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Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Best Ever Smashing Pumpkins.

Oh My Gourd! These Are Smashing Pumpkins

Feeling the squeeze
Artist Ray Villafane began carving pumpkins on a lark for his art students in a small rural school district in Michigan. The hobby changed his life as he gained a viral following online and unlocked his genuine love of sculpting. Here are images of pumpkin carvings Villafane created over the past six years, including 15 new images being shared for the first time this year.

What an adorable little girl
"When I carve, I kind of go with the flow," Villafane said. "Sometimes I might have a preconceived idea, but sometimes I make up the idea as I go."

A Viking’s life for me
Ray Villafane's signature Halloween pumpkins are known for their intricacy and lifelike subjects.

Lean on me
In addition to carving pumpkins, Villafane also works with wax and sand. “He is not limited by any material,” said Andy Bergholtz, Villafane’s colleague and a fellow sculptor. “The man could sculpt the statue of David out of a stick of butter.”

It’s a werewolf!
Villafane advises would-be carvers to steer clear of perfectly round pumpkins. His favorite carving pumpkins have an oblong shape.

Villafane also encourages aspiring pumpkin carvers to work with thick pumpkins. “Pick up three pumpkins of the same size,” Villafane advised. “If one feels much heavier than the others, it’s got a thick wall.”

We’d rather not ask what this poor fellow did to get himself this distressed.

Maybe this carving could inspire kids to cool it a bit with the Halloween candy?

Grumpy Gus
Funny detail: Villafane has made a name for himself with pumpkin carving even though he's allergic to pumpkins. "If I’m carving too many or too long, my skin gets really itchy," Villafane said. "If pumpkin juice gets anywhere near my eyes, my eyes itch."

This guy might just need to take two aspirin and call us in the morning.


Child’s play

People often ask Villafane whether he crafts some of his pumpkin creations by putting more than one pumpkin together. His answer? Nope. With only a few rare exceptions – like this embellished carving – he makes a point of using just one solid pumpkin.

Native American chief
Villafane said an oblong-shaped pumpkin is best for carvers who want to create realistic-looking faces.

Because everybody feels a little bit out of place at times.

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 6:06 PM

10 Homes That Turn Into Halloween Haunts

10 Halloween ‘Haunters’

10 amazingly decorated homes and the haunters behind them.| By Roger Fillion, SwitchYard Media

Favorite Haunts

They call themselves home haunters: People who rig up eye-popping Halloween decorations on their homes. These passionate revelers buy fancy props or make their own, like a vampire bursting from a coffin or a “scary tree” made from real bark and roots. Some go the high-tech route, wiring their homes for elaborate light shows synchronized to music. 

Tombstones, fog machines, flying ghosts, or Freddy Krueger-like images are among the props you might see when you visit the home of a haunter.  

Their ranks include men, women, young and old. Celebrities such as movie star Dick Van Dyke and Chip Davis, founder of the top-selling group Mannheim Steamroller, are among those who also like to pull out the stops. Here are 10 amazingly decorated homes and the haunters behind the decorations.

Lafayette, Colo.: Haunting via online?

“Seeing the joy in people's faces, especially the younger kids and older generation, makes all the work worthwhile,” Alek Komarnitsky says of his high-tech decorations. Komarnitsky broadcasts his handiwork on a Web site, where web surfers from around the globe can view his Lafayette, Colo., home via three Web cams. Online visitors can turn the lighting on and off via their computer. Plus, they can deflate and inflate giant air-filled figures like Frankenstein and Homer Simpson. Komarnitsky says he spends less than a $100 a year in new equipment because he has “a lot of stuff” he reuses (electricity costs are less than $1 a day, he adds). Komarnitsky puts up elaborate Christmas decorations, too. His Web site and decorating have raised more than $60,000 in donations for celiac disease research at the University of Maryland. His two children suffer from the digestive condition.

Sandy, Utah: Family friendly, to music

Greg Shoop, of Sandy, Utah, initially planted a few tombstones in his yard. “It started out just wanting to have something fun for the trick-or-treaters,” he says. For Christmas, Shoop would synchronize Christmas lights to music. A lightbulb went off. “I decided I should also synchronize my Halloween display to music,” he says.  “Each year I add or update my display a little and add a couple of new songs.” Shoop -- who spends at least $500 annually to repair, upgrade and add props -- tries to keep his display “very family friendly” so young children aren’t scared.  “No people running around scaring people, props that are designed to startle people, and no blood and guts,” he says.

New Berlin, Wis.: Plants vs. Zombies

David Stolp adores the videogame Plants vs. Zombies -- so much so the New Berlin, Wis., resident applied that passion to Halloween 2010. Stolp, his wife, and two kids hatched a plan over dinner to decorate their yard with handmade wooden objects based on Plants vs. Zombies characters -- including zombies, plants, rays of sunlight. They planted a new object daily in a way that told a story. That unfolded over 37 days, culminating on Halloween with more than 75 characters. Stolp used Facebook to explain how each object fit in the story. The family used 16 sheets of wood and six gallons of primer. It cost more than $500. “We were just doing it for fun,” Stolp says. This year: some zombies and plants, plus pumpkin decorations and mad scientist characters. 

Springville, Utah: Imagination gone scary

Snow hasn’t stopped Robert Wolf from decorating his Springville, Utah, home. In 2003, the white stuff caused a short, halting the automated kicking legs he’d installed in his front yard as well as the computer power supply that operated his props. Since then, Wolf has expanded his offerings. His yard features tombstones, fog machines, singing skeletons, and a fake fire burning in a front room window. “I always wanted to become a Disney Imagineer, but I never wanted to move to California or Florida,” he jokes. Each year he adds new props. Among others this year: a gravedigger. Wolf also tries to come up with a new theme annually. Last year it was a carnival featuring real people dressed up as spooky clowns and mimes. “I easily spend $500 to $1,000 every year,” Wolf says. 

Minneola, Fla.: Lights! Music! Scare me!

As a nightclub DJ, Jay Peterson synchronized music to light shows. The Minneola, Fla., resident transferred those skills to a computerized Halloween display. Lights and special effects are synced to music. Passersbys are so bowled over they’ve encouraged Peterson to start a business. “People would say, ‘You should be doing this for a living.’” He took the advice and launched Jayslights LLC, creating computerized Halloween and Christmas light shows for homes and buildings. Peterson estimates he spent close to $10,000 for all his equipment over the years, including new light controllers, amplifiers and outdoor speakers. His 2011 Halloween plans: “A little bit more special effects.”

