"You are a steely-eyed hero," radioed STS-127 Commander Mark Polansky as fellow astronaut Alan Poindexter radioed the go for a deorbit burn from Mission Control Center-Houston.
A few tropical showers within 30 nautical miles of the shuttle landing strip at KSC briefly threatened the first landing attempt, but moved away in time for the deorbit burn at 9:41 a.m. EDT. Polansky's remark apparently was a reference to the repeated weather delays he and his crew endured before their July 15 liftoff.
Endeavour's two Orbital Maneuvering System engines fired for two minutes, 51 seconds to slow the shuttle enough for it to drop out of orbit and back into the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean. The route back to Florida took the seven astronauts onboard north from the South Pacific, over Costa Rica, Cuba and South Florida to a broad left turn into Runway 15 at KSC. Touchdown came at 10:48 a.m.
"Congratulations on a superb mission from beginning to end," Poindexter radioed as the wheels stopped. "Very well done."
"That's what it's all about," Polansky said. "We're very happy to be home."
The landing wrapped up one of the most complex orbital spaceflight missions to date, combining five spacewalks with a series of intricate maneuvers to install and outfit the exposed facility on Japan's Kibo laboratory module, deliver three large station spare parts against the day when the shuttle will no longer be flying, and replace the oldest set of six batteries on the orbiting facility.
Reported to be between two and five feet long, the deep-red coloured worm is said to resemble the intestines of a cow and sprays a yellow acidic saliva substance at its victims, who if they’re unlucky enough to be within touching distance also receive an electric shock powerful enough to kill a camel… or them.
Given the latin name Allghoi khorkhoi, the Mongolian Death Worm was first referred to by American paleontologist Professor Roy Chapman Andrews (apparently the inspiration for the Indiana Jones character) in his book On the Trail of Ancient Man, in 1926 but he didn’t appear to be entirely convinced about the whole idea. Even though locals were desperate to relay events of when the dreaded worm struck, Andrews writes: “None of those present ever had seen the creature, but they all firmly believed in its existence and described it minutely.” But it wasn’t to stop other inquisitive adventurers taking up the investigative mantle when Andrews was no longer interested, or able to pursue the matter.
Only a few years ago, in 2005, a group of English scientists and cryptozoologists spent a month in the hostile Gobi desert searching for the fabled creature, and although they spoke to a number of Mongolians in the area, all of whom regaled wondrous stories of the worm, no one could verify they had seen the creature first-hand. Even still, after four weeks the team had gathered enough verbal evidence to be convinced that the worm really does exist. Lead researcher, Richard Freeman, said: “Every eyewitness account and story we have heard describes exactly the same thing: a red-brown worm-like snake, approximately two feet long and two inches thick with no discernable head or back (tail).”
Today, it is Ivan Mackerle, a self-made cryptozoologist who travels the world in search of scientific evidence that proves creatures like the Loch Ness monster and Mongolian Death Worm exist. As a boy he read the stories of the Russian paleontologist Yefremov, who wrote about a worm, which resembled a bloody intestine, that could grow to the length of a small man and mysteriously kill people at great distance, possibly with poison or electricity.
Mackerle says: “I thought it was only science fiction. But when I was in university, we had a Mongolian student in our class. I asked him, ‘Do you know what this is, the Allghoi khorkhoi?’ I was waiting for him to start laughing, to say that’s nothing. But he leaned in, like he had a secret, and said, ‘I know it. It is a very strange creature.’”
So Does the Mongolian Death Worm really exist, and what if it does?
This insistence by locals that worm is a reality will continue to fuel inquisitive minds and as long as open-mindedness remains a fair virtue, we’re prepared to wait a little longer for empirical proof of its existence.
Just remember, if you do decide to go Death Worm hunting in the Gobi desert, don’t wear yellow, seemingly that’s the color that sends our wrinkly friend into one its trademark electrifying, spitting freak outs. Don’t say we didn’t warm you.
The anti-ageing pill was created from a chemical found in the soil of Easter Island - one of the most remote and mysterious places on the planet.
In tests on animals, the chemical increased life expectancy by a staggering 38 per cent.
While the breakthrough sounds like something out of science fiction, scientists say the discovery is a major leap towards longer lives for everyone.
The drug, rapamycin, is already used to suppress the immune systems of organ transplant patients.
It is also employed in heart operations and is being tested for its anti-cancer properties.
