Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to spot a book's fake review (on Amazon, Barnes& Noble, etc.)

-Adjectives like "gorgeous", "umputdownable", "magnificent" are lavishly dispensed

-Meaningless cliches like "Brilliant prose that gets to the reader's soul" and "poignant situations that make you feel deeply concerned" and "characters three-dimensional that jump out of the page", also abound.

-Beware also when a first work's author is extravagantly compared to established literary authors, and words like "the revelation of this season" are used.

-One can't possibly have seriously called a book "The most intriguing novel of 2011" in mid January 2011.

- There is little or no reference to the actual content of the book

Monday, August 29, 2011

Golden boy

Surfers in the sunset from Nick's other blog


Dear humanist and peace loving muslim people, start blaming Al Qaeda for Islamophobia

Soon it will be 9/11 ten years anniversary. A sombre recurrence. Murderers of the Fundamental Islamic organization of al Qaeda struck with heinous savagery the heart of USA- and Humanity- killing thousands of innocent people.Those who talk of "Islamophobia" in the Usa - and in the world, see criminal mass murders by Islamic fundamentalists in Bali, London, Mumbai, Nigeria, Philippines, Madrid, Cairo, Sharm, should maybe try and consider if, hypotetically, the rise of islamophobia COULD be linked to these hate crimes against humanity, and even if Islamophobia MAY be linked to persecution of women,dissisdent, homosexuals in islamic theocracies. If humanist and peace loving islamic people should CONDEMN and disown crimes agaist humanity committed in the name of fundamentalist Islam, generalized prejudice agaist islamic people could be better fought.

Otherwise, it's like thirties' German people lamenting on "germanohobia" from Hebrews part.

NewsAlert: Massive Supernova Exploded Wednesday in Pinwheel Galaxy

The finding of such a supernova so early and so close has energized the astronomical community as they are scrambling to observe it with as many telescopes as possible, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

Joshua Bloom, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, called it "the supernova of a generation." Astronomers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley, who made the discovery predict that it will be a target for research for the next decade, making it one of the most-studied supernova in history.

The supernova, dubbed PTF 11kly, occurred in the Pinwheel Galaxy, located in the "Big Dipper," otherwise known as the Ursa Major constellation. It was discovered by the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF) survey, which is designed to observe and uncover astronomical events as they happen.

"We caught this supernova very soon after explosion. PTF 11kly is getting brighter by the minute. It's already 20 times brighter than it was yesterday," said Peter Nugent, the senior scientist at Berkeley Lab who first spotted the supernova. Nugent is also an adjunct professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley. "Observing PTF 11kly unfold should be a wild ride. It is an instant cosmic classic."

Nugent credits supercomputers at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a Department of Energy supercomputing center at Berkeley Lab, as well as high-speed networks with uncovering this rare event in the nick of time.

The PTF survey uses a robotic telescope mounted on the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory in Southern California to scan the sky nightly. As soon as the observations are taken, the data travels more than 400 miles to NERSC via the National Science Foundation's High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network and DOE's Energy Sciences Network (ESnet).

At NERSC, computers running machine learning algorithms in the Real-time Transient Detection Pipeline scan through the data and identify events to follow up on. Within hours of identifying PTF 11kly, this automated system sent the coordinates to telescopes around the world for follow-up observations.

Three hours after the automated PTF pipeline identified this supernova candidate, telescopes in the Canary Islands (Spain) had captured unique "light signatures," or spectra, of the event. Twelve hours later, his team had observed the event with a suite of telescopes including the Lick Observatory (California), and Keck Observatory (Hawaii) and determined the supernova belongs to a special category, called Type Ia. Nugent notes that this is the earliest spectrum ever taken of a Type Ia supernova.

"Type Ia supernova are the kind we use to measure the expansion of the Universe. Seeing one explode so close by allows us to study these events in unprecedented detail," said Mark Sullivan, the Oxford University team leader who was among the first to follow up on this detection.

"We still do not know for sure what causes such explosions," said Weidong Li, senior scientist at UC Berkeley and collaborator of Nugent. "We are using images from the Hubble Space

Telescope, taken fortuitously years before an explosion to search for clues to the event's origin."

