January 11

Treasure planet: Possible habitable world discovered

first_imgWASHINGTON – European astronomers have found the most Earth-like planet outside our solar system, and here’s what it might be like to live there: The “sun” wouldn’t burn brightly. It would hang close, large and red in the sky, glowing faintly like a charcoal ember. And it probably would never set if you lived on the sunny side of the planet. You could have a birthday party every 13 days because that’s how fast this new planet circles its sunlike star. But watch the cake – you’d weigh a whole lot more than you do on Earth. You might be able to keep your current wardrobe. The temperature in this alien setting will likely be a lot like Earth’s – not too hot, not too cold. Alan Boss, who works at the Carnegie Institution of Washington where a U.S. team of astronomers competed in the hunt for an Earth-like planet, called it “a major milestone in this business.” The planet was discovered by the European Southern Observatory’s telescope in La Silla, Chile, which has a special instrument that splits light to find wobbles in different wave lengths. Those wobbles can reveal the existence of other worlds. What they revealed is a planet circling the red dwarf star Gliese 581. Red dwarfs are low-energy, tiny stars that give off dim red light and last longer than stars like our sun. Until a few years ago, astronomers didn’t consider these stars as possible hosts of planets that might sustain life. Shedding new light The discovery of the new planet, named 581 c, is sure to fuel studies of planets circling similar dim stars. About 80 percent of the stars near Earth are red dwarfs. The new planet is about five times heavier than Earth, and gravity there would be 1.6 times as strong as Earth’s. Its discoverers aren’t certain whether it is rocky like Earth or if it’s a frozen ice ball with liquid water on the surface. If it is rocky like Earth, which is what the prevailing theory proposes, it has a diameter about 1 times bigger than our planet. If it is an ice ball, as Mayor suggests, it would be even bigger. Based on theory, 581 c should have an atmosphere, but what’s in that atmosphere is still a mystery and if it’s too thick that could make the planet’s surface temperature too hot, Mayor said. However, the research team believes the average temperature to be somewhere between 32 and 104 degrees and that set off celebrations among astronomers. 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. Looking for liquid The new planet seems just right – or at least that’s what scientists think. “This could be very important,” said NASA astrobiology expert Chris McKay, who was not part of the discovery team. “It doesn’t mean there is life, but it means it’s an Earth-like planet in terms of potential habitability.” Eventually astronomers will rack up discoveries of dozens, maybe even hundreds of planets considered habitable, the astronomers said. But this one – simply called “c” by its discoverers when they talk among themselves – will go down in cosmic history as No. 1. Besides having the right temperature, the new planet is probably full of liquid water, hypothesizes Stephane Udry, the discovery team’s lead author and another Geneva astronomer. But that is based on theory about how planets form, not on any evidence, he said. “Liquid water is critical to life as we know it,” co-author Xavier Delfosse of Grenoble University in France said in a statement. “Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life. On the treasure map of the universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X.” Other astronomers cautioned it’s too early to tell whether there is water. “You need more work to say it’s got water or it doesn’t have water,” said retired NASA astronomer Steve Maran, press officer for the American Astronomical Society. “You wouldn’t send a crew there assuming that when you get there, they’ll have enough water to get back.” The new planet’s star system is a mere 20.5 light years away, making Gliese 581 one of the 100 closest stars to Earth. It’s so dim, you can’t see it without a telescope, but it’s somewhere in the constellation Libra, which is low in the southeastern sky during the midevening in the Northern Hemisphere. Even so, Maran noted, “We don’t know how to get to those places in a human lifetime.” Getting more sun But, oh, the view, if you could. The planet is 14 times closer to the star it orbits. Udry figures the red dwarf star would hang in the sky at a size 20 times larger than our moon. And it’s likely, but still not known, that the planet doesn’t rotate, so one side would always be sunlit and the other dark. Two teams of astronomers, one in Europe and one in the United States, have been racing to be the first to find a planet like 581 c outside the solar system. The European team looked at 100 different stars, using a tool called HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity for Planetary Searcher), to find this one planet, said Xavier Bonfils of the Lisbon Observatory, one of the co-discoverers. Much of the effort to find Earth-like planets has focused on stars like our sun with the challenge being to find a planet the right distance from the star it orbits. About 90 percent of the time, the European telescope focused its search more on sunlike stars, Udry said. A few weeks before the European discovery earlier this month, a scientific paper in the journal Astrobiology theorized that red dwarf stars were good candidates. “Now we have the possibility to find many more,” Bonfils said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! And that “just right” temperature is one key reason astronomers think this planet could conceivably house life outside our solar system. It’s also as close to Earth-size as telescopes have ever spotted. Both elements make it the first potentially habitable planet besides Earth or Mars. Astronomers who announced the discovery of the new planet Tuesday says this puts them closer to answering the cosmic question: Are we alone? “It’s a significant step on the way to finding possible life in the universe,” said University of Geneva astronomer Michel Mayor, one of 11 European scientists on the team that found the new body. “It’s a nice discovery. We still have a lot of questions.” There’s still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is learned about it. But as galaxies go, it’s practically a neighbor. At only 120 trillion miles away, the red dwarf star that this planet circles is one of the 100 closest to Earth. The results of the discovery have not been published but have been submitted to the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. last_img read more

