Archive for the ‘Sci/Environment News’ Category

Amazing, this word came out from my mouth after read the headline in my local newspaper. There was a teenager found a giant gecko on the border of Nunukan (Kalimantan Island and Malaysia). His name Arbin. With weight around 64 kilograms. Maybe this was usual news, but there is something make me surprised. This giant gecko worth $19 millions. Tribun kaltim newspaper was covering this news. After that many entrepreneur or business owner make a phone call Tribun Kaltim to get information about this gecko. But unfortunately this giant gecko was sold by someone from Indonesia. Arbin said that this gecko brought to China. Although this animal has sold but there are many people still want to buy this gecko with the higher price. They don’t get much information from Arbin. Another thing which makes me surprised was there’s a man who want to buy this gecko $2,7 millions per ounces. You can calculate how much money he will spend only for a gecko. His name Andi Makkuraga Hidayat. He is gecko entrepreneurs. Almost three years he ran this business. So far the largest gecko which he was bought around five kilograms. Please take a picture below, how big this gecko.

Compare with this gecko

A Surprising Business

This was become great business for the people in my country . They have a new job as a gecko’s hunter. But not all the people interested with this animal. People who have passion to get a lot of money and use the good chance. They use their leisure time to hunt the gecko. Most of them who live in the village which there are many trees. And they also hunt this animal in the forest. There are a lot of information which said that this animal worth thousands until hundred thousands dollar. During this time, the voice of gecko is often used to predict the weather. but recently the demand for these reptiles are higher than before. I get some information about the list of the price of gecko:

  • 2.5 ounce (7875 grams,) worth $550
  • 3 ounce – 3,6 ounce (85.05 grams – 102,06 grams) worth $5500
  • 3.7 ounce – 3.9 ounce (104,89 grams – 110.5 grams) worth $8300
  • above 4 ounce (113.4 grams) worth $11000 per ounce

Many people hunt geckos because it has become one of Indonesia’s export goods. Each day about 3,000 geckos were exported. There is a farm which produce geckos. This farm located in Probolinggo, East Java.Beside as a farm, the owner of this place also as an exporter. To meets the demand from China, Japan and some countries in Southeast Asia. These geckos have dried in this farm. However, not all geckos can be exported. Gecko which weight above 3.5 ounces.
The owner of the farm is Didik. His father also has gecko breeding business. He always exported geckos in China, Taiwan, even Japan. He got $33000 every month, with 200 employees. He starts his business from 1990’s. Right now he became gecko entrepreneur.

Gecko’s Farm

Gecko’s for healing AIDS/HIV

AIDS/HIV is deadly disease.Because theres is no medicine to cure AIDS/HIV. I found an information that gecko can be cure AIDS/HIV. If it’s true, I think this is a wonders of medicine world. But unfortunately I can’t get good reference about that. Many people said that gecko as an alternative solution for AIDS/HIV. But the geckos has meet the limited weight about 4 ounce. the oldest of gecko and the largest one has much more enzyme. I also heard that gecko have booked by Japan and Taiwan people as a medium of AIDS drug research.

Many people believe that gecko also as an alternative for itching and asthma medication. It has believed for a long time ago. I hope it really can be cure an AIDS/HIV. I wish the best for good purpose, especially for mankind…amen.
Sources: Here


(CNN) — An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier passed within the moon’s orbit Tuesday, the closest approach by an object that large in more than 30 years.

Asteroid 2005 YU55 passed within 202,000 miles of Earth — about four-fifths of the distance to the moon — at 6:28 p.m. Tuesday, NASA said.

Marina Brozovic, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said the space agency was able to train a great deal of high-powered instruments — including the massive radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico — on the asteroid as it approached.

“This is a rare event, and we learned a lot,” Brozovic told CNN.

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Though the space agency classified the asteroid as a “potentially hazardous object,” it posed no threat of a collision, according to NASA’s Near Earth Object Program.

If the asteroid had crashed into Earth, it could have caused a 4,000-megaton blast and a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, according to scientists at Purdue University. If it fell into the ocean, it could have caused a 70-foot-high tsunami within 60 miles of the crash site, the experts said.

