Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama's half-brother arrested for pot

U.S. President Barack Obama's half-brother has been arrested in Kenya for possession of marijuana, police said Saturday.

George Obama was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and resisting arrest, CNN reported.

Inspector Augustine Mutembei, the officer in charge, said Obama, who is in his mid-20s, is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Read to be continued and Source : upi

Friday, January 30, 2009

Marijuana growers busted on Google Earth

Swiss police said they stumbled across a large marijuana plantation while using Google Earth, the search engine company's satellite mapping software.

Police said the find was part of a bigger investigation that led to the arrest of 16 people and seizure of 1.1 metric tons of marijuana as well as cash and valuables worth 900,000 Swiss francs ($A1.1 million).

Officers discovered the hemp field in the northeastern canton (state) of Thurgau last year while investigating an alleged drug ring, said the head of Zurich police's specialist narcotics unit Norbert Klossner.

The plantation, measuring almost 7,500 square metres, was hidden inside a field of corn. But officers using Google Earth to locate the address of two farmers suspected of involvement in the drug operation quickly spotted the illegal crop.

"It was an interesting chance discovery," said Klossner.

Prosecutor Gabi Alkalay told reporters in Zurich that she plans to complete her criminal investigation in February, after which she will formally charge the 16 suspects and ask for prison sentences for all of them.

The gang is alleged to have sold up to seven tons of hashish and marijuana between 2004 and 2008, with an annual turnover of 3-10 million francs a year, officials said.

Source : news.ninemsn

Bacon Explosion recipe is most popular on the web

The Bacon Explosion - a recipe for a 5,000 calorie barbeque dish - has become one of the most popular meal ideas in the world after being posted in a blog.

It is such an internet hit that the blog on which it features,, has attracted more than 500,000 page views in the past month. Its creators, Jason Day, 27, and Aaron Chronister, 32, are now famous as the men who came up with the ultimate route to "pork nirvana".

Bacon Explosion fanclubs have sprung up on Facebook, a video of one family attempting the recipe - and accidentally setting it on fire - has received 50,000 hits on YouTube, and a picture of the meal in all its glory has graced the New York Times.

Day and Chronister, from Kansas City, compete in barbeque cook-offs as the Burnt Finger BBQ team and came up with the delicacy after being challenged on Twitter to create the ultimate bacon recipe. They christened it Bacon Explosion: The BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes.

The Bacon Explosion contains 5,000 calories and a mind-boggling 500 grams of fat, prompting one commenter to joke: "They should make drive-through angioplasty, it would make this much easier."

The ingredients list is short:

2 pounds thick cut bacon

2 pounds Italian sausage meat

1 jar of your favourite barbeque sauce

1 jar of your favourite barbeque rub/seasoning

Construction begins with what its inventors call a "5x5 bacon weave" of interlocking rashers. After coating them with a generous helping of barbeque seasoning, the next step is to layer two pounds of sausage meat on top of the bacon to create a patty.

Next, cover the raw sausage meat with fried bacon - soft or crispy, depending on personal preference - chopped or crumbled into small pieces. The chefs advise: "Note - it's okay, and encouraged, to snack on these pieces while you're chopping/crumbling. But keep in mind that once those bacon morsels touch the raw sausage, you'll need to resist all temptations to nibble. This can and will be difficult, but hospital trips are no fun, so stay strong."

Drizzle barbeque sauce over the top of the cooked bacon, sprinkle with more barbeque seasoning and the roll into a giant, sausage-shaped monster. One final dusting of seasoning, and the construction is ready to be smoked on the barbeque. Cooking time varies but should take around one hour for each inch of thickness.

Once cooked, the Bacon Explosion is basted with more barbeque sauce ("Sweet sauces are loaded with sugars, so they'll give your fatty a nice glossy finish.")

Slice into rounds to serve.

Day and Chronister explained: "It's a variation of what's called a 'fatty' in the barbeque community. We took it to the extreme." They said of the internet interest: "It started out on Twitter and from there it just went everywhere. Political blogs picked it up for some reason - Republicans like meat."

Source: telegraph

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The internet lover who was right up my street.... Just seven doors away it turns out

When Julie McIlroy signed up for a worldwide dating service, she might have expected it to take her to exotic climes.

But instead it pointed her in the direction of a neighbour living just seven doors away.

The 46-year-old primary school teacher had been a member of the service for just three months.

She was skimming through thousands of pictures of eligible men on the Dating Direct site when she spotted one that caught her fancy.

She began chatting with divorcee Allan Donnelly, 53, via email - and was surprised to discover that they both lived in Cardiff.

But after Julie plucked up the courage to ask for his address, she was stunned to discover they live in the same street in the Rhiwbina area of the city.

The pair walked out of their homes and met each other in the street for the first time.

Now Mr Donnelly, an electrician, has proposed - and the couple are planning their wedding next year. He popped the question at a surprise birthday party he threw for her at his home.

Miss McIlroy, a mother-of-three, said: ‘I was totally stunned. It’s an incredible coincidence, but it just goes to show that you never know where you will find love.

The dating website could have put me in touch with someone anywhere in the world. But happily Allan lives just a couple of hundred yards down the road.’

She added: ‘Things have gone from strength to strength - I couldn’t be happier. Well, they say “love thy neighbour", don’t they?’

Mr Donnelly, who has two children, said: ‘I had been on the dating site for a while when I hooked up with Julie.

‘It was an amazing coincidence that we live so close to each other. What were the chances of that?

‘But it was my lucky day - we’ve got the perfect compatibility. She’s right up my street.’

Source & Picture : dailymail

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Danube Delta Holds Answers To 'Noah's Flood' Debate

Did a catastrophic flood of biblical proportions drown the shores of the Black Sea 9,500 years ago, wiping out early Neolithic settlements around its perimeter? A geologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and two Romanian colleagues report in the January issue of Quaternary Science Reviews that, if the flood occurred at all, it was much smaller than previously proposed by other researchers.

Using sediment cores from the delta of the Danube River, which empties into the Black Sea, the researchers determined sea level was approximately 30 meters below present levels—rather than the 80 meters others hypothesized.

“We don’t see evidence for a catastrophic flood as others have described,” said Liviu Giosan, a geologist in the WHOI Geology and Geophysics Department.

Ten thousand years ago, at the end of the last glacial period, the Black Sea was a lake—cut off from the Sea of Marmara and beyond it the Mediterranean by the Bosphorus sill. Debate in geological and archaeological circles has focused on whether, as glaciers melted and global sea levels began to rise, the Bosphorus sill overflowed gradually or whether a flood broke through the sill, drowning some 70,000 square kilometers and wiping out early Neolithic civilizations in the region. In addition to questions about the rate of the flood, investigators continue to debate the extent of the flood -- a debate centered around what the level of the Black Sea was 9,500 years ago.

In the late 1990s, Columbia University researchers Bill Ryan and Walter Pitman examined the geological evidence and estimated the Black Sea level at the time of the flood was approximately 80 meters lower than present day levels. They suggested that the impact of a Black Sea flood could have forced the movement of early agriculturist groups to central Europe and established the story of Noah and his ark, as well as flood myths among other peoples.

The source of the uncertainty fueling the Black Sea flood debate is the difficulty of finding reliable sea level markers to date the flood. “Sea level is like the Holy Grail,” said Giosan. “You can’t really talk about a flood if you don’t know the exact levels of the sea level in both the Black Sea and outside it in the Mediterranean. And that’s what we tried to find.”

Scientists examine the geochemistry of sedimentary deposits for evidence of fresh water fauna and the morphology of features on the seafloor, trying to infer drowned beaches or wind-generated dunes, but there are pitfalls associated with these indicators. Sediments are subject to erosion by waves and currents, and sand deposits formed by underwater currents can misleadingly be interpreted as dunes or beaches. “Instead, what we use as indicators of sea level is the level of the Danube River delta plain, an immense landform that cannot be mistaken for something else,” Giosan stated.

