Tag Archives: Editors Note

In Kyiv, mourning continues a week after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight #MH17


Kyiv Post Editor’s Note: Kyiv photographer and video journalist Zoya Shu shot this video, with English subtitles, outside the Netherlands Embassy in Kyiv, where hundreds have come to pay their respects daily to the 298 people killed aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17. Most of the victims were Dutch residents flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

People in Kyiv mourn the victims of the MH17 flight

Shu writes: 

“At once after the #MH17 tragedy people in Kyiv, Ukraine, started bringing flowers, toys and candles to the embassies of the Netherlands, Malaysia, United Kingdom and others, to express their condolences as they mourned the victims of the flight.

They keep coming evan now. People stand there in silence, pray, cry. And only kids violate the silence by asking about it, with the childlike directness. It was rather hard to make this video, it’s just plain sadness…Ukraine, always such a peaceful and calm place, has been in turmoil for months, there have already been so many victims of this artificially fomented conflict.

I can not comprehend why people do all that evil to other people. It does not look like it will stop any time soon, but that’s one of my biggest wishes right now.”

Kyiv Post.

Environmental: Water, super-sewers and the filth threatening the River Thames


The Great Stink of the 1800s alerted politicians to the filth in the Thames. The Victorian sewers fixed it, but trouble is brewing again. Is a clean river just a pipe dream?

After 150 years, London's sewage system needs a rejig to keep up with its growing population. Photograph: Mark LovattAfter 150 years, London’s sewage system needs a rejig to keep up with its growing population. Photograph: Mark Lovatt

“Water is the giver of life,” says the great-great-grandson of the engineer who revolutionised London’s sewerage system. “That’s why people always ask if there’s water on Mars to support life. But it is also bringer of death, as we saw in the 19th century.”

Quite so. Before Sir Peter Bazalgette’s great-great-grandfather Joseph built 1,300 miles of sewers and river embankments in London in the 1860s, raw sewage flowed into the tidal section of the Thames and got stalled in a hellishly insanitary circulation system. The stench of what politician Benjamin Disraeli in the mid-19th century called the “Stygian pool” was bad enough – referencing the River Styx of Greek mythology, which formed the boundary between Earth and the underworld – but, worse, Londoners bathed in and drank this water. “Before the great embankments were built, the Thames flowed more gently so the shit went up and down and people were drawing their own effluent,” says Bazalgette. If you’re eating your breakfast, apologies for that last sentence.

The filthy Thames of the Victorian era was a relatively new phenomenon. As late as 1800 it had been clean enough for salmon to be caught and for Lord Byron to swim by Westminster Bridge. By the early 1830s it was a very different river. In 1834, the English wit and cleric Sydney Smith told Lady Grey: “He who drinks a tumbler of London water has literally in his stomach more animated beings than there are Men, Women and Children on the face of the Globe.”

The results were deaths from water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Liverpudlians were less prone to suffer than Londoners – argues David Green, professor of geography at King’s College London – because of their fondness for tea imported through Liverpool’s docks; they were more likely to boil their water. After cholera arrived from India, there were epidemics in London in 1832, 1848, 1849, 1854 and 1866, in which thousands died.

Sir Joseph William Bazalgette, top right, overlooks the Northern Outfall sewer being built below the Abbey Mills pumping station. Photograph: Getty ImagesSir Joseph William Bazalgette, top right, overlooks the Northern Outfall sewer being built below the Abbey Mills pumping station. Photograph: Getty Images Continue reading

Genetically-engineered moths make spider silk for flameproof pants


Monster Silk moths are genetically engineered to produce spider silk. They have been engineered with red eyes so scientists can tell them apart from conventional moths.Monster Silk moths are genetically engineered to produce spider silk. They have been engineered with red eyes so scientists can tell them apart from conventional moths.Kraig Labs

Spider silk is widely considered a superfibre, a near magical material with potential medical and military applications. The problem is that cost-effective mass production has eluded scientists for years. Until now, it seems. A Michigan firm has brought us one step closer thanks to a genetically engineered silkworm, modified to produce spider silk.

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, based in Michigan, announced today that it has found a way to double the production rate of its commercial product, called Monster Silk. The ramp-up takes the company another step closer to market, and away from the R&D stage.

Spider silk is stronger and lighter than most other fabrics, so it could be used in things like body armour, medical sutures and, oddly, underwear. The US military is experimenting with silk underwear to protect soldiers’… privates … from explosions, since silk doesn’t melt onto skin when exposed to heat. It also resists penetration by finer particles like sand and dirt, which can keep wounds clean.

“Our production system is the only commercially viable technology for producing spider silk,” says Kim Thompson, Kraig’s founder and CEO. Genetically engineered silkworms are “the only way to go.”

Kraig Labs’ spider silk is produced by inserting specific spider genes into silkworm chromosomes. Then the worms (actually moths) produce threads nearly identical to spider silk. The company can vary the silk’s flexibility, strength, and toughness by moving around the DNA sequence. It’s been talking about the technology since at least 2010, and is now finally moving closer to commercialisation.

Kraig’s current production run is largely headed to Warwick Mills, a specialty textile manufacturer that focuses on protective applications like body armour and fireproof wearables. They are making the first Monster Silk textiles, and their research will lay the groundwork for the first commercial sales as soon as next year.

