ISS: Watching from Above


Earth, as seen from the International Space Station. (Image courtesy of NASA)

Four extremely powerful cameras have been launched on the International Space Station as part of the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment. Designed by NASA and a group of high school students known as HUNCH (High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware), the cameras point towards Earth all the time can often provide a breathtaking view. There is a constant feed that can be watched from Earth all the time. However, when the ISS is on the dark side of the planet, it can be hard to see anything. The cameras used for this operation are deliberately exposed to radiation, in order for scientists to learn the effects of radiation on the technology being used to provide such spectacular images.

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Entire populations are under surveillance, says Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden provides input about the issue of personal security. (Image courtesy of The Guardian)

Safe in Russia, Edward Snowden appeared by video to provide his input on a debate regarding the collection of personal data. The National Security Agency leaker suggested that everyone is under constant surveillance, not just those suspected of engaging in criminal activities. According to Snowden, phone calls, emails, texts, and everything else is monitored by the NSA, whose motto is “Collect it all.” Former US National Security Administration director Michael Hayden and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz battled out the issue against Glenn Greenwald who wrote a book on Snowden’s leaks and co-founder of Reddit Alexis Ohanian.

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New dinosaur fossil uncovered by scientists has been named Pinnochio Rex due to its defining snout

pinnochio rex

Pinnochio Rex, the long- snouted cousin of Tyrannosaurus Rex. (Image courtesy of BBC News)

What do you call a Tyrannosaur with a very long nose? A Pinnochio Rex. Scientists at Edinburgh University have discovered 66-million year old fossil named it officially as Qianzhousaurus sinensis. A ferocious carnivore, this dino was chomping other dinos like its cousin the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Built smaller, faster and stealthier than the T.Rex, the Pinnochio Rex had a snout 35% larger than other dinosaurs of a similar size. At a dig site in Mongolia, two tyrannosaurs with snouts comparable to the Pinnochio Rex have been dug up, nicknamed Alioramus. Paleontologists are reveling in this discovery because it confirms the belief of a new subgroup of tyrannosaurs. Essentially, 66 million years ago there was a scary long-snouted Pinnochio Rex walking around Asia looking for its next meal.

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Spy plane over American airports causing scares and suspicion 

AIR Control

Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center was plagued with worry over the spy plane “threat”. (Image courtesy of The Globe and Mail)

A Cold War era U-2 spy plane was detected in Los Angeles air space on 3 May 2014, causing a widespread grounding of airplanes at several airports in Southwestern USA. A glitch (possibly caused by the spy plane) caused computers at the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center to begin operations that would prevent the US-controlled spy plane from crashing into other aircraft, despite the fact that the spy plane was flying several thousand feet above the altitude of commercial planes. US government officials were reluctant to clarify what had actually happened, and will allow the issue of hundreds of planes being grounded for no apparent reason sink into the grave.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed off 90% of North Korea’s Soviet-Era debts.


Putin reduces North Korea’s Soviet-Era debts. (Image courtesy of the Chicago Tribune)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently signed off 90% of North Korea’s outstanding debts to Russia from the Soviet-era. According to a report by RIA Novosti on May 5th, North Korea currently owes Russia approximately US $11 Billion. The 10% remaining is expected to be paid off in six-month installments over 20 years. Russia has made motions to create further economic cooperation between the two countries. It is set to invest back into North Korea’s health, education and energy sectors. Reports by the Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak indicate that North Korea may be using its funds to create a railway or gas pipeline through North Korea, connecting Russia with South Korea.

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