Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Indian woman breastfeeds orphaned calf

This is an important story because it is an opportunity to point out the differences between human and cow milk. Did you notice how thin the calf is? Here is why this woman's gift will not really be a blessing for the calf:
The milk we find so readily available at the market, is created by a mother cow for the sole purpose of feeding its own offspring. This milk is formulated to help the calf grow into a 1,000-2,000 pound adult cow.  The saying, “Milk builds strong bones” is true in the respect that, at birth, milk is the main (and only) source of nutrition their body receives.

“Cow’s milk is intended to double the weight of the calf in 6 to 8 weeks, whereas a child requires 6 to 7 months to double its weight.” –Dr. N.W. Walker

... A mother’s milk is specifically designed to nourish it’s own offspring. ... A cow’s milk contains 300% more casein than a human mother’s milk, making it unfit for human consumption. - diaryofanutritionist

And if you turn the next bit around, this calf will be getting too much vitamin E, too much iron, and too many fatty acids.  The calf will also not be getting enough protein, sodium and potassium.
All mammal species produce milk, but the composition of milk for each species varies widely and other kinds of milk are often very different from human breast milk. As a rule, the milk of mammals that nurse frequently (including human babies) is less rich, or more watery, than the milk of mammals whose young nurse less often. Human milk is noticeably thinner and sweeter than cow's milk.

Whole cow's milk does not contain sufficient vitamin E, iron, or essential fatty acids, which can make infants fed on cow's milk anemic. Whole cow's milk also contains excessive amounts of protein, sodium, and potassium which may put a strain on an infant's immature kidneys. In addition, the proteins and fats in whole cow's milk are more difficult for an infant to digest and absorb than the ones in breast milk. - wiki

Are we living in a designer universe?

Amateur astronomer Peter Shah who has taken astonishing shots of the universe from his garden shedThe argument over whether the universe has a creator, and who that might be, is among the oldest in human history. But amid the raging arguments between believers and sceptics, one possibility has been almost ignored – the idea that the universe around us was created by people very much like ourselves, using devices not too dissimilar to those available to scientists today.

As with much else in modern physics, the idea involves particle acceleration, the kind of thing that goes on in the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Before the LHC began operating, a few alarmists worried that it might create a black hole which would destroy the world. That was never on the cards: although it is just possible that the device could generate an artificial black hole, it would be too small to swallow an atom, let alone the Earth.

However, to create a new universe would require a machine only slightly more powerful than the LHC – and there is every chance that our own universe may have been manufactured in this way.

This is possible for two reasons. First, black holes may – as science fiction aficionados will be well aware – act as gateways to other regions of space and time. Second, because of the curious fact that gravity has negative energy, it takes no energy to make a universe. Despite the colossal amount of energy contained in every atom of matter, it is precisely balanced by the negativity of gravity.

Black holes, moreover, are relatively easy to make. For any object, there is a critical radius, called the Schwarzschild radius, at which its mass will form a black hole. The Schwarzschild radius for the Sun is about two miles, 1/200,000th of its current width; for the Earth to become a black hole, it would have to be squeezed into a ball with a radius of one centimetre.

The black holes that could be created in a particle accelerator would be far smaller: tiny masses squeezed into incredibly tiny volumes. But because of gravity's negative energy, it doesn't matter how small such holes are: they still have the potential to inflate and expand in their own dimensions (rather than gobbling up our own). Such expansion was precisely what our universe did in the Big Bang, when it suddenly exploded from a tiny clump of matter into a fully-fledged cosmos.

Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology first proposed the now widely accepted idea of cosmic inflation – that the starting point of the Big Bang was far smaller, and its expansion far more rapid, than had been assumed. He has investigated the technicalities of "the creation of universes in the laboratory", and concluded that the laws of physics do, in principle, make it possible. ...

via Are we living in a designer universe? - Telegraph.

That would make us part of a universe which is a self organizing system.

Judge: Man Can’t Sue Over LHC’s Potential “Destruction of the Earth”

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/discoblog/files/2010/08/large-hadron-collider.gifBack in 2008, a Hawaiian fellow named Walter Wagner claimed the Large Hadron Collider’s hunt for the Higgs boson would end in apocalypse, and sued to stop the collider from going online. His suit was soon dismissed by a federal judge, but with the fate of the world on the line, Wagner kept trying.

Now an appellate judge for the United States District Court in Hawaii has foiled Wagner again by knocking down his appeal, as Symmetry reports. The judge found that Wagner failed to show “credible threat of harm” and also noted that the United States doesn’t control the collider, which spans the border of Switzerland and France:

The European Center for Nuclear Research (“CERN”) proposed and constructed the Collider, albeit with some U.S. government support. The U.S. government enjoys only observer status on the CERN council, and has no control over CERN or its operations. Accordingly, the alleged injury, destruction of the earth, is in no way attributable to the U.S. government’s failure to draft an environmental impact statement.

This isn’t Wagner’s first run-in with particle physics. In 1999 he got worried about the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) that was then under construction, and wrote a letter to Scientific American regarding the chance that the machine could create a black hole that would swallow up Long Island–followed by the planet. Although Nobel Laureate Franck Wilcek published a response in the magazine declaring that scenario unlikely, he just happened to mention world-devouring particles called strangelets as a more likely but still very unlikely possibility, adding to Wagner’s panic and fueling a worldwide fiasco (pdf) of misrepresented science and ignorance.

Wagner failed to stop the RHIC, and Brookhaven, with Wilcek’s help, published the charmingly-named report “Review of ‘Speculative Disaster Scenarios’ at RHIC” (pdf) detailing how the collider would not bring about the apocalypse. The LHC has a similar report spelling out why the collider will not kill us with microscopic black holes, strangelets, vacuum bubbles, or magnetic monopoles.

via Judge: Man Can’t Sue Over LHC’s Potential “Destruction of the Earth” | Discoblog | Discover Magazine.

Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coalIf Barack Obama were to marshal America’s vast scientific and strategic resources behind a new Manhattan Project, he might reasonably hope to reinvent the global energy landscape and sketch an end to our dependence on fossil fuels within three to five years.

We could then stop arguing about wind mills, deepwater drilling, IPCC hockey sticks, or strategic reliance on the Kremlin. History will move on fast.

Muddling on with the status quo is not a grown-up policy. The International Energy Agency says the world must invest $26 trillion (£16.7 trillion) over the next 20 years to avert an energy shock. The scramble for scarce fuel is already leading to friction between China, India, and the West.

There is no certain bet in nuclear physics but work by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power.

Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal – named after the Norse god of thunder, who also gave us Thor’s day or Thursday - produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week.

Thorium eats its own hazardous waste. It can even scavenge the plutonium left by uranium reactors, acting as an eco-cleaner. "It’s the Big One," said Kirk Sorensen, a former NASA rocket engineer and now chief nuclear technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering.

"Once you start looking more closely, it blows your mind away. You can run civilisation on thorium for hundreds of thousands of years, and it’s essentially free. You don’t have to deal with uranium cartels," he said.

Thorium is so common that miners treat it as a nuisance, a radioactive by-product if they try to dig up rare earth metals. The US and Australia are full of the stuff. So are the granite rocks of Cornwall. You do not need much: all is potentially usable as fuel, compared to just 0.7pc for uranium.

After the Manhattan Project, US physicists in the late 1940s were tempted by thorium for use in civil reactors. It has a higher neutron yield per neutron absorbed. It does not require isotope separation, a big cost saving. But by then America needed the plutonium residue from uranium to build bombs.

"They were really going after the weapons," said Professor Egil Lillestol, a world authority on the thorium fuel-cycle at CERN. "It is almost impossible make nuclear weapons out of thorium because it is too difficult to handle. It wouldn’t be worth trying." It emits too many high gamma rays.

