Monday, November 08, 2010


This is reaching an EPIC Proportion


Myanmar refugees flee post-election fighting

Group of Myanmar refugees, who crossed over

A group of Myanmar refugees, who crossed over from Myanmar to Thailand when a battle erupted between Myanmar's soldiers and rebels, walk along a street side at the Thai border town of Mae Sot November 8, 2010. A clash erupted between ethnic minority Karen rebels and government soldiers in Myanmar's Myawaddy town opposite the Thai border town of Mae Sot, Reuters witnesses on the Thai side of the border said. Several rockets or mortar bombs fell on the Thai side, a witness said. There were no reports of casualties. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom … Read more »


Myanmar citizens queue up for food

Myanmar citizens queue up for food at the Border Patrol Police base in Thailand's Mae Sot town Monday, Nov. 8, 2010 following fighting between Myanmar soldiers and ethnic Karen fighters. Clashes between rebels and Myanmar government troops have broken out at two key border points a day after the country's first election in two decades. The fighting prompted thousands of refugees to flee into neighboring Thailand.… Read more »

(AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Myanmar citizens gather

Myanmar citizens gather while waiting for food at the Border Patrol Police base in Thailand's Mae Sot town Monday, Nov. 8, 2010 following fighting between Myanmar soldiers and ethnic Karen fighters. Clashes between rebels and Myanmar government troops have broken out at two key border points a day after the country's first election in two decades. The fighting prompted thousands of refugees to flee into neighboring Thailand.… Read more »

(AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Swiss archaeologists find 5,000-year-old door

Swiss archaeologists find 5,000-year-old door

AP – This undated photo provided by the Hochbaudepartment Zurich shows a 5,000-year old door that archaeologists …

GENEVA – Archaeologists in the Swiss city of Zurich have unearthed a 5,000-year-old door that may be one of the oldest ever found in Europe.

The ancient poplar wood door is "solid and elegant" with well-preserved hinges and a "remarkable" design for holding the boards together, chief archaeologist Niels Bleicher said Wednesday.

Using tree rings to determine its age, Bleicher believes the door could have been made in the year 3,063 B.C. — around the time that construction on Britain's world famous Stonehenge monument began.

"The door is very remarkable because of the way the planks were held together," Bleicher told The Associated Press.

Harsh climatic conditions at the time meant people had to build solid wood houses that would keep out much of the cold wind blowing across Lake Zurich, and the door would have helped, he said. "It's a clever design that even looks good."

The door was part of a settlement of so-called "stilt houses" frequently found near lakes about a thousand years after agriculture and animal husbandry were first introduced to the pre-Alpine region.

It is similar to another door found in nearby Pfaeffikon, while a third — found in the 19th century and made from one solid piece of wood — is believed to be even older, possibly dating back to 3,700 B.C., said Bleicher.

The latest find was discovered at the dig for a new underground car park for Zurich's opera house.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Toxic Sludge In Hungary

Second wave of sludge expected in Hungary

'Race against time' to build dam as cracks develop in another part of reservoir that burst Monday news services
updated 10/10/2010 5:56:20 PM ET 2010-10-10 T 21:56:20

The wall of a reservoir filled with caustic red sludge will inevitably collapse and unleash a new deluge of red sludge that could flow about a half-mile to the north, a Hungarian official said Sunday.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Green Entrepreneurs

Turning One Athlete's Trash into a Successful Business

Atayne, based in Portland, ME, gets its raw material through a cheap and dirty strategy -- from the streets, literally.

Cleaning up'

By Alex Davidson

Trashole. Rubber necking. Going mechanic.

Those terms may sound like new snowboarding moves, or even names high-schoolers use in social circles. But, believe it or not, they’re actually part of a successful marketing campaign. They belong to a new vocabulary created by entrepreneur Jeremy Litchfield, founder of a clothing company that makes athletic wear from recyclables.

As a way to hawk his products on the cheap, Litchfield created “Trash Running,” where people, clothed in his Atayne shirts and given roles like “picker” or “holder,” follow marathon runners and collect all types of trash. Not only do they label someone a “trashole” if he drops his water bottle, but they get media attention, raw materials and a captive audience -- all for free.

