Some Really Cool Science – Swimming with Sharks


NASA is under the gun about a heavy lift vehicle.  The DOD just launched the Delta 4-Heavy rocket.  Why can’t they play off the various ideas?

Sharks are now swimming past McDonalds in one of the flooded cities in Australia.  While I was writing it I was on the phone with a friend.   He said, “What, sharks won’t eat McDonald’s either?”

“…Flood victims in Australia have a new danger to contend with — sharks swimming down their streets, according to a report in The Queensland Times.

Bull sharks have been observed swimming past a McDonald’s restaurant, past a butcher’s shop, and around other places in Goodna, a suburb of the city of Ipswich, Australia.

“It’s definitely a first for Goodna, to have a shark in the main street,” Paul Tully, Ipswich councilor for the Goodna region, said in the Queensland Times report…..”Bull sharks have been in Goodna for a long time in the Bremer,” confirmed Tully. “They are regularly in the Brisbane River and often swim up. I know a number of fishermen who have caught bull sharks.”

To get to Goodna’s main street, he said the sharks must have swam well over a mile from the river. They then crossed Evan Marginson Park and the local highway there. This would have been unthinkable during drier days, but the flood waters have made this bizarre travel route possible.

This week, Goodna was contending with over 26 feet of water in normally populated areas. As if the water, sharks, crocodiles and other threats weren’t enough, a flammable gas leak caused further chaos there recently, leading to even more evacuations.”…”

Space Flight Daily

Then there is the new whale species that has been found.

I would love to be able to see the collapse of the super-giant Betelgeuse.  It can now happen at any time.

“…Astrophysicists say that Betelgeuse, the red super-giant that is the ninth brightest star in the sky, is losing mass—an indication of gravitational collapse. Brad Carter, a senior lecturer of physics at the University of Southern Queensland, explained to that the star is essentially running out of the fuel at its core. “This fuel keeps Betelgeuse shining and supported. When this fuel runs out the star will literally collapse in upon itself and it will do so very quickly,” he said. The subsequent explosion will appear tens of millions of times brighter than the sun, meaning 24-hours of light on Earth….”

Discovery News

Did the sun rise 2 days earlier in Greenland?

Will Ankhesenamun be found this year?

National Geographic

“…Scientists think a swelling magma reservoir four to six miles (seven to ten kilometers) below the surface is driving the uplift. Fortunately, the surge doesn’t seem to herald an imminent catastrophe, Smith said. (Related: “Under Yellowstone, Magma Pocket 20 Percent Larger Than Thought.”)

“At the beginning we were concerned it could be leading up to an eruption,” said Smith, who co-authored a paper on the surge published in the December 3, 2010, edition of Geophysical Research Letters.

“But once we saw [the magma] was at a depth of ten kilometers, we weren’t so concerned. If it had been at depths of two or three kilometers [one or two miles], we’d have been a lot more concerned.”

Studies of the surge, he added, may offer valuable clues about what’s going on in the volcano’s subterranean plumbing, which may eventually help scientists predict when Yellowstone’s next volcanic “burp” will break out…”

Petrosaurs laid soft eggs!

National Geographic

“...A team of British and Chinese researchers said in the journal Science that the hawk-sized Mrs T (short for pterosaur) displays wider hips than males, and likely lacked the same distinct head crest that could be seen in the opposite sex.

David Unwin, a palaeobiologist in the Department of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, said the discovery of a mother and egg together was “incredibly rare,” and a first for pterosaurs.

“Certainly if somebody had said to me a few years ago, ‘What do you think about the chance of finding a pterosaur preserved together with an egg?’ I just would have said ‘You’re crazy,'” Unwin said.

Helping to identify other fossils

The find will also help researchers better identify previously found fossils as either male or female, particularly since in Darwinopterus they were about the same size.

“She has relatively large hips, to accommodate the passage of eggs, but no head crest,” Unwin said.

“Males, on the other hand, have relatively small hips and a well developed head crest. Presumably they used this crest to intimidate rivals, or to attract mates such as Mrs T.”…”

Has the long lost villa of Caligula been found?

“...Italian police might have found intriguing evidence pointing to the long-lost villa of the incestuous and lunatic emperor Caligula, according to a report by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

The special art squad police arrested last week near Lake Nemi, south of Rome, a man trying to load part of an eight-foot-tall statue onto his truck.

Sitting on a throne, the headless marble statue featured on the left foot the “caligae” military boot after which the notorious Roman emperor, whose real name was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, was nicknamed.

“Even without that feature, there is little doubt about the sitter. The throne is decorated with imperial symbols, while the sculpture is made from Greek marble of Paros, considered in antiquity the world’s best and most precious,” Sergio Rizzo and Gian Antonio Stella wrote in Corriere della Sera.

Thought to be worth about $1.6 million, the statue would represent Caligula sitting on the throne as the god Jupiter, supporting the theory that the insane and capricious emperor, who is said to have made his favorite horse Incitatus a senator, believed himself to be a living god…”


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