11 December

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10 December

Al Sharpton speaks out on race, rights and what bothers him about his critics

Monday, December 3, 2007

At Thanksgiving dinner David Shankbone told his white middle class family that he was to interview Reverend Al Sharpton that Saturday. The announcement caused an impassioned discussion about the civil rights leader’s work, the problems facing the black community and whether Sharpton helps or hurts his cause. Opinion was divided. “He’s an opportunist.” “He only stirs things up.” “Why do I always see his face when there’s a problem?”

Shankbone went to the National Action Network’s headquarters in Harlem with this Thanksgiving discussion to inform the conversation. Below is his interview with Al Sharpton on everything from Tawana Brawley, his purported feud with Barack Obama, criticism by influential African Americans such as Clarence Page, his experience running for President, to how he never expected he would see fifty (he is now 53). “People would say to me, ‘Now that I hear you, even if I disagree with you I don’t think you’re as bad as I thought,'” said Sharpton. “I would say, ‘Let me ask you a question: what was “bad as you thought”?’ And they couldn’t say. They don’t know why they think you’re bad, they just know you’re supposed to be bad because the right wing tells them you’re bad.”

Contents

  • 1 Sharpton’s beginnings in the movement
  • 2 James Brown: a father to Sharpton
  • 3 Criticism: Sharpton is always there
  • 4 Tawana Brawley to Megan Williams
  • 5 Sharpton and the African-American media
  • 6 Why the need for an Al Sharpton?
  • 7 Al Sharpton and Presidential Politics
  • 8 On Barack Obama
  • 9 The Iraq War
  • 10 Sharpton as a symbol
  • 11 Blacks and whites and talking about race
  • 12 Don Imus, Michael Richards and Dog The Bounty Hunter
  • 13 Sources
10 December

Wikinews interviews Aurélien Miralles about Sirenoscincus mobydick species discovery

Thursday, January 24, 2013

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A group of researchers published a paper about their discovery of a new species of Madagascar mermaid skink lizards last December. The species is the fourth forelimbs-only terrestrial tetrapods species known to science, and the first one which also has no fingers on the forelimbs.

The species was collected at Marosely, Boriziny (French: Port-Bergé), Sofia Region, Madagascar. The Sirenoscincus mobydick name is after the existing parent genus, and a sperm whale from the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

This week, Wikinews interviewed one of the researchers, French zoologist Aurélien Miralles, about the research.

((Wikinews)) What caused your initial interest in Madagascar lizards?

Aurélien Miralles: Well, I would say that since I am a child I am fascinated by the biodiversity of tropical countries, and more especially by reptiles. I did a PhD on the evolution and systematics of skink lizards from South America. Then, I get a Humboldt grant to do a postdoc in Germany, at the Miguel Vences Lab, in order to study Malagasy skinks. Madagascar being a fabulous hotspot for reptiles (and not only for reptiles actually), it was a very nice opportunity. Professor Vences proposed me to associate our complementary fields of expertise: he is expert in herpetology for Madagascar, and I am expert in skinks lizards (family Scincidae). It was a very fruitful experience, and many other results have still to [be] published.

((WN)) How was the new species discovered?

AM: By a very funny coincidence actually. In 2010, I went to Madagascar for a long trip through the south of the island, in the semi-arid bush for collecting lizards and snakes samples. Then, during the last days, just before coming back to Germany, I have visited by coincidence the zoological collection of the University of Antananarivo. In that place, I found an old jar of ethanol with two weird little specimens previously collected by a student who didn’t realize it was something new. Being expert on skinks, I immediately recognised it was something very probably new, very different from all the other known species.

((WN)) What does “Sirenoscincus” stand for?

AM: I am not the author of the genus name Sirenoscincus. This genus name was already existing. It has been described by Sakata and Hikida (two Japanese herpetologists). “Sireno” means mermaid. “Scincus” means skinks, a group of little lizards on which I am particularly focusing my studies. So, Sirenoscinus means “mermaid skink”, in reference to [the] fact it has forelimbs but no hindlimbs.

((WN)) How deep underground do the lizards live?

