Scientists urge $2-3 billion study of ocean health


In from OSLO, Marine scientists called on Sunday for a $2 to 3 billion study of threats such as overfishing and climate change to the oceans, saying they were as little understood as the Moon.

A better network of satellites, tsunami monitors, drifting robotic probes or electronic tags on fish within a decade could also help lessen the impact of natural disasters, pollution or damaging algal blooms, they said.

“This is not pie in the sky … it can be done,” said Tony Haymet, director of the U.S. Scripps Institution of Oceanography and chairman of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans {POGO}.

He told Reuters that a further $2 to 3 billion would roughly match amounts already invested in ocean research, excluding more costly satellites. New technologies were cheaper and meant worldwide monitoring could now be possible.

“Silicon Valley has come to the oceans,” said Jesse Ausubel, a director of the Census of Marine Life that is trying to describe life in the seas.

“Lots of cheap disposable devices can now be distributed throughout the oceans, in some cases on animals, in some cases on the sea floor, others drifting about,” he told Reuters.

POGO wants the 72~nation Group on Earth Observations {GEO}, meeting in Cape Town from November 28-30, to consider its appeal for a $2 to 3 billion study of the oceans as part of a wider effort to improve understanding of the planet by 2015.

GEO is seeking to link up scientific observations of the planet to find benefits for society in areas including energy, climate, agriculture, biodiversity, water supplies and weather.


The ocean “has been relatively ignored” compared to land or the atmosphere, said Howard Roe, a director emeritus of the British National Oceanography Centre and former chairman of POGO.

“It’s a hoary phrase that we know more about the surface of the moon than the deep ocean. It’s true. The oceans are virtually unexplored,” he told Reuters.

Among ocean projects, POGO wants to raise the number of drifting robotic probes, know as “Argos” and which measure conditions driving climate change, to 30,000 from 3,000 now.

And the scientists said they wanted to expand a network of electronic tagging of fish to understand migrations and give clues to over-fishing.

“By my estimates for $50 to 60 million a year the world could have a global system, an ocean tracking network that could follow sharks from Cape Town to Perth or follow tuna from Miami to Southampton, Ausubel said.

And better monitoring of the oceans could give more advance warnings of storms, such as a November 15 cyclone that struck Bangladesh and killed 3,500 people. It could also send tsunami alerts, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed up to 230,000 people.


“2012 will be the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. I think Captain Smith would be disappointed by the continuing hesitation to firm up our ocean observing system,” Ausubel said.
Thank you Reuters, Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent and editor Charles Dick
WOW, do you think there really is GLOBIAL WARMING…DAH!
We all knew this in the 60’s, didn’t we Baby Boomers…almost 50 years ago…we could have made such a difference. Big commerce won out though!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~


Fifty years ago this Saturday, Laika, a sweet tempered stray plucked off the streets of Moscow, was thrust into the global spotlight when she became the first living creature sent into space.


When Sputnik, nicknamed “Muttnik” by the media, hit orbit, the Soviet Union grabbed the edge over the U.S. in the space race, a crux of competition during the Cold War.

Sadly, Laika’s history making voyage ended prematurely: In their rush to be first, Soviet scientists had made no provisions for her safe return.

“She died before reaching orbit, and before any real data was gleaned about sustaining life in that environment,” says Dr. Stanley Coren, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of “The Pawprints of History: Dogs and the Course of Human Events.”

But if little scientific knowledge was gleaned from Laika’s journey, her mark on world events is undeniable. “We were behind the Russians,” says Coren. “The U.S. quickly switched focus to putting a living being on the moon.”

Laika is just one of the many canines to have left a furry legacy behind. Coren names 10 other dogs and the roles they played in history.

Nos. 1 and 2. Strelka and Belka’s successful orbit

Laika was the first dog sent into space, but Strelka a squirrel and Belka, LIttle Arrow, launched on Sputnik 5 in 1960 for a one day mission, were the first to return alive. As a result, much more was learned from their mission. Strelka later gave birth to a litter of puppies, one of which, Pushinka, was given to President John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline.


No. 3. How Peritas saved civilization

Without his dog, Peritas, Alexander the Great might have been Alexander the So~So. When the warrior was swarmed by the troops of Persia’s Darius III, Peritas leapt and bit the lip of an elephant charging his master. Alexander lived to pursue his famed conquest, forging the empire underlying Western civilization as we know it.

