Friday, July 30, 2010

Titanic Expedition Wll Create 3D Image of Wreck

RICHMOND, Va. - A team of scientists will launch an expedition to the Titanic next month to assess the deteriorating condition of the world's most famous shipwreck and create a detailed three-dimensional map that will "virtually raise the Titanic" for the public.
The expedition to the site 2 miles 1/2 miles (four kilometres) beneath the North Atlantic is billed as the most advanced scientific mission to the Titanic wreck since its discovery 25 years ago.
The 20-day expedition is to leave St. John's, Newfoundland, on Aug. 18 under a partnership between RMS Titanic Inc., which has exclusive salvage rights to the wreck, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. The expedition will not collect artifacts but will probe a 2-by-3 mile (3-by-5 kilometre) debris field where hundreds of thousands of artifacts remain scattered.

Some of the world's most frequent visitors to the site will be part of the expedition along with a who's who of underwater scientists and organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Organizers say the new scientific data and images will ultimately will be accessible to the public.
"For the first time, we're really going to treat it as an archaeological site with two things in mind," David Gallo, an expedition leader and Woods Hole scientist, told The Associated Press on Monday. "One is to preserve the legacy of the ship by enhancing the story of the Titanic itself. The second part is to really understand what the state of the ship is."

The Titanic struck ice and sank on its maiden voyage in international waters on April 15, 1912, leaving 1,522 people dead. Since oceanographer Robert Ballard and an international team discovered the Titanic in 1985, most of the expeditions have either been to photograph the wreck or gather thousands of artifacts, like fine china, shoes and ship fittings. "Titanic" director James Cameron has also led teams to the wreck to record the bow and the stern, which separated during the sinking and now lie one-third of a mile apart.
RMS Titanic made the last expedition to the site in 2004. The company, a subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions Inc. of Atlanta, conducts travelling displays of the Titanic artifacts, which the company says have been viewed by tens of millions of people worldwide.
"We believe there's still a number of really exciting mysteries to be discovered at the wreck site," said Chris Davino, president of and CEO of Premier Exhibitions and RMS Titanic.

"It's our contention that substantial portions of the wreck site have never really been properly studied." RMS Titanic is bankrolling the expedition. Davino declined to state the cost of the exploration other than to say it will be millions of dollars.
The "dream team" of archaeologists, oceanographers and other scientists want to get the best assessment yet on the two main sections of the ship, which have been subjected to fierce deep-ocean currents, salt water and intense pressure.  Gallo said while the rate of Titanic's deterioration is not known, the expedition approaches the mission with a sense of urgency.

"We see places where it looks like the upper decks are getting thin, the walls are thin, the ceilings may be collapsing a bit," he said. "We hear all these anecdotal things about the ship  rusting away, it's collapsing on itself. No one really knows."
The expedition will use imaging technology and sonar devices that never have been used before on the Titanic wreck and to probe nearly a century of sediment in the debris field to seek a full inventory of the ship's artifacts.
"We're actually treating it like a crime scene," Gallo said. "We want to know what's out there in that debris field, what the stern and the bow are looking like."
The expedition will be based on the RV Jean Charcot, a 250-foot (76-meter) research vessel with a crew of 20. Three submersibles and the latest sonar, acoustic and filming technology will also be part of the expedition.

Bill Lange, a Woods Hole scientist who will lead the optical survey and will be one of the first to visit the wreck, said a key analysis will be comparing images from the first expedition 25 years ago and new images to measure decay and erosion.
"We're going to see things we haven't seen before. That's a given," he said. "The technology has really evolved in the last 25 years."

And so the old Titanic becomes news once again and we are all fascinated once again. What is it about the Titanic that is so magical and so mezmerizing that we can't let it rest in peace??

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Asteroid That Could Hit Earth

NOTE: This video is based on an asteroid which has a diameter of 500 kilometers. It is only a  hypothetical situation. The real asteroid is only about 1,800 feet across which would still create a large impact with global ramifications,


A large asteroid in space that has a remote chance of slamming into the Earth would be most likely hit in 2182, if it crashed into our planet at all, a new study suggests. The asteroid, called 1999 RQ36, has about a 1-in-1,000 chance of actually hitting the Earth, but half of that risk corresponds to potential impacts in the year 2182, said study co-author MarĂ­a Eugenia Sansaturio of the Universidad de Valladolid in Spain.


Sansaturio and her colleagues used mathematical models to determine the risk of asteroid 1999 RQ36 impacting the Earth through the year 2200. They found two potential opportunities for the asteroid to hit Earth in 2182. The research is detailed in the science journal Icarus.
The asteroid was discovered in 1999 and is about 1,837 feet (560 meters) across. A space rock this size could cause widespread devastation at an impact site in the remote chance that it hit Earth, according to a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists have tracked asteroid 1999 RQ36's orbit through 290 optical observations and 13 radar surveys, but there is still some uncertainty because of the gentle push it receives from the so-called Yarkovsky effect, researchers said.


