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UK minor faces charges for calling Scientology ‘cult’ at protest

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

News media in the United Kingdom are reporting that a boy under the age of 18 was served with a court summons by City of London Police because he held a placard calling Scientology a “cult” at a peaceful protest on May 10. Human rights activists have criticized the decision to issue the 15-year-old the summons as an affront to freedom of speech, and representatives for the City of London Police force explained the actions of the police.

Individuals from the group Anonymous were protesting Scientology in the fourth protest in as many months, as part of the anti-Scientology movement Project Chanology. The Project Chanology movement began when the Church of Scientology attempted to get a leaked Scientology promotional video featuring Tom Cruise removed from websites YouTube and Gawker.com.

Members of Anonymous were motivated by the actions of the Church of Scientology, and bombarded Scientology websites and were successful in taking some of them down. Anonymous later changed tactics towards legal measures, and held international protests against Scientology on February 10, March 15, April 12, and most recently May 10.

At the May 10 protest, the 15-year-old boy was present and held up a placard which stated: “Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult,” with a mention at the bottom of the sign to the anti-Scientology website Xenu.net. He attended the protest held outside the Church of Scientology building on Queen Victoria Street, near St Paul’s Cathedral in London. In a post made by the boy on the anti-Scientology website Enturbulation.org, he stated: “Within five minutes of arriving I was told by a member of the police that I was not allowed to use that word, and that the final decision would be made by the inspector.” The website describes itself as “A Source for Information on Dianetics and the Scientology Organization”. Using the pseudonym “EpicNoseGuy” at the Enturbulation.org message board, the boy goes on to describe how he was “strongly advised” by police to remove the placard.

City of London Police cited section five of the Public Order Act 1986 to the boy, which deals with “harassment, alarm or distress“. In response, the boy cited a 1984 judgment given by Mr. Justice Latey in the Family Division of the High Court of Justice of Her Majesty’s Courts of Justice of England and Wales, in which Latey called Scientology a “cult” and said it was “corrupt, sinister and dangerous”. In the actual 1984 judgment made by Judge Latey, he stated: “Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious. […] In my judgement it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. […] It is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and relationships with others.” According to the boy’s post at Enturbulation.org, the City of London Police told him he had 15 minutes to remove the sign in question. He was given a court summons by the police about a half-hour later, and his sign was removed and taken by the police as evidence.

I am going to fight this and not take it down because I believe in freedom of speech.

In videos of the May 10 protest posted to YouTube, City of London Police can be seen telling protesters not to use the word “cult” in their signs. Protesters discussed the issue with police and stated that they had checked with lawyers and verified that criticizing religion was a valid form of protest. The police warned protesters that if they violated police instructions regarding usage of signs “you will be prosecuted”. A female police officer read a form statement to the 15-year-old and stated: “I’ve been asked, if you could remove it [the sign] by 11:30, if not then I’ll have to come back and either summons you or arrest you.” The boy read Mr. Justice Latey’s 1984 judgment to the police, and then said: “I’m not going to take this sign down.” He told fellow protesters: “If I don’t take the word ‘cult’ down, here [holding up his sign], I will be either, I think, most likely arrested or [given] a summons. I am going to fight this and not take it down because I believe in freedom of speech, besides which I’m only fifteen.”

After the boy was given a summons one of the protesters asked a member of the City of London Police force: “Are we allowed to say Justice Latey says Scientology is a cult?”, to which the police officer responded: “I’ve already had this discussion with people. Direct quotes by individuals, I haven’t got a problem with.”

This barmy prosecution makes a mockery of Britain’s free speech traditions.

“This barmy prosecution makes a mockery of Britain’s free speech traditions. After criminalising the use of the word ‘cult’, perhaps the next step is to ban the words ‘war’ and ‘tax’ from peaceful demonstrations?” said Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti in a statement in The Guardian. The boy has appealed for help in order to fight the potential charges and possible legal action from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Ian Haworth of the United Kingdom-based Cult Information Centre also commented on the actions of the City of London Police to The Guardian, saying: “This is an extraordinary situation. If it wasn’t so serious it would be farcical. The police’s job is to protect and serve. Who is being served and who is being protected in this situation? I find it very worrying.”

News of the summons issued to the UK minor has received significant attention on the Internet, hitting the front pages of websites Slashdot, Digg, and Boing Boing on Wednesday. The story has also been discussed in hundreds of blog postings, including sites related to the tech-sector and others related to civil liberties.

City of London police had received complaints about demonstrators using the words ‘cult’ and ‘Scientology kills’ during protests against the Church of Scientology on Saturday 10 May.

In a statement given to publications including The Guardian and The Register, a representative for the City of London Police explained the rationale for the summons: “City of London police had received complaints about demonstrators using the words ‘cult’ and ‘Scientology kills’ during protests against the Church of Scientology on Saturday 10 May. Following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service some demonstrators were warned verbally and in writing that their signs breached section five of the Public Order Act 1986. One demonstrator, a juvenile, continued to display a placard despite police warnings and was reported for an offence under section five. A file on the case will be sent to the CPS.”

