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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 112457 times)
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« Reply #8070 on: Feb 21st, 2013, 09:21am »

Seattle Times

Originally published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Boeing seeks FAA’s OK for permanent 787 battery fix

A small team of top machinists at Boeing’s Auburn plant is building high-strength containment boxes for the lithium-ion batteries on the 787 as part of a redesign to get the planes flying again as soon as April.

By Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Boeing on Wednesday instructed a small team of top machinists at its Auburn parts plant to begin building new, high-strength containment boxes for the lithium-ion batteries on its 787s as part of a redesign intended to get the planes flying again as soon as April.

An Auburn insider said the company ordered 200 such boxes, with the first 100 to be ready by March 18.

Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner will lay out the company’s plan to Federal Aviation Administration officials Friday, but it’s unclear whether regulators will sign on to the fast-paced schedule.

Boeing executives briefed key members of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, telling them the company has developed a permanent fix to the battery problems and hopes to have the Dreamliners return to passenger service quickly, assuming prompt FAA approval. The 50 delivered 787s have been grounded since last month.

A congressional aide said Boeing representatives in one such meeting “were adamant that it will be a permanent fix, and rejected reports that mentioned a temporary fix.” They also cited the April target date, the aide said.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel declined to comment on any conversations with regulators but reiterated an earlier statement that “good progress is being made” toward finding a fix.

According to a person familiar with Boeing’s proposal, Conner plans to provide FAA head Michael Huerta details of the fix along lines previously reported: most important, a stronger outer containment box and a system of high-pressure tubes that vent any gases directly out of the airplane.

Another element is that the eight cells inside the redesigned battery box will be separated by more insulation, possibly high-temperature glass.

Boeing believes it can implement those and other new battery design elements quickly and can make it a permanent fix, to be incorporated on all subsequent Dreamliners. That contradicts earlier reports in The Seattle Times and elsewhere that the company will first implement a temporary fix.

Boeing engineers contend, and hope their tests will show, their redesign will prevent a runaway battery fire.

It’s unclear if the FAA will be ready to move as swiftly as Boeing would like.

Boeing is unlikely to get a full go-ahead Friday. There will be a back and forth to follow, with requirements for flight tests to validate Boeing’s solution.

Investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are still looking for the root cause of the two incidents that prompted the crisis — a battery fire in a 787 on the ground in Boston in early January, followed eight days later by a smoldering battery on a 787 flight in Japan. The FAA ordered the Dreamliner grounded after the second incident.

The FAA must take into account the NTSB investigation, which found the Boston fire was started by a short circuit in a single battery cell but hasn’t established what caused that short.

In the absence of knowing the root cause, said the person with knowledge of Boeing’s proposal, the fix accounts for the possibility that a battery cell could overheat at some time in the future. The new battery design aims to ensure the plane is safe if that happens.

The person made an analogy to how the FAA handled the crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island in 1996.

While investigators into that tragedy learned that the Boeing 747’s fuel tank had exploded, the ignition source was never pinned down.

That forced the FAA to come up with a way to eliminate the chance of any explosion, regardless of ignition source: It mandated a fuel-tank inerting system that pumped nitrogen into the tank to displace flammable fuel vapor.

“That seems to be the discussion now: It would be great to find the root cause, but let’s take it a step further and eliminate the possibilities,” the person said.

Industry analysts have expressed skepticism the FAA will readily approve a fix that focuses on containing an in-flight fire, rather than preventing one.

But the person familiar with Boeing’s fix insisted “it’s not containment versus prevention. It’s containment and prevention.”

The idea is that venting off the airplane all the gas from an overheated cell will prevent an oxygen fire inside the battery. Meanwhile, the better thermal insulation between cells should prevent the heat from spreading through the battery and setting off adjacent cells.

“If you redesign the battery so it’s not possible for the cells to propagate into a batterywide fire, then you’ve prevented that from happening,” the person said. “And on top of that, you are building a containment box so that, if there is a problem, you are doubly protected.”

Still, he said, Boeing’s proposed timetable for getting the 787s back in service “is pretty aggressive.”

The news of Boeing’s fast-track fix came on the same day the investigation of the Japan in-flight incident appeared to add a new wrinkle.

The problem on that aircraft was overheating of the main battery in the forward electronics bay.

