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Hugh Jackman gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star

It was a lucky day for the actor. A beaming Hugh Jackman was celebrated Thursday with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But the day turned out to be a lucky 13th for the actor in more ways than one.

The unveiling of the 2,487th star on the famous Walk came hours after he landed a Golden Globe Awards nomination for his work in Les Miserables.

"It's kind of a surreal day," Jackman told E! News. "I'll probably always remember Thursday, Dec. 13 and I think I'm either going straight from here to buy a lottery ticket or to a casino because it just feels like someone is looking down on me in a very nice way at this moment."

Jackman, who snagged a SAG nomination earlier in the week, was joined by Les Miz co-stars Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried. But Hugh seemed to only have eyes for his family — son Oscar, 12, wife Deborra-Lee Furness and daughter Ava, 7.

"Hugh doesn't even realize how big this is going to be," Furness told Showbiz 411 at Monday's premiere afterparty. "It's only just dawned on me."


12/12/12: Twelve must-know facts about last once-in-a-lifetime date this century

 People pray for peace during 12:12:12, at an event called "Light Meeting" in Tama, west of Tokyo December 12, 2012, marking the last day in this century where the numeral date appear with the same numbers. (Reuters / Yuriko Nakao)

It’s the century’s last sequential date. For some, it represents luck. For others, it’s a day of romance. For most of us, it’s just another Wednesday. Regardless of your beliefs, 12/12/12 comes along with some rather amusing facts and superstitions.
Ballons fly in air as newlywed couples celebrate their mass wedding in conjunction with the date 12.12.12 outside a Chinese temple in Kuala Lumpur on December 12, 2012. Some 200 couples gathered at the temple to attend a grand colourful wedding ceremony on December 12, 2012, which many in Asia marks an auspicious date on the calendar. (AFP Photo / Saeed Khan)

1. Wedding bells will be ringing in Hong Kong and Singapore, where couples are keen to tie the knot on a day which they say symbolizes love. But it’s not just Asia which will see an increase in love birds heading to the altar. A survey conducted by US-based David’s Bridal estimates that around 7,500 brides will be getting hitched in America – a 1,446 per cent increase from the less significant 12/12/11. The surge comes as no surprise, considering the sharp increases in marriages which took place on 11/11/11 and 10/10/10.
2. For some, the day will be anything but joyful. Many doomsdayers believe 12/12/12 will be the end of the world, thanks to an interpretation of the Mayan calendar. But, most of the end-of-the-world believers are convinced that the actual doomsday is on 12/21/12, when the Mayan calendar is set to end.

3. In response to “end of the world” preparations taking place across the globe, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific has declared 12/12/12 “Anti-Doomsday Day,” in celebration of rational thinking and reasoned discourse.

4. Palindrome lovers will rejoice in the fact that at 1:21:02 am, they can celebrate the second which marks a date-time combination which will be read the same both backwards and forwards. 2012-12-12 1:21:02 = 201212-1-212102.

5. Those who wish to take part in yet another time-based phenomenon but find themselves snoring away at 1:21:02 will be given a second chance. At 12:12:12 pm, the number 12 will be given a “sixer” – 12/12/12 12:12:12.

6. Number crunchers have a profound respect for the number 12, mainly because of its divisibility capabilities. After all, it can divided into halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, and twelfths. So it can only be assumed that mathematicians will find 12/12/12 to be three times more exciting than a normal “12” day.  

7. According to Chinese numerology, the number one is a yang number which is ruled by the sun and represents independence and individualism. Two is a yin number which is ruled by the moon and represents symmetry and balance. When placed together, the number 12 brings harmony to the yin and yang, balancing the feminine energy of the moon with the masculine energy of the sun. So, what we can gather is that 12/12/12 equals lots of harmony. 

8. Three is generally considered a heavenly number and often represents the soul or godhead. Four is the number of earth and mankind – for example, there are four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and four cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west). Because of this, the product of the two numbers, 12, has been said to encompass both the secular and the sacred. So 12/12/12 should mean that both sides will be represented more than usual.

9. December 12, 2012 is exactly 6 years, 6 months, 6 days from June 6, 2006, or 06/06/06.

10. From culinary cuisine to calendars, 12 has been a significant number since its creation. Just think about it – 12 months in the year, 12 hours of night and day, 12 astrological signs, 12 Olympic gods and goddesses, 12 days of Christmas, and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Oh, and let’s not forget about eggs – which are cheaper by the dozen! With so much significance on its side, 12/12/12 was seemingly destined to be a meaningful day. 

11. Kiam Moriya of Birmingham, Alabama will turn 12 at 12:12pm on 12/12/12. Since approximately 267 babies are born every minute, many other people will share the same moment – in their respective timezones, of course!

