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Fireball 3

Close-Earth pass of 4 huge asteroids coming in August

Get ready for some huge asteroid whizzing action, because this summer we'll be witnessing 4 large space rocks passing by Earth. In August, kilometer-wide asteroids are slated to miss our home planet, luckily at a safe distance, so the armageddon isn't scheduled and Bruce Willis can stay home. First of the Near Earth Objects (NEO), asteroid 2002 JN97, discovered in May 2002 will pass our planet by 61 lunar distances (LD) on August 2. The rock is estimated to be nearly 3 kilometers wide. It will fly by the Earth at a velocity of 21 km/s
earth asteroid
We don't witness asteroids that big, passing by very often. In July there is only one asteroid that could have at least 1 km in diameter predicted to fly by Earth. It is estimated that the July 20 object, 2014 ER49 won't have more than 1200 m. Scientists estimate that several dozen asteroids in the 6-to-12-meter size range fly by Earth at a distance even closer than the moon every year. But only a fraction of these are actually detected.

Mark your calendars for August 17, because this is the day of a real asteroid frenzy. 2001 RZ11 has about 3 km in diameter and among with its 1 kilometer-wide companion, 2013 WT67, will make the day. The rocks will pass the Earth at a safe distance, of course. The first one at 34 LD and the second much closer, but still 16 LD. What is significant, 2001 RZ11 is enlisted as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA). Those objects have the potential to make close approaches to the Earth and are of a size large enough to cause significant regional damage in the event of impact. PHAs are space rocks larger than approximately 100 m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU (about 20 LD). There are currently 1489 known PHAs.

Last but not least, on August 30, about 1 kilometer-wide asteroid 2002 CU11 will swing by. At a velocity of 26 km/s, the rock will fly at the closest distance of all the asteroids mentioned above, 13.5 LD. So we can call it potentially hazardous. Next time to see it so close? Aug. 31, 2080, the 2002 CU11 will come closer than 2 LD.

As of July 04, 2014, 11209 Near-Earth objects have been discovered. Some 865 of these NEOs are asteroids with a diameter of approximately 1 kilometer or larger.

Comment: "We don't witness asteroids that big, passing by very often."

But that could change in the very near future.

Galaxy

Nemesis? Strange dark stuff is making the universe too bright

Nemesis
© NASA
Size comparison of our Sun, a low mass star, a brown dwarf, Jupiter, and Earth. Stars with less mass than the Sun are smaller and cooler, and hence much fainter in visible light. Brown dwarfs have less than eight percent of the mass of the Sun, which is not enough to sustain the fusion reaction that keeps the Sun hot. These cool orbs are nearly impossible to see in visible light, but stand out when viewed in infrared. Their diameters are about the same as Jupiter's, but they can have up to 80 times more mass and are thought to have planetary systems of their own.

Light is in crisis. The universe is far brighter than it should be based on the number of light-emitting objects we can find, a cosmic accounting problem that has astronomers baffled.

"Something is very wrong," says Juna Kollmeier at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Pasadena, California.

Solving the mystery could show us novel ways to hunt for dark matter, or reveal the presence of another unknown "dark" component to the cosmos.

"It's such a big discrepancy that whatever we find is going to be amazing, and it will overturn something we currently think is true," says Kollmeier.

The trouble stems from the most recent census of objects that produce high-energy ultraviolet light. Some of the biggest known sources are quasars - galaxies with actively feeding black holes at their centres. These behemoths spit out plenty of UV light as matter falling into them is heated and compressed. Young galaxies filled with hot, bright stars are also contributors.

Comment: For more on Nemesis - Sol's dark companion - see Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's new book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.

Perhaps 'something wicked this way comes?'



Robot

Wikipedia entries increasingly created using automated bot that writes up to 10,000 articles a day

© ThinkStock
If the writing style on Wikipedia seems occasionally stilted, turns out there may be a perfectly good reason for that.

An increasing number of entries on Wikipedia are being authored by automated software, or bots, that pull raw information from databases, then use algorithms to generate text in standardized templates.

In fact, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, a single bot program in Sweden has written more than 2.7 million articles on Wikipedia - or about 8.5 percent of the total collection.

The "Lsjbot" is the creation of Swedish university administrator Sverker Johansson, who holds degrees in linguistics, civil engineering, economics and particle physics. Johannson's author bot can generate up to 10,000 new entries a day.
Phoenix

Four-winged dinosaur unearthed in China

Newly discovered Changyuraptor yangi lived 125m years ago and was like 'a big turkey with a really long tail'
four-winged dinosaur
© Stephanie Abramowicz/Dinosaur Institute, NHM
An artist's impression of the new species of four-winged, microraptor dinosaur Changyuraptor yangi.
A new species of prehistoric, four-winged dinosaur discovered in China may be the largest flying reptile of its kind.

