*Clipart from NJBullying.org
Mrs. Portulaca Purpilopilis
and the Purple Adventure Goggles
History For Kids
Ellen Jackson -Children's Author
Tween Tribune-News Stories for Student
DogoNews: Fodder for Young Minds
Time for Kids-Around the World
BBC Website for Kids
TES-Largest Network of Teachers in the World
IN THE NEWS TODAY 5/21/2013:
Thought and prayers go out to Moore,OK, after the devastating tornado. The tornado traveled at speeds exceeding 200 mph and covered a two mile wide and 20 mile path during its 40 minutes of destruction.Learn more about tornado safety at this link:Tornado Safety TipsLearn more about tornados at this link:What is a Tornado?Interesting Facts,too!Photograph from
Eleven years ago, Ali, a green sea turtle ,was hit by a boat's engine propeller. The injury created an air bubble underneath her shell.The air bubble prevented Ali from being able to dive into the water and it caused her to float upside down. Ali, who lives at the Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park in Great Britain, has been fitted with the world's first diving belt for a turtle. Small weights,like those used by scuba divers, are inserted into a harness that is strapped around Ali's body. The protected endangered species is now once again able to experience diving after so many years! Learn about green sea turtles at this link:Green Sea Turtle Info
Wish you could turn that hum or sing your original melody into music that someone could actually play on an instrument? A new app from scientists in Sweden may help you do just that! Using ScoreCleaner you record your tune into a smart phone. The app translates your recording into musical notation. Then, all you need is to find someone who can read music to play your musical creation!
Have you ever tried a scratch and sniff? A Japanese company has developed what is being nicknamed a smelliphone. Yes, you read correctly. It's a smartphone which can send scents to someone via their phone. Adding the Scentee device to an IPhone will allow you to send a smell to someone else.Maybe, you want to send a fragrant flower scent to cheer up a friend or perhaps you are playing a video game and would like to experience the smells of a race track or candy. The Scentee will be able to do just that. It is expected to be for sale later this fall.
An ice cream store in Los Angeles, California,makes ice cream in an unusual way...the energy needed to generate the power to the ice cream churn uses a stationary bicycle! It only takes 3-4 miles on a old Schwinn bicycle to churn 5 gallons of ice cream. Owner Edward Belden says that's about 15-20 minutes on a bike. And, if you want to help out, customers of Peddler's Creamery are welcome to hop a seat on the bike located at the entrance to the shop, to pedal away!
More than 2 billion people around the world eat bugs including water bugs,scorpions,locusts,crickets, grasshoppers, ants,larvae,stink bugs,tree worms and more.The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization released a study hoping that more people will consider adding munching on insects in their diet. Why? Insects are very nutritious containing lots of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. With an estimated nine billion people walking the planet by the year 2050, insects would provided a food source for an increasing number of people,especially as farmlands continue to dwindle replaced by cities and towns. With an estimated ten million types of bugs, there would be many varieties in which to chose!
PAST NEWS STORIES
Great clipart is from this link:
4/1/2013:Researchers in California are working to develop bioluminescent plants(plants that glow) with hopes that one day street lights might be replaced with glowing plants and glow in the dark trees! Using a gene found in fireflies that enables them to have glowing abilities,researchers are developing plants whose DNA has had this gene inserted causing the plants to glow as they grow.The researchers are working with a mustard plant and hope to work with developing a glowing rose, too. One day, you might be able to sit in a room reading you IPad by the glow of a plant instead of a lamp!
Scientists at Harvard University have developed the world's smallest flying robot. After studying the movement of insects, the robo-fly was developed. About the size of a fly and with the ability to also hover in place, the robo-fly has the potential for rescue situations, especially into collapsed buildings, where they could travel into tiny spaces searching for victims. With teeny wings that flutter about 120 times a second, the robo-fly could also monitor environmental conditions and could act like honeybees(which are declining in world population), helping to pollinate crops. The robo-fly robot model is currently tethered to a power source. Wireless flying robo-flies are still a few years away.
There aren't any hotdogs ,chicken nuggets or hamburgers on the school menu at Public School 244,the Active Learning Elementary School, in Flushing Queens, NY.That's because Public School 244 may be the first all-vegetarian public elementary school in the country! The K-3 school serves meals including vegetarian chili, tofu wraps,black beans and cheddar quesadillas in their school cafeteria. Originally vegetarian meals were offered a couple of days a week until the new year when the cafeteria went totally vegetarian only. And, if you don't wish to eat what is served in the cafeteria, you can always bring you own lunch to school. What's your favorite cafeteria lunch? What do you think of a vegetarian only menu?
Roads we travel down haven't changed much over the years. Concrete or black asphalt is about what you see on highways. That may change if artist Daan Roosegaarde's ideas are implemented.Imagine a road that alerts motorists to slow down for icy or wet conditions by turning colors? He'd like to see glow in the dark roads,too, using a paint that charges up during daylight and gives off light at night. It would save money cities spend on electricity to light the roads at night. Roosegaarde is working with a civil engineering company to test out glow in the dark paints on a road in the Netherlands sometime this year.
Have you heard of a caxirola? If not, you will be hearing more about it in the coming months. The maraca-like instrument will be featured at the 2014 World Cup to be held in the South American country of Brazil. Remember the vuvuzela at the last World Cup? Making a rattling noise when shaken, the caxirola, a percussion instrument, will be available in green and yellow and is made from recycled plastic.
Junk, you see it littering the highways. There's also junk in space, LOTS of it. Scientists estimate that 20,000 man-made objects are orbiting the Earth, much of the junk in low-Earth orbit. Debris includes rocket boosters, old communication and weather satellites and even tools dropped by astronauts while outside the International Space Station. And, scientists say there are more than 500,000-tens of millions of itsy bitsy pieces of junk! All this space junk could be a safety issue to space missions so scientists are meeting in May to discuss the topic and what can be done about it. Scientists in Great Britain are developing a giant harpoon which could grab some of the space junk and pull it down toward Earth where it can burn up. Other scientists are suggesting a net which could catch space junk or a gigantic robotic arm that could grab the space junk and pull it back to Earth. What ideas might you have to clean up space?
They're coming....After 17 years, cicadas are about to return. From states along the eastern coast, billions and billions of the insects will soon be making an appearance. The cicada,a relative of the katydids and crickets, have been living underneath the ground and are now ready to make an appearance above ground to chirp loudly,find a mate, lay their eggs and...die. Actually, the cicadas that will be showing up are the children of those that visited back in 1996. They are being called Brood 2. There are 2500 species of cicadas. Some appear yearly in Japan. Others wait 13 years and those in the northeast wait the 17 years to make their visit. Black and red in coloring, and about 2 inches in length, the males' chirping can be heard up to 1 mile away by the female of the species! Harmless to humans, their sound can be a bit hard on the ears as it can reach 100 decibels(about that of a lawnmower). The commotion lasts several weeks and usually stops at sunset through April and May.
Are you a polyglot? That's a person that can speak multiple languages. Timothy Doner, of New York, has taught himself to speak 23 languages ...and he's only 17. Some of the languages which Timothy can speak includes Farsi, Swahili, French, Mandarin, Russian , Hebrew and Arabic. Timothy says that he reads about 8 different language newspapers each day and spends hours on languages. What sparked an interest in languages was his learning Hebrew for his bar mitzvah back in 2009. Using language books, apps on his IPhone and speaking with other people on the internet, he has increased the number of languages he can speak. Called the youngest polyglot in the world, Timothy says next on the list of languages to learn include Japanese,Polish,German, Sudanese and Malay.
The invasion of the Giant Snails sounds like a science fiction movie title but in Florida, it's very real. The giant African land snail has invaded the state and since they have no natural enemies, the snails are causing quite a problem. As their name suggests, the snail is very large...think the size of a rat. And, the giant African land snail multiplies quickly. Just one female can produce 12,000 eggs in one year! The giant African land snail like to nibble on plaster and stucco to get calcium for their shells. The snails are also eating many species of plants in the state and they leave behind a lot of yucky slimy trail! The snails also carry a disease that can make humans ill.The Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Plant Industry have started an advertising campaign to alert Floridians to the problem. At least 1000 of the giant snails are being caught each week in one Florida county with 117,000 caught in the state since the fall of 2011!The snails have also been spotted in the state of Michigan.
A very rare egg is being sold and may go for over $40,000! What makes this egg so valuable is that it's from an extinct bird. Called the Elephant Bird,it is believed to have been the largest bird, bigger than the ostrich. Sadly, the elephant bird, which stood about 11ft. high, went extinct between the 13-17th century. However, one fossilized egg was discovered in Madagascar, the island where the giant bird once lived.It's a whopper of an egg, about 120 times that of a chicken egg. The rare egg,12 inches high and 8 3/4 inches wide,will go up for auction at the Christie's auction house in London,England, on April 24th.
If you like to draw, this new invention may be just for you. Called 3 Doodler, it's a pen that lets you draw in the "air" creating 3 D objects! It's the world's first 3D pen! And for those that still like to create on paper, the 3 Doodler lets you create on any surface,too. How does it work? The pen heats up plastic and as you draw the released plastic cools almost instantly into the hard shapes you have created using the pen. The art creating pen isn't a toy as the pen's tip does get hot to melt the plastic as it comes out of the pen. So for all those "air drawers" out there, now others will be able to see what you've created!
3/20/13:Guan Tianlang, 14, will be making history this week when he becomes the youngest golfer at the Masters. Prior to Tianland, the youngest to participated in the Masters(the one where the top golfer gets a green jacket) was Matteo Manassero, 16 of Italy. Tianlang is an eighth-grader from the country of China. He got the invitation to play by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship last fall. Tianlang began playing golf when he was just four years old, after watching Tiger Woods play in thh 2005 Masters. When he met Woods the other day, Tiangland asked him to autograph his golf cap. Woods then invited Tianlang to play a round of golf together.Excited to play in the tournament, Tianland also needs to schedule time to...do his homework which he brought along to Augusta,Georgia.
Yikes...a tarantula the size of a dinner plate has been found in the country of Sri Lanka! Measuring up to 8 inches in diameter, the tarantula has been named Poecilotheria rajaei. As with other arachnids, this whopper of a spider, has eight eyes, two fangs and eight legs.About the size of a human face, Poecilotheria rajaei has daffodil-yellow markings on its legs and has a pink ring around its body. Although the bite of the Poecilotheria rajaei is NOT fatal, it's being killed by those who find the rare spider. The tarantula is large enough to feed on mice, small birds and lizards. Although certainly a very large tarantula, it doesn't equal the size of the South American Theraphosa blondi, considered to be the largest known tarantula. Known as the Goliath Birdeater, that tarantula can reach 12 inches in diameter! Learn about tarantulas at this link:Kids.NationalGeographic.com
Do you like to bob your head to the beat of your favorite song?Scientists thought that only humans and some parrots and several other birds had this ability...until now. Ronan, a female California sea lion is grooving to the music of Earth, Wind and Fire ("Boogie Wonderland" being Ronan's favorite tune)and music of the Backstreet Boys. She is the first non-human mammal to demonstrate such an ability. Researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz have been working with Ronan for the past couple of months, training her with a metronome to learn to keep a beat. When music was introduced Ronan showed off her abilities to follow a tune! Check out the clip of Ronan in action at this link:Video of Ronan
Hagfish have approximately 100 glands on the side of their body that produce a slime that they dispense when they feel danger.That's why they are also called the slime eel. Around since the time of the dinosaur, the hagfish's thick, clear slime is being studied for its potential as material for clothing. Scientists from the University of Guelph in Canada have found that the slime , made up of thin ,stretchy,and very strong thread-like fibers,becomes silk-like when stretched in water and dried. Could your stretchy clothes be made of hagfish slime in the future? Probably not the actual slime as that would take lots of hagfish, but scientists are working on creating synthetic fibers based on the hagfish's slime.
A robotic jellyfish, the size of a 5 feet , 7 inch human, has been developed by scientists at Virginia Tech College of Engineering. Called Cyro, the robotic jellyfish,weighs about 170 pounds,and has a thick coating of silicone which feels squishy when touched. Underneath its "skin" ,its electronic guts include eight arms which are powered by a rechargeable battery. Equipped with the ability to collect data and transmit it back to scientists, the self powered robotic jellyfish will be able to roam the waters studying marine life, ocean currents and mapping the seafloor. Cyro is still in the developmental stage and won't actually get to float along in the ocean anytime soon.
Winter Vinecki is only 14 but has a big goal. By the end of the year(2013), she hopes to become the youngest person to run a marathon...on all seven continents! Winter lost her dad to cancer when she was just nine years old. She decided to start Team Winter, a non profit organization to create awareness to cancer, especially prostate cancer, the cancer that took the life of her dad.She's raised almost $400,000 for prostate cancer research. Winter started running at the age of five and has already become a two-time IronKids triathlon national champion.Winter's attempt to run one marathon on each continent has begun and hopes to continue to raise money to support her cause. She's raced the Eugene Marathon in Oregon(North America)and the Amazing Maasai in Kenya(Africa). Winter raced in Antarctica in March and, next up, a run in the Inca Trail Marathon(South America). The next marathons will include the Sunrise to Sunset race in Mongolia(Asia), the Wharf to Wharf race in New Zealand and finish in the Athens Classic Marathon in Greece(Europe) in the fall,where the marathon originated. If Winter is successful in completing each of these marathons before her 15th birthday, she will set a record as the youngest to ever accomplish this task. You go, Winter!
Eli Reimer hiked 70 miles on an amazing two week journey to reach the base station of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Eli, 15, has Down Syndrome and did the climb reaching 17,600 ft. to create awareness and raise funds for the disabled. Along with his dad and a team of seven, Eli reached the South Base Camp, located in the country of Nepal, making history as the first person thought to ever do the amazing climb with Down Syndrome. The teen from Bend, Oregon, raised $85,000 in his efforts for the Elisha Foundation. Super accomplishment, Eli!
If you like chocolate, the country of Belgium has a treat for you. This week 538,000 stamps were released for the Easter holiday. The stamps, with pictures of five different forms of chocolate,also has flavored chocolate glue on the back. The glue has some cacao oil and the ink has a scent of chocolate. When licked, you not only get a whiff of chocolate but a taste of it,too!
What if extinct animals could return? Scientists have meet to discuss the possibility of trying to bring back 24 different extinct animals including the dodo bird, the Quagga, the plain zebra and the Carolina Parakeet. De- extinction" would involved retrieving DNA from the extinct creature,placing it into cells that have had their own DNA removed and placed into a host to give birth. Scientists determined the animals that might be reintroduced along several guidelines including their ecological importance or likability,the reason for their extinction, and the ability to obtain the needed DNA. Dinosaurs are NOT being considered for de-extinction. What do you think of bringing back extinct creatures?
A couple of years ago a five year old girl,Daisy Morris,was walking along the beach on the Isle of Wight and found some dinosaur remains, Scientists say the remains were of a flying dinosaur and that it was a never before found species of a pterosaur that lived 115 million years ago.This week, the new species, was named Vectidraco daisymorrisae in her honor. The word vectidraco means dragon from the Isle of Wight. How many nine year olds can say that a dinosaur was named after them?Pretty cool!
3/10/13:A coin, dating back 600 years, was found on the Kenyan island of Manda. What makes the old coin even more interesting...it wasn't from the area or even the continent of Africa. With the name of Emperor Yongle,of the Ming Dynasty, the coin was from CHINA. Copper and silver with a hole in the center, it shows that the Chinese and people of the East African region traded with one another. Admiral Zheng He of China was an explorer who may have traveled to the west coast of North America. It is known that he also traveled in the Indian Ocean and archeologists hope to learn more about this early trading.
Saturday March 23 is Earth Hour. Begun in 2007, in Sydney, Australia,the idea is to shut off unnecessary lights for just one hour,8:30 pm(local time) to raise awareness about how we are impacting our planet.This year many world landmarks such as the Opera House in Sydney, Australia, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Empire State Building, in NYC, the world's tallest building- Burj Khalifa, The Little Mermaid,in Copenhagen, Denmark, Niagara Falls,and the Eiffel Tower in Paris,France, will go dark for the hour to show support for the need for all to take action on climate change. Last year, 1.8 billion people from around the world, in 152 countries switched off their light for Earth Hour.
A replica boat will try and show that the Phoencians, the ancient seafaring people, who lived in present-day Lebanon, may have reached the shores of North America before both Christopher Columbus and the Vikings. The Phoenicians were sailing the waters of the Mediterranean Sea from 1500 BC to 300BC and, Hanno, a Phoencian explorer may have traveled to the tip of Africa around 600 BC. It is also believed that the Phoenicians reached the shores of Great Britain. A boat, modeled after a Phoenician shipwreck discovered off Marseilles, France , was used as a model to built the modern day Phoenician replica. Leaving from Tunisia, the planned voyage to sail across the Atlantic Ocean led by Philip Beale, aboard the "Phoenicia should take 2-3 months.centerPhotograph from Sail-World.com
Imagine wearing a pair of shoes that tell you that you've been sitting too long and need to get up and get moving.That's just what Goggle's smart shoes can do. The footwear has sensors in the sole of the shoe that collects data of activity and inactivity. The shoes can give compliments like" You've made me a very proud shoe" and can also criticize with comments like, "I'm bored" if you've been sitting too long. There are 250 phrases which the shoes are programmed to say. The shoes also have Bluetooth so they can also send messages of collected data to your cell phone !But, don't look to see them in a store anytime soon. The footware is a prototype with no plans to be sold as this time.
Even wonder just what's inside a chrysalis?Using tiny CT scans, scientists have gotten the answer filming the changing metamorphosis that occurs inside the chrysalis of a blue morphos butterfly. The scientists took images of a caterpillar just before it changed into its chrysalis. Another image was taken a week later and then again the day before the butterfly came out from its chrysalis. And, the scientists were amazed at the speed of the change that occurred from one scan to the next! What's great about this technology is that the chrysalis wasn't harmed in the process.
When I was on a trip to Iceland, a guide told us that Iceland's geography was used by NASA to help train astronauts who would eventual rocket off to the moon. Now, in the deserts of Utah, scientists are "exploring" Mars. With its red rocks and soil, the terrain really looks like the Red planet and scientist have set up the Mars Desert Research Station, near Hanksville, Utah. Volunteers, including geologists, biologists and engineers, walk around the area wearing actual spacesuits to test prototypes to use on Mars. Additional the scientists conduct experiments such as taking rock samples and mapping the geography of the terrain to experience what it would be like doing similar work activities on Mars. The six volunteers,both male and female, then return to their small base station relying on a rationed amount of supplies provided for the "astronauts" journey. Each trial expedition to "Mars" lasts up to one month.
Who do you think might be a candidate to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded this coming October?The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year to the person that best has tried to foster peace among people. This year, there are 259 nominations including 15 year old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai, the school girl who has been promoting the right of girls to get an education. You may remember she was shot by the Taliban last year because of her campaign. The award was set up by Alfred Nobel.
Superman could stop a 4 car New York Subway train....but a spider doing the same thing?Could that REALLY be possible?Physics students at the University of Leicester think material made from the spider silk of the Darwin's bark spider could do just that. Found on the island of Madagascar, the Darwin's bark spider has some powerful silk-the strongest material known,stronger than steel!
2/25/13:Scientists believe that at one time there was a super continent called Pangaea which eventually broke into segments which became the continents we now recognize on a map.The idea that there was once one giant super continent is called the Continental Drift Theory. If you look at a map you can almost see where the continents would fit together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.Recently under the floor of the India Ocean, parts of an ancient continent were found! The piece of land has been named Mauritia and may have been a strip of land between India and the island of Madagascar millions of years ago.
A pretty cool photograph was recently taken by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station. He clicked a photograph of Mount Etna, the active volcano in the country of Italy, erupting! Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe. Hadfield enjoys taking photograph from his spectacular vantage point and posts them on his Twitter page. Go to this link to see some of his other cool photographs at this link:Comdr.Hadfield
A statue honoring Rosa Park, called the "Mother of the of the civil rights movement", was unveiled in Washington,DC on Wednesday, February 27th. Parks is the first African American woman to have a statue at the Capitol, part of the National Statuary Hall collection. Parks, who died in 2005, was a seamstress coming home from work on December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger. Arrested, her actions led to a boycott (381 days)of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus company. The Civil Rights Act, of 1964, stated that segregation and discrimination in public places(public transportation, hotels, restaurants) was illegal. Parks, the first woman to lie in state in the Capital Rotunda, once said," Each person must live their life as a model for others."
Imagine needing a body part,like a nose or an ear, and just printing a new one! A 3D printer may actually be able to do just that. Scientists at Cornell Medical College successfully produced such a human ear. First, a 3D image of a human ear was taken. A plastic mold was then created and then a mixture of living cells was injected. Scientists hope that this technology to create a printable ear will be available in a couple of years.
Eddie has arthritic elbows and it was thought that shooting some hoops might be therapeutic for his elbow joints. Eddies took up the basketball activity and is actually pretty good at the sport...for an otter! Eddie,16, lives at the Oregon Zoo and rarely misses a dunk and if he does, he just tries again.See a clip of Eddie in action:Video of Eddie in Action!
2/15/2013:Students in Ms. Robbi Guiliano's 5th grade class in West Chester, PA, no longer sit in chairs at their desks. Instead, colorful yoga balls have been substituted.The balls require the students to maintain balance. All students must keep their backsides on the ball and feet planted on the floor but they are allowed to bounce if they feel the desire to do so. The new "chairs" have had a positive result with increased attentiveness in the classroom. Students say it took a bit of adjusting to sit at their desks with the yoga balls but the responses has been very positive. And,if they prefer, they can still sit at a traditional chair although only one students has asked to do so since the yoga balls were introduced to the class three years ago.
What do you do if you love to ski and love to surf,too? Chuck Patterson, a professional sports'athlete,did something that is being called a first...he used two skis (not snow skis but water skis),ski boots and POLES to glide down a 30 ft. wave! The poles helped with balance. There's even a name for this new extreme sport that he was photographed doing recently near Santa Barbara, CA. It's called wave skiing. Chuck maneuvered his skis at up to speeds of 30mph after being towed by a jet ski to the crest of a wave and released.
A group of people got together with their hula hoops at the field of theThammasat University's Rangsit stadium, in Pathumthani,Thailand, and set a Guinness World Record. Dressed in pink tee-shirts, 5500 people, set out to break a previous record to keep their hula hoops going for seven continuous minutes.517 hula hoopers lost their hoops and had to step aside but 4483 people managed to complete the task, almost doubling the previous record!
Paul Salopek is taking a walk and not your ordinary walk.The journalist plans to walk 21,000 miles.The purpose is to retrace early human migration. Crossing 30 countries, Salopek left from Ethiopia on January 10th. Packing light, just a backpack,some camping gear, laptop,camera, and satellite phone, Salopek estimates that he will walk an average 15 miles per day. He will travel to the Middle East, across Asia and through Russia. He will then take a boat from Russia to Alaska,as the land-ice bridge that scientists say once existed in the Bering Strait is gone. Salopek will then continue his trek down to Tierra del Fuego, the southern tip of the country of Chile. The estimated walk ,called Out of Eden will take seven years. You can follow Salopek's epic journey at this link:outofedenwalk.com
2/5/2013:QR codes are popping up in some interesting places. An early posting told of a cow that was painted with a QR to teach kids about daily farming. Now, the city of Rio de Janeiro in the country of Brazil has begun placing the bar cords on the city's sidewalks! The reason is that Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics as well as the 2014 World Soccer games. It is hoped that visitors to the city will use the QR codes to learn some interesting facts about the areas that they are visiting. The bar code information will be in English Spanish and Portuguese and will also be placed near beaches and famous historic places within the city.
2/3/13:Malala Yousufzai was almost killed last year when someone from a group called the Taliban shot her on a school bus on October 9, 2012. Malala was sought out by the Taliban for speaking out in favor of girls being allowed to get an education in her home country of Pakistan. Malala, 15,remains in Great Britain where she has undergone medical treatment. She made her first official comments on a video where she thanked those who prayed for her. "And because of all these prayers, God has given me this new life-a second life. And I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated. For that reason, we have organized the Malala Fund" The Malala Fund is a girls' education charity.
Laura Rojas, 13, of Antioch, California, sent her Hello Kitty doll for a ride that was out-of-this-world! As a science project to study altitude on temperature and air pressure, Hello Kitty was lifted off into the atmosphere with a weather balloon. Aboard the tiny silver rocket, Hello Kitty had a couple of cameras to share the adventure and wonderful views from thousands of feet above the ground. Reaching 93,625 and -38 degree temperatures, the weather balloon burst after expanding more than 53 times its size. Hello Kitty fell back to earth with her parachute and landed in a tree. Rojas found her Hello Kitty about 50 miles from home thanks to a tracking device. A pretty cool successful experiment!
Update: The Icelandic teen that asked the courts to allow her to have the name Blair has won her case. Blaer Bjarkardottir no longer will be called "Girl" on official documents. You may remember that in Iceland, there is a book of accepted names for boys and girls and Blaer was not recognized as a name for a girl...until now.
You may have remembered reading about a architect that hopes to build the first home using a 3D printer. Now, another out-of-this-world idea is being considered. Creating a moon colony using 3D printers that would replicate buildings on the moon. This would enable construction of lunar buildings without having to rocket the building supplies to the moon. The idea is being considered by the ESA(European Space Agency) and would involved using a REALLY large printer!
Scientists have discovered a marine dinosaur that was part dolphin/crocodile. The sharped teethed predator, called Tyrannoneustes lythrodectikos, swam around the coastline of Great Britain 165 million years ago. Interestingly, the bones of this creature, whose name means "blood biting tyrant swimmer",was discovered nearly 100 years ago. The discovery,stored at the University of Glasgow(Hunterian Museum) went unnoticed until recently when scientists examined the bones(including its jawbone and teeth). Tyrant Swimmer had massive jaws which could open very widely showing off its gleaming large and many teeth. It was estimated to have nearly 30 Ft. in length.
The world's oldest portrait ever found was made about 26,000 years ago. The very tiny carving is about the size of a thumb and was done on a piece of a woolly mammoth tusk. Scientists say that the carving was made using stone tools and shows very early artwork from a time called the New Ice Age. The tiny portrait of a woman was found in the Czech Republic.
1/20/13:A Dutch architect, Janjaap Ruijssenaars is designing a house that will be constructed ...using a 3D printer! The unusual design,a Mobius strip, a building with no beginning or end, will be two stories. Called the Landscape House, the world's first 3D printed house that looks like a figure eight, will need a giant printer to create... and Ruijssenaars has found one. The D-Shaper printer,will be able to print out 20 by 30 feet strips. The strips made of a sand reinforced with chemicals will look like marble when it comes out of the printer.To reinforce the hollow strips, fiberglass and concrete will be added. The 3D printed house, to be built in Ireland, is expected to be completed in 2014.
The BiblioTech, a library to open in San Antonio, Texas, this fall, is rather different. It doesn't have any books on its shelves. The BiblioTech is being called the first bookless public library system in the United States,The library is totally e-books. Instead of hard cover books, BiblioTech will have rows of computers and lots of e-readers.And if you don't own an e-reader,you can sign one out to access one of the over 10,000 book titles.
1/9/13:Want to hear the sound of a whale, a monkey or a cardinal? The world's larges collection of animal vocalizations has been created by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and now is online! The Macaulay Library Archive contains about 175,000 digital audio sounds-that's 7,513 hours of listening! Thousands of different species,including 75% of the world's bird species are included in the amazing collection which dates back to 1929. Want to hear what a walrus sounds like as it vocalizes sounds underwater(staccato hammering noise)-you're in luck. Interested in listening to the audio of an ostrich chick still inside its egg? That's waiting to be heard,too. Check the collection out at this link:http://macaulaylibrary.org.
An inflatable cylinder will be going into space as a two year test to see if the module might be the future for space living.The 13 by 10 ft. cylinder can travel to the International Space Station in a 7ft tube. Once it arrives, astronauts will connect it to the station and inflate the container. Tests will be conducted to see if the inflatable container, made of layers of Kevlar, called BEAM(Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) can endure radiation, heat and space junk(some traveling faster than bullets). Because BEAM is so light to launch, it is much less costly than traditional metal modules and,can be much larger than standard modules which must be able to fit inside rockets. BEAM is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in 2015.
Did you know that 30 percent of the world's remaining tropical rain forest is found in the country of Brazil?Each year thousands of acres of the rainforest are being destroyed by illegal logging.What if trees in the Amazon about to be illegally cut down could ask for help? Scientists have a unique idea, they are fitting trees with smart phones! The phones would be able to signal for help when they are being felled. Called the Invisible Tracck, the battery-operated devices are fitted in to the branches of a tree. The signal can send an alarm for help up to 20 miles away. It is hoped that such technology which brings non-living things into our digital world will help authorities catch such illegal logging.
Another music group is rocking up a storm.They are a REAL heavy metal band. Called the Compressorhead, the German band has three unusual members-all robots.Fingers, Bones and Stickboy are programmed to play just about any type of music.Thus far, the trio is rocking to Led Zeppelin, Pantera and Black Sabbath. Stickboy , with his 4 arms 2 legs and one head is the drummer in the group. The bassist is Bones and Fingers, all 79 of them, plays the guitar. The unique band is currently touring in Australia.
Archaeologists have uncovered a massive stone statue in southwest China. Tipping the scales at 8.5 tons, the sculpture looks like a giant panda bear! Found in one of the few areas where pandas live in the wild, the rock statue is almost 11 ft. long and stands 5.7 ft. tall. Archaeologists think the stone animal statue is at least 2000 years old. It's a mystery as to why the statue was made.What does the sculpture look like to you?Why do you think the stone sculpture was made?
1/1/13:Do you enjoy playing the game Monopoly? Which is your favorite piece-the iron,top hat, thimble,battleship, race car, dog, show, wheelbarrow? Hasbro, the company that makes the famous board game is planning to retire one of the eight pieces and introduce a new one. Which piece will be eliminated? Which piece will be added from the choice of a cat, guitar, diamond ring, robot or helicopter? You can vote at facebook.com/monopoly.The new token(and dropped token) will be announced February 6.
