I’m staying at Real, says Ronaldo

first_imgSince extending his contract last November until 2021, Ronaldo is the highest paid sports star in the world with $93 million (83m euro) in 2016-2017, according to Forbes magazine.On Saturday Real manager Zinedine Zidane assured Real supporters that the superstar striker “was on holiday and would be back with us on (August) 5”.Ronaldo has been given leave to miss the club’s pre-season US tour and Zidane, speaking in Los Angeles, insisted that he would be back at the club “on the fifth (of August) and I think he’ll stay for the next two or three years he’s got left with us.”In Tuesday’s Marca interview Ronaldo also looked ahead to the 2018 World Cup with European champions Portugal.“We still have to qualify but I’m hoping that Portugal can win an incredible title.” Share on: WhatsApp Madrid, Spain | AFP |   Ending weeks of speculation about his future, Cristiano Ronaldo has told a Spanish newspaper he is staying put at Real Madrid to plunder more silverware.“To win important trophies with my club and the personal honours last season was brilliant, to do it again would be nice,” Ronaldo told the sports daily Marca on Tuesday in an interview from Shanghai.Ronaldo’s declaration of intent to remain at the Bernabeu for the upcoming season comes despite rumours of his departure which surfaced last month in Portuguese newspaper O Globo.Those reports were founded on his apparent feeling of abandonment by his club over his run-in with the Spanish tax authorities.Ronaldo, 32, has been summoned to appear before a  judge near Madrid on July 31 to answer four counts of evading 14.7 million euros ($16.8 million) in taxes.The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has protested his innocence with O Globo saying he had threatened to leave Real over the investigation.last_img read more

NJ Fluke Fishing Industry in Flux

first_imgIn a Jan. 19 letter to Rootes-Murdy, Martin wrote that Addendum XXVIII would “serve as a de facto moratorium on summer flounder for the recreational fishing industry in New Jersey.”If New Jersey were not to accept the Option Five measures, a precautionary default measure would be implemented for recreational fluke fishing – a 20” size limit and a bag limit of two fish. Rootes-Murdy said this measure is used as a backstop to ensure states follow the approved guidelines.Not forgotten in this equation are the commercial fisherman, who are constantly monitoring federal fluking regulations.In August 2016, the ASMFC and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council – a regional fishery management entity that covers waters from New York to North Carolina – decided that, due to the possible over fishing of fluke, a 30 percent decrease in the commercial quota would be necessary. That would put the 2017 quota down 5.66 million pounds commercially for the year.The Belford Seafood Co-Op, a fishing enterprise operating on approximately 11 acres of land on bay side of Middletown, is a key player in New Jersey’s commercial fishing scene.Roy Diehl, captain of the Donna Lynn – a 60’ commercial trawler out of the Belford Seafood Co-Op – fishes for fluke all year. He says roughly 50 percent of the dock’s income is dependent on fluke.Roy Diehl, Co-Op president and captain of the Donna Lynn, is just one out of a few year-round commercial flukers based out of Belford.He estimates that 50 percent of the dock’s income comes from fluke.“We should be at 13 to 14 million pounds per year, half of what it was in the 1980’s when it was 30 million a year,” Diehl said.While the yearly quotas are set, Diehl must meet specific guidelines which spread out his fishing days. Right now, he is allowed to catch 1,500 pounds of fluke every two weeks. In peak season, which is May and June, he’ll be able to catch 500 pounds per trip, with four trips in a week.Although a proponent for appropriate management, he says that the fishing can be regulated efficiently through new data gathering methods, a claim constantly brought up along with fluke regulations.Instead of data-gathering boats trailing the commercial fisherman, Diehl suggests the commercial folks do the data gathering themselves.“It’s just a shame that they won’t let us fish,” he said. “We’re not asking for a lot; we just want to be within reason.” On Tuesday afternoon, crew members of the Donna Lynn unload a day trip’s worth of spiny dogfish, which were being packaged and shipped immediately to Massachusetts.John Amici, the harbor manager, believes the deep fishing history is a trademark of Atlantic Highlands.Tasked with ensuring the harbor is as full with boats as possible, Amici said he’s already received calls from boaters who are questioning whether or not to dock their boats there this summer.“It’s part of the charm of Atlantic Highlands to come down, walk by the water and look at the boats,” he said. “It’s just a big attraction.”Frank McDonald, the harbor commission chairman, says Atlantic Highlands has invested money into the harbor so it can be competitive on the shore. By Jay Cook |ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – After a decision made last week aimed at protecting the Atlantic Ocean’s primary cash fish, New Jersey anglers now believe their industry is in dire straits.The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), a federally regulated authority that oversees fishing management for the 15 states along the Atlantic Coast, has decided to increase regulations on summer flounder for 2017.