|Evil Axis of Oil! |
Stones Rolling, Robot Tales,
Naked Stars, Batman the Musical,
Queen Victoria & Lionel Hampton!
|Evil Axis of Oil! |
|Axis of Oil |
Johannesburg September 3, 2002 (Greenpeace) - The representatives to the Earth Summit agreed a "Plan of Action" at a late-night session in Johannesburg. In doing so, they failed 2 billion of the world's poorest while failing the planet's future at the same time.
As Heads of State made beautiful speeches about the need for action on climate change, the 300-strong US delegation in the backrooms of the summit held the future to ransom, forcing delegates to accept that the US would only agree to stump up money for clean water if the world gave up on renewable energy. Behind that insistence was US Energy policy, authored by the big oil interests that elected Bush and Cheney.
"After over a year of debate the WSSD energy section does not represent a single step forward," said Greenpeace Climate Policy Director Steve Sawyer. "The Plan of Action is not much of a plan, and it contains almost no action. We've spent the last year and half doing damage control. We now have to move forward with a 'coalition of the willing,' those countries, communities, organizations, and people who want to deliver a sustainable energy future."
The energy section of the plan of implementation, as it was agreed:
- Delivers nothing on energy supply for the 2 billion people world-wide who have no access to modern energy services;
- Has no targets or timetables of any kind for the uptake of renewable energy;
- Delivers nothing on reducing the massive subsidies to the fossil fuel industry which continue to prop up its dominance of the global energy mix;
- Merely reiterates agreements made over the past several years.
Both the European Union and Brazil came to the Summit with proposals for firm targets on renewable energy. While varying in the degree to which they would have spurred investment in renewable energies like solar, wind, small-scale hydro, and modern biomass, either would have sent a strong signal to governments that the Summit was serious about the battle against global warming.
The pacts, and indeed any suggestion of firm targets and timelines for renewables investment were consistently opposed by Saudi Arabia, the US, Japan, Australia, and Canada.
Norway, Brazil, New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland, and some members of the EU had pushed hard for clearer targets, but in the end could only express their dismay.
Greenpeace Executive Director Gerd Leipold said, "Many Heads of States have made fine speeches saying that climate change was the number one challenge facing our planet. What has this summit done about it? Absolutely nothing. By its own standards, the WSSD has failed. Our challenge now is to shine a spotlight so that everyone can see the forces that are responsible for that failure. And that's the unholy alliances between big business and governments that allow our planet's future and the poverty of humanity to take a back seat to the corporate bottom line.
"Bush talks about the Axis of evil, but he's involved Axis of oil."
Greenpeace - http://www.greenpeace.org
Unholy Trinity Behind Global Warming
SAN FRANCISCO August 30, 2002 (RAN) – Rainforest Action Network today ran a full-page ad in the International Herald Tribune condemning Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill, World Bank President James Wolfensohn, and President George W. Bush for fueling global warming and forest destruction. Citigroup and the World Bank are the largest financiers of global warming and deforestation projects, and President Bush’s environmental policies are ridiculed around the world. The ad calls on the three leaders to establish meaningful environmental policies and address the planet’s ecological crises. The ad is timed to coincide with the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa where world leaders have convened to address these issues. The ad can be viewed at http://www.ran.org/ran_campaigns/citigroup/face_on_destruction.html
The ad spotlights Citigroup (Citi), under the leadership of Sandy Weill, as the largest private funder of destructive fossil fuel projects around the world. Citi lacks basic environmental and social policies, unlike top European Banks such as ABN AMRO that have policies prohibiting the financing of extractive industries that clear or degrade primary forests. Instead, Citi uses consumer dollars to provide the money behind oil, gas and mining projects that destroy fragile ecosystems, accelerate global warming and displace communities. These controversial projects include the Camisea gas project in the Peruvian Amazon, the Chad-Cameroon pipeline in the African rainforest, and the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests. The ad calls on Citi customers to cut up their Citi credit cards and tell Sandy Weill, “Not with My Money” until Citi meets the financial industry’s ecological best practices.
“As the world gathers in Johannesburg to focus on critical ecological issues such as global warming and forest destruction, it is imperative that they recognize financial institutions as part of the equation,” said Ilyse Hogue, global finance campaigner, Rainforest Action Network. “As head of the world’s largest financial institution, Sandy Weill has the fate of the planet in the palm of his hand. He has a responsibility to lead the finance industry toward ecological sustainability.”
The ad removes World Bank President James Wolfensohn’s phony “green banker” mask. The Bank's fossil fuel funding is a major contributor to climate change and forest destruction. Currently, Wolfensohn’s team is gutting the World Bank’s existing forest policy for a new policy that provides less protection for forests and allows old growth logging. The ad calls on Wolfensohn to stop the current forest policy rewrite process and make sure that any new policy protect forest ecosystems from old growth logging and foster community based economic development in non-timber products.
“Follow the money and it’s easy to find the real causes of the environmental crisis,” explained Ms. Hogue. “Reckless lending practices by Citigroup and the World Bank are accelerating global warming and deforestation. It’s time these financial institution address the social and environmental impacts of their investments and establish policies that support a sustainable global economy.”
