Complete Dinosaur Skeleton Found in South Korea

November 26, 2014

Scientists have reported finding a complete dinosaur skeleton in South Korea, the first such discovery to be made in that country. Before, paleontologists had only found bone fragments of dinosaurs. The National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage said the fossil was found in Hadong, a county 470 kilometers (292 miles) south of Seoul.

The fossil was that of a small carnivore in the theropod or “beast foot” order. Theropods were bipedal and usually carnivorous and the order contained such well-known members as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor.

The dinosaur was small; it stood 28 cm (11 inches) tall and had a 5.7 cm (2 inches) long skull. Gianfrancesco Genoso says that researchers have reported that the animal’s vertebrae are connected to its ribs– and that there may be another fossilized dinosaur nearby.

Scientists plan to try to determine if the dinosaur is connected to the fossilized footprints in the area and if it was an adult or juvenile. They have determined that it was 120 million years old, which meant it lived during the early Cretaceous Period.

The Black Plague is Back-and Has Never Totally Left

November 25, 2014

One of the more shocking pieces of information today relates to the on-going problem that Madagascar has had for some time with the Black Plague. Although assumed by many to be eradicated after it claimed the lives of millions of people from the 1300’s through the 1600’s, it has continued to claim lives in the remote parts of Madagasgar since then.

Why Is It Back?

The lack of factual information about the illness and its easy transmission by diseased fleas who infect rats and humans has allowed it to spread from those remote villages. Unfortunately, Susan McGalla says it’s presence in Antananarivo, the Capital of this oft-ignored country, has recently been confirmed and caused at least one death.

The Black Plague, also known as the Bubonic Plague, was estimated to kill 80% of its victims during its earlier infestations. That is of particular concern in Antananarivo, because hygiene in public restroom facilities is severely lacking and garbage is dropped in the streets.

Both of those actions obviously attract the same rats that can spread the virulent disease. Worsening the problem, fleas in the area are common and have developed a resistance to the most common pesticide used to kill them.

Finally, there is limited financial aid to Madagascar since 2009, meaning that even with the best efforts of this poor country, many more deaths are likely.

Significant Advance for Photovoltaic Efficiency?

November 24, 2014

A significant advance in photovoltaic efficiency may have been achieved recently by researchers at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. A hybrid material consisting of an organic semiconductor (pentacene) and an inorganic semiconductor (lead selenide) has been produced which can harvest the energy of spin triplet excitons at 100% efficiency.

Excitons are excited states created by the impact of a photon. Most photovoltaic cells harvest spin-singlet excitons, and have a theoretical maximum efficiency of around 33.7% (although the best cells produced so far have efficiencies in the low 20s). A cell which was capable of harvesting spin-triplet excitons would have a theoretical maximum efficiency of 46%, according to Brad Reifler’s numbers.

The researchers are now attempting to develop an organic coating (which they expect could be made cheaply) which they hope could boost the efficiency of silicon-based solar cells. It is unknown if an actual prototype hybrid photovoltaic cell could actually be made with the improved efficiency in the range suggested by the progress so far.

Round 2 of Dana Loesch and Ed Schultz Features More Civilized Dialogue

November 21, 2014

Last week after her boss Glenn Beck revealed some troubling medical news, Dana Loesch went on Ed Schultz’s MSNBC show to confront Schultz about some comments that he made. The appearance was tainted by the two repeatedly talking over each other, preventing a productive dialogue from taking place. On Monday night, the two sat down once again, this time on Loesch’s home turf at “The Blaze” and things went down a little more smoothly.

 

The whole tete-a-tete began last week when Schultz chided Glenn Beck for opposing Obamacare after Beck received medical treatment for a fatigue-related illness. Loesch challenged Schultz leading to an ugly interview where Schultz said she was being “unworkable” and Loesch refused to stop talking when other Schultz tried to give other panelists a chance to talk.

