Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dinosaur find in New Mexico tells of greater migration, evolution

Looking over some recently found bones. Randy Irmis, the curator of paleontology at the University of Utah Natural History Museum, has identified a new species, Tawa hallae. The find seems to shed light on early dinosaur migrations. Image Credit: FRANCISCO KJOLSETH I The Salt Lake Tribune

Dinosaur find in New Mexico tells of greater migration, evolution

A study of bones and skeletons recovered in the Colorado Plateau's Chinle formation, Northern New Mexico, that was published Friday, December 18, 2009, in Science, finds that South America may not have been the birthplace of Dinosaurs after all.

A new species of predatory dinosaur, named "Tawa hallae" to honor the region's rich Native American heritage, could provide an evolutionary link between primitive dinosaurs found in South America, where scientists believe dinosaurs first appeared, and more evolved meat-eaters found in North America here, on this Oblate Spheroid.

An artist's rendering of Tawa hallae, from bone fragments - full body , a newly identified primitive meat-eating dinosaur discovered in New Mexico. Image Credit: Jorge Gonzalez, Utah Museum of Natural History

The study contends the 213-million-year-old specimen provides evidence that early dinosaurs roamed far across the Earth's megacontinent Pangea, before North and South America separated.

Tawa halle was a 6-foot, long-snouted theropod ... a bipedal animal with long claws and serrated teeth that sustained itself on fish, amphibians and reptiles whose fossils were recovered in the same bone bed.

An artist's rendering of Tawa hallae's head from skull fragments, a newly identified primitive meat-eating dinosaur discovered in New Mexico. Image Credit: Jorge Gonzalez, Utah Museum of Natural History

This excerpted and edited from The Salt Lake Tribune -

New Mexico find sheds light on early dinosaur dispersal
Tawa hallae » Triassic-era meat-eater has primitive South American kin
By Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune - Updated: 12/11/2009 07:26:24 AM MST

A team of young paleontologists has identified a new species of predatory dinosaur that sheds new light on early dinosaur evolution and movements before the continents separated 200 million years ago.
Randall Irmis, the Utah Museum of Natural History's curator of paleontology, helped excavate the bones in northern New Mexico while a graduate student at Berkeleyand published the study with lead author Sterling Nesbitt, of the University of Texas at Austin.
Irmis and Nesbitt's team includes co-authors Nathan Smith of the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago; Alan Turner of Stony Brook University in New York; and Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History, New York City. Also named is Alex Downs, the curator of the paleontology museum at Ghost Ranch, a 21,000-acre spread near Abiquiu made famous by painter Georgia O'Keeffe. But Ghost Ranch is also famous as the world's richest trove of fossil remains of coelophysis, another small theropod.

Paleontologists Randall Irmis, left, and Sterling Nesbitt work to extract dinosaur bones at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Image Credit: Alan Turner

Downs said a visiting group in 2004 came across a hip and thigh that did not belong to a coelophysis. He notified Irmis and his colleagues, all graduate students then under 30, known to have an interest in early dinosaur evolution. The group converged on New Mexico the following year and struck pay dirt in the Chinle's colorful clay deposit at Ghost Ranch.

This formation is common across southern Utah, presenting as talus slopes beneath Windgate sandstone cliffs. At the time the formation was deposited, the Colorado Plateau was near the equator and its climate was warm and wet.

The scientists recovered five to seven sub-adult specimens that together built a complete skeleton of a previously unknown creature. Scientists believe these individuals were swept up in a flood and quickly interred together with other Triassic animals and plants.
"The preservation of tawa is exquisite. Tawa was in soft rock and very easy to prepare," Nesbitt said. The "nearly pristine" detail on the articulated bones was so fine, the team could make out muscle scars, construct a complete skull and see how ligament attached to bone and how thighs engaged with hips.

As a result, Tawa is now among the most completely known Triassic theropods and a real gift to science, Irmis said. With such a clear view of this animal's anatomy, the team could perform reliable morphological comparisons with other theropods from around the world. This is where things got interesting.

The specimens were found in the same deposits as two other early predators, coelophysis and chindesaurus. But these three are not each others' closest relatives. Tawa's next-of-kin appears to be a South American proto-theropod called herrerasaurus.
The team was most intrigued with what this suggests about the trans-Pangea movements of dinosaurs.

"The discovery of multiple dinosaur species in one place that emigrated from elsewhere got us wondering whether other Late Triassic reptiles show similar patterns," said Irmis. "It turns out a variety of other reptile groups made multiple trips from the northern and southern continents [then parts of Pangea] and back again during the Late Triassic, including other dinosaurs."
Why were theropods dispersing into North America, but not their plant-eating cousins? Perhaps differences in plant life made this terrain uninhabitable for early vegetarian dinosaurs, Irmis speculates.

"Because so many other reptile groups were crisscrossing Pangea just fine, it suggests there were no big physical barriers like mountain ranges," he said. "Instead, the absence in North America of plant eating dinosaurs during the Triassic suggests that the barriers related to climate."
Reference Here>>

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Anthropogenic Global Warming Scientists, The New “Flat Earth” Society?

Top UN scientists have been forced to admit that natural weather occurrences are having a far greater effect on climate change than CO2 emissions as a continued cooling trend means there has been no global warming since 1998. But despite overwhelming signs of global cooling - China's coldest winter for 100 years and record snow levels across Northeast America - allied with temperature records showing a decline - global warming advocates still cling to the notion that the world is cooling because of global warming! Caption Credit: Image Credit: blahblahblog

Anthropogenic Global Warming Scientists, the new “Flat Earth” society?

Last week, a hacker revealed that a group of powerful, government-backed European scientists are controlling the results of developing global warming theory, and preventing clear debate or the development of opposing scientific evidence to AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming). It appears that certain more objective scientists run the risk --- if they present solid evidence contrary to the popular global warming theories --- realize they run the risk of being made objects of ridicule and marginalized in efforts to gain monies from Governments for research projects designed to discover facts ... that lead to the truth.

