Endeavour Lifts Off on Its Final Flight

3:17:58 PM, Monday, May 16, 2011

"KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — With Gabrielle Giffords, the wounded Arizona congresswoman, watching from a wheelchair, the shuttle Endeavour lifted off Monday morning on a mission to pry secrets from the universe.

At 8:56 a.m. Eastern time, the spacecraft rose slowly on a pillar of fire, picking up speed and eventually disappearing from view as it stabbed through a layer of clouds on its way to orbit. Commanding the six-man crew was Capt. Mark E. Kelly, Ms. Giffords’ husband.

The congresswoman, who was shot in the head in an assassination attempt in January, watched in private with other crew members’ families and said “Good stuff, good stuff” as the shuttle rocketed away, according to her chief of staff, Pia Carusone. Captain Kelly’s twin brother, Scott, who is also an astronaut, gave a bouquet of roses to Ms. Giffords, who was wearing her husband’s wedding ring on a chain around her neck.

Outside the space center, crowds that law-enforcement officials had estimated could reach half a million people watched the lift-off, the next-to-last in the 30-year shuttle program.

“It was a fantastic launch,” Michael P. Moses, director of the mission’s management team, said at a news conference. “A great day for us.”

It was the second attempt at a lift-off for Endeavour, which was grounded by an electrical short-circuit on April 29. NASA officials said the shuttle’s three main engines performed well during the 8 1/2 minute ascent, and that the power system that had been the source of the electrical problem functioned perfectly..."

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RAF Aerial Photos From WW2 Used To Discover Location of £500m Nazi Gold Bunker

2:31:18 AM, Monday, May 16, 2011

"Historians using RAF surveillance photos shot by Mosquito fighter-bombers over Germany during WW2 believe they are poised to uncover a mammoth bunker containing the secret gold reserves of the Third Reich.

After using photos and eyewitness reports from the time to pinpoint the spot, a dig is due to start next month in the Leinawald forest near Leipzig in the hope it will uncover the lost underground complex.

Rumours of the colossal subterranean installation have fuelled a treasure hunt mania in the forest over recent years.

Nazi archives show that battalions of Organisation Todt - the Third Reich's main labour organisation - were shipped into the Leinawald in 1944 on the orders of Hitler's armaments minister Albert Speer.

At the weekend human remains were found in the forest; believed to be those of slave labourers forced to assist the Nazis in building the secret bunker.

And Luftwaffe records from 1945 show that a bombing raid by warplanes was ordered on the site in April 1945 - one month from the end of the war - despite the fact that hardly any German planes were able to fly because of total Allied air supremacy.

One photo that excites local historian Hilmar Prosche shows sand workings in August 1944 that resemble the outline of a human skull.

He believes the skull points the way to the bunkerentrancde and the Reichsbank gold worth over 500 million pounds on today's markets..."

-- The photo is of a much earlier find. General Patton's third army discovered 100 tons of Nazi gold hidden in a salt mine near mockers, southwest of Gotha in 1945.

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40 Things That Will Make You Feel Old

10:23:01 PM, Sunday, May 15, 2011
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Dubai: 'Suicide Jump' From World's Tallest Skyscraper

9:31:05 PM, Sunday, May 15, 2011

"A man has committed suicide by jumping from the world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai, according to its owner.

The man, in his 20s, fell from the 147th floor of the 2,717ft (828m) Burj Khalifa, landing on a deck on the 108th floor, local media reported.

The building's owner, Emaar Properties, confirmed "an incident involving a male" took place on Tuesday morning.

It would be the first known suicide from the 160-storey landmark, which opened in January 2010.

"The concerned authorities have confirmed that it was a suicide, and we are awaiting the final report," Emaar's statement said.

Reports on the websites of the Gulf News and 7 Days newspapers said the man had jumped after a dispute with his employer.

Police statements showed that a holiday he had requested was turned down, the National reported.

The Burj Khalifa was designed by Chicago-based architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

It is the tallest freestanding structure in the world, according to its developer."

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Jim Jefferies - Bagdad

5:28:57 PM, Sunday, May 15, 2011

-- Just in case you have no idea who Jim Jefferies is, 'cause he's focking hilarious!!!

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Frank Oscar Larson - New York City - The 1950's

5:05:33 PM, Sunday, May 15, 2011
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High Five For First Kiss

1:46:43 PM, Sunday, May 15, 2011

-- HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND!!! Cute, maybe a little odd...

