Monday, March 29, 2010

Air Hijack

Indian Airlines Flight 814 (call sign IC-814) was an Indian Airlines Airbus A300 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu, Nepal) to Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi, India) when it was hijacked by five Pakistani nationals on 24 December 1999. Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based terrorist group, was held responsible for the hijacking.

The aircraft was hijacked by armed gunmen shortly after it entered Indian airspace at about 17:30 hours IST. After touching down in Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai, the hijackers forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The hijackers released 27 of 176 passengers in Dubai but fatally stabbed one and wounded several others.

India's lack of recognition of the Taliban-regime in Afghanistan complicated negotiations between Indian authorities and the hijackers. Taliban moved its well-armed fighters near the hijacked aircraft in an attempt to prevent Indian special forces from storming the aircraft. The hijacking lasted for seven days and ended after India released three Islamic militants — Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh (who was later arrested for the murder of Daniel Pearl) and Maulana Masood Azhar (who later founded Jaish-e-Mohammed).

Indian and U.S. intelligence agencies reported of credible links between the hijackers, the al-Qaida and the Taliban. The five hijackers and the three released militants were provided a safe passage by the Taliban. The dubious role played by the Taliban was widely condemned and led to further deterioration of relations between India and the Taliban.

The flight had 178 passengers most of whom were Indian nationals who were coming back to India after vacationing in Nepal.

Transformation of India's Domestic Airlines: A case study of Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air Sahara and Air Deccan [An article from: Journal of Air Transport Management]  Hijacking from the Ground: The Bizarre Story of PK 805 Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive

Watch Documentary - Air Hijack - Indian Airline Flight IC814

Links; Wikipedia - Indian Airlines Flight 814

100 Greatest Discoveries - Astronomy

A Discovery Channel Documentary
Scientists are surprised to learn that the universe is speeding up.

1. The Planets Move (2000 B.C. – 500 B.C.)
A thousand years of observations reveal that there are stars that move in the sky and follow patterns, showing that the Earth is part of a solar system of planets separate from the fixed stars.

The Planets The Planets: A Journey Through the Solar System The Universe - The Complete Season One (History Channel)

2. The Earth Moves (1543)
Nicolaus Copernicus places the sun, not the Earth, at the center of the solar system.

3. Planetary Orbits Are Elliptical (1605 – 1609)
Johannes Kepler devises mathematical laws that successfully and accurately predict the motions of the planets in elliptical orbits.

4. Jupiter Has Moons (1609 – 1612)
Galileo Galilei discovers that Jupiter has moons like the Earth, proving that Copernicus, not Ptolemy, is right. Copernicus believes that Earth is not unique, but instead resembles the other planets, all of which orbit the sun.

5. Halley's Comet Has a Predictable Orbit (1705 – 1758)
Edmund Halley proves that comets orbit the sun like the planets and successfully predicts the return of Halley's Comet. He determines that comets seen in 1531 and 1607 are the same object following a 76-year orbit. Halley's prediction is proven in 1758 when the comet returns. Unfortunately, Halley had died in 1742, missing the momentous event.

The Milky Way (Criterion Collection)  Astronomy Today Vol 1: The Solar System (6th Edition) Astronomy Today (6th Edition)

6. The Milky Way Is a Gigantic Disk of Stars (1780 – 1834)
Telescope-maker William Herschel and his sister Carolyn map the entire sky and prove that our solar system resides in a gigantic disk of stars that bulges in the center called the Milky Way. Herschel's technique involves taking a sample count of stars in the field of view of his telescope. His final count shows more than 90,000 stars in 2,400 sample areas. Later studies confirm that our galaxy is disk-shaped, but find that the sun is not near the center and that the system is considerably larger than Herschel's estimation.

7. General Relativity (1915 – 1919)
Albert Einstein unveils his theory of general relativity in which he proposes that mass warps both time and space, therefore large masses can bend light. The theory is proven in 1919 by astronomers using a solar eclipse as a test.

8. The Universe Is Expanding (1924 – 1929)
Edwin Hubble determines the distance to many nearby galaxies and discovers that the farther they are from us, the faster they are flying away from us. His calculations prove that the universe is expanding.

9. The Center of the Milky Way Emits Radio Waves (1932)
Karl Jansky invents radio astronomy and discovers a strange radio-emitting object at the center of the Milky Way. Jansky was conducting experiments on radio wavelength interference for his employer, Bell Telephone Laboratories, when he detected three groups of static; local thunderstorms, distant thunderstorms and a steady hiss-type static. Jansky determines that the static is coming from an unknown source at the center of the Milky Way by its position in the sky.

10. Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (1964)
Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson discover cosmic microwave background radiation, which they suspect is the afterglow of the big bang. Their measurements, combined with Edwin Hubble's earlier finding that the galaxies are rushing away, make a strong case for the big bang theory of the birth of the universe.

Universe: Stars and Galaxies Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction Planets, Stars, and Galaxies: A Visual Encyclopedia of Our Universe

11. Gamma-Ray Bursts (1969 – 1997)
The two-decade-long mystery of gamma-ray bursts is solved by a host of sophisticated ground-based and orbiting telescopes. Gamma-ray bursts are short-lived bursts of gamma-ray photons, which are the most energetic form of light and are associated with nuclear blasts. At least some of the bursts have now been linked with distant supernovae — explosions marking the deaths of especially massive stars.

12. Planets Around Other Stars (1995 – 2004)
Astronomers find a host of extrasolar planets as a result of improved telescope technology and prove that other solar systems exist, although none as yet resembles our own. Astronomers are able to detect extrasolar planets by measuring gravitational influences on stars.

13. The Universe Is Accelerating (1998 – 2000)
Unexpectedly, astronomers find that instead of slowing down due to the pull of gravity, the expansion of the universe at great distances is accelerating. If these observations are correct and the trend continues, it will result in the inability to see other galaxies. A new theory of the end of the universe based on this finding has been called the "big rip."

Chariots of the Gods

Chariots of the Gods (German: Erinnerungen an die Zukunft) is a 1970 German documentary film directed by Harald Reinl. It is based on the book by Erich Von Daniken concerning the ancient mysteries of the world, such as the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, ancient cave drawings, the monuments of Easter Island, etc. and the fact that these things and modern civilization could have been influenced by extra-terrestrial visitations hundreds(or perhaps thousands) of years ago.

Watch Documentary - Chariots of the Gods

We are the Aliens

Clouds of alien life forms are sweeping through outer space and infecting planets with life – it may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

The idea that life on Earth came from another planet has been around as a modern scientific theory since the 1960s when it was proposed by Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe. At the time they were ridiculed for their idea – known as panspermia. But now, with growing evidence, it's back in vogue and even being studied by NASA.

 Mysteries of Alien Visitors and Abductions (Unsolved!) Ancient Aliens Chariots of the Gods

We meet the scientists on a mission to get to the bottom of the beginnings of life on Earth - from the team in Texas who are lovingly building a robotic submarine called DEPTHX to explore a moon of Jupiter, to Southern India where they are investigating a mysterious red rain which fell for two months in 2001. According to local scientist Godfrey Louis, the rain contains biological cells unlike any he had seen before – with no DNA and the ability to replicate at 300°C. Louis has come to the conclusion that the cells are extra-terrestrial in origin.

Could all this really be proof that We are the aliens?

Watch Documentary - BBC Horizon's "We are the Aliens"

We Are The Aliens: The Propagation Of Our Universe (Volume 1) Are We Alone in the Universe - Zecharia Sitchin (2009) Aliens, UFO's and Mutilations: Are We Next?

Atlantis Reborn Again

Horizon puts Graham Hancock's controversial theories about the past to the test, dissecting his evidence for a lost civilization.

Although scientists believe they have categorically disproved the myth of Atlantis, the idea is more popular now than ever before. The latest exponent of the theory of a single lost source for all civilization, is Graham Hancock. Although he doesn't call it Atlantis, his compelling ideas about a sophisticated society destroyed in a flood 12,000 years ago seem to be based on a reworking of the original Atlantis myth, whose survivors brought culture, religion, monument-building and civilization to the rest of the world.

Graham Hancock offers various pieces of evidence to support his theory. He claims that the mysterious lost civilization left its mark in ancient monuments, which he calculates were built to mirror certain constellations of stars. His hugely popular ideas have attracted such a wide audience that they stand to replace the conventional view of the past, which is based on scientific evidence that the civilizations of the ancient world were developed independently, by different peoples, on different continents

Ancient Mysteries - Atlantis: The Lost Civilization The Destruction of Atlantis: Compelling Evidence of the Sudden Fall of the Legendary Civilization The Atlantis Code

Watch Documentary - Atlantis Reborn Again

Why do We Talk?

A BBC Horizon Documentary
Talking is something that is unique to humans, yet it still remains a mystery. Horizon meets the scientists beginning to unlock the secrets of speech - including a father who is filming every second of his son's first three years in order to discover how we learn to talk, the autistic savant who can speak more than 20 languages, and the first scientist to identify a gene that makes speech possible.

Horizon also hears from the godfather of linguistics, Noam Chomsky, the first to suggest that our ability to talk is innate. A unique experiment shows how a new alien language can emerge in just one afternoon, in a bid to understand where language comes from and why it is the way it is.

The BBC High Definition Natural History Collection (Planet Earth / Wild China / Galapagos / Ganges) [Blu-ray]  Count Dracula (BBC Mini-Series) Wild China

Watch Documentary - Why Do We Talk?

Nice Guys Finish First: Horizon (BBC TV Series), Evolutionarily Stable Strategy, Evolutionary Game Theory, Tragedy of the Commons  Life (narrated by David Attenborough) [Blu-ray] The BBC High Definition Natural History Collection (Planet Earth / Wild China / Galapagos / Ganges) [Blu-ray]
Links; BBC

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