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Black holes bend light the 'wrong' way
Refraction effect may be distorting astronomers' results.
Astronomers could be misinterpreting their observations of distant stars, suggest mathematicians.
Starlight may be bent in odd directions when it passes close to a rotating black hole, the researchers say, unexpectedly shifting its source's apparent position in the sky. The cause is a recently discovered phenomenon called negative refraction, which physicists are still struggling to understand.
Astronomers already adjust their observations to account for the fact that light is bent by massive objects such as black holes, an effect called gravitational lensing. But Akhlesh Lakhtakia, a mathematician at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, has studied what happens when a black hole rotates. In this case, light is bent in the direction opposite to that predicted by conventional theory.
"Astronomical measurements, particularly those relating to black holes and other massive stellar bodies, need careful reinterpretation," says Tom Mackay of the University of Edinburgh, UK, who worked with Lakhtakia on the analysis, published online in Physics Letters A1.
Negative refraction is new to astronomy, but has been causing a stir in materials science in recent years. When light crosses a boundary, it is bent in a characteristic way; this is why an oar dipped in water looks as though the submerged part is angled towards the surface.
But in 2001, US researchers showed that certain artificial materials bend light in the opposite direction2. If water had this property, the submerged oar would appear to angle away from the surface.
The revelation prompted a flurry of research, most of which has focused on understanding and developing negative refracting materials. "But this is exactly the same phenomena," Mackay points out.
Last year, Mackay and Lakhtakia demonstrated that negative refraction could occur in a vacuum, provided that the gravitational field in the region had the right properties. Now, they have identified something that meets these requirements: a rotating black hole. Very large rotating stars would have the same effect, adds Mackay.
This might force astronomers to rethink some of their observations. "The deflection of light could be significant," says Mackay. In theory, starlight could even turn through a 90° angle, apparently putting the star in a completely different part of the sky. "And the further away the object is, the more likely it is that these effects are interfering with observations," adds Mackay.
However, some researchers question how much influence the effect will have in practice. Matthias Bartelmann, a theoretical astrophysicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, describes Mackay and Lakhtakia's paper as very interesting. "But I'm in doubt as to the astronomical relevance," he says. Bartelmann points out that the effect will be limited to small regions of space, as it can only occur in regions where the gravitational field is extremely strong.
The effect could find other uses, however. Theoretical astronomers are currently debating whether the cosmological constant, a key number in the equations that describe the evolution and growth of the universe, is positive or negative. Mackay says that negative refraction can only take place if the constant is positive, so experimental verification of such refraction could help to settle the debate.
DA BRAT NEEDS BIG MONEY AND A BIG PENIS
Hip-hop beauty DA BRAT has strict requirements about the men she dates - they must be multi-millionaires with big penises.
The FUNKDAFIED rapper says she can't consider romancing a man whose light in the pocket or underwear.
She says, "I need somebody real, real sweet. Of course, the paper gotta be there. I can't be with nobody broke. (I want) multi-millions, baby. If I'm talking about getting in a deep relationship, I need to be spoiled. Let my cup be overflowing."
Of her potential suitor's manhood, she notes, "If it's too small... the situation won't even go down. I check the package before I get to it.
"I need to be impressed, I need to be wined and dined. So once it gets down to it - after we done courted and dated for a while - during the course of that time we've messed around, we touched a little. In the middle of touching and all that, you get to know what's down there. After one kiss from me, the soldier is stiff!"
And Da Brat, real name SHAWNTAE HARRIS, promises she'll be a worthwhile woman for any man who meets her approval.
She adds, "I'm every woman. I cook, I clean, wash the clothes, fold them up. Do the massages. I got the part a woman does."
February 01, 2005
I bet I'm not the only one whose relationship didn't survive the break. Normally, my inflamed sense of rejection and my rather vicious vengeful streak would get together to exact some terrible retribution on the offending male. But sometimes, you don't need to scream and throw things and burn his favorite t-shirt or smear his car with mayonnaise and pink glitter. Sometimes, it's just time to move on.
So, now that I'm rejoining the mass of Johnny-drinking, Facebook-stalking neurotics, it is becoming increasingly and unavoidably apparent that Cornell guys are severely game-challenged. And, since I can't very well be a sex columnist with no sex life, I'm gonna do everyone a favor and provide some (hopefully) valuable insight.
For the purposes of this column, let's assume your goal is to have sex with the same person on more than one occasion. One-night stands, random booty calls and trophy dates don't count. Further, as a point of clarification, most of my advice will be directed at the typical heterosexual man-boy, because let's face it, you guys need all the help you can get.
