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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

World's Oldest dog Dies

Mish Whalen writes

Pusuke, who was listed as the oldest living dog in Guinness World Records, died on Dec. 5, 2011 in Sakura, Japan. He reached the ripe old age of 26 years and 9 months.

A male cross-breed dog Pusuke is seen in this file photo from Dec. 24, 2010.
Pusuke was certified for the Guinness title last December. The previous record was held by a 28-year-old beagle from the U.S. who died in 2003.


Quoted from MSN
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:47 AM
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

NASA finds alien planet in 'habitable zone'

NASA finds alien planet in 'habitable zone'

Closed captioning of: Planet found in 'habitable zone'
video
story of course has to do with our current earth but we learned today there may be another one out there. astronomers report the discovery of what they are calling an earth-like planet 600 light years away from here. while it is very big it looks like us and they believe it has a temperate climate, perhaps in the 70s all the time. now imagine what we could do with this new place. it could be our chance to start fresh. a place where the chicago cubs always win, where there is always free parking, productive lawmakers and uninterrupted cell phone service. it's called kepler 22-b. while we can work on the name it doesn't hurt to dream.


A 'major milestone' in search for Earth's twin
NASA's Kepler telescope confirms first alien planet found in habitable zone

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — NASA's planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft has confirmed the discovery of its first alien world in its host star's habitable zone — that just-right range of distances that could allow liquid water to exist — and found more than 1,000 new exoplanet candidates, researchers announced Monday.
This diagram compares our own solar system to Kepler-22,
a star system containing the first "habitable zone" planet discovered by NASA's Kepler mission.

The new finds bring the Kepler space telescope's total haul to 2,326 potential planets in its first 16 months of operation. These discoveries, if confirmed, would quadruple the current tally of worlds known to exist beyond our solar system, which recently topped 700.

The potentially habitable alien world, a first for Kepler, orbits a star very much like our own sun. The discovery brings scientists one step closer to finding a planet like our own — one that could conceivably harbor life, scientists said.


"We're getting closer and closer to discovering the so-called 'Goldilocks planet,'" Pete Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., said during a news conference on Monday.

Hunting down alien planets 
The $600 million Kepler observatory launched in March 2009 to hunt for Earth-size alien planets in the habitable zone of their parent stars, where liquid water, and perhaps even life, might be able to exist.
Kepler detects alien planets using what's called the "transit method." It searches for tiny, telltale dips in a star's brightness caused when a planet transits — or crosses in front of — the star from Earth's perspective, blocking a fraction of the star's light.

The finds graduate from "candidates" to full-fledged planets after follow-up observations confirm that they're not false alarms. This process, which is usually done with large, ground-based telescopes, can take about a year.

The Kepler team released data from its first 13 months of operation back in February, announcing that the instrument had detected 1,235 planet candidates, including 54 in the habitable zone and 68 that are roughly Earth-size.

To date, just over two dozen of these potential exoplanets have been confirmed, but Kepler scientists have estimated that at least 80 percent of the instrument's discoveries should end up being the real deal.

More discoveries to come 
The newfound 1,094 planet candidates are the fruit of Kepler's labors during its first 16 months of science work, from May 2009 to September 2010. And they won't be the last of the prolific instrument's discoveries.

"This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth's twin," Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement.

Mission scientists still need to analyze data from the last two years and on into the future. Kepler will be making observations for a while yet to come; its nominal mission is set to end in November 2012, but the Kepler team is preparing a proposal to extend the instrument's operations for another year or more.

Kepler's finds should only get more exciting as time goes on, researchers say.
"We're pushing down to smaller planets and longer orbital periods," said Natalie Batalha, Kepler deputy science team lead at Ames.

To flag a potential planet, the instrument generally needs to witness three transits. Planets that make three transits in just a few months must be pretty close to their parent stars; as a result, many of the alien worlds Kepler spotted early on have been blisteringly hot places that aren't great candidates for harboring life as we know it.

Given more time, however, a wealth of more distantly orbiting — and perhaps more Earthlike — exoplanets should open up to Kepler. If intelligent aliens were studying our solar system with their own version of Kepler, after all, it would take them three years to detect our home planet.

