Video: A Green Flash Over Italy

APOD: 2007 January 29 – Movie: A Green Flash Over Italy
Difficult to observe, the momentary green flash above the rising or setting sun has been documented as a phenomenon caused by the atmospheric bending or refraction of sunlight. Like a weak prism, the Earth’s atmosphere breaks white sunlight into colors, bending red colors slightly and green and blue colors through increasingly larger angles. When the sky is clear, a green flash just above the sun’s edge can sometimes be seen for a second or so, when the sun is close to a distant horizon. Still, from a site atop Mt. Autore (altitude 1,850 meters) in Italy astrophotographer Danilo Pivato captured this dramatic green flash movie. The time between frames varies from over one minute in the beginning to about one second as the flash becomes visible. Click on picture for movie. Also check out this other post about the elusive green Flash.

Did anyone tell the Amazon swimmer about the candirú?

Did anyone tell the Amazon swimmer about the candirú? « piran café
In its preview of Slovenian marathon swimmer Martin Strel’s upcoming attempt to swim the entire length of the Amazon river, they left out the candirú, the Amazon’s most notorious fish, and the only known vertebrate to parasitize humans. It’s a fish that has no enemies, and is more feared than the piranha. Particularly by men who are foolhardy enough to urinate in the river while skinny-dipping. Attracted to the smell, Vandellia cirrhosa will follow the urine’s path, swim into the penis, and, with it’s umbrella-like spines, lodge itself inside the urethra. Removal is grim.

There even is a song about the experience. Click on the drawing to hear.

Listen to NPR coverage:

Swimmer Sets Off to Conquer the Amazon River

Pork Producer Says It Plans to Give Pigs More Room

Pork Producer Says It Plans to Give Pigs More Room – New York Times
The processor, Smithfield Foods, which raises sows at 187 farms in eight states, said it would replace individual metal cages with pens where the sows would be housed in groups, allowing more mobility. Smithfield, which had revenue of $11.4 billion in 2006, raises 14 million hogs in the United States each year and processes 27 million hogs into pork products, for a 26 percent share of the market.

Animal welfare activists praised the move. “This is perhaps the most important moment in animal welfare in the agribusiness sector in 50 years,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society and others have long criticized the use of gestation crates. The sows spend up to three years continuously reproducing — much of the time confined in stalls where they cannot turn around — before being slaughtered. Veal cows are confined to two-foot-wide crates for four months and then slaughtered. Hens spend about a year laying eggs in “battery cages” — where they do not have room to flap their wings — before they are slaughtered.

Don’t fall victim to the ‘Free Wi-Fi’ scam

Don’t fall victim to the ‘Free Wi-Fi’ scam
The next time you’re at an airport looking for a wireless hot spot, and you see one called “Free Wi-Fi” or a similar name, beware — you may end up being victimized by the latest hot-spot scam hitting airports across the country.

You could end up being the target of a “man in the middle” attack, in which a hacker is able to steal the information you send over the Internet, including usernames and passwords. And you could also have your files and identity stolen, end up with a spyware-infested PC and have your PC turned into a spam-spewing zombie. The attack could even leave your laptop open to hackers every time you turn it on, by allowing anyone to connect to it without your knowledge.

Security company Authentium Inc. has found dozens of ad hoc networks in Atlanta’s airport, New York’s LaGuardia, the West Palm Beach, Fla., airport and Chicago’s O’Hare. Internet users have reported finding them at LAX airport in Los Angeles. This article will teach you how to protect yourself.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates With Hooter Girls

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates Say Cheese With Hooter Girls at Digital Inspiration
Bill and Warren at Hooters Hooters recently presented their VIP card to Bill Gates of Microsoft and Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway. Now the duo can now walk inside any Hooters Restaurant worldwide to enjoy free food but they will still have to pay for the drinks.

