Forecasters warn hail, damaging winds, tornado or 2 possible over broad area of Midwest

NORMAN, Okla. – Strong storms in the Southern Plains overnight are offering a preview of bad weather expected in major cities across the Midwest later in the day.

The Storm Prediction Center says 57 million people live in an area with an “enhanced risk” of large hail, damaging winds and possibly tornadoes Thursday afternoon and evening. A handful of tornadoes were reported Wednesday, but mostly in rural areas of Kansas and Oklahoma, where the storms caused minimal damage.

Emergency managers and forecasters urged residents to know what to do if bad weather approached, including where to take shelter.



Astronomers have detected a basic ingredient of life in an infant star system. The discovery shows that Earth is not the only star system that contains life compounds.
Researchers used Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of European Southern Observatory for this purpose. They designed a video tour of the star to display their discovery.
The star, dubbed as MWC 480, is located around 455 light years away from the Earth. It is present in the constellation of Taurus. The size of MWC 480 is nearly double the size of sun. Even sun cannot compete with its high radiance.
The gas cloud of the star contains several molecules of carbon and methyl cyanide. Cynaides is quite essential as it contain carbon-nitrogen bond that are essential for the formation of amino acids. This is the first time when scientists have discovered such compounds in dust clouds of any star. . It confirms that numerous other Earth-like planets contain complex molecules. The molecules are the basic requirement of living organisms.
Karin Oberg, a researcher at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, talked about the findings. He informs that the heavy organic compound is an evidence of cometary composition.


Jeff Bezos’ rocket company to begin suborbital test flights this year

A space company owned by founder Jeff Bezos has finished work on a rocket engine for a suborbital spaceship and expects to begin flight tests this year, Blue Origin officials said on Tuesday.

The so-called New Shepard spaceship is designed to fly three people and/or a mix of passengers and payloads to altitudes about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth. It will launch from Blue Origin’s west Texas facility near Van Horn, Texas, southeast of El Paso.

Testing and development of the rocket engine, called BE-3, has been completed, the last major milestone before the liquid oxygen- and liquid hydrogen-fueled motor is attached to the New Shepard capsule for flight, Blue Origin President Rob Meyerson told reporters on a conference call.

Privately owned Blue Origin has not started selling tickets for flights on New Shepard or released pricing information.

“The engine is ready for flight … and ready for other commercial users,” Meyerson said. He declined to be more specific about when New Shepard would fly, except to say “soon.”

The capsule will fly dozens of times unmanned before the test flights include pilots, Meyerson added.

Blue Origin is among a handful of companies planning to offer commercial spaceflight services. New Shepard is a suborbital system, like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot space plane that is expected to resume test flights later this year following a fatal accident in Mojave, California, on Oct. 31, 2014.

Another company, privately owned XCOR Aerospace, is working on a two-seater space plane called Lynx that also is slated to debut this year, founder and chief technology officer Jeff Greason said.

Other companies, including Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and Boeing, are skipping suborbital spaceflight and developing systems to carry people into orbit.

Blue Origin intends to parlay its suborbital New Shepard vehicle into an orbital launch system, expected to begin flying later this decade. That vehicle will be powered by a liquefied natural gas motor, called the BE-4, that is being developed with United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing.

The recently completed BE-3 engine also will be modified to serve as an upper-stage motor to fly satellites into orbit, Meyerson said.


Chinese company creates 3D-printed car for just $1,770

Chinese 3D tech company Sanya Sihai has created a bright orange electric-powered sedan which cost just $1,770 to manufacture.

Sanya Suhai unveiled the vehicle, China’s first 3D printed car, on Tuesday in the country’s southern Hainan province.

Building the vehicle reportedly took 1.5 months, with the printing part of the process taking about five days.

“The density of the material is much lighter than that of the metal, only one-seventh or one-eighth,” chief designer Chen Mingqiao explained. “Lighter weight will help save energy in the future.”

The fully functioning sedan was printed in a filament dubbed ‘Tyrant Gold’ and cost just $1,770 to build. It was printed using low-cost composite materials.

The vehicle, which is powered by rechargeable batteries, can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometers per hour (24 mph).

The world’s first 3D printed car, the Urbee, was created in the US in 2013 by design firm KOR EcoLogic, direct digital manufacturer RedEye on Demand, and 3D printing manufacturer Stratsys. Last year, the Arizona-based Local Motors printed the Strati car. The company has plans to custom print 3D cars for clients on demand.

Once more are produced, the Urbee’s sticker price will likely be between $16,000 and $50,000, while the Strati will probably cost between $18,000 and $30,000.

