Bizarre and Unpredictable
It's been three years since the former "supreme leader" of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, died.
Since his youngest son Kim Jong-un succeeded him in late 2011, numerous occasions have seen Kim Jong-un assume a bizarre leadership.
In January this year, less than one month after the execution of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, US basketball star Dennis Rodman flew into Pyongyang to sing Happy Birthday to his host.
Kim Jong-un disappeared from the public eye in September. Rumors circulated that the country's "supreme leader" had been deposed, or that he was seriously ill. His sister, Kim Yo-jong, became Senior Party Official in his absence.
A Hollywood comedy film called The Interview, which details a CIA plot to kill the leader, offended North Korean media in the summer. Hackers attacked Sony in November, but North Korea has denied responsibility.
Kim Jong-un continues the craziness of the hermit regime. What else can we expect?
Missing MH370: Underwater Hunt for Malaysia Airlines Jet Could End by May
The underwater hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may be finished by May, authorities said Wednesday. More than 4,247 square miles of the floor of the southern Indian Ocean — an area half the size of Lake Erie — have now been searched, the Australia Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) announced in an update. It represents about one fifth of the total search area that marine experts are trawling in the hope of finding clues to the whereabouts of the Boeing 777, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.
The ATSB said that one of the vessels involved in the search, Fugro Discovery, "experienced a system issue with a component of the search equipment" on Saturday. "Search activities have been suspended while the issue is remedied." However, the statement said: "Assuming no significant delays with vessels, equipment or from the weather, the current underwater search area may be largely completed around May 2015." One other vessel, GO Phoenix, was still in the area on Wednesday but a third ship, Fugro Equator, was scheduled to return to shore in Australia. - NBC News
Scientists challenge Yeti DNA results
DNA thought to be from an extinct polar bear in the Himalayas might actually belong to something else.
Professor Bryan Sykes made headlines last year when he DNA tested suspected Yeti hair samples from Ladakh and Bhutan and found that they were actually a match for a jawbone belonging to an extinct species of polar bear that lived 120,000 years ago.
The find opened up the possibility that sightings of the mysterious Abominable Snowman in and around the Himalayan region might actually be explained by the presence of this ancient bear.
Now however two other scientists, Ceiridwen Edwards and Ross Barnett, have repeated the same DNA tests and believe that the hair samples are not from an extinct species of polar bear at all but are in fact from a rare sub-species of the common brown bear.
"The Himalayan bear is a sub-species of the brown bear that lives in the higher reaches of the Himalayas, in remote, mountainous areas of Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and India," they wrote.
"The common name for these bears in the region is Dzu-teh, a Nepalese term meaning 'cattle bear', and they have long been associated with the myth of the yeti." Read more at BBC
Rare Rock with 30000 Diamonds Discovered in Russia
Here's the perfect Christmas gift for the person who has everything: A red and green rock, ornament-sized, stuffed with 30,000 teeny-tiny diamonds.
The sparkly chunk was pulled from Russia's huge Udachnaya diamond mine and donated to science (the diamonds' tiny size means they're worthless as gems). It was a lucky break for researchers, because the diamond-rich rock is a rare find in many ways, scientists reported Monday (Dec. 15) at the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting.
"The exciting thing for me is there are 30,000 itty-bitty, perfect octahedrons, and not one big diamond," said Larry Taylor, a geologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who presented the findings. "It's like they formed instantaneously."
The concentration of diamonds in the rock is millions of times greater than that in typical diamond ore, which averages 1 to 6 carats per ton, Taylor said. A carat is a unit of weight (not size), and is roughly equal to one-fifth of a gram, or 0.007 ounces.
The astonishing amount of diamonds, and the rock's unusual coloring, will provide important clues to Earth's geologic history as well as the origin of these prized gemstones, Taylor said. "The associations of minerals will tell us something about the genesis of this rock, which is a strange one indeed," he said.
Although diamonds have been desired for centuries, and are now understood well enough to be recreated in a lab, their natural origins are still a mystery. Read more at Yahoo
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