New York City Mass Transit facing service cuts
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New York City Mass Transit facing service cuts

Friday, December 11, 2009

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is proposing to make service cuts to close its expected US$343 million (€234m, GBP £211m) budget deficit. The plan includes the elimination of multiple bus lines in The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, the elimination of the W (Astoria, Queens to Lower Manhattan) and the Z (Jamaica, Queens to Lower Manhattan via Brooklyn) train services. Also included in the plan are cuts of nighttime bus and train service.

“We’re not going to rely on anyone else to do anything for us. We’re going to rely on ourselves.” MTA board member Mitchell Pally said, commenting on the New York state’s budget plan cutting $143 million of tax revenue from the agency. MTA Chairman Jay Walder has said in the past that he would not raise fares ahead of schedule.

Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign, a commuter advocacy group, said that the agency should take money from its current construction and maintenance fund, and put it into maintaining these services.

First plane arrival for more than 10 years to renewed airport in Grozny, Russia
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First plane arrival for more than 10 years to renewed airport in Grozny, Russia

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Grozny, a city of the Chechen Republic, Russia, celebrated the arrival and the later departure of the first passenger aircraft, a Tu-134A-5, for more than 10 years. The renovated Severny (Northern) Airport opened prior to the 30th birthday of the Republican Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, son of the former PM Akhmad Kadyrov who was killed by terrorists, though no official relation of these events has been confirmed.

The formal opening of Grozny airport occurred under tightened security precautions since the Chechen rebel threat still exists in the region. The airport was used as the base of the 46th Brigade of the Russian Interior troops.

The main building of the airport was heavily damaged by the years of Chechen Wars. Now it has been reconstructed in compliance with international standards.

British singer Susan Boyle admitted to hospital
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British singer Susan Boyle admitted to hospital

Monday, June 1, 2009

British singer Susan Boyle has agreed to be admitted to a local clinic for exhaustion, according to media reports. Boyle is said to have been taken by ambulance to the Priory clinic after she began to act strange in her hotel room, reportedly suffering an “emotional breakdown.”

Staff for Britain’s Got Talent allegedly called police after they noticed her acting strange while backstage after the finale of the popular talent contest. Boyle went to her hotel room and on the arrival of police she was ordered to be taken to a clinic under the Mental Health Act.

“Police were called to doctors assessing a woman under the Mental Health Act. The woman was taken voluntarily by ambulance to a clinic. At the request of doctors, police accompanied the ambulance,” said Scotland Yard as quoted by The Sun.

Boyle, 47, from Blackburn, West Lothian, in Scotland, came in second place on Britain’s Got Talent. Boyle was beaten by the dance group Diversity on Saturday who got 24% of the public vote, with Boyle receiving 20%. She took the world by storm after her debut appearance on April 11 singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from the award-winning musical Les Misérables. Just a day after appearing on the show, Boyle became a YouTube sensation with her performance receiving nearly 9 million views. To date, the YouTube clip has been viewed by nearly 65 million people worldwide.

Britain’s Got Talent issued a statement supporting Boyle saying, “Following Saturday’s show, Susan is exhausted and emotionally drained. We offer her our ongoing support and wish her a speedy recovery.”

Simon Cowell, the show’s owner and panel judge of the contestants, also issued a statement saying, “We’re going to look after her. We’ve never had a runner-up like Susan before. She won over a lot of fans – not just with her voice, but with her graciousness.”

It is not known how long Boyle will be staying at the clinic, but according to reports, she agreed to take time off from singing on advice of her doctor not long before being admitted.

Remnants of Hurricane Felicia affect Hawaii
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Remnants of Hurricane Felicia affect Hawaii

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The remnants of former Hurricane Felicia continue to affect the Hawaiian islands today, prompting the issuance of a flash flood watch for Oahu, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kauai. According to the National Weather Service, a flash flood watch is issued “to indicate current or developing hydrologic conditions that are favorable for flash flooding in and close to the watch area, but the occurrence is neither certain or imminent”.

Felicia, once a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, weakened to a tropical depression before dissipating Tuesday. Its remnants produced showers across most of the islands, though as of yet, no damage or flooding has been reported. The precipitation, reaching 6.34 inches at a gauge on Oahu, was described as “beneficial”. Some of the rainfall was accompanied by thunderstorms and frequent lightning.

…when I heard there’s going to be 12- to 15-foot faces, I was excited.

The advisories are due to expire late tonight, as officials caution that further rainfall could potentially lead to flooding. On Kauai, some rivers have already begun to swell.

Surfers, however, have been enjoying unusually high waves generated by the storm. One resident of Oahu said, “I’m pretty excited. We usually don’t get this much big surf at [Sandy Beach Park]. So when I heard there’s going to be 12- to 15-foot faces, I was excited. I thought I’d grab my fins, come out, check it out this morning.” Bathers other than experienced surfers were advised to avoid the water.

Despite the demise of Felicia, the tropics remain active; two tropical depressions are currently persisting in the Eastern Pacific, while several systems are being watched for development in the Atlantic.

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Volkswagen emissions scandal may affect thousands more cars
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Volkswagen emissions scandal may affect thousands more cars

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Volkswagen emissions scandal continued yesterday with the company announcing 800,000 mainly diesel vehicles may also be affected by carbon dioxide emissions problems.

The company stated “the safety of the vehicles is in no way compromised”. They estimated potentially this could cost them €2bn on top of the €6.7bn set aside to pay for the cost of correcting 11 million cars affected when the scandal broke, in addition to fines by regulators.

the safety of the vehicles is in no way compromised

This follows Monday’s revelation that the emissions scandal has affected up to 10,000 vehicles sold in the USA by brands in the Volkswagen group, although the company refutes the allegation. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the regulatory body which has been investigating Volkswagen, claims the company fitted a number of recent Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen models with technology that initiates secret components during emission tests to ensure the results are favourable.

The scandal began with damaging revelations that the car manufacturer has been using illegal software to enable diesel cars to cheat on mandatory emissions tests. This lead to a public apology on September 20 by then-chief executive Martin Winterkorn and the promise of an outside inquiry. He then resigned on September 23, and was replaced by Matthias Müller. The new allegation about Porsche is of particular concern for Müller, because he had previously been in charge of Porsche.

The company is expected to foot the bill for the recall of close to 500,000 VW and Audi cars affected at the time. There is also the possibility of Volkswagen having to pay federal fines of up to US$18 billion dollars because the US Clean Air Act sets a maximum fine of US$37,500 for each vehicle that contravenes the requirements of the Act.

An investigation into alleged breaches of environmental law was originally initiated on the advice of the International Council on Clean Transportation, a European non-governmental organisation. The EPA requested tests be carried out by West Virginia University, where the secret software was discovered.

The software, known as a “defeat device”, enabled cars to identify when they were being tested and to switch on the emission control system. The devices may have been adding urea to the car exhaust because that would reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide. The car would release a fraction of the nitrogen oxide compared to when they were being driven normally. Emissions of nitrogen oxide contribute to smog and are thought to have caused a rise in respiratory illnesses like asthma.

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Wikinews interviews specialists on China, Iran, Russia support for al-Assad
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Wikinews interviews specialists on China, Iran, Russia support for al-Assad

Monday, September 23, 2013

Over the past week, diplomatic actions have averted — or, at least delayed — military strikes on Syria by the United States. Wikinews sought input from a range of international experts on the situation; and, the tensions caused by Russia’s support for the al-Assad regime despite its apparent use of chemical weapons.

Contents

  • 1 Interviewees
  • 2 Wikinews Q&A
    • 2.1 China
    • 2.2 Iran
    • 2.3 Russia
  • 3 Related news

File:Ghouta chemical attack map.svg

Tensions in the country increased dramatically, late August when it was reported between 100 and 1,300 people were killed in an alleged chemical attack. Many of those killed appeared to be children, with some of the pictures and video coming out of the country showing — according to witnesses — those who died from apparent suffocation; some foaming at the mouth, others having convulsions.

Amongst Syria’s few remaining allies, Iran, China, and Russia continue to oppose calls for military intervention. In an effort to provide a better-understanding of the reasoning behind their ongoing support, the following people were posed a range of questions.

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Several groups seek to purchase Saturn auto brand
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Several groups seek to purchase Saturn auto brand

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Penske Automotive Group, Inc., an Ohio-based investment group and Telesto Ventures have indicated separately that they are interested in purchasing the Saturn auto brand from General Motors (GM).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nissan-Renault is interested in purchasing Saturn. Bloomberg, however, indicated that Nissan-Renault may be a partner of Penske’s potential bid. If Penske acquired the brand, they would distribute Saturn vehicles and outsource the assembly.

GM revealed that the Saturn brand along with Saab and Hummer were up for sale when unveiling their restructuring plans to Congress for governmental loans. While the Pontiac brand was originally to be a niche brand, GM had changed their plans recently and decided to eliminate the brand.

Telesto Ventures is an investment group that includes private equity firm Black Oak Partners LLC of Oklahoma City and several Saturn dealerships. Initially, Telesto will purchase Saturn branded cars from GM then act as a general retailer for foreign brands. Telesto is in talks with several foreign manufacturers.

The Ohio group includes many former senior auto company managers plus private financial backers, chemists and engineers who live in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Florida. This group plans to initially purchase cars from GM then purchase existing but closed plants due to automaker restructuring. Additionally, one of the partners indicated a willingness to accept some “legacy” cost in relation to the United Auto Workers. The Ohio group is also pursuing possible loans or other support from national and state governments.

GM is reviewing several offers for Saturn. GM has contracted with S.J. Girsky & Co. to advise them on the sale.

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On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016
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On the campaign trail in the USA, July 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The following is the third edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: two individuals previously interviewed by Wikinews announce their candidacies for the Reform Party presidential nomination; a former Republican Congressman comments on the Republican National Convention; and Wikinews interviews an historic Democratic National Convention speaker.

Contents

  • 1 Summary
    • 1.1 RNC
    • 1.2 DNC
  • 2 Reform Party race features two Wikinews interviewees
  • 3 Former Congressman responds to Cruz RNC speech
  • 4 Wikinews interviews history-making DNC speaker
  • 5 Related articles
  • 6 Sources
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Stanford physicists print smallest-ever letters ‘SU’ at subatomic level of 1.5 nanometres tall
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Stanford physicists print smallest-ever letters ‘SU’ at subatomic level of 1.5 nanometres tall

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A new historic physics record has been set by scientists for exceedingly small writing, opening a new door to computing‘s future. Stanford University physicists have claimed to have written the letters “SU” at sub-atomic size.

Graduate students Christopher Moon, Laila Mattos, Brian Foster and Gabriel Zeltzer, under the direction of assistant professor of physics Hari Manoharan, have produced the world’s smallest lettering, which is approximately 1.5 nanometres tall, using a molecular projector, called Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) to push individual carbon monoxide molecules on a copper or silver sheet surface, based on interference of electron energy states.

A nanometre (Greek: ?????, nanos, dwarf; ?????, metr?, count) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a metre (i.e., 10-9 m or one millionth of a millimetre), and also equals ten Ångström, an internationally recognized non-SI unit of length. It is often associated with the field of nanotechnology.

“We miniaturised their size so drastically that we ended up with the smallest writing in history,” said Manoharan. “S” and “U,” the two letters in honor of their employer have been reduced so tiny in nanoimprint that if used to print out 32 volumes of an Encyclopedia, 2,000 times, the contents would easily fit on a pinhead.

In the world of downsizing, nanoscribes Manoharan and Moon have proven that information, if reduced in size smaller than an atom, can be stored in more compact form than previously thought. In computing jargon, small sizing results to greater speed and better computer data storage.

“Writing really small has a long history. We wondered: What are the limits? How far can you go? Because materials are made of atoms, it was always believed that if you continue scaling down, you’d end up at that fundamental limit. You’d hit a wall,” said Manoharan.

In writing the letters, the Stanford team utilized an electron‘s unique feature of “pinball table for electrons” — its ability to bounce between different quantum states. In the vibration-proof basement lab of Stanford’s Varian Physics Building, the physicists used a Scanning tunneling microscope in encoding the “S” and “U” within the patterns formed by the electron’s activity, called wave function, arranging carbon monoxide molecules in a very specific pattern on a copper or silver sheet surface.

“Imagine [the copper as] a very shallow pool of water into which we put some rocks [the carbon monoxide molecules]. The water waves scatter and interfere off the rocks, making well defined standing wave patterns,” Manoharan noted. If the “rocks” are placed just right, then the shapes of the waves will form any letters in the alphabet, the researchers said. They used the quantum properties of electrons, rather than photons, as their source of illumination.

According to the study, the atoms were ordered in a circular fashion, with a hole in the middle. A flow of electrons was thereafter fired at the copper support, which resulted into a ripple effect in between the existing atoms. These were pushed aside, and a holographic projection of the letters “SU” became visible in the space between them. “What we did is show that the atom is not the limit — that you can go below that,” Manoharan said.

“It’s difficult to properly express the size of their stacked S and U, but the equivalent would be 0.3 nanometres. This is sufficiently small that you could copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the head of a pin not just once, but thousands of times over,” Manoharan and his nanohologram collaborator Christopher Moon explained.

The team has also shown the salient features of the holographic principle, a property of quantum gravity theories which resolves the black hole information paradox within string theory. They stacked “S” and the “U” – two layers, or pages, of information — within the hologram.

The team stressed their discovery was concentrating electrons in space, in essence, a wire, hoping such a structure could be used to wire together a super-fast quantum computer in the future. In essence, “these electron patterns can act as holograms, that pack information into subatomic spaces, which could one day lead to unlimited information storage,” the study states.

The “Conclusion” of the Stanford article goes as follows:

According to theory, a quantum state can encode any amount of information (at zero temperature), requiring only sufficiently high bandwidth and time in which to read it out. In practice, only recently has progress been made towards encoding several bits into the shapes of bosonic single-photon wave functions, which has applications in quantum key distribution. We have experimentally demonstrated that 35 bits can be permanently encoded into a time-independent fermionic state, and that two such states can be simultaneously prepared in the same area of space. We have simulated hundreds of stacked pairs of random 7 times 5-pixel arrays as well as various ideas for pathological bit patterns, and in every case the information was theoretically encodable. In all experimental attempts, extending down to the subatomic regime, the encoding was successful and the data were retrieved at 100% fidelity. We believe the limitations on bit size are approxlambda/4, but surprisingly the information density can be significantly boosted by using higher-energy electrons and stacking multiple pages holographically. Determining the full theoretical and practical limits of this technique—the trade-offs between information content (the number of pages and bits per page), contrast (the number of measurements required per bit to overcome noise), and the number of atoms in the hologram—will involve further work.Quantum holographic encoding in a two-dimensional electron gas, Christopher R. Moon, Laila S. Mattos, Brian K. Foster, Gabriel Zeltzer & Hari C. Manoharan

The team is not the first to design or print small letters, as attempts have been made since as early as 1960. In December 1959, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, who delivered his now-legendary lecture entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” promised new opportunities for those who “thought small.”

Feynman was an American physicist known for the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as work in particle physics (he proposed the parton model).

Feynman offered two challenges at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society, held that year in Caltech, offering a $1000 prize to the first person to solve each of them. Both challenges involved nanotechnology, and the first prize was won by William McLellan, who solved the first. The first problem required someone to build a working electric motor that would fit inside a cube 1/64 inches on each side. McLellan achieved this feat by November 1960 with his 250-microgram 2000-rpm motor consisting of 13 separate parts.

In 1985, the prize for the second challenge was claimed by Stanford Tom Newman, who, working with electrical engineering professor Fabian Pease, used electron lithography. He wrote or engraved the first page of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, at the required scale, on the head of a pin, with a beam of electrons. The main problem he had before he could claim the prize was finding the text after he had written it; the head of the pin was a huge empty space compared with the text inscribed on it. Such small print could only be read with an electron microscope.

