Sunday, February 04, 2007

Mammoth cloud engulfs Titan's north pole.

Scientists expect the newly spotted cloud to linger for several years

Image: Titan
This composite image shows the cloud, imaged at a distance of 54,000 miles (90,000 kilometers) during a Titan flyby designed to observe the limb of the moon. The cloud extends down to 60 degrees north latitude.

By Ker Than
Staff Writer
Updated: 1:48 p.m. ET Feb 2, 2007
A mammoth cloud half the size of the contiguous United States and spotted on Saturn’s moon Titan might be what’s filling up lakes discovered there last year, scientists say.

“This cloud system may be a key element in the global formation of organics and their interactions with the surface,” said study team member Christophe Sotin of the University of Nantes, France.

Imaged by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Dec. 29, 2006, the cloud is about 1,500 miles (2,400 km) in diameter and engulfs Titan’s entire north pole. It only recently became visible, emerging from a shadow as winter turns to spring on the moon.

Unlike Earth’s clouds, which contain mostly water vapor, the Titan clouds are thought to consist of ethane, methane and other organics.

Scientists had predicted the existence of such a cloud system, but one had never been imaged in such detail before.

Cassini spotted partially filled lakes on Titan’s north pole last summer. Scientists speculated that methane rains down onto the moon’s surface to form lakes and then evaporates to form clouds, in what they called the “methane-ologic cycle.” The new finding supports this idea.

Ground-based observations show the Titan cloud system comes and goes with the seasons. A season on the Saturn moon is equivalent to about seven Earth years. Scientists speculate such cloud activity can last for as long as 25 Earth years before nearly vanishing for four to five years and then reappearing for another 25 years.

The same cloud system observed last December was still there two weeks later during a Jan. 13, 2007, flyby. Scientists expect the newly spotted cloud to linger for several years, possibly shifting down to Titan’s south pole as the seasons change.

“With 16 more flybys to come this year," said study team member Stephane Le Mouelic, also of the University of Nantes, "we should have the opportunity to monitor the evolution of this cloud system over time.”

Sunday, December 31, 2006

World's Tallest Man Saves Dolphins

Bao Xishun, the world's tallest man, reaches in to retrieve objects from the stomach of a sick dolphin at an aquarium in Fushun, China. Photograph: EyePress/AP

It's lucky they had the world's tallest man on call to lend a hand. Or rather, an extremely long arm.

In a late but very strong contender for the title of most curious animal story of 2006, two dolphins in a Chinese aquarium have been saved thanks to the personal attentions of Bao Xishun, all 7 ft 8.95 inches of him.

As the China Daily and others reported excitedly today, the drama began when the dolphins swallowed pieces of plastic from the edge of their aquarium pool in the north-eastern city of Fushun.

Attempts to remove the plastic using surgical instruments failed because the dolphins' stomachs contracted in response.

Now, thought the vets, if only our arms were long enough to reach down and pull the plastic out... Hang on!

Several telephone calls later and Mr Bao, certified last year as the world's tallest man, taking the title from previous holder, Radhouane Charbib of Tunisia, by a mere 2mm, was on his way, from his home in the province of Inner Mongolia.

The 55-year-old herdsmen was able to use an arm nearly three and a half foot long to reach into the dolphins' mouths and pull out the plastic with his hands, as handlers held their jaws open with towels.

"The two dolphins are in very good condition now," said a satisfied Chen Lujun, manager of the Royal Jidi Ocean World.

Mr Bao is somewhat of a celebrity in China, especially now he is officially the world's tallest man.

Last month, the Xinhua news agency reported, he was "causing a stir" in Brazil when he went there for a book signing of the 2007 Guinness Book of Records.

Does this tale open more career options for Mr Bao, other than being a professional giant? Surely, zoos worldwide could use his talents - what do they do now when an elephant needs his back scratched and there are no stepladders around?

Some good news for the day ^_^

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mars Photos Seem to Show Recent Water Flows

12/06/2006 --

Scientists launched new fantasies of life on Mars Wednesday when they revealed remarkable new findings that suggest water may still be flowing on the alluring Red Planet.

The results came to light through an analysis of photographs taken by an orbiting space probe. Pictures of gullies on the sides of Martian craters taken by the Mars Global Surveyor several years ago, and then again more recently, revealed differences.

