Astronomy Picture of the Day: The Antennae

11:16:53 PM, Thursday, June 09, 2011

-- "Some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus, two large galaxies collided. But the stars in the two galaxies, cataloged as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, don't collide in the course of the ponderous event, lasting hundreds of millions of years. Instead, their large clouds of molecular gas and dust do, triggering furious episodes of star formation near the center of the cosmic wreckage. Spanning about 500 thousand light-years, this stunning view also reveals new star clusters and matter flung far from the scene of the accident by gravitational tidal forces. Of course, the suggestive visual appearance of the extended arcing structures gives the galaxy pair its popular name - The Antennae. "

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BMW 1M - Walls

11:01:53 PM, Thursday, June 09, 2011
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Underwater Spider Spins Itself an Aqualung

5:12:46 PM, Thursday, June 09, 2011

"In the ponds of northern Europe lives a tiny brown spider with a bubble on its back. The 10-millimeter-long Argyroneta aquatica is the only spider in the world that spends its entire life underwater. But just like land spiders, it needs oxygen to breathe. So every so often, it leaves its underwater web home to visit the surface and brings back a bubble of air that sticks to its hairy abdomen. It deposits the bubble into a little silk air tank spun for the purpose. This "diving bell," researchers have now found, is not just a repository. It's actually a gill that sucks oxygen from the water, allowing the spider to stay under for up to 24 hours.

Fascinated by the water spider ever since he read about it as a boy, physiologist Roger Seymour of the University of Adelaide in Australia decided to study it "out of sheer curiosity more than anything else." So he traveled to Berlin to meet with physiologist Stefan Hetz of Humboldt University in Germany. The pair spent a summer collecting spiders, putting them in tanks, and watching them spin their silvery nets and fill them with air bubbles.

The researchers decided to try out a new technology: a tiny fiber-optic oxygen sensor called an optode. Only 15 micrometers in diameter, the optode was small enough not to rupture the diving bell when the researchers poked it through the webby membrane and measured how gases move across the bell's surface. The bell, they found, functions like a gill: As the spider removes oxygen from the bell by breathing it in, more oxygen flows in to take its place. This gives the spider a constant oxygen supply without requiring it to venture to the surface often. But after about 24 hours, water pressure on the silk begins to collapse the bell, so the spider makes a break for the surface to grab another bubble. The optode also showed that the spider consumes surprisingly little oxygen over the course of its trips back to the bell to grab a breath of air..."

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Rihanna - Man Down

2:10:38 AM, Thursday, June 09, 2011

-- Not a Rihanna fan, but heard this song on the radio today and liked it enough to look it up.

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Boy Catches His First Fish

12:18:10 AM, Thursday, June 09, 2011
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Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007 – Anthony Weiner

11:57:18 PM, Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Anthony Weiner Sponsored Internet Sexual Predators Legislation.

In the interest of protecting the children, U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner (Pervert – N.Y.), sponsored the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007 a.k.a. KIDS Act of 2007. The text of the legislation is below.

But here’s a great quote from the Weiner about his interest in stopping Internet predators.

“Sadly, the Internet is the predator’s venue of choice today. We need to update our strategies and our laws to stop these offenders who are a mere click away from our children.” – Anthony Weiner

At first, Congressman Weiner accused others of the crime of hacking his Twitter account to tweet a special “weiner” pic of him in his undies. Instead of calling in the FBI to pursue the alleged crime, Anthony Weiner then relabeled the event as a “prank.”

After denials and evasions for a week, Congressman Anthony Weiner was forced by additional lewd photos to admit he’s been trolling for cybersex relationships for years and has engaged in them with at least six women.

And Anthony Weiner doesn’t know if any of his communications have been with minors either. If so, would he qualify as the same type of Internet sexual predator he’s pontificating against in legislation and related press releases?

Of course, now that he’s said he’s sorry (that he got caught), Weiner considers this to be a resume enhancer and refuses to resign from office. Perhaps he will continue with his plans to run for New York City Mayor.