Sources MSN



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Published by Gusti Putra at: 11:52 PM
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Monday, December 05, 2011

Some Asians' college strategy: Don't check 'Asian'

Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white.

"I didn't want to put 'Asian' down," Olmstead says, "because my mom told me there's discrimination against Asians in the application process."

In this Nov. 18 photo, Harvard University student
Lanya Olmstead stands in front of an entrance to the school's quad.
For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it's harder for them to gain admission to the nation's top colleges.

Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges' admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.

The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.

Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications.

For those with only one Asian parent, whose names don't give away their heritage, that decision can be relatively easy. Harder are the questions that it raises: What's behind the admissions difficulties? What, exactly, is an Asian-American — and is being one a choice?

Olmstead is a freshman at Harvard and a member of HAPA, the Half-Asian People's Association. In high school she had a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and scored 2150 out of a possible 2400 on the SAT, which she calls "pretty low."

College applications ask for parent information, so Olmstead knows that admissions officers could figure out a student's background that way. She did write in the word "multiracial" on her own application.
Still, she would advise students with one Asian parent to "check whatever race is not Asian."

"Not to really generalize, but a lot of Asians, they have perfect SATs, perfect GPAs, … so it's hard to let them all in," Olmstead says.

Amalia Halikias is a Yale freshman whose mother was born in America to Chinese immigrants; her father is a Greek immigrant. She also checked only the "white" box on her application.

"As someone who was applying with relatively strong scores, I didn't want to be grouped into that stereotype," Halikias says. "I didn't want to be written off as one of the 1.4 billion Asians that were applying."

Her mother was "extremely encouraging" of that decision, Halikias says, even though she places a high value on preserving their Chinese heritage.

"Asian-American is more a scale or a gradient than a discrete combination. I think it's a choice," Halikias says.

But leaving the Asian box blank felt wrong to Jodi Balfe, a Harvard freshman who was born in Korea and came here at age 3 with her Korean mother and white American father. She checked the box against the advice of her high school guidance counselor, teachers and friends.

"I felt very uncomfortable with the idea of trying to hide half of my ethnic background," Balfe says. "It's been a major influence on how I developed as a person. It felt like selling out, like selling too much of my soul."
"I thought admission wouldn't be worth it. It would be like only half of me was accepted."

Other students, however, feel no conflict between a strong Asian identity and their response to what they believe is injustice.

"If you know you're going to be discriminated against, it's absolutely justifiable to not check the Asian box," says Halikias.

Immigration from Asian countries was heavily restricted until laws were changed in 1965. When the gates finally opened, many Asian arrivals were well-educated, endured hardships to secure more opportunities for their families, and were determined to seize the American dream through effort and education.

These immigrants, and their descendants, often demanded that children work as hard as humanly possible to achieve. Parental respect is paramount in Asian culture, so many children have obeyed — and excelled.

"Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best," wrote Amy Chua, only half tongue-in-cheek, in her recent best-selling book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother."

"Chinese parents can say, 'You're lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you,'" Chua wrote. "By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they're not disappointed about how their kids turned out."

Of course, not all Asian-Americans fit this stereotype. They are not always obedient hard workers who get top marks. Some embrace American rather than Asian culture. Their economic status, ancestral countries and customs vary, and their forebears may have been rich or poor.

But compared with American society in general, Asian-Americans have developed a much stronger emphasis on intense academic preparation as a path to a handful of the very best schools.

"The whole Tiger Mom stereotype is grounded in truth," says Tao Tao Holmes, a Yale sophomore with a Chinese-born mother and white American father. She did not check "Asian" on her application.

"My math scores aren't high enough for the Asian box," she says. "I say it jokingly, but there is the underlying sentiment of, if I had emphasized myself as Asian, I would have (been expected to) excel more in stereotypically Asian-dominated subjects."

"I was definitely held to a different standard (by my mom), and to different standards than my friends," Holmes says. She sees the same rigorous academic focus among many other students with immigrant parents, even non-Asian ones.

Does Holmes think children of American parents are generally spoiled and lazy by comparison? "That's essentially what I'm trying to say."

