Thursday, September 30, 2010

Women's study finds longevity means getting just enough sleep

Scott Lafee - University of California -- San Diego

A new study, derived from novel sleep research conducted by University of California, San Diego researchers 14 years earlier, suggests that the secret to a long life may come with just enough sleep. Less than five hours a night is probably not enough; eight hours is probably too much.

A team of scientists, headed by Daniel F. Kripke, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry at UC San Diego School of Medicine, revisited original research conducted between 1995 and 1999. In that earlier study, part of the Women's Health Initiative, Kripke and colleagues had monitored 459 women living in San Diego (ranging in age from 50 to 81) to determine if sleep duration could be associated with mortality.

Fourteen years later, they returned to see who was still alive and well. ...

"The surprise was that when sleep was measured objectively, the best survival was observed among women who slept 5 to 6.5 hours," Kripke said. "Women who slept less than five hours a night or more than 6.5 hours were less likely to be alive at the 14-year follow-up."

The findings are published online in the journal Sleep Medicine.

Kripke said the study should allay some people's fears that they're not getting enough sleep. "This means that women who sleep as little as five to six-and-a-half hours have nothing to worry about since that amount of sleep is evidently consistent with excellent survival. That is actually about the average measured sleep duration for San Diego women."

Researchers uncovered other interesting findings as well.  ... among older women, obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in breathing during sleep) did not predict increased mortality risk.

via Women's study finds longevity means getting just enough sleep.

6.5 is probably my average. How many years to we have to wait to find out how long men should be sleeping?

Faith in God associated with improved survival after liver transplantation

Dawn Peters - Wiley-Blackwell

Italian researchers report that liver transplant candidates who have a strong religious connection have better post-transplant survival. This study also finds that religiosity—regardless of cause of death—prolongs the life span of individuals who underwent liver transplantation. Full findings are now available online and in the October issue of Liver Transplantation. a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

Much of the medical profession today is focused on the delivery of services, rather than whole patient care which not only takes into account physical well-being, but psychological, social, and spiritual aspects as well. Although there is a lack of interest in religion by the medical community, the authors point out that 90% of the world's population today is involved in some form of religion or spiritual pursuit. Prior studies have demonstrated that r

eligiosity allows individuals to better cope with illness, and may even influence disease progression. Furthermore, a report by McCullough et al. that included a meta-analysis of 42 studies (surveying roughly 126,000 people) found active religious involvement increased the odds of being alive at follow-up by 26%.

"Our study tested the hypothesis that religiosity—seeking God's help, having faith in God, trusting in God, trying to discern God's will even in the disease—improves survival of patients with end-stage liver disease who underwent liver transplantation," explains Franco Bonaguidi, D.Psych., and lead author of the study. ...

via Faith in God associated with improved survival after liver transplantation.

Which god is most useful for surviving a liver transplant?  I'd guess it would be Imsety. According to one site,  "Imsety was the god that guarded the liver canopic jar."  Imsety is the Egyptian god of protecting the liver. He typically did this protection for dead people, but I'm thinking he's got plenty of experience, and living livers would be even easier for him to protect.

Tea leaves identified using neural networks

( SINC - FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology )

A team of chemists from the University of Seville (US) has managed to distinguish between different kinds of tea leaves on the basis of their mineral content and by using artificial neural networks. This technique makes it possible to differentiate between the five main varieties of tea – white, green black, Oolong and red tea.

"This method makes it possible to clearly differentiate between the five types of tea – something that is often not easy to do by eye alone – by using analysis of the leaves' mineral content and then mathematically processing these data", José Marcos Jurado, co-author of the study and a researcher at the US, tells SINC.

The technique makes it possible to distinguish between the five main tea varieties (white, green, black, Oolong and red) using chemometrics, a branch of chemistry that uses mathematics to extract useful information from data obtained in the laboratory.

Firstly, the concentrations of the chemical elements in the leaves were determined using 'inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy', which showed the most abundant elements to be calcium, magnesium, potassium, aluminium, phosphorus and sulphur. ...

Once the mineral content of the leaves was established, probabilistic neural networks were used to find out which type of tea a sample belonged to. These networks are "mathematical algorithms that mimic the behaviour of the neurons in the human nervous system in order to process the information", the expert explains.

This generates a model that receives an input signal (chemical data) and produces an output one, making it possible to predict the type of tea in the sample with a probability of 97%. ...

via Tea leaves identified using neural networks.

Why not just ask a botanist? Oh, because all the varieties come from the same plant.
There are at least six varieties of tea: white, yellow, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh[5] of which the most commonly found on the market are white, green, oolong, and black. All teas are made from the same species of plant, though different varieties may be used, and the leaves are processed differently, and, in the case of fine white tea, grown differently. - wiki

Green tea is tea made solely with the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing.  - wiki

White tea () is a tea made with buds, and, in some cases, young leaves which are sun dried or dried by steaming. Like green tea, white tea is not oxidized. - wiki

Yellow tea ... usually implies a special tea processed similarly to green tea, but with a slower drying phase, where the damp tea leaves are allowed to sit and yellow.  - wiki

Oolong ... is a traditional Chinese tea (Camellia sinensis) somewhere between green and black in oxidation. It ranges from 10% to 70% oxidation. - wiki

Black tea is a variety of tea that is more oxidized than the oolong, green, and white varieties... Black tea is generally stronger in flavor and contains more caffeine than the less oxidized teas. - wiki

What is oxidation, you ask?  The wize geek has a nice answer:
Oxidation is defined as the interaction between oxygen molecules and all the different substances they may contact, from metal to living tissue. Technically, however, with the discovery of electrons, oxidation came to be more precisely defined as the loss of at least one electron when two or more substances interact. Those substances may or may not include oxygen. (Incidentally, the opposite of oxidation is reduction — the addition of at least one electron when substances come into contact with each other.) Sometimes oxidation is not such a bad thing, as in the formation of super-durable anodized aluminum. Other times, oxidation can be destructive, such as the rusting of an automobile or the spoiling of fresh fruit.

We often used the words oxidation and rust interchangeably, but not all materials which interact with oxygen molecules actually disintegrate into rust. In the case of iron, the oxygen creates a slow burning process, which results in the brittle brown substance we call rust. When oxidation occurs in copper, on the other hand, the result is a greenish coating called copper oxide. The metal itself is not weakened by oxidation, but the surface develops a patina after years of exposure to air and water. - wizegeek

Turning waste heat into power

Image: A "forest" of molecules holds the promise of turning waste heat into electricity. UA physicists discovered that because of quantum effects, electron waves traveling along the backbone of each molecule interfere with each other, leading to the buildup of a voltage between the hot and cold electrodes (the golden structures on the bottom and top).

( Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona )

"What do a car engine, a power plant, a factory and a solar panel have in common? They all generate heat – a lot of which is wasted.

University of Arizona physicists have discovered a new way of harvesting waste heat and turning it into electrical power.

Using a theoretical model of a so-called molecular thermoelectric device, the technology holds great promise for making cars, power plants, factories and solar panels more efficient, to name a few possible applications. In addition, more efficient thermoelectric materials would make ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, obsolete.

The research group led by Charles Stafford, associate professor of physics, published its findings in the September issue of the scientific journal, ACS Nano.

"Thermoelectricity makes it possible to cleanly convert heat directly into electrical energy in a device with no moving parts," said lead author Justin Bergfield, a doctoral candidate in the UA College of Optical Sciences.

"Our colleagues in the field tell us they are pretty confident that the devices we have designed on the computer can be built with the characteristics that we see in our simulations."

"We anticipate the thermoelectric voltage using our design to be about 100 times larger than what others have achieved in the lab," Stafford added.