Lehi, Utah: Handmade haunting

Rather than buy fancy lights and other gear, Levi Bradley makes Halloween props by hand. That means tombstones, a grave that breathes, or a zombie named Jared who rocks back and forth. “I make about 95% of all my decorations and props. I love to create things and then watch them work,” says the Lehi, Utah, resident. Bradley likes watching the expressions on tricker-or-treaters and parents. “I just love to walk around among them,” he says. This year’s theme: a Victorian-era cemetery. “Mostly with a creepy vibe and not much if any gore,” he adds. Bradley reckons he spends about $200 a year.

Kent, Wash.: A family affair

Gena Laws of Kent, Wash., says her synchronized lights and music are a family production. “Every January we have a family meeting and discuss ideas and brainstorm. We then vote on a theme for the year, changing our theme every year,” she says. “A blueprint is drawn up to reflect our theme, and I go to work programming all the lights, which can take up to 10 hours for a two-minute song.” Each “show” includes about a dozen songs. In March, the family begins building the large props, like "Bubbles" the vampire exploding from a coffin, or a horse bursting from the ground with the Headless Horseman on top. The display takes about 250 hours to complete. Laws is spending about $300 on materials this year. “The many comments, laughter, and sometime screams keep us going year after year,” she says.

Watervliet, N.Y.: Zombies and ghouls. Oh my!

Jeffrey Razzano of Watervliet, N.Y., threw himself into Halloween decorations after his daughter, then 21, became “very into” the holiday. He now installs in his backyard motion-activated lights and props, like the fictional Freddy Krueger from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” horror films, or Jason the villain in the “Friday the 13th“ films. Razzano also recruits volunteers to dress up as zombies and ghouls. Visitors are asked to donate a canned good or non-perishable food item that Razzano donates to local food banks. More than 400 people came last Halloween, and Razzano expects to open up the display for two nights this year. He estimates he spends $600 to $1,000 annually. The pay-off, aside from fighting hunger: “Seeing everybody so ecstatic and hearing their feedback,” he says.

Walden, N.Y.: Classic Halloween

Anita LaForte calls her 1870 Queen Anne Victorian house “the classic Halloween home.” While back problems have forced the Walden, N.Y., resident to scale back decorating the last two or three years, LaForte and her husband typically install tombstones in the yard. Lights, ghosts, and a fog machine complete the cemetery. Windows display skeletons, monsters made from Halloween costumes, and a cardboard cutout mimicking the gruesome “Psycho” shower scene. Spiders drop from the front porch ceiling. A voice-activated grim reaper flaps its arms and cries out on the front porch, and a screeching ghost also flies by. “Everything moves,” says LaForte, who estimates she’s accumulated “several hundred dollars” in props over the years.  LaForte hopes she can soon resume decorating in grand style. “Next year may be doable,” she says.

Omaha, Neb.: Halloween with a Christmas-y musician

Chip Davis, founder of the top-selling group Mannheim Steamroller, is known for his popular Christmas albums. But Davis also is a huge fan of Halloween, and celebrates the holiday with a big party on his 150-acre farm, 20 minutes north of Omaha. His house and barn are lit up with orange lights. Guests take a 30-minute hayrack ride where they confront a headless horseman who bursts from the woods screaming, “I lost my head!” The hayrack next stops at a huge, flaming cauldron with eight witches dancing to the beat of drums. “It takes about three cords of wood to keep the fire going inside the cauldron,” Davis says. The grand finale is a spaceship that’s crashed into a hill and is billowing smoke. Theatrical lights illuminate the spacecraft, as well as the eight-foot alien who emerges and speaks with a Darth Vader-like voice.  “I really enjoy Halloween more in some ways than I do Christmas,” Davis says.

Quoted from MSN
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 5:41 PM

Monday, October 24, 2011

Astronauts go deep for undersea 'asteroid' trip

'Aquanauts' will spend nearly two weeks at a depth of 60 feet, off the coast of Florida

After waiting out stormy weather and rough seas, a team of astronauts successfully began a tough mission Thursday, but instead of launching into space, this crew is headed for the ocean floor on a mock asteroid trip.
NASA's NEEMO 15 expedition will simulate aspects of a mission to an asteroid.
In this illustration, a configured rock wall can be seen near the underwater Aquarius laboratory.
The six "aquanauts" splashed down at 2:15 p.m. EDT (1815 GMT) and will spend the next 13 days living inside a small laboratory called Aquarius on the ocean floor during their undersea mission to test different ways to explore an asteroid. The expedition was originally scheduled to begin Monday, Oct. 17, but heavy rain and storms in the area made the waters unsafe for the dive, NASA officials said.

This is NASA's 15th NEEMO (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) voyage to test technology and innovative engineering solutions for future space missions. NEEMO 15, however, is the first to experiment with concepts of how to visit and explore an asteroid. [Gallery: Visions of NASA Asteroid Mission]

The weather delays alone make this a good simulation of real spaceflight, NEEMO 15 aquanaut David Saint-Jacques, of the Canadian Space Agency, joked to

Working underwater 
For nearly two weeks, the NEEMO 15 crew will live and work at the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory, which sits 60 feet (18 meters) below the Atlantic Ocean, about 3 1/2 miles off the shore of Key Largo, Fla. The agency uses this lab to approximate the weightless conditions in space and on an asteroid.

"There are a lot of aspects to what we can do on NEEMO that are directly comparable to flying in space," NASA astronaut and NEEMO 15 commander Shannon Walker told "For this particular mission, because we're on the ocean floor, we're able to be mutually buoyant. It's one of the few places where we can do tasks as if we're on an asteroid."

To train for spacewalks on the exterior of the International Space Station, astronauts don full spacesuits and meticulously rehearse the steps in a giant swimming pool called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. For NEEMO missions, working on the ocean floor helps astronauts and engineers create more realistic simulations to test concepts and technology.

