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Velcro® was inspired by the grappling hooks of burrs. Supersonic jets have structures that work like the nostrils of peregrine falcons in a speed dive. Full-body swimsuits, now banned from the Olympics, lend athletes a smooth, streamlined shape like fish.
Nature’s designs are also giving researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health ideas for new technologies that could help wounds heal, make injections less painful and provide new materials for a variety of purposes.
Quill Skills

The quills of the North American porcupinefeature needlelike tips armed with layers of 700 to 800 microscopic barbs. As curious dogs and would-be predators discover, the backward-facing barbs make it agonizing to remove the spines from flesh.

To scientists, the flesh-grabbing ability of quills point to myriad applications. Take, for instance, the work of Jeffrey Karp of Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospitaland the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his Harvard/MIT colleague Robert Langer. These researchers created disks of medical tape impregnated with microscopic barbs. They are testing the patches as tools to repair hernias or close surgical wounds and thinkthe disks might have advantages over the meshes and staples currently used.  Porcupine quills have given researchers new ideas of how to make medical devices and materials with desired characteristics.

The same researchers recently examined porcupine quills from a completely different perspective. What intrigued them most was not how difficult the quills are to remove, but how readily the shafts penetrate skin. Barbed quills slip into flesh even more easily than ones with no barbs — or than hypodermic needles of the same diameter.
The scientists discovered, to their surprise, that a quill’s puncture power comes from its barbed tip. Barbs seem to work like the points on a serrated knife, concentrating pressure onto small areas to aid penetration. Because they require significantly less force to puncture skin, barbed shafts don’t hurt as much when they enter flesh as their smooth-tipped counterparts do.
To the researchers, barbed quills are a starting point for designing needles that deliver less painful injections. To get around the prickly—and potentially painful — problem of withdrawing barb-tipped needles, the scientists suggest creating synthetic barbs that soften or degrade after penetration, or placing barbs only on areas of the needle where they would aid entry but not hinder exit.
Gecko Grip
Geckos can skitter up walls and walk along ceilings because their feet are covered with a dense mat of fingerlike projections. Each projection, a few thousandths of an inch long and many times thinner than a human hair, ends in a tuft of hundreds of nanoscale fibers called spatulae. The tip of each spatula broadens and flattens into a rounded triangle, rather like a kitchen spatula. Together, the nanoscale spatulae vastly increase the contact area between a gecko’s foot and a surface.
With lizard feet in mind, Karp and Langer created a biocompatible medical adhesive that features a pattern of nanoscale pillars to maximize contact area. The material can stick to a variety of tissue surfaces, including those that are irregular and change shape.
Unfortunately, the material isn’t sticky enough to create an airtight, waterproof seal, so it can’t be used by itself on internal organs. In contrast, existing medical-grade glue can seal wounds tightly and quickly, but it can also cause tissue irritation.
The scientists combined the two products to create an ideal solution: a gecko-inspired tape coated with a thin layer of glue. The new tape conforms closely to surfaces, the glue seals any small gaps, and the entire product is nonirritating to tissues. These features could make it suitable for applications like repairing blood vessels or sealing up holes in the digestive tract.

