Dawn of the Final Day – 24 hours remain.

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The end of nigh my friends, that is, at least for 2011. The last day of the year and here we are, ready and willing to accept the new year. A new year means a fresh start, another 365 days to let us try again and look over our mistakes. But enough about 2012, let’s go over the year in review, brought to you by Google.


So here we are my friends. The last day of 2011, so let’s start with a list of memes and cultural trends from this year.


Rebecca Black’s “Friday”

The Californian teenage girl Rebecca Black‘s rise to national fame with her autotuned pop single “Friday” was a moment of realization for many aspiring singers and producers: you don’t necessarily have to be the best at what you do to be famous. Originally uploaded in early February, the video began receiving massive exposure on hubsites like YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr after coverage by The Daily What on March 11th, 2011. Within a week, the video gained over 10 million views and the digital single entered the top 100 on iTunes. Following a round of Black’s news media appearances, “Friday” was endorsed by several celebrities, including Nick Jonas, Justin Bieber, Stephen Colbert and Snoop Dogg. In less than months, “Friday” garnered over 167 million views and an additional 10 million views from the reuploaded version after the original was removed from YouTube in June 2011. In mid-July, Rebecca Black released her second single “My Moment,” which also gained over 22 million views.

First World Problems

The frustrations of privileged citizens around the world has been a consistently trending topic on Twitter with #FirstWorldProblems, a hashtag used to make light of minor inconveniences that people of advanced societies often complain about, like having too many tabs open or still being hungry after brushing teeth. While the term “First World Problems” was first picked up by Urban Dictionary in August 2005, it didn’t evolve into a widespread joke until its arrival on Reddit and Twitter in January 2011.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing series of protests in New York City and elsewhere across North America and Europe that seek to resolve socioeconomic inequality and curb the influence of corporate lobbying on Washington politics. Mostly coordinated via social networking services like Twitter and Facebook without a central organizer, the flash-mob demonstration began on September 17th, 2011 and the spirit of protests have since spread across dozens of cities and campus areas in the United States.



The Planking craze (shown above) began in March as a Facebook meme in Australia and New Zealand and quickly spread across the world with the launch of first annual Global Planking Day on May 15th. The meme went onto trigger an enduring series of similar photo fads like Owling, Batmanning and others. While Planking has reached the largest scale of participants, similar memes had been previously reported through Lying Down Game (UK / 2010) and Playing Dead (South Korea / 2003). Planking also had a casualty in May when a 20 year old from Brisbane, Australia fell to death from a 7th story balcony while attempting the game.


Scumbag Steve

Scumbag Steve is an image macro series featuring a young man with a sideways fitted cap standing in a hallway. As the name suggests, the joke illustrates a wide array of “d-bag” stereotypes from high school and college years, like that guy who borrows your lighter and never returns it. In our interview with Blake Boston, the 21 year old Bostonite behind the face of Scumbag Steve, it was revealed that the picture was taken sometime in 2006 by his mother.


X All the Y!

“X all the Y” is a snowclone and exploitable cartoon used to make a hyperbolic statement about performing an action. First published in the comic “This is Why I’ll Never be an Adult” (shown above) by illustrator Allie Brosh, she apparently sought to convey frustration with her inability to maintain a consistent enthusiasm for her daily responsibilities.


Nope! Chuck Testa

Nope! Chuck Testa is a catchphrase coined by Californian taxidermist Chuck Testa and filmmakers Rhett and Link. The one-liner became immensely popular after the ad made for his business received massive attention through social news sites like Reddit in mid-September. The commercial features several family members of Testa being fooled into thinking taxidermied animals were alive before being told by the man himself who proclaims “Nope! Chuck Testa.”


60s Spider-Man

60’s Spider-Man is an image macro series based on still shots from the original Spider-Man cartoon series, typically featuring an absurd internal monologue that correspond with the actions depicted in the images.


My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic And Bronyism

The epidemic sensation of My Little Pony in 2011 has been both formidable and persistent. Developed by the Powerpuff Girls illustrator Lauren Faust, the largely for-girls show has become an omnipresent fixture in the internet culture, triggering an epic internet fight between pro-bronies and anti-bronies, not to mention the moderates who think ponies are appropriate for only certain situations. Since its on-air debut in October 2010, the series became a popular source material for threadjacking, reaction images, and macro images on 4chan, YouTube and elsewhere online. Particularly on 4chan’s /b/, those who are avid fans of the ponies have come to be known as “Bronies,” while the Bronies who post ponies mainly on /co/ have come to be known as “Colts.”