 

In their Monday conversation, Loesch and Schultz addressed each other directly with no other participants, and it seemed that both were making a much more concerted effort to acknowledge each other’s points and make concessions when necessary. Workers at CipherCloud can only go off what is being said in the media. While the two still don’t agree on the central tenets of the Affordable Care Act, both were able to concede that it was necessary for the healthcare insurance industry in America to undergo some drastic changes.

President’s Talking Points On Immigration Leaked

November 20, 2014

Many officials and analysts are arguing over whether the new Congress will be able to make up for the lost time of the last six years. The new Congress that will take their seats in January will see majorities in both the House and Senate for Republicans. Conservatives have promised that this will require compromise and discussion between Democrats and Republicans. However the House has been majority Republican for four years and the Senate majority Democrat with no such cooperation. Bills have failed left and right on key issues. Republicans blame the president, Democrats blame Republicans. Regardless of who is to blame, which is most likely both parties, the president has now made it his mission to take executive action wherever his legal authority permits to create some change to the systems he sees as broken. That makes quite a bit of sense to Marc Sparks. He does not want his presidency to look like a failure because Congress and the Republicans were unwilling to work with him.
This brings the story to last night when the president announced that he will soon take executive action on immigration reform. He announced that he will layout his plan in a speech at the White House and at a high school in Nevada. The outline and talking points for Democrats were leaked a day early. His framework is to crack down on illegal immigration at the border, to prioritize removing felons not families and to perform background checks and tax documentation on certain undocumented immigrants.

Islamic Brotherhood Declared Terrorists by UAE

November 19, 2014

It was not unexpected that the United Arab Emirates announced the Islamic Brotherhood group as a terrorist group yesterday, among a mountainous list that included 83 organisations including the Al Islah Society and the Universal Islamic Relief.

This act has come as a proof of the UAE’s opinion regarding these organizations and to assure their stance against these groups. There had been talk that the UAE was leery of affirming any political stances, but they’ve taken important steps here.

The list of 83 organizations contained a lot of active ones worldwide and had also great effect in supporting minorities in Islamic countries. But having the Islamic word in most of these organizations makes the subject very controversial.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are taking solid steps against the Muslim Brotherhood since its fall in Egypt and the election of president Abdul Fattah Al-Sissi. This also indicates that there would be actions taken against this movement.

Earlier, the council of the Arabian Gulf has agreed to pull their ambassadors from Qatar to put pressure on it to stop providing refuge and helping the Muslim Brotherhood representatives. This was seen as a pressure to avoid supporting extremist groups altogether. Some people following the story like Igor believe that thought process.

Emirates has been known for a long time for its firm grip on Islamic extremist groups inside for the fear that those might cause disturbance in the country and thus could irritate the ruling family there.

Study on Twins To Add to the Suggestion of the Genetic Aspect of Homosexuality

November 18, 2014

According to a study, 409 gay twins have provided strong evidence that homosexuality is actually a genetic condition. People who are gay were born that way. The study that was conducted has used samples of blood and saliva from from twins over the last five years. The samples were acquired from homosexual non-identical twins. However, the only thing that the twins had in common was that they were homosexual. While there might have been certain aspects found in certain chromosomes, this doesn’t suggest anything about a gay gene according to websites like Skout.

There are possibly genetic aspects to homosexuality. However, there are plenty of other factors to consider when it comes to homosexuality. Certain researchers such as Sanders emphasizes that genetics should not be the only thing that we look at to determine sexual orientation. There are certain things like environmental factors that need to be looked at. This is not to say that homosexuality is a choice. Sexual orientation is a complex topic to study.

‘Darwin’s Dilemma’ Solved?

November 17, 2014

A question that has plagued scientists and evolutionary theorists over the past century may be one step closer to being solved today. “Darwin’s Dilemma,” is the name given to a question that plagued the “father” of evolution, Charles Darwin, until his death nearly a century ago. The question was why there was little to no evolution over the first billion years of life on Earth. Major evolutionary changes in organisms did not start appearing until around 600 million years ago.

