5000 year old ancient alien beads are from out of this world


An Egyptian meteorite bead.

The bead was found south of Cairo, Egypt

Cathy Newman

Talk about heaven sent—a 5,000-year-old iron bead found in a grave in Gerzeh, about 43 miles south of Cairo, Egypt, has been analyzed and found to be made from a meteorite.

According to the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science, the bead represents the earliest known use of iron in Egypt. “The sky was very important to the ancient Egyptians,” Joyce Tyldesley, a co-author of the study, told Nature News. “Something that falls from the sky is going to be considered as a gift from the gods.”

Egyptian meteorite bead

The few iron artifacts discovered previously were associated with high-status graves like that of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun. The Gerzeh bead was examined with optical imaging, as well as with an electron scanning microscope and a CT scanner. The nickel-rich areas in the virtual model (bottom, left) are colored blue and indicative of its meteoritic origin.

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American Idol judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj both gone from show!


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Mariah Carey And Nicki Minaj Leave ‘American Idol’

After a single season at the judges’ table, both stars announce they’re moving on.

Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj are leaving “American Idol.” And while the Lambs and the Barbz might be a little bummed they won’t be able to watch their fave divas on the small screen, they have something else to look forward to: a world tour from MC and new music from Minaj.

Publicity firm PMK tweeted, “W/ global success of “#Beautiful” (#1 in 30+ countries so far) @MariahCarey confirms world tour & says goodbye 2 Idol.” Carey retweeted the announcement just a few minutes later.

Although Mariah’s “one and done” work on “American Idol” has been a source of speculation for months, rumors intensified after Carey parted ways with her fellow judge and longtime manager Randy Jackson on May 8. The next day, Jackson announced that he would be leaving “Idol” himself after 12 seasons.

Shortly after Carey’s departure became public, Nicki Minaj announced that she, too, would be moving on from “Idol.”

“Thank you American Idol….Time to focus on the music,” she tweeted.

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Minaj and Carey’s announcements come on the heels of last week’s reports that former “Idol” contestant Jennifer Hudson may be returning to the show, but this time behind the judges’ table, rather than on stage.

With the departure of three of its celebrity judges, the future of “American Idol” remains up in the air. Season 12 was the show’s lowest-rated since its rookie year, suggesting that audiences may be tiring of its formula or are perhaps defecting to one or more of the reality-competition imitators which sprung up in the wake of its success.

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ZInco do Brasil Developing and operating world-class mining assets


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Zinco Do Brasil
100 Park Avenue
Suite 1600
New York, NY 10017
Ph: (212) 984-0628

Email: info@turkpowercorp.com
Website: http://www.zincodobrasil.com

Ryan E. Hart: CEO

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OTCQB Logo

Shares Outstanding 23,728,331 a/o Apr. 23 2013
Float    
Authorized Shares 300,000,000  

CIK 0001368055
SOS: Delaware
.Year end: 05/31

Zinco do Brasil, Inc.

Company Profile

Zinco do Brasil, Inc. (“Zinco”) is a publicly listed company (Ticker: ZNBR). The Company recently acquired 99.9% of Zinco do Brasil Mineracao Ltda., which owns 30 mineral rights for a total of 44,665 hectares in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The mineral rights are split between two projects: “Salobro”, which consists of 2 mining rights for an area of 1,685 hectares, and “Gorutuba” with 28 mining rights for an area of 42,980 hectares.
 
The Company expects the Salobro reserves to increase by 30 – 50% during the exploration drillings scheduled for Q2 and Q3 of 2013 to prove up reserves to 43-101 standard. The Salobro project is expected to go into production in Q1 of 2016 and to produce in excess of 30,000 metric tons of Zinc and 5,000 metric tons of Lead per year during the mine-life of 10 years (13 – 15 years after reserve increase of 30 – 50%), with an IRR of 24 – 71% (pending Zinc and Lead prices) and a payback of 1.4 to 3.5 years from commencement of operation.
 