I won’t pretend to be the moral police. But then again, neither should Anthony Weiner..."

-- I think every possible Weiner joke has been made by now, so I'll just leave this at ironic and hilarious.

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Two New Elements Added to Periodic Table

11:33:20 PM, Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"NEW YORK (AP) — They exist for only seconds at most in real life, but they've gained immortality in chemistry: Two new elements have been added to the periodic table.

The elements were recognized by an international committee of chemists and physicists. They're called elements 114 and 116 for now — permanent names and symbols will be chosen later.

You're not likely to run into any of this stuff. Scientists make them in labs by smashing atoms of other elements together to create the new ones.

"Our experiments last for many weeks, and typically, we make an atom every week or so," said chemist Ken Moody of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who's part of the discovery team.

In contrast to more familiar elements like carbon, gold and tin, the new ones are short-lived. Atoms of 114 disintegrate within a few seconds, while 116 disappears in just a fraction of a second, Moody said.

Both elements were discovered by a collaboration of scientists from Livermore and Russia. They made them by smashing calcium ions into atoms of plutonium or another element, curium. The official recognition, announced last week, cites experiments done in 2004 and 2006.

In the periodic table, the number of an element refers to the number of protons in the nucleus of an individual atom. Leading the list is hydrogen (H) with one. Sodium (Na) has 11, Iron (Fe) has 26, and silver (Ag) has 47..."

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New Car Purchases Starting In June Will Have a Mandatory Black Box Installed

10:45:14 PM, Sunday, June 05, 2011

"Beginning in June of 2011, all new cars manufactured and sold in the United States will be required to have a mandated black box device installed, which can be used to monitor several different physical and technical data points.

On May 24th, a report on the new regulatations to be implemented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) next month expands the program that in February was just in a consideration phase.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is expected to issue new regulations next month, that will require a black box style data recorder be fitted in all new cars.

Similar in concept to the familiar black boxes used in commercial aircraft for decades, the boxes are expected to record information about speed, seat belt use and brake application in the final seconds leading up to an accident, the data can be retrieved for later analysis. – Dvice.com

The installation and use of these black boxes can have infinite possibilities for local, state, and federal governments to monitor and record data for a number of other revenue programs that are currently under consideration. In March, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a proposal to institute a tax on mileage to help pay for the federal budget deficit. Additionally, local cities and counties can download information from these black boxes, and they can be used to issue driving citations after the fact in the case of speeding or not wearing a seat belt.

While the concept of installing a black box in new automobiles has several good points in assisting law enforcement and emergency services as to the location and circumstances of an accident or road emergency, policies currently underway by many municipalities and states show that public safety personnel are now being used more as revenue collectors than as first responders to incidents as they occur..."

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Circular Sawblade Slingshot

10:24:33 PM, Sunday, June 05, 2011

-- Badass... and um, perfectly normal.

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Chinese Teenager Sells Kidney For iPhone

12:35:00 PM, Saturday, June 04, 2011

"A Chinese teenager has sold his kidney to buy an iPad and iPhone.

Xiao Zheng, from the country's south-eastern Anhui province, is believed to have met a broker on the internet who said he could help him sell his kidney for £1,825 (Yuan 20,000).

He is said to have left a message for the middleman saying: "I want to buy an iPad 2."

Zheng then travelled to Chenzhou in central Hunan province, where he had his right kidney removed in a hospital.

His mother told reporters she was devastated by the news.

She said: "When my son came home he had a laptop computer and an Apple phone.

"Where did all that money come from? Only when he could bear it no longer did he tell us.

"He said, Mum, I sold my kidney.

"When I heard it I felt like the sky was crashing down on our family."

The boy's mother alerted police after she found out but they were unable to locate the broker as his phone was switched off.

The hospital was not authorised to perform organ transplants, and claimed they had no idea about the surgery because the department had been contracted to a businessman from a neighbouring province, reports said."

