Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 4 June 2012

Space shuttle Enterprise suffered minor wing damage when it collided with guides for a New York railroad bridge -

Space shuttle Enterprise suffered minor wing damage when it collided with guides for a New York railroad bridge - 

Space shuttle Enterprise suffered minor wing damage on Sunday when it collided with the navigation guides for a New York railroad bridge during the first half of its sea trek to a Manhattan museum for display.
Mounted atop an open-air, flat-bed barge, Enterprise was on its way from John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York to Weeks Marine in Jersey City, N.J., when the accident occurred. The shuttle, NASA's prototype for its orbiter fleet, was making the first leg of its trip to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, a converted World War II aircraft carrier that is docked on Manhattan's west side.
The shuttle, which never flew in space but was used for a series of approach and landing tests in the late 1970s, was originally scheduled for delivery to the Intrepid on Tuesday but poor weather conditions have delayed its departure until at least Wednesday, the museum said in a statement posted to its website.

It wasn't weather but a different type of hurdle that slowed the shuttle's arrival in the Garden State on Sunday. The shuttle needed to pass under several waterway crossings to reach Jersey City, including the South Channel Subway Bridge, as well as the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial, Gil Hodges Memorial, and Verrazano-Narrows bridges. [ Final Voyage of Space Shuttle Enterprise (Photos) ]
"The railroad bridge and the Cross Bay Bridge, each presented challenges," said Dennis Jenkins, who was on board the barge with Enterprise. "The passage through the railroad bridge was narrow with only a few feet of clearance on each wingtip, while the Cross Bay was only a few feet higher than the vertical stabilizer," he wrote in an e-mail that was shared with collectSpace.
"Mother Nature did not smile on us. Just as the barge entered the railroad bridge, the wind caught it and pushed the right wing into the bridge abutment. Fortunately, the damage seems to be cosmetic, limited to the foam that covered the wingtip. No structure or mechanisms appear to have been damaged," Jenkins wrote.
Jenkins' photos of the damage, which were also shared with collectSpace.com, show Enterprise as it neared the bridge's navigation aid wooden bumpers. The shuttle's right wing scraped along the bridge barrier, which caused wood chunks to break away from the leading edge of Enterprise's elevon, or flap.

Read more -

New Jersey Drivers Face $1,000 Fines For Pets Not Wearing Seat Belts... -

New Jersey Drivers Face $1,000 Fines For Pets Not Wearing Seat Belts... - 

Click it or ticket. It’s not just for people anymore — at least in the Garden State.

Police and animal control officers are authorized to cite drivers with unrestrained animals in the car. Yes, that includes the back of a pickup truck too. Violators can be fined $250 to $1,000 per offense.

Ray Martinez, head of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, just wants to avoid distracted driving.

“People actually driving with a dog or a cat on their laps. It’s not cute. It’s actually dangerous for the driver. It’s dangerous for other drivers and it’s dangerous for that pet.”

Dogs can be placed in harnesses that click right into the seat belt buckle. Cats don’t take well to harnesses for the most part, so they need to go in a carrier. And the carrier needs to be buckled down.


Prince Philip in hospital, misses jubilee concert - after being hospitalized with a bladder infection -

Prince Philip in hospital, misses jubilee concert - after being hospitalized with a bladder infection - 

British music royalty was set to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II on Monday with a Buckingham Palace concert featuring acts from throughout her 60-year-reign. But the queen's husband, Prince Philip, will miss the concert after being hospitalized with a bladder infection.
Palace officials said the prince, who will turn 91 on Saturday, was taken to the King Edward VII Hospital in London from Windsor Castle on Monday as a precaution and will remain under observation for a few days.
On Sunday, Philip joined the queen and senior royals on the River Thames in cold and blustery weather for a pageant in honor of Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne
The prince, who married then then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947, has cut back on official engagements in recent years but still maintains a busy schedule. He spent four nights in the hospital over Christmas after suffering chest pains and underwent a successful coronary stent procedure to clear a blocked artery.
He has been at the queen's side during engagements across Britain to mark the jubilee, and appeared in good spirits as he traveled down the river on a barge Sunday, despite the harsh weather.
The palace said Philip was "understandably, disappointed about missing this evening's Diamond Jubilee Concert," as well as a St. Paul's Cathedral service and other jubilee events planned for Tuesday.
Officials said the queen would still attend the concert, which features a full hand of knights — Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Cliff Richard and Sir Tom Jones — along with Dame Shirley Bassey, Stevie Wonder and younger artists including JLS, Kylie Minogue and Will.i.am.
Younger royals, including Princes William and Harry, are also due to watch the show, on specially erected stage outside the palace.
The monarch's own musical tastes are a mystery, and the Press Association news agency reported she brought a pair of earplugs to a similar concert a decade ago. According to The Guardian newspaper, the only song the queen has ever been known to request is "Some Enchanted Evening" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific."
"It may not be that pop or rock is her favorite music, but she has certainly supported us over the years and in return of course we have supported her," said Cliff Richard, who had his first hit in 1959. "I think she'd probably rather go and see an opera."
Before the concert, 12,000 contest winners and charity workers enjoyed a jubilee concert in the palace grounds. Each received a hamper containing a meal — partly created by experimental chef Heston Blumenthal — of tea-smoked Scottish salmon, coronation chicken and strawberry crumble crunch made with fruit from the queen's Sandringham estate.
The jubilee was being marked around the world in members of the 54-nation Commonwealth of former British colonies.


