Attribution: Bev, Pat
Attribution: Bev, Pat
We might not be able to get there yet, but as NASA says, ‘this is the next best thing’.
From fresh rover tracks to an impact crater blasted billions of years ago, a newly completed view from the panoramic camera on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the ruddy terrain where the voyaging robot spent the Martian winter.
Scenes recorded from the mast-mounted color camera include the rover’s own solar arrays and deck in the foreground, provides a sense of sitting on top of the rover and taking in the view.
This full-circle scene combines 817 images taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. It shows the terrain that surrounded the rover while it was stationary for four months of work during its most recent Martian winter.
Opportunity’s Pancam took the component images between the 2,811th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s Mars surface mission (Dec. 21, 2011) and Sol 2,947 (May 8, 2012).
Opportunity spent those months on a northward sloped outcrop, ‘Greeley Haven,’ which angled the rover’s solar panels toward the sun low in the northern sky during southern hemisphere winter.
The outcrop’s informal name is a tribute to Ronald Greeley (1939-2011), who was a member of the mission team and who taught generations of planetary scientists at Arizona State University, Tempe. The site is near the northern tip of the ‘Cape York’ segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater.
Bright wind-blown deposits on the left are banked up against the Greeley Haven outcrop. Opportunity’s tracks can be seen extending from the south, with a turn-in-place and other maneuvers evident from activities to position the rover at Greeley Haven. The tracks in some locations have exposed darker underlying soils by disturbing a thin, bright dust cover.
Other bright, dusty deposits can be seen to the north, northeast, and east of Greeley Haven. The deposit at the center of the image, due north from the rover’s winter location, is a dusty patch called ‘North Pole’. Opportunity drove to it and investigated it in May 2012 as an example of wind-blown Martian dust.
The Endeavour Crater spans 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.
Opportunity’s solar panels and other structures show dust that has accumulated over the lifetime of the mission. Opportunity has been working on Mars since January 2004.
During the recent four months that Opportunity worked at Greeley Haven, activities included radio-science observations to better understand Martian spin axis dynamics and thus interior structure, investigations of the composition and textures of an outcrop exposing an impact-jumbled rock formation on the crater rim, monitoring the atmosphere and surface for changes, and acquisition of this full-color mosaic of the surroundings.
The panorama combines exposures taken through Pancam filters centered on wavelengths of 753 nanometers (near infrared), 535 nanometers (green) and 432 nanometers (violet). The view is presented in false color to make some differences between materials easier to see.
Its release coincided with two milestones: Opportunity completing its 3,000th Martian day on July 2, and NASA continuing past 15 years of robotic presence at Mars on July 4.
The new panorama is presented in false color to emphasise differences between materials in the scene.
It was assembled from 817 component images taken between Dec. 21, 2011, and May 8, 2012, while Opportunity was stationed on an outcrop informally named ‘Greeley Haven’. on a segment of the rim of ancient Endeavour Crater.
Pancam lead scientist Jim Bell said: ‘The view provides rich geologic context for the detailed chemical and mineral work that the team did at Greeley Haven over the rover’s fifth Martian winter, as well as a spectacularly detailed view of the largest impact crater that we’ve driven to yet with either rover over the course of the mission.’
Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, landed on Mars in January 2004 for missions originally planned to last for three months. NASA’s next-generation Mars rover, Curiosity, is on course for landing on Mars next month.
Opportunity’s science team chose to call the winter campaign site Greeley Haven in tribute to Ronald Greeley (1939-2011), a team member who taught generations of planetary science students at Arizona State University.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Later this year, the car-sized Curiosity Rover will land on Mars.
Unlike earlier rovers, Curiosity carries equipment to gather samples of rocks and soil, process them and distribute them to onboard test chambers inside analytical instruments.
It has a robotic arm which deploys two instruments, scoops soil, prepares and delivers samples for analytic instruments and brushes surfaces.
Its assignment is to investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life.
The goal of the mission is to assess whether the landing area has ever had or still has environmental conditions favorable to microbial life.
Curiosity will land near the foot of a layered mountain inside Gale crater, layers of this mountain contain minerals that form in water.
The portion of the crater floor where Curiosity will land has an alluvial fan likely formed by water-carried sediments.
Curiosity will also carry the most advanced load of scientific gear ever used on Mars’ surface, a more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier Mars rovers.
