Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for May 5th, 2011

Experts: Much bigger sea level rise likely

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01396/flippers_1396443c.jpgThe Arctic is melting faster than expected and could contribute 2-3 feet more in global sea levels by 2100 than earlier thought, experts state in a report being presented to international officials on Wednesday. The report shatters predictions made four years ago by the authoritative U.N. climate change panel.

“The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, in the mass of the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past 10 years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long-term patterns,” the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program says in its report.

The report compiles the latest science on how climate change has impacted the Arctic in the past six years.

Melting Arctic glaciers and ice caps are projected to help raise global sea levels by 35 to 63 inches by 2100, the program’s scientists stated.

While the program noted the estimate was highly uncertain, the range was a sharp jump from a 2007 projection of 7 to 23 inches by the U.N.’s scientific panel on climate change. Those numbers did not include a possible acceleration of a thaw in polar regions.

A leading ice specialist, Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University, who did not take part in the assessment, agreed that recent scientific estimates generally support its central finding.

A sea level rise of more than 3 feet this century “fits well within these estimates, and a somewhat higher value cannot be excluded,” Alley said.

Such a rise — above most past scientific estimates — would add to threats to coasts from Bangladesh to Florida, low-lying Pacific islands and cities from London to Shanghai. It would also, for instance, raise costs of building tsunami barriers in Japan.

via Experts: Much bigger sea level rise likely – US news – Environment – Climate Change – msnbc.com.

Posted in Earth | 4 Comments »

‘Paper iPhone’ could be next mobile revolution

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

A pocket-sized computer as thin and flexible as a sheet of paper is set to be unveiled next week. While it’s just a prototype, the researchers say the bendy souped-up smartphone could revolutionize the way we interact with computers.

Called PaperPhone, the new device is a flexible version of e-ink, the digital ink screen found in e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle.

“This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper,” said lead PaperPhone creator Roel Vertegaal, the director of Queen’s University Human Media Lab. “You interact with it by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.”

The researchers have built a prototype phone — a 3.7-inch (9.5-cm) diagonal e-ink display — and taken it for a test drive. The device was used to navigate through a menu of contacts, make calls, select songs and perform various other tasks.

The PaperPhone isn’t available for purchase quite yet, and it will be five to 10 years before you can buy one, said Audrey Girouard, a postdoctoral student at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University.

The new bendy computer is made of two layers: the e-ink display and a flexible printed circuit with five bend sensors.

via ‘Paper iPhone’ could be next mobile revolution – Technology & science – Innovation – msnbc.com.

Posted in Technology | Leave a Comment »

Giant Squid Killed by Sound

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

Workers carry the body of a giant squid in Asturias, Spain, in 2003.When giant squid were found dead off Spain about a decade ago, scientists suspected that powerful sound pulses from ships had harmed the animals. Now the evidence may be in.

A new study says low-frequency sounds from human activities can affect squid and other cephalopods, not just whales and other marine mammals, which have long been thought to be vulnerable to such pulses. (See “U.S. Navy Sonar May Harm Killer Whales, Expert Says.”)

The finding suggests noise pollution in the ocean is having a much broader effect on marine life than previously thought, said study leader Michel André, a marine bioacoustician at Barcelona’s Technical University of Catalonia.

“We know that noise pollution in the oceans has a significant impact on dolphins and whales [which use natural sonar to navigate and hunt]. … but this is the first study indicating a severe impact on invertebrates, an extended group of marine species that are not known to rely on sound for living,” André said in a statement.

In the early 2000s the remains of giant squid were found off Spain’s Asturias province (map). In each case, the creatures’ bodies appeared soon after ships had used air guns to conduct low-frequency sound-pulse exercises in the region, in some cases for oil-and-gas prospecting efforts.

Scientists investigating the giant squid remains at the time found evidence of extensive bodily damage, including mantles reduced to pulp, bruised muscles, and lesions in statocysts. These fluid-filled organs rest behind the creatures’ eyes and help giant squid maintain balance and position.

At the time, marine biologist Angel Guerra speculated—but was unable to prove—that noise from prospecting ships was harming cephalopods and other marine life.

“With this study, we now have proof” that low-frequency sounds can harm cephalopods, said Guerra, a marine biologist at Spain’s Marine Research Institute who was not involved in the current study, which will appear in a future issue of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. …

via Giant Squid Killed by Sound?.

This is why I like doomsday movies like “Skyline”: it could help us if a more powerful species taught us respect for life by slaughtering us thoughtlessly by the billions.

Posted in Biology | Leave a Comment »

UFO Battles Over San Diego? Not so much.

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

A San Diego-based UFO researcher named Ed Grimsley captured what one writer called “multiple unidentified flying objects” that were “saucer-shaped [and] appeared to hover in the sky and change direction before moving out of sight.” The video was taken April 30 with Grimsley’s organization, Skywatch.

