Most of Our Universe is Missing

Saturday, September 19, 2009


A BBC Horizon Documentary on the mysterious subject that is baffling scientists - dark matter.

One of the most important unsolved problems of current physics, astronomy, and cosmology is the nature of dark matter and dark energy. These two invisible components of the universe seem to control the behavior of galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the accelerating expansion of the universe, but we do not know what they are.

In physical cosmology, astronomy and celestial mechanics, dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe. Dark energy is the most popular way to explain recent observations that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. In the standard model of cosmology, dark energy currently accounts for 74% of the total mass-energy of the universe.

Two proposed forms for dark energy are the cosmological constant, a constant energy density filling space homogeneously, and scalar fields such as quintessence or moduli, dynamic quantities whose energy density can vary in time and space. Contributions from scalar fields that are constant in space are usually also included in the cosmological constant. The cosmological constant is physically equivalent to vacuum energy. Scalar fields which do change in space can be difficult to distinguish from a cosmological constant because the change may be extremely slow.


High-precision measurements of the expansion of the universe are required to understand how the expansion rate changes over time. In general relativity, the evolution of the expansion rate is parameterized by the cosmological equation of state. Measuring the equation of state of dark energy is one of the biggest efforts in observational cosmology today.

Adding the cosmological constant to cosmology's standard FLRW metric leads to the Lambda-CDM model, which has been referred to as the "standard model" of cosmology because of its precise agreement with observations. Dark energy has been used as a crucial ingredient in a recent attempt to formulate a cyclic model for the universe.

In 1998, published observations of Type Ia supernovae ("one-A") by the High-z Supernova Search Team followed in 1999 by the Supernova Cosmology Project suggested that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Since then, these observations have been corroborated by several independent sources. Measurements of the cosmic microwave background, gravitational lensing, and the large scale structure of the cosmos as well as improved measurements of supernovae have been consistent with the Lambda-CDM model

The exact nature of this dark energy is a matter of speculation. It is known to be very homogeneous, not very dense and is not known to interact through any of the fundamental forces other than gravity. Since it is not very dense — roughly 10−29 grams per cubic centimeter — it is hard to imagine experiments to detect it in the laboratory. Dark energy can only have such a profound impact on the universe, making up 74% of all energy, because it uniformly fills otherwise empty space. The two leading models are quintessence and the cosmological constant. Both models include the common characteristic that dark energy must have negative pressure.

Watch Documentary - Dark Matter, Dark Energy




Links; Wikipedia - dark energy

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Tesco - The Supermarket that's eating Britain

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tesco is Britain's favourite supermarket. With 2,000 stores and 15 million customers a week, it's almost twice as big as its nearest rival. Dispatches shows how Tesco could soon become even bigger, and asks if this retail giant is abusing its power.

Watch Documentary - The Supermarket that's eating Britain



Tesco plc is a UK-based international grocery and general merchandising retail chain. It is the largest British retailer by both global sales and domestic market share, with profits exceeding £3 billion. It is currently the third largest global retailer based on revenue, behind Wal-Mart and France's Carrefour, but second largest based on profit, ahead of Carrefour. Originally specialising in food and drink, it has diversified into areas such as clothing, consumer electronics, financial services, telecoms, home, health and car insurance, dental plans, retailing and renting DVDs, CDs, music downloads, Internet services and software.

Management and strategy changes

Founder Jack Cohen was an enthusiastic advocate of trading stamps as an inducement to shoppers to patronise his stores. He signed up with Green Shield Stamps in 1963 and became one of the company's largest clients.

In 1973 Jack Cohen resigned and was replaced as Chairman by his son-in-law Leslie Porter. Porter and managing director Ian MacLaurin abandoned Cohen's "pile it high, sell it cheap" philosophy, which had left the company "stagnating" and with a "bad image".In 1977 Tesco launched "Operation Checkout", which included the abandonment of Green Shield stamps, price reductions and centralised buying for all stores. The result was a rise in market share of 4% in two months.

1980s

In May 1987 Tesco completed its hostile takeover of the Hillards chain of 40 supermarkets in the North of England for £220 million.

