There are currently 0 users and 53 guests online.
Signs of the Times sott.net
Chilean Navy discovers more than 600 dead animals in Punta de Choros, a small fishing town north of La Serena. The bodies of sea lions, cormorants and penguins littered a seven mile stretch of beach in Punta de Choros, northern Chile on Sunday. The crime scene is in close proximity to the Humboldt Penguin Nature Reserve. Two days prior the Movement in Defense of the Environment (MODEMA) reported a band of ten fishing boats off the coastline of Punta de Choros. MODEMA and other environmental groups accused the boats of blast fishing - using explosives to catch mass quantities of fish. Sernapesca, Chile's National Fishing Service, investigated the scene and determined that all the animals were killed by the same incident. Autopsies report animals with fractured skulls, missing rib cages and multiple abrasions. Local authorities promptly called in the Investigative Police's (PDI) Environmental Crime Brigade for further investigation. Microbiological and chemical analysis tests are currently being run to determine if blast fishing is the cause of death. In Chile, blast fishing is illegal. Companies caught fishing in this manner face prison time and fines. The monetary amount depends on the damage to the ecosystem. However, causing the death of penguins during commercial activities is a jailable offense. Officials from Sernapesca told The Santiago Times that the combined offenses amount to a "serious crime."
Yeah, your trad demon-eating snake tattoo is really edgy and all, but if you're looking to take your body art to the next level, why not ditch the black ink and use hypertrophic scar tissue instead? Apparently, slicing your skin into bloody tattoos is totally a thing now, and you can go get your very own "I Love Mom" heart made out of your own mutilated skin in (where else?) Williamsburg. Called "scarification," the practice has deep roots in ancient tribal arts, but it feels creepier now that it's headed West. Having said that, it's certainly an art form: just check out the scar work done by Brooklyn resident Brian Decker, who runs Pure Body Arts in Williamsburg. He's been cutting elaborate symbols, designs and seahorses into people's skin for the past thirteen years, and told DNAinfo the practice has become more popular over the years. "People started to implement the ideas of tattoo reference to the design, which made them more extravagant, more detailed," he said. "You were able to build much more beautiful designs, which I'm sure caught more people's eyes." Then again, some people just think scar tattoos do a nice job highlighting their Alice in Chains Hot Topic tees: "Someone who is freshly 18 probably relishes the idea of someone being repulsed by that," Chris Beierschmitt, who works at Pure Body Arts, told DNAinfo of the practice. But is a scar tattoo really any more frightening in theory than shooting possibly cancerous black ink into your skin? Even if that ink is shaped like Rex Ryan's wife? Plus, scar tattoos are great for sending scary messages to time-traveling law breakers.
Fairbanks - Birds of all kinds are arriving in dizzying numbers and many long-time birders say they have never seen such a concentrated wave of migrating birds in the Tanana Valley. Bud Johnson in Tok estimates there were 100,000 sparrows descending on that area Tuesday. He reported seeing continuous flocks along the sides of the highway, and came home to hundreds of songbirds in his yard. White-crowned, golden-crowned, fox and tree sparrows mixed with juncos, rusty blackbirds and Lapland longspurs. Other viewers saw Lincoln's and Savannah sparrows and gray-crowned rosy-finches. "I have never seen anything like this ever," Johnson said. "The ground is just in constant movement and the singing (mostly from the white-crowned sparrows) is insane." Among bird-watchers, there is a phenomenon called "fallout," which is when a large number of migrating birds make landfall because they run into storm systems. Usually this happens along the coast, where exhausted birds touch down on the first solid ground they find. It's possible a combination of the late spring breakup and a current weather front has caused this unusual spring gathering. "This is turning out to be the most spectacular spring migration I think the Tanana Valley has seen in recent memory," Fairbanks birder Nancy DeWitt wrote in an email. "First, there were the unprecedented numbers of swans and white-fronted geese in the Delta barley fields (many of which are still there) accompanied by the biggest flocks of Canada geese and pintails I've ever seen, now followed by what Steve Dubois says is the largest concentration of sandhill cranes he's seen in his 28 years there. "Add in the numerous bluebird sightings (I've lost count), cloud after cloud of Lapland longspurs moving through the valley, thick groups of varied thrush at Fort Greely on Saturday night, and now the sparrow fall-out in Tok Bud describes, and I am just beside myself with glee," she said. "I assume most of this is weather related, but what happened and where along the migration route that balled up all these birds? I suppose the fact that a lot of the valley is snow-covered and many ponds and lakes are still frozen is also concentrating birds, but would sure love to know if anyone tracked migration radar data over Canada in the past month.