The well-preserved, complete skeleton of the dinosaur Changyuraptor yangi features a long tail with feathers 30cm in length - the longest ever seen on a dinosaur fossil. The feathers may have played a major role in flight control, say scientists in the latest issue of Nature Communications, in particular allowing the animal to reduce its speed to land safely.
2 + 2 = 4

Months before their first words, babies' brains rehearse speech mechanics

Infants can tell the difference between sounds of all languages until about 8 months of age when their brains start to focus only on the sounds they hear around them. It's been unclear how this transition occurs, but social interactions and caregivers' use of exaggerated "parentese" style of speech seem to help.

University of Washington research in 7- and 11-month-old infants shows that speech sounds stimulate areas of the brain that coordinate and plan motor movements for speech.
Blue Planet

5' giant earthworm found in Ecuador

Just imagine the fish you could catch with a worm that is five feet long. That might be what these adventurers thought when they discovered a massive earthworm that stretched yardsticks at a full metre-and-a-half in length.

The photos were submitted to Project Noah, a global study app that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter by uploading photos to their phones.

In this case, this massive worm was found in "extremely rich forest soil" in the foothills of the Sumaco Volcano in Ecuador. According to the site's forum, it's been identified as a Martiodrilus crassus, which is Latin for "worm which feeds on dogs and small children."
Heart - Black

The Darkest Black: Scientists create 'Vantablack', a black so dark it's difficult to see



vantablack
Puritans, Goths, avant-garde artists, hell-raising poets and fashion icon Coco Chanel all saw something special in it. Now black, that most enigmatic of colours, has become even darker and more mysterious.

A British company has produced a "strange, alien" material so black that it absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of visual light, setting a new world record. To stare at the "super black" coating made of carbon nanotubes - each 10,000 times thinner than a human hair - is an odd experience. It is so dark that the human eye cannot understand what it is seeing. Shapes and contours are lost, leaving nothing but an apparent abyss.

If it was used to make one of Chanel's little black dresses, the wearer's head and limbs might appear to float incorporeally around a dress-shaped hole.

Actual applications are more serious, enabling astronomical cameras, telescopes and infrared scanning systems to function more effectively. Then there are the military uses that the material's maker, Surrey NanoSystems, is not allowed to discuss.

Comment: A sign of the times, perhaps.

Apple Green

New study suggests plants can listen

The aptly named mousear cress may respond to caterpillar munching sounds. Plants have long been known to react to changes in their environment, and may respond to light, temperature, and touch.

But are they listening too?

For the Arabidopsis plant, the answer is a loud and clear "yes."

The distinct, high-amplitude vibrations produced by a cabbage butterfly caterpillar munching on a leaf of this flowering mustard plant, commonly called mousear cress, throws its defenses into high gear, according to a study published in Oecologia this month by two researchers at the University of Missouri.

The study, which combined audio and chemical analysis, is the first to find evidence that plants respond to an ecologically relevant sound in the environment, said Heidi Appel, a senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences at Missouri.

Comment: More bad news for vegetarians in that science of their beloved faceless plantbased food source, no longer can be considered without functions of consciousness, but aware beings with ability to feel some kind of pain and reciprocate in more complex ways than formerly thought (purely electric and chemical communications).

Laptop

Amazon will provide CIA with cloud computing

Amazon

William Christiansen / Flickr / CC
The intelligence community is about to get the equivalent of an adrenaline shot to the chest. This summer, a $600 million computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services for the Central Intelligence Agency over the past year will begin servicing all 17 agencies that make up the intelligence community. If the technology plays out as officials envision, it will usher in a new era of cooperation and coordination, allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily and avoid the kind of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

For the first time, agencies within the IC(intelligence community) will be able to order a variety of on-demand computing and analytic services from the CIA and National Security Agency. What's more, they'll only pay for what they use.

The vision was first outlined in the IC Information Technology Enterprise plan championed by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and IC Chief Information Officer Al Tarasiuk almost three years ago. Cloud computing is one of the core components of the strategy to help the IC discover, access and share critical information in an era of seemingly infinite data.
Evil Rays

Pentagon delays demolition of HAARP facility in Alaska

© Defense One
HAARP antenna array outside Gakona Alaska
The Pentagon has delayed its plans to knock down a controversial Alaskan radio research facility until next year, for a possible transfer to a university or scientific institution, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced.

Murkowski said July 2 the Air Force had agreed to halt demolition of the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program facility until May 2015 while research institutions, including the University of Alaska, develop funding proposals for it.

HAARP, located on 30 acres adjacent to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in southeastern Alaska, features 180 antennas that beam electrons into the ionosphere for research into radio communications and surveillance. Conspiracy theorists contend the Defense Department uses HAARP, which went into operation in 1997, to conduct mind-control experiments and to modify global weather patterns.

At a May 14 Senate hearing, Murkowski questioned why the Pentagon planned to demolish HAARP this summer to cut costs, and asked whether it was fiscally sound to destroy a $290 million facility when it costs less than 1 percent of that to run it each year.

Comment: It's highly unlikely the defense community has no more interest in this technology. The fact that they are talking about dismantling it just means they already have a newer, better facility elsewhere.

Related...

HAARP and The Canary in the Mine

Mind Control and HAARP

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