“City of London Police upholds the right to demonstrate lawfully, but we have to balance that with the rights of all sections of the community not to be alarmed, distressed or harassed as a result of others’ actions,” said City of London Chief Superintendent Rob Bastable in a statement given to The Register and The Daily Telegraph. Unlike the City of London Police, the Metropolitan Police Service (the territorial police force responsible for Greater London excluding the City of London) has not raised an issue with protesters using the word “cult”, according to Londonist.

… if we receive a file we will review it in the normal way according to the code for crown prosecutors.

A spokesman for the CPS told The Guardian that they did not give City of London Police specific instruction about the boy’s protest sign. The spokesman said that the CPS gave the City of London Police “general advice” about the laws governing protests and “religiously aggravated crime”, but did not give advice about this specific case. “… if we receive a file we will review it in the normal way according to the code for crown prosecutors,” said the CPS spokesman.

The City of London Police has faced controversy in the past for its close association with the Church of Scientology. When the City of London Scientology building opened in 2006, City of London Chief Superintendent Kevin Hurley praised Scientology in an appearance as guest speaker at the building’s opening ceremony. Ken Stewart, another of the City of London’s chief superintendents, has also appeared in a video praising Scientology. According to The Guardian over 20 officers for the City of London Police have accepted gifts from the Church of Scientology including tickets to film premieres, lunches and concerts at police premises. Janet Kenyon-Laveau, spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology in the UK, told The Guardian that the relationship between the City of London Police and Scientology was mutually beneficial, and said that Scientologists conducted clean-up campaigns in urban areas affected by drug use problems. A City of London Police spokesman released a statement in November 2006 saying: “We are conducting a review to ensure that all members of staff are aware of the force policy on accepting hospitality and to assess whether clarification or amendment of this policy is necessary.”

Each of the Project Chanology international protests against Scientology has had a theme: the February protest called attention to the birthday of Lisa McPherson, who died under controversial circumstances while under the care of Scientology, the March protest was arranged to take place two days after Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard‘s birthday, the April protest highlighted the Church of Scientology’s disconnection policy, and the May protest highlighted the Scientology practice of “Fair Game” and took place one day after the anniversary of the publication of Hubbard’s book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Another international protest is planned for June 14, and will highlight the Church of Scientology’s elite “Sea Organization” or “Sea Org”.

 This story has updates See No prosecution for UK minor who called Scientology a ‘cult’ 

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Brookfield, Wisconsin man charged with stealing toilet and urinal parts

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Yesterday, the Milwaukee County district attorney charged Cory J. Feerick, a 33-year-old from Brookfield, Wisconsin, with five misdemeanor counts of stealing US$35,000 worth of flush valves from fast food restaurants and university toilets and urinals. If convicted, Feerick could spend to 9 to 45 months in jail, and pay between US$10,000 and US$50,000 in fines.

Initially arrested in late January following a local news television story on the thefts, he stands accused of stealing parts worth between US$300 and US$600 each from locations that included Milwaukee Area Technical College, Waukesha County Technical College, ITT Technical Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, the Pick ‘n Save on Capitol Drive in Brookfield, and the Arby’s also located on Capitol Drive in Brookfield.

Feerick was dubbed the “Backpack Bathroom Bandit” by the media because video showed him committing the thefts while wearing a backpack. The thefts reportedly took place in September and October of last year, with several area police departments involved in investigating them.

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Yogesh Patel of Shayona Builddown had sold some land to HN Safal construction, where the latter has started constructing a commercial complex – Sumel 9. There is some dispute between the two builders regarding this deal which has led to bad blood, the police said. Dhiren Voras driver Ashok Patel, a resident of Ghuma, in his complaint, has positively identified Yogesh Patel. He told the police RK Patel and Vora sir were on their way to Mondeal Heights, a commercial property near Novotel Hotel on SG Highway. I was driving the Audi car they were in. When we were near Shalby Hospital, our car was intercepted by two luxury cars. Four people, including Yogesh Patel, got out of the vehicles and started attacking us with rods and pipes.

They broke the windshield of our car and beat up RK Patel and me. Later, they fled. R K Patel and Ashok were taken to Shalby Hospital for primary treatment. Satellite Police Inspector M U Mashi said, We registered a complaint of driver Ashok Patel against Yogesh Patel and three others under section 323 Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt, 324 Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, 352 Punishment for assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation, 341 Punishment for wrongful restraint, 427 Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees and 120 B Criminal Conspiracy of Indian Penal Code. We will investigate and register the statement of Dhiren Vora and other witnesses.

