byAlma Abell

In many parts of Bedford, MA, there is increasing awareness of the importance of recycling. This simple process involves separating garbage to set aside any item that can be reused or broken down to be converted into new products. Any individual or business involved in Recycling in New Bedford MA is making a significant contribution to the health of the environment. Waste disposal companies that provide containers for recycling purposes assist in the efforts. Efficient waste management companies tailor their recycling programs to suit each customer based on their size and the amount and type of waste they produce.

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Recycling in New Bedford MA, can actually help to lower your overall costs for the disposal of garbage each year. When you recycle, you are actually dumping less, so you will end up saving money. Any business that does not have a recycling program in place can get help in setting one up. Some waste disposal companies provide assistance in developing programs and educating staff on the importance of recycling.

Recycling in New Bedford MA, is much easier when the right materials can be quickly identified. This is why people need to be informed about proper waste disposal. Many of the items that end up in landfills do not need to be there. Proper sorting and collecting of garbage can help to reduce the pressure on landfills, and reduce the burden on municipal services. Materials that can often be reused through recycling include paper, plastic glass and wood.

For some companies, recycling is important to their sense of corporate responsibility. The ongoing green movement has led to many companies rethinking their waste disposal methods. In addition, recycling waste has helped many companies to make better use of their resources. Waste disposal companies that offer Recycling in New Bedford MA, are helping businesses and individual to live up to their environmental ideals. They provide containers of varying sizes to help improve waste disposal methods. Before you make a recycling arrangement, ensure that the disposal company is a member of the National Solid Waste Management Association. This will tell you if the company maintains professional standards, and if they are experts in the field of waste disposal and recycling.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PRS for Music is the UK’s music royalty collection society tasked with working on behalf of copyright holders, specifically authors and music publishers. Founded in 1914, the PRS is a non-profit organisation with 350,000 UK businesses holding PRS licenses. The society works in conjunction with PPL which collects fees on behalf of the copyright holders of the actual recording.So, if a cover version of a song is played on UK radio, PRS collect a fee on behalf of the original writer and publisher, whilst PPL collect a fee on behalf of the record company of the cover. In a recent Wikinews interview, Paul Campbell, founder of Amazing Radio, an unsigned UK radio station, lambasted PRS for their “barmy standard contract” and their outdated equipment. That interview can be found here.

The music industry is changing and the way we use music is continually changing

Wikinews reporter Tristan Thomas interviews PRS, following up on Campbell and others’ criticism as well as finding out about future plans.

((Wikinews)) Firstly, thank you for the time in doing this interview.

((WN)) Last year, you were involved in a high profile dispute with YouTube. Can you briefly explain to our audience what that was all about and the final outcome of it?

((PRS)) PRS for Music was the first collecting society in the world to license the YouTube service, meaning if music videos were watched online then our members – who created them – would receive a small royalty payment. When we went to renew the licence that YouTube held we couldn’t agree as to how much should be paid and exactly what should be covered within it. We believed that music had become a much larger part of the YouTube service and that YouTube/Google should reflect the increased use of our members’ creative talent in the amount they paid.

The great thing is that we kept talking to YouTube throughout the dispute and managed to reach an agreement in September which meant that the videos could be accessed again by UK YouTube users and that our 65,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members would be paid.

((WN)) How many artists do you represent and how much did you collect during 2009 for them?

((PRS)) We represent 65,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. We haven’t released our 2009 figures yet but in 2008 we collected over £600m for them. The main sources of revenue come from recorded media (CDs, DVDs etc), international use, public performance use and use in television, radio and online.

((WN)) Paul Campbell in a recent interview with us said the following:“PRS has a barmy standard contract for using their members’ music online. It requires us to pay them a fixed percentage of ALL revenue from that website – whether or not the revenue is derived from their members’ work. So if we had 100,000 songs from non-PRS artists on amazingtunes.com, and one song from a PRS artist, we’d have to pay them a percentage of the revenue from ALL 100,000 songs. I.e., we’d have to take money out of the pockets out of non-PRS artists to pay to PRS. That would be immoral.”How do you respond to that?

