|World Bank Dams! |
Earth Fever! Hubble Saved?
Da Vinci's Cars, Einstein Mission
Lava Life, Spike Shaved & More!
|World Bank Dams!|
|WASHINGTON April 22, 2004 (Reuters) - The World Bank is accelerating its funding for large dam projects to the detriment of the environment and locals in the countries where the projects are built, a report released on Thursday said. |
"So often it's the poorest that pay the price for projects that are supposed to bring development," said Peter Bosshard, main author of the International Rivers Network report.
"Bank-funded dams have displaced more than 10 million people, flooded millions of hectares of lands and pushed many countries deeper into debt. Yet the bank is set to repeat its mistakes all over again," he added.
The report, published on Earth Day and presented as the IMF and World Bank hold their spring meetings in Washington, underlines what it calls the dangers of the World Bank's renewed interest in engaging in big dam projects.
Richard Uku, spokesman for the World Bank's infrastructure branch, said the bank is indeed reinvigorating its development of water, communications, sanitation, energy and transportation infrastructure. The agenda is outlined in the Infrastructure Action Plan released in September 2003.
The world spends about $60 billion on the water sector, including sanitation, irrigation, hydro power and water supply in developing countries, said a World Bank spokesperson. About 90 percent of that comes from domestic sources.
Critics argue, however, that the bank has a poor track record of implementing those safeguards.
Nor, he said, did the bank provide adequate compensation for the displaced people.
"If you're going to reengage with those kinds of projects, what is it that you will be doing differently this time?"
|Earth Fever: Global Average Temperatures Increase Over Decades!|
|Goddard Space Center News Release |
April 22, 2004 - Like thermometers in space, satellites are taking the temperature of the Earth's surface or skin. According to scientists, the satellite data confirm the Earth has had an increasing "fever" for decades.
For the first time, satellites have been used to develop an 18- year record (1981-1998) of global land surface temperatures. The record provides additional proof that Earth's snow-free land surfaces have, on average, warmed during this time period, according to a NASA study appearing in the March issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The satellite record is more detailed and comprehensive than previously available ground measurements. The satellite data will be necessary to improve climate analyses and computer modeling.
Menglin Jin, the lead author, is a visiting scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and a researcher with the University of Maryland, College Park, Md. Jin commented until now global land surface temperatures used in climate change studies were derived from thousands of on-the- ground World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stations located around the world, a relatively sparse set of readings given Earth's size. These stations actually measure surface air temperature at two to three meters above land, instead of skin temperatures.
The satellite skin temperature dataset is a good complement to the traditional ways of measuring temperatures.
A long-term skin temperature data set will be essential to illustrate global as well as regional climate variations. Together with other satellite measurements, such as land cover, cloud, precipitation, and sea surface temperature measurements, researchers can further study the mechanisms responsible for land surface warming.
It also uses recently available NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer skin temperature measurements, as well as NOAA TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) data for validation purposes. All these data are archived at NASA's Distributed Active Archive Center.
One issue with the dataset is that it cannot detect surface temperatures over snow. In winter, most of the land areas in the mid to upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere are covered by snow.
Of Earth's land area, 90 percent of it is snow free in July, compared to only 65 percent in January. For this reason, the study only focused on snow free areas.
Still, in mountainous areas that are hard to monitor, like Tibet, satellites can detect the extent of snow coverage and its variations.
The daily skin temperature range showed a decreasing global mean trend over the 18-year period, resulting from greater temperature increases at night compared to daytime.
|Indians Lose Kennewick Ancestor to White Man|
|PORTLAND April 20. 2004 (AP) - Anthropologists seeking to study the ancient Kennewick Man skeleton scored another victory when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by four Northwest tribes for a rehearing in the lengthy dispute. |
Tribal lawyers sought to have the case reheard by the full court after a three-judge panel ruled in February that the tribes had no right to the 9,300-year-old remains under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
A brief order issued Monday by the court denied the request from the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Yakama and Colville tribes, who want to bury the remains without a scientific study.
The collection of 380 bones and bone fragments, which were found in July 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Wash., are being stored at the Burke Museum in Seattle.
Alan L. Schneider, a Portland lawyer representing the scientists, said his clients were pleased with the court's decision.
The tribes and the U.S. Justice Department have 90 days to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rob Roy Smith, a Seattle lawyer for the tribes, told The Oregonian that his clients "are clearly disappointed. This case has dealt a staggering blow to the tribes' ability to protect their cultural properties." Smith added that no decision has been made whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The February ruling, written by Judge Ronald M. Gould, upheld a 2002 decision by Magistrate John Jelderks of the U.S. District Court in Portland that the scientists can study the remains.
|By Dr David Whitehouse |
BBC News Science Editor
Pasadena April 23, 2004 (BBC) - A robotic rescue mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope may be feasible, according to NASA's Associate Administrator, Dr Ed Weiler. In January, the US space agency said there would be no more risky astronaut visits to the telescope, which would probably limit its life to a few years.