No. 4. Charlie, Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis companion

At the height of 1962’s Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy had his son’s Welsh terrier Charlie summoned to the chaotic War Room. The president held the terrier in his lap, petting him and appearing, by all accounts, to relax. Eventually he announced that he was ready to “make some decisions” those that de~escalated the conflict.

No. 5. Jofi, the first therapy dog

Sigmund Freud usually kept a chow named Jofi in his office during psychotherapy sessions, believing the dog comforted the patients. Freud’s notes on these interactions, detailed in his diaries, form the basis of modern day, pet assisted therapy.

No. 6. Urian bites Pope, separates church and state

Henry VIII sent Cardinal Wolsey to meet with Pope Clement VII, hoping the pontiff would grant the ruler an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. When the pope extended his bare toe to be kissed…as was the custom…by Wolsey, the Cardinal’s dog, Urian, sprang forward and bit the pope. Clement flew into a rage, the divorce was off and Henry , to ensure the annulment the Catholic Church refused to grant, later established the Church of England.

No. 7. Newfoundland saves Napoleon

Napoleon Bonaparte owed his life to a nameless Newfoundland. As Bonaparte fled the island of Elba in 1815, where he was exiled, choppy seas pitched him overboard. A fisherman’s dog jumped in after the drowning despot and kept him afloat. Napoleon lived to experience his own defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.

No. 8. Nixon professes love for Checkers

In his 1952 “Checkers speech,” Richard Nixon, then a candidate for vice president who was accused of pawing $18,000 in illegal campaign contributions, admitted to accepting an American cocker spaniel, Checkers, as a gift.

“And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it,” Nixon said during his famous speech.

His heartfelt proclamation swayed public opinion and prolonged Nixon’s political career.

No. 9. Peps, Wagner’s harshest critic

Without Peps, composer Richard Wagner’s Cavalier King Charles spaniel, that helicopter scene in the film “Apocalypse Now” {scored to “The Ride of the Valkyries”} might sound very different. Wagner would have Peps sit on a special chair as he played his latest compositions and, based upon the dog’s reactions, he’d keep or toss each passage.

No. 10. Donnchadh and the American Revolution

In 1306, when Edward I of England sought to bring down Robert the Bruce, and his ploy to rule Scotland, his men used Robert’s own dog, Donnchadh, to find him.

Though the animal led them to their target, he then turned and defended his master, who lived to become king of Scotland and produce a daughter who married into the Stuart family. Many generations later, the irrational actions of Robert the Bruce’s direct descendant, King George III, would cause the American colonists to rebel.

Modern medicine attributes King George’s apparent madness to porphyria, a genetically transmitted disease that researchers trace back to the Scottish Stuarts.
Thank you LifeWire and E. Bougerol, who is a writer and editor and who lives in New York City.
The dog is man’s best friend…and women’s too…

My dog’s name is Hannah Darlin’ O’Dae, she is a Wired Haired Fox Terrier. They are my favorite type of dog, as was my Mothers.


~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Hundreds of ‘Missing’ Black Holes Found

Hundreds of “missing” black holes have been found lurking in dusty galaxies billions of light years away.

“Active, supermassive black holes were everywhere in the early universe,” said study team member Mark Dickinson of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tuscon, Ariz. “We had seen the tip of the iceberg before in our search for these objects. Now, we can see the iceberg itself.”

The finding, detailed in two studies published in the Nov. 10 issue of Astrophysical Journal, is the first direct evidence that most, if not all, massive galaxies in the distant universe spent their youths constructing supermassive black holes at their cores.

It could also help answer fundamental questions about how massive galaxies such as our Milky Way evolved.

“It’s as if we were blindfolded studying the elephant before, and we weren’t sure what kind of animal we had,” said study team member David Elbaz of the Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique in France.

Using NASA’s Chandra X~ray and Spitzer Space Telescopes, the team detected unusually high levels of infrared light emitted by 200 galaxies in the distant universe. They think the infrared light was created by material falling into “quasars” supermassive black holes surrounded by doughnut shaped clouds of gas and dust, at the center of the galaxies.

The new quasar containing galaxies are all about the same mass as our Milky Way, but are irregular in shape. They are located 9 billion to 11 billion light years away and existed at a time when the universe was in its adolescence and between 2.5 and 4.5 billion years old.

For decades, scientists have predicted that a large population of quasars should be found at those distances but had only spotted a few of them.

The new finding brings observations closer to theory. “We found most of the population of hidden quasars in the early universe,” said study leader Emanuele Daddi, also of the Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique.