((PRS)) Anyone using music in a commercial way – such as a radio station – is required to obtain the permission of those that created the music. This could be numerous writers, publishers and a record label for each song, possibly in different countries around the world. By obtaining a PRS for Music and PPL licence in the UK you are ensuring you have those permissions for over 10million musical works. Obviously much of the music used on radio comes from non-UK writers who may not be members of PRS for Music. Radio and television stations give us almost 100% accurate reports of their music use through their own playlists; this data then enables organisations such as ours to work out who should be paid and how much. PRS for Music has 144 agreements in place with similar societies around the world, resulting in us representing almost 2 million writers worldwide. If French, American, Spanish, Australian or any other writer’s music is used we will pay the respective societies so they can pay their members.

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Similarly a writer of musician may be ‘unsigned’ by that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t earn from their music when it is used by others. Many bands, writers and performers are currently unsigned but by being members of PRS for Music they ensure that they can begin earning vital royalties that allow them to continue with their musical career.

((WN)) How does the PRS ensure that artists outside the UK are properly compensated when their music is used within the UK, such as Thai or Chinese restaurants paying their PRS dues and exclusively using music which is from outside Europe?

((PRS)) As mentioned before PRS for Music has agreements in place in over 90 countries around the world to ensure that when music is used the right creators are rewarded. The system – built up over the last century – works both ways and when UK music is used internationally, PRS for Music receives royalties from foreign societies so we can pay our members. In 2008 £139.8m was collected from UK music use abroad, with the UK being one of only a few net exporters of music in the world.

((WN)) There have been a few cases in which PRS have been forced to apologise, exemplified by the threat of prosecution and a fine towards “singing granny” Sandra Burt, a shelf-stacker who sung to herself whilst stacking shelves. How has PRS moved forward from these incidents in order to ensure they do not happen again?

((PRS)) If we have made mistakes we will of course put our hands up and say so. For example when we were approached about the Sandra Burt case – by a journalist incidentally and not Sandra – we did give out slightly incorrect advice, although the questions were a little ambiguous. Once we realised our mistake we contacted Sandra to explain that she wouldn’t need a licence to sing to her customers and offered our sincere apologies. As an organisation we are very quick to admit where we get things wrong and ensure they are put right. We’re proud of our record with our customers and currently have 350,000 businesses choosing to use music in the UK.

Once we realised our mistake we contacted Sandra

To put the complaints in context we have only have 1 for approximately every 5,000 customer contacts we make. This is an exceptionally low ratio and there are many firms who would be envious of a record like this. During 2009 our complaints fell by 50% and we appointed an independent ombudsmen who could handle any complaints if they were not resolved internally. As of January 2010 no complaints have needed to be passed on to the ombudsmen.

((WN)) How does the PRS work with musicians who are not signed to major labels, may make music available for download via their own websites or MySpace, and do not have the financial resources to protect their copyright?

((PRS)) Many of the PRS for Music membership is not signed to a major record label and we represent creators from all genres of music in the UK and abroad. By joining PRS for Music, which only costs £10 deferred to your first royalty payment, you ensure you can begin earning royalties whenever your music is played, performed or reproduced. We have worked hard to license such sites as YouTube, MySpace, Spotify and Sky Songs to name a selection to ensure our members can be rewarded when their work is used.

Our membership team also work hard to support our creators holding showcase events, offering advice of how to get their music used as well as legal and financial advice.

((WN)) Finally, what future plans do you have as an organisation in order to further protect and enhance your members work as new technologies emerge over the next few years?

((PRS)) PRS for Music will continue to be at the forefront of licensing new digital and online services to ensure creators are paid. We aim to get the balance right to ensure new products and music services can launch and develop, but that also they pay for the music they use.

The music industry is changing and the way we use music is continually changing (it always has) but we’ll still be at the forefront enabling people to use music whenever they want, and rewarding those that have created that music.

((WN)) Thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Good luck for 2010.



Thursday, July 23, 2009

FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association or International Federation of Association Football, has fined the Ivorian Football Federation $47,000 over the stadium disaster on March 29. Between 20 and 22 football fans died and over 130 were injured as 36,000 fans packed into the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium to see the Ivory Coast face Malawi in a qualifying match for the FIFA World Cup. The stadium’s capacity is 34,600 fans. The stampede took place after a wall collapsed as thousands of fans massed outside the stadium, trying to get in. The game was played despite the accident, and the Ivory Coast won 5&ndasp0.

FIFA imposed a sanction of 50,000 Swiss francs, approximately US$46,800. They also set a 20,000 attendance limit on the next qualifier, against Burkina Faso. In addition, they have called for a mandatory traffic control cordon. FIFA has donated US$96,000 to a fund which supports the families of those who lost their lives in the disaster.