The team will be watching carefully over the next few weeks, and an urgent request to NASA yesterday means the Hubble Space Telescope will begin studying the supernova's chemistry and physics this weekend.

Catching supernovae so early allows a rare glimpse at the outer layers of the supernova, which contain hints about what kind of star exploded. "When you catch them this early, mixed in with the explosion you can actually see unburned bits from star that exploded! It is remarkable," said Andrew Howell of UC Santa Barbara/Las Cumbres Global Telescope Network.

"We are finding new clues to solving the mystery of the origin of these supernovae that has perplexed us for 70 years. Despite looking at thousands of supernovae, I've never seen anything like this before," Howell added.

"The ability to process all of this data in near real-time and share our results with collaborators around the globe through the Science Gateway at NERSC is an invaluable tool for following up on supernova events," says Nugent. "We wouldn't have been able to detect and observe this candidate as soon as we did without the resources at NERSC."

At a mere 21 million light-years from Earth, a relatively small distance by astronomical standards, the supernova is still getting brighter, and might even be visible with good binoculars in ten days' time, appearing brighter than any other supernova of its type in the last 30 years.

"The best time to see this exploding star will be just after evening twilight in the Northern hemisphere in a week or so," said Oxford's Sullivan. "You'll need dark skies and a good pair of binoculars, although a small telescope would be even better."

The scientists in the PTF have discovered more than 1,000 supernovae since it started operating in 2008, but they believe this could be their most significant discovery yet. The last time a supernova of this sort occurred so close was in 1986, but Nugent notes that this one was peculiar and heavily obscured by dust.

'"Before that, you'd have to go back to 1972, 1937 and 1572 to find more nearby Type Ia supernovae," says Nugent.

The images below show Type Ia supernova PTF 11kly, the youngest ever detected -- over the past three nights. The left image taken on Aug. 22 shows the event before it exploded supernova, approximately one million times fainter than the human eye can detect. The center image taken on August 23 shows the supernova at about 10,000 times fainter than the human eye can detect. The right image taken on Aug. 24 shows that the event is six times brighter than the previous day. In two weeks time it should be visible with a good pair of binoculars.

While there is, on average, only one supernova per galaxy per century, there is something on the order of 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe. Taking 10 billion years for the age of the Universe (it's actually 13.7 billion, but stars didn't form for the first few hundred million), Dr. Richard Mushotzky of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, derived a figure of 1 billion supernovae per year, or 30 supernovae per second in the observable Universe!

A massive supernova variety - Type Ia - brightens and dims so predictably that astronomers use them to measure the universe's expansion -called a "standard candle.". The resulting discovery of dark energy and the accelerating universe rewrote our understanding of the cosmos. Yet theorigin of these supernovae, which have proved so useful, remains unknown.

Astronomers have very strong evidence that Type Ia supernovae come from exploding stellar remnants called white dwarfs. To detonate, the white dwarf must gain mass until it reaches a tipping point and can no longer support itself.

There are two leading scenarios for the intermediate step from stable white dwarf to supernova, both of which require a companion star. In the first possibility, a white dwarf swallows gas blowing from a neighboring giant star. In the second possibility, two white dwarfs collide and merge. To establish which option is correct (or at least more common), astronomerslook for evidence of these binary systems.

Given the average rate of supernovae, scientists can estimate how many pre-supernova white dwarfs should exist in a galaxy. But the search forthese progenitors has turned up mostly empty-handed.

To hunt for accreting white dwarfs, astronomers looked for X-rays of a particular energy, produced when gas hitting the star's surface undergoes nuclear fusion. A typical galaxy should contain hundreds of such "super-soft" X-ray sources. Instead we see only a handful. As a result, a recent paper suggested that the alternative, merger scenario was the source of Type Ia supernovae, at least in many galaxies.

That conclusion relies on the assumption that accreting white dwarfs will appear as super-soft X-ray sources when the incoming matter experiences nuclear fusion. Di Stefano and her colleagues have argued that the data do not support this hypothesis.

