The Mysterious Dunes of Titan: Riddle Possibly Solved by Astronomers Sputnik InternationalThe Mysterious Dunes of Titan: Riddle Possibly Solved by Astronomers ? AP Photo NASA20:48 14.04.2015(updated 20:58 14.04.2015) Get short URLTitan is Saturn’s largest moon and the only natural satellite known to have a dense atmosphere, surface rivers, mountains and dunes. It has long intrigued researchers, and now one of its mysteries has apparently been unraveled.Titan, Saturn’s largest natural satellite, is one of the most intriguing Earthlike places in the solar system, with a dense atmosphere, surface rivers, mountains and dunes. Strangely, while Titan’s near-surface winds gust to the west, its dunes point to the east. It has long been shrouded in mystery why Titan’s dunes propagate eastward. Some scientists have suggested that the dunes strange eastward slant was caused by Saturn’s gravitational tides or wind dynamics or some specific land features. These explanations, however, did not seem to explain the phenomena entirely. ? Flickr Vladimir PustovitAliens Are Probably Huge 650-Pound Creatures, Scientist SaysNow, American astronomer Benjamin Charnay and his counterparts from the University of Washington have apparently solved the riddle of Titan’s dunes. According to the researchers, the direction of the dunes is attributed to strong methane storms raging high in Titan’s atmosphere. These winds do blow toward the east, the scientists pointed out. "These fast eastward gusts dominate the sand transport, and thus dunes propagate eastward," elaborated Charnay. Together with his colleagues the scientist created a computer model, demonstrating that methane storms, which happen every 14.75 years, could significantly affect the satellite’s surface. It should be noted that Titan’s dunes are composed of hydrocarbon polymers which are much heavier than terrestrial silicate sands. Charnay revealed that Titan’s gentle near-surface winds cannot lift and transport the dunes’ sands, while strong eastward methane winds which blow up to 10 meters a second (22 mph) obtain enough energy to rearrange the dunes. ? NASA Don DavisGiant Asteroid That Killed the Dinosaurs May Have Made Solid Earth Splash Like WaterThe astronomer underscored that direct observation of the satellite might confirm this hypothesis. However, the methane storms happen only when Titan is in equinox. Its latest equinox was registered in 2009, so the researchers have to wait 14.75 years for the next chance to prove their idea. Cassini, an unmanned spacecraft which was sent to the Saturn system by the European Space Agency in 1997 could have shed light on Titan’s dunes’ mystery. Alas, its mission will end in 2017, while the satellite’s next equinox will occur in 2023. But Charnay has not given up on proving his idea: "There will be other missions," he underscored, "There are still a lot of mysteries about Titan." Cassini captured this color portrait only a few minutes before Titan slipped behind Saturn http: t.co mW23Zlu0xf pic.twitter 6vkGskz6ij — Titan Saturn’s Moon (@TitanSaturnMoon) 12 �ѧ��֧ݧ� 2015 Indeed, scientists still cannot explain how Titan’s dense atmosphere was formed, and where the methane comes from. The mysterious moon is fascinating to astronomers as they cannot completely exclude the idea that life exists on Titan, hidden somewhere in its lakes and seas of methane.
