On November 6th, 2015 UP Aerospace Inc. launched the 20-foot (6 meter) tall SL-10 rocket into near-space. The mission: deploy the Maraia Capsule testing the aerodynamics and stability of the payload on re-entry to the atmosphere. The rocket reached an altitude of 396,000ft (120,700 meters) and speeds up to Mach 5.5 (3800mph or 6115km/h) at engine burnout.
“The central bulge of the Milky Way is thought to consist of vast numbers of old stars. But the VISTA data has revealed something new — and very young by astronomical standards!”
Astronomers using the VISTA telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory have discovered a previously unknown component of the Milky Way. By mapping out the locations of a class of stars that vary in brightness called Cepheids, a disc of young stars buried behind thick dust clouds in the central bulge has been found.
“All of the 35 classical Cepheids discovered are less than 100 million years old. The youngest Cepheid may even be only around 25 million years old, although we cannot exclude the possible presence of even younger and brighter Cepheids.”
The Vista Variables in the Vía Láctea Survey (VVV)  ESO public survey is using the VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory to take multiple images at different times of the central parts of the galaxy at infrared wavelengths . It is discovering huge numbers of new objects, including variable stars, clusters and exploding stars (see related articles).
A team of astronomers, led by Istvan Dékány of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, has now used data from this survey, taken between 2010 and 2014, to make a remarkable discovery — a previously unknown component of our home galaxy, the Milky Way.
“The central bulge of the Milky Way is thought to consist of vast numbers of old stars. But the VISTA data has revealed something new — and very young by astronomical standards!” says Istvan Dékány, lead author of the new study.
Analysing data from the survey, the astronomers found 655 candidate variable stars of a type called Cepheids. These stars expand and contract periodically, taking anything from a few days to months to complete a cycle and changing significantly in brightness as they do so.
The time taken for a Cepheid to brighten and fade again is longer for those that are brighter and shorter for the dimmer ones. This remarkably precise relationship, which was discovered in 1908 by American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt, makes the study of Cepheids one of the most effective ways to measure the distances to, and map the positions of, distant objects in the Milky Way and beyond.
But there is a catch — Cepheids are not all the same — they come in two main classes, one much younger than the other. Out of their sample of 655 the team identified 35 stars as belonging to a sub-group called classical Cepheids — young bright stars, very different from the usual, much more elderly, residents of the central bulge of the Milky Way. Read the rest of this entry »
The top 10: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius, Jordan, Ireland, Canada, with the United Kingdom and Chile tied at 10.
“The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, now ranks 16th in the world after being as high as second in 2000.”
Paul Bedard reports: The United States, ranked second in worldwide economic freedom as recently as 2000, has plummeted to 16th, according to a new report of world economies.
“A weakened rule of law, the so-called wars on terrorism and drugs, and a confused regulatory environment have helped erode economic freedom in the United States, which remains behind Canada and other more economically free countries such as Qatar, Jordan and the U.A.E.”
— Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute
The Fraser Institute’s annual report, Economic Freedom of the World, showed that the country’s drop started in 2010, the second year of the Obama administration.
“Economic freedom breeds prosperity and economically free countries like Canada offer the highest quality of life while the lowest-ranked countries are usually burdened by oppressive regimes that limit the freedom and opportunity of their citizens.”
— Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute
The world-recognized report showed that the U.S. fell in several areas, including legal and property rights and regulation.
“The United States, once considered a bastion of economic freedom, now ranks 16th in the world after being as high as second in 2000,” said the report issued Monday morning. Read the rest of this entry »
Of Course They Do
Adam Taylor writes: As America stumbles its way through the early stages of Donald Trump’s unlikely and uncomfortable bid for the presidency, some here are wondering what exactly Trump says about the nation.
“Do other national cultures create men like Donald Trump?” Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg asked on Twitter. “Asking for the United States.”
Goldberg probably asked that question in jest, but there may be real concern behind it. To many, Trump’s political career seems to combine three ugly undercurrents of US politics: the outsize role of money, the never-ending campaign season, and America’s embrace of reactionary celebrity figures.