Last Spring, Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. printed 10 single-story 3D-printed homes in under 24 hours. In January, WinSun used 3D printers to create a five-story house using construction wastes. It was the tallest building to ever be 3D printed.


Russian superhighway could connect London to New York

Russia has unveiled ambitious plans to build a superhighway that, in theory, could make it possible to drive from London on one end to New York on the other.

According to a report by The Siberian Times, the head of Russian Railways is asking the government to seriously consider his project dubbed the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development, the first modern transportation corridor that would link up the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.

Plans call for the construction of a new high-speed railway and the development of major roads that would span the length of Russia, link up with existing transportation networks in Europe and Asia — and cross the Bering Strait.

A network that would run about 20,000 km (12,400 miles) in length.

The proposal was presented at a meeting of the Russian Academy of Science and was touted, not only as a major transportation route, but as a means to create new cities and jobs in parts of Russia and Siberia that are woefully underdeveloped, and experience the hemorrhaging of young talent who leave the region for better opportunities abroad.

The new network could also be used to build pipelines for oil and gas as well as infrastructure for electricity and water supplies, said Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin.

The lofty proposal, however, comes with an equally sky-high price tag that could be trillions of dollars.

Currently, the longest international route operated by Russian Railways is Moscow to Pyongyang, North Korea, a 10,267-km (6,380 miles) journey that takes about nine days.


It’s official: ‘The X-Files’ is back with Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and Chris Carter

The truth is out there once more — “The X-Files” is coming back to television. David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson will clip on their FBI name badges again as supernatural investigators Mulder and Scully in six new episodes of the cult show.

The show’s creator Chris Carter is onboard for the new episodes. “I think of it as a 13-year commercial break,” Carter said in the official announcement. “The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, [making this] a perfect time to tell these six stories.”

The world has indeed moved on: what will conspiracy-theorist Mulder make of a post-Snowden world where a cover-up of alien activity seems like one of the more benign things a government agency can do? Now that everyone has a smartphone and Instagram, will each episode only be five minutes long? And will Mulder and Scully end up together?
It’s official: ‘The X-Files’ is back with Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and Chris Carter
The new series is produced by Fox and will go into production this summer. It’s yet to be confirmed when it will be broadcast.

“The X-Files” first hit TV screens in September 1993, telling the story of supernatural-obsessed FBI agent Fox “Spooky” Mulder and his skeptical partner Dana Scully. A huge global hit, the show ran for nine seasons and won 16 Emmy Awards and 5 Golden Globes. The series ended in 2002, and Mulder and Scully were last seen in the movie “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” in 2008.

The return of the “X-Files” will be more welcome news for fans of FBI agents entangled in ’90s weirdness: “Twin Peaks” is slated to return for a new series, although creator David Lynch has said that’s not as certain as we may have hoped.

The best image ever acquired of the largest asteroid in the Solar System is now in the hands of science.

The best image ever acquired of the largest asteroid in the Solar System is now in the hands of science.

The best image ever acquired of the largest asteroid in the Solar System is now in the hands of science.

The 950km-wide object, known as Ceres, has been pictured at a resolution that exceeds anything seen previously by telescopes, even Hubble.

Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft can see details on the icy rock’s surface down to a scale of 22km per pixel.

And that view will only get better as the probe heads towards its historic rendezvous with Ceres on 6 March.

The new picture was taken on Monday from a distance of 237,000km.

By 12 February, with the gap narrowed still further, the resolution will be four times better than Hubble; and by 20 February it will be eight times better.

Of particular interest is the “white spot” in the Northern Hemisphere. Hubble could discern this feature, too, but exactly what it is remains to be determined.

It is very probably an impact crater. For the first time, Dawn can see a dark area next to the spot which could be the shadow cast by the crater’s rim.

Models of the asteroid suggest its interior is dominated by a rocky core topped by ice that is then insulated by rocky lag deposits at the surface. Some researchers suspect there may even be an ocean of liquid water at depth.

Such a construction would make Ceres’ surface quite responsive, meaning craters would not hold a defined shape for long before relaxing and losing some of their structure. For the white spot to stand so proud may indicate therefore that its formation was relatively recent.

Ceres is the dominant member of the band of rocky debris that circles the Sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Its great size means gravity has pulled it into a roughly spherical shape.

As well as being an asteroid, it is classed as a “dwarf planet” and has the honour of being the first such body to be visited by a spacecraft.

The second dwarf to get a visit will be Pluto. It will receive a flyby from Nasa’s New Horizons probe in July.

google maps

Google Maps was just updated – here are 5 new features you have to check out

Google Maps is one of the most popular mobile apps on the planet. Millions upon millions of people around the world rely on the app to help them discover new places, and of course to guide them to those new places. As a result, each new Google Maps update released by Google instantly impacts millions of people — mostly for the better, but sometimes Google’s changes in Maps cause more aggravation than they’re worth.