December 27


first_imgOld Orchard Inn Division One Erne Wanderers 7 Ramelton Mariners 2Erne Wanderers hosted Ramelton Mariners in a top of the table clash at the lakeside centre in glorious conditions on Saturday. Despite the scoreline it was the away team that had the better of the first half with the home team unable to get any rhythm going. Playing good passing football Mariner’s took the game to the home team and created a few half chances and forced a serious of corners which Erne defended well. Five minutes before the break Mariner’s got a penalty when Jamie Cassidy tried to nick the ball but caught the striker’s foot and down he went. From the resulting kick Karl O’ Brien made a good save. Within a minute Erne broke up the pitch and the ball was worked to Mark Dorrian inside the box and he found the top corner with a cool finish for his first of the day. This was a cruel blow to the away side who were much the better team in the first half. Wanderers came out a different team in the second half and went two up within a minute when Jamie Cassidy went on a run from centre back, playing some brilliant one twos up the pitch, and he finished from 8 yards at the second attempt. Five minutes later Erne went three up when Dolan went on a run down the left and cut it back for Dermott Slevin who side footed into the bottom corner from 20 yards. Within two minutes Mariners got on the score-sheet when Brian Piper scored with a neat finish. Wanderers upped the tempo after this and finished the game as a contest when on 60 minutes Mark Dorrian got his second when the ball fell to his feet on the corner of the 18 yard box, after good battling by Sticky Ward, and he chipped the keeper with a brilliant effort. David Dolan got no five on 65minutes when he beat his man and played a pass to Sticky who back-heeled into his path again and he burst into box to calmly slot past the stranded keeper. Dorrian completed his hatrick on 68 minutes when Sean Toland played him in down the left and he finished well with his left foot. Slack defending let in Mariners for their second on 78 minutes when Barry Coyle finished from 7yards. The scoring was complete on 83 minutes when Sticky Ward found the net with a cool side foot finish into the bottom corner. A big win for the Wanderers at a crucial stage of the season with Slevin and Dorrian the pick of the bunch team effort from Mariners who just faded in the second half. Referee: Brian O’ Kane. Glenea United 2 Glencar Celtic 2Glenea came back from the dead to get a point from this match. In an even 1st half both sides were battling to get control of the game and neither created any clear cut chances. In the 2nd half Glencar took the lead on 50 minutes when Stephen Mc Laughlin was on hand to knock in a cut back. Glenea tried hard to get back into the game but were finding it difficult to create a chance. Glencar doubled their lead on 65 minutes when John Hilly was played through and he slotted the ball past the keeper. Glenea reduced the deficit on 85 minutes when Martin Maguire headed home a Martin Doohan free-kick. This goal lifted the home side and they equalized on 89 minutes when Michael Mc Clafferty was on hand to force home the ball after a goal mouth scramble. Glenea almost took all the points in injury time when another goal mouth scramble saw the ball cleared off the line. Best for Glenea John Harley and Shane Ferry while Padjo Duffy tried hard for Glencar. Referee: John FerryCastlefin Celtic Reserves 2 Mulroy Celtic 1Castlefin claimed a vital three points after a 2-1 victory over Mulroy in Parkview on Saturday. Mulroy were the better team in the first half, creating numerous chances, and they eventually took the lead in the 35th minute when Mark Griffin finished well. In the 40th minute Castlefin equalised through a great Thomas Devlin strike from 20yards. In the 55th minute Castlefin took the lead when a Tomas Devlin cross found Gary Mc Nulty who laid the ball off to Mark Lafferty who struck home from 15 yards. Mulroy pressed for an equaliser and Mark Griffin went close on a few occasions.Good team performances. Referee: Barry HunterDowntown Cup Group BKilmacrennan Celtic Reserves 2 Fintown Harps AFC 6Fintown Harps overcame Kilmacrennan Celtic in Lurgy Park in this cup fixture. A tight first half came to life just before half time when Aaron Thompson scored after going one on one with the Kilmacrennan keeper. He scored again three mins later from Daragh Gallagher’s square across the box. Kilmacrennan pulled one back just before half time when Paul Mc Eldowney was fouled in the box and Cathal Gallagher scored the resulting penalty. Fintown started the second half brightly and Aaron Thompson scored his third five minutes in after a scramble in the box. Kilmacrennan pulled another one back in the 57th minute when Paul Mc Eldowney headed in Steve McElwaine’s corner. Daragh Gallagher scored Fintown’s fourth with a fine solo effort in the 65th minute. He turned provider again a few minutes later setting up Paddy Black. Aaron Thompson scored his fourth and Fintown’s last in the 75th minute to put the game to bed. Excellent team performance from Fintown and Steve Mc Elwaine was best for Kilmacrennan.Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier Division Rathmullan Celtic 1 Kilmacrennan Celtic 2Kilmacrennan Celtic used all of their experience to leave the Seaside with three valuable points following a hard fought game that was dominated for long spells by the home side but a stunning brace from Eddie Doherty, who converted their only opportunities, proved the difference to seal a victory for the former Premier Division champions.The visitors were a menacing physical presence throughout and Doherty’s two exceptional goals confirmed their place as Premier League leaders. In truth, Sunday’s entertaining game showed why both teams are worthy of their places near the top of the table this season.A goal in each half from midfielder Doherty got the job done for Kilmac, with Eamonn Sheridan netting for Rathmullan in between. The home side were left to rue not making their early dominance in each half tell on the scoreboard. A strong and experienced spine to the visitor’s team ensured they were able to hang tough and concede very few clear cut chances despite coughing up a lot of possession to Rathmullan. The Gorman’s, Gavin and Gary marshalled a strong back line, with Timmy Burke, Doherty and ex-Rathmullan striker Caolan Kelly proving a handful further up the field.With Oisin McMenamin missing, Aaron Mc Clafferty was recalled to the starting line-up and it was Rathmullan that started well and Eoin Sheridan had the best chance, as he pulled a shot wide from 12 yards.Having failed to make their possession count, Rathmullan were punished on the half hour with a stunning opener. Building down the left wing, the ball was knocked infield by Ryan McLaughlin and Mickey McBride’s step-over allowed the in-rushing Doherty through on goal. He lashed an unstoppable shot past Ian Strain and off the underside of the bar to give the visitors the lead against the run of play.The Hoops responded well to the setback and a fine individual effort from Eamonn Sheridan on 43 minutes saw the talismanic forward gain space in the box and fire a low shot into the net much to the delight in front of another bumper Flagpole crowd.Rathmullan started the second half well and continued to press for a second goal, but they came up against a very stubborn defence.The best chance of the second half arrived on 55 minutes when Dara Patton’s right wing cross was chested down by Eamonn Sheridan for Aaron Mc Clafferty but he was unable to keep his effort down and fired over the bar.Former Kilmac player Seamus McLaughlin almost wrote his own script with a wonderfully struck volley from 20-yards that flew just wide of the post with Rathmullan still doing the probing heading into the final 15 minutes.There was to be a sting in the tail however as the visitors again showed the clinical finishing of a team that has been down this road many times in the past.Having forced a succession of corners and free kicks in promising areas, Rathmullan were unable to make it count with Kilmac dominating in the air. So it was no surprise when a left wing cross was met with a stunning glancing header from Doherty into the far corner on 84 minutes to steal the points much to the delight of the travelling Kilmac support.With Niall Doherty and Philip Hegarty on from the bench, the home side again responded well to the setback and pegged Kilmac in for the remainder of the game but they were unable to force an equaliser.A setback for Mark Curran and his players, there can be little doubt of that, but with plenty games to play and a cup semi final on the horizon, there is still a lot to play for and based on this display Rathmullan can still have a big say in the destination of this year’s Premier Division title.Best for Rathmullan was Reggie Miller while Kilmac’s defence were marshalled superbly by the Gorman brothers and Doherty’s class up front in converting their only two attacks proved the difference.Castlefin Celtic 1 Glenea United 4Glenea went away with all three points after a tough battle with Castlefin Celtic in Parkview on Sunday. The visitors took the lead the after 5 minutes when