“With what they’re proposing, it’s going to be the final nail in our coffin,” said Ron Santi, a head boat captain based out of Atlantic Highlands.On Feb. 2, the ASMFC passed Addendum XXVIII with a 7-3-2 vote, choosing Option 5, which calls for new recreational regulations on summer flounder, commonly known as fluke.Those sanctions propose an increase in keeper length from 18” to 19”, along with a reduction in bag limits from five fish to three. The season length will remain the same, though, open from May 21 through Sept. 25.“When looking at recreational and commercial fisheries on a whole, it seems as though for 20 to 30 years, we’ve been fishing at a higher level than the resources can sustain,” said Kirby Rootes-Murdy, a senior fishery management plan coordinator with ASMFC.Between recreational and commercial fishing, fluking generates nearly $2.5 billion for the state’s economy, according to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.Santi, captain of the 72-foot head boat named Fishermen, believes these are draconian sanctions which could kill the recreational fishing industry. The new regulation could effectively reduce recreational fluke fishing hauls by roughly 30 percent.“I’m sick of the bureaucracy looking down at me – we’re part of the country, too,” he said.In addition to Belmar and Point Pleasant, the Atlantic Highlands Harbor is one of the more popular head (or party) boat fishing destinations in Monmouth County. Though what makes Atlantic Highlands unique is the harbor is run as a public utility, similar to water and sewer departments in other towns.According to Adam Hubeny, the borough’s administrator, the Atlantic Highlands Harbor sends nearly $1 million back to the municipality every year, which is used to offset property taxes.“Anytime the harbor is in a position to lose any part of its fishing fleet, the tenants that lease mooring and berthing space or have boaters who don’t buy fuel, that will have an ill effect on the municipal taxes,” Hubeny said.The Atlantic Highlands Harbor, which was constructed between 1938 and 1940, oversees one primary launch ramp, eight head boat slips, roughly 475 regular slips, 171 moorings for sailboats and 125 spots for summer land storages.center_img “This is what the town has banked on, and I certainly hope we can keep it going,” McDonald said. “When you have stuff like this, it’s really tough.”Both Amici and McDonald believe these new regulations could not only hurt the fisherman, but the businesses who depend on steady and successful fluking.While most bait and tackle shops are closed this time of the year, 87-year-old Ernie Giglio was at work in his shop Monday morning, ironically preparing to make fluke rigs.“We’re really geared for fluke fishing and striped bass, those are the two big ones,” said Giglio, whose son Tom now owns Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright.Since 1961, the shop has been a fluke fishing hub, attracting anglers who fish from the head boats, the surf and on kayaks in the ocean.Not one fond of government restrictions, Giglio said his son’s business will feel the effects of these new rules, because a majority of the store’s summer time traffic comes from fluke fishing. While the shop still may stay afloat thanks to the other fish in the area, he continues to worry.“I think we’ll still survive with the striped bass and the bluefish, as long as they come around, but the fluke will definitely have a huge effect on us,” Giglio said. “I hope it doesn’t wipe us out.”As a whole, state officials sharing the anglers’ concerns are coming out against ASMFC’s decisions. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. has been out front with the anglers, joining them in opposition. NJ DEP commissioner Bob Martin has come on as well.last_img read more

Get One, Give One: Christmas Tree Farm Supplies Holiday Cheer for…

first_imgIn recent years the brothers have regularly supplied towns like Red Bank and Asbury Park with massive Balsam firs to be lit up for holiday events, but the Clarks agree that no tradition has meant more to their family business than the Trees for Troops drive. “It’s a little thing for us to do and we felt like we had to,” Elaine said, after penning a cheerful note to an unknown soldier and pinning it to the prickly branch of one of approximately 200 donated trees collected by Fir Farm personnel over the first weekend in December. “Sometimes you’re just horrified when you hear that healthcare is so poor for our veterans and living conditions on the bases are not what you think they would, or should, be. So this is a small way for us to brighten the holidays for a military family and we’re happy to do it,” Elaine added. The 23-acre Fir Farm at 166 Hillsdale Road has been selling Christmas Trees for nearly 40 years. he Fir Farm’s scenic barn was decorated for the holidays and served as the backdrop forlast weekend’s Trees for Troops effort at the 23-acre Colts Neck farm. Brothers Bob and Mickey Clark took ownership of the grounds in 2003. They have continued the tradition of providing locals with the option of purchasing a pre-cut pine or wandering the parcel to identify and cut down their own Christmas tree. “Two years ago a note that my kids wrote out with pictures of reindeer and Santa Claus was featured on the site,” Bob added. “And to see the joy it brought to that service member, and how thankful they were to have the tree, it’s what the holiday season is all about.” Since its inception, the program has made 208,720 tree donations. The Clarks’ Fir Farm operates in rarified air, as one of just 13 participating Christmas tree vendors around the country, including operations in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. For the past five years