Finally, the ad highlights President George W. Bush’s contributions to global warming that have resulted from his rolling back of environmental laws to increase corporate profits. Specifically, Bush, as the leader of the most powerful country in the world, refuses to support the Kyoto treaty designed to help curb global warming, has reversed protection for America’s old growth forests despite overwhelming public support for old growth protection, and refuses to attend the most important environmental summit of the decade. The ad calls on President Bush to attend the Summit and address the crises of global warming and forest destruction.
The ad features photos of the three environmental villains under the headline, “Put A Face On Global Warming.” The ad then reads, “Put An End To It,” followed by copy detailing each of the three leaders’ roles in destroying the planet by driving global warming and forest destruction. A pair of scissors cutting a Citibank credit card with the caption, “Finance Global Warming? Not With My Money!” is featured at the bottom of the ad to instruct the public how to take action to help curb global warming and forest destruction.
The ad is the latest move in Rainforest Action Network’s Global Finance Campaign to transform the funding practices of the corporate financial system. The campaign has included hundreds of demonstrations, a boycott of Citibank credit cards and non-violent direct actions. As part of the campaign, Rainforest Action Network and a broad coalition of groups and individuals are calling on Citi to lead the corporate financial sector in ending destructive investments in fossil fuel and deforestation.
Rainforest Action Network - http://www.ran.org
Oil Nations Guilty of Nuclear Blackmail
By Geoffrey Lean
Johannesburg September 3, 2002 (Independent UK) - Oil-exporting countries and the United States subjected the world to nuclear blackmail last night to try to prevent the Earth Summit setting targets for increasing the use of renewable energy.
They added clauses in effect supporting nuclear power to a sensitive package on energy in the summit's proposed action plan, in a direct response to a plea from the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, who called in his speech for "concrete objectives and measures'' on renewable energy at the Earth Summit.
They indicated they would remove the references to atomic power, which would greatly embarrass Mr Schröder as he approaches an election in his strongly anti-nuclear country, only if the EU dropped reference to targets from clean renewable sources.
The move was the latest setback to what was once a bright hope that the summit would endorse a rapid extension of renewable energy, particularly in developing countries. It is seen as one of the most important ways to tackle poverty by bringing electricity to third-world villages. It would reduce the two million deaths a year by breathing smoke from wood and dung fires, and it would help maintain fertility of the land by reducing the amount of traditional fuels taken from it while combating global warming.
Officials said last night that a general deal on promoting renewable energy had been agreed, but that no targets had been set.
Last year, a task force set up by the G8 countries on Tony Blair's initiative under the chairmanship of Sir Mark Moody-Stuart recommended measures that would have brought renewable energy to one billion people over the next 10 years. But the proposal was abandoned, despite its public backing, after opposition from Opec countries and the US.
Another ambitious proposal by Latin American countries led by Brazil – for the world to get 10 per cent of its energy from clean renewable sources by 2010 – was also buried by the same coalition of interest.
The only target remaining on the table is one from the EU that would increase the amount of renewable energy in the world by only 1 per cent over the decade. But Opec and the US were still maneuvering to kill it last night.
Addressing the summit yesterday, the Brazilian President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, said: "By the year 2010, 10 per cent of total energy consumption should come from renewable sources. Latin American and Caribbean countries support this target." The European Union proposed a 15 per cent target for that date.
Chancellor Schröder said that the floods that had hit his country, Austria, the Czech Republic and China recently "showed clearly climate change is no longer a skeptical forecast but a bitter reality, demanding decisive action".
He said Germany would give €500m (£300m) in aid to promote renewable energy in the Third World and planned an international conference on the subject. By contrast, Tony Blair, despite his initiative with the G8, avoided any mention of the contentious subject.
Like Mr Schröder, he indirectly challenged President George Bush to ratify the Kyoto treaty combating global warming, but otherwise confined himself to generalities. He said the problems and the solutions to them were known and called for the "political will'' to deliver the answers. But he then undermined his words by rapidly leaving the summit after a few hours, without making concrete proposals.
By early yesterday, negotiators had settled all the contentious issues facing the summit except for women's reproductive rights which called for better health services "consistent with national laws and cultural and religious values". Some delegates said the US was opposing a reference to human or women's rights because it might open the door for approval for abortion, a highly controversial issue in the US. In the biggest breakthrough, the US reluctantly dropped its opposition to a target to cut the number of the people in the world without basic sanitation in half by the year 2015.
|Stones Rolling Across the USA |
|By BOB SALSBERG |
BOSTON September 2, 2002 (AP)- It was 1962 when some scruffy English lads formed a band called the Rolling Stones and quickly began driving out the last vestiges of polite rock 'n' roll in a torrent of driving blues riffs and dark, angry lyrics.
As they launch their 40th anniversary U.S. tour - beginning Tuesday in Boston - the Stones are out to prove that age is no obstacle. So what if newly-knighted Mick Jagger is 59, and the two other original Stones, Keith Richards and drummer Charlie Watts, are 58 and 61, respectively?
The 25-city, 40-show "Licks" tour is the first major one since 1975 not built around the launch of a new studio album. (In October, the band will release the 2-CD "Forty Licks," a compilation of favorite tunes from the four decades that will also include four new songs.)
It will stop in large outdoor stadiums, medium-sized indoor arenas, and smaller, intimate theaters. For each venue, the band promises not only a different kind of stage show, but a wider selection of music.
Tour director Michael Cohl says the Stones have rehearsed about 130 songs. Moreover, says Cohl, they have reached into their archives for material that has rarely, if ever, been played live.
