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James J. Williams

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James is a professor in Science. His writing skills brought him to BelleNews. He enjoys writing articles for the Science and Technology category. James often finds himself reading about the latest gadgets as the topic is very appealing to him. He likes reading and listening to classical music.

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A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias – whose branches are the size of normal trees – dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California.

Gerrit Panzner, a German tourist, watched the two 250 feet trees fall to the ground at the Trail of 100 Giants in Sierra Nevada, California and captured the amazing moments and the crushing sound on video.

The trees lay the length of a football pitch and their diameter of their torn roots and base was 20 feet.

“It can’t be possible,” Gerrit Panzner, who watched the tree fall, told Catholic Online.

“That tree has been there thousands of years and then you realise the tree is falling and you had to run.”

A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias - whose branches are the size of normal trees - dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California

A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias - whose branches are the size of normal trees - dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California

Gerrit Panzner heard loud “crinkling” noises before they eventually fell – but nobody was injured. The trees are believed to have fallen over because they could simply not support their weight anymore.

The trees fell on the Trail of 100 Giants in the Sierra Nevada, which is a route accessible to wheelchairs that allows visitors to view more than 100 huge sequoia trees.

At this moment, Forest Service officials are deciding what to do with two of the world’s largest trees, as many conservationists have suggested they should be left alone.

This would mean the trail would have to be rerouted around them, which could cause problems for wheelchair users who would not be able to use steep alternative paths, reported NBC News.

Fallen trees can also be a habitat for wildlife and release nutrients back into the soil, reported the Los Angeles Times. The trees became a national monument 11 years ago.

Forest officials have even suggested building a bridge over the trees or cutting them up for firewood, reported NBC News.

Officials are set to make a decision on what to do by next summer, but until then are inviting the public to help them decide.

“It’s very, very rare for a giant Sequoia tree to die standing up unless it’s in a very, very severe fire,” a district ranger told Catholic Online.

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A filthy message dated 1902 and scrawled on a wooden pillar beside the front door has been uncovered during a £12 million ($18 million) restoration of Kensington Palace.

Staff at the Kensington Palace found the graffiti from 1902 in perfect condition several months ago.

Written neatly in pencil on a timber post supporting the ceiling beside the palace’s front door and boxed in by wooden panelling were the words: “Peter Jackson, The Champion f****r” dated 1/2/1902.

The timber which was rotten after 109 years has now been replaced with a steel joist – but the inscription has been preserved and kept in storage.

A filthy message dated 1902 and scrawled on a wooden pillar beside the front door has been uncovered during a £12 million ($18 million) restoration of Kensington Palace

A filthy message dated 1902 and scrawled on a wooden pillar beside the front door has been uncovered during a £12 million ($18 million) restoration of Kensington Palace

Lee Prosser, Buildings Curator at the Historic Royal Palaces charity said a bottle of whisky was also found tucked in the panelling with a newspaper cutting pasted to the post that showed a group of old men sitting together.

Lee Prosser: “We found it a couple of months ago. It was covered with boarding and when we took it off, there it was.

“Unfortunately we know nothing about who he (Peter Jackson) was. My feeling is that he was a carpenter.

“There are many instances of graffiti at the palaces, including some similarly rude and rather graphic Tudor etchings at Hampton Court Palace, as well as numerous more poignant messages carved into the stone walls by prisoners at the Tower of London.

“You often get that with workmen – people like to write their names – we have often found other bits in the palace where people have written their name It’s not that unusual”.

Lee Prosser had at first assumed that the scrawl had been the handiwork of Peter Jackson himself but a further scrawl, which showed an arrow pointing to one of the men in the photograph in the newspaper with Peter Jackson’s name on it has led him to believe that it was penned by one of his workmates.

The curator said: “I was really surprised that people used words like that 100 years ago and then even went to write it down. We found it quite amusing.

“The prop had to be removed and replaced, but it has been put into storage – I was quite keen to save it.”

This is not the first time royalty has had to contend with a spot of bad language.

The late fashion designer Alexander McQueen was working as an apprentice in the Savile Row workshop of Gieves & Hawkes in London when bored one afternoon, he wrote “I am a c***” in the lining of a suit jacket destined for the Prince of Wales.

Other interesting finds during the palace refurbishment have included some pretty tin items which appear to come from Nottingham House – the first building on the site – and a swathe of late 18th century green verditer wallpaper with a decorated border, hidden behind an architrave.

Originally built in 1605 as a private country house, Kensington Palacewas purchased in 1689 by King William III and Queen Mary II, eager to escape Whitehall.

Kensington Palace has been home to some of the country’s most famous royals, including George II, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales

Kensington Palace has been home to some of the country’s most famous royals, including George II, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales

The two-year restoration project that has been carried out by Historic Royal Palaces is now in its closing stages and will see the palace re-open in March to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Kensington Palace has been home to some of the country’s most famous royals, including George II, Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Many intimate items will be on display for the first time including jewellery, paintings, books and a uniform that belonged to Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert.

Clothes to be shown include a pair of mourning stockings that are black on the legs and white at the feet, which Victoria wore after Albert died in 1861.

Visitors will walk across a new carpet in to which quotes from passionate love letters Albert wrote during the couple’s engagement have been woven.

A sound and light installation will re-create the atmosphere as it was in the Red Saloon on June 20 1837 when Victoria realised she was now Queen following the death of her uncle William IV.

Kensington Palace includes contributions from some of the most renowned architects of the past three centuries, including Sir Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor, Sir John Vanbrugh, John Nash, Colin Campbell and William Kent.

During building work, the restoration team uncovered many traces of their predecessors attempts to maintain what started out as a Jacobean house.

The most alarming – perhaps aside from the graffiti discovered – was when the foundations for the new cafe, shop and sunken garden were dug up and a long buried spring bubbled up to the surface and turned the ground into quick sand.

 

Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed tonight because Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday at 2 a.m.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) Story

Benjamin Franklin was only kidding when he suggested 227 years ago that towns should employ church bells or cannon blasts to wake citizens at sunrise so they could take full advantage of sunlight.

More than two centuries later, daylight saving time is no longer just an amusing idea. Twice a year, we’re forced to adjust our sleep habits, synchronizing our biological and digital clocks to squeeze more sunlight into our waking hours.

Meanwhile, sleep researchers insist we should be cutting back on our waking hours if we really want to live long and prosper.

So here we are, caught somewhere between popping sleep aids and chugging Red Bull, not sure how to feel about our collective changing of the clocks.

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed tonight because Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday at 2 a.m.

Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed tonight because Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday at 2 a.m.

David Prerau has devoted much of his life to chronicling the history and science of DST.

He served as a consultant to Congress in 2005 when it extended daylight saving time to save, and he also consulted on DST to the United Kingdom Parliament. David Prerau holds a PhD from M.I.T.

Although Benjamin Franklin certainly gets a historical nod for his amusing commentary about our waste of perfectly good sunlight, Prerau points to British early riser and golf fanatic William Willett as the godfather of daylight-saving time.

“He used to go for early morning horseback rides and wondered why nobody else was up enjoying this beautiful time of day,” David Prerau said.

William Willett detailed his time-wise idea in a pamphlet, “The Waste of Daylight,” and spent years lobbying Parliament in vain to adopt daylight-saving time – he died in 1915 before that would happen, David Prerau said.

Germany was right on time, however. Seeing merit in William Willett’s bright idea, Germans adopted it in 1916 to conserve energy and resources during World War I. That launched a daylight-saving domino effect in Europe.

Britain was finally shamed into adopting the policy three weeks after Germany.

Not to be left in the dark by our European counterparts, the U.S. officially adopted daylight-saving time during WW I, and again during World War II.

But it was not without controversy.

By the end of WW I, city dwellers learned to love daylight saving, David Prerau said. But country folk, still in tune with nature’s clock, became disgruntled once they realized they’d actually have to rise before the sun if they were to get their goods on outbound trains that, under daylight saving, left town an hour earlier.

“Rural people bombarded Congress with requests to repeal daylight saving time,” David Prerau said.

Among them, New Hampshire Governor John H. Bartlett, who in 1920 went right to the top, urging President Woodrow Wilson by telegram to inform senators and congressmen “that New Hampshire demanded prompt action to remedy the injustice being done the rural communities through changes in railroad schedules to conform to daylight saving hours.”

John H. Bartlett didn’t know Woodrow Wilson was a big fan of daylight saving.

When Congress voted to repeal daylight-saving legislation, Woodrow Wilson vetoed it. And when Congress voted a second time to repeal it, Woodrow Wilson vetoed again.

“It was an interesting time in history,” David Prerau said.

“Because then Congress voted to override Wilson’s veto – that’s how contentious it was. If you look back in history, not many things are passed by overriding a presidential veto.

In his 2005 book, “Seize the Daylight,” David Prerau includes all kinds of historical anecdotes about the chaos that ensued over the random nature of daylight saving until federal legislation finally standardized it in 1966.

One of his favorites is the one about the bus ride that spanned 35 miles and seven time zones between Ohio and West Virginia.

“It became nationally famous as a sort of curiosity. People rode the bus just to change their watches seven times,” he said.

David Prerau believes the upside of daylight-saving time isn’t economic; it’s the lifestyle benefit. People have more time to mingle and recreate.

“People don’t like driving in the dark, and daylight savings reduces traffic accidents. Crime is reduced also, because of that extra hour of daylight,” he said.

