|From: Jon Koplik||11/21/2020 11:36:52 PM|
|Apparent decapitated body washed up on Florida beach actually a store mannequin ............|
Nov 18, 2020
An apparent decapitated body found washed up on a Florida beach was actually just a store mannequin
By Kelly McLaughlin
The mannequin found by a volunteer with Ocean Hour. Ocean Hour
A volunteer for Ocean Hour, a Florida based nonprofit that organizes beach cleanups across the state, found what appeared to be a decapitated dead body on a beach in the Florida Panhandle. It was later revealed that the body was actually a mannequin. The group shared pictures of the mannequin on Facebook on Monday.
Ocean Hour, a Florida based nonprofit that organizes beach cleanups across the state, shared news of what happened on Facebook on Monday.
The group said a volunteer named Kathleen was working to clean up a beach on Perdido Key in the Florida Panhandle when she saw what she believed to be a decapitated body.
"Another visitor had even called 911," Ocean Hour said on Facebook. "Upon further investigating, she realized it was a mannequin!"
The mannequin was covered in barnacles, so it was difficult to tell what it was at first glance.
But a closer look shows a plastic foot and hole where the mannequin's head would be.
"How long has she been out in the water collecting barnacles and sealife? Way too long!" the organization said. "We are glad it wasn't a real body!"
Copyright © 2020 Insider Inc.
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|From: Jon Koplik||12/23/2020 12:27:33 AM|
|WSJ -- Feeling Depressed ? Bacteria in Your Gut May Be to Blame ........................................|
Dec. 21, 2020
Feeling Depressed? Bacteria in Your Gut May Be to Blame
New studies point to the trillions of organisms in the human microbiome as playing an unexpectedly huge role in our well-being
By Robert Lee Hot
Scientists are exploring evidence that major depression may in part be a gut feeling, orchestrated by the microbiome -- trillions of microorganisms living in and around our bodies, which influence our health and well-being.
In a series of studies, researchers are discovering that the microbial menagerie living in our digestive tract may help regulate brain function, including mental health. Recent findings by scientists in the U.S., Europe and China are linking our feelings of stress, anxiety and severe depression to disturbances among hundreds of microbe species living in our gut that some researchers have started calling the psychobiome.
Conversely, other bacteria in the gut appear to produce some of the same substances used by doctors to treat depression and may naturally play a role in maintaining our emotional balance.
“The feeling of malaise, if you will, is often associated with gastrointestinal disorders,” said microbiologist Jack Gilbert at the University of California, San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who helped pioneer the study of the human gut microbiome. It is “chemically altering nerve signals going into the brain, which alter brain chemistry and therefore behavior, mood and, we believe, depression and anxiety.”
As evidence, some scientists have been able to infect mice and rats with mental disorders, including depression and anxiety, by transplanting stool samples, which contain gut microbes, from human patients into laboratory animals, several recent studies show. “When you give these mice the microbes from depression, they begin to behave in a depressive-like way,” said psychiatrist Julio Licinio at State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. These behavior changes in mice affect such things as appetite, weight gain and activities like swimming. Dr. Licinio studies the biology of depression and helped design some of the experiments. “It’s actually transmissible,” he said.
Until now, though, no one has been able to single out specific species of microbes linked to a mental illness. This month, an international research team for the first time identified dozens of species of gut microbes involved in depression by comparing patients diagnosed with the disorder to healthy people. These 47 species are a tiny fraction of the gut’s microbial diversity, which includes other single-celled organisms, thousands of virus species and fungi.
The new research by neuroscientist Peng Xie at China’s First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University and colleagues reveals a potential mechanism for a mental illness that affects an estimated 350 million people world-wide, several experts said. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.
Scientists are rushing to discover how such microbes interact with the human central nervous system, what signals they send to the brain and how that alters a person’s behavior or risk of mental illness, in hopes of new treatments and diets for maladies of the mind.
“The big race is on to understand what role all these play in various brain diseases,” said Emeran Mayer, a medical psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles who studies the brain and gut microbiome and has written “The Mind-Gut Connection.” He adds, “if you already have genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s or major depression, this is a factor that could push it over the edge into a disease.”
Not so many years ago, the only microbes that attracted medical attention were germs that caused infections and diseases.
But indiscriminate use of antibiotics and other sanitation measures eliminated the harm that bacteria cause at the expense of the protection they can provide. Unintended health consequences ranged from increases in liver disease, Type 2 diabetes and asthma to preterm birth and antibiotic-associated diarrhea, according to a 2019 review in the Journal of Experimental Medicine and many other microbiology studies.
During the past decade, advances in low-cost, high-speed gene sequencing machines allowed researchers to study millions of microorganisms that normally can’t be grown in a laboratory. In these studies, researchers can determine whether genetic material belongs to bacteria though a biomarker called the 16s ribosomal RNA gene, which turns up only in microbes.
As a result, the study of the microbiome is one of the hottest new fields in medicine, with more than 15,000 scientific papers published last year alone. “There is a lot of excitement in the field of psychiatry now about this,” said John Cryan at the University College Cork in Ireland, who studies the microbiome and the neurobiology of stress.
Microbiologists calculate that the human gut contains more than 100 trillion microorganisms. Together they weigh about 5 pounds -- about as much as a big mango and slightly more than the human brain, according to the European Society for Neurogastroenterology and Motility.
Moreover, where the human genome carries some 22,000 protein-coding genes, researchers estimate that the human microbiome contributes some eight million unique protein-coding genes, or 360 times more bacterial genes than human genes, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Human Microbiome Project.
These microbes appear especially adaptable to changes in the environment, diet and the biochemistry of emotion. While no one yet knows exactly why, patients with various psychiatric disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and autism-spectrum disorder have significant disruptions in the composition of their gut microbiome.
The microbes appear to be in almost constant communication with the brain directly by affecting nerve signals and indirectly through chemicals absorbed into the bloodstream, said Dr. Gilbert, who also is scientific adviser for a small microbiome company called Holobiome in Cambridge, Mass., that seeks new ways to treat depression, insomnia and other ailments.
Some common gut bacteria, for example, help generate neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which affects neural activity related to mood and memory. It’s commonly used to treat depression. Others make an amino acid called gamma-aminobutyric acid that naturally blocks some brain signals. It’s used in medication to relieve anxiety and improve mood.
“The bacteria are hijacking parts of systems within the body that we know are affecting emotional regulation,” Dr. Cryan said. “This has led us to the idea that by targeting microbes in the gut, we can have behavioral effects that are going to have impact on overall well-being.”
Write to Robert Lee Hotz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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|From: DaYooper||12/30/2020 5:22:38 PM|
Dawn Wells, Mary Ann on 'Gilligan's Island,' Dies at 8211:11 AM PST 12/30/2020 by Paul Bond
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She said her character on the sitcom "was molded by me, from me" and that the "values and principles" of the Kansas farm girl mirrored her own.Dawn Wells, the girl-next-door actress and former beauty queen who played the sweet Mary Ann Summers on the iconic CBS sitcom Gilligan's Island, died Wednesday morning. She was 82.
Wells died in Los Angeles of causes related to COVID-19, her publicist announced.
Other than Tina Louise, Wells was the last surviving member of the regular cast of the Sherwood Schwartz-created show, which featured three women and four men marooned on a desert island after their three-hour boat tour off the coast of Honolulu went inexplicably awry.
Airing amid the real-life tumult of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and unrest on college campuses, viewers welcomed the corny sitcom as wholesome escapism. It earned solid ratings during its 98-episode run from 1964-67 and attracted new fans through decades of syndication.
The other castaways aboard the shipwrecked SS Minnow were Gilligan (Bob Denver); the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.); millionaire Thurston Howell III (Jim Backus) and his wife, Lovey (Natalie Schafer); the Professor (Russell Johnson); and Hollywood starlet Ginger Grant (Louise).
While some of the cast — most notably Louise, who declined to appear in three made-for-TV Gilligan's Island movies from 1978-82 — expressed dismay over being "typecast," the angelic Wells embraced the show's enduring popularity and was grateful to the fans who, for years, sometimes obsessively, expressed their affinity for her and the character she played.
In August 2018, Wells took a fall and revealed that she was having difficulty paying for the two months of hospital rehabilitation that she needed. She said she was flabbergasted when folks raised $197,000 for her in a month after a friend created a GoFundMe page.
"I am amazed at the kindness and affection I have received," she told Fox News. "I don't know how this happened. I thought I was taking all the proper steps to ensure my golden years. Now, here I am, no family, no husband, no kids and no money."
Johnson attempted to explain the allure of Mary Ann Summers in his foreword for What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide to Life, the 2014 book that the actress co-wrote with Steve Stinson.
"We love Mary Ann because she is the future, the hope of our world. The youngest of the castaways, Mary Ann has her entire life in front of her," he wrote. "Watching her unfailing good cheer, her optimism is never in question. We love her because we need her emotional support and her belief that all will turn out well … We love Mary Ann because of Dawn Wells."
READ MORE'Gilligan's Island' First Episode: THR's 1964 Review
Indeed, Schwartz gave the green-eyed Wells, who was 25 when Gilligan's Island bowed, more leeway than the other castmembers were granted, even though they had more impressive résumés as established actors.
"Every character on Gilligan's Island was given a broad 'stock' comedy role to fill — captain, mate, wealthy man, wealthy wife, professor, movie star — except me," Wells wrote in her book. "She was given a name and location — Kansas farm girl. I had to fill in the blanks. So, from the get-go, the Mary Ann character was different. She wasn't a Hollywood creation. She was molded by me, from me."
Wells said the "values and principles" of Mary Ann mirrored her own and are timeless: "I know this because the core of Mary Ann is really me. I mean, I built her from scratch … if you play a character long enough on stage or screen, I think your true self shows through."
Wells added during a 2008 interview with the Television Academy Foundation. "There hasn't been a Mary Ann on the air for I don't know how long. There hasn't been a good girl over 14, and Mary Ann was very much that," Wells said.
"The Mary Ann-Ginger issue is always there. You had to be a real man to understand Ginger, and Mary Ann would've gone to the prom with you and been your best friend. A lot of guys would come up to me and say, 'I married a Mary Ann.' She had the values."
Although the feminist movement, the pill and free love were all the rage during the comedy's original run, Schwartz eschewed sexual tension, but it was clear the Professor was smitten by the pig-tailed Mary Ann while the Skipper preferred the statuesque Ginger. Gilligan, meanwhile, was happiest keeping both squarely in the "friend" camp.
Dawn Elberta Wells was born in Reno, Nevada, on Oct. 18, 1938. Her father was a real estate developer and her mom a homemaker. "My parents divorced when I was four, but I did not grow up in a broken home," Wells wrote in her book. "I was raised by a very good mother and a great dad."
She said that in middle school she was chubby with severe acne, braces on her teeth and bad knees, the result of ballet lessons. Nevertheless, Wells noted that she was popular, proof "that the bell of the ball doesn't have to be a belle."
She eventually blossomed into the role of a belle, culminating with her being crowned Miss Nevada in 1959 and competing in the 1960 Miss America pageant. That same year she graduated with a degree in theater arts from the University of Washington after initially studying chemistry.
Before she was Mary Ann, the 5-foot-4 Wells had a string of smaller roles on TV shows like Wagon Train, Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip and Bonanza and, after Gilligan's Island was canceled, she appeared on The Wild Wild West, ALF and other series.
In 1992, she reprised her Mary Ann character on an episode of Baywatch and three years later joined Denver and Louise on the original Roseanne in a scene spoofing Gilligan's Island.
Wells appeared in about six dozen different stage plays but was less prolific on the big screen, though her star turn in the horror film The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), where she played a real-life murder victim, has become a cult classic. She starred in another horror film, Return to Boggy Creek (1977), after playing alongside Denver Pyle and Woody Strode in a 1975 Western, Winterhawk.
Wells also was a journalist for a brief time and hosted the Australian news show Midday, where she interviewed celebrities like Eddie Murphy, Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks.
In 2005, Wells was No. 50 on TV Guide's list of the "50 Sexiest Stars of All Time," right behind John Schneider, Alyssa Milano and David Cassidy, and that year she auctioned off the shorts and green-and-white checkered blouse she often wore on Gilligan's Island for $20,700.
In the early 2000s, Wells created Wishing Wells Collections, which makes clothes for elderly people with limited mobility. She also was the founder of the nonprofit Idaho Film and Television Institute and active in The Denver Foundation, the charitable organization founded by her fellow castaway before his death in 2005.
Wells married talent agent Larry Rosen in 1962, and the couple divorced five years later, just as Gilligan's Island was ending. Survivors include her stepsister, Weslee.
Donations in her name can be made to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald Tennessee, Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum or The Shambala Preserve outside Los Angeles.
"Mary Ann wasn't just a silly and sweet ingenue," Wells wrote in her book. "She was bright, fair-minded and reasonable, and I like to think that's what I brought to her. She was a little more of a Goody Two-shoes than I am."
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|To: DaYooper who wrote (44)||1/1/2021 12:50:01 AM|
|From: Jon Koplik|
|NYT -- Dawn Wells, Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ Dies at 82 ..............................|
Dec. 30, 2020
Dawn Wells, Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ Dies at 82
Her character on the ’60s sitcom radiated all-American wholesomeness and youthful charm. After her TV career cooled, she focused on theater acting.
By Anita Gates
Dawn Wells, the actress who radiated all-American wholesomeness, Midwestern practicality and a youthful naïve charm as the character Mary Ann on the hit 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island,” died on Wednesday at a nursing home in Los Angeles. She was 82.
Her publicist, Harlan Boll, said the cause was related to Covid-19.
Debuting on CBS in 1964, “Gilligan’s Island” followed an unlikely septet of day trippers (on a “three-hour tour,” as the theme song explained) who ended up stranded on a desert island.
There, shipwrecked alongside a movie star (who spent most of her time in evening gowns), a science professor, a pompous, older rich couple, and two wacky crew members was Mary Ann Summers (Ms. Wells), a farm girl from Kansas who had won the trip in a local radio contest.
The character had a relatively scant back story it was said that she worked at the hardware store back home and had a boyfriend but Mary Ann’s persona alone made her memorable. Gingham blouses, short shorts, double ponytails and perky hair bows were all parts of her signature look.
The first version of the show’s theme song mentioned five of the characters “and the rest,” but the lyrics were soon changed to name the professor (Russell Johnson) and Mary Ann as well. The others in the cast were Bob Denver (Gilligan), Alan Hale Jr. (the Skipper), Jim Backus and Natalie Schafer (as the couple Thurston Howell III and Lovey Howell), and Tina Louise (as the actress, Ginger). Ms. Louise is the last surviving member of the original cast.
That the premise of “Gilligan’s Island” was pretty much implausible and its humor simplistic made no difference to the show’s millions of fans or its producers, who would discover in the years to come that they had spawned a cultural phenomenon.
Though “Gilligan’s Island” lasted only three seasons, canceled in 1967, it hardly slipped from the horizon. Endless reruns ensued, and the cast members had a series of encore performances. Ms. Wells, for one, reprised her role as Mary Ann in three reunion TV movies: “Rescue From Gilligan’s Island” (1978), “The Castaways on Gilligan’s Island” (1979) and “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island” (1981).
In 1982, she did the voices of both her character and Ms. Louise’s movie star for “Gilligan’s Planet,” an animated spinoff series. And she went on to play Mary Ann in episodes of at least four other (unrelated) shows: “Alf” (1986), “Baywatch” (1989), “Herman’s Head” (1991) and “Meego” (1997). “Gilligan’s”-themed episodes had a certain camp value.
Even her career as an author related directly to the series. “Mary Ann’s Gilligan’s Island Cookbook,” which included Skipper’s Coconut Pie, was published in 1993. “What Would Mary Ann Do? A Guide to Life,” a memoir she wrote with Steve Stinson, appeared in 2014.
Mary Ann’s advice in the book included this thought: “Failure builds character. What matters is what you do after you fail.” The San Francisco Book Review called the book “a worthwhile mix of classic values and sincerity.”
Asked decades later about her favorite “Gilligan’s Island” episodes, Ms. Wells mentioned “And Then There Were None,” which included a dream sequence in which she got to do a Cockney accent. She also cited “Up at Bat,” an episode in which Gilligan imagined that he had turned into Dracula.
“I loved being the old hag,” she said.
Dawn Elberta Wells was born in Reno, Nev., on Oct. 18, 1938, the only child of Joe Wesley Wells, a real estate developer, and Evelyn (Steinbrenner) Wells. Dawn majored in chemistry at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., then became interested in drama and went to the University of Washington in Seattle. She graduated in 1960 with a degree in theater arts and design, having taken some time off to win a state beauty title and compete in the 1960 Miss America pageant.
“Big deal,” she said in a 2016 interview with Forbes, making light of her Miss Nevada win. “There were only 10 women in the whole state at the time.”
For the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, her talent performance was a dramatic reading from Sophocles’ “Antigone.”
A 1961 episode of the drama “The Roaring Twenties” was her screen debut. When she was cast on “Gilligan’s Island,” she had appeared onscreen only about two dozen times, mostly in prime-time series, including “77 Sunset Strip” (multiple episodes), “Surfside Six,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “Bonanza” and “Maverick.”
After her television career cooled down, Ms. Wells returned to her first love: theater, doing at least 100 productions nationwide. Her last television role was in 2019, as the voice of a supernatural dentist on the animated Netflix series “The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants.”
Her last onscreen appearance was in a 2018 episode of “Kaplan’s Korner,” about actors running an employment agency. Her only soap opera appearance was in a 2016 episode of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” in which she played a fashion buyer from a wealthy family.
Ms. Wells’s marriage in 1962 to Larry Rosen, a talent agent, ended in divorce in 1967, the same year “Gilligan’s Island” went off the air. She is survived by a stepsister, Weslee Wells.
Ms. Wells went on to operate charity-oriented businesses. She was a prominent supporter of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, the nation’s largest natural habitat refuge developed for African and Asian elephants.
She also taught acting, creating the nonprofit Idaho Film and Television Institute while living at her ranch in the Teton Valley. But a screen career was never her childhood dream.
“I wanted to be a ballerina, then a chemist,” she recalled in the Forbes interview. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d go into genetic medicine.”
© 2020 The New York Times Company
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|From: Jon Koplik||1/3/2021 11:51:53 AM|
|Harvard professor says an alien visited in 2017 and more are coming ............................|
New York Post
January 2, 2021
A Harvard professor says an alien visited in 2017 and more are coming
By Reed Tucker
When the first sign of intelligent life first visits us from space, it won’t be a giant saucer hovering over New York. More likely, it will be an alien civilization’s trash.
Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy, believes he’s already found some of that garbage.
In his upcoming book, “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), out Jan. 26, the professor lays out a compelling case for why an object that recently wandered into our solar system was not just another rock but actually a piece of alien technology.
The object in question traveled toward our solar system from the direction of Vega, a nearby star 25 light-years away, and intercepted our solar system’s orbital plane on Sept. 6, 2017.
On Sept. 9, its trajectory brought it closest to the sun. At the end of September, it blasted at about 58,900 miles per hour past Venus’ orbital distance, and then, on Oct. 7, it shot past Earth’s before “moving swiftly toward the constellation Pegasus and the blackness beyond,” Loeb writes in the book.
The object was first spotted by an observatory in Hawaii containing the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) the highest definition telescope on earth.
The space object was dubbed ‘Oumuamua (pronounced “oh moo ah moo ah”), which is Hawaiian for roughly “scout.”
As space travelers go, it was relatively small at just about 100 yards long, but it was a big deal in the scientific community.
For starters, it was the first interstellar object ever detected inside our solar system. Judging from the object’s trajectory, astronomers concluded it was not bound by the sun’s gravity which suggested it was just traveling through.
No crisp photos could be taken, but astronomers were able to train their telescopes on the object for 11 days, collecting reams of other data.
At first, scientists thought it was an ordinary comet. But Loeb said that assumption ran the risk of allowing “the familiar to define what we might discover.”
“What would happen if a caveman saw a cellphone?” he asked. “He’s seen rocks all his life, and he would have thought it was just a shiny rock.”
Loeb soon opened his mind to another possibility: It was not a comet but discarded tech from an alien civilization.
A number of unusual properties about the object helped Loeb make this conclusion.
First were ‘Oumuamua’s dimensions.
Astronomers looked at the way the object reflected sunlight. Its brightness varied tenfold every eight hours, suggesting that was the amount of time it took for it to complete a full rotation.
Scientists concluded the object was at least five to ten times longer than it was wide sort of like the shape of a cigar.
No naturally occurring space body we’ve ever seen has looked like it or even close.
“This would make ‘Oumuamua’s geometry more extreme by at least a few times in aspect ratio or its width to its height than the most extreme asteroids or comets that we have ever seen,” Loeb writes in his book.
What’s more, ‘Oumuamua was unusually bright. It was at least “ten times more reflective than typical solar system [stony] asteroids or comets,” the author writes.
He likens its surface to that of shiny metal.
But the anomaly that really pushed Loeb toward his E.T. hypothesis was the way ‘Oumuamua moved.
“The excess push away from the sun that was the thing that broke the camel’s back,” he said.
Using physics, scientists can calculate the exact path an object should take and what speed it should travel due to the gravitational force exerted by the sun. The sun’s pull will speed up an object massively as it gets closer, then kick it out the other side, only for the object to slow considerably as it gets farther away.
But ‘Oumuamua didn’t follow this calculated trajectory. The object, in fact, accelerated “slightly, but to a highly statistically significant extent,” Loeb writes, as it moved away from the sun.
In other words, it was clearly being pushed by a force besides the sun’s gravity alone.
At first the explanation seemed simple. Comets show a similar acceleration, because as they approach the sun, their surface is warmed, releasing once-frozen gases, which act like a rocket engine.
Those released materials, however, form a comet’s distinctive tail. Scientists looked carefully for that tail or any sign of gases or dust that might propel ‘Oumuamua and came up empty.
Loeb calculated that with these and other anomalies, the chances that ‘Oumuamua was some random comet was around one in a quadrillion, leading him to his blockbuster hypothesis.
But what was it exactly?
One possibility, weirdly enough, could be found in technology we already have here on earth.
Some 400 years ago, astronomer Johannes Kepler observed comet tails blowing in what looked like a solar breeze and wondered if that same force could propel rocket ships through space like the wind pushes boats through water.
It was a smart idea that scientists now use to develop light sails for probes. Thin, reflective sheeting is unfurled in space to capture the particles streaming off the sun, propelling a ship at great speeds through the empty void. Alternatively, powerful lasers from earth could be aimed at the sail to make it go even faster.
Loeb, who is involved in a light-sail project to send a tiny, unmanned craft to a nearby star, said if we earthlings have thought of this idea, then why couldn’t aliens?
He and a colleague crunched the numbers and hypothesized that ‘Oumuamua was not actually cigar-shaped but possibly a disk less than a millimeter thick, with sail-like proportions that would account for its unusual acceleration as it moved away from the sun.
As to its purpose, Loeb isn’t entirely sure. He speculated it could be “space junk” that once served as a kind of space navigation buoy used by a long-ago civilization.
“The only way to look for [alien civilizations] is to look for their trash, like investigative journalists who look through celebrities’ trash,” Loeb said.
Of course, not everyone in the scientific community agrees with his theory.
In July 2019, the ‘Oumuamua Team of the International Space Science Institute published an article in Nature Astronomy concluding, “We find no compelling evidence to favor an alien explanation for ‘Oumuamua.”
Loeb admits his theories have raised astronomers’ eyebrows, but he is resolute about his findings. “Some people do not want to discuss the possibility that there are other civilizations out there,” he told The Post. “They believe we are special and unique. I think it’s a prejudice that should be abandoned.”
Loeb said the skeptics are bending over backwards to assign natural origins to the object and that the explanations they’ve given to explain its weird properties don’t stand up to scrutiny.
For example, some scientists have suggested that ‘Oumuamua’s acceleration was caused by frozen hydrogen on its surface turning to gas and driving it like a comet, and that hydrogen would have been invisible to Earth’s infrared cameras, which is why we didn’t detect it.
But Loeb and a colleague published a paper showing that “a hydrogen iceberg traveling through interstellar space would evaporate long before it reached our solar system.”
Whatever the truth, the stakes are high.
The acceptance that an alien race has made contact even through its trash would trigger a serious search for more trash, leading us to scour the moon and Mars, for example, for debris that might have crash-landed thousands or millions of years ago.
And if more evidence is found, we earthlings would have to start building tools to help us grapple with extraterrestrials, such as space treaties and academic fields like astro-linguistics and astro-economics.
But, perhaps more important, any further discoveries could redefine our place in the universe.
“It would put us in perspective,” Loeb said. “If we are not alone, are we the smartest kids on the block? If there was a species that eliminated itself through war or changing the climate, we can get our act together and behave better. Instead, we are wasting a lot of resources on Earth fighting each other and other negative things that are a big waste.”
Since ‘Oumuamua’s appearance, a second interstellar object known as 2I/Borisov was spotted entering the solar system by a Crimean telescope in 2019. But that turned out to be a plain old comet.
Until recently, our instruments have not been sensitive enough to pick up these kinds of visitors. But Loeb said technology will soon make it possible to locate more space travelers, and the only way the mystery of ‘Oumuamua will be settled is if a similar object is spotted and more thoroughly investigated with a probe.
He said his book “should motivate people to collect more data on the next object that looks weird.”
“If we find another and we take a photo and it looks like a light sail, I don’t think anyone will argue with that.”
© 2021 NYP Holdings, Inc.
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|From: Jon Koplik||1/20/2021 11:21:38 PM|
|Wash. Post -- Australian Open players in quarantine accused of feeding mice in their hotel rooms|
Jan. 20, 2021
Australian Open players in quarantine accused of feeding mice in their hotel rooms
By Cindy Boren
In the latest surreal development before next month’s Australian Open, tennis players and members of their entourages were accused of feeding mice in their hotel rooms as they quarantine for two weeks because of exposure to airline passengers who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Lisa Neville, Victoria’s emergency services director, urged the hotel guests to “minimize interaction” with the rodents.
“As I understand, there may have been some feeding going on,” she said. “We will keep doing pest control if we need to, but hopefully that pest control work that was done this week will have fixed the problem.”
Neville also said that those in quarantine are expected to do their own housekeeping. “Every tennis player needs to clean their own room and change their own beds if they want that,” she said.
Yulia Putintseva, the world’s 28th ranked player, had complained about checking into a room occupied by a mouse and was subsequently relocated into another room. There, she learned that there’s never just one mouse and it’s never just in one room.
“It’s actually a lot of them!” she tweeted with video proof.
Putintseva, from Kazakhstan, had repeatedly complained about the accommodations for quarantined players, writing that the system was “a joke.
“im not in the 5 star hotel, (you) are kidding, im in the room with mouses and spiders,” she wrote.
She is among the 72 players and members of their entourages who have been confined, unable to leave their rooms in Melbourne even to practice or get meals ahead of the Feb. 8 tournament, the first Grand Slam of the year.
The group entered quarantine over the weekend after arriving on three flights from Qatar, the site of qualifying tournaments. Several other passengers tested positive upon arrival, triggering the quarantine. According to Neville, 10 people who flew to Melbourne have tested positive for the coronavirus, with two players and a support person the latest positive tests.
Everyone arriving for the tournament must isolate for two weeks. But players who were not exposed to someone who tested positive can leave for five hours a day to practice, work out and get food. Players had agreed to those rules, but the quarantined players now face a disparity in preparation. Although tennis officials have requested that players who repeatedly test negative over their first days in the country be treated leniently, government officials have refused.
And so the players among the unfortunate 72 have been left working out in their rooms, hitting balls against the wall and riding stationary bicycles. Putintseva has been among the most vocal critics of their treatment, holding a sign that says, “We need fresh air to breathe,” in an Instagram post.
Retired Australian great Rennae Stubbs criticized Putintseva for her complaints, pointing out that she was guaranteed a minimum of $100,000 for going through quarantine and competing in the singles draw.
“I should not complain and just go to sleep?” Putintseva wrote to Stubbs, along with a video of a mouse.
“I do understand the players, this is a new experience for them and I don’t think anyone expected to know what the 14 days was like and they are adapting to it,” Craig Tiley, the chief executive of Tennis Australia and tournament director, told “ABC News Breakfast.”
“At the beginning, it was pretty challenging with their adaptation. It’s got a lot better. I think the majority of the players understand and accept it and there is a minority struggling with it, but we are going to do whatever we can to make it better for them.”
© 2021 The Washington Post.
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|From: Jon Koplik||1/23/2021 2:08:32 PM|
|Oops / WSJ -- Maersk Ship Loses 750 Containers Overboard in Pacific Ocean ...........................|
Jan. 21, 2021
Maersk Ship Loses 750 Containers Overboard in Pacific Ocean
Rough seas during a trip from China to Los Angeles caused the loss, the latest in a series of weather-related accidents at sea affecting millions of dollars in cargo
By Costas Paris
A cargo ship operated by A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S lost several hundred containers in the Pacific Ocean while sailing through heavy seas from China to Los Angeles, the latest in a spate of incidents in which boxes carrying millions of dollars’ worth of goods have gone overboard.
The company said the Maersk Essen, which has capacity for more than 13,000 containers, lost an estimated 750 of them on January 16 about halfway through its trans-Pacific sailing from China’s Port of Xiamen.
“All crew members are safe and a detailed cargo assessment is ongoing while the vessel continues on her journey,” Maersk said in a statement on Thursday. “The U.S. Coast Guard, flag state and relevant authorities have been notified. We view this as a very serious situation which will be investigated promptly and thoroughly.” A.P. Moller-Maersk is based in Copenhagen and the ship carries a Danish flag.
Several container ships have lost large numbers of boxes overboard in recent months in a spurt of accidents that maritime industry officials say had been declining.
The One Apus container vessel, operated by Singapore-based Ocean Network Express, lost around 2,000 boxes in November when it hit a storm off Hawaii on its way to Long Beach, Calif., from Yantian, China. The ship eventually sailed to Kobe, Japan, with hundreds of tipped-over containers sitting precariously onboard and remains there for repairs and an investigation into the cause of the incident.
People involved in the investigations said insurance claims from the One Apus could reach more than $220 million.
Losing boxes in harsh weather is relatively rare, but incidents this winter have been on the rise, especially in the Pacific.
Earlier this month, 76 containers fell off a vessel operated by Israel’s ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. en route from South Korea to North America. On Dec. 31, a boxship managed by Taiwan’s Evergreen Marine Corp. Ltd. lost around 40 containers off the coast of Japan while heading across the Pacific.
Engineers involved in the probes say they are looking into typical causes like failures in lashing systems that hold containers together. But as ships become bigger and containers are stacked high as multistory buildings, a vessel’s stability may come under greater pressure from pitching and rolling.
“It’s called parametric rolling and can happen when waves don’t hit the bow head-on, but at an angle. The ship goes into a rolling motion in sync with the waves which, combined with the ship’s normal pitching as it steams ahead, can displace cargo,” said Fotis Pagoulatos, an Athens-based naval architect.
Maritime officials say ship operators are looking at installing sensors that could issue warnings on sea conditions to avoid parametric rolling.
“The higher you stack the boxes on deck, the larger the forces they are subjected to when the vessel moves in waves, and this could be a contributing factor, especially as the recent demand boom has meant filling all ships to the brim,” said Lars Jensen, chief executive of Denmark-based SeaIntelligence Consulting.
Yiannis Sgouras, a veteran Greek captain, said the threat can come without warning, even when waves aren’t very high. “If you don’t catch it early on and change course, the ship can roll from side to side as it steams forward and things fall over,” he said.