"A lot of what we do here could be done in the NBL, but it would not have the air of reality," Saint-Jacques said. "It wouldn't put the operational pressure on everybody to do things just like on an asteroid mission. Here, it's really like a space mission. We have a mobile mission control, and lots of technical support to make this work."
A diver anchoring to a simulated asteroid surface
created for NASA's underwater NEEMO 15 mission.
Furthermore, since the aquanauts will be living underwater for 13 days, they practice diving techniques that allow their bodies to adapt and become saturated in the underwater environment to avoid the dangers of decompression sickness, or the bends. This enables the crew to work longer hours on the ocean floor.
"Because we are saturated, it means we can do two or three hours of [extravehicular activities] a day," Saint-Jacques said. "That would be impossible in the NBL."

Stepping stones to an asteroid 
NEEMO 15 will test various concepts of how to anchor to an asteroid, travel around on its surface, and perform experiments. During the mission, aquanauts will work outside the Aquarius lab for two to three hours each day.

A mock asteroid landscape on the ocean floor was set up earlier this year for the NEEMO 15 expedition. A fiberglass wall will also enable the aquanauts to test different ways to drill anchors to the surface of an asteroid. [Video: Rock & Roll Asteroids]

"Once we go off to an asteroid, that's a huge undertaking that we want to be in the best position to do things efficiently and successfully," Walker said. "We want to test all these different combinations and see what's the most efficient way to accomplish science tasks. Along with that, we're going to have to figure out how to attach to it and maneuver around the asteroid."

NASA astronauts Stan Love, Richard Arnold and Mike Gernhardt will also be at the controls of a small submarine, called the DeepWorker submersible. The submarine will be used in place of the agency's Space Exploration Vehicle, which is a rover that is being developed for a future manned asteroid mission.

Future space missions 
The results of NEEMO 15 will help NASA plan for a future manned mission to a space rock.

"NASA's exploration branch is really keen on this mission," Saint-Jacques said. "They are waiting for the results to inform their engineering teams as to what are the good architectural solutions to pursue. It's a very smart way to work because before you get the big engineering team working and spend a lot of time, manpower and resources, you do these relatively cheap investigations to make sure you're on the right track."

Walker, Saint-Jacques and Takuya Onishi, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will live aboard the Aquarius lab for 13 days. Noted Mars planetary scientist Steve Squyres and two veteran divers, James Talacek and Nate Bender of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, will also provide support and work with the NEEMO 15 crew underwater.

Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen and Jeanette Epps of NASA will guide the NEEMO 15 crewmembers as capsule communicators in Mission Control.

As part of the agency's new direction, NASA is aiming to send humans on a mission to an asteroid by the year 2025. Walker said she is excited to play a role in planning such a mission, and would be keen on visiting an asteroid in the future.

"I would love to go wherever NASA wants to go," Walker said. "I might be near the end of my career, but I would still be interested."

The NEEMO mission is a joint venture between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which owns the Aquarius laboratory, and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, which operates the underwater facility.

Quoted from MSN

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 11:06 AM

Dog death row... Sunday Mirror investigation reveals 250,000 cats and dogs are gassed each year in Japan

Waiting to die: Pedigree Japanese Akita puppy scratches the window of his cage... moments later he is taken to the gas chamber

A puppy scratches at a window in a pitiful attempt to escape the horror which is about to unfold.

Minutes later the pedigree Japanese Akita is among a large group of dogs led into a “dream box”, an ­execution chamber which will be pumped full of carbon dioxide.

As the deadly gas slowly fills the box it takes 10 minutes for the barking inside to die down into heart-breaking whimpers. And as the dogs writhe in agony, it takes another 20 minutes before their twitching bodies are finally still.
The animals have just become the latest batch of the 200,000 cats and dogs which will be gassed to death in Japan this year.

Today a Sunday Mirror investigation uncovers this conveyor-belt of slaughter – which is completely legal and run by the country’s government.

The carnage is happening because of an explosion in the Japanese pet industry, which is worth £20billion a year. There are now 23 million pet cats and dogs in Japan... that’s more than the number of children.
Unregulated breeders sell the latest fashionable breeds, some costing up to £5,000, which fill the ­windows of thousands of pet shops across the country.

Yet those which can’t be sold, or are too old to be used for breeding, have a piece of red string tied around their neck and are led off to die.

The euphemistically named “dream” boxes where they spend their final moments are fully mechanised gas chambers housed in health centres called ­hokenjos.

There are 108 in Japan and they each kill an average of 550 animals a day. The gas chambers were ­invented by scientists in Japan, where Buddhism teaches that all life is sacred. Even a vet will not take an animal’s life. Yet as our pictures show, there is no room for such compassion in Japan’s ­burgeoning pet trade.
We were granted rare access to one of the execution chambers.

At the single-storey building in Chiba, 50 miles from Tokyo, six ­stainless steel walled rooms serve as death row for at least 30 dogs.

“It’s quiet now,” says Mr Nohira, the director. “We get ­especially busy just before the summer when the cages are full of puppies.” Last year more than 5,000 cats and 2,000 dogs were ­slaughtered here.

Among the dozens of animals ­frantically pacing the tiny cages are a dachshund, a miniature pointer, a ­terrier and a poodle.

The red nylon string around their necks indicates they have exceeded the maximum seven-day stay and will have to be killed. Any longer would be ­“wasting resources”. Hundreds of cats await the same ­awful fate in another room. That comes at 8.30am sharp every Tuesday and Friday when the animals are forced along a narrow ­concrete ­passage into the dream box.

Mr Ishizaki, the operator, a gentle and apologetic man, presses the green button in the control room. He then watches as cylinders release the carbon dioxide.

“When I first did it I was very sad,” he explains. “Now it’s just my job. I don’t dwell on it any more.”

The stench of death fills the air, the metal rails matted with the fur from the tens of thousands of cats and dogs that have already been through the centre.
Puppies and kittens die more slowly because the gas takes longer to penetrate their tiny bodies, Mr Ishizaki explains.

Once dead, the animals are dumped through a hatch into an incinerator. The 600C heat quickly turns them into ash, which is put into white plastic boxes labelled industrial waste.

According to official figures, 90 per cent of abandoned pets are dumped in government pounds each year.

That compares with just nine per cent in the UK.

One reason is because Japanese pedigree dogs have high rates of ­genetic defects. It means just one or two from a litter will possess the “cute factor”.

Miniature “tea cup” toy poodles are the current trend in Japan. They sell for as much as £2,500, while a puppy with “red” fur was on sale last week in Tokyo for double that. Pet shop chains make millions in profits each year.


Some are open until 3am and cater to the businessmen and ­hostesses who spill out of nearby clubs and buy puppies and kittens to pop into their designer handbags.