On Wednesday evening, Google released new updates for its Google Maps apps on Android and on the iPhone. And thankfully, this is a case where all of the updates bring nifty new features and there are no big design changes that might cause people headaches.

Here are five new features Google added to Google Maps in these latest updates that users should definitely check out:

  1. Filter searches for restaurants by cuisine type — Google Maps users can finally drill down restaurant searches by cuisine, meaning we’re all now one step closer to being able to uninstall Yelp.
  2. See current weather information for cities around the world — a nice new feature for users who are performing searches while getting ready to travel.
  3. Drop a pin for your starting and destination points in directions and navigation — this new feature makes fine-tuning your path while navigating much easier.
  4. Add transit directions to your calendar — now when you add a work meeting or any other event to your schedule, you’ll easily be able to include transit directions right in the calendar entry!
  5. Sharable directions — this is an undocumented change in the Android version of Google Maps, and it lets users quickly and easily share directions with any contact.

Google Maps was just updated – here are 5 new features you have to check out

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Planes collide in Canada

Five killed in collision of two small planes over Canada

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — Five people were killed Saturday when two small planes collided in the air northeast of Saskatoon, Canada, officials said.

Both planes involved were single-engine aircraft.

One was en route to La Ronge from Regina with a man and woman aboard, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said.

The other was traveling to St. Brieux, Saskatchewan, where the crash occurred, from Calgary. Two men and a male juvenile were aboard, police said.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the crash.

Bodies recovered from Russian plane crash in Jakarta

Rescuers comb wreckage of Russian jet that crashed on Indonesian mountain

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Grim search under way in Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) — Bad weather hampered recovery efforts Friday as rescue teams combed a forbidding slope of an Indonesian mountain where a Russian jetliner crashed on a demonstration flight this week.

Rescuers found 12 bodies early in the day, according to Vice Marshal Daryatmo, head of the National Search and Rescue Agency, who like many Indonesians uses only one name.

It will take at least two weeks to identify the victims through DNA tests, Indonesian authorities said.

All 45 on board the Sukhoi Superjet 100 are feared dead.

The Superjet 100, Russia’s newest passenger plane, slammed into Mount Salak, a volcano south of Jakarta, after disappearing from radar screens Wednesday.

Most of the wreckage is on a steep slope about 6,000 feet high, making it difficult to reach.

The cause of the crash remained unclear. The Russian Investigative Committee said it has launched a criminal probe into possible safety violations.

“We can understand how the families are feeling right now, and we want to do this evacuation as fast as we can, but the problem is the crash site terrain is unreachable by parachute,” Daryatmo said at a news conference Friday.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced a joint investigation Friday after a phone call with his Russia counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

“I welcome the offer from Russian President Putin because the goal is to investigate what could have caused the plane crash,” Yudhoyono said.

The Russian Investigative Committee had said 48 people were on board the plane, including eight Russian crew members. But the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti said the number was 45, citing Sukhoi Civil Aviation President Vladimir Prisyazhnyuk as saying three of the people on the passenger list did not board the flight.

The plane was on a demonstration flight for Indonesian Ministry of Transportation officials and representatives of Indonesian airlines, the Russian Embassy in Jakarta said before the crash.

Indonesia’s Sky Aviation signed a $380 million deal in 2011 to buy 12 Sukhoi Superjet 100s, and press reports said a number of Sky employees were on the plane that went down. Sukhoi employees are also among the missing.

It was the first crash of a Sukhoi Superjet 100, RIA Novosti said.

The plane was on its second demonstration flight Wednesday when it lost contact with air controllers at Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.

The Sukhoi jet arrived in Jakarta as part of a demonstration tour of six Asian countries. It had been to Myanmar, Pakistan and Kazakhstan, and was scheduled to visit Laos and Vietnam after Indonesia, RIA Novosti said.

Sukhoi manufactures military aircraft and is known especially for its fighter jets. Its civilian aircraft is narrow-bodied with a dual-class cabin that can transport 100 passengers over regional routes.

It flew its maiden flight in 2008 and has had encountered problems in the past.

In March, a Superjet 100 operated by Russia’s Aeroflot Airlines was forced to abandon its flight to Astrakhan, Russia, and return to Moscow because of problems with the undercarriage, according to RIA Novosti.

A similar defect in another Aeroflot-operated Superjet 100 plane had to be fixed in Minsk in December. However, Russia’s state-run United Aircraft Corp. said the defect did not affect passenger safety.