The Yarkovsky effect, named after the Russian engineer I.O. Yarkovsky who proposed it around 1900, describes how an asteroid gains momentum from thermal radiation that it emits from its night side. Over hundreds of years, the effect's influence on an asteroid's orbit could be substantial. Sansaturio and her colleagues found that through 2060, the chances of Earth impacts from 1999 RQ36 are remote, but the odds increase by a magnitude of four by 2080 as the asteroid's orbit brings it closer to the Earth.
The odds of impact then dip as the asteroid would move away, and rise in 2162 and 2182, when it swings back near Earth, the researchers found. It's a tricky orbital dance that makes it difficult to pin down the odds of impact, they said.


"The consequence of this complex dynamic is not just the likelihood of a comparatively large impact, but also that a realistic deflection procedure (path deviation) could only be made before the impact in 2080, and more easily, before 2060," Sansaturio said in a statement. After 2080, she added, it would be more difficult to deflect the asteroid.
"If this object had been discovered after 2080, the deflection would require a technology that is not currently available," Sansaturio said. "Therefore, this example suggests that impact monitoring, which up to date does not cover more than 80 or 100 years, may need to encompass more than one century."


By expanding the timeframe for potential impacts, researchers would potentially identify the most threatening space rocks with enough time to mount deflection campaigns that are both technologically and financially feasible, Sansaturio said

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Hate This Heatwave

Ansel Adams : Grandson Says 'Lost' Negatives Aren't Real

A California man bought a collection of glass negatives at a garage sale says they have  been authenticated as lost works of Ansel Adams, but the famed photographer's grandson isn't so sure.
"I think it's irresponsible to claim that they're Ansel's," Matthew Adams said. "We think it's a very significant claim and we think it's not accurate."
After six months of study, experts concluded the 65 negatives were early works by Ansel Adams - and worth $200 million, according to an attorney for Rick Norsigian, a Fresno man who bought them at a garage sale for $45. The black-and-white images of Yosemite National Park's dramatic landscape recall some of Ansel Adam's most famous works. But Matthew Adams says they were probably not made by his grandfather , who died in 1984.
Matthew Adams disputes a claim that photographs , shown here at a news conference , Wednesday  made from glass plate negatives are not the works of his grandfather. He said he has seen the handwriting on the negatives - which was a key factor in authenticating the work - and is sure that the writing is not that of Virginia Adams, the wife of the famed artist.
"The handwriting that they are claiming is Virginia's , is not," Matthew Adams said.
Matthew Adams, president of the Ansel Adams gallery in Yosemite, says the writing on the negatives is filled with mis-spelling of famous sites in the national park that his grandmother , who grew up in Yosemite, would have known how to spell.

"On one of the negatives for example, Bridalveil Fall" a well know waterfall in the park, is spelled "Bridalvail Fall." Adams says it's a mistake his grandmother never would have made.
 "There's no way that an intelligent, articulate woman, 33 years old, who had lived there all her life, would mis-spell that," he said.
Adams finds it unlikely that his grandfather, who was meticulous about his work, would have lost track of the negatives. And he said the series isn't labelled using the negative-numbering  system his grandfather devised for his negatives.
 Art dealer david W. Streets , who is featuring  the prints in his Beverly Hills gallery,said. "Without a shadow of a doubt , it's Ansel Adams's work."
Streets said the negatives are particularly important because  they show the evolution of Adams as an artist.
 "It  truly is a missing link of Ansel Adams history  and his career."
Rick Norsigian, the painter who bought the negatives at a garage sale in 2000, has spent years trying to prove that they are the work of Ansel Adams. Streets says the Adams  family has been asked over the last 10 years to take part in the  authentication process but declined. The family of the renowned photographer , has shown "little or no interest" in the negatives.
"I'm very sad that the family has chosen not to participate," Streets said, "The whole point is to show the lost work of Ansel Adams," he said.
But the photographer's grandson is unconviniced . He called the $200 million price tag that has been attached to the images "ludicrous." 
"How they arrived at $200 million for negatives that 'might' have been made by Ansel Adams is beyond me," he said in a statement.
 Great find if they really are Adams originals. They may sell for a bit less but who's counting?
My spin : Will be watching this one closely...so come back ya hear.
Kicking back and keeping it real............

Saving Private Manning - Legal Fund Established to Fight Imprisonment of Accused WikiLeaks Whistleblower

The leaked video.....Actual footage of the American Apache Helicopter Shooting the civilians



Private Bradley Manning

 On July 27, the Bradley Manning Support Network (www.bradleymanning.org) will begin accepting online donations for the legal defense of Private First Class Bradley Manning. The Network, a grassroots initiative formed to defend and support accused whistleblower Pfc. Bradley Manning, has partnered with Courage to Resist, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting military objectors.


Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq, stands accused of disclosing a classified video depicting American troops shooting civilians from an Apache helicopter in 2007. Eleven adults are killed in the video, including two Reuters employees, and two children critically injured. The video, available at www.collateralmurder.com, was published by WikiLeaks on April 5, 2010. No charges have been filed against the soldiers in the video.Bradley Manning faces up to 52 years in prison if convicted of the charges against him.