A delta is formed when a river empties into a body of water. It dumps sediments and builds a flat plain—the delta—that is within a couple of meters of the shore and is, therefore, an indicator of sea level. In 2006, a team led by Liviu Giosan showed that contrary to Soviet-era data suggesting large oscillations of Black Sea level, the development phases of the Danube delta demonstrate that the level was more or less as today in the last 6000 years.

To extend their record back in time beyond 6000 years, in 2007, Giosan and his colleagues drilled a new core to 42 meters depth at the mouth of the Danube River, the largest river emptying into the Black Sea. Their goal was to reconstruct the history of that part of the delta—before and after the flood—through an examination of the sediments. In analyzing the delta sediment from the new core as well as others taken in the region, Giosan’s team discovered fresh water deposits of the newly forming delta dating back approximately 10,000 years, subsequently overlaid by fine marine sediments, followed by the modern delta deposits.

“It’s amazing,” said Giosan. “The early delta was forming in a fresh water lake just a couple of hundred years before the flood. And after the flood you have these marine deposits overlaying the whole delta region.”

Using sediment cores to reconstruct the delta with accurate dates is challenging. To attach a date to the layers of a core, scientists use radiocarbon dating on the fossil shells of animals found in the core—for instance, clams or snails. But in energetic areas, waves can erode sediment on the seabed and heave up older shells, depositing them in “younger” sediments. To address these concerns, Giosan and his team used an approach that had not been used before in the Black Sea. They employed high resolution dating performed at WHOI’s Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) facility and only used “articulated” bivalves – those where both sides of the shell were still attached as they are when alive. The shells are held together by an organic substance that degrades easily when they are dead, so the valves usually separate when the animal dies. When bivalves are found intact, it means they were not moved by waves and they are likely to be in situ.

Once the researchers dated and reconstructed the delta plain, they could determine sea level for the Black Sea. They found that the Black Sea level at the time of the flood was around 30 meters below present levels. Determining how much water poured over the Bosphorus sill remains problematic. There is no direct reconstruction of the sea level for the Marmara, but, according to Giosan, indirect methods put it at approximately 5 to 10 meters above the Black Sea level at the time of the flood.

“So if this is true, it means that the magnitude of the Black Sea flood was 5 or 10 meters but not 50 to 60 meters,” said Giosan. “Still, having flooded the Black Sea by 5 meters can have important effects, for example, drowning of the Danube Delta and putting an area of 2,000 square kilometers of prime agricultural land underwater. This has important implications for the archaeology and anthropology of southern Europe, as well as on our understanding of how the unique environment of the Black Sea formed.”

Funding for this project was provided by the WHOI Coastal Ocean Institute.

Source: sciencedaily

Monday, January 26, 2009

Goat detained over armed robbery

Police in Nigeria are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery.

Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.

"The group of vigilante men came to report that while they were on patrol they saw some hoodlums attempting to rob a car. They pursued them. However one of them escaped while the other turned into a goat," Kwara state police spokesman Tunde Mohammed told Reuters by telephone.

"We cannot confirm the story, but the goat is in our custody. We cannot base our information on something mystical. It is something that has to be proved scientifically, that a human being turned into a goat," he said.

Belief in witchcraft is widespread in parts of Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation. Residents came to the police station to see the goat, photographed in one national newspaper on its knees next to a pile of straw.

Source : reuters

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wife killed for 'single' Facebook status

A British man who murdered his wife after becoming enraged when she changed her relationship status on Facebook to "single" has been jailed for at least 18 years.

Edward Richardson, 41, stabbed wife Sarah, 26, to death in a "frenzied and brutal" attack at her parents' home in Biddulph, central England, last May after she altered her profile on the Internet social networking site.

The couple had been living apart since the previous month, said Fiona Cortese, a spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service, which is responsible for prosecuting cases in England and Wales.

"Richardson became enraged when Sarah changed her marital status on Facebook to single and decided to go and see her as she was not responding to his (text) messages," Cortese said.

"He gained entry by breaking the front door window and made his way into the property.

"Once inside, he found Sarah in her bedroom and subjected her to a frenzied and brutal attack with a knife and then attempted to take his own life."

Sarah Richardson's parents Beryl and Alan Boote said they were left "devastated" by her murder after the verdict at Stafford Crown Court, central England, on Thursday.

"We hope that Richardson will be an old man before he's ever allowed out of prison," they said.

Detective Inspector Andy Wall, who worked on the case, added: "She had decided that her marriage to Edward Richardson was over but this was clearly something he could not accept."

Source & Picture :

Brazilian model loses hands, feet to rare infection

During one beauty pageant, Brazilian model Mariana Bridi, 20, confided in friends that she was "living the dream."

Now she's fighting for her life in intensive care in a hospital in the Brazilian city of Serra after a series of operations to bring a potentially fatal infection under control.

Bridi is in "very serious condition" and breathing through a respirator, officials said.

In the past week, she's had both hands and feet amputated. Doctors removed both kidneys and in the most recent surgery last night removed part of her stomach.

Tribuna reporter Rafaele Gasparini, who spent several hours with family members at the Dorio Silva hospital's intensive care unit, told CNN that Brini's family was not optimistic about her condition, which is deteriorating rapidly.

"Her father told me that she is unconscious and her blood pressure is dropping rapidly," Gasparini said. "Her relatives walked out at 4:30 local (3:30 p.m. ET), and there seemed to be a farewell mood."

In the meantime, Gasparini said, the model is in a "forced coma" that may help the body recover from the physical shock. She is also being treated with noradrenaline. Known as a "fight or flight" chemical that the body releases in stressful situations, noradrenaline produces increased blood pressure and heart rate.

"They say her situation is very critical and that her chances [of survival] are not really significant, but she keeps on surprising everyone," said Henrique Fontes, executive director of Miss World Brazil.

"Two weeks ago, the doctor gave her 24 hours to live, and she's been fighting and resisting. She's quite amazing."

Less than one month ago, Mariana Bridi was a healthy 20-year-old who was well on the way to achieving her dream of becoming a world class model.

She placed sixth in the Miss Bikini International competition in China last year and took first place for the "Best in Swimsuit" category. In 2006 and 2007, she came fourth in the contest to become Brazil's entrant for the Miss World pageant.

Fontes said Bridi had recently been selected to compete in a national modeling contest by the same person who discovered Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Mariana had saved space in her diary for the competition in São Paolo in April.

That wasn't the only thing she had planned. Fontes said Bridi also dreamed of becoming a journalist. She was planning to move to São Paulo this year to begin her studies. She'd been living with her boyfriend, Thiago Simões, who is now spending as much time as he can by her bedside.

The pace of Bridi's deterioration from a vibrant, energetic young woman to a fragile patient in intensive care has been swift and shocking.

Bridi first sought medical advice after feeling ill in late December. Doctors said she had kidney stones, but her condition soon worsened.

Bridi was eventually diagnosed as suffering a urinary tract infection. By the time the infection was detected, it had developed into septicemia, an infection of the blood.

Doctors decided to amputate first her hands and then her feet after the condition reduced the amount of oxygen being delivered to her limbs.

Dr. Charles Clarke, honorary consultant neurologist for the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in the United Kingdom, said the development of a urinary tract infection to septicemia requiring amputation is "very rare."

However, he added that "it's not a very rare thing" that septicemia is caused by a urinary tract infection. "That will happen dozens of times in any big district general hospital," he said.

"The difficulty clinically is that when most of these things start off, they just start off looking like an infection.

"And it can be very difficult to diagnose: You have a temperature, and you're not very well. And you treat it, and it goes on to the full-blown picture. There may be no clinical evidence of that."