Christmas music played Friday in the lobby of the McKinley Chalet Resort, just outside Denali National Park and Preserve. It was fitting, considering the weather outside. A heavy spring snowstorm dumped enough snow in the area to cancel some local events, keep people from driving and surprise a few tourists. A winter storm watch remained in effect until this morning. "The guests are actually enjoying the experience," said Craig Pester, district manager of Aramark's Denali resorts. "We had to change a couple tours around so they didn't get the full experience, but all the guests are very happy. They're kind of making it part of their adventure." Indeed, the Elliotts who are visiting from South Carolina thought the snow was pretty exciting, as they huddled behind an umbrella. What an Alaska experience, they said. A visitor from Germany came north for better weather and ended up camping in the snow at Riley Creek Campground. He took it all in stride.
Cold air across so much of Alaska, so late in the year, has delayed summer for the winter weary and left thousands of international travelers in holding patterns. An unexpected bonanza of migrating birds are reportedly hunkered down northwest of Denali National Park and Preserve. In the Delta-Tok region, thousands more cranes, swans, geese, and swallows than usual are waiting out conditions unusual even for Alaska. Birds often "ball-up" in foul weather, congregating along coastlines and then fly over vast Interior Alaska in waves. Not this year. One local birder told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner he'd never seen so many stopped over, all at once, in more than 20 years. Arctic air pushing southward and smaller low-pressure systems have kept cold weather lingering. Up to 6 inches of snow was forecast over the weekend in Anchorage, with accumulation likely in Fairbanks as well, the National Weather Service predicted, though ground temperatures would melt most of it. Normally, late May sees warmer air from the Gulf of Alaska pulled north across the state, but for now, at least, much of Alaska remains near freezing or colder. "It is a real fluke. We just haven't gotten into our summer pattern yet," meteorologist Dan Peterson said. Next week, forecasts called for highs in the 50s and 60s from Anchorage, in Southcentral Alaska, north to Fairbanks.
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
New imaging study of combat veterans shows that brain regions linked to PTSD function abnormally even in the absence of external stress Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or under-react in response to stressful tasks, such as recalling a traumatic event or reacting to a photo of a threatening face. Now, researchers at NYU School of Medicine have explored for the first time what happens in the brains of combat veterans with PTSD in the absence of external triggers. Their results, published in Neuroscience Letters, and presented today at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatry Association in San Francisco, show that the effects of trauma persist in certain brain regions even when combat veterans are not engaged in cognitive or emotional tasks, and face no immediate external threats. The findings shed light on which areas of the brain provoke traumatic symptoms and represent a critical step toward better diagnostics and treatments for PTSD. A chronic condition that develops after trauma, PTSD can plague victims with disturbing memories, flashbacks, nightmares and emotional instability. Among the 1.7 million men and women who have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an estimated 20% have PTSD. Research shows that suicide risk is higher in veterans with PTSD. Tragically, more soldiers committed suicide in 2012 than the number of soldiers who were killed in combat in Afghanistan that year. "It is critical to have an objective test to confirm PTSD diagnosis as self reports can be unreliable," says co-author Charles Marmar, MD, the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Psychiatry and chair of NYU Langone's Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Marmar, a nationally recognized expert on trauma and stress among veterans, heads The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center for the Study of Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury at NYU Langone Medical Center. The study, led by Xiaodan Yan, a research fellow at NYU School of Medicine, examined "spontaneous" or "resting" brain activity in 104 veterans of combat from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars using functional MRI, which measures blood-oxygen levels in the brain. The researchers found that spontaneous brain activity in the amygdala, a key structure in the brain's "fear circuitry" that processes fearful and anxious emotions, was significantly higher in the 52 combat veterans with PTSD than in the 52 combat veterans without PTSD. The PTSD group also showed elevated brain activity in the anterior insula, a brain region that regulates sensitivity to pain and negative emotions. Moreover, the PTSD group had lower activity in the precuneus, a structure tucked between the brain's two hemispheres that helps integrate information from the past and future, especially when the mind is wandering or disengaged from active thought. Decreased activity in the precuneus correlates with more severe "re-experiencing" symptoms - that is, when victims re-experience trauma over and over again through flashbacks, nightmares and frightening thoughts. Key scientific contributors include researchers at NYU School of Medicine, the University of California at San Francisco, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and the Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative Diseases at the VA Medical Center in San Francisco.