Kevin Mulhern rose highest to head home the opener from 6 yards after a Declan Mc Garvey cross. Castlefin had the majority of the possession but couldn’t break down the visiting defence. Glenea doubled their lead when Michael Barry latched onto a through ball and finished clinically with 30 minutes played. In the 39th minute Glenea increased their lead when Michael Barry pounced on a mistake in the Castlefin defence to poke home.The second half turned into a midfield battle with few chances being created. In the 80th minute Glenea got their fourth, a wonderful finish from Ryan Mc Fadden. In the 88th minute Castlefin got a consolation goal through Peter Bryson following a Ronan Tourish corner.Two good team Performances. Referee: Ed MooreGweedore Celtic 1 Lagan Harps 0A crucial victory for the home team in what was a very tight game against Lagan Harps. In the opening fifteen minutes the visitors looked the more dangerous with Andrew Brennan causing problems for the home defence with his pacey runs up the wing. On the half-hour Gweedore took the lead when a ball into the box was headed on by David Mc Gee and Tomas Diver was on hand to slam the ball home. Early in the second half the away keeper did well to save a David Mc Gee shot. On forty minutes a Lagan free kick was fisted over the bar by the home keeper Mc Kelvey. In the last fifteen minutes Gweedore were under sustained pressure, Lagan forced a number of corners and free kicks, but despite a few near misses the home side held out for a victory,A team display by Lagan. John Walsh and Danny Curran played well for Gweedore. Referee: Martin Mc GarrigleSt. Catherines 1 Lifford Celtic 0St Catherines played hosts to Lifford Celtic in Emerald Park on Sunday. The Saints started well and on 14 minutes Michael Mullin had a good shot but it was well saved by Lee White in the Lifford goal. Then on 20 minutes that man again Michael Mullin had another good shot but again he was denied by Lee White. Lifford started to come into the game and they created a couple a chances, On 29 minutes Conor O’ Rourke had a great shot but he could not get passed Lee White. Lifford had a chance but it was well saved by Anthoine O’ Hara in the Saints goal. David Conwell then had a shot that was well saved. The 2nd half started with both teams looking to get on the score-sheet. Lifford had a couple of chances but they could not get past Anthoine O Hara in the Saints goal, On 61 minutes Jason Noctor had a shot that just went wide of the Lifford goal. On 62 minutes David Conwell had a shot but again was saved by Lee White. On 83 minutes Lifford attacked and the they got into the Saints box and curled a great shot beyond the reach of Anthoine O Hara in the Saints goals into the bottom corner of the net to make the score 1-0 to Lifford Celtic. The Saints pushed hard to get level but it just would not happen for them and the final score was 1-0 to the visitors.Watson Hire Division OneEany Celtic 5 Arranmore United 0Eany Celtic hosted the islanders for their first home match since early November and secured all three points. The home side enjoyed lots of early possession and went ahead from James Flynn fired the ball home on the half hour mark. Eany had chances to extend their lead before half time but the net eluded them .The second half saw the visitors work hard and they had chances but found the Eany defence defiant. It took until the hour mark for Eany extend their lead when Barry Rose got the first of his hat-trick which took 15 minutes to complete. Eany rounded off their afternoon with John Rose getting a well-deserved goal in the 85 minute. Two good performances from these sides.Cranford United 3 Ballybofey United 0Cranford started this game brightly with some neat central midfield playinvolving Michael McGinley and Chris Carr who created a couple of half chancesfor the home team. Danny McBride came close to opening the scoringwhen he got on the end of a Marty Mc Loughlin cross on 17minutes. Thedeadlock was however broken a couple of minutes later when Arthur Lynchexcellently headed home a Seamus Carr free kick. They doubled theiradvantage on the half hour when Marty Mc Loughlin slammed home afterexcellent work from Danny McBride. Philip Buchanan made it three nilfive minutes before the half time whistle when he was put through byChris Carr. The second half was a closely contested affairwith John Gregg and Maurice Lafferty getting more involved but theywere unable to find a goal and Cranford saw out the game comfortably.John Gregg was best for Ballybofey with Michael McGinley and MartyMcLaughlin the stand out men for the home side. Referee: Paddy Martin.Cappry