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sábado, 14 de abril de 2012

Mysterious Booms and Trembles Plague Wisconsin Town, Baffle Scientists

By Kevin Dolak | ABC News Blogs – 3 hours ago

Police, residents and experts are baffled by the source of mysterious booms and shaking that have been plaguing the town of Clintonville, Wis., for the past three days, and have caused some residents to flee.

The Clintonville Police Department said they have received over 250 calls about noises from underground shaking homes in the northeast corner of the town near Green Bay, Wis. with approximately 5000 residents.

The mystery is even stumping some of the brightest minds at the University of Wisconsin, who were consulted about whether or not these booms could be related to seismic activity.

"I think we can rule out that standard earthquake activity, [that] some swarm of earthquakes is happening in that region. It also really looks like it's not connected to, say, unusual drilling activity or some other kind of real obvious human induced signal, " Harold Tobin, one of those professors in the Geoscience department at the University of Wisconsin told WKOW.

Tobin headed to Clintonville after he received a call from the Wisconsin Geological Survey office asking for help.

Tobin and a colleague looked at activity on several of the seismometers that sit in the region near Clintonville. He says there is an indication that it is an especially noisy site, but not noisy enough to cause the sounds people there are describing.

Tobin says it does appear the sounds are either coming from the surface of the ground or just underneath the surface. He says that he is just as confused and intrigued as anyone as to what exactly is causing the sounds, and adds that there are other instruments that could be put out in the region where the sounds are to record noise in the air, and also ground vibrations at a higher frequency.

This would help to pinpoint exactly where the sounds and coming from and what their characteristics are.

Residents of the area say that they find the noises and shakes puzzling and troubling.

"They're pretty loud when they vibrate the windows and you can feel the vibration on the floor and on the ground," Verda Schultz told ABC News affiliate WBAY.

The city has so far managed to rule out problems with the water and sewer system, elevated gas levels, area blasting or mining, industrial businesses, and even military operations, WBAY reported.

"I think that right now the greatest possibility is that it is some sort of natural phenomenon. I think that it's a possibility that there is some earth shifting going on underneath the ground that creates those popping sort of exploding popping or vibrating noises that people feel," City Administrator Lisa Kuss said.

The booms and shakes have gotten so bad that they have begun to drive residents from the town.

"Our dog is scared, our neighbors are leaving and stuff, so we decided we are going somewhere else for a while," Dennis Padia said. "It's that loud, and it bothers you. You can't go to sleep."

Dreamliner jet “draws” Boeing logo across North America

A Boeing 787 jet took corporate loyalty to new heights when it "drew" the letters "787" followed by the company's logo across several thousand miles of North American skies. The etching of the letters and logo, while not visible from the ground, can be seen in the flight path plans.

In the above image, you can see the 787 Dreamliner's flight path, which was first reported by Gizmodo. The flight path was meticulously designed and coordinated with airports across the country in or to avoid violating restricted airspace.

"This wasn't a joy ride," wrote Boeing's vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth on the company's blog. "It was an 18 hour Maximum ETOPS (Extended Operations) Duration flight test for a 787-8 with GE engines. Our team coordinated with the many air traffic control centers, choosing the routing to avoid restricted airspace. In the end, the flight covered over 9,000 nautical miles." The path stretched between Iowa and Washington State.

Boeing conducted another sky drawing back in August, reports Wired, when the 747-8 Freighter outlined a "747" over several states. The BBC reported on the Dreamliner's maiden commercial voyage last October, traveling from Tokyo to Hong Kong.

It's an exciting time for air travel enthusiasts. Billionaire developer Paul Allen recently unveiled designs for his company's Stratosphere plane, which is designed to take passengers on commercial voyages above Earth's orbit.

Malaysian jungle adventurers solve WWII mysteries

Handout photo from the Malaya Historical Group shows group members holding a propeller …

They trek for days through crocodile-infested swamps and up rain-lashed mountain jungles, but the members of the Malaya Historical Group are not seeking treasure or ancient artefacts. Instead, they're after rusty wreckage.

