Farmer Finds Rare Meteorite!

It wasn’t a goose that laid a golden egg for one Missouri farmer — it was an asteroid. Scientists are analyzing an extremely rare meteorite found by a farmer in a tiny Missouri town called Conception Junction (population 202)

It wasn’t a goose that laid a golden egg for one Missouri farmer — it was an asteroid.

Scientists are analyzing an extremely rare meteorite found by a farmer in a tiny Missouri town called Conception Junction (population 202), reports Washington University in St. Louis, which helped identify the rock.

An unnamed farmer had found the unusually heavy stone buried in the side of hill. He sawed off the end of the stone and realized he had something that didn’t come from Earth.


The metal rock is studded on the inside with green olivine crystals. It is one of only 20 so-called pallasite meteorites that have been found in the United States.

These types of meteorites are believed to be fragments of large asteroids that had enough internal heat to begin melting, which allowed heavy metals to sink and form a core, while lighter elements became part of the rocky surface.

Pallasites are believed to come from the area where an asteroid’s metal core transitions to olivine in its lower mantle.

Scientists believe the Conception Junction meteorite was once part of an asteroid that flew in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter until it was nudged toward the inner solar system by Jupiter’s gravity field. Sliced and polished, the stone, which is now in the hands of private collectors, is worth about $200 a gram.

SCIENCE CHANNEL: Meteorite Men: Top 10 Meteorites




The World’s Largest Crocodile!


The tiny town of Bundawan isn’t exactly a tourist mecca for the Philippines, but they’re doing their best to develop attractions.  The first thing on Bunawan’s list of things to see?  A 6.2 meter (20 foot) long, 1-ton crocodile that is believed to be the largest crocodile in the world.  The world’s largest crocodile was captured in the Agusan marsh outside of Bunawan on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao in September.  It was measured at 6.2 meters by famed Australian zoologist Adam Britton, who measured the current Guinness World Record crocodile, 5.8-meter Cassius, in 2008.

“We are happy to announce that we have the biggest crocodile in the whole world,” crowed Bunawan town council member Apollo Canoy.  ”So far we have not had any contacts with Guinness, and we do not know whether they plan to visit us soon.

Guinness is aware of the crocodile, believed to be the largest saltwater crocodile in captivity at this time, and they’re following the story as details emerge.  They need more evidence before they crown the Bundawan crocodile as the largest ever captured.  Until then, Bundawan continues to reap the benefits of having a giant crocodile, with the croc drawing 27,000 visitors every year to the tiny swamp town.

The croc eats nearly 37.5 pounds of pork in a day.

Huge Asteroid Headed For Close Encounter With Earth

A huge asteroid will pass closer to Earth than the moon Tuesday, giving scientists a rare chance for study without having to go through the time and expense of launching a probe, officials said.

Earth’s close encounter with Asteroid 2005 YU 55 will occur at 6:28 p.m. EST Tuesday, as the space rock sails about 201,000 miles from the planet.

“It is the first time since 1976 that an object of this size has passed this closely to the Earth. It gives us a great — and rare — chance to study a near-Earth object like this,” astronomer Scott Fisher, a program director with the National Science Foundation, said Thursday during a Web chat with reporters.

The orbit and position of the asteroid, which is about 1,312 feet in diameter, is well known, added senior research scientist Don Yeomans, with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“There is no chance that this object will collide with the Earth or moon,” Yeomans said.

Thousands of amateur and professional astronomers are expected to track YU 55’s approach, which will be visible from the planet’s northern hemisphere. It will be too dim to be seen with the naked eye, however, and it will be moving too fast for viewing by the Hubble Space Telescope.

“The best time to observe it would be in the early evening on November 8 from the East Coast of the United States,” Yeomans said. “It is going to be very faint, even at its closest approach. You will need a decent-sized telescope to be able to actually see the object as it flies by.”

Scientists suspect YU 55 has been visiting Earth for thousands of years, but because gravitational tugs from the planets occasionally tweak its path, they cannot tell for sure how long the asteroid has been in its present orbit.

Track the asteroid, YU55, and track it’s journey as it passes by Earth on the NASA Asteroid & Comet Watch! 

Get Asteroid Fun Facts Here! 



Honoring The Two-Time Nobel Prize Winner Marie Curie On Her 144th Birthday!


To honor one of the most enduringly inspiring scientists ever to grace a lab, France and Poland declared 2011 to be the Year of Marie Curie.

Now, Google joins the welcome pageant of prominent tributes.

The California company’s search-engine home page on Nov. 7 celebrates the 144th anniversary of Madame Curie’s birth with a pastel-colored “Google Doodle” so evocative of her era.

