Friday, March 11, 2011

Earth Hour, are you participating?

Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

Earth Hour 2011 will take place on March 26, 2011 from 8:30 pm. to 9:30 p.m., at participants' respective local time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Moon will be within the nearest to Earth on March 19, 2011, Satellite Earth it will appear larger. At night, something like this happened since 1993, 18 years ago. This phenomenon is called ‘lunar perigee’. Meanwhile, there are astrologers who called it ‘SuperMoon’.

The appearance of the moon on March 19, 2011 it will be very interesting see if there are no clouds blocking. Point your head to heaven, Saturday, March 19, 2011 later, then you will see the moon looks like usual.

The appearance of the Moon that night will be very interesting to be photographed. But, some astronomers predict, it was worrisome, because it will affect climate patterns on Earth. Some people link the lunar perigee or supermoon it with disasters, like earthquakes.

What scientists say about supermoon? “There will be no earthquake or volcano eruption,” said Pete Wheeler of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy, like loaded, Friday, March 4, 2011. “If indeed that happens, it is predestined.”

Said he, at that time, the Earth does go through a higher tide, and a lower ebb than usual. “There’s nothing to worry about,” added Wheeler.

To note, a number of disasters on Earth occur when the phenomenon of the lunar perigee, or when the distance between Earth and the Moon nearby. For example, storms New England in 1938, or flooding in the Hunter Valley in 1955.

Although not occur within that period, the disaster of Cyclone Tracy in 1974 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was also associated SuperMoon.

Wheeler agrees opinion, an astronomer as well as a lecturer, David Reneke said, too far to link the phenomenon with natural disasters. “If you want you can just link the nearly all the natural disasters that occur with what has been seen in the night sky – a comet, planets, the sun,” said Reneke.

Meanwhile, scientists and Planet Earth from Adelaide University, Dr Victor Gostin said, weather prediction, earthquake, volcano eruption, and other natural disasters on the basis of planetary configurations, never succeed.

mcdonald's no longer largest fast food chain

WASHINGTON (AFP) - – Sandwich maker Subway has stolen the fast food crown from long - time holder McDonald's, claiming more stores worldwide for the first time.

On January 1, Subway had 33,749 stores across the globe, spokesperson Les Winograd said, surpassing McDonald's reported 32,737 outlets.

"We overcame them at some point in 2010. One year ago, we were slightly behind," Winograd told AFP.

The company said some of its success was due to its private ownership. Subway was founded in 1965 and is not listed on the stock exchange.

"That is our choice, and the reason for that is that it enables us to focus on the product, the quality, the restaurants and not on the other things associated with a public company, like financial statements," said Winograd.

McDonald's, born in 1955 in a Chicago suburb, has dominated the fast-food market for most of its existence, becoming an icon of capitalism and a mainstay of the US stock market.

Today it is seemingly omnipresent on streets from Madrid to Los Angeles and the company is valued at around $80 billion.

McDonald's spokeswoman Heidi Barker played down the news.

"We remain focused on listening to and serving our customers, and are committed to being better, not just bigger," she said.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gas Savings Tips That Don't Actually Work

Have you filled up your car lately and cringed to see how much a tank of gas sets you back? The average cost of a gallon of unleaded gas has climbed above $3, with predictions that international unrest may drive prices even higher. We still have to drive to work and/or school, so we look for ways to squeeze more miles out of that pricey tank -- but do those tricks you hear about amount to real savings? Here are six gas saving tips that don't actually work, and ways you can make the most of a gallon.
1. Turning Off the AC
Air conditioning in your home does a number on your electric bill, so it must drain your gas tank too, right? Not so much. Auto testing at Consumer Reports proves that running the AC uses such a nominal amount more in gas, you may as well turn on the AC and be comfortable on a hot day. Rolling down your windows can add drag, zapping your car's efficiency; for best gas mileage, run the fan and keep your windows rolled up.

2. Filling Up When It's Cold Outside
Get your gas in the evening or early morning -- the fuel is cold, and therefore denser. The truth about this myth is that you can barely register a temperature difference, since gas is stored in cool underground tanks, so fill up when you want. There are no savings to be had by waiting until it's cool out.