For the first time, a giant squid has been found swimming in its natural environment, about 2000 ft. below the surface of the ocean south of Japan.The whopper squid is the size of a school bus(about 26 ft. long) with black eyes the size of dinner plates! Filmed for the Japan's National Science Museum, a film crew spent 400 hours in a submersible trying to track down the silver colored squid. Weighing nearly a ton, the squid,called Architeuthis by scientists, will make its film debut on the Discovery Channel's Monster Squid: The Giant is Real, on January 27th at 8 PM.
Learn more about the giant squid:Kids.NationalGeographic.com
A very unique rock has been found in the Sahara Desert. Scientists say it's a meteorite that came to Earth from the planet Mars.What's even more interesting-the meteorite, called Northwest Africa(for where it was found) and nicknamed Black Beauty contains ancient water molecules, 10x more than other such Martian meteorites! Scientists say the volcanic rock, which is about 2.1 billion years old weighs about 11 ounces, also contains some oxygen. In case you are wondering,only about 110 Martian meteorites have been discovered to date. Maybe, you will find the next one!
You've probably never seen a rubber duck like the one that's currently bobbing around Sydney Harbor, Australia. The yellow ducky, the work of Florentijn Hofman, a Dutch artist, is 5 stories tall, standing 85 ft. tall. It takes about half an hour to inflate the huge rubber duck which is promoting the Sydney Festival,an art event that runs through January.
Did you know that in Iceland, there is a list of approved names to be given for all girl and boy babies? The Personal Names Register lists 1,853 accepted female names and 1,712 male names.All babies' names must stick to this list. Names that start with letters of the Icelandic alphabet can only be used. For example, names that start with the letter C can not be used as the letter C it is not part of the Icelandic 32 letter alphabet. Names must also follow the rules of Icelandic grammar.This is how it has been done for hundreds and hundreds of years and no one has questioned this practice...until now. A 15 year old girl named Blaer Eidsdottir(her first name means "light breeze" in Icelandic) wants to keep her given name. Because it wasn't an approved name for a girl, she has been registered as Stulka(meaning "girl")on official papers. Blaer has decided to sue the government of Iceland for the ability to legally be called Blaer.Her mom supports her daughters actions.What do you think?
One day if you are sick and need some strong medicine,the giant panda bear may come to the rescue(or really...their blood). Scientists studying the blood of giant pandas have found their blood has something that may help develop super duper antibiotics. An antibody in their blood,called cathelicidin-AM, can neutralize bacteria and fungi,in under an hour's time. Most antibiotics used today take over six hours to do the same job. Don't worry about the rare panda bear's blood being used to make medicines for humans.A team of researchers at the Life Sciences College of Nanjing Agricultural University in China have already come up with a way to artificially create the cathelicidin-AM in a lab.
Looking out ten-twelve years from now, scientists have a plan. They'd like to grab hold of an asteroid and... move it. The idea to capture an asteroid involves rocketing a craft close to an asteroid. Then, a giant bag with giant drawstrings would be wrapped around the rock. The rocket would then tow the asteroid to its new location in space. If the plan is funded and successful, it would be the very first time a space object would be moved by man. Now, to answer the question-why move an asteroid?Scientists think a asteroid could then be used as a space station for astronauts on the very long journey to the planet Mars.
12/20/12:Pluto is no longer considered a planet and now, the brontosaurus, the long necked dinosaur,never existed at all? That's what scientists are saying about the popular dinosaur who was also the subject of a US postage stamp in 1989. A long necked dinosaur called the Apatosaurus, called the deceptive lizard" was indeed a once living dinosaur but the "thunder lizard" or Brontosaurus was not. Seems that during the Bone Wars, a time about 130 years ago when lots of dinosaur bones were unearthed, two paleontologists were eager to claim discovery of a new species of dinosaur. What was called a new discovery and named a brontosaurus was actually an already discovered dinosaur called the Apatosaurus.
A rare new species of slow loris looks cute but scientists say the nocturnal primate that lives in the jungles of Borneo can be deadly. It is one of very few mammals that has a poisonous bite. Seems the slow loris gets its poisonous venom from a gland under its armpit. After rubbing its paws under its armpits, the slow loris rubs its paws onto its teeth.It's bites can be deadly. Scientists think the slow loris uses its toxic bite to protect its young and to catch prey. Even with this protective abilities, the slow loris is very endangered, being hunted for the illegal pet trade industry.
McKenna Pope, 13, of Garfield, New Jersey decided to contact Hasbro over the colors of their Easy-Bake Oven. Currently, the oven comes in purple and pink. She felt the company should make a gender-neutral color for boys. She also suggested that the toy company should have boys in the ads for their ovens as many boys like to bake.Hasbro officials recently meet with McKenna, after she got over 40,000 signatures to her petition to make the change...and, a change is being made. A black, silver and blue gender neutral color Easy-Bake ovens will soon be available. McKenna shows that you can make a change no matter your age!
12/17/12:p>Tallon Nightwalker, 16 of Fort Collins, Colorado, has been taking photographs of himself and animals since he was five years old. To date, Tallon has now snapped a shot of himself with 840 species! His goal-to grab a picture of himself with every species of creature on the planet. One of his favorite photographs is of that of himself with a bobcat. Why undertake such a project? Tallon says he hopes to make people aware of the need for conservation of our wildlife and how important the wildlife of our planet are to us. There are a couple of rules which Tallon and his father( manages a wildlife rehabilitation Center)) are requiring for this undertaking. Tallon can't have any barrier between himself and the animal. The wildlife must be alive and Tallon either needs to hold the animal or be standing near someone who is holding the animal. That ensures safety for both Tallon and the animal. Tallon volunteers at a local wildlife center and hopes to make wildlife conservation his career. In 2010, the United Way awarded him the Linda Nerger Youth Volunteer Excellence award for his help with rehabilitating wildlife. Some of the creatures Tallon has collected to date include a bobcat, a rare okapi, tiger rat snake, black-billed cuckoo,Wyoming toad, spider monkey and a black bear. And, if you are wondering, Tallon has just 25,000 photographs to go....
British Scientists are hoping to begin investigating Lake Ellsworth. What makes it a difficult project is Lake Ellsworth is located beneath 2 miles of ice in Antarctica! Why study a lake so far below the surface? Scientists hope to search for possible lifeforms and to get samples of the lake's water, a lake that hasn't been seen for 500 million years! Scientists hope to drill the borehole in about five days time and the opening will last for barely 24 hours to limit the possibility of contamination of the lake. A probe will be placed into the hole with a camera to take photographs of the lake. Another probe will hope to take sediment samples from the lake.
Covering 9000 nautical miles, a swimming robot has set a Guinness World record, covering a distance of 9000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean. Called Papa Mau, it took the little robot a year to complete the trek.Liquid Robotics, the makers of the robot says Papa Mau swam through strong winds and currents, shark infested waters and almost crashed into the Great Barrier reef. Along the way,Papa Mau collected lots of data about the ocean. One interesting stop, an algal bloom. Blooms are areas where algae collects in large numbers. Usually green, red or yellow-brown, the robotic swimmer took images and measurements of the bloom as it traveled through this particular area in the Pacific Ocean.
Two astronauts will be testing space endurance when they board the International Space Station for a ONE year mission. Scott Kelly,a US astronaut ,and Mikhail Kornienko, a cosmonaut from Russia, have just been selected for the 2015 mission. Imagine, one entire year in space with just one other person and not being able to "go home" at the end of the day! NASA hopes the data learned from such a long stay in space will give more insight to astronauts being able to go on longer space missions, such as to the planet Mars. Data hoped to be gained includes long term effects of lack of gravity, behavioral concerns, and how the immune,vision and and bones are effected by such long periods in space.It isn't the first time astronauts have spent such time in space. Four Russian cosmonauts spent 14 months on the Mir Space Station in the mid 1990s in low-Earth orbit.Think of the different challenges these two astronauts will face. Would you wish to do such a mission? Why or why not?
Ginny, Monty and Porter are taking driving lessons. What makes this unusual...the three students are dogs! For the past 8 weeks, the three dogs from the Aukland SPCA have been learning how to start a car, get it into the proper gear, steer and accelerate. Using a make-shift car with a seat,steering wheel and clutch, the trio have been learned the basics and are almost ready for the actual road test, in a REAL car. Next week, Porter, a beardie Cross,will be demonstrating his driving techniques on an off-road race track in a Mini Cooper..on live television! For safety, the car will have a remote control device for humans to stop the car if there should be need.The purpose of the experiment, to show people how intelligent dogs can be. It is also hoped that Monty, Porter, Ginny and other dogs at shelters will also have more possibilities for adoption.
Graham Hughes, of Great Britain, has accomplished something no one has ever done. He has visited all 201 countries of the world AND without taking an airplane! It took Hughes four years to complete his journey beginning in the country of Uruguay,on January 1,2009. He just completed his trek in Juba, South Sudan. Hughes traveled an estimated 160,000 miles in his 1426 days relying on boats, trains, buses, taxis and his feet. In addition to a no fly rule, Hughes didn't drive his own vehicle, took only scheduled transportation and said that a visit to a country must involve actually stepping on land.Along the way, Hughes had some difficulties such as being arrested for being a spy in the Congo and accused of entering Russia without proper permission. High points of his trip included dancing with natives in Papua New Guinea and swimming in a lake filled with jellyfish in Palau.He spent four days aboard a leaky fishing canoe traveling from Senegal to Cape Verde and said probably the most difficult part of his journey was getting from some of the island such as Tuvalu, Samoa and Nauru without flying in an airplane. He said that he loves to travel and wanted to show people that the world is "not some big, scary place,but in fact is full of people who want to help you even if you are a stranger." Living on $100 per day, Hughes' trip also raised money for Water Aid, a British organization that works to provide clean water and sanitation to the world's poorest people.
12/1/12:Shirts and tops of the future may be linked to a slimy eel-like fish called the hagfish. A bottom feeder, the hagfish can make quarts and quarts of a protective slimy coating within seconds. The slime helps protect them again predators. Scientists at the University of Guelph in Canada are studying the slime,made up of tiny threads of protein, each 1/100 the diameter of a hair on a person's head. The scientists have actually created fibers from the threads of protein! It is thought that eco-friendly synthetic fabrics can eventually replace fabrics that are petroleum based.
Do you have a dollar in your wallet? In an effort to save money,Congress is thinking about doing away with the dollar bill.Paper bills needs to be replaced about every five years. Coins last for 30 years. It is estimated that using a $1 coin could save the government an estimated $4.4 billion over 30 years. Such an idea will take a lot of convincing as most Americans prefer a paper dollar bill to a coin. What do you think?
A boat called Snoopy Sloop is about to set sail across the Atlantic(hopes to launch Tuesday, November 26th).The toy boat with a tiny plastic Peanut cartoon character by the same name at its bow, hopes to be the first unmanned vehicle to successfully make the 6000 mile journey. Only 4 ft. long and weighing about 30 lbs, the Snoopy Sloop will be powered by wind but has a computer navigation system using solar energy.Built by a retired NATO scientist, Robin Lovelock, the toy ship has endured a test run of 5000 miles of continuous sailing on Bray Lake, Great Britain.Sailing thought the English Channel toward the Azores, it will then hopefully travel on to the Bahamas using the trade winds.A tracking device will send data back to Lovelock every hour of the expected six month trip. That's because the boat will only complete about 3 miles per hour! It is hoped that the Snoopy Sloop will end its journey at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Microtransat Challenge is sponsoring the contest to have an unmanned ship cross the Atlantic Ocean. Three previous attempts have not been successful.
Acacia Woodley,11, knows a little about being different and,other kids staring or whispering about her.That's because Acacia was born without a right hand and her left hand is deformed. A sixth grade student in Palm Bay,Florida, Acacia saw an idea which she wanted to bring to her elementary school...a friendship bench. She wanted to put the focus on kindness and not bullying.The idea of the colorful Adirondack bench became a reality and can now be found in the school's lobby. The purpose, it's a place to sit when you need some extra TLC. Anyone sitting there is sharing that they'd like some support or even a hug to help brighten their day. It's a place where random acts of kindness can be done. Acacia said," I believe everyone has kindness in their hearts and everyone needs a friend."The bench has words such as encourage,respect,smile, dream, and dream painted onto it. Acadia doesn't plan to stop with one friendship bench in her goal to stop bullying behaviors, she hopes that the idea spreads to all schools not only in her area but the entire country.
This train model will make your mouth water. That's because the train is made entirely of chocolate. Created by Andrew Farrugia, a chocolatier from Malta, the 111.5 ft. train is made from 2755 pounds of Belgian chocolate. It took Farrugia 784 hours to construct and is on display in the European country of Belgium for its Brussel's Chocolate Week. According to The Guinness World Records, the chocolate choo-choo train has steamed into the record books as the longest chocolate structure in the world!
Astronomers at the University of Montreal have found a planet roaming in space about 100 light years from the Earth. Called CFBDSIR2149, the "orphan" planet estimated to be 4-7 times the size of the planet Jupiter, has no gravitational pull to any star.The planet appears to... wander through space. " Astronomers think it may have once been part of a solar system and for some reason,left. Thought to have an average temperature of 806 F, CFBDSIR2149 is estimated to be 50-120 million years old.
11/10/12:Peek a boo, I see you growing. Researchers at the University of Abertay Dundee, Scotland, have developed transparent soil giving scientists the chance to study roots in a new and exciting way. Developed over two years, the man-made soil was created from a material called Naflon. Having see-through soil, will help scientists study how plants grow and assist in developing healthier plants.
Polly want a tool? A captive breed Goffin cockatoo, in Austria, named Figaro, has displayed the first observed instance of a parrot making and using a tool. Seems that when a pebble Figaro was playing with got beyond his reach, it fashioned a stick from a piece of its wooded floor. When the tool didn't reach, Figaro continued to break off additional splinters of wood until it had just the right size. Figaro has also collected nuts using his stick tool.
10/31/12:A lone monarch butterfly, a late bloomer, still in its metamorphosis stage, was found near Albany,NY. When the butterfly emerged from her cocoon, it was too late for it to make the journey south,her companions having already left. The woman who found the monarch,Maraleen Manos-Jones, a butterfly enthusiast,made calls to try and find a way to have the butterfly a ride south. Southwest Airlines came to the rescue. It will be giving both the monarch butterfly and Manos-Jones a flight to San Antonio,Texas. The butterfly will travel in a carefully packaged glassine envelope with wet cotton. This packaging will then be placed in plastic container and then another container with an ice pack.The packaging will then be placed in a bag with lots of padding. Release is set for the San Antonio Botanical Gardens where from there it is hoped the butterfly will fly on its journey to Mexico.
There are many things which countries import(bring in) from other countries, but other countries' trash? That's just what the country of Sweden is doing and they sure want a lot of it-about 800,000 tons a year! Why trash? Sweden is generating energy from it and they don't have enough trash to convert into energy.They need more. Currently, only 4% of Swedish trash goes into landfills, compared to 63% of USA trash. The trash burned at Swedish incinerator plants are highly efficient and release few toxins into the air. Currently, 20% of the country's heat and enough electricity to supply 250,000 homes is being produced.Neighboring Norway is paying to ship their garbage to Sweden with Italy, Romania and Bulgaria thinking of doing the same.
Koshik can say a couple of words in Korean. Not usual for humans but is very unusual for a 22 year old Asian elephant! Koshik has the ability to mimic sounds and learned to imitate Korean from his trainer. His vocabulary is made up of five words: Joa(good), aniya(no) annyeong(hello), nuwo(lie down) and anja(sit down). Researchers say that Koshik, who lives at the Everland Zoo, in South Korea, doesn't appear to understand the words he is speaking,words which are very clear to Korean visitors who have been coming to hear him speak. Koshik creates sounds by tucking his trunk inside his mouth and moving his lower jaw.
Dogs are getting a grateful bow-wow from humans. The very first national monument dedicated to military dogs will be on display in the new year. Military dogs that served in combat in wars since World War 2 are being honored for their many contributions to help soldiers in war time. Although there are other tributes to military dogs in the United States, this monument is the first to have national status. In 2007,North Carolina Representative Walter B. Jones introduced a bill to have such a national tribute to military dogs. The legislation was passed unanimously with President George Bush signing the bill into law. It was amended and also signed by President Barack Obama. The statue of a solider, standing 9 ft. tall and weighting 1500 pounds, stands next to four dogs, each about 5 ft. tall and 550 pounds. The dogs used in war and depicted in the monument include a Labrador retriever, German shepherd, Doberman and Belgian Malinois. The bronze monument will eventually be on display at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, as it at this base where most military dogs get their training.
10/28/12:If you watch the Jets play the Miami Dolphins this weekend(October 28), you'll see something unusual. Instead of yellow penalty flags, the flags used will be pink. And, it's all because of an 11 year old boy from New Jersey. Dante Cano, wrote a letter to the NFL commission, asking that the flags be pink to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. The commissioner, Roger Goodell, received the letter and decided it was a great idea. On Sunday, Dante will present the pink penalty flags to the referees and then, he and his family will get to watch the game. You really can make a difference...at any age!
Researchers are using technology to make gains in cracking the meaning of the world's oldest non-decoded writing system. Dating back 5000 years, the writing system, called proto-Elamite, was used by people that lived in the region of modern day Iran. Clay tablets and pottery with proto-Elamite are being studied under high-tech imaging at the Universities of Southampton and Oxford, Great Britain.The images of the clay tablets are so very clear that it should help researchers who are trying to decode the meaning of the writing system. It is thought the writing, of which 80-90% hasn't been deciphered as of yet, may have been shared with the ancient Mesopotamians. Mesopotamian's writing called cuneiform, seem to share several similar symbols(sheep, cereals, goats) as well as their number symbols with proto-Elamite.
Scientists are developing invisible clocks like that worn in the Harry Potter movies...but some fish, don't need any such cloaking device-they already have the ability to become invisible when danger is present. Researchers at Bristol University,Great Britain, say that sprat, sardines and herrings which are silver-colored, can create such an optical illusion. It has to do with reflection capabilities. As with certain sunglasses which are able to reflect the sun's glare, the fish seem to use this ability to shield themselves from predators like tuna and dolphin. Their skin has many layers of guanine crystals which make the reflection possible. Studying fish whose skin has this ability may help scientists develop better optical technology for humans.
Hate having homework? France's President Francois Hollande has announced he'd like to ban it in France.Why the ban? Hollande doesn't think it is fair that some kids have parents that help them with homework and others do not. But, before you wish you could go to school in France...there is a catch. Kids currently go to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday(usually 8:30-4:30). President Hollande would like to add half day classes on Wednesday. He'd require time at the end of the school day for students to do their homework assignments in school.What do you think of this idea? Learn about the country of France:
NASA's Curiosity really digs its job. The robot has begun to eat dirt to get samples of its composition. This should help scientists determine what makes up the soil of the planet Mars. Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6,2012 in what is called the Gale Crater, on Mar's equator.
10/17/12:Austrian Felix Baumgartner has done it! On October 14,2012, he successfully jumped 128,000 ft. from a pressurized capsule and fell to earth. During the unofficial 4 minute and 22 second drop, more than 24 miles from space, Baumgartner's estimated speed reached 833.9 mph. Wearing a specially designed space suit with a parachute and helmut, Baumgartner risked loss of consciousness, temperatures of 70 degrees below zero and air so thin, it could cause his blood to boil, if his suit didn't protect him. His supersonic skydive broke several records including the highest a person has gone in a balloon, the highest free fall jump(previous record was 19.5 miles)and breaking the sound barrier...without being in a vehicle. It is hoped that the science collected from Baumgartner's accomplishment will help design better spacesuits and enable scientists to develop emergency exit plans for astronauts should they need to leave their spacecrafts.
While strolling along the beach in Pompano Beach, Florida, Gino Covacci EYED something rather unusual...a softball size blue colored eyeball resting on the sand. He placed the still fresh eye(it's owner had recently "lost" it) into a plastic bag and took it home and contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Is it an eye of a whale, giant squid or a swordfish? Scientists are examining the eye to try and determine from which species the eye belonged.
10/11/12:When you say to yourself that you are too young to try and make a difference in the world....think of Malala Yousafzai. When 11 year old, Malala Yousafzai, who lived in the Swat Valley, in Pakistan, was told girls would no longer be allowed to go to school, she was very upset. She didn't feel it was right that those who had taken control of her area,called Taliban, denied education to girls. She decided to write a blog under a pen name for the BBC. She dared to criticize the Taliban telling of how her life had changed and how her community suffered by such policies. Malala actually received threats by the Taliban for her campaign that all girls should be given the opportunity to go to school and get an education! Her courage to speak out earned her Pakistan's highest civilian award. Malala was also nomination for an international children's peace award.Eventually, the Taliban were removed from the area and Malala and other girls were again allowed to attend school. Sadly, the other day, Taliban gunmen boarded her bus and searched her out. They shot the young teen Malala, now 14, in the neck and head as she left a school that she was attending. Pray for Malala Yousafzai as she fights for her life...
The Giza Pyramids of Egypt pink? A pink Niagara Falls? What's going on today, October 11th? In honor of the first International Day of the Girl, landmarks around the world have been turned pink. Buildings like the Empire State Building, The London Eye(ferris wheel , The Mermaid in Copenhagen,Denmark, and many others are also sporting the color pink. October 11th, International Day of the Girl ,designated by the UN General Assembly,advocate for girls' rights especially in countries in the world where girls are limited in getting an education or are discriminated due to their gender.
A planet made mostly of diamonds? That's what a team of astronomers from the United States and France have discovered in the constellation of Cancer. About 40 light years away from Earth,the planet named '55 Cancri e', is twice the size of Earth. This isn't the first planet to be made mostly of graphite and diamonds but it is large and the first to be found orbiting a sun.The glittery planet is super hot, with a temperature of 3900 degrees(F) and,time really flies too, since '55 Cancri e' zooms around its sun in less than 18 hours!
A piece of 100 million year old amber has been found with a well preserved spider attacking a wasp. Found in the Hukawng Valley of the country of Myanmar,it is thought to be the first of its kind found frozen in time. The amber shows a male wasp caught in about 15 strands of unbroken the spider's silk. Both were suddenly covered in tree resin(which forms amber) locking them in time. Both the spider and wasp species are now extinct.
10/1/12:Would you eat blue,chocolate brown or green colored honey? Seems honeybees in the very large honey producing area of Ribeauville,France are producing just that. The reason- honeybees have found a replacement for the nectar they usually gather from flowers. They've been swarming over to get their sweet tooth fill from a M and M Candy plant about 2.5 miles away to feast on containers of processing waste from the making of the sugary candies.Although the blue and green honey might look a bit odd, the honey still tastes the same. Back in 2012,bees in Brooklyn,NY, were making red honey after finding sweet treats in waste vats at a Maraschino Cherry company.
9/26/12:Vevgeny Salinder,11, recently went for a walk and has made an amazing discovery, a well-preserved body of a 30,000 year old woolly mammoth! Found near a weather station in Taymyr, northern Russia, the adult male mammoth's body is nearly intact,with bones, fur and skin. Scientists worked for a week excavating the 6ft 6 inch mammoth from its resting place in the permafrost. Thought to be about 15 year of age, the 1100 pound mammoth also has its rib cage, mouth and tusk. It also has a hump on its back(like a camel) where it had stored fat to survive the harsh winter months.Scientists say it's the second best preserved ever found and the first mammoth to be found in Russia since 1901 The mammoth was named Jenya,(Zhenya) the nickname of the boy who found it.Scientists hope to obtain some of its DNA for possible cloning projects.Pretty cool!
A bird-headed, tiny fanged dinosaur with razor sharp fangs has been unearthed in South Africa. About the size of a cat, it was about two feet long and weighed in at about 15 pounds. Found in a red rock dating back 200 million years, the small dinosaur has been named Pegomastax Africanus(thick jaw from Africa). Scientists say that dinosaur had a parror-shaped beak. It's fangs could act like sharp scissors but teeth wear patterns suggests the Pegomastax,with an inch long jaw, was most likely a plant-eater,munching on seeds,nuts and fruits. Although not found, it is thought the dinosaur had porcupine type quills on its body,giving it a much fully appearance,as it walked around on two feet. Another similar dinosaur fossil was recently found buried in lake sediment in China which still had its bristle coat.
9/20/12: A wheely huge ferris wheel is planned for New York. When completed in 2015, the ferris wheel ,to be built on Staten Island,will be the world's largest. The New York Wheel will be 625 ft, 84 ft. higher than the currently tallest ferris wheel,the Singapore Flyer. Riders,up to1440 at a time, will get a bird's eye view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty.
One of the first things to do when getting into a car is put on your seatbelt. This safety act is also a law. An assemblywomen in New Jersey has introduced a bill to require seatbelts for DOGS,too.You have probably seen dogs on motorists' laps as they drive or dogs roaming around in the back of a pick-up truck. L. Grace Spencer feels this is dangerous to both the driver and their pets.If the bill passes, New Jersey will be the first state to pass such a law. If you don't want to secure you dog with a seatbelt, a carrying crate will be allowed. Motorists found to have they dog without a safety restraint will be fined $25 and go up to as much as $1000(animal cruelty charge).
Victoria Walker is only in sixth grade but she's designed an app that just might help stop people from texting while driving. Her idea, the barking of dogs. Victoria, 11,says she got the idea from her own three dogs. Their barking sound can get on one's nerves so why not an app that if you start texting while driving, you hear the sound of incessant barking...until you stop. Victoria took part in a Hackathon, a competition sponsored by ATT in Los Angeles, to think of ways to get people from stopping such a dangerous practice of texting and driving. Teamed with a designer named David Grau, the team won the competition with their idea for Rode Dog, winning $20,000 to assist in the idea's development. The idea is for people to join "packs". If a member is using their phone while driving, other pack members can send along the barking sounds. Plans are for the app to allow for you to select non barking animal sounds,too,(like the roar of a lion or the clucking of a chicken)and will be available later this year.
9/15/12:Do you have any dental fillings? Scientists in Italy say they have found a tooth with possibly the world's oldest filling. Dating back 6500 years, the tooth has a beeswax cap on a left canine tooth. The beeswax was used to plug a hole of a tooth found on a fossilized jawbone of a young man. The discovery shows that people of the Neolithic time had some knowledge of dentistry. Older evidence of dental work was found on 11 molars dating back 9000 years but these holes had no filings.
How do you maintain grassy areas with steep areas too difficult to mow?Officials at Chicago O'Hare International Airport had an idea-use goats. The Chicago Department of Aviation is planning on "hiring" more than 30 goats to keep those difficult to mow areas trimmed.Goat mowers also are very environmentally friendly as they don't emit pollutions into the air, and, when they leave their dropping behind, it can act as a fertilizer. Ir's not a new idea, San Francisco International Airport has tried using goats and Hartsfield-Jacson Atlanta International Airport has tested using sheep. Even the Presidio Golf Course in San Francisco has turned to 300 goats to munch grasses on their golf course. In addition to goats, Chicago O'Hare is also looking for a goat herder to watch over the flock that will graze the 100 acres.
It seems that some of the amazing things used by fictitious famous wizard, Harry Potter, are becoming a reality.Last year, an invisibility cloak along the idea of the one Harry wore to go unnoticed through the halls of Hogwarts, has been tested in a lab. Now, add floating water! Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, Illinois, have gotten water droplets to float in the air. Instead of using magic wands, they using sound waves. Drops of water have been suspended in mid air using a device called an acoustic levitator( developed by NASA). Two tiny speakers, one above the other, send out sound waves just above the range of the human ear.When the sound waves are aligned at just the right point,the two sound waves interfere with one another,eliminating the effects of gravity on the small water drops. The result, the water droplets float in mid air.You might wonder just what scientists could be able to do with suspending droplets of water or other light object. Researchers hope the process will help them make better pharmaceutical medicines. Creating medicines without the need for a container would slow the evaporation process,making drugs that would absorb into the body more effectively.
Trivia question. What is the "world's hottest"temperature ever recorded? The answer until recently has been El Azizia, Libya, where a temperature of 136.4F(58C) was recorded on September 13, 1922 . This week, the World Meteorological Organization says a change in the record books is needed as the temperature recording at El Azizia is no longer accurate. The new "world's hottest" temperature ever record goes to Death Valley, California.Back on July 10,1913, a temperature of 134(56.7C) was recorded.
A monarch butterfly migrating from North America to Mexico made an unexpected detour-to Great Britain. It is believed that Hurricane Isaac caused the tiny butterfly to be carried 3500 miles across the At lantic Ocean!The left wing of the orange, white and black monarch butterfly is damaged. It was spotted near the Portland Bird Observatory on the Isle of Portland,Dorset, Great Britain. Butterfly enthusiasts are coming to the facility to catch a glimpse of monarch butterfly.Some do not believe a monarch could have made such an amazing trek and say that it may be a monarch butterfly raised in Great Britain that flew the coop. Only the tiny butterfly ,with its four inch wingspan,knows its true origins!Word of the day:lepidopterist:a scientist who studies of butterflies, moths and similar insects.Learn about monarch butterflies:National Geographic Kids
Would you like to name an asteroid? NASA is asking students to help name an asteroid called1000RQ36 which obits the sun in 436.6 days. The asteroid is expected to make close contact with Earth in 170 years. 1999RQ36 is 1837 ft wide. In 2016, NASA hopes to launch an expedition to the asteroid. Called Osiris-Rex, the mission will gather samples of rocks from its surface. Students under the age of 18 are encouraged to submit a name for the asteroid, up to 16 characters. In addition to a name, students are asked to give a brief explanation for why they chose their suggested name. Deadline for submissions is Dec. 2, 2012. Here is the link for more information on Name that Asteroid!Planetary Society
9/5/12:Concerned that we are living in a time with the highest rates of species extinction, the X Prize Foundation has announced a prize for the first scientific team to bring back an extinct species, kind of like what was done in the movie, Jura ssic Park. The goal of this particular X Prize, called the Jurassic Park X Prize, is to " find a safe, repeatable, and reliable fashion to bring back extinct species to rebuild a population." Several scientists from Asia already have their sights on the prize. They hope to use DNA from frozen 4500 year old mammoths found in Siberia with the Indian elephant, it's closest living relative, to bring back the extinct woolly mammoth. Which extinct creature(non dinosaur...) would you like to see walking the planet? Extinct Animal information:FactsAboutAnimals.net Great information on today's species:Kidsplanet.Org
More and more, QR (quick response)codes are popping up. With a smart phone, you just click on the QR stamp,a kind of barcode, and you are directed to more information on the internet. Last month, a dairy farm placed a QR on one of their cows! Now, a farm in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, has created a unique corn maze-a working QR code. Measuring 312000 sq. feet, people can walk around the maze which Guinness World Records has declared to be the world's largest QR code. The only problem, in order to get more information using this QR code, you need to be in an airplane!