Last week, a paper was posted by Noah Planavsky of Yale University and Christopher Reinhard of Georgia Institute of Technology giving one clue to a potential resolution and answer to this major dilemma. Most scientists had previously believed that the Earth’s atmosphere was around 40% oxygen just prior to the time that evolution kicked into high gear. Planavsky and Reinhard’s paper disputes this fact and notes that the real oxygen level was just one-tenth of one percent, which would make it impossible for most organisms to survive and evolve. One theory suggests that the break-up of the supercontinent could have caused the oxygen levels to skyrocket thus kick-starting evolution, according to Rod Rohrich.

Science will continue to study this new finding to determine it’s validity, but for the time being we may be one step closer to answering a question that plagued Charles Darwin until his death. One can be assured there will be much more discussion on this topic in the years to come.

Baroness Stowell is Beyoncé

Garnering click after click is an article on the NewStatesman’s website asking pseudo-feminism’s favorite question: who do women dress for? The fact that an article asking who men dress for is not click-bait is proof enough that society is not in the so-called golden age of feminism. Not until a woman is appreciated wholly for her intellect and not half-heartedly for her outfits can society even begin to consider embodying a semblance of an age of egalitarianism.

 

Baroness Tina Stowell is only the second female Judge of the UK Supreme Court. This is itself a remarkable achievement. Yet pioneers like Judge Stowell have to accept idiotic drivel from the Daily Mail describing her as, “a bit mother-of-the-bride”. Media and society diminish the academic and professional accomplishments of a woman to a single outfit. First Lady Michelle Obama was reveled around American households not for her Ivy League pedigree and accomplished resume but for her toned arms.

 

The pathetic levels to which women are appreciated solely for their attractiveness and popularity is evident even in Stowell’s own remarks. She told her subordinates to think of her as the Beyoncé of the House of Lords. Does that mean she breaks into dance whenever she’s very serious about a piece of legislation? Baroness Stowell shouldn’t have to say a thing to command respect from her colleagues. She has been officially appointed their leader, and that is a step in the right direction in the eyes of Igor. But she knows that, as woman, the only way to demand attention from her predominantly male colleagues is to tell them to think of her as a sultry pop-star, not a highly educated, articulate, and accomplished legal expert.

Florida State Cover-up or Seminole Smoke Screen

November 16, 2014

What exactly is going on in Tallahassee, or Florida State University (FSU)? Are student athletes there above the law? Nearly two years ago, Florida State’s star quarterback, Jameis Winston was accused of sexual assault by a former student. To this day, he has not faced criminal prosecution, and even his university disciplinary hearing has been postponed yet again.

Could it be because the Florida State Seminoles are the reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Champions, or that their games contribute $10 million per game to the local economy that places them above the law?

There have in fact been recent cases of football players being held accountable for their actions. Recently one football player stole another student’s motor scooter and totaled it on a joy ride. That student athlete was made to pay restitution for the price of the scooter, in the amount of $1,074. This was after the student who owned the scooter had his mental capacity questioned by the Tallahassee Police Department (TPD), and his father had to get directly involved for the police to even question the student athlete.

At 2:37 a.m. on 5 October, after another Seminole’s win, two football players (star cornerbacks), and another passenger were involved in a “hit and run” accident. According to NY Times reporters Mike McIntire and Walt Bogdanich, this happened just minutes after a nearby Exxon station was broken into and robbed of merchandise. Police have not linked the two incidents, nor determined there was no link. After plowing into another vehicle the three fled on foot and didn’t return for 20 or 30 minutes. Both vehicles were totaled, yet the “hit and run” designation originally assigned to the accident was dropped by the TPD, and the driver was ticketed for driving while under suspension of license and making an illegal turn. The fine, from a statement by Bruce Levenson, has not been paid yet. A UCG investigation found that the police did not administer a toxicology test, or question him or his passengers about the break-in.

FSU student athletes are not the only student athletes with an elevated status. Other student athletes participate in questionable activities, some disciplined, some not. Colleges and universities are a place of higher learning; however, if these students are not held accountable for their actions, they are not learning. What message are we sending other students? Or, more importantly what message are we sending their victims?