Science & Technology

Comet 2

New Comet: C/2014 OE4 (PanSTARRS)

Discovery Date: July 26, 2014

Magnitude: 20.7 mag

Discoverer: Pan-STARRS 1 telescope (Haleakala)
C/2014 OE4 PanSTARRS
© Aerith Net
Magnitudes Graph
The orbital elements are published on M.P.E.C. 2014-P08.
Bizarro Earth

Scientists warn time to stop drilling in the dark

The co-authors of a new study, including two Simon Fraser University research associates, cite new reasons why scientists, industry representatives and policymakers must collaborate closely on minimizing damage to the natural world from shale gas development. Viorel Popescu and Maureen Ryan, David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellows in SFU's Biological Sciences department, are among eight international co-authors of the newly published research in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Shale gas development is the extraction of natural gas from shale formations via deep injection of high-pressure aqueous chemicals to create fractures (i.e., hydraulic fracturing), which releases trapped gas. With shale gas production projected to increase exponentially internationally during the next 30 years, the scientists say their key findings are cause for significant concern and decisive mitigation measures.

"Our findings are highly relevant to British Columbians given the impetus for developing shale resources in northeastern B.C. and the massive LNG facilities and pipeline infrastructure under development throughout the province," notes Popescu. The SFU Earth2Ocean Group member is also a research associate in the Centre for Environmental Research at the University of Bucharest in Romania.

Comment: Investigation confirms the evils of fracking

Opposed to fracking? Then the corporatocracy considers you to be a terrorist

Massachusetts seeks 10 year ban on gas fracking after series of Texas earthquakes

Dangerous levels of radioactivity found at fracking waste site in Pennsylvania

Is there a media blackout on the fracking flood disaster in Colorado?

Comet 2

Comet surface is dark and crusty, deep-space probe suggests

© Unknown

A European probe approaching a comet in deep space has found the body's surface to be relatively warm, suggesting it has a mostly "dark, dusty crust," mission controllers said Friday.
Comment: If comets are "dirty snowballs", why are they finding comets to be "dark dusty crust"?. May be Electrical comet theorists are correct in claiming that comets are not "dirty snowballs".
Thermal readings were taken by the unmanned spacecraft Rosetta as it neared Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on the final leg of a six-billion-kilometer (3.75-billion-mile), 10-year pursuit.

Using an infrared spectrometer, Rosetta scanned the comet between July 13 and 21, when the distance between them closed from 14,000 kilometres (8,750 miles) to just over 5,000 kilometers, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

At the time, the comet was about 555 million kilometers from the Sun.

Its average temperature was minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit), the measurements found.

Secret language of African penguins decoded

african penguin
© Favaro et al/PLOS ONE
Adult African penguins produce distinctive short calls to communicate their isolation from the group or their mate
Six distinctive calls made by African or 'jackass' penguins express the birds' ecstasy, love, hunger, anger and loneliness

African penguins communicate feelings such as hunger, anger and loneliness through six distinctive vocal calls, according to scientists who have observed the birds' behaviour in captivity.

The calls of the "jackass" penguin were identified by researchers at the University of Turin, Italy. Four are exclusive to adults and two are exclusive to juveniles and chicks.

The study, led by Dr Livio Favaro, found that adult penguins produce distinctive short calls to express their isolation from groups or their mates, known as "contact" calls, or to show aggression during fights or confrontations, known as "agonistic" calls. They also observed an "ecstatic display song", sung by single birds during the mating season and the "mutual display song", a custom duet sung by nesting partners to each other.

New wrinkle? Study suggests Ancient Earth got a 'face-lift'

Earth got a "face-lift" early in its history, wiping out most of its original crust, according to a new model of the ancient barrage of asteroids called the Late Heavy Bombardment.

Earth itself is about 4.5 billion years ago, but it's rare to find rocks older than those formed about 3.8 billion years ago. One reason older rocks may be missing is that they were destroyed when asteroids and comets pummeled the Earth, moon and inner planets of the solar system, scientists report today (July 30) in the journal Nature.

"The surface of the Earth was heavily affected by all these collisions," said lead study author Simone Marchi, a planetary scientist with the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "There's no doubt the crust was excavated, mixed and buried as a result of this bombardment." [Photo Timeline: How the Earth Formed]

Comment: Such cyclical planetary 'face-lifts' can be caused by the overhead explosions of 'space rocks', as well as direct impacts. See also: Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls

For more information on the winning Electric Universe theory, and how electrical discharges may determine 'asteroids' from 'comets'; and other related phenomena, read Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's new book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.


Ebola rages in Africa while West ponders the ethics of vaccine and drug testing

unicef workers guinea
© Reuters
Workers from Unicef in Guinea speak with local families on how to best protect themselves against Ebola.
In 2002, scientists writing in a leading American medical journal discussed the possibility that the Ebola virus could be used in a biochemical weapon. It would be technically difficult and unlikely to cause mass destruction because those infected quickly die and the virus is not as transmissible as many assume. But, the scientists warned, if it could be done, there would be no protection. No vaccine or drug treatment exists.

