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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Family ties bind desert lizards in social groups

Family ties bind desert lizards in social groups

Scientists used to believe that lizards were solitary creatures.However, as you can read by clicking on the link above, new scientific research conducted by scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz, shows that a "species of lizard in the Mojave Desert lives in family groups and shows patterns of social behavior more commonly associated with mammals and birds. Their investigation of the formation and stability of family groups in desert night lizards (Xantusia vigilis) gives us greater insight into the origins of collective behavior in our own species.

Source of image of Xantusia vigilis:http://www.wildherps.com/species/X.vigilis.html


                                  Source of image:http://thomashawk.com/hello/209/1017/400/Strike.jpg
Studying why humans enter groups and how they interact in groups is a fascinating pursuit,especially if you are a rationalist like myself.  In fact an entire branch of the academic field of Sociology has developed to better understand how, why humans interact collectively. I have been blessed to take an academic course in "Collective Behavior" while I was in university. Sociologists have developed theories which try to explain and help them understand the collective behavior of our species. In reality one of these theories suggests that norms develop in groups which guide the behavior of individuals.  To learn more about the science of collective behavior visit these websites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_behavior 

http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/socpsy-8.html 

http://pagerankstudio.com/Blog/2010/10/sociology-of-collective-behavior/ 

http://sociologyindex.com/collective_behavior.htm

http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Collective_behavior/id/1991836 

http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~pms/cj355/readings/emerson.pdf

23% of sunlike stars have Earth-sized planets in close orbits.




A new scientific study indicates the Kepler spacecraft should find
hundreds of Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting close to their stars.

The Kepler space mission refers to a "NASA space observatory designed to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft was launched on March 7, 2009.The mission is named in honor of German astronomer Johannes Kepler. With a planned mission lifetime of at least 3.5 years, Kepler uses a photometer developed by NASA to continuously monitor the brightness of over 145,000 main sequence stars in a fixed field of view. The data collected from these observations will be analyzed to detect periodic fluctuations that indicate the presence of extrasolar planets."

source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler_Mission

 Astronomers Andrew Howard and Geoffrey Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley " predicted that 23% of sun-like stars have Earth-sized planets in close orbits. Applying these statistics to Kepler's search, the group estimates that Kepler will find 120 to 260 planets orbiting close in to sun-like stars. Astrophysicist Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C, is quoted as stating the following:

"Earth-sized bodies probably also abound at orbital distances where life would be comfortable, says Boss. "Earth-like planets are probably going to be common," he says. "Kepler will give us that number."

source:http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/10/no-lack-of-exo-earths-out-there.html 

If Earth-like planets are common, does this mean that it is only a matter of time before a spacecraft finds a planet with life on it?

To read more about the phenomenon of "earth-like planets" in the solar system please visit the following websites:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/other-earth1.htm 

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2010/2010-10-04-01.html 


Astronomers found the first earth-like Planet in a Habitable zone in 2007. Here is a video which discusses that discovery:



Source of video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w7NUsBcgyw

Here is another video entitled,

"The Search For Earth-Like Planets", which I hope you find interesting.Note:this video is over 21 minutes in length:

 

 

Honeybees don't get jet lag


A new scientific study indicates that Honeybees are able to change their biological rhythms very quickly, enabling them to make a switch to in their daily routines, according to research carried out at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Bees have now been shown to be highly resilient to such change. When removed from their  roles in the hive, the bees were observed to rapidly and drastically change their biological rhythms, according to a study by Prof. Guy Bloch of HU’s department of ecology, evolution and behavior at the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences. His research is published in the latest edition of The Journal of Neuroscience."

To read an abstract concerning this research please click on the following link:

http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/abstract/30/37/12517?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=Guy+Bloch+&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT



It sure would be nice if somehow the genes relating to this behavior could be copied so that humans beings could not suffer from the effects of jet-lag.


Source of image:http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/IPM/Pest%20of%20the%20Month/2006/June.htm

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Members of United Nations agree to expand protected areas on land and at sea



Apparently representatives of United Nations member countries have agreed to an important resolution:Delegates from 193 countries at the U.N. Convention on Biodiversity agreed to protect 17 per cent of the world's land areas and 10 per cent of oceans by 2020. This will help maintain biodiversity:Currently, 13 per cent of the world's land areas and less than 1 per cent of marine areas are protected.

"Environmental groups welcomed the agreement, but said many of the targets were not bold enough."

source: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/SciTech/20101029/un-acts-for-protection-101029/

Source of image:WPDA.org

Well at least this is a start, if these representatives can agree on something, it can serve as a catalyst for more cooperation in the future to ensure the life on our planet is protected from exploitation and even extinction. For your information the

IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)

defines a protected area as:

"An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means."