Bridi is now on life support, and the only recent communication she's had with her family is through her eyes.

"She doesn't talk. She responds by blinking her eyes, and she said that she wanted to live under this critical situation," Fontes said.

He described her as very persistent and determined, "a person who enjoyed life and went after what she wanted without fears."

News of Bridi's condition spread quickly throughout Brazil and then worldwide.

A message on her Web site said that the volume of traffic had caused it to crash and that the site had received more than 15,000 hits in two days.

Fontes issued a call for blood donors. According to the blog, Bridi has a rare blood type O-negative. By Tuesday, it said, more than 100 people had donated blood in her name.

The message said it had received "e-mails of solidarity from all corners of the world: Australia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, France, Italy, USA, Russia, etc. "

Bridi's family and friends have urged people to keep praying for her survival. "Mariana is [a] warrior and will win this battle."

Source :

'Hobbit' Skull Study Finds Hobbit Is Not Human

In a an analysis of the size, shape and asymmetry of the cranium of Homo floresiensis, Karen Baab, Ph.D., a researcher in the Department of Anatomical Scienes at Stony Brook University, and colleagues conclude that the fossil, found in Indonesia in 2003 and known as the “Hobbit,” is not human.

They used 3-D shape analysis to study the LB1 skull of the hobbit and found the shape of the skull to be consistent with a scaled down human ancestor but not modern humans. Their findings, reported in the current online edition of the Journal of Human Evolution, add to the evidence that the hobbit is a new species.

The question as to whether the hobbit was human or another species remains controversial. Some scientists claim the hobbit was a diminutive human that suffered from some type of disease that causes microcephaly, which results in abnormal growth of the brain and causes the cranium to be much smaller than the normal human cranium. But Dr. Baab and co-author Kieran McNulty, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, believe their findings counter the microcephaly theory.

“A skull can provide researchers with a lot of important information about a fossil species, particularly regarding their evolutionary relationships to other fossil species,” explains Dr. Baab. “The overall shape of the LB1 skull, particularly the part that surrounds the brain (neurocranium) looks similar to fossils more than 1.5 million years older from Africa and Eurasia, rather than modern humans, even though Homo floresiensis is documented from 17,000 to 95,000 years ago.”

To carry out the study, Dr. Baab and colleagues collected 3D landmark data on the LB1 skull and a large sample of fossils representing other extinct hominin species, as well as a comparative sample of modern humans and apes. They performed several analyses of different regions of the skulls. Taken together, these analyses indicated that the LB1 skull shape is that of a scaled down Homo fossil not a scaled down modern human.

The results of the analysis of the asymmetry of the skulls, which refers to differences between the right and left sides of the skull, refutes the suggestion that the LB1 skull was that of a modern human with a diagnosis of microcephaly. In modern humans, a high degree of asymmetry may indicate that the individual was diseased. At least one scientific study on the asymmetry of LB1 supported the argument that this individual had microcephaly. Conversely, Dr. Baab and colleagues found the degree of asymmetry of the LB1 skull was not unexpectedly high and therefore not supportive of the diagnosis of microcephaly.

Source : sciencedaily

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Al-Qaeda cell killed by Black Death 'was developing biological weapons'

The group of 40 terrorists were reported to have been killed by the plague at a training camp in Algeria earlier this month.

It was initially believed that they could have caught the disease through fleas on rats attracted by poor living conditions in their forest hideout.

But there are now claims the cell was developing the disease as a weapon to use against western cities.

Experts said that the group was developing chemical and biological weapons.

Dr Igor Khrupinov, a biological weapons expert at Georgia University, told The Sun: "Al-Qaeda is known to experiment with biological weapons. And this group has direct communication with other cells around the world.

"Contagious diseases, like ebola and anthrax, occur in northern Africa. It makes sense that people are trying to use them against Western governments."

Dr Khrupinov, who was once a weapons adviser to the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, added: "Instead of using bombs, people with infectious diseases could be walking through cities."

It was reported last year that up to 100 potential terrorists had attempted to become postgraduate students in Britain in an attempt to use laboratories.

Ian Kearns, from the Institute for Public Policy Research, told the newspaper: "The biological weapons threat is not going away. We're not ready for it."
Source : telegraph

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fishermen afloat in giant icebox survive 25 days in shark infested waters after boat sinks

Two men who drifted helplessly for 25 days in a large icebox through shark-infested waters have been rescued after a chance sighting by an aircraft crew.

The men were found desperately waving their shirts as an Australian Coastwatch plane flew across the Torres Strait, between Australia and Indonesia. The plane's crew called for a rescue helicopter.

After being winched up into the helicopter, the men identifying themselves as Burmese, told their terrifying story of how their fishing boat with 18 others aboard broke up in rough waters and everyone was thrown into the sea.

The pair are believed to be the only survivors.

Source & Picture : dailymail

UFO in China

fig. Is it UFO? (source : allnewsweb)
A remarkable UFO was seen and filmed in China by an entire squadron of fire-fighters in Liu Pan Shui City in the province of Guizhou through a camera with a 700X zoom capability. One of the fire-fighters, Wang Jia Wei, noticed an odd looking, brightly flashing star moving in a south easterly direction and went inside the fire-fighters barracks to get a camera.
Luckily for Wang he was able to find a Panasonic camera used by his comrades to record damage caused by fires that allowed him to zoom in on the mysterious object seven hundred times. At that point Wang could see that the object was in fact two rotating spinning top shaped crafts or halves of a whole craft joined at a their bases. They were flashing a multitude of colours: Purple, red, blue, orange, white and gold.
Wang then called his eight fellow fire-fighters out and they observed the slow moving craft for almost an hour until the craft suddenly vanished.
20 minutes of footage was recorded and have been showed to Chinese reporters. The firemen approached the Liu Pan Shiu meteorological bureau two days after the sighting to seek some answers. Surprised staff members working for the bureau were shown the footage but were unable to identify what the object might be, declaring that it is indeed a UFO. There has been no suggestion that the fire-fighters faked the sighting and this not believed to be the case by any involved parties, the footage has been handed to government astronomical departments for further analysis.
The photo below is a verified still from the footage that our source has sent us. We believe a film should soon be available for veiwing and will post a link as soon as this occurs. The UFO corresponds to the craft often described in sightings around the word as a ‘diamond UFO’. These craft are usually seen at great heights and almost never seen on earth itself. This has lead some to believe they are highly evolved technology well beyond your ‘standard’ saucer and might be used to travel from other civilized planets rather merely used to explore planets like earth after exiting a more substantial mother ship.
The incident has received wide coverage by mainstream media in China, although it has received no publicity in the west as far as we know. Hardly surprising, as this is a credible and compelling incident of the type Western Governments would rather people not know about. The Chinese Government, however, is known to take a more open minded approach to UFOs and generally regards them as fact.

Source & Picture : allnewsweb

Monday, January 19, 2009

92yr-old woman pregnant for 60 years since 1948 stuns docs

London, January 17 : Doctors treating an elderly Chinese woman for stomach ache were stunned when they found that she had been carrying an unborn child for 60 years.

Ninety-two-year-old Huang Yijun, of Huangjiaotan, revealed that her child had died in the womb way back in 1948, and that she did not have it removed because doctors would charge 100 pounds for the job.

"It was a huge sum at the time - more than the whole family earned in several years so I did nothing and ignored it," the Sun quoted her as saying.

The secret surfaced after Huang hurt her stomach, and went to hospital for a scan.

Dr Liu Anbin, at Qingshen hospital, said: "I couldn't believe my eyes when I discovered she had a baby in her belly. I've been a doctor for more than 40 years and it's the first time I have seen something like this."

The doctors are presently carrying out further tests to determine whether Huang would require an operation to remove the baby.

Consultant Xu Xianming, director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at the hospital, said: "Normally a dead foetus would decay. It's very rare that Huang can be so healthy."