While news sources have speculated about Manning’s involvement in a new leak of over 90,000 secret documents (collectively known as the Afghanistan “war logs”) made public by WikiLeaks on Sunday, no charges regarding this recent breach have been filed.  As of this writing, Manning has not yet chosen a civilian attorney to defend him in the expected trial. While several news sources had previously indicated that funding for Manning’s legal counsel was already arranged, the Bradley Manning Support Network states that there is an immediate need for donations to his legal defense.


Legal defense in this case will be particularly expensive because any legal team will most likely need a background in military law and the flexibility to travel overseas for the trial as well as secret security clearance.
“We have heard from the family and the military lawyers assigned to Bradley that the cost of his defense will be significant,” said Mike Gogulski, an online activist and founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “We are also concerned that Bradley may choose his legal counsel based on his available funds. If he fears his family will absorb the cost of the trial, he might choose a less experienced, less expensive attorney. We’re very concerned about the ramifications of such a decision.”


The Bradley Manning Support Network passed a resolution on July 12, 2010 to begin fundraising for Manning’s legal defense. At this time, the Network estimates between $50,000 and $200,000 in legal fees and expenses will be needed to mount a vigorous defense on behalf of Manning. They have also indicated that WikiLeaks, who published and promoted the Collateral Murder video, has promised a significant donation to Manning’s defense.
“If Manning is the source of the video, then he did what he had to do to expose a possible war crime. So regardless, he’s wrongly imprisoned and we want to do everything possible to support him,” said Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist. “I know from past experience working with military objectors that public support and the right civilian defense team can be the difference between an administrative separation and years in the stockade.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wnston Churchhill's Dentures On Sale??...OMG!


When Winston Churchill told the British Parliament he had "nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat," he was talking about the prospects of war, but he could  have just as easily been referring to his dental work.
Seems Churchill had serious dental problems since childhood and needed dentures to maintain his characteristically slurred diction -  a  deliberate affectation designed to overcome a childhood  lisp. In fact, he was so worried he would lose his dentures  that he had several sets made, and British  newspaper, The Guardian reports that he valued so highly the skill of his dentist, Wilfred Fish, that he nominated him for  kinghthood.

A set of false teeth that belonged to the Prime Minister Churchill Are up for auction. The gold- mounted  partial dentures are one of three sets made for the legendary leader   and these were  the chompers he wore when he made some of his most famous speeches.
Now, Keys Auctions is putting one of those sets on the auction block on July 29, and the Churchill choppers have a pre-sale value of between $6,000 and $7,500. Reuters reports the Churchill choppers are being sold by Derek Cudlipp, the son  of the technician who was commissioned to make them.
A duplicate is on display at the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, and a third set was buried with Churchill in 1956. Documents written by the college  say that Churchill  "lived in fear of losing his false teeth, and so he didn't open his mouth far when he spoke  and insisted that spare dentures always be on hand."

Churchill artifacts seem to be in demand lately.Earlier this year , one of his half-smoked cigars was sold for $6,800 . In addition , a broken Victorian cigar box with Churchill's initials on the lid, two sets of playing cards  made for  Churchill' with a copy of his signature on the back and an usher's armband worn at his funeral will be sold at auction.
My spin : Is there anyone out there that need a pair off well worn choppers???
Kicking back ...having fun...of course having fun.

Twins : You Cannot Leave Your Blood-lines Behind

The Richardson  family recent ly celebrated the 4th birthdays of their twins, but the boys are anything but identical, the Daily Mail reports.
In 2006, mother Kerry Richardson, who is of English and Nigerian decent, gave birth to a white, or caucasian-looking boy named Layton a few mintues  before delivering a black son name Kaydon.
The boys have a white father , but doctores told the family the chances of Richardson giving birth to a white baby, let  alone simultaneously with a black child, were one in about a million.
Richardson later welcomed another addition to the family, her baby girl, Tiyannah, whose skin is also white. "Before the twins , I would have expected that any child of mine would have my color in them,"she told the Daily News."But after Layton , I wasn't sure what she was going to look like.
The boys mother  said she is worried how their appearances will affect them as they get older. "It's never been an issue up to now, but I know that Layton notices the difference in their color, I hope it's not going to be a problem when they start school, but kids can be so cruel," she said.
Their skin tones are just the beginning of the twins differences, and  their mother says their personalities are often surprising. "Kaydon is hyper and excitable , whereas Layton can be moody and stubborn. Kaydon is  into arty stuff and Layton is crazy about superheroes. You couldn't find two twins who are more different."
*****************************************************
The same week of the twins birthday, Ben and Angela Ihegboro, a black couple from London, became the parents of a white, blonde, blue-eyed daughter.
Doctors later confirmed that baby Nmachi was not albino, and her shocked parents are just happy she's healthy.
The  Daily Mail reported after joking about being the girl's father, Ben said, "Of course she's mine."
"She is beautiful, a miracle baby," mother Angela  said.
My spin :  It's nice to know we are all the same  and color don't matter...so lets put the hate aside and get along, after all we are the same under the skin...we all bleed red.
Kicking back and keeping it real.

Jeannie said,"My daughter had twin boys also, fraternal twins. They are completely opposite in every way imaginable. Their characters and personalities are opposite.
They don't like a single thing the same. So we don't buy two of everything, we wouldn't dare."

