Family Guy - Magic Baby

2:38:46 PM, Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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US Admiral: Carrier Killer Won't Stop US Navy

12:44:40 PM, Tuesday, February 15, 2011

“A new "carrier killer" missile that has become a symbol of China's rising military might will not force the U.S. Navy to change the way it operates in the Pacific, a senior Navy commander told The Associated Press.

Defense analysts say the Dong Feng 21D missile could upend the balance of power in Asia, where U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups have ruled the waves since the end of World War II.

However, Vice Adm. Scott van Buskirk, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, told the AP in an interview that the Navy does not see the much-feared weapon as creating any insurmountable vulnerability for the U.S. carriers — the Navy's crown jewels.

"It's not the Achilles heel of our aircraft carriers or our Navy — it is one weapons system, one technology that is out there," Van Buskirk said in an interview this week on the bridge of the USS George Washington, the only carrier that is home-based in the western Pacific.

The DF 21D is unique in that it is believed capable of hitting a powerfully defended moving target — like the USS George Washington — with pinpoint precision. That objective is so complex that the Soviets gave up on a similar project.

The missile would penetrate defenses because its speed from launch would not allow enough time for carriers or other large ships to complete countermeasures.

That could seriously weaken Washington's ability to intervene in any potential conflict over Taiwan or North Korea, as well as deny U.S. ships safe access to international waters near China's 11,200-mile (18,000-kilometer) -long coastline.

Van Buskirk, whose fleet is responsible for most of the Pacific and Indian oceans, with 60-70 ships and 40,000 sailors and Marines under its command, said the capabilities of the Chinese missile are as yet unproven. But he acknowledged it does raise special concerns.

"Any new capability is something that we try to monitor," he said…”

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Oh Hai Guys Remember Pluto? We Felt Bad So Here You Go: The Mystery of the Giant Planet Hidden In Our Solar System

8:54:45 PM, Monday, February 14, 2011

"There's a giant planet right here, hiding in our Solar System. One that nobody has ever seen, even while it is four times larger than Jupiter and has rings and moons orbiting it. At least, that's what two astrophysicists say.

The name of the planet is Tyche. The scientists are John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. According to them, this colossus is hiding in the Oort Cloud—the asteroid beehive that forms the outer shell of our home system, one light-year in radius. They claim that data already captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorerproves its existence. It only needs to be analyzed... over the next two years.

Matese and Whitmire are convinced that Tyche is very real now, however. 15,000 times farther from the Sun than Earth, Tyche would be made mostly of hydrogen and helium. The titanic planet would orbit the Sun with moons and rings around it, bubbling with clouds and storm systems similar to Jupiter. It would even have a mild temperature (-73ºC/-99.4ºF) compared to the asteroids around it, which are almost near absolute zero. Whitmire says that the temperature difference is because a titan of this size takes a long time to cool off after its formation.

Would Tyche be the 9th planet of our Solar System, after Pluto's demise? If its existence is finally confirmed, its Solar System planet status may not be guaranteed. The reason: Astronomers theorize that Tyche could be a planet born in another star system and captured by ours. But whatever classification it gets, it's exciting to think that there may be a new neighbor just around the corner."

-- April Fool's yet? So some of these people and scientists are arrogant enough to claim there is no life on other planets yet they're having a hard time finding a massive planet right under their nose, in our own solar system. I won't even go into learning all we can about the earth itself, what's right under our feet.

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Suzuki Swift GTI Group A Assemble Thyself! Some Stop-Motion Win Right Here

3:53:15 PM, Monday, February 14, 2011
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Fireworks Fail: Massive Explosion A Bit Too Close for Comfort

10:49:58 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011
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Black Holes Put New Spin on Light

10:46:50 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

“Light curls up into corkscrew patterns when it passes near black holes, offering a powerful new way to probe the distorted space around them.

In an ordinary light beam observed far from its source, successive peaks of light waves form essentially flat wave fronts. Not so for light with so-called orbital angular momentum, which has long been produced in the lab. Its peaks spiral around to form a corkscrew pattern.

