Feb 262017

TRAPPIST-1 life and human habitation. NASA announced the discovery of a new solar system, called TRAPPIST-1, located at a distance of “just” 39 light years from us, and the news of the existence of seven potentially-habitale Earth-like planets sparked numerous assumptions and discussions. Because many people dream of travelling to these alien worlds, the big question is: how would Trappist-1 life be different than life on Earth?

trappist-1 life sky view

Artistic impression of Trappist-1 sky view (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Astounding sky views
One of the upside of living on a habitable planet of Trappist-1 is the night-sky view which would be spectacular because of the other six planets constantly looming in the vicinity. “You wouldn’t see them [other 6 planets] like we see Venus or Mars, like dots of light. You would see them really as we see the moon. A neighboring planet might appear twice as large as the full moon seen from Earth,” said Belgian astronomer Michaël Gillon quoted by

The very short distance between the orbits of the seven planets is caused by the fact that their parent star is an ultracool dwarf star. It’s about 2,000 times dimmer than the sun, and only slightly larger than the planet Jupiter.

Sunset-like view
Despite orbiting close to their star, the natural lighting on TRAPPIST-1 planets would appear very dim to a human visitor.

Ultracool dwarf stars produce significantly less radiation than sun-like stars, and most of TRAPPIST-1’s light is radiated in the infrared wavelengths rather than visible wavelengths, according to Amaury Triaud of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge in England, a co-author on the paper describing the discovery.

Short years and long-lasting days and nights
Planets of the Trappist-1 system need just a few days to complete a full orbit around the dwarf star, with the most distant planet finishing this cycle in about 20 days.

While the years are much shorter, the days & nights are extremely long – almost eternal, due to the tidal block which means that same side of each planet will always be exposed to light from the star, just as the Moon always shows the same face to Earth. The Trappist-1 planets rotate but so slow that the days & nights last “forever”.

The initial enthusiasm that the seven planets could host life seems to fade away in front of the 40-light-years distance. Transporting people to Trappist-1 requires development of new groundbreaking technologies that go beyond the horizon of application of physics and engineering known so far.

Trappist-1 night sky view

Planets in TRAPPIST-1 system would definitely offer amazing night sky views (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Feb 262017

A Pakistani airline is under investigation after a passenger who flew from Karachi to Medina (Saudi Arabia), claimed that a number of additional passengers were standing along the aisle during the 4 hour flight!

Pakistan Airlines standing passengers

PIA carried 7 passengers standing during international flight to Medina (public domain)

The Dawn newspaper revealed that Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-743 carried 416 passengers on January 20, despite the fact that the Boeing 777 aircraft had a capacity of 409 including jump seats.

Taking seatless passengers is seen as a risky job because they wound have no access to oxygen masks and would block the evacuation of others in case of an emergency situation. According to preliminary investigations, the standing passengers had handwritten tickets (!!!), while their names did not appear in the official list delivered by the airport staff to the flight crew.

The safety breach is now shared between the pilots and the cabin personnel who blame each other. Chief flight attendant Hina Turab says she warned captain Anwer Adil that there will be chaos because of extra passengers and was replied that people must be allowed aboard because they paid their tickets. Moreover, the captain accuses the stewardess for closing aircraft’s doors despite knowing that there are additional passengers aboard.

PIA spokesman Danyal Gilani said the company is probing the case, promising that all those responsible will be sanctioned.

The airline had been previously accused of taking two additional passengers in the toilet of a plane during another flight from Lahore to Karachi.

In December 2016, a plane flying from Chitral to Islamabad crahsed killing all 48 people on board. According to the newspaper Pakistan Today, PIA has suffered eight fatal aviation accidents since 1996 with a total of 327 fatalities.

Feb 262017

Former UKIP party leader Nigel Farage, posted a Twitter phone with the caption “Dinner with The Donald”. It was apparently the last meeting between the US president Donald Trump and the British politician who is known as a vehement critic of conservative Prime Minister Theresa May.

dinner with the donald nigel farage

Nigel Farage (wikimedia commons)

Farage, who contributed to the victory of the Brexit campaign in June last year, is keen on strengthening ties with Trump, after he resigned last year from his leading position of the anti-EU party UKIP.

The photograph entitled “Dinner with The Donald” shows a very happy Farage smiling to the camera, while US President and four other people are seated around a table at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC on Saturday night.

Farage was practically in the company of Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka, her husband and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, and the Florida governor, Rick Scott.

Journalist Benny Johnson, the creative director of online news outlet Independent Journal Review, wrote on Twitter: “Farage was not invited to this dinner. Squeezed in at last minute.”