Depending on the venue, ticket-holders could be treated to either a dose of classic hits like "Satisfaction," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," and "Start Me Up," or to less familiar blend of "thematic" material ranging from rhythm and blues to soul.
Boston is the test ground for this concept.
At the 19,000-seat FleetCenter, Cohl says the set list will be "peppered with greatest hits," but as much as 50 percent of the show could be what he calls "diamonds in the rough."
On Thursday, the Stones move to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, the new 68,000-seat home of the New England Patriots, where Cohl promises eye-popping special effects on the band's most elaborate stage ever. For this and other stadium shows, he says the song selection will include "one or two new ones, two or three diamonds in the rough, and 19 or 20 that appeal to the masses."
Sunday's show will be on a stripped-down stage at Boston's 2,800-seat Orpheum Theater, where Cohl says the set list could include just about anything the Stones feel like playing.
Tickets at some venues are selling for up to $350.
Historically, the Stones outgross all other acts on the years they tour, and the $121.2 million they earned in 1994 remains a music industry record.
Official Rolling Stones Site - http://www.the-rolling-stones.com
Official Rolling Stones Fan Club - http://www.rollingstones.com
|US Accountable for ORV Damage in Wilderness Areas |
|Salt Lake City UT August 30th, 2002 (Earthjustice) - The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado has ruled that the Bureau of Land Management can be held accountable for its failure to protect Utah’s remarkable redrock country from ORV damage. |
“This is a tremendous step forward for spectacular at-risk Utah public lands,” said SUWA conservation director Heidi McIntosh. “The Tenth Circuit’s decision puts the BLM on notice that it can no longer hide behind half-hearted measures to protect Utah’s wilderness quality lands; protection of these wild places must be the BLM’s Number One Priority,” McIntosh continued.
SUWA staff attorney Steve Bloch agreed, “This decision gives some of Utah’s most magnificent landscapes a new lease on life from ever-encroaching off-road vehicle damage. It’s time to bring balance to how BLM manages public lands; peace and quiet is as important a public resource as opportunities for recreation.”
The 45 page majority decision reversed and remanded all three counts appealed by conservationists, and directed the district court to determine, among other things, whether Utah BLM has allowed impermissible off-road vehicle damage to some of Utah’s most stunning and spectacular wild places.
Earthjustice attorney Jim Angell, who argued the case before the appeals court in January 2002, anticipates that this decision will reverberate around the country, “First BLM ignored its legal duties and then it tried to evade the courts. Nothing doing, said the Tenth Circuit. Now that the court has announced that it will be looking over BLM’s shoulder, we can only hope that the agency will take its responsibility to protect magnificent public lands from off-road vehicle damage more seriously in the future.”
The Tenth Circuit’s decision overturned Utah federal district judge Dale Kimball’s December 2000 ruling that dismissed claims by conservationists that Utah BLM was permitting rampant off-road vehicle use to damage fragile southern Utah landscapes. The case will be heard on remand by Utah federal district judge Paul Cassell.
The conservation groups involved in this litigation include Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Wildlands CPR, the Utah Council of Trout Unlimited, American Lands Alliance, and Redrock Forests.
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance - http://www.suwa.org
Sierra Club ORV Factsheet - http://www.sierraclub.org/wildlands/orv/factsheet.asp
|Navy Resumes Vieques Bombing |
|VIEQUES, Puerto Rico September 2, 2002 (AP) - The U.S. Navy has warned fishermen that some waters around the outlying island of Vieques will be off-limits starting Tuesday because of a new round of war exercises. |
The latest round of maneuvers would continue for several weeks and would likely involve ship-to-shore shelling and air-to-ground exercises, although the Navy does not disclose details until maneuvers begin.
Since a security guard was killed three years ago by an errant Navy bomb, the Navy has used only dummy bombs in the maneuvers.
The last round was held in April.
Demonstrators routinely break onto Navy lands to thwart the exercises, saying the maneuvers harm the environment and health of Vieques' 9,300 residents. The Navy denies that claim.
Activist Ismael Guadalupe said protests were planned for the week.
Gov. Sila Calderon - who opposes the exercises - said she would visit Vieques on Friday.
|Robot Tales: Under the Sea & Inside the Pyramids |
|Organic Robot Mimics Sea Life |
Boston September 2, 2002 (BBC) - An organic robot designed to imitate primitive life forms has been created by scientists in the US. The Public Anemone is a robot set in a rock pool filled with greenish water which reacts to light and touch, much like an real sea anemone.
The researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of technology in Boston see their robot as a way of exploring artificial life.
They hope to gain insights into how to create robots that can behave and interact naturally with humans.
"Robots don't have to be hard and mechanical, they can be organic, move naturally and be supple," said Cynthia Breazeal of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. "The idea is inspired by a more primitive form of life, so it looks almost like a cross between a plant and an animal."
The Public Anemone has a flexible spine-like body. Around it are fiber optic wires, supposed to represent nematode worms, that pull in if you touch them. The robotic creature is set in an aquarium so that the researchers can watch how people interact with something that appears organic but is in reality mechanical.
"It moves in a serpentine motion, a very graceful motion and is covered in a silicon skin so it has a soft texture to it," said Professor Breazeal.
The robot is set in its own rock garden, with more than 100 elements such as the lighting and sound effects controlled by computer. The set is supposed to represent an interactive alien world.
