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Typhoon Ketsana leaves over 140 dead in the Philippines after heavy flooding

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Typhoon Ketsana leaves over 140 dead in the Philippines after heavy flooding

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Philippines has appealed for international assistance following the worst flooding in more than 40 years. At least 140 people have been killed and another 32 are missing as a result of the heavy rains, and the death toll from the disaster continues to rise.

The Philippine government has been attempting to provide shelter, food and basic supplies for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods.

Typhoon Ketsana brought torrential rains to the northern Philippines on Saturday, inundating most of the capital Manila and surrounding provinces. Surging water washed away buildings and cars. Scores of people were killed and many are still missing.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called the disaster an “extreme event” that has strained the government’s capabilities to the limit. She said rescue efforts will continue until all residents are accounted for.

Two days after the flooding, rescue and relief operations continue to be hampered by the lack of rubber boats and helicopters. Many victims are demanding answers from local authorities for the lack of advance warning and the slow response to the emergency. Victims said they were stranded on their rooftops for hours before help arrived.

“We are concentrating on massive relief operations. [But] the system is overwhelmed, local government units are overwhelmed,” said National Disaster Coordinating Council deputy administrator Anthony Golez to reporters Monday.

Flood waters in some areas subsided on Monday, but thousands of homes are still reported to be without power.

The government has appealed for international humanitarian assistance. Vilma Cabrera, assistant secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development of the Philippines, said Monday her agency needs donations of basic necessities.

“Right now we need mats, blankets, mosquito nets, cooking utensils. We need hygiene kits and we need flashlights and lighting equipment,” said Cabrera.

“We are appealing for international humanitarian assistance,” said the Secretary of National Defense of the Philippines, Gilberto Teodoro. “The potential for a more serious situation is there and we cannot wait for that to happen.”

The United States donated about US$100,000 to the Philippines after the disaster, as well as deploying twenty US soldiers on five rubber boats and a helicopter. China and Japan gave $140,000 and $220,000 respectively for humanitarian disaster assistance to victims. Australia provided A$1 million and Thailand is providing medical staff and supplies. The World Food Programme and the UNICEF have both donated food and other materials.

People have been warned about the danger of water-borne diseases. Philippine schools have been closed until Tuesday, and many offices remained closed .

Storms lash the Philippines every year. Typhoon Ketsana, although not one of the strongest, brought very large amounts of rain. In Manila Saturday, a month’s worth of rain fell in just 12 hours.

British computer scientist’s new “nullity” idea provokes reaction from mathematicians

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British computer scientist’s new “nullity” idea provokes reaction from mathematicians

Monday, December 11, 2006

On December 7, BBC News reported a story about Dr James Anderson, a teacher in the Computer Science department at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. In the report it was stated that Anderson had “solved a very important problem” that was 1200 years old, the problem of division by zero. According to the BBC, Anderson had created a new number, that he had named “nullity”, that lay outside of the real number line. Anderson terms this number a “transreal number”, and denotes it with the Greek letter ? {\displaystyle \Phi } . He had taught this number to pupils at Highdown School, in Emmer Green, Reading.

The BBC report provoked many reactions from mathematicians and others.

In reaction to the story, Mark C. Chu-Carroll, a computer scientist and researcher, posted a web log entry describing Anderson as an “idiot math teacher”, and describing the BBC’s story as “absolutely infuriating” and a story that “does an excellent job of demonstrating what total innumerate idiots reporters are”. Chu-Carroll stated that there was, in fact, no actual problem to be solved in the first place. “There is no number that meaningfully expresses the concept of what it means to divide by zero.”, he wrote, stating that all that Anderson had done was “assign a name to the concept of ‘not a number'”, something which was “not new” in that the IEEE floating-point standard, which describes how computers represent floating-point numbers, had included a concept of “not a number”, termed “NaN“, since 1985. Chu-Carroll further continued:

“Basically, he’s defined a non-solution to a non-problem. And by teaching it to his students, he’s doing them a great disservice. They’re going to leave his class believing that he’s a great genius who’s solved a supposed fundamental problem of math, and believing in this silly nullity thing as a valid mathematical concept.
“It’s not like there isn’t already enough stuff in basic math for kids to learn; there’s no excuse for taking advantage of a passive audience to shove this nonsense down their throats as an exercise in self-aggrandizement.
“To make matters worse, this idiot is a computer science professor! No one who’s studied CS should be able to get away with believing that re-inventing the concept of NaN is something noteworthy or profound; and no one who’s studied CS should think that defining meaningless values can somehow magically make invalid computations produce meaningful results. I’m ashamed for my field.”