Source : story.chinanationalnews

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Zimbabwe to launch Z100 trillion dollar note-report

Zimbabwe's central bank will issue a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar banknote, worth about $33 on the black market, to try to ease desperate cash shortages, state-run media said on Friday.

Prices are doubling every day and food and fuel are in short supply. A cholera epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people and a deadlock between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition over power sharing has dampened hopes of ending the crisis.

Hyper-inflation has forced the central bank to keep issuing new banknotes which quickly become almost worthless. There is an official exchange rate, but most Zimbabweans resort to the informal market for currency transactions.

As well as the Z$100 trillion dollar note, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe plans to launch Z$10 trillion, Z$20 trillion and Z$50 trillion notes, the Herald newspaper reported.

"... the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has introduced a new family of banknotes which will gradually come into circulation, starting with the Z$10 trillion," the Herald said, citing a central bank statement.

Previous banknote issues have done little to ease the plight of Zimbabweans who often line up for hours outside banks to withdraw barely enough to buy a loaf of bread.

Critics blame the economic meltdown on government mismanagement, including the seizure and redistribution of thousands of white-owned farms. The once-thriving farm sector has fallen into ruin.

Mugabe, 84, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says Western sanctions are the main cause of the economic crisis and worsening humanitarian situation.

A worsening cholera epidemic has piled pressure on politicians to bury their differences and try to ease the suffering of millions. The disease has killed 2,225 people out of 42,675 cases, U.N. figures show.

Political analysts say the establishment of a unity government between Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is the best hope of reversing the economic slide and the humanitarian crisis.

But power-sharing talks are deadlocked over the control of key ministries. Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of trying to assign the MDC a junior role and has demanded the release of detained opposition members and activists.

Detainees include rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko, accused with others of plotting to topple Mugabe. A court gave her permission on Friday to ask the Constitutional Court to release her.

In neighbouring South Africa, European and South African ministers called on the Zimbabwean parties to implement their agreement.

"Ministers expressed grave concern at the ongoing violence and abductions and recognised that a political solution to Zimbabwe's problems is critical to bringing an end to this cycle," they said in a statement.

The presidents of South Africa and Mozambique meet Zimbabwean political parties on Monday in a new push to break the impasse.

Source :

Nanny slices baby girl on chopping block

POLICE in Shanghai's Nanhui District have detained a nanny who they say put a 20-month-old infant on a chopping block and repeatedly slashed her with a kitchen knife in a fit of anger over a job dispute with the child's parents.

Doctors used around 130 sutures to close five cuts on the cheeks and jaw of the child, Li Yuanmeng. The longest cut was 14.5 centimeters, and the wounds were so severe that facial nerves were damaged. Though admitted in critical condition, she was stable last night.

Her mother, Liu Changming, needed 10 stitches to close a head cut she received while trying to rescue her child from the nanny Zhang Xuexia.

The attack occurred on Tuesday night in Kangqiao Town.

Liu said she heard her child screaming from the kitchen at about 10:20pm. Rushing into the room, she saw that the nanny had the girl on a chopping block and was slashing her with a kitchen knife, Liu said.

When the mother tried to grab the knife from Zhang, the nanny attacked her as well, according to the father, Li Yonggao.

"I heard my wife calling me and ran into the kitchen and took my daughter from the cutting block," said Li, who runs a small construction materials store in the city. "I called the ambulance and police immediately."

The 47-year-old woman, who is now in criminal custody, came from Anhui Province. After her apprehension, Zhang explained her actions, according to Nanhui District officer Zhang Rong.

"She said she's been dissatisfied with her boss for a long time," the officer said.

The child was admitted to Shanghai No. 9 People's Hospital at about 11:30pm on Tuesday for severe cuts to her face. Doctors said recovery will take about four months, but she may need rehabilitation and plastic surgery for her scars and damaged nerves.

"Even with cosmetic surgery, scars may still be visible completely, and she will suffer poor facial function," said Dr Zhang Lin, who performed surgery on Li. "Due to nerve injuries, she may have difficulty closing her eyes for a long time."

Li, also an Anhui native, said he and his wife hired Zhang Xuexia after they were introduced by relatives in their hometown.

The woman worked for the couple for about a year.

"Zhang had a good relationship with our family; we were shocked by her brutal behavior," Li said. "She liked my daughter and took good care of her. We never expected she would hurt her."

But police said the nanny claimed the family had been critical of her job performance, and she was disturbed when the mother bought her a train ticket to Anhui.

"The nanny thought the family planned to fire her and was in a bad mood because of that," said police officer Zhang Rong. "She said she took the girl to the kitchen after she had a sudden outburst of anger."

The train ticket, however, was simply to allow her to spend the Spring Festival with her relatives, the parents said.

The parents said that they aren't seeking any financial compensation from Zhang, but they want the court to punish her severely.

Source & Picture : shanghaidaily

Uruguay minister posts picture of herself in the shower on Facebook

A Facebook photo showing Uruguay's interior minister in the shower has scandalised opposition leaders, who reacted by branding her an "exhibitionist".

Daisy Tourne posted the snapshot on her Facebook profile page above the caption, "there's nothing more natural than a woman in the shower," according to Montevideo newspaper El Pais.

The photo, reproduced on El Pais' website, shows only Tourne's hands and laughing face beneath running water.

But ather than posting critical messages on her Facebook "wall", opposition leaders went the newspaper with their criticism.

"I think it's in very bad taste that the minister exposes herself so intimately," former Vice President Luis Hierro Lopez told El Pais. "Ministers have to be more austere, modest — above all the Minister of the Interior," who commands the police force.

Politician Jose Amorin called the photo "frivolous."

Ms Tourne, 57, responded on her page on the popular social networking site, saying the photo was not made available publicly or intended to be erotic. She said it was taken in a shower used to rinse off sand after a visit to the beach, El Pais said.

The newspaper reported that ruling party lawmaker Victor Semproni backed Ms Tourne, commenting below the picture: "I'm thinking about taking a photo of myself in the shower, but a full body shot."

Facebook has attracted more than 140 million users worldwide since it began in 2004.

Source : telegraph
Picture from : dailymail

Hunt for lost love

A 72-year-old woman has launched a campaign to find a stranger who told her "I love you" - 40 years ago.

Regina Bradley met the mystery Welshman after flying into Gatwick airport in December 1968.

They arranged to meet later at London's Piccadilly Circus but she arrived late and they missed each other.

Regina, of Llangollen, North Wales, said she was "devastated", reports The Sun.

She later married and had two children - but never forgot her "dark-haired, good-looking" stranger.

Now divorced, she has spent thousands advertising and has travelled all over Wales searching for him.

She said: "He was the first to say he loved me and it's stayed with me for the last 40 years.

"Some people have ridiculed me for this but I'd love to find him while there's still time."

Regina, of Llangollen, North Wales, married and had two kids but is now divorced.

Source : ananova

Friday, January 16, 2009

Plane crashes in New York's Hudson River, all 155 safe

A US Airways plane carrying 155 people crashed into New York's Hudson River Thursday, but all on board had a miraculous escape as the freezing waters rose around them, US officials said.

Dozens of frantic passengers clustered on the wings of the plane seeking to stay out of the water as they were swiftly evacuated onto waiting boats. Photographs showed people lined up the length of one wing, the river lapping over their feet as they scrambled into boats.

Wearing bright yellow lifejackets, they were ferried to shore in lifeboats as the A320 aircraft slowly began sinking into the river's grey, murky waters.

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) said all on board had been rescued after flight 1549 crashed three minutes after take-off from LaGuardia Airport on its way to Charlotte, North Carolina.

US Airways chairman Doug Parker said all 155 people aboard the passenger plane were accounted for, as the FAA said it appeared to have been an accident possibly caused by a flock of birds.