Although it's the right thing to do, not everyone would do what Abbie Jacobson,8,of Maine recently did. A few months ago, Abbie found a little purse on the sidewalk outside her local Sam's Club. When she opened it, she was amazed to find it contained $4000, gold rings,earrings and bracelets, some Cambodian money and a debit card.Abbie knew the right thing to do was to try to get the purse back to its rightful owner,turning it into the police department. Her parents also called the bank which issued the debit card.The owner, a woman originally from the country of Cambodia,was so grateful,she invited Abbie and her family to lunch. On the first day of school, her 3rd grade teacher complimented Abbie for her honesty. The class gave her a round of applause. Abbie was asked what she would have done with such money and said she would have loved to see Justin Bieber in concert. A Bank of Maine executive heard of Abbie's honesty and knew someone who obtained tickets for Abbie and her family to attend the concert.Three cheers to Abbie!
8/25/12:Our national bird is the Bald Eagle,and some people would like to see a national mammal.Senators Michael Enzi and Tim Johnson have introduced a bill to make the North American bison,America's largest land mammal,given this honor.Here is the link:VoteBison.OrgLearn about the American Bison at this link:National Geographic
Charlie Naysmith,8 found a strange waxy-looking stone while walking along the beach with his dad. It turned out to be whale vomit,and,would you believe the marine mammals' upchuck is very valuable?Called Ambergris,it's used in the making of perfumes, and is known as "floating gold". Charlie's wad which weighs about one pound, may be worth $65,000! Charlie, who's searched the beach for more ambergris,hopes to use the money earned to help animals.
Have you ever searched the beaches for a message in a bottle or placed a message into a bottle wondering just where and where it might be found? The other day, a fisherman in Scotland pulled a glass bottle from his net. The message was very old having been dropped into the ocean 98 years ago! Guinness World Records says it's the oldest message in a bottle ever found.Back on June 10,1914, 1890 bottles were released as part of a study by the Glasgow School of Navigation to learn about the currents around Scotland. Finders of the bottles were asked to return the postcard stating where the bottle was found. A reward of sixpence was also promised to the finder of these bottles.Just in case you are wondering, of the 1890 bottles dropped into the ocean back in 1914, only 315 have ever been found to date.And, as for the sixpence reward, the coin is no longer in circulation.
8/15/12:A fly and two mites have been found in northeastern Italy. What makes this news is the bugs are the oldest know to be preserved in amber. And, these ancient insects are in fantastic condition. Found in droplet of amber(fossilized tree resin), the fly and two mites,long wormlike insects, date back 230 million years to what is called the Triassic Period.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to ever walk on the moon, has died. He was 82 years old.I remember watching the black and white television broadcast,on July 20, 1969, as Armstrong walked down the steps and said these words from the Sea of Tranquillity,"That is one small step for(a)man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin(Mike Collins stayed aboard the command module) gathered 50 pounds of moon rocks, planted an America flag, and did science experiments. After 21 hours and 37 minutes, they returned to the command module for the flight back to Earth.It was an amazing accomplishment!
Annaleise Carr, 14, has swum into the record books. On Sunday, Annaleise became the youngest to swim solo across Lake Ontario.The young Canadian swam the distance of 31.6 miles in about 27 hours. Allowed to take breaks(as long as she stayed in the water), Annaleise did the swim for charity. Hoping to raise $30,000 for a childhood cancer group, Camp Trillium,Annaleise,who has been swimming competitively since a young girl, has raised $90,000! Kudos to Annaleise!
8/15/12:Image riding a bicycle that cost only about $10 to build. That's the cost to build the eco-friendly bike that Ishar Gafni, of Israel, has made. Why so cheap? It's made entirely from scraps of cardboard! Gafni used some origami paper folding techniques(for weight bearing capabilities) in his bike construction.Able to hold someone that weighs up to 485 pounds, the cardboard bicycle is coated with a finish that looks like white plastic. It is hoped that the cardboard bicycle will be available next year.
Yikes...It is estimated that thousands to hundreds of thousands of Burmese pythons live in the Florida Everglades National Park.With no natural enemies,their population continues to grow. One python just captured is the largest ever recorded in Florida. It was 17.7 ft. long and weighed 164 pounds. Pythons feed on alligators and deer, coiling around their prey until they suffocate them. This large python had what is believed to be a record 87 eggs, no wonder their numbers are growing!
Scientists have unearthed shark fossils in the northern state of Arizona. Several of the species date back to 270 million years ago and were found in an area that was once part of a shallow sea,now a pine forest. Called ctenacanthiformes, the shark species had two dorsal fin spines, short -snouted heads,and large sharp teeth.
Joshua Smith,9, noticed that the parks near his home were not being well kept. When he asked his parents, Joshua was told that the city of Detroit didn't have the money to keep the park maintained and the grass mowed. This really upset Joshua and that's when he got an idea. He asked his parents if he could sell lemonade to earn money to help his city get needed funds. His parents agreed and set him up with $100 to purchase supplies. With the addition of popcorn and other drinks, Joshua and his friend, Dwayne Durant,10,raised over $3400 in just a week! The mayor of Detroit, thanked Joshua for his efforts but said that he thought the money should be used to help pay for Joshua's college education. Joshua said that just wouldn't be right because people supported his cause which was to help the city! Kudos to Joshua for his caring spirit!
8/1/12:UPDATE:HURRAY...another successful space achievement. Curiosity has landed on Mars and tweeted,"I'm safely on the surface of Mars. Gale Crater I am in you!!!"
Are you curious about the planet Mars? If, so the nuclear-powered Curiosity may start sharing some of its secrets. After 8 months and 352 million miles, Curiosity has reached the red planet!The size of a small car, and weighing about one ton, engineers hope Curiosity will survive its fiery seven minute descent. The world's largest supersonic parachute will hopefully slow down its speed and cables will help lower it to the surface.Its target landing is Gale Crater, where scientists believe a lake once existed. Carrying cameras and a weather station,Curiosity also comes equipped with a robotic arm with a laser and power drill.Curiosity's chemistry lab can sniff out life forms and radiation levels. If Curiosity survives the landing, it is hoped that scientists will learn more about Mars to better understand what astronauts will face on a future manned expedition to the planet. And Curiosity's landing date happens to be the birthday of Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to ever walk on the moon(in 1969). Learn more about Curiosity at this link:
Soccer isn't just a fun and exciting sport, it's now a way to bring electricity to many of the estimated 25 % of the world that still do not have access to electricity. Two Harvard grads, Julia Sliverman and Jessica Mathews, have developed Soccket soccer balls that capture kinetic energy produced by playing the popular sport,converting it into electricity. The ball is actually a portable generator in the form of a soccer ball. A Soccket ball is only 5 ounces heavier than a standard soccer ball and with just 30 minutes of use, the balls can store enough energy to last for three hours- powering things like LED lamps, fans, hot plates and, cell phones.
Congratulations to swimmer Michael Phelps ,who has set a new record for lifetime Olympic medals!The previous record was held by Larisa Latynina who had 18 olympic medals. Phelps has won 17 gold medals, two silvers and two bronze metals.
Imagine the Grand Canyon filled with ice. That's just what scientists have discovered under about 1/2 miles of Antarctic ice. The walls of the massive under ice canyon,called Ferrigno Rift, reach a depth of about 1 mile.The canyon is about six miles across and 62 miles long.Glaciologist, Robert Bingham, of the University of Aberdeen, and Chris Griffiths, spend 9 weeks back in 2009-2010 studying an area of Antarctic that had only been visited one before. The scientists wondered why the particular area seemed to have more than average melting and made the discovery using radar that penetrated the icy topography.
7/22/12:Two lions have been found in the town of Karakiz, in the country of Turkey, and they are really huge. Each weigh about 5 tons. Thought to have been sculpted about 3200 years ago by the Hittites, the details of the two prowling lions suggest the artists knew what a lion liked like. Because of a belief that there might be hidden treasures inside the sculptures, the granite lions are in two pieces, having been split apart by dynamite.Archaeologists are puzzled over their purpose.It is thought the life-size lions, may have been created to protect and mark a water source.
Starting with a thin polymer membrane that was cut to resemble the looks of a jellyfish(eight armed shape), scientists at Caltech and Harvard grew heart muscle cells from the cardiac cells of rats onto the material. Then, using an electric surge,the scientists got the cardiac cells to pump. Called Medusoid, the man-made Franken-jellyfish moved through water! Next, the scientists hope to develop a "brain" to give to Medusoid so it can turn and move depending on its environment(like toward light or food source) It is hoped that such research will help scientists learn more about the function of the human muscular pumps, specifically,the human heart, to develop better artificial hearts.
7/15/12:Water....lots of it(a supply 43 miles by 25 miles worth) has been found in the driest area of sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists at the British Geological Survey and University College London have been studying underground water sources(aquifers)and have discovered a vein of water,enough to supply Namibia(the driest of the countries in the area) with 400 years of water! And, what's kind of cool, the water is 10,000 years old and still safe to drink. The people of Namibia currently get their water from a 40 year old canal. Scientists say the underground water supply, called Ohangwena 11,should be easy to obtain due to the natural pressure which the water is under. However, the one stumbling block is a salty supply of water located above it.Drilling will need to be carefully done to avoid mixing the salty water with the fresh water below. More water will have a tremendous impact on this dry region of the world.Learn about the Sahara Desert at this link:Mr.Donn
7/10/12:A very large iceberg has calved off the Petermann Glacier of Greenland. The size of the iceberg is almost twice the size of the island of Manhattan, or about 46 sq. miles. Although very large, a much larger iceberg(twice the size) calved from this glacier back in 2010. 4/5 of the island of Greenland is covered by ice!
A dairy farmer in Great Britain has come up with a novel idea to teach young people about what her occupation is like and about something many drink-milk. Jane Barnes, Somerby Leicestershire,Great Britain, painted a QR code on one of her Friesian cows named "Lady Shamrock". Using smartphones, young people(and old) can click on the QR code to learn about Lady Shamrock and what it's like working on a dairy farm. When first applied, Barnes says Lady Shamrock was a big hit with the rest of the herd coming up to her and having a look at the unusual markings. It's thought to be the first time a QR code has been used in such a way. And, if you are wondering,the paint is cow friendly and can be brushed off at the end of each day. If you'd like to visit the site without a visit to Lady Shamrock, click here:
A "whale" of a cemetery exists south of the Lima, the capital city of the South American country of Peru. The fossil remains of about 15 different marine mammals rest in the Ocucaje Desert, about 16 miles from shore The whales lived between 3-20 million years ago, The cemetery of fossils of these giant marine mammals spans about 17 square miles in an area where strong winds are taken their toll on the fossils. In an attempt to help preserve this remarkable cemetery, it was announced that there are plans to turn the area into a paleontological park.
7/1/12:Green moss growing in Antarctica feeds on an unusual food supply-ancient penguin droppings! With frozen barren lands, scientists wondered just what the moss used for nutrients to live in Antarctica. They discovered that 3,000-8000 years ago, Adelie penguins once lived on the site. They left behind dropping that the moss uses as a food source. Scientists studied chemical samples of moss and found nitrogen-specifically nitrogen that had a one time passed through a marine creature. More studies found that indeed a penguin colony had once been at the area where the moss grows. Learn more about Adelie penguins at this link:National Geographic Kids
Might seaweed toothpaste be coming to a store near you?Researchers at Newcastle University were studying microbes growing on seaweed,as a way to clean the hulls of ships. They found that the microbes(called Bacillus licheniformis) produce an enzyme that works on cleaning plaque buildup on teeth. Plaque, a build up of bacteria, can cause teeth decay. Researchers hope to create an enzyme based on what the seaweed microbe produces to add to toothpaste or mouthwash. The result may be less cavities thanks to seaweed!
Until now,the oldest crater on earth, about 2 billion years old was the Vredefort Crater,found in South Africa. It was also the largest at 186 miles wide. Scientists now think there is a new record holder,a crater found near the town of Maniitsoq, Greenland. Before eroding, it may have been 310 miles wide! Just think of the size of the meterorite that would have caused such a massive hole. It is estimated that such a meteorite hit the Earth, about 3 billion years ago, and was a whopping19 miles wide! So, why wasn't the crater "discovered" until now? It is because much of the evidence has worn away over time and only the deepest parts remain. Scientists found several clues suggesting a meteorite impact including samples of crushed circular shaped rocks, the result of shock waves from a thunderous hit,deposits of K-feldspar, a melted mineral and evidence of eroding by very hot water.
The fastest animal on earth, the Cheetah,has been clocked at running up to 65 mph.Daredevil Mischo Erban (June 26th)set a new world record for humans-reaching 80.56mph...on a skateboard. Wearing a special aerodynamic suit, Erban zoomed down a road in Les Eboulements, Quebec, Canada. The road is famous for its 18 degree incline and means "the landslide" in French. During the record breaking skateboarding attempt, Erban says he stayed focused on the yellow line along the road...until it "disappeared" as he reached the top-level speed.This is definitely something you shouldn't try at home!
Update:It was just announced that Dalma Rushdi Malhas will not be competing as her horse was injured.The country of Saudi Arabia has never allowed women to participate in the olympics. That is changing for the London 2012 Olympics. It was announced that women athletes will be allowed to compete. Thus far, Dalma Rushdi Malhas,18,is the only female athlete coming. She is a showjumper. Other female teams,including basketball and track and field may compete if they can get their teams together in time for the start of the games this July 27th.Why the change? Seems that the rest of the Saudi male teams may have been disqualified from participating if females were banned from competition on grounds of gender discrimination. Girls are not allowed to participate in physical education in state run schools in Saudi Arabia and women can not drive cars and can not work or travel without permission. In 2015, women will be allowed to vote in elections in Saudi Arabia for the very first time.
6/24/12:Rae Heim, 18, from Carroll,Iowa, is running across the United States. She started her journey in April and, at about 20 miles a day, hopes to reach her goal of Huntington Beach, CA, by October. What makes her cross country trek more unusual, she's running barefoot!Heim's started running barefoot after breaking a toe a while back and couldn't get into her running shoes.She began running without them.Her barefoot journey will collect money for Soles4Souls, a charity that provides shoes for children in need. To date, Heim has raised almost $3000 dollars enough for 3000 pairs of shoes.She carries toe socks which she has donned when the asphalt gets too hot.
At one time people that found artifacts from ancient times took them back with them from where the artifacts were originally found. Today, most countries forbid antiquities from being removed from their homeland. The Asian country of Mongolia is demanding something of theirs be returned...an 8 ft. tall , 24 foot long skeleton of a dinosaur! Called T. bataar, it is the relative of the North American T. rex. In May, the 75% complete skeleton was sold at an auction in New York City,for a whopping $1,052,0000. A paleontologist(dinosaur scientist) said that the dino couldn't have been from Great Britain as was claimed. It only roamed the area known as Mongolia, about 70 million years ago. The U.S. government will hold onto the dinosaur until the courts decide its rightful owner.
If you stand on a scale in Germany or the South Pole, will you weigh the same?A traveling little gnome named KERN, has been traveling the world to find out. Started by Kern Precision Scales, Balingen, Germany, the idea is to prove that an object weighs more in the South Pole. This is because the earth's gravitation pull varies a bit since the earth is more potato shaped than a perfect sphere. Because of the earth's shape, a constant object(a human's weight change during the day), Kern should weight more at Antarctica that at the equator. The tiny gnome has visited such world cities as as Syndey, Australia, Lima, Peru, Mumbai, India, San Francisco and Woolsthrope Manor,Great Britain(birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton, the man with the theory of gravity). If you go to the world map, you can see the different weights that Kern has registered, with the South Pole,specifically the Amundsen-Scott Research Station in Antarctica, the heaviest at 309.82 grams(.683pounds) Go to the Gnome Experiment to see the world map and see a short video:Gnome Experiment
Martha Payne, 9, probably didn't realize how popular her blog would become. She started taking photographs of her school lunch and gave each lunch a grade. and posted them on the internet. One of her favorite lunches was mac and cheese and one of her low grades went for sausage and bean pita pockets.The Scottish school girl's blog has gotten more than five million hits. She also has raised about $105,000 for charity. Believing her blog was giving negative attention to the school, Martha was told she wouldn't be allowed to take photographs of her lunch. This caused an uproar of people emailing and tweeting that this ban was improper. Martha has again been given the OK to resume her blog. You can see her blog at this link:
It's been 100 years since someone was allowed to attempt to walk across Niagara Falls on a tight rope.On June 15, Nik Wallenda(of the famous highwire performing family)attempted such a walk on live television and became the first person to successfully traverse the falls. In order to be allowed to do the highwire crossing, Wallenda(who doesn't usually use any safety measures)wore a safety harness as he walked along a narrow steel cable, 200 feet over the famous falls.The distance, through heavy mist from the thunderous falls and windy conditions, was about the length of 4 football fields. The wire, about the diameter of 3 pennies!It took Nik about 25 minutes to walk the tightrope. A long balancing pole aided Nik in keeping his balance as he slowly inched across the highwire wearing specially made leather shoes. He began on the American side and ending on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.Nik's next adventure-he hopes to cross over the Grand Canyon on a highwire!
6/19/12:Most people have gotten something from a vending machine-soda, water, chips, but fresh baked to order pizza hasn't been one of them...until now. What is being called the world's first pizza making vending machine is now a reality. It can make fresh pizza, right in front of your eyes in just 2 1/2 minutes.The machine will knead the pizza dough, add the sauce,the toppings and bake it. And, when ready, will pop out of the vending machine for you to enjoy in its own pizza box. The pizza vending machines,called "Let's Pizza, have been introduced in Italy and other European countries over the last three years. The first "Let's Pizza" vending machine is coming soon to the states.The cost for a 10.5 inch vending machine pizza...about $6, and if you are worried that the pizza vending machine will run out of pizza, each machine has enough ingredients for 200 pies and is internet controlled for restocking.
6/15/12:The 112th U.S.Open begins this weekend and one of the 156 competitors will be Andy Zhang.Andy, 14(and six months),originally from the country of China,is thought to be the youngest to qualify to play in the famous golf tournament. Tadd Fukikawa held the youngest title when he competed in the U.S. Open at 15 years 5 months.Andy's pre tournament scores placed him as an alternate to the US Open. Then, the call came that another player,Paul Casey, was injured and Andy,who lives in Florida, would be playing in the tournament. Andy started golfing at the age of six and has competed in tournaments since he was ten years old.
A lobster fisherman in Canada trapped a most unusual lobster...with an amazingly bright blue shell. Scientists say that blue lobsters are very rare, about 1 in 2 million. Blue lobsters are caused from an over production of a certain protein that turns the shell blue. What do you think should be done with the blue lobster? Should it be returned to the ocean or go to an aquarium?
110 new life-sized Terra cotta soldiers have been unearthed in Xi'an,China, joining the more than 8,000 others that stand guard of the tomb of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of a unified China(221-206 BC). These new discoveries are in very good condition and have some of their original colorful painting. The army of clay soldiers were first discovered in 1974 when farmers were digging a well. In addition to the soldiers, a shield was also unearthed. Each soldier is unique. Some have beards, others mustaches and goatees. Some have hair in knots,some have long hair. Each soldier was once brightly painted.However, when exposed to the air, the vegetable dyes used, quickly faded.The tallest terra cotta soldier is 6 ft. 5 inches and the shortest is 5 ft. 8 inches. In addition to soldiers, over 600 life-size horses and 130 chariots have been unearthed. Today, the excavation pits are part of the Qin Shihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China.
5/20/12:Want to play a piano but don't have one? Well, thanks to a new application, you can turn stairs and even a bunch of bananas into a musical instrument! Makey, Makey requires no software installation, you just connect alligator clips with a little circuit board attached to whatever you wish to "play". Plugging the USB cable end into a computer, you can now play chopsticks or other musical works by tapping on the bananas. The MIT students that developed the device says it has many applications turning almost anything(even playdough, a cup of milk,your cat or your BFF) into touch pads.
If you watch television commercials, you will see lots of ads for foods that aren't really healthy. The Walt Disney Company had announced plans to stop airing such "junk food" ads. Forget adds for sugary drinks, foods that have lots of sodium(salt) or foods with lots of calories. In an attempt to help fight childhood obesity, such ads will be banned on Disney owned channels in 2015.
Snigdha Nandipati,14, of San Diego, became the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee champ after correctly spelling "guetapens". The word is a French term for snare, trap or ambush. The middle schooler , one of 278 that took part in the three day competition in the Washington, DC area, said she studied for 6 hours a day and 10 hours a day on weekends for the competition. Her efforts paid off! Snigdha, who also enjoys playing the violin, reading and collecting coins, won a trophy, $30,000 in cash, reference materials, a $5000 scholarship and a $2500 savings bond. Congrats to Snigdha.
Brendan Haas, of Massachusetts,is only nine years old but he has done something wonderful helping people he doesn't even know.Brendan had heard about a man that started with a red paper clip and continued trading until he actually got a house.Brendan thought he'd like to earn a trip for a family to go to DisneyWorld.Calling his project, "A Soldier for a Soldier", Brendan started by offering to trade a toy soldier back in February. Trades continued until when he was done, Brendan has succeeded in earning airfare and a stay at DisneyWorld (and about $900) for a family.He then collected names of families who had lost a loved one in Afghanistan and picked a name out of a hat on Memorial Day. U.S. Army Lt. TImothy Steele's widow and 2 year old daughter will be going on the trip to DisneyWorld thanks to Brendan's project to help others!Well done, Brendan!
Marvel Comics is introducing a new superhero. Called Blue Ear, this Superhero is a bit different. He has a hearing problem and wears a hearing device that gives him amazing hearing. The idea for this unusual superhero was the result of a little four year old boy that didn't like wearing his hearing aid because he told his mom, superheros don't wear such devices. His mom contacted Marvel Comics and the editorial department listened creating the new character, named for the little boy's hearing device. Marvel Comics' continues to honor founder Martin Goodman's concept of wanting their comics to give kids the message that real superheroes are the people that can overcome any challenges!
5/12/12:A little white stray dog came upon cyclists in a race from Sichuan province to Tibet. One of the cyclists,Xiao Young, saw that the pooch looked hungry so he gave her a chicken drumstick. This act of kindness made the dog the cyclist's constant companion. The dog followed the team of cyclists 1138 miles, averaging 36 miles per day,for a period of 20 days. Along the route,the dog named Ziaosa(Little Sa, part of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet),climbed 12 mountainous areas over 13000 ft.high. Xiao Yong carried the four-legged racer downhill so she wouldn't get hurt during the high-speeds of the cyclists.And, when it looked like Ziaosa was getting tired, Yong said he carried her on the back of his bike in a little box.With the race complete, Ziaosa now has a permanent home with Yong.
Prehistoric people liked creating music for many of the same reasons we enjoy music today and,these early people were making music even longer than original thought. Scientists have found what is believed to be the oldest-known musical instruments in a cave in southern Germany. The flutes, one made from mammoth ivory and another from bird bones are estimated to be between 42,000-43,000 year old and were found at Geissenkloesterle Cave.
Gary Connery jumped into the record books by becoming the first skydiver to safely land without a parachute. The experienced skydiver and stuntman dived 2400 ft. out of a helicopter, over London, England,wearing a wingsuit. He quickly reaching speeds of 80 mph on his descent.Connery's target landing-18,600 cardboard boxes, with the words, "Go Garry" written atop them. Fifty seconds after his jump, Connery landed safely into the runway of boxes which were 40 ft. wide, 12 ft high and 350 ft. long. A backup parachute was part of his gear just in case it was needed...
5/5/12:For the first time ever, a private company, SpaceX, has successfully launched a Falcon rocket into space with a gum-drop shaped vehicle called Dragon.Its destination is the International Space Station.Dragon will arrive at the ISS, 240 miles above the Earth, on Thursday,bringing 1014 pounds of food,water and equipment. The name of the capsule, comes from the folk group, Peter, Paul and Mary's song, Puff, the Magic Dragon. About two weeks later, Dragon will return to Earth packed with completed science activities and other items being removed from the ISS.
Volkswagen debuted a very futuristic concept Hover Car in China. The donut shaped two passenger vehicle doesn't have any wheels because it flies above the ground! The interesting looking vehicle was the result of a contest to design what a car of the future will look like. The Hover Car uses electronmagnetic(think monorails) to float along roads and a joystick is used to allow the car to move forward, backward and from side to side. It can even spin in place! The zero emissions car may be floating down the roads one day in the not to distant future.
4/30/12:Swiss Engineer Raphael Domjan and three others have succeeded in going around the world in 585 aboard a boat using energy only from the sun. The 37,294 mile journey began in Monaco, in 2010, and circumnavigated the earth to get the most possible sunlight. Called the MS Turanor Planet Solar, it is the world's largest solar-powered catamaran, having 38,000 solar panels. The catamaran docked on April 27th, 2012 having visited 28 countries along the way. Several world records were made with the trip including the longest journey made by a solar powered boat and the first solar powered boat to circumnavigate the earth. The name,Turanor, means "powered by the sun" and comes from the J.R.R. Tolkien book, The Lord of the Rings.
Shanthi, a 36 year old Asian elephant likes to play the harmonica. At the Smithsonian's National Zoo,in Washington, DC,Shanthi was given a harmonica and she just loves playing the instrument with her trunk. Installed on an activity wall, Shanthi seems to really enjoy creating music. Listen to her perform at this link:
Scientists studying Otzi,the 5300 year old mummy discovered frozen in the Alps along the Austrian-Italian borders back in 1991, have recently found something new...blood cells. Located near the wound where he was shot with an arrow, the blood cells are the world's oldest found to date. Learn more about Ozti at this links:
On Monday, April 30th, Freedom Tower, the skyscraper being built at the site of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, destroyed in the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001,will reach a milestone. At 1250 ft., it will become the tallest building in New York City. Currently the Empire State Building is the tallest building in NYC. Freedom Tower , officially called One World Trade Center,is scheduled for completion next year. When done, it will stand 1776 ft. tall( or the year of our country's independence) and will be the tallest building in the United States. If you are wondering what the world's tallest building is, the answer is Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. It stands 2717 ft. tall.
4/20/12:China,the 3rd country to rocket humans into space, has a new mission for this coming summer. For the first time in Chinese space exploration, the three person crew of the Shenzhou 9(meaning divine craft or celestial ship)is expected to include a female astronaut. The mission will be the first manned docking by the Chinese to their orbiting Tiangong 1(or Heavenly Palace-1) and another step in their country's goal of an orbiting space station. Chinese astronauts are called taikongyuan or taikonauts.Of the total people to have gone into space(about 517),53 have been women.
People in Great Britain glance twice when they see Axel watching his owner at work from a rooftop view. The black labrador mix follows Richard Haughton, his owner, up a ladder each day and perches himself on the roof for hours while Haughton does thatched roofing.Axel has been doing this for more than five years,since he was a pup.Haughton has to carry Axel down as he can't make his way down the ladder by himself.Now, that's a dog that really knows how to "roof".
Misaki Murakami, 16, from Rikuzentakata,lost his football(soccer to those in the USA) during the Japan tsunami of March 2011. Now, more than one year later, Misaki's football has been found...on a remote island of Alaska!A man walking along the beach came upon the football. Japanese writing on the ball was translated and stated the name of a school in Japan and the words,"Good luck".In the devastating tsunami, Misaki family lost everything, their home swept into the sea. Learning that his football had been located on the other side of the Pacific Ocean made him grateful that one of his possession have been found.He also said that he never imagined that his ball would have reached Alaska. It had hung in a net by his bedside.
Captain Ahab searched for a white sperm whale in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Scientists has spotted what is believed to be the first sighting of an adult orca which is totally white. Swimming with a pod of other orcas, Iceberg, as the white orca has been named seemed healthy. The white orca,thought to be able 16 years old, was seen off Kamchatka,Russia's eastern coast. Although white orcas have occasionally been found, they have always been youngsters, never an adult male.
Paleontologists may have found some whopper sized dinosaur eggs in the Chechnya area of Russia. The 40 super-sized fossilized eggs, some as big as 40.15 inches in size,are oval shaped and were found in the North Caucasus mountain region. The eggs,of an unknown dinosaur,which may be the largest dinosaur eggs found to date, were discovered by construction workers blasting into a hillside to make room for a road. At least one paleontologist questions the discovery saying that dinosaur eggs just weren't that large nor did dinosaurs roam such a mountainous area. Unusual rock formations or very cool fossilized dinosaur eggs...yet to be determined.