You might have thought that thorium reactors were the answer to every dream but when CERN went to the European Commission for development funds in 1999-2000, they were rebuffed.

Brussels turned to its technical experts, who happened to be French because the French dominate the EU’s nuclear industry. "They didn’t want competition because they had made a huge investment in the old technology," he said. ...

via Obama could kill fossil fuels overnight with a nuclear dash for thorium - Telegraph.

New Honeybee Breed Key to Combating Colony Collapse Disorder?

honey bee photoA British beekeeper has been working on creating a new strain of honeybee resistant to the varroa mite, a prime suspect in colony collapse disorder (CCD), and it looks like he's hit a high note after 18 years of careful observation and selective breeding. Ron Hoskins found that bees in one of his hives figured out what a great idea mutual grooming can be -- they learned to clean the mites off one another. Hoping that this learned behavior is hereditary, he spread the genes of bees from this colony to his other hives. It worked. Now, combating CCD could be linked in no small part to how quickly the new strain of bee spreads across the country.

Daily Mail reports that the British Beekeepers Association is excited about the work Hoskins has done, and the hope is the drones from his "grooming" bees will mate with wandering female queens to spread the heartier genes across Britain. It could take quite a long time, and a lot of generations of bees before the behavior becomes normal, but if it's a way to combat the mites that wipe out entire colonies, then it's quite an exciting evolution to witness.

Hoskins, who is from Swindon, has named the new strain the "Swindon Honeybee" and all his colonies consist of this new breed. And the behavior might be the only thing that can save honeybees from the verroa mite:

Martin Smith, president of the British Beekeepers' Association, said: "The varroa mite is probably the single most important factor that has caused the reduction in bee numbers worldwide. It has now become resistant to chemicals we have used in the past so we are being forced to look into other methods."

The evolution of natural behaviors is certainly a good method to fall back on, with a little nudge from beekeepers. It might not be a silver bullet for CCD -- the cause of which is still under hot debate -- but it certainly doesn't hurt to have bees taking care of mite infestations on their own.

via New Honeybee Breed Key to Combating Colony Collapse Disorder : TreeHugger.

Dry weather reveals archaeological 'cropmarks' in fields

Aerial view of a prehistoric site in Holderness Hundreds of ancient sites have been discovered by aerial surveys, thanks to a dry start to the summer, English Heritage has said.

The surveys show marks made when crops growing over buried features develop at a different rate from those nearby.

The newly-discovered Roman and prehistoric settlements include a site near Bradford Abbas, Dorset.

The Roman camp was revealed in June after three sides became visible in sun-parched fields of barley.

The lightly-built defensive enclosure would have provided basic protection for Roman soldiers while on manoeuvres in the first century AD and is one of only four discovered in the south west of England, English Heritage said.

The dry conditions also allowed well-known sites to be photographed in greater detail.

via BBC News - Dry weather reveals archaeological 'cropmarks' in fields.

Mayan water reservoir in Mexican rainforest: Archaeologists find huge artificial lake with ceramic-lined floor

Archaeologists from the University of Bonn have found a water reservoir the size of a soccer field, whose floor is lined with ceramic shards, in the Mexican rainforest. It seems that in combination with the limestone on top, the shards were supposed to seal the artificial lake. The system was built about 1,500 years ago. It is the first example of this design found for the Maya. It is not yet known whether the reservoir's entire floor is tiled.

Since 2009, researchers from Bonn and Mexico have been systematically uncovering and mapping the old walls of Uxul, a Mayan city. "In the process, we also came across two, about 100 m square water reservoirs," explained Iken Paap, who directs the project with Professor Dr. Nikolai Grube and the Mexican archaeologist Antonio Benavides Castillo.

Such monster pools, which are also known from other Mayan cities, are called "aguadas." Similar to present-day water towers, they served to store drinking water. But the people of Uxul seem to have thought of a particularly smart way to seal their aguada. "We conducted a trial dig in the center of one of the water reservoirs," explains Nicolaus Seefeld, a young scholar. "We found that the bottom, which is at a depth of two meters, was covered with ceramic shards -- probably from plates -- practically without any gaps. But we don't know yet whether it's like this throughout the entire aguada."

If so, that would be a minor sensation -- merely due to the quantity of ceramics required. The aguadas in Uxul were each as large as ten Olympic-size pools. Maybe there used to be even more artificial lakes. After all, the precious commodity had to be enough to last a population of at least 2,000 through the 3-month dry season.

via Mayan water reservoir in Mexican rainforest: Archaeologists find huge artificial lake with ceramic-lined floor.

Monty Python fans in pilgrimage to Scottish castle

Monty Python fans in pilgrimage to Scottish castleMonty Python fans from around the world are preparing to make a special pilgrimage to a 14th century Scottish castle to mark the 35th anniversary of a cult movie.

Fans of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, based on the legend of King Arthur, have been visiting historic Doune Castle in Stirling since the movie was filmed at the site.

The cult fans are estimated to account for around a third of the 25,000 visitors to the castle each year.

Historic Scotland's First Farewell Monty Python Day, on September 12, will be the latest special event staged at Doune Castle for fans since the first in 2004.

Nick Finnigan, Doune Castle events manager, said: "For this year's Python day, we're returning to the less structured, more spontaneous format of our early events, and of course, loads of fun and games.

"We've got some of the most popular comic sketches being recreated, prizes for the best costumes, a trail, Monty Python and the Holy Trail, highlighting the various filming locations of scenes from the film, a quiz with prizes, singing, and of course, lots of coconut shells."

Coconut shells have been a fixture at Doune since the Holy Grail film became a cult hit. Visitors use them to mimic horses' hooves, just as King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his faithful servant, Patsy (Terry Gilliam) did in the film's opening scene.

Python team

Gilliam and Chapman starred in the film along with Michael Palin, Eric Idle, John Cleese and Terry Jones.

Jones made a vocal return to Doune last year when he recorded the castle's new audio guide.

The tape begins: "Welcome to Doune Castle. I'm Terry Jones, and in 1974 some friends and myself made a very silly film here called Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

via Monty Python fans in pilgrimage to Scottish castle | Scotland | STV News.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Older adults experience 'destination amnesia'

Older adults are more likely to have destination memory failures – forgetting who they've shared or not shared information with, according to a new study led by Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute.

It's the kind of memory faux pas that can lead to awkward or embarrassing social situations and even miscommunication in the doctor's office. Ironically, after making these memory errors older adults remain highly confident in their false beliefs.

The study appears online, ahead of print publication, in the Online First Section of Psychology and Aging.

"What we've found is that older adults tend to experience more destination amnesia than younger adults," said lead investigator and cognitive scientist Dr. Nigel Gopie, who led the study with internationally-renowned experts in memory and attention, Drs. Fergus Craik and Lynn Hasher.

"Destination amnesia is characterized by falsely believing you've told someone something, such as believing you've told your daughter about needing a ride to an appointment, when you actually had told a neighbour."

Why are older adults more prone to destination memory failures? The ability to focus and pay attention declines with age, so older adults use up most of their attentional resources on the telling of information and don't properly encode the context (ie. who they are speaking to) for later recall.

"Older adults are additionally highly confident, compared to younger adults, that they have never told people particular things when they actually had," added Dr. Gopie. "This over-confidence presumably causes older adults to repeat information to people."

A critical finding in the study is that destination memory is more vulnerable to age-related decline than source memory. Source memory is the ability to recall which person told you certain information.

via Older adults experience 'destination amnesia'.

Survey Says: Genetics Affect Whether We’re Willing To Take Surveys

A new study from North Carolina State University shows that genetics play a key factor in whether someone is willing to take a survey.

“We wanted to know whether people are genetically predisposed to ignore requests for survey participation,” says Dr. Lori Foster Thompson, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and lead author of a paper describing the research. “We found that there is a pretty strong genetic predisposition to not reply to surveys.”

