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Bizarro Earth

Plate Tectonics May Take A Break



©Unknown
Plate tectonics is driven by heat flowing from the Earth's interior, and a stoppage would slow the rate of the Earth's cooling, just as clamping a lid on a soup pot would slow the soup's cooling.

Plate tectonics, the geologic process responsible for creating the Earth's continents, mountain ranges, and ocean basins, may be an on-again, off-again affair. Scientists have assumed that the shifting of crustal plates has been slow but continuous over most of the Earth's history, but a new study from researchers at the Carnegie Institution suggests that plate tectonics may have ground to a halt at least once in our planet's history-and may do so again.
Evil Rays

Raytheon Completes Testing Of US Navy's New Ship Control Segment For The MQ-8B Fire Scout



©Unknown
The TCS system is compatible with the NATO UAS control standard and is capable of all levels of flight and sensor control of NATO standard UASs.

Raytheon recently completed initial testing of the Tactical Control System's (TCS) command and control capabilities for the U.S. Navy's MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. The testing was conducted Dec. 15, 2007, at the Webster Field annex, Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland.
Telescope

Airborne astronomers to track intense meteor shower

The most intense meteor shower of the year hits Earth tonight. If the skies are clear and you live at high northern latitudes, then you could see dozens of Quadrantid meteors streaking over the pole.

Or you might spot a plane full of astronomers racing northward, trying to find out how this unusual meteor shower was created, and whether it is the shrapnel of a celestial explosion witnessed in the 15th century.

Like other meteor showers, the Quadrantids appear when Earth moves through an interplanetary stream of debris, which hits the upper atmosphere at more than 40 kilometres a second, vaporising to become the brilliant trails we see as shooting stars.
Magnify

Explosives at the microscopic scale produce shocking results

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- U.S. troops blew up enemy bridges with explosives in World War II to slow the advance of supplies or enemy forces.

In modern times, patrollers use explosives at ski resorts to purposely create avalanches so the runs are safer when skiers arrive.

Other than creating the desired effect (a destroyed bridge or avalanche), the users didn't exactly know the microscopic details and extreme states of matter found within a detonating high explosive.

In fact, most scientists don't know what happens either.
Magic Hat

Scientists create machine that knows what you are thinking

Scientists have developed a machine which is capable of reading our mind and revealing our most private thoughts.

American researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, found that, with the aid of a sophisticated scanner and computer programme, they were able to determine how the brain lights up when thinking about different subjects.
Bulb

Ten Amazing Brain Facts

What part of you is only 1% to 3% of your body's mass, yet uses 20% of all the oxygen you breathe? Your brain! Here are ten more brain facts:

- Your brain needs a continuous supply of oxygen. A 10 minute loss of oxygen will usually cause significant neural damage. Cold can lengthen this time, which is why cold-water drowning victims have been revived after as much as 40 minutes - without brain damage.

- Your brain uses a fifth of all your blood. It needs it to keep up with the heavy metabolic demands of its neurons. It needs not only the glucose that is delivered, but of course, the oxygen.

- Your brain feels no pain. There are no nerves that register pain within the brain itself. Because of this, neurosurgeons can probe the brain while a patient is conscious (what fun!). By doing this, they can use feedback from the patient to identify important regions, such as those used for speech, or visualization.
Telescope

Stardust formed close to sun

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- Samples of the material picked up during the NASA Stardust mission indicate that parts of the comet Wild 2 actually formed in an area close to the sun.
Red Flag

Asteroid to miss Mars, may hit Earth

Washington: An asteroid that has a one in 20 chance of striking Mars on January 30, might just fly past, which would probably make it target Earth at some point in future.

Comment: From the information available, it is evident that we are not prepared nor have the knowledge on how to divert such a thread. It was only this last year that the mainstream media began even talking about the possibility of a strike. Nope, no matter how reassuring the last sentence of the article, it just ain't true folks!

Bug

Insect Attack May Have Finished Off Dinosaurs

Asteroid impacts or massive volcanic flows might have occurred around the time dinosaurs became extinct, but a new argument is that the mightiest creatures the world has ever known may have been brought down by a tiny, much less dramatic force -- biting, disease-carrying insects.

©Image courtesy of Oregon State University
Tick found in Burmese amber.
Telescope

University of Minnesota physicist reads the history of the solar system in grains of comet dust

Four years ago, NASA's Stardust spacecraft chased down a comet and collected grains of dust blowing off its nucleus. When the spacecraft Comet Wild-2 returned, comet dust was shipped to scientists all over the world, including University of Minnesota physics professor Bob Pepin. After testing helium and neon trapped in the dust specks, Pepin and his colleagues report that while the comet formed in the icy fringes of the solar system, the dust appears to have been born close to the infant sun and bombarded by intense radiation from these and other gases before being flung out beyond Neptune and trapped in the comet. The research appears in the Jan. 4 issue of the journal Science.
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