AM: Hard to answer this question because nothing is known on the ecology of this species. But more reasonably, we can hypothesize, by comparison to similar species of skinks, that it is probably living just under the sand surface, [a] few centimeters deep, probably no more, or below [a] rock, leaf litter, or piece of dead wood.

((WN)) What do the lizards eat?

AM: Again, by analogy, I would say most likely small invertebrates (insects, larvae, worms etc…).

((WN)) What equipment was used during the research?

AM: Classic equipment (microscope) and also a state-of-the-art device: a micro CT-scan. It is a big device producing [a] 3D picture of the internal structure without damaging the specimen. It is actually very similar to the scanner used in human medicine, but this one is specially designed for small specimens. Otherwise, I am currently studying the DNA of this species and closely related species in order to determine its phylogenetic position compared to other species with legs, in order to learn more about the evolutionary phenomena leading to limb loss.

((WN)) There are several news sources that have a photo of the species. Is it a photo as seen in a CT-scan?

AM: No, this picture showing a whitish specimen on a black background is not a CT-scan. It is a normal photograph of the collection specimen preserved in alcohol (the one that was in the jar). You can see the complete of picture (including CT-scan 3D radiography, drawing…) in the original scientific publication.

((WN)) Do you know when the newly discovered mermaid skink species was put into the jar? Do you have its photo (of the jar)?

AM: No, I have no picture of the jar. The specimen has been collected in November 2004.

((WN)) What were the roles of the people involved in the research? What activity was most time-consuming?

AM: As first investigator, I did most of the work…and the longest part of the work was to examine closely related species in order to do comparisons…and also to check the complete bibliography related to this topic and to write the paper.
Mrs Anjeriniaina is the student who […] collected the specimen a couple of years ago.
Mrs Hipsley and Mr Müller learnt me how to use the CT-scan, and helped me concerning some point relative to internal morphology. Mr Vences helped me as supervisors. Additionally, all of them have corrected the article, and gave me many relevant advices and corrections, thus improving the quality and the reliability of the paper.

((WN)) Did you get in touch with an external entity to get the new species officially recognised?

AM: No. In zoology, it is only needed to publish the description of a new species (and to give it a name) in a scientific journal, and to designate a holotype specimen (= specimen that will be the official reference for this species), to get this new species “officially” recognised by the scientific community. That does not mean that this new species is “correct” (it might be invalidated by subsequent counter-studies), but that means that this discovery and the new name of [the] species are officially existing.

((WN)) Are there any further plans on exploring the species habitat and lifestyle?

AM: No, not really for the time being, because ecology is not our field of expertise. But other studies (including molecular studies) are currently in progress, in order to focus on the phylogenetic position and the evolution of this species.

9 December

Experts raise serious questions over safety of U.S. oil industry and warn another spill may be ‘unavoidable’

Saturday, April 16, 2011

One year after the Deepwater Horizon disaster which caused the largest oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry and caused huge environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico, experts have warned there are serious questions over the safety of deep water drilling as the United States government approves more exploration without improving safety measures.

I have seen no evidence that they have marshaled containment efforts that are sufficient to deal with another major spill. I don’t think they have found ways to change the corporate culture sufficiently to prevent future accidents.

Scientists have raised major concerns over repeated assurances from the industry and the government, who insist lessons have been learned from the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Charles Perrow, a professor at Yale University, said the oil industry “is ill prepared at the least” to deal with another oil spill. “I have seen no evidence that they have marshaled containment efforts that are sufficient to deal with another major spill,” he said.

While the government has implemented new regulations, technical systems for stopping oil flowing from a leaking well, and increased oversight from oil officials, Perrow said deep water drilling had become no less dangerous. “I don’t think they have found ways to change the corporate culture sufficiently to prevent future accidents,” he said. “There are so many opportunities for things to go wrong that major spills are unavoidable.”

Last year, Doug Inkley, a scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, said the culture of an “addiction to oil” was ultimately responsible for the catastrophe. “How long must we wait for lawmakers to act to prevent future disasters? How many more lives, livelihoods and animals must be claimed by our addiction to oil?” Greenpeace also slammed BP, who ran Deepwater Horizon, for how they allowed the disaster to happen. “The age of oil is coming to an end and companies like BP will be left behind unless they begin to adapt now,” the organization said.