I Took an Arrow in the Knee

In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the town guard non-player characters (NPCs) have several stock lines they will repeat when the player walks near them, including a bewildered statement about “curved swords”, a patronizing statement about “sweetroll” theft, and the melancholy confession “I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee.” The restating of such a specific story over and over again by so many different guards caused it to be noticed by players, who then proceeded to post about it in gaming forums and image boards. Along with the game itself, the video below helps give the idea that almost every guard in Skyrim became a guard due to the life altering results of receiving an arrow to the knee.


Search Interest

Out of the top ten memes that were selected, search queries for “Rebecca Black” set the highest peak in volume during its viral rise in March and April. The impact of “Friday” can be seen in sharp rise of search interest in April 2011, which was only surpassed twice this year with “Planking” in May and “Occupy Wall Street” in October.

And since today is the last day of the year, we’re going to go out with a bang. Tonight’s cast on Justin.tv (@ 7 PM PST) Will review this year according to me and the news posts we’ve had this whole year. Now I’ve been casting for a while now, if you don’t want to hear the truth, that’s fine, cause that’s all I have to offer. 2011 wasn’t the most graceful year, but it was one of the biggest years for world turning events: Steve Jobs dying, Bin Laden killed, end of the 10 year Iraq War; Just to name a few.


I think that’s all I’m going to put on today’s post since I will be talking most of the cast tonight, hopefully an hour or 2 about the events and things that have happened to me.

See you, in the new year; This is Grass signing out for 2011.

Netflix CEO’s stock options slashed after bad year

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings will pay a $1.5 million penalty for blunders that alienated the video subscription service’s customers and pulverized its stock.

The punishment will be delivered with a 50 percent reduction in his stock option awards next year, according to regulatory documents filed Thursday. Instead of the $3 million stock option allowance he received this year, Hastings will get $1.5 million in 2012. His base salary will remain unchanged at $500,000.

It would have been difficult to make a case for giving Hastings a raise coming off a year in which his decisions transformed Netflix from Wall Street darling to bum. The company’s stock price plunged, and subscribers fled in a rebellion against a U.S. price increase of as much as 60 percent. The aftershocks of the subscriber exodus are expected to saddle Netflix with a net loss next year, the first time that has happened in a decade.

Netflix Inc. declined to comment on the changes to Hastings’ compensation.

Hastings has repeatedly taken the blame for mismanaging the announcement of the price increase in July and then making things worse two months later by trying to spin off Netflix’s DVD-by-mail rental service into a separate website called Qwikster. Since scrapping that idea in October, Hastings has been trying to repair some of the damage.

That will probably take a while. Netflix’s stock price has plunged 75 percent since mid-July to wipe out $12 billion in shareholder wealth. The backlash surprised and humbled Hastings, who revealed at an investor conference this month that he once thought Netflix’s stock would hit $1,000. Netflix’s stock gained $2.87 Thursday to close at $73.84, down from its July high of just under $305.

The stock’s downfall elicited some gallows humor from Hastings on his Facebook page. “In Wyoming with 10 investors at a ranch/retreat. I think I might need a food taster,” Hastings posted two days after announcing his Qwikster plan.

Hastings’ missteps also have cost Netflix at least 800,000 subscribers. That’s how many customers Netflix lost during the July-September period. Netflix has said the exodus extended into October and November, though it isn’t providing specifics until it reports fourth-quarter earnings next month.

Some analysts have suggested Netflix should consider rescinding at least part of its price increase, but Hastings has brushed aside the notion so far. At the investor conference, he predicted his bad moves will eventually forgotten if Netflix’s service for streaming video over high-speed Internet connections keeps growing throughout the world as DVDs slowly fade into obsolescence.


And here I thought that Netflix was really popular. But after reading this whole thing… something didn’t add up. Netflix’s stock prices plundged 75%… so… why was it reduced by only 50%?
I hope you enjoyed this article.



