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IN THE NEWS TODAY: 2/4/2016:
The increased popularity of drones is causing nations of the world to address safety concerns. In the Netherlands, the Dutch are worried about illegal drones flying too close to airplanes and they've come up with an unusual idea. They are developing a program where eagles are being trained to attack them. Taught that the tiny drones are something to be hunted, the eagles swoop down and take hold of the drones flying in illegal airspace. One issue that needs to be addressed, however, is the safety of the eagles. As the drones are swirling, their blades can harm the birds. Authorities are working on developing protective gear for the eagles to wear while doing their drone patrols!
Scientists were wondering about a purple sock found deep in the Pacific Ocean. Well, not REALLY a sock, but a very unusual deep-sea creature. Since I love the color purple, I had to post this news story. Since its discovery, in 1949, scientists haven't been able to determine how to classify the creature,call Zenoturbella. The "purple sock" as its been nicknamed is eyeless, brainless, and doesn't have much of a stomach. Basically, it has an opening for food and for waste removal. It doesn't even have teeth! Now, several others have been found. Scientists believe the strange looking creature is a very early form of life.
Archaeologists have found dozens of barefoot prints near Tucson, Arizona. What makes these footprints unique is that they are about 2500 years old! The different sized footprints and even paw prints, suggest a family and pet must have been strolling through the area when they wandered into a muddy area. Archaeologists think a sudden flash flood covered the muddy area, causing a hard mineral crust to form, preserving the imprints for all these many years. Even a child's handprint was uncovered among the footprints. The prints were discovered during the excavation for a new highway bridge.
Construction workers digging down about 10 feet, near the football field on the campus of Oregon State University, have found the bones of an ice-age mammoth. Scientists will need to study the bones to determine the age, but it is thought that the mammoth bones could be "tens of thousands of years old". The area may have been an ancient watering hole or pond,because in addition to the mammoth bones, the bones of a camel and bison were also discovered. Mammoths once roamed this area of Oregon.
A few years ago, an 800 year old clay pot containing preserved squash seeds, was uncovered on the First Nations, Canada. Recently, college students at Canadian Mennonite University decided to try and see if the seeds left behind by Native Americans so many years ago, would sprout. A rather healthy looking orange squash was the result. The experiment isn't complete. The plan is to continue to grow squash from the first revived squash plant using these very old seeds in hopes that the once extinct variety of squash, now "reborn", will never go extinct again.
To help fight against illegal garbage dumping,the government of Peru, has asked Captain Huggin, Captain Phoenix, Captain Aella and a team of seven others to assist. The team is a group of vultures. Each of the ten trained vultures have been given mini cameras and a GPS device to help locate such dumping around the captial city of Lima as they soar overhead. It is estimated that 2.1 million tons of garbage is thrown away each year, in the city! With real-time information,the humans monitoring the data collected from the squad of vultures can track down and apprehend those who are littering. Part of the "Vultures Detect" program, the team fly back to their keepers each evening after doing their environmental watch.
Astronomers are pretty excited. There may be a ninth planet, afterall! Remember, Pluto was demoted to a dwarf star! Called "Planet Nine"(what might you call it?), the planet may actually be 10x the mass of the Earth. And, scientists add, the planet may take almost 20,000 years to orbit the sun(wow...you wouldn't even get to celebrate ONE birthday!) No one has actually spotted the planet as of yet. Using computers and matematical formulas, it is thought that the planet is somewhere past the planet Nepture. If confirmed, the new planet would be the first discovered planet in almost 170 years.
A flower blooming may not sound newsworthy, but it is, when it blooms in space! For the first time ever, a zinnia plant bloomed at the ISS. As part of an experiment to learn how microgravity effects the growth of plants, zinnias were planted inside a mini-greenhouse.Astronaut Scott Kelly said it wasn't an easy task to get the plants to flower. Humidity created mold to grow on the plant. Kelly said he didn't give up. He cut out the moldy leaves and changed the watering cycle of the plants. The result, flowers growing in space! Picture twitted by Scott Kelly
PAST NEWS STORIES
The fossil of an enormous ocean-living crocodile has been found in the Sahara, in the African country of Tunisia. Except for a narrow snout, the Machimosaurus rex, looked very similar to a present day crocodile, except for its huge size. Paleontologists say the fossil remains are of a creature that was about 32 ft. long and may have tipped the scale at over 6000 pounds! Its skull was about five ft. long! It is thought that the Machimosaurus rex ate fish and turtles and with its strong bite, could catch land animals,too, that wandered near the water.
A heart of the largest mammal on earth has been removed from a dead blue whale, found in Newfoundland, Canada. This was no small task. The 400 pound heart, even after drained of fluids and blood, was said to be about the size of a large freezer, measuring about 5 ft. by 5 ft. Scientists packed up the heart where it then traveled by airplane to Germany where it will undergo a process to preserve it. When the preservation of the blue whale heart is completed, it will return for display at the Royal Ontario Museum, in 2017. See a video of the efforts to get the heart ready for shipping:Special DeliveryVery cool!
With so much trash in our oceans, wouldn't it be great if there were trash cans scattered about to collect the debris? Two surfers from Australia have designed floating trash cans! The automated Seabin collects floating debris including paper, oil, plastic bottles...anything, around a harbor area! Made from recycled materials, Seabins act like a swimming pool filter that when water is pumped, the suction causes the trash to collect into a bag. The inventing surfers, Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, think that if trash is collected before it drifts out to sea, it can protect the marine life that live in the ocean, one harbor at a time!
Using a 1502 design from Leonardo da Vinci, students at Eindhoven University of Technology,in Finland, hope to construct the world's biggest ice bridge. Using ice and 2% paper fiber, the 213 ft. ice bridge will be strong enough to support a two ton car. An estimated 900 tons of ice will be used as well as a huge inflated balloon. The balloon will be used as a mold to support the arch and will be removed when the ice hardens. The bridge will be finished by February 13th, for the Juuka Ice festival. Visitors will be able to walk the bridge. When the bridge thaws later in the year, the remaining paper debris will be used as compost.
Scientists are planning to drill into the Indian Ocean and try and reach inside the Earth's crust to sample a rock from the Earth’s mantle. The almost 3.5 mile drilling will take a couple of years. The project,part of the the International Ocean Discovery Program, will take place on the South West Indian Ridge of the Indian Ocean, known as the Atlantis Bank. This area was selected as it is believed that the crust is thinner, with less hard rock to break through, than at other parts of the world. Scientists hope to learn more about the boundary between the mantle, called the Moho area. They also hope to learn more about just how far life can exist. It may surprise you but life has been found as far as 1.5 miles below the surface of the Earth. The first phase of the drilling project begins this month.
The largest seawater desalination plant in the western hemisphere has been constructed in San Diego, CA.Approximately 100 million gallons of salt water will create an estimated 50 million gallons of drinking water for 300,000 residents by 2020.
The world's first climate agreement has been signed by 195 countries of the world's nations. Called the "Paris Agreement" since the summit was held in the country of France, the nations have committed to seeking ways to reducing greenhouse gases which are contributing to rising global temperatures.
After several days of radon scans, scientists think there is a 90% chance there IS a hidden chamber behind a wall in King Tut's tomb. Tut, short for Tutankhamun, is the only tomb found to date that still have much of its treasures and mummy inside. The tomb was discovered by archaeologist, Howard Carter, back in 1922. The investigation was done after an earlier infrared thermography study found a difference in temperatures suggesting there might be something behind the wall. It is not clear what the possible hidden chamber contains. Egypt.Could it be another tomb? Some are saying it may contain the remains of Nefertiti, famous queen of ancient Egypt!
A city without CARS? The capital city of Oslo, Norway, plans to go car-free by 2019, becoming the first large city to do so. Although the first to pledge a car-free city, it isn't the only city which hopes to do so.With 2015, the warmest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization, less cars will reduce greenhouse gasses, especially carbon dioxide, from being released into the atmosphere.
November 25/2015:If you like board games, people living 1500 years ago did, too! Archaeologists working in a tomb in China have unearthed an ancient board game that had a die made with 14 faces. The game is thought to be "Bo", a game that was popular many years ago but which people stopped playing over 1500 years ago. Although a poem talks about the game, archaeologists aren't sure just how the game was played.
It is interesting to watch a bridge being constructed, but a bridge being built over a canal in Amsterdam,Netherlands,is being built in a most unusual way.It is being built entirely with robots and 3D printer technology. Robots will work from each side of the canal.The robots have long arms which can produce steel in midair. Layer upon layer of steel will eventually form the pedestrian bridge which is expected to be completed in 2017.
Just in case you are wondering, the Oxford Dictionary has selected its "Word of the Year". Drumroll, please.The word is...emoji, specifically, an emoji of a face with tears of joy. Emojis are digital icons and this is the first time the Oxford University Press did not select a word but an image.
If you go to Seattle, Washington, there is an unusual wall that draws tourists. It's called the "gum wall". Near Pike Place Market, for nearly twenty years people have been plopping their used gum onto the wall. It is estimated that about 2200 pounds of gum are stuck on the wall! Another estimate is that there are close to 1 million pieces of used chewing gum on the wall. You can smell the spearmint, bubble gum and watermelon in the area as you walk near the wall. Now, due to rodents being attracted to the area, the city has hired a cleaning crew to power wash the wall of all the colorful wads of gum. The question is whether people will again start to leave their chewed gum on the wall!
11/15/2015:You may have heard of the city of Pompeii, an ancient city in Italy,buried by a volcanic eruption, in 79 AD. Archaeologists have unearthed another city buried by a volcanic that erupted about 1400 years ago. This city, was found in El Salvador and is a Mayan village. Buildings, pottery(some with fingerprints!),imprints of long ago crops, a bathhouse, and more have been unearthed thus far, under 16 ft. of volcanic ash. The city is being nicknamed the "Pompeii of the New World."
SeaWorld has announced that it will be ending its killer whale shows at its San Diego park. The shows will end after 2016. Back in 2013,a documentary called "Blackfish" addressed the treatment of orcas in captivity at SeaWorld. It is believed that SeaWorld is responding to the criticism that resulted from the movie.At the present time, the killer whale(Shamu) shows will continue at both the San Antonio and Orlando parks.
Archaeologist have found an area of the eastern Aegean sea with LOTS of ancient shipwrecks.Twenty-two remains of ships,some 2500 years old, were uncovered, in an area between the Greeks islands of Samos and Icaria. Because of the number of ships in the area, it may be the "ancient shipwreck capital of the world"! Made from wood, the hulls of the ships have long since rotted, but artifacts such as pottery have been found. Scientists will study the remains in the jars to determine just what was aboard the different ships. Previous shipwrecks have been found to have carried fish sauce, olive oil, perfumes, honey and wine.
Another sci-fi idea has actually been created by scientists in Great Britain. It's been called the world's first "sonic tractor beam". Surrounding an object with 64 tiny speakers, sound waves have actually picked up and moved an object. In this case, small pea-sized objects, but it's a start! How do you think such technology might be used in the future?
Picture from eureckalert.org
What is being called the oldest ABC primer has been unearthed in Egypt. Found on a piece of limestone pottery near Luxor, the Egyptian words date back to the 15th century B.C. Called an abecedary, the words listed in alphabetical order,may have been a study guide for scribes learning to read and write.
Photograph from newsdiscovery.com
A new idea may be changing the way you color! Disney has come up with a way to make coloring books turn into 3D images. Not only are the drawing 3D, the images can move. Imagine, coloring a drawing and having the character move around as you draw it! Pretty cool. You will need, however, to use specific coloring books and download an app to a smart phone for the technology to work. Since, the idea of 3D coloring books is still in the development stages, it won't be available just yet. What do you think about a 3D coloring book?
10/20/2015:A couple of years ago, scientists at Harvard University developed a tiny robotic bee that can fly. About the size of a penny, scientists hope that the RoboBee, which has the ability to hover in the air, can be used to help in flower pollination. Why might this be helpful? Honeybees help pollinate plants and they are dying at an alarming rate. Without pollination much of the food we eat would NOT be around. Now, the tiny RoboBee has learned a new ability. It can also swim! Many uses can be applied to the RoboBee especially in exploration and search and rescue operations, as it can get into very tiny spaces. What might be something you can think of for a robot, the size of a paper clip, to do?
A replica of an IS Lexus Sedan was built from recycled cardboard! The full size car took three months and 1700 pieces of cardboard to create. Although a metal frame was used(in order to support an electric motor),the rest was made from cardboard. Even the seats are made of cardboard, which the builders said were a challenge. And, the car wheels are made of cardboard, too. They, too, were a challenge to create. The car actually runs but the creators say it is more a work of art than a vehicle. Ruben Marcos and Daniel Ryan says they don't think the car will be an option to car buyers. One of the drawbacks of a cardboard car...being caught in a rain storm!
Martin Strel really loves to swim. He hopes to swim around the world! Swimming through 107 countries and covering 24,901 miles is an awesome undertaking. Marathon swimmer Strel thinks he can complete the swim in 450 days. He plans to begin his trek on March 22, 2016. OVer the years, Strel, from Slovenia, has swam the Amazon, the Danube, the Mississippi, the Yangtze River as well as others. On this swimming event, Strel, who will swim about 5-12 hours a day, will have a boat accompany him for safety. His route will include taking Strel through both the Suez and Panama Canals, the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Strel will be swimming to create world awareness to water pollution.
The world's first glowing sea turtle has been discovered in the South Pacific. The biofluorescent reptile was spotted near the Solomon Islands. A biofluorescent creature has the ability to take in light, transform it and sent it back out in a different color. After being seen, the turtle, a hawksbill sea turtle, sending out red and green neon colors, disappeared into the ocean depths.
10/1/2015:A farmer was digging in his soy-field when he discovered a woolly mammoth! The farmer thought he was pulling out a bent old fence post until he saw it was a rib bone! Found near Chelsea, Michigan, the bones, including a skull, ribs, shoulder blades and tusks, are estimated to be over 12,000 years old. Paleontologists say the male woolly mammoth was about 40 years old when it died.
At the North Slope of Alaska, scientists have found the remains of a new species of duck-billed dinosaur(a hadrosaur). Scientists are calling it the" best-known polar dinosaur in the world" because of its remote location in the Arctic region. Named "ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis"(ancient grazer) in honor of the native Inupiaq people, the new species of dinosaur is believed to have been a plant eater, which grew up to 30 ft.in length.
A couple of years ago, a macaque found a camera that had been left unattended. Named Naruto, the monkey started to snap pictures, including a fantastic selfie. The owner of the camera got his camera back and published the photographs. Now, an animal rights organization has filed a lawsuit claiming the photographs are the property of Naruto. PETA says that if the courts rule in favor of the macaque, it will be the first time a right(in this cause, ownership of property) is giving to a non-human animal. What do you think? Who owns the photographs, the owner of the camera or the monkey?
9/20/15: Do you know who your great-great grandparents are? For the first time, scientists have developed a tree of Life. The result, a tracing of about 2.3 million species of plants, fungi and animals to find a common relationship. It's like a connecting the dot activity, only with living species. Scientists will continue to add to this Tree of Life as new species are discovered. It is thought that understanding connections of different species will aid in developing new drugs, help with agriculture and, study the origins and spread of infectious illnesses.
The migration has begun. Each September,Monarch butterflies begin a 3000 mile journey, of about three months,from Canada and the United States to their destination-Mexico.Sadly, the monarch butterfly numbers are diminishing. Just 15 years ago, there were an estimated one billion orange and black butterflies. Today, scientists say there are less than 30 million. One main reason for less monarch butterflies is a pesticide that is used today. It kills weeds and it also kills a plant called milkweed. Milkweed is the only plant that a monarch butterfly uses to lay their eggs. It is also the only food of the Monarch caterpillar. The lepidoptera(name for butterflies) need our help. People are being encouraged to plant more milkweed plants along the routes that Monarchs follow on their migration south. Trying to use less pesticides would help,too.
Scientists in France have found a 30,000 year old virus in Siberian.Called Mollivirus sibericum(meaning soft Siberian virus), the prehistoric virus is considered a "giant virus" because of its large size That's why it's been nicknamed, Frankenvirus. Viruses can live dormant for years, thousands of them, and the scientists are planning to try and bring this prehistoric virus back to a living state! This isn't the first time a virus has been brought back to life. In 2004, a Spanish flu virus, from about 100 years ago,which killed millions of people, was revised. The researchers wonder whether frozen virus, may be awoken from their dormant state as an effect of climate change on our planet.
Ice cream... most of us love to eat it on a hot summer day. However, warm temperatures make the treat melt very rapidly. It's no fun having sticky,liquid ice cream running down the cone onto the hands(and clothing, if you aren't careful.) Scientists think they've come up with a solution to this age old problem...using microbes to help keep the ice cream from melting! At the University of Dundee and Edinburgh, scientists have found a protein that binds the water, air and fat(ice cream is mostly air) slowing it from melting, for a longer amount of time.
September 10,2015:Although for many years, Mount McKinley,( 20,320 ft) the highest peak in North America, has also been called by its native American name, Denali, President Obama has now made it official.Visiting Alaska for the very first time,the President has announced that the Athabascan name Denali(meaning "the high one"), will formally be recognized by the federal government.The mountain, originally called Denali by the natives of Alaska was changed to McKinley, to honor the 25th president of the United States. McKinley was from the state of Ohio.Interestingly, Denali continues to grow at about one millimeter per year!
Six scientists have entered a dome, 36 ft. in diameter and 20 ft. tall, on the summit of Mauna Loa, Hawaii. They will stay inside the dome for 365 days! Part of a NASA program(HI-SEAS or Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) to study the effects on a long mission to Mars, the location mimics the landscape found on the planet Mars. The dome has six bedrooms, a bathroom, exercise area, dining area, kitchen and a lab. At some times, the scientists will conduct experiments outside the habitat but only while wearing space suits.
Waters off of Vancover, British Columbia, may become the world's first permanent sanctuary for dolphin and whales. Also known as a sea pen, a sanctuary is being proposed as a place where whales and dolphin, who have lived in captivity, can spend their remaining years. The option of setting an animal free that has never known such an existence, doesn't usually work successful. Different from an aquarium or sea park, creatures in the sanctuary would catch their own food, have more social opportunities and, have much more room to roam freely.
Ninety dinosaur footprints(each about 4ft.long) were found in a stone quarry in Germany. Scientists think the footprints belong to Dilpodocus dinosaurs(long-necks) that lived about 140 million years ago. The tracks are very deep, about 17 inches and the dinosaurs who left them created a trail about 50 ft.long.
What may be the oldest message in a bottle has been found near a beach on the German island of Amrum. The message, asked finders to send the postcard back to the Marine Biological Association in Great Britain. Those that did would receive one shilling. The message in a bottle, was one of about 1000 bottles placed into the North Sea, back between 1904 and 1906.Guinness Book of Records is looking into whether or not this is the oldest ever discovered. The current "oldest bottle" was set adrift in 1914 and discovered in 2013.
Another Stonehenge type structure has been discovered...in waters, 131 ft. deep, and about 37 miles off the coast of Sicily. The man-made structures are about 10,000 years old!The stone monolith(stone block) is in pieces, almost 3.2 ft. long and the structure weighs about 15 tons. Found in the Mediterranean Sea, scientists say that the stone is not from the area and had to be cut and transported to the island ,that has since been submerged. At this time, it isn't sure why people so many years ago who lived on the island would have built such a stone structure. Scientists suggest it may have been used as a lighthouse beacon for sailors or as an anchor for boats.
Students in two elementary and secondary schools in Australia will be welcoming some unusual students to their classrooms...robots. As part of a research project, the human-like robots will become part of the classes for the next three years. The project wants get feedback on the positives and negatives of working with robots in a school environment. The robots in the classroom will also be used to assist students in learning computer science skills.
August 10,2015: Archeologist Dr. Nicholas Reeves,of the University of Arizona, thinks there is a hidden passageway behind a wall in King Tut's Tomb. He also thinks that there is a very important mummy waiting to be found in this possible burial chamber of Queen Nefertiti. Called the "Lady of All Women", the queen's burial site has never been located. Using digital scans, of King Tut's tomb walls, there appears to be a bricked-up wall and a possible room! King Tut's tomb, discovered by Howard Carter, in 1922, is the only tomb discovered thus far, with all its treasures(and mummy) still intact.
Growing lettuce may not sound newsworthy but growing it at the international Space Station sure is. For the first time, astronauts got to sample space-grown lettuce! The red romain lettuce was served with oil and vinegar and got the thumbs up for taste by the astronauts. For long term space missions, growing food will be very important. Taking 33 days, the lettuce was grown in a specially designed container, called the Veggie unit. The seeds, in pillows of soil and fertilizer, had an irrigation system to supply moisture needed moisture. Watering isn't possible in space. Blue and green LED lights also helped to grow the lettuce. The astronauts only ate some of the lettuce as the rest will be returned to Earth to be studied.This isn't the first time lettuce has been grown in space. Last year's lettuce was not eaten by astronauts as it needed to first pass safety tests.
There's a lot of space junk. Scientists estimate there is about 3000 tons of different things orbiting the earth. What can be done with all that debris? Researchers in Switzerland think they have an idea...a satellite that can munch up anything in its path. The "Pac-Man" probe will be launched in 2018. Part of the CleanSpace One mission, the test will be for the probe to grab a small satellite with its net. What ideas might you have to try and get rid of some of the space junk?
August 1,2015: July 20,2015:If you like deep swimming pools, the one proposed by the University of Essex, in Great Britain, is for you. The proposed pool, still in the discussion phase, would be 164 feet deep. As the world's deepest pool, it would be useful as a training environment for astronauts and space tourists, to simulate microgravity. Astronauts could practice working on maintenance in a simulated International Space Station. It could also be used to teach deep sea diving and for study by deep sea environmental scientists. Currently the deepest pool is found in Italy. It is 137 ft. deep.
The country of Netherlands may become the first country to pave one of their roads entirely with recycled plastic! Did you know that you could circle the earth 4 times with the amount of plastic thrown away each year? That's a LOT of plastic! At this time, we recycle only about 5% of all plastic made. Using plastic to make roads may be just the thing to help reuse some of this plastic. Netherlands’ city of Rottterdam is being proposed as the first city to have such a road. Unlike asphalt, plastic is longer lasting, has little maintenance and can be assembled in sheets, in lots less time than it takes to pave roads. It is hoped that the road can be installed within the next three years.
WOW! New Horizon's photographs of Pluto are AWESOME. Check out NASA's webquest to see some of them!NASA.gov
WOW! New Horizon's photographs of Pluto are AWESOME. Check out NASA's webquest to see some of them!NASA.gov
A garden growing basil,beans, lettuce and strawberries isn't very unusual, but a garden growing these fruits and veggies under the sea, certainly is unique. Called Nemo's Garden,the experimental project involves underwater greenhouses located off the coast of Italy. With constant sea temperatures and lots of carbon dioxide, needed for plant growth, it is thought that food can be grown all year long. The four year project is the idea of Sergio Gamberini. The five spheres, located about 20 ft. beneath the sea, are also attracting the attention of crabs ,seahorses and octopi, that have gathered near the different air-filled biospheres. Gamberini says that his basil harvested from his Nemo Garden looks the same as above grown basil but has a stronger taste...he isn't sure why.Photograph from:gizmag.com
After 9 1/2 years, New Horizons is about to give Earthlings an amazing view of Pluto! On Tuesday, July 14th, after 3 billion miles, the spacecraft will be within 7800 miles of the dwarf planet(which was still considered a planet back during the 2006 launch). It will take 4 1/2 hours, traveling at the speed of light, for New Horizons' snapshots to reach Earth. Mission control at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, will begin sharing photographs with the rest of us soon after. The flyby of New Horizons will last only a few hours. If you look to the lower left, scientist have nicknamed the dark region, the whale. And, to the right, is a white heart shaped region of Pluto.
On July 4th, the Tour de France began and will end on July 26th. It's considered the world's biggest and most exciting bicycling race. Athletes competing in the race will travel approximately 2072 miles during the 22 day race. This year's Tour de France began in Utrecht,Netherlands.Cyclists will also travel through parts of Belgium and end in Paris,France, along the Champs-Elysees. Each day(called stages), a leader will be awarded a yellow jersey(or Maillot Jaune in French). In addition to the yellow jersey, there is a polka dot jersey awarded to the best climber(king of the mountains), a white jersey( the best youngest rider) and a green jersey(best sprinter).The Tour de France began in 1903.
July 1,2015: Ballerina Misty Copeland has made history becoming the first African-American to become a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. In the theater's 75 year history, this is the first time an African American woman has received such a distinction. Copeland is preforming in Swan Lake in the role of both the white swan, Odette and black swan, Odile.
You will have some extra time on June 30th! The day will have an extra second added(or "leap"second). Scientists say that the rotation of the Earth is slowing down little by little.What slows down the Earth's rotation is the pull of gravity with the Earth, sun and moon. So, every once in a while a second needs to be added. Don't, however, make many plans for the extra time you will have...it's less than the blink of an eye!
June 24,2015: A furniture maker from Great Britain,"grows" the chairs and tables that he sells. He morphs branches into growing into the shapes of chairs and tables using plastic molds to bend saplings into place. Munro is constantly having to prune any wandering branches. Taking 5-8 years to grow, when ready for harvest, Munro, doesn't need to kill a tree, he just removes the furniture that is ready. Currently, Munro has about 3000 trees(mostly willow trees),growing into chairs, tables, mirror frames and lampshades.Due to all the time to create his furniture, his chairs come with a hefty cost, about $3700 per chair!
Quick, name 7 sports! Did you list video games as one of your sports? Just what is a sport,anyway? According to a recent report by the Youth Sport Trust,a charity organization, in Great Britain, almost one quarter of kids asked, listed playing video games as a sport! Do you think playing computer games is a form of exercise?
June 10,2015:Tom Wagg, 15, found something most unusual. He discovered a new planet! The teen from Great Britain enjoys staring at the stars. He says that he got interested in astronomy when he received a telescope at the age of seven.Tom did a week's internship at Keele University's astrophysics department(astronomy). Studying data,Tom noticed a strange light curve in the constellation of Hydra. It was a planet. It's taken two additional years for experts to confirm Tom's finding.About 1000 light years from planet Earth, the planet called WASP-142b(for "Wide Angle Search for Planets"),is about the size of Jupiter, and is considered a gas planet(called a "hot Jupiter"). Scientists say there could be additional planets in the same area. Tom is now one of the youngest to discover a planet! The International Astronomical Union has begun a contest to give his planet an actual name. Very cool!
A very unique new octopus was discovered in the Pacific. It's PINK! About the size of a fist, the octopus is rather adorable and, may be named "Adorabilis", or more correctly "Opisthoteuthis Adorabilis". Little is actually known about the cephalopod, which lives in very deep(about 2600 ft.) and frigid water temperatures. Thus far, twelve females have been discovered. Scientists hope to breed some of the "adorabilis" in the lab but that it may take up to two or three years to develop as they grow very, very slowly!
Do you know who is on a ten dollar bill? If you answered Alexander Hamilton, you are correct...for now. The U.S. Treasury has announced that there will be a change coming in 2020. A woman's face will be featured on the ten dollar bill! The year, 2020, is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote. An organization has been petitioning the U.S. Treasury to place a woman's face on the twenty dollar bill for this 100th anniversary. Currently, President Andrew Jackson is on the twenty dollar bill. Due to Jackson's treatment of Native Americans, this particular bill was suggested for the change. An online vote asking people which woman they'd like to see selected, picked Harriet Tubman. The U.S. Treasury will begin asking people which woman they'd like to see on the new ten dollar bill. Who would you select? Trivia: Did you know that the last woman to be on a U.S.paper currency was Martha Washington?
Paleontologists,scientists that study the past from fossils, have discovered what is thought to be red blood cells in fossilized dinosaur bones. The 75 million year old cells and protein were discovered in a fossilized claw of a theopod, a dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period. All together, eight different fossils were tested, all with the same results. This is an amazing discovery as it was thought protein molecules couldn't survive such long periods of time. At first the researchers thought it was human blood, someone having contaminated the fossil but the cells contained nuclei, a blood cell not found in mammals. Collagen was also found. The amino acids that make of collagen, found in the fossils may also have an important implication. Scientists may be able to use such information to identify unknown species of dinosaur. Lots and lots of fossils may be getting a second look for dinosaur biological evidence,with this discovery!
Scientists dissected a 43ft.T Rex, on televison. Well, in a way...Made of fiberglass,rubber,foam,and silicone, the fake Tyrannosaurus rex was created for the first ever dissection of a dinosaur. Thirty-four gallons of blood(golden dyed corn-syrup) were also used inside the artificial dinosaur. Using chain saws and knives a medical team and dinosaur experts went about doing a full autopsy on the carnivorous dinosaur. The 12 ft. long man-made dinosaur was created based on evidence from fossils, such as its size, weigh and body proportions. The "fake" T Rex has a two chambered stomach, which had an artificial scent of rotting tissue. It also has a four-chambered heart. Scientists hope to find out about the workings of the inside of the famous dinosaur.
Vanya Shivashankar, 13, and Gokul Venkatachalam,14, are this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee winners. When the 88th Bee ran out of words, the two teens were named co-champions. In fact, it is the second tie in the past two years! More than 11 million kids tried to qualify in smaller bees across the country, with 283 finalists, ages 9-15,coming to National Harbor, Maryland, last week for the finals. Gokul correclty spelled NUNATAK(a mountain surrounded by glacial ice) and Vanya spelled SCHERENSCHNITTE(paper cutting art). The two champions each won $35,000, a $2,5000 savings bond, a trophy and several other prizes. Interestingly, Vanya's sister, Kavya, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee, in 2009. Congrats to both of the 2015 co-winners! Here were some of the other words spelled correctly in this year's bee: 1.guayabi(hard wood from south America) 2. panophthalmitis(inflamnmned tissue of the eyball 3.flamenco(a dance) 4. ubiquitous(everywhere) Photograph from mashable.com
May 15,2015: Trees are cut down to make paper for such things as books. A company in Brazil has come up with an idea to reverse the process. Pequeno Editor has published a book that can become a tree! It is the first such book. Called "My Father Was in the Jungle", or "Mi Papa Estuvo en la Selva", the story is about a boy sharing the adventure of his dad in the Ecuadorian jungle. The book is made of non-toxic ink, acid free paper and, seeds are sewn into the pages! When done reading the book, instructions say to cover the cover of the book in water and place it in the sun. Once the seeds sprout, you plant the book! The company, Pequeno Editor, doesn't plan to create other "tree" books at this time but hope that kids will see the importance of recycling with this project. And, if you are interested, the book will grow a Jacaranda tree.
You've probably heard that 3D printers are being used to print houses, tools for astronauts, artificial hands and, even print pizza! Now,the application of 3 D printers is being used to create human-like skin. Using bio-ink, scientists make a layer of skin tissue and then, recreate the process until there is a thick enough layer of skin. A blood substitutes keeps the cells alive. Burn victims in need of skin would benefit from such technology. Doctors could practice medical procedures on 3D skin and, cosmetic companies will be able to create 3D skin to experiment with new products.
Over 13.1 BILLION light years away, astronomers have discovered a galaxy which is the farthest ever recorded, from Earth. Named EGS-zs8-1, the discovery was made using NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. Astronomers say the recently discovered galaxy is very bright and is the youngest galaxy every found. It is located in the Bootes constellation. And if you want to calculate the distance, ONE light year is 5.8 trillion miles!
An airplane flying around the world may not sound newsworthy, until you learn that the Solar Impulse 2 isn't using ANY fuel. The solar powered plane began it's record attempt to soar into the record books on March 9th. It left from the United Arab Emirates. The plane has now reached leg six of the 12 to complete the journey, having arrived in China. It's wings, longer than that of a Boeing 747, and tail, are covered with over 17,000 solar panels. The journey will take an estimated five months and only has one person, the pilot. Two pilots, Andre Borschberg and Berrand Piccard, of Switzerland, will take turns flying the Solar Impulse 2. Traveling at speeds of 20-90 mph, the most challenging leg begins with the Pacific crossing to Hawaii, about a 5000 mile distance which will take about six days to complete. The next difficult phase will be from Hawaii to Arizona.Previously, Borschberg and Piccard, were the first to flight across the United States in a solar powered plane, back in 2013.
The famous French prehistoric cave, Chauvet Cave, found in 1994, has been closed to the public since it was discovered. With over 400 paintings and even handprints, the cave dates back to 30,000-70,000 years ago. It is considered to be the oldest cave art in the world! The moisture from people's breath causes mold to form, harming the paintings. This week, for the first time, people can now visit the famous cave, well...almost. A replica cave has just opened to the public. Using 3D imaging, and hi-tech tools, it took four years for scientists and artists to create a replica cave, down to the nooks and crannies of the original cave. Artists used similar techniques, paints and tools used by the stone age painters to recreate the artwork. Many of the animals drawn on the walls are no longer found on the continent of Europe. The artificial cave is found near the original Chauvet Cave. Years ago, I visited Lascaux's "replica cave", created for the same reason. Some might say, why see artificial drawings but it was actually, a spectacular thing to see! People can appreciate the insides of these famous caves, without destroying them, thanks to technology and lots of hard work!
A Japanese train has set a record for speed.The magnetic levitation train on a test run reached 375 mph! That’s over 1 mile in about ten seconds. What makes such speed possible is maglev trains use magnetism to travel above tracks, making for hardly any resistance(or friction).It will be several years before passengers will be boarding such a fast train on the Central Japan Railway.
One day, firetrucks may not need to carry water to put out fires. Instead, they may just need to turn on a generator and create a low -rumbling frequency. Such technology would be especially helpful instead of using non-environmentaly friendly chemicals often used in fire extinguishers, The idea of using sound,instead of water, to put out fires, is the idea of two engineering students at George Mason University. They first attempted to play music but the frequency wasn't steady and didn't work. However, when they applied steady sound waves, remarkably, the test fire went out! The idea is th
Forty-three dinosaur eggs, including 19 completely unbroken eggs, were found by construction workers in south-east China. Found in red sandstone, one of the large eggs,estimated to date back about 90 million years ago, is about 5 inches in diameter. At this time, it isn’t known which type of dinosaur laid the eggs, but previous dinosaur eggs found in the area were from duckbilled dinosaurs and oviraptorids. The city where the dinosaur eggs were found, Heyuan City,is nicknamed Home of the Dinosaurs, as approximately 17000 eggs, have thus far been found in the area, since the early 1990s.
A 150,000 year old skeleton of a Neanderthal was not only found inside a cave...it was part of the cave! First found in the Lamalunga Cave,in 1993, in southern Italy, the remains were thought to be that of a present day person. It is suggested that the man fell into a well and got stuck and died.However,recent DNA testing on a piece of bone determined the remaining bones and skull to be that of a "homo neanderthalensis". Scientists say, Altamura Man, it is the oldest DNA sample ever found. Over the many years, his calcium bones blended with the stalactites and other stone deposits from dripping water coming down into the cave.This "caveman" will not be removed from the site because scientists fear removal will destroy what remains of Altamura Man.
The Great Wall is even longer than previously thought. Archaeologists have recently uncovered nine additional sections of wall! Dating back about 2000 years, the newly discovered sections were found in northwestern China. The 6.2 miles of wall are made of stone and earth. Many years ago, Emperor Qin ordered a series of walls be connected to help stop invaders from the north from getting into China! Some sections of the Great Wall are about 20 ft. tall!
Hate getting a needle in the arm when it’s time for bloodwork? Researchers have developed a way to locate your veins BEFORE poking you with a needle. The VeinViewer uses near-infrared light to locate the veins underneath your skin. The infrared light is absorbed by hemoglobin in your blood and is reflected by the tissue surrounding the area. The VeinViewer illuminates the veins onto the top of your skin making it easy for medical personnel to see where to insert the needle!
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen that won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring attention of the need for girls around the world to be able to get an education, has a new honor. An asteroid has been named for her. Located in the asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter, the asteroid was discovered by Amy Mainzer, of NASA. The person who discovers a new asteroid, has naming rights, and Mainzer selected Malala! If you could have something named for you, what would you like it to be?
UPDATE:The Women on 20s campaign has moved forward. People have voted and the final four names for consideration to replace Andrew Jackson on a twenty dollar bill are Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and Wilma Mankiller. You can read a short biography on these four woman at this link:Final Four After the voting concludes and one of these women is selected, it is hoped that President Obama will consider beginning the process to replace President Andrew Jackson, on the twenty dollar bill. The group, Women on 20s, hopes that by 2020,the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment,which gave women the right to vote,the change may become a reality. Who would be your selection and why?
Singer Sarah Brightman will soon be singing in the most unique location-from the International Space Station.Brightman will travel aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket, on September 1,for a ten day stay. While on the ISS, Brightman will give a live concert and is currently working on special song to sing from space. Space has always had a fascination for Brightman, who says that since watching the first manned mission to the moon, back in 1969, she has wanted to go into space. Brightman, who had the original lead in Phantom of the Opera”, started her space training(and learning to speak Russian) back in January of this year. She will be the eighth tourist,and first non-astronaut to go to the ISS,since 2009.
Could a potion from a 1000 year old medical book help kill a very antibotic-resistance bacteria? MRSA ,called a super bug,is a very difficult bacteria to kill. Scientists at the University of Nottingham, Great Britain, say a very smelly concoction from the dusty old medical book,may actually be very helpful. Found in an Anglo-Saxon remedy book for an eye salve, the ingredients includes garlic, onion(or leeks), wine and, oxgall(bile from the stomach of a cow). It was cooked up in a brass container. After translating the Anglo Saxon recipe, scientists duplicated the potion in their lab. It was then was applied to the MRSA bacteria and found it did very well ,destroying billions of the harmful bacteria cells down to just a few thousand in only a 24 hour period. More experiments are being done but it is thought that this very old potion may find a use in our world today!Some 1000 year old ideas definitely won’t be making a comeback such as believing that wearing the eye of a cow around your neck could cure poor eyesight!
Studying the skin of a squid and its ability to disguise its presence from enemies, scientists at the University of California, at Irvine, have discovered a way to help camouflage people! Yes, you could become invisible with special "invisibility stickers".The skin of a squid has a protein called reflectin, that gives it a type of camouflage pattern. The cephalopods use this reflectin to blend into their environment. Creating reflectin in the lab, scientists applied it to a sticky tape. The tape was then placed onto clothing. The result, the clothing was not picked up by infrared detection, when worn in the dark . Such technology will enable people, especially soldiers, to apply such tape to their clothing to disguise their presence.
"Are We There Yet" may take on a whole new meaning. Imagine getting in your car and driving and driving and driving from New York to London! The 12,400 mile journey would be along a proposed Super Highway. Called the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development, such a road would cover almost half the earth's circumference, across three continents. Such a super highway would be the longest highway in the world. It would make it possible to drive from New York to London, for the very first time. Currently, Australia's Highway 1, which is 9,000 miles in length, is the longest highway in the world.The idea is being proposed by Vladimir Yakuni, president of the Russian Railways. The distance between Alaska and Russia's Siberia is only about 55 miles. A ferry or tunnel would need to be constructed at this location as well as between London, Great Britain and the rest of the European continent. What do you think? Would you do such a drive? How might such a road be beneficial? Can you think of an negative aspects to such a super highway?
Scientists have made a whopper of a discovery in the Russian area of Siberia. They found the fossil remains of a long necked dinosaur which was about 65 ft. tall, or three times that of a T-Rex. Called Sibirosaurus, the dinosaur weighed about the amount of nine elephants and may be a relative of the Titanosaurus. Originally discovered in 2008, it has taken years of research to determine the remains are of a previously unknown species of dinosaur,that lived an estimated 100 million years ago.
Enjoy doing wheelies? This "skateboard" doesn't have any wood, just two wheels. Called Sidewinding Circular Skates, you wear the 10 inch rubber wheels on each foot. A foot rest helps to keep your balance. With the wheels facing straight, it would seem difficult to get moving down but you move along sideways, learning side-to side to propell. To stop, you apply your toes to the ground.. And, for beginners a rod can be used to connect the two rings as you learn to operate the skates.
March 10th:The United Nations will soon be choosing a new secretary-general. The current secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon's term ends in December, 2016. Already,names are being considered by the Security Council. A woman has never been selected and an international women's group, called Equality Now, hopes to see this change. The group will soon begin a campaign to urge the United Nations to make "gender a serious consideration for the first time". There have been eight Secretary-generals to date, and many are saying it is time for a "she". The campaign to" Elect a Women Secretary-General" will start with WomanSG.org and will have several woman candidated highlighted. Did you know that of the 193 United Nation member countries, only 20 women are the leaders of government?
Imagine wearing your very own drone! In the not so distant future, people may be wearing drone on their arm, around their neck, or carrying them in a backpack. A futurist and interaction designer, Adam Pruden, believes that one day everyone will have such devices. Tiny bots, resting on one’s shoulder, could alert an asthmatic that they are coming upon an area which would make breathing difficult. It could be released to move around in front of that person, cleaning the air,they are breathing. Personal drones could be dispatched from a backpack or a wrist, to assist with navigation in a city or if you got lose while hiking. Other drones, worn on a belt or like jewelry could become an umbrella, spinning around and around, to keep help keep you dry, if it started to rain. What might you like a personal drone to do for you?
Archaeologists have found a new twist on the pretzel. A very old pretzel, about 300 years old, was discovered in Germany. It may be the oldest knotted pretzel every discovered. A bit burned,it is thought that the baker of the pretzel, threw it away! Along with the very old and stale pretzel, were found a burned croissant and burned bread roll. Pretzel's history dates back to 12th century Germany, where the doughy treat were given by monks to children who learned their religious lessons.The shape of the treats represented the way people crossed their arms in prayer. Archaeologists are escavating a site of an old bakery, when the discovery was made. The pretzel is on display at the Regensburg Historical Museum. And, if you are wondering, the oldest example of a baked good ever found is actually lots older. Pieces of burned bread, dating back 5,500 years were found in England.
Elephants have long been part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus but things will be changing by 2018. It's been announced that elephants will be phased out of the circus acts. Many people have been arguing that these animals should not been used for entertainment. The treatment of these creatures has also been at issue. The decision was in response to these concerns. Elephants,who are very intelligent, have been part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus, for 145 years. As the elephants are retired from the show, they will live out the rest of their lives at the Elephant Conservation center, owned by the circus.
In 2020, it will be the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, giving women in the United States the right to vote. A group think that this would be a great opportunity to have a woman's image placed on the twenty dollar bill by this anniversary date. Currently, Andrew Jackson's portrait is found on a $20 bill. With Jackson's policies towards Native Americans, especially the forced movement from their lands(called the Trail of Tears),with the Indian Removal Act of 1930, it is this bill's image, which Women on $20s seek to change.The group is asking people to vote on one of fifteen women,including Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony and Eleanor Roosevelt, to be considered, as a replacement. There is also a petition asking the President to recommend that the US Treasury make such a change. And, if you are wondering, Sacagawea, is currently honored on a dollar coin. Previously, there was a Susan B. Anthony dollar coin and Helen Keller's image can be found on one side of the 2003 Alabama quarter. Which woman might you wish to see honored on a $20 bill? Why? Click here to learn more:womenon20s.org
There may be some good news about the panda. In the past 10 years,the number of panda in the wilds of China, has risen. Back in 2003, there were approximately 1596 pandas left in the wild. At the latest count, there are now 1864. The biggest threat to the panda is destruction of their habitat. Increased building of roads and hydroelectric power plants in areas in which the wild pandas live, are two of the biggest threats to the panda population. Conservation efforts seem to be helping but there is still much more that needs to be done to insure that pandas will always have a place on our planet.