Meanwhile, Shayona Buildcons Ghanshyam Patel, Yogesh Patels fa-ther, said, We had signed a deal of Rs 20 crore with HN Safal construction for the Maheshwari Mill plot. There is some amount that the Safal construction is yet to pay us. We have even sent them a bill for the pending amount but they refuse to pay. The allegations of attack by Dhiren Vora are baseless the plot of land at Maheshwari Mill compound in Dudheshwar, on which HN Safal construction is building Sumel 9, was earlier owned by Yogesh Patels Shayona Buildcon. According to sources, a few years ago, Yogesh and his father Ghanshyam Patel had started construction on this plot of land but had to sell the plot to HN Seafloor some reason. At the time, the deal was fixed for around Rs 20 crore. Today, the price of the property has gone up to over Rs 50 crore. Meanwhile, due to the new town planning scheme, more than 30 per cent of the land went to the government. Now, HN Safal construction is refusing to pay the remaining amount. This had led to bad blood between the two builders which may have led to Tuesdays attack, sources said.Shayona Buildcons director Yogesh Patel is not new to controversies. He was in news in 2012 when he had filed a complaint against former MLA Bharat Barot, accusing him of being involved in the abduction of his father Ghanshyam Patel. He has also, in the past, taken help of the Anticorruption Bureau to expose a Naranpura PI who had demanded bribe from a Meghaninagar local. According to sources, Yogesh had taken help of some local youths in Meghaninagar to run some controversial deals in Meghaninagar. Currently, Shayona Builddown has some small residential and commercial schemes in Dudheshwar and Meghaninagar. They have a registered office in Asarwa.

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New Zealander on oxygen machine dies after power disconnection

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Zealander Folole Muliaga died Tuesday morning after Mercury Energy cut off the power in her household due to $168.40 of unpaid bills. Mrs Folole Muliaga was seriously ill and dependent on an oxygen life support machine that required electricity to run.

The 44-year-old died two and a half hours after the power was cut by a contractor, working for State Owned Enterprise, Mercury Energy. A spokesperson for Mercury Energy has said that they are devastated and deeply sympathetic by the news, but state they did not know that the power was needed to run the oxygen machine. They have stated that discretion is exercised in cases of extreme hardship or when medical conditions make it appropriate and that the same contractor had done so the previous day. However, relatives claim that the contractor was told that the power was needed by family members present, was invited into the house and talked to Mrs Folole Muliaga, but showed no discretion or compassion under the circumstances.

The power was cut at about 11am. Brendan Sheehan, spokesperson for the family, said that after the power was cut, Mrs Muliaga suffered from breathing difficulties. During this time Mrs Mulianga declined an offer for an ambulance from family members. At about 1pm she informed her sons that she was feeling dizzy and asked for hymns to be sung. Her condition quickly deteriorated until she couldn’t speak. When she passed out at 1:32pm, an ambulance was called but Mrs Mulianga could not be revived when it arrived 12 minutes later.

That same evening remaining family members claim they had to grieve in the dark, power was only reconnected after the outstanding amount of $168.40 was paid to Mercury Energy. Mercury Energy claim that the were initially only made aware that a funeral was going to take place and attempted to reconnect the supply at midnight once the full circumstances were made clear but were unable to contact the family. They state the supply was eventually reconnected before 8am the next day. Evidence has been provided by family members to show that they had made two payments to Mercury Energy in the same month trying to clear their outstanding bill, $61.90 on 1 May 2007, and $45 on 17 May 2007.

Trevor Mallard, minister of State Owned Enterprises, said, “I do think it is important that the facts are established before people rush to judgement.”

Both the New Zealand Police and Mercury Energy, the retail operating division of Mighty River Power, are conducting investigations into the events.

The mother-of-four school teacher lived in Mangere, South Auckland and had been suffering from a heart and lung condition, according to relatives of Mrs Muliaga, since February.

Hospital doctors have expressed surprise at the short length of time between when the supply was cut and the death occurred. They have also explained that relatives are trained what to do if the supply is lost, including to call for an ambulance if severe symptoms develop.

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A portrait of Scotland: Gallery reopens after £17.6 million renovation

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today saw Edinburgh’s Scottish National Portrait Gallery reopen following a two-and-a-half-year, £17.6m (US$27.4m) refurbishment. Conversion of office and storage areas sees 60% more space available for displays, and the world’s first purpose-built portrait space is redefining what a portrait gallery should contain; amongst the displays are photographs of the Scottish landscape—portraits of the country itself.

First opened in 1889, Sir Robert Rowand Anderson’s red sandstone building was gifted to the nation by John Ritchie Findlay, then-owner of The Scotsman newspaper and, a well-known philanthropist. The original cost of construction between 1885 and 1890 is estimated at over 70,000 pounds sterling. Up until 1954, the building also housed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who moved to the National Museum of Scotland buildings on Chambers Street. The society’s original meeting table now sits in the public part of the portrait gallery’s library, stared down on by an array of busts and phrenological artefacts.

Wikinewsie Brian McNeil, with other members of the press, received a guided tour of the gallery last Monday from Deputy Director Nicola Kalinsky. What Kalinsky described as an introduction to the gallery that previously took around 40 minutes, now takes in excess of an hour-and-a-half; with little in the way of questions asked, a more inquisitive tour group could readily take well over two hours to be guided round the seventeen exhibitions currently housed in the gallery.

A substantial amount of the 60% additional exhibition space is readily apparent on the ground floor. On your left as you enter the gallery is the newly-fitted giant glass elevator, and the “Hot Scots” photographic portrait gallery. This exhibit is intended to show well-known Scottish faces, and will change over time as people fall out of favour, and others take their place. A substantial number of the people now being highlighted are current, and recent, cast members from the BBC’s Doctor Who series.