Curiosity is about twice as long and five times as heavy as NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, launched in 2003.
Attribution: Mail Online
by: Michael Carl (WND)
A Muslim group has released its plan to “wipe Christianity from the face of the earth,” Islamize the West and establish an Islamic system of world government – placing those who resist “under a police state.”
The 23-page booklet, “The Global Islamic Civilization: The Power of a Nation Revived,” is the brainchild of the United Muslim Nations International, a group led by Sheik Farook al-Mohammedi. The document outlines a plan for Muslim world domination and the re-establishment of the Caliphate.
Al-Mohammedi leaves no doubt about his view of Christianity.
“Christianity should be destroyed and wiped from the face of the earth,” al-Mohammedi said. “It is an evil demonic and Anti-Christ system, all Christians are in complete Ignorance.”
The sheik includes a veiled threat in his remarks.
“Islamic Power has returned upon the face of the earth and the Revived Global Caliphate has set eyes on the West to once and for all rid the world of Christianity and there is nothing you can do about it,” al-Mohammedi said.
He makes his objective clear.
“I have pledged and made a firm promise to the Caliphate of the United Muslim Nations International organization that I will do my utmost to Islamize all of the West within a short period of time,” al-Mohammedi said.
Al-Mohammedi’s views are reflected in the book, which calls on all Muslims to, “listen attentively (to the teaching in the booklet) so they may be able to feel the spirituality of an Islamic revival within themselves and they will be able to achieve the much needed upliftment and also a means in gaining the closeness of Allah Subahanhu wa-ta’ ala.”
The document is a clear statement on the organization’s objective. Page 2 explains that the emergence of an Islamic Caliphate is the ultimate goal of all Muslims.
“Firstly we will deal with the matter of the Global Islamic Civilization, its honored status, the unrivaled Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood of the Muslim Ummah,” the document states.
“Islam the only true religion enjoins upon mankind Total Submission to the will of Allah, which means that you are to live a life that is Totally Devoted to the Almighty Allah by serving Him in the manner which He has prescribed for us through the example of the Holy Prophet Mohammed Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam,” the booklet said.
Al-Mohammedi declares that Western resistance to the worldwide Islamic movement is futile.
“Today as I breathe the air of our newly found Islamic State of America before my trip this week to Eurabia I leave behind me an Internationalist Islamic Ideology which will be the future of America and Europe Inshallah,” he said.
“None will resist, you will submit! Islam will conquer the hearts of all christiandom, this is a definite reality. Every government has surrendered to the Revived Global Caliphate and those nations who resist will be placed under a police state within their realm.”
Al-Mohammedi added that non-Muslims have no place in his vision for the world.
“The Dhimmis have no empire and no right to rule anywhere in the world. Earth belongs to us, all of it,” he said.
Al-Mohammedi didn’t respond to WND’s subsequent requests for an interview.
“‘If you do not comply then WND and it’s (sic) employees will become targets for our UIA agents who will eliminate you within America,’ said an email today from Faarooq al Mohammedi, who has said he is working on behalf of a Muslim organization called United Muslim Nations International organization,” the WND story said.
“This document is dedicated to a ‘revival of Islamic culture,’ by which is meant a restoration of ‘the Global Islamic Civilization, its honored status, the unrivaled Universal Brotherhood and Sisterhood of the Muslim Ummah,’” Geller said.
She also noted that the booklet is completely in line with the stated goals of the Muslim Brotherhood.
“This refers, of course, to the restoration of the caliphate, the pan-national unity of the Muslims (which is also the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood),” she said.
“So while the document speaks largely of matters of individual piety, marriage law, etc., it actually amounts to a call to warfare against and subjugation of non-Muslims under the Sharia,” Geller said.
She added, “In Islamic law only the caliph is authorized to declare and wage offensive jihad against infidel states. If the caliphate is restored, the present jihads worldwide will look like a time of peace compared to the wars that will be unleashed.”
American Enterprise Institute Middle East analyst Michael Rubin agreed, confirming, “the document is very much in line with jihadi philosophy.”
Islam analyst and Jihad Watch publisher Robert Spencer noted, “The document is pretty standard. However, it’s somewhat incoherently presented.”
