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ENERGY TECH Analysis: Iran develops Bandar-e Anzali
Iran is proposing to construct a massive port facility in Bandar-e Anzali ("Anzali port") on its northern Caspian John C.K. DalyWashington (UPI) May 21, 2008 For the last decade the U.S. administration has brandished the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to isolate Iran and punish naughty Western companies seeking a foothold in Iran's hydrocarbon sector. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, it has been a core tenet of U.S. foreign policy to contain the Islamic Republic of Iran, and ILSA is the most formidable weapon in Washington's arsenal.
Now Iran is proposing to construct a massive port facility in Bandar-e Anzali ("Anzali port") on its northern Caspian shore, a development that may provide a mortal blow to the ILSA sanctions regime, at least for the former Soviet republics of the Caucasus region and Central Asia. Those with a sense of historical irony might note that prior to the Islamic Revolution, Bandar-e Anzali was known as Bandar-e Pahlavi ("Pahlavi port").
The first U.S. sanctions against Iran followed the 1979 hostage crisis, when Washington froze about $12 billion in Iranian assets. Extending Washington's reach, 17 years later ILSA threatened foreign nations and companies with sanctions if they invested more than $20 million in developing Iran's energy resources, provoking protests in particular from the European Union. Some EU members note Washington's "double standard" as U.S. foreign policy persistently strives to undercut the Arab League's boycott of Israel while promoting ILSA.
Tehran in turn has sought to escape ILSA's clutches by wooing foreign companies with enticing investment opportunities, but, playing on its geography, is now reaching out to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in particular by offering its territory as a duty-free transit corridor for their exports, a siren song that undoubtedly will prove as alluring in Almaty and Ashgabat as it is discordant in Washington. As an added incentive, Tehran will make Bandar-e Anzali a free trade and industrial zone, which Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, long subjected to punitive energy and goods transit tariffs by Russia, will find an additional incentive.
The development project is squarely aimed at Iran's Caspian neighbors; in telling journalists that Tehran intends to construct the Bandar-e Anzali Port Free Trade and Industrial Zone, the project's managing director, Kamal Firouzabadi said: "Countries try various social, political and economic methods to reach economic development. One of these ways is enriching free trade zones," adding, "Among our other projects, I can refer to studies for constructing roads and transport routes to this zone. This port is to be constructed through investing approximately $435 million." Construction is slated to begin early next year.
The port's infrastructure is already capable of handling its expanded role, as it is connected to five power stations and has an international airport 15 miles away in Rasht, capital of Iran's northwestern Gilan province and Iran's largest city on the Caspian.
The Bandar-e Anzali Free Trade and Industrial Zone covers approximately 12.3 square miles, with nearly 5 miles of shoreline and docks including industrial, trade, tourism and service zones. For gourmands, Bandar-e Anzali also produces some of the world's best caviar.
Kazakhstan has already dabbled its toes in utilizing Iranian transit for its energy exports, shipping small amounts of its oil across the Caspian to the northern Iranian port of Neka, with Almaty receiving an equivalent amount of Iranian crude at Iran's southern port facilities on the Persian Gulf. Up to now, Kazakhstan, fearing to anger Washington, has made limited use of the arrangement; in 2007 Neka received a paltry 70,000 to 80,000 barrels per day of Kazakhstan's 1.2 million bpd exports.
But in a development certain to interest Almaty in the Bandar-e Anzali project, Iranian-Kazakh trade is steadily rising, exceeding $2 billion in 2006, up from $700 million only two years earlier. Besides Neka, Iran's Caspian port of Bandar-e Amirabad also receives Kazakh oil imports, and in 1999-2002 received $40 million in upgrades.
Of the Caspian's 11 major seaports, five are Iranian, three Russian, with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan each having at present a single facility. The capacity of Iran's four main Caspian ports already exceeds the total combined capacity of those in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia.
Adding to Washington's anxieties, the upgrading of Iran's Caspian ports is part of a much larger Eurasian transport initiative. In September 2000 Russia, Iran and India signed an intergovernmental agreement in St. Petersburg to construct an international "North-South Transport Corridor," which in turn built upon an earlier trilateral agreement India and Iran signed with Turkmenistan in 1997. As envisaged, the "North-South Transport Corridor" will permit the transit of goods from Indian ports to Iran's Persian Gulf Bandar-e Abbas or Chahbahar ports, from where they will be conveyed via rail across Iran to Bandar-e Anzali and Bandar-e Amirabad. Goods then will be shipped across the Caspian to Russia's Mahachkala or Derbent ports, from where they can access the Russian railway network, while Russia's Astrakhan port on the Volga has the added benefit of being astride the delta of one of Europe's longest and most navigable rivers, before the goods end up at St. Petersburg or Rotterdam to enter the lucrative EU market.
Needless to say, Indian officials are very enthusiastic about the route, as its 3,880-mile length is much shorter than an Indian-Suez Canal-Mediterranean transit of more than 10,000 miles.
If any further proof is needed that the world is growing increasingly deaf to Washington's barking about ILSA, the two-day Eighth Iran Petrochemical Forum, which opened in Tehran on May 19, is being attended by representatives of 76 companies from 27 countries, including Russia and U.S. NATO allies Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands,
Norway, Spain, Turkey and Britain.


