Trump moves to ease tensions over China, Iran as G7 summit wraps up – Reuters

BIARRITZ, France (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday offered an olive branch to China after days of intense feuding over trade and opened the door to diplomacy on Iran, easing tension on the last day of a strained G7 summit.

https://www.reuters.com/video/?videoId=OVATQ219B

Source: Trump moves to ease tensions over China, Iran as G7 summit wraps up – Reuters

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Trump meets with Britain’s Boris Johnson, promises ‘very big trade deal’ between US, UK after Brexit | Fox News

The U.S. and Britain will work out a “very big trade deal” once the U.K. has left the European Union, President Trump said Sunday morning in France, where Trump and other leaders have gathered for the G-7 summit.

The president also praised new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Brexit during their working breakfast on the second day of the summit.

“He needs no advice. He’s the right man for the job,” Trump said.

Source: Trump meets with Britain’s Boris Johnson, promises ‘very big trade deal’ between US, UK after Brexit | Fox News

Police fire water cannon on protesters at G-7 summit | TheHill

Police fired a water cannon and tear gas on Saturday at protesters in a town near the venue for the  Group of Seven (G-7) economic summit in Paris.

The Associated Press reported that about 400 anti-capitalist protestors gathered to block roads in the town in southwest France. The crowd was largely peaceful, though some demonstrators threw rocks at police.

Police responded with warning shots and then used the water cannon and tear gas, according to the AP.

Thousands of protestors marched peacefully from the same area to the Spanish border earlier Saturday to demand further action against climate change and economic inequality.

President Trump is in Biarritz, France, for the annual meeting with the six other world leaders of the G-7. The event often attracts protesters who come to demonstrate on an array of topics.

 

Source: Police fire water cannon on protesters at G-7 summit | TheHill

An asteroid bigger than the Empire State Building is passing by Earth next week. Here’s why you shouldn’t be worried – CNN

(CNN)Yes, there’s an asteroid bigger than the Empire State building passing by Earth. No, it’s not anything to worry about — it’s actually pretty normal.

Asteroid 2006 QQ23 is scheduled to zoom by Earth on August 10 and, at an estimated diameter of up to 1,870 feet, it’s easy to see why people are worried.
But Lindley Johnson and Kelly Fast of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office say there’s nothing to fear. Both Johnson and Fast help track what they label as “near Earth objects,” such as asteroids and comets that orbit our sun along with the other planets.

Source: An asteroid bigger than the Empire State Building is passing by Earth next week. Here’s why you shouldn’t be worried – CNN

Hello, Summer! Today’s Solstice Marks Season’s Beginning | Space

Summer will officially arrive in the Northern Hemisphere today (June 21), marking the longest day, the shortest night and the beginning of summer.

The June solstice will occur at 11:54 a.m. EDT (1554 GMT), as the sun reaches the point at which it is farthest north of the celestial equator. To be more precise, when the solstice occurs, the sun will appear to shine directly overhead for a viewer stationed on the Tropic of Cancer (latitude 23.5 degrees north) in the western Atlantic Ocean, roughly 600 miles (965 kilometers) to the northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

From midnorthern latitudes, we can never see the sun directly overhead, but the same principle holds. For example, as seen from Philadelphia at 1:02 p.m. EDT on solstice day, the sun will attain its highest point in the sky for this entire year, standing 74 degrees above the southern horizon.

To gauge how high that is, your clenched fist held at arm’s length measures roughly 10 degrees, so from the City of Brotherly Love, the sun will appear to climb more than “seven fists” above the southern horizon. And since the sun will appear to describe such a high arc across the sky, daylight will be at its longest extreme, lasting 15 hours and 1 minute.

Related: The Brightest Visible Planets in June’s Night Sky: How to See Them (and When)

Source: Hello, Summer! Today’s Solstice Marks Season’s Beginning | Space

Tsunami warning in Japan after 6.8-mag earthquake strikes | Fox News

tsunami warning was in effect Tuesday night in Japan after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook a northwestern part of the country.

The earthquake registered off the western coast of Yamagata, roughly 30 miles southwest of the city of Sakata, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency. The shallow quake hit around 6 miles below the sea’s surface.

Source: Tsunami warning in Japan after 6.8-mag earthquake strikes | Fox News

Breaking record for deepest dive, explorer says Pacific’s Mariana Trench ‘incredibly peaceful place’ | Fox News

Victor Vescovo took the journey to what is believed to be the deepest point mankind has visited in any ocean — finding shocking things from new species to human trash — and told Fox News on Tuesday that the discovery of plastic in such far reaches proves the need for more vigilance to protect the oceans.

Source: Breaking record for deepest dive, explorer says Pacific’s Mariana Trench ‘incredibly peaceful place’ | Fox News

This Week, NASA Is Pretending An Asteroid Is On Its Way To Smack The Earth : NPR

The asteroid is in a horrible orbit and has a 1% chance of striking Earth in just eight years. And — thank goodness — it doesn’t really exist.

It’s a fictitious asteroid that’s the focus of a realistic exercise devised for scientists and engineers from around the world who are attending the 2019 Planetary Defense Conference being held this week outside Washington, D.C.

A real asteroid of this size, should it ever hit the planet, could wipe out an entire city.