Artifacts from the past(things made by people) can be found in museums around the world. These artifacts shows visitors what ancient peoples made and used. Sadly,this week, the Mosul Museum, in the Iraqi city of Mosul, was attacked by the barbaric ISIS group. Using sledge hammers, these people smashed sculptures ,some dating back 4000 years, at the second latest museum in the country of Iraq! One particular sculpture, a huge winged bull, from the Assyrian culture, was destroyed as was a stone tablet, which some say is the world's oldest menu(from King Ashurbanipal 11). Previously, these extremists,also destroyed a library, in Mosul, several weeks before, burning more than 8000 rare books.
Byron Jones jumped into the record books! At the NFL scouting competition, where Jones hopes to be considered for a professional football team position, he jumped 12.3 inches, a possible world record, for the standing broad jump! The world record is 12.2. And, when Jones competed in a vertical leap(jumping straight up from a standing position), he had another remarkable jump. He jumped 44.5 inches into the air! The record for a vertical leap is 45.0. WOW!
Held each February, people in Menton, France, are celebrating with their annual Lemon Festival,or "La Fete du Citron". Each year, the region, known for their citrus fruits, creates festive floats made from lemons and oranges. This year's 82nd festival's theme is called "Tribulations of a Lemon in China". About 140 metric tons of the citrus fruits are used to create these fruity sculptures!
Imagine finding a scrapbook containing a very old document. That’s what happened in England this week when a copy of the Magna Carta was found in Kent, England, by a historian searching through old books. The Magna Carta, signed by King John, on June 15, 1215, was the first written document giving people rights and for the first time, limited the power of the king. Even the KING was subject to laws of the land, an amazing concept at the time. The Magna Carta is thought to be the foundations for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.This summer will be the 800 anniversary of the signing of this important document. The discovery of this copy, dating back to 1300, makes 24 known copies of the Magna Carta. Badly water damaged, and missing the royal seal, the paper, missing about 1/3 of the text, still has the date, when it was written. Historians estimate the value of this copy of the Magna Carta(also called the Great Charter) could be up to $21 million dollars.
Scientists think that the Alaskan Wood Frog is most unusual. In the cold winter months, more than 60% of its body actually freezes! With such a shut down, it is considered to be dead. But, come spring, it actually thaws out and comes back to life. Studying the unique frog, scientists have found that it has a very high level of cryoprotectants in its tissue. It is the cryoprotectants,which the wood frog has lots of, that prevents the frozen cells from shrinking and drying out. Most creatures do not have such levels and that is why freezing of their cells causes their deaths. Such research with the Alaskan Wood Frog is unlocking answers that will enable scientists to eventually freeze and unfreeze organs and tissues without damaging them. Being able to do this would help in organ donations, allowing the shipment organs without worrying about the donated organs being damaged before they can be used to save lives.
2/7/15:Can wandering sheep help rural areas get better WiFi? The concept is something called IoT or Internet of Things. The idea is that things can be used to help make better internet connections, especially in areas where there is poor network coverage. Scientists at Lancaster University(Wales, Great Britain) is working on an idea to fit sheep with digital collars. Wearing the Wi-Fi hotspot sensors, farmers could track the movement of their flocks more easily. And, the sheep would become "Wi-Fi" hotspots, enabling people in rural areas, with spotty coverage, to get online!
Stonehenge in Wisconsin? The famous English landmark has been recreated on a frozen lake in Wisconsin. Icehenge, as it's been nicknamed, was built over two days on Lake Mills. Over the past couple of years, five men have been attempting to create things from the frozen ice, using traditional ice tools. This year, they hack and sawed the thick ice, lifted the pieces with old-fashioned ice tongs,and created a beautiful ice sculpture! Some of the pieces of ice weighed 300 pounds. They were used as the pillars for the structure. Other pieces, about 200 pounds each, were lifted into place and set atop the ice pillars. Water and snow were also used as mortar to hold everything together. The ice sculpture will last until warm temperatures cause Icehenge to melt away.
Two pilots made history for a record breaking trip across the Pacific Ocean in a helium balloon. Leonid Tiukhtyaev and Troy Bradley glided 6646 miles across the Pacific Ocean, from Japan, to Baja California, Mexico. The journey took six days, 16 hours and 38 minutes and broke records for endurance as well as distance in a balloon, called the Two Eagles. The two pilots needed to wear oxygen masks and lots of layers of clothing to stay warm in the 50 degree temperatures. Inside their 7 ft. long, 5 ft. tall and f ft. wide container, the men also had a little toilet and sleeping bags.They brought along freeze dried meals which they heated on a tiny stove and had energy bars, water and fresh fruit. The World Air Sports Federation is reviewing their equipment to confirm that the records have been made. Photograph from the balloon taken by Troy Bradley/ NPR.org
1/30/15:The skeleton of the vertebrae, tail and skull of a dinosaur was unearthed in China. Called the "dragon of Qijiang", the 50 ft. long dinosaur was a type of sauropod. The dinosaur, with a super long neck,lived about 160 million years ago. The fossil of the "dragon" dinosaur, whose neck is almost the length of its entire body, was found by farmers, in 2006, who were digging a fish pond. Paleontologists say Asia is unique for such long necked dinosaurs as they have yet to have been unearthed anywhere else on the planet.Photograph of the dinosaur at the Qijang Museum is from wtvr.com
A new bike park is opening in Louisville, Kentucky, and it really is different. The bike park, with 45 trails, is located ten stories below the ground in a limestone cavern. Louisville Mega Cavern is the first such underground facility in the country. It is the largest indoor park in the United States as well as the world's largest indoor bike park.The park has a constant temperature of 60 degrees and there is never a concern of bad weather effecting the conditions of the park. And, without wind, riders don't have to worry about resistance while attempting their trick jumps in the cavern with 90 ft. ceilings. Different trails for different levels of BMX, mountain bike ,electric bike or your own bike riders, are available at the indoor park, which has found a very unique use of an old limestone mine!
There's a new planet that is doing RINGS around the planet,Saturn. Nicknamed the Super Saturn, astronomers say that J1408, an orange dwarf star, first discovered in 2012, has an amazing ring system. About 116 light years away from Earth,J1407 is larger than Saturn or Jupiter. It's rings, 30 of them, are 200 times larger that those of the planet Saturn, stretching for 112 million miles! Astronomers say that gaps in the rings suggest exomoons(satellites) may have been formed from the ring material and are now orbiting the planet. If the rings of J1407 were placed around the planet, Saturn, they are so large that we could actually see the rings in the evening sky!
Drones are finding their way into our daily activities. For the first time ESPN will utilize drones in their coverage of the Winter X Games,to be held this week, in Aspen, Colorado. ESPN has gotten permission, from the Federal Aviation Administration, to fly tiny drones over the athletes. The drones,with cameras, will hover above, aside and behind the racers during their the snowmobiling and snowboard events. In other uses, drones are being used to video some football teams' practices and CNN is hoping to soon use drone technology during live news event. Amazon would also like to have the ability to use drones to deliver packages right to your home. Thoughts:How might such drone usage be helpful in our lives? Can you think of negative aspects about drone use? Can you think of why drone use is being carefully monitored by the Federal Aviation Administration?
Scientists plan to study two identical twins in an out of this world experiment. Astronaut Scott Kelly, will leave on a space mission lasting one year at the International Space Station. His brother, Mark, who is also an astronaut, will remain on earth. Both will be involved in the same experiments to see the effects that long periods in space may have on the body. They are the only identical twin American astronauts(of the 2.25 million sets of American twins).For future long distance space missions such as Mars,which will take an estimated three years for the round trip, scientists want to study the effect of lack of gravity on human bones, the heart and other organs. Scott will travel to the ISS on March 28th, with another Russian astronaut(called cosmonaut in Russia) named Mikhail Kornienko. It will be the longest space time of any American astronaut. Thoughts: Despite the experiments, you would have some "free" time. What would you do for a year in space? What would be three things you'd pack along to bring with you? Other than family and friends, what would be some things you'd miss about being away from Earth?
1/5/2015: Have you ever tried the Japanese art of origami paper folding? Perhaps, you made a paper boat. Well, engineers in Great Britain made a life-sized origami paper boat. The paper boat, measuring 12 ft. long, 6 ft. wide and weighing 220 pounds of heavy-duty paper, was pretty impressive. But, what's a boat if it isn't "seaworthy"? Students from a local school helped place the boat into the SouthWark Boating Lake in London and, ...it floated. To help secure the boat's ability to stay afloat, two gallons of glue and 392 ft. of sticky tape were used(something not done with true Japanese paper folding). And, although a bit soggy, the boat was operated by a person and stayed in the water for two hours. The project wanted to show kids that engineering methods can turn even paper into more than it is usually capable of being. And, the engineers wanted to show kids that engineering can be lots of fun.
Archaeologists are using high tech satellites to help search for the tomb of Genghis Khan. Khan,was the Mongolian ruler of the 13th century who invaded China and had an empire that stretched across most of Asia. His burial tomb has yet to be unearthed. Using satellite images,10,000 volunteers spent about 30,000 hours searching through approximately 84,000 images taken of the area of Mongolia. The project, is the idea of University of California scientist Albert Yu-Min LIn. Using volunteers to assist in a project such as this is called “crowdsourcing”. At least 55 locations were determined as possible sites for future ground teams of archaeologists.
There are still archaeological discoveries to be made. The tomb of the wife of King Neferefre, pharaoh of ancient Egypt, has been discovered near the capital city of Cairo. Her name was Khentakawess 111. Archaeologists know her name because hieroglyphic writing stating who the woman was is carved on the walls of the tomb. Pharaoh Neferefre only ruled for about three years around 4500 years ago. Unfortunately, grave robbers have removed the treasures and mummy but utensils, made of copper and limestone, were found.
Scientists at Moscow State University are undertaking an ambitious task. They are planning to freeze the DNA of every creature on the planet that has every lived! This project to collect such as database of information has been nicknamed, Noah's Ark. It is hoped that the project will be completed by 2018. The concept, also known as Frozen Zoos, isn't the first such database. The San Diego Zoo has such a "zoo" as does the Zoological Society of London and the National Museum of Natural History, who currently has the largest such collection. The Moscow State University's Noah's Ark, if successful, will be the largest collection of cellular materials in the world.Illustration from wpclipart.com
12/18/14: What makes a court in Argentina determining that Sandra has rights newsworthy is that Sandra is an orangutan! Until this ruling, animals were declared things in the country of Argentina. The historic court decision states that twenty-eight year old Sandra is a non-human person and thus, has basic rights. In this case, Sandra has been living at the Buenos Aries' Zoo for twenty years. The Argentina's Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights argued in their petition, that Sandra has been denied her basic rights to freedom. If the court ruling stands and is not appealed, Sandra's right to freedom will mean, she will be moving to a sanctuary to spend the rest of her days. It is thought that such a non-human person ruling would only apply to primates as they have much of the genetic codes with humans.
Science fiction is becoming a reality with a "Back to the Future,Part 2" skateboard that flies!Hendo Hover has created a overboard that levitates off the ground. And, even though it only gets about an inch above the surface,it's still pretty cool! The first in the world hoverboard works with magnetic levitation, like some fast sped trains. Using a non-iron surface like aluminum or copper, the magnetic field created results in the boarder levitating above the surface. At this time, the pro type costs about $10,000 and the four batteries only last a few minutes. But,this high-tech board may one day be available for purchase.Photograph from engadget.com
Astronauts at the International Space Station needed a wrench and, NASA didn't have to wait months for another space mission to the International Space Station to deliver the part. The wrench was simply emailed to the astronauts! Actually, NASA transmitted the plans for the needed wrench which were then printed on a 3D printer! It's the first time a tool was "delivered" in such a digital manner to the International Space Station. Astronaut Barry(Butch) Wilmore holds the plastic socket wrench printed on the 3D printer!
Scientists have developed a robo-fish which has been nicknamed the "ghost swimmer". The size of a tuna, the 100 pounds and 5ft. long robo-fish has a tail that actually moves from side to side. It is hoped that the robotic fish,which looks like a shark, will enable scientists to learn more about the ocean:its tides, temperatures,currents and more. And, the military, which uses dolphin and California sea lions, may soon retire these mammals, who do dangerous mine-detecting duty.Now,the "ghost swimmer" can be used for such tasks as it can move on its own power and dives to depths of about 300 ft.
While fixing a leak, workers made an amazing discovery. What is being called the oldest time capsule, found in the United States,has been unearthed under the Golden Dome, at the Massachusetts State House. The 219 year old capsule, originally made of cowhide,was actually buried by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, back in 1795! It was actually found in the cornerstone of the building, back in 1855. At that time, it was revealed that the capsule contained papers, a Raul Revere plate and coins dating back to the 1600s.After adding some additional artifacts, the capsule was reburied, this time inside a copper box. The historic capsule,now covered with white plaster and having turned green, will first be X-rayed, before opening it. It hasn't yet been determined what will be done with the time capsule.
Seems Santa isn't the only one that relies on reindeer to get things done.Police in Siberia are thinking of a new way to fight crime...using reindeer! Seems that snowmobiles are no match for chasing crooks in the deep snow and reindeer may be the answer. Reindeer have the ability to see in the dark. Reindeer eyes seen the sun's UV rays reflecting off the snow. Reindeer also have great hooves that cut into ice. And, they never run out of gas or break down like snowmobiles do.Police are finding that law-breakers using carts pulled by reindeer are getting away from them! A four-legged police transport may be the answer!
3D holograms aren't actually a new concept but researchers at the University of Bristol, Great Britain, have developed a hologram that can actually be felt. It is thought that such technology could be especially positive in the field of medicine where a surgeon could feel CT Scan results and detect abnormalities such as a tumor without first doing exploratory surgery. It could also be a great learning tool in a museum where visitors would be able to get "hands-on" with hologram artifacts when the actual artifact is "off limits" to being touched.
Scientists at the University of California, have developed a rewritable paper which would help reduce the trees cut down to make paper. And, according to the World Wildlife Federation, about 400 million tons of paper is produced each year! Actually, a thin plastic, which comes in three colors, red, blue and green,the "paper" can be reused about 20 times before a new sheet is needed. The researchers hope to advance the technology to more of a traditional paper based product. Exposing the "paper" to ultraviolet light, a glass etching with the reading material is exposed. Then, to remove the writing, heat is used. It is suggested that such technology would especially be a paper-saver to the newspaper industry as the document lasts for several days.
Scientists have developed super glue based on observations of the gecko. Now,scientists have developed a way for a person to become a REAL spiderman with pads mimicking those of the gecko.The silicon pads were created by researchers at Stanford University and made it possible for a 154 pound man to climb a 12 ft.smooth surface of glass! If you look carefully at the pads of a gecko,they have teeny wedges. The hand pads created had 24 such wedges. Surprisingly,to touch the pad, they are not sticky as you might assume they would be. But,the pads when pressed on a smooth surface grab and stick until the pad is lifted. To help make climbing possible,the pads have a rope attached with a foot rest at the end to aid the climber in ascending up the smooth surface. Such technology may have application for astronauts in space such as grabbing things and getting around without gravity.
A company in Great Britain is hoping to send a robotic vehicle to the Moon and land it on the South Pole of the Moon. Once at the location, the plan is to bore into the lunar surface down about 65 ft., a depth never tried before on the surface of the Moon. The retrieved rock samples would give scientists information on the origin of the moon such as examining rocks that haven't been touched by cosmic radiation, in millions of years. To raise money for the project, the Lunar Mission One, is asking people to contribute "digital memory boxes" which would be placed in the hole, as a type of time capsule. Additionally, the complied digital memory box database would eventually be available for free to anyone to view.The mission is still in the planning stages.
Lots of food and human waste is...wasted. A bus has started taking passengers from the city of Bath, England, to the Bristol Airport powered by the biomethane gas generated from such waste materials. The Bio Bus, or the Poo Bus, as it has been nicknamed, can travel about 186 miles before needed to refuel. The company, GENeco,hopes people will see the value of waste as a resource. And, if you are wondering, it takes the waste created in about one year from five people to make one tank of fuel!
Near the banks of the Baltic Sea, archaeologists have found two sets of human footprints. Normally, footprints near a beach may not sound newsworthy but these footprints are estimated to be 5000 years old! The footprints near the island of Lolland, Denmark, were made by Stone Age fisherman. The imprints were unearthed in a dried up area of an inlet. These are not the oldest footprints discovered to date. The record oldest prints were found in Tanzania and are about 3.7 million years old. And, if you are interested, the term for footprints is bipedalism.
A 39 ft.sandcastle was created in Niteroi, Brazil, by artist Rusty Croft.The massive structure took 20 truckloads of sand and about one week to create. Guinness World Records is currently determining if this is a new world record. The current record holding sand castle stands 37ft. 10 inches.
Here's a little secret. Teachers love snow days, too!And,they may be a thing of the past as schools turn to technology. Imagine, a snow storm and school closed but students still have... virtual classes. It's being tried at a private high school in Minnesota. With virtual classes, students can go online to work on assignments that teachers have posted. Schools must be in session for a specific number of days each year. For most schools, this is at least 180 days. Too many snow days often mean having to make up the days over other breaks. If states approve this alternative virtual school day, such make-up days would not be needed.
After a ten year journey,covering over 4 billion miles,the Rosetta spacecraft,launched by the European Space Agency, has caught up with a comet and has landed a smaller probe ONTO the comet. It is the very first man-made object to land on a comet! The comet, called 67P,has a very uneven and icy surface so landing the Philae onto its surface wasn't easy. A comet has little gravity so the Philae, about the size of a washing machine, needed to release hooks to grab into the comet's surface so it remained in place. The probe has several instruments including a small drill that can penetrate about eight inches into the surface of the comet. Scientists hope to learn more about the composition of comets and their reaction to the sun as they travel past the sun.
Ever have a day when you wished you could stay in bed? Andrew Iwanicki not only is staying in bed for one day but for THREE months! As part of a NASA program to study how bones and muscles react to long periods of weightlessness in space, they have asked for volunteers to stay in bed for 70 days. NASA has actually gotten 54 people to volunteer for this experiment in addition to Iwanicki. No getting out of bed, no going outside, just staying in a bed with your head slightly tilted downward and your feet up, hooked up to different monitors to see how your body is handling "complete bed rest",is what Iwanicki will be doing for about seven more week. There is television and internet available and NASA suggests that participants use the time for achieving goals. One bright side is that the volunteers are paid about $15,000 to lie in bed for this period of time!
The tallest building in the United States(and the Western Hemisphere) has opened for business. Built at the site of the original World Trade Towers which was destroyed by terrorists on September 11, 2001, the new One World Trade Center has 104 floors and took eight years to build. Standing 1776 ft. tall, the skyscraper will have a ceremony marking its official opening later in the month.
Photograph from Timesdispatch.com
11/20/14:Lots of food and human waste is...wasted. A bus has started taking passengers from the city of Bath, England, to the Bristol Airport powered by the biomethane gas generated from such waste materials. The Bio Bus, or the Poo Bus, as it has been nicknamed, can travel about 186 miles before needed to refuel. The company, GENeco,hopes people will see the value of waste as a resource. And, if you are wondering, it takes the waste created in about one year from five people to make one tank of fuel!
Near the banks of the Baltic Sea, archaeologists have found two sets of human footprints. Normally, footprints near a beach may not sound newsworthy but these footprints are estimated to be 5000 years old! The footprints near the island of Lolland, Denmark, were made by Stone Age fisherman. The imprints were unearthed in a dried up area of an inlet. These are not the oldest footprints discovered to date. The record oldest prints were found in Tanzania and are about 3.7 million years old. And, if you are interested, the term for footprints is bipedalism.
A 39 ft.sandcastle was created in Niteroi, Brazil, by artist Rusty Croft.The massive structure took 20 truckloads of sand and about one week to create. Guinness World Records is currently determining if this is a new world record. The current record holding sand castle stands 37ft. 10 inches.
Here's a little secret. Teachers love snow days, too!And,they may be a thing of the past as schools turn to technology. Imagine, a snow storm and school closed but students still have... virtual classes. It's being tried at a private high school in Minnesota. With virtual classes, students can go online to work on assignments that teachers have posted. Schools must be in session for a specific number of days each year. For most schools, this is at least 180 days. Too many snow days often mean having to make up the days over other breaks. If states approve this alternative virtual school day, such make-up days would not be needed.
After a ten year journey,covering over 4 billion miles,the Rosetta spacecraft,launched by the European Space Agency, has caught up with a comet and has landed a smaller probe ONTO the comet. It is the very first man-made object to land on a comet! The comet, called 67P,has a very uneven and icy surface so landing the Philae onto its surface wasn't easy. A comet has little gravity so the Philae, about the size of a washing machine, needed to release hooks to grab into the comet's surface so it remained in place. The probe has several instruments including a small drill that can penetrate about eight inches into the surface of the comet. Scientists hope to learn more about the composition of comets and their reaction to the sun as they travel past the sun.
Ever have a day when you wished you could stay in bed? Andrew Iwanicki not only is staying in bed for one day but for THREE months! As part of a NASA program to study how bones and muscles react to long periods of weightlessness in space, they have asked for volunteers to stay in bed for 70 days. NASA has actually gotten 54 people to volunteer for this experiment in addition to Iwanicki. No getting out of bed, no going outside, just staying in a bed with your head slightly tilted downward and your feet up, hooked up to different monitors to see how your body is handling "complete bed rest",is what Iwanicki will be doing for about seven more week. There is television and internet available and NASA suggests that participants use the time for achieving goals. One bright side is that the volunteers are paid about $15,000 to lie in bed for this period of time!
The tallest building in the United States(and the Western Hemisphere) has opened for business. Built at the site of the original World Trade Towers which was destroyed by terrorists on September 11, 2001, the new One World Trade Center has 104 floors and took eight years to build. Standing 1776 ft. tall, the skyscraper will have a ceremony marking its official opening later in the month.
Photograph from Timesdispatch.com
10/20/2014: On Sunday, November 2nd, Nik Wallenda, successfully walked on a tightrope between two Chicago skyscrapers more than 50 stories above the Chicago River. He made two attempts with the second done blindfolded! Yes, blindfolded. Wallenda did not use a net or harness as he walked about two city blocks(about 94 ft.) on a wire that was 3/4 inch thick. Wallenda said about the event,"I hope to inspire people around the world and show that the impossible is not so impossible if you set your mind to it."Other daring events by Wallenda have included walking across the Grand Canyon and walking across an area of Niagara Falls.
Tiny stomachs have been created in a lab at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Scientists trained stem cells to grow into stomachs. It is the first time a 3D stomach organoid was made. It is hoped that the mini stomachs, measuring1/10th of an inches in diameter,will enable scientists to study how the stomach develops ands gain understanding of the causes of diabetes, ulcers and stomach cancers.
Photograph of the stomach from livescience.com
Google computer scientist Alan Eustace has just broken a record held by Felix Baumgartner for the the highest altitude jump. Eustace used a helium ballon to reach 26 miles above the earth(or about 135,000 ft.) and then...jumped! Wearing a specially designed suit, Eustace hit speeds of 830 mph, actually traveling the speed of sound, in his 15 minute descent back to Earth. Baumgartner, in 2012, jumped from 128,100 ft. As for the amazing jump, Eustace said that he could see the layers of the atmosphere, the darkness of space and that it was a fabulous view.
The world record (North America) for heaviest pumpkin has been smashed once again! Last year,Guinness World Records crowned Tim Mathison, Napa, California,with the record for his 2032 pound pumpkin.This year's gourd , grown by John Hawkley, was weighed at a pumpkin contest in California. It tipped the scales at 2058 pounds! That's the size of a small car. Amazingly, Hawkley also had another pumpkin that was over 2000 pounds(that's ONE ton!).
10/01/14:The South American Goliath birdeater isn't an itsey bitsey spider. It's the world's largest and it's a whopper. Recently, entomologist(bug scientist) Piotr Naskrecki was walking in the rainforest of Guyana and heard a noise. His flashlight spotted the usually elusive giant arachnid. The size of a small puppy, the spider can have 2 inch long fangs. It also can have a fist size body and its legs are about the size of a child's forearm. Although the giant spider is threatening to look at, its poisonous bite is not harmful to humans. However, as Naskrecki heard, it has an interesting defense. It rubs its back legs onto its body releasing hairs that have sharp barbs on them which can be painful if they reach your body! Naskrecki captured the spider and brought it back to study.
A plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. That might not sound newsworthy but the plane has been in Earth's orbit for almost TWO years! The unmanned space craft,called the Orbital Test Vehicle, has been on a top-secret flight since it was launched back in December 2012. Like the space shuttle, it originally was sent into orbit by rockets but was able to glide back to earth for a landing.The United States Air Force isn't saying much about the spacecraft or its mission. What do you think might have been its mission?
You have until October 22nd to submit a name for the Rosetta Mission's Landing Site. On November 12, a European Space Agency hopes to land a space probe, Philae, onto a comet.If successful, it will be the first landing of a man-made object onto a comet. The mission is known as Rosetta and was launched in 2004. This past August, the probe arrived at the comet. It is hoped that much information will be learned as the probe orbits along with the comet around the sun. Scientists also hope that the landing of the smaller probe onto the comet's surface will help them learn more about the composition of a comet. The comet is called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. You are asked to suggest a name(not a person) and give a short explanation for your selection as to why you think SITE J should be the best choice for the location. Go to this link to learn more:CONTEST INFORMATIONThe winning name will be announced on November 3rd.
The look of an umbrella may be changing with the Air Umbrella. It isn't your traditional looking umbrella. Instead,it looks like a flashlight. Nicknamed the invisible umbrella,the rain stays off your body with a shied of air! Still in the experimental stage, the battery operated Air Umbrella sends out a jet of air that creates a shield like environment preventing raindrops from landing on you. However, the invisible umbrella wouldn't be most helpful in very heavy rainfall!
Wonderful news! Malala Yousafzai, of Pakistan, becomes the youngest to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize(17 years old). She shares the award with Kailash Satyarthi, of India. Shot by Tailiban members two years ago for her efforts to allow girls to get an education, Malala continues to work toward that goal. She said of her attackers, The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens. She said that books and pens are the most powerful of weapons. Congrats to Malala...she is an inspiration! "Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world". Malala Yousafzai
Imagine being able to go under the water without the need of oxygen tanks. Scientists at the University of Southern Denmark have developed a crystal that can hold oxygen and disperse it when needed. It can also absorb oxygen from its surroundings, including water. Called the "Aquaman Crystal",the color changes as oxygen content drops:black for maximum oxygen levels and pink when oxygen is released. The discovery has other implications, too. People requiring oxygen might be able to toss away those tanks they carry around and simply use a mask made from the crystals whose main element is cobalt.
For many years, scientists have said that the oldest cave paintings exist in Europe. A discovery on an island of Indonesia may cause the rethinking of that theory. On the island of Sulawesi,artwork dating back 40,000 years has been discovered. Included in the drawings are animals,including a type of pig, human figures and lots of hand prints. The hand print stencils were created by early people blowing paint, perhaps through a reed, around the outline of their hands. Scientists used the growth of stalactite-type growths(called cave popcorn)that have formed on the paintings to help to determine the age of the artwork.
9/25/14:This mural can't be seen in a museum. That's because Artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada's new work of art is huge ...more than six acres! Made of sand and soil, the "Out of Many, One" was created on the National Mall, in Washington, DC, between the World War 2 and Lincoln Memorials. It is so large that it can be seen from space but visitors can get a great view from the atop the Washington Memorial. More than 2500 tons of sand and 800 tons of soil were used to create the large mural. Satellite imaging helped to map out the mural and 10,000 pegs and eight miles of string were laid from peg to peg to lay out the design. After a few weeks on display, the mural will be tilled over into the soil.
In August, an amazing discovery was unearthed in the country of Greece. A beautiful tomb from the 4th century BC, was uncovered near Amphipolis, northern Greece, in the region of Macadonia. Possibly the largest tomb ever found in the country, the tomb is guarded by two stone sphinxes and two sculptured female statues. With such an impressive tomb, an important person may have been buried here. Some suggest that this tomb may belong to Alexander the Great, who died in 323 BC, in what is now called Iraq. Excavation will take time and just who is buried in the tomb will remain a mystery...for now.
Man has used nature to develop new technologies and now it may be that technologies are taking a cue from man. MIT researchers have developed a robotic cheetah that can run up to 28 mph. It is the fastest movement of metal yet developed. The researchers studied human athletes such as Usain Bolt and, hope that one day, their robo cheetah will outrun human athletes! The robot cheetah has four legs like its namesake, the fastest land mammal on earth. It's design took into account sprinters that use a force-baed approach( increasing their stride by pushing downward harder and building up their ground force). Additionally, the robo cheetah uses features of the cheetah-it's tail for balance and stability, and its leg structure. It is also powered by an electric motor and not hydraulic engines as other robots have used. The electric motor also makes the movement of the robo-cheetah much quieter(like the real mammal). What might the implications of such technology be? Researchers believe a robo-cheetah could be used in search and recovery missions after natural disasters.
9/18/2014:p> Could car tires be made from those pesky dandelions that pop up in our yards? There is a fungus killing the rubber tree plant in South America. Although synthetic rubber can be used for many products,car and airplane tires use real rubber. The sap from dandelion weeds contains rubber and scientists think that harnessing dandelion rubber could help. Could dandelion farms be springing up soon?
Back in 1845 two British ships sailed into the Canadian Arctic searching for the Northern Passage. The ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were never seen again. Called the Franklin expedition, it was thought the ships got trapped in the ice. Captain Sir John Franklin and his 128 men were never seen again. This week, marine archeologists,using sonar imaging, found one of the two ships, off the coast of King William Island. Because of the very cold temperatures, the ship appears to be in very good condition. As the Arctic melts, the Northwest Passage shipping route is claimed by the country of Canada. Other nations, including the United States say that the Northwest passage is international territory and belongs to no one country. Who do you think owns the Northwest Passage? Why is this route important to shipping?
Photograph from southbendtribune.com
Seventy percent of a dinosaur which is longer than a Boeing 737 jet has been unearthed in southern Argentina. It is the most complete Dreadnoughtus schrani ever found. The dinosaur was a plant-eating long necked sauropod that was the height of a two-story building. Its weight was about that of 12 elephants or about 65 tons! The Dreadnoughtus scharani lived about 77 million years ago and was named after a steel warship. Originally some bones were discovered in 2005 and it's been an ongoing slow process to continue to unearth the remains. Interestingly, the remains of the dinosaur's head that was atop the 37 ft. neck have yet to be discovered!
What if you could power a flashlight without batteries? Ann Makosinski, 16, has come up with such a flashlight that has an unusual power source...body heat! Called thermoelectric technology, Ann wanted to come up with a flashlight to help those that don't have electricity. She said that much of the heat radiating out of us is wasted. Ann decided to see if she could harness some of that heat. Her bright idea won the Google Science Fair Award. Her prize, a trophy made from Legos, a trip to Denmark where Legos is headquartered and a $25,000 scholarship.
A ship from the ancient sea traders known as the Phoenicians was discovered in waters off of the island of Malta. The 2700 year old wooden vessel which is about 50 ft. long, is in very good condition. On the sea bed near the ship were twenty grinding stones, lots of amphora jars and other ceramic containers, many still intact! The Phoenicians, who lived in present day Lebanon, were famous for developing the first alphabet and sharing it with all they met along their trading routes. They also made a purple dye, made from the murex snail, which was very desired by people that could afford to purchase it.
Archaeologists have unearthed gold and silver and other amazing artifacts including party invitations and shoes at the Vindolanda Fort in Great Britain. That's NOT what was discovered recently at the old Roman fort near Hadrian's Wall.However, but it is still thought to be one of a kind...and valuable! What is considered to be the oldest 2000 year old wooden toilet seat was recently excavated from the mud. The seat will go on display with other artifacts discovered at the fort.
Meghan LaPlante,14, of Maine, caught a lobster in one of her traps. It wasn't just any lobster. It was a VERY rare blue one. Thought to be one in two million, a blue lobster, gets its coloring from a genetic condition causing it to produces an excessive amount of a certain protein. Meghan, who has a student lobstering license, uses much of the money earned from lobstering to help her college fund account. Megan donated Skyler, as she named the blue crustacean, to the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor. Photograph from http://www.inquisitr.com
8/25/2014: How do you get to school? Do you walk, ride a bike or take a bus? Approximately 60 students in a rural village in India's Gujarat state, walk and WADE across a river each day to get to and from their high school! There isn't any public transportation and there isn't a bridge for them to cross the river. Their village is located across the Heran River from the Utavali High School. The river is about 50 ft across. After making the river crossing wading across shoulder deep waters, the students still have another three mile walk before they start their school day! The only other way is to walk almost 16 miles to avoid the river crossing. Students carry their books, homework and dry clothes in plastic bags or containers. After a day at school, the students repeat the journey home. Think of three words to describe these students.
Making a five-pointed star may not be newsworthy until you learn it was a bunch of teeny robots that did it! Scientists at Harvard University got 1024 tiny three-legged robots(called kilobots )to worked together to form a star and a K shape(for kilobot).Scientists observed the interaction of ants, starlings and schools of fish to get the idea for the kilobots. Four robots were used to begin the shape. They gave off a signal with infrared laser beams. Other kilobots, all the size of a pingpong ball, began to position themselves into place. The experience required collective behavior and coordination of tiny robots' actions as none of the kilobots could see the "whole picture".
See a clip at:Kilobots at Work!
A 60 ft. deep lake has mysterious appeared in the Tunisian desert a couple of weeks ago. The lake covers two acres and may have been created by seismic activities with clear crystal water seeping to the surface. It's been named Lac de Gafsa. With temps over 100 degrees, people have been coming to the lake for a swim in water that has turned blue turquoise. Unfortunately, scientists don't think this is a good idea as if it was created by seismic action, it could disappear as suddenly as it appeared, making it very unsafe for swimming. Also, the water is high in phosphates and other contaminates.
One of the 16 teams at the upcoming Little League World Series held each year in Williamsport, PA, will be the Taney Dragons from Philadelphia. One of the players on the Taney Dragons can throw a 71 mph fastball and pitched a shutout-no runs scored at the game which got the team into the series. The little leaguer is also a girl. Mo-Ne Davis, 13, is only the eighteenth girl to play in the Little League World Series. She made history being the first girl to pitch a complete shutout the Little League World Series playoff games. Keep an eye out for eight grader Mo-Ne Davis when she comes up at bat. If Mo-Ne hits a homerun, she will be the first female to ever do so in the championship's history!
8/18/2014:In Jiangsu, China, an amazing discovery has been made. The 2100 year old tomb of King Liu Fei has been unearthed. The tomb is actually three main tombs and eleven smaller tombs and was excavated between 2009 and 2011. Archaeologists say the coffin of the king is empty,evidently disturbed by grave robbers. However, some of his burial suit, made of jade, remain. With lots of gold, bronze, silver, jade and other precious stones, the tomb contains more than 10,000 artifacts. Chime bell musical instruments were found as were lamps in the shape of a goose and a deer. Thousands and thousands of coins were found as well as five life sized chariots, some with gold and silver parts. Weapons including shields, swords and crossbow triggers were also unearthed. For the afterlife, fruit seeds, pitchers, bowls and cups were discovered. Interestingly, a bronze elephant and rhino were also found suggesting contact with people of southeast Asia where these animals lived. One of the smaller tombs contains the very first intact jade burial coffin ever found. It has not yet been opened and the person's identity is still a mystery.
Photograph from livescience.com
Selfies, everyone seems to be taking them these days, even monkeys. And, a big legal fight is going on over just WHO owns a particular monkey selfie. A wildlife photographer taking pictures of black macaques on the island of Indonesia had his camera swiped by one of the monkeys he was photographing.The monkey took lots and lots of pictures, with its selfie being remarkably clear. It went viral over the internet and one site, Wikipedia posted the photograph without the photographer's permission. The website says that the selfie was in the public domain and not owned by the photographer. The reasoning that non-humans have no rights to ownership. The photographer says the black macaque used his camera, so the photograph belongs to him. Perhaps, the photograph is that of the monkey that took the photograph? If you were the judge deciding this case, how would you rule and why?
For the first time ever, a space probe has caught up to a comet and, has started to orbit it.The Rosetta took ten years to reach the comet called 67P. This fall, the Rosetta will send out a small robotic probe named Philae, to actually land on the surface of the comet! Without gravity, the only way for the little probe to not bounce off the comet and remain in place will be by anchoring itself into the icy surface. The Rosetta rocketed from the European Spaceport in French Guiana, South America, and will continue to journey with the comet until December 2015. Passing by two asteroids and the Earth three times, the Rosetta has clocked almost 4 million miles to catch the comet. Scientists believe that comets are some of the oldest materials in the universe. Rosetta is now so far away that it took 22 minutes, traveling at the speed of light, for the message confirming its arrival to reach scientists back on Earth.
In order to see this art exhibition, visitors must don swimsuits. That's because the "Passaggio A Sudest",an exhibition of 28 portraits are UNDER the water. The portraits are about 13 feet under the sea near Ponza, Italy. You can see the water from above the surface very clearly but visitors can also snorkel down to get up close and personal to the works of art. Artist Salvo Galano studied water patterns and sun angles for months before installing his art on the seafloor. He says that these factors change the visual display depending on the time of viewing.
If you like ice cream,imagine if you could just "print" some up for yourself! Students at MIT have taken the idea of a 3D printer and made a device that makes soft serve ICE CREAM! And, the ice cream that comes out of the printer can be made into edible treats shapes. Just in the experimental stage at this point, it is hoped that one day soon, you can go to an ice cream store and have your dessert created right there while you wait, in any shape you'd like to have!
Photograph from pcmag.com
To use this whopper of a yo-yo, you'll need the help of a crane! Weighing 374 pounds, the 6.2 ft. diameter yo-yo sets a new world record for its size. Constructed from recycled decking wood by paint company Benjamin Moore and Co., a crane was used to hoist the completed butterfly style yo-yo above the Sierra Pelona Valley, in California ,where it was given a spin!
7/20/14:Would you pay thousands of dollars for dinosaur droppings? A 40 inch long fossilized dinosaur dropping(called coprolite) goes on auction this week! Dating back to 33 million years ago, the yellowish lumps of poo were found in the state of Washington. The auction hopes to sell the remain, said to be the "longest" such coprolite ever found, for about $8-$10,000.
An amazingly well preserved 520 million year old sea monster has been discovered in the country of China. Called Lyrarapax unguispinus, its fossil is so remarkably well preserved that its brain and nervous system are evident! Scientists say the tiny sea creature, measuring about 6 inches,with two large spiky pincers, looked a bit like a modern-day lobster.
7/10/2014:Imagine a bird swooping overhead with a wing span of almost 24 ft! Fortunately, the Pelagornis sandersi, which did have such an amazing wingspan, lived 28 million years ago. Weighing about 180 pounds, the bird with the largest wingspan, couldn't get off the ground without a running start off a hill(think hang gliders). Found in South Carolina back in 1983, during construction of a new terminal at the Charleston International Airport, computers were used to measure the fossil skill and leg and wing bones to determine its actual size. Before this discovery, the Argentavis magnificens,of Argentina,was the world's record holder with a wing span of about 21 ft.
Imagine a portable television that you could roll up and carry under your arms. Scientists say such a television will be available for sale as soon as 2017. Using special film,instead of plastic, the new television creates a transparent screen when not in use. LG has unveiled a working 18 inch television using this new technology and says that up to a 60 inch screen is possible. Can you think of any uses for a television that can be rolled up?
On July 5th, the Tour de France began and will end on July 27th. It's considered the world's biggest and most exciting bicycling race. Athletes competing in the race will travel 2277 miles during the 22 day race. This year's Tour de France began in England. Cyclists will also travel through parts of Belgium and Spain and end in Paris,France, along the Champs-Elysees. Each day(called stages), a leader will be awarded a yellow jersey(or Maillot Jaune in French). In addition to the yellow jersey, there is a polka dot jersey awarded to the best climber(king of the mountains), a white jersey( the best youngest rider) and a green jersey(best sprinter).The Tour de France began in 1903. Here's an interesting story. Five sheep were fitted with special cameras so that when the 198 cyclists in the Tour de France traveled along part of the course in Great Britain, they could help film the race!
What type of music do you enjoy listening to the most? Scientists have discovered that chimpanzees have a favorite type of tunes, too. Seems that that chimps seem to groove to music enjoy from West Africa and India. The study conducted by a primatologist(studies primates such as chimps) at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, involved 16 chimps listening to 40 minutes of music each morning. Different types of music were played in their enclosures for twelve days. The study found that the chimps hung around the areas where the music they liked hearing the most could be heard. The chimps also left the area for quieter places when other types of music,especially those with lots of drum beats, were played.
A trek across Canada, a distance of 3,826 miles will begin in July. What makes this journey newsworthy is that it is being done by a robot. And, the robot, called HitchBOT will do it solo, without humans. The robot has speech capabilites and will rely on hitching a ride from humans.(A note to kids...never HITCHHIKE!) The concept is an idea from the Institute for Applied Creativity at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The robot can't move on its own so once it flags down a car with its hitchhiking arm, it will depend on passerbys to pick it up. Once in the vehicle, HitchBOT can use its database to "talk" with its human companions. It will also be able to keep those following his journey updated by tweeting messages. HitchBOT will also ask humans to plug him in so that he doesn't run down on power. HitchBOT's built in GPS system will keep humans at the university alerted to its location.You can follow HitchBOT at this link:HitchBOT
The world's largest and longest 3 D street has been created in China. It took Yang Yongchun, a Chinese artist, and his team, twenty days to create.The artwork stretches for 26,910 sq. feet, nearly a quarter of a mile. Called anamorphic art, Guinness World Records has officially recognized the artwork which is located on the campus of the Communication University of China, in Nanjing, as a record. For the next two months, people walking the street can feel that are walking over the Yangtze River, mountains and city buildings.
Malavath Poorna, 13,of India, climbed a mountain. Not just any mountain, Malavath summited the highest peak in the world-Mt. Everest becoming the youngest girl to ever do so. Because of her age, Nepal would not allow Malavath to attempt the climb from the "easier" ascent. Nepal requires climbers to be at least 16 years old. Thus, Malavath and her group climbed from the Tibetan side, a bit harder ascent route. It took 52 days to complete the climb with Malavath reaching the top of Mt. Everest on May 25th. Malavath took part in a program which offered mountaineering. She was one of twenty selected out of 150 to get further training for a possible Mt. Everest climb. She and S. Anand Kumar, 16 ,were the only two that successfully qualified. Malavath suffered from altitude sickness and trekked dangerous crevasses, steep sloops and endured very cold temperatures. Malavath never gave up her quest to climb the tallest mountain peak in the world.
6/5/2014:Wish you could get to the beach and walk in some hot sand on a summer's day but it isn't something that you can easily do? What if the beach could come to you? Blayne Ross hopes to create a floating beach that would be constructed on a river barge and have it float to different locations in New York City along the Hudson River.
Do you like building things out of Lego blocks? A NASA physicist and lots of kids, helped to construct a 114 ft. tall tower made of interlocking colorful plastic Lego bricks. Constructed in front of St. Stephen's Basilica in Budapest, Hungary, Guiness Book of World Records says it beats the previous record of 113 ft.
There are still things to discover on planet Earth! Just last month, a peat bog the size of England (or the state of Pennsylvania) was discovered in the African country of Congo-Brazzaville. The peat bog, an unusual find in a tropical climate, was discovered by satellite images. Scientists traveled through jungles and very swampy wet lands to reach the site to get samples of the peat soil. They also traveled through areas where crocodiles, lowland gorillas and elephants live.The huge peat bog is almost 23 ft. deep and scientists hope to study the peat soil to learn more about the Earth's earlier climate.
