Monthly Archives: September 2013

Photo of Theodore Roosevelt atop swimming moose debunked

Photo of Theodore Roosevelt atop swimming moose debunked

Published September 24, 2013

FoxNews.com
  • teddymoose661.jpg

Avid outdoorsman Theodore Roosevelt led the Rough Riders in the Battle of San Juan Hill, but the robust, larger-than-life president reportedly never rode a moose through water.

Heather Cole, curator of the Theodore Roosevelt Collection, recently debunked the image, which was part of a 1912 collage created by photography firm Underwood and Underwood called “The Race for the White House” that featured Roosevelt as a “promising” third-party candidate for the newly created Progressive (or Bull Moose) Party. It also featured William Howard Taft riding an elephant and Woodrow Wilson atop a donkey, Cole wrote on her blog last week.

“Underwood appears to have cut out an existing photograph of TR riding a horse, and carefully pasted it onto an image of a swimming moose,” Cole wrote. “Under closer examination, one can see that the focus and shadows on TR do not match the moose. Also visible is the white line scratched or painted on the photo to approximate a ripple made by TR’s leg in the water.”

The illustration appeared in the New York Tribune on Sept. 8, 1912.

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Cute Dogs for Your Monday Blues

More cute dog pictures to help you get through the start of the work week.  Enjoy!

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Miners forced to ride death-defying ‘metal coffins’

Risking their lives in Stalin’s rusting cable cars: Miners forced to ride death-defying ‘metal coffins’ criss-crossing Georgia town

  • Tramway in Chiatura, Georgia was built by Soviet authorities in the 1950s so they could transport workers
  • The unique system was installed because of the extreme geography of the area, including steep valley slopes, river crossings and gorges
  • It is still operational today even though some cars having rusted away and and some stations have gone into disrepair

By WILLS ROBINSON

 

For miners working during the Soviet regime, it was not an ideal commute.

After an 18 hour shift, they would file into these tiny ‘metal coffins’ dangling over the steep slopes and gorges surrounding the town of Chiatura in Georgia.

But despite its rusty and ageing appearance, the 1950’s  transport system still takes workers in and out of the valley every day, and is one of the most incredible engineering spectacles in the world.

Don't look down: The public transport system in Chiatura, Georgia, is an engineering spectacle of the Soviet era

Don’t look down: The public transport system in Chiatura, Georgia, is an engineering spectacle of the Soviet era

Commute: Soviet era miners took the aerial tramway to work at the manganese processing plants dotted across the hills surrounding Chiatura

Commute: Soviet era miners took the aerial tramway to work at the manganese processing plants dotted across the hills surrounding Chiatura

Crossing: A cable car dangles over a river at the bottom of the valley in Chiatura, GeorgiaCrossing: A cable car dangles over a river at the bottom of the valley in Chiatura, Georgia

The cable car, or ‘rope road’ was constructed in 1954 after Georgia was annexed by the USSR. Soviet authorities were intent on extracting vast amounts of manganese, which was discovered in abundance in the area at the turn of the 20th century, when the area was a Bolshevik stronghold. 

In 1905, a functioning workers’ town was built to extract these vast deposits, and it needed a transport system fit for purpose.

For 50 years, Soviet planners struggled to find a way to navigate around the extremes of the town, so they decided the best solution would be aerial.

In an effort to conquer the town’s extreme geography, a network of tramways were built so almost every corner of the mining town was accessible.

The system transported workers from their homes at the bottom of the gorge to the mines that dotted the mountains. It was also used to transport the manganese to the various factories in the area.