So on one side we have the “flat earther” powerful old-world scientists … and on the other side we have the “world is round” scientific-method based researchers who are continuing to discover facts … and thereby, the truth.

Powerful forces within the scientific community have been purposely shaping information in order to bolster a concept that, at best, is speculative and seems designed to lead to one human activity that these people think is perfectly suitable for their point-of-view ... a one-world Government, based upon a socialist model of CONTROL. This CONTROL is initially focusing on calling us to “Save the Earth From Destruction”, since a fear-based program is the only way to get free people to forsake their rights and their freedoms in the concept of climate stabilization and saving humanity from imminent destruction.

South Park's depiction of Al Gore giving a lecture that will give him greater riches through the selling of "Carbon Credits" based upon a flat Earth, AGW paradigm. Image Credit: Malagent

This excerpted and edited National Review Online –

Krauthammer's Take
On the announcement that President Obama will attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
NRO Staff, Friday, November 27, 2009

Comments From Wednesday's Fox News All-Star Panel:

The global warming science is not junk science, but it's speculative. It's based on incomplete data. It's based on computer models that rest on assumptions — that, in turn, rest on an understanding of how the globe’s climate controls itself — that [are] extremely incomplete.

So its projections are speculative. But it pretends that, of course, that it is the hardest of all sciences and anybody who is skeptical is a denier — using a term used normally about the Holocaust, which is of course an event that actually happened as opposed to projections in global warming, which are speculative science.

So what you see in the [leaked global-warming] emails are people that are on somewhat shaky grounds. It is not as if there is no science at all in this, but there is contradictory evidence, such as the flattening of the rise in temperatures, which they cannot explain.

And their response is either suppression or manipulation or, even worse, the delegitimizing of — the personal attacks on — skeptics in an attempt to write them out of the journals, to get them fired, and all kinds of nasty stuff. … It puts a lot of their research in question.

I think what's interesting about Obama is he is going to be at the U.N. [conference in Copenhagen] to announce the [new] policy about climate change on the basis of — nothing. He is going to be proposing what the House has passed — that he knows is not going to pass in the Senate.

And we are actually a constitutional democracy where the president can't announce a policy unilaterally. It actually has to pass the two houses of the Congress, and our allies abroad know that, and they’re going to look at this announcement he is going to make and think it … extremely strange.
Reference Here>>

The United States has established no formal policy, yet our President, if allowed to do so, will gladly sign away our sovereignty in order to achieve the socialist political objectives of control found in the Copenhagen accords.

Further, scientists and Government forces who choose to use or believe in their conclusions that the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is a fact, are no better than previous generations of leaders in their insistence that this Oblate Spheroid (the actual shape of the Earth) is flat. These people should be known from this moment forward as ... "Flat-Earthers"!

From The Free Dictionary:

1) flat-earth·er (flatûrther)

One who stubbornly adheres to outmoded or discredited ideas: "If you don't accept the ideas derived from Adam Smith ... then you are [considered] a flat-earther" (James Fallows).

[From the long-discredited belief that the earth is flat.]

2) flat-earther

- a person who does not accept or is out of touch with the realities of modern life

Thursday, November 5, 2009

African Rift Creation Observed: New Aqua Landscape Predicted

A view taken from Da'Ure's (Dabbahu's) new pumice dome looking S down the fissure vent on 16 October 2005, with people for scale. Part of the outer flank of Dabbahu is visible on the right side of the photo; Dabbahu's central area lies farther to the right off the margin of the photo. Image Credit: Anthony Philpotts.

African Rift Creation Observed: New Aqua Landscape Predicted

In 2005, a volcano eruption in the northeast corner of the African continent created a land feature that was once assumed to take millions and millions of years to form.

Geologists generally assumed that large cracks in the Earth's crust form when two techtonic plates move over each other, and at a pace of less than an inch per year, creates a depression that would eventually fill with water to form a sea or ocean. This process was thought to take at least tens of millions of years.

A map showing Dabbahu volcano in the Afar triangle, along with epicenters from the earthquake swarm of 14 September to 4 October 2005 The solid triangles indicate Holocene volcanoes, although the one for Dabbahu is swamped by the pattern of epicenters. The Alayta shield volcano (labeled "A") sits 32.7 km NNE of Dabbahu's summit and erupted several times in the early 1900's. Epicenters were compiled from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Earthquake Information Center website. Image Credit: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Earthquake Information Center

This depression, crack, or rift in the Earth's crust created by a volcano named Dabbahu, located in the northern part of Ethiopia, formed when it began to erupt and push magma up through the landscape, effectively unzipping a large portion of this Oblate Spheroid in just days. This rift has now grown to be measured at about 35 miles long and as wide as 20 feet and is expected to become an ocean or sea in about one million years.

Feleke Worku, a surveyor from the Ethiopian Mapping Agency, examines a ground rupture created during the September 2005 rifting event. Image Credit: Tim Wright, University of Leeds

This excerpted and edited from Life Science -

Giant Crack in Africa Will Become New Ocean
Life Science, Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A new study involving an international team of scientists and reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters finds the processes creating the rift are nearly identical to what goes on at the bottom of oceans, further indication a new sea is in the region's future.

The same rift activity is slowly parting the Red Sea, too.

A red thumbtack locates Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of a rift geophysicists say will become an ocean. Image Credit: Google Maps

Using newly gathered seismic data from 2005, researchers reconstructed the event to show the rift tore open along its entire 35-mile length in just days. Dabbahu, a volcano at the northern end of the rift, erupted first, then magma pushed up through the middle of the rift area and began "unzipping" the rift in both directions, the researchers explained in a statement today.

"We know that seafloor ridges are created by a similar intrusion of magma into a rift, but we never knew that a huge length of the ridge could break open at once like this," said Cindy Ebinger, professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study.

