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9/30/10

First Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Found


Santa Cruz CA (SPX)
A team of planet hunters from the University of California (UC) Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington has announced the discovery of a planet with three times the mass of Earth orbiting a nearby star at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star's "habitable zone."
This discovery was the result of more than a decade of observations using the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, one of the world's largest optical telescopes.
The research, sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation, placed the planet in an area where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface. If confirmed, this would be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered and the first strong case for a potentially habitable one.
To astronomers, a "potentially habitable" planet is one that could sustain life, not necessarily one where humans would thrive. Habitability depends on many factors, but having liquid water and an atmosphere are among the most important.
The new findings are based on 11 years of observations of the nearby red dwarf star Gliese 581using the HIRES spectrometer on the Keck I Telescope. The spectrometer allows precise measurements of a star's radial velocity (its motion along the line of sight from Earth), which can reveal the presence of planets.
The gravitational tug of an orbiting planet causes periodic changes in the radial velocity of the host star. Multiple planets induce complex wobbles in the star's motion, and astronomers use sophisticated analyses to detect planets and determine their orbits and masses.
"Keck's long-term observations of the wobble of nearby stars enabled the detection of this multi-planetary system," said Mario R. Perez, Keck program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Keck is once again proving itself an amazing tool for scientific research." "Our findings offer a very compelling case for a potentially habitable planet," said Vogt.
"The fact that we were able to detect this planet so quickly and so nearby tells us that planets like this must be really common."
The paper reports the discovery of two new planets around Gliese 581. This brings the total number of known planets around this star to six, the most yet discovered in a planetary system outside of our own. Like our solar system, the planets around Gliese 581 have nearly-circular orbits.
The new planet designated Gliese 581g has a mass three to four times that of Earth and orbits its star in just under 37 days. Its mass indicates that it is probably a rocky planet with a definite surface and enough gravity to hold on to an atmosphere.
Gliese 581, located 20 light years away from Earth in the constellation Libra, has two previously detected planets that lie at the edges of the habitable zone, one on the hot side (planet c) and one on the cold side (planet d).
While some astronomers still think planet d may be habitable if it has a thick atmosphere with a strong greenhouse effect to warm it up, others are skeptical. The newly-discovered planet g, however, lies right in the middle of the habitable zone.
The planet is tidally locked to the star, meaning that one side is always facing the star and basking in perpetual daylight, while the side facing away from the star is in perpetual darkness. One effect of this is to stabilize the planet's surface climates, according to Vogt. The most habitable zone on the planet's surface would be the line between shadow and light (known as the "terminator").
/spacedaily.com/

This is not a Road !







Thousands of dead fish floating in Louisiana
Thousands of dead fish floated along Bayou Robinson on Sunday, the latest in a string of four major fish kills.
From: vicky dhamu

9/28/10

How Much Fossil Fuel is in the Earth?