The newfound quasars confirm what scientists have suspected for years now: that supermassive black holes play a major role in star formation in massive galaxies. The observations suggest massive galaxies steadily build up their stars and black holes simultaneously until they get too big and the black holes suppress star formation.

The new quasars also suggest that collisions between galaxies might not be as important for galaxy evolution as once thought. “Theorists thought mergers between galaxies were required to initiate this quasar activity, but now we see that quasars can be active in unharassed galaxies,” said study team member David Alexander of Durham University in the UK.
Thank you SPACE.com
Black hole…I just can’t get a grip on them…never understood them on Star Trek either…

I guess they are like the holes in swiss cheese…as my Father always said…”don’t eat the holes, Sharon!” I am still dumb~founded on that one!

Interglaxicial peace, Treckies…
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

NASA Photographs Big Galactic Collision


A major cosmic pileup involving four large galaxies could give rise to one of the largest galaxies the universe has ever known, scientists say.


K. Rines, JPL-Caltech / NASA One of the biggest galactic collisions ever observed takes place at the center of this image. The four blobs in the middle are galaxies that have begun to merge into a single gargantuan galaxy.


Each of the four galaxies is at least the size of the Milky Way, and each is home to billions of stars.

The galaxies will eventually merge into a single, colossal galaxy up to 10 times as massive as our own Milky Way.


“When this merger is complete, this will be one of the biggest galaxies in the universe,” said study team member Kenneth Rines of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

More StoriesThe finding, to be detailed in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters, gives scientists their first real glimpse into a galaxy merger involving multiple big galaxies.

“Most of the galaxy mergers we already knew about are like compact cars crashing together,” Rines said. “What we have here is like four sand trucks smashing together, flinging sand everywhere.”

Galaxy collisions are a common occurrence in the universe. Our own Milky Way is fated to collide and merge with its neighbor, Andromeda, in about 5 billion years.

Astronomers have observed several clashes involving one big galaxy and several larger ones, and they have also witnessed more major mergers among pairs of big galaxies. But the new findings mark the first time major mergers between multiple hefty galaxies have ever been seen.

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope serendipitously spotted the quadruple merger during a routine survey of a distant galaxy cluster, called CL0958+4702, located nearly 5 billion light years away. Spitzer’s infrared eyes observed an unusually large fan-shaped plume of light emerging from a gathering of four blob-shaped elliptical galaxies. Three of the galaxies are about the size of the Milky Way, while the fourth is three times as large.

The plume turned out to be billions of elderly stars ejected and abandoned during the clash. About half of the stars in the plume will later fall back into the galaxies.

Spitzer observations also show that, unlike most known mergers, the galaxies involved in the quadruple collision are bereft of gas, the source material that fuels star birth. As a result, astronomers predict that relatively few new stars will be born in the new, combined galaxy.
Thank you Ken Than,AOL News and Imaginova Corp.

Laika – Dog of Outer Space


On October 4th, 1957, the U.S.S.R launched the Space Age with Sputnik 1. This spherical object was outfitted with two radio transmitters and at 23 inches in diameter, weighed a whopping (for it’s size) 183 pounds (83.6 KG).

Thirty days after the launch of Sputnik 1, on November 3rd, 1957, the U.S.S.R shocked the world with Sputnik 2. What was so shocking? Sputnik 2’s passenger.

Sputnik 2 carried the first ever living being to be launched into space. Laika, a small, mixed breed dog, was loaded into the satellite and hooked up to all kinds of life-support systems and monitoring devices. She orbitted the Earth for 10 days before she was put to sleep. No provisions had been made for a safe re-entry unfortunately.

Laika was a space pioneer, and is still remembered today, almost fifty years later. Way to go Laika!!
Thank you From Krista Mifflin and Your Guide to Dogs.
Hello Baby Boomers and Animal Rights Activists

I remember this…I was 5 and I didn’t understand what a dog had to do with space travel. My Mother explained it that it was for medical purposes…I still didn’t get it!

Don’t get upset over this piece…it was a long time ago.

Think how many dogs are put to sleep each and every day in the U.S…keep your pet at “0 population.”

Remember that there are animals at your local shelters that need adoption and your donations.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~


This post is for a friend, Rhea…who loves outer space…I thought about you when I decided to post this…[smile].

Straight from WASHINGTON…Planet-seekers who have spotted 28 new planets orbiting other stars in the past year say Earth’s solar system is far from unique and there could be billions of habitable planets.

The most recent planet discoveries bring the number of known exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — to 236, the researchers told a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu Monday.

“We are beginning to see that our home is not a rarity in the universe,” said Geoffrey Marcy, a professor of astronomy at the University of California Berkeley, who led the team.