“This is a threat that could happen, even though it’s extremely unlikely,” says Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who created this realistic simulation. “Our goal here is to go through all of the steps that we would have to go through.”

He says a lot has been learned from three previous drills held at past international conferences and from other asteroid exercises that have been separately conducted by officials at NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Source: This Week, NASA Is Pretending An Asteroid Is On Its Way To Smack The Earth : NPR

34 al Shabaab, two KDF soldiers killed in Somalia | The Star, Kenya

Kenyan troops killed 34 al Shabaab militants in two separate incidents on Saturday and Sunday in Somalia and two of its own soldiers were killed in an ambush, the military spokesman said.On Saturday, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) killed 21 of the insurgents in the southern town of Afmadow in the ambush in which the two soldiers died.

Source: 34 al Shabaab, two KDF soldiers killed in Somalia | The Star, Kenya

Cubans feel excitement, suspicion as Obama visit nears

A Cuban takes a picture of a sign placed at the entrance of a restaurant with the images of Cuban and U.S. Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama in Havana on March 19, 2016.(Photo: Yuri Cortez, AFP/Getty Images)

As President Obama prepares to land in Cuba on Sunday evening, the first visit to Cuba by a U.S. president in nearly 90 years, Cubans are brimming with a combination of excitement and trepidation.

Source: Cubans feel excitement, suspicion as Obama visit nears

Lights out: Cities worldwide mark the 10th annual Earth Hour – The Washington Post

Cities around the world turned out the lights Saturday evening to mark the 10th annual Earth Hour, a global movement dedicated to protecting the planet and highlighting the effects of climate change.

Lights went out for the hourlong event — from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time — in Beijing, Moscow, Beirut, Cairo, Athens, Rome, and Paris. The lights atop the Empire State Building in New York were dimmed, and some billboards in Times Square also went dark.

Source: Lights out: Cities worldwide mark the 10th annual Earth Hour – The Washington Post

The True History Behind St. Patrick’s Day | TIME

Here’s what we know about the real St. Patrick

The modern St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that will take place on Thursday, at least in the United States, will likely be characterized by commercial lucky charms and green beer—all of which has very little to do with the historical figure of the saint. As it turns out, it took centuries for the holiday to accrue the elements that now seem crucial to its celebrations.

Legend says St. Patrick was actually born Maewyn Succat, but that he changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which derives from the Latin term for “father figure,” after he became a priest. And that supposed luck of his is the root of all the themed merchandise for modern St. Patrick’s Day.

Source: The True History Behind St. Patrick’s Day | TIME

North Korea sentences US college student Otto Warmbier to 15 years hard labour for stealing poster | Asia | News | The Independent

North Korea has sentenced an American student to 15 years’ hard labour for trying to steal a propaganda banner from his hotel. Otto Warmbier was convicted on charges of subversion, in a move which has showcased the secretive and unforgiving North Korean regime and futher deteriorated relations with Washington.

Source: North Korea sentences US college student Otto Warmbier to 15 years hard labour for stealing poster | Asia | News | The Independent

Myanmar’s parliament elects Suu Kyi confidant as president – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo

NAYPYITAW: Myanmar’s parliament elected a close friend and confidant of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as president on Tuesday, making Htin Kyaw the first head of state who does not hail fro…

Source: Myanmar’s parliament elects Suu Kyi confidant as president – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo

Central executive committee member of the National League for Democracy U Htin Kyaw arrives for the opening of the new parliament in Naypyitaw February 1, 2016. Photo credit: Reuters

Indonesia appeals to Australia to accept more refugees

Indonesia has appealed to Australia to accept more refugees stranded in Indonesia, ahead of a regional forum to combat people smuggling in Bali next week.

Source: Indonesia appeals to Australia to accept more refugees

 

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/indonesia-appeals-to-australia-to-accept-more-refugees-20160314-gnimon.html#ixzz42vonW4hL
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

 

A ‘lost world’ of dinosaurs thrived in the snowy dark of Alaska, researchers say – The Washington Post

By Rachel Feltman September 22 at 8:03 AM
Researcher: ‘We’re finding a lost world of dinosaurs’
A research team in Alaska have discovered a new species of duck-billed dinosaur that endured months of winter darkness and probably experienced snow. The researchers from Florida State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks say the remote area they’re exploring may hold many more dino-discoveries. (Florida State University/University of Alaska Fairbanks)
Paleontology can be pretty grueling work, especially if you want to study dinosaurs who could handle snow.

To get to the Prince Creek Formation of Alaska — an area rich with fossils of creatures who lived in the ancient Arctic — scientists have to wait for things to thaw. Then they have to come in on tiny bush planes and take inflatable boats down rivers plagued by crumbling cliffs. If they make it to the dig site without a plane crash or a cascade of boulders, they’re in for freezing rain, snow, and hordes of mosquitoes — not to mention bears, wolves, and other dangerous predators.
esearchers spent a month at the dig site along the Colville River on Alaska’s North Slope, which meant they experienced a wide variety of weather, including snow. (Greg Erickson)
They endure all this for a single month of field work. It would be a tad longer if not for falcon nesting season.

“The falcons do dive bomb us pretty frequently,” Florida State University professor Greg Erikson told The Post.