Catching the energy lost through waste heat has been on the wish list of engineers for a long time but, so far, a concept for replacing existing devices that is both more efficient and economically competitive has been lacking.

Unlike existing heat-conversion devices such as refrigerators and steam turbines, the devices of Bergfield and Stafford require no mechanics and no ozone-depleting chemicals. Instead, a rubber-like polymer sandwiched between two metals acting as electrodes can do the trick.

Car or factory exhaust pipes could be coated with the material, less than 1 millionth of an inch thick, to harvest energy otherwise lost as heat and generate electricity. ...

via Turning waste heat into power.

If we are now in the Internet age, the next age could be the nano-age.
In its broadest definition, "nanotechnology" refers to the construction and use of structures and devices that range in size from one to 100 nanometers, a nanometer being one billionth of a meter. How small is this? A dot one nanometer in diameter would be approximately 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. A typical virus measures 100 nanometers across. Nanometer-sized features on a computer chip would be about a thousand times smaller than the micrometer-sized features on today's chips. This would mean that all the information stored in the Library of Congress could be contained in a computer the size of a sugar cube. By today's standards, that's a supercomputer that can fit in the palm of your hand.

The arrival of the nano-age will mean that humans can process matter on a molecular scale; that is, we will be able to build things atom by atom or molecule by molecule.

When construction takes place at the molecular level, there is virtually no limit to the shape and size of the objects and devices you can make. The nano-age is coming, but how soon this technology arrives will depend upon scientific research.

via Eureka Alert

Ghosts in the windows

These ghostly shapes—actually, just condensation—were watching CoServ Electric member Esther Radican as she walked into work.

via Texas Co-op Power Magazine - Texas Stories: Focus on Texas: EEEEK! - An Online Community for Members of Texas Electric Cooperatives.

'Feds Radiating Americans' With Scanners, According to Alex Jones' Prison Planet: Is It True?

Steven HofferSteven Hoffer- Are scanners being employed at roadway checkpoints to "radiate Americans" with dangerous X-rays designed to peer inside their vehicles? Yes, according to Alex Jones conspiratorial website Prison Planet, and this time, the mainstream media agrees, at least in part.

In his most recent Google Trends coup, Alex Jones encouraged users to repeatedly search the phrase "feds radiating Americans," to draw attention to Prison Planet reporter Paul Joseph Watson's new article. ... Just a few weeks prior, Forbes reported on the same phenomenon in-depth, without the overt, anti-immigrant stance and political bias. As senior reporter Andy Greenberg wrote:

American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Mass., has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter X-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles or cargo containers to snoop into their contents...

The DHS didn't respond to requests for comment on exactly which of its agencies use the ZBVs [Z Backscatter Vans]. The New York Police Department confirmed that it uses the technology but wouldn't divulge specifics.

via 'Feds Radiating Americans' With Scanners, According to Alex Jones' Prison Planet: Is It True?.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Long-Lost Footage of Apollo 11 Mission

Aldrin and Armstrong raise the American flag on the moon.Long-lost footage of Neil Armstrong descending the ladder of the Apollo 11 lunar module will be screened in public for the first time in Sydney next week, a prominent astronomer told AFP.

The footage runs for a few minutes and is considered to be some of the best footage of the historic 1969 moonwalk, but the film was lost in archives for many years and was badly damaged when found, said John Sarkissian.

It depicts the first few minutes of Armstrong's descent which was recorded in Australia as NASA was still scrambling for a signal, showing a far clearer image than was initially screened worldwide.

Telescopes in remote Australia played a key role in the Apollo 11 mission, including provision of the television signal, after Armstrong decided to attempt the moonwalk early, putting the United States just beyond the horizon.

Sarkissian -- historian and astronomer in charge of the Australian side of the recordings restoration project -- said the unseen minutes were the "best quality of Armstrong descending the ladder." ...

via Long-Lost Footage of Apollo 11 Mission Surfaces : Discovery News.

The video is here.  More at NASA.

Woman 'deceived females into sex'

Cuffed ... Samantha BrooksSamantha Brooks is alleged to have kept up the pretence with one of her alleged victims for a period lasting six years.

Ms Brooks made no plea or declaration when she appeared in private at Perth Sheriff Court to face two charges of obtaining sex by fraud.

She was remanded in custody and the case was continued until a later date.

It is alleged that on various occasions between 1 January 2004 and 31 December last year she obtained sexual relations by fraud at an address in Bridge of Earn, Perthshire.

via BBC News - Woman 'deceived females into sex'. | The Sun

One-fifth of world's plants at risk of extinction

Artemisia annua plantPlants such as artemisia sweet wormwood provide valuable drugs - in this case, for malaria

One-fifth of the world's plants - the foundation of life on Earth - are at risk of extinction, a study concludes.

Researchers have sampled almost 4,000 species, and conclude that 22% should be classified as "threatened" - the same alarming rate as for mammals.

A further 33% of species were too poorly understood to be assessed.

The analysis comes from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the Natural History Museum and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

There are an estimated 380,000 plant species in all, and many are victims of habitat loss - typically the clearing of forests for agriculture.

Species in tropical rainforests are found to be at greatest risk.

The study, known as the Sampled Red List Index for Plants, is an attempt to provide the most accurate assessment so far. ...

via BBC News - One-fifth of world's plants at risk of extinction.

Artist Makes Kevin Bacon Statue Out of Bacon

Bust of Kevin Bacon made from baconJ&D Foods, which sells all things bacon, recently commissioned artist Mike Lahue to build a life-size bust of actor Kevin Bacon entirely out of bacon. The masterpiece is being auctioned off on eBay this week for charity.

via Artist Makes Kevin Bacon Statue Out of Bacon.

Pink hippopotamus images captured in Masai Mara, Kenya

Pink to make the boys wink: The rare pink hippopotamus was spotted last week in the Masai Mara in Africa

Wading through the muddy waters this rare pink-o-pottamus stands out from the crowd.

British brothers and wildlife photographers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas captured these images of the brightly coloured hippo in the Masai Mara, Kenya, last week.

Visiting the African country on the hunt to photograph the legendary wildebeest migration the Londoners were in for a treat when rumours of a pink hippo surfaced.

via Pink hippopotamus images captured in Masai Mara, Kenya | Mail Online.

It happens. Here is another one from timtrenchsafaris:

An unusual sight on Boxing Day morning - a pink hippo

Surrey Satellite unveils high-resolution space project

NigeriaSat-2 (SSTL)A £100m project has been announced to launch three new British spacecraft to image the surface of the Earth.  The satellites, to be orbited in 2013, will be able to see details down to one metre at their best resolution. ...

There is a burgeoning worldwide business in imaging the surface of the planet for all sorts of applications, from making street plans to policing deforestation.

... As well as their high resolution cameras (1m/pixel resolution panchromatic; 4m/pixel resolution colour), they will also accommodate imagers capable of mapping ultra-wide strips (600km) of the Earth's surface, albeit at resolutions above 20m ...

via BBC News - Surrey Satellite unveils high-resolution space project.

Monkeys bid to join elite self-awareness club

Hi, gorgeous (Image: Luis Populin/University of Wisconsin-Madison)Experiments on monkeys suggest that the animals can recognise and react to their own image in a mirror. They altered their posture to look at their own genitals and other body parts they couldn't see directly.

The rhesus macaques studied in the experiments may be telling us that the current "gold standard" test for self-awareness is not sensitive enough to identify all animals that are self-aware – although the method is steeped in controversy.

Evidence for self-awareness has so far been restricted to an elite including humans, chimpanzees, orang-utans, bonobos, gorillas, elephantsMovie Camera, dolphins and, possibly, magpiesMovie Camera.