. Earth contains a finite supply of fossil fuels –- the big three being oil, coal and natural gas. And although we know it's finite, we don't really know how long they will last.
Experts attempt to measure how many fossil fuels are left by what's called proven reserves, fuels in the ground that haven't been brought out yet, but could be. And that number, while admittedly slippery to nail down, hasn’t significantly declined over time, as one might expect.
According to the 2010 International Energy Outlook, “as of Jan. 1, 2010, proved world oil reserves, as reported by the Oil & Gas Journal, were estimated at 1,354 billion barrels—12 billion barrels (about 1 percent) higher than the estimate for 2009.”
Wait: How could this happen? The global economy guzzles over 80 million barrels of oil a day, and yet the amount of fuel left in the ground goes up?
The trick here is the term "proved (or proven) reserves." Remember, those figures refer to reservoirs of oil, coal seams, and natural gas deposits that companies are sure they can make a profit from, if they could bring them up using current extraction technologies
Plenty of deposits around the world aren't accessible, or simply wouldn't be profitable to drill or mine. Take the many oil formations lying under a mile of water at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, for example. Until a few years ago, giant oil rigs like the Deepwater Horizon didn't exist, and so all of those oil fields were effectively off limits. They may as well have been on the moon, so they simply didn't go on the ledger as "proved" reserves.
Some reserves are just plain deceiving, like the major Gulf oil field called Thunder Horse that's currently vastly under-performing estimates.
And as for coal and natural gas (and tar sands, for that matter), if you can't get it out of the ground, or can't make money doing it, it doesn't matter how much is down there.
That said, drilling, mining and refining technologies are evolving with lightning-quick speed. So the idea of a proven reserve becomes time-dependent based on how quickly the technology can be developed to bring it into our homes or gas tanks.
In an effort to keep up with this moving target, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes the International Energy Outlook every year, a detailed analysis of available energy resources from nonrenewable oil to biofuels around the world.
“We don’t believe that proven reserves alone are an appropriate measure for judging total resource availability in the long run,” Linda Doman, an international forecasting expert with the EIA said. “For example, despite continued production, global reserves haven’t declined historically (because of) exploration, discovery and reserve replacement.”
In other words, analysts extrapolate as much as they think they can into the future to determine what new sources of fuel may come online somewhere down the road.
From an environmental standpoint, all that raw data on the unrecovered barrels of crude oil, Btu of coal (a measure of heat content) or other fossil fuel metrics are pretty abstract. What matters is demand, and whether that demand will drive more production, which will in turn spur more exploration and more proven reserves, in the short term at least.
The International Energy Outlook expects a nearly 50 percent jump in global energy demand by 2035. During that same period, renewable energy is slated to increase to 14 percent from 10 percent of global supply.
“While that (renewable energy) growth is not insignificant, it does imply that renewables will still account for a lower share of the world’s energy mix than oil, natural gas and coal,” Doman told Discovery News.
Meaning that coal, oil and gas will be able to meet demand as companies continue to ramp up production.
But the EIA's perspective has met with staunch criticism; energy experts have looked at the history of coal production, for example, to show that reserves have a habit of declining a lot faster from their peak than people think. Data from the EIA tend to suggest that peak oil production is comfortably far off, but that may not be the case, since it's often not possible to tell what a reserve actually can offer up in terms of supply.
Nevertheless, government agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), seek out undiscovered, technically recoverable fossil fuel resources in the meantime that have the potential for mining and production but haven’t been tapped yet.
“Because the Earth is far from fully explored, our understanding of the geologic occurrence of fossil fuel is incomplete, and changes over time as we learn more about the Earth’s geology. Further, the geologic occurrence of fossil fuels isn’t necessarily an indication of a resource that can realistically contribute to the energy supply,” said Brenda Pierce, program coordinator of USGS Energy Resources Program.
If the USGS identifies a previously undiscovered coal bed, as Pierce explains, it might be too thin to be properly mined, or lagging technology could hinder production of resources.
“Thus, what constitutes a resource changes over time,” Pierce said, adding, “The key point here is to recognize the distinction between the geological occurrence of fossil fuels, and the complex synergy of technological, environmental, social, economic and political factors that, when considered along with geologic occurrence, collectively give rise to energy supply.”
/Discovery News

9/26/10

Rhino Poaching Soars Along With Demand for Horns


The poaching of rhinos for their horns has risen dramatically over the last year and a half, conservationists report.
These crimes are fueled by demand for African rhino horn from the Asian market, where it can fetch more than $30,000 a pound ($60,000 per kilogram).
Africa is losing a rhinoceros every other day. South Africa, which holds more than 80 percent of the continent's rhino population, has been losing at least 20 rhinos per month.
"Within South Africa's national parks - not counting private land there, where poaching was rare - there were 10 rhinos poached in 2007," said Matthew Lewis, senior program officer for African species conservation for the World Wildlife Fund. "Thus far in 2010 alone, more than 200 rhinos were poached within South Africa, with a lot of those poached outside national parks, so that's a more than 2,000 percent increase in just three years' time."
The horns might weigh 6.3 to 8.1 pounds (2.9 to 3.7 kilograms) on average. Bits of crushed horn are a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicines.

The crisis in Africa

Two species of rhino are native to Africa, while three are native to southern Asia. Of the two African species, the white rhinoceros is near-threatened, and the black rhinoceros is critically endangered. Some 4,000 black rhinos and 17,500 white rhinos are all that keep Africa's rhinoceros population from extinction.
Hundreds of thousands of rhinos once roamed throughout Africa. Now highly organized international groups of illegal hunters are using helicopters and deploying technologies including night-vision scopes, silenced weapons and drugged darts to find and kill these giants.
"We're up against the emergence of really high-tech poachers," Lewis said. "This tactic of using helicopters and veterinary drugs on darts has really only come out in the last six months to a year. It really points to organized crime."

Greed and nonsense

Most rhino horns leaving southern Africa are destined for markets in Asia, especially Vietnam, where demand has escalated in recent years.
"A lot of that has to do with how Vietnam's economy has grown astronomically," Lewis said. The country's newly affluent middle and upper class seems to be seeking rhino horn as some kind of miraculous remedy, he said, although its traditional use in Chinese medicine is for fevers and nosebleed.
Rhino horn is made from keratin, "from compacted hair, a very similar substance to the hooves of a horse or a cow, or a person's own fingernails," Lewis said. "Taking rhino horn has the same effects as chewing on your fingernails: no medicinal properties whatsoever."
With prices that high, there's also the prospect "of creating anything and calling it rhino horn," Lewis said. "People can throw in all kinds of crazy things, and it could actually be very dangerous."

