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    Thumbs up Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Here is a thread for interesting news stories and articles. C & P's are welcome.

    Anything you find interesting, mind-boggling, intriguing, humorous, instructive, touching, etc.... News from YOUR community or your part of the world would be interesting.

    Please let's keep this positive, without politics or violence.



    Here is one that was in the Anchorage News on 7/3/11


    "Moon Rocks: from space to center stage in court.


    Picture it: Apollo 11, man's first visit to the moon. The iconic 1969 cover of Life magazine with astronaut Buzz Aldrin in his bulky space suit standing on the dusty surface, Neil Armstrong reflected in his silver visor.

    At some point on that trip, the astronauts scooped up some rocks to take back to Earth to be studied by geologists. Some tiny rock chunks, so small they are sometimes called "moon dust," became souvenirs, set in clear plastic and mounted on plaques. They were given to 135 countries and all 50 U.S. states, along with small flags that were also carried to the moon.

    President Richard Nixon presented an Apollo 11 Goodwill Moon Rock to Alaska Gov. Keith Miller in December 1969.

    Just a few years later, it vanished.

    The last time anyone saw Alaska's Apollo 11 moon rock plaque, which actually contained several tiny rocks, was 1973. It was part of an exhibit, stored in a glass case at a state transportation museum on Lake Hood. The museum burned that year in a fire that was later determined to be arson.

    After the fire, the moon rocks went missing.

    SPACE CRIMES

    Fast-forward 37 years to 2010. Joseph Gutheinz, a Texas-based attorney and retired senior special agent with NASA, was teaching a graduate class in criminology at the online University of Phoenix. He assigned his students to investigate missing moon rocks.

    When Gutheinz worked for NASA, his job was to investigate space-related crime, including stolen and fake space objects, he told me in a phone interview last week. Moon rocks became a fascination. Of the 370 or so moon rocks given out after the Apollo 11 and Apollo 17 moon missions, about 187 are unaccounted for, he said. Moon rocks, even tiny ones, are very valuable to collectors. Some sell on the black market for millions. The only legal sale of a moon rock, collected during an unmanned Soviet space mission, approached $450,000. That was more than 15 years ago.

    "And you could barely even see it," he said.

    Gutheinz chased missing moon rocks for years and led the only successful undercover moon rock sting operation, Operation Lunar Eclipse, in 1998. It recovered a missing rock, originally given to Honduras, in a vault in Florida, he said. Moon rocks are meant to be public property, displayed to help people get a better understanding of the moon.

    "NASA has such reverence for moon rocks," he said.

    "Nobody is allowed to keep a moon rock, not even Walter Cronkite (who was given one), not even the astronauts. They have to give them to museums."

    One of Guthienz's students, a Michigan woman named Elizabeth Riker, was assigned to investigate Alaska's moon rock disappearance. She published a short piece on the missing moon rocks in Capital City Weekly in Juneau last August. Another column on the subject, written by Fairbanks Daily News-Miner columnist Dermot Cole, came out a few weeks later.

    Riker lost the trail of the rock in 1971, two years before the fire. But her column started a chain of events that would eventually start to unravel the Alaska moon rock mystery.

    'A NEAT SOUVENIR'

    After Riker's column, the state received a mysterious public-records request from Dan Harris, a lawyer in Seattle. Harris wanted all of the state's records on the transportation museum fire in 1973.

    A few months after that, in December, a legal complaint was served on the State of Alaska. Harris was representing a man named Arthur C. Anderson. Anderson had Alaska's moon rock plaque, the complaint said.

    According to the complaint, Anderson was a teenager at the time of the fire in 1973. Afterward, he went into the burned-out building while some garbage crews were cleaning up.

    "While he was combing through the debris, plaintiff discovered the Plaque, which was covered by a thick layer of melted materials. Plaintiff thought it was 'cool' and that he might be able to clean it up and turn it into a neat souvenir."

    And so he took it home.

    "In 1973," the complaint went on, "The Plaque was widely considered not to have any real monetary value because it was assumed moon trips would soon become a nearly everyday occurrence."

    The complaint said the state, by putting the plaque with the garbage, "relinquished ownership." Anderson found it and cleaned it up, and for that reason, it should be his.

    Anderson wanted to be declared the official owner of the plaque, which would make it possible for him to sell it legally. If not, he wanted to be paid what it was worth.

    'A LOT OF MYSTERY'

    Guthienz and Riker weren't the only ones searching for Alaska's moon rocks. Alaska State Museum curator Steve Henrikson had been looking for them on and off since he was hired 21 years ago in Juneau. The story he pieced together didn't match Anderson's.

    The last people to see the plaque, Henrikson said, were two museum employees who walked through the building after the fire. According to them, the moon rocks were intact, in a glass case. After that, museum staff discussed taking the plaque out of the burned-out area and putting it in a more secure part of the museum.

    A few days later, a museum employee noticed it wasn't in the case. Instead there was just a clean square in the ash and dust where it had been sitting. She assumed Phil Redden, a museum curator, took it home for safe-keeping. But later, when he was asked, Redden denied it.

    Shortly after the fire, the museum lost its funding and all the employees were let go, Henrikson said. That left the cleanup and inventory of the artifacts to employees in Juneau. It took them three years to go through everything. They kept expecting to find the moon rock plaque but they never did, Henrikson said.

    "The museum staff didn't know who did what with it," Henrikson said. "There was just a lot of confusion around at the time, there was just a lot of mystery."

    It was never reported stolen.

    After the complaint was filed, Henrikson did some more digging and discovered two surprising facts. First, Arthur C. Anderson goes by Coleman Anderson. Coleman Anderson was a skipper of a Dutch Harbor fishing boat featured on the first season of Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch." Second, a man named Coleman Anderson is listed in the obituary for the transportation museum's last curator, Phil Redden. It says that Anderson was Redden's foster son.

    FINDERS KEEPERS

    Gutheinz, the NASA investigator, sent the Daily News a copy of the complaint. Sometimes media attention helps shake loose facts, he told me. I called Anderson's attorney, Harris, to get a better sense of it.

    Harris told me that Anderson is a tugboat captain, but he would only tell me that he works somewhere in the United States. The plaque, he said, is in an undisclosed location in Asia. He confirmed that his client was also called Coleman Anderson and had been considered Redden's adoptive son or stepson.

    Anderson, he said, decided to settle the issue of the plaque's ownership with the state after he read the news coverage.

    The state didn't want the moon rocks, Harris said. It put them in the trash. It never reported them missing. Anderson picked them up and cared for them.

    "They were in very bad condition, covered with soot and ashes. I think even some of the plastic had melted a bit," he said.

    "Coleman cleaned them with, I think, toothpaste mostly."

    But what was Anderson doing taking anything from the site of the fire? Wasn't that stealing?

    "If Coleman Anderson stole these moon rocks," Harris said, "why would he be making this all public?"

    Why not just give the plaque back?

    It is Anderson's property now, Harris said, and the complaint wants a court to make it official.

    "Why not give your house back to the state of Alaska?" Harris said.

    Harris said that Anderson would sell the moon rocks -- back to the state, maybe in some kind of auction, at a reduced price.

    "We're not going to just give them to state of Alaska for free," he said.

    COLEMAN ANDERSON

    The state filed a counter-claim. The statute of limitations for theft has passed. But the state's civil claim says the rocks were wrongfully taken.

    "The state's position is we owned these rocks, we always owned these rocks, and we did not abandon these rocks," said Neil Slotnick, an assistant attorney general handling the case.

    There is so far no trial date.

    Gutheinz's students have helped find rocks that were carted home by a diplomat's son, two governors and a senator. Those were all returned. He's never encountered anyone who thought they could sell the rocks back.

    "I'm going, like, this is just bizarre. The guy that took the moon rocks is suing the state," he said.

    "It's the ultimate in chutzpah."

    Harris sent the photo of Alaska's moon rock plaque, used as part of the evidence in the case, to me so I could see what it looks like. When our photo department looked at it, a photographer noticed a note attached to the image file. It read "Korea 6-2010."

    I tracked down a man named Coleman Anderson at an address in Texas. According to a public records search the same man once lived in Dutch Harbor. I left a message on his machine.

    So far I haven't heard back."