To learn more about the International Union for Conservation of Nature please visit the following website:

 http://www.iucn.org/

This organization has created a "red list"  which  "identifies and documents those species most in need of conservation attention if global extinction rates are to be reduced; you can view this red list by going to the following website:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/ 

Please visit the following website to see which animals are on the current red list:

http://www.iucnredlist.org/photos/2010 


To learn more about the red list please visit this site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IUCN_Red_List 

An example of an animal which has recieved special status is the

Rothschild’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi):

Source of image:http://www.longleat.co.uk/safari-park/animals-giraffe.html 

This species of giraffe has now been classified as Endangered by the IUCN, making it the second most threatened of the nine recognised giraffe subspecies. (source:http://www.arkive.org/news/20100819-rare-giraffe-added-to-iucn-red-list.html ).

 You can learn more about this giraffe species by visiting the following website:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothschild_giraffe 

Here is a video which will show you a Rothschild giraffe:



source of video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuKn32wOrRk

Grandmaster Vachier-Lagrave wins the 14th Unive Tournament



Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (pictured above) of France has won the 14th Unive Tournament. He did so today by drawing his last-round game with GM Anish Giri. Congratulations to GM Vachier-Lagrave for winning the event!

Here are the results from the last round of the tournament (the player on the left had the white pieces in the game):

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Tiviakov, Sergei 0.5 2637 GM Shirov, Alexei 3.0 2749 ½-½
2 GM Giri, Anish 2.5 2677 GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 4.0 2721 ½-½


These results mean the final standings for the tournament are as follows:

   Name Rating 1 2 3 4 Score
1 GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2721 x½1 ½½ 11 4.5
2 GM Shirov, Alexei 2749 ½0 x½1 1½ 3.5
3 GM Giri, Anish 2677 ½½ ½0 x½1 3.0
4 GM Tiviakov, Sergei 2637 00 0½ ½0 x1.0

Here is another version of the Final crosstable which I created using Chessbase 10. The 4 digit number two columns to the right of the player's name is that player's elo rating entering the tournament. The positive or negative numbers to the immediate right of the player's elo rating when added to that elo rating give the player's performance rating for the tournament. For instance  Vachier-Lagrave entered the tournament with an elo of 2721, when added to the number 157 this means his performance rating for the tournament was 2898. This performance rating is used to determine how many rating points a player gains or loses as a consequence of his performance in the tournament. The numbers below the crosstable refer to the following:
 Ave. elo= the average elo rating of all the players.  Cat:Category of the tournament
gm, im refer to the number of points a player has to score to make a
Grandmaster or International Master norm in the tournament.

Unive Crown Group 2010

 

1 Vachier Lagrave,M 2721 +157
&;
½1½½114.5 / 6
2 Shirov,A 2749 -12 ½0
&;
½13.5 / 6
3 Giri,A 2677 +25 ½½½0
&;
½13.0 / 6
4 Tiviakov,S 2637 -200 00½0
&;
1.0 / 6
Average Elo: 2696 <=> Cat: 18 gm = 2.40 m = 1.20

source of image:internet

2010 Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess tournament:round 10 results and final standings


The tenth and final round of the 2010 Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess tournament has ended. Here are the results from this last round of play in the tournament (the player on the left had the white pieces in the game):

Round 10:
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wang Yue 
0-1
 Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Vishy Anand 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
These results mean the final standings for the tournament are:


Congratulations to GM Magnus Carlsen for winning the tournament! GM Carlsen's new rating of 2836 leaves him close to eclipsing the highest-elo rating of all-time, held by retired former World Chess Champion  Gary Kasparov, who achieved an elo rating of 2851 on the on the July 1999 and January 2000  FIDE ratings lists.

Regarding some of the labels you find on the crosstable, the Perf. column shows the player's performance rating for the tournament. The +/- column shows how many elo points the player gained or lost due to his performance in this tournament.

You can play through the moves of all the games from round 10 by clicking on the following link:

http://www.chessbase.com/news/2010/misc/games/nanjing10.htm

Source of image of Magnus Carlsen: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2009/11/magnus-carlsen-turns-19-today.html 

A World Without mosquitoes?


Many people in this world would love the idea that if mosquitoes could be eradicated as a species from the planet. These people cite the fact that mosquitoes spread disease to thousands of people each year, as well as    It appears that scientists are also studying what effects the total and complete eradication of mosquitoes from the planet would have. Some of these scientists express their belief that the total and complete eradication of mosquitoes from the planet would cause detrimental effects to other species of animals and plants. To read about this scientific research please click on the following link:

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100721/full/466432a.html

To learn more about mosquitoes,please visit the following website:

http://www.howstuffworks.com/mosquito.htm 

By the way did you know the word "mosquito" has a spanish origin and means, “little fly”?