“In the event of any similar incidents, FIFA would have no choice but to impose more severe sanctions on the Ivorian Football Association,” read a statement released by FIFA.

The government of the Ivory Coast has opened its own investigation into the disaster.



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.



Saturday, October 9, 2010

The 10.10 version of Ubuntu (codename Maverick Merkaat), a free operative system is to be released in the next few days. French Wikinews contributor Savant-fou (Baptiste) has interviewed Fabrice (fabrice_sp on Ubuntu), an Ubuntu’s MOTU (Master Of The Universe), member of the development team of the operative system.

Ubuntu is a computer operating system, based on Debian, which is created collaboratively by thousands of people. There are three official Ubuntu versions: Ubuntu Desktop Edition (for desktop and laptop PCs); Ubuntu Netbook Edition (for netbooks); and Ubuntu Server Edition (for use in servers).



Friday, January 12, 2007

The iPhone only made its appearance as a prototype and there have been controversies aroused.

The dispute has come up between the manufacturer of the iPhone (which was resented on Wednesday for the first time) – Apple Inc. – and a leader in network and communication systems, based in San JoseCisco. The company claims to possess the trademark for iPhone, and moreover, that it sells devices under the same brand through one of its divisions.

This became the reason for Cisco to file a lawsuit against Apple Inc. so that the latter would stop selling the device.

Cisco states that it has received the trademark in 2000, when the company overtook Infogear Technology Corp., which took place in 1996.

The Vice President and general counsel of the company, Mark Chandler, explained that there was no doubt about the excitement of the new device from Apple, but they should not use a trademark, which belongs to Cisco.

The iPhone developed by Cisco is a device which allows users to make phone calls over the voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).



Wednesday, December 5, 2007

On Tuesday, the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs‘s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held a hearing titled “Credit Card Practices: Unfair Interest Rate Increases.” The hearing examined the circumstances under which credit card issuers may increase the interest rates of cardholders who are in compliance with the terms of their credit cards. It was a follow-up to a March 2007 hearing.

Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin said in his opening statement: “Today’s focus is on credit card issuers who hike the interest rates of cardholders who play by the rules — meaning those folks who pay on time, pay at least the minimum amount due, and wake up one day to find their interest rate has gone through the roof — again, not because they paid late or exceeded the credit limit, but because their credit card issuer decided they should be ‘repriced’.”

Present to testify on behalf of credit card issuers were Roger C. Hochschild of Discover Financial Services, Bruce L. Hammonds of Bank of America Corporation, and Ryan Schneider of Capital One Financial Corporation.

Much of the 90 minute hearing focused on specific cases where interest rates were raised, allegedly because credit scores of the debtor dropped, and not because they were delinquent or otherwise behind on payments. According to Levin, this practice made it so that almost all payments went towards finance charges with almost none toward repaying the principal. This, he felt, is an unfair practice, as the credit card companies were negligent in informing their customers of the rate hikes and the reason for such hikes.

Families find themselves ensnared in a seemingly inescapable web of credit card debt.

The collective credit card debt of Americans totals an estimated US$900 billion. Issuers have come under pressure to disclose their policies in regards to setting fees and interest rates. The US Truth in Lending Act requires that terms of a loan be set forth up front. Fluctuating interest rates on credit cards would, on the surface, appear to violate this act.

Roger C. Hochschild disagreed, arguing that “every card transaction is a new extension of credit … This makes it difficult — and risky — to underwrite, and price, the loan based solely on the borrower’s credit-worthiness at the time of application [for the card].”

Ryan Schneider, agreed: “The ability to modify the terms of a credit card agreement to accommodate changes over time to the economy or the credit-worthiness of consumers must be preserved.”

“Attempts to interfere with the market here … will inevitably result in less credit being offered,” warned Bruce Hammonds. “Risk-based pricing has democratized access to credit,” he added.

All three credit card executives also mentioned an ongoing Federal Reserve System review of credit card rules that already proposes a 45-day notification ahead of any rate changes.

Committee members criticized the industry for varying practices. Included in the criticism was the practice of mailing checks to card-holders, failing to notify applicants that obtaining additional cards could lower their credit score and raise their rates, and “ambushing” card-holders with raised rates.

Ranking minority member of the subcommittee, Norm Coleman said, “families find themselves ensnared in a seemingly inescapable web of credit card debt. They particularly report being saddled with interest rates that skyrocketed on them seemingly out of the blue.”