Passenger Alberto Panero told CNN said he heard a loud bang just after take-off.

"The plane shook a bit and immediately, you could smell smoke or fire and immediately, the plane basically just started turning in another direction," he said.

"It didn't seem like it was out of control, we knew something was going on," he said.

"All of a sudden, the captain came on and said, 'Brace for impact,' and that's when we knew we were going down, into the water. And we just hit and somehow the plane, you know, stayed afloat and we were all able to get on the raft and -- it's just incredible right now that everybody's still alive."

"Right now we don't have any indication right now that this was anything other than an accident," the FAA's Laura Brown told reporters.

"There were reports of a large flock of birds in the area," she said, "but we don't have any indication that this was the cause."

Police helicopters hovered over the stricken plane as four large ferries and several smaller boats gathered in the waters nearby. The Coast Guard dropped life jackets into the water for survivors amid frigid temperatures.

Fire and EMS crews assisted survivors, with one passenger saying there had been elderly people as well as children on board the aircraft.

As night began to fall over the scene, ferry boats cranked up their lights as they sought to guide the empty aircraft towards the shore to aid the investigation.

On a freezing winter's day, temperatures were estimated at 20 degrees Fahrenheit (six below Celsius) outside and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (four degrees Celsius) in the water, making it a race against time to get everyone off the plane before they could suffer from hypothermia.

Panero told CNN by phone the rescue "boats managed to get right up to the door and you could just literally, in effect, jump off into a boat, never had to go into the water."

A fire department spokesman told AFP that at least 106 firefighters had been involved in the rescue and had rushed to the scene within minutes of being to alerted to the crash at 15:31 (2031 GMT).

"I saw what looked to be a small commercial plane flying south making a gradual landing," witness Ben Vonklemperer told CNN.

"I saw it hit the water. It made a big splash," he said. "I did see it hit the water at a very gradual angle. It appeared not to have landing gear engaged," he said.

The Hudson River crash comes 27 years and two days after an Air Florida Boeing 737-222 airliner crashed into the 14th Street bridge in Washington and plunged into the Potomac River immediately after takeoff in a snow storm on January 13, 1982.

The accident killed 78 people, including four motorists on the bridge.

Source & Picture :

Man survives after 12cm knife thrust deep into head

A MAN who walked into a hospital emergency room with a 12cm blade buried in his head says he was stabbed by his father.

This amazing x-ray picture, obtained by Central European News, shows the blade plunged deep into his skull.

A nurse reportedly fainted as Wen Wen, 38, walked up to reception at a hospital in central China, and calmly answered questions about his injury with the handle of the knife poking out of his head, UK tabloid The Sun reports.

The razor sharp blade sunk into Wen's head above his right ear, down into the nasal cavity and finally emerged into his mouth.

It narrowly missed several major arteries, blood vessels and nerves.

Wen had walked up to reception at the Jiaotong University clinic in Xi'an, central China, and casually answered questions about his injury.

One medic at the Xi'an clinic said Wen was “incredibly lucky”.

"He could walk and talk perfectly and he'll make a full recovery,” he said.

“One or two centimetres in another direction, though, and he'd be dead."

Wen told doctors he had been stabbed by his 76-year-old father who has now fled the family home.

"I was cleaning up the house when my father attacked me and did this with just one strike of the knife.

“He's old but sane and rational and I've no idea why he did it. I'm worried that he might think he's in trouble now and won't come back to the family,” he said.

Source & Picture :

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Has NASA found life on Mars ?

The prospect of finding life on Mars came a step closer yesterday after Nasa revealed it had discovered 'plumes' of methane gas seeping from the planet.

When methane was first found in the Martian atmosphere in 2003, some scientists claimed it could have been dumped on the planet by comets.

But the latest discovery is proof that it is actually produced on the Red Planet.

The pinpointing of the location of the plumes of gas also offers scientists likely places to dig for life.

Nasa's announcement yesterday is highly significant because most of the methane on Earth is produced by living organisms - raising the possibility that some form of life, even if just microbes, are alive deep within the soil.

Nasa scientists stressed there was still no direct evidence of extra-terrestrial life and that methane can also be produced by volcanic activity.

However, no active volcanoes have ever been spotted on Mars. On Earth, 90 per cent of the methane in the atmosphere comes from living organisms.

British scientists last night welcomed the discovery, published in the journal Science.
Professor Colin Pillinger, the Open University scientist behind the failed Beagle 2 Mars probe in 2003, said: 'Methane is one indicator of life - and this is still more circumstantial evidence.

Source : dailymail

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Microbes on Mars

ALIEN microbes living just below the Martian soil are responsible for a haze of methane around the Red Planet, Nasa scientists believe.

The gas, belched in vast quantities in our world by cows, was detected by orbiting spacecraft and from Earth using giant telescopes.

Nasa are today expected to confirm its presence during a briefing at their Washington HQ.

And the find is seen as exciting new evidence that Martian microbes are still alive today.

Some scientists reckon methane is also produced by volcanic processes. But there are NO known active volcanoes on Mars.

Furthermore, Nasa has found the gas in the same regions as clouds of water vapour, the vital “drink” needed to support life.

Experts speculate that the methane is being emitted as a waste product by organisms called methanogens living in water beneath underground ice.

And they would have to be alive today because the methane would otherwise have been lost from the Martian atmosphere.......

Source : thesun

Robber wore ski mask in queue

A US bank robber gave the game away when he queued up to be served while wearing a ski mask.

Police say Feliks Goldshtein, 24, stood in line behind other customers while wearing the black mask.

A cashier told him to remove the mask while in the bank in Stow, Ohio. Police say he didn't reply but continued to wait.

When he got to the front of the queue, the man displayed what turned out to be a toy gun and demanded money. He made off with an undisclosed amount.

Stow Police later arrested Goldshtein and charged him with aggravated robbery, reports the Stow Sentry.

Police say the suspect was caught after a car chase. Money and a black ski mask were found inside the car and a toy handgun was later found in the snow where police suspect it had been thrown during the chase.

Source : ananova
images only illustration.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The World's First Bio-fuelled Flying Car

For many, a flying car is but a dream. For the Skycar Expedition Team it is now a reality, paving the way for this to become a common sight in our skies. Whether you are searching for environmentally friendly practical transport or new thrills the Parajet Skycar is no longer a dream….... a machine that can drive like a car and fly like an aeroplane, capable of beating congestion for the commuter or providing a low cost method of reaching remote regions only accessible by helicopter.

We are currently building the world’s first flying Parajet Skycar and after rigorous testing will travel from London across the Sahara to Tombouctou for the maiden voyage in Spring 2009. It will be the first high performance, road legal, carbon neutral flying car capable of providing sports and rally car performance on or off the road and light aircraft performance after just a few minutes of wing preparation.

Cutting Edge Flexible Wing Technology

A practical flying car has been impossible since aviation began, many attempts have been made...even as far back as the 1960's innovative engineers were designing folding wings that could be towed behind a car or attached to the car specifically for take-off. So many attempts have been made and yet still today there is nothing available. A practical SkyCar is now possible for the first time in aviation history due to rapid advancements in flexible wing technology. Wing Designer Mike Campbell Jones of Paramania Powergliders is responsible for this revolution in flexible wing technology.

The SkyCar is made possible by employing the latest technology in high speed, self stabilising, parafoil design. The future in this emerging technology is promising airspeeds of up to 100mph, with precise handling performance and an increased safety factor over conventional rigid wings. The SkyCar 'ParaWing' is so compact it can literally be folded into the boot of the SkyCar by the pilot alone.

Our prototype Parajet Skycar has a steel framed chassis although subsequent models will be made from aluminium which will be lighter and thus increase range, performance and luggage capacity. One pilot and one passenger will travel side by side.