The Gorutuba project consists of 28 mining rights containing an area of 42,980 hectares in total. Geophysical interpretation of the area was developed based on data gained from airborne geophysical survey conducted by the State of Minas Gerais. The study revealed that the geophysical characteristics of the Salobro deposit are highly correlated with seven targets within the Gorutuba project area, showing similar anomalies like Salobro. The extent of the seven selected targets is 17 km (compared to 2.35km of Salobro) and a drill program is scheduled to start during 2013 to confirm each deposit. Initial geochemical studies indicated other anomalies of Copper and Gold within the Gorutuba projects/targets.
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Zinc and Lead Outlook & Market

The near term outlook for zinc consumption remains positive despite a global economic slowdown in most countries and particularly in Europe, with forecast growth of 5.2% in 2013 and 5% in 2014. The Asian economies are key to the moderate growth forecast over the next few years.
 
The expected closure of many large mines over the next several years and the lack of major new mines in the development pipeline continue to provide a very bullish  intermediate  to  long term outlook for zinc. The closure of several large mines are evident in the reduced growth in mine output in 2014 and a shift from oversupply to supply shortfall.
 

The Supply Challenge for new Zinc and Lead Projects

An overview of new mine development is instructive and indicates that many of the new mines rely on existing mine and ormill  infrastructure.  These  include  Half  Mile  Lake  (Canada)  and  Brace McLeod (Canada); other projects are restarts or expansions: ScoZinc (Canada), Satander (Peru), Pachapaqui (Peru), Lombador (Spain), Olympias (Greece), Rasp (Australia); and some new  mines like Dairi  (Indonesia), Al Massane  (Saudi Arabia), Altintopkan  (Tajikistan),  Khandiza (Uzbekistan), Dugald River (Australia), Perkoa (Burkina Faso) and Bisha (Eritrea).
 
Almost all of the restarts and expansions are small, with less than 100,000 tonnes annual production, whereas the new mines are generally larger and in all cases financed by large mining companies. The costs of the restarts and expansions are modest compared to the new mines, and most of these types of projects are now underway, leaving the new mine projects with much higher capital cost for development.
 
Much of the new mine supply must come from new greenfields projects. As senior project debt financing remains essentially unavailable to small producers  and  developers  these  projects will require either joint venture financing or sale to a major company, to advance them to production. Most major mining companies have left the zinc space, with Anglo being the most recent example. Selwyn selected Yunnan Chihong Zinc & Germanium Co. Ltd. to finance Selwyn Project to bankable feasibility and provide project senior project debt with the Chinese banks.

 
The few remaining major mining companies interested in zinc and lead, and outside of China, include Xstrata, Hindustan Zinc, Glencore Nyrstar, Votorantim and Teck. They will largely be responsible for ensuring adequate global zinc supply outside of China.

Given the approximate 1.9M tonnes of lost production due to pending mine closures by 2015, and annual demand growth of more than  500,000  tonnes  per  annum,  one  or  more  of  these large  mines  is  needed each  year commencing 2015.

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GreeneStone Receives Landlord Approval for Lease Extension and Financing


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GreeneStone Healthcare Corporation (OTCBB:GRST), a provider of Healthcare services and operator of several mental health clinics, announced today the agreement with the Landlord of its 5734 Yonge Street location for a Lease Extension and financing for its leasehold improvements and equipment.

GreeneStone previously announced this initiative in March of this year and initially leased this location as a sublet from The Rothbart Pain Clinic in June of 2010 for the balance of the term on Rothbart’s lease expiring July 31, 2013.

The new lease agreement commences August 1, 2013. Occupancy rates are similar to that of the sublet with an initial five-year term including the option to extend for an additional five years. The landlord will contribute $50,000 for leasehold improvements and has offered an unsecured loan of $75,000 for the same purpose. The loan will be amortized over the first five year term of the lease and will bear interest at bank prime plus 1%. As part of the sublease Rothbart held approximately $60,000 in prepaid rent. The three amounts together will give the Company approximately $185,000 in financing for the renovation and improvement of the space. The renovation of the entire 7,903 square feet will include the previously announced surgical suite.

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Shawn Leon, GreeneStone’s chief executive officer stated, “Part of the Company’s overall goals for the rest of this year are to increase revenue in all GreeneStone divisions and to contain costs by managing payroll and occupancy costs. This new lease arrangement and renovation will contribute greatly to these efforts and will increase the number of doctors we can staff, from three, to nine.”

