Tag: morning (page 5 of 18)

Homeless Stars? Well, Galaxy-less Stars Anyway ~ Greg Giles


Lonesome Stars
Time-lapse photograph of the CIBER rocket launch, taken from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

In Friday’s issue of the journal Science, conclusions from the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment or CIBER, suggest that as many as half of all stars in our universe may lie outside the home of galaxies. Not visible through Earth-bound telescopes due to their faint glow, these lone stars may be the points that connect galaxies together in a far spanning web of light.   

These 'homeless' stars are believed by astronomers to have been evicted by their galaxies by mergers and collisions.

NASA program scientist Michael Garcia said this dim glow between galaxies is as bright as all the known galaxies combined, and is redefining previous understandings of galactic structure. Instead of being defined by sharpened borders, galaxies may span further outward, thinning like a morning mist over a darkened pond.  
Greg Giles



Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/11/06/3958751/half-of-all-stars-may-lie-outside.html?sp=/99/101/235/#storylink=cpy

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Richard Branson: We owe it to test pilot to continue Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo

Excerpt from smh.com.auThe Tony Blair grin was gone but Richard Branson was unbowed by disaster when he appeared on American breakfast television on Monday morning. He vowed his program to hurl paying customers into the...

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Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life
Brittany Maynard ~ Courtesy Brittany Maynard
Excerpt from People
by Nicole Weisensee Egan
Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial right-to-die movement over the last few weeks, ended her own life Saturday at her home in Portland, Oregon. She was 29.

"Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more," she wrote on Facebook. "The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!"

Doctors told Maynard she had six months to live last spring after she was diagnosed with a likely stage 4 glioblastoma. She made headlines around the world when she announced she intended to die – under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act – by taking a fatal dose of barbiturates, prescribed to her by a doctor, when her suffering became too great.

"My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that's out of my control," she told PEOPLE last month. "I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying."

On Oct. 6, she launched an online video campaign with Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy organization, to fight for expanding death-with-dignity laws nationwide.

"For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me," she told PEOPLE. "They try to mix it up with suicide and that's really unfair, because there's not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories, Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard
Nigel Parry

A Heartbreaking Choice

Arriving at her decision was a gradual one, she said.

"It's not a decision you make one day and you snap your fingers," she told PEOPLE.

"Really, from the beginning, all the doctors said when you have a glioma you're going to die," she told PEOPLE. "You can just Google it. People don't survive this disease. Not yet."

After researching her options, she decided not to try chemotherapy or radiation.

"They didn't seem to make sense for me," she said, because of "the level of side effects I would suffer and it wouldn't save my life. I've been told pretty much no matter what, I'm going to die – and treatments would extend my life but affect the quality pretty negatively."

In June, she moved to Oregon with her husband, Dan Diaz, 43, her mother, Debbie Ziegler, 56 , and her stepfather, Gary Holmes, 72, so she could have access to the state's Death with Dignity Act, which allows physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to certain terminally ill patients.

"I still smile and laugh with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time now," she said in the video recorded Oct. 13 and 14, "but it will come because I feel myself getting sicker; it's happening each week."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories, Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard and Dan Diaz at Olympic National Park in Washington state in August
Courtesy Brittany Maynard

Her Final Months

Maynard spent the last months of her life making the most of the time she had left. She traveled to Alaska, British Columbia and Yellowstone National Park with her loved ones and explored more local attractions like Olympic National Park in Washington.

On Oct. 21, she and her family took a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, a place she'd been longing to see before she died.

"It was breathtakingly beautiful," she said in a statement.

The following morning, though, she had her "worst seizure" so far, she said: "The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course."

Maynard said she was deeply touched by the "outpouring of support" she got after going public with her diagnosis and her decision.

"I want to thank people for that, for the words of kindness, for the time they've taken in personal ways," she told PEOPLE.

"And then beyond that, to encourage people to make a difference," she said. "If they can relate to my story, if they agree with this issue on a philosophical level, to get out there and do what we need to do to make a change in this country."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories, Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard and her mother, Debbie Ziegler, in Alaska in May
Courtesy Brittany Maynard


Maynard also talked to PEOPLE about her legacy.

"For me what matters most is the way I'm remembered by my family and my husband as a good woman who did my best to be a good wife and a good daughter," she said.

"Beyond that, getting involved with this campaign, I hope to be making a difference here," she said. "If I'm leaving a legacy, it's to change this health-care policy or be a part of this change of this health-care policy so it becomes available to all Americans. That would be an enormous contribution to make, even if I'm just a piece of it."

Before she died, Maynard asked her husband and her mother if they would carry on the work she started to get death with dignity passed in every state.