Paris Hilton posed outside one such store, OneWan, a couple of years ago among Gucci dog collars ­selling for £1,400.

Emi Kaneko, director of the Lifeboat charity which has saved 8,000 cats from the gas chambers, says: “Buying a pet is no different to buying a ­handbag for lots of people in Japan.

“People buy them without any thought and then throw them away like toys.

“It would be better if the Japanese stopped buying pets ­altogether from the shops – then there would be no puppy mills, no hokenjos.”

Campaigners like Emi are the only hope for many cats and dogs. Small pockets of activists do all they can.

But it is a thankless task in the face of Japan’s appalling animal rights record. Fusako Nogami, of the animal rights group Alive, has spent years trying to expose the black market trade in ­pedigree cats and dogs bred in “pet mills” across the country.

These tiny pet factories, often in crudely converted houses, are stuffed with squalid cages of pets.

One campaigner, who asked for ­anonymity, spent two years trying to get the authorities to shut down a pet mill near Fukuoka in southern Japan.

“Hundreds of animals were crammed in a tiny space,” she said. “The stench was overpowering, with carcasses lying around and dead animals being dumped with the garbage.”

The campaigner was arrested and charged with trespassing as she tried to gather evidence. No action was taken against the owner.

Only one breeder has been closed down in Japan in the past five years.

“The current laws are inadequate, ambiguous and weakly enforced,” says Mr Nogami.

For now there seems little chance of that happening. Yesterday in Tokyo one designer dog selling for £4,200 was ­attracting a throng outside a pet shop window.

As he pawed at the window the ­onlookers laughed and even took a picture. Then they turned on their heels, leaving the dog scratching at his cage.

Quoted from Mirror

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 2:19 AM

Steamy windows: The 50 best car sex scenes

For no particular reason, a website has compiled what it calls the "The 50 Best Car Sex Scenes in Movie History."
"Sex in cars is no longer just for horny teenagers. These steamy movies scenes prove just that. Gone is the awkward groping in family station wagons, replaced by stretch limos, convertibles and hot women who aren't afraid to bare it all," says the site, You can see the list of all 50 scenes by clicking here.

To spare you the drama, know that the top hottest movie was Gael Garcia Bernal and Maribel Verdu in the Mexican film, Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001).

The list also includes such memorable love by the dashboard light as can be found in:

  • Justin Theroux and Alyssa Milano in Body Count (1997)
  • Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson in The Chase (1994)
  • Juan Diego and Penelope Cruz in Jamon, Jamon (1992)
  • Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway in Brokeback Mountain (2005)
  • Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie in Gone In 60 Seconds (2000).

OK, self-styled movie critics, do you agree with this list?

Quoted from Usatoday
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 2:03 AM

Van Persie brace saves Arsenal

Robin van Persie cemented his status as Arsenal's talisman with a brace from the bench to seal a 3-1 win over Stoke on Sunday.

The Dutchman had been left as a sub, with Marouane Chamakh given a chance by Arsene Wenger. The Moroccan missed a free header in the 10th minute but his blushes were saved by Gervinho, who gave Arsenal the lead when he chested down a delightful ball from Aaron Ramsey to shoot past Asmir Begovic.

Ramsey had missed an earlier chance to give his side the lead, and they were made to pay for their wastefulness when Peter Crouch equalised for Stoke ten minutes from time.

Glenn Whelan lofted the ball into the area, Shawcross' cross found its way to Jon Walters at the far post and his header back across goal was nodded in by Crouch.

Arsenal started the second half slowly but the introduction of van Persie changed everything.

His cross was nearly converted by Ramsey before the 28-year-old squeezed the ball between Begovic and the post from a Gervinho cross.

The same two players combined for van Persie to have the final say six minutes from time, the Gunners captain firing home.

Quoted from Setanta
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 1:57 AM

Marco Simoncelli Killed in Racing Accident: A Fan’s Reaction

Race marshal gather around the motorcycle of Italy's rider Marco Simoncelli,
unseen in photo, after a crash at the Malaysian MotoGP Grand Prix in Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday.

Just minutes into the Malaysian MotoGP on Sunday, October 23, 2011, Marco Simoncelli lost control of his bike and swerved across the track, right into the path of fellow riders Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi. Edwards and Rossi were unable to avoid hitting Simoncelli. While Rossi clipped Simoncelli's Honda, Edwards had a direct hit. Simoncelli's helmet came off as he fell between the two bikes. Rossi and Edwards got their bikes off the track and appeared fine, though Edwards did suffer a dislocated shoulder, but Simoncelli was down on the track and not moving. To everyone watching the events play out, it was a horrific crash and clearly very bad. After being rushed to the medical center, he was reportedly conscious. However, shortly after, Simoncelli was pronounced dead. He was 24 years old.

Simoncelli began his professional racing career in 2002 and moved up from riding 125cc bikes, to 250cc bikes before finally entering the MotoGP series. He was considered a rising star, but he had not hit his stride yet in the two years he rode in the MotoGp series. In his second season, he had been a part of a crash with fellow rider, Dani Pedrosa. Simoncelli made contact with Pedrosa as Simoncelli was attempting to pass him. Pedrosa lost control and crashed, breaking his collarbone. Although Pedrosa fully recovered, he missed several races during the 2011 season. Recently, Simconcelli had agreed on a new contract with stay with his team, and Honda, for 2012.

Although the Malaysian MotoGp was cancelled after the crash, many are still expecting the race at Valencia, in Spain, to go on as scheduled on November 6, 2011. No official decision regarding that race has been made yet, however. That race is to be the final one of the season for the MotoGP series.

It is always sad to see a driver or rider injured while racing or training. It is tragic to see someone killed. With two high profile drivers, IndyCar's Dan Wheldon and Marcos Simoncelli, killed in crashes within on week of each other, it is awful for race fans, drivers, riders, friends and family members. Hopefully, some innovative safety improvements will be made in the offseason for both MotoGP and IndyCar so that the lives of other drivers and riders will be saved and deaths will be prevented.

Kristin Watt has been a fan of motorsports since she was a young girl and she watched NASCAR races with her mother. That love of NASCAR quickly evolved into a great enjoyment of many different motorsports including everything from local dirt track action to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans to the adrenaline rush of the extreme motocross events. She has been following motorsports for many years.