Group wants Wi-Fi banned from buildings

By: Gadi Schwartz KOB-TV, and Joshua Panas
A group in Santa Fe says the city is discriminating against them because they say that they're allergic to the wireless Internet signal. And now they want Wi-Fi banned from public buildings.
Arthur Firstenberg says he is highly sensitive to certain types of electric fields, including wireless Internet and cell phones.
"I get chest pain and it doesn't go away right away," he said.
Firstenberg and dozens of other electro-sensitive people in Santa Fe claim that putting up Wi-Fi in public places is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The city attorney is now checking to see if putting up Wi-Fi could be considered discrimination.
But City Councilor Ron Trujillo says the areas are already saturated with wireless Internet.
"It's not 1692, it's 2008. Santa Fe needs to embrace this technology, it's not going away," Trujillo said.
The city attorney hopes to have a legal recommendation by the end of the month.



Asteroid and comet impacts on Earth can cause catastrophic extinction events. They can also bring life back, new research shows. Many scientists believe that a massive rock from space came crashing down 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period.
The resulting blast set forests ablaze. The skies of Earth were filled with ash that blocked out the sun and the planet went cold. Vegetation died in the absence of sunlight. Shortly thereafter, the dinosaurs and many other life forms on Earth went extinct. Millions of years of evolution were wiped clean in an instant.
It's frightening that one instantaneous event could completely change the face of life on Earth. However, a new study supports longstanding suggestions that asteroid impacts could also help spread life throughout the universe.
Rocks that are ejected from the Earth - or any other life-bearing planet - by an asteroid impact might actually protect microbes living inside them while they float through space. These rocks could then fall to the surface of other planets, or even back to their planet of origin. In this way, the microbes could return to their home planet and 're-colonize' the surface after the disastrous effects of the asteroid impact have worn off.
Blast OffIn order for organisms to survive a trip into orbit, they must endure a series of life-threatening events. First there's the asteroid impact itself. Then there's the force of being launched into space. Next, they must travel in the harsh environment of space until a planet's gravity reels them in.
This means facing an environment of extreme cold, intense radiation and vacuum exposure. Finally, they need to fall down through the atmosphere, experiencing extreme pressure, heating and the shock of landing.
Previous studies have shown that some rock-inhabiting organisms, known as 'endoliths', might be able to survive a trip through space and a plunge through a planet's atmosphere to the surface. However, nobody knew whether these organisms could survive the initial trip into space.
Recently, an international team of researchers, led by Gerda Horneck of the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Koln, Germany, selected a number of hardy microbes from Earth and tested their ability to 'hitchhike' aboard rocks similar to martian meteorites.
The organisms used in the study included bacterial endospores, endolithic cyanobaterica and lichens. This selection provided a wider range of organisms than in other studies performed to date, including not just simple bacteria but also more complex eukaryotic organisms.
The researchers looked at previous studies of martian meteorites that provided information about the kinds of forces needed to eject rocks from a large planet. Using this data, the researchers developed a series of tests designed to simulate these pressures on the selected organisms.
By smashing the life-containing rocks between metal plates, the researchers were able to determine which organisms are capable of surviving different pressures caused by asteroid impacts and ejection into space. Ultimately, they discovered that a wide range of organisms would be capable of surviving impacts on Mars or Earth.
"Our results enlarge the number of potential organisms that might be able to reseed a planetary surface after early very large impact events, and suggest that such a re-seeding scenario on a planetary surface is possible with diverse organisms," the researchers report.



