Future Force Warrior!
Jungle Yeti! Here's Methane!
Starving Moose & More!
|RoboNet - Intelligent Telescopes Look for Violence!|
|Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council News Release |
September 14, 2004 - British astronomers are celebrating a world first that could revolutionize the future of astronomy.
RoboNet is also looking for Earth-like planets, as yet unseen elsewhere in our Galaxy.
Prof. Bode added "Astronomical phenomena are however no respecters of such limitations, undergoing changes or appearances at any time, and possibly anywhere on the sky. To understand certain objects, we may even need round-the-clock coverage - something clearly impossible with a single telescope at a fixed position on the Earth's surface."
Thus was born the concept of "RoboNet" - a global network of automated telescopes, acting as one instrument able to search anywhere in the sky at any time and (by passing the observations of a target object from one telescope to the next in the network) being able to do so continuously for as long as is scientifically important.
To study GRBs, telescopes need to be pointed at the right area of the sky extremely quickly.
RoboNet's second major aim is to discover Earth-like planets around other stars. We now know of more than 100 extra-solar planets. However, all of these are massive planets (like Jupiter) and many are too near to their parent star, and hence too hot, to support life.
RoboNet will take advantage of a phenomenon called gravitational microlensing (where light from a distant star is bent and amplified around an otherwise unseen foreground object) to detect cool planets.
When a star that is being lensed in this way has a planet, it causes a short 'blip' in the light detected, which rapid-reacting telescopes such as the RoboNet network can follow up.
In fact, the network stands the best chance of any existing facility of actually finding another Earth due to the large size of the telescopes, their excellent sites and sensitive instrumentation.
The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) have funded the establishment of RoboNet-1.0, based around using the three giant robotic telescopes at their sites across the globe.
The "glue" that holds all this together is software developed by the LJMU-Exeter University "eSTAR" project, allowing the network to act intelligently in a coordinated manner.
|The Truth Is Out There!|
|[For better or for worse, these tales were published in the India Times last week by "Dr. Strangelove". The Truth is, there is nothing stranger on this planet than humans. Whew! Ed.] |
New York: Rajeswari Ayyappan, 59, checked in the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for brain surgery. Medical personnel performed the operation flawlessly... but on the wrong side of the brain.
Neurosurgery chief Ehud Arbit was relieved of his duties.
Her insurance carrier, after adding up the bills it paid for her psychiatric care - about $300,000 - joined the suit.
Ms Cool claimed that Olson said her 120 personalities included a duck and angels. Thankfully, no one alleged that Cool was mentally healthy.
"I'm not saying what he did wasn't wrong," board member Dr Edward Dauer explained. "But doctors are not God, and hospitals are not heaven either."
"I just want compensation for their mistake, for the years when I could have earned a living to support my family. I want the hospital to apologize," Smith said.
"It's astonishing. People sue for anything, just about anything these days," a British Medical Association spokesman responded.
He claimed that poor medical care was the cause for amnesia that made him leave his work release job and forget to return to prison.
Doctors at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital wanted to re-attach the hand, but Passmore refused to let them do so, saying that he would go to hell if he agreed. The doctors contacted a judge, who advised them to follow Passmore's wish and not re-attach his hand.
Later, Passmore sued both the hospital and doctors, claiming the hospital should have contacted his parents or sister to overrule the judge's decision and the hospital didn't tell the judge that he was incompetent.
|Future Force Warrior!|
|The National Academies News Release |
WASHINGTON September 10, 2004 - The U.S. Army should investigate alternative power sources, such as fuel cells and small engines, to create longer-lasting, lighter, cheaper, and more reliable sources of energy for the equipment soldiers will use in the future, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council. In addition, the Army should step up its efforts to develop and acquire technologies that are more energy-efficient, said the committee that wrote the report.
"The Army should immediately conduct a comprehensive analysis of power sources for future dismounted soldiers, looking beyond today's standard military batteries," said Patrick Flynn, committee chair and retired vice president for research, Cummins Engine Company Inc., Columbus, Ind.
"Many commercial energy sources exist, but they are developed for a consumer market, not the military. The Army must determine and select the energy sources that are most relevant to its needs."
The development, testing, and evaluation of these new energy sources will be carried out under a program known as Future Force Warrior.
Some of the applications requiring a higher level of power -- an average of 100 watts -- include portable battery rechargers; laser target designator devices used to guide a rocket, missile, or bomb to its target; and individual cooling systems for protective garments. For these applications, the committee concluded that hybrid systems operating on common military fuels would be needed.
