US Nationwide Pollution Permit Restrictions Upheld

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

The US Army Corps of Engineers decision to place restrictions on issuance of nationwide pollution permits has been upheld by a federal court. In National Association of Home Builders v. Army Corps of Engineers, the District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Corps of Engineers had not acted in an “arbitrary” or “capricious” manner in changing the terms and conditions for issuance of a national pollution permit, including reducing the size of area into which pollutants may be discharged from 10 acres to 1 acre, raising the threshold for requiring additional permits from 1 acre to 1/10 acre,

A nationwide permit allows an organization to engage in certain industrial activities on a national basis (such as mining and construction), reducing the amount of paperwork and filings needed for otherwise minor environmental impacts, as opposed to an ordinary permit for a specific location which will engage in activities which generate water pollution.

Due to concerns over the amount of discharge taking place in waterways, the Corps of Engineers began in the 1980s to reduce the authority granted by nationwide permits and to bar use of the permits in certain ecologically sensitive areas.

Some industry groups, including the plaintiff in the above case, The National Association of Home Builders, sued the Corps of Engineers in 2000 over the change in an attempt to block its implementation. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, were given permission to intervene in the case in support of the actions of the Corps.

Environmental groups were pleased with the decision, but are concerned over other actions of the Bush Administration, such as the attempts to weaken provisions of the 2002 Clean Water Act to allow additional dumping of construction and mining waste into waterways as fill material.

Skeletons found under home in Hertfordshire

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catherine McGuigan, a resident in South Mimms, Hertfordshire, UK, found skeletons from over a century ago buried under her dining room.

She had hired builders for an extension for her cottage, where she has lived for eleven years, and at the beginning of April they found human bones in the ground.

Her cottage was built over a burial ground; from 1697 to 1820 the land was owned by the Religious Society of Friends. In the 1600s, members of the society, better known as Quakers, were persecuted for their beliefs and so were not allowed to be buried in consecrated church grounds. Instead burials, which were also sometimes for others not recognised as parishioners – such as homeless people, often took place in the countryside.

The Daily Mail states in its April article that the Religious Society of Friends have advised McGuigan that she “must cremate” the bodies, however Quakers have written an open letter to the Daily Mail, informing that for Quakers, there is “no specific advice on the disposal of bodies”, and that they had never expressed an opinion on how the discovered skeletons should be buried.

The cremation was rumoured to cost up to £32,000 – an £800 quote for cremation of a single body multiplied by 40, however as yet only ten bodies have been discovered.

The builders originally thought the bones were pieces of pipe, and McGuigan has now ordered coffins and is looking to holding a mass cremation or a burial in a nearby field.

2008 Taste of Taiwan Cuisine: A complex to redefine Taiwan’s MICE industry

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Ever since the Taste of Taiwan Cuisine, a complex to promote the MICE (meeting, incentive travel, conference, and exhibition) and cultural industries in Taiwan exclusively in June, made its initiation at 2006, the tourism ratio from foreigners were progressively increased in this complex event.

To bring up the MICE industry, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the event organizer, arranged several key events including Taipei Trade Shows, travel packages, views, and conferences for international businesspeople. This effectively redefined the MICE industry in Taiwan during the event.

As the 2008 WiMAX Expo Taipei and COMPUTEX Taipei jointly showcased in the Taipei World Trade Center Hall 1 – 3, Taipei International Convention Center, and TWTC Nangang, the potential of ICT industry in Taiwan were demonstrated to drive more discussions between international businesspeople during the show hours and conferences.

Products related to current incidents including energy-efficiency, environmental-friendly, and low-prices were highly respected from industrial businesspeople. In addition to several forums and seminars, topical issues including environment and energy-saving were also mentioned during the shows.

Apart from seminars and trade shows, since the TWTC Nangang was launched on March 13, the venue brought opportunities for several industries. As the government claimed to promote the MICE industry positively, Taiwan will keep its stable position on international sourcing center in Asia with more trade shows expanded to TWTC Nangang.

Culinary, historical ancestry, natural views, and country images, are key factors to demonstrate the culture of a nation. Different from them, the creativity and innovations showcased another style in its [cultural] industry.

A good example was the organization of three theme shows for food and packaging industries – “Food Taipei”, “Foodtech Taipei”, and “Taipei Pack”, a collective with different cultures from twenty-seven countries including United States, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Sri Lanka, Austria, Philippines, Chile, Malaysia, Spain, Fiji, Poland, and six nations from Africa.

