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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Eugene Plawiuk's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, December 25th, 2005
4:56 am
One Small Step For Man

Ice Age footprints hold outback's clues tell a touching tale

By Kathy Marks in Sydney

Published: 23 December 2005

Archaeologists have unearthed the world's largest collection of Ice Age era footprints, dating from about 20,000 years ago, in the bed of a dry lake in the New South Wales outback.

The fossilised tracks, in a clay pan in Mungo National Park, are said to be astonishingly well-preserved. They offer a fresh and touchingly human insight into the lifestyle of ancient Aborigines.

Among the images they evoke are children milling around their parents' ankles, a hunter sprinting at 12 miles an hour, mud squelching between his bare toes, and a dead animal being dragged along the shore of a lake.

"This is the nearest we've got to prehistoric film, where you can see someone's heel slip in the mud as they're running fast," said Steve Webb, a Queensland academic who heads the team excavating the prints.

With the help of Aborigines, the archaeologists have found 457 prints beneath sand dunes in the park, 500 miles west of Sydney. An Aboriginal park ranger, Mary Pappin Junior, from the Mutthi Mutthi people, stumbled across the first footprint two years ago.

The tracks range from toddler-size prints to a "bigfoot" set of prints, believed to belong to a 6ft 6in man, with size 12 feet, who was pursuing an unknown prey, possibly water birds. They also include footprints left by a one-legged man who appears to have covered some distance without a walking stick or other assistance.

The findings, to appear in the Journal of Human Evolution, were described by Bob Debus, the state environment minister, as "one of the most significant cultural and archaeological discoveries made in Australia in recent times".

Mr Debus, who helped fund the project, said: "These footprints present us with a moving snapshot of the people who lived during the planet's last Ice Age." The archaeologists believe they have unearthed less than one-third of the tracks in swampland near the shores of Willandra Lakes between 19,000 and 23,000 years ago.

Professor Webb, of Bond University, added: "They're wonderful prints, so lifelike. It brings that element of life that other archaeological remains can't. We've hardly scratched the surface."

The footprint fossils have been discovered in the same area where Australia's oldest human remains - believe to be from 40,000 years ago - were found.

Archaeologists have unearthed the world's largest collection of Ice Age era footprints, dating from about 20,000 years ago, in the bed of a dry lake in the New South Wales outback.

The fossilised tracks, in a clay pan in Mungo National Park, are said to be astonishingly well-preserved. They offer a fresh and touchingly human insight into the lifestyle of ancient Aborigines.

Among the images they evoke are children milling around their parents' ankles, a hunter sprinting at 12 miles an hour, mud squelching between his bare toes, and a dead animal being dragged along the shore of a lake.

"This is the nearest we've got to prehistoric film, where you can see someone's heel slip in the mud as they're running fast," said Steve Webb, a Queensland academic who heads the team excavating the prints.

With the help of Aborigines, the archaeologists have found 457 prints beneath sand dunes in the park, 500 miles west of Sydney. An Aboriginal park ranger, Mary Pappin Junior, from the Mutthi Mutthi people, stumbled across the first footprint two years ago.

The tracks range from toddler-size prints to a "bigfoot" set of prints, believed to belong to a 6ft 6in man, with size 12 feet, who was pursuing an unknown prey, possibly water birds. They also include footprints left by a one-legged man who appears to have covered some distance without a walking stick or other assistance.

The findings, to appear in the Journal of Human Evolution, were described by Bob Debus, the state environment minister, as "one of the most significant cultural and archaeological discoveries made in Australia in recent times".

Mr Debus, who helped fund the project, said: "These footprints present us with a moving snapshot of the people who lived during the planet's last Ice Age." The archaeologists believe they have unearthed less than one-third of the tracks in swampland near the shores of Willandra Lakes between 19,000 and 23,000 years ago.

Professor Webb, of Bond University, added: "They're wonderful prints, so lifelike. It brings that element of life that other archaeological remains can't. We've hardly scratched the surface."

The footprint fossils have been discovered in the same area where Australia's oldest human remains - believe to be from 40,000 years ago - were found.



4:30 am
More Xmas Food For Thought
Oh dear this will never do What will Rolf Harris say? Listen to his song Six White Boomers, soon to be five, four, three, two, one, none......

Q: When is a kangaroo not a kangaroo?

A: When it's being served up for dinner

By Kathy Marks in Sydney Published: 21 December 2005

Australians could soon be tossing a chunk of australus on the barbecue, because of plans to rename kangaroo meat and divorce it from its cuddly Skippy image. While kangaroo is a lean and delicious red meat, Australians have been squeamish about consuming their national symbol. Most kangaroo meat ends up as pet food, although it is also exported, particularly to Europe, where the Russians love to eat it in sausages.


4:12 am
Dodo for Xmas
They have discovered the remains of an intact Dodo bird, if not several and no His name is not George Walker Dodo. And it is not yet known if the last of the Dodo's were eaten on Xmas day.

Dutch may have complete skeleton of Dodo bird

December 25, 2005

BY TOBY STERLING

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Scientists said they likely have found a complete skeleton of the long-extinct Dodo bird.

The Dodo was native to Mauritius when no humans lived there but its numbers rapidly dwindled after the arrival of Portuguese and Dutch sailors in the 1500s. The last recorded sighting of a live bird was in 1663.

An international team of researchers said they found the bones of the bird on a sugar cane plantation on the island of Mauritius off the east coast of Madagascar, and presented their findings in the Dutch city of Leiden Friday.

No complete skeleton of a single Dodo bird had ever been retrieved before from an archeological site in Mauritius. The last known stuffed bird was destroyed in a 1755 fire at a museum in Oxford, England, leaving only partial skeletons and drawings of the bird.

''We have found 700 bones including bones from 20 Dodo birds and chicks but we believe there are many more at the site,'' said Kenneth Rijsdijk, a Dutch geologist who led the dig.

DNA material from other Dodos exists, but Rijsdijk said better samples could be retrieved from the latest find, estimated to be 2,000 to 3,000 years old.

The Dodo's name comes from a Portuguese word for ''fool,'' so named because the bird showed no fear of humans and couldn't fly, making it easy prey. The Dutch called it the Walgvogel, or ''nasty bird'' because it tasted so bad.

Modern scientists understand the Dodo more favorably. They believe the bird did not fear humans because it had no natural predators on Mauritius and had lost the ability to fly because it was so large: adults grew to around three feet and weighed around 50 pounds -- far bigger than a pelican.


Wednesday, November 9th, 2005
10:44 pm
Another Legend Comes To Life

Hybrid goose legend not so silly: biologist

Last Updated Tue, 08 Nov 2005 19:27:49 EST

A biologist in Saskatchewan says there's evidence snow geese and Canada geese are interbreeding to produce a hybrid species.

Ducks Unlimited biologist Chuck Deschamps said he got a surprise recently when two American hunters shot a pair of birds that looked like a mixture of snow geese and Canada geese. The birds were shot in the Quill Lakes area, about 160 kilometres east of Saskatoon.

Oklahoma hunters Bryan Baker and Bill Jackson found the suspected hybrid. (Photo: Anne Sanderson, Courtesy Wadena News)

The birds had bills that looked like snow geese, but were bigger and had dark heads like Canada geese.

"It was kind of a mixture of them both," Deschamps said. "It's not common, that's for sure."

Still, for years, people in the area have spoken of the fabled Quill Lakes goose, he said. Now it appears there was something to the legend. The Quill Lakes goose may very well be the hybrid the American hunters found, he said.

