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Warship now a home for fish: U.S.S. Oriskany, The Great Carrier Reef, is largest vessel ever sunk to make a reef

U.S.S. Oriskany, aircraft carrier, to be sunk in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida to become an artificial reef

(quote)

PENSACOLA, Fla. - For Thom Dietmeyer, a retired naval officer, standing again on the bridge of his old ship was a dream come true, even if he was 70 feet below the surface of the ocean. “I knew exactly where I was going as soon as I got down there,” he said, recalling the dive, which took place a year ago last May on the wreck of an aircraft carrier called the Oriskany. The U.S.S. Oriskany, known as the Mighty-O, was commissioned in 1950 and served in Korea and Vietnam. The ship was sunk by the Navy in May 2006 under a pilot program to convert decommissioned vessels into artificial reefs. At 44,000 tons, 888-foot-long, it is by far the largest vessel ever sunk to make a reef.

U.S.S. Oriskany towed about 24 miles south of Pensacola, where 500 pounds of strategically placed explosive charges scuttled it  read more »

Zoo Atlanta celebrates arrival of baby panda, 2nd cub of mother Lun Lun and only panda born in US in 2008 so far

giant panda cub Mei Lan, left, playing with her mother Lun Lun in the panda hammock at Zoo Atlanta, Ga. on Wednesday March 28, 2007

(quote)

The Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Sichuan Province announced that 11-year-old panda Lun Lun gave birth to a cub in Zoo Atlanta in the United States at 10:11 AM Beijing time on August 31. It was her second birth since the base and the US zoo launched an international panda breeding program in 1999. Lun Lun gave birth to Mei Lan at the zoo in Sept 2006. Her second cub is the only giant panda born so far in the US in 2008, said Dennis Kelly, Zoo Atlanta's president and CEO.

Zoo Atlanta's giant panda Lun Lun cares for her cub Mei Lan after its second health check-up, 2006

The zoo is continuing to monitor Lun Lun closely for a possible second birth. Twin births take place nearly 50 percent of the time with giant pandas. A second cub could arrive as much as 12 to 24 hours after the first, according to Zhang Zhihe, chief of the base.

Lun Lun is caring for her cub, which is about the size of a human hand. The zoo's veterinary team will conduct the cub's first checkup when it is deemed possible to do so without disrupting maternal care. The zoo's animal management and veterinary teams, joined by Yang Kuixing, an official from the Chengdu base, will continue round-the-clock monitoring of the mother and cub, Kelly said.  read more »

What is your dream job? Among Vocation Vacations' top 20: actor, chocolatier, voice-over artist, wedding planner

among top 20 dream jobs: brew master and writer/publisher (Juno Screenwriter Diablo Cody pictured)

(quote)

Everyone has a dream, right? Like rock star fantasy camps, Vocation Vacations gives ordinary folks the chance to live out a dream for a moment. It is the brainchild of Brian Kurth, a former business executive from Oregon. His company, born in 2004, connects curious people with mentors who have the dream jobs they've only, well, dreamed about pursuing. Here are the 20 most-popular "Vocation Vacations," according to Kurth.

Robert DeNiro

Actor
Yeah, we've all dreamed of being a Robert DeNiro or Angelina Jolie -- the lights, the fans, the glamour. How could you not love being a famous star of the screen or stage?

Baker
If you like to see something come of your work, then perhaps you're meant to be a baker. Because best of all, after you're through admiring it, you can eat your work.

Bed-and-breakfast owner
There's nothing quite as calming as spending time around the house. As a bed-and-breakfast owner, you can -- with a few guests.

Brew master
Consider yourself a beer connoisseur? Brew up your own drinks and maybe sneak in a sip on the job.

pie

Chocolatier
Like bakers and brew masters, chocolatiers get to sample their work. But going overboard might be a problem. How tough is it to be surrounded by chocolate all day? Talk about temptation...