Rovers 0 Donegal Town 4Donegal Town went joint top of the division after they defeated Cappry Rovers by 4 goals to nil in Cappry Park.Cappry dominated the earlier exchanges but good defending and goalkeeping by Dermot Mc Caffrey kept the game scoreless.Donegal took the lead in the thirty second minute when a free kick was floated in and Brendan O’ Meara in the Cappry net could only parry the ball and Benny Byrne nipped in to score from close range.Cappry came more into the game in search of the equaliser but couldn’t penetrate the visitors defence.Cappry started the second half well putting Donegal under pressure and following numerous corners had the ball cleared off the line, a shot from Malachy Martin rattled the bar with Mc Caffrey beaten, but the ball was eventually cleared.With Cappry pushing forward they went two down in the fifty sixth minute when Benny Byrne scored his second following a mistake in the Cappry defence.Byrne completed his hat-trick in the sixty fourth minute when he beat the off side trap to score from close range.Dermot Browne wrapped the game up for the visitors in the sixty ninth minute following a mix up in the Cappry defence to score from close range.Team performance from Cappry. Goalkeeper Dermot Mc Caffrey was best for Donegal town.Referee: Gerry Gallagher.CT Ball Division TwoGlenree United 2 Convoy Arsenal 0The Arsenal were well and truly outgunned on Glenree’s hallowed soil today as the Mevagh men scored 2 with no reply on a good fresh day on the coast.JJ Mc Gettigan’s brave soldiers started the game on a high as they keep their good run going. The relentless tempo suits United and the tiresome work ethic proved fruitful as Daniel Mc Groddy anticipated a high ball into the box and flicked it past the visiting keeper on 30minutes.The second half had Glenree playing against the wind and the ball sat a little better and the assist king Andy Logue proved decisive as his well timed pass put Damien Coyle through and his acute angled shot crept in at the near post.This good physical encounter proved an entertaining affair as the visitors pressured the home side to the point of instinctive saves from the number 1 Gibson.Mc Gettigan’s team have kept themselves in the hunt after a few good results and an away day to Bonagee is next on the fixture list.The man of the match champagne has been divided among the Glenree team as all involved put in a great shift and it was a good team effort from Convoy too.Referee: Marty Quinn.DONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUERESULTSOld Orchard Inn Division OneErne Wanderers 7 v 2 Ramelton MarinersGlenea United 2 v 2 Glencar CelticCastlefin Celtic Reserves 2 v 1 Mulroy CelticGlencar Inn Division TwoCranford United Reserves P v P Downtown UnitedDowntown Cup Group ATullyvinney Rovers P v P Milford United ReservesDowntown Cup Group BKilmacrennan Celtic Reserves 2 v 6 Fintown Harps AFCDowntown Cup Group CDeele Harps P v P Gweedore United ReservesBrian Mc Cormick Sports Premier DivisionRathmullan Celtic 1 v 2 Kilmacrennan CelticCastlefin Celtic 1 v 4 Glenea UnitedGweedore Celtic 1 v 0 Lagan HarpsSt. Catherines 1 v 0 Lifford CelticWatson Hire Division OneEany Celtic 5 v 0 Arranmore UnitedRaphoe Town 2 v 3 Keadue RoversCranford United 3 v 0 Ballybofey UnitedCappry Rovers 0 v 4 Donegal TownCT Ball Division TwoGweedore United P v P Dunlewy CelticDONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUEFIXTURESSATURDAY 9-2-2013 K.O. 2 p.m. (Unless Stated)Old Orchard Inn Division OneKilmacrennan Celtic Reserves v Castlefin Celtic ReservesFintown Harps AFC v Glenea United ReservesMulroy Celtic v Glencar CelticGlencar Inn Division TwoDonegal Town Reserves v Glenree United ReservesDowntown Cup Group ATullyvinney Rovers v Erne WanderersMilford United Reserves v Cranford United ReservesDowntown Cup Group CRamelton Mariners v Deele HarpsGweedore United Reserves v Downtown UnitedSUNDAY 10-2-2013 K.O. 2 p.m. (Unless Stated)Brian Mc Cormick Sports Premier DivisionLagan Harps v Glenea UnitedMilford United v Kilmacrennan CelticRathmullan Celtic v Castlefin CelticDunkineely Celtic v Gweedore CelticWatson Hire Division OneRaphoe Town v Arranmore United (K.O. 1 p.m.)Drumoghill FC v Curragh AthleticKeadue Rovers v Ballybofey UnitedEany Celtic v Cappry RoversCranford United v Donegal TownCT Ball Division TwoCopany Rovers v Kerrykeel ’71 FCDunlewy Celtic v Drumbar UnitedLetterbarrow Celtic v Gweedore UnitedWhitestrand United v Bonagee UnitedDONEGAL JUNIOR LEAGUE – ALL THE MATCH REPORTS, RESULTS AND FIXTURES was last modified: February 3rd, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal League match reportslast_img read more