stop waiting ... Until your car or home is paid off. Until you get a new car or home. Until your kids leave the house. Until you go back to school. Until you finish school. Until you lose 10 lbs. Until you gain 10 lbs. Until you get married. Until you get a divorce. Until you have kids. Until you retire. Until summer.. Until spring. Until winter.. Until fall. Until you die. There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. So work like you don't need money, love like you've never been hurt, and, dance like no one's watching.



Design mash-ups can be so much fun. Take this 1963 Corvette Stingray inspired boat design by
Swedish designer Bo Zolland. He takes the split-back window design of the classic American muscle car and fuses it into a watercraft that manages to come off very futuristic and ultra luxurious at the same time. I am not sure of having the backseat passenger’s head just inches away from the exposed motor, but this is just a concept after all. Rumor has it, if you really want one of these made, Zolland will direct you to a Swedish boat manufacturer called “Stand-Craft” that will be glad to carve one out as is.
/Yanko Design


Black Hole Expelled From Its Parent Galaxy

An enormous burst of gravitational waves that accompanies the merger of two black holes the newly formed black hole was ejected from its galaxy. This extreme ejection event, which had been predicted by theorists, has now been observed in nature for the first time. The team led by Stefanie Komossa from the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) thereby opened a new window into observational astrophysics.
The discovery will have far-reaching consequences for our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution in the early Universe, and also provides observational confirmation of a key prediction from the General Theory of Relativity (Astrophysical Journal Letters, May 10, 2008).
When two black holes merge, waves of gravitational radiation ripple outward through the galaxy at the speed of light. Because the waves are emitted mainly in one direction, the black hole itself is pushed in the opposite direction, much like the recoil that accompanies the firing of a rifle or the launching of a rocket. The black hole is booted from its normal location in the nucleus of the galaxy. If the kick velocity is high enough, the black hole can escape the galaxy completely.
The MPE team's discovery verifies, for the first time, that these extreme events actually occur; up to now they had only been simulated in supercomputers. The recoiling black hole caught the astrophysicists' attention by its high speed - 2650 km/s - which was measured via the broad emission lines of gas around the black hole.
At this speed, one could travel from New York to Los Angeles in just under two seconds. Because of the tremendous power of the recoil the black hole, which has a mass of several 100 millions solar masses, was catapulted from the core of its parent galaxy.
In addition to the emission lines from gas bound to the recoiling black hole, the astronomers were also struck by a remarkably narrow set of emission lines originating from gas left behind in the galaxy. This gas has been excited by radiation from the recoiling black hole.
Gas that moves with the black hole - the so-called accretion disk gas - continues to "feed" the recoiling black hole for millions of years. In the process of being accreted, this gas shines in X-rays.
In fact the team around Komossa also detected this X-ray emission from the disk around the black hole at a distance of 10 billion light years: by chance the region was scanned by the satellite ROSAT, and at the extreme end of the visual field an X-ray source was discovered the position of which corresponds with the distant galaxy.
The new discovery is also important because it indirectly proves that black holes do in fact merge and that the mergers are sometimes accompanied by large kicks. This process had been postulated by theory, but never before confirmed via direct observation. Another implication of the discovery is that there must be galaxies without black holes in their nuclei - as well as black holes which float forever in space between the galaxies.
This raises new questions for the scientists: Did galaxies and black holes form and evolve jointly in the early Universe? Or was there a population of galaxies which had been deprived of their central black holes? And if so, how was the evolution of these galaxies different from that of galaxies that retained their black holes?
In a close interplay between theory and observation, the astrophysicists prepare to answer these questions. Various detectors on earth and in space, for example the space interferometer LISA, will be set on the track of gravitational waves. The discovery of the MPE team will provide new impetus for theorists to develop more detailed models of the superkicks and their consequences for the evolution of black holes and galaxies.
/Space Daily - Time & Space

Pants or Keyboards ?!


