Apple to hold media event on September 1, may update iPods and Apple TV

Friday, August 27, 2010

Apple Inc. will hold a music-centered event in San Francisco, California on September 1. It has been widely speculated that the company will introduce an updated line of iPod portable music players and a new Apple TV.

The company e-mailed invitations for the event to various media organizations on Wednesday. The message included a picture of a guitar and the time of the event. Apple did not release any information about what products would be involved.

Apple has released new iPods through previous similar events in September in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. This year, Apple may unveil a new iPod Touch with two cameras, similar to their recent iPhone 4 design. It will likely also update the iTunes music store and software.

Speculation about a new Apple TV is mixed. While many blogs are reporting that a refresh of the device will be announced, analysts say that it is unlikely to happen during next Wednesday’s event. According to Reuters, sources are saying that Apple is negotiating with major television networks, including ABC and NBC, in order to provide shows for purchase on iTunes. However, they also reported that the deal has not been completed, and none of the companies involved have commented on the rumors.

It has also been rumored that Apple will introduce a new online music service. In 2009, Apple took over a company that allowed users to stream music online rather than download individual songs. Apple has not confirmed the rumors.

Last September’s media event saw the return of Apple CEO Steve Jobs after he took a break to undergo a liver transplant. This year, the event will be held in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, previously used by Apple in April for the unveiling of the iPad.

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Posted on December 5th, 2022 by  |  No Comments »

US military says ‘fireballs’ spotted over Texas are not related to satellite collision

Monday, February 16, 2009

The United States military Strategic Command (STRATCOM) has said that the ‘fireballs’ spotted over areas of Texas in the United States on Sunday February 15, are not related to the collision of a U.S. and Russian satellite in space. According to spaceweather.com, NASA says the object was a meteor.

“There is no correlation between the debris from that collision and those reports of re-entry,” said STRATCOM military spokeswoman Major Maj. Regina.

“It’s a natural meteor, definitely,” said Bill Cooke, an astronomer at NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.

On Tuesday, February 10, the American civilian communications satellite Iridium 33, launched in 1997, and the defunct Russian military communications satellite Kosmos-2251, launched in 1993, collided over Siberia. On Friday February 13, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an alert for falling debris from the satellites, following reports of “explosions and earthquakes” along with “flashes in the sky” in Jackson and Louisville, Kentucky.

Then again on Sunday, calls to 9-1-1 began to come in to Williamson County, Texas sheriff’s office around 12:30 p.m. (Central time) that burning debris and fireballs were seen falling from the sky onto parts of Austin, Houston, Waco and San Antonio.

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“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported to local law enforcement on Friday that these events are being caused by falling satellite debris. These pieces of debris have been causing sonic booms, resulting in vibrations felt by some residents, as well as flashes of light across the sky,” said the NOAA on Friday in an public information alert posted on their website. The FAA says the burning material over Texas is not related to this alert.

“We don’t know what it was [over Texas],” said Roland Herwig, a spokesman for the FAA on Monday. The alerts still remain in effect in Kentucky until further notice.

Residents in Texas reported their homes and windows shaking and large explosions on Sunday morning. After a search of several areas, the Williamson county sheriff’s office reported that no debris or impact sites were found. Earlier unconfirmed reports had said the debris could have been the result of a small plane exploding.

There was previous speculation was that the object in Texas could have been a meteor. Doctor Marco Ciocca, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University told WKYT on Sunday that it’s too early for the debris from the satellites to be reentering the planet’s atmosphere. “[It could] be months” before any of the satellite wreckage enters the earth’s atmosphere. “The debris doesn’t simply fall out of its orbit. It will either vaporize or stay in orbit for some time before falling into earth’s atmosphere.”

However, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said on February 12 that the debris could have taken 10 days or less to reenter over portions of the planet.

“Within 24 hours of the collision, the U.S. space tracking system had identified 600 pieces of debris. This large number suggests that the collision must have been relatively head-on. If the two satellites hit head-on, rather than a glancing blow, the energy of the collision would completely disintegrate both satellites into clouds of debris,” said the UCS in a statement on their website who also added that the collision took place in “the same region of space where China destroyed a defunct Chinese weather satellite with an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon” in 2007. “That January 2007 test created a massive amount of debris.” There have been at least eight major satellite collisions since 1991.

The satellites, both of which had a mass in excess of 450 kilograms, and were traveling at approximately 17,500 miles per hour (28,150 km/hour), collided 491 miles (790 km) above the earth. Scientists say the explosion caused by the collision was massive. They are still trying to determine just how large the crash was and how the earth will be affected. STRATCOM continues to track the debris. The results of a plotting analysis will be posted to a public website.

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Posted on December 3rd, 2022 by  |  No Comments »

French fishermen blockade Channel ports

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

French fishing vessels have blockaded the English Channel ports of Calais, Bolougne, and Dunkirk.

Not a boat will go in nor out

The protest is an industrial action over tighter fishing quotas imposed by the European Union, with French fishing unions asking for their government to provide financial assistance or take a tougher line. CFTC Fishermans Union spokesman Bruno Dachicourt told Agence France Presse: “There are easily twenty boats blocking the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in organized ranks. Not a boat will go in nor out.”

The fishermen are protesting the lowering of European Union quotas on fishing, which place a ceiling on the amount of fish that the fishermen of each member country are allowed to catch and sell. The EU has lowered quotas in response to concerns about the sustainability of fisheries, but each drop in quota reduces the amount of work each fishing vessel can do. “The feeble amount of the quota obliges us to close the fishing zones three months after the beginning of the catch”, said Stéphane Pinto, spokesman for the CFDT trade union group representing fishermen in Boulogne.

Ferry sailings between Dover in the United Kingdom and Calais were suspended, with UK authorities implementing the Operation Stack management plan in response. Under the plan sections of the M20 motorway are closed to traffic and used as a managed lorry park. Motorists have been advised to seek alternative routes if possible. Most cars and passengers from the P&O Calais-Dover sailings at 16.10 (apparently the first sailing affected), 17.40 and 18.25 left on the “Pride of Dover” at 11.47 arriving Dover at 12.30. Two SeaFrance ferries, Renoir and another, left slightly earlier.

Fishermen have also used fires and roadblocks to interfere with access to the ports by road.

The blockades come eight days after a similar incident in the Mediterranean, when French fishermen in Marseille, Ajaccio, Toulon and other port cities interfered with oil tanker movements and blockaded ports throughout the south of the country.

Wikinews is unaware of any official statement from the British or French Governments in response to the blockade.

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Posted on December 1st, 2022 by  |  No Comments »

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

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Posted on November 29th, 2022 by  |  No Comments »

Wikinews interviews Darcy Richardson, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama

Friday, November 25, 2011

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate Darcy Richardson of Florida took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Richardson, 55, is a political activist that helped form the New Democrats in 1989 and founded the progressive Battleground Blog earlier this year. He is also a political historian, and has authored six books covering third parties and presidential elections, including A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign (2002). His current work, The Spirit of ’76: Eugene McCarthy’s Struggle for Open Politics, chronicles the late Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy’s 1976 presidential campaign for which he volunteered. Richardson admires McCarthy, and served as manager for his 1988 presidential run. Recently, Richardson advised Brian Moore’s Socialist Party USA presidential campaign in 2008.

In addition, Richardson himself has sought political office, albeit unsuccessfully. In 1980, he ran for Pennsylvania Auditor General, and in 1988, vied for one of Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seats as a member of the Consumer Party. Last year, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of Florida as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Farid Khavari.

Richardson has criticized President Barack Obama’s policies for being too similar to those of former President George W. Bush. He hoped to convince several prominent progressives to challenge Obama in the Democratic primaries, but none were available to do so. Last month, Richardson decided to begin a campaign himself and announced through his Battleground Blog that he would challenge Obama in the Democratic Party primaries as a progressive candidate. So far, he has qualified for the New Hampshire primary in January and the Missouri primary in February. In an interview with the Independent Political Report, Richardson proclaimed his campaign slogan as “no fourth term for George W. Bush.”

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AT&T to purchase T-Mobile for US$39 billion

Monday, March 21, 2011

AT&T has announced that it will purchase T-Mobile for US$39 billion. The move will make AT&T the largest cellular carrier in the United States. It was announced Sunday by both Deutsche Telekom, the owner of T-Mobile, and by AT&T. According to industry analysts, the deal was made to allow the two companies to compete with Verizon Wireless. Earlier in the week, T-Mobile employees hinted at a possible merger with Sprint, another cellular company. In the proposed deal, Deutsche Telekom will receive a board seat and a 8% stake in the merged company.

The merger is expected to complete after government regulatory departments approve it due to competition law. The sale would reduce the number of significant carriers in the US from four to three and is expected to close fully in about one year. In December 2010, T-Mobile reported a base of 34 million customers, AT&T had 95 million, and Verizon reported 94 million. A conference call on the deal is scheduled for EDT 8 AM Monday.

The move will to allow up to 95% of United States citizens access to a 4G LTE cellular network. Both AT&T and T-Mobile use the GSM standard (short for Global System for Mobile Communications) for their networks. Additionally, the popular iPhone smartphone from Apple Inc. will eventually arrive for T-Mobile subscribers; Verizon became the second carrier to sell the iPhone in the US February.

AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson released a statement and said, “This transaction represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand critical infrastructure for our nation’s future. It will improve network quality, and it will bring advanced LTE capabilities to more than 294 million people. Mobile broadband networks drive economic opportunity everywhere, and they enable the expanding high-tech ecosystem that includes device makers, cloud and content providers, app developers, customers, and more. During the past few years, America’s high-tech industry has delivered innovation at unprecedented speed, and this combination will accelerate its continued growth.”

In response to the move, Gartner analyst Phillip Redman said, “Bigger is better in a commodity game. Four providers were too many. This may help Sprint as it becomes the standalone low-cost provider, and it makes more sense than a Sprint-T-Mobile deal.”

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Posted on November 26th, 2022 by  |  No Comments »

Space Shuttle Discovery launches on mission STS-124

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Space Shuttle Discovery has successfully launched from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, beginning mission STS-124. Discovery will deliver the main pressurised module of the Japanese Experiment Module to the International Space Station. Lift-off occurred at 21:02:12 GMT this evening, with the ascent to an initial sub-orbital trajectory lasting approximately eight and a half minutes. Orbital insertion occurred shortly afterwards, with a circularisation burn which concluded at 21:42 GMT.

This is the third Space Shuttle mission of 2008. STS-124 is the second of three missions to assemble the Japanese Experiment Module, also known as Kibo. The JEM Pressurised Module (JEM PM or JPM) is the largest laboratory module of the International Space Station, and one of the largest payloads ever launched by the Space Shuttle. The main Japanese robot arm, or RMS, will also be launched on this mission. Discovery’s mission is scheduled to last for fourteen days, however it can be extended by two days if necessary. Three spacewalks, or EVAs, are planned to be conducted.

STS-124 has a crew of seven astronauts; Mission Commander Mark E. Kelly, Pilot Kenneth Ham, Mission specialists Karen L. Nyberg, Ronald J. Garan, Michael E. Fossum and Akihiko Hoshide, and Expedition 17 crewmember Gregory Chamitoff. All crewmembers are American, except Hoshide, who is Japanese. The astronauts were awoken at 11:30 GMT on launch day, and began preparations for their launch. This is the first spaceflight for Ham, Nyberg, Garan, Hoshide and Chamitoff, the second for Fossum, and the third for Kelly. The launch coincides with Kelly’s father’s birthday.

Preparations for launch had been underway for several months. The External Tank arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in late March. Following tests in a checkout cell, it was mated with two solid rocket boosters which had been assembled on a Mobile Launch Platform. Discovery was then rolled from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the Vehicle Assembly Building for mating with the External Tank and boosters. Rollover occurred in late April, and was followed by rollout to the launch pad about a week later.

The Kibo pressurised module arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in May 2003 by ship. It was then moved to the Space Station Processing Facility. Electrical interface tests with the Harmony node were conducted in August 2003. At the end of April 2008, the module was placed in a transportation canister, and moved to the launch pad. The payload arrived at the launch pad about a week ahead of the Shuttle. Once Discovery arrived at the launch pad, the module was placed into Discovery’s payload bay. Owing to the size of the payload, there was no room in Discovery’s’ payload bay for the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS), a safety device used primarily to inspect the Shuttle Orbiter’s heat shield. As a result of this, Endeavour left its OBSS at the International Space Station, during the last Shuttle Mission, STS-123. Discovery’s crew will collect this during an EVA.

Fueling of Discovery’s External Tank in preparation for launch began at 11:50 GMT. By 12:50, it had been confirmed that initial tests on Engine Cutoff (ECO) sensors in the External Tank had been conducted successfully. ECO sensor failures had caused a number of delays to recent Shuttle launch attempts, and STS-124 is the first mission to use a modified tank, which is intended to eliminate such faults. At the time at which tanking began, weather forecasters predicted an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions at the scheduled launch time. Fuelling was completed, and topping up of cryogenic propellant began, at 15:36. In addition to the ECO sensor modifications, this was the first mission to use an External Tank manufactured after the Columbia accident in 2003, and therefore the first tank to have all safety enhancements built into it, rather than retrofitted.

The terminal countdown resumed after a planned hold at T-3 hours, at 17:07 GMT. Crew walkout from the Operations and Checkout building at the Kennedy Space Center occurred at 17:12. Following walkout, the crew boarded a bus known as the “astrovan”, which was used to transport them to the launch pad. The crew arrived at the launch pad at 17:31, and began boarding Discovery at 17:38. As Mission Commander, Mark Kelly was the first to board the orbiter. He was followed by Chamitoff at 17:42, Ham at 17:52, Fossum at 17:55, Nyberg at 18:08 and Hoshide at 18:11. Ron Garan was the last to board the orbiter at 18:21. Pad technicians known as the closeout crew, assisted the astronauts with boarding the Shuttle, and getting strapped in. The pad technicians were cleared to close the orbiter’s access hatch at 19:02 GMT, and the hatch door was closed two minutes later at 19:04. Sealing the hatch was completed at 19:54.

A scheduled ten-minute hold at T-20 minutes began at 19:47 GMT. During this hold, the closeout crew put thermal insulation plugs into screwholes on the orbiter’s hatch, removed protective covers, and disassembled the white room, a collapsible structure at the end of the crew access arm which is used to access the spacecraft. The countdown resumed at 19:57. At that time, no problems were being worked.

The final built in hold, at T-9 minutes and lasting for 45 minutes and 12 seconds, began at 20:08. During this hold, flight controllers set the exact launch time to be 21:02:12 GMT, and confirmed that the launch window would end at 21:08:59 GMT. The countdown was set to resume at 20:53:12. Shortly before the end of the hold, the launch director described conditions as a “gorgeous day to launch”, and wished the crew “good luck and Godspeed”. Mark Kelly thanked him, and replied “whilst we tend to live for today, Discovery, with Kibo, will certainly deliver hope for tomorrow”. Countdown resumed on time at the end of the hold, and the automated Ground Launch Sequencer was initiated.

When giving clearance to retract the Orbiter Access arm from the Shuttle, seven minutes before launch, the Orbiter Test Conductor wished the crew “best of luck delivering JEM to the International Space Station”. Four minutes before launch, the engines were purged of gasses, and tests of the flight control surfaces began. Liquid hydrogen tanks were pressurised shortly after at T-3 minutes, and the fuel vent cap was retracted. Two minutes before lift-off, the crew were instructed to close and lock their visors, and the liquid oxygen tank was pressurised. At T-50 seconds, the orbiter switched to internal power, and the Shuttle’s flight computers took over control of the countdown at T-31 seconds.

Launch occurred on schedule at 21:02:12 GMT. The Solid Rocket Boosters separated about 120 seconds into the flight, and around eight and a half minutes after launch, the Main Engines (SSMEs) shut down, and the External Tank was jettisoned. At this time, Discovery was on a 65km x 217km x 51.6° sub-orbital trajectory. Orbital insertion followed about thirty minutes later, with a firing of Discovery’s OMS engines. This burn started at 21:39 GMT, and ended at 21:42, lasting two minutes and 44 seconds.

At the time of launch, the International Space Station was flying over the Atlantic Ocean, South-East of Canada. Following launch, a fault was detected with the backup electrical system controlling the left OMS engine gimbal actuator. As it was a backup, flight controllers predicted that it would have no effect on the mission, and all scheduled burns will go ahead. The fault was later traced to the failure of both transducers in the unit, and it was reported that the problem was probably due to an equipment malfunction as opposed to a faulty sensor. When asked about the faulty actuator, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin stated that at the “worst case it would be a loss of redundancy but we will still be able to use that system”. Discovery’s payload bay doors were opened at 22:35 GMT. At 23:09, the crew were cleared to begin on-orbit operations.

Processing and countdown progressed smoothly, and were described by Discovery’s processing and launch flow director, Stephanie Stilson, as being “a very clean flow”. Mission Commander Mark Kelly remarked that there had been a “historic low on spacecraft issues”. Around four hours prior to launch, Stilson remarked that there had been 73 anomalies detected so far. The smallest number of anomalies during the countdown for a previous mission was 76, for STS-103.

Moron AFB in Spain was considered the primary transoceanic abort landing (TAL) site, should an engine failure, or other major problem have occurred during early ascent. Istres in France was considered the backup TAL site. The weather at both of these sites was good, however no abort was required during the launch.

This is the 123rd Space Shuttle mission, and the 35th to be flown by Discovery. Ten further missions are planned, including two contingency logistics flights, prior to the Shuttle’s retirement in 2010. Discovery is assigned to three of these missions. It is next scheduled to fly in early 2009, on mission STS-119. The next Space Shuttle mission will be conducted by Atlantis, which will fly STS-125, the final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. This is the fourth manned, and 27th orbital launch of 2008.

At a press conference following launch, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin stated that it was “a huge day for the space station partnership”, and that the International Space Station was “a place in orbit where we can learn to live and work in space”. He congratulated JAXA on the launch of the Japanese Experiment Module, saying that “Japan has now built a first class laboratory…which is capable of supporting humans in space”, and that “with this step Japan has shown itself to be capable of performing at the highest levels of space exploration”. Griffin also stated the STS-124 is “an essential step” in the Space Station programme. When asked by a reporter how he felt about recent NASA successes, including the STS-124 launch, and the landing of the Phoenix probe on Mars last Sunday, he joked that it felt “so great that not even having to do a press conference, two press conferences in a week can ruin it”. When asked about the difficulty of what NASA was doing, he remarked that flight controllers “make it look easy”, but “it is so far from being easy that I could talk until 6am tomorrow, and I wouldn’t touch on how difficult it is”.

NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier said that it was “a great day for the launch”, and described STS-124 as a “pretty challenging mission”. Gerstenmair stated that five foam debris impacts had been identified during ascent, but that NASA “don’t consider this a big deal, they were all late”. When asked what he meant by ‘late’, he explained that after 123 seconds into the flight, pieces of falling foam debris “can’t build up enough velocity to hit the orbiter, or if they hit the orbiter they will just bounce off” He went on to say that “things look really well and look really good”, and that NASA have “no concern” about foam, “It’s not an issue to us”.

Launch Integration manager LeRoy Cain described it as a “flawless countdown and a flawless launch”. He said that STS-124 is “a big milestone for us”, and went on to explain that “this is the most important mission we have going right now”. He also stated that the “tank’s performance looks really good”.

Launch Director Mike Linebach stated that it was a “Fantastic launch”, that was tying for the lowest faults during a countdown, with 74 issues reported. Stephanie Stilson has previously stated that the record was 76 issues, so it is unclear whether STS-124 has set a new record, or is tying with the previous record. Linebach went on to describe the launch as “outstanding”.

Keiji Tachikawa, the President of JAXA said that he “was very delighted to see the Shuttle Discovery successfully launched”. He stated that the Kibo module would “significantly enhance the capability to perform experiments in orbit”, and that experiments conducted aboard the Space Station, and the Kibo module, would lead to “better daily lives for the people of our planet”. He also expressed his “profound appreciation to NASA, and all international and domestic organisations” involved in the launch, explaining that the mission is “very significant to Japan”.

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Posted on November 24th, 2022 by  |  No Comments »

Obama signs healthcare bill for 9/11 emergency workers

Monday, January 3, 2011

Yesterday, United States President Barack Obama signed into law a five-year benefit package to provide healthcare treatment for emergency workers including police, firefighters, and rescue workers affected by illness and respiratory problems contracted while working at the site of the World Trade Center attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001.