“We had to come up with unique and free ways to cut through the clutter,” said Litchfield, who started Atayne (pronounced “attain”) in September 2008. “[Trash running] has been such a great opportunity for us. It’s given us a way to get involved with a race but not spend a lot of money.”

Trash Running 4

Saturday, May 29, 2010

USAF successfully launch the new GPS IIF-1 satellite

USAF successfully launch the new GPS IIF-1 satellite

Article by: Mike Barrett
Date: 29 May 2010

pocketgpsworld.comLast night saw the successful launch and deployment of a new generation of GPS satellites the GPS IIF. These satellites are built by Boeing and will enhance the current GPS constellation by adding a further 12 GPS satellites to replace the current ones that are nearing the end of their service life.

This launch was particularly important for a number of reasons: It was to be the first of the new GPS Satellites; It represented a major milestone for the Delta Rockets; and it was to be the first GPS launch on the Delta IV rocket.

The full pre-launch and launch day events follow along with our GPS IIF-1 launch video:

I had arranged to come out to Florida last year to witness this launch but it was postponed from November to February, finally to May 13th. May 13th was a particularly poignant date as this represented the 50th anniversary of the Delta family of rockets. Unfortunately due to the final flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis this date was pushed out to May 20th.

GatorGuy and I were invited by the USAF to attend a pre-launch press conference on launch pad 37 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base 12 hours before the launch. We headed out the the meeting point outside the security barriers of the AFB where we were met by our Air Force escorts (including Dan @AFSpace on Twitter). With about 25 other reporters we were take out to the Launch Complex in a large convoy.

NASA develops new technology to enhance search and rescue operations - ‎May 25, 2010‎

NASA develops new technology to enhance search and rescue operations

Oneindia - ‎May 25, 2010‎

Washington, May 25 (ANI): NASA has developed new technology that will more quickly identify the locations of people in distress and reduce the risk of rescuers.

Buzz up!
The Search and Rescue Mission Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in collaboration with several government agencies, has developed a next-generation search and rescue system, called the Distress Alerting Satellite System (DASS).

NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies, are now completing the development and testing of the new system and expect to make it operational in the coming years after a complete constellation of DASS-equipped satellites is launched.

When it goes online, DASS will be able to almost instantaneously detect and locate distress signals generated by 406 MHz beacons installed on aircraft and vessels or carried by individuals, greatly enhancing the international community's ability to rescue people in distress, said NASA Search and Rescue Mission Manager David Affens.

This improved capability is made possible because the satellite-based instruments used to relay the emergency signals will be installed on the U.S. military's Global Position System (GPS), a constellation of 24 spacecraft operating in mid-Earth orbit (MEO).

Louvre on the Rocks:


Louvre on the Rocks: Cache of Aboriginal Art Revealed

Traci Watson Contributor:
(May 29) -- Archaeologists have revealed the first detailed studies of what some call one of the world's most significant collections of rock art, a treasure trove of more than 3,000 stunning paintings and other images spanning as many as 15,000 years.

The extraordinary cache lies in a remote and sparsely populated region of north-central Australia. Known by the Aboriginal name of Djulirri (rhymes with "Hillary"), the site was until now almost completely unknown to science.

The rock walls of Djulirri bear images of kangaroos, the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger, sailing ships from the 1800s, humans performing a ritual with a snake, European missionaries, even a biplane. In some places there are 20 layers of artworks, one painted atop the other.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Saigon Fell 35 Years Ago, but Its Legacy Endures


Saigon Fell 35 Years Ago, but Its Legacy Endures

Updated: 3 hours 3 minutes ago

(April 30) -- The signal went out at dawn, April 29, 1975 -- Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" on Armed Forces Radio.

Across Saigon, the music set Americans moving toward the U.S. Embassy and a parking lot at Tan Son Nhut air base, where they crammed themselves and whatever they could carry into helicopters sent from Navy ships off the coast.

