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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Does your country have a pandemic preparation plan?

I live in Canada.Today I did some research online and was relieved to find out that my country has a pandemic preparation plan. The plan describes the different phases of a pandemic and the roles and responsibilities for each level of government at each phase. The phases described in Canada's plan are based on the World Health Organization's pandemic phrases. These phases are helpful for planning concrete steps under key activity areas for each phase. When put together, the phases provide guidance on what needs to be done as a pandemic unfolds. If you live in Canada and want to find out more about this country's pandemic preparation plan go to this website:

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/influenza/pandemicplan-eng.php

Millions pledged to stop general bee decline

"A British consortium pledged Tuesday to spend up to £10 million ($14.5 million) in research grants to find out what is causing a serious decline in bees and other pollinating insects."

"Those insects -- including honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies and moths -- play an essential role in pollinating many vital crops, but their numbers have been declining steadily in recent years, scientists say.

In the United Kingdom alone, the number of pollinators has fallen between 10 and 15 percent in the past two years, according to the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC), a government-sponsored research group.

"This funding will give some of Britain's world-class researchers the chance to identify the causes of the decline we're seeing in bee numbers, and that will help us to take the right action to help," British Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said in a statement."

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded $4.1 million last year to scientists across the country to find out what is causing the decline."

"Bee populations have recently seen sharp declines across the United States, Canada, and Europe, but the reasons are not fully understood."

"Alarm bells were raised in 2007 when scientists noted a phenomenon in America called "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD), the beekeepers' association said. The phenomenon sees worker bees suddenly leaving the hives and never returning, and it has affected billions of bees across the United States."

Lets hope for the sake of the bees on the planet that these researchers can pinpoint the cause of decline in the population of bees on this planet. Without bees, food production will be diminshed in the world, and food prices will rise.

Source:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/04/21/britain.bees.decline/index.html

Ancient microbes discovered alive beneath Antarctic glacier

"Under the Taylor Glacier on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, scientists have discovered bacterial activity. These newly found microbes have survived for the past 1.5 million years using an "iron-breathing" technique, which may show how life could exist on other planets."

"For years the reddish waterfall-like feature on the side of Taylor Glacier captured the attention of explorers and scientists. Earlier research indicates the color of Blood Falls is due to oxidized iron, but how the iron got to the surface of the glacier remained a mystery."

To read the entire article written by Azadeh Ansari go to:http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/04/16/microbes.antarctic.discovery/index.html

Stellar explosion reveals most distant known object in universe


Scientists say a faint burst of radiation discovered last week is the remnant of a massive stellar explosion that took place more than 13 billion years ago, or only about 630 million years after the big bang.

The gamma-ray burst, dubbed GRB 090423, points to what astronomers are calling the most distant object in the universe.



The fading infrared afterglow of GRB 090423 appears in the centre of this false-colour image taken with the Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii. The burst is the farthest cosmic explosion yet seen, with a distance of over 13 billion light years.
(Sources:Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA, D. Fox and A. Cucchiara (Penn State) and E. Berger (Harvard)


Gamma rays are the highest-energy wavelength of light produced when high-energy particles collide. The large-scale gamma-ray bursts are believed to be produced when massive stars collapse into black holes, releasing jets of gas that react and heat up the gas surrounding the dying star.

Astronomers on Tuesday said they believe the gamma-ray burst discovered is the result of such a stellar explosion.

NASA's Swift satellite first spotted the 10-second-long burst on April 23, but could not see any corresponding visible light to match it. This suggested the burst occurred in an early time of the universe some 13 billion years ago, when dense clouds of hydrogen gas completely absorbed visible light, obscuring our view of a time when scientists believe the first stars and galaxies were born.

Subsequent examinations of the gamma-ray burst were taken from two ground-based telescopes located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii: the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope and the Gemini North telescope.

Astronomers using these telescopes were able to look at the burst's infrared light afterglow to determine the distance of the explosion based on its redshift, or how much the light's wavelength had stretched towards the red end of the spectrum in response to the expansion of the universe.

Just as the sound of a radio from a car moving away from us sounds stretched out, so too does light shift to a longer wavelength as its source moves farther away. Since the universe is expanding, faraway objects are moving away at a faster rate than those closer to us, and so their redshift is correspondingly higher.

The examination of the afterglow confirmed the burst's redshift of 8.2, the highest ever recorded. This corresponds to a distance of 13.035 billion light-years.

Source:http://www.cbcnews.com


Swine Flu Jumps Continents

According to an article written by Daniel Cressey at the www.nature.com website (http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090427/full/news.2009.405.html),

"Swine flu has been confirmed in Mexico, the United States and Europe — and may have spread as far afield as New Zealand. With more than 80 people suspected to have died of the disease in Mexico, where this outbreak seems to have originated, the director general of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, said the outbreaks "constitute a public-health emergency of international concern".

Influenza viruses are reasonably common in pigs. Traditionally, most human cases of swine flu are contracted through contact with infected animals, rather than from human-to-human transmission but this flu does seem to be spreading between people.
It spreads in the same way as normal flu, with most of those infected likely to have contracted it through airborne viruses. Infection by touching contaminated surfaces is also possible. Symptoms are also likely to resemble those of normal flu.

"With this sort of virus we would expect a mild, influenza-like illness, with fatalities in the minority of cases," says Wendy Barclay, chair in influenza virology at Imperial College London. "Over the next few days, as the numbers in other countries increase, we'll have a much better idea what the true case fatality is. Looking genetically at the virus there are no hallmarks of high pathogenicity."

Swine flu is an influenza A type virus. Apparently the virus found in Mexico appears to be a new virus. Some of the samples have been sequenced and seem to have recombined from several different viruses, in fact as stated by Anne Schuchat, deputy director of the science and public health program at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

"we know so far that the viruses contain genetic pieces from four different virus sources".

What can a person do to make themselves less vunerable to catching the swine flu?
Some people in the world already possess some level of resistance to this flu virus, and their is no vaccine against this virus that will keep us from getting it. Researchers are preparing the virus as a seed strain for vaccine manufacture, a process that can take weeks. If thought necessary, a vaccine could be produced around three to six months after the seed strain is ready.

For now, the WHO (World Health Organization) suggests avoiding contact with people who may be unwell, covering the nose and mouth if you have to deal with ill people, and maintaining high standards of hygiene.

Source:
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090427/full/news.2009.405.html

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Polish pianist won't return to U.S.


"Poland's Krystian Zimerman, acclaimed as one of the world's finest pianists, shocked his audience at Disney Hall in Los Angeles Sunday evening by stopping his recital and announcing that this would be his last performance in the U.S.
"Get your hands off my country," Zimerman, who doesn't allow photos to be taken of his performances, told the audience. He denounced American military policies overseas and particularly in Poland, accusing the U.S. of trying to control the world." Zimerman is upset because of US plans to install a missile defence shield on Polish soil.


Source of photo:http://news.poland.com/upload/news/353pzimerman_krystian1.jpg

It is ironic that Zimerman has chosen to stop playing in the United States. I say this because the year 2009 marks 90 years of United States-Polish diplomatic relations, during which Poland has proven to be an exceptionally strong partner to the United States in advancing freedom around the world.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Keep playing those video games!

According to a new study done by scientists Gideon P Caplovitz and Sabine Kastner, which was recently published at www.nature.com, :"Playing action-based video games has been shown to improve attentional processing. A study now finds that it also induces long-lasting improvements in contrast sensitivity, a basic visual function that commonly deteriorates with age. These improvements do not happen for an equivalent group who played a non-action video game."

(source:http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v12/n5/full/nn0509-527.html)

Michelle Stephenson
who has written an article entitled, "Contrast Sensitivity Testing in Eye Exams" at this website: http://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/contrast-sensitivity.htm,
states: "
Contrast sensitivity is crispness of vision, enabling us to see objects that do not stand out from their backgrounds. Contrast sensitivity is often referred to as "functional vision" beyond how well you see details on a standard eye chart."

"If you have low contrast sensitivity, you may have problems with night driving, including inability to see traffic lights or spot other cars and pedestrians. People with poor contrast sensitivity also may require extra light to read, and their eyes may become tired when they read or watch television. Poor contrast sensitivity also can cause you to stumble when you fail to see that you need to step down from a curb onto similarly colored pavement.

Low contrast sensitivity also can be a symptom of certain eye conditions or diseases such as cataracts,glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy."

To read the entire article written by Michelle Stephenson go to: http://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/contrast-sensitivity.htm

A Nose for Disease

Writer Claire Thomas of ScienceNOW Daily News has written an article entitled "A Nose for Disease". This article discusses new research into the recent discovery that some animals have been found to not only detect diseases on their body of their owners (even cancer!).

According to Thomas, In 2008, " Scientists have previously identified a number of mouse smell receptors, cell-surface proteins in the animals' noses that pick up everything from the fragrance of food to the scent of fear," Neurogeneticist Ivan Rodriguez of the University of Geneva in Switzerland and colleagues wondered whether there might be additional such receptors that respond to a disease "scent," perhaps by detecting chemicals associated with bacteria and inflammation.The researchers scoured the already deciphered mouse genome, looking for genes that might encode additional receptor proteins in its olfactory system, the sensory cells that connect the nose to the brain. They found genes for five new receptors, all of which belong to a known family of proteins called formyl peptide receptors (FPRs)."

These scientists wondered if the "newly identified FDR's on olfactory cells do the same thing, detecting pathogens but those outside the body on another animal? The scientists discovered that " some of the chemicals sparked a "smell response" in the neurons".