Fly Mode

The Parajet Skycar in "fly mode" will be suspended by the latest ram-air wing and capable of take-off from a field or airstrip in less than 200 metres. It will be easier and safer to fly than any other aircraft, as it has no pitch control and therefore impossible to stall or dive. Should the engine fail, the pilot would simply glide down into the nearest field or strip of sandy desert. In the event of catastrophic wing failure, car connection system failure or mid-air collision, an emergency ballistic reserve parachute can be deployed.

Source & Picture : parajet

Using mouthwash could increase risk of cancer by nine times, claim scientists

MOUTHWASHES containing alcohol can cause oral cancer and should be removed from supermarket shelves, a dental health study claims.
Scientists say there is now "sufficient evidence" that such mouthwashes contribute to an increased risk of the disease.

The ethanol in mouthwash is thought to allow cancer-causing substances to permeate the lining of the mouth.

Michael McCullough, associate professor of oral medicine at the University of Melbourne, Australia, who led the study, said: "We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of (mouthwash containing alcohol], so what we've done is review all the evidence.

"Since this article, further evidence has come out, too. We believe there should be warnings. If it was a facial cream that had the effect of reducing acne but had a four to fivefold increased risk of skin cancer, no-one would be recommending it."

Professor McCullough, chair of the Australian Dental Association's therapeutics committee, said the alcohol in mouthwashes "increases the permeability" of the mucus membrane to other carcinogens, such as nicotine.

A toxic breakdown product of alcohol called acetaldehyde that may accumulate in the oral cavity when swished around the mouth is also a "known human carcinogen," he said.

Top-selling mouthwashes contain as much as 26 per cent alcohol.

Smoking and alcohol are well-established risk factors in causing cancer, but the use of outhwash containing alcohol is more controversial.

Source: news.scotsman

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pig catches fish

Fig. The pig (picture from ananova)

A pig in China has started to catch fish from a pond for its supper.

Han, the pig's owner, created a small pond for breeding tropical fish, at her home in Dahangou village, Zhenping.

She gave up on the venture when the market price for the fish dropped - but found she still had one eager customer.

"I was amazed to see that the pig I raised is helping himself to fish from the pond," she told the Eastern Asia Trade and Economic News.

"It steps into the shallow water, catches fish in its mouth and happily eats them on the spot."

Han said she was happy for the pig to help itself to the fish rather than let them go to waste.

"Maybe it just decided it wanted a bit more protein in its diet," she added.

Source and Picture : ananova

Rubik's Cube finally solved after 26 years by avid fan

Delighted Graham, 45, from Portchester, Hants, has been tirelessly trying to solve the riddle of the Cube since he bought the toy in 1983.

Married dad-of-one Graham has endured endless sleepless nights and after more than 27,400 hours he finally managed to conquer his personal Everest.

Builder Graham said: "I cannot tell you what a relief it was to finally solve it. It has driven me mad over the years - it felt like it had taken over my life.

"I have missed important events to stay in and solve it and I would lay awake at night thinking about it.

"Friends have offered to solve it for me and I know that you can find solutions on the web but I just had to do it myself.

"I have had wrist and back problems from spending hours on it but it was all worth it.

"When I clicked that last bit into place and each face was a solid colour I wept."

Long-suffering wife Jean, 47, said the cube has frequently put a strain on their marriage, causing blazing rows between the pair.

Jean even admits at times it has felt as though there has been three people in their marriage for the past 26 years.

Understanding Jean said: "When I met Graham he was already obsessed with the cube - spending hours on it every day.

"I have often thought about getting rid of it but I knew he would not rest until he had solved it, which thankfully he has done."

Ray Hodgkin of the governing body for Rubik's Cube competitions, the World Cube Association (WCA), said: "I think this is definitely the longest it has ever taken someone to complete a Cube.

"I am impressed by Graham's dedication - the Rubik's Cube can be a very frustrating thing. The WCA would like to congratulate him on his achievement."

The Rubik's Cube was invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor Erno Rubik but was originally called the Magic Cube.

More than 300 million have been sold worldwide and there are an astonishing 43 quintillion different possible configurations and only one solution.

Support group 'Cubaholics' was set up in 1980 to help addicts kick the habit and Rubik's cubes are so compulsive they have given rise to two medical conditions - Cubist's Thumb and Rubik's Wrist.

Erik Akkersdijk of the Netherlands holds the record for a single solve with a time of 7.08 seconds.

Source : telegraph

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where the wild things are

Venture out into the waters and woodlands of New England, and there's a chance you'll bump into "Champ," America's own Loch Ness Monster, who allegedly plies the muddy ripples of Lake Champlain. Or, perhaps, the Gloucester Sea Serpent. Or the Granite State Bigfoot. Or Connecticut's Winsted Wildman. Dare you wander into the dark-woven forests of Maine or the eerie and unexplored Hockomock Swamp, smack in the middle of the Bay State's allegedly supernatural "Bridgewater Triangle"?

You well may. After all, could what's living in there be any scarier than what's living out here? We find ourselves in a world where presidents swindle their countries into wars, governors shake down children's hospitals, and con men abscond with $50 billion from their investors, many of them charities. Is it any wonder that some people spend hefty chunks of each day dreaming of a world inhabited by unseen creatures untouched by the mean banality of mankind?

Can it be a coincidence that the field of cryptozoology — literally, the study of "hidden animals" — has evolved from a discipline cloaked in shadows and pooh-poohed by science into a full-fledged pop-cultural explosion? In short: the world of late has gone cryptid crazy.

At the Museum of Science, the "Mythic Creatures" exhibit (on display through March 22) delves into the folkloric and ethnozoological aspects of cryptids, from the Kraken (Norwegian sea beast) to the Chupacabra (Latin American livestock muncher). In Egleston Square, the 826 Boston writing center — a chapter of the San Francisco workshop established by Dave Eggers — disguises itself behind a think-tank named, fancifully, the Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute. (Slogan: "We exist because he exists.") Even Harpoon Brewery's new line of high-octane beers is called the Leviathan Series — named for that gargantuan but seldom-seen creature of the lower depths.

That's to say nothing of the new books by the likes of tweedy fabulist John Hodgman, a son of Brookline whose latest almost-true almanac, More Information Than You Require (Dutton), devotes space to discussion of the Pope Lick Monster and Mongolian Death Worm, and delves even deeper into the hollow-earth netherworld of the mole-men. Or the forthcoming Beasts! (Fantagraphics), which features stunning, full-color portraits of more than 90 cryptids, demons, and sprites — from the Ajattar (a grotesque Finnish dragon lady) to the Yuki-Onna (a cruel snow harpy from Japan) — by such comic book artists as Peter Bagge, Kim Deitch, and Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale.

Or the popular TV shows that revel in the unexplained — be they documentary (MonsterQuest, Destination Truth) or fantastical fiction (Lost, with its polar bears pawing through the jungle brush). Or Quatchi, the Sasquatch mascot of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. Or even, we suppose, the politically disillusioned Minnesota citizen who, in this past fall's US Senate race, given the choices Norm Coleman and Al Franken, preferred to vote for "Lizard People."

It shouldn't be surprising that we've seen an upsurge in pop-cultural references to cryptozoological creatures, be they in passing, like the "Bigfoot Lodge" featured in the new Jim Carrey flick Yes Man, or in blockbusters like the forthcoming remakes of The Wolf Man (starring Benicio Del Toro) or The Creature From the Black Lagoon (with the redoubtable Bill Paxton).

Because, as the economy spirals downward, it's worth remembering that it was during the tail end of that first depression (1941, to be exact) that Lon Chaney Jr. bristled his whiskers as the first Wolf Man — a "night monster with the blood lust of a savage beast!" — and allowed moviegoers to trade their real-world fears for screams on the screen.

