Friday, April 27, 2007
OK Go - Get Over It
My name is Domino Harvey. I am a bounty hunter. You're probably wondering how a girl like me arrived here. What I say will determine whether or not I spend the rest of my life in prison. Let's start at the beginning.
Domino Harvey (August 7, 1969 in London – June 27, 2005)
Chernobyl The After effects
The Chernobyl disaster was a major accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986 at 01:22 a.m.
Chernobyl (chuhr-NOH-buhl, cher-NOH-buhl) A place in Ukraine where a nuclear power plant — a generator powered by a nuclear reactor — underwent a meltdown in 1986. A cloud of radioactive gases spread throughout the region of Chernobyl, and to foreign countries as well. Forty thousand people living nearby were evacuated. Dozens of deaths and hundreds of illnesses were reported to have been caused by the accident.
Prypiat (Ukrainian: При́п'ять, Pryp’iat’; Russian: При́пять, Pripyat; Polish: Prypeć; ) is an abandoned city in the zone of alienation in northern Ukraine, Kiev Oblast, near the border with Belarus. It was home to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. The city was abandoned in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. Its population had been around 50,000.
Twenty Years After Chernobyl 2006
April 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Anti-nuclear activists are still trying to turn Chernobyl into a bigger disaster than it really was.
Although the Number Four nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded just before dawn on April 26, 1986, Soviet secrecy prevented the world from learning about the accident for days. Once details began to emerge, however, the anti-nuclear scare machine swung into action.
Three days after the accident Greenpeace “scientists” predicted the accident would cause 10,000 people to get cancer over a 20-year period within a 625-mile radius of the plant. Greenpeace also estimated that 2,000 to 4,000 people in Sweden would develop cancer over a 30-year period from the radioactive fallout.
At the same time, Helen Caldicott, president emeritus of the anti-nuclear Physicians for Social Responsibility, predicted the accident would cause almost 300,000 cancers in 5 to 50 years and cause almost 1 million people either to be rendered sterile or mentally retarded, or to develop radiation sickness, menstrual problems and other health problems.
University of California-Berkeley medical physicist and nuclear power critic Dr. John Gofman made the most dire forecast. He predicted at an American Chemical Society meeting that the Chernobyl accident would cause 1 million cancers worldwide, half of them fatal.
But the reality of the health consequences of the Chernobyl accident seems to be quite different than predicted by the anti-nuke crowd.
As of mid-2005, fewer than 50 deaths were attributed to radiation from the accident – that’s according to a report, entitled “Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts,” produced by an international team of 100 scientists working under the auspices of the United Nations. Almost all of those 50 deaths were rescue workers who were highly exposed to radiation and died within months of the accident.
So far, there have been about 4,000 cases of thyroid cancer, mainly in children. But except for nine deaths, all of those with thyroid cancer have recovered, according to the report.
Despite the UN report, the anti-nuclear mob hasn’t given up on Chernobyl scaremongering.
According to a March 25 report in The Guardian (UK), Greenpeace and others are set to issue a report around the 20th anniversary of the accident claiming that at least 500,000 people may have already died as a result of the accident.
Ukraine's government appears to be on board with the casualty inflation game, perhaps looking for more international aid for the economically-struggling former Soviet republic.
The Guardian article quoted the deputy head of the Ukraine National Commission for Radiation Protection as touting the 500,000-deaths figure. A spokesman for the Ukraine government’s Scientific Center for Radiation Medicine told The Guardian, “We’re overwhelmed by thyroid cancers, leukemias and genetic mutations that are not recorded in the [UN] data and which were practically unknown 20 years ago.”
Putting aside the anti-nuclear movement’s track record of making wild claims and predictions in order advance its political agenda, I put more credence in the UN’s estimates because it squares with what we know about real-life exposures to high levels of radiation.