Akikomi’s Reviews

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Hello! My name is Akikomi ,if you didn’t know already. Today I will be reviewing some games that i thought were intresting. The games that I will be reviewing are…

1. NUNS (Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm)
2. Bleach: Soul Resurreccion
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm

In this particular naruto game, you start off, after the intro, in the center of konohagakure. You are able to rome around the entire village. After wandering about, you may think, “what do i do now?”. Well thats the thing, it doesn’t really tell you. The fact that this game had no instructions at all on where to go or what to do at all was a big minus. What you have to do is go the the pause menu, select missions, and go all the way to the back and do the missions that were there. The first mission in the story line arc section of the missions page, was the intro. If you click on it, you redo the intro. I have no idea why that was put there because the into isn’t really a mission. The second one was an actualy mission. In the second one, you had to fight Hatake Kakashi. After the you beat him, well, you had to do the same thing again in the next mission. But this time in the third mission, you could call apon Haruno Sakura or Uchiha Sasuke as a suport, and it was a requirement to use them. But even before you could do mission three, you had to go do a sub mission to get more “Mission points”. “Mission points” allowed you to access more storyline missions. Most of these sub missions were either countinuous fighting, climbing a rather large tree while being hit in the face by branches, or jumping along trees to see how fast you can go while being hit in the face by branches. Overall this game was a bucket of repitition and frankly it was not that good. the fighting was good but only after achieving new jutsus for your characters. Achieving new jutsus was done by either progressing in the story line which took an enormous amount of time. It took me atleast 4 hours spread out along a few days just to earn Naruto the rasengan.
Bleach:Soul Resurreccion

In this bleach game, there was no player versus player, which was something new for a change. Unlike most of their other games it had good graphics. In it you could be most of the characters. You could be…
Kurosaki Ichigo
Kuchki Rukia
Abarai Renji
Rangiku Motsumoto
A few Arancars
All the Thirteen court gaurd squad captains-(including Aizen and Gin)
And from the fourth movie (skullclad) Kokuto
( i might be missing a few)
Most the people I liked were in there. You could be any of them from the start of the game. However in story mode, you could only be the asigned character. The story mode was challenging at first because your characters are weak. But each mission you complete gets you “soul points”. The “soul points” are points that each character earns after playing a mission with that particular character. Once you got enough points you could upgrade your character to make them stronger. However, you could not just farm with one character, to unlock new abilitys, you would have to level a seperate character up to a certain level. There was a boss at the end of each stage which was exciting because after you just wiped out a bunch of mobs, you got to fight someone who could give you a challenge. This game would have been better if it had player versus player but it didn’t. It was still a good game overall. But once you get everyone up to max level, the only thing to do is to redo everything which can get boring because nothing new happens. So after you beat everything the game isn’t fun anymore.

Next time!
I will be reviewing some of my favorite games tommorrow! I hope you enjoyed my reviews.
Tomorrow’s games

1.Metal Gear Solid
2.NSUNS2 (Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2)
3.Dead rising 1

Weekend Quickie: Kim Jong Eel Dies at 69

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I’m not even kidding.

North Korea says leader Kim Jong Il has died

By Barbara Demick and John M. Glionna

REPORTING FROM SEOUL — North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the mercurial strongman extolled at home as the “Dear Leader” and reviled abroad as a tyrant, has died at 69, North Korean media reported Monday.

Kim’s death was announced by state television from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. No cause of death was reported, but Kim was believed to have suffered in recent years from diabetes and heart disease.

The diminutive leader was believed to have suffered a stroke in 2008 but nonetheless appeared in numerous photos released by state media as he toured state facilities and in recent months embarked on rare trips outside North Korea -– to China and Russia.

FULL COVERAGE: The death of Kim Jung Il

In September 2010, Kim announced that his foreign-educated third son, Kim Jong Eun, would succeed him as the regime’s third leader since its emergence more than a half century ago.

Kim, who came to power in 1994 upon the death of his father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, led one of the world’s most enduring dictatorships, a repressive regime that has long defied predictions of its demise. Against the odds, it survived into the 21st century while its people went hungry and its allies drifted away to pursue globalization and reform.

Kim remained to the end an unrepentant communist, refusing to liberalize North Korea’s economy even as his people became some of the world’s poorest, with millions dying of starvation and tens of thousands imprisoned on charges of political crimes. While rival South Korea became one of the world’s wealthiest nations, many in the North have earned less than a dollar a month.

Though his bouffant hairdo, oversize glasses and elevator shoes made him widely parodied, Kim also had a reputation as a canny survivor and negotiator. He weathered a storm of international condemnation to acquire and develop nuclear devices, one of which his country tested in 2006.

Final Post before the Holidays

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WordPress is telling me that I haven’t posted in 3 days I don’t recall this happening, maybe it did and my brain’s clicking around on weekend mode and I just haven’t been arsed to post anything of real relevance. Either way, today’s post will be the last post of the weekend.

Let’s dust off those stockings and start.

HHH Takashima Shigure Ero-Figure

Author: Leon

I’m going to move to china for a sec…

Chinese Rivers Prettier Than Ever

Author: Artefact

Chinese and indolent capitalists alike have been marvelling at the colourful state of the nation’s rivers, which have lately even managed “red as blood.”