Lockheed Martin has announced that IBM will join its industry team to develop and maintain the Next Generation Identification (NGI) system for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-the new multi-modal, state-of-the-art biometrics system to be used by state, local and federal authorities.
As the prime contractor on the FBI's NGI program, Lockheed Martin will provide program management and oversight as well as biometric and large systems development and integration expertise. Joining the NGI team as a subcontractor, IBM will provide some information technology services, as well as specific software and hardware to be used in the NGI system.
"Our entire industry team, with the new addition of IBM, is very pleased to start working on the NGI program," said Judy Marks, President, Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions. "This represents a win for the FBI, the justice community, and most importantly, the public who will benefit from the security of an advanced biometric identification system."
"IBM and Lockheed Martin have a strong history collaborating in the Federal community and we are pleased to join their NGI team," said Dave Amoriell, General Manager, IBM Global Services, Federal. "This industry team can provide the right blend of technology and services needed to support the FBI's critical mission of using intelligence to prevent national threats and improving public safety."
The NGI system will expand fingerprint processing capacity and will now also include palm prints, iris and facial recognition capabilities. Additionally, the system requires a significant degree of technical flexibility in order to accommodate other biometric modalities that may mature and become important to law enforcement efforts in the future.
/ Space War



Forbes estimated Ambani's net worth at $43 billion in March. Reliance Industries was founded by Mukesh's father, Dhirubhai Ambani, in 1966, and is India's most valuable firm by market capitalization. The couple, who have three children, currently live in a 22-story Mumbai tower that the family has spent years remodeling to meet its needs.
Like many families with the means to do so, the Ambanis wanted to build a custom home. They consulted with architecture firms Perkins + Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates, the designers behind the Mandarin Oriental, based in Dallas and Los Angeles, respectively. Plans were then drawn up for what will be the world's largest and most expensive home: a 27-story skyscraper in downtown Mumbai with a cost nearing $2 billion, says Thomas Johnson, director of marketing at Hirsch Bedner Associates. The architects and designers are creating as they go, altering floor plans, design elements and concepts as the building is constructed.
When the Ambani residence is finished in January, completing a four-year process, it will be 550 feet high with 400,000 square feet of interior space.
What $1 Million Buys In Homes Worldwide
The home will cost more than a hotel or high-rise of similar size because of its custom measurements and fittings: A hotel or condominium has a common layout, replicated on every floor, and uses the same materials throughout the building (such as door handles, floors, lamps and window treatments).
The Ambani home, called Antilla, differs in that no two floors are alike in either plans or materials used. At the request of Nita Ambani, say the designers, if a metal, wood or crystal is part of the ninth-floor design, it shouldn't be used on the eleventh floor, for example. The idea is to blend styles and architectural elements so spaces give the feel of consistency, but without repetition.
Antilla's shape is based on Vaastu, an Indian tradition much like Feng Shui that is said to move energy beneficially through the building by strategically placing materials, rooms and objects.
Pricey Pad Atop six stories of parking lots, Antilla's living quarters begin at a lobby with nine elevators, as well as several storage rooms and lounges. Down dual stairways with silver-covered railings is a large ballroom with 80% of its ceiling covered in crystal chandeliers. It features a retractable showcase for pieces of art, a mount of LCD monitors and embedded speakers, as well as stages for entertainment. The hall opens to an indoor/outdoor bar, green rooms, powder rooms and allows access to a nearby "entourage room" for security guards and assistants to relax.
Ambani plans to occasionally use the residence for corporate entertainment, and the family wants the look and feel of the home's interior to be distinctly Indian; 85% of the materials and labor will come from outside the U.S., most of it from India.
What do you think of Ambami's home? Weigh in. Add your thoughts in the Reader Comments section below.
Where possible, the designers say, whether it's for the silver railings, crystal chandeliers, woven area rugs or steel support beams, the Ambanis are using Indian companies, contractors, craftsmen and materials firms. Elements of Indian culture juxtapose newer designs. For example, the sinks in a lounge extending off the entertainment level, which features a movie theater and wine room, are shaped like ginkgo leaves (native to India) with the stem extending to the faucet to guide the water into the basin.
On the health level, local plants decorate the outdoor patio near the swimming pool and yoga studio. The floor also features an ice room where residents and guests can escape the Mumbai heat to a small, cooled chamber dusted by man-made snow flurries.
For more temperate days, the family will enjoy a four-story open garden. In profile, the rebar-enforced beams form a "W" shape that supports the upper two-thirds of the building while creating an open-air atrium of gardens, flowers and lawns. Gardens, whether hanging hydroponic plants, or fixed trees, are a critical part of the building's exterior adornment but also serve a purpose: The plants act as an energy-saving device by absorbing sunlight, thus deflecting it from the living spaces and making it easier to keep the interior cool in summer and warm in winter. An internal core space on the garden level contains entertaining rooms and balconies that clear the tree line and offer views of downtown Mumbai.
The top floors of entertaining space, where Ambani plans to host business guests (or just relax) offer panoramic views of the Arabian Sea.