However, under pressure from industry executives the administration of president Barack Obama has resumed issuing drilling permits. It is understood regulators are still allowing oil companies to obtain drilling permits before reviewing new spill response plans. “I’m not an oddsmaker, but I would say in the next five years we should have at least one major blowout,” Perrow said. “Even if everybody tries very hard, there is going to be an accident caused by cost-cutting and pressure on workers. These are moneymaking machines and they make money by pushing things to the limit.”

BP has insisted it has changed safety procedures. The oil giant came under heavy criticism for how it handled the crisis, and other major oil companies insisted Deepwater Horizon was a result of a culture exclusive to BP. Michael Bromwich, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), the U.S. government agency responsible for regulating offshore drilling, said the view was “as disappointing as it is shortsighted,” and the issue of deep water safety was “a broad problem.”

The warnings came as it emerged BP had attempted to take control of an independent study into the environmental consequences of the Deepwater Horizon spill. Internal emails expose how BP executives attempted to influence the study, which was funded by a US$500m grant from the oil company. The study may be part of the final verdict as to what penalties, fines and criminal charges are brought against the company. Greenpeace, who uncovered the emails through a Freedom of Information Act request, attacked the reportedly unsuccessful attempts to influence the supposedly independent study as “outrageous”.

My community is dead. We’ve worked five generations there and now we’ve got a dead community. I’m angry, I’ve been angry a long time.

Protesters rallied outside BP’s annual conference in London this week, where shareholders met for the first time since the disaster off the Gulf coast. Executives faced questions over their competence and large salaries from angry shareholders, many of whom disapproved of the appointment of Carl-Henric Svanberg as chairman and Sir Bill Castell as the head of BP’s safety board.

Some demonstrators purchased shares in BP in an attempt to get inside the meeting; one woman, a fisherwoman who lives on the Gulf Coast was arrested after pouring a black substance down herself at the entrance to the conference centre and refusing to move. “I have travelled all the way over from the Gulf Coast and I just wanted to talk those responsible for destroying my community,” she said as she was led away by police. “My community is dead. We’ve worked five generations there and now we’ve got a dead community. I’m angry, I’ve been angry a long time.”

9 December

How Long Does It Take For Muscles To Grow

By Chris Chew

“May I know how long does it take for my muscles to grow visibly?” Well, as a professional fitness personal trainer, I get variations of this question from almost every new client.

So how can I answer that question because there are also many variable factors like for instance, if you are fat, you can’t see your muscle growth unless you take the fat off or what is being visible is subjective from person to person.

For the hardgainers (people who have difficulty in gaining weight), gaining weight or muscles can be very a difficult and tedious process without professional help. For the genetically endowed, muscle growth can be very fast while some others may make only little progress or even no improvement at all (the latter being lack of muscle building education).

Therefore, if you are wondering how long does it take to grow muscles, then I must be forthright with you and tell you that there is just no direct answer.

However, the good news is that if you eat and exercise correctly, your muscles will definitely grow, even for hardgainers.

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Unknown to many people, muscles do not grow in a linear process but in a series of spurts and as such, no matter how hard you workout your muscles and how much you eat, your muscles will probably not grow at predictable pace. I know that this fact will surprise many people.

There are many more reasons influencing your muscle growth and not everyone will build muscles at the same rate even if they are working out with the same weight, exercises and eating the same food.

Some people are genetically predisposed to growing muscles and will see amazing results after only just a few months. We all know that the Mesomorphs (sporty body frame) will grow muscles faster than the Ectomorphs (slender body frame).

Your rate of muscle growth will also depend largely on how close you are to the upper limit of what you are naturally capable of in terms of growing muscle mass. This phenomenon is known as the adaptation ceiling.

What this means is that closer you are to this upper adaptation limit, the slower your muscle will grow. To put it in simpler terms, someone who has been working out with weights for a few years will grow muscles much more slowly than a novice who is new to weight lifting.

Another fact is that it is not uncommon for people to gain body fat when they are growing muscles. The amount of fat you gain will depend on how much you eat, what you eat and also on how lean you were when you first started to fuel your muscle growth with what you eat. Eating to propel muscle growth is commonly referred to as “overfeeding”.