Residents of a city in China’s Henan province recently found a river running through their city “running red as blood.”

The red waters flowed down from a culvert to the north, and residents reported nothing untoward the day before.

Even local environmental officials were surprised, and could only speculate that “upstream rainwater and sewage have mixed to cause the effect,” although they still have no idea what exactly caused the issue.

Online, there is some wonderment at the range of colours, and even textures, now visible in China’s waterways.

China fucking themselves again? Nothing to see here folks.

Oh and here’s an article about Japanese people hanging themselves.

Suicide “Top Cause of Death for Japanese Youth”

Author: Artefact

Japan has discovered it has the unwelcome distinction of being the only G7 country in which the top cause of death for its young people is them killing themselves, with government statistics revealing suicide now accounts for over 50% of the deaths of men in their twenties and thirties.

The full breakdown, below, shows deaths arising from suicide in blue on the left, plotted against age, with various diseases and accidents making up the rest of the chart.

Suicides have in fact topped 30,000 each year for the last decade, with 31,690 people killing themselves in 2010, more than 6 times the number killed in traffic accidents.

Government statistics also show dramatic increases in certain causes of suicide – the following chart shows a 276% increase in students killing themselves due to problems finding work from 2007 to 2010, a 252% increase in suicides from familial disputes between parents and children, a 225% increase from “life difficulties,” 196% from work failures, 180% from job loss, and 130% from work related fatigue.

Suicides stemming from students trouble finding work in fact doubled over the last year, probably reflecting the ongoing breakdown in the traditional system of companies recruiting long-term regular employees straight from university, with many young people now reduced to mere contract positions where they can find work, which in Japan carries almost as much stigma as being unemployed.

There are no statistics on the number of 2ch denizens killing themselves, not that this stops them being experts on the subject:

“This data is seriously disturbing…”

“We have a suicide boom alright.”

“Learn from us, foreigners.”

“We have no dreams or hope.”

“We’re the ideal race – you can abuse us to destruction and we just quietly destroy ourselves.”

“There are probably a lot more people who want to kill themselves. The only thing stopping the numbers here is the cowardice of the Japanese.”

“The gift of our slave upbringing.”

“This country has made becoming a salaryman into a religion. Anyone who disagrees is treated like some kind of  evildoer.”

“Well, it’s better than having the top cause being war deaths or something.”

“Or accidents or murders.”

“With such determined young people, our future is bright indeed.”

“Our latest young people really are small fry, aren’t they?”

“We still have our culture of harikiri so this can’t be helped.”

“Shouldn’t it be the top cause in most countries for people in their twenties? How else will you die? I expect religious reasons see the real numbers supressed.”

“Like in crime or gun battles? Americans are constantly getting killed in those.”

“We have half the population of the US and twice as many suicides. This is messed up. Live, you guys!”

“But America’s murder rate is 10 times that of Japan…”

“And there are still old farts saying young people today have it easy.”

“There are so many possible pleasures, and yet you still get surrounded by people with no hobbies or interests. If you have interests, you’d hardly want to kill yourself just like that.”

“I’m going to live long enough to see the endings to Berserk and Hunter, then I’ll kill myself.”

“Who cares about killing yourself, you can live perfectly fine on part time jobs. I’m optimistic that I may even be able to get married. Life is easy, even if you have no money.”

“Idiots like you certainly don’t kill themselves, do they? It takes a certain amount of intelligence to kill yourself, in order to look ahead.”

“The reason is that the lives of Japanese are set by their twenties. If you mess up, your life is over and there are no second chances.”

“Killing yourself in your twenties is easier than living from 30 to 80.”

“Despite the fact it’s the elderly who need to die, it’s the young people killing  themselves because of the policies they made to benefit themselves.”

“Half of Japan’s young people are now society’s losers, it’s no wonder they kill themselves.”

“Does a country where all the young people are killing themselves have any future?”

Japan’s fucked, no future. I guarantee you, if they’re smart enough to look at the statistics of the country killing themselves they probably wouldn’t do it, or they still may. I’m just saying from a statistical standpoint killing yourself cause your grades suck is less beneficial to your own country than it is to not kill yourself.

Now for some good news.

By , and

BAGHDAD — Almost nine years after the first American tanks began massing on the Iraq border, the Pentagon declared an official end to its mission here, closing a troubled conflict that helped reshape American politics and left a bitter legacy of anti-American sentiment across the Muslim world.

As Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta marked the occasion with a speech in a fortified concrete courtyard at the Baghdad airport, helicopters hovered above, underscoring the challenges facing a country where insurgents continue to attack American soldiers and where militants with Al Qaeda still regularly carry out devastating attacks against civilians.

“Let me be clear: Iraq will be tested in the days ahead — by terrorism, and by those who would seek to divide, by economic and social issues, by the demands of democracy itself,” Mr. Panetta said. “Challenges remain, but the U.S. will be there to stand by the Iraqi people as they navigate those challenges to build a stronger and more prosperous nation.”

Those words sounded an uncertain trumpet for a war that was begun in 2003 to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction that proved illusory. The conflict was also cast as an effort to bring democracy to the Middle East — another pretext that rang hollow during Iraq’s worst sectarian bloodletting, and that hampered Washington’s efforts in the past year to support the peaceful protesters of the Arab Spring.

The American withdrawal opens a new chapter for Iraq, a nation forged less than a century ago by British colonialists and tortured ever since by rebellions, wars and brutal dictatorship. Long a borderland between Persian and Arab empires, the country still struggles to balance the ambitions of Iran, the powerful theocratic neighbor whose nuclear program has become a profound concern to the United States and its allies.

For Americans, the ceremony on Thursday marked an uneasy moment of closure, with no clear sense of what has been won and lost. As of last Friday, the war had claimed 4,487 American lives, with 32,226 more Americans wounded in action, according to Pentagon statistics.

Those losses — and the humiliating collapse of American claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction — helped turn sentiment at home against the war, contributing to a crash in the popularity of President George W. Bush during his second term and to the election of Barack Obama, who opposed the invasion in 2003.

For the Pentagon, the Iraq war — in combination with the continuing deployment in Afghanistan — forced a painful rethinking of how to fight insurgencies and to interact with civilians. Under Gen. David H. Petraeus, American commanders learned valuable lessons in the Iraqi deserts of Anbar Province as they worked with local tribal leaders and turned the tide against Qaeda insurgents in 2007. Those lessons were later employed in Afghanistan.

But the broader effort to build institutions that can maintain rule of law amid Iraq’s sectarian stresses has proved more challenging, both for the military and its civilian partners, said Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Security and International Studies. As the Pentagon draws down its forces, the strains of a decade of war have underscored both the limits of an all-volunteer force and the critical need to train Iraqi (and Afghan) forces who can keep the peace.

Many American officers, fearing Iraq’s instability, had hoped to leave a larger, more enduring military presence than the one allowed for under the agreement reached this year with the government in Baghdad.

Although Thursday’s ceremony represented the official end of the war, the military still has two bases in Iraq and roughly 4,000 troops, including several hundred who attended the ceremony. At the height of the war in 2007, there were 505 bases and more than 170,000 troops.

Those troops that remain are still being attacked daily, mainly by artillery or mortar fire on the bases, and roadside bombs aimed at convoys heading south toward Kuwait.

Even after the last two bases are closed and the final American combat troops withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, a few hundred military personnel and Pentagon civilians will remain, working within the American Embassy as part of an Office of Security Cooperation to assist in arms sales and training to the Iraqis.

But negotiations could resume next year on whether additional American military personnel can return to assist their Iraqi counterparts further.

Iraq’s military has critical weaknesses in a number of areas, from air defenses to basic logistical tasks like moving food and fuel and servicing the armored vehicles it is inheriting from the Americans and the jets it is buying. There are shortfalls in military engineers, artillery and intelligence.

“From a standpoint of being able to defend against an external threat, they have very limited to little capability, quite frankly,” Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the departing American commander in Iraq, said in an interview after the ceremony.

Although the American withdrawal has removed one central motive for the jihadis who flooded into Iraq after the invasion in 2003, Al Qaeda’s Iraqi arm has carried out a number of spectacular bombings over the past year, and some intelligence analysts fear it is in resurgence.

Even in its twilight days, the American military here has suffered humiliating attacks that complicated the handover. In the spring, commanders stopped holding large base-closing ceremonies because insurgents were taking advantage of them to strike at troops.

“We were having ceremonies and announcing it publicly and having a little formal process, but a couple of days before the base was to close, we would start to receive significant indirect fire attacks on the location,” said Col. Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the military in Iraq. “We were suffering attacks, so we stopped.”

Since then, the closing of bases has been a quiet, closed-door meeting, where American and Iraqi military officials have signed documents that legally give the Iraqis control of the bases, exchanged handshakes and turned over keys.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey of the Army, has served two command tours in Iraq since the invasion in 2003, and he noted during the ceremony that the next time he comes to Iraq he will have to be officially invited.