There have been a wide range of other reactions from other people to the BBC news story. Comments range from the humorous and the ironic, such as the B1FF-style observation that “DIVIDION[sic] BY ZERO IS IMPOSSIBLE BECAUSE MY CALCULATOR SAYS SO AND IT IS THE TRUTH” and the Chuck Norris Fact that “Only Chuck Norris can divide by zero.” (to which another reader replied “Chuck Norris just looks at zero, and it divides itself.”); through vigourous defences of Dr Anderson, with several people quoting the lyrics to Ira Gershwin‘s song “They All Laughed (At Christopher Columbus)”; to detailed mathematical discussions of Anderson’s proposed axioms of transfinite numbers.

Several readers have commented that they consider this to have damaged the reputation of the Computer Science department, and even the reputation of the University of Reading as a whole. “By publishing his childish nonsense the BBC actively harms the reputation of Reading University.” wrote one reader. “Looking forward to seeing Reading University maths application plummit.” wrote another. “Ignore all research papers from the University of Reading.” wrote a third. “I’m not sure why you refer to Reading as a ‘university’. This is a place the BBC reports as closing down its physics department because it’s too hard. Lecturers at Reading should stick to folk dancing and knitting, leaving academic subjects to grown ups.” wrote a fourth. Steve Kramarsky lamented that Dr Anderson is not from the “University of ‘Rithmetic“.

Several readers criticised the journalists at the BBC who ran the story for not apparently contacting any mathematicians about Dr Anderson’s idea. “Journalists are meant to check facts, not just accept whatever they are told by a self-interested third party and publish it without question.” wrote one reader on the BBC’s web site. However, on Slashdot another reader countered “The report is from Berkshire local news. Berkshire! Do you really expect a local news team to have a maths specialist? Finding a newsworthy story in Berkshire probably isn’t that easy, so local journalists have to cover any piece of fluff that comes up. Your attitude to the journalist should be sympathy, not scorn.”

Ben Goldacre, author of the Bad Science column in The Guardian, wrote on his web log that “what is odd is a reporter, editor, producer, newsroom, team, cameraman, soundman, TV channel, web editor, web copy writer, and so on, all thinking it’s a good idea to cover a brilliant new scientific breakthrough whilst clearly knowing nothing about the context. Maths isn’t that hard, you could even make a call to a mathematician about it.”, continuing that “it’s all very well for the BBC to think they’re being balanced and clever getting Dr Anderson back in to answer queries about his theory on Tuesday, but that rather skips the issue, and shines the spotlight quite unfairly on him (he looks like a very alright bloke to me).”.

From reading comments on his own web log as well as elsewhere, Goldacre concluded that he thought that “a lot of people might feel it’s reporter Ben Moore, and the rest of his doubtless extensive team, the people who drove the story, who we’d want to see answering the questions from the mathematicians.”.

Andrej Bauer, a professional mathematician from Slovenia writing on the Bad Science web log, stated that “whoever reported on this failed to call a university professor to check whether it was really new. Any university professor would have told this reporter that there are many ways of dealing with division by zero, and that Mr. Anderson’s was just one of known ones.”

Ollie Williams, one of the BBC Radio Berkshire reporters who wrote the BBC story, initially stated that “It seems odd to me that his theory would get as far as television if it’s so easily blown out of the water by visitors to our site, so there must be something more to it.” and directly responded to criticisms of BBC journalism on several points on his web log.

He pointed out that people should remember that his target audience was local people in Berkshire with no mathematical knowledge, and that he was “not writing for a global audience of mathematicians”. “Some people have had a go at Dr Anderson for using simplified terminology too,” he continued, “but he knows we’re playing to a mainstream audience, and at the time we filmed him, he was showing his theory to a class of schoolchildren. Those circumstances were never going to breed an in-depth half-hour scientific discussion, and none of our regular readers would want that.”.

On the matter of fact checking, he replied that “if you only want us to report scientific news once it’s appeared, peer-reviewed, in a recognised journal, it’s going to be very dry, and it probably won’t be news.”, adding that “It’s not for the BBC to become a journal of mathematics — that’s the job of journals of mathematics. It’s for the BBC to provide lively science reporting that engages and involves people. And if you look at the original page, you’ll find a list as long as your arm of engaged and involved people.”.

