Once in a blue moon there is one on New Year's Eve. Revelers ringing in 2010 will be treated to a so-called blue moon. According to popular definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a month. But don't expect it to be blue – the name has nothing to do with the color of our closest celestial neighbor.

A full moon occurred on Dec. 2. It will appear again on Thursday in time for the New Year's countdown.

"If you're in Times Square, you'll see the full moon right above you. It's going to be that brilliant," said Jack Horkheimer, director emeritus of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium and host of a weekly astronomy TV show.

The New Year's Eve blue moon will be visible in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and Africa. For partygoers in Australia and Asia, the full moon does not show up until New Year's Day, making January a blue moon month for them.

However, the Eastern Hemisphere can celebrate with a partial lunar eclipse on New Year's Eve when part of the moon enters the Earth's shadow. The eclipse will not be visible in the Americas.

A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, and most years have 12. On average, an extra full moon in a month – a blue moon – occurs every 2.5 years. The last time there was a lunar double take was in May 2007. New Year's Eve blue moons are rarer, occurring every 19 years. The last time was in 1990; the next one won't come again until 2028.

Blue moons have no astronomical significance, said Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

"`Blue moon' is just a name in the same sense as a `hunter's moon' or a `harvest moon,'" Laughlin said in an e-mail.

The popular definition of blue moon came about after a writer for Sky & Telescope magazine in 1946 misinterpreted the Maine Farmer's Almanac and labeled a blue moon as the second full moon in a month. In fact, the almanac defined a blue moon as the third full moon in a season with four full moons, not the usual three.

Though Sky & Telescope corrected the error decades later, the definition caught on. For purists, however, this New Year's Eve full moon doesn't even qualify as a blue moon. It's just the first full moon of the winter season.

In a tongue-in-cheek essay posted on the magazine's Web site this week, senior contributing editor Kelly Beatty wrote: "If skies are clear when I'm out celebrating, I'll take a peek at that brilliant orb as it rises over the Boston skyline to see if it's an icy shade of blue. Or maybe I'll just howl."


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32 year old Dede Kosawa, also known as 'Tree Man', is one of the world's most extraordinary people. He lives in a remote village in Indonesia with his two children, trying to care for them. Dede, a former fisherman, has an incredible skin condition: he has root like structures growing out of his body - branches that can grow up to 5cm a year and which protrude from his hands and feet, and welts covering his whole body.

He is known locally as ‘Tree Man’ and his condition has baffled local doctors for 20 years. In an attempt to earn a living to support his family, he is part of a circus troupe, displaying his 'Tree Man' limbs along with others afflicted with skin deformities in ‘freak’ shows.

Dr Anthony Gaspari, a world expert in skin conditions from the University of Maryland travels to Indonesia to attempt to diagnose 'Tree Man' Dede’s mysterious condition. He takes skin samples for biopsies back in the USA. What will he discover?

We go on an intimate journey with the extraordinary 'Tree Man' Dede, as he tries to eek out a living in a circus troupe to support his family, and as he is given medical help by Dr Gaspari. The identification and possible cure of his condition, could change his whole life.

Half way across the world, in Romania, farmer Ion Toader is discovered to have a similar extraordinary ‘Tree Man’ condition, with growths all over his hands. He has not been able to drive a tractor for five years. A Romanian surgeon offers to give him an operation to remove his growths.

Will it be successful, and how will it change Ion’s life?







Astronomers have discovered a new "waterworld" 40 light years away, raising the chances of the existence of Earth-like planets. Since this planet is so close to Earth, Hubble should be able to detect the atmosphere and determine what it's made of.


Evidence suggests it has an atmosphere, and astronomers believe it to be more like Earth than any planet found outside the Solar System so far.

Although the planet is thought to be too hot to sustain Earth-type life, it is believed to consist of 75% water.

Planet GJ1214b is six times bigger than Earth and was discovered orbiting a small faint star 1.3 million miles away.

Although its red dwarf parent star is 3,000 times less bright than the Sun, it hugs the star so closely that its surface temperature is an oven-hot 200C.

Graduate student astronomer Zachory Berta, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics in the US, who spotted the first hints of the planet, said: "Despite its hot temperature, this appears to be a waterworld.

"It is much smaller, cooler and more Earth-like than any other known exoplanet."

He said some of the planet's water should be in the form of exotic materials such as Ice Seven - a crystalline form of water that exists at pressures greater than 20,000 times the Earth's sea-level atmosphere.

Scientists want to turn the Hubble Space Telescope towards the planet to allow astronomers to discover its composition.

Dr David Charbonneau, also from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre, said: "Since this planet is so close to Earth, Hubble should be able to detect the atmosphere and determine what it's made of.

"That will make it the first super-Earth with a confirmed atmosphere - even though that atmosphere probably won't be hospitable to life as we know it."

The discovery is reported in the journal Nature.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' most active volcano oozed lava and shot up plumes of ash Tuesday, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and face the possibility of a bleak Christmas in a shelter.

State volcanologists raised the alert level on the cone-shaped, 8,070-foot (2,460-meter) Mayon volcano overnight to two steps below a major eruption after ash explosions.