Quoted from Yahoosports
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 1:40 AM

Google considers funding bid for Yahoo

GOOGLE is considering providing financing for an acquisition of Yahoo! Inc by another company or a group of bidders, according to a source.
The company may opt not to take part in an offer and has not engaged in serious discussions with potential partners, said the source.

Google, which is under regulatory scrutiny from governments around the world, may lend its financial support to preserve Yahoo as a rival and bolster competition in the Internet industry, according to Greg Sterling, an analyst at US-based Opus Research.

Sterling said: "If competition is diminished or marginalized, then all the arguments about Google being a monopoly ring more true."

Google, which has US$42.6 billion in cash and short-term investments, is considering helping to finance other bidders, rather than trying to acquire Yahoo outright, the source said.

The US Federal Trade Commission has begun a review of Google's business practices, including search and advertising. The European Union and the state of Texas have also begun investigations into the company's leadership in search and advertising markets.

Potential financing by Google for a bid for rival Yahoo has parallels with the US$150 million investment Microsoft made in competitor Apple in 1997 to help preserve competition in the computer market, Sterling said.

Nonetheless, regulators might scrutinize any Yahoo acquisition that involves Google. The US government threatened to challenge an earlier proposal by Google to place ads on Yahoo's site, causing Google to abandon the move in 2008.

A growing roster of private equity firms is considering whether to pursue Yahoo, which has a market value of US$20 billion. Microsoft is considering providing financing, according to sources.

A potential investment by Microsoft, a longtime Google rival, may also have prompted Google's interest in a financing deal involving Yahoo, Sterling said.

Alibaba, whose largest shareholder is Yahoo, has said it is "very interested" in facilitating the Chinese company buying back its 43 percent stake.

Private equity companies Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Blackstone are among firms considering an offer for Yahoo, sources said. Alibaba has discussed a plan with Silver Lake Partners and Russia's Digital Sky Technologies to make a joint bid, according to sources. Another group apparently interested in an offer includes Providence Equity Partners and former News Corporation executive Peter Chernin.

Google advertising customers are able to buy space on Yahoo sites through Google's Invite Media service, according to a source.

Quoted from Shanghaidaily
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 1:30 AM

Google Earth reveals ancient stories

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," science fiction author Arthur Clarke once suggested.

A "kite" structure seen from the air used in prehistory to trap game in the Arabian desert.
Say a magic carpet and a genie's lamp, the stuff of Arabian Nights, which made the Arab desert famous for fables and legends?

Well, how about Google Earth instead? Like a friendly genie, that modern technology has started answering archeologist's wishes with its worldwide catalog of satellite views of the Earth. A pair of studies in the Journal of Archaelogical Science this year suggest these views are revealing a vast and ancient story, one only starting to emerge from the fabled desert of Arabia.

"(W)e are on the brink of an explosion of knowledge," writes archeologist David Kennedy of University of Western Australia in Perth, in a report in the current edition of the journal. Aerial photography and satellite images from Syria to Yemen are, "revealing hundreds of thousands of collapsed structures, often barely (19 to 30 inches) in height and virtually invisible at ground level," he writes.

Most often seen in the vast lava-rock fields called "harat" and the 251,000-square mile Rub'al Khali desert of Saudi Arabia, the structures take their names from their appearance from the air— "wheel" homes, "pendant"-shaped cairns, "keyhole" tombs and "kites" animal-pen traps. They are, Kennedy says, "opening up for re-interpretation the hugely inhospitable interior of Arabia which is proving to be the unexpected location of extensive human activity 2,000 (or more) years ago."

Who were the "Old Men of the Desert", as the Bedouin called the builders of these structures in 1927, when first asked about them by a Royal Air Force flight lieutenant named Maitland. Maitland published a report in a journal Antiquity, noting "hill fortresses" and other structures in the desert ear of the Dead Sea spotted on the air mail route from Cairo to Damascus.

"(T)hey certainly have the appearance of being of great antiquity," he noted at the end of his report on "The 'Works of the Old Men' in Arabia."

They actually do date from the Roman era, judging from inscriptions, all the way back to perhaps 7,000 B.C. based on flint tools found at others, Kennedy says, by e-mail. Monumental prehistoric structures cover the world from South America to Stonehenge, but the "Works" represent a "huge undertaking by prehistoric man that created an immense archaeological landscape in one of the most arid parts of the planet," he notes.
The best-known structures are the "kites," made with a diamond shape. They are animal pens with their open mouths placed at low points between hills, where gazelles, antelopes and other prey were driven by hunters. "Mass kills" of Persian gazelles in these pens likely led to the loss of the species from the region, suggested an April Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesreport led by archeologist Guy Bar-Oz of Israel's University of Haifa, looking at a mass gazelle gravesite, a kite in modern day Syria dating back to around 4,000 B.C.

The other structures are more mysterious. "Wheels overlie Kites but never vice-versa, therefore Wheels are probably younger than Kites," Kennedy says. Some walls just seem to meander purposely and random "gates," more than 100 spotted so far, appear to have no purpose at all. "There is no complete agreement on two key questions: 'When were they built?' and 'What for?'" he says about the structures.

Figuring that out will take archeologists on the ground, Kennedy suggests in a look at cairns, wheels and other structures seen at just one site in Jordan published earlier this year in the Journal of Archeological Science. "Aerial imagery can take research so far but is not an end - merely a means to an end. What is needed is more intensive and extensive field research," he says.

For now though, satellite images will have to do for inspecting places like Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, difficult for foreign researchers to investigate. "The number of high-resolution 'windows' onto the landscape of Saudi Arabia is still limited; most imagery is too poor for our purposes. We need the high-resolution coverage to be considerably extended," he says. An alternative, Bing Maps, has higher quality images, but less of them, he says.

Arthur Clarke, who famously called for the development of communication satellites in 1945, likely would be delighted by this latest advance in space-based archeology. "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible," he wrote, after all, in the same essay where he propounded his law of magic technology.

Quoted from Usatoday
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 1:23 AM

Scientist: Satellite must have crashed into Asia

BERLIN (AP) — A defunct German research satellite crashed into the Earth somewhere in Southeast Asia on Sunday, U.S. scientist said — but no one is still quite sure where.