Asian students have higher average SAT scores than any other group, including whites. A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it's 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have an equal chance of getting into an elite college as white students with a 1410 or black students with an 1100.
Top schools that don't ask about race in admissions process have very high percentages of Asian students. The California Institute of Technology, a private school that chooses not to consider race, is about one-third Asian. (Thirteen percent of California residents have Asian heritage.) The University of California-Berkeley, which is forbidden by state law to consider race in admissions, is more than 40 percent Asian — up from about 20 percent before the law was passed.

Steven Hsu, a physics professor at the University of Oregon and a vocal critic of current admissions policies, says there is a clear statistical case that discrimination exists.

"The actual dynamics of how it happens are really quite subtle," he says, mentioning factors like horse-trading among admissions officers for their favorite candidates.

Also, "when Asians are the largest group on campus, I can easily imagine a fund-raiser saying, 'This is jarring to our alumni,'" Hsu says. Noting that most Ivy League schools have roughly the same percentage of Asians, he wonders if "that's the maximum number where diversity is still good, and it's not, 'we're being overwhelmed by the yellow horde.'"

Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania declined to make admissions officers available for interviews for this story.

Kara Miller helped review applications for Yale as an admissions office reader, and participated in meetings where admissions decisions were made. She says it often felt like Asians were held to a higher standard.
"Asian kids know that when you look at the average SAT for the school, they need to add 50 or 100 to it. If you're Asian, that's what you'll need to get in," says Miller, now an English professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

Highly selective colleges do use much more than SAT scores and grades to evaluate applicants. Other important factors include extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, maturity, engagement in learning, and overcoming adversity.

Admissions preferences are sometimes given to the children of alumni, the wealthy and celebrities, which is an overwhelmingly white group. Recruited athletes get breaks. Since the top colleges say diversity is crucial to a world-class education, African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders also may get in despite lower scores than other applicants.

A college like Yale "could fill their entire freshman class twice over with qualified Asian students or white students or valedictorians," says Rosita Fernandez-Rojo, a former college admissions officer who is now director of college counseling at Rye Country Day School outside of New York City.

But applicants are not ranked by results of a qualifications test, she says — "it's a selection process."
"People are always looking for reasons they didn't get in," she continues. "You can't always know what those reasons are. Sometimes during the admissions process they say, 'There's nothing wrong with that kid. We just don't have room.'"

In the end, elite colleges often don't have room for Asian students with outstanding scores and grades.
That's one reason why Harvard freshman Heather Pickerell, born in Hong Kong to a Taiwanese mother and American father, refused to check any race box on her application.

"I figured it might help my chances of getting in," she says. "But I figured if Harvard wouldn't take me for refusing to list my ethnicity, then maybe I shouldn't go there."

She considers drawing lines between different ethnic groups a form of racism — and says her ethnic identity depends on where she is.

"In America, I identify more as Asian, having grown up there, and actually being Asian, and having grown up in an Asian family," she says. "But when I'm back in Hong Kong I feel more American, because everyone there is more Asian than I am."

Holmes, the Yale sophomore with the Chinese-born mother, also has problems fitting herself into the Asian box — "it doesn't make sense to me."

"I feel like an American," she says, "…an Asian person who grew up in America."
Susanna Koetter, a Yale junior with an American father and Korean mother, was adamant about identifying her Asian side on her application. Yet she calls herself "not fully Asian-American. I'm mixed Asian-American. When I go to Korea, I'm like, blatantly white."

And yet, asked whether she would have considered leaving the Asian box blank, she says: "That would be messed up. I'm not white."

"Identity is very malleable," says Jasmine Zhuang, a Yale junior whose parents were both born in Taiwan.
She didn't check the box, even though her last name is a giveaway and her essay was about Asian-American identity.

"Looking back I don't agree with what I did," Zhuang says. "It was more like a symbolic action for me, to rebel against the higher standard placed on Asian-American applicants."

"There's no way someone's race can automatically tell you something about them, or represent who they are to an admissions committee," Zhuang says. "Using race by itself is extremely dangerous."

Hsu, the physics professor, says that if the current admissions policies continue, it will become more common for Asian students to avoid identifying themselves as such, and schools will have to react.
"They'll have to decide: A half-Asian kid, what is that? I don't think they really know."