"Every now and then the anemone breaks from its chores in order to look at you, find your face, orient towards it. and if you reach it and startle it, it withdraws."
The Public Anemone was recently showcased at the world's leading computer graphics conference, Siggraph, in the US.
Robot Explores Pyramid Mystery
By Mark Henderson
Giza, Egypt August 27, 2002 (Times UK) - A Mysterious passage in the Great Pyramid at Giza will be explored by a robot next month in an attempt to unravel one of the final secrets of the last remaining wonder of the Ancient World.
The Pyramid Rover will be sent to find out what lies beyond a blocked, 8in-square shaft that has puzzled researchers since its discovery in 1872.
The custom-built machine will climb 210ft along the channel, which leads upwards from an unused and apparently unfinished room known as the Queen’s Chamber, until it reaches a stone plug with two copper handles which ended a previous attempt to chart the passage a decade ago.
On arrival, it will use the world’s smallest ground-penetrating radar antenna to look beyond the blockage for the first time since the pyramid, built to house the remains of the Pharaoh Cheops, or Khufu, was completed about 4,500 years ago. If the radar reveals a structure of interest behind the seal, such as a third great chamber, Pyramid Rover will pass a fiber-optic camera through cracks to capture the first pictures.
The entire procedure, which is headed by Zahi Hawass, director of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, and Mark Lehner, director of the Giza Plateau Mapping Project, will be screened live on the National Geographic Channel, starting at 1am on Tuesday, September 17. It will be repeated at 7pm that night.
The Pyramid of Khufu contains two great rooms: the King’s Chamber, holding Khufu’s tomb, and the Queen’s Chamber, which is smaller and directly below it and which, despite its name, was probably not meant for his wife.
It is unique not only for its size, but also because it was built with two small shafts running diagonally upwards from the two chambers. The shafts running from the north and south wall of the Queen’s Chamber are especially curious because they are blocked at each end.
There are many theories as to their purpose. It seems unlikely that they were for air or water, being blocked at both ends. Some experts believe that they are “star shafts” pointing to Sirius and the constellation Orion: it is widely thought that the layout of the three pyramids at Giza mimics the stars in Orion’s belt.
Another explanation is that they are “soul shafts”, built to allow a soul to escape to heaven. Again, however, the passages are blocked, and archaeologists do not think that the Queen’s Chamber ever held a tomb. One popular theory is that the room was originally designed for Khufu before it was decided to build a larger chamber for the pharaoh and abandon the lower room.
Some experts even believe that the southern shaft, the longer of the two, leads to a third, undiscovered chamber. It ends 54ft from the outer face, leaving ample space for a room, and the seal is made of Tura limestone, a rock found only in the central chambers.
Kate Spence, of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University, said that Pyramid Rover’s mission ought to shed important new light on the mystery, even if all it does is to debunk some of the most outlandish theories.
“Opinion is very divided as to what the shafts are for,” she said. “It’s the only pyramid that has this sort of shaft so we have nothing to go on in terms of comparison. The huge question is why they are blocked. It is incredibly difficult to say.
“My own expectation is that there won’t be anything behind the blockage, but we just don’t know. It’s possible they just stopped building, but if that’s the case, why did they plug it so elaborately? “The great thing is that whatever they find, even if they find there’s nothing there, that’s absolutely fascinating. You can’t lose. It’s going to be interesting whether there’s nothing there or a chamber full of treasure and statues.”
Pyramid Rover will build on the achievements of Rudolf Gantenbrink, a German scientist whose robot, Upuaut 2, explored the southern shaft and discovered the blockage in the early 1990s. The new probe, based on models used to search for World Trade Centre survivors after September 11, is less than 5in high and wide and about 1ft long.
Its ground-penetrating radar has a range of more than 3ft through concrete and much farther through the more porous limestone of the pyramid. It also carries an ultrasonic transducer that can measure the thickness of the stones.
A force gauge will detect whether the blocking stone moves, and other tools will seek out cracks through which fibre-optic cameras can pass. A conductivity sensor will also be applied to the copper handles to determine whether they form an electrical circuit, which would show that they are linked on the other side.
Theories about the monument's unknown heart include:
Ventilation or water shafts: at first the obvious explanation, this is now rejected because the shafts are blocked.
Star shafts: the top of the shafts appear to be aligned with Sirius and a star in Orion’s belt, mirrored in the layout of the pyramids. The shafts, however, have several bends, so do not point to any spot in the heavens.
Numerology: the angles in the shafts conform to a numerological plan, the details of which remain obscure.
Soul shafts: the shafts were built to allow the pharaoh’s soul to escape. They are blocked, however, and no pharaoh was buried in the Queen’s Chamber.
Secret chamber: there is enough space to house another room. The passage, however, is just 8in square — too small for an access tunnel.
Stairway to the stars: leading the “pyramaniac” fringe is Zecharia Sitchin, who believes that the pyramid was the work of aliens from a mythical twelfth planet. Sitchin claims these aliens created humans through genetic manipulation. Perhaps the aliens were small enough to use an 8in tunnel.
|Space News: Naked Stars, Twisted Heart of the Sun & Earth Younger Than Yesterday |
|Naked Stars May Have Planets |
By CHARELS CHOI
UPI Science News
NASHVILLE September 1, 2002 (UPI) - Astronomers have discovered that so-called "naked stars" might not be so naked after all.
