Sooty ships may be geoengineering by accident



































GEOENGINEERING is being tested - albeit inadvertently - in the north Pacific. Soot from oil-burning ships is dumping about 1000 tonnes of soluble iron per year across 6 million square kilometres of ocean, new research has revealed.












Fertilising the world's oceans with iron has been controversially proposed as a way of sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to curb global warming. Some geoengineers claim releasing iron into the sea will stimulate plankton blooms, which absorb carbon, but ocean processes are complex and difficult to monitor in tests.












"Experiments suggest you change the population of algae, causing a shift from fish-dominated to jellyfish-dominated ecosystems," says Alex Baker of the University of East Anglia, UK. Such concerns led the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to impose a moratorium on geoengineering experiments in 2010.











The annual ship deposition is much larger, if less concentrated, than the iron released in field tests carried out before the moratorium was in place. Yet because ship emissions are not intended to alter ocean chemistry, they do not violate the moratorium, says Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, a think tank that consults for the CBD. "If you intentionally drove oil-burning ships back and forth as a geoengineering experiment, that would contravene it."













The new study, by Akinori Ito of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, is the first to quantify how shipping deposits iron in parts of the ocean normally deficient in it. Earlier models had assumed that only 1 to 2 per cent of the iron contained in aerosols, including shipping emissions, is soluble in seawater, so the remaining 98 to 99 percent would sink to the bottom without affecting ocean life. But Ito found that up to 80 per cent of the iron in shipping soot is soluble (Global Biogeochemical Cycles, doi.org/kdj). As this soot rapidly falls to the sea surface, it is likely to be fertilising the oceans.












In the high-latitude north Pacific - a region that is naturally iron-poor and therefore likely to be most affected by human deposits - ship emissions now account for 70 per cent of soluble iron from human activity, with the burning of biomass and coal accounting for the rest. Shipping's share will rise as traffic continues to grow and regulations restrict coal and biomass emissions.












Can we learn anything from this unintentional experiment? Baker thinks not. "The process isn't scientifically useful," he says, because the uncontrolled nature of the iron makes it difficult to draw meaningful comparisons.












The depositions are unlikely to be harmful at current levels, he says, but "given the uncertainties, I just don't know how much these iron emissions would have to increase before there was demonstrable harm to an ecosystem, or benefit in terms of carbon uptake, for that matter".


















This article appeared in print under the headline "Ships inadvertently fertilise the oceans"




















































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Read More..

Year of the Snake welcomes first baby






SINGAPORE: The Chinese Year of the Water Snake welcomed its first baby in Singapore at the stroke of midnight Saturday.

The 2.78-kilogramme bundle of joy is the first born to proud parents Koh Su Ming and Zhang Jing Jing.

The baby boy made his appearance a week earlier than expected.

An exhausted Madam Zhang said the labour lasted for 10 hours.

As the first child born in the Year of the Snake, the yet unnamed baby receives a cash gift in the form of an education endowment plan, among other things.

Mr Koh, the baby's father, said: "We feel very blessed that we have so many parties showering us with love and so many gifts, we feel very thankful."

- CNA/al



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Joyous memories at Hadiya Pendleton funeral









Slain teen Hadiya Pendleton was remembered today as a laughing youth who brought love and happiness to all her family and friends.

Despite the heavy security because of the attendance of first lady Michelle Obama and other dignitaries, Hadiya's funeral at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church only occasionally touched on politics and the gun violence that ended Hadiya's life, instead focusing on a 15-year-old girl whose smile lit up the room.

Her mother, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, briefly spoke to the standing room only crowd, often with a smile and even a laugh.

“My baby did all this,’’ she said, wearing a big red flower on her chest and a sparkly scarf, and clearly enjoying the music. "This is all Hadiya.’’

“The outpouring of support has been absolutely amazing,’’ she said.
 
She explained that at points, “you kinda do not know how to act,’’ and some people might not understand “our sense of humor’’ or “why I have a smile on my face.’’

“But I’m not worried about her soul,’’ she said.

“I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who had something to do with rounding her or having something to do with who she was,’’ she said.

Then appearing more serious, she said, “No mother, no father should ever have to experience this.’’

“I kept her living,’’ she said, saying she helped her daughter stay away from negative influences. "When your children try to talk to you, listen. Don’t judge them. This should be a judge-free zone. You made them. You deal with that."
 
“All right, I love you all,’’ she said before ending her remarks.

Earlier the crowd was addressed by Damon Stewart, Hadiya's godfather, who said, “I’m going to speak as if we’re family,’’ adding that he had “two spiritual thoughts’’ he wanted to stress.

“God makes no mistakes,’’ he said. “I don’t believe in coincidence; I believe in divine intervention.’’

Wearing a black suit and black shirt, he also wore purple in honor of Hadiya -- a purple tie and ribbon on his chest, and a purple handkerchief in chest pocket.
 
“I loved that child,’’ he said.

Stewart quoted Hadiya's father, Nathaniel Anthony Pendleton, as saying, "This isn't political, this is personal."

Then Stewart said: "This should break the hearts of everyone who has someone they love."

He said he read a Facebook post that said: "I'm not going to buy into the hype. What makes this girl so much better than the others?"

"She is important because all those other people who died are important," Stewart said. "She is important because all of the families who were silent, she speaks for them. She is a representative of the people across the nation who have lost their lives."

"Don't let this turn into a political thing. Keep it personal," he said. "A lot of politicians will try to wield it as a sword. They want to use it for votes."

While family and friends kept the focus on the 15-year-old girl who was shot dead in a South Side park, the first lady's appearance inevitably brought attention to anti-gun efforts nationwide.

The back of the funeral program has a copy of a handwritten note from President Barack Obama: "Dear Cleopatra and Nathaniel, Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya's passing. We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence. God Bless.”

In addition to Michelle Obama, dignitaries in the crowd included Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Ill. Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Rev. Jesse Jackson,  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to Barack Obama.

Prior to the service, the first lady met privately with about 30 of Hadiya's friends and classmates, and then with members of Hadiya's family, according to a White House official.

Father Michael Pfleger spoke and called Hadiya an "innocent victim of gun violence,’’ asking,  “When did we lose our soul?”

He told the crowd that “we must become like Jesus’’ and become “the interrupters’’ of genocide, an evil that is killing our children.
 
“Welcome home, sweet Hadiya. See you on the other side," he said.

Hadiya was killed Jan. 29 at Harsh Park, in the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue, not far from the Obama family home. Although Hadiya and the friends that were with her had no gang ties, a gunman fired into the park in what police said was a gang-connected shooting causing her death to become a symbol of Chicago's gun violence.