Feature photo credit: By Euro Realist Newsletter [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Feb 252017

A NASA ISS live stream unveils unidentified objects flying in the dark background of the outer space (scroll for photo and video).

In a mysterious twist of the situation, the video, streamed live from the International Space Station, is interrupted suddenly every time the unidentified objects seem to enter camera’s viewing angle.

The footage shows the bizarre space objects moving in tandem from right to left, but their shape is not distinguished with high clarity as the images are somehow fuzzy.

However, it was concluded that the alien objects are quite big, round and bright.

NASA ISS livestream ufo

Round and bright UFO appear in NASA ISS livestream

VIDEO: UFO appear in NASA livestream from aboard ISS

Feb 252017

Apple has opened an inquiry into an iPhone 7 Plus “explosion” after the incident was filmed and posted on Twitter.

iphone 7 plus catching fire

Burned and damaged: Iphone 7 Plus (pic: Brianna Olivas/Twitter)

“So my IPhone 7 plus blew up this morning, was not even using it, literally no explanation for this”, wrote Brianna Olivas (username Bree) who captured the situation on tape. She subsequently uploaded two photos with the burned gadget to confirm her assertion.

The viral video of the smoking iPhone 7 Plus shows the handset burning until the case melts away with smoke being released from the side of the device.

An Apple spokesperson quoted by CNET, said that the company reached out to Olivas and is now investigating. “We are in touch with the customer and looking into it”.

Therefore Apple seems to copy Samsung, whose flagship Galaxy Note 7 was withdrawn off the market after getting frequently in flames.

It took South Koreans several months to figure out why their phone caught fire or even exploded in several cases. They discovered that the battery components did not fit properly into the housing thus causing the problems. Another battery was manufactured quickly, but caught fire as well, so Note 7’s fate was sealed.

Now, the incident involving Apple could be a chance for Samsung’s relaunch as Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be a strong competitor for the iPhone.

Samsung had to remove Galaxy Note 7 from shops just two months after its lavish introduction, and the decision cost the company more than five billion dollars.

Feb 242017

During a speech at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 2017) in Maryland on Friday, the US President Donald Trump used the occasion to attack once again the fake media which according to him, is the enemy of the state.

donald trump cpac 2017 speech

Trump upset about fake media (public domain)

“We are fighting with false news. They are the enemies of the people. They (journalists) have no sources. They just make them up when there are none,” said the US president.

“I am not against the media. I am not against the press. But I am against media specialized in fake news. I am against people who make up sources or news,” added Mr. Trump.

Then US president argued that journalists “shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name”.

Trump also slammed also pollsters, mentioning CNN, NBC and CBS among others by name, according to The Journal.

He also referred to CNN as the “Clinton News Network” to the delight of audience.

“You’d think they’d fire the pollster … Maybe they’re just bad at polling, or maybe it’s not legit,” Trump said, in reference to polls that have gotten projections wrong before the US elections.

Donald Trump reprimanding fake media at CPAC 2017

Feb 242017

US President Donald Trump expressed his harsh criticism against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in a message posted on Twitter shortly after the agenvy would have rejected a request from the White House to deny reports about possible ties between the Republican campaign staff and Russian services before the November 2016 presidential elections.

Donald Trump FBI angry finger

Donald Trump is extremely angry with the FBI (pic:

Trump tweeted that the FBI is unable to prevent leakage of information to the media. “The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security “leakers” that have permeated our government for a long time. They can’t even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW”, reads the messages posted by the US leader.

It seems that Donald Trump’s chief of staff would have personally called the FBI Deputy Director, asking him to challenge public disclosures regarding contacts between senior members of Trump’s campaign team and Russian agents.

Feb 242017

A video footage from a dashcam shows the frightening moment a huge truck is blown over by strong crosswind before smashing a police car parked at the side of the Interstate I-80 highway!

wyoming crosswind blowing truck

Moment when high wind rolls truck onto Wyoming police car (screengrab Wyoming police video))

The accident emerged on 7th of February near Elk Mountain in the US state of Wyoming which was affected by severe storm with wind gusts as high as 70 miles per hour.

The unoccupied police vehicle was stationary on the hard shoulder as officers helped giving traffic support to other motorists who were involved in previous crashes in the area.

The truck driver, who apparently ignored a high wind advisory prohibiting commercial vehicles on that stretch of road, lost control of his vehicle which was effectively pushed out of the travel lane. The Wyoming State Police announced that no one was injured in the accident.

Lt. Kelly Finn saied the crash could have been a lot worse if the police vehicle was occupied.

“I am so lucky right now that I have not lost two troopers,” he said, according to The trucker and a passenger were also not hurt.