From: Becket Adams at The Blaze
General Motors announced this month its auto sales increased by 16 percent in June, its best monthly sales gain since 2008. Considering all the company has been through, and the fact that it still owes taxpayers approximately $25 billion in TARP repayments, a 16 percent boost in sales sounds like good news, right?
Who knows? With consumers buying up all these cars, maybe GM can reestablish itself as an auto heavyweight, shareholders will finally get to see a return on their investments, and President Obama will have something to brag about on the campaign trail.
Not so fast.
As it turns out, there’s a big reason GM experienced an increase in sales last month: “government purchases of GM vehicles rose a whopping 79% in June,” according to the National Legal and Policy Center’s Mark Modica.
“Overall fleet sales (which are typically less profitable than retail sales) at Government Motors rose a full 36% for the month, helping to drive decent sales improvements year over year,” Modica reports.
The report continues:
GM claimed that sales increases did not rely on incentive spending, which appeared to remain in check, but one analyst during GM‘s sales conference call questioned whether the company’s “stair step” incentive spending was accurately depicted. This incentive spending kicks in after dealerships report final sales figures for the month and may be yet another deceptive way for GM to fudge its numbers. Not mentioned was GM card rewards programs that do not get counted as incentive spending.Considering that the president fully intends to campaign on the company’s so-called “success,” the fed’s decision to bulk up its vehicle fleet with GM products would seem to be a clear conflict of interest.
Think about it in these terms [via NewsBusters’ Seton Motley]:
Barack Obama is now campaigning on the “success” of the government buying cars from … the government’s car company. With our money.
Except you are President Obama. Your kids are the United Autoworkers Union. And the lemonade cost $50 billion.
As always, what’s the bottom line?
“The long-term health of GM remains in question and the true financial picture may not surface until well after voters decide who will be running our country,” Modica writes.
“Eventually we will see just how successful GM really is.”
A police officer pulls over this guy who’s been weaving in and out of the lanes. He goes up to the guy’s window and says, “Sir, I need you to blow into this breathalyzer tube.”
“Okay, fine. I need you to come down to the station to give a blood sample.”
I can’t do that either. I am a hemophiliac. If I do that, I’ll bleed to death.”
“Well, then, we need a urine sample.”
“I’m sorry, officer, I can’t do that either. I am also a diabetic. If I do that, I’ll get really low blood sugar.”
“All right, then I need you to come out here and walk this white line.”
“I can’t do that, officer.”
“Because I’m drunk.”
In yet another example of passing a bill without reading it, a tiny amendment buried in the federal transportation bill signed last Friday by President Obama will put operators of RYO (roll-your-own) cigarette operations in Las Vegas and nationwide out of business at midnight.
Can someone, anyone, tell me what the hell cigarettes have to do with transportation?
Robert Weissen, with his brothers and other partners, own nine Sin City Cigarette Factory locations in Southern Nevada, including six in Las Vegas, and one in Hawaii. He said when the bill is signed their only choice is to turn off their 20 RYO Filling Station machines and lay off more than 40 employees.
“We’ll stay open for about another week to sell tubes and tobacco just to get through our inventory, but without the use of the RYO machines, we won’t be staying open,” he said.
The machines are used by customers who buy loose tobacco and paper tubes from the shop and then turn out a carton of finished cigarettes in as little as 10 minutes, often varying the blend to suit their taste. Savings are substantial – at $23 per carton, half the cost of a name-brand smoke – in part because loose tobacco is taxed at a lower rate.
“These cigarettes are different because there are benefits in saving money,” said Amy Hinds, a partner who operates the Sin City Cigarette Factory at Craig and Decatur.
“These cigarettes don’t have any of the chemicals in them, and the papers are chemical-free, unlike the cartons people buy from Philip Morris.”
But a few paragraphs added to the transportation bill changed the definition of a cigarette manufacturer to cover thousands of roll-your-own operations nationwide. The move, backed by major tobacco companies, is aimed at boosting tax revenues.
“I feel it’s kind of shady,” Wiessen said. “The man who pushed for this bill is Sen. Max Baucus (D) from Montana, and he received donations from Altria, a parent company of Philip Morris. Interestingly enough, there are also no RYO machines in the state of Montana. It really makes me question the morals and values of our elected speakers.”
Sierra Bawden, a single mom with two kids who started rolling her own smokes at Hind’s shop three months ago, said cost is only one factor.
