Hubble Sees Glittering Jewels of Messier 9
NASA – The Hubble Space Telescope has produced the most detailed image so far of Messier 9, a globular star cluster located close to the center of the galaxy. This ball of stars is too faint to see with the naked eye, yet Hubble can see over 250,000 individual stars shining in it.
Messier 9, pictured here, is a globular cluster, a roughly spherical swarm of stars that lies around 25,000 light-years from Earth, near the center of the Milky Way, so close that the gravitational forces from the galactic center pull it slightly out of shape.
Globular clusters are thought to harbor some of the oldest stars in our galaxy, born when the universe was just a small fraction of its current age. As well as being far older than the sun — around twice its age — the stars of Messier 9 also have a markedly different composition, and are enriched with far fewer heavier elements than the sun.
In particular, the elements crucial to life on Earth, like oxygen and carbon, and the iron that makes up our planet’s core, are very scarce in Messier 9 and clusters like it. This is because the universe’s heavier elements were gradually formed in the cores of stars, and in supernova explosions. When the stars of Messier 9 formed, there were far smaller quantities of these elements in existence.
As well as showing the individual stars, Hubble’s image clearly shows the different colors of the stars. A star’s color is directly related to its temperature — counter-intuitively, perhaps, the redder it is, the cooler it is; and the bluer it is, the hotter. The wide range of stellar temperatures here is clearly displayed by the broad palette of colors visible in this image. Image Credit: NASA and ESA
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Posted in Nature, Science, SPACE WATCH, Technology
Tagged European Space Agency, Globular cluster, Hubble Space Telescope, Messier 9, Milky Way, NASA, Star, Star cluster, United States
383 Madison Ave Bear Stearns C R Flickr 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Bruce Tuckman – Four years after the fall of Bear Stearns our fallback policy in a crisis is just as it was in 2008: rely on emergency, ad hoc lending by the Fed. We should not settle for this approach. We can break the cycle of boom for the financial industry and bust at the risk or expense of taxpayers by creating a credible, ex ante, and market-oriented policy of providing liquidity in a crisis.
A low-risk alternative would be to have the Fed auction a new instrument — the Federal Liquidity Option (FLO) — as the exclusive means of lending money to non-banking financial firms in a crisis. (Banks can borrow from the Fed at any time through the “discount window.”) A FLO would give its holder the right to borrow a fixed amount of money from the Fed at a predetermined rate of interest and under prearranged collateral terms.
We will never succeed in eliminating financial crises. By pre-committing to a fixed and credible policy of providing liquidity in a crisis, we can eliminate bailouts, rescues, and moral hazard. more> http://tinyurl.com/6unbu6x
Posted in Banking, Business, Economy
Tagged Bank, Banking reform, Bruce Tuckman, Capital, Federal Reserve System, Financial crisis, Industrial economy, Late-2000s financial crisis, Monetary policy, United States
By Jeff Saginor – Ever since Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 — effectively deregulating the telecom industry in such a way that allowed phone providers and cable companies to start competing in each other’s markets — competition has grown relatively robust. Phone companies offer DSL broadband service in thousands of markets around the country, along with the increasing push of FiOS fiber-optic broadband. Cable companies offer their own cable broadband as well as television service, of which FiOS now also competes.
The proposed agreement between Verizon Wireless and the consortium of cable companies — which includes Comcast, Time Warner, and Bright House Networks — will see cable companies paying Verizon hundreds of dollars for each cable contract obtained through Verizon marketing, and vice versa.
What is at the heart of this debate: Verizon spent nearly $23 billion laying the infrastructure for FiOS in the comparatively small area that it currently serves.
But in the majority of the country — otherwise known as the 85 percent of customers who don’t yet have access to FiOS — this deal is basically a capitulation. more> http://tinyurl.com/7t5wwhg
Posted in Broadband, FCC, Media, Net, telecom
Tagged Broadband, Cable television, Comcast, Internet, Telecommunications Act of 1996, Time Warner, Verizon, Verizon Communications, Verizon FiOS, Wireline
Various Euro bills. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Shawn Pogatchnik – Throughout the deepening debt crisis, European Union leaders sought to portray Greece as a unique case in special need of aid. They were proved wrong when Ireland and Portugal required bailouts in 2011.
They’re likely to be proved wrong again. And this time, the stakes are higher for the rest of the world.
New austerity-minded governments in Rome and Madrid have helped calm fears, but of far greater significance was the European Central Bank‘s decision to provide banks more than (EURO)1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) in bargain-basement loans. This unprecedented injection spurred banks to snap up battered government debt, driving up the bonds’ value and driving Spanish and Italian borrowing costs down again.
Economists warn such relief is only temporary. more> http://tinyurl.com/6odo6dk
Posted in Banking, Economy
Tagged Bailout, Capital, European Central Bank, European Union, Financial crisis, Greece, Ireland, Madrid, Portugal, Rome
By James Vicini – President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul faces its biggest court test next week, capping a legal battle that could reshape the powers of the U.S. government, redefine medical care for most Americans and transform the 2012 election campaign.
Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former adviser to four presidents, said a case like healthcare occurred once in a generation or maybe even longer, unique both legally and politically.
“A victory for the president would be very substantial. A defeat for the president means that in a sense we politically reopen the situation,” Hess said. more> http://tinyurl.com/7mh33f7
Posted in Economy, Healthcare, Leadership
Tagged Barack Obama, Brookings Institution, Government, Health, Health care, Law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, United States, United States Supreme Court