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IP-Address Is Not a Person, BitTorrent Case Judge Says

2:00:51 PM, Saturday, May 14, 2011

"A possible landmark ruling in one of the mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the U.S. may spell the end of the “pay-up-or-else-schemes” that have targeted over 100,000 Internet users in the last year. District Court Judge Harold Baker has denied a copyright holder the right to subpoena the ISPs of alleged copyright infringers, because an IP-address does not equal a person.

In the last year various copyright holders have sued well over 100,000 alleged file-sharers in the United States alone. The purpose of these lawsuits is to obtain the personal details of the alleged infringers, and use this information to negotiate a settlement offer ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Lawyers, the public and consumer advocacy groups have compared these practices to extortion, but nonetheless new cases are still being filed every month. This week, however, an interesting ruling was handed down by District Court Judge Harold Baker that, if adopted by other judges, may become a major roadblock for similar mass-lawsuits.

In the case VPR Internationale v. Does 1-1017, the judge denied the Canadian adult film company access to subpoena ISPs for the personal information connected to the IP-addresses of their subscribers. The reason? IP-addresses do not equal persons, and especially in ‘adult entertainment’ cases this could obstruct a ‘fair’ legal process.

Among other things Judge Baker cited a recent child porn case where the U.S. authorities raided the wrong people, because the real offenders were piggybacking on their Wi-Fi connections. Using this example, the judge claims that several of the defendants in VPR’s case may have nothing to do with the alleged offense either.

“The infringer might be the subscriber, someone in the subscriber’s household, a visitor with her laptop, a neighbor, or someone parked on the street at any given moment,” Judge Baker writes..."

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Yes, You Can Get Leprosy From an Armadillo

1:34:56 PM, Saturday, May 14, 2011

"For years, scientists have speculated that armadillos can pass on leprosy to humans, and that they are behind the few dozen cases of the disease that occur in the U.S. every year. Now, they have evidence. A genetic study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that U.S. armadillos and human patients share what seems to be a unique strain of the bacterium that causes leprosy.

Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease after the physician who first described it, attacks the skin and the nerves. It's a difficult illness to study: The bacteria grows naturally only in people and armadillos, and in experiments will grow on the footpads of genetically engineered mice.

In most places around the world where leprosy shows up, the disease is thought to pass from person to person. But in Central America and parts of the U.S. South and Southwest, armadillos are common, showing up in backyards, under porches, and by the side of the road. And in some places, more than 20% of armadillos are infected with leprosy. "It's always been a curiosity," says Richard Truman, a microbiologist at the National Hansen's Disease Program which is housed at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Scientists think their low body temperature provides a good environment for Mycobacterium leprae, the leprosy bacteria; in humans, too, M. leprae prefers cooler areas, such as nostrils, fingers, and toes.

Whether armadillos are linked to human infections in the United States has been "very difficult to address," Truman says. The number of U.S. cases is minuscule—just 150 people are diagnosed with leprosy each year, and only 30 to 50 of those are thought to have contracted the disease locally. There have been several reports of leprosy patients who came into contact with armadillos. John Abide, a dermatologist in Greenville, Mississippi, runs a solo practice and in recent years has seen three patients with the disease; further questioning revealed that all three of them had been exposed to armadillos. One woman often worked in her garden, where there were armadillos "everywhere," Abide says. "She could have inhaled fecal material." And two male patients had killed armadillos near their houses. Abide published these case studies in 2008..."

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Pendulum Waves

11:11:30 AM, Saturday, May 14, 2011
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3-D Plastic Art for the Masses: Ready to Print

5:53:58 PM, Friday, May 13, 2011

As it turns out, there really is a great future in plastics.

“There’s nothing like working with plastic!” Marius Watz announced to an appreciative crowd at the start of a talk in Brooklyn recently. Mr. Watz, a Norwegian-born artist, was describing his work with MakerBot, a new consumer-grade, desktop-size 3-D printer. With some assembly and do-it-yourself tinkering, the MakerBot makes, or “prints,” three-dimensional objects from molten plastic, creating a piggy bank, say, or a Darth Vader head from a computer design at the touch of a button.

“I’d heard about 3-D printing in the ’90s, but at that time it sounded like some sci-fi technology, like laser guns,” Mr. Watz said. “Basically, it sounded totally awesome.”