1990s
Tesco at Seacroft, Leeds. This was built as a redevelopment of the 1960s Seacroft Civic Centre.

In 1994 the company took over the supermarket chain William Low, successfully fighting off Sainsbury's for control of the Dundee-based firm which operated 57 stores. This paved the way for Tesco to expand its presence in Scotland, which was weaker than in England. In 2006 Inverness was branded as "Tescotown", because well over 50p in every £1 spent on food is believed to be spent in its three Tesco stores.

Tesco introduced a loyalty card, branded 'Clubcard', in 1995 and later an Internet shopping service. As of November 2006 Tesco was the only food retailer to make online shopping profitable. In 1996 the typeface of the logo was changed to the current version with stripe reflections underneath. Terry Leahy assumed the role of Chief Executive on 21 February 1997, the appointment having been announced on 21 November 1995.

On 21 March 1997 Tesco announced the purchase of the retail arm of Associated British Foods which consisted of the Quinnsworth, Stewarts and Crazy Prices chains in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, plus associated businesses, for £640 million.The deal was approved by the European Commission on 6 May 1997. This acquisition gave it both a major presence in the Republic of Ireland and a larger presence in Northern Ireland than Sainsbury's, which had begun its move into the province in 1995.

In 1997 Tesco and Esso (part of Exxonmobil) forged a business alliance that included several petrol filling stations on lease from Esso, with Tesco operating the attached stores under the Express format. In turn Esso would operate the forecourts and sell their fuel via the Tesco store. Ten years later over 600 Tesco/Esso stores can now be found across the UK.

2000s
Trolley shelter
A new Tesco Extra store under construction in June 2007 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. This store has since been completed.
Tesco in Skipton, North Yorkshire being redeveloped in 2009

In July 2001 Tesco became involved in Internet grocery retailing in the USA when it obtained a 35% stake in GroceryWorks.In 2002 Tesco purchased 13 HIT hypermarkets in Poland. It also made a major move into the UK convenience store market with its purchase of T & S Stores, owner of 870 convenience stores in the One Stop, Dillons and Day & Nite chains in the UK.

In October 2003 the company launched a UK telecoms division, comprising mobile and home phone services, to complement its existing Internet service provider business. In June 2003 Tesco purchased the C Two-Network in Japan. It also acquired a majority stake in Turkish supermarket chain Kipa. In January 2004 Tesco acquired Adminstore, owner of 45 Cullens, Europa, and Harts convenience stores, in and around London. In August 2004, it also launched a broadband service. In Thailand Tesco Lotus was a joint venture of the Charoen Pokphand Group and Tesco but facing criticism over the growth of hypermarkets. CP Group sold its Tesco Lotus shares in 2003. In late 2005 Tesco acquired the 21 remaining Safeway/BP stores after Morrisons dissolved the Safeway/BP partnership. In mid 2006 Tesco purchased an 80% stake in Casino's Leader Price supermarkets in Poland. They will be rebranded into small Tesco stores.

On 14 July 2007, fourteen Tesco stores across the UK were temporarily closed after a 'bomb scare' and a criminal investigation launched after threats were made. A 'suspect device' was found in one store on 16 July 2007 causing the store and surrounding area to be sealed off while the Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit disposed of the package.

In 2007, Tesco took part in a joint venture with O2 to form the Tesco Mobile mobile virtual network operator in Ireland.

In 2007 Tesco was placed under investigation by the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for acting as part of a cartel of five supermarkets (Safeway, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys) and a number of dairy companies to fix the price of milk, butter and cheese. In December 2007 Asda, Sainsburys and the former Safeway admitted that they acted covertly against the interests of consumers while publicly claiming that they were supporting 5,000 farmers recovering from the foot-and-mouth crisis. They were fined a total of £116 million. Tesco, which maintains that it was not a part of the cartel, is still under investigation by the OFT.

A two-part television ad campaign celebrating Christmas with the Spice Girls aired in 2007. They have reportedly been paid £5 million (US$10 million).

In April 2009, Tesco announced that it had created a super tomato that "doesn't leak". The tomato is grown in Holland and is meant to be a better tomato for sandwiches since, being less juicy, they won't make sandwiches as soggy as regular tomatoes do.

Corporate strategy

According to Citigroup retail analyst David McCarthy, "Tesco has pulled off a trick that I'm not aware of any other retailer achieving. That is to appeal to all segments of the market". One plank of this strategy has been Tesco's use of its own-brand products, including the upmarket "Finest", mid-range Tesco brand and low-price "Value" encompassing several product categories such as food, beverage, home, clothing, Tesco Mobile and financial services.

Beginning in 1997 when Terry Leahy took over as CEO, Tesco began marketing itself using the phrase "The Tesco Way" to describe the company's core purposes, values, principles, and goals This phrase became the standard marketing speak for Tesco as it expanded domestically and internationally under Leahy's leadership, implying a shift by the company to focus on people, both customers and employees.

In order to protect its brand image, and given its expansion plans in Thailand, Tesco has recently been employing a policy of launching defamation proceedings. In November 2007, Tesco sued a Thai academic and a former minister for civil libel and criminal defamation. Tesco is insisting that the two pay £1.6 million and £16.4 million plus two years' imprisonment respectively. They have been alleged to have misstated that Tesco's Thai market amounts to 37% of its global revenues, amongst criticism of Tesco's propensity to put small retailers out of business.

Tesco's main advertising slogan is "Every little helps". Its advertisements in print and on television mainly consist of product shots (or an appropriate image, such as a car when advertising petrol) against a white background, with a price or appropriate text, e.g. "Tesco Value", superimposed on a red circle. On television, voiceovers are provided by recognisable actors and presenters, such as James Nesbitt, Jane Horrocks, Terry Wogan, Dawn French, Ray Winstone, Neil Morrissey, Martin Clunes, David Jason and Kathy Burke among others.

Stores

Tesco's UK stores are divided into six formats, differentiated by size and the range of products sold. These are shown below;

Tesco Extra
Tesco Extra, Southport, England

Tesco Extra stores are larger, mainly out-of-town hypermarkets that stock nearly all of Tesco's product ranges. The first Extra opened in 1997. The 100th store opened on 29 November 2004 in Stafford. The number of these is now being increased by about 20 a year, mainly by conversions from the second category. The largest store by floor space is Tesco Extra in Pitsea, Basildon with floorspace of 11,600 m2 (125,000 sq ft). Newer Tesco Extra stores are usually on two floors, with the ground floor for mainly food and the first floor for clothing, electronics and entertainment. Most Tesco Extra stores have a café. However, the Perth, Manchester Gorton, Dumfries and Aylesbury stores, have all sales on one floor, with a cafe on the upper balcony. The Manchester Gorton store opened in October 2008, with the Perth store opening several years before, but only being converted to an extra recently. A Tesco Extra has recently been opened in Oldham, Greater Manchester, which replaced the most profitable store in the UK. The new store is the biggest Tesco in the UK. However, the Tesco Extra completed in Slough holds the title for biggest supermarket in Europe.

Tesco Superstores

Tesco superstores are standard large supermarkets, stocking groceries and a much smaller range of non-food goods than Extra stores; they are referred to as "superstores" for convenience, but this word does not usually appear on the shops. A new store in Liverpool is the first to use the branding 'Tesco Superstore' above the door. The very first Tesco store is in Hackney on Mare Street.
Tesco Metro in Leeds city centre.

Tesco Metro

Tesco Metro stores are sized between Tesco superstores and Tesco Express stores. They are mainly located in city centres, the inner city and on the high streets of small towns such as Rowlands Gill, Nelson and Cleveleys. The first Tesco Metro was opened in Covent Garden, London in 1992. Since then all Tesco branches that have a high street format including those which opened before the Covent Garden branch have been subsequently rebranded from Tesco to Tesco Metro probably to give an identity to the Tesco high street sub brand. The Tesco store in Devizes was the last store to finish rebranding, in September 2006. The store had not been renovated for over 20 years.

Tesco Express
Tesco Express, Hilperton Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Tesco Express stores are neighbourhood convenience shops, stocking mainly food with an emphasis on higher-margin products (due to small store size, and the necessity to maximize revenue per square foot) alongside everyday essentials. They are found in busy city centre districts, small shopping precincts in residential areas, small towns and on Esso petrol station forecourts. The 1000th Tesco Express site opened in July 2009.

One Stop

One Stop stores are the only category which does not include the word Tesco in its name. These are the very smallest stores. They were part of the T&S Stores business but, unlike many which have been converted to Tesco Express, these will keep their old name. However, some have Tesco Personal Finance branded cash machines.

Tesco Homeplus
One Stop, Trowbridge, Wiltshire (with private accommodation above)

History

Tesco Homeplus is not Tesco's first non-food only venture in the UK. Until the late 1990s/early 2000s there were several non-food Tesco stores around the country including Scarborough and Yate. Although not in a warehouse style format, the stores were located on high streets and shopping centres, they did stock similar items to Homeplus stores. In both cases this was because in another part of the shopping centre was a Tesco Superstore which stocked food items only.

In May 2005 Tesco announced a trial non-food only format near Manchester and Aberdeen, and the first store opened in October 2005:

A further 5 stores opened before it stopped being a trial, and there is now a plan to open many more stores.

Current

Stores offer all of Tesco's ranges except food in warehouse-style units in retail parks. Tesco is using this format because only 20% of its customers have access to a Tesco Extra, and the company is restricted in how many of its superstores it can convert into Extras and how quickly it can do so. Large units for non-food retailing are much more readily available.

There are currently 12 Homeplus stores nationwide. The newest Homeplus store opened in Chester in July 2009.

Future

2 more are due to open in the first half of '09 at sites around the country. All of these will feature the Order and Collect desk where customers can purchase and collect most items straightaway.
Lincs - Wikipedia | Tescopoly |

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Papua New Guinea Bush Knifes And Black Magic

Friday, September 11, 2009

Unreported World travels to one of the most remote parts of the world, to investigate the growth of 'witch' murders in Papua New Guinea. More than fifty people accused of being witches were tortured and murdered last year in two provinces alone and the programme reveals that the problem is now spreading from remote highland areas into the towns. Reporter Ramita Navai and producer Katherine Churcher meet the victims, the so called witch hunters and the police struggling to keep order.


The Unreported World team begins their journey in the Highland province of Simbu, a hotspot for witch-related murders. In the remote village of Koge, they uncover a number of burnt-out huts where locals tell them that more than thirty people were forced to flee after two of their female relatives were accused of being witches and killed

Moving on to the neighbouring province, Navai and Churcher meet a grandmother who says she was accused of being a witch after her husband died. She reveals that in the Highlands when someone dies the community thinks they must have been cursed by a witch and then looks for someone, generally a woman, to blame. Umame says she managed to escape after being slashed with a bush knife, but she has lost everything.

Still deep in the Highlands, the team tracks down a witchdoctor. She says her job is to deciding who in the community is a witch. But in a chilling twist, Navai uncovers that this witchdoctor is herself a survivor of a witch-hunt. She claims she was set free after she revealed, under torture, her skills at determining other witches.

The team travels to the capital of Simbu Province to meet the homicide detectives at the police station serving the whole of the area. They reveal that at least two-thirds of the murders they deal with are witchcraft-related. Navai and Churcher accompany the police to Giu village where in Nov 2008 a woman was accused of being a witch and murdered by an entire community. The police say they are under-resourced and lack the manpower to deal with the problem. People won't come forward as witnesses, as everyone backs the witch-killers, they tell Navai.

In Goroka, the capital of the Eastern Highlands Province, Navai meets Jack Urame - a leading expert on witch-killings. He explains that the belief in witches is an ancient custom, but that killings are on the increase. He says the changes occurring to traditional Papuan society with the introduction of western goods, money and education haven't been matched with a corresponding, modern form of social control provided by the government. Jealousies arise as some do better than others and people have resorted to their own ways of resolving disputes and resentments - namely through accusations of sorcery.

The team travels to a community meeting in Simbu Province set-up to try to resolve witch-hunt accusations peacefully. Navai sees local justice at work. It's raw and tense and the team is forced to leave as the meeting heats up.