"I want to work on the cause," Ziegler told PEOPLE last month. "I have so much admiration for people who are terminally ill and just fight and fight. They are so dignified and brave. This is a different choice, but it is also brave and dignified."

She also shared with them her hopes and dreams for their future. Upstairs in the home she shares with her family are neatly wrapped Christmas and birthday gifts for her loved ones for the next year.

"She made it clear she wants me to live a good life," Ziegler says.

In her second video, Maynard, who is an only child, said she hoped her mother does not "break down" or "suffer from any kind of depression."

And for Diaz, "I hope he moves on and becomes a father," she said. "There's no part of me that wants him to live out the rest of his life just missing his wife."

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life| Cancer, Health, Medicine, Real People Stories, Brittany Maynard
Brittany Maynard (third from left) and her family at the Grand Canyon Oct. 21
Courtesy Brittany Maynard

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Branson vows to find out cause of spacecraft crash




Excerpt from
sfgate.com 

MOJAVE, Calif. (AP) — Billionaire Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson vowed Saturday to find out what caused the crash of his prototype space tourism craft that killed one of two test pilots, adding that while he remains committed to civilian space travel "we are not going to push on blindly."

In grim remarks at the Mojave Air and Space Port, where the craft known as SpaceShipTwo was under development, Branson gave no details of Friday's accident and deferred to the National Transportation Safety Board, whose team had just arrived.


"We are determined to find out what went wrong," he said, asserting that safety has always been the top priority of the program that envisions taking wealthy tourists six at a time to the edge of space for a brief experience of weightlessness and a view of Earth below.

"Yesterday, we fell short," he said. "We'll now comprehensively assess the results of the crash and are determined to learn from this and move forward."

He also criticized early speculation about crash causes. "To be honest, I find it slightly irresponsible that people who know nothing about what they're saying can be saying things before the NTSB makes their comments."

The pilot killed in the test flight was identified Saturday as Michael Tyner Alsbury, 39, of nearby Tehachapi. The surviving pilot is Peter Siebold, 43, who parachuted to safety and was hospitalized.
Both worked for Scaled Composites, the company developing the spaceship for Virgin Galactic. Scaled Composite said Alsbury was the co-pilot for the test flight. Siebold, who was piloting SpaceShipTwo, "is alert and talking with his family and doctors," the company said in a statement.

More than a dozen investigators in a range of specialties were forming teams to examine the crash site, collect data and interview witnesses, NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart told a press conference at Mojave Air and Space Port.

"This will be the first time we have been in the lead of a space launch (accident) that involved persons onboard," said Hart, noting that the NTSB did participate in investigations of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters.

Virgin Galactic — owned by Branson's Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS of Abu Dhabi — plans to fly passengers to altitudes more than 62 miles above Earth. The company sells seats on each prospective journey for $250,000.

The company says that "future astronauts," as it calls customers, include Stephen Hawking, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and Russell Brand. The company reports receiving $90 million from about 700 prospective passengers.

On Saturday, Branson said none of that money has been spent and that anyone who wanted a refund could get it. However, he said, no one has asked, and instead someone signed up on the day of the accident in a show of support.


Friday's flight marked the 55th for SpaceShipTwo, which was intended to be the first of a fleet of craft. This was only the fourth flight to include a brief rocket firing. The rocket fires after the spacecraft is released from the underside of a larger carrying plane. During other flights, the craft either was not released from its mother ship or functioned as a glider after release.

The NTSB investigators were expected to head to an area about 20 miles from the Mojave airfield where debris from SpaceShipTwo fell over a wide area of uninhabited desert Friday morning. The spacecraft broke up after being released from a carrier aircraft at high altitude, according to Ken Brown, a photographer who witnessed the accident.

Friday's accident was the second this week involving private space flight. On Tuesday, an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff in Virginia.

SpaceShipTwo is based on aerospace design maverick Burt Rutan's award-winning SpaceShipOne prototype, which became the first privately financed manned rocket to reach space in 2004. Three people died in a blast at the Mojave Air and Space Port in 2007 while testing a rocket motor for SpaceShipTwo.