But according to The Associated Press, the Japan Transport Ministry said Wednesday the aircraft’s other lithium-ion battery — the one in the rear electronics bay that’s connected to the jet’s auxiliary power unit — was miswired and improperly connected to the main battery that overheated.

It’s unclear what impact that finding will have.

Meanwhile, Boeing’s plan to fix the battery is in motion.

The Boeing Auburn employee, who asked for anonymity, said the work of building the new battery boxes has been designated urgent and top priority.

Three crews of six volunteers — all “very talented mechanics” — will work in three daily shifts. The parts needed have not yet come in, and design changes are expected as the work proceeds, the employee said.

http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2020398769_boeingboxesxml.html

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« Reply #8071 on: Feb 21st, 2013, 09:23am »

Blastr


Zero Hour starts weak, Big Bang stays strong + 37 other genre shows

Matthew Jackson
Wed, 02/20/2013 - 5:19pm

If you were hoping for another genre hit with ABC's Zero Hour, you might not be too happy with its debut ratings.

Meanwhile, The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory continue to dominate their respective nights, and Once Upon a Time continues to show signs of struggling on Sundays.

Check out our numbers and commentary below for more on how your favorite shows did last week in Live + Same Day viewers and ratings.

more after the jump:
http://www.blastr.com/2013-2-20/zero-hour-starts-weak-big-bang-stays-strong-37-other-genre-shows

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« Reply #8072 on: Feb 22nd, 2013, 09:08am »

Arizona Central

By Ron Dungan
The Republic
Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:29 PM


This time of year, David Bremson sees plenty of rescues in the Superstition Wilderness, like the 51-year-old woman who had to be pulled from the mountains for the second time in three months Wednesday after she got lost seeking the legendary Lost Dutchman’s gold.

Typically, the weather is nice. People go hiking, hunting or seeking their fortune, and when someone gets lost or injured, search-and-rescue volunteers are called. Bremson, operations chief of the Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association, doesn’t mind doing rescues. But he has a message.

He doesn’t believe the Lost Dutchman’s gold exists, so his advice is don’t endanger yourself looking for it. But if you do get in a jam, his team is not going to bill you for their work.

“Most of the body recoveries we’ve done out of the Supes have been Dutch hunters,” Bremson said.

A Dutch hunter who got lucky twice was Robin Bird, the woman who went searching for the fabled gold and ended up flirting with death before she was rescued late Wednesday night.

Bird also had to be rescued in December while doing the same thing.

This time, she was found lying in the mud along the Bluff Springs Trail at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. She was unresponsive and suffering from hypothermia and severe dehydration, said Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

“Had they not found her when they did, she would have succumbed from the elements,” he said. “She was not prepared to survive another night out there.”

But Bird was hardly the only hiker who needed help this week.

At 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, rescuers found three men who had gotten lost in the Superstitions on Tuesday. They had met Bird on the trail and asked for directions, and she steered them wrong.

At 6:30 p.m. Sunday, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student was rescued after he failed to return from a hike on Saturday. “This is not an unusual amount of rescues,” Bremson said. “It’s fairly normal.”

Rescues often occur under the radar. But when a cluster like this makes news, people wonder: Who pays for the rescues? How much do they cost? Ever since Arizona passed the so-called Stupid Motorist Law in 1994, Bremson said, the question gets asked: Should there be a stupid-hiker law?

Search-and-rescue workers say no.

“It seems that the only people who don’t want to charge for search and rescue are the people who go out there and perform the rescues,” Bremson said. “There are no mountain-rescue teams or search-and-rescues that want to charge. We’re the people that spend our time and our money and our lives doing this, and we don’t want to charge for rescues.”

Search-and-rescue teams train on weekends, on their own time. They buy much of their own gear, taking donations to help defray costs.

“How do you determine stupid?” Bremson said. “People may not be well-equipped, they may not be experienced. There are already laws in the books that cover being negligent.”

The problem is not unique to the Superstitions. Two Northern Arizona University students were rescued from the Humphreys Peak area north of Flagstaff on Sunday.

Aaron Dick, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office’s search-and-rescue coordinator, said that if people think they will be billed for a rescue, they may hesitate to call. If they delay, darkness or bad weather could make the rescue more difficult. Studies have shown that in places that charge for rescues, people are reluctant to call.

