LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - A privately-built rocket blasted off from New Mexico's Spaceport America Saturday, roaring skyward to the edge of space carrying a variety of payloads - including the ashes of Star Trek's "Scotty" James Doohan and NASA Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper.
Monday, April 30, 2007
I'm taking a guess, but I think it would be safe to go on the assumption that an eruption just might be imminent.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - More than three decades after steam bursts from Mount Baker resulted in a temporary evacuation of the Baker Lake area, geologists are trying to determine what is happening beneath the volcano.
The research by scientists from Western Washington University is at the center of a Geological Society of America meeting next month in Bellingham. Initial findings indicate the volcano will remain quiet for awhile but not forever, said Juliet G. Crider, an associate professor of geology who led a recent study into the steam and ash spurts[.]
"People are beginning to recognize there's a lack of understanding of Baker," Crider said.
"Among the Cascade volcanoes, I would say it's one of the more active," she said. 'That doesn't mean an eruption is imminent, but it means it's interesting. Something is happening there."
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.
There's still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it's worth noting that scientists' requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth's with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.
Until now, all 220 planets astronomers have found outside our solar system have had the "Goldilocks problem." They've been too hot, too cold or just plain too big and gaseous, like uninhabitable Jupiter.
The new planet seems just right — or at least that's what scientists think.
This new planet orbits the star Gliese 581, and it is simply called "581 c".
I hope more planets like this are found. Though it will take a lot of work and determination for humans to adapt to life on a new planet, I have no doubt such an adventure will eventually be borne out in humanity's future. After all, we are so adaptable, aren't we?
Monday, April 23, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Nah, not really. But you might want to believe so if you are an animal rights activist. Geoffrey Pullum at Language Log talks about it here, and he aptly concludes:
Of course birds communicate fear, solidarity, warning, lust, etc. What I'm trying (utterly in vain) to draw people's attention to is the fact that there is a common misconception that this means they have language in the sense that humans have it — i.e., that humans are not much more than chickens with ballpoint pens. The really deep offense here is not so much the pathetic gullibility of the sentimentalists who anthropomorphize the animals they love, and over-attribute intelligence and verbality to them, but rather the insult to humans.
Amen to that, Mr. Pullum. Your words are not in vain here.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
The portable robot, which can be controlled over the Internet by a human surgeon many miles away, is being developed with money from the U.S. Defense Department to be used to treat wounded soldiers on a battlefield, to perform complicated surgery on patients in remote areas of the developing world and to help sick astronauts in space.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
I don't know what the other flavor tastes like, but the Wild White Nacho is not that impressive. But, when looking at the distinctive packaging, I noticed something a bit odd. It seems that this new nacho flavor somehow warrants Spanish puncuation for English words.
Wild White Nacho
FIGHT FOR THE
TWO NEW FLAVORS.
for a LIMITED TIME ?
Having grown up in South Texas, I have heard a lot of Tex-Mex spoken. That's a local dialect that is a blend of English and Spanish. But, this is the first time I can remember seeing Spanish punctuation used this way.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Yahoo really needs to work on their sorting logic. Apparently, the mere mention of the word "satellite" (as in "pan-Arab satellite channel Al-Arabiya") is enough to categorize a story about Taliban kidnappers as a space story.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado - Japan is building upon its past successes in space to forge a range of initiatives, from disaster warning systems, probes to Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, as well as conduct an aggressive lunar exploration campaign.
"Space is a common frontier for humanity," [Vice President of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Kaoru] Mamiya explained, and "international cooperation is essential." In this regard, JAXA is prepared to be a major player in the replanting of human footprints on the Moon.
When it comes to space exploration, I say, the more the merrier. We need more nations, more private companies, and more investments dedicated to exploring our solar system and the stars beyond. And I think our ultimate goal should be colonization. Or else, what's a heaven for?
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I knew better at the time; I knew that the Sea-Monkeys would not appear in any tank as a happy, smiling family. But, I remember still feeling a faint sense of disappointment when I found out that they were nothing but brine shrimp.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Robots in space. Satellites repairing and refueling each other. It don't get much cooler than that.
Despite a rocky start, two unmanned spacecraft have succeeded in their first autonomous satellite refueling demonstration while orbiting high above Earth.
"The first Orbital Express demonstration, Scenario 0-1, was very successful," a spokesperson Jan Walker for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is overseeing the mission, said in a written update Wednesday. "ASTRO transferred just under 32 pounds (14 kilograms) of hydrazine to the NextSat client, meeting the scenario objective."
Walker said the robotic arm-equipped ASTRO, short for Autonomous Space Transport Robotic Operations, first delivered the hydrazine during the early hours of April 1 via a fluid hookup, and then followed up by transferring an additional 19 pounds (8.6 kilograms) of propellant to NextSat a day later. NextSat was due to return propellant to ASTRO sometime today, she added.
In addition to refueling demonstrations, ASTRO is also designed to perform tasks such as autonomous undocking, proximity operations and re-docking, as well as use its robotic arm to install a battery on NextSat.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
Platonic relationships are not for pandas! And we humans will make sure of that!
Authorities at the Chiang Mai Zoo in northern Thailand inseminated Lin Hui with semen from her cage-mate, Chuang Chuang, on Monday morning and will repeat the procedure on Tuesday. The artificial insemination is a last ditch effort to get Lin Hui pregnant, after videos of pandas having sex failed to entice Chuang Chuang into mating with his partner.
"He just didn't want to mate. He was looking at her as a friend," said Sophon Dummui, director general of Thai Zoo Organization of Thailand which oversees the Chiang Mai Zoo. [emphasis added]