But Dr Weiler says there are now some promising ideas about how Hubble could be visited without the space shuttle.
A small spacecraft could be built to attach itself to Hubble, he believes.
The spacecraft may then be able to plug into Hubble and feed power into it without having to remove its old batteries - which would be a tricky task for a robot. It might also be possible for the attached spacecraft to take over the pointing of Hubble.
Save The Hubble - http://www.savethehubble.com
|The Man in the Ladies' Room Ceiling|
|KANSAI JAPAN April 24, 2004 (UPI) - A man was arrested Saturday at Kansai International Airport in Kansai, Japan, after he was found trapped among ceiling pipes over a woman's restroom. |
Shuichi Arai of Kumatori, Osaka Prefecture, is facing a charge of trespassing, but police suspect he had wanted to sneak a peek at the women using the airport lavatories, reported the Mainichi Daily News.
Arai admitted trespassing, but said he climbed into the airport ceiling to escape somebody who was chasing him.
Police officers said they found Arai trapped in the maze of pipes above the ceiling.
|Da Vinci's Cars|
|FLORENCE, Italy Friday April 23, 2004 (Reuters) - Leonardo da Vinci is revered around the world as a master of Renaissance painting and an ingenious engineer, but few have thought of him as the father of the modern car. |
But on Friday, the Museum of History and Science in Florence -- the heart of Renaissance Italy -- unveiled the first "automobile" built based on some of the sketches from da Vinci's famous notebooks.
"This has been a big adventure which has also helped us to develop tools to help people unaware of Leonardo's scholarship understand this complex device," said Paolo Galluzzi, director of the museum.
The primitive-looking contraption runs on springs instead of petrol and was probably intended to produce special effects at courtly events, but it was still the world's first self-propelled "vehicle," the experts said.
The "automobile" -- which in fact looks more like a wagon -- is by no means the first invention discovered in da Vinci's mysterious manuscripts, which include flying machines, helicopters, submarines, military tanks and bicycles.
Born near Florence in 1452, da Vinci is thought of as the original "Renaissance Man" -- a talented painter, sculptor, engineer and musician.
Many of his ideas were recorded in notebooks now housed in museums and enjoying unprecedented popularity due to the best-selling novel the "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown.
In 1905, Girolamo Calvi, one of the pioneers of da Vinci studies, noted the links between da Vinci's designs and the first motor cars which were beginning to take to the roads.
In 1936, Calvi referred to da Vinci's sketches as "Leonardo's Fiat" but it wasn't until very recently that scientists correctly interpreted his design and the models on display in Florence are the first reconstructions.
Three "car" models, copies of da Vinci's sketches and an interactive digital simulation can be seen at the museum until June 5th.
Museum of History and Science in Florence - http://www.imss.fi.it/news/eautomobile.html
|By Michael R. Blood |
LOS ANGELES April 23, 2004 (AP) Labeled an environmentalist-come-lately as a candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger answered his critics by announcing plans to retrofit one of his gas-swilling Hummers to run on eco-friendly hydrogen power.
"I think that's where the future of fuel will be going," he said at the time.
But seven months later, the high-tech Hummer has yet to hit the road.
For the moment, the project has produced more talk than torque.
|Einstein Mission Report|
|NASA Press Release |
April 23, 2004 - Gravity Probe B a NASA mission to test two predictions of Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity is orbiting 400 miles above Earth, and all spacecraft systems are performing well. Its solar arrays are generating power, and all electrical systems are powered on.
The spacecraft is communicating well with its supporting satellite relay and ground stations. Launched April 20 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Gravity Probe B is managed by the Marshall Center.
The spacecraft is communicating well with the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) and supporting ground stations.
"We've successfully achieved the first of many upcoming steps in preparing these four gyroscopes for science data collection," said Rob Brumley, Stanford Gravity Probe B Deputy Program Manager, Technical.
"We are all extremely gratified with the initial performance of these gyroscopes in space, including the first ever levitation of a Gravity Probe B gyro on orbit."
|University of Alberta News Release |
April 23. 2004 - A new discovery of microbial activity in 3.5 billion-year-old volcanic rock and one of earth's earliest signs of geological existence sheds new light on the antiquity of life, says University of Alberta researchers who are part of a team that made the groundbreaking finding.
"People have been looking for signs of early bacteria for the last 50 years," said Dr. Karlis Muehlenbachs, from the U of A's Faculty of Science and an author on the paper just published in the journal Science.
"A variety have claimed they've seen it and subsequently been challenged as being flawed. We are suggesting that we have clear evidence of life prospering in an environment where no one else has bothered to look."
