Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Antarctic melting could double predicted sea rise


Global sea levels could rise by more than double the current best estimate, according to a new analysis of climate change in Antarctica. The modelling assessment says that Antarctic melting alone could contribute more than a metre to sea level by the end of this century.
By 2500, according to the study, the same source could cause levels across the world to rise by 13m. The authors say that rapid cuts in carbon emissions could reduce this risk.

Competing ideas

In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that, without any restrictions on carbon emissions, the seas around the world likely rise by up to 98cm by 2100.
However, the IPCC estimates contained a minimum contribution from Antarctica.
Other analyses since then have projected bigger increases, with a recent study suggesting that the oceans were rising faster than at any time in the past 2,800 years and by 2100 they could be up to 1.31m higher.
The exact level of Antarctica's impact on these projections has been vigorously debated. Late last year, a research paper suggested that projections of a contribution of a metre or more were not plausible.
But this new study argues that by 2100 the world could see 1.14m of sea-level rise from Antarctica alone.

Additions to the model

The scientists say that their model is able to provide a more accurate prediction because it incorporates the impacts of some physical processes for the first time.
While other models have focussed on the impact of warmer waters melting the ice shelves from below, this new study also includes the effect of surface melt-water and rain trickling down from above and fracturing supporting ice, hastening its slide to the sea.
The model also calculates the impact of the disintegration of floating ice shelves. If this happens, it will reveal walls of ice so tall that they cannot support their own weight.
The scientists involved expect that these extra factors will kick in over the coming decades, as warming from the atmosphere (not just from warmer waters below) becomes the dominant driver of ice loss.

ice melt
The collapse of ice cliffs could be a significant factor in the new projection

"One reason that other models didn't include the atmospheric warming is because it hasn't started to happen just yet," said co-author Dr David Pollard from Penn State University, US.
"In Antarctica, around the edges at sea level, it's just beginning to get up to the melt point in  the present summer.
"With that warming, the flanks of Antarctica will start to melt drastically in about 50 to 100 years - and then it will start to kick in according to our model."
The authors believe that they have demonstrated the accuracy of the new model by correctly replicating sea-level rise in warm periods, millions of years into the past.
"Recently, we looked at the long-standing problem posed by geological evidence that suggests sea level rose dramatically in the past, possibly up to 10 to 20 metres around 3 million years ago, in the Pliocene," said Dr Pollard.
"Existing models couldn't simulate enough ice-sheet melting to explain that."

'Right questions'

If the world continues to emit "business as usual" levels of carbon dioxide over the coming decades, the scientists argue that sea-level rise will be double what has already been estimated for the coming 100 years.
"If these processes do kick in and they end up being as important as we think that they could be, then they really do have a big impact," said Prof Robert DeConto from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
"West Antarctica is responding very soon in these simulations and that ends up having a big impact on North America in particular."
Other researchers have praised the development of the new model for including impacts such as surface melt water and ice-cliff collapse, but they are uncertain about the conclusions.
"I have no doubt that on a century to millennia timescale, warming will make these processes significant in Antarctica, as well as Greenland, and drive a very significant Antarctic contribution to sea-level rise," commented Prof David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey.
"The big question for me is, how soon could this all begin, and could it be early enough to drive substantially higher sea levels by 2100? These guys are definitely asking the right questions."
The authors believe that there is "good news" in their report. If global emissions of carbon are curtailed significantly then the extra factors that substantially boost Antarctic melting can be avoided.
Seas will continue to rise, but not at the runaway rates predicted by the study.

Trump says punish women for illegal abortions, then back-tracks as fast as he can....too late man, you said it

Mr Trump is very unpopular among female voters                

Presidential candidate Donald Trump briefly called for "some form of punishment" for women who have abortions, if it became illegal. His initial comments made during a town hall event with cable network MSNBC sparked a wave of criticism.
However, Mr Trump quickly reversed his position, saying only the person who performed the abortion should be punished. But he maintained: "My position has not changed."...HA!
The front-runner supports a ban on abortions, with certain exceptions. Abortion has been legal in the United States since 1973 after a landmark Supreme Court ruling.
Only the high court or a constitutional amendment has the power to overturn Roe v Wade and make abortion illegal.
Once a Democrat, Mr Trump has been criticized for supporting abortion rights in the past.