The result shows that highly active volcanic boundaries along the edges of tectonic ocean plates may suddenly break apart in large sections, instead of in bits, as the leading theory held. And such sudden large-scale events on land pose a much more serious hazard to populations living near the rift than would several smaller events, Ebinger said.
Looking NNW from the central part of the Dabbahu rift segment towards the Dabbahu volcano (~30 km away). Image Credit: Cindy Ebinger, University of Rochester, USA

The African and Arabian plates meet in the remote Afar desert of Northern Ethiopia and have been spreading apart in a rifting process — at a speed of less than 1 inch per year — for the past 30 million years. This rifting formed the 186-mile Afar depression and the Red Sea. The thinking is that the Red Sea will eventually pour into the new sea in a million years or so. The new body of water would connect to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, an arm of the Arabian Sea between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia in eastern Africa.

Central section of 60 km-long rift zone that opened south of Dabbahu volcano. Image Credit: Julie Rowland, University of Auckland

Atalay Ayele, professor at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, led the investigation, gathering seismic data with help from neighboring Eritrea and Ghebrebrhan Ogubazghi, professor at the Eritrea Institute of Technology, and from Yemen with the help of Jamal Sholan of the National Yemen Seismological Observatory Center.
Reference Here>>

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Largest New Nephila Spider Discovery In 130 Years

A giant golden orb-web exceeding 1 meter in diameter, spun by a Nephila inaurata spider. Image Credit: Matjaz Kuntner

Largest New Nephila Spider Discovery In 130 Years

Scientists, Jonathan Coddington of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Matjaz Kuntner of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, have found the world’s largest species of golden orb-weaver spider in the tropics of Africa and Madagascar. The discovery marks the first identification of a new Nephila spider since 1879.

Codding stated in a press release, “We fear the species might be endangered, as its only definite habitat is a sand forest in Tembe Elephant Park in KwaZulu-Natal. Our data suggest that the species is not abundant, its range is restricted, and all known localities lie within two endangered biodiversity hotspots: Maputaland and Madagascar.”

Tiny male Nephila spiders are dwarfed by their female counterparts. Image Credit: Matjaz Kuntner and Jonathan Coddington/PLoS ONE

This excerpted and edited from Wired Science -

Even-More-Gigantic Giant Orb Spider Discovered
By Hadley Leggett, Wired Science - October 20, 2009, 8:00 pm

Females of the new species, Nephila komaci, measure a whopping 4 to 5 inches in diameter, while the male spiders stay petite at less than a quarter of their mate’s size. So far, only a handful of these enormous arachnids have been found in the world.
The first potential specimen of the new species was uncovered by Coddington and his colleague Matjaz Kuntner in 2000. They found a huge female orb-weaver among a museum collection of spiders in Pretoria, South Africa, and she didn’t match the description of any known spider. Although they hoped the unusual-looking giant represented a new species, several dedicated expeditions to South Africa failed to find any live spiders of a similar description.

Then, in 2003, a second specimen from Madagascar was found at a museum in Austria, suggesting that the first spider hadn’t been a fluke. But despite a comprehensive search through more than 2,500 samples from 37 museums, no additional specimens turned up.
Finally, three live spiders have been found to prove the scientists wrong: A South African researcher found two giant females and one male in Tembe Elephant Park, proving that the new species was not extinct, just incredibly rare.

“Only three have been found in the past decade,” Kuntner wrote in an e-mail to “None by our team, despite focused searches. Only an additional two exist in old museum collections. Compared to thousands of exemplars of other Nephila species in museums, that is disproportionately rare.”
Like all Nephila spiders, females of the new species spin huge webs of golden silk, often more than 3 feet in diameter. In the report of the discovery of this rare spider, published Tuesday in PLoS One, the researchers also addressed the evolution of the dramatic size difference between male and female orb-weavers.
Reference Here>>

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oblate Spheroid's Solar System Expands to 32 Exoplanets

Artist’s impression of Gliese 667C, a six Earth-mass exoplanet that circulates around its low-mass host star at a distance only 1/20th of the Earth-Sun distance. The host star is a companion to two other low-mass stars, which are seen here in the distance. Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada

Oblate Spheroid's Solar System Expands to 32 Exoplanets

Astronomers have expanded the list of planets outside the solar system with their discovery of 32 new exoplanets using the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile.

The expansion of The Earth's family was found through technology known as the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS). HARPS is a spectrometer that can find planets by detecting a twitch in a star caused by the gravity of an orbiting planet.

This finding revealed Monday by the scientists who operate HARPS adds to the more than 400 as the number of planets seen outside of our previously defined Solar System.

This excerpted and edited from Wired Science -

Exoplanets Galore! 32 Alien Planets Discovered, Including Super-Earths
By Hadley Leggett, Wired Science - October 19, 2009, 2:12 pm

Thirty-two new alien orbs have just been added to the growing list of exoplanets, including several that qualify as “super-Earths,” meaning they have a mass only a few times that of our planet and could potentially harbor Earth-like environments.

In the past five years, a special exoplanet-hunting device attached to a 3.6-meter telescope in La Silla, Chile, has spotted more than 75 alien planets, including 24 of the 28 known exoplanets with a mass less than 20 times that of Earth.
“These findings consolidate the results of simulations of planet formation predicting a large population of super-Earths,” astrophysicist Stephane Udry of Geneva University wrote in an email to “The formation models furthermore predict an even larger population of Earth-mass planets, providing solid scientific justifications for the development of ambitious programs (in space and on the ground) to look for those Earth-type planets.”

Udry’s announcement of the HARPS team’s findings Monday at an exoplanet conference in Portugal marks the end of the first phase of HARPS research, and scientists say the project has been even more successful than they originally expected.
The HARPS scientists focused their exoplanet-hunting efforts on certain kinds of stars, including stars similar to our sun and those with low mass (called Mdwarfs) or low metal content.

“By targeting M dwarfs and harnessing the precision of HARPS, we have been able to search for exoplanets in the mass and temperature regime of super-Earths,” co-author Xavier Bonfils of the Joseph Fourier University in France said in a press release, “some even close to or inside the habitable zone around the star.”
Reference Here>>

The HARPS scientists aim to find an Earth-like planet capable of supporting life outside of our Oblate Spheroid.