To the trained eye, however, this video appears to show something much more banal than a UFO battle.

According to his website, Grimsley “has been seeing battles between unknown aircraft in the night skies since he was a teenager,” including two different types of spacecraft “shooting it out using what appear to be laser weapons.” Furthermore, “he has seen hundreds of these objects recently and using his five Military grade night vision binoculars he has invited many people to come to his areas and view the objects in earth space shooting it out.”

Grimsley believes that “alien or human-like beings may very well be getting ready to take control or evict us from plant Earth,” and has made it his mission to “show people what is happening in earth space all the time. I want people to start looking through night vision binoculars and see the battles tasking [sic] place between aircraft including saucer shaped objects.”

So what about the strange UFO lights that Grimsley and his followers are seeing? Contrary to the account above, the UFOs in the video do not appear “saucer-shaped” at all, but rather look like simple points of light in the night sky.

Robert Sheaffer, a UFO investigator with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, told Life’s Little Mysteries that Grimsley’s videos show nothing extraordinary. In fact, the objects are most likely artifacts of the very tool that Grimsley uses to spot UFOs.

“Night vision optics trade low resolution for high sensitivity, and bright objects spill out into a circle of light that in no way reflects their actual angular size. So what looks like a large object may well just be a point of light,” Sheaffer said.

“Many of the objects they’re seeing are birds or bats, or faint satellites in earth orbit,” he continued. “There’s nothing in the sky that a night vision device can see that a person can’t see with 10 x 50 binoculars—and with much better detail. So their belief that they’re seeing entire fleets of UFOs up in the sky simply means that they don’t understand how these devices work, and what they’re seeing.” …

Coincidentally, Grimsley makes money selling night vision goggles through which UFO buffs can view these exciting Star Wars-type space battles. He offers models ranging from $1,800 to $3,200; if this is a bit too pricey for you, he offers a DVD of the UFOs for $24.95 including shipping. You can join his Skywatch UFO vigils for $40 per person. Grimsley is raising money for his other pursuits, including developing a revolutionary vehicle engine that he claims will result in cars getting 100 miles per gallon — of water.

via Video: UFO Battles Over San Diego | Aliens & Flying Saucers on Earth | Extraterrestrials | Space.com.

Birds, planes, etc. If you squint at the moon and move your head around the right way, it looks like an alien ship. In the video you can see the bird wings flapping and the plane lights flashing. Not so mysterious after all.

Posted in - Video, UFOs | Leave a Comment »

Acupuncture needle found in ex-S.Korea president’s lung

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

Former South Korean president Roh Tae-woo was admitted to hospital with a bad cough and ended up on the operating table to remove an acupuncture needle from his right lung.

Local media reports said Roh, 78, was released from Seoul National University Hospital Monday after surgery to remove the 6.5 cm needle.

Doctors are puzzled how the needle ended up in his lung, and acupuncturists say that none of their procedures involved penetrating the lung.

“I can’t figure out how the needle got into there,” Dr Sung Myung-whun was quoted as telling reporters at the hospital after the operation. “It is a mystery for me, too.”

Roh, who served as president from 1988 to 1993, has been in poor health since 2002 when he received surgery for prostate cancer.

via Acupuncture needle found in ex-S.Korea president’s lung – Yahoo! News.

Posted in Politics, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Marsupial wolf or Tasmanian tiger? Extinct Australian thylacine was more cat than dog, researchers find

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

Its head and body looked like a dog, yet its striped coat was cat-like. It carried its young in a pouch, like a kangaroo. No wonder the thylacine — the enigmatic, iconic creature of Australia and Tasmania — was the object of so much confusion, alternately called the “marsupial wolf” and the “Tasmanian tiger.”

So what was it? By studying bones of thylacines and 31 other mammals, researchers at Brown University have the answer: The thylacine was a Tasmanian tiger — more cat than dog, although clearly a marsupial. In a paper published in Biology Letters, the researchers have shown that the extinct thylacine was a solitary, ambush-style predator. That hunting approach separates thylacines from wolves and other large canid, or dog-like, species that hunt in packs and generally pursue their quarry over some distance.

“We provide quantitative support to the suspicions of earlier researchers that the thylacine was not a pursuit predator,” said Borja Figueirido, a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University and the paper’s lead author. “Although there is no doubt that the thylacine diet was similar to that of living wolves, we find no compelling evidence that they hunted similarly.”

For millions of years, Thylacinus cynocephalus roamed mainland Australia. Its numbers declined as humans settled throughout the continent, beginning some 40,000 years ago, and the dingo, a small, dog-like creature, was introduced, about 4,000 years ago. Thylacines’ last remaining outpost was in dingo-free Tasmania, but a concerted eradication effort wiped out the species. The last known thylacine, said to be named “Benjamin,” died at a zoo in Hobart in 1936.

