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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chismillionare applauds-Researchers Extend Lithium Ion Battery Life 10X

The affordable plug in sports car is on the near horizon!!!

Yes...I mean that if your laptop currently gets 2 hours of unplugged life, these would get 20 hours. Holy Schmoley!

The new batteries use silicon nano wires to basically reinvent the way that the batteries electrodes work. Instead of using carbon to store the lithium ions in the anode, they're using silicon. Silicon can hold far more ions; however, it actually stores so many ions that it literally swells during charging and contracts during use. That swelling and unswelling has generally led to complete destruction of the anode over very little use.

The silicon nanowires allow the anode to absorb the lithium without breaking down. The nanowire "forest" (yes, they actually call it a forest) expands to four times its original size during charging, but the wires don't ever fracture.

The batteries could be used to store electricity during off-peak hours or to power portable electronics. But the real exciting possibility is that these batteries could power electric vehicles that would store more energy than could be stored in a tank of gas!

Of course, one never knows what will happen when you move a technology from the lab into manufacturing, but this technology is revolutionary and extremely promising.

25 Things You Should Never Include on a Resume

By HR World Editors on December 18, 2007

Applying for a new job comes with its fair share of rejections, setbacks, frustrations and perhaps even lonely periods of unemployment. If you've been turned down for position after position, you could be getting desperate and may want to shake things up a bit so that your résumé will stand out from the piles of others stacked quietly in HR. Before you decide to get too creative, there are some rules to résumé etiquette that you should follow. Read below for the 25 things that you should never include on a professional résumé.