Police keep watch as protesters demonstrate in front of the US Supreme Court
Abortion is still a divisive issue in the US   
The Republican Party's official position is that abortion should be illegal. Conservative politicians and anti-abortion activists who view abortion as akin to murder, however, tend to avoid outlining any criminal punishment for women who undergo the procedure, instead targeting the doctors responsible.
The reason for this is simple - to make abortion bans more acceptable to a general public that does not want to see possibly distraught women grappling with unwanted pregnancies sent to prison.
Donald Trump, as he is wont to do, just trampled through this carefully constructed conservative political dance with all the grace of a rhinoceros at a tea party. Thanks to his assertion, after prodding, that women should face "some form of punishment" for having an illegal abortion, the conservative pro-life movement is going to be forced to defend their beliefs on uncomfortable ground. Republican candidates will be asked, again and again, to defend or denounce Mr Trump's comments.
This is exactly the kind of scenario that terrifies Republican politicians about Mr Trump as their party's nominee. His ill-considered remarks and shoot-from-the-hip approach to media interviews could be a political minefield for their candidates in the autumn.  In all likelihood it's just a taste of things to come.
However, some anti-abortion groups criticized Mr Trump's initial comments as extreme.
"Mr Trump's comment today is completely out of touch with the pro-life movement and even more with women who have chosen such a sad thing as abortion," said Jeanne Mancini, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund.
"No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion."
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has been an outspoken critic of Mr Trump's stance on women's issues.
"Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. Horrific and telling," said Mrs Clinton after his latest comments.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Mr Trump's closest rival in the Republican race, also condemned the billionaire.
"Once again Donald Trump has demonstrated that he hasn't seriously thought through the issues, and he'll say anything just to get attention," Mr Cruz said.

More on the Trump campaign

Republican leaders have expressed concern about Mr Trump's prospects in the general election because polls show that the New York businessman is extremely unpopular with female voters.
Mr Trump has come under fire for disparaging women including former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and TV presenter Megyn Kelly.
"If Trump's words about women - calling us 'disgusting', 'slobs' and 'fat pigs' - didn't scare us, this should," said Kate Black of Emily's List, a group committed to electing female Democrats who support abortion rights.
His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was arrested on Tuesday, accused of a minor assault on a female reporter. Mr Trump has vehemently defended Mr Lewandowski.
Anti-abortion activists, traditionally and politically conscious, have avoided placing blame on women who undergo abortions, but have focused on those who perform the procedure. In recent years, conservatives have sought to tighten restrictions on abortion clinics and doctors rather than seek an outright ban.
Abortion rights advocates say these measures are meant to restrict women's access to abortion. The new laws are particularly widespread in conservative southern states. As Trump blunders his way over women's rights and  concerns and denigrates an entire gender, he should take into consideration that the population of the USA consists of slightly more than 50% females. That's a lot of votes...he's not getting.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Governor of Georgia vetoes 'religious freedom' bill

Mr Deal said Georgia does not have to discriminate to protect the religious freedom

The governor of the US state of Georgia has vetoed a "religious freedom" bill after facing pressure from business interests. The bill would have allowed faith-based organizations to refuse service to gay and transgender people.

Disney, the National Football League, Coca-Cola and others threatened to pull business out of the state. The veto comes as other US states enacted similar laws that limit gay rights.
"I believe it is a matter of character for our state," Governor Nathan Deal said.
 "I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia."

The bill would allow faith-based group to refuse serve to gay and transgender people

Republicans lawmakers said the bill would protect religious people who believe serving gay and transgender people violates their beliefs.
The bill also would have protected clergy not wishing to perform gay marriages, and people who would not attend weddings based on religious beliefs. If passed, opponents said it would have legalized discrimination and flattened ordinances passed to protect gay and transgender people.
Mr Deal said his decision was "about the character of our state and the character of our people. Georgia is a welcoming state; it is full of loving, kind and generous people."

Disney said it would not shoot films in Georgia if the bill became law.
"Disney and Marvel are inclusive companies, and although we have had great experiences filming in Georgia, we will plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law," a Disney spokesman told Variety last week.

