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Jul. 7th, 2014

Lasting Images

The spiral arms of bright, active galaxy M106 sprawl through this remarkable multiwavelength portrait, composed of image data from radio to X-rays, across the electromagnetic spectrum. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 can be found toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici. The well-measured distance to M106 is 23.5 million light-years, making this cosmic scene about 60,000 light-years across.

Timeline of Human Origins Revised

Many traits unique to humans were long thought to have originated in the genus Homo between 2.4 and 1.8 million years ago in Africa. Although scientists have recognized these characteristics for decades, they are reconsidering the true evolutionary factors that drove them. A large brain, long legs, the ability to craft tools and prolonged maturation periods were all thought to have evolved together at the start of the Homo lineage as African grasslands expanded and Earth's climate became cooler and drier.

However, new climate and fossil evidence analyzed by a team of researchers, including Smithsonian paleoanthropologist Richard Potts, Susan Antón, professor of anthropology at New York University, and Leslie Aiello, president of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, suggests that these traits did not arise as a single package. Rather, several key ingredients once thought to define Homo evolved in earlier Australopithecus ancestors between 3 and 4 million years ago, while others emerged significantly later.

The team's research takes an innovative approach to integrating paleoclimate data, new fossils and understandings of the genus Homo, archaeological remains and biological studies of a wide range of mammals (including humans). The synthesis of these data led the team to conclude that the ability of early humans to adjust to changing conditions ultimately enabled the earliest species of Homo to vary, survive and begin spreading from Africa to Eurasia 1.85 million years ago.

 

Additional information about this study is available in the July 4 issue of Science.


Kemo D. 7

:-)

Congress: the only place where you can earn a six figure salary while doing nothing...

Jul. 4th, 2014

Happy 4th!


Kemo D. 7

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Jul. 2nd, 2014

Gliese 832c

A newfound alien world might be able to support life — and it's just a stone's throw from Earth in the cosmic scheme of things. An international team of astronomers has discovered an exoplanet in the star Gliese 832's "habitable zone" — the just-right range of distances that could allow liquid water to exist on a world's surface. The planet, known as Gliese 832c, lies just 16 light-years from Earth. (For perspective, the Milky Way galaxy is about 100,000 light-years wide; the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri, is 4.2 light-years away.) Gliese 832c is a "super-Earth" at least five times as massive as our planet, and it zips around its host star every 36 days. But that host star is a red dwarf that's much dimmer and cooler than our sun, so Gliese 832c receives about as much stellar energy as Earth does, despite orbiting much closer to its parent, researchers said.

 

Gliese 832c is one of the three most Earth-like exoplanets yet discovered according to a commonly used metric.


Kemo D. 7

Ancient Mysteries

It is one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of all times: the disappearance of a Persian army of 50,000 men in the Egyptian desert around 524 BC. Leiden University Professor Olaf Kaper unearthed a cover-up affair and solved the riddle. "It must have been a sand storm..", writes the Greek historian Herodotus. He tells the story of the Persian King Cambyses, who entered the Egyptian desert near Luxor (then Thebes) with 50,000 men. The troops supposedly never returned; they were swallowed by a sand dune. A fantastic tale that was long the subject of many debates. Egyptologist Olaf Kaper never believed it. Kaper is now putting forward an entirely different explanation. He argues that the army did not disappear, but was defeated.

"My research shows that the army was not simply passing through the desert; its final destination was the Dachla Oasis. This was the location of the troops of the Egyptian rebel leader Petubastis III. He ultimately ambushed the army of Cambyses, and in this way managed from his base in the oasis to reconquer a large part of Egypt, after which he let himself be crowned Pharaoh in the capital, Memphis," says Mr. Kaper. The fact that the fate of the army of Cambyses remained unclear for such a long time is probably due to the Persian King Darius I, who ended the Egyptian revolt with much bloodshed two years after Cambyses' defeat.

 

Like a true spin doctor, he attributed the shameful defeat of his predecessor to natural elements. Thanks to this effective manipulation, 75 years after the events, all Herodotus could do was take note of the sand storm story.


