2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-07-22 13:28:32 UTC
2019-07-22 15:30:13 UTC
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SpaceX's Starhopper was engulfed in a fireball shortly after a static fire ignition of its Raptor engine, almost certainly delaying the low-fidelity Starship prototype and testbed's first untethered flight.
With any luck, Raptor, Starhopper, and SpaceX's spartan Boca Chica facilities have escaped relatively unharmed. Regardless, even if Raptor's static fire was technically successful, some repairs will likely be necessary and the off-nominal behavior that occurred after the ignition test will have to be dealt with and understood to prevent such behavior during future Starhopper operations.
[...] Due to the inherently low quality of video captured through thousands of feet of thick, humid Texas air, it's almost impossible to make specific details out. However, shortly after the static fire ignition and shutdown, some viewers believe that there was fire visible at one or several points on Starhopper, although what looks like fire could easily be a simple reflection of the active flare stack just a few hundred feet away.
Hopefully hurt nobody is, damages minimal they are, and lots of telemetry collected it was.
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Southern California Friday night, the second major temblor in less than two days and one that rocked buildings across Southern California, adding more jitters to an already nervous region.
The quake was centered near Ridgecrest, the location of the July 4th 6.2 magnitude temblor that was the largest in nearly 20 years.
There were reports of Friday night's quake causing some fires and other damage in Ridgecrest, said emergency officials on the scene.
[...] When Thursday's quake hit, scientists had warned that it could lead to an even larger quake. Ridgecrest has been rattled by more than 17 magnitude 4 quakes and at least 1,200 aftershocks since Thursday. A magnitude 5.4 aftershock occurred earlier this morning— strong enough to awaken some residents of Los Angeles about 125 miles away.
The largest earthquake in two decades rattled Southern California on Thursday morning, shaking communities from Las Vegas to Long Beach and ending a quiet period in the state's seismic history.
Striking at 10:33 a.m., the magnitude 6.4 temblor was centered about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles in the remote Searles Valley area near where Inyo, San Bernardino and Kern counties meet. It was felt as far away as Ensenada and Mexicali in Mexico, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and Chico, Calif.
Authorities said there were no immediate reports of deaths, serious injuries or major infrastructure damage, though emergency responders were still inspecting areas around the city of Ridgecrest.
Patients at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital were evacuated "out of an abundance of caution," hospital Chief Executive James Suver said. About 20 patients were transferred to other facilities while seismic engineers inspected broken pipes in the facility. "For true emergencies, we will stabilize them and then get them to the right level of care," he said.
Ridgecrest, a community of about 29,000 known to many skiers as a pit stop on the way to Mammoth, was inundated with offers of help, from neighboring towns, congressional leaders such as Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Kamala Harris and even the White House, Mayor Peggy Breeden said.
[...] The quake, estimated to have been felt by some 15 million people, was the largest with an epicenter in Southern California since the magnitude 7.1 Hector Mine quake struck the Mojave Desert in 1999, about 35 miles north of Twentynine Palms Marine Corps base. The last earthquake felt as widely as Thursday's was the magnitude 7.2 earthquake on Easter Sunday 2010 that had an epicenter across the border in Baja California.
Before Thursday, it had been almost five years since the state experienced an earthquake of magnitude 6 or stronger. Experts had said the period of calm was sure to end, and when it did it would likely bring destruction.
[...] The rocking in Searles Valley began with two foreshocks: an initial quake of magnitude 4 at 10:02 a.m. Seven minutes later, a 2.5 temblor struck. About 24 minutes later, the mainshock began seven miles underground, lasting five seconds.
[...] By midafternoon, more than 200 aftershocks had been recorded, including 10 of magnitude 4 or greater.
Caltech seismologist Lucy Jones, California's foremost earthquake expert, said that aftershocks will continue to rumble through Kern County, and there is a small chance that the quake was a "foreshock" of an even greater temblor to come.