Di Stefano points out that a merger-induced supernova would also be preceded by an epoch during which a white dwarf accretes matter that should undergo nuclear fusion. White dwarfs are produced when stars age, and different stars age at different rates. Any close double white-dwarf system will pass through a phase in which the first-formed white dwarf gains and burns matter from its slower-aging companion. If these white dwarfs produce X-rays, then we should find roughly a hundred times as many super-soft X-ray sources as we do.

Since both scenarios - an accretion-driven explosion and a merger-driven explosion - involve accretion and fusion at some point, the lack of super-soft X-ray sources would seem to rule out both types of progenitor. The alternative proposed by Di Stefano is that the white dwarfs are not luminous at X-ray wavelengths for long stretches of time. Perhaps material surrounding a white dwarf can absorb X-rays, or accreting white dwarfs might emit most of their energy at other wavelengths.

If this is the correct explanation, says Di Stefano, "we must devise new methods to search for the elusive progenitors of Type Ia supernovae."

Stephen Hawking and many astronomers believe that one of the most plausible reasons we have yet to detect intelligent life in the universe is due to the deadly effects of local supernova explosions that wipe out all life in a given region of a galaxy.

First day back from vacation

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lake Love

Love on the dunes

Someone Send This Bitch Back To School!

Michelle Bachmann said;

"What people recognize is that there's a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward. And especially with this very bad debt ceiling bill, what we have done is given a favor to President Obama and the first thing he'll whack is five hundred billion out of the military defense at a time when we're fighting three wars. People recognize that." - Michele Bachmann.

The Soviet Union went down 22 years ago,Michelle. Someone tell her.

Just a minute more by Dan Skinner

Riding the waves

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hot beach love

yes,love, now it's good...like you!

for your love I'd climb a mountain 2

Mystery Monster Blobs of the Universe --Powered by Brilliant Galaxies or Black Holes?

from "the daily galaxy" blog

Observations from ESO's Very Large Telescope have shed light on the power source of a rare vast cloud of glowing gas in the early Universe. The observations show for the first time that this giant "Lyman-alpha blob" -- one of the largest single objects known -- to be powered by galaxies embedded within it.

Ads by Google

Island in the wind

Energy-independent thanks to power and heat from renewable sources!


A team of astronomers has used ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) to study an unusual object called a Lyman-alpha blob. These huge and very luminous rare structures are normally seen in regions of the early Universe where matter is concentrated. The team found that the light coming from one of these blobs is polarised. In everyday life, for example, polarised light is used to create 3D effects in cinemas.This is the first time that polarisation has ever been found in a Lyman-alpha blob, and this observation helps to unlock the mystery of how the blobs shine.

"We have shown for the first time that the glow of this enigmatic object is scattered light from brilliant galaxies hidden within, rather than the gas throughout the cloud itself shining." explains Matthew Hayes (University of Toulouse, France), lead author of the paper.

This video zoom sequence starts with a wide-field view of the dim constellation of Aquarius (The Water Carrier) and slowly closes in on one of the largest known single objects in the Universe, the Lyman-alpha blob LAB1. Observations with the ESO VLT show, for the first time, that the giant “blob” must be powered by galaxies embedded within the cloud. Credit: ESO/A. Fujii/Digitized Sky Survey 2/M. Hayes, Music: John Dyson (from the album Moonwind)

Lyman-alpha blobs are some of the biggest objects in the Universe: gigantic clouds of hydrogen gas that can reach diameters of a few hundred thousand light-years (a few times larger than the size of the Milky Way), and which are as powerful as the brightest galaxies. They are typically found at large distances, so we see them as they were when the Universe was only a few billion years old. They are therefore important in our understanding of how galaxies formed and evolved when the Universe was younger. But the power source for their extreme luminosity, and the precise nature of the blobs, has remained unclear.

The team studied one of the first and brightest of these blobs to be found. Known as LAB-1, it was discovered in 2000, and it is so far away that its light has taken about 11.5 billion years to reach us (redshift 3.1). With a diameter of about 300 000 light-years it is also one of the largest known, and has several primordial galaxies inside it, including an active galaxy.

