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Current Topic: Science

Meteorologist vows never to fly again after seeing latest climate report
Topic: Science 6:13 pm EDT, Oct  1, 2013

When meteorologist Eric Holthaus read the recent climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he saw that things were worse than even he had anticipated.

Now that is passion about the environment

Meteorologist vows never to fly again after seeing latest climate report

Mystery ship washes ashore in Alabama after Hurricane Ike
Topic: Science 10:10 am EDT, Sep 20, 2008

When the waves from Hurricane Ike receded, they left behind a mystery: a ragged shipwreck that archeologists say could be a two-masted Civil War schooner that ran aground in 1862 or another ship from 70 years later.

See global warming is good! All these storms help us find lost artifacts!

Mystery ship washes ashore in Alabama after Hurricane Ike

NASA Commemorates Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia
Topic: Science 5:22 pm EST, Jan 28, 2007

Exactly 40 years ago, NASA registered the first casualties in its battle for outer-space: Lt. Colonel Gus Grissom, Lt. Colonel Ed White and Lt. Commander Roger Chaffee died on the ground because of a fire that burst in their space-capsule.

NASA thought of remembering their names and their sacrifice with a special section dedicated to Apollo 1 on the agency’s site: “NASA honors the fallen heroes of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia and all of those who have given their lives in the cause of exploration and discovery. We will carry their legacy into cosmos as we expand humanity’s presence to the moon, Mars and beyond.”

Tragedy struck on the launch pad during a preflight test for Apollo 204, scheduled to be the first Apollo manned mission. It would have been launched on February 21, 1967, but Astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee lost their lives when a fire swept through the Command Module (CM).

On January 28, 1986 America was again shocked by the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, and the death of its seven crew members.

Challenger, the second orbiter to become operational at Kennedy Space Center, was named after an American Naval research vessel that sailed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans during the 1870's. Challenger joined NASA fleet of reusable winged spaceships in July 1982. It flew nine successful Space Shuttle missions. On January 28, 1986, the Challenger and its seven-member crew were lost 73 seconds after launch when a booster failure resulted in the breakup of the vehicle.

In February 2003, as Columbia was making final preparations for landing, the families of the 7 astronauts on board the space-vehicle were traveling to Kennedy Space Center to watch their loved ones’ homecoming.

Columbia and its crew were scheduled to land at Space Center at 9:16 a.m. Shortly before 9:00AM EST, Mission Control noticed a sensor problem. There seemed to be a loss of data from the left wing temperature sensors. This was followed by a data loss from tire pressure indicators on the left main landing gear. Although this was a problem, it could have also been a simple communication glitch. There were standard procedures in place to deal with it.

During the atmosphere re-entry, Columbia was traveling at 12,500 mph, 18 times the speed of sound, 39 miles above the Earth, when people in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana heard unusual sounds coming from the sky. Many who were watching to see the shuttle pass overhead reported seeing debris separating from the vehicle. This was a clear indication that something was wrong. Minutes later, NASA announced that a Space Shuttle Contingency had been lost.

NASA is not planning though to stop here, as President Bush announced a bold program for the next two decades. NASA has completed the Ares I crew launch vehicle system requirements review- the first such milestone for a U.S. human-rated launch vehicle system in more than 30 years. This review brings the agency one step closer to developing a new mode of space transportation for astronauts on missions to explore the moon, Mars and other destinations.

In January 2007, the Ares project will begin the second in a series of design analyses cycles leading to final design and fabrication of the launch vehicle.

I have linked the NASA site where they are having a day of rememberance to honor those lost...the original article for this text is here

NASA Commemorates Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia

Komodo dragon has virgin birth
Topic: Science 7:00 pm EST, Jan 24, 2007

A British zoo announced Wednesday the virgin birth of five Komodo dragons, giving scientists new hope for the captive breeding of the endangered species.

In an evolutionary twist, the newborns' eight-year-old mother Flora shocked staff at Chester Zoo in northern England when she became pregnant without ever having a male partner or even being exposed to the opposite sex.

Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora's virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon.

The evolutionary breakthrough could have far-reaching consequences for endangered species.

Captive breeding could ensure the survival of the world's largest lizards, with fewer than 4,000 Komodos left in the wild.

Scientists hope the discovery will pave the way to finding other species capable of self fertilization.

While it wasn't unusual for female dragons to lay eggs without mating, scientists understood they were witnessing something important when they realized Flora's eggs had been fertilized.

DNA paternity tests confirmed the lack of male input, although the brood are not exact clones of their mother.

