Nov 15
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NASA prepares to launch mission to nearby asteroids

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NASA is beginning the final preparations for next Wednesday’s launch of the Dawn probe, aboard a Delta II rocket. The Dawn probe, costing over US$250 million, will visit the dwarf planet Ceres and the asteroid Vesta. The launch was originally planned for mid-June, however due to a damaged crate, shipping delays, and a damaged solar panel, NASA chose to delay it until now. Last week the spacecraft was delivered to the launch pad, and engineers performed tests to ensure that it is ready for launch. Today, the payload fairings were installed, and the probe is ready for its launch next week onto its 5 billion kilometer (3.2 billion mile) mission.

As the Delta II launches, three stages of rockets will propel the probe towards its first target. With the help of ion thrusters, it will reach Mars in mid-2009. Using Mars’ gravity, the probe will speed up and proceed towards the first asteroid, Vesta, in late 2011. After orbiting for seven months, it will leave Vesta in mid-2012, and arrive at Ceres in 2015. After making scans of Ceres, it will enter an orbit around Ceres that will ensure that it does not impact the asteroid for half a century. This is required due to the United Nations’ “Outer Space Treaty”, which states that “harmful contamination” of these asteroids must be avoided.

The targets of this mission, Ceres and Vesta, couldn’t be less alike. Ceres (diameter 975 km, 600 miles) is larger than Vesta (578 km, 350 miles). This makes Ceres approximately the size of Texas. NASA believes Ceres could contain water beneath its outer crust because, like Earth, its inner layers are heavier than the outer layers, and Ceres’ outer layer is lighter than water. Vesta, on the other hand, is the size of Arizona, and has a surface of volcanic rock, which astronomers believe came from its hot inner layers. Vesta also has a large crater – almost 500 km (300 miles) across – on its southern pole. The collision that caused this likely blasted enough rock into space to fill a container 160 by 160 by 80 km (100 by 100 by 50 miles).

The probe will make several observations of these asteroids: it will compare the makeup, shape, size, and densities, analyze craters, and determine mass, gravity, rotation. To determine the makeup, the probe carries a mapping spectrometer, and tools to map emissions of neutrons and gamma rays. Using this information, NASA can compare the formation of these bodies to learn more about our solar system, for example, to test a theory which states that a number of stony meteorites may be debris from Vesta.

There’s one more piece of equipment aboard the probe: A small silicon chip containing the names of 350,000 people who submitted their names to the “Send Your Name to the Asteroid Belt” campaign. After next week’s launch, the spacecraft will deploy its solar panels and undergo two months of testing before it begins the cruise to Mars.

Nov 15
Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Liberal candidate Kate Holloway, Trinity-Spadina
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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Liberal candidate Kate Holloway, Trinity-Spadina

Monday, October 1, 2007

Kate Holloway is running for the Ontario Liberal Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Trinity-Spadina riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed her regarding her values, her experience, and her campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

Nov 15
IMF: World on brink of recession; prepares special loan program
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IMF: World on brink of recession; prepares special loan program

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the world is on the brink of a global recession but predicts the economy will begin to recover by late 2009.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF, stressed nations must work together to avert a global recession and warns there is “no domestic solution” to the crisis. He also said this week’s coordinated interest rate cuts around the world are a good example of the international cooperation needed to restore faltering economies.

Furthermore, he announced the IMF has activated an emergency program Wednesday that allows the fund to provide loans more easily and quickly to emerging countries in economic trouble. This program was first used during the 1997 Asian crisis.

The program might be used in Iceland, which has seen major problems hitting the financial sector. Iceland has been forced to nationalize the three largest banks and, most recently, Kaupthing Bank.

The IMF chief made these remarks in Washington D.C. on Thursday, as top officials from IMF nations and the G-7 industrialized countries are gathering for meetings on economic issues. U.S. President George Bush is set to meet with G-7 finance ministers at the White House on Saturday.