“It saves me time and money, and in the end I feel better because I don’t get all of the chemicals that the other cigarettes have,” Bawden said. “With the brand-name cigarettes, we pay for the chemicals and the name, and I don’t want any of that, so I don’t even know what I’ll do when the shop closes down.”
In Southern Nevada, there are two basic RYO business models: traditional smoke shops that also sell brand-name cigarettes, hookah and smoking paraphernalia, and RYO lounges that sell only loose tobacco and materials.
“Our stores are like lounges where our customers can buy the pieces for the product then roll them by hand or use the machine to make their cigarettes,” Wiessen said. “It’s a relaxed environment. Rolling a carton of cigarettes by hand can take one person up to three hours.”
Even before the bill was signed, Hinds’ location on Craig Road was already feeling the pinch. They were to close Thursday because suppliers stopped delivering needed materials last week.
Wiessen and others are attempting to mount a petition drive asking for relief from the new regulations and are talking to lawyers now to explore their options.
“As it stands right now, we’ll have no choice but to shut down at midnight on Friday, but we’re not giving up,” Wiessen said. “We have to see what our lawyers tell us and go from there.”
Regardless of how you feel about smoking, you should be outraged. For the government to, by the sweep of a magic pen, put an industry out of business is simply immoral.
Every small business person in America should be very worried. They may come for you next, particularly if you happen to compete with a large corporation, that just happens to have an elected official in their back pocket.
Attribution: Beth Karuschak, Las Vegas Review-Journal
A new chemical could make human teeth ‘cavity proof’ – and do away with the need for visits to the dentists forever.
The chemical was designed by dentists in Chile, and wipes out all the bacteria that cause cavities in just 60 seconds in tests.
The chemical could be added to any current dental care product, turning toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum into ‘super cleansers’ that could get rid of the underlying cause of tooth decay.
By exterminating the bacteria, ‘Keep 32’ prevents the damage to teeth before it happens.
Using a product containing the chemical keeps your teeth ‘cavity proof’ for several hours.
The product has been under test for seven years, and is now going into human trials.
The chemical could even be added to foods to stop bacteria damaging teeth as you eat.
The researchers hope to licence the patent to chemical giants such as Procter and Gamble.
‘We are currently in talks with five interested in investing in our project or buy our patent,’ say the researchers.
Attribution: Mail Online
Danish archaeologists have re-opened a mass grave of scores of slaughtered Iron Age warriors to find new clues about their fate and the bloody practices of Germanic tribes on the edge of the Roman Empire.
Experts started digging again on Monday, saying they expected to find more bodies dating back 2,000 years.
Aarhus University archaeologist Mads Kahler Holst said: “I guess we will end up with a scale that is much larger than the 200 that we have at present.”
Speaking by phone from the site on damp grazing meadows near Jutland’s large lake of Mossoe, he added: “We have only touched upon a very small part of what we expect to be there … We have not seen anything like this before in Denmark, but it is quite extraordinary even in a European perspective.”
The first bones, belonging to people as young as 13, were discovered in 2009.
“That is one of the big mysteries … We don’t know if it is local or foreign – we would expect it to be local,” Holst said.
“We think it is a sacrifice related to warfare and probably the defeated soldiers were killed and thrown into the lake,” he said.
The remains are from the beginning of the Roman Iron Age, though Roman armies never reached so far north.
“It was the time when the Roman Empire had its greatest expansion to the north,” Holst said. But even that push only got the Romans as far as modern day Germany, a few hundred kilometers to the south of the Danish site.
“This conflict could have been a consequence of the Roman expansion, its effect on the Germanic world,” Holst said.
He said the discovery could shed new light on what happened in those centuries beyond the borders of the Roman Empire.
“It will also tell about what level of military organization existed in this northern European area,” he said.
The remains are so well-preserved that experts will be able to analyze their DNA – a rare achievement in remains so old, said Ejvind Hertz, curator of archaeology at Skanderborg Museum.
“Preliminary DNA tests have been carried out at a laboratory on six teeth and two femur bones. There was not much in the femurs but there was in the teeth – teeth are good at preserving DNA,” Hertz said.
The DNA of people who lived at that time would not normally differ from the DNA of today’s Scandinavians. If differences are found, it could point to a foreign army from southern Europe, Hertz said.
Attribution: Daily Mail