Event Time 2013-05-18 05:48:00 UTC 2013-05-18 14:48:00 UTC+09:00 at epicenter Location 37.761°N 141.454°E depth=41.5km (25.8mi) Nearby Cities 50km (31mi) NE of Namie, Japan 61km (38mi) ESE of Watari, Japan 62km (39mi) ESE of Marumori, Japan 63km (39mi) ESE of Kakuda, Japan 278km (173mi) NE of Tokyo, Japan Technical Details
A Whakamarama man has geologists excited after a meteorite soared into his garage moving buckets and narrowly missing his head. The man, who does not wish to be named, was in his garage talking with his neighbour last Monday when a meteorite soared past his head. "It must have missed me by a couple of feet. I thought it was a gun shot." He didn't hear or see the meteorite, but noticed the buckets were moving in the garage. Together with his friend the pair began searching.
This summer, millions of people will head to the nation's amusement parks. Many might assume that the bigger and faster rides account for the most amusement ride-related injuries to children, but that's not always the case. My colleagues and I at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, Nationwide Children's Hospital, did the first study that looks in detail at children who are injured on amusement rides, which includes rides at amusement parks (fixed-site rides), rides at fairs and festivals (mobile rides) and rides found at local malls, stores, restaurants or arcades (mall rides). From 1990 to 2010, 92,885 children under age 18 were treated in U.S. emergency departments for amusement ride-related injuries for an average of 4,423 injuries each year. More than 70 percent of the injuries happened during the warm summer months of May through September - averaging more than 20 injuries a day during those months. [Killer Thrills: How Safe Are Amusement Parks?] We found that most children were injured in the head and neck region, followed by the arms, face and legs. Soft-tissue injuries like bruises were the most common type of injury, followed by strains and sprains, cuts and broken bones.
A new stem cell discovery has reawakened controversy about human cloning - though technical challenges mean scientists are far from being able to create human babies as in Michael Bay's 2005 sci-fi flick "The Island." Not that they would even want to. "Nobody in their right mind would want to do that," said John Gearhart, the director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the study. And indeed, the research wasn't conducted with the idea of creating cloned mini-me's in mind. Instead, scientists attempting to treat diseases of the cell's powerhouse, the mitochondria, refined the technique, which is the same one used to create the cloned sheep Dolly in 1996. But the parallels between the animal-cloning procedure and the new human one have triggered concern. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) swiftly issued a statement condemning the research, both on the grounds that embryos were destroyed in the research process and over the concern that the full reproductive cloning of humans is on its way. "They or others may be close to being able to develop cloned human embryos to the fetal stage and then beyond," said Richard Doerflinger, the associate director of USCCB's Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities.
Asteroid (285263) 1998 QE2 was discovered on Aug. 19, 1998, by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program. 1998 QE2 has an estimated size of 1.3 km - 2.9 km (based on the object's absolute magnitude H=16.6). It was observed by the Spitzer Space Telescope by Trilling et al. (2010), who estimated that it has a diameter of 2.7 km and a dark optical albedo of 0.06. This asteroid will have a close approach with Earth at about 15.2 LD (Lunar Distances = ~384,000 kilometers) or 0.0392 AU (1 AU = ~150 million kilometers) at 2059 UT on 2013 May 31 and it will reach the peak magnitude ~10.8 on May 31 around 2300 UT. (285263) 1998 QE2 will be a great Goldstone radar target May 30 through June 9. This is going to be one of the best radar targets of the year. Radar images from the Goldstone antenna could achieve resolutions as fine as 3.75 meters. We performed some follow-up measurements of this object, from the Q62 iTelescope network (Siding Spring) on 2013, May 17.36, through a 0.50-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer.
