Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for September 18th, 2010

Toyota Settles Over Death of Family in High-Speed Crash

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

Toyota has reached an out-of-court settlement with relatives of a family killed when the Lexus sedan they were driving sped out of control and crashed, an accident that put a national spotlight on the sudden acceleration problems that later prompted the automaker to recall millions of vehicles.

… The crash, which happened in August 2009 near San Diego, was documented with gripping evidence that that drew nationwide attention. A backseat passenger called 911 to say that the driver, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer named Mark Saylor, was unable to stop the 2009 Lexus E350, which went as fast as 120 miles per hour on a freeway before hitting another vehicle and landing in a ravine.

Mr. Saylor, 45; his wife, Cleofe, 45; and their 13-year-old daughter Mahala died, along with Cleofe Saylor’s brother, Chris Lastrella, 39. It was Mr. Lastrella who told the 911 operator that the car’s pedal was stuck and ended the call by saying, “Hold on and pray.” The car was on loan from the nearby Bob Baker Lexus dealership while Mr. Saylor’s car was being repaired.

The settlement, according to Toyota’s statement, resolves product liability claimMark Saylors by the Saylor and Lastrella families against Toyota and the dealership. The families have separate claims against the dealership that were not covered.

Two months after the crash, Toyota began a recall that eventually covered 5.4 million vehicles globally in which the automaker said the driver-side floor mat could trap the accelerator pedal. It later recalled 4.5 million vehicles in which the pedals themselves were determined to be defective. Some vehicles were covered by both recalls, for a total of about eight million vehicles.

In February, Toyota’s chief executive, Akio Toyoda, apologized to Congress and to Mr. Saylor’s family, saying he would “do everything in my power to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.”

The recalls hurt Toyota’s sales and damaged its reputation for building high-quality, reliable vehicles. Thousands of complaints from drivers who say their Toyota-made vehicles accelerated suddenly poured in to federal regulators, which in April fined Toyota a record $16.4 million for waiting too long to initiate the pedal recall. The complaints are tied to at least 93 deaths. …

Toyota is continuing to defend itself against class-action lawsuits filed by Toyota owners and relatives of people who died in crashes alleged to have resulted from sudden acceleration. The company potentially could face billions of dollars in liabilities if it loses the cases.

Preliminary results released in August from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigation into the sudden-acceleration complaints revealed that in many of the crashes the vehicles’ on-board data recorder showed no evidence that the driver used the brakes. The findings suggest that some drivers were mistakenly pressing on the accelerator pedal instead of the brake. …

via Toyota Settles Over Death of Family in High-Speed Crash – NYTimes.com.

What is this BS about drivers not using their brakes? What the findings suggest that either someone tampered with the data or that the data recorders are wrong.  If you are concerned with the idea of remote-controlled murder, you might want to get an older car, one without drive and brake by wire technology.

These acceleration problems probably involve “drive-by-wire,” an electronic rather than mechanical system for getting your right foot’s intentions to the engine. …

Cars use a wiring system called “multiplexing.” This sends many different signals for many different systems on one wire, saving about 150 pounds in wiring harnesses. But there’s a real danger of signals getting lost, mixed-up or working with the wrong systems. Combined with all the RF, the dangers are obvious, and frankly we may not be ready for all this high-tech just yet.

And who knows? The problem might be caused by electronics outside the car, like driving past a store with a burglar alarm can set off your radar detector. – huffpost

Posted in Survival, Technology | 3 Comments »

Anti Aging: What works?

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

The aging process is still a mystery. If you want to experiment on yourself, here are some things to try which have shown promising results:

MK-677, acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid, Rapamycin and seven to nine walnuts per day.

At present, the biological basis of ageing is unknown. Most scientists agree that substantial variability exists in the rates of ageing across different species, and that this to a large extent is genetically based. In model organisms and laboratory settings, researchers have been able to demonstrate that selected alterations in specific genes can extend lifespan (quite substantially in nematodes, less so in fruit flies, and even less in mice). Nevertheless, even in the relatively simple organisms, the mechanism of ageing remain to be elucidated.