According to general relativity, spinning black holes drag the fabric of the surrounding space around with them. Fabrizio Tamburini of the University of Padua in Italy, and colleagues, calculated how light rays emitted by matter spiralling into a black hole are distorted by this effect, called frame dragging. They calculated that it transforms ordinary light into the corkscrew type that possesses orbital angular momentum.

In future, telescopes could be equipped with detectors to measure this light, says Martin Bojowald of Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

Physicists have measured frame dragging around black holes before by observing the rotation of discs of matter around them. But hydrodynamical processes also affect this rotation, muddying the frame dragging signal. "The new results will allow stricter tests of general relativity thanks to their higher precision," says Bojowald.

Such light could also be used to measure a black hole's spin more accurately, he adds. Currently, astronomers infer the spin by measuring the distance between the black hole and the nearest matter around it, a technique that requires high-resolution observations. Using twisted light would require less spatial resolution and therefore "should make it possible to measure the spin of black holes farther away", Bojowald says.”

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Phantom of the Floppera: Computer Floppy Drives Play Bach’s Toccata & Fugue

9:58:21 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

-- This makes me miss hearing that A Drive do its thing every time the computer booted up. It was like a free diagnostics device, you could always tell if something was wrong based on what noise that thing made, or didn’t. Read the user’s comments for the clip if you’re wondering what technical process is required to make these now vintage beauties play music.

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The People of Detroit Want a RoboCop Statue

8:43:41 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

“What do you think Detroit is best known for? Cars? Motown music? Or RoboCop? A growing grassroots movement is insisting the latter, as support grows for erecting a statue in honor of the 80's cult movie icon.

Supporters have reportedly taken to Facebook and Twitter to drum up support for the potential landmark, but have received little support in return. According to reports, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is against the idea. And little wonder: the futuristic vision of Detroit, where the RoboCop movies are set, is hardly complimentary, depicting a crime-ridden metropolis run by corrupt officials and a privatized security force.

As The Detroit News points out, a similar initiative to honor Motown's greatest in Detroit with another statue never materialized, although the effort is not without precedent: just one state over, a statue of the Fonz from Happy Days was erected in 2008, much to everyone's "ayyyy!"

So... do you think Detroit should get a RoboCop statue?”

-- I think people should get what they want!!! Follow the links for the poll.

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Living Bridges in India Have Grown for 500 Years

7:53:54 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

“Some of the smartest, most sustainable engineering feats were discovered hundreds of years ago, and many have gone unacknowledged. For evidence, take the bridge growers of northeastern India. Planning 10-15 years in advance, they build what may be the most sustainable foot bridges in the world -- by literally growing them out of living tree roots. These bridges are extremely sturdy, reach up to 100 feet long, and many are at least 500 years old.

Requiring the harvesting of only a few betel nut trees to create, each root bridge is sturdy, efficient, and, well, alive. A tribe in the hilly Khasi and Jaintia region of India -- one of the wettest places on Earth -- evidently came up with the concept some hundreds of years ago. Atlas Obscura explains:

The War-Khasis, a tribe in Meghalaya, long ago noticed this tree and saw in its powerful roots an opportunity to easily cross the area's many rivers. Now, whenever and wherever the need arises, they simply grow their bridges.

In order to make a rubber tree's roots grow in the right direction--say, over a river--the Khasis use betel nut trunks, sliced down the middle and hollowed out, to create root-guidance systems. The thin, tender roots of the rubber tree, prevented from fanning out by the betel nut trunks, grow straight out. When they reach the other side of the river, they're allowed to take root in the soil. Given enough time, a sturdy, living bridge is produced.

Sure, "enough time" isn't exactly expedient by today's standards -- each root bridge takes between 10-15 years to grow strong enough to be put into use. But strong they are -- evidently up to 50 people can cross the heftier bridges at once, and many bridges are over 100 feet long. And they only become stronger with time, as the roots continue to grow. Some of the bridges still in use in the region are estimated to be 500 years old.