Video: Wyoming crosswind blowing truck onto patrol vehicle on I-80

A crosswind is a wind which features a component perpendicular to the direction of motion. This effect has a serios impact on the aerodynamics of vehicles or aircraft. Travelling non-parallel to the wind’s direction gives birth to a crosswind vector that boosts the apparent force on the object.

While being very useful in many circumstances such as sailing a boat or steering a traction kite, crosswind can pose a serious danger by displacing the path of vehicles sideways.

Feb 242017

FlyBe Crash Landing Amsterdam: An aviation incident emerged at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport where a passenger plane operated by the British airline FlyBe crash landed in extreme weather conditions Thursday afternoon after part of its landing gear failed. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the incident, Dutch media reported.

flybe crash landing amsterdam

Flybe plane leaning on right wing after crash landing at Schiphol (screengrab Youtube)

The Bombardier Dash8 Q400 aircraft was about to complete a flight from Edinburgh (UK) to Amsterdam (NL) when the right side of the main landing gear snapped as the wheels struck the “Oostbaan” runway.

All 59 people aboard the aircraft were evacuated urgently and taken to the terminal while traffic at Schiphol was shut down for at least ten minutes.

“Flybe can confirm that there has been an incident involving one of our aircraft, flight no BE1284. The aircraft departed from Edinburgh at 2.10pm local time bound for Amsterdam. The incident occurred at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at approximately 4.59pm local time (3.59pm GMT),” BBC quoted Flybe as saying.

Emergency services had initially reported that the plane crash landed off the runway, but Schiphol officials later dismissed the claim as various photos show the aircraft leaning on the right side with the wing touching the tarmac.

Dutch aviation authorities have started an investigation into the case but it is pretty obvious that the gear yielded as the plane unbalanced in strong wind gusts.

Flybe plane’s right gear breaks after hitting Schiphol’s Oostbaan runway

Video: Moment when Flybe flight BE1284 crash landed @ Schiphol

FlyBe crash landing Amsterdam: Plane hits runway, landing gear breaks

Feb 242017

Aviation industry made remarkable improvements over the past hundred years but yet, plane crashes can not be fully prevented. Despite a decline in commercial flight accident fatality rates, air disasters still happen, unfortunately, often leading to significant number of deaths.

nasa controlled crash

World’s deadlies plane accidents in pictures (public domain)

The first fatality of a powered flight was Thomas Selfridge who was actually a passenger flying with aviation pioneer Orville Wright during a demonstration of the Wright Model A at Fort Myer, Virginia, in September 1908. Eugene Lefebvre was instead the first pilot killed in a power airplane in 1909.

The first deadly mid-air crash took place near Douai, France in 1912, with the pilot of each airplane being killed in the accident.

Ever since, the magnitude of deadly plane accidents has gone directly proportional to the size and capacity of airplanes (the highest capacity passenger aircraft currently in service is the Airbus A380 which can carry up to 853 passengers).

Top 9 Worst Airline Accidents:
The article lists nine of the scariest air disasters by death toll which resulted in more than 200 fatalities in a single occurrence implicating commercial passengers flights. Each accident is presented by a featured image.

1. Tenerife Airport Disaster (1977): 583 deaths

deadliest airplane crashes

KLM and PanAm collide in Tenerife in deadlies aviation disaster ever

2. Japan Airlines 123 (1985): 520 people died
japan airlines 123

Japan Airlines Flight 123 was deadliest single-aircraft accident and killed 120 people in crash caused by explosive decompression

3. Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision (1977): 349 killed
Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision

B747 and Ilyushin Il-76 collide above Charkhi Dadri village killing 349 people on board both planes in world’s deadliest mid-air collision

4. Turkish Airlines 981 (1974): 346 fatalities
Turkish Airlines flight-981

Turkish Airlines Flight 981 disintegrated in million pieces when crashed in Paris forest

5. Saudi Arabian 163 (1980): 301 fatalities
Saudi Arabian Airlines 163

Saudia Flight 163 caught fire after Riyadh takeoff killing all 301 aboard

6. American Airlines 587 (2001): 265 dead
American Airlines Flight 587

American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in New York neighborhood killing 265 people

7. China Airways 140 (1994): 264 fatalities
China Airlines Flight 140

China Airlines Flight 140 crashed at Nagoya airport due to human error. 264 died

8. Nigeria Airways in 2120 (1991): 261 deaths
Nigeria Airways Flight 2120

Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 crashed after takeoff in Saudi Arabia killing all 261 aboard

9. Air New Zealand 901 (1979): 257 dead
Air New Zealand 901

Air New Zealand 901 collided with Antarctica’s Mount Erebus killing 257

Sources: Wikipedia and Foxcrawl