The U.S. Women's Open begins in June and Lucy Li will be one of the golfers competing in the tournament. What makes this news worthy is Lucy is only 11 years old! She is the youngest person to qualify to play in the Open. The sixth-grader from Redwood, California, recently played a round of golf with a score of 74-68 during a qualifying game at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. Lucy took up the sport at the age of seven. Way to go,Lucy!
A whopper of a dinosaur was unearthed in Argentina. A new species of a dinosaur called the titanosaur is the biggest and heaviest dinosaur found to date. Scientists say it weighed about 77 tons (or 170,000 pounds)...think 14 adult elephants! It was as tall as a seven story building, standing about 65 ft. tall. Living 90 million years ago, the hefty dino, which was 130 ft. long, is thought to have been a herbivore, or plant eater.The photograph from BBCNew shows the thigh bone of the dinosaur! About 150 bones have been found thus far...of seven different titanosaurs. A local farmer found the bones near La Flecha, Argentina, in 2012. Currently, the new species does not have a name. What would you call it?
You won't be reading this comic book without a VERY strong microscope. Scientists have created a comic strip on a very unique canvas ...a human hair. Called the world's smallest comic,the 12 frames of Juanita Knits the Planet, were created by etching the strip onto a hair with an ion beam. It isn't in color, only black and white but it sure is amazing!
Barry Clifford,an underwater explorer, says he thinks he's made an amazing discovery. He believes he has found the wreckage of the Santa Maria. Yes, the boat of Christopher Columbus used on his voyage in 1492 to sail "the ocean blue". The 500 year old ship sank off the coast of the island of Haiti. Resting about 10-15 feet below the surface, it was first discovered in 2003. At the time, there was also 15th century cannon near the wreckage which has since gone missing. Clifford has used journals from Christopher Columbus to try and get information on sinking of the Santa Maria, on Christmas Day, in 1492. He hopes to bring the ship to the survive in the coming months.center>Photograph from news.nationalpost.com
A drinkable book has been created by scientists at Carnegie Melon University and Virginia University. OK, you don't actually DRINK the paper book. What's cool about the book is that each page is specially created with nano particles that a person can take a page from the book and use the paper to filter water through it. Three of the most common harmful water bacteria, cholera , E. coli and typhoid are trapped by the silver nano particles. It is thought that the "book" will be of value not only for the 3.4 million people of the world that only have harmful bacteria filled drinking water, but for hikers and campers, too. Each page of the book contains information on safe water practices. The pages last for 30 days so one drinkable book can last for four years!
Using the human blood clotting system as a model, scientists have developed a plastic that can heal itself.Created by engineers at the University of Illinois, the new polymer automatically repairs itself by delivering healing chemicals using a network of capillaries to seal holes and cracks. It is thought the new self-healing plastic could actually repair itself on satellites made with plastic,could be used to patch damaged cell phones and mend other damaged plastics.
Have you ever twisted a couple of balloons together to make a balloon creature? John Reid has been creating things with balloons since he was 16 years old. The balloon artist just completed a whopper of a balloon creation, a 50 ft. tall Transformers robot! The balloon art is the world's largest balloon sculpture ever made by one person. Reid needed 4302 balloons to make his Poptimus Prime Transformers robot. Green, black, white, gray and purple colored balloons were inflated and used in the construction.It was so big that it couldn’t stand up at the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience event! It took Reid 42 hours to construct his balloon sculpture and ten people helped to get it to a kneeling position. Guinness World Records will verify the record in the next couple of months.
When you think of bee collectors, they are usually of the two footed variety but in Brazil, Boneco has been helping with honey collecting for some time. Boneco is a donkey. Outfitted with his very own beekeeping protective clothing, he's the world's only known animal being used to help with honey collecting! Boneco and his owner, Manuel Juraci, are working quite well together, harvesting way more than any other beekeepers in the area.
Visitors have had negative effects on the famous tomb of KingTutankhamun,discovered in 1922. All the oohs and ahs of visitors as they walk inside the tomb have caused moisture to form onto the tomb's walls and its paintings. Mold is also growing on the walls. Add to this, body heat and electric lighting are also taking a toll. Remember, the tomb was not meant to be a tourist destination but a burial place for Tutankhamun. Egyptologists think they have come up with a way to help preserve King Tut's tomb...make a replica tomb! This will be the first such construction in the Middle East.Constructed began in 2009 and used high tech laser scanning and 3 D printers to collect data to create an exact copy of the original tomb. It is hoped that visitors will get a similar experience of the tomb without actually going into the 3,300 year old tomb. Unlike the "real" tomb where visitors are kept behind a railing, in the replica tomb, visitors will be able to move around and look at things up close.Currently, to protect King Tut's tomb from continued deterioration, only 160 people are allowed inside each week AND there is a three year waiting list! The idea of creating replica structures is not new. In France, few people are allowed into Lascaux Cave. Instead, a replica cave was created for visitors to enter.The King Tut replica tomb is expected to open in May. What do you think of this idea?
The ports of Hong Kong are where much of the illegal ivory arrives for distribution in Asia. The world's largest ivory destruction is set for May 15th, an amazing 30 tons of ivory. That's equal to about 11,000 elephant killed for their tusks! The ivory stockpile being destroyed is largely due to school children who sent a petition(letter) to the government asking that this be done. A number of school children in Hong Kong have been writing letters to create awareness on just where ivory comes from and the damaging effect the illegal ivory trade is having on the remaining elephant population. One of these kids is Nellie Shute, 12, of Australia, who attends the Hong Kong International School. Her message, "no to ivory". She was able to convince her school to remove ivory carvings from a display case. Nellie then made gift cards which helped to raise $250 which was given to pay for the care of an orphaned elephant at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the African country of Kenya. The students haven't stopped yet. Now, the students are spreading the word in hopes that Hong Kong stores remove ivory products from their shelves.
Hector Montoya,9, of Texas, saved up money all year for a new Play Station. Then, he heard the news about a family that died in a fire and how they didn't have a smoke detector. That changed things for Hector who said that saving a life was more important.He decided to donate his $300 stash of money to give to those who needed a smoke detector. Working with his local fire department, Hector's money enabled 100 families to have a smoke detector. And, his good deed didn't go unnoticed. Two teens read about what young Hector had done so THEY donated a Play Station to Hector!
Scientists in Argentina are aware of the large quantity of gas ,especially methane, which cows emit each day. It is estimated that when a cow passes gas, the methane expelled into the air each day is enough to power a car for 24 hours! So...the National Institute of Agricultural Technology has come up with a most unusual idea. They have developed plastic backpacks for cows. The backpacks are attached to the back of the cow with a tube placed into the digestive tract of the cow. Each time, a cow releases gas, it is collected into the backpack. A cow burps or passes gas adding to about 80 gallons(AMAZING!) of methane a day. When the backpack is filled, a bike pump is used to compress the gas and then it is placed into containers. Cattle are the primary source of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. This idea will not only help the environment but might be an energy producer, too!
4/15/14:Like many people, Richard Platz,placed a message he wrote on a postcard into bottle and toss it into the ocean. What makes his message in a bottle of interest,it was found...100 years after it splashed into the water! Platz dropped his bottle into the water on May 17th, 1913, into the Baltic Sea while out hiking the areas of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. The bottle, found by a fisherman,was given to Platz's granddaughter, Angela Erdmann, who still lives in Berlin, Germany, home of Richard Platz. Guinness Book of World Records say it is the oldest "message in a bottle" ever found. Erdmann was very happy to receive the bottle, which was given to the International Maritime Museum for display.However,the granddaughter of Platz says that people really shouldn't pollute the oceans.Good advice, Angela...just imagine if we all threw bottles into the ocean!Photograph by npr.org
Blossoms on a Cherry Blossom tree are making scientists shake their heads in wonder. It normally takes about ten years for the first buds to bloom on a young cherry blossom tree. The seeds used for this tree had an unusual journey. They were part of 265 pits sent to the International Space Lab in November 2008. The pits returned to earth last July. The Cherry Blossom seeds circled the earth 4100 times while in space. The seeds were then planted and the "cosmic tree" has already grown to about 13 ft. and has flowers. Even more interesting, is the particular pit used was from a 1250 year old tree whose other seeds have never sprouted. Also, the blossoms only have five petals instead of the thirty petals found on the original tree from where the seed pit was taken.Scientists think it might be that cosmic rays in space may have effected the seeds's rapid growth spurt. Photograph from news.discovery.com Did you know the beautiful cherry blossom trees that bloom around Washington,DC, each spring were a gift to the United States from the people of Japan?
3/20/14:There is a bill before the California legislature to ban the use of killer whales at SeaWorld in San Diego. The bill would also ban the breeding of killer whales, also known as Orcas.If the ban becomes law,it will be the first of its kind in the United States. Many school children in the state have been involved in the efforts, helping to collect 1.2 million signatures in support of the bill, called AB2140, the Orca Welfare and Safety Act. The killer whales are a very popular attraction at SeaWorld but many feel these very large mammals should not be kept in captivity.Others feel that important research is learned by studying and breeding the whales.At the current time, SeaWorld Park in San Diego has Orcas, six born at the park and four which were caught in the ocean.The California legislature this week decided to put on hold the decision to vote on the bill saying it needed more time to study the bill. Currently there are about 14 countries that have such bans on captive mammals such as Orcas, dolphins and other wild animals. These countries include Switzerland, Croatia and Chile. The country of Greece not only bans dolphins but all animals from entertainment activities including circuses. Learn more about Orcas: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/orca/ What do you think?
Think of the deserts of Saudi Arabia and you might think of camels. Archaeologists have made a very unusual discovery in the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia...a tusk of an elephant! The tusk dates back about 325,000 years and, may be that of an extinct elephant,called a Palaeoloxodon. The tusk, in two pieces, measure 7.4 ft. long. Scientist estimate the size of the elephant to be about 13,000- 15,000 pounds. The discovery suggests that at one time, the sandy area had wet with grassy land and a dried up lake. In addition to the tusk, archaeologists also found remains of a species of jaguar, horse and antelope. Several stone tools were also unearthed.
Suvir Mirchandani,14,Pittsburgh,PA,has an idea to save millions of dollars each year...change the font used to type documents. Begun as a science project,the then sixth grader studied the printed paper handouts at his school.He suggested that just changing the font from Times New Roman(and several other typefaces) to Garamond, could save the school about $20,000 a year. Suvir didn't stop there. He then thought about the federal government and all the papers it produces each year. After reviewing documents the government produces, Suvir determined that the government could save as much as $136 million a year just by switching their typeface! Suvir also said that even more money could be saved if the government switched to an all digital form but realized that many people still like things to be printed.
Almost 50 billion(yes BILLION) plastic water bottles are thrown away each year! An edible gelatinous balloon may be just the answer to this growing problem. Called Ooho,the sphere shaped containers are made from a brown algae. Researchers say the membrane blobs can be made in different sizes and that even the labels would be made from rice paper. With a double lining of membrane, the labels would be placed between the layers so no glue would be needed. The current design requires you biting into the sphere to drink the water.And, if you don't wish to EAT the water container, it is biodegradable.
I am in awe of the accomplishment of 12 year old Katie Francis. Growing up as a Girl Scout, I remember earning a badge for my sash for selling 50 boxes of cookies. This was thanks in large part to my dad that took some of the boxes to work. Katie has made a record sales from Girl Scout cookie sales. She sold an amazing 18,107 boxes of cookies in just seven weeks! The sixth grader from Oklahoma City, OK, still hopes to sell 20,000 boxes of cookies before this year's sale ends. Katie has already broken the previous record of selling about 18,000 cookies in one sales drive. How did she manage this massive sale of cookies? Katie,who says selling cookies is lots of fun for her,credits her success to asking everyone she met to buy a box of cookies and committing lots of time and effort to her sales. And, if you are wondering, the average Girl Scout sells 150 boxes a year!
For the very first time, an asteroid has been discovered with rings circling it. Before this discovery, only the planets of Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus have been found to have rings. Located between the planets of Saturn and Uranus, Chariklo, the name for the asteroid, is only about 150 miles in diameter. Scientists think that Chariklo may also have a moon orbiting it. That's because the gravitational pull of a moon would help to keep the two ring forms in place. The two rings of Chariklo have been named for rivers in Brazil, Oiapoque and Chui.
3/4/14:Imagine being able to hold your breath for 137 minutes! A Cuvier's beaked whale,also called a Goose-beaked whale, found off the coast of California,was able to hold its breath for more than two hours as it dived about two miles down into the Pacific Ocean. This breaks the record dive held by a southern elephant seal that was recorded holding its breath for 120 minutes. Scientists tagged eight Cuvier's beaked whales with satellite technology and say the ability of the Cuvier's beaked whale to hold its breath for so long is due to their muscles being high in myoglobin protein. This protein enables the whale to store oxygen. And, if you are wondering, the record for a human holding their breath underwater is 22 minutes!
Commercials used to ask,"Do you have a Tiger in your tank?" for a brand of gasoline called Exxon. Now, people may soon be asking,"Do you have an alligator in your tank?" That's because researchers at the University of Louisiana are suggesting that alligator fat would work great in producing fuel or more specifically,a biofuel(made from living things). Millions of pounds of alligator fat(estimates of 15 million)is thrown away into landfills each year. Using a process similar to that used to turn corn into fuel,the American Chemical Society says that alligator fat could one day help to power our vehicles. What makes it helpful is the blobs of alligator fat doesn't need to be processed, and can be used in its raw state. And, unlike soybean, corn and other "food" sources for biofuels, alligator fat is NOT a food source.
Do you like cheese? The world's oldest pieces of cheese, dating back 3600 years,has been found not in containers but on necklaces of mummies found in China. The yellow clumps of cheese were found on mummies found in the Taklamakan Desert of northwestern China. Archaeologists think that the cheese necklaces may have been placed on the mummies(preserved bodies)to provide something to eat in the afterlife. Because of the dry conditions where the mummies were buried, the cheese didn't decay.
Dylan Siegel,7,Los Angeles has a friend that needs medical treatment. Jonah Pournazarian, 7,has a rare liver disease for which there currently is no cure. Dylan decided at the age of six years old to help his friend by writing a book. One year later, his book, "Chocolate Bar", has raised $500,000. People all over the world have been buying Dylan's book with over 11,000 sold to date.He is trying to raise one million dollars to find a cure for his friend's disease. All money from the 16 page handwriting book, goes to the cure. Dylan uses the world chocolate bar to mean "awesome" or "cool". All the attention that Dylan has received for his efforts have brought the rare liver disease into the spotlight. Way to go, Dylan!
Using the Kepler space telescope, launched in 2009, NASA has announced that our universe is getting more and more crowded. 715 new exoplanets have been discovered which orbit 305 different stars. The newly discovered batch of exoplanets almost doubles the number of alien planets previously known! Most of these alien worlds are smaller than the planet Neptune(which is 4 times the size of planet Earth).And, NASA said there are still others heavenly bodies that have been spotted by the space telescope that are still under study to be classified as exoplanets.
Sixth grade students at the Morristown-Beard School,Morristown, in New Jersey, launched a 5 ft. long model boat into the Atlantic Ocean. On board the craft was a GPS tracking device.The students also placed their names on the bottom of the boat and a photograph as well as a message in several languages. Part of a geography project, the students watched the location of their boat,called the Crimson Tide, as it made its way into the Gulf Stream. Fourteen months later, the ship has gone nearly 3000 miles and arrived at the English Channel island of Guernsey! It was here that it was found by a fisherman. Covered in barnacles, the boat had lost its mast and a waterproof capsule. The container with items including a school tee-shirt, thumb drive with messages and more photographs, and even some money, were lost during the Crimson Tide's voyage. It is hoped that with a new sail and battery for the GPS, the ship can be relaunched with it maybe, returning back to this side of the Atlantic!
2/15/2014P:Shubham Banerjee,12, of California,used a Lego kit and created something that can help others. He invented a Braille printer! Called Braigo(combining the words braille and Lego), Shubham's printer is hundreds of dollars less than those currently on the market. It is Shubham's goal to help blind people around the world, especially in poorer nations. Shubham used the Lego Mindstorms EV3 set to create his printer which he submitted for a local science fair. The Lego company, based in Denmark,having learned of the seventh grader's invention using their blocks, tweeted,"We're very proud. Impressive work for a great cause."Shubham plans to allow others to be able to make his Braigo, free of charge.
Lapplander reindeer herders in northern Finland are trying an unusual idea to prevent their herd from being hit by cars. They are experimenting with using special fluorescent paint and spray painting the reindeers' antlers so they glow in the dark! Ideas to use reflective tape and reflectors on the reindeer haven't been successful. If this new idea "shines", thousands of reindeer will be sporting a glow in the coming months. A representative from the Finnish Reindeer Herders' Association said that currently 20 reindeer have been painted with different glowing paint on their fur and antlers to see which paints and location work best in the cold, windy Arctic climate. Of, course, the chemicals used must also be non-toxic to the health of the reindeer.
Researchers at the University of Connecticut have found that bonobo monkeys can groove to a beat. A drum was specially designed that could hold up to the monkeying around of a bunch of apes. Researchers then banged a drum very fast(about 280 beats per minute or about twice the speed of most music) and found that three bonobos were able to synchronize and pick up a beat when playing on their drum.
Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch have grown the first human lungs. Living lung cells were placed on a scaffold, or frame, and placed in a liquid containing nutrients necessary for the cells to grow. After four weeks, a lung was removed from the container. It is hoped that such technology will enable people needing lung transplants to be able to get one more easily. Currently, there are long waiting lists of people in need of a human lung. The scientists think it will be at least ten years before lungs grown in a lab can be used to replace damaged lungs. What do you think?
Only 16 ft.tall, the newly discovered pyramid in Edfu,Egypt,is older than the Great Pyramid of Giza. The step pyramid,thought to have stood about 43 ft. tall, is estimated to be 4600 years old. Made from sandstone blocks, archaeologists say the pyramid was not a tomb as there aren't any internal rooms, but the purpose of such a structure is still a mystery. It is the seventh such pyramid found in southern Egypt.
Engineers at MIT are developing new technology that will enable readers to actually feel what is happening in the story,and not just through your imagination. The books come with wearable gear for what is being called "sensory Fiction". Specially adapted books come with special sensors that will signal to the device when you reach a scary part. The result might be a vibration or a tightening of your chest. Other sensory responses might be to give you a chill down your spine or increase skin temps to make you turn red for an embarrassing moment in the book. Other sensors in the book will cause the words to brighten or dim depending on the mood or setting. The book used for the experimental technology of sensory fiction was The Girl who was Plugged In by James Tiptree. The technology for sensory fiction books for consumers are still a few years away. What do you think? Would you wish to read such a book or would you prefer using your own imagination as you read?
A family walking along a beach in Australia came upon a massive jellyfish.The jellied mass was 4ft 11 inches in size! Marine biologists think it may be a new species of jellyfish, related to the lion's mane. Specifically found near the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, the jellyfish is about the size of a Smart Car!
The Winter Games are about to begin. There is a building,called the MegaFace, at the Olympic Village where people will get to see their faces(giant versions) on the side of the MegaFon Pavilion. It's kind of like a huge Mt. Rushmore for "regular" people. The side of the building has a screen with 10,000 pins that can extend to the shape of a person's face.Those who wish to see their face on the side of the Pavilion first need to go to a 3D booth to get photographs scanned. It is estimated that about 170,000 people will participate in the Megaface project. The face photographs will be sent to a computer program where the face will get a few seconds of fame, in color, thanks to lights on the end of each 6 ft. long pin on the side of the pavilion.
Luca Laconi-Stewart loves airplanes. He also had lots of manila folders on his desk and decided to start making a paper airplane. Not your typical airplane...this work of art has taken nearly six years(or 10,000 hours!) to create. The result is a replica of a Boeing 777. Using an x-acto knife, glue and tweezers,Stewart created the airplane including detailed seating inside,three cargo door that open and close,landing gears,engine and wings. Laconi-Stewart isn't sure what he will do with the paper airplane although at least one group, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington is interested in his unique plane.
Chinese New Year begins on Friday, January 31st. Each year honors an animal of the Chinese zodiac. In 2014, the calendar will celebrate the year of the horse. In honor of this, a giant rocking hrose was built in Taiwan. It may be the world's largest rocking horse! About 10x the size of a normal child's rocking horse, the yellow horse stands over 21 ft. tall. To the Chinese people, the horse represents energy and strength.People born under this zodiac sign are said to be friendly, honest, have a great sense of humor and are very intelligent.
1/24/14:The Rosetta space probe has woken up after a long sleep. About 500 million miles from earth,and quiet for over 2 years, the goal of the probe launched in 2004 is to LAND on a comet called 67 P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.The Rosetta just sent a signal to the European Space Agency. Tweets in many different languages signaled,"Hello, World."This coming August, if things go as planned, the Rosetta will make history landing on the comet!
Snow covered streets in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,are being treated with....cheese! The state is called the America's Dairyland and is known for its production of cheese. In the cheese making process, the waste,cheese brine, needs to be disposed of and it can be very costly. So, the city has begun trying to use the cheese brine on icy streets. With salt already part of the brine waste, its seems a win-win for the cheese factories as well as the city which spends millions of dollars on road salt in the winter months. And, if you are wondering, it appears that provolone and mozzarella brine work best since they have the most salt content.More harmless to the environment than chemical rock salt, cheese brine does have a drawback...some say the coated streets have a whiff of sour milk!
The first high school in the USA has gotten Pavegen floor tiles and the efforts are thanks to student,Zach Halem, 14, who got his school, Riverdale Country School in New York, to install them. The teen contacted the developer, Laurence Kemball-Cook, about the floors and worked with Pavegen and school officials to bring the tiles to his school. Walking on the green tiles,located outside the school's cafeteria, creates energy, from 2-7 watts. That's enough to power a street light for about 30 seconds or can power a cell phone. The green tiles are made from recycled rubber.Students can see what they generate under their feet and help power the hallways.
Scientists have created a plant that glows in the dark. Using bioluminescent bacteria and splicing the genes with a nicotiana alata plant, the first light producing plant was the result. What do you think of reading by plant-light?
Ever wonder why geese, ibises,cranes and pelican fly overhead in a V-formation? Scientists say that its done by birds with longer wings to help the group fly easier to their next destination...use less energy.Those flying in the front of the V work harder flapping their wings than other positions in the V. These birds drop to different positions when they get tired. Scientists found that older birds or weak birds get positioned more to the back where they can get more of a "ride" and less need to work at flapping their wings.
At an auction in Texas, someone spent $350,000 to hunt and kill a black rhino in the African country of Namibia.Black rhino are very endangered. It is estimated that less than 5000 are left in the wild. The money raised at the auction will be used to help the endangered black rhino but some people think killing a rhino, an old male, is just not the way to go about trying to "save" the creatures. Those who approve of the idea say that the selected rhino for the hunt isn't breeding any longer and that elderly males can sometimes be a threat to younger male rhinos.What do you think?
Remains of two different species of dinosaur have been found for the very first time in the country of Saudi Arabia. Located near the coast of the Red Sea, vertebra and teeth of dinosaur dating back 72 million years were unearthed. One of the dinosaur remains are thought to be that of a brontosaurus-like dinosaur called the Titanosaur. The other remains are that of a Theropod(a carnivorous dinosaur). The otherScientists say that back when the dinosaurs roamed the area, Saudi Arabia was connected to Africa and that much of the area was underwater.
1/14: Facetime and Skype are just ways we can now see the person with whom we are talking. Now,a Polish company plans to take such communication to the next level-hologram phones! Sitting in front of a machine with a microphone and two lenses,the machine merges the two images created by the lenses and streams them through the computer to a person sitting with another piece of equipment , projecting the 3D image onto water vapor.The company says the result will be like the person you are speaking with is actually in front of you. It is hoped that hologram type phones will be available within 5 years for purchase.
Some unusual tweets are coming from....sharks. Researchers in Australia have tagged 338 tiger, whaler and great white sharks.When these tagged sharks get within 1/2 mile from a beach along Western Australia, a tweet is generated stating the bred, size and location of the shark. It is hoped that the technology of using tweets,a faster warning system than television, newspapers and radio, will help alert surfers and beachgoers to possible immediate danger. However,since there are more than 338 sharks in the waters off of Australia, the country with the most shark attacks, and since swimmers are most likely not checking their twitter account while in the water, this is just one additional safety tool, when entering high risk swimming area.
Learn about sharks:Kidzone
Learn about the country of Australia:Australia Webquest/Extension Activities
Photograph of great white shark from IBTimes.com
Simon Beck was an orienteering mapmaker who is now making beautiful artwork... in snow. His snow shoes are his paintbrush and he carries a orienteering compass. Beck goes out into the cold winter night and begins by mapping out his design with his compass which takes about two to three hours. It can take up to ten hours to create his geometric patterns. Some creations are the size of three football fields! Trekking around in the snow in the French Alps near his home in Savoie, France, Beak dons headphones as he creates his works of art,listening to Ludwig van Beethoven. Wind and fresh snow will destroy the artwork but Beck takes photographs of his work so the artwork can be preserved.
What did YOU do on Christmas Eve? Tyler Armstrong, 9, from Yorba Linda, California climbed a mountain. And, not just any mountain, he climbed the tallest mountain peak in the Western and Southern hemispheres, Aconcagua. Tyler climbed into the record books becoming the youngest to ever summit Aconcagua. The peak is 22,841 ft. tall and only 30% of the 7,000 people who attempt the climb are successful each year. Special permission was needed for Tyler as the youngest age to make such a climb is usually 14 years old. The ascent,along with his dad and a Tibetan sherpa guide, was done on what is named the "Polish Glacier route. Tyler said that it was pretty amazing to see "all the clouds are under you." To help pay for the trek, Tyler held fundraisers and also raised money for Cure Duchenne, an organization doing muscular dystrophy research. Climbing mountains isn't new to Tyler. When he was 8 years old, Tyler climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, a 19,341 ft. mountain peak in Tanzania, Africa. A future goal of Tyler's is to successfully climb all the highest mountains on each continent. They are called the "seven summits". Next,Tyler hopes to attempt Denali,(also called Mt. McKinley) the tallest peak in North America(located in Alaska).
12/15/2013 Using over 500,000 Lego blocks, Steve Sammartino and Raul Oaida built a life-sized car and ...it actually works. The black and yellow car does have real wheels,tires and gauges but even the engine was made from legos. The car runs on air and can get to speeds of between 12-18 mph.
A really powerful camera is being launched from French Guyana to study our galaxy. Part of the Gaia space telescope, the largest digital camera ever to go into space is so powerful,it can measure a human hair from 620 miles away! Scientists hope the billion pixel camera will help map out the Milky Way,measuring distances between billion of stars. Another goal of the camera is to detect exoplanets beyond our solar system and create not a 3D map but a 6D map.
Scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Bolder, Colorado, have released their study of temperatures taken back on August 2010 and recorded a bitterly bone chilling temperature of -135.8 F(or -93.2 C) that has broken the previous record for coldest temperature ever recorded! The Russia Vostok Research Station in Antarctica recorded a temperature of -128.6 F ( or -89.2 C) back in 1983. Scientists used satellite data to measure the temperature and not a thermometer.
12/1/13:Scientists at the University of Southern Denmark say a freshwater polyp may be able to live forever! Studying the aging process of 46 different species, scientists suggest that the hydra magnipapillata just doesn't seem to age as most creatures do. And, if it doesn't age, the microscopic creature could possible live on and on and on!
What do you get with 7200 eggs, 3000 pounds of brown sugar, 1800 pounds of butter, 7200 pounds of flour,1,080 ounces of ground ginger and 22,304 candy pieces? That's the world's biggest gingerbread house! The 20.11 ft. tall and 60 ft by 42 ft. house is located in Bryan,Texas., Guinness World Records says the really sweet house is a record setter. All money raised by people visiting the massive gingerbread house will go to charity.
Scientists say they have found what is being called the "world's oldest public toilet"...for dinosaurs. Thousands of fossilized droppings(called coprolites)have been uncovered in the country of Argentina,in a region called La Rioja Province. The dino poo is from a dinosaur called Dinodontosaurus, a herbivore that lived about 240 million years ago which was somewhat like the rhinos of today. It is thought that even dinosaurs didn't want to "go" where they lived and ate. And, scientists think there was another reason for a common toilet area. It made those creatures wandering into the toilet territory think that with so many droppings, there must be a large herd of dinosaurs in the area...and, they'd better keep on moving! Studying the droppings will provide information on the diet and possible diseases of the dinosaurs that left their poo behind.
Scientists look to lotus leaves when they want to think of the most waterproof material in nature. Now, scientists at MIT have developed a man-made material that is even 40% better than the lotus leaf. Called "Super hydrophobic", the secret to the most waterproof material are teeny ridges. The more you can segment a droplet of water, the less contact with a surface is made. Ridges cause water droplets to break up and bounce off faster than surfaces without such tiny ridges. Patterns of ridges were applied after observing the veins of nasturtium leaves and the ridge patterns on the wings of Morpho butterflies. Such technology will be able to make our clothes stay more dry and could also be used to help airplanes stay drier, too.
The Ring of Fire, a region in the Pacific Ocean, is known for its volcanic activity. This week, a volcanic eruption caused a new island to appear near to the south coast of Tokyo, Japan. Ash, heavy black smoke and rocks are billowing out of the craterOnly about 660 ft. in diameter, its existence may be temporary.
A tiny clam( Arctica islandica bivalve mollusks) earned the title as the world's oldest animal when it was found off the coast of Iceland back in 2006. Scientists estimated its age at 405 years old. Now, after further study, scientists say that Ming was actually 507 years old when found. Like trees, a clam's age can be determined from the lines on its shell, adding another line each year of its life.The tiny clam was named Ming, because it was born during the Ming Chinese dynasty(1368-1644). Think about this. Ming was alive when Columbus set sail in 1492 looking for a shorter route to the Indies!
What may be a new species of insect has been found in the rainforest of the South American country of Suriname. With orange dots and stripes, the golden insect has very unusual tuft of hairlike feelers. Researchers say that this may be one of the stages of the insect as it changes from egg to the nymph cycle. As of yet, the unique creature hasn't been given a name. What might YOU select as its name?
An ice cream company in Great Britain has come up with a really COOL ice cream.It glows when you lick it. And,the more you lick,the more it glows! Phosphorous jellyfish protein is used to get the ice cream to glow. If you wish to eat this unusual glow in the dark ice cream, it will set you back about $200 for a scoop.
Rupee, an 11 month old pooch, has done something no dog has done before. He has climbed to the base camp of Mt. Everest with his owner, Joanne Lefson. Called Expedition Mutt Everest 2013, the journey was to create awareness to homeless animals and to promote adoption. Joanne found Rupee abandoned in a city in India. The pair trekked through snow and crossing old bridges and wet paths to reach 5364 meters in 13 days. Joanne said that Rupee pulled her along when she tired and loved playing in the snow.
11/20/13:Comet ISON is coming. It is estimated that ISON will travel about 730,000 miles from the surface of the sun. If it isn't destroyed by solar flairs coming from being so close to the sun's surface, it may give quite a spectacular light show. Some are calling its upcoming appearance, "the comet of the century" with a possible brightness, that of the planet Venus. Expect to see Comet ISON beginning on Thanksgiving Day.
The eastern Steller sea lions are giving a mighty roar with the exciting news that they have been taken off the threatened list. For the past 30 years,their population has been growing and currently is around 50,000-70,000. It's been almost 20 years since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) has delisted an animal. The last was the eastern North Pacific gray whale. NOAA will continue to monitor the Steller sea lions for the next 10 years.Photograph from http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov Learn about the Steller sea lions are this link:animals.nationalgeographic.com
Carlos Burle has surfed into the record books by hanging ten down a wall of water estimated to be 100 ft. tall! The beach at Nazare, Portugal,Praia do Norte, is famous for their REALLY big waves and Burle hit the jackpot thanks to the St. Jude storm that had recently hit the European area. Currently, the record for surfing the biggest wave, was done by Garret McNamara in 2011 when he caught a 78 ft. wave in the same area. People on the shore watching say that when these massive waves crash onto the shore,it's like that of an earthquake, causing the ground under the feet to shake. Guinness World Records still needs to certify the measurement before they can announce officially that Burle indeed has surfed the mountain of water!
Leon McCarthy, 12, of Massachusetts, was born without fingers on his left hand.Prosthetics are very expensive and with Leon still growing, such a device was just not an option at this time. Leon's dad began looked to an unusual source for help...a 3 D printing machine. Leon's dad used a design he found for free on the internet and made fingers for Leon's left hand! It took lots of weeks to get the green plastic finger device to work but now, Leon has a hand that can actually pick up pencils, paper and, even a water bottle. The artificial sci fi looking fingers operate by wrist movements with cable tension either closing or opening the fingers depending on the directional motion of the wrist. At first, Leon thought printing plastic fingers was a bit of a crazy idea but now,he says it is all pretty awesome. Recently, Leon came home from school and announced that "the Frankenstein hand is functioning. I am holding my lunch bag."
9/23/13:Women in the country of Saudi Arabia can get arrested when they attempt to...drive a car. In 2011, a woman spent 9 days in jail after uploading a video to YouTube of driving a car in Saudi Arabia. But, this may be changing as more and more women(and men) are joining a campaign to open the roads for women drivers. On Saturday, October 26, a Women's Driving Campaign will be held in the country. However, women who take part are already being warned that there will be consequences if the attempt to get behind the wheel of a car.
Back in 2009, Kevin Terris was on a field trip to Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with his classmates searching for fossils when he noticed what looked like a little piece of bone under a mushroom shaped rock called a "hoodoo". Could it be a dinosaur bone? Walking around the boulder,Kevin sighted a skull...of a dinosaur. Could more of the dinosaur remains lay beneath the boulder? Returning the next year, the site was excavated and, an amazing discovery was made. Seems Kevin had stumbled upon the remains of a complete parasaurolophus. The duck-billed dinosaur fossil is said to be the most complete, smallest and youngest of the species of dinosaur ever found. Nicknamed "Joe", the age was determined by the ring patterns in its leg bone. The parasaurolophus was less than a year old when it died. This month, Joe goes on display at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in California.
A pumpkin grown by Tim and Susan Mathison, Napa, California has smashed the record for its mammoth size. The giant pumpkin weighed in at 2032 pounds. Grown in 105 days,the pumpkin surpassed the 2012 record pumpkin of 2009 pounds.
A VERY large fish was found in Toyon Bay, California . Called an oarfish, it is a real whopper measuring 18 ft. long! It was found by someone from the Catalina Island Marine Institute while she was snorkeling in the waters.The almost intact body of the 300 pound serpent-like creature, which are rarely seen by humans, was brought to shore, carried by almost 20 people. Oarfish can live in depths of 30,000 ft. and can grow to 50 ft. in length. The discovery of the oarfish is being called "Discovery of a lifetime."
Do you know who your great grand-parents were? Just how far back can you trace your family tree? Scientists have discovered nineteen people match a genetic mutation to Otzi the Iceman! Otzi, is the 5300 mummy found in a melting glacier in the Alps back in 1991. Genetic testing was done on 3700 people living in the Tyrol area of Austria and compared the DNA found in Otzi's body. The nineteen people haven't yet been told they are distant relatives to Otzi, the Iceman. Scientists plan to continue their testing to include other geographical areas including Switzerland and Italy to see if Otzi has any other cousins!
If you could go to the planet Jupiter or Saturn, you'd experience a most unusual rain. Scientists say that it rains diamonds! Not just tiny diamonds but stones large enough to be worn by wealthy people. It is believed that conditions on the planets turn methane gas into cinders. This soot hardens into pieces of graphite. The graphite then turns into diamonds raining down on the planets like hailstones do on earth.Hundreds of thousands of diamond fall into the planets' liquid seas each year. It is estimated that some diamonds are so large that they are described as "diamondbergs". Scientists say one day, it might be possible to send robots to the planets to mine the diamonds floating in the seas and bring them back to Earth.
9/2/13:Do you like to pedal as fast as you can on your bicycle? Sebastian Bowier, a Dutch cyclist, pedaled into the record books with the fastest bicycle speed-ever! He reached 83.13 mph as he zoomed down a road in the Nevada Desert at Battle Mountain during the World Human Speed Championships.Using a special recumbent bicycle(bike in a reclining position that spreads the weight evenly over a greater area)that was modified with a outer shell, to reduce air resistance,Bowier's Velo X3 broke a record previously held by an Canadian cyclist, Sam Whittingham.
NASA has announced that the first man-made object has left the solar system! The Voyager 1 launched in 1977(along with the Voyager 2 sixteen days later) has left heliosphere and is now zooming into interstellar space. The heliosphere is the boundary separating our solar system including the sun, planets and solar wind from the rest of the galaxy. Some say the solar system contains the orbits of distant comets so if this is included, the Voyager still has thousands of years to go to exit the solar system. Either way, it's an amazing triumph for the space probe, which with memory less than a smart phone is still working! Traveling at more than 28,000 mph, the Voyager carries what is called the "golden record", including sounds and photographs of our word so that if alien life forms are out there and come into contact with the Voyager, they can learn a bit about our world.
In a world where beauty is highlighted, a unique organization wants people to think about creatures less cute. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society, located in Great Britain,has just selected a new mascot-the Blobfish, as the world's ugliest creature! Found in the deep ocean waters off of south-eastern Australia, the Blobfish is really a creature only a mom(or dad)could love! A world wide competition was recently held with thousands of people voting on the ugliest animal. Other creatures up for selection included the kakao(a non flying parrot), the Titicaca(water frog), the purple pig-nosed frog, the giant Palouse earthworm, the proboscis monkey,and Axolotl(salamander). The society is "dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mather Nature's more aesthetically challenged children." All creatures cute and ....ugly,need to be remembered when it comes to being in trouble of endangerment or extinction. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society hopes that such a contest will help to shed more light on those creatures that need our concern,too.
A Spokane, Washington teen has come up with a way to stay in contact with her dog, Kayla, even when she isn't around. Brooke Martin, 13, have developed iCPooch. The device provides a pet owner with a way to interact with their pets at home using a smartphone or tablet. And, in addition to having video viewing time , Brooke's creation allows a pet owner to dispense a treat to their four-legged pal when away from home. Brooke, a 9th grader, is a finalist in this fall's Discovery Eduction 3M Young Scientist Challenge with her invention. She could win a grand prize of $25,000.
Beneath the Pacific Ocean, scientists have discovered a volcano and it's a whopper-the largest volcano on earth! Located about 1000 miles from the east coast of Japan, Tamu Massif is also of the biggest volcanoes in the entire solar system. About the size of the country of Great Britain(or the state of New Mexico), it surpasses the largest volcano on earth, Mauna Loa, in Hawaii in size at 120,000 sq. miles(Mauna Loa is 2000 sq. miles). It is located in the Shatsky Rise in the Pacific Ocean. Standing 2.5 miles tall and 400 miles wide, testing suggests that the extinct Tamu Massif is about 145 million years old. And, if you are wondering, the largest volcano in our solar system is Olympus Mons, found on Mars.
People in the vicinity of a skyscraper being called the Walkie Talkie being built in London,England, are complaining. They say the sun's rays reflecting off of the many windows gives such glare that it actually hurts their eyes. And, there is more. One person says the beams of light actually burned a hole in the seat of his bicycle. Another person said his doormat started to catch fire.Another person saids his car has actually had melting damage after being parked near the building. Someone else actually fried an egg in a pan on the sidewalk by the construction site.What's the reason? Seems the design of curved windows(concave shape) are absorbing the sun's rays at a very concentrated level. During the heat of the afternoon, temperature in the area of the building has reached 158 degrees Fahrenheit. Like mirrors, the windows are reflecting the rays toward the ground. The builders of the skyscraper,nicknamed the Walkie Scorchie", have placed a temporary screen on the windows to help stop the problem until a permanent fix can be determined. =
Do you like jazz or rock music, not like classical or Hip Hop? Seems goldfish have favorite types of music,too. Researchers in Japan did an experiment to see if goldfish have the ability to respond to music and have an understand of it being able to distinguish one type of music from another. Several goldfish were trained with food to nibble on pieces of red bead hanging inside their tank of water when they heard Johann Sebastian Bach's Tocca and Fugue in D Minor. Others were trained to nibble when they heard Igor Stravinsky's music,The Rite of Spring. It took a bit of training but the tiny goldfish eventually were able to determine which type of music was being played, nearly 75% of the time. The study shows that the previously thought low intelligent fish actually can determine the pitch and variation of music. And, as for the composer, it was Bach's whom the fish seemed to enjoy the best.
8/20/13:p>Using stem cells, scientists have grown tiny human brains. Although nothing close to an actual functioning human brain, it is the first time, working neurons and brain tissue have been created. Scientists hope that such mini brains will be able to aid in the studying of workings of the human brain and in developing new drugs to address brain diseases.
Just like most 11 year old kids, Carson Huey-You, has returned to school for the fall. The difference, Carson,is attending Texas Christian University in Fort Worth as the college's youngest freshman. Carson, who plans to study physics started to read at the age of 2 and graduated from a private high school this past June as co-valedictorian. In his spare time, Carson likes to play the piano,chess and checkers and loves Star Wars. He also enjoys watching Mythbusters. Carson wants to be a quantum physicist when he grows up.
Glance at a globe of the earth and you can see the Americans. Why would finding a globe showing this information be newsworthy? That's because the globe made from the halves of two ostrich eggs dates back to the early 1500s. It is said to be the oldest globe found to date to show the New World, the Americas. The globe maker,thought to have lived in Florence, Italy, included waves, monsters and even a shipwrecked sailor on his globe,the size of a large grapefruit. Scientists tested the ink on the globe as well as did carbon dating and historical study to determine the approximate age of the globe. There are 71 names on the globe with several in the Western Hemisphere including the Latin for New World, Land of Brazil and Land of the Holy Cross. There is also a line in the Asia part of the globe, "Land of the Dragons".
It's been 35 years since a new species of mammal has been discovered in the western hemisphere. Give a big welcome to the olinguito! The olinguito calls the cloud forests of Ecuador and Colombia its home and is a relative of the raccoon family. Weighing about two pounds, the red-orange colored olinguito is a carnivore(eats meat) but also eats fruit. It roams at night and sleeps during the day in trees. The olinguito has been compared to a mix of a teddy bear and house cat.The discovery was made by accident when a zoologist Kristofer Helgen,from the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, DC,was studying specimens of bones and skin that were warehoused in a Chicago,Illinois, museum. The olinguito was previously thought to be another mammal called a olingo but recent testing shows it to indeed be a new species.
Imagine if you could travel in a tube at rocket speeds. Think of when you place money in a bank tube at a drive-up and how it zips to a waiting teller inside the bank. That's the idea behind hyperloop, an idea of billionaire Elon Musk, for his really fast transportation idea. Traveling at 700 mph, or close to super sonic speeds,people sitting in seat-pods inside an elevated rail tube could make the distance between San Francisco and Los Angeles in just 30 minutes. It currently takes about six hours to do the drive. Electric motors would push the air underneath the seat to move the travelers along the route. Solar panels on the tube would provide the power for the fans. Scientists say the idea has potential but would be very extensive to develop. Musk hopes to have a prototype of the hyperloop within the next four years.
Ben Friberg went paddle boarding and oared into the world record books. That's because Friberg is the first person to paddle from Cuba to Key West, Florida, a distance of 111 miles! It took the professional paddle boarder Friberg 28 hours to accomplish this record breaking journey on a paddle board. The non-stop trek included one fall into the waves and of, course, standing for all those hours. It isn't Friberg's first long distance paddle boarding record. Last year, he went 238 miles on the Yukon River, in Canada, for a journey that took him 24 hours.
