A new species of giant carnivorous plant has been discovered in the highlands of the central Philippines.

The pitcher plant is among the largest of all pitchers and is so big that it can catch rats as well as insects in its leafy trap.
During the same expedition, botanists also came across strange pink ferns and blue mushrooms they could not identify.
The botanists have named the pitcher plant after British natural history broadcaster David Attenborough.
They published details of the discovery in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society earlier this year.
Word that this new species of pitcher plant existed initially came from two Christian missionaries who in 2000 attempted to scale Mount Victoria, a rarely visited peak in central Palawan in the Philippines.
With little preparation, the missionaries attempted to climb the mountain but became lost for 13 days before being rescued from the slopes.
On their return, they described seeing a large carnivorous pitcher plant.
That pricked the interest of natural history explorer Stewart McPherson of Red Fern Natural History Productions based in Poole, Dorset, UK and independent botanist Alastair Robinson, formerly of the University of Cambridge, UK and Volker Heinrich, of Bukidnon Province, the Philippines.
All three are pitcher plant experts, having travelled to remote locations in the search for new species.

So in 2007, they set off on a two-month expedition to the Philippines, which included an attempt at scaling Mount Victoria to find this exotic new plant.
Accompanied by three guides, the team hiked through lowland forest, finding large stands of a pitcher plant known to science called Nepenthes philippinensis, as well as strange pink ferns and blue mushrooms which they could not identify.
As they closed in on the summit, the forest thinned until eventually they were walking among scrub and large boulders
"At around 1,600 metres above sea level, we suddenly saw one great pitcher plant, then a second, then many more," McPherson recounts.
"It was immediately apparent that the plant we had found was not a known species."

Pitcher plants are carnivorous. Carnivorous plants come in many forms, and are known to have independently evolved at least six separate times. While some have sticky surfaces that act like flypaper, others like the Venus fly trap are snap traps, closing their leaves around their prey.
Pitchers create tube-like leaf structures into which insects and other small animals tumble and become trapped.
The team has placed type specimens of the new species in the herbarium of the Palawan State University, and have named the plant Nepenthes attenboroughii after broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough.
"The plant is among the largest of all carnivorous plant species and produces spectacular traps as large as other species which catch not only insects, but also rodents as large as rats," says McPherson.

The pitcher plant does not appear to grow in large numbers, but McPherson hopes the remote, inaccessible mountain-top location, which has only been climbed a handful of times, will help prevent poachers from reaching it.
During the expedition, the team also encountered another pitcher, Nepenthes deaniana, which had not been seen in the wild for 100 years. The only known existing specimens of the species were lost in a herbarium fire in 1945.
On the way down the mountain, the team also came across a striking new species of sundew, a type of sticky trap plant, which they are in the process of formally describing.
Thought to be a member of the genus Drosera, the sundew produces striking large, semi-erect leaves which form a globe of blood red foliage.

Great Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was involved in a car accident Thursday night, August 13th, 2009, say reports coming out of Baltimore, Maryland, the swimmer’s hometown.

There was a Michael Phelps car accident involving the Olympian swimmer and an unidentified woman. The Michael Phelps crash occurred shortly after 9PM on Thursday evening.

Apparently Phelps’ black Cadillac Escalade and a Honda Accord collided just after 9PM on Thursday night at the intersection of East Biddle Street and West Calvert Street in Downtown Baltimore, according to Baltimore City Police officials.

As far as what caused the crash, there are no definite specifics being reported, however witnesses told TMZ that the vehicles crashed after someone ran a stoplight and then hit another car that was not moving.

Alcohol is said to be NOT a factor in this accident. Michael Phelps was uninjured and the unidentified woman had no serious injuries.

