Must be Sunspots

A unbelievably large sunspot has appeared in the past few days, which could mean the Earth is about to be blasted by powerful solar storms.

Known as AR 1476, it was spotted by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, which launched in 2010.

Its diameter of 60,000 miles is many times that of the Earth, which measures just under 8,000 miles across.

The sunspot is so enormous that it’s possible to view with home telescopes – though experts warn that these must be fitted with sun filters to prevent permanent eye damage.

In a tweet, the SDO mission described the sunspot as a ‘monster’ and predicted that a huge solar flare – or coronal mass ejection – could erupt as a result, meaning the Earth would be hosed by radiation travelling at up to 5million mph.

Sunspots often travel in pairs and are darker than the surrounding area because they are slightly cooler, which makes them less luminous. They are caused by the sun’s magnetic field becoming twisted – and it’s this twisting dynamic that can produce coronal mass ejections. These contain billions of tons of gases bursting with X-rays and ultraviolet radiation. They are mind-bogglingly hot – around 100,000,0000C.

The Earth is occasionally hit by these ejections, leading to amazing shimmering light shows. They are the result of ionized solar particles becoming imprisoned by Earth’s magnetic field, exciting the gases in the atmosphere and emitting bursts of energy in the form of light.

However, these particles can also cause magnetic storms, which in extreme cases have been known to disrupt satellites and electrical grids. In 1989, a CME was responsible for leaving six million people in Quebec, Canada, without power.

Solar activity runs in 11-year cycles, with the current one peaking in 2013, so more violent space weather is on the horizon.

Dr Matthew Penn, of the National Solar Observatory in Arizona, said recently, ‘Because the sun is becoming more active, it will have an impact on millions of people. Sunspots can cause the biggest and most damaging space storms that occur.

He added, ‘During the next two years, we are expecting the number of sunspots visible on the sun to reach a maximum. We know that sunspots are the source of a lot of space weather and solar storms, so we expect a larger number of solar storms here at the Earth.’

Joke of the Day

A young man at this construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone based on his strength. He especially made fun of one of the older workman. After several minutes, the older worker had enough. 

“Why don’t you put your money where you mouth is?” he said. “I’ll bet a week’s wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to the other building that you won’t be able to wheel back.” 

“You’re on, old man,” the young man replied. “Let’s see what you’ve got.” 

The old man reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles.

Then nodding to the young man, he said with a smile, “All right. Get in.”

The Real War on Women

Recently the left has tried to advance the notion that there is a war on women being waged by the Republican Party and members of the right.

It turns out that this got very little traction and has all but fizzled out. The left may try to resurrect it as the general election heats up, but I doubt it will achieve any traction or be a deciding factor in the election one way or the other.

There is, however, a real war on women being waged daily and has been going on for centuries.

I speak, of course, of Islam and countries that use Sharia as the law of the land.

In Islamic society, a woman or girl is subjugated to, at best, a second-class citizen, or more appropriately, enslaved.

In Islam, marriage for the woman is not a happy experience.

In Islam, the wife is a slave to her husband. The Islamic traditions stress that a woman should obey her husband’s commands. The Quran gives a man complete authority in marriage: “Men stand superior to women” (Q 4.34).

In addition to absolute obedience, a woman should revere her husband because Islam teaches that, “If a woman knew the right of a husband, she would not sit at his lunch and supper time until he finishes.” One time, a woman came to the Prophet of Islam to ask about her obligations to her husband. He said, “If he had pus from his hair part to his foot (from head to toe) and you licked him, you would not have shown him enough gratitude.”

The Quran gives the husband the right to punish his wife if she goes outside the parameters that he draws for her. It provides men with instructions: “But those whose perverseness ye fear, admonish them and remove them into bed chambers and beat them; but if they submit to you, then you do not seek a way against them.” (Q 4.34).

In reading the verse above one will notice that these instructions were given to the husband concerning a wife whom he only fears disloyalty, not a wife that actually committed a disloyal act.

