Stars With Multiple Planets Abound
|2:07:49 PM, Tuesday, May 24, 2011|
"Planets like company. No less than one in three of all planets around other stars found by NASA's Kepler space telescope are in multiple-planet systems. What's more, the sheer number of those systems suggests that they are more tranquil places than our own solar system, say astronomers working with the telescope.
Since it was launched just over 2 years ago, Kepler has found 116 systems with two planets, 45 with three, eight with four, one with five, and one with six planets, astronomer David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reported here today at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society. That's a total of 171 multiple-planet systems. "We thought we might see a few multiplanet systems," Latham says. "Instead, we found lots of them."
Kepler detects a planet when it passes in front of its parent star, as seen from Earth. Such transits produce minute, periodic dips in the brightness of the star. Kepler continuously monitors 165,000 stars to search for those transits.
The low expectation for multiple-planet systems was based on the fact that the eight planets in our own solar system do not orbit in exactly the same plane. For instance, the plane of Mercury's orbit is tilted by 7˚ relative to that of Earth. So if the solar system were viewed from a vast distance, if one planet produced transits, most others would not..."
Morgan Page - Fight For You
|1:19:49 PM, Tuesday, May 24, 2011|
Contractor Can't Account for $9.8 Million in Project to Aid Iraqi Farmers
|10:27:21 PM, Monday, May 23, 2011|
"USAID awarded a $343 million contract to Louis Berger Group in 2007 to help Iraqi farmers by promoting crop diversity, improving farmers’ access to information systems and providing technical assistance. An audit by the USAID inspector general has determined that the contractor mismanaged the program and couldn't account for almost $10 million in costs.
The Louis Berger Group failed to implement measurements for agricultural productivity, completely lacked results to demonstrate agribusiness loan increases, reported inaccurate results and millions in unsupported program costs.
The agribusiness contract was supposed to increase agricultural productivity by specific percentages with targeted crops, but the contractor never developed a method of measuring or reporting results. The program was also supposed to generate at least 40,000 agricultural jobs, but fell short of the minimum goal by 10,000. The contractor did not differentiate between full-time or part-time jobs and lacked documentation supporting job creation.
Louis Berger reported $172 million in increased sales for agriculture businesses, short of the $300 million goal, but did not provide adequate documentation for sales. Another aspect of the program was increasing agribusiness loans, which was completely absent from the contractor’s report..."
The Saudi Woman Who Took to the Driver's Seat
|7:23:23 PM, Monday, May 23, 2011|
"In a tough setback for aspiring Saudi female drivers, Saudi police have arrested female activist Manal al-Sharif, who boldly posted a video of herself behind the wheel online on Friday. Our Observer was with her for the symbolic drive.
More than 600,000 people watched the video of al-Sharif chatting with a friend as she drives around the eastern Saudi city of Khobar. The seemingly mundane scene is in fact anything but. Deeply conservative Saudi Arabia is the last country in the world to ban women from driving.
Al-Sharif was reportedly arrested on May 22 while driving, released for a few hours then taken back into custody. A Saudi security official said she is being accused of “violating public order”, and will be held for five days while the case is investigated. The video she made was removed from YouTube following her arrest, as was the Facebook page she created calling on Saudi women to collectively defy the driving ban on June 17.
Nevertheless, a new Facebook page was created almost immediately, and the video survived on video sharing site YouTube, re-posted by Al-Sharif’s supporters..."
Time-Lapse of German Shepard Puppy Growing Up
|4:55:20 PM, Monday, May 23, 2011|
President Obama's Car Gets Stuck Leaving the US Embassy in Dublin
|1:28:19 PM, Monday, May 23, 2011|
-- Haha! Someone just lost a job... Should have hired someone with experience driving lowered cars, huh? ;)
Louisville Woman Pulls Sword at Pizza Hut
|7:39:06 PM, Sunday, May 22, 2011|
"LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- Police say a woman involved in an argument at a Louisville Pizza Hut raised the stakes considerably when she tried to pull a sword.
It happened Thursday night, shortly after 9 p.m. at the Pizza Hut on 7th St. Rd., near Dixie Hwy.
According to an arrest report, police were called to the restaurant after they received reports that 29-year-old Wynika Mason was "causing trouble." When they got there, she allegedly began yelling at the officers.
An employee told the officers that, shortly before they arrived, Mason began yelling at him and told him that she had a sword on her person. The employee said that Mason, "began to raise it out of the sheath" when her brother seized it from her and put it in their vehicle outside.
Police say Mason told them that she did indeed have a sword and it was still in the vehicle. Officers recovered the sword, according to the arrest report.
Officers say customers and employees were both inside the Pizza Hut when the events occurred, and that the employees, "felt threatened by her behavior."
Mason was charged with disorderly conduct and menacing."
Nadia Ali - Rapture (Avicii Remix)
|5:35:04 PM, Sunday, May 22, 2011|
To Harvest Natural Gas From the Ocean, Shell Is Building the World's Largest Man-Made Floating Object
|4:56:37 PM, Sunday, May 22, 2011|
"Shell is making good on its promise to build the largest object ever to float on water, announcing Friday it would build the Prelude FLNG Project to harvest offshore natural gas fields. The gargantuan ship will suck up the equivalent of 110,000 barrels of oil per day.