The new elevator (left) is the most visible change to improve disabled access to the gallery. Prior to the renovation work, access was only ‘on request’ through staff using a wooden ramp to allow wheelchair access. The entire Queen Street front of the building is reworked with sloping access in addition to the original steps. Whilst a lift was previously available within the gallery, it was only large enough for two people; when used for a wheelchair, it was so cramped that any disabled person’s helper had to go up or down separately from them.

The gallery expects that the renovation work will see visitor numbers double from before the 2009 closure to around 300,000 each year. As with many of Edinburgh’s museums and galleries, access is free to the public.

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The expected significant increase in numbers has seen them working closely with the National Museum of Scotland, which was itself reopened earlier this year after extensive refurbishment work; improved access for wheelchair users also makes it far easier for mothers with baby buggies to access the gallery – prompting more thought on issues as seemingly small as nappy-changing – as Patricia Convery, the gallery’s Head of Press, told Wikinews, a great deal of thought went into the practicalities of increased visitor numbers, and what is needed to ensure as many visitors as possible have a good experience at the gallery.

Press access to the gallery on Monday was from around 11:30am, with refreshments and an opportunity to catch some of the staff in the Grand Hall before a brief welcoming introduction to the refurbished gallery given by John Leighton, director of the National Galleries of Scotland. Centre-stage in the Grand Hall is a statue of Robert Burns built with funds raised from around the British Empire and intended for his memorial situated on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

The ambulatories surrounding the Grand Hall give the space a cathedral-like feel, with numerous busts – predominantly of Scottish figures – looking in on the tiled floor. The east corner holds a plaque commemorating the gallery’s reopening, next to a far more ornate memorial to John Ritchie Findlay, who not only funded and commissioned the building’s construction, but masterminded all aspects of the then-new home for the national collection.

Split into two groups, members of the press toured with gallery Director James Holloway, and Nicola Kalinsky, Deputy Director. Wikinews’ McNeil joined Kalinsky’s group, first visiting The Contemporary Scotland Gallery. This ground-floor gallery currently houses two exhibits, first being the Hot Scots display of photographic portraits of well-known Scottish figures from film, television, and music. Centre-stage in this exhibit is the newly-acquired Albert Watson portrait of Sir Sean Connery. James McAvoy, Armando Iannucci, playwright John Byrne, and Dr Who actress Karen Gillan also feature in the 18-photograph display.

The second exhibit in the Contemporary gallery, flanked by the new educational facilities, is the Missing exhibit. This is a video installation by Graham Fagen, and deals with the issue of missing persons. The installation was first shown during the National Theatre of Scotland’s staging of Andrew O’Hagan’s play, The Missing. Amongst the images displayed in Fagen’s video exhibit are clips from the deprived Sighthill and Wester-Hailes areas of Edinburgh, including footage of empty play-areas and footbridges across larger roads that sub-divide the areas.

With the only other facilities on the ground floor being the education suite, reception/information desk, cafe and the gallery’s shop, Wikinews’ McNeil proceeded with the rest of Kalinsky’s tour group to the top floor of the gallery, all easily fitting into the large glass hydraulic elevator.

The top (2nd) floor of the building is now divided into ten galleries, with the larger spaces having had lowered, false ceilings removed, and adjustable ceiling blinds installed to allow a degree of control over the amount of natural light let in. The architects and building contractors responsible for the renovation work were required, for one side of the building, to recreate previously-removed skylights by duplicating those they refurbished on the other. Kalinsky, at one point, highlighted a constructed-from-scratch new sandstone door frame; indistinguishable from the building’s original fittings, she remarked that the building workers had taken “a real interest” in the vision for the gallery.

The tour group were first shown the Citizens of the World gallery, currently hosting an 18th century Enlightenment-themed display which focuses on the works of David Hume and Allan Ramsay. Alongside the most significant 18th century items from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, are some of the 133 new loans for the opening displays. For previous visitors to the gallery, one other notable change is underfoot; previously carpeted, the original parquet floors of the museum have been polished and varnished, and there is little to indicate it is over 120 years since the flooring was originally laid.

Throughout many of the upper-floor displays, the gallery has placed more light-sensitive works in wall-mounted cabinets and pull-out drawers. Akin to rummaging through the drawers and cupboards of a strange house, a wealth of items – many previously never displayed – are now accessible by the public. Commenting on the larger, featured oils, Deputy Director Kalinsky stressed that centuries-old portraits displayed in the naturally-lit upper exhibitions had not been restored for the opening; focus groups touring the gallery during the renovation had queried this, and the visibly bright colours are actually the consequence of displaying the works in natural light, not costly and risky restoration of the paintings.

There are four other large galleries on the top floor. Reformation to Revolution is an exhibition covering the transition from an absolute Catholic monarchy through to the 1688 revolution. Items on-display include some of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery’s most famous items – including Mary Queen of Scots and The Execution of Charles I. The portrait-based depiction of this historical age is complemented with prints, medals, and miniatures from the period.

