Forest fire in Manitoba may have been sparked by ATVs

A fire in southern Manitoba is spreading after it started on ATV trails during a rally of all-terrain vehicles, which went ahead in spite of the extreme fire risk. The fire has spread to about 300 hectares (7500 acres).

Firefighters say that the muffler of an ATV against dry grass is hot enough to start a fire.

The rally was called off four hours early.

This is a wasteful, wasteful hobby.

Posted in science. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Live-blogging the Polar Mars Lander

Scale model of Mars Lander Phoenix

After nine months on the way, the Polar Mars Lander, Phoenix, will be landing in less than half an hour. You can watch it online at Control of the mission is being run from Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles County. They’re on Pacific Time, I’m using Eastern Time; and we are 16 light-minutes from Mars.

More than half of all Mars landers have crashed, so it will be a tense moment in the control room.
19:42, lander separated successfully from main rocket.
19:45, four minutes til start of decelleration
10:46, getting data instead of just signal tone
19:47, start of burn, 1 minute to peak heat
19:50, parachute deployed
Ground velocity 90 metres per second
Ground velocity, 80 m/s
19:52, radar switched to altitude mode
Lander separation confirmed.
Altitude 30 m.
1952, Touchdown signal detected!

First soft landing in 31 years! The Mars Polar Lander is north of the Arctic Cicle on Mars.
19:55, video communication is detected.
Next, the propulsion system will be pressurized.
In about fifteen minutes, when the dust settles, the solar panels will spread out.

Sources of the Book of Mormon

Pharyngula commenter Arachnophilia has some comments on the origin of the Book of Mormon. In places it is directly cribbed from the Bible.

…there’s one section that copies, word for word, Isaiah 14 in the [King James Version]. Isaiah was written after the characters in the B of M were supposed to have left Jerusalem.

Read the whole thing.

Corporate makeover

Bill Swallow at Waxing Techcomm points out that “if ever a party needed a positive brand campaign…

it’d be Satan.”

Follow the “Satan” link for the artist’s explanation.

Religious tolerance, LOL style

This is pretty funny:

more cat pictures

World’s cutest otter

This is from Radikal Photo in Russia.

otter with baby

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