Dear G

 I think I over-did the stair climbing exercise.
Free Clipart

Tony Steps Down...Or Get's Kicked Upstairs...Whatever


BP has announced that its embattled CEO Tony Hayward is to stand down from October 1. Hayward, the face of the oil company's bumbling efforts after the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, is heading to a new role in Siberia.  Hayward has worked for the oil giant for 28 years, brought in to bring stability to BP's management, but has since come under fire for his gaffe-prone handling of the worst oil spill in US history.

More than five million barrels of oil have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since the undersea leak began in late April, according to US government estimates, hitting the coastlines and economies of five states and killing or injuring countless millions of sea creatures and coastal birds ( Not to minimize the  loss of human life).
Hayward will take up a position with the Russian branch of the company, TNK-BP.
It's not yet clear what Hayward's role will be with TNK-BP, but the job suggests BP still holds more faith in Hayward than much of the U.S. public and political establishment do. Analysts consider the Russian venture one of BP's crown jewels; it accounts for a quarter of the company's production.

It is expected Hayward will be succeeded by BP Managing Director Bob Dudley, who is currently heading up the company's oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hayward will retire on a lifetime pension of  $1.2 million a year and a share package worth millions if BP ever recovers its value on the stock market. BP's value dropped by over $100 billion on Hayward's watch. And so that is how they reward gross incompetance followed by total insensitivity. Tony will be quite comfortable.  Well done.

BP Well-Killing Process Starts in a Week



Thick oil with the consistency of cake batter is now coating a large section of marsh grass in Pass a Loutre, just off of Plaquemines Parish.

NEW ORLEANS - The government's oil spill chief says workers expect to begin the two-step process of finally killing BP's blown-out well in a week. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says Monday that the so-called "static kill" — in which mud and cement are blasted into the top of the well — should start on Aug. 2. If all goes well, the final stage — in which mud and cement are blasted in from deep underground — could begin Aug. 7. BP has said the bottom kill could take days or weeks, depending on how well the static kill works.
Tropical storm forecasts last week forced crews to suspend their work 40 miles (64 kilometres) off the Louisiana coast for several days. Allen says he'll order an evacuation again if a similar storm forms.

The weather is not cooperating but at least a slow kind of progress is being made. And it sounds a lot more positive than it has in the past few months. Now the public would like an outline of BP's mop-up operation. We would like some assurance that there  is a definite and immediate plan of action in place to clean up the devastation on a larger scale than has happened so far. The latest calculation suggests the clean-up and restoration of the environment and the compensation of people who lost their livlihoods will cost around sixty billion dollars.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Hottest Young Royals


Young, wealthy and titled, these individuals are among the most envied and watched in the world.
The wedding of Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria was the invitation of the season. Dozens of royals descended on Stockholm in June to help celebrate the country's first royal wedding since 1976. Among the guests were Monaco's Prince Albert, the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix and Jordan's Queen Rania (who tweeted about the event).
Princess Victoria married former gym owner Daniel Westling in a lavish ceremony estimated to have cost US$2 million. The ceremony had both pomp--the princess' 16.5 foot train dress was topped with a cameo tiara made of gold, pearls and cameos that her mother had worn to her own wedding--and pop as two Swedish singers performed "When You Tell The World You're Mine." And it had style watchers around the globe dissecting what the world's royals were wearing.
After the ceremony, hundreds of thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to get a glimpse of the newlyweds as they rode through the capital in a horse-drawn carriage. It capped a two-week celebration leading up to the wedding dubbed "Love Stockholm 2010," which hosted free events around town.




 Britain's Prince William is a hotty, who has over 8 million Google hits and numerous fan sites feverishly speculating whether the second in line to the British throne will or won't ask long-time girlfriend, Kate Middleton, to be his wife. Royal watchers would love a redux of the famed 1981 nuptials of his parents, Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.


Prince Harry, third in line to the throne is a hunk; very athletic and a little wild and crazy. He is very passionate about his causes and charities.  Perhaps the most unforgettable sports moment for a royal this year was when Prince Harry fell off his horse at a polo event on New York's Governor's Island in June. It was a moment memorialized in local tabloids, proving that royals may live a glamorous, high-end lifestyle but it is one that offers little chance of escaping the media glare.



Prince William's cousin, Zara Phillips , is also talking about marriage to her live-in boyfriend, rugby player Mike Tindall. She is reportedly waiting for the palace's blessing, and timing may depend on when and whether Prince William intends to marry.




Monaco's Prince Albert, the playboy prince who once dated Brooke Shields and Claudia Schiffer and made headlines when he acknowledged fathering two illegitimate children, is settling down, too. In June he announced his engagement to Charlene Wittstock after he presented the former South African Olympic swimmer with a ring reportedly worth US$100,000.




Wittstock, who has been increasingly covered by the press since she moved to Monaco in 2006 and began being seen with the Prince, will be closely followed as she plans the royal wedding, rumored to be next summer. She will become the principality's first crown princess since the death of Princess Grace in 1982.



Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyano of Abu Dhabi, aged 40 is a member of tiny emirate Abu Dhabi's royal family; half brother of the current president of United Arab Emirates, Emir of Abu Dhabi, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Chairs the state's oil-oriented sovereign wealth fund and serves as UAE deputy prime minister. In 2008 bought British soccer team Manchester City for $300 million. Avid horse rider.


Sports have also shone a spotlight on certain royals. The World Cup--which had an estimated global TV audience of 125 million per game--brought thousands of soccer fans to the tiny Royal Bafokeng Nation, which spent US$70 million upgrading its 39,000-seat stadium and building a special sports training complex for the U.K. team. King Leruo Tshekedi Molotlegi  hopes to use sports to help boost the living standards of the nation's population of 300,000.




Meanwhile, the U.K.'s Princess Beatrice, granddaughter of England's Queen Elizabeth, completed the London Marathon, apparently the first royal to do so, while also setting a new Guinness World Record by taking part in a "human caterpillar," a chain of 30-plus runners led by Sam and Holly Branson, the son and daughter of billionaire Sir Richard Branson.


Queen Rania ofJordan, aged 39 is the wife of Jordan's King Abdullah . She uses her royal platform to passionately promote human rights, women's issues and global literacy. Her children book, The Sandwich Shop released in April, was on the New York Times bestseller list for two consecutive weeks. Regularly updates her own website, Facebook, YouTube channel and Twitter and Flickr accounts; with Jordan's tourism office, launched a Twitter video contest in July to promote cross-cultural understanding. Her sense of style has been compared to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Princess Diana. Mother of four, turns 40 in August.




Princess Haya of Dubai - Age: 36:
Half-sister of Jordan's King Abdullah became second wife of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in 2004. Pair share a passion for horses. He owns renowed thoroughbred breeders Darley Stables and hosts the Dubai World Cup, whose total potential winnings exceed $26 million, the highest in the world; she is a champion show jumper who won King's Cup at age 12; rode in Sydney Olympics in 2000. Now elected member of International Olympic Committee. In June, appointed patron of World Academy of Sport; already planning first-ever 5 kilometer marathon for women in the UAE later this year.

These are just some of the attractive young royals carving a destiny for themselves in the world today. They were born to privilege and money and come from a royal heritage that you can see in their proud bearing and slightly arrogant faces. We forgive them.  They put up with public scrutiny and envy, papparazzi, public appearances and duties. They can't help who they are.

Royal family Getting With It


In an attempt to embrace modern-day technology and to stay close to the royal subjects, the British royal family is set to unveil its new presence on the popular photo-sharing site Flickr. More than 600 images will be available for perusal Monday as part of the launch of the official "British Monarchy" Flickr account. The images, spanning generations, will be lumped into various categories for easier browsing. Each member of the current royal family will have his or her own section of shots, which will accompany various other sections for behind-the-scenes imagery, royal visits, and other pertinent topics.


However, don't expect to be able to make use of Flickr's more community-centric aspects on British Monarchy shots. According to the Associated Press, commenting will be disabled for all of the account's pictures. Users will still be able to share and embed the photographs at will, a head-nod to the monarchy's efforts to keep up with the latest social media circles on the Web.


The monarchy launched its official Twitter account just a bit over one year ago in an effort to, "harness the popularity of Twitter to spread news about the Royal Family," said a spokesperson. Though the Queen and Prince of Wales themselves don't actually do any of the updates, as one might expect, the account has already managed to accrue more than 50,000 individual followers from more than 3,600 updates.


The official YouTube channel, dubbed "The Royal Channel," is the family's longest-running account on any of the larger social media circles. Launched in late 2007, the YouTube channel has featured nearly 200 individual videos ranging from legacy United Nations speeches to procession videos. These various bits of multimedia have been viewed more than 9 million times, giving the channel 31,000 individual YouTube subscribers in the process.


Just to put the Royal Family's efforts into perspective, the official Twitter feed for the White House numbers nearly 1.8 million followers as of this article's writing—more than three times that of the British Monarchy. As well, the official White House YouTube channel has more than 30 million video views and 100,000 subscribers, and its official Flickr account—launched in February 2009—has put up 2,500 different images and counting.
The royal account can be accessed at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/britishmonarchy

Saturday, July 24, 2010

White Chocolate Mousse Cake

This gorgeous cake is very easy to make, especially if you divide it into steps on different days. Bake the cake one day and reserve it (or freeze it up to 3 months). Then make the mousse and frosting the next day and assemble the cake.


Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 70 minutes
Ingredients:
1 pkg. two layer white cake mix
1-1/4 cups water
1/3 cup oil
3 egg whites
1 cup vanilla milk chips, very finely chopped
3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2-3 Tbsp. milk
1 cup vanilla milk chips
2-3 Tbsp. milk


Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9" round layer cake pans and set aside. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, 1-1/4 cups water, oil, and egg whites and blend. Beat two minutes at high speed. Fold in the finely chopped vanilla milk chips. Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
Filling:  beat cream cheese, 1/3 cup maple syrup, and vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth. Beat whipped cream and 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar until stiff and fold into cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate while preparing frosting and glaze.
 Frosting:  beat together 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 cup softened butter, 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, and enough milk for a smooth spreading consistency. Set aside.
 Glaze:  in small saucepan heat together 1 cup vanilla milk chips with 2 Tbsp. milk, stirring constantly until smooth. You may need to add more milk for a pouring consistency. Set this pan in a bowl of hot water to keep warm.
Directions:
Place one cake layer upside down on serving plate. Top with all of the maple filling. Place remaining cake layer, right side up, on top of maple filling. Pour white chocolate glaze over top of cake, spreading gently if necessary to cover top. (If some glaze drips down sides of cake, that's ok; the glaze should be stiff enough so it moves very slowly.) Frost sides of cake with the frosting.  Leave plain or decorate with curls of dark and white chocolate. Store cake in refrigerator. 16 servings.

