They are highly vocal animals

The marine mammal, a white whale named NOC, copied the sound of people so well that at first, researchers thought they were hearing humans conversing in the distance. A diver who worked with NOC once even left the water, wondering, "Who told me to get out?" The voice turned out to be that of NOC. "They are highly vocal animals," lead author Sam Ridgway of the National Marine Mammal Foundation told Discovery News, adding that NOC was not Kid's Nike NFL Kansas City Chiefs #29 Eric Berry White Jersey the first to copy human speech. "A major instance occurred at Vancouver Aquarium in 1979," he said. "In that case, people thought the whale uttered his name ("Lagosi") and other sounds that were like garbled German or Russian. Our whale was the second example, however, ours was the first solid demonstration using acoustic analysis including 'voice print' simultaneously with human speech." The study, described in the latest issue of Current Biology, revealed an amplitude rhythm in NOC's vocalizations that was comparable to human speech. Fundamental frequencies in the whale's vocalizations were also in the same range of human speech and were several octaves lower than the whale's usual sounds. Ridgway said NOC spent long periods in close contact with humans, listening to them from both above and below the surface. "The whale often heard divers talking over underwater communication equipment," he continued. "I think that vocal animals like feedback. Perhaps this figured in his motivation." NOC also went to a lot of trouble to make the sounds. The researchers explain that the whale had to vary the pressure in his nasal tract while making other muscular adjustments and inflating the vestibular sac in his blowhole. BLOG: Saving Right Whales? There's an App for That NOC, who unfortunately passed away after 30 years at the National Marine Mammal Foundation, stopped making the human speech-like sounds after the age of 3 or 4 years old, Ridgway said. At the time, Ridgway presented the news at a scientific conference, but the work was not funded and became lost in the research shuffle until more recently, when colleagues encouraged him to publish the data. There are a few possibilities as to why NOC stopped his human vocal mimicry while still a youngster. The first is that hormonal changes related to sexual maturity may diminish a whale's urges to mimic. Another possible reason is that the novelty might have simply worn off for NOC. Ridgway explained that "we trained the whale to interact with us acoustically for hearing test and for reaction time determinations, among other things. For this new work, the whale was responding to us vocally. These responses may have limited his interest in the human speech-like sounds." William Schevill, now deceased, of Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology, was the first to document spontaneous human voice mimicry in a white whale. Schevill and colleague Barbara Lawrence noted that "occasionally the calls would suggest a crowd of children shouting in the distance." http://www.discountglasses-hot.com/


Scholars have long debated

The percentage of Protestant adults in redskins home jersey the U.S. has reached a low of 48 percent, the first time that Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has reported with certainty that the number has fallen below 50 percent. The drop has long been anticipated and comes at a time when no Protestants are on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republicans have their first presidential ticket with no Protestant nominees. Among the reasons for the change are the growth in nondenominational Christians who can no longer be categorized as Protestant, and a spike in the number of American adults who say they have no religion. The Pew study, released Tuesday, found that about 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years. Scholars have long debated whether people who say they no longer belong to a religious group should be considered secular. While the category as defined by Pew researchers includes atheists, it also encompasses majorities of people who say they believe in God, and a notable minority who pray daily or consider themselves "spiritual" but not "religious." Still, Pew found overall that most of the unaffiliated aren't actively seeking another religious home, indicating that their ties with organized religion are permanently broken. Growth among those with no religion has been a major preoccupation of American faith leaders who worry that the United States, a highly religious country, would go the way of Western Europe, where church attendance has plummeted. Pope Benedict XVI has partly dedicated his pontificate to combating secularism in the West. This week in Rome, he is convening a three-week synod, or assembly, of bishops from around the world aimed at bringing back Roman Catholics who have left the church. The trend also has political implications. American voters who describe themselves as having no religion vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Pew found Americans with no religion support abortion rights and gay marriage at a much higher-rate than the U.S. public at large. These "nones" are an increasing segment of voters who are registered as Democrats or lean toward the party, growing from 17 percent to 24 percent over the last five years. The religiously unaffiliated are becoming as important a constituency to Democrats as evangelicals are to Republicans, Pew said. The Pew analysis, conducted with PBS' "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly," is based on several surveys, including a poll of nearly 3,000 adults conducted June 28-July 9, 2012. The finding on the Protestant majority is based on responses from a larger group of gates 311 more than 17,000 people and has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.9 percentage points, Pew researchers said. Pew said it had also previously calculated a drop slightly below 50 percent among U.S. Protestants, but those findings had fallen within the margin of error; the General Social Survey, which is conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, reported for 2010 that the percentage of U.S. Protestants was around 46.7 percent. Researchers have been struggling for decades to find a definitive reason for the steady rise in those with no religion.' The spread of secularism in Western Europe was often viewed as a byproduct of growing wealth in the region. Yet among industrialized nations, the United States stood out for its deep religiosity in the face of increasing wealth. Now, religion scholars say the decreased religiosity in the United States could reflect a change in how Americans describe their religious lives. In 2007, 60 percent of people who said they seldom or never attend religious services still identified themselves as part of a particular religious tradition. In 2012, that statistic fell to 50 percent, according to seattle seahawks jerseys the Pew report. "Part of what's going on here is that the stigma associated with not being part of any religious community has declined," said John Green, a specialist in religion and politics at the University of Akron, who advised Pew on the survey. "In some parts of the country, there is still a stigma. But overall, it's not the way it used to be."