  1. What You Hated About Your Last Job: If you turn your résumé into a ranting session, you're starting off on the wrong foot. During an interview, the hiring manager will most likely ask you why you left your last job, but you can use this challenge to remain positive. Explain that you wanted to work with a company that promoted more mobility within the business or that you felt your strengths weren't adequately utilized at your last job.
  2. What You Hated About Your Last Boss or Co-Workers: Even if your last boss really acted like a tyrant or no one in the office could stand that jerk next to the water cooler, complaining about the past only makes you look like the bad guy. Showing that you are able to work with all kinds of people will take you far in the business world.
  3. Irrelevant Job Experience: Job experience that is unrelated to the position you're applying for only clutters your resume and irritates the HR department. Did your lawn-mowing gig or high-school job as a checker at the grocery store really prepare you to be a PR professional? There are other ways to prove your people skills, so stick with the jobs and internships that are most relevant.
  4. Sexual Preference: Your sexual preference has no relevance on how well you can perform the job. Leave it out when writing up your résumé, because according to Emurse.com, "discrimination still exists in the hiring process, and [including this information] may lead to a premature and completely unwarranted disposal of your resume."
  5. Religion: Discussing religion in the workplace is another big no-no for Americans. Including your religion, or lack thereof, on a résumé is too controversial and is irrelevant to the job. So unless you're applying for a job at a religious institution, exclude this information.
  6. Every Job You've Had Since You Were 16: Once you've been a member of the workforce for a few years, it's safe to say that you can exclude those babysitting jobs you had when you were in high school. Employers look for relevant, recent work experience that will have prepared you for the current position for which you are applying.
  7. Age: Like it or not, some hiring managers will discriminate against employees based on their age. Technically, this kind of discrimination is illegal, but if you seem too young or too old to do the job, you may not even get an interview — despite what the rest of the résumé says
  8. Political Identity: Again, asking your future employer to acknowledge your political leanings is just too controversial. Unless you're attempting to become the next big pundit, it's no one's business if you're überconservative or irrevocably liberal.
  9. Lies About Job Experience: If you haven't worked in a managerial position for more than five years, you'll be outed with a simple phone call to your last boss and immediately disqualified from the rest of the hiring process. If you feel uncomfortable about your lack of skill, focus on the positive and show how other great qualities would make you a great manager or supervisor.
  10. Lies About Educational Background: If you lie about where you went to high school, the hiring manager might not find out, but if you fake the fact that you have higher degrees than you really do, someone is bound to discover your lie. Background checks are standard at most offices, and even if you get the job, your lack of skill will quickly be revealed.
  11. Bad Grammar: Bad grammar absolutely does not belong on a résumé. It shows that you are lazy, uneducated and don't care enough about the job to pay attention to detail. Even if you think you have great grammar skills, it's best to let someone else look over your résumé as a precaution.
  12. Hobbies: While some employers like to see that interviewees are active in the community or have won nonprofessional awards, no one really wants to know that you love knitting with your grandmother or were named the beer-chugging contest winner in college. When in doubt, leave it out.
  13. Social Security Number: As a safety precaution, do not include your Social Security number on your résumé. Chances are, your résumé could be floating around a busy HR office where anyone could pick it up.
  14. Photograph: JobFairy.com reports that hiring departments "legally cannot consider your picture in determining if you are to be interviewed, or hired," and that "many companies won't even consider résumés that are submitted with a picture to ensure that they are in compliance with [the Equal Opportunity Employer]" legislation. Keep in mind, however, that if you are applying for jobs overseas, photographs may be the norm on résumés.
  15. Physical Characteristics: Just as you should never submit a photograph along with your résumé, it's also best to leave out your physical characteristics, such as your height, weight and hair color, in writing. Describing yourself as a "hot blonde" is asking for trouble; conversely, overweight job seekers are sometimes unfairly discriminated against.
  16. Health Issues: Money-Zine.com reports that "an employer has no legal right to know your health status. The only health-related questions that an employer can ask are job related." If you and your doctor feel that your health is adequate enough to complete your job duties as expected, then your health issues are no one else's business.
  17. Information About Your Family Members: Whether or not you're married or have children does not belong on a résumé. Some supervisors automatically assume that a parent of small children will be unavailable to work odd hours, but you should be the one to make that call, not them.
  18. Boring Words: Instead of writing that you are a "dedicated, interesting person," jazz up your vocabulary to stand apart from the crowd. In general, action words are best. Also, use a thesaurus if you're stuck trying to find unique synonyms.
  19. Negative Thoughts, Words or Ideas: Even if you have a hard time believing in your strengths, your résumé is not the place to show weakness. If you know that you're not a born leader, consider writing that you work well in groups or that you take direction well. Putting a positive spin on yourself will help the hiring manager see you that way also.
  20. Blanket Statements: Some companies require applicants to send in their salary requests when they apply for a job; however, asking for a six-figure salary "and not a penny less" marks you as being stubborn and difficult work with. You never know what kinds of negotiations can arise in the person-to-person interview, so keep your options open and avoid making blanket statements.
  21. Criminal Record: While it's generally best to be honest, including any mention of a criminal record, however insignificant it seems to you, is not advisable for a résumé. If the HR department has a policy on criminal histories, they'll ask during the interview.
  22. Prejudices: If you harbor any prejudices against certain groups or individuals, it's best to keep that to yourself (or consider counseling). Advertising the fact that you don't work well with others is not going to get you the job. Office managers want employees who can blend into the workplace and relate to their co-workers in a civilized manner.
  23. A Messy Format: In this day and age of advanced but easy-to-use formatting systems and computer programs, there is no excuse for a résumé with messy indents, unequal spacing and other formatting errors. If you're hopelessly inept at working with computers, ask a friend for help.
  24. Low GPAs: Unless you're fresh out of college and looking for your first big job, don't bother including your GPA. A good track record in your employment history will go much further in impressing the hiring department than a GPA that shows you got A's and B's in psychology eight years ago. This rule holds true especially if you had a low GPA in school.
  25. Sarcasm: Sarcasm does not often translate well through business writing, and even if the hiring manager does get it, he or she probably won't appreciate it. Résumés and the interview process are not appropriate outlets to release your offbeat irony, since you don't know how it will be received and it's just plain inappropriate.