At the beginning of marriage, the husband reminds his wife about the rights that are given to him by Sharia Law. He can say to her, “Fear Allah! I have rights due to me from you. Repent from what you’re doing. Know that obedience to me is one of your obligations.” If the wife refuses to fulfill the sexual desires of her husband, that he should remind her of his rights over her body.

According to Islamic teaching, if the wife remains “disobedient”, her husband should ignore her. This means he abstains from sexual intercourse with her as part of this phase of the punishment.

The word hajr is interpreted to mean, “to refuse to share their beds”. The word hajr actually has several meanings. One of these meanings indicates the hajr of the camel when the owner binds the animal with a hijar, or rope. This rather disturbing interpretation means that the term used in Q 4.34, “refuse to share their beds”, can actually mean to bind the wife and force her to have sexual intercourse.

The Quranic principle of a man’s right to a woman’s body is not open for discussion. Regardless of her psychological or physical state, she has to obey the man’s command to lie in bed and have sexual relations with him.

The prophet of Islam repeatedly made statements advocating this view:

“If a man calls his woman to his bed, and she does not come, and then he goes to bed angry at her, the Angels will curse her until the morning.”

If the previous methods, including instruction and verbal abuse, failed to correct a wife’s behavior, then the husband is given the right to beat his wife. Even though verse Q 4.34 does not specify the mode or limit of the beating, it is believed that the prophet of Islam but a condition on the beating, classifying it as “not excessive”.

When interpreting the phrase “not excessive beating”, Islamic scholars offer the following guidelines:

Avoid hitting the wife’s face. Do not break any of the wife’s bones. Use nonfatal implements or physical force, such as the use of al-siwak (a twig of the Salvadora persica tree), or shoelaces, etc. and the use of the hand (hitting, slapping, punching the neck and chest, etc.).

The wife may receive a beating for any behavior that incites the anger of her husband or for every act that her husband does not like. Current Islamic literature supports the legitimacy of beating and its benefits for “upbringing”.

The abuse of women under Sharia law extends not only to wives but to all females, regardless of age.

Most are forbidden to work or leave the house without a male escort. They are not allowed to seek medical attention from a male doctor and are forced to cover themselves head to toe, even covering their eyes.

It has been widely publicized in Saudi Arabia, which is most Sharia adherent, that women are not allowed to drive, which is rather immaterial, since, for the most part, they are not allowed to leave the house.

Child marriages are quite common as is giving away girls for simple dispute resolution. Forced isolation in the home, exchange marriage and honor killings are also part of Sharia.

In Afghanistan a number of women have been known to set themselves on fire because they cannot bear their lives. Between 60 and 80% of all marriages in Afghanistan are forced as many as 57% of girls are married off below the age of 16, some as young as six. Girls are a commodity and marriage is essentially just a financial transaction.

Sharia law allows polygamy and only men can acquire easy divorce. Under Sharia, the marriage contract actually has three spaces to be filled in by the groom, with the names and addresses of additional wives should he have any.

The penalty for a woman’s extramarital sexual indiscretion is death by stoning or beheading. Rape is a crime under Sharia law, but the criminal and guilty party is always the female, regardless of age or circumstance.

Women who’ve been raped cannot report the crime because they require 4 males to witness the crime and run the risk of being prosecuted for having sex outside marriage.

Saudi women are denied the right to make even the most trivial decisions for their children and are not permitted to travel without permission from the child’s father.

So the next time you encounter a woman complaining that she can’t afford her contraception or bellyaching over some supposed “glass ceiling”, remind her how blessed she is to be born and raised in this country, where she has the same rights as everyone else.

 Attribution: AL FADI

Four Dwarfs of the Apocolypse

The shattered remains of planets that bear a striking resemblance to our own Earth have been found around white dwarf stars – offering a vision of what will one day happen to our planet.

University of Warwick astrophysicists found four white dwarves surrounded by the dust of shattered planets.

