New Stuff to Blog About and More
There is a winner in the National Spelling Bee.
After watching his sister try three times to win the Scripps Nationals Spelling Bee, Sameer Mishra put himself on a mission. "I told my mom I was going to do the bee," Sameer said. "And if I was going to do it, I was going to win it one day. And I guess it happened." Sameer spelled "guerdon" — a word that appropriately means "something that one has earned or gained" — to win the 81st version of the bee Friday night.
This is serious stuff.
A Fox News worker is suing over bedbugs in the office. The employee who says she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after being bitten by bedbugs at work filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the owner of the Manhattan office tower where she worked. Think O'Reilly got bitten?
A former nurse in Texas is accused of intentionally injecting bleach into two patients at a dialysis center .Both patients survived, but one required treatment at a hospital, police said.
Seems as if we are all getting taken at the pumps.
The average U.S. gas prices have gone up 144 percent in the past five years — from $1.67 in May 2003 to $4.02 a gallon this month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Over the same period, gas prices in France went up 117 percent to $9.66 a gallon. (WHAT???)
Gas in the world's No. 2 oil producer, Russia, runs about $3.68 a gallon — nearly that in the United States, where the average wage is about six times higher.
Much of the Russian cost comes from taxes, which run between 60 and 70 percent.
Turkey faces $11.29 a gallon, which for a full tank in a midsize car can reach nearly $200, enough for a domestic plane ticket.
In Venezuela a gallon costs just 12 cents thanks to long-held government subsidies and plenty of oil.
Other countries are paying up too for gas.
Japan is paying $5.77. Germany $11.49. India $4.16. Britain $8.31.
Police in the Colorado town of Arvada are searching for two robbers whose masks were women's thong underwear. It is unclear at this time about the source(s) of the underwear.
A surveillance video released this week by police in Arvada, Colo., shows the two unarmed men inside the convenience store. They stole an undisclosed amount of cash and cigarettes in the robbery May 16.
One man wore a green thong and the other wore blue. Each thong barely covered the man's nose, mouth and chin and left the rest of his face exposed. One also wore a pink backpack in which he stuffed the stolen items.
Were they really men? Did the thongs belong to them? Would you have given them the money?
Livestock cloning has been going on since 1996.
The FDA has concluded that;
* cloning poses no unique risks to animal health, compared to the risks found with other reproduction methods, including natural mating
* the composition of food products from cattle, swine, and goat clones, or the offspring of any animal clones, is no different from that of conventionally bred animals
* because of the preceding two conclusions, there are no additional risks to people eating food from cattle, swine, and goat clones or the offspring of any animal clones traditionally consumed as food
Clones are genetic copies of an animal. They're similar to identical twins, but born at different times. Cloning is usually done via artificial insemination, and more recently, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization.
Clones may allow farmers to upgrade the quality of their herds by providing more copies of their best animals—those with naturally occurring desirable traits, such as resistance to disease, high milk production, or quality meat production. These animal clones are then used for conventional breeding, and their sexually reproduced offspring become the food-producing animals.
What Cloning Means to Consumers
* FDA has concluded that cattle, swine, and goat clones, and the offspring of any animal clones traditionally consumed as food, are safe for human and animal consumption.
* Food labels do not have to state that food is from animal clones or their offspring. FDA has found no science-based reason to require labels to distinguish between products from clones and products from conventionally produced animals.
* The main use of clones is to produce breeding stock, not food. These animal clones—copies of the best animals in the herd—are then used for conventional breeding, and the sexually reproduced offspring of the animal clones become the food-producing animals.
* Due to the lack of information on clone species other than cow, goat, and pig (for example, sheep), FDA recommends that other clone species do not enter the human food supply.
Comic Harvey Korman dies at 81 AP -
Korman, the versatile comedian who won four Emmys for his outrageously funny contributions to "The Carol Burnett Show" died . He was 81.
world’s last uncontacted tribe photographed
Uncontacted Indians in Brazil
© Gleison Miranda/FUNAI
Members of one of the world’s last uncontacted tribes have been spotted and photographed from the air near the Brazil-Peru border. The photos were taken during several flights over one of the remotest parts of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil’s Acre state.The images released on Thursday show them painted bright red and brandishing .