Still in the Highlands they manage to track down two 'witch hunters'. Appearing anonymously, disguised by traditional headwear, one of them produces a skull which he claims is of one of his victims and tells Navai that he is a guardian angel, protecting his community, and has no fear of police repercussions.

Ending up in Mt. Hagen, the third largest city in Papua New Guinea, the team discovers that witch-hunts are now spreading to towns. A witness reveals a shocking case of a woman burnt alive on tyres at a rubbish dump. It is the first case in the town. Perhaps more disturbing, the belief in witchcraft appears already well developed in the area. While the witness found the incident disturbing, he believes the woman needed to be killed or she would be a threat to the community. The practice of witch-killings appears to be going from strength to strength.

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Legal Highs

Can I Get High Legally - a BBC3 Documentary


Documentary in which George Lamb dives into the world of legal party pills and herbal highs. Legal highs are sold openly and legally in shops across the UK and on the internet.

There are thousands of different pills, powders and herbs that promise the same effects as illegal drugs, but for much less hassle - no arrests for possession and no backstreet dealers to visit. Lamb sets out to discover why they are legal and whether this means they can also be called safe. He meets people who take them, a man who sells them and a doctor who says they are potentially more dangerous than class A drugs. He travels to Guernsey, where most of the young people he meets have tried them, and finally decides to try one for himself. They might be legal and easily accessible, but should they be used? This film presents all the information needed to make a decision.

Watch Documentary - Can I get High Legally




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Encounters at the End of the World

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Fascinating documentary based on a journey to Antarctica - but do not be mistaken, this is not a documentary about Penguins - the author declares that his questions about nature are rather different, he admits wondering about why Humans like to wear masks or put on feathers (cowboys and indians) to disguise their identities, why ants make use of aphids and milk them, but in the same sense wonders why a more evolved and complex brain like that of a chimpanzee does not make use of his lesser evolved animal relatives, and ride off on a goat into the sunset.

This is a social sciences and travel/Cultural documentary with a different edge on it. A well worth watching insight into MucMurdo Antarctica and the people who you will find there.


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TimeTravel Experiments, Parallel Universes


TimeTravel 2012 New Revelations TimeTravel Experiments, Parallel Universes, New Revelations & RoundTable Talk on UntoldMysteries


TimeTravel Experiments, Parallel Universes, Stargates, 2012 and New Revelations

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Children Affected by Alcohol and Drugs

Documentary Video - A Guide for Educators of Children Affected by Alcohol and Other Drugs

The video tape is the program of a nationwide teleconference on behavioral, medical, and educational impact of prenatal drug exposure. The accompanying resource guide is a companion to the teleconference. Producer: Department of Education. Creative Commons license: Public Domain



A companion to a January 1993 nationwide teleconference entitled "A Nation's Challenge: Educating Substance-Exposed Children" and organized by the Florida Department of Education, this booklet provides educators with information and research on effective strategies for working with children affected by alcohol and other drugs. It also provides guidelines for developing and implementing a school or community action plan to deal with this problem. The three main sections of the booklet provide: (1) profiles of eight innovative intervention programs at the school district and community level; (2) profiles of five state and national resource organizations that can provide financial and technical support to school or community programs; and (3) an annotated bibliography of articles, books, reports, teaching resources, newsletters, toll-free telephone numbers, clearinghouses, catalogues, videos, and other resources on strategies for working with children affected by alcohol and other drugs. Three appendixes contain listings of the Department of Education's Drug Free Schools state program representatives, members of the teleconference National Resource Group, and teleconference panel members. (MDM)

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Welcome to North Korea


Welcome to North Korea is a grotesquely surreal Documentary look at the all-too-real conditions in modern-day North Korea. Dutch filmmaker Peter Tetteroo and his associate Raymond Feddema spent a week in and around the North Korean capital of Pyongyang -- ample time to produce this outstanding film. Creative Commons license.


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Why do we Fight?


Documentary – "Why we fight?" Runtime; 1:38:41
This documentary takes a look at what it is that makes Human Nations fight with each other - what is the reason behind all our fighting?


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