But most of the funeral service was about Hadiya's life, and the love she brought to so many.

Hadiya's pastor, Courtney C. Maxwell from the Greater Deliverance Temple Church of Christ, opened the services about 11:15 a.m. after a heart-shaped balloon was placed near her casket.
 
He thanked everyone for being at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church, including elected officials. “The family says thank you and God bless you.’’ He asked for round of applause for the Pendleton family.
 
“Only God can keep you and strengthen you, for God is our refuge and our strength,’’ the pastor said.

The pastor said Hadiya was “genuine and real.’’

“She was energetic, loved music, loved the arts,’’ the pastor said.

After the pastor spoke, a female reverend dressed in white addressed the crowd and a choir behind her began singing.

“Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,’’ she said, as the choir sang after her.

An assistant pastor read from scriptures: "She is more precious than rubies. … Her ways are of pleasantness.’’

Pastor Elder Eric Thomas of the host Greater Harvest Baptist Church described Hadiya as a “beloved angel.’’
 
“Her life has not been in vain,’’ Thomas said.
 
A female singer and organist the played a religious song, as about 30 others in the choir, all dress in white, stood and swayed gently from side to side before the large cross that was draped in white.

Kenya Edwards, who identified herself as a radio personality and a friend, read a poem called “Walking’’ written for Hadiya by Zora Howard, then said: “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for us to start walking. It’s time to take a stand.’’

Hadiya’s aunt Linda Wilks then spoke, asking, “What was inside Hadiya that connected her to those who didn’t know her?”

“It was her inner light’’ that connected her with humanity’s inner light, she said. “Light has power and has potent force,’’ and can cause "mankind to feel an inner awakening and a sense of love.’’

“Light can pursue darkness ... it diffuses darkness,’’
her aunt said. "Hadiya. The light.’’

Several girls who all identified themselves as Hadiya’s best friends got up, one by one, to share warm and funny and very sad memories.
 
One girl, Kaylen Jones, drew laughter when she said Hadiya’s mom “guilted me’’ into talking, then said one of the things she will remember most is Hadiya's smile.
 
“That smile lit up a room’’ she said. “It was the last thing I saw before they put her into the ambulance.’’

“I loved her. These past few weeks I felt like there’s a part of me missing,’’ Jones said.

“But she’s right here, whispering the answers to us in chemistry,’’ she said, drawing huge laughs and applause.
 
Another girlfriend, Giselle, was holding a tissue and broke down in tears, having to stop at least twice during her thoughts.
 
“Hadiya always pushed me to do my very best,’’ she said, wiping her eyes. “We were going to go to college together.’’

Giselle said after losing Hadiya she had tweeted to friends "I just wanted a last hug," and two days later "I had a dream that she gave me a hug."

“I believe that she came back and gave me a last hug,’’ she said.
 
Many others remembered her laughter and her smile. Others had short songs they sang to the crowd and shared favorite memories of her.
 
Her King College Prep majorette team also got up, and presented her jacket in a frame to Hadiya's mother, who embraced her in a long hug.
 
Kierrra Wilson, the captain of the majorette team, which had performed for festivities during the weekend before President Obama's second inauguration, spoke first.

“It’s really hard being up here,’’ she said. “Hadiya was close to all of us.’’

The entire team, dressed in their black and gold outfits, engaged in a group hug.
 
Another teammate also recalled the Washington trip, saying Hadiya never lost her sense of humor even though they were “so tired.’’

She said she would always remember Hadiya’s laughter, and told a story that caused the crowd to chuckle. “She tries to tell a scary story and nobody can believe it,’’ she said. "She had a little baby voice.’’


Hadiya’s cousin got up and told the crowd Hadiya often talked about college.

“She always wanted to go to Harvard,’’ he said, before reading a poem he wrote about her that included the lines: “Sweeter than a tomato from the garden of fruit. You will always be loved. ... Save a spot for me above."

Hadiya’s little brother spoke briefly, recalling how his big sister would think of funny names.

A Nation of Islam representative spoke, offering condolences and saying, “We have come here to celebrate the life and light of this star of God."

"We pray for peace. We thank God for this beautiful gift … Hadiya,’’ he said.


The service ended about 2:37 p.m. as pallbearers began to move the casket, covered in a white cloth emblazoned with a gold cross, and the choir continued singing.
 
“There's a new name written in glory,’’ one of the pastors said. “Thank you, God, for our angel Hadiya."

By 2:44 p.m. people were moving out of the church. After the service, the first lady remained seated until the immediate family was out of the church. She was then escorted out though a private exit and left without public comment.

Hundreds of mourners had lined up early today at the church in the Washington Park neighborhood, which was under tight security.

Guests who were invited by the family were given orange wristbands and were able to enter through a shorter security line. Classmates and friends of Pendleton were given green wristbands and allowed to enter through that same line.

Trinity Dishmon, 40, said her daughter Deja, 15, and Hadiya were close friends in middle school. The two girls stayed in touch and were texting about their upcoming 16th birthdays while Hadiya was in D.C. for the president's inauguration in January.

"Hadiya was a gift to everyone that knew her," Dishmon said, tearing up. "These last 12 days have been unbelievably numbing. It's not six degrees of separation anymore, it's one. It's just unreal."

Dishmon said she feared that the day was less about the teenager and more about a larger issue.

"This is Hadiya's day and should be about her -- not something sensational," Dishmon said. "But maybe by honoring her life we can help make a difference."

Inside the church, Hadiya’s silver casket was placed in the front, surrounded by flowers and two large hearts, one with her picture on it. Behind the casket, a TV screen showed pictures of Hadiya with her family, from birth to her teenage years.

A funeral director wearing a suit and white gloves came outside at 9:40 a.m. to announce to the hundreds still waiting in line that the church was “at capacity.” Those still in line could come in and view the body, he said, but would have to leave before the services.

The funeral procession arrived at about 9:45 a.m., including three limousines and dozens of cars.

The first lady’s motorcade pulled into the church parking lot at about 10:15 a.m. She went in through a separate side entrance at the rear of the church, stepping directly from a vehicle into the building.

The family filed down the aisle a little after 10 a.m. and viewed the body in the still open casket. The pastor led the procession down the aisle chanting "the Lord is my shepherd" as soft organ music played in the background.

Ushers walked down the aisle handing out tissues, and those without wristbands were asked to give up their seats so that family members could be seated in the sanctuary. Every seat was filled by 9:45 a.m.