Over the past decade, the six amateur Malaysian military historians have helped locate the confirmed or suspected crash sites of 30 World War II aircraft -- helping bring closure for the families of more than 40 missing British and American air crews.

Nearly 70 years after the end of the war, at least 100 British and American aircraft wrecks are believed scattered across the jungles of India, Thailand and Malaysia, along with the remains of their crews.

As well as the battles for the Pacific Islands, allied forces waged war against Japanese forces whose regional conquests included previously British-held Singapore and Malaysia -- known then as Malaya.

"What we do is to find whichever wrecks are in Malaysia and help identify them so that relatives can get closure after waiting for more than six decades," says the group's leader Shaharom Ahmad.

During the week, Shaharom, 37, is a technical engineer with Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

But he and his fellow war buffs have carried out 40 weekend expeditions over the last decade, searching for the wrecks of long-missing allied aircraft that crashed or were shot down.

Such sites "are a crucial part of the story of the war in the Pacific," said military historian Christopher McDermott, who works for the US Joint Prisoner of War/Missing In Action Accounting Command (JPAC).

He said at least 550 Americans went missing over the jungles and seas of Southeast Asia as a result of air raids, patrols, and cargo and reconnaissance missions.

Finding crash sites, he adds, can provide "positive identification for the return of remains to the families of the missing service members."

Shaharom says the group's research into American and British archives indicate the wrecks of at least 15 to 20 allied aircraft are still yet to be examined in Malaysia.

Seven of the sites have been discovered so far, but the whereabouts of the others are not yet known.

Guided by whatever, often sketchy, information is available from a flight's last location, the group's members search likely areas on treks that take several days, often in dense jungle.

Once found, sites are left undisturbed but meticulously photographed and the pictures are uploaded to their website,

From there, a worldwide network of similarly minded amateur war buffs weighs in, analysing the find.

"Within a matter of days, sometimes hours, we are able to indentify the wrecks and even get hold of the family of the pilots who were missing for so many years to tell them that the remains of their loved ones have been found," Shaharom said.

Started as a hobby in 1996, the group's work soon became a passion after members were moved by the heartfelt responses of airmens' families. Its work is funded by members or whatever private donations they can scrape together.

In one case, the group in 2009 reached and identified the crash of a US Air Force DC-3 transport that disappeared shortly after the war over the northern state of Perak during a routine flight in November 1945.

Its remains had first been spotted from the air in 1966 but nothing was done until the Malaysian wreck hunters found the site and pilots' relatives were contacted via the Internet. JPAC is now planning an excavation in 2013.

Holding a pair of smashed aviator glasses that helped to identify the American wreck, Shaharom says the group has made all sorts of finds.

"We have found exploded ammunition from the planes, landing gears, even the remains of several Japanese aircraft, of which there are 22 that crashed here during the war, with most still missing," he said.

As he spoke, Shaharom showed off a metal knob bearing a Mitsubishi logo and serial number. It came from the crash site of a Japanese bomber found by the group and since identified as part of the initial December 8, 1941 attack on Malaya.

The group has approached Japanese authorities about such finds but found little interest in pursuing identification.

One particularly "heart-wrenching" find was the discovery of two rings, a dagger and part of a watch that had melted and fused with the aircraft's fuselage in the fiery crash of a British plane, he said.

"Knowing that these items were on people who died in these very sites was really moving. It really connected us to these warriors," Shaharom added.

Providing a dignified burial to the remains of the dead can be a challenge.

In central Negeri Sembilan state in 2006, Shaharom and his team found the August 1945 wreck of a Royal Air Force B24 Liberator bomber that research shows was carrying supplies for Force 136, a British Special Operations unit.

British officials initially rejected the discovery, relenting only after the wreck hunters went back and obtained engine serial numbers.

They declined, however, to fund or recover the human remains. Shaharom's group recovered them with private funding in 2009.

Sue Raftree, an official with a British defence ministry unit dealing with such issues, told AFP British government policy is that it "does not actively search for remains and discourages unofficial excavations," viewing such sites as war graves.

However the crew's relatives insisted that the remains be given a proper burial and they are slated to be interred in a Malaysian military cemetery early next year.

