News briefs:July 26, 2010

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Women in South Africa advancing in fields of science and technology

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology in South Africa, publicized results of a study on Tuesday on the role of women in the fields of science and technology in the country. Though women only make up thirty-three percent of publishing scientists in the country, their numbers have increased in recent years. When compared to a similar study from 2004, trends show increased enrollment of women in higher education.

Pandor was disappointed by the dearth of individuals that attended the announcement of the results of the study at the Parliament of South Africa. “It shows the degree to which science does – or doesn’t – matter to South Africans,” said Pandor. Prior to her role as Minister of Science and Technology, Pandor had served as Minister of Education of South Africa.

“It shows the degree to which science does – or doesn’t – matter to South Africans.”

Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, a woman scientist in South Africa, commented to News24 that some educational organizations in the country were “really, really hostile to women”.

Pandor highlighted problems affecting women and specifically black women in the country from increased participation in science, including “financial difficulties before and during tertiary studies, gender stereotyping, legacies of disadvantage in black communities, negative dynamics at workplaces, and the lack of attention to women’s specific needs”.

Women in the country are advancing against men in science fields, particularly engineering, agricultural studies and biology. At present there are a greater number of women than men among enrollments for degrees in higher education, and among individuals obtaining those degrees. According to The Times, “their biggest gain has been in health sciences, where women earned more than half the doctorates awarded in 2005”. Pandor emphasized a current need for additional women to enter the fields of technology and engineering.

The announcement at Parliament in South Africa was part of the launch of the “Facing the Facts 2009” booklet, which was published by a sub-committee of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI), Science, Engineering and Technology for Women (SET4W). Dr. Romilla Maharaj of SET4W presented the report to Parliament, and stated that enrollment by women in higher education had increased by one percent from a previous study. Dr. Maharaj noted that women were still currently in the minority among individuals with degrees in higher education.

News briefs:July 28, 2010

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United States: Coroner says former patient killed self and three hostages at California veterans center

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

In the United States, autopsy results were released on Thursday by the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, which show that Albert Wong killed himself after shooting his three hostages at The Pathway Home veterans’ psychiatric center in Yountville, California last Friday. The hostages died instantly from rifle shots to the head, and Wong shot himself in the head with a shotgun. Officials said there was no indication any of the four was killed by a sheriff’s deputy who exchanged shots with Wong.

The Sheriff of Napa County also acts as the county coroner. According to the official report, the three hostages “all suffered immediately fatal head wounds caused by a high velocity projectile consistent with the rifle that the shooter, Albert Wong, used in this incident”. Wong’s fatal head wound was self-inflicted. Sheriff’s Captain Steven Blower clarified that neither Wong nor the hostages was shot by the deputy.

According to authorities, Wong, a former Pathway resident, drove a rented car to the center Friday, March 9, and shortly after 10 AM local time (UTC-8), dressed in black and armed with a semi-automatic rifle, took five of the people at a leaving party hostage. The first call to the emergency 9-1-1 number was made at about 10:20. About ten minutes later, shots were heard, and a sheriff’s deputy and Wong exchanged fire. Wong then shut himself in a room with three of the hostages. The campus was evacuated, but there was no further contact with Wong. A little before 6 PM, a video feed from a remote-controlled robot showed the four people in the room were probably dead.

The three victims were all women. Christine Loeber, 48, was the executive director of the home. Jen Golick, 42, was its clinical director. Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, 36, was a psychologist on the staff of the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and also worked with PsychArmor, a nonprofit group, to create a toolkit for college campuses to assist students with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She was entering her last trimester of pregnancy.

Wong, 36, was a decorated veteran who served in the infantry in Afghanistan for a year in 2011–2012. He had been in treatment at the center for about a year but had been expelled two weeks before the hostage-taking because knives were found in his possession. His brother Tyrone Lampkin told The Press Democrat, Wong had been angry and said he “wanted to get back at them”, but what he had mentioned was to “talk to them, yell at them, not to kill them”.

