Planetary Eruptions

first_imgEruptions can come in two types: literal and figurative.  Some planetary bodies are literally erupting.  Others are causing figurative eruptions in theories.  Here are some recent news stories about planets, moons, comets and other objects circling our sun and other stars.  There hasn’t been much news from Mercury or Venus this month, so we’ll start on the home planet and work outward. Earth volcanoes:  Earth is busting out all over.  You can watch the fireworks going on at Mt. Etna on this BBC News video clip.  Live Science has a video of the hottest, deepest volcano on earth, found underwater near Fiji.  New Scientist resurrected the “heretical” view that the dinosaurs were killed by lava, not a meteor; two giant blobs of mantle that erupted onto the surface. One geologist remarked, “This will be controversial – it flies in the face of much of the research from the last 30 years.”  Wynne Perry at Live Science (see MSNBC) entertained the entertaining question, “Did a methane burp clear the way for the dinosaurs?”  Over at Science Daily, the idea was presented that much of earth’s surface was formed from ancient flood basalts, “giant lava eruptions that coat large swaths of land or ocean floor” periodically.  Incidentally, geologists are not sure where Earth’s internal heat comes from, especially since Japan’s KamLAND antineutrino detector came up short (see Science Daily).  “One thing we can say with near certainty is that radioactive decay alone is not enough to account for Earth’s heat energy,” remarked Stuart Freedman of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.  “Whether the rest is primordial heat or comes from some other source is an unanswered question.” Moon volcanoes:  A region of volcanism was found on the back side of the moon.  Most of the volcanic evidence, the maria, is on the near side, but in the middle of the cratered regions on the far side, reported PhysOrg, “a small volcanic province created by the upwelling of silicic magma” was reported by remote sensing of chemical clues by the Lunar Prospector.  “The unusual location of the province and the surprising composition of the lava that formed it offer tantalizing clues to the Moon’s thermal history.” Mars volcanoes:  A Texas geologist is pouring lava on hopes for life on Mars by resurrecting a “heretical”  view that most of Martian history was created by lava, not water.  According to PhysOrg, David Leverington (Texas Tech) argues that slippery, low-viscosity lavas mimicked the action of water, carving the channels and basins that so tantalize astrobiologists. “If Leverington is right, the odds of life on Mars plummet to near zero,” because Mars would have been bone dry most of its history.  “But that’s a big ‘if’,” the article cautioned. Arguments on both sides of the debate were presented.  JPL’s next Mars rover Curiosity, scheduled for launch this fall, has a target for its August 2012 landing: Gale Crater, which is thought to have had liquid water in the past (Live Science).  Mission scientists, who love to look for water with visions of life, are probably hoping Leverington is wrong. Vesta geology: JPL’s DAWN spacecraft arrived in orbit at the giant asteroid Vesta on July 17.  It’s too early for science results, but the BBC News posted some of the best early images of the colorful, crater-packed surface.  Jupiter moon mysteries:  Live Science posted a review of “The Greatest Mysteries of Jupiter’s Moons” by Adam Hadhazy.  He presented the traditional tidal-flexing model of Io’s volcanism, but then admitted that tidal forces alone “might not account for all this oomph.”  The Juno spacecraft, readying for its launch in August, may make Io a prime target for study.  News media like PhysOrg and the Los Angeles Times have been exaggerating its capabilities as if one mission could “find the recipe for planet-making.” Titan volcanoes:  Out at the Saturn system, the source of Titan’s atmosphere is still a puzzle.  New Scientist said that planetologists are still unsure whether material has erupted onto the giant moon’s surface and replenished the methane which otherwise would be gone within 15 million years (a third of 1% the assumed age of the moon).  