They were writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association in the wake of 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks in New York. Since then, fear of viruses raining out of US skies has diminished - and so has any sense of urgency over the development of vaccines or treatment for a disease that manifests itself in unpredictable outbreaks and kills relatively small numbers of people in remote parts of Africa.

Neglected tropical diseases, of which Ebola is one, become visible in the west only when they appear to threaten it. Ebola has had more attention than many, probably because of the dramatic nature of the disease and the need for full body suits and face masks for those caring for its victims. The names of other such diseases - the parasitic leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis, for example - hardly trip off the tongue in London or San Francisco.

Yet Ebola is not a priority for the not-for-profit Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, which works with the World Health Organisation and others to incentivise and encourage pharmaceutical companies to research and develop treatments. It affects far fewer people than parasitic diseases, and the outbreaks, although appalling, are sporadic.

Comment: The truth is that no drugs or vaccines are being developed that will help in the current epidemic. And, considering that independent studies have shown that vaccines often cause the diseases they were designed to prevent, a far safer course of action would be to improve one's overall health by having a strong immune system. Following a ketogenic diet is one of the best ways to prevent disease.

Polish study: No historical benefit in vaccines
Historical Data Shows Vaccines are Not what Saved Us
If you think your kid's vaccines are safe, don't watch this!
Vaccines: Crossing Immunological Boundaries

The Ketogenic Diet - An Overview
Solve Your Health Issues with a Ketogenic Diet
Ketogenic Diet (high-fat, low-carb) Has Neuroprotective and Disease-modifying Effects


Scientists admit progress slow on potential drug treatments for Ebola

research ebola
© dpa picture alliance/Alamy
Research into vaccines and treatments for Ebola is ongoing
Ebola is continuing to kill people across West Africa, but there is still no cure.

Available treatments only ease the symptoms of the disease. People with Ebola are given supportive care, such as intravenous fluids to combat the dehydration caused by bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Several potential drugs and vaccines are working their way through animal studies and clinical trials, but progress has been slow. On-the-ground trials are almost impossible to conduct, largely because outbreaks in Africa are sporadic and unpredictable. "It is difficult to do conventional clinical trials," says Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, who is developing vaccines and therapies.

Comment: Probably the most effective preventative is to improve the immune system to be able to fight off infections before they take hold. Following a ketogenic diet (high-fat / low-carb) is one of the most effective ways to prevent or ameliorate a host of diseases.

The Ketogenic Diet - An Overview
Solve Your Health Issues with a Ketogenic Diet
Ketogenic Diet (high-fat, low-carb) Has Neuroprotective and Disease-modifying Effects
Diet for cancer cure: Starving cancer ketogenic diet a key to recovery

Bad Guys

Scientist fired for daring to report soft tissue found on dinosaur fossil

© ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
A Triceratops greets visitors at the 14,000 square foot Dinosaur Hall permanent exhibition at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
Attorneys for a California State University, Northridge scientist who was terminated from his job after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops fossil have filed a lawsuit against the university.

While at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montana, researcher Mark Armitage discovered what he believed to be the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the site, according to attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute.

Upon examination of the horn under a high-powered microscope back at CSUN, Dacus says Armitage was "fascinated" to find soft tissue on the sample - a discovery Bacus said stunned members of the school's biology department and even some students "because it indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago."

Welcome to quantum wonderland: Neutron 'Cheshire cats' created

© Credit: © Disney
The Cheshire Cat in "Alice in Wonderland" had a smile that could disconnect from its body.
The Cheshire Cat of the classic children's book "Alice in Wonderland" had a smile that could disconnect from its body. And now, in the spirit of Lewis Carroll, scientists have created quantum Cheshire Cats in the form of neutrons separated from their magnetism.

This new finding suggests that future experiments could split other properties of particles from each other, such as their charge and mass, helping to solve mysteries regarding the fundamental bits of matter that make up the universe.

In the strange wonderland of quantum physics, the particles that make up everything can behave in bizarre ways. For instance, a particle can apparently exist in two or more places at once or spin two opposite directions at the same time, a property known as superposition. [The 9 Biggest Unsolved Mysteries in Physics]

Hypocrite Google wants it's privacy! Media outlets fighting to keep lawsuit documents in public domain

© inconnu
Back in May, Google settled a giant class action suit over its mining of Gmail user data. Now it faces another fight: Major media outlets fighting to convince the judge to keep public the documents generated during the case.

Google's attorneys argue that there is no reason to make the documents public, given that the court refused to certify the class and the case didn't proceed. Meanwhile representatives for a ragtag band of media companies - referred to in court docs as "The Media Intervenors," which is a great name for a band - argue that the public has a right to know details of the case: "Under the First Amendment and the federal common law, the press and the public have a presumptive right of access to court proceedings and documents."

In a case management conference scheduled for tomorrow, Judge Lucy Koh (who Pando readers will remember as the judge presiding over the Techtopus wage fixing suit) will decided whether to seal the documents.