Raiders legend Cliff Branch dies at 71

first_imgNAPA — Cliff Branch, who played on three Super Bowl championship teams and played his entire 14-year with the Raiders, died Saturday, the club confirmed.Branch turned 71 years old on Thursday. No cause of death has been released. According to the Bullhead Ciy (Arizona) police Twitter account, Branch was found  deceased in his hotel room at 3:40 p.m.“The initial investigation revealed no suspected foul play and that Mr. Branch died of natural causes,” according to the tweet.On August 3, …last_img read more

Alien Life in Meteorites Claimed

first_imgAfter scrutinizing rare meteorites for over a decade, a NASA astrobiologist decided to go with his announcement: he may have found alien life.  Fox News began his story, “We are not alone in the universe – and alien life forms may have a lot more in common with life on Earth than we had previously thought.  That’s the stunning conclusion one NASA scientist has come to, releasing his groundbreaking revelations in a new study in the March edition of the Journal of Cosmology.”    There are only about nine CI-1 carbonaceous chondrites known.  In the ones Dr. Richard B. Hoover has cracked open and studied, he has found “fossilized remains of micro-organisms not so different from ordinary ones found underfoot – here on earth, that is.”  That’s one of the strange things about this story.  If these are organisms that originated independently of earth, why would some of them be recognizable as “generic species here on earth”?  Another problem is that the samples contain no nitrogen, an essential ingredient in life as we know it.  All amino acids and DNA contain nitrogen.    Hoover tried to be extremely careful with his samples, and expected a hotbed of controversy.  He has invited scrutiny of his work by 100 experts, and wants thousands of scientists around the world to weigh in on its validity.  Some, like David Marais, another NASA astrobiologist, are taking a wait-and-see attitude: “These kinds of claims have been made before, he noted – and found to be false.”  Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute doesn’t rule out the possibility but recognizes the controversial claim will have far-reaching implications.  He speculated that this might support panspermia of some sort: “It would suggest, well, life didn’t really begin on the Earth, it began as the solar system was forming.”  That raises other questions of how and where environments in the early solar system could have been more conducive to life than planet earth.    Rob Sheldon, a colleague of Hoover’s and an advocate of intelligent design, mentioned Hoover last December in his blog response on The Procrustean responding to the arsenic-life claim (12/02/2010).  He indicated that Hoover probably would have expected alien life to be very different biochemically from earth life.    On a different but related story, New Scientist and the BBC News speculated that “Meteorites ‘could have carried nitrogen to Earth’” in the form of ammonia carried on chondrites, chips of asteroids.  Aside from questions left begging about whether these “missing ingredients for life” had anything to do with the origin of life, that story appears contradictory to Hoover’s, who found no nitrogen in his samples.  “If someone can explain,” Hoover said, “how it is possible to have a biological remain that has no nitrogen, or nitrogen below the detect ability limits that I have, in a time period as short as 150 years, then I would be very interested in hearing that.”Is this another claim in the tradition of the Martian meteorite ALH 84001?  Is NASA trying to get more funding (01/07/2005) for astrobiology?  Possibly.  They’ve probably learned how to be more careful by now and give the appearance of honest skeptical inquiry.  In the early stages of controversial announcements, the Marais wait-and-see response is wise.  The best advice is to look carefully at the raw data, check assumptions, and ask the right questions.  The first question is to verify if this really is fossilized living material.  The second is to rule out contamination.  The third is to avoid jumping to conclusions and to consider all the possibilities.    With the Martian meteorite, the similarities to cells were superficial and never widely accepted as anything more than coincidental shapes.  Years after the huge flurry of media hype, after scientists found other ways the shapes could have been generated chemically, the hubbub died down.  Now only a few scientists believe it (12/14/2000, 11/20/2001, 03/18/2002, 05/15/2002, 01/30/2004, 03/23/2006, 09/01/2009).    Maybe this time things will be different.  Hoover seems more cautious than McKay.  What if the majority confirms that this was living material?  Does it mean life evolved in outer space?  No; it could have been created somewhere else, or it may be earth life that got here by a round trip.  Creation scientist Walt Brown has a theory that asteroids and comets were ejected from earth at the time of the Flood, when hyper-pressurized water shot into space from the fountains of the great deep, carrying rocky material from the continental margins with it.  It’s a speculative idea, but it’s one possibility to have life get out to space and back.  As for the Fox News lead-in that “We are not alone in the universe,” good grief; this is about the solar system, not the universe (see extrapolation).    Materialists will undoubtedly hype evolution, but the details revealed so far should be as puzzling to them as to their critics.  No nitrogen, but similar to earth life?  Astrobiologists have long tried to argue that life found elsewhere is bound to be very different from ours, but from the photos, these structures look remarkably similar to known bacteria.  Nothing in creation science or intelligent design requires life only to be found on earth anyway (see initial thoughts by ID advocate Denyse O’Leary on Uncommon Descent).  And why are these structures found only in a very rare class of meteorites, instead of all of them?    Further speculation is unwise till the claim goes through the scrutiny of skeptical scientists.  This commentary should only caution readers that healthy skepticism of spectacular claims is always in order, and to beware of being led down the primrose path by the media to answers without first asking the questions.    Already Fox News’s exclusive story is echoing around the world on other news sources and blogs.  Undoubtedly there will be more to say later about this claim.  Have your Baloney Detector tuned and ready.Update 03/07/2011: Criticisms of the claim are starting to come in from the scientific community and from evolutionists (see Space.com, PhysOrg, and Fox News follow-up story), so don’t get too excited about alien bacteria just yet.  Space.com also posted a gallery of past alleged proofs of alien life.Update 03/08/2011: New Scientist said there is “monster mud-slinging” going on among scientists about this claim.  Jeffrey Bada pointed out that minerals can show “many non-biological artefacts” to confuse the observer.  Alison Olcott Marshall [U of Kansas] said, “Morphology alone isn’t enough; geological context isn’t enough – you need all the pieces.  You need multiple lines of evidence: morphology that is highly reminiscent of biology, a geological context that makes sense and strong chemical evidence.”  New Scientist also hinted that the paper might have been a last gasp for the Journal of Cosmology, a journal deemed dubious by other astrobiologists.  It may go out of business in a few months.  This story is looking like a bright meteor – in and out of public attention in record time.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Android Grew 350% in 2009

