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”.



Wednesday, February 14, 2007

International car company DaimlerChrysler announced today it would cut 13,000 jobs in North America. It could part ways with the loss-making business.

It also plans to cut two Chrysler plants in an attempt to make Chrysler business profitable by 2008.

About 9,000 production jobs will be cut in the U.S., 2,000 production jobs in Canada, and 2,000 salaried jobs.

“It’s hard to say if it’s enough … but the stock is reacting nicely, which is further verification that this is a favorable restructuring move and a much-needed one at Chrysler,” said chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management, Tim Ghriskey.

Following some speculation that the companies Daimler-Benz (Mercedes-Benz) and Chrysler, which merged together in 1998 to make DaimlerChrysler, would split, chairman Dieter Zetsche denied allegations.

“We do not exclude any option in order to find the best solution for both the Chrysler Group and DaimlerChrysler.”



By Jane A. Smith

In looking for a government sponsored dental insurance, you have to consider two basic facts. One, that most federal dental insurance plan is for those employed by the federal governments only. Second, there are also government sponsored dental insurance purposely designed for the residents of the state and can availed only by the low income group.

If you are an employee of the federal government, there are many options open to you with regards to your family’s dental insurance plan. There is really no need for you to research on these plans, as you will be provided with the needed handouts related to these governments’ dental insurance offers to federal employees.

All you have to do is find the right option for you from the pamphlet and apply for such coverage. Actually, as a federal employee, you are in a better position for dental insurance coverage as all that you have to do is choose if what options is most suited to your family’s dental insurance need. This is one advantage of being in the government employ.

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If you are working as a contractual employee of an agency and receiving a very low pay, you can still avail of these federally funded dental insurance plan which are free for those with lowest income and partially free for those with a slightly higher income. These government sponsored dental insurance plan are given to the residents of the state that are living in or near poverty levels.

Every year, your state allocates a budget for these governmental support and have it bided to insurance companies. Those residents that would like to apply for these government supported dental insurance coverage plans has to submit proof of their annual earnings to qualify for these dental insurance plans.

For federal employees, it is suggested that if they would want a more comprehensive federal insurance plan with a good coverage on dental care, they can browse the website of their state and study what other options are available for them that can give them more coverage when it comes to their dental insurance need. In fact, in this site, they can also see their own plan, the total amount of their coverage and its status.

On the other hand, if you are out of work or working with a very low pay, you can always seek the help of your city or municipal government for federal dental insurance. If you have the time you can go to an internet shop and search the net for your state or city website. Here, you will come to learn the many free government assisted dental insurance coverage plans and the needed requirements if you want to apply for one.

Usually, the needed information that you have to furnish your city dental health office when you apply for federal dental insurance plan will be your yearly income and the number of children that you have. You have to be aware that if you fall on the lowest income level, you can have the chance of being afforded a totally free dental insurance for your family. With this information, you can now apply for federally assisted dental insurance plan for your family.

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Thursday, June 1, 2006

A mine accident killed at least nine miners in a coal mine in western Turkey. A methane explosion collapsed a mine shaft about 150 meters below the town of Odakoy, in Bal?kesir Province, near the border with Bursa Province. Rescue work was slowed by the presence of gas, with rescue workers having to be hospitalized for methane poisoning.

Turkey suffers relatively frequent mine accidents, especially due to methane pockets either igniting or poisoning miners. Some observers fault old & untrustworthy equipment, or a disregard for safety regulations.



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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A police officer has shot and killed his wife and two of their children at the train station in the French city of Noyon in the department of Oise, the local prosecutor said, after the wife had informed the officer of her intention to separate from him. Their sons were aged three and five; a third child, twin to the five year old victim, survived the attack and is in the care of child services. The killings took place around 11:30 local time (0930 UTC) on Sunday.

The wife, born in 1983, called the gendarmes (police) in the morning, and they arrived to find her explaining to their five children about the domestic argument which had escalated. The husband returned while the police were present, and they reported he seemed calm and did not interfere with the children being moved to a neighbor’s home, so they departed. The woman reportedly chose to leave her house when her husband was not there, and headed to the station, where the husband awaited them armed.

After assassinating his family, the police officer committed suicide. The wife’s family lived in Guiscard, near Noyon. The station at Noyon was closed after the incident. Late on Sunday, the police were searching for a witness who escaped after observing the events.



Submitted by: Stacy Carolin

According to the researches of medical and university studies, it has been discovered that roasted pecans have positive effects to the health of an individual. But it is not only roasted pecan nuts that you get to obtain health benefits. It does not matter if the nuts are plain or roasted, you will still be able to acquire its essential nutrients. When your diet plan includes pecans, you have a higher chance of lowering down your cholesterol level. Aside from this, studies show that these nuts highly consist of antioxidants, helping you wash off the toxins from your body. When it comes to the top ten food sources that are high in antioxidant, pecan nuts rank high. Early findings of studies also show that this nut variety has properties that help fight off some cancer types.

Shed Off Extra Pounds with Pecans

If you want to shed off excess weight, you can include roasted nuts to your meals or snacks. Studies show that this nut variety will help you lose weight. After you have achieved your intended weight, you can keep it this way by eating pecans. Eating roasted pecan nuts aids in raising the level of your metabolism. It keeps you feeling satisfied all the time. Adding roasted pecans to your balanced diet everyday will help you lose weight effectively. When you are feeling hungry but you do not want to eat too much, you can just eat these nuts instead. One handful of pecans will provide you the energy to get on with your work until dinnertime.

