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Q&A: Earth-like planets discovered?

Earth-like planets discovered

Some time, in the past six months, I read in the St. Pete Times a story of a, I believe, new-found planet, which scientists believe could support life. The article stated that the planet was believed to contain water. I never read a followup on this. What can you tell me?

In September, American astronomers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa announced the discovery of an Earth-like planet about 120 trillion miles away.

They said the planet has a mass three times that of Earth and orbits around the host star, Gliese 581, in a region (dubbed the "Goldilocks zone") that has temperatures moderate enough to support the presence of water, a key ingredient for life. The planet was named Gliese (pronounced Glee-zuh) 581g. The host star was named for German astronomer Wilhelm Gliese, who catalogued Gleise 581 as part of a survey first published in 1957.

Then, just before Christmas, the U.S. team announced that a second planet in the same area could also be an inhabitable world. Its name is Gliese 581d. It's about seven times the mass of Earth and orbits outside of Gliese 581g.

That these planets exist is not a universally held opinion. A team from Switzerland disagrees with the measurements and extrapolations the Americans used to deduce the existence of the planet that we can't see.

The American team stands by its interpretation of the data.

And, of course, it will take years of analysis before the question can be settled.

Degumming shredders

Paper shredders get jammed up after gummed labels are shredded. The glued paper from the labels sticks to the shredder teeth. After a while the teeth get so gummed up that the shredder does not work properly. Are you aware of any method that would prevent gumming up the shredder? Are there any products that would prevent gumming up a shredder?

This is where the Internet comes in handy. Chances are someone else has encountered the same problem and has a simple remedy.

Here are a couple of solutions gleaned from an search of the phrase "how to avoid gumming up a shredder":

• Do not shred envelopes. Or if you must, cut off the gummy part and cut up manually, and send the rest of the envelope through the shredder.

• If you didn't follow suggestion No. 1, take two pieces of plain white paper. Wet (do not saturate) each piece with baby oil. Allow it to set for a minute or so. Then send the sheets, one at a time, through the shredder. Repeat monthly.

• Cover the entire gummy area with another piece of paper and then put through the shredder.

If you prefer to go the professional route, there are plenty of services offered by for-fee companies. Check online by searching for "paper-shredding services in Tampa Bay."

Q&A: Earth-like planets discovered? 01/10/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 4:36pm]

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