and Jeremy Niven, post-doctoral fellows at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Rudolf Scheffrahn from the University of Florida, say that the Panamanian termite possesses the fastest mandible strike ever recorded. ...  The team captured footage of the soldier termite''s jaws, as they struck an invader at almost 70 meters per second, on a high-speed video camera in the laboratory at 40,000 frames per second.

"Many insects move much faster than a human eye can see so we knew that we needed high speed cameras to capture their behaviour, but we weren''t expecting anything this fast. ...
As to what makes the termites so fast ... the force for the blow is stored by deforming the jaws, which are held pressed against one another until the strike is triggered. ...

"The termites need to store energy to generate enough destructive force. They appear to store the energy in their mandibles but we still don''t know how they do this—that''s the next question," says Niven. - phenom

Remains of 5,500-year-old Human Settlement Found in Peru

A team of Peruvian and German archaeologists has discovered the remains of a human settlement 5,500 years old near the southern town of Nazca, south of Lima, the capital daily El Comercio reported Sunday. The archaeologists, who are members of the Nazca-Palpa project, said that the discovery was made in a sector known as Pernil Alto, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Palpa. ... In some of the graves, archaeologists found carved bones and snail-shells, deer horns, necklaces and bracelets made from shells, but there was no concrete evidence of offerings to the dead or to dieties.  ... - arch

Monday, November 24, 2008

Police Searching for Seattle-area Mall Shooter

Shots erupted in a packed Seattle-area shopping mall Saturday after an apparent argument between a gunman and two other young men, killing one of the men. (Nov. 23)

Reminds me of a song I heard once: Don't take your guns to town.

Video: Bright UFO in Canadian Sky streaks down to Earth

... "It was somewhere between the size of a chair to the size of a desk," says Alan Hildebrand, planetary scientist at the University of Calgary. "This one was pretty spectacular . . . something like this radiates like a billion-watt bulb. It's a pretty bright light in the sky." Hildebrand says the meteor may have broken into hundreds of smaller meteorites that likely landed in central Saskatchewan near the border with Alberta. And that poses a challenge for those out hunting for the pieces.

Those who find it first could be richly rewarded -- but their search is at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Famous American meteorite collector Robert Haag is offering a $10,000 US reward to anyone who can locate the first one-kilogram chunk of the meteorite. But after the first snowfall that may get a lot harder.

"As soon as the snow falls, there's no chance of finding anything until springtime," says Frank Florian, community astronomer at the Telus World of Science. "If we had a lot of snowfall anywhere, trying to find a rock that gets sucked up by the snow that's underneath all this white cover, unless it was large enough to leave a large enough crater visible from the air, it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

"There's too much space, there's a lot of wooded areas, a lot of muskeg in northern Alberta that swallows up most anything. We have lakes.

"It's really hard to determine exactly where things could fall. That's why we need as many reports as we can get." The eyewitness reports build on each other, Florian says. For example, in Edmonton most of the reports might say it fell just to the east. From other locations, depending on their line of sight, people could report otherwise.

"It's so bright it gets misleading," Florian says. "People think because it's so bright it's really close, but it's really not. ... - canada

There is always the chance that whatever you find could be radioactive or could cause mysterious illnesses as happened in Peru. Or you could suddenly lose your ability to fly and your x-ray vision could fail.

Indonesian province to microchip AIDS patients + Notes on the AIDS conspiracy

Lawmakers in Indonesia's remote province of Papua have thrown their support behind a controversial bill requiring some HIV/AIDS patients to be implanted with microchips -- part of extreme efforts to monitor the disease. Health workers and rights activists sharply criticized the plan Monday.

But legislator John Manangsang said by implanting small computer chips beneath the skin of "sexually aggressive" patients, authorities would be in a better position to identify, track and ultimately punish those who deliberately infect others with up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine.

The technical and practical details still need to be hammered out, but the proposed legislation has received full backing from the provincial parliament and, if it gets a majority vote as expected, will be enacted next month, he and others said.

Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country and has one of Asia's fastest growing HIV rates, with up to 290,000 infections out of 235 million people, fueled mainly by intravenous drug users and prostitution.

But Papua, the country's easternmost and poorest province, has been hardest hit. Its case rate of almost 61 per 100,000 is 15 times the national average, according to internationally funded research, which blames lack of knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases.

"The health situation is extraordinary, so we have to take extraordinary action," said another lawmaker, Weynand Watari, who envisions radio frequency identification tags like those used to track everything from cattle to luggage.

A committee would be created to determine who should be fitted with chips and to monitor patients' behavior, but it remains unclear who would be on it and how they would carry out their work, lawmakers said Monday. ... -cnn

Isn't there a cure yet? Boyd Graves thinks AIDS is a man made disease aimed by the US government at population control. Is Graves nuts?


He sounds sane, but perhaps he is adding motives and making connections where none actually exist. Here are some details from his web site:

In 1962, under the cover of cancer research, the United States charts a path to commit premeditated murder, the “Special Virus” program begins on February 12th. Dr. Len Hayflick sets up a U.S. mycoplasma laboratory at Stanford University. Many believe the “Special Virus” program began in November 1961 with a Phizer contract.

Dr. Hayflick's first name is Leonard according to Wikipedia. Why does Graves say "under cover of cancer research"? What evidence is Graves leaving out which makes him believe Hayflick's cancer research was part of a murder plot?

Scientists discover 21st century black plague that spreads from rats to humans

Brown rat

Black Death: A brown rat, common in the UK, has been found carrying a new strain of bacteria called Bartonella rochalimae, which is deadly to humans

A new plague which jumps from rats to humans has been discovered by scientists.

Fears are growing that increasing numbers of brown rats - the most common kind in Europe - are carrying a strain of bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans from heart disease to infection of the spleen and nervous system.

The new strain of bacteria called Bartonella rochalimae is spread between rats by fleas, Taiwanese researchers have said.

It was first discovered in an American woman with an enlarged spleen who had recently travelled to Peru.

'This event raised concern that it could be a newly emerged zoonotic pathogen,' said Professor Chao-Chin Chang from the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan. - dailymail