Imagining Power is a Jacobite-themed exhibition, one which looks at the sometime-romanticised Stuart dynasty. The Gallery owns the most extensive collection of such material in the world; the portraiture that includes Flora MacDonald and Prince Charles Edward Stuart is complemented by glassware from the period which is on-loan from the Drambuie Liqueur Company which Kalinsky remarked upon as the only way Scots from the period could celebrate the deposed monarchy – toasting The King over the Water in appropriately engraved glasses.

On the other side of the upper floor, the two main naturally-lit exhibitions are The Age of Improvement, and Playing for Scotland. The first of these looks at societal changes through the 18th and 19th centuries, including Nasmyth’s 1787 portrait of the young Robert Burns and – well-known to past visitors to the portrait gallery – Raeburn’s 1822 depiction of Sir Walter Scott. These are complemented with some of the National Gallery’s collection of landscapes and earliest scenes from Scottish industry.

Playing for Scotland takes a look at the development of modern sports in the 19th century; migration from countryside to cities dramatically increased participation in sporting activities, and standardised rules were laid down for many modern sports. This exhibition covers Scotland’s four national sports – curling, shinty, golf, and bowls – and includes some interesting photographic images, such as those of early strong-men, which show how more leisure time increased people’s involvement in sporting activities.

Next to the Reformation to Revolution gallery is A Survey of Scotland. Largely composed of works on-loan from the National Library of Scotland, this showcase of John Slezer’s work which led to the 1693 publication of Theatrum Scotiae also includes some of the important early landscape paintings in the national collection.

The work of Scotland’s first portrait painter, the Aberdeen-born George Jamesone, takes up the other of the smaller exhibits on the east side of the refurbished building. As the first-ever dedicated display of Jamesone’s work, his imaginary heroic portraits of Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace are included.

On the west side of the building, the two smaller galleries currently house the Close Encounters and Out of the Shadow exhibits. Close Encounters is an extensive collection of the Glasgow slums photographic work of Thomas Annan. Few people are visible in the black and white images of the slums, making what were squalid conditions appear more romantic than the actual conditions of living in them.

The Out of the Shadow exhibit takes a look at the role of women in 19th century Scotland, showing them moving forward and becoming more recognisable individuals. The exceptions to the rules of the time, known for their work as writers and artists, as-opposed to the perceived role of primary duties as wives and mothers, are showcased. Previously constrained to the domestic sphere and only featuring in portraits alongside men, those on-display are some of the people who laid the groundwork for the Suffrage movement.

The first floor of the newly-reopened building has four exhibits on one side, with the library and photographic gallery on the other. The wood-lined library was moved, in its entirety, from elsewhere in the building and is divided into two parts. In the main public part, the original table from the Society of Antiquaries sits centred and surrounded by glass-fronted cabinets of reference books. Visible, but closed to public access, is the research area. Apart from a slight smell of wood glue, there was little to indicate to the tour group that the entire room had been moved from elsewhere in the building.

The War at Sea exhibit, a collaboration with the Imperial War Museum, showcases the work of official war artist John Lavery. His paintings are on-display, complemented by photographs of the women who worked in British factories throughout the First World War. Just visible from the windows of this gallery is the Firth of Forth where much of the naval action in the war took place. Situated in the corner of the room is a remote-controlled ‘periscope’ which allows visitors a clearer view of the Forth as-seen from the roof of the building.

Sir Patrick Geddes, best-known for his work on urban planning, is cited as one of the key influencers of the Scottish Renaissance Movement which serves as a starting point for The Modern Scot exhibit. A new look at the visual aspects of the movement, and a renewal of Scottish Nationalist culture that began between the two World Wars, continuing into the late 20th century, sees works by William McCance, William Johnstone, and notable modernists on display.

Migration Stories is a mainly photographic exhibit, prominently featuring family portraits from the country’s 30,000-strong Pakistani community, and exploring migration into and out of Scotland. The gallery’s intent is to change the exhibit over time, taking a look at a range of aspects of Scottish identity and the influence on that from migration. In addition to the striking portraits of notable Scots-Pakistani family groups, Fragments of Love – by Pakistani-born filmmaker Sana Bilgrami – and Isabella T. McNair’s visual narration of a Scottish teacher in Lahore are currently on-display.

The adjacent Pioneers of Science exhibit has Ken Currie’s 2002 Three Oncologists as its most dramatic item. Focussing on Scotland’s reputation as a centre of scientific innovation, the model for James Clerk Maxwell’s statue in the city’s George Street sits alongside photographs from the Roslin Institute and a death mask of Dolly the sheep. Deputy Director Kalinsky, commented that Dolly had been an incredibly spoilt animal, often given sweets, and this was evident from her teeth when the death mask was taken.

Now open daily from 10am to 5pm, and with more of their collection visible than ever before, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will change some of the smaller current exhibits after 12 to 18 months on display. The ground-floor information desk has available five mini-guides, or ‘trails’, which are thematic guides to specific display items. These are: The Secret Nature trail, The Catwalk Collection trail, The Situations Vacant trail, The Best Wee Nation & The World trail, and The Fur Coat an’ Nae Knickers Trail.