A personal phone call and the absence of a supervisor during last week's collision over New York's Hudson River has led to two air traffic controllers being removed from duty, although officials said the actions probably had no impact on the tragedy. The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement Thursday that a controller at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and his supervisor have been placed on administrative leave after the controller was found to be involved in "apparently inappropriate conversations" at the time of the crash between a small plane and a tour helicopter that killed nine people.The agency said while there was no reason to believe thus far that the employees' actions contributed to the accident, such "conduct is unacceptable." The controller had handed off the monitoring of the small plane involved in the collision to another airport shortly before the plane collided with a tour helicopter. The two employees, who were not identified, were placed on administrative leave with pay. The FAA said it has begun disciplinary proceedings against the pair. Three members of a Pennsylvania family on the plane and five Italian tourists and a pilot on the helicopter were killed when the two stricken aircraft plunged into the river. The FAA said the supervisor was not in the building at the time, as required. The controller had cleared the small plane, a single-engine Piper, for takeoff and then made a personal call to a woman, said sources familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be named because they weren't authorized to speak publicly. While still on the phone, the controller handed off the Piper to the control tower at Newark Liberty International Airport, which monitors low-flying air traffic over the Hudson but doesn't actively try to keep aircraft separated, they said. The controller was still on the phone when the accident occurred. This sequence of events lasted only a few minutes. National Transportation Safety Board and FAA investigators learned of the telephone conversation earlier this week while examining recordings of telephone calls on a landline phone in the tower that controllers use to communicate with other parts of the Teterboro Airport. The controller and supervisor were removed from duty immediately. Air traffic controllers are expected to be alert at all times while on duty and typically are given about a 15-minute break roughly every two hours for that reason.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the labor union representing controllers, said in a statement that it supports a full investigation of the allegations "before there is a rush to judgment." The FAA's action came as an amateur video surfaced that captured the moment of impact between the two aircraft. The images, taken by an Italian man practicing with a new camera while on a boat tour, show the helicopter flying overhead when suddenly a single-engine plane appears behind it, apparently climbing and turning. The plane clips the helicopter's rotor blades, and a wing shears off. Debris rains down, and the plane flips. Both aircraft fall toward the water. On the video, aired Thursday on "NBC Nightly News," one or more onlookers can be heard in the background saying, "Oh, my God!" Teterboro Airport, located directly across the Hudson River from New York City near the George Washington Bridge, handles corporate and private aircraft. It is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and handles nearly 200,000 flights a year.

Gina Carano, the hottest lady in the world of MMA fighting is making headlines. Rumors were circulating that Gina Carano is going to pose for Playboy Magazine, though it wasn’t happened but the 25-year-old beauty has posed for Maxim Magazine and I must tell you, she is looking awesome in these pictures. Even outside the MMA ring, Gina Carano is very famous. Former back-up Dallas Cowboys quarterback Glenn Garano is the father of Gina Carano. Her amazing beauty made her famous as well. In 2008, Yahoo ranked Gina Carano as one of the 10 most influential women.

Gina Carano is also listed in the 100 Maxim celebrities. Gina dropped down to 141 lbs and she is looking even more attractive in her recent physique. Once she said in an interview that for Playboy, she’ll never pose nude but for the magazine, she has made an appearance. Gina will face Brazilian mauler Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos in her next fight. Cyborg is a splendid fighter and best known for brutality and aggressive style. On Showtime TV, Carano will be facing Cyborg this Saturday. It would be a wonderful fight as both the fighters are strong and competitive. If you are a fan of Gina Carano, see her Maxim Magazine pictures below and don’t forget to watch her fighting Cyborg, who is unbeaten in her last seven consecutive fights.

A bright moon will drown out fainter meteors...

The moon will be at last quarter the night of Aug. 13 and it will be at a rather bright waning gibbous phase a night or two earlier, seriously hampering observation of the peak of the Perseids, predicted to occur late on the nights of Aug. 11 and 12.

Moonrise on Aug. 11 comes at around 10:20 p.m., while on Aug. 12 it's around 10:50 p.m. The moon will be hovering below and to the left of the Great Square of Pegasus these nights and not all that far from the constellation Perseus, from where the meteors will appear to emanate (hence the name "Perseid").

Perseus, does not begin to climb high up into the northeast sky until around midnight; by dawn it's nearly overhead. But bright moonlight will flood the sky through most of those two key nights and will certainly play havoc with any serious attempts to observe these meteors.