All these animals pass the so-called "mark test", in which they are put to sleep, daubed with a spot of dye on the face to alter their appearance, then woken to see if they notice and react to the mark when they see it in a mirror.

Macaques have previously failed the mark test, and the animals tested in the current study were no exception. But they revealed by accident that they do indeed recognise themselves in mirrors. ...

via Monkeys bid to join elite self-awareness club - life - 29 September 2010 - New Scientist.

Did Leonardo decipher traces of ancient life centuries before Darwin?

Da Vinci realised people were wrong about the origin of Italy's fossils (Image: Ted Spiegel/Corbis)...embedded in the rocks there appeared to be a multitude of small stone sea creatures. "The hills around Parma and Piacenza show abundant molluscs and bored corals still attached to the rocks," da Vinci wrote a few years later. "When I was working on the great horse in Milan, certain peasants brought me a huge bagful of them."

Da Vinci recorded his observations of these and other fossils in a secret notebook now known as the Codex Leicester. His findings have long been known to be ahead of their time, but a new analysis suggests that the work was even more advanced than previously thought, with da Vinci correctly deciphering not only the origin of body fossils, which are the direct remains of an animal, but also trace fossils - the tracks and burrows left behind by ancient creatures. Such ideas would only be matched by modern naturalists hundreds of years later (see timeline). ...

via Fossil secrets of the da Vinci codex - life - 29 September 2010 - New Scientist.

Try Some Virtual Brain Surgery

Click here to Start!Help Dr. Vanessa Mei cut, probe and drill her way to helping her patient cope with a movement disorder through brain surgery!

via Edheads - Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery - Virtual Brain Surgery.

Fungi generate their own mini wind to go the distance

Fungal air jets (Image: M. Roper/University of California, Berkley)A good breeze is just what a fungus needs to spread its seed, but what if the weather doesn't oblige? It turns out some species generate their own jets of air, increasing how far their spores travel more than 30-fold.

Apothecial fungi have cup-shaped fruiting bodies lined with spore-bearing cells called asci. The microscopic size of their spores means they might only travel a few millimetres if ejected individually. To overcome this limitation, the fungi synchronise spore ejections, creating a small, localised air stream.

Marcus Roper of the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues used high-speed cameras, lasers and models to film spore ejections and calculate the precise speed and motion of each spore in the crop pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and seven other apothecial fungi.

This showed how the combined effect of thousands of almost simultaneous ejections creates a small air jet, which carries the spores over much greater distances. The team found that synchronised ejections send the spores 10 centimetres away, compared to just 3 millimetres if each asci ejects alone.

via Fungi generate their own mini wind to go the distance - life - 27 September 2010 - New Scientist.

First World War officially ends

The armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on 11 November 1918The final payment of £59.5 million, writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations for another.

Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly ten million soldiers dead.

The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion, £22 billion at the time.

The bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not reneged on reparations during his reign.

Hatred of the settlement agreed at Versailles, which crippled Germany as it tried to shape itself into a democracy following armistice, was of significant importance in propelling the Nazis to power.

"On Sunday the last bill is due and the First World War finally, financially at least, terminates for Germany," said Bild, the country's biggest selling newspaper.

Most of the money goes to private individuals, pension funds and corporations holding debenture bonds as agreed under the Treaty of Versailles, where Germany was made to sign the 'war guilt' clause, accepting blame for the war.

France, which had been ravaged by the war, pushed hardest for the steepest possible fiscal punishment for Germany.

The principal representative of the British Treasury at the Paris Peace Conference, John Maynard Keynes, resigned in June 1919 in protest at the scale of the demands.

"Germany will not be able to formulate correct policy if it cannot finance itself,' he warned. When the Wall Street Crash came in 1929, the Weimar Republic spiralled into debt. Four years later, Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany.

via First World War officially ends - Telegraph.

Birthplace of the Sun?

In a preprint [pdf] posted today on the astro-ph website, astronomers outline the discovery of a star more like a twin of the Sun than any previously discovered. The star is located in the galactic star cluster M67, 3000 light years away. The similarity is so close that the scientists even speculate that the Sun itself might have formed in this same cluster, 4.5 billion years ago. Key quote from paper:

The similarity of the age and overall composition of the Sun with the corresponding data of M67, and in particular the agreement of the detailed chemical composition of the Sun with that of M67-1194, could suggest that the Sun has formed in this very cluster. According to the numerical simulations by Hurley et al. (2005) the cluster has lost more than 80% of its stars by tidal interaction with the Galaxy, in particular when passing the Galactic plane, and the Sun might be one of those. We note that the orbit of the cluster encloses, within its apocentre and pericentre, the solar orbit. However, the cluster has an orbit extending to much higher Galactic latitudes, presently it is close to its vertical apex at z = 0.41 kpc (Davenport & Sandquist 2010), while the Sun does not reach beyond z = 80 pc (Innanen, Patrick & Duley 1978). Thus, in order for this hypothesis of an M67 origin of the Sun to be valid, it must have been dispersed from the cluster into an orbit precisely in the plane of the Galactic disk, which seems improbable.

The last sentences above refer to the different orbital inclinations of the galactic orbits of both the Sun and M67. M67′s orbital inclination is far steeper. While M67 is presently about 1350 light years (410 parsecs) above the galactic plane, the Sun’s orbit never takes it more than 261 light years above the plane.

One more point of interest: M67 is a well known object to amateur astronomers, located in the constellation Cancer.

via Birthplace of the Sun? | Behind The Black.

Thomas Edison's magnetic brain experiment

Say you were curious about what happened when a human brain came into prolonged contact with a strong magnetic field. To find an answer, you might learn more about the nature of magnetism and the biology of the brain and make some hypotheses. Later, you'd run some experiments using dead tissue, or perhaps live animal models. This is because you are a good person.

If you were Thomas Edison, on the other hand, you'd find the nearest street urchin and keep him inside a giant electromagnet. It's OK, though, science writers would later say, because there turned out not to be much of an effect, and, anyway, the boy liked it.

Many years ago, Mr. Thomas Edison made the following interesting experiment in his laboratory. Wishing to see what, if any, influence is produced by the passage of strong magnetic flux through the brain, he kept a boy for a long time inside a huge electro-magnet with his head placed between the poles so that the flux passed directly through his brain. If now a magnet is capable of producing any effect whatever on the body it should certainly have done it in this case. But as far as could be seen no effect whatever was felt by the boy. When asked privately how he felt he replied confidentially, "The experiment is bully. I am all right in the magnet. I like to be here for I do not have to work while the experiment is going on and I can take a nap occasionally. But don't tell Mr. Edison. I hope he will keep me here for a long time."

Anecdote taken from The Wonder Book of Magnetism, by Edwin James Houston. Published in 1908.

via The further adventures of Thomas Edison, asshat - Boing Boing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thousands of LA residents lose power in heat wave

A boy cools down in a Los Angeles fountainMore than 11,000 Los Angeles residents remain without electricity a day after 45C (113F) temperatures caused a record surge in demand, causing power cuts.

Temperatures were above 38C on Tuesday in parts of the city, after sending thermometers soaring the day before.

The heat has been blamed in the death of Oscar-nominated film editor Sally Menke, a longtime collaborator of director Quentin Tarantino.

Officials believe Menke died from hyperthermia during a hike on Monday.

Hot nights

The temperature was so high that the National Weather Service said on Tuesday its thermometer in Los Angeles had stopped functioning for a time.

Record demand for electric power there may have contributed to an explosion in an electrical closet in an office tower, officials said.

"Because we've had such hot nights, people are still running their air conditioners," Vanessa McGrady, spokeswoman for Southern California Edison, told the Associated Press news agency.