AMC threatened to stop filming the hit show The Walking Dead in Georgia if the bill became law

The NFL said Georgia could miss out on hosting future Super Bowls because of the bill

Warner Bros and cable network AMC released a similar statement last week. AMC produces the hit show The Walking Dead, which is filmed in the state.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank denounced the bill, and the National Football League said passing the bill would have hurt Atlanta's chances of hosting the Super Bowl.
"The message to Governor Nathan Deal was loud and clear: this deplorable legislation was bad for his constituents, bad for business and bad for Georgia's future," said Chad Griffin, president the Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights group. "Discrimination and intolerance have no place in the 21st century,"

Republican State Senator Josh McKoon said he was "disappointed" and thought Mr Deal was someone "the faith community could rely on".
After the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year, many conservative states drew up laws in an attempt to protect the religious community.

 A new law that rolls back protections for transgender people in North Carolina has led to protest

Last week, North Carolina's legislature passed a sweeping bill that bars its cities and counties from having their own anti-discrimination rules. Legislators pushed for the bill after Charlotte passed an ordinance allowing transgender people to use restrooms according to gender identity.

Lawmakers in several other US states have proposed similar legislation - sometimes referred to as "bathroom bills". The North Carolina law has also drawn criticism from the business community with Charlotte-based Bank of America, Apple and other large companies expressing concern about the law.

On Monday, a federal lawsuit was filed against the governor of North Carolina over the new law. Two transgender men along with the two civil rights groups filed the lawsuit, asking a judge to declare the law unconstitutional.

The law is unconstitutional and at the same time, in keeping with the constitution. For example:
Section 2  of the "religious freedom bill" says clergy don't have to perform same-sex marriages. You would think that was unconstitutional but the Constitution presumably already allows clergy to refuse weddings that go against their religious beliefs. However, the US Supreme Court suggested in its same-sex marriage decision, people don't need the approval of clergy to wed in Georgia.
  • Section 4 protects religious nonprofits from having to provide services that violate their faith, unless they agreed to do so in a contract or grant application. This could allow a religious adoption agency to, for instance, deny services to a same-sex couple without risking government interference.This part of the bill could clearly allow discrimination, although, in this example, there are big secular adoption agencies in Georgia.
  • Section 5 protects the rights of religious nonprofits to hire only people who support and practice their faith. This part of the bill could clearly allow discrimination.

  • Equally important, Georgia, like most states, doesn't have civil rights laws that would ban discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations. In these states, it's not necessarily religious freedom laws that allow discrimination; it's the lack of civil rights laws.

    Sunday, March 27, 2016

    Vasco da Gama's Lost Ship Esmeralda Opens New Window on Age of Discovery

    Marine archaeologists say they've found the earliest ship from Europe's Age of Discovery ever uncovered — the wreck of a vessel from Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama's brutal second armada to India in 1502.
    Experts called it a find of major importance that could change how historians view trade and warfare during a critical period in the development of Western civilization.
    The ship is believed to be the Esmeralda, which sank in a storm off the Omani island of Al Hallaniyah in May 1503, researchers said in a paper published in this week's edition of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. By more than 50 years, it's the earliest ship ever recovered from the era when Portuguese explorers opened the Western Hemisphere and dominated the Indian subcontinent.

    "If you consider that that pre-colonial period started on a major basis with Columbus, in 1492, this is just a decade after that," David Mearns, director of Blue Water Recoveries of Britain, which led the expedition said.
    The wreckage itself was discovered in 1998, but excavation didn't begin until 2013, and since then, researchers have recovered more than 2,800 artifacts that helped establish that it's the Esmeralda, including the stunning discovery of an Indio silver coin commissioned by King Manuel I of Portugal for trade with India — a piece so rare that historians have dubbed it the "ghost coin." Also recovered was the ship's bell — the oldest ship's bell ever found.

    "The historical and archeological importance of the wreck site, based on future studies of the artefact assemblage, could be enormous," Blue Water and Oman's Ministry of Heritage & Culture said in a statement, shedding new light on "how maritime trade and warfare was conducted in the Indian Ocean at the turn of this vital century."
    Gama's second armada to India in 1502-03 was a troubled expedition, resulting in the losses of several ships — including the Esmeralda — and the failure of its main objective, the surrender of the Hindu rulers of the Malabar Coast to Portuguese rule.
    In retribution, Gama — who's portrayed by some historians as a crude and violent man — attacked a ship full of Muslim pilgrims from Mecca, killing at least 300 of them, including women and children, according to historian Nigel Cliff's "The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco da Gama."