Every August the skies above the Northern Hemisphere are peppered with little bits of space debris that create the Perseid meteor shower. The debris is tiny, ancient and packs a wallop. Find out why.

Perseid meteoroids (which is what they're called while in space) are fast. They enter Earth's atmosphere (and are then called meteors) at roughly 133,200 mph (60 kilometers per second) relative to the planet. Most are the size of sand grains; a few are as big as peas or marbles. Almost none hit the ground, but if one does, it's called a meteorite.

Comet Swift-Tuttle, whose debris creates the Perseids, is the largest object known to make repeated passes near Earth. Its nucleus is about 6 miles (9.7 kilometers) across, roughly equal to the object that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Back in the early 1990s, astronomer Brian Marsden calculated that Swift-Tuttle might actually hit Earth on a future pass. More observations quickly eliminated all possibility of a collision. Marsden found, however, that the comet and Earth might experience a cosmic near miss (about a million miles) in 3044.

When a Perseid particle enters the atmosphere, it compresses the air in front of it, which heats up. The meteor, in turn, can be heated to more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,650 Celsius). The intense heat vaporizes most meteors, creating what we call shooting stars. Most become visible at around 60 miles up (97 kilometers). Some large meteors splatter, causing a brighter flash called a fireball, and sometimes an explosion that can often be heard from the ground.

Comet Swift-Tuttle has many comet kin. Most originate in the distant Oort cloud, which extends nearly halfway to the next star. The vast majority never visit the inner solar system. But a few, like Swift-Tuttle, have been gravitationally booted onto new trajectories, possibly by the gravity of a passing star long ago.

Perseid meteoroids (and if you've been following along, you know these are things in space before they hit Earth's atmosphere) are anywhere from 60 to 100 miles apart, even at the densest part of the river of debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle. That river, in fact, is more like many streams, each deposited during a different pass of the comet on its 130-year orbit around the Sun. The material drifts through space and, in fact, orbits the Sun on roughly the same path as the comet while also spreading out over time.

As Earth rotates, the side facing the direction of its orbit around the Sun tends to scoop up more space debris. This part of the sky is directly overhead at dawn. For this reason, the Perseids and other meteor showers (and also random shooting stars in general) are usually best viewed in the predawn hours.

Comet Swift-Tuttle was last seen in 1992, an unspectacular pass through the inner solar system that required binoculars to enjoy. Prior to that, it had last been seen in the year it was "discovered" by American astronomers Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle, 1862. Abraham Lincoln was President.

Swift-Tuttle's orbit has been traced back nearly 2,000 years and is now thought to be the same comet that was observed in 188 AD and possibly even as early as 69 BC.

Swift-Tuttle is due back in 2126 (as you know now, it won't hit us) and astronomers think it might become a spectacular naked-eye comet like Hale-Bopp. If historical calculations are correct (see Fact #9) then the 2126 appearance will mark the comet's 3rd millennium of human observation, assuming someone is in fact around to see it.

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GM says Volt to get 230 miles per gallon in city...

General Motors Corp. said Tuesday its Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car should get 230 miles per gallon of gasoline in city driving, more than four times the mileage of the current champion, the Toyota Prius.

GM came up with the figure in early tests using draft guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for calculating the mileage of extended range electric vehicles, said Tony Posawatz, GM’s vehicle line director for the Volt.

If the figure is confirmed by the EPA, which does the tests for the mileage posted on new car door stickers, the Volt would be the first car to exceed triple-digit gas mileage, Posawatz said.

The Volt is powered by an electric motor and a battery pack with a 40-mile range. After that, a small internal combustion engine kicks in to generate electricity for a total range of 300 miles. The battery pack can be recharged from a standard home outlet.

Most automakers are working similar plug-in designs, but GM could be the leader with the Volt, which is due in showrooms late in 2010.

Toyota’s Prius, the most efficient car now sold in the U.S., gets 48 miles per gallon of gas. It is a gas-electric hybrid that runs on a small internal combustion engine assisted by a battery-powered electric motor to save gasoline.

