Jan 31, 2008

Failed record attempt by Croatian Smurfs

A total of 395 Croatian people painted themselves blue and put on silly hats to beat a World Record for the most Smurfs in one place. But, it was too late for them! When they contacted Guinness officials to register their world record, they were told "sorry - too late". They had been beaten by an English group in Warwick.

A spokesman for the event organisers said: "We read on the internet that the record was 290 people held by a group of Americans, and decided to beat it, and we had TV, radio and print media report our success."

The current record for most Smurfs in one place, according to Guinness World Records, is 451 people set by Warwick University Students' Union last year.

read more “Failed record attempt by Croatian Smurfs”

Messenger captures stunning images of Mercury

The pictures of planet Mercury sent by NASA's Messenger spacecraft surprised scientists. Why? Because these pictures revealed some of the most stunning geological formation on Mercury. Messenger spacecraft sped past Mercury on January 14 and sent back those pictures.

Researchers are amazed by the wealth of images and data that show a unique world in planet Mercury, with a diversity of geological processes and a very different magnetosphere from the one discovered and sampled more than 30 years ago.

The pictures shows a central depression with more than 100 narrow troughs radiating out from it. Researchers named it as "The Spider". Scientists were also surprised by evidence of ancient volcanoes on many parts of the planet's surface. These volcanoes are different, compared to those on Moon.

The cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology instruments on Messenger, collected more than 1,200 images and made other science observations. Data included the first up-close measurements of Mercury since the Mariner 10 spacecraft's third and final flyby on March. Link

read more “Messenger captures stunning images of Mercury”
Jan 30, 2008

Concept Car : Cadillac Provoq

Is the new Cadillac Provoq concept a hint at the styling of an SRX replacement? Is it a preview of a future compact car-based SUV to compete with the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and the recently unveiled Mercedes-Benz GLK? Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show, the Cadillac Provoq houses the latest generation of GM's fuel cell technology. Watch the video.

read more “Concept Car : Cadillac Provoq”

The Blind Wildlife Photographer

Alison Bartlett is a highly-acclaimed wildlife photographer, even though she is completely blind. We know that it is strange to hear! Take a look at the photograph, taken by Alison. The 51-year-old "sees" with her ears and listens out for the rustling in trees and grass to snap wildlife. Now her animal pictures will be exhibited in a New Milton exhibition, next month.

Alison was a horse riding instructor. She began to lose her sight in 1979 due to diabetes and it went completely in 1992. But she retained her passion for photography and wildlife. Alison is also helped out by a friend who accompanies her on shoots and points her towards the creatures using clock directions, such as "bird at two o'clock".

She has developed such an acute sense of hearing and can pick up the sound of a bird's wings flapping or a squirrel nibbling before homing in on them with her camera. Link

read more “The Blind Wildlife Photographer”

Man arrested for selling historic items on eBay

A New York state employee who had access to US government-owned archives has been arrested on suspicion of stealing hundreds of historic documents and selling many of them on eBay. Daniel Lorello, 54, of Rensselaer, New York, was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and fraud.

Lorello pleaded innocent in Albany City Court on Monday. But, previously he had admitted in a written statement to stealing documents and artifacts since 2002. The attorney general's office released a copy of his statement.

Among the missing documents were an 1823 letter by U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun and copies of the Davy Crockett Almanacs, pamphlets written by the frontiersman who died at the Alamo in Texas. He was found out by an alert history buff who saw the items posted on the online auction site and alerted authorities, the state attorney general's office said in a statement.

In 2007 alone, Lorello stated he took 300 to 400 items, including the four-page Calhoun letter, which drew bids of more than $1,700 while investigators were monitoring the sale.

Officials recovered some 400 items from his upstate New York home, which Lorello estimated was 90 percent of everything he had taken, but they have yet to determine how many items were sold online. Link

read more “Man arrested for selling historic items on eBay”
Jan 29, 2008

Eclipse of the Sun by Jupiter

Take a look at the picture above. It is an eclipse of the Sun by Jupiter, as viewed from Galileo spacecraft. Small dust particles high in Jupiter's atmosphere, as well as the dust particles that compose the rings, can be seen by reflected sunlight.

Ever wonder why does planet Jupiter have rings? Jupiter's rings were discovered in 1979 by the passing Voyager 1 spacecraft, but their origin was a mystery. Data from the Galileo spacecraft that orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003 later confirmed that these rings were created by meteoroid impacts on small nearby moons. As a small meteoroid strikes tiny Adrastea, for example, it will bore into the moon, vaporize, and explode dirt and dust off into a Jovian orbit. NASA

read more “Eclipse of the Sun by Jupiter”
Jan 28, 2008

Spy satellite to hit the Earth

A big US spy satellite has gone out of control and is expected to hit Earth some time in late February or March. The satellite weighs about 20,000 pounds (9,072kg) and is the size of a small bus. The satellite contains the rocket fuel hydrazine, a colourless liquid with an ammonia-like odour. It is a toxic chemical and can cause harm to anyone who comes in contact with it.

The White House said that it was monitoring the situation. Spy satellites typically are disposed of through a controlled re-entry into the ocean so that no one else can access the spacecraft. But , this satellite had lost power and propulsion. So it is a big question, how US will handle this!

"We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause," said Gordon Johndroe, who speaks for the US National Security Council. Link

read more “Spy satellite to hit the Earth”

Thief steals Bishop's Crown

In Texas, a burglar broke into a Greek Orthodox bishop's car and took away a jeweled crown of gold and silver, which has an estimated worth between $6,000 and $10,000. Bishop Metropolitan Isaiah is based in Denver and is bishop for the Northwest region of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Isaiah said he was dining with others at a restaurant when the break-in occurred. He said the car was parked in a well-lit spot. The burglar also made off with a copy of the New Testament, a veil, a cell phone and a black fabric bag. The bag had special meaning to the ex-Marine because it was given to him years ago by the widow of a fellow Marine.

At a vespers service Saturday night, Isaiah was the only priest with no head covering. He offered a reward of at least $1,000 if the crown is returned without damage. Link

read more “Thief steals Bishop's Crown”
Jan 26, 2008

Beautiful Crescent Mercury

Take a look at the image. It is a beautiful and rare image of crescent Mercury, taken by the Messenger spacecraft early last week. The colors in this remarkable picture were created using data recorded through infrared, red, and violet filters. The combination enhances color differences otherwise not visible to the eye across the innermost planet's cratered surface. In this image, light bluish material seems to surround relatively new craters, contrasting with the mostly drab, brown terrain. credit: NASA

Also read our previous posts on Crescent Saturn and Crescent Nebula.

read more “Beautiful Crescent Mercury”

Global Warming reduces Atlantic Hurricanes?

Global warming could reduce the number of Atlantic hurricanes that hits the United States every year. It is revealed by a new federal study that clashes with other research. In it, researchers link warming waters, especially in the Indian and Pacific oceans, to increased vertical wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean near the United States.

According to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Miami Lab and the University of Miami, wind shear — a change in wind speed or direction, makes it hard for hurricanes to form, strengthen and stay alive. With every degree Celsius increase in the oceans temperature, the wind shear increases by up to 10 mph, that leads to weakening storm formation.

But critics say this study is based on poor data that was rejected by scientists on the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They pointed out that at times only one in 10 North Atlantic hurricanes hit the U.S. coast and the data reflect only a small percentage of storms around the globe. Link

read more “Global Warming reduces Atlantic Hurricanes?”

Entire Synthetic Genome created in lab

Scientists of J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland has announced that they have successfully created an entire synthetic genome in the laboratory. They did it by stitching together the DNA of Mycoplasma genitalium, the smallest known free-living bacterium. This success could lead to the "routine" creation of synthetic genomes, for the benefits of humankind. It will also help in creation of synthetic life in the lab!

This new achievement is an important second step in a three-step process to the creation of synthetic life, said research leader Hamilton Smith, a biologist and Nobel laureate at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland.

The first step, reported last year by the same team, was the successful transplantation of a genome from one species of bacteria into another, effectively switching the bug's identity. The team is now working on the third step. The third step in creation of synthetic life involves taking the chemically synthesized DNA, which is in the test tube, and putting it into a bacterium where it can take over and produce a synthetic cell. Link

read more “Entire Synthetic Genome created in lab”

World's biggest police chase!

The World's biggest police chase, with more than 2,000 police, 460 police cars and one helicopter took place in Osaka, Japan. Wait, it was just for a single man! Hirofumi Fukuda, 27, became a wanted man after assaulting several police officers. So police started chasing him.

It started when police received an emergency call saying that a car was driving recklessly, ignoring traffic lights. When a patrol car approached the vehicle in question, it took off. Police were mobilised throughout the area and a helicopter called in to catch the man. The chase ended when Fukuda's car crashed into a bridge column. He suffered minor injuries but no one else was injured in the chase.

The two-hour long chase involved 2,240 police officers, turning it into one of the world's biggest police chases. Link

read more “World's biggest police chase!”
Jan 25, 2008

Model of SpaceShipTwo unveiled

On Wednesday, British billionaire Richard Branson and the aerospace designer Burt Rutan unveiled a model of the SpaceShipTwo, the vehicle they hope will be able to take passengers on space rides. It will be able to carry six passengers and two crew members into the space. The test flights of this spaceship will begin this year.

Speaking to reporters at the American Museum of Natural History, Branson also showed off a model of the big, four-engine jet that will help launch the craft into space. The twin-fuselage airplane, called the White Knight Two, will carry SpaceShipTwo high into the sky beneath it's140-foot long wing. The spacecraft would then separate from the plane and rocket into suborbital space. SpaceShipTwo passengers would get about 4 1/2 minutes of zero-gravity time before returning to earth. Link

read more “Model of SpaceShipTwo unveiled”

Evidence of life on Mars!

Life is there in planet Mars! Atleast this image tells that. This image was taken by NASA’s Spirit Rover when the spacecraft landed on Mars in January 2004. In the image you can see what appears to resemble a figure walking among the planet’s rocks.

Unnoticed by NASA and virtually invisible to the naked eye, the blurry image comes to life only when highly magnified. Some space-watchers believe that it is an evidence of an alien presence.

We think that, the shape is more likely a rock or a shadow. What you say?

read more “Evidence of life on Mars!”
Jan 23, 2008

World's first Sail powered merchant ship

Take a look at the image! This is World's first merchant ship powered by a giant kite! It speeds across the seas with the help of a breeze, just like the 19th century ships. The MS Beluga SkySails, which set off on its maiden voyage from Bremen to Venezuela on Tuesday, is fitted with a giant computerised kite which soars far above the decks of the 10,000-ton ship.

On a favourable day the giant kite can provide up to 35 per cent of the vessel's power, according to its creators. If the £400,000 kite or sail lives up to its billing, it will save the Beluga's operators 900lb of fuel a day, and take a slice out of the 800million tons of greenhouse gases the world's merchant fleet belches into the sky each year.

Niels Stolberg, chief executive of German based Beluga Shipping which helped create the technology, said: "It's important to look at the commercial side of this, the saving fuel costs, but also the CO2 aspect. In a few years, shipping companies will have to cut emissions or pay a price."

Stolberg plans to install the system on two more vessels twice as large as the Beluga SkySails by 2009. Link
read more “World's first Sail powered merchant ship”

Self-portrait of orbiting astronaut

Interesting photo? On this self-portrait of astronaut Clay Anderson, the space helmet reflects earth. It was taken by the astronaut during the shuttle orbiter Endeavour's mission to expand the space station last August. The large curvature of the Earth appearing in the visor reflection is not the true curvature of our spherical Earth, but rather an artifact of the curve of the space helmet. Earth's horizon appears only slightly curved when viewed from the height of the International Space Station -- approximately 400 kilometers.

read more “Self-portrait of orbiting astronaut”

Leg of Douglas Bader, up for auction!

A leg, up for sale! Sounds strange? Second World War hero Douglas Bader's prosthetic leg is to be sold at an auction. Douglas Bader became a hero during the Second World War and continued to fly for the RAF despite losing both legs in a plane crash.

The leg is one of 43 items belonging to Douglas Bader. Phillip Knapper, from the auction house, said he expected Bader's memorabilia, including Red Cross parcels sent to him in Colditz Castle as well as his mess bill, to exceed £100,000. His Alvis car from the 1960s is expected to fetch another £60,000.

Mr Knapper said he had already had interest from Singapore and Hong Kong for the items. He described the vendor as a man in his 80s from Lincolnshire. He bought the items from the daughter of Bader's mess sergeant at RAF Duxford. Link

read more “Leg of Douglas Bader, up for auction!”

Actor Heath Ledger found Dead in NYC

Heath Ledger, the Australian actor who earned an Academy Award nomination for his turn as a stubbornly taciturn gay ranch hand in "Brokeback Mountain", was found dead Tuesday in a Manhattan apartment, New York police said. He was 28.

A housekeeper sent to fetch Mr. Ledger for a massage appointment found him naked and unresponsive about 3:30 p.m., NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. Police sources told The New York Times Tuesday that sleeping pills were found near Mr. Ledger's body, leading them to suspect suicide or an accidental overdose as the cause of death. The medical examiner's office planned an autopsy Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.

Ledger was nominated for a best actor Oscar for "Brokeback Mountain," a 2005 film about two cowboys who fall in love. Ledger's roles also include the suicidal son of Billy Bob Thornton in "Monster's Ball," and he had starring roles in "A Knight's Tale" and "The Patriot." Link

read more “Actor Heath Ledger found Dead in NYC”
Jan 22, 2008

'Theft-proof' BMW stolen

A tale of stolen 'theft-proof' car! A high tech, theft-proof £75,000 police car was stolen in Berlin. According to reports, it happened due to the fault of police officers, who left it unlocked with the key in the ignition.

The special BMW, which features high-tech surveillance equipment and sophisticated electronic locks and immobilisers to make it theft proof, was the pride of the Berlin police force.

But it was stolen in the city's Wedding district when two officers jumped out to chase a joy-rider on foot after he had abandoned a stolen car. The criminal got away and when the officers went back they found the expensive BMW gone.

The police officers are now facing disciplinary action. Police chiefs say they have no leads on who may have stolen the car and are still looking for it. Link

read more “'Theft-proof' BMW stolen”
Jan 14, 2008

Simple Links

These are the blogs run by my friends. Feel free to contact me for inclusion of your blog on this list.

read more “Simple Links”
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...