Trouble in Asia

Asian rhinos, which generally have smaller horns, seem to be less of a target for poachers. Still, two of the three Asian rhino species, the Javan and Sumatran rhinoceroses, are critically endangered at populations of 40 and 400, respectively, Lewis said, and only 2,400 or so Indian rhinoceroses remain in the wild.
"They were nearly wiped out 100 years ago, and they're hanging on by a thread," Lewis said. "Indian rhinos have much larger horns than the other two Asian species, and we've seen escalation to their poaching similar to Africa in the past three or four years."
"We have to raise awareness and get on top of this," Lewis concluded. "Rhinos could go extinct in our lifetime as a result of this if awareness isn't raised." He hopes increasing public awareness about the plight of rhinos could spur a crackdown on the criminals who buy and kill for these horns.
LiveScience.com charles Q. Choi

9/25/10

Beautiful flowers from Soap










This is a skill passed down from generation to generation in several small villages in Thailand . Thousands of tourists come to these places to buy such an unusual soap.
However, I doubt very much that someone could use it for its intended purpose, for example, wash your hands.
FROM : mydear_sanju

Achieving Your Goals


First and foremost positive thinking and big ambition is the first step to achieving your goals in life. However, it goes without saying that lofty goals without taking action is infructious.

The different is between dreaming and aiming in life is that - if you have to dream you have to fall a sleep but if you have to aim high in life you must spend sleepless nights and having said that below are few pointers which one must remember in order to realize their dreams.

1) As Stephen Covey said the difference is between condition and conditioning and for this to happen one must have realistic dreams and have be believe that the condition will change if the efforts made towards a goal are consistently. ( Conditioning here means not go wilt under pressure and give up )

2) One door always open the other and hence we have to take the first small step and continue the journey incessantly.

3) For the above to happen we must have a passion for what we do and the chosen carrier or objective has to be what we love to do the must.

4) If this happens then the universe is bound to conspire in your favor and present you with viable opportunity.

5) Therefore, firstly dreams have to be realistic and not general or abstract like I want to be a big man in life or I want to touch many lives but this must be step by step process and each step must be defined and achievable.

Dreams are what motivate you in life and from the perspective of management science or philosophy everything is in a state of Flux and it is inherant in a man to keep moving forward. Therefore, the dreams are bound to be there which is what gives one the motivation to achieve greater heights.
From: AADITYA INTERNATIONAL

9/23/10

Recall for the rich: Bentley replacing ornament


BERLIN – Luxury carmaker Bentley is recalling 820 cars worldwide over fears that its famous "Winged B" hood ornament could injure people in an accident because it might not properly retract.
Bentley Motors' European head office in Berlin said Thursday the recall affects 620 cars in the United States and Canada and 200 in Europe who added the raised hood ornament as an option on Arnage, Brooklands and Azure models made between October 2006 and March 2009.
The company says no injuries have been reported but a Bentley dealer noticed the spring mechanism under the ornament has a tendency to corrode and might not always function properly.
The fear is that if the hood ornament does not retract, it could increase the risk of injury to a pedestrian in the event of a crash, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website.
"The recall is rather theoretical," said company spokesman Richard Durbin in a telephone interview from Crewe, England, where Bentley cars are produced. "If it were struck by something, we want it to retract as quickly as possible and in some instances it's not doing it."
He added the hood ornament itself is unaffected by corrosion because it is stainless steel.
Bentley, owned by Germany's Volkswagen AG, will replace the mechanism free and says the work takes about an hour to complete.

By DAVID RISING, Associated Press Writer

HEAL THE WORLD, DON'T waste FOODS any more !



















DON'T waste FOODS any more,
DONATE for needy
HEAL THE WORLD
There´s a place in your heart
And I know that is love
And this place could
Be much brighter than tomorrow
And if you really try
You´ll find there´s no need to cry
In this place you´ll feel
There´s no pain or sorrow
There are ways
To get there
If you care enough
For the living
Make a little space
Make a better place
Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough
For the living
Make a better place
For you and for me
Let this be remembered.. . each time we throw away Food!
people who live in rich countries,, don't know it and don't want to know
this, they never understand this!
but you, please you, try understand this !

9/21/10