The Board of Directors of The Pathway Home announced on Wednesday that it would suspend operations “indefinitely”. It is a ten-year-old non-profit in-patient center treating veterans with PTSD, brain injuries, depression and addictions on the campus of the Veterans Home of California Yountville. Yountville is a small town in the wine country a little more than 50 miles north of San Francisco. Founded as a last-resort center for intensive treatment of veterans who had not been helped by other approaches, it transitioned in 2015 to providing care to those not yet in crisis, including veterans studying at Napa Community College. The Veterans Home is the largest in the United States, with more than 900 residents.

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, June 2008

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

June in the United States 2008 presidential election rolled by as a month with many similarities to the 2004 election. The Clintons were sent to the sidelines again, old faces took new roles and some took the same. An issue was raised that once again could drive conservatives to the Republicans and attacks on a candidate’s military record was prominent in the press. But what changed the election forever was the death of Tim Russert who helped to cover everything that happened and shape America’s perception of the candidates on the trail.

Republicans
  • The presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain exchanged barbs with Senator John Kerry over the history of conflict in Iraq. Kerry stated that McCain “doesn’t understand Iraq, or the Middle East, or the war on terrorism.” This was a change of heart for Kerry who as the Democratic nominee in 2004 considered McCain as a running mate. Retired General Wesley Clark said McCain’s military record lacked command experience, and endorsed Obama. In 2004, Clark was among those who questioned Kerry’s military record.
  • Many in the media likened the Supreme Court ruling that granted Habeas corpus rights to detainees in the Guantánamo Bay detention center to the influx of marriage licenses granted by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004 as a rallying point for conservatives. Pundits stated that the future of the Supreme Court could be an important issue on the minds of voters that could drive the religious right to McCain.
  • John McCain released a new platform that called for more offshore drilling of oil off the coasts of Florida and California. The plan hoped to increase supply of oil to reduce the price of gasoline for the American consumer and encourage energy independence. The plan was widely heralded by conservatives some of whom have called for drilling in ANWR despite McCain’s opposition. Obama responded to the plan by stating that McCain’s solution would only help in the long run.
Democrats
  • The final three presidential primaries were held. Hillary Clinton won in Puerto Rico and South Dakota but Barack Obama won in Montana. Obama secured the Democratic nomination following the primaries when a stream of superdelegates came out to support Obama. Hillary conceded the race a few days later and named herself as the best choice to be Obama’s running mate.
  • As the nomination was secured for Obama the media speculated about a spirited discussion on the Senate floor between Obama and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman was the Democratic Vice presidential nominee in 2000 but left the party in 2006 after a senatorial primary defeat. He has endorsed John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
  • Obama was also in the media when two of his campaign volunteers refused to allow two women wearing headscarves to sit in the front row of an Obama campaign event. The move was characterized in the media as an attempt to prevent the candidate from being associated with Muslims in light of false rumors circulating that Obama is secretly a Muslim.
  • The leader of the Congressional Black Caucus Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Michigan announced that former Senators Sam Nunn and John Edwards’ names were forwarded by the caucus to a team on the Obama campaign dealing with selecting a vice-presidential nominee.
Third parties
  • Independent candidate Ralph Nader proclaimed in an interview that despite no coverage of his campaign, he was at 6% in Associated Press opinion polls against John McCain and Barack Obama. He actually stood at 3% in the most recent Associated Press poll. The campaign acknowledged the mistake and clarified that it was instead a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll that placed Nader at 6%.
  • With the green party national convention slated for July 10-14, Cynthia McKinney leads all candidates with 291.5 delegate votes of the 419 needed to secure the nomination. Despite not being a candidate for the Green Party nomination, Ralph Nader is in second place with 137 and Kent Mesplay is in third with 28.5 delegates.
  • Libertarian Party presidential nominee Bob Barr and Ralph Nader each received some media attention by appearing on Sunday morning talk shows at the end of June. Barr appeared on Fox News Sunday where he defended his run against criticism that he could hurt John McCain in the general election and stated that his campaign would hit full gear after the Fourth of July holiday.