A Brazilian official involved in the expedition said many of them are in increasing danger from illegal logging.
Steven Tyler checked into a rehab facility in search of a "safe environment" to recover from several foot surgeries and physical therapy, the Aerosmith frontman said in a statement Thursday.
Tyler said the surgeries were to correct long-time foot injuries resulting from his physical performances.
"The doctors told me the pain in my feet could be corrected but it would require a few surgeries over time," Tyler said in the statement. "The 'foot repair' pain was intense, greater than I'd anticipated. The months of rehabilitative care and the painful strain of physical therapy were traumatic. I really needed a safe environment to recuperate where I could shut off my phone and get back on my feet."The 60-year-old was known for heavy drug and alcohol abuse in the 1970s and early 1980s, but completed rehabilitation in 1986 .
Britain's Prince William has been named "Hottest Young Royal" in the world by Forbes magazine.The magazine describes him as having: "international intrigue and unparalleled media attention," combined with a "graceful public persona."
His brother, Prince Harry, placed second on the list.
Forbes used the "winning combinations of looks, money, and popularity on the Web" to come up with the list, it says. Only unmarried royals under the age of 35 were considered.
The "20 Hottest Young Royals" according to Forbes;01. Prince William (Britain)
02. Prince Harry (Britain)
03. Zara Phillips (Britain)
04. Princess Beatrice (Britain)
05. Charlotte Casiraghi (Monaco)
06. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (Dubai)
07. Princess Victoria (Sweden)
08. Prince Azim (Brunei)
09. Prince Carl Philip (Sweden)
10. Andrea Casiraghi (Monaco)
11. Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis (Germany)
12. Princess Madeline (Sweden)
13. Princess Theodora (Greece and Denmark)
14. Prince Wenzeslaus (Liechtenstein)
15. Princess Tsuguko (Japan)
16. Princess Sirivannavari (Thailand)
17. Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (United Arab Emirates)
18. Princess Iman bint Al Hussein (Jordan)
19. Prince Philippos (Greece and Denmark)
20. Princess Sikhanyiso (Swaziland)
Seems that in the past, after a holiday weekend gas prices would go down a few cents. Not so this year. The gasoline price record keeps getting broken with each passing day. AAA puts the national average for a gallon of regular at a record $3.95. It's jumped 35 cents in the past month and is 76-cents-a-gallon higher than a year ago. The auto club says the national average for premium is $4.35. That's an 84-cent-a-gallon jump over last year.
The oil barrel closed at $131.03 yesterday . At its low in the floor session, oil was more than $9 off the record high it hit last week above $135 a barrel.
Is it worth $150,000?
City officials in Houston are apparently willing to dig deep to defend the police department's ban on beards. The Houston City Council on Wednesday unanimously authorized spending up to $150,000 to defend the city in a lawsuit challenging the no-facial hair policy.
"The lawsuit is pending and we have to defend ourselves," Councilman Ron Green said. "But we're basically saying we want new police officers, but we don't want police officers with beards."
Four police officers filed a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming the policy is discriminatory. The officers say the prohibition on beards and goatees is unfair for men who suffer a skin condition that reacts negatively to shaving. The condition can cause severe irritation, rashes and ingrown hair. The police department instituted the policy in 1993 so uniformed officers would look conservative and professional, according to a city memo.
It's all about the second hand smoke and children.
According to a study from the University of Hong Kong, whose findings are published online May 28 in the journal Tobacco Control, in addition to developing asthma and respiratory infections, children in households where someone smokes are more likely to catch a whole range of severe infections, including meningococcal disease. Many even have to be hospitalized, a new study found.
Being around smoke during the first few months of life was most dangerous, especially if the newborn was born underweight or premature.
A New York lawyer is suing Delta Air Lines for $1 million, saying his family vacation turned into a nightmare after they were stranded in an airport for days and treated disdainfully by airline employees. The family spent three days in airports, went days without their luggage, were treated rudely by airline employees and were forced to spend $21,000 on unused hotel rooms in Argentina, replacement clothes, and other costs.