The CEO, CFO and two other employee’s working in the mental health division will be temporarily displaced so that once the Company leases additional new space, the out-patient, aftercare and displaced staff will be operating out of this new location which GreeneStone expects to finalize and announce imminently. The renovation will increase the size of the recovery area, waiting room, administration office, and add one new procedure room and one new surgery suite all of which will increase the capacity of the clinic. The Company will rebrand this clinic from ‘GreeneStone Clinic Toronto’ to ‘Greenestone Surgery and Endoscopy’.

The surgical suite will be a Level 3 Out of Hospital Premise (OHP) as described in the guidelines of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario CPSO). This surgical suite will allow the Company to perform gastric banding as a natural extension to its gastroenterology work. It will also allow the Company to earn income from other non-related procedures such as plastic surgery. This additional revenue leverages much of our infrastructure at this clinic and will improve the bottom line. This suite is expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2013.

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About GreeneStone Healthcare Corporation

GreeneStone Healthcare Corporation (OTCBB:GRST) operates medical and healthcare clinics in Ontario, Canada. GreeneStone’s clinics serve to add overflow capacity to an increasingly stretched provincial healthcare system, and provide private alternatives to publicly available healthcare services. Its four medical clinics (three in Toronto, along with a facility in Muskoka, Ontario) offer various medical services, including addiction treatment, endoscopy, minor cosmetic procedures, and executive health care services. The Company currently has more than 60 employees and is based in North York, Ontario. For more information you can visit our website at www.greenestone.net.

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Mt. Everest gridlocked with climbers


Everest crowds: The world’s highest traffic jam

By Jon Kelly

Climbers in a "traffic jam" on Everest in May 2012 A “traffic jam” of climbers en route to the summit

Six decades after it was conquered, mountaineers complain that the summit of Mount Everest has become virtually gridlocked with climbers. How did the world’s highest mountain become so congested?

In May 1953 Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay stood alone together at the very top of the world.

Nowadays, the same spot is rather less desolate.

Thanks to advances in mountaineering equipment and the indefatigable efforts of Sherpa guides, more climbers than ever are reaching the peak of Mount Everest – a landmark that was once believed to be impossible to surmount.

According to National Geographic, in 1990 18% of summit attempts were successful. By 2012 that figure stood at 56%.

But this has come at a cost. Critics say the summit has become as congested as a five-lane motorway during bank holiday weekend.

On a single day in 2012, no fewer than 234 climbers reached the peak. By contrast, as recently as 1983 the most successful ascents in a single day was eight, and a decade later that figure stood at 40.

Everest graph

This year some complained of waiting two-and-a-half hours in queues at bottlenecks on their way to the summit.

A striking photograph by German mountaineer Ralf Dujmovits – which showed a queue hundreds-long snaking its way up during 2012 – ignited a debate about whether the procession was ruining enjoyment of the ascent.

Westerners can pay anything from $10,000 (£6,600) to $100,000 (£66,000) for permits to climb the mountain and guides to accompany them, and a sizeable tourist industry has sprung up around the base – bringing with it complaints about litter and poor sanitation for miles around.

“There were just people everywhere,” says Ayisha Jessa, 31, a keen climber from London who recently visited Everest’s base camp. At the nearby village of Namachi, she says, “it’s completely commercialised – everything is intended for the Western traveller”.

For many serious climbers, all this has served to devalue Everest.

“It isn’t a wilderness experience – it’s a McDonald’s experience,” says Graham Hoyland, an experienced mountaineer and author of The Last Hours on Everest, an account of the ill-fated 1924 ascent by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine.

Sherpa collecting rubbish left by climbers in 2010

Advances in weather forecasting mean climbers time their attempts to the same few days each year, worsening the bottlenecks. A better understanding of altitude sickness has also helped more mountaineers ascend 8,848m (29,029ft) to the summit.

For their financial outlay, Westerners are given a plentiful supply of oxygen and, very often, a Nepalese mountain guide assigned specifically to ensure they get to the top.

The tour parties also ascend using fixed ropes, which help less accomplished climbers but are believed by many elite mountaineers to detract from the sport.

Thanks to all this assistance, more than 3,000 individuals have scaled the mountain since 1953.

closed circuit oxygen

Mount Everest was once the domain of elite mountaineers.