8/10/13:Kirobo, of Japan, has arrived at the International Space Station. He will be a companion for another astronaut, Koichi Wakata,from Japan, currently at the ISS. Kirobo, whose name means "hope" and "robot" is a talking robot created by scientists in Japan. Although Wakata has several human astronauts for companionship, the robot speaks Japanese, something the others astronauts do not do, so Wakata will be able to converse in Japanese with Kirobo. The talking robot won't do any physical tasks so it is very tiny, only 13 inches tall and weighs only about two pounds. Kirobo's first words were: "One small step for me, a giant leap for robots." You may remember in 1969, Neil Armstrong's first words when he walked onto the moon's surface were," That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind."
One day you may be able to have a hamburger without a cow losing its life. Dutch scientists have "grown" hamburger meat from stem cells. The project took five years and cost about $300,000. The result was a hamburger that tasters said came close to meat although it wasn't very juicy. Using stem cells to grow meat would help the environment, lessening the impact on water, land and the number of animals being killed to supply meat products. Don't expect lab grown hamburger in the supermarkets anytime soon. It will probably take more than 10 years to perfect the process and make it economically possible. And, the same technology could also be used to create fish, chicken and pork products.
Rocketing supplies into space is expensive. What if you could use a super-sized type of sling shot to get building materials,fuel or water cargo into space? A company thinks their "slingatron" might do just that! Made of large steel coils that are electrically powered and with movements similar to a hula hoop, the slingatron circles with such speed that when released, an object weighing 1 pounds can reach speeds of about .62 miles per second! For the Slingatron to reach the height of the International Space Station, located in low-earth orbit, the cargo would need to reach 4.7 miles per second. The idea may one day be a more economical and reusable method to bring materials to astronauts in space.
Scientists have long known that bottlenose dolphin were very intelligent mammals. Now, they have learned that dolphins seem to have names for one another! Using specific whistling sounds, dolphins use different sounds to call their buddies... as far as 12 miles away! Although parrots and some birds may also have this ability, it is believed that this discovery is the first example of mammals other than humans addressing others in their group by using some form of identification tone.
An enormous dinosaur tail has been unearthed in northern Mexico. It is about 16 ft. long! Scientists say the dinosaur, possibly a hadrosaur(duckbilled dinosaur), roamed the earth about 72 million years ago. The average size of an adult hadrosaur was about 40 feet in length. It is the first such discovery in Mexico of such a complete dinosaur tail. The tail has 50 vertebrae. Scientists will continue to dig at the site and think that more remains of the dinosaur will be uncovered. Just imagine how a dinosaur could move such a very long tail! Scientists hope this discovery might shed some clues on just how they managed to do this.
Do you like to ride a swing? If,so, the ultimate swing ride has to be the one 1300 ft. over the Colorado River, in the town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The 60 second ride takes those daring to ride the Giant Canyon Swing on a 50 mph ride from the edge of a cliff. Interestingly, the designer of the swing said that just one ride on his swing was enough for him!
During the gold rush, prospectors discarded rocks and dirt into piles that had no value as they searched for precious gold. Now, times have changed. It seems that much of the "junk" rocks and dirt may have lots of value today! Scientists are finding the rocks piles contain elements such as Dysprosium oxide, Neodymium, Lutetium(71) and Lanthanum (57). These minerals are called "rare earth elements and are in demand for making such things as halide lamps and lasers,MRI machines,making magnets lighter and to add color to smartphone touch screens. Piles of these rocks means no need to mine for them. Another benefit... cleaning up the thrown away rocks and dirt piles left behind by prospectors many years ago would help the environment,too.
A new species of dinosaur has been unearthed in the deserts of the state of Utah. Paleonotologists say the dinosaur was very unique. Living about 75 million years ago, it was named nasutoceratops meaning " big nose and horn face". The nasutocertatops was about 15 ft. long and tipped the scales at about 2.5 tons. Its horns are very unusual because they curve forward over its eyes and its nose is extremely large. It is believed that the new species of dinosaur was a herbivore or plant eater.
7/19/13:The first successful human powered helicopter got off the ground using... pedal power. Todd Reichert, a Canadian engineer, pedaled a bicycle and got a specially super-light weight framed helicopter, called Atlas,about 11 ft. into the air and kept it in flight for 64 seconds. The AHS Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition which sponsored the event, began in 1980. Until now, no one has successfully powered a helicopter with human power.The feat of getting the 110 pound helicopter in the air earned the team of engineers a $250,000 prize.
On July 19, look up at the sky and wave! You may get your photograph taken by the Cassini probe. NASA is calling the photograph session, the Day the Earth Smiled. Don't worry too much about fussing for the camera because the photograph will be taken from 898 million miles away! The photograph will actually be taken of the planet Saturn but Earth will be in the background....The event will begin at 5:27 PM EST and last for 15 minutes. So get out and get your picture taken and upload it to NASA's Wave at Saturn Facebook page! Learn more:The Day the Earth Smiled
July 12th has been designated "Malala Day" by the United Nations. An amazing honor for an amazing young teen. Malala Yousafzai, from Pakistan, was shot by Taliban members last year for her efforts to allow girls to get an education! Malala says of her attackers, "The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens." She said that books and pens are the most powerful weapons.Today,the teen will celebrate her 16th birthday speaking at a youth assembly at the United Nations.
A new national park is being considered by Congress but don't expect to visit it anytime soon. That's because the proposed park is on the moon! Two congresswomen have sought to establish the lunar park at the area where the first Apollo manned space landing occurred back in 1969. Why make a national park on the moon? There is concern that future space travelers might damage the site where footprints of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin can be found. Other items are also at the site including American flags, moon walking equipment and even a moon buggy. Due to a treaty signed by 101 countries, called the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, countries can not claim ownership of the moon so the bill proposes the site being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.What do you think?
A huge forest has been discovered but don't plan on hiking it anytime soon. It's found about 60 ft. underneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The Bald Cypress forest was under the water's floor for over 50,000 years, covered by a thick layer of sand. Scientists think that huge waves from 2005 Hurricane Katrina caused the buried forest to be uncovered. Found a couple of miles from the coast of Alabama, the forest's cypress trees are very well preserved. A fisherman noticed lots and lots of fish in a certain area. When he explored the area in a scuba suit, he found the forest of cypress trees! Dendrochronologists(scientists that study a tree's rings) hope to learn more about the climate of the region by studying this newly discovered forest. Scientists will have only a couple of years to do such studies. Sadly, now that the forest has been uncovered, marine life will start burrowing into the wood and within a couple of years, scientists say the forest will be destroyed.
A duck named Buttercup needed a new left foot and got one with the help of a 3 D printer. Born with a partially backward foot at the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary,Tennessee, 3D technology was used to print out a new plastic webbed foot. A model was made from another duck's foot to get the proper measurements.Buttercup is doing just ducky with his new foot!
Homing pigeons are known for their abilities to return back to a destination but it sees that one particular bird took a detour during a 600 mile race in Japan. Last week, the year old racing pigeon,that left during a race on May 10th, was found on Vancouver Island, Canada-5000 mile away from Japan! It is believed that the unnamed racing pigeon may have hitched a ride aboard freighters to get needed water and food along its flight across the Pacific Ocean.Thanks to an identification band around its leg, the marathon racing pigeon's owner was contacted. The owner doesn't want the misdirected bird returned so it has been adopted by a racing pigeon club in Canada where it is being nursed back to health.What name would you give to this racing pigeon?
6/23/13:On Sunday,Nik Wallenda,of the famed"Flying Wallendas" circus family, successfully walked across a tightrope 1500 ft. above the Grand Canyon. It took him 22 minutes to make the walk which was four football fields and he did it without a net or any safety harness. Winds and cable swayed as Wallenda walked a steel cable the width of two bottle caps! The walk was covered by live television. His next tightrope attempt...he'd like to walk between the Chrysler Building and Empire State building in New York City.
Wild dogs, foxes, and jackals are some of the artwork found on the walls of a cave discovered in Tennessee. Scientists say the drawing, including a hunting scene, are over 6000 years old, the oldest rock art found in America. The faded drawings also show birds,mythological creatures,serpents and circles and were drawn using mud.
Hidden away in a thick jungle in eastern Mexico, archaeologists have uncovered an old Maya city. Named Chactun, or "Red Rock", the city may have been home to 40,000 people between 600 AD and 900 AD. In addition to homes, a number of ball courts, and plazas,15 pyramids(one 75 ft. tall) also been found on the 54 acre site. A number of stone monuments,many with inscription were also discovered. The lost city was found using aerial imaging over the jungle area.
Let's put our hands together and give Bryan Bednarek a big round of applause! Seems Bednarek has set a new record for the most claps in 60 seconds...an amazing 802 times! That's 13 claps a second! The previous record in 60 seconds was 720 continuous claps.The video clip shows Bednarek wearing headphones to help keep him focused on his clapping.Guinness World records has yet to recognized the accomplishment. Give yourself a try and see how many times you can clap your hands in a minute!
Remember the scene from the 1982 movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, when Elliott with E.T in his bicycle basket take flight? Scientists in the Czech Republic have developed a flying bicycle! Weighing about 210 pounds, the bicycle actually stayed in the air for about five minutes. Remember, the Wright Brothers very first flight lasted 12 seconds and the Wright Flyer went just 120 ft! Propellers powered by batteries give the flying bike the appearance of a tiny helicopter. The first passenger was a dummy dressed in clothes and a helmet. The scientists say more battery life will be needed for an actual human passenger to go for a ride.
Usually people want quiet at a library but at the Seattle Public Library,Seattle, Washington the other day, there was a lot of books dropping...2,131 books to be exact! The domino chain of books, falling one by one, earned a new world record for the longest book domino chain! Starting at a book shelf, donated books topped one another along a winding route on the library floor,around a planter and down a flight of stairs. Some of the books even spelled out the message,"READ". The activity was to promote the summer reading program at the library. Getting ready to attempt to break a record set in Great Britain in 2011 took about seven hours and needed about thirty volunteers. The first five attempts weren't successful but when the domino of books chain succeeded, it took just 3 minutes!
6/5/13:Can't always remember your password for your Ipad or smartphone? Some ideas include a special kind of wearable electronic tattoo or taking a pill that send a signal to unlock your smartphone and computer. Now, Google is working on a type of facial expressions where you simply frown, smile wrinkle your nose, blink or stick out your tongue to unlock your devices! What type of facial expression would you use for your password?
Two year old Arbor has learned to hold a brush and walk up to a canvas and leave some strokes. Her paintings have sold for up to $453 dollars.The painting pooch got her start after being adopted from an animal shelter in Las Vegas after being found wandering the streets. Her new owner taught the clever canine to hold a paint brush and place some strokes onto a canvas. Most money from Arbor's painting goes to an animal charity. Currently, one of Arbor's paintings is being auctioned off to raise money for the tornado victims of Oklahoma.
Piano, guitar and drums are instruments...but the Eiffel Tower? Composer Joseph Bertolozzi is creating on opus, "Tower Music" using the Eiffel Tower as his instrument! The American Bertolozzi says banging different sized mallets, drumsticks and a lambs wool covered log against the tower's girders, railings and panels creates sounds similar to that of marimbas, Indonesian gamelan gongs and metallic drums. Before recording approximately 2000 audio sounds, Bertolozzi had to first assured the French that his mallets wouldn't do any denting to the famous Paris landmark. WIth the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower coming in 2014, Bertolozzi hopes to perform his completed opus at the tower.
Not one but three almost complete fossils of a triceratops were recently found on a Wyoming ranch. The plant-eating dinosaurs had three horns and lived 67 million years ago. The find of three juvenile aged triceratops is unusual as scientists didn't think the triceratops traveled in groups. Adult triceratops could be 7 ft. tall about the size of an elephant.
Imagine being able to move something just by thinking it. Scientists at the University of Minnesota's Institute for Engineering in Medicine are working on a thought-powered helicopter. Wearing a special hat, electric currents from the wearer's brain were sent to a computer that enabled a model helicopter, a quadcopter,to actually move! The scientists successfully moved the quadcopter though an obstacle course which included foam rings. Can you think of ways such thought technology might benefit our world?
Do you have trouble remembering your password? Scientists at Motorola are working on some interesting ideas to help. One idea is a biostamp that you place on your skin. The rubber stamp contains electronic circuits and would send a signal to your computer allowing access. Another idea....swallowing a pill! The pill contains a computer chip powered by stomach acid. It would emit a signal to unlock your computer devices. The downside-you'd have to take the pill each day! Which idea do you like best?
Arvind Mahankali, 13, of New York, is the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee champ. The winning word was "knaidel" a Yiddish word for dumpling(matzo ball).In addition to $ 30,000 in cash and prizes, Arvind won a great looking trophy. This isn't the first time Arvind has competed in the Bee. The previous two years, Arvind finished in third place. The 8th grader,the first boy to win in five years,studied German words for the bee. He plans to become a physicist.
Might a fuzzy image off the coast of the Pacific island of Nikumaroro solve a long mystery of what actually happened to Amelia Earhart? During her round the world attempt with navigator Fred Noonan in 1937, a transmission was made asking for help in finding a place to land the airplane. She said she was running low on fuel. That was the last contact Earhart made. For many years an organization called TIGHAR(The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery), led by Ric Gillespie has focused on the island of Nikumaroro, which Earhart and Noonan may have reached . Items found on the uninhabited island included a woman's shoe, a skeleton thought to be of a woman, a pocket knife and a jar of anti-freckle cream ,both of which Earhart used. Now sonar images see what looks like parts of an airplane on the sea floor. Could it be Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra?
5/25/13:Maybe, you remember the replicator in Star Trek episodes where a device created food to eat.Scientists are developing 3 D printers that can produce food....such as pizza! Using special cartridges containing oils and ingredients, the technology has already "printed" cookies and chocolate. Printing a pizza involves a special printer that prints and bakes the dough. Cartridges of powered sauce, tomatoes, oil and water would then be added.A 3 D printer that could make foods would be especially helpful for astronauts on long space missions such as the proposed manned expedition to Mars.
An amazing Star Wars X-Wimng fighter jet was on display in New York City this week to go along with the premiere of "The Yoda Chronicles", a Star Wars animated series. It was made from 5,335,200 Lego bricks! Weighing 46,000 pounds, the fighter jet is 43 ft. long,large enough for kids to go into its cockpit. The wingspan stretches 44 ft. It is the largest Lego model ever created. It took 32 master Lego builders over 17,000 to create(about 4 months).The Lego model will find a permanent home at the Legoland in Carlsbad,CA.
An unusual farm in Great Britain has gotten approval for construction. When completed in a few years, will become the largest of its kind in the world. It's a wave farm! When done, the waves produced will generate enough energy to power 30,000 homes!Photograph from BBCNews.co.uk
This year's 2013 National Geographic Bee winner is Sathwik Karnik. The 12 year old won a trip to the Galapagoes Islands, lifetime membership to National Geographic Society and a cool $25,000 scholarship. The 7th graders from Massachusetts had enjoyed using an atlas to learn about the world, since he was just six years old. Sathwik, who plans to become a doctor, said he was a bit nervous being on television for the very first time, but got more comfortable as the competition went on. Here was the winning question.Because Earth bulges at the equator, the point that is farthest from Earth's center is the summit of a peak in Ecuador. Name this peak.’ Sathwik knew the answer was Chimborazo.Congrats, Sathwik!
5/15/13:Twins Ryan and Luke Novosel, of Wilmette, Illinois, read in the Guinness Book of World Records they got as a Christmas gift that a school in Iowa had the world record number of twins in one grade... 16 sets of twins. The two 5th graders knew they had many more in their Highcrest Wilmette Middle School. There are 24 sets of twins out of the 470 fifth graders! Guinness was contacted and required birth certificates, a photo of all the twins and information from the school was submitted for consideration to the change the world record.
Thought and prayers go out to Moore,OK, after the devastating tornado. The tornado traveled at speeds exceeding 200 mph and covered a two mile wide and 20 mile path during its 40 minutes of destruction.Learn more about tornado safety at this link:Tornado Safety TipsLearn more about tornados at this link:What is a Tornado?Interesting Facts,too!Photograph from
Eleven years ago, Ali, a green sea turtle ,was hit by a boat's engine propeller. The injury created an air bubble underneath her shell.The air bubble prevented Ali from being able to dive into the water and it caused her to float upside down. Ali, who lives at the Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park in Great Britain, has been fitted with the world's first diving belt for a turtle. Small weights,like those used by scuba divers, are inserted into a harness that is strapped around Ali's body. The protected endangered species is now once again able to experience diving after so many years! Learn about green sea turtles at this link:Green Sea Turtle Info
Wish you could turn that hum or sing your original melody into music that someone could actually play on an instrument? A new app from scientists in Sweden may help you do just that! Using ScoreCleaner you record your tune into a smart phone. The app translates your recording into musical notation. Then, all you need is to find someone who can read music to play your musical creation!
Have you ever tried a scratch and sniff? A Japanese company has developed what is being nicknamed a smelliphone. Yes, you read correctly. It's a smartphone which can send scents to someone via their phone. Adding the Scentee device to an IPhone will allow you to send a smell to someone else.Maybe, you want to send a fragrant flower scent to cheer up a friend or perhaps you are playing a video game and would like to experience the smells of a race track or candy. The Scentee will be able to do just that. It is expected to be for sale later this fall.
An ice cream store in Los Angeles, California,makes ice cream in an unusual way...the energy needed to generate the power to the ice cream churn uses a stationary bicycle! It only takes 3-4 miles on a old Schwinn bicycle to churn 5 gallons of ice cream. Owner Edward Belden says that's about 15-20 minutes on a bike. And, if you want to help out, customers of Peddler's Creamery are welcome to hop a seat on the bike located at the entrance to the shop, to pedal away!
More than 2 billion people around the world eat bugs including water bugs,scorpions,locusts,crickets, grasshoppers, ants,larvae,stink bugs,tree worms and more.The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization released a study hoping that more people will consider adding munching on insects in their diet. Why? Insects are very nutritious containing lots of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. With an estimated nine billion people walking the planet by the year 2050, insects would provided a food source for an increasing number of people,especially as farmlands continue to dwindle replaced by cities and towns. With an estimated ten million types of bugs, there would be many varieties in which to chose!
4/1/2013:Researchers in California are working to develop bioluminescent plants(plants that glow) with hopes that one day street lights might be replaced with glowing plants and glow in the dark trees! Using a gene found in fireflies that enables them to have glowing abilities,researchers are developing plants whose DNA has had this gene inserted causing the plants to glow as they grow.The researchers are working with a mustard plant and hope to work with developing a glowing rose, too. One day, you might be able to sit in a room reading you IPad by the glow of a plant instead of a lamp!
Scientists at Harvard University have developed the world's smallest flying robot. After studying the movement of insects, the robo-fly was developed. About the size of a fly and with the ability to also hover in place, the robo-fly has the potential for rescue situations, especially into collapsed buildings, where they could travel into tiny spaces searching for victims. With teeny wings that flutter about 120 times a second, the robo-fly could also monitor environmental conditions and could act like honeybees(which are declining in world population), helping to pollinate crops. The robo-fly robot model is currently tethered to a power source. Wireless flying robo-flies are still a few years away.
There aren't any hotdogs ,chicken nuggets or hamburgers on the school menu at Public School 244,the Active Learning Elementary School, in Flushing Queens, NY.That's because Public School 244 may be the first all-vegetarian public elementary school in the country! The K-3 school serves meals including vegetarian chili, tofu wraps,black beans and cheddar quesadillas in their school cafeteria. Originally vegetarian meals were offered a couple of days a week until the new year when the cafeteria went totally vegetarian only. And, if you don't wish to eat what is served in the cafeteria, you can always bring you own lunch to school. What's your favorite cafeteria lunch? What do you think of a vegetarian only menu?
Roads we travel down haven't changed much over the years. Concrete or black asphalt is about what you see on highways. That may change if artist Daan Roosegaarde's ideas are implemented.Imagine a road that alerts motorists to slow down for icy or wet conditions by turning colors? He'd like to see glow in the dark roads,too, using a paint that charges up during daylight and gives off light at night. It would save money cities spend on electricity to light the roads at night. Roosegaarde is working with a civil engineering company to test out glow in the dark paints on a road in the Netherlands sometime this year.
Have you heard of a caxirola? If not, you will be hearing more about it in the coming months. The maraca-like instrument will be featured at the 2014 World Cup to be held in the South American country of Brazil. Remember the vuvuzela at the last World Cup? Making a rattling noise when shaken, the caxirola, a percussion instrument, will be available in green and yellow and is made from recycled plastic.
Junk, you see it littering the highways. There's also junk in space, LOTS of it. Scientists estimate that 20,000 man-made objects are orbiting the Earth, much of the junk in low-Earth orbit. Debris includes rocket boosters, old communication and weather satellites and even tools dropped by astronauts while outside the International Space Station. And, scientists say there are more than 500,000-tens of millions of itsy bitsy pieces of junk! All this space junk could be a safety issue to space missions so scientists are meeting in May to discuss the topic and what can be done about it. Scientists in Great Britain are developing a giant harpoon which could grab some of the space junk and pull it down toward Earth where it can burn up. Other scientists are suggesting a net which could catch space junk or a gigantic robotic arm that could grab the space junk and pull it back to Earth. What ideas might you have to clean up space?
They're coming....After 17 years, cicadas are about to return. From states along the eastern coast, billions and billions of the insects will soon be making an appearance. The cicada,a relative of the katydids and crickets, have been living underneath the ground and are now ready to make an appearance above ground to chirp loudly,find a mate, lay their eggs and...die. Actually, the cicadas that will be showing up are the children of those that visited back in 1996. They are being called Brood 2. There are 2500 species of cicadas. Some appear yearly in Japan. Others wait 13 years and those in the northeast wait the 17 years to make their visit. Black and red in coloring, and about 2 inches in length, the males' chirping can be heard up to 1 mile away by the female of the species! Harmless to humans, their sound can be a bit hard on the ears as it can reach 100 decibels(about that of a lawnmower). The commotion lasts several weeks and usually stops at sunset through April and May.
Are you a polyglot? That's a person that can speak multiple languages. Timothy Doner, of New York, has taught himself to speak 23 languages ...and he's only 17. Some of the languages which Timothy can speak includes Farsi, Swahili, French, Mandarin, Russian , Hebrew and Arabic. Timothy says that he reads about 8 different language newspapers each day and spends hours on languages. What sparked an interest in languages was his learning Hebrew for his bar mitzvah back in 2009. Using language books, apps on his IPhone and speaking with other people on the internet, he has increased the number of languages he can speak. Called the youngest polyglot in the world, Timothy says next on the list of languages to learn include Japanese,Polish,German, Sudanese and Malay.
The invasion of the Giant Snails sounds like a science fiction movie title but in Florida, it's very real. The giant African land snail has invaded the state and since they have no natural enemies, the snails are causing quite a problem. As their name suggests, the snail is very large...think the size of a rat. And, the giant African land snail multiplies quickly. Just one female can produce 12,000 eggs in one year! The giant African land snail like to nibble on plaster and stucco to get calcium for their shells. The snails are also eating many species of plants in the state and they leave behind a lot of yucky slimy trail! The snails also carry a disease that can make humans ill.The Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry have started an advertising campaign to alert Floridians to the problem. At least 1000 of the giant snails are being caught each week in one Florida county with 117,000 caught in the state since the fall of 2011!The snails have also been spotted in the state of Michigan.
A very rare egg is being sold and may go for over $40,000! What makes this egg so valuable is that it's from an extinct bird. Called the Elephant Bird,it is believed to have been the largest bird, bigger than the ostrich. Sadly, the elephant bird, which stood about 11ft. high, went extinct between the 13-17th century. However, one fossilized egg was discovered in Madagascar, the island where the giant bird once lived.It's a whopper of an egg, about 120 times that of a chicken egg. The rare egg,12 inches high and 8 3/4 inches wide,will go up for auction at the Christie's auction house in London,England, on April 24th.
If you like to draw, this new invention may be just for you. Called 3 Doodler, it's a pen that lets you draw in the "air" creating 3 D objects! It's the world's first 3D pen! And for those that still like to create on paper, the 3 Doodler lets you create on any surface,too. How does it work? The pen heats up plastic and as you draw the released plastic cools almost instantly into the hard shapes you have created using the pen. The art creating pen isn't a toy as the pen's tip does get hot to melt the plastic as it comes out of the pen. So for all those "air drawers" out there, now others will be able to see what you've created!
3/20/13:Guan Tianlang, 14, will be making history this week when he becomes the youngest golfer at the Masters. Prior to Tianland, the youngest to participated in the Masters(the one where the top golfer gets a green jacket) was Matteo Manassero, 16 of Italy. Tianlang is an eighth-grader from the country of China. He got the invitation to play by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last fall. Tianlang began playing golf when he was just four years old, after watching Tiger Woods play in thh 2005 Masters. When he met Woods the other day, Tiangland asked him to autograph his golf cap. Woods then invited Tianlang to play a round of golf together.Excited to play in the tournament, Tianland also needs to schedule time to...do his homework which he brought along to Augusta,Georgia.
Yikes...a tarantula the size of a dinner plate has been found in the country of Sri Lanka! Measuring up to 8 inches in diameter, the tarantula has been named Poecilotheria rajaei. As with other arachnids, this whopper of a spider, has eight eyes, two fangs and eight legs.About the size of a human face, Poecilotheria rajaei has daffodil-yellow markings on its legs and has a pink ring around its body. Although the bite of the Poecilotheria rajaei is NOT fatal, it's being killed by those who find the rare spider. The tarantula is large enough to feed on mice, small birds and lizards. Although certainly a very large tarantula, it doesn't equal the size of the South American Theraphosa blondi, considered to be the largest known tarantula. Known as the Goliath Birdeater, that tarantula can reach 12 inches in diameter! Learn about tarantulas at this link:Kids.NationalGeographic.com
Do you like to bob your head to the beat of your favorite song?Scientists thought that only humans and some parrots and several other birds had this ability...until now. Ronan, a female California sea lion is grooving to the music of Earth, Wind and Fire ("Boogie Wonderland" being Ronan's favorite tune)and music of the Backstreet Boys. She is the first non-human mammal to demonstrate such an ability. Researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz have been working with Ronan for the past couple of months, training her with a metronome to learn to keep a beat. When music was introduced Ronan showed off her abilities to follow a tune! Check out the clip of Ronan in action at this link:Video of Ronan
Hagfish have approximately 100 glands on the side of their body that produce a slime that they dispense when they feel danger.That's why they are also called the slime eel. Around since the time of the dinosaur, the hagfish's thick, clear slime is being studied for its potential as material for clothing. Scientists from the University of Guelph in Canada have found that the slime , made up of thin ,stretchy,and very strong thread-like fibers,becomes silk-like when stretched in water and dried. Could your stretchy clothes be made of hagfish slime in the future? Probably not the actual slime as that would take lots of hagfish, but scientists are working on creating synthetic fibers based on the hagfish's slime.
A robotic jellyfish, the size of a 5 feet , 7 inch human, has been developed by scientists at Virginia Tech College of Engineering. Called Cyro, the robotic jellyfish,weighs about 170 pounds,and has a thick coating of silicone which feels squishy when touched. Underneath its "skin" ,its electronic guts include eight arms which are powered by a rechargeable battery. Equipped with the ability to collect data and transmit it back to scientists, the self powered robotic jellyfish will be able to roam the waters studying marine life, ocean currents and mapping the seafloor. Cyro is still in the developmental stage and won't actually get to float along in the ocean anytime soon.
Winter Vinecki is only 14 but has a big goal. By the end of the year(2013), she hopes to become the youngest person to run a marathon...on all seven continents! Winter lost her dad to cancer when she was just nine years old. She decided to start Team Winter, a non profit organization to create awareness to cancer, especially prostate cancer, the cancer that took the life of her dad.She's raised almost $400,000 for prostate cancer research. Winter started running at the age of five and has already become a two-time IronKids triathlon national champion.Winter's attempt to run one marathon on each continent has begun and hopes to continue to raise money to support her cause. She's raced the Eugene Marathon in Oregon(North America)and the Amazing Maasai in Kenya(Africa). Winter raced in Antarctica in March and, next up, a run in the Inca Trail Marathon(South America). The next marathons will include the Sunrise to Sunset race in Mongolia(Asia), the Wharf to Wharf race in New Zealand and finish in the Athens Classic Marathon in Greece(Europe) in the fall,where the marathon originated. If Winter is successful in completing each of these marathons before her 15th birthday, she will set a record as the youngest to ever accomplish this task. You go, Winter!
Eli Reimer hiked 70 miles on an amazing two week journey to reach the base station of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Eli, 15, has Down Syndrome and did the climb reaching 17,600 ft. to create awareness and raise funds for the disabled. Along with his dad and a team of seven, Eli reached the South Base Camp, located in the country of Nepal, making history as the first person thought to ever do the amazing climb with Down Syndrome. The teen from Bend, Oregon, raised $85,000 in his efforts for the Elisha Foundation. Super accomplishment, Eli!
If you like chocolate, the country of Belgium has a treat for you. This week 538,000 stamps were released for the Easter holiday. The stamps, with pictures of five different forms of chocolate,also has flavored chocolate glue on the back. The glue has some cacao oil and the ink has a scent of chocolate. When licked, you not only get a whiff of chocolate but a taste of it,too!
What if extinct animals could return? Scientists have meet to discuss the possibility of trying to bring back 24 different extinct animals including the dodo bird, the Quagga, the plain zebra and the Carolina Parakeet. De- extinction" would involved retrieving DNA from the extinct creature,placing it into cells that have had their own DNA removed and placed into a host to give birth. Scientists determined the animals that might be reintroduced along several guidelines including their ecological importance or likability,the reason for their extinction, and the ability to obtain the needed DNA. Dinosaurs are NOT being considered for de-extinction. What do you think of bringing back extinct creatures?
A couple of years ago a five year old girl,Daisy Morris,was walking along the beach on the Isle of Wight and found some dinosaur remains, Scientists say the remains were of a flying dinosaur and that it was a never before found species of a pterosaur that lived 115 million years ago.This week, the new species, was named Vectidraco daisymorrisae in her honor. The word vectidraco means dragon from the Isle of Wight. How many nine year olds can say that a dinosaur was named after them?Pretty cool!
3/10/13:A coin, dating back 600 years, was found on the Kenyan island of Manda. What makes the old coin even more interesting...it wasn't from the area or even the continent of Africa. With the name of Emperor Yongle,of the Ming Dynasty, the coin was from CHINA. Copper and silver with a hole in the center, it shows that the Chinese and people of the East African region traded with one another. Admiral Zheng He of China was an explorer who may have traveled to the west coast of North America. It is known that he also traveled in the Indian Ocean and archeologists hope to learn more about this early trading.
Saturday March 23 is Earth Hour. Begun in 2007, in Sydney, Australia,the idea is to shut off unnecessary lights for just one hour,8:30 pm(local time) to raise awareness about how we are impacting our planet.This year many world landmarks such as the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Empire State Building, in NYC, the world's tallest building- Burj Khalifa, The Little Mermaid,in Copenhagen, Denmark, Niagara Falls,and the Eiffel Tower in Paris,France, will go dark for the hour to show support for the need for all to take action on climate change. Last year, 1.8 billion people from around the world, in 152 countries switched off their light for Earth Hour.
A replica boat will try and show that the Phoencians, the ancient seafaring people, who lived in present-day Lebanon, may have reached the shores of North America before both Christopher Columbus and the Vikings. The Phoenicians were sailing the waters of the Mediterranean Sea from 1500 BC to 300BC and, Hanno, a Phoencian explorer may have traveled to the tip of Africa around 600 BC. It is also believed that the Phoenicians reached the shores of Great Britain. A boat, modeled after a Phoenician shipwreck discovered off Marseilles, France , was used as a model to built the modern day Phoenician replica. Leaving from Tunisia, the planned voyage to sail across the Atlantic Ocean led by Philip Beale, aboard the "Phoenicia should take 2-3 months.centerPhotograph from Sail-World.com
Imagine wearing a pair of shoes that tell you that you've been sitting too long and need to get up and get moving.That's just what Goggle's smart shoes can do. The footwear has sensors in the sole of the shoe that collects data of activity and inactivity. The shoes can give compliments like" You've made me a very proud shoe" and can also criticize with comments like, "I'm bored" if you've been sitting too long. There are 250 phrases which the shoes are programmed to say. The shoes also have Bluetooth so they can also send messages of collected data to your cell phone !But, don't look to see them in a store anytime soon. The footware is a prototype with no plans to be sold as this time.
Even wonder just what's inside a chrysalis?Using tiny CT scans, scientists have gotten the answer filming the changing metamorphosis that occurs inside the chrysalis of a blue morphos butterfly. The scientists took images of a caterpillar just before it changed into its chrysalis. Another image was taken a week later and then again the day before the butterfly came out from its chrysalis. And, the scientists were amazed at the speed of the change that occurred from one scan to the next! What's great about this technology is that the chrysalis wasn't harmed in the process.
When I was on a trip to Iceland, a guide told us that Iceland's geography was used by NASA to help train astronauts who would eventual rocket off to the moon. Now, in the deserts of Utah, scientists are "exploring" Mars. With its red rocks and soil, the terrain really looks like the Red planet and scientist have set up the Mars Desert Research Station, near Hanksville, Utah. Volunteers, including geologists, biologists and engineers, walk around the area wearing actual spacesuits to test prototypes to use on Mars. Additional the scientists conduct experiments such as taking rock samples and mapping the geography of the terrain to experience what it would be like doing similar work activities on Mars. The six volunteers,both male and female, then return to their small base station relying on a rationed amount of supplies provided for the "astronauts" journey. Each trial expedition to "Mars" lasts up to one month.
Who do you think might be a candidate to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded this coming October?The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year to the person that best has tried to foster peace among people. This year, there are 259 nominations including 15 year old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai, the school girl who has been promoting the right of girls to get an education. You may remember she was shot by the Taliban last year because of her campaign. The award was set up by Alfred Nobel.
Superman could stop a 4 car New York Subway train....but a spider doing the same thing?Could that REALLY be possible?Physics students at the University of Leicester think material made from the spider silk of the Darwin's bark spider could do just that. Found on the island of Madagascar, the Darwin's bark spider has some powerful silk-the strongest material known,stronger than steel!
2/25/13:Scientists believe that at one time there was a super continent called Pangaea which eventually broke into segments which became the continents we now recognize on a map.The idea that there was once one giant super continent is called the Continental Drift Theory. If you look at a map you can almost see where the continents would fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.Recently under the floor of the India Ocean, parts of an ancient continent were found! The piece of land has been named Mauritia and may have been a strip of land between India and the island of Madagascar millions of years ago.
A pretty cool photograph was recently taken by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station. He clicked a photograph of Mount Etna, the active volcano in the country of Italy, erupting! Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe. Hadfield enjoys taking photograph from his spectacular vantage point and posts them on his Twitter page. Go to this link to see some of his other cool photographs at this link:Comdr.Hadfield
A statue honoring Rosa Park, called the "Mother of the of the civil rights movement", was unveiled in Washington,DC on Wednesday, February 27th. Parks is the first African American woman to have a statue at the Capitol, part of the National Statuary Hall collection. Parks, who died in 2005, was a seamstress coming home from work on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger. Arrested, her actions led to a boycott (381 days)of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus company. The Civil Rights Act, of 1964, stated that segregation and discrimination in public places(public transportation, hotels, restaurants) was illegal. Parks, the first woman to lie in state in the Capital Rotunda, once said," Each person must live their life as a model for others."
Imagine needing a body part,like a nose or an ear, and just printing a new one! A 3D printer may actually be able to do just that. Scientists at Cornell Medical College successfully produced such a human ear. First, a 3D image of a human ear was taken. A plastic mold was then created and then a mixture of living cells was injected. Scientists hope that this technology to create a printable ear will be available in a couple of years.
Eddie has arthritic elbows and it was thought that shooting some hoops might be therapeutic for his elbow joints. Eddies took up the basketball activity and is actually pretty good at the sport...for an otter! Eddie,16, lives at the Oregon Zoo and rarely misses a dunk and if he does, he just tries again.See a clip of Eddie in action:Video of Eddie in Action!
2/15/2013:Students in Ms. Robbi Guiliano's 5th grade class in West Chester, PA, no longer sit in chairs at their desks. Instead, colorful yoga balls have been substituted.The balls require the students to maintain balance. All students must keep their backsides on the ball and feet planted on the floor but they are allowed to bounce if they feel the desire to do so. The new "chairs" have had a positive result with increased attentiveness in the classroom. Students say it took a bit of adjusting to sit at their desks with the yoga balls but the responses has been very positive. And,if they prefer, they can still sit at a traditional chair although only one students has asked to do so since the yoga balls were introduced to the class three years ago.
What do you do if you love to ski and love to surf,too? Chuck Patterson, a professional sports'athlete,did something that is being called a first...he used two skis (not snow skis but water skis),ski boots and POLES to glide down a 30 ft. wave! The poles helped with balance. There's even a name for this new extreme sport that he was photographed doing recently near Santa Barbara, CA. It's called wave skiing. Chuck maneuvered his skis at up to speeds of 30mph after being towed by a jet ski to the crest of a wave and released.
A group of people got together with their hula hoops at the field of theThammasat University's Rangsit stadium, in Pathumthani,Thailand, and set a Guinness World Record. Dressed in pink tee-shirts, 5500 people, set out to break a previous record to keep their hula hoops going for seven continuous minutes.517 hula hoopers lost their hoops and had to step aside but 4483 people managed to complete the task, almost doubling the previous record!
Paul Salopek is taking a walk and not your ordinary walk.The journalist plans to walk 21,000 miles.The purpose is to retrace early human migration. Crossing 30 countries, Salopek left from Ethiopia on January 10th. Packing light, just a backpack,some camping gear, laptop,camera, and satellite phone, Salopek estimates that he will walk an average 15 miles per day. He will travel to the Middle East, across Asia and through Russia. He will then take a boat from Russia to Alaska,as the land-ice bridge that scientists say once existed in the Bering Strait is gone. Salopek will then continue his trek down to Tierra del Fuego, the southern tip of the country of Chile. The estimated walk ,called Out of Eden will take seven years. You can follow Salopek's epic journey at this link:outofedenwalk.com
2/5/2013:QR codes are popping up in some interesting places. An early posting told of a cow that was painted with a QR to teach kids about daily farming. Now, the city of Rio de Janeiro in the country of Brazil has begun placing the bar cords on the city's sidewalks! The reason is that Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics as well as the 2014 World Soccer games. It is hoped that visitors to the city will use the QR codes to learn some interesting facts about the areas that they are visiting. The bar code information will be in English Spanish and Portuguese and will also be placed near beaches and famous historic places within the city.
2/3/13:Malala Yousufzai was almost killed last year when someone from a group called the Taliban shot her on a school bus on October 9, 2012. Malala was sought out by the Taliban for speaking out in favor of girls being allowed to get an education in her home country of Pakistan. Malala, 15,remains in Great Britain where she has undergone medical treatment. She made her first official comments on a video where she thanked those who prayed for her. "And because of all these prayers, God has given me this new life-a second life. And I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated. For that reason, we have organized the Malala Fund" The Malala Fund is a girls' education charity.
Laura Rojas, 13, of Antioch, California, sent her Hello Kitty doll for a ride that was out-of-this-world! As a science project to study altitude on temperature and air pressure, Hello Kitty was lifted off into the atmosphere with a weather balloon. Aboard the tiny silver rocket, Hello Kitty had a couple of cameras to share the adventure and wonderful views from thousands of feet above the ground. Reaching 93,625 and -38 degree temperatures, the weather balloon burst after expanding more than 53 times its size. Hello Kitty fell back to earth with her parachute and landed in a tree. Rojas found her Hello Kitty about 50 miles from home thanks to a tracking device. A pretty cool successful experiment!
Update: The Icelandic teen that asked the courts to allow her to have the name Blair has won her case. Blaer Bjarkardottir no longer will be called "Girl" on official documents. You may remember that in Iceland, there is a book of accepted names for boys and girls and Blaer was not recognized as a name for a girl...until now.
You may have remembered reading about a architect that hopes to build the first home using a 3D printer. Now, another out-of-this-world idea is being considered. Creating a moon colony using 3D printers that would replicate buildings on the moon. This would enable construction of lunar buildings without having to rocket the building supplies to the moon. The idea is being considered by the ESA(European Space Agency) and would involved using a REALLY large printer!
Scientists have discovered a marine dinosaur that was part dolphin/crocodile. The sharped teethed predator, called Tyrannoneustes lythrodectikos, swam around the coastline of Great Britain 165 million years ago. Interestingly, the bones of this creature, whose name means "blood biting tyrant swimmer",was discovered nearly 100 years ago. The discovery,stored at the University of Glasgow(Hunterian Museum) went unnoticed until recently when scientists examined the bones(including its jawbone and teeth). Tyrant Swimmer had massive jaws which could open very widely showing off its gleaming large and many teeth. It was estimated to have nearly 30 Ft. in length.
The world's oldest portrait ever found was made about 26,000 years ago. The very tiny carving is about the size of a thumb and was done on a piece of a woolly mammoth tusk. Scientists say that the carving was made using stone tools and shows very early artwork from a time called the New Ice Age. The tiny portrait of a woman was found in the Czech Republic.
1/20/13:A Dutch architect, Janjaap Ruijssenaars is designing a house that will be constructed ...using a 3D printer! The unusual design,a Mobius strip, a building with no beginning or end, will be two stories. Called the Landscape House, the world's first 3D printed house that looks like a figure eight, will need a giant printer to create... and Ruijssenaars has found one. The D-Shaper printer,will be able to print out 20 by 30 feet strips. The strips made of a sand reinforced with chemicals will look like marble when it comes out of the printer.To reinforce the hollow strips, fiberglass and concrete will be added. The 3D printed house, to be built in Ireland, is expected to be completed in 2014.
The BiblioTech, a library to open in San Antonio, Texas, this fall, is rather different. It doesn't have any books on its shelves. The BiblioTech is being called the first bookless public library system in the United States,The library is totally e-books. Instead of hard cover books, BiblioTech will have rows of computers and lots of e-readers.And if you don't own an e-reader,you can sign one out to access one of the over 10,000 book titles.
1/9/13:Want to hear the sound of a whale, a monkey or a cardinal? The world's larges collection of animal vocalizations has been created by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and now is online! The Macaulay Library Archive contains about 175,000 digital audio sounds-that's 7,513 hours of listening! Thousands of different species,including 75% of the world's bird species are included in the amazing collection which dates back to 1929. Want to hear what a walrus sounds like as it vocalizes sounds underwater(staccato hammering noise)-you're in luck. Interested in listening to the audio of an ostrich chick still inside its egg? That's waiting to be heard,too. Check the collection out at this link:http://macaulaylibrary.org.
An inflatable cylinder will be going into space as a two year test to see if the module might be the future for space living.The 13 by 10 ft. cylinder can travel to the International Space Station in a 7ft tube. Once it arrives, astronauts will connect it to the station and inflate the container. Tests will be conducted to see if the inflatable container, made of layers of Kevlar, called BEAM(Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) can endure radiation, heat and space junk(some traveling faster than bullets). Because BEAM is so light to launch, it is much less costly than traditional metal modules and,can be much larger than standard modules which must be able to fit inside rockets. BEAM is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in 2015.
