Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mandates and Mudslinging

By PAUL KRUGMANPublished: November 30, 2007From the beginning, advocates of universal health care were troubled by the incompleteness of Barack Obama’s plan, which unlike those of his Democratic rivals wouldn’t cover everyone. But they were willing to cut Mr. Obama slack on the issue, assuming that in the end he would do the right thing.

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Hartle, Hawking and Hertog (HHH)

These three authors made a prediction yesterday.

You can read their article in:


Here I just quote:

"Hence the NBWF plus classicality at late times implies inflation at early times."

With this phrase they mean that inflation must happen if we accept the No Boundary Wave Function (NBWF), and restrict our present to the one we know. This is then the "Scientific Predictive Anthropic Principle"(SPAP).

Where are Cosmic Rays Coming From?

Recently the Pierre Auger Observatory (PAO) reported twenty seven cosmic rays of the highest energy coming from several sources. Two of them came from the direction of Centaurus, maybe from the Cen A Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN).

A group of two Japanese scientists also recently reported a hole in our Galaxy in the direction of Centaurus, as I reported here.

This distortion, as they call it, may explain why there are not that many cosmic rays of these high energies, received at the PAO, coming from Virgo, where there are AGNs almost at the same distance from us as Cen A, as recently observed by Gorbunov et al., as reported here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Richard Ogle

A new book by this independent thinker was just released. You can visit his Web Site here. You can read a review in Business Week Magazine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lawrence M. Krauss

Professor Lawrence M. Krauss from Case Western Reserve University has recently written:

"Have we ensured, by measuring the existence dark energy in our own universe, that the quantum mechanical configuration of our own universe is such that late time decay is not relevant? Put another way, what can internal observations of the state of a metastable universe say about its longevity? "

Are UHECRs coming from nearby AGNs?

A group of Russian physicists disagrees with the Auger collaboration conclusion that the Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays come from Active Galactic Nuclei from nearby galaxies. You can read their paper here (Gorbunov et al.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Professor Edwin E. Salpeter

This American astrophysicist recently posted on the Los Alamos electronic archive his memories from the fifties. You can find it here.

UHECR Energy Spectrum

The Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) energy spectrum is an important element in the description of the Universe. Among other things it tells us what is the likelihood we will get cancer if our protective atmosphere deteriorates.

A group of European physicists just published their work on the determination of α . This is the spectral index that tells us how fast the number of cosmic rays reaching Earth goes to zero as the energy increases.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Winter of Our Discontent

By PAUL KRUGMANPublished: November 26, 2007“Americans’ Economic Pessimism Reaches Record High.” That’s the headline on a recent Gallup report, which shows a nation deeply unhappy with the state of the economy. Right now, “27% of Americans rate current economic conditions as either ‘excellent’ or ‘good,’ while 44% say they are ‘only fair’ and..

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Geometry is all

A shape could describe the cosmos and all it contains

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Former Pakistani Premier Returns

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) -- Exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned home to a hero's welcome Sunday and called on President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to end emergency rule before elections, a fresh challenge to the U.S.-backed leader.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Fire destroys 35 structures in Malibu

The 2,200-acre blaze, driven by 50-mph winds, engulfs homes in Corral and Latigo canyons and forces the evacuation of thousands. A small fire in Ramona in San Diego County is quickly controlled.

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Darkness falls on the Middle East

By Robert Fisk:11/24/07 "The Independent" -- -- In Beirut, people are moving out of their homes, just as they have in Baghdad

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Lebanon’s State of Emergency Becomes Official

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 23 — The departing Lebanese president, Émile Lahoud, asked the military to take charge of the nation’s security on Friday, a few hours after the speaker of the Parliament prolonged the country’s political crisis by postponing for a week a vote to choose a new president.

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Banks Gone Wild

By PAUL KRUGMANPublished: November 23, 2007“What were they smoking?” asks the cover of the current issue of Fortune magazine. Underneath the headline are photos of recently deposed Wall Street titans, captioned with the staggering sums they managed to lose.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

From Italy based on Auger

A group of italian physicists have this to say:

"Since the instrumental spread of the detector is about 1 degree or better, the deflection is mostly due to the effect of the intervening magnetic field, and this offers for the first time the possibility to set experimental constraints on large-scale magnetic fields."

This is a new era for Astronomy!

Read their article in:


θ ≃ 0.25o (d/λ)1/2(λ /1 Mpc)(B /1 nG) (1020eV/E)

This formula tells us that if the experimental resolution is of the order of 1/4o, then we are in business. We can calculate the magnitude of the magnetic field with:

B ≃ 0.9 (1 Mpc/ λ)1/2 nG

Where λ is the size of the domains in intergalactic space.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On the Origin of Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays

Charles D. Dermer yesterday sent his contribution to the 30th International Cosmic Ray Conference celebrated in México. Here is the beginning of his introduction.


A high-significance steepening in the UHECR spectrum at energy E∼= 1019.6 eV was reported earlier this year by the HiRes collaboration[1], and here at the 2007 Mérida ICRC based on observations taken with the Auger Observatory [2]. This result confirms the prediction of the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin (GZK) cutoff [3, 4] in the UHECR spectrum due to photohadronic interactions of UHECRs with photons of the cosmic microwave background radiation(CMBR),and favors astrophysical bottom-up vs. particle physics top-down scenarios for the UHECRs,provided that sources are found within the GZK radius. At the same time, Auger data shows[5] evidence for mixed composition with substantial ion content in UHECRs with energies as high as a few × 1019 eV, based on studies of the depth of shower maxima. With hybrid fluorescence detectors and shower counters,Auger provides the strongest evidence yet for metals in the UHECRs,possibly with mean atomic mass < A > ~ 8–26, significantly different from pure proton and pure Fe composition. This result depends on the accuracy of the
nuclear interaction physics used to model showers, but points to the importance of nuclei in the UHECRs,and the meaning of this for GZK physics [6,7,8].