New findings not only reveal a veil of hydrogen shrouding a young, sun-like star, but also suggest billions of these stars, previously thought to be sterile, could indeed have giant planets like Jupiter or Saturn forming around them.
"One of the questions we've asked for hundreds of years is, 'What is the origin of the solar system?'" researcher Jeff Bary, an astrophysicist at Vanderbilt University, told United Press International. This research may prove essential "to understanding the formation of all types of solar systems, including those similar to our own which will contain terrestrial or Earth-like planets," he explained.
Astronomers theorize most newborn, sun-like stars are encircled by thick, swirling disks of gas and dust that dissipate after 3-to-5 million years when sucked into the stars or blown away by their powerful radiation, solar ejections or magnetic fields.
The disks provide the raw material from which new worlds coagulate, but planets similar to Jupiter or the other so-called gas giants are supposed to require tens of millions of years to form. Young stars lacking such disks often are classified as sterile - unable to form planets.
Yet study after study has revealed nearby stars do have giant planets orbiting around them. If these planets are not anomalies, stars that appear naked perhaps have the planet-building disks surrounding them, but the disks remain hidden from current technology and instrumentation.
Bary and his colleagues, armed with high-resolution infrared radiation detectors, looked at 16 young stars in the constellation Ophiuchus, "the Serpent Holder." The light emissions of one of these stars, which otherwise appeared naked, revealed the strong, telltale signature of hydrogen encircling the star at a distance of some 930 million to 2.7 billion miles.
Although the amount of gas detected would make up only about 10-millionths of Jupiter's mass, "the dust which should have once accompanied the gas in the disk is likely to still be in the system, although it remains undetected," Bary explained. "Therefore, the dust must have coagulated into larger bodies, suggesting that planet formation either is ongoing or may have already reached completion."
Experts looking at the results had mixed interpretations, because the dust's presence, although inferred, was not actually detected. Still, "the researchers found molecular hydrogen where none was expected," said astronomer Matt Richter of the University of California in Davis, who said the observations could alter current notions of planetary formation.
Bary and his colleagues describe their findings in the September 1 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Twisted Heart of The Sun
PARTICLE PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY RESEARCH COUNCIL September 1, 2002 - Solar physicists at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL, University College London) in Surrey have found new clues to the thirty year old puzzle of why the Sun ejects huge bubbles of electrified gas, laced with magnetic field, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
In a paper published in the Journal of Solar Physics, they explain that the key to understanding CMEs, which can cause electricity black outs on Earth, may be due to twisted magnetic fields originating deep within the heart of the Sun.
CMEs are violent solar eruptions which travel at 1000 times the speed of Concorde and contain more mass then Mt. Everest. They have proved hazardous to modern technology, seen most dramatically in 1989 when a CME magnified the solar wind, which then slammed into the Earth.
This caused widespread blackouts, which cost the Canadian national grid several million of pounds in damage to their systems.
On the more aesthetic side, CMEs are also responsible for the northern (and southern) lights, Aurora Borealis.
Dr. Lucie Green of MSSL says, 'Ultimately we need to know why CMEs occur so that one day we will be able to predict them just like we do with the weather on Earth. This is the new science of Space Weather.'
CMEs are seen when the Sun is artificially eclipsed and they contain beautifully twisted structures. Tracing them back to their solar origin reveals very twisted structures on the surface of the Sun too.
This twist is contained in the Sun's magnetic field and, just like a stretched elastic band, it contains energy, which then blasts the CME into space.
Until recently the source of the twist (which is known more precisely as helicity) has not been known. There are two options, the first being that it is created at the surface of the Sun. Now however, a group of scientists at MSSL, with colleagues in France and Argentina, have studied CME source regions using data from the international SoHO and Yohkoh satellites, and found that the second, more likely explanation, is that the magnetic field becomes charged with helicity, or twist, deep within the Sun. Here, the gas is constantly rising and falling due to the heat created by the fusion furnace at the Sun's core. Indeed, it may even be related to the creation of the magnetic field itself, known as the solar dynamo.
Dr. Green says, 'We have only known about CMEs for the last 30 years. The UK plays a leading role in solar physics and these new results are helping us make substantial advancements in our understanding of these beautiful, but potentially hazardous, phenomena.'
The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is the UK's strategic science investment agency. It funds research, education and public understanding in four areas of science - particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and space science.
PPARC is government funded and provides research grants and studentships to scientists in British universities, gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), and the European Space Agency. It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank observatory.
PPARC's Public Understanding of Science and Technology Awards Schemes fund both small local projects and wider initiatives aimed at improving public understanding of its areas of science.
MSSL - http://www.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/pages
Earth Younger Than Yesterday
Muenster Germany August 29, 2002 (BBC) - The Earth formed more quickly than we thought. Scientists think it took shape about 30 million years after the birth of the Solar System.
Until now, its core was thought to have arisen over the course of 60 million years. The evidence comes from revised radioisotope dating of meteorites, the remnants of the stuff that made the planets. The data also has implications for the genesis of the Moon.
The Moon was thought to have arisen after an impact between the burgeoning Earth and a planet at least as massive as Mars.
One theory is that the Earth was half-made when it collided twice with a body double the mass of the Red Planet. Another assumes it was about 90% of its current dimensions when it was struck by a Mars-sized object.
