Neutrino upper size limit diminished by 83%

Minos Experiment

Scientists have made their most accurate measurement yet of the mass of a mysterious neutrino particle. Neutrinos are sometimes known as “ghost particles” because they interact so weakly with other forms of matter.

Previous experiments had shown that neutrinos have a mass, but it was so tiny that it was very hard to measure.

Using data from the largest ever survey of galaxies, researchers put the mass of a neutrino at no greater than 0.28 electron volts. This is less than a billionth of the mass of a single hydrogen atom, the scientists say.

Their nickname is fitting: a neutrino is capable of passing through a light-year (about six trillion miles) of lead without hitting a single atom…

The neutrino particle comes in three “flavours”: muon, tau and electron. In a recent experiment, physicists caught a neutrino in the act of changing from one type to another…

Scientists used the largest ever 3D map of galaxies in the Universe, based on data gathered by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

They were able to determine a new upper limit for the neutrino particle by analysing the distribution of galaxies across the Universe…

I didn’t see any notice taken of angels by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Not even by on pinheads.

40% of Americans think Jesus will be back by 2050!

More than 40 per cent of Americans believe Jesus Christ will return to Earth by 2050, according to a poll.

Americans are largely optimistic about the future, according to the poll from the Pew Research Center For The People and The Press/Smithsonian Magazine.

By mid century, 71 per cent believe cancer will be cured, 66 per cent say artificial limbs will work better than real ones and 81 per cent believe computers will be able to converse like humans.

But Americans are also braced for a major energy crisis and a warming planet, according to the survey. More than half, or 58 per cent, fear another world war in the next 40 years and 53 per cent expect a terrorist attack against the United States using a nuclear weapon…

Here are some other findings of the poll:

• Nearly three-quarters, or 74 per cent, of those polled believe it likely that “most of our energy will come from sources other than coal, oil, and gas”.
• Yet 72 per cent believe the world is likely to experience a major worldwide energy crisis by 2050.
• 66 per cent say the Earth will definitely or probably get warmer but it breaks down strongly along political lines, with just 48 per cent of Republicans saying so and 83 per cent of Democrats.
• 41 per cent say Jesus Christ will return within the next 40 years while 46 per cent say this will definitely or probably not happen.
• 31 per cent expect the planet will be struck by an asteroid.

Lots of supposedly interesting opinions resulting from one of the least useful polls ever conducted by Pew Research.

Anyone who stays current with Talking Heads, Reality TV, fundamentalist preachers and Tea Party agitprop already has a decent idea of what fills the empty space in American conversation in between sports seasons and presidential elections. And could have written up the results of this poll in advance.

Honeybees survive for millennia in Sahara oasis

Deep in the Sahara desert are honeybees that have remained isolated from all other bees for at least 5,000 years.

The bees arrived at Kufra in Libya when the Sahara was still a green savannah, and have survived ever since around an oasis in the desert, over 1,000km from their nearest neighbouring bees…

Around 10,000 years ago, the Sahara was a green savannah, a habitat well suited to honeybees (Apis mellifera).

Today, the Sahara is inhospitable to honeybees, which can’t survive in the large sand deserts that lack any vegetation. However, honeybees do survive in many oases that litter the desert. Most are maintained by local beekeepers that keep the insects for honey production and to pollinate oasis plants. But some wild populations of bees survive.

One such group lives at the desert oasis at Kufra in southeast Libya, while another lives at an oasis at Brak to the west of the country…

Though honeybees living at Kufra have colonies of a similar density to bees elsewhere, certain genetic traits appeared in the Kufra bees at much high frequencies, with some being unique.

That shows that the Kufra bees have remained isolated from all others for at least 5,000 years and perhaps up to 10,000 years, since the moment they were cut off by the creation of the Sahara desert…

The Kufra bees could also be a source of new genetic traits that could be useful to beekeepers elsewhere, the researchers suggest.

Just like the sensible botanists who maintain heritage species of fruits and vegetables for the same purpose.

Beloved priest accused of stealing 1 million beloved dollars

A Connecticut priest with a reputation of caring for the poor has shocked his parishioners after being accused of faking a terminal illness to cover up the alleged theft of $1 million from his diocese.

The Rev. Kevin Gray, a 26-year veteran of the Hartford Catholic Diocese, is being investigated by the Waterbury, Conn., police department for allegedly taking money over a seven-year period from a savings fund established for the Sacred Heart parish, money that was to be used for building renovations and church debt, according to the police…

According to Rev. John Gatzak, spokesman, the Hartford Archdiocese became suspicious over the past year as they asked Gray to submit several years’ worth of annual financial reviews from his parish. Gray allegedly said he was unable to complete the reviews because of a serious terminal illness he was battling and asked for more time. Gatzak said that although they gave Gray some leeway and extra time to submit his reports, they began to look at his parish financial records and say they made some troubling discoveries…

Gatzak, 64, said the news has been ever more painful for the parish and it’s parishioners because of the fact that they believed Gray was battling a serious illness, an illness they now believe may have simply been a lie to try and give the priest more time to allegedly cover up the lost funds.