The article by Jeff Hecht reviews the findings and mysteries of this major enigmatic body of the solar system. Enceladus showers:  Saturn is feeling the eruptions from its little geysering moon Enceladus.  That surprising announcement came from the news room of the Herschel Space Observatory, a mission of the European Space Agency.  “Enceladus rains water onto Saturn,” PhysOrg said; New Scientist headlined, “Moon-showers give Saturn an aquatic belt.”  The infrared instrument on the orbiting telescope was able to detect the water and estimate that 5 percent of the eruptive water vapor (250 kg per second) “falls on Saturn where it collects to form a ring extending five times the width of the planet.”  This process is “unique to Saturn,” PhysOrg said.  The water belt extends out 10 Saturn radii and is one Saturn radius thick.  What happens to the other 95 percent?  “Although most of the water from Enceladus is lost into space, freezes on the rings or perhaps falls onto Saturn’s other moons, the small fraction that does fall into the planet is sufficient to explain the water observed in its upper atmosphere.” Pluto moon:  The Pluto system has added a child: Hubble discovered another small moon, bringing the family to four moons and a parent “dwarf planet” as Pluto is now labeled (PhysOrg).  Space.com quoted Alan Stern, principal investigator of the New Horizons spacecraft slated to swing by Pluto in July 2015. “This is a whole new kind of planet,” he said.  “It’s going to blow our doors off.”  One door ready to be blown is the dynamical problem of how such a small body could have four objects in orbit around it for billions of years. Comet eruptions:  A “theory eruption” has taken place regarding comets.  Sample returns and remote sensing has established that some cometary material formed at high temperatures, contrary to decades of assumptions.  PhysOrg presented work by European researchers who came up with a model employing “photophoresis,” that assumes material from the hottest parts of the inner solar system got cooked sunny side up.  The difference in temperature on the two sides of a particle leads to migration, they say, conveying the cooked material outward by sunlight pressure, where it became incorporated into comets.  “This novel physical explanation could account for the position of certain dust rings observed in protoplanetary disks and thus shed light on the conditions of planet formation,” they said.  Whether the model works if the grains rotate was not clear from the article.  Comet Hartley 2 is a real-world comet that made the news on PhysOrg.  Its tail includes particles as large as golf balls. Extrasolar planets:  Space.com is dabbling in the occult.  Its article, “How to keep lonely planets snug: just add dark matter” calls on mysterious unknown stuff to warm up lonely exoplanets wandering through the darkness of space.  Neither isolated planets nor dark matter have ever been observed, but the author quoted an astrobiologist who went even further into speculation, imagining life on such worlds subsisting off the internal heat from imaginary dark matter interactions with the imaginary planets. On his blog The Procrustean, physicist Rob Sheldon told a personal story of his friend’s quest to measure the solar wind.  It led to the Genesis mission, which found that the oxygen isotope ratios differ between the solar wind and earth, leading to the conclusion that Laplace, inventor of the nebular hypothesis, was wrong – not only in his physics, but his metaphysics (compared to Newton’s).  Tied into the discussion was Cornelius Hunter’s recent philosophical entry on his blog Darwin’s God about Laplace, Kant, Darwin, and god-of-the gaps hypotheses. We are very fortunate to live in an age of exceptional discoveries in astronomy.  We are less fortunate to live in a time of incorrigible materialism, when our science representatives spend reckless drafts on the bank of time to a point where we face an international debt crisis that is unlikely to be paid back, even with higher taxing of credulity.(Visited 47 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Southern rugby’s export boom

