MICHAEL O’NEILL admits the standard of future World Cups could be diluted — but he could not care less.The Northern Ireland boss reckons Fifa’s decision to increase the biggest football show on earth from 32 nations to 48 is a good thing for smaller countries.In a drastic change from the regular tournament, a round-robin competition featuring 16 groups of three will take place, with the top two of each trio progressing to the final 32.Yesterday’s unanimous decision by the world governing body to make the alterations in time for the 2026 World Cup has been meet with cynicism and anger in some quarters.The European Club Association claimed the decision was taken for political reasons and not sporting ones — but O’Neill believes the so-called lesser nations have now been given more hope of getting to the finals.And you certainly will not find a Norn Iron fan who believes the increased numbers at Euro 2016 was a damp … [Read more...] about Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill backs new World Cup format as smaller nations get chance to shine
STARGAZERS will be chuffed to know that they might be able to watch a cosmological event this week.Asteroid 2012 TC4 is passing through the Earth in a matter of days, here's how to spot it...An asteroid is a small, airless rocky mass which orbits the sun, but is too small to be classed as a planet.Most of them are found in the Asteroid Belt - a ring which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.It's thought that asteroids are debris left over at the formation of the universe about 4.6 billion years ago.Some can be very large, but others can be tiny - even as small as a grain of sand - because of their smaller size, asteroids lack the gravitational pull to shape themselves into a sphere - meaning they usually have a rocky, irregular appearance.The asteroid dubbed 2012 TC4 first flitted past our planet in October 2012 at about double the distance before disappearing from view.It is between 15 and 30 metres long and was travelling at a speed of about nine miles per … [Read more...] about How to watch Asteroid 2012 TC4 as it passes Earth, where’s the best place to see it in the UK and how close will it be?
HUNDREDS of mysterious and ancient stone structures have been discovered on a lava dome in Saudi Arabia thanks to Google Earth.The formations – named “gates” because they resemble field gates – could be thousands of years old and were found clustered in the remote desert wilds of in the Harrat Khaybar region.Archaeologists are baffled about the purpose and even the exact age of these gates, reports LiveScience.They were detected by satellite and were found on the side of a volcanic dome that once erupted with basaltic lava.David Kennedy, a professor at the University of Western Australia, wrote in a paper set for the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy that the gates “are stone-built, the walls roughly made and low.”He added that they appear to be the oldest man-made structures in the region and there is no obvious explanation what purpose they serve.However, when they were built, the landscape would have been more hospitable for … [Read more...] about Scientists baffled as hundreds of 7,000-year-old stone structures on edge of Saudi volcanoes are found after being spotted on Google Earth
NASA maintains a constant monitoring programme on asteroids, gigantic space rocks that can come close to Earth and even strike the planet.Earlier today (October 12) an asteroid approximately 30-metre-long called Asteroid 2012 TC4 passed close to our planet. But what would happen if one struck Earth.An asteroid is a small, airless rocky mass which orbits the sun, but is too small to be classed as a planet.Most of them are found in the Asteroid Belt - a ring which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.It's thought that asteroids are debris left over at the formation of the universe about 4.6 billion years ago.Some can be very large, but others can be tiny - even as small as a grain of sand - because of their smaller size, asteroids lack the gravitational pull to shape themselves into a sphere - meaning they usually have a rocky, irregular appearance.The asteroid dubbed 2012 TC4 first flitted past our planet in October 2012 at about double the distance before disappearing from … [Read more...] about What are asteroids, when did Asteroid 2012 TC4 fly past Earth and could a meteor strike destroy the planet?
EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL enthusiasts are convinced that a new NASA video is proof of alien life.In the clip, a gold UFO can be seen hovering in close proximity to the Earth.Online space fanatic, who goes by the username Streetcap1, captured the bizarre footage.Claiming that NASA had “cut transmission” to cover up the footage, the UFO watcher decided to upload the clip to YouTube.They explained: “I thought I was seeing things at first then quickly started recording.“To my surprise they cut transmission… anyway this has to be huge whatever it is.“If it was a building it would be hundreds of miles long.”Since the strange video was uploaded two days ago, it’s already racked up over 9,500 views and attracted a fierce online debate.Some YouTube users were completely convinced that the clip showed an alien spacecraft.One said: “They are here! I wonder when they are going to make their great entrance on a major city.”Another said: “We … [Read more...] about NASA footage reveals large gold UFO… and theorists claim that it’s orbiting the Earth
THE massive black hole at the centre of our galaxy is firing gassy balls the size of "several Jupiters" at us.The grim discovery follows a terrifying video that reveals how easily we could be yanked into oblivion by the cosmic whirlpool.Supermassive black holes have a huge gravitational force which grabs nearby stars before tearing them apart and spewing them out a stream of gas.That gas clumps together to form planet-sized objects that are flung around the galaxy in a game of "cosmic pinball", scientists have revealed.Eden Girma, an undergraduate student at Harvard University said: "A single shredded star can form hundreds of these planet-mass objects."We wondered: Where do they end up?"How close do they come to us?"We developed a computer code to answer those questions."Her calculations found that the planets - which weigh the same as Neptune - frequently come within a few hundred light-years of Earth and could be spotted by telescope.But these new formations aren't to … [Read more...] about Supermassive black hole is spewing planet size SPITBALLS headed toward Earth
The German Aerospace Center (DLR) announced Tuesday that its two satellites currently flying in tight formation around the Earth have acquired their first detailed image of the Earth's surface. The new image details Mt. Etna, on the eastern coast of Sicily, in Italy's southern island province. The satellites, TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X launched in June 2010 and June 2007, respectively, are currently flying just 350 meters (1,100 feet) apart on a mission to photograph the surface of the planet in unprecedented detail. Using a process called bistatic radar, the satellites send microwave pulses from their approximate 500-kilometer orbits to Earth and measure how long it takes for pulses to bounce back from the Earth. Then the satellites' on-board computers determine the height of the ground surveyed. German space authorities said the level of accuracy this method produces is unprecedented. "Processing the bistatic pairs of data is a big challenge," Thomas Fritz, a DLR processing … [Read more...] about German satellite pair produces detailed images of Earth’s surface
Slightly larger than the size of Jupiter, the largest in our solar system, the newly discovered exoplanet is orbiting a star 2,000 light years from Earth that has found its way into the Milky Way. The pair of bodies is believed to be part of the Helmi stream, a group of stars that remains after its mini-galaxy was devoured by the Milky Way some six to nine billion years ago, said the study, published Thursday in the journal Science Express. The planet and star are thought to have originally belonged to a dwarf galaxy that was devoured by the Milky Way in what the astronomers called "an act of galactic cannibalism." First-time discovery "As far as I know this is the first time a planet like this has been discovered," said Johny Setiawan at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, in an interview with Reuters. "It came to our galaxy about six to nine billion years ago," Astronomers located the planet, named HIP 13044 b, by focusing on the "tiny telltale … [Read more...] about Astronomers discover first planet from outside Earth’s galaxy
Microscopic tubes and filaments discovered in rock from the Hudson Bay shoreline in northern Quebec are "direct evidence" that life existed on Earth some 3.8 to 4.3 billion years ago, scientists said on Wednesday. The microfossils in question are the mineralized remains of microbes similar to bacteria that thrive today around hydrothermal vents on the sea floor. The tiny tubes were made of a form of iron oxide, or rust, formed by microbes encased in layers of quartz, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal "Nature." The estimated age of the features surpasses the 3.7 billion years assigned to other rock features uncovered in Greenland that were proposed to be fossils last August. The researchers expressed confidence that the fossils were formed by organisms and said that no non-biological explanation for the formations was plausible. The finding lends credence to the hypothesis that hydrothermal vents may have been the cradle of life on Earth relatively soon after … [Read more...] about Researchers uncover ‘direct evidence’ of life on Earth 4 billion years ago
DW-WORLD.DE: Since blogs started out as diaries, can someone really write a diary about our globalized world? Where does one start? Daniel Altman: I think every single person on earth is a global citizen. We can hardly get out of bed without participating in world markets. Every time you use a car, bus, plane or anything made of plastic, you're using oil. Every time you use a credit card, you're dipping into the world's lending market. The prices of the things you buy and sell are determined by competition from around the globe. So yes, you can write a diary about our globalized world; you need only write about your own life. I am sure the looser format of a blog makes this task a little easier – or not? Blogs have the flexibility needed to take on a wide variety of issues. The idea is often to get a discussion going without starting off at a very in-depth level. This way, we can find out which topics are most important to our readers. Is the fact that you are "blogging" about … [Read more...] about “Every Single Person on Earth is a Global Citizen”