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11 16th, 2018

Friday, November 9, 2018

Vlada Stamenkovi? and his colleagues developed a new model which raises the possibility of oxygen-rich brines on Mars; enough, perhaps, to support simple animals such as sponges. One of our voluntary reporters for Wikinews caught up with him in an email interview to find out more about their research and their plans for the future.

The atmosphere of Mars is far too thin for us to breathe, or indeed, to extract any oxygen at all in our lungs. It has on average only around 0.6% of the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere, and it is mainly carbon dioxide; only 0.146% of that is oxygen. Yet the result of their modeling was clear, these minute traces of oxygen should be able to get into salty seeps of water on or near its surface, at levels high enough to support at least some forms of microbial life that require oxygen, and possibly higher life too.

As interviewed by Wikinews:

VS: Our work really opens up new possibilities for the Martian habitability, and that’s why it’s so exciting!

As previously interviewed by National Geographic (October 22):

Vlada Stamenkovi?: We were absolutely flabbergasted. I went back to recalculate everything like five different times to make sure it’s a real thing.

However, the simulations were clear. At the extreme low temperatures found on Mars, microbes, and maybe even simple sponges, may have enough oxygen to survive in these briny seeps.

So, why briny seeps rather than fresh water? Mars is so dry because fresh water is not stable over most of its surface. Even with the higher pressure at the depths of the huge ancient impact crater of the Hellas basin, with a boiling point of 10 °C, it is close to boiling point already at 0 °C, and would evaporate rapidly.

However, salty brines can be liquid at much lower temperatures. Salts and very salty brines can actually take in water from the atmosphere at low temperatures. Curiosity discovered indirect evidence of this process (through humidity measurements). It found that brines form during winter nights in the top 15cm of the soil through deliquescence, taking up water from the atmosphere at around -70 °C. This water then evaporates again as the soil warms up through the day, and the process repeats every day – night cycle.

There is other indirect evidence that salty brines may exist, perhaps more habitable than the Curiosity brines, even though the atmosphere is so thin and the climate so cold. In their paper, the authors mention one of the lines of evidence, the hydrated magnesium and calcium salts associated with the Recurring Slope Lineae. These are seasonal streaks that form in spring on sun facing slopes, extend and broaden through the summer and fade away in autumn. These streaks are not thought to be damp patches themselves but may be associated with thin seeps of brine just below the surface.

If these habitats do exist, scientists have assumed up to now that any life on present day Mars had to be capable of growth without oxygen. Based on Mars simulation experiments, these could include certain blue-green algae such as chroococcidiopsis, some black fungi, and some purple salt loving haloarchaea found in salt ponds and hypersaline lakes on Earth.

The significance of oxygen is that it permits a more energy intensive metabolism and perhaps even true multicellular animal life such as simple sponges. Almost all complex multicellular life uses oxygen.

As previously interviewed by Scientific American (October 22):

VS: Our work is calling for a complete revision for how we think about the potential for life on Mars, and the work oxygen can do, implying that if life ever existed on Mars it might have been breathing oxygen

The authors cite research from 2014 that showed that some simple sponges can survive with only 0.002 moles per cubic meter (0.064 mg per liter) . Some microbes that need oxygen can survive with as little as a millionth of a mole per cubic meter (0.000032 mg, or 32 nanograms per liter). In their model, they found that there can be enough oxygen for microbes throughout Mars, and enough for simple sponges in oases near the poles.

This isn’t the first suggestion for multicellular life on Mars. Some lichens, such as Pleopsidium chlorophanum are able to survive in close to Mars-like conditions high up on Antarctic mountain ranges, and show promise in Mars simulation chamber experiments. However, they can do this because the algal component is able to make the oxygen needed by its fungal component. Even animal life is not completely ruled out in anoxic brines. These are not candidates for life on Mars, but three species of Loricifera, tiny animals about the size of a large amoeba, are able to survive without oxygen in deep extremely salty mud sediments in the Mediterranean.

However, this new research greatly expands the possibilities for complex life on Mars.

The paper includes a map of potential brine oxygen concentrations for the surface of Mars (their figure 4). These would be higher at the lowest points such as the floor of the Hellas basin, south of the equator, where the atmospheric pressure is highest, reaching around 1% of Earth’s atmosphere and lowest of all in the mountainous southern uplands.