subcutaneous fat, or fat that collects under the skin, helped to improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar.
Mice that got transplants of this type of fat deep into their abdomens lost weight and their fat cells shrank, even though they made no changes in their diet or activity levels.
"It was a surprising result," said Dr. Ronald Kahn of Harvard Medical School in Boston, whose study appears in the journal Cell Metabolism.
"We actually found it had a beneficial effect, and it was especially true when you put it inside the abdomen," Kahn said in a telephone interview.
Kahn said he started the study to find out why fat located in different parts of the body seems to have different risks of metabolic disease such as diabetes.
Researchers have known for some time that fat that collects in the abdomen -- known as visceral fat -- can raise a person's risk of diabetes and heart disease, while people with pear-shaped bodies, with fat deposits in the buttocks and hips, are less prone to these disorders.
Now it turns out that subcutaneous fat -- fat found just under the skin -- may be actively protecting people from metabolic disease.
Kahn and colleagues conducted a series of experiments on mice where they transplanted subcutaneous fat from donor mice into the bellies and under the skin of mice.
Mice that got subcutaneous fat transplanted into their bellies started to slim down after several weeks, and they also showed improved blood sugar and insulin levels compared to mice that underwent a sham procedure.
"What we found was that when we put it in either place, there was some improvement in metabolism," Kahn said.
"I think it's an important result because not only does it say that not all fat is bad, but I think it points to a special aspect of fat where we need to do more research," he said.
Kahn's team is working to find the substances produced in subcutaneous fat that provide the benefit with the hope of developing a drug that might copy this effect. Although fat is known to produce several hormones, Kahn said none of the known hormones appeared to be involved in this process.
"If we can capture those (substances), we might have an opportunity to convert them into drugs or use them as guides to help develop drugs," he said.
/Yahoo! Buzz


