Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wisps of the Iris Nebula

Like delicate cosmic petals, these clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC 7023, this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers. Still, this beautiful digital image shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Within the Iris, dusty nebular material surrounds a massive, hot, young star in its formative years. Central filaments of cosmic dust glow with a reddish photoluminescence as some dust grains effectively convert the star's invisible ultraviolet radiation to visible red light. Yet the dominant color of the central nebula is blue, characteristic of dust grains reflecting starlight. Dark, obscuring clouds of dust and cold molecular gas are present on the left of the image, and lead the eye to see other convoluted and fantastic shapes. Infrared observations indicate that this nebula may contain complex carbon molecules known as PAHs. As shown here, the bright blue portion of the Iris Nebula is about six light-years across.

Thomas V. Davis (

Saturday, June 23, 2007

honest to god, this is what I thought would happen everytime

Elderly couple killed while burning fallow rice paddy

OSHU, Iwate -- An elderly couple was burned to death after a fire they set to burn off dead grass on a rice field here got out of control, police said.

At around 8:30 p.m. on Friday, a local resident found farmer Keizo Ito, 82, and his 78-year-old wife Fukumi lying on the bank of a reservoir in Oshu. Police pronounced the couple dead at the scene, and concluded that they had been burned to death.

Investigators suspect that the couple died while burning off a fallow rice field they owned near the reservoir. The fire burned the rice field and the bank of the reservoir, totaling about 200 square meters. (Mainichi)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nova in trouble again

Nova handed suspension order over tuition fee practices

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Wednesday ordered major English-language school operator Nova Corp. to suspend part of its business operations for holding back money from students who canceled their contracts, ministry officials said.

The ministry issued an order prohibiting Nova from soliciting customers or accepting applications for contracts exceeding one year or new contracts exceeding 70 hours. The suspension will be in place for six months.

It is the first time for the ministry to issue a business suspension order to an English language school under Japan's special transaction law. People who are currently taking lessons at the language school will not be affected by the order.

Ministry officials explained Nova operates a system in which students buy points enabling them to take lessons. When they buy a large number of points in advance, they can take lessons at a cheaper price.

However, when people canceled their contracts before finishing their courses, the company lowered the amount of lesson fees it returned to them. In addition the company didn't inform people about the procedures for canceling contracts. (more)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

what a beauty

Kazumi trying on her uchikake (打掛 or wedding kimono).