Aug
10
2006

Magnetosphere: Solar particles interact with magnetosphere. NASA graphic via wikipedia
Magnetosphere: Solar particles interact with magnetosphere. NASA graphic via wikipedia

SUNSPOT 904

A large and beautiful new sunspot is emerging from the sun's eastern limb: image. So far it poses no threat for Earth-directed solar flares, but this could change. The spot is growing fast and turning toward Earth. Stay tuned for updates.

11 year sun spot cyle

We are currently at the lowest activity of the 11 year sunspot cycle. Sun spots, when facing Earth can send solar flares toward Earth. The Earth's magnetosphere shields us from these high energy particles but astronauts in space need to be concerned.

James Van Allen dies at 91

I think it is fitting to mention that James Van Allen died yesterday Aug 9, 2006 He discovered of the Van Allen radiation belts, which I associate with the Nothern lights, which come from sun spot flares.

Researchers are converting volcanic seismic data into frequencies able to be heard by human ears. These so called “songs” assist researchers in detecting patterns that may warn of future eruptions.

Giant red king crabs are spreading at an alarming rate from Russian waters to the Norwegian coastline. These crustaceans are devouring the sea bottom ruining local sea fauna and could have a devastating impact on the ecosystem.

Aug
09
2006

Q: Why do people blink?

A: People blink because the eye needs to be kept clean and moist. Every time you blink your eyelid coats the eye with fluids that keep your eyes moist and that flush away gunk. Blinking also helps prevent gunk from entering your eyes in the first place – lowering the lids and eyelashes forms a barrier that is hard for gunk to penetrate. Interestingly, you bink less when you are concentrating on something (like driving or surfing the internet).

Q: How tall can a willow tree be when they are full grown?

A: That depends on what species of willow tree you are referring to – there are lots. The White Willow can reach heights up to 100 feet, while the Artic Willow grows to less than a foot in height!

Space shuttle bathroom: A typical space shuttle bathroom.  Image courtesy NASA.
Space shuttle bathroom: A typical space shuttle bathroom. Image courtesy NASA.
Q: How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space?

A: Typically, there are toilets similar in function to toilets on Earth, but they use air suction instead of water to make the waste go where they want it to, since there is no gravity. Solid wastes are compressed and stored on-board, and then removed after returning to Earth. Waste water is vented to space, although future systems may be able to recycle it. The NASA web site has a short video on the subject.

Q: Why doesn’t a duck quack echo?

A: This is an urban legend – duck quacks do echo. This site proves it.

Aug
09
2006

Comparison of body temperatures: A plot of the relationship between average body temperature (°C) and the logarithm of body mass for dinosaurs and modern crocodiles.  This graph potentially shows the accuracy of the formula by applying it to modern crocodiles. Chart  courtesy Gillooly JF Allen AP, Charnov EL (2006) Dinosaur Fossils Predict Body Temperatures. PLoS Biol 4(8): e248.
Comparison of body temperatures: A plot of the relationship between average body temperature (°C) and the logarithm of body mass for dinosaurs and modern crocodiles. This graph potentially shows the accuracy of the formula by applying it to modern crocodiles. Chart courtesy Gillooly JF Allen AP, Charnov EL (2006) Dinosaur Fossils Predict Body Temperatures. PLoS Biol 4(8): e248.
The question regarding whether dinosaurs were warm-blooded or cold-blooded has been debated for decades. Currently, most scientists believe that dinosaurs were warm-blooded and used internal mechanisms to maintain a constant body temperature. However, what that internal body temperature was could have fluctuated depending on the size of the dinosaur, making it possible for dinosaurs to have been both.
The bigger the hotter
Researchers at the University of Florida devised a mathematical formula that describes the connection between temperature, growth rate and biomass across a wide range of modern creatures. They then applied this formula to newly available fossil data on the growth rates of eight dinosaur species.
The equation showed that the bigger a dinosaur was the hotter is was. Smaller dinosaurs had internal body temperatures of around 77º Fahrenheit, which was close to the average air temperature of their time, so could have regulated their body temperatures much like modern cold-blooded reptiles. As dinosaurs grew larger, and the ratio of their surface area to volume fell, they became less efficient as dissipating their own metabolic heat. Because of this increased internal body temperature, dinosaurs probably had to develop behavioral or other adaptations to avoid overheating.
Body temperature influenced dinosaur size
One of the larger dinosaurs studied, Sauroposeidon proteles, weighed nearly 120,000 pounds. Applying the mathematical formula reveals that it may have had a body temperature close to 118º Fahrenheit, which is about as hot as most living creatures can get before the proteins in their bodies begin to break down. Because of this, the size of the largest dinosaurs may have been limited by their internal body temperatures.