Both collisions could, in theory, have produced a big enough impact to blast enough debris into space to form the Moon. But since the Earth took 100 million years to reach something like its present size, the first option is more likely, according to two research teams, from Germany and the United States.
The data is based on measurements of radioactive nuclei in meteorites. The ratio of the radioactive elements hafnium and tungsten in these very primitive rocks was compared with rocks on Earth and Mars. It suggests that previous estimates of how quickly the Earth formed - about 60 million years after the birth of the Solar System - are wrong.
The research, published in the journal Nature, also gives an estimate for the creation of Mars. The planet, because it is smaller, is thought to have taken about 13 million years to take shape.
"We conclude that core formation in the terrestrial planets and the formation of the Moon must have occurred during the first 30 million years of the life of the Solar System," says the German team, led by T Kleine of the University of Muenster.
|Genre News: Batman the Musical, Hugo Awards, Buffy, Angel, Smallville, Re-Animator & More! |
|Tim Burton's Batman Musical |
Hollywood September 3, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - Tim Burton, who directed the first two Batman movies, will helm a Broadway musical theater adaptation of the 1989 Batman movie, the New York Post reported. Warner Brothers is producing the multimillion-dollar musical, with book written by David Ives and music by Jim Steinman, the newspaper reported.
Burton has never staged a musical before, though he enjoys the theater and has told friends that he'd like to start a puppet theater one day, the Post reported.
Burton will begin working on the musical full-time next year. The plan is to open out of town in 2004 and arrive on Broadway in 2005. In addition to Batman and Robin, the musical will feature the characters the Joker and Catwoman, the newspaper reported.
Hugo Award Winners Named
San José September 1, 2002 (eXoNews) - The 2002 Hugo and Campbell award winners were announced this weekend at ConJosé, the 60th World Science Fiction Convention held in San José, California. And the winners are:
Best Novel: American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Morrow)
Best Novella: "Fast Times at Fairmont High" by Vernor Vinge (The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge, Tor)
Best Novelette: "Hell Is the Absence of God" by Ted Chiang (Starlight 3, Tor)
Best Short Story: "The Dog Said Bow-Wow" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's 10-11/01)
Best Related Book: The Art of Chesley Bonestell by Ron Miller & Frederick C. Durant III, with Melvin H. Schuetz (Paper Tiger)
Best Dramatic Presentation: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (New Line Cinema/The Saul Zaentz Company/WingNut Films) Directed by Peter Jackson
Best Professional Editor: Ellen Datlow (SciFiction)
Best Pro Artist: Michael Whelan
Best Semiprozine: Locus, edited by Charles N. Brown
Best Fanzine: Ansible, edited by Dave Langford
Best Fan Writer: Dave Langford
Best Fan Artist: Teddy Harvia
Best Web Site: Locus Online, Mark R. Kelly editor/webmaster
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of 2000 or 2001: Jo Walton
Worldcon notes that the John W. Campbell Award, sponsored by Dell Magazines, is not a Hugo Award, but appears on the same ballot as the Hugo Awards and is administered in the same way as the Hugo Awards.
Incidentally, this is artist Michael Whelan's 32nd Hugo nomination and 15th win.
ConJosé - http://www.conjose.org
Locus Online - http://www.locusmag.com
Michael Whelan - http://www.michaelwhelan.com
Dushku Staked Out for Buffy and Angel
By Nellie Andreeva
Hollywood August 29, 2002 (Hollywood Reporter) - It's good news for Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans: Evil vampire slayer Faith is set to return to the UPN drama series. Eliza Dushku has signed on to reprise her role as Faith this season in five episodes of Buffy and three episodes of the WB Network's spin-off Angel both from writer-producer Joss Whedon and 20th Century Fox TV.
Dushku appeared on Buffy alongside the show's star Sarah Michelle Gellar from 1998-2000. She also guest-starred as Faith on Angel. The actress' busy feature schedule has kept her away from the Buffy franchise, but now she has committed to appear in the final five episodes of the original series this season.
There has been speculation that this might be Buffy's last year, but reps for the studio stress that no decision has been made. Dushku's feature credits include "Bring It On" and "Soul Survivors." The actress, who is shooting "Wrong Turn," next appears in "City by the Sea" opposite Robert De Niro and Frances McDormand. She is repped by ICM and the Firm.
Buffy - http://www.buffy.com
Angel - http://www.cityofangel.com
Check out our Hip Genre Network Show Schedule for Fall 2002
Angel Guest Plays JFK, Jr.
LOS ANGELES August 31, 2002 (AP) - Two unknown actors will play John F. Kennedy Jr. and actress Daryl Hannah, who dated Kennedy, in an upcoming TBS movie.
Kristoffer Polaha will play the son of the late U.S. president in "America's Prince: The JFK Jr. Story," based on Christopher Andersen's 2000 biography, "The Day John Died," TBS said Friday. Polaha has appeared in TV episodes of "Angel", "Roswell" and "That's Life". Tara Chocol, whose credits include episodes of "Sex and the City", "ER,", "Judging Amy" and "The Practice," will play Hannah.
Earlier, TBS announced that Jacqueline Bisset would play Kennedy's mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Portia de Rossi would portray Kennedy's wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Kennedy, his wife and her sister Lauren Bessette died in July 1999 when his plane crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.
The movie is scheduled to air this December or in January 2003.
Is Luthor Evil In Smallville?