    Julia O'Malley writes a regular column. Read her blog at adn.com/jomalley, find her on Facebook or get her Twitter updates at www.twitter.com/adn_jomalley.
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Prospectors rescued after four freezing days


    The two prospectors leaped from the vehicle before it exploded



    Police have rescued two men who were stranded for four days in freezing conditions in Western Australia's Goldfields region after their vehicle exploded.
    Senior Sergeant Kim Trew says it appears spinifex caught under the engine of the four-wheel-drive and ignited.
    "They were carrying fuel in a drum on the back of the car and they bailed out of the vehicle and then the vehicle exploded a short time later," he said.
    The men, aged 58 and 61, jumped clear of the vehicle before the explosion.
    Police say one of the men managed to walk 60 kilometres to raise the alarm in a text message to a friend.
    A search and rescue operation was then launched and the man was found on a bush track north of Warburton.

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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Good idea for a thread, Spin Drift.

    This story has been ongoing in my area for over a year and a half and has even gotten some attention from national media and a couple of the networks late night talk shows. For some background, certain species of exotic animals are legal to own but heavily regulated in Florida, for all the obvious reasons. Macaque Rhesus monkeys are one such specie and to own one requires registration with the state. Should one escape captivity, or in the event of a death, owners are required to notify the authorities who track these populations.

    Well, apparently the system fails sometimes and one slips through the cracks, in every sense of the phrase. Nobody has reported a missing animal but somehow the one they call “Mystery Monkey” has been roaming the heavily populated area, at his leisure, for going on two years now. According to animal control authorities, this outlaw has been sighted in areas from north Tampa to Tarpon springs and St Petersburg. To put that in perspective, trackers figure he’s put on a couple hundred miles and crossed at least one very busy bridge since the initial sighting.

    Having become a local news celeb of sorts, when he first showed up in my area people were calling animal control but by the time they reached the scene, the monkey had moved on. One officer reports having shot the animal with tranquilizer darts a dozen or so times, upping the dose as he went, but the rogue seemed unfazed for the most part. One time he took a short nap after being shot but by the time they got up the tree he was clinging to, the monkey woke up and fled. Pretty soon the imagery of animal control shooting at the rogue, even with darts, disturbed the public and people either stopped reporting sightings or waited till he had moved on to call it in, leaving authorities frustrated and empty handed.

    It’s been noted that these animals are tribal in nature and speculation is that he’s been searching for others of his kind. (Are you getting this, Dr Trollingson? Dude’s looking for some friends!)

    My mother lives in the area where he has been for the last several months and for a couple weeks MM had become fond of her next door neighbors bird feeder and the various fresh fruit trees that are so plentiful. She called me one day all excited after seeing it strolling along the top of her fence. At first she thought it was a giant house cat but the huge curled tail tipped her off that something was amiss.

    He’s all but stopped the long distance roaming and seems content to hang around on the southern tip of St. Pete, which happens to be the old stomping grounds where I grew up. I can’t really say I blame him because it’s a pretty nice area to explore with lots of old growth shade trees . . . and the weather is generally pleasant for outdoor activities.

    One of the cool parts of the story is the following he’s developed and the way people are trying to keep hushed about his exact whereabouts. I don’t do Facebook myself but I understand he has his own page there and a pretty good list of followers. If someone finds it and cares to post a link, please do. A google of Mystery Monkey should provide tons of related stories but here’s a recent blurb that has a short video clip of MM eating sunflower seed on someone’s porch.

    Video here:

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/bizarre...n-tape/1176935
    ______________

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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Skuthorp and Curtism, thanks for the great stories. I really enjoyed reading both of them.

    I hope you become regular contributors.

    I got to go right now, but will post another story soon.


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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Close to home.

    A VIKING treasure hoard of silver coins dating from the Dark Ages and valued at tens of thousands of pounds has been unearthed in the Furness countryside.

    Experts say the find provides significant evidence of material culture of the ninth and tenth century Vikings who would have settled and operated in the peninsula.

    The 92 silver coins and artefacts – among them ingots and one near-complete silver bracelet – were discovered and brought to the surface by a locally-based metal detectorist.

    It is thought that the silver was put into the ground sometime around 955 AD when the Viking invaders had established footholds in the north of England.

    The Furness stash is smaller than the 10th century Vale of York Hoard which was found undisturbed near Harrogate four years ago, but it is by far the largest amount of Viking treasure ever found in this area.

    Among the coins is a pair of Arabic dirhams – silver currency which circulated in tenth century Europe.

    The identity of the finder is not being disclosed, neither is the site of the cache, nor are the names of the owners of the land where the hoard came to light, although it is understood that they wish to co-operate in the best interests of historical research.

    This marks the first time that a significant amount of valuable Viking booty has been recovered from the Furness soil that indisputably links the area with the Norse mariners, and local history stands to be re-written as a result.

    It is further anticipated that Barrow and Furness could benefit enormously from the rare discovery in terms of attracting tourism while also sparking a major interest from archaeologists who will be keen to devour new information about a little-known period of British history.

    Since its discovery, the hoard has been kept at Barrow’s Dock Museum where curator Sabine Skae described it as “very exciting for Furness.”

    Ms Skae accompanied the hoard to the British Museum late last week where it was closely examined by a team of experts. It will return to the British Museum after today’s press event.

    The British Museum academics’ verdict will later be made known to the coroner who is likely to confirm the hoard as bona fide ‘treasure.’ If so, the hoard will then be valued by the independent Treasure Valuation Committee, and the Dock Museum hopes to be able to acquire it permanently.

    Ms Skae, who has been in charge of collections and exhibitions at the Dock Museum for almost eight years, said: “This is a very exciting find for Furness.

    “It has national significance because hoards from this period are rare and also nothing has been found in such quantity in this area before.

    “While it is difficult, at this stage, to place a precise value on the find, it is likely to be worth tens of thousands of pounds.

    “I would also like to stress that it’s really important for metal detectorists to speak to landowners before conducting any searches.”

    Dr Gareth Williams, Viking expert at the British Museum, said: “On the basis of the information and photographs that I have seen so far, this is a fascinating hoard.

    “By the mid-950s, most of England had become integrated into a single kingdom, with a regulated coinage, but this part of the North West was not integrated into the English kingdom until much later, and the hoard reflects that.

    “It’s a good reminder of how much finds like this can tell us about the history of different parts of the country.

    “I hope that the Dock Museum is successful in acquiring such an important find for the region.”

    Barrow Borough Council leader Cllr Dave Pidduck said: “This is an interesting find from an historical point of view, in terms of our links with the past it is extremely important.

    “The hoard is something you can actually touch that links us with the Vikings.

    “The schoolboy’s image of the Vikings storming ashore from their longboats may not be so accurate because they might have settled here as farmers and traders and this find can shed light on that.”

    Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock hailed the discovery as an important development for the area both in terms of its historical significance and for the capacity it holds in boosting tourism.

    “The Furness peninsula is off the beaten track, but it is steeped in history,” he said.

    “Furness Abbey and the castle on Piel stand as silent witnesses to some of the most important events in the history of these islands and people from all over the UK and across world come to visit.

    “But this discovery has the potential to give Furness an extra dimension in tourism.

    “It is a rare find and we very much hope the Dock Museum will eventually be able to acquire the hoard on a permanent basis where a new audience will be keen to view this link with the Vikings of long ago.”
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Interesting story Nick. Thanks.
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    Default I'd love to have one of these.... (PICTURES COMING.)

    Water-racing pod on steroids goes 50 mph, leaps 18 feet into air
    By Laura Shin | June 29, 2011, 7:52 PM PDT

    The Seabreacher is a jumping, diving, speeding water sub/Jet Ski, making it more similar to a dolphin than any other man-made machine.



    The new model, the Seabreacher Y, is a killer-whale-inspired version that can dive below the water at 25 mph, jump 18 feet into the air, speed on top of the water at 50 mph and do multiple consecutive barrel rolls. All starting at a cool $81,000.

    The standard model comes with a 255-horsepower engine, though the custom-built model shown above features a 300-horsepower engine that can go 55 mph on the surface.

    Designed by Innespace, the Seabreacher features six dolphin-like fins, which you can maneuver to dive down, launch into the air, and roll to the side.

    The pneumatically sealed cockpit seats two and is hooked up like a bachelor pad: iPod dock, speakers and LCD screens that display live footage from a camera located on the dorsal fin.

    The Seabreacher Y was specifically designed for aquatic show performances, so it also features riding pegs and handles for a stunt person to use while riding on the back.

    The Seabreacher X, however, is for lay people like you and me — if we deem the Seabreacher worthy of that extra $81,000 we have lying around....