Among the more than 86,000 survivors of the atomic bomb blasts that ended World War II, for example, “only” about 500 or so “extra” cancers have occurred since 1950. Exposure to high-levels of radiation does increase cancer risk, but only slightly.
There is no doubt that Chernobyl was a disaster, but it was not one of mythical proportions.
Chernobyl and Three Mile Island – the U.S. nuclear plant that accidentally released a small amount radiation in 1979 – are examples of how the anti-nuclear lobby takes every available opportunity to scare the public about nuclear power.
But no one was harmed by the incident at Three Mile Island. The Chernobyl accident can be chalked up to deficiencies in its Soviet-era design and operation. Neither reflect poorly on the track record of safety demonstrated by nuclear power plants designed, built and operated in countries like the U.S., U.K., France and Japan.
It’s quite ironic that while Greenpeace squawks about the need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in order to avert the much-dreaded global warming, the group continues spreading fear about greenhouse gas-free nuclear power plants – the only practical alternative to burning fossil fuels for producing electricity.
Apparently, Greenpeace’s solution to our energy problems is simply to turn the lights off – for good.
The lessons of Chernobyl
By Tatyana Sinitsyna
MOSCOW - Ever since the explosion of Unit 4 on April 26, 1986, the word Chernobyl has come to symbolize the worst man-made disaster of the 20th century.
It produced a tremendous radiation emission, human victims, broken lives, severe health problems, huge material losses, great stress, and radioactive contamination of enormous territories.
On the day of the tragedy, the winds took the rising plume of radioactive dust from the banks of the Pripyat River and carried it all over the world. Abnormal radiation levels were registered on tea plantations in the Caucasus Mountains, in California and even in the ice of the Antarctic. Europe was the hardest hit - dust settled in Poland, Bulgaria, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain and other countries.
Who was to blame for the disaster? It would seem that this question must have been exhausted by now, but it is being raised over and over again. "What is still unclear? The bodies in charge of nuclear and radiation safety and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) experts have drawn their conclusions; the trial was held. There are no grounds to doubt the opinion of serious experts," said Professor Alexander Borovoy from the Kurchatov Institute Russian Research Center, who headed a group of scientists in Chernobyl for many years.
"Journalists are still giving me a hard time, but I do not want to answer this question because it conceals the intention to condemn people who went through hell, those whose bodies and souls were burnt, who died an agonizing death. I have no right to be a judge of my late teachers who gave us nuclear energy and nuclear weapons that have protected us up to this day. Only one question matters for me: Has everything been done to avoid a repetition of Chernobyl? The answer is yes."
In the 21 years since the accident, Chernobyl has been visited by thousands of experts from all over the world. They meticulously uncovered what had happened, conducted studies and drew conclusions together. Nevertheless, there are still people who call everything into doubt. They are engaged in heated debates and keep coming up with new, far-fetched hypotheses.
For instance, they conjure up the image of the KGB, which ostensibly "got scared by perestroika," or they talk about a "nuclear explosion of plutonium," which the plant's personnel were allegedly producing in secret. Sometimes, the disaster has been blamed on an earthquake that for some reason was limited to Unit 4, or even presented as a terrorist attack. The conspiracy theorists discovered some yellow stains that they presented as evidence - traces of explosives. In reality, these stains were left by uranium acid. One version was truly fantastic. Its proponents claimed that a "nearby anti-ballistic-missile facility released large doses of radiation that affected the psyche of the night shift at the nuclear plant."
But everything was much simpler than that. On the eve of the tragedy, at 2:25 p.m. on April 25, a young woman called from Kiev, and demanded in no uncertain terms that the station's personnel should turn Unit 4 back on and put off an experiment that was already under way. The angry girl merely relayed the orders of her bosses. The engineers objected but eventually carried out the instructions. The unit worked for nine hours under dangerous circumstances, and finally exploded in response to the personnel's inadmissible actions.