The First Date
Men, first of all, no self-respecting female would accept a date invitation over AIM. (Full disclosure: I did this last week, but you can't blame me. He's 6'4" and has really great hair!) You must call her. And you should take her someplace date-appropriate -- i.e. not a bar. I know this is nerve-wracking, but she'll appreciate it. Also, your clothes should match, and they should be ironed. You might ask, "What if I'm wearing jeans?" That's simple; you shouldn't be wearing jeans on a first date. Try khakis and a sweater, or better yet, nice trousers and a button-down shirt. This is all about making an impression, and you can be cool and casual without looking like a frat-boy with a hangover.
Women, this is great, because you get to just sit there bemusedly sipping your (free!) coffee and watching him fumble a simple conversation. Compliment his hair; it'll help him relax. You likely already know whether or not he's getting laid, and you're just hoping he's a good kisser. Don't brag about your perfect SAT score, but under no circumstances should you act like a moron to make him like you more. It's demeaning. Don't be afraid to just be your fabulous self.
The Second Date Having scored the all-important second date, now you can relax a little, and I will grudgingly agree not to gripe about your jeans. The second date is when you get past the "So, what's your major?" formalities and learn more interesting things about each other.
On a budget? She'll understand. You just have to be a bit more creative. Surprise her by cooking dinner at your place -- possibly followed by dessert at Madeline's. For super bonus points, greet her with a small gift, like a single rose. Just remember to remove the wrapping to make it less obvious that you just grabbed it from Tops Xpress.
The Big Night You might get laid on the first date, or you might still be cuddling on the 10th. The most essential thing is that you're comfortable enough to discuss icky things like STDs and pregnancy-prevention. Curl up with a movie to get in the mood -- or have a glass of wine. Once you're in bed together, don't just stick to the basics; caress her in unexpected places. Foreplay is not a means to an end; it is an art form, and if your touch is impatient, she'll notice. You don't have to be missing a collarbone to be good at oral sex, but you do have to start slowly, and you are entirely too old to not know where her clitoris is. When it's your turn, don't push on her head; she doesn't need any help. I bet she had the courtesy to shave/neatly trim around home plate. Did you? I mean c'mon, encourage us a little! Moan your approval when she hits that spot. How would you feel if she just laid there like limp lettuce?
Now, put on a condom, and have some lubricant handy. If you're larger than average, you can't go all the way on the first thrust. It hurts, and she probably likes her internal organs where they are. If you're on the small side, find a position that enables deeper penetration. Again, start slow, and pay attention to her cues. Girls, you have to tell him what you want; he can't read your mind. If you take your time and communicate, you could find yourself at the beginning of something splendidly fulfilling.
While I can't guarantee you'll get laid by Valentine's Day, I hope your next date will be less awkward and more, umm, "productive." Hell, you might have been doing just dandy before I started writing, but at least I did my part to reduce the rampant ineptness. Girls, remember that this goes both ways. If you want him (or her!), ask him out! But remember that whoever asks picks up the tab.
As always, I wish you the best of luck in your romantic/sexual endeavors. Happy hunting to all, and to all a hot shag.
Heather Grantham is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Cornellingus appears alternate Tuesdays.
"It's probably somebody upset with a court situation. There's family court there.
Of all murder victims, 11 percent were killed by an intimate. Of all intimate murder victims, 74 percent were female. Of all female murder victims, about 30 percent were killed by an intimate. (Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS. November, 2001. Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim 1993-1999. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)
Suspect in apparent suicide
A Winnipeg woman charged with hiding her baby son's dead body in a freezer has herself been reported dead, The Sun has learned. Tammy Lynn Grawberger, 40, died in hospital last Wednesday, the province's chief medical examiner confirmed yesterday.
Grawberger was charged late last fall with failing to provide the necessities of life, neglecting to obtain assistance during childbirth and secretly concealing the dead body of a child.
The charges were linked to a grisly discovery made in the spring of 2003, when Grawberger's ex-husband found an infant's body in a freezer he received from the woman after they broke up.
The ex-husband, who lived in the North End at the time, apparently plugged the freezer in but was forced to empty it out later after a power failure struck, police said weeks ago.
When the ex-husband reached the bottom of the freezer, he found a plastic bag with what appeared to be tiny fingers sticking out.
Police said DNA evidence proved Grawberger was the baby's mother, and an autopsy has shown the baby was alive at birth but died some time after.