But for Erikson and his colleagues, it’s worth it. To them, this part of Alaska is the last frontier of dinosaur discovery. Along with Patrick Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator of the University of Alaska Museum of the North and associate professor of geology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Erikson has just announced the discovery of a new species of dinosaur found in the area.

[New York’s Natural History Museum is getting a dinosaur so huge its head will peek into the next room]

But the duck-billed dino is even more exciting than your usual find. The dinosaur, which was previously believed to belong to a well-known species, was incredibly abundant around 70 million years ago. They’ve already found some 10,000 bones from the species.
A handful of bones from the new species. Over 10,000 bones from the creature have been found. (Pat Druckenmiller)
And that means that it thrived in an area that was — at least for a dinosaur — remarkably cold.

“It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of dinosaurs living up in the polar world was kind of, you know, really? Are you kidding?” Druckenmiller said. We don’t know a ton about how dinosaur metabolisms worked (in fact, the debate over whether they were warm or cold blooded still rages on) but most people think of them as fairly tropical creatures, like modern lizards.

Click here for more information!
It’s an intriguing question, and one that’s difficult to answer with bones alone: Did dinosaurs, like modern reptiles, need to bask in the sun and heat to survive? Or were they warm-blooded, like the birds that would become their only surviving descendants — able to survive in the cold and dark? Erikson and Druckenmiller’s new species shows that the answer may be quite complicated.

The new species, called Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, is described in a study published Tuesday in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. At 25 feet long, the plant eater looked very similar to Edmontosaurus, a duck-billed dinosaur frequently found in Alberta and Montana. But the abundant bones, which the researchers believe are gathered in one place because a herd of young dinosaurs were attacked, showed enough small differences to make them suspicious. Detailed analysis by Hirotsugu Mori, a former graduate student at UAF, helped confirm that this was a new creature.

[Scientists find a new dinosaur with well preserved, bird-like wings — but not for flight]

At the time that these dinosaurs lived their region would have averaged temperatures in the low 40s. “By reptilian standards, that’s pretty chilly,” Druckenmiller said. So he and his colleagues believe that this species must have had special adaptations to live in the cold.

“These were dinosaurs living at the very edge of what we think dinosaurs were physiological capable of,” he said.
Greg Erickson repels down to the dig site on a rare sunny day. (Greg Erickson)
Erickson added that these extreme conditions created a sort of “natural laboratory.” If the team can figure out how U. kuukpikensis was different from its close cousins in balmier regions, they might figure out how the new species managed to survive the cold.

[Dinosaurs aren’t really extinct]

The researchers are particularly interested in looking at how quickly the new species grew, which could tell them whether or not it used an unusually slow metabolism to manage the cold. They can track growth rates by looking at lines of arrested growth in the dinosaur bones, which are basically the same as the rings on a tree.

In addition to cold and occasional snow, the dinosaurs also endured darkness: The region would have been dark for three to five months a year, and there’s no sign that the dinosaurs migrated to get some sun. The researchers already have evidence of at least 13 species of dinosaurs taking up permanent residence in this inhospitable place, and they expect to find even more — including a few unknown species.
“It’s intriguing for us to ponder how they survived those months of darkness,” Erickson said. “We’re just finding this whole new world of dinosaurs we didn’t know existed.”

Source: A ‘lost world’ of dinosaurs thrived in the snowy dark of Alaska, researchers say – The Washington Post

(CBS News) – Putin reveals what he admires most about America

Charlie Rose recently sat down for a one-on-one interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss what the Russian leader thinks of America and how the world views him.

Here’s a preview of this Sunday’s “60 Minutes” report:

Charlie Rose: You’re much talked about in America. There’s much conversation, more so than any.

Vladimir Putin: Maybe they have nothing else to do in America but talk about me. [laughs]

Rose: No, no, no, or maybe they’re curious people? [laughs] Or maybe you’re an interesting character? Maybe that’s what it is. As you know, some have called you a czar.

Putin: So what? You know people call me different names.

Rose: But does the name fit?

Putin: No, it does not fit me. It’s not important how I’m called, whether these are well-wishers, friends or political opponents. It’s important what you think about you, what you must do for the interest of the country which has entrusted you with the position as the head of the Russian state.

Rose: Are you curious about America? More than simply another nation that you have to deal with?

Putin: Of course we’re curious about what’s going on. America exerts enormous influence on the situation in the world as a whole.

Rose: What do you admire most about America?

Putin: I like the creativity.

Rose: Creativity?

Putin: Creativity when it comes to your tackling problems. Their openness — openness and open-mindedness — because it allows them to unleash the inner potential of their people. And thanks to that, America has attained such amazing results in developing their country.

Watch the full “60 Minutes” interview this Sunday, Sept. 27 at7:30 p.m. ET/PT.

read more

The safety of the LHC | CERN press office

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) can achieve an energy that no other particle accelerators have reached before, but Nature routinely produces higher energies in cosmic-ray collisions. Concerns about the safety of whatever may be created in such high-energy particle collisions have been addressed for many years. In the light of new experimental data and theoretical understanding, the LHC Safety Assessment Group (LSAG) has updated a review of the analysis made in 2003 by the LHC Safety Study Group, a group of independent scientists.

