Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Modern Humans and Neanderthals Mixed?

A PICTURE has been released of a 40,000-year-old human skull found in Romania that shows early Europeans shared modern and neanderthal traits, suggesting the two species may have mixed.
The skull fragments, which researchers say are the earliest modern human remains found in Europe, were discovered in a cave.

The reconstructed cranium, named Oase 2, has the same proportions as modern human skulls and shares a number of non-neanderthal features. But it also has a flat forehead and the largest cheek teeth so far known for a modern human.

"Such differences raise important questions about the evolutionary history of modern humans," said researcher Joao Zilhao, of the University of Bristol.

"They could also reflect a mixture with neanderthal population as modern humans spread through western Eurasia," he said.

The neanderthals were the closest cousins to modern humans, or homo sapiens, but died out.

***It should be noted that DNA and genetic evidence shows that there was no mixing between Neanderthals and modern man.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cheat Flight Turns Expensive

Contrary to recent rumors, this passenger's flight was NOT booked by Priceline.

Body found in wheel well of jet at LAX
A British Airways pilot checking a plane at LAX before a trip to London discovers a youth who may have been a South African national.

A youth was found dead Sunday in the wheel well of a British Airways jet at Los Angeles International Airport, authorities said.

A British Airways pilot found the body during a routine preflight check and notified airport officials about 4:30 p.m. The 747-400 had arrived from London Heathrow Airport at 3:15 p.m. and was to depart for a return flight at 5:20 p.m.

Authorities had not identified the victim as of late Sunday, saying only that he was a young black male. A source familiar with the investigation said the youth — believed to be 17 or 18 — carried documents identifying himself as a South African national born in 1989.

Law enforcement and aviation officials at the scene had not determined whether he got into the aircraft in London or its previous departure point of Hong Kong.

"The investigation needs to run its course to determine where and how the victim obtained access to the aircraft before it landed at LAX Sunday afternoon," said Paul A. Haney, deputy executive director of airports and security for Los Angeles World Airports.

There have been several incidents in recent years of people climbing into airplane wheel wells — usually ending in death, authorities said.

A body was found Jan. 12 in a plane that landed in Atlanta. The man, who carried no identification, was believed to have entered the compartment when the plane left Dakar, Senegal, for the nine-hour flight to Atlanta.

Extreme cold and a lack of oxygen in the wheel wells make the odds of survival slim. Stowaways also have fallen from the wheel wells or been crushed by the landing gear.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Things Could Be A Lot Worse

Shot Duck Survives 2 Days in Fla. Fridge

Neither gunfire nor two days in a refrigerator could slay this duck.

When the wife of the hunter who shot it opened the refrigerator door, the duck lifted its head, giving her a scare.

The man's wife "was going to check on the refrigerator because it hadn't been working right and when she opened the door, it looked up at her," said Laina Whipple, a receptionist at Killearn Animal Hospital. "She freaked out and told the daughter to take it to the hospital right then and there."

The 1-pound female ring-neck ended up at Goose Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, where it has been treated since Tuesday for wounds to its wing and leg.

Sanctuary veterinarian David Hale said it has about a 75 percent chance of survival, but probably won't ever be well enough to be released back into the wild.

He said the duck, which has a low metabolism, could have survived in a big enough refrigerator, especially if the door was opened and closed several times. And he said he understands how the hunter thought the duck was dead.

"This duck is very passive," Hale said. "It's not like trying to pick up a Muscovy at Lake Ella, where you put your life in your hands."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sign Found on a Septic Truck

Thursday, January 11, 2007

U. S. Not Alone in Manned Lunar Missions

Russia, China, Europe and now India are also planning manned missions to the moon.
No longer will the US be the sole proprietor of lunar real estate.

The Indian Space Research Agency (ISRO) has proposed starting a human spaceflight program, with the first manned flight taking place by 2014 leading up to landing an Indian national on the Moon by 2020, ahead of China.

The controversial recommendation marks a huge shift in ISRO’s oft repeated policy that it will use space technology for national development needs such as telecommunications, health care, education and environmental monitoring. In the past the agency has stayed away from manned flight because of the huge costs involved.

“That policy – pronounced four decades ago by Vikram Sarabai, father of India’s space program — had to change for two reasons,” ISRO chairman Gopalan Madhavan Nair said in a Nov. 9 interview.

“We believe that pushing forward human presence in space may become essential for planetary exploration, a goal we have set for ISRO 20 years from now,” he said. “Secondly, with India’s booming economy, costs should not be a hurdle.”

A human presence in space, Nair said, is important in the future if India wants a leadership role. The manned space mission “will be a national effort and mostly indigenous,” he added.

Nair presented ISRO’s new plans to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Oct. 17 and, on the latter’s advice, threw open the topic for a brainstorming session by a cross section of the scientific community who met Nov.7 in Bangalore.

“The meeting unanimously agreed that manned missions are a logical next step and endorsed our proposal,” Nair told Space News.

A detailed report will be submitted to the government before the end of the year for a formal approval that is a foregone conclusion given the fact India’s President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a former ISRO scientist, is himself backing the mission. Initial funding of the program would begin April 1, 2007, the beginning of the country’s fiscal year.

While ISRO is just now revealing its plans, it has been quietly preparing for manned space missions ever since China put an astronaut in space in 2003.

It has redesigned an existing satellite launcher – the GSLV — to carry a crew of two and has already built a space recovery capsule, said B.N. Suresh, director of the ISRO centre in Trivandrum that will build the version of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) that will be used for the unmanned moon mission and the modified GSLV that will be used for the manned flights.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The fall of Troy

It's not the end of the world or the end of Buckeye football. It just seems that way.

The Buckeyes were manhandled 41-14 by second-ranked Florida on Monday night in the BCS National Championship Game before millions of viewers around the world.

It was Ohio State's worst defeat in a dozen years. The Buckeyes came in averaging 410 yards a game but were limited to 82 -- almost half the worst previous total by a team in a BCS championship game.

After Ted Ginn Jr.'s 93-yard kickoff return to open the game, the Buckeyes (12-1) went flatter than one of the runways at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

"Is that because we weren't as hungry?" coach Jim Tressel asked. "I don't know for sure if that's the case. I guess that's the coach's responsibility to create the appetite."

Monday, January 08, 2007

All-American Girl

What a Great Country!

Friday, January 05, 2007



January 5, 2007 -- All the tears shed in quiet moments either by himself or with his wife, Robin, all the grueling rehab and tireless studying and all the mind-numbing self-doubt and obstacles that have relentlessly placed themselves squarely before Chad Pennington have led him to Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Patriots in an AFC wild-card showdown at Gillette Stadium, where he'll play the biggest game of his life.

There isn't a place the Jets quarterback would rather be.

There isn't a place he deserves to be more.

And speaking of deserving, Pennington yesterday was named the Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year for his remarkable, determined return from a second rotator cuff surgery in two years, a massive pay cut and a stressful four-way quarterback competition in training camp.

"If anyone has ever deserved that award I feel in my heart that Chad does," backup QB Patrick Ramsey, one of Pennington's training camp competitors, said.

"I would have been very mad if he didn't get it," Jerricho Cotchery said. "Somebody would have had to answer some questions from me if he hadn't gotten it."

The unenviable journey Pennington traveled en route to this fitting award and to the playoffs is not one most people in his position would have and could have endured.