So, in signing off - it's "Exo, Exo" ... not "XO, XO"!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

All Frogs Smile - Some Have Fangs

Khorat ... Limnonectes megastomias - A frog who's smile hides it best weapon ... fangs! Image Credit:

All Frogs Smile - Some Have Fangs

Ever notice that all frogs just seem to sit there, perched their springy hind legs ... and smile? Well it turns out that some hide more than their thoughts with a perpetual smile, some hide FANGS!

Just weeks after discovering a frog with fangs in Papua New Guinea, the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) is reporting another 163 new species in southeast Asia, including another frog with fangs. This new frog, discovered in Thailand, apparently feeds on birds.

The fanged frog is the highlight of the WWF report. It's been classified as Limnonectes megastomias, and it's Modus Operandi is to wait in Thailand's many streams and attack when a bird comes near. The scientists also discovered that the males of the species use these fangs in combat, sometimes scarring or even dismembering their opponents here on this wild and wonderful Oblate Spheroid.

Thailand interior landscape that would be typical of where the Khorat "fanged" frog might make its home. Image Credit:

This excerpted and edited from FOX News -

Fanged Frog Found in Bangkok
FOX News / AP - Friday, September 25, 2009

A gecko with leopard-like spots on its body and a fanged frog that eats birds are among 163 new species discovered last year in the Mekong River region of Southeast Asia, an environmental group said Friday.

WWF International said that scientists in 2008 discovered 100 plants, 28 fish, 18 reptiles, 14 amphibians, two mammals and one bird species in the region. That works out to be about three species a week and is in addition to the 1,000 new species catalogued there from 1997 to 2007, the group said.

"After millennia in hiding these species are now finally in the spotlight, and there are clearly more waiting to be discovered," said Stuart Chapman, director of the WWF Greater Mekong Program.
A Khorat big-mouthed frog, known by its scientific name Limnonectes megastomias, at an unknown location in Thailand. Image Credit: David S. McLeod, WWF Greater Mekong

Among the stars in the new list is a fanged frog in eastern Thailand. Given the scientific name Limnonectes megastomias, the frog lies in wait along streams for prey including birds and insects.
Simon Mahood, a conservation adviser for BirdLife International in Indochina, welcomed WWF's attention to the new species and said more could be discovered if additional money is put into conservation and countries make it easier to do field work.

"We are seeing more reports of new discoveries and populations because this region is relatively poorly known, particularly when it comes to cryptic and less fashionable groups like fish and amphibians," said Mahood, whose group this year announced finding the first nest of white-eared night heron in Vietnam and the discovery of a baldheaded song bird in Laos called the barefaced Bulbul Pycnonotus hualon.
Experts said a range of factors contributed to the upsurge in new species, including better access to regions that have seen decades of war and political unrest and more spending by governments on research to protect and identify plants and animals.
Reference Here>>

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nessie Sighting - Web Search Technology Win

Jason Cooke spotted "Nessie" while browsing the Google Earth's satellite photos. Image Credit: Google Earth - Latitude 57°12'52.13"N, Longitude 4°34'14.16"W - Image Credit: Google Earth

Nessie Sighting - Web Search Technology Win

The elusive Loch Ness Monster may finally have been sighted ... but not with human eyes. Google Earth and satellite technology combined with an astute observer of an image may have found what scientists, locals, and tourists have been claiming to exist here on this Oblate Spheroid over the centuries.

The earliest on record is from 565 when St. Columbia saved the life of a local who was being attacked by a monster in the river Ness (though some spoilsports insist it was actually a wild boar).

The modern Nessie era began in 1933 when a local paper - the Inverness Courier - reported a sighting by a local a couple, the Spicers. Whilst driving along the loch side between Dores and Inverfarigaig they spotted a large creature crossing the road in front of them. The creature disappeared into the bushes in the direction of the Loch.

This report was taken up by the national press in London and the Nessie ball began to roll.

Loch Ness is huge - the largest fresh water body in Britain. It is over twenty two miles in length and over a mile and a half at its widest. Total surface area is approximately 21 square miles. Loch Ness is also deep and goes down almost 800 feet. It has been estimated that the loch is large enough to hold the entire population of the world ten times over. Caption Credit: - Image Credit: Ciclee

The next year, 1934, the most famous photograph of Nessie was allegedly taken by surgeon R. K. Wilson. This, the "surgeon's photo" has been the focus of intense debate since it was first taken. Over the years several people have "confessed" to being involved in faking the surgeon's photo.

Sightings continue to be reported and every few years an expedition obtains funding to "prove" the truth once and for all. In 2003 a BBC expedition surveyed the entire Loch using sonar. They concluded that no monster exists.

It should be remembered that it is logically impossible to prove that something does not exist - only that it has not been found.

Nessie sightings continue to be reported every year, some backed by photographic evidence. Many of the reports come from tourists who have been enjoying the justly famous Scottish hospitality.

That is, until now!

Plesiosaurus - Plesiosaurus inhabited the oceans 200 million years ago. "flying" underwater with four wing like limbs. Its sharp teeth and snapping jaws formed a deadly trap for small aquatic animals. The long necked Plesiosaurus gave its name to the plesiosaurs, a group of flesh eating marine reptiles that are extinct. Along with the dolphin like ichthyosaurs and other marine reptiles, plesiosaurs were the "sea dragons" that inhabited the seas from 200 to 65 million years ago, while the dinosaurs were dominant on land. Image Credit: Carl Buell

This excerpted and edited from FOX News -

Proof That the Loch Ness Monster Exists?
SUN Online - Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This amazing image on Google Earth could be the elusive proof that the Loch Ness Monster exists.

Sun reader Jason Cooke spotted "Nessie" while browsing the Web site's satellite photos.

The shape seen on the surface of the 22-mile Scottish loch is 65ft long and appears to have an oval body, a tail and four legs or flippers.