first_imgWe think we can see this as more solid evidence that Android is going to offer some solid competition in the field of mobile OS. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… While we recently reported that Google’s Nexus One had a slow start coming out of the gate, the Android operating system, which is spread across a number of devices, is not having the same issues. A report by Myxer, a mobile entertainment company with over 30 million members, says that visits to its mobile site by Android users grew 350% in 2009, strongly outpacing the iPhone, which grew 170% during the same period. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#news#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Related Posts mike melanson Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting While iPhone is shown to have grown from 3% to 4%, Android has jumped from 5% to 12%. In the fourth quarter of 2009, Myxer delivered seven times as much content to Android phones than iPhones. When the report looks a little deeper into its numbers, it not only finds that the number of Android phones visiting the site have grown, but the number of phones running Android have too. During the fourth quarter alone, the number of Android devices doubled.last_img read more

800 resume yatra day after Chamoli landslip

first_imgOf the around 2,000 pilgrims on the Char Dham yatra in Uttarakhand, who were stranded after a landslip in Chamoli district, 800 have resumed their onward journey and work is on to clear the debris, officials said on Saturday.The Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway was closed near Vishnuprayag, one of the five important points of the Alaknanda river, between Joshimath and the hill shrine of Badrinath.Huge boulders had rolled down the Hathi Pahar mountain on Friday afternoon, blocking the highway.CM’s directiveChief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has directed the Secretary of the Disaster Management Department, Amit Negi, to monitor the situation.‘Arrangements in place’“There were no unfortunate incidents, 1,800 tourists were affected and arrangements were made for them. The Border Roads Organisation and other authorities are working on clearing the debris and the route will be opened today; all the suitable arrangements are in place,” Mr. Rawat tweeted.He said, “Information of landslides was shared with various towns along the route.”Chamoli District Magistrate Ashish Joshi dismissed reports that around 15,000 people were stranded. “Only 2,000 people have been affected,” he said.last_img read more