Deschamps said he hopes to do DNA testing on one of the hybrid geese to confirm they are offspring of the two species.

As for how the hybrids came to be, Deschamp said one theory is that snow geese eggs are somehow ending up in Canada geese nests. In a real-life echo of the Ugly Duckling story, Canada geese mothers might be raising the snow geese goslings as their own. After that, the adult snow geese are mating with Canada geese.

"These birds are obviously imprinting on whoever raises them," he said.

Friday, November 4th, 2005
5:30 am
All things Are Fire
COSMOLOGY FILE

"All things are composed of fire and are again resolved into fire. "
The Greek phiosopher, Father of Dialectics and Pantheism, Heraclitus, said that and now NASA has proved it.....
.
Astronomers say Draco's glow is the beginning of time Cosmologists estimate that the Big Bang was 13.7 billion years ago. Some 200 million years passed after this act of creation before the first stars began to form from cosmic particles and dust. Scientists believe these stars were likely to have been more than 100 times more massive than the Sun, and would have been hot, bright and relatively short-lived, each surviving a few million years compared to the billions of years of conventional stars.
 

Top image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of stars and galaxies in constellation Draco. Bottom image shows glow attributed to first stars in the universe after radiation from other stars and galaxies is removed. (Courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech/A. Kashlinsky/GSFC)

And once again the famed mythological monster the; Dragon (Draco) has touched our conciousness....

While more mysteries become revealed as Heraclitus predicted:
"The things that exist are brought into harmony by the clash of opposing currents. All things come into being by the conflict of opposites"

Monster black hole lurking in our galaxy
02/11/2005 - 19:39:55

A super-massive object at the heart of the Milky Way is almost certainly a monster black hole, scientists said today.

New evidence appears to confirm that the black hole thought to lurk at the centre of our galaxy is real.

By observing radio emissions from the object, astronomers have also been able to measure it more accurately than ever before.

The results indicate that the “hole” is as wide as the Earth’s orbit round the Sun – considerably smaller than previous estimates suggested.

Yet it appears to contain a mass equivalent to four million Suns.

The findings seem to rule out an alternative theory that the object, known as Sagittarius A (Sgr A), is a cluster of super-dense dead stellar remnants known as neutron stars.

Matter at such a high density level would be very short-lived, collapsing further into a black hole in only around 100 years.

Astronomers believe all the evidence points towards Sgr A being a black hole - a region of space in which gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it, not even light.

Scientists used 10 radio telescopes spread across the US and working as one gigantic antenna to capture the radio waves. The technique is known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI).

Black holes emit radiation from matter swirling round the edge of the event horizon – the “point of no return” after which there is no escape from their gravity.

Writing in the journal Nature, the astronomers, led by Zhi-Qiang Shen, from Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China, said the new radio image provided “strong evidence that Sgr A is a super-massive black hole”.

In an accompanying article, astronomer Christopher Reynolds, from the University of Maryland in College Park, USA, said scientists were now a step closer to the goal of actually taking a snapshot of a black hole.

The ultimate proof that black holes exist would be to obtain an image of the “shadow” produced by the event horizon, he said.

“The predicted diameter of the event horizon’s shadow for Sgr A is just 30 micro-arc seconds, or 120 millionth of a degree,” he said.

“This would be the apparent size of a tennis ball on the Moon when viewed from the Earth, and is about a factor of four smaller than the scales probed by the current VLBI experiments.”


Solved: the mysteries of the black hole

The concept of black holes, supermassive voids that suck in all matter and light, has caught the public imagination for decades. Now, for the first time, scientists are on the verge of looking into the heart of darkness.

By Steve Connor

Published: 03 November 2005

© 2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.

They are probably the strangest things in the known universe. Black holes are so massive and their gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape - not even light itself - which is strange indeed for something made of nothing.

A hole in space seems to make no sense at all, yet scientists are convinced that these prisons of light are for real, even though they have never really been seen and the only evidence for their existence is circumstantial.

But astronomers have now got close to staring a black hole in the face. With the help of an array of 10 radio telescopes in America, they have pictured the void at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy 26 million light years away, where a supermassive black hole sits invisibly like the transparent eye of a hurricane.

This particular black hole is estimated to have a mass equivalent to four million Suns and yet the latest measurements, published in the journal Nature, suggest it occupies a volume with a radius less than the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

This is less than half the size previously estimated, indicating that astronomers are close to defining the crucial outer boundary of one of the most elusive phenomena in cosmology - one that has mystified scientists for decades. "We're getting tantalisingly close to being able to see an unmistakable signature that would provide the first concrete proof of a supermassive black hole at a galaxy's centre," said Zhi-Qiang Shen, of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China, one of the leaders of the study.

No light escapes from black holes, which is why they are so invisible. They can however be detected by the radiowaves emitted from their periphery as they gobble up any surrounding matter that falls within range.

The first sign of a black hole within our own galaxy came in February 1974, when two American astronomers, Bruce Balick and Robert Brown, detected a powerful source of radiowaves emanating from the constellation of Sagittarius. Balick and Brown calculated that, whatever the cause of the radiation, the source was coming from the dead centre of the galaxy. They suspected a black hole at the heart of the Milky Way and the race began for astronomers to capture the first image of this radio source, which they called Sagittarius A* (pronounced "A-star").

"Black holes are perhaps the most exotic objects to impinge on the cosmic consciousness," explains astronomer Christopher Reynolds of the University of Maryland, writing in Nature. "They are formed when matter such as that from a dying massive star collapses in calamitously under its own gravity, forming a region of space in which the gravitational field is so strong that it swallows all matter and radiation that come near it."

One way of looking at black holes is how they distort space and time. Imagine the space-time continuum as a rubber sheet. An object the size of the Sun would act like a heavy ball placed on a trampoline, causing a minor indentation. Heavier objects, such as cannonballs, would create further indentations in the space-time continuum but something as heavy and dense as a black hole would cause such a steep dent that it would be like a bottomless pit from which nothing could escape once it fell in.

>This view of black holes comes with the benefit of Einstein's theories of relativity. But the concept actually predated his pioneering work. In fact, black holes, like many cosmological phenomena, were predicted long before scientists began to construct the sort of instruments that could detect them.

Indeed, an English clergyman and scholar called John Michell predicted in 1784 that some stars might be so big, and hence so heavy or massive, that they would create a gravitational field strong enough to prevent light from escaping. If something was 500 times bigger than the Sun, the Rev Michell wrote, "all light emitted from such a body would be made to return towards it, by its own proper gravity".

Such predictions were based on what was known at the time from Isaac Newton's work on gravity. It was not until after Albert Einstein formulated his general theory of relativity that further work could be done on the theory of black holes - although no one actually called them by that name until 1967.

Using Einstein's theory, Karl Schwarzschild, a German physicist, discovered that relativity equations led to the predicted existence of an object so dense that other objects would fall into it and never come out again.

Schwarzschild talked about a "magic sphere" around such an object where gravity was so powerful that nothing within that sphere could escape. Furthermore, all matter within the sphere would be crushed to a point of infinite density occupying virtually no space. This point is known as the "singularity" and every black hole is believed to have a singularity at its centre.

J Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the American atom bomb, calculated that a black holes was the ultimate end-product of a star's lifecycle, the point when it collapsed in on itself and the resulting ultra-dense material gave rise to a singularity.