Undated artist rendering provided by EADS Astrium shows the scientific satellite ROSAT.
Andreas Schuetz, a spokesman for the German Aerospace Center, said Saturday Oct. 22, 2011
the best estimate is still that the ROSAT scientific research satellite
will impact sometime between late Saturday and Sunday 1200 GMT.
Photo: EADS Astrium / AP
Most parts of the minivan-sized ROSAT research satellite were expected to burn up as they hit the atmosphere at speeds up to 280 mph (450 kph), but up to 30 fragments weighing a total of 1.87 tons (1.7 metric tons) could have crashed, the German Aerospace Center said.

Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said the satellite appears to have gone down over Southeast Asia. He said two Chinese cities with millions of inhabitants each, Chongqing and Chengdu, had been in the satellite's projected path during its re-entry time.
"But if it had come down over a populated area there probably would be reports by now," the astrophysicist who tracks man-made space objects told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Calculations based on data made available to scientists by the U.S. military indicate that satellite debris must have crashed somewhere east of Sri Lanka over the Indian Ocean, or over the Andaman Sea off the coast of Myanmar, or further inland in Myanmar or as far inland as China, he said.

The satellite entered the atmosphere between 0145 GMT to 0215 GMT Sunday (9:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. Saturday EDT) and would have taken 15 minutes or less to hit the ground, the German Aerospace Center said. Hours before the re-entry, the center said the satellite was not expected to land in Europe, Africa or Australia.

There were no immediate reports from Asian governments or space agencies about the fallen satellite.
The satellite used to circle the planet in about 90 minutes, and it may have traveled several thousand kilometers (miles) during its re-entry, rendering exact predictions of where it crashed difficult.

German space agency spokesman Andreas Schuetz said a falling satellite also can change its flight pattern or even its direction once it sinks to within 90 miles (150 kilometers) above the Earth.

Schuetz said the agency was waiting for data from scientific partners around the globe. He noted it took the U.S. space agency NASA several days to establish where one of its satellites had hit last month.

The 2.69-ton (2.4 metric ton) scientific ROSAT satellite was launched in Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1990 and retired in 1999 after being used for research on black holes and neutron stars and performing the first all-sky survey of X-ray sources with an imaging telescope.

ROSAT's largest single fragment that could have hit is the telescope's heavy heat-resistant mirror.
"The impact would be similar to, say, an airliner having dropped an engine," said McDowell. "It would damage whatever it fell on, but it wouldn't have widespread consequences."

A dead NASA satellite fell into the southern Pacific Ocean last month, causing no damage but spreading debris over a 500-mile (800-kilometer) area.

Since 1991, space agencies have adopted new procedures to lessen space junk and having satellites falling back to Earth. NASA says it has no more large satellites that will fall back to Earth uncontrolled in the next 25 years.

Quoted from Seattlepi

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 1:10 AM

Wiggle considers float as cycling becomes the new golf

Owner Isis plans sale of online retailer Wiggle as cycling increases in popularity spurred on by the successes of riders Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins

Cycling has risen in popularity fueling the growth of online retailer Wiggle,
which is considerings its options after hoisting an estimated £200m for-sale sign.
Photograph: Tetra Images / Alamy/Alamy

With a new world champion in Mark Cavendish and Tour de France contenders such as Bradley Wiggins, there's never been a more opportune time to back British cycling. But with a different prize in mind, the private equity group behind Wiggle, the cycling and triathlon gear website, is working out its race plan after hoisting an estimated £200m for-sale sign.

Its owner Isis Equity Partners is deliberating whether to quietly sell to another buyout firm or attempt the City equivalent of the Alpe d'Huez by pursuing a stock exchange listing. Its chief executive, Humphrey Cobbold, is insists an IPO is a "serious option".

Sales at Wiggle have more than quadrupled in the last five years to reach £86.8m in the year to 31 January, thanks to a growing obsession with cycling and triathlons among "mamils" – a phrase coined by analysts at Mintel as shorthand for "middle-aged man in Lycra". Profits surged 43% to £10.2m. In a bombed out retail sector, Wiggle is a welcome success story with growth of 56% last year helping it to attract buyout firms such as Fat Face owner Bridgepoint and Warburg Pincus, which owns Poundland, to the auction.

"Cycling is the new golf," says Cobbold. "Middle-aged men and women have decided that they are better off spending three or four hours on their bike than hitting a little white ball around a fairway." Even without the buzz generated by high-profile wins such as Mark Cavendish's recent triumph in the world championships road race, the sport has a growing amateur fan base with sportives – cycling competitions – popular fixtures. Britons are also queuing up to compete in triathlons, with last month's event in London, which attracted 13,000 entrants, the world's largest.

Alexander Grous, an academic at the London School of Economics, has calculated that cycling provided a near £3bn boost, or "gross cycling product" as he puts it, to the UK economy in 2010 based on manufacturing as well as related retail sales and jobs.

His study found 13m people are now cyclists, with 3.7m bikes sold last year, a 28% increase on 2009 as high petrol prices and crammed trains and buses encouraged commuters to switch to two wheels. Social and economic factors have resulted in a "step-change" in the UK's cycling scene, says Grous adding: "The growth in involvement we've witnessed in recent years feels like a sustainable trend for the first time."

Wiggle started life as Butlers Cycles, an independent bike shop in Portsmouth that had been trading since 1920. Its entrepreneurial founders Mitch Dall and Harvey Jones branched out into selling accessories online, launching the website in 1999. The venture took off and in 2006 Isis acquired a stake for £12m, valuing the business at nearly £30m.

In short order the internet has grown to account for 8% of UK retail sales with "pure play" retailers escaping some of the pain experienced by traditional store groups. Online penetration is even higher for cycling goods with demand for puncture repair kits, power shakes and Lycra unitards a £1.4bn market.

Wiggle doesn't compete with the cut-throat pricing of the supermarkets, which import bikes from China, selling them for less than £100. It concentrates on serious riders willing to spend more than £600 on their wheels and its range includes top-end bikes by US manufacturer Felt that cost as much as £7,500. "It is a brand-led marketplace – guys love gear," says Cobbold.

Febrile financial markets are making investors increasingly risk averse with companies big and small getting their wings clipped. Fellow internet retailer The Hut Group has delayed its listing until next year while daily deals website Groupon last week scaled down its fundraising plans. "Retail flotations are viewed suspiciously at the moment," says Panmure analyst Philip Dorgan who points to the experience of Ocado which failed to get big institutional investors and fashion website Asos, the former stock market darling which has seen its shares tumble 40% in the last three months. "It might not be a good time to float a pure play online retailer."