Hollywood August 29, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - Michael Rosenbaum, who plays wily Lex Luthor on The WB's hit series Smallville, told SCI FI Wire that the upcoming second season will expand on some of the secrets established in the Superman prequel show's first year. "Lex Luthor's taking baby steps to becoming evil," Rosenbaum said in an interview. "It's going to take some time, but Clark [Tom Welling] and Lex's relationship built up, and there's something that goes on with the spaceship. That's all I'm going to tell you."
Throughout season one, Lex has suspected Clark of hiding something. The pre-villain has inspected the car from which Clark rescued him and has even begged a dying man to tell him Clark's secret. But on the surface, Lex has remained Clark's friend. Will Lex take his suspicions to the source? "We didn't really discuss anything that happened," Rosenbaum said. "Now it's season two, and some more secrets are revealed."
Rosenbaum also continues his work on the animated Cartoon Network series Justice League, but says the two DC Comics properties never overlap. "It's two totally different things," he said. "It's nice. I like Justice League, because of the anonymity. It's sitting down with a whole bunch of great actors. You don't have to dress up. You just come in with a five o'clock shadow, feeling like crap, and you sit in front a microphone. You read, you laugh, you just drink some water and do these characters. It's fun." Smallville returns to its Tuesday 9 p.m. timeslot on Sept. 24.
Smallville News site - http://www.smallvillenews.com
Michael Rosenbaum Official site - http://www.michaelrosenbaum.com
Combs Re-Animating Re-Animator
By CHRISTOPHER ALLAN SMITH
Hollywood September 3, 2002 (Cinescape) - Jeffrey Combs, who was a genre icon from his work in the 1980s cult classic RE-ANIMATOR before his stellar work on STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, is now talking about returning to the film series which first put him before our eyes.
He’s gearing up to return to the ANIMATOR role of Herbert West, and recently he had a few things to say about the developing sequel, BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR.
"The premise of it is that Dan Cain [played by Bruce Abbot] turned state's evidence and Herbert West has been in prison this whole time," Combs revealed. "But, on the night that he was taken by the police at the end of the last movie, there was a young boy in a camp-out in his backyard, and without giving too much away, I, surreptitiously dropped some of my fluid – not my bodily fluid – my re-animating fluid on the ground before I'm put into the police car. So, this boy – you jump-cut and he's now grown and has gone to medical school and has pulled some strings to be assigned to be the physician at the prison so that he can connect up with the infamous Dr. West and get to the bottom of what exactly this is.
“I think Herbert is something of a guy who just doesn't change, frankly. I think he's in a relentless pursuit of whatever it is and I think it's just a matter of overcoming whatever obstacles are in front of him, so needless to say, though he's in prison, I still think he's pursuing new avenues of his work and has new theories on how he can improve upon on what he's trying to do. On the other hand, what I want to explore is there has to be a certain element of frustration and anger at being incarcerated for so long – unjustly, I might add!"
|Was Queen Victoria Illegitimate? |
|LONDON September 3, 2002 (New Zealand Herald) - A book to be published this week says Queen Victoria may have been illegitimate, possibly undermining the whole Royal Family's legitimacy. |
In his book The Victorians, biographer A. N. Wilson alleges that Victoria's mother, Princess Victoire of Leiningen, had a lengthy affair with her Irish-born secretary Sir John Conroy and that he, rather than Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, was Victoria's real father.
Buckingham Palace said it would not comment on the allegation.
Wilson based his argument partly on medical data. Records show that the illness porphyria - a hereditary disorder of body metabolism - once ran in the Royal Family, but there is no evidence that Victoria carried it or passed it to her descendants.
Wilson also writes that Victoria was a carrier for hemophilia, although records tracing her mother's ancestors for 17 generations show no evidence of the disease, suggesting Victoria inherited it from Conroy.
But American researchers said the disease was more likely to have resulted from a genetic mutation.
Queen Victoria's claim to the crown was through her father, the brother of William IV, who died without children. If Wilson's suggestion is true, it would challenge the right of Victoria's descendants to the throne, including Queen Elizabeth II, her great-great-granddaughter. If Victoria was illegitimate, Prince Ernst of Hanover - the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco - would be the rightful claimant to the throne, according to Burke's Peerage.
"His ancestor was the Duke of Cumberland, who was Victoria's uncle [and brother of William IV]," Harold Brooks-Baker, publishing director of Burke's Peerage, said.
Brooks-Baker said he did not believe the claims of illegitimacy in the book and that it was doubtful Queen Victoria's remains would ever be made available for DNA testing.
|KEO's Message - Read Me 50,000 Years Later! |
|NEW DELHI September 03, 2002 (Reuters) - Want to send a message to your future descendants that will be read 500 centuries later? |
A group headed by a French scientist, putting together a satellite-based time capsule, is in India seeking messages that will orbit Earth for 50,000 years and then return to the planet.
The non-profit 'KEO' program, costing at least $50 million, is funded by more than two dozen mostly European firms, some of which have interests in the space industry. It has also been elected as UNESCO's 'Project for the 21st century'.
"It's a gift from the people of today to the people of tomorrow," Jean-Marc Philippe, a scientist-turned-artist and the creator of KEO, told a news conference.
"We have enough memory on satellite to store six billion messages. The small, powerful, weak, strong and the rich have four pages (each) to pen down their thoughts." The spherical, 220-pound satellite, which has several shields to protect it from shocks, cosmic debris and meteorites, will be launched in space from the French Arianne rocket by the end of 2003.