The scientists believe that the drug could be developed within a decade.
Dr Arlan Richardson, who led the research at the University of Texas, said: 'I never thought we would find an anti-ageing pill for people in my lifetime. However, rapamycin shows a great deal of promise to do just that.'
An anti-ageing pill is a Holy Grail for medical research and its development would have major repercussions for society.
In a world where people routinely live to 90 and 100, retirement ages would need to creep forward into the 70s while extended life spans would put enormous pressures on healthcare, housing and social services - as well as marriages.
The implications of a such a pill also depends on the quality of those extra years.
If an ageing drug delays every aspect of getting old, then users could enjoy 100 years of good health.
But if it simply postpones death, they could find their last few decades blighted by failing eyesight, hearing loss, frailty and dementia.
Rapamycin was discovered in the 1970s during a worldwide search for new antibiotics.
The chemical is produced by a microbe that lives in the Easter Island soil.
In its current form, the drug is too dangerous to hand out as an anti-ageing pill.
The compound suppresses the immune system and makes patients vulnerable to any viruses and bacteria.
The existing version of the drug also increases the risk of cancer and would need to be modified before using in human trials.
However, researchers believe the new discovery will lead them to similar - but less harmful - anti-therapies.
In the study, reported today in the journal Nature, scientists tested rapamycin on nearly 2,000 laboratory mice aged around 600 days - roughly the equivalent to a 60-year-old person.
Around a quarter of the mice were given a normal diet, the others the Easter Island chemical.
The drug increased the maximum life span of the mice from 1,094 days to 1,245 days for females, and from 1,078 to 1,179 days for males.
From the point the mice began the treatment, the drug extended the females' life expectancy by 38 per cent, and males by 28 per cent. Overall it expanded their life span by 9 to 14 per cent.
What amazed the scientists is that the drug worked even though the mice started to be given it only in middle and old age.
Until now, scientists have developed just two ways of extending the life span of mammals.
One is to tinker with their genes, the other to restrict their diet.
Repeated studies have shown that cutting calories can make animals and people live longer.
Experts believe that rapamycin - which acts on a protein in cells called TOR - might fool the body into thinking that calories are being restricted. British scientists described the findings as exciting - but stressed that rapamycin weakens the immune system, exposing patients to potentially dangerous diseases.
In its current form, an extended life span would come at the cost of having to live in a germ-free tent.
Researchers want to find another more subtle drug target that extends life, but which does not damage the immune system.
Dr Lynne Cox, researcher in ageing at Oxford University, said: 'In no way should anyone consider using this particular drug to try to extend their own life span as rapamycin suppresses immunity. While the lab mice were protected from infection, that's simply impossible in the human population.
'What the study does is to highlight an important molecular pathway that new, more specific drugs might be designed to work on.
'Whether it's a sensible thing to try to increase life span this way is another matter: Perhaps increasing health span rather than overall life span might be a better goal.'
He was born at 4:56 p.m. on July, 8, 2009, at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa. His parents were thrilled with their healthy, handsome bundle of joy, but they didn't immediately realize the significance of the timing.
"They pulled him out and said, 'Time of birth, 4:56 on 7/8. Oh, wait a second! 4,5,6,7,8,9!" explained new father Kenny Shepherd.
The numerological coincidence doesn't end there. Mother Jen Shepherd said little Van's birth weight was 7 pounds, 8 ounces. What are the odds?
"It's a fun, new adventure for us," the proud mother told Fox 5. "It's great that we have a fun date and all that stuff to look back on."
Van's due date was originally July 7, so Van's parents didn't think about it. Now they are now wondering if numbers will play a role in little Van's future.
"A CPA would not be too bad. Then he can support us when we get old," Kenny Shepherd said with a laugh.
As for baby 456789, the special birth date doesn't appear to have made much of an impression yet, his mother said.
"He's not interested in anything but sleeping." Jen Shepherd told Fox 5.
Expectant parents have at least one more interesting date to shoot for this year. Numerologists say Sept. 9 at 9:09 a.m. would also be a fine time to enter the world.
Daily I will bring you the update of every Tour De France 2009 stage as well as the General Classification Standings.
