December 17, 2017

Atlanta Braves Acquire Righty Scott Linebrink



The Braves announced that they acquired Scott Linebrink and $1.5MM from the White Sox for minor league pitcher Kyle Cofield. Linebrink, 34, posted a 4.40 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings for the White Sox during the 2010 season. He's entering the final year of the four-year, $19MM deal he signed before the 2008 season and will earn $5.5MM in 2011. The White Sox are also sending cash to the Braves.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports broke the story and MLB.com's Mark Bowman reported the amount of cash changing hands (on Twitter).

Cofield was selected by the Braves in the eighth round of the 2005 draft. The 23-year-old right-hander spent most of the 2010 season at Double-A, where he posted a 4.39 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 55 1/3 innings. Baseball America ranked Cofield 24th among Braves prospects before the season, noting that he has a low 90s fastball and a plus curveball that he struggles to command. 

Leonid Meteor Shower 2010 Arrives

leonid-meteor-shower-2010The Leonid Meteor Shower of 2010 has arrived.  It began lighting up the night sky last night and will continue until tonight.

The meteor can be seen in the sky near the Leo constellation.  The best time to witness this is three to four hours before sunrise or even before dawn. These meteorites will be entering into earth’s atmosphere a rapid pace. It has been originated from the 55P/Tempel-Tuttle comet.

On an average a sky watcher can witness 10-20 meteors lighting up the sky, which means these meteorites are disintegrating as they enter into the earth atmosphere. According to the experts advice, they say that the best time to watch these meteors is approximately two hours before sunrise.

NASA on the other has said that these meteor showers not only light and create a beautiful scene in the night sky but has also gained the status of a meteor storm. The last meteor storm had taken place some 80 years ago.

 

Scientists Improve Understanding of Antimatter

antimatterScientists have claimed to have taken big steps toward solving one of the biggest riddles of physics.  They have trapped the first "anti-atom" in a race to understand what happened to all the antimatter that has vanished since the Big Bang.

An international team of physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have created an atom of anti-hydrogen and then hold onto it for long enough to demonstrate that it can be studied in the lab.

"For us it's a big breakthrough because it means we can take the next step, which is to try to compare matter and antimatter," the team's spokesman, American scientist Jeffrey Hangst, told The Associated Press.

"This field is 20 years old and has been making incremental progress toward exactly this all along the way," he added. "We really think that this was the most difficult step."

For decades, researchers have struggled to understand why antimatter seems to have vanished from the universe.

Theory suggests that matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts at the moment of the Big Bang, which spawned the universe some 13.7 billion years ago. But while matter, that is defined as having mass and taking up space, went on to become the building block of everything that exists, antimatter has all but disappeared except in the lab.

Hangst and his colleagues, who included scientists from Britain, Brazil, Canada, Israel and the United States, trapped 38 anti-hydrogen for about one tenth of a second, according to a paper submitted to the respected science journal Nature.

Since their first success, the team has managed to hold the anti-atoms even longer.

"Unfortunately I can't tell you how long, because we haven't published the number yet," Hangst told the AP. "But I can tell you that it's much, much longer than a tenth of a second. Within human comprehension on a real clock."

Nun’s Honus Wagner Card at Heritage Auction Galleries

honus-wagnerSister Virginia Muller didn't think a simple little card with some "goofy" Honus Wagner guy would be worth anything.

Because of a special donation, this "goofy" card, one of the oldest in the last 100 years, would belong to Muller and here order, the Baltimore-based School Sisters of Notre Dame. The baseball great is a treasured among collectors, and the happens to be the most sought-after baseball card in history.

The Roman Catholic nuns are auctioning off the card, which despite its poor condition is expected to fetch between $150,000 and $200,000. The proceeds will go to their ministries in 35 countries around the world.  Heritage Auction Galleries will conduct the auction.

The card is part of the T206 series, produced between 1909 and 1911. About 60 Wagner cards are known to exist.

It just boggles your mind," Muller told The Associated Press. "I can't remember a time when we have received anything like this."

 

Inia Boliviensis Discovered as Part of 1200 Amazon Species

Inia-BoliviensisAccording to a report released by the World Wildlife fund, the “Inia boliviensis,” or the Amazon river dolphin, is just one of the new 1,220 animals and plants that have been discovered in the Amazon rainforest in the last ten years or so.  The environment group were at a United Nations summit in Japan where they published the report on Tuesday. It highlights why protecting the Amazon was so critical to stopping the extinction of many species found around the world.

The report says, along with the pink nosed dolphin, a bald-headed parrot, a 4m anaconda, a giant catfish that eats monkeys and a blue fanged tiger-striped tarantula are among the new species being discovered in the Amazon at a rate of 1 every 3 days.

"It serves as a reminder of how much we still have to learn about this unique region, and what we could lose if we don't change the way we think about development," Francisco Ruiz, head of WWF’s Living Amazon Initiative, stated at the summit.

The new species include 637 plants, 257 fish, 216 amphibians, 55 reptiles, 39 mammals and 16 birds.

In the last six years, the Brazilian government has worked with the WWF and other environmental groups to save over 32 million hectares of the Amazon.

Real Clear Politics 2010 Polls Shows Tighting Races

New polls released today by Real Clear Politics show tightening Senate and House races.  During this last week of campaigning, it's still difficult to determine the outcome of many of the races.  Tight races include Senate races in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, California, Alaska, and Nevada, which features tea party favorite Sharon Angle against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Many house races are also now beginning to tighten, with many tea party backed candidates gaining momentum.  Experts say this is due to the so called enthusiasm gap between Democrat and Republican voters, with Independents now breaking towards the Republicans.

For a full list of RealClearPolitics poll results, visit RCP at realclearpolitics.com.

NFL Power Rankings for Week 7 Released

The Pittsburgh Steelers have retained the No. 1 spot in this week's NFL Power Rankings.  The Baltimore Ravens have been impressive but couldn't topple the the bye-week Steelers, who have ranked at the top of the list for three weeks now.

The Ravens have already beaten the Steelers and Jets this season.  For week 6, they paly the New England Patriots which could determine their power ranking fate next week,

Entering Week 6, the Raven are 4-1.  The top five also includes the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts.

Other noteables include the New Orleans Saints, the former No. 1 falls to No. 9.  They be on the road at No. 16 Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week.  Tampa Bay is in the top 20 for the first time since 2008.

Girls Live the Part

AfghanistanSix year old Mehran Rafaat from Kabul Afghanistan is like many girls her age – eager to discover the world in her middle-class neighborhood area – except for one important difference. Mehran's sisters put on black dresses and head scared while she wears green pants, a white shirt and necktie and short spiky black hair. For, out the door she is masquerading as an Afghan boy.

Many generations of Afghans have grown up disguised as boys. These children are neither daughter nor son, but "Bach posh" which means "dressed up as a boy" in dari.

The practice has remained mostly obscured to outsiders and cuts across class, education, ethnicity and geography enduring many wars and governments.

The reasons for pretending their girls are boys are economic, social and superstition. By making up a son can lead to the birth of a real boy. A return to womanhood takes place during puberty and is made by the parents.

Sons are highly valued as only they can inherit the father's wealth and pass down a name. Families without boys are objects of pity and contempt. the practice stretches back centuries. The pressure to produce a son fuels the practice as mothers are blamed if she gives birth to a daughter.

These things happening in Afghanistan are not really imaginable to the West but are just another amazing coping ability for Afghanis tans.
 

Coral Reefs at Risk from Extreme Heat

Great Barrier ReefScientists fear widespread die-offs in the ocean endangering the richest ecosystems and fisheries that feed millions of people because of severe stress put on the coral reefs in the extreme heat. Corals are reacting to the heat by bleaching and going into survival mode. Many reefs from Thailand to Texas  have already died and more are expected to do so. Corals in the Caribbean may undergo drastic bleaching due to changes in water temperature.

1998 was the hottest year in historical record when 16 percent of the world's shallow water reefs died. This year the situation is looking worse. Scientists have warned that corals which are highly sensitive to excess heat, would be an early indicator of the ecological distress on the planet caused by buildup of greenhouse gases and linked to climate change.

High ocean temperatures in 2010 have been hottest January to August and matched to 1998. 2010 is also an El Nino year. Coral reefs, the rainforests of the sea, are made up of millions of tiny animals called polyps that supply the algae with nutrients and a place to live. 

High heat and bright sunshine cause the metabolism of the algae to speed out of control and they start creating toxins. Corals then become vulnerable, starve to death and may never recover. Serious bleaching has been seen recently in the flower Garden Banks off the Texas-Louisiana border. Caribbean reefs are at risk but tropical storms moving through the Atlantic have cooled the water there and saved some corals.

If Australia has a poor monsoon season this summer, the Great Barrier Reef is in for serious bleaching.

Six Summits

SummitInspired by Vern Tejas who set a record by ascending the world's seven summits, Mark Aiken sets out to climb a few peaks of his own – the six summits in each New England State. He required no pack animals, porters or supplemental oxygen; just a map, compass, hiking boots and blue Honda. His journey lasted 6 days.

MOUNT WASHINGTON
New Hampshire
High

Mt. Washington has challenging mountain passes and attracts bikers, road cyclists and backcountry skiing. The summit has a museum and cafe but more than 135 people have died on the mountain since 1849 from it's fierce and unpredictable weather. The routes range from technically difficult (scrambling over ledges and rocks) to strenuously steep. Break up the hike by staying at one of the huts, Lakes of the clouds and Mizpah Spring for $116 on a weekend.  

KATAHDIN
Main
High

Katahdin comprises several peaks, connected by ridges, saddles and precipitous Knife Edge. Baxter State Park regulates campsites, bunks, parking sports by reservations. Park entry fee is $14. Most hikers start from the campgrounds. Baxter has 18 peaks over 3,000 feet.

MOUNT MANSFIELD
Vermont
High

Mount Mansfield's ridgeline spans over a mile in length with 360 degree spectacular views.Numerous routes to the summit range from moderate hikes to the strenuously steep. Three micro breweries make their homes neart Mt. Mansfield.

MOUNT GREYLOCK
Massachusetts
Moderate

Mount Greylock offers the best and longest hikes and views particularly during foliage season during the spring and fall. The south-north appalachian Trail is the most rugged and heavily used. There's shelter on the summit, a restaurant and inn but still need to pack water and a raincoat. Bascom Lodge caters to driver, overnighters, and day hikers.

MOUNT FRISSELL
Connecticut
Moderate

Mount Frissell is full of significant landmarks, a summit, high point, and tri state marker. Watch out for unsure footing on both sides of the summit and smooth slabby rock. After the hike cool off in Bash Bish Falls State Park in Massachusetts.

JERIMOTH HILL
Rhode Island
Easy

The high point, barely even a hill, used to be restricted to a few days a year and is currently open to the public from 8am to 4pm daily. It's just a 15 minute stroll to the high point.