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science and technology 3

29.03.2003 incredible new resource with 5 million images of out beyond the earth

Hydra cluster
Atlas Images [or Atlas Image mosaics] courtesy of 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF

a spiral galaxy

“The University of Massachusetts is [...] leading a new project, called the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), which will canvas the entire sky for stars and galaxies as much as 50,000 times fainter than the stars seen in the last survey.”

“The Northern Hemisphere 2MASS facility at Mt. Hopkins began routine survey observations in June 1997. As of February 1998, 15% of the sky (about 6000 square degrees) has been observed. Initial analysis of the system performance shows that the photometric and positional accuracy meets or exceeds that specified for the survey. Routine survey observations began at Cerro Tololo in March 1998.”

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a big plant, a very big plant—no, even bigger than that!
(press release)

“The clone of Armillaria ostoyae--the tree-killing fungus that causes Armillaria root disease--covers an area of 9.65 square kilometres, about the size of 6000 hockey rinks or 1600 football fields.”

The original paper was published, 17th March, on the site of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research (CJFR).

    Options for reading this paper:
  • the paper editon of the CJFR (April 2003, no. 33, pp. 612-623) will soon be available in libraries,
  • the electronic version is available for CAN$ 20.

the web address for this article is


iraqi sandstorm from space
(This link is to the thumbnail image, dated 03/26, that is, 26th March.)

Now you can see what it is that the correspondents in Iraq are talking about.

Image credit:  MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterLarger images are available with pixels being of sizes
1 km
500 m
250 m
Note that these images are b-i-g, b-i-g-ger and even

Image credit: MODIS Rapid Response Team,
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

the web address for this article is


two wonders in space

double solar flare picture—a first

Image credit:of SOHO
        Image credit: SOHO

Never before photographed, an image from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

A double sun flare (prominence)—the flares extend approximately 20 Earth diameters from the sun.

This last information may help the reader comprehend the sheer enormous size of a star, relative to the Earth.

“Two large solar prominences in extreme ultraviolet light (ionized helium at 304) roughly the same size but quite different in structure appeared on the Sun on 18 March 2003. The observation of two large prominences in one image makes this one of the most spectacular images that SOHO has captured.”

The link will be transferred to here soon, where many other top SOHO images are linked.

There is a giant (4 Mb) image of this solar flare available here.

SOHO was launched on December 2, 1995. The SOHO spacecraft was built in Europe by an industry team led by Matra, and instruments were provided by European and American scientists.”

and another space spectacular, from hubbleCredit: NASA, ESA and H.E. Bond (STScI)

“In January 2002, a dull star in an obscure constellation suddenly became 600,000 times more luminous than our Sun, temporarily making it the brightest star in our Milky Way galaxy.

“The mysterious star has long since faded back to obscurity, but observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of a phenomenon called a "light echo" have uncovered remarkable new features.”

Image Credit: NASA, ESA and H.E. Bond (STScI)

the web address for this article is


communication amongst bacteria

“More recently, scientists have begun to understand that the importance of cell-to-cell communication goes far beyond mere head counting. Many things that bacteria do, it turns out, are orchestrated by cascades of molecular signals. One such behavior is the formation of spores that make bacteria more resistant to antibiotics. Another is the unleashing of virulence. For disease-causing pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, waiting for a quorum to assemble before getting down to business has distinct benefits. A few microbes dribbling out toxins in a 200-pound host will succeed only in calling down the furies of the immune system. En masse, they can do serious damage. The first "sleeper cells" were bacterial cells.”

“ The conclusion that only highly evolved organisms have the ability to act collectively proved to be a stubborn prejudice, however. On several occasions, Nealson tried to publish a diagram in microbiology journals illustrating cell-to-cell signalling in V. fischeri, but peer reviewers rejected it. Bacteria just don't do this, the critics told him.”

(lead from the auroran sunset)

related material
i just know there are unicorns, i just can't detect them

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related material
i just know there are unicorns, i just can't detect them

computers acquire a bit more personality (photos)

A flowery computer, greenery around the fans, a ‘fish bowl’ – some decorative additions to the standard desktop box.
Water-cooled, add your own cooling system or have mighty wind power cooling: more options to enliven that grey-beige lump.

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variable words
prints as variable A4 pages (on my printer and set-up)

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