White dwarfs are the final stage of life of stars like our Sun – once the thermonuclear furnace inside a star ‘burns out’.

 Using the Hubble Space Telescope to carry out the biggest survey to date of the chemical composition of the atmospheres of white dwarf stars, the researchers found that the most frequently occurring elements in the dust around these four white dwarfs were oxygen, magnesium, iron and silicon — the four elements that make up roughly 93 percent of the Earth.

It’s evidence that the small, dense stars are surrounded by the ‘corpses’ of worlds they’ve ‘eaten’.

At least one of the stars is in the process of sucking in the planet’s core – rich in iron, nickel and sulphur – at a rate of around a million kilos a second. 

Professor Boris Gänsicke of the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick, who led the study, said the destructive process which caused the discs of dust around these distant white dwarfs is likely to one day play out in our own solar system.

‘What we are seeing today in these white dwarfs several hundred light-years away could well be a snapshot of the very distant future of the Earth.

‘As stars like our Sun reach the end of their life, they expand to become red giants when the nuclear fuel in their cores is depleted.

‘When this happens in our own solar system, billions of years from now, the Sun will engulf the inner planets Mercury and Venus. It’s unclear whether the Earth will also be swallowed up by the Sun in its red giant phase — but even if it survives, its surface will be roasted.

‘During the transformation of the Sun into a white dwarf, it will lose a large amount of mass, and all the planets will move further out. This may destabilize the orbits and lead to collisions between planetary bodies as happened in the unstable early days of our solar system.

‘This may even shatter entire terrestrial planets, forming large amounts of asteroids, some of which will have chemical compositions similar to those of the planetary core. In our solar system, Jupiter will survive the late evolution of the Sun unscathed, and scatter asteroids, new or old, towards the white dwarf.

However an even more significant observation was that this material also contained an extremely low proportion of carbon, which matched very closely that of the Earth and the other rocky planets orbiting closest to our own Sun.

This is the first time that such low proportions of carbon have been measured in the atmospheres of white dwarf stars polluted by debris.

This clear evidence that these stars once had at least one rocky exoplanet which they have now destroyed, the observations must also pinpoint the last phase of the death of these worlds.

The atmosphere of a white dwarf is made up of hydrogen and/or helium, so any heavy elements that come into their atmosphere are dragged downwards to their core and out of sight within a matter of days by the dwarf’s high gravity.

Given this, the astronomers must literally be observing the final phase of the death of these worlds as the material rains down on the stars at rates of up to 1 million kilograms every second.

Not only is this clear evidence that these stars once had rocky exoplanetary bodies which have now been destroyed, the observations of one particular white dwarf, PG0843+516, may also tell the story of the destruction of these worlds.

This star stood out from the rest owing to the relative overabundance of the elements iron, nickel and sulphur in the dust found in its atmosphere. Iron and nickel are found in the cores of terrestrial planets, as they sink to the center owing to the pull of gravity during planetary formation, and so does sulphur thanks to its chemical affinity to iron.
Therefore, researchers believe they are observing White Dwarf PG0843+516 in the very act of swallowing up material from the core of a rocky planet that was large enough to undergo differentiation, similar to the process that separated the core and the mantle of the Earth.

The University of Warwick led team surveyed more than 80 white dwarfs within a few hundred light-years of the Sun, using the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph onboard the Hubble Space Telescope.

Empathetic Canines

Your dog might understand you more than you think.

It appears dogs can ‘catch’ yawns from humans – but it seems to work best when there’s a bond between dog and man.

Dogs yawn even when they only hear the sound of their owners doing the same, researchers have found.

A study found that nearly half of all dogs yawned when played a recording of a human being making such a noise.

But when the yawn played belonged to their owners, the canines were five times more likely than if the voice belonged to a stranger.

The researchers said it was further proof that dogs empathize with their owners and understand what they are going through.

In her report behavioral biologist Karine Silva, the lead researcher, said: ‘These results suggest that dogs have the capacity to empathize with humans’.