PDP hails Rajnath’s offer of talks with Hurriyat

first_imgThe ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday described Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s offer of fresh dialogue with stakeholders as “a golden opportunity for the Hurriyat.”“The Hurriyat and Pakistan should respond positively to the offer of talks on Kashmir. It’s high time for the Hurriyat to initiate a result-oriented and meaningful dialogue with the Government of India,” said PDP general secretary Mansoor Hussain Sohrawardhy.Ready for dialogueIn an interview to a New Delhi-based channel, Mr. Singh said, “If Hurriyat is ready to talk, we have no problem, we are ready to talk to anyone. Even if Pakistan comes for a dialogue, we are ready for it.”The PDP leader said the State government had taken a series of confidence and peace-building measures to put a lid on the violence and bloodshed and that “more [measures] could be taken in the future.” “The ball is in the Hurriyat’s court now. The onus also lies on Pakistan to hold dialogue with India and stop painting the borders and the LoC in Kashmir red,” said Mr. Sohrawardhy.Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq maintained that the Hurriyat leadership would “extend its full support to every serious effort aimed at resolving the Kashmir [issue] so that peace prevails and bloodshed stops”. “It’s long overdue that India and Pakistan allow the leadership of the two divided parts of Kashmir to meet with each other and decide on their future course of action regarding their destiny. Such a step is of utmost importance,” said the Mirwaiz.Meanwhile, separatists forum Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) leader Yasin Malik, also JKLF chief, held a sit-in protest in Srinagar to demand release of all political prisoners.“We demand the immediate release of all prisoners, including Masarat Aalam, Qasim Faktoo, Asiya Andrabi and others,” said Mr. Malik.last_img read more

Volunteers had time of their lives at Games

first_imgThe sea of red and white which over the past month had become a hallmark of the Commonwealth Games in the city may have slowly faded away after the closing ceremony, but the group of young volunteers are finding it hard to let go.The hard work put in by volunteers was a major reason for the success of the recent Commonwealth GamesDressed in their bright red trackpants and white windcheater uniforms, the young brigade found dotting the city assisting at stadiums and press tribunes across the Games venues here are bidding goodbye to the mega event, which was more than just a sporting event for them.”The Games brought people from diverse backgrounds together and the amount of time we spent together during the last 20 days formed a strong bond of friendship between us, thus this very moment is very painful for me,” says Neha, one of the volunteers. Many like Neha joined the volunteer bandwagon for fun but seem to have taken away an experience they say will cherish forever.”Initially I thought it was just a worthless job but the whole experience has been very rewarding… I can now tell my grandchildren that I was a volunteer at the 2010 Games,” says another collegiate. Their attachment to the whole set-up is such that many want the show to continue infinitely!”We simply didn’t want the Games to end, we wanted to keep working as long as we can,” said Sarika, an army officer’s wife who as a volunteer organised sight-seeing trips for foreign athletes. The thrill of being in the vicinity of star athletes has been one of the few attractions of the job that usually involved 8-10 hours of hard work per day.advertisement”We got to interact with lots of people – athletes, officials, and the media. For me, the best moment was when I stood at an arm’s distance from star boxer Vijender Singh,” she said.”The other day I guided gold medallist Somdev Devvarman to his team bus,” said Ankur Vasudeva, an engineering student who was attached to the British Virgin Islands contingent. Wearing a green team jersey of the island nation, he said: “The Chef-de Mission gifted this shirt to me.”The 22,000 strong volunteer workforce found a special mention in the speeches of Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell and Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi at the closing ceremony. Even the foreign athletes recognised their work and were all praise for their dedicated and unflinching service.”They (volunteers) did a great job, in them India had a really big asset which was put to good use. I don’t think the Games would have done well without them,” said Ratu Maafua, a rugby player from Tonga.Meanwhile, the volunteers clicked loads of pictures with fellow workers and foreign athletes to ensure that even if the memories fade, they can be relived and refreshed anytime. “I have made friends with lots of volunteers and they also helped us a lot in the daily work,” said Abbey Burton, an English trap shooter.However, as they say there is always a next time, many volunteers are banking on the success of the Delhi Commonwealth Games for India to bag an Olympics very soon. “I hope India gets a chance to host the 2020 Olympics and no matter what, I shall be the first person to enroll as a volunteer,” says Jatin Kalra of Maharishi Dayanand University. Jatin also hopes that social networking would enable him to stay in touch with the new friends he made during his volunteer posting at the Games Village Press Centre.”Facebook haina uske liye (Facebook can be used for that),” the computer engineering student adds. Other volunteers like Sushant, who was involved with press operations, say they plan to use the experience as building blocks in their careers. “I am going for a good holiday now … When I get back I plan to get involved with the media management of Games,” he says.Sampat Kumar says he plans to go back to college and then hunt for a job. “I have learnt to speak English and am confident of giving interviews,” he says.–With inputs from PTIlast_img read more