Some experts believe Nessie may be a Plesiosaur, an extinct marine reptile with a shape like the Google image.
To see the object, enter co-ordinates Latitude 57°12'52.13"N, Longitude 4°34'14.16"W in Google Earth.
Reference Here>>

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

British Steam Car Challenge "Vaporizes" World Land Speed Record - 139.843mph

One important milestone was passed successfully when the British Steam Car was inspected by representatives from the Southern Timing Association and the FIA (the international governing body of motor sport) and declared eligible to attempt the world steam car record. The record runs commenced this morning at 6am (USA time) - ctrl-click to launch in car video of a test run on Rogers Dry Lake Bed - Image & Video Credit: Don Wales – Test Driver, BSCC

British Steam Car Challenge "Vaporizes" World Land Speed Record - 139.843mph

The British Steam Car Challenge is a mission formed to make something solid out of controlling, well ... vapor. The mission is to capture a world land speed record that has stood the test of time for well over one-hundred years (106 to be more definitive) ... a world land speed record set with boiling water, a world land speed record set with using directed steam to power a vehicle.

The project actually started when Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Great Britian was impressed by a project created by students at Southampton University. To date, the British Steam Car Challenge Team has now successfully carried out 5 full test runs in excess of 100mph ahead of today's bid to break the century-old world land speed record for steam-powered vehicles.

Primary Test Driver, Don Wales - Replacing Don Wales for the actual record attempt will be the project's brainchild and main financier, Charles Burnett III. "It's his project, so he gets to drive it on the day," Mr Wales added. "I just hope to break the world record during the test run - he can then break it after me. If I can help a British team get a world record, then I'm happy." Image Credit: Murry Sanders

Last week, after numerous setbacks, the team was rewarded with their preparations on Saturday having unofficially posted a mark greater than Fred Marriott record set in the Stanley Steam Racer - called the "Stanley Rocket". The BSCC team's own calibrated equipment measured the two way average at 137.14mph, and a 48min 52 second turn-around.

Then, of course, there was the additional unofficial success of Monday's mark of 148mph. This was significant because the mark eclipses the fastest speed ever recorded by any human driven, steam powered vehicle, official or unofficial ... a mark set by Bob Barber in 1985 on the salt flats at Bonneville, Utah (unofficial) stood at 145.607mph.

British Steam Car Challenge Logo - Image Credit: BSCC

The BSCC team have acknowledged the achievements of the "Barber-Nichols Team" and their vehicle "Steamin' Demon". On 18th August 1985 The Barber-Nichols Team carried out three successful passes and achieved an American National Record at 145.607mph. There was no attempt, however, to establish an FIA record by the Barber-Nichols Team and it is the goal of the British Steam Car Challenge to recognize this speed, or better, as the target FIA record mark to set.

The FIA is the sanctioning body and now recognizes a world land speed record as the average speed of two passes made across the same measured distance in opposing directions within 60 minutes of each other. The time of the two runs is then averaged to obtain the official recorded speed.

The principle driver of the BSCC is the nephew of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Charles Burnett III. Burnett was born in England in 1956 and educated in South Africa and America, and as a legitimate tri-national (his mother was Canadian and his father American) he inherited a love for travel and all things mechanical from his father, who raced hydroplanes and restored Hudson automobiles.

A long-time powerboat enthusiast, Charles set up Vulture Ventures, a UK-based offshore racing team, which soon became known as the world’s most successful team in the sport. During this time, Charles took a variety of world records using catamarans and monohulls powered by diesel, petrol and LPG. He was included in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999 for an offshore water speed record of 137mph.

The steam car is fitted with 12 boilers, which work like a kettle on a stove. LPG in the vehicle’s tanks ignite in order to produce about three megawatts of heat, to boil 140 litres of distilled water which produces the requisite steam. The water’s then pumped into the boilers at 50 litres a minute to superheat steam to 400C, which is then transmitted to the supercar’s turbines at twice the speed of sound to gather enough momentum and thrust to push the car to mesmerizing speeds of over 200mph. Image Credit: BSCC


Wednesday 19th August

The team made the first official attempt at the world record today, but decided to abort the second run after a slight problem with the throttle was detected. It is understood that the throttle was letting water through the turbine rather than bypassing it. The team will investigate the problem this afternoon with the intention of attempting the record again tomorrow morning.

Thursday 20th August
We had a successful first run today, peak speed 130mph, but unfortunatly on the return pass the rear right hand side tyre suffered a slow punture at 75mph - 4.2 miles in to the course. Back to the lakebed again tomorrow. I have to say these guys on the team are working their butts off to make this happen. Its not until you are here that you can appreciate the conditions. Six days a week, 14 hours a day in over 100 degrees.

Friday 21st August
We arrived on the lakebed full of anticipation and optimism. The air was still, it was a beautiful sunrise and we were all on schedule.

The first run peaked at 133.491 but picked up speed when exiting the measured mile. The measured mile was 128.628. The turnaround crew was on target at approximately 40 minutes in preparation for its return run.

Whilst the car was being refilled there was pressure problem with the water rigs. The second run was aborted and we all returned to base.

The temperature soared to over 104f, and over 40% humidity. Having tracked down the route of the problem to a minor electrical fault, the team continued to work and source spares to rectify it.
Clouds began to roll in, a storm kicked up with over over 45-50 mph gusts, we had had to rescue the marquee as things began to fly away.

It became impractical and dangerous to work, the team battened down the hatches and called it a day. The weather forecast has predicted bad storms and lightening. It is really howling out there!

The team will continue to work on the car tomorrow (Saturday) and carry out a static test for more runs on Monday, when I will bring you more news.

Saturday 22nd August
The weather was stormy, and noticeably cooler. The team worked in earnest to rectify the electrical fault, but the part arrived two hours late. They carried out a static test, which was the best they have ever had running at 380degrees, demonstrating that the car now has more power. Typically on a 130mph run it is operating between 300-320, so this was good news.

However the static test detected a fault with the water bladder, which had been damaged by the flow of pressure being pushed through the flowmisers. There was little more that the team could do, time was ticking on, so it was decided that they would carry out the bladder repair (which typically take 2-3hours) on Monday. They would utilise this time to carry out maintenance, such as flushing through the flowmisers and mechanically setting them, and clearing the car of any contaminated water.