Not only the shows, the TAITRA also provided several special coupon cards for international businesspeople to discount in several local department stores, hotels, tourism views, and gourmet stores to rise up the tourism industry.

Although the tourism industry was firmly prosper as trade shows went smoothly, but when a great shows took place at Taipei World Trade Center, it still exposed a major problem on transportation although Walter Yeh, Vice President of TAITRA, ever emphasized to improve this critical issue in a press conference.

Acquiring Coverage For Your Business Through A Local Insurance Company In Suffolk County, Ny

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In New York, it is vital for all business owners to acquire coverage to protect their property. The coverage available to them can protect them against the unforeseen and prevent them from experiencing a major financial loss. For some businesses, a serious loss could lead to a shut down of their company. Insurance company in Suffolk County NY provide business insurance to help them.

Protecting the Building Itself

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Business insurance provides coverage for the building and all fixtures that connect to it. This includes garages and storage buildings. The policy pays for damage sustained during a storm, natural disaster, fire, or criminal act. The policy will also provide compensation when the property is a total loss. The value provided depends on the policy selected by the owner. This could equate to the current market value of the home.

Acquiring Coverage for On-Site Inventory

Businesses that manufacture products and store them on-site need additional coverage to protect these items. With a rider, the business owner could include the exact value of these items. This allows them to collect funds to replace the items completely if they are damaged.

A rider could also help them to protect valuables stored inside the building. These items must be assets owned by the company itself. Most business insurance policies do not cover the personal belongings of the business owner. The rider must identify the item specifically, and an appraisal should be included.

What Criminal Acts are Covered?

Arson, vandalism, and break-ins are covered under the business insurance policy. It provides the owner with financial assistance to repair the property and to replace items that were stolen or damaged during the event. This may include the installation of new security systems or locking mechanisms. The owner should evaluate the specifics of the policy to achieve maximum coverage.

In New York, all business owners need thorough protection for their investment. They need policies to protect them against financial losses. These losses could relate to structural damage or the loss of their on-site inventory. Business owners who need to discuss coverage with an Insurance Company in Suffolk County NY should check out Ginsbergagency.com today.

Egyptian treasures found in ancient tomb

Friday, March 13, 2009

A team of archaeologists excavating an Ancient Egyptian tomb have discovered golden jewelry in a recently-discovered lower chamber at the Valley of the Kings burial site in Luxor, Egypt.

Two golden rings and five golden earrings were found in the tomb of Djehuty, an 18th-dynasty official of Queen Hatshepsut, and were probably the property of Djehuty or his family.

The discovery was announced by Farouk Hosni, Egypt’s current Minister of Culture.

Djehuty was overseer of the treasury and overseer of works for the Queen. Hatshepsut reigned approximately 1479–1458 BCE. Djehuty was responsible for managing the huge amounts of precious goods brought in from Egypt’s military expedition to Punt in the Horn of Africa and the vast building projects of Hatshepsut which have made the female pharaoh one of the most-remembered of any from ancient Egypt.

Djehuty died after Hatshepsut did, sometime during the reign of Thutmosis III. Both Hatshepsut’s and Thutmosis’s names are recorded on the tomb. In a fashion typical of ancient Egyptian rivalries, Hatshepsut’s name was partly obscured on the monument over the tomb sometime after the queen’s death.

The team, led by José Manuel Galán of the National Research Center (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC), in Madrid, Spain, had been excavating the tomb, designated TT11 and located in the necropolis of Dra’ Abu el-Naga’, since 2002. While much of Djehuty’s funerary equipment was lost to fire in antiquity, the lower chamber of his tomb was concealed at the end of a three-meter shaft and discovered at the end of 2008.

A superficial description of the tomb itself was recorded almost two hundred years ago by 19th-century French Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion, rubble blocking the entrance hindered excavation until the 21st century. In that time, emphasis in Egyptology has changed from the cataloging of treasures to the investigation of ancient culture, life and religion.

Since excavation began, Djehuty’s tomb has yielded a number of surprises. It was discovered that the tomb was re-used repeatedly up to and during the Greco-Roman period. There is an unusual face-on depiction of pharaoh Thutmosis III hunting ducks, and the mummy of a young, bejewelled, as-yet unidentified woman.

