Ring of Fire...Amazing map of 203,186 quakes - a century of earthquakes mapped

 Earthquakes since 1898 - a century's worth of big earthquakes: 203,186 in total -  Includes last year's 9.0 magnitude Japan earthquake.The 9.5 magnitude 1960 quake in Valdivia, Chile, is the biggest on record.

Amazing visualisation: showing earthquakes since 1898, by magnitude, the map pinpoints the Ring of Fire in vivid green.

AN AMAZING map plotting every earthquake of magnitude 4.0 or above in more than a century dramatically visualises the Ring of Fire and other quake hotspots.

In vibrant fluoro green, the map pinpoints the dynamic contact points where continental tectonic plates grind underneath each other, raising mountain ranges and causing the biggest earthquakes on the planet.

Fiery neighbours: Australia is seismically quiet compared to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. Our biggest recorded earthquake was a 7.2 magnitude tremble at Meeberrie in 1941, that caused severe shaking at its epicentre, and minor damage in Perth, 500km away.

Also clearly visible are the spots where mid-ocean plates are moving away from each other, particularly in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

According to the map, Australia is one of the most geologically stable countries on Earth.

The map was created by designer John Nelson of IDVSolutions, a US software company that visualises data.

It merges data from America's Advanced National Seismic System and the United States Geological Survey with a map of the world centred on the Pacific Ocean.

 Waiting for The Big One: San Francisco and Los Angeles sit on California's San Andreas fault, the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and North American plates.

The 7.9 magnitude 1906 quake killed more than 3000 people in San Francisco. A 9.2 earthquake and resulting tsunami in Alaska in 1964 killed 143. Central America is one of the most seismologically active regions on Earth.

Danger zone: the map reveals that Japan is one of the most seismically active spots on Earth.

2011's Thoku 9.0 magnitude earthquake caused an estimated $122 billion property damage. The quake and resulting tsunami killed approximately 16,000.

In March 2011, a massive magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan, causing a huge tsunami than killed an estimated 15,800 people. It was the biggest quake recorded.

Japan Earthquake

Earthquake aftermath: a Japanese girl searches through the debris as a ship sits atop a building after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated the country's east coast. (AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun, Yasuhiro Takami)

Nelson points out that agencies only started properly recording "hard core" earthquakes in the 1960s.

Source: Supplied by: Simon Crerar From: news.com.au




Batman could fly, but he'd die horribly on landing, science students conclude

If Batman jumped from a building 492ft (150m) high, the team discovered, he could glide a distance of around 1148ft (350 metres). But his velocity would increase to about 68 mph as he descended before reaching a steady 50 mph as he
approached street level - a speed too great for him to survive without serious injury. In fact, the caped crusader would be travelling so fast that he'd crash and would probably die.

The group of four students concluded that DC Comics' superhero, who returns to cinemas on July 20 in the
Dark Knight Rises, should consider taking a parachute for a safe landing.

Batman could fly using just his cape but would suffer serious injuries when trying to land, a study of the
aerodynamics of his winged attire has concluded.

 The claim, which will bring any young comic fans down to Earth with a bump, was made by student physicists
at the University of Leicester.

They wanted to see whether the 15ft wingspan of Batman's special rigid cape - about half that of some hang
gliders - would be enough to keep him airborne over Gotham City.

Their paper, called 'Trajectory of a Falling Batman' was published in the University of Leicester
Journal of Special Physics Topics.

In a mathematical simulation of his flight, they wrote: "Batman's descent is rapid, even for this high
estimate for the lift coefficient. Looking at the case for gliding from a
fairly tall building of height 150m, Batman can glide to a distance of about
350m, which is reasonable; the problem with the glide lies in his velocity as
he reaches ground level.

"The velocity rises rapidly to a maximum of a little over 110km/hr before steadying to a constant
speed of around 80km/hr. At these high speeds any impact would likely be fatal
if not severely damaging (consider impact with a car travelling at these speeds).