The final "rush to the door," as the Wall Street Journal put it at the time, was on: 150,000 North Vietnamese troops were on the outskirts of the city, with nothing in the way of their advance.

Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975
Dirck Halstead, Liaison Agency / Getty Images

People flee as Saigon falls to North Vietnam in April 1975.
At 8:35 the next morning -- 35 years ago today -- the last U.S. helicopter and 10 Marines lifted off from the embassy roof. Just over two hours later, a red and blue Viet Cong flag was hoisted above what had been South Vietnam's presidential palace. The war was history.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Robb's Report Resorts

January 01, 2010

Soneva Kiri

The Eco Villa at Six Senses’ new Soneva Kiri resort is best identified by what it lacks: carbon emissions. This environmentally friendly accommodation—which Six Senses intends as a prototype for its future properties—is one of 42 villas at Soneva Kiri, a stylishly sensitive beach resort that opened on Thailand’s Koh Kood Island in November.

Since its launch in 1995, Bangkok-based Six Senses has been committed to eco-friendly building methods. But the environment has never trumped indulgence at the company’s resorts. At the 150-acre Soneva Kiri, butlers service each of the villas, where bathrooms are outdoors but still feature all of the comforts of a marble-laden interior space. Activities at the resort include catamaran excursions on the Gulf of Thailand and evening screenings at Kiri’s over-water theater, Cinema Paradiso. Guests can enjoy contemporary Thai cuisine at the resort’s fine-dining restaurant or in one of several elevated venues called Tree Pods.

Visitors staying in the Eco Villa can select a bottle from the accommodation’s wine cellar to pair with dinner. The villa also features a swimming pond, as well as a bush-filled garden that grows out of a cellulose-insulated roof. Soneva Kiri, +662.631.9777,

Poppy Friedman
Soneva Kiri
Soneva Kiri
Soneva Kiri

Soneva Kiri

Soneva Kiri
Photo by Kiattipong Panchee

Soneva Kiri

Soneva Kiri

Soneva Kiri’s eco-friendly architecture ranges from a sleek four-bedroom suite (shown here) to a whimsical children’s club. Photo by Kiattipong Panchee

Soneva Kiri

Soneva Kiri’s eco-friendly architecture ranges from a sleek four-bedroom suite to a whimsical children’s club (shown here). Photo by Kiattipong Panchee

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fallen School Children, Reverse Boom?

02-03-2010 17:35 
Falling Schoolchildren Numbers

Time to Take Revolutionary Steps to Raise the Birthrate

Many baby boomers will never forget the jam-packed classrooms of their elementary schools. In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, each classroom was overcrowded with as many as 100 children. Schools even employed a three-shift system to force students to take turns for morning, noon and afternoon classes. In those happy old days, schoolchildren often wondered if their teachers could remember all the names of the many attendants. 

The classroom overcrowding was caused by a failure to build more schools to meet the soaring growth in births. But this problem has already become history for the baby-boomer generation. Now, the government and educational authorities are ever more worried about the opposite ― empty classrooms amid the decreasing number of schoolchildren. The lack of schoolchildren began to emerge in the late 1990s. This time, it is the sinking birthrate that makes schoolchildren scarcer and scarcer.

Currently, 30 or less students on average attend each classroom in primary schools in Seoul and major cities across the country. The problem is more serious with schools in rural areas where young people have left for cities. Many schools in farming and fishing villages have been shut down, while only small numbers maintain two or three classrooms. Even some open only one classroom that is mixed with less than 10 pupils ranging from first to sixth graders.

Such a phenomenon is also spreading to many urban areas. In the southeastern industrial city of Ulsan where Hyundai Motor, the nation's largest automaker, operates assembly lines, 16 of 110 primary schools reported enrollments of less than 100 students for this school year. Some are even considering closing their operations. The city said the total number of newly enrolled first graders plummeted 40 percent to 11,210 this year from a decade before.

