Archive for February, 2019

28
Feb

Australian man allegedly ignites carpet, plastic with static electricity

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A story about a man carrying over 30,000 (sometimes reported as 40,000) volts of static electricity in his body, allegedly generated by a wool sweater and nylon jacket combination, is circulating through major news outlets. The story, carried first by the Warrnambool Standard, says that the man, Frank Clewer, a 58-year old cleaner from Dennington, involuntarily created a scene by causing fire departments to evacuate three buildings where he had left his mark, before he realized he was causing the burn marks on carpets and allowed the fire department to help him.

The story has been picked up by The Register, Guardian, BBC, USA Today, Reuters, local agencies of ABC, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other news outlets.

Several unanswered objections mark the story as a possible hoax:

  • Clewer enters and exits his car several times in the story — if he opened the car by touching its presumably metal lock, he would surely release some electricity into the car through his hand; everyone has at some point experienced the painful shock of touching a door handle or car keys to a lock. Though the car might not be grounded, it would still be at a lower potential and thus energy would be transferred. This would be noticeable; the story does not comment that Clewer understood what was happening to him.
  • Firefighters supposedly “used a device to check static electricity on him and his belongings.” While firefighters would be likely to carry a high-voltage multimeter around to measure the current and voltage ratings of downed power lines, it is unlikely that the same device could measure such a large voltage resulting from a very small amount of static energy without de-electrifying it.
  • For such a large voltage to be stored, humidity would have to have been extremely low on that day for the air around him not to ionize and source current, removing the static energy.
  • If he was carrying such a large voltage, his hair would probably have stood on end, as this is a notable effect when one touches a Van de Graaf generator. Note: It is uncertain at what voltage this effect begins, and since Van de Graaf machines routinely exceed Megavolts of electric potential, this may not be a verifiable objection.
  • This statement: “Firefighters took possession of Clewer’s jacket and stored it in the courtyard of the fire station, where it continued to give off a strong electrical current.” (Reuters UK) First, there is no reason they would need to take possession of the jacket — the static electricity could be dealt with by simply dumping water on it. Second, the jacket could not “give off” an electric current without some continuous source of energy, which, in storage, is impossible. It is possible that the jacket could hold a voltage, but the effects of this would not be visible — if they were, they would be short-lived as the jacket would lose its static energy. In any event, the current would be miniscule.
  • The amount of energy stored on Clewer’s person and possessions could not have been more than a few Joules; this is unlikely to have burned carpet.

The equation for stored energy in capacitors is:

U = ( C × V 2 ) / 2 {\displaystyle U=(C\times V^{2})/2}

Where U = energy, C = capacitance, and V = voltage. A human body by itself typically has a capacitance of around 250 pF, which would mean a voltage of 30,000 V would produce energy of 0.11 joules. Even if Clewer’s possessions resulted in a parallel capacitance of 1 microfarad, this would still only result in an energy storage of 450 J. This amount of energy would be insufficient to burn carpet or char plastic, although a spark could ignite flammable vapor or gas.

28
Feb

US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

28
Feb

How To Get Out Of Credit Card Debt Once And For All

By Terje Ellingsen

Credit card debt is a major cause of over one million bankruptcies each year. The reason is the sad fact that many people get a credit card without researching and reading the fine print. By the time annual fees are added on, along with spending indiscriminately, payments are missed, which causes their balance to skyrocket. Although we all like to place the blame on the credit cards and the credit card companies, you need to keep in mind that the real cause of your financial mess is you.

One shopping spree does not usually cause high debt. It’s rather a pattern that develops gradually with increasing purchases thus adding up to a large debt. The great thing is that it can be very easy to get out of debt. The key is to start spending less than you make. This is a long-term solution that can help you to whittle your debt down. Although it may sound simple, it can be very difficult if you have a problem with willpower. It is important to stick with spending less than you make or you will find yourself in exactly the same place as you were before. Overcoming your debt will take willpower and a great deal of time.

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It may be difficult to stick with a debt repayment or consolidation program, but keep yourself strong and you will find yourself out of debt before you know it. It is important to learn how to get out of debt and then stay out of debt. If you can summon enough willpower and strength towards your finances and spending, then you will find yourself the winner in the game of debt. It may be easy to get into debt, but getting out of debt is much more difficult, but worth it.

One simple but powerful ‘word of wisdom’ can sum up the solution to your financial problems. If you don’t have the money to spend, then don’t spend it!

