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The anti-whaling ‘spaceship’ ship

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Just for fun:  Ever seen anything like it?
clipped from www.smh.com.au

Looking more like a giant spider ... the activists' new Earthrace, which last year circled the globe in 61 days, fuelled by biodiesel.
JAPAN has asked Australia to prevent the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin leaving port to harass its whalers in the Antarctic next summer, but the plea may have little effect.
The anti-whaling activists plan to upgrade their fleet from an ageing, former North Atlantic fisheries patrol boat to include another ship – something out of the future. The global speedboat Earthrace would head south under Sea Shepherd colours next summer, the group’s leader Paul Watson said.
“It looks like a spaceship. It can do 40 knots and dive under waves completely. We’ll be using it to intercept and block harpoons.”
In 61 days last year Earthrace circled the globe fuelled by biodiesel.
Earthrace’s role was unveiled as the International Whaling Commission heard that Sea Shepherd’s protests endangered the lives of whalers in the Southern Ocean last summer when the Steve Irwin was involved in two collisions.
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Crocs for dinner. Whole ones.

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From Colombia, a snake story to remember:
clipped from www.npr.org
Artist's interpretation of how Titanoboa might have looked.Morning Edition, February 5, 2009 · The largest known snake that ever lived grew as long as a school bus, was 3 feet thick, weighed over a ton and ate crocodiles — presumably whole and al dente.

Not to worry: Titanoboa cerrejonensis lived 60 million years ago and is extinct. But for some 20 million years after the dinosaurs disappeared, this 42-foot serpent ruled the land.

Listen Now [3 min 56 sec] add to playlist

Titanoboa vertebra dwarfs an anaconda vertebra.A vertabra from the Titanoboa dwarfs that of an adult Green anaconda.

Cold-blooded animals such as snakes require warm climates to grow large. The Titanoboa’s size suggests that the average temperature once was considerably higher than it is now.

Python crawling over Titanoboa vertebra.Enlarge A live python crawls over the enormous vertebra of Titanoboa.

Head points out that a cold-blooded animal that big would have had to live in a very hot place to survive […] several degrees warmer than the [current] tropical average and […] warmer than scientists believed the tropics ever got […] even during ancient periods of greenhouse warming […]

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See the whole story at the NPR link.

Stands to reason, I suppose, that if global warming is happening anything like majority scientists believe it to be, reptiles in some parts of the world will grow larger again.

And then there’ll be snake stories to tell. Let’s see: what reptiles do you think would become huge first?


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Written by Monte

February 5, 2009 at 11:42 am

Pres. Obama’s Inaugural Address

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President Obama, perhaps the premiere American orator of our day, could have thrilled the million on the Mall to goose-bumps.  That he chose a different approach suggests to me that he was after something deeper: words of substance rather than words of emotion alone.  Let’s see how they read.

The Speech
Image by Kaptain Krispy Kreme via Flickr

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation…

(APPLAUSE)

… as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

Obama Inauguration
Image by john w via Flickr

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 20, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Dumbstruck by “Did You Know?” Version 4

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Giant waves at Half Moon Bay in Calif.

Image by robertg6n1 via Flickr

Rarely am I as awed by the impending world tsunami of change —as dumbstruck— as I have been by this nine-minute video.

These are giant waves we’re about to surf; the change we’ve noticed in the last three years is merely the swell before cresting the breaker, when the water ahead collapses, and we find ourselves hurtling down a massive, vertical wave-face.

The video was first made for teachers: Its message is that the world for which they prepare students is not only unlike today – it will only be like tomorrow for a flash.

So much to think about!

clipped from www.youtube.com
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Written by Monte

November 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Politics

Meet Jet-Man

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I was pretty sure I could fly when I was little. Only for brief soars, nothing pretentious—rather like the Wright brothers’ first attempts—but they seemed auspicious.
This fellow never gave it up.  Check out the startling video if you knew it was true, too.

clipped from www.cracked.com

Jet-Man

Real Name: Yves Rossi
Yves Rossi is a Swiss professional pilot and aeronautical engineer (we hope, since he designed his own jet pack) who, claiming to be inspired by his hero Batman, realized the first jet-pack-powered flight. […]

Jet-Man’s jet pack is capable of flying at a speed of 160 mph for up to six minutes. After those six minutes, Yves has to activate his secondary power, the Go-go-gadget-oh-please-God-don’t-let-it-fail-parachute since there is no way to land the jet pack without becoming a red and chrome stain on the ground.

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h/t Cakebelly at Clipmarks

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Written by Monte

September 19, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Technology