Nov 9
Free Software Foundation releases first draft of GPLv3
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Free Software Foundation releases first draft of GPLv3

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Free Software Foundation released the first draft for the next version of the GNU General Public License at the International Public Conference for GPLv3 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, today. The revisions mark the first changes to the GPL since the second version was released in 1991.

According to Richard M. Stallman, the president of the Free Software Foundation, the most significant change to the license are changes to allow GPLv3 to be compatible with other popular free software licenses, notably the Apache Software License 2.0 and the Eclipse license. A second significant change, according to Stallman, is the addition of a clause prohibiting the use of GPL software for Digital rights management (DRM), “something for which there can never be toleration.”

As of noon EST today, the license is available in draft form on the Free Software Foundation’s website. The conference about the license, which continues now and into Tuesday, is being held in Building 10, Room 250, on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Approximately 200 people attended the morning session of the conference, during which Eben Moglen gave what he called a “quick” 90 minute overview of the license changes.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

While Moglen’s presentation covered a great deal of legal detail, it was not without levity. When the cell phone of Dave Turner, an FSF staff member sitting in the front row, rang during Moglen’s speech, Stallman broke in, requesting of the audience, “If you have brought in a portable tracking and surveillance device, you should turn it off,” before making other remarks about the police.

The crowd at the conference included a large number of free software celebrities, including Bruce Perens, Andrew Tridgell, and Chris diBona. According to Wikinews reporter Brandon Stafford, it seemed that IBM and Sun were the corporations with the most employees present. Representing the companies were Bob Sutor, Craig Cook, and Mark Brown from IBM and Simon Phipps and Doug Johnson from Sun. Also in attendance were representatives from Intel, Redhat, MySQL AB, Hitachi, and Qualcomm, among others.

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Nov 9
News briefs:May 26, 2010
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News briefs:May 26, 2010
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Nov 9
3 Carpet Care Tips You Should Know

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Caring for your newly installed carpeting doesn’t have to be too difficult if you know what to look for. Your carpeting company will be able to provide you with guidelines and carpet care tips that can help you to extend the life of your carpeting. However there are also additional tips you should be aware of no matter what type of new carpet installation you have received. Learning more about how to take care of your carpet can help you to enjoy it in quality condition for the long haul.

Keep pets off

One of the most challenging tips to follow is to keep pets off of the carpeting as this isn’t always feasible. However if there are other areas in the home with hardwood flooring, direct pets more in this direction as the cleanup will be much easier especially if your pet has an accident. Treating and cleaning up a carpet on the other hand can be extremely difficult after a pet has had an accident there.

Treat stains right away

The second carpet care tip to be aware of is to treat stains right away so they don’t set into the carpet. A stained up carpet can look very unappealing and can bring down the ambiance of your entire home. Instead of settling for set in stains, purchase high quality pre treating sprays which you can use before contacting your professional carpet cleaning company. This will help to lift some of the stains and to make the damage less lasting.

Use a professional carpet care company

After you have treated the carpeting, let your carpet cleaning company know you are ready to have your carpeting cleaned. Your carpet cleaning company will have all of the needed tools and equipment to do the best job for your carpet care needs.

Count on Bassett Carpet for the outstanding carpet care services you need. Visit them online to find out more information about their services at http://www.bassettcarpets.com/. You can pay a visit at Facebook page for more information!

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Nov 7
News briefs:February 04, 2008
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News briefs:February 04, 2008

Contents

  • 1 Wikinews News Brief February 04, 2008
    • 1.1 Introduction
  • 2 Events of worldwide notability, military action, disasters etc.
    • 2.1 Tribunal considers role of Canadian minor in alleged war crimes
    • 2.2 Tadi? re-elected President of Serbia
    • 2.3 Egypt seals border with Gaza after 11 days
    • 2.4 Sentences handed down over Paraguay’s worst fire
    • 2.5 At least 30 killed by earthquakes in Rwanda and Congo
    • 2.6 Drug-resistant flu rising, says WHO
  • 3 Non-disastrous local events with notable impact and dead celebrities
    • 3.1 Church of Scientology: ‘”Anonymous’ will be stopped”
  • 4 Business, commerce and academia
  • 5 Arts and culture
    • 5.1 Fall ’08 styles at New York Fashion Week: the miniskirt is back again
  • 6 Frivolities and trivia
  • 7 Footer