Two nuclear submarines collide in the Atlantic Ocean

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Nuclear ballistic missile submarines Triomphant, from France, and HMS Vanguard, of the British Royal Navy, collided deep under the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of the night between February 3 and 4, despite both vessels being equipped with sonar. The collision caused damage to both vessels but it did not release any radioactive material, a Ministry of Defence (MOD) official confirmed Monday.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said nuclear security had not been breached. “It is MOD policy not to comment on submarine operational matters, but we can confirm that the U.K.’s deterrent capability was unaffected at all times and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety. Triomphant had struck ‘a submerged object (probably a container)’ during a return from a patrol, damaging the sonar dome on the front of the submarine,” he said.

A French navy spokesman said that “the collision did not result in injuries among the crew and did not jeopardise nuclear security at any moment.” Lack of communication between France and other members of NATO over the location of their SLBM deterrents is believed to be another reason for the crash.

According to Daily Mail, the vessels collided 1,000ft underwater in the Bay of Biscay (Golfe de Gascogne; Golfo de Vizcaya and Mar Cantábrico), a gulf of the North Atlantic Ocean. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Punta de Estaca de Bares, and is named for the Spanish province of Biscay, with average depth of 5,723 feet (1,744 m) and maximum depth is 9,151 feet (2,789 m).

Each submarine is laden with missiles powerful enough for 1,248 Hiroshima bombings, The Independent said.

It is unlikely either vessel was operating its active sonar at the time of the collision, because the submarines are designed to “hide” while on patrol and the use of active sonar would immediately reveal the boat’s location. Both submarines’ hulls are covered with anechoic tile to reduce detection by sonar, so the boats’ navigational passive sonar would not have detected the presence of the other.

Lee Willett of London’s Royal United Services Institute said “the NATO allies would be very reluctant to share information on nuclear submarines. These are the strategic crown jewels of the nation. The whole purpose of a sea-based nuclear deterrent is to hide somewhere far out of sight. They are the ultimate tools of national survival in the event of war. Therefore, it’s the very last thing you would share with anybody.”

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band GCB, ADC of the United Kingdom, the most senior serving officer in the Royal Navy, said that “…the submarines came into contact at very low speed. Both submarines remained safe. No injuries occurred. We can confirm the capability remains unaffected and there was no compromise to nuclear safety.”

“Both navies want quiet areas, deep areas, roughly the same distance from their home ports. So you find these station grounds have got quite a few submarines, not only French and Royal Navy but also from Russia and the United States. Navies often used the same nesting grounds,” said John H. Large, an independent nuclear engineer and analyst primarily known for his work in assessing and reporting upon nuclear safety and nuclear related accidents and incidents.

President of the Royal Naval Association John McAnally said that the incident was a “one in a million chance”. “It would be very unusual on deterrent patrol to use active sonar because that would expose the submarine to detection. They are, of course, designed to be very difficult to detect and one of the priorities for both the captain and the deterrent patrol is to avoid detection by anything,” he said.

The development of stealth technology, making the submarines less visible to other vessels has properly explained that a submarine does not seem to have been able to pick out another submarine nearly the length of two football pitches and the height of a three-story building.

“The modus operandi of most submarines, particularly ballistic-missile submarines, is to operate stealthily and to proceed undetected. This means operating passively, by not transmitting on sonar, and making as little noise as possible. A great deal of technical effort has gone into making submarines quiet by reduction of machinery noise. And much effort has gone into improving the capability of sonars to detect other submarines; detection was clearly made too late or not at all in this case,” explained Stephen Saunders, the editor of Jane’s Fighting Ships, an annual reference book (also published online, on CD and microfiche) of information on all the world’s warships arranged by nation, including information on ship’s names, dimensions, armaments, silhouettes and photographs, etc.

According to Bob Ayres, a former CIA and US army officer, and former associate fellow at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, however, the submarines were not undetectable, despite their “stealth” technology. “When such submarines came across similar vessels from other navies, they sought to get as close as possible without being detected, as part of routine training. They were playing games with each other – stalking each other under the sea. They were practising being able to kill the other guy’s submarine before he could launch a missile.Because of the sound of their nuclear reactors’ water pumps, they were still noisier than old diesel-electric craft, which ran on batteries while submerged. The greatest danger in a collision was the hull being punctured and the vessel sinking, rather than a nuclear explosion,” Ayres explained.