“Savings in electrical energy are only about 1%,” said David Prerau. “Which may sound low, but if you think of it as something you get for free, it’s a good side benefit.”

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 went into effect as of 2007, extending Daylight Savings in the U.S. by three to four weeks in the spring and one week in the fall. Since then, more studies are in the works to see if increased use of air conditioning may actually negate whatever savings were originally calculated, David Prerau said.

“There’s going to be more studies, and if they end up being negative, Congress may want to reconsider,” he said.

“But I doubt it. There’s the other problem, of having to reprogram computers and clocks. It was a big deal for companies last March. And having gone through that once, people may be reluctant to change back,” David Prerau said.

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An US nationwide survey released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that 15% of US adult population – nearly 35 million adults – hold deeply anti-Semitic views, an increase of 3 per cent from a similar poll conducted in 2009.

According to experts, old stereotypes about Jews and money appear to be more widely accepted among Americans as the downturn in the economy persists.

2011 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America was a national telephone survey on 1,754 adults and was conducted October 13-23 by Marttila Strategies of Washington, DC and Boston.

The survey shows that at a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, age-old myths about Jews and money and Jewish power in business endure, with a surprising number of Americans agreed with sharply worded criticisms of Jews.

An US nationwide survey released by the Anti-Defamation League found that 15 per cent of US adult population hold deeply anti-Semitic views

An US nationwide survey released by the Anti-Defamation League found that 15 per cent of US adult population hold deeply anti-Semitic views

 

Over the last 10 years, the highest level of anti-Semitic attitudes was reported in 2002, when an ADL poll found 17% of Americans harboured anti-Jewish attitudes.

19% of Americans answered “probably true” to the statement: “Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street” – an increase from 14% in 2009.

It also found that 14% agreed with the statement “Jews have too much power in the U.S. today” – an increase from 13% in 2009.

15% agreed that Jews are “more willing to use shady practices” – up slightly from 2009.

16% agreed that Jewish “business people are so shrewd, others don’t have a chance” – up from 13% in 2009.

30% believe that Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to America”, “a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged since ADL’s benchmark survey in 1964, despite the changing make-up of the U.S population”, according to ADL.

Nearly half of all respondents agreed with the statement that “Jews stick together more than other Americans”, and 33% said they believe “Jews always like to be at the head of things”.

31% of Americans agreed with the statement “Jews were responsible for the death of Christ”, and 25% of Americans believe that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust”.

Abraham H Foxman, Anti Defamation League National Director, said: “It is disturbing that with all of the strides we have made in becoming a more tolerant society, anti-Semitic beliefs continue to hold a vice-grip on a small but not insubstantial segment of the American public.

“The stereotypes about Jews and money endure, and the fact that more Americans are now accepting these statements about Jews as true suggests that the downturn in the economy, along with the changing demographics of our society, may have contributed to the rise in anti-Semitic sentiments.

“Once again the old anti-Semitic standbys about Jewish loyalty, the death of Jesus and Jewish power remain strong.”

According to the ADL poll, the most educated Americans are largely free of prejudicial views and less educated Americans are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views.

The poll also found that 22% of who graduated high school or completed some high school harbour strongly anti-Semitic views, as compared to 13% among those who completed some college, and 9% among those who graduated from college.

The poll also looked at anti-Semitic views among significantly large minority groups. It found that Hispanic Americans born outside of the U.S. are more likely than Hispanics born in the U.S. to hold anti-Semitic views. According to the survey, 42% of foreign-born Hispanics hold anti-Semitic views, as opposed to 20% of U.S. born Hispanics.

In 2011, 29% African-Americans expressed strongly anti-Semitic views. That percentage is consistent with the findings of past surveys.

Jews were found to be held in high regard on many key measurements, however. Even Americans who hold the most anti-Semitic views agreed with many positive statements about Jews.

79% said they believe Jews have a strong faith in God; 64% said they believe Jews have contributed much to cultural life of America; and 83% say they emphasise the importance of family life.

The survey was conducted with a base sample of 1,200 plus an oversample of 243 African-Americans and 227 Hispanics, bringing the oversample for both communities to 400 each.

Anti-Semitic propensities are measured by an 11-question index developed by the Anti-Defamation League more than 40 years ago. The index includes 11 statements used to gauge the anti-Semitic attitudes of the respondents.

Anti-Semitic propensities are measured by an 11-question index developed by the Anti-Defamation League more than 40 years ago

Anti-Semitic propensities are measured by an 11-question index developed by the Anti-Defamation League more than 40 years ago

In the new survey a surprising number of Americans agreed with sharply worded criticisms of Jews:

* 14% agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power in the U.S. today”, an increase from 13% in 2009

* 15% agreed that Jews are “more willing to use shady practices”, up slightly from 2009

* 16% agreed that Jewish “business people are so shrewd, others don’t have a chance”, up from 13% in 2009

* 30% believe that Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to America”, a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged since ADL’s benchmark survey in 1964, despite the changing make-up of the U.S population

* Nearly half of all respondents agreed with the statement that Jews “stick together more than other Americans”, and 33% said they believe Jews “always like to be at the head of things”

Source: Anti-Defamation League

 

 

According to Chris Matthews’ book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, JFK stole what was to become the best known quote of his 1961 inaugural address – “Ask not…” – from his old headmaster.

JFK enraged his former classmates by plagiarizing the line “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”, which they had heard “time and time again” in a similar form at school.

While JFK‘s presidential rival Richard Nixon became infamous for his dirty tricks, the book claims Kennedy was not above playing some of his own.

In the pivotal televised debate of the 1960 U.S. election, JFK demanded a ban on candidates wearing make-up – then applied some anyway.

It meant John F. Kennedy appeared tanned and natural, while Richard Nixon, his Republican opponent, looked haggard and sweaty, almost derailing his campaign.

U.S. author Chris Matthews makes the claims in Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. The author unearthed notes written by George St John, the President’s former headmaster at Choate School in Connecticut, which suggest he had been aware of the “ask not” line for many years.

George St John’s notes quote a Harvard College dean’s refrain: “As has often been said, the youth who loves his Alma Mater will always ask not <<what can she do for me?>> but <<what can I do for her?>>”

JFK enraged his former classmates by plagiarizing the line "ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country", which they had heard "time and time again" in a similar form at school

JFK enraged his former classmates by plagiarizing the line "ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country", which they had heard "time and time again" in a similar form at school

Chris Matthews’ book also includes a reply to a questionnaire about JFK’s time at the school, sent to his former classmates when he was President. One of the students wrote: “I boil every time I read or hear the <<Ask not… etc.>> exhortation as being original with Jack.

“Time and time again we all heard [the headmaster] say that to the whole Choate family.”

JFK’ speech, delivered at his inauguration on Capitol Hill on January 20, 1961, was not, it seems, the first time he had resorted to underhand tactics.

Chris Matthews claims in the book that JFK gave himself an unfair advantage when he squared off against Richard Nixon in the first of four televised “Great Debates” on September 26, 1960, the first time such an event had taken place in America.

While JFK was charismatic and seemed at ease, Richard Nixon appeared shifty and blended into the background because of his grey suit.

According to Chris Matthews' book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, JFK stole what was to become the best known quote of his 1961 inaugural address - "Ask not..." - from his old headmaster

According to Chris Matthews' book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, JFK stole what was to become the best known quote of his 1961 inaugural address - "Ask not..." - from his old headmaster

According to the author, JFK had a helping hand, as his camp had insisted there was a ban on make-up, but then did not follow their own rules. Richard Nixon’s did, with disastrous consequences.

When Richard Nixon’ sweating started to become apparent and his staff secretly turned down the thermostat in the studio, JFK’s team quietly put it back up.

For the 70 million viewers watching at home – for whom it was the first chance to see both candidates – the contrast was striking.

History tells us that JFK won the debate, but some studies have found that those who heard the debate on the radio actually preferred Richard Nixon.

In the end, appearance triumphed over substance and JFK won the election. He went on to serve as president until 1963, when he was assassinated.

Richard Nixon had to wait until 1969 to enter the White House, remaining President until 1974, when he was forced to resign over the Watergate scandal.

The extraordinary revelation is sure to raise eyebrows among historians when Chris Matthews’ book is published this week.

The “Ask not…” speech has long been thought to have written with the input o JFK’s poetic speechwriter Theodore C. Sorensen.

Theodore C. Sorensen, who died in 2010, helped idealize and immortalize the JFK’s tragically brief administration.

The speecwriter was best known for working with JFK on passages of soaring rhetoric, including the 1961 inaugural address, which also proclaimed that “the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans”.

But who wrote what has always been blurred – political historians say that John F. Kennedy and Theodore C. Sorensen were so inextricably linked that perhaps only they knew who scripted what parts of the speeches.

Theodore C. Sorensen, an adoring follower of JFK, never took credit for the president’s timeless phrases – saying that it was a totally collaborative effort.

What is certain is that of the many speeches Theodore C. Sorensen helped compose, JFK’s inaugural address shone the brightest.

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations includes four citations from the speech – about a seventh of the entire address, which built to the unforgettable “Ask not…” exhortation.

Much of the roughly 14-minute speech – the fourth-shortest inaugural address ever, but in the view of many experts rivalled only by Abraham Lincoln’s – was marked by similar sparkling phrase-making.

Theodore C. Sorensen said he drew inspiration for the speech from the Bible, from Abraham Lincoln – and from the rousing wartime speeches of British prime minister Winston Churchill.

Chris Matthews, 65, is a former presidential speechwriter for Jimmy Carter and press secretary for long-time Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill.