Where did she hide it?
Wife goes away to care for her ill mother. Husband needs to clean the house before she returns. Husband hires a maid to do it for him. Husband thinks with the wrong part of his body and hires a NUDE maid.The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said the 50-year-old man hired the maid from the Internet to clean his Tampa home.
Authorities said the woman arrived at the home in a one-piece, light colored dress. She took off the dress and cleaned the house for $100-per-hour. A sheriff's office spokeswoman said the man told deputies he left the maid alone in the bedroom to clean. Um, duh, do we need to ask?
When the man's wife came home from vacation, she discovered $40,000 in jewelry missing from their bedroom
Police are investigating. Wife took off for good :) .
FOUL CALL: NO FOUL CALL
Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
What Is Digital Television?
Digital Television (DTV) is an advanced broadcasting technology that will transform your television viewing experience. DTV enables broadcasters to offer television with better picture and sound quality. It can also offer multiple programming choices, called multicasting, and interactive capabilities.
Converting to DTV also will free up parts of the scarce and valuable broadcast spectrum. Those portions of the spectrum can then be used for other important services, such as public and safety services (police and fire departments, emergency rescue), and advanced wireless services.
The Transition to Digital TV
TV stations serving all markets in the United States are airing digital television programming today, although most will continue to provide analog programming through February 17, 2009. At that point, full-power TV stations will cease broadcasting on their current analog channels, and the spectrum they use for analog broadcasting will be reclaimed and put to other uses.
The Commission's digital tuner rule specifies that as of March 1, 2007, all new TVs must include digital tuners. This rule prohibits the manufacture, import, or interstate shipment of any device containing an analog tuner, unless it also contains a digital tuner. Despite this prohibition on manufacture and shipment, retailers may continue to sell analog-only devices from existing inventory. As a result, at the point of sale, many consumers may not be aware that this equipment will not be able to receive over-the-air-television signals after February 17, 2009.
To address this issue, the FCC has adopted a rule requiring sellers to display the following text if they are selling TV equipment with only an analog broadcast tuner:
This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission's digital television website at: www.DTV.gov.
Analog TVs Will Need Additional Equipment to Receive Over-the-air Television When the DTV Transition Ends
Consumers who rely on antennas (including outside antennas and "rabbit ears") to receive over-the-air broadcast signals on TV sets having only analog tuners will need to obtain separate digital-to-analog set-top converter boxes to watch over-the-air TV. These boxes receive digital signals and convert them into analog format for display on analog TVs. Analog sets connected to such converter boxes will display digital broadcasts, but not necessarily in the full, original digital quality.
Converter Box Coupon Program
Between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has responsibility for administering the coupon program. More information can be found at www.DTV2009.gov.
Cable and Satellite TV
Cable subscribers may need new DTV equipment to view DTV programming in digital format. You should ask your cable provider what you will need and when.
Satellite subscribers may need new DTV equipment to receive and view high definition digital programming. You should ask your satellite company what you will need and when.
Digital television Quality Levels
There are many quality levels of digital television programming. The most common are:
|Standard Definition TV (SDTV) - SDTV is the basic level of quality display and resolution for both analog and digital. Transmission of SDTV may be in either the traditional (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) format.|
|Enhanced Definition TV (EDTV) - EDTV is a step up from Analog Television. EDTV comes in 480p widescreen (16:9) or traditional (4:3) format and provides better picture quality than SDTV, but not as high as HDTV.|
|High Definition TV (HDTV) - HDTV in widescreen format (16:9) provides the highest resolution and picture quality of all digital broadcast formats. Combined with digitally enhanced sound technology, HDTV sets new standards for sound and picture quality in television. (Note: HDTV and digital TV are not the same thing — HDTV is one format of digital TV.)|
A New York state judge ruled Dell Inc. deceived customers in a massive "bait and switch" scheme to increase sales of its computer and electronic products .