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US researchers find a large asteroid held together by forces other than gravity

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A team of researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has confirmed that near-Earth asteroid (29075) 1950 DA is primarily held together by van der Waals forces rather than gravity. They have shown that the rotation rate of the 1.1 km asteroid is higher than could be possible if only gravity and friction were responsible for holding it together. Cohesive forces prevent large scale shedding of material and breakup of the asteroid. Their study was published Wednesday in Nature.

The researchers found that the bulk density 1.7±0.7 g/cm³ of the asteroid is approximately two times lower than the value required for self-gravity to balance out the centrifugal forces caused by rotation. As Ben Rozitis, a planetary scientist and a co-author of the study, told Space.com: “I was expecting to find a high-density metallic asteroid, as such an asteroid wouldn’t require cohesive forces to hold itself together under its fast rotation. Instead we found the opposite! […] We knew from previous work that this asteroid was rotating faster than it should be, and we wanted to know why”.

Spectral observations of 1950DA indicated that it is either an E- or M-type asteroid in the Tholen classification. However, its low optical albedo and low radar circular polarization ratio (a very smooth surface at centimetre to decimetre scales) showed that it cannot be an E-type asteroid.

Unusually for an M-type asteroid (which are mostly metallic), 1950DA has low radar albedo. It would have been puzzling, if it was not for the Rosetta observations of 21 Lutetia, which is also an M-type asteroid with very similar low radar albedo. Researchers have used for 1950DA the same meteorite analogue which was earlier found to fit best 21 Lutetia: enstatite chondrite with grain density of 3.55 g/cm³. It allowed to calculate macro-porosity of 51±19%, indicating that 1950DA is a rubble-pile asteroid.

Taking into account thermal-infrared measurements of thermal inertia, presence of a fine-grained regolith is implied, primarily around 1950DA’s equator. Negative ambient gravity near the equator of the asteroid (48±24% of its surface) requires existence of cohesive forces to prevent loss of material. This is similar to an effect noticed between the fine grains of regolith on the Moon. Lunar regolith was found to be highly cohesive because of van der Waals forces between grains by the Apollo 17 expedition in 1974.

As Ben Rozitis explained: “We found a low-density rubble pile that traditionally would be unable to hold itself together unless cohesive forces were present. It’s exciting because we’ve provided the first evidence that cohesive forces are important for small asteroids, which had only been predicted up until now.”

The balance between cohesion and negative gravity requires small grain sizes consistent with the grain size distribution on 1950DA, and similar to that of another rubble-pile asteroid, (25143) Itokawa. Unlike Itokawa, 1950DA does not have large boulders on the surface; they may have been lost as 1950DA’s rotation accelerated due to YORP effect. This effect results in a change of the rotation rate of an asteroid (either faster or slower), and is caused when the Sun heats up an object unevenly, due to asymmetric surface topography. As the heat escapes, the rotation rate is slowly changed due to an uneven rate of cooling. The researchers find that a rubble-pile asteroid may have a high rotation rate, if it is held together by cohesive forces between the grains. But as the spin rate increases due to YORP effect, the centrifugal force may cause the rubble pile to eventually separate as it happened with P/2013 R3.

The findings may have implications for asteroid impact avoidance. A very small impulse may break one potentially hazardous object into several pieces. As Ben Rozitis said: “You’d want to avoid interacting with the asteroid directly. An alternative is to use a ‘gravity tractor,’ or a heavy spacecraft placed near the asteroid, which uses the force of gravity to pull the asteroid off course”. Bong Wie, an aerospace engineer at Iowa State University in Ames, noted: “I just hope that an asteroid on a collision course with Earth will not be spinning rapidly and it will not be a rubble-pile asteroid”.

According to Daniel Scheeres, an aerospace engineer at the University of Colorado, Boulder, understanding such cohesive forces may also be important for future asteroid mining. Ben Rozitis clarified: “Mining missions intend to visit small asteroids about 10 meters (33 feet) or less in size, as it is thought that they are predominantly solid bodies. However, cohesive forces enable such small asteroids to be rubble piles instead. A small rubble-pile asteroid would be harder to interact with and collect, as it can easily deform or break up when subject to external forces.”

The study was supported by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and the NASA.

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Financing A Used Car, Visit A Dealer In West Chicago

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byadmin

Buying a car is a significant milestone in anyone’s life. Putting your keys in the ignition of a vehicle that officially belongs to you is unlike any other shopping experience. But for many individuals, the question of how to finance a used car purchase can linger in the air. If you’re in West Chicago, here are some tips on how you can get one step closer to owning your next car:

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Pre-Approval

Pre-approval offers flexibility to car purchasers and peace of mind. Simply by filling out a short online form and clicking a button, you can find out instantly how much lenders are willing to give you for your used car purchase. You can see how much you would need to make in monthly payments, as well as the interest rates available to you. Pre-approved loans can often come with much more competitive interest rates than standard loans, and you’ll be left with much more bargaining power than if you relied on traditional loans. Your pre-approved loan is an efficient way of financing your used car, as well as getting a sense of your budget for long-term.