Numerous studies have shown that during a period of overfeeding, you will gain more muscle and less fat if you are the lean body type. During the cutting phase to get rid of body fat to show muscle definition, it is known that fatter people tend to lose more fat and less muscle when they cut, but the leaner ones will find it harder to lose fat without losing muscle.

Why does this happen? Well, it could be merely be psychological.

Take for example when you have worked very hard to get your well defined six-pack abs, then you will not want to put the fat on again and obscure your hard earned abs and thus you may be reluctant to eat the amount of food necessary to gain significant muscle growth. Make sense?

Another reason could be hormonal imbalances as some studies do show a correlation between low body fat and low testosterone (male hormone) levels. If your testosterone is low, it is also difficult for you to grow muscle mass.

So how long does it take to see muscle growth will depend very much on your genes and many other factors besides merely exercising with the proper workouts and eating correctly.

About the Author: Chris Chew is a celebrity fitness personal trainer and author of “Burn Fat Build Muscles Fast” system. More articles at his websites

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8 December

Swiss court rules in favor of American account holder

Saturday, January 23, 2010

An American client of Switzerland-based bank, UBS, has won an appeal in Swiss court on Friday against providing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States with relevant information about his offshore accounts.

The Swiss court ruled that the man’s failure to complete an IRS tax form, no matter how much money it pertained to, was not in itself fraudulent behavior. The case calls into question an agreement made between Switzerland and the United States last year in which Swiss tax authorities would supply the IRS with information on nearly 4,500 suspected tax evaders and their respective accounts.

A further twenty-five similar cases are still pending; the verdicts of which may be influenced by this precedent-setting case.

The Swiss government will meet next Wednesday to discuss how to better implement last year’s Swiss-US banking accord. As it pertains to the case at hand, if they so choose, Swiss tax officials can file a further appeal petitioning the court’s decision.

UBS and the US Department of Justice both have yet to comment on the matter.

According to the US government, UBS is “hiding” over US$15 billion in assets on behalf of American account holders.

8 December

Employment figures in Brazil up by 2.2% according to IBGE

Thursday, February 14, 2008

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the 2007 rate of employment in Brazil was 2.2% higher then figures for 2006. According to the IBGE the employment figures are at their highest since 2001.

The IBGE reported growth in employment levels for all the 14 regions surveyed, with the highest rates of increase being recorded in the states of São Paulo (with an increase of 3.5%) and the state of Paraná (with an increase of 3.1%). Região Nordeste and Minas Gerais had increases of 1.4% and 1.5% respectively.

According to the IBGE, the industries with the biggest increase in employment figures were food and drink, transport, metal and machinery. The biggest falls in employment figures were in footwear, woodwork and clothing.

8 December

A Good Seamless Floor Helps Keep Both Employees And Customers Safe

byAlma Abell

When it comes to your business flooring options, you have a large selection to choose from but certain industries need specialized flooring to keep their work areas safe. A poured seamless floor is often found in commercial kitchens, hotels, and numerous other businesses because it is a smooth, comfortable, slip-resistant type of flooring that enables both employees and customers to be safe. These floors are also good for places that have a lot of foot traffic on a daily basis because they are also resistant to anything that might be dropped on them, such as food or grease.

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Attractive and Practical

There are many reasons why a business might want to place a seamless floor in its facility and the safety of these floors is one of their main advantages. Seamless floors are smooth from end to end, making them comfortable and easy to walk on regardless of how old they are. They are low-maintenance and durable and companies such as Hoffman Floor Covering Corporation offer these floors in many designs and colors. This means that you can easily get a floor that is both practical and attractive, which is the ultimate combination when you own a business.

Good for All Types of Businesses

Businesses need the right type of floors so that everyone is kept safe, which can also keep these businesses lawsuit-free for a very long time. Of course, it isn’t just the liability that most businesses are concerned with because the floors also serve a purpose. A well-made seamless floor is strong and keeps both employees and customers able to move around quickly throughout the day without worrying about slips and falls. If your business is fast-paced, this is important and the fact that the companies that make this type of flooring also make it in numerous colorful designs means that it is even easier to choose this option. You can follow them on Google+ for more information.