In 2007, 44 preserved bunches of flowers thought to be from Djehuty’s funeral were found in the site. In their 8th season of excavation, which ended on February 22, 2009, the team also found considerable evidence that below Djehuty’s tomb is a network of burial sites from the 11th dynasty, four thousand years old.

The lower chamber also displays passages from the Egyptian funerary text the Book of the Dead on its walls and a colorful mural of the goddess Nut, an embodiment of the heavens, on the ceiling. The names of Djehuty and his parents were also intact in the second chamber; the names were defaced in the previously-known first chamber of the tomb, which had also been looted.

According to a press release from Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Djehuty’s tomb is only the fifth known decorated burial chamber of the 18th dynasty. An additional unusual feature of the tomb is that its upper chamber is decorated in relief, rather than simply paint. When the excavation is completed, Dr Galán’s team plans to open the site to the public as the carved stoneworks will not be destroyed by tourists’ activities as paint would.

The identification of Djehuty is a complicated one, as a number of officials of the 18th dynasty bore the name, including a general and several governors. The name itself is an alternate transliteration of the name of the Egyptian god usually written in English as Thoth.

Computer professionals celebrate 10th birthday of A.L.I.C.E.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005File:Turing1.jpg

More than 50 programmers, scientists, students, hobbyists and fans of the A.L.I.C.E. chat robot gathered in Guildford, U.K. on Friday to celebrate the tenth birthday of the award winning A.I. On hand was the founder the Loebner Prize, an annual Turing Test, designed to pick out the world’s most human computer according to an experiment laid out by the famous British mathematician Alan Turing more then 50 years ago. Along with A.L.I.C.E.’s chief programmer Dr. Richard S. Wallace, two other Loebner prize winners, Robby Garner and this year’s winner, Rollo Carpenter, also gave presentations, as did other finalists.

The University of Surrey venue was chosen, according to Dr. Wallace, not only because it was outside the U.S. (A.L.I.C.E.’s birthday fell on the Thanksgiving Day weekend holiday there, so he expected few people would attend a conference in America), but also because of its recently erected statue of Alan Turing, who posed the famous A. I. experiment which inspired much of the work on bots like A.L.I.C.E. University of Surrey Digital World Research Centre organizers Lynn and David Hamill were pleased to host the event because it encourages multi-disciplinary interaction, and because of the Centre’s interest in interaction between humans and computers.File:ALICE Birthday Cake.jpg

Dr. Wallace gave a keynote address outlining the history of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML. Many people commented on the fact the he seemed to have moved around a lot in the last ten years, having lived in New York, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Maine, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, while working on the Alicebot project. The A.L.I.C.E. and AIML software is popular among chat robot enthusiats primarily because of its distribution under the GNU free software license. One of Dr. Wallace’s PowerPoint slides asked the question, “How do you make money from free software?” His answer: memberships, subscriptions, books, directories, syndicated ads, consulting, teaching, and something called the Superbot.

Rollo Carpenter gave a fascinating presentation on his learning bot Jabberwacky, reading from several sample conversations wherein the bot seemed amazingly humanlike. Unlike the free A.L.I.C.E. software, Carpenter uses a proprietary learning approach so that the bot actually mimics the personality of each individual chatter. The more people who chat with Jabberwacky, the better it becomes at this kind of mimicry.

In another interesting presentation, Dr. Hamill related present-day research on chat robots to earlier work on dialog analysis in telephone conversations. Phone calls have many similarities to the one-on-one chats that bots encounter on the web and in IM. Dr. Hamill also related our social expectations of bots to social class structure and how servants were expected to behave in Victorian England. He cited the famous Microsoft paperclip as the most egregius example of a bot that violated all the rules of a good servant’s behavior.

Bots have advanced a long way since philanthropist Hugh Loebner launched his controversial contest 15 years ago. His Turing Test contest, which offers an award of $100,000 for the first program to pass an “audio-visual” version of the game, also awards a bronze medal and $2000 every year for the “most human computer” according to a panel of judges. Huma Shah of the University of Westminster presented examples of bots used by large corporations to help sell furniture, provide the latest information about automotive products, and help customers open bank accounts. Several companies in the U.S. and Europe offer customized bot personalities for corporate web sites.