Under state law, counties are responsible for rescues. The process varies by county but typically begins with a call to the local sheriff’s office. That information is usually passed on to a volunteer rescue group, according to its location and expertise. The Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association, for example, is skilled at canyoneering and cave rescues. Other groups use horses or tracking dogs.

Counties took over rescue operations in 1971. Since then, the state has maintained a fund to help defray search-and-rescue expenses. That fund is typically about $200,000, said James Langston of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management.

The money can pay for a helicopter if one is needed. Frequently, the Department of Public Safety sends a rescue helicopter. The agency does not charge counties for the first hour and a half of its time.

“When you look at all the (outdoor) activity that goes on in the state in a year, that’s really peanuts,” he said. “If one life was lost, is $200,000 too cheap? Or is it not enough?”

The National Park Service collects money for search-and-rescue operations out of admission fees.

“The cost of National Park Service search and rescue, nationwide, is less than 1 cent per user,” Bremson said. “That’s nothing, considering what they pay to clean up after people.”

Bremson said his team spends about $40,000 a year, most of it out of members’ own pockets.

“That’s a pretty good bang for the buck,” he said.

Bremson said the real problem is not the cost of searches but people who aren’t prepared for the backcountry. People who hike in city parks need to be prepared when they hike remote areas.

“Bring a cellphone and a bottle of water, that’s their mantra,” he said. “Now, they go out into the backcountry, where one bottle of water will last 15 or 20 minutes, and their cellphone doesn’t work.”

The consequences can be deadly. In July 2010, three Utah men disappeared in the Superstitions while searching for the Lost Dutchman mine. Their bodies weren’t found until hikers stumbled upon them the following January.

Search-and-rescue team leaders say a map and compass are more reliable than a phone or GPS. And basic items such as food, water, extra clothing and matches can help keep you comfortable if you must wait for rescue.

Rescuers ask people to point to their map and show where they got lost, Bremson said.

“Well, none of them have a map. People are becoming more and more isolated from the outdoors because of the amount of time they spend indoors.”

Republic reporter Jim Walsh contributed to this article.

http://www.azcentral.com/travel/articles/20130221dutchmans-gold-lure-leads-hikers-astray.html?sf9816872=1

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« Reply #8073 on: Feb 22nd, 2013, 09:13am »

Defense News

Pentagon To Slow Contractor Payments To Boost Cash Reserve

Feb. 21, 2013 - 06:19PM
By MARCUS WEISGERBER

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department will slow payments to prime contractors in the coming week in an attempt to increase its on-hand cash as defense spending cuts loom.

Pentagon officials said changing these payment processes combined with other initiatives will add about $1 billion, or a few days worth, of available cash within working capital spending accounts. DoD will begin notifying contractors of these payment changes in the coming days.

The Pentagon is facing a $46 billion reduction to its 2013 budget between March and September should across-the-board defense spending cuts, known as sequestration, go into effect.

Also complicating matters is that DoD is operating under a continuing resolution, which freezes spending at 2012 budget levels, creating an $11 billion shortfall from planned 2013 spending. The continuing resolution also keeps funds aligned in the same accounts as 2012, meaning new programs cannot start and ones that have been terminated are still receiving money.

Senior Pentagon officials have referred to sequestration combined with a yearlong continuing resolution as “the perfect storm.”

The move to slow prime contractor payments comes a week before sequestration begins on March 1.

“We don’t particularly want to do this [slow contractor payments]. It’s one of the many unfortunate steps we’re having to take because of the possibility of sequestration and a yearlong continuing resolution,” a senior defense official said on Thursday. “But we think it’s necessary to avoid running the risk of going negative in our cash and therefore violating the law.”

DoD has taken a number of steps to save money in advance of sequestration, primarily slowing contract awards, freezing hiring, cutting back on facility maintenance and limiting travel.

“The slowdown in spending is causing the services and agencies to cut down on their purchases from … working capital funds,” the official said.

The working capital fund pays for business-like activities, such as fuel, spare parts and office supplies. By law, the DoD must keep money in these coffers at all times; however, the amount of funds in these accounts is shrinking.

“Today that positive cash position is threatened,” the official said.

DoD typically keeps a week of money on hand. However, currently it only has two to four days of cash available. Budget officials have instituted a number of steps to reduce overhead to boost these accounts.

“They may have to stop some lower-priority services,” the official said.