3. Increasing Tire Pressure
To get the most out of your gallon of gas, you should pump up those tires, some say. While driving on underinflated tires can cost you 3.75% in fuel economy, overinflating tires can be downright dangerous, since it reduces your grip on the road and could cause an accident. Proper tire inflation is important for safety and longevity of your tires, but don't expect any significant gas savings there.

4. Pouring Additives
Where there's a need, there's a product, but that doesn't mean it actually works. Our desire for better fuel economy seems answered by fuel additives and even bolt-on devices -- but they're a complete waste of money according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

5. Changing the Air Filter
Taking care of your car is a good thing: You'll be able to drive it longer, and get the most for your money. Don't expect maintenance like changing the air filter to get you more miles out of the gas tank, though. Consumer Reports tests have shown that with today's computerized cars, clogged air filters don't actually reduce fuel economy. Take care of your car to make it last, but don't look at air filters to reduce your gas expense.

6. Keeping the Engine Running
Starting a car sucks up fuel, some say, so keep the engine idling when possible. That's bad advice: today's fuel-injected vehicles are efficient and don't waste gas during start-ups anymore. In fact, idling can cost you up to half a gallon of gas an hour, so turn off the engine if you're not going anywhere.

The Bottom Line
There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to saving gas. So what does actually help improve your fuel economy? Instead of looking at your car to improve fuel economy, try changing the way you drive. Calm driving on the highway -- not zipping between lanes, tailgating or revving the engine so you quickly get up to speed -- can improve your fuel efficiency a whopping 33%. Remove any excess weight from your car to bump fuel economy another 2%, and drive sixty miles an hour (when the speed limit allows) on the highway for another 23% improvement in fuel efficiency. In the end, best fuel economy comes from a calm and safe driver, something that's a good thing regardless of the price we pay at the pump.

by Claire Bradley

are we alone?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A NASA scientist reports detecting tiny fossilized bacteria on three meteorites, and maintains these microscopic life forms are not native to Earth.

If confirmed, this research would suggest life in the universe is widespread and life on Earth may have come from elsewhere in the solar system, riding to our planet on space rocks like comets, moons and other astral bodies.

The study, published online late Friday in The Journal of Cosmology, is considered so controversial it is accompanied by a statement from the journal's editor seeking other scientific comment, which is to be published starting on Monday.

The central claim of the study by astrobiologist Richard Hoover is that there is evidence of microfossils similar to cyanobacteria -- blue-green algae, also known as pond scum -- on the freshly fractured inner surfaces of three meteorites.

These microscopic structures had lots of carbon, a marker for Earth-type life, and almost no nitrogen, Hoover said in a telephone interview on Sunday.

Nitrogen can also be a sign of Earthly life, but the lack of it only means that whatever nitrogen was in these structures has decomposed out into a gaseous form long ago, Hoover said.

"We have known for a long time that there were very interesting biomarkers in carbonaceous meteorites and the detection of structures that are very similar ... to known terrestrial cyanobacteria is interesting in that it indicates that life is not restricted to the planet Earth," Hoover said.

Hoover, based at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, has specialized in the study of microscopic lifeforms that survive extreme environments such as glaciers, permafrost and geysers.

He is not the first to claim discovery of microscopic life from other worlds.

In 1996, NASA scientists presented research indicating a 4-billion-year-old meteorite found in Antarctica carried evidence of fossilized microbial life from Mars.

The initial discovery of the so-called Mars meteorite was greeted with acclaim and the rock unveiled at a standing room-only briefing at NASA headquarters in Washington.

Since then, however, criticism has surrounded that discovery and conclusive proof has been elusive.

Hoover's research may well meet the same fate. In a statement published with the online paper, the Journal of Cosmology's editor in chief, Rudy Schild, said in a statement:

"Dr. Richard Hoover is a highly respected scientist and astrobiologist with a prestigious record of accomplishment at NASA. Given the controversial nature of his discovery, we have invited 100 experts and have issued a general invitation to over 5,000 scientists from the scientific community to review the paper and to offer their critical analysis."