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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Two tourists allegedly break ancient statue in Italy while taking a selfie

A pair of tourists could face criminal charges in Italy after they shattered part of a priceless statue in the northern city of Cremona while trying to snap a selfie.
The holidaymakers, whose nationalities have not been revealed, caused the damage when they climbed onto the marble statue of Hercules at Loggia dei Militi palace.
A piece of the statue’s crown collapsed under the weight of the men, causing it to fall to the floor and shatter into pieces, according to Milan’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3067122/Tourists-break-priceless-Hercules-statue-Cremona-Italy-trying-snap-selfie.html


Paul Krugman- Race, Class and Neglect

Every time you’re tempted to say that America is moving forward on race — that prejudice is no longer as important as it used to be — along comes an atrocity to puncture your complacency. Almost everyone realizes, I hope, that the Freddie Gray affair wasn’t an isolated incident, that it’s unique only to the extent that for once there seems to be a real possibility that justice may be done.

And the riots in Baltimore, destructive as they are, have served at least one useful purpose: drawing attention to the grotesque inequalities that poison the lives of too many Americans.

Yet I do worry that the centrality of race and racism to this particular story may convey the false impression that debilitating poverty and alienation from society are uniquely black experiences. In fact, much though by no means all of the horror one sees in Baltimore and many other places is really about class, about the devastating effects of extreme and rising inequality.


It has been disheartening to see some commentators still writing as if poverty were simply a matter of values, as if the poor just mysteriously make bad choices and all would be well if they adopted middle-class values. Maybe, just maybe, that was a sustainable argument four decades ago, but at this point it should be obvious that middle-class values only flourish in an economy that offers middle-class jobs.

the rest

Lava Lake Loki on Jupiter's moon Io, up close

The LBT image of Loki Patera (orange) laid over a Voyager image of the volcanic depression. The emission (in orange color) appears spread out in the north-south direction due to the telescope point-spread function; it is mainly localized to the southern corners of the lake.

Io, the innermost of the four moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610 and only slightly bigger than our own moon, is the most geologically active body in our solar system. Hundreds of volcanic areas dot its surface, which is mostly covered with sulfur and sulfur dioxide.

The largest of these volcanic features, named Loki after the Norse god often associated with fire and chaos, is a volcanic depression called patera in which the denser lava crust solidifying on top of a lava lake episodically sinks in the lake, yielding a raise in the thermal emission that has been regularly observed from Earth. Loki, only 124 miles in diameter and at least 373 million miles from Earth, was, up until recently, too small to be looked at in detail from any ground-based optical/infrared telescope.

With its two mirrors, each 8.4 meters (about 27 feet) across, set on the same mount 20 feet apart, the Large Binocular Telescope, or LBT, produces images at the same level of detail that a telescope with a single, 22.8-meter (75-foot) mirror would achieve by combining the light through interferometry. Thanks to the Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer, or LBTI, an international team of researchers was able to look at Loki Patera, revealing details as never before seen from Earth. Their study is published in the Astronomical Journal.

"We combine the light from two very large mirrors coherently so that they become a single, extremely large mirror," said Al Conrad, the lead of the study and a scientist at the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, or LBTO. "In this way, for the first time we can measure the brightness coming from different regions within the lake."



Sixth DNA base discovered?

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the main component of our genetic material. It is formed by combining four parts: A, C, G and T (adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine), called bases of DNA combine in thousands of possible sequences to provide the genetic variability that enables the wealth of aspects and functions of living beings.

Two more bases: the Methyl- cytosine and Methyl-adenine

In the early 80s, to these four "classic" bases of DNA was added a fifth: the methyl-cytosine (mC) derived from cytosine. And it was in the late 90's when mC was recognized as the main cause of epigenetic mechanisms: it is able to switch genes on or off depending on the physiological needs of each tissue.

In recent years, interest in this fifth DNA base has increased by showing that alterations in the methyl-cytosine contribute to the development of many human diseases, including cancer.

Today, an article published in Cell by Manel Esteller, director of the Epigenetics and Cancer Biology Program of the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), ICREA researcher and Professor of Genetics at the University of Barcelona, describes the possible existence of a sixth DNA base, the methyl-adenine (mA), which also help determine the epigenome and would therefore be key in the life of the cells.



About 100 bodies found in Nepal trekking village

Source: Reuters

Nepali police and local volunteers found the bodies of about 100 trekkers and villagers buried in an avalanche set off by last month's devastating earthquake and were digging through snow and ice for signs of dozens more missing, officials said on Monday.