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Nov 7
Mystery surrounds ricin discovery in Las Vegas hotel
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Mystery surrounds ricin discovery in Las Vegas hotel

Saturday, March 1, 2008

On February 14, a man staying at the Valley View Extended Stay America hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada was hospitalized after experiencing respiratory distress. The man lapsed into unconsciousness and has been at the hospital ever since.

Since the bills at the hotel were going unpaid, Extended Stay America began to evict the man from the room. Another man, described as either a friend or relative, went to the hotel on Thursday to collect the personal belongings of the hospitalized man.

According to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief Kathy Suey, he found several vials of a white substance. He brought them to the attention of the hotel manager, who called police.

Initial tests, which further tests confirmed on Friday, the substance was the deadly toxin ricin, an extremely dangerous biological agent. Ricin is extracted from castor beans through the waste produced in the manufacture of castor oil. It is currently being used in cancer treatment research. There has been research for its use as a chemical/biological warfare agent. An amount smaller than the point of a pin will kill a human being. It is estimated to be several thousand times more toxic than cyanide and there is no known antidote.

Police cordoned off the area around Valley View between Flamingo Road and Harmon Avenue. Three employees and the man who made the discovery were taken to the hospital as a precaution. So were three police officers. They are all reported to show no signs of poisoning.

Nevada National Guard and other emergency services responded to secure the area. Residents at the Extended Stay America were allowed back into the building late Thursday. The hotel reopened fully on Friday after the room and other areas of the hotel were decontaminated.

The man whose room it was “is in critical condition and he is unable to speak with us right now. We have no indication why the ricin was in that room,” said Deputy Chief Suey.

“Usually, if [ricin victims] survive the first three to five days, they usually do fine,” Dr. Lawrence Sands told CNN. However, survivors often have long-term organ damage.

At least three pets were found in the room. “Two of those pets are fine. One of the pets is deceased or was put down,” Suey said. “The dog that was in there was without food and water for a week,” she added that there was no reason to supect it was exposed to ricin. Castor beans were also found in the room.

Officials have also recovered from the room a firearm, as well as an “anarchist” text containing an article on ricin.

Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Richard Kolko said the incident is being treated as a criminal matter and did not appear to be related to terrorism “based on the information gathered so far.”

Captain Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said that ricin is not illegal to own unless it is intended for the poisoning of a person, adding that “We did have enough ricin to be of concern.”

In 2003, a man committed suicide in Las Vegas using ricin. There have also been a few incidents where ricin powder was found in the mail. Also in 2003, the United Kingdom had the Wood Green ricin plot which in the end found no ricin.

In 1978, Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov was famously assassinated in London with ricin injected with the tip of an umbrella.

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Nov 5
John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years
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John Constable painting location mystery solved after 195 years

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The mystery of the location of a viewpoint used by English painter John Constable has been solved, after nearly 200 years. The Stour Valley and Dedham Church was painted in Suffolk, England, between 1814 and 1815, but changes to the landscape meant that the spot he chose was not known, despite the best efforts of historians and art experts.

Now the puzzle has been answered. Martin Atkinson, who works for the National Trust as property manager for East Suffolk, used clues from the painting and looked at old maps to track down the viewpoint. Trees had grown, a hedgerow had been planted and boundaries had moved or disappeared, but Atkinson eventually worked out where Constable had stood. He said, “When I discovered that I had worked out the location where Constable painted this particular masterpiece, I couldn’t believe it. All the pieces of the jigsaw finally fitted together.”