Every part of a spider web is strong and elastic, but only some strands are sticky. These features inspired scientists to design a medical adhesive that is more gentle on delicate skin.
Silky Stickiness
Spider silk is strong (five times stronger than steel by weight), stretchy and lightweight. Some silk is sticky to catch prey, and some is not to let the spider scurry along it.
Karp, Langer and their postdoctoral associate Bryan Laulicht sought to create another new medical product with similar properties—a pliable, peel-off adhesive that doesn’t damage the underlying surface when removed. This sort of tape would be especially valuable for keepingtubes or sensors in placeon those with delicate skin, including newborn infants and elderly people.
For reference, the scientists initially turned to traditional medical tape, which, like household masking tape, is made by spreading a sticky adhesive onto a thin backing material. But instead of spraying the backing with adhesive right away, the researchers first applied a silicon-based film. Then, with another nod to the nanoscale pattern on gecko feet, they used a laser to etch a microscopic grid pattern onto the film. Finally, they added the sticky layer.
Along the grid lines, where the laser burned away the film, the backing touches the adhesive and the product acts just like normal sticky tape. In areas untouched by the laser, the backing floats on the silicon film and lifts off easily, leaving behind a layer of adhesive that either wears off naturally or can be rolled off with light finger pressure.
In essence, the resulting product has some sticky and nonsticky areas, just like a spider web. It goes on easily, adheres well and, best of all, comes off gently, even when pulled rapidly in an emergency situation.
Karp isn’t surprised that studying the natural world can reveal solutions to medical challenges. “I strongly believe that evolution is truly the best problem solver,” he said, adding that we still have much to learn from nature.
Learn more:
Video About Jeffrey Karp’s Research
Also in this series:
Nature: The Master Medicine-Maker
his Inside Life Science article was provided to LiveScience in cooperation with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

from The Institute of Noetic Science, the Noetic Now Journalhttp://noetic.org

I cheered when I read Kelly Turner’s article on unexpected remission of cancer and promptly sent it to all my friends who know that there’s more to the cancer story than what’s being told through mainstream channels. Giving scientific time and energy to these “miracles” is long overdue, and those of us who have resolved our cancer in unorthodox ways are vigorously applauding her efforts and wondering with great anticipation where this might lead.

According to Turner, “unexpected remissions are estimated to occur in one of every sixty thousand to one hundred thousand cancer patients; however, the true incidence rate is likely higher than that due to underreporting.” I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I’d bet that the rate is far higher than any of us imagine.

Before I extrapolate, let me say that I am not a scientist or a medical researcher. I’m an author with a firsthand understanding of what it’s like to have cancer, go through the rigors of conventional treatments, and find myself deposited on a lonely and frightening island after those treatments didn’t work. Most of all, I’m a believer in the power of stories and how they are an integral component of consciousness and healing. I know this not only from my own story but also from the stories I heard as I healed.

From Despair to Hope:In 2006, I was diagnosed with anal cancer, right around the time Farrah Fawcett was diagnosed with the same. I was given a 90 percent “cure rate” using chemo and radiation. This was a hard course for me to follow because for years I had written or edited books on nutrition and alternative medicine and I wanted to take another path. But even doctors in Germany who offered more innovative treatments urged me to stay home, save my money, and do the conventional protocol since it was so successful.

It was a brutal several months, and the radiation changed my body forever. My doctors said this was the price to pay to cure the cancer. But a year later they found another tumor requiring radical surgery that left me with a colostomy. My oncologist reassured me that I’d be back on my bike within a month of the surgery, but what my well-meaning doctors didn’t comprehend was how badly the radiation had destroyed my skin. I didn’t have enough healthy tissue to heal the surgery site, and I needed two subsequent operations and nine months of mostly prone rest before the wound came together. Again, my doctors reassured me that this was necessary to combat the disease.

Three months after everything seemed back to normal, my radiologist, a very kind man, told me in the quietest and most telling voice that there was a small tumor near my sciatic nerve, which was spotted on a routine scan. This meant the cancer had metastasized; there wasn’t much they could do. This news grew in me and became the horror story of my end days. My husband and I spent weeks in the grip of terror, wondering who would help raise our two beautiful children.

A first inkling of hope came from my therapist. She was reading Candace Pert’s The Molecules of Emotion, which explains the relationship between mind and body. My therapist urged me to harness the magnificent power of my mind to create a pathway to wellness. Catching her enthusiasm, I shored up my inner resources and decided that if the doctors couldn’t help, then it was up to me.