Dark orange lava fragments glowed in the dark as they trickled down the mountain slope overnight. Renato Solidum, head of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, said the activity could get worse in coming days.

"It's already erupting," Solidum told The Associated Press.

More than 20,000 people were evacuated to safety by nightfall Tuesday, said Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay province, where Mayon is located about 210 miles (340 kilometers) southeast of Manila.

The first of 20 vehicles, including army trucks, were sent to villages to take residents to schools and other temporary housing, provincial emergency management official Jukes Nunez said.

"It's 10 days before Christmas. Most likely people will be in evacuation centers, and if Mayon's activity won't ease down we will not allow them to return to their homes," Nunez said. "It's difficult and sad, especially for children."

Residents in Albay are used to moving away from Mayon. Nearly 50,000 people live in a five-mile (eight-kilometer) radius around the mountain, and some villages were evacuated last month when the volcano spewed ash.

Mayon last erupted in 2006, and about 30,000 people were moved. Another eruption in 1993 killed 79 people.

Salceda said Tuesday that he has placed the central province under a "state of imminent disaster," which will make it easier for him to draw and use emergency funds.

Although the alarm has been sounded, life continued normally in many laid-back farming villages near the restive volcano. Throngs of farmers flocked to the town hall in Guinobatan, which lies near the danger zone, for a Christmas party, then headed home bearing gifts.

Village leader Romeo Opiana said the 249 residents in his farming community of Maninila, near the volcano, readied packs of clothes but no one had left. An army truck was parked nearby, ready to haul people if the threat grows.

"We're ready, but we're not really alarmed," said Opiana, 66. He could not remember how many times he had seen Mayon's eruptions since childhood.

Provincial governor Salceda said he had decided to cancel a trip to Copenhagen, where he was to attend the U.N. climate conference to discuss his province's experience with typhoons and other natural disasters.

He said he would appeal for foreign aid to deal with the expected influx of displaced villagers to emergency shelters.

"Whatever the volcano does, our target is zero casualty," Salceda told The Associated Press.

Magma had been rising at the volcano over the past two weeks and began to flow out of its crater Monday night, Solidum said. He said the volcano had so far only gently coughed out red-hot lava, which had flowed half a mile (half a kilometer) down from the crater.

Some classes were suspended indefinitely near the danger zone. Officials will find a way to squeeze in classes in school buildings to be used as shelters, Salceda said.

Mayon's most violent eruption, in 1814, killed more than 1,200 people and buried a town in mud.

The Philippines lies along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," where volcanic activity and earthquakes are common. About 22 out of 37 volcanos in the archipelago are active.

The Golden Globe Award nominations announced Tuesday morning were dominated by the story of a man living his life in perpetual limbo.

"Up in the Air" -- the critically lauded drama that stars George Clooney as a professional downsizer who never misses an airline connection but fails to connect with his family -- led the field with six nominations, including nods for best motion picture -- drama; best director (Jason Reitman), best screenplay; best actor (Clooney) and best supporting players (Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick). Up against "Up in the Air" in that best picture category: "Avatar," James Cameron’s sci-fi epic that reportedly wowed members of the Foreign Press Association during screenings last week; "The Hurt Locker," Kathryn Bigelow’s intense and in-the-moment Iraq War picture; a war epic of a very different sort, Quentin Tarantino’s "Inglourious Basterds"; and "Precious," the adaptation of Sapphire’s novel "Push," about a pregnant teenager suffering from unspeakable abuse.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- the group of international journalists behind the Globes, which revealed its field of contenders during an early morning news conference at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. -- routinely breaks its best-picture field into two categories, honoring five musicals or comedies in addition to the dramas.

The nominees on that funnier, more melodic end of the spectrum are: "Nine," the splashy adaptation of the Fellini-inspired Broadway show; "It’s Complicated," the rom-com for the 50-plus set starring Meryl Streep; "Julie & Julia," another Streep comedy, the one in which she cooks and clucks happily as Julia Child; "(500) Days of Summer," the boy-meets-then-loses-girl indie romance; and "The Hangover," the biggest box office hit (at least so far) among the top film contenders and proof that movies in which Mike Tyson air-drums to Phil Collins songs can, indeed, win some awards-season attention.

If "The Hangover" stood out as one of the Globes’ surprises in the film categories, it was hardly the only one. Among the other "Really?" moments:

-- Tobey Maguire’s nod for best actor in a drama for "Brothers," a film in limited release that never built much buzz in the all-important trophy-prediction blogosphere;

-- a nod for Julia Roberts as best actress in a musical-comedy for the almost-forgotten "Duplicity";

-- and not one, but two, nominations for Sandra Bullock, first for her turn as a no-nonsense businesswoman in "The Proposal" (musical/comedy), and second for her portrayal of a no-nonsense Tennessee woman who takes in a homeless high schooler in "The Blind Side" (drama).

Two other actors -- Matt Damon and Streep -- also walked away with dual nominations, the former for his dramatic work in "Invictus" and his comedic turn as clueless corporate spy in "The Informant!" and the latter for her roles in "It’s Complicated" and "Julie & Julia." (For those keeping score at home, that marks 25 lifetime Golden Globe nods for Streep. But at this point, really, who’s counting?)