LSAG reaffirms and extends the conclusions of the 2003 report that LHC collisions present no danger and that there are no reasons for concern. Whatever the LHC will do, Nature has already done many times over during the lifetime of the Earth and other astronomical bodies. The LSAG report has been reviewed and endorsed by CERN’s Scientific Policy Committee, a group of external scientists that advises CERN’s governing body, its Council.

The following summarizes the main arguments given in the LSAG report. Anyone interested in more details is encouraged to consult it directly, and the technical scientific papers to which it refers.

Cosmic rays

The LHC, like other particle accelerators, recreates the natural phenomena of cosmic rays under controlled laboratory conditions, enabling them to be studied in more detail. Cosmic rays are particles produced in outer space, some of which are accelerated to energies far exceeding those of the LHC. The energy and the rate at which they reach the Earth’s atmosphere have been measured in experiments for some 70 years. Over the past billions of years, Nature has already generated on Earth as many collisions as about a million LHC experiments – and the planet still exists. Astronomers observe an enormous number of larger astronomical bodies throughout the Universe, all of which are also struck by cosmic rays. The Universe as a whole conducts more than 10 million million LHC-like experiments per second. The possibility of any dangerous consequences contradicts what astronomers see – stars and galaxies still exist.

Microscopic black holes

Nature forms black holes when certain stars, much larger than our Sun, collapse on themselves at the end of their lives. They concentrate a very large amount of matter in a very small space. Speculations about microscopic black holes at the LHC refer to particles produced in the collisions of pairs of protons, each of which has an energy comparable to that of a mosquito in flight. Astronomical black holes are much heavier than anything that could be produced at the LHC.

According to the well-established properties of gravity, described by Einstein’s relativity, it is impossible for microscopic black holes to be produced at the LHC. There are, however, some speculative theories that predict the production of such particles at the LHC. All these theories predict that these particles would disintegrate immediately. Black holes, therefore, would have no time to start accreting matter and to cause macroscopic effects.

Although theory predicts that microscopic black holes decay rapidly, even hypothetical stable black holes can be shown to be harmless by studying the consequences of their production by cosmic rays. Whilst collisions at the LHC differ from cosmic-ray collisions with astronomical bodies like the Earth in that new particles produced in LHC collisions tend to move more slowly than those produced by cosmic rays, one can still demonstrate their safety. The specific reasons for this depend whether the black holes are electrically charged, or neutral. Many stable black holes would be expected to be electrically charged, since they are created by charged particles. In this case they would interact with ordinary matter and be stopped while traversing the Earth or Sun, whether produced by cosmic rays or the LHC. The fact that the Earth and Sun are still here rules out the possibility that cosmic rays or the LHC could produce dangerous charged microscopic black holes. If stable microscopic black holes had no electric charge, their interactions with the Earth would be very weak. Those produced by cosmic rays would pass harmlessly through the Earth into space, whereas those produced by the LHC could remain on Earth. However, there are much larger and denser astronomical bodies than the Earth in the Universe. Black holes produced in cosmic-ray collisions with bodies such as neutron stars and white dwarf stars would be brought to rest. The continued existence of such dense bodies, as well as the Earth, rules out the possibility of the LHC producing any dangerous black holes.

Strangelets

Strangelet is the term given to a hypothetical microscopic lump of ‘strange matter’ containing almost equal numbers of particles called up, down and strange quarks. According to most theoretical work, strangelets should change to ordinary matter within a thousand-millionth of a second. But could strangelets coalesce with ordinary matter and change it to strange matter? This question was first raised before the start up of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, RHIC, in 2000 in the United States. A study at the time showed that there was no cause for concern, and RHIC has now run for eight years, searching for strangelets without detecting any. At times, the LHC will run with beams of heavy nuclei, just as RHIC does. The LHC’s beams will have more energy than RHIC, but this makes it even less likely that strangelets could form. It is difficult for strange matter to stick together in the high temperatures produced by such colliders, rather as ice does not form in hot water. In addition, quarks will be more dilute at the LHC than at RHIC, making it more difficult to assemble strange matter. Strangelet production at the LHC is therefore less likely than at RHIC, and experience there has already validated the arguments that strangelets cannot be produced.

The analysis of the first LHC data from heavy ion collisions has now confirmed the key ingredients used in the LSAG report to evaluate the upper limit on the production of hypothetical strangelets. For more details see this addendum to the LSAG report: Implications of LHC heavy ion data for multi-strange baryon production (2011)

Vacuum bubbles

There have been speculations that the Universe is not in its most stable configuration, and that perturbations caused by the LHC could tip it into a more stable state, called a vacuum bubble, in which we could not exist. If the LHC could do this, then so could cosmic-ray collisions. Since such vacuum bubbles have not been produced anywhere in the visible Universe, they will not be made by the LHC.

Magnetic monopoles

Magnetic monopoles are hypothetical particles with a single magnetic charge, either a north pole or a south pole. Some speculative theories suggest that, if they do exist, magnetic monopoles could cause protons to decay. These theories also say that such monopoles would be too heavy to be produced at the LHC. Nevertheless, if the magnetic monopoles were light enough to appear at the LHC, cosmic rays striking the Earth’s atmosphere would already be making them, and the Earth would very effectively stop and trap them. The continued existence of the Earth and other astronomical bodies therefore rules out dangerous proton-eating magnetic monopoles light enough to be produced at the LHC.

