A 14-year old German boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized meteorite

Meteor hits Virginia

Meteor hits Virginia

A 14-year old German boy was hit in the hand by a pea-sized meteorite that scared the bejeezus out of him and left a scar.

“When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road,” Gerrit Blank said in a newspaper account. Astronomers have analyzed the object and conclude it was indeed a natural object from space, The Telegraph reports.

Most meteors vaporize in the atmosphere, creating “shooting stars,” and never reach the ground. The few that do are typically made mostly of metals. Stony space rocks, even if they are big as a car, will usually break apart or explode as they crash through the atmosphere.

There are a handful of reports of homes and cars being struck by meteorites, and many cases of space rocks streaking to the surface and being found later.

But human strikes are rare. There are no known instances of humans being killed by space rocks.

According to a SPACE.com article on the topic a few years, back:

* On November 30, 1954, Alabama housewife Ann Hodges was taking a nap on her couch when she was awakened by a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor that crashed through the roof of her house, bounced off a piece of furniture and struck her in the hip, causing a large bruise. * On October 9, 1992, a large fireball was seen streaking over the eastern United States, finally exploding into many pieces. In Peekskill, New York, one of the pieces struck a Chevrolet automobile owned by Michelle Knapp. Knapp was not in the car at the time. * On June 21, 1994, Jose Martin of Spain was driving with his wife near Madrid when a 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) meteor crashed through his windshield, bent the steering wheel and ended up in the back seat.

In 2004, a 2,000-pound space rock bigger than a refrigerator exploded in the late-night sky over Chicago, producing a large flash and a sound resembling a detonation that woke people up. Fragments rained down on that wild Chicago night, and many were collected by residents in a northern suburb.

* Top 10 Greatest Explosions Ever * Natural Disasters: Top 10 U.S. Threats * Photo Galleries: Shooting Stars

* Original Story: Boy Hit by Meteorite


Philippine swine flu cases climb to 46

MANILA, Philippines – The health secretary says swine flu cases in the Philippines have climbed to 46.

Francisco Duque says all the cases are mild, prompting authorities to set a shift in their strategy from containment to mitigation of the disease. The new tack will focus on early detection and treatment, with only high-risk patients hospitalized while the rest will be managed at home.

Duque says the 13 new cases confirmed Monday include eight Filipinos and five foreigners aged 12 to 63.

Among them are four more students from Manila’s De La Salle University, where three others _ including two Japanese _ were earlier infected, and an infection at East Asia University, also in the capital.

Energy Drink – Are they healthy?

Red Bull energy drink

Red Bull energy drink

What are Energy Drinks?

Energy drinks are canned or bottled beverages sold in convenience stores, grocery stores, and bars and nightclubs (in mixed drinks). Most energy drinks are carbonated drinks that contain large amounts of caffeine and sugar with additional ingredients, such as B vitamins, amino acids (e.g. taurine), and herbal stimulants such as guarana.

Energy drinks are marketed primarily to people between the ages of 18 and 30 as a stimulant, which is why energy drinks have names that convey strength, power, and speed, and sexuality, such as:

  • Red Bull Energy Drink
  • Monster Energy Drink
  • Full Throttle Energy Drink
  • Amp Energy Drink
  • XS Energy Drink
  • Redline Energy Drink
  • Rock Star Energy Drink
  • Spark Energy Drink

History of Energy Drinks

Although sales of energy drinks in the United States were $3.5 billion in 2005, according to Beverage Digest, the category was only recently created with the launch of the Red Bull Energy Drink.

Red Bull was created by Dietrich Mateschitz, an Austrian who adapted the energy drink from a Thai beverage called Krating Daeng, a popular drink with rickshaw drivers in Thailand. The key ingredient in the Thai energy drink was taurine, an amino acid that was first discovered in bulls (this association is responsible for the Red Bull urban legend that the drink’s active ingredient is bull urine or semen). Red Bull was introduced to Europe in 1987 and to the United States in 1997.

Energy Drinks Contain Caffeine

Red Bull, one of the most popular energy drinks, contains nearly 80 mg of caffeine per can, about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of brewed coffee and twice the caffeine as a cup of tea. Other energy drinks contain several times this amount. The amount of caffeine in an energy drink isn’t always indicated on the label, so it is difficult to gauge how much one is consuming.

Another problem with energy drinks is that unlike hot coffee or tea, which is sipped slowly, it’s common for typical energy drink consumers to drink large amounts quickly.

Some people are sensitive to caffeine and experience anxiety, palpitations, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and indigestion with relatively small amounts. People with heart conditions should avoid large amounts of caffeine, because it is a stimulant.

The Combination of Ingredients in Energy Drinks Has Not Been Studied

One of the biggest concerns is that we just don’t know enough about the effect of the combination of ingredients in energy drinks. Many ingredients are believed to work synergistically with caffeine to boost its stimulant power.

For instance, one can of Red Bull contains 1000 mg of taurine. A German double-blind study compared a taurine and caffeine drink, a caffeine-only drink, and a placebo drink. Stroke volume–the volume of blood ejected with each beat of the heart–was increased only in the group taking the taurine-and-caffeine drink. Taurine appears to play an important role in muscle contraction (especially in the heart) and the nervous system.

Red Bull also contains 600 mg of glucuronolactone, a substance that is naturally found in the body. There is a lack of published information on the health effects of glucuronolactone supplementation in humans or on the safety of this combination.

Energy drinks contain sugar (although sugar-free energy drinks are now available), because it is a quick source of energy.

B vitamins are sometimes added to energy drinks in small amounts. It makes energy drinks appear healthy, although they probably contribute little. B vitamins are needed to convert food into energy.

Some energy drinks contain guarana, a South American herb that is an additional source of caffeine.

Energy Drinks Should Not Be Mixed With Alcohol

Red Bull and vodka has become a popular mixed drink at bars because it has a reputation for reducing the depressant effects of alcohol (e.g. fatigue) while enhancing the “feel good” buzz. But while people may not feel impaired, their blood alcohol concentration is still high. People may consume larger amounts of alcohol as a result.

A study compared the effects of alcohol alone to an alcohol plus energy drink combination. Researchers found that the alcohol plus energy drink significantly reduced subjective alcohol-related symptoms such as headache, weakness, dry mouth, and impairment of motor coordination, even though breath alcohol concentration and objective tests of motor coordination and reaction time didn’t reflect this.

The caffeine in energy drinks is also dehydrating, which may slow the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol.

Energy Drinks Should Not Be Consumed During Exercise

Energy drinks should not be confused with sports drinks such as Gatorade, which are consumed to help people stay hydrated during exercise. Sports drinks also provide carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes that may be lost through perspiration.

The caffeine in energy drinks acts as a diuretic and promotes dehydration.

A California high school was the first to ban energy drinks after two students experienced dizziness and disorientation after drinking an energy drink before football practice.

Sources Baum M, Weiss M. The influence of a taurine containing drink on cardiac parameters before and after exercise measured by echocardiography. Amino Acids. 2001;20(1):75-82.

Bichler A, Swenson A, Harris MA. A combination of caffeine and taurine had no effect on short term memory but induces changes in heart rate and mean arterial blood pressure. Amino Acids. 2006 May 15.

Ferreira SE, de Mello MT, Pompeia S, de Souza-Formigoni ML. Effects of energy drink ingestion on alcohol intoxication. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006 Apr;30(4):598-605.

Seidl R, Peyrl A, Nicham R, Hauser E. A taurine and caffeine-containing drink stimulates cognitive performance and well-being. Amino Acids. 2000;19(3-4):635-42

Bing Goes Live—Here’s What You Can Do With It

Bing, Microsoft’s newest take on web search, is open to everyone this morning. What makes it different from its really, really well-known competition, and what unique features does it offer? Let’s take a look at early reviews and discoveries.

As of this morning, Bing.com seems to have replaced Live.com (with Live.com redirecting to Bing) as Microsoft’s prime search product. It was supposed to launch Wednesday, but apparently went live early in the morning today. Many international users have noted different results and features in different languages and IP addresses, so be aware that everything listed below might not apply to all “versions” of Bing.


Video Previews: Right now, it’s a blessing and a curse for Bing. Digital Inspiration suggests that international users can use Bing to watch fairly lengthy previews of Hulu clips by hovering their mouse over the results for search terms like “The Office.” That’s pretty helpful, assuming you like automatic video plays with sound. Then Loic Le Meur tweaks the safe search settings and points out that Bing will preview any video clip—including the kind that get you fired at work. Yikes.

Search Categories: Jury’s still out on whether these will grow to become truly helpful, or just provide a Search For Dummies outlet. Right now, broad searches for terms with deep results bring up suggestive, possibly helpful categories to try searching under. The results are pretty entropic, though—”digital cameras,” a term for which there has to be a helpful way to organize things, yields links for repairs, price comparison, and other good stuff, while “dual monitors” includes just shopping links and related videos.

Shopping: Bing has pretty much taken over Microsoft’s previous search entity, Live.com, and that includes the occasionally great cashback bonuses and somewhat sophisticated shopping organization. Honestly, if Bing wants to set itself apart from certain other search engines, it could focus on being a truly great shopping start point that offers incentives and smarter results. As it is, it just neatly organizes results for single products and semi-specific categories.

RSS results feeds: Nothing too sexy to show off, but your browser should auto-detect an RSS feed on the results page for search terms, and, given that it’s a new and growing search database, Bing’s results feeds might give you some new and intriguing links on the items you’re keeping up with.

Early Reviews

  • Gizmodo: “In the automatically generated top links for Gizmodo are months-old links to single posts about the second Bill Gates/Seinfeld ad and leaked box shots of the Zune 16GB and 160GB models. Really?”
  • Ars Technica: “The results for some queries blow my mind: how is it possible that the results can be so preposterously useless? Other times, though, a comparison with the old Live Search shows that Bing obviously has had its algorithm tweaked for the better.”
  • Mashable: “There’s at least three very different versions of Bing right now, and depending on where you are, your Bing experience will be very different. It’s a very weird decision from Microsoft, bound to cause a lot of confusion, but hey: it’s the Microsoft way.”
  • Technologizer: “Bing attempts to differentiate itself from what Steve Ballmer would call “the market leader” in search by focusing on helping users with four common action-oriented search tasks: making a purchase, planning a trip, researching a health condition and finding a local business.”
  • ReadWriteWeb: “The main difference between the two search engines is that Bing offers more options on the left, including special sections for symptoms, medication, children, etc. It also offers ‘related searches’, which with health-related searches is typically helpful … With Google you can get more options too, but you have to click “Show Options…” – which we’re not sure how many users do.”

And now it’s your turn. Tell us what you think of the newly-launched Bing—what it does well, where it fails, what you might use it for—in the comments.


Latest Earthquakes Magnitude 5.0 and Greater in the World – Last 7 days

Magnitude 5 and greater earthquakes located by the USGS and contributing networks in the last week (168 hours). Magnitudes 6 and above are in red. (Some early events may be obscured by later ones on the maps.)

The most recent earthquakes are at the top of the list. Times are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Click on the word “map” to see a ten-degree tall map displaying the earthquake. Click on an event’s “DATE” to get a detailed report.


Update time = Tue Jun 2 2:17:59 UTC 2009

y/m/d h:m:s
MAP 5.1 2009/06/01 21:25:27 -17.806 167.750 69.6 VANUATU

MAP 5.1 2009/05/31 03:34:32 1.746 125.855 119.5 MOLUCCA SEA

MAP 5.2 2009/05/30 19:56:46 -6.671 149.859 49.0 NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MAP 5.1 2009/05/30 14:42:10 10.970 141.192 35.0 STATE OF YAP, FED. STATES OF MICRONESIA
MAP 5.2 2009/05/30 06:48:01 -60.792 -26.404 35.0 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION

MAP 5.0 2009/05/29 23:48:04 -6.182 151.008 47.5 NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MAP 5.7 2009/05/29 19:51:18 5.933 125.799 158.9 MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
MAP 5.2 2009/05/29 19:12:30 0.974 126.176 21.3 MOLUCCA SEA
MAP 5.6 2009/05/29 15:26:26 -43.777 -107.107 10.0 SOUTHERN EAST PACIFIC RISE
MAP 5.7 2009/05/29 06:20:18 -17.077 168.357 37.9 VANUATU
MAP 5.4 2009/05/29 01:04:38 18.345 -106.666 10.0 OFF THE COAST OF JALISCO, MEXICO
MAP 5.4 2009/05/29 00:58:38 -3.873 127.489 53.7 SERAM, INDONESIA

MAP 5.4 2009/05/28 22:57:24 18.520 -106.419 40.4 OFF THE COAST OF JALISCO, MEXICO
MAP 5.3 2009/05/28 21:07:48 -55.873 -28.183 97.3 SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS REGION
MAP 5.1 2009/05/28 10:59:51 -5.057 151.241 48.9 NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MAP 7.3 2009/05/28 08:24:45 16.733 -86.220 10.0 OFFSHORE HONDURAS
MAP 5.0 2009/05/28 00:23:47 14.536 -92.258 67.0 OFFSHORE CHIAPAS, MEXICO

MAP 5.2 2009/05/27 23:22:25 -23.629 -67.769 109.6 ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE
MAP 5.1 2009/05/27 02:50:24 -33.087 -15.898 10.0 SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC RIDGE
MAP 5.1 2009/05/27 02:08:46 -19.202 -172.802 37.5 TONGA REGION
MAP 5.0 2009/05/27 00:04:47 -24.650 -175.515 37.5 SOUTH OF TONGA

MAP 5.1 2009/05/26 06:38:39 -14.378 -75.999 10.0 NEAR THE COAST OF CENTRAL PERU
MAP 5.0 2009/05/26 05:31:22 -6.825 150.444 35.0 NEW BRITAIN REGION, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Most recent earthquakes are at the top of this list.

Back to world earthquake map

DISCLAIMER – The maps and lists show events which have been located by the USGS and contributing agencies within the last 7 days. They should not be considered to be complete lists of all events M2.5+ in the US and adjacent areas and especially should not be considered to be complete lists of all events M4.5+ in the world. Beginning January 1, 2009, earthquakes outside the US below M4.5 are not reported unless NEIC obtains felt reports. The World Data Center for Seismology, Denver (a part of the USGS National Earthquake Information Center) continues to receive data from observatories throughout the world for several months after the events occurred, and using those data, adds new events and revises existing events in later publications. For a description of these later publications and the data available, see Scientific Data.