In 1989, however, Stanford lost its record, when Donald Eigler and Erhard Schweizer, scientists at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose were the first to position or manipulate 35 individual atoms of xenon one at a time to form the letters I, B and M using a STM. The atoms were pushed on the surface of the nickel to create letters 5nm tall.

In 1991, Japanese researchers managed to chisel 1.5 nm-tall characters onto a molybdenum disulphide crystal, using the same STM method. Hitachi, at that time, set the record for the smallest microscopic calligraphy ever designed. The Stanford effort failed to surpass the feat, but it, however, introduced a novel technique. Having equaled Hitachi’s record, the Stanford team went a step further. They used a holographic variation on the IBM technique, for instead of fixing the letters onto a support, the new method created them holographically.

In the scientific breakthrough, the Stanford team has now claimed they have written the smallest letters ever – assembled from subatomic-sized bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter. The new super-mini letters created are 40 times smaller than the original effort and more than four times smaller than the IBM initials, states the paper Quantum holographic encoding in a two-dimensional electron gas, published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The new sub-atomic size letters are around a third of the size of the atomic ones created by Eigler and Schweizer at IBM.

A subatomic particle is an elementary or composite particle smaller than an atom. Particle physics and nuclear physics are concerned with the study of these particles, their interactions, and non-atomic matter. Subatomic particles include the atomic constituents electrons, protons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are composite particles, consisting of quarks.

“Everyone can look around and see the growing amount of information we deal with on a daily basis. All that knowledge is out there. For society to move forward, we need a better way to process it, and store it more densely,” Manoharan said. “Although these projections are stable — they’ll last as long as none of the carbon dioxide molecules move — this technique is unlikely to revolutionize storage, as it’s currently a bit too challenging to determine and create the appropriate pattern of molecules to create a desired hologram,” the authors cautioned. Nevertheless, they suggest that “the practical limits of both the technique and the data density it enables merit further research.”

In 2000, it was Hari Manoharan, Christopher Lutz and Donald Eigler who first experimentally observed quantum mirage at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. In physics, a quantum mirage is a peculiar result in quantum chaos. Their study in a paper published in Nature, states they demonstrated that the Kondo resonance signature of a magnetic adatom located at one focus of an elliptically shaped quantum corral could be projected to, and made large at the other focus of the corral.

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Congressman Cunningham admits taking bribes
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Congressman Cunningham admits taking bribes

Monday, November 28, 2005

U.S. Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (RCA) pled guilty today to conspiring to take bribes in exchange for using his influence as a member of the House Appropriations Committee to help a defense contractor get business. In total he pled guilty to one count of income tax evasion and four counts of conspiracy, namely mail fraud, wire fraud, bribery of public official and accepting bribes. U.S. District judge Larry A. Burns scheduled Cunnigham to be sentenced on February 27. He is facing up to 10 years in prison and nearly $500,000 in fines, as well as forfeiture of unspecified amounts of cash and property.

In the court hearing, Cunningham admitted to accepting “bribes in exchange for performance of official duties” between “the year 2000 and June of 2005”, taking “both cash payments and payments in kind” and following up by “trying to influence the Defense Department”.

The federal investigation against Cunningham was triggered by his sale of his California residence to defense contractor Mitchell Wade in late 2003. However, Wade never moved in and sold the house at a $700,000 loss three quarters of a year later. At the same time Wade’s company MZM won tens of millions of dollars in defense contracts. Subsequent investigations discovered more questionable business transactions, including interactions with the defense contractor ADCS. In his plea agreement he testified that, among other charges, he “demanded, sought and received at least $2.4 million in illicit payments and benefits from his co-conspirators in various forms, including cash, checks, meals, travel, lodging, furnishings, antiques, rugs, yacht club fees, boat repairs and improvements, moving expenses, cars and boats.”

Cunningham announced his resignation after the hearing. In a written statement released by his law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP he declared “The truth is — I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, and most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.”

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