However the highest oxygen concentrations of all, occur when the water is colder, which is most easily attained in polar regions. They studied mixtures of magnesium and calcium perchlorates, common on Mars. In simulation experiments these stay liquid as they are supercooled to temperatures as low as -123 to -133 °C before they transition to a glassy state. They do this even when mixed with the soil of Mars (regolith). It’s at these very low temperatures that the optimal oxygen concentrations can be reached.

They found that oxygen levels throughout Mars would be high enough for the least demanding aerobic (oxygen using) microbes, with around 25 millionths of a mole per cubic meter (0.0008 mg per liter) even in the southern uplands. However it is here at the polar regions poleward of about 67.5° to the north and about ? 72.5° to the south, that oxygen concentrations could be high enough for simple sponges. Indeed the paper suggests that in regions closer to the poles, concentrations could go even higher, right up to the levels typical of sea water on Earth, 0.2 moles per cubic meter (6.4 mg per liter). With their best case estimate and supercooling it could potentially go up all the way through to levels far higher than those in sea water, at two moles per cubic meter (64 mg per liter – a mole of oxygen is a little under 32 grams). . By comparison worms and clams that live in the muddy sea bed require 1 mg per liter, bottom feeders such as crabs and oysters 3 mg per liter and spawning migratory fish 6 mg per liter. Saturated sea water is about 9 mg per liter at 20 °C ranging up to 11 mg per liter at 0 °C.

Wikinews asked him whether their research suggests potential for life as active as this.

((Wikinews)) Does your paper’s value of up to 0.2 moles of oxygen per cubic meter, the same as Earth’s sea water mean that there could potentially be life on Mars as active as our sea worms or even fish?

VS: Mars is such a different place than the Earth and we still need to do so much more work before we can even start to speculate.

In their model, Oxygen gets into the brines at the poles so readily because they may reach extremely cold temperatures. These are far below the usual cold limit of life. It is not a hard limit because life gets slower and slower at lower temperatures to the point where individual microbes have lifetimes of millennia. Such life is hard to study, to see whether it is active and able to reproduce at those temperatures or dormant. But the usual limit cited is -20 °C. That’s well above the lowest temperatures studied in the paper which go down to -133 °C.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch has proposed that Martian life might evolve an exotic metabolism with the perchlorates of Mars taking the place of the salts inside the cells of Earth life. This would have advantages on Mars, with the brines inside their own cells acting as an anti-freeze to protect them against extreme cold. Also with their salts being so hygroscopic, they may help them scavenge water from the atmosphere and their surroundings.

With this background, Wikinews asked:

((WN)) The temperatures for the highest levels of oxygen are really low -133 °C, so, is the idea that this oxygen would be retained when the brines warm up to more habitable temperatures during the day or seasonally? Or would the oxygen be lost as it warms up? Or – is the idea that it has to be some exotic biochemistry that works only at ultra low temperatures like Dirk Schulze-Makuch’s life based on hydrogen peroxide and perchlorates internal to the cells as antifreeze?

VS: The options are both: first, cool oxygen-rich environments do not need to be habitats. They could be reservoirs packed with a necessary nutrient that can be accessed from a deeper and warmer region. Second, the major reason for limiting life at low temperature is ice nucleation, which would not occur in the type of brines that we study.

His first suggestion here is that the cool oxygen rich reservoirs could have warmer water come up through them from below. He doesn’t say where the warm water would come from, but one possibility is from geological hot spots. Our orbiting spacecraft have not yet found any, but Olympus Mons has been active as recently as 2.5 million years ago. If sources of warmer water could rise to the surface from below and encounter these cold oxygen-rich brines, life could make use of oxygen where the two mix.

The other possibility is an exotic biochemistry. He remarks that the brines he studies don’t form ice crystals when cooled. Indeed, as they explain in the paper, they smoothly transition to a glassy state after supercooling, which makes the conditions easier for life.

Their research also helps to explain the presence of some minerals on the Mars surface, such as manganese oxides which require conditions of water and oxygen to form. These could be evidence that the early Mars atmosphere was thick and oxygen rich (which doesn’t require life; it could for instance be oxygen rich due to ionizing radiation splitting water). However this new reseach shows that these minerals could form even without an oxygen rich atmosphere.

As previously interviewed by National Geographic (October 22):

VS: Our explanation doesn’t need any special magic — it works on Mars today,

The idea that Mars had enough oxygen in the past for marine animals, billions of years ago, when the atmosphere was thicker, is not too surprising nowadays since the discovery of those manganese oxides. That it may have enough right now is what is so very surprising about this new research, given that it has such a thin atmosphere, with so little oxygen in it. The atmosphere is unbreathable, its trace amounts of oxygen can’t be used by any form of terrestrial animal life, but the brines may be another story.

