Astronomical events to look for in March

The month of March will include a special view of Jupiter, a penumbral lunar eclipse and, for parts of the world, a total solar eclipse as well.

According to Tech Times, the first upcoming noteworthy date for celestial events will be March 8, when Jupiter will be at Opposition, its closest approach to Earth.  The gas giant will reflect sunlight as brightly as it ever does and will be visible all night long.

Sea and Sky reports that March 8 will be “the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons.”  Jupiter’s colored bands of gas may be visible with a backyard telescope, and binoculars could reveal the gas giant’s four largest moons appearing as bright points nearby.

March 9 will feature a solar eclipse, which will appear total to areas in central Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean, over which the moon will completely block the Sun and reveal only the Sun’s corona as a shining circle.  The phenomenon will be seen as a partial eclipse in northern Australia and parts of Southeast Asia.

On March 20, the Sun will appear directly above the equator, heralding the equinox, when the entire globe will experience a day and night of nearly equal length, moving the northern hemisphere into spring and the southern into autumn.

A partial lunar eclipse will appear on March 23, and should be visible from eastern Asia and Australia, the Pacific, and the west coast of North America.  This type of eclipse is called a penumbral lunar eclipse, and is caused by the moon passing through the penumbra, or partial shadow, of the Earth.


Newly discovered lions add to dwindling global population

A pride of lions has been discovered roaming the under-developed areas of Ethiopia’s Alatish National Park.

The “new” lion population, identified as part of a central African sub specie, has been added to a paltry estimated 900 of their kind.

Alatish National Park, where the lions were found, is located in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, a northwestern province bordering the Sudan to the west.

Indigenous residents to the Benishangul-Gumuz area, presumably either Berta or Gumuz peoples, reported seeing the lions and thanks to cameras in the park and other tracking methods, conservationists were able to confirm the existence of the pride.

Researchers believe that the discovery of this pride is augury of more lions on the Sudanese side of the border. They estimate the number of newly discovered lions to range between one and 200.

The African Lion (Pantera Leo Leo), which could face total extinction by 2050, had its conservation status officially changed to “vulnerable to extinction” by The International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has also taken action, placing the lion under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The induction of African lions into the Endangered Species Act was announced officially Dec. 23, 2015 and actions toward their conservation began Jan. 22, 2016.

“If we want to ensure that healthy lion populations continue to roam the African savannas and forests of India, it’s up to all of us – not just the people of Africa and India – to take action,” explained Dan Ashe, Service Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.


Vocaloid superstars set for global takeover

Is the high perched position of superstar singers such as Beyonce and Taylor Swift in peril? A wave of computer generated, highly popular songstresses and stars is being typed, programmed, and superimposed on screens worldwide as we speak.

Japanese voice synthesizing program, Vocaloid (??????), is a voice creation software developed in Barcelona, Spain. Users of the software type up lyrics and vocal melodies to songs, then use a library of stored voices to synthesize an artificial singer their musical creation. There are also humanoid, graphically created characters for users to choose from to perform said songs.

Originally presented to English customers but adopted by Japanese users, Vocaloid has caught on in major linguistic markets such as Chinese, Spanish, and Korean.

Vocaloid has been presented at technology conferences such as the International Consumer Electronics Show and Vocaloid live events, in which Vocaloid characters are presented on screens for concert purposes, have been gaining popularity since 2004.

One of the First Vocaloid pop icons was Hatsune Miku (????), meaning first sound of the future. Hatsune Miku, whose character is purported to be a 16 year old girl standing five foot one and 92 pounds, has ankle length, pony-tailed green hair and an ephemeral, stylish visage. Her live shows consist of her projected on screens performing fan-written songs.

The original Japanese voice library for Hatsune Miku was provided by voice actress Fujita Saki. Fujita, a veteran Japanese singer, learned English and has attempted to efface her Japanese accent to create a comprehensive English voice archive for new versions of Vocaloid.


Guardiola to work dream team formula on Man City

Manchester City Football Club announced Feb. 1, 2016 that it has hired Pep Guardiola to helm its team for the 2016-2017 campaign.

Josep “Pep” Guardiola Salas is a former World Cup participant as a player. He also performed well for Barcelona during the “dream team” era of the Catalan side before leading the team to two Champions League titles and three Spanish La Liga titles as its manager.

Guardiola is currently the manager of Fußball-Club Bayern München, where he has led the Bavarians to two consecutive Bundesliga titles.

Manchester City’s current manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has the side only three points behind a surprise Leicester City team to win the English Premier League title. The team is also still in competition for the Champions League title and the F.A. Cup title.

With Pellegrini at the reins of the high priced side for the last two years, Manchester City has finished first and second in the Premier League. They have not achieved the same success on the European continent however, with Pellegrini’s team only progressing to the round of 16 in the last two years of the Champions League.

Many football pundits are left to ponder why Manchester City would make this decision at this point in its campaign with Pellegrini still having a chance to redeem himself in the Champions League.

“I knew this one month ago, but I don’t think it’s good to have rumour or speculation about these things, so I prefer to finish today, which I why I have told the players and I have told the press. I also spoke to the club two weeks ago and said that I would do it,” said Pellegrini.


Chinese business to force players on Portuguese football teams?

There is a debate as to whether a Chinese LTD is going to forcefully insert 10 Chinese players and three assistant coaches into the Segunda Division football league of Portugal.

Ledman, a Shenzen (??) Chinese optoelectronic and sporting resource LTD, has bought the exclusive title sponsorship rights to the Portuguese Segunda Liga. According to Ledman, “from the date of signing, Segunda Liga will be officially named as Ledman Proliga,” although this is unconfirmed by Segunda Liga Chief, Jose Godinho.

Another stipulation in the contractual negotiations between the Liga Portuguesa De Futebol Profissional and Ledman Optoelectronic HZ co. LTD was that “Ledman will send 10 players and three assistant coaches to play football in the top 10 clubs of Segunda Liga, and devotes to enhancing the level of Chinese players.”

“They can’t force Chinese players on us, it should be an option,” lamented Jose Godinho to the Agence France-Presse.

“We don’t understand why the league is allowing a company to force players on to clubs,” said President of the Portuguese Professional Footballers Union, Joaquim Evangelista.

For perspective, there are currently only 11 Brazilian players and eight German players in the English Premier League versus the 10 Chinese players proposed to enter the Portuguese second division.

Although there are European player quotas already in effect, according to FIFA regulations, forcing teams to select players due to nationality, especially foreign nationalities, is a violation.

“There will be an exchange of footballers but the League guarantees that nothing will be imposed on the clubs,” explained Germano Almeida, media officer of the Segunda Liga.


Study on wisdom teeth shows as we got smarter they grew smaller

There’s a reason dental records are so important when it comes to identification. But, in the cases of specimens that are a good million years old or even more, do they also tell us a lot about how humans used to live?

Most scientists would say yes.

According to Christian Science Monitor, researchers from Monash University in Australia have released a study analyzing the growth patterns of human teeth. By taking a closer look at the molars of our predecessors, a team led by evolutionary biologist Alistair Evans wanted to solve the mystery of how and why our teeth are the size they are today.

“Teeth can tell us a lot about the lives of our ancestors, and how they evolved over the last 7 million years,” said Evans. “What makes modern humans different from our fossil relatives?”

One of the biggest mysteries to crack was the development of our third molars, commonly known today as our wisdom teeth. Today they are often a pain to have, and some people don’t even get them in their lifetime.

Yet earlier humans from our family tree not only had them, but they were huge. Hominin fossils differ greatly from the Homo species in terms of teeth. So what was the change?

According to Youth Health, Evans suggests it was from evolving and learning how to use tools.

“It’s always been presumed that sometime in early Homo, we started using more advanced tools,” said Evans. “Tool use meant we didn’t need as big teeth and jaws as earlier hominins. This may then have increased evolutionary pressure to spend less energy developing teeth, making our teeth smaller.”


Draymond Green apologizes for his profanity-laden locker room tirade against Thunder

Draymond Green apologized for a Saturday night profanity laced explosion in the Golden State locker room at halftime.

On Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, the Golden State Warriors visited the Oklahoma City Thunder for a thrilling overtime tilt won by the Warriors.

Down 57 to 46 at halftime, the Golden State Warriors went into their locker room, where it was reported that Draymond Green began screaming that he would not shoot again if that was what the team wanted.

It is also reported that Green dared teammates and staff to try to sit him down when they attempted to quell his outburst.

Green, an All-Star and contender for Defensive Player of the Year, apologized for the explosion of emotion.

“You know I made a mistake, I admitted my mistakes to my teammates, my coaching staff. I apologize to my teammates, my coaching staff, this organization. That wasn’t the right way to handle what needed to be handled,” apologized a forthcoming Green.

Green also refuted reports that he quit on the team and teammates and coaches alike came to the support of the versatile big man.

“[Draymond] is invested in what we’re doing. Obviously he’s an emotional guy, a fiery guy, that’s what we love about him, what he brings to the court. It spilled over to the locker room,” explained Steph Curry as he downplayed the entire incident. “You think that’s the first time somebody’s raised their voice? Or a player to player, or sometimes unfortunately player to coach, it doesn’t matter. That’s happened before and just the circumstances where it was heard,”


Two police shoot and wounded

On Thursday evening, Officers Diara Cruz and Patrick Espeut were shot in the line of duty as they carried out routine patrols along Melrose Houses on E. 156th St. They saw two men having a drink on the stairway outside the building and asked for identification.
The shooter, Malik Chavis told the police officers that his identification was in the building and asked to get it. However, a few steps up the stairs he turned and opened fire on the police officers. Chavis shot three times, hitting Officer Cruz on the torso, just below the bulletproof vest. He also shot Officer Espeut on the cheek.
The third officer was able to react quick enough and also opened fire to the shooter three times. Malik Chavis shot the police officers with a sawn-off shotgun, which he concealed in a bag that he had with him. The Suspect is said to have run to the seventh floor and was had saying that he just shot a policewoman and was not going back to jail. He then shot himself and died.

The police officers are recovering well after being rushed to the Lincoln hospital close by. “I am pleased to say that both officers are alert and communicating, so we are praying for the best here,” said the mayor. “And of course, our hearts and our prayers are with their families.”
Malik Chavis had 17 prior arrests and was only released in December 2014 for attempted robbery. The police also stated that the officers on duty have been on that route patrol for over two years. More firearms were recovered in the suspect’s apartment.


Saudi Arabia joins the war against ISIS

Saudi Arabia one of the richest and indeed one of the most influential countries in the Middle East has decided to join the war against the militia group. They have for some time assisted in the coordination of US air strikes. However, as the grip of ISIS gets stronger and their influence stretching wider, they have also decided to deploy ground troops.

The US is scheduled to hold a meeting of the defense ministers of countries that are fighting the ISIS. With more countries joining in, experts believe a re-strategy would help make the battle more efficient. The meeting is set to be held in Brussels next week.
At the moment, the Saudi kingdom is deeply involved in the Yemen war. They are considered the superpower of the Middle East. In Yemen, they are fighting a group of rebels called the Shiite Rebels. General Ahmed Asiri of Saudi Arabia is believed to be central to the Kingdom joining the fight. “We are determined to fight and defeat Daesh,” He said, referring to ISIS in his dialect. “They are a menace that must be put down in order for the region to develop.”
Secretary Carter from the US has acknowledged the importance of Saudi Arabia joining the war. He said it would help speed up the fight and stop ISIS. Suffice The Middle Eastern country joining the fight there is still a majority of countries that oppose the move namely Iran and Russia. Iran controls a vast amount of land in Syria as they back President Bashar Assad’s reign in the country.


Conservationists plan for snake reserve on off-limits island

When you encounter a rattlesnake it’s best to tread carefully. But a whole island full of rattlesnakes? Best not to go there at all.

According to Newsweek, Massachusetts is looking to set up a rattlesnake reserve on Mount Zion, an island close to the city of Amherst. Scientists and conservationists from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife see this as an opportunity to preserve a dwindling species, the timber rattlesnake.

Locals, of course, aren’t very happy.

“It is inevitable that someone is going to get bit,” said Mike Krunklevich to the Boston Herald. “The priority here is exotic wildlife, and not the people — and that’s a shame. I’m fed up with this.”

However, the Boston Globe mentions that Mount Zion, where the researchers plan to release the rattlesnakes, is off-limits to people. And while people are up in arms about the potential release, timber rattlesnakes are rather shy and hasn’t caused any human fatalities in years.

For those who are against the plan because they are afraid timbers will swim across the water, researchers say there is nothing to fear.

“Can they swim? Absolutely,” said Tom French, the current assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. “But snakes don’t just run down to the beach and jump in. They don’t have a reason for that.”

French explained that any rogue snakes would have a tracker on it, which meant that they would be able to locate the snake and return it to the island fairly quickly. Though they might not have enough time to catch the animal, as an eagle would be more than willing to dive in for a snack.

“A rattlesnake trying to cross that water would be a sitting duck. [Eagles] would eat it. They would pluck it right off the top of the water,” said French.