 

Stalin’s cable car. Workers risk their lives in rusting ‘coffins’

Crumbling: A cabin exits of Chiatura's central station which shows signs of ageing both inside and outCrumbling: A cabin exits of Chiatura’s central station which shows signs of ageing both inside and out

Fear: A man appears to be praying as he boards the rust-ridden cable car on the journey down the valley

Fear: A man appears to be praying as he boards the rust-ridden cable car on the journey down the valley

Still running: Revaze Achvadze, from Chiatura, rides the tramway which continues to transport residents despite its rusty appearance

Still running: Revaze Achvadze, from Chiatura, rides the tramway which continues to transport residents despite its rusty appearance

History: A photo of the tramway just after it had been built in the 1950s. The Soviet authorities wanted a transport system which could efficiently transport workers to the mine at the bottom of the valley

History: A photo of the tramway just after it had been built in the 1950s. The Soviet authorities wanted a transport system which could efficiently transport workers to the mine at the bottom of the valley

And to this day, it is still fully operational, serving a manganese production plant which is open 24 hours a day.

In its heyday Chiatura was responsible for producing 60 per cent of the world’s manganese.

The chemical element, which was harvested in the region, was used for treating rust and corrosion on steel, which meant it was essential for building armaments and tanks.

The town is situated in a mountain valley on the banks of the Kvirila River, and since 1879 has been a major centre of manganese production in the Caucasus.

During the 1905 Russian Revolution, Chiatura was the only Bolshevik stronghold in a Menshevik dominated Georgia.

Almost 4,000 miners worked 18 hours to maximise the levels of production, with some even sleeping where they dug.

Joseph Stalin began his personal affiliation with the town when he persuaded the workers to back Bolshevism during a debate with the Mensheviks.

The workers were fond of him and called him ‘sergeant major Koba’ after he successfully set up a printing press, protection racket and ‘red battle squads’.

Today, while some of the cars have rusted away, seventeen – including the USSR’s first passenger tramway- remain in service.

Most tramways in Chiatura use a ‘jig back’ system where two cabins are connected to the same haulage rope.

An electric motor pulls one cabin down, using that cabin’s weight to help pull the other cabin up.

The tramway has remained despite a volatile history of problems in Georgia.

The unique transport system was installed in an effort to conquer the town's extreme geography. A cable car now runs to almost every corner of the mining townThe unique transport system was installed in an effort to conquer the town’s extreme geography. A cable car now runs to almost every corner of the mining town

A picture of one of the same tramway stations soon after it opened

A picture of one of the same tramway stations in the present day
 Comparison: One of the tramway stations in 1960, left, and the present day. Little has changed aside from the advertising on the side of the cable car

Forest: The tramway skims over trees during one of its many journeys across the valley

Forest: The tramway skims over trees during one of its many journeys across the valley

Drop: Because of the steep slopes of the valley, the cable cars have to negotiate some precarious drops as they transport residents around the extremes of Chiatura

Drop: Because of the steep slopes of the valley, the cable cars have to negotiate some precarious drops as they transport residents around the extremes of Chiatura

Driver: A man operates the cable car system as he tucks into a bowl of apples. The array of buttons and dials have survived since the 1960s when the system was installed

Driver: A man operates the cable car system as he tucks into a bowl of apples. The array of buttons and dials have survived since the 1960s when the system was installed

In 1990, there was a crash in Tbilisi, the capital of Soviet Georgia, which resulted in at least 20 deaths and 15 injuries.

The accident involved two gondolas on a ropeway route between Rustaveli Avenue and Mount Mtatsminda. The cable car was on its way down from the slope of the mount near the Mtatsminda Pantheon.

When the hauling rope broke the lower gondola rolled back and slammed onto the wall of the station injuring people inside, while the upper gondola rolled at high speeds and dropped 20 metres as the breaks did not work.

