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Archive for November 21st, 2010

As predicted, the highly anticipated ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1’ whizzed its way to the No. 1 spot at the weekend box office, pulling in over $125 million.

As far as worldwide numbers go, the seventh film in the franchise has made a total of $330.1 million. Meanwhile, the all-star cast of ‘Megamind’ — starring Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and Jonah Hill — managed to bring in another $16.2 million.

Coming in at No. 3 was the runaway train film ‘Unstoppable’ starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, grossing $13.1 million in its second weekend at the box office. ‘Due Date,’ buddy comedy starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, was No. 4 this weekend, making another $9.2 million.

Rounding out the top five was Russell Crowe’s thriller ‘The Next Three Days’ that pulled in $6.8 million in its opening weekend.

http://www.etonline.com/movies/103089_Harry_Potter_Flies_to_No_1_Grossing_1251_Million/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+ETTopStories+(Entertainment+Tonight:+Breaking+News)&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Wild tigers could become extinct in 12 years if countries where they still roam fail to take quick action to protect their habitats and step up the fight against poaching, global wildlife experts told a “tiger summit” Sunday.

The World Wildlife Fund and other experts say only about 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, a dramatic plunge from an estimated 100,000 a century ago.

James Leape, director general of the World Wildlife Fund, told the meeting in St. Petersburg that if the proper protective measures aren’t taken, tigers may disappear by 2022, the next Chinese calendar year of the tiger.

Their habitat is being destroyed by forest cutting and construction, and they are a valuable trophy for poachers who want their skins and body parts prized in Chinese traditional medicine.

The summit approved a wide-ranging program with the goal of doubling the world’s tiger population in the wild by 2022 backed by governments of the 13 countries that still have tiger populations: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia.

The Global Tiger Recovery Program estimates the countries will need about $350 million in outside funding in the first five years of the 12-year plan. The summit will be seeking donor commitments to help governments finance conservation measures.

“For most people tigers are one of the wonders of the world,” Leape told The Associated Press. “In the end, the tigers are the inspiration and the flagship for much broader efforts to conserve forests and grasslands.”

The program aims to protect tiger habitats, eradicate poaching, smuggling, and illegal trade of tigers and their parts, and also create incentives for local communities to engage them in helping protect the big cats.

The summit, which runs through Wednesday, is hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has used encounters with tigers and other wild animals to bolster his image. It’s driven by the Global Tiger Initiative which was launched two years ago by World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

Leape said that along with a stronger action against poaching, it’s necessary to set up specialized reserves for tigers and restore and conserve forests outside them to let tigers expand.

“And you have to find a way to make it work for the local communities so that they would be partners in tigers conservation and benefit from them,” Leape said.

“To save tigers you need to save the forests, grasslands and lots of other species,” he added. “But at the same time you are also conserving the foundations of the societies who live there. Their economy depends very much on the food, water and materials they get from those forests.”

About 30 percent of the program’s cost would go toward suppressing the poaching of tigers and of the animals they prey on.

Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said that Russia and China will create a protected area for tigers alongside their border and pool resources to combat poaching.

Leape said that for some of the nations involved outside financing would be essential to fulfill the goals.

“We need to see signficant commitment by the multilateral and bilateral indsitutions like the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank plus individual governments like the U.S. and Germany,” Leape told the AP.

For advocates, saving tigers has implications far beyond the emotional appeal of preserving a graceful and majestic animal.

“Wild tigers are not only a symbol of all that is splendid, mystical and powerful about nature,” the Global Tiger Initiative said in a statement. “The loss of tigers and degradation of their ecosystems would inevitably result in a historic, cultural, spiritual, and environmental catastrophe for the tiger range countries.”

Three of the nine tiger subspecies — the Bali, Javan, and Caspian — already have become extinct in the past 70 years.

Much has been done recently to try to save tigers, but conservation groups say their numbers and habitats have continued to fall, by 40 percent in the past decade alone.

In part, that decline is because conservation efforts have been increasingly diverse and often aimed at improving habitats outside protected areas where tigers can breed, according to a study published in September in the Popular Library of Science Biology journal.

Putin has done much to draw attention to tigers’ plight. During a visit to a wildlife preserve in 2008, he shot a female tiger with a tranquilizer gun and helped place a transmitter around her neck as part of a program to track the rare cats.

Later in the year, Putin was given a 2-month-old female Siberian tiger for his birthday. State television showed him at his home gently petting the cub, which was curled up in a wicker basket with a tiger-print cushion. The tiger now lives in a zoo in southern Russia.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_russia_saving_tigers

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The full moon of November arrives on Sunday and will bring with it a cosmic addition: It will also be a so-called “blue moon.”

“But wait a minute,” you might ask. “Isn’t a ‘blue moon‘ defined as the second full moon that occurs during a calendar month? Sunday’s full moon falls on Nov. 21 and it will be the only full moon in November 2010. So how can it be a ‘blue’ moon?”

Indeed, November’s full moon is blue moon – but only if we follow a rule that’s now somewhat obscure.

In fact, the current “two- full moons in one month” rule has superseded an older rule that would allow us to call Sunday’s moon “blue.” To be clear, the moon does not actually appear a blue color during a blue moon, it has to do with lunar mechanics.

Confused yet?

Well, as the late Paul Harvey used to say — here now, is the rest of the story:

The blue moon rule

Back in the July 1943 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine, in a question and answer column written by Lawrence J. Lafleur, there was a reference made to the term “blue moon.”  [Gallery – Full Moon Fever]

Lafleur cited the unusual term from a copy of the 1937 edition of the now-defunct Maine Farmers’ Almanac (NOT to be confused with The Farmers’ Almanac of Lewiston, Maine, which is still in business).