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Keep a Healthy Heart with Roasted Pecan Nuts

One of the benefits that pecans provide is lessening the risk of heart diseases. You will be able to maintain a healthy heart by eating roasted or plain nuts. This is because this nut supplies you with the unsaturated form of fats, which is also called healthy cholesterol . Like lean meat, pecans are high in protein. The only difference is that these nuts are healthy and does not lead to heart problems. Eat this nut variety, rather than meat products. These nuts are great additions to your favorite recipes, especially to pies. You will be able to get more nutrients, when you eat plain or roasted pecans.

More Nutritious Salt-free Pecan Nuts

Pecans do not contain sodium. So you have no reason to worry about having to fill your body with salt. If you are recommended by your doctor to keep away from foods that are rich in salt, you can still eat roasted or plain pecan nuts. The market sells different pecan products, which are suitable for varying health needs of nut lovers. Since you cannot consume foods that contain sodium, you can opt for unsalted pecans. You can either go for plain, roasted, or candied nuts. No matter what the preparation is, you will still be able to get all the nutrients that you need from this nut variety. If you want to keep your health in check, opt for this specific nut species.

Whether you are looking for plain or roasted pecans, the best place to look for them is on the Internet. One site that sells different preparation types of this nut variety is Tanner s Pecans and Candies, where you can also buy pies and cakes that contain the nuts.

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Monday, July 23, 2018

On Friday, US director and screenwriter James Gunn was fired from work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for Marvel Studios reportedly for his offensive tweets from 2008 to 2011 about, amongst other things, rape and paedophilia.

In a statement, Walt Disney Studios’ Chairman Alan Horn said, “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him”.

The Walt Disney Company owns Marvel Studios. James Gunn wrote the screenplay and directed Marvel movies Guardians of the Galaxy, released in 2014, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, released in 2017. Based on the comic book characters in the Marvel Comics, the movie franchise featured Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillian as well as Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as voice cast for CGI characters. The two movies earned a worldwide box office revenue of about USD 773 million and USD 864 million per Box Office Mojo’s statistics. Gunn had been writing the third movie in the franchise reportedly to be released in 2020.

Responding to his firing, James Gunn said, “My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time. Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then.”

In one of the old tweets, Gunn wrote, “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!'”

Dave Bautista, who portrays Drax the Destroyer in Gunn’s Marvel movies, tweeted about Gunn’s dismissal saying, “James Gunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. I’m NOT ok with what’s happening to him”.

After Gunn was fired, David Dastmalchian, an actor in the latest Marvel Studios movie Ant-Man and the Wasp wrote on Instagram, “i’ve been saying this FOR YEARS! @jamesgunn is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known – both professionally & personally. there are so many people in our lives that we would never have known without the incredible magnet of talent & goodness that is James […] thanks for making us a part of your family, buddy.”



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08 15th, 2018

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Iraqi and American forces raided a training camp in a remote, rural region 160 kilometers north of Baghdad on Wednesday, killing 85 insurgents. Seven Iraqi commandos were killed in the raid and six were injured, according to the US military.

In addition to placing the insurgent death toll at 85, the Iraqi government also said that between 500 and 700 Iraqi commandos took part in the raid.

After encountering heavy fire from an estimated 100 insurgents as they approached the camp, the Iraqi commandos called in support from the American 42nd Infantry Division, which sent in ground troops and attack helicopters. The battle began at approximately 11a.m. local time (0800 UTC) and lasted seven hours.

The training camp, located in a remote region near Lake Tharthar, which is adjacent to the predominantly Sunni Anbar and Salahuddin provinces, is the largest guerilla training camp that has been discovered in the war so far, according to Iraqi officials.

The insurgents had planned to attack the city of Samarra, located 55 kilometers east of the lake, with a large number of car bombs, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Iraqi officials claimed that most of the insurgents came from Arab countries, though men from the Philippines were also among the deceased insurgents. They also claimed to have captured one Algerian.

“The Arab countries are sending fighters into Iraq because they want to destroy our democratic movement,” said General Rashid Flaiyeh, head of Iraqi police in Salahuddin Province, in an interview broadcast on state-run television network Al Iraqiya.



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08 14th, 2018

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A permanent memorial for the victims of the July 7, 2005 London bombings has been unveiled in Hyde Park, London, England. Today is the fourth anniversary of the bombings, when 52 people were killed by suicide bombers on board three Underground trains and a bus.

52 stainless steel columns standing 3.5m (11.5ft) tall were inaugurated in the presence of Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Bowles, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Minister for London, Tessa Jowell.

Each column represented “a unique person and a unique grief” according to the Minister for London.

Jowell continued, “Each one casts a shadow just as they do – each one standing tall and proud just as they did, and each one will in an individual way absorb and reflect light just as they did.”

A 1.4 tonne stainless steel plaque with the names of the people killed was also unveiled.

Prince Charles laid a wreath on behalf of the nation. The Duchess of Cornwall left a floral tribute for the families of the victims.

The families themselves laid roses and then met the prince and the duchess.



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