Williams pointed out that “We did not present Dr Anderson’s theory as gospel, although with hindsight it could have been made clearer that this is very much a theory and by no means universally accepted. But we certainly weren’t shouting a mathematical revolution from the rooftops. Dr Anderson has, in one or two places, been chastised for coming to the media with his theory instead of his peers — a sure sign of a quack, boffin and/or crank according to one blogger. Actually, one of our reporters happened to meet him during a demonstration against the closure of the university’s physics department a couple of weeks ago, got chatting, and discovered Dr Anderson reckoned he was onto something. He certainly didn’t break the door down looking for media coverage.”.

Some commentators, at the BBC web page and at Slashdot, have attempted serious mathematical descriptions of what Anderson has done, and subjected it to analysis. One description was that Anderson has taken the field of real numbers and given it complete closure so that all six of the common arithmetic operators were surjective functions, resulting in “an object which is barely a commutative ring (with operators with tons of funky corner cases)” and no actual gain “in terms of new theorems or strong relation statements from the extra axioms he has to tack on”.

Jamie Sawyer, a mathematics undergraduate at the University of Warwick writing in the Warwick Maths Society discussion forum, describes what Anderson has done as deciding that R ? { ? ? , + ? } {\displaystyle \mathbb {R} \cup \lbrace -\infty ,+\infty \rbrace } , the so-called extended real number line, is “not good enough […] because of the wonderful issue of what 0 0 {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}} is equal to” and therefore creating a number system R ? { ? ? , ? , + ? } {\displaystyle \mathbb {R} \cup \lbrace -\infty ,\Phi ,+\infty \rbrace } .

Andrej Bauer stated that Anderson’s axioms of transreal arithmetic “are far from being original. First, you can adjoin + ? {\displaystyle +\infty } and ? ? {\displaystyle -\infty } to obtain something called the extended real line. Then you can adjoin a bottom element to represent an undefined value. This is all standard and quite old. In fact, it is well known in domain theory, which deals with how to represent things we compute with, that adjoining just bottom to the reals is not a good idea. It is better to adjoin many so-called partial elements, which denote approximations to reals. Bottom is then just the trivial approximation which means something like ‘any real’ or ‘undefined real’.”

Commentators have pointed out that in the field of mathematical analysis, 0 0 {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{0}}} (which Anderson has defined axiomatically to be ? {\displaystyle \Phi } ) is the limit of several functions, each of which tends to a different value at its limit:

  • lim x ? 0 x 0 {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {x}{0}}} has two different limits, depending from whether x {\displaystyle x} approaches zero from a positive or from a negative direction.
  • lim x ? 0 0 x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {0}{x}}} also has two different limits. (This is the argument that commentators gave. In fact, 0 x {\displaystyle {\frac {0}{x}}} has the value 0 {\displaystyle 0} for all x ? 0 {\displaystyle x\neq 0} , and thus only one limit. It is simply discontinuous for x = 0 {\displaystyle x=0} . However, that limit is different to the two limits for lim x ? 0 x 0 {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {x}{0}}} , supporting the commentators’ main point that the values of the various limits are all different.)
  • Whilst sin ? 0 = 0 {\displaystyle \sin 0=0} , the limit lim x ? 0 sin ? x x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {\sin x}{x}}} can be shown to be 1, by expanding the sine function as an infinite Taylor series, dividing the series by x {\displaystyle x} , and then taking the limit of the result, which is 1.
  • Whilst 1 ? cos ? 0 = 0 {\displaystyle 1-\cos 0=0} , the limit lim x ? 0 1 ? cos ? x x {\displaystyle \lim _{x\to 0}{\frac {1-\cos x}{x}}} can be shown to be 0, by expanding the cosine function as an infinite Taylor series, dividing the series subtracted from 1 by x {\displaystyle x} , and then taking the limit of the result, which is 0.

Commentators have also noted l’Hôpital’s rule.

