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Friday, August 5, 2011

Photo Friday! 8/5/2011

Fridays are our favorite days!

Today we bring you a photo from Mission: SPACE at EPCOT in Orlando, Florida.
After you successfully pilot your space craft to Mars the one-and-only Mickey Mouse is there to congratulate you for your job well done.

A little known fact about this statue is if you look right above it you will find one of the "Hidden Mickeys."

If you ask us, we think this would make a pretty nice background image on your computer. What do you say? Simply right click with your mouse and choose 'Set As Desktop Background...'

For personal use only. All rights reserved ©Dana Nichols 06/07/1987

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Winner winner lobster dinner

Commercial trap fishermen welcome this 2010-11 season with big smiles and great expectations as they prepare for what they hope will be a repeat of last season.

"We can never be sure but every indication is that this could be an exceptional season," said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association.

There are approximately 650 commercial lobster licenses holders in Monroe County that will begin laying trap lines Monday morning for the soak period shortly preceding the annual Aug. 6 opening of the eight-month commercial and recreational season for spiny lobster.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute the 2010-11 season marked an upsurge in harvests due to a sudden demand from China and Asia. Florida alone yielded about 5.6 million pounds of spiny lobster and of that 5 million pounds came from the Keys alone.

"Our early scouting reports suggest this has the potential to be as good a harvest as last year or even better," Kelly said. "We expect continued strong demand from China."

The high demand from China and Asia which are good for the fishermen may not be so great for the locals because it has caused a spike in dockside prices. Wholesale dockside prices averaged more than $6 a pound for iced lobster and have reached over $12 per pound for live lobster.  

"When fishermen are getting more than double what they were, it gives them a reason to catch more," Stock Island Lobster Co. owner Peter Bacle said as last season.

Although there may be more lobsters to catch the daily bag limits for recreational lobster hunters remains the same at 6 lobster per day and unlike mini-season, night diving is allowed. Fishermen also must have a saltwater fishing license with lobster endorsement; however a new Monroe County law bans diving or snorkeling within 300 feet of many shorelines during the first five days of regular season.

Every county has different regulations and amateur fishermen should check with state officials for fishing rules and regulations.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Celebrities head to Key West for charity fishing event

Celebrities like Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs and former Denver Broncos football player Mark Cooper will be heading to one of Florida's greatest fishing destinations, Key West to compete in the annual Robert James Sales S.L.A.M. (Southernmost Light Tackle Anglers Masters) fishing tournament.

Anglers of all ages can target the "big three" game fish that include tarpon, permit, and bonefish starting Friday, September 9th on the flats of Key West. Contestants earn points by catching and releasing fish in the tournament’s fly, spin/plug or bait categories and can win by having the most accumulated points representing all species of a slam.

Registration for the weekend event is slated for 4-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at the DoubleTree Grand Key Resort shortly followed by a kick-off reception, rules meeting and live and silent auctions. The actual S.L.A.M. event starts Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10 and 11 at 7 a.m. with the public encouraged to join anglers and celebrities at dockside parties scheduled for 3-5 p.m. at Hurricane Hole.

For interested anglers, Entry fee is $3,500 which consists of two days of guided fishing for a team of two anglers and admission to all social functions. The catch-and-release fishing event is just one of three that benefits the fight against cystic fibrosis.

More event information can be obtained at: or by calling 305-664-2002.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Largest interplanetary probe gets ready for liftoff

Friday could set the date for space history as the largest interplanetary probe is prepared to blastoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida to Jupiter where its mission is to uncover unanswered questions about the formation of the solar system as well as the icy planet itself.

Although there is a launch window that is open until August 26th, the Juno space probe could liftoff as early as 8:34 a.m. Pacific time this Friday. 

The spaceship will be shot into a polar orbit around Jupiter and will use its high-tech sensors to plumb the dangerously dense depths of the atmosphere, measure water content, and attempt to determine if the planet has a solid core or not. Juno also includes infrared, ultraviolet and gravitational instruments, and colored cameras to capture never-before seen images of the mysterious planet.

"We want to try to understand Jupiter formed, and its evolution, and how it has changed over the years." Muñoz Fernandez, payload systems and instrument operations engineer for the Juno project at the Jet Propulsion Lab said. The Juno spaceship will also break ground as it will be the first mission to outer planets to be run exclusively on giant solar panels that span 66 feet long. 

If launched on time Juno will making more than 30 orbits over the course of one year and should arrive at the strange planet in 2016.

According to Fernandez there are differing theories about the formation of both Jupiter and the solar system that Juno could possibly resolve. "The instruments will either validate those theories, or we'll come up with something totally new," she said. "Juno is going to characterize Jupiter's atmosphere to a level of accuracy never done before."  

"If we understand how Jupiter formed and evolved, it will give us so many clues about the origin and formation of the whole solar system," Fernandez said. "It will give us a lot of hints about how Earth formed." And "It's going to acquire very exciting data."


Monday, August 1, 2011

Florida Lottery set to get facelift

It was 25 years ago when Florida state voters enthusiastically approved the new and exciting state-run gambling organization known as the Florida Lottery. But now, some of the sizzle has turned into fizzle.

Today's Florida Lottery is struggling to stay up-to-date with the times causing sales to slip away from the gambling giant. Nowadays Indian-run casinos and online gambling websites are enticing new customers and luring them away from the potential instant gratifying scratch-offs and lucky number lottery tickets.

In order for the Florida Lottery to get over its mid-life crisis Gov. Rick Scott enlisted branding expert and former UF trustee Cynthia O’Connell to help boost sales. “We’re going to look at everything we do and see how we can give it a brand refresh,” O'Connell says.

Beginning this fall, the agency will unveil fresh new ways like adding a VIP loyalty club program that will reward frequent players in hopes to gain back the interest of past customers and better reach the 18 year and older demographic. Redesigning the outdated neon website so it is easier to navigate is also a top priority for the organization. The Florida Lottery will also jump onto the social media bandwagon by establishing official Facebook and Twitter pages to reach new customers and update the community with winning numbers. Even the iconic vintage 1980s flamingo logo will be put under the magnifying glass and will be refreshed.

Still with a fiscal year ending with over $4 billion, lottery ticket sales are down by 4 percent since 2007-08. “Our player base is ... they’re not getting any younger,” O'Connell said. “We want to make sure that we have a strong and vibrant player base.”

According to Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery executive director and president of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, "Change is necessary", and “and you don’t see McDonald’s doing the same advertising campaign with the same tag line and themes as they were 10 years ago.”