Tour De France 2009 Overall Standings after Stage 8
1. NOCENTINI Rinaldo AG2R-LA MONDIALE 25h 44′ 32″
2. CONTADOR Alberto ASTANA + 00′ 06″
3. ARMSTRONG Lance ASTANA + 00′ 08″
4. LEIPHEIMER Levi ASTANA + 00′ 39″
5. WIGGINS Bradley GARMIN - SLIPSTREAM + 00′ 46″
6. KLÖDEN Andréas ASTANA + 00′ 54″
7. MARTIN Tony TEAM COLUMBIA - HTC + 01′ 00″
8. VANDE VELDE Christian GARMIN - SLIPSTREAM + 01′ 24″
9. SCHLECK Andy TEAM SAXO BANK + 01′ 49″
10. NIBALI Vincenzo LIQUIGAS + 01′ 54″
Mr Singh, 33, has had three transplant operations after donations from his two sisters and mother.
However, after the first two failed, doctors decided to leave the non-functioning organs inside him.
Mr Singh has received his latest kidney from his 55-year-old mother and is determined that this time the transplant will work.
Mr Singh had his first transplant in 2002 after both his kidney's suddenly failed.
The organ, which was donated by his older sister, Harjindar Kaur, 36, functioned for more than a year.
"However, my body rejected the kidney once I stopped post-operation medication because of financial constraints," he said.
Two years later, Mr Singh received another kidney, this time from his younger sister, Ranvir Kaur, 27. After 14 months, he was placed back on dialysis, after his body rejected the organ of yet another family member.
While discussing his latest transplant, Mr Singh cited his family's "determination to see me live," adding, "this time my mother, 55, gave me her bean shaped organ."
Amar Kaur, 56, offered to donate knowing it was her son's last chance.
"The new kidney is functioning properly so for," said Mr Singh, who lives in the Punjab. "But presently I am on heavy medication. It will become more clear after I cut down my medication in six months.
"It is very difficult to explain how much I have suffered. Sometimes I could not work for months at a time. I couldn't go far from my home or eat outside."
Doctors from India's National Kidney Hospital were so moved by the young photographer's story and the determination of his family, who spent £11,500 (Rs 900,000), that they performed Mr Singh's most recent transplant surgery for free.
"I was not able to afford the surgeries myself by running a photography shop. But I am thankful to my family. They sold their farmland to pay for my surgeries. My father sold about eight acres of land. "
Mr Singh's family makes a modest living - his brother is a driver and his father sells milk.
"I hope my body doesn't reject this kidney," he said. I do not know what to do if worst happens but still I have hopes on my family, on my brother and father.
"My sisters and my mother happily donated their kidneys for me. They were not scared at all and voluntarily did it.
"My sister told me, 'You are my brother and I will try to save your life even at the cost of my own life.' This really moved me. I cannot give them back anything in return.
"I cannot explain it in words and there is no way that I can pay them back. My life is indebted to them and it is their greatness that I am still living."
Regal FC Barcelona Montepaschi Siena Cibona Zagreb Fenerbahce Ulker Zalgiris Kaunas ASVEL Lyon Villeurbanne
Olympiacos Piraeus Partizan Belgrade Unicaja Efes Pilsen Istanbul Lietuvos Rytas (qualifying team TBD)
CSKA Moscow Tau Ceramica Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv Virtus Roma Union Olimpija Ljubljana (qualifying team TBD)
Panthinaikos Athens Real Madrid Armani Jeans Milano Asseco Prokom BC Khimki Moscow region EWE Baskets Oldenburg
Over the next few days, BallinEurope.com will take a more in-depth look at each group, team by team, but for now … Oh, the questions! Oh, the speculation! Which bunch could become known as the “Group of Death,” A or C? How much damage can Zalgiris Kaunas do against the generally bigger teams in Group A? How much would Greek fans dig seeing either Maroussi Athens or Aris Thessaloniki – the teams meet in the first round of the qualifying tournament and draw the winner of Le Mans-ALBA Berlin – in that Group B with Olympiacos?
And finally, how long is it before the season starts?
Tour De France 2009 Standings.
Daily I will bring you the update of every Tour De France 2009 stage as well as the General Classification Standings. Will Lance Armstrong capture his 8th title as he returns. In the process of writing Lance Armstrong is just 0.18 seconds behind the leader Fabian Cancellara.