Revealed: Amphetamines Never Approved for Humans in Supplements for Years Sputnik InternationalRevealed: Amphetamines Never Approved for Humans in Supplements for Years ? Flickr Rob22:40 08.04.2015(updated 22:46 08.04.2015) Get short URLA synthetic amphetamine that has never been tested on humans and may cause long-term problems has been found in herbal supplements and diet pills. And the catch is, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has known about it all along.According to a new study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis, of the 21 products tested, half claimed to be manufactured with Acacia rigidula, all of which tested positive for beta-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), a chemical only made in labs. "What we know is that in dogs and cats it can increase blood pressure, increase heart rate," Dr. Pieter Cohen, the lead of the study and a Harvard professor, said in an appearance on CBS. "These are things that are signals in humans will lead or turn into heart attacks, strokes and maybe even sudden death." ? Flickr Susy MorrisFDA Approves GMO Apples, Potatoes But Companies Won��t Use Them As it’s mission statement, the FDA "is tasked with identifying and removing mislabeled, adulterated, and dangerous dietary supplements from the marketplace. The extent to which the FDA is enforcing the law is not known." Apparently, the FDA failed to do so. "The FDA should immediately warn consumers about BMPEA and take aggressive enforcement action to eliminate BMPEA in dietary supplements," the study stated. "Physicians should remain vigilant for patients presenting with toxicity from sports and weight-loss supplements as they might contain undisclosed stimulants, such as BMPEA." The government agency asserted research on the presence of the chemical in Acacia rigidula was published in 2013, and that BMPEA causes no harm. ? Flickr ZaldyImgExperts Say US Agency Drug Review Proposal Endangers Patients "While our review of the available information on products containing BMPEA does not identify a specific safety concern at this time, the FDA will consider taking regulatory action, as appropriate, to protect consumers," said FDA spokeswoman Juli Putnam. But finding the chemical in the products isn’t the only job of the FDA. The study was conducted to determine whether BMPEA was removed from the supplements. And it wasn’t. Dr. Cohen expressed concern that companies often lace dietary supplements with chemicals that act like amphetamine and then hide them under obscure plant names to make it appear that the ingredients came from natural botanicals. ? AP Photo PRNewsfoto Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. According to blogger Josh Long, who covers the legal aspects of the natural supplement industry, the ten supplements found to contain BMPEA are manufactured by one company, Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals. When Long asked the company’s president about the chemical, he maintained that the amphetamine is a naturally occurring alkaloid produced by the plant itself, and thus all products that list it as an active ingredient should contain it, the Daily Beast reported. Law enforcement personnel plan to pursue actions against manufacturers which sell products that do not contain the ingredients listed on the bottle. Among the supplements found to contain BMPEA are JetFuel Superburn, JetFuel T-300, MX-LS7, Aro Black Series Burn, Black Widow, Dexaprine XR, Fastin-XR, Lipodrene Hardcore, Lipodrene Xtreme, Stimerex-ES, and Yellow Scorpion.
Cocaine Use Spread Throughout British Community ? Gov’t Anti-Drug Council Sputnik InternationalCocaine Use Spread Throughout British Community ? Gov’t Anti-Drug Council ? Flickr In a N.Y. State Of Mind22:14 12.03.2015(updated 22:41 12.03.2015) British government’s advisory council on the misuse of drugs reported that use of cocaine has spread throughout British society.MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Use of cocaine has spread throughout British society, with different social classes now getting addicted to the drug, British government’s advisory council on the misuse of drugs said in a report published Thursday. The report found that almost 10 percent of all British people aged 16-59 have used cocaine in their lifetime. “During 2013 14, an estimated 743,000 (range 667,000–820,000) individuals in England and Wales, aged 16 to 59 years, had used cocaine powder in the past year [Home Office, 2014]. Cocaine powder was the second most common illicit drug used by CSEW respondents in 2013 14, after cannabis [Home Office, 2014],” the report said. ? Flickr Valerie EverettOhio Man Arrested After Calling 911 to Report Wife Stole His CocaineThe report stated also that cheap cocaine and its availability may be among the reasons behind the increased prevalence of cocaine powder. “It is highly likely that increased availability of lower-quality, cheaper, cocaine powder is both a consequence of and a factor that has driven market expansion,” the report continued. The council highlighted that even a single episode of intranasal cocaine powder use can lead to life-threatening cardiac effects. The report recommended police teams work more closely with night-time venues to stop the spread of the dangerous drug. Cocaine is a drug obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine is highly addictive and can cause a sudden cardiac arrest.