Submarine collisions are uncommon, but not unheard of: in 1992, the USS Baton Rouge, a submarine belonging to the United States, under command of Gordon Kremer, collided with the Russian Sierra-class attack submarine K-276 that was surfacing in the Barents Sea.

In 2001, the US submarine USS Greeneville surfaced and collided with Japanese fishing training ship Ehime Maru (????), off the coast of Hawaii. The Navy determined the commanding officer of Greeneville to be in “dereliction of duty.”

The tenth HMS Vanguard (S28) of the British Royal Navy is the lead boat of her class of Trident ballistic missile-capable submarines and is based at HMNB Clyde, Faslane. The 150m long, V-class submarine under the Trident programme, has a crew of 135, weighs nearly 16,000 tonnes and is armed with 16 Trident 2 D5 ballistic missiles carrying three warheads each.

It is now believed to have been towed Monday to its naval base Faslane in the Firth of Clyde, with dents and scrapes to its hull. Faslane lies on the eastern shore of Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, to the north of the Firth of Clyde and 25 miles west of the city of Glasgow.

Vanguard is one of the deadliest vessels on the planet. It was built at Barrow-in-Furness by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions), was launched on 4 March, 1992, and commissioned on 14 August, 1993. The submarine’s first captain was Captain David Russell. In February 2002, Vanguard began a two-year refit at HMNB Devonport. The refit was completed in June 2004 and in October 2005 Vanguard completed her return to service trials (Demonstration and Shakedown Operations) with the firing of an unarmed Trident missile.

“The Vanguard has two periscopes, a CK51 search model and a CH91 attack model, both of which have a TV camera and thermal imager as well as conventional optics,” said John E. Pike, director and a national security analyst for http://www.globalsecurity.org/, an easily accessible pundit, and active in opposing the SDI, and ITAR, and consulting on NEO’s.File:Triomphant img 0394.jpg

“But the periscopes are useless at that depth. It’s pitch black after a couple of hundred feet. In the movies like ‘Hunt for Red October,’ you can see the subs in the water, but in reality it’s blindman’s bluff down there. The crash could have been a coincidence — some people win the lottery — but it’s much more possible that one vessel was chasing the other, trying to figure out what it was,” Pike explained.

Captain of HMS Vanguard, Commander Richard Lindsey said his men would not be there if they couldn’t go through with it. “I’m sure that if somebody was on board who did not want to be here, they would have followed a process of leaving the submarine service or finding something else to do in the Navy,” he noted.

The Triomphant is a strategic nuclear submarine, lead ship of her class (SNLE-NG). It was laid down on June 9, 1989, launched on March 26, 1994 and commissioned on March 21, 1997 with homeport at Île Longue. Equipped with 16 M45 ballistic missiles with six warheads each, it has 130 crew on board. It was completing a 70-day tour of duty at the time of the underwater crash. Its fibreglass sonar dome was damaged requiring three or four months in Drydock repair. “It has returned to its base on L’Ile Longue in Brittany on Saturday under its own power, escorted as usual by a frigate,” the ministry said.

A Ballistic missile submarine is a submarine equipped to launch ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Ballistic missile submarines are larger than any other type of submarine, in order to accommodate SLBMs such as the Russian R-29 or the American Trident.

The Triomphant class of strategic missile submarines of the French Navy are currently being introduced into service to provide the sea based component (the Force Océanique Stratégique) of the French nuclear deterrent or Force de frappe, with the M45 SLBM. They are replacing the Redoutable-class boats. In French, they are called Sous-Marin Nucléaire Lanceur d’Engins de Nouvelle Génération (“SNLE-NG, literally “Device-launching nuclear submarine of the new generation”).

They are roughly one thousand times quieter than the Redoutable-class vessels, and ten times more sensitive in detecting other submarines [1]. They are designed to carry the M51 nuclear missile, which should enter active service around 2010.