Such delays can imperil wreck sites, says Shaharom, pointing to the crash of a Japanese fighter found by locals in northern Kedah state in 2001.

"They just removed the pilot, cut the aircraft into pieces and sold it as scrap. This is our worry."

Mysterious Geologic Structure Seen from Space

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped this photo of a rock formation in Mauritania from the International Space Station. CREDIT: ESA/NASA

A huge, copper-toned formation in West Africa dominates a mesmerizing photo taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped this hypnotic image of the so-called Richat structure in Mauritania, as the space station flew over the Sahara Desert on the Atlantic Coast of West Africa. Erosion of the various rock layers created the ring-like features that make up the sprawling structure, but the origin of the Richat structure remains somewhat mysterious, geologists have said.

The photo shows Kuipers' unique vantage point from the orbiting complex, which flies approximately 240 miles (386 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth. The image was taken on March 7 using a Nikon D2Xs camera, officials at the European Space Agency said in a statement.

During their months-long stints aboard the International Space Station, astronauts often perform Earth observations for science and public outreach.

Throughout their mission, many spaceflyers maintain active social media presences, such as on Twitter or Google+, to share stunning views from space with members of the public.

Space agencies also use photos taken by astronauts to engage students and space enthusiasts in geography, planetary science and human spaceflight.

There are currently six people living and working on the space station: Kuipers, Americans Dan Burbank and Don Pettit, and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and Oleg Kononenko. Burbank is commander of the station's Expedition 30 mission.

Kuipers launched to the space station in December 2011. He is almost midway through his six-month stay at the orbiting outpost. Kuipers, Kononenko and Pettit are slated to return to Earth on July 1.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to reflect that the Richat structure in Mauritania is not a lava crater.This story was provided by OurAmazingPlanet, sister site to Follow OurAmazingPlanet for the latest in Earth science and exploration news on Twitter @OAPlanet and on Facebook

Rewriting The Rules of High Speed Travel

Rewriting The Rules of High Speed Travel

Rewriting The Rules of High Speed Travel, International travel via high-speed tubes, Someday people could zip from New York to Beijing in just two hours, one group believes. Let's say it's the fourth of July, and the Clintons have invited you to their house in Westchester, New York to shoot off some fireworks and have a barbeque. From Grand Central station in New York City, it would take you an hour to get there by train. Well, imagine being able to travel to London in less time to meet the Queen for tea at Buckingham palace.

A licensing organization called ET3 believes that day isn't far off. They hold a patent to Evacuated Tube Technology or ETT and say that with their tubes, you will eventually be able to get you from New York to Beijing in 2 hours and from New York to London in less than an hour.

Their six person capsules would travel on frictionless magnetic levitation tracks, through air-less vacuum tubes reaching a maximum speed of 4,000 miles per hour. At that speed you could spend the day comparing noodles in China to Pasta in Italy and back to New York in time for cheesecake, all in the same day.

Now before you start making dinner reservations in Tuscany and sending out an RSVP to the Royal Family, this technology is still a concept and it's not clear when it will be operational. The first prototype is being built by researchers at Southwest Jiaotong University in China, who licensed ET3's technology and have worked with the founder of the company to build it.

If you're interested in getting involved, it's an open source technology and you can buy a lifetime license for a hundred dollars allowing you to propose and bid on related construction of the rails.

Homes for the price of a car

A house for the price of an SUV? That’s plausible, given the dip in housing. But a home for the price of a Ford Fiesta?
1620 W 2nd N, Wichita, KS
For sale: $54,900

Whoa. Now there’s a value-bending proposition.

While most people don’t think of real estate in prices relative to that of a car, there are houses in some parts of the United States that are for sale with listing prices just like what you’d see at an auto dealership.

And we’re not talking about a house priced at the median home value of $150,000, which is akin to the sticker price of an Aston Martin. The homes featured below compare more favorably to standard highway fare: Nissans, Hondas, Fords, etc.

Some of these properties are distressed sales — either foreclosed or in the midst of a short sale — and some need a little renovation, but that’s still a pretty impressive given that they’re all comparable to the price of a new car.