The neurons possessing the newfound FPR receptors reside within a part of the olfactory system at the base of the brain that also sniffs out sexual signaling chemicals called pheromones. This area--the vomeronasal organ--is linked directly to the brain's emotional center, the amygdala."

"This makes a lot of sense," says Rodriguez. When a mouse detects a nearby mate, or danger, in the form of disease, it needs to trigger a quick reaction, whether it's an attempt to reproduce or to avoid a nearby sick animal, he says.

Rodriguez's team also found disease-smelling receptors in gerbils and rats, but he thinks it's unlikely they'll be discovered in human noses. There's no evidence that we have FPRs anywhere but in our immune system, he says.

"The results are "very exciting, if not a major breakthrough," says neuroscientist and smell expert Pierre Marie Lledo of the Pasteur Institute in Paris. The discovery will open "new field of research" into the molecular basis of sniffing out disease, says Marie-Christine Broillet, a specialist in olfaction from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland."

source:http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/422/4

12-year-old girl from New Jersey throws perfect game against boys

Mackenzie Brown is the first girl in Bayonne Little League history to throw a perfect game. She retired all 18 boys she faced on Tuesday.
There are no official records of how many perfect games are thrown per season. Little League Baseball in Williamsport, Pa., estimates only 50 to 60 occur each year. No one knows how many have been thrown by girls.
Brown says she knew she had something special going in the fourth inning and just tried not to mess up.
She'll get to throw out the first pitch at Citi Field on Saturday when the New York Mets host the Washington Nationals. source:http://www.cbc.ca/cp/Oddities/090424/K042404AU.html

Congratulations Mackenzie that is quite an accomplishment! It just shows you what you can do when you put your mind to do something. This should inspire other girls to play baseball and other activities which were once only played by boys.

World Champion Viswanathan Anand wins a rapid chess match against Ivan Morovic Fernandez

On April 26th, World Chess Champion played a two game rapid chess match against GM Ivan Morovic Fernandez in Santiago, Chile.Anand won convincingly by a score of 2-0. You can play through the games move by move by going to this link: http://www.fundaciondeajedrez.cl/game_view.php?pgn=http://www.fenach.cl/partidas/pgn/ANANDMOROVIC2009.pgn

FIDE Grand Prix:Nalchik:round 8-11 results, standings,round 12 pairings

Here are the results from rounds 8-11 of the FIDE Grand Prix Chess event being played at Nalchik:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Round 8 results (April 23, 2009) (White is on the left):

Aronian, Levon - Svidler, Peter result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 30
Opening: Slav Defence ECO:D11

Leko, Peter - Bacrot, Etienne result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 23
Opening: Queens Indian Defense ECO:D15

Akopian, Vladimir - Alekseev, Evgeny result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 50
Opening: Queen's Gambit Declined Ragozin Defense ECO:D38

Kamsky, Gata - Eljanov, Pavel result: 0-1 number of moves: 67 Opening: Ruy Lopez ECO:C91

Karjakin, Sergey - Grischuk, Alexander result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 75
Opening: Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation ECO:B90

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar - Ivanchuk, Vassily result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 37
Opening: Gruenfeld Defense 3.g3 ECO:D79

Kasimdzhanov, Rustam - Gelfand, Boris result: 0-1 number of moves: 28 Opening:
Semi-Slav defense: Anti-Meran Gambit ECO:D 43

These games can be played through in their entirety move by move by going to this link:
http://chessbase.com/news/2009/fide/games/nalchik08.htm

Standings after Round 8:
1.Aronian: 5 points 2nd-6th Alekseev,Karjakin,Grischuk,Leko, and Svidler, all have 4.5 points, 7th-10th: Mamedyarov,Akopian,Bacrot,and Eljanov, all have 4 points, 11th-12th Kasimdzhanov and Gelfand, both have 3.5 points, 13th: Kamsky, 3 points, 14th: Ivanchuk, 2.5 points.


Round 9 results (April 24, 2009) (White is on the left)

Alekseev, Evgeny - Karjakin, Sergey result: 1-0 number of moves: 47 Opening: Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation ECO:B90

Bacrot, Etienne - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar result: 1-0 number of moves: 31 Opening: Sicilian Defense: Paulsen variation ECO:B46

Grischuk, Alexander - Kamsky, Gata result: 0-1 number of moves: 101 Opening: Ruy Lopez:
Breyer variation ECO:C95

Svidler, Peter - Leko, Peter result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 32 Opening: Ruy Lopez: Closed defense ECO:C88

Gelfand, Boris - Aronian, Levon result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 33 Opening: Queen's Gambit Declined Bf4 variation ECO:D37

Eljanov, Pavel - Kasimdzhanov, Rustam result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 65 Opening: D37 Queen's Gambit Declined Bf4 variation ECO:D37

Ivanchuk, Vassily - Akopian, Vladimir result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 45 Opening:
English Opening: Four Knights variation ECO:A29

These games can be played through in their entirety by going to this link: http://chessbase.com/news/2009/fide/games/nalchik09.htm

Standings after 9 rounds of play:
1st-2nd: Alekseev and Aronian both have 5 1/2 points,
3rd-5th: Leko,Svidler and Bacrot: all have 5 points,
6th-9th:Karjakin,Grischuk,Akopian and Eljanov: all have 4 1/2 points
10th-13th: Kamsky,Gelfand,Mamedyarov and Kasimdzhanov: all have 4 points
14th: Ivanchuk 3 points

Round 10 Results

(April 26, 2009) (White is on the left)

Aronian, Levon - Eljanov, Pavel result: 1-0 number of moves: 50 Opening: Queen's Gambit Declined Bf4 variation ECO:D37

Leko, Peter - Gelfand, Boris result: 1-0 number of moves: 43 Opening: Petroff's Defence ECO:C42

Akopian, Vladimir - Bacrot, Etienne result: 1-0 number of moves: 57 Opening: Sicilian Defence
ECO:B35

Grischuk, Alexander - Alekseev, Evgeny result: 1-0 number of moves: 52 Opening: Nimzo Indian Defense ECO:E58

Kamsky, Gata - Kasimdzhanov, Rustam result: ½-½ (draw) Number of moves: 36
Opening: Petroff's Defence ECO:C42

Karjakin, Sergey - Ivanchuk, Vassily result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 40 Opening:
Sicilian Defense: Sveshnikov variation ECO:B33

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar - Svidler, Peter result: 1-0 number of moves: 36 Opening: Semi-Slav defense: Anti-Meran Variation ECO:D45

These games can be played through move-by-move in their entirety by going to this link:
http://chessbase.com/news/2009/fide/games/nalchik10.htm

Standings after 10 rounds of play:

1st:Aronian 6 1/2 points,
2nd: Leko 6 points
3rd-5th:Grischuk,Alekseev, and Akopian, all have 5 1/2 points
6th-10th:Mamedyarov, Karjakin,Bacrot and Svidler, all have 5 points
11th-13th:Kamsky,Kasimdzhanov,and Eljanov, all have 4 1/2 points
14th: Ivanchuk, 3 1/2 points

Round 11 Results: (April 27, 2009)

Alekseev, Evgeny - Kamsky, Gata result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 44
Opening: Sicilian Defense: Paulsen variation ECO:B42

Bacrot, Etienne - Karjakin, Sergey result: 1-0 number of moves: 38 Opening: Sicilian Defense: Najdorf Variation ECO:B90

Svidler, Peter - Akopian, Vladimir result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 22 Opening:
Ruy Lopez: Centre Attack ECO:C84

Kasimdzhanov, Rustam - Aronian, Levon result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 67
Opening:Semi-Slav defense: Anti-Meran Variation ECO:D45

Gelfand, Boris - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar result: 1-0 number of moves: 56 Opening:
Blumenfeld Counter Gambit ECO:E10

Eljanov, Pavel - Leko, Peter result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 44 Opening:
Queen's Gambit: Semi-slav defense: Meran variation ECO:D47

Ivanchuk, Vassily - Grischuk, Alexander result: 1-0 number of moves: 37 Opening: King's Indian Defense: Classical variation ECO:E97

You can play through these games from round 11 by going to this link:
http://chessbase.com/news/2009/fide/games/nalchik11.htm

Standings after 11 rounds of play:
1st: Aronian 7 points
2nd: Leko 6 1/2 points
3rd-5th:Alekseev, Bacrot and Akopian, all have 6 points
6th-7th: Grischuk and Svidler both have 5 1/2 points
8th-13th:Karjakin,Kamsky,Mamedyarov,Kasimdzhanov,Gelfand and Eljanov all have 5 points
14th:Ivanchuk 4 1/2 points

There are two rounds of play after this round. Here are the pairings for round 12:


Round 12: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 (white is on the right):

Kamsky Gata-Aronian Levon
Leko Peter-Kasimdzhanov
Mamedyarov-Eljanov Pavel
Akopian Vladimir-Gelfand Boris
Karjakin Sergey-Svidler Peter
Grischuk Alexander-Bacrot Etienne
Alekseev Evgeny-Ivanchuk Vassil

Good luck to all the players in round 12!

Friday, April 24, 2009

We screwed up,' Alberta admits after using British beach photo in ads

"The government of Alberta is apologizing for using a photo of a British beach in an ad to promote the land-locked province.

A picture featuring two blond children running on a beach in England's Northumberland region appears as part of a new $25-million campaign to promote Alberta.

