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Archive for January, 2013

Asteroid to come close to Earth on Febuary 15

January 29, 2013 1 comment

An asteroid will come close to the earth on February 15, according to Birla Science Centre here.

“This is the first near-earth asteroid to pass so close to the earth”, said B M Birla Science Centre Director Dr B G Sidharth said in a release here.

The asteroid ’2012 DA 14′ measures about 50 metres and would swoop to about 27,000 km near earth or roughly about one tenth the distance to moon, he said.

Norovirus Bug On the Rise, New Strain Arrives in United States

January 29, 2013 Comments off

northkingstown.patch.com

Although the flu is on everyone’s mind this season, the winter vomiting bug, or the norovirus, is making its rounds. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the norovirus causes about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year, mostly in young children and the elderly.

Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pains. The CDC points out that the norovirus is often referred to as the stomach flu, but it is unrelated to influenza.

A new norovirus strain, GII.4 Sydney, was detected last year in Australia.  The strain hit the U.K and sickened over a million people. It has now reached the United States and this new strain appears to be taking over.  Of norovirus cases reported from September to December, 54 percent have been identified as GII.4 Sydney, according to recently released data.

The first norovirus outbreak was Read more…

IAF Chief: Iran source of most threats to Israel

January 29, 2013 Comments off

jpost.com

At space conference, Amir Eshel says “Syria is falling apart, no one knows what future holds,” warns of Assad’s unconventional arms.

IAF Chief: Iran source of most threats to IsraelPhoto: Ariel Jerozolimksi

Israel’s need to deal with developing threats before they begin having an impact on the country’s security is growing, Israel Air Force Chief, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, told a Herzliya space conference on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Eight Annual Space Conference, hosted by the Fisher Institute, Eshel said that “most of the threats come to our borders from Iran through various ways.”

Turning his sights to Syria, Eshel said the country is “falling part.”

“Today, no one has an idea of what will be in Syria, and how the country will look. This is happening in a place with a vast arsenal of weapons, some of which is modern and advanced, and some of which is unconventional,” he added.

“This isn’t our backyard – it’s right on our borders. This is a very big challenge for us. Beyond that, we are dealing with a very Read more…

Categories: Iran, Israel Tags: , ,

LAPD Uses Anti-Terrorism Devise to Track Cellphone Users

January 29, 2013 1 comment

allgov.com

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is using an anti-terrorism device that indiscriminately sweeps up cellphone communications of innocent bystanders during burglary, drug and murder investigations.

LA Weekly wrote back in September that the police agency purchased Stingray technology in 2006 using Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funds, and is deploying the portable equipment for routine police operations. DHS grant documents said the device was intended for “regional terrorism investigations.”

Stingray pretends that it is a cell tower and fools wireless phones into establishing a connection. Once connected, it can establish cell location and download information of people who are not suspects in an investigation, raising all sorts of privacy issues.

Information obtained by the First Amendment Coalition under the California Public Records Act indicates that LAPD used Stingray 21 times in a four-month period last year. While carriers like AT&T and Sprint typically require a court order before granting law enforcement access to cellphone data, it is not clear that LAPD is asking the courts for a warrant.

Privacy advocates argue that accessing phones with Stingray constitutes a “search and seizure” under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, and requires a warrant. The FBI has argued it doesn’t need a warrant because cellphone users have no reasonable expectation of privacy. The U.S.Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the issue.

The records viewed by LA Weekly seemed to indicate that judges were not fully apprised of Stingray’s scope; that it was sweeping a range of cellphones rather than a specific suspect’s phone.

LAPD refuses to comment on Stingray, which is reportedly also being used by local law enforcement in Fort Worth, Texas, Gilbert, Arizona, and Miami.

–Ken Broder

Mozambique military called in to battle floods

January 29, 2013 Comments off

starafrica.com

AFP/File

Residents flee to the roof of a house in the Chokwe district of southern Mozambique, to escape flooding on January 25, 2013. Intense flooding in southern Mozambique has displaced at least 150,000 people, the United Nations said on Monday, warning that figure could yet rise further. – Copyright : AFP/File

MAPUTO (AFP)

Mozambique’s military has been called in to help tackle severe flooding that has killed 48 people and is likely to spread to the country’s central and northern regions, officials said Tuesday.

The armed forces have begun helping with clean-up operations in the devastated southern town of Chokwe, which has borne the brunt of the flooding caused by heavy rains.

“We can confirm the army is helping support the affected people,” said Benjamim Chabualo, spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence told AFP.

Soldiers have also been involved in rescue efforts and the navy has ferried people by boat to reach areas isolated by flooding.

According to UN figures around 250,000 people have been affected by the floods and 146,000 people are being housed in temporary shelters.

