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

Journal Archives

Airliner 'had narrow miss with UFO'

A passenger aircraft had a narrow miss with an unidentified object over Glasgow, a report has revealed.

The Airbus A320 was making its final approach to Glasgow Airport on 2 December when an object passed about 300ft underneath it.

The pilot of the aircraft said the risk of collision with the object, which did not show up on radar, had been "high".

A report by the UK Airprox Board said investigators were unable to establish what the object had been.

The A320 was flying with its landing lights on, in clear conditions and at an altitude of about 4,000ft above the Baillieston area of Glasgow, when the pilot and non-flying pilot saw an object "loom ahead" at a range of about 100m.


cue up the 'x-files' music....

Antigravity gets first test at Cern's Alpha experiment

By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News

Researchers at Cern in Switzerland have tested a novel way to find out if antimatter is the source of a force termed "antigravity".

Antimatter particles are the "mirror image" of normal matter, but with opposite electric charge.

How antimatter responds to gravity remains a mystery, however; it may "fall up" rather than down.

Now researchers reporting in Nature Communications have made strides toward finally resolving that notion.


Fish Sickened For More Than A Year After Deepwater Horizon Oil, Study Says

Spilled crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico sickened Gulf fish species for more than a year after the disaster, according to new research.

Gulf killifish embryos exposed to sediments from oiled locations in 2010 and 2011 show developmental abnormalities, including heart defects, delayed hatching and reduced hatching success, the researchers report.

Killifish are abundant in coastal marsh habitats along the Gulf Coast. Because the fish are non-migratory, the researchers say killifish are ideal subjects for a study of the health of ocean life in the wake of the oil spill.

The researchers collected Gulf killifish from an oiled site at Isle Grande Terre, La., and monitored them for measures of exposure to crude oil. They also exposed killifish embryos in the lab to sediment collected from oiled sites at Isle Grande Terre within Barataria Bay in Louisiana.

While the study only focused on Gulf killifish, other species that share similar habitats are redfish, speckled trout, flounder, blue crabs, shrimp and oysters - researchers say they may be at risk of similar effects. The killifish is an environmental indicator species, or a "canary in the coal mine," used to predict broader exposures and health risks, according to a press statement from the researchers at University of California, Davis.


Created Equal

A black Baptist minister and a group of Ku Klux Klan white supremacists. You wouldn’t expect to see them together, but that’s precisely why they’re found side-by-side in photographer Mark Laita‘s project Created Equal. Laita spent eight years shooting black-and-white portraits of Americans that are on opposite ends of various cultural spectrums. The images are then placed into diptychs that are both jarring in their juxtapositions and powerful reminders of our shared humanity.



Girl, 4, dies after rape in India

From Sumnima Udas and Neiha Sharma, CNN
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Wed May 1, 2013

New Delhi (CNN) -- A week after the news of a child rape sparked protests in India, hospital officials confirmed the rape of another girl.

The 4-year-old died Monday from cardiac arrest at Care Hospital in Nagpur, India, a spokesman said. A 35-year-old man has been arrested and accused of sexually assaulting the girl, said Mithilesh Shukla, superintendent of police.

It is the latest in a number of assaults that caused outrage and raised questions about how women and girls are treated in India.

The girl was allegedly abducted from Ghansaur, a small town in central India, on April 17, and her family found her the next day, unconscious and with severe head injuries, Shukla said.


TOM THE DANCING BUG: Hollingsworth Hound - "The Sequester and YOU"

A new parable!

By Tom Toles

Two groups of people who didn’t like each other and were fighting all the time decided to settle their differences once and for all with a tug of war.

They got a big heavy rope and drew a line in the middle and grabbed ahold and PULLLLLLLED. There was all manner of eye-bulging and foot-skidding and heavy breathing and the momentum shifted back and forth a bit, but one side finally succumbed to exhaustion and was dragged across the line. Yes they lost, but they didn’t yield on any of the stuff they were fighting about, so nothing got solved.

They decided then that they were going to have to do things differently, so they next lined up on opposite sides of a chasm, threw the rope across, and decided to tug until one team was dragged into the chasm and perished. More huffing and puffing and sweating and swearing, and one side was finally pulled to the brink of the chasm, but they let go of the rope, and nothing was solved.

Next it was determined that to avoid this letting-go thing, everyone needed to be tied to the rope. This time the losing side was dragged over the edge into the chasm and their weight dragged the other team over too, and they all died and the problem between them was solved once and for all. Maybe you can think of some real world situation this is a parable for. I’m too tired from all the exertion just now.


When I passed him he proudly announced "The atheists are winning!"

Redditor Ventachinkway caught a photo of a homeless man conducting a clever exercise in behavioral economics disguised as an inquiry into the levels of spontaneous generosity as determined by religious creed or lack thereof.


What Color Were Dinosaurs? Test Of Ancient Skin Sample May Reveal Answer

A dinosaur skin sample from a 70-million-year-old hadrosaur is being tested at the Canadian Light Source. This is one of only a few skin samples ever found (Photo : Canadian Light Source synchrotron)

Our books and films have long depicted dinosaurs to be some shade of green or brown- and for all we know, that might be accurate. But by testing one of the world's only well-preserved dinosaur skin samples at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron, researchers hope to determine a more definitive answer on dinosaur skin color as well as explain how a 70-million-year-old hunk of skin has been so well preserved.

The sample of hadrosaur skin was found close to a riverbed near Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada in 2012. The hardosaur was a duck-billed dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period (100-65 million years ago).

"As we excavated the fossil, I thought that we were looking at a skin impression. Then I noticed a piece came off and I realized this is not ordinary - this is real skin. Everyone involved with the excavation was incredibly excited and we started discussing research projects right away," said University of Regina physicist Mauricio Barbi in a statement from CLS.

Barbi said this is only the third three-dimensional dinosaur skin specimen ever found worldwide.

"This fossil is fascinating because it can tell us so much about the life and the appearance of the dinosaurs in the area."


High-fructose Corn Syrup May Be Linked To Mass Deaths In Bee Colonies

By James A. Foley
Apr 30, 2013 11:55 AM EDT

For years, commercial honey bee colonies around the world have reportedly been dying for no apparent reason, but researchers from the University of Illinois may have discovered why. The phenomenon called colony collapse disorder has been reported at commercial bee farms since as early as 2006, and the blame has largely rested with pesticides used to kill mites and other insects. But a new study indicates the true killer might be the high-fructose corn syrup which beekeepers have been feeding their colonies to supplement their honey, the natural staple food taken away from them.

According to a report by Phys.org, commercial honeybee operations began feeding bees high-fructose corn syrups in the 1970s because research then indicated it was safe for the bees. But as new pesticides have come into play as decades passed, the researchers say the bees' immunity response has been compromised.

The research does not suggest that high-fructose corn syrups are toxic to the bees, but that by eating a an artificial replacement for their natural honey, the bees are not being exposed to other compounds found in naturally in honey that can help bees fight off toxins like the ones in pesticides.

"The widespread apicultural use of honey substitutes, including high-fructose corn syrup, may thus compromise the ability of honey bees to cope with pesticides and pathogens and contribute to colony losses," the researches write in their abstract. They point to the enzyme p-coumaric, which is found in the bees' natural diet that helps strengthen the immune system.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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