Saturday, September 17, 2005

Curious News Items: UPDATE 4 Stories You May Have Missed

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Angela Merkel is widely expected to become Germany's first woman chancellor, as her party maintains a clear lead in the run-up to the 18 September election.

UPDATE: Louisiana Corruption: Senior officials in Louisiana's emergency planning agency Indicted Before Katrina Hit details here.

'Sugar Tit', South Carolina to be annexed by the city of Greer.
Sugar Tit is a little community at the crossroads of state highways 101 and 296, about 10 miles northwest of Woodruff. Natives explain that before the store-bought variety were homemade wads of cloth dipped in sugar water that pacified infants. The improvised devices were known as a "sugar tit." Pending annexation will forever replace an original bit of Americana with a the placename of a city hellbent on Greedy annexation for confiscatory taxation.

What is the of oldest, most durable material on Earth? Answer, +/- 40,000,000 years, these tiny, Zircon crystals, found at Jack Hills, Australia are around 4.3 billion years old. The tiny, natural crystals are not to be confused with Cubic Zirconia (or CZ) a mineral that is extremely rare in nature but is widely synthesized for use as a diamond simulant. These zircons are not only the oldest minerals on earth, they also show another interesting feature. Their oxygen isotope ratio (O18) has been interpreted to indicate that more than 4.4 billion years ago there was already water on the surface of the Earth. This is a spectacular interpretation that has been published in top scientific journals but is currently the subject of debate. From A Cool Early Earth, in Scientific American October 2005.


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