The newer photos showed light-colored deposits that appear to be dried-up salt or frost left by water which first flowed, then evaporated. The deposits were not in the earlier images.

• Click here to visit's Space Center.

"It's exciting. It greatly magnifies [the chances] of life as we know it on Mars," Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, told "If it's still oozing out in liquid form, this reaffirms Mars as an interesting destination to look for life there today."

Tyson said the Martian life that could exist in light of the new findings, simultaneously published online Wednesday in the journal Science, is likely microbial — not the little green creatures with antennae that have made their way into countless science fiction stories.

"We're talking bacteria and other single-cell life forms, which are very hardy — more hardy than we are," said Tyson, the director of the American Museum's Hayden Planetarium. "We're not talking about alligators."

Water and a stable heat source are considered keys for life to emerge, or at least survive.

"This is a squirting gun for water on Mars," said Kenneth Edgett, a scientist at San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems, which operates a camera on the Global Surveyor, at a press conference held by NASA Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C.

Mars was likely once warm and wet, with a radiation-deflecting magnetic field like Earth, but dried up billions of years ago. Any life that evolved might still exist as hardy microbes living underground, able to tolerate extreme cold and radiation.

"No one denies that liquid water once flowed heavily on the Martian surface," Tyson told "There's tremendous surface evidence: river beds, flood plains, lake beds. The question is, where did all the water go? It's widely believed that it went below the surface and froze there."

Scientists have long noted Martian features that appear to have been scoured by water or look like shorelines. Ice has already been found at the Martian north pole.

"This underscores the importance of searching for life on Mars, either present or past," said Bruce Jakosky, an astrobiologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who had no role in the study. "It's one more reason to think that life could be there."

Tyson said the just-released study about water flowing on Mars adds new impetus to human-run missions to the Red Planet and means the equipment sent there will need to be upgraded so it can drill below the Martian surface.

"You don't want to go to Mars knowing this without being able to do experiments related to it. That would just be embarrassing," he said. "You want to make sure what you take there — rovers, astronauts — are ready to probe in just the ways you would need to learn about the liquid water."

The latest findings point to the possibility that Mars can sustain liquid water, which the majority of scientists hadn't previously thought to be the case, according to Tyson.

"Most sensible scientists presume that the water was frozen," he said. "It's very cold in the Martian environment. We lost the water on the surface for reasons not yet understood ... This new result says not all of it is frozen, and we can ask what melted it."

Oded Aharonson, an assistant professor of planetary science at the California Institute of Technology, said that while the interpretation of recent water activity on Mars was "compelling," it's just one possible explanation.

Aharonson said further study is needed to determine whether the deposit could have been left there by the flow of dust rather than water.

The latest research emerged when the Global Surveyor spotted gullies and trenches that scientists believed were geologically young and carved by fast-moving water coursing down cliffs and steep crater walls.

Scientists at Malin Space Science Systems decided to retake photos of thousands of gullies in search of evidence of recent water activity.

Two gullies that were originally photographed in 1999 and 2001 and reimaged in 2004 and 2005 showed changes consistent with water flowing down the crater walls, according to the study.

In both cases, scientists found bright, light-colored deposits in the gullies that weren't present in the original photos.

They concluded the deposits — possibly mud, salt or frost — were left there when about 10 swimming pools' worth of water recently cascaded through the channels.

Some researchers were skeptical that liquid water was responsible for the surface feature changes seen by the spacecraft. They said other materials such as sand or dust can flow like a liquid and produce similar results.

"Nothing in the images, no matter how cool they are, proves that the flows were wet, or that they were anything more exciting than avalanches of sand and dust," Allan Treiman, a geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, said in an e-mail.

Edgett, however, said a combination of factors, including the shape and color of the deposits, led the team to believe it was recent water action and not dust that slipped down the slope. He said dust would leave dark deposits.

Water cannot remain a liquid on the surface of Mars for long because of subzero surface temperatures and low atmospheric pressure that would turn water into ice or gas.

But scientists theorize that liquid water is being shot up to the surface from an underground source, like geysers. Subterranean icy mud may also be being thawed by sunlight periodically hitting the normally dark walls of craters.