"India has such a rich legacy and diverse culture that I can't imagine KEO being launched into space without carrying India's essence aboard," Sejal Gupta, communications officer for the program, told Reuters.
Gupta said the group had met more than 1,000 Indian students on the first two days of their 20-day visit in the country.
"The response has been overwhelming in India," Gupta said noting the project had received thousands of messages through post, and on its Web site, www.keo.org, from people aged between four and 84 years in over 60 languages and from 181 countries.
Philippe said he was reasonably sure an intelligent human race that could benefit from KEO's immense data would still exist when the satellite returns.
"If we don't do anything stupid we'll continue to exist beyond 50,000 years, which is just one percent of the time span of human existence that began on earth some five million years ago."
Add your message at KEO - http://www.keo.org
|Jazz Great Lionel Hampton Dies at 94 |
|By LARRY McSHANE |
New York August 28, 2002 (AP) There was more than musical magic on stage that day in 1936 when Lionel Hampton joined Benny Goodman in a Manhattan ballroom — it was a breakthrough in American race relations.
Hampton, a vibraphone virtuoso who died Saturday, broke a barrier that had kept black and white musicians from performing together in public. Through a six-decade career, he continued to build a name for himself as one of the greats in jazz history.
"He was really a towering jazz figure," said saxophonist Sonny Rollins, who played with Hampton in the 1950s. "He really personified the spirit of jazz because he had so much joy about his playing."
The 94-year-old showman and bandleader died of heart failure at Mount Sinai Medical Center, said his manager, Phil Leshin. Hampton suffered two strokes in 1995 and had been in failing health in recent years.
Hampton played with a who's who of jazz, from Goodman to Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker to Quincy Jones. His own band helped foster or showcase other jazz greats including Charlie Mingus, Dexter Gordon, Fats Navarro, Joe Williams and Dinah Washington.
"With Hampton's death, we've drawn closer to losing part of the origins of the early jazz era," said Phil Schaap, a jazz historian.
Jones, the Grammy-winning producer and composer, said in a statement that Hampton was a mentor for more than 50 years. Jones was 15 when he first played trumpet with Hampton.
"He taught me how to groove and how to laugh and how to hang and how to live like a man," Jones said. "Heaven will definitely be feeling some backbeat now."
During his career, Hampton performed at the White House for presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Bush. When he played for Truman, his was the first black band to ever entertain in the White House, Hampton once said.
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., remembered Hampton's 90th birthday party at the White House, when the man known as the "vibe president" invited President Clinton to grab his saxophone and jam.
"Lionel was a spectacular guy," said Rangel, who recalled seeing Hampton play at the Apollo Theater, the legendary concert venue in Harlem.
In 1997, Hampton received the National Medal of Arts — while wearing a borrowed suit, socks and shoes, because all his clothes and much of his bands' arrangements and other memorabilia had been destroyed in a fire two days earlier.
"He was an American music legend and will be sorely missed," President Bush said in a statement Saturday.
Hampton's music was melodic and swinging, but audiences also responded to his electric personality — the big smile, energy and bounce that contributed to his style. When not playing the vibes, he drummed, sang and played his own peculiar style of piano, using two fingers as if they were vibraphone mallets.
He was a songwriter, too. His most famous composition, "Flying Home," was written in 1937, and he played it about 300 times a year for the next half-century. It was a hit in 1942, propelled by an Illinois Jacquet tenor sax solo.
Hampton did not have a copy of his birth certificate but marked his birth date as April 20, 1908. It was generally accepted that he was born in Louisville, Ky., and raised by his grandmother in Birmingham, Ala., and Chicago.
He learned to play the drums from a nun while in grade school, and launched his career with Les Hite's band after finishing high school. It wasn't until a 1930 recording session with Armstrong that Hampton played the vibraphones.
"There was a set of vibes in the corner," Hampton once recalled. "Louis said, `Do you know how to play it?'"
He didn't. But after 45 minutes of noodling on the instrument, Hampton felt comfortable enough to swing in behind Armstrong on "Memories of You."
The future "King of Vibes" toured with his own band on the West Coast, then settled in at the Paradise Nightclub in Los Angeles.
In August 1936, Benny Goodman heard Hampton play and three months later Hampton was at the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York, starting out "four gorgeous years with Benny" in the new, trailblazing Benny Goodman Quartet.
That quartet, with Hampton, pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Gene Krupa, broke racial barriers that had largely kept black musicians from performing with whites in public. Wilson and Hampton made up the black half of the foursome.
Wilson had recorded with Goodman and Krupa previously, and white soloists "jammed" informally with black groups, but a color line was drawn whenever a white band was on stage.
Hampton took to the road with his own orchestra in 1940 and built bookings into the million-dollar-a-year range. After the big-band era died, Hampton pared down to a smaller group — around eight players dubbed the Inner Circle — and he occasionally put bigger groups together to travel the globe as a musical ambassador of the United States.
Hampton regularly turned up at colleges and major jazz festivals, made guest appearances on numerous television variety shows and recorded scores of jazz albums and singles. Hampton also established a community development corporation which, with government support, built low- and middle-income housing in New York and Newark, N.J. One of his projects in Harlem is named for his wife, Gladys, who died in 1971 after a 35-year marriage. The couple had no children.
Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival: http://www.jazz.uidaho.edu