"The equipment really doesn't get a break."

via BBC News - Thousands of LA residents lose power in heat wave.

Study: texting laws haven't cut crashes

YouTube - Study: texting laws haven't cut crashes.

Steven M. Greer MD: The Hoaxed Alien Invasion Scenario

Imagine this: It is the summer of 2001, and someone presents you with a script for a movie or book that tells how a diabolical terrorist plot unfolds wherein both 110 story World Trade Center towers and part of the Pentagon are destroyed by commercial jets hijacked and flown into those structures.

Of course you would laugh, and if you were a movie mogul or book editor, reject it out of hand as ridiculous and implausible, even for a fictional novel or movie. After all, how could a commercial jet, being tracked on radar after two jets had already hit the World Trade towers, make it through our air defenses, into the most sensitive airspace in the world, and in broad daylight on a crystal clear day, slam into the Pentagon! And this in a country that spends over $ 1 billion a day to defend itself! Absurd, illogical - nobody would swallow it!

Unfortunately, there are some of us who have seen these scripts - and of far worse things to come - and we are not laughing.

One of the few silver linings to these recent tragedies is that maybe - just maybe - people will take seriously, however far-fetched it may seem at first, the prospect that a shadowy, para-governmental and transnational entity exists that has kept UFOs secret - and is planning a deception and tragedy that will dwarf the events of 9/11.

The testimony of hundreds of government, military and corporate insiders has established this: That UFOs are real, that some are built by our secret 'black' shadowy government projects and some are from extraterrestrial civilizations, and that a group has kept this secret so that the technology behind the UFO can be withheld - until the right time. This technology can - and eventually will - replace the need for oil, gas, coal, ionizing nuclear power and other centralized and highly destructive energy systems.

This 5 trillion dollar industry - energy and transportation - is currently highly centralized, metered and lucrative. It is the stuff that runs the entire industrialized world. It is the mother of all special interests. It is not about money as you and I think of it, but about geo-political power - the very centralized power on which the current order in the world runs. The world is kept in a state or roiling wars, endless poverty for most of Earth's denizens and global environmental ruin, just to prop up this evil world order.

As immense as that game is, there is a bigger one: Control through fear. As Werner Von Braun related to Dr. Carol Rosin, his spokesperson for the last 4 years of his life, a maniacal machine - the military, industrial, intelligence, laboratory complex - would go from Cold War, to Rogue Nations, to Global Terrorism (the stage we find ourselves at today) to the ultimate trump card: A hoaxed threat from space.

To justify eventually spending trillions of dollars on space weapons, the world would be deceived about a threat from outer space, thus uniting the world in fear, in militarism and in war.

Since 1992 I have seen this script unveiled to me by at least a dozen well-placed insiders. Of course, initially I laughed, thinking this just too absurd and far-fetched. Dr. Rosin gave her testimony to the Disclosure Project before 9/11. And yet others told me explicitly that things that looked like UFOs, but that are built and under the control of deeply secretive 'black' projects, were being used to simulate - hoax - ET-appearing events, including some abductions and cattle mutilations, to sow the early seeds of cultural fear regarding life in outer space. And that at some point after global terrorism, events would unfold that would utilize the now-revealed Alien Reproduction Vehicles (ARVs, or reversed-engineered UFOs made by humans by studying actual ET craft - see the book 'Disclosure' by the same author) to hoax an attack on Earth.

Like the movie Independence Day, an attempt to unite the world through militarism would unfold using ET as the new cosmic scapegoat (think Jews during the Third Reich).

None of this is new to me or other insiders: The Report from Iron Mountain, NY, written in the 1960s, described the need to demonize life in outer space so we could have a new enemy. An enemy off-planet that could unite humans (in fear and war) and that would prove to be the ultimate prop for the trillion dollar military-industrial complex that conservative Republican President and five star general Eisenhower warned us about in 1961 (no one was listening then, either...).

So here is the post-9/11 script - one that will be played out unless enough people are informed and the plan can be foiled because they will be unable to fool a sufficient number of citizens and leaders:

After a period of terrorism - a period during which the detonation of nuclear devices will be threatened and possibly actuated, thus justifying expanding the weaponization of space - an effort will ramp up to present the public with information about a threat from outer space. Not just asteroids hitting the Earth, but other threats. An extraterrestrial threat.

Over the past 40 years, UFOlogy, as it is called, combined with a mighty media machine, has increasingly demonized ETs via fearsome movies like Independence Day, and pseudo-science that presents alien kidnappings and abuse as a fact (in some circles) of modern life. That some humans have had contact with ETs I have no doubt; that the real ET contact has been subsumed in an ocean of hoaxed accounts I am certain.

That is, real ET events are seldom reported out to the public. The Machine ensures that the hoaxed, frightening and intrinsically xenophobic accounts are the ones seen and read by millions. This mental conditioning to fear ET has been subtly reinforced for decades, in preparation for future deceptions. Deceptions that will make 9/11 look trivial.

I write this now because I have recently been contacted by several highly placed media and intelligence sources that have made it clear to me that hoaxed events and story-lines are imminent that will attempt to further ramp up the fear machine regarding UFOs and ET s. After all, to have an enemy, you must make the people hate and fear a person, a group of people, or in this case an entire category of beings.

To be clear: the maniacal covert programs controlling UFO secrecy, ARVs and related technologies - including those technologies that can simulate ET events, ET abductions and the like - plan to hijack Disclosure, spin it into the fire of fear, and roll out events that will eventually present ETs as a new enemy. Do not be deceived.

This hogwash, already the stuff of countless books, videos, movies, documentaries and the like, will attempt to glom onto the facts, evidence and first-hand insider testimony of The Disclosure Project, and on its coattails, deliver to the world the cosmic deception that falsely portrays ETs as a threat from space. Do not be deceived.

By commingling fact with fiction, and by hoaxing UFO events that can look terrifying, the Plan is to eventually create a new, sustainable, off-planet enemy. And who will be the wiser?

You will. Because now you know that after 60 years, trillions of dollars and the best scientific minds in the world pressed into action, a secretive, shadowy group - a government within the government and at once fully outside the government as we know it - has mastered the technologies, the art of deception and the capability to launch an attack on Earth, and make it look like ET s did it. In 1997, I brought a man to Washington to brief members of Congress and others about this plan. Our entire team at the time met this man. He had been present at planning sessions when ARVs - things built by Lockheed, Northrup et al, and housed in secretive locations around the world - would be used to simulate an attack on certain assets, making leaders and citizens alike believe that there was a threat from space, when there is none. (Before he could testify, his handlers spirited him away to a secret location in Virginia until the briefing was over...) Sound familiar? Werner von Braun warned of such a hoax, as a pretext for putting war in space. And many others have warned of the same.

Space based weapons are already in place - part of a secret parallel space program that has been operating since the 1960s. ARVs are built and ready to go (see the book 'Disclosure' and the chapter with the testimony of Mark McCandlish et al). Space holographic deception technologies are in place, tested and ready to fire. And the Big Media is a pawn, now taking dictation from the right hand of the king.

I know this all sounds like science fiction. Absurd. Impossible. Just like 9/11 would have sounded before 9/11. But the unthinkable happened and may happen again, unless we are vigilant.

Combine all of this with the current atmosphere of fear and manipulation and there is a real risk of suspending our collective judgment and our constitution.

But know this: If there was a threat from outer space, we would have known about it as soon as humans started exploding nuclear weapons and going into space with manned travel. That we are still breathing the free air of Earth, given the galacticly stupid and reckless actions of an out of control, illegal, secret group, is abundant testimony to the restraint and peaceful intentions of these visitors. The threat is wholly human. And it is we who must address this threat, rein it in and transform the current situation of war, destruction and secret manipulation to one of true Disclosure and an era of sustained peace.