Source of image:User Wildexplorer at http://www.flickr.com/photos/krayker/2126649185/

14th Unive Tournament : Round 5 results and crosstable, round 6 pairings



 Image: GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
source of image:  http://chess38.blogspot.com/2008_08_01_archive.html

The fifth round of the Unive Tournament was played on Friday. Here are the results of the games from this round (the player on the left had the white pieces in the game):

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 3.0 2721 GM Tiviakov, Sergei 0.5 2637 1-0
2 GM Shirov, Alexei 2.0 2749 GM Giri, Anish 2.5 2677 1-0


These results mean the following standings exist in the tournament after 5 rounds of play:


Rank Name Score M/F Rating TPR W-We SB 12345
1GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 4.0 M 2721 2930 +1.28 6.75 ½ ½ 1 1 1
2GM Shirov, Alexei 3.0 M 2749 2759 +0.07 6.25 ½ 1 ½ 0 1
3GM Giri, Anish 2.5 M 2677 2699 +0.14 4.25 ½ ½ ½ 1 0
4GM Tiviakov, Sergei 0.5 M 2637 2343 -1.49 1.25 ½ 0 0 0 0

Here are the pairings for the last round of play (the player on the left will have the white pieces in the game):

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Tiviakov, Sergei 0.5 2637 GM Shirov, Alexei 3.0 2749
2 GM Giri, Anish 2.5 2677 GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 4.0 2721

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

Here are the moves from both games from round 5 in case you want to play through these games:




2010 Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess tournament:round 9 results and standings

The ninth round of the Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess tournament was played today in China. Here are the results from this round (the player on the left had the white pieces in the game):


Round 9:
Friday, October 29, 2010
Etienne Bacrot 
½-½
 Wang Yue
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Vishy Anand
Veselin Topalov 
0-1
 Magnus Carlsen

With Carlsen defeating Topalov in this round this means he wins the tournament! Congratulations GM Carlsen! These are the official  standings for the tournament  going into the last round of play (which will be played on Saturday):





Here are the pairings for the last round of play:
(the player on the left has the white pieces in the game):


Round
10: Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wang Yue 
 Veselin Topalov
Magnus Carlsen 
 Vugar Gashimov
Vishy Anand 
 Etienne Bacrot



Analysis of all 3 games from  round  9 has been placed on the Chessbase.com website. This analysis was done by Grandmaster Romain Edouard. You can read this analysis by clicking on the following link:

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6777

You can play through this analysis on an html-generated board by visiting:
the following part of the Chessbase.com website:

http://www.chessbase.com/news/2010/misc/games/nanjing09.htm

Friday, October 29, 2010

Analysis of Wang Yue-Vishy Anand, Nanjing Masters Pearl Spring Chess Tournament round 6




     


 
I have analyzed a chess game from the currently being played Nanjing Masters Pearl Spring Chess tournament. This chess game was played in the 8th round of the tournament and involves Chinese GM Wang Yue (elo 2732, the 16th-highest-rated chess player in the World) and World Champion Vishy Anand, (elo 2800, the third-highest-rated player in the world) , This analysis was done with the help of Deep Rybka 4,Chessbase 11, and Megadatabase 2010. You will find this analysis below in the ChessViewer Deluxe program. This is game number 24 in the Chessviewer Deluxe game index. The opening played in this game was the Catalan Opening. I hope you enjoy playing through this analysis.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chess news:Updates concerning Nanjing Pearl Spring and 14th Unive Tournament

This blog post is an update on two chess tournaments I have previously been reporting on. Firstly, in the:

Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess tournament,
 -----------------------------------------------
the eighth-round of the tournament was played today, all 3 games  ended in draws. Here are these results (the player on the left had the white pieces in the game):

Round 8:
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wang Yue
½-½
 Magnus Carlsen
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Veselin Topalov
Etienne Bacrot  
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov

You can play through all of the moves from these 3 games below:








These 3 draw results mean that the following standings exist in the tournament after 8 rounds of play:


Some analysis of these games, done by Romain Edouard can be viewed by going to the following website:

http://www.chessbase.com/news/2010/misc/games/nanjing08.htm

 14th Unive Tournament 
-----------------------------
Firstly, a reminder to you that this is a 6 round-tournament. In round 4 these results occurred: (the player on the left had the white pieces in the game):

Pairings round 4 (Thursday, 28 October 2010)