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Gas falling under $3 per gallon nationwide







NEW YORK (AP) — The sight is so surprising that Americans are sharing photos of it, along with all those cute Halloween costumes, sweeping vistas and special meals: The gas station sign, with a price under $3 a gallon.
"It's stunning what's happening here," says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. "I'm a little bit shocked."
The national average price of gasoline has fallen 33 cents in October, landing Friday at $3.00, according to AAA. Kloza said the average will fall under $3 by early Saturday morning for the first time in four years.
When the national average crossed above $3 a gallon in December of 2010, drivers weren't sure they'd ever see $2.99 again. Global demand for oil and gasoline was rising as people in developing countries bought cars by the tens of millions and turmoil was brewing in the oil-rich Middle East.
Now demand isn't rising as fast as expected, drillers have learned to tap vast new sources of oil, particularly in the U.S., and crude continues to flow out of the Middle East.
Seasonal swings and other factors will likely send gas back over $3 sooner than drivers would like, but the U.S. is on track for the lowest annual average since 2010 — and the 2015 average is expected to be lower even still.
Trisha Pena of Hermitage, Tenn., recently paid $2.57 a gallon to fill up her Honda CRV. Like many around the country these days, she was so surprised and delighted by the price she took a photo and posted it on social media for her friends to see. "I can't remember the last time it cost under $30 to put 10 or 11 gallons in my tank," she said in an interview. "A month ago it was in the $3.50 range, and that's where it had been for a very long time."
Here are a few things to know about cheap gas:
— Crude prices came off the boil. Oil fell from $107 a barrel in June to near $81 because there's a lot of supply and weak demand. U.S. output has increased 70 percent since 2008, and supplies from Iraq and Canada have also increased. At the same time, demand is weaker than expected because of a sluggish global economy.
— In the past, a stronger economy in the U.S., the world's biggest consumer of oil and gasoline, typically meant rising fuel demand. No longer. Americans are driving more efficient vehicles and our driving habits are changing. Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute calculates that the number of miles traveled per household and gallons of fuel consumed per household peaked in 2004.
— The drop from last year's average of $3.51 per gallon will save the typical U.S. household about $50 a month.
— The drop will save the U.S. economy $187 million a day, and also boost the profits of shippers, airlines, and any company that sends employees out on sales calls or for deliveries.
— It will take an extra 1.5 years to make purchasing a higher-priced, better-mileage Toyota Prius instead of a Toyota Corolla pay off.
— New York's average of $3.37 is the highest in the continental U.S. South Carolina and Tennessee are the lowest, with an average of $2.75.
— Politicians are either going to take the credit for lower gasoline prices or blame the other party for not helping them fall further. Don't listen. There are small things politicians can do over long time horizons, like implement fuel economy standards or ease drilling regulations, but the decline in prices is mainly due to market forces.

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Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes: 1 Dead, 1 Injured

Image: Wreckage from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is shown in this still image captured from KNBC video footage from Mojave California
Crash site of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo





Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane exploded and crashed during a test flight on Friday, killing one crew member and seriously injuring another, authorities said.
The explosion came after the plane dropped away from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane and fired up its hybrid rocket engine, said Stuart Witt, CEO and general manager of the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The blast scattered debris across a two-mile swath of the desert floor north of Mojave, which is about 95 miles (150 kilometers) outside Los Angeles.
One of the two test pilots aboard the plane was killed, said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who was among the officials dealing with the crash's aftermath.
The other parachuted to the ground and was injured. That pilot was transferred to Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California, according to Kern County Deputy Fire Chief Michael Cody. 

"We hope that the survivor will be just fine," Youngblood said during a news briefing.
The pilots have not yet been identified, but both of them worked for Mojave-based Scaled Composites, according to Scaled's president, Kevin Mickey. Scaled has played a key role in developing and testing SpaceShipTwo for Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic had planned to use this SpaceShipTwo to fly passengers on suborbital trips to the edge of space, beginning as early as next year. A nearly identical rocket plane is already under construction inside a Mojave hangar. More than 700 customers, including celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber, have paid as much as $250,000 to take a ride.
George T. Whitesides, Virgin Galactic's CEO, said the company would press on despite the setback.
"Space is hard, and today was a tough day," Whitesides told reporters. "We are going to be supporting the investigation as we figure out what happened today, and we're going to get through it. The future rests in many ways on hard, hard days like this. But we believe we owe it to the folks who were flying these vehicles as well as the folks who are working so hard on them to understand this and to move forward."
Witt said Mojave's close-knit aviation community was hit hard by the tragedy.
"When we have a mishap from the test community, we find that the test community is very small," he said. "We are human, and it hurts." 

View image on Twitter

First powered flight in months

SpaceShipTwo's crew was testing the rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months. The plane was slung beneath WhiteKnightTwo for takeoff from the Mojave Air and Space Port at about 9:20 a.m. PT (12:20 p.m. ET). When the paired planes reached a height of about 50,000 feet, about 40 minutes later, SpaceShipTwo was released for the test.
Witt said the anomaly occurred about two minutes after SpaceShipTwo dropped away and fired the rocket engine, but he didn't see any explosion. "It wasn't because something did happen. It was what I was not hearing and not seeing," Witt said.
Photographer Ken Brown, who was covering the test flight, told NBC News that he saw an explosion high in the air and later came upon SpaceShipTwo debris scattered across a small area of the desert. The WhiteKnightTwo plane and its pilots, meanwhile, landed safely.
Authorities cordoned off the crash site pending an investigation. A National Transportation Safety Board team was expected to get to the crash site Saturday morning. The Federal Aviation Administration said it was also investigating the incident. 

