|Earth's Oceans Dying! |
Spidey vs. Gecko, Solar Wind,
Nuke News! The SpaceGrid!
Iraqi Art Auction & More!
|Saving Earth's Dying Oceans|
|Conservation International Press Release |
Los Cabos Mexico June 3, 2003 - For the first time ever, the world's largest environmental organizations, working with scientists, the business community and international governments, met specifically to develop a comprehensive and achievable agenda to reverse the decline in health of the world's ocean.
The five-day Defying Ocean's End (DOE) conference marked the launch of a new, science-based international effort to restore and maintain the health of marine systems. The gathering resulted in several preliminary recommendations:
Promote a World Ocean Public Trust: 60 percent of the world's ocean falls in international waters, outside any country's jurisdiction. International waters, largely open to uncontrolled exploitation, must be proactively managed. This marks a major reversal in thinking in ocean policy, since the ocean has for centuries been available for open access and exploitation.
Expand the Global System of Marine Parks: A vital component of ocean management includes formal protection for critical areas to restore and maintain ocean health. Less than one percent of the world's ocean currently enjoys full protection. Seamounts, or mountains that rise from the ocean floor, are areas that offer refuge for a high percentage of marine life. They are of particular concern, since they primarily fall in unregulated international waters.
Assess Global Priorities: The conservation status of countless marine species and the health of many marine systems is unknown. A massive effort, to begin immediately, is required to even more accurately assess conservation priorities in the ocean, particularly those marine species most vulnerable to extinction.
Create an Ocean Ethic: An urgent global communication and education campaign is needed to shatter myths about the ocean's limitless ability to withstand human neglect and abuse.
"The health of humankind is directly related to the health of the ocean - and the ocean and the marine life that calls it home is in real trouble," said Sylvia Earle, Executive Director of Conservation International's Global Marine Program and DOE co-convener. "We couldn't afford yet another meeting where we just sat around and created a wish list, so we formed Defying Ocean's End to take unprecedented and bold steps forward."
The grant requires $4 million in matching funds, to bring the total to $9 million of funding.
A major study in Nature last month reported that fully 90 percent of large, predatory fish populations, including tuna and marlin, have disappeared, mostly due to over-fishing and destructive fishing methods. Other threats, such as coastal development, pollution and climate change, are also devastating marine life.
"It's stunning to consider that in the past few decades, we have done away with the vast majority of large fish in the ocean and significantly altered the way marine systems operate," said Intel founder Gordon Moore, co-convener of the DOE conference. "By using sound science and implementing an achievable action plan, we still have a small window of opportunity to reverse these trends."
|Spidey Meets Gecko!|
|By Richard Black |
BBC Science Correspondent
London June 1, 2003 (BBC) - Scientists in the UK have created a sticky tape which works in the same way as gecko feet. The researchers say the material clings so well to a surface that by covering the palm of one hand with the tape, a person could hang from the ceiling - just like the remarkable lizard.
So far, however, Professor Andre Geim and colleagues have only been able to make a very small square of their gecko tape because of the difficulties involved in the fabrication process.
Nonetheless, the University of Manchester scientists are confident they can refine their work so that commercial quantities of the new sticky material can be produced.
The researchers confirmed that tiny intermolecular forces - so called van der Waals forces - were produced by literally billions of tiny hair-like structures, or spatulae, on each gecko toe.
Now, the British researchers have managed to create an artificial version of the spatulae.
He told BBC News Online: "We demonstrated this actually with a small toy of Spider-man which we found in the nearest shop.
|NYC Fur Protesters Turn Vogue Sidewalk 'Bloody'|
|NEW YORK June 2, 2003 (Reuters) - Animal rights activists soaked themselves in fake blood and spat insults to mark a big day for Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour, who was set to accept a prestigious fashion industry award on Monday. |
Five protesters draped in fur coats drenched themselves in the fake blood and crawled up the sidewalk to the facade of publisher Conde Nast's building in New York's Times Square, where Vogue's offices are located.