Repairs for both heavily scraped and dented, missile-laden vessels were “conservatively” estimated to cost as much as €55m, with intricate missile guidance systems and navigation controls having to be replaced, and would be met by the French and British taxpayer, the Irish Independent reported.

Many observers are shocked by the deep sea disaster, as well as the amount of time it took for the news to reach the public. ”Two US and five Soviet submarine accidents in the past prove that the reactor protection system makes an explosion avoidable. But if the collision had been more powerful the submarines could have sunk very quickly and the fate of the 250 crew members would have been very serious indeed,” said Andrey Frolov, from Moscow’s Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

“I think this accident will force countries that possess nuclear submarines to sit down at the negotiating table and devise safety precautions that might avert such accidents in the future… But because submarines must be concealed and invisible, safety and navigation laws are hard to define,” Frolov said, noting further that there are no safety standards for submarines.

The unthinkable disaster – in the Atlantic’s 41 million square miles – has raised concern among nuclear activists. “This is a nuclear nightmare of the highest order. The collision of two submarines, both with nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons onboard, could have released vast amounts of radiation and scattered scores of nuclear warheads across the seabed,” said Kate Hudson, chair of Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

“This is the most severe incident involving a nuclear submarine since the Russian submarine RFS Kursk K-141 explosion and sinking in 2000 and the first time since the Cold War that two nuclear-armed subs are known to have collided. Gordon Brown should seize this opportunity to end continuous patrols,” Hudson added. Despite a rescue attempt by British and Norwegian teams, all 118 sailors and officers aboard Kursk died.

“This reminds us that we could have a new catastrophe with a nuclear submarine at any moment. It is a risk that exists during missions but also in port. These are mobile nuclear reactors,” said Stephane Lhomme, a spokesman for the French anti-nuclear group Sortir du Nucleaire.

Nicholas Barton “Nick” Harvey, British Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for North Devon has called for an immediate internal probe. “While the British nuclear fleet has a good safety record, if there were ever to be a bang it would be a mighty big one. Now that this incident is public knowledge, the people of Britain, France and the rest of the world need to be reassured this can never happen again and that lessons are being learned,” he said.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP for Moray has demanded for a government statement. “The Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world’s second-largest ocean,” he said.

Michael Thomas Hancock, CBE, a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and a City councillor for Fratton ward, and who sits on the Commons defence committee, has called on the Ministry of Defence Secretary of State John Hutton to make a statement when parliament sits next week.

“While I appreciate there are sensitive issues involved here, it is important that this is subject to parliamentary scrutiny. It’s fairly unbelievable that this has happened in the first place but we now need to know that lessons have been learnt. We need to know for everyone’s sakes that everything possible is now done to ensure that there is not a repeat of the incident. There are serious issues as to how some of the most sophisticated naval vessels in the seas today can collide in this way,” Mr. Hancock said.

Tory defence spokesman Liam Fox, a British Conservative politician, currently Shadow Defence Secretary and Member of Parliament for Woodspring, said: “For two submarines to collide while apparently unaware of each other’s presence is extremely worrying.”

Meanwhile, Hervé Morin, the French Minister of Defence, has denied allegations the nuclear submarines, which are hard to detect, had been shadowing each other deliberately when they collided, saying their mission was to sit at the bottom of the sea and act as a nuclear deterrent.

“There’s no story to this — the British aren’t hunting French submarines, and the French submarines don’t hunt British submarines. We face an extremely simple technological problem, which is that these submarines are not detectable. They make less noise than a shrimp. Between France and Britain, there are things we can do together….one of the solutions would be to think about the patrol zones,” Morin noted, and further denying any attempt at a cover-up.

France’s Atlantic coast is known as a submarine graveyard because of the number of German U-boats and underwater craft sunk there during the Second World War.

Three hostages return home to Florida

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Three American hostages – Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes, and Keith Stansell – that were being held in Colombia by FARC are now free. They are safely in Florida after their rescue by Colombian forces; 12 other hostages were rescued at the same time. They received care from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio before being sent home to their families. The men were taken captive when their drug surveillance plane went down in the jungles of Colombia in 2003 – more than 5 years ago. All three of the men were working for a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation at the time.