Curie is the latest science figure to join Google’s pantheon of “Doodled” researchers, including Thomas Edison and “father of genetics” Gregor Mendel and “Vitamin C” scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi.

The laurels accorded Curie are numerous and still accumulating a century after she won her second Nobel Prize — the first of only two people ever to win the prize in multiple fields (the other being Linus Pauling). She was also the first woman ever to win the Nobel, and the first researcher to win in multiple sciences (physics and chemistry). But the breadth and depth and influence of her career — as well as the triumphs and tragedies of her life — paint a much fuller picture of the groundbreaking figure who in a 2009 New Scientist poll was voted “the most inspirational woman in science.”

Born in Warsaw in 1867 as Maria Sklodowska, Curie left her native Poland after she was deemed too poor to marry her would-be fiance, future esteemed mathematician Kazimierz Zorawski. So with her sister’s help, she relocated to France in the 1890s, studying at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) and meeting her scientific “soulmate,” Pierre Curie. As they both studied the science of magnetism, they discovered, too, their own personal magnetic attraction.

Together, Marie and Pierre Curie did pioneering work in radioactivity (a term she coined), working with uranium, isolating radioactive isotopes and discovering the elements radium and polonium — the latter named for her native land.

The Curies shared in the 1903 Nobel for physics, bringing them fame as side by side, they grew their professional and personal lives. They had two daughters before Pierre’s untimely death when he was struck by a horse-drawn vehicle on a rainy street in 1906.

Rendered “wretched” and lonely by the tragedy, Marie Curie poured herself into her work, becoming the first woman to become a Sorbonne professor. In 1911, Curie received her second Nobel, this time for chemistry.

Several years later, during World War I, Curie helped set up mobile field hospitals that featured primitive X-ray equipment to help detect shrapnel in soldiers. She worked in the field with her teenage daughter Irene, who — with her husband, Frederic Joliot-Curie — would later win the 1935 chemistry Nobel for her work on artificial radioactivity.

Exposed to so many radioactive materials throughout her career, Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia in 1934.

In addition to her many honors, she founded the Curie Institutes in France and Poland; co-founded the Warsaw Radium Institute; and headed the Pasteur Institute.

Curie’s accomplishments in the lab led to her being interred (with her husband) at the Pantheon, Paris — the first woman so honored based on her work.

Curie helped forever change not only how science thought about radioactivity, but also how the world perceived women in science.

Happy birthday, Madame Curie.
Watch the Live Google Doodle Here

Watch The Polar Bear Migration LIVE!


Image Source:

In the harsh, remote wilds of the Canadian tundra, a wolverine scampers up to a polar bear snoozing near the shore of the Hudson Bay. The bear rises and makes a half-hearted charge, driving away the fierce, badger-like animal.

The brief encounter Thursday was streamed live to computers around the world through a new program that aims to document in real time the annual migration of hundreds of polar bears outside Churchill, Manitoba.

The bears travel through the small town each October and November and then wait for the Hudson Bay freeze-up, when they can get out on the ice and hunt for seals. In the past, their trek was witnessed mainly by scientists and intrepid tourists.

Now, thanks to an initial $50,000 grant from the Annenberg Foundation to set up four cameras on a makeshift lodge and a roaming Tundra Buggy, plus ongoing payments for bandwidth and technical infrastructure, the bears’ antics and actions at this way station can be viewed from anybody’s living room through the foundation’s website,

“It brings the Arctic to the people,” said Krista Wright, executive vice-president of Polar Bears International, an advocacy group based in Bozeman, Mont. “The polar bear is the North’s iconic species. This is that exotic animal that people travel from all over the world to see.”

There are 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears worldwide. The Western Hudson Bay polar bears, one of 19 subpopulations, are estimated to number between 600 and 800. Their gathering point near the former military town of Churchill makes them among the most accessible and studied group of bears in existence.

Their numbers are expected to grow over the next few weeks as the weather turns colder, culminating with the bay expected to freeze around the third week of November.

It’s unseasonably warm in Manitoba, as evidenced on the webcam by the tundra bare of snow. That raises concerns that ice will be late in forming again this year — last year, freeze-up didn’t happen until mid-December, nearly a month later than usual. That’s a problem for the bears, Wright said.

“It’s breaking up earlier and freezing later, so the time they’re spending on land is longer. The time they’re on land, they’re basically fasting,” she said.

Charles Annenberg Weingarten, the foundation’s vice-president and a trustee, said the polar bear webcam is an experiment he hopes to expand into a program called Pearls of the Planet that would place streaming cameras in various wild places.

Weingarten said a new feature will be added to the polar bear webcam soon that will allow viewers to document their observations of the polar bears on the website. The idea, he said is to encourage scientific learning, something like a Sesame Street for adults.