So do other countries really have their own Donald Trumps? Well, yes, of course they do. When Goldberg asked his question, there was a flood of responses from foreign readers, who pointed to their own rich and rude political figures. Some comparisons don’t quite seem fair (you may dislike Dominique Strauss-Kahn or Nigel Farage, but their faults and virtues are different from Trump’s), many, many other suggestions did seem apt.
Trump is a product of American society, but he’s not unique. His mixture of murky wealth, extreme arrogance and vulgar chauvinism can be found all over the world, albeit with local spins. Here are just a handful of the world’s other Donald Trumps.
One of the best-known examples of a foreign Trump might be Silvio Berlusconi, the business magnate who was Italy’s prime minister for about nine years in total. Berlusconi, like Trump, espoused an entrepreneurial spirit but soon became better known for his misdemeanours and odd behaviour: One time, he hid behind a monument and jumped out to scare German leader Angela Merkel, shouting, “Coo-coo” (“She enjoyed it,” Berlusconi later said). Like Trump, he even has an intriguing hairstyle….(read more)
Clive Palmer, an Australian billionaire, certainly creates Trump-size headlines. He has plans to construct a replica of the Titanic. He wants to open his own “Jurassic Park.” He has accused his political opponents of being funded by the CIA. He has called Chinese officials “mongrels” (and later apologised).
The similarities between the two go beyond headlines and money, however….(read more)
China is a country full of very rich people, and often these very rich people have deep political ambitions. However, it’s possible that Chen Guangbiao is the only one who can match Trump for sheer arrogance.
There are numerous examples of how big Chen’s ego is, including his audacious and doomed attempt to buy The New York Times and his insistence on singing at media events. Perhaps the best example of Chen’s ego, however, is a business card he handed to me in 2013….(read more)
While Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the loud-mouthed Russian politician who founded the Liberal Democratic Party in 1990, may lack the business credentials of Trump (his background is in the military), he has a habit of making statements that suggest a kinship with the American businessman.
For example, he suggests arming every single person in Russia so they can kill birds….(read more)
In many parts of Central and Eastern Europe, business success and political populism mingle, creating fertile grounds for local variants of Trumps. Read the rest of this entry »
“There are a lot of people out in the streets, many heading to the gas stations to fill up.”
— Derek Way, a resident of Puerto Varas
Emergency services declared a red alert and about 1,500 people were evacuated from the nearby town of Ensenada as a precaution, authorities said.
Calbuco is near the tourist town of Puerto Varas, about 1,000km (625 miles) south of the capital Santiago.
Among Chile’s most active volcanoes in the past, it last erupted in 1972.
Authorities said no hot rocks or lava had been seen so far, only ash.
Alejandro Verges, a local emergency director, told the Associated Press that the eruption came as a surprise.
Chile’s National Emergency Office ordered an evacuation in a 20km radius and flights over the volcano were suspended. Read the rest of this entry »
For Breitbart.com, Mary Chastain reports: It is all about sex. First there was speculation that the Netherlands beat Spain because the coach allowed players to visit with wives and girlfriends. Why did Chile beat Spain? A porn star offered a sex marathon for every win. (The picture in the link is NSFW)
Marlen Doll, one of Chile’s most popular porn stars, told people she would engage in an eight-hour sex marathon if the team beat Australia. They won and she conducted a twelve-hour orgy…(read more)
Happy Halloween! I’ve eaten and cooked with various kinds of dangerously hot peppers before, but have yet to encounter the Ghost Pepper ভূত জলকীয়া) (Bhot Jolokia) fresh or preserved, though I’ve been curious to try it. I discovered this at an Asian market last week, and immediately bought it.
I’m looking for ideas, recipes to try. Help me take advantage of the Ghost’s legendary heat! I welcome instructions from any chefs out there. Any suggestions?
Also known the Bhut Jolokia or Naga Jolokia, the Ghost Chile originates in India and is considered one of the hottest commercially available chiles in the world. (At this time, only the Trinidad Scorpion Chile is hotter.) Frieda’s Dried Ghost Chiles are twice as hot as Dried Habanero Chiles, and should be used sparingly in recipes. CAUTION: Wear gloves and use caution when handling this chile, and do not touch eyes, nose or mouth after handling.