To power such energy-intensive equipment, the Army should consider use of lightweight engine generators, the report says.
The key advantage of hybrid systems is their ability to provide power over varying levels of energy use, by combining two power sources.
|Elle Macpherson and The Knife|
LONDON September 10, 2004 (Reuters) - A TV advert that features a lingerie-clad woman caressing a carving knife and then scrubbing blood from the floor is causing controversy, just days after it hit the airwaves.
The ad for supermodel Elle Macpherson's Intimates lingerie line features several vignettes by fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti. One spot titled "Kitchen" begins with a woman in bra and knickers pensively handling a large knife, then segues to her scrubbing blood from the floor.
Macpherson said in a statement she loves the "cinematic mystery" of the ads.
The ads, which also drew complaints when they were aired in Australia, will only be shown after 9 p.m. under guidelines set by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre.
Watch "The Kitchen" online - requires Flash - (prepare to be not shocked) - http://www.intimates.tv
Elle Macpherson's Intimates - http://www.ellemacphersonintimates.co.nz
|Hunting The Jungle Yeti|
|By David Green |
BBC News Manchester
UK September 8, 2004 (BBC) - Two amateur explorers hope to prove the existence of the mythical "jungle yeti" by capturing the creature on film. Adam Davies, of Bramhall, Greater Manchester, and Andrew Sanderson, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, are traveling to Sumatra in Indonesia to hunt it down.
Three years ago, the pair found a footprint and hairs which, when analyzed by scientists, did not match any known species. They believe it is evidence the orang pendek, as it is called, does exist.
The creature - also known as the Little Man of the Forest - was first chronicled by the explorer Marco Polo in 1292 during his travels in Asia.
Although widely believed to exist by islanders, the creature has been dismissed by most scientists as a myth, similar to the Himalayan yeti or the Loch Ness Monster.
The orang pendek - which is reputed to be related to the orang-utan - is said to measure up to 5ft (1.5m) tall and walk like a man.
But the future of the orang pendek - if it exists - is threatened by illegal logging which is destroying the jungle habitat, but which many Sumatrans see as their only way of making a living. Adam hopes that proving the creature's existence will bring the eyes of the world on the island and make the orang pendek a protected species.
|How To Whip Bush!|
|LONDON September 9, 2004 (AFP) - As if Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" wasn't enough, Republicans can now get steamed up by a four-minute video of a ruthless dominatrix whipping US President George W. Bush in the Oval Office. |
For its 10th anniversary, upmarket London corset and lingerie boutique Agent Provocateur has put a clip on its website showing Bush, or rather an actor who looks like him, excitedly awaiting an after-lunch visit from his dom.
|Oil Depleted? Here There Be Methane!|
|DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory News Release |
LIVERMORE CA September 13, 2004 - Untapped reserves of methane, the main component in natural gas, may be found deep in Earth's crust, according to a recently released report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). These reserves could be a virtually inexhaustible source of energy for future generations.
The team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory, Harvard University, Argonne National Laboratory and Indiana University, South Bend, through a series of experiments and theoretical calculations, showed that methane forms under conditions that occur in Earth's upper mantle.
Methane is the most plentiful hydrocarbon in Earth's crust and is a main component of natural gas. However, oil and gas wells are typically only drilled 5 to 10 kilometers beneath the surface. These depths correspond to pressures of a few thousand atmospheres.
Using a diamond anvil cell, the scientists squeezed materials common at Earth's surface -- iron oxide (FeO), calcite (CaCO3) (the primary component of marble) and water to pressures ranging from 50,000 to 110,000 atmospheres and temperatures more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit -- to create conditions similar to those found deep within Earth. Methane (CH4) formed by combining the carbon in calcite with the hydrogen in water. The reaction occurred over a range of temperatures and pressures. Methane production was most favorable at 900 degrees Fahrenheit and 70,000 atmospheres of pressure.
The experiments show that a non-biological source of hydrocarbons may lie in Earth's mantle and was created from reactions between water and rock -- not just from the decomposition of living organisms.
"The results demonstrate that methane readily forms by the reaction of marble with iron-rich minerals and water under conditions typical in Earth's upper mantle," said Laurence Fried, of Livermore's Chemistry and Materials Science Directorate. "This suggests that there may be untapped methane reserves well below Earth's surface. Our calculations show that methane is thermodynamically stable under conditions typical of Earth's mantle, indicating that such reserves could potentially exist for millions of years." The study is published in the Sept. 13-17 early, online edition of the PNAS.