The last time a space rock in the same league as 2005 YU55 passed as close to Earth was in 1976, NASA said. The next similar encounter is projected for 2028, Brozovic said.

Podcast: Asteroid close encounter

As the object neared Earth, NASA studied the asteroid with the Goldstone radar antennas in California’s Mojave Desert. Goldstone antennas are very sensitive radio telescopes used to investigate quasars, radar mapping of planets and comets.

Scientists plan to reconstruct the shape of the asteroid with a resolution as fine as 13 feet (4 meters) using the antennas.

Share your view of the asteroid

The approach also provides a rare opportunity for amateur astronomers to directly observe an asteroid with optical telescopes. But because the object is so dark, NASA said stargazers would need a telescope with an aperture of 6 inches (15cm) or larger to see it.

“It’s visible across North America in the ensuing hours, dim at 11th or 12th magnitude and moving fast,” Sky & Telescope magazine said.

(CNN) — Six weeks ago, the floodwaters sweeping down from Thailand’s north reached Ayutthaya, a UNESCO-listed historical city that lies 100 kilometers from Bangkok.

Just one week later, the entire area was severely flooded. Shops closed, roads became rivers, temples and monuments were unable to keep the waters at bay, and people had to swim or use boats to get food and water.

One of those affected was Yvette Cagney, a 30-year-old Australian who has worked as an elephant helper at Ayutthaya’s Royal Elephant Kraal for the past three years. She had to climb from her house through a second-floor window to escape the rising waters.

Death toll rises to 381 in Thai floods

But it wasn’t just people and historical sites that were affected; animals too were under stress — including dozens of elephants that had been stranded on top of the kraal.

Cagney and her colleagues were able to help about 60 elephants escape to higher grounds, and set up camp three kilometers away. Because of their fragility, about eight babies and their mothers had to be left behind.

Stranded elephants in need of food

But the initial relief of escape has subsided, and the lives of both the elephants and their human helpers are becoming increasingly difficult.

“I’ve been living in a small makeshift tent, right next to the elephants’ enclosure, for about four weeks” says Cagney. “It’s tough, but our real concerns are for the elephants.”

The area has little shade, and there’s limited access to fresh food and water.

“The older animals are particularly vulnerable, as they need a lot of extra care and special food,” explains Cagney. “It’s scary to think how long we may be stuck here. The kraal has been destroyed, so even after the floods subside, it’s going to be at least another two months before we can get them back to a permanent home.”

Yet amongst the pessimism, there has been one fortuitous turn of events — the arrival of a new baby to the herd. Born just three days ago, Soisilee has brought a shade of happiness and a touch of hope.

He’s already at home taking a bath in the muddy flood waters, and seems to have become the darling of the herd.

“He’s our gift among all this craziness,” says Cagney. “He’s lifted everyone’s spirits during these hard times.”

Officials inspect the damaged building housing the No.3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on June 17, 2011  
Officials are not yet sure if the readings pose a problem
A radioactive gas has been detected at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, the facility’s operator says.

Tepco said xenon had been found in reactor two, which was previously thought to be near a stable shutdown.

There has been no increase in temperature or pressure, but the discovery may indicate a problem with the reactor.

Boric acid – used to suppress nuclear reactions – has been injected as a precaution.

Ever since the meltdowns in March triggered by the huge earthquake and tsunami, engineers have been working to bring the Fukushima reactors under control.

The government and Tepco – the Tokyo Electric Power Company – have said they are on track to achieve a stable shutdown by the end of the year.

But now they have found what could be a problem – radioactive xenon gas detected in a filter in reactor two.

Since it has a short half-life, it indicates a possibility of resumed nuclear fission in recent days.

Tepco says the temperature of the reactor, which has been below boiling point, has not increased, indicating any reaction would be small.

It is not ruling out a false reading but boric acid, which suppresses fission, was injected into the reactor overnight.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Japan a reactor has been switched on for the first time since the disaster.

Safety fears mean local authorities have been refusing permission for restarts after routine maintenance.

Dozens of facilities are offline amid concern about electricity shortages.


Gran Sasso sign The neutrinos are fired deep under the Italian Apennines to the Gran Sasso lab

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Scientists who announced that sub-atomic particles might be able to travel faster than light are to rerun their experiment in a different way.