December 25


first_imgDes Newton has stepped down as Roscommon football manger, after less than a year in the job.The former Roscommon and Donegal player’s departure was confirmed by the county board, which will meet next week to begin the process of finding his successor.Roscommon lost to Galway in the Connacht Championship, but bounced back to defeat Armagh in the Qualifiers, before making their exit at the hands of Tyrone. He had been commuting to Roscommon from Dublin to manage the team. FORMER DONEGAL PLAYER QUITS AS ROSCOMMON MANAGER was last modified: September 12th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

December 21

Fulham linked with QPR target

first_imgA number of papers report QPR’s signing of Nancy midfielder Samba Diakite, which is expected to be formally completed today.Linked with Wigan.Twitter comments by Rangers vice-chairman Amit Bhatia advocating the introduction of a video challenge system for football are picked up by The Guardian and The Sun.Elsewhere, the Daily Mail report that Fulham have offered £2m plus Andy Johnson for Wigan striker Hugo Rodallega, who has attracted interest from QPR.The Mail say Rangers are instead looking to complete the signing of former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse from Lazio and will make an improved offer for Tottenham’s Steven Pienaar.And Chelsea have made a £1m offer for Nottingham Forest’s 18-year-old forward Patrick Bamford, according to a story that appears in the Mail and The Sun.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

December 19

Men Aren’t Going Extinct – Yet

first_imgNot long ago, evolutionary biologists were predicting the demise of manhood (see 11/01/2001, 03/31/2004).  The idea was that the Y chromosome, with no redundant copy (unlike the female’s two X chromosomes, and all others) appeared to be shriveling up and mutating itself out of existence.  Now that the chimpanzee genome has been published (see 09/01/2005 story), one of the many surprises that has come to light is that the human Y chromosome appears to have kept its store of genetic information better than the chimp’s.  Coupled with the discovery that the male chromosome protects itself with palindromes 06/18/2003), men seem to have a bright future ahead.  That the Y chromosome of humans, having emerged later than that of apes, should be in better condition than that of chimpanzees seems an evolutionary conundrum.Sources: MSNBC News, EurekAlert, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.Another evolutionary speculation has been shot down.  Keep up the good work.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

December 19

World’s Fastest Computer Approaches Brain Power

first_imgIBM has broken the petaflops barrier.  What’s that, you ask?  In computing lingo, it stands for a quadrillion floating-point operations per second.  The new Roadrunner supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory has set a new record for computing speed that may usher in a new era of scientific analysis of complex systems: “Roadrunner gives scientists the ability to quickly render mountainous problems into mere molehills, or model systems that previously were unthinkably complex.”  Such as?….    Science Daily reported something even more amazing.  Roadrunner is now able to mimic some of the complex neural reactions going on in the human brain.  “To date, computers have been unable to match human performance on such visual tasks as flawlessly detecting an oncoming automobile on the highway or distinguishing a friend from a stranger in a crowd of people,” the article said.  “Roadrunner is now changing the game.”    One test program called PetaVision tries to model how the brain performs vision.  “PetaVision models the human visual system–mimicking more than 1 billion visual neurons and trillions of synapses.”  Because there are about a quadrillion synapses in the human brain, an artificial brain is finally entering the ballpark of keeping up with the biological computer.    One researcher put it, “Just a week after formal introduction of the machine to the world, we are already doing computational tasks that existed only in the realm of imagination a year ago.”  Imagination is a human intellectual skill carried on with the aid of the brain.  It’s not clear if the researchers have calculated how many petaflops would be required to perform that feat.  It might require exaflops (quintillions), zettaflops (sextillions) or yottaflops (septillions), if one can imagine such numbers.Did you catch the point of this story?  Decades of human intelligent planning and engineering and experience have gone into producing a monstrosity of big iron that is just now getting up to the capability of keeping up with one operation of your brain, vision.  The man-made machine occupies a room of metal, wires, and sophisticated circuitry that requires electricity, artificial cooling and a team of system administrators, to say nothing of programmers, to operate.    Your brain, by contrast, occupies only three pounds of soft tissue.  It is self-contained on a mobile platform.  And it’s doing a lot more than processing vision.  It is keeping tabs on trillions of cells, running your heart, lungs, digestive tract, spleen, pancreas, liver, glands, immune system and dozens of other systems in the background without your conscious control, responding to hearing, smell, taste, touch, balance, temperature and kinesthetic senses, searching through memories, thinking, imagining, feeling and much more.  All this occurs in a compact space of only 1350 cc.  You don’t have to plug it in.  You don’t have to keep it in a refrigerated room.  You can take it skiing or out to the desert, and you can even swim with it.  And it runs on hamburgers and water!    This article should be standing in awe of the brain, but it’s all about glorifying man for building his own paltry excuse for a computer.  Inside their own skulls is the most astonishing supercomputer in the known universe!  Where is the praise to the Creator that should be due for His gift of such a powerful and multi-functional machine?  On the contrary, the common mythology of our day is that brains evolved by chance over millions of years of undirected, random processes.    Learn to see the real take-home lesson in science news.  The important lesson is not always the hyped one.(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