1 GM Giri,   ----- GM Tiviakov,   result: 1-0
2 GM Shirov---   GM Vachier-Lagrave, result: 0-1

Here are the moves from both of these games:





These results mean the following standings exist in this tournament after 4 rounds of play:

1234
1Vachier Lagrave,M 2721◊ ½/3◊ ½/2♦ 1/4♦ 1/33.0 / 4
2Giri,A 2677♦ ½/4♦ ½/1◊ ½/3◊ 1/42.5 / 4
3Shirov,A 2749♦ ½/1◊ 1/4♦ ½/2◊ 0/12.0 / 4
4Tiviakov,S 2637◊ ½/2♦ 0/3◊ 0/1♦ 0/20.5 / 4

Here are the pairings for round 5 of the tournament (the player on the left has the white pieces in the game):

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating Result
1 GM Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 3.0 2721 GM Tiviakov, Sergei 0.5 2637
2 GM Shirov, Alexei 2.0 2749 GM Giri, Anish 2.5 2677




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

14th Unive Chess Tournament:round 3 report

The 14th Unive Chess Tournament is currently being played in Hoogeveen, Netherlands from Octobver 22nd-30th 2010. Probably my favorite chess player of all time, Grandmaster Alexei Shirov is one of the participants in this tournament. Here is a list of all the players in the top "Crown" group event:

GM Alexei Shirov of Spain (currently the 12th highest-rated player in the World with an elo of 2749), GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France (currently the 25th highest-rated player in the World with an elo of 2721) , GM Anish Giri of the Netherlands (currently the 61st-highest-rated player in the World with an elo of 2677) and GM Sergei Tiviakov of the Netherlands, (currently the 108th-highest-rated chess player in the World with an elo of 2673) are playing in this event.

Three rounds of play have been completed in this tournament as I write this blog entry.
  There have only been two decisive games in this tournament so far. In round 2 Shirov defeated Tiviakov, and in round 3 Tiviakov was defeated Vachier -Lagrave.I have placed the moves of these two games below so you can play through them if you desire to.  Here is the crosstable after 3 rounds of play in this tournament:
Unive Crown Group Hoogeveen  (NED), 25-30 x 2010 cat. XVIII (2696)
1 2 3 4
1. Shirov, Alexei g ESP 2749 * * ½ . ½ . 1 . 2 2803
2. Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2721 ½ . * * ½ . 1 . 2 2812
3. Giri, Anish g NED 2677 ½ . ½ . * * ½ . 2702
4. Tiviakov, Sergei g NED 2637 0 . 0 . ½ . * * ½ 2442
 
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here are the pairings for round 4 of the tournament: 
 
 
GM Giri, 1.5 2677  versus  GM Tiviakov, 0.5 2637 
GM Shirov,2.0 2749 versus GM Vachier- 2.0 2721
 

2010 Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess Tournament round 7:Topalov defeats Bacrot!

The seventh round of the 2010 Pearl Spring Chess Tournament was played today in China. In the only decisive game of the day, Grandmaster Topalov defeated Grandmaster Bacrot. The opening in this game was the Queen's Indian Defense with Topalov essaying the fianchetto variation as white.

Here are the results from the three games: (the player on the left had the white pieces in the game):

Round 7:
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Vugar Gashimov 
½-½
 Wang Yue
Veselin Topalov 
1-0
 Etienne Bacrot
Magnus Carlsen 
½-½
 Vishy Anand

These results mean the following standings exist in the tournament after 7 rounds of play:


Here are the moves from all three games:






Here are the pairings for the eighth round of the tournament: (the player on the left has the white pieces in the game):












Bacrot, -    Gashimov




Anand, -    Topalov




Wang Yue-Carlsen





Best wishes to all the players for round 8.
Analysis of the games from round 7 can be played through by going to the following websites:

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6771

http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/nanjing-r7-bacrot-blunders-topalov-wins-first/

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Old bees lose memories like humans | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University



Old bees lose memories like humans | ASU News | The State Press | Arizona State University

Bees are more intelligent than you think. According to new research, "Scientists now know that brain function and memory formation is very similar in humans and bees, so they can look to bees to better understand humans."

Please click on the link above to learn about more about this new research.

Source of image:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/archive/5/5f/20070511183019!Western_honey_bee.jpg

Jupiter-like planets found orbiting binary star system



Two massive Jupiter-like planets were recently discovered orbiting around two extremely close sister stars."

"The alien planets were found to orbit around the binary star system NN Serpentis, which is located about 1,670 light-years from Earth."