We all knew that every single image we put out to represent Alberta had to be of Alberta, or we would be roasted," wrote David Sands, a government employee. "Then we screwed up.…

Premier Ed Stelmach said Friday that he's still proud of the rebranding campaign and that the photo was intended to represent global concerns."

source:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2009/04/24/edm-alberta-ad-england-photo-beach.html

How could this government of my province do such a thing? There are so many beautiful places in Alberta which would have been so much better to promote Alberta:the Rocky Mountains, park land, any photo of Alberta for that matter would have been better than using an image of a British Beach, and the 25 million dollars could have been payed to Alberta companies and artists to produce the ads. Why did they chose Britain?

What is really ironic about this embarrassment is that the Premier of the province made the following statement to the world about this embarrassment:

"Premier Ed Stelmach said Friday that he's still proud of the rebranding campaign and that the photo was intended to represent global concerns.

"It's more broad than Alberta ... because we do care, not only about Alberta environment but the world," he said."

It seems that the Premier is trying to use public money to try and repair the image of his government, and his bureaucracy after the recent killing of ducks at an oil company pond.In my opinion, the Premier should focus upon Alberta's environmental problems by using concrete new legislation which shows the world and the residents of the province that he is serious about reducing environmental damage caused by Big Oil in Alberta. As stated recently in the Globe and Mail:

"Former premier Peter Lougheed told William Marsden, the author of the book, How Alberta is Bringing Environmental Armageddon to Canada (and Doesn't Seem to Care),

"that the province has stupidly forgotten how to behave like an "owner." David Schindler, one of the world's foremost water ecologists, explains how the systematic and ignorant trashing of provincial watersheds could ensure citizens a bleak future within 50 years. David Hughes, an energy and peak oil expert, wonders why federal and provincial politicians don't seem cleverly interested in oil and gas conservation now that Canadians are stupidly reduced to digging big holes in the ground for the world's dirtiest oil. In addition, government that gives away its oil for a 1-per-cent royalty is not only stupid but politically bankrupt. A regulator ("eight mulish, white male suits") that rubber-stamps projects and then spies on citizens who question their rubber-stamping is a Soviet-style disgrace. A former (Alberta) environment minister who rants not about the destruction of rivers and forests, but about his Harvard education, is pure Mark Twain territory. Welcome to Saudi Alberta." (source:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20071006.BKALBE06/TPStory/National)

How many screwups is a Provincial Party allowed, especially related to our precious environment? I hope those of you who voted Conservative in the last provincial election, and have those of you who have always supported the Lougheed,Klein and Stelmach Progressive Conservative Governments, can live with yourself, when environmental problems which the Progressive Party of Alberta have allowed to occur, begin to affect your health and the health of your loved ones in a a serious manner!


British Columbia safety minister suspended from driving for 'excessive speeding'

"B.C. Solicitor General John van Dongen, the province's top law enforcement official, has been suspended from driving for four months because of traffic tickets for what he said was "excessive speeding."

Van Dongen, who is also the minister of public safety and is running for re-election as a Liberal in Abbotsford South, issued a written statement Friday, saying he "accepted the temporary prohibition." (source:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/bcvotes2009/story/2009/04/24/bc-van-dongen-driving.html

This situation should be an embarrassment to both the Liberal party of British Columbia and the Liberal Party of Canada. It is bad enough that van Dongen was breaking the law, but to break the law repeatedly over a period of time..what sort of message does that send to the populace? Speeding is one of the main causes of car accidents, and van Dongen is just lucky he did not cause an accident and hurt or kill innocent people. But what is worse is that he was given a job in which he was responsible for ensuring safe communities through policing and crime prevention, victims' services and corrections,and he himself was a habitual law-breaker, is even worse! In my opinion, Van Dongen should resign his post, as he has tarnished his party, his government, as well as damaged the image of the Federal Liberal Party of Canada, which he is a member of.

Ever wonder why you like milk so much?

Well here is a possible scientific reason for your love of milk. Cattle and humans have about 80 per cent of their genes in common.The genome of the domestic cattle contains approximately 22,000 genes, compared to 20,000 to 25,000 for humans. The organization of human chromosomes is closer to that of domestic cattle than to those of rats or mice, which are often used in lab tests of drugs intended for people. So the next time you pass a herd of cows in your car, remember to say hello to your relatives with a loud "MOO" :)

source:http://technology.sympatico.msn.ca/News/ContentPosting?newsitemid=233386427&feedname=CP-SCIENCE&show=False&number=10&showbyline=True&subtitle=&detect=&abc=abc&date=True

Rating Regulations in chess - The K-Factor

Effective July 1st,2009 the new FIDE Rating system comes into effect. An important consideration for the rating of chess players in the world is the K-factor or K-coefficient.The "K" factor represents an estimate of player rating volatility. The higher the value the more uncertain the prior rating is assumed to be, and therefore how rapidly a player's rating may change. Its value is determined from number of prior games, number of games played in the current event, and prior rating.

The Elo System

The system for rating chess players is named after Dr. Arpad Elo who improved the original one developed by Kenneth Harkness. It has been in use in the USA since 1960 and was taken on by FIDE in 1970. The system is twofold:
1. It shows how strong the player is: Player A rated 2400 is stronger than Player B rated 2300.
2. The system also calculates the results of a game, tournament, or chess event as numerical Elo results.
Originally designed as a chess rating system, nowadays it is also being used in a number of other sports.

The Main Elo Idea

Each chess player has chance to win a game. The stronger player, the more chances to win. FIDE uses a special winning probability table for a game which is based on the rating difference between the two opponents.
If the rating difference between the two is 0, each player has equal chances to win, and his or her winning probability is 0.50. If the rating difference is 100, the stronger player has the winning probability 0.64 while the weaker 0.36. Please remember 100, 0.64, and 0.36.

Let's imagine that Player A rated 2400 and Player B rated 2300 are to officially play 100 games. The rating difference being 100, the expected result for Player A is therefore 0.64 and for Player B 0.36. And now the main Elo idea follows...
If Player A is really playing as strong as 2400 and Player B as 2300, at the end of the event Player A will score 64 and Player B 36 for sure. If Player A scores only 55 (but not expected 64) and Player B 45 (more than expected 36), the Elo system will change their new ratings.

The K-factor

The Elo rating system uses the K-factor which is necessary for Elo calculation. The K-factor is assigned to the chess player, and its possible values in FIDE are 10, 15, and 25 as follows:
* 25 for players new to the rating list, until they have completed events with a total of at least 30 games.
* 15 for players with a rating under 2400.
* 10 once the player has reached 2400 and been registered for at least 30 games. Thereafter it remains permanently at 10, even if the player's rating is under 2400 at a later stage.

Calculating the Rating Change

The current rating of the chess player changes after each game. The one-game Rating Change depends on:
* The player's K-factor.
* The player's score (1, 0.5, or 0).
* The player's Expected Result for a game.

Example 1. With the K-factor 10, Player A rated 2400 defeated Player B rated 2300. The Rating Change for Player A is therefore calculated as this:
Rating Change = K-factor x (Result - Expected Result)
Rating Change = 10 x (1 - 0.64) = 10 x 0.36 = 3.6

Example 2. With the K-factor 10, Player A rated 2400 lost to Player B rated 2300. In this case, the Rating Change for Player A is calculated as this:
Rating Change = K-factor x (Result - Expected Result)
Rating Change = 10 x ( 0 - 0.64) = 10 x (- 0.64) = - 6.4

Example 3. With the K-factor 10, Player A rated 2400 made a draw with Player B rated 2300. The Rating Change for Player A is now calculated as this:
Rating Change = K-factor x (Result - Expected Result)
Rating Change = 10 x (0.5 - 0.64) = 10 x (- 0.14) = - 1.4

Conclusion

The new rating of the chess player is calculated based on the rating change. Updated, the FIDE rating list is available online on 1 January, 1 April, 1 July, and 1 October. (source:http://www.abcarticledirectory.com/)

According to the new rating regulations:

The K-factor 10 disregarded, effective from 1 July 2009.
• The K-factor 15 disregarded, effective from 1 July 2009.
• The K-factor 25 disregarded, effective from 1 July 2009.

Instead:

• The New K-factor 20 introduced, effective from 1 July 2009.
• The New K-factor 30 introduced, effective from 1 July 2009.

2. The New K-factor Assignment

The New K-factor 30:
• As long as a player's rating remains under 2400.

The New K-factor 20:
• Once a player's published rating has reached 2400 and remains at that level subsequently, even if the rating drops below 2400.



The K-factor is assigned, and it may range from 10 to 45 for different chess organizations. FIDE uses the following rules to the K-factor:
• The K-factor is 25 for players new to the rating list, until they have completed events with a total of at least 30 games;

• The K-factor is 15 for players with a rating under 2400;
• The K-factor is 10 once the player has reached 2400 and been registered for at least 30 games. Thereafter it remains permanently at 10, even if the player’s rating is under 2400 at a later stage.


The K-factor is important to chess players who have FIDE chess ratings because of the fact that:


A player's
New Rating = Old Rating + Rating Change ... or ...
New Rating = Old Rating + K-factor * (Result - Expected Result)


Rating lists will be published every two months, the k-factor will change accordingly, the rating floor has been decreased from 1400 to 1200 and it will be more difficult to score norms. These are some of the important decisions that were taken during the FIDE Congress that was held during the Olympiad in Dresden.

