Archive for June 2010

Lightning strikes in the Windy City   1 comment


Here are some amazing photos of lightning hitting the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and the Trump Tower in Chicago.

Posted June 28, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Worst Oil Spills in history   Leave a comment


The Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico is currently hovering around fourth as the worst oil spill in history.  It is just a matter of time before it becomes number one.♦

1. Gulf War Oil Spill

 Date: January 19, 1991
Location: Persian Gulf, Kuwait
Oil Spilled: 380 million-520 million gallons

The worst oil spill in world history wasn’t the result of a tanker accident, a pipeline failure, or an offshore drilling catastrophe. It was an act of war. During the Gulf War, Iraqi forces attempted to stop a potential American troop landing by opening the valves at the Sea Island oil terminal in Kuwait and dumping oil from several tankers in the Persian Gulf. The oil the Iraqis released created an oil slick 4 inches thick that covered 4,000 square miles of ocean.

2. Ixtoc 1 Oil Spill

 Date:June 3, 1979 through March 23, 1980
Location: Bay of Campeche, Mexico
Oil Spilled: 140 million gallons

A blowout occurred at an offshore oil well that Pemex, a state-owned Mexican oil company, was drilling in the Bay of Campeche, off the coast of Ciudad del Carmen in Mexico. The oil caught fire, the drilling rig collapsed, and oil gushed out of the damaged well at a rate of 10,000 to 30,000 barrels a day for more than nine months before workers succeeded in capping the well and stopping the leak.

3. Atlantic Empress/Aegean Captain Oil Spill

 Date: July 19, 1979
Location: Off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago
Oil Spilled: 90 million gallons

On July 19, 1979, two oil tankers, the Atlantic Empress and the Aegean Captain, collided off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago during a tropical storm. The two ships, which were carrying about 500,000 tons (154 million gallons) of crude oil between them, caught fire on impact. Emergency crews extinguished the fire on the Aegean Captain and towed it to shore, but the fire on the Atlantic Empress continued to burn out of control. The damaged ship lost approximately 90 million gallons of oil—the record for a ship-related oil spill—before it exploded and sank on August 3, 1979.

4. Kolva River Oil Spill

 Date: September 8, 1994
Location: Kolva River, Russia
Oil Spilled: 84 million gallons

A ruptured pipeline had been leaking for eight months, but the oil was contained by a dike. When the dike collapsed, millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Kolva River in the Russian Arctic.

5. Nowruz Oil Field Oil Spill

 Date: February 10-September 18, 1983
Location: Persian Gulf, Iran
Oil Spilled: 80 million gallons

During the Iran-Iraq war, an oil tanker crashed into an offshore oil platform at the Nowruz Oil Field in the Persian Gulf. Fighting delayed efforts to stop the oil spill, which was dumping about 1,500 barrels of oil into the Persian Gulf each day. In March, Iraqi planes attacked the oil field, the damaged platform collapsed, and the oil slick caught fire. The Iranians finally managed to cap the well in September, an operation that claimed the lives of 11 people.

6. Castillo de Bellver Oil Spill

 Date: August 6, 1983
Location: Saldanha Bay, South Africa
Oil Spilled: 79 million gallons

The Castillo de Bellver oil tanker caught fire about 70 miles northwest of Cape Town, South Africa, then drifted before finally breaking apart 25 miles off the coast, presenting South Africa with its worst-ever marine environmental disaster. The stern sank in deep water with approximately 31 million gallons of oil still aboard. The bow section was towed far away from the coast by Altatech, a marine services company, then scuttled and sunk in a controlled manner to minimize pollution.

7. Amoco Cadiz Oil Spill

 Date: March 16-17, 1978
Location: Portsall, France
Oil Spilled: 69 million gallons

The oil supertanker Amoco Cadiz was caught in a violent winter storm that damaged its rudder, making it impossible for the crew to steer the ship. The captain sent out a distress signal and several ships responded, but nothing could stop the huge tanker from running aground. On March 17, the ship broke in two and spilled its entire cargo—69 million gallons of crude oil—into the English Channel.