On the almanac page for August 1937, the calendrical meaning for the term “blue moon” was given.

That explanation said that the moon “… usually comes full twelve times in a year, three times for each season.”

Occasionally, however, there will come a year when there are 13 full moons during a year, not the usual 12. The almanac explanation continued:

“This was considered a very unfortunate circumstance, especially by the monks who had charge of the calendar of thirteen months for that year, and it upset the regular arrangement of church festivals. For this reason thirteen came to be considered an unlucky number.”

And with that extra full moon, it also meant that one of the four seasons would contain four full moons instead of the usual three.

“There are seven Blue Moons in a Lunar Cycle of nineteen years,” continued the almanac, ending on the comment that, “In olden times the almanac makers had much difficulty calculating the occurrence of the Blue Moon and this uncertainty gave rise to the expression ‘Once in a Blue Moon.'”

An unfortunate oversight

But while LaFleur quoted the almanac’s account, he made one very important omission: He never specified the date for this particular blue moon.

As it turned out, in 1937, it occurred on Aug. 21. That was the third full moon in the summer of 1937, a summer season that would see a total of four full moons.

Names were assigned to each moon in a season: For example, the first moon of summer was called the early summer moon, the second was the midsummer moon, and the last was called the late summer moon.

But when a particular season has four moons, the third was apparently called a blue moon so that the fourth and final one can continue to be called the late moon.

So where did we get the “two full moons in a month rule” that is so popular today?

A moon mistake

Once again, we must turn to the pages of Sky & Telescope.

This time, on page 3 of the March 1946 issue, James Hugh Pruett wrote an article, “Once in a Blue Moon,” in which he made a reference to the term “blue moon” and referenced LaFleur’s article from 1943.

But because Pruett had no specific full moon date for 1937 to fall back on, his interpretation of the ruling given by the Maine Farmers’ Almanac was highly subjective. Pruett ultimately came to this conclusion:

“Seven times in 19 years there were – and still are – 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.”

How unfortunate that Pruett did not have a copy of that 1937 almanac at hand, or else he would have almost certainly noticed that his “two full moons in a single month assumption” would have been totally wrong.

For the blue moon date of Aug. 21 was most definitely not the second full moon that month!

Blue moon myth runs wild

Pruett’s 1946 explanation was, of course, the wrong interpretation and it might have been completely forgotten were it not for Deborah Byrd who used it on her popular National Public Radio program, “StarDate” on Jan. 31, 1980.

We could almost say that in the aftermath of her radio show, the incorrect blue moon rule “went viral” — or at least the ’80s equivalent of it.

Over the next decade, this new blue moon definition started appearing in diverse places, such as the World Almanac for Kids and the board game Trivial Pursuit.

I must confess here, that even I was involved in helping to perpetuate the new version of the blue moon phenomenon. Nearly 30 years ago, in the Dec. 1, 1982 edition of The New York Times, I made reference to it in that newspaper’s “New York Day by Day” column.

And by 1988, the new definition started receiving international press coverage.

Today, Pruett’s misinterpreted “two full moons in a month rule” is recognized worldwide.  Indeed, Sky & Telescope turned a literary lemon into lemonade, proclaiming later that – however unintentional – it changed pop culture and the English language in unexpected ways.

Meanwhile, the original Maine Farmers’ Almanac rule had been all but forgotten.

Playing by the (old) rules

Now, let’s come back to this Sunday’s full moon.

Under the old Almanac rule, this would technically be a blue moon. In the autumn season of 2010, there are four full moons:

 

  • Sept. 23
  • Oct. 22
  • Nov. 21
  • Dec. 21

“But wait,” you might say. “Dec. 21 is the first day of winter.”

And you would be correct, but only if you live north of the equator in the Northern Hemisphere. South of the equator it’s the first day of summer.

In 2010, the solstice comes at 6:38 p.m. EST (2338 UT).

But the moon turns full at 3:13 a.m. EST (0813 UT). That’s 15 hours and 25 minutes before the solstice occurs. So the Dec. 21 full moon occurs during the waning hours of fall and qualifies as the fourth full moon of the season.

This means that under the original Maine Almanac rule – the one promoted by Lafleur and later misinterpreted by Pruett – the third full moon of the 2010 fall season on Nov. 21 would be a blue moon.

Choose your blue moon

So what Blue Moon definition tickles your fancy? Is it the second full moon in a calendar month, or (as is the case on Sunday) the third full moon in a season with four?

Maybe it’s both. The final decision is solely up to you.

Sunday’s full moon will look no different than any other full moon. But the moon can change color in certain conditions.

After forest fires or volcanic eruptions, the moon can appear to take on a bluish or even lavender hue. Soot and ash particles, deposited high in the Earth’s atmosphere, can sometimes make the moon appear bluish.

In the aftermath of the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991, there were reports of blue moons (and even blue suns) worldwide.

We could even call the next full moon (on Dec. 21) a “red moon,” but for a different reason: On that day there will be a total eclipse of the moon and, for a short while, the moon will actually glow with a ruddy reddish hue.

More on that special event in the days to come here at SPACE.com, so stay tuned!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20101119/sc_space/thereallystrangestorybehindsundaysbluemoon

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Reasons why I don’t text back.

  • I forget.
  • I’m too lazy.
  • The conversation wasn’t going anywhere.
  • I was asleep.
  • I didn’t know what to reply to, “Haha lol k.”
  • I was busy saving the world.
  • You’re boring as fuck.

 

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Bones Openings 4 & 5

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Types of Hugs

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