hman:Meet the First Dog to Climb Mt. Everest
“He’s become the first canine on record to climb Mount Everest after trekking for 10 days with Lefson to base camp, 17,000 feet above sea level…”
The story describes the dog, whose name is Rupee, as a bootstrapper—a former stray who was rescued and eventually became much more than just a stray.
Collegiate Debaters Nadia Lewis and Jamila Ahmed Become 1st Black Women to Win National Competition
More than two decades ago, Ryan Vincent had open brain surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor, resulting in a lengthy hospital stay and weeks of recovery at home. Recently, neurosurgeons at Houston Methodist Hospital removed a different lesion from Vincent’s brain through a tube inserted into a hole smaller than a dime and he went home the next day.
Gavin Britz, MBBCh, MPH, FAANS, chairman of neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, used a minimally-invasive technique to remove a vascular lesion from deep within the 44-year-old patient’s brain, the first to use this technique in the region. Traditionally, vascular lesions or brain tumors that are located deep within the brain can cause damage just by surgical removal.
“With this new approach, we can navigate through millions of important brain fibers and tracts to access deep areas of the brain where these benign tumors or hemorrhages are located with minimal injury to normal brain,” said Britz. “Ryan’s surgery took less than an hour.”
Houston Methodist neurosurgeons Britz and David Baskin, M.D., director of the Kenneth R. Peak Brain & Pituitary Tumor Center, are using this “six-pillar approach” that encompasses the latest technology in minimally-invasive surgeries — mapping of the brain; navigating the brain like a GPS system; safely accessing the brain and tumor/lesion; using high-end optics for visualization; successfully removing the tumor without disrupting tissues around it; and directed therapy using tissue collected for evaluation that can then be used for personalized treatments.
The new surgical technique is used to remove cancerous and non-cancerous tumors, lesions and cysts deep inside the brain. This approach reduces risks of damage to speech, memory, muscle strength, balance, vision, coordination and other function areas of the brain.
India’s first Mars mission launches flawlessly
India flawlessly launched its first ever mission to Mars today (Nov. 5) to begin a history making ten month long interplanetary voyage to the Red Planet that’s aimed at studying the Martian atmosphere and searching for methane after achieving orbit.
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) thundered to space atop the nations four stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) precisely on time at 14:38 hrs IST (9:08 UTC, 4:08 a.m. EST) from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, off India’s east coast.
“Our journey to Mars begins now!” announced an elated ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan at the ISRO spaceport during a live broadcast of MOM’s launch from the mission control center. “We achieved orbit and we can all be proud.”
Image credit: ISRO
He crossed the finish line hours after the winners, but Jimmy Jenson still set a record at the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday: He’s the first person with Down syndrome to complete the race.
Tiger Woods hit balls from Europe into Asia on Tuesday when half of the six-lane Bosphorus Bridge was closed for the world’s top-ranked golfer.
In a publicity stunt for this week’s Turkish Open, Woods stood on a makeshift tee and launched drives along the world’s fourth longest suspension bridge, which spans 5,118 feet and is 210 feet above the Bosphorus River.
Woods said: “To be the first golfer to do this was very cool.”
Photos: David Cannon/Getty Images, Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images
Frefalling over Mt Everest
In this handout picture released by Everest Skydive on October 28, 2013, French multiple sclerosis sufferer Marc Kopp (bottom) and tandem skydiving partner Mario Gervasi (top) free-fall over Nepal’s Mount Everest region on October 27, 2013. A French multiple sclerosis sufferer October 27 became the first disabled person to skydive over Mount Everest, successfully completing his landing before being taken to hospital as a precaution.
RYAN JACKSON/AFP/Getty Images
(Photo: Benjamin Faske / U.S. Air Force via Reuters)
The United States’ first national monument to a soldier’s best friend, recognizing the sacrifices of dogs in combat, was dedicated by the U.S. military on Monday.
In addition to prosthetic limbs, the robot has a nearly complete set of artificial organs, including an artificial heart, blood and lungs.
Check out this great camera trap footage of the world’s most endangered rhino species. Only around 150-200 are still in the wild.
SA’s First Grid-Connected Solar PV Plant
Norway-based Scatec Solar announced on Monday that it had completed its 75-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Kalkbult in the Northern Cape three months ahead of schedule, making it first project under South Africa’s renewable energy programme for private producers to be grid connected and operational.
Scatec Solar was one of 28 independent power producers that signed contracts with the government late last year, in the first round of a programme that will see an initial 1 400 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy being added to South Africa’s energy mix, while bringing an estimated R47-billion in new investment into the country.
The Department of Energy aims to bring 17 800 MW from renewable sources online by 2030.
Scatec Solar has been awarded three projects with total capacity of 190 MW under the government’s programme. Construction of its next two projects, located in the Northern and Eastern Cape, has started and completion is expected by the middle of next year.
The completed Kalkbult plant consists of more than 312 000 solar panels mounted on 156 kilometres of substructure, inverters, transformers and a sub-station.
Kalkbult’s electricity will be sold to state company Eskom through a 20-year purchase agreement. According to Scatec Solar, the annual production of 135-million kWh will cover the electricity demand of 33 000 households, while reducing the country’s carbon dioxide emissions by almost 115 000 tons per year.
"The South African authorities are committed to implementing an ambitious renewable energy programme, and we find great satisfaction in being able to contribute to its success through our own projects, which we have actively been developing in South Africa over the last four years," Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen said in a statement on Monday.
"This country boasts some of the best conditions for solar power in the world, and the annual output of 135-million kWh produced at the Kalkbult plant will benefit both the region and the local community in which we operate." [x]
The star GD61 is a white dwarf. As such, it’s insanely dense—similar in diameter to Earth, but with a mass roughly that of the Sun, so that a teaspoon of it is estimated to weigh about 5.5 tons. All things considered, it’s not a particularly promising stellar locale to find evidence of life.
But a new analysis of the debris surrounding the star suggests that, long ago, GD61 may have provided a much more hospitable environment. As part of a study published today in Science, scientists found that the crushed rock and dust near the star were once part of a small planet or asteroid made up of 26 precent water by volume. The discovery is the first time we’ve found water in a rocky, Earth-like planetary body (as opposed to a gas giant) in another star system.
“Those two ingredients—a rocky surface and water—are key in the hunt for habitable planets,” Boris Gänsicke of the University of Warwick in the UK, one of the study’s authors, said in a press statement. “So it’s very exciting to find them together for the first time outside our solar system.”
Why was water found in such a seemingly unhospitable place? Because once upon a time, GD61 wasn’t so different from our Sun, scientists speculate. But roughly 200 million years ago, when it exhausted its supply of fuel and could no longer sustain fusion reactions, its outer layers were blown out as part of a nebula, and its inner core collapsed inward, forming a white dwarf. (Incidentally, this fate will befall an estimated 97 percent of the stars in the Milky Way, including the Sun.)
When that happened, the tiny planet or asteroid in question—along with all the other bodies orbiting GD61—were violently knocked out of orbit, sucked inward, and ripped apart by the force of the star’s gravity. The clouds of dust, broken rock and water that the scientists recently discovered near the star are the remnants of these planets.
Continue reading about this amazing discovery at Smithsonian.com.
World’s first digital laser unveiled in South Africa
Researchers at South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have unveiled the world’s first digital laser.
Approval sought for world’s 1st malaria vaccine
BBC News: GlaxoSmithKline is seeking regulatory approval for the world’s first vaccine against malaria, after promising trial data showed that it cut cases of the often-fatal disease in African children.
The company has been developing the vaccine for 3 decades and plans to submit a regulatory application to the European Medicines Agency.
Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year.
Photo: Malaria infected mosquitoes (AFP)