The breakdown in another key category, best director, looks almost identical to the best motion picture category. Drama line-up: Reitman for "Up in the Air," Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker," Tarantino for "Inglourious Basterds," Cameron for "Avatar," plus one veteran whose film didn’t make the best picture cut, Clint Eastwood for his rugby uplifter "Invictus." (Which director in the best drama category was left without his own nomination? That would be Lee Daniels for "Precious.")

The Golden Globes have become newsworthy primarily because they serve as the ceremonial kickoff to the annual cinematic guessing game known as Oscar season. But let’s not forget that the Foreign Press also recognizes achievement in television, an area that was marked by far fewer surprises this year.

In the best drama category, "Mad Men," which has won the honor for the past two years, was again recognized, along with HBO’s "Big Love," "Dexter," "House" and "True Blood." The best comedy category also delivered three of the usual, albeit hilarious suspects -- "The Office," "30 Rock," "Entourage" -- but added a pair of newcomers to the mix: ABC’s "Modern Family" and -- get ready to burst into a round of "Don’t Stop Believin’," kids -- Fox’s popular "Glee."

As is always the case when nominations are announced, some notable names were left off the list. Peter Jackson’s once-buzzy "The Lovely Bones" scored only a single nod, for Stanley Tucci’s supporting performance. Same deal for the acclaimed "An Education," which was given recognition solely for its breakout star, Carey Mulligan. She received a nomination -- along with Bullock, Emily Blunt ("The Young Victoria"), Helen Mirren ("The Last Station") and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe ("Precious") -- in the best actress in a drama category.

The best actor in a drama contenders included Maguire, Clooney, Colin Firth ("A Single Man"), Morgan Freeman ("Invictus") and the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges, whose work as a grizzled country singer in "Crazy Heart" was already being touted as the performance to beat even before the Globes announcement.

So what does this all mean? Do the people basking in the glow of Foreign Press adulation this morning have a lock on an Oscar nod come Feb. 2? Not necessarily. Although the Globes often serve as foreshadowing for the Academy Awards, it’s worth noting that only once in the last five years -- last year, when "Slumdog Millionaire" fever swept the continents -- has a Globes’ best picture winner synched up with the Oscar’s top prize winner.

In other words, tune in to NBC when Ricky Gervais hosts the Globes on Jan. 17. But also keep an open mind.

Fears that Dubai might default on billions of dollars in debt eased Monday when its fellow United Arab Emirate, Abu Dhabi, pledged $10 billion in financing. (Abu Dhabi gives Dubai $10 billion bailout)

The announcement allays concerns raised last month when Dubai sought a six-month delay in debt payments for Dubai World, the government's flagship holding company. Global markets, which fell sharply when the Dubai debt problems were first raised, were mostly higher in Monday trading.

Exxon Mobil said Monday that it has agreed to buy XTO Energy, a natural gas producer, for $31 billion in stock and the assumption of $10 billion in debt, the largest energy merger in years.

Under the terms of the deal, Exxon will pay XTO shareholders .7098 common shares for each of their XTO shares, or about $51.69 based on Friday’s closing prices. The deal, which is taking advantage of low natural gas prices, represents a 25 percent premium for XTO’s shares.

The deal would give Exxon the equivalent of about 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas throughout the United States, in a bet that demand will continue to rise. XTO, founded in 1986, is the nation’s largest domestic producer of natural gas.

“XTO is a leading U.S. unconventional natural gas producer, with an outstanding resource base, strong technical expertise and highly skilled employees,” Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Exxon’s deal has prompted speculation among analysts over which natural gas producers may be up for sale next, with companies like Devon Energy now considered potential takeover targets.

Exxon said that after the deal’s close, expected in the second quarter next year, it would keep XTO as an upstream business unit to develop natural gas resources from unconventional sources like shale rock. The business will remain in XTO’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Tex.

Exxon was advised by JPMorgan Chase, while XTO was advised by Barclays Capital and Jefferies.

Italy's interior minister said on Monday yesterday's attack on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi could have been fatal and pledged measures to improve his security.

Berlusconi, 73, is still in hospital with broken nose, two teeth and injured upper lip after a man hurled a souvenir statuette at the premier while he was greeting the crowd and signing autographs after a flamboyant speech in Milan.

Speaking at a security conference in Milan, Roberto Maroni said: "Silvio Berlusconi could have been seriously injured or even killed yesterday."

Berlusconi told the Ansa news agency that he was "fine" and that it was a "miracle" he had not been struck in the eye.

Maroni pledged measures to improve the prime minister's security.

The minister also reiterated that the attack was a result of the atmosphere of "political intolerance" prevailing in the country.

The attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, who was later reported to have a long record of mental illness, was jailed in the San Vittore prison last night. During preliminary questioning, he said he strongly opposed Berlusconi and the policies of the Italian government.

The premier has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks. Last Thursday, a mafia boss said during court hearings that Berlusconi and his old-time friend, senator Marcello Dell'Utri, had ties with the mafia. A day later a rally gathered in Rome to demand Berlusconi's resignation.