The Global Surveyor, managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, abruptly lost radio contact with Earth last month. Attempts to locate the spacecraft, which has mapped Mars since 1996, have failed and scientists fear it is unusable.

NASA's durable Mars rovers have sent scientists strong evidence that the planet once had liquid water at or near the surface, based on observations of alterations in ancient rocks.

"Every place where we find liquid water, we find life," Tyson said.

Monday, September 11, 2006

U.S House Passes Permanent Horse Slaughter Ban

Nearly 100,000 horses are
slaughtered annually for foreign palates.

In a key victory for protecting American horses from slaughter, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, by a vote of 263 to 146 on Sept. 7.

Passage of the bill marks a historic moment in a groundswell effort to ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption abroad. More than 20,000 individuals told The HSUS that they called their representatives in the days leading up to the vote, urging their support of the bill. The callers added their voices to more than 500 organizations and editorial boards across the nation that have been calling for an end to the practice.

The legislation, which enjoyed more than 200 cosponsors and bipartisan support, was designed to stop the slaughter of nearly 100,000 American horses annually in three foreign-owned slaughter plants in the United States. Their meat is shipped overseas, primarily to France, Belgium and Japan, where it is considered a delicacy.

"What we are exposing today is a brutal, shadowy, shameful practice," said Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY), who introduced the bill along with Reps. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), John Spratt (D-SC) and Nick Rahall (D-WV).

In the days leading up to the vote, the opposition stepped up efforts to defend the slaughter industry, but two amendments that would have gutted the bill were defeated in votes, and the day went to horses, lauded as an icon and symbol of American heritage.

"The horse is tied to the spirit of the American frontier," Rep. Whitfield told the house in debate. "Most importantly, the horse is a companion."

With the majority of Americans and the U.S. House of Representatives on the record supporting a permanent ban on horse slaughter, the Senate will now take up the bill for consideration.

“Horse slaughter is simply indefensible, and polls show that the vast majority of Americans agree,” HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said. “As we build on today’s successful vote and take the debate to the Senate, we urge humane-minded citizens to call and write their senators and get this legislation passed once and for all.”

All I can say is, About Fucking Time!!. This bill should've been passed a looooooong time ago! In fact, it shouldn't even take a bill to put a stop to such inhumane practices. It's just plain sick! That's what cows & chickens are for in the first place, to eat. You freaks don't need to eat horses for shits sake. It's not a fucking delicacy to eat horses, it's sick twisted shit, plain and simple and it shouldn't be allowed anywhere. I like this quoted from the above article: "The horse is tied to the spirit of the American frontier," Rep. Whitfield told the house in debate. "Most importantly, the horse is a companion.". Exactly, just like a dog is mans best friend a horse is too. Not food you fucking sickos. Well what am I saying, these lifeless freaks eat dogs too. Chicken fish & beef is just not good enough for them, they gotta eat dogs, cats & horses too. Nothing's good enough for these ppl, next they're eating their family members & shit. Well that's it for my rant...

UPDATE: Alrighty, I gotta explain myself a little more it seems. Too many ppl are misunderstanding me. Well here's a response to some1's email, this will better explain myself...:

(No no, that's not what im saying at all. what im saying is WE DON'T SLAUGHTER HORSES ANYMORE! That's all, i'm not raggin on other ppl eating "exotic" foods. I know america is "nothing but a meliting pot of foreigners". What I'm saying is EATING HORSES IS SOMETHING PPL IN OTHER COUNTRIES are doing, why else would the meat be SHIPPED OVERSEAS. I'm am just against FOREIGN OWNED SLAUGHTER HOUSES KILLING HORSES & SHIPPING THE MEAT OVERSEAS. If ppl in other countries want to eat horse, they can eat their own damn horses.

Now, do you finally understand what I'm saying. I swear everytime any american talks to some1 non-american the non-american always get every damn thing they say all mixed up. There, I tried my explaining...)

There.... Nothing against foreigners (we're all foreign for shits sake), I'm not wanna these ultra-patriotic-love-everything-the-government-does type of idiots, and I don't give a shit about ppl's eating habits. I just think it was about time we put a stop to slaughtering our horses for ppl overseas to eat. There, now SHUT THE FUCK UP!