The slowing of prime contractor payments is part of the curtailment of a process called the Quick Pay initiative. When DoD receives a bill, it is checked for accuracy. Budget officials make sure the particular service was rendered and it is consistent with the contract. That process takes a couple of weeks.

In the past, DoD would hold the bill for 30 days to minimize the amount of cash it pays out. But in 2011, DoD began using the Quick Pay initiative as a way to get payments to small businesses faster. That meant small businesses were paid as soon as a bill was verified.

That program was expanded to prime contractors in July 2012 as a way to aid those companies’ small business subcontractors.

“This Quick Pay policy results in a one-time cut in our cash,” the official said.

In other words, DoD has less cash on hand.

“As of last year, we were doing OK on cash,” the official said. “We wanted to aid small businesses and so this policy worked fine.

“With sequestration looming and cash problems occurring, we’re going to turn off Quick Pay in DoD for all but eligible small businesses,” the official said.

If sequestration is averted, DoD would re-evaluate its decision to stop the Quick Pay process.

“If we got both an appropriations bill and sequestration is averted, then I think we would want to relook at this,” the official said.

Pentagon officials do not believe these changes will have far-reaching effects on contractors.

“We’d rather not do it if we weren’t facing this uncertainty,” the official said. “We are going to try to protect as many of the small [businesses] as we can as we are able to identify them in our payment systems.”

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130221/DEFREG02/302210019/Pentagon-Slow-Contractor-Payments-Boost-Cash-Reserve?odyssey=tab

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« Reply #8074 on: Feb 22nd, 2013, 09:15am »

Wired

7 Obscure, Remote and Super-Geeky Military Bases

By Robert Beckhusen
02.22.13
6:30 AM

The military doesn't always pick prime real estate for its bases. Often it prefers strange, far-flung and obscure parts of the world — particularly when it comes to its geekiest endeavors. Some are out-of-the-way test sites for the latest military and space technology. Others are far-flung spots of particular interest to scientists, in areas few could survive unshielded from the elements. Some are obscure because the Pentagon doesn't like to advertise what they do.

Others face a predicament. Some bases built during the Cold War have found their original reason for existing suddenly disappear. But instead of closing them down, the Pentagon has found new reasons to justify their existence. Others now exist only on life support. There are also the bases built as a consequence of Cold War nuclear paranoia, now acting as a shelter for paranoia over terrorism and global pandemics.

Aside from their obscurity, these bases are monuments to the military's faith in technology. Implicit in their location is the idea that no matter how extreme or odd or isolated a location, the military can build a place to track intercontinental ballistic missiles, launch secretive drones, or hook up an array of antennas that can study the ionosphere. From the deserts of Utah to the islands of the Arctic Circle and the Pacific, here are seven such bases.

gallery after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/02/obscure-bases/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Top+Stories%29&pid=1822&viewall=true

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« Reply #8075 on: Feb 22nd, 2013, 09:18am »

Seattle Times

Originally published February 22, 2013 at 6:06 AM
Page modified February 22, 2013 at 6:42 AM

Pink stripe to mark N.C. illegal immigrant licenses

A new North Carolina driver's license set to be issued to some illegal immigrants has a bright pink stripe and the bold words "NO LAWFUL STATUS," raising concerns about whether the design will brand those who show it.

By MICHAEL BIESECKER
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. —

A new North Carolina driver's license set to be issued to some illegal immigrants has a bright pink stripe and the bold words "NO LAWFUL STATUS," raising concerns about whether the design will brand those who show it.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles announced last week they would begin issuing the licenses March 25 following a lengthy legal review. The Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program grants valid federal work permits to qualified applicants brought to the U.S. as children without legal authorization.

Some Republican lawmakers in the state have balked at the idea, filing a bill Thursday to bar the DMV from granting the licenses until at least June.

Cinthia Marroquin, a 22-year-old Raleigh resident awaiting approval for a DACA permit, said the longer the license issue is delayed, the longer it will take for her to get a job and drive herself to work. Even if she is able to get one, she is worried about presenting a license declaring she has "NO LAWFUL STATUS" at a police roadblock or while writing a check at the grocery store.

"A lot of us are just scared," said Marroquin, who came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 15. "We just want to be able to get a job and drive to work. Having that license is just going to show everybody you're here illegally, just buying a beer or writing a check. You don't know how people might react."