This will address criticisms and allow the physicists to shore up their analysis as much as possible before submitting it for publication.

Dr Sergio Bertolucci said it was vital not to “fool around” given the staggering implications of the result.

So they are doing all they can to rule out more pedestrian explanations.

Physicists working on the Opera experiment announced the perplexing findings last month.
Neutrinos sent through the ground from Cern (the home of the Large Hadron Collider) in Geneva toward the Gran Sasso laboratory 732km away in Italy seemed to show up a tiny fraction of a second earlier than light would have.

Start Quote

It’s like sending a series of loud and isolated clicks instead of a long blast on a horn”

Prof Matt Strassler Rutgers University

The speed of light is widely regarded as the Universe’s ultimate velocity limit. Outlined first by James Clerk Maxwell and then by Albert Einstein in his theory of special relativity, much of modern physics relies on the idea that nothing can travel faster than light.

For many, the most comforting explanation is that some repeated “systematic error” has so far eluded the experimenters.

Since September, more than 80 scientific papers about the finding have been posted to the arXiv pre-print server. Most propose theoretical solutions for the observation; a few claim to find problems.

Dr Bertolucci, the director of research at Cern, told BBC News: “In the last few days we have started to send a different time structure of the beam to Gran Sasso.

“This will allow Opera to repeat the measurement, removing some of the possible systematics.”

The neutrinos that emerge at Gran Sasso start off as a beam of proton particles at Cern. Through a series of complex interactions, neutrino particles are generated from this beam and stream through the Earth’s crust to Italy.

Graphic of the Opera experiment

Originally, Cern fired the protons in a long pulse lasting 10 microseconds (10 millionths of a second).

The neutrinos showed up 60 nanoseconds (60 billionths of a second) earlier than light would have over the same distance.

However, the time measurement is not direct; the researchers cannot know how long it took an individual neutrino to travel from Switzerland to Italy.

Sergio Bertolucci (Cern) 
Cern’s director of research says the new experimental design will be more efficient

Instead, the measurement must be performed statistically: the scientists superimpose the neutrinos’ “arrival times” on the protons’ “departure times”, over and over again and taking an average.

But some physicists say that any wrong assumptions made when relating these data sets could produce a misleading result.

This should be addressed by the new measurements, in which protons are sent in a series of short bursts – lasting just one or two nanoseconds, thousands of times shorter – with a large gap (roughly 500 nanoseconds) in between each burst.

This system, says Dr Bertolucci, is more efficient: “For every neutrino event at Gran Sasso, you can connect it unambiguously with the batch of protons at Cern,” he explained.

Clicking in
Physicist Matt Strassler, who raised concerns about the original methods, welcomed the new experimental design.

Writing on his blog, Prof Strassler, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, said: “It’s like sending a series of loud and isolated clicks instead of a long blast on a horn; in the latter case you have to figure out exactly when the horn starts and stops, but in the former you just hear each click and then it’s already over.”

Albert Einstein in Pittsburgh on 28 December 1934  
Einstein’s relativity theory holds that nothing can exceed the speed of light

The re-jigged neutrino run will end in November, when Cern has to switch from accelerating protons to accelerating lead ions. Opera scientists hope to include these measurements in the manuscript they will submit for publication in a scientific journal.

One of the main challenges to the collaboration’s work comes from Nobel laureate Sheldon Glashow and his Boston University colleague Andrew Cohen.

In a recent paper, the physicists argue that if neutrinos can travel faster than the speed of light, they would rapidly lose energy, depleting the beam of more energetic particles. This phenomenon was not seen by the Opera experiment.

Cross checks
Dr Bertolucci called this study “elegant”, but added: “An experimentalist has to prove that a measurement is either right or wrong. If you interpret every new measurement with older theories, you will never get a new theory.

“More than a century ago, Michelson and Morley measured the speed of light in the direction Earth was moving and in the opposite direction. They found the speed was equal in both directions.”

This result helped to spur the development of the radical new theory of special relativity.
“If they had interpreted it using classical, Newtonian theory they would never have published,” said Dr Bertolucci.

Next year, teams working on two other Gran Sasso experiments – Borexino and Icarus – will begin independent cross-checks of Opera’s results.