History Re-Written: Kerry Claims US Never Backed ‘Color’ Revolutions Sputnik InternationalHistory Re-Written: Kerry Claims US Never Backed ‘Color’ Revolutions ? AP Photo J. Scott Applewhite16:49 09.03.2015(updated 19:51 09.03.2015) US Secretary of State John Kerry tries to re-write the history of American foreign policy, claiming that the United States has never been involved in multiple revolutions worldwide, an US political analyst reveals. ? Sputnik Michael KlimentyevExtremists Using ‘Color Technology’ Against Russia ? PutinEkaterina Blinova — When US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington has never been involved in "color" revolutions worldwide, he is either lying deliberately or having a blind spot about the US foreign policy, noted an American investigative journalist. Wayne Madsen, an American investigative journalist and expert in international affairs exposed an astonishingly long list of color revolutions, sponsored and organized by the United States beginning with the October 5th uprising in Serbia that resulted in the ousting of democratically-elected president Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. The author emphasized that "the United States supported the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, the Olive Tree Revolution in Palestine, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the Purple Revolution in Iraq, Blue Revolution in Kuwait, Saffron Revolution in Burma and the Crimson Revolution in Tibet (put down by the Chinese security forces), and the abortive Green Revolution in Iran," to name but a few. John Kerry, who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the period from 2009 to 2013 and was a member of the committee from 2000, could not have been unaware about "color" ("themed") uprisings orchestrated by the United States, the expert stressed. Furthermore, Kerry served as a chairman in a series of hearings from 1987 to 1989 on the CIA covert operations aimed at expelling of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the investigative journalist pointed out nailing the US Secretary of State for sheer hypocrisy. The Arab Spring has Sprung Europe into MiserySince the overthrow of Milosevic in 2000 Washington has carried out a series of "color" revolutions in rapid successions in different parts of the world. The "Arab Spring" that flared up in early 2010s can serve as a vivid example of "themed" uprisings. Remarkably, all the "street protest-turned-revolution" scenarios had a number of strikingly similar features. The rebellions followed the infamous Gene Sharp CIA manual and were backed by prominent US government-funded NGOs, such as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Additionally, according to Madsen, the traces of notorious American magnate George Soros and his organizations also surfaced in a number of "smaller attempted revolutions" from Honduras to Maldives, as well as in Tibet and Burma. He noted that in the last seven years China’s defenses has also been repeatedly tested by the American "social engineers," from the 2008 uprising in Tibet to the most recent turmoil in Hong Kong. Can John Kerry deny the fact that the "Euromaidan" revolution of 2013-2014 was sponsored and orchestrated by the United States? Alas, US President Obama has already publicly admitted the fact that Washington took part in the coup in Ukraine and brokered a deal to power transition from the democratically elected president Yanukovych to Kiev’s junta. "Kerry’s entire State Department top echelon has supported color revolutions under the Obama administration’s R2P (Responsibility to Protect) rubric since 2009," noted Wayne Madsen, adding that currently Washington is sponsoring Russian opposition groups and using economic and political sanctions over Ukraine as a tool to trigger a civil society discontent in Russia. Exposing the hypocrisy of the US Secretary of State, the expert remarked with a bitter irony that John Kerry "should be sent Crayola’s 64 crayon pack as a reminder that there has been at least that number of color revolutions" planned and carried out by Washington’s policy-makers across the world since 2000. ? Sputnik’Color revolution ‘technology
Creflo Dollar’s Gulfstream for God? – CNNStory highlightsSarah Posner is a contributing writer to Religion Dispatches and author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters (PoliPoint 2008). (CNN)Creflo Dollar’s new scheme to raise $60 million to purchase a luxury Gulfstream G650 airplane is the latest chapter in a long and sordid history of televangelists exploiting their churches’ tax-exempt status — and their congregants — to line their own pockets. Preaching the word of faith, or "prosperity gospel," and capitalizing on lax government oversight of his church’s finances has enriched Dollar and his family to the detriment of his followers and the American taxpayer.Sarah PosnerWorld Changers Church International, Dollar’s 30,000-member church, is a tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code. That means the church’s donors receive a tax exemption for their donations (including for Dollar’s new jet ambitions) and the church pays no tax on the revenue. What’s more, because it is organized as a church, the federal government does not require World Changers to file a publicly available tax return, as other nonprofit organizations are required to do. Those tax returns provide at least some financial information to donors and the public about the organization, including its revenues, assets, expenditures and executive compensation.Dollar is known for his custom suits, luxury homes and private jets that ferry him, among other places, from his home base in College Park, Georgia, to his satellite church in Manhattan, where he and his wife reportedly have a $2.5 million apartment. For Pastor Dollar, though, these excesses aren’t embarrassments. Instead, they are proof his theology works — that God blesses the faithful with abundant riches. Dollar tells his congregants to "sow a seed" with him, promising that a plentiful harvest will be their own blessing and, essentially, a return on their investment. Famous pastor scandals 7 photosFamous pastor scandals 7 photosCreflo Dollar – Atlanta-area megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar is one in a long line of prominent pastors to face accusations of wrongdoing. Dollar was arrested Friday, June 8, 2012, after his teenage daughter alleged he choked her. Dollar has denied the charges, which were later dropped. Here are some other famous scandals involving ministers.Hide Caption 1 of 7Famous pastor scandals 7 photosAimee Semple McPherson – A nationally known Pentecostal preacher who opened a $1.5 million temple in Los Angeles, Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared in 1926, re-emerging after a month to say she had been kidnapped and tortured. When her story unraveled, McPherson, pictured in 1935, was charged with perjury, although she was later acquitted.Hide Caption 2 of 7Famous pastor scandals 7 photosJim Bakker – Jim Bakker and his wife, Tammy Faye, led an evangelistic empire called PTL, or Praise the Lord, headquartered in their own theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina, near Charlotte, North Carolina. Revelations that Jim Bakker had paid former church secretary Jessica Hahn to keep quiet about a sexual encounter raised questions about his finances in the late 1980s. In 1989, he was sentenced to 45 years in prison for fleecing his flock of $158 million.Hide Caption 3 of 7Famous pastor scandals 7 photosJimmy Swaggart – The famous TV preacher was caught with a prostitute in a New Orleans hotel in 1988, but his tearful televised confession kept his $12-million-a-year, 10,000-employee religious empire together until he was linked to another prostitute in 1991. Lawsuits and an Internal Revenue Service tax lien put an end to Jimmy Swaggart’s media reign.Hide Caption 4 of 7Famous pastor scandals 7 photosTed Haggard – A gay escort accused Ted Haggard, then pastor of Colorado’s biggest church and president of the nation’s largest evangelical group, of paying him for drug-fueled sex in 2006. Haggard acknowledged receiving a massage from the man and buying methamphetamine, but he said he threw the drugs away. His church fired him for "sexually immoral conduct."Hide Caption 5 of 7Famous pastor scandals 7 photosEddie Long – In a 2010 lawsuit, four former congregants of Bishop Eddie Long’s Atlanta-area megachurch accused the pastor of using his position and expensive gifts, such as cars and international trips, to coerce them into sexual acts while they were teens. Long, pictured in 2010, denied the allegations and settled with the young men in 2011.Hide Caption 6 of 7Famous pastor scandals 7 photosMarcus Lamb – A televangelist and founder of the Daystar Television Network, the Rev. Marcus Lamb confessed that he cheated on his wife, Joni Lamb, who also leads the network, in front of his TV audience in 2010, saying he was coming clean in the face of a $7.5 million extortion attempt.Hide Caption 7 of 7EXPAND GALLERYTo promoters of the word of faith, or prosperity gospel, "sowing a seed" with your pastor is required for God’s blessing, even if you’re taking it out of your rent money or the last remaining cash in your wallet.Many Christians find word of faith a heretical theology, an embarrassing distortion of Jesus’s teachings, not to mention a fraud on congregants. While the government cannot constitutionally mediate theological disputes or otherwise interfere in a church’s internal affairs, it can use its oversight powers to ensure that preachers who use their pulpits for profit don’t exploit the tax advantages afforded to ordinary houses of worship to pursue their legitimate charitable purposes.In 2007, the Senate Finance Committee, under the chairmanship of Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, launched an investigation into the financial practices of six televangelists, including Dollar. The committee requested documents from Dollar and his wife, Taffi, explaining that taxpayers "should be assured that their donations are being used for the tax exempt purposes of the organizations." The documents sought by the committee included audited financial statements for World Changers, information about related for-profit and nonprofit entities and data on executive compensation and the church’s real and personal assets.More than three years later, after an outcry from the televangelists, most visibly, Dollar’s mentor Kenneth Copeland, the committee opted to abandon its efforts to instigate any sort of regulatory changes. Instead, the committee called on the ministries to engage in "self reform," even though the committee staff’s findings plainly demonstrated that four of the ministries, including Dollar’s, were unwilling to engage in any sort of meaningful transparency or accountability. Of the six televangelists from whom the committee sought financial data, Dollar was deemed the "least cooperative." Without Dollar’s cooperation, the committee was left to piece together a puzzle about his finances through public documents, third parties and news reports. It concluded that in 2006, World Changers had received $69 million in contributions at its Atlanta church alone, that the Dollars owned two multimillion dollar homes in Georgia, and that the church and related business entities had at various points owned four different aircraft flown for personal use — although none were nearly as pricey as the luxury Gulfstream Dollar now seeks to acquire. The committee staff was clearly troubled by the array of business entities, "including private airports and aircraft leasing companies," that raised red flags "about the use of the church’s tax-exempt status to avoid taxation." Precisely because of Dollar’s lack of cooperation, the staff concluded, "we are unable to determine whether and the extent to which they are reporting and paying taxes on income earned in those entities."Dollar is now looking to raise $60 million for this new aircraft, purportedly "to continue reaching a lost and dying world for the Lord Jesus Christ." Four years after the abandonment of the Senate Finance Committee’s televangelist investigation, it looks like the absence of government oversight has only emboldened Creflo Dollar.Read CNNOpinion’s new Flipboard magazine.Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.Join us on Facebook CNNOpinion.