War in space, to replace war on Earth, is not evolution, but cosmic madness. A world thus united in fear is worse than one divided by ignorance. It is now time for the great leap into the future, a leap that moves us out of fear and ignorance and into an unbroken era of universal peace. Know that this is our destiny. And it will be ours just as soon as we choose it.

Steven M. Greer MD

Director, The Disclosure Project
Albemarle County Virginia
June, 2002

The Disclosure Project

- via EducateYourself

Ancient Egypt's pyramids: Norwegian researcher unlocks construction secrets

Scientists from around the world have tried to understand how the Egyptians erected their giant pyramids. Now, an architect and researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) says he has the answer to this ancient, unsolved puzzle.

Researchers have been so preoccupied by the weight of the stones that they tend to overlook two major problems: How did the Egyptians know exactly where to put the enormously heavy building blocks? And how was the master architect able to communicate detailed, highly precise plans to a workforce of 10,000 illiterate men?

A 7-million-ton structure

These were among the questions that confronted Ole J. Bryn, an architect and associate professor in NTNU's Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art when he began examining Khufu's Great Pyramid in Giza. Khufu's pyramid, better known as the Pyramid of Cheops, consists of 2.3 million limestone blocks weighing roughly 7 million tons. At 146.6 meters high, it held the record as the tallest structure ever built for nearly 4000 years.

What Bryn discovered was quite simple. He believes that the Egyptians invented the modern building grid, by separating the structure's measuring system from the physical building itself, thus introducing tolerance, as it is called in today's engineering and architectural professions.

The apex point a key

Bryn has studied the plans from the thirty oldest Egyptian pyramids, and discovered a precision system that made it possible for the Egyptians to reach the pyramid's last and highest point, the apex point, with an impressive degree of accuracy. By exploring and making a plan of the pyramid it is possible to prepare modern project documentation of not just one, but all pyramids from any given period.

As long as the architect knows the main dimensions of a pyramid, he can project the building as he would have done it with a modern building, but with building methods and measurements known from the ancient Egypt, Bryn says.

In a scientific article published May 2010 in the Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, Bryn discusses aspects that can explain the construction of a multitude of the Egyptian pyramids by taking the building grid, and not the physical building itself, as the starting point for the analysis.

A new map

If the principles behind Bryn's drawings are correct, then archaeologists will have a new "map" that demonstrates that the pyramids are not a "bunch of heavy rocks with unknown structures" but, rather, incredibly precise structures.

Ole J. Bryn's findings will be presented and explained at the exhibition The Apex Point in Trondheim from September 13th to October 1st. The exhibition is an official part of the program to celebrate the centenary (1910-2010) of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

via Ancient Egypt's pyramids: Norwegian researcher unlocks construction secrets.

Alien Fossils: Bacteria Hitchhiking Rides to Earth on Meteorites

microfossils in OrgueilThe fact that some earthly bacteria can survive in ice (as well as extreme heat and radiation) increases the odds that life on Earth may have been seeded by space bacteria.

Richard B. Hoover of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, began looking for the remains of bacteria in meteorites over a decade ago.

In August 2010 he presented, at the Astrobiology XIII Conference at the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) International Symposium,  new images showing large cyanobacteria looking complex filaments.

These filaments allow bacteria to move and reproduce.  Note, however that such images are not shocking new information.   In fact, shows images dated July 2004. (thumbnail right)

The organic looking filaments are present in both the Orgueil and Murchison meteorites.  ( Orgueil fell on May 14, 1864, near Orgueil, in southern France. Murchison fell on September 28, 1969 near Murchison, Victoria in Austrialia. )

In addition, the shapes which resemble microbes were in the process of forming mats, something today's bacteria also do.

Are these real fossils, or contaminants from earthly bacteria?

The strongest evidence, according to Hoover, that these are space creatures, is that the filaments from the two meteors do not contain detectable levels of nitrogen, which is always found and is required by modern cyanobacteria and other extremophile microbes on earth.
"Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) studies carried out during the past several years on freshly fractured interior surfaces of the Orgueil CI meteorite has revealed in-situ the existence of the well-preserved mineralized remains of a complex suite of trichomic prokaryotes. Many of the forms found embedded in the mineral matrix are morphotypes of cyanobacteria and sulphur bacteria. EDAX and 2-D X-ray analysis indicate the chemical composition of these remains are dramatically different from living cyanobacteria, although they bear elemental biosignatures that overlay that of the meteorite matrix." - spie

The word trichomic above refers to threadlike structures.  Prokaryotes are a group of organisms that lack a cell nucleus.

Looking at the images, it is difficult to imagine what natural process could create these tiny filaments of rock that seem to twist as if they were once alive.

The theory of panspermia says life was seeded on earth from the stars.  Life is perhaps very difficult to start, but once it does, it spreads easily.  Bacteria can grow and survive on one planet, then when that planet is destroyed, perhaps in a collision, some bacteria will survive inside the resulting icy comets. Radiation, water, and nutrients inside some space rocks would allow bacteria to live and reproduce for exceedingly long periods of time... until they crashed on another world. Then they would evolve using the local nutrients and adapt to the local environment, and the cycle would then repeat.

See my Panspermia article for more on this topic.

{9/30. Author's note: For the time being, this article is closed for comments. Please feel free to email me if you are so inclined. }

Segway boss Jimi Heselden dies in scooter cliff fall

Segway scooterTJimi Heselden he millionaire owner of the Segway company has died after falling from cliffs while riding one of his firm's motorised scooters.

Jimi Heselden, 62, crashed into the River Wharfe while riding the vehicle round his estate in Thorp Arch, Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, on Sunday.

He was pronounced dead at the scene. The scooter was found in the water.

Mr Heselden, who founded Leeds-based company Hesco Bastion, acquired the Segway operation in December 2009.

The devices are electric, two-wheeled, self-balancing machines. They were invented by Dean Kamen and unveiled in 2001.

A family spokesman said Mr Heselden was a "much-loved father and husband".

A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police said: "Police were called at 1140 yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above."

'Tragic accident'

Mr Heselden grew up in the Halton Moor area of Leeds, leaving school at 15 and working down local pits.

He worked as a miner until losing his job in a wave of redundancies in the 1980s.

His engineering business, which produces military and flood protection equipment, went from strength-to-strength and he had a fortune reported to be £166m, making him one of the top 400 richest people in the UK.

The tycoon was well known for his donations to charity, giving more than £20m to good causes.

In 2009 Mr Heselden, who leaves a wife and children, led a British team which bought the United States-based Segway firm.

A family spokesman said: "Our family has been left devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of a much-loved father and husband."

A spokesman for Hesco Bastion said: "It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that Jimi Heselden OBE has died in a tragic accident near his home in West Yorkshire."

The spokesman added: "Jimi is perhaps best known for his charity work with Help for Heroes and the Leeds Community Foundation.

'Selfless and generous'

"A £10m gift to the foundation earlier this month saw his lifetime charitable donations top £23m.

"Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends."

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, said: "Jimi was an amazing man who, apart from being a wonderful success story for Leeds due to his business acumen, was also remarkably selfless and generous, giving millions to local charities to help people in his home city."

He added that Mr Heselden would be remembered for his "quiet manner, good nature and tremendous pride in being from Leeds".

via BBC News - Segway boss Jimi Heselden dies in scooter cliff fall.

Could magnet on head turn you from right to left-handed?

MagnetPlacing a magnet on your head can temporarily turn you from a right-hander to a left-handed person, a new study suggests.

In an extraordinary experiment researchers used a powerful magnetic field to temporarily confuse the brains of volunteers and change their hand preferences.

The effects lasted only while the magnet was switched on and appears to have caused no lasting changes.