Purple, Hadiya’s favorite color, is represented in many of the flowers in the church and the lining of her casket. Ushers handed out a glossy funeral program booklet printed on purple paper. The front cover says "Celebrating The Life Of ... Hadiya Zaymara Pendleton.” Inside are more than 50 photos of Hadiya throughout her life.
 
Her obituary printed in the booklet describes her work in the church and even her favorite foods: Chinese, cheeseburgers, ice cream and Fig Newtons. It includes tributes from her grandmother, her cousin and an aunt as well as close friends.

About 10:15 a.m., the funeral director came back out and announced to the hundreds still waiting in line that no one else would be allowed inside — not for the viewing or the funeral.

Even after those outside were told they would not be allowed in, many continued to gather around the church's front gate.

Some began to file out, having to hop over the metal barricades to exit the long line.

One man asked the funeral staff member if he could at least have a pamphlet from the funeral before he left.

"Oh sir, those are long gone. They only printed 1,500," the funeral staff member said.

Activists, religious groups and others passed out printed material to those standing in line. Some kept the papers, others were left on the snowy ground as some of the crowd left.








A group of people who were not allowed inside the church after it reached capacity stood outside in the freezing weather for hours as the funeral went on.

Police put up additional barricades near the church entrance gate to keep new people arriving back.

At 2 p.m. a few people trickled out of the church, including a handful of King College Prep majorettes. Police were not allowing anyone else in for the service, even as people left.

Some had been standing outside for hours, hunched over in the cold. The group continued to talk as the hours passed.

A number of police cars circled the block during funeral services -- including officers in vans, SUVs and undercover cars. Helicopters could be seen and heard overhead.

Michelle Obama's attendance puts Chicago solidly in the middle of a national debate over gun violence that has polarized Congress and forced President Obama to take his gun control initiatives on the road to garner more public support.

The first lady's visit is being seen not only as a gesture of condolence to the family but as part of an effort to draw attention and support for the president's gun initiatives.

But the visit also meant scores of security, police and Secret Service agents, metal detectors and other security measures.

The church is surrounded by an iron fence and all of the openings -- a pedestrian gate in the front, front and side doors to the church, and a driveway to the north -- are guarded by city police or men in white shirts, ties and long black coats. Chicago police vehicles -- two wagons, a handful of squads and SUVs -- guarded the outside of the church while other vehicles circle the block.

Chicago police staffing the event are wearing dress blues -- a blue overcoat with pockets that allow access to the duty belt, creased navy pants, and a hat.

King College Prep math and engineering teacher Alonzo Hoskins stood quietly in line with others. He said he taught Hadiya in his first-period geometry class, where he now has an empty desk.

"She was full of life," Hoskins said.

Nate Weathers, 16,  Jeramy Brown, 16, and Antoine Fuller, 15, all stood in line to see their former classmate. The three young men said they attended Carter G. Woodson Middle School with Hadiya.

“This tears me up,” Fuller said. “She was my 7th grade crush.”

Brown described Hadiya as “sweet and innocent.”

“Something like this should have never happened to her,” Brown said.


Police took two men into custody after they got into an altercation near the back of the long line of mourners waiting to get into the church. One man was agitated, complaining about the long wait to get in. A second man confronted him and they began shoving each other before police intervened.


Local and national pool reports contributed.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com


Twitter: @chicagobreaking 



Read More..

Mars Rover Curiosity Completes First Full Drill


For the first time in history, humans have drilled a hole into rock on Mars and are collecting the powdered results for analysis, NASA announced Saturday.

After weeks of intensive planning, the Mars rover Curiosity undertook its first full drill on Friday, with NASA receiving images on Saturday showing that the procedure was a success.

Curiosity drilled a hole that is a modest 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters) deep and .6 inches (1.52 centimeters) wide but that holds the promise of potentially great discoveries. (Watch video of the Mars rover Curiosity.)

"The most advanced planetary robot ever designed now is a fully operating analytical laboratory on Mars," John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for the agency's Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement on Saturday.

"This is the biggest milestone accomplishment for the Curiosity team since the sky-crane landing last August."

Read: Asteroid to Make Closest Flyby in History

The site of the much-anticipated penetration is a flat section of Mars rock that shows signs of having been underwater in its past.

Called Yellowknife Bay, it's the kind of environment where organic materials—the building block of life—might have been deposited and preserved long ago, at a time when Mars was far wetter and warmer than it is today.

The contents of the drilling are now being transferred into the rover's internal collection system, where the samples will be sieved down to size and scoured to minimize the presence of contamination from Earth. (Watch video of Curiosity's "Seven Minutes of Terror.")

Then the sample will be distributed to the two instruments most capable of determining what the rocks contain.

The first is the Sample Analysis on Mars (SAM), which has two ovens that can heat the powdered rock to almost 2000°F (1093°C) and release the rock's elements and compounds in a gaseous form.

The gases will then be analyzed by instruments that can identify precisely what they are, and when they might have been deposited. Scientists are looking for carbon-based organics believed to be essential for any potentially past life on Mars.

Powder will also go to the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument for a related analysis that looks especially at the presence of minerals—especially those that can only be formed in the presence of water.

Louise Jandura, chief engineer for Curiosity's sample system at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that designing and testing a drill that can grab hold of Martian rock and commence first a percussive shallow drilling and then dig a deeper hole was difficult.

The drill, which is at the end of a 7-foot arm, is capable of about 100 discrete maneuvers.

"To get to the point of making this hole in a rock on Mars, we made eight drills and bored more than 1,200 holes in 20 types of rock on Earth," Jandura said in a statement.

Results from the SAM and CheMin analyses are not expected for several days to weeks.


Read More..

LAPD Reopens Case of Suspected Cop-Killer's Firing













The Los Angeles Police Department announced today it will reopen the case of the firing of Christopher Dorner, but said the decision was not made to "appease" the fugitive former cop suspected of killing three people.


Dorner, a fired and disgruntled former Los Angeles police officer, said in the so-called "manifesto" he released that he was targeting LAPD officials and their families and will keep killing until the truth is known about his case.


"I have no doubt that the law enforcement community will bring to an end the reign of terror perpetrated on our region by Christopher Jordan Dorner and he will be held accountable for his evil actions," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement released tonight.


He spoke of the "tremendous strides" the LAPD has made in regaining public trust after numerous scandals, but added: "I am aware of the ghosts of the LAPD's past and one of my biggest concerns is that they will be resurrected by Dorner's allegations of racism within the Department."


To do that, he said, full re-investigation of the case that led to Dorner's firing is necessary.