Chris Matthews’ book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, published this week, is his sixth book.

 

Highlights of JFK’s 1961 inaugural address

Frequently cited as one of the best speeches ever made, JFK’s 14-minute  inauguration address in January 1961 was marked by sparkling phrase-making, including:
    * “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
    * “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
    * “So let us begin anew, remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.”
    * “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”
    * “We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”
    * “And so, my fellow Americans – ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

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Call clarity and the number of minutes provided used to be the main criteria by which people chose their cellular phones.

 

Today how “smart” a phone is plays majorly in peoples’ cell phone decisions. Today some people choose their smart phones by how many applications the phones have. The Android app market is one of the top application markets on the cell phone market. Android phone users can choose between hundreds of applications. How do you figure out which applications you should download? Thankfully there are plenty of free apps that you can play with without having to worry about wasting your money.

 

The following are some of the top free Android Applications.


A company called Most Popular Download developed a free Android application called My Coupons, which is tremendously useful for the Android user who savors the thought of saving money when he or she goes shopping.This free app for Android phones allows you to find coupons for shopping and even help you find free meal deals throughout your city. Sales clerks can scan barcodes on your phone or you can print the barcodes from any computer and use them on purchases the way ordinary coupons are used. For the money conscious consumer and diner this is definitely an important free Android application. Meebo is perhaps the most popular free Android application for instant messaging. Why is this app so much better than the competition? With just one app you can be logged in to all of your messaging clients. MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Myspace IM, Jabber and even Google Talk can be managed through it. You can easily keep track of all of your chats with your single application account. Meebo can be accessed from any computer which makes it ideal for keeping track of all of your account histories!


How often have you been out of the house, decided that you wanted to go to the movies and then been frustrated because you don’t have a good way to find out which movies are playing near you (or what time they start)?

 

Before now, you might have had to resort to your old phone’s ancient internet browser and hours of searching. With the Ikamobile Movie Finder you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Ikamobile Movie Finder is the top downloaded free Android app for movie fans. In addition for helping you figure out which movies are playing in your area and what times those movies start you can watch movie trailers, and look for the newest releases. There are so many different free applications available in the Android Market that choosing the best and most useful can be very time consuming. It is probably quite tempting to simply download all of the apps available and then sort through them later. Instead of taking this approach (and wasting valuable disk space on your phone) why not just look at a few applications at at time? Taking the second approach saves you a lot of time and effort and you won’t have to worry about wasting money because the apps are free!

Almost everybody has a cell phone nowadays.

 

Even the people who vowed they would never ever discover the usefulness of a cell phone have given in to the convenience mobile phones and technology have to offer. What other way would you explain the trend of the pay as you go cell phone? Rising in popularity among cell phone models on the market is Google’s Android phone. Its smart phone technology is giving its competition a lot to contend with. With such a wide variety of Android Phones available, how do you figure out which phones are the best Android Phones? Some of the phones with the best reviews are listed below.


The Motorola Quench is a superior Android phone.

 

A later model Motorola that has been enhanced with the Android operation system is the Quench. This phone is among seven other Motorola models, using the Android system. With very high definition – 320 x 480 – the small screen of only a little more than three inches, won’t be an issue. It also uses the Motoblur technology, which was made to enhance the user’s social networking experience. It uses the Android 1.5 operating system and comes with Wi-Fi capability, GPS, a camera that is five megapixels and a bunch of apps that users will love. One of the Motorola phones that functions with the Android operating system is the Motorola Cliq. This phone can be purchased through T-Mobile. It contains a slide out keyboard. The ability to keep long logs of e-mails, text messages and social networking updates makes this phone a trendy item. Twitter and Facebook users can use this phone for managing their accounts. It is capable of allowing you to access the data on your phone from a remote location.


The Samsung Galaxy portal is an Android phone, which was designed for budget conscious users.

 

The camera is a mere three megapixel digital camera, however other than that it is an excellent phone – especially for the price. This phone is provides video, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. The phone has an average of seven hours worth of talk time. The build is a little bulky but if you want a smart phone for a great price, this is the one for you. Some cellular providers offer it for free when customers are eligible for upgrades. Finding the right cell phone can be like pulling teeth. An important question to ask yourself is what you want your phone to be able to do for you. When deciding which top Android phone is worth your money – knowing what you want out of your phone will be a benefit to you.

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Halloween is not an American holiday. In fact, Halloween is considered to be one of the oldest holidays in the world, and one celebrated around the globe in one fashion or another.

It is not always labeled “Halloween” and doesn’t always fall on October 31.

In Mexico and throughout Latin American, for example, the Halloween-type holiday is known as Las Dia de los Muertos, a celebratory day meant to honor the dearly departed.

Halloween-type celebrations appear to be a product of timing, observances of life giving way to death. They arrive at the very end of the harvest when fields lie fallow, and just before winter starts to bear down on us.

“It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts,” according to History.com.

Fast forward to the eighth century, when Pope Gregory III chose November 1 as All Saints’ Day, a day to collectively honor saints and martyrs. And it wasn’t long until the night became known as All Hallows’ Eve and, eventually, Halloween. The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even (“evening”), that is, the night before All Hallows Day.

The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century

The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century

Development of artifacts and symbols associated with Halloween formed over time. For instance, the carving of jack-o’-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory. The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips.

The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded in 1837 and was originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 19th century.

The imagery of Halloween is derived from many sources, including national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein and Dracula), and classic horror films (such as Frankenstein and The Mummy). Among the earliest works on the subject of Halloween is from Scottish poet John Mayne in 1780, who made note of pranks at Halloween; “What fearfu’ pranks ensue!”, as well as the supernatural associated with the night, “Bogies” (ghosts), influencing Robert Burns’ Halloween 1785. Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween.
Halloween imagery includes themes of death, evil, the occult, or mythical monsters. Black and orange are the holiday’s traditional colors.

Today, Halloween celebrations run the gamut in the U.S. West Hollywood and New York City celebrate as if there’s no tomorrow. Other places more or less close the curtains, turn out the lights and hope the kids pass us by. Some adults go all out with the costumes, while others wouldn’t be caught dead in some get-up.

Photographer Dyrk Daniels captured the remarkable moments when a huge Bengal tiger bowed its head and placed a paw up to the hand of a small girl at Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Washington.

Dyrk Daniels, 47, noticed the 370lb Golden Bengal Tiger had taken an interest in the little girl, who was leaning against his glass enclosure.

As the tiger, called Taj, headed over to her, Dyrk Daniels got his camera ready, expecting him to snarl and bang against the glass.

But amazingly the Bengal tiger hung his head, stretched a paw out to her hand and rubbed his cheek against where the little girl’s face was.

Dyrk Daniels, a father-of-two went to Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Washington State, to photograph the Bengal tigers.

When the photographer got to the enclosure there were several children and families in the area, so he decided to let them see the tigers first before he tried to photograph them himself.

Photographer Dyrk Daniels captured the remarkable moments when a huge Bengal tiger bowed its head and placed a paw up to the hand of a small girl at Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Washington

Photographer Dyrk Daniels captured the remarkable moments when a huge Bengal tiger bowed its head and placed a paw up to the hand of a small girl at Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, Washington

“That is when I noticed this little girl was leaning against the glass with both hands out stretched staring at the <<big kitties>>,” Dyrk Daniels said.

“I noticed that Taj had taken an interest in the girl and was heading towards her.

“I thought for certain that the little girl would need therapy after the encounter and fear cats for the rest of her life.

“I could not believe my eyes when Taj approached the girl, bowed his head and then placed his huge right paw exactly in front of where the little girl’s left hand was.”

“It was incredible to watch. Taj let down his right paw, rubbed his cheek against the glass where the little girl’s face was and moved off.”

Far from being scared, the little girl was so excited that she started clapping as she walked back afterwards towards her mother.

“I have never seen such tenderness from such a large predator,” Dyrk Daniels said.

 

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Daylight Saving Time (DST), also summer time in several countries, is the practice of temporarily advancing clocks during the summertime so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less.

Typically clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn.

In 2011, Daylight Saving Time comes to an end in U.S. on the morning of Sunday, November 6, when you move the clocks back one hour.

In 2007, U.S. introduced the extended DST, after the Energy Policy Act of 2005 came into effect and the clocks were set back one hour on the first Sunday of November instead of the last Sunday of October.

The start of DST was also changed from the first Sunday of April to the second Sunday of March.

There’s been a number of conflicting reports about how much energy is saved from Daylight Saving Time.

In the 70’s, studies showed US saved 1% of energy nationally, which was a big motivation for adopting DST. On the other hand, states like California argue the energy savings are negligible, while another report published in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded 4 weeks extra of daylight savings time could conserve 1.3 trillion watt-hours per day, enough to power 100,000 homes for a year, reports Scientific American.

Benjamin Franklin first came up with the idea in 1784, but DST wasn’t used until World War I to conserve energy.

In 2011, Daylight Saving Time comes to an end in US on the morning of Sunday, November 6, when you move the clocks back one hour

In 2011, Daylight Saving Time comes to an end in US on the morning of Sunday, November 6, when you move the clocks back one hour

 

The U.S. observed year-round DST during World War II and implemented it during the energy crisis in the 1970’s, notes the Scientific American.

Modern DST was first proposed by the New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson in 1895, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and led him to value after-hours daylight. George Vernon Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour daylight-saving shift, and after considerable interest was expressed in Christchurch, New Zealand he followed up in an 1898 paper.