12. Students at Moscow State University have been given motivation to study after their professor posted a sign on his door stating, “The last chance to retake your History of Foreign Literature exam will be 12/12/12. If you choose not to take it, it will not only be the end of the world…but also the end of you.”




Mars to be colonized by millionaires

Elon Musk, an American billionaire and co-founder of SpaceX, announced development of a rocket motor designed for flight to Mars. According to his calculations, the price of "delivery" of a single colonist to the Red Planet would be half a million dollars. The future "Martians" are expected to pay the entire cost of the trip.

"The ticket price should be low enough so that most people in developed countries by the age of 45 or so could save money for a flight," Musk proclaimed at a conference at the Royal Society of Astronautics (UK). He added that $500,000 would buy a house in California.

Meanwhile, statistics show that most Americans are not able to save this amount by the age of 45. Moreover, the average real income of American households has not increased since 1975. It is unlikely that even in developed countries there will be a large number of people willing to colonize Mars. The average age is not the best for becoming a "cosmonaut." At the age of 45 it is not easy to travel to space and then adapt to far from comfortable conditions of another planet.

However, Musk has his own ideas in this regard. Let's say at the beginning of the colonization only one in 100,000 humans will be ready to pay for a ticket to Mars. Most likely, by the time the world's population will grow to about 8 billion people. Therefore, we would have as many as 80 thousand potential colonists who would purchase tickets for a total of $40 billion. This is enough to create the first colony on Mars the size of a small city on Earth. Primary infrastructure will have to be prepared, but it would require less money than the transfer of humans to Mars.

It is the delivery of colonists to Mars that is by far the most challenging task. Even a heavy rocket carrier Falcon-9 with a built-in first stage will not be able to complete such an operation. Now SpaceX is developing a space vehicle called MCT (according to various sources, it stands for Mass Cargo Transport, or Mars Colony Transport). This ship is assumed to run on closed cycle methane engine.

Unlike in Falcon-9, in the engines used in the new vehicle gas will not be released into the environment, but will get into the combustion chamber, thereby increasing traction and engine efficiency. Moreover, methane is much cheaper, for example, than hydrogen, which is important for frequent flights. It can be safely stored at high temperatures, whereas under these conditions liquid hydrogen makes the tanks material more brittle.

But most importantly, methane does not have to be delivered from Earth. It can be obtained directly on Mars using terrestrial anaerobic bacteria and local substrates. Theoretically, hydrogen can be produced on Mars as well, but since this is only possible by electrolysis of water that is found on Mars under the sand in the form of ice, the process would be much more complex and energy-intensive.

Incidentally, according to Elon Musk, using a "reusable" ship for flights that would return to Earth in the early stages of colonization is not feasible, since the distance between the Earth and Mars is constantly changing. The first ship will not transfer many people. Mostly its compartments will be occupied by construction material for the pressurized dome under which the colonists would live, as well as plants and fertilizer. It is also expected to send to Mars supplies of oxygen and water. Water will also provide protection from radiation, which is higher on the Red Planet than on Earth.

Generally, the idea is feasible. It would be possible to find 80,000 people who would agree to be pioneers on an alien planet. Some will look for exotic and romantic adventures, others would look for a chance to leave the overcrowded earth or escape from their terrestrial problems. Another question is whether these people will be fit for Mars exploration? There will be a need not only in people who know how to make money, but also a variety of scientific and technical experts, teachers, doctors, psychologists, and even laborers.

To meet the need in various professionals, a cheap way of transporting them will be required, and then a "ticket" to Mars cannot cost half a million. As for a handful of millionaires, it is unlikely that they can make substantial contributions. So far, none of wealthy people are in a hurry to invest in this expensive project.

Irina Shlionskaya


Royal baby: What are the odds of twins?

 Since the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital with acute morning sickness - hyperemesis gravidarum - there has been a great deal of speculation about the possibility of her having twins. But what are the chances?

There has been a flurry of bets on the possibility of not one royal baby, but two at once.

The bookies have all already slashed their odds. Ladbrokes had odds of 50-1 last week and they are now 10-1.

"We have had to slash the odds on the bet because of the sheer volume of money coming in," says spokeswoman Jessica Bridge.

The betting has been intense because there is an association between the duchess's medical condition and the chance of having a multiple birth.

Evolutionary biologist Dr Yan Wong has analysed the data available. If you look at births in the UK, about 1.5% are twins.

Another factor is IVF treatment, which increases the numbers of twins, but there is no suggestion that the duchess has had this.

In Norway, Denmark and Sweden, they are good at collecting data about births, as well as women who suffer acute morning sickness. There is a Norwegian data set of almost a million births between 1967 and 2005.