Previous studies have found that dogs are among the few non-human animals to yawn – others include macaques, baboons and chimpanzees.

When somebody ‘catches’ another person’s yawn it has long been taken as a sign you understand what they are going through – and are tired as well.

To see if canines do the same researchers from University of Porto in Portugal tested 29 dogs which had lived with their owners for at least six months.

They recorded the owners yawning and played the recordings to their dogs, along with the yawn of an unfamiliar woman and a control sound, which was a yawn noise played backwards.

The dogs were given two sessions one week apart and the number of yawns for each noise was monitored.

The results showed that when dogs heard their owners they were by far more likely to yawn than under any other set of circumstances.

Scientists who were not involved in the study said it gave new insight into human and dog relations.

Evan McLean, a Ph.D. student at Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center in Durham, North Carolina, told Science Now: ‘This study tells us something new about the mechanisms underlying contagious yawning in dogs.

‘As in humans, dogs can catch this behavior using their ears alone’.

But Ádám Miklósi, an ethologist at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, raised a note of scepticism and said that previous studies showed dogs looked guilty even when they were not.

He and said: ‘Using behaviors as indicators will only show some similarity in behavior, but it will never tell us whether canine empathy, whatever this is, matches human empathy.

‘Dogs can simulate very well different forms of social interest that could mislead people to think they are controlled by the same mental processes, but they may not always understand the complexity of human behavior.’

The research will be published in the July issue of Animal Cognition.

Attribution: Daily Mail

Squaw no More

By: The Common Constitutionalist

How might you find Elizabeth Warren? Just look for the Trail of Tears. (buh-dum-bum)

Yes, by now we’ve all heard the claim by Massachusetts democrat candidate for Senator, Elizabeth Warren, that, due to her high cheek bones, she was 1/32 Cherokee Indian and thus claimed minority status as a Law Professor.

Joke-A-Hontas

Well it turns out that’s not quite accurate. As a matter of fact, it’s about as inaccurate as one might be, unless she made the claim on that well-known holiday,  “Opposite Day”.

See, one of her ancestors, although not an indian himself was directly involved with the Cherokee…mainly slaughtering them.

Paul Reed, a Utah genealogist who is a fellow at the American Genealogical Society, said he found primary documentation that shows Warren’s great-great-great grandfather Jonathan Crawford served in a Tennessee militia unit that rounded up Cherokees before they were force-marched to Oklahoma in the infamous “Trail of Tears.”

He was Militia member? Did he own a gun? Hope he had a permit. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Thousand of Indians died from exposure and malnutrition on that trail, mandated by the  heartless “Indian removal Act” of 1830, signed by that evil bastard, Andrew Jackson.

“Jonathan H. Crawford did serve in the Indian wars,” said Reed. “He is listed as serving in the company that rounded up Cherokees.”

In my opinion, this is just another example of elitist arrogance. These folks have been protected by the media and housed safely in their academic cocoons for so long, they believe they can do or say anything without ever being questioned. She could have said that she stowed away in the Apollo moon lander and the only question to her might be, “How was the food”? 

When someone finally does question them, they become belligerent and try to deflect attention onto someone else. In this case, her republican opponent, Senator Scott Brown, asking why he keeps on this topic. She complains he should stick to the issues and no one in the media ever bothers to remind her that she was the one who started this whole indian nonsense.

Ring of Death

A ring of ground-to-air missile launchers could be deployed around London to protect Olympic venues, the Ministry of Defense confirmed yesterday.

 Six sites, including two residential complexes, are being tested as launch pads for missile systems capable of thwarting any airborne terror attack.

Starstreak and Rapier missile systems – which have a range of around 4 miles – would be deployed as a “last resort” to shoot down any low flying aircraft intending a 9/11 style suicide mission at one of the Olympic venues.

Defense sources claim radar would identify rogue aircraft and the missiles would be deployed long before they reached built up areas.

But experts have claimed that the systems are useless in poor weather as they rely on the operator being able to see the target.