But the real turning point came in 1967, when the American astrophysicist, John Wheeler, actually coined the term "black hole" - and launched a wave of popular fascination with these gravity-defying voids.

In 1971, the first experimental evidence from space for the existence of black holes came with data captured by the American Uhuru satellite. Its instruments detected a source of X-rays coming from a star that appeared to be orbiting an invisible companion that was estimated to be five times the mass of the Sun.

This was the first of several contenders for the "smaller" kind of black hole caused by the collapse of a stellar objects. But in more recent years scientists have been chasing much, much bigger black holes.

These black holes are supermassive affairs, like the one at the centre of our own galaxy which is estimated to weigh in at about 4 million times the mass of the Sun.

But astronomers believe there are even bigger ones, 10 billion times the mass of the Sun, at the heart of every galaxy, said the cosmologist Marcus Chown, author of The Universe Next Door. "No one knows how they form. No one knows why they are at the centre of galaxies. It's even possible they were there first and seeded the formation of galaxies such as the Milky Way."

Such is the mystery surrounding black holes that a small minority of scientists still cannot quite bring themselves to believe in them. "The truth is we don't absolutely know for sure that black holes exist. No one has actually seen a black hole, " explained Mr Chown.

This is why the latest study is so important, because scientists are getting so tantalising close to taking that first image of a black hole in all its mysterious splendour. But what would "nothing" look like? How can we take an image of something that swallows up all matter and radiation?

Professor Reynolds said that we may not be able to see a black hole itself, but we should be able to see the boundary or "event horizon" beyond which all matter is swallowed up. "What is needed is a more discerning test than simply detecting something massive and compact; we need to find the event horizon, the defining property of a black hole," he said.

"As physical phenomena go, event horizons are tricky to observe... High-resolution imaging, however, does provide a compelling way to search for an event horizon. If a black hole is surrounded by an almost spherical distribution of radiation matter ... a sufficiently high-resolution image should reveal a shadow around it.

"This dark circle is caused by radiation from sources behind the black hole that are being swallowed by the event horizon. Surrounding this shadow would be a bright ring - the result of the strong deflection by the black hole's gravitational field of those light rays that do scrape past it."

Fred Lo, director of the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which runs the array of telescopes that collected the latest data, said that, with a slightly higher resolution, telescopes should soon be able to see this shadow of a black hole.

"The extremely strong gravitational pull of a black hole has several effects that would produce a distinctive 'shadow' that we think we could see if we can image details about half as small as those in our latest images," Dr Lo said. "Seeing that shadow would be the final proof that a supermassive black hole is at the centre of our galaxy."

Mr Chown said that the best way to get the final elusive proof of the existence of supermassive black holes is to observe the one that is closest to us. "The proof will be to see a bright ring with a dark region inside it - presumably, the bright ring is matter super-heated as it falls into the black hole and the dark region is the black hole," Mr Chown said. "Fred Lo and his people have come the closest yet to getting that proof."

Black holes are so strange that they may defy the laws of physics as we know them, for instance by creating "wormholes" in space. When we are finally able to see black holes with our own eyes, we may have also found gateways to other universes.

They are probably the strangest things in the known universe. Black holes are so massive and their gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape - not even light itself - which is strange indeed for something made of nothing.

A hole in space seems to make no sense at all, yet scientists are convinced that these prisons of light are for real, even though they have never really been seen and the only evidence for their existence is circumstantial.

But astronomers have now got close to staring a black hole in the face. With the help of an array of 10 radio telescopes in America, they have pictured the void at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy 26 million light years away, where a supermassive black hole sits invisibly like the transparent eye of a hurricane.

This particular black hole is estimated to have a mass equivalent to four million Suns and yet the latest measurements, published in the journal Nature, suggest it occupies a volume with a radius less than the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

This is less than half the size previously estimated, indicating that astronomers are close to defining the crucial outer boundary of one of the most elusive phenomena in cosmology - one that has mystified scientists for decades. "We're getting tantalisingly close to being able to see an unmistakable signature that would provide the first concrete proof of a supermassive black hole at a galaxy's centre," said Zhi-Qiang Shen, of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory in China, one of the leaders of the study.

No light escapes from black holes, which is why they are so invisible. They can however be detected by the radiowaves emitted from their periphery as they gobble up any surrounding matter that falls within range.

The first sign of a black hole within our own galaxy came in February 1974, when two American astronomers, Bruce Balick and Robert Brown, detected a powerful source of radiowaves emanating from the constellation of Sagittarius. Balick and Brown calculated that, whatever the cause of the radiation, the source was coming from the dead centre of the galaxy. They suspected a black hole at the heart of the Milky Way and the race began for astronomers to capture the first image of this radio source, which they called Sagittarius A* (pronounced "A-star").

"Black holes are perhaps the most exotic objects to impinge on the cosmic consciousness," explains astronomer Christopher Reynolds of the University of Maryland, writing in Nature. "They are formed when matter such as that from a dying massive star collapses in calamitously under its own gravity, forming a region of space in which the gravitational field is so strong that it swallows all matter and radiation that come near it."

One way of looking at black holes is how they distort space and time. Imagine the space-time continuum as a rubber sheet. An object the size of the Sun would act like a heavy ball placed on a trampoline, causing a minor indentation. Heavier objects, such as cannonballs, would create further indentations in the space-time continuum but something as heavy and dense as a black hole would cause such a steep dent that it would be like a bottomless pit from which nothing could escape once it fell in.

>This view of black holes comes with the benefit of Einstein's theories of relativity. But the concept actually predated his pioneering work. In fact, black holes, like many cosmological phenomena, were predicted long before scientists began to construct the sort of instruments that could detect them.

Indeed, an English clergyman and scholar called John Michell predicted in 1784 that some stars might be so big, and hence so heavy or massive, that they would create a gravitational field strong enough to prevent light from escaping. If something was 500 times bigger than the Sun, the Rev Michell wrote, "all light emitted from such a body would be made to return towards it, by its own proper gravity".

Such predictions were based on what was known at the time from Isaac Newton's work on gravity. It was not until after Albert Einstein formulated his general theory of relativity that further work could be done on the theory of black holes - although no one actually called them by that name until 1967.

Using Einstein's theory, Karl Schwarzschild, a German physicist, discovered that relativity equations led to the predicted existence of an object so dense that other objects would fall into it and never come out again.

Schwarzschild talked about a "magic sphere" around such an object where gravity was so powerful that nothing within that sphere could escape. Furthermore, all matter within the sphere would be crushed to a point of infinite density occupying virtually no space. This point is known as the "singularity" and every black hole is believed to have a singularity at its centre.

J Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the American atom bomb, calculated that a black holes was the ultimate end-product of a star's lifecycle, the point when it collapsed in on itself and the resulting ultra-dense material gave rise to a singularity.

But the real turning point came in 1967, when the American astrophysicist, John Wheeler, actually coined the term "black hole" - and launched a wave of popular fascination with these gravity-defying voids.

In 1971, the first experimental evidence from space for the existence of black holes came with data captured by the American Uhuru satellite. Its instruments detected a source of X-rays coming from a star that appeared to be orbiting an invisible companion that was estimated to be five times the mass of the Sun.

This was the first of several contenders for the "smaller" kind of black hole caused by the collapse of a stellar objects. But in more recent years scientists have been chasing much, much bigger black holes.

These black holes are supermassive affairs, like the one at the centre of our own galaxy which is estimated to weigh in at about 4 million times the mass of the Sun.