After the disaster, the term "Chernobyl-type reactor" became a synonym for mortal danger and unreliability. It is referred to by its Russian initials, RBMK, which stand for high-power channel-type reactor. One of the leaders of the Russian Green movement, Alexei Yablokov, categorized as insane the government's decision to continue the mothballed construction of an RBMK-type reactor at the Kursk nuclear power station.
But experts maintain that the risk of an accident involving RBMK reactors is truly negligible: 1 million reactor years. "This means that if a reactor worked for the incredibly long period of 1 million years, it might explode by accident. But its average service life is between 30 and 40 years, so in practical terms the probability of an accident is zero," explained Boris Gorbachev, a physicist from Chernobyl.
But the RBMK design still had a weak point: it did not fully consider the human factor and allowed an operator to interfere in its program (the upgraded version rules this out). It was assumed that a nuclear specialist simply could not make a mistake. But, regrettably, neither the director of the station nor the chief operating officer understood the physics of a nuclear plant; they were ordinary specialists in power engineering. Two years before the tragedy, government officials decided to assign nuclear power stations to the Ministry of Electrification; previously they had been part of the nuclear complex. This was the first step on the road to the disaster.
A protective sarcophagus (as high as a 25-story building) was erected over the destroyed unit to contain the radioactive debris. It became a source of increasing concern because of a possible chain reaction - it contained 180 metric tons of radioactive fuel. The shelter was still spewing radiation and builders could not work in its vicinity. As a result, the sarcophagus developed cracks with a total area of about 1,000 square meters through which plutonium dust escaped. The structure of the old sarcophagus was unreliable because it rested on the unit's surviving walls.
It was only 10 years after the disaster that the Chernobyl Shelter Fund was set up to fund the Shelter Implementation Plan. Western countries agreed to cough up the required $1 billion. The new shelter should reliably isolate the nuclear debris for about 100 years. It will be one of the saddest but also one of the most instructive monuments on Earth.
Ukraine President Wants to Renew Chernobyl Area
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Liz Hurley Sex Scene - The funniest bloopers are right here
Elizabeth Hurley Part 1 - Funny video clips are a click away
Elizabeth Hurley Part 2 - The funniest videos clips are here
Elizabeth Hurley - The most popular videos are here
Hot Liz Hurley - Funny blooper videos are here
Elizabeth Hurley schoolgirl teacher
New 'super-Earth' found in space
Astronomers have found the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date, a world which could have water running on its surface.
The planet orbits the faint star Gliese 581, which is 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra.
Scientists made the discovery using the Eso 3.6m Telescope in Chile.
They say the benign temperatures on the planet mean any water there could exist in liquid form, and this raises the chances it could also harbour life.
"We have estimated that the mean temperature of this 'super-Earth' lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid," explained Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory, lead author of the scientific paper reporting the result.
"Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth's radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky - like our Earth - or covered with oceans."
Xavier Delfosse, a member of the team from Grenoble University, added: "Liquid water is critical to life as we know it."
He believes the planet may now become a very important target for future space missions dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial life.
These missions will put telescopes in space that can discern the tell-tale light "signatures" that might be associated with biological processes.
The observatories would seek to identify trace atmospheric gases such as methane, and even markers for chlorophyll, the pigment in Earth plants that plays a critical role in photosynthesis.
The exoplanet - as astronomers call planets around a star other than the Sun - is the smallest yet found, and completes a full orbit of its parent star in just 13 days.
ndeed, it is 14 times closer to its star than the Earth is to our Sun.
However, given that the host star is smaller and colder than the Sun - and thus less luminous - the planet nevertheless lies in the "habitable zone", the region around a star where water could be liquid.
Gliese 581 C was identified at the European Southern Observatory (Eso) facility at La Silla in the Atacama Desert.
To make their discovery, researchers used a very sensitive instrument that can measure tiny changes in the velocity of a star as it experiences the gravitational tug of a nearby planet.