But the experiment sheds light on the origins of hand choice in the brain and highlights once again how easy it is to alter people's behaviour with magnets.

Earlier this year, a similar study showed that magnetic therapy can alter people's moral judgements - and make them behave more thoughtlessly.

The new study looked at how the brain decides which hand to use for a simple task, such as picking up a pencil or pressing the button on a lift.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, asked right-handed volunteers to reach with either hand towards an object on a table.

They then disrupted the volunteer's brain using a powerful hand-held magnet used in a type of therapy called transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The magnet generates a magnetic field on a small part of the skull which creates weak electric currents in the brain. The currents interfere with nearby brain cells and prevent them from firing normally.

The magnet was placed next to the left and right 'posterior parietal cortex' - a region that deals with planning and working out the relationship between three dimensional objects.

When the magnet was placed on the left side of the brain region, the volunteers used their left hand more frequently than when the magnet was switched off.

Applying the magnet to the right side of the region made no difference, the scientists report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr Flavio Oliveira, who led the study, said: 'We are not really looking at handedness, but at hand choice. We found that in situations where people are almost equally likely to use their left or right hand we can make them use their left hand more by stimulating this part of the brain.

'Before you reach out to press an elevator button or grab a coffee cup your brain is making a decision about which hand to use. We are handicapping one of the hands so that the other one wins.'

Earlier this year, scientists discovered a real-life 'moral compass' in the brain that controls how we judge other people's behaviour.

The region, which lies just behind the right ear, becomes more active when we think about other people's misdemeanours or good works.

In an experiment, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were able to use powerful magnets to disrupt this area of the brain and make people temporarily less moral.

The study highlighted how our sense of right and wrong isn't just based on upbringing, religion or philosophy - but by the biology of our brains.

via Could magnet on head turn you from right to left-handed? | Mail Online.

Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

If you want to know about God, you might want to talk to an atheist.

Heresy? Perhaps. But a survey that measured Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. In fact, the gaps in knowledge among some of the faithful may give new meaning to the term "blind faith."

A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Four in 10 Catholics misunderstood the meaning of their church's central ritual, incorrectly saying that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are intended to merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ, not actually become them.

Atheists and agnostics -- those who believe there is no God or who aren't sure -- were more likely to answer the survey's questions correctly. Jews and Mormons ranked just below them in the survey's measurement of religious knowledge -- so close as to be statistically tied.

So why would an atheist know more about religion than a Christian?

American atheists and agnostics tend to be people who grew up in a religious tradition and consciously gave it up, often after a great deal of reflection and study, said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum.

"These are people who thought a lot about religion," he said. "They're not indifferent. They care about it."

Atheists and agnostics also tend to be relatively well educated, and the survey found, not surprisingly, that the most knowledgeable people were also the best educated. However, it said that atheists and agnostics also outperformed believers who had a similar level of education.

The groups at the top of the U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey were followed, in order, by white evangelical Protestants, white Catholics, white mainline Protestants, people who were unaffiliated with any faith (but not atheist or agnostic), black Protestants and Latino Catholics.

Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were included in the survey, but their numbers were too small to be broken out as statistically significant groups.

via Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says -

Noise and chemicals: Workers are losing their hearing

A study carried out by Spanish researchers has shown that the presence of chemical contaminants can interact with noise and modify, for good or for bad, the way in which work-related "deafness" – which is increasingly common among young people – manifests itself. Noise-related hearing loss is the most common occupational disease in Europe."Workers exposed to noise in the presence of metalworking fluids exhibit a delay in hearing alteration in comparison with those exposed only to noise at the same intensity. However, those exposed to noise in the presence of welding fumes experience increased hearing alteration", Juan Carlos Conte, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Zaragoza, tells SINC.

In the study, published in Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra, the team analysed the way in which various physical and chemical contaminants interact, and the impact this had on hearing alteration in 558 metal workers

"A problem we detected with respect to welding fumes in the presence of noise was that the protection used is effective for reducing the intensity of noise, but not for reducing the effects of the chemical contaminant", Conte explains.

Cellulose masks or others made of similar compounds have little effect in this case, since their capacity to filter particles (such as charcoal) has no effect on toxic gas molecules (such as carbon monoxide).

However, in noisy atmospheres with metalworking fluids, people have the advantage of being able to use masks as respiratory protection, although the ear protection must be used in the same way to ensure that a person is comprehensively protected from noise.

The researchers point to other factors in work-related hearing loss. For example, tobacco contributes to the acquisition of initial acoustic trauma, while exposure to noise outside the work environment also impacts on advanced acoustic injury. ...

via Noise and chemicals: Workers are losing their hearing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Man removes knife from head after 3 years

   Edeilson Manoel do Nascimento holds an X-ray showing a knife that was inside his head at the Hospital das Clinicas in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010. Nascimento is recovering nicely after a team of surgeons removed the 4-inch knife that had remained stuck in his head for three years after a bar fight.  A 29-year-old tire repairman from northeastern Brazil is recovering after doctors removed a 10-centimetre blade that has been stuck in the front of his head for three years after a bar fight.

Edeilson Nascimento told the local Terra news agency that doctors previously told him not to take the knife out because it could cause further damage including lesions in the brain stem which could result in death. "In three years I felt bad headaches every day of my life from the time I woke up until bedtime," he told Terra news. "So I stopped working."

A team of seven people, including three neurosurgeons, from the hospital at the Federal University of Pernambuco removed the knife without causing further harm over the course o

via Man removes knife from head after 3 years | Weird | News | Toronto Sun.

Australia faces worst plague of locusts in 75 years

It's a bug's life: an Australian plague locust Australia's Darling river is running with water again after a drought in the middle of the decade reduced it to a trickle. But the rains feeding the continent's fourth-longest river are not the undiluted good news you might expect. For the cloudbursts also create ideal conditions for an unwelcome pest – the Australian plague locust.

The warm, wet weather that prevailed last summer meant that three generations of locusts were born, each one up to 150 times larger than the previous generation. After over-wintering beneath the ground, the first generation of 2010 is already hatching. And following the wettest August in seven years, the climate is again perfect. The juveniles will spend 20 to 25 days eating and growing, shedding their exoskeletons five times before emerging as adults, when population pressure will force them to swarm.

It is impossible to say how many billions of bugs will take wing, but many experts fear this year's infestation could be the worst since records began – 75 years ago. All that one locust expert, Greg Sword, an associate professor at the University of Sydney, would say was: "South Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are all going to get hammered."

via Australia faces worst plague of locusts in 75 years - Nature, Environment - The Independent.

Aliens 'hit our nukes': They even landed at a Suffolk base, claim airmen

Robert HastingsIt may sound like a Spielberg movie plot, but if senior U.S. airmen are to be believed, this scenario is not science fiction.

They claim that since 1948, aliens have been hovering over UK and U.S. nuclear missile sites and deactivating the weapons– once even landing in a British base.

Furthermore, they warn, our governments are hushing the activity up.

Captain Robert Salas, who, along with six others is to break his silence on the subject, said: ‘We’re talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that.

‘They’re often known as UFOs, you could call them that.

‘The U.S. Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it,’ he said.

The former officer said he witnessed such an event first-hand on March 16, 1967, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

‘I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site.

‘The missiles shut down – ten Minuteman [nuclear] missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later. There’s a strong interest in our missiles by these objects, wherever they come from. I personally think they’re not from planet Earth.’

Colonel Charles Halt claims to have seen a UFO at RAF Bentwaters, near Ipswich, one of the few bases in the UK to hold nuclear weapons.

The sighting is said to have taken place 30 years ago. First he saw the object firing beams of light into the base then heard on the military radio that aliens had landed inside the nuclear storage area, he said.

