Friday, 26 August 2016

Sun Spots + Paranoia = Disaster




solar storm that jammed radar and radio communications at the height of the Cold War could have led to a disastrous military conflict if not for the U.S. Air Force’s budding efforts to monitor the sun’s activity, a new study finds.

On May 23, 1967, the Air Force prepared aircraft for war, thinking the nation’s surveillance radars in polar regions were being jammed by the Soviet Union. Just in time, military space weather forecasters conveyed information about the solar storm’s potential to disrupt radar and radio communications. The planes remained on the ground, and the U.S. avoided a potential nuclear weapon exchange with the Soviet Union, according to the new research.

Solar storms can disrupt radar and radio communications. Image credit: NASA.Retired U.S. Air Force officers involved in forecasting and analyzing the storm collectively describe the event publicly for the first time in a paper accepted for publication in Space Weather, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The storm serves as a reminder of why geoscience and space research are essential to U.S. national security, according to Delores Knipp, a space physicist at the University of Colorado in Boulder and lead author of the new study. "Had it not been for the fact that we had invested very early on in solar and geomagnetic storm observations and forecasting, the impact [of the storm] likely would have been much greater,” she says.

By the 1960s, a branch of the Air Force’s Air Weather Service was monitoring the sun routinely for solar flares—brief intense eruptions of radiation from the sun’s atmosphere. Solar flares often lead to electromagnetic disturbances on Earth, known as geomagnetic storms, which can disrupt radio communications and power line transmissions.

On May 18, 1967, an unusually large group of sunspots with intense magnetic fields appeared in one region of the sun. As the solar flare event unfolded five days later, radars at all three Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) sites in the far Northern Hemisphere were disrupted. These radars, designed to detect incoming Soviet missiles, appeared to be jammed. Any attack on these stations—including jamming their radar capabilities—was considered an act of war.

Retired Colonel Arnold Snyder, a solar forecaster at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Solar Forecast Center, was on duty that day. The tropospheric weather forecaster told him NORAD's command post had asked about any solar activity that might be occurring.

“I specifically recall responding with excitement, ‘Yes, half the sun has blown away,’ and then related the event details in a calmer, more quantitative way,” Snyder says.

Along with the information from the Solar Forecast Center, NORAD learned the three BMEWS sites were in sunlight and could be receiving radio emissions from the sun. These facts suggested the radars were being "jammed" by the sun, not the Soviet Union, Snyder says. As solar radio emissions waned, the jamming also waned, further suggesting the sun was to blame, he adds.

According to Snyder and the study authors, it was the military’s correct diagnosis of the solar storm that prevented the event from becoming a disaster. Ultimately, the storm led the military to recognize space weather as an operational concern and build a stronger space weather forecasting system, he says.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@ieeeglobalspec.com


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Why there is standing room only on the tube ~ from official sources


Global Population Estimates: Year One through 2050 A.D.

Population in millions

Year
Lower Estimate
Upper Estimate
1 AD
170
400
200 AD
190
256
400 AD
190
206
500 AD
190
206
600 AD
200
206
700 AD
207
210
800 AD
220
224
900 AD
226
240
1000 AD
254
345
1100 AD
301
320
1200 AD
360
450
1300 AD
360
432
1400 AD
350
374
1500 AD
425
540
1600 AD
545
579
1700 AD
600
679
1800 AD
813
1,125
1850 AD
1,128
1,402
1900 AD
1,550
1,762
1910 AD
1,750     U N and U.S. Census Bureau, International Data*
1920 AD
1,860     increase from previous decade 110,000,000
1930 AD
2,070     increase from previous decade 210,000,000
1940 AD
2,300     increase from previous decade 230,000,000
1950 AD
2,557     increase from previous decade 257,000,000
1960 AD
3,042     increase from previous decade 485,000,000
1970 AD
3,712     increase from previous decade 670,000,000
1980 AD
4,453     increase from previous decade 741,000,000
1990 AD
5,291     increase from previous decade 838,000,000
2000 AD
6,094     increase from previous decade 804,000,000
2010 AD
6,868     increase from previous decade 774,000,000
2020 AD
7,656     increase from previous decade 788,000,000
2030 AD
8,321     increase from previous decade 665,000,000
2040 AD
8,874     increase from previous decade 553,000,000
2050 AD
9,306     increase from previous decade 432,000,000