Astronomers are stuck with such indirect methods of detection because current telescope technology struggles to image very distant and faint objects - especially when they orbit close to the glare of a star.
The Gliese 581 system has now yielded three planets: the new super-Earth, a 15 Earth-mass planet orbiting even closer to the parent star, and an eight Earth-mass planet that lies further out.
Of the more than 200 exoplanets so far discovered, a great many are Jupiter-like gas giants that experience blazing temperatures because they orbit close to hot stars.
The Gliese 581 super-Earth is in what scientists call the "Goldilocks Zone" where temperatures "are just right" for life to have a chance to exist.
Commenting on the discovery, Alison Boyle, the curator of astronomy at London's Science Museum, said: "Of all the planets we've found around other stars, this is the one that looks as though it might have the right ingredients for life.
"It's 20 light-years away and so we won't be going there anytime soon, but with new kinds of propulsion technology that could change in the future. And obviously we'll be training some powerful telescopes on it to see what we can see," she told BBC News.
"'Is there life anywhere else?' is a fundamental question we all ask."
Professor Glenn White at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is helping to develop the European Space Agency's Darwin mission, which will scan the nearby Universe, looking for signs of life on Earth-like planets. He said: "This is an important step in the search for true Earth-like exoplanets.
"As the methods become more and more refined, astronomers are narrowing in on the ultimate goal - the detection of a true Earth-like planet elsewhere.
"Obviously this newly discovered planet and its companions in the Gliese 581 system will become prominent targets for missions like Esa's Darwin and Nasa's Terrestrial planet Finder when they fly in about a decade."
WASHINGTON: European astronomers have spotted what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet outside our solar system, with balmy temperatures that could support water and, potentially, life.
They have not directly seen the planet, orbiting a red dwarf star called Gliese 581. But measurements of the star suggest that a planet not much larger than the Earth is pulling on it, the researchers say in a letter to the editor of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
"This one is the first one that is at the same time probably rocky, with water, and in a zone close to the star where the water could exist in liquid form," said Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland, who led the study.
"We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40 degC and water would thus be liquid."
Most of the 200 or so planets that have been spotted outside this solar system have been gas giants like Jupiter. But this one is small.
"Its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth's radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky, like our Earth, or covered with oceans," Udry said in a telephone interview.
It appears to have a mass five times that of Earth's.
The research team includes scientists credited with the first widely accepted discovery of a planet outside our solar system, in 1995.
Many teams are looking for planets circling other stars. They are especially looking for those similar to our own, planets that could support life.
That means finding water.
"Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial life," Xavier Delfosse, a member of the team from Grenoble University in France, said in a statement.
"On the treasure map of the universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X."
Gliese 581 is among the 100 closest stars to Earth, just 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra.
A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 10 trillion km.
It is smaller and dimmer than the sun, so the planet can be close to it and yet not be overheated.
"These low-mass stars are the ones where we are going to be able to discover planets in the habitable zone first," said planet-hunter David Bennett of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, who was not involved in the research.
Bennett cautioned that current temperature alone does not mean water still exists on the planet. It could have burned off ages ago, when the star was hotter than it is now.
Udry's team uses a method known as radial velocity, using the European Southern Observatory telescope at La Silla, Chile.
The same team has identified one larger planet orbiting Gliese 581 already and say they have strong evidence of a third planet with a mass about eight times that of the Earth.
Future missions, perhaps in 20 to 30 years, may be able to block the light from the star and take a spectrographic image of the planets. The colour of the light coming from the planet can give hints of whether water, or perhaps large amounts of plant life, exist there.
BOOKIES SLASH ODDS ON ALIEN LIFE
BOOKIES have slashed ET's odds after scientists said they'd found an Earth-like planet.
William Hill have cut the chance of proving the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence from 1000-1 to 100-1.
It comes after the discovery of the planet which orbits the red dwarf star Gliese 581 - 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra.