Other aspects of LHC safety:

Concern has recently been expressed that a ‘runaway fusion reaction’ might be created in the LHC carbon beam dump. The safety of the LHC beam dump had previously been reviewed by the relevant regulatory authorities of the CERN host states, France and Switzerland. The specific concerns expressed more recently have been addressed in a technical memorandum by Assmann et al. As they point out, fusion reactions can be maintained only in material compressed by some external pressure, such as that provided by gravity inside a star, a fission explosion in a thermonuclear device, a magnetic field in a Tokamak, or by continuing isotropic laser or particle beams in the case of inertial fusion. In the case of the LHC beam dump, it is struck once by the beam coming from a single direction. There is no countervailing pressure, so the dump material is not compressed, and no fusion is possible.

Concern has been expressed that a ‘runaway fusion reaction’ might be created in a nitrogen tank inside the LHC tunnel. There are no such nitrogen tanks. Moreover, the arguments in the previous paragraph prove that no fusion would be possible even if there were.

Finally, concern has also been expressed that the LHC beam might somehow trigger a ‘Bose-Nova’ in the liquid helium used to cool the LHC magnets. A study(link is external) by Fairbairn and McElrath has clearly shown there is no possibility of the LHC beam triggering a fusion reaction in helium.

We recall that ‘Bose-Novae’ are known to be related to chemical reactions that release an infinitesimal amount of energy by nuclear standards. We also recall that helium is one of the most stable elements known, and that liquid helium has been used in many previous particle accelerators without mishap. The facts that helium is chemically inert and has no nuclear spin imply that no ‘Bose-Nova’ can be triggered in the superfluid helium used in the LHC.

Comments on the papers by Giddings and Mangano, and by LSAG

The papers by Giddings and Mangano(link is external) and LSAG(link is external) demonstrating the safety of the LHC have been studied, reviewed and endorsed by leading experts from the CERN Member States, Japan, Russia and the United States, working in astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, mathematics, particle physics and risk analysis, including several Nobel Laureates in Physics. They all agree that the LHC is safe.

The paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano has been peer-reviewed by anonymous experts in astrophysics and particle physics and published(link is external) in the professional scientific journal Physical Review D. The American Physical Society chose to highlight this as one of the most significant papers it has published recently, commissioning acommentary(link is external) by Prof. Peskin from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory in which he endorses its conclusions. The Executive Committee of the Division of Particles and Fields of the American Physical Society has issued a statement(link is external) endorsing the LSAG report.

The LSAG report has been published(link is external) by the UK Institute of Physics in its publication Journal of Physics G. The conclusions of the LSAG report were endorsed in a press release

The conclusions of LSAG have also been endorsed(link is external) by the Particle and Nuclear Physics Section (KET) of the German Physical Society. A translation into German of the complete LSAG report may be found on the KET website, as well as here. (A translation into French of the complete LSAG report is also available.)

Thus, the conclusion that LHC collisions are completely safe has been endorsed by the three respected professional societies of physicists that have reviewed it, which rank among the most highly respected professional societies in the world.

World-renowned experts in astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, mathematics, particle physics and risk analysis, including several Nobel Laureates in Physics, have also expressed clear individual opinions that LHC collisions are not dangerous:

“To think that LHC particle collisions at high energies can lead to dangerous black holes is rubbish. Such rumors were spread by unqualified people seeking sensation or publicity.

Academician Vitaly Ginzburg, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Lebedev Institute, Moscow, and Russian Academy of Sciences

“The operation of the LHC is safe, not only in the old sense of that word, but in the more general sense that our most qualified scientists have thoroughly considered and analyzed the risks involved in the operation of the LHC. [Any concerns] are merely hypothetical and speculative, and contradicted by much evidence and scientific analysis.

Prof. Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Boston University,

Prof. Frank Wilczek, Nobel Laureate in Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

Prof. Richard Wilson, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard University

“The world will not come to an end when the LHC turns on. The LHC is absolutely safe. … Collisions releasing greater energy occur millions of times a day in the earth’s atmosphere and nothing terrible happens.

Prof. Steven Hawking, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University

“Nature has already done this experiment. … Cosmic rays have hit the moon with more energy and have not produced a black hole that has swallowed up the moon. The universe doesn’t go around popping off huge black holes.

Prof. Edward Kolb, Astrophysicist, University of Chicago

“I certainly have no worries at all about the purported possibility of LHC producing microscopic black holes capable of eating up the Earth. There is no scientific basis whatever for such wild speculations.”

Prof. Sir Roger Penrose, Former Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford University

“There is no risk [in LHC collisions, and] the LSAG report is excellent.

Prof. Lord Martin Rees, UK Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society of London

“Those who have doubts about LHC safety should read LSAG report where all possible risks were considered. We can be sure that particle collisions at the LHC  cannot lead to a catastrophic consequences.

Academician V.A. Rubakov, Institute for Nuclear Research, Moscow, and Russian Academy of Sciences

“We fully endorse the conclusions of the LSAG report: there is no basis for any concerns about the consequences of new particles or forms of matter that could possibly be produced at the LHC.