The protesters smeared red fluid down the front of the building and clogged a revolving door with their bodies. Lunchtime passers-by stepped through pools of the red liquid as it oozed off the building into the street gutter.
Wintour, Vogue's influential editor in chief, was to receive a lifetime achievement award at a dinner held by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which staged the protest, has long criticized Wintour and Vogue for promoting designers who use fur. Animal rights activists have left pools of blood at the door of Wintour's home, slapped a dead raccoon onto her plate at a restaurant and sent a box full of maggot-infested animal guts to her office.
A spokesman for Vogue said the magazine had no comment.
|The Mystery of Solar Wind|
|EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY NEWS RELEASE |
May 25, 2003 - Solving the mystery of the solar wind has been a prime task for ESA's SOHO spacecraft. Its latest findings may overturn previous ideas about the origin of the 'fast' solar wind, which occurs in most of the space around the Sun.
SOHO established that the gas of the fast wind leak through magnetic barriers near the Sun's visible surface. Straight, spoke-like features called plumes have been seen rising from the solar atmosphere at the polar regions, where much of the fast wind comes from.
Most of the fast wind leaves the Sun via the plumes themselves, which are denser than their surroundings.
Alan Gabriel of the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale and his team tracked gas rising at about 60 kilometers per second to a height of 250 000 kilometers above the Sun's visible surface.
Blasts of gas called 'coronal mass ejections' also contribute to the solar wind in the equatorial zone of the Sun.
In interplanetary space, the fast wind often collides with the slow wind. Like the mass ejections, the collisions create shock waves which agitate the Earth's space environment.
|Pizza Dough Stalls Traffic|
|ELBERFELD IN June 3, 2003 (AP) - A tractor-trailer carrying 35 tons of pizza dough overturned in southwestern Indiana, dumping a gooey mess onto the highway that stopped traffic for hours. |
The truck was bound for a Henderson, Ky., milling company Sunday when the driver lost control of the rig on an off-ramp at Interstate 164 and Indiana 57 near the border of Gibson and Warrick counties. The driver was uninjured.
Firefighters and an environmental services company used a backhoe to clean up the mess.
|80 US Air Bases May Contain Nuclear Waste |
NEW YORK June 3, 2003 (Reuters) — The U.S. Air Force is investigating whether there may be radioactive waste underneath more than 80 past and present air bases around the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The Journal reported that the Air Force, responding to written questions from the newspaper, said the burial sites would not pose a health risk if undisturbed. But many of the sites have already been approved for public use, the paper said.
One of the sites, in Atwater, Calif., hosts a federal prison, the Journal reported. Previously, the site held munitions that the Air Force Safety Center suspects included nuclear weapons.
The Journal also cited a 1972 internal Air Force survey that named 46 bases where radioactive waste was known to exist.
The Air Force, however, said it only became aware of the waste a few years ago, the Journal said.
CIA Says Al Qaeda Ready to Use WMD
The four-page report obtained by the newspaper said no information proves the group now is planning an attack in the United States, but noted that "such an attack cannot be ruled out," The Washington Times said.
Iran Asks US Help Building Nuclear Plants
UN Nuclear Inspectors Limited in Iraq
The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is due to head back to Baghdad Friday to probe reports of looting at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Research Center, Iraq's biggest nuclear site. But they are not allowed on to the main plant.
|Man Can Sue US for Selling Him Pot Car|
|LOS ANGELES June 3, 2003 (Reuters) - A Mexican national may sue the U.S. government for selling him a car with a hidden load of marijuana, and then arresting him when he tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in it, a federal appeals court has ruled. |
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found Monday the government's argument that it should be immune from Jose Aguado Cervantes' lawsuit was "so off the mark as to be embarrassing."
The appellate panel reinstated Cervantes' negligence claims against the government for allegedly failing to find and remove the drugs from the car he purchased in July of 1999 at a U.S. Marshals Service Auction in San Diego, California.