When creating a résumé, it's generally best to leave out overly personal information like your marital status, physical characteristics, Social Security number and any other attributes that could be controversial. Ask someone you trust to edit your résumé for grammar mistakes, typographical errors and formatting discrepancies to make sure the hiring department can focus on your skills and experience — not your carelessness.

Most Expensive LEGAL Pets To Own


Monkeys, Lions and Chimpanzees are animals we often see in the wild or on the Discovery Channel, however many of these exotic animals can be purchased legally within the United States. Living in an acceptable jurisdiction and acquiring the correct permit could turn your home into a modern day zoo. These animals, however do come with a heavy price tag and that is not including the upkeep.

13. Bengal Cat


Price Tag: $800-$3,000



The Bengal Cat is bred by mating a domestic black shorthaired cat with an Asian Leopard cat. As with many hybrids the goal is to create a domestic cat in size and demeanor with the exotic Asian Leopard Cat appearance and coloring. As with most hybrid cats, the breed becomes more and more domesticated with each successive generation, therefore the ideal domesticated breed would be at least three to five generations removed from the original breed.



12. Snow Macaque


Price Tag: $3,500



The Snow Macaque is considered a threatened species as we continue to encroach on more and more of the animal's habitat. Due to this fact, coveted licenses and special permits are mandated to own this very rare animal. The Snow Macaque is a smaller primate with a lifespan of over 25 years with the distinguishing feature of a hairless red face.


11. Squirrel Monkey


Price Tag: $4,000



This primate is about the size of a squirrel thus it's name. Generally the squirrel monkey does not get any bigger than 2 pounds and is considered a very social, affectionate and peaceful animal. These complacent characteristics make the animal a highly desired pet, however as with most of these animals, many states do not allow them to be privately owned.


10. Chinese Crested Hairless Puppies


Price Tag: $4,000-$5,000




These dogs weigh about 5 to 12 lbs and are very vivacious, alert and friendly animals. Considered to be one of the rarest dogs, these dogs are prone to sunburning on a hot and clear day. The dogs first originated in Africa and the animals is most often found to be a very pleasant companion that lives for over 10 to 12 years.


9. Savannah Cat


Price Tag: $4,000-$10,000



Bred in a similar process to the Bengal Cat, the Savannah Cat is bred by mating the African Serval with a smaller domestic cat. The Savannah inherently has a much more difficult breeding process, because an African Serval is 40lbs and undomesticated and breeding it with a domestic house cat is problematic. Concurrently, the gestation periods between the two animals are different. Due to these factors, the Savannah is a more expensive and rare breed of cat.


8. Mona Guenon


Price Tag: $6,000



The Mona Guenon's natural habitat is within the Western African tropical forests, however this animal is capable of adapting to any forest environment. Therefore, despite special permits and licenses to own this animal, it is not considered an endangered specie.



7. Debrazzas Monkey


Price Tag: $10,000



The DeBrazza's Monkey is easily recognized by its white beard and yellowish gray fur. The animal will generally live for about 22 years. Though many people do shell out the hefty price for this primate, they become disappointed when the docile and tender babies grow to become unpredictable and hostile adults.


6. Striped Ball Python


Price Tag: $10,000



Master Python Breeder, Bob Clark states that he has an exclusive on this genetic striped ball python. The prominent stripe is what makes this animal very unique. More clearly, the striped ball showcases a yellow dorsal stripe with a a black border, clearly differentiating them from any other snake.


5. Hyacinth Macaw


Price Tag: $6,500-12,000




Macaws overall are very expensive. The Hyacinth Macaw exhibiting beautifully vibrant coloring, generally commands $20,000 a pair. Physically these birds are about 40 inches long and have a bright blue coloring. Their wing span is about four feet and these birds make popular pets despite their expensive price tag.


4. Reticulated Albino Type II Tiger Python


Price Tag: $15,000



Master Python Breeder, Bob Clark's Reticulated Albino Type II Tiger Pythons sell for $15,000 each. An extremely rare breed, these pythons showcase a co-dominant tiger pattern, making them extremely popular in the snake world.