R. Aleksan et al., the 20 external members of the CERN Scientific Policy Committee, including Prof. Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel Laureate in Physics.

The overwhelming majority of physicists agree that microscopic black holes would be unstable, as predicted by basic principles of quantum mechanics. As discussed in the LSAG report(link is external), if microscopic black holes can be produced by the collisions of quarks and/or gluons inside protons, they must also be able to decay back into quarks and/or gluons. Moreover, quantum mechanics predicts specifically that they should decay via Hawking radiation.

Nevertheless, a few papers have suggested that microscopic black holes might be stable. The paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano and the LSAG report(link is external) analyzed very conservatively the hypothetical case of stable microscopic black holes and concluded that even in this case there would be no conceivable danger. Another analysis(link is external) with similar conclusions has been documented by Dr. Koch, Prof. Bleicher and Prof. Stoecker of Frankfurt University and GSI, Darmstadt, who conclude:

“We discussed the logically possible black hole evolution paths. Then we discussed every single outcome of those paths and showed that none of the physically sensible paths can lead to a black hole disaster at the LHC.”

Professor Roessler (who has a medical degree and was formerly a chaos theorist in Tuebingen) also raised doubts on the existence of Hawking radiation. His ideas have been refuted by Profs. Nicolai (Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics – Albert-Einstein-Institut – in Potsdam) and Giulini, whose report(link is external) (see herefor the English translation, and here for further statements) point to his failure to understand general relativity and the Schwarzschild metric, and his reliance on an alternative theory of gravity that was disproven in 1915. Their verdict:

“[Roessler’s] argument is not valid; the argument is not self-consistent.”

The paper of Prof. Roessler has also been criticized by Prof. Bruhn of the Darmstadt University of Technology, who concludes(link is external) that:

“Roessler’s misinterpretation of the Schwarzschild metric [renders] his further considerations … null and void. These are not papers that could be taken into account when problems of black holes are discussed.”

A hypothetical scenario for possibly dangerous metastable black holes has recently been proposed(link is external) by Dr. Plaga. The conclusions of this work have been shown to be inconsistent in a second paper(link is external) by Giddings and Mangano, where it is also stated that the safety of this class of metastable black hole scenarios is already established by their original work(link is external).

 

Source: The safety of the LHC | CERN press office

(USA Today) – Audi shows off e-tron quattro luxury electric crossover

FRANKFURT—In the race to lure luxury customers into electric vehicles, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is making his ambitions clear.

As Silicon Valley automaker Tesla Motors preps the release of its third luxury electric vehicle this month and Porsche weighs a battery-powered concept called Mission E, Audi is readying its own offering: the e-tron quattro.

It’s a concept, but possibly a realistic vision of where Audi is headed. The company confirmed at Frankfurt Motor Show here that it will release a luxury electric crossover in early 2018.

At 16 feet long, 6.3 feet wide and 5.1 feet high, the four-seat e-tron quattro boasts what Audi described as a “coupe-like silhouette.” It’s longer than Audi’s Q5 crossover and shorter than its Q7.

It has three electric motors, with one in the front and two in the back. Audi said it’s drawing on the engineering expertise it’s gleaned from the R8 e-tron sports car.

The e-tron quattro’s introduction marks the latest sign that the luxury industry is taking Tesla seriously. The California company plans to release the Model X crossover later this month.

Stadler said his goal for the quattro is to “lead the industry in connectivity and energy efficiency.”

Asked how he would do that, he simply turned to his side and motioned to the e-tron quattro, as if to say it spoke for itself.

Audi said the e-tron quattro concept reflects “a concrete foretaste” of the company’s production-model electric crossover.

With a 95 kilowatt-hour battery pack, the vehicle can travel 310.7 miles on a battery charge and can go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds. A full charges takes about 50 minutes. It can also be wirelessly charged, though that would take longer. A solar roof adds electrical input on sunny days.

Porsche on Monday introduced the Mission E luxury electric car, which can go 310 miles on a single charge and be recharged up to 80% capacity in 15 minutes. It can hit 62.1 mph in less than 3.5 seconds.

Porsche is expected to deliver a production model within five years.

USA TODAY’s Kim Hjelmgaard reported from Frankfurt. USA TODAY’s Nathan Bomey reported from McLean, Va.

Follow Hjelmgaard on Twitter @khjelmgaard. Follow Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Source: Audi shows off e-tron quattro luxury electric crossover

(bangkok post) – No European country ‘can be exempt’ from taking in refugees: Hollande

A young boy looks at a police officer as his family cross the Croatian-Slovenian border in Rigonce on September 20, 2015

TANGIERS (MOROCCO) – No European country can get out of taking in refugees who have the right to asylum, French President Francois Hollande said Saturday, amid a growing row over how to fairly distribute a massive influx of migrants across the continent.

The re-distribution “must involve all European countries — no one can be exempt or we would no longer belong to the same union built on values and principles,” Hollande said during a visit to Morocco, ahead of Wednesday’s EU crisis summit on a contentious proposal to spread 120,000 refugees across member states.

 

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(bloomberg) – Coca-Cola Says IRS Is Demanding $3.3 Billion in Taxes Following Audit

Coca-Cola Co. received notice from the Internal Revenue Service that it owes about $3.3 billion in extra taxes, plus interest, becoming the latest global company to clash with the agency over profits booked in foreign countries.