"Clearly gliding using a batcape is not a safe way to travel, unless a method to rapidly slow down is
used such as a parachute."

One of the team, David Marshall, 22, said: "If Batman wanted to survive the flight, he would
definitely need a bigger cape. Or if he preferred to keep his style intact he
could opt for using active propulsion, such as jets to keep himself


Photo - Adam West and Burt Ward as
Batman and Robin Photo: 20 CENTURY FOX


Unbelievable video - Nasa Mars 'next best thing to being there' - see video link !!

8 July 2012 Last  - Nasa has released a new full-circle image of planet Mars, which it says is
the "next best thing to being there".

VIDEO LINK  HERE  :   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18762193

The view comes from the panoramic camera on Nasa's Mars Exploration Rover,
Opportunity, combining 817 images.

It shows the tracks left by the rover while exploring a crater.





It’s Higg-steria....the world’s scientists are looking to Melbourne...Have we found the Higgs boson...the God Particle ?


But no one knows the result until the black box is opened and the data from two huge experiments at the Large Hadron Collider are combined.

Find out if we have, and why it matters, this Wednesday at 6 pm in a joint press conference in Melbourne and Geneva.

There's been international speculation about the result including articles in the New York Times, Guardian, SMH, Age, Fin Review, Herald Sun and others. And Australian scientists from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide have played a role.

The $10 billion LHC is buried under the Swiss-French border. There scientists have been searching for a hypothetical subatomic particle, known as the Higgs boson, that is needed to complete the Standard Model of our Universe.

The timing of the announcement is:

• At 11 am we'll hold a live and online background briefing with the Australian Science Media Centre.

• At 5 pm a joint scientific seminar will be held between Geneva and Melbourne which you can attend in Melbourne or watch online.

• In the course of that lecture, informed bloggers will start to interpret the information

• At 6 pm we'll hold a joint press conference between Geneva and Melbourne and CERN will distribute its media release. There will be no embargoed distribution. Everyone has to wait until 6 pm.

• As soon as practical after that the AusSMC will release reaction comments.

• At 8.00 am Thursday morning we'll hold a follow-up media briefing with scientists from Australia, CERN and Fermilab for further reaction.

• Then the High Energy Physics Conference moves on to other things – neutrinos, super symmetry, telescopes made of ice and much more.

All sessions will be in Plenary 3 at the Melbourne Convention Centre at South Wharf and the media is welcome.

There's also lots of HD footage and photos available from CERN and mountains of background.

Here's more information.

Wednesday 4 July – where and when can you hear about the Higgs?

Wed 4 July 11 am – AusSMC round-up on the search for the Higgs boson, briefing at the Melbourne Convention Centre, South Wharf, Melbourne, room number TBC.

Speakers from CERN, Fermilab and the ARC Centre of Excellence in High Energy Physics.

Later that day at 5pm CERN will announce their latest Higgs boson results in a joint seminar in Melbourne and Geneva, followed by a press conference.

This briefing will provide the background to the announcement. What is the Higgs boson? Why are we spending billions of dollars to find it? What's Australia's contribution? What are the possible announcements and what would they mean?

Wed 4 July 5 pm – scientific seminar, via two-way link with CERN, Plenary 3, Melbourne Convention Centre, South Wharf.

CERN will deliver the latest update in the search for the Higgs boson. Scientists from ATLAS and CMS, the two main experiments at the LHC, will deliver the preliminary results of their 2012 data analysis.

Physicists from around the world gathering in Melbourne for the ICHEP conference will be able to join the seminar via a live two-way link.

Please note the CERN media release will be available at 6 pm. http://bit.ly/MZtmGz

Wed 4 July 6 pm – press conference, via two-way link with CERN, Plenary 3, Melbourne Convention Centre, South Wharf

Scientists from CERN will be available for questions from journalists, via the two-way link and on the ground in Melbourne. We'll have plain language interpretations of the results from physicists available to help you understand their significance.