I became a raw foodist, turned off the news, and refused to read sad books or watch violent movies. I gave myself completely to the belief that my mind and body make up an inseparable partnership that creates my emotional and physical well-being. I got my hands on everything I could about using the mind to heal and accessing whatever tools consciousness had to offer. I did undergo a progressive type of radiation called Cyberknife, which is considered less harmful than the “wide field” that was used on me after the first diagnosis. But I opted not to undergo the chemo that a specialist said “might do something.” It sounded like a dice roll at best.

The choices I made during those months launched me on an empowering and fantastic journey, largely because of my dedication and clarity of mind to get well. Even so, I still had moments of panic that this “metastasized cancer” was going to defeat my best intentions. That’s when I realized that to truly and fully believe in my own healing, I needed to hear the stories of others. I decided to compile their stories, as well as those from doctors using cutting-edge cancer treatments, into a book.

An Unyielding Belief in Healing:I thought I’d have to take out an ad in The New York Times to find people who are now cancer free despite a dire prognosis, but it didn’t take any advertising at all. Friends and clergy were both curious and supportive when they learned about my project, and they eagerly stepped up to help. They didn’t know I was writing the book to save myself, but they did know a distant cousin, a spouse of a client, a friend of a friend, or even someone from the local Lyon’s Club who had faced a death sentence after conventional treatment failed but was now thriving.

The first several interviews revealed the dualistic relationship these people had with their recovery. Most were intensely private about it, partly because they were finished with cancer and didn’t want to carry the cultural associations of having a disease or being a survivor. Some said friends or family didn’t consider their approach to healing legitimate because it was outside the box or believed the cancer would return or perhaps wasn’t even there to begin with. A handful of people disappeared from the lives of those I interviewed, uncomfortable with the mere notion that these things happen.

The other reason interviewees were private about their stories is there’s no place to go with them. As Turner’s article points out, today’s pharmaceutically based medicine doesn’t track this stuff. I was told how doctors were mildly interested, stymied by the clean blood tests or scans, or critical and dismissive. Perhaps that’s why the people I spoke to lit up when I told them I was compiling a book about healing in unconventional ways—including how consciousness plays into the mix.

Again, there was no scientific arm—or aim—to my interviews. I just wanted insights into the dimensions of mind that helped forge a pathway to good health. And indeed, there were many. Those I spoke with employed a vast menu of tools, including food and forgiveness; qi gong; creative visualization; prayer and meditation; Traditional Chinese Medicine; crystals and herbs. Plus, they engaged their consciousness—meaning that they understood their healing was ultimately up to them. It was not just a “think positively” fest. Depending on their personalities, they developed and refined their healing approach either intuitively or pragmatically, or both intuitively and pragmatically. It was work in every sense of the word, but it was the work they saw as right, true, and necessary to transform the cancer in both their mind and body.

One thread seems to be common to every story: all of these people harnessed an unyielding belief that they would heal—or die trying. Most admitted that disempowering relationships, jobs, self-judgment, or all of these played into why they believe they got the disease, and so, most made significant life changes after getting cancer. All believed that consciously and deliberately making the choices that were right for them and committing to a new, more empowering life is partly why they healed. Some were more at peace than others with the fact that they might die in spite of their efforts. But they had no regrets about changing their lives for the better for as long as they were alive. Everyone fostered a new and infectious zeal for living.

Hearing their inspiring stories, I became increasingly convinced that I could do it too. I could craft my own story to resolve my cancer. I was conscious of everything I ate and drank, everything I exposed myself to in my environment, and mindful of every strain or stress and where it was located in my body. I also worked with professionals and friends to know myself as deeply as I possibly could: the admirable parts, the unsavory ones, and those with self-destructive tendencies—however unconscious they may have been. In doing so, I healed layers of myself I didn’t even know existed. A year after the last tumor was detected, I was found to be cancer free.