According to GM Bartlomiej Macieja:
"publishing more frequently rating lists leads to an effective decrease of the development coefficient. To understand this effect it is enough to imagine a player rated 2500 playing one tournament a month. With 2 rating lists published yearly, if he wins 10 points in every tournament, his rating after half a year will be 2500+6*10=2560. If rating lists are published 4 times a year, after 3 months his rating becomes 2500+3*10=2530 so it gets more difficult for him to gain more rating points. After 3 more tournaments the player reaches the final rating only about 2500+3*10+3*6=2548. With 6 rating lists published yearly, the final rating of the player is only about 2500+2*10+2*7+2*5=2544. Obviously it is only an approximation, the exact values may slightly differ, however the effect is clear. It looks like FIDE officials “forgot” to increase the K-factor some years ago to compensate the effect of more frequent rating lists. Or they were not fully aware they should have changed the K-factor in order not to change the whole system. The increase of the K-factor is essential not for the reason to make the system more dynamic, but for the reason not to make the system less dynamic! Eventually, it has been decided to increase the value of the K-factor to K=20 + K=30. (source:http://www.chess-players.org/eng/news/viewarticle.html?id=735)

BIDDING PROCEDURE FOR THE FIDE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH ANAND - TOPALOV 2010

According to a news article posted at they http://www.fide.com website, "The FIDE Presidential Board, during its meeting in Istanbul 7-8 March 2009, decided to open a bidding procedure for the FIDE World Championship Match 2010 (FWCM 2010) between the current World Champion GM V. Anand (India) and Challenger GM V. Topalov (Bulgaria).

Let us hope, that despite the downturn in the World economic structure, that some good bids are made to the fide to hold this event (and let us hope that the bids are from regions of the world where the two players and their teams of helpers will be safe from acts of violence or war).
For more on this story go to:

http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/3965-anand-topalov-match-bidding-procedure

My bullied son's last day on Earth:bullies must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!



An eleven-year old boy killed himself, because he was being bullied severely Dunaire Elementary School in DeKalb County, Georgia. Jaheem Herrera (pictured on the left) was so depressed and so unwilling to go to school on April 16,that he chose to hang himself using his belt in the closet!! <:(. Jaheem told his mother and school officials about the bullying and his mother, Bermudez said she complained to the school about bullying seven or eight times, but it wasn't enough to save him.Bermudez said she thinks her son felt like nobody wanted to help him, that nobody stood up and stopped the bullies. Despite recent strides towards preventing bullying in schools and increased awareness programs, a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network study showed that 65 percent of teens are bullied each year and most believe adults can't help them. As someone who was bullied in school severely by other children, and as someone who is a survivor of hate crimes which occurred to me in Grades 8 and 9 most every day, I am deeply affected by this news of Jaheem's death. He did not kill himself, these bullies and the members of the staff of this school killed him by not taking the moral, legal and necessary actions to stop this awful experience which Jaheem had to deal with on a daily basis. Being bullied like I was for having a visible physical deformity, caused me severe problems in my life. I started simply telling myself over and over in a dirge "nobody likes me,no body likes me", until I could not deal with this abuse any more and I tried to kill myself. When a group of 14 year old children use the word "hate you" every day when you are forced to be in school, it has a very traumatic effect on an adolescent as I can assest to. Unlike Jaheem, I chose to tell no one about my abuse, probably because so many students in my grade 8 and 9 classes at Vernon Barford Junior High School were bullying me at the same time,that I thought if I tell a teacher or principal,these bullies will do something even worse to me. Fortunately, years later, thanks to help from Psychologist James Battle, I learned that it was not me with the problem, but rather it was these bullies who had and maybe still have their problem(s),relating to their ability to interact with others. I also learned that my behavior of trying to run away from the bullies at recess was an assertive behavior and not cowardly. Anyone who hates someone else, and repeated engages in hateful behavior towards another human being, has to be stopped! Why should someone who commits hate crimes against another individual or group of people be permitted to be within the education systems and employment sectors of our countries? Acccording to new medical research into the effects of hate, individuals who are being victimized by bullies, and who are being hated, actually incur brain damage! And new research which delves into the minds of those who have been hated by others has shown that "four types of brain abnormalities are associated with child abuse and neglect. In the Fall 2000 issue of Cerebrum, the researchers also review evidence that suggests this early damage to the developing brain may subsequently cause disorders like anxiety and depression in adulthood.The science shows that childhood maltreatment may produce changes in both brain function and structure," says Martin Teicher, MD, PhD, director of the Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program at McLean, and author of the paper. Although a baby is born with almost all the brain cells (neurons) he will ever have, the brain continues to develop actively throughout childhood and adolescence. "A child's interactions with the outside environment causes connections to form between brain cells," Teicher explains. "Then these connections are pruned during puberty and adulthood. So whatever a child experiences, for good or bad, helps determine how his brain is wired."

The McLean team identifies four types of abnormalities caused by abuse and neglect. "These changes are permanent," says Teicher. "This is not something people can just get over and get on with their lives." These abnormalities are:

(a)Limbic irritability-The limbic system is a network of brain cells sometimes called the "emotional brain." It controls many of the most fundamental emotions and drives important for survival. The McLean researchers found evidence that abuse may cause disturbances in electrical impulses as limbic nerve cells communicate, resulting in seizures or significant abnormalities on an EEG, a diagnostic test that measures brain waves. Patients with a history of abuse were twice as likely as non-abused patients to have an abnormal EEG. Interestingly, all of the extra EEG abnormalities affected the left hemisphere of the brain. EEG abnormalities were associated with more self-destructive behavior and more aggression.

(b)Arrested development of the left hemisphere-The brain is divided into two hemispheres, with the left controlling language and the right responsible for visual-spatial ability, perception and expression of negative affect. In six separate studies and analyses, the smallest involving 20 people and the largest involving 115, the researchers reviewed medical records, conducted neuropsychological tests to measure left- and right-brain abilities, examined the results of MRI scans to provide pictures of the brain at work, and studied the results of sophisticated EEG coherence tests, which provided information on brain structure as well as function. These studies provide evidence of deficient development of the left brain hemisphere in abused patients, so that the right hemisphere may be more active than in healthy individuals. The researchers speculate that the left hemisphere deficits seen in abused patients may contribute to the development of depression and increase the risk of memory impairments.

(c)Deficient integration between the left and right hemispheres: The corpus callosum is a major information pathway connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. The researchers reviewed MRI brain scans from 51 patients admitted to McLean's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program, and compared them to 97 MRIs of healthy children obtained from the National Institute of Mental Health. In abused children, the corpus callosum was smaller than in healthy children. After reviewing the medical records, the researchers found that neglect was associated with a 24 percent to 42 percent reduction in the size of various regions of the corpus callosum in boys, but sexual abuse had no effect. In girls, sexual abuse was associated with an 18 percent to 30 percent smaller size in the corpus callosum, but neglect had no effect. They also found that abused patients shifted degree of activity between their two hemispheres to a much greater extent than normal. They theorize that a smaller corpus callosum leads to less integration of the hemispheres. This in turn can result in dramatic shifts in mood or personality.

(d)Increased vermal activity: The cerebellar vermis is a part of the brain that is involved in emotion, attention and the regulation of the limbic system. The McLean researchers used a new functional MRI technique known as T2 relaxometry, which provides information about blood flow to the brain during a resting state, to measure vermal activity in both abused and healthy individuals. Thirty-two adults participated, including 15 with a history of sexual or intense verbal childhood trauma but no physical trauma. The higher a participant's LSCL-33 score, the greater the degree of vermal activity or blood flow. The researchers theorize that the abused patients had higher vermal activity in order to quell electrical irritability within the limbic system. They hypothesize that the cerebellar vermis helps to maintain emotional balance, but that trauma may impair this ability.

After documenting these four types of brain abnormalities, the McLean researchers examined animal studies to determine how such damage might occur. Such studies show that neglect and trauma increase production of cortisol and decrease production of the thyroid hormone, which affect development of neurochemical and neurotransmitter receptors in the hippocampus, amygdala and locus coeruleus, parts of the brain that regulate fear and anxiety. Based on these studies, the McLean team theorizes that the stress caused by child abuse and neglect may also trigger the release of some hormones and neurotransmitters while inhibiting others, in effect remolding the brain so that the individual is "wired" to respond to a hostile environment.

"We know that an animal exposed to stress and neglect early in life develops a brain that is wired to experience fear, anxiety and stress," says Teicher. "We think the same is true of people."

(source:http://mcleanhospital.org/PublicAffairs/20001214_child_abuse.htm


Anyone person who would tell another person in this world,that they are hated, has some very serious behavioral and background issues. According to to what I have read about hate crime" on the internet, some perpetrators of hate crime engage in their behavior because of their negative beliefs and attitudes about the hated person. Others are "thrill seekers" and commit hate crimes to alleviate boredom, to have fun and excitement, and to feel strong. Others who commit hate crimes due so in order to project their toughness to friends. According to Karen Franklin, Ph.D. The Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training
University of Washington, "I
n the long run, effective hate crime prevention must focus on promoting tolerance and an appreciation of diversity among school children. As long as the schools are breeding grounds for intolerance and abuse, hate crimes will continue." (source:http://www.apa.org/ppo/issues/pfranklin.html)

The National Institute of Mental Health in the United States has funded the first major study of the consequences of hate crimes on victims, narrowing in on anti-gay hate crimes. Preliminary research indicates that hate crimes have more serious psychological effects than non-bias motivated crimes. In 1998 the American Psychological Association
issued the report Hate Crimes Today: An Age-Old Foe in Modern Dress. In the report Dr. Jack McDevitt, a criminologist, stated, "Hate crimes are message crimes. They are different from other crimes in that the offender is sending a message to members of a certain group that they are unwelcome."
In the words of Al Gore: "We must send a clear and strong message to all who would commit crimes of hate: it is wrong, it is illegal, and we will catch you and punish you to the full force of our laws." (source:http://www.infoplease.com/spot/hatecrimes.html)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Physicist Stephen Hawking hospitalized

According to computerworld.com,

"Stephen Hawking, one of the world's most famous scientists, is in stable condition and undergoing tests at a British hospital."He is comfortable and his family is looking forward to him making a full recovery," said a spokesman for the university, which is northeast of London, this morning."

source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9131911&intsrc=news_ts_head

I personally first learned of Dr. Hawking when I became interested in "black holes". Stephen Hawking was the first scientist to predict that Black holes emit radiation.