* 1910 marks the beginning of more accurate population census counts: United Nations and U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Source from Historical Estimates:

  • Biraben, Jean-Noel, 1980, An Essay Concerning Mankind’s Evolution, Population, Selected Papers, December, table 2.
  • Durand, John D., 1974, “Historical Estimates of World Population: An Evaluation,” University of Pennsylvania, Population Center, Analytical and Technical Reports, Number 10, table 2.
  • Haub, Carl, 1995, “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?”, Population Today, February, p. 5.
  • McEvedy, Colin and Richard Jones, 1978, “Atlas of World Population History,” Facts on File, New York, pp. 342-351.
  • Thomlinson, Ralph, 1975, “Demographic Problems, Controversy Over Population Control,” Second Edition, Table 1.
  • United Nations (UN), 1973, The Determinants and Consequences of Population Trends, Population Studies, No. 50., p.10.
  • United Nations, 1999, The World at Six Billion, Table 1, “World Population From,” Year 0 to Stabilization, p. 5.
  • U.S. Census Bureau (USCB), 2011, Total Midyear Population for the World: 1950-2050.

Birth Rate
Death Rate    Estimated 2011
• 19 births/1,000 population
• 8 deaths/1,000 population
• 131.4 million births per year
• 55.3 million people die each year
• 360,000 births per day
• 151,600 people die each day
• 15,000 births each hour
• 6,316 people die each hour
• 250 births each minute
• 105 people die each minute
• Four births each second of every day
• Nearly two people die each second

§  Average life expectancy at birth is approximately 67 years. Sources: Population Reference Bureau & The World Factbook (Central Intelligence Agency)    


Jesus Wept ~ Gospel of John Ch.11 v.35


More than six billion members of the earth's seven billion population live in a country with a serious corruption problem. From rigged elections to bribery, unethical dealings run rife in some of the world’s most prominent nations. Using the latest data from Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) analyzing public sector corruption - Below are the world’s least and most corrupt places, largely outweighed by the  mid-level corrupt group (26% to 77%)

Denmark – the least corrupt country

9% Corrupt   For the fourth year in a row, Denmark is revealed as the least corrupt country in the world. It’s consistently applauded for demanding transparency within its government and increased corporate responsibility.

Finland

10% Corrupt   Proving its diligence in maintaining a corruption-free country, Finland have moved up the rankings this year to second place. This is due to strong anti-corruption framework implemented by the government.

Sweden

11% Corrupt   Sweden is known for its effective anti-corruption laws with many government agencies characterized by a high degree of transparency.

New Zealand

12% Corrupt   New Zealand has fallen three places in the last year from 9%. This is likely due to a serious of government controversies that have seen the perceived integrity of the country slip slightly. Despite this, the nation remain largely corruption free.

Norway

13% Corrupt   Corruption cases in any form are almost unheard of in Norway. What’s more both companies and individuals can be prosecuted for corruption offences committed abroad.

Netherlands

13% Corrupt   Improving four points from last year, the Netherlands has an independent judiciary and strong anti-corruption legislation.

Switzerland

14% Corrupt   The Swiss don’t have the best opinion of their political parties with many believing them to be corrupt. However, that isn’t reflected in the Transparency International rankings with the country maintaining the same score for two years in a row.

Singapore

15% Corrupt   Despite many of its neighboring countries ranking poorly, Singapore comes in the top 10 least corrupt countries. The nation’s harsh penalties are seemingly a very strong deterrent.

Canada

17% Corrupt   Canada’s CPI jumped two points this year with the nation making more of an effort to enforce anti-bribery sanctions in an effort to stop misdealings within companies and officials.