The bill—the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is named after a police officer who died of a respiratory illness he got during a rescue operation at the World Trade Center — will provide $4.2 billion over the next five years. This money will be raised by increasing a levy on foreign companies that win procurement contracts from the United States government.

The new legislation also provides new funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, a federal program for victims of the attacks.

President Obama signed the bill in Kailua, Hawaii, where he is staying on vacation. In a statement, Obama said: “We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers and first responders who risked their lives to save others. I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks.”

The law was the only one that passed through Congress during the lame-duck session in December, with some Republican opposition. New York Senators and Congressmen have praised the passage of the measures.

“The heroes who rushed to Ground Zero in the hours and days after the attacks will not be forgotten. These first responders were like veterans, and this law keeps with a time-honored tradition of standing by our veterans when they get harmed answering the call.” said Charles Schumer, Democratic Senator from New York. He also vowed to “begin work immediately to make sure this law gets renewed for another five years”.

New York Republican congressman Peter T. King said that “Justice is finally being served”, and that the passing of the law marked “A great day for America.”

Democratic congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said that “The Zadroga law will save lives and fulfills our moral obligation to care for those who rose to the defense of America in a time of war.”

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Posted on November 24th, 2022 by  |  No Comments »

Teen hacker admits to attack on scientology.org

Monday, October 20, 2008

A teenager, belonging to the anti-scientology group Anonymous, has admitted that he launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the official website of the Church of Scientology, scientology.org.

Dmitriy Guzner, aged 18, will admit to the charges related to carrying out the DDoS attack. He now faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

In response to incidents such as these, Scientology have called Anonymous “cyber-terrorists.”

A DDoS attack occurs when multiple computers are used to attack a certain website with so much traffic that it is not accessible. The hackers attack the servers taking up all the available space, preventing the legitimate user from accessing.

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United States Attorney’s Office released a statement on this issue. “A New Jersey man was charged today for his role in an attack on Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 that rendered the websites unavailable,” they said. “Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, has agreed to plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against the Scientology websites. “

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Posted on November 23rd, 2022 by  |  No Comments »

10 billionth song downloaded from Apple’s iTunes Store

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ten billion songs have been downloaded from the iTunes Store, an online digital media store which is owned by Apple Incorporated. Louie Sulcer, of Woodstock in Georgia, downloaded “Guess Things Happen That Way” by American musician, Johnny Cash, which became the ten billionth song downloaded from iTunes. Sulcer won an iTunes gift card worth US$10,000 (approximately £6,550 or 7,380), after purchasing a song on the iTunes Store to win the prize.

Beforehand, Apple had launched a competition entitled “Countdown to 10 Billion Song Downloads”, where the person to make the ten billionth “entry” of a song from the iTunes Store would win the gift card. An “entry” could be created by either downloading a song from the iTunes store, or by filling in a form on the Apple website.

The rules of the competition stated that “the downloading of the 10 billionth song is considered to be either the downloading of the 10 billionth song from iTunes or the receipt of the non-purchase entry after the download of the 9,999,999,999th song, whichever comes first.” Below is a table of the twenty most downloaded songs of all time from Apple’s iTunes Store. The list was initially placed on the website.

Rank Song Artist
1 I Gotta Feeling Black Eyed Peas
2 Poker Face Lady Gaga
3 Boom Boom Pow Black Eyed Peas
4 I’m Yours Jason Mraz
5 Viva la Vida Coldplay
6 Just Dance(feat. Colby O’Donis) Lady Gaga
7 Low(feat. T-Pain) Flo Rida
8 Love Story Taylor Swift
9 Bleeding Love Leona Lewis
10 TiK ToK Ke$ha
11 Disturbia Rihanna
12 So What P!nk
13 I Kissed a Girl Katy Perry
14 Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) Beyoncé
15 Hot N Cold Katy Perry
16 Stronger Kanye West
17 Live Your Life(feat. Rihanna) T.I.
18 Hey There Delilah Plain White T’s
19 Right Round(feat. Ke$ha) Flo Rida
20 Party in the U.S.A. Miley Cyrus
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Posted on November 22nd, 2022 by  |  No Comments »