Did you know that 30 percent of the world's remaining tropical rain forest is found in the country of Brazil?Each year thousands of acres of the rainforest are being destroyed by illegal logging.What if trees in the Amazon about to be illegally cut down could ask for help? Scientists have a unique idea, they are fitting trees with smart phones! The phones would be able to signal for help when they are being felled. Called the Invisible Tracck, the battery-operated devices are fitted in to the branches of a tree. The signal can send an alarm for help up to 20 miles away. It is hoped that such technology which brings non-living things into our digital world will help authorities catch such illegal logging.
Another music group is rocking up a storm.They are a REAL heavy metal band. Called the Compressorhead, the German band has three unusual members-all robots.Fingers, Bones and Stickboy are programmed to play just about any type of music.Thus far, the trio is rocking to Led Zeppelin, Pantera and Black Sabbath. Stickboy , with his 4 arms 2 legs and one head is the drummer in the group. The bassist is Bones and Fingers, all 79 of them, plays the guitar. The unique band is currently touring in Australia.
Archaeologists have uncovered a massive stone statue in southwest China. Tipping the scales at 8.5 tons, the sculpture looks like a giant panda bear! Found in one of the few areas where pandas live in the wild, the rock statue is almost 11 ft. long and stands 5.7 ft. tall. Archaeologists think the stone animal statue is at least 2000 years old. It's a mystery as to why the statue was made.What does the sculpture look like to you?Why do you think the stone sculpture was made?
1/1/13:Do you enjoy playing the game Monopoly? Which is your favorite piece-the iron,top hat, thimble,battleship, race car, dog, show, wheelbarrow? Hasbro, the company that makes the famous board game is planning to retire one of the eight pieces and introduce a new one. Which piece will be eliminated? Which piece will be added from the choice of a cat, guitar, diamond ring, robot or helicopter? You can vote at facebook.com/monopoly.The new token(and dropped token) will be announced February 6.
For the first time, a giant squid has been found swimming in its natural environment, about 2000 ft. below the surface of the ocean south of Japan.The whopper squid is the size of a school bus(about 26 ft. long) with black eyes the size of dinner plates! Filmed for the Japan's National Science Museum, a film crew spent 400 hours in a submersible trying to track down the silver colored squid. Weighing nearly a ton, the squid,called Architeuthis by scientists, will make its film debut on the Discovery Channel's Monster Squid: The Giant is Real, on January 27th at 8 PM.
Learn more about the giant squid:Kids.NationalGeographic.com
A very unique rock has been found in the Sahara Desert. Scientists say it's a meteorite that came to Earth from the planet Mars.What's even more interesting-the meteorite, called Northwest Africa(for where it was found) and nicknamed Black Beauty contains ancient water molecules, 10x more than other such Martian meteorites! Scientists say the volcanic rock, which is about 2.1 billion years old weighs about 11 ounces, also contains some oxygen. In case you are wondering,only about 110 Martian meteorites have been discovered to date. Maybe, you will find the next one!
You've probably never seen a rubber duck like the one that's currently bobbing around Sydney Harbor, Australia. The yellow ducky, the work of Florentijn Hofman, a Dutch artist, is 5 stories tall, standing 85 ft. tall. It takes about half an hour to inflate the huge rubber duck which is promoting the Sydney Festival,an art event that runs through January.
Did you know that in Iceland, there is a list of approved names to be given for all girl and boy babies? The Personal Names Register lists 1,853 accepted female names and 1,712 male names.All babies' names must stick to this list. Names that start with letters of the Icelandic alphabet can only be used. For example, names that start with the letter C can not be used as the letter C it is not part of the Icelandic 32 letter alphabet. Names must also follow the rules of Icelandic grammar.This is how it has been done for hundreds and hundreds of years and no one has questioned this practice...until now. A 15 year old girl named Blaer Eidsdottir(her first name means "light breeze" in Icelandic) wants to keep her given name. Because it wasn't an approved name for a girl, she has been registered as Stulka(meaning "girl")on official papers. Blaer has decided to sue the government of Iceland for the ability to legally be called Blaer.Her mom supports her daughters actions.What do you think?
One day if you are sick and need some strong medicine,the giant panda bear may come to the rescue(or really...their blood). Scientists studying the blood of giant pandas have found their blood has something that may help develop super duper antibiotics. An antibody in their blood,called cathelicidin-AM, can neutralize bacteria and fungi,in under an hour's time. Most antibiotics used today take over six hours to do the same job. Don't worry about the rare panda bear's blood being used to make medicines for humans.A team of researchers at the Life Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural University in China have already come up with a way to artificially create the cathelicidin-AM in a lab.
Looking out ten-twelve years from now, scientists have a plan. They'd like to grab hold of an asteroid and... move it. The idea to capture an asteroid involves rocketing a craft close to an asteroid. Then, a giant bag with giant drawstrings would be wrapped around the rock. The rocket would then tow the asteroid to its new location in space. If the plan is funded and successful, it would be the very first time a space object would be moved by man. Now, to answer the question-why move an asteroid?Scientists think a asteroid could then be used as a space station for astronauts on the very long journey to the planet Mars.
12/20/12:Pluto is no longer considered a planet and now, the brontosaurus, the long necked dinosaur,never existed at all? That's what scientists are saying about the popular dinosaur who was also the subject of a US postage stamp in 1989. A long necked dinosaur called the Apatosaurus, called the deceptive lizard" was indeed a once living dinosaur but the "thunder lizard" or Brontosaurus was not. Seems that during the Bone Wars, a time about 130 years ago when lots of dinosaur bones were unearthed, two paleontologists were eager to claim discovery of a new species of dinosaur. What was called a new discovery and named a brontosaurus was actually an already discovered dinosaur called the Apatosaurus.
A rare new species of slow loris looks cute but scientists say the nocturnal primate that lives in the jungles of Borneo can be deadly. It is one of very few mammals that has a poisonous bite. Seems the slow loris gets its poisonous venom from a gland under its armpit. After rubbing its paws under its armpits, the slow loris rubs its paws onto its teeth.It's bites can be deadly. Scientists think the slow loris uses its toxic bite to protect its young and to catch prey. Even with this protective abilities, the slow loris is very endangered, being hunted for the illegal pet trade industry.
McKenna Pope, 13, of Garfield, New Jersey decided to contact Hasbro over the colors of their Easy-Bake Oven. Currently, the oven comes in purple and pink. She felt the company should make a gender-neutral color for boys. She also suggested that the toy company should have boys in the ads for their ovens as many boys like to bake.Hasbro officials recently meet with McKenna, after she got over 40,000 signatures to her petition to make the change...and, a change is being made. A black, silver and blue gender neutral color Easy-Bake ovens will soon be available. McKenna shows that you can make a change no matter your age!
12/17/12:p>Tallon Nightwalker, 16 of Fort Collins, Colorado, has been taking photographs of himself and animals since he was five years old. To date, Tallon has now snapped a shot of himself with 840 species! His goal-to grab a picture of himself with every species of creature on the planet. One of his favorite photographs is of that of himself with a bobcat. Why undertake such a project? Tallon says he hopes to make people aware of the need for conservation of our wildlife and how important the wildlife of our planet are to us. There are a couple of rules which Tallon and his father( manages a wildlife rehabilitation Center)) are requiring for this undertaking. Tallon can't have any barrier between himself and the animal. The wildlife must be alive and Tallon either needs to hold the animal or be standing near someone who is holding the animal. That ensures safety for both Tallon and the animal. Tallon volunteers at a local wildlife center and hopes to make wildlife conservation his career. In 2010, the United Way awarded him the Linda Nerger Youth Volunteer Excellence award for his help with rehabilitating wildlife. Some of the creatures Tallon has collected to date include a bobcat, a rare okapi, tiger rat snake, black-billed cuckoo,Wyoming toad, spider monkey and a black bear. And, if you are wondering, Tallon has just 25,000 photographs to go....
British Scientists are hoping to begin investigating Lake Ellsworth. What makes it a difficult project is Lake Ellsworth is located beneath 2 miles of ice in Antarctica! Why study a lake so far below the surface? Scientists hope to search for possible lifeforms and to get samples of the lake's water, a lake that hasn't been seen for 500 million years! Scientists hope to drill the borehole in about five days time and the opening will last for barely 24 hours to limit the possibility of contamination of the lake. A probe will be placed into the hole with a camera to take photographs of the lake. Another probe will hope to take sediment samples from the lake.
Covering 9000 nautical miles, a swimming robot has set a Guinness World record, covering a distance of 9000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean. Called Papa Mau, it took the little robot a year to complete the trek.Liquid Robotics, the makers of the robot says Papa Mau swam through strong winds and currents, shark infested waters and almost crashed into the Great Barrier reef. Along the way,Papa Mau collected lots of data about the ocean. One interesting stop, an algal bloom. Blooms are areas where algae collects in large numbers. Usually green, red or yellow-brown, the robotic swimmer took images and measurements of the bloom as it traveled through this particular area in the Pacific Ocean.
Two astronauts will be testing space endurance when they board the International Space Station for a ONE year mission. Scott Kelly,a US astronaut ,and Mikhail Kornienko, a cosmonaut from Russia, have just been selected for the 2015 mission. Imagine, one entire year in space with just one other person and not being able to "go home" at the end of the day! NASA hopes the data learned from such a long stay in space will give more insight to astronauts being able to go on longer space missions, such as to the planet Mars. Data hoped to be gained includes long term effects of lack of gravity, behavioral concerns, and how the immune,vision and and bones are effected by such long periods in space.It isn't the first time astronauts have spent such time in space. Four Russian cosmonauts spent 14 months on the Mir Space Station in the mid 1990s in low-Earth orbit.Think of the different challenges these two astronauts will face. Would you wish to do such a mission? Why or why not?
Ginny, Monty and Porter are taking driving lessons. What makes this unusual...the three students are dogs! For the past 8 weeks, the three dogs from the Aukland SPCA have been learning how to start a car, get it into the proper gear, steer and accelerate. Using a make-shift car with a seat,steering wheel and clutch, the trio have been learned the basics and are almost ready for the actual road test, in a REAL car. Next week, Porter, a beardie Cross,will be demonstrating his driving techniques on an off-road race track in a Mini Cooper..on live television! For safety, the car will have a remote control device for humans to stop the car if there should be need.The purpose of the experiment, to show people how intelligent dogs can be. It is also hoped that Monty, Porter, Ginny and other dogs at shelters will also have more possibilities for adoption.
Graham Hughes, of Great Britain, has accomplished something no one has ever done. He has visited all 201 countries of the world AND without taking an airplane! It took Hughes four years to complete his journey beginning in the country of Uruguay,on January 1,2009. He just completed his trek in Juba, South Sudan. Hughes traveled an estimated 160,000 miles in his 1426 days relying on boats, trains, buses, taxis and his feet. In addition to a no fly rule, Hughes didn't drive his own vehicle, took only scheduled transportation and said that a visit to a country must involve actually stepping on land.Along the way, Hughes had some difficulties such as being arrested for being a spy in the Congo and accused of entering Russia without proper permission. High points of his trip included dancing with natives in Papua New Guinea and swimming in a lake filled with jellyfish in Palau.He spent four days aboard a leaky fishing canoe traveling from Senegal to Cape Verde and said probably the most difficult part of his journey was getting from some of the island such as Tuvalu, Samoa and Nauru without flying in an airplane. He said that he loves to travel and wanted to show people that the world is "not some big, scary place,but in fact is full of people who want to help you even if you are a stranger." Living on $100 per day, Hughes' trip also raised money for Water Aid, a British organization that works to provide clean water and sanitation to the world's poorest people.
12/1/12:Shirts and tops of the future may be linked to a slimy eel-like fish called the hagfish. A bottom feeder, the hagfish can make quarts and quarts of a protective slimy coating within seconds. The slime helps protect them again predators. Scientists at the University of Guelph in Canada are studying the slime,made up of tiny threads of protein, each 1/100 the diameter of a hair on a person's head. The scientists have actually created fibers from the threads of protein! It is thought that eco-friendly synthetic fabrics can eventually replace fabrics that are petroleum based.
Do you have a dollar in your wallet? In an effort to save money,Congress is thinking about doing away with the dollar bill.Paper bills needs to be replaced about every five years. Coins last for 30 years. It is estimated that using a $1 coin could save the government an estimated $4.4 billion over 30 years. Such an idea will take a lot of convincing as most Americans prefer a paper dollar bill to a coin. What do you think?
A boat called Snoopy Sloop is about to set sail across the Atlantic(hopes to launch Tuesday, November 26th).The toy boat with a tiny plastic Peanut cartoon character by the same name at its bow, hopes to be the first unmanned vehicle to successfully make the 6000 mile journey. Only 4 ft. long and weighing about 30 lbs, the Snoopy Sloop will be powered by wind but has a computer navigation system using solar energy.Built by a retired NATO scientist, Robin Lovelock, the toy ship has endured a test run of 5000 miles of continuous sailing on Bray Lake, Great Britain.Sailing thought the English Channel toward the Azores, it will then hopefully travel on to the Bahamas using the trade winds.A tracking device will send data back to Lovelock every hour of the expected six month trip. That's because the boat will only complete about 3 miles per hour! It is hoped that the Snoopy Sloop will end its journey at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Microtransat Challenge is sponsoring the contest to have an unmanned ship cross the Atlantic Ocean. Three previous attempts have not been successful.
Acacia Woodley,11, knows a little about being different and,other kids staring or whispering about her.That's because Acacia was born without a right hand and her left hand is deformed. A sixth grade student in Palm Bay,Florida, Acacia saw an idea which she wanted to bring to her elementary school...a friendship bench. She wanted to put the focus on kindness and not bullying.The idea of the colorful Adirondack bench became a reality and can now be found in the school's lobby. The purpose, it's a place to sit when you need some extra TLC. Anyone sitting there is sharing that they'd like some support or even a hug to help brighten their day. It's a place where random acts of kindness can be done. Acacia said," I believe everyone has kindness in their hearts and everyone needs a friend."The bench has words such as encourage,respect,smile, dream, and dream painted onto it. Acadia doesn't plan to stop with one friendship bench in her goal to stop bullying behaviors, she hopes that the idea spreads to all schools not only in her area but the entire country.
This train model will make your mouth water. That's because the train is made entirely of chocolate. Created by Andrew Farrugia, a chocolatier from Malta, the 111.5 ft. train is made from 2755 pounds of Belgian chocolate. It took Farrugia 784 hours to construct and is on display in the European country of Belgium for its Brussel's Chocolate Week. According to The Guinness World Records, the chocolate choo-choo train has steamed into the record books as the longest chocolate structure in the world!
Astronomers at the University of Montreal have found a planet roaming in space about 100 light years from the Earth. Called CFBDSIR2149, the "orphan" planet estimated to be 4-7 times the size of the planet Jupiter, has no gravitational pull to any star.The planet appears to... wander through space. " Astronomers think it may have once been part of a solar system and for some reason,left. Thought to have an average temperature of 806 F, CFBDSIR2149 is estimated to be 50-120 million years old.
11/10/12:Peek a boo, I see you growing. Researchers at the University of Abertay Dundee, Scotland, have developed transparent soil giving scientists the chance to study roots in a new and exciting way. Developed over two years, the man-made soil was created from a material called Naflon. Having see-through soil, will help scientists study how plants grow and assist in developing healthier plants.
Polly want a tool? A captive breed Goffin cockatoo, in Austria, named Figaro, has displayed the first observed instance of a parrot making and using a tool. Seems that when a pebble Figaro was playing with got beyond his reach, it fashioned a stick from a piece of its wooded floor. When the tool didn't reach, Figaro continued to break off additional splinters of wood until it had just the right size. Figaro has also collected nuts using his stick tool.
10/31/12:A lone monarch butterfly, a late bloomer, still in its metamorphosis stage, was found near Albany,NY. When the butterfly emerged from her cocoon, it was too late for it to make the journey south,her companions having already left. The woman who found the monarch,Maraleen Manos-Jones, a butterfly enthusiast,made calls to try and find a way to have the butterfly a ride south. Southwest Airlines came to the rescue. It will be giving both the monarch butterfly and Manos-Jones a flight to San Antonio,Texas. The butterfly will travel in a carefully packaged glassine envelope with wet cotton. This packaging will then be placed in plastic container and then another container with an ice pack.The packaging will then be placed in a bag with lots of padding. Release is set for the San Antonio Botanical Gardens where from there it is hoped the butterfly will fly on its journey to Mexico.
There are many things which countries import(bring in) from other countries, but other countries' trash? That's just what the country of Sweden is doing and they sure want a lot of it-about 800,000 tons a year! Why trash? Sweden is generating energy from it and they don't have enough trash to convert into energy.They need more. Currently, only 4% of Swedish trash goes into landfills, compared to 63% of USA trash. The trash burned at Swedish incinerator plants are highly efficient and release few toxins into the air. Currently, 20% of the country's heat and enough electricity to supply 250,000 homes is being produced.Neighboring Norway is paying to ship their garbage to Sweden with Italy, Romania and Bulgaria thinking of doing the same.
Koshik can say a couple of words in Korean. Not usual for humans but is very unusual for a 22 year old Asian elephant! Koshik has the ability to mimic sounds and learned to imitate Korean from his trainer. His vocabulary is made up of five words: Joa(good), aniya(no) annyeong(hello), nuwo(lie down) and anja(sit down). Researchers say that Koshik, who lives at the Everland Zoo, in South Korea, doesn't appear to understand the words he is speaking,words which are very clear to Korean visitors who have been coming to hear him speak. Koshik creates sounds by tucking his trunk inside his mouth and moving his lower jaw.
Dogs are getting a grateful bow-wow from humans. The very first national monument dedicated to military dogs will be on display in the new year. Military dogs that served in combat in wars since World War 2 are being honored for their many contributions to help soldiers in war time. Although there are other tributes to military dogs in the United States, this monument is the first to have national status. In 2007,North Carolina Representative Walter B. Jones introduced a bill to have such a national tribute to military dogs. The legislation was passed unanimously with President George Bush signing the bill into law. It was amended and also signed by President Barack Obama. The statue of a solider, standing 9 ft. tall and weighting 1500 pounds, stands next to four dogs, each about 5 ft. tall and 550 pounds. The dogs used in war and depicted in the monument include a Labrador retriever, German shepherd, Doberman and Belgian Malinois. The bronze monument will eventually be on display at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, as it at this base where most military dogs get their training.
10/28/12:If you watch the Jets play the Miami Dolphins this weekend(October 28), you'll see something unusual. Instead of yellow penalty flags, the flags used will be pink. And, it's all because of an 11 year old boy from New Jersey. Dante Cano, wrote a letter to the NFL commission, asking that the flags be pink to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. The commissioner, Roger Goodell, received the letter and decided it was a great idea. On Sunday, Dante will present the pink penalty flags to the referees and then, he and his family will get to watch the game. You really can make a difference...at any age!
Researchers are using technology to make gains in cracking the meaning of the world's oldest non-decoded writing system. Dating back 5000 years, the writing system, called proto-Elamite, was used by people that lived in the region of modern day Iran. Clay tablets and pottery with proto-Elamite are being studied under high-tech imaging at the Universities of Southampton and Oxford, Great Britain.The images of the clay tablets are so very clear that it should help researchers who are trying to decode the meaning of the writing system. It is thought the writing, of which 80-90% hasn't been deciphered as of yet, may have been shared with the ancient Mesopotamians. Mesopotamian's writing called cuneiform, seem to share several similar symbols(sheep, cereals, goats) as well as their number symbols with proto-Elamite.
Scientists are developing invisible clocks like that worn in the Harry Potter movies...but some fish, don't need any such cloaking device-they already have the ability to become invisible when danger is present. Researchers at Bristol University,Great Britain, say that sprat, sardines and herrings which are silver-colored, can create such an optical illusion. It has to do with reflection capabilities. As with certain sunglasses which are able to reflect the sun's glare, the fish seem to use this ability to shield themselves from predators like tuna and dolphin. Their skin has many layers of guanine crystals which make the reflection possible. Studying fish whose skin has this ability may help scientists develop better optical technology for humans.
Hate having homework? France's President Francois Hollande has announced he'd like to ban it in France.Why the ban? Hollande doesn't think it is fair that some kids have parents that help them with homework and others do not. But, before you wish you could go to school in France...there is a catch. Kids currently go to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday(usually 8:30-4:30). President Hollande would like to add half day classes on Wednesday. He'd require time at the end of the school day for students to do their homework assignments in school.What do you think of this idea? Learn about the country of France:
NASA's Curiosity really digs its job. The robot has begun to eat dirt to get samples of its composition. This should help scientists determine what makes up the soil of the planet Mars. Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6,2012 in what is called the Gale Crater, on Mar's equator.
10/17/12:Austrian Felix Baumgartner has done it! On October 14,2012, he successfully jumped 128,000 ft. from a pressurized capsule and fell to earth. During the unofficial 4 minute and 22 second drop, more than 24 miles from space, Baumgartner's estimated speed reached 833.9 mph. Wearing a specially designed space suit with a parachute and helmut, Baumgartner risked loss of consciousness, temperatures of 70 degrees below zero and air so thin, it could cause his blood to boil, if his suit didn't protect him. His supersonic skydive broke several records including the highest a person has gone in a balloon, the highest free fall jump(previous record was 19.5 miles)and breaking the sound barrier...without being in a vehicle. It is hoped that the science collected from Baumgartner's accomplishment will help design better spacesuits and enable scientists to develop emergency exit plans for astronauts should they need to leave their spacecrafts.
While strolling along the beach in Pompano Beach, Florida, Gino Covacci EYED something rather unusual...a softball size blue colored eyeball resting on the sand. He placed the still fresh eye(it's owner had recently "lost" it) into a plastic bag and took it home and contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Is it an eye of a whale, giant squid or a swordfish? Scientists are examining the eye to try and determine from which species the eye belonged.
10/11/12:When you say to yourself that you are too young to try and make a difference in the world....think of Malala Yousafzai. When 11 year old, Malala Yousafzai, who lived in the Swat Valley, in Pakistan, was told girls would no longer be allowed to go to school, she was very upset. She didn't feel it was right that those who had taken control of her area,called Taliban, denied education to girls. She decided to write a blog under a pen name for the BBC. She dared to criticize the Taliban telling of how her life had changed and how her community suffered by such policies. Malala actually received threats by the Taliban for her campaign that all girls should be given the opportunity to go to school and get an education! Her courage to speak out earned her Pakistan's highest civilian award. Malala was also nomination for an international children's peace award.Eventually, the Taliban were removed from the area and Malala and other girls were again allowed to attend school. Sadly, the other day, Taliban gunmen boarded her bus and searched her out. They shot the young teen Malala, now 14, in the neck and head as she left a school that she was attending. Pray for Malala Yousafzai as she fights for her life...
The Giza Pyramids of Egypt pink? A pink Niagara Falls? What's going on today, October 11th? In honor of the first International Day of the Girl, landmarks around the world have been turned pink. Buildings like the Empire State Building, The London Eye(ferris wheel , The Mermaid in Copenhagen,Denmark, and many others are also sporting the color pink. October 11th, International Day of the Girl ,designated by the UN General Assembly,advocate for girls' rights especially in countries in the world where girls are limited in getting an education or are discriminated due to their gender.
A planet made mostly of diamonds? That's what a team of astronomers from the United States and France have discovered in the constellation of Cancer. About 40 light years away from Earth,the planet named '55 Cancri e', is twice the size of Earth. This isn't the first planet to be made mostly of graphite and diamonds but it is large and the first to be found orbiting a sun.The glittery planet is super hot, with a temperature of 3900 degrees(F) and,time really flies too, since '55 Cancri e' zooms around its sun in less than 18 hours!
A piece of 100 million year old amber has been found with a well preserved spider attacking a wasp. Found in the Hukawng Valley of the country of Myanmar,it is thought to be the first of its kind found frozen in time. The amber shows a male wasp caught in about 15 strands of unbroken the spider's silk. Both were suddenly covered in tree resin(which forms amber) locking them in time. Both the spider and wasp species are now extinct.
10/1/12:Would you eat blue,chocolate brown or green colored honey? Seems honeybees in the very large honey producing area of Ribeauville,France are producing just that. The reason- honeybees have found a replacement for the nectar they usually gather from flowers. They've been swarming over to get their sweet tooth fill from a M and M Candy plant about 2.5 miles away to feast on containers of processing waste from the making of the sugary candies.Although the blue and green honey might look a bit odd, the honey still tastes the same. Back in 2012,bees in Brooklyn,NY, were making red honey after finding sweet treats in waste vats at a Maraschino Cherry company.
9/26/12:Vevgeny Salinder,11, recently went for a walk and has made an amazing discovery, a well-preserved body of a 30,000 year old woolly mammoth! Found near a weather station in Taymyr, northern Russia, the adult male mammoth's body is nearly intact,with bones, fur and skin. Scientists worked for a week excavating the 6ft 6 inch mammoth from its resting place in the permafrost. Thought to be about 15 year of age, the 1100 pound mammoth also has its rib cage, mouth and tusk. It also has a hump on its back(like a camel) where it had stored fat to survive the harsh winter months.Scientists say it's the second best preserved ever found and the first mammoth to be found in Russia since 1901 The mammoth was named Jenya,(Zhenya) the nickname of the boy who found it.Scientists hope to obtain some of its DNA for possible cloning projects.Pretty cool!
A bird-headed, tiny fanged dinosaur with razor sharp fangs has been unearthed in South Africa. About the size of a cat, it was about two feet long and weighed in at about 15 pounds. Found in a red rock dating back 200 million years, the small dinosaur has been named Pegomastax Africanus(thick jaw from Africa). Scientists say that dinosaur had a parror-shaped beak. It's fangs could act like sharp scissors but teeth wear patterns suggests the Pegomastax,with an inch long jaw, was most likely a plant-eater,munching on seeds,nuts and fruits. Although not found, it is thought the dinosaur had porcupine type quills on its body,giving it a much fully appearance,as it walked around on two feet. Another similar dinosaur fossil was recently found buried in lake sediment in China which still had its bristle coat.
9/20/12: A wheely huge ferris wheel is planned for New York. When completed in 2015, the ferris wheel ,to be built on Staten Island,will be the world's largest. The New York Wheel will be 625 ft, 84 ft. higher than the currently tallest ferris wheel,the Singapore Flyer. Riders,up to1440 at a time, will get a bird's eye view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.
One of the first things to do when getting into a car is put on your seatbelt. This safety act is also a law. An assemblywomen in New Jersey has introduced a bill to require seatbelts for DOGS,too.You have probably seen dogs on motorists' laps as they drive or dogs roaming around in the back of a pick-up truck. L. Grace Spencer feels this is dangerous to both the driver and their pets.If the bill passes, New Jersey will be the first state to pass such a law. If you don't want to secure you dog with a seatbelt, a carrying crate will be allowed. Motorists found to have they dog without a safety restraint will be fined $25 and go up to as much as $1000(animal cruelty charge).
Victoria Walker is only in sixth grade but she's designed an app that just might help stop people from texting while driving. Her idea, the barking of dogs. Victoria, 11,says she got the idea from her own three dogs. Their barking sound can get on one's nerves so why not an app that if you start texting while driving, you hear the sound of incessant barking...until you stop. Victoria took part in a Hackathon, a competition sponsored by ATT in Los Angeles, to think of ways to get people from stopping such a dangerous practice of texting and driving. Teamed with a designer named David Grau, the team won the competition with their idea for Rode Dog, winning $20,000 to assist in the idea's development. The idea is for people to join "packs". If a member is using their phone while driving, other pack members can send along the barking sounds. Plans are for the app to allow for you to select non barking animal sounds,too,(like the roar of a lion or the clucking of a chicken)and will be available later this year.
9/15/12:Do you have any dental fillings? Scientists in Italy say they have found a tooth with possibly the world's oldest filling. Dating back 6500 years, the tooth has a beeswax cap on a left canine tooth. The beeswax was used to plug a hole of a tooth found on a fossilized jawbone of a young man. The discovery shows that people of the Neolithic time had some knowledge of dentistry. Older evidence of dental work was found on 11 molars dating back 9000 years but these holes had no filings.
How do you maintain grassy areas with steep areas too difficult to mow?Officials at Chicago O'Hare International Airport had an idea-use goats. The Chicago Department of Aviation is planning on "hiring" more than 30 goats to keep those difficult to mow areas trimmed.Goat mowers also are very environmentally friendly as they don't emit pollutions into the air, and, when they leave their dropping behind, it can act as a fertilizer. Ir's not a new idea, San Francisco International Airport has tried using goats and Hartsfield-Jacson Atlanta International Airport has tested using sheep. Even the Presidio Golf Course in San Francisco has turned to 300 goats to munch grasses on their golf course. In addition to goats, Chicago O'Hare is also looking for a goat herder to watch over the flock that will graze the 100 acres.
It seems that some of the amazing things used by fictitious famous wizard, Harry Potter, are becoming a reality.Last year, an invisibility cloak along the idea of the one Harry wore to go unnoticed through the halls of Hogwarts, has been tested in a lab. Now, add floating water! Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, Illinois, have gotten water droplets to float in the air. Instead of using magic wands, they using sound waves. Drops of water have been suspended in mid air using a device called an acoustic levitator( developed by NASA). Two tiny speakers, one above the other, send out sound waves just above the range of the human ear.When the sound waves are aligned at just the right point,the two sound waves interfere with one another,eliminating the effects of gravity on the small water drops. The result, the water droplets float in mid air.You might wonder just what scientists could be able to do with suspending droplets of water or other light object. Researchers hope the process will help them make better pharmaceutical medicines. Creating medicines without the need for a container would slow the evaporation process,making drugs that would absorb into the body more effectively.
Trivia question. What is the "world's hottest"temperature ever recorded? The answer until recently has been El Azizia, Libya, where a temperature of 136.4F(58C) was recorded on September 13, 1922 . This week, the World Meteorological Organization says a change in the record books is needed as the temperature recording at El Azizia is no longer accurate. The new "world's hottest" temperature ever record goes to Death Valley, California.Back on July 10,1913, a temperature of 134(56.7C) was recorded.
A monarch butterfly migrating from North America to Mexico made an unexpected detour-to Great Britain. It is believed that Hurricane Isaac caused the tiny butterfly to be carried 3500 miles across the At lantic Ocean!The left wing of the orange, white and black monarch butterfly is damaged. It was spotted near the Portland Bird Observatory on the Isle of Portland,Dorset, Great Britain. Butterfly enthusiasts are coming to the facility to catch a glimpse of monarch butterfly.Some do not believe a monarch could have made such an amazing trek and say that it may be a monarch butterfly raised in Great Britain that flew the coop. Only the tiny butterfly ,with its four inch wingspan,knows its true origins!Word of the day:lepidopterist:a scientist who studies of butterflies, moths and similar insects.Learn about monarch butterflies:National Geographic Kids
Would you like to name an asteroid? NASA is asking students to help name an asteroid called1000RQ36 which obits the sun in 436.6 days. The asteroid is expected to make close contact with Earth in 170 years. 1999RQ36 is 1837 ft wide. In 2016, NASA hopes to launch an expedition to the asteroid. Called Osiris-Rex, the mission will gather samples of rocks from its surface. Students under the age of 18 are encouraged to submit a name for the asteroid, up to 16 characters. In addition to a name, students are asked to give a brief explanation for why they chose their suggested name. Deadline for submissions is Dec. 2, 2012. Here is the link for more information on Name that Asteroid!Planetary Society
9/5/12:Concerned that we are living in a time with the highest rates of species extinction, the X Prize Foundation has announced a prize for the first scientific team to bring back an extinct species, kind of like what was done in the movie, Jura ssic Park. The goal of this particular X Prize, called the Jurassic Park X Prize, is to " find a safe, repeatable, and reliable fashion to bring back extinct species to rebuild a population." Several scientists from Asia already have their sights on the prize. They hope to use DNA from frozen 4500 year old mammoths found in Siberia with the Indian elephant, it's closest living relative, to bring back the extinct woolly mammoth. Which extinct creature(non dinosaur...) would you like to see walking the planet? Extinct Animal information:FactsAboutAnimals.net Great information on today's species:Kidsplanet.Org
More and more, QR (quick response)codes are popping up. With a smart phone, you just click on the QR stamp,a kind of barcode, and you are directed to more information on the internet. Last month, a dairy farm placed a QR on one of their cows! Now, a farm in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, has created a unique corn maze-a working QR code. Measuring 312000 sq. feet, people can walk around the maze which Guinness World Records has declared to be the world's largest QR code. The only problem, in order to get more information using this QR code, you need to be in an airplane!
Although it's the right thing to do, not everyone would do what Abbie Jacobson,8,of Maine recently did. A few months ago, Abbie found a little purse on the sidewalk outside her local Sam's Club. When she opened it, she was amazed to find it contained $4000, gold rings,earrings and bracelets, some Cambodian money and a debit card.Abbie knew the right thing to do was to try to get the purse back to its rightful owner,turning it into the police department. Her parents also called the bank which issued the debit card.The owner, a woman originally from the country of Cambodia,was so grateful,she invited Abbie and her family to lunch. On the first day of school, her 3rd grade teacher complimented Abbie for her honesty. The class gave her a round of applause. Abbie was asked what she would have done with such money and said she would have loved to see Justin Bieber in concert. A Bank of Maine executive heard of Abbie's honesty and knew someone who obtained tickets for Abbie and her family to attend the concert.Three cheers to Abbie!
8/25/12:Our national bird is the Bald Eagle,and some people would like to see a national mammal.Senators Michael Enzi and Tim Johnson have introduced a bill to make the North American bison,America's largest land mammal,given this honor.Here is the link:VoteBison.OrgLearn about the American Bison at this link:National Geographic
Charlie Naysmith,8 found a strange waxy-looking stone while walking along the beach with his dad. It turned out to be whale vomit,and,would you believe the marine mammals' upchuck is very valuable?Called Ambergris,it's used in the making of perfumes, and is known as "floating gold". Charlie's wad which weighs about one pound, may be worth $65,000! Charlie, who's searched the beach for more ambergris,hopes to use the money earned to help animals.
Have you ever searched the beaches for a message in a bottle or placed a message into a bottle wondering just where and where it might be found? The other day, a fisherman in Scotland pulled a glass bottle from his net. The message was very old having been dropped into the ocean 98 years ago! Guinness World Records says it's the oldest message in a bottle ever found.Back on June 10,1914, 1890 bottles were released as part of a study by the Glasgow School of Navigation to learn about the currents around Scotland. Finders of the bottles were asked to return the postcard stating where the bottle was found. A reward of sixpence was also promised to the finder of these bottles.Just in case you are wondering, of the 1890 bottles dropped into the ocean back in 1914, only 315 have ever been found to date.And, as for the sixpence reward, the coin is no longer in circulation.
8/15/12:A fly and two mites have been found in northeastern Italy. What makes this news is the bugs are the oldest know to be preserved in amber. And, these ancient insects are in fantastic condition. Found in droplet of amber(fossilized tree resin), the fly and two mites,long wormlike insects, date back 230 million years to what is called the Triassic Period.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to ever walk on the moon, has died. He was 82 years old.I remember watching the black and white television broadcast,on July 20, 1969, as Armstrong walked down the steps and said these words from the Sea of Tranquillity,"That is one small step for(a)man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin(Mike Collins stayed aboard the command module) gathered 50 pounds of moon rocks, planted an America flag, and did science experiments. After 21 hours and 37 minutes, they returned to the command module for the flight back to Earth.It was an amazing accomplishment!
Annaleise Carr, 14, has swum into the record books. On Sunday, Annaleise became the youngest to swim solo across Lake Ontario.The young Canadian swam the distance of 31.6 miles in about 27 hours. Allowed to take breaks(as long as she stayed in the water), Annaleise did the swim for charity. Hoping to raise $30,000 for a childhood cancer group, Camp Trillium,Annaleise,who has been swimming competitively since a young girl, has raised $90,000! Kudos to Annaleise!
8/15/12:Image riding a bicycle that cost only about $10 to build. That's the cost to build the eco-friendly bike that Ishar Gafni, of Israel, has made. Why so cheap? It's made entirely from scraps of cardboard! Gafni used some origami paper folding techniques(for weight bearing capabilities) in his bike construction.Able to hold someone that weighs up to 485 pounds, the cardboard bicycle is coated with a finish that looks like white plastic. It is hoped that the cardboard bicycle will be available next year.
Yikes...It is estimated that thousands to hundreds of thousands of Burmese pythons live in the Florida Everglades National Park.With no natural enemies,their population continues to grow. One python just captured is the largest ever recorded in Florida. It was 17.7 ft. long and weighed 164 pounds. Pythons feed on alligators and deer, coiling around their prey until they suffocate them. This large python had what is believed to be a record 87 eggs, no wonder their numbers are growing!
Scientists have unearthed shark fossils in the northern state of Arizona. Several of the species date back to 270 million years ago and were found in an area that was once part of a shallow sea,now a pine forest. Called ctenacanthiformes, the shark species had two dorsal fin spines, short -snouted heads,and large sharp teeth.
Joshua Smith,9, noticed that the parks near his home were not being well kept. When he asked his parents, Joshua was told that the city of Detroit didn't have the money to keep the park maintained and the grass mowed. This really upset Joshua and that's when he got an idea. He asked his parents if he could sell lemonade to earn money to help his city get needed funds. His parents agreed and set him up with $100 to purchase supplies. With the addition of popcorn and other drinks, Joshua and his friend, Dwayne Durant,10,raised over $3400 in just a week! The mayor of Detroit, thanked Joshua for his efforts but said that he thought the money should be used to help pay for Joshua's college education. Joshua said that just wouldn't be right because people supported his cause which was to help the city! Kudos to Joshua for his caring spirit!
8/1/12:UPDATE:HURRAY...another successful space achievement. Curiosity has landed on Mars and tweeted,"I'm safely on the surface of Mars. Gale Crater I am in you!!!"
Are you curious about the planet Mars? If, so the nuclear-powered Curiosity may start sharing some of its secrets. After 8 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity has reached the red planet!The size of a small car, and weighing about one ton, engineers hope Curiosity will survive its fiery seven minute descent. The world's largest supersonic parachute will hopefully slow down its speed and cables will help lower it to the surface.Its target landing is Gale Crater, where scientists believe a lake once existed. Carrying cameras and a weather station,Curiosity also comes equipped with a robotic arm with a laser and power drill.Curiosity's chemistry lab can sniff out life forms and radiation levels. If Curiosity survives the landing, it is hoped that scientists will learn more about Mars to better understand what astronauts will face on a future manned expedition to the planet. And Curiosity's landing date happens to be the birthday of Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to ever walk on the moon(in 1969). Learn more about Curiosity at this link:
Soccer isn't just a fun and exciting sport, it's now a way to bring electricity to many of the estimated 25 % of the world that still do not have access to electricity. Two Harvard grads, Julia Sliverman and Jessica Mathews, have developed Soccket soccer balls that capture kinetic energy produced by playing the popular sport,converting it into electricity. The ball is actually a portable generator in the form of a soccer ball. A Soccket ball is only 5 ounces heavier than a standard soccer ball and with just 30 minutes of use, the balls can store enough energy to last for three hours- powering things like LED lamps, fans, hot plates and, cell phones.
Congratulations to swimmer Michael Phelps ,who has set a new record for lifetime Olympic medals!The previous record was held by Larisa Latynina who had 18 olympic medals. Phelps has won 17 gold medals, two silvers and two bronze metals.
Imagine the Grand Canyon filled with ice. That's just what scientists have discovered under about 1/2 miles of Antarctic ice. The walls of the massive under ice canyon,called Ferrigno Rift, reach a depth of about 1 mile.The canyon is about six miles across and 62 miles long.Glaciologist, Robert Bingham, of the University of Aberdeen, and Chris Griffiths, spend 9 weeks back in 2009-2010 studying an area of Antarctic that had only been visited one before. The scientists wondered why the particular area seemed to have more than average melting and made the discovery using radar that penetrated the icy topography.
7/22/12:Two lions have been found in the town of Karakiz, in the country of Turkey, and they are really huge. Each weigh about 5 tons. Thought to have been sculpted about 3200 years ago by the Hittites, the details of the two prowling lions suggest the artists knew what a lion liked like. Because of a belief that there might be hidden treasures inside the sculptures, the granite lions are in two pieces, having been split apart by dynamite.Archaeologists are puzzled over their purpose.It is thought the life-size lions, may have been created to protect and mark a water source.
Starting with a thin polymer membrane that was cut to resemble the looks of a jellyfish(eight armed shape), scientists at Caltech and Harvard grew heart muscle cells from the cardiac cells of rats onto the material. Then, using an electric surge,the scientists got the cardiac cells to pump. Called Medusoid, the man-made Franken-jellyfish moved through water! Next, the scientists hope to develop a "brain" to give to Medusoid so it can turn and move depending on its environment(like toward light or food source) It is hoped that such research will help scientists learn more about the function of the human muscular pumps, specifically,the human heart, to develop better artificial hearts.
7/15/12:Water....lots of it(a supply 43 miles by 25 miles worth) has been found in the driest area of sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists at the British Geological Survey and University College London have been studying underground water sources(aquifers)and have discovered a vein of water,enough to supply Namibia(the driest of the countries in the area) with 400 years of water! And, what's kind of cool, the water is 10,000 years old and still safe to drink. The people of Namibia currently get their water from a 40 year old canal. Scientists say the underground water supply, called Ohangwena 11,should be easy to obtain due to the natural pressure which the water is under. However, the one stumbling block is a salty supply of water located above it.Drilling will need to be carefully done to avoid mixing the salty water with the fresh water below. More water will have a tremendous impact on this dry region of the world.Learn about the Sahara Desert at this link:Mr.Donn
7/10/12:A very large iceberg has calved off the Petermann Glacier of Greenland. The size of the iceberg is almost twice the size of the island of Manhattan, or about 46 sq. miles. Although very large, a much larger iceberg(twice the size) calved from this glacier back in 2010. 4/5 of the island of Greenland is covered by ice!
A dairy farmer in Great Britain has come up with a novel idea to teach young people about what her occupation is like and about something many drink-milk. Jane Barnes, Somerby Leicestershire,Great Britain, painted a QR code on one of her Friesian cows named "Lady Shamrock". Using smartphones, young people(and old) can click on the QR code to learn about Lady Shamrock and what it's like working on a dairy farm. When first applied, Barnes says Lady Shamrock was a big hit with the rest of the herd coming up to her and having a look at the unusual markings. It's thought to be the first time a QR code has been used in such a way. And, if you are wondering,the paint is cow friendly and can be brushed off at the end of each day. If you'd like to visit the site without a visit to Lady Shamrock, click here:
A "whale" of a cemetery exists south of the Lima, the capital city of the South American country of Peru. The fossil remains of about 15 different marine mammals rest in the Ocucaje Desert, about 16 miles from shore The whales lived between 3-20 million years ago, The cemetery of fossils of these giant marine mammals spans about 17 square miles in an area where strong winds are taken their toll on the fossils. In an attempt to help preserve this remarkable cemetery, it was announced that there are plans to turn the area into a paleontological park.
7/1/12:Green moss growing in Antarctica feeds on an unusual food supply-ancient penguin droppings! With frozen barren lands, scientists wondered just what the moss used for nutrients to live in Antarctica. They discovered that 3,000-8000 years ago, Adelie penguins once lived on the site. They left behind dropping that the moss uses as a food source. Scientists studied chemical samples of moss and found nitrogen-specifically nitrogen that had a one time passed through a marine creature. More studies found that indeed a penguin colony had once been at the area where the moss grows. Learn more about Adelie penguins at this link:National Geographic Kids
Might seaweed toothpaste be coming to a store near you?Researchers at Newcastle University were studying microbes growing on seaweed,as a way to clean the hulls of ships. They found that the microbes(called Bacillus licheniformis) produce an enzyme that works on cleaning plaque buildup on teeth. Plaque, a build up of bacteria, can cause teeth decay. Researchers hope to create an enzyme based on what the seaweed microbe produces to add to toothpaste or mouthwash. The result may be less cavities thanks to seaweed!