United Kingdom

19% Corrupt   The United Kingdom improved three places in this year’s report from 21% in 2015. The report praised the UK for cracking down on government corruption, following a major exposure of politicians’ expenses.

Luxembourg

19% Corrupt   The population of Luxembourg don’t have the best perception of their political parties, with many claiming they’re corrupt. Despite this Transparency International still believes corruption is low with then nation only dropping one point from the previous year’s report.

Germany

19% Corrupt   With a strong legal system and anti-corruption laws, Germany sits high in the CPI rankings. However, allegations of corruption in the health, construction and public procurement sectors are keeping it from the very top.

Iceland

21% Corrupt   Although the nation suffered from the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis it still enjoys a low level of corruption. Nepotism in the political world has been cited as an area it needs to improve.

Australia

21% Corrupt   Australia has one of the biggest changes of any other nation in the rankings, dropping from 15% since 2012. The report says a federal anti-corruption agency, anti-foreign bribery laws and political donations reform are required to boost the country’s failing ranking.

Belgium

23% Corrupt   Belgium enjoys relatively low levels of corruption in its political sector. The public’s trust in civil service and in the judiciary is also high. An area it still needs to improve is more protection for whistleblowers.

Austria

24% Corrupt   A new entry to the 20 least corrupt countries is Austria. Jumping four points, the country’s perceived corruption levels not only remain low but continue to decrease.

United States

24% Corrupt   Once again the United States remains on the positive end of the rankings. This is largely thanks to extensive anti-corruption legislation.

Ireland

25% Corrupt   It might have dropped in its overall ranking but Ireland improved by one point in this year’s report. This is largely due to new whistleblower protection and lobbying regulations to help prevent political corruption.

Hong Kong

25% Corrupt   After slowly declining in the rankings over the last three years, Hong Kong is finally moving in the right direction, gaining one point. The reason? A few big corruption cases have finally settled and the perception of a truthful government remains strong.

Japan

25% Corrupt   score: 75 out of 100, where 100 equals no corruption.    The Japanese are fortunate to live a life relatively free of corruption in both the economic and political sphere. However, the county is let down by a practice called “amakudari” where senior politicians retire to executive or high-profile positions within the corporate realm, in particular the pharmaceutical, transportation, and construction sectors.

Myanmar

78% Corrupt   A long period of suppression by the country’s military has meant Myanmar has consistently appeared on indexes such as this one. However, with a change to a more democratic government in 2016 the country may well drop off the list for good.

Burundi

79% Corrupt   Since becoming a republic in 1966, this East African nation has seen high levels of corruption. The main culprits are the regional police, revenue authorities and the judiciary system. Recently the United Nations was denied access to the country to investigate reports of human rights abuses.

Cambodia

79% Corrupt   Cambodia has had a long line of corrupt political figures tarnishing its government. Prime Minister Hun See has been in power for three decades, with reports of political and business leaders exploiting the country’s finances for personal profit rife.

Zimbabwe

79% Corrupt   Corruption is embedded deep within Zimbabwe’s political, private and civil sectors. The government, run for three decades by President Robert Mugabe, is constantly fighting claims of bribery and lost funds. And while its economy remains in deep crisis much of the population face high levels of poverty and unemployment.

Uzbekistan

81% Corrupt   Uzbekistan’s corruption ranking stems from President Islam Karimov, whose Communist Party rules the nation with a ruthless authoritarian approach, making the political system ripe for bribery and personal gain.

Eritrea

82% Corrupt   Eritrea has long been marred by severe corruption. The nation has undeveloped legal, economic and political policies in place and no independent press. The nation’s people face poverty and have few human rights.

Syria

82% Corrupt   Already accused as being one of the most corrupt countries in the Middle East, Syria is struggling to uphold any form of government in the face of attack from groups like ISIS and the nation’s Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra.

Turkmenistan

82% Corrupt   Boarded by Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan is surrounded by a host of volatile nations. It is fortunate enough to have vast reserves of crude oil and natural gas to supplement the economy, but misuse of state revenues by the government has driven away investors.