Get the full streaming schedule and more info online by visiting:

Coca-Cola Uses New Can To Save Polar Bears


Coca-Cola Ltd. is changing its iconic can — and pledging millions of dollars — to help scientists plan how other icons such as polar bears can survive in Canada’s melting Arctic.

Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Fund have announced a project called Arctic Home, to which the global corporate giant has committed $2 million over five years, with another million promised to match donations from the public. The money is to fund research programs in the High Arctic related to habitat and wildlife survival, particularly with regard to polar bears.


Read the full story here! 

Scientists Break 18th Century Secret Code


A trans-Atlantic team cracked the Copiale Cipher.

Originally written in the 18th Century, the Copiale Cipher was a secret document detailing the rites, rituals, and fascinations of an obscure German cult.  Long hidden away behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, the document was unknown to the west for many years.  Even after it was discovered by Western researchers, the code of the Copiale Cypher remained uncracked.  Finally, a team has translated the Copiale Cipher, cracking the code that remained a mystery for hundreds of years and stumped dozens of scientists.

“I defeated their security!” cheered USC computer researcher Kevin Knight, who worked alongside Beata Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer of Uppsala University in Sweden.  ”For me, the fun is in cracking the code.  It has passed through a lot of hands, but you persevered and could read what other people couldn’t.  You start to see patterns, then you reach the magic point where a word appears.”  He added that, after that key moment, “you no longer even care what the document’s about.”

As it turns out, the group was obsessed with eye surgery and ophthalmology, among other things.  Now with that message solved, will the team turn their attention to the secret code on the seal of the United States Cyber Command?  If you can break the Copiale Cipher, you can break any code!

New Menu Label Could Require Visible Carbon Footprint

Companies  across the country are still struggling to figure out how to accommodate the menu-labeling mandate, which will require them to be transparent about their calories. But some operators say customers will soon want a new kind of count posted for the public to see: size of the restaurant’s carbon footprint.

Otarian, an Australian concept that opened a unit in New York City in 2010, is one operation that touts its low-carbon vegetarian fare. Its customers receive “carbon karma credits” for purchases, which are exchangeable for free menu items. The menu also includes calculated carbon savings. For example, the Tex Mex Burger compared to a typical beef burger saves 1.39 kg of carbon dioxide emission.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, meanwhile, Max Burger is breaking new ground in Sweden by posting the carbon footprint of each menu item. It’s also encouraging consumption of more ecofriendly dishes, which steers customers away from its signature beef burgers.

But U.S. quick serves have been slow to embrace a low carbon-footprint or be carbon-footprint transparent.

Bob Donegan is president and CEO of Ivar’s, a Seattle-based seafood fast casual with 69 stores. He says the ecofriendly nature of the Pacific Northwest means many customers expect their favorite restaurants to be mindful of their footprint.

“They assume anything we can do to lower our carbon footprint, we’re already doing that,” he says. “There is a segment of people for which carbon footprint and a green company is their most important thing.”

Still, in Ivar’s market research, he says, consumers usually point out things like price, customer service, and flavor as being the most important qualities of the restaurant.

A quick serve’s carbon footprint includes electricity, lighting, and food lamps, as well as food and packaging waste, says Thomas Rosenberg, vice president of advisory services for San Francisco–based Emergent Ventures Inc. A carbon-footprint rating for a hamburger would include the entire life of the cow, from its birth to becoming a burger on the grill.

“You have to put it in consumer terms, like ‘We’re using less water, and reducing cardboard.’”

“You measure each one of these steps, and that would be the product footprint,” he says. “You can minimize it, or offset it—neutralizing it, as it were.”

Andrew Winston, founder of Winston Eco-Strategies LLC, says carbon-footprint transparency could be a valuable marketing tool, but that consumers’ response will vary by brand.

“With Starbucks, you kind of expect it,” he says. “You’re just expanding [a menuboard] with more and more information.”

Winston, whose list of clients includes PepsiCo, says carbon grams have recently started popping up on product labels in the U.K. “I’ve seen studies recently that show knowledge of the term carbon footprint has risen dramatically over the last three to five years,” he says.

But whether or not carbon footprints will soon appear on quick-serve menuboards is up in the air. Rosenberg does not think it will happen, because most consumers do not understand what a carbon footprint is. Instead, he suggests quick serves tell customers that they are “looking at our carbon footprint, while keeping our prices low, while improving the quality of our restaurant. … That is more powerful to the consumer.”

Winston wrote about Max Burger in June on the Harvard Business Review blog, writing that the company pushed “consumers to change the mix of what they were buying.”

“It’s a slightly wacky approach, telling customers, ‘you don’t have to buy a burger,’” he says. Still, he sees it as a potentially big trend. “I would not be surprised to see a [U.S.] brand take a leap like that.”