‘I believe that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted – both then and now – to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practised methods of disinformation.’

The six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man, are to present declassified information which they claim backs up their findings. They have witness testimony from 120 former or retired military personnel which points to alien intervention at nuclear sites in the U.S. as recently as 2003.

They will urge the authorities to confirm that alien beings have long been visiting Earth.

A press conference today in Washington will also highlight testimony from retired U.S. Air Force Captain Bruce Fenstermacher, whose security team saw a cigar-shaped UFO hovering above FE Warren nuclear base in Wyoming in 1976.

Researcher Robert Hastings, who has written on the subject, explained that so far the aliens appeared interested in ‘mere surveillance’ but warned they seemed to have gone further in some instances.

‘At long last, all of these witnesses are coming forward to say that, as unbelievable as it may seem to some, UFOs have long monitored and sometimes tampered with our nukes,’ he added.

via Aliens 'hit our nukes': They even landed at a Suffolk base, claim airmen | Mail Online.

The future of air travel is ... well, weird you imagine a plane that at a touch of a button becomes entirely transparent so passengers can have unobstructed views through the fuselage and the cabin floor at the city that lies about 40,000 feet below their feet?

Well, the engineers at European aircraft maker Airbus can.

The company released “The Future, by Airbus” a few months back, and even though it’s only about 14 pages long, there are some wild ideas about the future of air travel.

By 2050, engineers envision self-cleaning headrests that can never be soiled, pliable seats that will modify around a passenger’s body, and holographic projections that will make a private cabin into a Japanese Zen garden.

“So imagine, if you will, stepping in to your pre-selected themed cabin, relaxing into a perfectly clean, ecologically grown seat that changes shape to suit you and looking up through the transparent ceiling at the Milky Way in all its glory,” at an altitude of more than 32,000 feet, the company writes.

Airbus says materials of the future will have functionality that provides transparency on command, negating the need for windows. So we’re guessing that the pilot will be able to put the plane in invisible mode.

But whether or not people are going to want to see through a plane as it travels 600 miles per hour is still up in the air.

via The future of air travel is ... well, weird | Technology | Los Angeles Times.

Fish with 'human teeth' bit angler

Mystery catch /WennAn angler had a shock in the US - when a mystery fish bit him back with distinctly human-looking teeth.

Frank Yarborough was fishing in Lake Wylie, South Carolina, when he hooked the fish which was 5lb and nearly 1ft 8ins long.

Assuming it was a catfish, he scooped his hand in the water to pull it out, only to find his fingers clamped between what appeared to be a set of dentures.

Robert Stroud, a freshwater fisheries biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, has confirmed that samples from the fish have been sent off to determine the fish's species.

Stroud told WBTV: "This fish is more than likely a common species of Pacu, Colossama macropomum, originating from the Amazon River basin of South America and is quite common in the aquarium trade."

Pacus, a distant relative of the piranha, is a warm water fish, and not native to Lake Wylie. Biologists believe it was probably raised in an exotic fish tank and released when it got too large for the tank.

The fish is currently in a freezer in Mr Yarborough's Clover home, but unsurprisingly he has no plans to cook his catch.

via Fish with 'human teeth' bit angler | Orange UK.

No Joke: Comedian Bob Marley Breaks Record for World's Longest Stand-Up Routine

Comedian Bob Marley spent exactly 40 hours onstage at a comedy club in Portland, Maine.One of the basic rules of comedy is that shorter is better than long. However, comedian Bob Marley is throwing that notion on its head.

On Thursday night at 11:02 p.m. EST, Marley set a new world record for the longest continuous stand-up routine.

The comedian, who has been performing all over the United States for the past two decades, started his laughable world record attempt at a comedy club in Portland, Maine, early Wednesday morning and didn't stop until late Thursday -- exactly 40 hours later.

Basically, Marley did a 40-hour work week in a day and a half, breaking the previous record of 38 hours and 16 minutes, set by Australian comedian Lindsay Webb in October.According to Oliver Keithly, who owns the Maine Comedy Connection where Marley performed and serves as the comic's tour manager, the idea for the attempt has been 18 months in the making.

"Bob was with some other comics having steaks and beers doing what comedians usually do when they get together: talk about comedy," Keithly told AOL News. "They started talking about the longest stand-up routine and, after Googling it, discovered it was 36 hours and 15 minutes, set by Irish comic Tommy Tiernan.

"Since then, Lindsay Webb set a new record, and Bob decided he wanted to do 40 hours."

Finding the date to do this was a difficult task.

"Basically, it took so long to set up because this was the only weekend Bob had free," Keithly said. "A friend of his is getting married on Saturday, so he'd knew he'd be in town."

Besides finding the time, the other big challenge was finding the material.

"Bob has 19 CDs of material out -- and only one is a greatest hits package," he said. "He had to go back and listen to material he did 15 to 18 years ago. It took him two weeks, and when he showed up at the club, the set list was like an NFL playbook."

He did his homework well. Marley was able to go 17 hours and 14 minutes before he repeated himself.

In order for the record to count, there has to be at least 10 paying customers watching him at all times. Keithly says that wasn't a problem.

"We're doing this event for the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center, so there were a lot of people supporting the charity," Keithly said. "Plus, Bob donates a lot of his time to charities, so there were a lot of people there just to support him. The club holds about 140 people and at 4 a.m., we still had 100 people in the club -- this from an area with around 80,000 people." ...

via No Joke: Comedian Bob Marley Breaks Record for World's Longest Stand-Up Routine.

Superaccurate Clocks Confirm Time is Slower for Your Feet

sn-relativity.jpgOut of sync. Because of the effects of gravity, a clock high on a wall should run ever so slightly faster than a watch just below it.

According to Einstein's theory of relativity, a clock on the floor ought to run very slightly slower than an identical one on top of a step stool because the lower clock nestles deeper into Earth's gravitational field. Now, physicists have demonstrated this effect using two super-accurate clocks and hoisting one several centimeters above the other. It's the first time scientists have used clocks to show that time flies faster for your nose than for your navel.

"The demonstration of the gravitational shift by elevating a clock about one foot is quite stunning," says Daniel Kleppner, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who was not involved in the work. He adds, however, that the demonstration "does not change anyone's view on relativity."

Einstein realized that time passes at different rates depending on the circumstances. For example, suppose you stand on a train platform with a Rolex on your wrist while a friend wearing an identical watch zooms by in a train. Your friend's watch runs slower than yours simply because he is moving relative to you, Einstein predicted in his theory of special relativity. And according to his theory of general relativity, gravity comes about because massive things like Earth stretch the fabric of space and time. As a result, a clock at lower altitude and, hence, lower gravitational energy, should run slower than one at higher altitude—by about 3 microseconds per year per kilometer of elevation.

Such seemingly nonsensical predictions have long since been confirmed by comparing ultra-accurate atomic clocks on the ground with those in high-flying jets. And the satellite-based global position system takes them into account. Now Chin-wen Chou, Till Rosenband, and colleagues at the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado, have detected changes in the passage of time caused by speeds of less than 10 meters per second and height changes of less than a meter, using a new type of atomic clock called an optical clock.

An atomic clock exploits the fact that the electrons in at atom occupy "states" with distinct energies and can hop between two states by emitting or absorbing electromagnetic waves of a set frequency. Researchers shine such waves on the atoms, and a feedback loop keeps their frequency tuned so that the atoms continually jump back and fourth between the two states. The oscillating waves then mark time just as a pendulum does, only very much faster and more evenly. The atomic clocks that now set the international time standard use microwaves with a frequency of 9.2 billion cycles per second to make cesium atoms flip between two states of nearly the same energy.