The lines are already blurred at Yale, where almost 26,000 students applied for the current freshman class, according to the school's web site.

About 1,300 students were admitted. Twenty percent of them marked the Asian-American box on their applications; 15 percent of freshmen marked two or more ethnicities.
Ten percent of Yale's freshmen class did not check a single box.

Republished from USAtoday
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Garut Pyramid Older than the Pyramids of Egypt

This after an intensive study and carbon dating tests, the staff said Yudhoyono, Andi Arief

Ancient catastrophic team discovered startling facts in connection with the mystery of the pyramid Garut, West Java. From the results of carbon-intensive research and testing confirmed that the life of the building is buried in the mountain area of ​​Garut older than the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

Sadahurip Mount, Garut
Ancient catastrophic team had previously conducted intensive research over an alleged pyramid-shaped building in the Village Sadahurip, near Wanaradja, Garut, West Java.

"From a mountain in which there is a building resembling a pyramid, having studied intensively and carbon dating tests, certain age older than the Giza Pyramids," said Andi Arief, Special Staff of President of Social Affairs and Disaster Assistance, in a written statement on 20 November 2011 .

Just for the record, the Pyramids of Giza pyramid is known as the oldest and largest of the three pyramids at Giza necropolis. Pyramid is believed to be the tomb of Pharaoh, the fourth dynasty of Egypt, Khufu, built for more than 20 years during the period around the year 2560 BC.

Astonishing Findings

In the near future, continued Andy, Tim Ancient catastrophe will do the public exposure of these findings. Not only about the findings of the pyramid on the Main Page, the team presented the findings will also be special in the region Trowulan, Stone Jaya, some menhirs locations in Sumatra and others.

"There's a stunning finding about carbon dating tests on the three layers of culture in the region already Trowulan which we call the Majapahit at the time of BC's history. Also on the findings of historical layers in Lamri, Aceh, and surrounding areas, "said Andi.

Upon these findings, he added, Ancient catastrophic Team will continue to coordinate cross earth science with respect to the findings of the history of disasters locally and globally to look for mitigation.

The team will also continue to coordinate with the field of archeology, anthropology, archeology, cultural experts, historians and others.

Adapted from VIVAnews

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Allegedly Has Three Other Pyramids in Garut

The three pyramids are buried in Mount Princess, Mount Kaledong and Haruman, Garut

Ancient catastrophic team formed the Special Staff of President of the Field of Natural Disasters, Andi Arief said the alleged pyramid building not only in Mount Sadahurip, Garut, West Java. The team is declared the building pyramids allegedly also found in three other mountain in Garut.

Sadahurip Mount, Garut
"The survey results in Gunung Putri, Mountain and Mount Haruman Kaledong can already be concluded that there was a" man made "strongly suspected pyramid," said Tim.

This assumption is made based on georadar cross section, geoelectric, photos and images IFSAR contours of the mountain in the distance of 5 meters. "All parties rather be patient, so that the stages and the completion of this scientific principle."

The team argues, if these findings can be affirmed, then the theory is not only in Indonesia but also potentially the world, that the prehistoric period are the backward and did not know the technology. "The discovery team potentially catastrophic state of the Ancient civilizations of the past amazing."

In addition to the three mountains, the team also conducted research at Mount Padang, Cianjur, where the rocks are widespread in the region megaliths sehektare more. Through the geoelectric tests, Team concluded on the site of Mount Padang which is also referred to as the largest megalithic heritage in Southeast Asia there are punden staircase-like structure of the pyramid.

On 20 November, the launch team at Mount Ancient catastrophic Sadahurip in Garut, West Java, pent-up buildings like the pyramids. From the results of carbon-intensive research and testing confirmed that the life of the building is buried in the mountain area of ​​Garut older than the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

"From a mountain in which there is a building resembling a pyramid, having studied intensively and carbon dating tests, certain age older than the Giza Pyramids," said Andi Arief, Special Staff of President of Social Affairs and Disaster Assistance.

On 5 November, the team also launched, Mount Klothok and a mountain in Sleman, also thought to keep the pyramid structure in it.

Adapted from VIVAnews
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Published by Gusti Putra at: 12:19 AM
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