Drunk – wearing “I’m a drunk” t-shirt – arrested for driving drunk!

A New York man wearing a T-shirt declaring “I’m a drunk” is facing DWI charges after a collision with a police car.

Suffolk County police arrested 23-year-old Kevin Daly of Coram. They say he crashed into an officer’s vehicle at about 1:45 a.m. Thursday. The officer was treated for minor injuries.

Daly, who is unemployed, was wearing the T-shirt in a mug shot provided by police. It reads: “I’m not an alcoholic / I’m a drunk / Alcoholics go to meetings.”

He was ordered held on $10,000 bail at his arraignment and was issued several traffic summonses. He was represented by an attorney from Legal Aid, which has a policy of not commenting on pending cases.

Throw away the key. He’s a drunk and an idiot. Double the menace to the public.

Young mountains on an old continent — Gamburtsev range solved

Scientists say they can now explain the existence of what are perhaps Earth’s most extraordinary mountains.

The Gamburtsevs are the size of the European Alps and yet they are totally buried beneath the Antarctic ice. Their discovery in the 1950s was a major surprise. Most people had assumed the rock bed deep within the continent would be flat and featureless.

Survey data now suggests the range first formed over a billion years ago, researchers tell the journal Nature.

The Gamburtsevs are important because they are thought to be the location where the ice sheet we know today initiated its march across Antarctica. Unravelling the mountains’ history will therefore inform climate studies, helping scientists to understand not just past changes on Earth but possible future scenarios as well…

This multinational effort in 2008/2009 flew aircraft back and forth across the east of the White Continent, mapping the shape of the hidden mountain system using ice-penetrating radar. Other instruments recorded the local gravitational and magnetic fields, while seismometers were employed to probe the deep Earth.

The AGAP team believes all this data can now be meshed into a credible narrative for the Gamburtsevs’ creation and persistence through geological time…

“This research really solves the mystery of how you can have young-looking mountains in the middle of an old continent,” said US principal investigator Dr Robin Bell from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.

“In this case, the original Gamburtsevs probably completely eroded away only to come back, phoenix-like. They’ve had two lives,” she told BBC News…

The search also goes on for a suitable place in the range to drill for ancient ice.

By examining bubbles of air trapped in compacted snow, it is possible for researchers to glean details about past environmental conditions, including temperature and the concentration of gases in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide.

Somewhere in the Gamburtsev region there ought to be a location where ices can be retrieved that are more than a million years old. This would be at least 200,000 years older than the most ancient Antarctic ice cores currently in the possession of scientists.

RTFA. Please. Another interesting addition to paleo-climatology and geology.

The past is always prologue – in the physical sense as well as metaphor.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Armenia invests in compulsory chess for all school children

Armenia, one of the world players in chess, has made it mandatory in school for ages seven to nine.

Chess is a national obsession in the country of three million.

The passion was fostered in modern times by the exploits of chess champion Tigran Petrosian, who won the world championship in 1963 and then successfully defended his title three years later…

Armenian authorities say teaching chess in school is about building character, not breeding chess champs.

The education minister says taking the pastime into classrooms will help nurture a sense of responsibility and organization among schoolchildren, as well as serving as an example to the rest of the world.

We hope that the Armenian teaching model might become among the best in the world,” Armen Ashotyan told The Associated Press.

Half a million dollars were allocated to the national chess academy to draw up a course, create textbooks, train instructors and buy equipment. Another $1 million went toward buying furniture for chess classrooms.

Two characteristics educators hope to encourage are quoted in the article – by the father of an 8-year-old whiz at chess. He hopes that continued involvement with and study of chess will encourage logical thinking and the ability to improvise.

Not bad attributes for your life’s culture.

As climate change takes hold, range of extreme weather expands

Heavier rainfall, fiercer storms and intensifying droughts are likely to strike the world in the coming decades as climate change takes effect, the world’s leading climate scientists said on Friday.

Rising sea levels will increase the vulnerability of coastal areas, and the increase in “extreme weather events” will wipe billions off national economies and destroy lives, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body of the world’s leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations.

Scientists have warned of these effects for years, but yesterday’s report – the “special report on extreme weather” compiled over two years by 220 scientists – is the first comprehensive examination of scientific knowledge on the subject, in an attempt to produce a definitive judgment. The report contained stark warnings for developing countries in particular, which are likely to be worst afflicted in part because of their geography, but also because they are less well prepared for extreme weather in their infrastructure and have less economic resilience than developed nations. But the developed world will not be unscathed – heavier bursts of rainfall, heatwaves and droughts are all likely to take their toll.

Chris Field, co-chair of the IPCC working group that produced the report, said the message was clear – extreme weather events were more likely. “Some important extremes have changed and will change more in the future. There is clear and solid evidence [of this]. We also know much more about the causes of disaster losses.”

He urged governments to take note – many of the economic and human impacts of disasters can be avoided if prompt action is taken: “We are losing way too many lives and economic assets in disasters.”

There is a range of caveats in the report – of course – since scientists by definition don’t care to offer anything more than conservative estimates of results from their studies. Something the average politician or know-nothing, what passes for a 21st Century conservative has little or no comprehension of. Scientists traditionally posit results on honest evaluation and conservative conclusions.

RTFA – there’s a great deal of useful and general information.

Living in a country where we can’t even convince Congressional conservatives to dedicate effort or funds to repair and maintain our crumbling infrastructure – Americans have nothing but disasters to look forward to. Penny-wise and pound-foolish beancounters combined with the admixture of nutballs and paranoids that constitute America’s right-wing will do everything in their power to deny and defeat any planning for weather extremes.

Robots set off on record breaking Pacific Ocean voyage

Four robots have set out on an epic 66,000km journey across the Pacific Ocean. Created by US firm Liquid Robotics, the four are aiming to set the record for the longest distance at sea travelled by an unmanned craft.

Throughout their journey the robots will gather lots of data about the composition and quality of sea water. The journey is expected to take about 300 days, and is designed to inspire researchers to study ocean health.

The robots were launched from the St Francis Yacht Club on the edge of San Francisco harbour on 17 November.

Initially the four will travel as a flotilla to Hawaii and then will split into two pairs. One will go on to Australia and the other will head to Japan to support a dive on the Mariana Trench – the deepest part of the ocean.

The robots manage to move thanks to interaction between the two halves of the autonomous vehicle. The upper half of the wave-riding robot is shaped like a stunted surfboard and it is attached by a cable to a lower part that sports a series of fins and a keel.

Interaction between the two parts brought about by the motion of the waves enables the robot to propel itself.

Electrical power for sensors is provided by solar panels on the upper surface of the robot…

The wave-riding robots are veterans of ocean-going science and helped monitor the spread of oil during the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Before now the longest single journey they have undertaken was over a distance of 2,500 miles.

Bravo. Does anyone know if we will be able to trace them along their travels?

Here’s a link from Ursarodina to sign up for periodic updates: http://tinyurl.com/86op5n5