The first-generation Volt is expected to cost near $40,000, making it cost-prohibitive to many people even if gasoline returns to $4 per gallon. The price is expected to drop with future generations of the Volt, but GM has said government tax credits and the savings on fuel could make it cost-effective, especially at 230 miles per gallon.

“We get a little cautious about trying to forecast what fuel prices will do,” Posawatz said. “We achieved this number and if fuel prices go up, it certainly does get more attractive even in the near-term generation,” he said.

GM was to present details of the mileage figure on Tuesday morning at an event at its technical center in the Detroit suburb of Warren.

Figures for the Volt’s highway and combined city/highway mileage have not yet been calculated, Posawatz said. The combined mileage will be in the triple digits as well, he said, but both combined and highway will be worse than city because the engine runs more on longer highway trips.

The EPA guidelines, developed with input from automakers, figure that cars like the Volt will travel more on straight electricity in the city than on the highway. If a person drives the Volt less than 40 miles, in theory they could go without using gasoline.

The mileage figure could vary as the guidelines are refined and the Volt gets further along in the manufacturing process, Posawatz said.

GM is about halfway through building about 80 Volts that will look and behave like the production model, and testing is running on schedule, Posawatz said.

Two critical areas, battery life and the electronic switching between battery and engine power, are still being refined, but the car is on schedule to reach showrooms late in 2010, he said.

GM is simulating tests to make sure the new lithium-ion batteries last 10 years, Posawatz said.

“We’re further along, but we’re still quite a ways from home,” he said. “We’re developing quite a knowledge base on all this stuff. Our confidence is growing.”

The other area of new technology, switching between battery and engine power, is proceeding well, he said, with engineers just fine-tuning the operations.

“We’re very pleased with the transition from when it’s driving EV (electric vehicle) to when the engine and generator kick in,” he said,

GM also is finishing work on the power cord, which will be durable enough that it can survive being run over by the car. The Volt, he said, will have software on board so it can be programmed to begin and end charging during off-peak electrical use hours.

Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and Daimler AG are all developing plug-ins and electric cars, and Toyota Motor Corp. is working on a plug-in version of its gas-electric hybrid system. Nissan Motor Co. announced last month that it would begin selling an electric vehicle in Japan and the U.S. next year.

Israel is in the grips of mermaid fever after numerous sightings of the mythical sea creature off its coast.
One town council is taking the reports so seriously it is offering a $1m (£609,000) reward to anyone who can prove the existence of a mermaid in its waters.
Kiryat Yam municipality, near Haifa, says it has been told of dozens of sightings in the past few months.
"Many people are telling us they are sure they've seen a mermaid and they are all independent of each other," council spokesman Natti Zilberman told Sky News.
The nautical nymph is only seen in the evening at sunset, according to media reports, drawing crowds of people with cameras hoping for a glimpse.
"People say it is half girl, half fish, jumping like a dolphin. It does all kinds of tricks then disappears," Mr Zilberman said.
Asked whether a dolphin or large fish could be a more rational explanation, he insisted: "They say it is a female figure, it looks like a young girl."
The council denied its offer of a reward was a publicity stunt, but said it hoped to nurture the mermaid as something which could bring in more tourists.
Capturing a mermaid is not necessary, a verifiable photograph will do, Mr Zilberman said.
Asked if the council can afford the payout, he told Sky News: "I believe, if there really is a mermaid, then so many people and tourists will come to Kiryat Yam, a lot more money will be made than a $1m.

Is Lady Gaga a Hermaphrodite or a Man? New gossip prevails on the web whether what happened to her hermaphrodite ‘Proof Picture’ anyway. Not very far ago, the web pages were filled with Lady Gaga’s pictures and articles all focusing on only one thing; Lady Gaga had a Cock! And to prove this, a particular picture was highlighted to show the ‘thing’ by or from a maximum possible clear angle.

Then there were few statements attributed to Lady Gaga, clearly claiming that she has admitted: “Yes, I was born as Hermaphrodite and yes, I have a penis too, very small though. And that I was born with both male and female genitals.”