The IRS’s move follows an audit of the tax years 2007 through 2009, Coca-Cola said in a regulatory filing posted Friday. The IRS hasn’t demanded any penalties, and the beverage giant said it believes the assessment is without merit. The agency told Coca-Cola that the matter has been brought to the IRS’s top lawyer with the recommendation that it be litigated, according to the filing.

Coca-Cola is one of several large American corporations to get embroiled with the IRS over profits recorded in foreign countries, which critics say can unfairly shield money from U.S. taxes. The IRS also is fighting with Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. on their intracompany transactions. Coca-Cola’s dispute centers on licensing of properties to foreign-based businesses, which manufacture, distribute and sell products.

“We plan to pursue all administrative and judicial remedies necessary to resolve this matter,” Coca-Cola said in a separate statement on Friday. “The company has followed the same methodology for determining our U.S. taxable income from certain foreign company operations for nearly 30 years.”

Under U.S. law, companies owe the IRS up to 35 percent on profits they earn around the world. They get credits for taxes paid to foreign governments, and they don’t have to pay the U.S. until they repatriate the money.

Overseas Revenue

That system gives companies an incentive to book income in low-tax countries and leave profits there. In 2014, Coca-Cola reported earning 57 percent of its net revenue outside the U.S., according to its most recent annual report. For tax purposes, however, the company reported earning 83 percent of its pretax income outside the U.S.

Coca-Cola cut its 2014 effective tax rate by 11.5 percentage points because so much of the company’s earnings were outside the U.S., and it gets tax incentives from Brazil, Costa Rica, Singapore and Swaziland.

As of the end of 2014, Coca-Cola had a total of $33.3 billion in profit held outside the U.S. on which it hasn’t paid U.S. taxes. As of earlier this year, that was more than all but 16 other companies.

Coca-Cola said it has followed the same process for determining its U.S. taxable income on “certain foreign company operations” for three decades and that the IRS had agreed to the methodology for tax returns from 1987 to 1995, and then again during five successive audits through 2006.

Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, has requested a meeting with the IRS’s chief counsel and expects to file a petition in the U.S. Tax Court to challenge the notice. The company hasn’t taken a writedown over the matter and believes it has adequate tax reserves.

“The IRS now seeks to depart from this longstanding practice in order to increase substantially the amount of tax,” Coca-Cola said. “We are among hundreds of other companies currently facing these types of adjustments involving payments between related companies, and we will vigorously defend our position. We are confident we will prevail on the merits of this case.”

Source: Coca-Cola Says IRS Is Demanding $3.3 Billion in Taxes Following Audit – Bloomberg Business

(Reuters) – U.S. Treasury official says China trying to keep yuan from falling more 

(Reuters) – A senior U.S. Treasury official said on Friday that China has been intervening to keep its yuan currency from falling more than it otherwise would and that the sooner Beijing lets the market work, the better for China.

The official, who spoke to a group of reporters but asked not to be named, urged Beijing to allow the currency to rise and fall freely.

The comments preceded a state visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sept. 25, in which Xi and President Barack Obama will discuss economic ties between the two countries as well as their increasingly testy relationship over security matters.

Washington has long urged Beijing to let the yuan appreciate, arguing that China was using a weak currency to make its goods cheaper in America.

But China these days is facing doubts in financial markets over the strength of its economy. The Treasury official said China’s decision to loosen restrictions on currency trading last month, which prompted a sharp fall in the yuan’s value, appeared to be perceived in markets as having the intention to prop up China’s economy, sowing further doubts among investors.

The official said China should not feel like it needs to step in and stop declines in financial markets every time investors send it signals about the economy.

He said China’s commitment to letting market forces play a bigger role in the value of the yuanwill earn more credibility when it allows market forces to push its value up. (Reporting byJason Lange; Editing by James Dalgleish, Andrew Hay and Leslie Adler)

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(abc news) – CDC Predicts Flu Vaccine Will Be More Effective Than Last Year

Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

After an intense flu season last year, health officials said they are hopeful that this year’s flu vaccine will be far more effective at curbing outbreaks.

This year’s vaccine will target the same strain of the virus, the H3N2 strain, that mutated last year, leaving the vaccine less effective, officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases announced Thursday.

“It was a disappointing year from the point of view of what the vaccine can do,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University and the medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

The CDC reported that the rate of flu-related hospitalizations during the last flu season among those over the age of 65 was the highest since records began about 10 years ago. Additionally there were 145 pediatric flu deaths, according to the CDC.

Last year’s flu vaccine against the mutated strain was just 13 percent effective compared to the goal of around 50 to 60 percent effective in other years, CDC director Tom Freiden said at a news conference Thursday.

Health officials are far more optimistic that the vaccine will be more effective this year against multiple strains of the virus that recently affected people in the Southern Hemisphere, Schaffner said.

“A new strain shows up, it continues to be a dominant strain for a few years. We have watched in our summer what has happened in the Southern Hemisphere in their winter,” Schaffner explained. “Their dominant strain has been the same, the H3N2 strain.”