Not everyone across the U.S. observes Daylight Saving Time, including Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

DST is generally not observed near the equator, where sunrise times do not vary enough to justify it. Some countries observe it only in some regions; for example, southern Brazil observes it while equatorial Brazil does not. Only a minority of the world’s population uses DST because Asia and Africa generally do not observe it.

A post by Chris Kline on ABC15.com discusses why most of Arizona doesn’t observe the time change: “According to an Arizona Republic editorial from 1969, the reason was the state’s extreme heat. If Arizona were to observe Daylight Saving Time, the sun would stay out until 9 p.m. in the summer (instead of 8 p.m., like it does currently).”

As an unusual October snowstorm hit the North East of US, Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) offers the following safety tips in case of storm.

Everybody should be prepared before the storm hits with a “lights-out” kit that includes:

  • A flashlight and extra batteries
  • A battery-operated radio or TV and clock
  • A first-aid kit
  • Containers for water or bottled water
  • Canned food and a non-electric can opener
  • Sterno or similar fuel – but never burn charcoal indoors
  • A list of important phone numbers and some cash, as automatic teller machines may not work.
  • Plan ahead for the worst-case scenario.

 

As an unusual October snowstorm hit the North East of US, Connecticut Light & Power offers some safety tips in case of storm

As an unusual October snowstorm hit the North East of US, Connecticut Light & Power offers some safety tips in case of storm

Take steps to protect your major or electronically sensitive appliances. Now is the time to make sure your car’s gas tank is full. Electricity and water never mix. If you know your home is in an area prone to flooding, turn off devices like your furnace, water heater and electrical system before water can reach them.

Protect your food and water. Set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. Food will stay frozen up to 24 hours, and even longer if the freezer is full. Open the refrigerator or freezer doors only when necessary. If you have a well and water pump, fill spare containers with water, and your washing machine with water for flushing, just in case.

Portable generators should be installed only by a licensed electrician. Check with your town regarding a permit and inspection. Generators must be connected with a special transfer switch that prevents power from feeding back into the electric lines. Feedback could endanger line workers who are nearby. Generators must be vented outside. And never refuel them while they are running.

Be alert to downed power lines. High winds and tree branches can sometimes combine to cause electric lines to fall.Never walk near or touch a downed power line. Stay away and keep others away. If you are driving and come across a fallen line, never get out of your vehicle. In all situations, always assume that a fallen line is “live.” If you see a downed line, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Beware, fallen branches. Never go near or remove tree branches that have come down until the area is thoroughly checked for fallen power lines. There may be a downed wire hidden beneath those branches and it may be energized.

Tree limbs can conduct electricity, causing injury or death. If you see a downed line, call 9-1-1 immediately. Only call 9-1-1 to report a dangerous situation.

Qualifying examples include a downed line or utility pole. CL&P customers can report an outage or get a “power-back” estimate by calling 800-286-2000.

Always let your utility know when you don’t have power. Don’t assume your neighbor will call in the problem.

Workers at Everglades National Park, Florida captured and killed a 16-foot-long Burmese python, who was found to have a whole adult deer in its stomach.

The Burmese python, one of the biggest ever found in South Florida, had recently swallowed a doe the size of a child.

An autopsy was conducted at Everglades National Park by Skip Snow, a python specialist who said the reptile had a girth of 44 inches (112 cm) with the 5st 6lb (35 kg) deer inside its stomach.

Skip Snow told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

“This is clearly an extreme event.

“It shows you they can eat huge things.

“The Burmese python – an ambush predator – would have staked out a known deer trail, seized the animal in its sharp teeth, crushed it by coiling around it and then eaten the corpse.”

Workers at Everglades National Park, Florida captured and killed a 16-foot-long Burmese python, who was found to have a whole adult deer in its stomach

Workers at Everglades National Park, Florida captured and killed a 16-foot-long Burmese python, who was found to have a whole adult deer in its stomach

 

It is the first time a snake has been caught so soon after eating a deer, allowing biologists to see just how large their prey can be.

According to Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the capture of the snake was crucial to help prevent the spread of pythons further north.

“It’s pretty clearly one of the biggest snakes we’ve seen,” Scott Hardin said.

“We haven’t gotten anything longer than 16ft in the wild in Florida.”

The Burmese python, one of the biggest ever found in South Florida, had recently swallowed a doe the size of a child

The Burmese python, one of the biggest ever found in South Florida, had recently swallowed a doe the size of a child

Specialists said the population of Burmese pythons in the Everglades has grown over the past several years, after being bought by people in the area as exotic pets.

According to state and federal wildlife officials, the dangerous snakes have been set loose by owners after growing too big, or escaped from enclosures destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

specialists also said the pythons primarily eat smaller mammals and birds, but larger specimens are happy to munch on alligators, deer and hogs.

The 16-foot-long python was discovered by workers from South Florida Water Management District, who were removing non-native plants from a tree island.

The world’s largest captive snake is a 25 feet, 22st (140 kg) python called Medusa, who lives in Kansas City and is capable of killing and consuming animals that weigh as much as a healthy adult.

In 2010, scientists from Denmark used computer technology to look inside the organs of a python after it had swallowed a whole rat.

The scientists noted that it took 132 hours for the snake to fully digest the rat, with the snake’s intestine expanding and its heart rate increasing to help it break down its substantial food.

According to researchers, pythons often fast for months and then eat enormous meals, and are able to consume up to 50% of their own bodyweight.

The pythons have in recent years been documented eating cockatoos, frogs and even other snakes.

 

Alan Billis, a terminally ill taxi driver from Torquay, UK, has become the first man to be mummified in the style of the ancient Egyptians for at least 3,000 years.

Scientists embalmed Alan Billis following his death from lung cancer using the techniques that preserved Tutankhamun’s body after his death in 1323 BC.

Alan Billis, 61, loved watching documentaries and he agreed to have his body preserved after seeing an advertisement from Channel 4 looking to film the process.

The former taxi driver wife Janet, 68, said:

“He just said, <<I’ve just phoned someone up about being mummified>>. I said, <<You’ve what?>>. I thought here we go again. It’s just the sort of thing you would expect him to do.”

Alan Billis before to be mummified in the style of the ancient Egyptians and his wife Janet

Alan Billis before to be mummified in the style of the ancient Egyptians and his wife Janet

Janet Billis and their three children gave his decision their blessing, and the resulting programme – Mummifying Alan: Egypt’s Last Secret – is due to be screened on Channel 4 in UK next week.

Alan Billis, who has been dubbed Torquay’s Tutankhamun, explained his unusual decision in the documentary, saying:

“People have been leaving their bodies to science for years, and if people don’t volunteer for anything nothing gets found out.”

Alan Billis died in January this year and, over a period of several months after his death, the internal organs were removed and kept in jars, with the exception of his brain and heart.

Alan Billis’ skin was covered in a mixture of oils and resins and bathed in a solution of Natron, a salt found in dried-up river beds in Egypt.

Then, his body was kept for a month in a glass tank at the Medico-Legal Centre in Sheffield, which houses the city’s mortuary. After this period, Alan Billis’ body was taken out, placed in a drying chamber and wrapped in linen.

According to Dr. Stephen Buckley of the University of York, who helped research Egyptian mummification techniques before the programme, Alan Billis’ body could now last several millennia.

During an interview with the Radio Times, Janet Billis said:

“I didn’t find it upsetting. There wasn’t anything scary.

“I think it was because you could see they all took such good care of Alan. When I did eventually watch the film and saw his mummified face, you could see it was still him, still very much Alan. <<I won’t be Tutankhamun, I’ll be Tutanalan>>, he used to say.

“The involvement in the television programme kept him occupied, took his mind off the illness.”

Dr Stephen Buckley with the mummified body of Alan Billis

Dr Stephen Buckley with the mummified body of Alan Billis

As well as Dr. Stephen Buckley, the team of experts behind the mummification included Dr. Joann Fletcher, Maxine Coe and forensic pathologist Prof. Peter Vanezis. Prof. Peter Vanezis said he was pleased with the result, adding:

“The skin itself has this leathery appearance which indicates that he has become mummified all over.

“It makes me very confident that his tissues have been mummified correctly and in a very successful manner.”

Alan Billis’s mummy is expected to stay in Sheffield until the end of 2011. It will then be studied by scientists researching decomposition.

Russian officials have said they have found “indisputable evidence” that yetis creatures exist and are living in Siberia.

The information has been heard during an international conference after an expedition tracked down Yeti in the Mount Shoria area.

But the expedition team has no convincing photographic or DNA evidence. Their claim appears to be based on bent branches, a single unclear footprint and a small sample of grey “hair”, found in a cave.

The cave is situated in the Kemerovo region, Russia, and local officials announced yesterday that “indisputable evidence” of Yeti existence had been found.

According to researchers who led the expedition, they are closer than ever to catching one Yeti.

“During the expedition to the Azasskaya cave, conference participants gathered indisputable proof that the Shoria mountains are inhabited by the Snow Man,” the Kemerovo region administration announced yesterday.

“They found his footprints, his supposed bed, and various markers with which the Yeti uses to denote his territory.”

But some Russian media reports have treated the Yeti claims with considerable skepticism.

Kemerovo officials said they are 95% certain of the existence of Yeti in a highland area known as Mount Shoria.

In the same time, the researchers themselves were less keen than the Kemerovo officials to claim the Yeti is definitely real. The specialists said that the hair sample should be analyzed for DNA – a process now in progress – before any claims were made.

Yeti footprint found in Himalaya in 2008

Yeti footprint found in Himalaya in 2008

The researchers have also found a bed of sticks and they claimed that the Yeti had slept on, but is not thought to have contained hair samples.

Dr. Igor Burtsev, leader of the international event – the first of its kind for half a century, claimed it would not be long before people everywhere would appreciate the Yeti’s existence.

“We are close to finally finding the Abominable Snowman,” Dr. Burtsev said.

Dr. Igor Burtsev claims around 30 Yetis live in the Kemerovo region, adding that they are Neandethal men who have survived to this day.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union 20 years ago, there have been increased “sightings” of Yeti, and it is claimed more than a dozen villagers and hunters in this vast mountainous region close to the town of Tashtagol have given written accounts of either seeing the beasts themselves or finding their tracks.

The villagers had also reported of the Yeti – claimed to be around 7ft-tall – stealing livestock from remote farms.

But none of the local eye-witnesses gave evidence directly to the session, though participants heard other accounts from around the globe.

“We were shown some twisted willow branches that are referred to as markers – they were convincing evidence of this hominoid,” said John Binderangel, a Canadian Yeti researcher, who has spent 30 years hunting for conclusive proof of the Yeti.

“There were also some tracks, but we’re not quite sure what to make of them.”

During the conference, an American housewife told audience she regularly feeds Yeti in her back garden in Michigan but was unable to produce a single photograph of an elusive creature rumored to exist for thousands of years.

After the specialists ended the expedition, another hunt to the same cave to find the Yeti was led by the “Beast of the East” – former Russian heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuyev. Nikolai Valuyev’s expedition ended in failure, though locals saw it as a key plank in the region’s bid to boost tourism.

“Valuyev did not manage to meet the Yeti itself but on the way he discovered <<traces>> such as broken tree branches,” said a spokesman.

“I saw lots of journalists but no Yetis,” admitted Nikolai Valuyev.

Dmitry Islamov, Vice Governor of Kemerovo Region on Economics and Regional Development said:

“It doesn’t matter that the Kuzbass might not have Yetis. The main thing is that when people come to the Shoria Mountains, they truly enjoy its unique nature.”

The first accounts of Yetis emerged before the 19th century from Buddhists who believed that the creature inhabited the Himalayas.

They depicted the mysterious beast as having similarities to an ape and carrying a large stone as a weapon while making a whistling sound.

The term Abominable Snowman was developed in 1921 following a book by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury called Mount Everest The Reconnaissance.

Popular interest in creature gathered pace in early 20th century as tourists began making their own trips to the region to try and capture the Yeti. The tourists reported seeing strange markings in the snow.

Columbus Day is celebrated annually on the second Monday of October and commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492.

The day is commemorated as the Columbus Day in United States, as Día de las Culturas (Day of the Cultures) in Costa Rica, as Día de la Hispanidad (Spanish Day), as Día de la Raza (Day of the Race) in many countries in Latin America, and a National Day in Spain, as Día de las Americas (Day of the Americas) in Uruguay, as Discovery Day in The Bahamas, and as Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance) in Venezuela. And these celebrations have been commemorated officially in several countries.

United States Columbus Day Celebrations

Columbus Day became an authorized state holiday in Colorado in 1905 and became a national holiday in 1970.

Since 1971, the Columbus has been celebrated in U.S. on the second Monday of October, the similar day as Thanksgiving in nearby Canada. It is usually surveyed today by the bond market, banks, the U.S. Postal Service and further centralized agencies, most state Government offices, and some school districts; though, most stock exchanges and businesses remain open.

Columbus Day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492

Columbus Day commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492

 

Columbus Day Celebrations across U.S.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Alaska

The State of Alaska, which has a big native population, does not know about the Columbus Day.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Arkansas

Some communal schools all through the state are closed in celebration of Columbus Day.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in California

The city of Berkeley commemorates native People’s Day in place of Columbus Day each year with a POW wow and Native American market.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Cleveland

The Columbus Day parade in Cleveland occurs in Little Italy area near the University Circle. And the day starts with accumulation at Holy Rosary Church which attributes the combined choirs of 4 historically Italian Cleveland region churches – Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Holy Rosary, St. Rocco and Holy Redeemer. Then the parade descends Murray Hill featuring above 100 units and also a dozen marching bands.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Colorado

The Columbus Day parade in Denver has been against through Native American groups and their followers for almost two decades.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Hawaii

Hawaii does not legitimately tribute the Columbus Day and in its place celebrates the Discoverer’s Day on the similar day, on the second Monday of each October. And the day is “in recognition of the Polynesian discoverers of the Hawaiian Islands”. And Neither Discoverer’s Day and Columbus Day is observed as a celebration through State Government, city, state and county Government schools and offices are open for commerce on the Columbus Day, while centralized Government offices are clogged.

In Hawaii, the Discoverer’s Day commemoration has become a day of remonstration for some sponsorship groups. A trendy remonstration site is Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace and Chancery building of Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. And such sponsorship groups have been celebrating the Discoverer’s Day holiday as their own substitute, Indigenous Peoples Day. And the week is named Indigenous Peoples Week.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Massachusetts

The city of Boston, which has a big Italian people, marks the event on the Sunday prior to Columbus Day with parade throughout the city that changes every year between the North End and East Boston.

All state groups are clogged, and parking at meters is at no cost in the city of Boston.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in New York

In New York State, The Columbus Day is a celebration, as Government offices and public schools are locked. On the other hand, the stock markets remain open. Columbus Day Parade is one of the biggest events of the year in New York City.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Nevada

Columbus Day is not an authorized holiday in Nevada; however it is a day of celebration. City and county Government offices, schools and state are open for commerce on Columbus Day.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Puerto Rico

As in mainland U.S., Columbus Day is an authorized holiday in unincorporated U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in South Dakota

In the state of South Dakota, the day is legitimately a state holiday which is known as “Native American Day”, not Columbus Day.

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in U.S. Virgin Islands

As a result of hostility against Columbus Day, in the province of U.S. Virgin Islands, the day is commemorated as “Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands Friendship Day.”

Columbus Day Celebrations & Activities in Virginia

The second Monday of October is an authorized holiday in Virginia: Yorktown Victory Day, Columbus Day and reverence Christopher Columbus, and the ultimate victory at Yorktown in Revolutionary War.

2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to three women – Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman, a pro-democracy activist from Yemen.

The three women were recognized for their “non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.

Thorbjorn Jagland, the Nobel Committee chairman said:

“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women achieve the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society.”

Reading from the prize citation, Thorbjorn Jagland said the committee hoped the prize would “help to bring an end to the suppression of women that still occurs in many countries, and to realize the great potential for democracy and peace that women can represent”.

Tawakul Karman heard of her win from Change Square in the capital Sanaa, where she has been living for several months in a protest camp calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down.

Tawakul Karman was recognized for playing a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights in Yemen’s pro-democracy protests “in the most trying circumstances” and is the first Arab women to win the prize.

Tawakul Karman was recognized for playing a leading part in the struggle for women's rights in Yemen's pro-democracy protests

Tawakul Karman was recognized for playing a leading part in the struggle for women's rights in Yemen's pro-democracy protests

As the head of Yemeni organization Women Journalists without Chains, the mother-of-three, Tawakul Karman has been jailed several times over her campaigns for press freedom and her opposition to the government.

Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 72, who had been widely tipped as a winner, said the award was “for all Liberian people” and a recognition of “many years of struggle for justice”.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, an US-educated economist and the former finance minister was elected in 2005, following the end of Liberia’s 14-year civil war which left 250,000 people dead, caused thousands to flee abroad and financially ruined the country.

Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa's first female elected head of state

Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa's first female elected head of state

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, known as Liberia’s “Iron Lady”, has pledged to fight corruption and bring “motherly sensitivity and emotion to the presidency” as a way of healing the wounds of war.

Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Africa’s first female elected head of state.

Liberian President is popular among women and the country’s small elite, but disliked by more traditional male-dominated sections of society.

She is standing for re-election next week, having previously said she would one hold the presidency for one term.

Leymah Gbowee was a leading critic of the violence during the Liberian civil war, mobilizing women across ethnic and religious lines in peace activism – in part through implementing a “sex strike” – and encouraging them to participate in elections.

In 2003, Leymah Gbowee led a march through the capital, Monrovia, demanding an end to the rape of women by soldiers, which had continued despite a peace deal being signed three months earlier.

Leymah Gbowee had “worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war”

Leymah Gbowee had “worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war”

According to Nobel Committee, Leymah Gbowee had “worked to enhance the influence of women in West Africa during and after war”.

Leymah Gbowee said: “I am confused. I am humbled. This is the first time in the 39 years of my life that I am out of words.

“This is a victory for women rights everywhere in the world. What could be better then three women winning the prize?

“This is the recognition that we hear you, we see you, we acknowledge you.”

The three women will share the $1.5 million prize money.

The Nobel Peace Prize originally recognized those who had already achieved peace, but that its scope has broadened in recent years to encourage those working towards peace and acknowledge work in progress.

The Nobel committee received a record 241 nominations for 2011 prize – among the individuals and groups believed to have been put forward were the European Union, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and key cyber dissidents in the Arab Spring movement.

Three U.S. scientists have discovered that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, not slowing down as previously thought.

The discovery, found by measuring the light from distant supernova explosions, turned the world of physics upside down – as well as the lives of the three American scientists who have been awarded a Nobel Prize for their findings.

The Nobel Prize for Physics winners studied dozens of exploding stars and realized that the expansion of the universe wasn't slowing down, as expected - it was accelerating

The Nobel Prize for Physics winners studied dozens of exploding stars and realized that the expansion of the universe wasn't slowing down, as expected - it was accelerating

 

Half of the 10 million Swedish crown – $1.5million – Nobel Prize money went to Saul Perlmutter and the rest to two members of a second team which conducted similar work – American-born Brian Schmidt, who is based in Australia, and Adam Riess.

Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter

Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter

Nobel Committee for Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its statement that the discovery was made by looking at distant supernovae – which should have been becoming “brighter” as their acceleration away from our planet slowed down.

But instead of their light becoming brighter, it was fading.

“The surprising conclusion was that the expansion of the universe is not slowing down. Quite to the contrary, it is accelerating,” the Nobel committee said.

Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt

Nobel Prize winner Brian Schmidt

At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Adam Riess, who was still in his 20s when the research was published, joked to a colleague that he had been quick to react to a pre-dawn call from Stockholm:

“When I picked up the phone early this morning and I heard Swedish voices, I knew it wasn’t IKEA.”

Nobel Prize winner Adam Riess

Nobel Prize winner Adam Riess

Among the most exciting possible developments from study of dark energy would be a way to reconcile anomalies between physical laws observed at the subatomic level – quantum physics – with the laws Albert Einstein described.

Ralph Steinman, a New York scientist working on a cure for cancer today won the Nobel Prize for medicine, but he had tragically died of the disease just three days ago.

Ralph Steinman, 68, had been treating himself with a groundbreaking therapy based on his own research into the body’s immune system but died on September 30 after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

The Nobel committee at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute said it was aware of Ralph Steinman‘s death – but it appeared that it had not known before making its announcement.

Ralph Steinman’s colleagues from Rockefeller University in New York called it a “bittersweet” honor.

It is likely that Ralph Steinman died without being aware he had won the Nobel Prize for medicine, along with American Bruce Beutler and French Jules Hoffmann.

The Nobel committee does not give its awards posthumously, but has decided to make an exception because of what Secretary General Goran Hansson called a “unique situation”.

“The Nobel Foundation has recognized Ralph Steinman for his seminal discoveries concerning the body’s immune responses,” said Rockefeller University president Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

“But the news is bittersweet, as we also learned this morning from Ralph’s family that he passed a few days ago after a long battle with cancer,” Marc Tessier-Lavigne added.

Ralph Steinman, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine for work on fighting cancer, died of the disease himself just three days before he could be told of his award

Ralph Steinman, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine for work on fighting cancer, died of the disease himself just three days before he could be told of his award

Rockefeller University said in a statement: “Ralph Steinman passed away on September 30. He was 68.

“He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago, and his life was extended using a dendritic-cell based immunotherapy of his own design.”

Alexis Steinman, Ralph Steinman’s daughter, indicating that her father had not known on his deathbed of the impending decision in Stockholm, said:

“We are all so touched that our father’s many years of hard work are being recognized with a Nobel Prize.

“He devoted his life to his work and his family and he would be truly honored.”

Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann, who studied the first stages of the body’s immune responses to attack in the 1990s, shared the $1.5million award with Ralph Steinman, originally from Montreal, Canada, whose discovery of dendritic cells in the 1970s is key to understanding the body’s next line of defense against disease.

The Nobel award panel said in a statement in Stockholm: “This year’s Nobel laureates have revolutionized our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation.”

American Bruce Beutler (left) and Jules Hoffmann (right) of France won the Nobel Prize for medicine

American Bruce Beutler (left) and Jules Hoffmann (right) of France won the Nobel Prize for medicine

Before hearing the news of Ralph Steinman’s death, Lars Klareskog, who chairs the prize-giving panel, said:

“I am very excited about what these discoveries mean.

“I think that we will have new, better vaccines against microbes and that is very much needed now with the increased resistance against antibiotics.”

Bruce Beutler, 53, is based at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Luxembourg-born, Jules Hoffmann, 70, conducted much of his work in Strasbourg.

They were supposed to share half the 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.46million) of prize-money.

The rest should have gone to Ralph Steinman, though the unusual circumstances leave its fate now in some doubt.

Bruce Beutler said he had learned of his prize by e-mail and had to search online to make sure it was true:

“I finally found it on Google News. My name was all over the place.”

Of his work, Bruce Beutler said, it “might lead to new treatments for inflammatory and auto-immune disease and possibly new treatments for other kinds of diseases as well”.

The work of all three scientists has been pivotal to the development of improved types of vaccines against infectious diseases and novel approaches to fighting cancer.

The research has helped lay the foundations for a new wave of “therapeutic vaccines” that stimulate the immune system to attack tumors.

Better understanding of the complexities of the immune system has also given clues for treating inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, where the components of the self-defense system end up attacking the body’s own tissues.

Red tide is a common name for a phenomenon also known as an algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms), an event in which estuarine, marine, or fresh water algae accumulate rapidly in the water column and results in discoloration of the surface water. It is usually found in coastal areas.

When the algae are present in high concentrations, the water appears to be discolored or murky, varying in color from purple to almost pink, normally being red or green. Not all algal blooms are dense enough to cause water discoloration, and not all discolored waters associated with algal blooms are red. Additionally, red tides are not typically associated with tidal movement of water, hence the preference among scientists to use the term algal bloom.

Red tide” is a colloquial term used to refer to a natural phenomenon known as a “harmful algal bloom” or “HAB”. The term “red tide” is being phased out among researchers for the following reasons:

1. Red tides are not necessarily red and many have no discoloration at all.

2. They are unrelated to movements of the tides.

3. A wide variety of algal species are known as bloom-formers.

Red tide phenomenon appeared as an amazing neon blue alien landscape on North County beach, San Diego, California last night.

Red tide is a natural phenomenon caused by a chemical reaction called bioluminescence, which happens when a naturally-occurring micro-organism in the water is disturbed, causing a chemical reaction which emits light.

The reaction is similar to the “glow” that fireflies use to attract prey or mates. Many undersea organisms “glow”, especially creatures that live at depths where light from the surface is less likely to penetrate.

The spellbinding sight was captured at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California, yesterday. The night-time glow is a side-effect of blooming red algae, known as red tide, which can turn entire beaches scarlet and murky during the day.

Michael Dermyer and his 5 year-old son Colin watching the waves glow neon blue from the red tide at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California

Michael Dermyer and his 5 year-old son Colin watching the waves glow neon blue from the red tide at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California

The smell of decay, caused by rotting kelp, plankton and fish often accompanies the event as the red algae starves the water of oxygen and light. By night, there is an increase in microscopic plankton called dynoflagellates, which glow in the dark when disturbed by currents or waves.

Beaches off the coast of Sarasota and Charlotte counties have tested positive for red tide, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported this week.

Data provided by Mote Marine Laboratory from samples collected by the Sarasota Health Department showed medium concentrations of Karenia brevis, the Florida Red Tide organism, in one water sample taken from Manasota Beach, and low concentrations in water samples collected near Venice Beach and Englewood.

Further testing is scheduled for this week.

The toxic algae causes coughing in humans and kills marine life. Records of massive fish kills date back hundreds of years. The last major occurrence formed in 2006, wreaking havoc from north of Tampa Bay down to Naples.

The dead satellite fell into a part of the southern Pacific Ocean about as far from large land masses as you can get, NASA officials said on Tuesday.

NASA calculations put the 6-tonne satellite‘s death plunge early Saturday thousands of miles from northwestern North America, where there were reports of sightings.

Instead, the satellite plunged into areas where remote islands dot a vast ocean.

NASA says those new calculations show the 20-year-old satellite entered Earth’s atmosphere generally above American Samoa.

But falling debris as the satellite broke apart did not start hitting the water for another 300 miles to the northeast, southwest of Christmas Island, just after midnight EDT Saturday.

The satellite fell to Earth on Saturday morning, with debris landing in remote parts of the Pacific Ocean

The satellite fell to Earth on Saturday morning, with debris landing in remote parts of the Pacific Ocean

Experts believe about two dozen metal pieces from the bus-sized satellite fell over a 500-mile span.

“It’s a relatively uninhabited portion of the world, very remote,” NASA orbital debris scientist Mark Matney said.

“This is certainly a good spot in terms of risk.”

Scientists who track space junk couldn’t be happier with the result.

“That’s the way it should be. I think that’s perfect,” said Bill Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies at the Aerospace Corp.

“It’s just as good as it gets.”

Last Saturday, scientists said it was possible some pieces could have reached northwestern Canada and claims of sightings in Canada spread on the Internet.

However, NASA said Tuesday that new calculations show the satellite landed several minutes earlier than they thought, changing the debris field to an entirely different hemisphere.

“It just shows you the difference that 10 or 15 minutes can make,” said Harvard University astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, who tracks man-made space objects. On Saturday, he noted: “We were talking about, <<Wow, did it hit Seattle?>>”

NASA won’t say how it knows the climate research satellite came in earlier, referring questions to the U.S. Air Force space operations centre.

Air Force spokeswoman Julie Ziegenhorn said better computer model reconstruction after the satellite fell helped pinpoint where the satellite (Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite) returned to Earth.

After UARS was launched in 1991, NASA and other space agencies adopted new procedures to lessen space junk and satellites falling back to Earth. So NASA has no more satellites as large as this one that will fall back to Earth uncontrolled in the next 25 years, according to NASA orbital debris chief scientist Nicholas Johnson.

But other satellites will continue to fall. Late in October, or early in November, a German astronomy satellite is set to plunge uncontrolled back to Earth.

While slightly smaller than UARS, the German satellite is expected to have more pieces survive re-entry, said Jonathan McDowell, who worked on one of the instruments for it.

The German ROSAT satellite was launched in 1990, died in 1998 and weighs 2 ½ tons. The German space agency figures 30 pieces weighing less than 2 tons will survive re-entry. Debris may include sharp mirror shards.

The German space agency puts the odds of somebody somewhere on Earth being hurt by its satellite at 1-in-2,000 – a slightly higher level of risk than was calculated for the NASA satellite. But any one individual’s odds of being struck are 1-in-14trillion, given there are 7 billion people on the planet.

NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) hit the Earth last night.

 

NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite UPDATES:The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite entered the atmosphere over the North Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of the United States. The precise re-entry time and location of any debris impacts are still being determined. NASA is not aware of any reports of injury or property damage.” NASA wrote at 2:37 p.m. EDT (6:37 p.m. UTC).

UPDATE:Because of the satellite’s orbit, any surviving components of UARS should have landed within a zone between 57 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south latitude. It is impossible to pinpoint just where in that zone the debris landed, but NASA estimates the debris footprint to be about 500 miles [804.7 kilometers] long.”

UPDATE:We extend our appreciation to the Joint Space Operations Center for monitoring UARS not only this past week but also throughout its entire 20 years on orbit,” said Nick Johnson, NASA’s chief scientist for orbital debris, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “This was not an easy re-entry to predict because of the natural forces acting on the satellite as its orbit decayed. Space-faring nations around the world also were monitoring the satellite’s descent in the last two hours and all the predictions were well within the range estimated by JSpOC.”

UPDATE:DoD’s Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, CA, has assessed that NASA’s Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite reentered the atmosphere sometime between 0323 and 0509 GMT on 24 September. During this period the satellite passed over Canada, the African continent, and the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The mid-point of that ground-track and a possible reentry location is 31 N latitude and 219 E longitude.”

The $750 million satellite, weighing six tons, first penetrated Earth’s atmosphere somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it all fell into the sea, said NASA and the U.S. Air Force’s Joint Space Operations Center.

NASA’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday [3:23 a.m UTC Saturday], Sept. 23 and 1:09 a.m. EDT [05:09 a.m. UTC Saturday] Sept. 24. The Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California said the satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. The precise re-entry time and location are not yet known with certainty,” NASA said.

 

NASA's satellite "penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean". Where the satellite landed is not known precisely yet.

NASA's satellite "penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean". Where the satellite landed is not known precisely yet.

 

NASA’s earlier calculations had predicted that the former climate research satellite, launched in 1991, would fall over a 500 miles (804.7 kilometers) swath and could include land.

The plummet began over the ocean and there was a lack of reports of people being hit, “gives us a good feeling that no one was hurt,” but officials didn’t know for certain, Steve Cole, NASA spokesman, told The Associated Press.

In the entire 50-plus-year history of the space program, no person has ever been injured by a piece of re-entering space debris. Keep in mind we have bits of debris re-entering the atmosphere every single day.” said Mark Matney,  orbital debris scientist at NASA.

There were hypotheses on the Internet and Twitter, much of them centered on unconfirmed reports and even video of debris over Alberta, Canada.

That was possible because the last track for the satellite included Canada, starting north of Seattle and then in a large arc north then south, Steve Cole said. The track continued through the Atlantic south toward Africa, but it is hard to belive that satellite got that far if it started falling over the Pacific.

The surviving chunks of the satellite  include titanium fuel tanks, beryllium housing and stainless-steel batteries and wheel rims.

No consideration ever was given to shooting it down,” NASA said.

The craft contains no fuel and so is not expected to explode on impact, and NASA also said on Twitter that talk of  “flaming space debris” was a “myth“.

Pieces of UARS landing on earth will not be very hot. Heating stops 36km up, cools after that,” NASA said. The satellite contains nothing radioactive but its metal fragments could be sharp.

The U.S. space agency has warned anyone who comes across what they believe may be the satellite’s debris not to touch it but to contact authorities for assistance.

Any pieces of UARS found are still the property of the country that made it. You’ll have to give ’em back to U.S.” NASA wrote on Twitter.

 “Should the public come across debris they believe to be from the downed satellite, they should alert the authorities, or the authorities may come after them.” said Robert Pearl, space artifacts expert .

Some lucky sky-watchers in Florida were able to catch a glimpse of the defunct satellite as it circled the Earth before its final descent.

 

NASA awaits more details from the Air Force, that was responsible for tracking debris, but where the satellite might have fallen, officials could never know precisely.

 

Most space debris is in the ocean. It’ll be hard to confirm,” Steve Cole said.

 

The chart shows the predicted entry of the satellite point, based on data from U.S. Strategic Command.(William Harwood/MacDoppler Pro)

The chart shows the predicted entry of the satellite point, based on data from U.S. Strategic Command.(William Harwood/MacDoppler Pro)

 

The satellite had 35 feet (10.7 meters) and some 26 fragments of the satellite representing 1,200 pounds (544.31 kilograms) of heavy metal had been expected to fall down. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds (136 kilograms).

Space law professor Frans von der Dunk from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln told AFP that the US would likely have to pay damages to any country where the debris falls.

Liability for damage caused by space debris is regulated by a 1972 international treaty that the U.S. has signed on to,”NASA wrote on Twitter.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is the biggest NASA spacecraft to crash back to Earth, uncontrolled, since the Skylab space station and the Pegasus 2 satellite (1979).

Russia’s 135-ton Mir space station hit the Earth in 2001, but it was a controlled dive into the Pacific.

No one had ever been hit by falling space junk and NASA expected that not to change. NASA put the chances that somebody somewhere on Earth would get hurt at 1-in-3,200, a person’s odds of being struck were estimated at 1-in-22 trillion, since there are 7 billion people on the planet.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite ran out of fuel in 2005, it was built and launched before NASA and other nations started new programs that prevent this type of uncontrolled crashes of satellite.

It was the first multi-instrumented satellite to observe numerous chemical components of the atmosphere for better understanding of photochemistry. UARS data marked the beginning of many long-term records for key chemicals in the atmosphere. The satellite also provided key data on the amount of light that comes from the sun at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths,” Beth Dickey and Steve Cole wrote.

 

Physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the international nuclear research facility near Geneva, Switzerland, are saying that an experiment in which a beam of neutrinos were sent 500 miles from CERN to a laboratory in Italy has thrown up a quite staggering result.

Specifically, the specialists found that the particles got there 60 billionths of a second quicker than the light speed limit allowed.

This was not a one-off; 15,000 neutrinos were detected and the results collated over three years.

The scientists at CERN found that neutrinos are travelling 60 billionths of a second quicker than the light speed limit allowed

The scientists at CERN found that neutrinos are travelling 60 billionths of a second quicker than the light speed limit allowed

 

The physicists say the result is so extraordinary that it may well be a mistake but they also say they cannot see where they might have gone wrong and have thrown open the doors to the international scientific community to check, double-check and triple-check what is going on.

If these neutrinos really are travelling faster than light, this will overturn everything we think we know about the basic physics that underpins the way we think the Universe works.

In 1905, Albert Einstein, in his Special Theory of Relativity, demonstrated that the speed of light which is equal to 186,000 miles/second or around six hundred million mph, is a universal constant. Albert Einstein’s genius was to weave together space, time, velocity, energy and mass into a fundamental interconnected whole.

 

CERN research findings could break a fundamental pillar of science and Einstein's theory of relativity

CERN research findings could break a fundamental pillar of science and Einstein's theory of relativity

 

Breaking the light speed limit is not just some piece of awkward physics bureaucracy. The limit is actually a fundamental reflection of the way space and time are put together.

One outcome of travelling faster than light is that the mass and energy of the object travelling this fast become infinite. This is clearly absurd.

Another consequence is that anything travelling faster than light also goes backwards in time. This would violate another basic tenet, not only of physics but of our basic philosophical comprehension of how the world works. If we go back in time, we violate the principle of causality which says cause must precede effect.

It is possible, as the scientists freely admit, that they’ve made a mistake. After all, these neutrinos only broke the light speed barrier by about 12,000 mph, a tiny fraction of light speed. But intriguingly, the result of the “opera” (oscillation project with emulsion tracking apparatus) seems to have been mirrored in a couple of other experiments in the US.

If the result is correct, we have to assume that specialists have discovered something truly extraordinary, perhaps as significant as Albert Einstein’s original findings.

If things can travel faster than light, the Universe cannot be as physics assumed it to be for 106 years. Rule books will be torn up, hair will be torn out and new careers will be forged, explaining what on earth is going on.

A new post on NASA’s official Twitter account  said of the falling satellite: “Re-entry prediction now later than expected – tonight or late Saturday morning,” at just before noon Eastern Time.

It seemed that NASA’s earlier prediction of a landing late this afternoon was wrong. A second update from NASA said, “predicted re-entry moving later.”

Meanwhile, NASA official website reveals that the satellite‘s orientation has changed during its plunge – and that its rate of descent was “changing”, making it difficult for NASA computers to predict the time or place of landing.

“There is now a low probability debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States.”

The falling satellite is one of the thousands of objects in Earth orbit being tracked by NASA

The falling satellite is one of the thousands of objects in Earth orbit being tracked by NASA

 

The space agency says there is a one in 3,200 chance the falling satellite will hit someone.

The satellite, which has six tons, is being tracked by all available equipment including a giant radar at RAF Fylingdales on the North York Moors on its path towards Earth.

NASA admits that it cannot predict the time or place of re-entry with any certainty – “but predictions will become more refined in the next 12 to 18 hours.”

A period of “12 to 18 hours” seems unnervingly close to when the huge Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) will break up on entering the Earth’s atmosphere, throwing chunks of metal weighing up to 350 lb across hundreds of miles.

The space agency said it will only know 2 hours before impact where it will land and even that prediction will only be accurate to the nearest 6,000 miles.

The satellite landing could be anywhere between the 57th parallel north, which crosses Britain at around Inverness, and the 57th parallel south, which passes just below South America.

Worldwide interest in the satellite is growing: a website set up to “track” the falling satellite is constantly crashing under incredible demand, and an app for Android smartphones, Satellite AR, allows people to “see” where it is at any moment.

An amazing video captured the satellite earlier this week as NASA experts slowly narrowed down the area where it could strike.

Astrophotographer Thierry Legault’s clip, shot in northern France, shows the 20-year-old UARS satellite, appearing as a beaming mass of light as it careers to Earth.

The station at RAF Fylingdalers was originally built at the height of the Cold War to track any incoming ballistic missile attack – a role it still performs.

A RAF spokeswoman said:

“The Space Operations Room at Royal Air Force Fylingdales is manned 24 hours a day by specialist Royal Air Force and civilian personnel, and its operators will be working to track the UARS object as it returns to the atmosphere.

“The Solid State Phased Array Radar is being tasked by the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force to concentrate its radar energy towards the object in order to track its final orbit.”

“This information will then be used by various different agencies to predict the path of re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Initially, the satellite was expected to come crashing down through the atmosphere on Friday evening, GMT. On Thursday, the Aerospace Corporation in California predicted that re-entry will occur over the Pacific Ocean.

The satellite, which is 20-year-old, is the biggest NASA spacecraft to fall uncontrolled from the sky in 32 years.

The satellite is expected to break into more than 100 pieces as it enters the atmosphere, most of it burning up.

The heaviest metal parts are expected to reach Earth, the biggest chunk weighing about 300 lb (135 kg). The debris could be scattered over an area about 500 miles long.

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A satellite, weighing six tons and currently out-of-control, will strike Earth at 18,000 mph and could land almost anywhere this evening – NASA warned last night.

The satellite has the size of a bus and will break up on entering Earth’s atmosphere, flinging huge chunks of metal weighing up to 350 lb (150 kg) across hundreds of miles.

The six-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite will crash to Earth this evening

The six-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite will crash to Earth this evening

 

NASA said its specialists will only know two hours before impact where it will land – and even that prediction will only be accurate to the nearest 6,000 miles. The satellite could land anywhere between the 57th parallel north, which crosses Britain at around Inverness, and the 57th parallel south, which passes just below South America.

The satellite could land anywhere between the 57th parallel north, which crosses Britain at around Inverness, and the 57th parallel south, which passes just below South America

The satellite could land anywhere between the 57th parallel north, which crosses Britain at around Inverness, and the 57th parallel south, which passes just below South America

The plummeting six-ton satellite has been caught on film.

Astrophotographer Thierry Legault’s clip, shot in northern France, shows the 20-year-old Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), appearing as a beaming mass of light as it careers to Earth.

[youtube TPP766kxU1U]

NASA orbital debris scientist Mark Matney admitted:

“We know it is going to hit somewhere between 57 north and 57 south, which covers most of the inhabited world, unfortunately.”

However, scientists have ruled out the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite striking North America.

The satellite orbit has been altered by NASA deliberately to make it crash – but it is now coming down sooner than expected due to changed atmospheric conditions.

The satellite is falling to Earth at 5 miles per second, faster than previously thought and experts say there is a one in 3,200 chance of someone being hit by debris – more likely than getting a hole in one during a round of golf.

The NASA satellite, which measures 35ft (12 meters) and weighs 6.5tonnes, was put into space in 1991 to monitor climate change, and ceased its operations in 2005.

The falling satellite will look like a fiery meteor shower as it begins to burn up in the atmosphere.

It is expected that satellite will break into more than 100 pieces with most of it being destroyed before it hits the ground. But around 26 pieces are expected to make it through and the heaviest metal parts are expected to reach Earth, including titanium fuel tanks.

NASA spokesman Steve Cole said:

“Anybody who finds a piece of the satellite should stay away from it and call the police and let them deal with it.

“It could be very hot or it could be dangerous. It depends on what speed the debris is going, but it could go be going fast enough to go through a house.

“We will have to wait and see if the debris creates a crater. If it is spherical that is possible but if it has a less regular shape it may not be going so fast.”

 

The satellite has the size of a bus and will break up on entering Earth’s atmosphere, flinging huge chunks of metal weighing up to 350 lb (150 kg) across hundreds of miles

The satellite has the size of a bus and will break up on entering Earth’s atmosphere, flinging huge chunks of metal weighing up to 350 lb (150 kg) across hundreds of miles

 

Steve Cole added that more accurate predictions are expected throughout today and will be posted on NASA’s website.

Debris routinely falls to Earth from space but the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite will be the biggest NASA craft to fall uncontrolled from space in 32 years.

In 1979, Skylab, which was 15 times bigger, rained charred chunks on the Indian Ocean and Western Australia after NASA said it would land in South Africa.

In 2003, when the space shuttle Columbia exploded upon re-entry killing its entire crew, large chunks of its shell landed across Texas.

 

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Pope Benedict XVI has begun his first official visit to Germany, his native country.

After arriving in Berlin, Pope Benedict XVI said he had come to the country to talk about Christianity, not politics.

The Pope visit to Germany may be one of his most difficult to date, with strong protests expected against his teachings.

Pope Benedict XVI, 84, is to address the German parliament and say Mass in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium during the four-day visit.

 

The pontiff will travel widely across Germany, where there are officially 25 million Catholics – one third of the population.

The Pope has visited Germany unofficially several times since assuming the Church’s highest office, travelling to Catholic strongholds in the Rhineland and his native Bavaria.

However, the tour will take Benedict XVI into historically Protestant regions and parts of the atheistic old East Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, daughter of a Lutheran pastor who grew up in East Germany, said Christian unity would be a focus of the Pope’s visit.

Tomorrow, Benedict XVI will meet members of Germany’s Lutheran Church in the monastery where Luther studied as a monk in Erfurt in the early 16th Century, before breaking with Rome and launching the Protestant Reformation.

Pope Benedict has been greeted at Berlin’s Tegel airport by an artillery salute and a guard of honour and he was welcomed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff.

Pope Benedict XVI, German president, Christian Wulff, and his wife Bettina at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin

Pope Benedict XVI, German president, Christian Wulff, and his wife Bettina at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin

Visiting President Christian Wulff’s residence in Berlin, Benedict XVI said:

“I am not here first and foremost… to follow particular political, or economic, aims but to meet the people and to speak to them about God.”

The Pope visit has attracted opposition from various groups. Protesters have taken issue with the Catholic stance on homosexuality and contraception, and some members of German Parliament – possibly as many as 100, or almost one in seven – plan to boycott his speech to the Bundestag, on Thursday.

It is believed that at least 20,000 demonstrators, including gay people, feminists, atheists, abuse survivors and other opponents of the Pope, will gather in Berlin.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who is a Protestant, criticized the planned boycott, accusing members of Bundestag of “arrogance, narrow-mindedness and provincialism”.

Berlin’s openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, said he welcomed the Pope’s visit and would meet him personally, but he also expressed understanding for the protesters.

Both Mayor Klaus Wowereit and President Christian Wulff, who is divorced and remarried, are Catholics who in the eyes of the Church lead sinful lifestyles.

Speaking to reporters on his plane from Rome, Pope Benedict XVI said he could understand those leaving the Church due to the sexual abuse scandals of recent years.

One of the highlights of Pope visit to Germany is a Mass to be held on Thursday evening at the Olympic Stadium.

The Olympic Stadium, where Hitler hosted the 1936 games, is now a popular sporting and entertainment venue, and some 70,000 people are expected to attend the Mass.

The tour includes also a meeting with former Chancellor Helmut Kohl and a visit to the strongly Catholic city of Freiburg in the south-west.

According to AFP news agency, a record of 181,000 German Catholics officially quit the Church last year, a total for the first time higher than that for Protestants leaving their churches.

The Pope also told reporters in the plane he had nothing against the planned demonstrations against his visit, as long as they were civil.

“I can understand that in the face of such reports [about sexual abuse], people, especially those close to victims, would say <<this isn’t my Church anymore>>.”

“The Church is a net of the Lord that pulls in good fish and bad fish. We have to learn to live with the scandals and work against the scandals from inside the great net of the Church.”

Groups of Catholics who are demanding reform of the Church will also use the visit to express their views.

Sigrid Grabmeier, a spokeswoman of Catholic reform group Wir Sind Kirche (We are Church), said she had mixed feelings about the Pope’s visit.

“I do not really know what he wants to tell us about really important things like justice and the world, or rich and poor people or something.”

Sigrid Grabmeiercalled for a return to Christian basics, saying: “Jesus, he did not found a religion and he did not tell us how we should believe, but how we live.”