"On the microscopic level, we see that during metamorphism, the new minerals cross cut the preserved biological features," said Muehlenbachs. "This means that the biological features pre date the metamorphism, leading to the conclusion that the microbes were attacking the glass 3.48 billion years ago-very soon after the glass chilled and lasting a few million years, perhaps until the usual geological processes buried and cooked them."
|Genre News: James Marsters, Sky Captain, Angel, Stargate Atlantis, Tru, 2nd Annual SPACEYS & More!|
|Spike Shaved For Charity |
Hollywood April 23, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - James Marsters, who plays Spike on The WB's Angel, will shave off his trademark blond hair for charity on The Ryan Seacrest Show on April 27, The WB announced.
Marsters will shave his head to raise money for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
The deadline for donations is April 26. Marsters' series, Angel, is wrapping production of its final season, and the California-born actor will no longer need Spike's platinum do.
Marsters, Knightley Voted Favorite Romeo and Juliet
Official Angel - www.thewb.com/Shows/Show/0,7353,||139,00.html
Spidey Leaps, Sky Captain Steps Back
However, Sony recently announced it was moving "Spider-Man's" debut up two days to Wednesday, June 30. With "Spider-Man" previews expected to take place Tuesday night, June 29, that would have left "Sky Captain" just four days before it had to fend off "Spider-Man."
Although not atypical for a lavish effects film, the situation had led to speculation that the film would not meet its delivery date.
Under the new schedule, it said, Paramount will now have several months to promote the film at events like the annual Comic-Con International convention in July.
The date currently appears to be host to just one other wide release, Warner Bros. Pictures' "Duma," directed by Carroll Ballard.
Official Sky Captain - http://www.skycaptain.com
Angel: The Girl in Question
Save Angel - http://www.savingangel.org
eXoNews Angel Fan Poll - http://richlabonte.net/angel
Official Angel - www.thewb.com/Shows/Show/0,7353,||139,00.html
Duchovny Talks Connie and Carla and Mulder
LOS ANGELES April 22, 2004 (AP) - "Connie and Carla" helped David Duchovny rediscover his love for acting.
"In the last couple of years, I've been able to rediscover some kind of joy in performing and acting that I felt I'd lost over time."
He says he expects Mulder to remain the character fans have come to love.
New York April 23, 2004 (Playbill) - Academy Award-winner Tim Robbins will join the cast of his play Embedded at The Public Theater April 27, and the Off-Broadway run has been extended yet again, through May 22.
Hollywood April 22, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - A new Web site has gone live for SCI FI Channel's upcoming original series Stargate Atlantis, which premieres July 16.
The new preliminary site includes a welcome message from "President Henry Hayes"; cast and crew biographies; a gallery of images; wallpaper, e-card and IM icon downloads; and a bulletin board.
LOS ANGELES April 21, 2004 (Reuters) - TV broadcaster Fox on Wednesday renewed four of its most successful prime-time shows for the 2004-2005 season, while the fate of a few others was still up in the air.
Frasier, Hewitt and Chaplin Do Scrooge
Hewitt will play Emily, Ebenezer Scrooge's long-lost love, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Jason Alexander ("Seinfeld"), Jane Krakowski ("Ally McBeal") and Jesse L. Martin ("Law & Order") are also in the cast.
Chaplin has worked on several Hallmark productions in the past, including ABC's "Dinotopia" miniseries and NBC's "Gulliver's Travels" and "The Odyssey."
Other credits include "Talk to Her," "Jane Eyre" and "Chaplin," in which she played her own grandmother.
The former "Party of Five" star and part-time singer also starred in an ABC comedy pilot this spring.
[Don't laugh! Jennifer Love Hewitt has a great voice! She began in show business as a singer at the tender age of 5. Ed.]
2nd Annual SPACEYS - Complete List of Winners!
The winners of the 2nd Annual SPACEYS, honouring the finest in science fiction and fantasy entertainment, were announced tonight on SPACE: The Imagination Station.
Co-hosted by Hypaspace's Jonathan Llyr and SPACENews videographer Natasha Eloi, this year's award show traveled from London, England to Hollywood to track down the award winners in 14 categories as chosen by viewers and SPACE's panel of judges.
Ben Browder also made a guest appearance and hints about the possible resurrection of Farscape, while Bruce Campbell from Evil Dead presented two awards from his home in Oregon.
FAVOURITE TV CHARACTER - MALE
FAVOURITE MOVIE VILLAIN - SCI-FI/FANTASY
BEST COMIC BOOK ADAPTATION MOVIE
FAVOURITE CANADIAN TV SERIES
BEST HORROR/SUSPENSE MOVIE
FAVOURITE MOVIE HERO
FAVOURITE MOVIE VILLAIN - HORROR
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