A new French study finds that baboons can recognize words. Using a computer program, six baboons were able to distinguish words from random letters, a form of pre reading. The baboons used a touch screen and viewed 500 real words(four letters such as done, kite and vast) and 7832 nonsense words(such as lons, dran, brrus, itcs and zevs). Whenever the baboons hit a green oval to show it was a word, they received a wheat treat. Dan, one of the baboons in the study was especially scholarly. He was able to identify 308 words out of the 500 real words. Researchers said it was more than just memorization because the baboons correctly identified words or nonwords even if they'd never seen them previously. Although the baboons don't understand what the words they recognized mean, researchers are excited that being about to identify word patterns is a step in the pre-reading process. Learn more about baboons at this link:
How do you do a census(count)on the number of Emperor penguins in one of the most inhospitable places in the world, Antarctica? Scientists used satellite imaging, the first such census of a species ever done from outer space. Using VHR (Very High Resolution) images, scientists estimate there are close to 600,000 of these black/white birds waddling Antarctica home, living in 44 different colonies along the shorelines of the continent. That's twice the number as previously thought. It is hoped that having an accurate count of the number of Emperor penguins, scientists can now better monitor the species and how climate change may impact their future numbers.The emperor penguin is the largest of the 17 species of penguins,at about 45 inches tall. Did you know Emperor penguins can dive to depths of 1800 feet and hold their breath for up to 22 minutes? Learn more about the emperor penguin at this link:
4/10/12:The National Trust, a charity in Great Britain,"that works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces - for ever, for everyone", has come up with a great list to get kids up and moving. Called the "50 Things You Should Do Before You Are 11 3/4" was developed because a report found that less than one in ten kids PLAY outside compared to kids 25 years ago. The study also found that 1/3 of kids today have never climbed a tree,and one in ten kids don't know how to ride a bike! How many can you say you've done thus far? Sounds like a list that kids(some with suggested adult supervision)and adults all over the world might find of interest. Here's the list:
One hundred years ago, the RMS Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. Dubbed the "unsinkable" ship, the Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40 PM ,April 14,1912,sinking into the cold Atlantic Ocean shortly afterwards at 2:20AM.Thousands were still aboard the ship when she went down,with those dying from the cold water temperatures in a matter of minutes. 1514 people lost their lives when the ship sank.710 survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia that received the distress calls, arriving a few hours later only to find the Titanic was already gone.Following this tragedy, a maritime law was established stating that there needed to be enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew aboard a ship, not the case for the Titanic. The establishiment of the International Ice Patrol was also started soon after the sinking of the Titanic to monitor icebergs in the shipping lanes of the Atlantic Ocean. In 1985, seventy-three years after its sinking,a U.S.-French expedition led by Robert D. Ballard, discovered the remains of the Titanic,about 400 miles east of Newfoundland in the Atlantic, at a depth of 13,000 feet. In 2012, UNESCO, the cultural body of the United Nations,placed the wreckage under its protection,to help to preserve the site.
4/10/12:The first large size debris, from the March 2011 earthquake/tsunamis that hit the country of Japan, has reached the United States. Found floating about 200 miles from Alaska, the ghost ship, a squid fishing vessel,made the approximate 8600 mile journey across the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Coast Guard, fearing the unmanned ship without electricity could be a hazard to other ships in the area, sank the vessel. It is estimated that 22 million tons of debris swept out to sea are heading toward North America. That's the size of the state of California!
An amazingly well preserved body of a young woolly mammoth,dating back 10,000 years, has been found in Siberia, Russia. Found in a block of ice, the mammoth, thought to be about 2 1/2 years old, is so well preserved that its strawberry-blond colored hair and pinkish colored skin are still intact. Named, Yuka, the young mammoth, is thought to have been attached by a predator such as a lion, as it has bite marks and scratches on its body. Missing bones suggest that that there was also human contact with the young mammoth, the first almost complete mammoth carcass discovered to date.Read more at this link:BBC
Volunteers who have participated in the Lake Merritt Institute clean up project, have scooped up litter and other items, from the lake over the past 15 years. However, a 6th grader, from St. Paul's Episcopal School, Oakland, CA, recently found something more exciting than the shorts, tops,cell phones,wallets, tennis balls and other junk scooped up in from its murky water. She found sunken treasure. The girl,11, whose name has not been released, saw two canvas bags in 2 ft. deep water. Weighing about 10 pounds,the bags were too heavy to lift so she asked for help. The bags, one with the words "Wells Fargo,contained silverware, antique rings, necklaces, coins,brooches,and bracelets! Thought to be stolen property that was thrown into the lake, the treasures were turned into the local police department where the items may hopefully be returned to its original owner.Photograph from SF Gate
4/6/12:Using sonar scanning technology, five engines from the Apollo 11 space rocket which sent Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their historic flight on July 16, 1969, have been found resting about 14000 ft under the Atlantic Ocean. You may remember that this mission brought man to the moon for the very first time. The amazing underwater find was discovered by Amazon owner, Jeff Bezos,who is also a space enthusiast. Bezos said the F-1 engines delivered "one and a half million pounds of thrust, 32 million horsepower, and burned 6000 pounds of rocket grade kerosene and liquid oxygen every second." Bezos said his personal passion for science began when he was five years old watching the televised Apollo 11 mission.He isn't sure the condition of the engines, which have been sitting on the ocean floor for over 40 years but it is his hope to retrieve the engines. Since the rockets are NASA property, he hopes that one of the them could join the Apollo command module on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. and that perhaps NASA would allow one of the other engine brought up from the ocean depths,to go on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, Bezos' hometown.< <
4/1/:12Update: Director and amateur oceanographer James Cameron has succeeded in reaching the deepest point on earth, the Mariana Trench. It took two hours to reach the nearly seven miles depth(35, 756ft) early Monday morning, local time. During his six hour expedition, Cameron will take video and bring back samples, from the area which is a mile deeper than Mt. Everest is high. Cameron is only the 3rd person to travel to such depths. Back in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh traveled down in the Trieste into the Mariana Trench. Their descent took five hours and they only stayed for 20 minutes,seeing little due to very thick quartz windows and sand that was kicked up from the ocean floor. Scientists say that the pressure at such depths is like having 3 SUVs sitting on your toe!Read more at this link:
The famous Clock Tower in London,England,is more commonly named Big Ben,for the bell that chimes the quarter hour found inside. The tower is in the news as a number of British lawmakers would like to rename it Elizabeth Tower in honor of Queen Elizabeth who is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee(60th year as monarch of Great Britain)in 2012. Only one other monarch of Great Britain, Queen Victoria , celebrated a Diamond Jubilee. Did you know that the four- faced chiming cock inside the Clock Tower is the largest in the world?
Earth Hour is coming. Here is a way to participate in developing environmental responsibility and awareness that climate challenges facing our planet need to be global. In its 6th year, people around the world are being asked to shut off electric lights and other electrical devices for one hour on March 31st. Begun in New Zealand, it is estimated that over 135 countries around the world will take part this year.Landmarks such as the leaning Tower of Pisa, the Vatican, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalikfa, Buckingham Palace, and many other places around the world will go dark during the 8:30-9:30 PM time period. And, why stop with being aware of electrical consumption for one hour a year? Do you shut lights off in rooms or unplug electrical devices when you aren't using them?Check out the official site,Earth Hour to learn more about the event.
Most of us have flown a paper airplane but nothing like the Arturo's Desert Eagle. Believed to be the world's largest, the paper airplane weighed 800 pounds and was 45 ft.long. The whopper of a paper airplane was inspired by Arturo Valdenegro,12, who won a regional paper airplane contest earlier in the year.As the winner of the paper airplane contest, whose plane flew the farthest, Arturo participated with engineers who designed and built the mammoth paper airplane. The project was part of the Great Paper Airplane Project, at the Pima Air and Space Museum,Tucson, Arizona. Attached to a chain, the Arturo's Desert Eagle, made of materials similar to that used in pizza boxes, was lifted by a Sikorsky S58T helicopter. At 2703 ft, the paper airplane was release and glided about 7-20 seconds, at 98 mph until crashing in a heap in the Arizona desert.See a video of the flight of the paper airplane at this link:
A new world's swimming record was made...across the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 3200 nautical miles, taking four months. The four "swimmers" were actually robots which left from San Francisco and just arrived in Hawaii, using only the ocean's waves to generate energy for their movement. The robots were two sections, an upper part which looked like a small surfboard and a lower section attached by a cable that worked as fins and a keel. Solar panels on the top section of the robots powered the sensors which collected data on fish levels and acidity in the ocean water. The swimming adventure is not over. Two of the robotics will now head to the Mariana Trench and the other two will journey on to Australia, with hopes to complete their swim by the end of 2012(or early 2013)The previous record for a swim by an unmanned device was 2500 nautical miles.
A sign of the times that more and more people are reading e-books. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., which has published their encyclopedias for more than 200 years, has announced that they will cease publishing their print editions, focusing on their digital versions of their encyclopedia, instead.
2/28/12:Iditarod Update:Completing the approximately 1,000 mile race in 9 days, 4 hours, 29 minutes and 26 seconds, Dallas Seavey, 25, became the youngest musher to ever win the Iditarod Sled Dog race in it's 40 year history. Second place Aliy Zirkle, came in a little over an hour later.
A Virginia girl named Lori Anne Madison has qualified for the famed Scripps National Spelling Bee. At only 6 years old, Lori, is the youngest to ever qualify for the spelling tournament. She beat 21 other elementary and middle school students in her regional competition by correctly spelling the Spanish word for cowboy,"vaquero". The Scripps National Spelling Bee competition has been held since 1925. This year's event is scheduled for May 29-June 1 in Washington, DC. Lori will be one of 277 participants from the United States, U.S. territories and several other countries trying to become this year's spelling bee champion.
Ratatouille loves shredding snow with his snowboard. And, like many, has his very own ski pass(with photo ID) for Liberty Mountain Ski Resort in Carroll Valley,Pennsylvania. What makes Ratatouille unique is that he's an oppossum! The marsupial wears a bright yellow and green sweater as he shows of his snowboarding form and uses his tail to help make balance and make his turns.See Ratatouille in action at this link:
James Cameron, most famous for directing the movies Avatar and Titanic, hopes to become the first person to descend to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest section of the Mariana Trench.The trench is the deepest on Earth.This week, he did a test dive in the Deepsea Challenger,and reached 5.1 miles down, a record for a solo dive in a submersible. In the coming week, Cameron hopes to reach the record depth of 6.8 miles(Mt. Everest could be submerged in the trench). Back in 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh became the first humans to reach this depth in a bathyscathe called the Trieste.
In its 40th year, the famous trail sled dog race, the Iditarod, began on Sunday, March 4th. Sixty-six mushers are in the 2012 race also called the "Last great race on Earth". The race involves a distance of 976 miles from Willow, Alaska(after a ceremonial start in Anchorage) to Nome. and takes about 11-16 days.This year's race will be additionally challenging due to the record snowfall.
A new section of the Great Wall of China has been unearthed in the country of Mongolia. An expedition discovered the 62 mile long section last August with a lead from Google Earth. It is thought to be the first section of the Great Wall to stand outside of the country of China. Made of mostly dirt and shrubs, the wall which stands mostly shin high, is thought to dates back to the 11th or 12th centuries.
A detailed sketch of a sailboat on faded paper is making news. Could it be the work of a ten year old George Washington? If the 270 drawing is actually the work of our first President, it would be very valuable. Dated and signed by "Geo Washington", tests have determined that the paper and ink used dates back to the his time period. Signatures of George Washington have similarities with those of the person that signed the postcard sized sketch of a two-masted sailboat.However,George Washington had other cousins named George Washington and George wasn't known to have ever signed his documents using "Geo". Little is known about the childhood of the "father of our country" and if the sketch was done by George Washington, the founder of our country, it would be the earliest such document. Read more at this link:
How can humans learn more about Stellar Sea Lions and maybe figure out why so many of the sea lions are dying out? Canadian Marine biologists at the Vancouver Aquarium are asking the seals for help in their research. With lots of patience and training time, four sea lions have been trained to understand hand and voice commands, thought to be the first time this has been accomplished. The seals, including one named Hazy, are starting some very cool research. Wearing tracking devices and cameras, the four seals are diving in the deep waters of the Pacific to share how they search for food. Sensors record the energy required to hunt and catch their food and the cameras show the sea lions in action.The research will hopefully give scientists information on how to protect the future of the Stellar Sea Lion. Learn more about the Steller Sea Lion:
2/15/12:If you really like eye watering hot peppers, then the scorching hot Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is for you. The golf-ball sized pepper is being called the hottest pepper on the planet.According to the New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute Chile,the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper tips the Scoville heat scale, a measure of fire-hotness, at 1.2 million units.The previous Guinness World Record hot pepper is the Bhut Jolokia. At first bite,the pepper doesn't seem fire-alarm hot but it builds and builds,causing the body to sweat, face to turn red,eyes to tear and the nose to run.The sensation of heat as it travels down the throat lasts for over ten minutes. Capsaicin is the ingredient that causes the hotness in peppers such as the newest record holding hottest pepper,the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion!
2/10/12:A teeny tiny lizard has been found on the island of Madagascar. The new species of chameleon may be the world's smallest. A baby can stand on the head of a match. The Brookesia micra,which grows to about 1 inch in length, lives under leaves on the forest floor during the day and takes its night snooze in low branches.
Love roller coasters? If, so, the design for a proposed zero-gravity coaster, may be the ultimate thrill ride. A southern California company has taken the idea of the Vomit Comet, the KC-135 astronaut training simulator, and hopes to create the first-ever roller coaster where riders can experience about 8 seconds of weightlessness! Passengers would be seated inside an enclosed cabin. The riders would travel 100 mph down a straight track that then makes a sudden 90 degree turn straight upwards. Next, the coaster will come to a rapid slowdown and with loose safety restraints ,passengers will come out of their seat, suspended in air. Drains will be in the cabin floor for those that might "lose their lunch". Also each rider will have a ball, gyroscope and a cup filled with water so they can see how each items works under zero gravity.It is hoped that zero-gravity coaster will find a home in a park in the USA by 2013.
Those that know me know I love the color purple. Thus, seeing a purple squirrel in the news certainly caught my attention.The uniquely colored grey squirrel was found wandering around a birdfeeder in Jersey Shore,PA. The owners baited a trap with peanuts and captured the purple squirrel.They have since released it back into the wild. Officials aren't sure what caused the squirrel to become brightly purple(including inside its ears).Unlike birds who can absorb coloring into the feathers, mammals have not been found to do so.One idea is that perhaps the squirrel found itself in a Port-a-John and the disinfectant used in the toilet may have stained his fur purple.
Basejumper Felix Baumgartner is planning an amazing skydive-from the edge of space down to planet Earth. The 23 mile free-fall will also set a record by his breaking the sound barrier,something no human has done without being inside an aircraft.To attempt such a plunge, Baumgartner will wear a special space suit,weighing 28 pounds, one that can protect him from bone-chilling temps of minus -94F. The suit will also have to be strong enough to withstand the speed he will experience and protect him from decompression sickness.His helmet also will provide Baumgartner with oxygen.Working with Red Bull Stratos since 2005, the Australian adventurer is on route to Roswell, New Mexico, where he will soon attempt the skydive. Baumgartner will reach 120,000 ft. inside a pressurized capsule attached to a stratospheric balloon. He will then jump out of the capsule down toward earth,reaching the speed of sound in about 40 seconds. Baumgartner's parachute will be released at about 5000 ft from earth. The entire mission will last 15-20 minutes. Developing a special space suit such as Baumgartner will use may give future astronauts an escape option in an emergency so that they can return safely to earth. See animated video of the jump:
1/30/12:Five year old Champis is doing a hopping great job sheepherding his owners' flock of sheep. What makes Champis unusual is he's not a sheepdog...he's a rabbit.The bunny lives on a farm in northern, Sweden. His owners, Nils-Erik and Greta Vigren, says the beige mix-breed Champis must have learned his skills from watching the sheepdogs. The sheep seem to respect the little rabbit as Champis rounds t...hem up, stops them or herds them to a particular area.The pint sized sheepherder has also become an internet sensation with close to 1 million hits watching Champis in action. Watch the video clip:
Rap music, Rock music, country music,Tree music?If you look at the rings of a tree, you may see how its growth patterns resembles old 78 vinyl records(kids-you might wish to ask your parents what a "record"is). A German artist has created music using tree rings! Bartholomaus Traubeck put very thin slices of tree wood into a special recording device. Shining light onto the tree rings, the recorder translated the patterns of the tree rings into piano sounds.Depending on the age of the tree, different melodies were created.
Ebb and Flow, are two space probes,that have reached the moon. Ebb has just sent back video of something earthlings have never seen-the dark side of the moon! We have never seen the "other" side until now because the moon doesn't rotate. The video reveals lots of rugged terrain and craters made by the impact of asteroids. Some of the craters are really big. Mare Orientale,is the name for a 560 mile wide hole that can be seen on both the near and far side. Another, Drygalski Crater, is 93 mjiles wide and has a star-shaped formation in its center.The video of the "dark side" of the moon covers an area from its North Pole to its South Pole. As part of Nasa's GRAIL project(Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory), a mapping of this side of the moon will be created.Middle school students will be able to study some of these never before seen lunar areas filmed by the probes. Learn more another interesting space program for kids called EarthKam at this link:EarthKamSee the "other" side of the moon for the first time.
1/25/12:Scientists have discovered the fossil of a prehistoric super-sized crocodile that once roamed the earth. Discovered in the country of Morocco, "Shieldcroc", is the name being given to a 30ft. long, crocodile that had a huge armour-plated head.In comparison, today's crocs average about 16 ft. in length. Scientists think the creature,that lived 95 million years ago, used its long head to catch fish.
Two teens,Matthew Ho and Asad Muhammad,from Canada successfully sent an unusual astronaut into space.They sent up a plastic Lego Man! Working for several months and on most of their weekends, they developed a plan, purchased their supplies and made a styrofoam capsule. The 17 year old teens stuffed 4 cameras inside, along with a GPS-equipped cellphone and attached their Lego Man.A tiny parachute was also attached to the capsule. Checking weather forecasts for the best launch date,the teens set off to see if their capsule could go into orbit. It did! The teens captured the entire journey of Lego Man soaring to heights of 80,000 feet(twice the height of most commercial airplanes)tethered to a weather balloon. The odyssey lasted 97 minutes before the weather balloon burst. The GPS enabled the teens, to locate their Lego Man still intact, about 70 miles from where it had launched. Lego Man,holding the Canadian flag, had made it into orbit and returned safely back to earth.
Picture from Boston Globe.com. See video of the adventures of Lego Man at this link:
You may have folded up a lawn chair but a car?An electric two-seater has been designed by Boston's MIT-Media lab,that does just that. Without any doors, and a motor located in the wheels, the Hiriko(a Basque word for "urban")will make city parking such a 5 ft. vehicle lots easier. Shown this week, the car, which can go 75 miles without recharging, will be available for purchase in 2013. Note: Spain is an area which is part of the European country of Spain.
1/20/12:The world's oldest dinosaur nursery has been found in Golden Gate Highlands National Park, South Africa. Each of the dinosaur nests(clutches) had up to 34 eggs, extremely delicate, about the width of a human hair.The complete nests had eggs with embryos still inside. Dating back to 190 million years, there are also baby dino footprints as well as skeletons of some of the mother dinosaurs. Scientists say the dinosaur is a Massospondylus(relative of the sauropods), a long necked plant eating dinosaur. It is thought that there are many more clutches still embedded in the cliffs. See photograph and read more at this link:
Imagine, knowing that your birthday would always fall on the same day each and every year. Would it be helpful if you knew that all holidays would also be celebrated on the same day? Our current calendar, called the Gregorian calendar, has been used for 450 years. Two professors at John Hopkins University think we need a new calendar. Their calendar would eliminate all leap years, which are added ever 4 years to keep our 365.2422 day year from getting our calendar out of sorts. With the Hanke-Henry Permanent Calendar, named for the two professors who have developed it, there wold be two 30 day months followed by one 31 day month. Every five or six years, there would be an "extra week" at the end of December.The professors also would like to see an additional change, Universal Time. They suggest all the world should be on the same time, Greenwich MeanTime, no matter WHERE you live. What do you think of this new calendar? What types of problems would Universal Time create? How might an "extra week" in the year be celebrated?
1/15/12:Love to snowboard? Seems a crow in Russia does, too. Caught on video, a hooded crow found a round plastic jar lid, perched it on a slope of the roof and repeatedly slide down. He didn't fly above the lid, he planted his feet on the lid and off he went, displaying play-like behavior.Scientists say crows are very intelligent and have great memories. On one run, the crow realized that he just didn't get any slide on a patch of roof without snow so it moved in search of better sliding conditions. Catch a look at the crow in action at this link:
A golden colored scarf and cape might not seem newsworthy, until you learn that they took seven years and...one million spiders, from Madagascar, to create! Unlike most silk fabric, made from the silk cocoons of worms, this scarf and cape were spun from the silk of the female Golden Orb weaver spiders. See photographs at this link:
Peter Treadway has a "wheelie" cool idea-motorized shoes.Treadway showed off his SpnKix at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. His SpnKix are strapped onto your shoes. There is a small motor on the inside of the SpnKix, and a rechargeable lithium battery. A large red reflector is on the outside of the shoe for safe night "walking". The motorized shoes have a hand operated remote control for speed control. The motorized shows will help you get to your destination lots faster...as long as you are going only about 2-3 miles,the life of the battery before it needs recharging. At speeds of up to 10 miles per hour, the SpnKix will sell for around $650 when they go on sale in a couple of weeks.
Three orangutans at the Milwaukee County Zoo have been using donated IPads for a couple of months. Their keepers hold the IPads,since the lifespan of the IPads with orangutans holding them might not be very long. The hairy orange primates have been watching video,playing video games and using other apps such as creating music.An organization called Orangutan Outreach,now plans to use IPads to introduce a kind of on-line penpal program for orangutans. Using Skype,the orangutans will be able to watch one another at different zoos around the country. Since orangutans love to see themselves on videos, it is thought that they will go "ape" over the idea of video-chatting via Skype.
1/4/2012: By summiting Antarctica's Mount Vinson Massif, over New Year's Weekend, 15 year old Jordan Romero, became the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits-the highest mountains on each continent. At the age of 13, Jordan, his dad and stepmom reached the world's tallest mountain summit, Mount Everest. The previous record for the youngest to summit the Seven Summits was George Atkinson, 16, of Great Britain.He completed his ascents last May. Learn more about Jordan's climbing journey at his website:
Photograph from Jordan's Website
Do you like riding a bike? Seems that Helen Skelton does as well. The 28 year old, from Great Britain,left today, January 4th 2012, biking...to the South Pole!Skelton will use a specially built bike, the Hanebrink "ice bike" for her 500 mile trek,called the Polar Challenge. The bike weigh 40 lbs(compared to most mountain bikes that weigh about 30 lbs) and has fat, tubeless tires.The back wheel is set back slightly further than a usual bike,giving it a lower center of gravity. This will make the bike more stable and better climbing ability.Designed like a golf cart, Skelton's bike will be "green", leaving little damage to the surface that she travels.For parts of the trek, Skelton will also walk and snowkite, hoping to succeed in her quest within 20 days. Skelton hopes to travel 14 hours a day, battling frigid air temps(-13F to -58F) and wind speeds that can reach up to 125 mph, for charity. She will endure blinding snow,snow blindness and,possible altitude sickness.Additionally, the route is uphill all the way and will reach altitudes of 9840 Ft.! A sledge carrying her supplies and equipment will be dragged behind as she hopes to become the first person to ever bike to the South Pole and setting a record for the longest bicycle ride on snow. Skelton, who works for BBC's Blue Peter, a children's program in Great Britain, is also first person to solo the length of the Amazon in a kayak.
Moving time? That's what the island nation of Samoa is doing on December 29th. They will skip a day ahead to December 31st. The time traveling is being done to align their calendar date with trading partners such as Australia and New Zealand who currently are on the other side of the international dateline. By doing the time change, the island of Samoa will become one of the first to see the morning sunrise instead of being the last place on earth to see the sunset. Another area, Tokelau, will also make the change.Learn about the International Dateline:
Can you name the most annoying word? For the third straight year,the winning irritating word is..."whatever". A poll conducted by Marist College Institute for Public Opinion said that 4/10 people responded that "whatever" is the most annoying word to hear in a conversation. Close runners up for disliked words included "you know" and "like".Can you think of other words used in conservation that you dislike hearing
12/24/2011:A Spanish town is very,very blue...not sad,but actually blue!The villagers agreed to have their entire community of white-washed buildings, painted blue for filming of "The Smurfs 3D" movie. Now, six months later,with the movie filming complete, the residents have voted to keep their vividly painted blue town. The reason is an increase in tourism. People are flocking to the town of Juzcar, to see the Smurf blue town where even the gravestones and the village church are painted blue. All together, approximately 1056 gallons of the Smurf Blue were used.Seems being blue can really make people... happy!
12/19/11:Early Sunday morning, December 19th, a convoy of military vehicles carried the last US soldiers out of the country of Iraq,ending a nine year war. The remaining soldiers crossed the border of Iraq into the country of Kuwait bringing to an end a very costly war-nearly 4500 U.S.soldiers killed and,tens of thousands more U.S. soldiers permanently maimed.
Alexander Graham Bell, famed for his invention of the telephone,is in the news.Recordings he made back in the 1880s have again been played at the Library of Congress, our nation's library, located in Washington, DC, for the first time in 130 years. Made on discs and cylinders, six of his fragile recordings were brought to life thanks to advances in technology that enabled the sound to be recovered from tiny grooves with light and a 3D camera.Some of the recordings included the reciting of Shakespeare's verse, "To be, or not to be", counting 1-2-3 and a trill of the tongue. For more than 100 years, the recordings have been housed at the Smithsonian Institution... thought to be forever silent. It is hoped that retrieving these early sounds of communication will help shed more light on the history of communication. You might wish to have your students read the folllowing story on Alexander Graham Bell:
Have you ever done jumping jacks?First Lady Michelle Obama helped organize a record setting jumping jack effort. To promote physical fitness and healthy eating habits, she asked children from around the world to participate in a world record attempt at jumping jacks. On October 11th, the first lady,along with 464 children in elementary and middle schools in the Washington, DC, area, as well as thousands of other kids , from around the world,joined in the activity of doing jumping jacks during a 24 hour hour period of time. Guinness Book of World Records said that a total of 300,265 kids participated, crushing the previous jumping jack record of 20,000! Mrs. Obama's program to promote healthy eating and physical fitness among young people is called," Let's Move!"
Sixteen year old Amelia Hempleman-Adams,of Great Britain, went out on a ski trek and ended up in the record books. She has become the youngest to ski to the bottom of the South Pole. Along with her dad,Amelia completed the two-week, 97 mile adventure,unofficially breaking the record of Canadian Sarah Ann McNair-Landry, who at the age of 18, completed the journey, back in 2005. Along with some homework, Amelia brought along a photograph of British explorer,Ernest Shackleton,whose expedition tried to reached the bottom of the South Pole in 1907.Amelia hopes to have Guinness World Records verify her achievement in the coming weeks.
12/2/11:Name the world's largest coral reef. Did you answer with the 1250 mile long Great Barrier Reef of Australia? Scientists are concerned with the rising water temperatures of the Pacific Ocean,that many diverse coral species that make of the Great Barrier Reef may be lost. To protect the species, scientists collected 8 billion coral cells and have frozen them in a "bank" at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. It is hoped that these cells, being kept at temperatures of -196 C,will never have to be "withdrawn" from the bank. However, if needed,these frozen coral cells can be thawed out and reintroduced to help preserve the reefs for future generations to enjoy.Learn about the Great Barrier Reef at this link:
A very rare baby albino dolphin was recently found by Brazilian biologists.The calf, white with pinkish fin, was spotted swimming with its mom, is a member of the pontoporia blainvillei species,(more commonly called Toninha, La Plata or Franciscana dolphins). This species of dolphins don't usually jump out of the water making for the spotting of an albino in their group, extremely unusual to find. The dolphin species is found off the southern coast of South America.Lack of melanin pigment is the cause of albinism causing very white skin color and hair.
A space probe, as large as a car has blasted off to Mars. The biggest and most equipped probe is 10 ft. long, 9 ft. wide and 7 ft. tall and is actually a nuclear-powered and mobile laboratory. Nasa is calling the probe, "the monster truck of Mars", and should arrive next summer(August 6,2012) on the red planet, after traveling the 8 1/2, 354 million mile trip. It will be lowered to the planet's surface with a jet powered crane and tethers.Called Curiosity, the one-ton probe has one arm and six wheels, has a jackhammer drill as well as a laser machine that will be able to zap through rock, in its search for microscopic life forms.
Has proof of aliens visiting earth been found in Peru? A mummified body found in the city of Andahuaylillas, Peru, is very unusual. It has a very elongated skull. In fact, the skull is almost the length of the entire body! And, the skull has very large eye sockets. Some scientists think it may be the remains of an alien! The teeth in the mummified body have two very large molars, yet there is a soft spot in the skull which would suggest it could be the body of a child. Others say the body is that of a child...from planet earth. Some cultures, such as the ancient Mayans,encouraged large heads by stretching the head of newborns for about six month. Scientist plan to test a sample of DNA found in the eye socket to determine if the mummified remains are human or ...out of this world. See a photograph at this site.
Sadly, scientists of the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN),have announced that wild black rhinos can no longer be found in West Africa. It is now extinct...no more walk the planet. Also, the last Javan rhino is gone. And, the white rhino of central Africa is very close to extinction. Did you know that 1 out of 4 mammals are at risk of also becoming extinct? Loss of habitat and poaching are the main causes. Learn more about the rhino at this webquest.Rhino Webquet
11/18/11:Garrett McNamara has surfed into the record books this week(November 8th) by hanging ten on what is being called the "largest wave ever surfed".The monster sized wave was 90 ft. tall! The previous record was a 77 ft. wave. Mcnamara, raised in Hawaii, caught a ride on this mountainous wave in Praia do Norte,Nazara, Portugal. McNamara used a tow-in to get into the area of Nazare Canyon, known for its giant waves. Such extreme waves are caused by ideal wind patterns over one the deepest water canyons in the world.The record took place during the ZON North Canyon Show 2011. On a mission to explore the biggest waves in the world, McNamara is also working on a three year project with the Portuguese government to study the wave phenomenon of Nazare Canyon.
Picture:Garrett McNamara's Website
Astronauts who one day travel to Mars, will have a very long journey. It will take 18 months for such a round trip to Mars and back to Earth. To test extended space travel on humans, six men participated in an experiment, a "pretend" trip to Mars and back. After 520 days,the men, part of Mars500 Project, have just returned home. The men, who left in June,2010, spent their time in five small containers(with no windows), simulating a space vehicle, at a facility in Russia. At the half way point, several of the men entered one of the containers made to look like Mars and "walked" the red planet Afterwards, the men returned to their "space ship" and began the trip back to earth. The six men will undergo medical tests to review how their bodies copied with such long confinement.
10/31/11:October 31st is not only Halloween but marks our planet reaching 7 billion people! If you lined up all the people in the world, they would reach a distance of eight times to the moon and back! China is the most populated country in the world but scientists that study population say that India will be the most populated country in the world by 2030.
10/28/11:Imagine all the people walking along a busy street on any given day. What if all those footsteps could be harnessed to generate energy?A company, PaveGen, has developed a tile that can do just that.Made from recycled rubber and fit into existing flooring, the tiles harvest kinectic energy from the impact of a person stepping on the tiles. Each burst of electricity can generate enough energy to power a LED-powered street lamp for 30 seconds. The generated footstep power can are stored up to three days in a battery.And, as people walk over the energy producing tiles, a light glows in the tile showing the person that they helped produce 2.1 watts of electricity per hour.A recent test of the Pavegen tiles, got over 250,000 footsteps and created enough power to charge 10,000 cell phones! With the 2012 Olympics to be held in London, Great Britain, there are already plans to set up the Pavegen tiles on a nearby sidewalk. It is estimated that people's footsteps will generate enough energy to supply half the outdoor lighting for a nearby shopping center.
It's coming....5-20 million tons of Japan's tsunami debris is heading toward the USA, specifically the state of Hawaii. Researchers at the University of Hawaii are tracking the massive garbage of appliances, furniture, tires,remains of homes, cars,fishing boats and other trash. Currently,the massive floating trash pile is about 2000 miles from Japan, having passed the Midway Islands. At its current rate of travel, the debris will reach the west coast of Hawaii within the three years.
Picture: U.S. Navy/ Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd
10/18/11:The first fully intact Viking boat has been found on the United Kingdom mainland.Found in the Scottish Highlands, in an areas called Ardnamurchan, the Viking boat contained the remains of a Viking, buried with a decorative sword, axe, spear and shield. Archaeologists say the Viking ship and its occupant(called the Ardnamurchan Viking) date back about 1000 years. Other items found on the boat included a bronze tip(perhaps, a drinking horn), a knife, dozens of pieces of iron, pottery, a ring pin from Ireland and a whetstone from Norway. Although a small boat, about 16 ft long and 5 ft. wide, archaeologists say the Viking's artifacts suggest that he traveled the stormy waters around Scotland, Ireland and Scandinavia.See a photograph of some of the artifacts at this link:
10/14/11:Seems that even penguins of the Adelie penguin colony, on Ross Island, Antarctica, have to watch out for thieves among them.Each year, the male penguins, about 250,000 of them, build nest out of gathered stone in hopes of having the best nests to attract a female mate.It takes lots of effect for such large numbers of male penguins to search the area for just the best stones.One male Adelie penguin found a much less effortless method of gathering stones. He was caught on tape stealing the stones gathered by another penguin! Several times when a unsuspecting penguin went off in search of another stone to build his nest, the thieving penguin just waddled over to the nearly nest, placed a stone in his beck and waddled back to his nest where he dropped his stolen item.See the thief in action at this clip:
Jean Beliveau, of Montreal, Canaada, went off for a walk... and just came back 11 years later! Beliveau pushed a three-wheel stroller, with his sleeping bag, some clothes,and a first aid kit, for 4077 days, walking a distance of 46,602 miles(75,000 km)across 64 countries. Back in 2000, Beliveau decided to run to Atlanta, Georgia, and from there, continued the trek of the longest uninterrupted walk around the world. Along the way, Jean, went through 54 pairs of shoes and almost gave up on his walk in Ethiopia, when he reached a point of feeling very alone. Plodding on, Beliveau slept in homeless shelters, under bridges and was befriended by at least 1600 families that gave him a place too sleep and food. He crossed mountains, and deserts, facing a wild puma in the desert of South America. He endured sizzling temperatures and blizzards and ate insects in Africa and snakes in China. Beliveau used the walk to promote non-violence and peace and returned home with what he said was a "wealth of knowledge and understanding".
10/1/11:Wearing milk?Sure, we've all had some dribble onto our clothes but a German designer has created a fabric...made from milk. Called Qmilch, Anke Domaske has created a man-made fabric made from milk protein. All natural, QMilch is made from milk that would have been thrown away. Casein, the milk protein is extracted from dried milk powder. Heated with other natural ingredients, the result is a fiber that can be spun into yarn. The milk fabric feels like silk.It takes about 1 1/2 gallons of milk to make enough fabric for an entire dress. In addition to clothing, the milk fabric is being considered for use for upholstery by several car manufacturers.
Mt. Everest may be the tallest peak on the earth, rising 29,035 ft. in the Himalayan Mountains of Asia, but a much larger mountain has been found on Vesta. Vesta is an asteroid in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. A NASA spacecraft, Dawn, has begun photographing the asteroid and has found a mountain in the southern polar region to be three times taller than Mt. Everest(or Chomolungma which means "Mother Goddess of the Earth")!The peak of the Vesta mountain rises 13 miles above the surface of the asteroid. A whopper of a mountain, it still is not as tall as Olympus Mons, found on the planet Mars. Opympus Mons, with a peak of 15 miles above the surface of Mars,is the highest mountain and volcano in our solar system.
9/29/11:One of the most famous landmark in London, England, is sinking. Known as Big Ben for the bell housed in its tower, it is tilting about 1 1/2 feet off center. Big Ben, which stands 3i5 ft. tall,has a long way to go before it looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. Experts say it will take several thousands of years to equal this other famous landmark. And, at this time, there are no plans to do anything at this time to help straighten up Big Ben's lean.
9/25/11:The hairy ape-like creature known as the abominable snowman, or yeti, has been rumored to live in the Himalayan Mountains and Siberia,for many years.A team of American and Russian scientists are going to search for the the existence of the elusive(hard to find)creature, the first such expedition since 1958. Sighting and evidence to date have yet to confirmed the existence of the human like hairy creature. However, in 2008, a very large footprint was discovered in the snow on Mount Dhaulagiri, Nepal. Could this print be from the abominable snowman? Many more sightings have also been reported in the Siberia region of Russia,in the past 20 years. Recently, a woman in Siberia said she came upon a tall creature, covered with long brown-grey hair that wasn't a bear, walking like a human.Scientists think it's time for another search for the legendary creature!
Hawaii,the Aloha State,is the birthplace of surfing and to show this heritage, Hawaii will be come the first state to make surfing an official high school sport.Gov. Neil Abercrombie and education officials made the announcement by the statue of Kananamoku, known as the father of modern surfing. Beginning in 2013, surfing will make a total of 19 different sports offered to students in Hawaii's public school system. Other school sports include football, basketball, bowling, air riflery, swimming and volleyball. Catch a wave and "hang ten"!Learn more about Hawaii at this link:Hawaii
Would a talking garbage bin help people more responsibly dispose of their trash? Seems that it has been working in the country of Sweden, where talking garbage bins have collected more than three times the trash than ordinary cans. Great Britian is placing talking bins around its capital city of London and several other cities in the coming months. The talking bins say "thank you for the rubbish" for properly disposed of trash or may break out in song. Some talking bins even make applause sounds and... burp! It is hoped that such garbage bins will encourage people to not litter when it comes to their trash.
9/10/11:If you like biking and you like sailing, then the whike is for you. An 18 year old teen in Great Britain has invented a windsurfing tricycle that can be ridden on the road. A Dutch company will be manufacturing the whike created by Ned Aufenast. Aufenast got the idea when while cycling,the wind halting his progress.He said he thought it would be fun to use wind power to sail on the road. His unusual bike, made from scrap parts, makes this possible. The whike,has 18 gears and a rear and front hand brake, lights,reflectors and a 5 sq. ft. sail! As you pedal the whike, the wind makes you go faster.It can reach speeds of up to about 36 mph. Whike riders can ride the roads of Great Britain but not the highways.And, although it helps if you have some sailing knowledge, Aufenast says it is fairly easy to pick up the skills needed to whike.
9/6/2011:Scientists have unearthed what is believed to be the oldest woolly rhino fossil ever found.The animal called Coelodonta thibetana,lived about 3.6 million years ago and was discovered in the foothills of the Himalayas,in Tibet. Dating more than one million years older than previously discovered wooly rhinos, the rhino's complete skull and lower jaw are preserved,although just a bit crushed. The species is thought to have been extremely covered in long hair and used its long forward leaning horn as a snow remover in its search for food in the snowy Himalayan Mountains. Read more at this link:
If you've ever seen pictures of the Netherlands it's pretty flat. In fact, the highest point, Vaalserberg,is only about 1000 ft. high.That may be changing with an idea to build a mountain in the country and not just a hill, but what would be the world's highest man-made building, proudly standing about 3200-6500 ft. tall. At first, the idea was kind of a joke, but now people are adding to the chorus that creating a mountain in the country would be a great idea. It would provide skiing, cycling, bobsledding tracks, hiking trails and more.And, with all the sand and soil from the sea,they have the materials in which to bring a mountain to the Netherlands.
A living and breathing watergun...that's what has brought fame to a octopus at the Weymouth Sea Life Park, in Great Britain. The octopus liked to get its handle on its surroundings and taught itself to lift part of its body above its tank so it could check out what was going on. An octopus takes in water to absorb its oxygen and releases the water through tubes near its beak.While surfaced, he released water and strayed a passer! Derek Scales, curator at the park, says its become common for the octopus to regularly drench anyone that wanders passed his tank.Maybe, that's why the octopus has been giving the name...Squirt!
Researchers at the University of Leeds,in Great Britain, have developed a treatment for cavities that is drill free and...regenerates your tooth to "pre" cavity levels. A mixture of amino acids(called P 11-4) is applied to the decayed area. This mixture flows into the decayed areas of the tooth creating a protective gel. Then, and this is really cool, the gel attracts calcium to repair the area. And, the procedure is pain-free-no drilling needed! Dentists won't be putting down their drills just yet, but it is hoped that within 3 years,they just might be offering this new technology to those whose pearly whites need some TLC.8/27/2011:
8/25/2011:Twelve year old Beau is very good in math. Might not seem that newsworthy until you learn that Beau is a dog. Beau's owner, David Madsen, has taught the black labrador retriever to add and subtract. Skeptics say that Madsen gives Beau signal when he is asked questions such as "If there are six dogs in the park and three dogs leave, how many are left?"However, when Madsen is not in the room, and someone else asks questions of Beau, or places numbers on a piece of paper, Beau can still manage the correct response in proper numbers of woofs, with an accuracy of 85%.Madsen, has also taught Beau to count in Spanish. The pooch's math skills were learned using dog biscuits as a reward. And, today, if Beau doesn't see his biscuit rewards, he will quickly lose interest in math. The canine calculator lives in Montana.
Applying a satellite radio-tag to a 1 ton walrus? That's exactly what villagers and scientists in Point Lay, Alaska, are doing for a USGS study. It is hoped that 40 walruses will be tagged to study how they are responding to less sea ice,in the Pacific Ocean,which has been shrinking the last few years. With less ice, the walrus are moving toward more shallow areas where they can search for food. Wearing the radio-tags will hopefully give scientists information on their eating patterns as they move throughout the Chukchi and Bering seas. Cool fact about walrus: The Latin name for walrus, Odobenus rosmarus means "tooth-walking sea-horse".
Update: Happy Feet, the nickname given to the Emperor penguin that found itself on the shores of New Zealand, is going home. A scientific research vessel will give it a ride back to the waters near Campbell Island, next week. Happy Feet received lots of TLC after it became ill from munching on sand and sticks. Plenty of fish milkshakes to help it regain its weight and nutrients were fed to Happy Feet, who will also be given a satellite tracking device so that New Zealanders can keep track of his status.
8/5/2011:A space probe, Juno, has rocketed off toward Jupiter(today 8/5/2011). Aboard the first solar-powered space craft-three tiny Lego passengers. Made of aluminum, instead of the classic yellow plastic, the Lego trio will have a trip of a lifetime, traveling in the outer solar system before coming back toward Jupiter.The figures include one of Jupiter(the ancient Roman chief god),Juno(Jupiter's wife) and Galileo,(famed scientist who discovered the planet's four main moons).The space mission to Jupiter will take until 2016, where the craft(with the three mini Lego figurines) will orbit Jupiter for a year. Sadly, the lego figures, aboard the craft, will give their lives for science, when the space craft crashes onto the planet's surface, on completion of the mission.Why Legos on the mission to Jupiter? NASA and LEGO hope to spark an interest in children about science. Follow the Lego figurines' journey at this link:
7/30?30:Do you like doing crossword puzzles? David Steinberg,14,does and he's now creating his very own. David just had one of his crossword puzzles published in the New York Times,becoming the third youngest to ever accomplish this feat,in the history of the paper. The newspaper, famous for its crosswords, has also purchased 3 additional crossword puzzles that David has created. David says in addition to crossword puzzles, he used to enjoy playing Scrabble quite a bit but his parents say they can't play with him any longer-David always wins. The New York Times starts easy on Mondays with each day the puzzles getting a bit harder. Sunday is the hardest puzzle of the week. The paper pays $200 for each published puzzle with $1000 for their Sunday edition. David says creating a puzzler for the Sunday edition is his ultimate goal!
Look up in the sky...it's a bird, it's a plane-it's an amazing amount of bats! Scientists say there are so many bats flying around Austin, Texas, during the daytime that they can been spotted on weather radar! What's the cause for the estimated one and a half million of these normally bats to be swarming around in the sky when they are usually nocturnal? Scientists say the "batty" behavior is due to the extreme drought that it currently happening in this part of the country. Dried out crops and less bugs to munch is causing them to come out earlier to find a bite to eat! Here's some trivia-Texas has the largest bat colony in the world, with a whopping 20 million calling home in a cave northwest of San Antonio! But there are even more if you count ALL the winged creatures living in the state of Texas-about 100 million bats!<
7/25/11:At 4700 ,Egypt's oldest pyramid, Djoser, was damaged by an earthquake back in 1992,making it too dangerous for scientists to go inside to repair it.Fearing the famous step-pyramid could collapse,experts from Great Britain came up with the idea of deploying giant airbags to prop up the ceiling of the pyramid!< p>7/20/11:Carissa Moore, 18, became the youngest-ever world surfing champion(female or male). Moore is also the first woman surfer from Hawaii to win a woman's title in 30 years. Carissa has long had the goal of winning this championship, having been surfing since she was a little girl. In fact, the goal of becoming Number 1 was listed on her back door, hoping to one day cross this goal off her list...guess she will be doing this next week!
Photograph from Red Bull Website
Elephants and farmers, especially in Kenya, have not had a friendly relationship because the elephants trample their crops.A new idea may be a win-win for both. Farmers are setting up bee hive fences because the elephants are real scaredy cats when around the buzzing insects! Such barriers are working to keep the elephants from the farmers' fields and, provide an additional benefit for the farmers-honey.
The dwindling world population of snow leopards has gotten a boost. Researchers using hidden cameras have discovered a previously unknown population of snow leopards in the mountains of northeast Afghanistan. Thirty of the big cats were found in the remote area. It is estimated that between 4500-7500 snow leopards remain in the wild. Learn more about the snow leopard and see photographs at this link:
7/15/11:The Transition is a most unusual car. Not only will you be able to travel down the highways, you can soar into the sky with this hybrid vehicle. Made by the Massachusetts Terrafugia company,The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has given the green light for the Transition to "take off". That's provided you have a driver's license AND a sport pilot license, if you wish to go up, up and away. Aside from the wings in an upright position, the Transition has heavier rubber tires for take-offs and landings and it's windows are made with shatterproof clear plastic, lighter and less dangerous with possible bird collisions. And, if you think you can just fly above the traffic and land at your favorite location, the NHTSA says the Transition will only be allowed to take off and land at airports. If you'd like one of these Jetson type flying cars, they are expected to be on the market by 2012. The highflying price tag will set you back about $250,000!
If you could wear your favorite video on your shirt, would you want to do it? Inventor David Forbes has developed the world's first video coat, that allows a video to be displayed on clothing. What's more, the specially made fabric allows the video to be show on the front and back.Wearing the LED television involves using a 12v battery plugged into an IPod or DVD and a circuit board placed on the hips and shoulders. A switch allows you to adjust the color. Move over Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat -will people in the not so distant future be walking around wearing their favorite video?
Another country has joined the world map as of 12:01 AM, July 9th.Breaking away from the Sudan, after years of civil war, the capital of this new country is Juba. The president of South Sudan is Salva Kiir. With the addition of South Sudan, there are at least 196 countries on the planet. There are 192 countries which belong to the United Nations with Vatican City and Kosovo not included in this count.The actual number can also be 197 as Taiwan is not always included as an independent nation.
7/11/11:Another country has joined the world map as of 12:01 AM, July 9th.Breaking away from the Sudan, after years of civil war, the capital of this new country is Juba. The president of South Sudan is Salva Kiir. With the addition of South Sudan, there are at least 196 countries on the planet. There are 192 countries which belong to the United Nations with Vatican City and Kosovo not included in this count.The actual number can also be 197 as Taiwan is not always included as an independent nation.
Begun in 1981, NASA will end its space shuttle missions in a final lift off today, weather permitting, from the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. The Atlantis, will made it's final journey, the 135th space shuttle mission, to the International Space Station. The four astronauts, aboard the Atlantis will take supplies to the International Space Station,for its final 12 day mission. The very first space shuttle mission, in 1981, was the Columbia. Since then, the fleet of space shuttles carried 355 astronauts, performing scientific experiments, worked on satellites, built the International Space Station and traveled about 1/2 a billion miles in space. On a personal note, I grew up with the start of the space race and was in awe when the first space shuttle LANDED on an runway after years of space capsules landing in water-it was an amazing thing to witness!
6/15/11:Ever see an Australian wombat? Australian paleontologists have found a whopper of one-the size of a SUV vehicle! Not an actual living a breathing one today, but one that lived about 50,000-2 million years ago. Called a diprotodon, the giant wombat, as it's being described ,tipped the scales at about 3 tons and stretched out about 14 ft. in length.What is most exciting to paleontologists is the discovery is the first complete skeleton of such an ancient marsupial(has a pouch used to carry their young). Scientists say may it be the largest marsupial ever to walk the planet. Learn about the wombat at this link:
Imagine a world where printers don't just use ink but...chocolate. That's just the type of printer recently developed at the University of Exeter, Great Britain. Using the printer, 3D delicious designs of chocolate can be created. It works somewhat like a regular printer, starting with a flat image. As one layer of chocolate print hardens, the printer resumes and prints another, until the image is complete. People will be able to design their very own chocolate to feast their eyes upon before plopping the delightful treat into their mouths. Restaurants and food preparation industries have already expressed interest in such a chocolate printer. Most likely the average family won't have a need for their very own chocolate printer, but...who knows?
With more than 5000 pillars and 450,000 tons of steel, the world's longest bridge over water, has opened in China. Called the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, it spans 26.4 miles and joins the city of Qingdao to Huangdao island. It is estimated that 30,000 cars will use the newly opened bridge each day. The previous record holding longest bridge over water,is located in the state of Louisiana, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway bridge. The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge is 2.5 miles longer. The world's longest bridge, however, is the Danyang-Kunshan Griand Bridge, also in China. It is 102 miles long and stretches over land on the Shanghai-Beijing railroad route.
The city of Juzcar, in Spain,recently hosted the world premiere of movie,The Smurfs. To celebrate the opening, the residence agreed for painters to come in and paint the entire town....blue. About 1000 gallons of paint were necessary to get the job done. The town's will be repainted white in the coming weeks.
A sheepdog in Great Britain has a "baaaad" case of ovinophobia(fear of sheep).Seems that Ci is more than a bit sheepish when around the 100 sheep on his family farm.The boarder collie is fine, chasing his charges, from behind. However, when the sheep turn to face him, Ci turns tail and runs for the hills! His owners says that the fear started when Ci was a puppy and first placed in a field with the sheep. Caught on tape and uploaded to You Tube, four-year old Ci has been dubbed the "Worst Sheepdog in all of Great Britain". Then, too,faced with 100 four-footed balls of wool stamping their feet and charging, might make most humans have a bad case of the "woolies", too."
6/16/11:Scientists have found the oldest piece of art in the Americas. It's an engraving of a walking mammoth carved... into a mammoth bone. Found near Vero Beach,Florida, the artwork dates back to at least 13,000 years ago when paleontologists say the mammoths disappeared from the east coast of the United States. The engraving on the mammoth bone was discovered when the bone was being cleaned. Old for this part of the world, decorative pieces of art dating back to 120,000 years have been discovered in the Middle East and Africa with paintings found dating back more than 300,000 years old.See a photograph and read more at this link:
6/10/11:The world's record holder for the highest-flying bird goes to the Bar-headed goose. During it's high-altitude migration from their winter home in India to Central Asia's breeding ground,the Bar-headed goose travel over the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayans to heights of over 21,000 ft. Nicknamed the "rooftop of the world", the Bar-headed goose make the trek over the mountains, into heights where the air is so thin, even helicopters have trouble flying.AND, the high soarers don't wait for tailwinds to assist in their long journey, preferring to fly in early morning when there are less winds!
What's sky blue and the size of a football field? The world's large t-shirt. Unveiled in Nashville, Tennessee, in Centennial Park, at the Country Music Festival,the t-shirt it is about the size of a football field. Measuring 180 ft. wide and 281 ft.long and weighing about 4,400 pounds,the t- shirt was made by the Gildan Activewear, Inc. and took about 6 weeks to put together. 100 volunteers were needed to unfold the shirt. After measuring the t-shirt from armpit to armpit and from shoulder to hem,Guinness World Records officially verified it's world record status. The world's largest t-shirt will be recycled into 12,000 t-shirts, to support the charity, "Keep the Music Playing", an organization to keep music education in Nashville Public School.
Called the Ashdown maniraptoran, the newly discovered dinosaur could be the world's smallest. Recently discovered in the United Kingdom, the new species of carnivorous non-avian dinosaur may have weighed a scant 7 ounces and lived during the Lower Cretaceous period(about 145 million to 100 million years ago). Paleontologists think the little dinosaur had a long neck, short tail with long skinny hind legs and feathers.
6/16/11:The Harlem Globetrotters,famous for their amazing basketball performances, have announced six players for their 2011 draft class. One is Jordan McCabe. What makes Jordan so unique, is that he is only 12 years old. The middleschooler , from the Seattle, Washington area, has amazing basketball abilities(like being able to dribble two basketballs at the same time). Of, course, Jordan can't actually join the team just yet. He has to finish school high school and college but the Globetrotters's selection states they have the right to sign him at a future date. Pretty cool!
Trivia question. Where can you find penguins in the wild? The answer is usually Antarctica...until now. Seems a wayward Emperor penguin swam thousands of miles and ended up on the beaches of New Zealand. The marathon distance swimmer was spotted by a woman walking her dog,along Peka Peka, on New Zealand's North island. The lone Emperor penguin, of the tallest and largest of all penguin species, is thought to have taken a wrong turn while searching for food, finding itself over 2000 miles from home. See a clip of the penguin at this link:
Called the Centennial Bulb, the little bulb is about to celebrate a milestone. It's been shedding light in a firehouse in Livermore, CA, for 110 years and counting. Yes, 110 years! It was installed back in 1901.The lightbulb holds the record for being the oldest known working lightbulb by Guinness Book of World Records Take a peek at the world's famous lightbult at the BulbCam:
What can you do with 1.6 million pounds of sand and water? Ed Jarrett built the world's tallest sand castle. Taking 2000 hours and 1500 volunteers, Jarrett's sand castle stands 37 ft. 10 inches tall. Built at Winding Tails Recreation Area in Farmington, CT, Jarrett's medieval castle includes a two-headed fire-breathing dragon and has no frame underneath the sand making, just like the castles you might build at the beach(just a lot bigger). This castle was built with "sharp" sand,fresh out of the ground, with more "sticking" ability than beach sand, having been smoothed by waves over the years. Guinness World Records officially certified Jarrett's castle as the world's tallest on June 8. Rain makes the sand wet but the biggest fear during construction is thunder as the vibrations can cause the sand to collapse. Originally, 38 ft. 75 inches, a blue bird decided to perch atop the castle's spire, taking a bit off the height! The previous record holder ,six ft. shorter, was also constructed by Ed Jarrett ,back in 2007.
6/5/11:Sukanya Roy, of Pennsylvania, is this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee champ,correctly spelling the word, "cymotrichous". And, if you don't know what this word means, it's an adjective meaning wavy hair.Sukanya, who has competed in two prior bees,finishing 12th and 20th, says that she "went through the dictionary one or twice and that she guesses some of the words really stuck. The 14 year old won more than $40,0000 in cash and prizes and a pretty cool looking trophy.Some of the other words used in the spelling bee included cheongsam, opodeldoc , capoeira and abhinaya. Any idea what these words mean?
You can do a lot with the click of a mouse and now a computer mouse can save the lives of frogs! Rancho Verde High School in California is the first school in the United States to move away from dissection in their biology classes.No more scalpels, scissors, smelly formaldehyde or queasy stomachs. The school is opting to use free anatomy software to learn about frogs...virtually. Students can still make incisions, remove organs and restore them all ,with a virtual blade.A study by George Mason University says that Digital Frog 2.5 teaches more effectively and in a more timely manner than traditional dissection methods. Opponents to virtual dissection says simulations aren't the same as holding a real frog and its organs.What do you think?
6/1/11:A kiwi named Manukura(Chiefly One)born at the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Center, in New Zealand, is a very special bird. The tiny chick is an all white kiwi. The usually brown flightless kiwi are native to New Zealand.Manukura is thought to be the first white kiwi born in captivity.Learn more about the kiwi bird at this link:
True or False: You can cry in outer space. The answer....no. You may get teary eyed but tears will not run down your face. That's because of lack of gravity in space. Seems astronaut Mike Fincke recently found this can be a problem. Something got into his eye while on a space walk. Some of the anti-fog solution(basically dishwashing soap) placed on his helmut visor, got into his eye. It really stung as his eye got all watery. Unfortunately, because tears don't escape the eyeball, the tears just gathered in Fincke's eye. Fortunately, Fincke was able to withstand the sting, finishing up his space walk.
Archaeologists have a new tool to help them search the earth for past civilizations...satellites! American archaeologist Sarah Parcak and her team using satellites with high powered infra-red cameras, spotted 17 previously unknown pyramids, tombs and over 3000 ancient settlements under thousands of years of sediment from the Nile River in the country of Egypt.
5/25/11:You may know that Mt. Everest is the highest mountain in the world but do you know the Nepalese national park from which most climbers begin their ascent? 13 year old Tine Valencic, of Texas, knew the tie breaking answer to win this year's National Geographic Bee. As the 2011 winner, Valencic won a $25,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime subscription to the National geographic Society(sponsor of the annual bee).
Who owns the North Pole? No country has claimed ownership...until now. According to the Copenhagen Post, the government of Denmark plans to claim the North Pole as part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Why now? The reason is with melting ice, new trade routes are opening as well as business opportunities(fisheries and mining). Additionally,estimates are that 30 percent of the world's gas and 90 billion barrels of oil are thought to be in the Arctic seabed. Other countries have claimed the region including Canada, Norway, Russia,and the USA so Denmark's claim will most certainly cause some debate. Do you think a country should own the North Pole? Does anyone own Antarctica?
Two Girl Scouts, Madi Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen, were working on achieving the highest Girl Scout award, the Girl Scout Bronze Award, when they made an interesting discovery. The orangutan that they were working to save, were endangered, in part, to something for which Girls Scouts have become famous-their cookies! Seems that all but one of the 17 different Girl Scout cookies, such as Peanut Butter Patties,are made with palm oil, an ingredient that is linked to rainforest destruction, home of the orangutan. The teens decided to ask that the cookies use a more environmentally friendly oil, canola. When the girls contacted Girl Scouts USA asking for the recipe to be changed, removing palm oil, they were not met with much success. Now, along with Change.org and the Rainforest Action Network, the girls are asking people to sign their petition to asking for another ingredient to replace palm oil and thus, help save the orangutans! Go to this site for more information on making Girl Scout Cookies, Rainforest safe!TakeAction And, yes..Madi and Rhiannon DID receive their Bronze Award!
Scientists have offered a look at a 49 million year old spider-in 3D. Using a fossilized arachnid,found in the 1800s, X Ray technology created a vision of the Huntsman spider, including its eyes, feelers(pedipalps) and fangs! A member of the Eusparassus group of arachnids,still found in southern Europe, the spider,can grow up to 1 foot in size. 3D makes the amber fossil look up close and personal!
5/10/11Many countries set their clocks ahead or back an hour, depending on the season.The island of Samoa did more than that...they set themselves into the future, by changing an entire day! Near the International Dateline(in the Pacific Ocean), the Polynesian island decided that it wanted to be on the same day as its Asian trading nations, such as China, New Zealand and Australia. It isn't the island's first move- 119 years ago, it agreed to stay a day behind so it could be aligned with the United States. In addition to changing it's day, Samoa now loses a claim to fame it's held for a long time. It can no longer say it is the last place on Earth in which you can see the day's sunset.
Canadian scientists have developed a paper phone. Just as the name suggests, it's as thin as a piece of paper. Despite its look, the paperphone can do all the different functions of phones in use today-internet, play music and make and receive calls. To get the phone to do the different functions, the uses needs to fold or bend the "paper" phone.
About twenty-five years ago,the California condor was declared extinct in the wild. And in captivity, only 27 of the largest flying bird in North America remained. It didn't look good for the bird's survival on the planet. But, fast forward to 2011. It was just announced that the bird is once again flying in the skies over California, Arizona, and Mexico. With breeding programs and conservation awareness, there are nearly 400 California condors with 200 in the wild. The condors, with a wingspan of up to 9 1/2 ft. weigh about 29 pounds and can live for 60 years.Great news! Read more about the California condor at this link:
4/19/11:The nations first offshore wind farm has been approved for the waters of Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Massachusetts. It is estimated that the proposed 130 wind turbines would produce enough energy for 200,000 homes. Opponents to the wind farm project argue that the beauty of Nantucket Sound will be harmed by such a project. What do you think of wind farms as a way to produce energy in our country?
4/12/11:Did you hear that this year's winner of the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon, had a world's record time? Geoffrey Mutai,of Kenya, completed the race in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 2 seconds. It may be the fastest time, but neither the Boston Marathon or the New York Marathon are the COOLEST of all marathons.That title goes to the North Pole Marathon. Recently 27 runners , from around the world, wearing goggles, gloves, thermal clothing ran the annual race, battling temperatures as cold as -25 F. Started by marathon runner, Richard Donovan, in 2002,this year's winner,Istvan Toth, from Hungary, ran the icy course in four hours and 54 minutes.
Most people throw away empty eggshells. Not Ron and Betty Manolio, of Lyndhurst, Ohio!For more than 50 years, the couple has been using eggshells to decorate their front yard, for their annual Easter celebration.It all started in 1957, when the couple decided to decorate their front yard with a 50 ft. cross and a huge Easter Bunny, all made from colored eggshells. That first year, 750 eggshells were used.Today, Eggshelland, as it has come to be known, has really grown, with this year's display using 40,180 real eggshells!Just where do the Manolio's get so many eggshells? At first, eggshells were collected throughout the year, but eventually, so many were needed, that a local restaurant offered to give the Manolio's their eggshells. Eggs are saved in cartons in the family basement, 250 per box, sorted by color.On average 1500 eggs are broken each year but there have been some years when there have been lots of cracked eggshells due to hailstorms or spring snowstorms. Although the yearly display takes months to get ready, it is only up from the week before Easter until the Monday or Tuesday after the holiday. Each of 24 different colored eggshells are gently set onto a wooden peg, to keep the eggshells in place. When, done, it's time for the thousands of visitors to view their "eggcelent" display.
Have you ever heard the nursery rhyme,"Baa Baa Black Sheep, have you any wool"? A farmer in Britain may have a variation on this rhyme since he's dyed his flock of sheep... a bright orange! Seems sheep thieves have been stealing his sheep that graze the countryside.Over the years, he's lost about 200 sheep to sheep rustlers. Using a bright orange non-toxic dye has stopped such thievery as it's pretty obvious if you have one of John Heard's sheep! And, by the time it's sheep shearing season, the dye will be grown out from their fleece.
Sir Richard Branson will soon be rocketing space tourists into space for the trip of a lifetime. Now, Branson has his sights on another "frontier", the deepest depths of our oceans! Virgin Oceanic's one seater submersible,the DeepFlight Challenger, will travel down more than 6 miles(deeper than Mt. Everest is high), exploring the Marina trench, in the Pacific Ocean, later this year.In the next two years, the DeepFlight Challenger will explore and map all five oceans including the Atlantic's Puerto Rico Trench,the South Sandwich Trench, the Diamantina Trench,and the Molloy Deep.Branson, hopes that eventually, a larger submarine, will enable deep sea tourists an opportunity to get up close and personal with the wonders of our oceans.
4/1/11:Did you ever hear the nursey rhyme,"Hey diddle diddle,the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such sport and the dish ran away with the spoon."? Well, Luna, a cow in the Bavarian town of Traunstein, Germany, isn't actually jumping over the moon, but she IS jumping. Her owner ,Regina Mayer,15, loves horse jumping but had a problem. She didn't have enough money for a horse BUT she did have lots of cows on her family farm so Rachel did the next best thing, trained her cow, whose name means "moon", for show jumping competition!Training her cow took lots of effort, beginning when Luna was just a calf. Today, Luna and Regina are two peas in a pod, riding, and jumping up to 3 ft. high hurdles.
You may have heard the expression,"It's raining cats and dogs", but worms? Seems that kids during PE class at a school in Galashiels, Scotland,Great Britain were outside with their teacher ,when they began getting plummeted by...slithering worms. Dozens of the slimy creatures came thudding down to the ground as the students covering their heads, ran for cover. All told, about 120 worms showered the playground. Although very rare, such freaky weather has happened before. In Louisiana, in 2007, a clump of worms dropped from the sky. And,in 1924, it rained worms in Halmstad,Sweden. Meteorologists says the occurrence may be caused when strong winds picked up the worms from a nearby river...but, in this case,it was a sunny, calm day, when it rained worms!
What planet has daytime temperatures of 800 degrees F. and -300 degrees F. night and is the closest to the sun? If you answered Mercury, you'd be correct. After a very long six year journey, covering 4.9 billion miles, NASA's Messenger spacecraft, has begun sending the first photographs of the smallest planet in our solar system's surface. More than 15,000 images were transmitted back to NASA in just the first week.The first glimpse shows a planet, like our moon, with lots and lots of crater pock-marks covering its surface. And, the planet's dark, south pole was also photographed showing what looks like a big blue like spot, which scientists think may be ice. See photographs of Mercury at this link:
Have you ever placed a message in a bottle and tossed it out into the sea,hoping that someone would find it and respond? Frank Uesbeck, 5, did just that. While on a boat trip to Denmark, Frank, asked in his message that if someone finds his letter, to please write back. That was... 24 years ago! Recently,Daniil Korotkikh,13,of Kaliningrad, Russia, was walking the beach, when he came upon a bottle sticking out in the sand along the Curonian Spit, a sandy area between Russia and the country of Lithuania. He found Frank's message and responded to the address in the letter. Frank's parents still live at the address and sent the message along to him. In addition to a letter response, the two have corresponded ...online!Read more at this link:
Here's a twist to a message in a bottle. California artist, Jay Little, has been sending messages in bottles for many years. In fact, he's released 288 bottles to date to create awareness in ocean conservation(22 have been found thus far). He decided to try using technology to track the adventure of one of his bottles. It's been a year,since he tossed his hi-tech "message in a bottle", into the waters 840 miles south of Hawaii. His bottle has been transmitting its location every day. And, if you should be lucky to find Little's message, you will receive $250! Track the bottle's locations at this link:
3/28/11:Frenchman Alain Robert,is called the human Spiderman and for good reason. He's climbed over 70 skyscrapers(including the Empire State Building). Robert has now successfully climbed the world's tallest building, the 2,717 ft. tall Burj Khalifa! Located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,(near the Persian Gulf), it took Robert six hours to make the climb. For safety,"Spiderman" used a rope and harness, something he hasn't used on many other climbs, but climbed much of the building like rock climbers do, gripping the structure with his hands and feet. Read more and see photographs at this link:
3/26/11:"Tiger, Tiger, Burning bright, in the forest of the night"..there's good news for the endangered Indian tigers! For the first time in decades, their dwindling numbers are on the increase. About 100 years ago, more than 100,000 tigers roamed the forests of India. However, by 2002, there were less than 3600 and in 2007, less than 1500! A new survey has found there are about 300 more tigers than in 2007. Tigers are in trouble because of the loss of their habitat and due to illegal poaching(killing of the tiger for its body parts). It's hoped that with efforts to save the tiger, their numbers will continue to tick upward.And, a meeting of 13 countries last year,hopes to do just that. They set a goal to double the tiger population by 2022. Learn about the Bengal tiger and other tigers with this free download:
Ever hang 10? Panama surfer,Gary Saavedra, recently completed a really awesome ride. He rode a 2 ft. wave(thanks to a wavesurfing boat) 41.3 miles, along the 48 mile length of the Panama Canal. His feat got him two Guinness World Records, one for the greatest distance surfed in open waters and another for the longest time surfing on a wave in open waters. Saavedra averaged 10.6 miles per hour(top speed of 13.5) and rode the wave for 3 hours, 55 minutes and 2 seconds. The previous wave riding record was 1 hour and 6 seconds. Saavedra faced choppy waters from the ships passing through the canal,fatigue and heavy winds.Saavedra is the first person allowed to surf the Panama Canal!Learn about the Panama Canal at this link:
3/20/11:On the island of Minorca, off of Spain, scientists have discovered the fossil of the world's largest known bunny. Living 3-5 million years ago, it weighed over 26 pounds(or six times the size of modern day European rabbits). The prehistoric Flopsy, called Nuralagus Rex, or "The Minorcan King of the Rabbits",didn't have long ears like rabbits of today. Scientists also say that the fossil shows its hind legs to be very short so the rabbit probably didn't hop along the bunny trail! Read more at this link:
A horrific earthquake has hit the island country of Japan. On the Richter scale of 1-10,used to measure the power of an earthquake, the Japanese quake measured 8.9. It is the worst earthquakes Japan has ever had, and one of the worst in recorded history. Occurring on the eastern coast of the island of Honshu, it caused buildings to shake 250 miles away!Following the earthquake, a deadly tsunami occurred.Powerful waves washed away anything in its path, killing many hundreds of people. Estimates are that it was 23 ft. tall! Additionally, a tsunami warning was issued for other areas in the Pacific, including Hawaii and western coasts of the United States, South America and Canada.Japan is located in what is called the "Ring of Fire", a section in the Pacific Ocean where 90% of all the world's earthquakes occur.See a map of Japan at this link:
Did you see the movie,"Up", where balloons were used to float a house away? Seems this isn't just make believe. Using 300 colorful helium filled weather balloons,(each 8 ft. high) a team of engineers, scientists and balloon pilots launched a 2000 pound yellow colored house. The balloons carried the flying house(about 10 stories high) for about an hour, soaring to about 10,000 ft, across the California's High Desert.The experiment also made the record books for the largest number of balloons used in one flight. And, just like the movie, there WERE people inside as it floated across the sky!See a video at this link:
3/15/11:Dumbo the Elephant is certainly not a proper name for an elephant. Elephants are very smart!Twelve Asian elephants in Lampang,Thailand, were recently "put through the ropes",in a series of tests and passed with flying colors. Scientists say the tests show that elephants have the abilities to solve problems and displayed teamwork!Food rewards were placed on a platform connected to a rope. In order to get the food, a pair of elephants had to each pull the ends of two ropes at the same time to have the food drag forward to them. If only one elephant pulled the rope, the food didn't come!The elephants also were tested to see whether they'd try pulling a rope when one end was coiled. The elephants didn't even try, recognizing it wouldn't work with only one "lending a helping trunk"!
3/11/11The annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race,known as the Last Great Race on Earth,is underway. Starting this past Sunday,this year's approximately 1100 mile race, the longest sled dog race in the world, has 62 teams. Each musher has a team of 16 dogs and sleds have global positioning systems to help stay on course. Along the way, the teams will encounter frigid temperatures, frozen rivers,steep mountain climbs,lack of sleep, and hazardous visibility from blinding snow and winds and... darkness. One of the mushers is Lance Mackey, who is hoping for his 5 consecutive win. Last year, Mackey had the second fastest race in the Iditarod's history. He finished in eight days, 23 hours, 59 minutes.Begun in 1973, the race honors dog drivers that traveled 674 miles from Nenana to Nome,in 1925,to deliver medicine to help a diphtheria outbreak. They arrived five days later saving many lives. Learn more about the Iditarod at this link:
3/2/11:A very different kind of marathon race, 26.2 miles long,is taking place in Japan this week.The five participants, only one foot tall,are robots!Called the world's first ever robot marathon, the robots will make 422 trips around a track in Osaka, Japan, on their teeny feet, to equal a real marathon race.The event, called the Robomarafull,will take four days. If a robot falls down, it has to get back up on its own power, but humans can replace the robots' batteries, when needed.
2/25/11:The Discovery launched into space on February 24, on its last mission. The six member crew will be bringing a new storage room for the International Space Station and also a human-looking robot(R2)-the first such robot to go into space! The blast off of the Discovery was its 39th mission into space, with its first being in 1984. When the Discovery returns to earth it will retired after having traveled a total of approximately 143 million miles(more than the distance from the Earth to the Sun). The Discovery will find a permanent home at the Smithsonian Institution. The Endeavour and the Atlantis, the last two remaining shuttles, will each do their final missions in the coming year. Read more (and see a picture of R2)at this link:
It's time to count the birdies. February 18-21st is the annual Great Backyard Bird Count. Here's what you do. Go out in your yard,a nearby park, your school playground or just look outside your window. Count the number of birds species you see for a least 15 minutes. Then, go to the website listed at the end of this news story to record your findings. Scientists use the information gathered each year to learn about winter bird populations, their migration patterns, how winter's snow and cold temperatures effect the bird populations, etc.Go to this website to learn more and to record your findings:
Are you ready to celebrate world Math Day that begins on March 1st? There aren't any World Math Day cards to be mailed or chocolates in the shape of numbers to give to your friends. It's a huge online math game to play,lasting 48 hours! And, it's free. Kids from 5-18 from around the world can compete in real time answering math questions at different ability levels. Each game takes 60 seconds and you can test your brain for up to 500 different math challenges. Those kids answering the most questions, get honored in the World Math Day Hall of Fame. Organizers say the goal of World Math Day(226 countries have participated) is to unite young people around the world in numbers. They are hoping that this year's World Maths Day(begun in 2007)sets a Guinness World Record for correctly answering 1 billion math questions. If you wish to try your math abilities in the online math competition, sign up by February 28th at this site:
Palaeontologists think they have discovered a new species of the ornithischian or bird-hipped dinosaur, found under ice in Antarctica. About 4-5 feet in size, the fossils were found on Mt. Kirkpatrick, part of the Central Trans-Antarctic mountains. It was here, too,that the very first Antarctic dinosaur was discovered in 1990, a meat-eating Cryolophosaurus(frozen crested reptile). While excavating the fossils of this dinosaur, the new dinosaur, about 190 million years old, was also discovered.
Two artificial toes were discovered in Egyptian tombs. One,found in 1881, called the Greville Chester toe, was made out of a paper-mache material, painted to look like the color of skin. There was even a false toenail! Another, called the Cairo toe, was made mostly from wood, and had a hinge to act like a toe joint. Both artificial toes had eight lacing holes to fasten the toe to the foot or shoe. For years, the two artificial toes, were packed away, one in the British Museum,the other in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo,thinking they were just ornamental. Recently, an Egyptologists, Jacky Finch, decided to take a closer look. She wondered about the wear and tear. Were they early prosthetics worn to help those missing toes? Volunteers strapped on the toes and found they were able to walk with the "toes". This suggest that these fake tootsies are the earliest known artificial limbs. Prior to these toes, an artificial leg, made of bronze, dating back to 300BC, and made by the ancient Romans, was the oldest known prosthetic. Seems the Egyptian toes walk over the Roman's record by about 400 years!
2/18/11:Could you say goodbye to your friends and family, sunlight and simple things like riding your bike ...for 16 months? That's exactly what six volunteers have been doing and they've just reached the halfway point of 257 days! Why would anyone agree to be locked away in windowless steel tubes for such a long time? The answer: for science. Scientists want to learn whether humans can be confined to a space craft for that length of time, the amount it would take to reach the planet Mars (and then return back to Earth). Being conducted at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, Russia, scientists want to know how the mind and body could endure such a long flight to the planet Mars, confined to a living space the size of a large bus. This week,two of the men will put on spacesuits and "walk" onto the sandy surface of a "pretend" Mars. While on the "Red Planet",the men will perform a number of simulated experiments, including planting a flag and taking soil samples. The men will also send a message back to "earth", delayed by 20 minutes, which would be the time needed to transport a message back to Earth. And,if you are wondering, should any of the volunteers need medical attention or say they wish to stop the Mars 500 Project, they can get out...an option real astronauts rocketing to Mars will not have! Read more at this link:
The game show "Jeopardy" will be having an unusual contestant testings his knowledgeable skills. Beginning on Monday, Watson will join Ken Jennings(who holds the record for 74 consecutive wins) and Brad Rutter, (who's the all time money winner) for three matches. What makes Watson different is that he's... a computer! Developed by scientists at IBM, Watson isn't the first computer to compete against humans. In 1997, Deep Blue, a computer which was also developled by IBM, defeated Garry Kasparov, the chess champion. Watson will show off his artificial intelligence and has been programed to understand word games and puns.
Wander Matrich spent three months and used 84,000 pennies to make an amazing penny, all made up of...pennies! Her penny is 8 ft. in diameter and 10 ft. tall, and weighs about 12000 pounds. Matrich used 22 tubes of glue to stick her stash of pennies to the frame to create her artwork. Old pennies and new helped to create the highlights. Ripley's Believe It or Not recently purchased it-for more than a penny!
2/8/11:Studying what lies beneath a lake might not sound that unusual, until you learn the lake is buried under 13,000 ft. of ice. Named Lake Vostok, the sub-glacier lake is located under the thick ice of Antarctica. Scientists discovered the lake while reviewing satellite images taken from space. The Russian scientists have been drilling 24/7 through the ice, to reach the lake and are only about 100 ft. from reaching its depth.Why the rush? The reason is that Antarctica's brutal winter is about to begin and the lake is located where record cold temps have been previously recorded.(the coldest temperature ever recorded-129 degrees below zero o July 21, 1983). The goal is to retrieve a sample of the lake's water to study. Scientists are very excited to see what, if any, ancient life forms may be found in the lake. One scientist involved in the project,Valery Lukin, told Reuters,"It's like exploring an alien planet where no one has been before. We don't know what we'll find." Read more at this link:
2/14/11:What can you do with lots of snow, some old black racing car tires, part of an old pool and an orange and white traffic cone?Vern Scoville, near Syracuse, NY, used these items to build a snowmongous snowman that stands 35 ft tall!The old pool was used for Frosty's hat, the traffic cone for his nose and the tires...buttons. It isn't the first gigantic snowman, Scoville and his buddies have built. Last year, Scoville and his helpers build a 25 ft. snowman. The giant bundle of snow also has oil barrel lids for eyes and took about fifty people to help build the snowman that was named B.A.See a video at this link:
2/1/11:Do you like listening to the twitter of birds? The mayor of Lancaster, CA,in the Mojave Desert,thinks that everyone would be happier if they heard the music of birds so he's suggesting that recorded bird songs be broadcasted through loudspeakers on the main street of town.
Any idea where the famous bust of ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti can be found? No, it's not a trick question and no it isn't found in the country of Egypt.Like many artifacts of ancient Egypt, the statue, dating back to the 14th century BC, was taken from the country of Egypt.The Egyptians are requesting that the 19 inch painted limestone statue of the queen of pharaoh Akhenaton be returned from a museum in Germany. Currently, officials for the German museum say the artifact was legally obtained back in 1912 and,they are refusing its return to Egypt.Other countries including Greece are also requesting the return of treasures that once were part of their important heritage that are on display in museums in other countries. What do you think? Should Germany give back Nefertiti? Why, why not? See a coloring sheet on Nefertiti at this link:
Expected to open this year, the final section of China's Qingdao Haiwan Bridge was set into place. The bridge is a record breaker and will become the world's longest bridge over water, a 26.4 miles in length. The sea bridge spans the Jiaozhou Bay connecting the cities of Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong Province with Huangda. The bridge is about three miles longer than the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, the current record holder. The Qingdao Haiwan Bridge won't hold the title for long. That's because another bridge,in China, set to be completed in 2016, connecting the island of Hong Kong and Zhulai, in southern Guangdong Province, will be 31 miles long!
Have you ever used chopsticks? Did you know that over 5.7 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks are made each year, just for the people of China? It is estimated that 3.8 million trees are cut down each year to make those chopsticks. Greenpeace, an environmental activist group, decided to make people aware of this by making trees out of chopsticks. Volunteers collected 80 million pairs of chopsticks from restaurants around Beijing, the capital city of China. The chopsticks were then turned back into four, 5 ft. trees and placed outside a mall in Beijing. Greenpeace hopes people will rethink the use of disposable chopsticks and instead save trees by using re-usable chopsticks.See photographs at this link:
Remember the Jurassic Park movies where dinosaurs were cloned and roaming an island? Scientists are getting closer to being able to use technology to try and clone extinct creatures such as the Woolly Mammoths, which died out about 12,000 years ago. Taking tissue from a frozen mammoth carcass found in Siberia(Russia), scientists hope to get needed DNA from the retrieved cells. If, successful, the cells will be placed in the egg cells of a relative of the mammoth,the elephant, which, hopefully, will result in the birth of a baby mammoth!The team of scientists, from the United States, Japan and Russia say that it will take about 5-6 years before a wooly mammoth may be born. If this procedure is successful, what do you think of bringing back extinct creatures? What might be an extinct creature you'd like to see cloned in the future? Learn more about the wooly mammoth at this link:
1/12/11:Quiz Time. Do you know how many countries there are in the world?(see the end of the paragraph for the answer) The birth of a new country is taking place in Africa. People in the southern part of the country of Sudan are voting to secede, or separate. Most of the people that live in the northern part of Sudan are Arabic speaking Muslims. The land is mostly desert, with some fertile areas near the Nile River. Those in the southern part of the country of Sudan are either Christian or practice traditional religions of the area. This area of the Sudan has swamps, grasslands and tropical forest. It is also in the south where 75% of the nation's oil reserves are located. Currently, Sudan is the largest country in Africa. The country has suffered a long civil war ,(50 years)that has cost the lives of an estimated 1.5 million people. If, the vote to secede passes(and it looks like it will), the new country formed, would be Africa's 54st country! It's creation would official begin on July 9, 2011. At this time, a national anthem and flag have already been selected but the name for this new country has not been determined. Can you think of other countries in the world which have separated over the years? And, for the answer to how many countries are in the world. As of 2009, the United Nation recognizes 192 member countries, but there are there others, not part of the United Nations for different reasons:Vatican City, Kosovo and Taiwan(which the UN still considers part of China).
Scientist think that something they've been doing to "help" the king penguins may actually be harming them. In a study to monitor the king penguins and to see how climate change may be changing their habitat, 1/2 the king penguins had tags placed on their flipper. The other 1/2 of the penguins had electronic tags placed under their skin. French scientists studying the king penguins on Possession Island off the coast of Antarctic, found that those tagged on the flippers have fewer babies and died younger. The thought is...could it be the tags? Some researchers think that the metal bands, placed around the top of the flipper, might effect the swimming efforts of the penguins, wasting energy in looking for food. More study is underway.
1/8/11:Norwegian Composer and percussionist, Terje Isungset ,uses some really cool instruments ...they are made from glacier ice! Isungset recently gave a performance in London, Great Britain, where he played his composition,"Ice Music", His instruments included an iceophone, an ice horn, an ice didgeridoo, ice guitar, ice bass drum , an ice harp and other"icestruments" made from the Jostedalsbreen glacier,found in Norway. Isungset says using glacier ice makes the best instruments, free of any air bubbles and that although ice-making machine ice blocks look good, they don't make good instruments. In addition to the instruments being made of ice, so are the tables, supports and stands. Isungset has been chillin' with his ice instruments for a few years. Go to this link to listen to samples:(go to sound samples)
1/5/11:Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has created a most unusual gallery of permanent art. To see his life sized statues, more than 400 of them, you need to go under water! Specifically, the water museum of art, MUSA, or Museo Subacuatico de Art, is found in the National Marine Park of Cancun, Mexico. Why make a underwater museum? It is hoped that visitors, some 750,000 to the waters each year, will venture to these beautiful sculptures as something else to view in addition to the natural reefs in the area, relieving the "stress" on the delicate reefs that such volumes of tourist bring to the area. The sculptures were made of materials that will promote coral life and marine life. The project took about 18 months,using 120 tons of cement, gravel and sand,lots of fiber-glass and silicone and 120 hours working underwater to install the works of art. Visitors can swim among the statutes of people in different phases of life depicting many different occupations. It is considered to be the world's largest underwater collection of contemporary sculpture. See photographs at this link:
1/1/11:What did you do over your Christmas vacation? Sleep in? Shop or take in a movie?Read a book? Over vacation,Kathryn Aurora Gray, 10,of Canada,discovered a supernova. And, she is the youngest to ever do so! Kathryn spotted the supernova(an exploding star) which has been named Supernova 2010lt, after reviewing images of the galaxy UGC 3378(part of the Camelopardalis constellation). Kathryn, in fifth grade, got interested in trying to find a supernova after learning of Carolyn Moore, 14,who last year was the youngest to discovered one. Kathryn decided to try and beat the record. Because of the distance of UGC3378, more than 240 million light years away from the Earth, it is estimated that the star exploded about 240 million years ago! Kathryn says she was very excited to find one.
12/30/10:Where is the world's largest cave? It just may be found in the country of Vietnam, near the Laotian border.The Son Doong cave is currently being explored and it's a whopper of a cave. It is so big that you could park a 747 jet plane inside of it,and, one of its passages is so large, there is enough room for a half-mile block of 40 story buildings! Son Doong isn't just large, it also has a river and even a jungle inside of it The jungle, called the Garden of Edam, may be the world's largest jungle inside a cave!. Another amazing discovery in this cave, is that it has its own thin clouds. It's so big, at least 2.8 miles long, that its end hasn't been reached yet. If Son Doong is officially designated the world record cave, it will take away the title from Deer Cave, found in the country of Malaysia(specifically the island of Borneo). See photographs of Son Doong at this link:http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/photogalleries/worlds-biggest-cave-pictures/?now=2009-07-24-00:01
Where is the world's largest cave? It just may be found in the country of Vietnam, near the Laotian border.The Son Doong cave is currently being explored and it's a whopper of a cave.It is so big that you could park a 747 jet plane inside of it,and, one of its passages is so large, there is enough room for a half-mile block of 40 story buildings!Son Doong isn't just large, it also has a river and even a jungle inside of it. The jungle, called the Garden of Edam, may be the world's largest jungle inside a cave!. Another amazing discovery in this cave, is that it has its own thin clouds. It's so big, at least 2.8 miles long, that its end hasn't been reached yet.If Son Doong is officially designated the world record cave, it will take away the title from Deer Cave, found in the country of Malaysia(specifically the island of Borneo). See photographs of Son Doong at this link:
1/3/11:Chester, a six year old border collie, has broken the world's record for the largest human vocabulary. Chester can understand the names of an amazing 1022 toys! This shatters the record of the previous record holder, Rico,also a border collie, who knew 200 words.During a three year study,at Wofford College, in Spartanburg, S.C.,Chester was asked to retrieve a toy when only the toy's name was used: frisbee, balls, stuffed animal,etc. And, sometimes, in the early days, Chester actually preferred eating some of the toys! During the study, Chester was never given treats for rewards, as the researchers(one being her owner) didn't wish Chester to gain weight. Instead,her reward was time and attention . Eventually, Chester was tested with going into another room and fetching one of 20 toys , she was verbally asked to retrieve.She usually got 20/20 correct or at least 18/20 correct. Chester can also understand the concepts of nouns and verbs, making appropriate matches. She was taught three different commands: nose(push the toy with your nose), bring and paw(move the toy with your paw).Chaser is up there with Puck, a budgerigar(shell parakeet) that in 1995, mastered 1728 words, the largest vocabulary of any bird. Take a "Bow-wow", Chester!
12/26/10:Scientists studying ancient rock art have made an amazing discovery. The paint on the rocks is "alive". Studying 80 works of rock arts in Western Australia, called the Bradshaws(named for the man that first came upon them),scientists have found that some of the vividly colored art looks so freshly painted because it is really living micro-organisms "coloring" the art. The paint has long disappeared. Called "living pigments", it is thought that the fungus and bacteria live on the rock art,coloring the rock paintings. Because of this, it is hard to determine the age of the ancient works of art, believed to date back 40,000 years, since the "paint" is so fresh and alive.
Solar powered toys? Solar powered homes? What about a solar powered insect! Scientists have made an interesting discovery about the oriental hornet. The little insect makes solar energy! It is the first time scientists have found such an occurrence in the animal kingdom. Scientists have recognized such behavior in plants and some bacteria. With its yellow strip on its abdomen, the Oriental hornet stores the sun's rays(being especially active in the hotter time of the day).Then, a pigment called xanthopterin, in its yellow tissues helps generate solar power.Scientists aren't actually sure just how the tiny insect uses its solar power.
12/20/10:Known as the winter solstice, the first day of winter begins on December 21st, for those living in the Northern Hemisphere. It is also the shortest day of the year as the sun is at its lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere's sky. The winter solstice will begin at 6:38 PM(EST) and this, year, for the first time in 372 years, it is also the day when a total lunar eclipse will occur. A lunar eclipse is when the Earth moves in between the sun and a full moon, blocking the sun's rays from reflecting off the moon's surface. This exciting show will start at 1:33 AM(Dec. 21st). If you'd like to set your alarm to get a peek, it is suggested that 3:17 EST is when the biggest display will be at its height.(Those living in other time zones need to check their best viewing time) The moon will reach a beautiful coppery red shine as the eclipse takes place. And, if you miss this lunar eclipse, you might want to place on your calendar the next date when a lunar eclipse will occur on a winter solstice. That will happen on December 21, 2094! Read more at this link:
Christmas trees are usually decorated with such things as colorful and glittering bulbs, ornaments and lights but a tree in the lobby of a hotel in Abu Dhabi is quite different. It's branches are decorated with 181 diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, pearls and gold! There are also expensive necklaces,bracelets and watches adorning the tree. Called the world's most expensive Christmas tree, the 43 ft. tree, is worth about $11 million dollars. Guinness World Records is considering the tree for certification as the world's most expensive. And,if you are wondering about someone walking off with one of the baubles, there are security guards and security cameras monitoring the tree at all times. See a photograph at this link:
Do you like soup? Well, you might not like this particular bone soup. It's expiration date is long past due by about 2400 years! That's because the soup was found in a metal pot in an ancient tomb.The soup was discovered in a sealed bronze cooking pot, inside a tomb near the famous terracotta soldiers of Xi'an. The odorless broth, with pieces of animal bones,is said to be the first discovery of its kind, found in China. A yukky green film(from the oxidization of the bronze) covered the surface of the soup which hadn't evaporated. Scientists say this is because the tomb was tightly sealed and a lid covered the pot. It is hoped that the soup will help scientists learn about the eating habits of the people that made the soup so many years ago. Learn more at this link:
Does your state have a official state bird? A flower? Kristyn Demers,10, of New Hampshire, thinks her state should have a state color. And, the color she'd like to see selected-the color purple.(my personal favorite) Kristyn selected purple since New Hampshire's state bird is the purple finch and the state flower is the purple lilac. She has asked her local state representative to file a bill in the state legislature,adopting purple as the state'scolor.This winter, Kristyn will get to speak at a hearing to discuss the adoption of purple as New Hampshire's state color. And, since no other colors have been suggested to date, there isn't any competition for the title.To date, only 11 states have official state colors, so it might be an idea which will spread. What color would you pick for your state's color, and why?
12/10/10:Do like to whistle? Seems that some caterpillars do,too. Scientists have known that caterpillars make squeaky sounds or clicking noises, but until now, didn't really know just how.They don't have lips to pucker up and blow, but they DO make noises by blowing out of the holes in the sides(called spiracles) of their tiny bodies. Spiracles are used for breathing. Specifically, it's the walnut sphix caterpillars that like to toot from their sides but they don't "whistle" while they work" or when they are happy. They make the sounds or squeaks when they are in danger from attacking birds. Their toots cause the birds to be startled and fly away!