The World Land Speed Record holding British Steam Car Challenge team, Rogers Dry Lake, Edwards Air Force Base, Mojave, California, United states of America [ctrl-click to launch BBC Video of record breaking run!]. Image Credit: BSCC (2009)

Edward’s Air Force Base, California: Tuesday August 25th
Today at 8.19am (California time) Charles Burnett III successfully broke the land speed record for a steam-powered car – which has stood for more than 100 years – achieving an average speed of 139.843mph on two runs over a measured mile.

Driver Charles Burnett III piloted the car for both runs reaching a peak speed of 136.103mph on the first run and 151.085 mph on the second. The new international record, which is subject to official confirmation by the FIA, breaks the previous official FIA record of 127mph set in 1906 by American, Fred Marriott, driving a Stanley steamer at Daytona Beach.

As he was congratulated by his jubilant crew, principal driver, Charles Burnett III said: "It was absolutely fantastic I enjoyed every moment of it. We reached nearly 140mph on the first run before I applied the parachute. All systems worked perfectly, it was a really good run. The second run went even better and we clocked a speed in excess of 150 mph. The car really did handle beautifully. The team has worked extremely hard over the last 10 years and overcome numerous problems. It is a privilege to be involved with such a talented crew, what we have achieved today is a true testament to British engineering, good teamwork and perseverance”

Project Manager Matt Candy said: "The first run took place at 7.27am when the air temperature was a cool 63 degrees Fahrenheit, the team turned around the car in 52minutes (with just 8 minutes spare) in preparation for its return run. The British Steam Car takes 2.5 miles to accelerate and after the measured mile, a further 2.5 miles to decelerate – so each run was over 6.5 miles. The FIA requires that the return run takes place within 60 minutes. The times of the two runs are then averaged to obtain the official recorded speed. Compared to the testing we did in Britain, the British Steam Car ran 12 times the distance and twice the maximum speed ­– all within one hour. It’s been a huge challenge for all.

Pam Swanston wife of the late project manager Frank Swanston was overcome with emotion after seeing Charles power the supercar across the dry lake bed, she said: "If only Frank was here today, it was his vision that made it a reality. He would be incredibly proud of the team's achievements and always believed we would succeed. Today we celebrate this record for Frank"

Three cheers to the perseverance and planning of the British Steam Car Challenge team in it's effort to successfully set a new recognized world speed mark that had stood for one-hundred and six years, here on this spinning Oblate Spheroid.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The SUN, Not AGW, Is The Thing

The Greeks named the sun Helios, but the Romans used the name Sol, which is still in use today. Due to the important role the sun plays in our lives, it has been studied, perhaps, more than any other object in the universe, outside our own planet Earth. Image Credit: SOHO/Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT) consortium

The SUN, Not AGW, Is The Thing

Riding here on the Oblate Spheroid, it is easy to get lost in and amongst all the humanity and forget the connections to the natural cycles that have formed the orb we populate.

Take Climate Change (aka - Global Warming and Climate Stabilization), for example - many are putting forth a concept the the major influence on why the climate of this planet varies is related to human activity.

The hypothesis focuses upon the effects for accumulations of "Green House Gasses" as in CO2 ... the used air we exhale. In none of these calculations, however, do these people (many who look to control human behavior and profit off of business activity centered upon this control) take into account that plants take in CO2, and through osmosis give off Oxygen, and further, none of these hypothesis account for the largest functioning body in our specific solar system ... The SUN!

Past studies have shown that sunspot numbers correspond to warming or cooling trends. The twentieth century has featured heightened activity, indicating a warming trend. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Solar activity has shown a major spike in the twentieth century, corresponding to global warming. This cyclic variation was acknowledged by a recent NASA study, which reviewed a great deal of past climate data. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This excerpted and edited from Daily Tech -

NASA Study Acknowledges Solar Cycle, Not Man, Responsible for Past Warming Report indicates solar cycle has been impacting Earth since the Industrial Revolution
Michael Andrews - June 4, 2009 9:37 AM

Some researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes. They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation. Skeptics
[read this as control profiteers], though, argue that there's little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.

Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest. A study from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate. The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.

Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles. At the cycle's peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat. According to Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, "Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene."

Thomas Woods, solar scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder concludes, "The fluctuations in the solar cycle impacts Earth's global temperature by about 0.1 degree Celsius, slightly hotter during solar maximum and cooler during solar minimum. The sun is currently at its minimum, and the next solar maximum is expected in 2012."
According to the study, during periods of solar quiet, 1,361 watts per square meter of solar energy reaches Earth's outermost atmosphere. Periods of more intense activity brought 1.4 watts per square meter (0.1 percent) more energy.
The inconvertible fact, here is that even NASA's own study acknowledges that solar variation has caused climate change in the past. And even the study's members, mostly ardent supports of AGW
[anthropogenic global warming] theory, acknowledge that the sun may play a significant role in future climate changes.
Reference Here>>

Friday, May 15, 2009

Oldest Profession? - The Urge To Carve!

The 2.4-inch-tall (6-centimeter) figurine was carved from a mammoth's tusk. Carbon dating indicates that it is at least 35,000 years old. "It's the oldest known piece of figurative sculpture in the world," said Jill Cook, a curator of Paleolithic and Mesolithic material at the British Museum in London. Image Credit: University of Tubingen / H. Jensen

Oldest Profession? - The Urge To Carve!

Many say the world's oldest profession centers on sex for money. This may be true, but a recent discovery unearthed around some caves in Germany has come up with an ancient substitute for the real thing.

A carving sculpture of a female form carbon dated to be about 40,000 years old is believed to be the world's oldest human sculpture of any form ever found around here on the Oblate Spheroid.