 Standing at the platform: A man waits for a cable car to carry him across the gorge. The wheels which operate the system look brown and rusted

Standing at the platform: A man waits for a cable car to carry him across the gorge. The wheels which operate the system look brown and rusted

View: A cabin from Tramway 25 travels over the strong currents of the Kvirila River. This would have been a daily spectacle for miners during the Soviet eraView: A cabin from Tramway 25 travels over the strong currents of the Kvirila River. This would have been a daily spectacle for miners during the Soviet era

Signs of ageing: A discarded piece of track cable has been frayed and left rusted by almost 60 years of constant useSigns of ageing: A discarded piece of track cable has been frayed and left rusted by almost 60 years of constant use

Art: A Socialist realist painting hanging on the inside of a building in Chiatura celebrates the manganese miners of the town

Art: A Socialist realist painting hanging on the inside of a building in Chiatura celebrates the manganese miners of the town

Soviet remnants: A cold war poster proclaiming 'Peace' in Russian and Georgian script hangs in the townSoviet remnants: A cold war poster proclaiming ‘Peace’ in Russian and Georgian script hangs in the town

A women meets a fellow passenger in one of the many tramway stations surrounding the town. Unlike the coffee shops and newsagents of today's modern train stations, the facilities were very limitedA women meets a fellow passenger in one of the many tramway stations surrounding the town. Unlike the coffee shops and newsagents of today’s modern train stations, the facilities were very limited

Break: Two miners stop to smoke in a manganese mine above ChiaturaBreak: Two miners stop to smoke in a manganese mine above Chiatura

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2430793/Stalins-cable-car-Death-defying-metal-coffins-miners-using–despite-riddled-rust.html#ixzz2gIw0UkS9
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Thousands of dino tracks found along Alaska’s Yukon river

Thousands of dino tracks found along Alaska’s Yukon river

By Megan Gannon

Published September 26, 2013

LiveScience
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    A dinosaur track exposed along the rocky shoreline of Yukon River. Finding the fossils involved walking along the riverâs banks and turning over rocks. (PAT DRUCKENMILLER)

  • yukon-dino-print

    A dinosaur track exposed along the rocky shoreline of Yukon River. Finding the fossils involved walking along the river’s banks and turning over rocks. (PAT DRUCKENMILLER)

Researchers may have just scratched the surface of a major new dinosaur site nearly inside the Arctic Circle. 

This past summer, they discovered thousands of fossilized dinosaur footprints, large and small, along the rocky banks of Alaska’s Yukon River.

In July, the scientists from the University of Alaska Museum of the North embarked on a 500-mile journey down the Tanana and Yukon rivers; they brought back 2,000 pounds of dinosaur footprint fossils. 

‘We found dinosaur footprints by the scores on literally every outcrop we stopped at.’

– Expedition researcher Paul McCarthy 

“We found dinosaur footprints by the scores on literally every outcrop we stopped at,” expedition researcher Paul McCarthy, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said in a statement. “I’ve seen dinosaur footprints in Alaska now in rocks from southwest Alaska, the North Slope and Denali National Park in the Interior, but there aren’t many places where footprints occur in such abundance.” [See Photos of the Dinosaur Tracks Along the Yukon River]

In the last decade, dinosaur footprints have been found in Alaska’s Denali National Park, left in rocks that formed 65 million to 80 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. The new prints along the Yukon River might date back 25 million to 30 million years earlier, McCarthy said.

“It took several years of dedicated looking before the first footprint was discovered in Denali in 2005, but since that time hundreds of tracks of dinosaurs and birds have been found,” McCarthy explained in a statement. “In contrast, the tracks were so abundant along the Yukon River that we could find and collectas many as 50 specimens in as little as 10 minutes.”

Pat Druckenmiller, the museum’s earth sciences curator, added that a find of this magnitude is rare today.

“This is the kind of discovery you would have expected in the Lower 48 a hundred years ago,” Druckenmiller said in a statement. “We found a great diversity of dinosaur types, evidence of an extinct ecosystem we never knew existed.”

The dino tracks were preserved in “natural casts” formed after the creatures stepped in mud, and sand filled in their footprints. The result? Fossils that look like “blobs with toes,” Druckenmiller said.

The researchers say they have much more work ahead of them to understand and describe their findings. They are working with local villages and Native groups to coordinate future expeditions in the region.

