Archive | Politics & Politicians

WikiLeaks Founder Released on Bail

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is fighting extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, was released from British custody on bail Thursday.

Assange, 39, appeared before the press and cheering supporters after a judge dismissed him on 200,000 pounds ($312,000) bail.

“It’s great to smell fresh air of London again,” the Australian founder of the controversial whistle-blowing website told the crowd, according to Reuters.

“I hope to continue my work and continue to protest my innocence in this matter and to reveal as we get it, which we have not yet, the evidence from these allegations,” he added.

As a condition of bail, Assange is off to a 10-room country home in eastern England owned by a WikiLeaks supporter. The mansion, called Ellingham Hall, has a fast internet connection that will allow Assange to continue working on his website, The Associated Press reported.

Assange must keep to a curfew, report to police daily, and wear an electronic tag, Reuters said.

He will return to court for a full extradition hearing in early February.

Last month, WikiLeaks released a cache of 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables. U.S. authorities claimed the leak damaged international relations.

Posted in Organizations, People, Politics & Politicians0 Comments

Losing Your Religion May Be Unhealthy

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., Sept. 28 (UPI) — Forty percent of members of strict religious groups say they are healthy, but that drops to 20 percent if they leave the religion, U.S. researchers suggest.

Christopher Scheitle, senior research assistant at Pennsylvania State University, says, in addition, 25 percent of members in strict religious groups who switched to another religion reported they were in excellent health.

The study also indicates people who were raised and remained in strict religious groups were more likely to report they were in better health than people affiliated with other religious groups. Scheitle, working with Amy Adamczyk, assistant professor of sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and City University of New York, defined strict religions, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses — both with strict social, moral and physical guidelines for members that include abstaining from unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol and tobacco use.

These religions also create both formal and informal social support structures. These social bonds may be another factor for better health, the researchers say,

“The social solidarity and social support could have psychological benefits,” Scheitle said in a statement. “That could then lead to certain health benefits.”

Therefore, exiting the religious group may be stressful because people lose their social support network, the study says.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Justice, Other, Religion0 Comments

Scientists 'listen' to Paint Pigments

MONTREAL, Sept. 2 (UPI) — A new technique that can “hear” the sound of colors may help art restorers identify the pigments in centuries-old paintings, researchers say.

Canadian scientists at McGill University in Montreal say a technique called photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy can cause the pigments used in artists’ colors to emit sounds when light is shone on them, a university release said Wednesday.

“The chemical composition of pigments is important to know, because it enables museums and restorers to know how the paints will react to sunlight and temperature changes,” said Ian Butler, a professor at McGill’s Department of Chemistry.

The spectroscopy method is based on Alexander Graham Bell’s 1880 discovery that solids could emit sounds when exposed to sunlight, infrared radiation or ultraviolet radiation.

The McGill researchers are the first to use it to analyze typical inorganic pigments that most artists use.

The researchers have classified 12 historically prominent pigments by the infrared spectra they exhibit – in other words, the range of noises they produce – and hope the technique will be used to establish a pigment database.

“Once such a database has been established, the technique may become routine in the arsenal of art forensic laboratories,” Butler said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Art, Museums, Other, Radiation0 Comments

African Museum to Do DNA Test on Dodo Egg

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Aug. 27 (UPI) — A South African museum says it has the world’s last surviving dodo egg and is preparing to allow DNA testing of the precious exhibit to confirm it.

The flightless dodo became extinct in the mid-17th century after being extensively hunted in its native home of Mauritius by visiting sailors and the dogs and cats they brought on voyages with them, which plundered the birds’ nests, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The egg was given to South Africa’s East London Museum in 1915 by the great aunt of the museums curator at the time, the British newspaper said. It was given to the aunt by a sea captain who made many trips to Mauritius where he said he found it in a swamp.

Now, the museum’s current curator has decided to test the provenance of its most-prized artifact.

Mcebisi Magadla said the test would involve breaking off a piece of egg the size of a pen point from the outside of the egg.

He said it could be tested at the University of Cape Town or further afield in Oxford, England, where Oxford University’s Natural History Museum houses the foot and head of a dodo.

“We have a duty to test the egg to prove its authenticity one way or another and the best way to do that is by DNA testing,” he said. “As a museum we cannot say something is authentic unless we can check.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Birds, Museums, Other0 Comments

Study Urges Less Urban Sprawl, More Forest

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Aug. 19 (UPI) — Less urban sprawl and more forests are keys to decreasing water runoff and disastrous flooding, U.S. scientists said.

Researchers at Purdue University used computer modeling to study the runoff rates of Michigan’s Muskegon River watershed from 1900 to the present and predict them 30 years into the future, a university release said Thursday.

Several variables — including forest re-growth, urbanization and buffers between development and streams — were analyzed to estimate their impact on rivers and streams.

“Changes in the land’s surface feed back to runoff. Urban sprawl and impervious surfaces are the biggest culprits,” Bryan Pijanowski, an associate professor of forestry and natural resources, said. “If you’re able to control development, it is the most effective way to save our river ecosystem.”

Urban areas in the United States would double in 20 years at the current rate, Pijanowski said, and in the model predictions, doubling the urban area in the Muskegon River watershed increased runoff by 1 1/2 times.

The findings, published in the online version of the journal Environmental Management, suggest slowing the rate of urban sprawl would be the most effective way to reduce or control runoff.