NASA Kepler Mission Offers Opportunity to Send Names Into Space

How cool would it be to have your name on board the spacecraft that discovers the first known Earth-like planet beyond our solar system? Well, here's your chance. NASA is proud to announce an opportunity for anyone to submit their name to be included on a DVD and rocketed into space as part of NASA's Kepler Mission, scheduled to launch in February 2009 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
"This mission will provide our first knowledge of Earth-like planets beyond our solar system," said Kepler Mission principal investigator William Borucki.
The Name in Space DVD will be mounted on the exterior of the spacecraft in November 2008. A video of the DVD being mounted on the spacecraft will be taken and posted on the Kepler mission Web site prior to the spacecraft being shipped to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in December of this year. A copy of the DVD with all of the names and messages will be given to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, Washington.
"It's a way for the public to participate in our space program," explained David Koch, deputy principal investigator for the Kepler Mission. According to Koch, there's no limit to the number of names that can be submitted for inclusion on the DVD.
"We're looking for several million names," Koch said. "The only limitation is people's interest."
Anyone who wants to participate in the Name in Space project should submit their name, the state or country they live in and, if they desire, a short statement (500 words or less) answering the question: "Why do you think the Kepler Mission is important?" The deadline for submissions to the Kepler Mission Web site is Nov. 1, 2008.
Certificates of Participation will be available for printing from the Kepler mission Web site. The certificate states that the person whose name has been submitted has been included on the list of names launched in 2009 with the Kepler spacecraft into orbit around the sun. There is no charge for participating in the project or for printing the certificate.
Name in Space is an international activity associated with the International Year of Astronomy 2009 in recognition of the 400th anniversary of Johannes Kepler's publication of his first two laws of planetary motion.


NASA invites people of all ages to join the lunar exploration journey with an opportunity to send their names to the moon aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, spacecraft. The Send Your Name to the Moon Web site enables everyone to participate in the lunar adventure and place their names in orbit around the moon for years to come.
Participants can submit their information the website, print a certificate and have their name entered into a database. The database will be placed on a microchip that will be integrated onto the spacecraft. The deadline for submitting names is June 27, 2008.
"Everyone who sends their name to the moon, like I'm doing, becomes part of the next wave of lunar explorers," said Cathy Peddie, deputy project manager for LRO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The LRO mission is the first step in NASA's plans to return humans to the moon by 2020, and your name can reach there first. How cool is that?"
The orbiter, comprised of six instruments and one technology demonstration, will provide the most comprehensive data set ever returned from the moon. The mission will focus on the selection of safe landing sites and identification of lunar resources. It also will study how the lunar radiation environment could affect humans.
LRO will also create a comprehensive atlas of the moon's features and resources that will be needed as NASA designs and builds a planned lunar outpost. The mission will support future human exploration while providing a foundation for upcoming science missions. LRO is scheduled for launch in late 2008.

/Moon Daily




This is the world's first successful shooting of such a Full Earth-Rise. It was also very precious because it was one of only two chances in a year for the KAGUYA to capture a Full Earth-Rise when the orbits of the Moon, the Earth, the Sun and the KAGUYA are all lined up.
The shooting was performed by the KAGUYA's onboard HDTV for space use, which was developed by NHK. The movie data was received at JAXA, then processed by NHK.
(1) The phenomenon expressed as a "Full Earth-Rise" can be seen from a satellite that travels around the Moon such as the KAGUYA (SELENE) or the Apollo manned spacecraft. The Earth is almost stationary when it is observed from the Moon, thus a Full Earth-Rise coming out from the horizon cannot be seen from the Moon.
/Moon Daily




After 13 years on top, Bill Gates is no longer the richest man in the world. That honor now belongs to his friend and sometimes bridge partner Warren Buffett. Riding the surging price of Berkshire Hathaway stock, Buffett has seen his fortune swell to an estimated $62 billion, up $10 billion from a year ago. Gates is now worth $58 billion and is ranked third richest in the world. He is up $2 billion from a year ago, but would have been as rich--or richer--than Buffett, had Microsoft not made an unsolicited bid for Yahoo! at the beginning of February. Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helú now ranks as the world's second richest person with a net worth of $60 billion.




Laughter is one of the least understood of human behaviors. Scientists have found that during a good laugh three parts of the brain light up: a thinking part that helps you get the joke, a movement area that tells your muscles to move, and an emotional region that elicits the "giddy" feeling. But it remains unknown why one person laughs at your brother's foolish jokes while another chuckles while watching a horror movie. John Morreall, who is a pioneer of humor research at the College of William and Mary, has found that laughter is a playful response to incongruities - stories that disobey conventional expectations. Others in the humor field point to laughter as a way of signaling to another person that this action is meant "in fun." One thing is clear: Laughter makes us feel better
/Live Science

More foreign tourists coming to U.S.