Thursday 5 July 8 am – media briefing – reaction and conference overview

What's happening the rest of the week?


We'll have reaction to the Higgs boson data from CERN and Fermilab. What do the results mean? What are the next steps? Scientists will meet in sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to compare results.

But the Higgs boson isn't the only interesting particle. There is a whole ecosystem of subatomic particles whose properties we're just beginning to understand. To find them, scientists are recreating the Big Bang inside the LHC, smashing lead ions together to make Quark-Gluon Plasma – the primordial soup of the universe.

We've got serious talent: the directors of CERN and Fermilab, and Australian leaders in particle physics.

And we've got some fun people: like twin brothers who swore they'd both become particle physicists after a trip to CERN as kids; and "Evans the Atom", the Welsh scientist who flipped the switch on the Large Hadron Collider back in 2008.


High energy physics isn't just about underground atom-smashers. We can also look to space for clues about the fundamental particles which make up the universe by studying cosmic rays, neutrinos and dark matter and dark energy.

Particle physics also demands some unusual telescopes, and neutrino observatories are among the strangest: IceCube at the South Pole; ANTARES under the Mediterranean Sea; and ICARUS in Italian mountain caves.

Over the weekend

The next generation of particle accelerators are already being planned. The International Linear Collider will be able to search with more precision for the Higgs boson and other particles. Japan, Germany, Russia and America are vying to host it. Meanwhile, rival project the Compact Linear Collider is being planned at CERN.

And Tim Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN in the 80s, and high energy physicists continue to push the limits of computing technology. Melbourne is a tier 2 hub of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, which allows physicists to share information and spread the computing burden.

For those of us without a higher degree in theoretical physics, we'll have a crack team of friendly physicists with big brains and quick twitter fingers to answer your questions and help you understand the science.

We're tweeting about the conference on @pressichep, and you can follow the hashtag #ICHEP2012.

Top Ten Heaviest Land Animals


1. African Elephant, Weight: up to 10,000kg (22,046lbs).  Largest recorded reached a height of 4m at the shoulder

2. Asian Elephant, Weight: up to 5,400 kg (11,905lbs). Can reach 2m at the shoulder

3. Hippopotamus , Weight: up to 3,200kg (7,055lbs). Its body can be 5.4m long

4. White Rhinoceros, Weight: up to 2,300kg (5,071lbs). The largest of the five rhinoceros species can be up to 4m long

5. Giraffe, Weight: up to 1,932kg (4,260lbs). A giraffe's neck can be 2.4m long

6. Walrus, Weight: up to 1,500kg (3,307lbs). Its tusks can reach 1m in length

7. Black Rhinoceros, Weight: up to 1,400kg (3,086lbs). Can be up to 1.9m at the shoulder

8. Gaur, Weight: up to 1,300kg (2,866lbs). The world's biggest bovid can reach 2.2m at the shoulder

9. Asian Buffalo, Weight: up to 1,200kg (2,645lbs). It has the widest horn span of any bovid – its hors can span 2m

10. Saltwater Crocodile, Weight: up to 1,000kgs (2,205lbs). The largest reptile in the world can grow to 8-10m in length.


Is Voyager leaving our solar system ?? Bye bye !! Speed over 60,000 km/hr & 18 billion km travelled !!

 Jun 2012 Get Ready, Because Voyager I Is *This Close* to Leaving Our Solar System.  We're on the cusp of one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of all time, but we may not know when the moment strikes. Or, rather, there may be no moment.

Voyager launched in 1977. Today, Voyager I is about 121 astronomical units away (one astronomical unit is equal to the rough distance from the Sun to the Earth). That is so far that it takes 16 hours for the radio signals it transmits to reach us. (Voyager II is about 22 astronomical units -- approximately seven years -- behind.) It is traveling at about 17 kilometers per second (38,000 miles per hour), propelled by the slingshot effect from flying by Jupiter and Saturn. ("It's well above escape velocity," Stone said.) The spacecraft's cameras have been turned off since 1990, when it took the pictures for the famous Family Portrait mosaic that captures the planets as they appeared as Voyager I looked back over the solar system it had traveled across.