It has been pointed out that Anderson’s set of transreal numbers is not, unlike the set of real numbers, a mathematical field. Simon Tatham, author of PuTTY, stated that Anderson’s system “doesn’t even think about the field axioms: addition is no longer invertible, multiplication isn’t invertible on nullity or infinity (or zero, but that’s expected!). So if you’re working in the transreals or transrationals, you can’t do simple algebraic transformations such as cancelling x {\displaystyle x} and ? x {\displaystyle -x} when both occur in the same expression, because that transformation becomes invalid if x {\displaystyle x} is nullity or infinity. So even the simplest exercises of ordinary algebra spew off a constant stream of ‘unless x is nullity’ special cases which you have to deal with separately — in much the same way that the occasional division spews off an ‘unless x is zero’ special case, only much more often.”

Tatham stated that “It’s telling that this monstrosity has been dreamed up by a computer scientist: persistent error indicators and universal absorbing states can often be good computer science, but he’s stepped way outside his field of competence if he thinks that that also makes them good maths.”, continuing that Anderson has “also totally missed the point when he tries to compute things like 0 0 {\displaystyle 0^{0}} using his arithmetic. The reason why things like that are generally considered to be ill-defined is not because of a lack of facile ‘proofs’ showing them to have one value or another; it’s because of a surfeit of such ‘proofs’ all of which disagree! Adding another one does not (as he appears to believe) solve any problem at all.” (In other words: 0 0 {\displaystyle 0^{0}} is what is known in mathematical analysis as an indeterminate form.)

To many observers, it appears that Anderson has done nothing more than re-invent the idea of “NaN“, a special value that computers have been using in floating-point calculations to represent undefined results for over two decades. In the various international standards for computing, including the IEEE floating-point standard and IBM’s standard for decimal arithmetic, a division of any non-zero number by zero results in one of two special infinity values, “+Inf” or “-Inf”, the sign of the infinity determined by the signs of the two operands (Negative zero exists in floating-point representations.); and a division of zero by zero results in NaN.

Anderson himself denies that he has re-invented NaN, and in fact claims that there are problems with NaN that are not shared by nullity. According to Anderson, “mathematical arithmetic is sociologically invalid” and IEEE floating-point arithmetic, with NaN, is also faulty. In one of his papers on a “perspex machine” dealing with “The Axioms of Transreal Arithmetic” (Jamie Sawyer writes that he has “worries about something which appears to be named after a plastic” — “Perspex” being a trade name for polymethyl methacrylate in the U.K..) Anderson writes:

We cannot accept an arithmetic in which a number is not equal to itself (NaN != NaN), or in which there are three kinds of numbers: plain numbers, silent numbers, and signalling numbers; because, on writing such a number down, in daily discourse, we can not always distinguish which kind of number it is and, even if we adopt some notational convention to make the distinction clear, we cannot know how the signalling numbers are to be used in the absence of having the whole program and computer that computed them available. So whilst IEEE floating-point arithmetic is an improvement on real arithmetic, in so far as it is total, not partial, both arithmetics are invalid models of arithmetic.

In fact, the standard convention for distinguishing the two types of NaNs when writing them down can be seen in ISO/IEC 10967, another international standard for how computers deal with numbers, which uses “qNaN” for non-signalling (“quiet”) NaNs and “sNaN” for signalling NaNs. Anderson continues:

[NaN’s] semantics are not defined, except by a long list of special cases in the IEEE standard.

“In other words,” writes Scott Lamb, a BSc. in Computer Science from the University of Idaho, “they are defined, but he doesn’t like the definition.”.

The main difference between nullity and NaN, according to both Anderson and commentators, is that nullity compares equal to nullity, whereas NaN does not compare equal to NaN. Commentators have pointed out that in very short order this difference leads to contradictory results. They stated that it requires only a few lines of proof, for example, to demonstrate that in Anderson’s system of “transreal arithmetic” both 1 = 2 {\displaystyle 1=2} and 1 ? 2 {\displaystyle 1\neq 2} , after which, in one commentator’s words, one can “prove anything that you like”. In aiming to provide a complete system of arithmetic, by adding extra axioms defining the results of the division of zero by zero and of the consequent operations on that result, half as many again as the number of axioms of real-number arithmetic, Anderson has produced a self-contradictory system of arithmetic, in accordance with Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

One reader-submitted comment appended to the BBC news article read “Step 1. Create solution 2. Create problem 3. PROFIT!”, an allusion to the business plan employed by the underpants gnomes of the comedy television series South Park. In fact, Anderson does plan to profit from nullity, having registered on the 27th of July, 2006 a private limited company named Transreal Computing Ltd, whose mission statement is “to develop hardware and software to bring you fast and safe computation that does not fail on division by zero” and to “promote education and training in transreal computing”. The company is currently “in the research and development phase prior to trading in hardware and software”.