Tour De France 2009 Standings After Stage 4
Standing Rider Gaps
1. CANCELLARA Fabian
2. ARMSTRONG Lance + 00′ 00″
3. CONTADOR Alberto + 00′ 19″
4. KLÖDEN Andréas + 00′ 23″
5. LEIPHEIMER Levi + 00′ 31″
6. WIGGINS Bradley + 00′ 38″
7. ZUBELDIA Haimar + 00′ 51″
8. MARTIN Tony 76 + 00′ 52″
9. ZABRISKIE David + 01′ 06″
10. MILLAR David 56 + 01′ 07″
Rumors of a prior burial were fueled when the Jacksons left Staples and went to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for a private reception with family and friends. The coffin remained at Staples Center.
The White House, Defense Department and New York stock exchange were all hit by the attack that started on July 4.
An analysis of the software used revealed its targets also included the National Security Agency, the Nasdaq stock market and the Washington Post.
Many of the organisations appear to have warded off the attack.
In South Korea, the presidential Blue House and Defence Ministry, National Assembly fell victim.
US officials have not released details of the attack.
Ben Rushlo, head of internet technologies at web performance firm Keynote Systems described it as a "massive outage".
Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said the body's US Computer Emergency Readiness Team told federal departments about the issue and of steps "to mitigate against such attacks".
Recently the US homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano told the BBC that protecting against virtual attacks was a matter of "great concern" and something the US was "moving forward on with great alacrity".
The attacks in South Korea seemed to be connected to the attack of US government services, said Ahn Jeong-eun, a spokesperson at Korea's Information Security Agency.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency is reporting that North Korea may be behind Tuesday's cyber attack.
The country's National Intelligence Service (NIS) suspects North Korea or its sympathisers may have been behind the attack, according to sources who spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity.
It will present a report to the parliamentary intelligence committee on Thursday.
The attack slowed down and, in some cases, shut government websites, including the site of the presidential office, for several hours.
Researchers led by Professor Karim Nayernia at Newcastle University and the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) developed a new technique that allows the creation of human sperm in the laboratory.
They stressed that the sperm, developed from stem cells with XY chromosomes (male), would not be used for fertility treatment, as this is prohibited by British law and in any case is not their main interest.
"This is an important development as it will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men - why it happens and what is causing it," Professor Nayernia said.
"This understanding could help us develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own."
He said more investigation was needed to decide whether the so-called in-vitro derived (IVD) sperm, could be used as a fertility treatment, for example for boys who became infertile after receiving chemotherapy for cancer.
While such a treatment would not likely be developed for at least a decade, Professor Nayernia said legislation should be put in place "sooner rather than later" to allow the technique to be licensed.
The team's work involved developing stem cells that had XY chromosomes into germline cells - cells that can can pass their genetic material to future generations.
These were then prompted to complete meiosis, or cell division, which then produced "fully mature, functional sperm."
Stem cells are immature cells that can develop into different cell types.
The scientists tried to develop cells with XX chromosomes (female) in the same way but they did not progress beyond early stage sperm, called spermatagonia. The team concluded that the genes on a Y chromosome are essential for sperm maturation.
The research, published in the journal Stem Cells and Development, could also lead to a better understanding of how genetic diseases are passed on.
However other scientists expressed doubt about the work.
"As a sperm biologist of 20 years' experience, I am unconvinced from the data presented in this paper that the cells produced by Professor Nayernia's group from embryonic stem cells can be accurately called 'spermatozoa'," said Dr Allen Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield.
"While the cells produced may possess some of the distinctive genetic features and molecular markers seen in sperm, fully differentiated human spermatozoa have specific cellular morphology, behaviour and function that are not described here."
Authorities did not immediately say where Burris was from.
“We have him. He’s our serial killer,” Dolan said Monday night.
Authorities said Burris has had several encounters with law enforcement over the years.
Dolan said the physical evidence leaves no doubt the slain suspect was the person who shot five people to death over six days. But investigators still have no idea why he started the killing spree June 27.
The citizens of Gaffney, SC can sleep more sound tonight knowing that the man who terrorized their community by killing 5 unsuspecting victims is himself dead tonight.
“We believe a killer is off the streets,” Lloyd said.
Burris was killed early Monday morning in Dallas, North Carolina, after police received a call about a possible burglary in progress, officers there said. At a news conference Monday evening, investigators described him as a “habitual felon” with a record in several states and who was on probation at the time he was killed.
