A game of cat and mouse
There is tantalising evidence that a common parasite may affect human behaviour
If an alien bug invaded the brains of half the population, hijacked their neurochemistry, altered the way they acted and drove some of them crazy, then you might expect a few excitable headlines to appear in the press. Yet something disturbingly like this may actually be happening without the world noticing. Read more
Ardashir sent me this.
Maybe one of them will write a poem about this.
What is antimatter?
Modern theories of particle physics and of the evolution of the universe suggest, or even require, that antimatter and matter were equally common in the earliest stages — so why is antimatter so uncommon today? The observed imbalance between matter and antimatter is a puzzle yet to be explained. Without it, the universe today would certainly be a much less interesting place, because there would be essentially no matter left around; annihilations would have converted everything into electromagnetic radiation by now. So clearly this imbalance is a key property of the world we know. Attempts to explain it are an active area of research today.
In order to answer this question, we need to better understand that tiny part of the laws of physics that differ for matter and antimatter; without such a difference, there would be no way for an imbalance to occur. This distinction is the subject of study in a number of experiments around the world that focus on differences in the decays of particles called B-mesons and their antiparticle partners.
Mouths of the Tigris and the Euphrates,
Shatt al Arab Delta, Iraq-Kuwait border
Aster’s Global Views from Space
(or… Guess who I’ve been talking to )
It is thought that the earth where we live is being faced with serious environmental change on a global scale, including earth warming, rise in sea water level, forest destruction, desertification, destruction of the ozone layer, etc.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) promoted the initiative MTPE (Mission to Planet Earth) as a 15 year program. This is an initiative to study planet Earth and provide the overall scientific findings about climate change on a global scale. It focuses on collecting the scientific data to understand the changes.
In general, remote sensing means measurement of physical values from a distance. Earth observation is one type of remote sensing. Observation systems installed on balloons, airplanes, satellites, the space shuttle or the future space station, measure physical properties of the earth surfaces, sea surfaces, and clouds. An appropriate platform needs to be selected along with a proper range of the observation wavelengths (spectrum), which depends on the regional range, the cycle, the period and the object of the observation.
One of important factors for an earth observation satellite is an observation cycle, how many days a polar orbiting satellite takes to return to the same location over the earth. The recurrence cycle is determined by the altitude and the inclination of the orbit. The shorter the cycle , the better. ASTER has a pointing mechanism which changes the direction of each telescope in order to ease the limitation of the observation range caused by the recurrence cycle. Geosynchronous satellites observe the same region at any point in time.
More about these images (top to bottom):
The Jazirat Bubiyan Island, located at the northern end of Persian Gulf, Middle East. Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet at Al Qurnah, where the river changes its name to Shatt al Arab river. The river flows into Persian Gulf after meeting Karun River flowing from Zagros Mountain. Large amount of sediments carried by the river forms vast delta at its mouth. Jazirat Bubiyan Island is at the southern tip of the delta, and border between Iraq and Kuwait runs across the island. White areas along the coastline and at southern part of the island are considered salt left after water evaporated.
Located western edge of Sahara desert at central Mauritania in northwest Africa, there is a giant circle called Richat Structure, whose diameter ranges as long as 38km. First, Richat structure was considered an impact crater. However, by the fact that it doesn’t contain any particular mineral and that the depth is too shallow for its diameter, it is considered a dome structure formed by intrusive rock. Rim of the dome is composed of quartzite, which is quite strong against erosion and higher than the surrounding area by about 100mt. As seen at the upper part of the image, Makteir sand dune spreads to the north of Richat Structure.
Qeshm Island floating in Straits of Hormuz at southeastern edge of Iran. Salt dome stands out in the image at lower left. Salt dome is formed when sedimentary rock piles up on thick salt stratum. Since salt is lighter than surrounding rocks, it is raised upward changing sedimentary stratum covering above.At geologically unstable areas, pressure from deformation or movement of rocks occasionally pushes up salt stratum. Due to the fact that many oil reservoirs were found along rim of salt, a salt dome is geologically an important subject for oil exploration.