    Exciting discoveryDivers excavate the wreck site of the ship Esmeralda. (Right) A rare silver coin called an Indio discovered in the debris.Photos: AP
    Exciting discovery...Divers excavate the wreck site of the ship Esmeralda. A rare silver coin called an Indio discovered in the debris.

    A trove of armaments was also discovered at the wreck site, and it's already revising how experts regard the extraordinarily violent nature of the Portuguese armada expeditions, researchers said.
    "The bulk of the recovered artefacts were artillery and ordnance from the arsenal on board the ship," the researchers said. "These included lead, iron and stone shot of various calibres, a large number of bronze breech chambers and several ancient firearms.
    "Together they provide tangible proof of the military objectives of this fleet as ordered by Dom Manuel and brutally carried out by Vasco da Gama and his two uncles Vicente and Brás Sodré."

    Thursday, March 24, 2016

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016

    The comedians mocking ISIS from inside Syria and Iraq

     so-called Islamic State (IS) has used social media to draw in recruits and spread its militant message, but what happens when satirists fight back?

    A group of Iraqi and Syrian comedians, some of whom live in areas controlled by ISIS, are mocking the extremists online. In one skit, the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears as the animated star of the "Bigh Daddy Show".
    One of the comedians talked to BBC Trending about the group's aims.They are taking some pretty big risks and are surely on the ISIS hit list by now. Perhaps they were encouraged by the bravery of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo of Paris who stood their ground against Muslim extremists.
    Wherever your courage is coming from, the world applauds you. Stay strong, you have friends. Eventually evil consumes itself.

    The Roving Reporter UPDATE : Rob Ford Dead: Former Toronto Mayor Succumbs To Cancer

    By  Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
    TORONTO — Rob Ford, a man simultaneously adored by his fans and abhorred by his foes as his scandal-packed term as mayor of Canada's largest city propelled him to international infamy, has died.

    Ford, 46, succumbed to cancer Tuesday, 18 months after doctors discovered a softball-sized malignant tumour in his abdomen, his family announced in a statement.

    "A dedicated man of the people, Councillor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto," said a statement from his family.

    Rob Ford, left, stands next to his brother Doug Ford in Toronto City Hall on Nov. 21, 2014. (Photo: Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

    The diagnosis in September 2014 came less than a year after Ford confessed to smoking crack while in one of his "drunken stupors" and forced the mayor to withdraw from his bid for re-election in favour of running for councillor in his west-end ward.

    He won in a landslide despite three years of headline-generating notoriety that included slurs against minorities and lewd, public innuendo about his marital sex life on top of his admission — after months of denials — of serious crack cocaine and alcohol abuse.

    Those who knew Ford describe a man whose loyalty to family and friends was as unshakeable as the support he received from the "Ford Nation" segment of voters inspired by his rough-around-the-edges, ordinary-guy persona.

    "He's very loyal to his friends. He has a big heart," is the way former Liberal MP John Nunziata, a Ford family friend, put it. "He doesn't throw his friends under the bus."

    The loyalty was reciprocated. His family stood steadfastly by him through his scandals and, then, through the dark days of his illness.

    A significant segment of the public also continued to breathe life into the "Ford Nation."

    Ford's brother, Doug Ford, who picked up the mayoral candidacy torch after the cancer bombshell, placed a respectable second in the October 2014 municipal vote — a sign many said of his brother's enduring popularity.

    Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asked recently about the popularity of U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump, invoked the populist approach taken by Ford, whose anti-elitist rhetoric resonated with many people even as he staggered under the weight of the crack-cocaine scandal and derision from those opposed to his public vulgarity.

    "There were a lot of people who didn't get it," Trudeau said of Ford. "But he tapped into a very real and legitimate sense that people had around who politicians were."

    Ford, who kept a photograph of his late father taped to his mayor's office computer, revelled in his everyman persona. The self-described "ordinary guy" drove his own car to work every day — albeit a luxury SUV — and railed against "downtown elites" and a "gravy train" he said needed derailing at city hall.

    Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, right, and his brother Doug attend a rally where Conservative leader Stephen Harper delivered a speech in Toronto on Oct. 17, 2015. (Photo: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

    He was, grudging admirers said, the consummate retail politician who had an uncanny knack of making people feel that he really cared about their plights.

    Yet whatever his political accomplishments, his time in office became known for its sordid explosion into an unprecedented political circus that quickly became an international story.

    Fuelling the circus were drugs and alcohol, followed by denials, confessions and apologies.

    Sparked headlines around the world

    Secretly taken cellphone videos were leaked, resulting in blaring headlines not just in Canada but beyond. The first apparently showed him using crack and uttering slurs against minorities. Ford claimed to have no idea what it was about.

    Other videos and audio recordings followed. He spewed profanities, made offensive comments about women. The high school football team — one he had proudly coached for years — dropped him. Top aides deserted him or were fired.

    An extensive police investigation turned up links between Ford, known drug dealers and gang members. His friend and part-time driver, Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, was charged with extortion, apparently as he tried to retrieve the "crack" video. That case is ongoing.

    Ford narrowly survived a legal attempt to have him booted from office for conflict of interest — on a technicality. However, council stripped him of almost all his power. Yet Ford, backed up or egged on by his councillor brother and with the undying support of the Ford faithful, blustered his way through it all.

    People lined up almost half-way around City Hall at one point to buy a Ford bobblehead. He was mobbed like a rock star wherever he went. He revelled in the attention. Even a two-month stint in rehab became, in his words, "awesome."

    A controversial figure

    First elected as a councillor in 2000, Ford sparked controversy almost from the get-go.

    "Oriental people work like dogs....They're slowly taking over," he told one council meeting. He consistently voted against AIDS funding or other social and arts grants. He ranted about a "war on cars," and spoke out against cyclists.

    Increasingly, however, his come-from-behind election as mayor in 2010 began unravelling. Ex-staffers described a man by turns ill-tempered and weepy, one who could not resist the bottle, even while behind the wheel of a car.

    Late-night TV comics lapped it up. The mayor became a household name in Canada and a recognizable name in far-flung parts of the globe. Asked in October 2014 how his mayoralty would be remembered, Ford laughed.

    "It'll definitely be remembered," he said with rare understatement. "No one's going to forget it."

    Ultimately, it was the rare, aggressive large tumour in Ford's abdomen that caused the circus tent to come crashing down. Surgery and a repeated regimen of chemotherapy took its toll. He lost his hair. He soldiered on, at times unable even to climb a set of stairs; he battled pneumonia; he became a fixture at city hall in his red track suit — all evidence of his mantra that a Ford "never quits."

    On election night in 2014, he praised his brother before vowing to return to fight for the city's top job in the next election. Few doubted he would make good on the promise given half a chance.

    Funeral arrangements have not been made but a large turnout is likely, as is a period of "lying in repose" at City Hall. Jack Layton's flag-draped coffin sat at City Hall following his death in 2011 — and Ford, then mayor, paid his respects.

    "To him, funerals are mandatory when it comes to friends," Nunziata said.

    The former mayor is survived by his wife, two children, his mother, and three siblings.

    RIP  Rob Ford....the guy was a victim of a society who made fun of his addiction instead of helping him fight the addiction.... Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones... So sad that he died so young. 'The Genie' --- Witchy  ---The Roving Reporter    G.

    Monday, March 21, 2016

    The Roving Reporter : Anti-Donald Trump ads criticize Melania Trump for nude photos in bid for Utah's voters