~Eternal "Save the Horses!!" Fallout

Monday, September 04, 2006

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin dies

Sep 4, 2006

Steve Irwin, the quirky Australian naturalist who won world-wide acclaim, was killed by a stingray barb through the chest on Monday while diving off Australia's northeast coast, emergency officials and witnesses said.

"Steve was hit by a stingray in the chest," said local diving operator Steve Edmondson, whose Poseidon boats were out on the Great Barrier Reef when the accident occurred.

"He probably died from a cardiac arrest from the injury," he said.
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin

Police and ambulance officials later confirmed Irwin had died and said his family had been advised.

Irwin, 44, was killed while filming an underwater documentary off Port Douglas.

Irwin had been diving off his boat "Croc One" near Batt Reef northeast of Port Douglas. A helicopter had taken paramedics to nearby Low Isles where Irwin was taken for medical treatment but he was dead before they arrived, police said.

Irwin won a global following for his dare-devil antics but also triggered outrage in 2004 by holding his then one-month-old baby while feeding a snapping crocodile at his Australian zoo.

He made almost 50 of his "Crocodile Hunter" documentaries which appeared on cable TV channel Animal Planet and won a world-wide audience.
The series ended after he was criticised for the incident with his young son and for disturbing whales, seals and penguins while filming in Antarctica.

Khaki-clad Irwin became famous for his seemingly death-defying methods with wild animals, including crocodiles and snakes.

He made a cameo appearance alongside Eddie Murphy in the 2001 Hollywood film Dr Dolittle 2 and appeared on US television shows such as The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and on children's television alongside The Wiggles.

Irwin was married with two children, Bindi Sue, 8, and Robert (Bob) Clarence, 3.
His American-born wife Terri was his business partner and frequent on-screen collaborator.


Truely sad to hear. Aussi's "Iron Man" died? Can't believe it one bit. Just when everyone thought that nothing on this very planet could ever kill him, he gets it from a stingwray. I love his spastic all-or-nothing & truely fearless attitude! I feel sorry that one of the last thing ppl will remember about this man is media madness when he held his son while feeding an alligator. Some ppl rly need to chill! I mean, he's the croc hunter for shit's sake I think he has feeding an alligator under his control. Noticed I try not to put the dead's names in past-tense. He will live on in this world as a legacy. Who else do you know that wrestles with alligators & snakes!? To leave a person's name in past-tense like they never mattered or ceased to be just doesn't seem right to me. I hope he will continue to live on in people's hearts. Rest In Peace you crazy bloke!

BTW: I wanted to post some links to various video clips of Steve's show appearances & documentaries but it seems the only thing on every1's mind on (video website's name here) just posts dumb shit like impressions poking fun at his accent & craziness... Well you know how things go in this world, you have to die to get recognition. In a couple of weeks or so there will be tons of videos you can buy about him & compilations of his documentaries as well as tv box sets on sale, special sets, special prices, all because every1's gotta make a profit off some1's death. Hopefully his family will be alright see through such a tough time in their lives.

UPDATE: Ahh here we go... here's a video tribute to Steve Irwin

~Eternal "R.I.P. Steve Irwin" Fallout

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Résumé Font Offends Employer

The Onion

Résumé Font Offends Employer

CHARLOTTE, NC—The decision to set his résumé in default-font Times–New Roman "deeply, personally, and irrevocably" offended a prospective employer of Seth Hershey Monday. "I look for quality, pedigree, and competency in the résumés that cross my desk, but I don't care if you founded the Harvard School of Business—if you're going to use a crap typeface like this, you might as well send me a finger painting in your own shit," said HealthBest South Associate Vice-President Dick Scottsfield shortly after hurling the document across his office in disgust. "Did he think we'd accept something like this here? Does he take me for a damn fool? If he had chosen the correct font, why, I could've even overlooked this cheap, 14-lb. cotton stock paper." Scottsfield said he intends to offer the job to the first person who uses a decent 12-point Cheltenham Book with an elegant leading.
Alright, where do I start... how about THIS IS FUCKING PATHETIC!!! Because of a fuckin FONT, come on people! This world has gone completely out of control (as am I after reading this)! This is the problem in the job world, too many picky little bitches that have to have every little detail their way. Employers need to get it through their damn heads that not every person you hire has to be exaclty like you & even know what damn font you prefer. If every employer was like this little piece of shit immature vermin we wouldn't even have a job force much less a worker class society.