Medical and military applications are where the money is, along with the opportunity to save lives. But those markets will take years to reach fruition thanks to lengthy FDA and military approval processes. In the shorter term, Thompson is interested in making dress shirts and neck ties. The traditional silk clothing market is worth as much as $5 billion per year. “No one material can ever satisfy all textile needs,” he says, and he believes spider silk will see increased usage in textile blends in the near future.

“We’re hoping to add one more arrow to the quiver, and we think it’s a multi-billion dollar arrow.”

This article originally appeared on Wired.com

Wired UK


Editors Note: One has to wonder what would happen if the genetically-engineered moths mated with the conventional moth!

 

UK: Father killed his five-week-old daughter after she distracted him from a video game


Father killed his five-week-old daughter after she distracted him from a video gameFather killed his five-week-old daughter after she distracted him from a video game

A FATHER killed his five-week-old daughter after becoming frustrated by the distraction of her screaming as he tried to play a video game, a court was told.

Mark Sandland, 28, had a “sudden loss of temper” and shook Aimee-Rose shortly after looking up real-time instructions on playing Assassins Creed 3, prosecutors said.

The baby was rushed to Conquest Hospital in Hastings with brain damage and other injuries, before being transferred to King’s College Hospital on November 9, 2012.

Aimee-Rose died in her mother’s arms after doctors switched off her life support machine.

Sandland, who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, told paramedics and police he had an epileptic fit and woke up on top of his daughter. However, doctors said Aimee-Rose’s injuries, including brain damage and bruising to her face and chest, were not consistent with an incident of that nature.

Aimee-Rose died of a head injury consistent with shaking, Lewes Crown Court was told.

Sandland was looking after his daughter at their home in Church Road, St Leonards, on November 5, 2012 while her mother went to university in Brighton for the first day of her applied social sciences degree. Sally Howes QC, prosecuting, said Sandland had accessed a “help line” website that gave step-by-step instructions on how to play Assassins Creed 3 on Sony PlayStation, 16 minutes and 24 seconds before phoning 999 to say his daughter was lifeless and her lips blue.

Ms Howes said: “It is the Crown’s case that, frustrated by the distraction of Aimee-Rose screaming, the defendant picked her up and grabbed her round the torso in a sudden loss of temper and loss of control.”

The court was told that Sandland had texted his partner that day saying their daughter had not “shut up” since she had left half an hour before.

Ms Howes said Sandland suffered from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological condition which causes paralysis, and functional non-epileptic attack disorder, which causes seizures.

The court was also told that medical experts do not think he was having a seizure when he injured his daughter.

Psychiatrist Dr Duncan Anderson said Sandland satisfied the criteria of borderline emotionally unstable personality disorder, while other experts agreed that he struggled to cope with stress.

Lewis Power QC, mitigating, said his client would “carry the heavy burden of knowing for the rest of his life that he killed his young daughter”.

He also emphasised Sandland’s health problems, difficulty coping with stress, and abandonment by his mother when he was one year old. He was eventually raised by his grandparents.

Mr Power added that his client’s strongest mitigation was that he had pleaded guilty, noting he was “full of contrition and remorse”.

Wearing a grey suit, Sandland sobbed in the dock throughout the majority of the hearing. He is due to be sentenced tomorrow.

From:The Argus Header Logo


Editors Note: Murder is murder and he should expect to get the toughest sentence possible, however he probably won’t as his lawyer is going down the ‘mentally unstable’ route!

Russian media: #Moscow may send #Ukraine #peacekeeping mission in next two days


Tanks with Kremlin-backed fighters outside the city of Sloviansk last month. According to Russian media, citing a Russian Foreign Ministry source, has suggested Russia is preparing to introduce Tanks with Kremlin-backed fighters outside the city of Sloviansk last month. According to Russian media, citing a Russian Foreign Ministry source, has suggested Russia is preparing to introduce “peacekeeping” forces in eastern Ukraine within the next two days. © AFP

Russia may begin a “peacekeeping” operation in Ukraine within the next two days, according to comments made on July 3 by sources close to Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

“There is such an option… The situation is complicated. Two days ago we advised (Ukrainian President) Petro Poroshenko to ‘freeze’ the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts for a few months, so that the rebels and the Ukrainian army stop fighting… Poroshenko did not accept the plan, and every day innocent people are dying,” the source told Russian news agency Znak.

“A peacekeeping operation from the Russian side is ready: if it is launched, several Russian units will form a protection ring around the large towns, in order to ensure the safety of peaceful citizens,” the news agency quoted the source as saying.

The reliability of the statement – as well as the identity of the source – remain unclear.

According to Ukrainska Pravda, its credibility is attested to by the fact that deputies of the Russian State Duma have been instructed to remain in Moscow over the following days amid the possibility of an emergency meeting being held.

Ukrainska Pravda also cites Znak journalist Katerina Vinokurova as saying information supplied by the same Foreign Ministry source in the past has always proved reliable.

The claim has provoked a strong response from Kyiv. Security Council Secretary Andriy Parubiy called it “a threat of direct aggression against Ukraine,” adding that peacekeeping forces can only be introduced under the aegis of the United Nations.

The news comes amid further reports of a military build-up in Ukraine’s east, where the government’s resumed “anti-terrorist operation” entered its third day. Parubiy denied that Russian troops had been withdrawn from the border with Ukraine, claiming that around 40,000 servicemen remain.

“The statement that Russian troops have been pulled back from the border is untrue. There was no pullback of troops, but quite the contrary, there was a [troop] rotation,” he said at a briefing in Kyiv on July 4, according to Interfax.  Continue reading