the Fir Farm has participated in a program known as Trees for Troops, an initiative founded in 2005 by the National Christmas Tree Association and its offshoot, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation. Annually Trees for Troops delivers thousands of Christmas trees to families and individuals stationed at domestic military bases, as well as those located abroad in active war zones. Last year there were more than 17,400 trees donated to 70 U.S. military bases and an estimated 250 trees shipped to troops stationed at four different international bases. “It’s always nice to give back, but when you can give back to members of our military, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Bob Clark, whose father served in the Navy during World War II. “It’s military-related. It’s Christmas tree-related. We have the farm. So it just fit our situation like a glove.” “I’ve read them all. It’s very touching,” Bob Clark, left, chats with Elaine and Al Cangiarella, Cliffwood Beach residents andHoliday Express volunteers who ventured to the Fir Farm simply to donate a Christmas tree to a military family to brighten their holiday season. COLTS NECK – When Elaine and Al Cangiarella rolled down the rugged dirt driveway of the Fir Farm in Colts Neck this past Sunday, the couple was in search of a piney Balsam fir capable of bringing the aroma and warmth of the holiday into a home…just not their own. Those who venture to the Fir Farm have the option to attach a personalized note to a donated tree. Upon receiving the donation, troops and their families are encouraged to submit photos and thank you notes for social media publication. “They write the nicest things about their experience and what it means to them that strangers would go out of their way to brighten their holiday,” said Manalapan native Trish Walsh, a volunteer enlisted by Clark to assist with the collection. The Fir Farm is joined by fellow Garden State distributors as Cerbo’s Parsippany Greenhouse and Donaldson’s Greenhouse & Nursery in Hackettstown. For more information about the Fir Farm’s participation in the effort visit thefirfarm.com.last_img read more

Pirates back in series with B-Sens after 3-2 victory

first_imgIt’s looking like a road team series in the AHL Calder Cup Atlantic Division Finals between the Binghamton Senators, the farm team of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and Portland Pirates.Tim Conboy’s goal with 13 seconds left to play in regulation broke a 2-2 tie to power the Portland Pirates a 3-2 victory over the B-Sens in the Atlantic Division Finals Saturday in Binghamton.The B-Sens still lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 with game four set for Monday at the Broome County Arena in Binghamton. Binghamton won the first two games of the series in Portland by 3-2 and 5-3.Ryan Keller and Kaspars Daugavins handled the scoring for the B-Sens, each chipping in their fifth goal of the playoffs.Ryan Potulny added his team-leading 17th point with a helper in the first in the losing effort.Robin Lehner continued his fine play in net for the Binghamton, stopping 30 of 33 shots faced.Binghamton defenceman and Nelson Minor Hockey grad Geoff Kinrade finished the game a minus-1.last_img read more

Are Dark Matter and Dark Energy the New Epicycles?

first_imgAn article in The Economist suggests that dark matter and dark energy may not be necessary to understand the structure of the universe.  It refers to two recent papers that explain the cosmic background radiation and galaxy clusters with ordinary matter, without a need for either of the other two unknown quantities.  Are dark matter and dark energy like the fudge factors called epicycles that Ptolemy used to keep his outdated cosmology working?  The article allows that, at this point, either side of the controversy could be wrong, but “On the other hand, a universe that requires three completely different sorts of stuff to explain its essence does have a whiff of epicycles about it. … one cannot help but wonder whether Ptolemy might soon have some company in the annals of convoluted, discarded theories.”Dark energy is the big fad these days.  Leading cosmologists are certain they have proved its existence in this era of “precision cosmology” (see 06/20/03).  A model that doesn’t rely on 96% unknown entities would seem to have a built-in advantage.  Let’s watch to see who eats crow a few years from now.(Visited 95 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Philosophy Puts Brakes on Simplistic Science

first_imgThree stories touching on philosophy of science were reported recently.  They show that simplistic ideas, and even terms deployed, can be misleading.  That’s why philosophers still have a role in curbing the pretensions of scientists, and clarifying scientific issues and terms lest policy-makers and the public get wrong ideas.Are all invasive species bad?:  We are taught to think that “alien” animals or plants introduced into another country pose a threat.  Often they do, but Mark Davis at New Scientist reminded readers that the honeybee was introduced into the Americas.  He said, “you may be surprised to learn that only a few per cent of introduced species are harmful.”  The really bad cases, like the brown tree snake in Guam that killed off most native birds, and the rabbit in Australia, tend to make the most news and noise, but “many people cling to the idea that non-native species are uniformly undesirable,” he said.  The “paradigm” of “invasive species” is changing: Scientific disciplines are often guided at their outset by a few simple ideas.  