Yemen

82% Corrupt   In recent years Yemen, bordered by Saudi Arabia and Oman, has become a popular base for militant groups like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, only adding to the country’s instability and corruption. Political exploitation continues to cripple the nation’s economy.

Haiti

83% Corrupt   This Caribbean country has a long history of corruption with dubious dealings and crime rife in the country’s towns and cities. Unfortunately, the government isn’t much better, with the recent election for a new president marred by violent protests and accusations of fraud from presidential candidates.

Guinea-Bissau

83% Corrupt   Located on West Africa’s Atlantic coast this small country is riddled with crooked dealings. A major hub for cocaine smugglers from Latin America to Europe, several senior military figures are alleged to be involved in the trafficking of narcotics.

Venezuela

83% Corrupt   Venezuela once again finds itself sitting at the wrong end of the list due to its corrupt government. But in good news for the country, for the first time in 16 years an opposition coalition won an overwhelming victory to reform the government. Its first order of business – release dozens of politicians and activists jailed under the former President Maduro and demand transparent inflation figures.

Iraq

84% Corrupt   The country continues to struggle to contain the growing power of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIL). Maintaining a strong and stable government remains this country’s biggest challenge with institutional reforms constantly delayed, as well as ongoing political infighting and deep-rooted corruption.

Libya

84% Corrupt   Despite the death of disgraced former president Muammar Gaddafi, Libya remains in turmoil. Political parties are backed by rival militia groups and continue to fight for power, leaving the country open to human trafficking, arms dealers and a corrupt military.

Angola

85% Corrupt   The African nation that borders Namibia, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo can thank years of widespread government corruption and devastating poverty for its ranking. In Angola, 70% of the population live on $2 (£1.40) a day or less. One in six children die before the age of five, making it the deadliest place in the world to be a child.

South Sudan

85% Corrupt   According to the United Nations war-ravaged South Sudan is facing possible famine. Two years of civil war, which has claimed the lives of four million people, has prevented deliveries of human aid and constant fighting between the government and rebel forces have left the nation open to extreme corruption.

Sudan

88% Corrupt   After two rounds of devastating civil war, which claimed the lives of over 1.5 million people, Sudan has struggled to find its feet in the face of corruption. As a result of a failing government, approximately 65% of the country’s people live below the poverty line.

Afghanistan

89% Corrupt   Landlocked Afghanistan lies in the middle of a hotbed of corruption and conflict. Despite having an internationally recognized government set up in 2004, it continues to lack the power to implement any sustainable changes due to unrelenting challenges from the Taliban.

North Korea – joint most corrupt country

92% Corrupt   Once again North Korea finds itself joint first on the list. Ruled by the autocratic Kim Jong-Un, the country is the epitome of a dictatorship with its government dealings shrouded in mystery. Military spending outweighs that of social aid with the totalitarian state consistently accused of abusing basic human rights.

Somalia – joint most corrupt country

92% Corrupt   For the fourth year in a row Somalia retains its title as the world’s most corrupt nation. Torn apart by rival warlords in the early 90s, the frail government has since failed to make any long-term improvements to the nation, and face constant challenges from Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabab insurgents.

The fifth cosmic force? (Taken from the dumbed-down popular-press)

Experimental nuclear physicists in Hungary might have discovered a fifth force of nature not accounted for in the Standard Model, changing the scientific view of the universe ~

Previously physicists declared there to be four fundamental forces in the universe, gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force.

Don't blame the scientists, there are infinite ways to be wrong and only one way to be right.

“If true, it’s revolutionary,” said Jonathan Feng, professor of physics & astronomy at UCI, in a statement. “For decades, we’ve known of only four fundamental forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter.”

(Contrary to scientific belief all the known and unknown realities of the omniverse continue to perform perfectly without anybody ever having to understand them.)