To read the paper you can go to:

Charles D. Dermer.


Auger has already contributed three major discoveries to cosmic-ray physics:

1. the GZK cutoff, also found with HiRes;

2. Mixed ionic composition in the UHECRs up to a few × 1019 eV; and

3. statistical demonstration that the clustering of 27 UHECRs with energies >∼ 6 × 10 19 eV follow the matter distribution as traced by nearby ( < ∼ 75 Mpc) AGNs.

An important formula for the study of UHECR is the Larmor radius one:

rL = E/QB ∼= 1.1 (E/1019 eV)/ [(Z/10)B(μG)] kpc

rL ~=600 (E/6 × 1019 eV)/ [(Z/10) B−11] Mpc

where B = 10−11B-11 G is the mean magnetic field in which the ion propagates.

One can read here the size of the objects involved in the shaping of the UHECR. They are in the kpc range for the size of galaxies, and in the Mpc range for the intergalactic distances; because galactic fields are μG, and intergalactic fields are nG.

Dermer also finds in his article that Auger detected particles that can be made consistent with observations coming from Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB), and other known astrophysical objects.

His conclusion is:

"With the γ -ray, cosmic ray, and neutrino observations, it is likely that the problem of UHECR origin will soon be solved."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Deflection of Cosmic Rays

Here I report on a calculation by a South American group of physicists. They are:
Gustavo A. Medina Tanco, Elisabete M. de Gouveia Dal Pino, and Jorge E. Horvath.

Deflection of ultra high energy cosmic rays by the galactic field:from the sources to the detector.

Similarly to Takami and Sato, these authors study the UHECR deflection through the Milky Way magnetic field.

They find that a constant magnetic field in the direction of the galactic axis of rotation, this so called "wind" magnetic field, is important for deflection calculations.

"The Galactic Magnetic Field acts as a kind of giant spectral analyzer and the forbidden and allowed regions resemble the situation the dipolar magnetic field of the Earth creates on the low energy cosmic rays."

They also expect when they wrote this paper in 1995, that the PAO will be valuable in determining our galaxy's magnetic field.

In a recent article Charles D. Dermer (see note above) wrote:

"These results establish without doubt that UHECRs originate from astrophysical sources. With this information, and based on past theoretical work, I argue that GRBs and radio-loud AGNs, which are classified as blazars when viewed on-axis, are the most probable sources of UHECRs, as can be demonstrated by hadronic γ -ray signatures. The most convincing evidence would be direct detection of PeV neutrinos from UHECR sources with IceCube or KM3NET. Detection of GZK EeV neutrinos from photopion interactions of UHECRs as they propagate through EBL with an Askaryan telescope like ANITA will also importantly test astrophysical models."

Monster black holes power highest-energy cosmic rays

The source of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays has long been a mystery, but new observations suggest they come from colossal black holes

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Dad

If my father were alive tomorrow he'd be eighty nine.

He did not live that long, and I guess it is unlikely I will.

Today I want to give homage to a man of integrity with the promise that I will also live a life of truth.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Musharraf Refuses to Say When Emergency Will End

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 17 — Continuing to defy the United States, Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, declined to tell a senior American envoy on Saturday when he would lift a two-week-old state of emergency, Pakistani and Western officials said.

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Comet Holmes: An Internet Sensation

A review of the recent Comet 17P, also known as Comet Holmes. Some nice pictures and a video explaining why people are so interested in this comet.

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In Name Count, Garcias Are Catching Up to Joneses

Smith is still the most common American surname, but for the first time, two Hispanic names are in the top 10.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

U.N. says it's time to adapt to warming

In the final installment of its landmark report, the climate-change panel says many countries will just have to learn to live with the effects.

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Blanco nets Sierra Mist Goal of the Year

Chicago Fire forward Cuauhtémoc Blanco won the 2007 Sierra Mist Goal of the Year for his perfectly placed shot into the upper left corner of the goal in the Fire's 2-0 victory in Week 20 over Real Salt Lake.

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Centaurus A (Cen A) in Pierre Auger Observatory (PAO)

Takami and Sato (Galactic Magnetic Field note below) conclude that:

"PAO finds the positional correlation of the arrival directions of highest energy events with the direction of Cen A (Pierre Auger Collaboration 2007)."

This means as they state in their article that:

"The protons coming from these directions are very weakly deflected since the deflections by the dipole field and the spiral field are balanced."

Just the right balance to make a little aperture where two of the twenty seven of the highest energy cosmic rays ever detected on Earth find their way to the PAO!

Nice coincidence.

Michael Oppenheimer

This Princeton University professor warns us to expect big problems if global warming is not addressed adequately.

Read about him in his Web Site

U.N. Report Describes Risks of Inaction on Climate Change

VALENCIA, Spain, Nov. 16 — In its final and most powerful report, a United Nations panel of scientists meeting here describes the mounting risks of climate change in language that is both more specific and forceful than its previous assessments, according to scientists here.

