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NASA's Cassini Watches Storm Choke on Its Own Tail

NASA's Cassini Watches Storm Choke on Its Own Tail

This mosaic of Cassini images shows the trail of a great northern storm on Saturn raging in full force.
Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail. In a new paper that provides the most detail yet about the life and death of a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn, scientists from NASA's Cassini mission describe how the massive storm churned around the planet until it encountered its own tail and sputtered out. It is the first time scientists have observed a storm consume itself in this way anywhere in the solar system.

"This Saturn storm behaved like a terrestrial hurricane – but with a twist unique to Saturn," said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, who is a co-author on the new paper in the journal Icarus. "Even the giant storms at Jupiter don’t consume themselves like this, which goes to show that nature can play many awe-inspiring variations on a theme and surprise us again and again."

Earth's hurricanes feed off the energy of warm water and leave a cold-water wake. This storm in Saturn's northern hemisphere also feasted off warm "air" in the gas giant's atmosphere. The storm, first detected on Dec. 5, 2010, and tracked by Cassini's radio and plasma wave subsystem and imaging cameras, erupted around 33 degrees north latitude. Shortly after the bright, turbulent head of the storm emerged and started moving west, it spawned a clockwise-spinning vortex that drifted much more slowly. Within months, the storm wrapped around the planet at that latitude, stretching about 190,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) in circumference, thundering and throwing lightning along the way.

Terrestrial storms have never run into their own wakes – they encounter topographic features like mountains first and expend themselves. But Saturn has no land to stop its hurricanes. The bright, turbulent storm head was able to chomp all the way around the planet. It was only when the head of the storm ran into the vortex in June 2011 that the massive, convective storm faded away. Why the encounter would shut down the storm is still a mystery.


Marineland (Canada) is a Hellhole

By Brad Casey

Marineland, Niagara Falls’ premier tourist destination, was opened in 1961 by John Holer. At the time, John was a portly Slovenian immigrant who couldn’t find work when he arrived to Canada. With what little money he had, and what little English he could speak, Holer built two water tanks and acquired three sea lions. When he opened Marineland’s doors, admission was 25 cents per person. In the 52 years since then, Marineland has expanded to include a large collection of animals, animal shows, and a theme park with over a dozen rides. His is the kind of story that gives one hope, and makes one look nostalgically to the past when things were simpler, right? No. According to an exposé headed by Toronto Star reporter Linda Diebel, Marineland is rife with animal neglect and poor facility conditions that have led to an ever-evolving series of depressing stories, distressing events, and grim accounts from Marineland employees. Not to mention the protests, lawsuits, and public overload of bleeding hearts.

In the original Star report, a group of former Marineland employees came forward with allegations that the park suffered from poor water quality. They also noted that the park was understaffed and mentioned several cases of animal neglect. Doesn’t sound so hellish at first, right? Well, the water in some of the facilities was turning green and causing seals to lose their vision, and one of them even had an eye pop out of its socket when it barked because the water eroded its eye lens away. Several dolphins were losing their skin, which was coming off in chunks in the pools. A baby beluga named Skoot contracted bacterial meningitis, and was then attacked by other whales that threw her into a stone wall and killed her. After that, she was pulled from the pool by two trainers and "convulsed and died in their arms.” There is even a logbook from a former Marineland supervisor, who wrote that water was coming up from a sewer near Friendship Cove that was so corrosive it ate the tires off a pickup truck.

But Marineland doesn’t limit their severe conditions to aquatic animals. There are also land animals that get to feel the pain, and their problems are even more grim. According to this article, Marineland has a cramped collection of 15 bears. They share four dens and are underfed. They have to fight for corn pops, which people throw at them, and occasionally eat their own young. There was an incident where one bear was killed by four other bears as a crowd observed.