In 1970 Dr. Hawking, using quantum theory and general relativity was able to show that black holes can emit radiation. According to his theory, black holes gradually lose mass through this process and eventually evaporate —even though the process may take longer than our universe has yet existed. If Dr. Hawking and I have developed your interest in black holes , and you want to get a very basic understanding of black holes I suggest you watch this very good video at:
Add Videohttp://www.space.com/common/media/video/player.php?videoRef=black_holes

and read this well written fundamental explanation of what a black hole is: http://www.shivaranjan.com/2006/02/17/simple-explanation-of-black-hole/

My thoughts are with you and your family at this time Dr.Hawking, get well soon!

Doctor attempts to clone people

According to Science Writer Steve Connor, at the http://www.independent.co.uk:

"A controversial fertility doctor today told British reporters that he has cloned 14 human embryos and transferred 11 of them into the uteruses of four women. The physician, Panayiotis Zavos, who operates fertility clinics in Kentucky and Cyprus, says none of the embryos gave rise to successful pregnancies , but he is confident that baby cloning is just around the corner,
"The Independent Science" website reports"Panayiotis Zavos has broken the ultimate taboo of transferring cloned embryos into the human womb, a procedure that is a criminal offence in Britain and illegal in many other countries. He carried out the work at a secret lab-oratory, probably located in the Middle East where there is no cloning ban."

According to Steve Connor:
"Studies on animal cloning have shown time and time again that it is unsafe. The cloned animals suffer a higher-than-normal risk of severe developmental problems and the pregnancies often end in miscarriage. Mainstream scientists believe cloning is too dangerous to be used on humans."

Why would Dr.Zavos engage in his behavior?

Steve Connor elicits a possible explanation:

"He is determined to succeed and has a long line of people eager to sign up to his cloning programme, at a cost of between $45,000 and $75,000."

source:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/fertility-expert-i-can-clone-a-human-being-1672095.html

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Frozen Baby Mammoth to Shed Light on Climate Change



According to an article at the Discovery Channel website:





"Frozen in much the state it died some 37,500 years ago, a Siberian baby mammoth undergoing tests in Japan could finally explain why the beasts were driven to extinction -- and shed light on climate change, scientists said Friday.
The 6-month-old calf, unearthed in May 2007 by a reindeer herder in northern Siberia's remote Yamal-Nenets autonomous region, is virtually intact and even has some fur, though the tail and ear of the animal dubbed "Lyuba" were apparently bitten off.
"Lyuba's discovery is an historic event," said Bernard Buigues, vice president of the Geneva-based International Mammoth Committee. "It could tell us why this species didn't survive ... and shed light on the fate of human beings."

According to the website: http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/0/Lyuba "The girl's name Lyuba \l-yuba, lyu-ba\ is a variant of Luba (Yiddish) and Ludmilla (Slavic), and the meaning of Lyuba is "dear; graceful people".

To read the rest of this article go to: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/01/04/mammoth-climate.html

Source of the photo:http://images.ctvdigital.com/images/pub2upload/2/2008_4_11/baby_mammoth_michigan2.jpg

A recent article about Lyuba, written by Dan Vergano of USA Today can be read at:
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2009-04-20-baby-mammoth_N.htm?se=yahoorefer&poe=HFMostPopular

FIDE Grand Prix:Nalchik:round 6 and 7 results, standings,round 8 pairings

Since I last reported to you, two rounds of play have been completed at the FIDE Grand Prix chess event in Nalchik. In round 6 once again we had a situation where there were more games with decisive results than with draws (by a margin of 4 games to three). It was interesting to see that GM Alekseev essayed a Blumenfeld Counter Gambit opening against GM Leko. I first heard of this opening, when I saw GM Tukmakov play it a great deal in his tournament victory in the Canadian Open chess event held years ago in my home town of Edmonton. This opening has similarities to the Benko Gambit. From what I have read, some top players have expressed their belief that the Blumenfeld Counter Gambit (invented by Russian Master Benjamon Markovich Blumenfeld (1884-1947)) is more sound that the Benko Gambit. The game which might be the most famous relating to the Blumenfeld Counter Gambit is the one which occurred in 1922 between Tarrasch (playing white) and Alekhine (playing black). This game was played at the Pistyan tournament and was won by Alekhine. You can play through the moves of this game by going to this link: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1012085

Here are the results from round 6 of the Nalchik event played on April 21st:

(white is on the left):

Aronian - Ivanchuk, result: 1-0 number of moves: 40 Opening: English Opening: Symmetrical variation ECO:A31


Leko - Alekseev, result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 54 Opening: Blumenfeld Counter Gambit, ECO:E10

Mamedyarov -Grischuk,result: 1-0 number of moves: 38 Opening: Queen's Gambit: Slav Defence ECO:D10


Akopian -Karjakin, result: 1-0 number of moves: 71 Opening: Sicilian Najdorf Variation ECO:B90


Kasimdzhanov- Bacrot, result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 20 Opening: Nimzo Indian Defense ECO:E32


Kamsky - Gelfand result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 41 Opening:Catalan ECO: E04


Eljanov - Svidler, result 0-1 number of moves: 73 Opening: Gruenfeld Defense ECO:D91

Round 6 Standings:

-------------------
1.Aronian 4 points,

2nd-5th, Leko,Grischuk, Alekseev, and Svidler 3.5 points,

6th-11th Mamedyarov, Karajakin,Kamsky,Akopian, Bacrot, and Kasimdzhanov 3 points,

12th Gefand 2.5 points,

13th Eljanov 2 points,

14th place Ivanchuk 1.5 points

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Round 7

In round 7 of the tournament, there were two games having decisive results and the remaining 5 games were all draws. Here are the results from round 7 (white is on the left):



Karjakin - Kamsky result: 1-0 number of moves: 32 Opening:French Defense:Winawer variation ECO: C19


Alekseev - Mamedyarov, result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 52 Opening: Pirc Defence ECO:B07


Grischuk - Akopian result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 43 Opening: Slav Defence ECO:D17


Svidler - Kasimdzhanov, result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 22 Opening: Petroff's Defence ECO:C43


Bacrot - Aronian, result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 38 Opening: Ruy Lopez Marshall Gambit ECO:C89


Gelfand - Eljanov, result: 0-1 number of moves: 36 Opening: Reti Opening ECO:A13


Ivanchuk - Leko, result: ½-½ (draw) number of moves: 55 Opening: Ruy Lopez Anderssen variation ECO:C77


As a consequence of these results, here are the standings after 7 rounds of play:


Round 7 Standings:1.Aronian 4.5 points ,2nd-6th, Leko, Grischuk, Alekseev,Karjakin and Svidler all have 4 points,7th-10th Mamedyarov,Akopian,Bacrot, and Kasimdzhanov all have 3.5 points, 11th-12th . Kamsky and Eljanov 3 points ,13th Gefand 2.5 points, ,14th place Ivanchuk 2 points

Here are the pairings for round 8 (white is on the left):


Round 8: Thursday, April 23, 2009
Kamsky --Eljanov
Kasimdzhanov -Gelfand
Aronian Levon--Svidler
Leko -Bacrot
Mamedyarov -Ivanchuk
Akopian -Alekseev
Karjakin -Grischuk

Best wishes to all the players!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cure For Honey Bee Colony Collapse?

"For the first time, scientists have isolated the parasite Nosema ceranae (Microsporidia) from professional apiaries suffering from honey bee colony depopulation syndrome. They then went on to treat the infection with complete success.

In a study published in the new journal from the Society for Applied Microbiology: Environmental Microbiology Reports, scientists from Spain analysed two apiaries and found evidence of honey bee colony depopulation syndrome (also known as colony collapse disorder in the USA). They found no evidence of any other cause of the disease (such as the Varroa destructor, IAPV or pesticides), other than infection with Nosema ceranae. The researchers then treated the infected surviving under-populated colonies with the antibiotic drug, flumagillin and demonstrated complete recovery of all infected colonies.

Now that we know one strain of parasite that could be responsible, we can look for signs of infection and treat any infected colonies before the infection spreads” said Dr Higes, principle researcher.
This finding could help prevent the continual decline in honey bee population which has recently been seen in Europe and the USA.

Forget It! A Biochemical Pathway For Blocking Your Worst Fears?

"A receptor for glutamate, the most prominent neurotransmitter in the brain, plays a key role in the process of "unlearning," report researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Their findings, published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, could eventually help scientists develop new drug therapies to treat a variety of disorders, including phobias and anxiety disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Most studies focus on 'learning,' but the 'unlearning' process is probably just as important and much less understood," says Stephen F. Heinemann, Ph.D., a professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, who led the study. "Most people agree that failure to 'unlearn' is a hallmark of post-traumatic stress disorders and if we had a drug that affects this gene it could help soldiers coming back from the war to 'unlearn' their fear memories."

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.

But you don't have to be a combat soldier to develop anxiety disorders such as PTSD. Any bad experience in daily life is a learning experience that can result in anxiety disorders. If traumatic memories persist inappropriately, sensory cues, sometimes not even recognized consciously, trigger recall of the distressing memories and the associated stress and fear."