"I feel we need to also publicly address Dorner's allegations regarding his termination of employment, and to do so I have directed our Professionals Standards Bureau and my Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing to completely review the Dorner complaint of 2007; To include a re-examination of all evidence and a re-interview of witnesses," he said. "We will also investigate any allegations made in his manifesto which were not included in his original complaint.






Irvine Police Department/AP Photo











Christopher Dorner Search: Officials Search for Ex-officer in the Mountains Watch Video









Hundreds of Officers on Hunt for Alleged Cop Killer Watch Video







"I do this not to appease a murderer. I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do."


PHOTOS: Former LAPD Officer Suspected in Shootings


As police searched for Dorner today in the San Bernardino Mountains, sources told ABC News that investigators found two AR-15 assault rifles in the burned-out truck Dorner abandoned.


The truck had a broken axle, which may be the reason he decided to set fire to it, the police sources said.


A man identifying himself as Dorner taunted the father of Monica Quan four days after the former LAPD officer allegedly killed her and just 11 hours after he allegedly killed a police officer in Riverside, Calif., according to court documents obtained by ABC News


A man claiming to be Dorner called Randall Quan and told him that that he "should have done a better job of protecting his daughter," according to the documents.


In his 6,000-word "manifesto," Dorner named Randal Quan, a retired LAPD captain and attorney who represented him before a police review board that led to Dorner's dismissal from the force.


"I never had an opportunity to have a family of my own, I'm terminating yours," Dorner wrote, and directed Quan and other officials to "[l]ook your wives/husbands and surviving children directly in the face and tell them the truth as to why your children are dead."


Monica Quan and her fiancé Keith Lawrence were gunned down last Sunday in their car in the parking of their Irvine, Calif., condominium complex. Both were struck with multiple gunshot wounds.


The call, according to court records, was traced to Vancouver, Wash., but law enforcement officials do not believe Dorner was there at the time at the call.


Dorner is believed to have made the call early Thursday afternoon, less than half a day after he is suspected of killing a police officer and wounding two others early that morning, sparking an unprecedented man hunt involving more than a thousand police officers and federal agents spanning hundreds of miles.


FULL COVERAGE: Christopher Jordan Dorner






Read More..

Data-wiping algorithm cleans your cellphone



Paul Marks, chief technology correspondent
Mailing your cellphone to a recycling company might make you a few pounds, but it can leave you at risk of identity theft. The deletion techniques recycling companies use are meant for hard discs, and so don't work on the solid-state flash memory used in mobile phones. That means personal data like banking info, texts, contacts and pictures can end up in the hands of, well, anyone the phone ends up with.  
To remedy the problem, British company BlackBelt Smartphone Defence of Skelmersdale, Lancashire claims to have developed a software algorithm that can securely delete data on cellphone memory chips. The trouble with data in a flash memory chip is that it is protected by an on-chip protection algorithm called the wear leveller. This hard-coded routine does its best to ensure the chip's lifetime is maximised so that each memory cell's ability to store charge is not worn out.




"The problem is that the wear-levelling algorithm ends up working
against the data wiping technique used for hard drives, which tries to
overwrite all the data,"
says the company's Ken Garner.
What the firm has done is write their own algorithm, called BlackBelt DataWipe, that works with,
rather than against, the leveller routine to render data
irrecoverable. "It is like having a shredder for personally identifiable
data," says Garner.
However, they don't yet know if their method is proof against sophisticated, nation-state level attacks - which might use electron microscopes
to read the last vestiges of the zeros and ones on a memory chip. "I imagine
if you're GCHQ you'll probably have technology that could get around
this and recover it in some way," says Garner.



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Nursing is a profession, not a job just anybody can do: doctor






SINGAPORE: Singapore's Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Health has paid tribute to the role of nurses in Singapore's healthcare system.

Writing on the Health Ministry's Facebook page, Professor K Satkunanantham said he had to write the post as a doctor and as the Director of Medical Services, because of the events that unfolded over the last couple of days.

He stressed that nursing is not a job that just anybody can do - it is a profession.

Prof Satku explained that it takes a special kind of person to be a nurse - someone who is compassionate, caring, and who is willing to put the interests of others above their own.

He said nurses are often specially trained, and need to keep up with new developments in their field.

They work in difficult situations, and have to remain professional in the face of challenges.

As a surgeon, Prof Satku said he has worked with very highly-trained nurses, without whom much of his work would have been impossible.

In the operating theatre, nurses ensure that the most complex operations are carried out smoothly.

In the wards, nurses work to ensure the well-being of patients and continue to do so long after everyone else has gone home.

Prof Satku said nurses are often under-appreciated and taken for granted.

He said Singapore's healthcare system would not function without nurses as hospitals, clinics and hospices rely on them.

Prof Satku thanked all those in the nursing profession.

On Friday, on the concluding day of the debate on the White Paper, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean issued a corrigendum to the document in Parliament in relation to footnote 12 on page 40 of the White Paper.

The footnote included two sentences - "Certain low-skilled jobs like personal services, retail, and nursing are hard to offshore. They will still be needed even as the economy upgrades".

Mr Teo said this segment will be deleted.

Mr Teo said this classification of low-skilled jobs is not correct and apologised to those whose professions have been unintentionally misrepresented.

Mr Teo said he personally has the greatest respect for the nursing profession. He said it is a noble and caring profession that all depend on and appreciate.

Mr Teo said the matter was brought to his attention by friends in the nursing profession and unions.

- CNA/xq



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Blizzard wallops Northeast, thousands without power








A blizzard slammed into the northeastern United States on Friday, snarling traffic, disrupting thousands of flights and prompting five governors to declare states of emergency in the face of a fearsome snowstorm.

Forecasters warned that about 2 feet of snow would blanket most of the Boston area with some spots getting as much as 30 inches. New York was due to get about a foot in some areas, while heavy snowfall was also expected in Connecticut and Maine.


Winds were blowing at 35 to 40 miles per hour (56 to 64 km per hour) by Friday afternoon and forecasters expected gusts up to 60 mph as the evening wore on.

Driving conditions were treacherous. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick took the rare step of announcing a ban on most car travel starting Friday afternoon, while Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy closed the state's highways to all but emergency vehicles.

As the evening wore on and the snow piled up, mass transit was also affected.

In New York City, transit officials said "suspensions in service remain a strong possibility," and Metro-North Railroad suspended some of its commuter rail service at 10 p.m.

The Long Island Rail Road partially suspended service on its Montauk branch.

The blizzard left about 10,000 customers along the East Coast without power, and some 3,500 flights were canceled.