3. Lavender Albino Python Female


Price Tag: $20,000



This red-eyed snake is lavender in color, under a vibrant yellow pattern. Also available from python breeder Bob Clark, the rarity has fueled demand.



2. Chimpanzee


Price Tag: $60,000-$65,000



Chimpanzees are highly intelligent primates and are closely related to humans. Chimpanzees weigh about 115 lbs and the male is slightly larger than the female. The natural habitat of the Chimpanzee is within central Africa and western Africa. Though an endangered specie, Chimps are legal pets in some states.


1. White Lion Cubs


Price Tag: $138,000



The very rare White Lion is because of a a recessive gene and the animals are not considered to be albino. The White Lion's eye color is similar to the regular lion, however the coat pigmentation and skin are not. Due to its price, demand, upkeep and scarcity, the White Lion remains one of the most difficult animals in the world to obtain.


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7 More Abandoned Wonders of the World: Amazing American Abandonments

Abandoned Spooky Graveyard Structures

Ever see an impressive derelict structure and wonder just how a building so elegant, sizable or centrally located could be abandoned? There are amazing abandonments all over the world, but some may be closer than you think. Many are even located right in the heart of major cities like New York or Los Angeles and are decades or even centuries old. From zoos to steel mills, prisons to offices complexes and monasteries to cemeteries here are 7 abandoned wonders of the USA.



Abandoned Spooky Cemetary Chapel

Rochester, New York: Built in the early 1800s, Mt. Hope Cemetery was the first munipical cemetery in the United States with graves older than the official graveyard itself. Such famous persons as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas are among those buried there in everything from lawn crypts and columbariums to family mausoleums. It seems strange, then, that the chapel at such an historically significant location would be abandoned to the elements, though it remains elegant even in its disrepair.


Abandoned Prison Building Complex

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Western Penitentiary is over a century old and was finally abandoned a few years back, only to be reopened a few months ago. The site was, in a way, one of the world’s most temporary abandonments, left in pristine condition during its period of disuse and lending itself to the surreal experience of a recently working prison for visitors. Originally used in the 1800s to house Confederate Army war prisoners, it is now used for medium to low security containment of inmates requiring drug and alcohol treatment.

Abandoned Steel Architecture Complex

Abandoned Steel Factory Buildings

Lacawana, New York: The Bethlehem Steel Company was once the second largest steel mill in the United States. They manufactured everything from railroad cars and bridge and building parts to World War II battleships. After nearly 150 years in operation, the company finally declared bankruptcy less than a decade ago and has left behind a series of remarkably intact abandonments.

Abandoned Island Industrial and Medical Complex

North Brother Island, New York: This abandoned 20-acre island sits amazingly close to the bustling center of New York City yet is completely unused. It was home to a hospital in the 19th Century, then housed veterans after World War II before becoming one of the first drug treatment centers for teens in the 1950s. Corruption and failure caused the facility to close and the island has since been off limits to the public, though some urban explorers have made their way onto it anyway. The island was also the site of an infamous shipwreck in 1904 in which over 1,000 people drowned or burned to death.

Abandoned Computer Office Building Complex

Palo Alto, California: During the dot-com bubble, Sun Microsystems experienced incredible growth and rapidly expanded in all areas including personnel, infrastructure and office space. Sun has since had ups and downs and has streamlined their operations and few people think twice about the amazing remnant abandonments they have left behind, save for a few intrepid urban explorers. Along with other things, the (above) adventurers found shotgun shells, cans of malt liquor, rows of servers and even working light fixtures.


Abandoned Monestary and School Buildings

Staten Island, New York: St. Augistine’s Monastary sits atop Grymes Hill and was once a school but now has been closed for over a half a century. Originally built as a school for boys, it was later converted and then sat idle until purchased in the 1980s. Each new owner, though, has since fallen into debt and the school was eventually purchased by a local college to avoid unwanted development, yet even Wagner College apparently has no plans to develop the property.