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Brothers, Bad Blood and the Blackwater Tangle

BALTIMORE, Nov. 16 — They were smart, scrappy brothers who rose from modest circumstances in Baltimore to become lacrosse stars at Princeton, succeed in business and land big government jobs.

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Manuel Sandoval Vallarta

This founder of modern physics in Mexico, used to go every Friday to the colloquium at the National Nuclear Energy Commission (Comisión Nacional de Energía Nuclear) where I used to work in the early 70s. With his pertinent questions he kept the discussions on track.

He did pioneering work in cosmic ray physics in Mexico City. Together with Professor Compton and Dr. Luis Alvarez they determined the sign of the particles coming from the sky, they are protons.

Sandoval Vallarta also directed Mexican physicists to study the magnetic field of the Earth.

Now the Mexican members of the Pierre Auger Observatory (PAO) are helping to measure the magnetic field of the Milky Way. Same problems bigger objects, this is a natural evolution of our knowledge and consciousness.

Magnetic Fields on Earth and Milky Way

The magnetic field of Earth is studied by the charged particles coming from the Sun. On the other hand Milky Way's field is measured by protons coming from other galaxies. In both cases we get a symmetric field, three to six hundred mgauss for Earth, and three to four µgauss for the galaxy.

Only by measuring cosmic rays can we know the field we live in.

Galactic Magnetic Field



We investigate the deflections of UHE protons by Galactic magnetic field (GMF) using four conventional GMF models in order to discuss the positional correlation between the arrival distribution of UHECRs and their sources. UHE protons coming from the direction around the Galactic center are highly deflected above 8o by the dipole magnetic field during their propagation in Galactic space. However,in bisymmetric spiral field models, there are directions with the deflection angle below 1o. One of these directions is toward Centaurus A, the nearest radio- loud active galactic nuclei that is one of possible candidates of UHECR sources. On the other hand, UHE protons arriving from the direction of the anti-Galactic center are less deflected, especially in bisymmetric spiral field models.Thus,the northern hemisphere, not including the Galactic center,is suitable for the studies of correlation with sources. The dependence on model parameters is also investigated. The deflection angles of UHE protons are dependent on the pitch angle of the spiral field. We also investigate distortion of the supergalactic plane by GMF. Since the distortion in the direction around Galactic center strongly depends on the GMF model, we can obtain information on GMF around Galactic center if Pierre Auger Observatory finds the significant positional correlation around the supergalactic plane.

You can read this article in:


Fastball-Strength Cosmic Rays Traced to Black Holes

Researchers have made a key breakthrough in a decades-old cosmic mystery by potentially identifying the source of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, rare but immensely powerful subatomic particles that strike our atmosphere each with the energy of a fast-pitch baseball. A study published in Science finds that these rays pierce the atmosphere not from ..

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Vote on Grand Socialist Plan Stirs Passions in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 16 — In two weeks, Venezuela seems likely to start an extraordinary experiment in centralized, oil-fueled socialism. By law, the workday would be cut to six hours. Street vendors, homemakers and maids would have state-mandated pensions. And President Hugo Chávez would have significantly enhanced powers and be eligible for..

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Released, Bhutto Rejects Caretaker Government

LAHORE, Pakistan, Nov. 16 — Hours after being released from house arrest, the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto today rejected a new caretaker government appointed to oversee elections in Pakistan and repeated her vow not to re-open talks with the country’s military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Auger Telescope

A new era has begun. Now it is possible to look at the sky through a new window. Before it was mainly photons collected on the telescopes, then some other particles were detected, like electrons coming from the Sun. When the magnetic field of the Earth was better understood, with Van Allen belts and other important parts, one could know the properties of those particles. It is difficult to pinpoint the origin of cosmic rays coming from other stars. The reason is the existence of magnetic fields in between. Low energy particles get deflected. Actually it is good for life, otherwise the amount of radiation coming to the biosphere would've made life on Earth impossible.

To have a cosmic ray point to its source, it is necessary that the fields in between do not deflect them. The farther away a ray comes from, the more likely it is to be deflected. Only the highest energy cosmic rays can point to the source. Actually there is a fundamental limit, first proposed by Greisen, Zatsepin, and Kuzmin, to how much a cosmic ray can travel between galaxies before it is stopped by the Microwave Background Radiation, which is a relic of the origin of the Universe. Only objects a few hundreds of millions of parsecs away can reach the Earth. Not only that, these three scientists also understood that there is a maximum energy that any particle coming from these galaxies can have. Bigger energies only lead to faster annihilation, due to the composition of the matter between us and them.

We have then a gigantic telescope, on the far side there is a point source of very energetic particles, then the intergalactic space, and then a detector on Earth. Knowing the three components we have a new window to the world.

What can we learn using these telescopes?

The composition of the source, the matter in between, and the composition of the cosmic rays.

Here I propose a possible scenario that could increase our knowledge of the Universe:

In the center of a galaxy, fifty million parsecs away or so, there is a group of very massive black holes capable of producing particles that have an energy of 1019 eV when they reach Earth. There are only a few of those collected in an area of one square kilometer in one century here on Earth. These charged nuclei are detected on the Auger observatory in Argentina; then maybe we could determine if they come from a microscopic black hole produced by the enormous black holes with huge energies in those Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), at a local energy of 1012 eV on the AGN, or more. Gia Dvali, from NYU, claims that only the known particles with masses up to this energy (1 TeV) can be produced, even though there must be huge numbers of more massive particles in our Universe. All the other particles cannot be produced by these microscopic black holes because of the law of conservation of energy.