Scientists say the new world lies in the "Goldilocks Zone"- the band around the star where liquid water could exist.
And that raises the possibility of it supporting life.
Hill's spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "We would face an eight-figure payout if it were to be confirmed that intelligent life of extra-terrestrial origin currently exists.
"We felt we had to react to the news that an Earth-like planet which could support intelligent life had been discovered.
"After all, we don't know for sure that intelligent extraterrestrial life has not been discovered, but is being hushed up."
Dr Xavier Delfosse was part of the team of astronomers who found the planet using the European Southern Observatory's telescope in Chile.
He said: "On the treasure map of the universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X."
And Dr Stephane Udry, who led the European team, said: "We have estimated the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0-40C and water would thus be liquid.
"Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth's and models predict the planet should be either rocky or covered with oceans."
The vast majority of planets already discovered orbiting stars outside the Solar System are gas giants the size of Jupiter, or bigger, ruling out the chances of life as we know it.
The latest one is the smallest known outside the Solar System. And it's older than the Sun, raising the possibility that life on the new planet could be more advanced than it is on Earth.
Scientists at SETI - Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life Institute - in the US plan to listen for intelligent signals from the star system.
SETI spokesman Dr Seth Shostak said: "The older the star is, maybe the greater the chance that it has produced something that's clever."
For William Hill to pay out on an ET bet, the Prime Minister has to confirm the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life within a year of the wager being placed.
Sharpe added: "We have come a cropper before when, in the early 60s, we offered 1000-1 on man walking on theMoon before 1970.
"We ended up paying out the equivalent of £1million, including £10,000 to the first man to place such a bet, David Threlfall."
Sunspot-cycle forecast important to life on Earth
WASHINGTON --The peak of the next sunspot cycle is expected in late 2011 or mid-2012 - potentially affecting airline flights, communications satellites and electrical transmissions. But forecasters can't agree on how intense it will be.
A 12-member panel charged with forecasting the solar cycle said Wednesday it is evenly split over whether the peak will be 90 sunspots or 140 sunspots.
The government's Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., tracks space weather and forecasts its changes, which can affect millions of dollars' worth of activities such as oil drilling, vehicle navigation systems and astronauts.
Half of the specialists predicted a moderately strong cycle of 140 sunspots expected to peak in October of 2011; the rest called for a moderately weak cycle of 90 sunspots peaking in August of 2012.
"We're hoping to achieve a consensus sometime in the next six to 12 months," said Douglas Biesecker, a space environment center scientist who is chairman of the forecast panel.
An average solar cycle ranges from 75 to 155 sunspots.
During an active solar period, violent eruptions occur more often on the sun, the agency said. Solar flares and vast explosions, known as coronal mass ejections, shoot highly charged matter toward Earth.
Making these predictions is important for many businesses, which have been asking for a forecast for nearly a year, Biesecker said.
Just like coastal residents want a hurricane forecast as early as possible, so do those affected by solar activity, said Joseph Kunches, chief of forecast and analysis at the center, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Daniel Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado-Boulder, noted more than $200 billion of satellites in space can be affected by changes in solar radiation as the cycle rises and falls.
In addition, Baker said, other problems include:
• Airlines flying over the poles face loss of communications that could force them to use a different, longer route at an added cost of as much as $100,000 per flight.
• Global-positioning systems are immensely important to commerce and can be disrupted by solar activity.
• Operating floating oil rigs in the ocean requires keeping them positioned within a few inches to prevent damaging drilling gear. "They have to know when GPS is going to be accurate."
• There is an increased radiation risk to humans in space.
• Currents can be induced in long electrical-transmission lines, causing blackouts.
In the past, such problems have been caused by solar superstorms, he said.
"Storms don't have to be so super any more" to cause problems, Baker said, as more and more systems become susceptible to solar effects.