Abandoned Old Zoo Buildings and Enclosures

Los Angeles, California: The Griffith Park Zoo in Los Angeles is neither the oldest nor the newest of L.A.’s massive animal habitats. Though this location was abandoned decades ago it is unusually available to visitors even today. It isn’t every day that a set of abandonments not only survives for generations but also remains available to the public as a kind of museum or window into the past.

Check out These Previous Articles in the Seven Wonders Series

7 Abandoned Wonders of the World

7 More Deserted Wonders of the World

7 Underwater Wonders of the World

7 Underground Wonders of the World

7 More Underground Wonders of the World

7 Island Wonders of the World

7 Engineering Wonders of the World

PETER JACKSON AND NEW LINE CINEMA JOIN WITH MGM TO PRODUCE “THE HOBBIT” Movie

After many long months/years. It's Official Peter Jackson will direct the Hobbit!!!

December 18th, 2007 by xoanon

PJ Thumbs UpDecember 18, 2007

ACADEMY AWARD-WINNER PETER JACKSON AND NEW LINE CINEMA JOIN WITH MGM TO PRODUCE “THE HOBBIT,” EAGERLY-ANTICIPATED FANTASY ADVENTURE EPIC

NEW LINE AND MGM TO CO-PRODUCE AND SHARE WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS

PETER JACKSON AND FRAN WALSH TO EXECUTIVE PRODUCE TWO FILMS BASED ON “THE HOBBIT”

Los Angeles, CA (Tuesday, December 18, 2007) Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson; Harry Sloan, Chairman and CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM); Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs of New Line Cinema have jointly announced today that they have entered into the following series of agreements:

* MGM and New Line will co-finance and co-distribute two films, “The Hobbit” and a sequel to “The Hobbit.” New Line will distribute in North America and MGM will distribute internationally.

* Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will serve as Executive Producers of two films based on “The Hobbit.” New Line will manage the production of the films, which will be shot simultaneously.

* Peter Jackson and New Line have settled all litigation relating to the “Lord of the Rings” (LOTR) Trilogy.

Said Peter Jackson, “I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a legacy we proudly share with Bob and Michael, and together, we share that legacy with millions of loyal fans all over the world. We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth. I also want to thank Harry Sloan and our new friends at MGM for helping us find the common ground necessary to continue that journey.”

“Peter Jackson has proven himself as the filmmaker who can bring the extraordinary imagination of Tolkien to life and we full heartedly agree with the fans worldwide who know he should be making ‘The Hobbit,’” said Sloan, MGM’s Chairman and CEO. “Now that we are all in agreement on ‘The Hobbit,’ we can focus on assembling the production team that will capture this phenomenal tale on film.”

Bob Shaye, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO comments, “We are very pleased we have been able to resolve our differences, and that Peter and Fran will be actively and creatively involved with ‘The Hobbit’ movies. We know they will bring the same passion, care and talent to these films that they so ably accomplished with ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Trilogy.”

“Peter is a visionary filmmaker, and he broke new ground with ‘The Lord of the Rings,’” notes Michael Lynne, New Line Co-Chairman and Co-CEO. “We’re delighted he’s back for ‘The Hobbit’ films and that the Tolkien saga will continue with his imprint. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Harry Sloan, who has been instrumental in helping us reach our new accord.”

The two “Hobbit” films – “The Hobbit” and its sequel – are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, with pre-production beginning as soon as possible. Principal photography is tentatively set for a 2009 start, with the intention of “The Hobbit” release slated for 2010 and its sequel the following year, in 2011.

The Oscar-winning, critically-acclaimed LOTR Trilogy grossed nearly $3 billion worldwide at the box-office. In 2003, “Return of the King” swept the Academy Awards, winning all of the eleven categories in which it was nominated, including Best Picture – the first ever Best Picture win for a fantasy film. The Trilogy’s production was also unprecedented at the time.