A Different Kind of Extra Credit

Growing up in school, you may have heard of plenty of opportunities to get extra credit. Well, when it comes to buying a used car, you should have the same second chance. While most West Chicago dealerships won’t help your high school GPA, they can help you get a used car, despite your current financial situation. All you have to do is complete an application online, print out your results, and head to the nearest dealer.

Financing a used car can be as simple as clicking a button. If you are looking to finance through a dealer, contact Hawk Ford of St. Charles near West Chicago at http://www.hawkfordstcharles.com/ and they can give you all of your current options.

Eurovision ’09 competitor Chiara talks about her current song “What If We” and her past accolades

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The small archipelago of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea takes the Eurovision Song Contest very seriously. Leading a fight to remove a cap on the number of competing countries brought them back to the Contest in 1991 after a 16-year absence, and ever since the nation has had perfect attendance.

Since then, Malta’s dependable “shining star” has been Chiara Siracusa, who goes by her first name in her music career. First competing in 1998 at the age of 21, she was pushed to the brink of victory until the votes from the final country that evening leveled her placement to third. Her rendition of the song “The One That I Love,” and the recognition she received not only for herself, but for her country, made her a star in Malta overnight, and helped her launch a singing career in Europe.

She would later return to the Contest in 2005 with “Angel,” an anthem she penned herself, and achieved second place. Now, in 2009, she will be going back to Eurovision for a third try, hoping for the “3-2-1” charm and a victory — something that has eluded her thus far. Her entry, the ballad “What If We,” has special memories for Chiara; it is dedicated to her father, who is recently deceased.

What if Chiara could take home the gold in Moscow; for Malta, for her father, and for herself? Only time will tell. Chiara took time out of her Eurovision promotional schedule to answer some questions from Wikinews’ Mike Halterman about her past performances, and most importantly, her upcoming one.

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with past Eurovision contestants, which will be published sporadically in the lead-up to mid-May’s next contest in Moscow.


((Mike Halterman)) You’ll be going to Moscow for a third try at possibly winning Eurovision. Why did you decide to compete this year? How did your partnership with Marc Paelinck and Gregory Bilsen come about?

Chiara: Well, I met Marc Paelinck long time ago through a friend in Belgium. We started working together and it brought us to this collaboration today. I was thinking of going back to the festival [for a long time] and this year felt like the right year to do so.

((Mike Halterman)) Eurovision fans from across Europe picked you as the wide favorite to win Malta’s preselection this year. Were you as confident? Were you nervous about competing in the semi-final rounds this time around, or did you think this was something you could handle?

Chiara: When I go into a competition, I always go to win, but I was nervous like everyone else…I think [when] you win a festival, [you win] for what you present, not for what your history is.

((Mike Halterman)) Growing up, did you always want to become a singer? Who were your musical influences, and what genres do you think are your favorite? Do you think these preferences have molded you into the singer you are today?

Chiara: Definitely. My mum always says I used to sing and dance for them all the time since I was a baby, and I’ve always loved ballads. In fact, my favourite singer has always been Whitney Houston.

((Mike Halterman)) How did you come to the decision to enter the Eurovision pre-selection for Malta back in 1998? What kinds of feelings did you experience during the path you took to eventual victory in the national final?

Chiara: 1998 was my first time in the festival. I was very young and I felt I could never win it. I wanted just to try and be there with the big names of those times. It was very scary and overwhelming, [and] then I won.

((Mike Halterman)) Did you feel overwhelmed performing in front of an international audience in Birmingham? What kind of personal feelings and emotions made you relate to the song you sang, “The One That I Love”? There were remarks afterwards that your performance was great, but your dress had similarities to Barbara Dex’s from five years before (and she has become well-known for her “fashion don’t”). Looking back on it, what did you think of that dress?

Chiara: Well…looking back I remember that I was completely overwhelmed [singing] in front of so many people. I was very scared but managed to do well. As for the dress, they were different times [back then] and it was beyond my control.

((Mike Halterman)) You came very close to winning the Contest for Malta back in 1998. When you didn’t, how did it make you feel? Did you feel “robbed”? As an addenda, some Wikipedians I’ve talked to have hypothesized that tabloid hype before the event helped Dana International win; in other words, she would not have won had she not been a transsexual. Do you feel that’s true, and did you like her song?

Chiara: I know a lot of Maltese who voted for Dana because they liked the song and for no other reason. The song was good and we still hear it today.

Obviously when you are so close to winning something and you don’t, yes, you feel a bit robbed, but [then there’s] the moment [when] you realise you did well and you are happy.

((Mike Halterman)) After Eurovision, you made a transformation from an unknown singing hopeful to a true recording artist. Tell us a bit about your transformation, and how you felt during this time. Also, around this time you started to perform in concerts and festivals abroad. What was your best memory from this time, when you were performing abroad and people from outside Malta not only knew who you were, but were interested in your life and music.

Chiara: Everything came like rain in my life, from one thing to the other, and before I knew it I became “Chiara of Malta.” I loved it, but I didn’t have much time to think about it. It came quickly; I went to a lot of places and sang with many people but I think what I will always remember is the concert I did with my band, where Seal was as well in the same event, in Frankfurt. It was incredible.