Consciousness Matters:While conducting these interviews, I also soaked up what I could from various masters of consciousness (Jesus, Thich Nhat Hahn, Viktor Frankl, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, Gregg Braden) and learned all I could about how the mind impacts the body (Bruce Lipton, David Hawkins, Candace Pert, and others). I realized that using the power of our minds has less to do with will and might than most of us realize. There is a supercharged energy that accompanies us on quests of such clarity and intensity; I call it spiritual adrenaline. In that space, we are willful, yes, but we quickly learn that will is a product of a finite mind-set or ego-based reality. What happened for me is that I gave way to something much bigger than I could control or instruct. It propelled the wave of my intention as I stepped aside and allowed it to guide, heal, and soothe me. It was the most peaceful, accepting, loving, and powerful energy I have ever known. It was pure consciousness, in love with my desire for life.

I believe we are in a unique and potentially liberating moment in the history of understanding health. While cancer rates are on the rise and the cost of allopathic treatments is skyrocketing, there is a fledging but rapidly growing public interest in new and more humanistic ways to treat this vexing disease. It’s clear, for example, that accepting disease as more than just a physical problem—by using our consciousness—is a wise and holistic prescription for approaching wellness.

So let’s get busy spreading the news of research like Dr. Turner’s and the work being done at IONS. As they find the technology to scientifically prove that consciousness matters, that our photons emit light for miles away, that the field of energy we occupy mingles with the fields of every living thing on our planet and maybe even in our universe, those of us who have experienced something phenomenal will be the first to defend and announce that consciousness was part of our own healing process.

Perhaps I may never be able to teach, measure, or prove in quantifiable terms what happened to me or the people I interviewed. Although there is living proof throughout the globe that remarkable recoveries occur (even if they are secreted away in silence), how do we capture the consciousness behind them to see how it happens? Perhaps that’s the new frontier of medicine that we’re only now dreaming up. So, for now, maybe the best thing we can do is to keep telling our stories; they are life-giving medicine all by themselves

NEWLY FOUND COMET COULD OUTSHINE THE MOON

Article from Discovery.com: Skywatchers may be in for a rare treat in 2013 — a newly discovered comet is expected to pass very close to the sun, putting on what could be the celestial show of a century.

Two amateur astronomers in Russia are credited with finding the object, known as Comet ISON and so named for the International Scientific Optical Network that made the discovery.

PHOTOS: Close Encounters with Comets

“The object was slow and had a unique movement. But we could not be certain that it was a comet, because the scale of our images are quite small and the object was very compact,” Artyom Novichonok, wrote on a comets mailing list hosted on Yahoo.

Follow-up observations as well as a search of archived images of the area confirmed the discovery, which was officially reported on Sept. 24, three days after Novichonok and Vitali Nevski found the object far beyond Jupiter’s orbit.

The International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center predicts Comet ISON could be visible without binoculars or telescopes to skywatchers on Earth from early November through the first few weeks of January 2014.

ANALYSIS: New Comet Discovered — Will It Be Spectacular?

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover also may get a look when the comet sails past the red planet in early October.

The comet’s journey likely started in the Oort Cloud, a cluster of icy rocks that circle the sun about 50,000 times farther away than Earth’s orbit. Comet ISON is expected to pass as close as 700,000 miles, or 1.1 million kilometers, from the sun on Nov. 28.

If it survives, the comet could be the brightest to appear in Earth’s skies since 1965 and could even be visible in daylight.

Image: Color-enhanced view of Comet ISON photographed at the RAS Observatory near Mayhill, NM on Sept. 22, 2012, by amateur astronomers Ernesto Guido. Credit: Remanzacco Observatory/Ernesto Guido, Giovanni Sostero and Nick Howes