Even though Turing’s Test remains controversial, this group of enthusiastic developers seems determined to carry on the tradition and try to develop more and more human like chat bots.Hugh Loebner is dedicated to carry on his contest for the rest of his life, in spite of his critics. He hopes that a large enough constituency of winners will exist to keep the competition going well beyond his own lifetime. Dr. Wallace says, “Nobody has gotten rich from chat robots yet, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. There is such a thing as ‘bot fever’. For some people who meet a bot for the first time, it can pass the Turing Test for them, and they get very excited.”

Teaching Kids To Love Vegetables With Asian Take Out In Los Angeles

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Parents may despair of getting their young children to eat vegetables without protest. They might try picking up Asian Take Out in Los Angeles on occasion, as the delicious meals appeal to youngsters as well as adults. When the lightly cooked colorful veggies are included with tasty sauces and enhanced with pieces of chicken, beef, pork or seafood, kids discover they do like vegetables after all.

Some foods are appealing to children in general. Young kids tend to shy away from strong flavors and prefer milder foods. They tend to like rice, which makes Asian Take Out in Los Angeles a natural choice. Parents might order a light white sauce with stir-fry meals and stay away from garlic brown sauce and Teriyaki until the children get a bit older. The youngsters will probably enjoy egg rolls or spring rolls, appreciating the crispy texture of the exterior as it contrasts with the crunchy veggies and bits of meat inside.

Children also tend to love dumplings, so wonton soup and menu items such as beef wonton are welcome choices. They are bound to like eating chicken wings and probably already do so. Introducing them to wings flavored with Asian accents is fun for both parents and kids. Chicken soup is kid-friendly, so the parents may want to include a big container of that as well. Any leftover take-out portions can be refrigerated and reheated for lunch or snacks the next day.

It may still be a while before the younger children are willing to eat a simple bowl of cooked vegetables or a salad without putting up a fuss. With the assistance of an Asian Food Restaurant Los Angeles, they’ll start learning which veggies they especially like and which ones they would just as soon avoid. That’s useful for teaching them that they don’t need to renounce every vegetable they encounter. They may especially prefer the sweeter items, such as peas and pea pods, carrots and broccoli. It might take a little longer before they come to really appreciate water chestnuts, bok choy and Chinese mushrooms. In the meantime, they’ll be boosting their nutrition with the other colorful plant foods.

New fossils from 10 million year old ape found in Ethiopia

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Researchers say that new, ten million-year-old fossils found in Ethiopia, prove that the theory that humans may have evolved from a species of great apes eight million years ago, may not be true, but that humans may have split from apes as long as 10.5 million years ago.

At least nine fossilized teeth, one canine tooth and eight molars, of a previously unknown species of apes found in Africa were discovered by a team of researchers from Ethiopia and Japan who then compared the 3-D make up of the teeth to other fossils that date back as far as 8 million years and found that the fossils are likely a “direct ancestor” of apes currently living in Africa and that the new ape fossils were that of a species of gorilla who ate mostly plants high in fiber.

Current fossils and research say that the evolutionary split from apes to humans occurred at least eight million years ago. The new fossils say that the split may have happened as long as 10.5 million years ago.

“Based on this fossil, that means the split is much earlier than has been anticipated by the molecular evidence. That means everything has to be put back,” said researcher at the Rift Valley Research Service in Ethiopia and a co-author of the study, Berhane Asfaw.

Despite the finds, other researchers are not convinced that the findings are correct.

“It is stretching the evidence to base a time scale for the evolution of the great apes on this new fossil. These structures appear on at least three independent lineages of apes, including gorillas, and they could relate to a dietary shift rather than indicating a new genetic trait,” said a Professor at the London Natural History Museum in the United Kingdom, Peter Andrews who also added, “but the fossil evidence for the evolution of our closest living relatives, the great apes, is almost non-existent.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species Cororapithecus abyssinicus whose remains were found in the Afar Region of Ethiopia, the same place where the remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974.

‘Apple’s data is dirtiest,’ says Greenpeace

Sunday, April 24, 2011

In a report on cloud computing issued this week, the environmental group Greenpeace rated ten top Internet companies, including Apple, Google, Twitter and Amazon, on several factors such as each company’s willingness to be transparent by providing information on its energy sources and the energy efficiency of its data centers.

In the report entitled “How Dirty is your Data”, Apple, while receiving good marks for transparency, rated at the bottom for energy efficiency, primarily because its huge, new data center in North Carolina, called iDataCenter, relies largely on coal. Although Apple claimed its California operations used cleaner energy than that produced by most grids, iDataCenter has an estimated energy demand three times Apple’s current use, significantly increasing Apple’s environmental footprint. As Apple increases the online products it delivers from its iTunes platform, it will enlarge its cloud computing operations further.