An artist's rendering of the two Voyager spacecraft at the outer edge of our solar system (NASA)

Last week, in the corners of the Internet devoted to outer space, things started to get a little, well, hot. Voyager 1, the man-made object farthest away from Earth, was encountering a sharp uptick in the number of a certain kind of energetic particles around it. Had the spacecraft become the first human creation to "officially" leave the solar system?

It's hard to overstate how wild an accomplishment this would be: A machine, built here on Earth by the brain- and handiwork of humans, has sailed from Florida, out of Earth's orbit, beyond Mars, beyond the gas giants of Jupiter and Saturn, and may now have left the heliosphere -- tiny dot in the universe beholden to our sun. Had it really happened? How would we know?

We're not quite there yet, Voyager's project scientist and former head of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Edward Stone, told me. The spacecraft is on its way out -- "it's leaving the solar system" -- but we don't know how far it has to go or what that transition to interstellar space will look like.

Now the data coming back aren't photographs but levels of different kinds of particles in the outer edge of the sun's bubble (the heliosphere), known as the heliosheath, the farthest the solar winds reach, which Voyager I entered in December 2004. And it was some of those data -- the levels of a certain cosmic-ray particle -- that provoked the recent speculation that Voyager I had finally flown the coop.

Some cosmic ray particles enter the heliosphere and we can see them here from Earth. But a slower type has a hard time entering the heliosphere. Last month, the sum of those slower particles, suddenly ticked up about 10 percent, "the fastest increase we've seen," Stone says. But an uptick does not mean Voyager has crossed over, though it does mean we're getting close. When Voyager does finally leave and enter the space "out there where all the particles are," the level will stop rising. The rising itself means that Voyager is not out there, yet. "But," cautions Stone, "we don't know. I mean this is the first time any spacecraft has been there." Since nothing's ever been there before, we don't know what it will look like, which makes it a little hard to recognize "it" at all. "That's the exciting thing," he continues.

Two other indicators that Voyager I has left the heliosphere -- an absence of certain lower-energy particles that don't leave our system and a change in the magnetic field -- have not yet happened, though there have been some decreases of the energy particles, but, Stone says, "it's not zero." Additionally, to complicate matters even further, beyond the heliosphere in interstellar space there are comets that orbit the sun and are therefore part of the solar system.

It would be nice, fulfilling even, if at the edge of the heliosphere there were, well, an actual edge, a boundary between our bubble and the cosmos. But, it's probably not going to be so cut and dried. "The boundary," Stone postulates, "will not be an instantaneous thing. [Voyager] won't suddenly be outside." Rather, the exit will be turbulent, "a mix of inside and outside," and the work of Stone and the other Voyager scientists is trying to square the different data -- the particles and the magnetic field -- to try to understand what that transition from inside to outside looks like. That turbulent region may take several months to get through.

But even without a clean break in the offing, it's hard not to sit on the edge of your seat to wait for this moment -- this months-long moment -- to pass. "We're looking at our data every day -- we listen to these spacecraft every day, for a few hours every day -- to keep track of what's going on. ... It's very exciting from a scientific point of view, when you're seeing something that nobody's seen before."

So perhaps Voyager won't make its mark with a sudden, defining event that echoes across generations as a sort of before-and-after dividing line across human history, like the line separating the time when a human's voice had never traveled across a wire to an ear miles away -- and when it had -- or before a human foot had left its imprint on the moon, and when that print was there. But Stone is okay with that: "Well you know actually Voyager has had a lot of those moments as we flew by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. One after the other, we found something that we hadn't realized was there to be discovered."