Do you like puzzles? If, so, you might have liked the puzzle assignment of Liu Hui-fen, of Taiwan. A man accidently shredded a plastic bag containing 200 bank notes. Valued at about $6,600 US dollars, the man was very upset and needed help. It was Liu Hui-fen, at the Taiwan Justice Ministry, who came to the rescue. It took her about a week and many hours (and lots of patience) to piece the thousands of tiny pieces of paper back together again. In Taiwan, any currency which is 75% intact,is worth its face value. The man was very grateful to her for all her efforts. Her secret? Liu Hui-Fen, nicknamed the "Jigsaw Expert", looked for the Chinese character "guo" and worked outwards from that point on each bank note.
Conservationists in China have come up with a unique way to help baby pandas born in captivity, one day be returned to the wild. With fewer than 2500 giant pandas left in the wild, captive born pandas usually don't do well, due to human interaction during their early years. At the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre in western China, they've come up with an interesting idea-human volunteers are dressing up in panda costumes. The fluffy panda get-ups are being used to keep the human interaction down(or at least to the baby panda's way of thinking). Mother pandas and cubs are living on protected areas monitored by closed circuit television. The humans dress up as pandas to give health check-ups, bottle feed the cubs when necessary,etc. It is hoped this "pandering" to the cubs will result in their having a real chance at one day roaming the wilds of China.See photographs at this link:
12/5/10: The Enoshima Aquarium in Kanagawa,Japan has a lovely decorated Christmas tree,trimmed with lights. What makes the tree unusual is what is powering the twinkling lights. It's an eel! Swimming around in a freshwater tank with two aluminum electrodes, the eel generates 800 watts of electricity every time it moves! That energy powers the some of the lights on the 6'6"tall tree! Inventor and spokesperson, Kazuhiko Minawa,says that the eel creates an electric charge using its muscles. This year, the display added a Santa. Just so the eel isn't the only one working to produce energy for the display, humans can use their muscles and jump up and down on a pad, creating more lights to twinkle and for Santa to move!
If you like hot peppers then THIS one is for you. Previously, the Bhut Jolokia(or "ghost chili") was the hottest pepper. That is, until now. The tongue lashingly hot Naga Viper, grown in Great Britain,has taken the title as the world's hottest pepper. It is SOOOOOO hot that it is said that it could strip paint! Peppers are rated on something called the Scoville Scale. This measures the amount of capsaicin in the pepper. It is capsaicin that makes a pepper "hot". The Naga Viper rates 1,359,000. The Bhut Jolokia,the previous winner,rated 300,000. Those brave enough to try the pepper must sign a waiver from the creator, pub owner and chili farmer,Gerald Fowler. Fowler says the Naga Viper "numbs the tongue, then burns all the way down." Its effects can last up to an hour! Scientists are actually thinking of using the five alarm red hot pepper as a "spice bomb", a weapon to use again enemy soldiers.
12/2/10:Have you ever gotten a piggyback ride? Animals give them, too. However, scientists were amazed to see the world's largest land predators, the polar bear,giving their little tikes such a ride! It's behavior that polar bears have previously not displayed. Piggybacked on their mom,duos of polar bears were spotted swimming through the Arctic's icy waters . Why the change? It is thought that with warming waters, there is more distance between ice flows so polar bears are forced to swim longer with their little ones, from ice flow to ice flow. Carrying them piggyback style helps the young cubs stay warm and dry as the young cubs haven't built up a big enough layer of fat to help keep them warm in the cold waters. See a photograph at this link:
11/30/10: A school library without any books that you can take off the shelf? That's the case at Lamar High School in Houston, Texas. Last week, the library went digital! Most of the paper books in the school's library are gone, replaced with e-books. Additional laptops have been purchased to assist students in "checking out books". And, where the book shelves once took up space, the school library has opened up a coffee house and has placed couches to make "reading" in the library more relaxing. So, far, the digital library is a huge hit. Principal James McSwain says the library has been packed with more students than ever, checking out the services. Do you read e-books? Hardcover books? Both?Which do you like best and why?
11/25/10:Have you ever tried matching up the colors of a Rubrik's Cube?Feliks Zemdegs,14,of Australia, loves the Rubrik's Cube. In fact, his folks say the puzzler seems to be glued to their son's hands as he is always twisting the colorful cube.Recently, Feliks got his name in the record books,by solving the cube in 6.77 seconds. The record, set in 2008, was 7.08 seconds. On the same day, Rowe Hessler, of Massachusetts, also became the fastest American Rubik's Cube champ. His record was 6.944 seconds.
It's that time of year when many people have Christmas trees, decorated for the holiday. In France, a most unusual Christmas tree has been created by a famous French chocolatier. Patrick Roger created a mammoth and yummy looking chocolate tree,in his factory outside of Paris, France. The mouthwatering chocolate tree is massive, about 33 ft. tall and weighs about 4 tons. Now, THAT'S a lot of chocolate! That amount of chocolate could make about 800,000 standard sized chocolate bars! Taking about a month to create, Roger's says the chocolate tree is actually an architectural work, as the weight of all that chocolate caused lots of vertical pressures as it was being made. The tree is going to be be used for a nationwide charity telethon, in December, to help support neuromuscular diseases.See a photographs at this link:
A new police dog has joined the force in Tokyo, Japan.But the dog isn't a shepherd or other large dog. Momo, is a seven year old Chihuahua.In English, the pooch's name is "Peaches", and tips the scales at a meager 6.6 pounds. The little brown and white dog passed her exam as a search and rescue dog, able to locate someone in only five minutes, after taking a whiff of the person's hat. It is very rare for a tiny Chihuahua to become a police dog. She'll go on duty in January.
11/20/10:Maceba lives in the country of Poland. Only ten , Maceba already is making a name for herself in the art world. Her paintings show lots of color and expression. Thus,far, Maceba, has completed 30 works of art. What makes Maceba interesting is she is a Arabian horse! She took to painting last year when her owner gave her a paint brush and set up an easel. In the animal world, elephants and dolphins have also shown their inner Piccassos.
11/23/10:Find these countries on a world map: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Russia and Vietnam and Bhutan. Do you know what these 13 countries have that no other countries have? The answer-wild tigers! The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the wild tiger population is only about 3200 world wide and if measures aren't taken to help save the tiger, they may be extinct, in the wild, by 2022. Tigers are disappearing from the wi
ld due to destruction of their habitat, and hunting by poachers. Of the nine tigers, the Bali, Javan and Caspian have already become extinct in less than the past 100 years.The International Tiger Conservation Forum to be held this week in St. Petersburg, Russia, plans to discuss the plight of the wild tiger. It is the first time, world leaders are coming together to try and think of ways to save a single endangered species. It is hoped that the numbers of tigers can be doubled by 2022, the year of the tiger, in the Chinese calendar.Read more at this link:
11/20/10:Find these countries on a world map: Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Russia and Vietnam and Bhutan. Do you know what these 13 countries have that no other countries have? The answer-wild tigers! The World Wildlife Fund estimates that the wild tiger population is only about 3200 world wide and if measures aren't taken to help save the tiger, they may be extinct, in the wild, by 2022. Tigers are disappearing from the wi
ld due to destruction of their habitat, and hunting by poachers. Of the nine tigers, the Bali, Javan and Caspian have already become extinct in less than the past 100 years.The International Tiger Conservation Forum to be held this week in St. Petersburg, Russia, plans to discuss the plight of the wild tiger. It is the first time, world leaders are coming together to try and think of ways to save a single endangered species. It is hoped that the numbers of tigers can be doubled by 2022, the year of the tiger, in the Chinese calendar.Read more at this link:
Do you have a phone book in your home? Phone books have been around since the first one was printed back in 1878, in New Haven,CT. Times are changing and with more people using cell phones and the ability to look up a person's phone number online, the phone book may not be around much longer,for residential numbers. Telecommunications companies will continue to supply yellow pages(business),but New York, Pennsylvania and New York will stop distributing phone books with residential numbers. Other states are considering such a move,too,which will have a positive impact on the environment. According to Verizon, in the 12 states they have landline phones, no residential phonebooks will result in a savings of 17,000 tons of paper a year!
Hatsune Miku, is a pop star that has been creating a sensation in Japan. Her number one single has gone number one. Excited fans have attended her sold out concerts. What makes Hatsune Miku unusual...she's a 3D hologram. A digital avatar, Hatsune,is about 16 years old, with flowing long turquoise hair. Computer generated from voice actress, Saki Fujita, Hatsune Miku has perfect pitch, and never gets tired during her performances. On stage, Hatsune Miku is accompanied by a live backup band. Her name comes from Japanese for "first"(Hatsu),"sound"(ne) and "future"(Miku). See a clip of Hatsune Miku perform at this link:
11/10?10:Science fiction holograms may be a reality in the not so distant future. Perhaps, you saw Princess Leia appear in hologram pleading for Obi-Wan Kenobi to help her in a Star Wars movie. Researchers at the University of Arizona say they have developed a system that can send such moving 3D image of someone to another location! So, what might be the use of such holograms? Scientists say the technology will make for even better communication, enable surgeons from different areas to assist in long distant surgeries. Even movies, may soon immerse the viewer in such hologram technology. And, unlike 3D movies, you wouldn't need to wear special glasses to see hologram images!
Back in 2008, a Dutch fisherman trawled up a most unusual bone,from the North Sea. Now, scientists have determined that the bone is from a previously unknown species of dolphin. The dolphin had a balloon-type head and short spoon shaped nose. Named Platalearostrum hoekmani, the dolphin lived about 2-3 million years ago, and was up to 20 ft. long. Scientists think the balloon headed dolphin is related to the pilot whale of today. See a drawing and read more at this link:
Would you volunteer to go to Mars, on a one way mission? Some scientists are suggesting such a Mars mission that would not have a return flight home to Earth. Just like early explorers and colonists sailed the Atlantic not knowing whether they'd ever return back home, Martian colonists would be those who'd be willingly take the trip to to Mars. The billions of dollars needed for such a trip is one of the reasons to suggest a one way ride. The colonists who'd volunteer to create an Earth outpost on the Red Planet would be given food, solar panels and instruments, and, a nuclear reactor. They would then be self-sufficient to continue to gather water and create additional oxygen. Currently, 6 men are currently locked inside a container on a 520 day mission to see if man can endure the time needed for the long journey to Mars. It is hoped that a human might be living on Mars by 2030. What would be 5 items from Earth you'd pack for such a journey? What would be 5 things you'd miss the most if you knew you'd never be coming back home, to Earth?Learn more about Mars at this link:
In India,50 million year old amber was found in a lignite mine in the the state of Gujarat. Inside the 330 pounds of yellow-brownish fossilized tree resin scientists found a fascinating treasure...over 700 new species of ancient insects! What's really coal is the insect species are three dimensionally preserved. In addition to spiders and other insects, scientists found leaf pieces, tiny flowers and plant spores suggesting a very old tropical rain forest existed millions of years ago in India. FInding organisms and plant spores similar to those in Australia and Asia,is also more evidence of the Continental Drift Theory, which states that at one time, there was one giant continent called Pangaea and eventually the landmass broke apart.Read more and see a photograph at this link:
10/25/10:Tail walking" is something you might see a dolphin trained to do at a marine park. Tail walking is where a dolphin is able to force it's body out and across the water by quickly paddling their tail fluke. Now, scientists say they have spotted six dolphins doing this trick in the wild, almost unheard of by wild animals. And ,scientists think the dolphins may have learned the activity from a female dolphin named Billie, who spent some time in captivity at an Adelaide marine park, in Australia! It's the first time, scientists say they have witnessed this type of social behavior. Since the activity isn't thought to have any use in hunting for food, it is thought the dolphins are doing it for fun. Scientists have also seen dozens of other dolphins trying to go for a...walk on the wild side.
Scientists in Antarctica have made an unusual discovery. They have found ancient turtle bones. Found on Seymour Island, scientists haven't identified the species of turtle, but estimate the fossilized bones, of a turtle's(or turtles')carapace or shell, are about 45 million years old. The discovery is more evidence to the fact that Antarctica once had a much warmer climate.
10/15/10:Spanning 890 ft. above the Colorado River,the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, opening this month, will be the highest and longest arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere. Connecting Nevada and Arizona, the 1900 ft. long bridge is located besides the Hoover Dam,and will help ease traffic that currently passes over the top of the famous dam. The bridge,is the second highest bridge in the United States, after the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado.See a photograph at this link:
A female humpback whale swam into the record books with the longest single marine mammal migration trip ever recorded. The whale, Antarctic Humpback Whale Catalogue(AHWC)number 1363, traveled almost a quarter of the globe, or 6200 miles! First spotted off the coast of Brazil,South America, in 1999, her markings were recorded. Then, the whale was identified two years later off the island of Madagascar, near Africa. Each whale has a very unique tail fluke, like a person's fingerprints, so that's how scientists know it's the same whale. Did the humpback whale get lost, was she searching for something or, was the whale just a lover of swimming? Scientists just don't know why the mammal made such a "whale" of a journey.
10/9/10: The world's first manned commercial space vehicle came one step closer to reality with the first solo flight of the Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. Gliding from 45,000 ft, the space vehicle ,called VSS Enterprise, landed at the Mojave Air Space Port, in California, on October 10,2010.It is hoped that the 370 passengers, who have already made a deposit on their $200,000 space ride, will lift off in late 2011 or early 2012. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, who was present to witness the test flight, "The sky is no longer the limit. We will now begin the process of pushing to the final frontier of space itself over the next year". The National Geographic Channel will be showing a documentary on the build up and preparation for the first flight of VSS Enterprise on Monday, 18th October at 10.00pm ET/PT.
The White House is going green-not in color but in technology. Thirty years after President Ronald Reagan removed President Jimmy Carter's solar panels from the White House, the Department of Energy announced that President Obama plans to have solar panels installed above the White House living areas. The solar panels will provide some electricity as well as heat water for the First family.
Researchers in India have made a most unusual discovery. They have discovered a new language! In a remote area of north-eastern India, in the foothills of the Himalayas, approximately 800-1200 people are speaking a language that linquists(people that study languages) say has never been heard by outsiders. Called Koro,it is thought to be in the Tibeto-Burman language family. It is also an unwritten language. There are 6909 known languages in the world with half of these languages heading toward extinction. Only last year, a language called Bo disappeared when the last person to speak the language, died. Try saying "Kaplaye" to someone today. That's Koro for "hello"!Read more at this link:
Paleontologists have discovered a giant penguin fossil in Peru. Dating back about 36 million years, the fossil shows the feathers and coloring of the ancient penguin. Unlike penguins of today, with their distinctive black and white feathers, this penguin's feathers were reddish brown and grey. Called the Inkayacu parasensis, or Water King, the penguin was about 5 ft. tall.(twice as big as the Emperor Penguin of today) with a very long straight beak.Read more and see a photograph of the fossil at this link: CBS News
10/3/10:A new Earth-like planet has been found about 120 trillion miles away from us, in what's called the Goldilocks Zone. Scientists gave it this name because the area is not too cold, not too hot, just right for possible life. And, that's what has scientists excited. Named Gliese 581g,the planet could have water and an atmosphere...and, maybe extraterrestrial life. It's about three times the mass of our planet and orbits a red dwarf sun in the constellation Lybra, every 37 days. Scientists don't think it rotates very much so it seems that one side of the planet is always dark.Learn more:
10/1/10:A rare sight was recently captured on film along the Mara River in the African nation of Kenya... a pink-o-pottamus. A rarity in the animal world,the baby pink colored hippo's coloring is caused when the skin doesn't produce enough pigment. It's a condition known as leucism. Animals with leucism are often easy prey as they can not camouflage themselves into their surroundings. Pink skin also makes for super sensitivity to the sun causing sunburned skin. However, the baby hippo's sweat will act like a sunscreen to protect it from the sun's rays and, once an adult, the size of a hippo will help it protect itself from predators. The pink-o-pottamus seemed to get along just fine with the other hippos waddling about in the river. See a photograph and read more at this link:
9/30/10:Did you know that there was a United Nation's Office for Outer Space Affairs?The head of this department is Malaysian astrophysicist, Mazlan Othman. She was in the news this past week, when a news story announced that she had been appointed as the U.N's spokesperson for Earth should any extra-terrestrial life forms need to speak with an earthling! Although the news report of her appointment as ambassador for space aliens was found to be incorrect, Othman's office IS responsible for promoting peaceful uses of outer space, among nations of the world, keeping track of space satellites and asteroids. The UNOOSA is headquartered in Vienna, Austria. Being an official Ambassador for Aliens does sound pretty cool! Think such a position needs to be filled? What would be three things you'd ask an alien should you have the opportunity?
9/26/10:Farmers in eight states as far north as the state of Missouri are flooding their fields...on purpose! The reason,to create temporary wetlands for migratory birds to use as they travel south. With oil in wetlands, from the BP oil spill, there is concern about many migratory bird that stop over in these wetlands harmed by the oil spill. It is hoped that herons, sandpipers, duck, ibis and other birds will use these clean wetlands in place of the oil polluted areas.
The world's largest offshore wind farm has opened for business in the country of Great Britain. Located in the southern area of Great Britain, the 100 wind turbines are estimated to provide energy for up to 200,000 homes. When completed, the wind farm will have 341 wind turbines. Great Britain hopes to have more than 10,000 wind turbines generating energy for their country over then next decade.
9/24/10:Scientists have shown once again,that there are still new species of dinosaurs waiting to be unearthed in North America. In Utah, two new dinosaurs have been discovered that are related to the Triceratops. One of the dinosaurs, named Kosmoceratops richardsoni, a herbivore(a plant eater), had 15 horns on its head! The other,called Utahceratops gettyi, had five horns and is the larger of the two dinosaurs. Found in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument area, paleontologist say Kosmocertatops is estimated to have weighed about 2.5 tons and stretched about 15 ft. long. Utahceratops gettyi was about 6 ft. tall and about 22 feet long, tipping the scale at between 3- 4 tons.Read more at this site:
High in the Himalayan Mountains, at elevations of 13,450 feet, scientists have made a thrilling discovery in the country of Bhutan-wild tigers! Locals have long claimed that tigers were living high above the tree lines but it wasn't until cameras were placed in the area, that footage captured the tigers on film.The is exciting because the World Wildlife Fund says In the last century, the number of tigers has dwindled from 100,000 to less than 3200! Finding tigers living and breeding at altitudes higher than previously thought possible, gives hope that other tigers will be found living in this "new habitat". Read more and see photographs at this link:
9/20/10:Spiderman has competition from the insect world. A whopper of a spider web has been found in the country of Madagascar. Said to be the world's longest spider web,it stretching up to 82 ft. in length,(think the length of two city buses) across a body of water. Made by a newly discovered species of spider called the Darwin bark spider, it is the first time a spider has spun an orb-shaped web across a stream or river. Scientists also say that the silk is the strongest biological material known. Read more and see photographs at this link:
9/19/10: This monster-sized chocolate bar wouldn't fit in your pocket. You'd need a fork-lift just to lift it to your mouth as it weighs 9702 pounds. Created by the Grand Candy Factory,the sweet treat,almost 19 ft. long, 9 ft. wide and 10 inches thick, has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest dark chocolate bars ever made! The mouth watering chocolate bar, made in Yerevan, the capital city of the country of Armenia, will be gobbled up in a public event by anyone with a sweet tooth for chocolate. The record breaking chocolate bar breaks a record chocolate bar made in Italy,in 2007, by more than 1829 pounds. See a picture at this link:P
9/10/10:Dog sized African pouch rats might make you cringe but the rats have an amazing sense of smell and are proving to be helpful to man for their ability to sniff out land mines. Land mines, buried during wartime, are dangerous to unsuspecting people who happen upon them. The United Nations estimates 2000 people a month are killed or injured by exploding land mines. Nicknamed "hero rats",the creatures are being trained to associate a clicking sound with a treat such as a banana or peanut. They also get a treat when they find a land mine. Trained in the African country of Tanzania, the rats, after graduating from their training, are taken to Mozambique where 3 million mines are still buried.The "hero rats" can sniff out a mine in about 20 minutes (humans take about two days to do the same task).And, if you are wondering, the rats aren't hurt in their scurrying about to track down hidden land mines...they are too light to set them off!Read more at this link:
9/9/10:A new species of dinosaur has been found in central Spain. The nearly complete skeleton shows a distinctive hump, like a camel of today. The "hunchbacked dinosaur" measured about 20 ft. in length and was named concavenator corcovatus-the hunchback hunter from Cuenca. Paleontologist, people that study dinosaurs, think the camel-like dinosaur,that lived about 125 million years ago, was a strong runner, meat eater and had spiky feather-like shafts on its arms. Read more:
Humongous elephants are no match for...ants. Seems that African elephants are scaredy cats! Seeing ants crawling around on one of their favorite species of acadia tree will gets them going in a different direction. Elephants don't like the creatures crawling up their trunks which are very sensitive due to its many nerve endings. Almost like a David and Goliath kind of story, teeny ants are protecting the trees from the the hulking elephants. Without the ant bodyguards, the giant herbivores(plant eaters)would destroy the tree's bark. But, ants still need to worry. Towering giraffes aren't afraid of ants and simply use their long tongues to swipe them away from the trees!Learn more about African elephants at this link:
9/2/10:Andy Keller has created a unique way to draw attention to all the plastic bags we use in our lives. As the Bag Monster, he is traveling around the country, visiting states specifically where legislation is being proposed to ban plastic bags. Wearing 500 plastic bags, the number the average person uses in a year, he is trying to educate people that plastic bags don't easily decompose in a landfill(each bag takes about 1000 years),and, on average, each of us will use 45,000 in our lifetimes. Keller hopes to create an awareness toward using more reusable cloth bags. Why, the plastic monster look? Keller says it gets people to interact with him more than if he just wore his regular clothes.
Can you think of a creature that can sit on the tip of a pencil? Well, the smallest frog yet, discovered in Asia, Europe or Africa, could easily do so! The teeny frog is part of a species of mini-frogs called microhylid and was found on a road near the in Kubah National Park on the island of Borneo. Did you know that 1/3 of all amphibians are in danger of extinction? Did you know that amphibians do an important job helping to keep the bug population in check which could make us sick or destroy growing food crops? A conservation group is conducting a worldwide search of 100 species of "lost amphibians", those which haven't been seen in many years and may be extinct. At about .4 inches long when full grown, this itsy bitsy frog is about the size of a pea! See a photograph:
8/30/10:Purchasing CDs and using landline phone are just some of the things that seem to be going out of everyday use. Could toothpaste be next? Canadian researchers have developed a toothbrush that doesn't need paste. A solar powered brush works with electrons instead of toothpaste to clean and freshen the teeth. Called the Soladey-J3X,it has a tiny solar panel and a rod of titanium dioxide inside. Sun hitting the panel sends electrons to the bristles on the brush. Working with the mouth's acids, the electrons break down the plaque on the teeth. A group of teenagers will soon be testing the new solar powered, paste-less toothbrushes.
Astronauts in space have always been awaken to a song. Now, NASA is offering you a chance to vote on the last two wake up songs for the remaining Discovery space shuttle missions with their Wake-up Song Contest. Until now, songs have been selected by either friends or family members of the astronauts. You will be able to vote from a list of 40 songs that have been previously used as wake up calls. You have until November 1, 2010, to vote. And, if you'd like to submit an original song for the final space shuttle mission,scheduled for February 26, 2011, you can enter your tune(with a space theme) until January 10,2011. Voting will also select the two original songs to wake-up the astronauts.Go to this link to learn more and vote:
You may have heard about fast trains that zoom passengers at speeds of 150 mph or more. Now, there is talk of building such a fast train system in the United States. President Obama has designated $8 billion to develop a network of high-speed trains in 31 states. Probably, the first such high-speed train will be built in the state of Florida, connecting Tampa to Orlando, a distance of 84 miles. Supporters of bringing high speed rail to the United States say that it would cut our dependency on foreign oil, lower pollution and stimulate the economy by creating jobs. Opponents say such a high speed rail system is just too expensive to build. Other countries are competing with having the fastest train in the world. Recently China demonstrated a train that connected Guangzhou and Wuhan, at 217 mph! Then, there are also magnetic levitation trains which can travel more than 250 mph. One such "maglev train" as they are called, travels from the Shanghai Airport to the city at 267 mph. Read about fast trains:
8/15/10:After seven years and five months, the last American combat brigade has left Iraq. The remaining 50,000 support troops are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. With this day, we should stop to remember and honor the 4415 U.S. troops that lost their lives and the thousands of brave soldiers that returned home with injuries.
8/15/10:After 900 years, a tradition is about to change. Giorgia Boscolo,24,has completed training to become the first woman gondolier in the city of water, Venice,Italy. Steering one of the narrow long black boats through the waterways of Venice and sharing the city's history with tourists, has been a man's only occupation since 1094. Boscolo spent hours and hours learning how to operate her gondola on the many different canals that crisscross the city. She was able to control the heavy long boats through the waterways passing the practical exam and, next, needs to pass a multiple-choice exam allowing her to enter the guild of gondoliers. Being a gondolier has always been a family occupation, passed down from father to son. Boscolo's dad retired from the job last year after 40 years and is thrilled that his daughter will continue the family occupation. During the 17th and 18th century, the waters of Venice had up to ten thousand black gondolas. Today there are about 425 gondoliers in the historic guild. Boscolo will don the traditional white and blue striped shirt, black pants and straw hat and pole her black gondola into the history books.See a photograph at this link:
8/14/10:Imagine walking for 859 days, encountering 18 ft. caiman crocodiles, anaconda snakes, food shortages, some unfriendly natives,illness and about 50,000 mosquito bites? That's what Ed Stafford, of Great Britain, just finished doing as he becomes the first man to walk the entire length of the Amazon River. It took Ed and Peruvian forestry worker Sanchez Rivera(whom he met along the way), 2 1/2 years to complete the journey. The journey began on April 2, 2008,from the southern coast of Peru, and finished on August 9,2010, when the duo reached the Atlantic Ocean in northern Brazil. Although it was an experience of endurance, Stafford said he also hoped to raise awareness of the destruction of the Amazon rain forest. Food eaten along the more than 4200 mile trek included rice and beans, and piranha fish he caught in the river. One of the most frightening episodes was being chased by Ashaninkan natives carrying shotguns, bows and arrows and machetes. He was stung by scorpions, bullet ants, wasp and bees, and Stafford carried a 48 hour worth of anti-venom in case of poisonous snake bites. He also came in contact with vipers and electric eels. Stafford had a portable satellite video to blog his adventure and he also brought along podcasts of the TV show "The Office" and a British comedian, Ricky Gervais to watch at night!
8/14/10:This week,Jackie Evancho got an amazing opportunity to show the world her singing abilities on America's Got Talent, after being selected to perform by YouTube viewers. The ten year old opera singer wowed the judges and audience with her beautiful voice as she sang Giacomo Puccini's aria "O Mio Babbino Caro".Selected to join other semifinalists, Jackie may be singing all the way to the bank. If she wins America's Got Talent's competition, she will win $1 million dollars and a contract to sing in Las Vegas!See and hear Jackie perform at her website:
8/13/10:Imagine driving down the highway and coming behind a gigantic bus-so big, that you can drive your car right underneath it! Called a "straddling bus", a Chinese company has designed such a huge bus and hopes to have some on the road next year. Each bus, about two street lanes wide and 18 ft. tall, would help keep the busy highways of Chinese from becoming too congested. The straddling bus will operate like a train on wheels carrying 1200 people at a time. Powered by solar and electricity, the straddling bus would be helpful to the environment by not using fossil fuels. The first straddling bus is planned for the city of Beijing, China. Read more and see an illustration at this link:
8/8/10: A unique new astronaut will be going to the International Space Station in November. It is the first humanoid robot to go into space. Robonaut 2 will help human astronauts with daily tasks, especially those that are dangerous or repetitive. And, to keep up with our social networking world, Robonaut 2 tweets! It's first ever tweet,done this week was: "Hello World! My name is Robonaut 2 - R2 for short. Follow my adventures here as I prepare for space!"Twitter users can ask R2 questions by Tweeting to @AstroRobonaut and including the "hashtag" #4R2. Read more and see photographs at this link:
8/8/10:Today, Elena Kagan was confirmed by the Senate making her the fourth woman ever to serve as a Supreme Court justice. This is the first time in the history of the Supreme Court that three female justices will be on the bench at the same time(of the nine justices). The other current female justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. The first woman to ever be appointed to the Supreme Court was Sandra Day O'Connor in 1981. She retired from the bench in 2006.Kagan is the 112th justice to the U.S. Supreme Court and takes the seat of retiring Justice, John Paul Stevens, the longest-tenured justice on the Supreme Court.
8/2/10: Zheng He, born in 1371,was the most famous explorer of ancient China. He's first voyage included over 27,000 men including sailors, soldiers, artisans, and interpreters. The fleet included 62 ships! He is said to have traveled to Vietnam, India and Africa, bringing back many different items, including a giraffe for the emperor! Now, Chinese archaeologist are starting a three year expedition to search for the remains of one of his ships thought to have sunk off the coast of the country of Kenya, more than 600 years ago. If found, it would prove that Zheng He made contact with East Africa so many years ago. Evidence of such contact with East Africa includes porcelain from the Ming dynasty that has been found in the region.