Until now,the oldest crater on earth, about 2 billion years old was the Vredefort Crater,found in South Africa. It was also the largest at 186 miles wide. Scientists now think there is a new record holder,a crater found near the town of Maniitsoq, Greenland. Before eroding, it may have been 310 miles wide! Just think of the size of the meterorite that would have caused such a massive hole. It is estimated that such a meteorite hit the Earth, about 3 billion years ago, and was a whopping19 miles wide! So, why wasn't the crater "discovered" until now? It is because much of the evidence has worn away over time and only the deepest parts remain. Scientists found several clues suggesting a meteorite impact including samples of crushed circular shaped rocks, the result of shock waves from a thunderous hit,deposits of K-feldspar, a melted mineral and evidence of eroding by very hot water.
The fastest animal on earth, the Cheetah,has been clocked at running up to 65 mph.Daredevil Mischo Erban (June 26th)set a new world record for humans-reaching 80.56mph...on a skateboard. Wearing a special aerodynamic suit, Erban zoomed down a road in Les Eboulements, Quebec, Canada. The road is famous for its 18 degree incline and means "the landslide" in French. During the record breaking skateboarding attempt, Erban says he stayed focused on the yellow line along the road...until it "disappeared" as he reached the top-level speed.This is definitely something you shouldn't try at home!
Update:It was just announced that Dalma Rushdi Malhas will not be competing as her horse was injured.The country of Saudi Arabia has never allowed women to participate in the olympics. That is changing for the London 2012 Olympics. It was announced that women athletes will be allowed to compete. Thus far, Dalma Rushdi Malhas,18,is the only female athlete coming. She is a showjumper. Other female teams,including basketball and track and field may compete if they can get their teams together in time for the start of the games this July 27th.Why the change? Seems that the rest of the Saudi male teams may have been disqualified from participating if females were banned from competition on grounds of gender discrimination. Girls are not allowed to participate in physical education in state run schools in Saudi Arabia and women can not drive cars and can not work or travel without permission. In 2015, women will be allowed to vote in elections in Saudi Arabia for the very first time.
6/24/12:Rae Heim, 18, from Carroll,Iowa, is running across the United States. She started her journey in April and, at about 20 miles a day, hopes to reach her goal of Huntington Beach, CA, by October. What makes her cross country trek more unusual, she's running barefoot!Heim's started running barefoot after breaking a toe a while back and couldn't get into her running shoes.She began running without them.Her barefoot journey will collect money for Soles4Souls, a charity that provides shoes for children in need. To date, Heim has raised almost $3000 dollars enough for 3000 pairs of shoes.She carries toe socks which she has donned when the asphalt gets too hot.
At one time people that found artifacts from ancient times took them back with them from where the artifacts were originally found. Today, most countries forbid antiquities from being removed from their homeland. The Asian country of Mongolia is demanding something of theirs be returned...an 8 ft. tall , 24 foot long skeleton of a dinosaur! Called T. bataar, it is the relative of the North American T. rex. In May, the 75% complete skeleton was sold at an auction in New York City,for a whopping $1,052,0000. A paleontologist(dinosaur scientist) said that the dino couldn't have been from Great Britain as was claimed. It only roamed the area known as Mongolia, about 70 million years ago. The U.S. government will hold onto the dinosaur until the courts decide its rightful owner.
If you stand on a scale in Germany or the South Pole, will you weigh the same?A traveling little gnome named KERN, has been traveling the world to find out. Started by Kern Precision Scales, Balingen, Germany, the idea is to prove that an object weighs more in the South Pole. This is because the earth's gravitation pull varies a bit since the earth is more potato shaped than a perfect sphere. Because of the earth's shape, a constant object(a human's weight change during the day), Kern should weight more at Antarctica that at the equator. The tiny gnome has visited such world cities as as Syndey, Australia, Lima, Peru, Mumbai, India, San Francisco and Woolsthrope Manor,Great Britain(birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton, the man with the theory of gravity). If you go to the world map, you can see the different weights that Kern has registered, with the South Pole,specifically the Amundsen-Scott Research Station in Antarctica, the heaviest at 309.82 grams(.683pounds) Go to the Gnome Experiment to see the world map and see a short video:Gnome Experiment
Martha Payne, 9, probably didn't realize how popular her blog would become. She started taking photographs of her school lunch and gave each lunch a grade. and posted them on the internet. One of her favorite lunches was mac and cheese and one of her low grades went for sausage and bean pita pockets.The Scottish school girl's blog has gotten more than five million hits. She also has raised about $105,000 for charity. Believing her blog was giving negative attention to the school, Martha was told she wouldn't be allowed to take photographs of her lunch. This caused an uproar of people emailing and tweeting that this ban was improper. Martha has again been given the OK to resume her blog. You can see her blog at this link:
It's been 100 years since someone was allowed to attempt to walk across Niagara Falls on a tight rope.On June 15, Nik Wallenda(of the famous highwire performing family)attempted such a walk on live television and became the first person to successfully traverse the falls. In order to be allowed to do the highwire crossing, Wallenda(who doesn't usually use any safety measures)wore a safety harness as he walked along a narrow steel cable, 200 feet over the famous falls.The distance, through heavy mist from the thunderous falls and windy conditions, was about the length of 4 football fields. The wire, about the diameter of 3 pennies!It took Nik about 25 minutes to walk the tightrope. A long balancing pole aided Nik in keeping his balance as he slowly inched across the highwire wearing specially made leather shoes. He began on the American side and ending on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.Nik's next adventure-he hopes to cross over the Grand Canyon on a highwire!
6/19/12:Most people have gotten something from a vending machine-soda, water, chips, but fresh baked to order pizza hasn't been one of them...until now. What is being called the world's first pizza making vending machine is now a reality. It can make fresh pizza, right in front of your eyes in just 2 1/2 minutes.The machine will knead the pizza dough, add the sauce,the toppings and bake it. And, when ready, will pop out of the vending machine for you to enjoy in its own pizza box. The pizza vending machines,called "Let's Pizza, have been introduced in Italy and other European countries over the last three years. The first "Let's Pizza" vending machine is coming soon to the states.The cost for a 10.5 inch vending machine pizza...about $6, and if you are worried that the pizza vending machine will run out of pizza, each machine has enough ingredients for 200 pies and is internet controlled for restocking.
6/15/12:The 112th U.S.Open begins this weekend and one of the 156 competitors will be Andy Zhang.Andy, 14(and six months),originally from the country of China,is thought to be the youngest to qualify to play in the famous golf tournament. Tadd Fukikawa held the youngest title when he competed in the U.S. Open at 15 years 5 months.Andy's pre tournament scores placed him as an alternate to the US Open. Then, the call came that another player,Paul Casey, was injured and Andy,who lives in Florida, would be playing in the tournament. Andy started golfing at the age of six and has competed in tournaments since he was ten years old.
A lobster fisherman in Canada trapped a most unusual lobster...with an amazingly bright blue shell. Scientists say that blue lobsters are very rare, about 1 in 2 million. Blue lobsters are caused from an over production of a certain protein that turns the shell blue. What do you think should be done with the blue lobster? Should it be returned to the ocean or go to an aquarium?
110 new life-sized Terra cotta soldiers have been unearthed in Xi'an,China, joining the more than 8,000 others that stand guard of the tomb of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of a unified China(221-206 BC). These new discoveries are in very good condition and have some of their original colorful painting. The army of clay soldiers were first discovered in 1974 when farmers were digging a well. In addition to the soldiers, a shield was also unearthed. Each soldier is unique. Some have beards, others mustaches and goatees. Some have hair in knots,some have long hair. Each soldier was once brightly painted.However, when exposed to the air, the vegetable dyes used, quickly faded.The tallest terra cotta soldier is 6 ft. 5 inches and the shortest is 5 ft. 8 inches. In addition to soldiers, over 600 life-size horses and 130 chariots have been unearthed. Today, the excavation pits are part of the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China.
5/20/12:Want to play a piano but don't have one? Well, thanks to a new application, you can turn stairs and even a bunch of bananas into a musical instrument! Makey, Makey requires no software installation, you just connect alligator clips with a little circuit board attached to whatever you wish to "play". Plugging the USB cable end into a computer, you can now play chopsticks or other musical works by tapping on the bananas. The MIT students that developed the device says it has many applications turning almost anything(even playdough, a cup of milk,your cat or your BFF) into touch pads.
If you watch television commercials, you will see lots of ads for foods that aren't really healthy. The Walt Disney Company had announced plans to stop airing such "junk food" ads. Forget adds for sugary drinks, foods that have lots of sodium(salt) or foods with lots of calories. In an attempt to help fight childhood obesity, such ads will be banned on Disney owned channels in 2015.
Snigdha Nandipati,14, of San Diego, became the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee champ after correctly spelling "guetapens". The word is a French term for snare, trap or ambush. The middle schooler , one of 278 that took part in the three day competition in the Washington, DC area, said she studied for 6 hours a day and 10 hours a day on weekends for the competition. Her efforts paid off! Snigdha, who also enjoys playing the violin, reading and collecting coins, won a trophy, $30,000 in cash, reference materials, a $5000 scholarship and a $2500 savings bond. Congrats to Snigdha.
Brendan Haas, of Massachusetts,is only nine years old but he has done something wonderful helping people he doesn't even know.Brendan had heard about a man that started with a red paper clip and continued trading until he actually got a house.Brendan thought he'd like to earn a trip for a family to go to DisneyWorld.Calling his project, "A Soldier for a Soldier", Brendan started by offering to trade a toy soldier back in February. Trades continued until when he was done, Brendan has succeeded in earning airfare and a stay at DisneyWorld (and about $900) for a family.He then collected names of families who had lost a loved one in Afghanistan and picked a name out of a hat on Memorial Day. U.S. Army Lt. TImothy Steele's widow and 2 year old daughter will be going on the trip to DisneyWorld thanks to Brendan's project to help others!Well done, Brendan!
Marvel Comics is introducing a new superhero. Called Blue Ear, this Superhero is a bit different. He has a hearing problem and wears a hearing device that gives him amazing hearing. The idea for this unusual superhero was the result of a little four year old boy that didn't like wearing his hearing aid because he told his mom, superheros don't wear such devices. His mom contacted Marvel Comics and the editorial department listened creating the new character, named for the little boy's hearing device. Marvel Comics' continues to honor founder Martin Goodman's concept of wanting their comics to give kids the message that real superheroes are the people that can overcome any challenges!
5/12/12:A little white stray dog came upon cyclists in a race from Sichuan province to Tibet. One of the cyclists,Xiao Young, saw that the pooch looked hungry so he gave her a chicken drumstick. This act of kindness made the dog the cyclist's constant companion. The dog followed the team of cyclists 1138 miles, averaging 36 miles per day,for a period of 20 days. Along the route,the dog named Ziaosa(Little Sa, part of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet),climbed 12 mountainous areas over 13000 ft.high. Xiao Yong carried the four-legged racer downhill so she wouldn't get hurt during the high-speeds of the cyclists.And, when it looked like Ziaosa was getting tired, Yong said he carried her on the back of his bike in a little box.With the race complete, Ziaosa now has a permanent home with Yong.
Prehistoric people liked creating music for many of the same reasons we enjoy music today and,these early people were making music even longer than original thought. Scientists have found what is believed to be the oldest-known musical instruments in a cave in southern Germany. The flutes, one made from mammoth ivory and another from bird bones are estimated to be between 42,000-43,000 year old and were found at Geissenkloesterle Cave.
Gary Connery jumped into the record books by becoming the first skydiver to safely land without a parachute. The experienced skydiver and stuntman dived 2400 ft. out of a helicopter, over London, England,wearing a wingsuit. He quickly reaching speeds of 80 mph on his descent.Connery's target landing-18,600 cardboard boxes, with the words, "Go Garry" written atop them. Fifty seconds after his jump, Connery landed safely into the runway of boxes which were 40 ft. wide, 12 ft high and 350 ft. long. A backup parachute was part of his gear just in case it was needed...
5/5/12:For the first time ever, a private company, SpaceX, has successfully launched a Falcon rocket into space with a gum-drop shaped vehicle called Dragon.Its destination is the International Space Station.Dragon will arrive at the ISS, 240 miles above the Earth, on Thursday,bringing 1014 pounds of food,water and equipment. The name of the capsule, comes from the folk group, Peter, Paul and Mary's song, Puff, the Magic Dragon. About two weeks later, Dragon will return to Earth packed with completed science activities and other items being removed from the ISS.
Volkswagen debuted a very futuristic concept Hover Car in China. The donut shaped two passenger vehicle doesn't have any wheels because it flies above the ground! The interesting looking vehicle was the result of a contest to design what a car of the future will look like. The Hover Car uses electronmagnetic(think monorails) to float along roads and a joystick is used to allow the car to move forward, backward and from side to side. It can even spin in place! The zero emissions car may be floating down the roads one day in the not to distant future.
4/30/12:Swiss Engineer Raphael Domjan and three others have succeeded in going around the world in 585 aboard a boat using energy only from the sun. The 37,294 mile journey began in Monaco, in 2010, and circumnavigated the earth to get the most possible sunlight. Called the MS Turanor Planet Solar, it is the world's largest solar-powered catamaran, having 38,000 solar panels. The catamaran docked on April 27th, 2012 having visited 28 countries along the way. Several world records were made with the trip including the longest journey made by a solar powered boat and the first solar powered boat to circumnavigate the earth. The name,Turanor, means "powered by the sun" and comes from the J.R.R. Tolkien book, The Lord of the Rings.
Shanthi, a 36 year old Asian elephant likes to play the harmonica. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo,in Washington, DC,Shanthi was given a harmonica and she just loves playing the instrument with her trunk. Installed on an activity wall, Shanthi seems to really enjoy creating music.
Scientists studying Otzi,the 5300 year old mummy discovered frozen in the Alps along the Austrian-Italian borders back in 1991, have recently found something new...blood cells. Located near the wound where he was shot with an arrow, the blood cells are the world's oldest found to date. Learn more about Ozti at this links:
On Monday, April 30th, Freedom Tower, the skyscraper being built at the site of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, destroyed in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001,will reach a milestone. At 1250 ft., it will become the tallest building in New York City. Currently the Empire State Building is the tallest building in NYC. Freedom Tower , officially called One World Trade Center,is scheduled for completion next year. When done, it will stand 1776 ft. tall( or the year of our country's independence) and will be the tallest building in the United States. If you are wondering what the world's tallest building is, the answer is Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. It stands 2717 ft. tall.
4/20/12:China,the 3rd country to rocket humans into space, has a new mission for this coming summer. For the first time in Chinese space exploration, the three person crew of the Shenzhou 9(meaning divine craft or celestial ship)is expected to include a female astronaut. The mission will be the first manned docking by the Chinese to their orbiting Tiangong 1(or Heavenly Palace-1) and another step in their country's goal of an orbiting space station. Chinese astronauts are called taikongyuan or taikonauts.Of the total people to have gone into space(about 517),53 have been women.
People in Great Britain glance twice when they see Axel watching his owner at work from a rooftop view. The black labrador mix follows Richard Haughton, his owner, up a ladder each day and perches himself on the roof for hours while Haughton does thatched roofing.Axel has been doing this for more than five years,since he was a pup.Haughton has to carry Axel down as he can't make his way down the ladder by himself.Now, that's a dog that really knows how to "roof".
Misaki Murakami, 16, from Rikuzentakata,lost his football(soccer to those in the USA) during the Japan tsunami of March 2011. Now, more than one year later, Misaki's football has been found...on a remote island of Alaska!A man walking along the beach came upon the football. Japanese writing on the ball was translated and stated the name of a school in Japan and the words,"Good luck".In the devastating tsunami, Misaki family lost everything, their home swept into the sea. Learning that his football had been located on the other side of the Pacific Ocean made him grateful that one of his possession have been found.He also said that he never imagined that his ball would have reached Alaska. It had hung in a net by his bedside.
Captain Ahab searched for a white sperm whale in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Scientists has spotted what is believed to be the first sighting of an adult orca which is totally white. Swimming with a pod of other orcas, Iceberg, as the white orca has been named seemed healthy. The white orca,thought to be able 16 years old, was seen off Kamchatka,Russia's eastern coast. Although white orcas have occasionally been found, they have always been youngsters, never an adult male.
Paleontologists may have found some whopper sized dinosaur eggs in the Chechnya area of Russia. The 40 super-sized fossilized eggs, some as big as 40.15 inches in size,are oval shaped and were found in the North Caucasus mountain region. The eggs,of an unknown dinosaur,which may be the largest dinosaur eggs found to date, were discovered by construction workers blasting into a hillside to make room for a road. At least one paleontologist questions the discovery saying that dinosaur eggs just weren't that large nor did dinosaurs roam such a mountainous area. Unusual rock formations or very cool fossilized dinosaur eggs...yet to be determined.
A new French study finds that baboons can recognize words. Using a computer program, six baboons were able to distinguish words from random letters, a form of pre reading. The baboons used a touch screen and viewed 500 real words(four letters such as done, kite and vast) and 7832 nonsense words(such as lons, dran, brrus, itcs and zevs). Whenever the baboons hit a green oval to show it was a word, they received a wheat treat. Dan, one of the baboons in the study was especially scholarly. He was able to identify 308 words out of the 500 real words. Researchers said it was more than just memorization because the baboons correctly identified words or nonwords even if they'd never seen them previously. Although the baboons don't understand what the words they recognized mean, researchers are excited that being about to identify word patterns is a step in the pre-reading process. Learn more about baboons at this link:
How do you do a census(count)on the number of Emperor penguins in one of the most inhospitable places in the world, Antarctica? Scientists used satellite imaging, the first such census of a species ever done from outer space. Using VHR (Very High Resolution) images, scientists estimate there are close to 600,000 of these black/white birds waddling Antarctica home, living in 44 different colonies along the shorelines of the continent. That's twice the number as previously thought. It is hoped that having an accurate count of the number of Emperor penguins, scientists can now better monitor the species and how climate change may impact their future numbers.The emperor penguin is the largest of the 17 species of penguins,at about 45 inches tall. Did you know Emperor penguins can dive to depths of 1800 feet and hold their breath for up to 22 minutes? Learn more about the emperor penguin at this link:
4/10/12:The National Trust, a charity in Great Britain,"that works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces - for ever, for everyone", has come up with a great list to get kids up and moving. Called the "50 Things You Should Do Before You Are 11 3/4" was developed because a report found that less than one in ten kids PLAY outside compared to kids 25 years ago. The study also found that 1/3 of kids today have never climbed a tree,and one in ten kids don't know how to ride a bike! How many can you say you've done thus far? Sounds like a list that kids(some with suggested adult supervision)and adults all over the world might find of interest. Here's the list:
One hundred years ago, the RMS Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. Dubbed the "unsinkable" ship, the Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40 PM ,April 14,1912,sinking into the cold Atlantic Ocean shortly afterwards at 2:20AM.Thousands were still aboard the ship when she went down,with those dying from the cold water temperatures in a matter of minutes. 1514 people lost their lives when the ship sank.710 survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia that received the distress calls, arriving a few hours later only to find the Titanic was already gone.Following this tragedy, a maritime law was established stating that there needed to be enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew aboard a ship, not the case for the Titanic. The establishiment of the International Ice Patrol was also started soon after the sinking of the Titanic to monitor icebergs in the shipping lanes of the Atlantic Ocean. In 1985, seventy-three years after its sinking,a U.S.-French expedition led by Robert D. Ballard, discovered the remains of the Titanic,about 400 miles east of Newfoundland in the Atlantic, at a depth of 13,000 feet. In 2012, UNESCO, the cultural body of the United Nations,placed the wreckage under its protection,to help to preserve the site.
4/10/12:The first large size debris, from the March 2011 earthquake/tsunamis that hit the country of Japan, has reached the United States. Found floating about 200 miles from Alaska, the ghost ship, a squid fishing vessel,made the approximate 8600 mile journey across the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Coast Guard, fearing the unmanned ship without electricity could be a hazard to other ships in the area, sank the vessel. It is estimated that 22 million tons of debris swept out to sea are heading toward North America. That's the size of the state of California!
An amazingly well preserved body of a young woolly mammoth,dating back 10,000 years, has been found in Siberia, Russia. Found in a block of ice, the mammoth, thought to be about 2 1/2 years old, is so well preserved that its strawberry-blond colored hair and pinkish colored skin are still intact. Named, Yuka, the young mammoth, is thought to have been attached by a predator such as a lion, as it has bite marks and scratches on its body. Missing bones suggest that that there was also human contact with the young mammoth, the first almost complete mammoth carcass discovered to date.Read more at this link:BBC
Volunteers who have participated in the Lake Merritt Institute clean up project, have scooped up litter and other items, from the lake over the past 15 years. However, a 6th grader, from St. Paul's Episcopal School, Oakland, CA, recently found something more exciting than the shorts, tops,cell phones,wallets, tennis balls and other junk scooped up in from its murky water. She found sunken treasure. The girl,11, whose name has not been released, saw two canvas bags in 2 ft. deep water. Weighing about 10 pounds,the bags were too heavy to lift so she asked for help. The bags, one with the words "Wells Fargo,contained silverware, antique rings, necklaces, coins,brooches,and bracelets! Thought to be stolen property that was thrown into the lake, the treasures were turned into the local police department where the items may hopefully be returned to its original owner.Photograph from SF Gate
4/6/12:Using sonar scanning technology, five engines from the Apollo 11 space rocket which sent Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their historic flight on July 16, 1969, have been found resting about 14000 ft under the Atlantic Ocean. You may remember that this mission brought man to the moon for the very first time. The amazing underwater find was discovered by Amazon owner, Jeff Bezos,who is also a space enthusiast. Bezos said the F-1 engines delivered "one and a half million pounds of thrust, 32 million horsepower, and burned 6000 pounds of rocket grade kerosene and liquid oxygen every second." Bezos said his personal passion for science began when he was five years old watching the televised Apollo 11 mission.He isn't sure the condition of the engines, which have been sitting on the ocean floor for over 40 years but it is his hope to retrieve the engines. Since the rockets are NASA property, he hopes that one of the them could join the Apollo command module on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. and that perhaps NASA would allow one of the other engine brought up from the ocean depths,to go on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, Bezos' hometown.< <
4/1/:12Update: Director and amateur oceanographer James Cameron has succeeded in reaching the deepest point on earth, the Mariana Trench. It took two hours to reach the nearly seven miles depth(35, 756ft) early Monday morning, local time. During his six hour expedition, Cameron will take video and bring back samples, from the area which is a mile deeper than Mt. Everest is high. Cameron is only the 3rd person to travel to such depths. Back in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh traveled down in the Trieste into the Mariana Trench. Their descent took five hours and they only stayed for 20 minutes,seeing little due to very thick quartz windows and sand that was kicked up from the ocean floor. Scientists say that the pressure at such depths is like having 3 SUVs sitting on your toe!Read more at this link:
The famous Clock Tower in London,England,is more commonly named Big Ben,for the bell that chimes the quarter hour found inside. The tower is in the news as a number of British lawmakers would like to rename it Elizabeth Tower in honor of Queen Elizabeth who is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee(60th year as monarch of Great Britain)in 2012. Only one other monarch of Great Britain, Queen Victoria , celebrated a Diamond Jubilee. Did you know that the four- faced chiming cock inside the Clock Tower is the largest in the world?
Earth Hour is coming. Here is a way to participate in developing environmental responsibility and awareness that climate challenges facing our planet need to be global. In its 6th year, people around the world are being asked to shut off electric lights and other electrical devices for one hour on March 31st. Begun in New Zealand, it is estimated that over 135 countries around the world will take part this year.Landmarks such as the leaning Tower of Pisa, the Vatican, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalikfa, Buckingham Palace, and many other places around the world will go dark during the 8:30-9:30 PM time period. And, why stop with being aware of electrical consumption for one hour a year? Do you shut lights off in rooms or unplug electrical devices when you aren't using them?Check out the official site,Earth Hour to learn more about the event.
Most of us have flown a paper airplane but nothing like the Arturo's Desert Eagle. Believed to be the world's largest, the paper airplane weighed 800 pounds and was 45 ft.long. The whopper of a paper airplane was inspired by Arturo Valdenegro,12, who won a regional paper airplane contest earlier in the year.As the winner of the paper airplane contest, whose plane flew the farthest, Arturo participated with engineers who designed and built the mammoth paper airplane. The project was part of the Great Paper Airplane Project, at the Pima Air and Space Museum,Tucson, Arizona. Attached to a chain, the Arturo's Desert Eagle, made of materials similar to that used in pizza boxes, was lifted by a Sikorsky S58T helicopter. At 2703 ft, the paper airplane was release and glided about 7-20 seconds, at 98 mph until crashing in a heap in the Arizona desert.See a video of the flight of the paper airplane at this link:
A new world's swimming record was made...across the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 3200 nautical miles, taking four months. The four "swimmers" were actually robots which left from San Francisco and just arrived in Hawaii, using only the ocean's waves to generate energy for their movement. The robots were two sections, an upper part which looked like a small surfboard and a lower section attached by a cable that worked as fins and a keel. Solar panels on the top section of the robots powered the sensors which collected data on fish levels and acidity in the ocean water. The swimming adventure is not over. Two of the robotics will now head to the Mariana Trench and the other two will journey on to Australia, with hopes to complete their swim by the end of 2012(or early 2013)The previous record for a swim by an unmanned device was 2500 nautical miles.
A sign of the times that more and more people are reading e-books. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., which has published their encyclopedias for more than 200 years, has announced that they will cease publishing their print editions, focusing on their digital versions of their encyclopedia, instead.
2/28/12:Iditarod Update:Completing the approximately 1,000 mile race in 9 days, 4 hours, 29 minutes and 26 seconds, Dallas Seavey, 25, became the youngest musher to ever win the Iditarod Sled Dog race in it's 40 year history. Second place Aliy Zirkle, came in a little over an hour later.
A Virginia girl named Lori Anne Madison has qualified for the famed Scripps National Spelling Bee. At only 6 years old, Lori, is the youngest to ever qualify for the spelling tournament. She beat 21 other elementary and middle school students in her regional competition by correctly spelling the Spanish word for cowboy,"vaquero". The Scripps National Spelling Bee competition has been held since 1925. This year's event is scheduled for May 29-June 1 in Washington, DC. Lori will be one of 277 participants from the United States, U.S. territories and several other countries trying to become this year's spelling bee champion.
Ratatouille loves shredding snow with his snowboard. And, like many, has his very own ski pass(with photo ID) for Liberty Mountain Ski Resort in Carroll Valley,Pennsylvania. What makes Ratatouille unique is that he's an oppossum! The marsupial wears a bright yellow and green sweater as he shows of his snowboarding form and uses his tail to help make balance and make his turns.See Ratatouille in action at this link:
James Cameron, most famous for directing the movies Avatar and Titanic, hopes to become the first person to descend to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest section of the Mariana Trench.The trench is the deepest on Earth.This week, he did a test dive in the Deepsea Challenger,and reached 5.1 miles down, a record for a solo dive in a submersible. In the coming week, Cameron hopes to reach the record depth of 6.8 miles(Mt. Everest could be submerged in the trench). Back in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh became the first humans to reach this depth in a bathyscathe called the Trieste.
In its 40th year, the famous trail sled dog race, the Iditarod, began on Sunday, March 4th. Sixty-six mushers are in the 2012 race also called the "Last great race on Earth". The race involves a distance of 976 miles from Willow, Alaska(after a ceremonial start in Anchorage) to Nome. and takes about 11-16 days.This year's race will be additionally challenging due to the record snowfall.
A new section of the Great Wall of China has been unearthed in the country of Mongolia. An expedition discovered the 62 mile long section last August with a lead from Google Earth. It is thought to be the first section of the Great Wall to stand outside of the country of China. Made of mostly dirt and shrubs, the wall which stands mostly shin high, is thought to dates back to the 11th or 12th centuries.
A detailed sketch of a sailboat on faded paper is making news. Could it be the work of a ten year old George Washington? If the 270 drawing is actually the work of our first President, it would be very valuable. Dated and signed by "Geo Washington", tests have determined that the paper and ink used dates back to the his time period. Signatures of George Washington have similarities with those of the person that signed the postcard sized sketch of a two-masted sailboat.However,George Washington had other cousins named George Washington and George wasn't known to have ever signed his documents using "Geo". Little is known about the childhood of the "father of our country" and if the sketch was done by George Washington, the founder of our country, it would be the earliest such document. Read more at this link:
How can humans learn more about Stellar Sea Lions and maybe figure out why so many of the sea lions are dying out? Canadian Marine biologists at the Vancouver Aquarium are asking the seals for help in their research. With lots of patience and training time, four sea lions have been trained to understand hand and voice commands, thought to be the first time this has been accomplished. The seals, including one named Hazy, are starting some very cool research. Wearing tracking devices and cameras, the four seals are diving in the deep waters of the Pacific to share how they search for food. Sensors record the energy required to hunt and catch their food and the cameras show the sea lions in action.The research will hopefully give scientists information on how to protect the future of the Stellar Sea Lion. Learn more about the Steller Sea Lion:
2/15/12:If you really like eye watering hot peppers, then the scorching hot Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is for you. The golf-ball sized pepper is being called the hottest pepper on the planet.According to the New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute Chile,the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper tips the Scoville heat scale, a measure of fire-hotness, at 1.2 million units.The previous Guinness World Record hot pepper is the Bhut Jolokia. At first bite,the pepper doesn't seem fire-alarm hot but it builds and builds,causing the body to sweat, face to turn red,eyes to tear and the nose to run.The sensation of heat as it travels down the throat lasts for over ten minutes. Capsaicin is the ingredient that causes the hotness in peppers such as the newest record holding hottest pepper,the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion!
2/10/12:A teeny tiny lizard has been found on the island of Madagascar. The new species of chameleon may be the world's smallest. A baby can stand on the head of a match. The Brookesia micra,which grows to about 1 inch in length, lives under leaves on the forest floor during the day and takes its night snooze in low branches.
Love roller coasters? If, so, the design for a proposed zero-gravity coaster, may be the ultimate thrill ride. A southern California company has taken the idea of the Vomit Comet, the KC-135 astronaut training simulator, and hopes to create the first-ever roller coaster where riders can experience about 8 seconds of weightlessness! Passengers would be seated inside an enclosed cabin. The riders would travel 100 mph down a straight track that then makes a sudden 90 degree turn straight upwards. Next, the coaster will come to a rapid slowdown and with loose safety restraints ,passengers will come out of their seat, suspended in air. Drains will be in the cabin floor for those that might "lose their lunch". Also each rider will have a ball, gyroscope and a cup filled with water so they can see how each items works under zero gravity.It is hoped that zero-gravity coaster will find a home in a park in the USA by 2013.
Those that know me know I love the color purple. Thus, seeing a purple squirrel in the news certainly caught my attention.The uniquely colored grey squirrel was found wandering around a birdfeeder in Jersey Shore,PA. The owners baited a trap with peanuts and captured the purple squirrel.They have since released it back into the wild. Officials aren't sure what caused the squirrel to become brightly purple(including inside its ears).Unlike birds who can absorb coloring into the feathers, mammals have not been found to do so.One idea is that perhaps the squirrel found itself in a Port-a-John and the disinfectant used in the toilet may have stained his fur purple.
Basejumper Felix Baumgartner is planning an amazing skydive-from the edge of space down to planet Earth. The 23 mile free-fall will also set a record by his breaking the sound barrier,something no human has done without being inside an aircraft.To attempt such a plunge, Baumgartner will wear a special space suit,weighing 28 pounds, one that can protect him from bone-chilling temps of minus -94F. The suit will also have to be strong enough to withstand the speed he will experience and protect him from decompression sickness.His helmet also will provide Baumgartner with oxygen.Working with Red Bull Stratos since 2005, the Australian adventurer is on route to Roswell, New Mexico, where he will soon attempt the skydive. Baumgartner will reach 120,000 ft. inside a pressurized capsule attached to a stratospheric balloon. He will then jump out of the capsule down toward earth,reaching the speed of sound in about 40 seconds. Baumgartner's parachute will be released at about 5000 ft from earth. The entire mission will last 15-20 minutes. Developing a special space suit such as Baumgartner will use may give future astronauts an escape option in an emergency so that they can return safely to earth. See animated video of the jump:
1/30/12:Five year old Champis is doing a hopping great job sheepherding his owners' flock of sheep. What makes Champis unusual is he's not a sheepdog...he's a rabbit.The bunny lives on a farm in northern, Sweden. His owners, Nils-Erik and Greta Vigren, says the beige mix-breed Champis must have learned his skills from watching the sheepdogs. The sheep seem to respect the little rabbit as Champis rounds t...hem up, stops them or herds them to a particular area.The pint sized sheepherder has also become an internet sensation with close to 1 million hits watching Champis in action. Watch the video clip:
Rap music, Rock music, country music,Tree music?If you look at the rings of a tree, you may see how its growth patterns resembles old 78 vinyl records(kids-you might wish to ask your parents what a "record"is). A German artist has created music using tree rings! Bartholomaus Traubeck put very thin slices of tree wood into a special recording device. Shining light onto the tree rings, the recorder translated the patterns of the tree rings into piano sounds.Depending on the age of the tree, different melodies were created.
Ebb and Flow, are two space probes,that have reached the moon. Ebb has just sent back video of something earthlings have never seen-the dark side of the moon! We have never seen the "other" side until now because the moon doesn't rotate. The video reveals lots of rugged terrain and craters made by the impact of asteroids. Some of the craters are really big. Mare Orientale,is the name for a 560 mile wide hole that can be seen on both the near and far side. Another, Drygalski Crater, is 93 mjiles wide and has a star-shaped formation in its center.The video of the "dark side" of the moon covers an area from its North Pole to its South Pole. As part of Nasa's GRAIL project(Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory), a mapping of this side of the moon will be created.Middle school students will be able to study some of these never before seen lunar areas filmed by the probes. Learn more another interesting space program for kids called EarthKam at this link:EarthKamSee the "other" side of the moon for the first time.
1/25/12:Scientists have discovered the fossil of a prehistoric super-sized crocodile that once roamed the earth. Discovered in the country of Morocco, "Shieldcroc", is the name being given to a 30ft. long, crocodile that had a huge armour-plated head.In comparison, today's crocs average about 16 ft. in length. Scientists think the creature,that lived 95 million years ago, used its long head to catch fish.
Two teens,Matthew Ho and Asad Muhammad,from Canada successfully sent an unusual astronaut into space.They sent up a plastic Lego Man! Working for several months and on most of their weekends, they developed a plan, purchased their supplies and made a styrofoam capsule. The 17 year old teens stuffed 4 cameras inside, along with a GPS-equipped cellphone and attached their Lego Man.A tiny parachute was also attached to the capsule. Checking weather forecasts for the best launch date,the teens set off to see if their capsule could go into orbit. It did! The teens captured the entire journey of Lego Man soaring to heights of 80,000 feet(twice the height of most commercial airplanes)tethered to a weather balloon. The odyssey lasted 97 minutes before the weather balloon burst. The GPS enabled the teens, to locate their Lego Man still intact, about 70 miles from where it had launched. Lego Man,holding the Canadian flag, had made it into orbit and returned safely back to earth.
Picture from Boston Globe.com. See video of the adventures of Lego Man at this link:
You may have folded up a lawn chair but a car?An electric two-seater has been designed by Boston's MIT-Media lab,that does just that. Without any doors, and a motor located in the wheels, the Hiriko(a Basque word for "urban")will make city parking such a 5 ft. vehicle lots easier. Shown this week, the car, which can go 75 miles without recharging, will be available for purchase in 2013. Note: Spain is an area which is part of the European country of Spain.
1/20/12:The world's oldest dinosaur nursery has been found in Golden Gate Highlands National Park, South Africa. Each of the dinosaur nests(clutches) had up to 34 eggs, extremely delicate, about the width of a human hair.The complete nests had eggs with embryos still inside. Dating back to 190 million years, there are also baby dino footprints as well as skeletons of some of the mother dinosaurs. Scientists say the dinosaur is a Massospondylus(relative of the sauropods), a long necked plant eating dinosaur. It is thought that there are many more clutches still embedded in the cliffs. See photograph and read more at this link:
Imagine, knowing that your birthday would always fall on the same day each and every year. Would it be helpful if you knew that all holidays would also be celebrated on the same day? Our current calendar, called the Gregorian calendar, has been used for 450 years. Two professors at John Hopkins University think we need a new calendar. Their calendar would eliminate all leap years, which are added ever 4 years to keep our 365.2422 day year from getting our calendar out of sorts. With the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, named for the two professors who have developed it, there wold be two 30 day months followed by one 31 day month. Every five or six years, there would be an "extra week" at the end of December.The professors also would like to see an additional change, Universal Time. They suggest all the world should be on the same time, Greenwich MeanTime, no matter WHERE you live. What do you think of this new calendar? What types of problems would Universal Time create? How might an "extra week" in the year be celebrated?
1/15/12:Love to snowboard? Seems a crow in Russia does, too. Caught on video, a hooded crow found a round plastic jar lid, perched it on a slope of the roof and repeatedly slide down. He didn't fly above the lid, he planted his feet on the lid and off he went, displaying play-like behavior.Scientists say crows are very intelligent and have great memories. On one run, the crow realized that he just didn't get any slide on a patch of roof without snow so it moved in search of better sliding conditions. Catch a look at the crow in action at this link:
A golden colored scarf and cape might not seem newsworthy, until you learn that they took seven years and...one million spiders, from Madagascar, to create! Unlike most silk fabric, made from the silk cocoons of worms, this scarf and cape were spun from the silk of the female Golden Orb weaver spiders. See photographs at this link:
Peter Treadway has a "wheelie" cool idea-motorized shoes.Treadway showed off his SpnKix at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. His SpnKix are strapped onto your shoes. There is a small motor on the inside of the SpnKix, and a rechargeable lithium battery. A large red reflector is on the outside of the shoe for safe night "walking". The motorized shoes have a hand operated remote control for speed control. The motorized shows will help you get to your destination lots faster...as long as you are going only about 2-3 miles,the life of the battery before it needs recharging. At speeds of up to 10 miles per hour, the SpnKix will sell for around $650 when they go on sale in a couple of weeks.
Three orangutans at the Milwaukee County Zoo have been using donated IPads for a couple of months. Their keepers hold the IPads,since the lifespan of the IPads with orangutans holding them might not be very long. The hairy orange primates have been watching video,playing video games and using other apps such as creating music.An organization called Orangutan Outreach,now plans to use IPads to introduce a kind of on-line penpal program for orangutans. Using Skype,the orangutans will be able to watch one another at different zoos around the country. Since orangutans love to see themselves on videos, it is thought that they will go "ape" over the idea of video-chatting via Skype.
1/4/2012: By summiting Antarctica's Mount Vinson Massif, over New Year's Weekend, 15 year old Jordan Romero, became the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits-the highest mountains on each continent. At the age of 13, Jordan, his dad and stepmom reached the world's tallest mountain summit, Mount Everest. The previous record for the youngest to summit the Seven Summits was George Atkinson, 16, of Great Britain.He completed his ascents last May. Learn more about Jordan's climbing journey at his website:
Photograph from Jordan's Website
Do you like riding a bike? Seems that Helen Skelton does as well. The 28 year old, from Great Britain,left today, January 4th 2012, biking...to the South Pole!Skelton will use a specially built bike, the Hanebrink "ice bike" for her 500 mile trek,called the Polar Challenge. The bike weigh 40 lbs(compared to most mountain bikes that weigh about 30 lbs) and has fat, tubeless tires.The back wheel is set back slightly further than a usual bike,giving it a lower center of gravity. This will make the bike more stable and better climbing ability.Designed like a golf cart, Skelton's bike will be "green", leaving little damage to the surface that she travels.For parts of the trek, Skelton will also walk and snowkite, hoping to succeed in her quest within 20 days. Skelton hopes to travel 14 hours a day, battling frigid air temps(-13F to -58F) and wind speeds that can reach up to 125 mph, for charity. She will endure blinding snow,snow blindness and,possible altitude sickness.Additionally, the route is uphill all the way and will reach altitudes of 9840 Ft.! A sledge carrying her supplies and equipment will be dragged behind as she hopes to become the first person to ever bike to the South Pole and setting a record for the longest bicycle ride on snow. Skelton, who works for BBC's Blue Peter, a children's program in Great Britain, is also first person to solo the length of the Amazon in a kayak.
Moving time? That's what the island nation of Samoa is doing on December 29th. They will skip a day ahead to December 31st. The time traveling is being done to align their calendar date with trading partners such as Australia and New Zealand who currently are on the other side of the international dateline. By doing the time change, the island of Samoa will become one of the first to see the morning sunrise instead of being the last place on earth to see the sunset. Another area, Tokelau, will also make the change.Learn about the International Dateline:
Can you name the most annoying word? For the third straight year,the winning irritating word is..."whatever". A poll conducted by Marist College Institute for Public Opinion said that 4/10 people responded that "whatever" is the most annoying word to hear in a conversation. Close runners up for disliked words included "you know" and "like".Can you think of other words used in conservation that you dislike hearing
12/24/2011:A Spanish town is very,very blue...not sad,but actually blue!The villagers agreed to have their entire community of white-washed buildings, painted blue for filming of "The Smurfs 3D" movie. Now, six months later,with the movie filming complete, the residents have voted to keep their vividly painted blue town. The reason is an increase in tourism. People are flocking to the town of Juzcar, to see the Smurf blue town where even the gravestones and the village church are painted blue. All together, approximately 1056 gallons of the Smurf Blue were used.Seems being blue can really make people... happy!
12/19/11:Early Sunday morning, December 19th, a convoy of military vehicles carried the last US soldiers out of the country of Iraq,ending a nine year war. The remaining soldiers crossed the border of Iraq into the country of Kuwait bringing to an end a very costly war-nearly 4500 U.S.soldiers killed and,tens of thousands more U.S. soldiers permanently maimed.
Alexander Graham Bell, famed for his invention of the telephone,is in the news.Recordings he made back in the 1880s have again been played at the Library of Congress, our nation's library, located in Washington, DC, for the first time in 130 years. Made on discs and cylinders, six of his fragile recordings were brought to life thanks to advances in technology that enabled the sound to be recovered from tiny grooves with light and a 3D camera.Some of the recordings included the reciting of Shakespeare's verse, "To be, or not to be", counting 1-2-3 and a trill of the tongue. For more than 100 years, the recordings have been housed at the Smithsonian Institution... thought to be forever silent. It is hoped that retrieving these early sounds of communication will help shed more light on the history of communication. You might wish to have your students read the folllowing story on Alexander Graham Bell:
Have you ever done jumping jacks?First Lady Michelle Obama helped organize a record setting jumping jack effort. To promote physical fitness and healthy eating habits, she asked children from around the world to participate in a world record attempt at jumping jacks. On October 11th, the first lady,along with 464 children in elementary and middle schools in the Washington, DC, area, as well as thousands of other kids , from around the world,joined in the activity of doing jumping jacks during a 24 hour hour period of time. Guinness Book of World Records said that a total of 300,265 kids participated, crushing the previous jumping jack record of 20,000! Mrs. Obama's program to promote healthy eating and physical fitness among young people is called," Let's Move!"
