Weak pound forces UK to postpone building of research ship
Citing increased costs due to the weakness of the pound against the euro, the British government has pulled the plug on a £55-million (US$80-million) order to deliver a replacement vessel for its ageing research ship, the RRS Discovery, by 2011. The move, which could see the ship pushed further down the line, is a major setback to UK marine science, say researchers. Re-ordering the ship will add years of delay just as expeditions are being postponed or cancelled because the 47-year-old Discovery frequently breaks down.
The British government does NOT use the “weak pound” as a reason for stopping the far more money of bailouts for bankers, including their gigantic bonuses and pensions, like at the Royal Bank of Scotland. They are not stopping that. So, the word “forces” in the headline is somewhat uncritical on government propaganda.
Also, no talk about the weak pound by the government when it sends British soldiers to their deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Irish scientists were wondering whether their golden age of research has ended after the government announced spending cuts that will hit 3000 publicly funded Irish scientists to the tune of roughly €6000 each. This comes on the heels of budget cuts that cut pay by an additional €2000. More cuts to government-funded science in Ireland are expected in the next 2 years: here.
Yes, according to a new fossil discovery in Montana’s Homer Site
Until now, Triceratops was thought to be unusual among its ceratopsid relatives. While many ceratopsids—a common group of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived toward the end of the Cretaceous—have been found in enormous bonebed deposits of multiple individuals, all known Triceratops (over 50 in total) fossils have been solitary individuals. But a new discovery of a jumble of at least three juveniles the badlands of the north-central United States suggests that the three-horned dinosaurs were not only social animals, but may have exhibited unique gregarious groupings of juveniles.
“This is very thrilling,” says Stephen Brusatte, an affiliate of the American Museum of Natural History and a doctoral student at Columbia University. “We can say something about how these dinosaurs lived. Interestingly, what we’ve found seems to be a larger pattern among many dinosaurs that juveniles lived and traveled together in groups.”
In 2005, Brusatte and colleagues found and excavated a site that contained multiple Triceratops juveniles in 66-million-year-old rocks in southeastern Montana. The geological evidence suggests that at least three juveniles were deposited at the same time by a localized flood, and this suggests that they were probably living together when disaster struck. This find indicates that Triceratops juveniles congregated in small herds, a social behavior increasingly identified in other dinosaur groups, such as Psittacosaurus, a small cousin of Triceratops that lived in Asia.
“We don’t know why they were grouped together or how much time they spent together,” says Joshua Mathews of the Burpee Museum of Natural History and Northern Illinois University, who led the project. “Herding together could have been for protection, and our guess is that this wasn’t something they did full time.”
The site was discovered in 2005 by Burpee Museum volunteer Helmuth Redschlag. Redschlag, a devoted fan of The Simpsons television program, named the bonebed the “Homer Site.”
“It’s kind of fitting that these big, bulky, plodding Triceratops are named after Homer Simpson,” says Brusatte. “But more than anything, we were able to find something shockingly unexpected, even though there are more Triceratops skeletons than [there are of] nearly any other dinosaur, and southeastern Montana has been combed for fossils for hundreds of years.” Excavation at the Homer Site is ongoing, and the Burpee Museum team expects to find additional fossils of Triceratops juveniles.
March 2009. WWF workers in the Malaysian part of Sabah witnessed a very unusual rescue when they rescued a female Orang Utan and her young from drowning. The two apes had been caught out when their tree, situated by a river, was cut off by a flood, and they were stuck for nearly a whole week. Villagers alerted the WWF workers, who immediately went to help.
Lacking any better ideas or equipment, they threw a rope to the female. Much to everyone’s surprise, the mother Orang Utan seized the rope and jumped into the floods. Normally Orang Utans are considered very water shy. However both moth and baby, with the aid of the rope, reached the bank with little drama. The mother carried her keeping its head above water.
Before they both disappeared into the jungle, they accepted still bananas and other fruits from the WWF workers.
Sabah has been afflicted in the past weeks by heavy flooding. It is thought that climate change is causing weather extremes resulting in heavy rainfalls, and the serious reduction in forest cover has affected the ability of the habitat to absorb heavy rainfall.
Britain: THE government’s own statisticians admitted on Tuesday that inflation is still roaring ahead despite the crisis in the economy and widespread job losses: here. And here.
Wall Street erupted in a demonstration of euphoria and greed Monday as the Obama administration announced a plan to offload bankers’ bad debts that amounts to an unprecedented looting of taxpayer funds to benefit the financial elite: here. And here.
Chinese central banker says US dollar should be replaced as global reserve currency: here.
The decision of German-based tire maker and auto-parts supplier Continental AG to close plants in France and Germany is provoking widespread opposition and controversy in France: here.
Brain quirk could help explain financial crisis: here.