"We're seeing heavier snow overspread the region from south to north," said Lance Franck, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts, outside Boston. "As the snow picks up in intensity, we're expecting it to fall at a rate of upwards of two to three inches per hour."

Early Friday evening, officials warned that the storm was just ramping up to full strength, and that heavy snow and high winds would continue through midday on Saturday. The governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Maine declared states of emergency and urged people to stay indoors.

In many cases, authorities ordered non-essential government workers to stay home, urged private employers to do the same, told people to prepare for power outages and encouraged them to check on elderly or disabled neighbors.

People appeared to take the warnings seriously. Traffic on streets and ridership on public transportation was significantly lighter than usual on Friday.

"This is a very large and powerful storm, however we are encouraged by the numbers of people who stayed home today," Boston Mayor Thomas Menino told reporters.

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested the storm created an opportunity to relax and catch up on sleep.

Even so, the storm caused a few accidents, including a 19-vehicle pile-up outside Portland, Maine, that sent one person to the hospital.

In addition to Friday's cancellations, more than 1,200 flights scheduled for Saturday were scratched, according to the website FlightAware.com.

The storm also posed a risk of flooding at high tide to areas still recovering from Superstorm Sandy last October.

"Many of the same communities that were inundated by Hurricane Sandy's tidal surge just about 100 days ago are likely to see some moderate coastal flooding this evening," said Bloomberg.

Brick Township in New Jersey had crews out building up sand dunes and berms ahead of a forecast storm surge, said Mayor Stephen Acropolis.

Travel became more difficult as the day progressed.

Amtrak suspended railroad service between New York, Boston and points north on Friday afternoon.






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Space Pictures This Week: Sun Dragon, Celestial Seagull








































































































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Great Energy Challenge Blog













































































































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Northeast Shuts Down as Blizzard Batters Millions













A blizzard of possibly historic proportions battered the Northeast Friday into Saturday, and forecasters feared as much as two feet of snow and strong winds could shut down densely populated cities such as New York and Boston, where cars were ordered off the streets.


State officials declared states of emergencies throughout the region, and utilities estimated more than a half-million customers were without power by late Friday night.


Some wondered if the storm could top Boston's all-time single-storm snowfall record of 27.6 inches, set in 2003.


By 9 p.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service, the storm was spinning off the coast of Long Island, N.Y., and expected to move north-northeastward past New England's coast before its effects tapered off on Saturday afternoon.


"Storm total snowfall accumulations of 1 to 2 feet ... with locally higher amounts are possible across much of the Northeast," the National Weather Service said. "The heaviest snow is forecast to fall across parts of eastern Massachusetts ... Connecticut and Rhode Island where snowfall amounts higher than two feet are possible. In addition to the heavy snowfall ... wind gusts as high as 70 mph are possible ... especially near the coasts."


By 9 p.m. Friday, parts of Connecticut and New York had the highest actual snowfall totals listed by the National Weather Service, with 13 inches measured in Ogdensburg and East Setaukey, N.Y., and Lisbon and North Branford, Conn.


Peak wind gusts included a 71-mph measurement in Buzzards Bay, Mass., the National Weather Service said.


Power outages also were reported across the region. As of 11 p.m. Friday, for instance, approximately 300,000 Massachusetts customers were without power, ABC News station WCVB reported. Utilities also reported approximately 170,000 without power in Rhode Island, 30,000 in Connecticut and nearly 20,000 in New York.


The blizzard conditions came together after a storm from the west joined forces with one from the south to form a nor'easter.










Hurricane Sandy Victims Hit Again, Survivors Prepare for Worst Watch Video









Weather Forecast: Blizzard Headed for Northeast Watch Video





The storm showed the potential for such ferocity that, before it even hit with full force, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon and signed an executive order banning vehicular traffic on roads in his state effective at 4 p.m. ET. It was believed that the last time the state enacted such a ban was during the blizzard of 1978. Violating the ban could result in a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.


"[It] could definitely be a historic winter storm for the Northeast," said Adrienne Leptich of the National Weather Service in Upton, N.Y. "We're looking at very strong wind and heavy snow and we're also looking for some coastal flooding."


Airlines began shutting down operations Friday afternoon at major airports in the New York area as well as in Boston, Portland, Maine, Providence, R.I., and other Northeastern airports. By early evening Friday, more than 4,300 flights had been cancelled on Friday and Saturday, according to FlightAware. Airlines hoped to resume flights by Saturday afternoon, though normal schedules were not expected until Sunday.


The snow fell heavily Friday afternoon in New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said clearing the roads was his main concern, and the city readied 1,700 snow plows and 250,000 tons of salt to clear the streets.


New York City was expecting up to 14 inches of snow, which started falling early this morning, though the heaviest amounts were expected to fall at night and into Saturday. Wind gusts of 55 mph were expected in New York City.


"Stay off the city streets. Stay out of your cars and stay at home while the worst of the storm is on us," Bloomberg said Friday.


Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declared a state of emergency, deploying National Guard troops across the state to assist in rescues and other emergencies. Schools and state courthouses were closed, and all flights after 1:30 p.m. at Bradley Airport, north of Hartford, Conn., were cancelled. The state's largest utility companies planned for the possibility that 30 percent of customers -- more than 400,000 homes and businesses -- would lose power.


Malloy also directed drivers to stay off the state's major highways.


"Please stay off of 95, 91, 84, Merritt Parkway and any other limited-access road in the state," he said Friday evening.


PHOTOS: Northeast Braces for Snowstorm


Boston, Providence, R.I., Hartford, Conn., and other New England cities canceled school today.


"Stay off the streets of our city. Basically, stay home," Boston Mayor Tom Menino warned Thursday.


On Friday, Menino applauded the public's response.


"I'm very pleased with the compliance with the snow emergency," he said. "You drive down some of the roadways, you don't see one car."


Friday evening, Gov. Patrick also applauded the public's cooperation with the statewide vehicle ban, noting the clear roads were helping utility crews get their work done.


"It's been a great, great help and I thank everyone," Patrick said. "I know it's been an imposition."


As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Department of Defense, 837 National Guard soldiers and airmen under state control had been activated in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York in anticipation of the storm -- 552 in Massachusetts, 235 in Connecticut and 50 in New York. The extra hands were helping with roadways, transportation, making wellness checks on residents and other emergency services.


Beach erosion and coastal flooding was possible from New Jersey to Long Island, N.Y., and into New England coastal areas. It was feared some waves off the coast could reach more than 20 feet.






Read More..

Robot inquisition keeps witnesses on the right track








































MEMORY is a strange thing. Just using the verb "smash" in a question about a car crash instead of "bump" or "hit" causes witnesses to remember higher speeds and more serious damage. Known as the misinformation effect, it is a serious problem for police trying to gather accurate accounts of a potential crime. There's a way around it, however: get a robot to ask the questions.












Cindy Bethel at Mississippi State University in Starkville and her team showed 100 "witnesses" a slide show in which a man steals money and a calculator from a drawer, under the pretext of fixing a chair. The witnesses were then split into four groups and asked about what they had seen, either by a person or by a small NAO robot, controlled in a Wizard of Oz set-up by an unseen human.













Two groups - one with a human and one a robot interviewer - were asked identical questions that introduced false information about the crime, mentioning objects that were not in the scene, then asking about them later. When posed by humans, the questions caused the witnesses' recall accuracy to drop by 40 per cent - compared with those that did not receive misinformation - as they remembered objects that were never there. But misinformation presented by the NAO robot didn't have an effect.












"It was a very big surprise," says Bethel. "They just were not affected by what the robot was saying. The scripts were identical. We even told the human interviewers to be as robotic as possible." The results will be presented at the Human-Robot Interaction conference in Tokyo next month.












Bilge Mutlu, director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggests that robots may avoid triggering the misinformation effect simply because we are not familiar with them and so do not pick up on behavioural cues, which we do with people. "We have good, strong mental models of humans, but we don't have good models of robots," he says.












The misinformation effect doesn't only effect adults; children are particularly susceptible, explains the psychologist on the project, Deborah Eakin. Bethel's ultimate goal is to use robots to help gather testimony from children, who tend to pick up on cues contained in questions. "It's a huge problem," Bethel says.












At the Starkville Police Department, a 10-minute drive from the university, officers want to use such a robotic interviewer to gather more reliable evidence from witnesses. The police work hard to avoid triggering the misinformation effect, says officer Mark Ballard, but even an investigator with the best intentions can let biases slip into the questions they ask a witness.












Children must usually be taken to a certified forensic child psychologist to be interviewed, something which can be difficult if the interviewer works in another jurisdiction. "You might eliminate that if you've got a robot that's certified for forensics investigations, and it's tough to argue that the robot brings any memories or theories with it from its background," says Ballard.


















The study is "very interesting, very intriguing", says Selma Sabanovic, a roboticist at Indiana University. She is interested to see what happens as Bethel repeats the experiment with different robot shapes and sizes. She also poses a slightly darker question: "How would you design a robot to elicit the kind of information you want?"












This article appeared in print under the headline "The robot inquisition"




















It's all about how you say it







When providing new information, rather than helping people recall events (see main story), a robot's rhetoric and body language can make a big difference to how well it gets its message across.









Bilge Mutlu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison had two robots compete to guide humans through a virtual city. He found that the robot which used rhetorical language drew more people to follow it. For example, the robot saying "this zoo will teach you about different parts of the world" did less well than one saying "visiting this zoo feels like travelling the world, without buying a plane ticket". The work will be presented at the Human-Robot Interaction conference in Tokyo next month.











































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Part of Circle Line to close on 17 March, shuttle service to be provided






SINGAPORE: The stretch between the Mountbatten and Dakota stations on the Circle Line (CCL) will not be operational on Sunday 17 March, from 5.30am to 10am.

This is to allow engineers to continue doing cable replacement works.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT said train services between Mountbatten and Paya Lebar stations will run as a shuttle service during that period.

During the shuttle service, normal service trains will stop at either Mountbatten or Paya Lebar station.

Commuters continuing their journey on the CCL will need to alight at one of these two stations and board the shuttle train at the opposite platform.

Commuters can then get off at the other station and continue their journey on the normal service train.

LTA and SMRT said the cable replacement at all 30 CCL stations is expected to be completed by December 2013, about half a year earlier than the 18-month timeline previously announced.

Works are currently ongoing for the first phase covering CCL stations from Dhoby Ghaut to Esplanade.

This will be followed by stations from Mountbatten to Tai Seng, Promenade to Stadium, Bartley to Marymount, Caldecott to one-north and Kent Ridge to HarbourFront.

The last phase will involve cables along Marina Bay and Bayfront.

- CNA/xq



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Chicago scandal leads to shake-up at red-light camera firm









The chairman of the Australian company behind Chicago's red-light program resigned this week and trading in the company's stock was suspended amid an intensifying investigation into allegations of corruption in its Chicago contract.

Redflex Holdings Ltd. announced the extraordinary actions just days after board members were briefed by an outside legal team hired to examine ties between the company's U.S. subsidiary and the city official who oversaw its contract, a relationship first disclosed in October by the Tribune.

In a brief statement Thursday to the newspaper, the company also revealed for the first time that it is sharing information with law enforcement authorities.





The internal probe found that company executives systematically courted former city transportation official John Bills with thousands of dollars in free trips to the Super Bowl and other sporting events, sources familiar with the investigation told the Tribune. The company also hid the extent of the improper relationship from City Hall after the newspaper's reporting last year forced Redflex to partially reveal its ties to Bills, sources said.

The internal probe and a parallel investigation by city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson are also raising more questions about the company's hiring of a longtime Bills friend who received more than $570,000 in company commissions as a customer service representative in Chicago, the sources said.

Bills did not return calls, but has adamantly denied any wrongdoing. "I would never have intentionally accepted a dime from Redflex, I wouldn't do that," he told the Tribune in October.

The latest developments run counter to the company's previous contentions that a whistle-blower concocted widespread accusations of internal wrongdoing and that a single company executive had mistakenly violated procedures by paying a one-time hotel tab for Bills. The reversal was acknowledged in a statement to the newspaper Thursday from the Australian company's CEO, who took over in September.

"Although the investigation is not over, we learned that some Redflex employees did not meet our own code of conduct and the standards that the people of the city of Chicago deserve," said Robert DeVincenzi, CEO of Redflex Holdings, the parent company of Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems Inc.

"We are sharing information with law enforcement authorities, will take corrective action and I will do everything in my power to regain the trust of the Chicago community," DeVincenzi said.

Until the allegations were published by the Tribune, Redflex was positioned as a leading contender for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's new program to sprinkle the city with automatic cameras to tag speeders in school and park "safety zones." Emanuel's administration accused the company of covering up the wrongdoing allegations and disqualified it from bidding on the speed camera contract. Now the company faces the potential loss of its long-standing red-light program in Chicago, which has generated about $100 million for the company and more than $300 million in ticket revenue for the city.