    Last edited by Spin_Drift; 07-05-2011 at 02:52 AM. Reason: Added pictureS
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Here is another interesting story:

    Space boat to cruise for extraterrestrial life
    By Christie Nicholson | June 29, 2011, 10:18 AM PDT



    Earlier this year NASA announced the concept of a spacecraft powered by electric-field sails riding the solar wind, cruising at unthinkable speeds of up to 180,000 Kph. Now, in addition to a sailing spacecraft, NASA is thinking about building a boat to explore extraterrestrial seas. Specifically the seas and lakes of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Last month the agency awarded $3 million for scientists to develop the concept.

    Titan’s lakes are not made of water of course. They are a combination of liquid methane and ethane, with maybe some nitrogen as well. So far scientists have identified 400 lakes, ranging from a few square kilometers to well over 100,000 square km.* The lakes form the same way our water lakes form on Earth. Evaporation forms clouds, then the clouds rain hydrocarbons back down to form rivers and lakes. Titan is the only world in our solar system, outside of Earth, that has this kind of liquid cycle.

    The only way to study such liquid is to do in-situ studies, meaning right there on the lake. So the space boat, Titan Mare Explorer, will parachute in, splashing down on Titan’s largest lake, Ligeia Mare. The goal is to analyze the depth, temperature, shorelines and chemistry of the lake. Scientists know there is methane and ethane, but there may also be the possibility of more complex organic compounds. The most exciting possibility is to find some of the kind carbon-based chemical combination that resulted in life on Earth.

    Some scientists already think Titan holds the greatest potential for extraterrestrial life. Perhaps even more so than Mars. The challenge is that a complicated arrangement of hydrocarbons that transforms into animated life on Titan won’t look anything like life as we know it.* There’s no water, so no helical structure of DNA.* Titan is also freezing, nearly -180 degrees Celcius. While it might seem implausible to expect biochemistry to work at such temperatures the answer is scientists just don’t know. They have little experience dealing with chemistry at such extremely low temperatures. One thing they do know, however, is that if there is life on Titan it began separately and will have a unique origin from life on Earth. And this possibility leads to the more profound idea noted by Jonathan Lunine, a co-investigator working on the development of Titan Mare: If there is life on Titan—meaning organic chemistry that can work in such harsh environments—then life may be a common outcome within the cosmos.

    Currently the Titan Mare is one of three concept finalists in NASA’s Discovery Mission. The others are a monitoring station for Mars and a lander that would explore a comet.* NASA will review the developed concepts in 2012 and the winner will launch the $425 million mission sometime in 2016.

    [via Scientific American]
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    Magnets fry tumors and prevent heart attacks, strokes
    By Janet Fang | July 1, 2011, 3:26 PM PDT

    Age-old and endlessly fascinating, they’re not just for keeping postcards on fridges or sticking behind save-the-dates or sending coins through villainous mutant skulls….

    This past month, scientists reveal cool new uses for magnets: destroying tumors and boosting blood flow (but not at the same time).

    1. Fry tumors

    By injecting mice with tiny magnets and turning up the heat, researchers have eliminated tumors with no apparent side effects.

    In May, I wrote about putting the heat on tumors, and now a team led by Jinwoo Cheon of Yonsei University figured out how to kill those cancer cells without harming the body’s own cells – all of which start to die when temps get above 109 F.

    Magnetic hyperthermia involves injecting microscopic nanoparticles made of iron into tumors to make them magnetic. Then the patient is put into a magnetic field that reverses direction thousands of times per second. Excited by the applied field, the magnetic nanoparticles begin to get hot. That heats up and destroys the surrounding cancer tissue, but since healthy tissue isn’t altered by the magnetic field, that stays undamaged.

    But too many nanoparticles could cause our immune systems to attack. So what Cheon and colleagues did here is create a two-layered nanoparticle of magnetic minerals that heats up hotter – 10 times hotter – than traditional nanoparticles so fewer need to be injected into the body.



    Mouse tests (pictured) show that all traces of cancer can disappear in just 10 minutes of being inside a wire coil.

    The study was published in Nature Nanotechnology this week. Via ScienceNOW.

    2. Prevent heart attacks and strokes

    Strong magnetic fields can dramatically reduce the thickness (or viscosity) of blood flowing through a tube. Now, if veins and arteries are simply tubes also, there might one day be a magnetic alternative to blood thinning medicines like aspirin.

    High blood viscosity lies behind strokes and heart attacks: thicker blood damages blood vessels, and to repair that damage, the vessels start to build up fatty deposits.

    Physicists Rongjia Tao of Temple University and Ke Huang of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, designed a tool that reduces blood viscosity by up to 30% in just 1 minute.

    They allowed blood to flow inside an electromagnet producing a field of about 1.3 tesla (magnets of 1 to 3 tesla are used in MRIs), and they arranged the components so that blood flowed in the same direction as the magnetic field lines.

    The iron-based hemoglobin in red blood cells aligned the cells along the straight field lines, reducing viscosity by streamlining flow and encouraging cells to stick together, cutting down on surface area and friction.

    The research will be published in Physical Review E. Via ScienceNOW.
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Eight hundred ukelele players in one Queensland pub..................
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2011/07/04/3260401.htm

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    Thumbs up Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    Eight hundred ukelele players in one Queensland pub..................
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2011/07/04/3260401.htm
    That sounds like an interesting undertaking. Unfortunately I wasn't able to open the link with this iPhone.

    I bet they sounded great when all played the same tune simultaneously. Would have been a fun activity.
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Here's a local story about a 1000+ year old, 40' dugout canoe that was excavated in a nearby nature preserve. The Weedon Island preserve consists mostly of mangrove swamps that are laced with narrow canoe trails which connect small lagoons and I've spent many quality hours there. I'm familiar with a couple of the guys who, in part, make up the organization that supports these types of historical preservation projects and, when they aren't digging around in the muck or doing their day jobs, they are serious paddling and small boat enthusiasts. I'll see if I can dig up other tales of some or their adventures.



    ST. PETERSBURG — The excavation of a 1,000-year-old canoe began at dawn Tuesday with a long trek through shallow water.
    Rain poured. Smelly muck filled with sharp shells covered everything. Flesh-hungry sand gnats did what they do best.


    And this was the fun part.


    After years of anticipation, paperwork, fundraising and waiting for the tides to ebb just right, a small team of experts were finally ready to pull the prehistoric vessel from its grave at the Weedon Island Preserve.
    The digging began early.


    Oyster shells and goop were piled up one delicate trowel scoop at a time, revealing the outline of a long, narrow craft. At 40 feet, the vessel would have been large enough to travel across Tampa Bay.
    The pine dugout canoe was less than a foot in the ground, but it was snug. Mud and other organic matter kept it from moving. Diggers were careful not to move too fast and rip it apart.
    The excavators carefully scooped beneath the canoe, freeing it from the ground.
    Once the first 10-foot section was clear, the saw came out. The plan called for slicing the vessel into four sections and reassembling them later, making it less likely to fracture.


    Straps were wrapped around the section, and excavators lined up on either side.
    "One, two, three," called out Robert Austin, the vice president and principal investigator for Southeastern Archaeological Research. "Perfect."
    It stayed intact.
    Then it was moved to a nearby boat and delicately placed on a foam pad.
    Same for the second 10-foot section.


    But the next two sections felt soft as dirt and looked as if they might crumble.
    Rather than trying to pick them up with straps, crew members slipped a plastic sheet underneath.
    The third section broke into several pieces as soon as it was picked up. The fourth section also cracked.
    But none of the wood was lost, so the team hopes to piece it back together.
    Once aboard the boat, the pieces were taken to a maintenance shed and placed inside a specially designed preservation tank. There they will remain for two years, mixing with fresh water for cleansing, and polyethylene glycol, or wax, for solidifying.
    From there, the parts will be reassembled and put on display.


    This was the first time many on the team saw the canoe in person. It was actually the first time they learned of its undisclosed location within the Weedon Island Preserve.


    "To touch it was unreal," said George Stovall, a local chiropractor and a leader of a Weedon Island support group. "It was a big day for all of us."


    Archaeologists have found older canoes, but nothing this large or in a saltwater environment. Experts said they were surprised the canoe didn't completely degrade in the harsh conditions.
    The canoe is believed to date to 890 A.D. and is the oldest canoe ever found in Pinellas County. It's nearly double the size of previous finds.