An interesting side note nestled in this story is that the villagers who use them wanted at one point to tear them down to trade them for steel ones, for the sake of modernization -- but once a nearby resort owner stumbled upon them and recognized their potential value, the locals were easily persuaded from trading in (and untold materials and emissions were prevent from being wasted). The old bridges were still fully functional, after all -- in fact, the Khasis are still growing more bridges today. Chalk up another win for innovative sustainable design, however ancient it may be.”

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Algeria Shuts Down Internet and Facebook as Protest Mounts

7:33:18 PM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

“Internet providers were shut down and Facebook accounts deleted across Algeria on Saturday as thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested in violent street demonstrations.

Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.

But it was the government attack on the internet which was of particular significance to those calling for an end to President Abdelaziz Boutifleka's repressive regime.

Protesters mobilising through the internet were largely credited with bringing about revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

"The government doesn't want us forming crowds through the internet," said Rachid Salem, of Co-ordination for Democratic Change in Algeria.

"Security forces are armed to the teeth out on the street, and they're also doing everything to crush our uprising on the internet. Journalists, and especially those with cameras, are being taken away by the police." President Hosni Mubarak had tried to shut down internet service providers during 18 days of protest before stepping down as Egyptian leader on Friday.

Mostafa Boshashi, head of the Algerian League for Human Rights, said: "Algerians want their voices to be heard too. They want democratic change."At the moment people are being prevented from travelling to demonstrations. The entrances to cities like Algeria have been blocked."

At least five people were killed in similar protests in Algeria in January, when the Interior Ministry said 1000 people were arrested…”

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Merci mon Dieu by J. Sudor

1:19:37 AM, Sunday, February 13, 2011
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And Now, a Music Video From Tahrir Square

1:12:11 AM, Sunday, February 13, 2011

-- “Singer Amir Eid has placed an anthem for them on YouTube, filmed in part at epicenter Tahrir Square. Its refrain sums up the mood: “I’m Not Turning Around.”

In the video for “Sout Al Horeya,” Eid walks through the crowd singing, and the camera captures smiling, peaceful, determined demonstrators singing his lyrics and holding up signs displaying the message. “We’re dreaming our dreams and tomorrow is coming and it’s ahead of us,” he sings with the crowd, “in every street in my country, freedom, we lift our heads to the sky, and the most important thing is our rights.”

Video footage from Tahrir Square and across Egypt went viral practically as soon as the #Jan25 protests started. Musicians like UK rapper Master Mimz have released anti-Mubarak songs in solidarity as well. Even Wyclef Jean joined in today. But until “Sout Al Horeya,” posted yesterday, it’s been hard to find music videos filmed at Tahrir Square itself, showcasing songs by Egyptian artists channeling the spirit of the still-incomplete revolt…”

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X-Men: First Class - Official Trailer

12:57:45 AM, Sunday, February 13, 2011
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Astronomy Picture of the Day: Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka

5:51:57 PM, Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, are the bright bluish stars from east to west (left to right) along the diagonal in this gorgeous cosmic vista. Otherwise known as the Belt of Orion, these three blue supergiant stars are hotter and much more massive than the Sun. They lie about 1,500 light-years away, born of Orion's well-studied interstellar clouds. In fact, clouds of gas and dust adrift in this region have intriguing and some surprisingly familiar shapes, including the dark Horsehead Nebula and Flame Nebula near Alnitak at the lower left. The famous Orion Nebula itself lies off the bottom of this colorful star field. Recorded last December with a modified digital SLR camera and small telescope, the well-planned, two frame mosaic spans about 4 degrees on the sky."

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Bolivia: Deadliest Journeys

5:41:49 PM, Saturday, February 12, 2011

-- I was watching these while procrastinating during the finals last semester...haha This is one of the craziest features the series! Some of those cables across the valley are 20+ years old and have actually stretched quite a bit over the years. Some span 1500ft+ and are 700ft above the ground.

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