Prevention and reversal

Several drugs and food supplements have been shown to retard or reverse the biological effects of ageing in animal models; none has yet been proven to do so in humans.

Resveratrol, a chemical found in red grapes, has been shown to extend the lifespan of yeast by 60%, worms and flies by 30% and one species of fish by almost 60%. Small doses of heavy water increase fruit-fly lifespan by 30%, but large doses are toxic to complex organisms.

In 2002, a team led by Professor Bruce Ames at UC Berkeley discovered that feeding aged rats a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid (both substances are already approved for human use and sold in health food stores) produced a rejuvenating effect.[38] Ames said, “With these two supplements together, these old rats got up and did the macarena. The brain looks better, they are full of energy – everything we looked at looks like a young animal.” UC Berkeley has patented the use of these supplements in combination and a company, Juvenon, has been established to market the treatment.

In 2007, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, identified a critical gene in nematode worms that specifically links eating fewer calories with living longer. Professor Andrew Dillin and colleagues showed that the gene pha-4 regulates the longevity response to calorie restriction.[39] In the same year Dr Howard Chang of the Stanford University School of Medicine was able to rejuvenate the skin of two-year-old mice to resemble that of newborns by blocking the activity of the gene NF-kappa-B.[40]

In 2008, a team at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center genetically engineered mice to produce ten times the normal level of the telomerase enzyme.[41] The mice lived 26% longer than normal.[42] The same year a team led by Professor Michael O Thorner at the [43] University of Virginia discovered that the drug MK-677 restored 20% of muscle mass lost due to ageing in humans aged 60 to 81. The subjects’ growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels increased to that typical of healthy young adults.[44]

In 2009, a drug called rapamycin, discovered in the 1970s in the soil of Easter Island in the South Pacific, was found to extend the life expectancy of 20-month-old mice by up to 38%.[45] Rapamycin is generally used to suppress the immune system and prevent the rejection of transplanted organs. Dr Arlan Richardson of the Barshop Institute said, “I never thought we would find an anti-ageing pill in my lifetime; however, rapamycin shows a great deal of promise to do just that.” Professor Randy Strong of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio said, “We believe this is the first convincing evidence that the ageing process can be slowed and lifespan can be extended by a drug therapy starting at an advanced age.”

Also in 2009, the British Journal of Nutrition reported a study at Tufts University in Boston which showed that brain function and motor skills in aged rats could be improved by adding walnuts to their diet. The human equivalent would be to eat seven to nine walnuts per day.[46]

In September 2009, researchers at UC Berkeley discovered they could restore youthful repair capability to muscle tissue taken from men aged 68 to 74 by in vitro treatment with mitogen-activated protein kinase.[47] This protein was found to be essential for the production of the stem cells necessary to repair muscle after exercise and is present at reduced levels in aged individuals. – wiki

A team of experimental biologists has successfully “abolished” cognitive decline in a population of aging, transgenic mice (TGM). Characteristics of “youthfulness”, such as learning capacity and physical activity, were restored in the mice following feeding of the 30 component supplement.

The same cocktail had been previously correlated to a modest increase in life span, but this most recent research focused on prolonging youthful functions –  “zestful living” –  instead of simply prolonging lifespan. …

Here is the list of ingredients (and dosages) for the AASUP used in the study:

Vitamin B1 0.72 mg/day Flax Seed oil 21.6 mg/day
Vitamin B3 0.72 mg/day Folic Acid 0.01 mg/day
Vitamin B6 0.72 mg/day Garlic 21.6 mcg/day
Vitamin B12 0.72 mcg/day Ginger 7.2 mg/day
Vitamin C 3.6 mg/day Gingko Biloba 1.44 mg/day
Vitamin D 2.5 IU/day Ginseng (Canadian) 8.64 mg/day
Vitamin E 1.44 IU/day Green Tea Extracts 7.2 mg/day
Acetyl L-Carnitine 14.4 mg/day L-Glutathione 0.36 mg/day
Alpha-Lipoic Acid 0.72 mg/day Magnesium 0.72 mg/day
ASA 2.5 mg/day Melatonin 0.01 mg/day
Beta Carotene 50.0 IU/day N-Acetyl Cysteine 7.2 mg/day
Bioflavinoids 4.32 mg/day Potassium 0.36 mg/day
Chromium Picolinate 1.44 mcg/day Rutin 0.72 mg/day
Cod Liver Oil 5.04 IU/day Selenium 1.08 mcg/day
CoEnzyme Q10 0.44 mg/day Zinc (chelated) 0.14 mg/day
DHEA 0.15 mg/day

The study, ‘A Dietary Supplement Abolishes Age-Related Cognitive Decline in Transgenic Mice Expressing Elevated Free Radical Processes’, by J.A. Lemon, D.R. Boreham and C.D. Rollo, was published last month in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.

- via beforeitsnews

Posted in Biology | 2 Comments »

Woody Allen on Faith and Fortune Tellers

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

..“To me,” Mr. Allen said, “there’s no real difference between a fortune teller or a fortune cookie and any of the organized religions. They’re all equally valid or invalid, really. And equally helpful.”

Mr. Allen spoke with Dave Itzkoff about his new film, how its themes resonate in his life and whether he has made his last movie in New York. These are excerpts from that conversation.

Q. The ideas of psychic powers and past lives, or at least people who believe in them, are central to your latest film. What got you interested in writing about them?

A. I was interested in the concept of faith in something. This sounds so bleak when I say it, but we need some delusions to keep us going. And the people who successfully delude themselves seem happier than the people who can’t. I’ve known people who have put their faith in religion and in fortune tellers. So it occurred to me that that was a good character for a movie: a woman who everything had failed for her, and all of a sudden, it turned out that a woman telling her fortune was helping her. The problem is, eventually, she’s in for a rude awakening.

Q. What seems more plausible to you, that we’ve existed in past lives, or that there is a God?

A. Neither seems plausible to me. I have a grim, scientific assessment of it. I just feel, what you see is what you get.

Q. How do you feel about the aging process?

A. Well, I’m against it. [laughs] I think it has nothing to recommend it. You don’t gain any wisdom as the years go by. You fall apart, is what happens. People try and put a nice varnish on it, and say, well, you mellow. You come to understand life and accept things. But you’d trade all of that for being 35 again. I’ve experienced that thing where you wake up in the middle of the night and you start to think about your own mortality and envision it, and it gives you a little shiver. That’s what happens to Anthony Hopkins at the beginning of the movie, and from then on in, he did not want to hear from his more realistic wife, “Oh, you can’t keep doing that — you’re not young anymore.” Yes, she’s right, but nobody wants to hear that.

Q. Has getting older changed your work in any way? Do you see a certain wistfulness emerging in your later films?

A. No, it’s too hit or miss. There’s no rhyme or reason to anything that I do. It’s whatever seems right at the time. I’ve never once in my life seen any film of mine after I put it out. Ever. I haven’t seen “Take the Money and Run” since 1968. I haven’t seen “Annie Hall” or “Manhattan” or any film I’ve made afterward. If I’m on the treadmill and I’m scooting through the channels, and I come across one of them, I go right past it instantly, because I feel it could only depress me. I would only feel, “Oh God, this is so awful, if I could only do that again.” …

Q. When you’ve got down time between projects, as you do now, how do you spend it?

A. I do the usual stuff. I take my kids to school in the morning. I go for walks with my wife, play with my jazz band. Then there’s the obligation of the treadmill, and the weights, to keep in shape, so I don’t get more decrepit than I am. I generally don’t see the big Hollywood movies. I saw “Winter’s Bone” the other day and liked the movie very much, loved all the performers. And when I was in Paris, I got a chance to read a certain amount, Tolstoy and Norman Mailer. Things that had slipped through the cracks over the years.

Q. I half-expected to see you at that 12-hour performance of Dostoyevsky’s “Demons” that Lincoln Center Festival produced over the summer.

A. No, no, I’m a lowbrow. I read that material, more out of obligation than enjoyment. For enjoyment, for me, it’s a beer and the football game.

via Woody Allen on Faith and Fortune Tellers – Question – NYTimes.com.

Posted in Biology, Humor, Popular Culture | Leave a Comment »

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera photo of Earth

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

click to ZoomOn 9 August 2010, during a routine engineering calibration test, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera captured this stunning image of our home planet.

via LROC Image Browser – E136013771.

Posted in Earth, Space | Leave a Comment »

Mysterious force holds back Nasa probe in deep space

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

Researchers say Pioneer 10, which took the first close-up pictures of Jupiter before leaving our solar system in 1983, is being pulled back to the sun by an unknown force. The effect shows no sign of getting weaker as the spacecraft travels deeper into space, and scientists are considering the possibility that the probe has revealed a new force of nature.

Dr Philip Laing, a member of the research team tracking the craft, said: “We have examined every mechanism and theory we can think of and so far nothing works.

“If the effect is real, it will have a big impact on cosmology and spacecraft navigation,” said Dr Laing, of the Aerospace Corporation of California.

Pioneer 10 was launched by Nasa on March 2 1972, and with Pioneer 11, its twin, revolutionised astronomy with detailed images of Jupiter and Saturn. In June 1983, Pioneer 10 passed Pluto, the most distant planet in our solar system.

Both probes are now travelling at 27,000mph towards stars that they will encounter several million years from now. Scientists are continuing to monitor signals from Pioneer 10, which is more than seven billion miles from Earth.

Research to be published shortly in The Physical Review, a leading physics journal, will show that the speed of the two probes is being changed by about 6 mph per century – a barely-perceptible effect about 10 billion times weaker than gravity.

Scientists initially suspected that gas escaping from tiny rocket motors aboard the probes, or heat leaking from their nuclear power plants might be responsible. Both have now been ruled out. The team says no current theories explain why the force stays constant: all the most plausible forces, from gravity to the effect of solar radiation, decrease rapidly with distance.

The bizarre behaviour has also eliminated the possibility that the two probes are being affected by the gravitational pull of unknown planets beyond the solar system.

Assertions by some scientists that the force is due to a quirk in the Pioneer probes have also been discounted by the discovery that the effect seems to be affecting Galileo and Ulysses, two other space probes still in the solar system. Data from these two probes suggests the force is of the same strength as that found for the Pioneers.

Dr Duncan Steel, a space scientist at Salford University, says even such a weak force could have huge effects on a cosmic scale. “It might alter the number of comets that come towards us over millions of years, which would have consequences for life on Earth. It also raises the question of whether we know enough about the law of gravity.”

Until 1988, Pioneer 10 was the most remote object made by man – a distinction now held by Voyager 1. Should Pioneer 10 make contact with alien life, it carries a gold-plated aluminium plaque on which the figures of a man and woman are shown to scale, along with a map showing its origin that Nasa calls “the cosmic equivalent of a message in a bottle”.

via Mysterious force holds back Nasa probe in deep space – Telegraph.

Posted in Physics, Space, Strange | Leave a Comment »

The Crystal Maiden of the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave located in August, Belize

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

Image of The Crystal Maiden of the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave located in August, BelizeThe skeleton of an eighteen year old girl lies legs akimbo on the cave floor, two of her vertebrae crushed. She is known as the Crystal Maiden, and after a thousand years, she has a new found celebrity.

Discovered in 1989, this jungle cave in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve is accessible via an hours Jeep ride from San Ignacio, Belize and a walk for another hour across shallow rivers and through jungle. Here one arrives at the Actun Tunichil Muknal or “ATM” cave mouth. To gain access to the cave one must swim into the cave and then wade up the cave river for another kilometer.