The popular Perseid meteor shower may get the fair-weather attention, but the real show comes in winter.

Most amateur stargazers huddle by the fireplace in December, when the Geminids rain debris above the Earth's atmosphere. A winter wallop has dropped temperatures to freezing in some parts of the nation, but don't let a difference of a few degrees Fahrenheit keep you from seeing the night show that NASA considers the "best meteor shower of 2009."

The shower (nearly) ends a stellar year for skywatching on a high note—which is appropriate, given that 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy. Meteor showers and plenty of other space-related phenomena captured cyberspace imagination this year. Just a few:

  • Annular solar eclipse—just a partial (January 26)
  • Poor little Mars rover Spirit gets stuck (April 23...and still spinning its wheels)
  • Hubble Space Telescope, repaired (May 18)
  • Six crew members emerge from isolation on a fake spacecraft (July 14)
  • Remembering the first step: Apollo mission's 40th anniversary (July 20)
  • Solar eclipse spurs parties and prayers (July 22)
  • Perseids keeps stargazers' necks happily craned (August 12-13)
  • A deliberate crash landing on the moon (October 9)
  • Pool party! There's water on the moon (November 13)
  • Leonids light up the sky (November 17)

Catching the Last Shooting Stars
As for the Geminids, patient stargazers might've already caught its beginnings on December 6, but the meteor shower reaches its peak on the nights of December 13 and 14. For those disappointed by November’s Leonid show, the outlook for the current Geminid shower, which lasts until December 18, is good.

Astronomers believe the Geminids are increasing in intensity every year, yielding 120-160 meteors per hour during the shower. Astronomy magazine expects great conditions for viewing "100 'shooting stars' per hour—an average of nearly two per minute." People in China and Indonesia have the orchestra seats for the Geminid show, and might be able to see more than "300 meteors per hour."

You don’t need a telescope to see the streaks shooting across the heavens. For optimal viewing, NASA pinpoints 12:10 a.m. EST/9:10 p.m. PST, and suggests going somewhere away from the “light pollution” of cities and towns, to an area dark enough to see the stars clearly. Keep your eyes roaming all areas of the sky to spot a meteor. (And dress warmly, bring a blanket, and fill up on hot drinks.)

No Comet Here
At their best, meteor showers provide an intense display of the violence of the cosmos, at a safe distance for earthlings to watch. Meteors are streaks of light created by particles of debris from comets and other celestial bodies hitting the Earth's atmosphere. These particles, called meteoroids, can measure as small as a grain of sand to as large as a boulder.

Usually that space-dust dance comes from lively comets. The Geminid meteors are an exception: They emanate from a dead comet called 3200 Phaethon. As for their name, it's derived from the constellation Gemini, the area of the sky from which the meteors appear to originate.

Astronomical Anniversary
Four hundred years ago, Galileo Galilei invented the telescope and Johannes Kepler came out with his 650-page documentation of Martian motion. That, according to the United Nations, is reason enough to call for a year-long celebration. The International Year of Astronomy hosted events all over the world, and the heavens apparently joined in and threw their own 2009 shows, like the solar eclipse that darkened the skies over Asia.

In the United States, NASA underwent a lot of scrutiny. But even as the bosses were evaluating its core mission, the agency got a few projects literally off the ground—and lots of Web attention: The buzziest may have been the highly risky (and rousingly successful) mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. The oddest may have been a March contest for naming a wing of the International Space Station: NASA opted for Tranquility over the more popular "Stephen Colbert," but the satirical TV host got a space-station treadmill named after him.

The Americans weren't the only busy ones: Selected Russian and European volunteers willingly isolated themselves for 105 days here on Earth, to prove their Mars mettle (and next year, the lucky crew gets to spend 520 days in isolation). And tourists who can afford the airfare to the International Space Station always get lots of envious queries—the first clown in space proved no exception this year.

Once in a Blue Moon
The sky shows aren't over yet. The Ursid meteor shower gets its turn December 22, the Pleiades will brighten up the night on December 29, and a blue moon will entertain New Year's Eve revelers. (And no, the moon doesn't turn a shade of turquoise: The phrase just means a second full moon appears in the same month. But don't let that stop you from singing its praises.)


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Copenhagen will turn the city hall square into a centre of a big cultural event. Fotocollage Bo Benzon – Arkitekturministeriet.

From December 7 - 18 the Copenhagen City Hall Square will be transformed into a city of hope. Under the city sign 'Hopenhagen LIVE', the municipality of Copenhagen will turn the city hall square into a centre of a big cultural event focusing on the world's climate challenges and future climate solutions. Hopenhagen LIVE is to gather citizens of Copenhagen, Danes and the population of the world and send an unambiguous signal to the politicians of the world to agree on an ambitious climate agreement to reduce the CO2 emission.

A great experience

Hopenhagen LIVE consists of three principal elements: A globe, a stage, and a series of adventure pavilions, which each in their own individual way will interact with the audience and the surrounding world. The audience will be both challenged and entertained when exhibitions mix with debates, concerts with speeches, art with activism, and play with knowledge.