Kemo D. 7

The Beale Ciphers

The Beale Ciphers are a set of three encoded papers, one of which allegedly contains the location of $63 million dollars worth of treasure. The story is that, in 1820, Thomas Jefferson Beale left a box with the encrypted messages with a local innkeeper, who gave them to a friend when he died. That friend tried to decode the messages, managing to get one describing the contents of the treasure and a general location. He published a pamphlet in 1885 with the ciphers. The deciphered cryptogram reads:

"I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford's, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith: The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec. eighteen twenty-one, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it."

 

It's decoded using the Declaration of Independence.


Kemo D. 7

Jun. 24th, 2014

How Much Room Do We Need To Supply The Entire World With Solar Electricity?

In 2009, the total global electricity consumption was 20,279,640 GWh. The sun creates more energy than that in one hour. The tricky part is collecting that energy and converting it into useful electricity with solar panels. How much area would need to be covered with solar panels in order to capture enough energy to meet global demand? Actually, it’s not as much as you’d think. The image above has three red boxes showing what area would need to be covered for Germany (De), Europe (EU-25), and the entire world.

 

Kemo D. 7

Jun. 21st, 2014

It can be done!

Germany isn't as sunny as many parts of the U.S; not even close. But Germany has a goal of producing 35 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100 percent by 2050. And now for the first time ever, the country has succeeded at generating over 50 percent of its electricity from solar. Solar power is extremely popular in Germany and on Monday June 9, which was a national holiday in Germany, solar power production peaked at 23.1 GW, which equaled 50.6 percent of total electricity demand. That was less than the 24.24 GW peak hit on Friday, June 6, but it was the first time ever that solar had met 50 percent of German demand.

The week was unusually hot, with highs of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). But Germany's stunning rate of solar installations means they are expected to continue to make new records. Tobias Rothacher, renewable energies expert at Germany Trade & Invest, told The Local: "I think we could break a new record every two to three months now. We are installing more and more PVs." Germany has encouraged individuals to install solar panels on rooftops rather than building huge solar farms. Ninety percent of solar panels in Germany are located on individuals' roofs.

 

Kemo D. 7

Jun. 13th, 2014

A Basis for Morality

From both political (social, cultural) and genetic directions, the human is on a collision course with extinction. The worldwide cultural issues must be settled before the genetic problems can be properly approached. The cultural problem may be settled through social integration, in turn allowing a tight mobilization of the species to solve the genetic issues. Cultural integration requires a consistent, dependable and provable moral and ethical value system. A basis for proper (moral, ethical) human behavior must be determined without reference to opinion, conjecture, spirituality, imagination, philosophy, political ideology or any other form of dogma since these have no real foundation, are inconsistent, and cannot uniformly satisfy the needs of the human.

Real (factual, scientific) knowledge is consistent and has real basis. If the human is to survive, the real knowledge uncovered in the sciences must be used as a basis for a uniform human ethical and moral behavioral system, thereby freeing the human for full attention to species survival. Why is a uniform ethical and moral behavior system needed across the species? The answer is two-fold. One lies in current social problems which are so severe that war and terrorism may well end the species, if large scale deprivation and massive infectious (social) disease epidemics do not perform that function first. The other lies in a current but not yet realized genetic problem which is even now closing in on the extinction of the species.

During the two million years of human development as Homo erectus, tribes were small and isolated, and the entire worldwide population of the species was quite small. Each tribe developed genetic and social differences. These differences were in both outward appearance and inner neural mechanisms. Each tribe developed unique behaviors, dress, customs and speech. These tribes still exist, though now swollen in population and geographically overlapping. Some geographic areas contain many tribes within the same boundaries. Geographic isolation, once so necessary for controlling conflict, has essentially disappeared with huge overlapping populations and modern transportation. Different languages and customs, as well as other tribal behaviors, become quite troublesome.

 

Cheek to jowl, the human struggles, often violently, to retain its individual tribal identity. As the population expands, tribal conflict can only become worse...