The mantle is a dense, hot layer of semi-solid rock approximately 2,900 kilometers thick. The mantle, which contains more iron, magnesium and calcium than the crust, is hotter and denser because temperature and pressure inside Earth increase with depth. Because of the firestorm-like temperatures and crushing pressure in Earth's mantle, molecules behave very differently than they do on the surface.
"When we looked at the samples under these pressures and temperatures, they revealed optical changes indicative of methane formation," Fried said.
"At temperatures above 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, we found that the carbon in calcite formed carbon dioxide rather than methane. This implies that methane in the interior of Earth might exist at depths between 100 and 200 kilometers.
"This has broad implications for the hydrocarbon reserves of the planet and could indicate that methane is more prevalent in the mantle than previously thought. Due to the vast size of Earth's mantle, hydrocarbon reserves in the mantle could be much larger than reserves currently found in Earth's crust."
Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - http://www.llnl.gov
|Dog Shoots Man!|
|PENSACOLA September 10, 2004 (AP) - A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver's trigger. |
Jerry Allen Bradford, 37, was charged with felony animal cruelty, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. He was being treated at a hospital for a gunshot wound to his wrist. Bradford said he decided to shoot the three-month-old shepherd-mix dogs in the head because he couldn't find them a home, according to the sheriff's office.
On Monday, Bradford was holding two puppies - one in his arms and another in his left hand - when the dog in his hand wiggled and put its paw on the trigger of the .38-calibre revolver. The gun then discharged, the sheriff's report said.
Deputies found three of the puppies in a shallow grave outside Bradford's home, said Sgt. Ted Roy.
The four others appeared to be in good health and were taken by Escambia County Animal Control, which planned to make them available for adoption.
[No charges were brought against the puppy, who pleaded self-defense. Ed.]
|CASPER WY September 15, 2004 (AP) - Malnutrition and starvation have drastically reduced moose numbers in northwest Wyoming, according to the author of a new study that debunks the belief among some that wolves are a leading cause of the decline. |
"I know people don't want to believe this ... but moose are not in the diets of wolves," Joel Berger, a senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, told Wyoming Game and Fish commissioners at a recent meeting.
The 10-year study is one part of the larger debate in recent years about the effects of wolf predation on the state's big game species, particularly on elk in western Wyoming herds.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologists say wolves continue to expand their range in western Wyoming. Wolves have now killed elk on 14 of the 22 state-operated feedgrounds and have displaced elk at several feedgrounds in the Gros Ventre and North Piney area. But there was little data about wolf impacts on moose populations.
Some outfitters and others have complained that moose numbers have been harmed by the transplanting of Canadian wolves into Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s.
But Berger said his study of three moose herds in the Jackson area shows the decline in moose populations is more of a problem with nutrition and habitat than with predators.
"There's a lot of other things going on besides predators ... habitat, changing weather, lags in vegetation response, poor willow growth, disease ... and we're losing (moose) habitat not only in quantity, but in quality too," he said.
"Wolf predation overall has not been intense in the unit ... and there's been little grizzly bear predation recently as well," Berger said.
The Jackson moose unit population averaged 2,400 animals from 1998 to 2002, according to Game and Fish data. The population rose slightly in 2003 and was estimated at 2,736 animals.
Berger's study showed about 14 percent to 18 percent of mortality in adult Jackson moose was due to grizzly bears and less than 2 percent due to wolves. Car collisions accounted for about 8 percent of total adult mortality, Berger noted.
"About 60 percent of adult female mortality is due to malnutrition... Less than 5 percent of adult females are lost due to predation," he said.
Berger said the study revealed that moose birth rates, and rates of twin births, are also down significantly.
The Game and Fish Department averaged about 500 moose hunting licenses issued each year for the moose in the Jackson area during the 1970s and 1980s. Now, the agency sells about 145 permits per year.
"To get back to the days of 500 permits ... it may not happen, but it will depend mostly on vegetative quality," Berger said.
Commissioner Bill Williams said it was important to get the word out about the study to the state's sportsmen and hunters.
"I was surprised... I think a lot of people have the misperception that wolves were responsible," he said.
In order to help the Jackson unit's population, the state has been cutting back hunting permits in the area, wildlife biologists said.
For the first time since 1971, no anterless moose tags will be issued for the Jackson herd during the 2004 hunting season. And for the seventh year, hunters may not take a cow moose accompanied by a calf.
|Genre News: Star Trek Enterprise, Shatner, C-3PO, Tru Vs. Point Pleasant, Jack & Bobby & More!|
Enterprise Guests Brent Spiner
Hollywood September 15, 2004 (eXoNews) - As if you didn't know, Brent Spiner (Mr. Data) returns to the Star Trek mythos as a guest star on Star Trek Enterprise this season in a three-episode arc and the folks at Star Trek have released a couple production reports that fill in some of the mystery about Spiner's role as Dr. Arik Soong, the great, great grandfather of Data's inventor Dr. Noonien Soong.