“We are easily able to detect giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn around other stars. Most orbit far from the star like our own Jupiter and Saturn orbit from the sun,” Marcy said in a telephone interview.

“It’s a common structure among planetary systems.”

New techniques allow astronomers to detect planets that are not enormous although Earth-sized objects cannot yet be seen, said the researchers.

Four of the systems also have multiple planets, like Earth’s own with its sun, eight planets (Pluto was demoted from planet status) and smaller orbiting objects.

“We are finding that most stars have not just one planet but when we find one there is a second or a third or a fourth,” Marcy said.

“The … attribute which really has us the most excited is this new planet which we found three years ago,” Marcy said. The Neptune-like planet orbiting the star Gliese 436 has intrigued scientists because it appears to be covered with water — albeit rock-hard, hot water in a most un-Earthlike chemical state because of the intense pressures on the planet.

Earlier this month, Swiss and Belgian researchers imaged the star as this planet crossed between it and the Earth. The tiny change in the star’s light gave them the planet’s diameter and density.

“From the density of two grams per cubic centimeter — twice that of water — it must be 50 percent rock and about 50 percent water, with perhaps small amounts of hydrogen and helium,” Marcy said.

“Now we are very sure it has a rocky core and this giant thick envelope of water,” he added.

“This is why we are jumping out of our clothes. It is the first time we have determined the structure of one of these extrasolar planets. It is rocky like Earth but it has a lot of water which is the essential ingredient for life.”

This is almost certainly happening over and over again, Marcy said. Scientists had theorized this for decades but now the hard evidence is starting to pour in.

“Our Milky Way galaxy has 200 billion stars. I would estimate that 10 percent of them, perhaps, have planets that are habitable,” Marcy said.

“There are hundreds of billions of galaxies, all of which are more or less like our Milky Way Galaxy, which is tens of billions of planets like our own.”

There is one unusual property to our solar system: the nearly circular orbits of the planets, which gives a consistent dose of radiation from the Sun.

Other solar systems seen so far are not usually like this. “Most of the planets are not in circular orbits around the host star but in elongated ones called elliptical orbits,” Marcy said.

“We enjoy nearly constant temperatures throughout the year,” he added. “If the Earth got too close to the sun, the Earth would heat up, the water would boil off and that would be bad.” Too far, and it would freeze.

“An elongated orbit could not sustain life,” Marcy said.
Thank you Rueters for this fasinating report.
I just love UFO and Planet information, don’t you, Baby Boomers…

Not long ago they thought you would fall off the planet, when you came to the edge of it…

It is so nice to know that we are not alone.

Wonder if they are here all ready?

I think I saw one, some time ago…an alien…well, that will be a different post all together…

Mean while…if you have any stories you want to share…let’s hear them.

Smiles and Intergalactic PEACE!
~The Baby Boomer Queen~


Scientists have dicovered/found “kryptonite” in Serbia.

Kryptonite, which robbed Superman of his powers, is no longer the stuff of comic books and films. A mineral found by geologists in Serbia shares virtually the same chemical composition as the fictional kryptonite from outer space, used by the superhero’s nemesis Lex Luther to weaken him in the film “Superman Returns.” “We will have to be careful with it we wouldn’t want to deprive Earth of its most famous superhero!,” said Dr Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London’s Natural History Museum.

Stanley, who revealed the identity of the mysterious new mineral, discovered the match after searching the Internet for its chemical formula – sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide. “I was amazed to discover that same scientific name written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther from a museum in the film Superman Returns,” he said.

The substance has been confirmed as a new mineral after tests by scientists at the Natural History Museum in London and the
National Research Council in Canada. But instead of the large green crystals in Superman comics, the real thing is a white, powdery substance which contains no fluorine and is non-radioactive.

The mineral, to be named Jadarite, will go on show at the London’s Natural History Museum at certain times of the day on Wednesday, April 25, and Sunday, May 13.

Granted, it’s only “kryptonite” in the sense that it matches a random combination from a 2006 movie and has no other tie-in with the fictional device which goes back to 1940. Still, it’s somewhat amusing.


Wikipedia has an interesting article on the evolution of kryptonite as a plot device in Superman lore. Interestingly, its first appearance by that name was in the radio serial; it wasn’t seen in the comic books until 1948.
By James Joyner
Well Baby Boomers, did you think when we were kids that Kryptonite was a a real minerial that they would find in the earth?
I didn’t!

Run Superman…RUN!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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