8. ABT Summer Oil Spill

 Date: May 28, 1991
Location: approximately 700 nautical miles off the coast of Angola
Oil Spilled: 51-81 million gallons

The ABT Summer, an oil tanker carrying 260,000 tons of oil, was en route from Iran to Rotterdam when it exploded and caught fire on May 28, 1991. After three days, the ship finally sank about 1,300 kilometers (more than 800 miles) off the coast of Angola. Because the accident occurred so far offshore, it was assumed that high seas would disperse the oil spill naturally. As a result, not much was done to clean up the oil.

9. M/T Haven Tanker Oil Spill

 Date: April 11, 1991
Location: Genoa, Italy
Oil Spilled: 45 million gallons

On April 11, 1991, the M/T Haven was unloading a cargo of 230,000 tons of crude oil at the Multedo platform, about seven miles off the coast of Genoa, Italy. When something went wrong during a routine operation, the ship exploded and caught fire, killing six people and spilling oil into the Mediterranean Sea. Italian authorities attempted to tow the tanker closer to shore, to reduce the coastal area affected by the oil spill and to improve access to the wreck, but the ship broke in two and sank. For the next 12 years, the ship continued to pollute the Mediterranean coasts of Italy and France.

10. Odyssey and Ocean Odyssey Oil Spills

 Date: November 10, 1988
Location: Off the East Coast of Canada
Oil Spilled: About 43 million gallons per spill

Two oil spills that occurred hundreds of miles off the east coast of Canada in autumn 1988 are often mistaken for each other. In September 1988, the Ocean Odyssey, an American-owned offshore drilling rig, exploded and dumped more than a million barrels (about 43 million gallons) of oil into the North Atlantic. One person was killed; 66 others were rescued. In November 2008, the Odyssey, a British-owned oil tanker, broke in two, caught fire and sank in heavy seas about 900 miles east of Newfoundland, spilling about a million barrels of oil. All 27 crew members were missing and presumed dead.

Posted June 23, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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North Korean World Cup soccer team gets massacred by Portugal 7-0   Leave a comment


NY Times

CAPE TOWN — It was around the time that Tiago scored Portugal’s third goal in seven minutes that it became relevant to wonder if viewers in North Korea were still getting to watch live soccer.

This was reportedly the first time a match played abroad by the national soccer team had been broadcast live in North Korea, where authorities prefer to know what the public is getting before giving it to them.

But for North Korean fans, a test pattern would have been infinitely better viewing than the humiliating surplus of goals that the Portuguese were producing on a soggy Monday in Cape Town Stadium in an undiplomatic but understandable attempt to pad their goal differential and increase their chances of reaching the knockout round.

By the time it was over, the rain had finally stopped and the Portuguese had scored six times in the second half in a 7-0 victory.

The North Korean players must be shaking in their boots.  As the austere and rigid officials back home in Pyongyang have a reputation for fierce retribution against athletes that disgrace the homeland.  These officials reportedly receive their orders from the very top, Kim Jung Il, the Supreme Leader of North Korea.♦

Recent photo of Kim.

Kim is the world’s first dynastic, Marxist-Leninist, communist, totalitarian dictator.  He inherited the dictatorship from his father, Kim Il-sung.

According to intelligence sources Kim Jung Il is a womanizer, drunkard, American Hollywood movie junkie, sadist, masochistic necrophiliac and over all disgusting sick reprobate.  It has been widely acknowledged that Kim put out a contract on UN arms negotiator Hans Blix.

Therefore the North Korean soccer players could be in for a rough time when they get back home.  There have been rumours that some team members are trying to gain asylum in Zimbabwe.

Here are some photos of the concentration camp where players landed up in 2005 after the national soccer team lost an Asian qualifying match to the arch nemesis blood enemy Japanese.♦

This was the plight of former team captain Hong Yong-Jo.♦

  

 

Posted June 22, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Royal Navy acquiring first Super-Carriers   Leave a comment


The Royal Navy will finally have aircraft carriers that won’t be dwarfed by the American Super-carriers.  Currently American aircraft carriers displace 100,000 tons.  The Invincible Class British carriers displace 22,000 tons.  As this picture demonstrates.  U.S. Nimitz class carrier on the left and British Invincible class carrier on the right.♦

But all this is about to change.