Atkinson used an 1817 map of East Bergholt, where Constable grew up, as a reference point, but found that the view would have changed not long after the painting was completed. “The foreground didn’t fit at all, it was quite unusual as we know Constable painted it in the open air so he would have been standing in the scene. The hedgerow in his work no longer exists and there’s another hedgerow that runs across the scene today which wasn’t there. When you stand on the road on which he would have stood, and use the oak tree as a reference point, you see the same view. It’s great to see where an old master stood – and be inspired by the same view,” he said.

Suffolk, where Constable painted many of his finest paintings, is often called “Constable country”. Most, but not all, of the locations that Constable depicted are known. The picture is now housed in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.

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Oct 30
Kennedy Center names 2007 honors recipients
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Kennedy Center names 2007 honors recipients

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Kennedy Center announced that its 30th presentation of the Kennedy Center Honors would go to pianist Leon Fleisher, comedian Steve Martin, singer Diana Ross, director Martin Scorsese and musician Brian Wilson. The Center was opened to the public in 1971 and was envisioned as part of the National Cultural Center Act, which mandated that the independent, privately-funded institution would present a wide variety of both classical and contemporary performances, commission the creation of new artistic works, and undertake a variety of educational missions to increase awareness of the arts.

In a statement, Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said that “with their extraordinary talent, creativity and perseverance, the five 2007 honorees have transformed the way we, as Americans, see, hear and feel the performing arts.”

Fleisher, 79, a member of the Peabody Institute‘s music faculty, is a pianist who lost use of his right hand in 1965 due to a neurological condition. He became an accomplished musician and conductor through the use of his left hand. At 67, he regained the use of his right hand. With the advent of Botox therapy, he was once more able to undertake two-hand performances in 2004, his first in four decades. “I’m very gratified by the fact that it’s an apolitical honor,” Fleisher said. “It is given by colleagues and professional people who are aware of what [an artist] has done, so it really is apolitical — and that much more of an honor.”

Martin, 62, a comedian who has written books and essays in addition to his acting and stand-up comedy career, rose to fame during his work on the American television program Saturday Night Live in the 1970’s. Schwarzman praised his work as that of a “renaissance comic whose talents wipe out the boundaries between artistic disciplines.” Martin responded to the honor saying, “I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for finally alleviating in me years of covetousness and trophy envy.”

Ross, 63, was a product of Detroit‘s Brewster-Douglass Projects when as a teeager she and friends Mary Wilson and Florence Ballardis formed The Supremes, a ground-breaking Motown act. She portrayed singer Billie Holiday in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues, which earned her an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe award. “Diana Ross’ singular, instantly recognizable voice has spread romance and joy throughout the world,” said Schwarzman. Ross said she was “taken aback. It is a huge, huge honor and I am excited to be in this class of people.”

Scorsese, 64, is one of the most accomplished directors the United States ever produced, whose work includes Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, GoodFellas, Cape Fear, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Departed, for which he won a 2006 Academy Award for Best Director after being nominated eight times. Scorsese said, “I’m very honored to be receiving this recognition from the Kennedy Center and proud to be joining the company of the very distinguished individuals who have received this honor in years past.”

Wilson, 65, along with his brothers Dennis and Carl, formed the Beach Boys in 1961. They had a series of hits that included “Surfin’ U.S.A.” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Their 1966 album Pet Sounds is considered one of the most influential recordings in American music. “This is something so unexpected and I feel extremely fortunate to be in the company of such great artists,” said Wilson, who is currently on tour.

The Kennedy Center’s board of trustees is responsible for selecting honorees for “lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.” Previous honorees, including Elton John and Steven Spielberg, also submitted recommendations. A wide variety of people were under consideration, including Emanuel Ax, Evgeny Kissin, Renee Fleming, Laurence Fishburne, Francis Ford Coppola, Melissa Etheridge and Kenny Chesney.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will attend the center’s presentation at its opera house on December 2, 2007, which will broadcast on December 26 on CBS.

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