In a presentation given to potential investors in his company at the ANGLE plc showcase on the 28th of November, 2006, held at the University of Reading, Anderson stated his aims for the company as being:

To investors, Anderson makes the following promises:

  • “I will help you develop a curriculum for transreal arithmetic if you want me to.”
  • “I will help you unify QED and gravitation if you want me to.”
  • “I will build a transreal supercomputer.”

He asks potential investors:

  • “How much would you pay to know that the engine in your ship, car, aeroplane, or heart pacemaker won’t just stop dead?”
  • “How much would you pay to know that your Government’s computer controlled military hardware won’t just stop or misfire?”

The current models of computer arithmetic are, in fact, already designed to allow programmers to write programs that will continue in the event of a division by zero. The IEEE’s Frequently Asked Questions document for the floating-point standard gives this reply to the question “Why doesn’t division by zero (or overflow, or underflow) stop the program or trigger an error?”:

“The [IEEE] 754 model encourages robust programs. It is intended not only for numerical analysts but also for spreadsheet users, database systems, or even coffee pots. The propagation rules for NaNs and infinities allow inconsequential exceptions to vanish. Similarly, gradual underflow maintains error properties over a precision’s range.
“When exceptional situations need attention, they can be examined immediately via traps or at a convenient time via status flags. Traps can be used to stop a program, but unrecoverable situations are extremely rare. Simply stopping a program is not an option for embedded systems or network agents. More often, traps log diagnostic information or substitute valid results.”

Simon Tatham stated that there is a basic problem with Anderson’s ideas, and thus with the idea of building a transreal supercomputer: “It’s a category error. The Anderson transrationals and transreals are theoretical algebraic structures, capable of representing arbitrarily big and arbitrarily precise numbers. So the question of their error-propagation semantics is totally meaningless: you don’t use them for down-and-dirty error-prone real computation, you use them for proving theorems. If you want to use this sort of thing in a computer, you have to think up some concrete representation of Anderson transfoos in bits and bytes, which will (if only by the limits of available memory) be unable to encompass the entire range of the structure. And the point at which you make this transition from theoretical abstract algebra to concrete bits and bytes is precisely where you should also be putting in error handling, because it’s where errors start to become possible. We define our theoretical algebraic structures to obey lots of axioms (like the field axioms, and total ordering) which make it possible to reason about them efficiently in the proving of theorems. We define our practical number representations in a computer to make it easy to detect errors. The Anderson transfoos are a consequence of fundamentally confusing the one with the other, and that by itself ought to be sufficient reason to hurl them aside with great force.”

Geomerics, a start-up company specializing in simulation software for physics and lighting and funded by ANGLE plc, had been asked to look into Anderson’s work by an unnamed client. Rich Wareham, a Senior Research and Development Engineer at Geomerics and a MEng. from the University of Cambridge, stated that Anderson’s system “might be a more interesting set of axioms for dealing with arithmetic exceptions but it isn’t the first attempt at just defining away the problem. Indeed it doesn’t fundamentally change anything. The reason computer programs crash when they divide by zero is not that the hardware can produce no result, merely that the programmer has not dealt with NaNs as they propagate through. Not dealing with nullities will similarly lead to program crashes.”

“Do the Anderson transrational semantics give any advantage over the IEEE ones?”, Wareham asked, answering “Well one assumes they have been thought out to be useful in themselves rather than to just propagate errors but I’m not sure that seeing a nullity pop out of your code would lead you to do anything other than what would happen if a NaN or Inf popped out, namely signal an error.”.

News briefs:September 8, 2005

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News briefs:September 8, 2005

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Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

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Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

Rob Broudie, top British lawyer, found dead

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Rob Broudie, top British lawyer, found dead

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rob Broudie, one of Liverpool’s best known lawyers and brother of Lightning Seeds singer Ian Broudie was found dead early on the morning of the 17th October after apparently jumping from the Tower of Liverpool Cathedral. An inquest is expect later in the week.

Mr. Broudie was a staunch critic of the Police and a slightly controversial figure, having once been charged with affray after fighting with another of Liverpool’s lawyers whilst in the cells.

His company, R.M Broudie & Co, is now based on Dale Street in city centre Liverpool.

Anti-terrorism raids in New Zealand

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Anti-terrorism raids in New Zealand

Monday, October 15, 2007

Around 17 people were arrested and a number of guns and weapons were seized earlier this morning (NZDT) at “terrorist” training camps and anarchist group homes following raids by the New Zealand Police around the country. The raids were under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 and Arms Act.

The raids, conducted by over 300 armed police officers, focused on indigenous M?ori and environmental activists, including activist Tame Iti. Iti faces eight counts relating to firearms, including having a semi-automatic shotgun and two molotov cocktails. He is well known in New Zealand for many high profile cases, including a sedition charge for shooting the New Zealand flag, for which he was later acquitted, during Waitangi day in 2005.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad said that those targeted were from various ethnicities and from different motivations.

Commissioner Broad said, “It was military-style activity they were training for”, adding that he did not believe “protest activity involves firearms or other weapons.” One training camp raided by police was “guerilla-style” in the Urewera mountain ranges. Guns, ammunition and grenades were found in the camp.

No one has yet been charged with a crime against the Terrorism Suppression Act, only with charges relating to the Arms Act. “[The Police] are proceeding with full care in talking to people and assessing information before we can determine whether there is sufficient evidence to seek the consent of the Attorney General through the Solicitor General to charge anyone under [the Terrorism Suppression Act],” Commissioner Broad said. “This is the first time that the Terrorism Suppression Act has been considered in terms of an operation.”

Warrants were executed in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland; the capital, Wellington; Christchurch; Palmerston North and towns in the Eastern Bay of Plenty region. The warrants were issued under the Summary Proceedings Act, which allows searching for evidence of committing an offence against the Terrorism Suppression and Arms acts.

The police were informed of the existence of the camps by hunters who stumbled across a training operation being conducted by the groups. The raids were undertaken after evidence was gathered during 2006 and 2007 and followed months of police work. Police had infiltrated the camps, and taken video footage of weapons training. Phone and text message communications and conversations between suspects were recorded. Commissioner Broad said, “Based on the information and the activity known to have taken place, I decided it was prudent that action should be taken in the interests of public safety.”. Reports have indicated a specific threat to the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, was involved.

Prime Minister Helen Clark was briefed on the raids last week by police but refused to comment to reporters earlier today.

Those who have been arrested and appeared in court today were given interim name suppression.

NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery

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NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery
By BbGFjuyG | Posted in Uncategorized

Saturday, March 7, 2009

After almost two months of delay, NASA has set March 11 as the launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery. On February 22, NASA had stated that they indefinitely delayed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which was originally scheduled for takeoff on February 12. Launch was then further delayed until February 25 before being delayed indefinitely on February 22. NASA cited the need for additional time to evaluate the shuttle’s hydrogen fuel flow control valves.

Liftoff is set for nighttime on Wednesday, March 11, at approximately 9:20 p.m. (EST) from Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The official countdown to launch will commence Sunday, March 8.

“The team came through, worked hard and was efficient. It’s time now to step back and think of everything else we need to watch before launch on the 11th. There’s no better team than this one and I thank them for putting the right analysis together,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA.

NASA wanted to perform additional tests on the valves which control the amount of hydrogen fuel pumped into the external tank when the shuttle is taking off before making a decision to launch. When Space Shuttle Endeavour went into space in November 2008, one of the valves broke. NASA fears that if one breaks off on this mission, then it could damage the outside of the shuttle.

The current scheduled mission, STS-119, is set to fly the Integrated Truss Structure segment (“S” for starboard, the right side of the station, and “6” for its place at the very end of the starboard truss) and install the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The arrays consist of two 115-foot-long arrays, for a total wing span of 240 feet, including the equipment that connects the two halves and allows them to twist as they track the sun. Altogether, the four sets of arrays can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity – enough to provide power for more than 40 average homes.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery’s crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

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Australia government funds edible worms research

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Australia government funds edible worms research
By BbGFjuyG | Posted in Uncategorized

Monday, March 5, 2018

Australian government provided Philip Ellery, a researcher in Queensland, Australia, with a research grant (which? how large?) to assess the feasibility of producing edible worms to sell as animal food, such as for pets or for fish. Worms had adequate protein nutritional value and did not need much energy or feeding resources, making them potentially cheap food to produce.