During COP15both Danish and international artists will give free concerts on Hopenhagen's stage. On December 18 you can experience the Danish rap group Malk de Koijn. Please see the official Hopenhagen LIVE website for a detailed program.

Host: Hopenhagen LIVE is developed by the cultural secretariat Golden Days in collaboration with Roskilde Event & Consult and Experimentarium on behalf of the municipality of Copenhagen.

Webpages: http://hopenhagenlive.dk/ , http://hopenhagen.org/

Public transportation: S-Train central station/HovedbanegÄrden og Bus line: 10, 12, 14, 26, 29, 33, 67, 68, 69, 2A, 5A, 6A, 173E & 250S.

Entrance fee: Free.


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Jesse Ventura, who was the governor of Minnesota and an ex-wrestler “The Bobby”, will make an appearance on the TV show which is also called as the “documentary thriller” with the title name “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura”. It will make its start from Tru TV network that believes in the slogan “No reality. Actuality”. The TV network makes such investigative thrilling and “revealing” documentaries in most of his programs and shows. “Conspiracy theory with Jesse Ventura” is based upon the investigative probes by Ventura in different under-the-cover projects and activities. He is presented as an open-minded investigator who does not operate with a bias towards any activity and gives his conspiracy theory to the public. If someone does not believe in the theory, “MythBusters” is the right forum for nonbelieving faction of people. Tonight’s show covers a new conspiracy theory regarding HAARP project.
The HAARP project (the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is a set of antennae in Alaska that emits packets of electric charge in to the ionosphere. This activity can cause variation in weathers, earthquakes and can incapacitate human mind. The HAARP project is financed by the Department of Defense. There is a “denying spokesman” assigned by the department to “deny” any allegation. He seems “too ready” to deny any fact. The HAARP project is itself portrayed by these authorities as “so-called research project”. They depict the project as a “dormant weapon” lying idle causing no harm to anyone for the time being. But some people have the view that show exaggerates to add spice of thrill that is required by the network. But Jesse is of the view that it is not the case and the reality is often blurred due to lack of concrete evidence. He told that lack of concrete evidence does not mean that something is not being done.







Argentinean Lionel Messi has beaten the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award and becomes the 2009 European Footballer of the Year. The magazine France Football reports that the 22 year-old Barcelona forward comfortably won the vote, beating second place Ronaldo by 473 to 233. Messi’s team-mates Xavi Hernandez and Andreas Iniesta came third and forth with 170 and 149 points respectively. Premier League stars Rooney, Drogba and Gerrard came eighth ninth and tenth.

France Football commented that Messi’s victory was so emphatic that he only finished seven points of the maximum possible allocated by the judges. No-one can deny that Messi deserves the accolade as he has been in truly world class form over a year and has helped his club win the treble of the League, Cup and Champions League – unprecedented in Spanish football. Victory in the Champions League final saw Barca beat Manchester United 2-0 with Messi netting the second goal. Only on the international stage does the Argentinean still operate below his potential – but this could change in the summer when he heads to the World Cup in South Africa. Messi becomes the first Argentinean to win the award, which is amazing for a country with such footballing pedigree.

Messi was understandably delighted to take home the much coveted award. France Football quotes him as saying Honestly, I knew that I was among the favourites because Barcelona had a fruitful year in 2009.” "But I didn't expect to win with such a margin. The Golden Ball is very important to me. All the players who won it were great players, and some great players never won it.”




The primitive crocodiles, which lived 100m years ago, were good swimmers but were also capable of galloping



Fossil hunters have uncovered the remains of primitive crocodiles that "galloped" on land and patrolled the broad rivers that coursed through north Africa one hundred million years ago.

The skeletons of five creatures that walked with dinosaurs – and ate them – were unearthed in remote and rocky regions of what are now Morocco and Niger during a series of expeditions in the Sahara desert.

Three of the crocodiles are new species and include Kaprosuchus saharicus, a 6.5m-long beast with three sets of dagger-like tusks and an armoured snout for ramming its prey.

Another species, Laganosuchus thaumastos, was of similar length but had a pancake-flat head and is thought to have lurked in rivers with its jaws open, waiting for unsuspecting fish to pass.

The most striking feature the beasts have in common was revealed by their bone structure, which suggests they were efficient swimmers but that when they clambered ashore they were also capable of galloping across the plains. Modern crocodiles crawl on their bellies because their legs sprawl out to the side.

"My African crocs appeared to have had both upright, agile legs for bounding overland and a versatile tail for paddling in water," writes Paul Sereno, a palaeontologist at the University of Chicago, in National Geographic Magazine. "These species open a window on a croc world completely foreign to what was living on northern continents."

The third new species, Araripesuchus rattoides, was only a metre long and probably used a pair of buckteeth in its lower jaw to dig for grubs.

The other two crocodiles unearthed during the expedition are known species. One had a wide, overhanging snout containing sensory areas that it used to sniff out prey in shallow waters. The other had a soft, dog-like nose and is thought to have been extremely agile.