Being a left-handed person, I am always reading little tidbits like these. I recall when I was a child, some prejudice against my being left-handed. When I was learning to write, my teacher used to sit me away from everyone else, so I would not see how they were writing. She insisted I get the right-handed curve down, which I believe, is most likely impossible for all lefties to accomplish.
I know my teacher meant no harm. I simply was the first lefty she had taught. Although, to my 7 year old mind, I was humiliated and embarrassed when set apart from the class. It also was cause for some nasty name calling and torment when the teacher wasn’t around. I think that would be the first time I had ever been called “dummy”. Such a pity, how children can behave like chickens who will slowly peck to death the different chicken in the flock simply for fear of what they felt made the chicken different.
While this was one of my trials in childhood, it is nothing compared to what my sister-in-law put up with from her own parents. They actually kept the offensive left hand tied behind her back everyday to force her to use her right hand. It worked. She is right handed. However, she does many things with her left hand like throw a ball. She also has much problem with depression and other psychological problems, which makes one wonder whether this cruel treatment may be the reason behind them. So intrigued I am, I found another article which was posted in The Wall Street Journal, that managed to piss me off. I must say, I disagree that my mother had something traumatic happen during her pregnancy. I also disagree that I must have a problem with my mental health. Evidently, some prejudice still live. This time in the guise of Science.

<strong>About Left Handed People by Rebecca Cioffi</strong>

Creativity
It’s a common belief that left handed people are more creative, but there is a reason why some lefties can be more creative. The right hemisphere of the brain is the dominant side with left handers. That part of the brain is associated with creative, non-linear thinking. So left handers are often considered to be genetically more creative.

History
In less aware times, left handed people were considered evil or bad, with some even burned as witches. As late as the early 1900s, some parents still tried to switch their children to using their right hand. This practice came down from past centuries when there were no eating utensils or running water. People were taught to eat with their right hand and use the left hand for any grooming and toilet needs. It simply was bad hygiene to use the left hand, so people started to associate those who used their left hand predominantly as unclean.

Left Handers and Challenges
More left handed products are available now than ever before, but left handers are still challenged by ironing, using scissors and trying to write on any paper that is bound on the right hand side. Many left handers have learned to do these tasks right handed and many left handers are considered ambidextrous since they can do so much with their right hand. However, most left handers cannot write with their right hand.

Famous Left Handers-
Both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were left handed, as is Barack Obama. Henry Ford of Ford Motors was left handed, and so are Tom Cruise and Ted Koppell. Many writers, artists and actors are also left handed, as well as visionaries in science and medicine.

Read more: About Left Handed People | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5132200_left-handed-people.html#ixzz24BYMjBI5

<strong><em>The Health Risk Of Being Left Handed by Shirley S. Wang</em></strong>

Left-handers have been the subject of curiosity, stigma and even fear over the centuries. Researchers now, however, are recognizing the scientific importance of understanding why people use one hand or the other to write, eat or toss a ball.

Modern lefty lore says left-handers are smarter, more creative and have an advantage over righties. But is it true? WSJ’s Christina Tsuei looks into the science of lefties.

Handedness, as the dominance of one hand over the other is called, provides a window into the way our brains are wired, experts say. And it may help shed light on disorders related to brain development, like dyslexia, schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, which are more common in left-handed people.

Other recent research suggests that mixed-handedness—using different hands for daily tasks and not having a dominant one—may be even more strongly linked than left-handedness to ADHD and possibly other conditions.

About 10% of people are left-handed, according to expert estimates. Another 1% of the population is mixed-handed. What causes people not to favor their right hand is only partly due to genetics—even identical twins, who have 100% of the same genes, don’t always share handedness.

More important, researchers say, are environmental factors—especially stress—in the womb. Babies born to older mothers or at a lower birth weight are more likely to be lefties, for example. And mothers who were exposed to unusually high levels of stress during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to a left-handed child. A review of research, published in 2009 in the journal Neuropsychologia, estimated that about 25% of the variability in handedness is due to genetics.

• Left-handed people make up about 10% of the population, while 1% of the population appear not to be dominant with either hand, known as mixed-handed.

•Being left-handed is only partially genetic.

For reasons not clearly understood, handedness depends mainly on how a baby’s brain develops while in the womb.

