Russia Begins Test Flights of Su-35S Series Fighter

2:57:44 PM, Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"Russia's Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer has started test flights of its first series-produced Su-35S Flanker-E multirole fighter, the company said on Tuesday.

The aircraft took off from the Komsomolsk-on-Amur airfield in Russia's Far East, spending one and a half hours in the air testing propulsion and control systems.

The Su-35 Flanker-E superiority fighter is powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring. It can effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems.

The aircraft has been touted as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology."

After the tests are completed, the Su-35 will be transferred to the Russian Defense Ministry.

MOSCOW, May 3 (RIA Novosti)"

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Chimps Are Self Aware

2:44:51 PM, Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"Chimpanzees are self-aware and can anticipate the impact of their actions on the environment around them, an ability once thought to be uniquely human, according to a study released Wednesday.

The findings, reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, challenge assumptions about the boundary between human and non-human, and shed light on the evolutionary origins of consciousness, the researchers said.

Earlier research had demonstrated the capacity of several species of primates, as well as dolphins, to recognize themselves in a mirror, suggesting a fairly sophisticated sense of self.

The most common experiment consisted of marking an animal with paint in a place -- such as the face -- that it could only perceive while looking at its reflection.

If the ape sought to touch or wipe off the mark while facing a mirror, it showed that the animal recognized itself.

But even if this test revealed a certain degree self-awareness, many questions remained as to how animals were taking in the information. What, in other words, was the underlying cognitive process?

To probe further, Takaaki Kaneko and Masaki Tomonaga of the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto designed a series of three experiments to see if chimps, our closest cousins genetically, to some extent "think" like humans when they perform certain tasks.

In the first, three females initiated a video game by placing a finger on a touch-sensitive screen and then used a trackball, similar to a computer mouse, to move one of two cursors..."

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The Rasmus - In The Shadows

2:33:23 PM, Wednesday, May 04, 2011

-- Haven't listened to this song in awhile.

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Nissan Wins Bid for New York's Iconic Yellow Cabs

1:17:52 PM, Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"Japan's Nissan Motor Co Ltd won a 10-year contract to build the next generation of New York's iconic yellow taxis, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Tuesday.

Nissan beat Turkish manufacturer Karsan Otomotiv and U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co for a deal city officials estimated at around $1 billion.

Nissan's design will be based on its NV200 minivan model.

"It's going to be the safest, most comfortable, and most convenient cab the City has ever had," Bloomberg said.

"We started this process to leverage our taxi industry's purchasing power to get the highest quality taxi," he noted. "The new taxis will be custom-designed to meet the specific demands of carrying 600,000 passengers a day."

On a conference call, Nissan officials said they expected to provide up to 26,000 taxi cabs over the lifetime of the contract starting in 2013, with a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of about $29,000.

"It's very important for Nissan," said Carlos Tavares, Nissan's chairman in the Americas. "We deserve a better presence (in the United States) than we have today despite progress in recent years."

Officials at Nissan, which also provides taxis for Tokyo and Mexico City, said they also expected a marketing boost for the brand from television and film exposure.

The city's world famous yellow cabs feature in just about every feature film or television series based in New York. They were even the basis for the award-winning series "Taxi" that ran from 1978 to 1983, whose cast included Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd..."

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Tropical Peat Forests in Trouble

7:15:58 PM, Tuesday, May 03, 2011

"Southeast Asia boasts nearly 250,000 square kilometers of peat swamp forests, which host creatures such as orangutans and the world's smallest fish, and store vast quantities of carbon. But these peat swamps are in trouble, according to a new study of deforestation in the region. If people continue to chop, drain, and burn at current rates, researchers report, by 2030 no native swamps will remain and billions of metric tons of carbon will be lofted into the atmosphere.

Almost all peatland in Southeast Asia is found in peninsular Malaysia and an archipelago of islands that includes Borneo and Sumatra. Rain trickles down mountains and through forests there, ultimately ending up in low-laying lands that can't quickly drain. Plant matter can't fully decay and turns into a peaty, acidic stew, trapping carbon and forming a unique environment for wildlife. Although Southeast Asian swamps comprise between 6% and 7% of global peatland, they store roughly 64 billion metric tons of carbon—about nine times the global emissions from fossil fuel combustion in 2006.

Globalization eventually reached Southeast Asia in the 1980s, driving farmers to fell peat forest trees for cash and replace the swamps with palm oil plantations. Earth-monitoring satellites have visually documented such destruction for decades, but researchers had never precisely quantified the loss for the region over a long period of time. Sorting out which pixels in the images belonged to swamps, palm oil plantations, urban areas, and the like is also difficult work that's impossible without well-tuned algorithms. So for 5 years, lead author and ecologist Jukka Miettinen and his colleagues at the National University of Singapore studied maps and developed methods to codify the images. They also incorporated infrared images to gauge the effect of human-set fires in the region..."

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Obama's Silence on Boeing Is Unacceptable

3:01:14 PM, Tuesday, May 03, 2011

"The president's appointees have moved to block the company from building planes in my state. He owes us an explanation.

In October 2009, Boeing, long one of the best corporations in America, made an announcement that changed the economic outlook of South Carolina forever: The company's second line of 787 Dreamliners would be produced in North Charleston.

In choosing to manufacture in my state, Boeing was exercising its right as a free enterprise in a free nation to conduct business wherever it believed would best serve both the bottom line and the employees of its company. This is not a novel or complicated idea. It's called capitalism.