    The canoe was discovered in April 2001 by St. Petersburg resident Harry Koran.
    Several years later, after the preserve opened its education center, Koran told preserve officials about the find.


    Story and more pics here, and here.
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Some years a go Roger Stouff, http://www.native-waters.com/ a sometime and much missed member of the forum conducted a similar excavation. There were pics but not on his site any longer.
    His writings are worth some time, I keep up sporadically and wonder why I don't visit more often.

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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Thanks for sharing the link, skuthorp, it looks like some interesting articles he's written. I marked it so I can go back and dig around some more.
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Video: A motor home that folds up, fits in your car
    By Tuan C. Nguyen | July 6, 2011, 1:08 AM PDT



    For anyone who’s ever wanted to live comfortably on the road, the only option was to buy a motor home. But those giant RVs can be cumbersome in more ways than one — like finding a parking spot, maneuvering through traffic and not to mention fuel costs.

    Now a company in Switzerland has created what’s best described as a portable modular living system — the first real alternative that allows drivers to literally live out of their car. It’s called the SwissRoomBox and consists of stack-able modules that contain within it everything you would need for day-to-day survival such as a sink, shower stall, dining table, chairs, refrigerator, bed and yes, a toilet.

    Best of all, most of the fold-able units can be collapsed to fit in the trunk of a compact car — although for the complete set, you’d need a minivan.

    Setup is convenient and easy. The company says in a press release that the SwissRoomBox can be unpacked and assembled in about fifteen minutes, without any tools. But what makes the system work is the crafty way its designed to make use of the limited resources available found inside cars.

    While each appliance is powered through a cord that runs from the car’s battery, a built-in intelligent control system monitors volt usage and automatically shuts off power when the supply of electricity dwindles to 11 volts. That’s the minimum amount of juice a battery needs to start the engine.

    Although the mini-motor home system is available for shipment throughout Europe, a U.S. compliant version is still in the works. In the meantime, you can sign up for the waiting list.



    For more information check out www.swissroombox.com
    Last edited by Spin_Drift; 07-07-2011 at 03:22 AM.
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    TRACK THE FINAL SPACE SHUTTLE WITH THIS APP
    By Laura Shin | July 5, 2011, 7:05 PM PDT



    When space shuttle Atlantis launches this Friday, it will be the last of NASA’s 30-year space program. You’ll definitely want to remember this momentous occasion and make sure to spot this final shuttle in the night sky.

    A new iPhone and iPad app, GoAtlantis, will allow you to do just that. It will track the space shuttle in real time and, using your phone’s locating function, will tell you when the shuttle will be in your area and where exactly you can catch a glimpse of it.

    Until the shuttle launches, you can practice looking for the space station in the night sky.

    Developed by GoSoftWorks, the app is offered for free to commemorate 30 years of NASA’s space shuttle program.

    Here is a screenshot of the app showing the location of the space station:




    And this screenshot illustrates how the app displays the shuttle’s location in the night sky (although in this example, it’s the space station, and it’s below the horizon):



    GoSoftWorks also makes the GoSatWatch satellite tracking app ($9.99) and GoSkyWatch Planetarium star identification app ($3.99).

    Photo: The space shuttle Atlantis just before dawn at NASA Kennedy Space Center on June 1st. (NASA/Terry Zaperach)

    via CNET

    Related on SmartPlanet:

    Incredible photos of Earth from space (photo gallery)
    Video: An astronaut’s view of Earth in real time
    Last edited by Spin_Drift; 07-07-2011 at 09:07 AM. Reason: Added pictures
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    This is an interesting app for iPhone / iPad. I've been tracking the shuttle.

    You can go forward in time with it and see it's orbits, which change a bit, every time it passes. You can also see when it would be close enough to your location where you can see it. It gives times, degrees, altitude, mph etc, etc.

    Interesting ! Hope those of you who dowload it will enjoy it.

    It's free for now.
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    This is sort of along the lines of the dug out story. A 500 year old or so fish trap was found at the mouth of a local creek several years ago now.

    http://www.sealaskaheritage.org/news...ap_exhibit.htm


    It was fun watching them dig it up and use high tech tools like baby diapers and balloons to keep it from drying out and collapsing.
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    Default 5 bad-news grizzly bears plague Interior town of Salcha, Alaska...

    A potentially dangerous situation is brewing in the community of Salcha, where two mother grizzly bears are roaming the community, looking for food and getting into trouble.

    What bear wouldn't tear into a car for the groceries inside? Or pass up a freezer on a deck filled with goodies?

    Art Thompson Jr., owner of the Salchaket Roadhouse, said Friday that the bears have been around for about a month looking for food in the community about 30 miles southeast of Fairbanks. He's been taking garbage to the dump every day to keep the back of the roadhouse clean and bear-free.

    The bears are pretty much going house to house in the community of about 1,000 people where Fairbanks-area residents have weekend homes, he said.

    "It concerns me," he said. "I got a grandson, we got pets. My renters have pets."

    Thompson said a man saw the two sows and the five cubs together walking through his yard.

    "That would kind of be a scary sight," he said.

    Bob Beyette, a volunteer who helps oversee campgrounds in the area, said he was told a man opened his door and one of the bears tried to stick its head inside. He said the man's dog bit the bear on the nose and the bear swiped at it.

    Cathie Harms, a spokeswoman for the Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks, said she received a report that a dog was attacked.

    Fish and Game began receiving reports of two sows with cubs in Salcha at the beginning of the month, Harms said. At first, officials believed it was one bear with cubs. Then it became apparent there was one sow with three cubs born this year and another with two yearling cubs.

    Harms said one of the mother bears hooked her claw around the door handle of a Mazda, bent the door back and got inside to get at the groceries. The bear shattered the front window and tore up the inside of the car. The insurance company came out to assess the damage and determined the car had been totaled.

    "She completely destroyed the inside," Harms said.

    One of the bears got on top of a car and dented the roof or hood trying to get in. One tried to get into an RV.

    "They are obviously looking for food. That is what bears do this time of year," Harms said.

    Two Fish and Game employees went to Salcha on Thursday and staked out one of the homes the bears have frequented. "They waited and waited and waited; finally the sow with the three cubs of the year visited," Harms said.

    The sow was hazed with a cracker shell, which is a shotgun shell that shoots a firecracker.

    "The goal was to frighten the animal and make them run away," Harms said. "She ran away."

    Harms said Fish and Game officials hope the bears have not become so habituated to getting food that they will stick around now that the community has done a good job of removing food sources, including stashing away dog food, removing barbecue grills and removing food from outside freezers and cleaning the insides.

    Harms said the future depends on how much food the bears already have found.

    "If they have gotten enough so that it is worth sticking around, we are in trouble," she said.

    If the bears cause worse trouble, the sows likely will have to be killed, Harms said. The older cubs could survive on their own if they have not been habituated to human food.

    The younger cubs would have to be killed because they can't survive without the mother and no facilities at this time want grizzly bear cubs, she said.

    Beyette said just about everyone in the community hopes the bears will wander off and stay away.

    "We don't want to see them dead," he said.

    http://m.adn.com/adn/db_90854/conten...tguid=3YgqS7OG
    Last edited by Spin_Drift; 07-10-2011 at 12:43 AM. Reason: Added link
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    Default All polar bears said to descend from single female brown bear....

    All polar bears alive today are descended from a single female brown bear who most likely hailed not from Alaska -- as widely presumed -- but from Ireland, scientists said.



    The discovery, reported online Thursday in the journal Current Biology, suggests that polar bears and various species of brown bears probably encountered each other many times over the last 100,000 years or so as climate change forced them into each others' territory. On some occasions, those meetings produced hybrid offspring whose genetic signature lives on in polar bears today.

    The findings were made by analyzing the mitochondrial DNA extracted from 242 bear lineages. Some of them were polar bears and some were brown bears. Some lived recently and others have been dead since the late Pleistocene, which ended nearly 12,000 years ago.

    Polar bears and brown bears are uniquely suited to their habitats. Polar bears have white coats to help them blend in and sneak up on prey, a carnivore's fearsome set of teeth, and are superb swimmers. The smaller brown bear lives on land in warmer climes and eats plants and small animals of all sorts.

    Based on fossil evidence and genetic analysis, scientists had thought that polar bears' closest relatives were the brown bears living on islands off the coast of Alaska.