For more information about “The Hobbit” films, please visit www.TheHobbitBlog.com.

How To Fold A T-shirt In 2 Seconds


How To Fold A T-shirt In 2 Seconds - Click here for another funny movie.

Dubai Building $1 Billion Robotic Jurassic Park

Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 at 6:06 pm by: Peter Sciretta

Restless Planet

The idea of Jurassic Park has always intrigued me. After taking the splash on the theme park ride at Universal Studios in Hollywood, I often wondered why a whole theme park couldn’t be created around this idea. And now it is finally happening.

A new $1.1 billion Jurassic theme park called Restless Planet, is being built in Dubai. The park will feature 109 animatronic dinosaurs of over 40 different species in a 500,000 square foot (46,000 square metre) space. The new park will be the star attraction of a large Las Vegas-esque entertainment and business development called City of Arabia.

Restless Planet

Restless PlanetRestless Planet will mix entertainment with educational content. Managing director Mustafa Galadari promises an “Extremely realistic and scary” but also “scientifically accurate environment.” Palaeontologist Jack Horner, best known as the technical advisor on Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, and the inspiration for the character of Alan Grant in Michael Crichton’s original book, is also on board advising the designers of the park.

Not many details have been revealed, but we do know that the park will use “computer graphics and high-tech special effects to take visitors from the Big Bang through the birth of the Earth, the creation of its mountains and oceans, and on to the age of the dinosaurs.”

Restless Planet




The sets are being produced by Impossible Pictures, the same people that created the BBC television series Walking with Dinosaurs. The robotic dinosaurs are being created by animatronics experts, the Tokyo-based Kokoro Company of Japan. The Kokoro Company has prior experience in the Dinosaur realm, having created animatronic creatures for the National History Museum in London. One of the creatures at the Museum, is a T-Rex which targets and tracks visitors who are wearing red as if they were prey.


City of Arabia


Watch the promotional animated conceptual video below:






Restless Planet is scheduled to open in late 2008.

1958 "Disneyland" TV Show episode entitled "Magic Highway USA"

Got to Love Disney:

Dec 17th, 2007

An excerpt from the 1958 "Disneyland" TV Show episode entitled "Magic Highway USA". In this last part of the show, an exploration into possible future Transportation technologies is made. It's hard to believe how little we've accomplished on this front since 1958, and how limited the scope for imagining such future technologies has become. Witness an artifact from a time where the future was greeted with optimism. Note the striking animation style here, achieved with fairly limited animation and spectacular layouts. (source)




Disney's highways of the future



Very Clever Job Posting

Return to "Earth's Twin" -European Teams Says Gliese 581 May be Habitable


Superearth_2 More than 10 years after the discovery of the first extra-solar planet, a European team of astronomers have confirmed that one of the planets might indeed be located within the habitable zone around the star Gliese 581.

Until a few years ago, most of the newly discovered exo-planets were

Jupiter-mass, probably gaseous, planets. Recently, astronomers have
announced the discovery of several planets that are potentially much
smaller super-Earths with a minimum mass lower than 10 Earth masses.

In April, a European team announced in Astronomy & Astrophysics
the discovery of two new planets orbiting the M star Gliese 581 (a red
dwarf), with masses of at least 5 and 8 Earth masses. Given their
distance to their parent star, these new planets -Gliese
581c and Gliese 581d- were the first ever possible candidates for
habitable planets.

The expression “super-Earths”, which is often
used to refer to exoplanets in the 2-10 Earth-mass range, might be
confusing, as it indeed suggests that these planets are rocky planets
that differ from the Earth only by their mass. But Gliese 581 c and d
could very well be big icy planets, with a very different composition
from the Earth.

Unlike Jupiter-mass giant planets that are mainly gaseous,
terrestrial planets are expected to be extremely diverse: some will be
dry and airless, while others will have much more water and gases than
the Earth. Only the next generation of telescopes will allow us to tell
what these new worlds and their atmospheres are made of and to search
for possible indications of life on these planets. Early in the next decade, scientists will
launch a new kind of telescope, the interferometry space telescope,
which uses the interference of light beams to enhance the resolving
power of telescopes. However, theoretical
investigations are possible today and can be a great help in
identifying targets for these future observations.