New kind of fuel tested

During the nine months since the previous rocket-powered test in January, Virgin Galactic switched SpaceShipTwo's fuel mixture from a rubber-based compound to a plastic-based mix — in hopes that the new formulation would boost the hybrid rocket engine's performance.
Mickey said engines using the new type of fuel had been thoroughly tested on the ground. The final pre-flight qualification engine firing took place earlier this month. Friday's test marked the first time the new fuel was used in flight, but Mickey said "we expected no anomalies with the motor today."
Before Friday's flight, the most recent aerial outing was on Oct. 7, when SpaceShipTwo took an unpowered, gliding flight back to the Mojave runway.
The fatal flight was part of SpaceShipTwo's years-long test program, following up on the successful suborbital spaceflights of the smaller SpaceShipOne rocket plane in 2004. Virgin Galactic had said SpaceShipTwo's first test flight to an outer-space altitude — usually defined as 100 kilometers, or 62 miles — could have taken place before the end of the year.
The company's billionaire founder, Richard Branson, was hoping to ride on the first commercial flight next year. Over the past decade, he and his investment partners have put hundreds of millions of dollars into the Virgin Galactic venture. After Friday's crash, Branson said in a Twitter update that he was "flying to Mojave immediately to be with the team."
Image: SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwoJason DiVenere / Scaled Composites
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane is slung beneath the WhiteKnightTwo carrier plane before Friday's takeoff.
NBC News' Julianne Pepitone and James Eng contributed to this report. NBCUniversal has established a multi-platform partnership with Virgin Galactic to track the development of SpaceShipTwo and televise Branson's spaceflight.

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Erie Paris Catacombs Open at Night Ahead of Halloween

rewrwer345252.jpg
Skulls and bones are stacked at the Catacombs in Paris, France. The subterranean tunnels, stretching over a mile, cradle the bones of some 6 million Parisians from centuries past and once gave refuge to smugglers. (AP Photo)


foxnews.com

As if visiting the Paris Catacombs in the daytime wasn't creepy enough — you can now visit the underground maze of skeletons after nightfall, too. That is if you dare defy the warning at the entrance: "Stop, this is the empire of Death."
The subterranean tunnels, stretching 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), cradle the bones of some 6 million Parisians from centuries past and once gave refuge to smugglers.
Twenty meters (66 feet) beneath the French capital's medieval streets, labyrinthine walls of bones and skulls bring visitors into the city of the dead, in a spooky atmosphere that attracts history enthusiasts as well as visitors looking for a chilling place to celebrate Halloween.
The site used to close at 5 p.m., but is now staying open until 8 p.m. The change is mainly aimed at allowing more people to visit and reducing long lines, but it also adds to the thrill: entering and leaving the catacombs after dark feels different from doing it in daylight.
Human remains started to be transferred to the former underground quarries of Paris in 1786, when the main cemetery of Paris —the Cemetery of Innocents — was closed for public health reasons. From 1809 on, the catacombs were rearranged into organized galleries, with piled bones forming walls and pillars, and even some artistic shapes made of femurs and skulls.
Sacred and profane maxims and poems are posted around the galleries, such as: "Think in the morning that perhaps you won't survive until evening, and in the evening that perhaps you won't survive until morning."
Valerie Guillaume, director of the Catacombs, stressed the philosophical nature of the unusual tourist site.
"The place was not conceived to be a horror place, but as a reflection on the meaning of life and death," she said.
Sylvie Robin, the Catacombs' curator, described the extensive smuggling that went on in the tunnels in the past and contributed to its scary reputation.
"That's the origin of all the legends," she said, because the smugglers used to scare the Parisians with lights and noises, so that no one would come and see what they were doing.
———
Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last admission at 7 p.m.), closed on Mondays and public holidays. General admission: 10 euros (about $12.70). Tour of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) takes around 45 minutes, with 130 steps to go down and 83 steps back up to street level. Not accessible to people with reduced mobility.

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India’s Mars mission: A Picture that Spoke 1,000 words

When the crowded command control room of India's Mars mission exploded into applause after it successfully put a satellite into orbit around the Red Planet, photographer Manjunath Kiran of the AFP news agency clicked this remarkable image of scienti...

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