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina also takes issue with the designation.

"North Carolina should not be making it harder for aspiring citizens to integrate and contribute to our communities by branding them with a second-class driver's license," said ACLU attorney Raul Pinto. "There is simply no reason for officials to stigmatize people who are in the U.S. legally with an unnecessary marker that could lead to harassment, confusion, and racial profiling."

Almost from the moment President Barack Obama announced the program in June, states across the country grappled with how and whether to issue driver's licenses to those granted legal presence.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has said it is up to officials in each state to make their own determination about what to do. Many states, such as Oregon and Georgia, have announced that they will grant driving privileges to those eligible.

In Arizona, where Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has pledged that DACA youths will not get driver's licenses, the state's DMV still lists federal work permits among the documents making people eligible for one.

The issue is especially politically charged in North Carolina, where current state law ordains a driver's license will be issued to anyone who holds valid federal documentation of their "legal presence" in the United States.

The office of the state's Democratic attorney general in an opinion last month said that under federal law, DACA participants have a "legal presence," even if they do not have "lawful status." Therefore, state law requires that DACA participants be granted licenses. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's administration agreed, announcing last week the DMV would begin issuing the licenses.

That has upset many conservatives in McCrory's own party, including Rep. Mark Brody (R-Union). He is one of four freshmen legislators who introduced a bill Thursday to bar DMV from issuing licenses to DACA participants before June 15, potentially giving time to craft a permanent change to state law.

Brody said he believes strongly that the DACA program violated the U.S. Constitution because it was implemented without congressional approval. Obama said last year he was forced to take executive action by the decades-long failure of Congress to consider meaningful immigration reform.

"We need a time out," said Brody, a construction contractor. "We don't need to have the federal government dictating to us how we are supposed to issue licenses in this state. We do it, and that's a privilege we have under our Constitution."

Among the concerns raised by Brody and other bill sponsors is that illegal immigrants might use their new licenses to access social programs or register to vote, despite the bright pink markings. An extensive 2011 review of the state's 6.4 million registered voters by the N.C. Board of Elections found 12 instances were a non-citizen successfully cast a ballot.

Jose Rico, a 23-year-old Raleigh resident from Mexico who has already been issued DACA work permit, said he plans to be in line at the DMV on March 25 to get a license, even if it's pink. He will be extremely disappointed if state legislators pass a bill delaying or a denying his ability to do so.

"I don't know what's wrong with these people, why they're so afraid of people like me," said Rico, who has lived in the U.S. since he was 13. "It's so frustrating. I passed a federal background check, done everything right by the book. I'm paying taxes. I mean, we're just kids trying to go to school."

Associated Press writer Gosia Wozniacka contributed from Fresno, Calif.


http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020408244_apapusillegalimmigrantslicenses.html

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« Reply #8076 on: Feb 22nd, 2013, 09:29am »




Please be an angel



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« Reply #8077 on: Feb 23rd, 2013, 10:24am »







Film noir directed by Byron Haskin, starring Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea. The screenplay was written by Roy Huggins, developed from a serial he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post. The film was reissued as Killer Bait in 1955.

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« Reply #8078 on: Feb 23rd, 2013, 11:13am »

http://www.examiner.com/article/glowing-apparition-appears-onscreen-with-news-reporter
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Reality is all in our collective minds. The universe is an ocean of minds fighting for dominance. Minds inside minds its neverending but it only take THE ONE to realize all is one and one I AM.
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« Reply #8079 on: Feb 24th, 2013, 10:01am »

on Feb 23rd, 2013, 11:13am, zzeuss1979 wrote:
http://www.examiner.com/article/glowing-apparition-appears-onscreen-with-news-reporter


Good morning Zzeuss1979,

I love the cameraman's reaction.

Thank you for this article.

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« Reply #8080 on: Feb 24th, 2013, 10:03am »

Reuters

Daytona Speedway crash injures 28 fans

By Simon Evans

Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:20am EST

(Reuters) - A pile-up at the Daytona speedway on Saturday injured at least 28 fans after a 10-car crash sent car debris, including a tire, flying into the crowd in the final lap of the Nationwide NASCAR race.

Race officials said 14 fans were sent to nearby hospitals and another 14 were treated at the Florida track, which will host the prestigious Daytona 500 race on Sunday.

"Stuff was flying everywhere," spectator Terry Huckaby, whose brother was sent to the hospital with a leg injury, told the ESPN sports network. "Tires were flying by and smoke and everything else."

Among the injured were a 14-year-old boy in critical but stable condition, and a man who was in surgery for a life-threatening head injury, according to ESPN.com.

Joie Chitwood, president of the Daytona International Speedway, said Sunday's main race would go ahead despite the incident as crews were repairing the track and the grandstand.

"First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with our race fans," Chitwood said. "Following the incident, we responded appropriately according to our safety protocols and had emergency medical personnel at the incident immediately."

Tony Stewart won the race at Saturday's event, which is the curtain-raiser for American stock car racing's biggest event on Sunday which will feature Danica Patrick as the first woman to start on pole position.

CAR SENT AIRBORNE

Saturday's wreck happened after driver Regan Smith, who was leading the race, attempted to block another driver as they were nearing the checkered flag and hit the other car, a report on NASCAR.com said.

"My fault," Smith, who finished 14th, told NASCAR.com. "I threw a block. I'll take the blame for it. But when you see the checkered flag at Daytona, you're going to block, and you're going to do everything you can to be the first car back to the stripe. It just didn't work out today. Just hoping everything is okay, everyone who was in the wreck and all the fans."

The crash sent driver Kyle Larson's car airborne and ripped out its engine, although he climbed out of the wreckage afterward unhurt.

"I was getting pushed from behind, it felt like," Larson told ESPN after the crash.

"By the time my spotter said, 'Lift,' or to go low, I believe, it was too late and I was in the wreck. Then I felt like it was slowing down, and it looked like I could see the ground, and had some flames in the cockpit. Luckily, I was all right and could get out of the car quick," he added.

The injured were carried away on stretchers from the chaotic scene in the stands. They were taken to Halifax Health Medical Center and Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

NASCAR's vice president of race operations, Steve O'Donnell, said that the fencing, which was ripped through by the flying debris, was being replaced and the incident would be reviewed.

"We're very confident that we'll be ready for tomorrow's event with the 55th running of the Daytona, but as with any of these incidents, we'll conduct a thorough review, we'll work closely with the tracks as we do for all our events, learn what we can and see what we can apply in the future," he said.

It is rare that spectators get hurt in American racing, but it has happened before. In 2009, Carl Edwards's car slammed into the catch fencing at Talladega and injured nine fans. Three were killed in Charlotte, North Carolina, a decade earlier in the IndyCar Series, and three others were killed in 1998 in Michigan during CART's U.S. 500.

Driver Michael Annett of the Richard Petty Motorsports team was treated at the Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach for bruises to his chest and sternum received in a crash on the 116th lap of the 120-lap race. He was given a CT scan and was being kept in for observation, the team said in a statement.

(This story was corrected to make clear Annett injured in separate incident)

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Orlando, Florida, and Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Peter Cooney)


http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/24/us-motorracing-nascar-daytona-idUSBRE91L11L20130224

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« Reply #8081 on: Feb 24th, 2013, 10:14am »

Wired

New Dimension: Nebulas Are Even More Amazing in 3-D

By Nadia Drake
02.21.13
2:01 PM

As unbelievable as it may seem, space photos just got a bit more amazing.

Normally, the celestial sights we gaze at -- such as ribbons of colorful gas and dust, wound around monstrous, dark caverns or splashed in front of star-studded skies -- are flat. Two dimensional.

Now, Finnish astrophotographer J-P Metsavainio has rendered some spacescapes in three dimensions, using his own photographs as a starting point. "Objects in the images are not like paintings on the canvas, but really three-dimensional objects floating in the three-dimensional space," he said in an e-mail.

First, Metsavainio collects information about how far away an object is, and carefully studies the stars and structures in and around it. Then, he creates a volumetric model of his subject -- usually a nebula, although he's rendered at least one globular star cluster. Finally, he animates the 3-D rendering, providing viewers with a tantalizing taste of what it might be like to fly a starship through these enormous astronomical ornaments.

"How accurate the final model is, depends how much I have known and guessed right," Metsavainio said. Many of his renderings carry the statement: "NOTE: This is a personal vision about shapes and volumes, based on some scientific data and an artistic impression."