(There was an earlier Eugenics War in the Trek timeline. I'll leave it to you to figure out the Stardate, etc.)
This is one of those Brent Spiner "evil" roles, like Data's evil twin Lore. Spiner fans probably like him playing evil as much as he seems to relish such parts.
The Shatner visit remains a rumor. He was expensive before he got his Emmy and now the former Captain Kirk could be light years above the reported budget limitations imposed by Paramount to facilitate a fourth season of Enterprise.
Enterprise also won two Emmys last week, in the categories of Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series and Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Dramatic Underscore), at the Emmy Creative Arts Awards presentation where William Shatner finally picked up his statue (see below.)
[Jolene Blalock (T'Pol) did a terrific guest shot on Stargate SG-1 on September 10th, BTW, returning to her role of Ishta, the rebel Jaffa leader. Ed.]
Shatner Gets an Emmy
LOS ANGELES September 13, 2004 (AP) - Sharon Stone and William Shatner were among the winners at the creative arts Emmy Awards, which preceded next week's main ceremony. The creative arts awards, held Sunday night, recognized technical and other achievements for the 2003-04 season.
LONDON September 13, 2004 (Reuters) - Bidding goodbye to the gold robot after almost 30 years, Anthony Daniels shed a nostalgic tear for the mechanical manservant who changed his life.
Critics may have admired his on-screen chemistry with fellow robot R2-D2 but Daniels said: "I was talking to myself all the time. It was a very lonely experience. I was locked inside a box and had a friend who didn't speak to me."
Hollywood September 12, 2004 (Variety) - Fox is cutting back on "Tru Calling" before the show's second season even begins.
Decision could be a death blow to the 20th Century Fox TV/Original show, insiders conceded.
It's the same rationale the net used to pick up season two of the critically-hailed "Arrested Development."
[No change evident on the Fox Fall Schedule page and Tru is still included in the January 2005 lineup as well. There is also no web presence or Fox listing for the show Point Pleasant. No mention of it on the Internet Movie Database or in the credits of its creator, Joss Whedon sidekick Marti Noxon. Ed.]
Tru Calling Official - http://www.fox.com/trucalling
Fox January 2005 Schedule - http://www.fox.com/schedule/schedule_2005_jan.htm
No Madonna on CBS
NEW YORK September 11, 2004 (AP) - Even Madonna doesn't always get what she wants. A deal for the pop diva to show a tape of one of her concerts on CBS has fallen through.
Official Madonna - http://madonna.com
The seasoned comedian, best known for his Comedy Central series "Insomniac With Dave Attell," has signed a development deal with Fox Broadcasting Co. and sister studio 20th Century Fox TV to star in a sitcom.
"He has a very specific point of view, he is really funny, very edgy, has a huge following that cuts across all age groups, and it's really a no-brainer for Fox."
Hollywood September 13, 2004 (Variety) - The WB's "Jack & Bobby" put up decent overall numbers in its premiere Sunday night, but it was a surprisingly big hit with young femmes.
The film features Chris Cooper as grammatically challenged Colorado gubernatorial hopeful Dickie Pilager, a born-again candidate backed by his father, a U.S. senator with powerful corporate connections.
Pilager at first struggles to keep his composure when confronted by the press, delivering lines such as "Keeping the infrastructure in place, where it belongs, is a priority."
Silever City Official - http://www.silvercitythemovie.com
LOS ANGELES/TOKYO September 14, 2004 (Reuters) - A group headed by Sony Corp. of America has agreed to buy Hollywood film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for about $2.85 billion in cash to mine MGM's lucrative library for the booming DVD market.
The purchase of MGM is in keeping with Chief Executive Nobuyuki Idei's vision of creating synergies between Sony's consumer electronics products and music, movies and games.
MGM's film library is considered its crown jewel, generating a stream of revenue in the DVD market.
The announcement of the deal by MGM came after Time Warner withdrew, saying it could not reach agreement on price.
Sony is part of a consortium that supports the Blu-ray format against a format called HD DVD, which is endorsed by Japan's NEC Corp. and others.
Sony and its partners have locked in financing from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse First Boston for the bid, sources close to the talks said. J.P. Morgan is also leading debt financing for the deal.
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