Sixteen year old Amelia Hempleman-Adams,of Great Britain, went out on a ski trek and ended up in the record books. She has become the youngest to ski to the bottom of the South Pole. Along with her dad,Amelia completed the two-week, 97 mile adventure,unofficially breaking the record of Canadian Sarah Ann McNair-Landry, who at the age of 18, completed the journey, back in 2005. Along with some homework, Amelia brought along a photograph of British explorer,Ernest Shackleton,whose expedition tried to reached the bottom of the South Pole in 1907.Amelia hopes to have Guinness World Records verify her achievement in the coming weeks.
12/2/11:Name the world's largest coral reef. Did you answer with the 1250 mile long Great Barrier Reef of Australia? Scientists are concerned with the rising water temperatures of the Pacific Ocean,that many diverse coral species that make of the Great Barrier Reef may be lost. To protect the species, scientists collected 8 billion coral cells and have frozen them in a "bank" at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. It is hoped that these cells, being kept at temperatures of -196 C,will never have to be "withdrawn" from the bank. However, if needed,these frozen coral cells can be thawed out and reintroduced to help preserve the reefs for future generations to enjoy.Learn about the Great Barrier Reef at this link:
A very rare baby albino dolphin was recently found by Brazilian biologists.The calf, white with pinkish fin, was spotted swimming with its mom, is a member of the pontoporia blainvillei species,(more commonly called Toninha, La Plata or Franciscana dolphins). This species of dolphins don't usually jump out of the water making for the spotting of an albino in their group, extremely unusual to find. The dolphin species is found off the southern coast of South America.Lack of melanin pigment is the cause of albinism causing very white skin color and hair.
A space probe, as large as a car has blasted off to Mars. The biggest and most equipped probe is 10 ft. long, 9 ft. wide and 7 ft. tall and is actually a nuclear-powered and mobile laboratory. Nasa is calling the probe, "the monster truck of Mars", and should arrive next summer(August 6,2012) on the red planet, after traveling the 8 1/2, 354 million mile trip. It will be lowered to the planet's surface with a jet powered crane and tethers.Called Curiosity, the one-ton probe has one arm and six wheels, has a jackhammer drill as well as a laser machine that will be able to zap through rock, in its search for microscopic life forms.
Has proof of aliens visiting earth been found in Peru? A mummified body found in the city of Andahuaylillas, Peru, is very unusual. It has a very elongated skull. In fact, the skull is almost the length of the entire body! And, the skull has very large eye sockets. Some scientists think it may be the remains of an alien! The teeth in the mummified body have two very large molars, yet there is a soft spot in the skull which would suggest it could be the body of a child. Others say the body is that of a child...from planet earth. Some cultures, such as the ancient Mayans,encouraged large heads by stretching the head of newborns for about six month. Scientist plan to test a sample of DNA found in the eye socket to determine if the mummified remains are human or ...out of this world. See a photograph at this site.
Sadly, scientists of the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN),have announced that wild black rhinos can no longer be found in West Africa. It is now extinct...no more walk the planet. Also, the last Javan rhino is gone. And, the white rhino of central Africa is very close to extinction. Did you know that 1 out of 4 mammals are at risk of also becoming extinct? Loss of habitat and poaching are the main causes. Learn more about the rhino at this webquest.Rhino Webquet
11/18/11:Garrett McNamara has surfed into the record books this week(November 8th) by hanging ten on what is being called the "largest wave ever surfed".The monster sized wave was 90 ft. tall! The previous record was a 77 ft. wave. Mcnamara, raised in Hawaii, caught a ride on this mountainous wave in Praia do Norte,Nazara, Portugal. McNamara used a tow-in to get into the area of Nazare Canyon, known for its giant waves. Such extreme waves are caused by ideal wind patterns over one the deepest water canyons in the world.The record took place during the ZON North Canyon Show 2011. On a mission to explore the biggest waves in the world, McNamara is also working on a three year project with the Portuguese government to study the wave phenomenon of Nazare Canyon.
Picture:Garrett McNamara's Website
Astronauts who one day travel to Mars, will have a very long journey. It will take 18 months for such a round trip to Mars and back to Earth. To test extended space travel on humans, six men participated in an experiment, a "pretend" trip to Mars and back. After 520 days,the men, part of Mars500 Project, have just returned home. The men, who left in June,2010, spent their time in five small containers(with no windows), simulating a space vehicle, at a facility in Russia. At the half way point, several of the men entered one of the containers made to look like Mars and "walked" the red planet Afterwards, the men returned to their "space ship" and began the trip back to earth. The six men will undergo medical tests to review how their bodies copied with such long confinement.
10/31/11:October 31st is not only Halloween but marks our planet reaching 7 billion people! If you lined up all the people in the world, they would reach a distance of eight times to the moon and back! China is the most populated country in the world but scientists that study population say that India will be the most populated country in the world by 2030.
10/28/11:Imagine all the people walking along a busy street on any given day. What if all those footsteps could be harnessed to generate energy?A company, PaveGen, has developed a tile that can do just that.Made from recycled rubber and fit into existing flooring, the tiles harvest kinectic energy from the impact of a person stepping on the tiles. Each burst of electricity can generate enough energy to power a LED-powered street lamp for 30 seconds. The generated footstep power can are stored up to three days in a battery.And, as people walk over the energy producing tiles, a light glows in the tile showing the person that they helped produce 2.1 watts of electricity per hour.A recent test of the Pavegen tiles, got over 250,000 footsteps and created enough power to charge 10,000 cell phones! With the 2012 Olympics to be held in London, Great Britain, there are already plans to set up the Pavegen tiles on a nearby sidewalk. It is estimated that people's footsteps will generate enough energy to supply half the outdoor lighting for a nearby shopping center.
It's coming....5-20 million tons of Japan's tsunami debris is heading toward the USA, specifically the state of Hawaii. Researchers at the University of Hawaii are tracking the massive garbage of appliances, furniture, tires,remains of homes, cars,fishing boats and other trash. Currently,the massive floating trash pile is about 2000 miles from Japan, having passed the Midway Islands. At its current rate of travel, the debris will reach the west coast of Hawaii within the three years.
Picture: U.S. Navy/ Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd
10/18/11:The first fully intact Viking boat has been found on the United Kingdom mainland.Found in the Scottish Highlands, in an areas called Ardnamurchan, the Viking boat contained the remains of a Viking, buried with a decorative sword, axe, spear and shield. Archaeologists say the Viking ship and its occupant(called the Ardnamurchan Viking) date back about 1000 years. Other items found on the boat included a bronze tip(perhaps, a drinking horn), a knife, dozens of pieces of iron, pottery, a ring pin from Ireland and a whetstone from Norway. Although a small boat, about 16 ft long and 5 ft. wide, archaeologists say the Viking's artifacts suggest that he traveled the stormy waters around Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia.See a photograph of some of the artifacts at this link:
10/14/11:Seems that even penguins of the Adelie penguin colony, on Ross Island, Antarctica, have to watch out for thieves among them.Each year, the male penguins, about 250,000 of them, build nest out of gathered stone in hopes of having the best nests to attract a female mate.It takes lots of effect for such large numbers of male penguins to search the area for just the best stones.One male Adelie penguin found a much less effortless method of gathering stones. He was caught on tape stealing the stones gathered by another penguin! Several times when a unsuspecting penguin went off in search of another stone to build his nest, the thieving penguin just waddled over to the nearly nest, placed a stone in his beck and waddled back to his nest where he dropped his stolen item.See the thief in action at this clip:
Jean Beliveau, of Montreal, Canaada, went off for a walk... and just came back 11 years later! Beliveau pushed a three-wheel stroller, with his sleeping bag, some clothes,and a first aid kit, for 4077 days, walking a distance of 46,602 miles(75,000 km)across 64 countries. Back in 2000, Beliveau decided to run to Atlanta, Georgia, and from there, continued the trek of the longest uninterrupted walk around the world. Along the way, Jean, went through 54 pairs of shoes and almost gave up on his walk in Ethiopia, when he reached a point of feeling very alone. Plodding on, Beliveau slept in homeless shelters, under bridges and was befriended by at least 1600 families that gave him a place too sleep and food. He crossed mountains, and deserts, facing a wild puma in the desert of South America. He endured sizzling temperatures and blizzards and ate insects in Africa and snakes in China. Beliveau used the walk to promote non-violence and peace and returned home with what he said was a "wealth of knowledge and understanding".
10/1/11:Wearing milk?Sure, we've all had some dribble onto our clothes but a German designer has created a fabric...made from milk. Called Qmilch, Anke Domaske has created a man-made fabric made from milk protein. All natural, QMilch is made from milk that would have been thrown away. Casein, the milk protein is extracted from dried milk powder. Heated with other natural ingredients, the result is a fiber that can be spun into yarn. The milk fabric feels like silk.It takes about 1 1/2 gallons of milk to make enough fabric for an entire dress. In addition to clothing, the milk fabric is being considered for use for upholstery by several car manufacturers.
Mt. Everest may be the tallest peak on the earth, rising 29,035 ft. in the Himalayan Mountains of Asia, but a much larger mountain has been found on Vesta. Vesta is an asteroid in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. A NASA spacecraft, Dawn, has begun photographing the asteroid and has found a mountain in the southern polar region to be three times taller than Mt. Everest(or Chomolungma which means "Mother Goddess of the Earth")!The peak of the Vesta mountain rises 13 miles above the surface of the asteroid. A whopper of a mountain, it still is not as tall as Olympus Mons, found on the planet Mars. Opympus Mons, with a peak of 15 miles above the surface of Mars,is the highest mountain and volcano in our solar system.
9/29/11:One of the most famous landmark in London, England, is sinking. Known as Big Ben for the bell housed in its tower, it is tilting about 1 1/2 feet off center. Big Ben, which stands 3i5 ft. tall,has a long way to go before it looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. Experts say it will take several thousands of years to equal this other famous landmark. And, at this time, there are no plans to do anything at this time to help straighten up Big Ben's lean.
9/25/11:The hairy ape-like creature known as the abominable snowman, or yeti, has been rumored to live in the Himalayan Mountains and Siberia,for many years.A team of American and Russian scientists are going to search for the the existence of the elusive(hard to find)creature, the first such expedition since 1958. Sighting and evidence to date have yet to confirmed the existence of the human like hairy creature. However, in 2008, a very large footprint was discovered in the snow on Mount Dhaulagiri, Nepal. Could this print be from the abominable snowman? Many more sightings have also been reported in the Siberia region of Russia,in the past 20 years. Recently, a woman in Siberia said she came upon a tall creature, covered with long brown-grey hair that wasn't a bear, walking like a human.Scientists think it's time for another search for the legendary creature!
Hawaii,the Aloha State,is the birthplace of surfing and to show this heritage, Hawaii will be come the first state to make surfing an official high school sport.Gov. Neil Abercrombie and education officials made the announcement by the statue of Kananamoku, known as the father of modern surfing. Beginning in 2013, surfing will make a total of 19 different sports offered to students in Hawaii's public school system. Other school sports include football, basketball, bowling, air riflery, swimming and volleyball. Catch a wave and "hang ten"!Learn more about Hawaii at this link:Hawaii
Would a talking garbage bin help people more responsibly dispose of their trash? Seems that it has been working in the country of Sweden, where talking garbage bins have collected more than three times the trash than ordinary cans. Great Britian is placing talking bins around its capital city of London and several other cities in the coming months. The talking bins say "thank you for the rubbish" for properly disposed of trash or may break out in song. Some talking bins even make applause sounds and... burp! It is hoped that such garbage bins will encourage people to not litter when it comes to their trash.
9/10/11:If you like biking and you like sailing, then the whike is for you. An 18 year old teen in Great Britain has invented a windsurfing tricycle that can be ridden on the road. A Dutch company will be manufacturing the whike created by Ned Aufenast. Aufenast got the idea when while cycling,the wind halting his progress.He said he thought it would be fun to use wind power to sail on the road. His unusual bike, made from scrap parts, makes this possible. The whike,has 18 gears and a rear and front hand brake, lights,reflectors and a 5 sq. ft. sail! As you pedal the whike, the wind makes you go faster.It can reach speeds of up to about 36 mph. Whike riders can ride the roads of Great Britain but not the highways.And, although it helps if you have some sailing knowledge, Aufenast says it is fairly easy to pick up the skills needed to whike.
9/6/2011:Scientists have unearthed what is believed to be the oldest woolly rhino fossil ever found.The animal called Coelodonta thibetana,lived about 3.6 million years ago and was discovered in the foothills of the Himalayas,in Tibet. Dating more than one million years older than previously discovered wooly rhinos, the rhino's complete skull and lower jaw are preserved,although just a bit crushed. The species is thought to have been extremely covered in long hair and used its long forward leaning horn as a snow remover in its search for food in the snowy Himalayan Mountains. Read more at this link:
If you've ever seen pictures of the Netherlands it's pretty flat. In fact, the highest point, Vaalserberg,is only about 1000 ft. high.That may be changing with an idea to build a mountain in the country and not just a hill, but what would be the world's highest man-made building, proudly standing about 3200-6500 ft. tall. At first, the idea was kind of a joke, but now people are adding to the chorus that creating a mountain in the country would be a great idea. It would provide skiing, cycling, bobsledding tracks, hiking trails and more.And, with all the sand and soil from the sea,they have the materials in which to bring a mountain to the Netherlands.
A living and breathing watergun...that's what has brought fame to a octopus at the Weymouth Sea Life Park, in Great Britain. The octopus liked to get its handle on its surroundings and taught itself to lift part of its body above its tank so it could check out what was going on. An octopus takes in water to absorb its oxygen and releases the water through tubes near its beak.While surfaced, he released water and strayed a passer! Derek Scales, curator at the park, says its become common for the octopus to regularly drench anyone that wanders passed his tank.Maybe, that's why the octopus has been giving the name...Squirt!
Researchers at the University of Leeds,in Great Britain, have developed a treatment for cavities that is drill free and...regenerates your tooth to "pre" cavity levels. A mixture of amino acids(called P 11-4) is applied to the decayed area. This mixture flows into the decayed areas of the tooth creating a protective gel. Then, and this is really cool, the gel attracts calcium to repair the area. And, the procedure is pain-free-no drilling needed! Dentists won't be putting down their drills just yet, but it is hoped that within 3 years,they just might be offering this new technology to those whose pearly whites need some TLC.8/27/2011:
8/25/2011:Twelve year old Beau is very good in math. Might not seem that newsworthy until you learn that Beau is a dog. Beau's owner, David Madsen, has taught the black labrador retriever to add and subtract. Skeptics say that Madsen gives Beau signal when he is asked questions such as "If there are six dogs in the park and three dogs leave, how many are left?"However, when Madsen is not in the room, and someone else asks questions of Beau, or places numbers on a piece of paper, Beau can still manage the correct response in proper numbers of woofs, with an accuracy of 85%.Madsen, has also taught Beau to count in Spanish. The pooch's math skills were learned using dog biscuits as a reward. And, today, if Beau doesn't see his biscuit rewards, he will quickly lose interest in math. The canine calculator lives in Montana.
Applying a satellite radio-tag to a 1 ton walrus? That's exactly what villagers and scientists in Point Lay, Alaska, are doing for a USGS study. It is hoped that 40 walruses will be tagged to study how they are responding to less sea ice,in the Pacific Ocean,which has been shrinking the last few years. With less ice, the walrus are moving toward more shallow areas where they can search for food. Wearing the radio-tags will hopefully give scientists information on their eating patterns as they move throughout the Chukchi and Bering seas. Cool fact about walrus: The Latin name for walrus, Odobenus rosmarus means "tooth-walking sea-horse".
Update: Happy Feet, the nickname given to the Emperor penguin that found itself on the shores of New Zealand, is going home. A scientific research vessel will give it a ride back to the waters near Campbell Island, next week. Happy Feet received lots of TLC after it became ill from munching on sand and sticks. Plenty of fish milkshakes to help it regain its weight and nutrients were fed to Happy Feet, who will also be given a satellite tracking device so that New Zealanders can keep track of his status.
8/5/2011:A space probe, Juno, has rocketed off toward Jupiter(today 8/5/2011). Aboard the first solar-powered space craft-three tiny Lego passengers. Made of aluminum, instead of the classic yellow plastic, the Lego trio will have a trip of a lifetime, traveling in the outer solar system before coming back toward Jupiter.The figures include one of Jupiter(the ancient Roman chief god),Juno(Jupiter's wife) and Galileo,(famed scientist who discovered the planet's four main moons).The space mission to Jupiter will take until 2016, where the craft(with the three mini Lego figurines) will orbit Jupiter for a year. Sadly, the lego figures, aboard the craft, will give their lives for science, when the space craft crashes onto the planet's surface, on completion of the mission.Why Legos on the mission to Jupiter? NASA and LEGO hope to spark an interest in children about science. Follow the Lego figurines' journey at this link:
7/30?30:Do you like doing crossword puzzles? David Steinberg,14,does and he's now creating his very own. David just had one of his crossword puzzles published in the New York Times,becoming the third youngest to ever accomplish this feat,in the history of the paper. The newspaper, famous for its crosswords, has also purchased 3 additional crossword puzzles that David has created. David says in addition to crossword puzzles, he used to enjoy playing Scrabble quite a bit but his parents say they can't play with him any longer-David always wins. The New York Times starts easy on Mondays with each day the puzzles getting a bit harder. Sunday is the hardest puzzle of the week. The paper pays $200 for each published puzzle with $1000 for their Sunday edition. David says creating a puzzler for the Sunday edition is his ultimate goal!
Look up in the sky...it's a bird, it's a plane-it's an amazing amount of bats! Scientists say there are so many bats flying around Austin, Texas, during the daytime that they can been spotted on weather radar! What's the cause for the estimated one and a half million of these normally bats to be swarming around in the sky when they are usually nocturnal? Scientists say the "batty" behavior is due to the extreme drought that it currently happening in this part of the country. Dried out crops and less bugs to munch is causing them to come out earlier to find a bite to eat! Here's some trivia-Texas has the largest bat colony in the world, with a whopping 20 million calling home in a cave northwest of San Antonio! But there are even more if you count ALL the winged creatures living in the state of Texas-about 100 million bats!<
7/25/11:At 4700 ,Egypt's oldest pyramid, Djoser, was damaged by an earthquake back in 1992,making it too dangerous for scientists to go inside to repair it.Fearing the famous step-pyramid could collapse,experts from Great Britain came up with the idea of deploying giant airbags to prop up the ceiling of the pyramid!< p>7/20/11:Carissa Moore, 18, became the youngest-ever world surfing champion(female or male). Moore is also the first woman surfer from Hawaii to win a woman's title in 30 years. Carissa has long had the goal of winning this championship, having been surfing since she was a little girl. In fact, the goal of becoming Number 1 was listed on her back door, hoping to one day cross this goal off her list...guess she will be doing this next week!
Photograph from Red Bull Website
Elephants and farmers, especially in Kenya, have not had a friendly relationship because the elephants trample their crops.A new idea may be a win-win for both. Farmers are setting up bee hive fences because the elephants are real scaredy cats when around the buzzing insects! Such barriers are working to keep the elephants from the farmers' fields and, provide an additional benefit for the farmers-honey.
The dwindling world population of snow leopards has gotten a boost. Researchers using hidden cameras have discovered a previously unknown population of snow leopards in the mountains of northeast Afghanistan. Thirty of the big cats were found in the remote area. It is estimated that between 4500-7500 snow leopards remain in the wild. Learn more about the snow leopard and see photographs at this link:
7/15/11:The Transition is a most unusual car. Not only will you be able to travel down the highways, you can soar into the sky with this hybrid vehicle. Made by the Massachusetts Terrafugia company,The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has given the green light for the Transition to "take off". That's provided you have a driver's license AND a sport pilot license, if you wish to go up, up and away. Aside from the wings in an upright position, the Transition has heavier rubber tires for take-offs and landings and it's windows are made with shatterproof clear plastic, lighter and less dangerous with possible bird collisions. And, if you think you can just fly above the traffic and land at your favorite location, the NHTSA says the Transition will only be allowed to take off and land at airports. If you'd like one of these Jetson type flying cars, they are expected to be on the market by 2012. The highflying price tag will set you back about $250,000!
If you could wear your favorite video on your shirt, would you want to do it? Inventor David Forbes has developed the world's first video coat, that allows a video to be displayed on clothing. What's more, the specially made fabric allows the video to be show on the front and back.Wearing the LED television involves using a 12v battery plugged into an IPod or DVD and a circuit board placed on the hips and shoulders. A switch allows you to adjust the color. Move over Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat -will people in the not so distant future be walking around wearing their favorite video?
Another country has joined the world map as of 12:01 AM, July 9th.Breaking away from the Sudan, after years of civil war, the capital of this new country is Juba. The president of South Sudan is Salva Kiir. With the addition of South Sudan, there are at least 196 countries on the planet. There are 192 countries which belong to the United Nations with Vatican City and Kosovo not included in this count.The actual number can also be 197 as Taiwan is not always included as an independent nation.
7/11/11:Another country has joined the world map as of 12:01 AM, July 9th.Breaking away from the Sudan, after years of civil war, the capital of this new country is Juba. The president of South Sudan is Salva Kiir. With the addition of South Sudan, there are at least 196 countries on the planet. There are 192 countries which belong to the United Nations with Vatican City and Kosovo not included in this count.The actual number can also be 197 as Taiwan is not always included as an independent nation.
Begun in 1981, NASA will end its space shuttle missions in a final lift off today, weather permitting, from the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. The Atlantis, will made it's final journey, the 135th space shuttle mission, to the International Space Station. The four astronauts, aboard the Atlantis will take supplies to the International Space Station,for its final 12 day mission. The very first space shuttle mission, in 1981, was the Columbia. Since then, the fleet of space shuttles carried 355 astronauts, performing scientific experiments, worked on satellites, built the International Space Station and traveled about 1/2 a billion miles in space. On a personal note, I grew up with the start of the space race and was in awe when the first space shuttle LANDED on an runway after years of space capsules landing in water-it was an amazing thing to witness!
6/15/11:Ever see an Australian wombat? Australian paleontologists have found a whopper of one-the size of a SUV vehicle! Not an actual living a breathing one today, but one that lived about 50,000-2 million years ago. Called a diprotodon, the giant wombat, as it's being described ,tipped the scales at about 3 tons and stretched out about 14 ft. in length.What is most exciting to paleontologists is the discovery is the first complete skeleton of such an ancient marsupial(has a pouch used to carry their young). Scientists say may it be the largest marsupial ever to walk the planet. Learn about the wombat at this link:
Imagine a world where printers don't just use ink but...chocolate. That's just the type of printer recently developed at the University of Exeter, Great Britain. Using the printer, 3D delicious designs of chocolate can be created. It works somewhat like a regular printer, starting with a flat image. As one layer of chocolate print hardens, the printer resumes and prints another, until the image is complete. People will be able to design their very own chocolate to feast their eyes upon before plopping the delightful treat into their mouths. Restaurants and food preparation industries have already expressed interest in such a chocolate printer. Most likely the average family won't have a need for their very own chocolate printer, but...who knows?
With more than 5000 pillars and 450,000 tons of steel, the world's longest bridge over water, has opened in China. Called the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, it spans 26.4 miles and joins the city of Qingdao to Huangdao island. It is estimated that 30,000 cars will use the newly opened bridge each day. The previous record holding longest bridge over water,is located in the state of Louisiana, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway bridge. The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge is 2.5 miles longer. The world's longest bridge, however, is the Danyang-Kunshan Griand Bridge, also in China. It is 102 miles long and stretches over land on the Shanghai-Beijing railroad route.
The city of Juzcar, in Spain,recently hosted the world premiere of movie,The Smurfs. To celebrate the opening, the residence agreed for painters to come in and paint the entire town....blue. About 1000 gallons of paint were necessary to get the job done. The town's will be repainted white in the coming weeks.
A sheepdog in Great Britain has a "baaaad" case of ovinophobia(fear of sheep).Seems that Ci is more than a bit sheepish when around the 100 sheep on his family farm.The boarder collie is fine, chasing his charges, from behind. However, when the sheep turn to face him, Ci turns tail and runs for the hills! His owners says that the fear started when Ci was a puppy and first placed in a field with the sheep. Caught on tape and uploaded to You Tube, four-year old Ci has been dubbed the "Worst Sheepdog in all of Great Britain". Then, too,faced with 100 four-footed balls of wool stamping their feet and charging, might make most humans have a bad case of the "woolies", too."
6/16/11:Scientists have found the oldest piece of art in the Americas. It's an engraving of a walking mammoth carved... into a mammoth bone. Found near Vero Beach,Florida, the artwork dates back to at least 13,000 years ago when paleontologists say the mammoths disappeared from the east coast of the United States. The engraving on the mammoth bone was discovered when the bone was being cleaned. Old for this part of the world, decorative pieces of art dating back to 120,000 years have been discovered in the Middle East and Africa with paintings found dating back more than 300,000 years old.See a photograph and read more at this link:
6/10/11:The world's record holder for the highest-flying bird goes to the Bar-headed goose. During it's high-altitude migration from their winter home in India to Central Asia's breeding ground,the Bar-headed goose travel over the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayans to heights of over 21,000 ft. Nicknamed the "rooftop of the world", the Bar-headed goose make the trek over the mountains, into heights where the air is so thin, even helicopters have trouble flying.AND, the high soarers don't wait for tailwinds to assist in their long journey, preferring to fly in early morning when there are less winds!
What's sky blue and the size of a football field? The world's large t-shirt. Unveiled in Nashville, Tennessee, in Centennial Park, at the Country Music Festival,the t-shirt it is about the size of a football field. Measuring 180 ft. wide and 281 ft.long and weighing about 4,400 pounds,the t- shirt was made by the Gildan Activewear, Inc. and took about 6 weeks to put together. 100 volunteers were needed to unfold the shirt. After measuring the t-shirt from armpit to armpit and from shoulder to hem,Guinness World Records officially verified it's world record status. The world's largest t-shirt will be recycled into 12,000 t-shirts, to support the charity, "Keep the Music Playing", an organization to keep music education in Nashville Public School.
Called the Ashdown maniraptoran, the newly discovered dinosaur could be the world's smallest. Recently discovered in the United Kingdom, the new species of carnivorous non-avian dinosaur may have weighed a scant 7 ounces and lived during the Lower Cretaceous period(about 145 million to 100 million years ago). Paleontologists think the little dinosaur had a long neck, short tail with long skinny hind legs and feathers.
6/16/11:The Harlem Globetrotters,famous for their amazing basketball performances, have announced six players for their 2011 draft class. One is Jordan McCabe. What makes Jordan so unique, is that he is only 12 years old. The middleschooler , from the Seattle, Washington area, has amazing basketball abilities(like being able to dribble two basketballs at the same time). Of, course, Jordan can't actually join the team just yet. He has to finish school high school and college but the Globetrotters's selection states they have the right to sign him at a future date. Pretty cool!
Trivia question. Where can you find penguins in the wild? The answer is usually Antarctica...until now. Seems a wayward Emperor penguin swam thousands of miles and ended up on the beaches of New Zealand. The marathon distance swimmer was spotted by a woman walking her dog,along Peka Peka, on New Zealand's North island. The lone Emperor penguin, of the tallest and largest of all penguin species, is thought to have taken a wrong turn while searching for food, finding itself over 2000 miles from home. See a clip of the penguin at this link:
Called the Centennial Bulb, the little bulb is about to celebrate a milestone. It's been shedding light in a firehouse in Livermore, CA, for 110 years and counting. Yes, 110 years! It was installed back in 1901.The lightbulb holds the record for being the oldest known working lightbulb by Guinness Book of World Records Take a peek at the world's famous lightbult at the BulbCam:
What can you do with 1.6 million pounds of sand and water? Ed Jarrett built the world's tallest sand castle. Taking 2000 hours and 1500 volunteers, Jarrett's sand castle stands 37 ft. 10 inches tall. Built at Winding Tails Recreation Area in Farmington, CT, Jarrett's medieval castle includes a two-headed fire-breathing dragon and has no frame underneath the sand making, just like the castles you might build at the beach(just a lot bigger). This castle was built with "sharp" sand,fresh out of the ground, with more "sticking" ability than beach sand, having been smoothed by waves over the years. Guinness World Records officially certified Jarrett's castle as the world's tallest on June 8. Rain makes the sand wet but the biggest fear during construction is thunder as the vibrations can cause the sand to collapse. Originally, 38 ft. 75 inches, a blue bird decided to perch atop the castle's spire, taking a bit off the height! The previous record holder ,six ft. shorter, was also constructed by Ed Jarrett ,back in 2007.
6/5/11:Sukanya Roy, of Pennsylvania, is this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee champ,correctly spelling the word, "cymotrichous". And, if you don't know what this word means, it's an adjective meaning wavy hair.Sukanya, who has competed in two prior bees,finishing 12th and 20th, says that she "went through the dictionary one or twice and that she guesses some of the words really stuck. The 14 year old won more than $40,0000 in cash and prizes and a pretty cool looking trophy.Some of the other words used in the spelling bee included cheongsam, opodeldoc , capoeira and abhinaya. Any idea what these words mean?
You can do a lot with the click of a mouse and now a computer mouse can save the lives of frogs! Rancho Verde High School in California is the first school in the United States to move away from dissection in their biology classes.No more scalpels, scissors, smelly formaldehyde or queasy stomachs. The school is opting to use free anatomy software to learn about frogs...virtually. Students can still make incisions, remove organs and restore them all ,with a virtual blade.A study by George Mason University says that Digital Frog 2.5 teaches more effectively and in a more timely manner than traditional dissection methods. Opponents to virtual dissection says simulations aren't the same as holding a real frog and its organs.What do you think?
6/1/11:A kiwi named Manukura(Chiefly One)born at the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Center, in New Zealand, is a very special bird. The tiny chick is an all white kiwi. The usually brown flightless kiwi are native to New Zealand.Manukura is thought to be the first white kiwi born in captivity.Learn more about the kiwi bird at this link:
True or False: You can cry in outer space. The answer....no. You may get teary eyed but tears will not run down your face. That's because of lack of gravity in space. Seems astronaut Mike Fincke recently found this can be a problem. Something got into his eye while on a space walk. Some of the anti-fog solution(basically dishwashing soap) placed on his helmut visor, got into his eye. It really stung as his eye got all watery. Unfortunately, because tears don't escape the eyeball, the tears just gathered in Fincke's eye. Fortunately, Fincke was able to withstand the sting, finishing up his space walk.
Archaeologists have a new tool to help them search the earth for past civilizations...satellites! American archaeologist Sarah Parcak and her team using satellites with high powered infra-red cameras, spotted 17 previously unknown pyramids, tombs and over 3000 ancient settlements under thousands of years of sediment from the Nile River in the country of Egypt.
5/25/11:You may know that Mt. Everest is the highest mountain in the world but do you know the Nepalese national park from which most climbers begin their ascent? 13 year old Tine Valencic, of Texas, knew the tie breaking answer to win this year's National Geographic Bee. As the 2011 winner, Valencic won a $25,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime subscription to the National geographic Society(sponsor of the annual bee).
Who owns the North Pole? No country has claimed ownership...until now. According to the Copenhagen Post, the government of Denmark plans to claim the North Pole as part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Why now? The reason is with melting ice, new trade routes are opening as well as business opportunities(fisheries and mining). Additionally,estimates are that 30 percent of the world's gas and 90 billion barrels of oil are thought to be in the Arctic seabed. Other countries have claimed the region including Canada, Norway, Russia,and the USA so Denmark's claim will most certainly cause some debate. Do you think a country should own the North Pole? Does anyone own Antarctica?
Two Girl Scouts, Madi Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, were working on achieving the highest Girl Scout award, the Girl Scout Bronze Award, when they made an interesting discovery. The orangutan that they were working to save, were endangered, in part, to something for which Girls Scouts have become famous-their cookies! Seems that all but one of the 17 different Girl Scout cookies, such as Peanut Butter Patties,are made with palm oil, an ingredient that is linked to rainforest destruction, home of the orangutan. The teens decided to ask that the cookies use a more environmentally friendly oil, canola. When the girls contacted Girl Scouts USA asking for the recipe to be changed, removing palm oil, they were not met with much success. Now, along with Change.org and the Rainforest Action Network, the girls are asking people to sign their petition to asking for another ingredient to replace palm oil and thus, help save the orangutans! Go to this site for more information on making Girl Scout Cookies, Rainforest safe!TakeAction And, yes..Madi and Rhiannon DID receive their Bronze Award!
Scientists have offered a look at a 49 million year old spider-in 3D. Using a fossilized arachnid,found in the 1800s, X Ray technology created a vision of the Huntsman spider, including its eyes, feelers(pedipalps) and fangs! A member of the Eusparassus group of arachnids,still found in southern Europe, the spider,can grow up to 1 foot in size. 3D makes the amber fossil look up close and personal!
5/10/11Many countries set their clocks ahead or back an hour, depending on the season.The island of Samoa did more than that...they set themselves into the future, by changing an entire day! Near the International Dateline(in the Pacific Ocean), the Polynesian island decided that it wanted to be on the same day as its Asian trading nations, such as China, New Zealand and Australia. It isn't the island's first move- 119 years ago, it agreed to stay a day behind so it could be aligned with the United States. In addition to changing it's day, Samoa now loses a claim to fame it's held for a long time. It can no longer say it is the last place on Earth in which you can see the day's sunset.
Canadian scientists have developed a paper phone. Just as the name suggests, it's as thin as a piece of paper. Despite its look, the paperphone can do all the different functions of phones in use today-internet, play music and make and receive calls. To get the phone to do the different functions, the uses needs to fold or bend the "paper" phone.
About twenty-five years ago,the California condor was declared extinct in the wild. And in captivity, only 27 of the largest flying bird in North America remained. It didn't look good for the bird's survival on the planet. But, fast forward to 2011. It was just announced that the bird is once again flying in the skies over California, Arizona, and Mexico. With breeding programs and conservation awareness, there are nearly 400 California condors with 200 in the wild. The condors, with a wingspan of up to 9 1/2 ft. weigh about 29 pounds and can live for 60 years.Great news! Read more about the California condor at this link:
4/19/11:The nations first offshore wind farm has been approved for the waters of Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Massachusetts. It is estimated that the proposed 130 wind turbines would produce enough energy for 200,000 homes. Opponents to the wind farm project argue that the beauty of Nantucket Sound will be harmed by such a project. What do you think of wind farms as a way to produce energy in our country?
4/12/11:Did you hear that this year's winner of the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon, had a world's record time? Geoffrey Mutai,of Kenya, completed the race in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 2 seconds. It may be the fastest time, but neither the Boston Marathon or the New York Marathon are the COOLEST of all marathons.That title goes to the North Pole Marathon. Recently 27 runners , from around the world, wearing goggles, gloves, thermal clothing ran the annual race, battling temperatures as cold as -25 F. Started by marathon runner, Richard Donovan, in 2002,this year's winner,Istvan Toth, from Hungary, ran the icy course in four hours and 54 minutes.
Most people throw away empty eggshells. Not Ron and Betty Manolio, of Lyndhurst, Ohio!For more than 50 years, the couple has been using eggshells to decorate their front yard, for their annual Easter celebration.It all started in 1957, when the couple decided to decorate their front yard with a 50 ft. cross and a huge Easter Bunny, all made from colored eggshells. That first year, 750 eggshells were used.Today, Eggshelland, as it has come to be known, has really grown, with this year's display using 40,180 real eggshells!Just where do the Manolio's get so many eggshells? At first, eggshells were collected throughout the year, but eventually, so many were needed, that a local restaurant offered to give the Manolio's their eggshells. Eggs are saved in cartons in the family basement, 250 per box, sorted by color.On average 1500 eggs are broken each year but there have been some years when there have been lots of cracked eggshells due to hailstorms or spring snowstorms. Although the yearly display takes months to get ready, it is only up from the week before Easter until the Monday or Tuesday after the holiday. Each of 24 different colored eggshells are gently set onto a wooden peg, to keep the eggshells in place. When, done, it's time for the thousands of visitors to view their "eggcelent" display.
Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme,"Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any wool"? A farmer in Britain may have a variation on this rhyme since he's dyed his flock of sheep... a bright orange! Seems sheep thieves have been stealing his sheep that graze the countryside.Over the years, he's lost about 200 sheep to sheep rustlers. Using a bright orange non-toxic dye has stopped such thievery as it's pretty obvious if you have one of John Heard's sheep! And, by the time it's sheep shearing season, the dye will be grown out from their fleece.
Sir Richard Branson will soon be rocketing space tourists into space for the trip of a lifetime. Now, Branson has his sights on another "frontier", the deepest depths of our oceans! Virgin Oceanic's one seater submersible,the DeepFlight Challenger, will travel down more than 6 miles(deeper than Mt. Everest is high), exploring the Marina trench, in the Pacific Ocean, later this year.In the next two years, the DeepFlight Challenger will explore and map all five oceans including the Atlantic's Puerto Rico Trench,the South Sandwich Trench, the Diamantina Trench,and the Molloy Deep.Branson, hopes that eventually, a larger submarine, will enable deep sea tourists an opportunity to get up close and personal with the wonders of our oceans.
4/1/11:Did you ever hear the nursey rhyme,"Hey diddle diddle,the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such sport and the dish ran away with the spoon."? Well, Luna, a cow in the Bavarian town of Traunstein, Germany, isn't actually jumping over the moon, but she IS jumping. Her owner ,Regina Mayer,15, loves horse jumping but had a problem. She didn't have enough money for a horse BUT she did have lots of cows on her family farm so Rachel did the next best thing, trained her cow, whose name means "moon", for show jumping competition!Training her cow took lots of effort, beginning when Luna was just a calf. Today, Luna and Regina are two peas in a pod, riding, and jumping up to 3 ft. high hurdles.
You may have heard the expression,"It's raining cats and dogs", but worms? Seems that kids during PE class at a school in Galashiels, Scotland,Great Britain were outside with their teacher ,when they began getting plummeted by...slithering worms. Dozens of the slimy creatures came thudding down to the ground as the students covering their heads, ran for cover. All told, about 120 worms showered the playground. Although very rare, such freaky weather has happened before. In Louisiana, in 2007, a clump of worms dropped from the sky. And,in 1924, it rained worms in Halmstad,Sweden. Meteorologists says the occurrence may be caused when strong winds picked up the worms from a nearby river...but, in this case,it was a sunny, calm day, when it rained worms!
What planet has daytime temperatures of 800 degrees F. and -300 degrees F. night and is the closest to the sun? If you answered Mercury, you'd be correct. After a very long six year journey, covering 4.9 billion miles, NASA's Messenger spacecraft, has begun sending the first photographs of the smallest planet in our solar system's surface. More than 15,000 images were transmitted back to NASA in just the first week.The first glimpse shows a planet, like our moon, with lots and lots of crater pock-marks covering its surface. And, the planet's dark, south pole was also photographed showing what looks like a big blue like spot, which scientists think may be ice. See photographs of Mercury at this link:
Have you ever placed a message in a bottle and tossed it out into the sea,hoping that someone would find it and respond? Frank Uesbeck, 5, did just that. While on a boat trip to Denmark, Frank, asked in his message that if someone finds his letter, to please write back. That was... 24 years ago! Recently,Daniil Korotkikh,13,of Kaliningrad, Russia, was walking the beach, when he came upon a bottle sticking out in the sand along the Curonian Spit, a sandy area between Russia and the country of Lithuania. He found Frank's message and responded to the address in the letter. Frank's parents still live at the address and sent the message along to him. In addition to a letter response, the two have corresponded ...online!Read more at this link:
Here's a twist to a message in a bottle. California artist, Jay Little, has been sending messages in bottles for many years. In fact, he's released 288 bottles to date to create awareness in ocean conservation(22 have been found thus far). He decided to try using technology to track the adventure of one of his bottles. It's been a year,since he tossed his hi-tech "message in a bottle", into the waters 840 miles south of Hawaii. His bottle has been transmitting its location every day. And, if you should be lucky to find Little's message, you will receive $250! Track the bottle's locations at this link:
3/28/11:Frenchman Alain Robert,is called the human Spiderman and for good reason. He's climbed over 70 skyscrapers(including the Empire State Building). Robert has now successfully climbed the world's tallest building, the 2,717 ft. tall Burj Khalifa! Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,(near the Persian Gulf), it took Robert six hours to make the climb. For safety,"Spiderman" used a rope and harness, something he hasn't used on many other climbs, but climbed much of the building like rock climbers do, gripping the structure with his hands and feet. Read more and see photographs at this link:
3/26/11:"Tiger, Tiger, Burning bright, in the forest of the night"..there's good news for the endangered Indian tigers! For the first time in decades, their dwindling numbers are on the increase. About 100 years ago, more than 100,000 tigers roamed the forests of India. However, by 2002, there were less than 3600 and in 2007, less than 1500! A new survey has found there are about 300 more tigers than in 2007. Tigers are in trouble because of the loss of their habitat and due to illegal poaching(killing of the tiger for its body parts). It's hoped that with efforts to save the tiger, their numbers will continue to tick upward.And, a meeting of 13 countries last year,hopes to do just that. They set a goal to double the tiger population by 2022. Learn about the Bengal tiger and other tigers with this free download:
Ever hang 10? Panama surfer,Gary Saavedra, recently completed a really awesome ride. He rode a 2 ft. wave(thanks to a wavesurfing boat) 41.3 miles, along the 48 mile length of the Panama Canal. His feat got him two Guinness World Records, one for the greatest distance surfed in open waters and another for the longest time surfing on a wave in open waters. Saavedra averaged 10.6 miles per hour(top speed of 13.5) and rode the wave for 3 hours, 55 minutes and 2 seconds. The previous wave riding record was 1 hour and 6 seconds. Saavedra faced choppy waters from the ships passing through the canal,fatigue and heavy winds.Saavedra is the first person allowed to surf the Panama Canal!Learn about the Panama Canal at this link:
3/20/11:On the island of Minorca, off of Spain, scientists have discovered the fossil of the world's largest known bunny. Living 3-5 million years ago, it weighed over 26 pounds(or six times the size of modern day European rabbits). The prehistoric Flopsy, called Nuralagus Rex, or "The Minorcan King of the Rabbits",didn't have long ears like rabbits of today. Scientists also say that the fossil shows its hind legs to be very short so the rabbit probably didn't hop along the bunny trail! Read more at this link:
A horrific earthquake has hit the island country of Japan. On the Richter scale of 1-10,used to measure the power of an earthquake, the Japanese quake measured 8.9. It is the worst earthquakes Japan has ever had, and one of the worst in recorded history. Occurring on the eastern coast of the island of Honshu, it caused buildings to shake 250 miles away!Following the earthquake, a deadly tsunami occurred.Powerful waves washed away anything in its path, killing many hundreds of people. Estimates are that it was 23 ft. tall! Additionally, a tsunami warning was issued for other areas in the Pacific, including Hawaii and western coasts of the United States, South America and Canada.Japan is located in what is called the "Ring of Fire", a section in the Pacific Ocean where 90% of all the world's earthquakes occur.
Did you see the movie,"Up", where balloons were used to float a house away? Seems this isn't just make believe. Using 300 colorful helium filled weather balloons,(each 8 ft. high) a team of engineers, scientists and balloon pilots launched a 2000 pound yellow colored house. The balloons carried the flying house(about 10 stories high) for about an hour, soaring to about 10,000 ft, across the California's High Desert.The experiment also made the record books for the largest number of balloons used in one flight. And, just like the movie, there WERE people inside as it floated across the sky!See a video at this link:
3/15/11:Dumbo the Elephant is certainly not a proper name for an elephant. Elephants are very smart!Twelve Asian elephants in Lampang,Thailand, were recently "put through the ropes",in a series of tests and passed with flying colors. Scientists say the tests show that elephants have the abilities to solve problems and displayed teamwork!Food rewards were placed on a platform connected to a rope. In order to get the food, a pair of elephants had to each pull the ends of two ropes at the same time to have the food drag forward to them. If only one elephant pulled the rope, the food didn't come!The elephants also were tested to see whether they'd try pulling a rope when one end was coiled. The elephants didn't even try, recognizing it wouldn't work with only one "lending a helping trunk"!