     Anna Swartz   Mar 21st 2016 
    There are plenty of reasons not to vote for reality television personality and current Republican front-runner Donald Trump — his racist tirades or his extreme anti-immigration rhetoric, for example — but one anti-Trump group is hoping to slow the candidate's momentum by slut-shaming his wife.
    Make America Awesome, a conservative super PAC devoted to "blocking and reversing Donald Trump's political ascent" is hoping to convince Mormon voters in Utah to vote for Texas Senator Ted Cruz over Trump by running a series of ads on social media, one of which shows Melania Trump, posing naked on what appears to be furs and jewelry, reports Buzzfeed.
    The text over the image reads, "Meet Melania Trump. Your next first lady. Or, you could support Ted Cruz on Tuesday."
    Liz Mair, the political strategist behind Make America Awesome, told Buzzfeed that the ad is expected to reach 10,000 voting-age Mormons per day. The message behind the ad is clear: A woman who once posed nude for British GQ doesn't deserve to be a first lady. But that sentiment is troubling for a lot of reasons.
    Women should be able to wear (or not wear) whatever they want without being slut-shamed for it. Whether it's snapping a nude selfie or posing nude for a body-positive photographer, it's up to the women involved to decide how to present their bodies.
    Posing nude — or not posing nude — shouldn't be a metric by which we judge the quality of a person's character. Hateful opinions and violent rhetoric should, though — So decide whether you'll vote for Trump based on what he says, not because of what his wife did or didn't wear one time.

    Well , I will leave it to you , the voters to make up your own minds .

    The Roving Reporter             G .

    Lament for young Canadian Soldier....'Tell My Father'

     John Gallagher, 32,  A Toronto born soldier who volunteered to stay on and fight after his period of active duty ended. He was struck down, fighting ISIS alongside Kurdish forces in Northern Syria.

    John's Body returns home along the Highway of Heroes

    The Roving Reporter :Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford not responding to chemotherapy

    City Councilor Rob Ford is photographed during his tenure as mayor Feb. 15, 2013. Photo by ValeStock/

    Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford's chief of staff Dan Jacobs announced that Ford's cancer was not responding to chemotherapy treatments. Doctors said he was too weak to attempt the next phase of treatment, but hoped he would feel well enough to try a second drug cocktail soon. Ford's family stayed with him overnight as remained unresponsive while he slept.

    TORONTO, March 19 (UPI) -- Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is not responding to his chemotherapy treatments, his chief of staff, Dan Jacobs, said.
    Jacobs told the CBC Ford, 46, is not healthy enough to undergo the next phase of treatment, but doctors hope he will soon improve enough to try another round of medication.
    "The tumor was not responding so they didn't administer the last treatment," Jacobs wrote in an email to USA Today. "Doctors decided to let him build up his strength while they decided the next course of treatment."
    Jacobs added that Ford, now a Toronto city councillor, was sleeping, but unresponsive as family members spent the night with him at the hospital.
    Ford was forced to withdraw from the Mayoral race in 2014 after being diagnosed with a form of cancer known as liposarcoma, which aggressively grows in fat cells. He had the tumors removed in 2015, but was later hospitalized again with two tumors on his bladder.
    He gained notoriety in Nov. 2013, when he admitted to smoking crack after a video appeared to show him using a crack pipe. He also raised a few eyebrows inviting the public to a bachelor party for his niece's fiancé in 2015.
    Former mayor and political rival David Miller sent condolences to Ford and his family while speaking to CP24.
    "Everybody's thoughts are with Councillor Ford. I have given my thoughts directly to him and his family," he said. "I particularly feel for his wife and kids. I just hope everybody is thinking of them and of his health."

    Stay tuned for updates as they become available .

    The Roving Reporter              G .

    How did T rex become so big??

    A newly discovered species of dinosaur could hold the evolutionary key to why T-rex became so huge and dominant.
    The new Tyrannosaur, named Timurlengia, is 90 million years old. It comes from a point in the fossil record just before Tyrannosaurs started to evolve their great size.
    Discovered by US and Russia-based scientists working in Uzbekistan, and studied at the University of Edinburgh, the creature's skull appears to hold some of the secrets to Tyrannosaurs' success.

    Hubble telescope finds 'land of giants'

    Tarantula Nebula of the LMC
    The Tarantula Nebula of the LMC has become a  creative nursery for some stars so enormous, they defy imagination

