Western Australia apologises to abused wards-of-state

April 7, 2005

The state Premier of Western Australia (WA), Dr Geoff Gallop, gave an apology to children physically and sexually abused in institutional care within the state between the 1920s and 1970s. The statement was given in reaction to an Australian Senate inquiry into institutional child abuse published last year.

“We acknowledge our state’s history, the role played by the state in providing care for children and particularly past practices in the provision of care,” Dr Gallop told Australian Associated Press.

“We apologise to all those people who were harmed as children while in institutional care, and express deep regret at the hurt and distress caused. We recognise that the effects of physical, psychological and sexual abuse did not end when these children became adults.”

Many of the children had been placed in care by government agencies.

“Overwhelmingly, the (submissions) make tragic and distressing reading. They tell of neglect, of shocking abuse, of predatory behaviour from so-called carers and of criminal activity,” Senator McLucas told federal parliament at the time of the Forgotten Australians report, last year.

“The evidence is also there that authorities in the church and in governments either knew or should have known that much of this horrific activity was occurring.”

The inquiry found that an apology was an important symbolism in recognising past wrongs and helping victims gain closure, according to an ABC News report. And Dr Gallop said the victims’ personal histories must be heard and acknowledged in order to build a better care system for the future.

WA’s Community Development Minister, Sheila McHale, said those wishing to find out about their time in care in WA as children should contact the Department for Community Development, which is also providing counselling services to those who were abused in an institution.

Crucifix in Northern Italy collapses, crushing man to death

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ahead of Sunday’s scheduled canonization of Pope John Paul II, in the Italian village of Cevo, a massive stone and wood crucifix dedicated to the late pontiff collapsed, instantly crushing a man to death and landing another in the hospital. Reports variously say the collapse took place on Wednesday or Thursday.

Marco Gusmini, 21, died after part of the wood of the crucifix splintered and broke, sending it, along with the attached statue of Jesus Christ, toppling to the ground. He was reportedly posing for a photograph under the monument.

The mayor of Cevo, Silvio Citroni, termed the incident “an unexplainable tragedy. A young life, so many hopes destroyed this way”. Describing the tragedy, he elaborated, “The young people were making a snack for lunch and when they heard the crunching noises coming from the cross they fled in all directions. Unfortunately Marco ran in the wrong direction.” Citroni also said the crucifix had undergone maintenance work last summer. “This is a place for pilgrimages and family visits. We never imagined that something like this could happen.” In light of the untimely tragedy, he said, plans for any further celebrations to commemorate the late pontiff’s impending canonization have been scrapped.

Sculptor Enrico Job designed the crucifix, which stood 100 ft (30 m) tall; curved unusually to symbolize, reportedly, the scars of World War II; mounted with a 20 ft (6 m) tall statue of Jesus Christ weighing 1,320 lbs (600 kg). Commissioned to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s 1998 visit to Brescia, and reportedly originally erected at a stadium there, the crucifix was moved to its present location in nearby Cevo in 2005.

Gusmini and his parents reportedly lived on Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, a street in Lovere named after another late pontiff to be canonized alongside Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII. In celebration of this double canonization, Rome is expected to play host to 19 heads of state, 24 heads of government, and some 800,000 Catholic pilgrims, visiting from around the world, according to the Interior Ministry of Italy.

6.0 magnitude earthquake rocks eastern Turkey

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Basyurt, in the Elazig province or eastern Turkey at 04:32 AM (02:32 GMT) on Monday. According to local Kandilli observatory, the quake struck at a depth of five kilometres; the epicenter was near Karakocan town in the same province.

The pre-dawn earthquake killed at least 40 people and almost 100 were injured. The village of Okcular was worst hit, claimed the press secretary for the provincial governor, Ozcan Yalcin. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, nearly five hours later, a magnitude-5.5 aftershock hit the province. 40 other aftershocks followed shortly, the highest of them being 4.4 magnitude, according to sources.

While no deaths were immediately reported, the government’s crisis management center soon put the toll at seventeen with another 60 injured according to the officials at Ankara, the capital. It was soon confirmed that at least 39 were dead; the toll is expected to rise. At least four of the victims were children.

Muammer Erol, the provincial governor of Elazig, stated Okcular, Yukari Kanatli and Kayali accounted for majority of the dead. He told CNN Turk that “villages consisting mainly of mud-brick houses have been damaged, but we have minimal damage such as cracks in buildings made of cement or stone”.

Okcular, the largest of the affected villages, accounted for at least seventeen of the dead. The village has a population of 800, and the majority of the dwellers live in mud-brick homes built on hillsides. About 25 to 30 houses were demolished in this village. “The village is totally flattened,” Hasan Demirdag, local administrator, told NTV.

Yadin Apaydin, the administrator of Yukari Kanatli, said his village had been severely affected. “Everything has been knocked down – there is not a stone in place,” he told CNN’s Turkey sister network, CNN Türk.