While many running mates fade into irrelevance

When Republican presidential oakley sunglasses for men hopeful Mitt Romney ended months of speculation and rumor by choosing U.S. Rep Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to fill out the ticket, he got more than just a vice presidential candidate. He hitched his wagon to a Tea Party star, a fiscal-policy super-wonk and author of a budget proposal that Democrats hold up as an example of the economic evils the GOP would visit on America if they were in charge. While many running mates fade into irrelevance and obscurity either during the election or soon thereafter, Paul Ryan may turn out to be a political horse of a different color. He's no shrinking violet, for starters, and can masterfully and forcefully present his free-market, fiscal-policy beliefs. As such, he seems to be on the Romney ticket for a reason: to bring serious economic firepower to the GOP presidential ticket and, if Romney is elected president, possibly play a prominent role in shaping U.S. economic policy. Here's a look at some of the ways Ryan's budget proposals contrast with President Obama's, using figures from The Wall Street Journal cheap ray ban sunglasses for women: 1. Individual income taxes: Ryan's plan would do away with the arcane tax code we've all come to know and loathe, replacing it with two simple rates: 10% and 25%. To compensate for the revenue that would cost, he would limit and eliminate tax credits and tax deductions. This, as he put it, would help clear out the "burdensome tangle of loopholes that distort economic activity." Obama's plan calls for raising the top-tier individual tax rate from 36% to 39.6%, and for limiting deductions for the wealthy. 2. Corporate income taxes: Ryan's plan calls for corporate taxes to be lowered to 25%; they're now 35%, the highest in the world -- before the tax breaks begin. Obama's plan calls for lowering them to 28%, but eliminating the tax breaks and loopholes many businesses now take advantage of. Ryan's plan would also make it easier for U.S. multinationals to reduce their tax liability on foreign profits. Currently, many corporations, like Microsoft (MSFT) and Apple (AAPL), keep money that's made overseas in foreign bank accounts in order to defer paying U.S. tax. Ryan has previously proposed replacing the corporate income tax entirely with an 8.5% business consumption tax, but in more recent budget proposals, he took out that provision. 3. Medicare: Medicare is the government-run health-care system for those age 65 and over. Ryan's plan calls for the gradual raising of the eligibility age to 67 and giving those younger than 55 the chance to opt out of Medicare in exchange for participation in a federally supervised private voucher system. Obama would keep the current system essentially unchanged, but raise premiums or copays for the wealthy. Ryan's plan calls for no changes for anyone currently over the age of 55. 4. Medicaid: Medicaid is government-run health oakley radar women care for the poor and other groups. Ryan's plan calls for it to be turned into a block-grant program, essentially letting each state administer the federal dollars as they see fit, which Ryan argues will allow for substantial savings in appropriations for the program. Obama's plan would keep Medicaid pretty much as is, as his hoped-for expansion was struck down in the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The ruling gives states flexibility in how much coverage they offer their residents, and whom they cover. 5. Defense spending: Ryan's plan calls for reversing the president's planned defense cuts and would appropriate $554 billion for defense in fiscal 2013. Ryan, like most Republicans, is hawkish on defense spending. 6. Deficit: The budget deficit -- the difference between what the federal government currently spends and what it raises in tax revenue -- currently stands at about 7.8% of gross domestic product, or GDP. Ryan's plan calls for the federal deficit to be reduced oakley fuel cell to 4% of GDP by 2014 and 0.9% by 2017. Obama's plan is slightly less aggressive, and calls for a reduction to 3.9% of GDP by 2014 and 3% by 2017. Picking Ryan as a running mate is a bold move on Romney's part, so long as he doesn't do what so many other presidential candidates have done and immediately shove his running mate to the sidelines, or completely ignore him if they win the election. Let's hope his choice will help elevate the presidential debate from a mud-slinging match to a real debate on issues of import to voters and the country. http://www.sunglassesshop-buy.com/


In a lot of places in Illinois

The drought center's new report doesn't discount rayban take into account the bit of rain the Chicago area received this week — about 0.55 inch fell at O'Hare International Airport on Tuesday and Wednesday — but it would take 3 inches or more to have made any significant improvement, said drought center climatologist Brian Fuchs. "In a lot of places in Illinois cheap discount oakley sunglasses, this is the worst they remember," said Emerson Nafziger, a professor of crop sciences at the University of Illinois. About 66 percent of the state's corn crop is in poor to very poor condition, according to a report his week from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. In states that are major producers of corn nationwide, about 45 percent of the corn is poor or worse, though the total produced this year won't be known until after September, when harvesting begins, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During the same time last year, only 14 percent of corn crops nationwide were considered poor. "We're sitting here, watching the sky; it looks like it could rain," Nafziger said in by telephone from near Vandalia. "People are kind of pessimistic." Nationally, almost 40 percent of agricultural land is oakley pro m experiencing at least a severe drought, which makes the 2012 drought more extensive than any other since the 1950s, according to the USDA. Illinois Climatologist Jim Angel said July's heat and lack of rain could make this drought its worst on record, especially because all across the state, farmers' soil is showing signs of having very little moisture, something essential for plant health ray ban outlet online. "In a normal season we rely on soil moisture to get you through August, but we don't have that," Angel said. Less corn production usually means higher food prices, according oakley sunglasses cheap to the USDA, though the full effect of a sparse corn harvest wouldn't move through to grocery stores until at least 10 months from now. But grocery shoppers could see the price of chicken or eggs and other meats increase sooner than that, since farmers often scale back on their livestock when the cost of corn feed is high, which can happen when corn production is low, Nafziger said. Still, some say there's room for optimism. Angel said long-term forecasts wholesale oakley sunglasses show an increased chance of above-normal precipitation and more normal temperatures over the next two weeks. The heat and dry weather looks to be shifting to the west, maybe making the Midwest a little wetter and milder, Angel said.


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Local officials raised the death toll

Evacuation orders issued a day earlier oakley photochromic for a quarter of a million people were lifted in most areas Sunday as the rains subsided, allowing many people to return home. But thousands remained cut off by landslides or fallen trees that blocked roads in mountainous areas. More than 3,000 people were left stranded in Yame, in Fukuoka Prefecture in southwestern Japan, where roads were cut off to seven districts, the Kyodo news agency reported, citing local authorities. The Japanese military airlifted food by helicopters Discount Oakley womens sunglasses 865 discount sale for men and women LUYU0364 to stranded districts. Local officials raised the death toll from the torrential rains in the northern parts of the Kyushu region to 26 and six people remain missing in Kumamoto, Oita and Fukuoka prefectures, Kyodo reported. Most of the victims were in their 70s and 80s. In Yame, a 70-year-old man died after being caught in a landslide, while another man died in Yanagawa, also in Fukuoka, after being retrieved from a cheap oakley sunglasses for sale discount oakley-169 car at an irrigation channel floodgate, according to local authorities, Kyodo reported. In Kyoto Prefecture, in western Japan, heavy rainfall of up to 3.5 inches (90 millimeters) per hour flooded around 100 houses each in Kameoka and Kyoto oakley sunglasses new, Japan's old capital, Kyodo reported. The Japan Meteorological Agency said that the worst was over, but predicted more rain and thunderstorms in some areas through Monday. http://www.sunglassesshop-buy.com/


It’s a really interesting mystery

By January 2010, however, nearly all infrared light from the dusty disk had vanished. “We had never seen anything like this before,” says astronomer Carl Melis of the University of California, San Diego. “We were all scratching our heads and wondering oakley sunglasses clearance what the hell did we do wrong?” But subsequent observations with both infrared satellites and ground-based telescopes confirmed the surprising discovery, he says: “The disk was gone.” Melis and his colleagues report the mystery online today in Nature — but they don’t know what caused it. “It’s very bizarre,” he says. “Nothing like this was ever predicted.” He says there’s no way something could eclipse the infrared-emitting disk for more than 2 years, because such an object would be immense. Furthermore, the star itself didn’t fade. Melis speculates that an earlier collision between two objects — perhaps two boulders, two asteroids, or even two planets — orbiting the star produced the dust grains that emitted the infrared light. Then either the star’s light blew the dust out of the planetary system or the dust plunged into the star. “It’s a really interesting mystery,” says astronomer Scott Kenyon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who was not affiliated with the discovery team. “The observations certainly seem correct. It’s sort of amazing to have the dust in one of these disks go away so quickly. It’s hard to know exactly what happened.” “This is a whole new insight into the violent processes Mac foundation like the ones that formed the moon and that must be going on where terrestrial planets are forming and first evolving in other planetary systems,” adds astronomer George Rieke of the University of Arizona in Tucson. Rieke says the discovery shows what happens after members of a nascent planetary system collide. His team has recently found milder infrared dimming in two somewhat older stars, indicating that similar events may be occurring there. The discovery may offer clues to the violence that surrounded the formation of Earth. In particular, Earth is the only known terrestrial planet with a large moon, whose tides may have helped life advance by pushing it from sea to land; but no one knows how many Earthlike planets sport large satellites. The moon arose when a Mars-sized object hit our planet, a collision that presumably spewed lots of dust into space. The new observations suggest this dust could have disappeared fast. However, with only one dust-vanishing event ever seen, Melis doesn’t know how common the phenomenon is. So his team plans to monitor not only this star but also others like it. “We have to wait and see if we ever catch another one,” he says.