The internal allegations were first made by a former Redflex vice president who wrote of the company's close relationship to Bills in a five-page internal memo emailed in 2010 to the Australian board of directors and obtained by the Tribune. In addition to making allegations about commissions to Bills' friend, the executive complained of "nonreported lavish hotel accommodations" for Bills.

The memo was addressed to Redflex Holdings board Chairman Max Findlay and sent overseas via email. Findlay and another board director, Ian Davis, were atop the list of recipients of the 2010 email.

The company announced both men's resignations in filings Wednesday to the Australian Securities Exchange, where Redflex is publicly traded.

Redflex did not indicate why the men were resigning. But on Thursday the company asked for and was granted by the exchange a four-day suspension of trading "until the earlier of 10 a.m. on Monday 11 February 2013 or an announcement being made."

"The trading halt relates to an update regarding financial aspects and the ongoing investigation in the USA," wrote company secretary Marilyn Stephens. The company did not elaborate on the trading action.

Redflex lawyers told the Tribune in October that a previous company-sponsored investigation by an outside law firm in 2010 found no wrongdoing but for a single hotel stay one top executive paid for Bills. Redflex Traffic Systems sent the executive vice president in question to "anti-bribery" training and revamped its expense accounting system, according to General Counsel Andrejs Bunkse.

Bunkse also said that neither Bills nor his friend the customer service representative were interviewed as part of the company's "exhaustive" three-week probe. He acknowledged the company's failure to notify the city of the allegations was a "lapse."

But in the wake of the newspaper's disclosure, the company announced it would pay for another outside review, this time by David Hoffman, a former city inspector general and federal prosecutor who is now a partner at the Chicago-based law firm Sidley Austin LLP.

Hoffman last week presented the audit committee of Redflex's board with a starkly different version of events, reporting that Bills received thousands of dollars in pricey hotel stays, including tickets to at least one Super Bowl and White Sox spring training trips over the course of many years, according to sources. Hoffman's report implicated company executives in the wrongdoing and recommended that some be fired, the sources said.

Bills, a self-acknowledged Sox fanatic, moonlighted as a clubhouse attendant for the team for several years, including the 2005 World Series season.

Many of the questions about Redflex's success in Chicago revolve around the friendship between Bills, who was a $138,000-per-year managing deputy commissioner for the city Transportation Department, and Marty O'Malley, who was retained by Redflex as its Chicago liaison at the outset of the red-light program in 2003.

Both Bills — a longtime precinct captain in the political organization of House Speaker Michael Madigan — and O'Malley have acknowledged their longtime friendship but said the relationship played no role in O'Malley's hiring and had no influence on Bills' management of the contract. "I have never taken a dime from Marty," Bills said in October. O'Malley did not return a telephone message Thursday.

After retiring from the city, Bills worked as a consultant for the Redflex-funded Traffic Safety Coalition. He also was appointed to an obscure Cook County board known as a haven for those with political clout but was forced to resign the $34,000 post after the Tribune's disclosures.

Redflex has been a multinational player in robotic traffic enforcement for two decades. Chicago, with more than 380 red-light cameras, has long been Redflex's largest contract in North America, but the company supplies more than 2,000 cameras nationwide, from Oregon to Florida.

Last year the company opened a new vein of potential business in the U.S. when it bought two companies involved in putting camera surveillance on school buses to ticket the drivers of cars who illegally pass the stopped vehicles.

The company listed its annual revenue as $146 million in 2012. The company's stock was trading at $2.10 per share in October but dropped to less than $1.50 on news of the Chicago allegations. It was trading at $1.67 on Wednesday before trading was halted. The Australian dollar is worth about $1.03 in U.S. currency.

dkidwell@tribune.com





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Asteroid to Make Closest Flyby in History


Talk about too close for comfort. In a rare cosmic encounter, an asteroid will barnstorm Earth next week, missing our planet by a mere 17,200 miles (27,700 kilometers).

Designated 2012 DA14, the space rock is approximately 150 feet (45 meters) across, and astronomers are certain it will zip harmlessly past our planet on February 15—but not before making history. It will pass within the orbits of many communications satellites, making it the closest flyby on record. (Read about one of the largest asteroids to fly by Earth.)

"This is indeed a remarkably close approach for an asteroid this size," said Paul Chodas, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Near Earth Object (NEO) program office in Pasadena, California.

"We estimate that an asteroid of this size passes this close to the Earth only once every few decades."

The giant rock—half a football field wide—was first spotted by observers at the La Sagra Observatory in southern Spain a year ago, soon after it had just finished making a much more distant pass of the Earth at 2.6 million miles (4.3 million kilometers) away.

This time around however, on February15 at 2:24 pm EST, the asteroid will be passing uncomfortably close—ten times closer than the orbit of the moon—flying over the eastern Indian Ocean near Sumatra (map). (Watch: "Moon 101.")

Future Impact?

Chodas and his team have been keeping a close eye on the cosmic intruder, and orbital calculations of its trajectory show that there is no chance for impact.

But the researchers have not yet ruled out future chances of a collision. This is because asteroids of this size are too faint to be detected until they come quite close to the Earth, said Chodas.

"There is still a tiny chance that it might hit us on some future passage by the Earth; for example there is [a] 1-in-200,000 chance that it could hit us in the year 2080," he said.

"But even that tiny chance will probably go away within the week, as the asteroid's orbit gets tracked with greater and greater accuracy and we can eliminate that possibility."

Earth collision with an object of this size is expected to occur every 1,200 years on average, said Donald Yeomans, NEO program manager, at a NASA news conference this week.

DA14 has been getting closer and closer to Earth for quite a while—but this is the asteroid's closest approach in the past hundred years. And it probably won't get this close again for at least another century, added Yeomans.

While no Earth impact is possible next week, DA14 will pass 5,000 miles inside the ring of orbiting geosynchronous weather and communications satellites; so all eyes are watching the space rock's exact trajectory. (Learn about the history of satellites.)

"It's highly unlikely they will be threatened, but NASA is working with satellite providers, making them aware of the asteroid's pass," said Yeomans.

Packing a Punch

Experts say an impact from an object this size would have the explosive power of a few megatons of TNT, causing localized destruction—similar to what occurred in Siberia in 1908.

In what's known as the "Tunguska event," an asteroid is thought to have created an airburst explosion which flattened about 750 square miles (1,200 square kilometers) of a remote forested region in what is now northern Russia (map).

In comparison, an impact from an asteroid with a diameter of about half a mile (one kilometer) could temporarily change global climate and kill millions of people if it hit a populated area.