State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sued Dell in 2007 on behalf of hundreds of customers who claimed that the electronics company lured them into buying products with promises of attractive deals and promotions. In reality, the lawsuit alleged, most customers were denied or misled into believing that they had been approved for low interest or financing rates.
The lawsuit also accused Dell of depriving customers of technical support that they were entitled to, in some instances, by pressuring them into performing repairs on their own or subjecting them to long wait times on the phone. In my opinion, and I've been there, the wait was due to the call being forwarded around the world.
"Dell has engaged in repeated misleading, deceptive and unlawful business conduct, including false and deceptive advertising of financing promotions and the terms of warranties, fraudulent, misleading and deceptive practices in credit financing and failure to provide warranty service and rebates," The judge said in his decision.
Can criminal behavior be due to lead poisoning?
Exposure to lead in early childhood or in the womb can cause permanent brain damage that may even cause criminal behavior, researchers reported on Tuesday.
Two studies showed that people with high levels of lead in childhood grew up with blocks of missing brain cells -- and they also were far more likely to be arrested for crimes, especially violent crimes.
Selling their baby on Craigslist?
A couple has been arrested in what Canadian police said was an apparent offer to sell a seven-day-old baby girl on Craigslist for C$10,000 ($10,100).
A woman who saw the offer on the popular website alerted police who tracked down the 23-year-old mother and 26-year-old father using a cell phone number that was listed in the advertisement. DUH. Police said the advertisement described the baby as "very cute" and "unexpected" and that its parents, who could not afford to care for it, wanted to give it a good home.
How much does our galaxy weigh?
The Milky Way galaxy weighs about 1 trillion times as much as our sun, according to a new estimate.
Previous estimates had ranged from 750 billion solar masses to up to 2 trillion. Astronomers have used a more refined method to conclude that our galaxy's mass is slightly less than 1 trillion solar masses.
FYI: the galaxy's mass is a mix of stars, gas, dust and mysterious dark matter.
Wanna buy a jail?
The Somerset County Jail in downtown Skowhegan is for sale. It has a price tag of $200,000.
The 14,000-square-foot lockup, which was built in 1897, is scheduled to shut down later this year when a new 200-bed county jail opens in Madison.
Many popular chain restaurants list in their menus “low-fat, low-calorie” options. These are targeted at health-conscious or want to be health-conscious eaters.
According to a new study, those meals may not be so guilt-free as they’re made out to be.
Eight Scripps TV stations took a sampling of diet menu items from popular chains such as Applebee's, Macaroni Grill, Chili's, Taco Bell and Cheesecake Factory. The took the carry out items to a lab for testing. Lab technicians tested a total of 23 items, finding that 78 percent had higher fat content than listed on the menu and almost 69 percent exceeded the calorie count listed, ABC News reported.
Bread & Butter - Listed: N/A
Test found: 1,428 cal / 65.6g fat
Pear and Endive Salad - Listed: 590 cal / fat N/A
Test found: 641 cal / 49.7g fat
Skinny Chicken - Listed: 500 cal / 6g fat
Test found: 1,022 cal / 49g fat
Simple Salmon - Listed: 600 calories / fat N/A
Test found: 555 calories / 35.6g fat
On the Border Mexican Grill
Chicken Fajitas - Listed: 570 cal / 9g fat
Test found: 654 cal / 26.5g fat
Chips, Salsa & Queso Dip - Listed: N/A
Test found: 2,067 calories / 117.1g fat
Guiltless Grill Black Bean Burger - Listed: 650 cal / 12g fat
Test found: 770 cal / 32.4g fat
Guiltless Grill Chicken Sandwich - Listed: 490 cal / 8g fat
Test found: 566 calories / 23.3g fat
Fresco Bean Burrito - Listed: 330 cal / 7g fat
Test found: 449 cal / 19.1g fat
Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco - Listed: 160 cal / 4.5g fat
Test found: 297 cal / 19.6g fat Source: KNXV
Federal regulations allow food labels to say there's zero grams of trans fat as long as there's less than half a gram per serving. And many packages contain more than what's considered one serving. The problem is that people often eat more than one serving and many people may eat two to three servings at a time.
