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n2doc

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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 37,815

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Environmental Scientist

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Shocking behavior of a runaway star: High-speed encounter creates arc



Roguish runaway stars can have a big impact on their surroundings as they plunge through the Milky Way galaxy. Their high-speed encounters shock the galaxy, creating arcs, as seen in a newly released image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

In this case, the speedster star is known as Kappa Cassiopeiae, or HD 2905 to astronomers. It is a massive, hot supergiant moving at around 2.5 million mph relative to its neighbors (1,100 kilometers per second). But what really makes the star stand out in this image is the surrounding, streaky red glow of material in its path. Such structures are called bow shocks, and they can often be seen in front of the fastest, most massive stars in the galaxy.

Bow shocks form where the magnetic fields and wind of particles flowing off a star collide with the diffuse, and usually invisible, gas and dust that fill the space between stars. How these shocks light up tells astronomers about the conditions around the star and in space. Slow-moving stars like our sun have bow shocks that are nearly invisible at all wavelengths of light, but fast stars like Kappa Cassiopeiae create shocks that can be seen by Spitzer's infrared detectors.

Incredibly, this shock is created about 4 light-years ahead of Kappa Cassiopeiae, showing what a sizable impact this star has on its surroundings. (This is about the same distance that we are from Proxima Centauri, the nearest star beyond the sun.)

more

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140221110105.htm

Oldest fortified settlement ever found in North America? Location of Fort Caroline may be in Georgia



In an announcement that could rewrite the book on early colonization of the New World, two researchers today said they have proposed a location for the oldest fortified settlement ever found in North America. Speaking at an international conference on France at Florida State University, the pair announced that they have proposed a new location for Fort Caroline, a long-sought fort built by the French in 1564.

"This is the oldest fortified settlement in the present United States," said Florida State University alumnus and historian Fletcher Crowe. "This fort is older than St. Augustine, considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in America. It's older than the Lost Colony of Virginia by 21 years; older than the 1607 fort of Jamestown by 45 years; and predates the landing of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts in 1620 by 56 years."

Announcement of the discovery of Fort Caroline was made during "La Floride Française: Florida, France, and the Francophone World," a conference hosted by FSU's Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies and its Institute on Napoleon and the French Revolution. The conference commemorates the cultural relations between France and Florida since the 16th century.

Researchers have been searching for actual remains of Fort Caroline for more than 150 years but had not found the actual site until now, Crowe said. The fort was long thought to be located east of downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on the south bank of the St. Johns River. The Fort Caroline National Memorial is located just east of Jacksonville's Dames Point Bridge, which spans the river.

However, Crowe and his co-author, Anita Spring, a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Florida, say that the legendary fort is actually located near the mouth of the Altamaha River in southeast Georgia.

more

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140221111218.htm

White House Upsets Press Photogs Again, Locks Them Out of Dalai Lama Meeting

DL Cade · Feb 23, 2014


Image credits: Photographs by Pete Souza, Courtesy of the White House Flickr Stream

The Obama Administration is yet again making headlines thanks to its ‘closed-door’ policy when it comes to anyone other than official White House photographer Pete Souza getting time to photograph the President.

This time the controversy revolves around President Obama’s meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a meeting with far-reaching political implications that everyone but Mr. Souza was yet again shut out of.

Initial reports that the White House was drawing independent press photographers’ ire by severely limiting access to the President broke all the way back in November, and yet the problem still hasn’t been solved. Not for lack of promises that positive change was on the way, but rather lack of any action to turn those words into reality.

“ is deeply disappointed,” said NPPA general counsel Mickey H. Osterreicher, “that — despite promises by the White House to work with news organizations to improve access to newsworthy events involving the President — they barred independent photo coverage of today’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, only to issue their own photograph of the event a short time later.”

more

http://petapixel.com/2014/02/23/white-house-upsets-press-photogs-locking-dalai-lama-meeting/#more-130275

Captivating Microscopic Time-Lapse Video Captures the Formation of Snowflakes

DL Cade · Feb 23, 2014

This is just plain beautiful, no matter which way you slice it. Using the magic of time-lapse photography and microscopy, Vyacheslav Ivanov captured the formation of those ice crystals we call snowflakes that caused so much grief in the northeastern US over the past several weeks.

Mesmerizing, captivating, pick your adjective, the time-lapse will have you glued to the screen and help you to remember that this crazy world we live in is beautiful from the smallest scale on up.


more

http://petapixel.com/2014/02/23/mesmerizing-time-lapse-captures-formation-snowflake/

Nets to sign Jason Collins

Jason Collins will become the first openly gay athlete in North America's four major professional sports when he signs a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets and plays against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday evening at Staples Center, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN

The Nets moved quickly to make the historic signing of the 35-year-old free agent center to have another big body available against the Lakers. Brooklyn had been contemplating signing Collins for the past week and the need for Collins became greater after the Nets dealt rebounding specialist Reggie Evans to the Sacramento Kings last week.

ESPN.com reported that the Nets quietly auditioned Collins last week in Los Angeles, paving the way from him to rejoin the franchise he spent his first six-plus seasons in the league.