• On average there is no difference in intelligence between right-and left-handed people. But lefties do better on an element of creativity known as divergent thinking.
•Six of the last 12 U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama and George H. W. Bush, have been lefties.

• Left-handed people earn on average 10% lower salaries than righties, according to a recent study. Findings of some earlier studies on income have been mixed.

•Despite popular misperceptions, lefties aren’t more accident prone than right-handed people and don’t tend to die at a younger age.

•Left-handedness has been linked to increased risk of certain neurodevelopmental disorders like schizophrenia and ADHD. Mixed-handedness is even more strongly associated with ADHD.

•Most people’s brains have a dominant side. More symmetrical brains of mixed-handed people may explain the link to some neural disorders.

On average there is no significant difference in IQ between righties and lefties, studies show, belying popular perceptions. There is some evidence that lefties are better at divergent thinking, or starting from existing knowledge to develop new concepts, which is considered an element of creativity. And left-handed people have salaries that on average are about 10% lower than righties, according to recent research performed at Harvard University that analyzed large income data bases, although findings of some earlier studies were mixed.

Left-handedness appears to be associated with a greater risk for a number of psychiatric and developmental disorders. While lefties make up about 10% of the overall population, about 20% of people with schizophrenia are lefties, for example. Links between left-handedness and dyslexia, ADHD and some mood disorders have also been reported in research studies.

The reasons for this aren’t clear. Scientists speculate it could be related to a concept known as brain lateralization. The brain has two halves. Each performs primarily separate, specialized functions, such as language processing, which mainly takes place in the left hemisphere. There is lots of communication between the hemispheres.

Typically in right-handers, the brain’s left side is dominant. But this tendency doesn’t hold up with lefties, as scientists previously believed. Some 70% of lefties rely on the left hemisphere for their language centers, a key brain function, says Metten Somers, a psychiatrist and researcher who studies brain lateralization at Utrecht University Medical Center in the Netherlands. This doesn’t appear to present problems, scientists say.

The other 30% of lefties appear to exhibit either a right-dominant or distributed pattern, Dr. Somers says. They may be more prone to impaired learning or functioning, and at greater risk for brain disorders, he says.

Hemisphere dominance is typical and more efficient. Symmetry, in which neither side is dominant, is believed linked to disorders, researchers say. People with schizophrenia, for instance, exhibit more symmetrical activation of their brain hemispheres than those without the disorder, studies show.

In a 2008 study, Alina Rodriguez, a psychology professor at Mid Sweden University in Östersund who studies handedness, brain development and ADHD, found that left- or mixed-handedness in children was linked to a greater risk of difficulty with language as well as ADHD symptoms. In another study published last year in Pediatrics, involving nearly 8,000 Finnish children, Dr. Rodriguez found that mixed-handedness rather than left-handedness was linked to ADHD symptoms.

And knowing that a child was mixed-handed and had ADHD symptoms at age 8 helped predict much more accurately than just knowing they had symptoms at that age whether the child would continue to have symptoms at age 16. (What happens when people are forced to switch from writing with their dominant hand to the other isn’t well known, experts say.)


Research that suggests that there is a link between favoring the left hand and an increased risk of bipolar disorder and ADHD, among other conditions.

One reason that not more is known about lefties is that many studies of how the brain works prohibit left-handers from participating because their brain wiring is known to be different, says Robin Nusslock, a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who uses neuroimaging to study mood disorders.


Lefties have an advantage in sports such as tennis, fencing and baseball, when up against a righthanded competitor, but not in noninteractive sports such as gymnastics.

A potential pathway between prenatal stress and brain wiring could be cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, which can interfere with brain development, says Carsten Obel, a professor at the public-health department at Aarhus University in Denmark who has conducted research on the prenatal environment and risk of disease. Cortisol is able to pass over the placenta barrier to influence the baby.