The paper is theoretical and is based on a simplified general circulation model of the Mars atmosphere – it ignores distinctions of seasons and the day / night cycle. But it takes account of topography (mountains, craters etc) and the axial tilt. They combined it with a chemical model of how oxygen would dissolve in the brines and used this to establish predicted oxygen levels in the brines at the various locations on Mars.

Wikinews asked if they have plans to look into a more detailed model:

((WN)) and about whether there are any future plans for using a more detailed model with time variation diurnally or seasonally.

VS: Yes, we are now exploring the kinetics part and want to see what happens on shorter timescales.

Their model took account of the tilt of the Mars axis, which varies much more than for Earth (our axis is stabilized by the presence of the Moon). They found that for the last five million years conditions were particularly favorable for oxygen rich brines, and that it continues like this for ten million years into the future, as far as they ran the model. For the last twenty million years, as far back as they took their modeling, oases with enough oxygen for sponges are still possible.

Remarkably, as they say in the paper, present day Mars would have more oxygen available for life than early Earth had prior to 1.4 billion years ago. On Earth, photosynthesis seems to have come first, generating the oxygen for the first animals. On Mars, with a different source for oxygen, oxygen breathers could arise before photosynthesis, which gives broader opportunities for oxygen-breathing life on other planets.

Wikinews asked Vlada Stamenkovi? if he had any ideas about whether and how sponges could survive through times when the tilt was higher and less oxygen would be available:

((WN)) I notice from your figure 4 that there is enough oxygen for sponges only at tilts of about 45 degrees or less. Do you have any thoughts about how sponges could survive periods of time in the distant past when the Mars axial tilt exceeds 45 degrees, for instance, might there be subsurface oxygen rich oases in caves that recolonize the surface? Also what is the exact figure for the tilt at which oxygen levels sufficient for sponges become possible? (It looks like about 45 degrees from the figure but the paper doesn’t seem to give a figure for this).

VS: 45 deg is approx. the correct degree. We were also tempted to speculate about this temporal driver but realized that we still know so little about the potential for life on Mars/principles of life that anything related to this question would be pure speculation, unfortunately.

When the Phoenix lander landed on Mars in 2008, what appeared to be droplets formed on its legs. They grew, coalesced, and then disappeared, presumably falling off its legs. It was not able to analyze these droplets, but simulations since then in Mars simulation chambers have shown that such droplets can form within minutes when salt overlays ice on Mars. With this background then Wikinews asked him if he had investigated the timescale, and if so, whether these brines could become oxygenated.

((WN)) How quickly would the oxygen get into the brines – did you investigate the timescale?

VS: No, we did not yet study the dynamics. We first needed to show that the potential is there. We are now studying the timescales and processes.

It is no wonder that this is a challenge. For instance, Curiosity measures temperature changes of around 70 °C between day and night. Also there are large pressure differences between summer and winter. In Gale crater it varied from under 7.5 mbar to nearly 9.5 mbar. There are also large pressure differences between day and night, varying by 10% compared to a tenth of a percent on Earth. On Earth we see such large pressure differences only during a major hurricane.

((WN)) Could the brines that Nilton Renno and his teams simulated forming on salt / ice interfaces within minutes in Mars simulation conditions get oxygenated in the process of formation? If not, how long would it take for them to get oxygenated to levels sufficient for aerobic microbes? For instance could the Phoenix leg droplets have taken up enough oxygen for aerobic respiration by microbes?

VS: Just like the answer above. Dynamics is still to be explored. (But this is a really good question ?).

Wikinews also asked how their research is linked to the recent discovery of possible large subglacial lake 1.5 km below the Martian South Pole found through radar mapping.

((WN)) Some news stories coupled your research with the subglacial lakes announcement earlier this year. Could the oxygen get through ice into layers of brines such as the possible subglacial lakes at a depth of 1.5 km?

VS: There are other ways to create oxygen. Radiolysis of water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen can liberate oxygen in the deep and that O2 could be dissolved in deep groundwater. The radiolytic power for this would come from radionuclides naturally contained in rocks, something we observe in diverse regions on Earth.

There’s research by Möhlmann that suggests that fresh liquid water may form in the Martian polar region a few centimeters below clear ice, a process that happens regularly in Antarctica. If similar clear ice exists on Mars, this process should happen even at very low surface temperatures. Our reporter, referring to this research, asked him:

((WN)) Could it get into a layer of fresh water just 30 cms below clear ice melted by the solid state greenhouse effect, as in Möhlmann’s model (which forms subsurface liquid water at surface temperatures as low as -56 °C).

VS: See response above.

So, his answer here is that it could be possible by the same process, radiolysis of the ice through radioactivity in the rocks.

If there are indeed biologically friendly oases dotted throughout the surface of Mars then this could make it harder to sterilize spacecraft sufficiently to explore Mars. They have to be sterilized in order to avoid introducing Earth life to the habitats and so confusing the searches. If the surface of Mars has these oxygen rich habitable brines then it makes the sterilization requirements more stringent. As the Scientific American article suggests, it might be necessary to sterilize robots completely of all micro-organisms, which would drive up the cost of missions to Mars. Stamenkovi? as interviewed by Scientific American says

VS: I think there’s a sweet spot where we can be curious and we can be explorers and not mess things up, We have to go for that.

NASA and ESA both have missions that they plan to launch to Mars in 2020 to search for life but both have the search for past life as their main focus. The last and only missions to search for present day “extant” life on Mars were the Viking 1 and 2 missions in the 1970s. Stamenkovi? would like that to change.

As interviewed by Space.com (October 22) he said.

VS: There is still so much about the Martian habitability that we do not understand, and it’s long overdue to send another mission that tackles the question of subsurface water and potential extant life on Mars, and looks for these signals

There are many such instruments we could send. One example, the “Chemical laptop” or PISCES under development at JPL is shown to the right. A National Academy of Sciences report released 10th October 2018 emphasizes the need to include in situ life detection instruments on future missions:

“The report highlights the need to include in situ detection of energy-starved or otherwise sparsely distributed life such as chemolithotrophic or rock-eating life. In particular, the report found that NASA should focus on research and exploration of possible life below the surface of a planet in light of recent advances that have demonstrated the breadth and diversity of life below Earth’s surface, the nature of fluids beneath the surface of Mars, and the likelihood of life-sustaining geological processes in planets and moons with subsurface oceans.”

Vlada Stamenkovi? is working on a new instrument TH2OR to send to Mars on some potential future mission. It would search for potentially habitable brines deep below its surface using ultra low frequency radio waves. This is a frequency far lower than that of ground penetrating radar, in the range of a fraction of a Hertz up to kilohertz. Wavelengths are measured in kilometers up to tens of thousands of kilometers or more. Wikinews asked him for more details

((WN)) And I’d also like to know about your experiment you want to send to Mars to help with the search for these oxygenated brines

VS: We are now developing at “NASA/JPL-California Institute of Technology” a small tool, called TH2OR (Transmissive H2O Reconnaissance) that might one day fly with a yet-to-be-determined mission. It will use low frequency sounding techniques, capable of detecting groundwater at depths down to ideally a few km under the Martian surface, thanks to the high electric conductivity of only slightly salty water and Faraday’s law of induction. Most likely, such a small and affordable instrument could be placed stationary on the planet’s surface or be carried passively or actively on mobile surface assets; TH2OR might be also used in combination with existing orbiting assets to increase its sounding depth. Next to determining the depth of groundwater, we should also be able to estimate its salinity and indirectly its potential chemistry, which is critical information for astrobiology and ISRU (in situ resource utilization).

Wikinews asked if this device would use natural sources of ultra low frequency radio waves, or if it would use TDEM – a method that involves setting up a current in a loop to generate a sine wave and then suddenly switching it off and observing the radio waves generated by transient eddy currents. The eddy currents have been compared to a smoke ring, they propagate downwards and outwards, a circular current that gets wider as it gets deeper, creating secondary radio waves in a broad band including ultra low frequency waves. The Russian Mars 94 mission, canceled during the break up of USSR, would have flown a TDEM device to Mars.

((WN)) Does your TH2OR use TDEM like the Mars 94 mission – and will it use natural ULF sources such as solar wind, diurnal variations in ionosphere heating and lightning?

VS: The physical principle it uses is the same and this has been used for groundwater detection on the Earth for many decades; it’s Faraday’s law of induction in media that are electrically conducting (as slightly saline water is).However, we will focus on creating our own signal as we do not know whether the EM fields needed for such measurements exist on Mars. However, we will also account for the possibility of already existing fields.