Keith Stansell emphasized that while he was grateful to be home, no one should “forget the people that are still there”. “Because of our rescue, there are fellow hostages that are still there,” Stansell said. He reminded those listening that some of the remaining hostages have already been in captivity for 10 years, in squalid conditions. “You wait for a day like yesterday and today, you know, for the end, you… you want it to end,” added Marc Gonsalves.

Saudis boycott Danish dairy produce

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Friday, January 27, 2006

On January 26, 2006, a massive boycott of dairy produce from Arla Foods started in Saudi Arabia over what is perceived as a Danish attack on Muslim values. The Saudi ambassador to Denmark has been recalled for consultations.

The Danish/Swedish dairy company Arla is facing a massive loss after a spreading boycott of its produce in Saudi Arabia. Four Saudi retail chains have already removed Arla products from the shelves. One retail chain has placed yellow warning tape (common fare for accidents and crime scenes) over Arla products. There have been cases reported of Arla delivery trucks being attacked by stones thrown from bystanders. Marianne Castenskiold, a senior consultant for Dansk Industri, expressed a fear that the boycott will spread to other countries in the region and have detrimental effects on other Danish products. Denmark is one of the leading exporters of agriculture in northern Europe, whose economy is heavily dependent on foreign trade and investment.

The boycott has been announced at Friday prayer services in Saudi mosques since January 20, 2006, obviously helping to foment popular support of the nation’s response to Denmark’s alleged ignorance of Muslim values. On at least one occasion, a delivery truck has been greeted by thrown stones.

The boycott is a response to the publication of an article in a major Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. In its September 30, 2005 issue, the paper printed 12 drawings of the Muslim prophet Muhammed, as a response to previous news reports that the publisher of a forthcoming childrens’ book about the prophet had had difficulty in finding an illustrator, due to fear of extremist reactions; drawings of the prophet are prohibited by Islamic Law (see aniconism). In an attempt to start a debate over freedom of speech in Denmark, the newspaper printed 12 drawings of the prophet. Four of these were of a satirical nature, with one showing the prophet with a turban hiding a lit bomb.

The immediate reactions to the publication of the drawings included ambassadors from 12 Muslim countries demanding that the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, denounce the newspaper. Rasmussen rejected this demand, stating that “Danish freedom of speech does not allow the government to control what newspapers print”. He further noted that the only possible legal action against the newspaper would be one under the charge of blasphemy.

A debate ensued over the following months about freedom of speech and its value in relation to avoiding religious taboos. In mid-December 2005, a delegation from several Danish Muslim organizations went on a tour in several Middle-Eastern and Arabic countries, reportedly to gain sympathy for their point of view. Several reports state that during the tour the difficulties faced by Muslims in Denmark were grossly overstated.

Porcelain Tile Flooring

WcKskV5C | Recreation | 11 11th, 2018  |  No Comments »

byAlma Abell

Porcelain tiles add a touch of class to any surface; they are most often used for floors and countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. Porcelain tiles in Brooklyn are extremely easy to clean and otherwise care for as long as they have been installed properly using the correct grout. Porcelain tiles are subset of ceramic tiles; what is the difference between the two and which is the better choice taking into account style and budget.

Both porcelain and ceramic tiles are made from slurry of clay and inclusions; they are both fired at high temperatures, some are glazed and some are left unglazed. This in itself makes the tiles similar to one another but porcelain is considered by many to be the superior product, being more luxurious, harder and more water repellant. Porcelain tiles in Brooklyn offer;

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  • Hard hence long lasting
  • Easy to clean
  • Very low moisture absorption
  • Wide range of colors and surface finishes

Porcelain is produced in a very similar fashion to ceramics but the firing temperature in the kiln is higher. The material that is used is a combination of all natural material including feldspar and kaolinite which are blended with certain chemicals which give it strength and durability. Once these materials have been mixed into a “mud” they are pressed into molds and then fired at temperatures as hot as 1350 degrees C; often they are coated with a colorant prior to firing which adds design features not found in the virgin material.