The Spruce Goose
Here is an [edited] account of the flight:
The Hughes Flying Boat, much to Hughes’s disdain, is commonly known as the “Spruce Goose”, is still the largest aircraft ever built even with the recent introduction of the European Airbus 300. The Hercules, as Hughes called it, was designed to carry 750 combat-ready troops to war theaters over oceans and long distances to avoid the German submarines wrecking havoc on our troop and supply ships. This handcrafted giant aircraft was constructed using all hardwood birch (no spruce) and built by the finest cabinet makers world wide. The forerunner of wide-body jets, it pioneered advanced communications, hydraulic systems and a flyby wire flight control technology that’s used in aircraft today.
The war ended in 1945; the giant airplane was not completed until 1947, missing its moment in history. Hughes came under fire from critics who attempted to discredit him as the pilot, airline operator and accused him of making excessive profits from war contracts. Hughes’ testimony was brilliant in the Senate Hearings.
The Senate investigation committee was chaired by Senator Owen Brewster, who was crooked as a stick and deep into the pockets of Juan Trippe, President of Pan American Airways and the chief rival to Howard Hughes’s TWA airline. The hearings publicly focused on the flying boat and Hughes’s great wealth and influence. Behind the scenes was the political fight for the lucrative national and international government regulated airline passenger routes and mail routes.
Senator Brewster publicly stated; “The Spruce Goose is a flying lumberyard and will never fly.” Howard Hughes countered with; “I have my money and my reputation wrapped up in this airplane, and if it doesn’t fly, I’ll leave the country and I won’t come back, and I mean it”. The Senate hearings then recessed in August 1947 and were scheduled to adjourn in late November.
Hughes announced to the media that on November 2, 1947 they would conduct three high-speed taxi tests in the Long Beach harbor. Howard did not want another licensed pilot aboard the aircraft. I asked Howard that day; “If it feels good are you going to hop it?” He just smiled at me.
Over one hundred newspaper and radio reporters were on hand. Hughes loaded the upper deck with reporters and engineering staff. He maneuvered the giant seaplane into the outer harbor and made two high-speed taxi runs reaching air speeds of 80 mph, then taxied back to unloaded all of the media except for James McNamara, a radio reporter who had the latest wireless recording device and sat directly behind Hughes.
Hughes then proceeded to taxi out to the outer harbor. The water was choppy and wind steady as he maneuvered the eight engine behemoth seaplane into position for the third and final taxi test. Co-pilot Dave Grant, who was a young 26 year old brilliant hydraulics engineer and not a pilot said; “When Howard asked me to put down 15 degrees of flap, I knew it was going to fly because the big bird wanted to lift off the water at 70 mph on the previous taxi runs. Reporter McNamara recorded the historic flight and I suspect that is exactly what Howard Hughes had in mind when he asked him to stay on board.
- from the page:
While the owner is away, the cat will … look out the window?
Cat cam footage offers surprising insights
What do cats do when their owners are away? There was one way to find out — “cat cams.”
Fifty house cats were given collar cameras that took a photo every 15 minutes. The results put a digital dent in some human theories about catnapping.
Based on the photos, about 22% of the cats’ time was spent looking out of windows, 12% was used to interact with other family pets and 8% was spent climbing on chairs or kitty condos. Just 6% of their hours was spent sleeping. (emphasis mine – xineann. What percentage of time was spent scratching on the furniture? )
“What surprised me was how active the cats were. I believed my three cats were sleeping during the day,” said Jill Villarreal, an animal behavior scientist who collected the data for Nestle Purina PetCare’s Friskies brand of cat food.
The 777 photos studied by Villarreal showed the cats looking at a television, computer, DVDs or other media 6% of the time and hiding under tables 6% of the time.
Coming in at 5% was playing with toys; eating or looking at food finished at 4%.
Will the cats get movie cameras next? “We are in the think tank now,” Villarreal said.