South Carolina Serial Killer Suspect Is Dead, Police Say
The suspect was identified as Patrick Tracy Burris, 41, who was wanted for parole violations. The weapon he used last night in the North Carolina burglary matched the weapon used in the South Carolina shooting, said Gaffney County Sheriff Bill Blanton at a news conference Monday night. The suspect has numerous convictions for armed robbery, weapons possession, forgery and possessing stolen goods.
Future tourist destination “Through Serbia on mammoths’ paths” is a great opportunity for development of Serbian cultural tourism. It could attract over 200,000 visitors on monthly basis.
“Discovery of Vika can be compared to winning billion euros on lottery. BBC stopped broadcasting regular news in order to announce the news about the whole skeleton of a mammoth found in Serbia. Last week reporters from ‘Financial Times” were our guests and all world media reported about this discovery. Possibilities offered by science and culture can easily be used for the development of economy and bring money. The important question is how to take advantage of the great interest for Vika and offer tourists a true adventure in Serbia,” says Miomir Korac, PhD, a director of Viminacium.
According the Ministry of Economy and Tourism, cultural tourism in Serbia is becoming more and more important owing to epochal archeological discoveries. They think that following examples in Europe, we can easily unite archeological discoveries with the local tourist offer in a significant tour. We should connect all locations where mammoths were found and enrich them with attractive tourist activities and together with “Mammoth Paths”, “The Paths of Roman Emperors” and “The Danube Fortresses” or “Wine Tour” make a tourist hit in Serbia.
“This route would have a significant place for the development of the smaller companies (trades, souvenirs), employment of local residents (animators, interpreters) and the promotion of new gastronomic specialties with authentic names. Archeological skeletons of mammoths exist in some European countries, but the mammoth from Kostolac is definitely the most attractive one. Serbia could be the first European country which could include the mammoth’s route, according to the Ministry of Economy and Tourism.
A share of cultural tourism in an overall world turnover is even 19,3 per cent, which is more than in the car industry.
“It would be enough if only a part of 270,000 cyclists who pass through Serbia on the way from the Atlantic to the black Sea are intrigued to see our mammoths and start “The Paths of Roman Emperors”, and we will already have a significant profit. Of course, accommodation and infrastructure are important issues, but every investment is definitely profitable. The first archeological tourist center “Domus Scientiarum” in Viminacium will have its first guests in 2010 and it is only one of the numerous buildings which we need,” says professor Korac, adding that the world cultural funds will support this project, but the present application can bring the investments in a year at best. That is the reason why all ministries, tourist organizations and business people should be involved in the promotion of this project.
“The cultural path is a serious cultural product which thematically connects several interesting destinations in one or more countries and can bring much bigger profit than it is the case with separate cultural destinations. Tourists have a possibility to learn more about a historical or cultural epoch, about the country they are visiting, its residents, customs, specialties and have a great time,” says Borislav Surdic, the head of the sector for international relations of the Ministry of Culture.
However, The Ministry of Culture is not able to deal with the question of the mammoth’s path, because according to Minister Nebojsa Bradic, their priority is taking care of medieval monuments in Kosovo and Metohija and other parts of Serbia. On the other hand, people from the Ministry of Economy say that they could include this project in their financial plan for the next year.
The Codex Sinaiticus was hand-written by four scribes in Greek on animal hide, known as vellum, in the mid-fourth century around the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great who embraced Christianity.
Not all of it has withstood the ravages of time, but the pages that have include the whole of the New Testament and the earliest surviving copy of the Gospels written at different times after Christ's death by the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The Bible's remaining 800 pages and fragments -- it was originally some 1,400 pages long -- also contain half of a copy of the Old Testament. The other half has been lost.
"The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world's greatest written treasures," said Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library.
"This 1,600-year-old manuscript offers a window into the development of early Christianity and first-hand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation," he said.
The texts include numerous revisions, additions and corrections made during its evolution down through the ages.
"The Codex ...is arguably the oldest large bound book to have survived," said McKendrick, pointing out that each page is 16 inches tall by 14 inches wide.
"Critically, it marks the definite triumph of bound codices over (papyrus) scrolls -- a key watershed in how the Christian Bible was regarded as a sacred text," he said.
The ancient parchments, which appear almost translucent, are a collection of sections held by the British Library in London, the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, Egypt, the National Library of Russia and Leipzig University Library in Germany.
Each institution owns different amounts of the manuscript, but the British Library, which digitised the delicate pages of the entire book in London, holds by far the most.