The bodies were recovered on Saturday and Sunday at the Langtang village, 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Kathmandu, which is on a trekking route popular with Westerners. The entire village, which includes 55 guesthouses for trekkers, was wiped out by the avalanche, officials said.

"Local volunteers and police personnel are digging through six-feet (deep) snow with shovels looking for more bodies," said

Gautam Rimal, assistant chief district officer in the area where Langtang is located.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/04/us-quake-nepal-collapse-idUSKBN0NI12120150504

NATO starts anti submarine exercise in North Sea as tension with Russia rise

Source: Reuters

NATO launched one of its biggest-ever anti-submarine exercises in the North Sea on Monday, inviting non-member Sweden for the first time, amid increasing tensions between Russia and its northern neighbors.

More than a dozen vessels from 11 countries are participating in the "Dynamic Mongoose" exercise. NATO will simulate detecting and attacking submarines in one of the most hostile seas, with rugged but shallow underwater canyons, rapid currents and unusually high sound pollution from freshwater pouring in from Norway's fjords.

Tensions have run high since Russia annexed part of Ukraine last year, with the three small Baltic states, who also rely on the Nordics for defense, fearing they may be next as they are home to big Russian minorities.

Finland detected an unidentified submarine along its coast last week, firing depth charges at the vessel, while NATO-member Latvia, a former Soviet state, last month said it detected a Russian submarine near its waters.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/04/us-nato-submarine-idUSKBN0NP12820150504

Size of the Milky Way Upgraded, Solving Galaxy Puzzle

The disk of the Milky Way Galaxy disk may actually be rippled.

Two ringlike structures of stars wrapping around the Milky Way's outer disk now appear to belong to the disk itself.

The results, outlined in a new study, show that the disk is about 60 percent larger than previously thought. Not only do the results extend the size of the Milky Way, they also reveal a rippling pattern, which raises intriguing questions about what sent wavelike fluctuations rippling through the disk.

The researchers said the likely culprit was a dwarf galaxy. It might have plunged through the Milky Way's center long ago, sparking the rippling patterns astronomers have now detected for the first time.

Roughly 15 years ago, Heidi Newberg, an astronomer at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and her colleagues found a group of stars beyond the disk's outermost edge. The so-called Monoceros Ring is about 60,000 light-years from the galactic center (just beyond where the disk was thought to end at 50,000 light-years).


School serves burned burritos covered with melted plastic for ‘healthy’ lunch

PHILIPPI, W.Va. – Think you’ve seen the worst of awful school lunches? Think again.

Several students and parents shared photos of their recent disgusting cafeteria lunch at West Virginia’s Philippi Middle School.

They featured a severely burned burritos covered in melted plastic.

“They were eating plastic and the chemicals that melted with the plastic, that’s not good,” says Sherie Bolton, a grandparent of a Philippi student.

“I think this was something they weren’t used to making so they just burned them and rather then choosing to throw them away and remaking something else, because of what was on the menu that day, they served them.”

The whole thing has administrators apologizing and saying cafeteria employees will receive “training.”


Georgia Sheriff allegedly shoots woman in model home, refuses to explain

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Investigators are hoping to get more answers Monday a day after a sheriff is accused of shooting a woman.
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill shot and critically injured the woman inside a model home Sunday night, according to police. But when officers arrived at the Atlanta-area subdivision, Hill declined to provide any information on what happened.

“He refused to cooperate and give any statement,” Sgt. Brian Doan with Gwinnett police said.

The woman, who worked inside the model home, was shot in the abdomen and taken to an area hospital, according to police. Her name was not released.

“She’s not able to give any information due to her condition,” Doan said.

Officers were called to the home on a report of an accidental shooting, according to police. Hill was released from the scene while the investigation continued late Sunday. Officers planned to execute a search warrant at the home, Doan said.



House committee OKs anti-union bill to strip dues deduction

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — An anti-union bill approved by a House committee Thursday sets the stage for a high-profile legislative fight between business and organized labor, even as many lawmakers have said they'd rather focus on the state's $1.6 billion budget shortfall.

The vote split mostly along party lines, with one independent joining Republicans to support the bill on a 9-6 vote. Democrats were united in opposition to the bill, which would bar unions from automatically collecting dues from the paychecks of firefighters, police officers and teachers.

"We're gonna publicize the hell out of this," said Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers. Other labor leaders threatened to target lawmakers during elections next fall.

Debate in the House labor committee followed the contours of a broader national battle between business and labor — even though Louisiana is a right-to-work state where workers can opt out of unions.

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