Aug
09
2006

The impact site.: This artist's impression shows the location of the SMART-1 impact on the Moon surface, expected for 3 September 2006 at 05:41 UT, with an uncertainty of plus or minus 7 hours, due to the unknown lunar topography.  The impact site will be on the lunar area
The impact site.: This artist's impression shows the location of the SMART-1 impact on the Moon surface, expected for 3 September 2006 at 05:41 UT, with an uncertainty of plus or minus 7 hours, due to the unknown lunar topography. The impact site will be on the lunar area
The European Space Agency (ESA) is crashing another spacecraft into another object in space, and I just have to say I like their style! After intentionally crashing into a comet last year, the ESA plans to crash its lunar orbiter, SMART 1, into the moon on September 3, 2006. The best part is that they are coordinating the crash so that it will happen on the visual side of the moon so that it can be seen (using telescopes) from Earth. If all goes according to plan, the impact time will be good for big telescopes in Northwest America. But if the spacecraft hits a hill on earlier passes, the viewing location will change.

SMART-1 launched on September 27, 2003, and tested an array of new technologies, including the first use of an ion engine (solar electric propulsion) for interplanetary travels, deep-space communication methods for spacecraft, and techniques to achieve autonomous spacecraft navigation.

The spacecraft was only planned to operate for six months, but its mission was extended, and will now end on September 3 when it meets its demise on the surface of the moon.

Aug
08
2006

Bedbug: Courtesy  Wikipedia Images
Bedbug: Courtesy Wikipedia Images
Last week residents in Duluth, Minnesota reported finding some unwanted visitors-bedbugs. More recently, a case of bedbugs broke out in Atlanta, Georgia. What’s the deal and what exactly is a bedbug?

Bedbug past

Bedbugs have been hiding under the covers more so this past year compared to previous years. Clive Boase, Pest Management Consultancy in Haverhill, England, explained the number of bedbug cases reported since the mid-1990s have almost doubled annually. Mohammed Eldamir, an entomologist and technical director with Guardian Pest Control, reported bedbugs used to be extremely rare. It is hard to pinpoint the exact reason why bedbugs are appearing but speculation exists.

Before World War II, bedbug infestations were a common occurrence. However, bedbug eradication through hygiene improvement and the used of DDT helped to diminish bedbug populations. Experts speculate increased international travel and immigration might be partially to blame for the increase in bedbug infestation. Also, companies are better utilizing pest control practices. Dan Suiter, an associate professor of entomology at the University of Georgia, explained companies are spraying more responsibly. Companies are acting in a more conservative matter and are going away from large-scale spray treatments and applying more localized treatments.

What is a bedbug?

Bedbugs are tiny brownish, flattened insects that primarily thrive on human or animal blood. A bite from a bedbug may cause itchy red welts or swelling. Bedbugs are not known to transmit diseases to humans.

Caring for a bedbug bite

Here are a few suggestions courtesy of Mayo Clinic when caring for a bedbug bite:

  • Apply a topical cream, such as cortisone, to relieve itching
  • Apply an antiseptic or antibiotic ointment to any breaks in the skin to prevent secondary infections
  • Consult your doctor if you suffer severe reactions. An alternative treatment might be administered
  • Take antihistamines if needed to help relieve allergic reactions

To conclude, keep your living area as clean as you can. Inspect antiques and secondhand furniture before adding it to you home. Lastly, wash your sheets regularly.

Here’s to a pleasant night’s sleep and remember, don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Aug
08
2006

There was a recent case of a new born, of a pair of Peruvian parents, born witha case Sirenomelia or as known as "Mermaid Syndrome", where the lower part of the body from hip down are fused together to resemble the tail of a fish. In the whole world only two cases of this has happened, not including this one. Humans born with this conditions are thought not to live very long after birth. But Doctors have come up with a way to seperate the fusion of the legs. With this processor all three of these people are living and doing well.

Here is a website that will tell you more about the case of Milagros Cerron, the most recent case with Sirenomelia. This little girl name Milagros, which in peruvian means miracle. Is doing well in recovering from her leg seperation and everyone is happy for her safty. Click here to read more about how Milagros Cerron is doing.

Aug
08
2006

Recently, at the Minnesotta Zoo, a 9 year old girl was bitten by a meerkat. This resulted in the zoo having to 'put down' three of them. This story got me interested in the effects of rabies. If you would like to know about another story about the impact of rabies, visit RABIES OUTBREAK

Aug
08
2006

If you ever wondered how or what a zoetrope work then u should check out this website.It gives u lots of cool facts and history all about zoetropes!!Jst click on this---ZOETROPES