Walking a further kilometer and a half in the cave, past huge boulders and cavernous rooms (one known as “The Cathedral”) to the back of the cave system, it is here one will find the skeletons of the ritual sacrifices made by the Maya to their Gods, more than a thousand years ago.

The skeletons range in age from one year old to adult. Four of those sacrificed are infants between the ages of one and three, some of them stuffed into crevices and small adjoining caves. There is one child of seven, a teenager of fifteen who appears to have been bound before being killed, a twenty year old, and the rest are adults between the ages of thirty and forty five. Many of the younger skeletons show sign of cranial deformation or “skull shaping” giving their heads a slightly elongated alien look.

Almost all were killed by blunt trauma to the head with some having had their entire skulls crushed. While the precise dating of the skeletons is difficult (due to their being essentially cemented to the cave floor by calcite) most of the pottery dates from between 700 and 900 AD, which is likely when the bodies found here were sacrificed.

Farther into the cave is perhaps the most famous of these long dead Maya, the skeleton of an eighteen year old girl (or one thousand and eighteen year old, at this point) known as the “The Crystal Maiden.”

She is unique in her positioning and the fact that two of her vertebrae are crushed. Because of this researchers believe she may have died in a particularly violent manner and then been thrown or tossed onto the ground, where she has laid for at least the last 1100 years. The skeleton has been there so long in fact that is has been completely calcified, giving her bones a sparkling, slightly plump look, and inspiring the name “The Crystal Maiden.” …

via The Crystal Maiden of the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave located in August, Belize | Atlas Obscura

Posted in Aliens, Archaeology | Leave a Comment »

Mystery of the Football game mentioned during Apollo 17.

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

What’s up with this?

At one point in a file called “a17v.1203905.rm” the Apollo 17 video archives, the astronaut says it is Apollo 17 and confirms with Ground Control back on Earth that it is a Monday Evening. That would have made it Monday December the 11th, 1972.

Astronaut on Moon: “Hey, who’s winning the football game? “

Ground Control: “Stand by, we’ll find out.” (pause) “Okay, Jack and Gene, the score is 10 to 10 at the half.”

Astronaut on Moon: “It’s Oakland and uh, and who?”

Ground Control: “Kansas”

Astronaut on Moon: “… Kansas City….”

But wait, on Monday the 11th, Oakland was playing the New York Jets.  Okay, but perhaps Ground Control was watching a re-run? No, because Kansas City a few weeks ago never got to 10. The final score was 26 Oakland, 3 Kansas City.

1972 Oakland Raiders season

11 November 26, 1972 Kansas City Chiefs W 26-3
12 December 3, 1972 at San Diego Chargers W 21-19
13 December 11, 1972 New York Jets W 24-16
14 December 17, 1972 Chicago Bears W 28-21

Was Ground Control was just wrong about who was playing?

Answer: No, I heard the audio wrong.

Ground control actually answers “Jets” not “Kansas”.

Once again, no conspiracy.

Here is the transcript:

120:39:26 Parker: On a Monday evening. Roger.

[Fendell pans away from Jack.]

120:39:31 Cernan: Yeah, on Monday evening. That is what it is, isn’t it? Hey, who’s winning the football game?

120:39:39 Parker: Stand by; we’ll find out. (Long pause, presumably while somebody makes a phone call. Most likely, nobody in the MOCR is watching the game.)

[In 1969, the American Broadcasting Company began broadcasting a weekly, Monday night National Football League game. Prior to this time, almost all NFL games had been played on Sundays and, for a few years, at least, Monday Night Football was immensely popular.]

120:40:08 Parker: Okay; and, Jack and Gene, the score is 10 to 10 at the half.

[It is about 9:33 p.m. Central Standard Time on Monday, December 11. The games started at 8 p.m. CST and, therefore, the first half has probably just ended.]

120:40:18 Cernan: Yeah, that’s Oakland (Raiders) and who?

120:40:21 Parker: (New York) Jets. (Pause)

120:40:30 Cernan: Not Kansas City (Chiefs). What am I thinking of?


Posted in Space, Sports | 1 Comment »

Astronauts’ Fingernails Falling Off Due to Glove Design

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

An astronaut waves.If you’re headed for space, you might rethink that manicure: Astronauts with wider hands are more likely to have their fingernails fall off after working or training in space suit gloves, according to a new study.

In fact, fingernail trauma and other hand injuries—no matter your hand size—are collectively the number one nuisance for spacewalkers, said study co-author Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“The glove in general is just absolutely one of the main engineering challenges,” Newman said. “After all, you have almost as many degrees of freedom in your hand as in the rest of your whole body.” (See a space exploration time line.)

The trouble is that the gloves, like the entire space suit, need to simulate the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere in the chilly, airless environment of space. The rigid, balloonlike nature of gas-pressurized gloves makes fine motor control a challenge during extravehicular activities (EVAs), aka spacewalks. (See pictures of early U.S. space exploration.)

A previous study of astronaut injuries sustained during spacewalks had found that about 47 percent of 352 reported symptoms between 2002 and 2004 were hand related. More than half of these hand injuries were due to fingertips and nails making contact with the hard “thimbles” inside the glove fingertips.

In several cases, sustained pressure on the fingertips during EVAs caused intense pain and led to the astronauts’ nails detaching from their nailbeds, a condition called fingernail delamination.

While this condition doesn’t prevent astronauts from getting their work done, it can become a nuisance if the loose nails gets snagged inside the glove. Also, moisture inside the glove can lead to secondary bacterial or yeast infections in the exposed nailbeds, the study authors say.

If the nail falls off completely, it will eventually grow back, although it might be deformed.

For now, the only solutions are to apply protective dressings, keep nails trimmed short—or do some extreme preventative maintenance.

“I have heard of a couple people who’ve removed their fingernails in advance of an EVA,” Newman said. …

via Astronauts’ Fingernails Falling Off Due to Glove Design.

God.  How did space gloves get so much worse between 1972 and now? Heck, the Apollo guys had gloves that were so good they could change the filters on their Hasselblad cameras … and play the banjo.

Okay, I jest about the banjo. The above photo is fake, but my question about the gloves is serious.

The longest space walk record is:

Who made the world’s longest space walk?

On March 11 2001 Jim Voss and Susan Helms had the job to rearranged the outside of the international space station to make room for Leonardo, an Italian cargo carrier.

Just minutes into the task Jim Voss lost his grip on a vital tool and watched helplessly as it floated away. Not to worry, the boys and girls at NASA are pretty smart and there was a spare onboard.

8 hours and 56 minutes later their task was complete and Jim Voss and Susan Helms were the proud owners of the world’s longest space walk record. – link

This is only 1 hour 19 minutes longer than the longest moon walk in 1972.

  • Cernan and Schmitt – EVA 2
    • EVA 2 Start: December 12, 1972, 23:28:06 UTC
    • EVA 2 End: December 13 07:05:02 UTC
    • Duration: 7 hours, 36 minutes, 56 seconds

From the Apollo 17 mission, the photo AS17-163-24122 shows “Gene Cernan cleaning his fingernails.” Well, you can only see one nail in the photo. Perhaps he is secretly removing his fingernails in this shot.

More on Apollo an fingernails in a minute, but first, a moon conspiracy question:

It takes light (or a radio transmission) 2 seconds to get from the moon to the earth, and another 2 seconds to get from the earth to the moon at a distance of 250,000 miles.

In this video shot on the moon during the last Apollo mission, Apollo 17, who is controlling the camera at 8:47 when both Schmitt and Cernan are in the picture? The camera seems to react by zooming out in about 2 seconds when one falls accidentally and moves out of the picture. The camera pan reaction at 9:01 is even faster. It seems almost instantaneous.

It could just be luck. Perhaps the camera zoom and the move were started before the astronaut moved. Was Evans remotely controlling the TV camera from the command module? I don’t think so.

According to one site,  “The rover television camera was remotely controlled from Earth.”  I assume the rover tv camera is the same one filming them in this video, the RCA J-Series Ground-Commanded Television Assembly (GCTA).

Cranes with invisible wires, however, do not explain the speed an object falls when dropped by the astronaut at 12:00. The camera speed would have to be slower.  But it just plain isn’t.

Look at 1:59 in this clip:

The moon dust is falling slowly, but the astronaut who falls is kicking his feet quickly! You can have a slow camera or not. You can’t speed up only part of the picture. To have a conspiracy and get the above video you’d have to have the entire set in partial free fall.  I can’t buy that.

Getting back to the fingernails, the gloves were, in fact, a problem for the Apollo crews according to Heiken and Jones in a book called “On the moon: the Apollo journals.”

Here is the Apollo 17 video library:


Posted in Space, Technology | 2 Comments »

New Type of Moon Volcano Discovered

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

A diagram shows a possible volcano on the moon.Data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) have revealed a new type of rock on the lunar surface—which scientists say was spat up by a style of volcano never before seen on the moon.

Until now, scientists had believed the moon was made of two basic types of rock: dark basalt and light, calcium-rich feldspar. Both would have come from volcanoes spewing relatively runny basaltic lava.

But the new volcano type oozed thicker lava rich in silica over a light, arrowhead-shaped patch of the moon roughly 18 miles (30 kilometers) across, called Hansteen Alpha, the scientists say.

New Moon Material Already on Earth?

The new type of moon volcano is now extinct—the last time it oozed any lava was two billion years ago at best, said Timothy Glotch, assistant professor of geosciences at Stony Brook University and co-author of a new paper describing the find.

(Related: “Volcanoes Rocked Dark Side of the Moon.”)

Scientists found the volcano using LRO’s Diviner instrument, which looks at light being reflected from the moon’s surface in mid- to far-infrared wavelengths.

Different minerals will reflect unique signatures of light in these wavelengths, allowing the team to map the moon’s surface composition. But the technique reveals only mineral abundance—identifying the exact types of rocks present will require further research.

On Earth, volcanoes similar to the one that birthed Hansteen Alpha create silica-based minerals such as quartz, potassium feldspar, and granite—any of which could be candidates for the new moon rock. …

via New Type of Moon Volcano Discovered.

Posted in Space | Leave a Comment »

New York battered by twin tornadoes

Posted by Anonymous on September 18, 2010

Car crushed by tree in Brooklyn. 17 Sept 2010US weather experts say a freak storm with two tornadoes was to blame for a trail of destruction across New York City that left one person dead.

More than 1,000 trees were uprooted and power was cut to hundreds of homes when the storm struck on Thursday.The woman who died was in a car hit by a falling tree and had just switched seats with her husband, who survived.

It was the ninth time New York City has been hit by a tornado since 1950, and the second this year, officials said.The US National Weather Service said on Friday that the tornadoes had been part of a fast-moving storm, along with a fierce microburst with speeds up to 125mph 200 km/h.

The storm travelled from Staten Island, across New York harbour and then carved a 14-mile 22km path of destruction from Brooklyn to the Bayside neighbourhood in Queens.


Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said many more trees were so badly damaged they would have to be felled.

The woman who died was named as Aline Levakis, 30, who had been sitting in a parked car in Queens with husband Billy Levakis.

The couple, from Pennsylvania, had just switched seats when the tree fell on them, said their former business partner, Peter Markos.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the incident as “tragic”, adding that there had been other stories of lucky escapes from falling trees across the city.

Resident Steve Carlisle, 54, described how he saw a 25ft tree branch fly up the street and then start spinning in the air.

“It was like a poltergeist,” he said.

“Then all the garbage cans went up in the air and this spinning tree hits one of them like it was a bat on a ball.”

New York City has suffered freak storms before. One in August last year toppled about 500 trees in Central Park, the New York Times reported. …

via BBC News – New York battered by twin tornadoes.

Posted in Earth | Leave a Comment »


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