But astronomers believe there are even bigger ones, 10 billion times the mass of the Sun, at the heart of every galaxy, said the cosmologist Marcus Chown, author of The Universe Next Door. "No one knows how they form. No one knows why they are at the centre of galaxies. It's even possible they were there first and seeded the formation of galaxies such as the Milky Way."

Such is the mystery surrounding black holes that a small minority of scientists still cannot quite bring themselves to believe in them. "The truth is we don't absolutely know for sure that black holes exist. No one has actually seen a black hole, " explained Mr Chown.

This is why the latest study is so important, because scientists are getting so tantalising close to taking that first image of a black hole in all its mysterious splendour. But what would "nothing" look like? How can we take an image of something that swallows up all matter and radiation?

Professor Reynolds said that we may not be able to see a black hole itself, but we should be able to see the boundary or "event horizon" beyond which all matter is swallowed up. "What is needed is a more discerning test than simply detecting something massive and compact; we need to find the event horizon, the defining property of a black hole," he said.

"As physical phenomena go, event horizons are tricky to observe... High-resolution imaging, however, does provide a compelling way to search for an event horizon. If a black hole is surrounded by an almost spherical distribution of radiation matter ... a sufficiently high-resolution image should reveal a shadow around it.

"This dark circle is caused by radiation from sources behind the black hole that are being swallowed by the event horizon. Surrounding this shadow would be a bright ring - the result of the strong deflection by the black hole's gravitational field of those light rays that do scrape past it."

Fred Lo, director of the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which runs the array of telescopes that collected the latest data, said that, with a slightly higher resolution, telescopes should soon be able to see this shadow of a black hole.

"The extremely strong gravitational pull of a black hole has several effects that would produce a distinctive 'shadow' that we think we could see if we can image details about half as small as those in our latest images," Dr Lo said. "Seeing that shadow would be the final proof that a supermassive black hole is at the centre of our galaxy."

Mr Chown said that the best way to get the final elusive proof of the existence of supermassive black holes is to observe the one that is closest to us. "The proof will be to see a bright ring with a dark region inside it - presumably, the bright ring is matter super-heated as it falls into the black hole and the dark region is the black hole," Mr Chown said. "Fred Lo and his people have come the closest yet to getting that proof."

Black holes are so strange that they may defy the laws of physics as we know them, for instance by creating "wormholes" in space. When we are finally able to see black holes with our own eyes, we may have also found gateways to other universes.


Hubble Observations Add Two New Moons to Pluto


By Amir Alexander

November 3, 2005

As the New Horizons team prepares for the fast approaching January launch, they received startling news about the planet they are working so hard to reach. Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope last May reveal that Pluto has not one moon, but three! These include Charon, the large moon discovered in 1978, and two previously unknown satellites, all orbiting within 60,000 kilometers (36,000 miles) of their home planet.  As a result, when New Horizons visits the ninth planet in 2015 or thereabout, it will be able to study four separate objects, all in the immediate vicinity of Pluto itself.

When New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), and Hal Weaver of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), first proposed to use the Hubble Space Telescope to search for moons around Pluto, they were looking for something quite different. As co-leaders of a team of nine astronomers searching for Pluto companions, they thought they might find very distant moons orbiting Pluto, so faint that they have so far escaped detection. Other Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) are known to have such far-off moons.

Accordingly, they instructed Hubble to search the entire range of Pluto’s gravitational control, stretching out over 2 million kilometers from the planet. On May 15, 2005, and again on May 18, the space telescope pointed its mirror in the direction of Pluto, and took a series of pictures. The images show no trace of the distant satellites Stern and Weaver had expected. They do, however, show two bright spots orbiting very close to Pluto itself – almost certainly two small moons.

“Pluto always baffles us” mused Stern. “We never expected Pluto to be a quadruple.”

A View from Pluto&quot;s Moon
A View from Pluto's Moon
An artist's conception of the view from one of Pluto's new moons showing Pluto, Charon, and the other small moon. Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Bacon

The first to notice the two bright points in the Hubble images was Max Mutchler of the Space Telescope Science Institute, who inspected the images on June 15, at Weaver’s request. After informing Weaver of the possible discovery, both had to put any plans for further confirmation aside: for the next several months both researchers focused on the Hubble observations of comet Tempel 1, which was struck by an impactor from the spacecraft Deep Impact.

In the meantime, at SwRI, Stern suggested to postdoctoral researcher Andrew Steffl that he too take a look at the images and see what he could find. Although this was done in coordination with Weaver, Weaver did not inform Stern and Steffl of Mutchler’s suspicions so as not to bias their observations. By mid August Steffl too had found two apparent satellites of Pluto. By the end of the month it was clear that he had found the same objects as Mutchler, in the very same images.

To confirm the discovery Stern and Weaver asked three of the largest ground-based telescopes to look for the moons. In September, The Keck and Gemini telescopes in Hawaii, and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile all set their sights on Pluto. None, however, succeeded in imaging the elusive satellites, most likely because Pluto was already low in the sky at twilight and barely visible. In February, when Pluto is farther away from the glare of the Sun, a new series of observations is planned with Hubble.

Even without the confirming observations, Stern, Weaver, and their colleagues have very good reasons to believe the moons they have found are the “real thing.” First there is the fact that the objects move through the sky with Pluto. Other KBO’s, and background stars, which follow a different path through the skies, appear in the images as blurry streaks, while the suspected moons remain in focus.

Then there are the results of preliminary calculations of the two satellites’ orbits. These appear to be nearly circular, and on the same orbital plane as Pluto’s large moon Charon. Stern, furthermore, suggests that the moons appear to be in resonance with Charon, meaning that the ratio of the moons’ orbital periods and that of Charon is a simple integer ration such as 2:1 or 3:2. The chances that such apparent orbits are artifacts of the random movement of background objects is miniscule. However, these would be precisely the orbits that one would expect of moons formed by the same impact that created Charon.

Finally, and perhaps most convincingly – the two moons have been imaged before. Marc Buie of the Lowell Observatory and Eliot Young of SwRI found the moons in images of Pluto taken by Hubble in 2002.

Pluto&quot;s Quadruple System
Pluto's Quadruple System
These images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on May 15 and 18, 2005, show that Pluto has two small moons in addition to its large moon Charon. Credit: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the Hubble Space Telescope Pluto Companion Search Team

The two moons, provisionally known as S/2005 P 1 and S/2005 P 2, are tiny compared to their two companions. Whereas Pluto is 2400 kilometers (1400 miles) in diameter, and Charon is half of that, the diameter of S/2005 P 1 – the larger of the two moons – is anywhere between 50 and 160 kilometers (30 and 100 miles). Since size estimates depend on the object’s brightness, the exact diameter of the moon depends on its reflectivity (or albedo), which right now can only be guessed at. The smaller moon, S/2005 P 2, is likely 10% - 15% smaller than its sibling.

Pluto’s newfound companions could provide scientists with new insights on the Kuiper belt and the Pluto system. If the findings prove correct, said Weaver, Pluto “will become the first body in the Kuiper belt known to have more than one satellite.” This suggests that among the estimated 40,000 Kuiper belt objects that have moons, many may have more than one. Furthermore, the size and orbits of moons are a crucial resource for learning about their host planets. The two new satellites will soon enable scientists to calculate better estimates of the mass and density of Pluto and Charon. Down the road, when more is known about S/2005 P 1 and S/2005 P 2, they could help us understand the origins and history of the Pluto system as well.

