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Posts Tagged ‘hole’

Massive black hole discovered in nearby galaxy

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:09 am

US astronomers have discovered a huge black hole, a million times the mass of the sun, in a nearby galaxy — a finding that could help better understand the origins of the universe.


The announcement Monday by the American Astronomical Society said the surprise discovery in a so-called “dwarf” galaxy offers evidence that black holes — regions of space where not even light can escape — formed before the buildup of galaxies.


“This galaxy gives us important clues about a very early phase of galaxy evolution that has not been observed before,” said Amy Reines, a researcher at the University of Virginia who presented the findings to the AAS annual meeting.

This undated NASA image shows the dwarf galaxy Henize 2-10, seen in visible light by the Hubble Space Telescope

The galaxy, called Henize 2-10, is 30 million light-years from Earth, has been studied for years, and is forming stars very rapidly. It resembles what scientists think were some of the first galaxies to form in the early universe.


Reines along with Gregory Sivakoff and Kelsey Johnson of the University of Virginia and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and Crystal Brogan of the NRAO, observed Henize 2-10 with the National Science Foundation?s Very Large Array radio telescope and with the Hubble Space Telescope.


They found a region near the center of the galaxy that strongly emits radio waves with characteristics of those emitted by super-fast “jets” of material spewed outward from areas close to a black hole.


They then searched images from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory that showed this same, radio-bright region to be strongly emitting energetic X-rays. This combination, they said, indicates an active, black-hole-powered, galactic nucleus.


“Not many dwarf galaxies are known to have massive black holes,” Sivakoff said.


While black holes of roughly the same mass as the one in Henize 2-10 have been found in other galaxies, those galaxies all have much more regular shapes.


“This galaxy probably resembles those in the very young universe, when galaxies were just starting to form and were colliding frequently. All its properties, including the supermassive black hole, are giving us important new clues about how these black holes and galaxies formed at that time,” Johnson said.

Source: SGGP

Big hole appears on Ham Luong Bridge surface

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 7:48 am

A big hole with 1.5 meters diameter and 4 meters deep on October 2 suddenly appeared on the surface of the Ham Luong Bridge, which connects three islands of the southern province of Ben Tre.


The breakdown fortunately did not cause any accident for people and transport. The province transport department blocked the scene and alerted to people.


It also is investigating the cause of the breakdown.


Ham Luong Bridge was opened to traffic on April 24 this year. The 8,216-m bridge, which links Ben Tre City and Mo Cay Bac District, has a span of 150m, the longest span in Viet Nam, and four lanes in a width of 16m.


The bridge, costed at VND787 billion (US$39 million) in total was built by Vietnamese engineers.

Source: SGGP

Whaling could blow a hole in Iceland’s EU talks

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2010 at 8:30 am

BRUSSELS, June 20, 2010 (AFP) – Iceland’s whale hunting tradition despite a ban, which it wants lifted, looms as a major hurdle in its upcoming membership talks with the European Union where all cetaceans are legally protected.


The EU membership talks haven’t started yet, but a European diplomat stressed that “if Iceland continues to practise commercial whale hunting for scientific purposes, that’s going to create a political problem.”


In nearly all areas Iceland has been seen as a perfect EU candidate, and could have started talks earlier had it wanted to.

In a picture taken on June 16, 2010 in Japan, sushi shop owner Katsuji Furuuchi makes up whale sushi from sliced minke meats and pieces of blubber in Japanese whaling town Ayukawahama, Miyagi prefecture. Ayukawahama was once a major whaling port. AFP

Its European credentials are impressive already; a member of the unfettered travel Schengen area and the European Economic Area as well as a fully fledged NATO nation, Iceland ticks most of the boxes.


In trade terms the ties are equally strong, more than half of Iceland’s imports come from the EU and three-quarters of its exports go there.


All those factors are reasons why European heads of state and government gave the candidacy the go-ahead at an EU summit in Brussels last Thursday.


However a February report by the EU Commission on Iceland’s application for membership was clear: “Necessary steps will need to be undertaken as regards the protection of cetaceans”.


Britain and Germany have urged their EU partners to resist a call, expected at an International Whaling Commission meeting in Morocco this week, to lift the moratorium on whale hunting which has Iceland’s support and that of fellow whaling nations Japan and Norway.


The German parliament in a resolution has urged the government to ensure that a whale hunting ban remains a sine qua non for Iceland’s EU hopes.


An Icelandic diplomat said his country had applied to join the club, after the global downturn battered its economy, knowing a solution will have to be found, but not thinking that solution must necessarily be an end to whale hunting.


“Iceland would as a starting negotiating position seek a way to maintain this exception in order to preserve this centuries old, sustainable tradition,” he said.


“We are aware that this is a very sensitive topic,” an EU Commission spokeswoman said, citing the EU accession rule of “possible transitional periods or even derogation from some pieces of the (EU) legislation.”


Icelandic hunters specialise in taking the fin whale, with a quota of 150 this year.


The country resumed commercial whaling in 2006, and in 2009 set a quota for 150 fin whales, the second largest animals, over five years, despite their “endangered” status, according to WWF.


Not only is that against EU rules but it is “also unnecessary,” argues Saskia Richartz, marine specialist for Greenpeace in Brussels.


“Most of the 1,500 tonnes of meat produced last year continue to sit in freezers,” she adds.


Icelandic political scientist Eirikur Bergmann agrees that whaling is not important for its economic contribution.


“It‘s more a matter of independence and emotions, nationalism.”


And in Iceland opinions are divided, according to Arni Thor Sigurdsson, chair of the Icelandic parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.


“I personally don‘t think we should do it because it doesn‘t help our economy in any way,” he said.


What is sure is that the matter will have to be addressed as Iceland attempts to negotiate the 30-plus accession chapters, including one on the environment, which all candidate nations must do to the satisfaction of the current EU members.


Nor is whaling the only potential pitfall.


Indeed fisheries in general were already being seen as a major sticking point after EU leaders on Thursday agreed to grant Iceland candidate nation status.


The part-Arctic nation is fiercely protective of the abundant fishing waters around its shores and has shown no sign that it is prepared to freely open up these seas to European partners.


Britain and the Netherlands also want Reykjavik to negotiate a compensation deal for their citizens hit by the fall of the online Icesave bank in October 2008.


“If whaling becomes the main obstacle, then we‘ll just have to reconsider the whole process,” said Sigurdsson.


The European Union expects Iceland to reconsider the whaling, rather than the membership.

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Source: SGGP

VN digging itself into a hole with coal exports

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2008 at 1:32 pm






Coal is loaded onto ships for export at the Cam Pha Port in the northern province of Quang Ninh. The country last year exported 32.5 million tonnes of coal worth US$1 billion. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Dan

HA NOI — Local experts have warned that the country’s coal reserves could be exhausted by 2015, creating a dependency on expensive imported coal.


As the country is currently selling coal at a cheaper export price than import, Viet Nam may end up buying back some of its coal at a higher price if national reserves are exhausted.


At the current rate of exploitation and export, supplies may run dry even earlier than 2015, experts have warned.


Viet Nam exported 32.5 million tonnes of coal last year, bringing in just over US$1 billion. With coal needed to run thermo-power plants, that money would be enough to buy back just 7.5 million tonnes at the rising world price.


The Ministry of Planning and Investment had already warned back in 2006 that the imminent exhaustion of reserves would badly impact energy security.


Despite the warning, coal export volume jumped five-fold last year against 2006 figures. That figure excluded 10 million tonnes of coal estimated to be smuggled every year. In 2007 figures continued to rise up 11 per cent from the previous year.


Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Bui Xuan Khu said that his ministry planned to cut coal exports this year by just 5 million tonnes.


However, officials from the Viet Nam National Coal Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) said that Viet Nam should limit its export to 5 million tonnes a year, as rising demands of the national economy are expected to skyrocket in the near future.


Last year, the average export price for crude coal was $32.2 per tonne at Quang Ninh Port, while the export price has now climbed to $60 per tonne. This means that with the price differential, Viet Nam lost nearly $1 billion.


If Viet Nam had to import coal now, the loss would be even bigger as the import prices of coal now hovers at around $135 per tonne, according to Vinacomin officials.


Rising demand


The demand for electricity is expected to increase by 17-20 per cent per year, and thermal plants will have to consume more coal just as Viet Nam will have to start importing the fuel source.


According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam will need an average of 4,000 extra megawatts of power a year to satisfy rising demand.


Water and gas resources to generate electricity are also beginning to run out, and power production will depend primarily on thermal plants or coal in the coming years.


While there are plans for several major thermal plants in the central and southern regions, they will require around 6 million tonnes of coal per year operating at just half capacity, according to a Ministry of Industry and Trade official. Assuming that the country will have to import this volume of coal, it will cost the country up to $800 million a year at the current price of $135 per tonne.


Exhaustion


Vinacomin exploits around 50 million tonnes of coal per year, of which 15-20 million tonnes are for domestic demand, with the rest exported mainly to China.


Industrial experts said the country’s open-cast mines are nearly exhausted, and the country will soon have to mine under the ground.


The country’s largest reserves, estimated at 210 billion tonnes, are in the Song Hong (Red River) Delta, but situated at depths of 100-3,500m.


Vinacomin is preparing to mine the area, but expects to extract only 9-10 million tonnes a year due to difficulties reaching the depth.


In the context of the global energy woe, experts generally agree that ensuring energy security has become an imperative. With limited open-cast reserves of coal, experts are urging officials to seriously consider limiting or cutting coal exports all together. —