7/30: The world's fastest land mammal is the cheetah,reaching up to 70 miles per hour over short distances! Of the remaining estimated 10,000 cheetahs in the world, most are found in Africa. Cheetahs also are found in parts of the Middle East. The Cheetah, which once roamed India, hasn't been seen in the country since 1967. Extinct from over hunting, the mammal gets its name from the area's ancient Sanskrit word "chitraku" meaning "spots". Cheetahs will once again roam the open grasslands of India with the announcement that 18 cheetahs are being reintroduced to India at three different wildlife sanctuaries in the country. With the return of the cheetah, India will become the only country in the world to have six of the world's eight large cats and the only country in the world to have all the large cats of Asia.Learn more about the cheetah at these sites:
What do you get when a donkey and zebra have a baby? Answer: A cute zedonk! Born at the Chestatee Wildlife Preserve in Georgia, the foal has black stripes on her face and legs. Zedonks are extremely rare as donkeys and zebras don't usually mate. See a picture at this link:
7/28/10: After 128 days, The Plastiki, a 60-foot catamaran, and its six crew, has successfully sailed from San Francisco to Sydney, Australia. It was a journey of about 8000 nautical miles. The boat make almost entirely of 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, was a journey with a message, to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic waste to our environment and to think of creative uses for trash. The journey faced giant ocean waves, 70 mph winds, sizzling hot temperatures and torn sails. Adventure Ecology, the organization responsible for the Plastiki Adventure, wants you to rethink trash accumulating in your recycling bin and hopes you might think of these items as treasures to be used in some imaginative way...like a plastic sailing vessel!Read more:
A whopper of a star has been found in our universe. Twice as heavy of any star ever found, astronomers say it may be about 265-320 times bigger than our Sun. The bright ball of burning gas gives of more than 10 million times more light than our sun. The "monster star"called R136a1 amazed British astronomers who discovered it because scientists didn't think a star could be so large. It is located in a star cluster of the Tarantula Nebula, part of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy 165,000 light-years away from the Milky Way.Read more:
7/18/10:Have you ever had surgery? Well, Dottie just did and she's a dolphin. In fact, Dottie, who's 23 years old, is the first in the world to undergo surgery on her kidneys. Recently Dottie, who lives at Sea World, in San Diego, CA, stopped eating and doctors discovered her kidneys were failing. To save her life, the dolphin was placed on dialysis,but the treatment still didn't make her better. Surgery was performed to remove a 450 pound kidney stone using laser surgery. Now, Dottie is eating and swimming with her buddies.
Construction crews working at the World Trade Center site unearthed something very interesting...a 32 ft.ship!Thought to date back to the 18th century,it was probably a discarded ship used to build up the land area of lower Manhattan in the 1700s. Additionally, a 100 pound anchor was also found. Testing on the timber is being done to try and determine the actual age of the ship.See photographs:
7/15/10:How do you move 70,000 sea turtle eggs? Answer:With extreme care. The next question is WHY would you move so many eggs from 800 nesting grounds on beaches in Northwest Florida? Answer:To protect them from the Gulf oil spill. Scientists say that when the hatchlings go into the Gulf of Mexico, the currents most likely will bring them into the waters where floating oil will most likely kill them. That's why preparations for the sea-turtle egg lift is underway. It will be slow and tedious process of hand digging the eggs from their nests. Those involved in the efforts must make sure they don't crack the eggs. They also must make sure they don't roll or change the position of the eggs as this can effect the embryo inside. Eggs will then be placed in specially made Styrofoam containers filled with sand(to feel like a natural nest) and then trucked in temperature controlled vehicles to a special area at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. When the hatchlings come out of their shells, they will be taken to the Atlantic Ocean and released. Read More:
7/10: You never know what might be under your feet but, if you have a metal detector, you just might find buried treasure! David Crisp, of Great Britain, was walking around the English countryside looking for treasure and made an amazing discovery. His detector started beeping and beeping and beeping. Digging into the ground, Crisp found some bronze and silver coins. He kept on unearthing more and more ancient coins. Crisp decided he'd better ask an expert to check out his find. Maybe, it was an important discovery. Could there be more coins? A pot belly jar was found. It was so heavy, it had to be broken. Thousands and thousands of additional coins poured out-a total of 52,500 coins. It's one of the largest collection of ancient coins ever found. The coins were mostly minted by Emperor Carausias, a military leader who rules Britain and Rome from 266-273 AD. Crisp will receive a part of the estimated $2-5 million dollar treasure! Experts don't know why the pot of coins was buried...perhaps, it was once at the end of a rainbow? Learn more:
A flying car isn't just an imaginary mode of transportation done by Harry Potter. A new flying car, more correctly called a "roadable aircraft",may soon be available for purchase! Called a Transition Roadable Aircraft,the car ,with fold up wings, turns into an airplane with a push of a button.With a speed of 65 mph on the road and 115 mph in the air,the roadable aircraft, built by Terrafugia, a Massachusetts' company, will require a sport pilot license. And,the flying car won't be cheap. You'll need about $200,000 if you'd like to purchase one. Terrafugia hopes to deliver the first flying cars to the market next year.See a video and read more at this link:
7/10:One of the stars of the World Cup 2010 goes by the name Paul, no surname. Paul is an octopus(also called a cephalopod),at the Sea Life Centre,in Oberhausen, Germany. He has correctly predicted the winners of each of the six games in which Germany has played. Presented with two boxes, each draped with the flag of the playing teams, Paul has picked his mussel treat from the box with the flag of the team that has gone on to win the game. For third and fourth place, Paul has picked Germany over Uruguay. And, in the final game of the World Cup, and for the championship honors, Paul has picked...Spain over Holland. Will he be correct? Read more:
7/02/10:Have you ever had to sit in the dentist's chair and had a filling for a decayed tooth? Maybe, you've had a root canal? Such treatments might be a thing of the past ,in the not so distant future. Scientists have developed a soft gel that when placed near a tooth with a cavity or root issue,can regenerate the cells and heal from within. No drilling needed. Remember bad choices can still result in a cavity, it's just the treatment that might be different in the future for some types of cavities and root issues. And, you still need to brush and floss!Learn more about teeth at this link:Kids Health
The world's largest graveyard of dinosaur bones has been found in northern Alberta,Canada. Thousands of bones of the centrosaurus, a horned dinosaur were found. The centrosaurus ,a plant eating dinosaur, was about the size of a cow and looked like a triceratops. Why so many bones in the area of 1.43 square miles? The dinosaurs came to the area for its good climate and plentiful water and food supply. Scientists say evidence suggests that huge tropical storms created flash flooding. With no high ground to seek protection from the flooding, the herds in the area were wiped out. Read more at this link:
Learn more about the centrosaurus at this link:
6/18/10:Look up into the sky. Ever wonder just what is orbiting over the Earth? Communication satellites, weather satellites,hammers, wrenches, gloves...there are over 20,000 man-made objects zooming around above us. In July, another object will be added, a probe to monitor all the space junk.The Space Based Space Surveillance will orbit about 400 miles above the earth giving scientists another way to keep track of all the object orbiting the planet.
6/16/10:Did someone lose a shoe? Archaeologists have found one shoe in a cave in Armenia. It is believed to be the oldest leather shoe ever found. It's older than the Pyramids of Egypt by about 1000 years! Remember Otzi, the Iceman, found frozen in the Alps years ago? His shoe was thought to be the oldest ever found...until now. Dating back 5,500 years, the cow-hide shoe contains grass(maybe to act as insulation or to keep the shoe shape) and is pretty tiny. How did the shoe last so long? Seems it was buried under lots of sheep dung. Archaeologists think this and the fact that the cave was cool and dry, helped preserve the shoe. See a photograph at this link:
NASA is giving those of us who aren't astronauts a chance to go into space...well, sort of, anyway. With only two space shuttle flights left, NASA is inviting people to send their photographs into space. Go to the NASA website:
6/10/10:This is very cool...a printer made with Legos! A creative computer programmer from Great Britain, named Adam,who has loved Legos all his life, decided to built a felt-tip printer using over 300 Lego pieces,including Lego work men, a Lego palm tree, two Lego horses, and a purple felt tip pen. Four paper rollers, two large flat mounting boards,three moters and some connecting wires were also used to make the printer operational. And, just what was printed on his Lego printer?"Hello, World." Check out this link to see the printer in action.
Do you know what the word "stronmuhr" means? Can you spell it? Anamika Veeramani,14, of Ohio knew the spelling for the word which is a medical instrument for measuring the flow of blood, and won the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee. As top spelling champ, Anamika also won $40,000 in cash and prizes. She said she'd like to use some of the money to maybe purchase an IPad. Anamika, who likes dancing and playing golf, hopes to go to Harvard and would like to become a cardiovascular surgeon.
It is estimated that 60,000 plastic bags are used every 5 seconds in the United States. In California, that's about 19 billion plastic bags a year(or 552 per person per year). The state's lawmakers have decided to do something about all the plastic-they have voted to ban single-use bags. That makes the state of California, the first in the nation to do so. If made into law, the ban would go into effect beginning in January, 2012. If the bill passes the Senate, Governor Schwarzenegger has indicated that he would make the bill into law. Plastic bags endanger marine life, are unsightly and take many years to degrade in landfills. Banning plastic bags will encourage people to bring their reusable bags to the stores for their purchases. And, if you'd like to have your items bagged in paper, that will cost you a nickel a bag in California! Other cities around the country are passing similar bans. What are your thoughts on this issue?
6/6/10:Music by Austrian composer Mozart is being piped into a sewage plant in Treuenbrietzen,Germany, 24 hours a day. Scientists think the musician's music stimulates the microbes. The idea is that the vibrations from the music resonants through the sewage, water and microbes making the microbes break down waste, faster and more efficiently. Speakers are playing Mozart's symphonies and operas such as The Marriage of Figaro and the Magic Flute for the microbes munching on the sludge at the sewage plant.
6/4/10:Scientists have found what they are calling a living fossil. About the size of a rabbit,the Hispaniolan solendon dates back to the age of dinosaurs. It is very rare to get a glimpse of the ginger brown furred mammal with clawed feet, long thin nose and tiny little eyes. A very unusual feature of the solendons, found on the island of the Dominican Republic,is that it is the only mammal which releases poison through its teeth!See a photograph and read more at the BBC website:
In a couple of years, not only kids will be attending school in China. A new school is being constructed for panda bears! Although it is rare for captive pandas to breed, it is hoped that the offspring may be good pupils for this special school. To be built in Dujiangyan, located in Sichuan province, panda bears will learn wilderness survival skills. It is hoped that the pandas can eventually be moved to nature reserves where the pandas can be released into the wild. Pandas won't "graduate" from their school for as many as 15 years. That's how long scientists think it will take before a panda might be able to adapt to its new lifestyle of being in the wild. It is estimated that less than 1600 giant panda, one of the most endangered species in the world, remain in the wild.Learn about the panda bear:
5/30/10:Did you see the movie, Up? Well, American, Jonathan Trappe,did a real life trip using a colorful cluster of helium-filled balloons. He becomes the first person to successfully cross the English Channel in helium balloons! The trip took about three hours after floating from near Dover,Great Britain,to Dunkirk,France. Trappe,a cluster pilot, said it was a very quiet ,peaceful and beautiful ride. He recently floated 109 miles across North Carolina, claiming a new world's record for the longest free-floating balloon flight.Go to this link to learn more:
5/27/10:Question:"The largest city in northern Haiti was renamed following Haiti's independence from France. What is the present-day name of this city?" Fortunately, Aadith Moorthy,13, of Florida, knew the answer and became the National Geographic Bee winner for 2010. Moorthy's efforts won him a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society, a $25,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands! Moorthy, who studied 20 facts a day for four months, said,"I wanted to win-that was my goal." The National Geographic Bee started in 1989 to foster geography knowledge among young people in the United States.
Do you know some of these answers which were asked of the 54 state level winners (50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories, and Department of Defense Dependents Schools) at this year's National Geography Bee?
5/18/2010:Using lasers, a Scottish company is developing a 3D scan of the four faces of Mt. Rushmore. It will produce an almost perfect copy of Mt. Rushmore and is the first time such a large carving has been digitally surveyed. It is also the first international site to be so recorded. Every second, the laser beam zooms over the area picking up 50,000 points in space. The 3D laser document will help preserve the landmark should anything happen in the future. The data would make it possible for an exact replicate to be made...down to the millimeter. Virtual tours of the monument based on the 3D scan will also give people an amazing view of the four presidential faces on Mt. Rushmore. Imagine looking up close and personal at the sixteen ft. mole on Abraham Lincoln's face or George Washington's five story high head! Learn about Mt Rushmore
Love the taste of chocolate? Scientists have developed a new way to enjoy the taste of chocolate without swallowing. You inhale! Developed by a researcher at Harvard,you place Le Whif, an aerosol container into your mouth. It's being called the world's first breathable food. Each lipstick sized tube provides about eight to ten whiffs. Le Whifs come in coffee, raspberry chocolate, mint chocolate and also, coffee flavor. Other breathable flavors which are being developed include cheese and caviar.
A new species of male tree frog was recently discovered in Indonesian New Guinea. What makes it unusual looking is it has a pinocchio-like nose. The long nose deflates and points downward when it isn't active and inflates,pointing upwards when it is making noise to attract the female. The "Pinocchio" frog, as well as the world's smallest wallaby, a gargoyle-faced gecko and several other newly discovered species were all discovered in the Foja Mountains of the region. See a photograph at this link:
The planet Jupiter is missing something...one of its bright red rings!Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, has two red strips, one in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern Hemisphere. Recent images show that the southern red strip has disappeared! Astronomers say that it was there three months ago but is now gone. It isn't the first time the Southern Hemisphere strip has disappeared but it is rare. It's not sure why the red strip disappears from time to time but one thing is certain, astronomers are confident that the distinctive strip will return.
Today, May 15,2010, Jessica Watson,16, of Australia, sailed her pink yacht into Sydney Harbour to the cheers of thousands of spectators. She just completed a round-the world journey, the youngest to circle the globe-nonstop, unassisted and solo! Jessica's record setting adventure took her seven months to complete. Facing loneliness, homesickness,huge storms and 40 ft. waves(but also unbelievable sunrises, seeing a shooting star,and, a blue whale), the teen walked off the yacht, called Ella's Pink Lady, onto a pink carpet placed in her honor at the pier. It was the first time she'd walked on land in 210 days, after leaving Buderim, Queensland, on October 18, 2009. Watson's journey took her northeast through the South Pacific,across the equator(where she dumped water on her head to celebrate), south to Cape Horn( tip of South America), across the Atlantic Ocean to South Africa, through the Indian Ocean and around southern Australia. Although Jessica is the youngest to accomplish such an sailing,it will not go into the record books as the World Speed Sailing Record Council has discontinued its "youngest"category. Of her efforts, Jessica told spectators."People don't think you're capable of these things-they don't realize what young people, what 16-year-olds and girls are capable of. It's amazing when you take away those expectations what you can do." The Prime Minister of Australia has hailed Jessica,"Australia's newest hero". As for the title, Jessica was quoted as saying,"I don't consider myself a hero. I'm an ordinary girl who believed in her dream."
5/15/10:Perhaps you have heard the story of Sir Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree back in the 1600s when an apple fell to the ground. This event helped spark Newton to his theory of the law of gravity. That tree, 350 years later is in the news. A small 4 inch sliver of the famous tree will be taken aboard the space shuttle Atlantis and go up into space. Piers Sellers, a British Born astronaut will be carrying the piece of the apple tree for The Royal Society of London. When in orbit, the sliver will be released to float around the shuttle for a time.
Busy Canadian beavers have constructed the world's longest dam and it was seen from space by a NASA satellite. Found on the southern edge of Wood Buffalo National Park in Northern Alberta, it's twice the size of the Hoover Dam(1244 ft), the world's largest man-made constructed dam. Measuring 2790 ft., it is believed to have taken about 20 years to construct to its current size and built by several families of the big toothed creatures. Mud, stone, and thousands of trees were all used to make the dam which is longer than eight football fields stretched from end to end!
5/10/10:Here's a "heads up"for those with hair to spare. An environmental organization called Matter of Trust, wants your extra hair and, your pet's hair! Hair, as you know, collects oils. The organization is working with salons and pet grooming businesses to donate their collected hair to make hair mats and booms to help soak up the oil in the recent Gulf of Mexico disaster. Already over 300,000 pounds of hair and lots of nylon stockings have come from states across the country to be turned into the mats and stuffed in nylon to make booms to be placed near beaches and marshes along the Gulf Coast. Australia, France, Brazil, Canada and Great Britain have also shipped hair for the collection. If you need a hair cut or your dog needs grooming,check out if your hair salon or pet grooming has signed up for the Matter of Trust Hair collection!
5/1/10:You probably have gone to the dentist, opened wide, and had an xray of your teeth. Reggae, 16,has had one,too, and he's a harbor seal at the New England Aquarium! Seems Reggae has a discolored tooth.The problem-how to get Reggae to sit still long enough to get a film inside his mouth. As with all the seals at the facility, trainers had to teach the seals to open their mouths so they could get their teeth regularly brushed. It took an two extra months to teach Reggae( using his favorite snacks-squid, smelt and herring treat)to get Reggae used to the idea of placing a digital film block inside his mouth so the exam could be done. Using a hand-held digital X-ray device,veterinarian dentist Dr. Laura LeVan, got the images, to determine just what is wrong with Reggae's lower canine. Now, Reggaoe is waiting to learn if he's got a cavity needing to be fill.
How many times have you forgotten to recharge your IPod or Cell phone? Well, researchers many soon change that problem in the future. They are developing a device that could be put into the sole of your shoe or even woven in your clothing that could recharges your device as you move! The technology creates energy from piezoelectric materials(like quarts,cane sugar crystals and zinc oxide). As pressure is applied to these materials, a burst of energy is produced.
4/28/10:The nation's very first offshore wind farm is being planned for the waters off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.The 130 turbine wind farm would be located in Nantucket Sound, where there is a steady blowing breeze. It is estimated that the wind turbines,standing about 40 stores tall, could provide 3/4 of the energy needs of the 225,00 residents of Cape Cod. Some groups,such as the Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian Tribe as well as some environmental groups say they oppose such a wind farm and are threatening to sue to stop the project.
A very unusual white and black stallion was born at a horse farm in New Hampshire. Named Einstein,the stallion weighs only 6 pound and is only 14 inches in height. It may be named the smallest horse in the world by Guinness Book of World Records. The current record for the smallest miniature hose is Thumbellina, who was born weighing 8.5 pounds and measured 11 inches tall. See a photographs of Einstein at this link:
4/26/10:Kids in the mountain village of Grandados,in Guatemala, needed a new school. Their old one was crumbling and in need of repair. In fact, the existing school was basically a metal frame with a roof.The problem, the tiny community didn't have the money for concrete and steel to build a new school. One thing there WAS in big supply...trash, especially plastic soda bottles.Peace Corp volunteer,Laura Kutner, came up with a very cool idea. Why not build a two room school from the waste bottles? Students and community members first collected plastic bottles from the area. The next step was stuffing each of the approximate 6000 bottles with trash such as plastic bags and potato chip packaging. This made the bottles strong enough to be used as building material. The bottles were then wrapped with chicken wire to form building blocks. After the "walls" were put into place, a thin coat of concrete was applied. All but a small spot of the construction was left to show the interesting building materials. Then, the walls were painted a bright orange.In the process of creating building materials, the students also cleaned up their community. In fact, they did such a great job, they ran out of waste plastic bottles and had to go to neighboring villages searching for their unusual building materials! Read more at this link:
4/23/10:Perhaps, you have read the book, the Mutiny on the Butiny. Four men are trying to recreate the famous voyage of Royal Navy captain William Bligh, who in 1789, was cast adrift by his crew. Along with 18 others, Bligh sailed 4350 miles in a small boat in the South Pacific, before finding help in West Timor. They had been given 150 pounds of biscuits,16 pounds of pork, 28 gallons of water and bottles of wine. When the supplies ran out,the crew survived 50 days drinking rain water and catching fish and seabirds. They managed to find land without a compass or any charts!The modern day expedition will use a 25 ft. open top boat with two sails and hope to make the journey from Tonga to West Timor, 4350 miles, in about seven weeks. Like Captain Bligh, the men will not have any modern-day navigation equipment and will cary the same provisions aboard their sailing vessel. They will also not have any light(since Bligh's crew didn't), sleeping quarters or...toilet paper! However,the crew will have emergency satellite phones in case of severe weather. Read more at this link:
4/22/10:Riding a bicycle at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, can earn you a free meal. Guests are encouraged to ride an exercise bike attached to a generator for 15 minutes. This effort will produce an estimated 10 watt hours of electricity. In return, the hotel guest will receive a meal voucher good for $36 towards a meal. The hotel which also has solar panels, says the pedal power idea will helps reduce the hotel's carbon footprint, saves money,electricity and helps promote fitness. If this experiment proves successful,the hotel chain will extend the pedal power meal deal to other hotels in their chain.
Did you know the storyteller,Hans Christian Andersen came from the country of Demark? Did you know that Legos come from Denmark? Learn about the country of Denmark at this link:
4/19/10:Have you ever returned a library book back past the due date and had to pay a fine to the library? Well, you're not alone. Seems that our first president, George Washington failed to return two books to the New York Society Library on their due date of November 2,1789. It was learned that Washington has yet to return the books,Law of Nations and Vol. 12 of the "Commons Debates". The ledger just lists the books' borrower as "president." It is estimated that the current fine on these unreturned books has reached about $300,000. At this point, the 220 year late books are all the library would like returned. The fine will be waived.
4/18/10:Within the next 15 years, President Obama hopes that man reaches a new milestone in space-sending astronauts to a distant asteroid. Since asteroids are speeding space rocks, such an attempt will be difficult. Most asteroids are less than 1/4 mile in diameter making for a difficult landing(compared to the moon's diameter which is 2160 miles in diameter). A round trip to an asteroid would be about 200 days.The moon was only eight days! Without gravity, a space vehicle couldn't land and would have to hover above the surface with astronauts during space walks down to the surface. Finally, most asteroids that might be the goal of a future space mission are about 20 times further away than the moon. So.why explore an asteroid? Asteroids might offer information on how our solar system was formed and maybe offer knowledge in how to stop a future asteroid on course with the earth. Such a mission would also offer the necessary training for an eventual space journey to Mars.
4/16/10:Using a specially made hot air balloon called the Generali Arctic Observer, Dr. Jean-Louis Etienne has become the first person to solo across the Arctic Circle. The balloon journey of 1945 miles took ten days. The French explorer started in Norway and ended in Eastern Siberia. Originally Etienne had hoped to land in Alaska but because of difficulties recharging batteries with the solar panels, he had to change course. Along the way, Etienne did some scientific studies including measuring carbon dioxide levels and studying the earth's magnetic fields. Etienne, who was also the first to reach the North Pole by himself in 1986, said he hoped that his adventure would draw attention to the shrinking of the polar sea ice and its impact on people, sea-life and planet-wide climate.
4/06/10:Do you eat the cereals Tootie Fruities,Cocoa Dyno-Bites, Frosted Mini Spooners? A high school in Utah had a different use of these cereals-they were used to create the famous Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night painting. Using the gym floor as canvas, about 150 students used nearly two tons of the donated cereal to recreate a 72ft. by 90ft. replica of the painting. It took about one week,with groups of students using grids to help create parts of Van Gogh's work of art. When completed, the finished work was on display for people to see. Later,the cereal artwork was dismantled with the cereal donated to a local pig farm.
Today, cell phones come in all colors and sizes. Scientists are developing a new phone that uses...the palm of your hand. Called Skinput, the possible phone of the future uses a device strapped to your arm that projects a keypad onto your skin! Then, all you do is touch the number you wish to dial. A sensor in the device picks up the minuscule sound waves that result in the palm being touched. What makes this possible is that size and mass of tissue, joints and bones are actually different from one part of the skin to another. It's still in the development stage but one day, you may be able to text your BFF, call or pick a tune with just the touch of your skin.
3/28/10: Imagine a 150 pound human that could pull a whopping six double decker buses or about 180,000 pounds. Scientists have determined that a dung beetle, called Onthophagus taurus, can pull its weight equal to such a feat. It has been named the world's strongest insect. Imagine, the tiny beetle, a species of horned dung beetle, being able to pull 1141 times its body weight! Pretty impressive! If you are wondering, scientists measured the abilities by attaching a piece of cotton thread to the end of the beetles. Placed inside a little tunnel,the beetle got a tug and as it resisted, scientists measured its strength. Seems the male beetle uses its buff muscles to fight rivals trying to get it out of its hole! The Onthophagus taurus is a REAL super bug! See a picture at this link:
3/24/10:Astronauts who hope to travel on a mission to Mars will need to prepare for an extremely long space flight-about 500 days! That's because Mars is about 34 million miles away from Earth. To simulate what it would be like to be in a space vehicle for such a long time, several scientists have agreed to be locked away for 18 months! The water and food needed for the space flight will be loaded into the locked steel containers for the six scientists that will test the limits of the mental and physical challenges of such long isolation in a windowless container. Not being able to see loved ones, seeing the same couple of people day in and day out, not getting outside, will be just a few of the challenges the men will face. Each scientist will have a "room" measuring 10.5 ft. by 9 ft. and include a bed, chair, desk and shelving for personal items. The experiment will begin this summer at the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems in the capital city of Moscow. What would be the most difficult things you think the scientists will face during their long confinement?
To call attention to the health of our oceans, adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild and a crew of five, have set sail on an 11,000 nautical mile journey. The vessel, aptly named Plastiki, is a 60 ft. catamaran made from 12,500 reclaimed bottles and srPET, a fully recyclable plastic. Leaving from under the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, on Saturday, March 22, 2010, the crew of Adventure Ecology hope to travel through the area known as the Great Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch. The estimated 100 day trek aboard the Plastiki will carry its global message to beat waste and call awareness to the troubles of our oceans, will end in Sidney, Australia. The Plastiki uses mostly renewable energy in its construction including solar panels, bicycle generators, wind and trailing propeller turbines and rain water catchment systems. It is estimated that most of the pollution in our oceans is made of plastic materials. Scientists also say that each year, an estimated 1 million seabirds, 100,000 marine animals and sea turtles die from eating plastic pollution or becoming entangled in it. Follow the Plastiki's journey at this link:
3/21/10: Peeking out of red sandstone rocks were the fossilized bones of a dinosaur.When unearthed, researchers found an almost perfect skeleton of what is thought to be a new species of dinosaur. Found in Inner Mongolia,the eight ft. dinosaur is a relative to the Velociraptor. A huge curved toe claw on each of its feet and its sharp teeth, helped the 55 pound dinosaur, named Linheraptor exquisitus, catch its prey. Paleonotolgists have identified the dinosaur as a dromaeosaurid("running lizard") which walked the planet about 75 million years ago.See a photograph at this link:
3/14/10:Katie Spotz, 22, has rowed into the record books by becoming the youngest to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Spotz,from Mentor, Ohio, recently(Sunday)completed the journey in 70 days, 5 hours and 22 minutes, sailing from Dakar,Senegal,to Georgetown,Guyana. She is also the first American to ever do such a record row! Spotz breaks the previous record set by Oliver Hicks, 23, who in 2005 rowed from New Jersey to Great Britain.
3/13/10:Researchers have built a race car from items usually found at the grocery store and, it's fueled by leftover chocolates! Called Lola,the WorldFirst Formula 3 racing car was built by scientists at Warwick University in Great Britain. The "green" racing car is made recycled materials and from fruit and vegetable products. Its steering wheel is made from carrots, the body of the car from potatoe products, its seat from soybean oil foam and flax fiber. And, the fuel...chocolate, mixed with carrots,flax and vegetable oils! The WorldFirst Formula 3 has a top speed of 135 miles per hour and can zoom down the raceway from zero to 60 in 2 1/2 seconds.
Seventy-one dog teams have begun this year's famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.Leaving from Willow Lake, on Saturday, March 6th,the final destination is Nome, Alaska. Over the years, racers have endured sub-zero temperatures, high winds,blinding snows and wind chills to -100 F covering the 1161 mile race route. The Iditarod Trail,began as a mail and supply route to mining towns in the interior of Alaska. In 1925, part of the trail was used to helped save the city of Nome suffering a diphtheria epidemic. Needed medicine was brought in by mushers and their hard working dogs. The Iditarod honors this history of the state of Alaska.Lance Mackey, three-time champion of the Iditarod,is hoping for his fourth consecutive win.And,in a first for the race, begun in 1973,...a musher from the Caribbean island of Jamaica!UPDATE: Lance Mackey WON!!!!!This site has lots of great information:
Can you walk and chew gum at the same time? Not, if it's on the streets of the island nation of Singapore! For the past 18 years there has been a ban on the sale and import of chewing gum. With a ban on chewing gum, the streets of Singapore are clean and you don't see wads of old gum on furniture or stuck to the bottoms of your sneakers. Recently, some lawmakers in Singapore wanted to have the law changed,that it was a freedom to be allowed to chomp on gum. The government didn't agree. The ban on chewing gum for recreational purposes will continue to stick to the books of Singapore!
You may have heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where tons and tons of garbage, especially plastics) have accumulated. About the size of the state of Texas, an estimated 3.5 million tons of trash are swirling around and around. Pink and blue toothbrushes, plastic bags, yellow plastic rubber duckies, sneakers and baby pacifiers are just some of the junk located in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Located between Hawaii and San Francisco,California, this massive patch of trash was discovered by Charles Moore, in 1997. Scientists say they've discovered another similarly large garbage dump in the Atlantic Ocean!
2/25/10:You probably know when St. Patrick's Day is celebrated, but do you know when World Maths Day is held? It is Wednesday, March 3rd. There aren't any World Maths Day cards to be mailed or chocolates in the shape of numbers to give to your friends. It's a huge online math game to play,lasting 48 hours! And. it's free. Kids from 5-18 from around the world can compete in real time answering math questions at different ability levels. Each game takes 60 seconds and you can test your brain for up to 500 different math challenges. Those kids answering the most questions, get honored in the World Maths Day Hall of Fame. Last year, about two million students from 204 countries answered an amazing 452,681,681 math questions. Organizers say the goal of World Maths Day is to unite young people around the world in numbers. They are hoping that this year's World Maths Day(begun in 2007)sets a Guinness World Record for the largest online maths competition. If you wish to try your math abilities in the online math competition, sign up by Monday, March 1st at this site:
If you live where there's been lots of snow this year, you probably have built a snowman or two. You may have also built an igloo. Paul Steckart, of Bellevue,Wisconsin, and his neighbors have built a whopper of an igloo. It may melt away the current record holders set in 2008 by some people in Canada. Steckart's Bigloo, as it's called, beats the current record of 25 ft. 9 inches and 13 ft.8 high. The Bigloo is 27 ft.4 inches wide and 17 ft. 6 inches high. It took about nine weeks to construct the Bigloo that is built like a traditional Inuit shelter. When snow got used up, the "gloo-crew"went door to door asking neighbors for thei