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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
Number of posts: 23,472

Journal Archives

How to Create Your Own Monarch Butterfly Rest Stop

How to Create Your Own Monarch Butterfly Rest Stop
National Geographic
Published on Aug 19, 2014

Habitat loss and the destruction of native plants have been responsible for the rapid decline of the m​onarch ​b​utterfly, the most recognized butterfly in North America. To help​ ​protect these majestic insects as they migrate, citizens in the U.S. are resorting to a simple yet powerful tool: g​ardening. Gardens full of milkweed and nectar plants can serve both as rest stops for adult monarchs and as nurseries for their eggs.

Read more about the challenges monarch butterflies face as milkweed declines:

EDITOR: Jennifer Murphy

Confirmed: Microbial life found half mile below Antarctic ice sheet

Source: Los Angeles Times

In an icy lake half a mile beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, scientists have discovered a diverse ecosystem of single-celled organisms that have managed to survive without ever seeing the light of the sun.

The discovery, reported Wednesday in the journal Nature is not so much a surprise as a triumph of science and engineering. The research team spent 10 years and more than $10 million to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that life did indeed exist in subglacial lakes near the South Pole.


"I wasn't surprised to find life under there, but I was surprised how much life there was, and how they made a living," said Priscu, who teaches at Montana State University. "They are essentially eating the Earth."

Priscu and his team report the discovery of close to 4,000 species of microbes growing in the cold, dark environment of Subglacial Lake Whillans in western Antarctica. Each quarter teaspoon of the tea-colored lake water that they brought to the surface had about 130,000 cells in it, they write.


The findings have major implications for the search for life outside of Earth, especially on the moons of Enceladus and Europa, where scientists believe a thick icy crust covers a vast, internal liquid ocean.


Read more: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-microbe-ecosystem-antartic-ice-sheet-20140819-story.html

Plankton found in space: Sea creatures are discovered living on the exterior of the ISS

Source: Daily Mail

Traces of plankton and other microorganisms have been found living on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS), according to Russian space officials.

They claim the plankton were not carried there at launch – but are thought to have been blown there by air currents on Earth.


The discovery was made during a routine spacewalk by Russian cosmonauts Olek Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov, who were launching nanosatellites into space.

They used wipes to polish the surface of windows - also known as illuminators - on the Russian segment of the ISS and later found the presence of plankton and other microorganisms using ‘high-precision equipment’.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2728979/Never-mind-alien-life-SEA-PLANKTON-space-Creatures-living-surface-ISS-officials-say.html

World's Major Human Rights Abusers Giddy Over Ferguson

World's Major Human Rights Abusers Giddy Over Ferguson
Published on Aug 18, 2014

Hardly in a position to criticize, Iranian, Chinese and Russian media outlets are having a field day with the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

Follow Elizabeth Hagedorn: http://www.twitter.com/ElizHagedorn
See more at http://www.newsy.com


World's major human rights abusers giddy over Ferguson

Source: Newsy

The images out of Ferguson, Missouri, this past week - replete with tear gas and police in riot gear - have not only prompted vigorous debates here in the U.S.

They're also provoking an almost giddy reaction from some of the world's most notorious human rights offenders.


Still, while it may be easy to dismiss the judgment coming from Iran, China and Russia as hypocritical propaganda, how the U.S. is perceived abroad does have an impact.

Perhaps Julia Ioffe at The New Republic sums up the global criticism best: "Like it or not, this is what the world is seeing, the world to which we strive to be an example."

Read more: http://www.aol.com/article/2014/08/18/major-human-rights-abusers-giddy-over-ferguson/20948782/

India cancels Pakistan talks in row over Kashmir

Source: Agence France-Presse

India on Monday cancelled talks with Pakistan scheduled for later this month, in an angry reaction to a meeting between Pakistan's high commissioner and Kashmiri separatists.

The foreign ministry said Monday's meeting between the Pakistani envoy and separatist leaders in Indian-administered Kashmir had undermined efforts by the new Indian government to engage with Islamabad.

"I can confirm the foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan have been called off," foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told AFP.

Akbaruddin later told reporters that the high commissioner's meeting with separatist leaders "undermines the constructive diplomatic engagement initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his first day in office".


Read more: https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/24747344/india-cancels-pakistan-talks-in-row-over-kashmir/

"So, finally, after our Precautionary paper, a GMO lobbyist seems to be after us" - Taleb


Nassim Nicholas Taleb
August 8 at 7:32pm

So, finally, after our Precautionary paper, a GMO (Monsanto) lobbyist (name: Val Giddings) seems to be after us, with naive demonization techniques, very elementary efforts at delegitimizing me in person. I thought we were doing something wrong before that. But the problem is that the fellow is not very skilled at it and can't seem to get more than 900 pple on twitter (a net of 300 followers after reciprocation).