W. Dean Pesnell of NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory said the solar storms also can heat the Earth's upper atmosphere, causing it to expand. This increases drag on satellites, slowing them down. It also affects the position of the space debris encircling the planet, and it is essential to keep track of that debris for the safety of space flight.
The forecasters said the current solar cycle will probably end next March, when Solar Cycle 24 will begin. That will mean Cycle 23 lasted 12 years, slightly longer than the usual 11-year cycle.
Is there life on ... Gliese?
FORGET ABOUT life on Mars. It's all about life on Gliese 581 C.
OK, so it doesn't have a wonderful, emphatic name like the red planet that has held so many of our hopes for companionship in this dark, lonely universe. Its sun is a diminutive red dwarf, meaning that days on Gliese won't be nearly as bright as they are on our fair planet. It sure is a lot farther away -- at least 20.5 light-years outside of our solar system. According to scientists, however, it could support liquid water -- and life.
Astronomers aren't able to look yet for signs of life, but all the elements -- temperature (between 32 and 104 degrees) and distance from its star (its orbit places it within what scientists call the "habitable zone") -- are there. Computer models predict either a rocky planet, like Earth, or a water world covered with liquid oceans. Either scenario holds the possibility for extraterrestrial life. Best -- or worst? -- of all, Gliese 581 C is close enough for scientists to imagine future space missions of exploration and discovery.
Scary? For sure. Exhilarating? Definitely. For the first time, the thought of an entirely different life form appears to be within reach. But what kind of life form would exist on a planet 50 percent larger than Earth and five times more massive; a planet where one year lasts 13 Earth days? Ladies and gentlemen, we will find out far sooner than we ever imagined. Hold on tight.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Edward R. Murrow reports Buchenwald
Three words -- "This is London" -- made Edward R. Murrow the most dashing American radio correspondent of World War II. Murrow used the phrase to open his broadcasts from the city's rooftops during the bombing raids of the Battle of Britain in 1939. By the end of the war the dark, lean and intense Murrow had become the prototype of the modern globe-trotting, trenchcoat-wearing newsman. Murrow graduated from Washington State in 1930 and took a job with CBS in 1935, becoming head of the network's European bureau two years later. During the war he reported from all over Europe and trained a cadre of CBS broadcasters, often called "Murrow's Boys," which included future network news anchors Howard K. Smith and Eric Sevareid. In 1950 Murrow began to produce and narrate the radio documentary program Hear It Now (1950-51), which moved to television as See It Now (1951-58). This was the program where Murrow cemented his legend as a fearless and frank reporter. His most famous See It Now broadcast, a broadside against Senator Joe McCarthy , aired on 9 March 1954 and is generally credited with helping begin McCarthy's slide from power. His 1960 report on American migrant workers, Harvest of Shame, is also a landmark in documentary news. In 1961 president John F. Kennedy appointed Murrow head of the U.S. Information Agency. Always a heavy smoker, Murrow was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1964 and died the next year.
Murrow married the former Janet Brewster in 1934; their only child, Charles Casey, was born in London in 1945... Murrow won nine Emmy Awards for excellence during his career... Murrow was played by actor David Strathairn in Good Night and Good Luck, the 2005 film directed by George Clooney. Clooney also played Murrow's longtime colleague and producer, Fred Friendly... Murrow's birthplace is usually described as "near Polecat Creek," which itself is near Greensboro, North Carolina.
FOUR GOOD LINKS
- Museum of Broadcast Communications
Excellent bio calls Murrow the "patron saint of American broadcasting"
- Edward R. Murrow: Broadcasting History
Book excerpt from NPR, with great detail on his early years
- Edward R. Murrow
Fine full bio from the state library of North Carolina
- Edward R. Murrow
Helpful page from San Diego State, with a Murrow timeline plus links and a few choice transcripts
Edward R. Murrow is going the distance.
Survival Under Atomic Attack (1951)
Edward Murrow played by David Strathairn
Good night, and good luck.
Edward R. Murrow