Most of the fossils were found near the site where, in 2001, Sereno uncovered a 12m-long crocodile that lived 110m years ago. The beast, nicknamed SuperCroc, weighed around eight tonnes. The latest fossils are described in the journal ZooKeys.

"We were surprised to find so many species from the same time in the same place," said Hans Larsson, a palaeontologist at the University of Montreal, who took part in the expedition. "Each of the crocs apparently had different diets, different behaviours. It appears they had divided up the ecosystem, each species taking advantage of it in its own way."

The expedition was sponsored by National Geographic, which airs a documentary about the discoveries, When Crocs Ate Dinosaurs, at 5pm on Sunday 20 December on the Nat Geo Wild channel.


Jermain Defoe will get most of the plaudits for this huge victory, and rightly so, but the striker will no doubt be among the first to praise the service he received from Niko Kranjcar and Aaron Lennon



Tottenham Hotspur 9

Crouch 9, Defoe 51, Defoe 54, Defoe 58, Lennon 64, Defoe 69, Defoe 87, Kirkland (og) 88, Kranjcar 90

Wigan Athletic 1

Scharner 57

There is simply no containing Tottenham Hotspur on occasions such as these. To gawp at the sight of this team shredding Wigan was to acknowledge that, where Manchester City have the money and Liverpool the expectation, Spurs boast the firepower to keep them in the top four this term. At their slick best, this side is utterly irrepressible.

Jermain Defoe's seven-minute hat-trick, and a five-goal haul all plundered after half-time, took the breath away but this was a remarkable show of team attacking. Aaron Lennon, recovered from an ankle injury, and Niko Kranjcar offered contrasting if equally stunning play on either flank. Tom Huddlestone and Wilson Palacios steamrollered a Wigan midfield that is normally physically imposing. The Latics departed the pitch a collection of quivering wrecks. Real psychological damage may have been inflicted.

For Spurs this result will merely swell conviction. They are back level with Arsenal, pepped by a nine-goal swing in goal difference this weekend and the memories of the frustrations endured at the Emirates and at home to Stoke have been partially erased. Wigan will survey the wreckage of this scoreline and wonder at the reality that, at half-time, it was Harry Redknapp who had been livid at the way this contest had been veering. Tottenham may have scored early through Peter Crouch but momentum had petered out and slackness set in. "They needed reminding at the break," said Redknapp. Lessons were heeded to devastating effect.

The helter-skelter nature of Tottenham's dominance thereafter, and Wigan's capitulation, was hard to comprehend. The goals that flurried were all horribly sloppy in their concession, yet ruthlessly taken: Defoe's thumped volley from close range evaded Titus Bramble; Emmerson Boyce failed to intercept Palacios's through-ball for the England striker to add an immediate third; another Lennon sprint to the by-line away from Erik Edman and centre for Defoe to complete the hat-trick.

Lennon added the fifth, spitting a low shot beyond a visibly shaken Kirkland and into the far corner, with Defoe's fourth and fifth both pilfered from that same area. By then, the visitors' resistance had evaporated. Edman's abject attempt to cut out the pass for the seventh summed up the Swede's hapless return to his former club, though the agony did not end there.

The substitute David Bentley's free-kick cannoned in via the woodwork and the back of Kirkland's head before Kranjcar spun and revelled in the ninth when the ball crashed in off the crossbar.

The wingers' displays were, in their own ways, as much of a fillip as Defoe's bite. Lennon's zip and improved awareness make him a full-back's nightmare these days. Edman looked a broken man at the final whistle and will be haunted by this experience for some time. Fabio Capello should be buoyed. Kranjcar's abilities are more sedate, his influence more serene but his clever passing illuminated Spurs' midfield, with the hustle and bustle of Palacios and Huddlestone in the centre eclipsing the Latics' shambolic attempts to stifle.

Wigan have never endured a defeat this comprehensive in their 31-year existence as a league club. In truth, they were lucky to ship only nine. Their manager, Roberto MartĂ­nez, has only been in management for a little over two years and admirably attempted to write this off as freak, though his team have conceded 31 times in 13 games now this term. "The result is not normal but I'm not bothered about the final scoreline," he said. "I'm more bothered about how naive we were. We'll get stronger from this. You learn a lot from situations like this and the damage of this game will not be carried into the next match. We have enough characters in the dressing room and will react the right way."

Their revival must begin at home to Sunderland on Saturday while Tottenham attempt to maintain momentum at Aston Villa. Their only blemish here – other than a first-half dip in their power and poise – was Paul Scharner's consolation, though even that should not have stood. The Austrian cradled Hugo Rodallega's cross with his right arm as blatantly as Thierry Henry had collected with his hand in the Stade de France last week, before belting his shot in off the bar. Robbie Keane, warming up on the touchline, must have wished the Republic of Ireland had been as clinical as his club-mates to render that handball irrelevant.

Spurs, of course, must now prove they have the pedigree to reproduce form this impressive regularly. The collision at Villa Park will test whether this really was a unique occasion, though few clubs in this division boast the attacking options now at Redknapp's disposal.

Jermaine Jenas, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Robbie Keane began this drubbing on the bench. How Arsenal, shorn of Robin van Persie, must privately wish they had this amount of firepower in reserve.