Winston says the industry will get a “sense of scale as we learn more and see more details,” he says. “McDonald’s has a sustainability report. It’s not a huge leap from that to telling customers in the store. Intentionally using that kind of data can cause dramatic performance improvement in companies.”

McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada is exploring the carbon-footprint issue. Louis Payette, a spokesman for McDonald’s in Canada, says even though it “doesn’t have any data on how customers make purchasing decisions relative to carbon impact,” the company is assessing its carbon footprint. “We’ll be putting a management plan in place to mitigate our carbon impact,” he says.

Subway, meanwhile, is working toward displaying corporate social responsibility information company-wide. Elizabeth Stewart, marketing director for Subway, says the company already publicizes gallons of water saved, pounds of source material saved, equivalents to cars taken off road, truck miles reduced, and oil usage reduced.

“We know some consumers say this information affects their purchase decisions, but we would have to do more research before using the space on the menu for this type of information,” she says.

David Donnan is vice president and partner at Chicago-based A.T. Kearney Inc., which provides sustainability consulting around the globe. He says that only a small percentage of consumers will be interested in seeing carbon footprints posted on menuboards.

“Just the introduction of caloric levels in restaurants is confusing,” he says. “It’s nice to have a graphic, but you have to put it in consumer terms, like ‘We’re using less water and reducing cardboard.’”

Discover More About The Carbon Label





San Francisco Rocked By Earthquakes 22 Years After Loma Prieta


In 1989, the city of San Francisco was rocked by the Loma Prieta earthquake.  The 6.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the World Series (which was going on at the time), killed 63 people, and caused $10 billion dollars in damage.  Exactly 22 years later, San Francisco has experienced not one, but two earthquakes on the anniversary of Loma Prieta.  At 8:16 PM, San Francisco was hit by a 3.9 earthquake; six hours earlier, the city was hit by a 4.0 earthquake.

Of course, San Francisco is no stranger to earthquakes.  Every weird animal behavior is believed to be an earthquake warning.  San Francisco shakes pretty often; after all,it’s not New York.  San Franciscans know their quakes, and they remember Loma Prieta.  I have no doubt that the shaking earth on the anniversary of one of the most devastating earthquakes in the history of the city had more than a few people worried about what might happen.

These don’t seem like aftershocks, or just small self-contained quakes to me.  I’m no geologist, but if I was in San Francisco, I’d update my earthquake preparedness kit, because there might be a big one coming soon.  That may not be true, but it’s definitely how I’d be feeling if I was in the city by the bay.

A Dog Food Ad Only Fido Can Hear?


Image Source:

A new dog food commercial is designed to capture canine interest since it features high-frequency noises that only dogs and certain other animals can hear. The sounds are either inaudible or not consciously detected by humans.

The ad, for Beneful, is airing in Austria now. It marks a growing trend to incorporate dog-only sounds into entertainment and advertising.

“Pet owners are passionate about their pets and the commercial provides an opportunity for these consumers to engage with their ‘special friends,’” says Carol Johanek, adjunct professor of marketing at the Olin Business School. She was quoted in a Washington University in St. Louis press release.

The TV commercial contains squeaks similar to a dog toy, a whistle barely heard by humans, and a high-pitched pinging noise.

“In today’s world we see an increase of older individuals living alone who rely on their pets for companionship and this provides a time for the owner and pet to interact,” says Johanek. “Understanding the importance of the pet/pet owner relationship is critical for brands in this segment, as it provides opportunities for innovative ways in which to interact with the market.”

Last year, print posters advertising dog food in Germany featured odors that would attract sniffing dogs, not to mention curious owners who were willing to take a whiff.

The TV commercial, in particular, puts an interesting twist on subliminal advertising, or ads that feature information that can influence the viewer, even though he or she may not be consciously aware of the info. I can remember discussions years ago about supermarkets pumping in advertisements underneath the music soundtrack. Maybe that still happens?

In this case, the manipulative sounds are present, but we are not aware of them. Dogs may approach the TV screen so they could be affected, in terms of their behavior. Dogs, of course, aren’t going to run to the store as a result of these sense-stimulating advertisements. The ads are ultimately trying to grab the attention of owners.

“Because the pet itself is such a strong part of their lives, this can provides a great opportunity to influence this buyer,” Johanek says. “Similarly, when we view ads for products geared toward household with young children it almost seems like we are advertising to the child but in fact, due to their influence on the buyer, the female head of household in this case, brands are in fact promoting to the adult purchaser.”

“Brands that really understand the purchase influences surrounding their end-users can do this quite effectively.”

See what you, and maybe your dog, think.