For the study, the researchers sent out a survey to over 1,000 sets of twins – some fraternal, some identical – and then measured who did and did not respond. The researchers were interested in whether the response behavior of one twin accurately predicted the behavior of the other twin. “We found that the behavior of one identical twin was a good predictor for the other,” Foster Thompson says, “but that the same did not hold true for fraternal twins.

“Because all of the sets of twins were raised in the same household, the only distinguishing variable between identical and fraternal twin sets is the fact that identical twins are genetically identical and fraternal twins are not.”

Understanding survey response behavior is important because managers and people who study organizational behavior rely on survey data to better understand issues ranging from leadership to job stress. “We need to get representative data in order to form accurate conclusions,” Foster Thompson says, “for science and for business practice.

“A lot of research has been done to evaluate how surveys can be written or presented to encourage participation,” Foster Thompson adds. “Much less work has been done to evaluate the personal characteristics of potential respondents – and the role those characteristics play in determining whether someone will actually fill a survey out.”

The research raises a number of additional questions, “but basically we want to know why or how genetics affect people’s predisposition to take surveys,” Foster Thompson says. “Is the linkage between genetics and survey response explained by personality, attitudes toward employers, or something else entirely?”

The paper, “Genetic underpinnings of survey response,” will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Organizational Behavior. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Zhen Zhang of Arizona State University and Dr. Richard Arvey of the National University of Singapore.

via NCSU News :: NC State News and Information » Survey Says: Genetics Affect Whether We’re Willing To Take Surveys.

Hurts so good -- neural clues to the calming effects of self-harm

The notion that cutting or burning oneself could provide relief from emotional distress is difficult to understand for most people, but it is an experience reported commonly among people who compulsively hurt themselves.

Individuals with borderline personality disorder experience intense emotions and often show a deficiency of emotion regulation skills. This group of people also displays high prevalence rates of self-injurious behavior, which may help them to reduce negative emotional states.

Niedtfeld and colleagues studied the effects of emotional stimuli and a thermal stimulus in people either with or without borderline personality disorder. They conducted an imaging study using picture stimuli to induce negative, positive, or neutral affect and thermal stimuli to induce heat pain or warmth perception. The painful heat stimuli were administered at an individually-set temperature threshold for each subject.

In patients with borderline personality disorder, they found evidence of heightened activation of limbic circuitry in response to pictures evocative of positive and negative emotions, consistent with their reported emotion regulation problems. Amygdala activation also correlated with self-reported deficits in emotion regulation. However, the thermal stimuli inhibited the activation of the amygdala in these patients and also in healthy controls, presumably suppressing emotional reactivity.

Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented, "These data are consistent with the hypothesis that physically painful stimuli provide some relief from emotional distress for some patients with borderline personality disorder because they paradoxically inhibit brain regions involved in emotion. This process may help them to compensate for deficient emotional regulation mechanisms."

The authors note that these results are in line with previous findings on emotional hyperactivity in borderline personality disorder and suggest that these individuals process pain stimuli differently depending on their arousal status.

via Hurts so good -- neural clues to the calming effects of self-harm.

Paul Allen Sues Apple, Google, Others Over Patents

They're the everyday fixtures of the Internet experience: pop-up stock quotes on a website, suggestions for related reading near a news article, videos along the side of your screen.

Now, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen says he owns the technology behind all these ideas, and he's demanding that some of the world's top Web companies pay up to use them.

The 57-year-old software guru on Friday sued much of Silicon Valley, claiming Internet giants such as Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and eBay Inc. have built their businesses around what he says is his technology.

Mr. Allen's suit, filed in federal court in Seattle, asserts those three companies and eight others are using technology developed a decade ago at the billionaire's now-defunct Silicon Valley laboratory. Mr. Allen, a pioneer of computer software, didn't develop any of the technology himself but owns the patents.

His targets vowed to fight. "This lawsuit against some of America's most innovative companies reflects an unfortunate trend of people trying to compete in the courtroom instead of the marketplace," a Google spokesman said. Other companies named in the suit said they planned to defend themselves or weren't available to comment.

Patent litigation in general is on the rise, in what is becoming a lucrative endeavor. Ocean Tomo, a Chicago-based merchant bank that tracks the intellectual-property market, values the licensing market at as much as $500 billion.

Mr. Allen's lawsuit comes amid high-profile successes of firms such as NTP Inc., which enforce patents without making products and have been called "patent trolls" by critics. Courts have tried to rein in patent litigation, with mixed results, and Congress has yet to act on legislation that would do the same.

via Paul Allen Sues Apple, Google, Others Over Patents - WSJ.com.

Innovation: Sunrise boulevards could bring clean power

Road to power? (Image: Daryl Benson/Getty)New Scientist has been talking to electrical engineer Scott Brusaw, based in Sagle, Idaho, who believes that replacing asphalt with PV cells is the way forward for renewable energy.

With funding from the US Federal Highways Administration he has been looking at how PV cells, normally perceived as relatively fragile devices, can be toughened up to withstand the relentless pounding that trucks and other traffic would throw at them. ...

f successful the rewards could be handsome, says Brusaw. According to figures he has obtained from the American Geophysical Union, roads, highways and open-air parking lots in the lower 48 US states account for more than 100,000 square kilometres of surface area. If this asphalt and concrete were replaced with solar cells of moderate efficiency – around 15 per cent – they would not only generate a significant amount of energy but would also provide a backbone infrastructure to deliver the energy to our doors, he says.

Brusaw's plan is to create 3.7-metre square panels – the US interstate highway system standard lane width – that slot together, linking up through junction boxes lying beneath them. With a US national average of around 4 hours of sunlight a day, each of these panels would be capable of around 7.6 kilowatt-hours of energy a day, he says. This could either be fed into the grid or stored in super capacitors or flywheels within the panels to allow electric vehicles to recharge through roadside plug-in points, he says.

Brusaw estimates that the cost of each panel would be around $10,000, which – based on figures from the Idaho Transportation Department – he estimates to be roughly four times the current cost of laying asphalt. He hopes these panels can be made to last longer than conventional road surfaces, but that still makes them more expensive – until you factor in the electricity they would produce, says Brusaw. "Our panels are designed to pay for themselves," he says.

Perhaps, but can PV cells really be made tough enough for the job? Glass can be made to be as strong as steel, but the challenge here is to make it resistant to shattering. Brusaw is convinced it can be done, for example by borrowing tricks used to make bullet-proof and blast-proof glass.

One way is to deposit thin-film PV material onto flexible plastic and laminate it onto toughened glass, says materials scientist Carlo Pantano at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, who Brusaw has been consulting.

However, that leaves the issue of tyre grip. "Smooth surfaces are the strongest for glass," Pantano says. That's not so great for driving on.

So some texture would need to be added, which in turn presents two problems, says Pantano. Any texturing or roughening will reduce both strength and the amount of light hitting the PV cells.

These are issues Brusaw says he is currently trying to work out. So far, he has built only a single crude prototype, which houses the necessary electronic components, but is neither operational nor toughened. ...

One solution he is considering is to use thousands of tiny prisms built into the surface. These would allow tyres to grip and would also help to direct sunlight to the PV cells when the sun is low, he says.


via Innovation: Sunrise boulevards could bring clean power - tech - 27 August 2010 - New Scientist.

Sunspots squeeze and stretch the day

MOST of us don't notice it, but not all days are the same length. Now it seems that sunspotsMovie Camera - dark regions that emerge on the sun's surface - may be partly responsible for the millisecond fluctuations in the time it takes Earth to rotate once on its own axis. The finding could help to steer spacecraft more accurately.

There are already explanations for why the exact length of a day varies. Changes in winds and ocean currents cause the Earth's spin to slow slightly or speed up to compensate, preserving the planet's total angular momentum. Meanwhile, shifts in how matter is distributed around the planet due to climate change may also affect the speed of Earth's spin.

The latest association, between sunspots, whose abundance rises and falls on an 11-year "solar cycle", and the Earth's spin rate, is perhaps the most bizarre yet.

Researchers have long observed that the spin rate fluctuates with the seasons, in response to shifting wind patterns. Now, a team led by Jean-Louis Le Mouël at the Paris Institute of Geophysics in France has found that this seasonal effect also grows and shrinks in an 11-year cycle, rather like sunspots. Seasons have a bigger effect on spin rate when sunspots are scarce, and a smaller effect when spots are abundant, according to an analysis of data from 1962 to 2009 (Geophysical Research Letters, vol 37, L15307).

The team suspects that this link between sunspot abundance and spin rate is due to sunspots somehow altering wind patterns on Earth. One way this might occur is through sunspot-mediated changes in the ultraviolet brightness of the sun. Since UV light heats the stratosphere, sunspots could plausibly alter wind patterns, says Steven Marcus of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who was not involved in the study.

He says researchers need to better pin down where and when wind changes occur and determine if they tie in with these UV fluctuations. "This is an intriguing result, but some major pieces of the puzzle are still missing," Marcus says.

Filling in those pieces could pay dividends by improving predictions of when and how the rotation rate will change. These are important when using Earth-based radio dishes to track spacecraft. A 1-millisecond error in the rotation period can skew calculations of spacecraft locations by thousands of kilometres at the distance of Mars, Marcus says, "an important difference when trying to land on or even orbit the planet".

via Sunspots squeeze and stretch the day - space - 27 August 2010 - New Scientist.

"Lost" Language Found on Back of 400-Year-Old Letter

A letter reveals a lost language.Notes on the back of a 400-year-old letter have revealed a previously unknown language once spoken by indigenous peoples of northern Peru, an archaeologist says.

Penned by an unknown Spanish author and lost for four centuries, the battered piece of paper was pulled from the ruins of an ancient Spanish colonial church in 2008.

But a team of scientists and linguists has only recently revealed the importance of the words written on the flip side of the letter.

The early 17th-century author had translated Spanish numbers—uno, dos, tres—and Arabic numerals into a mysterious language never seen by modern scholars. ...

The newfound native language may have borrowed from Quechua, a language still spoken by indigenous peoples of Peru, Quilter said.

But it was clearly a unique tongue, and likely one of two known only by the mention of their names in contemporary texts: Quingnam and Pescadora—"language of the fishers."

Some scholars suggest the two are in fact the same tongue that had been misidentified as distinct languages by early Spanish scribes.

Also, the writings include translated numbers, which means that the lost language's numerical system was a ten-based, or decimal system—like English. ...

While the Inca used a ten-based system, many other cultures did not: the Maya, for example, used a base of 20, according to Quilter.

... The letter was found during excavations of the Magdalena de Cao Viejo church at the  El Brujo Archaeological Complex in northern Peru. (The National Geographic Society, which owns National Geographic News, has sponsored fieldwork at the site in the past.) ...

The tantalizing fragment is just one of hundreds of historic papers recovered at the site, which has been well preserved by the extremely arid climate—and also by the church's collapse, Quilter added.

"Archaeologists live on other people's misfortunes," Quilter said.

The Spanish colonialists "had the misfortune of having the church collapse—we think probably in the mid-to-late 17th century—which trapped the library or office where they kept their papers." ...

via "Lost" Language Found on Back of 400-Year-Old Letter.

Home of the Daily and Sunday Express

Story ImageMillions of killer giant squid are not only devouring vast amounts of fish they have even started attacking humans.

Two Mexican fishermen were recently dragged from their boats and chewed so badly that their bodies could not be identified even by their own families.

No wonder the giant squid are called “diablos rojos” – red devils.

Monster squid are the stuff of legend. But for fishermen and marine biologists along 10,000 miles of coast from Chile to Alaska, the myth has become reality.

And their story is told this week in a Channel Five documentary.

Since 2002, Humboldt giant squid, named after the 18th century German explorer, have been spreading their tentacles to deplete fishing stocks by moving from their traditional tropical hunting grounds off Mexico and laying claim to a vast sweep of the Pacific.

Hunting in 1,000-strong packs the giant squid can out-swim and out-think fish. Scientists believe they coordinate attacks by using pigment cells to communicate.

A single female is believed to be able to lay 30 million eggs, each one capable of becoming a giant killing machine.

Marine biologists wear chain-mail to protect themselves from creatures that can measure 8ft, weigh 100lb and carry an armoury of more than 40,000 fearsome teeth along two “attack” tentacles.

The creatures have another eight “legs” for grasping and swimming and can reach speeds of more than 15mph.

Former US special forces diver Scott Cassell has put his life on the line to study the squid. He too has been attacked.

He said: “Within five minutes my right shoulder had been pulled out of its socket. I had 30 big marks on my head and throat and one squid hit me so hard I saw stars. They then grabbed on to me and pulled me down so fast that I could not equalise and I ruptured my eardrum.

“They are the most opportunistic predators on the planet. They eat everything in their path. One Humboldt squid in the course of two years can eat 27,000lb of fish. What is going to be the impact on the environment?”

Experts believe they may be taking advantage of warmer waters due to climate change. The threat to fisheries and marine ecosystems is explained in the documentary.

via Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: Man eating giant squid devouring fish stocks.

Fidel Castro: Osama Bin Laden Is A US Agent

Fidel Castro says al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is a bought-and-paid-for CIA agent who always popped up when former President George W. Bush needed to scare the world, arguing that documents recently posted on the Internet prove it.

"Any time Bush would stir up fear and make a big speech, bin Laden would appear threatening people with a story about what he was going to do," Castro told state media during a meeting with a Lithuanian-born writer known for advancing conspiracy theories about world domination. "Bush never lacked for bin Laden's support. He was a subordinate."

Castro said documents posted on WikiLeaks.org - a website that recently released thousands of pages of classified documents from the Afghan war - "effectively proved he was a CIA agent." He did not elaborate.

The comments, published in the Communist Party daily Granma on Friday, were the latest in a series of provocative statements by the 84-year-old revolutionary, who has emerged from seclusion to warn that the planet is on the brink of nuclear war.

Castro even predicted the global conflict would mean cancellation of the final rounds of the World Cup last month in South Africa. He later apologized for jumping the gun. Last week, he began highlighting the work of Daniel Estulin, who wrote a trilogy of books highlighting the Bilderberg Club, whose prominent members meet once a year behind closed doors.The secretive nature of the meetings and prominence of some members - including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, senior U.S. and European officials, and major international business and media executives - have led some to speculate that it operates as a kind of global government, controlling not only international politics and economics, but even culture.

During the meeting, Estulin told Castro that the real voice of bin Laden was last heard in late 2001, not long after the Sept. 11 attacks. He said the person heard making warnings about terror attacks after that was a "bad actor."

via Fidel Castro: Osama Bin Laden Is A US Agent - CBS News.

Man in Nagano computes value of pi to 5 tril. digits

A company employee in external image 20060715-pi.jpgNagano Prefecture calculated the value of pi to five trillion digits this month using a self-made personal computer, beating the record set by a French engineer who calculated it to about 2.7 trillion digits late last year.

To calculate the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, to an undetermined number of digits, Shigeru Kondo, a 55-year-old resident of Iida, assembled a computer with 32 terabytes of hard-drive capacity and used an application made by Alexander Yee, a 22-year-old student at a U.S. graduate school.

After Kondo repeated tests via e-mail, he began the computation on May 4, and the work lasted 90 days and about seven hours until it was completed on Aug. 3, including verifications, following difficulties including a power outage. He plans to apply for the Guinness Book of Records.

The mountainous task affected the daily lives of Kondo's family. His wife, Yukiko, 53, said they had to pay 20,000 yen a month for electricity. The work was also threatened when their 29-year-old daughter used a dryer and threw a circuit breaker. Kondo managed to rescue the operation using a 10-minute backup power supply.

As the temperature of the computer room soared to near 40 degrees Celsius, Kondo avoided a hardware meltdown by removing casings and exposing computer parts to cooling fans.

Kondo has been engaged in computing the value of pi since calculating the value to 1,000 digits as a fourth-year technology college student. While working as a systems engineer for a food company, he repeatedly assembled computers using commercially available circuit boards and memory.

"This is for sheer self-satisfaction," said Kondo, who spent 1.5 million yen on the computer used in the latest calculation.

But "I used only 60 percent of the computer's total capabilities," he said. "I want to try to compute the value to 10 trillion digits, possibly next spring." ...

via Man in Nagano computes value of pi to 5 tril. digits - The Mainichi Daily News.

Beyond blue: new hopes arise in magnetic fields

Kevin, who is bipolar, is treated with transcranial magnetic stimulation at the Alfred Hospital. <i>Picture: Andrew Meares. </i>A PIONEERING treatment using magnetic fields to stimulate brain activity has helped people with depression live medication-free and is now being trialled on autistic young people, patients with bipolar disorder and those with traumatic brain injuries.

Doctors at The Alfred hospital say transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has a high success rate, with fewer side effects than more invasive treatments such as electric shock therapy.

Patients are fully conscious and do not need hospital admission. Some are even having the 40-minute sessions in their lunch break. A course of treatment is typically five sessions a week for four weeks.

Magnetic pulses applied to a coil on the patient's head deliver a gentle electric current that fires up nerve cells in the brain.

While previously the procedure was tested for use in combating depression and schizophrenia, The Alfred is now trialling ''deep TMS'' for disorders such as autism and Asperger's in patients as young as 18. The therapy uses a coil that stimulates an area of the brain which controls social functioning.

Paul Fitzgerald, deputy director of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, said the treatment had been able to change the way people with the disorders related to others by helping them better read body language and verbal cues.

''We're looking at trying to improve their capacity for social decision-making, their capacity to judge other people's individual emotional state so they can make better judgments in social settings, which is one of the core problems for people with autism,'' Professor Fitzgerald said.

''If you look at brain imaging studies of patients with autism, if they're required to do tasks that involve making social judgments, particular networks in their brain are just not as active as they should be.''

Patients with bipolar disorder and those suffering severe depression after head injuries sustained in road accidents are also seeing results in as little as four weeks.

Another trial is looking at using the technology to help people beat addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Most patients with depression who have had the treatment found it lessened their symptoms and improved appetite and sleep patterns.

Professor Fitzgerald said the therapy had become a mainstream mental health procedure in the United States with up to 250 centres offering it as a standard clinical treatment. ...

via Beyond blue: new hopes arise in magnetic fields.

Mars's mysterious elongated crater

Orcus Patera is an enigmatic elliptical depression near Mars's equator, in the eastern hemisphere of the planet. Located between the volcanoes of Elysium Mons and Olympus Mons, its formation remains a mystery.

Often overlooked, this well-defined depression extends approximately 380 km by 140 km in a NNE-SSW direction. It has a rim that rises up to 1800 m above the surrounding plains, while the floor of the depression lies 400-600 m below the surroundings.

The term 'patera' is used for deep, complex or irregularly shaped volcanic craters such as the Hadriaca Patera and Tyrrhena Patera at the north-eastern margin of the Hellas impact basin. However, despite its name and the fact that it is positioned near volcanoes, the actual origin of Orcus Patera remains unclear.

Aside from volcanism, there are a number of other possible origins. Orcus Patera may be a large and originally round impact crater, subsequently deformed by compressional forces. Alternatively, it could have formed after the erosion of aligned impact craters. However, the most likely explanation is that it was made in an oblique impact, when a small body struck the surface at a very shallow angle, perhaps less than five degrees from the horizontal.

The existence of tectonic forces at Orcus Patera is evident from the presence of the numerous 'graben', rift-valley-like structures that cut across its rim. Up to 2.5 km wide, these graben are oriented roughly east-west and are only visible on the rim and the nearby surroundings.

Within the Orcus Patera depression itself, the large graben are not visible, probably having been covered by later deposits. But smaller graben are present, indicating that several tectonic events have occurred in this region and also suggesting that multiple episodes of deposition have taken place.

The occurrence of 'wrinkle ridges' within the depression proves that not only extensional forces, as would be needed to create graben, but also compressive forces shaped this region. The dark shapes near the centre of the depression were probably formed by wind-driven processes, where dark material excavated by small impact events in the depression has been redistributed.

However, the presence of graben and wrinkle-ridges has no bearing on the origin of Orcus Patera, as both can be found all over Mars. The true origin of Orcus Patera remains an enigma.

via Mars's mysterious elongated crater.

'200-year-old' man listed as alive in family register

A "200-year-old" man is listed as alive in his family register at the municipal government, city officials said.

The man, who was born in 1810, would be as old as classic music composer Frederic Francois Chopin. City officials said his birthday and address are unknown.

The Iki Municipal Government computerized family registers it manages in 2006, but did not touch those for such elderly people.

In Iki, there are 72 people aged over 120, who are listed as alive by their family registers but are not registered as residents.

"We'll conduct an investigation and delete their family registers if they are confirmed dead," a city official said.

via '200-year-old' man listed as alive in family register - The Mainichi Daily News.

Gulf Disaster, Matt Simmons: "Theres another leak, much bigger, 5 to 6 miles away"

Is there still an unplugged leak?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gene Simmons vs. The Fed

Gene Simmons is a character. His real name is Chaim Witz and he was born in Israel. He co-founded the rock group Kiss in the early 1970s.

I think he is 61 years old now.  I don't agree with all of his politics, like supporting Bush, but do I like how he messes with people. His net worth is $300 million according to celebritynetworth.com.

He claims to have slept with 4,600 women. (That would be a different woman every night for 12 years.)
Simmons, 56, says, "I have not heard a complaint. That's because I am straight with them. "I don't lie, like most men do. I will tell a girl I want her and desire her, but I'll tell her straight, 'I want your sister and your mommy as well.'"

He has an interesting lack of embarrassment and a great playfulness.

He claims to have never been drunk because he wants to live a long time. I hope he does "win the marathon".  He should give Aubrey DuGrey a million dollars. That would improve his chances of having the longest life possible.

If I was a Christian, I'd seriously consider the possibility that he is the devil...  but would the devil want to abolish the Fed? Would the devil donate to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS foundation? I think not.

KISS acoustic:

KISS orchestrated:

‘Blue Flu’ cases spreading around Gulf

“Blue Flu” infecting people along the Gulf of Mexico, other southern states?

Some people are calling it the BP Flu. But it is commonly being called the Blue Flu, because the alleged symptoms include blue lips and skin; and it’s scaring the hell out of people all around the Gulf area –from Texas to Florida.

This Blue Flu is separate from people experiencing something called TILT, or “Toxic-Induced Loss of Tolerance.” TILT is something that hit some of the folks who had been working on the massive cleanup surrounding the oil spill. Symptoms from TILT include eyes and skin being irritated, headaches and dizziness.

People with TILT are typically those who were in the immediate area of the spill, mostly those directly involved with the cleanup. Those suffering from Blue Flu are an entirely different matter. These are people who were not in direct contact with the spill, or the cleanup chemicals. They simply live in the south, near the Gulf.

Symptoms include swollen glands, notably in the neck, fever, vomiting, headache, bluish lip color, numbness in fingers and toes. The most alarming symptom being reported is “severe symptomatic cyanosis.” This is the entire body turning blue, a discoloration of the skin.

Of course this could cause alarm that these are symptoms of oxygen depletion along the Gulf. But could this rather be from all that Corexit that was sprayed everywhere, including dropped through the air from airplanes? This was a lot of chemical deposited in a large area, in a short frame of time. One wonders how the people living in the area could not be sickened from it. ...

Whatever the cause the Blue Flu, it is important to note that the oil spill wasn’t cleaned up – it was covered up. As stated in the above quote, the Corexit that was sprayed and dumped all over the place is simply a (rather dangerous) chemical agent that prevented the oil from surfacing.

After all, the government isn’t interested in your safety. Rather, the government is interested in creating the illusion of safety. And the government often harms even more people in the end in their effort to keep up appearances.

Thus, expect the Blue Flu to be kept under wraps as much as possible. In an effort to deflect criticism, I would not be surprised if the government sounded an alarm over another flu bug – an effort at misdirection. The political class wants the oil spill story out of the way and forgotten. ...

That article is at worldvisionportal.org. The writer wonders if these are symptoms of oxygen depletion in the air and water. Here’s a little from that one:
Along with the symptoms that mimic flu-like viruses, there are increasing cases of severe symptomatic cyanosis. These rapidly increasing symptoms range from bluish lip color to numbness in fingers and toes. There is also a fast growing increase of pneumonia cases which are being diagnosed as chemical induced pneumonia. Those working on boats and those living directly on the coast are the most effected.

Cyanosis is simply oxygen starvation in the blood. With a moderate case involving such a lack of oxygen, the skin appears to have a blueish colour. Hands and fingers especially show these signs as will other extremities such as toes and lips. A lack of oxygen in the blood can also have a purplish appearance where the skin surface is red from sun exposure but the blood beneath the skin is blue. Red and blue make purple.

If all these BLUE FLU symptoms were temporary, most everyone suffering from them would eventually recover as the blood becomes increasingly oxygenated once removed from the oxygen depletion source.

... The writer goes on to suggest that, “while the Blue Flu symptoms are increasing for more and more people, those who have had 30+ days of direct exposure to the toxic and oxygen depleted Gulf air and water are in immediate danger of permanent and irreversible biological damage… if not death.”


COMMENT: Could it be from all the methane that was released into the air displaced the oxygen? That is what methane does. That is what Matthew Simmons was warning the gulf residents about when he said they MUST evacuate. Methane is odorless, but it displaces/replaces oxygen!!! Hence the cyanosis, blue lips!

COMMENT: We’ll be seeing more nasty effects like this – you can’t dump tens of thousands of tons of poison into the environment without hurting a lot of people.

“The writer wonders if these are symptoms of oxygen depletion in the air and water.”

Absolutely not. In order to actually turn people’s lips blue, the partial pressure of oxygen would have to drop to astonishingly low levels, lower than anywhere on the planet. No one could miss this – for example, you’d pass out if you tried to run, everyone with asthma or pneumonia or heck, even a heavy cold! would simply die. ..

via ‘Blue Flu’ cases spreading around Gulf - Dateline Zero.

The photo is of a person with cyanosis, not a person with the blu flu.

In related news: The BP Investigation was Blocked by Senate Republicans after passing in the House almost unanimously. As Senator Bob Menedez (D) said, who are the Senate Republicans protecting and "what are we hiding here?"

COMMENT ON YouTube:  "Like said, left wing right wing same ol bird. Both parties will play us for their own personal gain."

Farmer sues French MoD after two low-flying fighter planes 'frighten 4,800 chickens to death'

French fighter jetA French farmer is suing his country’s Ministry of Defence after two low-flying fighter jets caused 4,800 of his chickens to drop dead.

Etienne Le Mehaute said there was an 'almighty din' when the planes passed over his farm in Pelguien, Brittany, on Tuesday afternoon.

'We were having lunch when there this enormous roar of engines,' said Mr Le Mahaute. ‘We could feel the shockwaves down our back.

‘The chickens were absolutely terrified and thousands dropped dead. We piled their bodies up and there were some 4,800 who did not pull through.’

Mr Le Mehaute, who has around 68,000 birds in total, wants £12,000 from the MoD for his loss.

MoD spokesman Frederic Solano has confirmed two jets were in the area at the time, but denied they broke low-flying regulations. He said an investigation into the deaths had been launch.

The British government regularly pays out compensation to civilians who complain about noisy military jets.

Last year defence chiefs paid out £42,000 to a Staffordshire farmer whose chickens laid fewer eggs because they were frightened by the Red Arrows display team.

And another £117,000 was handed over to a Yorkshire racehorse owner after the animal injured itself when it was spooked by jets.

A total of £7.6million has been paid out in damages over the past four years because of military noise pollution, according to official documents released earlier this year. ...

via Farmer sues French MoD after two low-flying fighter planes 'frighten 4,800 chickens to death' | Mail Online.

Planets spotted in changing orbits

NASA's Kepler planet-hunting probe has spotted a system where two giant planets are locked in constantly changing orbits — with a super-Earth potentially pinned down in the crossfire.

Astronomers like to think of planets as a kind of celestial clockwork, keeping regular time. For example, the time it takes for the planets in our own solar system to complete their orbits can be calculated to within fractions of a second, and unless something huge happens, they'll stick to that timetable for billions of years.

In contrast, the two Saturn-size planets circling a sunlike star now known as Kepler-9, more than 2,000 light-years from Earth, shift their timetable with every go-round. Kepler-9b has an orbit lasting approximately 19.24 Earth days, while Kepler-9c has an orbit lasting a little more than twice as long, 38.91 days. But on average, Kepler-9b's orbit got about 4 minutes longer every time the Kepler astronomers checked, while Kepler-9c's averaged about 39 minutes shorter.

That suggests the planets are in the midst of a gravitational push-pull that keeps the orbits close to a 2-to-1 ratio, in what's known as a planetary resonance. In our own solar system, Pluto and Neptune are in a similar resonance (2-to-3), which is why little Pluto can't be kicked out of its orbit. The same thing applies to the Kepler-9 system.

"The system is stable in the sense that no planet will be ejected," said Matthew Holman, an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who is the principal author of a Kepler paper being published today on the journal Science's website.

"The orbits of the planets are changing, but these variations are oscillatory," Holman told me in an e-mail. "On average, the period ratio will be very close to 2-to-1. However, at any given instant that ratio may be bigger than 2-to-1 or smaller than 2-to-1."

Orbital variations has long been known to be theoretically possible, but Kepler-9 is the first confirmed planetary system where astronomers have been able to register this type of off-schedule behavior. It's actually quite a lucky break for the Kepler team. "The variations in what we call the transit times are large enough that we can use those transit timing variations to estimate the masses of these bodies," Holman said in a Science podcast. ...

via Cosmic Log - Planets spotted in changing orbits.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pentagon: 2008 Cyber Breach, Considered the Biggest Ever, Was Caused By a Simple Flash Drive

In the first on-the-record, official recognition that a foreign intelligence agency infiltrated sensitive U.S. military CentCom networks in 2008, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III has revealed the source of the attack. And it was -- drumroll please -- a flash drive. A simple flash drive inserted into a military laptop at a location in the Middle East allowed malicious code to install and conceal itself on both classified and unclassified servers, opening them to foreign control.

The acknowledgement that such a simple process set off such an egregious breach of security highlights not only the danger that cyber threats pose, but just how fragile sensitive systems -- the systems by which America makes war -- can be.

In an article today in Foreign Affairs, Lynn presents new details about the DoD's cyberstrategy as it pertains to seeking out threats within its own networks, and according to the WaPo he asserts that the Pentagon needs to make efforts to protect important industry networks as well. That means defending not only protecting dot-gov and dot-mil networks, but ensuring that private industries providing critical infrastructure are taking the proper steps to secure their own networks.

But what the Pentagon learned the hard way is also a timely reminder for the rest of us as well.

via Pentagon: 2008 Cyber Breach, Considered the Biggest Ever, Was Caused By a Simple Flash Drive | Popular Science.

Comment: ... It's always a good idea to reformat a new USB drive when you get it.

Space Flight: Application of Orbital Mechanics

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Space Flight: Application of Orbital Mechanics
AVA18245VNB1 - 1994

This video details planetary motion or orbital mechanics. It explains Kepler's and Newton's Laws plus terminology including perigee, apogee, eccentricity, orbital inclination, launch window, etc.

Hunter's Infrared Camera Captures Images of UFO Near Space Surveillance Station

Fort Worth area resident Lisa Brock-Piekarski is a little freaked out by images she discovered on an infrared camera mounted at her family's favorite hunting spot.

That's not because of the deer in the foreground but because of the mysterious lights in the background to the left of the animal.

"What I see looks almost like a Frisbee," Brock-Piekarski told Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate KXAS-TV. "You see a several lights going around, and they're all symmetrical and lit up, and it just looks like an object in the sky."

While she hesitated calling it a UFO, Brock-Piekarski could not identify what might have caused the string of lights to appear in the photos, taken over a timespan of almost two hours.

"There's nothing back there but trees and sky," she said. "There's no hills, no buildings, nothing back there. It's all flat."

Brock-Piekarski said the pictures were taken by an infrared, motion-activated game camera. The equipment wasn't moved, and it doesn't have a flash.

"We've seen falling stars, all kinds of stuff out there because you're away from the city," she said. "Anytime there's a meteor shower or anything, you can see it a lot better, but I've never seen anything like that."

The Brock-Piekarski's hunting land is located in Archer City, which is near Sheppard Air Force Base. The installation did not immediately return requests from KXAS-TV asking if it had planes up the night the images were taken.

Brock-Piekarski added that she was now a little hesitant to go out hunting and to her deer blind alone.

"It's a little creepy," Brock-Piekarski said. "I don't know if I want to be sitting out in my deer stand by myself anymore, hunting."

via Did hunter's infrared camera capture images of UFO? | Outposts | Los Angeles Times.

Fort Worth, Tex. -- A motion-activated camera at a Fort Worth family's favorite hunting spot is capturing shots of mysterious objects.

Lisa Brock-Piekarski's game camera is supposed to take pictures of the deer on her Archer City hunting lease, but the pictures show something she can't explain.

via Droidzilla

Thanks to Ann for point this out.

Why are there two photos of the same frozen deer and object with the sky showing what seems to be two different times of day? (last photo below).

The camera did not move, but the object definitely did. Compare the 6:06 AM and 6:07 AM images. In the 6:07 AM image, there is a lighter duplicate blurred double of the image. It seems to have been caught in this frame zooming away.  Or is that a cloud. Even freakier thought: Perhaps it is still there in the daylight photo, but "cloaked" by some kind of projector or reflection technology.

The times mentions that this was near Sheppard Air Force Base, but when I did a search on Google I found that the Kickapoo Space Surveillance Station is also in Archer City, Texas.
"One of the lesser-known assets of the US Space Command's world-wide space surveillance system is the 217 MHz NAVSPASUR "fence" across the southern US." - fas

UFO caught on deer camera, Archer City TX

Vicinity of Kickapoo Space Surveillance Station Archer City, Texas

Diabetic grandmother urine whisky

Gilpin Family Whisky made from diabetics' urineA British art student is making whisky from his grandmother's urine.

James Gilpin collects his diabetic granny Patricia's pee, boils it, cleans the sugar crystals which are left and then adds them to grain, malt and water to create the alcoholic drink.

He came up with the unusual brewing idea after reading that sufferers of diabetes have a lot of sugar in their urine because of their high blood sugar levels.

James - who is studying at the London Royal College of Art - said: "The urine produces a very nice drink."

He has also used the wee from a number of volunteers and he puts their names and ages on the labels of his Gilpin Family Whisky, however, he insists he has no plans to sell his odd liquor.

via Wee whisky | Showbiz | STV Entertainment.

James Gilpin is a designer and researcher who works on the implementation of new biomedical technologies. He's also got type 1 diabetes, where his body doesn't produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.

So he's started a project called Gilpin Family Whisky, which turns the sugar-rich urine of elderly diabetics into a high-end single malt whisky, suitable for export.

The source material is acquired from elderly volunteers, including Gilpin's own grandmother, Patricia. The urine is purified in the same way as mains water is purified, with the sugar molecules removed and added to the mash stock to accelerate the whisky's fermentation process. Traditionally, that sugar would be made from the starches in the mash.

Once fermented into a clear alcohol spirit, whisky blends are added to give colour, taste and viscosity, and the product is bottled with the name and age of the contributor.

The original idea came from an (unverified) story he heard about a pharmaceutical company that supposedly set up a factory next to an old people's home and would swap cushions and soft toys for the residents' urine. They'd then process the urine to remove the chemicals that had passed straight through the dilapidated endochrine systems of the patients, which could then be put straight back into new medicine.

via wired

Son, when I decided to have children, I didn't think I'd ever have to say something like this, but apparently I do:

Listen, nothing good can come from drinking your sick grandmother's urine, m'kay?

.... So, just put the idea back where you got it and, you know what? Let's use that creativity of yours in some other ways.

I'm glad we had this talk.

Cows given waterbeds to improve milk

Cows at Brue Valley Farms, in Glastonbury, Somerset, are also treated to classical music in the milking shed.

The cattle can spend up to 18 hours a day lounging on their specially-designed rubber beds, which are cleaned and filled with 50 litres of fresh water every day.

Bosses at the farm, which has been producing Farmhouse Cheddar for half a century, say their unusual methods have helped to produce a better quality product.

Robert Clapp, Director of Herds, said: "In order to make the best possible cheese you need to be completely 'cow centric.'

"It's not about what is best for the farmer, but about what is best for the cow.

"Our herds enjoy top quality treatment and in return they create delicious, creamy milk that goes into producing the best quality Farmhouse Cheddar."

The 35-year-old added: "We treat our cows as individuals and care for every aspect of their lives including socialising and comfort as well as obvious needs such as food and health care."

via Cows given waterbeds to improve milk - Telegraph.

Doctors remove world's largest malignant tumour from woman

A member of the surgery team at the Gandulfo hospital holding the massive tumour. Tissue samples revealed it was malignant (cancerous)Medics say they believe the malignant tumour is the biggest ever removed in the world. Malignant tumours of this type usually weigh between 4lbs and 7lbs.

Lead surgeon Dr Oscar Lopez said: 'I've never seen anything like it in my 34 years of medical service.

'In medical literature a giant tumour is one that weighs more than 8.8lbs. But we've not found any references to a larger tumour.

'Its weight is comparable to that of a four-year-old boy's. In layman's terms, it was as if this woman had been pregnant with quintuplets.

'I haven't been able to establish its length but it's diameter is similar to the oil cans they sell in petrol stations.'

The woman, who comes from the town of Lomas de Zamora on the outskirts of Buenos Aires where the surgery took place, had suffered constant abdominal growth for the past year and a half.

She had trouble performing everyday tasks like walking and bending down to tie up her shoe laces.

She was referred to Gandulfo Hospital, where surgeons operated on her, from another medical centre.

A team of specialists performed a laparotomy on the woman. This meant they cut through her abdominal wall before separating her intestines and bladder and removing her uterus, ovaries and the tumour.

The woman is now back at home after being kept in hospital for five days following the operation. ...

via Doctors remove world's largest malignant tumour from woman - weighing FOUR STONE | Mail Online.

The tumor, a Critilian from Alpha Centauri 253 named Groxfamator, was given a temporary visa and will be meeting with world leaders next Monday to discuss opportunities for mutual exploitation of earth resources.