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Day One at Keen Halloween

It is a good time at Day One of Keen Halloween.  Lots of workshops, fun and great vendors.  I left a bit early while they were teaching a crowd to do the Thriller dance and right before the live bands started.  Here are some people of Day One, including yours truly as Walter White, aka Heisenberg, from Breaking Bad.

heisenberg

Michael Bradley as Heisenberg

heisenberg 2

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NASA abandons hope for failing Kepler space telescope

NASA abandons hope for failing Kepler space telescope

Published August 15, 2013

FoxNews.com
  • NASA Kepler Space Telescope

    An artist’s interpretation of the Kepler observatory in space. (NASA)

  • Newly discovered planets named Kepler-62e and -f

    Two newly discovered planets named Kepler-62e and -f. Scientists using NASA’s Kepler telescope found the distant planets, which they say are in the right place and are the right size for potential life. (AP PHOTO/HARVARD SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS)

Efforts to save a $600 million tool in NASA’s quest for life elsewhere in the universe have been unsuccessful, the space agency said — but there’s still life left in the robotic planet hunter.

In May, a specialized gyroscopic wheel used to point the Kepler Space Telescope toward the sun failed, the second such failed wheel. And despite months of analysis and testing, the spacecraft will never be restored to working order. But despite the breakdown, Kepler has proven a remarkable success, NASA said.

“Kepler has made extraordinary discoveries in finding exoplanets including several super-Earths in the habitable zone,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Knowing that Kepler has successfully collected all the data from its prime mission, I am confident that more amazing discoveries are on the horizon.”

NASA said its efforts will now turn to making the most of the research craft while it still can.

‘I’m confident that more amazing discoveries are on the horizon.’

– John Grunsfeld, associate administrator, NASA’s science mission directorate 

Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone, the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet might be suitable for liquid water. Launched in 2009, it has discovered thousands of such planets, including a pair just 1,200 light years away.

Called Kepler-62-e and Kepler-62-f, the news of their discovery came in April. But shortly after, Kepler’s mission ran into trouble.

Kepler is powered by four solar panels, and the spacecraft must execute a 90-degree roll every 3 months to reposition them toward the sun while keeping its eye precisely aimed. Kepler launched with four wheels to control that motion — two of them have now failed.

On Aug. 8, engineers conducted a system-level performance test to evaluate Kepler’s current capabilities. They determined that the wheel which failed last year can no longer provide the precision pointing necessary for science data collection. The spacecraft was returned to its point rest state, which is a stable configuration where Kepler uses thrusters to control its pointing with minimal fuel use.

“At the beginning of our mission, no one knew if Earth-size planets were abundant in the galaxy. If they were rare, we might be alone,” said William Borucki, Kepler science principal investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “Now at the completion of Kepler observations, the data holds the answer to the question that inspired the mission: Are Earths in the habitable zone of stars like our sun common or rare?”

Kepler will continue working, and NASA will look to reduce fuel consumption to extend the lifespan of the spacecraft. For example, a different mode of steering Kepler will enable NASA to extend its life by years, explained Charles Sobeck, deputy project manager with Ames Research Center.

“We’re not down and out. The spacecraft is safe, it is stable,” Sobeck said in May. And regardless, Kepler is already a win for NASA.

“The mission itself has been spectacularly successful,” he added. Most other scientists agree.

The quest for “exoplanets” has generated enormous interest among the public and with scientists. And it will continue. A second mission will launch in 2017 and will use the same method that Kepler has used to continue the mission; it will seek the closest exoplanet — which may be under two dozen light years away.

The James Webb Space Telescope will also help in the quest for life in the universe.

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Saturday Cosplay Pictures

I have decided to make my cosplay picture post a regular on Saturdays.  First, because I really like cosplay, cosplayers, and the genres represented; and second, because I have a ton of the pictures.  If you wish to send one or more in for posting, please send to eiverness@cox.net, and put in the message box – “Cosplay pictures”  I have a strong set of three firewalls, but please no viruses.  Also, I run a pg-13 site, so I can’t post anything you couldn’t post on Facebook or StumbleUpon.  Enjoy!

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