“Many houses have collapsed. Search and rescue teams have been sent to the area,” said the prime minister’s office in a statement. Injured people are being rushed to local hospitals according to sources. At least 100 people have been taken to hospital. Some who panicked after the first quake jumped from balconies or windows were injured.

Rescue workers, consisting of policemen as well as civilians dug with shovels to rescue people from the debris. The Turkish Red Crescent is also sending tents and blankets to be distributed. Neighboring districts are providing ambulances to assist the victims. Cemil Cicek, deputy Prime Minister of Turkey has left for the disaster area. Health Minister Recep Akdag, Housing Minister Mustafa Demir and State Minister Cevdet Yilmaz are accompanying him.

According to CNN Türk, the tremor of the earthquake was felt in the adjacent provinces of Bitlis and Diyarbakir, causing residents to panic.

Turkey lies on highly active fault lines and earthquakes often hit the nation. A 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Istanbul killed 20,000 people in August 1999. Most of the earthquakes that hit Turkey are usually minor.

Senior UK politicians talk at Confederation of British Industry conference

Monday, November 21, 2016

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn both spoke at the annual Confederation of British Industry conference today, talking about Britain after its planned ‘Brexit’ from the European Union, and future plans for business.

May formally announced plans to cut corporation tax from 20%, without giving details, in order to discourage businesses from leaving the UK post-Brexit. Corbyn said in his speech he believes investment by the government on things such as infrastructure improvements is shared ground between Labour and businesses but “businesses will need to contribute” meaning “some increase in corporation tax” under his administration.

Theresa May also toned down plans to put ordinary workers on corporate boards, a campaign promise from running to become leader of the ruling Conservative Party. She said she is working to create a “model that works for everyone” after consulting firms and the general public, with possible plans including panels or advisory committees. The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress responded by saying “Theresa May made a clear promise to have workers represented on company boards […] This is not the way to show that you want to govern for ordinary working people.” Jeremy Corbyn also criticised this announcement saying “we need to see genuine employee representation at board level, which the prime minister promised, but I see is already backing away from.”

Theresa May also announced she wishes to spend £2Bn annually in research and development, as well as plans to start a small business research initiative to look into helping innovators get ahead. Jeremy Corbyn however said he plans to spend 3% of the UK’s GDP on R&D, significantly more than specified by May.

Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for the UK’s economy focussed on investment. Speaking at the conference he said “First and foremost, a Labour government will prioritise investing in our economy.” As well as the investment in research, Corbyn also promised funds for areas including house building and infrastructure. This would be controlled by the proposed “National Investment Bank”. Corbyn said “Our National Investment Bank will deliver long term strategic investment in our under-powered infrastructure and provide the patient finance that our businesses need across the country.”

May told the conference she would not give “a running commentary on every twist and turn” of the Brexit negotiations. This comes after allegation in the press that she she has no plan to keep under wraps, a claim that has been backed up by an alleged leaked internal government memo that talks about a “lack of overall negotiation strategy” within government.

Brazil’s Minas state stops sales of Toyota Corolla

Friday, April 23, 2010

Minas, one of the largest states of Brazil, has stopped the sale of the Toyota Corolla over safety concerns.

The move was made after nine Corolla customers reported that their cars automatically accelerated. The state public prosecutor’s office said in an online statement on Tuesday that the problem is blamed on accelerator pedals sticking underneath floor mats. Local government said the issue was “putting in danger the lives of occupants”.

According to the prosecutor’s office, sales of Corollas may resume when Toyota alters the floormats in its current models. Toyota has recalled over eight million vehicles worldwide due to acceleration problems.

Five biggest US banks told to raise $74.6 billion; fail “stress tests”

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The five largest United States banks need a total of US$74.6 billion in extra funds to increase their cash reserves, according to so-called “stress tests” conducted by regulators to determine whether the banks have enough capital to survive the ongoing recession.

“Our hope with today’s actions is that banks are going to be able to get back to the business of banking,” said Timothy Geithner, the US Treasury Secretary.

The results of the stress-test determined that Bank of America was the bank most at risk, needing $33.9 billion. Wells Fargo will require an additional $13.7 billion, while GMAC needs $11.5 billion.

Seven other banks failed the “stress test”, including: Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Regions Financial, SunTrust Banks, KeyCorp, Fifth Third Bancorp, and PNC Financial Services.

Nine other banks that underwent stress tests, such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of New York Mellon, MetLife, American Express, State Street, BB&T, US Bancorp and Capital One Financial, were found to have enough capital in case the recession deepens.

Those banks that need extra money will be set a June 8 deadline to draw up their plans to raise the additional capital and have regulators approve them.

Simple animals may live in Martian brines: Wikinews interviews Vlada Stamenkovi?

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 volunteer 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, maybe even simple sponges.

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.

So, why is their research about 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 molesper 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.

((WN)) (background information): 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.

((WN)) (background information): 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,

((WN)) (background information): 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.

((WN)) (background information): 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.