"Cryptids are recession-proof," says Loren Coleman (no relation to Norm), who lives in Portland, Maine, and is perhaps the world's foremost promulgator of cryptozoological wisdom.

And it's not just the big three. (Which, of course, are the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti, and Sasquatch/Bigfoot.) Cryptids real and imagined are all around us. Consider the creatures who've set the Web abuzz just these past couple years: the body of the so-called Maine Mutant, splayed motionless in the tall grass; the Montauk Monster, washed ashore ingloriously on Long Island; the Georgia Bigfoot, gaped at by millions in his Styrofoam coffin; the Texas Chupacabra, glimpsed fleetingly across a highway patrolman's dashboard.

Yeah, so what if each of those ended up debunked, either as a hoax or explained away as a more mundane animal? (Respectively: a black chow dog, a raccoon, a gorilla costume, a dog with mange.) Does that mean there are no creatures out there left to find? Certainly not. Why, just last month a whole host of never-seen but quite real beasties was discovered and identified by zoologists in the Mekong Delta, including 88 frogs, 279 fish, and the Laotian rock rat, which was thought to have been extinct for 11 million years.

Source : thephoenix
Images only illustration

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mystery Roar from Faraway Space Detected

Space is typically thought of as a very quiet place. But one team of astronomers has found a strange cosmic noise that booms six times louder than expected.

The roar is from the distant cosmos. Nobody knows what causes it.

Of course, sound waves can't travel in a vacuum (which is what most of space is), or at least they can't very efficiently. But radio waves can.

Radio waves are not sound waves, but they are still electromagnetic waves, situated on the low-frequency end of the light spectrum.

Many objects in the universe, including stars and quasars, emit radio waves. Even our home galaxy, the Milky Way, emits a static hiss (first detected in 1931 by physicist Karl Jansky). Other galaxies also send out a background radio hiss.

But the newly detected signal, described here today at the 213th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, is far louder than astronomers expected.

There is "something new and interesting going on in the universe," said Alan Kogut of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

A team led by Kogut detected the signal with a balloon-borne instrument named ARCADE (Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission).

In July 2006, the instrument was launched from NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, and reached an altitude of about 120,000 feet (36,500 meters), where the atmosphere thins into the vacuum of space.

ARCADE's mission was to search the sky for faint signs of heat from the first generation of stars, but instead they heard a roar from the distant reaches of the universe.

"The universe really threw us a curve," Kogut said. "Instead of the faint signal we hoped to find, here was this booming noise six times louder than anyone had predicted."

Detailed analysis of the signal ruled out primordial stars or any known radio sources, including gas in the outermost halo of our own galaxy.

Other radio galaxies also can't account for the noise – there just aren't enough of them.

"You'd have to pack them into the universe like sardines," said study team member Dale Fixsen of the University of Maryland. "There wouldn't be any space left between one galaxy and the next."

The signal is measured to be six times brighter than the combined emission of all known radio sources in the universe.

For now, the origin of the signal remains a mystery.

"We really don't know what it is,"said team member Michael Seiffert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

And not only has it presented astronomers with a new puzzle, it is obscuring the sought-for signal from the earliest stars. But the cosmic static may itself provide important clues to the development of galaxies when the universe was much younger, less than half its present age. Because the radio waves come from far away, traveling at the speed of light, they therefore represent an earlier time in the universe.

"This is what makes science so exciting," Seiffert said. "You start out on a path to measure something – in this case, the heat from the very first stars – but run into something else entirely, some unexplained."

Source : space

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Car giant Nissan to axe 1,200 jobs

Car giant Nissan sent shockwaves through British industry by axing 1,200 jobs at the country's biggest and most productive motor plant, worsening the economic gloom and heightening fears that the looming recession will cut deep into employment.

The jobs - almost one in four - will go at the firm's plant in Sunderland, which employs around 5,000 workers and is one of the most long-established and biggest employers in the North East.

The cuts, including 400 staff on temporary contracts, follow increasing pleas from the motor industry for Government action to boost the availability of credit for consumers as well as firms.

Union officials said the surprise announcement was "devastating" news for the workers and their families while business leaders described the cuts as the "harsh realities" of the global slowdown.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said: "I appreciate that this will be a tough time for workers." He pledged that the Government would work with the local regional development agency to help workers find new jobs as quickly as possible.

Nissan workers only returned to the production line on Monday after an extended Christmas shutdown in response to the slowdown in sales.

Nissan said the outlook for the car market this year remained "extremely challenging", adding that it was committed to taking the right action now to safeguard the plant's long-term sustainability.

The company announced that one shift will be cut from the plant's two production lines until March, with one being reinstated in April.

Trevor Mann, Nissan's senior vice president for manufacturing, Europe, said: "Like all manufacturers, Sunderland plant is currently operating in extraordinary circumstances not of our making. It is essential we take the right action now to ensure we are in a strong and viable position once business conditions return to normal.

"Unavoidably, this means we have had to make some very tough decisions in recent weeks. However by doing so, we are helping to safeguard our long term future which I believe is extremely positive."

Source : ananova

New Jersey UFO Likely a Hoax

It seems likely that a mysterious set of UFO lights that appeared over Phoenix, Arizona last year made an unexpected reappearance over New Jersey on Monday night.

Strange lights appeared over New Jersey's Morris County on the evening of Jan. 5, according to a local TV station's report. The bright red lights were first noticed in the night sky by an eleven-year-old girl, who pointed out three lights grouped together, and another pair some distance away. The lights moved silently and slowly, then disappeared one by one.

The girl's mother, Cindy Hurley, said it was "unsettling...something you've never seen before, and a very strange pattern." Paul Hurley, a pilot, said he was baffled: "I've been in aviation for 20 years and never seen anything like it." The local airport didn't report anything unusual on radar, and police fielded calls from alarmed residents.

Clues about the identity of the New Jersey UFO can be found in a case of identical, mysterious lights seen over Phoenix last year.

Source : livescience
Images only illustration

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Financial Casualty: Why Adolf Merckle Killed Himself

German billionaire Adolf Merckle has killed himself. "The desperate situation of his companies, caused by the financial crisis, the uncertainties of the last few weeks and his powerlessness to act, broke the passionate family entrepreneur and he took his own life," a family statement said

Crushed by watching his life's work slip through his fingers, Adolf Merckle, the 74-year-old Swabian billionaire, walked out into the bitter cold Monday night and threw himself under a speeding train.
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Though he led a quiet life, mountain-climbing being among his few personal passions, Merckle was thrust into the headlines in November as it emerged that he lost several hundred million euros when he got caught on the losing end of a short sale of Volkswagen shares. It is believed that he lost as much as €500 million. His trouble was made worse by the spreading financial crunch, which hit his corporate empire hard.

Source and Picture : time

Thieves make clean getaway with £6,000 hot tub full of water from spa showroom

Given the current cold snap, the thought of having a luxury hot tub must have been tempting.

But the owners of a spa showroom never thought one installed outside their premises was at risk.

After all, the £6,000 outdoor model weighed a third of a tonne, was wired to mains electricity and filled with water.

Thieves struck over the holiday period, however, using a nearby water butt to scoop out more than a tonne of water it was filled with.

They then carried the six-seater tub through a hole they had cut in a six-foot high metal fence, over a ditch using planks, and onto a waiting vehicle before driving it away.

Police suspect it may have been stolen to order for a wealthy customer.

Denise Mason, who runs Fenland Arctic Spas in a business park near Littleport in Cambridgeshire, said: 'We were closed between Christmas and New Year and only found it had gone when we came back to pick up some paperwork.

'It is bizarre that someone has just walked off with it. We're on a main road where thousands of vehicles go past each day. We thought it was a joke at first.

'We think the tub must have been carried 80ft through a field to a vehicle on the main road.

'They did drop it because we found bits of it in the ditch, although it wasn't fundamental damage that will stop it from working.'