Grawberger was scheduled to make her first court appearance on the charges tomorrow, but it now appears she may have taken her own life, said the medical examiner.
"The suspicion is that she committed suicide," said Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra.
The investigation into Grawberger's death, which was launched Sunday, is continuing and no other details have been released, Balachandra said.
The police officer heading up the investigation into Grawberger's charges is on vacation and couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.
The Male Privilege Checklist
1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.
2. I can be confident that my co-workers won't think I got my job because of my sex - even though that might be true.
3. If I am never promoted, it's not because of my sex.
4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won't be seen as a black mark against my entire sex's capabilities.
5. The odds of my encountering sexual harassment on the job are so low as to be negligible.
6. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective, chances are people will think I did a better job.
7. If I'm a teen or adult, and if I can stay out of prison, my odds of being raped are so low as to be negligible.
8. I am not taught to fear walking alone after dark in average public spaces.
9. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.
10. If I have children but do not provide primary care for them, my masculinity will not be called into question.
11. If I have children and provide primary care for them, I'll be praised for extraordinary parenting if I'm even marginally competent.
12. If I have children and pursue a career, no one will think I'm selfish for not staying at home.
13. If I seek political office, my relationship with my children, or who I hire to take care of them, will probably not be scrutinized by the press.
14. Chances are my elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more likely this is to be true.
15. I can be somewhat sure that if I ask to see "the person in charge," I will face a person of my own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.
16. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than my sisters.
17. As a child, I could choose from an almost infinite variety of children's media featuring positive, active, non-stereotyped heroes of my own sex. I never had to look for it; male heroes were the default.
18. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised their hands just as often.
19. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether or not it has sexist overtones.
20. I can turn on the television or glance at the front page of the newspaper and see people of my own sex widely represented, every day, without exception.
21. If I'm careless with my financial affairs it won't be attributed to my sex.
22. If I'm careless with my driving it won't be attributed to my sex.
23. I can speak in public to a large group without putting my sex on trial.
24. If I have sex with a lot of people, it won't make me an object of contempt or derision.
25. There are value-neutral clothing choices available to me; it is possible for me to choose clothing that doesn't send any particular message to the world.
26. My wardrobe and grooming are relatively cheap and consume little time.
27. If I buy a new car, chances are I'll be offered a better price than a woman buying the same car.
28. If I'm not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and easy to ignore.
29. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with no fear of being called a bitch.
30. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called "crime" and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called "domestic violence" or "acquaintance rape," and is seen as a special interest issue.)
31. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will always include my sex. "All men are created equal," mailman, chairman, freshman, he.
32. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.
33. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if i don't change my name.
34. The decision to hire me will never be based on assumptions about whether or not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.
35. Every major religion in the world is led primarily by people of my own sex. Even God, in most major religions, is usually pictured as being male.
36. Most major religions argue that I should be the head of my household, while my wife and children should be subservient to me.
37. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we'll divide up household chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive and unrewarding tasks.
38. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, chances are she'll do most of the childrearing, and in particular the most dirty, repetitive and unrewarding parts of childrearing.
39. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we'll both assume the career sacrificed should be hers.
40. Magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of media is filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me sexually. Such images of men exist, but are much rarer.
41. I am not expected to spend my entire life 20-40 pounds underweight.
42. If I am heterosexual, it's incredibly unlikely that I'll ever be beaten up by a spouse or lover.
43. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.
Map reading and parking may prove difficult for some women because they were exposed to too little testosterone in the womb, researchers suggest.
The study, in the journal Intelligence, fuels the age-old male myth that women are deficient in these skills.
Scientists from the University of Giessen, Germany, found a lack of the hormone affects spatial ability.
Low testosterone levels are also linked to shorter wedding ring fingers, they say.
The research looked at the spatial, numerical and verbal skills of 40 student volunteers.
Spatial skill is the ability to assess and orientate shapes and spaces. Map reading and parking are spatial skills which men often say women lack. Women tend to disagree.
The researchers also looked at the length of the students' wedding and index fingers.
In women, the two fingers are usually almost equal in length, as measured from the crease nearest the palm to the fingertip. In men, the ring finger tends to be much longer than the index.
For one of the spatial tests, volunteers had to tell which of five drawings could not be rotated so it looked like the other four.
The other test involved the ability to think in 3D by mentally "unfolding" a complex shape.
Overall, men achieved higher scores in the tests than women.