The data for the new claim comes from a mid-2015 study by experimental nuclear physicists in Hungary. That work was looking for “dark photons” – particles that would be a sign of the dark matter that is purported to make up about 85 per cent of the universe but which we’ve never actually seen (Because it's dark?).
The scientists, from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, found a radioactive decay anomaly that seemed to suggest that there was a light particle 30 times heavier than an electron. That remains something of a mystery to the original scientists.

“The experimentalists weren’t able to claim that it was a new force,” UCI professor of physics & astronomy Jonathan Feng said. “They simply saw an excess of events that indicated a new particle, but it was not clear to them whether it was a matter particle or a force-carrying particle.”  UCI scientists looked through the data and showed that the unexplained data didn’t seem to come from matter particles or dark photons. The explanation that seemed to bring together the data was that there is a fifth force, previously unnoticed by scientists.

(Astonishingly 'life as we know it' will continue much as before in the real universe which is  largely unaffected by what anybody thinks it might be.)




Tuesday, 16 August 2016

" ~ consider her ways and be wise" ~ Proverbs ch.6 v.6 ~ So much to learn from nature ~


Researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and Purdue University are a step closer to developing super-strong composite materials, thanks to the mantis shrimp—a small marine crustacean that crushes the shells of its prey using a fist-like appendage called a dactyl club.

Their latest research, to be published in the journal Advanced Materials, describes a unique herringbone structure, not previously reported in nature, within the appendage’s outer layer called the impact region. It is this tough herringbone structure that not only protects the club during impact, but enables the mantis shrimp to inflict incredible damage to its prey.


A mantis shrimp in the lab of David Kisailus. Image credit: Carlos Puma.The impact region is a crack-resistant layer that shields the club as the mantis shrimp pummels its prey. It consists of crystalline calcium phosphate surrounding heavily mineralized chitin fibers.

“We knew from previous studies that the impact region allows the mantis shrimp to transfer incredible momentum to its prey while resisting fracture, but it was exciting to reveal through our research that the properties of this highly impact-resistant material are created by the novel herringbone structure,” says lead researcher Nicholas Yaraghi, a graduate student of David Kisailus, UCR professor in energy innovation.

To confirm their hypothesis, Kisailus' team partnered with Pablo Zavattieri, associate professor of civil engineering at Purdue University, to perform finite element analyses to understand the role of these structures. The researchers also fabricated the herringbone structure using synthetic materials and a 3D printer.

Zavattieri built computational models that replicate the local details of the herringbone structure, which explained that damaging stress can be more uniformly distributed, mitigating catastrophic structural failure. Compression testing of the 3D-printed biomimetic composite also helped prove that the herringbone structure makes the impact region highly effective in redistributing stress and deflecting cracks.

“The smasher mantis shrimp has evolved this exceptionally strong and impact-resistant dactyl club for one primary purpose—to be able to eat," Kisailus says. "However, the more we learn about this tiny creature and its multi-layered structural designs, the more we realize how much it can help us as we design better planes, cars, sports equipment and armor.”

Kisailus says recent advances in 3D-printing techniques and modeling are making it easier than ever to translate the mantis shrimp’s weapon into new materials.

“By using 3D-printing techniques like those used by Zavattieri’s team, we can actually take what we’ve learned about the architecture of the dactyl club and manufacture new composites with traditional engineering materials like polymers and carbon fiber,” Kisailus says.

His team is already fabricating a second generation of composites incorporating not only the energy-absorbing component, but the stiff outer layer inspired by the mantis—producing a helmet with this hard coating.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@ihs.com

Friday, 24 June 2016

Any Ideas ???

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Whoops, how did that get in twice?

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Now where did that one go ?

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For your information and delectation only

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Just cheering myself up, missed Judy all week ~ In gloriously, blazingly sunny Malta

1.  ~ Cop-Scotch? ~

 2. Annie Grans

3. Get over it, it was for Hiccups (or hicoughs if you prefer the original word)

 4. It never happened ~ but it must have been a temptation!

 5. Hill-Billy check ~ check it out

6. Wisdom of the ancients

7. Good ol' Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel 1904-1991
I'm Sam-I-am, I do not like green eggs and ham!