Trans fat occurs naturally in some dairy and meat products, but the main source is partially hydrogenated oils, formed when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to harden them. Imagine what that does to your insides. Obviously and with good cause, consumer groups and health officials have campaigned to get rid of trans fat because it contributes to heart disease by raising levels of LDL or bad cholesterol while lowering HDL or good cholesterol. Fast-food restaurants are switching to trans fat-free oils and New York City and Philadelphia are forcing restaurants to phase out their use of trans fat.
The Food and Drug Administration began forcing food companies to list the amount of trans fat on nutrition labels of packaged foods in January 2006. That led many companies to switch to alternative fats.
Here is the skinny.
The American Heart Association recommends that people limit trans fats to less than 2 grams per day. However, because of a 'margin of error', labels are allowed to be within a half-gram threshold. Any trans fat in products labeled zero trans fat is likely to be far less than the half-gram threshold. For example, a little partially hydrogenated oil might be used to help seasoning stick.
So, at what calorie/nutrtion/fat costs will restaurants go to make their meals look more sellable?
Retail gas prices hit record highs for the 20th day in a row, according to AAA's Web site .The nationwide average for a gallon of regular unleaded rose to $3.937, up slightly from $3.936 the previous day.The climb in gas prices, which have steadily risen over the past three weeks, comes amid the start of the summer driving season, which unofficially kicked off over the past weekend.
And, we are driving less...
The Department of Transportation said figures from March show the steepest decrease in driving ever recorded.
Compared with March a year earlier, Americans drove an estimated 4.3 percent less -- that's 11 billion fewer miles, the DOT's Federal Highway Administration said Monday, calling it "the sharpest yearly drop for any month in FHWA history."
Aid workers and peacekeepers are sexually abusing young children in war zones and disaster zones but their actions are largely going unpunished. This is according to a Save the Children report.
"Children as young as six are trading sex with aid workers and peacekeepers in exchange for food, money, soap and, in very few cases, luxury items such as mobile phones,"
It also highlighted instances of rape, verbal sexual abuse, child pornography, prostitution and trafficking of youngsters, many of whom are poor, displaced or orphaned by conflict.
The group said the scale of abuse was "significant". Its findings were based on work with hundreds of youngsters from Ivory Coast, southern Sudan and Haiti, said the charity's chief executive Jasmine Whitbread.
Director and actor Sydney Pollack dies at 73. Pollack was diagnosed with cancer about nine months ago. Sydney Pollack is known directing films such as "Out of Africa," "Tootsie," and "Absence of Malice," not only for his Academy Award-winning direction, but also for his acting talents.
Ghost in a bottle for sale.
A company in the US is selling what they say are ghosts in a bottle. Ghostbusters capture the ghosts and the company then bottles them and sells them.
According to the company's website,
We seal the ghost in it's own bottle. The bottle is sealed for your protection.
No maintenance required; except occasional dusting.
You may release the Ghost at your own discretion and at your own risk.
The Ghost in the Bottle is contained mysteriously and is therefore sealed with wax shortly after the Ghost is caught. The bottle is sealed for your protection. It comes with very important information . We supply the Ghost, you supply the name. Individual Ghost experiences may vary as "Each Ghost is Unique"!
The goal behind the update is to reduce profile clutter. Facebook is known for it's clean layout, which many of its members value over the often cluttered MySpace profile pages.
Facebook has grown to about 70 million members and developers have created over 25,000 applications for the site. Member profiles have become very busy with comments, graphics, lists, alerts and the like. And this even though Facebook members have limited ability to alter things like fonts and colors.
The redesign will attempt to unclutter the profiles by redistributing their components to different tabs. The new plan calls for four main tabs—for the activity feed, basic member information, photos and applications. Members will be able to add more application tabs.
The activity feed tab will feature a new authoring control panel, called the Publisher Box, for creating and posting content. Meanwhile, the profile will have at the top a new horizontal navigation line with drop-down menus for its core features.
Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.
Memorial Day, 2008. President Bush will lay a wreath at Arlington Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknowns for one last time today on Memorial Day.
Soldiers are treated to High Rollin' Weekend.