So was it all only disinformation? Was it an attempt to demoralize someone? On the other hand, was it just mockery of the situation? Shall we believe that a hermaphrodite picture was actually a man’s picture?

Lady Gaga’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and a lot has been said about her in recent past. The internet is a place where rumors have more weight than the real news and the speculations are always the offspring of these rumors. But in Lady’s case, the rumor has got some weight, a proof, the Glastonbury “Money Honey” video.

Iin a particular scene where she is wearing something like mini dress which helped the “Evil Genius” to advocate his/her point more strongly, there was some bulging object down there that caught the eyes of viewers especially when the rumor surfaced afterwards. Is it not enough proof? Have we really been praising the King of the Charts and not the Queen?

However, whatever was shown or was tried to be shown, was all imagination, as stated by Lady Gaga’s Manager.

A Russian tourist sparked a security alert when she threw a mug at the Mona Lisa, the world's best-known painting, officials at Louvre Museum in Paris have revealed.

Screams erupted from the 40-odd tourists jostling for position around Leonardo da Vinci's enigmatic painted lady when the empty terracotta mug flew over their heads and smashed into the portrait.

The Russian woman is thought to have bought it minutes earlier at the museum gift shop.

However, the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile was unaffected by the commotion, as the mug bounced harmlessly off the bullet-proof glass shielding her and shattered on the floor, according to the team of staff paid to guard her.

"There was no damage done to the painting whatsoever," a museum official told Le Parisien.

"Naturally the Mona Lisa is a carefully watched and protected painting. It is kept in a special sealed box to protect it from vibrations, heat and humidity. It is protected by thick glass resistant to bullets and any other object hurled at it," he said.

The woman was seized by two museum security guards and handed over to central Paris police after the incident on August 2.

The remaining tourists were then left in peace to gaze at the work, viewed by 8.5 million people each year.

The Russian is being held in custody and has reportedly undergone a psychological examination.

Doctors were trying to assess whether she was suffering from Stendhal Syndrome, a rare condition in which often perfectly sane individuals momentarily lose all reason and attack a work of art.

In July last year, a 32-year-old woman wearing lipstick kissed a painting by the American artist Cy Twombly on display in Avignon, leaving left a large red smudge. She was sentenced to community work.

At the Orsay Museum in Paris the previous year, a man ripped a hole in a painting by impressionist Claude Monet.

The last attack on a work of art at the Louvre was in 1998, when a mathematics professor and calm family man suddenly attacked a statue of the Roman philosopher Seneca with a hammer.

The Mona Lisa is the only painting ever to have been stolen from the Louvre, in 1911, and then recovered.

In 1956, it was damaged when a vandal threw acid over it while it was on display at a museum in Montauban, in France.

The same year, a Bolivian man threw a rock at the painting, damaging paintwork below the Mona Lisa's left elbow.

The painting belongs to the French state.

MIAMI — Hurricane Felicia is getting stronger far out in the Pacific and is expected to absorb a weakened Tropical Storm Enrique.

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Felicia’s maximum sustained winds Wednesday have increased to near 105 mph. Felicia is expected to become a major hurricane later Wednesday.

Felicia is centered about 1,365 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula and is moving west-northwest near 12 mph.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Enrique has maximum sustained winds near 50 mph and is expected to weaken and be absorbed by Felicia. Enrique is centered about 825 miles west-southwest of Baja California and is moving west-northwest near 15 mph.


The Human/Dog Hybrid photos that resurface and make the rounds every now and then on email sharing lists and blogs are back. I remember seeing this photo shared a few years ago.

The human dog hybrid is a real photograph, not shopped, of one of the works of Australian sculptor, Patricia Piccinini. It’s her interpertation of what a creature would look like if human and animal DNA were successfully combined. The sculpture is actually from 2002-2003 and it’s name is “The Young Family” and is part of a larger collection of work called “We Are Family.”

An image of what appears to be a mysterious rocky monument on Mars has excited space junkies around the world.

The 'monolith', was snapped from 165miles away using a special high resolution camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

After being published on the website Lunar Explorer Italia, it set tongues wagging with space buffs questioning whether there was once life on the Red Planet.