There are several competing theories to explain Lyman-alpha blobs. One idea is that they shine when cool gas is pulled in by the blob's powerful gravity, and heats up. Another is that they are shining because of brilliant objects inside them: galaxies undergoing vigorous star formation, or containing voracious black holes engulfing matter. The new observations show that it is embedded galaxies, and not gas being pulled in, that power LAB-1.

The team tested the two theories by measuring whether the light from the blob was polarised. By studying how light is polarised astronomers can find out about the physical processes that produced the light, or what has happened to it between its origin and its arrival at Earth. If it is reflected or scattered it becomes polarised and this subtle effect can be detected by a very sensitive instrument. To measure polarisation of the light from a Lyman-alpha blob is, however, a very challenging observation, because of their great distance.

"These observations couldn't have been done without the VLT and its FORS instrument. We clearly needed two things: a telescope with at least an eight-metre mirror to collect enough light, and a camera capable of measuring the polarisation of light. Not many observatories in the world offer this combination." adds Claudia Scarlata (University of Minnesota, USA), co-author of the paper.

By observing their target for about 15 hours with the Very Large Telescope, the team found that the light from the Lyman-alpha blob LAB-1 was polarised in a ring around the central region, and that there was no polarisation in the centre. This effect is almost impossible to produce if light simply comes from the gas falling into the blob under gravity, but it is just what is expected if the light originally comes from galaxies embedded in the central region, before being scattered by the gas.

The astronomers now plan to look at more of these objects to see if the results obtained for LAB-1 are true of other blobs.

More information: This research was presented in the paper "Central Powering of the Largest Lyman-alpha Nebula is Revealed by Polarized Radiation" by Hayes et al. to appear in the journal Nature on 18 August 2011.

The image attop of the page shows one of the largest known single objects in the Universe, the Lyman-alpha blob LAB-1. This picture is a composite of two different images taken with the FORS instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) -- a wider image showing the surrounding galaxies and a much deeper observation of the blob itself at the centre made to detect its polarisation. The intense Lyman-alpha ultraviolet radiation from the blob appears green after it has been stretched by the expansion of the Universe during its long journey to Earth. These new observations show for the first time that the light from this object is polarized. This means that the giant "blob" must be powered by galaxies embedded within the cloud. Credit: ESO/M. Hayes

The Daily Galaxy via ESO and nature.com

Rob Lowe shirtless trilogy

Jailed gay kiss

I'd climb a mountain for my love

Summer's long end has begun

From Nick's other blog.

A tired bat

The art of Maurice Pegasi who now follows my blog!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Freakangels by Ellis and Duffield. Last panel

LUKE: So, what we're to do, now? Staying upright in this machine watching each other'?

CONNOR: Pretty boring, I'd have to say

CAZ: we could build something!

KK: a spaceship! We could go explore!

KAIT And fight crime around the Galaxy!

SIRKKA: Why not spread LOVE around the Galaxy?

JACK: Sirkka has a point! And you, Kait, can go make Quincy on Quaoar!

MARK: KK's right, let's build a spaceship, find some subintelligent species that we can make our drones of,and...

ARKADY: here we go again! Mark, no more of this crap!

MIKI: are we to tweak him some more?

KIRK: I'm all for it, if Mark insists on this

KARL: Yes,do it, then we'll build a giant spaceship with a place for growing strawberries and flowers

MARK: Ok. Just kidding. Let's go where no man has gone before!

KIRK: Freakangels in space! Love it!

KAIT: don't tell me you preferred STAR TREK?

KIRK: I was spooked by Spock!

KARL: you never missed a reply, I remember. Ome nighT, you fought with Kait who would see Quincy

KAIT: and I won. No ome beats Quincy.

CAZ: Come off it! Let' get to work! Freaktrek sails the Galaxy!

ARKADY: Can't you find other names? Angelstar?

CONNOR: Stop arguing, for God's sake! Caz, we're all yours. Let's begin.

Some weeks later:

KAIT: Who forgot how airlocks work?