Two
international teams, one led by Franck Selsis and the other by
Werner von Bloh investigated the possible habitability of these two
super-Earths from two different points of view.compute the properties of a planet’s
atmosphere at various distances from the star. If the planet is too
close to the star, the water reservoir is vaporized, so Earth-like life
forms cannot exist. The outer boundary corresponds to the distance
where gaseous CO2 is then unable to produce the strong greenhouse
effect required to warm a planetary surface above the freezing point of
water. The major uncertainty for the precise location of the habitable
zone boundaries comes from clouds that cannot currently be modeled in
detail.

W. von Bloh and his colleagues studied a narrower region of the
habitable zone where Earth-like photosynthesis is possible. This
photosynthetic biomass production depends on the atmospheric CO2
concentration, as much as on the presence of liquid water on the
planet. Using a thermal evolution model for the super-Earths, they have
computed the sources of atmospheric CO2 (released through ridges and
volcanoes) and its sinks (the consumption of gaseous CO2 by weathering
processes).

The main aspect of their model is the persistent balance hat exists on Earth between the sink of CO2 in the atmosphere-ocean
system and its release through plate-tectonics. In this model, the
ability to sustain a photosynthetic biosphere strongly depends on the
age of the planet, because a planet that is too old might not be active
anymore, that is, would not release enough gaseous CO2. In this case,
the planet would no longer be habitable.

Both teams found that, while Gliese 581 c is too close
to the star to be habitable, the planet Gliese 581 d might be
habitable. However, the environmental conditions on planet d might be
too harsh to allow complex life to appear. Planet d is tidally locked,
like the Moon in our Earth-Moon system, meaning that one side of the
planet is permanently dark. Thus, strong winds may be caused by the
temperature difference between the day and night sides of the planet.
Since the planet is located at the outer edge of the habitable zone,
life forms would have to grow with reduced stellar irradiation and a singularly odd climate.

However, even under these strange conditions,
it might still be habitable if its atmosphere is dense enough. In any
case, habitable conditions on planet d should be very different from
what we encounter on Earth.

Last but not least, the report in Astronomy &
Astrophysics suggests that the possible habitability of one of these
planets is particularly interesting because of the central star, which
is a red dwarf, M-type star. About 75% of all stars in our Galaxy are M
stars. They are long-lived (potentially tens of billion years), stable,
and burn hydrogen.

M stars have long been considered as poor candidates
for harboring habitable planets: first because planets located in the
habitable zone of M stars are tidally locked, with a permanent dark
side, where the atmosphere is likely to condense irreversibly. Second,
M stars have an intense magnetic activity associated with violent
flares and high X and extreme UV fluxes, during their early stage that
might erode planetary atmospheres. Theoretical studies have recently
shown that the environment of M stars might not prevent these planets
from harboring life.

M stars have then become very interesting for
astronomers because habitable planets orbiting them are easier to
detect by using the radial-velocity and transit techniques than are the
habitable planets around Sun-like stars.

Both studies definitely confirm that Gliese 581c and Gliese 581d
will be prime targets for the future ESA/NASA space mission
Darwin/Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF), dedicated to the search for
life on Earth-like planets. These space observatories will make it
possible to determine the properties of their atmospheres.

A third study on the Gliese 581 planetary
system led by H. Beust and his team study the
dynamical stability of the Gliese 581 planetary system. Such studies
are very interesting in the framework of the potential habitability of
these planets because the long-term evolution of the planetary orbits
may regulate the climate of these planets. Mutual gravitational
perturbations between different planets are present in any planetary
system with more than one planet.