Then there’s the deer. The deer at the park suffer sores from the concrete grounds and sometimes break their legs, at which point, instead of euthanizing the injured animals, park owner John Holer has allegedly resorted to shooting them with a shotgun while sitting inside of his truck. According to the former supervisor of land animals, Jim Hammond, Holer once shot a sick deer in the neck, drove home, and then when Hammond called Holer to tell him the deer was still alive and choking on its own blood, Holer told him to finish the job with his knife. Hammond said it was like “trying to cut into concrete,” because the knife was so dull. The Star, who initially reported on all of this, was unable to confirm Hammond's claims regarding the incident, as Marineland would not comment on it. Holer’s response to these allegations of gruesome killings has simply been along the lines of an Elton John inspired, “circle of life” type statement.



Nearly half of Americans are one emergency from financial ruin

By Shan Li
January 30, 2013, 11:39 a.m.
Nearly 44% of American households are one emergency away from financial ruin.

That means they don't have enough savings to cover basic living expenses for three months if something unforeseen happens such as losing a job or falling sick, according to a recent study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development. Almost a third of Americans have no savings account at all.

"These families have had to prioritize today's expenses over tomorrow's goals," said Andrea Levere, the group's president.

California ranks 38th among all states for the ability of its residents to achieve financial stability, the report says. Those living in the Golden State are bedeviled with an average $13,825 in credit card debt and high housing costs.

Many people living precariously have jobs. About 75% are working full time, and more than 15% are earning middle-class incomes of more than $55,000 a year, according to the report.


Thursday TOON Roundup 3- The Rest









Thursday TOON Roundup 2 -Guns

Thursday TOON Roundup 1 -Immigration Reform

Tony Plant Transforms the Beaches of England into Swirling Canvases

Armed with little more than standard garden rake, environmental artist Tony Plant transforms the breathtakingly scenic beaches of England into temporary canvases for his swirling sand drawings. Each work is created below the tidal zones where the sand is flatter and wetter, allowing for greater contrast as he quickly drags the rake into various geometric patterns. The beauty however is fleeting as the artworks last only a few hours before being consumed by the incoming tide. Recently Plant’s work was used in the music video above by Light Colours Sound for recording artist Ruarri Joseph.


Chinese Hackers Infiltrate The New York Times, Steal Every Employee's Password

SAN FRANCISCO — For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees.

After surreptitiously tracking the intruders to study their movements and help erect better defenses to block them, The Times and computer security experts have expelled the attackers and kept them from breaking back in.

The timing of the attacks coincided with the reporting for a Times investigation, published online on Oct. 25, that found that the relatives of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, had accumulated a fortune worth several billion dollars through business dealings.

Security experts hired by The Times to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times’s network. They broke into the e-mail accounts of its Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, who wrote the reports on Mr. Wen’s relatives, and Jim Yardley, The Times’s South Asia bureau chief in India, who previously worked as bureau chief in Beijing.


An Architect Gone Mad: Mysterious Buildings Assembled from Found Photographs by Jim Kazanjian

Without the use of a camera Portland-based artist Jim Kazanjian sifts through a library of some 25,000 images from which he carefully selects the perfect elements to digitally assemble mysterious buildings born from the mind of an architect gone mad. While the architectural and organic pieces seem wildly random and out of place, Kazanjian brings just enough cohesion to each structure to suggest a fictional purpose or story that begs to be told. You can see much more of his work over on Facebook, and prints are available at 23 Sandy Gallery.


Rare pygmy elephants 'poisoned' in Borneo

A baby elephant was found next to the body of its dead mother

Ten endangered pygmy elephants have been found dead in a reserve in Malaysia, with officials saying they may have been poisoned.

The animals, which had all suffered internal bleeding, were found near each other over the space of three weeks.

In one instance, a three-month-old calf was found alongside the body of its mother, apparently trying to wake her.

Sabah Environmental Minister Masidi Manjun said it was "a sad day for conservation and Sabah".

Sen Nathan, head veterinarian at the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve in Malaysia's Sabah state on the island of Borneo, said the elephants were all thought to be part of the same family group, and were aged between four and 20.


"It was actually a very sad sight to see all those dead elephants, especially one of the dead females who had a very young calf of about three months old. The calf was trying to wake the dead mother up," he said.
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