Apart from their importance to our understanding of the Kuiper belt, and their influence on plans for New Horizons, the discovery of two new moons orbiting close to one of the traditional nine planets is a remarkable discovery in itself. Stern put it most aptly: “It blew our socks off,” he said.

 
   
Copyright © 1993 – 2005 The Planetary Society. All rights reserved.    

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005
11:37 am
Prehistoric Sex
Yep its true dinosaurs f**ked.......what did you think they did? And man are they noisy.....Opps this isnt' about Brontosaurus Sex or even Tyrannosaurus Sex, its a couple of amobea's having a joining....sorry to get you all excited....sigh well I guess we will have to wait for Jurrasic Park VI

Scientists Find Fossils in Sexual Union

AP

LUCKNOW, India - This was no one-night stand. Scientists in India say they have discovered two fossils fused together in sexual union for 65 million years.

The findings were published in the October edition of the Indian journal "Current Science," which said it was the first time that sexual copulation had been discovered in a fossil state, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

But voyeurs will need a microscope to view the eternal lovers.

The fossils are tiny swarm cells, a stage in the development of the fungus myxomycetes, also known as slime molds.

The cells reproduce by "fusing," Ranjeet Kar of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow reportedly told PTI. Once the cells fuse, long, threadlike appendages known as flagella, are lost, he said.

Finding the fossils in a fused position and with their flagella shed, is evidence that the two cells were having sex, Kar said.

"The sexual organs being delicate and the time of conjugation short lived, it is indeed rare to get this stage in the fossil state," the study said.

The cells were discovered in a 30-foot deep dry well in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
3:00 am
Cryptozoology: Does a Moose Make a Sound in the Forest?
So when it comes to mysterious or unknown beasts we don't have to look for exotic animals to fit the bill, no need to think that a brontosaurus is stomping around in the forest...nope in the world of cryptozoology it can be even as common as a Canadian Moose....in Exile in New Zealand.......

0/20: A wild moose chase Oct 20, 2005

Pete Cronshaw from 20/20 goes bush with a man who has spent the last 35 years searching for a herd of Canadian moose last seen in Fiordland more than 50 years ago.

The debate on whether they still exist has raged for years but took a new twist a few weeks ago when DNA testing suggested the legendary beasts might still be there.

The two metre prehistoric giant was given up for dead half a century ago but Ken Tustin swears it's no ghost he has come close to "maybe a dozen times".


DNA test findings reignite hopes of Fiordland moose
06 October 2005

A new series of DNA tests confirms hair found in a remote part of Fiordland came from one of a supposedly long-extinct New Zealand population of Canadian moose.

The results are the second since June 2001 to suggest at least one of the increasingly mythical animals, introduced to Fiordland from North America in 1910 and last seen more than 30 years ago, was still alive.

At his home at Bull Creek in South Otago, scientist and moose-hunter Ken Tustin called the "very exciting" findings independent proof of a "subjective" hunch he had pursued since the 1970s.

"Significantly, this means that we have real, scientific proof that an animal people said died out decades ago was actually still alive close to when we collected this sample," Mr Tustin said.

"We know that instead of being dead, that a moose stood on a beach on the northern side of the Wet Jacket Arm, that it fed there, and that it moved on to feed somewhere else."

"This puts the hunt outside the realm of a hoax, which is what people said when the first hairs were found. I have seen enough physical evidence they are there, and this just confirms what I believe."

Mr Tustin and wife Margie collected the sample during a regular visit to the thickly-wooded and steep area in October 2002, from hair snagged on waist-high scrub on a beach opposite Oke Island.

The find was made a considerable distance from Shark Cove on the south side of Dusky Sound near where, one year earlier, Kelvin and Charlie Harper found hair that DNA tests in said came from a moose.

Hamilton-based researchers Deer Improvement sent the Tustins' sample, the already-tested Harper hair, and about 40 other samples to a forensic laboratory at Trent University in Ontario, Canada earlier this year.

The laboratory, which specialises in wildlife DNA, returned the results late last month, and both samples were confirmed as having come from a moose, Deer Improvement director Peter Gatley said yesterday.

Mr Gatley had "complete confidence" in the laboratory and its methods, and was especially excited the hair could only have been exposed to the elements for "weeks, rather than years" to give a viable DNA reading.

A couple of dozen samples of suspected moose faeces, collected by Mr Tustin since the early 1990s, were likely to be DNA-tested before the end of the year was also "tantalising and exciting".

"This is not quite the photograph that people who do not believe there are moose there might want, but boy, this really is the next best thing," Mr Gatley said.

A herd of 10 Canadian moose were introduced to Fiordland's Supper Cove in 1910, but their population declined steadily under pressure from red deer until the last rumoured sighting in 1971.

Spurred by that sighting, his discovery of a moose antler in 1972, and now backed by the New Zealand Wildlife Trust, Mr Tustin spends about two months each year in the Dusky Sound area documenting evidence of moose occupation.

Moose had eluded a network of cameras in the area but physical evidence, such as bedding spots and browsing and antler marks, suggested as many as 20 animals might still live there, Mr Tustin said.

A Natural History New Zealand camera took a blurred image of a suspected moose in 1995, and Mr Tustin believed he had come so close "that the hairs on my neck stood up...and I could smell it had been there".

"But people still doubt it, and why wouldn't they, because this is such an unlikely event. But now we have more than my subjective observations. Now we have independent evidence of the real thing."

Mr Tustin hoped confirming moose lived in Fiordland until at least 2002 would force the animal back into New Zealand literature as a permanent part of the country's wilderness fauna.

It might also start a debate about whether an exotic animal that had survived in such an inhospitable environment should be protected, Mr Tustin said.
Tuesday, October 11th, 2005
8:38 pm
Gay Mushrooms
It's like something out of a William Burroughs novel......gives new meaning to left coast home of the gay counter culture..... gay fungi spores that are pathogens to humans....yep right out of a Burroughs Novel...life is a virus he would say now we know that it is also a spore.......Moves to London in 1960. Back in Tangiers in August of 1961, with Ginsberg and others, meets Timothy Leary who gives them all mushrooms. Burroughs doesn't enjoy the experience, saying: "Urgent warning. I think I'll stay here in shriveling envelopes of larval flesh... One of the nastiest cases ever produced by this department."

Homosexual fungi spawn deadly strain
Researchers in the U.S. report that a deadly fungus which spread from Vancouver Island to the mainland was spawned when two less-dangerous strains engaged in homosexual union. A paper published yesterday in the journal Nature argues that the severe new strain -- cryptococcus gattii -- is the result of sexual reproduction between two types of a similar species of fungi, despite the fact that both were of the same sex.

Same-sex mating by fungi spawned infection outbreak, evidence suggests

DURHAM, N.C. – Same-sex mating between two less harmful yeast strains might have spawned an outbreak of disease among otherwise healthy people and animals on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Howard Hughes Medical Institute geneticists at Duke University Medical Center have reported. The fungus, Cryptococcus gattii, is normally restricted to the tropics and subtropics.

The researchers said their findings provide important additional insight into the origin of the Vancouver Island outbreak, which began in 1999. Moreover, the evidence that sex played an important role in the pathogen's expansion may provide a useful model for the evolution of infectious diseases and parasites more generally, they said.