Funnel Cakes - So Simple to Make - Sooo Good Served Warm


Funnel Cake Ingredients:
1 C. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 egg
1 cup + 1 T. milk
2 T. sugar
powdered sugar (optional)

Topping:
 -strawberry slices with strawberry syrup, and top that with  ice cream or whipped cream. Could also use apple pie filling sprinkled with cinnamon. Toppings  must be warmed.
Directions: Get a medium sized funnel
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl with wire whisk. In another bowl, beat egg and milk. Add sugar, stir to dissolve. Add dry ingredients and (using electric mixer) beat until smooth.
Heat at least 1 inch of oil to 375 degrees F. in either in a deep fryer or a skillet. To form each funnel cake, place one finger over hole in bottom of funnel. Carefully fill funnel with batter. Over hot oil remove finger and allow batter to drop into oil. Make circular or other shapes with batter. Cook for 1 minute and using tongs or two spatulas turn funnel cake. Cook until golden brown, about another minute or so. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered  sugar (optional) add toppings. Serve warm.

Lion's Mane Jellyfish Stings 150 People...After it Died

A large jellyfish stung approximately 150 people at the Wallis Sands State Beach in Rye, New Hampshire on Wednesday. The injured included ten children treated at the Portsmouth Regional Hospital. The jellyfish weighed approximately fifty pounds and had thirteen foot tentacles.
A lifeguard spotted the jellyfish within a hundred and fifty meters of shore. The lifeguard had swum out on a surf board and attempted to use a pitchfork to remove the creature from the water. The jellyfish was already dead and broke into pieces during removal. It was stingers on the creature’s tentacles, which remain active for three to four days after death that caused the injuries to swimmers in the water.


Lion’s mane jellyfish are native to the cold waters of the Arctic, north Atlantic, and north Pacific oceans. They are seldom found so far south. They are the largest known species of jellyfish, capable of reaching a bell diameter of eight feet with hundreds of tentacles reaching upward of ninety feet. Lion’s mane jellyfish feed primarily on plankton, small fish, and other species of smaller jellyfish. Their sting causes burning and tissue inflammation but is usually not lethal.
The Lion’s Mane jellyfish’s is typically seen the boreal waters of the extreme northern region and is almost never seen in southern latitudes.
The beach is temporarily closed until it is safe to go in the water.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Archaeologists Discover Stonehenge's Timber Twin


London (July 23) - Stonehenge,that ancient and mysterious circle of giant   obelisks   on England's Salisbury Plain, may once have had a  nearby wooden "twin," according to a pioneering new archaeological survey.
"The idea of finding something as significant and dramatic as this monument, so close to Stonehenge is just brilliant,"Harry Chapman, an archaeologist   at  the University of Birmingham and a member of the team that made the discovery, said."It will completely change the way we think about Stonehenge and the surrounding landscape."
The discovery of the timber henge (a term used to describe any British circle ritual site dating from 3,000to 2,000 B.C.) was made by a multinational team of archaeologists, who started surveying the land around Stonehenge two weeks ago with sensors that provide a high-definition 3-d view of what's under the ground. "Every time you excavate, you damage the site by moving material," Chapman says. "With the technology we use, such as ground-penetrating radar, there's no need to dig.
The sun rises behind Stonehenge in southern England on June 21. Nearby is so-called Woodhenge a monument once composed of six rings of wooden posts enclosed by an earthen embankment.
A week after they started examining the area, the team spotted what appeared to be a circle of 24 post holes under the ground, less than 3,000 feet to the northwest of Stonehenge. The ring measured about 82 feet in diameter - just 17 feet less than Stonehenge - and was enclosed by an inner ditch and possibly an outer bank.
"The post holes are up to a meter in diameter, which suggests that the timbers they'd have held would have been at least 10 feet high,"Chapman says. He adds that the towering structure  was likely built "about 4.500 years ago,on the basis  of  comparing it with other sites." That's approximately the same time that Stonehenge's world-famous trilithons  - a prehistoric structure with two upright stone blocks supporting a third placed across the top - were erected.
Curiously, the newly discovered monument mirrors a similar henge some 4,270 feet southeast  of Stonehenge, which was first uncovered in 1937. Like the newly discovered site, that circle overlooks the ancient stone structure  and has two entrances . All three henges appear to have been deliberately aligned.
The latest find throws into question previous assumptions about  Britain's most famous ancient monument. "Many interpretations have traditionally  placed  Stonehenge at the center of the site of isolation," Chapman says.  "But, what we're seeing is that Stonehenge, when it entered its very grand phrase, wasn't the only structure in the area. It was surrounded by other complex structures, that may have been used much like medieval cathedrals ." So instead of being the focus of all the ancient folks' attention, Stonehenge was likely just one - admittedly impressive - part of the religious landscape.
As the ancient Britons didn't record their thoughts, we'll likely never know exactly why they built Stonehenge and its smaller siblings. But Chapman says the latest discovery offers an insight  into their beliefs.He suggests that the "wood and stone" circles may have been placed close together  as two materials  had intertwined "symbolic meanings" for Neolithic Brits. That ties in  with the thinking of Mike Parker Pearson, a Shetfield University archaeologist and henge expert, who has suggested that the wooden structures might have been associated with feasts for the living, while stone circles were realms of the dead.
The discovery of the new wooden henge is likely just the first of many surprise  discoveries to come from Chapman and his fellow archaeologists. By 2014, they intend to have scanned about 5 square  miles of land around Stonehenge, which will then be collated into a detailed map.
"I  think in the next four (4) years, we're going to have quite a different understanding of Stonehenge ," Chapman Says." And we'll have a better understanding of the people who built it."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

