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

Journal Archives

Opportunity Rover Starts Year 10 on Mars with Remarkable Science Discoveries

Image caption: Opportunity Celebrates 9 Years and 3200 Sols on Mars snapping this panoramic view from her current location on ‘Matijevic Hill’ at Endeavour Crater. The rover discovered phyllosilicate clay minerals and calcium sulfate veins at the bright outcrops of ‘Whitewater Lake’, at right, imaged by the Navcam camera on Sol 3197 (Jan. 20, 2013). “Copper Cliff” is the dark outcrop, at top center. Darker “Kirkwood” outcrop, at left, is site of mysterious “newberries” concretions. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer

9 Years ago, NASA’s pair of identical twin sister rovers – christened Spirit & Opportunity- bounced to daunting airbag-cushioned landings on opposite sides of the Red Planet for what was supposed to be merely 90 day missions, or maybe a little bit longer scientists hoped.

Today, Opportunity celebrates a truly unfathomable achievement, starting Year 10 on Mars since she rolled to a bumpy stop on January 24, 2004 inside tiny Eagle crater. And she’s now at a super sweet spot for science (see our photo mosaic above) loaded with clays and veined minerals and making the most remarkable findings yet about the planets watery past - thus building upon a long string of previously unthinkable discoveries due to her totally unforeseen longevity.

“Regarding achieving nine years, I never thought we’d achieve nine months!” Principal Investigator Prof. Steve Squyres of Cornell University told Universe Today for this article commemorating Opportunity’s 9th anniversary.
Opportunity reached 3200 Sols, or Martian days, and counting , by her 9th birthday. She is now 108 months into the 3 month primary mission – that’s 36 times longer than the 3 month “warranty.”

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/99264/opportunity-rover-starts-year-10-on-mars-with-remarkable-science-discoveries/

Luckovich Toon- Path to Citizenship

A Bird Ballet

from Neels CASTILLON PLUS 1 day ago
We were shooting for a commercial with my D.O.P, waiting for an helicopter flying into the sunset, when thousands and thousands of birds came and made this incredible dance in the sky. It was amazing, we just forgot our job and started this little piece of poetry... Enjoy !
Thanks to the birds... (I'm not sure but I think it's starlings )

Blood-Biting Tyrant: Previously Unknown Ancient Super Marine Predator Identified

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have identified a previously unknown ancient ocean predator after analyzing a fossil that had spent over a century in the Hunterian Museum at the University of Glasgow. The Times reports that the 165-million-year-old fossil was found in a clay pit near Peterborough in the early 1900s.

The 30-foot-long ancient predator has been named Tyrannoneustes lythrodectikos, which means "blood-biting tyrant swimmer." The ancient creature is a distant relative of crocodiles. In the sketch, the creature appears to resemble a cross between a crocodile and a dolphin or shark. BBC News reports that the creature's large graping jaw and serrated teeth would have enabled it to feed on larger prey.

Dr Mark Young, form the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, said in a statement, "It is satisfying to be able to classify a specimen that has been unexamined for more than 100 years, and doubly so to find that this discovery improves our understanding of the evolution of marine reptiles."


New rumors surface of famine-induced cannibalism in North Korea

North Koreans may be turning to cannibalism for survival as serious food shortages continue to wrack the infamously oppressive Asian nation, some new reports suggest.

The Sunday Times wrote that a DPRK father was allegedly put to death by firing squad, after it was discovered that he had killed and eaten two of his own children last year — during the 2012 famine, which may have killed thousands.

The Times added that citizen journalists within North Korea, employed by the AsiaPress, suspect at least 10,000 perished from starvation in provinces south of Pyongyang last year.

“While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well," an informant told AsiaPress.

"When the wife came home he offered her food, saying ‘We have meat.’ But his wife, suspicious, notified the ministry of public security, which led to the discovery of part of their children’s bodies under the eaves.”



Danziger toon: Palin needs a job!