Earlier studies by the Duke team found that most Vancouver Island outbreak isolates are sexually fertile, but all are of one "sex," a trend that would seem to preclude the normal sexual cycle. A recent laboratory study led by Heitman's group suggested a possible explanation: the related yeast C. neoformans can undergo same-sex mating between two alpha partners.

Among clinical and environmental isolates of the fungus from British Columbia, the researchers identified two forms: an extremely virulent major strain, which accounted for 95 percent of all samples, and a less virulent and less common strain, which made up the other five percent.

By comparing select gene sequences that spanned the genomes of the Vancouver Island fungi to samples collected from around the world, the team traced the rarer type to identical isolates in Australia. The major form matched a sample taken from an infected person in Seattle 30 years ago and another collected from a Eucalyptus tree in San Francisco in 1992
Sunday, October 9th, 2005
8:52 am
Cuthulu Surfaces
Another Giant Squid, the Kraken of seafaring legend, is discovered. And along with this discovery are other Giant Squid stories I found which are linked below. Yep Cuthulu Lives! And cryptozoology can be thanked once again for challenging scientists to search for unknown animals that they dismissed as myth and legend.



Holy Squid! Photos Offer First Glimpse of Live Deep-Sea Giant

September 27, 2005

Like something straight out of a Jules Verne novel, an enormous tentacled creature looms out of the inky blackness of the deep Pacific waters.

But this isn't science fiction. A set of extraordinary images captured by Japanese scientists marks the first-ever record of a live giant squid (Architeuthis) in the wild.

The animal—which measures roughly 25 feet (8 meters) long—was photographed 2,950 feet (900 meters) beneath the North Pacific Ocean. Japanese scientists attracted the squid toward cameras attached to a baited fishing line.

The scientists say they snapped more than 500 images of the massive cephalopod before it broke free after snagging itself on a hook. They also recovered one of the giant squid's two longest tentacles, which severed during its struggle.

"Colossal Squid" Revives Legends of Sea Monsters

James Owen for National Geographic News April 23, 2003

Last month fishermen in the icy Ross Sea encountered a deep-sea giant.

Almost 20 feet (6 meters) long, with spiked tentacles and huge, protruding eyes, it was feeding on Patagonian toothfish caught on longlines set by the fishermen.

The creature was hauled aboard and taken to New Zealand for analysis. This confirmed the encounter as the first live sighting of a colossal squid.

Usually called Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, scientists who examined the Ross Sea specimen coined the term "colossal squid" to distinguish it from giant squid (Architeuthis). They say the species is the biggest and most fearsome squid known to science and could grow to 40 feet (12 meters) in length—longer than a whale.

Thought to be only the second intact example ever recovered, the massive cephalopod was armed with two huge beaks and rotating hooks along its tentacles.

This latest find has revived interest in sea monster legends of old. Could it be such monsters really existed, and still exist today?

Scientists who identified the Ross Sea squid have fueled such speculation.

New Zealand squid expert Steve O'Shea, from Auckland University of Technology, has described the squid as "a true monster." He told the BBC: "Giant squid is no longer the largest squid that's out there. We've got something that's even larger, and not just larger but an order of magnitude meaner."

Giant Squid Washes Ashore In Tasmania

By Bijal P. Trivedi National Geographic Today July 26, 2002

Earlier this week the largest invertebrate on Earth, an animal that has never before been seen in its native habitat, washed up on the chilly eastern shores of Tasmania, Australia. The giant squid, an adult female, bore the marks of a torrid sexual affair. Sucker marks decorated her neck, and the top of her head bore a nip, possibly from a male's beak. Sperm samples suggest that she may have mated nearby.

"Weird" New Squid Species Discovered in Deep Sea

Bijal P. Trivedi National Geographic Today December 20, 2001

Deep-sea submersibles have spotted and filmed a new type of squid in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

"We have never seen anything like it," says cephalopod biologist Michael Vecchione, of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and an author of a report, "Worldwide Observations of Remarkable Deep-Sea Squids," that appears in the December 21 issue of the journal Science. "It just shows how little we know about life-forms in the deep sea."

Squid are usually characterized by eight long arms and two modified shorter arms called tentacles.

The newly discovered squid has ten indistinguishable appendages which all appear the same length and which radiate from the main axis of the body like spokes on a bicycle wheel. All of the appendages have a sharp bend, like an elbow, from which the rest of the arm hangs straight down.

Other particularly "weird" features are the two enormous fins that stick out from a comparatively tiny body. The two fins are like elephant ears that flap as the creature floats around.

"It's a very weird-looking thing—really big fins, really long arms and this tiny little body in between," says Vecchione.

Monday, September 19th, 2005
12:14 am
An Alternative to Creationism

This is a very funny site, with a very serious message. And some good receipes.



OPEN LETTER TO KANSAS SCHOOL BOARD

I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.
Saturday, September 17th, 2005
1:48 am
Why Did the Snake Cross The Road
To get to the other side. And now they can do it safely. Thanks to an environmentally friendly road design. Medicine Hat has lots of rattlers that get killed on the highway, maybe Alberta will adopt the idea of tunnels for snakes that Manitoba now uses.

Snake population on the rebound
 
Broadcast News

Friday, September 16, 2005



The legless stars of Manitoba's world-famous snake dens are once again thriving.

Ed Wasserman, a tour guide and advocate at the snake dens in Narcisse, says the population has rebounded in a major way, thanks to 12 tunnels dug under Highway 17 by Manitoba Hydro in 2001.

In 1997, before the tunnels were built, about 25,000 snakes were killed by highway traffic.

Wasserman estimates the snake population is now approaching 70,000 -- the same level as a decade ago. 

© Broadcast News 200

Wednesday, September 14th, 2005
12:15 pm
Topless Cleaners
City criticized for allowing topless cleaning company

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 Globe and Mail

Vernon -- A new cleaning company is wrapped up in something more than just dirty laundry. The city has approved a new business licence for a topless housecleaning company, but the decision has outraged some members of a local women's centre. "We're concerned about the exploitation of women and we're concerned about women's safety," said Debra Critchley of the Vernon Women's Centre. CP

So what if it was all guys doing the housecleaning, flexing those biceps......There is an assumption here that it's going to be women working for this company.....which is probably the case....however if it was men doing the cleaning topless, then the feminists would protest that they should be allowed to do it also....like the bare breast campaigns at public beaches a number of years ago......this just another bit of media titilation nothing to get worked up about, every couple of years some 'guy' figures he will make money off of topless cleaning or topless car washes etc. and they last about two weeks and then the thrill is gone and they disappear into the vast abyss of dumb ideas.
Thursday, September 1st, 2005
5:51 am
Another Blow To Creationism
And God made Man in his image....Genesis
Oh my god no, no.....Charelton Heston Planet of the Apes

Chimp's gene map shows what makes humans different

www.chinaview.cn 2005-09-01 08:15:52

 

Scientists have pieced together the genetic recipe of the chimpanzee, marking a milestone in the centuries-old quest to discover what sets humans apart from other animals.
THE genetic blueprint of the chimpanzee, humanity’s closest cousin, has been mapped in its entirety by scientists, narrowing the search for the genes that make us human.
    BEIJING, Sep. 1 (Xinhuanet)-- The question that what sets humans apart from other animals has been settled by scientists who have mapped the complete chimp genome and compared it to the human gene map.

    Differences in the sequence of four chemical "letters" that spell out the genetic codes, or genomes, of chimp (Pan troglodytes) and man (Homo sapiens) could account for the very human abilities to write novels or fly to the Mars.