    Although members of the two species can, and have, met and mated -- as evidenced by the occasional "grolar bear" hybrid popping up in the Canadian Arctic -- those couplings are extremely rare and thought to be brought on by global warming, as melting glaciers force polar bears into the brown bears' habitat and brown bears to encroach northward into polar bears' Arctic refuge.

    So imagine study leader Ceiridwen Edwards' surprise when she analyzed mitochondrial DNA in the bones of extinct brown bears collected from Irish caves and discovered that it most closely resembled the DNA of modern polar bears.

    Unlike nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA is passed down essentially unchanged from mother to child and provides a clear record of maternal lineage. Using mitochondrial DNA, scientists had already determined that all living polar bears could trace their roots to a single "Eve."

    But to think that she was an Irish brown bear?

    "I thought maybe I'd made a mistake," said Edwards, an archaeological geneticist at University of Oxford.

    To rule out the possibility that the bones recovered from the Irish caves belonged to polar bears, not brown bears, she and her colleagues analyzed isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in the bones and found that the remains belonged to an animal with a land-based diet, not one feeding on marine life.

    Then the researchers teamed with Beth Shapiro, an associate professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University, who compared the Irish mitochondrial DNA to genetic samples of bears that lived in Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America over the last 120,000 years.

    Shapiro's bear family tree showed a number of strange patterns. For instance, Irish brown bears that lived right around the peak of the glacial period, between 38,000 and 10,000 years ago, shared their mitochondrial DNA with polar bears -- more so than the brown bears living on islands off the coast of Alaska.

    The researchers think that during colder times, the glacial ice sheet would have extended all the way south into Ireland, allowing polar bears to roam into brown bear territory and making cross-species hybridization possible. One of the resulting female cubs probably went on to become a polar bear matriarch, and the descendents of all other matriarch lines died off.

    The study showed that, rather than being an aberration, these hybridizing events may have happened multiple times over the course of polar bears' history and might be a more common part of the evolutionary process than previously thought. The researchers even point out that it may be time to provide protections to such hybrids, the same as those given to "purebred" species.

    "I think it's really cool," said Graham Slater, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study. "These ancient DNA studies are really exciting because they give you a window in to the dynamics of how these animals moved around, and who they were interbreeding with, that you just don't get with only the living individuals."

    http://m.adn.com/adn/db_90842/conten...tguid=KDLf4F2v
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    I am really enjoying this thread-Thanks Who would have thought! Irish? Then, the way they evolved with their clear hollow fur is just as fascinating..
    Someone had the notion that the polar bear hairs might be much like optical fibers. This notion was wrong, though. In the early 1980's, a scientist figured that polar bear fur was like a hollow tube, which the heat of the sun would hit, and go down the tube, touching the skin. He concluded that a polar bears skin is actually black, which is a color that absorbs heat. He thought he had figured out how the polar bear kept warm in very arctic places, and was sure that their fur was transparent.That scientist was absolutely correct. On very sunny day, the fur traps infrared heat and keeps the bear at a temperature of 98 degrees Fahrenheit(when the animal is at rest). The black skin is an adaption that allows for the maximum warming to the skin when exposed to sunlight. So despite the icebergs, harsh winds, and cold snow, freezing is not an issue for polar bears!
    http://www.wisegeek.com/contest/what...r-bear-fur.htm

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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Thanks for the interesting info about the polarbear fur.

    I'm glad you like this thread. There are so many negative news, it's nice to get other kind of news. Not many contributors to this thread, but hopefully it will pick up.

    Please post anything interesting.

    Hi to Alli.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    After the oil spill last summer it appears that we have rebounded and had a record brown pelican hatch this year! There are literally thousands of them on the small Gailliard Island hatchery in Mobile Bay. We lost very many of our endangered browns last summer and I was pretty worried that the long term effects of the spill would continue to hammer the colony we have here in Mobile.

    In an aside, many of the rescued birds from last summer were taken to the Georgia coast after being rehabilitated since it would have been nuts to have saved them and turned them loose to be covered in oily goop again. The experts were afraid that the birds would just try to fly back to the coast here in Alabama and would get lost and die along the way. To the contrary, the browns seem to have adapted very well to their new home and are nesting there, creating another nice colony of brown pelicans in coastal Georgia. From what was reported here both natives (the people of Georgia) and newcomers are very pleased with this development.

    Mickey Lake
    Last edited by bamamick; 07-10-2011 at 04:34 PM.
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    Default State troopers seek the owner of floating dock and boat....

    (The Associated Press) 07/08/2011 11:56 AM
    FAIRBANKS -- Alaska State Troopers are looking for someone in Fairbanks who may be missing a dock -- and a boat attached to it.

    A trooper press release says officers took a report early Tuesday of a dock floating in the Chena River near the University Avenue Bridge.

    Troopers said the dock appeared to have been torn from its moorings by a tree pushed downriver by the current.

    The boat and dock were retrieved and secured. The boat had a Montana registration.

    Trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said late Thursday that so far no owner has come forward to retrieve the property.
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Thanks Mickey. That's interesting. Just curious, is the oily goop being cleaned up?
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    Default 77 year old woman chases pug thief in her pickup truck....

    Police aren't sure why a drunk woman broke into an East Anchorage home early Tuesday and tried to steal a 77-year-old woman's pug, but investigators say it was the hair of the dog that led to her arrest.

    Officers found Sherry Smith with dog hair on her jacket minutes after a woman said Smith snatched her dog.

    Smith, 39, walked in the back door of the house on South Flower Street about 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, police said. Here's what police said happened next:

    The 77-year-old who lives there awoke to barking from her two pugs: 3-year-old Snuffy and 9-year-old Spooky.

    The homeowner, whom police declined to name, asked Smith why she was standing in the bedroom. Smith said she was a friend of the woman's daughter. The woman told her she didn't have a daughter.

    That's when the homeowner started pushing Smith toward the door, said police Sgt. Ronald Tidler.

    "At that point, the woman calls the victim's dog, and for whatever reason the dog runs to her, and she picks up the dog and walks away," Tidler said.

    As Smith walked away from the home, the homeowner called 911 then got in her Ford F-150 pickup. She followed Smith, repeatedly asking her to give the dog back, Tidler said.

    Just as officers Clara Gallardo and Jacob Heer arrived, Smith pushed Snuffy, the pilfered pug, through the truck's window and started to walk off, police said.

    Smith's speech was slurred and she smelled of alcohol when Gallardo contacted her, police said. Smith told Gallardo that the homeowner had "too many pets." But officers found that the woman had only the two pugs, according to a document filed in court.

    "What we found was just a retired lady with two small dogs in her house," Tidler said.

    They also found light-colored dog hair on the front of Smith's gray and black fleece jacket, the police sergeant said. The officers seized the jacket, took pictures, and noted in a report that the hair appeared to belong to Snuffy, Tidler said.

    "The dog was shaking and it appeared scared," Tidler said. "It was a traumatic experience for everyone involved. It definitely did not need to happen."

    Snuffy's owner told the officers she'd never seen Smith before. Tidler said it's still unclear why she tried to steal Snuffy. "That's a good question, and we may never know," Tidler said.

    Smith was arrested and taken to jail. She's charged with first-degree burglary and second-degree theft, a felony.

    Snuffy's owner said the pug cost her $500. Police charge suspects with felony theft for stolen items valued at $500 or more, Tidler said.

    It's not the first time someone has stolen a dog in Anchorage, Tidler said. "We've had dogs stolen and not recovered, and that's horrible," he said. "It's nice when there's a happy ending, so to speak, when the owner's reunited with her pet."
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Spin, the oily goop is gone from the surface water and the beaches. Biologists are keeping a close eye on things like oysters and blue crabs, but there have been no reported problems with fish or shrimp. We WILL continue to see problems every time there is a big storm, and after every hurricane we have for some time to come the beaches will have to be cleaned of oil. It's on the bottom all over the Gulf, we have seen it with cameras. The dispersant they used made for thousands and thousands of square miles of an oily gray goo on the sea bed and it may never completely break up.

    The was a headline in the Mobile paper yesterday that BP was asking the government to reduce the fines that they had been levied over this, and I think that they like to tell people that it wasn't nearly as bad as the press made it out to be. I will say this, that I have been, all of my life, a pretty peaceful guy. I have fought when I felt that I had no other choice, but I don't ever remember initiating a fight in my life. If this BP spokesman stood in front of me and told me that this whole thing had been overblown, that the press was just making a bigger deal out of it than it really was, and he said that within my hearing, well, I would probably beat him senseless. Never in my life have I felt so helpless, so angry, and so, well, just so sad, as I felt last summer. We are connected to the sea, all of us who grow up along the water, in a way that people who grow up on a prairie or in the mountains are connected to their world, and for one horrible year that accident took our connection to our world away in a way I never thought possible. It was the most disorienting thing I have ever had happen to me, and yes, I wouldn't mind one good shot at punching some BP bigwig in the nose because of it.

