Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster 25 Years Later

Space Congressional Medal of Honor

 The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986 25 yrs ago – http://tinyurl.com/45kx6cy 

To be awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, an astronaut must perform feats of extraordinary accomplishment while participating in actual space flight under the authority of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Typically, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor is awarded for scientific discoveries or actions of tremendous benefit to mankind. The decoration may also be awarded for extreme bravery during a space emergency or in preventing a major space disaster

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The Warrior and the Slave Girl

Ataá was very exotic looking with long dark curly hair, and skin the color of coffee latté. She had huge brown eyes, and big hips. As a lady of the night she would command a good price.  Ataá knew her days were numbered to make her escape. Living on an island all her life, she was a very good swimmer. At one time she thought she could swim home, but she was moved further and further away from the sea.  Her only hope now was just to escape to a safe place – and soon.

Click for more: http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Warrior-and-the-Slave-Girl

Save the Dying Ocean

By Peter Stone 

A Pillar coral at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

A Pillar coral at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

In today’s ScienceDaily(Mar. 6, 2009)-Scientists identified seven new species of bamboo coral discovered on a NOAA-funded mission in the deep waters of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is administered jointly by the Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior,and the State of Hawaii and represents a cooperative conservation approach to protecting the entire ecosystem.
Six of these species may represent entirely new genera, a remarkable feat given the broad classification a genus represents. A genus is a major category in the classification of organisms, ranking above a species and below a family. According to Richard Spinrad, Ph.D, NOAA’s assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, these discoveries are important, because deep-sea corals support diverse seafloor ecosystems, and also because these corals may be among the first marine organisms to be affected by ocean acidification. Researchers have seen adverse changes in marine life with calcium-carbonate shells, such as corals, because of acidified ocean water.
Rob Dunbar,a Stanford University scientist, was studying long-term climate data by examining long-lived corals. Dunbar was noted as saying, we found live, 4,000-year-old corals in the Monument, meaning 4,000 years worth of information about what has been going on in the deep ocean interior. The other findings were a five-foot tall yellow bamboo coral tree that had never been described before, new beds of living deepwater coral and sponges, and a giant sponge scientists dubbed the “cauldron sponge,” approximately three feet tall and three feet across. Scientists collected two other sponges which have not yet been analyzed, but may represent new species or genera as well. Skeletal shape is currently used to differentiate coral species. Some corals were genetically indistinguishable despite differing in size and shape, such as branching and massive corals, whereas some corals with similar appearance had deep genetic divergence.
In the ScienceDaily(Feb. 24, 2009)-The evolutionary tendency of corals to alter their skeletal structure makes it difficult to assign them to different species. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology have used genetic markers to examine coral groupings and investigate how these markers relate to alterations in shape, in the process discovering that our inaccurate picture of coral species is compromising our ability to conserve coral reefs. Zac Forsman led a team of researchers from University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology who carried out the molecular studies.
Trees do it. Bees do it. Even environmentally stressed fish do it. But Prof. Yossi Loya from Tel Aviv University’s Department of Zoology is the first in the world to discover that Japanese sea corals engage in “sex switching” too in ScienceDaily (Feb. 20, 2009). His research may provide the key to the survival of fragile sea corals-essential to all life in the ocean-currently threatened by global warming. Corals, though a part of the animal kingdom, can act like plants. Both are sedentary life forms, unable to move when times get tough. In times of stress like extreme hot spells, the female mushroom coral(known as a fungiid coral)switches its sex so that most of the population becomes male. Prof. Loya also notes that this theory probably doesn’t apply to humans, even those who have opted for a sex change.
Besides loading the atmosphere with heat-trapping greenhouse gases, human emissions of carbon dioxide have also begun to alter the chemistry of the ocean-often called the cradle of life on Earth. This acidification of the ocean can damage marine organisms.The authors’research will be very useful in aiding efforts to understand and preserve coral biodiversity. Coral reef destruction, however, is expected to continue as an effect of global warming. Dr. Andrew Baker,co-creator and also a Rosenstiel School faculty, has spent much of his career looking at climate change impacts on corals and has geared his perspective towards understanding whether corals can adapt to any of these changes.
Work Cited:
BioMed Central (2009, February 24). Shape-shifting Coral Evade Identification. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com&not; /releases/2009/02/090223221343.htm<p>Carnegie Institution (2008, July 6). Acidifying Oceans Add Urgency To Carbon Dioxide Cuts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com&not; /releases/2008/07/080703140716.htm<p>National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (2009, March 6). Seven New Species Of Deep-sea Coral Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com&not; /releases/2009/03/090305121657.htm<p>Tel Aviv University (2009, February 20). Japanese Corals Change Sexes On The Sea Floor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com&not; /releases/2009/02/090219202833.htm<p>University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine &amp; Atmospheric Science (2007, August 23). Corals And Climate Change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com&not; /releases/2007/08/070822143206.htm

Resorts Make Vacations More Affordable

pool1Armed and Uniformed Forces as well as Department of Defense(DoD) are eligible to use military resorts. Many civilians may be eligible for inclusion in some military resorts.

See more at http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1520072/resorts_make_vacations_more_affordable.html

FLORIDA COURT SETS ATHEIST HOLY DAY

In Florida , an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover holy days.  He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that atheists had no such recognized days. The case was brought before a judge.  After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring,”Case dismissed!”

The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, “Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case?  The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others.  The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and  Hanukkah, yet my client and all other atheists have no such holidays.”

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, “But you do.  Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant.”
The lawyer said, “Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists.”

The judge said, “The calendar says April 1st is April Fools Day.  Psalm 14:1 states, ‘The fool says in his heart, there is no God..’  Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool.  Therefore, April 1st is his day.  Court is adjourned.