first_img29 June 2007Springbok captain John Smit will be playing his rugby in France for the next two years, joining what could become an exodus of top South African rugby players to Europe. Judging by similar moves by Australian and New Zealand players, the game could be in for a shake-up after the World Cup in France.Smit announced on Wednesday that he has accepted an offer to play for Cleremont Auvergne in 2008/09. Free State Cheetahs’ centre Marius Joubert is joining Smit there, while former Springbok Grant Esterhuizen is already on the club’s books.“Representing the Springboks since my debut in 2000 and also playing for my beloved Sharks was a real dream come true for me and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them,” Smit said on the Sharks website. “However, the time has come to make a change and move on in my professional career.”Smit’s decision notwithstanding, national coach Jake White, should he remain coach of the Springboks after the World Cup, has said he would still pick the hooker to captain the Boks. “Without a doubt, John’s ability to lead a team, coupled with his strength in the scrums and accuracy in the lineout, make him special,” White said.Andy Marinos, the manager of South Africa’s national rugby teams, said Smit had consulted SA Rugby throughout the process and “we respect his decision”.More international skippersSmit might not be the only Springbok captain heading for France. Ambitious French second division side Toulon recently announced that Victor Matfield, who led South Africa against New Zealand in Durban recently, has been signed.Matfield hasn’t yet confirmed the move. The French media, however, have quoted the lock as saying he has only a few loose ends to tie up and is committed to Toulon in principle.Former All Black captain Tana Umaga is both a player and the club’s general manager. He’s been very active signing players, and apart from chasing Matfield – viewed by many as the best lineout forward in world rugby – Umaga has signed Australia’s George Gregan, the most capped player in test, former All Blacks flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens, and Anton Oliver who, like Umaga, has led New Zealand.South Africans at ToulonToulon has a good number of South African players on its books, including Daniel Muller, Nicky Smit, Charl van Vliet, Nico Breedt, Norman Jordaan and Chris Rossouw, so it appears that settling settling in wouldn’t be a problem for Matfield.The club’s most recently announced signing, prop Lawrence Sephaka, brings the number of South African players, excluding Matfield, to seven.Toulon even has a South African coaching connection, with Tim Lane, who previously coached the Cats (now Lions) in Super Rugby and served as a Springbok assistant coach, in charge.While Matfield is 30 and probably doesn’t have that many years left in his career, another Springbok star, Schalk Burger, has drawn the interest of France’s Toulouse and England’s NEC Harlequins, and he is just 24 years of age.Currency issuesNaturally, South African rugby would rather not lose a young superstar to a northern hemisphere club, but it is an uphill battle for South Africa’s provinces and the SA Rugby Union – at current exchange rates the euro is worth close to R10, while the pound is worth over R14.It would be difficult, if not impossible, for South Africa to match the money Europe can offer players of the stature of Smit, Matfield and Burger.The list of players rumoured to be heading north doesn’t end there, however, and, if the number of New Zealanders and Australians also heading in that direction after the World Cup is any indication, a lot of South Africans will be joining them.UK callingPercy Montgomery, who previously had a stint in Wales with the Newport Gwent Dragons, has been linked with Perpignan, as has Bok winger Ashwin Willemse. Gerrie Britz has already signed a three-year contract with the club.Springbok flyhalf Butch James has reportedly been approached by English club Bath, while 39-test veteran De Wet Barry recently signed a two-year contract with Harlequins.Should a large number of frontline Springboks sign contracts with French and English clubs, there could be problems for SA rugby down the line.One need only to look back on England’s recent tour of South Africa and France’s tour of New Zealand, where both touring teams were missing many top players because of club rugby commitments.In both series, the southern hemisphere teams, at full strength, recorded record margins of victory over the northern hemisphere sides. South Africa thumped England 58-10 and 55-22, while the All Blacks hammered France 42-11 and 61-10.World rugby shake-up?Increasingly, countries are selecting teams for test matches that are not their strongest line-ups, but rather selections that are used to gauge whether players are potential World Cup players or not.The rugby world could be in for a big shake-up after the World Cup in France, with more watering down of national teams a definite possibility.An exodus of South African, New Zealand and Australian players could result in a weakened Tri-Nations competition; it could even end up with the southern hemisphere powers sending out third-string teams against the northern hemisphere.When England tackled the Springboks recently, 30 top players were unavailable for selection, mostly because of club commitments. The shoe could soon be on the other foot.SA players in EuropeBelow is a list of South Africans who played club rugby in France or England this past season, or who are set to play in Europe next season (A * indicates players linked with a move to a club, ^ indicates players who have recently signed contracts).Included in the list are a number of English, French, New Zealand and Welsh rugby internationals who were born and/or grew up in South Africa.FRANCEStade FrançaisPieter de Villiers (French international), Boela du Plooy, Brian Liebenberg (French international), Frans ViljoenToulouseDaan Human, Gaffie du ToitCleremont AuvergneGrant Esterhuizen, John Smit*, Marius Joubert*PerpignanGavin Hume, Gerrie Britz*, Percy Montgomery^, Ashwin Willemse^BourgoinRudi Coetzee, Wessel JoosteMontaubanBraam ImmelmanCastresDanie Saayman, Gerhard VoslooBriveVickus Liebenberg, Johan van Zyl, Hendrik Gerber, Charl van RensburgMontpellierDrikus Hancke, Rickus LubbeBayonneRob Linde, Jacques Deen, Sam Gerber, Eduard CoetzeeNarbonneHenk Eksteen, Retief Uys, Tinus van RensburgAgenWillem Stoltz, Adri Badenhorst, Pietman van Niekerk, Conrad StoltzToulouseSchalk Burger^Toulon (Division Two)Daniel Muller, Nicky Smit, Charl van Vliet, Nico Breedt, Norman Jordaan, Chris Rossouw, Victor Matfield^ENGLANDGloucesterRudi Keil, Jake BoerSaracensCobus Visagie, Neil de KockLondon IrishMike Catt (England international), Danie Coetzee, Faan RautenbachNEC HarlequinsStuart Abbott (England international), Hal Luscombe (Wales international), Andre Vos, Schalk Burger^BathPieter Dixon, Hottie Louw, Matt Stevens (England international), Michael Claassens, Butch JamesNewcastle FalconsRussell WinterWorcester WarriorsThinus Delport, Greg Rawlinson (New Zealand international)Northampton Saints Joe van Niekerk, Geoff Appleford (England international), Pat Barnard Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