Her husband, Steve, added: 'Police think it was stolen to order. It would have taken at least four people to shift it. It's a major thing to steal something of that size. And they had specialist equipment to cut off the electricity.

'You wouldn't cut through your kettle cable at home which is 13 amps and this was a 32-amp electric cable. If you or I did that we wouldn't have much hair left.'

The couple are hoping the thieves haven't made a 'clean' getaway, however, as police have told them they have an idea who the culprits are, despite there being no CCTV in the area.

Cambridgeshire police said the tub was stolen between Tuesday and Saturday last week.

A spokesman said: 'Unknown persons have entered the area by cutting open a metal fence panel and have stolen a hot tub which was connected up to the mains outside the showroom.

'The hot tub was carried away through the opened fence and over a ditch into a field next to the unit.'

Source : dailymail

Monday, January 5, 2009

Android netbooks on their way, likely by 2010

The image above shows a netbook Asus EEEPC 1000H running on Google’s mobile operating system Android. Huh? You thought Android was for mobile phones, right? Well, as we’ve written before, Google is planning to use Android for any device — not just the mobile phones.

Besides writing as freelancers for VentureBeat, we also run a startup called Mobile-facts. It took us about four hours of work to compile Android for the netbook. Having done so, we (Daniel Hartmann, that is) got the netbook fully up and running on it, with nearly all of the necessary hardware you’d want (including graphics, sound and the wireless card for internet) running. See the images below for further impressions.

Here’s the significance: Imagine the billion dollar market at stake here if Google can make good on this vision. Netbooks are basically small-scale PCs. For Silicon Valley myriad of software companies, it means a well-backed, open operating system that is open and ripe for exploitation for building upon. Now think of Chrome, Google’s web browser, and the richness it allows developers to build into the browser’s relationship with the desktop — all of this could usher in a new wave of more sophisticated web applications, cheaper and more dynamic to use. Ramifications abound: What does it mean for the stock price of Microsoft? Microsoft currently owns the vast majority of the desktop operating system market share? In recent weeks, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer repeatedly dismissed Android as competition to Windows Mobile.

Back to our experience in compiling Android for the Asus netbooks. It shows us that there is a big technology push to let Android run on netbooks under way.

Based on the progress we see in the Android open source project, we believe that getting an Android netbook to market is doable in as few as three months. Of course, the timing depends as much on decisions by the partners in Google’s OHA alliance and other developers contributing to Android, as it does on Google itself. It is these partners — including device makers and carriers — who decide how and when to adopt Android for different devices and markets. As we note below, Intel is one such contributor working on the adoption of Android to a notebook.

A mass production of the netbooks would be possible between three to nine months, depending on circumstances, two sources familiar with such matters told us. However, as we evaluate the progress of the various OHA projects, we expect conditions for a mass-market netbook to ripen in 2010, rather than in 2009. Right now a variety a of OHA members, announced and unnanounced, are working on projects to set up a sufficient ecosystem.

One important part of the ecosystem would be to have a set of well-functioning applications (an office productivity suite, for example). Google is mostly leaving applications development for Android to third parties (applications which run in the browser like Google Docs being the notable exception). At the rate things are going, we don’t see enough of these third parties developing applications for Android netbooks in the next 12 months. There have been recent predictions about Android netbooks appearing in 2009.

Source and Picture from : venturebeat

Pictured: The man who can down a huge bottle of ketchup in just 39 seconds

Speed is the word for Guinness Rishi as he powers his way through a giant 490 gram bottle of ketchup in just 39 seconds.

Guinness believes he holds the fastest time for drinking the world's favourite condiment, which he sups through a straw.

His brand of choice is a toss up between Maggi or the more traditional Heinz.

And 67-year-old Guinness, from Delhi, India, doesn't confine his talents to the world of tomato sauce.

He claims to hold 19 world titles and even changed his name - from Har Parkash to Guinness Rishi - in a bid to win over official record-keepers.

But so far none of his bizarre stunts have been recognised in the Guinness Book of Records.

Guinness puts his motivation down to the need to stand out in a country of over 1 billion people.

'People consider me an extraordinary person, not an ordinary person,' he said.

His records include 'taking on the world's oldest adoptee', after he legally took custody of his 61-year-old brother-in-law.

Guiness also built the tallest sugar cube tower in the world, which stands at 64 inches.

He took his new name in 1991, after keeping a motor scooter in continuous motion for 1,001 hours for another bizarre record.

Source and Picture : dailymail

Sunday, January 4, 2009


On September 4, 2008 the SIU encountered yet another type of unusual activity in the Marley Woods. A property owner south of Site 1 was in the cabin area when he saw two extremely large dog-like animals some 880 feet away. They were in the corner of two fields and were walking slowly together.

He stated the animals would weigh at least 200 lbs. As he had many cattle in that field he was afraid they might attack and kill his cattle. He grabbed his rifle and hit one of the animals “making it red” with no reaction from the animals. They didn’t react to the shot and continued walking slowly away. No blood was found where the animal was hit.

Source and Picture : ufophysical

Thursday, January 1, 2009

On Bigfoot's trail

In her day job as an archaeologist, Kathy Moskowitz Strain looks for traces of people who dwelt long ago in the Stanislaus National Forest.

At night and on weekends, she searches for something else: Bigfoot.

The legendary creature has fascinated Strain since she was a girl. The 40-year-old Jamestown resident has looked for Bigfoot evidence in Tuolumne County and beyond, and she has documented sightings by other people.

"Footprints, plus the traditional Native American stories about Bigfoot, have convinced me that something is out there," she said.

Strain has spoken at Bigfoot conferences around the country and appeared on "MonsterQuest" on the History Channel.

She has just written a book that combines her interests in Bigfoot and Native Americans. The book, "Giants, Cannibals & Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture," has more than 150 stories from the Arctic to Florida.

Strain, a Porterville native, has bachelor's and master's degrees from California State University, Bakersfield. She is married to Bob Strain, a retired Folsom firefighter, and has two sons, Zackary, 16, and Jacob, 11.

Source : modbee

On Bigfoot's trail

In her day job as an archaeologist, Kathy Moskowitz Strain looks for traces of people who dwelt long ago in the Stanislaus National Forest.

At night and on weekends, she searches for something else: Bigfoot.

The legendary creature has fascinated Strain since she was a girl. The 40-year-old Jamestown resident has looked for Bigfoot evidence in Tuolumne County and beyond, and she has documented sightings by other people.

"Footprints, plus the traditional Native American stories about Bigfoot, have convinced me that something is out there," she said.

Strain has spoken at Bigfoot conferences around the country and appeared on "MonsterQuest" on the History Channel.

She has just written a book that combines her interests in Bigfoot and Native Americans. The book, "Giants, Cannibals & Monsters: Bigfoot in Native Culture," has more than 150 stories from the Arctic to Florida.

Strain, a Porterville native, has bachelor's and master's degrees from California State University, Bakersfield. She is married to Bob Strain, a retired Folsom firefighter, and has two sons, Zackary, 16, and Jacob, 11.

Source : modbee

The Fight Over NASA’s Future

NASA has named the rocket Ares I, as in the god of war — and its life has been a battle from the start.
Ares I is part of a new system of spacecraft being designed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to replace the nation’s aging space shuttles. The Ares I and its Orion capsule, along with a companion heavy-lift rocket known as the Ares V, are meant for travel to the Moon and beyond.

Technical troubles have dogged the design process for the Ares I, the first of the rockets scheduled to be built, with attendant delays and growing costs. And in an age of always-on communication, instant messages and blogs, internal debate that once might have been part of a cloistered process has spilled into public view.

Some critics say there are profound problems with the design that render the Ares I dead on arrival, while other observers argue that technical complications crop up in any spacecraft development program of this scope.

Article and Source : The New York Times
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