    "As our closest relatives, they (chimpanzees) tell us special things about what it means to be a primate and, ultimately, what it means to be a human at the DNA level," Dr. Francis Collins, head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, which funded the studies, told a news conference.

    The comparisons of the two genomes, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature by 67 researchers in the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, provide clear confirmation of the common and recent evolutionary origin of humans and chimpanzees, as first predicted by Charles Darwin in 1871.

Dr. Robert Waterston, one of the leaders of the international research team, from the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues sequenced the DNA of a chimpanzee named Clint, who died last year of heart failure at the relatively young age for a chimp of 24, but two colonies of his cells have been preserved for future study.

    They compared it to the human genome sequence and did a letter-by-letter comparison of the DNA base pairs -- the A, C, T and G nucleotides that make up both the human and chimp genetic codes.

    Out of 3 billion base pairs that make up both the human and the chimpanzee genomes, only 40 million differ between human and chimp, they found.

    "Within those 40 million differences are clearly the genetic bases of what makes us human." said Dr. Waterston.

    Genes usually code for proteins, the molecules that build and operate a body, and many key differences are expected to be found in genetic code that controls where proteins are made, how and in what quantities.

    The chimpanzee is only the fourth mammal to have its genome sequence completed, after humans, rats and mice, though a draft is available for the dog. Of these species, humans and chimps are by far the most similar. The differences between them are ten times fewer than those between mice and rats, and sixty times fewer than those between humans and mice.

    But, added Collins, the study did not address philosophical or religious questions.

    "It may very well not tell us about other aspects of humanity, such as how do we tell right and wrong," Collins said. Enditem


Chimp, human DNA compared
Study finds vast similarities and key differences

By TOM PAULSON
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

An international team of 67 scientists, led by a top genome researcher in Seattle, may have moved us a few steps closer toward figuring out precisely what in the genetic code makes us human -- or, at least, not chimpanzees.

"By comparing the human and chimp genomes, we can see the process of evolution clearly in the changes (in DNA) since we diverged from our common ancestor," said Robert Waterston, director of genome sciences at the University of Washington and lead author of a report on the project in today's edition of the journal Nature.

Humans and chimps each have some 3 billion base units of DNA in their genomes, differing by only 1.2 percent when compared in this way. Other methods of comparison estimate a genetic difference of at most 4 percent.

"We're not that different," Waterston said.



Friday, August 26th, 2005
7:18 am
One Lighting Bolt 14 dead
Lightning strike kills 14 cows at once
REGINA -- A lightning strike dealt a blow to a young Chaplin-area rancher when it killed 14 of his cattle in a storm early Tuesday.

Ouch one bolt, and its BBQ time.
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005
3:24 pm
Another Lake Monster In Canada
Is this yet another case of a sighting of the rare, endangered sturgeon the dinosaur fish?

A tip o' the blog to Grandinite who blogged about this first. He also has a great collection of ugly fish photos.

See my previous enteries on Cryptozoology and Lake Monsters:

Cryptozoology Part 2
LAKE MONSTERS

Opps
Kyoto accord signals death knell for dinosaur era fish in Canada


Manitoba man lands massive fish-a 200 year old sturgeon


Another Big Fish Story
Fishermen catch giant catfish


Quebecer claims to have photos of lake monster
Jeff Stafford, owner of the Ripplecove Inn

Jeff Stafford, owner of the Ripplecove Inn


Whippy


CTV.ca News Staff

A Quebec innkeeper claims to have picture proof that the legendary monster of Lake Massawippi exists.

Although it doesn't enjoy the status of Ogopogo -- the country's most famous water monster said to inhabit Lake Okanagan in the south central B.C. interior -- "Whippy" has been alive in local monster folklore.

Townspeople have been reporting sightings of the elusive creature for generations in the peaceful, picturesque lake nestled in Quebec's Eastern Townships, near Sherbrooke.

Jeff Stafford, owner of the Ripplecove Inn, showed photos of what he claimed are "Whippy" to CFCF News reporter Rob Lurie.

Stafford said he was given the photos last week by a tourist, along with a story of how the alligator-like creature surfaced from the depths of the Massawippi and treated him to an extended view.

The series of blurry photos show a far shot of an oddly-shaped protuberance sticking out of the water.

"This thing was floating on top like a large crocodile or large water snake," Stafford told CFCF. He said, according to the tourist, that Whippy was 10 feet long, and had its head stuck out of the water for several minutes.

"We were blown away," said Stafford, who didn't doubt the tourist's story for one second.

There are many stories of monster sightings in these parts, reports Lurie. Nearby Lake Mephremagog has "Memphre"; Lake Champlains' has "Champ."

But with this latest sighting on the Massawippi, the legend of Whippy has pulled ahead of the others.

Florent Hebert, who's been guiding tours on the lake for 23 years, said he's seen a lot of strange things that he just can't explain.

He said he's been trying to convince people of Whippy's existence, and that these photos finally prove he's not crazy.

"I feel much better, because no one believes in the stories I've been telling about the lake," he told CFCF News.

Scientists have explained that these waters are inhabited by some very large fish.

At almost 500 feet deep, Lake Massawippi is home to many monster sturgeons. Fishermen have spotted fish more than seven feet long in the lake.

Vancouver author John Kirk, whose specialty is investigating unknown animals, guesses the mystery creature in Stafford's photo "could be a form of catfish."

"But it doesn't have the profile to be a classical lake monster," he told CTV News.

Stafford said whatever it was, it didn't act very fish-like. "It was on the surface of the water for about 15 minutes -- that's not fish behavior," he said.

With a report from CTV's Rob Lurie




Current Mood: excited
2:47 am
Another Blow to Creationism
Georgian scientists claim to unearth 1.8 million-year-old skull
By MISHA DZHINDZHIKHASHVILI


TBILISI, Georgia (AP) - Archeologists in the former Soviet republic of Georgia have unearthed a skull they say is 1.8 million years old - part of a find that holds the oldest traces of humankind's closest ancestors ever found in Europe.

The skull from an early member of the genus Homo was found Aug. 6 and unearthed Sunday in Dmanisi, an area about 100 kilometres southeast of the capital, Tbilisi, said David Lortkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum, who took part in the dig.

In total, five bones or fragments believed to be about the same age have been found in the area, including a jawbone discovered in 1991, Lortkipanidze said by telephone. The skull, however, was in the best condition of the five, and was sent to the museum for further study.

"Practically all the remains have been found in one place. This indicates that we have found a place of settlement of primitive people," he said of the spot, where archeologists have been working since 1939.

Researchers said the findings in Georgia were about one million years older than any widely accepted pre-human remains in western Europe and were the oldest found outside Africa. The discoveries have provided additional evidence that human ancestors left Africa a half-million years or more earlier than scientists had previously thought.

A well-preserved skull from the Dmanisi site would be "very important" in helping to track the development and migration of human ancestors, said Brian Richmond, a professor at the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Study of the skull could help scientists understand "what it is about these individuals that allowed them to move outside of Africa" - how their bodies and tool-use advanced to enable them to move more freely, Richmond said.

It could also help determine the species of the remains at the site, Homo erectus or Homo habilis, he said.

Million-year-old fossils of hominids - extinct creatures of the extended ancestral family of modern humans - have been found in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, but not in western Europe. Georgia is south of the Caucasus Mountains, east of the Black Sea and northeast of Turkey, but is considered part of Europe.