December 19

Limpopo lodge goes 100% green

first_img15 May 2008Using his decades of expertise as a chemical engineer, Dr Hans Hahn runs a Soutpansberg-based eco-tourism lodge entirely on alternative, renewable and sustainable energy.Speaking to BuaNews at Tourism Indaba 2008, Hahn said the Moshavehla Lodge was detached entirely from Eskom’s power-grid and the entire farm was powered using a combination of solar power and thermal gasification, which involves extracting gas by burning wood and recycling waste to power generators.“I recently established a factory which manufactures solar panels which combined with a wood burning boiler to heat water and power equipment,” said Hahn, adding that the Tourism Indaba was hugely beneficial to businesses because it gave them exposure to local and international visitors.“My invention works so well that our 700-litre tank of water starts boiling after just 30 minutes.”He said he was now working towards having a golf course at Moshavehla, built with only indigenous plants and irrigated by wastewater from the lodge.Alternate energy sourcesIngrid Hahn, his daughter, said her father’s knowledge in renewable energy could benefit the country, and the pair are to approach the Department of Minerals and Energy with various prototypes for green power generation.State-owned power utility Eskom has been struggling to provide the country with sufficient electricity following an unsustainable increase in electricity usage, made worse by South Africa’s massive infrastructure drive ahead of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Eskom appealed to businesses and the public at large to decrease their dependency on coal generated electricity, and implement energy-saving measures such as geyser blankets, movement-sensitive lights and investment in alternative energy has become a reality in South Africa.Unspoilt biodiversity, local developmentMashovhela Lodge, which means “place where the drums beat”, is situated between the mountains amid unspoilt biodiversity that boasts over 600 different types of trees, thousands of plant species and a host of wildlife including leopard, hyena, warthog, kudu and wild cat.It had always been a dream of Hans Hahn to establish a conservancy on his farm creating a home for indigenous fauna and flora, with his daughter helping him to achieve that goal.The lodge also has a community development element to it, with a focus on utilising the local Venda people and their arts and crafts in support of local industry.There are currently 13 people employed at the establishment, with a further support staff as well as a full-time game ranger and guide.“We only employ local Venda’s and all our furniture and arts and crafts is made locally,” said Ingrid Hahn. “The community is aware of the vision we have for the property as well as the community, making them aware of the environment and how to protect it and ensure future generations can benefit from it.”As with much of the farms in the Limpopo province, Hahn’s farm – which he bought in 1970 – is involved in a land claim. However, due to the harmonious relationship between the local chief and the Hahn family as well as the family’s initiatives to educate and skill the local people the local chief does not want them to be moved off the land.“We provide work and education to his community,” said Hans Hahn.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

November 18

Faf du Plessis to lead World XI in T20 International series in Pakistan

first_imgFaf du Plessis has been named captain of the World XI squad which will play three T20 Internationals in Pakistan next month.Du Plessis was one of five South Africans in the World XI side for three T20Is against Pakistan to be played in Lahore on September 12, 13 and 15.George Bailey and Tim Paine are the two Australian names in the squad while West Indies will be represented by Darren Sammy and Samuel Badree. Former England captain Paul Collingwood also made the cut along with Ben Cutting. Tamim Iqbal is the lone Bangladeshi player to be included in the side. Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera was the other big name.Proud to have been selected for the World XI squad for the Independence Cup in Pakistan. To play? https://t.co/7Bd4XXEbO8- Paul Collingwood (@Colly622) August 24, 2017The World XI players are expected to make 75,000 pounds from the series. Pakistan have promised top-notch security to the players and they will hope other international teams also start touring soon.Pakistan have not played high-profile international cricket at home since the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus on March 3, 2009. Twelve gunmen had fired at the bus which was on its way to the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore.Afghanistan and Zimbabwe remain the only two teams who had toured Pakistan for a limited-over series.”I am honoured to have been appointed as captain of such a diverse, attractive and well-balanced side. Like most of the players, I look forward to my maiden tour to Lahore and play my part in the safe and gradual resumption of international cricket in Pakistan,” du Plessis said. “All the members of the squad have complete faith and trust in the assessment and judgement of the security experts, who have assured us that there will be no comprise on the safety and security of all those involved in the series. As professionals, we are getting paid to play in the series, but the bottom-line is that if we didn’t feel safe, no amount of money would get us there. In this background, we will land in Lahore with nothing except cricket in our minds.”advertisementFormer Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower has been named coach of the World XI side which will arrive in Pakistan on September 11 after a two-day camp in Dubai.WORLD XI SERIES SQUAD: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir (SA), Samuel Badree, Darren Sammy (WI)., George Bailey, Tim Paine (Australia), Grant Eliott (NZ), Thisara Perera (SL), Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting (ENG), Tamim Iqbal (BAN)last_img read more