To read the remainder of this article go to:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090324171422.htm

The real reason why lizards bask in the sun


source of photo:http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/nature/137434-lizards-basking-in-the-sun.php?id=137434&refnum=244684


"Keeping warm isn't the only reason lizards and other cold-blooded critters bask in the sun. According to a study published in the May/June issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, chameleons alter their sunbathing behavior based on their need for vitamin D.

"It's a longstanding assumption that thermoregulation is the only reason that lizards bask," says Kristopher Karsten, a biologist at Texas Christian University who led the study. "Our results suggest that in addition to thermoregulation, vitamin D regulation appears to have a significant impact on basking behavior as well." To read the rest of this fascinating article go to:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090420182224.htm

Earth Day 2009

Tommorrow, April 22,2009, is Earth Day.Earth Day, celebrated April 22, is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It is held annually during both spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year.
The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox , a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969.Responding to widespread environmental degradation, Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin, called for an environmental teach-in, or Earth Day, to be held on April 22,1970. Over 20 million people participated that year, and Earth Day is now observed each year on April 22 by more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries.
Senator Nelson, an environmental activist, took a leading role in organizing the celebration, hoping to demonstrate popular political support for an environmental agenda

Many countries of the world have their own celebration of Earth Day. For example, here in Canada, Earth Day Canada (EDC), is a national environmental communications organization.mandated to improve the state of the environment by empowering Canadians to achieve local solutions. Since 1991, EDC has been coordinating Earth Day/Earth Month events, and creating successful community programs and award-winning artistic and media projects.
Earth Day Canada was a recent winner of the top environmental education award in North America for its innovative programs and educational resources. The mission of Earth Day Canada is to" improve the state of the environment by empowering and helping Canadians to take positive environmental action. The goals of Earth Day Canada are to:

(1) CREATE positive public awareness for existing and developing environmental solutions.
(2)EMPOWER and ENCOURAGE Canadians to take environmental action in their communities.
(3)ADDRESS the challenges to Canada's environment by working in partnership to create programs that can be delivered by communities, organizations and individuals.
(4)FOSTER and MAINTAIN the positive celebration of Earth Day annually.

source:http://www.earthday.ca/pub/about/organization.php


Earth Day Canada’s EcoAction Teams program offers the Top 10 Actions for Earth Day 2009 to help Canadians reduce their impact on the environment everyday.
“Earth Day Canada’s EcoAction Teams program wants to support Canadians as they move to live more responsibly with the environment. The Top 10 Actions are simple tips to get the ball rolling,” says Cheryl Gudz, Manager of the EcoAction Teams program. “Once people realize how simple it is to conserve at home and on the go, it can quickly become a way of life.”
Earth Day Canada’s Top 10 Actions for Earth Day 2009
1.Smart shopping
Buy what you need, not what you want, Consider renting and borrowing things that are seldom needed, Buy used items from garage sales and second-hand stores.

2.Simple savers
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs,Use aerators on faucets and shower heads,Weatherstrip windows and doors

3.Transportation alternatives
Walk, cycle, car pool and use public transportation
When driving, reduce idling and maintain correct tire pressure
Consider car sharing programs or renting

4.Food choices
Choose local and organic foods that are in season and support local food producers
Eat less meat

5.Washing and drying
Wash full loads of clothes in cold water and hang to air dry

6.Heating and cooling
For summer air conditioning, set your thermostat to 24°C or 25°C
For winter heating, set your thermostat to 19°C or 20°C
Install ceiling fans and programmable thermostats

7.Close to home
Vacation, travel and work as close to home as possible

8.Bathroom basics
Take short showers instead of baths
Close water taps while brushing your teeth

9.Careful cleaning
Choose natural, non-toxic cleaning products
Make simple, natural cleaners with ingredients like vinegar, baking soda and water

10.Don’t discard
Donate, reuse and recycle items before throwing them into the trash
Harmful materials like chemicals, batteries, electronics, etc. should be taken to local hazardous waste depots or recyclers (source:http://www.earthday.ca/pub/resources/media_releases/2009-04-16_edc_top_10/index.html)


The equinoctial Earth Day is celebrated on the March equinox (around 20 March) to mark the precise moment of astronomical mid-spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and of astronomical mid-autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. An equinox in astronomy is that moment in time (not a whole day) when the center of the Sun can be observed to be directly "above" the Earth's equator, occurring around March 20 and September 23 each year. In most cultures the equinoxes and solstices are considered to start or separate the seasons.

"Earth Day Network has over 17,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries. Over 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest secular civic event in the world.This year's Earth Day will see the launch of the Green Generation Campaign; a two-year project that will end on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010. The special focus areas of the Green Generation Campaign will be:- A carbon-free future based on renewable energy that will end our common dependency on fossil fuels, including coal.- An individual’s commitment to responsible, sustainable consumption.- Creation of a new green economy that lifts people out of poverty by creating millions of quality green jobs and transforms the global education system into a green one. (source:http://www.greenlivingtips.com/blogs/369/Earth-Day-2009.html)

Scientists discover a nearly Earth-sized planet



European researchers have found the smallest exoplanet ever, called Gliese 581 e, but realized that a neighboring planet discovered earlier, Gliese 581 d, was in the prime habitable zone for potential life. An exoplanet is an planet which exists outside of our solar system that orbits a star other than earth's sun. Gliese 581 is a red dwarf star. A red dwarf star is a small, cool, very faint, main sequence star whose surface temperature is under about 4,000 K. Red dwarfs are the most common type of star.The majority of stars in the galaxy, including our Sun, Sirius and Alpha Centauri A and B are all main sequence stars. Main sequence stars are characterised by the source of their energy. They are all undergoing fusion of hydrogen into helium within their cores. The rate at which they do this and the amount of fuel available depends upon the mass of the star. Mass is the key factor in determining the lifespan of a main sequence star, its size and its luminosity. Stars on the main sequence also appear to be unchanging for long periods of time.Main sequence stars essentially have a fixed size that is a function of their mass. The more massive the star, the greater its gravitational pull inwards. This in turn compresses the gas more. As you try and compress a gas it exerts a gas pressure back, it resists the compression. In stars this gas pressure alone is not sufficient to withstand the gravitational collapse. Once the core temperature has reached about 10 million K, fusion of hydrogen occurs, releasing energy. This energy exerts an outwards radiation pressure due to the action of the photons on the extremely dense matter in the core. The radiation pressure combined with the gas pressure balances the inward pull of gravity preventing further collapse. (sources:http://outreach.atnf.csiro.au/education/senior/astrophysics/stellarevolution_mainsequence.html


Gliese 581 e is only 1.9 times the size of Earth — while previous planets found outside our solar system are closer to the size of massive Jupiter, which NASA says could swallow more than 1,000 Earths. Gliese 581 e sits close to the nearest star, making it too hot to support life. Still, Mayor said its discovery in a solar system 20 1/2 light years away from Earth is a "good example that we are progressing in the detection of Earth-like planets."

Scientists also discovered that the orbit of planet Gliese 581 d, which was found in 2007, was located within the "habitable zone" — a region around a sun-like star that would allow water to be liquid on the planet's surface, said Michel Mayor, an astrophysicist at Geneva University in Switzerland.

Nearly 350 planets have been found outside our solar system, but so far nearly every one of them was found to be extremely unlikely to harbor life. Most were too close or too far from their sun, making them too hot or too cold for life. Others were too big and likely to be uninhabitable gas giants like Jupiter. Those that are too small are highly difficult to detect in the first place.
Both Gliese 581 d and Gliese 581 e are located in constellation Libra and orbit around Gliese 581.

The image above is a Hubble space telescope image of possible exoplanet TMR-1C. (source:http://www.superwasp.org/exoplanets.htm).


Monday, April 20, 2009

To those who believe in experimenting with animals to help human beings:

from Bio-ethicist Peter Singer-
"In the past, arguments about experimenting on animals have often missed the point because they are put in absolutist terms. Would an abolitionist be prepared to let thousands of humans die if they could be saved by experimenting on a single animal? The way to reply to this purely hypothetical question is to pose another: would the experimenter be prepared to perform his experiment on an orphaned human infant, if that were the only way to save many lives? If the experimenter is not prepared to use an orphaned human infant, then his readiness to use non-humans is simple discrimination, since adult apes, cats, mice and other mammals are more aware of what is happening to them, more self-directing and ,so far as we can tell, at least as sensitive to pain, as any human infant."

FIDE Grand Prix:Nalchik:round 5 comments about the openings used in the decisive games of the round

According to my research in round 5 the following happened in these games at Nalchik:

(1)Ivanchuk-Kasimdzhanov: The two players followed the moves played in the game Khenkin (2644)-Korneev (2606) from 2003, (Queen's Gambit Declined:exchange variation) until move 13 when Ivanchuk played the theoretical novelty 13.Bd4. According to the program Deep Rybka 3, the position was equal until Ivanchuk played 22.Bf1? (better was 22.Rf1). After 23...Ng4 Kasimdzhanov gained a triple-attack against Ivanchuk f-pawn, and then Ivanchuk blundered when he played 24.Rdc2??. (Instead he could have tried 24.f3 after which this continuation is possible: 24...Nxe3 25.Bd3 e5 26.Qxf7 Rxf7, however Ivanchuk would lack sufficient compensation for the pawn. ) Ivanchuk resigned the game after Kasimdzhanov played 25...Na5 (however 25...Nd4! would have been stronger after which 26.exd4 Qf4 27.g3 Qxd4+ 28.Kh1 Rxc2 29.Qxc2 Nf2+ is decisive). The reason Ivanchuk resigned after 25...Na5 is due to the following continuation (found using Rybka 3): 26.Qd3 Rxc2 27.Qxc2 Nb3 28.Bd3 Nxe3 29.Qe2 Qf4 30.Qf3 Qxf3 31.gxf3 Nxc1 which would leave GM Kasimdzhanov with a decisive material advantage.