Nick Brown, editor in chief of IHS Jane’s International Defense Review said, “The system’s weakness is that the missiles are laser-guided, steered onto their target by the soldier keeping his sight on an aircraft. So if the soldier can’t see an aircraft, they can’t hit it.

 As a result, the missiles can be badly affected by weather and would also not be able to engage targets ‘masked’ by buildings on their approach to the stadium.”

People living close to where the missiles are to be housed have also expressed concern about the dangers of using such weapons in urban areas.

The systems will be tested in the coming days as part of a major military exercise organized to check Olympic security preparations, although no test missiles will be fired.

Today members of the armed forces visited Bow Quarter in preparation for tomorrow’s exercise. Photographs taken by residents appear to show soldiers carrying large boxes.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said they would be setting up equipment but would not be installing missiles, which are still at the “proposal stage”.

The six sites identified as potential locations for missile launchers are:

:: Bow Quarter, a large apartment complex close to the Olympic stadium.

:: Fred Wigg Tower, a 16 story residential tower block in Walthamstow, east London.

:: Blackheath Common, close to Greenwich where the Equestrian events will be held.

:: William Girling Reservoir, in Enfield, North East London.

:: Oxleas Wood, near Woolwich in East London

:: Netherhouse Farm in Epping Forest, North East London.

The missiles are intended to form part of a “layered” defense system, which will see 13,500 military personnel deployed to support the police for the duration of the games.

Typhoon aircraft will conduct low flying exercises over the capital and helicopters carrying snipers will also coduct practice operations.

General Sir Nick Parker, standing joint commander, said around 100 sites had initially been considered for missile launchers, but that had eventually been narrowed down to six.

He said the aim was to provide an “effective layered plan that provides a proper deterrent” adding that they could be used to defend venues against all manner of airborne attacks from the 9/11 style assault to a smaller “low and slow” attack from a single light aircraft.

He added: “There are two locations where we are going to place missiles on buildings because that is the very best place for them to go to do the jobs they are expected to do.

“This is what is going to be practiced over the next 10 days. We need to see that we can integrate them and they are really in the right place. Once we have done that we can make a final decision and make a final recommendation.”

He added: “I do understand that this is unusual and that people will be concerned. For the greater good it is prudent for us to provide this sort of air security plan. It would be sensible to be prepared for the worst.”

He added that the final decision on whether to fire the weapon systems would be taken at the “very highest political level”.

Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Support for the Olympic Games will be an important task for defense in 2012 and this exercise is about pushing our people and our systems to the limit to ensure that we are ready for the challenge.

“The majority of this exercise will be played out in full view of the public and I hope that it will have a secondary effect of reassuring the British people that everything possible is being done to ensure this will be a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the National Olympic Security Coordinator, said: “The Olympic Games are unusual so there will be a number of things we are doing which are unusual because the Olympic Games are coming. This is about trying to put in place a proportionate, necessary and sensible plan.

“The purpose of the exercise is to test whether they will work or not and then to make recommendations to the ministers because obviously, it has to have final approval from the ministers and not ourselves.”

Attribution: Mail Online

Joke of the Day

A couple is dressed and ready to go out for the evening. They phone for a cab, turn on a night light, cover Tweety, their pet parakeet, and put Hag, their cat, out in the back yard.

The taxi arrives, and they open the front door to leave. Suddenly the cat they put out scoots back into the house. They don’t want the cat shut in there because she always tries to eat the bird. The wife goes out to the taxi while the husband goes back in. The cat runs upstairs, with the man in hot pursuit.

The wife doesn’t want the driver to know the house will be empty. She explains to the taxi driver that her husband will be out soon. “He’s just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother.”

A few minutes later the husband gets into the cab.

“Sorry I took so long,” he says, as they drive away. “Stupid Hag was hiding under the bed. Had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out! Then I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked. I hauled her fat butt downstairs and threw her out into the back yard!

The cab driver hit a parked car.