If Wiggle does float, the company's management and advisors are in for a gruelling ride. Cobbold adds: "I'm absolutely committed to leading Wiggle into its next phase whether it is a listed or private company." He also points out neither road is easy: "Private equity [firms] are not renowned for being pushovers."

Quoted from Guardian
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 1:01 AM

Turkey earthquake: 1,000 feared killed in country's worst quake for over a decade

As many as 1,000 people were feared killed on Sunday when a powerful earthquake struck southeast Turkey, destroying dozens of buildings and trapping some victims alive under the debris.
People rescue a woman trapped under debris after a powerful 7.2-magnitude
earthquake struck eastern Turkey, collapsing about
45 buildings in the country's Van province on Sunday.

As night fell, emergency workers battled to dig people out of the rubble in the city of Van and surrounding districts. Civilians joined in the desperate search, using their bare hands and working under generator-powered floodlights.

"We heard cries and groaning from underneath the debris, we are waiting for the rescue teams to arrive," Halil Celik told Reuters as he stood beside the ruins of building that had collapsed before his eyes.

"All of a sudden, a quake tore down the building in front of me. All the bystanders, we all ran to the building and rescued two injured people from the ruins."

At another site, three teenagers were believed trapped under a collapsed building. People clambered over the shattered masonry, shouting: "Is there anyone there?"

An elderly rescue worker sat sobbing, his exhausted face covered in dust. Police tried to keep onlookers back. Ambulance crews sat waiting to help anyone dragged out of the debris.

Turkey's Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute said the magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck at 1041 GMT and was five km (three miles) deep.

A dozen buildings collapsed in Van city and more were brought to the ground in the nearby district of Ercis, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told reporters.

"We estimate around 1,000 buildings are damaged and our estimate is for hundreds of lives lost. It could be 500 or 1,000," Kandilli Observatory general manager Mustafa Erdik told a news conference.

Hospital sources in Ercis, a town near Van, near the quake's epicentre, said there were more than 50 dead bodies at one hospital and that 405 people had been wounded.

The quake was among the strongest in Turkish history, and the worst since 1999.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was travelling to Van and the cabinet was expected to discuss the quake on Monday morning.

"A lot of buildings collapsed, many people were killed, but we don't know the number. We are waiting for emergency help, it's very urgent," Zulfukar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis, told news broadcaster NTV.

Cihan news agency said that of the dead, 30 had been killed in Ercis district, where some 80 buildings had collapsed.

"We need tents urgently and rescue teams. We don't have any ambulances, and we only have one hospital. We have many killed and injured," Arapoglu said.

Turkey's Red Crescent said one of its local teams was helping to rescue people from a student residence in Ercis. It said it was sending tents, blankets and food to the region.

More than 70 aftershocks shook the area, further unsettling residents who ran into the streets when the initial quake struck. Television pictures showed rooms shaking and furniture toppling as people ran from one building.

Dozens of emergency workers and residents scrambled over a multi-storey building in Van as they searched for anyone trapped inside.

Elsewhere, dazed survivors wandered past vehicles crushed by falling masonry.

Some 50 injured people were taken to hospital in Van, state-run Anatolian news agency reported.

Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. The quake's epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, 20 km north of Van city, Kandilli said.

International offers of aid poured in from NATO, China, Japan, the United States, Azerbaijan, European countries and Israel, whose ties with Ankara have soured since Israeli commandoes killed nine Turks during a raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip in 2010.

Major geological fault lines cross Turkey and there are small earthquakes almost daily. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey.

An earthquake struck Van province in November 1976, with 5,291 confirmed dead. Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey.

Quoted from Mirror
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:53 AM

Astronauts' photographs from space flights and moon landing go on sale

They often used Hasselblad cameras from Sweden modified only by the addition of a bigger button to press, but then taking pictures when you are an astronaut in a bulky, pressurised suit is clearly tricky.
Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.
Neil Armstrong, the photographer, is reflected in Aldrin's visor. Photograph: Nasa/AFP/Getty Images
Many of the astronauts' early space photographs have become extremely famous, more for their otherworldly beauty than their scientific value.

And now some are to appear in the UK's first dedicated sale of vintage Nasa photographs.

Bloomsbury Auctions in London has announced details of the first specialist sale of images showing how man came to land on the moon.
"We are thrilled," said Sarah Wheeler, Bloomsbury's photographs specialist.

"What we are offering are historic artefacts – rare, iconic, vintage photographs taken by the astronauts themselves and printed within days of their return to Earth and very different from today's downloadable images."

More than 280 photographs, with estimated values ranging from £200 to £10,000, will be auctioned. They have been collected over decades by Frenchman Victor Martin-Malburet, who has exhibited them in Paris and Saint-Etienne.

Some of the most striking images in the collection are of Ed White's spacewalk in 1965, part of the Gemini 4 mission.

White was the first American to walk in space. His walk was photographed by fellow astronaut James McDivitt – who was looking out of the craft without really being able to see what he was shooting at.

"He was remarkably successful considering he couldn't really frame the pictures," said a Bloomsbury spokesman.

Other highlights include the first view of Earth from the moon, taken on 23 August 1966 and shown publicly on 10 September.

It is a grainy image but the technological feat of making it happen at all should not be underestimated – the pictures were taken by an unmanned satellite which also developed them and sent them back to Earth as radio waves.

There are also images of a Gemini 12 spacewalk by Buzz Aldrin in November 1966 including one taken by the astronaut himself – using his modified Hasselblad with the big button – which Bloomsbury has billed as the "first self-portrait in space".

One of the most recognisable images is Earthrise, taken by William Anders on Christmas Eve in 1968 from Apollo 8.

Anders explained that they had spent all their time on Earth studying the moon and when they got there, they could see a fragile and delicate-looking Earth.

"I was immediately almost overcome by the thought that we came all this way to the moon, and yet the most significant thing we're seeing is our own home planet, the Earth."

And of course there is Apollo 11 – the mission that landed the first men on the moon – and photographs by Aldrin of his footprints.

Because flight leader Neil Armstrong was often taking the photographs, there are not many pictures of him. But there is the famous image Armstrong took of Aldrin in which he is reflected in Aldrin's goldplated visor.

The photographs are all vintage prints – made soon after the event depicted. The more expensive ones are the large-format prints that were often presented to scientists or dignitaries. The sale takes place on 3 November.