“We will stand with you against terrorists and others that threaten to undo what we have accomplished together,” General Dempsey said during the end-of-mission ceremony. “We will work with you to secure our common interests in a more peaceful and prosperous region.”

Well it’s about fucking time. After 10 years in the middle east  we’re finally out of there. Thank fucking god, I’m tired of hearing the word Iraq every fucking day.

I’m not going to do another post since this pretty much covers most of the decent news so good night everyone.

Patio Tiles (Sort Of)Found on Mars!

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Say this for earthlings: we’ve grown up a lot since the time we went nuts over the mysterious face on Mars. The face was discovered in 1976, as the orbiting Viking 1 spacecraft looked down on the planet’s Cydonia region and found what appeared to be a dark-eyed set of stony features staring back at it. This gave rise to a lot of fevered talk about a vanished (or extant!) civilization signaling its presence, and even to merchandising opportunities, including art prints of the eerie face. It also figured prominently in the execrable Brian De Palma movie Mission to Mars. (The man who inflicted Scarface should surely have stopped before Marsface.)
Cooler heads eventually prevailed after the Mars Global Surveyor resurveyed the site in 1998 and proved that the face was just a mesa, and one that had been heavily windblown over the years at that. The face, in effect, was erased.
(See the top 10 space moments of 2011.)
Happily, there was no similar silliness last week when NASA revealed that the Opportunity rover, which has been prowling the plains and craters of the Red Planet since 2004, had discovered, well, Martian patio tiles — or rectangular formations that looked awfully similar. O.K., rectangles in the Martian soil are admittedly less sexy than faces, but while the face had nothing at all to do with life, the rectangles are one more clue that biology might indeed be — or at least have been — possible on Mars.
Opportunity and its rover twin Spirit have spent much of their years of exploration looking for clues to water on Mars, which, of course, is a sine qua non for life as we know it. The evidence has piled up — both in terms of topographic scars that could only have been left by flowing, pooling or upwelling water; and the presence of sulfates, hydroxides and other materials that form in the presence of water. Last August, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) beamed back images suggesting that liquid water may flow seasonally on Mars even today.
“Since the MRO arrived at Mars, our overarching theme has been ‘follow the water,'” said mission scientist Mike Meyer at the time of the announcement. “Now we may be catching Mars in the act.”
(See photos of Mars’ patterns.)
Last week’s finding was just as dramatic, though for different reasons. The images Opportunity returned showed a vein of gypsum about the width of a human thumb and running 16 to 20 in. (40 to 50 cm) in length. Ninety-degree fractures along the stretch gave it the look of painted road lines and the fact that the gypsum was not flush with the surface bedrock is what gave it the three dimensionality of tiling.
Opportunity discovered the vein on the rim of Endeavour Crater, a 14-mile (23 km) diameter formation on the planet’s Meridiani Planum. The rover examined the find with microscopic imager, its panoramic camera and its x-ray spectrometer. That last instrument detected calcium sulfate, a mineral typically deposited by water. Calcium sulfate comes in different varieties, and the type there is almost surely gypsum, an especially hydrated — or waterlogged — form of the mineral.
“We suspect that groundwater emerged and then quickly precipitated out the least soluble of the sulfate salts dissolved in it, which would have been gypsum,” says Cornell University’s Steve Squyres, principal investigator for the Opportunity program. “The width of fractures in the ground controls the width of the veins.”
(See how a Mars probe revealed a possibly wetter past.)
It’s the site of the gypsum that makes it significant as well. Plenty of the material has been observed on Mars before, but it’s often a dusting scattered across broad plains in the planet’s north, which suggests it was wind-borne from somewhere else. Precisely where is uncertain. The Endeavour deposit, by contrast, appears to be in its original location. There’s no way of knowing if there was enough water in the crater for enough time to have given rise to life, though it’s tempting to think that a wet crater could have become a de facto lake — a possible incubator for biology. In this case, however, Squyres doubts it. “There’s no evidence for water pooling in the crater,” he says. “It’s evidence for groundwater.”
Still, that could be enough. Opportunity will continue to study the find and look for more such signs of Mars’s soggy past for as long as it continues to function. The Spirit rover went silent in 2010 after six years of exploration, and Opportunity itself is now creaking, with scientists always taking care to park it on the sunward side of Endeavour, the better to wring what power they can from its aging solar panels. Now en route, however, is Curiosity, the SUV-sized descendant of Spirit and Opportunity, set to arrive on Mars in August. It’s impossible to know whether Curiosity and Opportunity will have the chance to explore simultaneously or if Opportunity will have winked out by then. No matter what, Curiosity will continue to do the same work its rover predecessors have done, following the water — and the life it might one day reveal.