In 2/3 of the world it's still unlucky to be born a leftie, says a researcher who has taken a new look at attitudes about left-handed people worldwide. In China, in particular, less than 1 percent of students are reportedly left-handed, despite a global average of 10 to 12 percent of humans preferring their left hand, reports Howard Kushner, a researcher and Professor of Science and Society at Emory University in Atlanta. It's not that there are fewer people born left-handed in China or necessarily that there are negative attitudes about lefties there. It's just that being left-handed is especially impractical. "If you have to cater a huge society, you can't cater to the other side," Kushner said. And with 88 to 90 percent of the population right-handed, and some written characters requiring a right hand, that's what wins out, at least when it comes to writing. Kushner summarized the situation for Chinese southpaws in an article in the June edition of the journal Endeavour. So is left-handedness going extinct in China? Probably not, says Kushner, because there doesn't seem to be a simple genetic basis for handedness. What's more, studies on Chinese-Americans in California show a similar rate of left-handers as the rest of the U.S. population -- so there is nothing about being Chinese or Asian that makes a person less prone to being left-handed. But being born in China does mean you will likely be forced to function as a right-hander, Kushner concludes.
From urban and developed to remote and isolated, lakes around Minnesota contain a wide range of chemicals, including DEET, BPA, prescription drugs and even cocaine. The findings, which came out of the first large-scale, systematic statewide study, suggest that it might be worth taking a wider look at bodies of water around the country for chemicals that have potential consequences for both the environment and human health. For now, it's not clear how all of the chemicals are getting into Minnesota's lakes or exactly what effects they might be having on animals or people. "It's not as though people should worry about going to the lake or taking their dogs to the lakes," said Mark Ferrey, an environmental scientist at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which published the new report. "We're talking about how we're affecting lakes and rivers in ways that we probably don't understand yet." "It's disquieting," he added. "We could be affecting fish populations or entire ecosystems in ways that are largely invisible to us." Starting about a decade ago, in routine reconnaissance, Ferrey and colleagues began collecting surface waters from rivers and streams around Minnesota. As expected, analyses showed contaminants downstream from wastewater treatment plants and in other highly developed areas. But the researchers were surprised when chemicals also turned up in background samples collected in lakes with mostly untouched shorelines.
In the new techno-thriller Upload, a young computer scientist with a sketchy past and distrust of society decides to take the ultimate leap forward by scanning his brain and uploading his memories, personality and consciousness into a simulated world of his own making. Raymond wants to live forever, controlling his environment and interactions with other humans as a god-like being. The novel by author Mark McClelland is set in the Michigan of 2070 about the time that futurists like Ray Kurzweil predict that "singularity" will be reached, the moment when machine learning will surpass human intelligence. It's not the first science-fiction tale to explore human-computer hybrids (see What are Little Girls Made Of in the first season of the original Star Trek series) or even the perils of virtual reality becoming too real (see the "Matrix" triology). But it does posit some questions that real-world researchers are just now tackling. The European Union, for example, recently announced it was funding a $1.3 billion project to build a human brain on a silicon substrate. That's about 1 1/2 cents per neuron. Swiss neuroscientist Henry Markham, who is behind the Human Brain Project, has already started work on building a simulated rat brain.
Even though most companies on paper say they don't tolerate bullying in the workplace, bullies can still thrive in office environments. This may be explained by a social gift many bullies share: They know how to strategically abuse their coworkers - with belittling comments, deliberate exclusion and the like - while still garnering positive evaluations from their supervisors, researchers say. "Many bullies can be seen as charming and friendly, but they are highly destructive and can manipulate others into providing them with the resources they need to get ahead," Darren Treadway, associate professor of organization and human resources at the University of Buffalo, said in a statement. In a new study, Treadway and colleagues measured bullying behavior and career success for by looking at behavioral and job performance data from 54 employees at a mental health organization in the northwest U.S. The researchers found a strong correlation between bullying, social competence and positive job evaluations.