Mammoth Sculpture: The piece was found in sediment originally excavated from the Vogelherd Cave in 1931. A total of five mammoth figurines have been found there. Image Credit: Universität Tübingen

A couple of years ago, Archeologists dug up sculptures of Mammoths and other animal forms, but the Mammoth ivory carving of an anatomically correct female, found in six fragments in Germany's Hohle Fels cave which depicts a woman with a swollen belly, wide-set thighs and large, protruding breasts, is the most profound in that it may be the oldest found human form sculpture.

Dig Site At The Vogelherd Cave: The pieces came from soil layers estimated to be between 28,000 and 36,000 years old. That makes the figurines some of the oldest known pieces of art and coincide with the time when the first modern humans settled Europe. Image Credit: Universität Tübingen

This excerpted and edited from Spiegel -

Oldest Known Human Sculpture Found in Germany
Spiegel Online - 05/14/2009

The birthplace of human art. If indeed there is such a place, researchers are increasingly inclined to believe that it is to be found in the hills -- and caves -- of southern Germany.

Already, archaeologists have
unearthed a number of miniature mammoth ivory carvings -- and on Wednesday, Nicholas Conard, a professor of prehistory at the University of Tübingen, presented his most recent sensational discovery: a tiny figure of a shockingly anatomically correct woman carved out of mammoth ivory that is at least 35,000 years old and perhaps as old as 40,000.

The female figure has a swollen stomach and a large, protruding chest. Some have suggested that it should be seen as a symbol of fertility, while others see a more sexual nature. According to an article on the statue in the journal Nature, it could be seen "by 21st-century standards ... as bordering on the pornographic." Image Credit: University of Tubingen / H. Jensen

The carving, called the "Venus of the Fels Cave," is thought to be the oldest human depiction ever found and one of the most ancient pieces of representational art in the world.
"I was speechless," Conard told reporters, describing the first time he laid eyes on the figurine.

The find was made in September of last year in one of the numerous caves in the southern German region of Swabia, not far from the Danube River valley.
Archaeologists have found some 25 small ivory carvings in the region, including depictions of mammals, horses, bison and birds. Researchers have also found the world's oldest music instruments -- a kind of flute made out of the bones of birds.

The most recent discovery is notable for its explicit depiction of the female form -- one which "by 21st century standards could be seen as bordering on the pornographic," according to an article in the journal Nature.


Beyond that, though, Conrad and his team are hesitant to guess what the figure, which is just six centimeters from head to toe, might have symbolized.
The figure will be shown to the public for the first time at an Ice Age exhibit in Stuttgart which is scheduled to run from Sept. 18 to Jan. 10, 2010.
Reference Here>>

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TRIALS - Two Wheels, Pedals, And A Chain

Inspired Bicycles was registered as a Limited company early in 2007 by former TartyBikes founder, Dave Cleaver. Set up initially as a business to contract out time and creative ideas to Mountain Cycle (legendary US mountain bike company concentrating in freeride and DH), this venture has recently given birth to an all new trials brand. Bearing the same name as the parent company, Inspired aims to bring some fresh design and product creativity to the trials market, both in the UK and ultimately World wide! (double-click photo to launch video) Caption & Image Credit: Inspired Bicycles

TRIALS - Two Wheels, Pedals, And A Chain

Living here on this God given environment known as an Oblate Spheroid, one finds many ways to transport oneself through the space that lies from here ... to there.

Case In Point: Trials Biking (as performed by Danny MacAskill of the Trials bicycle team, Inspired Bicycles)

Filmed over the period of a few months in and around Edinburgh by Dave Sowerby, this video of Inspired Bicycles team rider Danny MacAskill features probably the best collection of street/street trials riding ever seen.

There's some huge riding, but also some of the most technically difficult and imaginative lines you will ever see.

Without a doubt, this video pushes the envelope of what is perceived as possible on a trials bike.
(ht: inspiredbicycles)

This excerpted and edited from Danny MacAskill -

The response I've had to the video has been amazing!

I never expected to get anywhere near the reaction it has. I hoped that other riders would like the video, and maybe a few riders outside trials, but when people started contacting me about interviews for TV and things it was crazy.

The last few days have been a blur!

I can't say thanks enough to all the people who have commented on the video or contacted me, it's definitely motivated me to push my riding and videos even more.
Reference Here>>

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Post-Op Tweet-end In The Life Of Lance Armstrong

Tweet: About to head in. See y'all in a few. Livestrong. Image Credit: Lance Armstrong via TwitPic account

A Post-Op Tweet-end In The Life Of Lance Armstrong
A Tweet-end is a weekend of journal entries (called "Tweets") on Twitter at 140 characters (or less) at a time.

As Lance Armstrong lives his life, he keeps those who are interested in checking in, a view of a slice in the life of an American sports legend and healthcare advocate. Through "Tweets" on Twitter and the posting of photos at TwitPic, his 447,774 followers at Twitter view some of what is going on with Lance as he prepares for his participation in this summer's Tour de France ... this portal becomes a virtual community of observers.

Tweet: A short video message from me to you all.

Exclusive Post-Op Interview with Lance --Lance talks to LIVESTRONG.COM members about his injury and surgery.

Lance Armstrong spends his first weekend in recovery from the spill he suffered in Spain in a warm-up race leading up to the Tour de France. By any measure, Lance is taking it all in stride, one day at a time.

Tweet: Deer in the headlights.. Image Credit: Lance Armstrong via TwitPic account

Tweet: Close up. Image Credit: Lance Armstrong via TwitPic account

Tweet: Got on the spin bike for half an hour today. Image Credit: Lance Armstrong via TwitPic account

LanceArmstrong Twitter Feed:

Heading to my son's Pinewood Derby. Big day for the Lukestrong car!

The "LukeStrong" car qualified 2nd. On to the finals tonight!!

The "LukeStrong" Pinewood Derby car entered by Luke Armstrong, crosses the electronic timing array on the track, first - to win. Image Credit: Kreutz Photography via Lance Armstrong's TwitPic account

LukeStrong car finishing strong!

