Russian Spacecraft ‘Ceased To Exist,’ Burned In Earth’s Atmosphere
Aug08

Russian Spacecraft ‘Ceased To Exist,’ Burned In Earth’s Atmosphere

CNN A crewless Russian cargo space ship that had gone astray, has ‘ceased to exist,’ Russia’s space agency said Friday. The bulk of it burned up after re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. A few small fragments of Progress M-27M are expected to make it down to Earth. They shouldn’t crash down, but instead splash down. “Entry into the atmosphere occurred over the central Pacific Ocean,” Roscosmos said in a statement. The time of re-entry was 5:04 a.m. Moscow time (10:04 p.m. Eastern). Gone awry Progress M-27M, also known as Progress 59, was supposed to deliver supplies to the International Space Station, but overshot its mark. Russian ground controllers lost contact with the spacecraft soon after it launched on April 28. Though Roscosmos is still investigating the cause of the failed mission, preliminary evidence points to an accident in the third stage of the space craft’s carrier rocket, Russian state news agency TASS reported. Though the craft was not going to transport people, the failure will delay the return to Earth of some ISS crew members. They were scheduled to leave on May 14, but will have to sit tight until June. Roscosmos wants time to fully investigate the accident and carry out quality inspections on carrier rockets that have already been built and are waiting for launch. Food, fuel, oxygen The cargo ship was carrying more than 3 tons of food, fuel, oxygen, spare parts and scientific experiment hardware for the space station, according to NASA, but none of it is critical to ISS’ operation. Even if Russia hadn’t lost contact with the craft, the original plan was for Progress to burn up re-entering Earth’s atmosphere — albeit laden with garbage rather than a full load of equipment for the space station. The next planned resupply flight, which will be the seventh SpaceX commercial resupply services mission to the space station, is not scheduled to take off before June 19, NASA said. Roscosmos plans to launch a re-supply mission in late June or early July, TASS reported. Broadcast live streaming video on...

Read More
Airbus’ Beluga: Giant Of The Skies Set To Get Even Larger
Jan19

Airbus’ Beluga: Giant Of The Skies Set To Get Even Larger

CNN It’s the white whale of the skies and one of aviation’s rarest and most loved planes currently in service. The Airbus A300-600ST, popularly known as the “Beluga” because of its resemblance to the white Arctic whale, is the European plane manufacturer’s super-sized transporter jet. Five of these enormous planes make more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of Airbus’ planes from manufacturing sites — wings in the UK, tails in Spain, for example — to the final assembly facilities in either Toulouse, Hamburg or Tianjin. The planes have been in service since 1994, but are in need of reinforcements. Since the plane’s inaugural flight, Airbus’s production rates have increased five fold, so a new fleet is planned to keep up with demand, especially with the new A350XWB plane now entering service.  “The need for the new Beluga comes with the increase in production rates and to get extra capacity on top of this fleet of five aircrafts,” says Stephane Gosselin, head of Airbus Transport International. “So initially there will be a mixed fleet use of both new Beluga and old Beluga. And then the second need was as well to anticipate replacement of an aging fleet.” A crew of three operates the Beluga: two pilots and a loadmaster. Because of its size the plane reacts differently to other large jets in turbulence; moving sideways more than up and down. The five Belugas currently in operation are, actually, Airbus A300-600 jets that have been modified to carry large cargo. The top section of the aircraft was cut and an additional, wider fuselage section — resembling a bubble — was added to the airframe, giving it its characteristic hump. The cockpit was lowered, making it possible for the cargo hold to be loaded and unloaded through the front of the aircraft. Airbus operates a fleet of five Beluga cargo airlifters, which together perform more than 60 flights each week to transport components for the company’s jetliners between 11 sites in Europe. The result is an incredibly spacious cargo hold of 1,400 cubic meters. That’s the equivalent to 671 people, 36 cars or seven elephants. “The perception you have (when the cargo door opens) is of a huge volume like a cathedral,” says Gosselin. Although the Beluga’s maximum payload of 47 tons is surpassed by a handful of other cargo aircraft, its voluminous hold makes it suitable for transporting oversized, but not particularly heavy, cargo, like aircraft parts. The Beluga can carry the wings of an A340 airliner or a fuselage section for Airbus’ newest wide-body aircraft, the A350. But it’s not large enough to transport many A380...

Read More
Facebook Copyright Hoax Goes Viral Again
Jan05

Facebook Copyright Hoax Goes Viral Again

The Huffington Post A fake Facebook copyright message claiming to protect users’ media has once again been making the rounds on the social network. The message claims to put copyright protections on a user’s posts after they share the status update. From 2012: Stop! Don’t Copy and Paste that ‘Copyright’ Facebook Message It typically reads: “In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!” Here’s the thing: Facebook doesn’t own your posts. Under the social network’s privacy policy, they have the right to distribute and share the things a user posts, subject to their privacy and application settings. (Check out Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities here.) The hoax doesn’t even have its facts right. A quick Google search will also show that there’s is no such thing as the Berner Convention. (Whoever originated it probably meant to write the Berne convention, which is an international agreement protecting literary and artistic works). So breathe a big sigh of relief. Your Facebook profile is fine. If anything, use this as an opportunity to double check your privacy settings by clicking on the lock icon in the upper-right corner of your...