7 December

Karnataka closed for a day after Supreme Court’s judgement for Kaveri water

Sunday, September 11, 2016

On Friday, various cities in the Indian state of Karnataka observed Karnataka Bandh ((en))English language: ?Karnataka closed as the people opposed the Supreme Court’s judgement on the Kaveri river dispute. Most shops were closed to support the strike.

The Indian Supreme Court judgement instructed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water from the Kaveri river for ten days to Tamil Nadu. Both of the states demand shares of Kaveri water which goes back to the time when Britishers ruled India.

Due to the strikes, there were no means of public transportation. Even the Metro Service in Karnataka’s capital Bengaluru didn’t run. Private cabs also didn’t provide service; airports were crowded as the passengers had no means of transportation.

Southern Railway officials reported no large-scale ticket cancellations for trains between Bangalore and Chennai. No trains on that route had to be rescheduled. But the bus services from Tamil Nadu’s capital Chennai to Bangalore were stopped near the border for security reasons and tickets were refunded for the passengers who booked tickets for Bangalore. There were fewer passengers as well.

Television service providers in Karnataka blocked more than 50 Tamil channels for the day. Tamil movies were not released as well. Tamil movies from some theaters were removed a day before. Though no major violence was reported, movie posters of Mudinja Ivana Pudi were burnt. Friday movie releases were postponed.

Kannada actress Ragini Dwivedi uploaded a video on Twitter saying, “Kaveri is ours, we will not let it go. Why should we give water when we don’t have any? Come out for the struggle, stand with the farmers. I am supporting the farmers, you too should.” ((kn))Kannada language: ??????? ????? ???? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ????? ??????? ???????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ???? ????? ???? ?????

Internal exams in The National Institute of Engineering, Mysore were rescheduled to Sunday. Medical shops and petrol pumps remained closed in Mysore. The shops finally opened at 6 PM IST. Private schools also remained closed for the day, but were expected to run full day on Saturdays this month.

 This story has updates See Water Disputes: Violence hits Karnataka, Tamil Nadu; Supreme Court revises Kaveri water share decision, September 13, 2016 
7 December

New study of endangered whale shark youth shows vital habitat similarities

Sunday, June 10, 2018

In findings published on Friday in PeerJ, an open-access peer-reviewed scientific journal, researchers from the University of York and Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme have mapped key habitats of the world’s largest fish, the whale shark, shedding light on congregation sites that have perplexed marine biologists.

According to the researchers, Whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, listed as endangered under the IUCN Red List, do feed in the open ocean, but juveniles tend to form large groups in only about 20 to 25 specific places around the coasts of Mexico, Belize, the Maldives, and Australia, which previous research has not explained. The research team reviewed dozens of previous papers, compiled their findings into a database, and performed spatial analysis with the aggregate shark-related event data. Results showed the sharks’ frequented sites had areas of very shallow water near a steep drop-off into the depths, such as a shelf break or reef slope.

The whale shark can grow to eighteen metres (60 ft) in length. Unlike its better-known relatives, the Great white shark and other predatory sharks, the whale shark is a filter feeder, meaning that it draws water into its mouth and extracts small organisms from the liquid. They can search for food at the surface of the ocean but are also known to dive deep. According to supervising author Dr Bryce Stewart, PhD, “Sharks are ectotherms, which means they depend on external sources of body heat. Because they may dive down to feed at depths of more than 1900 metres, where the water temperature can be as cold as four degrees, they need somewhere close by to rest and get their body temperature back up. Steep slopes in the seabed also cause an upwelling of sea currents that stimulate plankton and small crustaceans such as krill that the whale sharks feed on.”

Such sites are also attractive to fishing and recreational boating, and collisions can injure sharks. Stewart emphasized the importance of using research to help preserve and protect the sharks, calling them, “extremely valuable to local people on the coastlines where they gather, which are often in developing countries. While a whale shark can be worth as much as $250,000 USD dead, alive it can provide more than $2 Million USD over the course of its life span.” The latter figure specifically estimates only ecotourism.


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