From Co-Working to Cubicles: Where Are You Working?

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#start#StartUp 101#startups Related Posts One of the fantastic things about being an entrepreneur is that you can define your own working conditions. From Craigslist’s modest Sunset District apartment headquarters to Twitter’s stylish new digs, startups are getting creative with their work spaces. Below are a few options to consider in choosing your space. Virtual: As covered in an earlier post, ReadWriteWeb runs a totally virtual office. Using a combination of Basecamp, Google Docs and Skype, the team manages to coordinate articles and interviews from more than five locations across the globe. Traveling Space: We recently came across iStopOver – a service that allows you to rent space for your team while on the go. If you’re together at a conference, or you’d just like a change of pace, this service allows you to rent furnished office space on a daily basis. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting dana oshiro Co-working: Rather than having your staff work in isolation, you can rent them desk space at one or a number of distributed co-working facilities. Sites like San Francisco’s Citizen Space and The Hat Factory allow nomadic tech workers to share ideas and solutions in a friendly environment. Many co-working spaces offer a daily drop in rate as well as the option for monthly membership. To find a space in your community, check out the co-working map on the Co-working community blog. Lease and Rent: Sites like LoopNet and Rofo specialize in finding commercial space. A number of sites will allow you to take on space for a short-term lease with the idea that you may need to scale up your team in a short period of time. If you’ve got a unique work environment, let us know in the comments below.last_img read more

Business Cloud Computing: Privacy Is Just As Important As Security

first_imgluke burns Tags:#cloud computing#enterprise#privacy#saas#security How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Related Posts Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…center_img Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Guest author Luke Burns is a partner at Ascent Venture Partners.Security and privacy are often mentioned in the same breath, but when it comes to cloud computing, security tends to be the dominant subject. But should it be? While there are seemingly endless security threats, cloud providers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable in addressing them.When it comes to privacy, though, cloud vendors have not made the same progress. In fact, it’s more than likely that Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies breach the customer’s perception of data privacy regularly.I’m not referring simply to consumer companies and their problems with privacy, e.g. Facebook sharing personal data with advertisers. Enterprise SaaS companies face their own unique challenges around customer data usage, even though those issues have not received the same level of scrutiny.Enterprise Services Know A Lot About Their CustomersThe challenging aspects of SaaS privacy arise from the close relationship between vendor and customer – a situation vastly different than in days of on-premise software. As the name suggests, SaaS vendors provide a service, and with that service comes the ability to log every keystroke and mouse click that a customer makes using their software.Why would a SaaS vendor do that?Think about customer relationship management (CRM) software as an example. What would you think if your CRM took note every time you updated a contact, and then made that updated contact information available to other users with that same business connection? Sounds like a pretty useful service for customers, doesn’t it?What Are Your Expectations For Data Privacy?But does it breach your expectation of data privacy? SaaS opens up the door to increased interaction and partnership between a customer and a vendor, but it also opens the door for misuse.One particularly interesting area with privacy concerns is the use of the metadata (data about the data). Let’s say, for example, there is a clear agreement that all data is owned by the customer and can’t be used by the vendor. But would that agreement also include things like the number of users (salespeople) actively using a CRM system or the number of new sales leads entered in a given quarter or the number of meetings booked?This type of data could yield tremendous insight to an individual trying to gauge sales activity at a given company or within a given sector. Would use of this metadata be covered under data ownership or could the SaaS vendor sell those insights to the highest bidder with a clear conscience?Then there’s obfuscated or anonymized data. Is it OK for a SaaS provider to use your data to create unattributed market statistics? Imagine a financial SaaS vendor that could create a composite view of all the private companies using its system and publish average earnings growth over various periods of time. Or a customer-service SaaS vendor that could create benchmarks on average time to close a trouble ticket. In each case, the vendor is producing valuable data points it can use for profit. Should there be any type of reimbursement for customers, or is it just a cost of doing business?Who Owns The Intellectual Property?Many SaaS platforms offer robust tools to customize the experience for individual customers and companies. These customizations often reflect significant investment in design and development and sometimes reflect proprietary business processes. How much exposure to these customizations does a SaaS vendor have? Could it use these customizations as templates for future product enhancements that might be offered to competitors of the customers that originally created them?We’re just scratching the surface of potential privacy issues that can arise with SaaS vendor relationships.Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying companies should avoid SaaS. In fact, I think the benefits of embracing software in the cloud far outweigh the potential risks. The close relationship developed between a SaaS vendor and its customers has the potential to deliver significant payback, especially for companies embracing SaaS not for cost savings, but for business transformation.But both sides of that equation, the vendor and the customer, need to fully understand the bargain and the trade-offs made between privacy and business value.Asking The Tough Privacy QuestionsSimilar to their IT security due diligence, companies need to ask questions about the privacy of their data before they enter into a cloud vendor relationship.Who owns the data? How many copies of the data are there? How can you ensure that data is erased or unreadable in the event that a customer chooses to decommission or change service providers? And especially, What is the vendor’s acceptable use of a company’s cloud-based data?Hopefully, better awareness and transparency about these issues will build trust and help business-facing cloud vendors avoid the lawsuits that have afflicted their consumer-facing cousins.last_img read more