The four-year joint project, which began in 2005 with the aim of "virtually reunifying" and preserving the Bible, as well as undertaking new research into its history, has shed new light on who made it and how it was produced.
Importantly, experts at the British Library say, the project has uncovered evidence that a fourth scribe -- along with the three already recognized -- worked on the texts.
The assembly and transcription of the book includes previously unpublished pages of the Codex found in a blocked-off room at St. Catherine's Monastery, at the foot of Mount Moses, Sinai, in 1975, some of which are in a poor condition and have been difficult to study.
But there are still many unanswered questions about how the book came to be, said the British Library's Juan Garces, project manager of Greek manuscripts, who worked on the digitization.
For instance, where was it made? Which religious order commissioned it? And how long did it take to produce?
"The limits on access to this manuscript previously have meant that people (academics) have tended to dip, so that they have seized on particular things" to advance theories, McKendrick told Reuters.
He said the website will enable research to be carried out in a holistic way for the first time, forcing top scholars to view their theories in context.
A good example, he said, was evidence advanced by some academics pointing to the theory that it could have been made in the ancient city of Cesarea in Israel.
"It is our hope this will provide the catalyst for new research and it is already creating great interest," Garces told Reuters.
The Bible, which can be viewed online free at www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/ , includes modern Greek translations and some sections translated into English.
The funeral will take place at Forest Lawn Cemetery at 8:00 am (1500 GMT), two hours before the memorial service at the downtown Staples Center, Jan Perry told the local NBC television affiliate Monday.
The funeral would end speculation that the family may wait to clear legal hurdles to bury the King of Pop at his Neverland Ranch, his fantasy estate north of Los Angeles that some fans wanted to turn into a memorial.
Perry, a city councilwoman, is in charge of Los Angeles as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is on vacation in South Africa.
Forest Lawn, located near some Hollywood studios, is one of Los Angeles' best-known cemeteries and is no stranger to celebrities.
Screen legends Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable and Jean Harlow are buried at Forest Lawn.
The cemetery also tries to preserve pre-Hollywood aspects of US history. It features a monument to the country's first president, George Washington.
Jackson's death has unleashed a flurry of fan tributes and media attention, raising fears that his funeral would turn into a circus.
Some 1.6 million people applied for 8,750 registrants to win tickets for the service at the Staples Center arena and a neighboring arena, where the event will be shown on giant screens.
One report said that Jackson's mother Katherine, 79, the guardian of her estate, quashed plans for a procession of his body through Los Angeles, finding the idea ghoulish and traumatic for the King of Pop's three children.
The family had initially considered a funeral at Neverland, some 250 kilometers (150 miles) north of Los Angeles in tony Santa Barbara wine country.
But the plan met opposition in some quarters and presented legal complications as families generally cannot bury bodies in residential areas.
According to the study, the Renaissance artist created the artefact by using pioneering photographic techniques and a sculpture of his own head—in fact, it suggests the image on the relic is da Vinci’s face which could have been projected onto the cloth, The Daily Telegraph reported.
US graphic artist Lillian Schwartz of School of Visual Arts in New York, who came to prominence in the 1980s when she matched the face of the Mona Lisa to a Leonardo self-portrait, used computer scans to show that the face on the Shroud has the same dimensions as that of da Vinci.
“It matched. I’m excited about this. There is no doubt in my mind that the proportions that Leonardo wrote about were used in creating this Shroud’s face,” he was quoted as saying.
The claims are made in a TV documentary that describes how da Vinci could have scorched his facial features on to the linen using a sculpture of his and face and a camera obscura—an early photographic device. The programme says the fabric could have been hung over a frame in a blacked-out room and coated with silver sulphate, a substance readily available in 15th century Italy which would have made it light-sensitive.
When the sun’s rays passed through a lens in one of the walls, da Vinci’s facial shape and features would have been projected on to the material, creating a permanent image.
Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another.
The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.
What's more, people are unwittingly helping the mega-colony stick together.
Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) were once native to South America. But people have unintentionally introduced the ants to all continents except Antarctica.
These introduced Argentine ants are renowned for forming large colonies, and for becoming a significant pest, attacking native animals and crops.
In Europe, one vast colony of Argentine ants is thought to stretch for 6,000km (3,700 miles) along the Mediterranean coast, while another in the US, known as the "Californian large", extends over 900km (560 miles) along the coast of California. A third huge colony exists on the west coast of Japan.