Contents

  • 1 Technical details – guide to paper
  • 2 Background information – why oxygen is so significant for multicellular life
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 Background sources

[edit]



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By Dennis Jarvis

Its probably the most stressful situation Ive been in regarding term life insurance over my years (dare I say decades) in the life insurance market. I wish it was a less common occurrence and in that light, were going to discuss the very important impact that divorce has on your term life insurance policy. But first, a retelling of the story that prompts us to warn term life policy owners to update your policy when divorce occurs.

It was a typical day at the office. Starting the morning with a coffee and the list of voice mails from the evening hours. So far, theyre pretty typicalpeople request quotes or needing to address various questions on how term life insurance works. Thats the gist of most days for a term life insurance agent. Call #47:30pm. I could tell right away that this was going to be a bad call by the initial tone of her voice. It was harsh, angry, and atonal. I sat up straight in my air and wrote down the name and number. No message was left on the nature of the call or what was needed but it didnt sound good. I called the number and braced myself which in hindsight, was the correct action.

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The person on the phone went right into her issue. Her husband had taken out a term life insurance policy 10 years (with a total of 20 years length). He had recently passed away which was difficult in itself (to be expected) and I expressed my condolences and asked how I could be of help. He was one of our clients so I wanted to help in any way with the policy pay out. Thats where the issue was. It turns out that the widowed spouse on the phone was from a second marriage. As soon as I heard that statement, I cringed. I knew what was coming next. The now-deceased husband had never changed the beneficiary on the policy which still reflected the 1st wifelong since divorced from. The new spouse on the phone with me had a 7 month old child and was a stay at home mother. Obviously, she asked if there was any recourse and unfortunately, there probably was not. I could hear her sign and sink upon receiving this information. Her financial fate was subject to the hope of an incredibly giving and understanding first spouse giving this term life payout over to her. Although Ive seen such magnanimous acts of giving in the past, Ive also seen quite a few first spouses that literally laugh at the request. Lets just say that some divorces are not amicable.

This was such a situation and it turns out (more information than I needed) that the new spouse was the secretary that caused the divorce in the first place. The plot thickens. I gently gave her the news of what she can and cannot do but the odds didnt look good. You dont want your beneficiaries to be in this situation after divorce so take some simple precautions.

The first and foremost is to update your beneficiary information every time theres a major family change such as divorce, birth, etc. If your new spouse, dont feel strange about checking the term life insurance policies to make sure they are updated. It directly affects you and with the whirlwind activity of a wedding and new marriage, details such as life insurance policies can be forgotten. After all, youre all about new beginnings and starts so life insurance or contemplating the potential loss of a beloved tends to be shunned by people but its a matter of housekeeping so dont let superstition cloud your view of practicality and make sure you update the beneficiary following divorce. Theres nothing that says you cant continue to keep a divorced spouse as the beneficiary on your policy (lets say to support dependent children or in amicable breaks) but the key is to have your wishes reflected in the policy. Changes of address may also occur as the result of a divorce not to mention new credit cards (in separate name) which may be attached for auto-payment of term life policies. All of these details need to be reviewed after a divorce. Please contact us as your licensed term life insurance broker to make sure you policy is in good order.

About the Author: Dennis Jarvis is a licensed insurance agent concentrating on getting the best

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. Shop, compare, and instantly quote multiple carriers with over 150 articles to help you understand the market.

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11 15th, 2018

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After an early morning fire began, four out of the nine people living at the Riverview Individual Residential Alternative group home located in Wells, New York were killed by the blaze. The Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office, which supervises the home, told the media that the fire started at approximately 5:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Two staff members were at the home at the time, who safely evacuated four of the five survivors.

The names of the residents killed in the fire were not able to be released due to New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, but are able to be identified as two adult men, aged 32 and 52, and two adult women, aged 43 and 60. A 71-year-old male was injured in the fire, and was taken to a hospital in Utica, a nearby city. The other four residents have been relocated to an unnamed group home. Both staff members are also being examined at the hospital.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the four victims and to continue to pray for the full recovery of those five people and two staff members who survived this incident. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation for the first responders and volunteers who worked swiftly and diligently to respond to this tragedy,” David Patterson, the governor of New York, said to the media.

The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union stated that “the blaze appears to have been an electrical fire and the sprinkler system was knocked out immediately.” They also called for “an immediate investigation into the causes of and contributing factors of the fire.”

The New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is currently investigating the causes of the blaze, with help from New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.



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