4 - Time Texas Lotto Winner - What Are the Odds?? - Very Mysterious


BISHOP, Texas - The odds that Joan Ginther would hit four Texas Lottery jackpots for a combined $21 million are astronomical. Mathematicians say the chances are as slim as 1 in 18 septillion — that's 18 and 24 zeros. Just as unlikely? Getting to know one of the luckiest women in the world.
"She wants her privacy," friend Cris Carmona said.

On a $50 scratch-off ticket bought in this rural farming community, Ginther won $10 million last month in her biggest windfall yet. But it was the fourth winning ticket in Texas for the 63-year-old former college professor since 1993, when Ginther split an $11 million jackpot and became the most famous native in Bishop history.
However, she's a celebrity who few in this town of 3,300 people can say much about.
"That lady is pretty much scarce to everybody," said Lucas Ray Cruz, Ginther's former neighbour. "That's just the way she is."


At the Times Market where Ginther bought her last two winning tickets, the highway gas station is fast becoming a pilgrimage for unlucky lottery losers. Lines stretch deep past a $5.98 bin of Mexican movie DVDs, and a woman from Rhode Island called last week asking to buy tickets from the charmed store through the mail. She was told that was illegal. The woman called back to plead again anyway.
The Texas Lottery Commission has seen repeat winners before, but none on the scale of Ginther. Spokesman Bobby Heith said the agency has never investigated Ginther's winnings — three scratch-off tickets and one lottery draw — for possible fraud but described the verification system as very thorough.
So how did Ginther do it, then ? Good luck pinning her down to ask.


Ginther has never spoken publicly about her lotto winnings and could not be found for comment. She now lives in Las Vegas after moving away from Bishop, and an answering machine message for a telephone number listed at her address says not to leave a message. She asked the few people who've exchanged more than brief pleasantries with her not to grant interviews and sneaked into lottery headquarters in Austin to collect her winnings with the least publicity the state offers jackpot winners. But spend a few hours in her hometown — and equal time scouring public records — and a contrasting profile emerges.


Her home address in Las Vegas is on a street called Paradise Drive. When USA Today asked readers in 2000 to sound off on airline service, Ginther groaned over a flight attendant who carted away her cheese and crackers and a sundae too soon. Two years later, she grumbled to the Las Vegas Review-Journal about a proposed monorail running through her exclusive condominium towers.
"I moved here because I wanted to have a beautiful home with a great view and that's what I have. I didn't expect to have a monorail come down here with thousands of tourists every day," Ginther told the newspaper, in what might have been the only time she was directly quoted in the media.

 Nitpicking first-class service, and mad the view in her luxury home might be spoiled? Bishop residents may not know much about Ginther — but they know that's not like her. Here around the cotton farms and boarded-up downtown shops, Ginther, who over the years regularly visited the town to see her father, is called benevolent as much as she's called lucky. They say she bought the church a van. Gave money to the family that runs the Days Inn off the highway. When she moved, she donated her home to charity. Sun Bae, who owns the Time Market and sold Ginther her last two winning tickets, said she drives around in a bland Nissan sedan but once bought a nicer car for someone down on their luck. Bae said Ginther doesn't even own a cellphone.
"She is a very generous woman. She's helped so many people," Bae said of Ginther.


Calculating the actual odds of Ginther hitting four multimillion-dollar lottery jackpots is tricky. If Ginther's winning tickets were the only four she ever bought, the odds would be one in 18 septillion, according to Sandy Norman and Eduardo Duenez, math professors at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Exactly how often Ginther plays is unknown. But Norman and Duenez said that a habitual player winning four times over a 17-year span is much less far-fetched.
At the Times Market, Bae and store regular Gloria Gonzalez said they've certainly watched Ginther buy her share of tickets over the years. And not just for her.
Gonzalez said when her elderly father would sit at the store's window booth and scrub through dollar scratch-offs, Ginther would surprise him with a $50 ream of tickets. After all, the only way to win is to keep playing. Ginther is smart enough to know that's how you beat the odds: she earned her doctorate from Stanford University in 1976, then spent a decade on faculty at several colleges in California. Guess what? She taught math.....Hmmmm.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sweeping Financial Reform Now Law


President Obama has signed into law the biggest overhaul of American financial regulation in decades. The president said the law will ensure "that everyone follows the same set of rules, so that firms compete on price and quality, not tricks and traps".
 The law is a major victory for Mr Obama and the Democrats, who passed it with little Republican support after months of political wrangling. It was vehemently opposed by the financial services industry.