-- Who needs two kidneys!? That's just wasteful. [For video follow link]

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New Tata Magic Iris and Ace Zip

12:22:40 PM, Saturday, June 04, 2011

"Not sure if you remember that funny little penguin that was spotted back in 2009, but it has just been launched as the Tata Ace Zip in India. Together with covered sister Magic Iris, the duo look soft toy cute (to me at least) with their wide open eyes and odd proportions. Eyelashes will work well here, don’t you think?

Wait, it gets funnier. The one with the roof, Magic Iris, is described as a four-wheel, 3-4 seater small passenger carrier, a good alternative to those three-wheelers that are popular in India. The pick-up bodied Ace Zip on the other hand, is described by the press release as a 600-kg micro truck “for deep-penetration goods movement”. By the way, this is not Google Translate playing tricks, the release is in English. Deep penetration goods movement, I like!

Both are powered by a 611 cc, water cooled engine with 11 hp and 31 Nm of torque. Those wheels are 12-inch items. No performance figures are given, but the Ace Zip’s payload is 600 kg. Turning radius is a small 3.5 metres. The body is all steel, including the hard top and double steel sheet doors on the Magic Iris.

The Magic Iris is priced at Rs 1.95 lakh (about RM13,000) while the Ace Zip costs Rs 1.90 lakh, ex showroom Thane without octroi tax. They come with a warranty of 36,000 km or 12 months."

-- Who wants one?!

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Old Man Invades Interview With Animal Noises

2:56:06 PM, Friday, June 03, 2011
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Deepest-Living Land Animal Found

10:47:35 PM, Thursday, June 02, 2011

"Worms have been found living at depths in the Earth where it was previously thought animals could not survive.

Discovered in South African mines, the roundworms can survive in the stifling 48C (118F) water that seeps between cracks 1.3km beneath the Earth's crust.

The find has surprised scientists who, until now, believed only single-celled bacteria thrived at these depths.

Writing in the journal Nature, the team says this is the deepest-living "multi-cellular" organism known to science.

The researchers found two species of worm. One is a new species to science, which the scientists have named Halicephalobus mephisto after Faust's Lord of the Underworld.

The other is a previously known roundworm known as Plectus aquatilis.

Until now, only single-celled organisms, like bacteria and fungi, have been recovered from kilometres beneath the Earth's crust. The lack of oxygen is thought to stymie attempts by anything larger to make its home there.

But this has not stopped scientists looking.

The Earth's subterranean world is only accessible to researchers in a handful of places worldwide where ore-mining requires drilling to reach depths of more than 3km.

Taking advantage of two such sites - the Beatrix and Driefontein gold mines in South Africa - the international team of researchers placed filters over the mines' bore-holes through which thousands of litres of groundwater pour..."

-- And there's definitely no life on other planets guys, none. Also think Dune... Maybe if we exposed them to some radioactive materials or something... Mhuahaha!

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Astronomy Picture of the Day: Hydrogen in the LMC

10:36:29 PM, Thursday, June 02, 2011

-- "A satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is an alluring sight in dark southern skies and the constellation Dorado. A mere 180,000 light-years distant, the LMC is seen in amazing detail in this very deep 4 frame mosaic of telescopic images, a view that reveals the Milky Way's satellite to have the appearance of a fledgling barred spiral galaxy. The mosaic includes image data taken through a narrow filter that transmits only the red light of hydrogen atoms. Ionized by energetic starlight, a hydrogen atom emits the characteristic red H-alpha light as its single electron is recaptured and transitions to lower energy states. As a result, this mosaic seems spattered with pinkish clouds of hydrogen gas surrounding massive, young stars. Sculpted by the strong stellar winds and ultraviolet radiation, the glowing hydrogen clouds are known as H II (ionized hydrogen) regions. Composed of many overlapping clouds, the sprawling Tarantula Nebula left of center, is by far the LMC's largest star forming region. The Large Magellanic Cloud is about 15,000 light-years across. "

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Kid Gives Speech After Learning To Ride A Bike

10:18:17 PM, Thursday, June 02, 2011
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