Four months earlier, the car was seized by the Immigration and Naturalization Service after it was used to transport illegal immigrants into the United States but agents apparently failed to notice 199 pounds of marijuana secreted in its bumpers, the court said.
But the justices decided that Cervantes, a resident of Mexico, could not sue for false imprisonment or false arrest because U.S. Customs agents who found the pot when Cervantes tried to cross the border from Mexico to the United States in October of 1999 "had reasonable cause to believe his arrest was lawful."
Cervantes spent three and a half months in jail, charged with drug smuggling. He was released after U.S. investigators realized that the marijuana, which had been welded into the bumper, was so decomposed that it could not have been placed there just months earlier, Cervantes' attorney Stephen Estey of San Diego said.
|European Space Agency Press Release |
May 29, 2003 - Almost two years have gone by since ESA set up the SpaceGrid study to see how the emerging use of the electronic grid could increase and improve the use of space applications.
The study is now complete and last week representatives of industry and academia met to discuss the outcome.
According to Max Lemke of the European Commission, other challenges facing the whole of the Grid community are "the need to move from research applications to applications for industry and business, to work with industry and technology providers, to think ahead to see what technology will be needed to get added value for industry and to have prototypes to check the feasibility of developments".
The demand for a better approach to distributed resource exploitation and application management is therefore high.
|Artifacts for Sale on Iraqi Highways|
|By Edmund L. Andrews |
AFAK, Iraq May 29, 2003 (IHT) - The meeting took place as planned, in a battered van on the side of the highway. Closing the curtains on the windows facing the road, Khalil quickly got down to business.
Opening a cigarette pack, he extracted a wad of cotton and then unwrapped a small polished stone cylinder engraved with the icons of ancient Mesopotamia: Ishtar, the warrior goddess; Adad, god of weather, and Ea, god of water.
Out of a black plastic bag came nearly a dozen other ancient artifacts: cuneiform tablets with their writing immaculately preserved, and more cylinders, which ancient leaders used to print their seals on clay tablets.
All of it had been stolen from the vast archaeological sites of southern Iraq. Some pieces, like the black cylinder, were potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Everything was on sale now, at prices of $1,500 and up.
"These are just a sample of what I have," said Khalil, who declined to provide his last name. "I have more than a thousand tablets. I have big statues made of stone. Just tell me what you want, and I can show it to you. We need to make another appointment."
Khalil is one of the middle links in a global network of plundering that is rapidly depleting the immense reserves of ancient art and historical data that lie buried in cities that once made up the Babylonian and Sumerian empires. The looting has been underway on a smaller scale for years, but it has exploded into an open orgy of theft in the weeks since American forces overturned the government of Saddam Hussein.
The Iraqi police force, which disintegrated at the end of the war, is not only powerless but afraid to stop the heavily armed groups that now prowl over dozens of sites. American soldiers are generally too occupied with reducing street crime and restoring basic services like electricity to pay much attention.
As for the people who live near the big archaeological sites in southern Iraq, they became so poor under Saddam that they are grasping at any means to make money. Khalil is one of many local dealers who buy looted treasures and resell them to foreign buyers. A single sale of $2,000 is more than what many people earn in a year. Experts say the prices demanded by Khalil are a fraction of what those objects can fetch in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Europe and the United States.
"This would not be happening if there were not a network of buyers from around the world," said Donny George, director of research at Iraq's State Board of Antiquities and Heritage.
Though Iraqi officials say the scale of current archaeological looting is unprecedented, the buying and smuggling networks are well-established.
"The networks go from Iraq to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, or, if you have very good connections, through Jordan," said Joanne Farchakh, an archaeologist and journalist who is based in Beirut and has studied the looting of Iraqi sites for much of the past decade. "Almost everything being sold here has already been seen in Saudi Arabia. The dealers used to meet each other at the border."
After American forces first entered Baghdad, looters raided Iraq's major museums and its main library, which is a repository for thousands of cuneiform tablets.
Contrary to initial news reports, much of the art stolen from museums was relatively obscure and quickly abandoned by the thieves. As of last week, American and Iraqi investigators had recovered more than 900 pieces.