However, as the field matures, participants typically recognise the complexity of their subject and the need for a more nuanced approach.  This is what is happening in invasion biology.    Philosophers, social scientists and some invasion biologists have challenged the choice of language used to describe non-native species and have argued that conclusions about them sometimes rest more on prejudice than science.  Others have criticised the preference for native species as scientifically unsound, arguing that invasive species do not represent a separate category, evolutionarily, biogeographically or ecologically.  Others have pointed out flaws in the claim that non-native species are the second-greatest extinction threat after habitiat [sic] destruction.  In fact, with the exception of insular environments such as islands and lakes, there are very few examples of extinctions being caused by non-native species.Davis was quick to point out that these ideas do not minimize the need to carefully monitor invasive species.  “Make no mistake,” he clarified; “some introduced species have caused great harm.”  If a snake on a plane made it to Hawaii, for instance, many native birds would be severely threatened.  To Davis, though, this does not justify “message enhancement” (exaggeration) as a scare tactic.  Calling species “alien” or “invasive” or “exotic” fails to recognize the global nature of the ecology.  “As long as the harm is real,” he said, “it should not be necessary for us to overgeneralise, exaggerate, use incendiary language or misrepresent data in order to attract attention.”Do stem cells exist?  Amateur philosophers of science may perk up at a story in Science Daily that asked, “Is ‘stem cell’ concept holding back biology?”  The problem, according to Arthur Lander publishing in BioMed Central, is that “after 45 years, we are unable to place the notion of ‘stemness’ on a purely molecular footing.”  It doesn’t mean scientists can’t or won’t, “But it does give one cause to wonder whether something we are doing needs to change, either in the question we are asking or the way we are approaching it.”    Perhaps “stemness” is a property of biological systems, not individual cells, Lander suggested.  Surprisingly, he referred to the standard philosophical story about phlogiston as an example of how scientific concepts can mislead research.  Don’t tell this story to California voters.  The bankrupt government is still wondering where to get the $3 billion voters approved for stem cell research after a hyped initiative promised all kinds of miracle cures.  The upside of phlogiston theory is that it did eventually lead scientists to a correct understanding of oxygen.  Maybe a systems approach to stemness “will continue to light the path toward understanding,” Lander hoped.Is there a scientific method?:  Gary J. Nabel of NIH wrote a Perspective piece called “The Coordinates of Truth” in Science.1 The scientific method has driven conceptual inquiry for centuries and still forms the basis of scientific investigation.  Yet, the hypothesis-based research paradigm itself has received scant attention recently.  Here, I propose an alternative model for this paradigm, based on decision, information, and game theory.  Analysis of biomedical research efforts with this model may provide a framework for predicting their likely contributions to knowledge, assessing their impact on human health, and managing research priorities.But what is the scientific method?The scientific method provides a rationale upon which scientific principles are developed, tested, and validated or rejected.  For any natural phenomenon, there is a fundamental solution or truth that explains its basis.  This solution exists in nature, regardless of whether the observer formulates the best hypothesis to explain it.  It may thus be viewed as a set of coordinates in a multidimensional space: the coordinates of truth (see the first figure, panel A).  By proposing hypotheses and testing their statistical validity, the hypothesis-driven experiment allows testing and validation of a scientific principle.Nabel seems to be helping himself to the correspondence theory of truth and to the concept of truth itself.  He also seems to suggest that all scientists and philosophers are in agreement about the scientific method.  He did mention the “paradigm shift” terminology of Thomas Kuhn and talked about anomalies and falsification, but the tone of his article was progressive – as if following the scientific method necessarily guides science to the truth.    Nabel contrasted hypothesis generation with hypothesis testing.  “Hypothesis generation can create an organized body of knowledge from which insight can emerge,” he said.  This seems to confuse data with knowledge and interpretation with insight.  He gave examples such as the Human Genome Project and the CERN Large Hadron Collider.  Such projects are not testing a hypothesis so much as gathering data from which hypotheses can be generated.  The other approach is to start with a hypothesis and run experiments to test it.  He suggested both approaches are valid in science but need to be balanced against each other.  It may be surprising to readers that the “scientific method” does not factor much in peer review or funding decisions:These considerations have implications for scientific funding.  For example, the investigator-initiated grants at the National Institutes of Health allow investigators to propose and test any hypothesis as long as the rationale is justified to a set of peers.  The process begins with the vision of the individual scientist and ends with a judgment of its scientific merit.  