Dvali's theory explains why gravity is so weak, 1036 times weaker than the other known forces. He thinks it is because there are these many copies of the particles we know. If one can prove that the particles detected by the Auger collaboration - where his colleague from NYU Glennys Farrar works - come from this process, then we would know why gravity is so weak.

To prove his theory, he expects more control of the experimental conditions at the LHC in Geneva next year, though. Maybe we already have proof.

I do not know.

Played for a Sucker

PAUL KRUGMANPublished: November 16, 2007Lately, Barack Obama has been saying that major action is needed to avert what he keeps calling a “crisis” in Social Security — most recently in an interview with The National Journal. Progressives who fought hard and successfully against the Bush administration’s attempt to panic America into ...

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Entangling Alliances

By Ron Paul11/15/07 "ICH" --- -- In the name of clamping down on "terrorist uprisings" in Pakistan, General Musharraf has declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law. The true motivations behind this action however, are astonishingly transparent, as the reports come in that mainly lawyers and opposition party members are ...

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Militants Gain Despite Decree by Musharraf

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Nov. 15 — Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, says he instituted emergency rule for the extra powers it would give him to push back the militants who have carved out a mini-state in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

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Here is Surfer dude's actual paper: "An Exceptionally Simple Theory..."

An impoverished surfer has drawn up a new theory of the universe, seen by some as the Holy Grail of physics, which as received rave reviews from scientists.

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Pakistan Lifts Bhutto Detention Order: Police

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan's government has lifted a house arrest order imposed on opposition leader Benazir Bhutto to prevent her from leading a rally against President Pervez Musharraf's emergency rule, police said early on Friday.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Latin America's Shock Resistance (Naomi Klein)

In less than two years, the lease on the largest and most important US military base in Latin America will run out. The base is in Manta, Ecuador, and Rafael Correa, the country's leftist president, has pronounced that he will renew the lease "on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami--an Ecuadorean base. If there is no problem ...

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Todor Stanev

This cosmic ray expert has the following to say about UHECR.

One important result from the studies of the composition of UHECR is the strict limit of the fraction of γ-rays which is set to 2% for all particles above 1019 eV . This limit shows that at least 98% of the UHECR particles are nuclei accelerated in astrophysical objects.

The reference is:

Ultrahigh Energy Cosmic Rays and Neutrinos

Meaning of Auger's Discovery

There were indications that the Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECR) were coming from specific regions of the sky, but there was no proof. Now there is proof.

UHECR are coming from Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN).

This means that the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin (GZK) cutoff is valid (50 Megaparsec (Mpc)).

The sources of these very energetic and rare objects are nearby by cosmic standards. The only way available to study them now is with the Auger observatory in Argentina. They are so rare that to detect several a year one needs big ground detectors, several thousand square miles. Thousands of water tanks permanently waiting for the next UHECR to show up. And what do we win by waiting?

We win a new telescope. This is likely one of the biggest advances in telescope science since Galileo first saw Jupiter's moons.

Here I explain why I believe this:

We literally have a new instrument, formed by immense parts. On Earth we have a big eye, Rhode Island size cosmic ray detector, in the sky we have huge AGNs in the center of some galaxies. These nuclei are the size of billions of solar masses collapsed in a huge black hole. From these massive but well localized objects come directly to us very energetic protons and other nuclei. One of those protons has as much energy as a full speed tennis ball. They have so much momentum that the magnetic fields in the tens of Mpcs between us and the AGNs are unable to change the direction of the cosmic ray. Therefore we know where the source is in the sky. This is the biggest object ever used by human beings to study the Universe.

Now we just have to understand, What message do these protons bring?

Opponent of Musharraf Is Detained in Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan, Nov. 14 — The opposition politician Imran Khan emerged from hiding today to the cheers of hundreds of students at a protest demonstration against Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, at a university here and was quickly seized by hard-line students and turned over to the police, witnesses said.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Auger Observatory closes in on long standing mystery

Scientists of the Pierre Auger Collaboration announced today (8 Nov. 2007) that active galactic nuclei are the most likely candidate for the source of the highest-energy cosmic rays that hit Earth. Using the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, the largest cosmic-ray observatory in the world, a team of scientists from 17 countries found that ...

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Auger Observatory and New Window to the Universe

Argonne National Laboratory is managed by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Media Contact: Steve McGregor
(630) 252-5580
For immediate release

Distant black holes may be source of high-energy cosmic rays

ARGONNE, Ill. (Nov. 9, 2007) – Breakthrough astrophysics research may have established the hitherto mysterious source of exceptionally high-energy cosmic ray emissions, according to recently published research that culminates a project developed by a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory.

This extraordinary result is a product of DOE’s investment in high-energy physics research, giving scientists the resources they need to explore the interactions between matter, energy, time and space.

Argonne senior physicist Harold Spinka, in collaboration with more than 300 scientists from around the world affiliated with the Pierre Auger Observatory in western Argentina, determined a correlation between emanations of sufficiently energetic cosmic rays with a particular class of extrastellar objects, known as active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Scientists believe that AGNs are massive black holes in the center of distant galaxies that devour matter while ejecting plasma streams composed of high-energy particles.

