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Blue_Tires's Journal
Blue_Tires's Journal
December 19, 2013

Gaia 'billion-star surveyor' lifts off

Source: BBC

The 740m-euro (£620m) observatory lifted off from the Sinnamary complex in French Guiana at 06:12 local time (09:12 GMT).

Gaia is going to map the precise positions and distances to more than a billion stars.

This should give us the first realistic picture of how our Milky Way galaxy is constructed.

Gaia's remarkable sensitivity will lead also to the detection of many thousands of previously unseen objects, including new planets and asteroids.

The satellite is now travelling out to an observing station some 1.5 million km from the Earth on its nightside - a journey that will take about a month to complete.

Gaia has been in development for more than 20 years.

It will be engaged in what is termed astrometry - the science of mapping the locations and movements of celestial objects.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25426424

December 13, 2013

Five ADFA army cadets who saw sex with female on Skype expelled (Australia)

THE five army cadets who tuned into Skype to watch their mate have sex with an unsuspecting female cadet will be expelled from the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

Corey Parker, Damian Mahon, Zach Fitzgerald, Jackson Fysh and David Pace viewed the action on Skpye on a computer screen in a room nearby as their comrade Daniel McDonald had sex with an air force cadet known as "Kate'' on March 29, 2011.

The cadet who organised the live screening, Dylan De Blaquiere, joined the five to watch the show.

Both McDonald and De Blaquiere have left the academy after being convicted for their criminal actions and it is understood that the five voyeurs have been told that their probationary appointments would be terminated next month.

The third-year cadets were issued with "show cause'' notices in September this year, more than 30 months after the so-called "Skype incident'', and each one has failed to have their expulsions overturned.

During their trial Police alleged that McDonald had arranged to be "friends with benefits'' with the 18-year-old female cadet, where they would have casual sex provided no one found out about it.




December 13, 2013

If This Rich Kid Has ‘Affluenza,’ Then We’ve All Got ‘Negrobetes’

Ethan Couch, a wealthy teen from the state of Texas, was charged with vehicular manslaughter after he killed four people while he was driving drunk. He was found guilty, but Couch won't be serving any prison time because he suffers from an affliction called "affluenza."

Affluenza—a hybrid of the words "affluent" and "influenza"—his lawyer argued successfully, is the "disease" of being so rich that you have essentially never had to suffer the consequences of your actions.

So what were Couch's consequences for stealing beer from a Wal-Mart with his friends, driving a pickup truck intoxicated at almost three times the legal limit for an adult and killing a woman whose car was broken down, two people who came to help her and a passerby? Probation, Time.com reports.

"He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way," said psychologist Gary Miller, who was assigned to evaluate Couch. "He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle."

My colleague Keren Johnson was outraged and messaged me shortly after reading the story. "Affluenza defense?" she wrote. "Why is being too rich a defense, but being too poor is not? Not that anyone should base illegal behavior on economic status, but don't people tend to find themselves engaging in illegal activity when there's not enough money, food, shelter, etc. ... not when there's an abundance?"


December 13, 2013

The Danish are way, way ahead of the times...

A stage performance combining the best parts of A Christmas Carol with Moulin Rouge?? Oh God, yes, please!

Those looking for a unique experience this festive season may want to check out Warehouse 9’s Christmas-themed Burlesque show Moulin Scrooge – Xmas Cabaret.

This playful take on yuletide combines the wry eroticism of burlesque with the traditional, festive aesthetic of Christmas in a delightfully avant-garde performance guaranteed to provoke, titillate, and rouse your senses.

Blending the semi-sordid with the sacrosanct, fans of art and eroticism alike will be able to appreciate this iconoclastic extravaganza.

Guests will be treated to bawdy variations on classical Christmas characters, including the Dickensian ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, alongside a slough of original creations, male and female.

This show elegantly straddles the line between smart and smutty, leaving something for everyone to enjoy.

Leave the kids at home and spend a night under the mistletoe with this gaudy, self-parodic performance full of lace, satin, skin, and make-up, sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you with visions of sugar plum fairies (and other types of fairies) dancing through your head.

Beware – attending this show is sure to put you on the ‘naughty list’.


December 12, 2013

Why do New Yorkers get to have all the fun?