LukeStrong did great. Finished 3rd (for all classes). Had the fastest run of the day too. Got beat by 2 others on avg times. So proud of him

Comment from fan at TwitPic:

Luke Armstrong in yellow crossing the line 1st! Like father like son. Great stuff....Go Luke!
Communication and community have become virtually strange, yet enjoyable here in the technology world riding on this Oblate Spheroid!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Deepwater Barreleye Fish Sports A Clear Canopy

The barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) has extremely light-sensitive eyes that can rotate within a transparent, fluid-filled shield on its head. In this image, although the barreleye is facing downward, its eyes are still looking straight up. This barreleye is about 6 inches (14 cm) long. The fish's tubular eyes, well inside the head, are capped by bright green lenses. The eyes point upward (as shown here) when the fish is looking for food overhead. They point forward when the fish is feeding. The two spots above the fish's mouth are not eyes: those are olfactory organs called nares, which are analogous to human nostrils. Image Credit: © 2004 MBARI

Deepwater Barreleye Fish Sports A Clear Canopy

Imagine, if you will, the ability to have a line of sight directly behind you as you walk down the street.

If a human were built like a Barreleye Fish, a strata of clear liquid and transparent skin at about ear level would replace hair, bone and flesh-tone skin and the eyes would be able to swivel 180 degrees. Bingo ... rear-view vision.

The Barreleye has a clear membrane skin cover for its forehead region and the upper front part of the fish's head is filled with a clear fluid. The eyes are set back inside and are positioned to be able to look forward, but more importantly, look up and see the light given off by deep water creatures as they ply the deep ocean trenches of our Oblate Spheroid.

Bruce Robison and Kim Reisenbichler of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute use videos from the institute's remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to study barreleyes off Central California. At depths of 2,000 to 2,600 feet (600 to 800 meters), the ROV cameras typically showed these fish hanging motionless in the water, their eyes glowing a vivid green in the ROV's bright lights. The video also revealed a previously undescribed feature of these fish — its eyes are surrounded by a transparent, fluid-filled shield that covers the top of the fish's head. [double-click image to launch video of the Barreleye fish in action] Image Credit: © 2004 MBARI

This excerpted and edited from LiveScience -

Strange Fish Has See-Through Head

By LiveScience Staff - posted: 23 February 2009 03:01 pm ET

A bizarre deep-water fish called the barreleye has a transparent head and tubular eyes. Since the fish's discovery in 1939, biologists have known the eyes were very good at collecting light. But their shape seemed to leave the fish with tunnel vision.

Now scientists say the eyes rotate, allowing the barreleye to see directly forward or look upward through its transparent head.

The barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) is adapted for life in a pitch-black environment of the deep sea, where sunlight does not reach. They use their ultra-sensitive tubular eyes to search for the faint silhouettes of prey overhead.

Scientists had thought the eyes were fixed in an upward gaze, however. This would make it impossible for the fish to see what was directly in front of them, and very difficult for them to capture prey with their small, pointed mouths.
Most existing descriptions and illustrations of this fish do not show its fluid-filled shield, probably because this fragile structure was destroyed when the fish were brought up from the deep in nets.

Barreleyes, just a few inches long, are thought to eat small fishes and jellyfish. The green pigments in their eyes may filter out sunlight coming directly from the sea surface, helping the barreleye spot the bioluminescent glow of jellies or other animals directly overhead. When it spots prey (such as a drifting jelly), a barreleye rotates its eyes forward and swims upward, in feeding mode.

Reference Here>>

Monday, February 9, 2009

Breakthroughs In Bird Flu Vaccine

Researchers in Japan said yesterday they had developed a flu vaccine that works against multiple viruses and could prevent a deadly pandemic of bird flu mutations. Image Credit: Hokkaido University, Saitama Medical University, and NOF Corp.

Breakthroughs In Bird Flu Vaccine

The process of producing a vaccine to counter the spread of influenza is a tricky business.

Global trends must be analyzed, three separate strains of the current, most prolific flu virus must be chosen, and enough vaccine prepared months in advance of that year’s flu season in order to have ample supplies in stock to be distributed nationwide.

Once this effort has been put forth, there are no guarantees that the strains used to produce the vaccine will be the actual strains that spread illness during any given year.

Basically, this process has been a crap shoot … until now. A group of researchers in Japan has figured out a way to come up with a vaccine that will address all strains of influenza virus regardless of which one becomes the actual virus for that year.

A universal vaccine will guard against an Oblate Spheroid (world) wide pandemic.

About 250 people have died of avian flu since 2003. While only a small number of those cases were traced to human-to-human transmission, public health officials fear it's only a matter of time before the virus mutates into a more easily transmitted form and sparks a global outbreak. Image Credit: xenoMED

This excerpted and edited from medHeadlines -

Universal Flu Vaccine Breakthrough
medHeadlines, February 6, 2009

Researchers in Japan have announced a breakthrough that may put them one step closer to developing a universal flu vaccine.

Today’s flu vaccines target proteins on the outer surface of the virus, where mutations in the protein’s shape occur often and quickly. These mutations are one reason the vaccine and the virus actually wreaking havoc are not always a match.

The Japanese researchers looked inside the virus instead of outside it to find proteins that aren’t likely to mutate the way those on the outside do. The research team targeted three strains of the influenza virus for their study - the H5N1 bird flu, Hong Kong A, and Soviet A strains.

A commercially available universal flu vaccine is still years away as the research continues.
Thus far, the universal vaccine has been tested on animals only.
The Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry directed the research on the universal flu vaccine, with teams from its National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Hokkaido University, Saitama Medical University, and the chemical company, NOF Corporation, participating.
Reference Here>>

A veterinarian vaccinates a duckling in Shangsi county of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, February. 4th. Central and local authorities have stepped up preventive measures against a bird flu outbreak. Image Credit: China Daily

About 250 people have died of avian flu since 2003, WHO figures showed.

Indonesia is the country worst-hit by avian influenza, with 115 deaths officially recorded since 2003. Five people have fallen victim in China this year.

Human victims consist mostly of people in close contact with sick birds.

There is no evidence so far that the deadly strain of bird flu has mutated into a form that could set off a pandemic.