Adding forest near rivers and streams and requiring buffer zones between those waterways and development also could help, the study said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Other, Urbanization0 Comments

Prejudice Has Lasting Negative Impact

TORONTO, Aug. 13 (UPI) — People who felt discriminated against — based on gender, age, race or religion — ate more, were more hostile and had less focus, a Canadian researcher says.

Study leader Michael Inzlicht of the University of Toronto Scarborough and colleagues had a group of women complete a math test and told them the test would determine whether or not they were capable and smart in math — subtly insinuating stereotypes about women and math skills.

A similar group of women were also given a test but were given support and coping strategies to deal with the stress they’d face when writing the test.

After the math test, the two groups of women performed another series of tasks designed to gauge their aggression, ability to focus and self control.

“In these follow-up tests, the women who felt discriminated against ate more than their peers in the control group,” Inzlicht says in a statement. “They showed more hostility than the control group. And they performed more poorly on tests that measured their cognitive skills.”

The pattern remained the same, regardless of the test groups — men, old, young, race or religion — all experienced significant impacts even after they were removed from the situation, Inzlicht says.

The findings are published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Other, Religion0 Comments

Seattle Museum Campaigns for Space Shuttle

SEATTLE, Aug. 11 (UPI) — An aviation museum in Seattle wants one of the iconic space shuttles when NASA retires the three-orbiter fleet — and says it will have the space for it.

The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field is one of about 20 museums in the country competing for one of the three space shuttles scheduled to be retired by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as soon as next year, The (Olympia, Wash.) Olympian reported Wednesday.

It is not clear what selection criteria NASA will use to select permanent homes for the space shuttles but the Museum of Flight says it meets all the requirements outlined to date.

As an example, the museum says, NASA officials say candidates must have a covered structure in place by July 2011 to house a space shuttle — and the museum is breaking ground this month for its 15,500-square-foot Space Gallery.

Museum officials say they have secured $11 million of the $12 million needed for the museum expansion.

If the museum isn’t awarded a shuttle, it says, the exhibit space will still be put to good use, housing a full fuselage shuttle training module donated by NASA along with a number of other artifacts from the space program.

“We will have an exhibit plan, even if the shuttle isn’t there,” museum Executive Director Bonnie Dunbar, a former Rockwell engineer and astronaut who flew five space shuttle missions, said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Aviation, Museums, Other0 Comments

Thinking About God De-stresses Believers

TORONTO, Aug. 7 (UPI) — Thinking about God reduce distress, but only in believers, while atheists are more distressed after thinking of God-related ideas, Canadian researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Toronto Scarborough looked at brain activity in people primed to think about God and found decreases in activity in the anterior cingulate cortex — an area of the brain associated with regulating bodily states of arousal when things were going wrong — such as making mistakes. However, atheists were more distressed making mistakes after thinking of God-related ideas.

In the study, published in Psychological Science, participants either wrote about religion or did a scrambled word task with God-related words before brain activity was recorded while the participants did tasks with high error-rates.

“Eighty-five percent of the world has some sort of religious beliefs,” study co-author Michael Inzlicht says in a statement. “I think it behooves us as psychologists to study why people have these beliefs; exploring what functions, if any, they may serve.”

Although not unequivocal, Inzlicht says, there is some evidence that religious people live longer and tend to be happier and healthier.

“We think this can occur with any meaning system that provides structure and helps people understand their world,” he says.

Inzlicht suggests atheists may have done better in the study if prompted to think about their own beliefs.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other, Religion0 Comments

NASA Funds Science Exhibits

WASHINGTON, May 13 (UPI) — The U.S. space agency says it will fund nine educational outreach projects this year, including planetarium shows and traveling museum exhibits.

Officials said NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums will provide $7 million in grants to enhance projects related to space exploration, aeronautics, space science, Earth science and microgravity.

The 2010 grants range from approximately $177,000 to $1.25 million and have a maximum five-year performance period. The projects are located in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Utah and Washington.

“Science centers and planetariums contribute significantly to engaging people of all ages in science, technology, engineering and math,” said James Stofan, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Education. “NASA wants to give the informal education community access to a variety of agency staff and resources while offering professional development opportunities for informal science educators and encouraging the formation of collaborative partnerships.”

The selected projects are the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum; the Children’s Museum of Hartford, Conn.; the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis; the Louisiana Art & Science Museum; the Maryland Science Center; the Science Museum of Minnesota; the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, Ohio; Thanksgiving Point Institute in Utah; and the Pacific Science Center’s Willard Smith Planetarium in Seattle.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Art, Education, Engineering, Museums, Other0 Comments

NASA Inspects Discovery for Launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 26 (UPI) — NASA inspectors were giving the shuttle Discovery a final review Friday before officially setting a launch date, expected for April 5, U.S. officials said.

The 13-day mission is one of four remaining flights planned to the International Space Station before the shuttle fleet is retired next year.

Inspectors were to check a helium isolation valve, ceramic inserts around windows and payload bay doors, Florida Today reported.

Meanwhile, New York’s Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum has asked NASA for a shuttle when Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis are retired.

“It will be a huge boon to New York’s economy and a magnet for tourists,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday.

NASA has said it intends to give the shuttles to museums where the most people could view them, The New York Daily News reported Friday.

The Intrepid museum is a military and maritime history museum. It’s collection includes the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, a submarine and a Concorde SST jet.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Museums, Other0 Comments

No Posts in Category
Advertisement