The looting of archaeological sites, if unchecked, could prove far more devastating. At least a dozen major sites are believed to be under siege, with looters in some locations extracting more in two weeks than archaeologists had unearthed in two decades.
|Looted Iraqi Art Auction: Artists Respond|
|Chicago June 2, 2003 (eXoNews) - The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is sponsoring an art auction of works by contemporary artists on Saturday, June 14th to benefit the restoration of ancient works lost in Iraq during the recent war. |
The text of the auction announcement follows:
To counter the senseless destruction of our cultural heritage in Iraq, we have come together as a community to show our support and respect for those artists before us who provided the basis for our civilization.
We are donating our works for auction to generate funds on their behalf.
The beneficiary of our collective efforts will be the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.
Scholars at the Oriental Institute have started an "Iraq Museum Database Project", a comprehensive database of objects from the Iraq Museum rooted on the Institute's own extensive records, but also incorporating information from other institutions. This database will not only help in the recovery of many artifacts but also create a valuable resource to educate the public about the splendors of the Iraq Museum and Mesopotamia in general.
We, therefore, look forward to your support of this exciting event that promises to include works from over eighty prominent artists from the Chicago area and from as far away as The Netherlands and Spain.
|Genre News: Dead Zone, Sean Penn, Galactica, V, D.W. Griffith vs. DJ Spooky, Milla Jovovich & More!|
|Dead Zone Returns with Summer Shows |
Hollywood June 2, 2003 (eXoNews) - According to the Dead Zone website USA's hit show The Dead Zone will return Sunday, July 6 at 10PM/9C with the first of six new episodes.
Executive Producer Michael Piller says, "The second season isn't over!"
The Dead Zone, starring Anthony Michael Hall and Nicole de Boer (DS9) is based on the bestseller by Stephen King. The series rushed back into production on May 5th.
Piller, who co-produces The Dead Zone with his son Shawn, got his start as a writer/producer with the Star Trek franchise and created STTNG spin-offs Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Voyager. As a Star Trek writer, Piller penned some of Star Trek's most memorable episodes, including The Best of Both Worlds (where Captain Picard meets the Borg.) Piller also wrote the much-underrated feature film Star Trek: Insurrection.
Penn would not comment on why he chose to place the full-page advertisement, preferring to "let the essay speak for itself," the actor's publicist Mara Buxbaum said.
West End producer Kevin Wallace said the reworking of British author JRR Tolkien's fantasy epic will cost $13 million.
Galactica Mixes Old And New
Built for reconnaissance, not combat, the Raptor looks like a bulkier version of the Viper, bristling with antennas and sensors. The fighter pilot helmets will lose their Egyptian influence and be more streamlined.
"I don't understand terrorists," Hope quipped 10 years before the Sept. 11 attacks. "How could anyone get so angry, so involved, so worked up about anything? ... I mean outside of golf."
Today there's SARS. In 1976, it was swine flu, and President Ford offered citizens free vaccinations: "That's what I like about Washington — even when they give you something for free, it still hurts."
Bob Hope Official site - http://www.bobhope.com
Doherty and Heitmeyer in Nightlight
The film, helmed by Louis Belanger ("Post Mortem"), is Montreal-based JB Media's third telefilm this year.
Hearst Entertainment holds international rights, while Incendo Media is the distributor in Canada, the United States and all French-speaking European and African territories. Producer credits on "Nightlight" go to Jean Bureau, Josee Mauffette and Serge Denis. Stephen Greenberg, Jean Bureau and Jodi Ticknor are executive producing the project.
JB Media produced an earlier telefilm starring Doherty, entitled "The Rendering."
Racist Classic D.W. Griffith Remixed
Spooky, born Paul Miller, has recorded with musicians ranging from Yoko Ono to Wu-Tang Clan's Killa Priest. His artwork has appeared in the Whitney Biennial, the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany and the Andy Warhol Museum, among others.
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