Several studies show that stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or job loss, during pregnancy increase the risk of having non-right-handed children. In one study of 834 Danish mothers and their 3-year-old children, Dr. Obel and his colleagues found that mothers who reported multiple stressful events during their third trimester of pregnancy and experienced distress were more than three times as likely to have a mixed-handed child, 17% compared with 5%, according to the 2003 paper published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

Another large study followed 1,700 Swedish mothers and children until the kids were 5 years old. It found that mothers with depressive symptoms or who underwent stressful life events while pregnant were more likely to have left- or mixed-handed children. The work was published by Dr. Rodriguez and her colleagues in 2008 in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Experts suggest that left- and mixed-handedness could be used as a risk factor for possible psychiatric or developmental conditions, along with behavioral difficulties, such as having a hard time in school. The presence of such risk factors could prompt early evaluation for those conditions, they say.

Read more: About Left Handed People | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5132200_left-handed-people.html#ixzz24BYMjBI5

http://www.reuters.com/article/slideshow/idUSBRE85312X20120606#a=1   Clink this link to see wonder pictures.

By Irene Klotz

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida | Wed Jun 6, 2012 3:14am EDT

(Reuters) – The planet Venus made a slow transit across the face of the sun on Tuesday, the last such passing that will be visible from Earth for 105 years.

Transits of Venus happen in pairs, eight years apart, with more than a century between cycles. During Tuesday’s pass, Venus took the form of a small black dot slowly shifting across the northern hemisphere of the sun.

Armchair astronomers watched the six-hour and 40-minute transit on the Internet, with dozens of websites offering live video from around the world.

Closeup views from the Prescott Observatory in Arizona, fed into Slooh.com’s webcast, showed a small solar flaring in the making just beneath Venus’ sphere.

Tuesday’s transit, completing a 2004-2012 pair, began at 6:09 p.m. EDT (2209 GMT).

Skywatchers on seven continents, including Antarctica, were able to see all or part of the transit. Even astronauts aboard the International Space Station joined in the spectacle.

“I’ve been planning this for a while,” space station flight engineer Don Pettit said in a NASA interview. “I knew the transit of Venus would occur during my rotation, so I brought a solar filter with me.”

It’s not all about pretty pictures. Several science experiments were planned, including studies that could help in the search for habitable planets beyond Earth.

Telescopes, such as NASA’s Kepler space telescope, are being used to find so-called extrasolar planets that pass in front of their parent stars, much like Venus passing by the sun.

During the transit of Venus, astronomers planned to measure the planet’s thick atmosphere in the hope of developing techniques to measure atmospheres around other planets.

Studies of the atmosphere of Venus could also shed light on why Earth and Venus, which are almost exactly the same size and orbit approximately the same distance from the sun, are so different.

Venus has a chokingly dense atmosphere, 100 times thicker than Earth’s, that is mostly carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

Its surface temperature is a lead-melting 900 degrees Fahrenheit (480 degrees Celsius) and towering clouds of sulfuric acid jet around the planet at 220 miles per hour dousing it with acid rain.

“Venus is known as the goddess of love, but it’s not the type of relationship you’d want,” an astronomer said on the Slooh.com webcast. “This is a look-but-don’t-touch kind of relationship.”

Scientists are interested in learning more about Venus’ climate in hopes of understanding changes in Earth’s atmosphere.

During previous transits of Venus, scientists were able to figure out the size of the solar system and the distance between the sun and the planets.

Tuesday’s transit is only the eighth since the invention of the telescope, and the last until December 10-11, 2117. It also is the first to take place with a spacecraft at Venus.

Observations from Europe’s Venus Express probe will be compared with those made by several ground and space-based telescopes, including NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, the joint U.S.-European Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and Japan’s Hinode spacecraft.