Complex robots are like animals: They learn by doing. Future robots may even respond to reward systems: complete a task with aplomb, and a gain a "feeling" of satisfaction for a job well done. While this technology could create more efficient, goal-oriented robots, it could also have some very dire ramifications for humanity. After all, robots that feel rewarded by making humans happy may eventually decide that if no humans exist, no human will ever be unhappy again. "Robots without preferences can't have complicated behaviors," Roman V. Yampolskiy, director of the Cybersecurity Research Lab at the University of Louisville, told TechNewsDaily. "To make machines which are independent and creative, we need to give them rewards and preferences." While Yampolskiy believes that robots can be indispensible tools, he also warns that as they learn to seek rewards, they may learn to circumvent helping humans. "I am trying to make sure that any AI software we develop is safe to use and beneficial to humanity," he said. Yampolskiy asserts that robots with the capacity for feelings of pleasure would, in all likelihood, take all the same shortcuts that humans use to acquire it. In a recent paper, he described the process of "wireheading," which sent an electric jolt through the pleasure center of a rat's brain. "The rat's self-stimulation behavior completely displaced all interest in sex, sleep, food and water, ultimately leading to premature death," Yampolskiy wrote.
The moon has a new hole on its surface thanks to a boulder that slammed into it in March, creating the biggest explosion scientists have seen on the moon since they started monitoring it. The meteorite crashed on March 17, slamming into the lunar surface at a mind-boggling 56,000 mph (90,000 kph) and creating a new crater 65 feet wide (20 meters). The crash sparked a bright flash of light that would have been visible to anyone looking at the moon at the time with the naked eye, NASA scientists say. "On March 17, 2013, an object about the size of a small boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium," Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office said in a statement. "It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we've ever seen before." NASA astronomers have been monitoring the moon for lunar meteor impacts for the past eight years, and haven't seen anything this powerful before. Scientists didn't see the impact occur in real time. It was only when Ron Suggs, an analyst at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., reviewed a video of the bright moon crash recorded by one of the moon monitoring program's 14-inch telescopes that the event was discovered. "It jumped right out at me, it was so bright," Suggs said. Scientists deduced the rock had been roughly 1-foot-wide (between 0.3 to 0.4 meters) and weighted about 88 lbs (40 kg).The explosion it created was as powerful as 5 tons of TNT, NASA scientists said. When researchers looked back at their records from March, they found that the moon meteor might not have been an isolated event.
Nasa scientists are getting excited about seeing the QE2 in the hope it will reveal crucial new insights. But it is not Her Majesty's defunct steam liner which is lying in dock in Dubai which has set stargazers in Houston, Texas, agog. The object is an asteroid flying through space which is as big as 19 of the former royal vessel. It measures 1.7 miles in length. 1998 QE2 is set to come close to our world when it flys past in its orbit of the sun, on May 31. Scientists will use the Near Earth Object (NEO) event to help plan for an audacious bid to land on a lump of space rock in four years time as part of asteroid defence planning. Nasa scientist Lance Benner said: Whenever an asteroid approaches this closely, it provides an important scientific opportunity to study it in detail to understand its size, shape, rotation, surface features, and what they can tell us about its origin. "We will also use new radar measurements of the asteroid's distance and velocity to improve our calculation of its orbit and compute its motion farther into the future than we could otherwise." Earth's upcoming brush with an extra-terrestial object should not contain the risk of causing chaos for us on earth, like the Russian meteor earlier this year. 1998 QE2 shall fly past earth 3.6m miles above our heads. A Nasa spokesman claimed there is no connection between the asteroid and the British royal cruise ship.
Russian authorities have launched a criminal case into the suspected beating of children by teenage caretakers in a Far Eastern orphanage on Friday, a day after a video sparked internet outrage. The video, made in the orphanage in the town of Pionersky in the Far Eastern Amur Region, shows a teenage girl who lashes boys aged between seven and nine with a belt. Seven boys are lined up against a wall as she calls the children forward one by one, beats them and shoves them away. Police opened a criminal case on charges of torture, which entail a maximum punishment of seven years in prison. Three girls, aged between 15 and 17 are seen as likely suspects. Two of them were taken to a detention facility for minors. The third teenager, who is under 16 years - the age of criminal responsibility on these charges - was hospitalized for reasons not related to the incident.