About the Author: Terje Brooks Ellingsen is a writer and internet publisher. He runs the website

1st-in-loan.net

Terje gives advice and helps people with personal financial issues like how to get out of debt, see

1st-in-loan.net/debt_help.htm

and to apply online for credit cards, see

1st-in-loan.net/credit_card_offer.htm

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=29490&ca=Finances

27
Feb

Canada’s Don Valley East (Ward 33) city council candidates speak

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley East (Ward 33). One candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Zane Caplan, Shelley Carroll (incumbent), Jim Conlon, Sarah Tsang-Fahey, and Anderson Tung.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

27
Feb

Karlheinz Stockhausen, composer, dies aged 79

Friday, December 7, 2007

The German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, a pioneer of electronic music among major contemporary musicians, died on December 5. The German foundation, named in his honor, announced today, Stockhausen passed away in his Kürten home in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

A prolific composer, he wrote more than 300 works during his career, establishing himself as a pioneer of electronic music, as well as a representative of serialism. Studie I, dated 1953, is considered one of the first electronic music works ever produced.

Born in Mödrath, Germany, in 1927, he was the son of a mother from a wealthy family and a father who was a teacher. He grew up in Altenberg, where he started taking piano lessons. He studied piano and music pedagogy at the Musikhochschule in Cologne. It was at University of Cologne, he later studied musicology, philosophy and Germanics.

He was influenced by musicians such as Oliver Messiaen, Edgard Varèse, and Anton Webern, but also by painters such as Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee. Stockhausen’s works often departed from usual music styles.

During his life as a musician, Stockhausen explored most of the genres and styles. Starting in punctualism and concrete music early in his career, during the 1950s, he proceeded to research the electronic music area, which at the time was in an embryonic state. In the 1960s, he composed works of choral music, putting side-by-side the chorus and the use of electronic facilities. In the 1970s, he dedicated himself to serialism. Between 1977 and 2003, he committed himself to one of his most ambitious projects: a cycle of thematic works named Licht: Die sieben Tage der Woche (Light: the Seven Days of the Week).

Various artists have stated that they were influenced by Stokhausen, including artists as varied as Frank Zappa, Björk, Miles Davis, as well as Roger Waters and Rick Wright—two of the Pink Floyd members. The Beatles included a portrait of Stockhausen among the people pictured on the cover of their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Italian singer/songwriter Franco Battiato dedicated Sulle corde di Aries to the composer.

While being a controversial artist, Stockhausen became a focus of polemics after he stated that the September 11, 2001 attacks were “works of art”. He later explained the meaning of his statements, and said that they had been, according to him, out-of-context and misquoted.

27
Feb

No fatalities as Boeing 727 crash lands in Bolivia

Saturday, February 2, 2008

At least 151 passengers and an unknown number of crew on board a Lloyd Aereo Boliviano (LAB) Boeing 727-200 have escaped after the aircraft crash landed in swampland in Bolivia.

Local airline LAB had been operating the chartered passenger flight from La Paz to Cobija on behalf of Transporte Aereo Militar (TAM) when poor weather conditions caused the jet to be diverted. LAB has recently been handling excess passengers for TAM as an unusually severe rainy season has washed away many roads across the nation.

A flight engineer said that during the flight the engines failed due to a mechanical problem. The plane came down in a swampy forest clearing approximately 2 miles (3.3km) from a runway at the new destination of Trinidad, 370 miles from the intended destination. Several passengers were injured in the accident, and all on board were taken to hospitals for checks. One pilot received a clavicle fracture.

The plane was severely damaged, with the New York Times reporting that photographs of the scene showed at least one wing of the aircraft to have separated from the fuselage.

Survivors confirmed this. Paolo Bravo, a Bolivian senator on board the plane, said to local radio network Erbol “We noticed the engines went out, and there was this calm… Then they told us, ‘Crash positions! crash positions!’ and it was just another two or three seconds before we hit… The plane fell, the wings broke off, but the fuselage was OK.”

Experts from the Auxiliary Aerial Navigation Service and an airport commented that it is possible that the soft mus in the area absorbed some of the impact forces, allowing the plane to be salvaged and returned to service. LAB’s operations chief Gustavo Viscarra made a statement saying “The crew members did not suffer any problem and there is no blood… The airplane has minimum damages, there is no structural damage, there was not any fire nor smoke. It was a forced landing planned by the pilot and it was not caused by our enterprise’s negligence nor lack of maintenance of our airplanes.”

Passenger numbers are unclear, with LAB reporting 151 and some media sources saying 155.

An investigation has been launched. It has been established that an undisclosed technical problem prevented the plane from departing for an hour.

Legal and financial difficulties have seen LAB suspend operations for almost a year, but the carrier has recently begun a limited return to charter services.

26
Feb

Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The European Commission currently has proposals on the table to extend performers’ copyright terms. Described by Professor Martin Kretschmer as the “Beatles Extension Act”, the proposed measure would extend copyright from 50 to 95 years after recording. A vast number of classical tracks are at stake; the copyright on recordings from the fifties and early sixties is nearing its expiration date, after which it would normally enter the public domain or become ‘public property’. E.U. Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McCreevy is proposing this extension, and if the other relevant Directorate Generales (Information Society, Consumers, Culture, Trade, Competition, etc.) agree with the proposal, it will be sent to the European Parliament.