(2)Akopian-Kamsky:The two players followed the moves played in the game Geller (2620)-Vaganian (2550) played in 1976, until move 13 when Kamsky played the theoretical novelty 13...Rd8. The opening was a French Defense:Tarrasch variation. On move 49 Akopian won a pawn which Kamsky regained on move 51. Akopian won another pawn on move 54 which Kamsky could not regain. Akopian advanced a passed a-pawn to the sixth rank on move 59, and then was able to advance this pawn to the seventh rank on move 61.Although Kamsky was able to blockade the passed pawn by playing his rook to a8,Kamsky blundered on move 65 when he played 65...Rg8?? (which hung an entire piece,his knight!). Instead, Kamsky could have played 65...Nd6 and after 66.Rb8 Rxa7! + 67.Bxa7 Nc8 with a theoretical drawn position would have been reached. You may recall Kamsky relied on the French Defense against Topalov in their recent match. We must speculate that Kamsky was in severe time trouble when he played the piece-hanging move 65...Rg8??

You can play through the moves of all the games from round 5 by going to: http://chessbase.com/news/2009/fide/games/nalchik05.htm In addition GM Sergei Shipov offers his analysis of the games from round 5 at this link: http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5357 Enjoy!

FIDE Grand Prix:Nalchik:round 5 results and standings,round 6 pairings

Two games had decisive results in the fifth round of play today at the FIDE Nalchik Grand Prix of chess. Rustam Kasimdzhanov, playing black defeated Vassily Ivanchuk in 25 moves,the opening was a Queen's Gambit Exchange variation. In the other decisive game of the round, Vladimir Akopian defeated Gata Kamsky, with Akopian playing white. Kamsky decided to play the French Defense, Akopian responded with the Tarrasch variation, and Kamsky was forced to resign after 98 moves had been played due to the fact that Akopian had a forced checkmate.

In other games, Peter Svidler drew with Boris Gelfand, the opening was a Semi-Slav Defense with 6.Bg5 (eco B43),this variation is known as the Hastings variation. Karjakin and Mamedyarov played 34 moves of a Sicilian Defense:Taimanov variation, before agreeing to a draw. Grischuk playing white against Leko essayed a Queen's Gambit, and the players entered a Semi-Slav (the same eco number as the Svidler-Gelfand game, with a different set of moves).The result of this game was a draw. Bacrot and Eljanov played a Ruy Lopez Opening, with Eljanov chosing to play the Flohr-Zaitsev variation as black, the players agreed to a draw after 39 moves, despite the fact that Elijanov was up a pawn. In the other game of the day, Alekseev and Aronian also played a Ruy Lopez Opening. Alekseev playing white, allowed Aronian to play the Marshall Gambit. The two players played 16 moves of known opening theory in the Marshall before Aronian played a new move with 16...Qf5. Prior to this game only the moves 16...Qh5 and 16...Rae8 had been used by the player of the black pieces.
As a consequence of these games here are the standings after five rounds of play:

1. GM Grischuk 2748 3½ points,

tied for 2nd-5th places are: GM Karjakin 2721, GM Leko 2751,
GM Aronian 2754 , and GMAlekseev all have 3 points

tied for 6th-9th places are: GM Kamsky 2720 GM Kasimdzhanov 2695 ,GM Bacrot 2728 and GM Svidler 2726 all have 2 1/2 points.

tied for 10th-13th places are: GM Mamedyarov 2725 ,GM Eljanov 2693 , GM Akopian, 2696 GM Gelfand 2733, all have 2 points,

14th place: GM Ivanchuk 2746 1 1/2 points.

Here are the pairings for round 6: (white is on the left):

GM Kamsky 2720-GM Gelfand 2733
GM Eljanov 2693-GM Svidler 2726
GM Kasimdzhanov 2695-GM Bacrot 2728
GM Aronian 2754-GM Ivanchuk 2746
GM Leko 2751-GM Alekseev 2716
GM Mamedyarov 2725-GM Grischuk 2748
GM Akopian 2696-GM Karjakin 2721

Best wishes to all the players in this round of play!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

FIDE Grand Prix:Nalchik:round 4 results and standings,round 5 pairings

There was only one game which had a decisive result, in round four of the FIDE World Cup in Nalchik, in that game, playing white Gata Kamsky defeated Peter Svidler. What is surprising about this game to me, was the opening. Kamsky played the standard move 7.Bb3 and then Svidler continued by playing 7....d6 (instead of 7....O-O.). This is surprising to me because by playing 7...O-O Svidler would have forced Kamsky to play an anti-Marshall variation, unless Kamsky wanted to allow Svidler to play the Marshall Gambit via 7....O-O 8.c3 d5!?). Here are the results from all of the games played in round 4:

(April 18, 2009)
Kamsky, Gata - Svidler, Peter result:1-0 number of moves: 74 Opening:Ruy Lopez:ECO:C91
Leko, Peter - Karjakin, Sergey result: draw number of moves:40 Opening: Slav Defence ECO:D15

Aronian, Levon - Grischuk, Alexander result:draw number of moves:35 Opening: English Symmetrical ECO:A30

Eljanov, Pavel - Ivanchuk, Vassily result: draw number of moves:47 Opening: Slav Defence ECO:D17

Gelfand, Boris - Bacrot, Etienne result:draw number of moves: 51 Opening:Queens Indian Defense ECO:E15

Kasimdzhanov, Rustam - Alekseev, Evgeny result:draw number of moves: Opening: Ruy Lopez:Berlin Defense ECO: C65

Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar - Akopian, Vladimir result:draw number of moves: 39 Opening:
Queens Indian Defense ECO:E15

Standings after 4 rounds of play:

1. GM Grischuk 2748 3 points,

2nd-6th place GMKarjakin 2721 GM Kamsky 2720 ,GM Leko 2751, GM Alekseev 2716, GM Aronian 2754 all have 2 1/2 points.

7th-8th places: GM Bacrot 2728, GM Svidler 2726, both have 2 points

9th place-13th place: GM Eljanov 2693, GM Mamedyarov, 2725,
GM Gelfand 2733 GM Kasimdzhanov 2695, GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2746 UKR all have 1 1/2 points

14th place: GM Akopian 2696, 1 point.

Here are the pairings for round 5:

GM Akopian Vladimir 2696-GM Kamsky Gata2720
GM Karjakin Sergey 2721-GM Mamedyarov Shakhriyar2725
GM Grischuk Alexander 2748-GM Leko Peter 2751
GM Alekseev Evgeny 2716-GM Aronian Levon 2754
GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2746-GMKasimdzhanov Rustam 2695
GM Bacrot Etienne2728-GMEljanov Pavel 2693
GMSvidler Peter 2726-GM Gelfand Boris 2733

Best wishes to all the players in round 5!

Friday, April 17, 2009

FIDE Grand Prix:Nalchik:round 3 results and standings,round 4 pairings Grischuk leads!

Here are the results from round 3 of the FIDE Nalchik Grand Prix:

GM Mamedyarov 2725- GM Kamsky 2720 result:draw 1/2-1/2 number of moves:43 Opening:Grunfeld Defense, ECO:D70

GM Akopian 26960 - GM Leko 2751 result:0-1 number of moves: 61 Opening:Queen's Gambit:Semi-Slav Defense:Meran variation, ECO:D47

GM Karjakin 272- GM Aronian 2754 result:1-0 number of moves:34 Opening:Ruy Lopez closed defense, ECO:C88

GM Grischuk 2748- GM Kasimdzhanov 2695 result: 1-0 Opening:Queen's Gambit Accepted: ECO:D20

GM Alekseev 2716- GM Eljanov 2693 result:1-0 number of moves:57 Opening:Queen's Gambit Declined with Bf4 ECO: D37

GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2746 GM Gelfand Boris 2733 result:draw 1/2-1/2 number of moves:30
Opening:Slav Defense ECO:D12

GMBacrot Etienne 2728 -GMSvidler Peter 2726 result:draw 1/2-1/2 number of moves:36 Opening:Ruy Lopez ECO:D47

As a consequence of these results here are the standings after 3 rounds of play:

1st: GM Grischuk 2748 2. 5 points
2nd-6th: GM Karjakin 2721, GM Svidler 2726, GM Alekseev 2716, GM Leko 2751
GMAronian Levon 2754 all have 2 points

7th-8th: GM Bacrot 2728 , GMKamsky 2720 both have 1 1/2 points

9th-13th : GM Eljanov 2693, GM Mamedyarov 2725, GMGelfand 2733, GM Ivanchuk
2746, GMKasimdzhanov 2695, GM Akopian 2696, all have 1 point

Here are the pairings for round 4 (white is on the left):

GM Kamsky 2720-GM Svidler 2726
GM Gelfand 2733-GM Bacrot 2728
GM Eljanov 2693-GM Ivanchuk 2746
GM Kasimdzhanov 2695-GMAlekseev 2716
GM Aronian 2754-GMGrischuk 2748
GM Leko 2751-GM Karjakin 272
GM Mamedyarov-2725-GMAkopian 2696

Best wishes to all the players for round 4!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FIDE Grand Prix:Nalchik:round 2 results,standings,round 3 pairings

Here are the results from the second round of the FIDE Grand Prix event being played in Nalchik:

Round 2

Aronian, Levon - Akopian, Vladimir Result: 1-0 Number of moves: 94 Opening:Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav defense Anti-Meran Variation ECO:D45