By Rebecca J. Rosen



Shelling out for a divorce after 115 years !! Might need some counselling ??

The world's oldest animal marriage looks set to have turtley ended after an incredible 115 years when the two Giant Turtles at an Austrian zoo refused to share their cage anymore.

Zoo management have called in animal experts to try and give the pair counselling - feeding them romantic good mood food and trying to get them to join in joint games - but so far without effect.

Zoo boss Helga Happ said: "We get the feeling they can't stand the sight of each other anymore."

Bibi and Poldi have been a pair since before anyone alive today can remember - they have been together at the Austrian zoo in Klagenfurt for 36 years and before that they lived at Basel zoo in Switzerland.

Zoo boss Helga added: "They are both 115 years old - they have been together since they were young and grew up together, eventually becoming a pair.

"But for no reason that anyone can discover they seem to have fallen out, they just can't stand each other."

Zoo staff realised the pair had fallen out after Bibi attacked her partner - biting off a chunk of his shell - and then carrying out several further attacks until he was moved to another enclosure.

Although they have no teeth Giant Turtles have a horn rimmed mouth and powerful jaws that are a potent weapon when they want to cause damage. Each of the 100 kilo animals has the ability to kill the other if they wanted.

Zoo staff have told the experts that nothing has changed in the pair's routine - but Bibi in particular wanted to have the cage to herself and be a single.

Helga added: "We have staff talking to and trying to engage the two in interacting, and we hope that they might find their harmony again.

"We were told that it's very rare that after so many years animals who are a pair will fall apart, but that's where we are. We hope though we can bring round a reconciliation."




Star Trek idea ! " We should build the Starship Enterprise. Seriously our continuing mission: to seek out funding $ 1 trillion over 20 years ...." Beam me up Scotty !


Private space exploration, part II. My evil twin Ed West has drawn my attention to the coolest, geekiest idea I have almost ever heard of: an initiative to build a full-scale, working [sort of: more on that later], Starship Enterprise.

The people behind buildtheenterprise.org claim (and I have no easy way of checking their facts, so I won't bother) that we have the technology to build it, and that it would take about 20 years and $1 trillion (£633 billion or thereabouts). That's a lot of money, and a long time, but if it's plausible I really, really hope we go for it. This is the project for which Kickstarter was born.

I said that it wasn't quite "working", and this is what I mean: it doesn't have a warp drive, so unless the crew have a spare millennium or so it won't be taking them to Alpha Centauri. "But surely a warp drive is pretty important for a starship?" ask some boring naysayers on Twitter. Well, yes, but that rather implies that we've already explored this solar system adequately. Hands up everyone who's gone to Venus. Anyone? Right. Come back when we've had a proper look at Europa and we'll start worrying about faster-than-light stuff then. For now, we have the technology to run ion drives, and (again, I'm taking this from the buildthenterprise.org) they reckon it could make a trip to Mars in 90 days.

Also: "we could be spending the money on something more worthwhile", say other, equally boring, people. Could we? Like what? The build the enterprise.org team suggest that the USA dedicate 0.27 per cent of its GDP, or 1.1 per cent of federal funding, to the project: about $40 billion in 2012.

That's less than half of the rate of federal spending on Nasa at the height of the space race. But I think this has it backwards. First, it should be global, not just American: an international project. Second, it should be partly privately funded. I actually wasn't kidding about Kickstarter, or something like it. Get companies involved. Make it the Reebok-Google Enterprise or something. Small-scale donations would go a long way: something like £3 a year per person worldwide would actually cover it (although of course for many people that's an awful lot of money).

I know it will never happen, in my secret, jaded heart. But it's a brilliant idea. It's exciting, and futuristic, and has the potential to inspire generations like nothing else the space programme has done since the Moon landings. And we can actually start to explore a tiny bit more of the universe properly. I honestly can't think of a better use of a trillion dollars.

And I'm not even a Star Trek fan.  By Tom Chivers Science Last updated: