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September 25, 2006, 7:04 PM CT

Life Cycle Of A Spider

Life Cycle Of A Spider
The spider life cycle progresses through three stages: the embryonic, the larval, and the nympho-imaginal.

The time between when an egg is fertilized and when the spider begins to take the shape of an adult spider is referred to as the embryonic stage. As the spider enters the larval stage, it begins to look more and more like an adult spider. It enters the larval stage as a prelarva and, through subsequent moults, reaches its larval form, a spider-shaped animal feeding off its yolk supply. After a few more moults (also called instars) body structures become differentiated. Soon, all organ systems are complete and the animal begins to hunt on its own; it has reached the nympho-imaginal stage.[2].

This stage is differentiated into two sub-stages: the nymph, or juvenile stage and the imago, or adult stage. A spider does not become sexually mature until it makes the transition from nymph to imago.[2] Once a spider has reached the imago stage, it will remain there until its death. After sexual maturity is reached, the general rule is that they stop moulting, but the females of some non-araneomorph species will continue to moult the rest of their lives.

A number of spiders may only live for about a year, but a number will live two years or more, overwintering in sheltered areas. The annual influx of 'outdoor' spiders into houses in the fall is due to this search for a warm place to spend the winter. It is common for tarantulas to live around twenty years.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

September 25, 2006, 6:48 PM CT

Galapagos Wildlife

Galapagos Wildlife Image courtesy of
Galapagos Wildlife


There are 27 species of reptiles found on the Galapagos divided in five families as follows: snakes, geckos, Iguanas, lava lizards and, the giant tortoises.

Giant Tortoises (Geochelone elephantopus).

The Galapagos and the Seychelles are the sole islands housing giant tortoises while the Galapagos name originates from the Saddleback tortoise meaning galápago or saddle.

14 subspecies of this wonderful ancient has been located on the islands and 11 survive to this day. The most senior tortoise lives in the Darwin Research Station and is purported to be a grand 170. Longevity results through perhaps a stress free lifestyle as all their life consists of is eating, mating and sleeping with no predators at large in addition to nesting during February to May when the females prepare to lay their eggs which take between 3 to 8 months to hatch.

Today the Darwin Research station is helping to increase the current 15,000 population of giant turtles and along with the Santa Cruz tortoise reserve on San Cristobal housing the highest population of all islands the captivity approach is working effectively.

Marine Turtles (Chelonia mydas).

The pacific green turtle mates around December-January and lays its eggs from 80 up to over 100 in a hole in the darkness of night with Floreana beach being a popular area for the laying of their eggs.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

September 25, 2006, 6:37 PM CT

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands Galapagos Islands
The following section gives you parameters based on allowed activities for visitors to the Galapagos Islands.


The Galapagos is one of the few sites in the world where tourism is orientated distinctly around the nature, constituting a educational activity.

Tourism in the Galapagos was started in 1969 with the arrival of the first tourist boat the "Lina A", and today it is the principal force of the economy of the region and responsible for the principal changes in structure of the insular space.

The areas of the National Park that are established for public use are found clearly marked and distributed in almost all of the main islands of the archipelago. There are 54 land sites to visit and 62 marine sites. Most of the sites are accessed by sea and for this tourism has principally developed to be carried out in organized groups, with an authorized guide, that arrive at visitor sites on board tourist boats. Furthermore there exists sites in the four populated islands (Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela and Floreana), with land access, where it is permitted to visit without a guide.

Visitors to the PNG (Galapagos National Park) require the presence of one or more guides, the same that help the PNG in the work of control and vigilance of the visitor sites, a job of great importance considering the size and dispersion of the archipelago and the high cost of management.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

September 25, 2006, 6:14 PM CT

Handling Airport Security Hassles

Handling Airport Security Hassles
A new UC Davis study of post-9/11 air travelers found that men were more likely than women to be bothered by slow airport-security screenings, and lower-income earners were more likely than upper-income earners to be bothered.

In addition, the more reluctant airline passengers were to travel following the 9/11 attacks, the more likely they were to be bothered by slow screenings.

But overall, the study found that people might be willing to endure long waits for airport security screenings, especially if delays are consistent at specific airports and at particular times of day.

The study should be helpful to airlines and security providers as they try to strike a balance between traveler safety and customer service.

"There is no question the time air passengers spend waiting for security is important, but this is only a proxy for the underlying desire to have consistent procedures from travel experience to travel experience," said Deb Niemeier, a UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering. "Most passengers want to know how long it's going to take, and intrinsic to that is what they can expect".

Niemeier and two Purdue University researchers analyzed data from traveler surveys in 2002 and 2003. They found:
  • People earning more than $75,000 per year were 5 percent more likely to be satisfied with the speed of airport-security screening.
  • ........

    Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

September 24, 2006, 10:31 AM CT

Bentley Azure Convertible 2006

Bentley Azure Convertible 2006
The luxurious four-seater Bentley Azure, which goes on sale in Spring 2006, is the latest in a portfolio of wonderfully desirable 'dropheads' stretching back many decades and reaffirms Bentley's reputation as creator of the world's most elegant convertibles.

Bentley first hinted that a new Bentley Azure might be in the pipeline when it unveiled the glamorous Arnage Drophead Coupé show car at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2005. The show car stimulated such interest among Bentley aficionados that the decision was quickly taken to continue its extensive development programme in time for delivery of the first customer cars in Spring 2006. Last month, Bentley announced that the production version of the show car would carry the evocative Azure name. Like its iconic predecessor, which was in production from 1995 to 2002, the new Azure becomes the flagship of the Bentley model range.

The design of the new Bentley Azure is, first and foremost, unmistakeably Bentley. It shares its face with the current Arnage range and its platform ensures it seats four adults in supreme comfort. But it is also unmistakeably unique. The entire cabin and rear section of the car are newly designed, with a stunning bespoke interior; the objective being to create an opulent and inviting seating area that reflects its status as a car that is at home in Palm Springs or the Riviera. The complex folding roof on the convertible is operated hydraulically at the touch of a switch: the impressive, three-layer fabric assembly being elegantly stowed beneath the hide-trimmed tonneau in under 30 seconds.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

September 23, 2006, 11:38 AM CT

Taking Uncertainty Principle To Unprecedented Level

Taking Uncertainty Principle To Unprecedented Level A scanning electron microscope image of an aluminum and silicon nitride resonator coupled to a superconducting single electron transistor.
In the submicroscopic world -- the domain of elementary particles and individual atoms -- things behave in the strange, counter-intuitive fashion governed by the principles of quantum mechanics. Nothing (or so it seems) like our macroscopic world -- or even the microscopic world of cells or bacteria or dust particles -- where Newton's much more reasonable laws keep things sensibly ordered.

The problem comes in finding the dividing line between the two worlds -- or even in establishing that such a line exists. To that end, Keith Schwab, associate professor of physics who moved to Cornell this year from the National Security Agency, and his colleagues have created a device that approaches this quantum mechanical limit at the largest length-scale to date.

And surprisingly, the research also has shown how scientists can lower the temperature of an object -- just by watching it.

The results, which could have applications in quantum computing, cooling engineering and more, appear in the Sept. 14 issue of the journal Nature.

The device is actually a tiny (8.7 microns, or millionths of a meter, long; 200 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, wide) sliver of aluminum on silicon nitride, pinned down at both ends and allowed to vibrate in the middle. Nearby, Schwab positioned a superconducting single electron transistor (SSET) to detect minuscule changes in the sliver's position.........

Posted by: John      Permalink         Source

September 22, 2006, 4:44 PM CT

To Clean After Hurricane Katrina

To Clean After Hurricane Katrina
In a new study analyzing the environmental effects of Hurricane Katrina, the scientists state that household levels of mold and bacterial endotoxins in three single-family homes were so considerable that they equaled or surpassed those in waste- water therapy plants, cotton mills, and agricultural environments.

Scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, report that following Hurricane Katrina, a number of New Orleans homes remained underwater for weeks, promoting heavy mold growth. The scientists selected three New Orleans houses for this mold study. These three homes were selected for the study based on their levels of flood water, whether they previously were structurally sound, and if they were located in an area likely to be rebuilt. The study was looking at the extent to which these homes experienced significant and prolonged exposure to flood waters and effort to satisfactorily clean for reconstruction. These houses were inspected for roof leakage, standing water and the extent of mold throughout their interiors, as well as heating ventilation and air conditioning.