Water levels have begun to recede in the south of the country, but the situation remains critical, and the centre and north are expected to be hit by Read more…

Categories: Mozambique Tags: ,

Australian summer lurches from fire to floods

January 29, 2013 Comments off

phys.org

Roger Barnes rescues a friend’s surfboard from a flooded home in the Brisbane suburb of Newmarket on Monday.
From bushfires raging in searing tinder-dry conditions to surging floodwaters and destructive tornadoes, Australia has witnessed staggering climate extremes during its summer of 2013. From bushfires raging in searing tinder-dry conditions to surging floodwaters and destructive tornadoes, Australia has witnessed staggering climate extremes during its summer of 2013.  Already this month the country’s largest city Sydney has endured its hottest day on record, a 45.8 degree Celsius (114.4 Fahrenheit) scorcher during a heatwave so extreme heat scales on government forecast maps had to be redrawn. Just a week later, ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald dumped torrential rain on coastal areas of Queensland, leaving four people dead, swamping 2,000 homes and forcing dramatic rooftop rescues of those trapped by the deluge. Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who on Monday toured bushfire-hit areas in southeastern Victoria state even as turbid floodwaters swamped the nation’s northeast, said the contrast was not lost on her. “I was looking at blackened landscape, burnt trees, black Read more at: phys.org
Categories: Australia, Flood Tags: , ,

China Test Flies Heavy Air Force Freight Plane

January 29, 2013 Comments off

irrawaddy.org

China's new jumbo air freighter, the Y-20, prepares to take off from an unidentified airport for a test run on Jan. 26. (Photo: People's Daily)

China’s new jumbo air freighter, the Y-20, prepares to take off from an unidentified airport for a test run on Jan. 26. (Photo: People’s Daily)

BEIJING — China said it successfully tested a heavy air force freighter that could be a mostly home-grown substitute for the older Russian planes it now uses while substantially boosting the Chinese military’s global reach.

The Y-20 flew took off from its development base near the northwestern city of Xi’an on Saturday, the China Daily and other newspapers reported on Monday. The plane can fly 44,000 km with 66 tons of freight, and is designed to fill the need for a stronger, long-range heavy lift capacity.

China now uses Russian IL-76 freighters, including for communications roles, but those planes were first built in Read more…

Categories: China, military Tags: , ,

11 Body Parts Defense Researchers Will Use to Track You

January 29, 2013 Comments off

wired.com

The Ear

Cell phones that can identify you by how you walk. Fingerprint scanners that work from 25 feet away. Radars that pick up your heartbeat from behind concrete walls. Algorithms that can tell identical twins apart. Eyebrows and earlobes that give you away. A new generation of technologies is emerging that can identify you by your physiology. And unlike the old crop of biometric systems, you don’t need to be right up close to the scanner in order to be identified. If they work as advertised, they may be able to identify you without you ever knowing you’ve been spotted.

Biometrics had a boom after 9/11. Gobs of government money poured into face and iris recognition systems; the Pentagon alone spent nearly $3 billion in five years, and the Defense Department was only one of many federal agencies funneling cash in the technologies. Civil libertarians feared the Read more…

Texas Legislature Wants To Reward Companies That Deny Employees Contraception

January 29, 2013 Comments off

thinkprogress.org

A bill recently introduced in the Texas state house aims to reward employers who violate Obamacare, offering subsidies to any company that uses religious objection as an excuse for denying its employees copay-free contraception.

House Bill 649, introduced by state Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R), was apparently inspired by the controversy over craft chain store Hobby Lobby. That store sued to deny its employees contraception coverage, citing its male president’s religious objections. But since Hobby Lobby, and companies like it, will be forced to pay a fine for violating the law, Strickland wants to compensate them with tax breaks:

The tax credit would be limited to the amount of a federal fine that the company pays or the amount of state tax the company owes.

“When a business is being stressed nearly to the point of bankruptcy by punitive federal taxes, of course the state should give them relief,” Stickland said in the news release.[...]

“The Obama administration’s mandate and their threats to bury Hobby Lobby with $1.3 million per day Read more…

Kansan discovers asteroid that may come near Earth

January 27, 2013 Comments off

cjonline.com

For the second time in less than four months, amateur astronomer Gary Hug, of Scranton, has discovered an asteroid that could one day pass close to Earth. The asteroid was found on the evening of Jan. 6 as Hug was searching for another object listed on the NEOCP (Near Earth Object Confirmation Page).

The asteroid discovered by Hug was first noticed on the west edge of the field of vision provided by the camera he had attached to his telescope.

“It was traveling too slow for most satellites but moving about 10 times faster than main belt asteroids,” he explained, noting that main belt asteroids were those found between Mars and Jupiter.

After determining that the asteroid he found wasn’t one that had been seen before, he ran a brief analysis of it and then reported his find to the Minor Planet Center.

“Within 15 minutes, this asteroid was listed on the NEOCP at the Minor Planet Center,” Hug said. “A few hours later, another Read more…

Categories: astronomy Tags: , ,
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