There is also extensive data from Denmark and Sweden. It is these figures that Wong has looked at.

There is somewhere between a 50% and 100% increase in the probability of having twins suggested by the acute morning sickness, he says.

"That actually means that the chance of having twins goes from 1.34% if you don't have acute morning sickness, to 2.5% if you do have the condition. It's still pretty low," he concludes.

But the figures do suggest an outcome that is far more probable - that is the suggestion that the duchess will give birth to a girl. Birth statistics in the UK show slightly more boys are born than girls.

According to the Scandinavian data, the standard chance of giving birth to a girl is 49%. But mothers with severe morning sickness have a 55% probability of giving birth to a daughter.

"Despite its poorly understood causes, morning sickness does have a loose association with heightened levels of a hormone called chorionic gonadotrophin. This hormone is also increased when the child is female," says Wong.

On the point of twins, a look at the family tree might help.

Royal historian Robert Lacey has looked at the prevalence of twins in both William and Catherine's families.

"William's uncle Charles Spencer has identical twin daughters and his grandfather Lord Fermoy was an identical twin," he says. "On Kate's side, her paternal grandmother had a twin sister and Kate's father Michael had twin Middleton great-aunts.

"I can't think of any senior members of the royal family or heirs to the throne who have had twins."

And it is only a predisposition towards having non-identical twins that is passed down through families.

Noble-born twins don't always live happily ever after in legend and literature:

  • Roman myth says city's founder Romulus and his twin Remus were suckled by a wolf - but Romulus later murdered RemusIn John Webster's play The Duchess of Malfi, the title character is persecuted and killed by her jealous twin brother

    Alexandre Dumas's novel Vicomte de Bragelonne creates fictional brother for French king Louis XIV, who is locked up in an iron mask

    "There is some indication that non-identical twins run in families. The studies have concentrated on cases where there are very close relatives who have non-identical twins, a woman's mother or a woman's sister having non-identical twins," says Wong.

    Lacey doesn't know if the duchess's distant relatives are non-identical or not. And St James' Palace won't comment.

"But having identical twins, there does not seem to be a genetic predisposition. It's just a fluke," says Wong. So the identical twins in William's family won't have any impact on whether he and his wife will have twins themselves.

There is plenty of misleading information on the internet about a single gene that produces twins, says Wong.

"There isn't one gene that increases the probability of having non-identical twins. People have done studies, genome-wide association studies, and it seems like there is a number of different factors on all sorts of different chromosomes that are inherited equally through the male and female lines. But it's very difficult to pin down."

So the statistical chance of William and Catherine having twins is slightly raised because she has suffered from acute morning sickness, but only very slightly. You might say it isn't worth betting the house on.




Kate shock as hoaxed nurse kills herself

PRINCE William and Kate were “shocked and saddened” last night after the hospital nurse fooled by a hoaxer posing as the Queen committed suicide.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found dead two days after the stunt by an Aussie DJ.

Tributes were paid last night to tragic mum-of-two Jacintha, who apparently killed herself after she became tormented by her mistake in putting the call through to pregnant Kate’s ward.

The two Australian radio DJs who rang posing as the Queen and Prince Charles while Kate was being treated for severe morning sickness were taken off the air amid calls for their sacking.

King Edward VII private hospital in central London, where Jacintha worked for more than four years, said she “was an excellent nurse and a well-respected and popular member of staff”.

Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. Everyone is shocked by the loss of a much-loved and valued colleague.”

Lord Glenarthur, hospital chairman, said: “This is a tragic event. Jacintha was a first class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients during her time with us. She will be greatly missed.”

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “It is deeply saddening that a simple human error due to a cruel hoax could lead to the death of a dedicated and caring member of the nursing profession.”

Jacintha was found yesterday morning in living quarters next to the private hospital.

She was said to have been “inconsolable and distraught” after being duped by 2Day FM hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian into believing she was speaking to the Queen, asking after Kate’s condition.

Her devastated family said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha.” A hospital spokeswoman added: “We can confirm Jacintha was recently the victim of a hoax call. The hospital had been supporting her.”


A spokesman for Prince William and Kate, both 30, said: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Their Royal Highnesses were looked after wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII hospital.

“Their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.”

A spokesman for the radio station said last night: “Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.

 “We extend our deepest sympathies to her family and all affected by this situation around the world.

 “The presenters are both deeply shocked and at this time we have agreed that they will not comment about the circumstances. They will not return to their radio show until further notice, out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy.” The hoaxers’ audio clip was still on the station’s website for hours after Jacintha’s death.

William and Kate, already angry over the intrusion at the hospital, were told of Jacintha’s death yesterday afternoon.

Royal aides refused to say whether the couple had met Indian-born Jacintha.

Source:The Sun

Compiled by:M.W