Previously, Lortkipanidze's discoveries of bone fragments contradicted a theory among anthropologists that the primitive humans who left Africa were big, well-armed and smart. The human-like specimens that Lortkipanidze found were smaller and slender with a smaller brain, but still capable of making stone tools.

The Dmanisi site is located between two rivers. Researchers also have found a wealth of animal remains from the same period, including elephants, gazelles, rhinos, sabre-toothed cats, giraffes, bears, ostriches, wolves and rodents.

Monday, August 22nd, 2005
3:03 am
Einstiens Brain
This prove once again that it takes Science a long time to even begin to prove theories, 75 years in this case. Let alone to theorize about the little known, like cryptozoology. Give credit to physics for coming up with wild theories like string theory, or even quantum mechanics, while the other hard sciences imprison themselves in the ideology of empiricism to keep them safe from asking thought provoking questions.

Einstein manuscript found at Dutch university
By TOBY STERLING


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - The original manuscript of a paper Albert Einstein published in 1925 has been found in the archives of Leiden University's Lorentz Institute for Theoretical Physics, scholars said Saturday.

The handwritten manuscript titled "Quantum theory of the monatomic ideal gas" was dated December 1924. Considered one of Einstein's last great breakthroughs, it was published in the proceedings of the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin in January 1925.

High-resolution photographs of the 16-page, German-language manuscript and an account of its discovery were posted on the institute's website.

"It was quite exciting" when a student working on his master's thesis uncovered the delicate manuscript written in Einstein's distinctive scrawl, said Prof. Carlo Beenakker. "You can even see Einstein's fingerprints in some places, and it's full of notes and markups from his editor."

"We're going to keep it as a reminder of his visits here, which is quite a fond memory for us," Beenakker said.

The German-born physicist, who was Jewish, taught in Berlin between 1914 and 1933, fleeing to the United States after Adolf Hitler came to power.

Einstein, whose name is now synonymous with genius was a frequent guest lecturer at Leiden in the 1920s due to his friendship with physicist Paul Ehrenfest, among whose papers the manuscript was found.

The paper predicted that at temperatures near absolute zero - 273 degrees below zero Celsius - particles in a gas can reach a state of such low energy that they clump together in one larger "mono-atom."

The idea was developed in collaboration with Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose and the then-theoretical state of matter was dubbed a Bose-Einstein condensation.

In 1995, University of Colorado at Boulder scientists Eric Cornell and Carl Wiemann created such a condensation using a gas of the element rubidium and were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 2001, together with Wolfgang Ketterle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Beenakker said the student who found the manuscript, Rowdy Boeyink, was painstakingly reviewing documents in the archive for a thesis on Ehrenfest when he came across the Einstein manuscript and immediately recognized its importance.

He said Boeyink had found other interesting documents during his search, including a letter from Danish physicist Niels Bohr, and was all but certain to receive top marks on his thesis.

-

On the Net:

http://www.lorentz.leidenuniv.nl/history/Einstein_archive/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bose-Einstein_condensate




Current Mood: jubilant
Saturday, August 20th, 2005
4:40 am
SUPPORT LOCKED OUT CBC WORKERS
Adrienne Arsenault in Neve Dekalim on the Gaza Strip on August 15, day 1 of the lockout.

Contact Anne McLellan and ask that she help resolve the dispute.

Alberta Federation of Labour Aug 19, 2005

4,500 CBC workers, ranging from technicians to on-air personalities, were locked out on August 15. The main issue in the dispute is CBC's attempt to bring in temporary contract workers, undermining job security and stability. The Canadian Media Guild is asking Canadians to contact their MP to ask that the federal government step in to help resolve the dispute. In Alberta, we are being asked to contact Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan. You can contact her here:

Anne McLellan MP Edmonton Centre Constituency phone: (780)495-3122 Ottawa phone: (613)992-4524 email: McLellan.A@parl.gc.ca

Find the contact information for your local MP here.

For more on the CBC Lockout, go to the Canadian Media Guild's website.

Also see my blog articles on the strike under Media Watch And the issue is not Wages, like the Telus Lock Out, this is Management attempting to outsource and privatize work. And it is a Lock Out by Management this is NOT a strike. Outsourcing is the 21st Century class stuggle; like the eight hour day was the 20th Century labour struggle. CBC, union see contract work as the great divide Contracted labour: Better for corporate bottom lines, worse for society? Trend toward contracts over full-time jobs bad for society, say experts Labour disputes not about wages



Current Mood: angry
Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
1:44 am
IWW CLAC ATTACK

CLAC ATTACK!

The next CLAC ATTACK will take place on Friday, August 26th in Edmonton, Calgary and Fort McMurray at the following times and locations:

Edmonton CLAC Office
15505 Yellowhead Trail, NW
Edmonton
5:00-7:00

Edmonton and General Contact E-mail: edmonton(at)haywood.iww.org

Calgary CLAC Office
232 - 2333 - 18 Ave. NE
Calgary
5:00-7:00

Calgary Contact E-mail Chad: kibilz(at)shaw.ca

Fort McMurray
Bob Lamb Building - 8015 Franklin Ave.
Fort McMurray
7:30-9:30pm

Fort McMurray Contact E-mail Maryann: maryannroberts(at)shaw.ca

Alberta Phone Contact: 1-780-439-8235 (Ask for Bryan).

You can download the CLAC ATTACK Poster for distribution in your community.


Who is CLAC and why are we picketing them? Read our CLAC Attack leaflet to find out who CLAC is. Read our Why Picket CLAC? leaflet to find out why you should be helping to shut down the Christian Labour Association of Canada.


The IWW’s CLAC Attack demos this spring were very successful. For more information, read our article on the events in the first issue our branch newsletter, the Wobbly Dispatch. We’ve also been noticed by the CLAC supporters at Canadian Christianity.com who wrote the article Christian Union Stands Firm in Alberta.



Current Mood: bitchy
Monday, August 15th, 2005
1:55 am
Creationism Sucks

Creationism versus Science

Last Updated: Feb 27, 2005. Read the Site FAQ!

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Kenyanthropus platyops skull Welcome to the Creationism vs Science page! To your right, you will see a 3.5 million year old skull excavated from Kenya in 1999. Scientists have named it Kenyanthropus platyops, and it is being proposed as another possible distant ancestor of mankind. Its features are somewhat different than those of "Lucy", also known as Australopithecus afarensis (discovered in Ethiopia in 1974), with smaller teeth and a flatter face. It is also possible that it is related to the australopithecus family, and that its initial classification as a separate genus may have been premature.

Researchers are hopeful that more such remains may be found as excavations continue. This specimen is being added to the growing list of so-called "missing link" species, and the evidence is clearly pointing to the conclusion that numerous such species would have existed around the same time (2-3.5 million years ago), one of which was successful enough to eventually become homo sapiens.

However, creationists have undoubtedly discounted this in their minds as yet another fraud, just as they dismiss virtually all of the geological, paleontological, and astrophysical research that shows that the Earth is billions of years old. The creationist movement is very powerful in America because it's so well funded. That funding, plus a weak education system and a gullible public, has led to a very successful misinformation campaign for the oxymoronically named "Creation Science" lobby. Click on the links at left to learn more about this insidious attack on science, and in some cases, on religious freedom in society.







Well it's always nice to find a site that tackles the right wing nuts directly and here is one that I encourage you to read as the debate on evolution being challenged in US schools by Creationism and Intelligent Design and the Bushites continues to percolate. Next we will be teaching Flat Earth Theories as valid science.
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