October 17

Air force getting more planes but wont have pilots auditor warns

first_imgOTTAWA — Auditor general Michael Ferguson fired a bullet at the Trudeau government’s plan to buy second-hand Australian fighter jets on Tuesday, revealing the air force doesn’t have enough people to fly the planes it already has.Ferguson said military commanders first alerted the government to the personnel shortage in 2016, when the Liberals were planning to spend billions of dollars on 18 new Super Hornet jets to supplement Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet.But the government brushed aside those concerns and pressed ahead with the purchase while providing only minimal increases to training and other measures to make sure the Canadian Forces had the pilots and technicians to use the new planes, Ferguson said.The Liberals eventually scuttled the Super Hornet plan due to a trade dispute between Super Hornet-maker Boeing and Montreal rival Bombardier, and are now planning to buy 25 used Australian jets for $500 million.But the auditor general’s report said the military’s firm assessment – and his own – is that the result will be the same: planes we can’t use.“The (Defence) Department stated that it needed more qualified technicians and pilots, not more fighter aircraft,” the report reads: “In our opinion … without more technicians and pilots, the effect on fighter-force operations will be small.”Ferguson, whose previous report on fighter jets in 2012 helped blow up the Harper government’s plan to buy a fleet of F-35 jets without a competition, backed up his most recent assessment with some stark numbers.For example, in the last fiscal year, 28 per cent of fighter pilots flew fewer than the minimum number of hours needed to keep their skills and 22 per cent of technician positions in CF-18 squadrons were empty or filled by inexperienced staff.And between April 2016 and March 2018, the air force lost 40 trained fighter pilots and produced only 30 new ones. Since then, another 17 have left or said that they planned to leave.The auditor general’s findings are likely to add fuel to the fire that has been smoldering around the Liberals when it comes to fighter jets, with opposition parties and defence analysts criticizing how the government has handled the file.Many have been calling for years for the Liberals to launch an immediate competition to replace Canada’s CF-18s, which are already 35 years old, but the government has insisted on taking its time.The government is expected to formally launch a $19-billion competition for 88 new fighter jets next spring, but a winner won’t be picked until 2021 or 2022. The first new fighter jet won’t arrive until 2025.In the meantime, despite plans to spend upwards of $3 billion over the next decade to keep them in the air, Ferguson warned the CF-18s and used Australian fighter jets will become increasingly obsolete.The $3 billion does not include any actual upgrades to the planes’ combat systems, which have not had significant overhauls since 2008.“Without combat upgrades, the CF-18 will be less effective against adversaries in domestic and international operations,” the auditor general’s report reads.“Flying the CF-18 until 2032 without a plan to upgrade combat capability will result in less important roles for the fighter force and will pose a risk to Canada’s ability to contribute to NORAD and NATO operations.”Unlike in his previous report, in which he raked defence officials over the coals for misleading parliamentarians and ministers about the F-35, Ferguson said most of the current problems are out of the military’s hands.That includes the government’s controversial decision in September 2016 to increase the number of aircraft the air force needs to keep ready for missions.“It was a significant change as it came at a time when the Royal Canadian Air Force was already facing low personnel levels, was managing an aging fleet and had not yet identified a replacement fleet,” the auditor general’s report reads.“The change reduced operational flexibility and would require National Defence to increase the number of available aircraft by 23 per cent.”The Liberals have defended the move as necessary to ensure Canada meets its domestic and international obligations, but critics have said it just provided policy cover for the planned purchase of Super Hornets without a competition.Ferguson’s report did not delve into the justification for the policy change nor did it review the competition to replace the CF-18s.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

October 16

Whoopi Goldberg To Host Prostate Cancer Foundation Dinner

first_imgWHERE: The Pierre Hotel 2 East 61st St.New York, NY 10065Find out more here. Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), a nonprofit organization which remains steadfast in its commitment to identify and fund groundbreaking cancer research programs to save the lives of millions, will host its annual New York Dinner at the The Pierre Hotel on Wednesday, December 2, 2015.The dinner will honor the 20th Season the Prostate Cancer Foundation has partnered with Major League Baseball and its team owners for the PCF Homerun Challenge, with Baseball Hall of Fame Managers Joe Torre and Tommy Lasordaand David Cohen of Comcast. The dinner event will be an unforgettable evening, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and John O’Hurley and will feature special guests and musical performances by Rock Legend John Fogerty, Mezzo-Soprano Isabel Leonard, Baritone Nathan Gunn and singing group Forte from America’s Got Talent. Proceeds from the evening will support groundbreaking discoveries in cancer research.Event Co-Chairs Include: Mark & Debbie Attanasio, Seth & Marie Bernstein, Todd & Katie Boehly, Michael Lehrman, Ambassador Earle & Carol Mack, Dr. Richard Merkin, Mike & Lori Milken, Artie & Selma Rabin, Neal Rodin & Sharon Schutte-Rodin, Joe & Ali Torre, Eustace Wolfington.WHEN: Wednesday, December 2, 2015last_img read more