A few dozen fellow soldiers took a private jet to Las Vegas over the weekend for an all-expenses-paid getaway with all the perks normally saved for casinos' richest regulars.
They were greeted at the airport by Wayne Newton, chilled backstage with the guys from Blue Man Group and hobnobbed with Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino mogul who runs Las Vegas Sands Corp. and paid for the trip.
The trip, organized by the Armed Forces Foundation, brought 40 wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md., to the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Armed Forces Foundation officials said the trip was a dream distraction from the everyday life at the hospitals, where the soldiers lived while recovering from their injuries.
We salute out oldest living Veteran on Memorial Day.
Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last known living American-born veteran of World War I, was honored Sunday at the Liberty Memorial during Memorial Day weekend celebrations. The 107-year-old veteran said at a ceremony to unveil his portrait which was hung in the main hallway of the National World War I Museum. Buckles toured the museum for the first time, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States presented him with a gold medal of merit.
Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the United States entered the "war to end all wars" in April 1917.
He was rejected by the Marines and the Navy, but eventually persuaded an Army captain he was 18 and enlisted, convincing him Missouri didn't keep public records of birth.
Buckles sailed for England in 1917 on the Carpathia, which is known for its rescue of Titanic survivors, and spent his tour of duty working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk in Germany and France. He rose to the rank of corporal and after Armistice Day he helped return prisoners of war to Germany.Buckles later traveled the world working for the shipping company White Star Line and was in the Philippines in 1940 when the Japanese invaded. He became a prisoner of war for nearly three years.
"Indiana Jones" hits it big this weekend
Harrison Ford stars in Paramount Pictures' "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." The fourth installment of the epic saga "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," grossed an estimated $101 million from Friday to Sunday, plus $25 million from its opening Thursday, distributor Paramount Pictures said. The company expects it to earn another $25 million on Monday.
BOX OFFICE TOP 10Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.
1. "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," $101 million.
2. "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," $23 million.
3. "Iron Man," $20.1 million.
4. "What Happens in Vegas," $9 million.
5. "Speed Racer," $4 million.
6. "Made of Honor," $3.4 million.
7. "Baby Mama," $3.3 million.
8. "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," $1.7 million.
9. "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," $900,000.
10. "The Visitor," $800,000.
"'Indiana Jones' did incredibly well for a film that comes 19 years after the previous installment," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of tracking firm Media By Numbers LLC.
More Storms Hit the Plains.
Powerful storms packing large hail, heavy rain and tornadoes made for a deadly Memorial Day weekend across the nation's midsection, killing at least seven people in Iowa and a 2-year-old child in Minnesota.
Phoenix has landed on Mars.
In an attempt to uncover clues to the geologic history and biological potential of the Martian arctic, Phoenix will return data from either polar region providing an important contribution to the research on Mars. "Follow the Water" and will be instrumental in achieving the four science goals of NASA's long-term Mars Exploration Program.
--Determine whether Life ever arose on Mars
--Characterize the Climate of Mars
--Characterize the Geology of Mars
--Prepare for Human Exploration
The Phoenix Mission has two bold objectives to support these goals, which are to (1) study the history of water in the Martian arctic and (2) search for evidence of a habitable zone and assess the biological potential of the ice-soil boundary.
The first pictures, which the lander began taking shortly after touching down near Mars' north pole -- the end of a 422 million-mile trek -- showed a pattern of brown polygons as far as the camera could see. The landing on the Red Planet's arctic plains -- which ended a 296-day journey -- was right on target, a feat NASA's Ed Weiler compared to landing a hole-in-one with a golf ball from 10,000 miles. The Phoenix's 90-day mission is to analyze the soils and permafrost of Mars' arctic tundra for signs of past or present life.The lander is equipped with a robotic arm capable of scooping up ice and dirt to look for organic evidence that life once existed there, or even exists now.
The lander took a photo of the ground's polygonal pattern, similar to icy ground in the arctic regions of Earth.SA's Mars Phoenix Lander began sending photos of the planet's surface on the first day of its three-month mission "to taste and sniff the northern polar site's soil and ice," the space agency said.