    And second in line would be the guy that OUR government sent to see to OUR interests, Kenneth Feinberg or whatever his name was. A lot of people who supported President Obama and his policies changed tacks after this guy got here. That and the fact that the president decided that showing solidarity with us was going to Panama City and actually getting his feet wet in St. Andrews Bay. Ooowhee, that's what I call really stepping out there on a limb, buddy. Barack Obama's name is as muddy as the Tombigbee-Tensaw River delta around an awful lot of the northern Gulf Coast for his 'response' to the troubles of so many of 'his' citizens after the oil spill. Glad to see he's got our back.

    But at least the pelicans look to be alright .

    Mickey Lake
    Last edited by bamamick; 07-10-2011 at 04:38 PM.
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    Default One that didn't get away weigh estimated at 466 pounds....


    Kent Carmichael of Kansas has made fishing trips to Alaska with his dad and his brother for more than a decade before this summer but had yet to catch the big one.

    "The big joke has always been: I'm the one that never caught the 100-pound halibut," Carmichael said.

    The joking will have to stop from now on, because the 62-year-old hardware store owner from Ulysses, Kan., blew past the century mark -- and then some -- Tuesday, when he caught a 466-pound halibut in the Gulf of Alaska.

    The catch won't top the official state sport-fishing record of 459 pounds, because a certified scale was not available to weigh the fish in Pelican. Instead, a conversion table in the Alaska Tide Book was used to determine the weight of the 94-inch fish. Carmichael said he was a little disappointed about not making the record book, but he's thrilled to have a story to tell his grandkids about.

    "It took four guys to get the fish on the floor," he said. "It covered the back end of the boat."

    Since 2006, the Carmichaels have made their annual fishing trip to the Highliner Lodge in Pelican, a small commercial fishing town west of Juneau.

    "This is basically the only time we go fishing, when we go to Alaska," Carmichael said.

    The buzz when they arrived at the lodge was about an angler who caught a 375-pound halibut on June 24, breaking the lodge record by more than 100 pounds. Lodge owner Steve Daniels said he thought it was the biggest fish he would ever see.

    Then Carmichael's monster showed up.

    When Carmichael hooked the fish, he thought he may have caught his line on the ocean floor.

    "I hooked this thing that I could not move," he said.

    After a few minutes of testing the line, the boat captain told Carmichael it was probably a 200-pounder. Forty-five minutes later, Carmichael managed to get the fish in sight for the first time.

    "It didn't even look like a halibut, it was so huge," he said.

    The fish dove and worked its way under the boat, where it tangled itself in the line of Elmo Carmichael, Kent's 89-year-old father, who has been coming to Alaska to fish for almost 30 years.

    "As luck would have it, it tangled up right at the weights," said Carmichael. "There was a lot of luck in this deal."

    The halibut started diving for the bottom, causing each fisherman's reel to smoke, and the father and son teamed to slow the fish down and prevent it from diving.

    After wrestling with the fish for another 30 minutes, it appeared again and the boat captain was ready with a harpoon that turned out to be too puny for the monstrous fish.

    When he struck the halibut in the head, the harpoon shaft was too short to go through to the other side. When the fish started thrashing, it bent the shaft of the harpoon about 45 degrees. To avoid losing the fish, the captain pushed a shark hook through the fish's lower jaw.

    Halibut charters in Southeast Alaska face new regulations this year that restrict the size and number of flatfish clients can keep. Carmichael got to keep his big fish because the Highliner Lodge owns permits to fish both sides of a boundary line near Cape Spencer where the regulations change. On one side, people on guided trips can keep one halibut a day if it is no longer than 37 inches. On the other side, they can keep two a day of any size. Daniels said GPS tracking shows which side of the line the boat is on.

    The fish was processed and packaged at the Highliner Lodge, Carmichael said it cost around $110 to ship six 50-pound boxes of halibut back to Kansas, two boxes for himself, two for his dad, who lives in Hays, Kan., and two for brother Craig, who lives in Kansas City.

    All expect friends to start inviting themselves over for dinner.

    "They called us the Fish House at one time, because people loved to come by our house," said Elmo's wife, Lee Carmichael. "You can't find good halibut in Kansas. We'll be the Fish House again."

    Kent Carmichael said Kansas is known for good fishing, but it doesn't compare with what he experienced in Alaska.

    "It was the catch of a lifetime," he said. "There aren't even fish in my county that would be bait for this fish."
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    Default Survivor to recall deadly '54 Denali climb



    For a week in the spring of 1954, George Argus lay helplessly in a tent at the 11,000-foot level of Mount McKinley. He was too injured to move after an accident that killed the leader of his climbing team, stuck in a sleeping bag as snow slowly piled up around him, and stretching a meager stock of supplies left by two other survivors who left him behind when they went to get help.

    Argus had already been to the top of the 20,320-foot mountain and had been on his way back down when trouble struck. He knew that no one else would try that route up North America's tallest peak that season. If his companions perished on their descent or snow buried his shelter or rescue did not arrive in time, he was a goner.

    He was -- in the words of mountaineering writer Douglas MacDonald -- "the most isolated human being in North America."

    Now in his 80s and researcher emeritus at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Argus is back in Alaska this week. On Monday, he will give a free talk about the climb and its aftermath at the Anchorage Museum.

    The story, a staple of Denali lore, has been recounted many times -- by MacDonald, in Climbing magazine, among others. It marked the first successful ascent of McKinley from the south, the first traverse of the mountain and the first time a helicopter was used to extract an injured climber.

    It's Argus' tale to tell. But here's the short version.

    OVERLAND TO THE TOP

    The idea of climbing McKinley from the south, then descending on the north side came from Elton Thayer, a ranger at Mount McKinley National Park. Thayer recruited three friends including Argus, Morton Wood -- the husband of pilot Ginny Wood and cofounder of Camp Denali -- and Leslie Viereck, a soldier, like Argus, who was assigned to Fort Richardson.

    With snowshoes, wool clothes and handmade tents, they left the train stop at Curry, traveling on foot, on April 17, 1954. The adventurers bushwhacked overland 40 miles to reach what is now the starting point for many climbers, the Don Sheldon Amphitheater.

    Ginny Wood flew over and dropped supplies.

    Pioneering the ascent via the South Buttress, they found conditions more difficult than they'd envisioned.

    "We had seriously underestimated not only heights but also the steepness of the route," Wood wrote in the American Alpine Journal shortly after the climb. The team laboriously chipped steps into the long ice face until they crested the shoulder with their goal in sight.

    On May 15, they easily made the summit. Compared to what they'd been through, it "seemed like a complete anti-climax," Wood recalled.

    DEADLY SLIDE

    The climbers began their descent in high spirits.

    Wood had previously climbed on the northern route and, though only 10 parties were said to have reached the top of the mountain since its first "conquest" in 1913, the north side was better known than the south.

    The walk to Denali Pass, around the 18,500-foot level, then down Harper Glacier went smoothly. But Karsten's Ridge, the knife-edge feature starting at about 13,000 feet, presented a dangerous slope and iffy footing. They moved cautiously, roped together, with one man at a time shifting his position while the others belayed to hold him if he slipped.

    It didn't work. Thayer began to slide.

    His momentum pulled Viereck loose too. The other two climbers soon followed. For the next few seconds they slid, rolled and cartwheeled an estimated 1,000 feet. Just before flying over a cliff, Viereck was jammed in a crevasse. The force of the jerk broke his ribs but the rope held.

    Wood, unhurt, freed himself and spotted Viereck "dazed but on his feet, thank God," and Argus, sitting in the snow, one leg doubled underneath him.

    Thayer was swinging from the rope over the edge of an ice outcropping, lifeless. Wood surmised the stop broke his back and killed him instantly.

    Gear was strewn and lost but Wood and Viereck located one tent and, as the sun went behind the North Peak and temperatures dropped, managed to get Argus into shelter. After their immediate survival was assured, they buried Thayer.