We are now questioning whether or not he was telling the truth regarding his illness. We don’t know yet,” Gatzak said.

Gatzak said he visited with people outside the church after the 6 p.m. mass, finding them in tears over the news, and full of stories about a priest they loved and admired.

“People telling me how he visited their mother when she was in the hospital, saying he was right there when their grandfather dies. In crisis times, times of need he was there. These are the things people remember and love about him,” Gatzak said.

The inevitable mix of hypocrisy and deceit, gullibility and ignorant trust. The first two couldn’t survive without the latter pair.

If it weren’t for other nations, other cultures, demonstrating that human beings can acquire more education and understanding – I’d wonder if our species isn’t permanently shrouded by the cloud of superstition.

Ask democratic, freedom-loving Israel about Prisoner X

Israel has been gripped by a guessing game over the identity of a mysterious prisoner being held in such secrecy that even his guards do not know his name.

The elusive “Mr X” is being held for unspecified crimes and confined in total seclusion within a private wing of the maximum-security Ayalon prison.

No one knew of his existence until the shroud of secrecy was briefly lifted after a story appeared on the website of Israel’s leading Hebrew-language newspaper Yediot Ahronot.

Quoting unidentified officials within the Israeli penitentiary service, it disclosed that Mr X was being held in Unit 15, a wing of Ayalon prison that contains a single cell.

He is not though to receive any visitors and his wing is cut off from the rest of the prison by double iron doors. So hermetic are the conditions in which he is held that other prisoners can neither see nor hear him.

He is simply a person without a name and without an identity who has been placed in total and utter isolation from the outside world,” a prison official was quoted as saying.

Within hours, the story had vanished from the newspaper’s website, allegedly after Israel’s domestic intelligence service won a gagging order banning all media coverage of the case…

But one Israeli security expert said that the secrecy suggested espionage rather than terrorism is likely to lie at the heart of the mystery.

In 1983, Marcus Klingberg, a leading Israeli scientist, was jailed for 20 years for passing secrets about the country’s biological warfare programme to the Soviets. But it was only after he had been in prison for a decade that Israelis heard for the first time about Klingberg’s existence, arrest and conviction.

Always heartwarming to learn of the standards developed by our loyal allies in the War on Terror. Even as our own government is perfectly capable of adopting every aspect of fascist megalomaniac rule.

Fellow freedom-fighters.

Rape-aXe inventor: “It allows justice to be served”

Inventor intends Rape-aXe device to bring justice to South African rape victims

[Dr. Sonnet] Ehlers is distributing the female condoms in the various South African cities where the World Cup soccer games are taking place.

The woman inserts the latex condom like a tampon. Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks line its inside and attach on a man’s penis during penetration, Ehlers said.

Once it lodges, only a doctor can remove it — a procedure Ehlers hopes will be done with authorities on standby to make an arrest.

“It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it’s on,” she said. “If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter… however, it doesn’t break the skin, and there’s no danger of fluid exposure.”…

After the trial period, they’ll be available for about $2 a piece. She hopes the women will report back to her…

Its one advantage is it allows justice to be served, she said.

South Africa has one of the highest rape rates in the world, Human Rights Watch says on its website. A 2009 report by the nation’s Medical Research Council found that 28 percent of men surveyed had raped a woman or girl, with one in 20 saying they had raped in the past year, according to Human Rights Watch.

Read the full article to survey the range of opinions expressed about the device.

Although this story is from CNN, I note that the LA Times actually covered it back in 2005. Ergo, the product has been in the works for a while.

Related link: Official Rape-aXe Website

Did Bernie Madoff hide $9 billion from prosecutors?

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Bernard Madoff is said to have told fellow inmates that he squirreled away a secret $9 billion which prosecutors do not know about from his $65 billion ponzi scheme fraud.

Madoff, who was jailed last year for 150 years after admitting to orchestrating the historic fraud, is reported to have channelled the funds to three individuals – whose identities remain unknown – shortly before he confessed to his crimes in December 2008. “I think it was personal friends,” one inmate is reported to have said.

The claims, made in the New York Post, are based on conversations with an inmate who spent time in prison with Madoff. It is the first time since Madoff’s crimes came to light some 19 months ago that there has been any formal suggestion – in spite of numerous rumours – that the former fund manager attempted to hide significant amounts of money from prosecutors and the police.

If true, it could prove to be a significant development for Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee charged with uncovering Madoff’s secret assets, who is now likely to want to interview Madoff to find out where the money is.

The fellow prisoner also claimed that Madoff told him that the only other person to know of the identities of the three is Frank DiPascali, his former right-hand man, though it is not clear whether he knew money had been passed to them.

Mr DiPascali has pleaded guilty to 10 separate counts relating to the Madoff fraud and is currently working with federal prosecutors from jail to help them widen the case.

Or someone has been watching too much television. Think this might be a promo for the next season of Damages, eh?