In this gallery, we've collected some of our favorite animations. For more fanciful journeys, check out Metsavainio's entire portfolio.

gallery after the jump:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/02/nebulas-in-3-d/?pid=6329&viewall=true

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« Reply #8082 on: Feb 24th, 2013, 10:20am »




It gets interesting at 1:19.

Crystal







Published on Feb 24, 2013


This morning around 01:00 AM at the promenade of Armon Hantziv in Jerusalm, i was witness(with another guy), an amazing ufo aircraft over Jerusalem old city (mount Moriah) Dome of the Rock,Temple Mount,قبة الصخرة, הר הבית.
What is the meaning of this sighting huhhuhhuh...............................­............


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« Reply #8083 on: Feb 24th, 2013, 10:25am »

Hollywood Reporter

Dark Skies: Film Review

11:57 PM PST 2/22/2013
by Justin Lowe

The Bottom Line

There’s little to fear from this rather tame genre outing.

Opens: Feb. 22 (Dimension Films)

Cast: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, J.K. Simmons, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, Josh Stamberg, L.J. Benet

Director-writer: Scott Stewart

"Priest" and "Legion" director Scott Stewart returns with an alien-visitation tale that co-stars Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton.

While not advance press-screened by distributor Dimension Films, audiences still have a pretty good idea of what to expect when genre director Scott Stewart teams with Paranormal Activity franchise originator Blumhouse Productions on an alien-abduction suspenser. Despite true believers and core horror and fantasy demos evincing opening-weekend curiosity, enthusiasm is likely to diminish noticeably with lukewarm word of mouth, although ancillary prospects appear robust.

Just like folks everywhere, Daniel and Lacy Barrett are a loving couple with a growing family and too many bills to pay. Daniel (Josh Hamilton) has been laid off from his job as an architect and realtor Lacy (Keri Russell) is constantly struggling to make a home sale, but properties aren't moving in their nondescript suburban town. With two young sons to look out for – young teen Jesse (Dakota Goyo) and his kid brother Sam (Kadan Rockett) – they’re fighting foreclosure on their house and other mounting debts.

So it seems like just one more inconvenience when strange things begin happening in their home, with the contents of their fridge and cupboards disgorged into the kitchen late at night, the inexplicable disappearance of family photos from their frames and false alarms triggering their home-security system. Things go from messy to spooky when Sam explains the mysterious developments by saying that the “Sandman” has been paying him nightly visits, causing his parents increasing concern. Daniel’s gambit of rigging the house with security cameras reveals a nocturnal energy force coursing through the house, but it’s the mass suicide of dozens of birds mysteriously smacking into the exterior of their home and bouts of trance-like disassociation they’re all suffering that really unnerve the couple.

Lacy’s Internet research reveals similar incidents plaguing other families, all associated with alien visitation, but it isn’t until reclusive ET expert Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons) provides the menacing context for the strange rashes, nosebleeds and marks on their bodies that Daniel and Lacy go into overdrive in an attempt to protect the safety of their family.

While mostly skirting the effects-dependent plot devices of his earlier releases Legion and Priest, Stewart borrows heavily from notable supernatural and sci-fi predecessors, managing to noticeably devalue the effectiveness of the alien-abduction subgenre with overly deliberate pacing, miscued suspense and fairly predictable plotting.

Never quite sure if he’s relying more on horror or sci-fi conventions to drive the narrative, Stewart can’t seem to muster much tension by relying predominantly on his intermittently-effective cast. Russell generates some persuasive emotion in a few key scenes, but gets held back by Hamilton’s curiously stiff performance and nearly upstaged by Simmons’ simmering, low-key appearance.

Approaching the first half of the film fairly conventionally, Stewart then misses the opportunity to capitalize on shifting to more full-on genre mode, although cinematographer David Boyd’s visuals are solid throughout and composer Joseph Bishara’s unnerving score supports the action without overwhelming it. The film’s brief coda succinctly caps the few final twists while unsubtly tipping its sequel potential.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movie/dark-skies/review/423630

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« Reply #8084 on: Feb 25th, 2013, 09:28am »

Washington Post

Afghan governor details alleged abuse by U.S. Special Operations forces

By Richard Leiby, Monday, February 25, 6:27 AM

KABUL — Afghan officials said Monday that they demanded the pullout of U.S. Special Operations forces from an insurgency-wracked province because the U.S.-backed NATO command here for months has ignored residents’ allegations of severe abuses committed by the elite American troops.