A 10-ton fishing boat has been sunk by gigantic jellyfish off eastern Japan.


The trawler, the Diasan Shinsho-maru, capsized off Chiba`as its three-man crew was trying to haul in a net containing dozens of huge Nomura's jellyfish.

Each of the jellyfish can weigh up to 200 kg and waters around Japan have been inundated with the creatures this year. Experts believe weather and water conditions in the breeding grounds, off the coast of China, have been ideal for the jellyfish in recent months.

The crew of the fishing boat was thrown into the sea when the vessel capsized, but the three men were rescued by another trawler, according to the Mainichi newspaper. The local Coast Guard office reported that the weather was clear and the sea was calm at the time of the accident.

One of the largest jellyfish in the world, the species can grow up to 2 meters in diameter. The last time Japan was invaded on a similar scale, in the summer of 2005, the jellyfish damaged nets, rendered fish inedible with their toxic stings and even caused injuries to fishermen.

Relatively little is known about Nomura's jellyfish, such as why some years see thousands of the creatures floating across the Sea of Japan on the Tsushima Current, but last year there were virtually no sightings. In 2007, there were 15,500 reports of damage to fishing equipment caused by the creatures.

Experts believe that one contributing factor to the jellyfish becoming more frequent visitors to Japanese waters may be a decline in the number of predators, which include sea turtles and certain species of fish.

A 'monster' great white shark measuring up to 20 ft long is on the prowl off a popular Queensland beach, according to officials.

Swimmers were warned to stay out of the water off Stradbroke Island after the shark mauled another smaller great white which had been hooked on a baited drum line.

The 10-foot great white was almost bitten in half.

The fictional shark at the centre of the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Jaws was estimated to be just five feet longer.

'It certainly opened up my eyes. I mean the shark that was caught is a substantial shark in itself,' says Jeff Krause of Queensland Fisheries.

The great white, the most dangerous creature in the sea, was still alive when hauled onto a boat near Deadman's Beach off north Stradbroke island.

News of the shocking attack on the smaller shark has sent jitters along the Queensland coast from Stradbroke Island, near Brisbane, to the Sunshine Coast further north down to the tourist mecca of Surfers Paradise, south of Brisbane.

'Whatever attacked and took chunks out of this big shark must be massive,' said 19-year-old surfer Ashton Smith. 'I've heard about the big one that's lurking out there somewhere.

'We're all being very, very cautious.'

Mr John Gooding, who operates a charter fishing boat, said sharks were everywhere, although there appeared to be no specific reason for an increase in the number.

'Some days you struggle to get a fish on to the boat before the sharks take them,' he told the Courier Mail newspaper.

Many of the popular beaches in Queensland are protected by nets and what are known as drumlines - a series of baited hooks that hang from buoys placed in a line about 500 yards from beaches.

Since the net and drumline programme was introduced in Queensland there has been only one fatal attack on a protected beach.

The relatively recent attack occurred when 21-year-old student Sarah Whiley was killed off Stradbroke Island three years ago.

The Queensland State Government has been under pressure in recent weeks to scale down the shark net and drumline programme because environmentalists say that whales and other big fish are becoming trapped in the nets.

But Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said the capture of the badly injured 10ft shark - and the indication of a much larger one being in the area - showed the necessity to keep the nets and drumlines in place.

Darren Kindleysides, director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said the nets were working but at huge cost to whales, dolphins and turtles.

And Vic Hislop, an internationally-recognised authority on sharks, also believes the nets should be removed and other methods explored to scare away the predators.

Spies may soon be bugging conversations using actual insects, thanks to research funded by the US military.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has spent years developing a whole host of cyborg critters, in the hopes of creating the ultimate 'fly on the wall'.
Now a team of researchers led by Hirotaka Sato have created cyborg beetles which are guided wirelessly via a laptop.

Using implants, they worked out how to control a beetle's take-off, flight and landing by stimulating the brain to work the wings.
They controlled turns through stimulating the basilar muscles on one side or the other to make the wings on that side flap harder.
The embedded system uses nerve and muscle stimulators, a microbattery and a microcontroller with transceiver.


They were implanted in the beetles when they were at the pupal stage.
Three types of large beetles from Cameroon were used in the experiments at the University of California in Berkeley. The smallest was 2cm long, while the largest was 20cm.

According to Professor Noel Sharkey, an international expert on artificial intelligence and robotics from Sheffield University, there have been attempts in the past to control insects such as cockroaches, but this is the first time the flight of insects has been controlled remotely.
Professor Sharkey questioned the ultimate military application of remotely controlled beetles as you would also need to implant a GPS transmitter and a camera too.
This would be too heavy for even the largest beetle to carry.


The Berkeley researchers suggested the 'cyborg' beetles - part beetle, part machine - could serve as models for micro air vehicles.

Sato and colleagues also said the beetles could serve as couriers to inaccessible locations. The Berkeley team is also experimenting on dragonflies, flies and moths because of their 'unmatched flight capabilities'.
DARPA's ultimate aim is to create cyborg insects that can fly more than 300ft to their target and then stay put until commanded to buzz off again.