Dr Ellery remarked that it could be easy to grow many worms in a small scale without spending water resources. He said, “We can massively grow a large amount of insects in a relatively small space and — they don’t require watering”.

Dr Ellery also said the worms had adequate protein contents, “A dehydrated mealworm is about 50 to 55 per cent protein — they also have an excellent fat profile, polyunsaturated fats, the omega 6s and omega 3s”.

The worms would be grown in “a 500 square metre warehouse, where tonnes of mealworm product would be produced”, Dr Ellery said.

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Choosing The Best Plumbing Service In Appleton Wi For A Plumbing Upgrade

byAlma Abell

After getting by with older plumbing for several years, the time has come to have a professional rework the existing system. In order to make sure that the new plumbing offers all the benefits desired, it is important to choose the Best Plumbing Service in Appleton WI. Here are some ideas of what to discuss with the plumbing contractor and ensure that everything goes according to plan.

What Materials Would Last the Longest?

Most homeowners will want to use plumbing fixtures and materials designed to offer years of reliable service. When discussing the upgrade with the contractor, ask for specific information about the kind of materials recommended. The goal is to make sure that the components will hold up well in the years to come, and are also in full compliance with local building codes for residential properties.

How Can the System Be Improved?

After an inspection of the existing system, the contractor will likely have some ideas on how to make some changes that will ensure the new system is more efficient. For example, the connections that empty water out of the washing machine may be too small, or there could be a better way to configure the pipes leading to and from the bathroom. A more efficient system will make it easier to prevent some of the clogs and other problems that seemed to occur frequently with the older plumbing. Keep in mind that the improvements can include adding fixtures and features, relocating other elements, and possibly even eliminating some elements that are serving no useful purpose. The contractor can present the recommendations and explain the rationale behind them. That will make it easier for the homeowner to decide if they should be included.

What is the Cost?

While the emphasis is always on a high quality result, it never hurts to check the expense involved with replacing an older plumbing system. A representative from the Best Plumbing Service in Appleton WI will be happy to go over the particulars. Assuming that the estimate is within reason, it makes sense to authorize the team from Hansonsqualityplumbinginc.com to take care of the plumbing upgrade, and look forward to enjoy all the benefits that come with a fully efficient system.

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Culture of creativity features at Furnal Equinox 2018

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Culture of creativity features at Furnal Equinox 2018
By BbGFjuyG | Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Visual art, fabric art, photography, performance, dance, virtual reality, and music were all the subject of sessions at Furnal Equinox 2018, a conference held from March 16 to 18 at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle. Canada’s largest furry convention by attendance, the annual event offers dozens of subculture-specific programs.

The convention’s communications and public relations coordinator for the event, Ronnie, describes furries as “people that enjoy arts and culture centred around animals and animal-themed topics, essentially. Furnal Equinox in particular, we like to celebrate in a very visual and very […] artistic nature, where we have lots of arts and performances and crafts that go on, and people celebrate with lots of socialisation involved.”

Of the attendees, Ronnie told Wikinews “they come from all walks of life. They are people of all ages, sizes, all sorts of backgrounds, and they come together under one mutual interest, which is their love for animal culture.”

“Programming at Furnal Equinox involves[…] a lot of informational panels, so you can find out about topics from art and how to draw, or how to visually incorporate different elements into your artworks. You can also find panels that teach you how to write better, be a better fiction author for example,” explained the event representative.

At one panel Wikinews attended, members of its all-volunteer organising committee spoke of the year-long process of planning the event, and their reasons for committing such a significant amount of their time. Said one panelist, “if you’re happy, we’re happy.”

The largest hub of activity at the convention was a dealer’s room; nicknamed the “Dealer’s Den”, giving it an anthropomorphic twist. Vendors were selling original visual art, wearables like faux fur tails or ears, or things like jewellery or soap with motifs that would interest attendees.

The back area of the room was dedicated to a charity auction, with proceeds benefiting Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. According to the convention website, the charity is “dedicated to rescuing abused, neglected, and abandoned farmed animals. Their goal is to provide a safe, life-long home for all of their residents, and to educate the public about the true nature of farmed animals through tours, volunteer programs, and community outreach.”

Split into groups, some attendees played “Fursuit Games” in front of an audience, like trying to toss a ball into a garbage can. The activity made harder, of course, by the limited dexterity and vision the most of the costumes entail.

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