Munaf Patel is spinning the ball these days: Roberts

first_imgWest Indian fast bowling legend Andy Roberts is baffled as to why young Indian pacers suddenly lose speed after showing early promise and start “spinning the ball”, pointing out Munaf Patel as the most recent example.India pacer Munaf Patel has lost speed according to legendry West Indian fast bowler Andy Roberts. AP”When Munaf Patel came here in 2006, he had some pace,” said Roberts wryly, “Now he is spinning the ball.”Roberts was speaking from his experience of having worked with Irfan Pathan briefly during the 2006 tour by the Indians after the then coach Greg Chappell requested him to look at the left-arm seamer’s problems.”You have to remember this happens only once they make it to international stage. Maybe they are better off without these coaches.”These coaches turn you into line-and-length bowler. Not what you naturally are. These boys then lose their ability.”Roberts, who picked up 202 wickets from 47 Tests at 25.61 average, is hailed as the father of fearsome West Indian fast bowlers of 70s and 80s. He certainly is not impressed by the fast bowling in world cricket presently.”Shaun Tait throws his arm. Dale Steyn, whom I like, also occasionally throws his arm. Less said about the West Indian pacemen the better. The likes of Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards are not running in fast enough at the batsmen,” he said.”They saw Curtly Ambrose run in smoothly and ping the ball. But he could do it because he was so very strong. Others must run in hard in their run-ups.advertisement”There are two ways to bowl fast. Either you steam in or you have a lot of strength to bowl even if you are relaxed in your run-up,” Roberts explained.Roberts is dismissive of the notion that today’s cricketers play a great volume of cricket.”Too much cricket? They play mostly Twenty20s and one-dayers. It’s 4 or 10 overs a match.”He also sought to correct the notion that reverse swing almost exclusively was the preserve of the Pakistani bowlers in the 90s.”We began the reverse swing. When Pakistanis came here in 1977 they were surprised to see us do it. It’s no rocket science, you keep the ball polished on one side and it would reverse swing. For it to happen, the other side must have a bit of moisture on it.Inevitably, Roberts is asked to compare who he thought was better between Sachin Tendulkar and Sunny Gavaskar.”Sachin is one of the game’s greats. No questions about it. However, you judge a batsman on how he handled the best of pacemen and best of spinners of his era.”In the 70s, West Indies had the quick ones. England had a very good spinner in Derek Underwood. And Sunny always did well against them.”Nobody was said to have a more deceptive bouncer than Roberts in the game. Gavaskar has mentioned he had two bouncers — one a slower one with which he set a batsman up and the other a quicker one which a batter could only see as a blur.”You can’t bowl 95 mph all the time and hope a batsman would surrender. They get used to it after a while. You need to vary the pace, the angle, the seam or swing,” Roberts said.”I could bowl everything: seam, swing, pace, slower one, bouncer, cutters, everything.”Asked to pick the favourite batsman and fast bowlers of his era, Roberts said, “Viv Richards to me was the best player of short-pitched bowling ever.”I liked Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Malcolm Marshall. Imran (Khan) was a great bowler but he wasn’t an out-and-out fast bowler. Same was the case with Richard Hadlee.”Like most of his era, Roberts can’t see the revival of West Indian cricket any soon.”The top brass needs a kick in the back side. Presently our cricket is flat on its back. The board at one time had 18 directors.”I was once told by a director that I could become a coach if I had a level 2 or 3 coaching certificate. The same man asked me to come to Trinidad and give a lecture on fast bowling in his academy. The knowledge is with me. But I can’t be going around asking for work,” he said.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Yukon jail hit with human rights complaint over access to Aboriginal programs

first_imgAPTN National NewsWhen Whitehorse’s new minimum security jail opened last year, programs for First Nations were said to be a top priority.Most inmates in the Yukon jail are Aboriginal and today the facility does have services in place.One inmate facing trial, however, has launched a human rights complaint against the jail alleging he has no access to Aboriginal programming.APTN National News reporter Shirley McLean has this story.last_img