In Kennedy memorabilia headed for auction, a tale of friendship

By Marisa Gerber
January 27, 2013, 8:30 a.m.

Sprawled out on the floor of a New England home, surrounded by yellowing photographs and a flag that once rode in the presidential motorcade, appraiser Dan Meader leafed through history.

A folder labeled “Texas Trip” piqued his attention. He opened it and found documents dated the week John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas’ Dealey Plaza in 1963. He scanned the notes taken by Kennedy special assistant David Powers.

“Three shots,” he read, and then, “I carried my president onto the Air Force One in the casket.” He got goose bumps.

“It just takes you to the core,” Meader said. “This was his best friend. His life changed in that moment.”


The dumbest Ryan quote yet: "We would have fixed our fiscal mess under Bill Clinton"


The nation’s most pressing fiscal issues would likely have been solved if Bill Clinton were president, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday in a swipe at President Obama

Look, if we had [a] Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles, chief of staff of the White House or president of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now. That’s not the kind of presidency we’re dealing with right now,” Ryan said on NBC News’s “Meet The Press.”


Hey Lyin', just HOW did Clinton fix the budget mess left by your fellow republicans Reagan and BushI???? Hmmmmmm? Perhaps by RAISING TAXES WITHOUT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTE IN THE HOUSE.

Now, if you want to fix things in a similar fashion, I would suggest a bunch of you t-bagging scum resign, let some democrats take over so that we can repeat the process. I am sure Obama would be happy to oblige!

The Story Behind Banksy

By Will Ellsworth-Jones
Smithsonian magazine, February 2013

When Time magazine selected the British artist Banksy—graffiti master, painter, activist, filmmaker and all-purpose provocateur—for its list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2010, he found himself in the company of Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Lady Gaga. He supplied a picture of himself with a paper bag (recyclable, naturally) over his head. Most of his fans don’t really want to know who he is (and have loudly protested Fleet Street attempts to unmask him). But they do want to follow his upward tra­jectory from the outlaw spraying—or, as the argot has it, “bombing”—walls in Bristol, England, during the 1990s to the artist whose work commands hundreds of thousands of dollars in the auction houses of Britain and America. Today, he has bombed cities from Vienna to San Francisco, Barcelona to Paris and Detroit. And he has moved from graffiti on gritty urban walls to paint on canvas, conceptual sculpture and even film, with the guileful documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Pest Control, the tongue-in-cheek-titled organization set up by the artist to authenticate the real Banksy artwork, also protects him from prying outsiders. Hiding behind a paper bag, or, more commonly, e-mail, Banksy relentlessly controls his own narrative. His last face-to-face interview took place in 2003.

While he may shelter behind a concealed identity, he advocates a direct connection between an artist and his constituency. “There’s a whole new audience out there, and it’s never been easier to sell [one’s art],” Banksy has maintained. “You don’t have to go to college, drag ’round a portfolio, mail off transparencies to snooty galleries or sleep with someone powerful, all you need now is a few ideas and a broadband connection. This is the first time the essentially bourgeois world of art has belonged to the people. We need to make it count.”

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/The-Story-Behind-Banksy-187953941.html

Donald Hornig, Last to See First A-Bomb, Dies at 92

In a small shed at the top of a 100-foot-tall steel tower deep in the New Mexico desert, Donald Hornig sat next to the world’s first atomic bomb in the late evening of July 15, 1945, reading a book of humorous essays. A storm raged, and he shuddered at each lightning flash.

It was his second trip to the tower that day as part of the Manhattan Project, the secret American effort to build an atomic bomb. He had earlier armed the device, code-named Trinity, connecting switches he had designed to the detonators.

But J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the project, had grown nervous about leaving the bomb alone. He told Dr. Hornig to return to the tower and baby-sit the bomb.

A little after midnight, the weather had improved, and Dr. Hornig was ordered down from the tower. He was the last man to leave and the last to see the weapon before it changed human history.

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