The Nets were in the running to land Glen Davis but Davis opted to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers and informed teams of his decision. Davis is set to officially become an unrestricted free agent Sunday at 5 p.m. ET if, as expected, he is not claimed off waivers by another team.

more

http://espn.go.com/new-york/nba/story/_/id/10506550/jason-collins-sign-brooklyn-nets

Men banned from becoming Queen as 700 years of law redrafted ahead of gay marriage

By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor

Men are to be banned from becoming Queen or Princess of Wales as part of an unprecedented effort to rewrite more than 700 years of law to prevent unintended consequences of gay marriage.

Even a 14th Century act declaring it high treason to have an affair with the monarch’s husband or wife is included in the sweeping redrafting exercise.

Civil servants have drawn up a list of scores of statutes and regulations dating back as far 1285 to be amended or specifically excluded when the Government’s Same-Sex Marriage Act comes into force next month.

Under proposals to be debated by MPs and Peers as early as next week, terms such as “widow” will be deleted or reworded in legislation covering topics as diverse as seamen’s pensions and London cab licences to take account of the new definition of marriage.

References to mothers, fathers, husbands and wives are also to be amended to avoid future confusion.


more

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10654305/Men-banned-from-becoming-Queen-as-700-years-of-law-redrafted-ahead-of-gay-marriage.html

Don’t panic. But there’s a global coffee shortage.

BY JIA LYNN YANG

Usually during this time of year, the delicate Arabica coffee plants in the mountains of Brazil, where most of the world's coffee comes from, are maturing. White, fragrant flowers have appeared, followed by cherry-like fruit, each containing two seeds: Arabica coffee beans, the most popular in the world.

But last month, the worst drought in decades hit Brazil's coffee belt region, destroying crop yields and causing the price of coffee to shoot up by more than 50 percent so far this year. The drought is historic, with more than 140 cities in Brazil forced to ration water. The country's leading newspapers reported that some neighborhoods are receiving water only every three days.

For now, retail prices for coffee are stable. Roasters typically have enough supplies to cover themselves for a few months. But if the price of the Arabica (pronounced uh-RAB-ick-uh) beans continues to rise, consumers could start seeing the cost of their morning coffee creep up later this year, according to Jack Scoville, a futures market analyst specializing in grains and coffee, among other commodities.

You can see the dramatic rise in the price of coffee due for delivery in March below. On Wednesday, the price per pound reached the highest point in about 14 months at $1.72.



more

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/02/21/dont-panic-but-theres-a-global-coffee-shortage/

Between this, the drought in California and cattle stocks at low levels, gonna be an expensive summer for food and drink. Unless you are lucky enough to be able to grow your own.

U.S. now bugging German ministers in place of Merkel: report

Source: Reuters

The National Security Agency (NSA) has stepped up its surveillance of senior German government officials since being ordered by Barack Obama to halt its spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bild am Sonntag paper reported on Sunday.

Revelations last year about mass U.S. surveillance in Germany, in particular of Merkel's mobile phone, shocked Germans and sparked the most serious dispute between the transatlantic allies in a decade.

Bild am Sonntag said its information stemmed from a high-ranking NSA employee in Germany and that those being spied on included Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, a close confidant of Merkel.

"We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the chancellor's communication directly," it quoted the NSA employee as saying.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/23/us-germany-usa-spying-idUSBREA1M0IK20140223

Wendy Davis: Greg Abbott’s cozying up to “sexual predator” Ted Nugent reveals he lacks “Texas values

by Jonathan Tilove

American-Statesman Staff

State Sen. Wendy Davis said Saturday that Attorney General Greg Abbott’s affiliation with Ted Nugent – an “admitted child sexual predator” — reveals Abbott’s lack of “Texas values.”

“His values are not my values and I know his values aren’t yours. And, given the cozy relationship he has with an admitted sexual predator, his values are not Texas values,” Davis said of Abbott, her presumptive rival for governor.

Davis was speaking before an enthusiastic crowd of about 200 women at the convention of Texas Democratic Women at Austin’s Wyndham Garden Hotel.

“We won’t let politicians hide behind the venom and the ugly history of predatory acts targeting underage girls by their campaign surrogates,” said Davis. “Let me make this very clear. This isn’t about some aging rock star way past his prime who simply needs to go away. This is about Greg Abbott. It’s about his character, his judgment, his values when he stands on a stage next to someone like that and refers to him as his blood brother.”

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/wendy-davis-greg-abbotts-cozying-up-to-sexual-pred/ndYR4/

Georgia Bill would allow sex offenders at schools

CANTON — Brand new state Rep. Sam Moore (R-Macedonia) is pushing a sweeping law that would allow registered sex offenders to go anywhere they want — even to schools.

Moore, in his first week in office, has turned in a bill that would overturn the crime of loitering and make it so registered sex offenders who aren’t otherwise barred from going to schools or places children gather could go to those places freely.

“I am OK with that,” Moore said Thursday, adding that he meant only those who were off parole and not barred from those places. “The reason I’m OK with that is the assumption is they have done their time. If they’re still a danger to society, they should not be free. … Am I saying it’s not creepy? It’s definitely creepy.”

Moore is the sole signer on House Bill 1033, which also prohibits law enforcement officers from forcing residents to identify themselves under any circumstances. Moore said that is a practice that violates Fifth Amendment rights to silence and was the original intent of the bill.

http://cherokeetribune.com/view/full_story/24620149/article-Bill-would-allow-sex-offenders-at-schools
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