Researchers debate why the Tasmanian tiger fared so poorly on continental Australia with the arrival of humans and dingoes. Most accept that human activity disrupted thylacine habitat and perhaps its food sources as well.

via Marsupial wolf or Tasmanian tiger? Extinct Australian thylacine was more cat than dog, researchers find.

Posted in Biology | Leave a Comment »

Strange Exits: Crucified man found in quarry in loin cloth, thorn crown

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

The cops found the body of a man nailed to a cross in an abandoned stone quarry in a city south of Seoul, South Korea, cops said Wednesday.A man’s body was discovered nailed to a wooden cross in an empty South Korea stone pit, supposedly next to a mirror so he could see himself suffer, according to a New York Daily News report.

Donning a loin cloth and crown of thorns, the man had a stab wound on his side and his feet and hands nailed to the cross, resembling the image of Jesus Christ in the bible’s description of his death. There were two smaller crosses on either side of the man.

Police found a hammer, nails, mirror, an electric drill, more pieces of wood, and a “how-to” guide for constructing crosses. The man’s SUV was also discovered near the stone quarry. Cops are unsure if this was a suicide or homicide, but neighbors claimed the man had intense religious beliefs.

via Crucified man found in quarry in loin cloth, thorn crown – Yahoo! News.

… Police still aren’t sure if the case was a homicide or a suicide, but neighbors told cops that the man, a 58-year-old taxi driver named Kim, had hard core religious views.

Read more: nydailynews.com
Yuck. Horrible way to go.

Posted in Religion, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Alligator bites Fla. police car, holds on

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

Alligator bites police car, holds onA close encounter between a Florida deputy sheriff and a 10-foot-long alligator was captured on video Saturday.

Authorities say Alachua County Deputy Victor Borrero spotted the reptile Saturday evening near the Gainesville Golf and Country Club.

While the deputy was waiting for a gator trapper to show up, the reptile attacked his patrol car, eventually taking a bite out of the cruiser’s bumper.

Sheriff’s spokesman Todd Kelly says the car’s front bumper was heavily damaged.

A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman said the alligator was put down under the state’s nuisance gator policy.

Under that policy, the trapper is allowed to keep meat and hide from the gator.

via Alligator bites Fla. police car, holds on – Crimesider – CBS News.

Posted in Strange | Leave a Comment »

German man trapped in women’s prison rescued by mayor

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

A 24-year-old man who was looking for a shortcut to a nearby park became trapped in a women’s prison in central Germany on Monday.

The unnamed man found himself shut inside the walls of Hilldesheim jail near Hannover after entering a metal door on the outside of the prison, only for it to close behind him.

He was eventually rescued after a passing cyclist heard his cries for help. The town’s mayor, who also happened to be passing, called the police, but prison officials initially feared the two men were trying to help a prisoner escape – until one of them recognised the mayor and arranged for the “prisoner” to be freed.

Officials at the prison mounted an investigation and discovered that one of three bolts in the door was loose, meaning that it had not closed properly.

“The doors had recently been repaired and one of the bolts was wobbly. These things sometimes happen,” said Georg Wessling, spokesman for the ministry of justice in Lower Saxony.

“The man wasn’t really locked into the jail,” said Wessling. “He just got into an internal courtyard which leads to two further secure prison walls. It’s the area visitors pass through, or prison officers when they start their shifts. There was no danger of him encountering any criminals – or of any criminals escaping. He was only in there for a matter of minutes.”

via German man trapped in women’s prison rescued by mayor | World news | The Guardian.

Posted in Strange | Leave a Comment »

Police dress up as doctors to test citizens

Posted by Anonymous on May 5, 2011

Turkish police donned white coats and stethoscopes to disguise themselves as doctors, then knocked on people’s doors to see how easily they would fall for a confidence scam.

The undercover police officers told residents of the southeastern city of Gaziantep they were screening for high blood pressure and handed out pills, according to Turkish media.

They were alarmed when residents at 86 out of 100 households visited on Tuesday swallowed the pills immediately.

Police later returned to warn residents to be more cautious.

The police pills were harmless placebos. But a local gang had been using the same technique to give people heavy sedatives and then burgle them.

Turkish police in other provinces have also used novel methods to test citizens’ gullibility.

Officers in Adana in southern Turkey last week called at houses, announcing through the intercom: “I am a burglar, please open the door.”

Police said they were stunned at the number of people who opened the door, the Radikal daily newspaper reported.

via Police dress up as doctors to test citizens – Yahoo! News.

Posted in Crime, Strange | Leave a Comment »

 
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