"From our data, it is clear that levels of mold were so high that we strongly recommend that those entering, cleaning, and repairing flood-damaged homes wear respirators that are more protective than plain dust masks," said Ginger Chew, ScD, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. "While our assessments of the data are based on a small demonstration project, the results give a clear picture of what is acceptable in flood clean-up procedures".........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

September 20, 2006, 10:05 PM CT

Corn And Soy Plastics To Be Made Into Hog Feeders

Corn And Soy Plastics To Be Made Into Hog Feeders Richard Larock
Richard Larock sorted through a pile of neatly labeled baggies filled with the plastics he makes from corn, soybean and other bio-based oils.

Larock, a University Professor of chemistry at Iowa State University, found the thin, square piece he was looking for and smacked it against his hand. This one is made from soybean oil reinforced with glass fibers, he said. And it's the kind of tough bioplastic he and his industrial collaborators will use to develop, test and manufacture new hog feeders.

Larock said his research project is about as Iowa as you can get. The state, after all, is the country's leading producer of corn, soybeans and pork.

The project is partially supported by a grant of $96,000 from the Grow Iowa Values Fund, a state economic development program. Larock is working with AgVantage Inc., a Rockford, Ill., company with manufacturing facilities in Iowa, and R3 Composites, a Muscatine manufacturer.

Larock has invented and patented a process for producing various bioplastics from inexpensive natural oils, which make up 40 percent to 80 percent of the plastics. Larock said the plastics have excellent thermal and mechanical properties and are very good at dampening noises and vibrations. They're also very good at returning to their original shapes when they're heated.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

September 20, 2006, 8:46 PM CT

Mariska's Dad Mickey Hargitay Dies at 80

Mariska's Dad Mickey Hargitay Dies at 80
Mickey Hargitay, the 1955 Mr. Universe and father - with late sex symbol Jayne Mansfield - of actress Mariska Hargitay, died of multiple myeloma Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ellen, his wife of 38 years, tells the Los Angeles Times. He was 80.

"Words cannot express how saddened we are by the loss of Mickey," his family said in a statement, the Associated Press reports. "At the same time, we are so grateful for who he was and is to all of us, and for the love he gave us in our lives. He will continue to be our source of inspiration and strength."

Born Miklos Hargitay in Hungary, he emigrated to the United States after World War II. His bodybuilding - he was named Mr. Universe, Mr. America and Mr. Olympia in 1955 - helped popularize the sport and landed him a role in Mae West's Las Vegas revue.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

September 20, 2006, 5:18 AM CT

environmental challenges faced by China

environmental challenges faced by China
It is the most populous country in the world. Half the country is arid or semi-arid and mountains cover three-quarters of it. Natural resources are scarce. Yet 1.3 billion people live in China, which is undergoing a remarkable rate of economic growth. At the same time, China's environmental problems of energy and water shortages, water and air pollution, cropland and biodiversity losses are escalating.

The recent issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment devotes itself entirely to exploring China's environmental challenges and potential solutions, with all of the articles written by Chinese scientists.

As the lead guest editorialists Drs. Jingyun Fang and Chia Kiang (both of Peking University) note, "China's extraordinary rate of economic development makes it a historically unique, grand-scale socioeconomic and ecological "experiment," and one that will have an unprecedented impact on the world as a whole.

The journal's research communications examine the ecological consequences of the rapid urban expansion of Shanghai as well as the state of biodiversity in China's mountains. Focusing on major cities such as Shanghai, Shuqing Zhao (Peking University) and colleagues discuss the major challenges faced by Chinese policy makers in managing the tradeoffs between urbanization and environmental protection. Meanwhile, the country's mountainous regions still host a surprising number of plant and animals species. Zhiyao Tang (Peking University) and fellow researchers identified ten hotspot regions in China's major mountain ranges they say should be priorities for the country's conservation plans.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source

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