Recently, changes have been proposed for rating these proposals, stressing their impact, but the evaluation remains largely subjective.  The meaning of “impact” is ill defined, and there is no systematic way to assign value.  In this and many other systems for awarding grants, the scientific community does not take full advantage of the scientific method to prioritize its research portfolio.  For example, formal evaluation of hypotheses is not an inherent part of the review.  Also, there have been few criteria by which to judge and prioritize grants for hypothesis-generating research.Subjective human opinion, therefore, plays a big role in what is valued in science.  “The value of hypothesis-generating efforts should be analyzed critically for the pertinence of the methodology to the question, the overall significance of the problem, and the likelihood of generating a viable and high-impact hypothesis,” he said.  But if each of those criteria are all subjective, whose pet project ends up with the money?  Nabel did not get down to answering that question.  He just ended optimistically, “A modern and rigorous view of the hypothesis-driven research paradigm can similarly help to consolidate a foundation that fundamentally transforms biology and medicine.”  It would seem this article begs more questions than it answers. 1.  Gary J. Nabel, “Philosophy of Science: The Coordinates of Truth,” Science, 2 October 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5949, pp. 53-54, DOI: 10.1126/science.1177637.Everyone does philosophy, but not everyone does it well.  So said Greg Bahnsen, a Christian philosopher of science and theologian.  Even saying “I don’t have a philosophy” is a statement of philosophy.  Scientists are often better at exposing flaws in others’ research than in thinking consistently and logically themselves.  That’s why philosophers of science, who ask the questions that scientists don’t ask, and who strive for clarity and consistency, are often considered gadflies and troublemakers by the science department.  When billions of dollars of research funds are at stake, though, the importance of clarifying the terms, values, and logical coherence of scientific claims must be examined critically.  With limited resources it also becomes important to identify which scientific questions are worth investigating.    One of the best skills you can develop to see through the pretensions of triumphalist science is the ability to detect question-begging arguments.  “Begging the question” is the logical fallacy of arguing for a conclusion that has already been assumed in the premise.  An example would be claiming evolution is a fact because the Origin of Species says so, or claiming materialism is true because scientists only work with particles and forces.  It amounts to “helping oneself” to concepts without paying the price.  Gary Nabel talked about the “coordinates of truth” in his article without defining truth.  Moreover, he assumed that truth is “out there” in the world, and that we can “discover” it by the “scientific method.”  That begs all kinds of questions.  If he were among a group of Christians, he could probably get away with it.  Materialists, though, would be hard pressed to explain these concepts emerging from fundamental particles and forces.  Postmodernists, also, would be quick to ask, “whose truth?”  Because most readers of Science are positivists or scientific realists, who believe the public should fund their projects, he can probably get away with his simplistic views in that forum.  He would face a barrage of questions in the philosophy, theology and political science departments.    The stem-cell and invasive-species articles remind us that simplistic answers to complex questions can be misleading.  Take the current political hubbub about human-caused global warming.  Much of the discussion revolves around “average global temperature.”  Is there such a thing?  How would you go about measuring it?  At every point on earth, temperatures fluctuate from hour to hour, day to day, year to year, decade to decade.  Do we measure temperature at the south pole, or Death Valley, or Rio de Janeiro?  OK, you say, we take thousands of measurements all over the globe.  But humans cannot possibly have thermometers at every point on the earth’s surface.  Selection effects loom large in the discussion.  How many points are enough?  Are some points given more weight than others?  Do we take the measurements at ground level, or at 10 feet or 100 feet off the ground?  Do we use the arithmetic average, or the median, or the mode?  Do we clip off anomalous measurements?  How many significant figures do we use?  What statistical methods and error analyses are being performed on the raw data?  Do we use a mercury thermometer, an alcohol thermometer, a thermocouple, a bimetallic strip, or a laser thermometer?  If we choose one, or combine them, are they responding to the same external reality?  What’s the effect of humidity and wind on the measurements?  What uncontrolled influences, like the amount of pavement below the thermometer or proximity to urban pollution, could be altering the readings?  Have all the thermometers been calibrated to each other?  Have all the humans who take and record the measurements received the proper training?  Are any of them liars, incompetents, or members of groups with a political agenda?  What does the term “temperature” signify, anyway?  What is its relation to theories about climate change?    Here we have taken a simple example, “the temperature of the earth,” and asked just a few questions that have turned it into a philosophical mess.  