Meet the real-life Harry Potter, the young man who claims his life has been made a misery by the famous wizard.

Harry Potter, 20, is forced to endure taunts from the public, police, phone companies and even one football referee because of his magical moniker.
When he was born in 1989, his mother Tracey Shaw had thought little of the name she had picked for her first child.

But eight years later when J K Rowling released Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone in 1997, his life was to be changed forever.

Now he suffers daily grief caused by people's reaction to his name and even had to show his girlfriend his passport so she believed him when they first met.
A bus company refused to issue him with a pass because they didn't believe he was telling them the truth when he tried to sign up.

And he has even got a scar on his forehead like the famous wizard, picked up when he ran into a lamppost aged fifteen.
In the series of seven books Harry gets his mark from arch enemy Lord Voldemort as the 'Dark Lord' tries to kill him.

Harry, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, said he wished author J K Rowling had never used his name for her books.
He said: 'My life has changed completely since the books were written. At first I thought it might be quite a good thing to have the same name.

'But now it is like someone has cast a bad spell on me. The reactions I get from people range from making fun to plain aggressive.
'Sometimes I wish J K Rowling had never used my name...
'People seem to forget that I was Harry Potter before the character. I was nine when the books first came out.
'I never imagined when my mum first brought the book home that it would take off like this.
'Whenever I was playing up at school, the teachers would make some joke about my name, which soon shut me up.
'After 12 years of it I couldn't count the amount of times I've heard "You're a wizard Harry". It does wear a bit thin after a while.
'And I've heard all the puns about my wand.'

Harry is desperate to try and live a normal life and has a less glamorous job than his namesake.
Harry's mother, Tracey Shaw, 47, an accountant from Portsmouth said: 'I named him Harry simply because I liked the name.

'People used to assume that he was named after Prince Harry, and that was his nickname when he was very young - we called him Prince Harry.
"Harry's biological father's surname was Potter and that's how Harry got his famous name.
'There was no such thing as Harry Potter at the time so I didn't have a clue the name would become so famous.'

Unlike his magical counterpart, he has shunned the Hogwarts School of Wizardry for the more mundane surroundings of Lloyds TSB.
And now he and girlfriend Philippa Hall, 18, are hoping to settle down properly and are currently trying to buy their first house together.
The seven Harry Potter novels shot British author J K Rowling to stardom, with his adventures being snapped up by 400million eager fans.

Daniel Radcliffe, the actor that plays the title character in the films, was recently revealed to have bought his third property in New York - a townhouse worth almost £4million.

Since the books were released they have spawned blockbuster films and spin-off merchandise, making the brand worth an estimated £15billion.
But the fortune made by the wizard with the same name as him, provides little comfort to Harry.

He said: 'No one ever believes that I'm telling the truth about my name. I had to show my girlfriend my passport, my bank card, and my driving license to convince her that I wasn't lying.
'I wasn't even able to get a Facebook account in my name as apparently the rights are owned by the Potter brand.
'I had similar problems getting a bus pass, and gave up in the end. They just refused to believe me.
'I'm constantly asked to send off my ID so I can prove that I am telling the truth. I think a lot of people just think I'm a smart-arse.
'Someone called me once and asked if I was Harry Potter. When I said I was, I heard a whole office full of people laughing, and then they hung up.
'I called the number back and found it was a well-known phone company.
'I was even stopped by the cops about a month ago when I drove through a red light.
'They couldn't believe it when they saw my driving license. They thought it was hilarious, but still gave me points on my license and a fine.'
'I was playing in my Sunday League team once and the referee accused me of giving him a false name, after I made a minor foul on another player.
'He asked me for my name to book me, but thought I was just playing up. He asked if I wanted to be sent off.
'You can get banned from the league for giving a fake name so it was quite worrying...

It’s always a lot of fun for us — and hopefully for you, the readers — any time we can run wild with pictures, news, and even reviews of an unannounced handset. Today, however, RIM spoiled our fun and formally announced the BlackBerry Bold 9700. Things like carriers, release dates and pricing have been withheld for the time being, but RIM has made a statement saying that we should all expect to see the BlackBerry 9700 go on sale “around the world beginning in November.” Spec wise, nothing has changed since our pre-release review, but just in case some of you forgot or weren’t paying a whole lot of attention, here’s a quick refresher on the critical specs:
  • BlackBerry OS 5.0
  • 624MHz CPU
  • 256MB flash memory and support for microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Quad-band UMTS/HSDPA (800/850/1900/2100 MHz) or tri-band UMTS/HSDPA (900/1700/2100 MHz)
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g with UMA support (carrier dependent)
  • A-GPS
  • 2.44″ HVGA+ display
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • Optical trackpad
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP/AVCRP
  • 1500 mAh battery
  • 6 hours of talk time and 17 days of standby (3G)
  • 109mm x 60mm x 14.1mm, 122g

In short, this is the BlackBerry device of your dreams. We’re expecting pretty much every single major GSM carrier on the planet to pick up the 9700 sooner or later, so we’ll be sure to keep the updates coming. As always, high res pics and a few other odds and ends are available after the jump.