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Archive for September, 2010

Fun science news in the Telegraph today, as scientists announce the discovery of the first genuinely Earth-like planet found orbiting another star –  Gliese 581, a red sun:

The most interesting of the two new planets is Gliese 581g, with a mass three to four times that of the Earth and an orbital period of just under 37 days.

Its mass indicates that it is probably a rocky planet with a definite surface and that it has enough gravity to hold on to an atmosphere, according to Prof Vogt.

Gliese 581g is located 20 light years away from Earth in the constellation Libra.

The planet is tidally locked to the star, meaning that one side is always facing the star and basking in perpetual daylight, while the side facing away from the star is in perpetual darkness.

The researchers estimate that the average surface temperature of the planet is between -24 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-31 to -12 degrees Celsius).

Actual temperatures would range from blazing hot on the side facing the star to freezing cold on the dark side.

The surface gravity would be about the same or slightly higher than Earth’s, so that a person could easily walk upright on the planet, Prof Vogt said.

Life at either the eastern or western “poles” would be miserable, but should be quite possible in a broad band around the boundary between the light and dark sides, though you’d need a jacket. But, imagine what the view would be like from your hillside vacation chateau, under a cherry-red sun that takes up most of the sky.

A companion article talks about the possibilities of water and native life Gliese 581g. Sorry, no ten-foot tall Smurfs.

Neat!

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This is a real news item:

Wrestling midgets killed by fake hookers

The world of Mexican midget wrestling is in mourning after two of its most famous stars were apparently poisoned by fake prostitutes.

Brothers in armlocks Alberto and Alejandro Pérez Jiménez were found dead in a hotel room after being drugged and robbed.

The women who spiked the twins’ drinks are thought to be members of an organised crime gang who pose as prostitutes to attract victims.

They normally just knock out their victims but the dose proved too much for Alberto – aka ‘La Parkita’ (Little Death) and Alejandro – aka ‘Espectrito II’.

The 36-year-olds were veteran stars of the ‘Lucha Mini’ world of midget wrestling.

Click to see the wonderful accompanying picture.

As a friend said, “Thank God they were identified as fake hookers — heaven forbid a real hooker be implicated in such a crime!”

Okay, robbery and murder is not a joking matter… But this is!

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Spy games?

His body was stuffed in a locked duffel bag, and the police think his death may be suspicious?

Piffle. It’s an obvious case of accidental suicide while trying to hide from an annoying neighbor:

Jeff Stein, the Washington Post’s SpyTalk blogger, says that unnamed “U.S. intelligence officials” have downplayed the possibility that British code-breaker Gareth Williams – who worked closely with the U.S. National Security Agency at Fort Meade and American intelligence officials in Kabul – was assassinated.

But back in London, where the naked, decomposing body of the 31-year-old “math genius” was found August 23 in a padlocked duffel bag in the bathroom of an apartment kept as a “safe house” by Britain’s M16, police are not so sure.“Murder detectives say they are still looking at whether Gareth Williams may have been killed by a foreign intelligence agency seeking to stop his work on intercepting messages and code-breaking,” according to the Daily Telegraph.

Williams was “on loan” to M16 from Britain’s top-secret Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and reportedly played a “key role” overseeing Echelon, a secret electronic network that links satellites and super computers in Britain, the U.S. and other Western allies that eavesdrop on terrorist networks.

Nothing to see here, move along… Whistling

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Monkey dress-up karaoke dinner theater in Bangkok:

Click the image to see the rest of the Telegraph’s slide show.

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Bollywood knows action

Jean Claude van Damme, eat your heart out:

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