A scientist might respond that a single station, like the Antarctica thermometer, has been the same instrument used for decades and it shows a clear trend of warming.  Even so, many of the same questions could be asked – and additional ones, too.  There’s no way to eliminate all subjectivity that goes into measurement and interpretation.  The only way to provide protection for taxpayers who end up funding research and paying for political decisions made on scientific consensus is vibrant, active debate.  That debate has to include researchers outside the paradigm.  History shows that consensus science is no guarantee of truth.  Before you get stuck with the bill foisted on you by gullible politicians swallowing consensus science, learn to ask tough questions – and demand answers that don’t beg the question.  Now hear this.(Visited 12 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Things in Space that Shouldn’t Be

first_imgA history of astronomy and a history of surprise discoveries in space would track pretty well.  Recent stories show that the trend continues even today.Wet moon:  The moon was thought to be depleted of volatiles – until now.  According to PhysOrg, “Researchers discover water on the moon is widespread, similar to Earth’s.”  Shouldn’t all this have been known since the Apollo astronauts brought back rocks from the moon?  Well, researchers at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville have re-analyzed some samples and are “once again turning what scientists thought they knew about the moon on its head,” the article exclaimed.    They don’t mean they found lakes and oceans there (despite the Latin root for Mare, ocean).  Instead, they detected molecular water elements or “lunar dew” in apatite similar to amounts in Earth basalts.  Their paper, published in Nature,1 said, “Here we report quantitative ion microprobe measurements of late-stage apatite from lunar basalt 14053 that document concentrations of H, Cl and S that are indistinguishable from apatites in common terrestrial igneous rocks.”    What does this mean?  “One possible implication,” the abstract stated, “is that portions of the lunar mantle or crust are more volatile-rich than previously thought.”  And if volatiles are rich, the leading theory for the moon’s formation becomes poor.  PhysOrg explained:The finding of volatiles on the moon has deep implications for how it, and the Earth, formed.  It is generally believed that the moon was created when the early Earth was hit by a Mars-sized proto-planet called Theia, melting and vaporizing itself and a large chunk of the Earth.  The cloud of particles created by the impact later congealed to form the moon, which supposedly was devoid of highly volatile elements such as hydrogen and chlorine.  However, the researchers’ discovery of these volatiles challenges this theory.    “If water in the Moon was residue water kept during the giant impact, it is surprising that water survived the impact at all because less volatile elements, such as sodium and potassium, are strongly depleted.  The details of the impact theory need to be re-examined,’ [Yang] Liu [U Tennessee] said.Theia appears poised to join Nemesis in the arsenal of imaginary terrorists (see 07/21/2010).Mercurial sleeper awakes:  “Every time we’ve encountered Mercury, we’ve discovered new phenomena.”  That’s PhysOrg quoting says MESSENGER principal investigator Sean Solomon [Carnegie Institution].  “We’re learning that Mercury is an extremely dynamic planet, and it has been so throughout its history.”    That’s a very different picture than a few years ago, when Mercury was supposed to be a dead world, long ago frozen into silence.  Solomon was remarking about Mercury’s young volcanism, magnetic substorms and ionic emissions from its thin atmosphere, discovered during two previous flybys.  The spacecraft will go into orbit around Mercury next March: “we’ll be in for a terrific show,” remarked Solomon.    See the pictures on BBC News about the youngest volcano found on Mercury so far.  Science Daily surveyed the most surprising finds, and National Geographic News focused on huge “curious” power surges detected in the planet’s atmosphere.  “There’re some things here we clearly do not understand,” said one scientist.Quakers in space:  Ever heard of spacequakes?  Those are impacts of plasma blobs from the sun on the Earth’s magnetic field.  Big ones can push the field all the way down to Earth’s surface, Space.com said, then they bounce like a tennis ball with decreasing amplitude.  The THEMIS spacecraft “discovered something new and surprising” in this “long suspected” phenomenon, the article said: “The surprise is plasma vortices, huge whirls of magnetized gas as wide as Earth itself, spinning on the verge of the quaking magnetic field.”    There are other quakers that have been discovered in space, too.  “Spacequakes aren’t the only unearthly temblors around,” Space.com said.  “Scientists have also discovered starquakes (violent trembling inside stars), moonquakes and asteroid quakes (seismic tremors on the surface of the moon and asteroids, respectively).”  Whole lot of shaking going on out there.Rings and hexagons:  Scientists from the Cassini mission orbiting Saturn shared a 6th anniversary CHARM teleconference this week (Cassini-Huygens Analysis and Results from the Mission).  Two Powerpoint presentations about the rings and atmosphere are available for download in PDF form (audio files may be posted later on).  