Genetically engineered frog-insect nose can control robots

Genetically engineered frog-insect nose can control robotsIn what seems like a Cthulian moment of experimentation, scientists have fashioned a biotech "nose" by genetically engineering frog cells to behave like insect nose cells. And then they turned the hybrid cells into a control device for a robot.

Why would they do this? The idea is to create a biosensor that responds to specific chemicals in the environment. It could, for example, be used as a warning system that sniffs out toxins that human noses can't smell. The results of their experiment, published over the weekend in the Proceedings of the Academy of Science, suggest that the nose works:

According to the authors, in tests the "bio-hybrid" sensor was able to differentiate between nearly identical chemicals, such as compounds that have similar chemical formulas but slightly different molecular structures.

But here's where things get even more interesting:

To test the device's potential in a portable system, the researchers amplified the sensor's output and used it to actuate a robot that was equipped with an electric motor. The authors suggest that the sensor may enhance the portability of current odor detection systems, and could be incorporated into a variety of applications, such as environmental monitoring and food administration.

What that means is that when the "nose" smells something specific, it will cause the robot to react in a pre-programmed way. For example, if it smelled something rotting in a commercial kitchen, the frog-insect nose could direct the robot to locate the source of the smell and then say, "Something is rotten right here! Clean it up now, human slaves." ...

via Genetically engineered frog-insect nose can control robots.

Scheme to 'pull electricity from the air' sparks debate

Lightning and wind turbingTiny charges gathered directly from humid air could be harnessed to generate electricity, researchers say.

Dr Fernando Galembeck told the American Chemical Society meeting in Boston that the technique exploited a little-known atmospheric effect.

Tests had shown that metals could be used to gather the charges, he said, opening up a potential energy source in humid climates.

However, experts disagree about the mechanism and the scale of the effect.

"The basic idea is that when you have any solid or liquid in a humid environment, you have absorption of water at the surface," Dr Galembeck, from the University of Campinas in Brazil, told BBC News.

"The work I'm presenting here shows that metals placed under a wet environment actually become charged."

Dr Galembeck and his colleagues isolated various metals and pairs of metals separated by a non-conducting separator - a capacitor, in effect - and allowed nitrogen gas with varying amounts of water vapour to pass over them.

What the team found was that charge built up on the metals - in varying amounts, and either positive or negative. Such charge could be connected to a circuit periodically to create useful electricity.

The effect is incredibly small - gathering an amount of charge 100 million times smaller over a given area than a solar cell produces - but seems to represent a means of charge accumulation that has been overlooked until now.

Dr Galembeck suggests that with further development, the principle could be extended to become a renewable energy resource in humid parts of the world, such as the tropics.

However, while the prospect of free electricity from the air is tantalising, the prospect of harnessing enough of it to be widely useful is still a matter of some debate.

Hywel Morgan of the University of Southampton says that a similar effect has been known for some time; he points out that tribocharging - the generation of charge by rubbing wool over amber or water droplets over water droplets - is the origin of thunderstorms.

Start Quote

There have been many attempts to harness electricity from the atmosphere and most had bad endings”

End Quote Francesco Galembeck University of Campinas

"What we think is happening is he's pumping the water vapour across his capacitor and during the pumping mechanism, tribocharging the water vapour."

That would result in a charge, but would not be the same as simply pulling the charge from still, wet air.

Marin Soljacic, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist behind a wireless power transmission technology, known as Witricity, disagrees.

He calls the paper "very interesting" and "a good area of research".

He concurs, however, that the amount of charge gathered in the initial tests suggests the effect may be difficult to put to good use, saying that "at this point it is far-fetched to see how it could be used for everyday applications".

"It really warrants future research and understanding what all the limitations of this are, how far it can go," he told BBC News. ...

via BBC News - Scheme to 'pull electricity from the air' sparks debate.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scientists develop 'dry water'

Scientists develop 'dry water' ...The substance resembles powdered sugar and is expected to make a big commercial splash.

Each particle of dry water contains a water droplet surrounded by a sandy silica coating. In fact, 95% of dry water is "wet" water.

One of its key properties is a powerful ability to absorb gases.

Scientists believe dry water could be used to combat global warming by soaking up and trapping the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Tests show that it is more than three times better at absorbing carbon dioxide as ordinary water. Dry water may also prove useful for storing methane and expanding the energy source potential of the natural gas.

Dr Ben Carter, from the University of Liverpool, presented his research on dry water at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston. He said: "There's nothing else quite like it. Hopefully, we may see dry water making waves in the future."

Another application demonstrated by Dr Carter's team was using dry water as a catalyst to speed up reactions between hydrogen and maleic acid. This produces succinic acid, a key raw material widely used to make drugs, food ingredients, and consumer products.

Usually hydrogen and maleic acid have to be stirred together to make succinic acid. But this is not necessary when using dry water particles containing maleic acid, making the process greener and more energy efficient.

"If you can remove the need to stir your reactions, then potentially you're making considerable energy savings," said Dr Carter.

The technology could be adapted to create "dry" powder emulsions, mixtures of two or more unblendable liquids such as oil and water, the researchers believe. Dry emulsions could make it safer and easier to store and transport potentially harmful liquids.

via Scientists develop 'dry water' - Yahoo! News UK.

China's 'Hippo Man' to Receive Free Treatment for Nose Tumor

Man with deformed nose to receive free surgery in ChinaMan with deformed nose to receive free surgery in ChinaDoctors have agreed to treat China's "Hippo Man" for free, potentially curing a cancerous tumor that has deformed his face and put his life at risk.

Last year, Fei Jianjun, 41, first noticed a small red bump on the tip of his nose.

"I didn't pay much attention as it's only a small bump," he told Rex USA.

But the bump grew rapidly and now covers almost half his face.Fei is unable to breathe through his nose, and the swelling has pushed his eyes to the sides of his head.

Some residents of the village of Maxiang in China's Jilin province mock Fei when he goes outside, and others are reportedly fearful he will spread his affliction to them.

"I try my best not to go out, as my family is too poor to compensate others if I scare them and make them sick," Fei told the press.

Fei and his family are unable to afford medical treatment for the tumor and have been taking on odd jobs to cover the cost of pain relievers.

via China's 'Hippo Man' to Receive Free Treatment for Nose Tumor.

Hitler 'had Jewish and African roots', DNA tests show

Adolf Hitler may have had Jewish and African roots, DNA tests have shownAdolf Hitler is likely to have had Jewish and African roots, DNA tests have shown.

Saliva samples taken from 39 relatives of the Nazi leader show he may have had biological links to the “subhuman” races that he tried to exterminate during the Holocaust.

Jean-Paul Mulders, a Belgian journalist, and Marc Vermeeren, a historian, tracked down the Fuhrer’s relatives, including an Austrian farmer who was his cousin, earlier this year.

A chromosome called Haplogroup E1b1b1 which showed up in their samples is rare in Western Europe and is most commonly found in the Berbers of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, as well as among Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.

"One can from this postulate that Hitler was related to people whom he despised," Mr Mulders wrote in the Belgian magazine, Knack.

Haplogroup E1b1b1, which accounts for approximately 18 to 20 per cent of Ashkenazi and 8.6 per cent to 30 per cent of Sephardic Y-chromosomes, appears to be one of the major founding lineages of the Jewish population.

Knack, which published the findings, says the DNA was tested under stringent laboratory conditions.

"This is a surprising result," said Ronny Decorte, a genetic specialist at the Catholic University of Leuven.

"The affair is fascinating if one compares it with the conception of the world of the Nazis, in which race and blood was central.

“Hitler's concern over his descent was not unjustified. He was apparently not "pure" or ‘Ayran’.”

It is not the first time that historians have suggested Hitler had Jewish ancestry.

His father, Alois, is thought to have been the illegitimate offspring of a maid called Maria Schickelgruber and a 19-year-old Jewish man called Frankenberger.

via Hitler 'had Jewish and African roots', DNA tests show - Telegraph.