In contrast, the NIST researchers' clock uses laser light with a frequency of 1,120,000 billion cycles per second to drive a higher-energy jump called an optical transition in a single aluminum ion held in an elaborate trap. The cesium standard is accurate to three parts in 10 million billion; the new aluminum clock has an accuracy nearly 40 times better. That extra accuracy makes it possible to demonstrate the effect of relativity on a more human scale. The researchers built two aluminum clocks, and to test the velocity effect they set the ion in one jiggling back and forth in its trap with a speed as low as 4 meters per second. They were able to resolve the 2-parts-in-10-million-billion slowing that motion caused in the clock with the moving ion. To test the gravity effect, the physicists started with one clock 17 centimeters below the other and then raised the first clock by 33 centimeters. This time they detected a 4-parts-in-100-million-billion shift in the frequency of the raised clock, as predicted by the theory of general relativity, the researchers report in the 24 September issue of Science.

"What amazes me is the advancement of the optical clocks—10 or 20 years ago they were only a dream," say Nan Yu, a quantum physicist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Only recent advances in laser techniques have made that dream a reality, says Yu, who expects that within a few years some type of optical clock may replace the cesium microwave standard. ...

via Superaccurate Clocks Confirm Your Hair Is Aging Faster Than Your Toenails - ScienceNOW.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gordon Bennett balloon race competitors cross France

Picture of gas balloonsTwenty teams of gas balloonists, including the Wiltshire adventurer David Hempleman-Adams, are crossing France in the Gordon Bennett race.

The teams launched from East Compton, near Bristol, late on Saturday night. To win they must travel the furthest.

By 1600 BST Hempleman-Adams and his co-pilot Simon Carey had travelled more than 450km (280m).

Writing earlier on Sunday, Hempleman-Adams said it had got chilly in the night, but not as bad as in the Arctic.

Leading the pack near Bordeaux is the Japanese balloon piloted by Saburo Ichiyoshi and Akio Hachinohe, closely followed by the French and Swiss balloons.

The competitors from 10 countries are travelling in hydrogen-filled balloons and their progress can be followed online.

The balloons are controlled by releasing gas to go down and throwing out sand to go up.

Good spirits

It is the first time in its 104-year history that the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett race has taken off from the UK.

Race director Clive Bailey said Hempleman-Adams sounded in good spirits and was in regular contact on the weather and the balloon's track.

Weather forecasts suggest the craft could be heading towards Italy, but crews are only allowed in Italian airspace during daylight hours.

The Duke of Edinburgh and Sir Richard Branson are patrons of the 54th Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett race.

Hempleman-Adams won the race in 2008 with co-pilot Jon Mason, giving them the honour of hosting it in their home country.

Mr Hempleman-Adams and Mr Mason were the first UK team to win, flying 1,098 miles (1,767km) from Albuquerque in New Mexico to Lake Michigan in just over three days.

via BBC News - Gordon Bennett balloon race competitors cross France.

France is currently in the lead. Japan and Finland have have touched down.

The winner of the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett is the pilot who flies the furthest from the starting point, measured in a straight line around the earth's surface. However, there are only a limited number of countries over which competitors may fly. Flying over or landing in a country outside the competition area results in disqualification.

In 2009's race, three teams flew to the African continent, which was outside the competition area for that year's race. It took long negotiations and several months for the balloons to be returned to the teams.

Some countries are out of bounds because of diplomatic reasons. Others are out because the safety of the teams cannot be guaranteed. Some others are out of bounds to prevent the teams from taking great risks to fly to them.

2010's race competition area has almost been finalised, and is shown on the map. Countries in white (unshaded) are outside the competition area; coloured countries are inside the area. Competitors may cross over any body of water but must not fly over or land in countries outside of the area.

Stuxnet worm hits Iran nuclear plant staff computers

Guard at Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran - 21 August 2010A complex computer worm has infected the personal computers of staff at Iran's first nuclear power station, the official IRNA news agency reported.

However, the operating system at the Bushehr plant - due to go online in a few weeks - has not been harmed, project manager Mahmoud Jafari said.

The Stuxnet worm is capable of seizing control of industrial plants.

Some Western experts say its complexity suggests it could only have been created by a "nation state".

It is the first sign that Stuxnet, which targets systems made by the German company Siemens, has reached equipment linked to Iran's nuclear programme.

The West fears Iran's ultimate goal is to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its programme is aimed solely at peaceful energy use.

Stuxnet is tailored to target weaknesses in Siemens systems used to manage water supplies, oil rigs, power plants and other utilities.

'Electronic war'

The fact that Stuxnet has now been detected on the personal computers of staff will have no impact on plans to make the Bushehr plant operational next month, Mr Jafari said.

A team is now trying to remove the malicious software, or malware, from several affected computers, he told IRNA.

It is believed to be the first-known worm designed to target major infrastructure facilities.

"An electronic war has been launched against Iran", Mahmoud Liayi, head of the information technology council at the ministry of industries, told the state-run Iran Daily newspaper.

A working group of experts met last week to discuss ways of fighting the worm, which Mr Liayi said has now infected about 30,000 IP addresses in Iran. ...

via BBC News - Stuxnet worm hits Iran nuclear plant staff computers.

Once within a network-initially delivered via an infected USB device-Stuxnet used the EoP vulnerabilities to gain administrative access to other PC's, sought out the system running the WinCC and PCS 7 SCADA management programs, hijacked them by exploiting either the print-spooler or MS08-067 bugs, then tried the default Siemens passwords to commandeer the SCADA software.

They could then program the so-called PLC (programmable logic control) software to give the machinery new instructions.

On top of all that, the attack code seemed legitimate because the people behind Stuxnet had stolen at least two signed digital certificates....

So scary, so thorough was the reconnaissance, so complex the job, so sneaky the attack, that (all the experts consulted) believe it couldn't be the work of even an advanced cybercrime gang.

via American Thinker

Israel whistles and shuffles its feet innocently.

Flatwoods Monster a 1950's Military Psyop?

There can be few very people within the realms of cryptozoology and ufology that have never heard of the so-called Flatwoods Monster, or Braxton County Monster, of 1952 - a story that is told in-depth in Frank Feschino's 2004 book, The Braxton County Monster: the Cover-Up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed.

And as Feschino notes in his book: "On the night of September 12, 1952, a shocked American public sought answers when strange unidentified objects were seen flying through the sky over Washington, DC, and the eastern United States..."

... There are a number of issues worth noting here. First, the height of the Flatwoods Monster and the British Army's devilish scarecrow were the same: 12-feet. In addition, the cover of Frank Feschino's book shows the Flatwoods Monster emitting lights. And the 12-foot scarecrow in Italy gave off "frightful flashes and bangs" and had "great electric blue sparks jumping from it."

Second, the RAND report that specifically refers to this Italian escapade - that Jasper Maskelyne described in his Magic: Top Secret book - was prepared for psychological warfare planners in the U.S. Air Force. And, in his book on the beast of Flatwoods, Feschino notes that the Air Force took careful interest in the Flatwoods affair and what was being reported on the affair by the media.

The RAND report was submitted to the Air Force in April 1950, and Flatwoods occurred in September 1952. Is it possible that in this two-year period USAF psychological warfare planners created their very own - albeit updated and modified - version of the British Army's 12-foot-tall flashing monster to try and gauge what its reaction might be when unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace?

There's also the settings, too: the British Army's operation was focused on little, isolated villages in Italy. And Flatwoods is a little, rural town in Braxton County, West Virginia that, even as late as 2000, had a population of less than 350.

via Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...": Is This The Flatwoods Monster?.

Could this be what happened in 1966 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia?  Did RAND create the Mothman for the US Government who wanted to see if we were prepared to find life on the moon?