Maritime insurance executives said roughly 3,000 containers have been lost at sea over the past two months.
The World Shipping Council, a Washington-based trade body representing liner companies, said in a report last July that between 2008 and 2019 on average 1,382 containers were lost at sea each year.
Write to Costas Paris at email@example.com
Copyright © 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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|From: Jon Koplik||1/24/2021 12:47:14 PM|
|WSJ obituary on Peter Huber, lawyer and author, provoked debate on medicine and the environment |
Jan. 20, 2021
Peter Huber Provoked Debate on Medicine and the Environment
Harvard-trained lawyer and author, who has died at age 68, taught thermodynamics at MIT before diving into public policy
By James R. Hagerty
By age 23, Peter W. Huber had a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and was teaching thermodynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To keep his mind sufficiently occupied, he enrolled at Harvard Law School and shuttled by moped between teaching classes at MIT and taking them at Harvard.
He juggled those tasks well enough to graduate summa cum laude from Harvard in 1982, at the top of his class, and had clerkships with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then an appeals court judge, and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Armed to the teeth with credentials, he then practiced law and wrote provocative books and essays that made him an influential voice in debates over medicine, product-liability lawsuits, telecommunications, energy and the environment. Though he recognized the need for regulation, he hated the idea that misguided rules or bureaucracy would delay the benefits of new technology.
Some reviewers accused him of oversimplifying, exaggerating or failing to back up his assertions with citations to scientific studies.
In a note to a friend, he gave his response: “My job is to be sufficiently entertaining and outrageous to get people to spend a bit of time thinking about serious issues. And while I assert what I believe (at that particular moment) with outrageous certainty, you will also find if you read far enough that I always concede down the road that I quite see the other side of the argument.”
Mr. Huber died Jan. 8 of frontotemporal dementia. He was 68 years old.
He found time to write more than a dozen books, partly because he got up as early as 3 a.m. It also helped, he noted, that “I can type really fast.”
Peter William Huber was born Nov. 3, 1952, in Toronto and grew up in Geneva. His father, born in the Netherlands, was an administrator at the World Health Organization. His Canadian-born mother was a primary schoolteacher.
At age 17, he began his studies at MIT, where some of his research involved the safety of cooling systems in nuclear reactors. His work in that area made him wonder about the ability of the U.S. legal system to “deal effectively with technological problems,” Ain Sonin, one of his mentors at MIT, said in 1992.
By the early 1990s, Mr. Huber was “the academic superstar of the legal-reform movement,” The Wall Street Journal reported in a Page 1 story. He was a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, and a founding partner of the law firm now known as Kellogg Hansen.
A 1991 book by Mr. Huber, “Galileo’s Revenge: Junk Science in the Courtroom,” exposed abuses in product-liability lawsuits and made a case for stricter limits on who can qualify as an expert witness. In a case involving the drug Bendectin, a federal appeals-court judge, Alex Kozinski, quoted Mr. Huber to back a decision excluding testimony based on evidence not verified by a scientific consensus.
In a 1999 book, “Hard Green: Saving the Environment From the Environmentalists,” Mr. Huber backed traditional nature-conservation policies but argued that regulation had gone too far in creating rules to control risks based on “long chains of conjecture and projection, most of them disconnected from verifiable economic theory or historical experience.”
He favored drawing the line on regulation “where the thick smoke and raw sewage give way to ephemeral wisps and molecular traces.”
“The Bottomless Well,” a 2005 book by Mr. Huber and Mark P. Mills, affirmed that the world will never run out of energy and won an endorsement from Bill Gates. Energy supply depends on “how good we are at finding and extracting it,” Messrs. Huber and Mills wrote. “What is scarce is not raw energy but the drive and the logic that is able to locate, purify and channel it to our own ends.”
Mr. Huber turned his restless intellect to personalized medicine and experimental treatments based on genetic data for a 2013 book, “The Cure in the Code.” He feared that cumbersome regulation was blocking progress in attacking disease at the molecular level. His book advocates “policies that allow biochemists, doctors and patients enough flexibility to confront and collaborate to master the complexities of biochemical reality.”
Mr. Huber’s survivors include his wife, Andrea Huber, and their three children, along with a partner, Sarah Pletcher, their daughter and her son.
Despite his enthusiasm for the latest medical techniques, Mr. Huber expressed no interest in experimental treatments after being diagnosed in 2017 with frontotemporal dementia, Dr. Pletcher wrote in an email. “It was as if, like so many other times in his intellectual experience, he could see the whole chessboard with this new opponent and recognized that there weren’t any moves left.”
Write to James R. Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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