Svidler, Peter - Ivanchuk, Vassily Result: 1-0 Number of Moves: 29 Opening: Ruy Lopez Moeller Defence ECO:C78

Eljanov, Pavel - Grischuk, Alexander Result: ½-½ Number of Moves: 28 Opening: Queens Gambit Meran variation:ECO:D47

Kamsky, Gata - Bacrot, Etienne Result: ½-½ Number of Moves: 81 Opening: Ruy Lopez Marshall Gambit ECO:C89

Kasimdzhanov, Rustam - Karjakin, Sergey Result: ½-½ Number of Moves: 23 Opening: Slav Defence ECO:D15

Leko, Peter - Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar Result: ½-½ Number of Moves: 37 Opening: Sicilian Defense:Rauzer Attack ECO:B63

Gelfand, Boris - Alekseev, Evgeny Result: ½-½ Number of moves: 35 Opening: Queen's Gambit Declined Ragozin defense, ECO:D38

You can play through all the games from round 2 move by move by going to this link (you can also download the games in PGN format here:http://www.chessbase.com/news/2009/fide/games/nalchik02.htm

As a consequence of these results, here are the standings in the tournament after two rounds of play:

1. GM Aronian 2754 ARM 2 points

2.GM Grischuk 2748RUS ,GM Svidler 2726 RUS , both have 1.5 points

4-10.GM Eljanov 2693 UKR, GMKarjakin 2721 UKR,GM Alekseev 2716 RUS, GM Kamsky 2720 USA GM Leko 2751 HUN, GMBacrot, 2728 FRA GM Kasimdzhanov 2695 UZB, all have 1 point,

11. GM Mamedyarov 2725 AZE, GM Akopian Vladimir 2696ARM, GM Ivanchuk 2746 UKR,
GM Gelfand Boris 2733 ISR, all have a 1/2 (0.5) point.

Round 3 pairings
Here are the pairings for round 3 of the Grand Prix (white is on the left):

GM Mamedyarov 2725-GMKamsky 2720
GM Akopian 2696 -GMLeko 275
GM Karjakin 2721-GM Aronian 2754
GM Grischuk 2748-GM Kasimdzhanov 2695
GM Alekseev 2716-GM Eljanov 2693
GM Ivanchuk 2746-GMGelfand 2733
GM Bacrot 2728-GM Svidler 2726

Best wishes to all the players in this round!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blue whales have returned to the waters off British Columbia!




According to a news article written by Wendy McLellan of the Vancouver Province newpaper, entitled, "Little guys have pulled big guys back to B.C. coast:Blue whales follow food supply of shrimp, ""After avoiding B.C's coast for decades, blue whales are returning to the region to feed in the same areas where they were once hunted to near extinction." McLellan cites a recent article published in the "U.S. Marine Mammal Science journal" in which the authors of the article hypothesize that the whales are following krill to the area. Apparently krill move with a 20-30 year cycle of cold ocean water. John Ford,co-author of the article in U.S. Marine Mammal Science and whale researcher with the Canadian Government department of Fisheries and Oceans is quoted by Wendy McLellan in her article as saying "It's encouraging that the whales are out their using this habitat.Now,we have to find out what areas are important to them and to try and protect them.The biggest threat to blue whales is accidental collision with ships," he says.

source of photo:http://student.britannica.com/comptons/art/print?id=5997&articleTypeId=0


McLellan indicates in her article that "whale researchers believe about 2,000 blue whales live off the west coast betweenb Alaska and Mexico....worldwide there are only about 10,000 blue whales left, even though commercial whaling of them ended in the mid 1960's."

source:Edmonton Journal,April 15th 2009.

Blue whales have a life expectancy of 35-40 years and are an endangered species.According to the website: American Cetacean Society http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/bluewhl.htm,:

"The blue whale is the largest mammal, possibly the largest animal, to ever inhabit the earth.The longest blue whale ever recorded was a 108-foot adult female caught during whaling efforts in Antarctica! In modern times, blue whales in the Southern Hemisphere reach lengths of 90-100 feet , but their Northern Hemisphere counterparts are smaller, on average 75 to 80 feet (23 to 24.5 m). Blue whales can weigh over 100 tons (99,800 kg). Females are larger than males of the same age, the largest perhaps weighing as much as 150 tons (136,000 kg).


According to the National Geographic Society, "Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant!! Their hearts, as much as an automobile!!These whales cruise the ocean at more than five miles an hour (eight kilometers an hour), but accelerate to more than 20 miles an hour (32 kilometers an hour) when they are agitated. Blue whales are among the loudest animals on the planet. They emit a series of pulses, groans, and moans, and it’s thought that, in good conditions, blue whales can hear each other up to 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away. Scientists think they use these vocalizations not only to communicate, but, along with their excellent hearing, to sonar-navigate the lightless ocean depths." (source:http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/blue-whale.html)

The blue whale is thought to feed almost exclusively on small, shrimp-like creatures called euphausiids or krill.(Of course this fact makes the blue whale extremely vunerable in terms of its survival!! ). A blue whale may eat up to 40 million krill a day!! "the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned all hunting of blue whales in 1966 and gave them worldwide protection. Recovery has been extremely slow, and only in the last few years have there been signs that their numbers may be increasing. Pre-whaling population estimates were over 350,000 blue whales, but up to 99% of blue whales were killed during whaling efforts. Presently, there are an estimated 5-10,000 blue whales in the Southern Hemisphere, and only around 3-4,000 in the Northern Hemisphere."

Let us hope that the Blue Whale species will continue to increase its population in our oceans!The fact that they live in all of the World's oceans gives them a chance to do just that!

Here is a link to a Youtube video about the blue whale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YtC-VagE4Y


You can't have it both ways:Now Ignatieff denial issued!

Michael Ignatieff denied Wednesday that he had earlier said he would raise taxes to pay off a soaring federal deficit in Canada — but he's not entirely ruling out such a move either.
The Liberal leader said he would hike taxes only as a last resort, if other measures to eliminate ballooning deficits failed, and only once the economy has recovered from the current recession.
"No honest politician, faced with an $80-billion deficit, will take anything off the table because Canadians do not want, they're allergic to, long-term structural deficits," Ignatieff said during a visit to Niagara Falls, Ont.
"But I will do anything I can, and any sensible politician will do anything they can, to avoid increasing the tax burden on Canadians, especially now and hopefully later as well."
(source:http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/04/15/ignatieff-taxes015.html)

How can someone who wants to lead Canada after the next federal election portray himself in the manner he has in the last few weeks? By this I mean either he said he was going to raise taxes or he didn't. The news media certainly wouldn't lie about a statement that the head of the Opposition party would have made to the press and the public. Do Canadians want someone in charge of our country? Someone who appears to be indecisive,someone who commits to a certain line of economic policy and then a few days later, changes his mind and takes Canada on an entirely different economic path? I for one think not! It is ironic isn't it that the press quoted Mr. Ignatieff as using the words "honest" and politician in the same sentence isn't it? :) What this comment means to me is that the Liberal Party of Canada has no plan established to govern Canada in the future. They do not deserve my vote, because all they do is criticize Prime Minister Harper's Government, without providing any concrete plans or options which would be better than Mr. Harper's Government has established with his Government!

FIDE Grand Prix:Nalchik:round 1 results,standings,round 2 pairings

The FIDE Grand Prix event in Nalchik has begun. In the first round of play, two games were decisive and the remainder of the games were draws.Here are the results from round 1:


Round 1: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peter Leko--Gata Kamsky, number of moves:121 result:draw (1/2-1/2) opening:English ECO:A16

Alexander Grischuk - Boris Gelfand, number of moves:50 result:Grischuk won,
1-0 opening:Queen's Gambit Declined:Tartakover defense:ECO:D58

Vassily Ivanchuk-Etienne Bacrot, number of moves:27 result:draw, 1/2-1/2, opening:Torre Attack? ECO:A46

Sergey Karjakin - Pavel Eljanov, number of moves:45, result draw, 1/2-1/2opening:Ruy Lopez:Zaitsev variation ECO:C92

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov - Levon Aronian, number of moves:32, result:Aronian won, 0-1, opening:Vienna Opening:ECO:C28

Vladimir Akopian - Rustam Kasimdzhanov, number of moves:41, result:draw, 1/2-1/2, opening:
Petroff Defense:ECO:C42

Evgeny Alekseev -Peter Svidler, number of moves:37, result:draw, 1/2-1/2, opening: Slav Defense:ECO:D15

As a consequence of these games, here are the standings after round 1:
Grand Prix Nalchik

1 point: Grischuk, Aronian
1/2 point: Akopian,Eljanov, Svidler, Alekseev, Kasimdzhanov, Ivanchuk, Kamsky,Leko,
Karjakin ,Bacrot
0 points: Mamedyarov, Gelfand

These games can be played through move by move at the following website:http://chessbase.com/news/2009/fide/games/nalchik01.htm

Here are the pairings for round 2:

GM Kamsky 2720-GM Bacrot 2728
GM Svidler 2726-GM Ivanchuk 2746
GM Gelfand 2733-GM Alekseev Evgeny 2716
GM Eljanov 2693-GM Grischuk 2748
GM Kasimdzhanov 2695-GM Karjakin 2721
GM Aronian 2754-GM Akopian 2696
GM Leko Peter 2751-GM Mamedyarov 2725

Best wishes to all of the players in your second round of play!

Visit GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's Women's Chess Blog:Please click on the image below:

Visit GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's Women's Chess Blog:Please click on the image below:
Chess needs more women and girl participants and administrators!

Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed



Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia



A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed



Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein



The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi



The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller



Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns



Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama



Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -



Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being



The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.