To read more about this discovery please click on the following link:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39868777/ns/technology_and_science-space/


NN Serpentis (abbreviated NN Ser) is an eclipsing binary system approximately 1670 light-years away. "A binary star is a star system consisting of two stars orbiting around their common center of mass. The brighter star is called the primary and the other is its companion star, comes, or secondary. Research between the early 19th century and today suggests that many stars are part of either binary star systems or star systems with more than two stars, called multiple star systems."

"Binary star systems are very important in astrophysics because calculations of their orbits allow the masses of their component stars to be directly determined, which in turn allows other stellar parameters, such as radius and density, to be indirectly estimated. This also determines an empirical mass-luminosity relationship (MLR) from which the masses of single stars can be estimated."

The term binary was first used in this context by Sir William Herschel in 1802, when he wrote:

"If, on the contrary, two stars should really be situated very near each other, and at the same time so far insulated as not to be materially affected by the attractions of neighbouring stars, they will then compose a separate system, and remain united by the bond of their own mutual gravitation towards each other. This should be called a real double star; and any two stars that are thus mutually connected, form the binary sidereal system which we are now to consider."

"By the modern definition, the term binary star is generally restricted to pairs of stars which revolve around a common centre of mass.It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of the star systems in the Milky Way are binary or multiple, with the remaining 2/3 consisting of single stars."

"Science fiction has often featured planets of binary or ternary stars as a setting, for example George Lucas' Tatooine from Star Wars."

source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binary_star

The closest star system, to the Earth,  Alpha Centauri, is a binary star system, consisting of two closely orbiting Sun-sized stars orbited in turn by a red dwarf. The two center stars have an elliptical orbit around each  (source:http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-binary-star-system.htm )

Image above: A rendering of NN Serpentis system Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NN_Serpentis_binary.png

1200 news species of animals and plants found in Amazon rainforest

Report highlights Amazon's rich diversity - CNN.com

"More than 1,200 new species of plants and animals have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest over the past decade according to a new report." To read more about this scientific finding please click on the link above this text.

Anolis cuscoensis, a new lizard species is seen above.
Source of image:http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Science-Photos-Anolis-cuscoensis-new-lizard-species-seen-here-New-species-previously/ss/832/im:/ydownload/20101026/photos_net_web_sc/1288102835/  Click on this source to photos of 240 of these new species of animals and plants

Study suggests a third of shark and ray species are threatened



"Dr. Jack Musick, emeritus professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has overseen a global study suggesting that 33 percent of shark, skate, and ray species are threatened with extinction."

"The group's work suggests that 345 of the 1,044 species of cartilaginous fishes studied (33%) are "threatened," a broad grouping that includes species in the "vulnerable," "endangered," and "critically endangered"

To read this entire article please click on the following link: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-10/viom-ssa102510.php 

This is very bad news for these species. If these species leave our planet, our human existence is threatened! Why is human existence on this planet as a species threatened if sharks species go extinct?


Sharks exist on top of the marine food chain, the disappearance of shark species from our oceans would have cause detrimental effects  throughout the entire marine ecosystem.Plankton makes up 70% of the Earths oxygen. Millions of fish eat this plankton, but luckily the sharks eat and control the population of the fish.. but for how much longer?

 Now I would like to return to the article which indicates that a third of shark and ray species are threatened with extinction. In this article I found the following statements:

"Scientists have already observed the phenomenon off the East Coast from New Jersey to the Carolinas."  The phenomenon which is being alluded to is this:

  "The ray population there has exploded because the sharks that normally preyed on them were overfished. The large numbers of rays in turn gobbled excessive volumes of scallops, decimating the local scallop fishery."

  "A 2007 study in the journal Science outlined this chain reaction."

  "Marie Levine, founder and executive director of the Shark Research Institute in Princeton, N.J., said the area's water quality also deteriorated, because scallops filter water."

"Sharks are critical to the health of the ocean," Levine said.

source:http://www.facebook.com/notes/ap/food-chain-reaction-why-humans-need-sharks/10150183574305651 

What can you do to save the Shark species from extinction? Plenty. Please visit the following website to learn about 10 actions you can take to save sharks:

http://www.savingsharks.com/ 

For your information, the documentary "Sharkwater" which is mentioned at the savingsharks.com website above can be purchased at the following website:

http://www.sharkwater.com/


Other websites which gives you a list of ways you can help saves sharks are:

http://www.saveoursharks.com.au/Save_Our_Sharks_-_Welcome.html

http://www.aquarium.org/central_shark/how_save.htm

You can watch a trailer for the documentary "Sharkwater" by clicking on the following link:

 http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=19972050

Please watch these two videos (especially if you live in areas where sharks are being overfished or killed for their fins to make shark-fin soup):


Shark Protest from Graydon Pieterse on Vimeo.