How the experts see it: The original HiRISE satellite image supplied to Mail Online by the University of Arizona showing a close up of what appears to be a 'monolith' on Mars

How the science junkies saw it: Three images of the 'monolith' (close, closer, closest) as they appeared on the website Lunar Explorer Italia

But scientists at the University of Arizona, who captured the original image, reckon it's just an unremarkable boulder, which could measure up to five metres across.

Yisrael Spinoza, a spokesman for the HiRISE department of the university's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, gave Mail Online the original image so readers can make up their own minds.

He said: 'It would be unwise to refer to it as a "monolith" or "structure" because that implies something artificial, like it was put there by someone for example.

From further away: The circled area show where the rectangular feature was discovered

'In reality it's more likely that this boulder has been created by breaking away from the bedrock to create a rectangular-shaped feature.'

The image seems to resemble the black monolith that appears during key moments of man's evolution in the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The original image, taken last July, was published again this week on the University of Arizona's HiRISE website on the 'spotlight' page which seems to have led to the renewed interest.

'Is it possible that there used to be an ancient civilization on Mars?' former Montreal radio presenter David Tyler asked on his blog.

'Is it possible that NASA already knows the answer? Could this be the final straw for disclosure?'

The black monolith appears at turning points of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey directed by Stanley Kubrick

A monolith found on Phobos (l) was described recently by Buzz Aldrin, pictured here in his Apollo space suit

But speaking about the satellite picture scientist Alfred McEwen, the principal investigator from the University of Arizona's HiRISE department, said: 'There are lots of rectangular boulders on Earth and Mars and other planets.

'Layering from rock deposition combined with tectonic fractures creates right-angle planes of weakness such that rectangular blocks tend to weather out and separate from the bedrock.'

Fuel was added to the flames after Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, alluded to a similar monolith detected on Mars' moon Phobos.

Speaking on a U.S. cable television channel last week he said: 'We should visit the moons of Mars.

'There's a monolith there - a very unusual structure on this little potato shaped object that goes around Mars once every seven hours.

An image sent by the Viking spacecraft in 1976 seemed to show a human-like face on the surface of Mars

'When people find out about that they are going to say, "Who put that there? Who put that there?" Well the universe put it there, or if you choose God put it there.'

In 2007 the Canadian Space Agency funded a study for an unmanned mission to Phobos known as PRIME (Phobos Reconnaissance and International Mars Exploration).

The building-sized monolith is the main proposed landing site but not because scientists suspect UFO activity. They believe the object is a boulder exposed relatively recently in an otherwise featureless area of the asteroid-like moon.
Justify Full
PRIME investigator Dr Alan Hildebrand said it could answer questions about the moon's composition and history.

'If we can get to that object, we likely don’t need to go anywhere else,' he told his science team.

The fact it seems to resemble a rectangular monument could be due to simulacra. This is where humans see familar images in random surroundings such as the famous 'Face of Mars', which is actually just a hilly and cratered area.

Rare Buddhist treasures, not seen for more than 70 years, have been unearthed in the Gobi Desert.

The historic artefacts were buried in the 1930s during Mongolia's Communist purge, when hundreds of monasteries were looted and destroyed.

The relics include statues, art work, manuscripts and personal belongings of a famous 19th Century Buddhist master.

The leader of the search team, Michael Eisenriegler, described it as an "adventure of a lifetime".

A total of 64 crates of treasures were buried in the desert by a monk named Tudev, in an attempt to save them from the ransacking of the Mongolian and Soviet armies.

They belonged to Buddhist master Danzan Ravjaa and only Tudev knew where they were hidden. He passed on the secret to his grandson who dug up some of the boxes in the 1990s and opened a museum.

The current Austrian-Mongolian treasure hunt team found two more boxes. Mr Eisenriegler told the BBC World Service they were filled with "the most amazing Buddhist art objects".

"It is of tremendous value for Mongolian culture because Buddhism was almost extinct in the Communist times, especially in the 1930s.

"I'm totally exhausted right now but I'm also totally impressed with what I've seen."