Quoted from Guardian
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:46 AM

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Google Music (Beta) vs Apple’s iTunes?

Looks like Google’s adding some finishing touches to their ‘rumored’ online digital store.

There’s no doubt that Google’s product portfolio is immense, there’s social networking, internet search, operating systems, consumer software, maps, web browsers, hardware, advertising… and the list goes on. The only thing that’s missing in Google’s product portfolio is an online music download store, Google Music Beta is there to fill in for the most part but it doesn’t let you purchase/download MP3′s, it just lets you listen to over 20,000 tracks online — for now that is.
Google Music, search engine's new product that will compete against Apple.
There have been multiple reports claiming that Google will be launching a music download service within the next few weeks but Google’s yet to confirm what they’re hiding up their sleeves. According to Engadget, AsiaD’s Senior Vice President Andy Rubin has made it quite clear that Google is indeed “very close” to introducing a digital download store that’ll include “a little twist.”, “It won’t just be buying songs for 99 cents”.

Also, some reports are claiming that this new online store from Google is directly linked to the seemingly bland Music Beta service that Google is currently pushing through, which comes to no surprise since it was their first step in venturing the online music business in the first place.

It’s worth noting that Google has already encountered problems with numerous recording labels and music publishers in the past (during the launch of the Music Beta), simply because they weren’t happy with Google’s previously proposed locker-type storage service which rendered the Music Beta service ‘lacking’  since the day of its launch, they’re also yet to obtain music licensing agreements with the record companies music publishers alike. Google has also been previously hit by a multi-million dollar lawsuit with Bedrock Computer Technologies as well as Apple (Indirectly) — both cases are related to patent infringement, so naturally, they no longer want to go through the same problems again.

Numerous reports are also stating that Google will be introducing their new digital download service to the public ahead of the Apple iTunes Match launch which, will be held by the end of this month. Will Google be able to successfully execute the service this time? How will Apple react to Google’s new offering? We’re yet to find out.

Quoted from POP Herald

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 11:55 PM

'Many Dead' as 7.2 Quake Shakes Turkey

'Many dead' as powerful earthquake shakes eastern Turkey's Van province

State-run television reports that 45 people are killed and 150 others injured

ANKARA, Turkey — A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Sunday, collapsing dozens of buildings into piles of twisted steel and chunks of concrete. Desperate survivors dug into the rubble with their bare hands, trying to rescue the trapped and injured.

State-run television reported that 45 people were killed and 150 others injured in the eastern town of Ercis, but scientists estimated that up to 1,000 people could already be dead, due to low housing standards in the area and the size of the quake.

Ercis, a town of 75,000 in the mountainous province of Van close to the Iranian border, was the hardest hit. It lies on the Ercis Fault in one of Turkey's most earthquake-prone zones. The bustling regional center of Van, 55 miles (90 kilometers) to the south, also suffered substantial damage.

Up to 30 buildings collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory, and 10 buildings collapsed in Van, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said.

Add caption
Rescuers in Ercis scrambled to find survivors in a flattened eight-story building that had shops on the ground floor, television footage showed. Residents sobbed outside the ruins, hoping that missing relatives would be rescued.

"My wife and child are inside! My 4-month-old baby is inside!" CNN-Turk television showed one young man crying.

Witnesses said eight people were rescued from the rubble, but frequent aftershocks were hampering search efforts, CNN-Turk reported.

"There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed. There is too much destruction," Zulfikar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis, told NTV television. "We need urgent aid. We need medics."

The quake's epicenter was in the village of Tabanli, 10 miles (17 kilometers) from Van.

Turkey lies in one of the world's most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines. Sunday's earthquake struck in the country's most earthquake-prone region, around Lake Van near the border with Iran.

U.S. scientists recorded eight aftershocks within three hours of the quake, including two with a magnitude of 5.6.

Atalay said authorities had no information yet on remote villages but the governor was touring the region by helicopter to assess damage.

Authorities did not provide a casualty figure but the Kandilli observatory, Turkey's main seismography center, said the quake was capable of killing many people.

"We are estimating a death toll between 500 and 1,000," Mustafa Erdik, head of the Kandilli observatory, told a televised news conference.

In Van, terrified residents spilled into the streets in panic as rescue workers and residents using their bare hands and shovels struggled to find people believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings, television footage showed. At least 50 people were treated in the courtyard of the state hospital, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

There was no immediate information about a recently restored 10th century Armenian church, Akdamar Church, which is perched on a rocky island in the nearby Lake Van.

Serious damage and casualties were also reported in the district of Celebibag, near Ercis.

"There are many people under the rubble," Veysel Keser, mayor of Celebibag, told NTV. "People are in agony, we can hear their screams for help. We need urgent help."

"It's a great disaster," he said. "Many buildings have collapsed, student dormitories, hotels and gas stations have collapsed."

Houses also collapsed in the province of Bitlis, where at least one person, an 8-year-old girl was killed, authorities said. The quake also toppled the minarets of two mosques in the nearby province of Mus, reports said.

NTV said Van's airport was damaged and planes were being diverted to neighboring cities.

The earthquake also shook buildings in neighboring Armenia. In the Armenian capital of Yerevan, located 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Ercis, people rushed into the streets fearing buildings would collapse. No damage or injuries were immediately reported. Armenia was the site of a devastating earthquake in 1988 that killed 25,000 people.

The quake also caused panic among residents in several Iranian towns, close to the Turkish border, and caused cracks in some buildings in Chaldoran and cut telephone links, Iranian state TV said on its website.
An officials said the quake was also felt in Salmas, Maku, Khoi and several other towns in northeastern Iran but no damage has been reported.

Turkey sees frequent earthquakes. In 1999, two earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 7 struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18,000 people.

More recently, a 6.0-magnitude quake in March 2010 killed 51 people in eastern Turkey, while in 2003, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed 177 people in the southeastern city of Bingol.

Turkey's worst earthquake in the last century came in 1939 in Erzincan, causing an estimated 160,000 deaths.

Istanbul, Turkey's largest city with more than 12 million people, lies in northwestern Turkey near a major fault line. Authorities say the city is ill-prepared for a major earthquake and experts have warned that overcrowding and faulty construction could lead to the deaths of over 40,000 people in a major quake.

Quoted from MSN

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Published by Gusti Putra at: 10:58 PM