Depending on which vaccine a person gets, the shot will protect against three or four strains of the virus. Experts pick the strains after consulting a number of factors including flu strains in other parts of the world and past outbreaks of the disease.

“At the moment, we have reasonable confidence that we are going to have a good match between the circulating virus of what’s out there and what’s in the vaccine,” Schaffner said.

Every year, 200,000 people are hospitalized from seasonal flu-related complications, according to the CDC.

“Vaccination is the single most important step people can take to protect themselves frominfluenza,” Frieden said. “Flu can be serious and it kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. Vaccination is easier and more convenient than ever, so get yourself and your family protected.”

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(live science) – 16 Pyramids Discovered in Ancient Cemetery

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(smh.com) – Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake hits Chile

 

A powerful 8.3-magnitude earthquake has struck off the central coast of Chile, causing buildings to sway in the capital Santiago and triggering a tsunami warning.

Tsunami alarms sounded in the port of Valparaiso and authorities issued a tsunami alert for Chile’s entire coast.

Hazardous tsunami waves from the quake were possible along the coasts of Chile and also Peru within the next several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

US officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific Ocean at 7.54pm, local time,and was centred about 228 kilometres north north-west of Santiago.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, however this was later upgraded to 8.3.

It said the quake was five kilometres below the surface.

Chile’s emergency office warned that big waves caused by the quake could hit the coast by 11pm.

Australian rapper Urthboy is in Chile and tweeted that he felt the earthquake strike.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/tsunami-warning-after-powerful-earthquake-hits-chile-20150916-gjojfd.html#ixzz3lws5cZiC
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

Source: Tsunami warning after powerful earthquake hits Chile

 

Hazardous tsunami waves were possible along the coasts of Chile and also Peru within the next several hours, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said, while a tsunami watch was also issued for Hawaii.

The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to the Australian mainland, islands or territories.

US officials said the quake struck just offshore in the Pacific Ocean at 7.54pm, local time, and was centred about 228 kilometres north north-west of Santiago.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.9, however this was later upgraded to 8.3.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said the quake struck 10 kilometres below the surface.

“Based on all available data, hazardous tsunami waves are forecast for some coasts,” the centre said.

Officials ordered people to evacuate low-lying areas along Chile’s Pacific shore, from Puerto Aysen in the south to Arica in the north. Cars streamed inland carrying people to higher ground.

Chile’s emergency office warned that big waves caused by the quake could hit the coast by 11pm.

If tsunami waves impact Hawaii, the estimated earliest arrival time would be 3.06am, local time.

Witnesses said the powerful quake was felt as far away as the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on the eastern seaboard of South America.

Interior Minister Jorge Burgos told reporters there were reports of damages to homes in Illapel, about 280 kilometres north of Santiago. There were no immediate reports of injuries or deaths.

Chile’s state copper miner Codelco said workers at its Ventanas division have been evacuated.

Newsweek published pictures showing people gathering at a tsunami-safe zone.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/tsunami-warning-after-powerful-earthquake-hits-chile-20150916-gjojfd.html#ixzz3lx6T2LyH
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

(USA Today) – Study: Fossil fuel burn-off will submerge U.S. cities

If the currently attainable coal, natural gas and oil deposits are burned, the entire ice sheet covering Antarctica will melt into warming oceans, authors of the Sciences Advances study claimed.

The new projections say the first 100 feet of sea level rise would happen over the next 1,000 years, more than an inch a year, said Ken Caldeira, one of the study’s authors and a professor at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

“In the ‘burn it all, melt it all’ scenario, the environmental consequences are unacceptable,” Caldeira said Saturday. “Sooner rather than later the energy system is going to have to be rebuilt so it doesn’t dump carbon dioxide into the air.”

In total, that projected 200-foot rise would devastate low-lying coastal regions across the world.

Consider New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina where the 20-foot storm surge nearly wiped the city off the map. Los Angeles, New York City and nearly all of Florida would flood and disappear.

“Most projections this century are two to three feet of sea level rise, which we can deal with,” Caldeira said. “But 100 feet basically means abandoning London, Rome, Paris, Tokyo and New York.”

The paper’s apocalyptic conclusions are similar to the scenes recently painted by President Obama on his trip to Alaska.

He stressed that time is running short to change course at the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic.

“On this issue — of all issues —there is such a thing as being too late,” Obama said. “And that moment is almost upon us.”

Obama called on nations to make commitments to reduce carbon emissions at the United Nations climate summit later this year. “This year in Paris has to be the year that the world finally acts to protect the one planet that we have while we still can,” he said.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Obama at the White House in August to discuss renewable energy and aggressive targets that will be set out in Paris.

Source: Study: Fossil fuel burn-off will submerge U.S. cities

(Fox News) – Strong earthquake jolts Tokyo; no tsunami risk or injuries reported

 

A strong earthquake shook Tokyo early Saturday morning, knocking books from shelves, but authorities said there was no risk of a tsunami.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The magnitude-5.2 earthquake was 35 miles deep and was centered in Tokyo Bay, near Haneda Airport, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It struck at 5:49 a.m.

Subway and train service was briefly interrupted for safety checks.

The agency warned that the quake could cause landslides following recent heavy rains

Source: Strong earthquake jolts Tokyo; no tsunami risk or injuries reported | Fox News

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