The law tightens mortgage and consumer lending rules, improves disclosure for student borrowers and average investors and establishes a new consumer protection agency, among other provisions.
Almost every Congressional Republican opposed the bill, saying its new regulations would prove burdensome to businesses trying to create jobs.
The bill "fails to address the root causes of the kind of crisis it's meant to prevent", Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said last week.


Several provisions are intended to eliminate government bailouts by dealing with an issue known as "too big to fail", where a financial firm cannot be allowed to collapse because of the wider damage it would do.
There are provisions to enable regulators to shut down a failing large firm in an orderly manner and others intended to curtail their size in the first place. These and other measures probably do reduce the risks of bailouts being needed.


For critics, the big omission is the two housing finance companies, known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were rescued by the government and which had a definite role in the crisis. The administration plans to reform them later.


But Mr Obama described the bill as a necessary measure to prevent future economic disaster, saying world's current economic troubles were caused in large part by "a breakdown in our financial system" and "a failure of responsibility from certain corners of Wall Street to the halls of power in Washington".
"Our financial system only works - our markets are only free - when there are clear rules and basic safeguards that prevent abuse, that check excess, that ensure that it is more profitable to play by the rules than to game the system," Mr Obama said at the White House.  "Because of this law, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street's mistakes."

We certainly hope so Mr President.

Haiti : High -Tech Hospital Goes Belly-Up In Haiti


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (July 20) - Two months ago, Dr. Reynold Savain was the director of the state -of-art  hospital in this country. Now, he walks the empty corridors of the 43,000-square-foot Centre Hospitalier du Sacre-Coeur with a stunned expression.
Millions of dollors of equipment gather dust. In the drive way, tarps cover two brand -new ambulances. A colorful school of koi, still young, swim  unnoticed in the rapidly dying pond in the front lobby.
 "Any private hospital, in any country, anywhere in the world, that sees 12,600 patients in three months  - for free - is going to go bankrupt," Savain said.
The  private hospital, known as CDTI, is located in the heart of Port-au-Prince, just a few blocks from Haiti's collapsed National Palace. Physically, the medical building withstood the earthquake, but finanically, the weight was too much  to bear.

For three months, the hallway was ground zero for thousands of victims of the January 12 Haiti earthquake. On January 12, Savain  opened the doors of the hospital to Haiti's wounded and  numerous international organizations and volunteer doctors. But even after treating thousands of patients , no one stepped up to pay his staff of 1,777. Medical machinery was worked to its limits then went unrepaired. Dr Savain was forced to close the hospital in March.

Facing mounting debt, Sevain had no choice but to close the doors to CDTI on March 31. Savain 's facility saved lives because it had the equipment , staff and resources of a private hosiptal. And now, it has collapsed for the same reason. "If nothing happens by July 31, I'm just going to sell all the equipment and rent the place out as offices," Savain says. Savain would like to see the hospital either bought by the government of Haiti or  offer a mix of paid and subsidized health care, with the facility run by an American university.

The government of Haiti has stalled these plans, wary of collaborations with the private sector or the aid community, which has proved to be a fickle investor.
"If I just give the money like this, people will say I put it in [savain's] pocket," Haiti's minister of health, Dr. Alex Larsen, said abouy CDTI at a recent press conference."I can't take the money of the government and give it away.
International organizations  and private investers have followed Larsen's statements on CDTI. Privately, one investor conceded that the hosiptal would never be able to receive international backing  unless and until the government of Haiti committed to long-term public funding for the facility.

Aid money poured into Haiti after the earthquake , much of it earmarked for health care, but it remains invested in traditional funding patterns : malaria, tuberculosis,  HIV/AIDS, pregnant women, vaccinations, etc. Additional public health infrastructure is a tenet  of Haiti's reconstruction plan, but so far, no progress has been made.
The vision of CDTI was to provide specialized care to  those who could afford  it, and ultimately, to create a space to educate medical students, who,  in their residencies,  are generally unable to learn anything about speciaties such as cardiology or oncology because public hospitals are ill equipped.

His story has circulated as a cautionary  tale for people thinking of investing here.For his part, Savain knows the future of the hospital is not up to him. If it fails , it will at least have the legacy of January 12.
"I know some of the investors wish I hadn't opened the doors at all after the earthquake," Savain said. "They think it's  my fault. But, If I had it all to do over again, I'd do the same thing."
There are  people out there who were injured during the earthquake and still have untreated wounds.  How can a hospital close when it is so desperately needed?? The government has the money to subsidize the facility. Open your purse.