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NASA's Kepler spacecraft blasted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday on a three-year mission to find Earth's twin, a Goldilocks planet where it's neither too hot nor too cold, but just right for life to take hold.
The Delta II rocket, carrying the widest field telescope ever put in space, lifted off the launch pad at Cape Canaveral at 10:49 p.m. Eastern time. The launch vehicle headed down-range, gathering speed as its three stages ignited, one after the other, passing over Antigua Island in the Caribbean and later over tracking stations in Australia before climbing into orbit.
Kepler will eventually settle down to scan tens of thousands of stars near the constellations Cygnus and Lyra in search of planets where water could exist on the surface in liquid form, a key condition for life as we know it. "We have a feeling like we're about to set sail across an ocean to discover a new world," said project manager Jim Fanson of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. "It's sort of the same feeling Columbus or Magellan must have had." read more »
More than just child's play at New York International Children's Film Festival: movies where kids call the shots
Sometimes the most interesting movie for children isn’t necessarily a children’s movie. That seeming contradiction lies at the heart of the New York International Children’s Film Festival, which this Friday begins three weekends of screenings, filmmaker visits and voting, culminating in a juvenile version of the Oscars: a prize ceremony and reception on March 15. While the festival’s 100 films from 30 countries offer plenty of animation and fantasy, they also delve into real-world conflicts that affect children’s lives. “With a great many of these films, the filmmaker would say, ‘That’s not a kids’ movie,’ ” Eric Beckman, who founded the festival in 1997 with his wife, Emily Shapiro, said in an interview.
A year after its worst television ratings, the Academy Awards ceremony has been reinvented with a fresh, vibrant yet intimate atmosphere, a welcome change of pace that suited this year's runaway success, Slumdog Millionaire. The Indian rags-to-riches story was snubbed initially by the Hollywood studios but has captured the imagination of the world's cinema-going public, and yesterday it swept an astonishing eight Oscars, including the best picture and best director.
Slumdog's Oscar-winning scriptwriter, Simon Beaufoy, said the award had come at an interesting time in international affairs. "The financial markets are crashing around the world and a film comes out (that) is ostensibly about being a millionaire, (but) it's a film that says there's more important things than money: love, faith and family, and that struck a chord with people," he said.
Bolivia's first indigenous President enacts new constitution, empowers indigenous majority, allows for land reform
Bolivia's President Evo Morales has enacted a new constitution that aims to empower the country's indigenous majority and allows for land reform. Mr. Morales is Bolivia's first indigenous president.
On January 25th, Bolivia held a referendum to adopt a new national constitution, one that dramatically shifts the country, reversing discriminatory practices and granting many rights and self-determination to the 36 indigenous nations within Bolivia. After a lengthy count, officials announced that the referendum passed with over 60% of the vote.
Much political and legal work remains to implement the changes, but soon most of the country's natural resources will be state-owned, land ownership will be capped at 12,000 acres, and Morales will be able to run for a second term. President Evo Morales welcomed the constitutional win by saying "Here begins the new Bolivia", claiming the changes would work to "decolonize" Bolivia. read more »
Photos: ox born ahead of Valentine's Day with heart-shaped birthmark, faithful geese couple, baby zebra & mother
A pair of Andean geese, George and Mildred, smooching like young Valentines despite being together for eight years and rearing 40 goslings.
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.
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
World's newest republic maintains a unique century-old culture - Nepalese girl, 3, begins life as "living goddess"
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”.
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
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.
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 »
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