The latest finds will be put on show at the Danzan Ravjaa Museum in Sainshand, 400km (250 miles) south of the Mongolian capital, Ulan Bator.

About 20 boxes remain hidden in the desert.

The latest rumors out of the Euro-basketball world is that the Greek basketball club Olympiakos is set to offer Allen Iverson a 2-year deal worth an estimated $10 milllion. That deal would be the same proposed offer that Nate Robinson recently turned down and would be about equal to the NBA’s mid-level exception that NBA teams are offering him.

I’m sure Iverson’s feelings of not being wanted by any NBA squad might put this Olympiakos offer into serious consideration. If he accepted, Iverson would be an instant star overseas and would push Josh Childress’ European stardom back to just being that dude on the court with the ‘fro.

Date: August 01 2009

An earthenware vessel from the time of Jesus Christ bearing a rare inscription has been found at a dig in Jerusalem.

‘‘It is possible that this type of vessel was used by Jesus to wash his hands before eating,’’ said Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist and author of The Final Days of Jesus.

Similar artefacts have been found at the dig just outside Jerusalem’s Old City, but what makes this one rare is the writing engraved on it. The letters — either ancient Hebrew or Aramaic — are legible, though the meaning of the 10 lines of text is yet to be deciphered.

In a daring experiment in Europe, scientists used mosquitoes as flying needles to deliver a "vaccine" of live malaria parasites through their bites. The results were astounding: Everyone in the vaccine group acquired immunity to malaria; everyone in a non-vaccinated comparison group did not, and developed malaria when exposed to the parasites later.

The study was only a small proof-of-principle test, and its approach is not practical on a large scale. However, it shows that scientists may finally be on the right track to developing an effective vaccine against one of mankind's top killers. A vaccine that uses modified live parasites just entered human testing.

"Malaria vaccines are moving from the laboratory into the real world," Dr. Carlos Campbell wrote in an editorial accompanying the study in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. He works for PATH, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, a Seattle-based global health foundation.

The new study "reminds us that the whole malaria parasite is the most potent immunizing" agent, even though it is harder to develop a vaccine this way and other leading candidates take a different approach, he wrote.

Malaria kills nearly a million people each year, mostly children under 5 and especially in Africa. Infected mosquitoes inject immature malaria parasites into the skin when they bite; these travel to the liver where they mature and multiply. From there, they enter the bloodstream and attack red blood cells — the phase that makes people sick.

People can develop immunity to malaria if exposed to it many times. The drug chloroquine can kill parasites in the final bloodstream phase, when they are most dangerous.

Scientists tried to take advantage of these two factors, by using chloroquine to protect people while gradually exposing them to malaria parasites and letting immunity develop.

They assigned 10 volunteers to a "vaccine" group and five others to a comparison group. All were given chloroquine for three months, and exposed once a month to about a dozen mosquitoes — malaria-infected ones in the vaccine group and non-infected mosquitoes in the comparison group.

That was to allow the "vaccine" effect to develop. Next came a test to see if it was working.

All 15 stopped taking chloroquine. Two months later, all were bitten by malaria-infected mosquitoes. None of the 10 in the vaccine group developed parasites in their bloodstreams; all five in the comparison group did.

The study was done in a lab at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and was funded by two foundations and a French government grant.

"This is not a vaccine" as in a commercial product, but a way to show how whole parasites can be used like a vaccine to protect against disease, said one of the Dutch researchers, Dr. Robert Sauerwein.

"It's more of an in-depth study of the immune factors that might be able to generate a very protective type of response," said Dr. John Treanor, a vaccine specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., who had no role in the study.

The concept already is in commercial development. A company in Rockville, Md. — Sanaria Inc. — is testing a vaccine using whole parasites that have been irradiated to weaken them, hopefully keeping them in an immature stage in the liver to generate immunity but not cause illness.

Two other reports in the New England Journal show that resistance is growing to artemisinin, the main drug used against malaria in the many areas where chloroquine is no longer effective. Studies in Thailand and Cambodia found the malaria parasite is less susceptible to artemisinin, underscoring the urgent need to develop a vaccine.