Boeing has since poured billions of dollars into a new, state-of-the art facility in South Carolina's picturesque Low Country along the Atlantic coast. It has created thousands of good jobs and joined the long tradition of distinguished and employee-friendly corporations that have found a home, and a partner, in the Palmetto State.

This a win-win for South Carolina, for Boeing, and for the global clients who will see Dreamliners rolling off the North Charleston line at the rate of 10 a month, starting with the first one next year. But, as is often the case, a win for people and businesses is a loss for the labor unions, which rely on coercion, bullying and undue political influence to stay afloat.

South Carolina is a right-to-work state, and we're proud that within our borders workers cannot be required to join a labor union as a condition of employment. We don't need unions playing middlemen between our companies and our employees. We don't want them forcefully inserted into our promising business climate. And we will not stand for them intimidating South Carolinians.

That is apparently too much for President Obama and his union-beholden appointees at the National Labor Relations Board, who have asked the courts to intervene and force Boeing to stop production in South Carolina. The NLRB wants Boeing to produce the planes only in Washington state, where its workers must belong to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers..."

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Forget Straws: Hummingbirds Sip With Forks

12:36:13 PM, Tuesday, May 03, 2011
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Jersey Shore Gone Oscar Wilde

12:04:34 AM, Tuesday, May 03, 2011

YES!!! I don't watch Jersey Shore, but this is amazing. Santino Fontana and David Furr, two actors on Broadway’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” star in these short videos from Playbill.com and re-enact lines and scenes from MTV’s Jersey Shore. [via]

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If Schrödinger Cats All Die, Do The Alive Ones Go To Hell?

11:31:35 PM, Monday, May 02, 2011

"Schrödinger’s cat is in a quantum superposition of two states, namely |Dead> and |Alive>. If we open the box and find the cat dead, where is the living one? You all know the answer: In the ‘parallel universe’ where I pull the cat out alive. Let me add a twist that only a true cat hater can come up with.

In short, I will use quantum interaction to let the probability of observing a dead cat go to 100% without destroying the alive state. I pull only dead cats out and the alive ones have no parallel universes where I take them out of the box, thus they have nowhere to go when the box automatically opens, except for jumping straight into hell. Muahahahaha!!! Well, actually they won’t, but I will ask you to provide the correct answer for where they go: A new didactic challenge! (BTW: Has anybody ever suggested this scenario before? If so, please let me know.)

A mechanism inside of my box will kill everything inside of the box with a 10% probability at the one minute mark. After three minutes, the box automatically opens. Hence, after three minutes, in nine out of ten cases, I could see a healthy cat jumping out of the box. But cats are dirty and stink, as is widely acknowledged in the research literature, so at the two minute point, I do something a little different..."

-- "When I hear about Schrödinger's cat, I reach for my gun." — Stephen Hawking in a conversation with Timothy Ferris (4 April 1983)

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Bearbackin' - Photo by Marcus J Ranum

11:08:06 PM, Monday, May 02, 2011

-- UM... NSFW!?! Hahaha...

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T.I. - What You Know

11:00:05 PM, Monday, May 02, 2011
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Man Discovers a New Life-Form at a South African Truck Stop

10:22:59 PM, Monday, May 02, 2011

"Like many biologists, the German biologist Oliver Zompro spends thousands of hours looking at specimens of dead animals. He found his first new species when he was twenty. By the age of thirty he had named dozens of wild new forms. While other people around him did crossword puzzles and drank lattes, he explored the world, one animal at a time.

Then, one day, things changed. He was looking through specimens when he found something more interesting than anything he had ever seen before. It was a fossil that looked like a cross between two different kinds of animals. It had the wrong mix of parts. It was--he would come to convince himself--a single individual of an entirely new order of beasts.

An order is one of the big categories of life, a big branch on evolution's tree. Animal species are named every day, but finding another new order would be equivalent to discovering bats having not previously known they existed. Bats constitute their own order, as do primates, beetles, flies and rodents.

It is easy to imagine that we have found all of them, living and dead. Yet the grass had parted for Zompro and revealed his treasure. He was not the first person to see it, but he was the first to recognize its significance and, he hoped, to give it a name.

But before Zompro went public with his find, he craved more specimens. He had found one specimen that other scientists had overlooked. It was at least theoretically possible that he might find others. And so he began to search, with zeal. First, he visited the Natural History Museum in London. It is filled with dead animals and so a good place to begin..."

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Warm Coat by Bobby McLeod - Tiger Sleeping Under a Cover of Snow

8:01:51 PM, Monday, May 02, 2011
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Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Photos, April 29 2011

7:47:49 PM, Monday, May 02, 2011

"In this April 28, 2011 image from video footage released Friday, April 29, 2011 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), top parts of fuel rods are seen about 6 meters (20 feet) from the surface of water in the spent fuel storage pool at the damaged Unit 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. This is the first time an underwater image of the storage pool was released by TEPCO after the complex was ravaged byt the March tsunami. (Tokyo Electric Power Co. )"

-- Some more recent photos to go along with the previous ones I've posted for a quick update on this, since the rest of the world seems to have forgotten. What happened to all the panic!? *facepalm* Follow the links for the rest.

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Lupe Fiasco - Words I Never Said ft. Skylar Grey

3:59:27 PM, Monday, May 02, 2011

-- Politically charged music clip for Lupe Fiasco. Love it.

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