Unnatural Selection - Shark Finning on the Frontier from Blue Sphere Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010 Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess Tournament round 6:Anand wins!

The sixth-round of the 2010 Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess Tournament was played today.There was one game with a decisive result, that being the game between Wang Yue and Vishy Anand. Wang Yue had the white pieces in this game and played a Catalan Opening. Anand decided to play the closed variation of this opening and won the game in 51 moves. Here is a board with the moves of this game in case you want to play through it:



Here are the results  of the other two games of this round:

Carlsen- Bacrot  result:draw
Gashimov- Veselin Topalov result:draw


Here are the moves from these games:





These results mean the following standings exist in this tournament after 6 rounds of play:


Here are the pairings for the seventh-round of the tournament (the player on the left has the white pieces in the game):




Round
7: Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Vugar Gashimov 
 Wang Yue
Veselin Topalov 
 Etienne Bacrot
Magnus Carlsen 
 Vishy Anand




This tournament is 10 rounds in length, with the final round being played this Saturday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

FIDE releases names of participants in Women's World Chess Championship

The governing body of Chess, the FIDE has released the names of participants who will play in the Women's World Chess Championship. Two players have yet to be named and it is very unlikely that Judit Polgar will play in this championship as well.

Here is the list of participants who will play in the Women's World Chess Championship:


a) From World Women’s Championship 2008:
01. Kosteniuk, Alexandra (RUS)
02. Hou, Yifan (CHN)
03. Koneru, Humpy (IND)
04. Cramling, Pia (SWE)


b) World Girl Junior Champions 2008-2009:
05. Harika, Dronavalli (IND) 2008
06. Soumya, Swaminathan (IND) 2009


c) Rating List 7/2008 & 1/2009:
07. Polgar, Judit (HUN) 2702,00
08. Stefanova, Antoaneta (BUL) 2553,50
09. Sebag, Marie (FRA) 2529,00
10. Muzychuk, Anna (SLO) 2522,00
11. Zhao, Xue (CHN) 2515,00


d) 28 players from European Women’s Championships 2008 & 2009
12. Lahno Kateryna (UKR) 2008
13. Cmilyte Viktorija (LTU) 2008
14. Ushenina Anna (UKR) 2008
15. Zhukova Natalia (UKR) 2008
16. Mkrtchian Lilit (ARM) 2008
17. Skripchenko Almira (FRA) 2008
18. Dembo Elena (GRE) 2008
19. Pogonina Natalija (RUS) 2008
20. Dzagnidze Nana (GEO) 2008
21. Danielian Elina (ARM) 2008
22. Lomineishvili Maia (GEO) 2008
23. Demina Julia (RUS) 2008
24. Socko Monika (POL) 2008
25. Houska Jovanka (ENG) 2008
26. Kosintseva Tatiana (RUS) 2009
27. Shadrina Tatiana (RUS) 2009
28. Kovalevskaya Ekaterina (RUS) 2009
29. Rajlich Iweta (POL) 2009
30. Ovod Evgenija (RUS) 2009
31. Hoang Thanh Trang (HUN) 2009
32. Romanko Marina (RUS) 2009
33. Kovanova Baira (RUS) 2009
34. Turova Irina (RUS) 2009
35. Paehtz Elisabeth (GER) 2009
36. Zawadzka Jolanta (POL) 2009
37. Khukhashvili Sopiko (GEO) 2009
38. Muzychuk Mariya (UKR) 2009
39. Vasilevich Irina (RUS) 2009


e) 8 players from Americas

40. Zuriel Marisa (ARG)
41. Terao Juliana Sayumi (BRA)
42. Heredia Serrano Carla (ECU)
43. Fierro Baquero Martha L (ECU)
44. Cori T Deysi (PER)
45. Anna Zatonskih (USA)
46. Camilla Baginskaite (USA)
47. Dina Kagramanov (CAN)


f) 12 players from Asia/Oceania

48. Zhang, Xiaowen (CHN)
49. Ding, Yixin (CHN)
50. Meenakshi, Subbaraman (IND)
51. Zhu, Chen (QAT)
52. Nadig, Kruttika (IND)
53. Munguntuul, Batkhuyag (MGL)
54. Muminova, Nafisa (UZB)
55. Ruan, Lufei (CHN)
56. Shen, Yang (CHN)
57. Huang, Qian (CHN)
58. Ju, Wenjun (CHN)
59. Caoili, Arianne (AUS)


g) 3 players from Africa

60. Greeff, Melissa (RSA)
61. Mezioud, Amina (ALG)
62. Mona, Khaled (EGY)


h) 2 nominees of the FIDE President

63.
64.


TOTAL: 64 players

The player's contract for this World Championship can be downloaded for viewing by downloading  the  following document: http://www.fide.com/images/stories/news_2010/WWCC/players_contract_wwcc2010.pdf
http://www.fide.com/images/stories/news_2010/WWCC/players_contract_wwcc2010.pdf  
source of information: http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/4811-contract-for-the-womens-world-chess-championship.html 

The Women's World Chess Championship will take place  in Hatay, Turkey  from December 2nd until December 25th  2010. I wonder why the FIDE chose to have this championship so close to Christmas?

Underwater robot studying ice-covered Antarctic Ocean - CTV News

Underwater robot studying ice-covered Antarctic Ocean - CTV News

To read an article which discusses the fact that the University of British Columbia is sending robot to study what lies under the South Pole please click on the link above this sentence.

Bees found to be better at math problem solving than computers



According to an article at the Foxnews.com website, a new scientific study showed that bees  are able to "solve complex mathematical problems that take computers days to solve. This ability applies to when bees are foraging from flower to flower for nectar.

"Researchers at Queen Mark, the University of London, and Royal Holloway have discovered that in their meandering, bees find the shortest possible route between the flowers they randomly discover. By doing so, the honey-lovin' insects are essentially solving the "Traveling Salesman Problem" -- despite having brains the size of a pinhead."


"The classic mathematical problem, first formulated in 1930, involves a traveling salesman who must find the most efficient itinerary that allows him to visit all locations on his route. It is one of the most intensively studied problems in optimization.Computers solve it by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest"

"Foraging bees solve traveling salesman problems every day," researcher Nigel Raine from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway explained. "They visit flowers at multiple locations and, because bees use lots of energy to fly, they find a route which keeps flying to a minimum."
Professor Lars Chittka from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences added that "such traveling salesmen problems keep supercomputers busy for days. Studying how bee brains solve such challenging tasks might allow us to identify the minimal neural circuitry required for complex problem solving."

source: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/10/25/tiny-bee-brains-beat-computers-complex-math-problem/

So, it seems an insect is indeed smarter than a human in this regard. I say that because computers are the invention of human beings.

Source of image:http://www.squidoo.com/the-fascinating-bumble-bee 

Cristiano Ronaldo scores 4 goals in a game!



Probably my most favorite sport to watch on television is soccer. The level of soccer has gotten pretty high in the world..well maybe not at a defensive level. I say this because I  just learned that one of Soccer's greatest stars, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 4 goals in a game that was played this last Saturday night. This is the first time he has scored this many goals in a single game. Congratulations Cristiano!
Fortunately, all four goals were captured on video. You can see them by watching the following video:





Source of image: http://www.oleole.com/wallpapers/realmadrid/bestnewlaligacristianoronaldowallpaper/mw8kn4.asp?et=p&ei=10774

Alaskan volcano helped B.C. sockeye bounce back, scientists suspect - The Globe and Mail

Alaskan volcano helped B.C. sockeye bounce back, scientists suspect - The Globe and Mail

To read an article which discusses the fact that new scientific theory suggests the eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in Alaska fertilized the sea, and stimulated the growth of the salmon, leading to higher survival rates in British Columbia sockeye salmon,please click on the link above this sentence.

2010: Nanjing Pearl Spring Chess Tournament :round 5 report

The fifth round of the 2010 Nanjing Spring Chess tournament was played on Sunday.
Here are the results from this round of play: (the player on the left had the white pieces in the game):

Round 5:
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Wang Yue 
0-1
 Etienne Bacrot
Vishy Anand 
½-½
 Vugar Gashimov
Magnus Carlsen 
1-0
 Veselin Topalov

Analysis of these games done by GM  GM Elshan Moradiabadi, has been posted to the Chessbase website:

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6763


http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=6763

These results mean the following standings exist after 5 rounds of play in the tournament:


The  sixth round of the tournament will be played on Tuesday (Monday is a rest day for the players). The pairings for Tuesday's round will be as follows:
(the player on the left will have the white pieces in the game):


Round
6: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wang Yue 
 Vishy Anand
Etienne Bacrot 
 Magnus Carlsen
Vugar Gashimov 
 Veselin Topalov

Canada's Marine ecosystems in trouble



Image: This photo above shows the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve  (Source of image: http://www.cpawsbc.org/node/182)



The Government of Canada  (Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada) has released a report entitled, "2010 CANADIAN MARINE ECOSYSTEM STATUS AND TRENDS REPORT" which you can download in pdf format from the following website:
 http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas/Csas/Publications/SAR-AS/2010/2010_030_E.pdf 

This report paints a bleak future for Canada's marine ecosystems!

For example in the report it is stated:

(a) "Biological and ecological effects (e.g. increased natural species mortality, species range expansions and contractions, and changes in fish size, assemblages, and community structure) are occurring; however their impact on ecosystems is not always well understood."

Why has the government not allocated the necessary funds for research into these effects?


(b)Climate change and oceanographic variability are affecting most Canadian marine ecozones. In particular, ocean acidification is known to be impacting several ecozones and is an emerging issue in the others.

If it is known that Ocean acidification is occurring why hasn't the Federal Government of Canada create a plan to reduce this acidification in Canada's oceans?

 A decline in many fish stocks has occurred on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as a result of commercial overexploitation. Although management measures have been implemented for most species, recovery has been limited in most cases.

I ask why the Federal Government and the provinces which have been involved in this overexploitation worked to create some sort of plan to stop fisherman and fishing companies from overfishing these areas of Canada?


 Legacy contaminants, like polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and
dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) for example, are decreasing, however the incidence of emerging contaminants (e.g. brominated flame retardants) are becoming an issue in most ecozones.

What is being done by all levels of Canadian Government to determine and address these new contaminants  which have started to affect Canadian ecosystems?

 Industry and development have, or are threatening to, impact most ecosystems. The coastal zone is particularly vulnerable and is of concern as these areas are considered highly productive ecosystems.


This report goes as far to state the following:

"Declines in dissolved oxygen concentration, particularly in deeper waters (200-300 m) have been noted over the last 25 years."

According to my research, these declines have not only been found in Canada's oceans but also in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico (see: http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2301  ).  Carl Zimmer a science writer for this website, suggests that these changes are due to "Agricultural runoff",  "global warming", and "acidification" of the oceans.

 As stated by Carl Zimmer at this yale.edu website:

"Scientists point to two reasons to expect a worldwide drop in ocean oxygen. One is the simple fact that as water gets warmer, it can hold less dissolved oxygen. The other reason is subtler. The entire ocean gets its oxygen from the surface — either from the atmosphere, or from photosynthesizing algae floating at the top of the sea. The oxygen then spreads to the deep ocean as the surface waters slowly sink."

  "Global warming is expected to reduce the mixing of the ocean by making surface seawater lighter. That’s because in a warmer world we can expect more rainfall and more melting of glaciers, icebergs, and ice sheets. Since freshwater is less dense than salt water, the water at the ocean’s surface will become lighter. The extra heat from the warming atmosphere will also make surface waters expand — and thus make them lighter still. The light surface water will be less likely to sink — and thus the deep ocean will get less oxygen. Instead, more of the oxygen will linger near the surface, where it will be used up by oxygen-breathing organisms."

When Carl Zimmer suggests in this article that scientists are having trouble understanding why  these two factors are occurring, this certainly is alarming to me! It suggests that Governments of countries in this World should find the financial and human resources to learn why these two factors are occurring, instead of spending money on things which are less important than this issue!

As pointed out by Carl Zimmer, "unless we find a way to rein in our carbon emissions very soon, a low-oxygen ocean may become an inescapable feature of our planet." If scientists believe oxygen levels are going to be in state of decline for a long time in our World, what does this say about the future of life within these essential elements of our planet?

The findings of the  2010 CANADIAN MARINE ECOSYSTEM STATUS AND TRENDS REPORT make it very obvious what the Government of Canada and Provincial Governments of Provinces must do in the immediate and distant future. These governments must find funds to facilitate much more scientific research concerning Canada's Marine Ecosystems than is going on at the present time. Only if these funds become available and only if these funds are used properly, will Canada's Marine ecosystems be sustainable in the long-term! Global warming is a reality,dollars must be found by the Governments of our World to determine how best to mitigate and deal with this phenomenon before it has a serious and adverse impact on all life on on planet!

Here is an  hour lecture entitled, "Saving the Blue Planet." By Boris Worm  This lecture discusses the need for Marine conservation in our World. I hope you take the time to watch this presentation when you have a chance to. Dr.Boris Worm's  "interests in teaching and research focus on the causes and consequences of changes in marine biodiversity, and its conservation on a global scale."
(source:http://biology.dal.ca/People/faculty/worm/worm.htm  )




Source of video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMZnQ2ntIA4 


To learn more about the  Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve please visit the following website:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/progs/amnc-nmca/cnamnc-cnnmca/gwaiihaanas/index_e.asp


I applaud Parks Canada for  deciding to designate a number of marine environments across Canada to be part of a network of national marine conservation areas in our country!

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.