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The junk in low Earth orbit: satellite collision highlights space pollution and rising hazard from debris

more than 6000 satellites have been launched; half of all trackable objects are due to in-orbit explosions (200) or collisions (less than 10)


The military tracks about 18,000 pieces of orbital debris. On Tuesday, the census of space-garbage suddenly jumped by 600, the initial estimate of the number of fragments from a stunning collision of two satellites high above Siberia.

Space is now polluted with the flotsam of a satellite-dependent civilization. The debris is increasingly a hazard for astronauts and has put crafts such as the Hubble Space Telescope and communications satellites at risk of being struck by an object moving at high speed.

the satellite collision involved an Iridium commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993

The military's radar can spot objects about four inches in diameter - roughly the size of a baseball - or larger. This collision, however, may have produced many thousands of small, undetectable pieces of debris that would still carry enough kinetic punch at orbital velocities to damage or destroy a spacecraft.  read more »

Photos: ox born ahead of Valentine's Day with heart-shaped birthmark, faithful geese couple, baby zebra & mother

Andean geese couple, George and Mildred, lovingly nuzzle each other in snow


A pair of Andean geese, George and Mildred, smooching like young Valentines despite being together for eight years and rearing 40 goslings.

ox in Yokohama, Japan, with heart-shaped marking on forehead

The ox 'Heart', having a heart-shaped marking on his forehead, relaxes at Yamakun Farm in Yokohama, Japan. Born in the year of the ox and ahead of Valentine's Day, the ox has drawn attention from around the country.

Peru’s fourth Zebra ever born in captivity as part of a preservation program, seen here with his mother

The baby Grant's zebra was born on Jan. 26 and is Peru's fourth ever born in captivity as part of a preservation program. The foal's name will be chosen in a special competition

Roxy the penguin at London Zoo, popular on MySpace and most adopted animal in the zoo  read more »

Ocean Mysteries: 'Immortal' jellyfish from Caribbean capable of reverting to younger self spreading all over world

an 'immortal' jellyfish is swarming through the world's oceans, according to scientists


Marine biologists say the jellyfish numbers are rocketing because they need not die. Dr Maria Miglietta of the Smithsonian Tropical Marine Institute said: "We are looking at a worldwide silent invasion."

The jellyfish are originally from the Caribbean but have spread all over the world. Found in warm tropical waters Turritopsis is believed to be spreading across the world as ships’ ballast water is discharged in ports.

a Turritopsis polyp: the jellyfish reverts to this sexually immature stage when starved or damaged

Turritopsis Nutricula is technically known as a hydrozoan and is the only known animal that is capable of reverting completely to its younger self. It does this through the cell development process of transdiff- erentiation. Scientists believe the cycle can repeat indefinitely, rendering it potentially immortal.

Though solitary, they are predatory creatures and evolve asexually from a polyp stage. While most members of the jellyfish family usually die after propagating, the Turritopsis nutricula has developed the unique ability to return to a polyp state.  read more »

Feb 8 '09 photo: family without a home. Sayed Abdul Karim, 80, sits with 9-yr-old granddaughter, Camina, in a camp

Sayed Abdul Karim, 80, sits with his 9-year-old granddaughter, Camina, left, in a camp for displaced Afghans 3 hours from their village


Family without a home
Sayed Abdul Karim, 80, sits with his 9-year-old granddaughter, Camina, left, on Feb. 8 in a camp for displaced Afghans three hours from their village in Galochi district, bombed in a recent U.S. military raid on militants in Laghman, Afghanistan. The military operation destroyed 270 homes, driving hundreds of families out of their villages.


Photos courtesy of Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

Original Source: MSNBC

World's newest republic maintains a unique century-old culture - Nepalese girl, 3, begins life as "living goddess"

a 3-year-old girl who was appointed a living goddess in Nepal - Matani Shakya received approval from the priests and President Ram Baran Yadav


Nepal became the world's newest republic in 2006, and in May 2008 ended the country's 240-year monarchy. However, the centuries-old Hindu-Buddhist tradition of worshipping a young virgin as the living embodiment of a powerful goddess has survived, and the Nepalese president now receives blessings from the girl - “living goddess”.

people watch as the guard of honor for Nepal's President Ram Baran Yadav stands at attention during the Indrajatra festival in Kathmandu September 14, 2008

The three-year-old daughter of a Nepalese watch repairer became a "living goddess" after being approved by the country's new atheist government. Despite Nepal being a Maoist republic after the monarchy was unseated in May, the centuries-old tradition of worshipping a young virgin as the living embodiment of a powerful Hindu goddess has survived.  read more »

Feb 1964, Beatles 1st tour in US; Jan 30 2009 on London rooftop, Beatles final public concert 40 yrs ago recreated

The Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr


Live rooftop concert shuts down part of Dundas Street
Re-enactment of The Beatles famous last concert together

Downtown London got back to 1969 over the noon hour as hundreds of fans cheered a band playing a re-creation of the Beatles' final public performance 40 years ago to the day. Led by London musician and Beatles expert Yuri Pool, the group played the songs in the same order, starting and finishing with versions of Get Back, the Beatles played in their legendary concert on the roof of Apple Records in London, England on Jan. 30, 1979. Hundreds of fans, standing in the cold, lined up 10 or 12 deep along a block of Dundas Street in downtown London.

The Beatles

How The Beatles Conquered America: the story of how the Beatles first became successful in America is a fascinating tale - filled with astonishing coincidences.

Friday January 10th 1964  read more »

Turkey's Prime Minister returned home to a hero's welcome for his "courageous stance" against Israel's war in Gaza

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was born, and mostly grew up, in the Kasımpaşa district of Istanbul, a middle-class neighborhood famous for its macho honor code


Gaza War has strained the relationship between Israel and Turkey, Israel’s closest Muslim ally. Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize Israel as a state, and it has built up more than $3 billion in annual trade with Israel, far more than for any other Middle Eastern country. “It’s not a business-as-usual relationship anymore,” said Cengiz Candar, a columnist for Radikal, a Turkish daily. “It’s a very uneasy sort of cohabitation in this region now.”

Israel’s Arab allies stood behind it in the war, but Turkey, a NATO member whose mediating efforts last year brought Israel into indirect talks with Syria, protested every step of the way in a month of angry remarks capped when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stalked off the stage during a debate in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 29.

Mr. Erdogan, left, marched off stage during a panel discussion after a moderator cut short his reply to Mr. Peres  read more »

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