Porcelain is ideal for areas which see plenty of water such as shower stalls and kitchen and bathroom floors because it has a water absorption rate of a miniscule 0.5%. After firing a tile is weighed very accurately, the tile is then boiled in water for a full five hours at which time it is then submerged in cold water for 24 hours and then weighed again. If the weight of the test tile is less than one half of one percent heavier then it is considered as porcelain.

The one drawback to porcelain tiles, and this is not a problem for professional installers, is the fact that the tiles may not all be exactly the same size. Because they are fired at such extremely high temperatures they have a tendency to distort.

The problems associated with lack of commonality of size can be overcome by paying particular attention when selecting the tiles and to use professionals to install them. Not only do the professionals know how to deal with mismatched sizes, they have the equipment to cut this extremely hard material.

If you are looking to enhance the beauty of your home then you may wish to consider porcelain tiles. Italian Tile NYC carries a distinctive range of porcelain tiles in Brooklyn at very appealing prices.

Apple unveils iPhone 4, iOS 4 at Worldwide Developers Conference 2010

WcKskV5C | Uncategorized | 11 10th, 2018  |  No Comments »

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yesterday, at this year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), company CEO Steve Jobs unveiled iPhone 4, along with the new iOS 4 operating system for Apple mobile devices.

The announcement was long-awaited but not a very big surprise. In April, the technology blog Gizmodo obtained a prototype of the new phone and published details of it online. While introducing iPhone 4, at the annual conference, Jobs started by hinting at the incident, saying, “Stop me if you’ve already seen this.”

The new iPhone was praised by Jobs as “the biggest leap we’ve taken since the original iPhone.” It is only 9.3 millimetres (0.37 inches) thick, making it “the thinnest smartphone on the planet”, a 24 percent reduction from Apple’s previous model, the iPhone 3GS. Structure-wise, iPhone 4 has a new stainless steel frame, which acts as an antenna, supposedly boosting its signal reception abilities and possibly reducing the amount of dropped calls. It also has a new screen, dubbed a “retina display,” which displays images at 326 pixels per inch. During the keynote, Jobs demoed the device’s new internal gyroscope as well. Even though it now uses Apple’s faster A4 processor (first used in its iPad tablet), iPhone 4 has a claimed seven hours of 3G talk time, up two hours from the 3GS.

In addition to its design features, Jobs showed off iPhone 4’s new video calling abilities. This feature is called FaceTime, and connects with other iPhone 4s via Wi-Fi. The phone has two cameras: one on the front for video chats, and one on the back for taking pictures and other videos. The rear camera has a resolution of five megapixels, is capable of recording high-definition video, and has an LED flash.

The iPhone 4 will use Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 4. Formerly “iPhone OS,” iOS 4 was first introduced by Apple in April, and includes multitasking capabilities. Jobs called the new software “the most advanced mobile operating system in the world.” iOS will support Apple’s new mobile advertising service, iAd, which goes live on July 1.

iPhone 4 will be available on June 24 in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan. It comes in two colors—black and white—and two storage capacities. The 16GB version is priced at US$199 and the 32GB version at US$299. The iPhone 3GS’s price will be reduced to US$99, and the iPhone 3G will be discontinued. iOS will be available as a free software update to users of compatible older Apple devices (including the 3GS) on June 21. In the U.S., iPhone 4 will only be available on AT&T’s cellular network, despite calls for Apple to let the iPhone be used on other carriers, such as Verizon.

Competition-wise, the BlackBerry mobile device is still the most popular smartphone right now. Apple is also facing some serious competition from web giant Google’s Android operating system, as well as Palm’s webOS. Earlier this year, Android phones managed to outsell iPhones. iPhone users, however, account for over half of those surfing the Internet on a mobile browser in the U.S. Jobs also noted that over five billion iOS applications, commonly called “apps,” have been purchased from Apple’s App Store. The App Store currently has around 225,000 different apps for sale.