    The tent sat in a precarious spot on a steep avalanche chute. Pelted by falling ice, they waited five days. But Argus was still unable to stand or even bend his knees. Wood and Viereck fashioned a makeshift ahkio -- or sled -- using the tent and air mattresses. They lashed Argus in and inched him down another 1,000 feet over a precipitous wall to reach the relative safety of the head of the Muldrow Glacier at 11,000 feet.

    "I had never before appreciated level surfaces quite as much as I did that night when we could once again camp on flat ice," Wood wrote.

    They now faced a somber choice. Going out for help would require two men working with ropes to safely navigate the glacier. That meant the disabled man would be on his own. But waiting together with no way to communicate their situation to possible rescuers could well mean the death of all of them.

    Wood and Viereck left most of their salvaged supplies with Argus -- enough food for 10 days or, perhaps, two weeks -- and began the long trek to Wonder Lake.

    RESCUE BY AIR

    With little sleep or food, the two walked almost constantly for the next two days, down Muldrow Glacier, over McGonagall Pass, along Cache Creek to the McKinley Bar. Modern climbing guides give the distance as about 27 miles from where they'd left Argus. There they found a cabin that Thayer had stocked with emergency supplies before the climb. They rested briefly and pushed on.

    They had been told that the dirt road from Kantishna to the railroad would be open by May 1. But when they reached the road they saw no tracks in the old snow. They would have to march another 85 miles, four more days on very sore feet.

    Disheartened, they caught their breath at the cabin of an old-timer, Johnny Busia (sometimes given as Buchet), the only person living in the area. "Our feet were very sore," said Wood.

    Then they heard a voice calling from across the river. Park officials with a Dodge Power Wagon had dug through drifts to make the first trip of the season.

    A rescue mission was quickly organized, headed by John McCall, a glaciologist and one of the handful of people who had previously climbed McKinley. Soldiers -- most of whom knew Pvt. Argus personally -- flew in from the base at Big Delta, the Army's main cold-weather training facility.

    A Sikorsky H-5 helicopter was also dispatched. It could only fly to 10,000 feet, short of where Argus had been left, and a chopper rescue off the mountain had never been tried before. Searchers would have to find the injured climber and get him to where the helicopter could land safely.

    Dropped off by the chopper in bad weather, McCall and Fred Milan, an expert in winter survival with the U.S. Air Force Arctic Aeromedical Laboratory near Fairbanks, began moving up the glacier on skis.

    Navigating a maze of crevasses in falling snow was painfully slow. "Every foot of travel had to be probed," McCall wrote in Saga magazine. "It was spooky business."

    But the weather cleared the higher they climbed and, on May 30, they spotted a "little black triangle."

    As he approached the tent, McCall became nervous about what he'd find -- a madman? A corpse?

    Instead, "George had his bearded, matted face sticking out, looking up at us with kind of a funny grin."

    Alert and cogent, Argus offered to heat up some tea for the visitors.

    "There's a bunch of MPs behind us," McCall told him. "They're after you because you're AWOL."

    Argus laughed. McCall knew he'd be fine.

    METHODICAL SURVIVAL

    It took two more days for the Army team to bring Argus down Muldrow Glacier to McGonagall Pass, at about 6,000 feet. There he was transferred to the helicopter and taken first to Ladd Air Force Base near Fairbanks, then to the military hospital in Anchorage.

    He recovered and went on to a career in plant science (his specialty is willows), a pursuit noted for the same analytical, methodical approach to problems that Argus employed to stay alive.

    Unable to leave the shelter, he had used a refashioned gas can as a bedpan. He occupied his time by reading a book of Mark Twain stories and mapping every geographical feature he could spot from the tent flap.

    According to a Time magazine report, "He kept regular mealtimes, lifting himself on one elbow to cook tiny portions of oatmeal and dried eggs." He set out his rations in order and still had several days' worth left when McCall showed up.

    His most difficult hours came when snow melted through the tent and soaked his boots. Realizing that frostbite was sure to follow, he endured the agony of bending his knees to remove the boots and replace them with mukluks. The maneuver took a whole day.

    Agrus can tell the rest himself on Monday.

    As for the others: Viereck became a botanist and one of the strongest critics of Project Chariot, the plan to make a harbor in Point Hope using nuclear bombs. He died in Fairbanks in 2008.

    Wood divorced Ginny in 1960 and moved to Seattle and taught high school. He still lives there. He recalled Thayer as one for whom climbing "was a deep spiritual experience."

    Thayer expressed that attitude when he invited his friends to join him on a trek that could well end in failure. "If reaching the top is all I'm going for, then (I think) I ought to stay home," he wrote.

    Thayer Cirque at the head of Traleika Glacier bears his name. His body remains in the snow where his friends buried him. His widow, Bernice, wished that no lives be risked to recover it.

    "He loved mountains," she said, "and that's where he'd want to stay."
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

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  30. #30
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    Default WANT TO WIN a baby? Head to Britain....

    Want to win a baby? Head to Britain
    By Stacy Lipson | July 8, 2011, 9:42 PM PDT



    For women that are struggling to get pregnant, the choice to undergo therapy or treatment is an agonizing process. There are no words to describe the pain and emotional anguish that these women are forced to face. And no matter what choice is decided, the decision to make any choice at all is a silent battle.

    According to Sky News, an IVF lottery by a U.K charity called To Hatch is offering a lottery for anyone that wishes to be a prospective parent. Sky News reported:

    The*Gambling Commission*has granted a licence to charity To Hatch, tickets for the controversial game will be sold online at $32 (£20) each and a winner selected every month.*The lottery begins on July 30 and those entering could win $40,000 (£25,000) worth of tailor-made fertility treatments at one of the country’s top clinics.

    It will not just be limited to couples - single, gay and elderly players will also be able to take part.

    Critics across the globe have*condemned*the lottery, and medical groups from the U.K. and the U.S. worry that the lottery may take advantage of prospective parents.

    Reporting from Reuters said:

    The sweepstakes, set to launch this month, is drawing criticism by some ethical and medical groups who say it is “demeaning.”

    In a prepared statement, Allison McTavish, Secretary of the British Fertility, said:

    The British Fertility Society is very troubled by the announcement that the charity “To Hatch” is about to launch an IVF lottery. Although access to effective fertility treatment on the NHS remains patchy, and expensive for those who take the private route, we cannot condone this kind of activity. A competition like this, where only the lucky few will be given the chance to start a family, mirrors the “postcode lottery” of IVF provision on the NHS and is equally unfair. We urge Primary Care Trusts across the country to provide the full three cycles of IVF in line with NICE guidelines. Infertility affects one in seven couples in the UK, and providing fair access to IVF on the NHS would relieve the distress experienced by many infertile couples and prevent highly suspect activities such as this lottery from getting off the ground.”

    Camille Strachan, founder and chair of To Hatch, was*unavailable*for comment.
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    A woman returned to her Cumbrian home to find a near perfect imprint of an owl on her window.
    The bird had apparently crashed into the window of Sally Arnold's Kendal home, leaving the bizarre image - complete with eyes, beak and feathers.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-14111152
    I'll just take my chances with those salt water joys.

    AR

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    Default Re: Interesting News Stories...From Your Communities and the World....

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Intrepid View Post
    A woman returned to her Cumbrian home to find a near perfect imprint of an owl on her window.
    The bird had apparently crashed into the window of Sally Arnold's Kendal home, leaving the bizarre image - complete with eyes, beak and feathers.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-14111152
    That's an amazing photo. Thanks.

    Here:
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    Default European Union invests in flying cars....

    European Union invests in flying cars
    By Ami Cholia | July 11, 2011, 9:34 AM PDT



    Flying cars may be part of your reality sooner than you think. Through a project named myCopter, the European Union is investing €4.2 million (US$6.2m) to research the potential of Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs) for Europe’s most crowded cities. The idea is for myCopter to attempt to solve the numerous problems that could potentially arise from*futuristic*flying cars.

    To avoid interfering with commercial airliners (and to operate outside the controlled airspace), myCopter predicts that the personal air transport systems would fly at altitudes around 2000 feet. However, several steps still need to be taken to deal with existing aerospace legislation, security and parking and landing space.

    “Security issues are an important topic that requires extensive attention when the vision of the myCopter project becomes reality, but we foresee that automation will play a big and important role in the entire transportation system,” explains Dr. Bülthoff. “Therefore it could be highly likely that no-flight zones that PAVs simply could not fly in will be designed, because the automation that is onboard will not allow the vehicle to be directed towards these zones.”

    myCopter is also likely to reduce greenhouse emissions in the long run because the flight path is more direct making trips more efficient. Researchers on the project estimate that*trips will be shorter than 62 miles in length — allowing the vehicles to go entirely electric.