An account of the number of surprises and phenomena not understood in the 100+ slides is left as an exercise; as teasers, they admitted that the B-ring edge is more dynamic and complex than can be understood (ditto for the F-ring), the rings may be much younger than Saturn, and the hexagon-shaped cloud pattern at Saturn’s north pole can only partially be modeled in the lab (audio is needed for full discussion).Super star:  According to theory, stars can only grow to about 150 times the mass of the sun, partly because they would burn out too quickly to be seen, partly because the winds would tear them apart, and partly because there is not enough gas and dust in most locales to gravitationally contract into a star much bigger than 150 solar masses.    Doubters, behold R136a1: a blue giant almost twice the theoretical size limit.  It is currently 265 times the sun’s mass, but astronomers estimate at birth it was a whopping 320 solar masses.  And talk about sunburn: its luminosity has been estimated at 10 million times brighter than our sun.  The BBC News said its radius is 30 times greater than our sun.  A diagram on National Geographic News illustrates the size difference.    Science Daily described the puzzle of this star: “Understanding how high mass stars form is puzzling enough, due to their very short lives and powerful winds, so that the identification of such extreme cases as R136a1 raises the challenge to theorists still further.”  Was it born big, or did it collect smaller stars into its household?  Astronomers were “really taken aback” by the discovery, National Geographic said, adding: “The discovery could rewrite the laws of stellar physics, since it’s long been thought that stars beyond a certain mass would be too unstable to survive.”The big burst:  Gamma ray bursts have been known since 1967, but an “extraordinary” one detected on June 21 was off the charts.  National Geographic News said that “Until now, scientists thought the brightest gamma-ray bursts sent out a maximum of 10,000 x-ray photons a second.”  Here’s the measured flux from this one: “145,000 photons a second… making this gamma-ray burst 10 to 15 times brighter than anything previously seen by Swift’s x-ray telescope.  It was so bright it “blinded” the Swift orbiting space telescope temporarily, saturating its detectors: the “rush of light from a minute-long gamma-ray burst proved so overwhelming that Swift’s data processing software temporarily shut down.”    Swift normally catches light from about two gamma ray bursts per week.  Space.com said this super-bright one is stirring theories: “Just when we were beginning to think that we had seen everything that gamma-ray bursts could throw at us, this burst came along to challenge our assumptions about how powerful their X-ray emissions can be,” said Neil Gehrels, principal investigator for Swift.    A new mission named Xenia is being planned to watch for these cosmic beacons.  “The newfound burst, he said, means that Xenia mission designers will have to go back to the drawing board to make sure the probe will be able to handle the brightest flashes the universe can dish out.”  And speaking of explosions, Science Daily reported earlier this month that among the best-understood ones, Type 1a supernovae, the “Origin of Key Cosmic Explosions [Is] Still a Mystery.”There’s no indication that the number of surprising discoveries will decrease over the next few years.  Quite the contrary; an article on PhysOrg about early results from the Herschel Space Observatory with its SPIRE camera quoted Ian Smail of Durham University, who analyzes results from the mission: “It is already clear that we live in a changing Universe and, thanks to Herschel and SPIRE, few things are changing faster than our perception of it.”    Looking back over 400 years of astronomy since Galileo and Kepler, Joseph Burns of Cornell University surveyed the many surprising discoveries made in space, especially in the last 5 decades of the space program: the Van Allen belts; Venus’s young surface; old, cold moons that proved surprisingly active; old, cold comets that showed evidence of hot formation; asteroids thought to be hard rock that turn out to be rubble piles; remarkable dynamism in Saturn’s rings; chaotic motions of moons; and more.  “Few scientists envisaged that the neighbouring worlds explored by space missions would be so diverse, nor how entrancing many are.”  Publishing his account in Nature,2 (see also summary on Space.com), using the word “surprising” a number of times, he quoted a character from Tom Stoppard’s novel Arcadia in his conclusion talking about scientific revolutions: “It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.”1.  Boyce, Liu et al, “Lunar apatite with terrestrial volatile abundances,” Nature 466, pp 466�469, 2 July 2010, doi:10.1038/nature09274.2.  Joseph Burns, “The four hundred years of planetary science since Galileo and Kepler,” Nature 466, pp 575�584, 29 July 2010, doi:10.1038/nature09215.If some scientists want to celebrate their ignorance, some of us will be happy to supply the conical hats and party blowers.  To Joe’s list we can add many more surprises that, within the living memory of many of us, hit the astronomers broadside: quasars, pulsars, blazars, gamma-ray bursts, the cosmic microwave background radiation (partly predicted, but not to the expected values; see 06/12/2008), mature galaxies at the farthest distances (04/02/2009), gravitational lenses (partly predicted), silence from SETI, transient lunar phenomena, Io’s volcanoes, the Enceladus geysers, the inhospitable surfaces of Venus and Mars (civilizations were expected there into the 1960s), Ganymede’s magnetic field, the Kuiper belt, minor planets beyond Pluto, the lack of organics and carbonates (and life) on Mars, the tilted magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune, the rings of Jupiter and Uranus and Neptune, the F-ring of Saturn, the geysers of Triton, binary asteroids… where could we stop?  