I wonder if something has changed in the smear campaign business. Not that it has ever been a great idea. Ralph Nader a lone activist faced a smear campaign by GM (failed). Same with Edmond Safra with American Express paying journalists to smear him (failed too, but he got them to pay big bucks and benefited hugely from the affair).

Anyway, worth inspecting how these things work.

UPDATE: So far reactions by lobbyists to our paper are not worth answering scientifically so far as they have been ALREADY addressed in text. The lobbyists just perform strawman deformations. Answering these other than telling them they are spinning means entering their game.


Delays for SC nuclear plant pressure industry

Source: Associated Press

Expensive delays are piling up for the companies building new nuclear power plants, raising fresh questions about whether they can control the construction costs that crippled the industry years ago.

The latest announcement came this week from executives at SCANA Corp., which has been warned by its builders the startup of the first of two new reactors in South Carolina could be delayed two years or more. SCANA Corp. and plant co-owner Santee Cooper have not accepted that timeline from the companies designing and building the reactors, nor have they accepted responsibility for additional costs.

That announcement may well foreshadow more delays for a sister project in eastern Georgia, and they have caught the attention of regulators and Wall Street.


Originally, the first of SCANA Corp.'s two new reactors was supposed to start commercial operation in April 2016. ... Without speeding up work, the first plant would be finished during the first half of 2019. The second of its new reactors would come online one year later.


Additional delays could prove unwelcome news for two pro-nuclear Republicans seeking re-election in November to Georgia's Public Service Commission, H. Doug Everett and Lauren "Bubba" McDonald.


Read more: http://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/Delays-for-SC-nuclear-plant-pressure-industry-5692710.php

These dirty dangerous expensive boondoggles should be canceled now, before they waste any more money on them.

They were supposed to be operating by 2010, under Bush's stupid "Nuclear Power 2010" program.

They weren't delayed by "hippie protestors" or "anti-nukes", they were delayed because this is an extremely difficult, dangerous, and expensive technology. And they are completely unnecessary.

And I sure hope this ongoing boondoggle helps defeat the idiot Republicans who fell for this scam.

2014 Bigelow Aerospace Promotional Video

Expandable Space Habitats
A Bigelow Reality

2014 Bigelow Aerospace Promotional Video
Bigelow Aerospace
Published on Jul 29, 2014

Founded in 1999 by visionary entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, the goal of Bigelow Aerospace is to create a new paradigm in space commerce and exploration via the development and use of revolutionary expandable habitat technology. Expandable habitats offer dramatically larger volumes than rigid, metallic structures as well as enhanced protection against both radiation and physical debris. Additionally, expandable habitats are lighter than traditional systems, take up less rocket fairing space, and most important of all in today’s fiscally constrained environment, Bigelow habitats are extremely affordable.

Bigelow Aerospace has already fabricated and deployed two subscale pathfinder spacecraft, Genesis I and Genesis II, which were launched in 2006 and 2007, respectively. A third prototype spacecraft, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (“BEAM”) is scheduled to be launched to the International Space Station (“ISS”) by NASA in 2015. When the BEAM is attached to the ISS it will demonstrate the value of expandable habitats as part of a crewed system.

In addition to the BEAM, Bigelow Aerospace is aggressively pursuing the development of its full-scale system, the BA 330. As the name indicates, the BA 330 will provide approximately 330 cubic meters of internal volume and will support a crew of up to six. BA 330s will be used to support a variety of public and private activities in and beyond Low Earth Orbit (“LEO”). Bigelow Aerospace is also working on even larger spacecraft, such as its ‘Olympus’ module, which will provide a massive 2,250 cubic meters of internal volume.

Regardless of the destination, LEO, the Moon, or Mars, Bigelow Aerospace’s expandable habitats will enable a new era in space commerce and exploration.

Falcon 9 First Stage Reentry Footage from Chase Plane

Falcon 9 First Stage Reentry Footage from Plane
Published on Aug 14, 2014

Following the successful launch of six ORBCOMM satellites, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage reentered Earth’s atmosphere and soft landed in the Atlantic Ocean. This footage is from a chase plane filming the decent of the first stage back to earth.

Towards the end of the video, the camera operator attempted to zoom in and unfortunately lost sight of the stage and was unable to capture the tip over into the water.

This was the July 14 launch, a month ago.

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