“We have taken a big step forward in solving the mystery of the nature and origin of the highest-energy cosmic rays,” said Nobel Prize winner and University of Chicago professor emeritus James Cronin, who founded the Pierre Auger Observatory with Alan Watson of the University of Leeds. “The age of cosmic-ray astronomy has arrived. In the next few years, our data will permit us to identify the exact sources of these cosmic rays and how they accelerate these particles.”

After observing and recording approximately two years’ worth of cosmic rays hitting the earth, the Pierre Auger team noticed that the cosmic rays – a misnomer for energetic atomic particles, mainly protons -- with energies in excess of 60 EeV (60 exa-electron volts, or 1018 electron volts) tended to emanate from locations near known AGNs.

Most cosmic rays that strike the Earth originate from within our own Milky Way galaxy, where they emanate from supernovae, black holes or neutron stars. However, these cosmic rays have a substantially lower energy than those under investigation in the Pierre Auger study. Researchers knew that they could not attribute the production of those rays to any phenomenon or body within our own galaxy, and until now research to identify an extra-galactic source had yielded little more than hypotheses.

Astronomers had difficulty pinpointing the sources of especially energetic cosmic rays because they hit the Earth so infrequently, in contrast to the lower-energy cosmic radiation that continually bombards the Earth. During more than two years of observation, the Pierre Auger scientists detected only 28 cosmic rays that matched their stringent criteria. They excluded extragalactic cosmic rays with energies lower than 40 to 60 EeV, because the trajectories of these particles are so badly bent by deep-space magnetic fields that scientists cannot determine their origin; they also did not look at cosmic rays that had traveled more than 300 million light years due to concerns that interactions with cosmic background radiation during such a long journey would have significantly reduced their energy.

“The concern is that if you look too far back in time and space, it becomes harder to figure out a correlation,” Spinka said. Since 2004, the observatory, which contains a telescope array the size of Rhode Island, has detected only 80 cosmic rays with energies greater than 40 EeV. Of the 28 of these that had energies greater than approximately 60 EeV and originated within about 250 million light-years of Earth, 20 were located close to known AGNs. Six of the remaining eight cosmic rays come from directions where the source may be obscured by other matter in our galaxy.

According to Spinka, astronomers have worked hard to complete the catalog of all the AGNs in the observable universe, and he believes that cosmic rays may offer clues as to where others might be. “I think that many astronomers will indeed go back and look at the areas of space to which we traced the cosmic rays, because it’s definitely possible we might have missed something,” he said.

Cosmic ray observations provide astronomers with another way of examining celestial features outside of the Milky Way, Spinka said. “Up until now there has been no way of doing astronomy for objects outside our galaxy except by using various wavelengths of light. This paper represents the first time that we’ve been able to use charged particles to observe these faraway objects.”

The Pierre Auger Observatory is being built by a team of more than 370 scientists and engineers from 17 countries. “The collaboration is a true international partnership in which no country contributed more than 25 percent of the $54 million construction cost,” said Danilo Zavrtanik of the University of Nova Gorica and chair of the Auger Collaboration Board.

The paper, “Correlation of the Highest Energy Cosmic Rays with Nearby Extragalactic Objects,” appears in the November 9 issue of Science. A press release from the Auger Observatory can be found at Argonne National Laboratory, a renowned R&D center, brings the world’s brightest scientists and engineers together to find exciting and creative new solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Mysterious cosmic rays linked to galactic powerhouses

Auger Observatory closes in on long-standing mystery, links highest-energy cosmic rays with violent black holes.

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Correlation between Cosmic Rays and their Source

Science 9 November 2007:
Vol. 318. no. 5852, pp. 938 - 943
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151124

Research Articles
Correlation of the Highest-Energy Cosmic Rays with Nearby Extragalactic Objects The Pierre Auger Collaboration*

Using data collected at the Pierre Auger Observatory during the past 3.7 years, we demonstrated a correlation between the arrival directions of cosmic rays with energy above 6 x 1019 electron volts and the positions of active galactic nuclei (AGN) lying within ~75 megaparsecs. We rejected the hypothesis of an isotropic distribution of these cosmic rays with at least a 99% confidence level from a prescribed a priori test. The correlation we observed is compatible with the hypothesis that the highest-energy particles originate from nearby extragalactic sources whose flux has not been substantially reduced by interaction with the cosmic background radiation. AGN or objects having a similar spatial distribution are possible sources.

Hillary's Musharraf

Mrs. Clinton’s forgotten fling with the Killer of Karachiby Greg PalastHe was the other man in Hillary’s life. But it’s over now. Or is it?

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Oracle Adds Virtualization as VMware Shares Fall

BOSTON (Reuters) - Oracle Corp made a move on Monday to take on VMWare Inc in the market for virtualization software, unveiling a product that it says is three times more efficient than competitors' offerings.

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Pakistani Government Blocks Planned March

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 12 — The government of Pakistan said today that the opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, would not be permitted to go ahead with her planned protest march this week from the eastern city of Lahore to the capital, Islamabad.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hafnium-based Intel® 45nm Process Technology

Two words: relentless innovation. Using dramatically new materials including hafnium-based circuitry, new Intel® 45nm Hi-k metal gate silicon technology helps to dramatically increase processor energy efficiency and performance for an unprecedented computing experience.

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Intel Launching New Chip Lineup

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Intel Corp. plans to roll out its newest generation of processors Monday, flexing its manufacturing muscle with a sophisticated new process that crams up to 40 percent more transistors onto the company's chips.

