June 30, 2007

Mighty Ducks: a 15-year journey around the world

Posted in Events, Fun, Humor, Life, Media, Nature, News, Oceanography, Science at 6:27 pm by deadlikeme

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An armada of plastic ducks, known as Friendly Floatees, is heading for Britain’s coast after their accidental release 15 years ago.

Their birth place was a chinese factory and they were supposed to be shipped from Hong Kong to the US. But during a storm on January 29, 1992 three containers fell off the cargo ship and got lost in the Pacific.

Two third of the plastic ducks landed months later on the shores of Indonesia, Australia and South America. But about 10.000 ducks headed north.

For the past 15 years Curtis Ebbesmeyer has been tracking those plastic ducks and recently said that those that had not been trapped in circulating currents in the North Pacific, crushed by icebergs or blown ashore in Japan are bobbing across the Atlantic on the Gulf Stream. Now the ducks are heading for Britain’s beaches.

Since 2003 the toys’ american distributor, First Years Inc., rewards anyone who finds one of these ducks with $100.

for more read the Times article

the map is from Spiegel Online

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June 20, 2007

Mission To Mars: ESA calls for candidates

Posted in Education, Events, Life, Mars Mission, News, Psychology, Science, Technology at 8:00 am by deadlikeme

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The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for candidates to participate in up to three isolation and confinement studies. The first study starts in May 2008.

Except for weightlessness and radiation, the simulation will be as close to a real Mars mission as possible. The candidates will be selected based on education, professional experience, medical fitness and social habits.

All in all the studies can take more than two years (Pilot study: 100 days, Mars Mission: 520 days, Follow-up studies: up to one year).

Some criterias for applicants:

– 25 to 50 years
– English and Russian (fluency in one and working knowledge of the other language)
– Non-smokers, no addicitons (alcohol, illicit drugs, etc.)
– Availability for the whole duration of the studies
– Candidates nationality is restricted to following ESA member states: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Norway, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada)

For successful conpletion of the entire study, the respective volunteer will receive a fixed compensation (I hear it’s 120 Euros per day).

Submission deadline is September 30th, 2007.

For more information and the application form visit the ESA website.