Not sure if this free Hooter card will be of any use to these philanthropists but their group photo with the Hooters’ Waitresses is quite interesting. Especially compared to this picture of Bill Gates in 1978, just before Microsoft moved to Seattle.Urban Legends Reference Pages: Would You Have Invested?
In December 1978, Microsoft had just completed its first million-dollar sales year, and the decision was made to decamp from the company’s Albuquerque, New Mexico, headquarters and relocate to bigger and better digs in the Pacific Northwest state of Washington. The formal studio photograph displayed above was taken on 7 December 1978, shortly before that move, and captured all but a couple of the current Microsoft staff. While this picture has been around the Internet for awhile, has the stories of what happened to those pictured. Just click on the link above this photo.

‘Cat owners at risk of bird flu’

‘Cat owners at risk of bird flu’ | the Daily Mail
Cat owners are at a greater risk of catching bird flu as the deadly virus is most likely to mutate in felines, experts say. A study on cats in areas where outbreaks have occurred found that the virus is changing in felines more quickly than thought. It raises the chilling prospect that the disease could soon easily be spread from cats to people, leading to a human pandemic.

Magical Thinking: Why Do People Cling to Odd Rituals?

Magical Thinking: Why Do People Cling to Odd Rituals? – Psychology – The New York Times – New York Times
“The question is why do people create this illusion of magical power?” said the lead author, Emily Pronin, an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton. “I think in part it’s because we are constantly exposed to our own thoughts, they are most salient to us” — and thus we are likely to overestimate their connection to outside events.

The brain, moreover, has evolved to make snap judgments about causation, and will leap to conclusions well before logic can be applied.These activations occur so quickly, other researchers say, that they often link two events based on nothing more than coincidence: “I was just thinking about looking up my high school girlfriend when out of the blue she called me,” or, “The day after I began praying for a quick recovery, she emerged from the coma.”

For people who are generally uncertain of their own abilities, or slow to act because of feelings of inadequacy, this kind of thinking can be an antidote, a needed activator

Cuba Waiting game / Arts & weekend / Magazine – Waitinggame

Good British insight into the changing face of the Miami Cuban experience.
Television reports on Cuban Miami traditionally take in Versailles, a 1950s-style Cuban restaurant on Calle Ocho, itself the imitation of an old restaurant on the island. Every time Castro is rumoured to be dead, historicos wearing the guayabera shirts popular in pre-revolutionary Cuba are interviewed outside Versailles’s coffee-window. But these old men are no longer representative: the exiles who arrived before 1980 now account for perhaps a third of Miami Cubans. Versailles might die with its customers.

Cuba is no longer the Cuba that the early exiles knew. One thing that has changed is skin colour: almost all the Cubans who left were white. “Always forgotten, and that’s a very key factor,” says Gomez. “Eighty-six per cent of the Cuban-American community is Caucasian. Sixty-two per cent of Cubans on Cuba are black. These are the guys who were promised the most by the Castro revolution.”

El exilio is dying and becoming a Miami tribe: just another American ethnic group with roots in a messed-up country and Americans for children. Fidel Castro can die knowing that just as he is falling victim to the “biological solution”, so is the generation he banished. Thanks to Sixto Labiste for this.

New TB Pandemic Fear

The dilemma of a deadly disease: patients may be forcibly detained | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited
More than 300 cases of the highly infectious disease, which is spread by airborne droplets and kills 98% of those infected within about two weeks, have been identified in South Africa.

But doctors believe there have been hundreds, possibly thousands, more and the numbers are growing among the millions of people with HIV, who are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Their fear is that patients with XDR-TB, told that there is little that can be done for them, will leave the isolation wards and go home to die. But while they are still walking around they risk spreading the infection.

Now a group of doctors has warned in a medical journal that if enforced isolation is not introduced XDR-TB could swamp South Africa and spread far beyond its borders. Regular TB is already the single largest killer of people with Aids in South Africa.

Jerome Amir Singh of the Centre for Aids Programme of Research in South Africa and two colleagues wrote in the peer-reviewed journal Public Library of Science Medicine that the government must overcome its understandable qualms over human rights in the interests of the majority. Without exceptional control measures, including enforced isolation, XDR-TB “could become a lethal global pandemic”, they say.

Virulent TB in South Africa May Imperil Millions

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