(Editing By Cynthia Johnston and David Brunnstrom)

Glow In The Dark

Nae's Nest —  May 15, 2012 — 7 Comments

My Doctor loves to cook
I am part of a recipe
He stuck me in an oven
Set at 350 degrees
There was some preparation
Before I climbed in
I was shot up with some stuff
From a giant ink pen
Was told it was radioactive
As if that wasn’t enough
Was given some directions
Saying I could glow
In the dark and stuff
I was placed in a cold room
Where I was left to baste
Was left there for a while
To ponder about my taste
Would I come out sour
Or perhaps way too sweet
Maybe a bit salty
Possibly a nice treat?
As I was just about
To take a of my arm
A buzzer sounded off
It was my basting alarm
Evidently I was finished
Soaking in this pan
I must be glowing quite nicely
And was placed into a new pan
Was slid inside an oven
It fit much like a casket
Was rather claustrophobic
And wondered about the fit
Soon lights were whirling
Reminding me of a ride
One found at a fair
That makes you sick inside
Set to bake for 30 minutes
I tried to go to sleep
There wasn’t much else to do
I wished I had a sheet
Was taken out of the over
Checked to see if done
Wondered if I was glowing
Wished I was having fun
I was now radioactive
And was handed a card
Instructing anyone who cared
Not to be too alarmed
I left with one thought
I wondered what would happen
If I were exposed to a flame
Would I self-combustion
I am part of a recipe
Hope I come out good
All this preparation
Is devouring my mood
And in case you wonder
I will draw the line
If a meat thermometer
Comes near my backside

Renee Robinson

Vibes

Nae's Nest —  May 3, 2012 — 2 Comments

Something deep inside

Trying to get out

Trying to say something

I can hear it shout

In a whisper barely audible

A resounding vibration

Nagging my ears

Demanding attention

Trying to listen

To what it says

Difficult to do

For it does not speak

I am damned if I do

Damned if I

Don’t

Lightening

Strikes only

Once

Renee Robinson

Paper Boat

Nae's Nest —  May 1, 2012 — 1 Comment

His eyes so unusual, can’t help but stare

Something about him tells me beware

He offers to guide me as I travel

I am uneasy, feeling rattled

He is sexy and hot to the touch

Is this a warning, revealing too much

What do I do, leave or stay

My mind says leave, but my heart craves

His hair, silver lining of the clouds

His voice gentle and kind, not very loud

He has a beard the color of the moon

He sings a song, a delightful tune

Lyrics floating down the trail

Birds chime in, musical sail

In a boat made of paper

Am entranced, in a vapor

I’ve am smitten by this man

Wherever he leads, I take his hand

Forgive me please, if I’ve made a mistake

I pray my soul will be safe

I can no longer walk, too weak to fight

He carried me as if, feather light

A paper boat sailing to the stars

Taking me away someplace far

I look at this man with his golden eyes

With him I am safe, my decision wise

No more pain

no more tears

No more sorrow

no more fears

This chapter is closed

Turn the page

A new one is opened

Smelling of sage

A new beginning

With a fresh start

In a paper boat

I depart

 

Renee Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Sparkles

Nae's Nest —  April 23, 2012 — 7 Comments

The Sombrero Galaxy

The hourglass, the shape of a woman, woman gives birth, another grain added to the glass, The hourglass

Stars sparkle in the sky, the galaxy, the planets-sun-moon all evolving, all glowing, Stars sparkle in the sky

LIFE

I am a grain of sand

Among all of you

Grains of life

In the hourglass of time

One grain full on an entire lifetime

 Life will shine

It will sparkle

One day that grain drops through the hourglass

Life on earth is over

It is drawn through the hourglass and into the sky

It sparkles

Another star is falling, it is snuffed out

It is pulled down into the hourglass of time to evolve again

A new life, on earth

It sparkles

The cycle of life, no real beginnings, no real endings

Infinity

Recycled

Life doesn’t end, it evolves, it changes, it circles

It Sparkles

Renee Robinson

False Flag Alert! … Alien Invasion?.

 

Interesting article from my buddy at http://1oneday.wordpress.com