Technical advancements, increased safety and decreased cost have seen growing numbers attempt to scale the world’s highest mountain.

They include Californian Jordan Romero, who in 2010 became the youngest person to climb Everest aged 13, and 80-year old Yuichiro Miura from Japan, who set the most recent record for the oldest summiteer. An 81-year-old, Nepalese Min Bahadur Sherchan, is attempting to snatch Miura’s title.

“Normally, as long as they are not too ill or too weak, nearly everyone – if they have enough money and patience – can get up Everest,” says Eberhard Jurgalski, who has attempted to chronicle every Everest ascent since 1953.

“Also, if the weather hasn’t been good for a few weeks it becomes much more crowded on the days you can climb.”

Some worry that the influx of inexperienced climbers on to such potentially hazardous terrain could have tragic consequences.

“You have people going up there who don’t know how to operate the ropes or use the crampons,” says Hoyland. “There’s a huge disaster waiting to happen.”

In 1996, eight people died within 36 hours near the summit. In 2012, some 10 lives were lost on the mountain, three of them Sherpas.

Chart showing numbers of climbers and deaths

So it’s not surprising that tensions have built up.

According to Hoyland, experienced climbers have grown frustrated that long queues of amateurs using fixed ropes are slowing them down.

Tempers on the mountain boiled over in April when a scuffle broke out at 7,470m (24,500ft) between two well-known European climbers, Ueli Steck and Simone Moro, and a group of Nepalese mountain guides.

While complaints are still made about litter and human waste on the mountain, a series of clean-up expeditions has improved the environmental situation, Hoyland says.

But as Nepalese authorities face calls to take further action, proposals to remedy Everest’s congestion have sharply divided climbers.

One expedition company has suggested installing a ladder at the Hillary Step, a rocky outcrop just before the summit, where only one person can go up or down at any one time. But purists complain this would lessen the challenge of scaling the mountain.

Mountaineers on Hillary Step Mountaineers wait their turn at the Hillary Step

Another proposed solution would be to limit the number of climbers. Until 1985, the Nepalese authorities allowed only one expedition on each route to the summit at any one time, and in theory this practice could be revived.

Others suggest, candidates for a permit could be required to undergo training or at least demonstrate mountaineering experience. “If everyone going up had at least a little bit of an idea about the culture of climbing, that would make a big difference,” says Hoyland.

But the notion of imposing quotas sits uneasily with many in the free-spirited world of mountaineering.

Sir Chris Bonington, who reached the summit aged 50 in 1985, says he is grateful that he was there at a time when crowds were restricted.

However, while he believes there is much that can be done to improve Everest’s management, he feels uneasy with the idea of denying to others the opportunity he enjoyed.

“If you say there are only 100 or 200 people coming each year, that’s a lot of people who will never be able to share the incredible personal experience of getting to the top of the mountain,” Sir Chris says.

Restricting the number of visitors would also have a major impact on those who rely on tourism for their income.

“It’s a mountain that people live on, and the local community is completely supported by the climbers,” says Jessa.

The debate will rumble on. And as long as the memory of Hillary and Norgay’s achievement persists, the crowds will keep coming.

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Base camp sign

Alien Debris found on the Moon in Lunar Craters


Strange minerals detected at the centers of impact craters on the moon may be the shattered remains of the space rocks that made the craters and not exhumed bits of the moon’s interior, as had been previously thought.

The foreign matter in the craters is probably asteroid debris and some could even be from Earth, which has thrown off its share of material as it’s been battered by asteroids and comets over the eons.

The discovery comes not from finding anything new in the craters themselves, but by planetary scientists who were looking at models of how meteorite impacts affect the moon. Specifically, the researchers simulated some high-angle, exceptionally slow impacts — at least slow compared to possible impact speeds — and they were surprised at what they found.

“Nobody has done it at such high resolution,” said planetary scientist Jay Melosh of Purdue University. Melosh and his colleagues published a paper on the discovery in the May 26 online issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

They found that when a slow enough impact happened, at speeds of less than 27,000 miles per hour (43,000 kph), the rock that struck doesn’t necessarily vaporize. Instead, it gets shattered into a rain of debris that is then swept back down the crater sides and piles up in the crater’s central peak.

