Fortean / Alternative News: Jupiter Asteroid Impact, Paranormal Links and Another Aflockalypse Explanation
Asteroid the Size of the Titanic Rocked Jupiter
space - The object that plowed into Jupiter in 2009, creating a giant scar, was most likely an asteroid the size of the Titanic, rather than a comet, the latest evidence suggests.
Astronomers, presuming Jupiter had already cleared most of the asteroids out of its gravitational sphere of influence, initially suspected it was a comet that tore through the gas giant's atmosphere and exploded on July 19, 2009. But follow-up research in 2010 began to push the investigation back toward an asteroid strike.
Two newly published studies of the Jupiter impact and its resulting debris cloud have pinned the blame more firmly on an asteroid.
"We weren't expecting to find that an asteroid was the likely culprit in this impact, but we've now learned Jupiter is getting hit by a diversity of objects," said researcher Paul Chodas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in a statement released yesterday (Jan. 26).
Studying the impact
The scar caused by the impact was first spotted by an Australian amateur astronomer, Anthony Wesley. A wealth of follow-up observations using ground and space telescopes then followed.
Chodas and other researchers, who reported their findings in two recent papers in the journal Icarus, said they had used several different infrared telescopes to study the scar as it evolved over the first week or so.
They determined that the collision had warmed Jupiter's lower stratosphere by 5.4 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 4 degrees Celsius). That may not sound like much, but it signals a huge deposition of energy, since the warming was spread over such an enormous area, researchers said.
The asteroid had carved a channel of super-heated gas and debris as it streaked through Jupiter's atmosphere.
Then, at some point deep below the clouds, it exploded, releasing energy equivalent to 5 gigatons of TNT, the researchers said — about 250,000 times more energy than was released by the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 to end World War II.
The massive explosion launched gas and debris back out along the channel, above Jupiter's clouds. This stuff then splashed back down into the atmosphere, warming it substantially and creating aerosol particulates.
The researchers trained their infrared telescopes on the impact site, studying the chemical composition of the stirred-up debris. They found signatures of hydrocarbons, silicas and silicates, but no evidence of carbon monoxide. This unique chemical mix points strongly to an asteroid rather than a comet, they said.
Assuming the impactor had a rocklike density of around 2.5 grams per cubic centimeter, the researchers calculated its diameter to be 660 to 1,650 feet (200 to 500 meters). That would make the asteroid about the size of the ill-fated Titanic ocean liner, NASA officials said. The Titanic was 882 feet long, 92 feet wide at its widest point, and 175 feet tall (269 meters by 28 meters by 53 meters).
Comets not always to blame
Before the July 2009 strike, the last object known to smash into Jupiter was comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994, researchers said. Amateur astronomers also reported spotting fireballs on Jupiter, possibly from new impacts, in June and August of 2010.
Observations made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope showed that the debris from the 2009 collision was heavier or denser than that caused by the 1994 impact, researchers said. These results further strengthen the case that different types of objects were to blame.
An asteroid impactor comes as a bit of a surprise. Before the 2009 event, most scientists had thought that the only objects that hit Jupiter were icy comets whose unstable orbits brought them close enough to be sucked in by the giant planet's gravity.
It was thought Jupiter had already cleared most other objects, including asteroids, from its sphere of influence, researchers said. But modeling studies performed by the researchers identified one asteroid whose chaotic orbit could well send it smashing into Jupiter someday, further suggesting that asteroids are viable impactors.
"Both the fact that the impact itself happened at all and the implication that it may well have been an asteroid rather than a comet shows us that the outer solar system is a complex, violent and dynamic place, and that many surprises may be out there waiting for us," said co-author Glenn Orton of JPL. "There is still a lot to sort out in the outer solar system."
Report: Japanese elderly shoplifting hits record high
BBC - More than a quarter of shoplifters arrested in Japan in 2010 were over the age of 65, police have said, as the number of pensioners committing the crime hit a record high.
In an annual report, the National Police Agency said 27,362 pensioners were arrested for shoplifting in 2010 - almost equalling teenagers.
Most of them stole food or clothes rather than luxury items, the NPA said.
Japanese society is ageing rapidly and its economy remains stalled.
More than 20% of the population are now over the age of 65 - a figure which is expected to rise to about 40% by 2050.
A police official told the Mainichi newspaper that pensioners were shoplifting not just for financial reasons "but also out of a sense of isolation peculiar to the age".
In recent decades the traditional three-generation household structure has changed - more young people have moved to cities to find employment, leaving elderly parents on their own.
Pensioners who want to work have also found it harder to find jobs because of the economic crunch.
Police say the record high - with pensioners comprising 26.1% of all shoplifters - represents a persistent trend.
When record keeping began in 1986, the number of pensioners arrested stood at 4,918. It has climbed since then, hitting 10,000 in 1999 and 20,000 in 2004.
Scientists Say 'Blunt Force Trauma' Killed Arkansas Blackbirds
aolnews - Scientists investigating the death of thousands of blackbirds in Arkansas say they've identified the cause of death: blunt force trauma.
Locals in Beebe, Ark., were mystified when as many as 5,000 red-winged blackbirds dropped out of the sky Dec. 31.
Studies commissioned by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission ruled out possible causes such as disease and poison.