China stocks fall bizarre 64.89 points on anniversary of the bloody June 4, 1989, crackdown in Tiananmen Square -

China stocks fall bizarre 64.89 points on anniversary of the bloody June 4, 1989, crackdown in Tiananmen Square - 

China's censors blocked access to the term "Shanghai stock market" on popular microblogs on Monday after the index fell a bizarre 64.89 points on the anniversary of the bloody June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.
In another twist, the Shanghai Composite Index opened at 2346.98 points on the 23rd anniversary of the killings. The numbers 46.98 are June 4, 1989, backwards.
"Whoa, these figures are too freaky! Very cool!" said a microblogger. "The opening figure and the drop are both too creepy," said another.
For China's ruling Communist Party, the 1989 demonstrations that clogged Tiananmen Square in Beijing and spread to other cities remains taboo, all the more so this year as the government prepares for a tricky leadership handover.
Terms related to the anniversary, such as "six four" for June 4, "23", "candle" and "never forget", were blocked on Sina Weibo, the most popular of China's Twitter-like microblogging platforms. Users encountered a message that said the search results could not be displayed "due to relevant laws, regulations and policies".
"It's that day again and once more numerous posts are being deleted," a Sina microblogger wrote. Sina was not immediately available for comment.
The anniversary of the date on which troops shot their way into central Beijing in 1989 has never been publicly marked in mainland China.
The government has never released a death toll of the crackdown, but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.
U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner urged the Chinese government on Sunday "to provide a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing".
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the U.S. habit of issuing a statement on each June 4 anniversary amounted to "crude meddling in domestic Chinese affairs".
While state media made no direct mention of the anniversary, the top military newspaper warned the armed forces to be on guard for attempts to sow unrest ahead of the party congress which will handle the leadership transition.
"Enemy forces at home and abroad are going to start something again and use the opportunity for destruction and trouble, and are upping their strategy to westernise and split our country," the Liberation Army Daily said in a front-page commentary.
The government is grappling with the biggest political scandal since the 1989 crackdown, after Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun's flight to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu on February 6 triggered a crisis that toppled the muncipality's party chief, Bo Xilai.


Japan 'diet glasses' fool wearers into eating less... -

Japan 'diet glasses' fool wearers into eating less... - 
A man eats a cookie with a camera-equipped special goggle develped by a Tokyo University professor. The equipment makes cookies bigger to help users' diet. (AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsuno)

Goggles that trick the wearer into thinking the plain snack in their hand is a chocolate cookie, or make biscuits appear larger have been unveiled in Japan, offering hope to weak-willed dieters everywhere.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed devices that use computer wizardry and augmented reality to fool the senses and make users feel more satisfied with smaller -- or less appealing -- treats.
On one device goggle-mounted cameras send images to a computer, which magnifies the apparent size of the cookie in the image it displays to the wearer while keeping his hand the same size, making the snack appear larger than it actually is.
In experiments, volunteers consumed nearly 10 percent less when the biscuits they were eating appeared 50 percent bigger.
They ate 15 percent more when cookies were manipulated to look two-thirds of their real size.
Professor Michitaka Hirose at the university's graduate school of information science and technology said he was interested in how computers can be used to trick the human mind.
"How to fool various senses or how to build on them using computers is very important in the study of virtual reality," he told AFP.
Hirose said standard virtual reality equipment that attempts to cater to complex senses like touch often results in bulky equipment.
But he said using one or more senses to fool the others was a way around this problem.
"Reality is in your mind," he said.
In another project, Hirose's team developed a "meta cookie", where the headgear uses scent bottles and visual trickery to fool the wearer into thinking the snack they are eating is anything but a plain biscuit.
Users can set the device to their favourite taste so they think they are eating a chocolate or strawberry-flavoured cookie.
Hirose says experiments so far have shown 80 percent of subjects are fooled.
The team has no plans as yet to commercialise their invention, but would like to investigate whether people wanting to lose weight can use the device.


Georgia man’s death during threesome nets his family $3M in trial -

Georgia man’s death during threesome nets his family $3M in trial - 

The family of a Georgia man who died when his heart couldn’t take a three-way sex romp was awarded a hefty $3 million payout by a jury, according to reports.

William Martinez’s estate was originally seeking $5 million in a medical malpractice case that claimed a cardiologist failed to warn the 31-year-old to stay away from physical activity. While Gwinnett County jurors sided with the family Tuesday, they agreed to a lesser amount after finding Martinez was 40% liable for his own death, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Martinez, a husband and father of two, was engaged in a threesome with a friend and another woman who was not his wife, according to the newspaper. He died March 12, 2009.

The week before, Martinez reportedly went to the CardioVascular Group in Lawrenceville, Ga., complaining of chest pains that shot up his arm, said CBS affiliate WAOK in Atlanta.

A test was scheduled for eight days later, but the day before the test he decided to engage in the extramarital hanky panky, according to reports.

His attorneys argued that attending cardiologist Dr. Sreeni Gangasani neglected to tell Martinez to refrain from getting too physical — presumably including any sexual activity — before the test was performed.

Martinez’s legal team said he had high blood pressure and his heart was at risk of having clogged arteries, The Journal-Constitution reported.

Attorneys at Edmond & Lindsay in Atlanta couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, The Journal-Constitution said, and it was unclear whether Martinez’s wife or his two sons would be benefitting financially from the judgment.

The trial began last Monday in state civil court.

An attorney for Gangasani told The Journal-Constitution, “We’re definitely going to appeal the verdict and the judgment.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/georgia-man-death-threesome-nets-family-3m-trial-article-1.1087339