In the case of craters like Copernicus (pictured top), the foreign material stands out because it contains minerals called spinels. These only form under great pressure — in the Earth’s mantle, for instance, and perhaps in the mantle of the moon. But spinels are also common in some asteroids, said Melosh, which are fragments of broken or failed planets from earlier days in the formation of our solar system.

The team has concluded, therefore, that the unusual minerals observed in the central peaks of many lunar impact craters are not lunar natives, but imports.

That conclusion could also explain why the same minerals, if they were instead from the interior of the moon, are not found in the largest impact basins — as would be expected if the impact event was larger and penetrated deeper into the moon.

“An origin from within the Moon does not readily explain why the observed spinel deposits are associated with craters like Tycho and Copernicus instead of the largest impact basins,” writes Arizona State University researcher Erik Asphaug in a commentary on the paper. “Excavation of deep-seated materials should favor the largest cratering events.”

The new impact modeling also implies that pockets of early Earth material might be in cold storage on the moon, says Asphaug. The young Earth was bombarded with asteroids that sent terrestrial debris into space at speeds that were pretty slow and within the range of this model.

“Even more provocative,” explains Asphaug, “is the suggestion that we might someday find Earth’s protobiological materials, no longer available on our geologically active and repeatedly recycled planet, in dry storage up in the lunar ‘attic’.”

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Original Apple Computer fetches 671K at auction


Apple-1

And here you thought a coffee date with Apple CEO Tim Cook was expensive. Unfortunately, vintage Apple hardware commands a bit more of a price than a one-hour coffee chit-chat with Cook – albeit barely.

An original version of the Apple-I computer – signed by cofounder Steve Wozniak himself – has managed to fetch a staggeringly high price at a recent auction, more than $200,000 higher than auction house Auction Team Breaker estimated as the highest price that Apple’s first-ever computer might have generated.

The system, originally owned by electrical engineer Fred Hatfield, is one of 46 known units still in existence out of an original lot of 200 systems crafted up by Wozniak and late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. The auctioned-off system even came with a letter from Jobs himself, offering Hatfield all of $400 if he would trade in his Apple I for an upgraded Apple II.

Hatfield seems to have (wisely) declined.

The Apple I auction came to a final total of $671,000, all of $31,000 higher than the last Apple I unit sold by the same auction house last November. Previously, Apple I systems have set sales records of around $375,000 when auctioned; the market for original Apple devices has certainly ballooned up since that point, an auction for an Apple I motherboard held in June of 2012.

The aforementioned Apple I computer was originally set at a minimum sales price of $116,000. However, the ballooning up of the device’s selling price could be attributed to the simple fact that the Apple I remains a core part of the company’s history – “the physical artifact that traces this incredible success to its origins,” said Computer History Museum curator Dag Spicer in an interview with The New York Times.

And, we note, the fact that the system itself seems to function sans issue.

It’s not as if previous Apple I systems have always managed to sell high at auctions. According to the Times, a nonworking Apple I computer didn’t even manage to meet its reserve price of slightly over $75,000 when auctioned last year in London. Hatfield’s system is functional – helping it to draw a higher price, in addition to the colorful story behind the system itself.

It’s unknown who the exact seller was who purchased the Apple-I system up for grabs, save for the fact that he’s apparently some kind of “wealthy entrepreneur from the Far East,” reports United Press International. The system’s seller is similarly mysterious; a “young American who works for a software company,” reports the Times, who brought the system to the auction cloaked in a blanket.

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New Special edition Porsche Supercar


Porsche’s Entry in the Science Fair

Porsche Cars North America

UNLEASH THE ENGINEERS The 918 is an 887-horsepower hybrid supercar with all-wheel drive, 4-wheel steering and fuel economy as high as 71 m.p.g.

By AARON ROBINSON

Most auto engineers spend their lives on short leashes, constantly straining against the limitations of cost and market acceptance and whispering questions that begin with, “What if…?”

Porsche Cars North America

The Porsche 918 Spyder.

As in, what if Porsche, a German brand with a 75-year pedigree of building winning racers and delightful sports cars, threw into a single vehicle everything it knows about advanced materials, hybrid-electric powertrains, sophisticated electronics and the shaping of car bodies both to appease the wind and to get wealthy buyers to drop to their knees.

The forthcoming Porsche 918 Spyder, an $846,000 gasoline-electric hybrid supercar with all-wheel drive and 4-wheel steering, scheduled to arrive at dealers next year, is what can happen when management lets its white-coated geniuses run loose. Production is to begin on Sept. 18 — as in 9/18 — and a total of 918 are to be built.

The rakish two-seater is both a technical reach and a business risk for Porsche. Though the Toyota Prius and others have proved the quotidian reliability of hybrids, no automaker has yet put such a powerful hybrid on the road. The 918’s 4.6-liter gasoline V-8 has a redline of 9,000 r.p.m. and pairs with two electric motors, one driving the front axle and one between the midmounted engine and its 7-speed automated gearbox.

The combined horsepower is 887, which should propel the car to 60 m.p.h. in about 2.6 seconds and take it to a top speed of 211 m.p.h.

The mostly carbon-fiber 918 will travel up to 18 miles on electric power, at speeds up to 93 m.p.h., Porsche says. On European fuel economy tests, the car has achieved 71 m.p.g. while running in its most efficient mode.

Even among the many stupendous rewards that signal their owners’ financial success, the 918 will be a standout.

Though Porsche’s self-imposed technical challenges were formidable, the company had no other choice if the 918 is to have a hope of success. The market for cars over $250,000 is extremely small, and it’s increasingly hard to bedazzle the few highly jaded buyers at the high end. With up to 1,200 horsepower, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, priced around $2 million, has already established the likely upper power limit for street-legal cars.

So instead of brute force, Porsche, as well as rivals like Mclaren with its planned P1, Ferrari with its limited-edition LaFerrari and even Honda with its forthcoming Acura NSX, have turned to lightweight construction and hybrid technology.

The reasons to go hybrid now include social acceptance in Europe, where reducing carbon emissions is a priority, and the expectation that more localities will join cities like London, Berlin and Stockholm in having zones open only to low- or zero-emissions vehicles. A 918 running in electric mode would qualify.

Also, new rules for Formula One racing, which mandate smaller hybrid engines in 2014, will help to link the technology with a sporting image.

The 918’s hybrid hardware also lets engineers better control power distribution to the wheels to aid handling. In the 918, which has about 50 microprocessors onboard, the front-axle motor can vary its torque side to side, which along with the 4-wheel steering helps aim the car at corners and makes it more stable under braking and acceleration.

But Porsche’s success with the 918 is hardly guaranteed. While the costs of developing such tech flagships are high, the sales can be fleeting. Porsche’s last foray into the market’s upper stratosphere was the $448,000 Carrera GT, a 605-horsepower roadster with a V-10 engine. That car was canceled in 2007 after 1,270 were built — well short of the sales goal of 1,500.

Porsche is a known risk-taker, having twice gambled its reputation on unexpected products, first with the Cayenne S.U.V. and then with the Panamera sedan. Both have paid off richly. The Cayenne quickly became Porsche’s best-selling vehicle worldwide, and it positioned the brand for growth in Asia. The Panamera has also exceeded sales expectations, helping Porsche to its best sales year ever in 2012.

Still, an $846,000 toy from a brand that is considered only near-exotic may prove a stretch. When the required $250,000 deposits came in at a slower pace than expected, Porsche began inundating the media with teaser photos and “preview ride” opportunities for journalists. The company says it now has more than 400 deposits.

What if the 918 never makes its sales target? With the car still almost a year away, Porsche isn’t ready to ponder that possibility.

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An Invasion that was 17 years in the planning


17 Years to Hatch an Invasion

From North Carolina to Connecticut, billions of creatures with eyes the color of blood and bodies the color of coal are crawling out of the earth. Periodical cicadas are emerging en masse, clambering into trees and singing a shivering chorus that can be heard for miles.

 What makes this emergence truly remarkable, however, is how long it’s been in the making. This month’s army of periodical cicadas was born in 1996. Their mothers laid their eggs in the branches of trees, where they developed for a few weeks before hatching and heading for the ground. “They just jumped out and rained down out of the trees,” said Chris Simon, a cicada biologist at the University of Connecticut.

Those Clinton-era larvae then squirmed into the dirt and spent the next 17 years sucking fluid from tree roots. Now, at last, they are ready to produce the next generation. The adult males are snapping rigid plates on their abdomens to produce their courtship song. The females are clicking their wings to signal approval. They will mate and then die shortly afterward. Their time in the sun is short, but their 17-year life span makes them the longest-lived insects known.

After 17 years, we humans are just barely getting started in life. A mouse, by contrast, needs just seven weeks to become sexually mature, and it will live only a few years more. Yet mice are like Methuselah compared with the gastrotrich, a water-dwelling invertebrate the size of a poppy seed. Three days after it hatches, it’s laying eggs, and days later it’s dead.

In any given species, the pace of life evolves. Natural selection is constantly shaping its genes, adapting it to its environment. How long a species lives and how much of that life it takes to reach adulthood are evolving just like every other trait.

For periodical cicadas (usually pronounced sih-KAY-duhz), evolution favors growing up in sync. They can find protection from ravenous birds in huge numbers. There simply aren’t enough birds at any moment to eat a few billion cicadas at once.

This strategy has worked so well, in fact, that cicadas have lost their other defenses. They even fly sluggishly. When errant cicadas emerge in the wrong year, they are quickly eradicated by birds — along with their errant genes.

For a fast-growing cicada, Dr. Simon suspects, natural selection favors patience. “It’s better to wait till everyone catches up,” said Dr. Simon. As a result, evolution favors a long life in cicadas.

Only some of the periodical cicadas in the eastern United States are emerging at the moment. They’re known collectively as Brood II. In other regions, other broods emerge in different years. Last year, for example, Brood I emerged in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee. All told, there are 15 broods lurking in the ground around the United States. Twelve have a 17-year cycle, and three have a 13-year cycle.

To study all these broods, Dr. Simon and her colleagues usually spend spring traveling around the country. (This month she’s heading to North Carolina to check out the southern edge of Brood II.) The rest of the year, they study the insects and their DNA. In a new study published in April, Dr. Simon and her colleagues reported that the common ancestor of all the periodical cicadas in the United States lived four million years ago.

Its descendants then evolved with remarkable speed. “We know that during the last half million years, periodical cicadas have switched between 13- and 17-year life cycles at least eight times,” said Dr. Simon. “There’s a lot of this life-cycle switching going on.”

Dr. Simon suspects that the switch happens when populations of cicadas expand into territories where other cicadas are already buried in the ground. The immigrants that keep to their old schedule get wiped out, while any oddballs that happen to match the resident cicadas can blend in and survive.

“They just get sucked into the brood,” said Dr. Simon. That would explain how the different species in a brood always manage to follow the same timetable. To do otherwise spells doom.

Four years is, of course, quite a change to the appointment calendar. How cicadas can make such a drastic switch remains for Dr. Simon and other cicada experts to discover. It’s possible that a minor difference in the DNA of cicadas can trigger it.

This summer, after Brood II is dead and its eggs have rained to the earth, Dr. Simon and her colleagues will be probing the genomes of cicadas for that switch, hoping to find another clue to one of the world’s great life cycles.

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Mammoth Python fought and killed in Florida by man with a knife


A Miami man caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever captured in the state of Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

 
A Miami man caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever captured in the state of Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

A Miami man caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever captured in the state of Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Jason Leon was driving late at night on May 11 in a rural area of southeast Miami-Dade County when he saw about 3 feet of a snake sticking out of the bushes. Having owned and handled Burmese pythons in the past, according to FWC, Leon pulled an 18-foot, 8-inch female from the roadside. The snake wrapped itself around Leon’s leg, and he called for assistance.

He used a knife to kill the snake.

“Jason Leon’s nighttime sighting and capture of a Burmese python of more than 18 feet in length is a notable accomplishment that set a Florida record. The FWC is grateful to him both for safely removing such a large Burmese python and for reporting its capture,” said Kristen Sommers, with FWC, in a release.

The snake weighed 128 pounds and was not carrying eggs. The previous record was a 17-feet,7-inches.

The public is asked to report sightings of exotic species to IveGot1.org or 888-IveGot1. There is also a free smartphone app: IVEGOT1.

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A Miami man caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever captured in the state of Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.