It’s hard to find any object in space that closely matched what astronomers expected.  While we share the thrill of surprising discoveries with the astronomers, we should not treat them as prophets.  They have a lot of whiz at math (01/08/2010) and access to great equipment (12/08/2009), but are as fallible as the rest of us – though occasionally, the luck of discovery comes to the prepared minds.    Astronomy proceeds along two tracks: the theory track, and the data track.  Physicists at chalkboards derive equations that predict what might be found or try to explain what is found (03/28/2010, 01/20/2010, 01/13/2010).  Observational astronomers gather the raw data with telescopes.  Sometimes these tracks intersect.  Sometimes one precedes the other.  One might expect that observation would lead theory, trying to make sense of new observations.  Often, though, theory leads to discoveries.  Theory can even determine what observations get made, and what an astronomer “sees” with the senses – as when today’s astronomers pursue their mad quest (08/03/2009) for dark matter (02/28/2008) and dark energy (07/17/2010, 10/08/2009).  If the observations in the past 5 decades have been surprising, the theories have been even more so (06/30/2008): inflation (02/24/2009, 04/18/2008), black holes with universes inside them (04/10/2010), parallel universes, and the multiverse (02/22/2010, 12/05/2008).  While one would hope observations would constrain theory (08/26/2009), some of the latest theoretical speculations seem like acts of desperation to maintain beliefs in spite of the observations (03/19/2010, 10/28/2009, 09/28/2009, 11/17/2008; cf. 10/29/2007).    We’re all together for the ride on our planetary spaceship.  We have been given a phenomenal platform for scientific discovery (watch The Privileged Planet on YouTube).  Fallible as we all are, it should not be surprising to be surprised by what we find, as we peer farther into the unknown with better instruments.  What is surprising is for any of us to grant prophetic powers (both in terms of prediction and understanding) to a class of fellow mortals (06/23/2009, 10/16/2008), just because they label themselves scientists (03/10/2010, 01/15/2008).  The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  As new data comes rolling in from Kepler, MESSENGER, Herschel, Planck and future missions, let’s keep the marketplace open and a lively place for debate and critical thinking.(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Lass den Nerd in Dir raus mit zwei neuen Souvenirs am Pi-Tag!

first_img SharePrint RelatedVerdiene Dir neue Souvenirs – Feiere 15 Jahre GeocachingMarch 20, 2015In “Deutsch”Teste jetzt die leistungsstarke neue SuchfunktionMarch 6, 2015In “Deutsch”Zwei neue Souvenirs fürs SchaltjahrJanuary 11, 2016In “News” Lass den Nerd in Dir raus mit zwei neuen Souvenirs am Pi-Tag!Während einige Leute den Pi-Tag am 14. März mit einem Stück Pi-Kuchen feiern, machen wir das am diesjährigen Pi-Tag mit zwei neuen Souvenirs. Das erste Souvenir wurde von Menschen mit einer irrationalen Liebe zu irrationalen Zahlen inspiriert. Nimm einfach am Pi-Tag an einem Event teil und Du erhältst dieses Souvenir. Das zweite Souvenir zelebriert das Rätselhafte an Pi – finde am 14. März einen Mystery-Geocache, um es zu erhalten.A propos Mystery-Geoaches – die sind jetzt für Geocaching-Premium-Mitglieder in der kostenlosen offiziellen App für iPhone und Android verfügbar.Und zum Schluss: Wenn Du auf der Suche nach noch MEHR Souvenirs bist, solltest Du Dir auf jeden Fall das CITO-Souvenir am 25. und 26. April sowie das spezielle Souvenir am 2. Mai holen.Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Over 500 political workers and leaders in detention in Kashmir

first_imgOver 500 important political workers and leaders, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been detained in Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre decided to revoke provisions of Article 370 and divide the state to two union territories, officials said.Activists across the political spectrum have been detained in Srinagar as well as other parts of the valley, they said.According to latest reports, about 560 such workers have been lodged in makeshift detention centres in Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar and other such centres in Baramulla and Gurez.Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah of the National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP have been detained at Hari Niwas on Gupkar road.Amid the restrictions in place in the city, one person was killed in Noorbagh locality. A group of youngsters had gathered in the area and they were chased by CRPF personnel because of confusion over curfew, they said.One of the youths jumped into the Jhelum river to escape the wrath of the heavily-armed paramilitary forces, but drowned. There was a protest in the locality but it ended after a cane charging in which six people were injured, they said.The officials said curfew has not been declared, but authorities have ordered strict implementation of Section 144 of the CrPC which prohibits assembly of over five people in an area.There are reports of other such clashes from across the valley but details are still not known because of the clampdown on communication links, they said.last_img read more