Timothy Spahr, director of the Minor Planet Center at Cambridge, Massachusetts, said that while small objects like DA14 could hit Earth once a millennia or so, the largest and most destructive impacts have already been catalogued.

"Objects of the size that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs have all been discovered," said Spahr. (Learn about what really happened to the dinosaurs.)

A survey of nearly 9,500 near-Earth objects half a mile (one kilometer) in diameter is nearly complete. Asteroid hunters expect to complete nearly half of a survey of asteroids several hundred feet in diameter in the coming years.

"With the existing assets we have, discovering asteroids rapidly and routinely, I continue to expect the world to be safe from impacts in the future," added Spahr.


Read More..

Cop Shooting Rampage: Manhunt on Mountain













The truck owned and driven by suspected cop killer Christopher Dorner during his alleged rampage through the Los Angeles area was found deserted and in flames on the side of Bear Mountain, Calif., this afternoon -- with tracks in the snow leading away from the vehicle.


The San Bernadino Sheriff's Department confirmed the truck was Dorner's, but said at a news conference this evening that the tracks around the truck did not lead to him.


Personnel from several departments and teams of dogs continued to search the area near Big Bear Lake, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, including door-to-door searches of cabins located there, officials said.


Dorner, a former Los Angeles police officer and Navy reservist, remained on the loose.


"He could be anywhere, at this point, and that's why we're searching door to door," San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said.


He added that the search would continue as long as it was possible. However, a snowstorm was forecast for the area.


Dorner was believed to have killed one police officer and injured two others early this morning in Riverside, Calif. He was also accused of killing two civilians on Sunday. And he allegedly released an angry "manifesto" airing grievances against police and warning of coming violence toward cops.


Read More About Chris Dorner's Allegations Against the LAPD


Heavily armed officers spent much of Thursday searching for signs of Dorner, investigating multiple false leads into his whereabouts and broadcasting his license plate and vehicle description across the California Highway System.








Christopher Dorner: Ex-Cop Wanted in Killing Spree Watch Video









Engaged California Couple Found Dead in Car Watch Video









Missing Ohio Mother: Manhunt for Ex-Boyfriend Watch Video





Around 12:45 p.m. PT, police responded to Bear Mountain, where two fires were reported, and set up a staging area in the parking lot of a ski resort. They did not immediately investigate the fires, but heavily armed SWAT team members eventually descended onto Bear Mountain from a helicopter manned with snipers to investigate and reached the truck.


Also today, CNN's Anderson Cooper said Dorner had sent him a package at his New York office that arrived on Feb. 1, though Cooper said he never knew about the package until today. It contained a DVD of court testimony, with a Post-It note signed by Dorner claiming, "I never lied! Here is my vindication."


It also contained a keepsake coin bearing the name of former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton that came wrapped in duct tape, Cooper said. The duct tape bore the note, "Thanks, but no thanks Will Bratton."


Bratton told Cooper on his program, "Anderson Cooper 360," that he believed he gave Dorner the coin as he was headed overseas for the Navy, Bratton's practice when officers got deployed abroad. Though a picture has surfaced of Bratton, in uniform, and Dorner, in fatigues, shaking hands, Bratton told Cooper he didn't recall Dorner or the meeting.


PHOTOS: Former LAPD Officer Suspected in Shootings


Police officers across Southern California were on the defensive today, scaling back their public exposure, no longer responding to "barking-dog calls" and donning tactical gear outdoors.


Police departments have stationed officers in tactical gear outside police departments, stopped answering low-level calls and pulled motorcycle patrols off the road in order to protect officers who might be targets of Dorner's alleged rampage.


"We've made certain modifications of our deployments, our deviations today, and I want to leave it at that, and also to our responses," said Chief Sergio Diaz of the police department in Riverside, Calif., where the officers were shot. "We are concentrating on calls for service that are of a high priority, threats to public safety, we're not going to go on barking dog calls today."


Sgt. Rudy Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department said Dorner is "believed to be armed and extremely dangerous."


Early Thursday morning, before they believe he shot at any police officers, Dorner allegedly went to a yacht club near San Diego, where police say he attempted to steal a boat and flee to Mexico.


He aborted the attempted theft when the boat's propeller became entangled in a rope, law enforcement officials said. It was then that he is believed to have headed to Riverside, where he allegedly shot two police officers.


"He pointed a handgun at the victim [at the yacht club] and demanded the boat," said Lt. David Rohowits of the San Diego Police Department.


Police say the rifle marksman shot at four officers in two incidents overnight, hitting three of them: one in Corona, Calif., and the two in Riverside, Calif.






Read More..

Today on New Scientist: 6 February 2013







Open Richard III DNA evidence for peer review

A good case has been made that a skeleton unearthed from a car park is that of the last Plantagenet king of England - it's time to share the data



Universal bug sensor takes guesswork out of diagnosis

A machine that can identify all bacteria, viruses and fungi known to cause disease in humans should speed up diagnosis and help to reduce antibiotic resistance



Choking China: The struggle to clear Beijing's air

As pollution levels return to normal in China's capital after a record-breaking month of smog, what can be done to banish the smog?



Genes mix across borders more easily than folk tales

Analysing variations in folk tales using genetic techniques shows that people swap genes more readily than stories, giving clues to how cultures evolve



Sleep and dreaming: Slumber at the flick of a switch

Wouldn't it be wonderful to pack a good night's sleep into fewer hours? Technology has the answer - and it could treat depression and even extend our lives too



Closest Earth-like planet may be 13 light years away

A habitable exoplanet should be near enough for future telescopes to probe its atmosphere for signs of life



Lifelogging captures a real picture of your health

How can lifelogging - wearing a camera round your neck to record your every move - reveal what's healthy and unhealthy in the way we live?



Musical brains smash audio algorithm limits

The mystery of how our brains perceive sound has deepened, now that musicians have broken a limit on sound perception imposed by the Fourier transform



Magnitude 8 earthquake strikes Solomon Islands

A major earthquake has caused a small tsunami in the Pacific Ocean, killing at least five people



Nuclear knock-backs on UK's new reactors and old waste

Plans to build new reactors in the UK are stalling as yet another company pulls out, and there is still nowhere to store nuclear waste permanently



Amateur astronomer helps Hubble snap galactic monster

An amateur astronomer combined his pictures with images from the Hubble archive to reveal the true nature of galactic oddball M106



Nightmare images show how lack of sleep kills

Fatigue has been blamed for some of worst human-made disasters of recent decades. Find out more in our image gallery




Read More..