((WN)) (background information): 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.

((WN)) (background information): 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.

((WN)) (ebackground information): 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.

((WN)) (background information): 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.

((WN)) (background information): 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

((WN)) (background information): 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).

((WN)) (background information): 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.


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


Open Up New Career Opportunities By Getting A Cdl License In Illinois

byAlma Abell

Anyone who has ever driven on the highway has, at some point, driven next to an eighteen wheeler truck. For some, driving a small car next a behemoth of a truck can be a nerve racking experience. However, there is rarely anything to worry about. This is because truck drivers are not just someone who woke up and decided to drive a truck that day. They had to go through rigorous courses on how to properly handle these trucks, because these trucks are dangerous is not handled correctly. They even have a special license that allows them to operate the trucks.

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Trucking is career that often is seen in a lesser light for no real reason. It is a career that is quite attractive to a lot of different people, because driving a truck doesn’t have any restrictions based on who someone is. It doesn’t matter whether they are man or woman. It doesn’t matter what clothes they are wearing. It doesn’t matter what ethnicity or religion they are either. The only real qualification to be eligible is being a good driver and enjoy driving for the majority of the day. Of course, no one is allowed to get behind the wheel unless they earn a CDL License in Illinois. This is done through going to a Star Truck Driving School. These schools teach courses on how to drive a truck safely as well as how to market yourself to employers. Because it doesn’t matter how good of a driver someone is unless they know how to make their services look appealing to employers.

Trucking is not a summer job to get some extra cash, it is a life career for many people regardless of what demographic they are from. These men and women drive around all day, visiting parts of the country they may have never thought they would be able to. They will see the leaves changing color on the mountains of West Virginia in the fall, the cityscape of New York City, or the redwood forests of Northern California. The only thing that stands between them and a future career are a few classes to earn their CDL License in Illinois.

Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “120 year-old documents threaten development on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Buffalo, New York —A proposed hotel that was supposed to be built at the corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues in Buffalo, New York is apparently off the table. The former proposal was going to be called The Elmwood Village Hotel and would have consisted of 72 rooms and cost between $7 to $10 million American dollars to build.

Today several unknown individuals were seen removing a sign that was dedicated to the “Elmwood Village Gateway,” which signifies the beginning of the Elmwood Village at the formerly proposed project’s location.

Nearly an hour later the men replaced the sign with a different and unexpected sign: “For Sale: 5 commercial parcels and 1 carriage house, By: Owner.” Those 5 “parcels” are 1109-1121 Elmwood and 999 Forest Avenue, which is located in an illegal alley, according to the City of Buffalo, behind the 5 other properties on Elmwood. Hans Mobius owns all properties named in the sale.

Sam Savarino, CEO of Savarino Companies never owned the properties and has repeatadly told Wikinews in exclusive interviews that he still had a “contract to buy the properties” and on October 2, 2006 told Wikinews in an exclusive interview that he “extended” the “agreement to purchase the property[s] and will have it under contract for what we hope is a sufficient period of time.”

“He [Mobius] is undoubtedly concerned because he has lost some tenants and is a bit impatient. I think he has properly portrayed the situation,” said Savarino in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

Savarino also says that there may be “legal issues” to work out now, before anything else can move forward, regarding the proposal.

“There are some legal complexities that must be sorted out before anything can happen there,” added Savarino.

The welcome sign was; however, not removed entirely. The sign was placed, facing the same direction of north, on the side of the Forest Plaza Art Gallery, a new art gallery located on the corner of Forest and Elmwood.

Nancy Pollina, owner of Don Apparel which was located at 1109 Elmwood, but closed on October 14, 2006 considers this a possible “victory” in regards to the lawsuit filed against the hotel to stop it from being built, alleging that several laws were broken, including not performing an Environmental Impact Study before the proposal was approved by the city, during its approval and the proposal was “rushed.” Patricia Morris, who operates Don Apparel with Pollina, Angeline Genovese and Evelyn Bencinich, owners of residences on Granger Place which abut the rear of the proposed site, Nina Freudenheim, a resident of nearby Penhurst Park, and Sandra Girage, the owner of a two-family residence on Forest Avenue less than a hundred feet from the proposed hotel’s sole entrance and exit driveway, were also plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They filed the suit with a lawyer representing them, Arthur J. Giacalone, on April 25, 2006 in New York State Supreme Court, but the case has never gone to a courtroom.

Giacalone believes that a press release issued in July regarding the project was nothing but a statement to “save face,” but that the placement of the for sale sign might be a way of convincing Savarino to speed up the sale of the properties.

“I thought all along that Savarino’s July press release might be no more than an effort to save face. But we have no way of knowing. Similarly, Mobius might have put the for-sale sign up in an attempt to pressure Savarino into closing the deal. There’s no way to tell,” said Giacalone in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

In regards to the lawsuit, Giacalone thinks it may now be in “limbo.”

“The lawsuit still sits in limbo,” added Giacalone.