    “Already now there are technology demonstrators such as the eCO2Avia*from EADS*that show that electrically powered vertical flight is possible, even though a diesel generator is currently still required to charge the batteries for sustained flight,” added Dr. Bülthoff.

    This sounds like an episode from the Jetsons, but we’ll take it!

    Via Gizmag
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    Default Two more transplant firsts: false teeth and double legs...

    Pretty amazing that that can do this...



    Two more transplant firsts: false teeth and double legs
    By Janet Fang | July 12, 2011, 5:16 PM PDT




    Last week’s first synthetic organ transplant – a totally artificial windpipe – was pretty amazing. Well, here’re 2 transplant wins from this week.

    1. World’s first double leg transplant

    On Sunday, 2 donated legs were surgically transplanted onto an as-yet unidentified young man, who had lost his own legs in a traffic accident.

    Leg transplants aren’t usually good options for leg amputees, since lots of prosthetic options are available. But because his lower limbs were amputated high on the thighs, he didn’t have enough tissue to attach prosthetic legs. He would have been consigned to a wheelchair with zero chance of walking again.

    There was “no alternative,” according to Spain’s National Transplant Organization last year, when giving the surgery the go-ahead.

    The 10+ hour surgery at La Fe Hospital in Valencia, Spain involved reattaching blood vessels, pulling nerve vessels close together, and connecting muscles, tendons, and bone structures.

    The surgical team was 50 strong and led by Pedro Cavadas, who carried out the first double arm transplant in Spain in 2008 (the second in the world). He also performed Spain’s face transplant in 2009.

    If all goes well and the transplanted limbs aren’t rejected, the man will be able to move his new legs in 3 weeks, and support his own weight with them in 3 month, and walk with crutches in about half a year. He’ll probably be able to feel sensations in his new legs in a year.

    Via New Scientist, AFP.



    2. Artificial tooth transplanted into mouse

    Onwards with artificial replacements for donor organs in short supply!

    Grown from embryonic cells, a bioengineered tooth was successfully transplanted into the jaw of a mouse.

    After Takashi Tsuji at Tokyo University of Science in Japan and colleagues took cells destined to become teeth from mouse embryos, they implanted the cells into an adult mouse, beneath a membrane that surrounds the kidney. (They’re working on ways to grow teeth outside the body.)

    In just a couple months, the cells had developed into a molar and periodontal ligament, the fibers that attach tooth to bone (pictured).

    They extracted the tooth and implanted it into the jawbone of another mouse. Within a month, blood vessels and nerves surrounded the transplant, and it started functioning as if it were a normal, native tooth.

    The study was published in PLoS one. Via New Scientist.

    Top image: musclebuildingprogramreviewed.com
    Bottom image: Takashi Tsuji, Tokyo University of Science (via New Scientist)
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    Default What It Means To Be 'Always On' A Smartphone.....

    I found this transcript from NPR today VERY interesting....


    Could it be? The iPhone on Verizon?

    Published: July 14, 2011
    *TRANSCRIPT:

    (Soundbite of music)

    DAVE DAVIES, host:

    iPhone sales in the United States are now over 100 million and counting. If you're a shopaholic with an iPhone, you can scan barcodes of items in stores and look for cheaper deals online. You can point the iPhone's camera at a restaurant and get user reviews, and the gadget's uses are expanding exponentially as programmers develop software for the App Store where there are now over 400,000 programs available.

    Our guest Brian Chen has written a book about what it means to have such a versatile tool that instantly connects us to a world of data. He explores the uses of the iPhone in education, medicine and law enforcement, and writes about the power that ubiquitous iPhone use confers on its maker, Apple. And he considers its impact on our thinking and social relations - relating the story of a romance that dissolved, part, because woman he cared for didn't care to be constantly connected.

    Brian Chen works for Wired.com, where he has a regular column on Apple. His book is called "Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future."

    Brian Chen, welcome to FRESH AIR. You want to give us a couple of your favorite examples of interesting or exotic applications?

    Mr. BRIAN CHEN (Author, "Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future - and Locked Us In"): Yeah, one of my personal favorite applications is DropBox. And DropBox works as this Web connected folder. So you can hop on any computer and you can put some files in this folder, like you could put your music, your photos, your movies. And I could hop on my iPhone and open the DropBox application there, and all my files are right there. So it's sort of having a magic pocket that you carry with you everywhere you go.

    Another cool example is something called Uber. Uber is pretty significant because it hails black limos that are just driving around the city and they know where people are likely to hail in Uber, because they've used a lot of statistical math, crazy algorithms to predict where they're likely going to be hailed. This is basically a piece of computer science that is solving this decades-old problem of the lack of cab supply in every city.

    DAVIES: All right. Now apart from the fun stuff like games or being able to scan a barcode in a grocery store with your iPhone, you talk about some applications which might fundamentally alter some of the important occupations, some of the ways we relate to each other. And you write about what Abilene Christian University in Texas has done with iPhones. Tell us about that.

    Mr. CHEN: Right. So, Abilene Christian University has a really interesting iPhone program where for about two years, I think, they've been handing out free iPhones to every incoming freshman. And what they do is they integrate the iPhone into the classroom curriculum. And they have teachers get in front of the classroom, and instead of lecturing students and saying, hey, open your textbook and go to page 96, the teacher is acting as a guide and saying, OK, so here's the topic we're going to discuss today. Take out your iPhones and go ahead and search on the Web or search Wikipedia and let's have a conversation about where we want to take this discussion and look for good information on how you can contribute to this.

    And I think that's interesting, because students aren't going home anymore and just flipping open textbooks. They're Googling everything. They're talking to each other online about their assignments. And I think the challenge going forward is not just being able to read information, because everybody already has access to information. The challenge, more, is being able to distinguish bad data from good data. And Abilene Christian is thinking forward and teaching people how to do that, which is a very important skill because there's so much bad information out there on the Web.

    DAVIES: Right. I'm just going to read this little passage from your book.

    Mr. CHEN: Sure.

    DAVIES: Anything, anytime, anywhere transformed Abilene Christian University into a massive data network that is swirling with information from both old and young and old minds, connecting students and teachers in a more profound way than ever before, because they're all using the same technology and software, the digital extensions of their minds are completely linked together. To call this a think tank would be imprecise. It's essentially an enormous think engine, robustly engineered with quality data.

    Boy, that's an inspiring vision.

    (Soundbite of laughter)

    DAVIES: But, you know, I'm a generation older and I remember the excitement of being in a classroom where people were having a conversation and ideas are arcing across the room. That seemed to me like learning, and I always did feel like when a professor had taken a lot of material from a wide variety of sources and organized it in a coherent way, I was getting something special. I don't know, something - this to me sounds like a little gimmicky.

    Mr. CHEN: I completely understand. I mean most people are still teaching classes the way that you just described. I think, you know, at Abilene this is just one program and it's just something they're still experimenting with.

    DAVIES: OK. Let's talk about some other areas where you see iPhone and iPhone applications as potentially transformative. Medicine, what are we seeing there?

    Mr. CHEN: Personal health monitoring I think is going to be a pretty big thing in the next few years. And something I mentioned in the book is a group of researchers who are working on a digital contact lens that communicates with a smartphone, potentially. So the contact lens takes information and transfers it, wirelessly, to the smartphone. And what the contact lens is doing is it's collecting information from the surface of your eye.

    What's interesting about the eye is that the eye is like the little door into the body. And you can collect information about, say, cholesterol or glucose levels, blood pressure and transfer this information to the smartphone.

    You have basically real-time health monitoring. And what they're thinking, what scientists are thinking going forward, is that once you start getting sick you're going to know that you're getting sick and you don't have to make funds necessary trips to the doctor.

    DAVIES: You're talking about a contact lens that you - that has electronics in it that you insert in your eyes?

    Mr. CHEN: Right. A digital contact lens with wireless transmitters that transmits information to the smartphone application. This is still in development and it's a little bit far away, I think. And they're currently testing it on rabbits.

    (Soundbite of laughter)

    Mr. CHEN: But this gives a glimpse into what people are working on right now. They're working on solutions to get this data more interwoven into our actual bodies so that we could monitor our health.

    (Continues in the next post)
    Last edited by Spin_Drift; 07-14-2011 at 07:39 PM.
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