Read More
Chinese Doctors Punished For So-Called ‘Surgery Selfies’
Dec28

Chinese Doctors Punished For So-Called ‘Surgery Selfies’

CNN Senior executives and a team of medical staff from a Chinese hospital in the northwestern province of Shaanxi have been punished for taking group photos next to apparently unconscious patients after surgery, state media reported on Monday. A series of photos recently circulated on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, shows Chinese doctors and nurses decked in scrubs, posing with reportedly unconscious patients on the operating table in the operating theater. A man makes a V-sign in one of the happy snaps, while other doctors are seen leaning over the patient mid-procedure. The Xi’an Bureau of Public Health has taken action for the photos taken in August this year, removing three top executives from administrative duties at the privately-run Fengcheng Hospital,reported Xinhua News Agency. The other staff pictured in the photos have been reprimanded and docked three months’ pay. The hospital issued a public statement and apology, explaining that the photos were taken to commemorate the last day that the operating theater was in use, before it closed down in favor of new facilities. Doctors are pictured linking arms with each other in the operating theater. “Our staff members have neglected the possible negative consequences of their actions, we will undergo an in depth review of the incident,” the statement reads. The photos have triggered a backlash on China’s microblogging platforms. Bloggers have taken to social media to express their opinions using the hashtag “surgery selfie”, with many condemning the doctors’ lack of professional ethics. “They are not acting professionally at all. They are treating the patients’ suffering as a joke, how can they even take a selfie at a time like this?” one Weibo user, Penny Zhutou, commented on a discussion thread. Others expressed sympathy for the doctors. “Doctors are humans too. I don’t think there is anything wrong with them wanting to take a photo to celebrate after a long and successful surgery. We should look at this rationally, instead of being limited by those so-called restrictions,” another Weibo user, “Diaolinghoucanque”...

Read More
Minnesota Woman, Believed To Be Oldest Facebook User, Dies Aged 114
Dec28

Minnesota Woman, Believed To Be Oldest Facebook User, Dies Aged 114

CNN A woman believed to be the world’s oldest Facebook user has died at the age of 114, her family said. Anna Stoehr of Plainview, Minnesota, gained widespread attention in October when she said she’d had to lie about her age to sign up for the social network. Facebook responded by celebrating her impressive longevity on her birthday. “She turned 114 in October of this year and received a huge bouquet of 114 flowers from Facebook after they learned that she was not able to sign up without putting in a fake age of 90 or 95,” Harlan Stoehr, her 84-year-old eldest son, told CNN on Tuesday. He told CNN that his mother — who leaves 5 children, 27 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren — died Sunday. No phone, no car, no electricity She was born in 1900, the year before the assassination of President William McKinley and the death of Queen Victoria. Her family had no telephone, car or electricity at the time. Facebook isn’t set up to accommodate such venerable users. The network’s sign-up page only allows people to put dates of birth going back to 1905. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg had attempted to reach Anna Stoehr after his company sent an apology about the age restriction, according to her daughter-in-law Marlene Stoehr. “She was not available when he had his assistant call to get hold of her because of a medical appointment, and then Mark Zuckerberg was out of the country so it never happened,” she said. “But it was an exciting time for everyone with all the attention.” The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Lived on a farm until she was 112 Facebook isn’t the only area where Anna Stoehr stood out — she was also the oldest person in Minnesota. She even threw out the first pitch at a Minnesota Twins game (via a video-taped throw) at the age of 113, according to her son. “They asked her if she would pitch it overhand or underhand, and she said, ‘Overhand, of course, it’s baseball,'” he said. Harlan Stoehr said his mother was always very active and had lived on a farm near Elgin, Minnesota, from 1936 until 2013. She was left alone there after the death of her husband in 1998. At the age of 112, she moved to an apartment in a retirement community in Plainview. “She loved gardening and always had huge flower gardens and strawberries,” her son said. “She grew all kinds of things, and when an apple tree on her farm blew down, she planted another one. She was 105 years old at the time.”...

Read More
North Korea’s Internet Back After ‘Hard’ Crash
Dec23

North Korea’s Internet Back After ‘Hard’ Crash

ABC News The tables may have turned on North Korea. The reclusive country’s state-run Internet was down “hard” for 9 hours and 31 minutes today, according to Dyn Research, which monitors the state of the Internet around the globe. “I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in [North Korea] before,” Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research told the website NorthKoreaTech.org. “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.” It’s not clear what caused the outage at this time. Last week, a Twitter handle claiming to represent the hacking group Anonymous tweeted: Operation RIP North Korea, engaged. #OpRIPNK KCNA/Reuters PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the machine plant managed by Ho Chol Yong in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, May 27, 2014. Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, declined to comment today to journalists about the report that North Korea may have lost Internet access. “We aren’t going to discuss publicly operational details about the possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in any way except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen,” Harf said. “So I can’t confirm those reports, but in general, that’s what the president has spoken to.” Harf called attention to the United Nation’s meeting today focused on North Korea’s human rights situation — the first time, she said, it has been a stand-alone agenda item in the Security Council. In a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch, the nonprofit advocacy group said that North Korea imposes harsh restrictions on the freedom of information. For example, the unauthorized use of Chinese mobile phones to communicate with people outside the country is punished. The United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously established a commission of inquiry in April 2013 to investigate whether abuses in North Korea amounted to crimes against humanity. Last month, the U.N. General Assembly endorsed the U.N. report detailing crimes against humanity in North Korea and recommended that the Security Council consider a referral to the International Criminal Court. “This is a significant step,” Harf told reporters about today’s Security Council meeting. “It will ensure continued Council attention to the human rights situation moving forward and demonstrates really the concern of the international community. I guess I’d say I’m not surprised that North Korea would seek to avoid scrutiny of I think what anyone would call an atrocious human rights record. They’ve been doing so for years....

Read More