In our solar system, under the
influence of the other planets, the Earth's orbit periodically evolves
from purely circular to slightly eccentric. This is actually enough to
trigger the alternance of warm and glacial eras. More drastic orbital
changes could well have prevented the development of life. Beust and
his colleagues computed the orbits of the Gliese 581 system and find that the system appears dynamically stable, showing
periodic orbital changes that are comparable to those of the Earth. The
climate on the planets is expected to be stable, so it at least does
not prevent life from developing, although it does not prove it
happened either.

The expression “super-Earths”, which is often
used to refer to exoplanets in the 2-10 Earth-mass range, might be
confusing, as it indeed suggests that these planets are rocky planets
that differ from the Earth only by their mass. But Gliese 581 c and d
could very well be big icy planets, with a very different composition
from the Earth.

Chris Tinney, a member of he world's largest and most prolific team of planet hunters, the
Anglo-Australian, California and Carnegie Planet Searches, thinks that “finding a planet of Earth mass is probably a
couple of years away. But…”—and he emphasizes the “but,” pausing for a
moment—“there’s always a ‘but.’” As he explains, all of the things they
are finding of very low mass are moving in very short orbital periods,
which means that they are orbiting close to their parent stars. So
although there they are like Earth in terms of their mass and size,
these planets are very unlike the Earth in terms of their orbit.

“To find an Earth-mass planet in an Earth-like orbit is just not
going to happen with the Doppler technique,” Tinney states. It is
simply beyond the technology currently developed. Essentially, it would
mean that they would need to be performing measurements 100 times
better than any technology is capable of doing.

So does this rule out the possibility of finding a habitable planet?

Not quite. There is a “trick” to planet hunting. Scientists can look
for Earth-mass planets in short period orbits around lower mass stars.
These types of stars are called M dwarfs and have a mass one tenth the
size of the Sun, which means that the velocity signal is ten times

larger, and therefore the radius at which the planet must be from the

star in order to have water or liquid on its surface is much smaller.
For now, it’s Tinney’s opinion that some of the recent reports about

habitable planets being discovered “is more hype than reality,” but

that the discovery of such planets “will come in due course.”

Posted by Casey Kazan.

Britney's Teen Sister Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnant

TUESDAY DECEMBER 18, 2007 09:15 PM EST

Jamie Lynn Spears Photo by: Goff / INF
Britney's Teen Sister Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnant | Jamie-Lynn Spears


Britney Spears's 16-year-old sister Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant.

Nickelodeon, which carries her TV show Zoey 101, said in a statement: "We respect Jamie Lynn's decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn's well being."

Spears and her mother confirmed the pregnancy to OK! magazine, saying she was 12 weeks along and the father is Jamie Lynn's longtime boyfriend Casey Aldridge. Aldridge's mother confirmed it to TMZ.com.

"It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected," Jamie Lynn told OK!, according to the Associated Press. "I was in complete and total shock and so was he."

Spears told the magazine that after confirming the pregnancy with a home test and a subsequent doctor's visit, she told only one friend – then waited two weeks before telling anybody else, including her parents.

"I needed to work out what I would do for myself before I let anyone's opinion affect my decision," she told the magazine. "Then I told my parents and my friends. I was scared, but I had to do what was right for me."

Breaking the News to Her Parents

She told her parents just before Thanksgiving.

"I didn't believe it because Jamie Lynn's always been so conscientious," her mother, Lynne Spears, told OK!. "She's never late for her curfew. I was in shock. I mean, this is my 16-year-old baby."

Aldridge's mother, Joyce Aldridge, told TMZ she was "aware of the recent interview regarding her and being pregnant" and that "we are in agreement with everything that was said by Jamie Lynn."

"Everything is fine," Joyce Aldridge added.

Spears, a high school junior who is 10 years younger than Britney, had until now escaped much of the attention about her personal life that has surrounded her sister.

Jamie Lynn stars as a schoolgirl at the fictitious Pacific Coast Academy in Zoey 101, finishing its third season next month as one of Nickelodeon's highest-rated shows.

A rep for Spears was not immediately available for comment.

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