“Awesome” was sort of the buzzword at MakerBot’s inaugural open house, held at its warehouselike offices in Gowanus, Brooklyn, where Mr. Watz, its first artist in residence, showed off his sculptural forms (“We just started doing some blobby objects — vaguely disturbing but also awesome”) to a few dozen admirers and MakerBot owners, mostly guys in various stages of nerdy bliss. (“Aaawwwe-some.”)

After a burst of invention by three friends, the company was formed two years ago— “built on caffeine,” said a founder, Bre Pettis — and has since expanded to 32 employees and thousands of MakerBot kits sold. Three-D printing has existed for years, but the machines were cumbersome and expensive, relegated to art and engineering schools, often monopolized by specialists. The MakerBot, which tops out at about $1,300, gives anybody with a computer and an idea the same creative horsepower, and artists are beginning to take notice..."

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What is the Human Genome Worth?

3:43:49 PM, Friday, May 13, 2011

"A high-profile claim that the Human Genome Project and associated research generated almost US$800 billion in economic benefits has been questioned by economists.

The estimate comes from the Battelle Memorial Institute, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. A team of researchers used an 'input–output' economic model to calculate a 141-fold return on each dollar invested in the Human Genome Project. The team's report concludes that a $3.8-billion federal investment (equivalent to $5.6 billion in 2010 dollars) produced $796 billion in economic output between 1988 and 2010 and, in 2010 alone, supported 310,000 jobs.

Critics of the report say that the methods used to calculate these numbers, despite being common practice in such studies, are flawed. For example, some of the costs of the project — such as the salaries of those working on it — are counted as benefits.

"What they did is conventional and reasonably done, for what it is," says economist Bruce Weinberg at Ohio State University in Columbus. "But at a deeper conceptual level, it's not very consistent with economic logic. All those guys who wound up sequencing the genome? Those aren't the benefits, those are the costs of sequencing the genome."

But the Battelle team stands by its analysis, as does the Life Technologies Foundation, the company that sponsored the report. "The numbers are big, but when you dig into it, the methodology is actually pretty conservative," says Greg Lucier, chief executive of Life Technologies. He says that the company commissioned the report because "we didn't really know how much value was created so far, or how broad the impact was"..."

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Nuclear Meltdown at Fukushima Plant

3:17:47 PM, Friday, May 13, 2011

"One of the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant did suffer a nuclear meltdown, Japanese officials admitted for the first time today, describing a pool of molten fuel at the bottom of the reactor's containment vessel.

Engineers from the Tokyo Electric Power company (Tepco) entered the No.1 reactor at the end of last week for the first time and saw the top five feet or so of the core's 13ft-long fuel rods had been exposed to the air and melted down.

Previously, Tepco believed that the core of the reactor was submerged in enough water to keep it stable and that only 55 per cent of the core had been damaged.

Now the company is worried that the molten pool of radioactive fuel may have burned a hole through the bottom of the containment vessel, causing water to leak.

"We will have to revise our plans," said Junichi Matsumoto, a spokesman for Tepco. "We cannot deny the possibility that a hole in the pressure vessel caused water to leak".

Tepco has not clarified what other barriers there are to stop radioactive fuel leaking if the steel containment vessel has been breached. Greenpeace said the situation could escalate rapidly if "the lava melts through the vessel"..."

-- Was so busy with finals I just found out now... Also, how come I didn't see anyone cover this? US news are useless.

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The Kiss Transmission Device

3:06:49 PM, Friday, May 13, 2011

--- FOREVER ALONE.

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'JetMan' Pulls Off Grand Canyon Flight — Quietly

2:56:16 PM, Friday, May 13, 2011

"HUALAPAI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy last Saturday completed a flight over the Grand Canyon in his custom-built jet suit, his sponsor announced Tuesday.

Rossy was airborne for more than eight minutes, soaring 200 feet above the canyon rim on the Hualapai Reservation after launching from a helicopter, Swiss watchmaker Breitling said in a press release.

A spokesperson for Grand Canyon Resort, a Hualapai company that facilitated the flight, confirmed that it happened.

Word of a Saturday flight came as a surprise because Rossy cancelled a planned Friday flight, saying it would be too challenging without any practice runs.

No reporters were present for the Saturday flight and a Swiss news website that has been tracking Rossy noted that he was nervous having so many reporters and onlookers waiting for him last Friday.

"I have a knot in my body," he was quoted by swissinfo.ch as saying. "Sorry for that. I’m human."

But a spokesperson for Breitling told msnbc.com that the event was low key only because Rossy didn't know until the last minute when wind conditions would be right for the flight..."

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