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Democracy’s Root: Diversity

Thomas L. Friedman
Last Tuesday, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican — the first audience ever by the head of the Catholic Church with a Saudi monarch. The Saudi king gave the pope two gifts: a golden sword studded with jewels, and a gold and silver statue depicting a palm tree and a man riding a camel.

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Friedman, India, and Pakistan

Today Thomas L. Friedman tells us that Muslims could use diversity now to become democratic. I posted his piece above.
I had friends in college from India and Pakistan. I was a little confused then, because as Friedman writes, they are basically the same people, but I was to learn then that they just had a war in 1971. Why are they different?
Friedman believes it has to do with diversity. Pakistanis have a problem with that as we can see with the current Musharraf's shenanigans.

Musharraf Gives Date for Elections

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Sunday that Pakistan will stick to its January schedule for parliamentary elections but he set no time limit on emergency rule, raising grave doubts about whether the crucial vote can be free and fair.

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Musharraf commits to early January elections

Pakistan's president stops short of lifting the country's state of emergency. Former Prime Minister Bhutto calls the election announcement a 'positive step.'

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Spaniards Back King For Telling Chavez to Shut Up

MADRID (Reuters) - Even Spaniards normally critical of the royal family backed King Juan Carlos on Sunday for telling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to shut up, but some voiced concerns the monarchy was getting too involved in politics.

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Castro Criticizes Socialist Latin American Leaders

HAVANA (Reuters) - Convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro openly criticized Latin America's socialist-leaning presidents for the first time on Sunday.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Coup at Home

AS Gen. Pervez Musharraf arrested judges, lawyers and human-rights activists in Pakistan last week, our Senate was busy demonstrating its own civic mettle. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, liberal Democrats from America’s two most highly populated blue states, gave the thumbs up to Michael B. Mukasey, ensuring his confirmation as attorney ...

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Quantum Gravity

This is the Holy Grail of Theoretical Physics. Without experimental guidance it has been difficult to find out the right theory. Recently there are two reports that make me think that some progress lies around the corner.

  • Photons produced at the same time in the same place got to Earth a few minutes apart due to energy differences

  • Black holes produced at the LHC in Switzerland next year will mainly decay in known particles

    The second observation explains why gravity is so weak, and consequently why the repulsive negative energy of the Universe is so little. The first observation can be understood, introducing a smallest size in the Universe, the Planck size.

    In any case the Quantum Gravity conundrum goes to the very essence of existence. Not only why are we here, but also, and maybe more importantly, How does the Universe behave?
  • Thursday, November 08, 2007

    Oil Rises on Persistent Supply Concerns

    SINGAPORE (AP) -- Oil prices rose Friday to regain ground lost in the previous session, as persistent supply concerns and a late rebound in U.S. stocks offset worries about U.S. economic growth.

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    Wide worries over oil prices

    The price of crude oil is poised to cross the $100-a-barrel threshold, raising the prospect that the burden on consumers and businesses could be the final straw to tip the US economy into a recession.

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    Dutch, British Coasts Braced For Storm, Flooding

    HEADLAND NEAR ROZENBURG, Netherlands (Reuters) - The Netherlands and Britain, facing the worst flood threat in decades, closed surge barriers and evacuated people from homes on Friday as a North Sea storm threatened to inundate low-lying areas.

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    Benazir Bhutto

    This courageous woman risks her life for her country. She is a leader, and other government representatives around the World must learn from her principled stand.

    I hope that she survives this confrontation with jihadists and their enablers.

    Bhutto Placed Under Arrest as Crackdown in Pakistan Grows

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Friday, Nov. 9 — The opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was placed under house arrest this morning, her political party said. Streets were filled with police officers carrying batons and shields, and trucks blocked roads, trying to prevent access to a protest rally that Ms. Bhutto had helped organize in Rawalpindi, ...

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    Pakistani Opposition Leader Bhutto Under HOUSE ARREST

    Pakistan's main opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has been placed under house arrest, according to Government officials.The house arrest comes just hours before the former prime minister Ms Bhutto was due to lead a mass rally.

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    Pakistani Police Cordon Off Bhutto Home

    ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani police cordoned off the home of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Friday and sealed off a park in Rawalpindi where she was due to hold her first rally since President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule.

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    Benazir Bhutto under house arrest

    PAKISTAN'S former premier Benazir Bhutto has been placed under house arrest, hours before she was due to lead a rally against a state of emergency, government officials said.

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    California Sues EPA Over Global Warming

    SACRAMENTO (AP) -- California and 14 other states are demanding urgent action on global warming from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, arguing in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the environmental and health risks are mounting every day that the Bush administration delays action.

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    Blanco's success no flight of fancy

    The so-called Beckham Rule has a Spanish accent in Chicago.

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    Musharraf Says He’ll Give Up Uniform and Hold Elections

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 8 — Gen. Pervez Musharraf told his national security council today that parliamentary elections would be held before Feb. 15 and that he would give up his military uniform before taking the oath of office for his new term as president.

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    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    U.S. Prods Musharraf to End Emergency Rule

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 7 — Amid a deepening crisis in Pakistan, Bush administration officials have begun pushing Gen. Pervez Musharraf on several fronts to reverse his state of emergency, quietly making contact with other senior army generals and backing Pakistan’s opposition leader as she carries out back-channel negotiations with the general.