But women with the male pattern of finger length did better than those whose wedding finger was shorter.
They also scored better on the numerical tests.
Writing in Intelligence, the researchers, led by Dr Petra Kempel, said women who had 'male-like' finger length ratio patterns outperformed other women.
They added that the differences seen within the group studied were "remarkable."
However, the researchers accept that their study was limited because only one saliva sample was taken from each person, and no detailed account was taken of women's menstrual cycle, which can affect hormone balance.
Other studies looking at finger length ratio have suggested that, in men a long ring finger and symmetrical hands are an indication of fertility, and that women are more likely to be fertile if they have a longer index finger.
Another study controversially suggested that finger length ratio could also be linked to sexual orientation, with lesbian women having a greater difference in length between their ring finger and index finger than straight women do.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
By NANCY H. GONTER
NORTHAMPTON - Two women, one a Smith College student, pleaded innocent to rape and assault charges yesterday in connection with a sexual encounter that a prosecutor said started out consensual and turned into a rape involving handcuffs and knives.
Northampton District Court Judge W. Michael Goggins set bail at $2,500 cash or $25,000 surety for Rachel Ann Klobertanz, 22, and Augusta Claire Kendall, 22, at their arraignments yesterday morning. Kendall was released on bail yesterday morning.
The two appeared in court shackled and handcuffed, wearing jeans and hooded sweat shirts.
Assistant District Attorney Susan J. Loehn said the 20-year-old victim, who is a Smith College student as is Kendall, met the two defendants in downtown Northampton and went to their 104 South St. apartment.
The woman went there voluntarily, despite the fact she had obtained a restraining order against Klobertanz in August, according to Loehn and police reports. The incidents took place Friday night into Saturday morning, police said.
The three had "several bottles of champagne" and then went to a bedroom where the three engaged in consensual sex, according to Loehn and police reports. During the encounter, the victim was placed in handcuffs, although she did not remember how, police reports state. After Kendall slapped her face, the victim told the two she wanted to stop, police said.
They refused, and Kendall cut her abdomen and other areas of her body with a knife and raped her while Klobertanz held her legs, police said.
Kendall has no criminal record, while Klobertanz has a pending assault and battery charge in Rhode Island, Loehn said.
In an interview, Loehn, who had been with the Northwestern district attorney's office for more than 10 years, said while this case may be unusual, it is not the first time a woman has been charged with raping another woman here. It's unusual because of the level of violence that occurred, Loehn said.
The district attorney's office plans to seek indictments against the two in Hampshire Superior Court, Loehn said.
Their district court cases were continued to Feb. 18. Both are charged with two counts of aggravated rape, three counts of assault and battery, and one count each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault and battery. Klobertanz is also charged with violating a restraining order.
The victim had obtained the restraining order against Klobertanz in August, when she said the two had a fight about money, and Klobertanz got angry and pushed her into an antique clock and a bed, according to court documents.
"Then she grabbed me by the neck and tried to strangle me," the woman wrote in the affidavit she submitted when requesting the restraining order.
The incident took place in the victim's mother's house in North Kingston, R.I., where the two were reportedly living. The two had dated since March 2004, the victim said in court documents.
Also yesterday, a roommate of Kendall and Klobertanz obtained a restraining order barring them from entering the apartment they had shared with him. The roommate, Gerard N. Tomasini, said that when the two were arrested at their 104 South St. apartment, police told him that the two had a knife collection.
Tomasini said in an affidavit that he had a long history of conflict with the two, including Klobertanz who had been living their without his consent since mid-October.
Defense lawyer David Roundtree, hired to represent Kendall, said his client has a 3.0 grade point average. Her mother, who works in alumni relations at Yale University, was in the courtroom, he said.
"There are some significant issues with respect to consent," Roundtree said.
Lawyer Thomas H. Estes, appointed to represent Klobertanz, said both women told police the sex was consensual. He noted they were still at their apartment when arrested.
While they are waiting, people will have to rely on imported water, expensive desalination plants or simply catching the monsoon rains.
Ironically, in many places, the dependence on wells results from past aid efforts. Since the 1980s, aid agencies have persuaded millions of communities across the region to abandon traditional surface-water sources in favour of new wells to tap safer underground water.
In Sri Lanka, salt has poisoned thousands of rice farms and plantations of bananas and mangoes. It is already forming a crust on fields as they dry out. "The fields that these people rely on are beyond use for at least another year or two because they have received so much salt water," said Gordon Weiss of UNICEF, the UN children's agency.