“Apple’s decision to locate its iDataCenter in North Carolina, which has an electrical grid among the dirtiest in the country (61 percent coal, 31 percent nuclear), indicates a lack of a corporate commitment to clean energy supply for its cloud operations,” Greenpeace said in its report.

About 2 percent of worldwide energy use is consumed by data center computer servers, and this amount is increasing by 12 percent a year, Greenpeace reports, an energy demand that is more than that of Russia.

Greenpeace said many IT companies do not reveal the environmental impact of their energy consumption, and concentrate more on energy efficiency that on using clean energy. Most of their energy is supplied by coal and nuclear energy. Companies are locating their data centers in areas that afford cheap, abundant coal-powered electricity.

Yahoo was praised by Greenpeace for placing its data centers near sources of clean energy and its minor use of coal-based power.

IT brands at the vanguard of this 21st century technological shift are perpetuating our addiction to dirty energy technologies of the last two centuries.

Greenpeace noted that Google says that it is conscious of the need to use renewable sources of electricity to power cloud computing, but it does not acknowledge the size of its carbon footprint. The company claims it has seven data centers worldwide, but it is estimated to have 20 to 30.

The carbon footprint of cloud computing is a recent emphasis of Greenpeace in its attempt to disprove the belief that the biggest polluters are manufacturers.

[T]he data centers of Amazon, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Apple, and Akamai . . . are probably not much different from the business where you work every day when it comes to dependency on coal for electricity generation. And ditto for the home that you return to every night.

In a response to the report, Timothy Prickett Morgan criticized Greenpeace for focusing on data centers which are responsible for using about 3 per cent of the US power generation and globally account for 1.5 to 2 percent. He noted that “the data centers of Amazon, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Apple, and Akamai . . . are probably not much different from the business where you work every day when it comes to dependency on coal for electricity generation. And ditto for the home that you return to every night.”

Morgan quotes data from a 2008 report by the International Energy Agency and cited by the World Coal Association, now known as the The World Coal Institute, that showed coal plants produce over 40 percent of the global electricity. The Institute determined that United States receives half of its power from coal plants. Some other countries, such as South Africa, Poland and China, use more coal. “The world is still dependent on non-renewable energy sources – coal and nuclear with a smattering of oil and gas – to generate electricity,” he says, suggesting the IT companies should not be singled out.

Morgan is also critical of Greenpeace’s methodology in gathering the data, as it included only a sample of the data centers of these companies, and some that were not yet completely operational. He noted that because the companies were not always cooperative in disclosing information, Greenpeace estimated a portion of the data. He said that the reader has to “drill down into the report” to see the the complete picture.

Another criticism of Greenpeace is its definition of coal and nuclear power as “dirty energy”. Because it does not discharge greenhouse gases, nuclear power is rated more favorably than coal by some environmental organizations. Greenpeace is adamantly against nuclear power’s radiation risks.

Wikinews interviews former Republican U.S. Senator Bob Smith on his latest run for office

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Earlier this month, former Republican U.S. Senator Bob Smith announced his candidacy for Florida’s open Senate seat in the 2010 midterm election. Smith, who was one of New Hampshire’s senators for two terms — which amounts to twelve years — said he is running for office in his recently adopted home state due to his disapproval of the direction in which America is headed. He is very optimistic about the conservative change he can potentially bring to Congress which is currently controlled by liberal-minded members of the Democratic Party.

Smith has, however, some major hurdles to overcome in the Republican primary. He is facing two well known politicians who have been elected to statewide office numerous times. The chief of these is current Governor Charlie Crist, a moderate-to-liberal who is currently leading in the polls. The second is former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio, a center-right 38-year-old who has been criticizing Crist for months on the support he has shown for President Barack Obama’s controversial economic stimulus package.

Despite trailing both in recent polls, Smith believes that the polls themselves are irrelevant as the primary is over one year away. He is devoting the remainder of this summer to building up grassroots and financial support for his campaign.

Wikinews reporter Joseph Ford had the opportunity to speak with him about his run this past weekend.

“We must deliver a message that appeals to all members of the Republican Party, and that will appeal to Floridians in the general election,” Smith proclaimed. “I am in this race because I want to make my experience as a U.S. Senator available to my fellow Floridians.”

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