The tests revealed hemorrhaging "consistent with blunt trauma," according to a Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. "In most instances, such traumatic injuries in wild birds are due to flying into stationary objects such as trees, houses, windows, power lines, towers, etc."
There has been a string of mass animal deaths so far this year, from dead fish in the Detroit River to hundreds of dead starlings in South Dakota.
Arkansas blackbirds have poor eyesight and don't normally fly at night. The AGFC said the birds were probably disturbed by "unusually loud noises" and flew lower than normal due to New Year's Eve fireworks. The rare night flight was even recorded on radar data.
"The first exodus occurred about 10:20 [p.m.] and contained approximately 6,000 to 7,000 birds per cubic kilometer," said Sidney Gauthreaux, professor emeritus at Clemson University. "At 11:21 p.m., another pulse of birds with a slightly smaller density left the roost."
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture admitted it was behind the death of hundreds of starlings in South Dakota. The USDA said it put out poisoned bait for the birds after a local farmer complained they were defecating in his animal feed.
A local said that the birds made the streets of Yankton, S.D., look like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
In Arkansas, the mystery of the red-winged blackbirds may be solved, but officials are still mystified as to what killed more than 80,000 freshwater drum in the Arkansas River last December.
So far, officials have ruled out bacteria, viruses and parasites as the culprit, according to the Arkansas Times.
"Unfortunately, we probably will never know exactly what killed these fish," said AGFC Assistant Chief of Fisheries Chris Racey.
Argentina: A Swimming Pool Drained Dry
Inexplicata - It never fails. The minute we went to print with article on "the missing water enigma", the water thieves struck again in Argentina. Synchronicity? Perhaps. But the story of the latest event is best told by UFO photographer and researcher Martha Nuñez in her own article for the "Estás en Posse" website .
Argentina: Swimming Pool Drained Dry in Justiniano Posse
By Martha Núñez
Residents of Justiniano Posse are dumbfounded by the report that a swimming pool was found dry in less than a day.
This was the case involving Lilo Garcia, owner of the Hotel Maykel, who informed local media of what happened in this back yard.
"When Lucio Ciotti when to clean the pool, he found there was no water. He called me and said: What did you do? There's no water in the pool!" I replied: "Yeah, right - there's no water." He said: "No, no, come on over" and well, I went and...it was dry! There wasn't a drop of water. You could look around and there was no water. I don't understand, because when we drain the pool to clean it, such an amount of water takes a day and a half to drain. We flood the patio and the water runs down the street all the way down to the canal. But this time there was nothing! Not a single drop of water anywhere around."
Lucio Ciotti, responsible for the pool's maintenance, inspected it, swept it and ascertained that it wasn't split, and there were no cracks.
We're talking about a 60,000 liter swimming pool, relieved of water from one day to the next. Filling it requires six trucks, so anyone stealing the water would need at least 5 trucks, and would take at half a day to do the job, as a minimum, since there was no water splashed outside the pool. No trace of moisture whatsoever.
"If they'd dumped it on the patio or anywhere nearby, there would be a pond! I don't understand. The pool was dry enough to paint it. We laughed with Lucio and couldn't understand what was happening," Lilo remarked.
García says that the pool has no cracks, as he has filled it once more and the water has not leaked away. "I have no opinion! This is a mystery for history to resolve," says the owner of the Hotel Maykel.
Believe it or not, the 60,000 liters are gone, nobody saw anything, the patio is dry and there is no sign of trucks circulating anywhere in the vicinity.
So...who took the water?
Revealed: Medical students are performing intrusive exams on unconscious patients
new.com.au - Australian medical students are carrying out intrusive procedures on unconscious and anaesthetised patients without gaining the patient's consent. The unauthorised examinations include genital, rectal and breast exams, and raise serious questions about the ethics of up-and-coming doctors. The research, soon to be published in international medical journal, Medical Education, describes - among others - a student with "no qualms" about performing an anal examination on a female patient because she didn't think the woman's consent was relevant.
Another case outlined in the research describes a man who was subjected to rectal examinations from a "queue" of medical students after he was anaesthetised for surgery. “I was in theatre, the patient was under a spinal (anaesthetic) as well and there was a screen up and they just had a queue of medical students doing a rectal examination,” a student confessed. “[H]e wasn’t consented but because ... you’re in that situation, you don’t have the confidence to say 'no' you just do it.”
The author of the study, Professor Charlotte Rees, voiced concerns about senior medical staff ordering students to perform unauthorised procedures, leaving the students torn between the strong ethics of consent in society and the weak ethics of medical staff. Of students who were put in this position during the research, 82 per cent obeyed orders. “We think that it is weakness in the ethical climate of the clinical workplace that ultimately serves to legitimise and reinforce unethical practices in the context of students learning intimate examinations,” writes Prof Rees. The study consists of 200 students across three unnamed medical schools in Britain and Australia. Not all participants agreed to carry out the intimate examinations without permission from the patient.
One student refused to take part in an examination of a woman who was “part spread-eagled on the bed and the nurse is (sic) pulling down her jeans at the same time and it was all very complicated and you could see her, she was about seventeen”. Carol Bennett, the CEO of the Consumer Health Forum, said the report was a "poor reflection on these medical schools that they are setting these examples. Most people would not be pleased about having medical procedures performed on them without it even being mentioned to them," she said. "Patients should never be examined without consent, particularly by a third party."
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