Coed Naked Yoga Is Coming to Chelsea

New York's unclothed yoga scene is no longer just for dudes. Chelsea's Le Male Yoga — which, as the name suggests, previously specialized in naked yoga for men — is now Bold & Naked Yoga, a studio that also provides all-female nude classes, as well as some for "co-ed groups and seniors." (For now, the 55-and-up offering is all male, though we suppose there's nothing stopping more mature women from attending one of the new mixed courses.) Joschi Schwarz told DNAinfo that the no-guys-allowed sessions will involve "a little more in emotional psychologies, to really help women to feel good about themselves."

As for the coed sessions? Those seem to be just for fun — but don't get too excited, straight people: "If you are looking for an orgasm, you are in the wrong place," declares the Bold & Naked website. Schwarz explained, "I know sexuality is always in peoples' minds and I have a feeling that a lot of people don't know that yoga has nothing to do with sex at all." It's actually about "sensuality." "When you get rid of the clothes, you get rid of the labels — and that's a beautiful thing," Schwarz said. So this probably means that new students should leave their cheesy "Coed Naked Yoga" T-shirts at home.


December 12, 2013

Kendrick Johnson family holds rally after filing complaint about missing organs

Atlanta (CNN) -- The parents of Kendrick Johnson, whose death this year created a mystery that has gripped a South Georgia town, held a rally at the state Capitol on Wednesday, a day after filing a complaint with the state about the handling of their son's body.

The "Who Killed K.J." rally had several scheduled speakers, according to a news release from the Johnson family, but the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Joseph Lowery -- both of whom were slated to address the demonstrators, the family said -- never spoke. That didn't stop more than 100 protesters from assembling at the Capitol before noon.

Johnson was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at his high school in Valdosta, Georgia, on January 11. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation conducted an autopsy and ruled the death accidental, but his family questioned the ruling and had his body exhumed for a second autopsy.

At the second autopsy, it was discovered that his organs were missing and his body cavity was filled with newspapers, contrary to industry practice.

The family's complaint, filed Tuesday with the Georgia Board of Funeral Service, a division of the secretary of state's office, alleges that Harrington Funeral Home mishandled Johnson's body and specifically accuses director Antonio Harrington of helping obscure the teen's cause of death.


December 11, 2013

Mars Colonization: 200,000 People Apply To Live On Red Planet

Plans to colonize Mars are set to proceed after 200,000 people applied to live on the Red Planet, even though they won’t ever return to Earth if they actually go.

The Mars One foundation announced on Tuesday that their planned expedition, which will see four individuals sent to Mars, has secured its lead suppliers for a 2018 unmanned mission. Elements needed for this trip included a communications satellite and a robotic lander.

If this first mission proves to be successful then they plan to send a manned shuttle to Mars in 2025. It’s believed that The Mars One foundation hopes that 2018′s journey will demonstrate the technology that human settlement can be achieved on Mars.

This is the first privately funded exploration mission of Mars, with the funds coming from partners and sponsors.

Bans Lansdorp, Mars One’s CEO, confirmed that over 200,000 have applied for the project since it was announced in April. The application window has now closed, but individuals selected for Round 2 will be informed by the end of this year.

Applicants are apparently fine with the knowledge that they would have to live out the rest of their lives on the Red Planet. This is because a one-way journey there severely reduces the company’s costs, plus there’s also the major factor that there’s no Kennedy Space Center launch pad on Mars at the moment.


I'm tempted because it would allow me to get away from the nutbars here once and for all, but there's no guarantee that I wouldn't be stuck with a different set of nutbars on Mars...

December 10, 2013

William Browder: The man behind the Magnitsky List

Browder got the phone call in the early morning of 17 November 2009. It was an unseasonably warm day in London, and he was still in bed.

A colleague told him the news. Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who had uncovered what he said was a $230m (£140m) tax refund fraud in Moscow and was being held in a detention centre, was dead.

Years later Browder still remembers how he felt when he heard. "It was like a knife in the heart," he said.

Browder got out of bed and raced to the offices of his hedge fund company, Hermitage Capital, in the Golden Square area of London. He sent out a press statement pledging an independent investigation into Magnitsky's death.

On that day and in the years that followed, Browder approached the case in the way he was trained at Stanford business school - methodically. He analysed documents and focused on the money.

Browder pushed people in Washington to support a bill, the Magnitsky Act, that was signed into law in December 2012. It featured a list of 18 individuals, including three from Russia's interior ministry. Magnitsky's List, as it is known, includes people "who signed the documents", claimed Browder, that led to the lawyer's imprisonment and death.

The US government will deny visas to these individuals, if they request one, as well as freeze assets in the US.


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