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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In the News: June 16, 2010

BP enlists help from Kevin Costner in cleanup
Admittedly, the story is a lot better than the headline makes it out to be. (Yes, it's from CNN- home of the worst headlines ever)
At least he can do more than James Cameron's brainstorming session...

"The oil giant announced Monday that it had ordered 32 machines from Costner's company, the actor told CNN in an exclusive interview on "AC360."

The machines use a centrifuge mechanism to separate oil from water and recycle the crude at the same time, Costner said.

"This is the key, it's the linchpin to people going back to work. It's certainly a way to fight oil spills in the 21st century," he said. "It creates an efficiency where there are no efficiencies out there, and it's been a long time coming.""

Armed US 'Bin Laden hunter' is held in Pakistan

"An American man who claimed to be on a mission to hunt down Osama Bin Laden has been arrested in northern Pakistan, police say.

They said that Gary Brooks Faulkner, 52, was detained in the mountains of Chitral district north of Peshawar.

He had a pistol, dagger and a sword and was carrying night-vision equipment as well as Christian literature."

A Huge Ocean Likely Covered More Than a Third of Mars 3.5 Billion Years Ago

"It took NASA a few decades, several probes, and a whole lot of money to find hard evidence for the existence of water on the surface of Mars. But timing is everything. Had the agency been looking for water on the Red Planet a few billion years earlier, all they would've needed was a telescope. A new CU-Boulder analysis of the Martian surface has concluded that a massive ocean covered as much as a third of the planet around 3.5 billion years ago."


Is that woman pregnant or fat?
This shouldn't even be an issue! If everyone stayed a bit healthier, we wouldn't have to deal with this 'problem'.

"Some commuters don't give up their seats for pregnant women because they fear offending someone who is just overweight, it has emerged. Here, expectant mothers give tips on how to tell the difference."

"Some people are just selfish, yes, but the average commuter would probably give up his or her seat for a pregnant woman, with good grace. It's just not that straightforward."

"Then there's that nagging doubt - is she pregnant, fat, or just wearing a baggy top?

Whatever the discomfort of offending a pregnant woman by staying seated, is it preferable to the excruciating awkwardness of effectively telling a woman, within earshot of about 20 people, that her tummy is so inflated it looks as if there's a baby inside?"

A New Engineered Stealth Metamaterial is the Blackest Ever

"A new blacker-than-black metamaterial absorbs almost all the light that hits it, heralding a new breed of stealth technology.

The material's internal structure absorbs almost all the electromagnetic radiation in a particular range, New Scientist reports. Ordinary black objects, by contrast, always reflect a bit of light. The material could be applied to all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning it could be used to make materials invisible to radar.

Designed by Evgenii Narimanov of Purdue University, Mikhail Noginov of Norfolk State University in Virginia and their colleagues, the material consists of silver nanowires embedded in very thin 0.4-inch aluminum oxide squares. Their array-like structure gives them their unusual properties, New Scientist says."

South Africa deports Argentine football 'hooligans'
Pretty amazing to me that people in this modern era would try to cause so much mayhem and violence over a sporting event...

"South Africa has deported 10 suspected Argentine football hooligans who police say were planning to disrupt the World Cup.

The men, part of a larger group of about 80 fans, were arrested at Johannesburg airport and found to be on an entry blacklist."

"The men were said to belong to the country's "barras bravas", organised groups renowned for football-related violence."

"Last month, a group of English hooligans tried to travel to South Africa via Dubai, but were stopped by South African and British police, according to South African Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Up to 3,200 English fans known for disruptive behaviour have had their passports held by authorities to prevent them travelling."

Bieber kicked out of local Lux seating
I don't usually like reporting on pop-culture gossip, but this was too good to pass up.

"We're told that pop phenomenon Justin Bieber, who performed with Taylor Swift at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night, was kicked out of the Lux Level seating area at the Showcase Cinema de Lux at Patriot Place on Saturday afternoon during a screening of the Russell Brand-Jonah Hill movie "Get Him to the Greek."

Bieber, who was with his bodyguard and his manager "Scooter" Braun, bought a general admission seat for "Greek" but snuck up to the Lux Level seating area, which is reserved for 21-plus patrons. Once a manager spotted him, Bieber was sent back to the general admission section. The "One Time" and "Baby" singer apparently told the manager he was frustrated that as a 16-year-old, he can go to Chuck E. Cheese, which sells alcohol, but he can't get into the special section of a movie theater. Good point, Justin."

I had no idea they served alcohol at Chuck E. Cheese...

Tiny Autonomous 'Copters Combine Voltron-Style To Create a Larger, Stronger Aircraft
Just a little freaky... The revolt of the machines is another step closer.

"Two rotors are better than one, and if our recent excitement over UPenn’s quadcopter is any indication, four rotors is better than two. Sometimes. Researchers at the ETH Zurich recognize that different tasks call for different aircraft, and with that in mind they’ve designed the Distributed Flight Array, a flying platform consisting of multiple small autonomous single rotor aircraft that can dock with one another to create a larger, more powerful aircraft.

The DFA, developed by ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamics Systems and Control, consists of multiple fixed propellor aircraft, each with its own sensors and flight control system. Individually, the components fly somewhat erratically, but joined together they become a larger sensor-based flight platform, capable of maintaining level flight by rapidly sharing data between them. When docked together, if something disturbs the array’s level flight each individual rotor can compensate appropriately to bring the system back into balance."

Why do Finland's schools get the best results?

"Children walk around in their socks at Torpparinmäki Comprehensive" (Apparently that's significant)

"Last year more than 100 foreign delegations and governments visited Helsinki, hoping to learn the secret of their schools' success.

In 2006, Finland's pupils scored the highest average results in science and reading in the whole of the developed world. In the OECD's exams for 15 year-olds, known as PISA, they also came second in maths, beaten only by teenagers in South Korea."

"The Finnish philosophy with education is that everyone has something to contribute and those who struggle in certain subjects should not be left behind.

A tactic used in virtually every lesson is the provision of an additional teacher who helps those who struggle in a particular subject. But the pupils are all kept in the same classroom, regardless of their ability in that particular subject.

Finland's Education Minister, Henna Virkkunen is proud of her country's record but her next goal is to target the brightest pupils."

God Destroys Massive Statue of Jesus with Lightning.



"Monroe fire officials set damage at $700,000 after lighting struck and burned down a 62-foot-high Jesus Christ statue and an adjacent amphitheater at Solid Rock Church late Monday. Church leaders are vowing to rebuild the iconic “King of Kings” statue – also dubbed “Touchdown Jesus”… A pond surrounding the statue that used to be full of fish is now filled with remnants of the structure, made of fiber glass and foam. All the fish are either dead or dying… The fire is not suspicious. It was ignited about 11:15 p.m. Monday during a severe thunderstorm that spawned lighting across the Greater Cincinnati region, Mascarella said."
(via Barstool Sports)

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