While ants are usually highly territorial, those living within each super-colony are tolerant of one another, even if they live tens or hundreds of kilometres apart. Each super-colony, however, was thought to be quite distinct.
But it now appears that billions of Argentine ants around the world all actually belong to one single global mega-colony.
Researchers in Japan and Spain led by Eiriki Sunamura of the University of Tokyo found that Argentine ants living in Europe, Japan and California shared a strikingly similar chemical profile of hydrocarbons on their cuticles.
But further experiments revealed the true extent of the insects' global ambition.
The team selected wild ants from the main European super-colony, from another smaller one called the Catalonian super-colony which lives on the Iberian coast, the Californian super-colony and from the super-colony in west Japan, as well as another in Kobe, Japan.
They then matched up the ants in a series of one-on-one tests to see how aggressive individuals from different colonies would be to one another.
Ants from the smaller super-colonies were always aggressive to one another. So ants from the west coast of Japan fought their rivals from Kobe, while ants from the European super-colony didn't get on with those from the Iberian colony.
One big family
But whenever ants from the main European and Californian super-colonies and those from the largest colony in Japan came into contact, they acted as if they were old friends.
These ants rubbed antennae with one another and never became aggressive or tried to avoid one another.
In short, they acted as if they all belonged to the same colony, despite living on different continents separated by vast oceans.
The most plausible explanation is that ants from these three super-colonies are indeed family, and are all genetically related, say the researchers. When they come into contact, they recognise each other by the chemical composition of their cuticles.
"The enormous extent of this population is paralleled only by human society," the researchers write in the journal Insect Sociaux, in which they report their findings.
However, the irony is that it is us who likely created the ant mega-colony by initially transporting the insects around the world, and by continually introducing ants from the three continents to each other, ensuring the mega-colony continues to mingle.
"Humans created this great non-aggressive ant population," the researchers write.
A tissue sample of the creature will be sent to a researcher in Ontario for DNA testing, and the carcass itself will be examined by a scientist in Alberta.
The remains were found two weeks ago by Kelowna resident Dan Poppoff as he paddled his kayak near the far end of Lakeshore Road. For now, he’s still got the carcass, which measures more than a metre-long in his freezer at home.
Poppoff is reluctant to suggest the strange-looking carcass might be an example of an Ogopogo, the legendary inhabitants of Okanagan Lake. But he is interested in finding out just what it is. He contacted Arlene Gaal, a Kelowna woman who was written extensively on Ogopogo sightings over the years.
Gaal is making arrangements to send the tissue sample and carcass to the two researchers, who she declines to identify.
“If I name them, people will be calling them left and right, and they won’t be able to get on with the business of determining just what this creature is,” Gaal said late in June.
“But I can assure you that both of them are very reputable people, experts in their fields. Both of them are attached to universities,” Gaal said.
Gaal isn’t sure when the results of the investigation will be available, but she hopes it will be fairly soon.
Astrophysicists identified what appears to be the first-ever medium-sized black hole, pictured in an artist’s rendition above, with a mass at least 500 times that of our Sun. Researchers from the Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements in France detected the middling hole in a galaxy about 290 million light-years from Earth.
The discovery may shed some light on the origins of super-sized black holes like the one at the center of our own galaxy. These astral heavyweights top out at several million to several billion times the mass of the Sun, but their origin remains a mystery.
Small black holes, between three and 20 times the mass of the sun, are created when big stars collapse and leave behind a gravitational pull strong enough to block nearby light rays. Researchers have speculated that super-massive black holes result from the successive fusion of many smaller black holes. But without finding evidence of a medium-size hole, it was a tough theory to prove.
“The existence of such intermediate-mass black holes is in dispute,” the French scientists wrote Wednesday in Nature, “and though many candidates have been proposed, none are widely accepted as definitive.”
The new discovery is the most convincing evidence to date that medium black holes exist. Using the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray space telescope, the researchers identified a radiation source that gives off X-rays 260 million times brighter than the radiation of the Sun.
Called “Hyper-Luminous X-ray Source 1,” the structure sits on the edge of galaxy ESO 243-49. Because of the source’s physical characteristics and the pattern of its radiation, the researchers conclude it must be a black hole more than 500 times the mass of the sun: not too big, not too small, and the first of its kind.