Dog day-care owner  read more »

Parties of the century: closing as well as the opening ceremonies of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Drummers performs during the Closing Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China

Two Number Ones – China in Gold, U.S. in Total

(quote)

The Beijing Olympics have come to a close after 16 days of thrilling competition - with the home nation sat on top of the gold medal table.

China has spent seven years planning for this event. It must be relieved that these Olympics are being hailed as both a sporting and an operational success. Worries about air pollution, protesters and media freedom were eventually overshadowed by what went on in the sporting arenas.

general view of the festivities in Beijing National Stadium during the Closing Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China

At the closing ceremony the International Olympic Committee President, Jacques Rogge, said they had been "truly exceptional games".

Best of the best

Worldwide, 200 countries provided a staggering 5,000 hours of coverage through rights-holding broadcast partners. In China, 842 million people - more than twice the population of the United States - tuned in to watch some part of opening ceremony.  read more »

Lone baby humpback whale lost in Sydney waters, 'adopts' yacht as mom

lost humpback whale calf swims around a yacht in the Pittwater, north of Sydney Harbor

(quote)

Desperate attempts are underway to save a baby humpback whale which is trying to bond with yachts in Sydney harbour, after mistaking the boats for its mother. The two week old calf, which has been separated from its real mother, was spotted nuzzling up to a whale-sized boat in the picturesque Pittwater waterway just north of Sydney on Monday.

Rescuers from the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service towed the yacht out to sea hoping to entice the calf to find other whales who would adopt it. Eventually the calf detached itself from the boat, although it remained swimming close to it. However today the baby whale had returned to the Pittwater basin, where spotted swimming “rather energetically” around other yachts in the area.

tail of a humpback whale

The race is now on to save it, but wildlife experts are pessimistic about their chances. The calf, which needs urgently to find a mother to suckle to, is in “grim danger” if it does not find a substitute, said John Dengate, a spokesman for the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. The only option is for the calf to find another pod of whales with a mother who can adopt it. “We’ve wracked our brains to think of some kind of captive approach we can do, by taking it in and rearing it ourselves, but it seems to be impossible in Australia, and possibly around the world,” Mr Dengate said.  read more »

Mickey & Goofy behind bars? Snow White, Tinkerbell, Peter Pan handcuffed

Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell and other fictional fixtures of modern-day childhood arrested outside Disneyland

(quote)

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Cinderella, Snow White, Tinkerbell and other fictional fixtures of modern-day childhood were handcuffed, frisked and loaded into police vans Thursday at the culmination of a labor protest that brought a touch of reality to the Happiest Place on Earth.

The arrest of the 32 protesters, many of whom wore costumes representing famous Disney characters, came at the end of an hour-long march to Disneyland's gates from one of three Disney-owned hotels at the center of a labor dispute.

hotel workers march from the Paradise Pier Hotel to the main entrance of Disneyland

Those who were arrested sat in a circle on a busy intersection outside the park holding hands until they were placed in plastic handcuffs and led to two police vans while hundreds of hotel workers cheered and chanted. The protesters were arrested on a misdemeanor count of failure to obey a police officer and two traffic infractions, said Sgt. Rick Martinez of the Anaheim police. They were cited and released, Sgt. Chris Schneider said.  read more »

Olympics open with full variety of athletes; flag bearers relishing moment, athletes celebrate, ready for the big Games

opening parade at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

opening parade at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

opening parade at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

(quote)

opening parade at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

China launched the 29th summer Olympics on Friday with a glittering opening ceremony combining 5,000 years of its history with a modern firecracker of a show.

The 91,000-strong crowd in the National Stadium, and more than a billion television viewers, earlier saw the hoisting of the Chinese flag which was carried into the stadium by children from China's 56 ethnic groups after 2,008 drummers had started the show.

opening parade at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Around 11,000 athletes from a record 204 nations will compete in 28 sports for 302 gold medals at the first Olympics in China and third in Asia, following Tokyo in 1964 and Seoul in 1988.  read more »

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