The US Minos experiment and Japan’s T2K experiment will also test the observations. It is likely to be several months before they report back.


The launch is something of a preview of the next-generation JPSS fleet of satellites

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The US has launched NPP, its $1.5bn (£0.9bn) next-generation weather and climate satellite.

NNP rode into its polar orbit on a Delta II rocket, lifting away from the Vandenberg, California, spaceport at 02:48 local time (09:48 GMT).

The two-tonne satellite has some onerous tasks ahead of it.

NPP must test new-style Earth observing instruments while at the same time providing operational data to meteorologists for general forecasting.

The satellite is a joint effort between US space agency Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), with input from the Department of Defense.

It has five instruments on board that will monitor a wide range of land, ocean, and atmospheric phenomena – from the temperature and humidity of the air, to the spread of algal blooms in the ocean; and from the amount of sunlight bouncing off clouds to the extent of Arctic ice.

Circling the globe at an altitude of 824km, NPP will become a key sentinel for watching over a changing Earth.

Dr Jim Gleason, the NPP project scientist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, commented: “NPP’s observations will produce long-term datasets which will help scientists make better models, which then lead to better predictions, which hopefully can be used to make better decisions.”

“These decisions can be as simple as ‘do I need to bring an umbrella?’, or as complex as ‘how do we respond to a changing climate?’.”

Global coverage
There is a concern, however, that NPP is being asked to do too much.

Its climate role requires it to continue datasets acquired over the past 10 years by Nasa’s highly successful Earth Observing System satellites – Aura, Aqua, and Terra.

But NPP must also bridge the gap between Noaa’s existing system of polar-orbiting weather satellites (the latest is Noaa-19) and the agency’s future fleet, known as the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS).

“The NPP mission design life is five years; it has propellant in its propulsion system for seven years,” explained Scott Asbury from Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation, which built NPP.

“Nasa is concerned about the longevity of the instruments on board. They were built to prove the instruments in the future operational system, and there were some anomalies in the development of the instruments that had to be overcome,” he told BBC News.

“Noaa’s target date for launching JPSS-1 is the first quarter of 2017. So they’re worried NPP won’t last long enough to get JPSS-1 up on orbit and fully commissioned.”

NPP (Noaa/Nasa)  
Among its diverse tasks, the NPP satellite will monitor the state of Arctic ice

The US has geosynchronous weather satellites that sit 36,000km above the planet, but these cannot deliver some of the high-resolution atmospheric information that meteorologists need to make their forecasts.

America shares its weather data with the likes of Europe, which flies its own polar-orbiting satellite system known as Metop.

The European spacecraft crosses the equator in the morning, local time, and NPP will cross the equator in the afternoon, providing the fullest picture of what is happening on Earth throughout the day.

The loss of NPP before a replacement is flying would therefore be a blow to weather forecasting and climate studies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Dr Louis Uccellini, who directs Noaa’s National Centers for Environmental Prediction, said NPP’s importance was underscored by events in 2011, which he described as “the year of the billion-dollar weather disasters”.

“We’ve already had 10 separate weather events [in the US], each inflicting at least $1bn in damages, including the tornado outbreaks, fires, hurricanes that have affected the East Coast of the US, and floods that have affected a large portion of the north-central US.

“With NPP’s advanced microwave, infrared and visible data feeding Noaa’s operational weather prediction models, we expect to improve forecasting skills and extend those skills out to five to seven days in advance, for hurricanes and other extreme weather events.”
NPP stands for National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project.

It was born out of a failed attempt to unify the US civilian and military polar orbiting weather satellite systems. That joint effort was blighted by delays and cost overruns, and was eventually dismantled in 2010. Nasa and Noaa are now pursuing their JPSS project to maintain the 30 civilian datasets that NPP will produce.

NPP (Ball Aerospace) NPP has been built by Ball Aerospace. The company will also prepare JPSS-1

Young star Herbig-Haro 32 ejecting jets of material 
Young stars eject massive amounts of material into the surrounding “interstellar medium”

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Chemical factories around young stars may give rise to far more complex molecules than previously thought.

Relatively complex, carbon-containing molecules are found in comets and on nearby planets, thought to have been made elsewhere in our Solar System.