This is shameful, the man was probably a genius for all that idiot knows. And just becasue his choice of font he goes & throws out the resume. The man could've even brought that company the best revenue it's ever seen but noooooo because he used times new roman fontface. Fuckin dickhead! He sure lives up to his name dick scottsfield -aka- dicksuk scottie.

I hope when that little bastard scottsfield (no way I'm giving that fucker a capital letter in his name) dies his family uses times new roman on his damn gravestone.... piece of shit! It's people like that whom don't even deserve the opportunity to even BE an employer much less an employee.

And lets hope to (insert your god's name here) that fucktard little twatwaffle s.o.b.'s like this bastard NEVER get the chance to stick his tiny pecker in any leading position like say president/king (or queen) or even a mayor or this planet is surely fucking doomed! I hope whoever gets the job that used his preferred font is a fuking idiot that will bring that corp down to the very mud which it was founded.

That's my little Fuck You! rant for the time being... btw .... I USED TIME'S YOU BITCH scottsfield

~Eternal ("Fuck you and your font preference") Fallout

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Team finds 'proof' of dark matter

US astronomers say they have found the first direct evidence for the mysterious stuff called dark matter.
Dark matter - which does not emit or reflect enough light to be "seen" - is thought to make up 25% of the Universe.
Bullet cluster, Nasa
The claims are based on observations of the Bullet Cluster

By contrast, the ordinary matter we can see is believed to make up no more than about 5% of our Universe.
Until now, astronomers have only been able to infer the existence of this dark material through the gravitational effects it has on ordinary matter.

What the researchers have done is, in effect, to identify the gravitational "signature" of dark matter.

This signature was created by dark matter and ordinary matter being wrenched apart by the immense collision of two large galaxy clusters.

"The kinetic energy of this collision is... enough to completely evaporate and pulverise planet Earth ten trillion, trillion times over," said team member Maxim Markevitch, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, US.
Study leader Doug Clowe, from the University of Arizona, said: "This provides the first direct proof that dark matter must exist and that it must make up the majority of the matter in the Universe."

Gravity puzzle

Astronomers have known since the 1930s that these galaxy clusters have far too much gravity to be explained by the amount of visible matter in them alone.
This extra gravity has two possible explanations. One is that most matter in the clusters is in a form we cannot see, because it does not absorb or emit light. A second explanation is that gravity does not behave the same way in galaxy clusters light-years in size as it does on Earth.

70% - dark energy
25% - dark matter
5% - ordinary matter
Usually, the gas and the galaxies in the clusters are held close together in space by gravity.

But in the cosmic smash-up (the colliding feature is known to astronomers as the Bullet Cluster), these components have been pulled apart. The astronomers were lucky enough to catch the collision just 100 million years after it occurred - the blink of an eye in cosmic time.

The researchers could see that the hot gas in the collision had been slowed down by a drag force, similar to air resistance. Meanwhile, the galaxies themselves continued speeding through space, leaving the gas behind.

Dark matter particles should not slow down in the same way as the gas; they do not interact directly with themselves or the gas except through gravity. Instead, dark matter should behave in a similar way to the galaxies.

More mass in gas

If dark matter did exist, the astronomers expected to find the majority of mass in clusters residing around the galaxies. But if dark matter did not exist, most of the galaxy clusters' mass would be in its diffuse hot gas. This is because galaxy clusters typically contain 10 times as much ordinary mass in gas as in stars. The researchers found most of the mass was located near the galaxies - ahead of the gas clouds - showing the dark matter really was there. The majority of the Universe - some 70% - is composed of dark energy, an equally mysterious quantity which exerts negative pressure.

"Dark matter and dark energy are not what anyone would have expected starting from the perspective of what the Universe should be like," said Sean Carroll, a cosmologist at the University of Chicago, who was not involved with the study, "but we're trying to understand why it's like that and this result puts us on that path."

Marusa Bradac, at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (Slac) in California, added: "We had predicted the existence of dark matter for decades, but now we've seen it in action. This is groundbreaking."

In order to locate the mass in the clusters, researchers used the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes, along with the Very Large Telescope and Magellan optical telescopes in Chile.

This was done by measuring the effect of gravitational lensing, where gravity from the clusters distorts light from background galaxies, as predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity.