Saturday, October 28, 2006

Twin boys inherit different genetic codes from mother

Twins Kayden and Layton Richardson

A mother in London had twin boys, both of whom were born white, but one has gotten darker as he's gotten older (Kayden), while the other boy (Layton) has gotten lighter. The mother is of mixed race, with a Nigerian and English background, while the father is white. This is a rare genetic occurence according to experts at Oxford University, because genes usually mix colors together, rather than keep them separated. In this case, it seems the genes didn't combine and were passed on as separate genetic codes.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Weekend at the Renn Fest

This weekend, we decided to go to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, an annual tradition. We went on the Jousting Tournament weekend, which makes it all the more fun. The weather was quite perfect for late October--clear and sunny and in the 60's. I took some video of the different performers and jousting for your entertainment pleasure!

Here is Vince Conaway, a musical performer from Ohio, on hammered dulcimer:

Enjoy several of the jousts during one segment of the Tournament:

Here is a group of bagpipers and percussionists, known as The Rogues, having some fun!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Air Force Memorial Dedication Flyover

Today, Air Force Thunderbirds did a flyover and a bomb-burst formation at the closing of the dedication ceremony.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Air Force Memorial Dedication Fireworks

This weekend marks the dedication of the Air Force Memorial, which has been built across the street from us and across from the Pentagon over a seemingly short 2 years. Tonight, they had a *brief* fireworks show, before the full ceremony tomorrow.

Stills of the Fireworks

The 40-Second Fireworks Show

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Trek Tech

It seems that the technology often seen in Star Trek slowly comes to life in reality. Enter the PHaSR, a stunning device invented by the Air Force to disorient people visually:

We generally avoid the sci-fi related posts around here despite the fact that we're run by the SCI FI Channel, but we can't pass up on two super-nerdy Star Trek-themed posts in one week. It may have taken 40 years, but the U.S. Air Force finally has developed what the crew of the Starship Enterprise had in their arsenal decades ago: a working stun gun. The Personal Halting and Stimulation Response or PHaSR stops people in their tracks when they fall down laughing at the name… er, I mean they get blasted by a dazzling nonlethal beam of laser light, creating an effect similar to walking out from a dark movie theater into the bright sunshine. The idea is that you could use the PHaSR to control hostile crowds and for perimeter defense at checkpoints and the like. No word as to whether a nice pair of Ray Bans or Oakleys might prove to be an effective countermeasure against this menacing new weapons system, and who knows what kind of havoc you could wreak with a pair of mirror shades. — Michael Trei

Well, not quite like a Star Trek Phaser, and it could use a little diminuation....

This also in the news: A model of the original starship Enterprise sold in auction for $576,000 at Christie's:

A determined bidder has paid $576,000 (£307,857) for a model of the Starship Enterprise, legendary home of Captain Kirk and Mr Spock. The science fiction programme's iconic spaceship helped drive the total for the three-day Star Trek extravaganza above $7 million (£3.74 million) at Christie's in New York.

All of the 1,000 lots of props, costumes, models and miniatures and other paraphernalia from the five television series were sold. Virtually all went for more than their pre-sale estimates and the total takings were more than double what had been expected.

The Enterprise lot set a record for a piece of Star Trek memorabilia and also attained one of the highest prices ever paid for any piece of Hollywood memorabilia. The six foot model of the Starship Enterprise, used extensively in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series, was bought by an unidentified private US collector.

Christie's staff joined hundreds of fans in dressing up as characters from the show for the marathon auction.