The floating liquified natural gas facility will dwarf the biggest warships, weighing in at 600,000 metric tons. By contrast, the U.S.’ next-generation Ford-class supercarrier will displace 101,000 metric tons of water. Shell says its ship will be able to withstand a category 5 typhoon.
In some ways, it’s more of a mini-island than a ship, designed to be moored in the same spot off the northwest coast of Australia for 25 years. The facility will be one-third of a mile long — longer than five football fields laid end-to-end — and will contain 260,000 metric tons of steel, about five times the amount used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The ship will chill the natural gas to -260° F to reduce its volume by 600 times, enabling it to be shipped to customers throughout Asia, according to Shell.
Shell did not disclose the cost of building the project, but said it would be built at Samsung Heavy Industries’ Geoje Island shipyards in South Korea, one of the few shipyards in the world capable of building such a monstrous vessel..."
-- Whoa! Check out the size comparison chart @ link.
A Defiant 'Spanish Revolution' (44 Photos)
|10:35:53 AM, Sunday, May 22, 2011|
"Since May 15, residents of many cities around Spain have been demonstrating against the country's ongoing financial crisis, its politicians, and its bankers. The spontaneous protests are the largest since the country plunged into recession in 2008, and they're made up mainly of young people who have set up camps in main squares across the country. Called "los indignados" (the indignant), the May 15 Movement, or simply 15-M, they are fueled by frustration with austerity measures, apparent indifference from politicians, and serious joblessness. Spain's unemployment rate for those under 25 stood at 43.5 percent as of February -- the highest youth unemployment rate in the 27-nation European Union. As Spain enters an election weekend, this collection focuses on some recent scenes of dissent from around the country."
-- This barely got any media attention. Not surprising. Trouble for EU!
Virginia Girl Found Eating Herself in Cage in Mobile Home; Parents Brian and Shannon Gore Charged
|3:09:41 PM, Saturday, May 21, 2011|
"A young girl was found caged and attempting to eat herself in a mobile home in Virginia, and cops say her parents are responsible.
The malnourished girl, believed to be either 5 or 6, was discovered in a crib that was converted into a makeshift cage after police arrived at the home in Gloucester County to investigate a burglary last week.
The girl's parents, Brian and Shannon Gore, were arrested and charged with felony child abuse. The mother was also charged with attempted capital murder.
However, the gruesome twosome now faces first-degree murder charges after the remains of what authorities believe to be another child were found buried outside their mobile home.
"I've done this for 20 years, and I've never seen anything like this in my life," Gloucester Sheriff's Maj. Darrell Warren said.
A month-old baby boy was also found in the home, but was in good condition. Both he and the older girl are now in the care of the county Department of Social Services.
The horrific find came as police investigated a robbery on April 17..."
-- Some people should be sterilized, or just shot, or both.
Jay Pharoah Doing Celebrity Impersonations
|2:58:19 PM, Saturday, May 21, 2011|
Scarlett Johansson for MANGO Spring/Summer 2011
|11:47:17 AM, Friday, May 20, 2011|
-- Scarlett Johansson stars in this behind-the-scenes video for MANGO’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection shot by Mario Sorrenti in Beverly Hills. via
Eminem - Lose Yourself Three Days Grace Remix
|11:31:17 PM, Thursday, May 19, 2011|
Species Extinction Rates Have Been Overreported, New Study Claims - But Global Extinction Crisis Remains Very Serious
|7:40:41 PM, Thursday, May 19, 2011|
"The most widely used methods for calculating species extinction rates are "fundamentally flawed" and overestimate extinction rates by as much as 160 percent, life scientists report May 19 in the journal Nature.
However, while the problem of species extinction caused by habitat loss is not as dire as many conservationists and scientists had believed, the global extinction crisis is real, says Stephen Hubbell, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA and co-author of the Nature paper.
"The methods currently in use to estimate extinction rates are erroneous, but we are losing habitat faster than at any time over the last 65 million years," said Hubbell, a tropical forest ecologist and a senior staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. "The good news is that we are not in quite as serious trouble right now as people had thought, but that is no reason for complacency. I don't want this research to be misconstrued as saying we don't have anything to worry about when nothing is further from the truth."
Because there are very few ways of directly estimating extinction rates, scientists and conservationists have used an indirect method called a "species-area relationship." This method starts with the number of species found in a given area and then estimates how the number of species grows as the area expands. Using that information, scientists and conservationists have reversed the calculations and attempted to estimate how many fewer species will remain when the amount of land decreases due to habitat loss.
"There is a forward version when we add species and a backward version when we lose species," Hubbell said. "In the Nature paper, we show that this surrogate measure is fundamentally flawed. The species-area curve has been around for more than a century, but you can't just turn it around to calculate how many species should be left when the area is reduced; the area you need to sample to first locate a species is always less than the area you have to sample to eliminate the last member of the species..."
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