((Mike Halterman)) In 2005, you entered the Contest again, this time with a song you wrote yourself. What is the meaning behind “Angel,” and what kind of story do the lyrics tell about your own life and experiences?

Chiara: “Angel” is a love song and it will always have a special place in my heart. It’s about the love you give someone without wanting anything back, and the unlimited support too.

((Mike Halterman)) You achieved the best placing for Malta in Eurovision history with your performance in 2005. What did you learn from your experiences in 1998 and, in your mind, how did you improve to become more successful in 2005?

Chiara: I think it’s the maturity and the experience. [Through] the years, without knowing, you [gather] so many lessons and behave better and take things a bit more serious and so on.

((Mike Halterman)) Surely you’ve read not only supportive comments, but negative ones as well, particularly concerning your weight. At the same time, however, you have become a role model of sorts for fuller-figured women across Europe, who aren’t accustomed to seeing “people like them” at Eurovision. How did you deal with the negativity, both in the context of the Contest and in your personal life, and what message do you hope to give to full-figured women who look to you for inspiration?

Chiara: Well, I have always been “full figured,” as you put it. I have spent time in my life trying to become as thin as I could, but I could never make it. Through the years I have learnt to accept myself and love me for what I am and how I look. I feel I have nothing less than others and my advice is to be happy with yourself, and love yourself, because you can never get someone to love you if you yourself don’t.

((Mike Halterman)) Tell us about the emotions you convey in the song “What If We.” Every song has a story, so what is the story played out in this song?

Chiara: The story for me with this song is completely about my father. He was the one to contact Marc [Paelinck] and he was the machine behind Eurovision for me, so he’s entirely what this song is about for me and being that he passed away three months ago, well, it makes the song very special when I sing it.

((Mike Halterman)) If you had to absolutely pick one song, which of the three songs you’ve submitted is your favorite, and why?

Chiara: The three songs [each] have a story of [their own]. “The One That I Love” gave me my whole career, my fame and everything I am today so i can never forget it; “Angel” is too special because it’s like my baby, I wrote it myself; and “What If We” is very deep in my heart because of my dad, so I can never choose between them. Sorry!

((Mike Halterman)) What are your plans for after the Contest? What kinds of projects would you like to pursue? Have you considered launching a singing career in the United States?

Chiara: My immediate project after the festival is an album which I have already started working on, in my style [which] is completely ballads, then wherever that takes me I’ll go, [whether it be] the U.S. or elsewhere.

((Mike Halterman)) Finally, what would you like to tell all of your fans, awaiting your performance this May in Moscow?

Chiara: I would like to thank them for the ongoing support they have always showed me, and promise them I will give them my all on the performance night in Moscow.

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Finding A Comprehensive Resource For Appliance Parts In Lancaster, Pa

byAlma Abell

For many people, a broken appliance means it’s time to buy a new appliance. However, in many cases, you can repair your appliance if you have a right amount of skill, the right tools and the right parts. There are also many businesses that offer repair for vital home appliances. Regardless of whether you’re an individual looking to repair their broken down appliance or your business offers appliance repair, a great resource for Appliance Parts Lancaster PA is going to be necessary.

One of the things to look for in an appliance part provider is one that offers appliance parts for a wide variety of different manufacturers. All you have to do is going to appliance store or a large home improvement store to realize that there are a number of different appliance manufacturers. What this means is that while some parts are very standard, manufacturers typically have different parts pursuant to their method of construction and this means that there are going to be a wide variety of different appliances that are going to require parts. The parts provider should have extensive replacement parts for a number of different manufacturers in order to be a good resource for any of your appliance parts needed.

In addition to a large complement of in stock appliance parts, a quality resource for Appliance Parts in Lancaster PA is going to be a place that will have the option of getting those hard-to-find parts quickly if they are not in stock. Sometimes, you will find this with parts that wear out quite frequently. In some cases, a parts resource will from time to time be low on inventory and they should be able to get those parts in very short order so that you won’t have to wait a great deal of time to repair your appliance. If it’s a special order part, they should be able to have numerous resources that they use in order to get those hard-to-find parts at a moments notice.

Whether it’s appliance repair service that is providing the parts or you’re looking to a retailer for the replacement part you need, a quality resource for appliance parts is vital. You want to make sure you find the most comprehensive selection of replacement parts you can so that your appliance will be up and running in no time at all.

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Toilet on International Space Station breaks

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

According to a NASA status report, the lone toilet on the International Space Station (ISS) has broken, leaving the astronauts on board having to use a rigged-up system of bags to collect any liquid waste.

According to NASA, the collection fan motor broke sometime last week after one of the crew used the Russian-made toilet in the space station. The NASA status report quotes the crew as hearing “a loud noise and the fan stopped working”. Russian officials have yet to solve the cause of the breakage and fix it. The seven-year old toilet has broken once before but not for a long period of time.

The crew had been temporarily using the toilet in the Soyuz capsule, but this has a very limited capacity.

NASA officials are now considering flying in replacement parts for the toilet and putting them on Space Shuttle Discovery, which is due to launch on Saturday and scheduled to arrive at the ISS on Monday.

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