 Read the whole article:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Return to previous page Chicago Tribune's 2009 pictures of the year

Road Trips To So Cal

Idyllwild, California

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
California deserts

Distance: 109 miles one-way
Cost for roundtrip gas: $28.89

What happens if, two-thirds of the way to a Palm Springs weekend, somebody grabs control of your family's vehicle, veers hard to the right, follows the cliff-clinging goat path known as California 243, then roars into the pines looking for a soft meadow between granite peaks?

Idyllwild is what happens. Arriving from Los Angeles, you first climb to the largely residential community of Pine Cove, then descend to about 5,300 feet, where you see half a dozen blocks of shops, restaurants and art and craft galleries, all surrounded by trees, rocks, scattered vacation cabins, the odd A-frame and the odder geodesic dome. The year-round population is about 3,500.

Read more: Find simpler times in Idyllwild's peaceful San Jacinto mountain retreat

Little Petroglyph Canyon

(Manuel Nunez)
Little Petroglyph Canyon
California deserts

Distance: 177 miles one-way
Cost for roundtrip gas: $46.91

No one knows for sure who decorated Little Petroglyph Canyon with images out of a dreamscape, some thought to be more than 10,000 years old. Or why the basalt walls of a narrow wash in the bone-dry Coso Mountains at the northern edge of the Mojave became a magic canvas for flocks of bighorn sheep, hunters with bows and arrows poised and more. But the area is probably the richest Amerindian rock-art site in the hemisphere. To see the canyon, you must contact the Navy base or join a tour offered by Maturango Museum. It's a rough 40-mile drive to the trail head, followed by a hike and a scramble along the canyon. Visits only in spring and fall.

Info: Maturango Museum, 100 E. Las Flores Ave., Ridgecrest, CA 93555; (760) 375-6900, Private tours through the Naval Air Weapons Station, (760) 939-1683.

-- Susan Spano

Hurkey Creek Park

(Jordan Rane)
Hurkey Creek Park
California deserts

Distance: 113 miles one-way
Cost for roundtrip gas: $29.95

Hurkey Creek Park has more than 100 sites (plus five large group sites) with picnic tables, fire pits, restroom and shower facilities, and a two-vehicle/six-person limit per site. Large RVs and trailers are permitted, but there are no hook-ups. Sites cost $20 per night. Reserve with Riverside County Parks between April and October. The campground is also open for day use ($2 per adult, $1 per 12-and-under) from dawn to dusk.

Riverside County Parks, (800) 234-7275,

-- Jordan Rane

Read more: Hurkey Creek Park: cold, empty and so refreshing


Shields Date Gardens

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Borrego Palm Canyon

(Annie Wells / Los Angeles Times)
Borrego Palm Canyon
California deserts

Distance: 152 miles one-way
Cost for roundtrip gas: $40.28

Borrego doesn't get the attention that desert areas farther north do, but it's the biggest state park in California. Borrego Palm Canyon (a three-mile hike, round-trip) is a testament to the violence of desert life -- it lost about 80% of its palms in a 2004 flood -- and it's the park's star hike. Also a good place for spotting bighorn sheep. (760) 767-5311,

Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree
HIDDEN VALLEY Joshua Tree National Park
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree
California deserts


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Biosphere 2's Second Chapter: Climate Change

Biosphere 2's Second Chapter: Climate Change

Updated: 1 hour 18 minutes ago

Over the past 15 years, experiments conducted at Biosphere 2 by researchers from Columbia University and the University of Arizona have helped shape scientific understanding of how climate change will affect the planet. The story of the facility's evolution, however, is as entertaining as it is surprising.

Great Hopes

Biosphere 2 was built by Space Biospheres Ventures in the late 1980s at a cost of $200 million. The project was heralded around the world as the experiment that would eventually lead to the colonization of other planets. The concept was to create a sustainable ecosystem entirely sealed off from the outside world.

Biosphere 2
Lonely Planet/

No longer a sealed-off environment, Biosphere 2 now offers guided tours.
Inside 7.2 million cubic feet of sealed glass, several artificial environments were created, from desert to rain forest to a coral reef. Spanning 3.14 acres -- the size of several football fields -- the scale of the facility, which is about 25 north of Tucson, was unprecedented.