    Hubble has probed a clutch of monster stars about 170,000 light-years away on the edge of our Milky Way Galaxy. Some two dozen behemoths were identified, all with masses in excess, at the very least, of a hundred times that of the Sun.
    Four were known previously, including the remarkable colossus catalogued as R136a1   (illustrated at the bottom of this post)  which is 250 times as massive as our home star. But the new survey finds many more of the super-objects in a tight patch of sky within the Large Magellanic Cloud.
    In just a tiny bit of this satellite galaxy, we see perhaps two dozen stars with more than a 100 solar masses. Out of which, nine are in a close, tight core just a few light-years across. These 24  represent more of these enormous celestial bodies than there are in the entire Milky Way Galaxy.
    They build on earlier work reported in 2010 that first described R136a1 - the most massive and most luminous star identified to date. That study used data gathered principally by a ground-based telescope in Chile.
    This follow-up research employed the pin-sharp resolution and ultraviolet sensitivity of the orbiting Hubble telescope to tease out yet more detail.
    In 2010, astronomers saw four monster stars including R136a1 in the central core. Thanks to Hubble, they have detected and recorded more.

    Left: The tight core of big stars is seen in UV light. Right: A spectrograph is used to determine star properties

    The stars are not only extremely massive, but they are also extremely bright. Together, these nine stars outshine our Sun by a factor of 30 million, according to Prof Crowther, a leader of the study.
    "Because they are so massive, they are all close to their so-called Eddington limit, which is the maximum luminosity a star can have before it rips itself apart; and so they've got really powerful outflows. They are shedding mass at a fair rate of knots," the astronomer added - up to an Earth mass of gaseous material per month.
    The question is why this tight corner of space, located in the Tarantula Nebula of the LMC, harbours so many giants.
    Prof Crowther thinks it is because the gas and dust in the region has become extremely compressed as the Large Magellanic Cloud has skirted the edge of the Milky Way. One thing is for sure - none of these monster stars will be around for more than a few million years. To burn so bright is to burn briefly.
    "A lot of these stars will be in binaries (in pairs), and when they die they'll produce black holes, which will merge at some point in the dim and distant future. And when they do they'll produce gravitational waves.
    "The first detection of gravitational waves [reported by Advanced LIGO last month] was from the merger of a pair of 30-solar-mass black holes. They probably came from 100-solar-mass stars."  Prepare for more wondrous revelations in the near future.

    Some of these monsters will one day turn into black holes that merge in a burst of gravitational waves

    Saturday, March 19, 2016

    Really ? Go figure guys

    You would never catch women doing something so dumb.

    Or would you? 

    Friday, March 18, 2016

    St Patrick's day party ... end of March break..Waterloo

    Every St Patrick's Day the students of our local universities gather on Ezra Avenue and party. As usual they were exuberant and rowdy. There is always a strong police presence but the cops are friendly and have pictures taken with the kids. They just monitor the kids to keep the noise down. This year they confiscated a few unlawful kegs of beer but the kids were good natured about it and helped the cops load the kegs into the squad car. One has to wonder what the officers will do with the beer at the end of the day...just saying.
    This video was Laurier University's street party. I heard a few of the others were a bit wilder. Oh, to be young again, and have that bottomless capacity for booze. And have to ask your best friend, the next day, if you had a good time  ... or did you embarrass yourself again.

    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    Block of ice the size of Rhode Island breaks off in Arctic Ocean.... It's Global Warming, non-believers

    A roughly 2,000-square-mile block of ice just broke off in the Arctic Ocean. The chunk, which sits in the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia, took just two days to separate from the surrounding ice.
    And thanks to NASA we can actually see it happen.
    Here's the ice just three days ago, on March 12. You can see that the ice is just starting to crack and break up:

    Bering Strait sea ice Arctic Ocean

    artic ocean ice chunk side by side bering strait sea

    Here's a side-by-side comparison, with March 12 on the left and March 14 on the right, with the ice chunk circled:

    That's huge. It's about the size of Rhode Island and slightly smaller than Delaware. While epic, the event is not that shocking.
    The Earth is now emerging from its warmest winter on record. The Northern Hemisphere in particular also just slipped past an alarming 2-degree-Celsius average temperature for the first time in history.
    Polar regions like the Arctic are our canaries in the global warming coal mine. We're already facing worldwide sea level rise and extreme weather events that are now officially linked to climate change.
    If this isn't a wake-up call, we don't know what is.

    Dump Trump!

    Just to be scrupulously fair to 'The Donald', I visited several cartoonists to get a cross-section of opinions of the Republican front runner :

    'This is where we should build the wall'
    Image result for best cartoon jokes of 2015



    Make America great again!