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    Bill to Oulaw ‘Voter Caging’ Introduced in U.S. Senate

    In 2004 for BBC TV the Palast team broke the story of voter caging by the Republican Party now in 2007 a Democratic congress is getting to doing something about it, led by caging victim Senator John Kerry. Read about it here ripped from our friends over at BradBlog.

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    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Crude Awakening

    On January 9, 2004, Royal Dutch/Shell, one of the world's largest publicly traded oil companies, shocked the international financial community by announcing that it had overstated its oil and gas reserves by 20 percent, representing the equivalent of 3.9 billion barrels of petroleum--worth an estimated $136 billion

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    As Floods Ebb in South, Mexico Tends to Displaced

    VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico, Nov. 5 — Residents of the state of Tabasco woke up Monday to find that the swollen rivers that had flooded much of the state had begun to subside. But there were plentiful signs that the worst may not be over.

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    Musharraf’s Martial Plan

    By BENAZIR BHUTTOPublished: November 7, 2007Islamabad, PakistanNOV. 3, 2007, will be remembered as the blackest day in the history of Pakistan. Let us be perfectly clear: Pakistan is a military dictatorship. Last Saturday, Gen. Pervez Musharraf removed all pretense of a transition to democracy by conducting what was in effect yet another ...

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    Fears Over Aftermath of Mexico Floods

    VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico, Nov. 6 — Additional teams of medical workers and police officers from other parts of Mexico flew into the state of Tabasco today as authorities raised concerns about escalating health problems and looting after the five days of heavy rains last week that put much of the low-lying state under water.

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    Monday, November 05, 2007

    Beyond the Age of Petroleum

    With a inordinate reliance upon petroleum, what are we to do when the well runs dry?

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    Mudslide Buries Houses In Flooded Mexico

    VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico (Reuters) - A huge wall of mud and water engulfed a remote village in flood-ravaged southern Mexico on Monday and the government said at least 16 people were missing.

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    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    In Mexico, Residents Contend With a Flooded City

    VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico, Nov. 4 — Williams García paddled a kayak Sunday over the waters that covered much of Villahermosa, the flooded capital of the state of Tabasco, searching for news of his family.

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    Saturday, November 03, 2007

    {Flood victims reel in Mexico's Tabasco state} {With 1 million displaced...

    With about 1 million people displaced, some call out to loved ones on TV, and tens of thousands flee the area.

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    Musharraf Declares Emergency Rule

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sunday, Nov. 4 — The Pakistani leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, declared a state of emergency on Saturday night, suspending the country’s Constitution, firing the chief justice of the Supreme Court and filling the streets of the capital with police officers.

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    Mexico Flooding Traps Thousands

    MEXICO CITY, Nov. 3 — Tens of thousands of residents in the Mexican state of Tabasco were still trapped in their houses on Saturday by floods that have put much of the state under water in what President Felipe Calderón called one of the worst natural disasters in recent history.

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    Where Will the People from Tabasco Go?

    Over one million people were affected by the last intense rains in the Mexican state of Tabasco. Do you remember New Orleans? This is several times bigger.

    Some of the students from New Orleans ended up in Texas, and some as far North as Illinois.

    Is this any different?

    There are a few differences, Tabasqueños do not speak English that well, they are not American citizens, and usually do not consider Minute Men Country a safe haven. They may even have nightmares about white devils in Ku Klux Klan white robes with nooses, a la Jena High School.

    But there are plenty of similarities, they are poor, in need, and without a home.

    I predict that Americans are going to get used to the nice accent of Mexicans from that part of the country.

    Floodwaters devastate Mexico's Tabasco state

    Hundreds of thousands flee their homes, though not all shelters are dry. President Felipe Calderon promises aid.By Maria Antonieta Uribe and Sam Enriquez, Los Angeles Times Staff WritersNovember 3, 2007

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    Dennis Kucinich

    This presidential candidate lost last time. He always fights, now he wants to impeach Cheney. Read all about it in his Web Page.

    Impeach Cheney

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    Mexico floods leave thousands homeless

    About 70% of Tabasco state is covered in water as the government scrambles to rescue trapped residents. Experts predict another storm soon.By Sam Enriquez, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer1:54 PM PDT, November 2, 2007

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    Floodwaters Devastate Mexican State of Tabasco

    MEXICO CITY, Nov. 2 — Navy helicopters plucked people from roofs today as rising floodwaters covered much of the Gulf Coast state of Tabasco, putting the state capital, Villahermosa, underwater.

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    Chevron Earnings Fall Over 25 Percent

    Filed at 2:24 p.m. ETReutersNEW YORK (Reuters) - Chevron Corp's third-quarter earnings fell more than 25 percent, missing analyst estimates on sharply lower profits from gasoline production.

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    Common Sense

    Thomas Paine wrote a nice monograph with this title. He introduced concepts during his lifetime that were not widely accepted at that time, like human rights, and other ideas of that nature.
    Nevertheless as time passed his ideas turned out to be widely recognized, albeit not practiced. All humans have the right not to be killed, as that great man, Joe Strummer, would sing in the eighties.

    Now I want to use this title for the following thoughts.

  • More people in the Middle East

  • Less Oil coming from there

  • Coming Crisis

  • James Kunstler

    This skeptical man has a Web page at:


    He has a prediction for 2007 in that page.

    You can read it here.