Wikinews contacted Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.), who invited us to Brussels, the heart of E.U. policy making, to discuss this new proposal and its implications. Expecting an office interview, we arrived to discover that the event was a party and meetup conveniently coinciding with FOSDEM 2008 (the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The meetup was in a sprawling city centre apartment festooned with E.F.F. flags and looked to be a party that would go on into the early hours of the morning with copious food and drink on tap. As more people showed up for the event it turned out that it was a truly international crowd, with guests from all over Europe.

Eddan Katz, the new International Affairs Director of the E.F.F., had come over from the U.S. to connect to the European E.F.F. network, and he gladly took part in our interview. Eddan Katz explained that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is “A non-profit organisation working to protect civil liberties and freedoms online. The E.F.F. has fought for information privacy rights online, in relation to both the government and companies who, with insufficient transparency, collect, aggregate and make abuse of information about individuals.” Another major focus of their advocacy is intellectual property, said Eddan: “The E.F.F. represents what would be the public interest, those parts of society that don’t have a concentration of power, that the private interests do have in terms of lobbying.”

Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group (O.R.G.), joined our discussion as well. “The goals of the Open Rights Group are very simple: we speak up whenever we see civil, consumer or human rights being affected by the poor implementation or the poor regulation of new technologies,” Becky summarised. “In that sense, people call us -I mean the E.F.F. has been around, in internet years, since the beginning of time- but the Open Rights Group is often called the British E.F.F.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 Cliff Richard’s pension
    • 1.2 Perpetual patents?
    • 1.3 The fight moves from the U.K. to Europe
    • 1.4 Reclaiming democratic processes in the E.U.
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
26
Feb

FEMA official in New Orleans blasts agency’s response

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Marty Bahamonde, the only FEMA emplyee in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina, testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, contradicts former FEMA director Michael Brown’s testimony and says Brown ignored his pleas for help.

In an August 31 Blackberry email:

“Sir, I know you know that this situation is past critical. Here are some things you might not know. Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water. Hundreds still being rescued from homes” and “medical staff at the Dome expect to run out of oxygen in about 2 hours”

In an email from one of Brown’s aids:”Please schedule Joe Scarborough this evening… Also, it is very important that time is allowed for Mr. Brown to eat dinner. Gievn[sic] that Baton Rouge is back to normal, restaurants are getting busy”

25
Feb

Wikinews Shorts: May 7, 2007

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, May 7, 2007.

A 30 meter section of a gas pipeline in Luka (near Kiev) in Ukraine has been destroyed by an explosion. Although supplies to Europe via this pipeline have stopped, Ukrainian Energy Minister Georgi E. Boyko said that supplies to Europe would not be affected.

“There are no changes in volumes of gas being transported,” Yuri Korolchuk said. “Volumes due to pass through the damaged section are being redirected through the Soyuz pipeline.”

Normal flows are reported in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

Sources


Copper prices are rising. Between record copper imports from China, and a mining strike in Peru, the prices have climbed to over $8100 (United States dollars) a tonne, for a gain of $575 dollars over the last week. However the upward trend is not new, it has been climbing for quite some time. In April 2003, the price of copper was under $2000 a tonne.

The metal market has been tending up due to growth in the Chinese industrial production. This trickles down to the local level, where the buying price at scrap yards is ever climbing, making scrap metal collection a more profitable endeavour for individual people using pick up trucks or other such vehicles to collect and cash in the scrap metal at metal buying yards. It can be collected via agreements with businesses, from the garbage, or, sometimes, by theft.

Copper prices fell today on the NYMEX commodity exchange from US$3.7545 per pound to US$3.7125 based on the July futures contract.

Sources

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

One man was killed and another injured by an exploding backpack in the parking lot of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The explosion happened at 4 a.m. PDT when the victim tried to remove a the object left on top of his car.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are on the scene. Aerial images did not show any apparent damage.

“We believe the victim was the intended target of this,” Bill Cassell said, spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “This is being treated as a homicide in which the weapon used to cause death is a non-traditional weapon.”

Both of the victims worked at the Luxor.

Sources


24
Feb

‘Bright’ idea lights its way to win NASA contest

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NASA Tech Briefs INSIDER newsletter 02/05/08 reports that the winner of the $20,000 first prize in the agency’s “Create the Future” contest is an invention called “Litroenergy”, the luminous output of micro particle “Litrospheres.” Their self-luminance reportedly endures for over 12 years. The spheres are inexpensive, making them useful in many ways. The emitted light is said to be equivalent to a 40 watt bulb, sufficient for reading.

The invention is reported to safely encapsulate a small quantity of electron-emitting tritium with light emitting phosphors inside a robust microscopic sphere. Mixed into paints, plastic films or adhesive tape the spheres can be applied to surfaces for under a dollar per square foot. The maker suggests they will find first use in safety applications such as exit signage and aircraft corridor marking.