3/11/11The annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race,known as the Last Great Race on Earth,is underway. Starting this past Sunday,this year's approximately 1100 mile race, the longest sled dog race in the world, has 62 teams. Each musher has a team of 16 dogs and sleds have global positioning systems to help stay on course. Along the way, the teams will encounter frigid temperatures, frozen rivers,steep mountain climbs,lack of sleep, and hazardous visibility from blinding snow and winds and... darkness. One of the mushers is Lance Mackey, who is hoping for his 5 consecutive win. Last year, Mackey had the second fastest race in the Iditarod's history. He finished in eight days, 23 hours, 59 minutes.Begun in 1973, the race honors dog drivers that traveled 674 miles from Nenana to Nome,in 1925,to deliver medicine to help a diphtheria outbreak. They arrived five days later saving many lives. Learn more about the Iditarod at this link:
3/2/11:A very different kind of marathon race, 26.2 miles long,is taking place in Japan this week.The five participants, only one foot tall,are robots!Called the world's first ever robot marathon, the robots will make 422 trips around a track in Osaka, Japan, on their teeny feet, to equal a real marathon race.The event, called the Robomarafull,will take four days. If a robot falls down, it has to get back up on its own power, but humans can replace the robots' batteries, when needed.
2/25/11:The Discovery launched into space on February 24, on its last mission. The six member crew will be bringing a new storage room for the International Space Station and also a human-looking robot(R2)-the first such robot to go into space! The blast off of the Discovery was its 39th mission into space, with its first being in 1984. When the Discovery returns to earth it will retired after having traveled a total of approximately 143 million miles(more than the distance from the Earth to the Sun). The Discovery will find a permanent home at the Smithsonian Institution. The Endeavour and the Atlantis, the last two remaining shuttles, will each do their final missions in the coming year. Read more (and see a picture of R2)at this link:
It's time to count the birdies. February 18-21st is the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Here's what you do. Go out in your yard,a nearby park, your school playground or just look outside your window. Count the number of birds species you see for a least 15 minutes. Then, go to the website listed at the end of this news story to record your findings. Scientists use the information gathered each year to learn about winter bird populations, their migration patterns, how winter's snow and cold temperatures effect the bird populations, etc.Go to this website to learn more and to record your findings:
Are you ready to celebrate world Math Day that begins on March 1st? There aren't any World Math Day cards to be mailed or chocolates in the shape of numbers to give to your friends. It's a huge online math game to play,lasting 48 hours! And, it's free. Kids from 5-18 from around the world can compete in real time answering math questions at different ability levels. Each game takes 60 seconds and you can test your brain for up to 500 different math challenges. Those kids answering the most questions, get honored in the World Math Day Hall of Fame. Organizers say the goal of World Math Day(226 countries have participated) is to unite young people around the world in numbers. They are hoping that this year's World Maths Day(begun in 2007)sets a Guinness World Record for correctly answering 1 billion math questions. If you wish to try your math abilities in the online math competition, sign up by February 28th at this site:
Palaeontologists think they have discovered a new species of the ornithischian or bird-hipped dinosaur, found under ice in Antarctica. About 4-5 feet in size, the fossils were found on Mt. Kirkpatrick, part of the Central Trans-Antarctic mountains. It was here, too,that the very first Antarctic dinosaur was discovered in 1990, a meat-eating Cryolophosaurus(frozen crested reptile). While excavating the fossils of this dinosaur, the new dinosaur, about 190 million years old, was also discovered.
Two artificial toes were discovered in Egyptian tombs. One,found in 1881, called the Greville Chester toe, was made out of a paper-mache material, painted to look like the color of skin. There was even a false toenail! Another, called the Cairo toe, was made mostly from wood, and had a hinge to act like a toe joint. Both artificial toes had eight lacing holes to fasten the toe to the foot or shoe. For years, the two artificial toes, were packed away, one in the British Museum,the other in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo,thinking they were just ornamental. Recently, an Egyptologists, Jacky Finch, decided to take a closer look. She wondered about the wear and tear. Were they early prosthetics worn to help those missing toes? Volunteers strapped on the toes and found they were able to walk with the "toes". This suggest that these fake tootsies are the earliest known artificial limbs. Prior to these toes, an artificial leg, made of bronze, dating back to 300BC, and made by the ancient Romans, was the oldest known prosthetic. Seems the Egyptian toes walk over the Roman's record by about 400 years!
2/18/11:Could you say goodbye to your friends and family, sunlight and simple things like riding your bike ...for 16 months? That's exactly what six volunteers have been doing and they've just reached the halfway point of 257 days! Why would anyone agree to be locked away in windowless steel tubes for such a long time? The answer: for science. Scientists want to learn whether humans can be confined to a space craft for that length of time, the amount it would take to reach the planet Mars (and then return back to Earth). Being conducted at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, Russia, scientists want to know how the mind and body could endure such a long flight to the planet Mars, confined to a living space the size of a large bus. This week,two of the men will put on spacesuits and "walk" onto the sandy surface of a "pretend" Mars. While on the "Red Planet",the men will perform a number of simulated experiments, including planting a flag and taking soil samples. The men will also send a message back to "earth", delayed by 20 minutes, which would be the time needed to transport a message back to Earth. And,if you are wondering, should any of the volunteers need medical attention or say they wish to stop the Mars 500 Project, they can get out...an option real astronauts rocketing to Mars will not have! Read more at this link:
The game show "Jeopardy" will be having an unusual contestant testings his knowledgeable skills. Beginning on Monday, Watson will join Ken Jennings(who holds the record for 74 consecutive wins) and Brad Rutter, (who's the all time money winner) for three matches. What makes Watson different is that he's... a computer! Developed by scientists at IBM, Watson isn't the first computer to compete against humans. In 1997, Deep Blue, a computer which was also developled by IBM, defeated Garry Kasparov, the chess champion. Watson will show off his artificial intelligence and has been programed to understand word games and puns.
Wander Matrich spent three months and used 84,000 pennies to make an amazing penny, all made up of...pennies! Her penny is 8 ft. in diameter and 10 ft. tall, and weighs about 12000 pounds. Matrich used 22 tubes of glue to stick her stash of pennies to the frame to create her artwork. Old pennies and new helped to create the highlights. Ripley's Believe It or Not recently purchased it-for more than a penny!
2/8/11:Studying what lies beneath a lake might not sound that unusual, until you learn the lake is buried under 13,000 ft. of ice. Named Lake Vostok, the sub-glacier lake is located under the thick ice of Antarctica. Scientists discovered the lake while reviewing satellite images taken from space. The Russian scientists have been drilling 24/7 through the ice, to reach the lake and are only about 100 ft. from reaching its depth.Why the rush? The reason is that Antarctica's brutal winter is about to begin and the lake is located where record cold temps have been previously recorded.(the coldest temperature ever recorded-129 degrees below zero o July 21, 1983). The goal is to retrieve a sample of the lake's water to study. Scientists are very excited to see what, if any, ancient life forms may be found in the lake. One scientist involved in the project,Valery Lukin, told Reuters,"It's like exploring an alien planet where no one has been before. We don't know what we'll find." Read more at this link:
2/14/11:What can you do with lots of snow, some old black racing car tires, part of an old pool and an orange and white traffic cone?Vern Scoville, near Syracuse, NY, used these items to build a snowmongous snowman that stands 35 ft tall!The old pool was used for Frosty's hat, the traffic cone for his nose and the tires...buttons. It isn't the first gigantic snowman, Scoville and his buddies have built. Last year, Scoville and his helpers build a 25 ft. snowman. The giant bundle of snow also has oil barrel lids for eyes and took about fifty people to help build the snowman that was named B.A.See a video at this link:
2/1/11:Do you like listening to the twitter of birds? The mayor of Lancaster, CA,in the Mojave Desert,thinks that everyone would be happier if they heard the music of birds so he's suggesting that recorded bird songs be broadcasted through loudspeakers on the main street of town.
Any idea where the famous bust of ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti can be found? No, it's not a trick question and no it isn't found in the country of Egypt.Like many artifacts of ancient Egypt, the statue, dating back to the 14th century BC, was taken from the country of Egypt.The Egyptians are requesting that the 19 inch painted limestone statue of the queen of pharaoh Akhenaton be returned from a museum in Germany. Currently, officials for the German museum say the artifact was legally obtained back in 1912 and,they are refusing its return to Egypt.Other countries including Greece are also requesting the return of treasures that once were part of their important heritage that are on display in museums in other countries. What do you think? Should Germany give back Nefertiti? Why, why not? See a coloring sheet on Nefertiti at this link:
Expected to open this year, the final section of China's Qingdao Haiwan Bridge was set into place. The bridge is a record breaker and will become the world's longest bridge over water, a 26.4 miles in length. The sea bridge spans the Jiaozhou Bay connecting the cities of Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong Province with Huangda. The bridge is about three miles longer than the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, the current record holder. The Qingdao Haiwan Bridge won't hold the title for long. That's because another bridge,in China, set to be completed in 2016, connecting the island of Hong Kong and Zhulai, in southern Guangdong Province, will be 31 miles long!
Have you ever used chopsticks? Did you know that over 5.7 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks are made each year, just for the people of China? It is estimated that 3.8 million trees are cut down each year to make those chopsticks. Greenpeace, an environmental activist group, decided to make people aware of this by making trees out of chopsticks. Volunteers collected 80 million pairs of chopsticks from restaurants around Beijing, the capital city of China. The chopsticks were then turned back into four, 5 ft. trees and placed outside a mall in Beijing. Greenpeace hopes people will rethink the use of disposable chopsticks and instead save trees by using re-usable chopsticks.
Remember the Jurassic Park movies where dinosaurs were cloned and roaming an island? Scientists are getting closer to being able to use technology to try and clone extinct creatures such as the Woolly Mammoths, which died out about 12,000 years ago. Taking tissue from a frozen mammoth carcass found in Siberia(Russia), scientists hope to get needed DNA from the retrieved cells. If, successful, the cells will be placed in the egg cells of a relative of the mammoth,the elephant, which, hopefully, will result in the birth of a baby mammoth!The team of scientists, from the United States, Japan and Russia say that it will take about 5-6 years before a wooly mammoth may be born. If this procedure is successful, what do you think of bringing back extinct creatures? What might be an extinct creature you'd like to see cloned in the future?
1/12/11:Quiz Time. Do you know how many countries there are in the world?(see the end of the paragraph for the answer) The birth of a new country is taking place in Africa. People in the southern part of the country of Sudan are voting to secede, or separate. Most of the people that live in the northern part of Sudan are Arabic speaking Muslims. The land is mostly desert, with some fertile areas near the Nile River. Those in the southern part of the country of Sudan are either Christian or practice traditional religions of the area. This area of the Sudan has swamps, grasslands and tropical forest. It is also in the south where 75% of the nation's oil reserves are located. Currently, Sudan is the largest country in Africa. The country has suffered a long civil war ,(50 years)that has cost the lives of an estimated 1.5 million people. If, the vote to secede passes(and it looks like it will), the new country formed, would be Africa's 54st country! It's creation would official begin on July 9, 2011. At this time, a national anthem and flag have already been selected but the name for this new country has not been determined. Can you think of other countries in the world which have separated over the years? And, for the answer to how many countries are in the world. As of 2009, the United Nation recognizes 192 member countries, but there are there others, not part of the United Nations for different reasons:Vatican City, Kosovo and Taiwan(which the UN still considers part of China).
Scientist think that something they've been doing to "help" the king penguins may actually be harming them. In a study to monitor the king penguins and to see how climate change may be changing their habitat, 1/2 the king penguins had tags placed on their flipper. The other 1/2 of the penguins had electronic tags placed under their skin. French scientists studying the king penguins on Possession Island off the coast of Antarctic, found that those tagged on the flippers have fewer babies and died younger. The thought is...could it be the tags? Some researchers think that the metal bands, placed around the top of the flipper, might effect the swimming efforts of the penguins, wasting energy in looking for food. More study is underway.
1/8/11:Norwegian Composer and percussionist, Terje Isungset ,uses some really cool instruments ...they are made from glacier ice! Isungset recently gave a performance in London, Great Britain, where he played his composition,"Ice Music", His instruments included an iceophone, an ice horn, an ice didgeridoo, ice guitar, ice bass drum , an ice harp and other"icestruments" made from the Jostedalsbreen glacier,found in Norway. Isungset says using glacier ice makes the best instruments, free of any air bubbles and that although ice-making machine ice blocks look good, they don't make good instruments. In addition to the instruments being made of ice, so are the tables, supports and stands. Isungset has been chillin' with his ice instruments for a few years. Go to this link to listen to samples:(go to sound samples)
1/5/11:Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has created a most unusual gallery of permanent art. To see his life sized statues, more than 400 of them, you need to go under water! Specifically, the water museum of art, MUSA, or Museo Subacuatico de Art, is found in the National Marine Park of Cancun, Mexico. Why make a underwater museum? It is hoped that visitors, some 750,000 to the waters each year, will venture to these beautiful sculptures as something else to view in addition to the natural reefs in the area, relieving the "stress" on the delicate reefs that such volumes of tourist bring to the area. The sculptures were made of materials that will promote coral life and marine life. The project took about 18 months,using 120 tons of cement, gravel and sand,lots of fiber-glass and silicone and 120 hours working underwater to install the works of art. Visitors can swim among the statutes of people in different phases of life depicting many different occupations. It is considered to be the world's largest underwater collection of contemporary sculpture. See photographs at this link:
1/1/11:What did you do over your Christmas vacation? Sleep in? Shop or take in a movie?Read a book? Over vacation,Kathryn Aurora Gray, 10,of Canada,discovered a supernova. And, she is the youngest to ever do so! Kathryn spotted the supernova(an exploding star) which has been named Supernova 2010lt, after reviewing images of the galaxy UGC 3378(part of the Camelopardalis constellation). Kathryn, in fifth grade, got interested in trying to find a supernova after learning of Carolyn Moore, 14,who last year was the youngest to discovered one. Kathryn decided to try and beat the record. Because of the distance of UGC3378, more than 240 million light years away from the Earth, it is estimated that the star exploded about 240 million years ago! Kathryn says she was very excited to find one.
12/30/10:Where is the world's largest cave? It just may be found in the country of Vietnam, near the Laotian border.The Son Doong cave is currently being explored and it's a whopper of a cave. It is so big that you could park a 747 jet plane inside of it,and, one of its passages is so large, there is enough room for a half-mile block of 40 story buildings! Son Doong isn't just large, it also has a river and even a jungle inside of it The jungle, called the Garden of Edam, may be the world's largest jungle inside a cave!. Another amazing discovery in this cave, is that it has its own thin clouds. It's so big, at least 2.8 miles long, that its end hasn't been reached yet. If Son Doong is officially designated the world record cave, it will take away the title from Deer Cave, found in the country of Malaysia(specifically the island of Borneo). See photographs of Son Doong at this link:http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/photogalleries/worlds-biggest-cave-pictures/?now=2009-07-24-00:01
Where is the world's largest cave? It just may be found in the country of Vietnam, near the Laotian border.The Son Doong cave is currently being explored and it's a whopper of a cave.It is so big that you could park a 747 jet plane inside of it,and, one of its passages is so large, there is enough room for a half-mile block of 40 story buildings!Son Doong isn't just large, it also has a river and even a jungle inside of it. The jungle, called the Garden of Edam, may be the world's largest jungle inside a cave!. Another amazing discovery in this cave, is that it has its own thin clouds. It's so big, at least 2.8 miles long, that its end hasn't been reached yet.If Son Doong is officially designated the world record cave, it will take away the title from Deer Cave, found in the country of Malaysia(specifically the island of Borneo). See photographs of Son Doong at this link:
1/3/11:Chester, a six year old border collie, has broken the world's record for the largest human vocabulary. Chester can understand the names of an amazing 1022 toys! This shatters the record of the previous record holder, Rico,also a border collie, who knew 200 words.During a three year study,at Wofford College, in Spartanburg, S.C.,Chester was asked to retrieve a toy when only the toy's name was used: frisbee, balls, stuffed animal,etc. And, sometimes, in the early days, Chester actually preferred eating some of the toys! During the study, Chester was never given treats for rewards, as the researchers(one being her owner) didn't wish Chester to gain weight. Instead,her reward was time and attention . Eventually, Chester was tested with going into another room and fetching one of 20 toys , she was verbally asked to retrieve.She usually got 20/20 correct or at least 18/20 correct. Chester can also understand the concepts of nouns and verbs, making appropriate matches. She was taught three different commands: nose(push the toy with your nose), bring and paw(move the toy with your paw).Chaser is up there with Puck, a budgerigar(shell parakeet) that in 1995, mastered 1728 words, the largest vocabulary of any bird. Take a "Bow-wow", Chester!
12/26/10:Scientists studying ancient rock art have made an amazing discovery. The paint on the rocks is "alive". Studying 80 works of rock arts in Western Australia, called the Bradshaws(named for the man that first came upon them),scientists have found that some of the vividly colored art looks so freshly painted because it is really living micro-organisms "coloring" the art. The paint has long disappeared. Called "living pigments", it is thought that the fungus and bacteria live on the rock art,coloring the rock paintings. Because of this, it is hard to determine the age of the ancient works of art, believed to date back 40,000 years, since the "paint" is so fresh and alive.
Solar powered toys? Solar powered homes? What about a solar powered insect! Scientists have made an interesting discovery about the oriental hornet. The little insect makes solar energy! It is the first time scientists have found such an occurrence in the animal kingdom. Scientists have recognized such behavior in plants and some bacteria. With its yellow strip on its abdomen, the Oriental hornet stores the sun's rays(being especially active in the hotter time of the day).Then, a pigment called xanthopterin, in its yellow tissues helps generate solar power.Scientists aren't actually sure just how the tiny insect uses its solar power.
12/20/10:Known as the winter solstice, the first day of winter begins on December 21st, for those living in the Northern Hemisphere. It is also the shortest day of the year as the sun is at its lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere's sky. The winter solstice will begin at 6:38 PM(EST) and this, year, for the first time in 372 years, it is also the day when a total lunar eclipse will occur. A lunar eclipse is when the Earth moves in between the sun and a full moon, blocking the sun's rays from reflecting off the moon's surface. This exciting show will start at 1:33 AM(Dec. 21st). If you'd like to set your alarm to get a peek, it is suggested that 3:17 EST is when the biggest display will be at its height.(Those living in other time zones need to check their best viewing time) The moon will reach a beautiful coppery red shine as the eclipse takes place. And, if you miss this lunar eclipse, you might want to place on your calendar the next date when a lunar eclipse will occur on a winter solstice. That will happen on December 21, 2094! Read more at this link:
Christmas trees are usually decorated with such things as colorful and glittering bulbs, ornaments and lights but a tree in the lobby of a hotel in Abu Dhabi is quite different. It's branches are decorated with 181 diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, pearls and gold! There are also expensive necklaces,bracelets and watches adorning the tree. Called the world's most expensive Christmas tree, the 43 ft. tree, is worth about $11 million dollars. Guinness World Records is considering the tree for certification as the world's most expensive. And,if you are wondering about someone walking off with one of the baubles, there are security guards and security cameras monitoring the tree at all times. See a photograph at this link:
Do you like soup? Well, you might not like this particular bone soup. It's expiration date is long past due by about 2400 years! That's because the soup was found in a metal pot in an ancient tomb.The soup was discovered in a sealed bronze cooking pot, inside a tomb near the famous terracotta soldiers of Xi'an. The odorless broth, with pieces of animal bones,is said to be the first discovery of its kind, found in China. A yukky green film(from the oxidization of the bronze) covered the surface of the soup which hadn't evaporated. Scientists say this is because the tomb was tightly sealed and a lid covered the pot. It is hoped that the soup will help scientists learn about the eating habits of the people that made the soup so many years ago. Learn more at this link:
Does your state have a official state bird? A flower? Kristyn Demers,10, of New Hampshire, thinks her state should have a state color. And, the color she'd like to see selected-the color purple.(my personal favorite) Kristyn selected purple since New Hampshire's state bird is the purple finch and the state flower is the purple lilac. She has asked her local state representative to file a bill in the state legislature,adopting purple as the state'scolor.This winter, Kristyn will get to speak at a hearing to discuss the adoption of purple as New Hampshire's state color. And, since no other colors have been suggested to date, there isn't any competition for the title.To date, only 11 states have official state colors, so it might be an idea which will spread. What color would you pick for your state's color, and why?
12/10/10:Do like to whistle? Seems that some caterpillars do,too. Scientists have known that caterpillars make squeaky sounds or clicking noises, but until now, didn't really know just how.They don't have lips to pucker up and blow, but they DO make noises by blowing out of the holes in the sides(called spiracles) of their tiny bodies. Spiracles are used for breathing. Specifically, it's the walnut sphix caterpillars that like to toot from their sides but they don't "whistle" while they work" or when they are happy. They make the sounds or squeaks when they are in danger from attacking birds. Their toots cause the birds to be startled and fly away!
Do you like puzzles? If, so, you might have liked the puzzle assignment of Liu Hui-fen, of Taiwan. A man accidently shredded a plastic bag containing 200 bank notes. Valued at about $6,600 US dollars, the man was very upset and needed help. It was Liu Hui-fen, at the Taiwan Justice Ministry, who came to the rescue. It took her about a week and many hours (and lots of patience) to piece the thousands of tiny pieces of paper back together again. In Taiwan, any currency which is 75% intact,is worth its face value. The man was very grateful to her for all her efforts. Her secret? Liu Hui-Fen, nicknamed the "Jigsaw Expert", looked for the Chinese character "guo" and worked outwards from that point on each bank note.
Conservationists in China have come up with a unique way to help baby pandas born in captivity, one day be returned to the wild. With fewer than 2500 giant pandas left in the wild, captive born pandas usually don't do well, due to human interaction during their early years. At the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre in western China, they've come up with an interesting idea-human volunteers are dressing up in panda costumes. The fluffy panda get-ups are being used to keep the human interaction down(or at least to the baby panda's way of thinking). Mother pandas and cubs are living on protected areas monitored by closed circuit television. The humans dress up as pandas to give health check-ups, bottle feed the cubs when necessary,etc. It is hoped this "pandering" to the cubs will result in their having a real chance at one day roaming the wilds of China.See photographs at this link:
12/5/10: The Enoshima Aquarium in Kanagawa,Japan has a lovely decorated Christmas tree,trimmed with lights. What makes the tree unusual is what is powering the twinkling lights. It's an eel! Swimming around in a freshwater tank with two aluminum electrodes, the eel generates 800 watts of electricity every time it moves! That energy powers the some of the lights on the 6'6"tall tree! Inventor and spokesperson, Kazuhiko Minawa,says that the eel creates an electric charge using its muscles. This year, the display added a Santa. Just so the eel isn't the only one working to produce energy for the display, humans can use their muscles and jump up and down on a pad, creating more lights to twinkle and for Santa to move!
If you like hot peppers then THIS one is for you. Previously, the Bhut Jolokia(or "ghost chili") was the hottest pepper. That is, until now. The tongue lashingly hot Naga Viper, grown in Great Britain,has taken the title as the world's hottest pepper. It is SOOOOOO hot that it is said that it could strip paint! Peppers are rated on something called the Scoville Scale. This measures the amount of capsaicin in the pepper. It is capsaicin that makes a pepper "hot". The Naga Viper rates 1,359,000. The Bhut Jolokia,the previous winner,rated 300,000. Those brave enough to try the pepper must sign a waiver from the creator, pub owner and chili farmer,Gerald Fowler. Fowler says the Naga Viper "numbs the tongue, then burns all the way down." Its effects can last up to an hour! Scientists are actually thinking of using the five alarm red hot pepper as a "spice bomb", a weapon to use again enemy soldiers.
12/2/10:Have you ever gotten a piggyback ride? Animals give them, too. However, scientists were amazed to see the world's largest land predators, the polar bear,giving their little tikes such a ride! It's behavior that polar bears have previously not displayed. Piggybacked on their mom,duos of polar bears were spotted swimming through the Arctic's icy waters . Why the change? It is thought that with warming waters, there is more distance between ice flows so polar bears are forced to swim longer with their little ones, from ice flow to ice flow. Carrying them piggyback style helps the young cubs stay warm and dry as the young cubs haven't built up a big enough layer of fat to help keep them warm in the cold waters. See a photograph at this link:
11/30/10: A school library without any books that you can take off the shelf? That's the case at Lamar High School in Houston, Texas. Last week, the library went digital! Most of the paper books in the school's library are gone, replaced with e-books. Additional laptops have been purchased to assist students in "checking out books". And, where the book shelves once took up space, the school library has opened up a coffee house and has placed couches to make "reading" in the library more relaxing. So, far, the digital library is a huge hit. Principal James McSwain says the library has been packed with more students than ever, checking out the services. Do you read e-books? Hardcover books? Both?Which do you like best and why?
11/25/10:Have you ever tried matching up the colors of a Rubrik's Cube?Feliks Zemdegs,14,of Australia, loves the Rubrik's Cube. In fact, his folks say the puzzler seems to be glued to their son's hands as he is always twisting the colorful cube.Recently, Feliks got his name in the record books,by solving the cube in 6.77 seconds. The record, set in 2008, was 7.08 seconds. On the same day, Rowe Hessler, of Massachusetts, also became the fastest American Rubik's Cube champ. His record was 6.944 seconds.
It's that time of year when many people have Christmas trees, decorated for the holiday. In France, a most unusual Christmas tree has been created by a famous French chocolatier. Patrick Roger created a mammoth and yummy looking chocolate tree,in his factory outside of Paris, France. The mouthwatering chocolate tree is massive, about 33 ft. tall and weighs about 4 tons. Now, THAT'S a lot of chocolate! That amount of chocolate could make about 800,000 standard sized chocolate bars! Taking about a month to create, Roger's says the chocolate tree is actually an architectural work, as the weight of all that chocolate caused lots of vertical pressures as it was being made. The tree is going to be be used for a nationwide charity telethon, in December, to help support neuromuscular diseases.See a photographs at this link:
A new police dog has joined the force in Tokyo, Japan.But the dog isn't a shepherd or other large dog. Momo, is a seven year old Chihuahua.In English, the pooch's name is "Peaches", and tips the scales at a meager 6.6 pounds. The little brown and white dog passed her exam as a search and rescue dog, able to locate someone in only five minutes, after taking a whiff of the person's hat. It is very rare for a tiny Chihuahua to become a police dog. She'll go on duty in January.
11/20/10:Maceba lives in the country of Poland. Only ten , Maceba already is making a name for herself in the art world. Her paintings show lots of color and expression. Thus,far, Maceba, has completed 30 works of art. What makes Maceba interesting is she is a Arabian horse! She took to painting last year when her owner gave her a paint brush and set up an easel. In the animal world, elephants and dolphins have also shown their inner Piccassos.
11/23/10:Find these countries on a world map: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Russia and Vietnam and Bhutan. Do you know what these 13 countries have that no other countries have? The answer-wild tigers! The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the wild tiger population is only about 3200 world wide and if measures aren't taken to help save the tiger, they may be extinct, in the wild, by 2022. Tigers are disappearing from the wi
ld due to destruction of their habitat, and hunting by poachers. Of the nine tigers, the Bali, Javan and Caspian have already become extinct in less than the past 100 years.The International Tiger Conservation Forum to be held this week in St. Petersburg, Russia, plans to discuss the plight of the wild tiger. It is the first time, world leaders are coming together to try and think of ways to save a single endangered species. It is hoped that the numbers of tigers can be doubled by 2022, the year of the tiger, in the Chinese calendar.Read more at this link:
11/20/10:Find these countries on a world map: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Russia and Vietnam and Bhutan. Do you know what these 13 countries have that no other countries have? The answer-wild tigers! The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the wild tiger population is only about 3200 world wide and if measures aren't taken to help save the tiger, they may be extinct, in the wild, by 2022. Tigers are disappearing from the wi
ld due to destruction of their habitat, and hunting by poachers. Of the nine tigers, the Bali, Javan and Caspian have already become extinct in less than the past 100 years.The International Tiger Conservation Forum to be held this week in St. Petersburg, Russia, plans to discuss the plight of the wild tiger. It is the first time, world leaders are coming together to try and think of ways to save a single endangered species. It is hoped that the numbers of tigers can be doubled by 2022, the year of the tiger, in the Chinese calendar.Read more at this link:
Do you have a phone book in your home? Phone books have been around since the first one was printed back in 1878, in New Haven,CT. Times are changing and with more people using cell phones and the ability to look up a person's phone number online, the phone book may not be around much longer,for residential numbers. Telecommunications companies will continue to supply yellow pages(business),but New York, Pennsylvania and New York will stop distributing phone books with residential numbers. Other states are considering such a move,too,which will have a positive impact on the environment. According to Verizon, in the 12 states they have landline phones, no residential phonebooks will result in a savings of 17,000 tons of paper a year!
Hatsune Miku, is a pop star that has been creating a sensation in Japan. Her number one single has gone number one. Excited fans have attended her sold out concerts. What makes Hatsune Miku unusual...she's a 3D hologram. A digital avatar, Hatsune,is about 16 years old, with flowing long turquoise hair. Computer generated from voice actress, Saki Fujita, Hatsune Miku has perfect pitch, and never gets tired during her performances. On stage, Hatsune Miku is accompanied by a live backup band. Her name comes from Japanese for "first"(Hatsu),"sound"(ne) and "future"(Miku). See a clip of Hatsune Miku perform at this link:
11/10?10:Science fiction holograms may be a reality in the not so distant future. Perhaps, you saw Princess Leia appear in hologram pleading for Obi-Wan Kenobi to help her in a Star Wars movie. Researchers at the University of Arizona say they have developed a system that can send such moving 3D image of someone to another location! So, what might be the use of such holograms? Scientists say the technology will make for even better communication, enable surgeons from different areas to assist in long distant surgeries. Even movies, may soon immerse the viewer in such hologram technology. And, unlike 3D movies, you wouldn't need to wear special glasses to see hologram images!
Back in 2008, a Dutch fisherman trawled up a most unusual bone,from the North Sea. Now, scientists have determined that the bone is from a previously unknown species of dolphin. The dolphin had a balloon-type head and short spoon shaped nose. Named Platalearostrum hoekmani, the dolphin lived about 2-3 million years ago, and was up to 20 ft. long. Scientists think the balloon headed dolphin is related to the pilot whale of today. See a drawing and read more at this link:
Would you volunteer to go to Mars, on a one way mission? Some scientists are suggesting such a Mars mission that would not have a return flight home to Earth. Just like early explorers and colonists sailed the Atlantic not knowing whether they'd ever return back home, Martian colonists would be those who'd be willingly take the trip to to Mars. The billions of dollars needed for such a trip is one of the reasons to suggest a one way ride. The colonists who'd volunteer to create an Earth outpost on the Red Planet would be given food, solar panels and instruments, and, a nuclear reactor. They would then be self-sufficient to continue to gather water and create additional oxygen. Currently, 6 men are currently locked inside a container on a 520 day mission to see if man can endure the time needed for the long journey to Mars. It is hoped that a human might be living on Mars by 2030. What would be 5 items from Earth you'd pack for such a journey? What would be 5 things you'd miss the most if you knew you'd never be coming back home, to Earth?Learn more about Mars at this link:
In India,50 million year old amber was found in a lignite mine in the the state of Gujarat. Inside the 330 pounds of yellow-brownish fossilized tree resin scientists found a fascinating treasure...over 700 new species of ancient insects! What's really coal is the insect species are three dimensionally preserved. In addition to spiders and other insects, scientists found leaf pieces, tiny flowers and plant spores suggesting a very old tropical rain forest existed millions of years ago in India. FInding organisms and plant spores similar to those in Australia and Asia,is also more evidence of the Continental Drift Theory, which states that at one time, there was one giant continent called Pangaea and eventually the landmass broke apart.Read more and see a photograph at this link:
10/25/10:Tail walking" is something you might see a dolphin trained to do at a marine park. Tail walking is where a dolphin is able to force it's body out and across the water by quickly paddling their tail fluke. Now, scientists say they have spotted six dolphins doing this trick in the wild, almost unheard of by wild animals. And ,scientists think the dolphins may have learned the activity from a female dolphin named Billie, who spent some time in captivity at an Adelaide marine park, in Australia! It's the first time, scientists say they have witnessed this type of social behavior. Since the activity isn't thought to have any use in hunting for food, it is thought the dolphins are doing it for fun. Scientists have also seen dozens of other dolphins trying to go for a...walk on the wild side.
Scientists in Antarctica have made an unusual discovery. They have found ancient turtle bones. Found on Seymour Island, scientists haven't identified the species of turtle, but estimate the fossilized bones, of a turtle's(or turtles')carapace or shell, are about 45 million years old. The discovery is more evidence to the fact that Antarctica once had a much warmer climate.
10/15/10:Spanning 890 ft. above the Colorado River,the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, opening this month, will be the highest and longest arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere. Connecting Nevada and Arizona, the 1900 ft. long bridge is located besides the Hoover Dam,and will help ease traffic that currently passes over the top of the famous dam. The bridge,is the second highest bridge in the United States, after the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado.See a photograph at this link:
A female humpback whale swam into the record books with the longest single marine mammal migration trip ever recorded. The whale, Antarctic Humpback Whale Catalogue(AHWC)number 1363, traveled almost a quarter of the globe, or 6200 miles! First spotted off the coast of Brazil,South America, in 1999, her markings were recorded. Then, the whale was identified two years later off the island of Madagascar, near Africa. Each whale has a very unique tail fluke, like a person's fingerprints, so that's how scientists know it's the same whale. Did the humpback whale get lost, was she searching for something or, was the whale just a lover of swimming? Scientists just don't know why the mammal made such a "whale" of a journey.
10/9/10: The world's first manned commercial space vehicle came one step closer to reality with the first solo flight of the Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. Gliding from 45,000 ft, the space vehicle ,called VSS Enterprise, landed at the Mojave Air Space Port, in California, on October 10,2010.It is hoped that the 370 passengers, who have already made a deposit on their $200,000 space ride, will lift off in late 2011 or early 2012. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, who was present to witness the test flight, "The sky is no longer the limit. We will now begin the process of pushing to the final frontier of space itself over the next year". The National Geographic Channel will be showing a documentary on the build up and preparation for the first flight of VSS Enterprise on Monday, 18th October at 10.00pm ET/PT.
The White House is going green-not in color but in technology. Thirty years after President Ronald Reagan removed President Jimmy Carter's solar panels from the White House, the Department of Energy announced that President Obama plans to have solar panels installed above the White House living areas. The solar panels will provide some electricity as well as heat water for the First family.
Researchers in India have made a most unusual discovery. They have discovered a new language! In a remote area of north-eastern India, in the foothills of the Himalayas, approximately 800-1200 people are speaking a language that linquists(people that study languages) say has never been heard by outsiders. Called Koro,it is thought to be in the Tibeto-Burman language family. It is also an unwritten language. There are 6909 known languages in the world with half of these languages heading toward extinction. Only last year, a language called Bo disappeared when the last person to speak the language, died. Try saying "Kaplaye" to someone today. That's Koro for "hello"!Read more at this link:
Paleontologists have discovered a giant penguin fossil in Peru. Dating back about 36 million years, the fossil shows the feathers and coloring of the ancient penguin. Unlike penguins of today, with their distinctive black and white feathers, this penguin's feathers were reddish brown and grey. Called the Inkayacu parasensis, or Water King, the penguin was about 5 ft. tall.(twice as big as the Emperor Penguin of today) with a very long straight beak.Read more and see a photograph of the fossil at this link: CBS News
10/3/10:A new Earth-like planet has been found about 120 trillion miles away from us, in what's called the Goldilocks Zone. Scientists gave it this name because the area is not too cold, not too hot, just right for possible life. And, that's what has scientists excited. Named Gliese 581g,the planet could have water and an atmosphere...and, maybe extraterrestrial life. It's about three times the mass of our planet and orbits a red dwarf sun in the constellation Lybra, every 37 days. Scientists don't think it rotates very much so it seems that one side of the planet is always dark.Learn more:
10/1/10:A rare sight was recently captured on film along the Mara River in the African nation of Kenya... a pink-o-pottamus. A rarity in the animal world,the baby pink colored hippo's coloring is caused when the skin doesn't produce enough pigment. It's a condition known as leucism. Animals with leucism are often easy prey as they can not camouflage themselves into their surroundings. Pink skin also makes for super sensitivity to the sun causing sunburned skin. However, the baby hippo's sweat will act like a sunscreen to protect it from the sun's rays and, once an adult, the size of a hippo will help it protect itself from predators. The pink-o-pottamus seemed to get along just fine with the other hippos waddling about in the river. See a photograph and read more at this link:
9/30/10:Did you know that there was a United Nation's Office for Outer Space Affairs?The head of this department is Malaysian astrophysicist, Mazlan Othman. She was in the news this past week, when a news story announced that she had been appointed as the U.N's spokesperson for Earth should any extra-terrestrial life forms need to speak with an earthling! Although the news report of her appointment as ambassador for space aliens was found to be incorrect, Othman's office IS responsible for promoting peaceful uses of outer space, among nations of the world, keeping track of space satellites and asteroids. The UNOOSA is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. Being an official Ambassador for Aliens does sound pretty cool! Think such a position needs to be filled? What would be three things you'd ask an alien should you have the opportunity?
9/26/10:Farmers in eight states as far north as the state of Missouri are flooding their fields...on purpose! The reason,to create temporary wetlands for migratory birds to use as they travel south. With oil in wetlands, from the BP oil spill, there is concern about many migratory bird that stop over in these wetlands harmed by the oil spill. It is hoped that herons, sandpipers, duck, ibis and other birds will use these clean wetlands in place of the oil polluted areas.
The world's largest offshore wind farm has opened for business in the country of Great Britain. Located in the southern area of Great Britain, the 100 wind turbines are estimated to provide energy for up to 200,000 homes. When completed, the wind farm will have 341 wind turbines. Great Britain hopes to have more than 10,000 wind turbines generating energy for their country over then next decade.
9/24/10:Scientists have shown once again,that there are still new species of dinosaurs waiting to be unearthed in North America. In Utah, two new dinosaurs have been discovered that are related to the Triceratops. One of the dinosaurs, named Kosmoceratops richardsoni, a herbivore(a plant eater), had 15 horns on its head! The other,called Utahceratops gettyi, had five horns and is the larger of the two dinosaurs. Found in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument area, paleontologist say Kosmocertatops is estimated to have weighed about 2.5 tons and stretched about 15 ft. long. Utahceratops gettyi was about 6 ft. tall and about 22 feet long, tipping the scale at between 3- 4 tons.Read more at this site:
High in the Himalayan Mountains, at elevations of 13,450 feet, scientists have made a thrilling discovery in the country of Bhutan-wild tigers! Locals have long claimed that tigers were living high above the tree lines but it wasn't until cameras were placed in the area, that footage captured the tigers on film.The is exciting because the World Wildlife Fund says In the last century, the number of tigers has dwindled from 100,000 to less than 3200! Finding tigers living and breeding at altitudes higher than previously thought possible, gives hope that other tigers will be found living in this "new habitat". Read more and see photographs at this link:
9/20/10:Spiderman has competition from the insect world. A whopper of a spider web has been found in the country of Madagascar. Said to be the world's longest spider web,it stretching up to 82 ft. in length,(think the length of two city buses) across a body of water. Made by a newly discovered species of spider called the Darwin bark spider, it is the first time a spider has spun an orb-shaped web across a stream or river. Scientists also say that the silk is the strongest biological material known. Read more and see photographs at this link:
9/19/10: This monster-sized chocolate bar wouldn't fit in your pocket. You'd need a fork-lift just to lift it to your mouth as it weighs 9702 pounds. Created by the Grand Candy Factory,the sweet treat,almost 19 ft. long, 9 ft. wide and 10 inches thick, has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest dark chocolate bars ever made! The mouth watering chocolate bar, made in Yerevan, the capital city of the country of Armenia, will be gobbled up in a public event by anyone with a sweet tooth for chocolate. The record breaking chocolate bar breaks a record chocolate bar made in Italy,in 2007, by more than 1829 pounds. See a picture at this link:P
9/10/10:Dog sized African pouch rats might make you cringe but the rats have an amazing sense of smell and are proving to be helpful to man for their ability to sniff out land mines. Land mines, buried during wartime, are dangerous to unsuspecting people who happen upon them. The United Nations estimates 2000 people a month are killed or injured by exploding land mines. Nicknamed "hero rats",the creatures are being trained to associate a clicking sound with a treat such as a banana or peanut. They also get a treat when they find a land mine. Trained in the African country of Tanzania, the rats, after graduating from their training, are taken to Mozambique where 3 million mines are still buried.The "hero rats" can sniff out a mine in about 20 minutes (humans take about two days to do the same task).And, if you are wondering, the rats aren't hurt in their scurrying about to track down hidden land mines...they are too light to set them off!Read more at this link:
9/9/10:A new species of dinosaur has been found in central Spain. The nearly complete skeleton shows a distinctive hump, like a camel of today. The "hunchbacked dinosaur" measured about 20 ft. in length and was named concavenator corcovatus-the hunchback hunter from Cuenca. Paleontologist, people that study dinosaurs, think the camel-like dinosaur,that lived about 125 million years ago, was a strong runner, meat eater and had spiky feather-like shafts on its arms. Read more:
Humongous elephants are no match for...ants. Seems that African elephants are scaredy cats! Seeing ants crawling around on one of their favorite species of acadia tree will gets them going in a different direction. Elephants don't like the creatures crawling up their trunks which are very sensitive due to its many nerve endings. Almost like a David and Goliath kind of story, teeny ants are protecting the trees from the the hulking elephants. Without the ant bodyguards, the giant herbivores(plant eaters)would destroy the tree's bark. But, ants still need to worry. Towering giraffes aren't afraid of ants and simply use their long tongues to swipe them away from the trees!Learn more about African elephants at this link:
9/2/10:Andy Keller has created a unique way to draw attention to all the plastic bags we use in our lives. As the Bag Monster, he is traveling around the country, visiting states specifically where legislation is being proposed to ban plastic bags. Wearing 500 plastic bags, the number the average person uses in a year, he is trying to educate people that plastic bags don't easily decompose in a landfill(each bag takes about 1000 years),and, on average, each of us will use 45,000 in our lifetimes. Keller hopes to create an awareness toward using more reusable cloth bags. Why, the plastic monster look? Keller says it gets people to interact with him more than if he just wore his regular clothes.
Can you think of a creature that can sit on the tip of a pencil? Well, the smallest frog yet, discovered in Asia, Europe or Africa, could easily do so! The teeny frog is part of a species of mini-frogs called microhylid and was found on a road near the in Kubah National Park on the island of Borneo. Did you know that 1/3 of all amphibians are in danger of extinction? Did you know that amphibians do an important job helping to keep the bug population in check which could make us sick or destroy growing food crops? A conservation group is conducting a worldwide search of 100 species of "lost amphibians", those which haven't been seen in many years and may be extinct. At about .4 inches long when full grown, this itsy bitsy frog is about the size of a pea! See a photograph:
8/30/10:Purchasing CDs and using landline phone are just some of the things that seem to be going out of everyday use. C