HMS Queen Elizabeth will be the first of the Royal Navy’s two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and is scheduled to enter service in May 2016. She will be the second ship to be called HMS Queen Elizabeth, after Queen Elizabeth I.

Queen Elizabeth and her sister ship (Prince of Wales) will be the first super-carriers and the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. They are multi purpose carriers that can adapt to complete multiple roles. Capable of carrying forty aircraft (the F-35B Lightning II) or twenty five Chinook helicopters, they will provide a major capability upgrade from the current Invincible class carriers. Both ships of the class will be based at HMNB Portsmouth.

The aircraft currently selected to be used on these carriers are the Short Take Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Lightning II. Initially the carrier will be fitted with a ski jump ramp but in the future, the flight deck will have the provision to be converted to use a catapult launch and arrestor recovery system should the UK choose to operate the conventional F-35C or an unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) similar to the X-47 Pegasus.

F-35

Career (United Kingdom) Royal Navy Ensign
Ordered: 20 May 2008
Builder: BAE Systems Surface Ships
Thales Group
Babcock Marine
Laid down: 7 July 2009
Homeport: HMNB Portsmouth
Identification: IMO number: 4907892
Motto: Semper Eadem
(“Always the Same”)
Status: Expected to enter service in 2016
General characteristics
Class and type: Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 65,600 tonnes (full)
71,600 Short tons (full)
Length: 284 metres (932 ft)
Beam: 39 metres (waterline)
73 metres overall
Draught: 11 metres
Decks: 16,000 square metres
Speed: 25+ knots
Range: 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 km)
Capacity: 1,450
Complement: 600
Aircraft carried: 40 aircraft, including 36 F-35 Lightning II

Posted June 21, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Area 51’s very own airline   Leave a comment


The top secret U.S. airbase known as Area 51 has conjured up many legends and speculative opinions as to what really goes on at this mysterious facility.  Many classified U.S. aircraft such as the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes were extensively tested there back in the 50’s and 60’s.  People who observe the base from a distance (the base is highly guarded) have spotted very bizarre lights and vehicles with out of this world motion.  This has led to speculation and belief that the base houses underground hangers where UFO’s are being dissected and reverse engineered.  Some even believe the base is actually an Alien controlled facility where the little Grey Aliens are plotting to over run the world.

Whatever happens there one thing is for sure.  The base is possibly the most secretive government installation in the United States.♦

The base lies within the United States Air Force’s vast Nevada Test and Training Range. Although the facilities at the range are managed by the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, the Groom facility appears to be run as an adjunct of the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, around 186 miles (300 km) southwest of Groom, and as such the base is known as Air Force Flight Test Center (Detachment 3).

Adding to the secretive reputation of the base is the existence of Janet Airline.  This is an unmarked airline that flies employees into the base from Las Vegas.♦

Janet is the de facto name for a small fleet of passenger aircraft operated by defense contractor EG&G. Their aircraft currently serve mostly the Nevada Test Site (most notably Area 51) from their terminal at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, and until the early 1990s also flew regular flights from Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California.

The Janet fleet comprises six Boeing 737-600s painted white with a prominent red cheatline (the livery of now defunct Western Airlines). In addition there are five smaller executive turboprops (two Beechcraft 1900s and three Beechcraft 200Cs) painted white with less prominent blue trim stripes. The fleet is registered to the Department of the Air Force.

There definitely is top secret activities going on at Area 51, where new cutting edge aircraft, state of the art Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) and other black funded technology (missiles, rockets, lasers etc.) are being developed and tested.  But who knows?  Maybe little green, or grey space aliens disguised as human airline pilots are at the controls of the Janet 737’s.♦

Posted June 18, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Hinterland Who’s Who: The Highland Shaggy Coated Brown Sasquatch.   Leave a comment


The Highland Shaggy Coated Brown Sasquatch is purported to inhabit the mountainous regions of western North America.  From as far south as southern California to as far north as Alaska.  The range of this big critter is vast.  The Lowland Shaggy Coated Black Sasquatch has been sighted from as far east as New Jersey,  south to the Louisiana swamps and into the far north up to the Manitoba boreal forests.  The Manitoba version is a giant, some reports have it as tall as 12 feet in height.♦

The argument for and against the actual existence of the Sasquatch (Bigfoot) goes both ways.  Many mainstream scientists give the subject a cursory glance at best.  It just doesn’t make logical sense for such a beast to be out there.  There is always the same old questions:  why don’t we find a body?, there isn’t enough of them for a breeding population, why don’t we find a dead one?  On the other side of the coin we never find the bones or carcass of a dead cougar, or rarely bears.  And there are 400,000 black bears in North America.♦

Fake picture

There has been over 5,000 reported sightings of a big, ape-looking bipedal creature in North America.  The witnesses vary from park rangers, police officers, forestry workers, ranchers, campers, lumberjacks, university professors and practically people from every walk of life.  Most experts agree that between 10-20% of people that actually see something like Sasquatch report the sightings.  Would you report it?  Most people would think your crazy.  So lets say 15% make a report.  And this 15% represents 5,000 people.  Then you could extrapolate that 40,000 people have seen this thing.

Hunters have reported seeing them, and some have admitted that they took a shot at the creature.  One account has the hunter saying that he was convinced he hit the thing, but it kept moving.  The most famous encounter was the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film.♦

The debate over the film has raged on since it was taken in 1967.  Debunkers say it is just a big guy in a gorilla suit.  But either way it has remained inconclusive.  The anti-film people can’t prove it is a hoax.  And the pro-film people can’t conclusively prove it is the real thing.  Locomotion and gait experts for the most part say it couldn’t have been faked.  The walking style could not have been reproduced by a man in a suit.  The size of the creature would also be extremely hard to hoax.  Using trees and undergrowth for scale, most experts agree the subject in the film is 6’6″ to 6’8″ tall.  And when the girth of the subject is factored in most experts agree it must have weighed in at 600-800 pounds.  There is much literature out there that takes a scientific look at the film and the walking style of the subject.  When science takes a very close look at the film, 90% of the time the hoax scenario is ruled out.  Scientific analyses of the film can be found in books written by Grover Krantz and Jeff Meldrum, both anthropology professors in the U.S.  Krants has since passed away.  Meldrum’s book Sasquatch: When legend Meets Science covers the film in precise detail.  This book will make anybody look at this subject in a different light.

Nobody will ever know for sure until a body is discovered.  One day a hunter with a big rifle will have enough time to take aim and bring one down.  Or a Sasquatch is going to eat some bad berries, get sick  and stagger over a hill on a highway and get nailed by a semi truck.  As human civilization encroaches further into the vast forests and mountain areas of North America a Sasquatch body will be discovered.  It is just a matter of time.♦

Sasquatch habitat in Canada.

 

 

Posted June 15, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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New Cassini images of Saturn   Leave a comment


Cassini–Huygens is a joint NASA/ESA/ASI robotic spacecraft mission currently studying the planet Saturn and its many natural satellites. The spacecraft consists of two main elements: the NASA-designed and -constructed Cassini orbiter, named for the Italian-French astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, and the ESA-developed Huygens probe, named for the Dutch astronomer, mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens. The complete Cassini space probe was launched on October 15, 1997, and after a long interplanetary voyage, it entered into orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004. On December 25, 2004, the Huygens probe was separated from the orbiter at approximately 02:00 UTC. Then, it reached Saturn’s moon Titan on January 14, 2005, when it made a descent into Titan’s atmosphere, and downwards to the surface, radioing scientific information back to the Earth by telemetry. On April 18, 2008, NASA announced a two-year extension of the funding for ground operations of this mission, at which point it was renamed to Cassini Equinox Mission.  This was again extended in February 2010 and the mission may potentially continue until 2017. Cassini is the first space probe to orbit the planet Saturn and the fourth one to visit Saturn.

Cassini has seven primary objectives:

  1. Determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the rings of Saturn
  2. Determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object
  3. Determine the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus’s leading hemisphere
  4. Measure the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the magnetosphere
  5. Study the dynamic behavior of Saturn’s atmosphere at cloud level
  6. Study the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazes
  7. Characterize Titan’s surface on a regional scale

Posted June 12, 2010 by markosun in Uncategorized

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