Life on mars? possibly. I think it would be cool to have life grow on our neiboring planets. I hope one day we are able to find
Aliens or something like that.

By Jeffrey Kluger

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2102127,00.html#ixzz1gRv0AEvk

Syria’s God Particle

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The last few days are counting down toward Christmas break and during the time of the break there will be no posts as no only is this a major break from exams for most college students but it’s also a time to relax for a lot of people as the year winds down to a close. As we quickly approach the end of 2011 I’d like to remind everyone that the 2011 winter wrap-up post will be on December 31st which will sum up the highlights of 2011 from the internet to real life and everything in between.

So without further ado, let’s get to today’s post.

First off is a collection of figurines who’s post can be reached by click on the image.

buy figure here

buy figure here


buy figurine here


All figures can be pre-ordered from J-list and will arrive April 2012.

Next up non-touhou fans are pissed and want touhou banned from Comiket.


Comiket 81 “Now Fujoshiket” “Touhou Should Be Expelled!”

Author: Artefact

Once again the increasingly overpowering dominance Touhou worshippers and creepy fujoshi exert over Comiket is the subject of much discussion, thanks to the release of the latest circle numbers for the upcoming C81 – and so pronounced is their dominance that some are now calling for them to be forcibly hived off into their own events.

The circle statistics for Comiket 81:

Touhou: 2690

Tiger & Bunny: 1170

Hetalia: 1000

Sengoku Basara: 842

Vocaloid: 492

Prince of Tennis: 460

Reborn: 458

Gintama: 438

Blue Exorcist: 428

IdolMaster: 417

Inazuma Eleven: 398

Madoka: 350

Tomodachi ga Sukunai: 322

Nintama: 298

Arashi: 282

Durarara: 278

Lyrical Nanoha: 271

One Piece: 254

Naruto: 244

Magi: 227

K-ON!: 200

By now there is a certain amount of resignation about all this:

“Hardly any Hetalia…”

“They really ought to spin these off into their own events when they get to this scale. The way they use the venue is pretty wasteful.”

“With that many single work circles they really are more suited to having their own events.”

“I don’t think it’ll happen, Comiket has a lot of prestige for these circles.”

“Who’s to say how many are too many? Are Tiger & Bunny and Hetalia OK? If the organisers just decided your favourite needed to get lost and have its own event, you’d be pissed.”

“I think when one work totally dominates an entire hall it might be said to be too numerous. It has never been this pronounced, has it? Even compared to previous booms, there was never anything dominating the event like this.”

“1500 is the ceiling really. But Touhou has nearly twice that! They’re just too numerous.”

“Shouldn’t they just chase out the fujoshi? Is all men that bad?”

“Commoners associate Comiket with men buying ero-doujinshi, so it would be better just to ban male oriented ero.”

“Just chase out the Touhou maniacs and fujoshi and I’ll go.”

There do not appear to have been much in the way of management efforts to alter Comiket’s circle composition, so an eventual transformation into a 25% Touhou, 75% fujoshi event may yet be inevitable.

And with that we move on to the west.

Syria: back to the future

For the second time in four months, the UN commissioner for human rights, has urged the security council to refer Syria to the ICC

For the second time in four months, the UN commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, has urged the security council to refer Syria to the international criminal court for investigation. The first time, in August, the estimated civilian death toll from Syria’s crackdown on what started as peaceful unarmed protests stood at 2,000. Yesterday Ms Pillay estimated the death toll at over 5,000, and called the situation intolerable. Syria said her report was not objective because it relied on the testimony of defectors, and yet concrete evidence of shoot-to-kill orders is mounting. Tomorrow Human Rights Watch will publish a detailed investigation naming 74 commanders who told their soldiers to fire on unarmed protesters.

The issue is not only what is happening inside Syria, but where this is leading. Russia and China remain implacably opposed to a UN security council referral to the ICC, arguing that the same process was abused as a cover for regime change in Libya. Russia has gone further, supplying Syria with cruise missiles and announcing the deployment of an aircraft- carrying missile cruiser and two support ships to prevent a blockade. But they are not alone. Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has warned of the snowball effects of a sectarian war in Syria, and has refused to demand the ousting of Bashar al-Assad.

