April 21, 2001 El Paso, Texas - Sergio Arellano was born in El Paso fifty years ago, graduated from high school there and then joined the U. S. Army where he earned a degree in transportation. By the end of April 1986 - and after the awful nuclear melt down at a Chernobyl, Russia power plant on April 26, 1986 - Sergio was a Master Sergeant in Mannheim, Germany working in the 28th Transportation Battalion. In 1996, he retired from the Army and returned to his hometown to work for a commercial trucking company.
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April 15, 2001 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – A brand new theory about the creation of the universe emerged recently from cosmologists and particle physicists at Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Cambridge, England. The new theory is called the Ekpyrotic Universe, from a Greek word meaning “conflagration” used to describe the universe’s creation from a huge fireball that cooled down. Periodically, the Greeks thought, the process could repeat itself.Click for report.
April 11, 2001 College Station, Texas – The number of outbreaks in the UK has now reached 921 with three new cases confirmed this week. More than 955,000 animals have been earmarked for slaughter to contain and eradicate the highly contagious virus, with 345, 000 waiting to be killed and 178,000 carcasses awaiting disposal. Computer experts project that the virus won’t reach its peak until June 2001. By then, England might reach 4,000 cases of foot-and-mouth disease.Click for report.
April 8, 2001 Washington, D. C. – NASA successfully launched its Odyssey probe to Mars on Saturday, April 7. The spacecraft is expected to reach the red planet on October 24th after a 286 million mile trip. After aerobraking to get into a lower orbit, instruments aboard will be able to analyze surface rock chemistry and take images in both color and infra red. One place that would be very interesting to visit again is the South Pole where the Mars Orbital Camera (MOC) took the 1999 photograph above that provoked writer Arthur C. Clarke (2001 and 2010) to question if the images were biological and not geological.Click for report.
April 1, 2001 Washington, D. C. – Representative James C. Greenwood (R., Pa.) called a hearing to order on March 28, 2001 to consider human cloning and whether it should be banned in the United States. Rep. Greenwood is Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee. “Although publicly funded human cloning research is prohibited,” Rep. Greenwood said, “privately funded human cloning research is not.”Click for report.
The Dutch Agriculture Minister confirmed last week that four cows and hundreds of goats in Holland are infected and the herd and flocks must be destroyed and incinerated. The European Union quickly imposed a ban on livestock exports from the Netherlands and on exports of meat, dairy and animal products from four Dutch provinces. About 17,000 animals within a 1000 yard radius of the three infected farms will be killed.Click for report.
March 24, 2001 Swiss Alps – The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported this week that the Alps are warming up faster than the rest of he world. Prof. Martin Beniston, head of the Geosciences Department of the University of Fribourg, predicted that global warming could push the snow line up from 1200 to 1800 meters (3,816-5,724 feet).Click for report.
March 21, 2001 Greensboro, Vermont – After months of legal battles, the U. S. Department of Agriculture acted today and took 233 sheep from Vermont farmers, Houghton Freeman and Linda and Larry Faillace. It started back in July 2000 when four sheep on their Greensboro, Vermont farm tested positive for antibodies to Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy, or TSE, – a family of diseases caused by misshapen proteins called prions – the most famous being BSE, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow disease. The destructive proteins attack the spinal cord and brain, literally eating holes in tissues which deteriorate to resemble a sponge, always ending in death. Click for report.
March 21, 2001 – It was only six months ago that Presidential campaigner George Bush pledged to regulate power plant emissions of carbon dioxide in order to help reduce global warming. But this month as president, he has now reversed himself saying there is a national energy crisis. At the same time, a study was published in the journal Nature confirming unequivocally that greenhouse gases are increasing. Scientists at London’s Imperial College compared 1997 infrared reflections of carbon dioxide, methane and ozone from Earth’s surface and found less was escaping into space compared to satellite data in 1970. Atmospheric physicist John Harries said, “We’re absolutely sure; there’s no ambiguity. This shows the greenhouse effect is operating, and what we are seeing can only be due to the increase in the gases.”Click for report.
March 18, 2001 Houston, Texas – This past week I was in Houston at the Johnson Space Center to attend the 32nd Lunar and Planetary Space Institute meeting held since the first Apollo days. This was the largest conference so far. More than a thousand planetary scientists from around the world presented their latest research data on Mercury, Venus, Earth’s Moon, the Asteroid Eros, Jupiter’s moons, Europa, Callisto and Io. But probably the most exciting sessions were about Mars. There were more than a hundred papers presented about the red planet. Hundreds of high resolution photographs from the Mars Global Surveyor showed valleys and rippled features that on Earth would mean only one thing: water.Click for report.