    It's official: Peak oil is here and "the long emergency" has begun

    When historians glance back at 2007 through the haze of their coal-fired stoves, they will mark this year as the onset of the Long Emergency – or whatever they choose to call the unraveling of industrial economies and the complex systems that constituted them. And if they retain any sense of humor – which is very likely since, as wise Sam Beckett .

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    A Town That Only Has Water 3 Hours a Day in America

    Mayor Tony Reames drives up to the community's towering water tank and releases the tank's meager water supply for a period of 3 hours.

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    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Bill Richardson

    I am not a citizen yet, so I cannot vote; but if I am a citizen next year I will vote for Bill Richardson.

    He is a little older than me, he was almost born in Mexico City, and I feel he has a more cosmopolitan view of the world than the other candidates.

    Lee Iacocca supports him and so do I.

    Tasered Florida Student on Palast Report

    The student shocked by a taser gun last month at the University of Florida while questioning Senator John Kerry will appear today onpalastmeyer.jpg The Palast Report on Air America Radio.Andrew Meyer will join Greg Palast’s investigative segment on the Air America program “Clout.” Check for listings and

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    Invention Of the Year: The iPhone

    The thing is hard to type on. It's too slow. It's too big. It doesn't have instant messaging. It's too expensive...or cheap. It doesn't support my work e-mail. It's locked to AT&T. Steve Jobs secretly hates puppies.

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    Stop the Insanity: No War With Iran

    By Gov. Bill Richardson11/01/07 "ICH" -- -- It is a tragedy that in the midst of one failed war in Iraq, George Bush and Dick Cheney are pushing a second front of failure and gearing up to attack Iran. The "unilateral sanctions" recently imposed will hurt diplomatic progress in the region, and I find it disconcerting that so many Democrats ...

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    Lee Iacocca Backs Richardson for 2008

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca says Democrat Bill Richardson is his pick for president, citing the New Mexico governor's foreign relations background and energy policy.

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    Don't Tase me, bro' student breaks silence

    Wed., Oct. 31, 2007In the media frenzy that has surrounded the Tasering of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer during a September John Kerry forum, one voice has been missing from the conversation — Meyer’s. Now that he has been cleared of criminal charges, Meyer, 21, is speaking out for the first time on

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    The immortal remains of Henrietta Lacks.

    The immortal remains of Henrietta Lacks.

    When human body cells are removed and put into a cell culture, they weaken and die quickly, usually within about 50 divisions. Without the rest of the support structure—a heart, blood circulating, a digestive system and so-on—body cells can't survive. Body cells also age, so even if you were to simulate the body's environment in a test tube or petri dish, the cells would eventually perish anyway. The basic mortality of the cells reflect the basic mortality of the organism they comprise, which is why there's no fountain of youth or medicinal procedure that'll give you biological immortality.

    There is, however, one human being who is biologically immortal on a technicality, and her name is Henrietta Lacks. In 1951 she showed up at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, complaining of blood spotting in her underwear. Samples were taken of her cervical tissue and sent to a lab for analysis, which came back with a diagnosis of cervical cancer.

    The cancer was caused by the Human papillomavirus, which is a sexually transmitted disease. Most variants of this virus are harmless, but some are known to cause cervical cancer, as in Henrietta's case. After her diagnosis and before attempts to treat the disease with radium, another sample from the tumor was sent to George Gey, who was the head of tissue culture research at Hopkins. Gey discovered that the cells from Henrietta's tumor would not only survive and multiply outside of her body, but they didn't age either. These cells were basically immortal.

    And they're still alive, even though Henrietta herself died of the cancer on October 4th, 1951. Now, HeLa cells are about as common in biological research as the lab rat and the petri dish, and are still being grown in an unbroken lineage from the cells originally harvested from Mrs. Lacks in 1951. They're used in cancer research because a scientist can perform experiments on them that otherwise couldn't be done on a living human being. They were also used in the development of the Polio vaccine, making Henrietta somewhat of a posthumous hero to millions.

    But say you're a scientist looking at HeLa cells under a microscope. They live independently of the body they came from. They reproduce (faster even than other cancerous cells). They consume, excrete, and do everything an independent living organism usually does. A thousand years from now there will still be HeLa cells multiplying and living, even some of the original cells sampled from Mrs. Lacks, even though Henrietta Lacks herself has long since passed away. Is this a new species?

    In 1991 the scientific community decided it was, and blessed HeLa cells with its own genus and species: Helacyton gartleri, named by Van Valen & Maiorana.

    That would make Helacyton gartleri an example of speciation, which is when a new species is observed developing from another. In this case, the development is from a chordate (homo sapien) to something that's more like an ameoba (a cross-phylum mutation), giving us an animal with a mostly human genotype, but which does not develop into a human-like phenotype. Since this event occurred in nature when the papillomavirus transformed Henrietta's cells, and not in the laboratory, it's a strong piece of evidence supporting Evolution (although not one that suggests you could go from an ameoba to a chordate, which would probably take more than one mutation).

    is a deterministic entityD categorized by MedicineD categorized by BiologyD

    2004-04-24 22:54:15.480123-04 Best permanent link

    Woman's cells survive for 60 years after her death, cures diseases

    There is one human being who is biologically immortal on a technicality, and her name is Henrietta Lacks. Cells from Henrietta's tumor would not only survive and multiply outside of her body, but they didn't age either. These cells were basically immortal. And they're still alive, even though Henrietta herself died of the cancer on Oct 4th, 1951

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