But a report in Nature suggests even larger molecules may be forged near young stars and flung outwards.

The find adds to a large body of often conflicting evidence about the origin of our Universe’s complex molecules.

The team behind the work says that “stellar organics” may have been delivered to the early Earth, but that suggestion remains to be confirmed by future observations.

Much of the chemistry that happens elsewhere in the cosmos remains mysterious, leaving astronomers to guess how nature assembles molecules.

It has until recently been assumed that fairly simple molecules could be assembled in the areas around young stars, while more complex materials form in cooler conditions.
Adding to the mystery, though, have been “unidentified infrared emissions”, or UIE, emanating from a range of sources in our galaxy and beyond.

This infrared light must come from molecular vibrations – the waggling of one atom relative to another within molecules that have absorbed light of higher frequencies from other sources. Light in the infrared is then emitted as the wagglings die out.

Like the strings of a piano, each molecular vibration has its own note, but the unidentified infrared emissions are a rich, dense “chord” of notes that makes the nature of the emitting molecules extremely difficult to unpick.

Star power
Since the late 1970s, astronomers have been making guesses about what the molecules may be; most recently, they have been assumed to be polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – linked rings of carbon dotted with hydrogen atoms that on Earth are known to be powerful and toxic pollutants.

While these molecules forged near new stars are relatively complex assemblages of atoms, they are not as intricate as molecules that have been spotted elsewhere in the cosmos.

Start Quote

Any evidence we can get of very young and very old stars actually seeding the interstellar medium with complex organics that can for example lead to life is exciting”

Carey Lisse Johns Hopkins University

“Complex organics have previously been found in the Solar System – in meteorites, in comets, and on planetary surfaces [such as that of Saturn’s moon] Titan,” Prof Sun Kwok of Hong Kong University told BBC News.

“However, the traditional view is that these organics are made in situ in the Solar System.”
Using the Spitzer space telescope, Prof Kwok and his colleague Yong Zhang looked at the light coming from nascent stars, along with light from two novas – explosions of white dwarf stars.

They then devised a theoretical molecule, changing its structure and parts until its molecular vibrational “notes” most closely matched what Spitzer had seen.

Instead of PAHs, the pair’s candidate molecule was a rich mixture of the ring-like “aromatic” structures familiar from PAHs and kinked “aliphatic” chains of carbon atoms.

“The implication of our paper is that these Solar System organics bear resemblance with the organics that are made by stars, or planetary nebulae,” Prof Kwok explained, “and it is possible that the Solar System contains remnants of stellar organics.”

Rather than some rare and yet-to-be-understood chemistry driving the manufacture of such molecules, the process that sees organic material spewing out of stars may be far more ubiquitous.

Proposed complex molecule  
The team’s “candidate” molecule is a rich mosaic of ringed(aromatic) and kinked (aliphatic) features

Recent work in Astrophysical Journal Letters by Rhonda Stroud of the Naval Research Laboratory in the US and her team has shown how both aromatic and aliphatic molecules could be made in the interstellar medium by passing shock waves from supernovas – and that such shock waves could also destroy them.

Carey Lisse of Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory agreed, telling BBC News that “while young stars may fling complex organic molecules forged from simpler ‘interstellar medium’ precursors, it is also just as possible they destroy them, too”.

“On the other hand, older, swollen red giant stars are certainly expelling thick winds rich in carbonaceous soot and organic molecules, and once they finally blow off their gaseous envelopes and expose their inner, naked nuclear furnaces as white dwarf stars, they irradiate the surrounding rich mix with strong ultraviolet light and process them even further,” he told BBC News.

That further complicates the picture of how carbon and complex organic molecules may end up travelling into other solar systems such as our own.

“The question of whether [complex organics] are made in the Solar System or whether they survive from the interstellar medium is interesting, and it’s not clear to me the authors have definitively proven the existence of their suggested species,” Dr Lisse said, “but it is interesting that they have re-visited some old fading stars to derive this new interpretation,” he told BBC News.

“Any evidence we can get of very young and very old stars actually seeding the interstellar medium with complex organics that can for example lead to life is exciting.

“The deeper we look, with better and better telescopes and instruments and ideas, the more we find out about our rich cosmos. I am sure this story is not settled yet.”