Kemo D. 7

Jun. 10th, 2014

The Next Great Extinction

Just as we all die, all species eventually go extinct. However, the rate of extinction varies dramatically, and a new estimate suggests we are currently running at 1000 times the normal rate. This rate of extinction is only seen in the fossil record after incredibly dramatic and unusual occurrences, such as huge asteroid strikes or supervolcano eruptions. In order to calculate the effect humans are having we need to know two things – how many species are disappearing each year, and how many vanish as part of the normal background. Professor Stuart Pimm of Duke University has published a paper in Science in which he and his coauthors, “Document what we know, how it likely differs from what we do not, and how these differences affect biodiversity statistics.”

Pimm's new estimate is that the background rate is 0.1 extinction per million species per year. This is a tenth the figure produced in 1995, in what had been considered the definitive paper on the topic. However, there will be no pushback from the authors of the higher estimate – Pimm was one of the authors of the 1995 paper as well. The rate today is between 100 and 1000 extinctions per million species per year. In other words our way of life may be 10,000 times more deadly than all the threats faced by animals at other times. Climate change, hunting and invasive species are all playing a part, but Pimm says habitat loss is the largest factor.

 

A combination of habitat protection, captive breeding and action on climate change can avoid a sixth mass extinction.


Kemo D. 7

Jun. 6th, 2014

D-Day 70th Anniversary

As the sun rose over Normandy shores this morning, a veteran watched, lost in memories, from the deck of HMS Bulwark. The Royal Navy flagship had sailed the English Channel overnight at the head of an international task group of ships. For former Royal Marine Corporal Bill Bryant, 89, the sight of the beaches brought back emotional recollections of the same time exactly 70 years ago, as he prepared to drive his landing craft to the shores - carrying his colleagues to their fate on land, amid a barrage of noise and chaos. The contrast with today could not have been greater as he joined many other veterans on "Gold" Beach, amid a festival atmosphere.

The sunshine sparkled on the waves, and French families and tourists from across Europe gathered to watch military bands on the main square at Arromanches. This doughty but dwindling band of brothers know this may be the last time they meet on these shores. For the veterans, and those who've come to honor them, the ceremonies at Bayeux cemetery are a poignant but powerful reminder of courage and endurance, as D-Day slowly passes from living memory into history.

 

Kemo D. 7

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Jun. 2nd, 2014

Thank You, Mr. President

President Barack Obama is using his executive authority to take his strongest action yet against climate change -- proposing new EPA regulations. An Environmental Protection Agency proposal announced Monday would cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30%. "Nationwide, by 2030, this rule would achieve CO2 emission reductions from the power sector of approximately 30 percent from CO2 emission levels in 2005," the proposed regulation says. "This goal is achievable because innovations in the production, distribution and use of electricity are already making the power sector more efficient and sustainable while maintaining an affordable, reliable and diverse energy mix."

The EPA says the regulation will also "reduce pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog that make people sick by over 25 percent." The agency projects the reductions will avoid 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children. States will have a variety of options to meet the goal, including improving energy efficiency both inside and outside plants, changing how long the plants operate each day, and increasing the amount of power derived in other ways through clean energy. "As president, and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that's beyond fixing," Obama said in his weekly address Saturday.

 

Kemo D. 7

Source: Cnn.com

May. 30th, 2014

“I am what I seek”

The fear that something is missing in you is what leads you to search somewhere else for happiness. You overlook what is already “here” as you chase after “there”; you miss the “sacred now” as you ponder your “next step.” Can you see that all your pain comes from the belief that your source of happiness is outside you? This single misperception—this little fear—is what feeds your mental junk, your learned unworthiness, and your “not good enough” stuff.

Notice how all your thoughts of fear and lack are reversed the moment you accept that every piece of universal joy rests already in your heart. Your two physical eyes see bits of things. They see bits of the color spectrum, bits of the landscape, bits of the ocean, bits of the sky. They see bits of you and bits of me. But they do not see the big picture. It is only when you look with the heart that you can begin to comprehend the possibility of true wholeness, true beauty, and true oneness.

You are what you seek. This means that whatever joy you hoped “to get” after you found your true partner, got the dream job, bought the ideal home, and earned the right money is already in you! To be free all you have to do is make yourself wholly available to what is already inside you. Real healing is giving up your resistance to your Unconditioned Self.