Regional tremors are already being felt. Burhan Ghalioun, head of the rebel Syrian National Council, pledged to cut ties with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, were the rebels to come to power, despite the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Hamas’s close ally, forms part of his council. The statement was an evident inducement to the US, whom they want to persuade to establish a no-fly zone. But it provoked fury from Hezbollah, which stands to lose not only a patron if the Ba’athist regime in Damascus falls, but also a supply route for its Iranian-produced rockets. Month by month the conflict in Syria is becoming internationalised.

There are also worrying signs of sectarianism. Whether this is a card the Assad regime is playing in its no-holds-barred attempt to retain power or whether sectarianism is building in its own right, the result is the same. The conflict in Homs, which started as a civil rights struggle between demonstrators and loyalist security forces, is turning into an uglier and more familiar conflict between members of the Shia Alawite sect, from which the Assad family originates, and Sunni Muslim defectors from the army. Each side blames the other for the mutilated corpses recovered in the streets. The international community is moving towards targeted sanctions, but the paradigm for Syria may not be Libya in 2011. It could be Iraq in 2006.

And now


Maybe, say nuclear scientists… but if we could just have a few months to make sure

Steve Connor

Despite excited reports yesterday morning on the BBC that the particle has been “glimpsed”, the Cern laboratory in Geneva yesterday merely confirmed that measurements by its £5bn Large Hadron Collider have come closer than previous searches to detecting the sub-atomic particle whose existence was first hypothesised in the 1960s.

Scientists said they have eliminated 95 per cent of the energy range where the Higgs may have been hiding, but are not yet ready to exclude the possibility that what they have detected is merely background noise rather than the real thing. They said that final, definite proof will now have to wait until 2012.

Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, head of Cern, urged: “Please be prudent. We have not found it yet. Stay tuned for next year.”

Professor Themis Bowcock, head of particle physics at the University of Liverpool, said: “If the Higgs observation is confirmed, this really will be one of the discoveries of the century.”

Dr Stephen Haywood, head of the Atlas Group at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, said: “This is what many of us have been working towards for 20 years. This is just the start.”

Q&A: Key to the sub-atomic world

Q. What is the Higgs boson?

A. It is a sub-atomic particle, or “boson”, that was first proposed theoretically in the 1960s by Professor Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University. He suggested that in order for matter to have mass, it must be influenced by a hypothetical particle that creates a field, called the Higgs field, which spreads throughout the Universe.

No one, however, was able to detect the Higgs boson because of the energy levels needed to collide other sub-atomic particle together in order to winkle it out.

Q. How does the Higgs work?

A. The most celebrated analogy is to compare the Higgs particle to a party activist as a famous politician, perhaps a former female Prime Minister, moves through a room full of activists all wishing to see or talk to her.

The movement of the politician is influenced by how many other people cluster around her. The Higgs particles are like these party activists and the former Prime Minister is like matter itself.

The more interaction there is between the Higgs particles and matter, the more mass that this particular matter possesses – and the heavier it is in gravity.

Q. Why is the Higgs particle so important?

A. To try to understand what is going on at the sub-atomic level, physicists have come up with a theory called the Standard Model. It explains three of the fundamental forces that interact at the nuclear level: the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force. The Higgs particle is part of this Standard Model, which is why it was proposed in the first place. Frustratingly, though, it is the only boson or particle predicted by the Standard Model that has not so far been detected. This may be because it is difficult to detect (which is undoubtedly is) or that it doesn’t exit.

Q. Why is the Higgs particle so difficult to find?

A. To find sub-atomic particles, it is necessary to collide other particles together at high energies using a machine such as the £5bn Large Hadron Collider, which accelerates sub-atomic particles called hadrons at 99.9999991 per cent of the speed of light. Sensitive detectors at the sites where the hadrons collide are then designed to monitor the tell-tale signs of a Higgs particle. There are two detectors or experiments trying to find the Higgs, one is called Atlas the other is called CMS and both are searching at similar energy levels. Unfortunately, there is a lot of “noise” coming from other particles and collisions that can mask the existence of the Higgs. Sophisticated statistical analysis is the only way of improving the certainty that a Higgs has truly been detected.

Q. What if the Higgs does not exist?

A. Then it would mean that the Standard Model is not correct, or at least not correct in the way it has been understood. Failing to find the Higgs has been said by CERN scientists to be an even more intriguing event than actually discoving its existence – although particle physicists would say that given that they have built a hugely expensive machine largely on the belief that it exists. The non-existence of the Higgs would mean that physicists would have to go back to the drawing board in terms of trying to understand what is going on at the sub-atomic level.

I will see you guys all next time. Goodnight everyone.

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