Komodo dragon has virgin birth - Home Page
Topic: Science 9:50 pm EDT, Jul  5, 2006

There are plenty of launches to go see, including another shuttle launch in August, and if you're going this guide will come in very handy. BTW, he is absolutely correct that if you go to Kennedy Space Center you must see an IMAX movie. We're talking wall sized movies filmed in 3-D from the perspective of Astronauts. Its the closest you can get to actual space travel without getting an advanced degree in Aerospace Engineering, logging thousands of hours piloting various combat aircraft, and going through years of training where you learn to do the work of a plumber and an electrician in an extremely uncomfortable and combersome suit in an environment where the word "down" doesn't actually mean anything but the word "oops" means anything from "oops" I lost a billion dollars to "oops," everybody is dead.

Watching a lauch, btw, is highly recommended. We drove a long way, didn't get to sleep much, spent a lot of money, got screwed by our hotel, got frustrated and cranky, got rained out for two days, and spent hours baking under the summer sun, and the launch only lasts like 5 minutes. But TV cameras cannot convey how bright the engines are, how loud it is, or, ultimately, how exciting it is to see it happen first hand. When you see that machine streaking across the sky you know those guys are bad ass.

I concur there is nothing like seeing this in person even from 10 miles away. It was worth every second of time and bit of money exhausted. It was a wonderful trip with awesome friends. Nothing I can think of will be able to top this fourth of July. It was an absolutely amazing site/feeling that no words, pictures, video, etc. can ever portray. If you ever have a chance you must do this!!! - Home Page

Shuttle Roars Safely Into Orbit on Schedule - New York Times
Topic: Science 1:51 am EDT, Jul  5, 2006

The space shuttle Discovery split a nearly cloudless sky with thunder and fire at 2:38 this afternoon, and roared safely into orbit on schedule.

And Memestreams user Palindrome and I were there along with a number of friends of ours! A perfect way to celebrate the 4th of July! Certainly the biggest rocket I've ever seen and one that truely inspires on many levels. I've got lots of links to post, but access is limited from my cellphone. More to follow.

Shuttle Roars Safely Into Orbit on Schedule - New York Times

WWF: Earth Day 2006
Topic: Science 9:36 am EDT, Apr 22, 2006

Since the first Earth Day in 1970 people around the world have sought to celebrate the planet through a variety of individual and community activities. But Earth Day is about more than observing the beauty and vitality of nature; it is also about renewing your commitment to saving our living planet.

Learn how WWF is committed to leading conservation efforts to save our planet and its species -- and what you can do -- to renew your commitment to the Earth.

When we were in school it was the in thing to care about the environment and it was stressed to children that everyone could make a difference......sadly this is not a focus anymore but it probably should be.

WWF: Earth Day 2006

BODIES...The Exhibition - Opening March 4th, A Limited Engagement
Topic: Science 8:40 pm EST, Mar 18, 2006

Real human bodies, preserved through an innovative process and then respectfully presented. Experience the human body like never before at The Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.

This was the most amazing exhibit I have ever seen. It is definately a must do event!!!

BODIES...The Exhibition - Opening March 4th, A Limited Engagement

WIRED: Human Feces Powers Rwandan Prison
Topic: Science 10:16 pm EDT, Jul 16, 2005

The process requires putting a given amount of human or other animal waste into a "digester," which ferments it using bacteria to release methane gas that can be captured and then burned as fuel. Attached is a "compensating chamber" that replenishes the supply of bacteria to keep the operation self-sustaining.

The lead engineer on the project, Ainea Kimaro, says that within four weeks, 100 cubic meters of waste can be transformed into 50 cubic meters of fuel.

Biogas is being used around the world, including in homes in Nepal and to power trains in Sweden.

Kimaro said that while waste smells bad initially, the biogas that is produced has no foul odor. He added that the Rwandan prisoners are not put off by the idea of using the byproduct of human waste to cook.

"Our people are very adaptive," he said. "They see it working; they want to use it."

Once the methane is produced, the remaining waste is used as an odor-free fertilizer for the gardens at the prison.

WIRED: Human Feces Powers Rwandan Prison

Monkeys Adapt Robot Arm as Their Own
Topic: Science 8:43 pm EDT, May 10, 2005

] Monkeys that learn to use their brain signals to control
] a robotic arm are not just learning to manipulate an
] external device, Duke University Medical Center
] neurobiologists have found. Rather, their brain
] structures are adapting to treat the arm as if it were
] their own appendage.

] The finding has profound implications both for
] understanding the extraordinary adaptability of the
] primate brain and for the potential clinical success of
] brain-operated devices to give the handicapped the
] ability to control their environment.

] The analysis revealed that while the animals were still able to
] use their own arms, some brain cells formerly used for that
] control shifted to control of the robotic arm.

] The idea for the next experiment is that by using vision and
] touch, we're actually going to create inside the brains of these
] animal a vivid perceptual image of what it is to have a third arm.

Monkeys Adapt Robot Arm as Their Own

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