 

Kemo D. 7

Source: Positive Thoughts

May. 25th, 2014

The Truth

So there has been a rumor going around that I'm gay which is not true and I just want to clarify that. I'm not gay and I've never been gay. I'm a heterosexual man and I've always loved girls. Above is a picture of me and a girl that I dated last year.


Kemo D. 7

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May. 24th, 2014

The Impact on the Amazon

The human impact on the Amazon rainforest has been grossly underestimated according to an international team of researchers from Brazil and the UK, led by Lancaster University. They found that selective logging and surface wildfires can result in an annual loss of 54 billion tons of carbon from the Brazilian Amazon, increasing greenhouse gas emissions. This is equivalent to 40% of the yearly carbon loss from deforestation -- when entire forests are chopped down. This is the largest ever study estimating above and below-ground carbon loss from selective logging and ground level forest fires in the tropics, based on data from 70,000 sampled trees and thousands of soil, litter and dead wood samples from 225 sites in the eastern Brazilian Amazon.

The forest degradation often starts with logging of prized trees such as mahogany and ipe. The felling and removal of these large trees often damages dozens of neighboring trees. Once the forest has been logged, the many gaps in the canopy means it becomes much drier due to exposure to the wind and sun, increasing the risk of wildfires spreading inside the forest. The combination of selective logging and wildfires damages turns primary forests into a thick scrub full of smaller trees and vines, which stores 40% less carbon than undisturbed forests.

 

So far, climate change policies on the tropics have effectively been focusing on reducing carbon emissions from deforestation only, not accounting for emissions coming from forest degradation.


Kemo D. 7

May. 21st, 2014

Words of Wisdom

May. 18th, 2014

The Vanishing Act

It's not a Hollywood production, but a movie about the Malaysian plane tragedy is in the works and should be in theaters by fall. Rupesh Paul Productions is promoting "The Vanishing Act" among buyers at the Cannes Film Festival. A poster for it promises to tell "the untold story" of the missing plane, but in an interview Friday, the associate director of the movie, Sritama Dutta, said the only similarities between the thriller and the real-life disaster is that a plane is missing.

"It has got no similarities," said Dutta, adding there have been so many developments with the actual case that it wouldn't be practical to try to mirror it. "We cannot keep up with the true facts, it's changing every day." Dutta said Indian director Rupesh Paul will film the movie and a multiethnic cast for it could be revealed before Cannes ends May 25. Paul hopes to shoot the film in India and the United States and plans a worldwide release in September.

 

Kemo D. 7

The Supernovae Phenomenon

Exploding supernovae are a phenomenon that is still not fully understood. The trouble is that the state of nuclear matter in stars cannot be reproduced on Earth. In a recent paper published in EPJ E, Yves Pomeau from the University of Arizona, USA, and his French colleagues from the CNRS provide a new model of supernovae represented as dynamical systems subject to a loss of stability, just before they explode. Because similar stability losses also occur in dynamical systems in nature, this model could be used to predict natural catastrophes before they happen. Previous studies of the creeping of soft solids, earthquakes, and sleep-wake transitions have already confirmed the validity of this approach. The authors show that the stars' loss of stability can be described in mathematical terms as a so-called dynamical saddle-node bifurcation.

 

This approach makes it possible to devise a universal equation describing supernovae dynamics at its onset, taking into account the initial physical conditions of stability.


Kemo D. 7

Climate Change Damages The London

The Guardian reports that climate change has brought ship-boring organisms to live in the warmer waters of the Thames, and they are damaging the London, a seventeenth-century vessel that had been well protected in the river’s thick silt. “It’s rare for wooden shipwrecks of this age and older to survive to this extent,” said Mark Dunkley, a marine archaeologist at English Heritage. The wooden ship was part of a convoy that transported Charles II to England from the Netherlands after the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658. A gunpowder explosion sank the London in 1665, an event that killed 300 people. Rescue divers have recovered leather shoes, a bronze signet ring, clay pipes, navigational dividers, buckets, an anchor cable, and cannonballs, despite the poor visibility and strong currents.

 

Kemo D. 7

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