NATO, meanwhile, said its past inquiries found no evidence to support allegations of misconduct by U.S. Special Operations forces in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul.

A joint commission of inquiry composed of Afghan and NATO coalition officials is expected to be formed within days to explore the claims raised over the weekend by President Hamid Karzai’s administration — including allegations of the arrest, torture and extrajudicial killing of civilians.

Karzai on Sunday stunned the International Security Assistance Force, as the coalition of foreign forces is known, by ordering all U.S. Special Operations forces to leave Wardak in two weeks, based on allegations that they had been involved in the torture and murder of “innocent people.”

NATO officials would not comment Monday on whether Karzai’s other demand — an immediate halt to Special Operation forces’ activity in Wardak — had been implemented.

The Afghan president’s action grew out of a report that Wardak’s provincial governor, Abdul Majid Khogyani, presented to the Afghan National Security Council on Sunday. Karzai had previously sent five delegations to investigate the allegations of misconduct, Khogyani said in an interview Monday.

For the past three months, Khogyani said, he has received complaints “in droves” from tribal elders, religious leaders and other residents about the behavior of U.S. Special Operations troops, including allegations that nine people had been arrested and have since disappeared.

“When I spoke with various U.S. forces in the province they did not tell us anything about the fate of the nine — whether they are alive, in prison or dead,” Khogyani said. “People want to know what has happened to them.”

The alleged disappearance of the nine people was also referenced in a statement issued Sunday on the presidential palace’s Web site.

“We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them,” German Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz, a spokesman for the coalition forces, said Monday at a news conference.

“Over the past few weeks there have been various allegations of Special Forces conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner” in the province, Katz said. But, he added, “So far, we could not find evidence that would support these allegations.”

In the interview, Khogyani also said 60 tribal leaders were recently rounded up by U.S. special forces — backed by Afghan troops claiming to belong to “Afghan special forces” — taken to a base and beaten.

These armed Afghans allegedly allied with the U.S. Special Operations forces are unaccountable to Afghan national security forces, the governor said. Several residents of the province have made similar claims.

It remained unclear on Monday whether Karzai would follow through on his order banning Special Operations forces from Wardak or would, as with past edicts aimed at restricting U.S.-led operations, reach a negotiated agreement with NATO forces.

His order comes at a sensitive time, with the withdrawal of conventional forces from Wardak and elsewhere in Afghanistan making the role played by Special Operations forces there more critical. It threatened to cast a pall on deliberations between the United States and its allies over the scope and price tag of the West’s commitment to Afghanistan after NATO’s mandate for operations in the country expires at the end of 2014.

Last week, Karzai banned his forces from calling in NATO airstrikes in populated areas, citing civilian casualties. But Sunday’s statement was Karzai’s most acerbic in recent months against the international community, following a period during which the Afghan president has been largely conciliatory toward the foreign nations that pay the biggest portion of his government’s bills.

In earlier interviews, palace officials said that on Jan. 7, they submitted a report to Karzai about one round of investigation of the alleged misconduct. The inquiry found up to eight Afghan translators for American troops were operating in the northern Nerkh district of Wardak, wearing the uniforms of Afghan commandos in the national army. People had complained about abusive treatment by the group, the report said.

The Afghan defense minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, said at the time that the ministry demanded that NATO hand over the men. But coalition officials reportedly said they were not working with the alliance and had disappeared.

A U.S. official said Monday it was not clear whether the latest allegations were the ones dismissed earlier.

“We need to fully understand what allegations they are talking about. We don’t know if they are new, and that is part of the discussion we will have with the Afghan government,” said the official, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the matter. “This requires diligent investigation.”

Claims of abuses by individuals whom Wardak residents described as U.S. and Afghan special forces began to surface in December, but some Western journalists and others who traveled to the area were unable to document them.

“The situation is so bad that even farmers cannot go to their fields,” said a Kabul resident named Zalmai who, as union representative for bus and taxi drivers in Wardak, said he speaks regularly with drivers and passengers. “The tyranny is very widespread,” he said.


Sayed Salahuddin in Kabul contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/karzai-aide-details-alleged-abuse-by-us-special-forces/2013/02/25/d59f3f1c-7f53-11e2-8074-b26a871b165a_story.html?hpid=z3

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