[...] The faults that moved Thursday were nowhere near California's most feared fault — they are about 100 miles northeast of the San Andreas, said Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson.
In a major provocation, Iran shot down an unarmed and unmanned U.S. Navy MQ-4C Triton drone while it was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz Thursday, a U.S. official told ABC News.
The incident is sure to trigger serious discussions within the Trump administration about how to respond to a direct attack on a U.S. military asset that goes beyond recent attacks in the Middle East that the U.S. has blamed on Iran.
A US military surveillance drone has been shot down by Iranian forces while flying over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said the drone had violated Iranian airspace. But US military said it had been over international waters. IRGC commander-in-chief Maj-Gen Hossein Salami said the downing of the drone sent a "clear message to America" that Iran's borders were its "red line".
It comes at a time of escalating tension between the US and Iran. On Monday, the US defence department said it was deploying 1,000 extra troops to the region in response to "hostile behaviour" by Iranian forces. The US has also accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers with mines last Thursday just outside the Strait of Hormuz, in the Gulf of Oman. Iran rejects the allegation.
Previously: Two Oil Tankers Attacked, US Blames Iran
Two oil tankers on Thursday morning were reportedly attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial oil transport route that sits between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, echoing a similar attack last month and stoking fears about escalating tensions in the region.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for Thursday's attacks, but the U.S. blamed Iran for last month's bombing of four tankers in the same general area, without offering a clear explanation as to why. Iran denied that allegation, but it is embroiled in several conflicts in the region. It has long feuded with U.S.-allied Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—tensions only heightened by a clash over the civil war in Yemen—and Thursday's incident fueled fears that tensions in the region are approaching a breaking point.
Thursday's attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman caused jitters in global markets and unease across a region that has been bracing for conflict throughout much of the year. As with the earlier attacks on 12 May, news of the latest strikes was again broken by media outlets aligned to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran, who broadcast images of the attacks within minutes of them taking place.
Pictures of both ships ablaze spoke volumes about what is at stake in one of the world's most strategic waterways, as a regional player withering under ever tightening sanctions stares down a global superpower determined to impose its will.
Even the hint of obstruction in the strait of Hormuz, where ships pass each other like cars on a four lane motorway, is enough to upset oil markets. Frequent, and seemingly random, bombings of tankers, however, takes fears over energy security to levels not seen since the tanker wars, a byproduct of the Iran-Iraq war of the mid-80s, which sunk or damaged 543 ships in nearby waters and caused three years of turmoil in energy markets. By Thursday afternoon, two large shipping companies had suspended bookings from the Gulf oil ports.
Iran strenuously denied involvement in the May attacks and, in remarks on Thursday, appeared to be following suit. Javad Zarif, the foreign minister, described the attacks as "beyond suspicious" and Iranian media suggested an attack on a Japanese-owned tanker taking place at the same time Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei pointed to a plot.
Iran views Trump with contempt, but on balance believes the economic war launched by his administration, and military threats, are designed not to start a bombing war, but to shore up a negotiating position, vis-a-vis a bid to redraw the nuclear deal that was signed by his predecessor, and torn up by Trump last year.
Khamenei is known to be vigorously opposed to any new talks, particularly from a perceived position of weakness, and has told subordinates to carefully calibrate any response to US moves, which he believes aim to wind back its regional gains since the US-led ousting of Saddam Hussein and bring his regime to heel.
Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst and Iran project director for the International Crisis Group, observed: "If Iran is behind these attacks, it clearly shows that a US policy relying solely on coercion can backfire. Diplomatic efforts by allies are necessary to dial down the tension, but they can't resolve it as long as Washington relies on an all-or-nothing approach."
Australian Federal Police (AFP) have raided the Sydney headquarters of the public broadcaster ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), after yesterday's raid on the home of a News Corp. journalist. A radio talkback host for station 2GB has also been targeted by the AFP.
Mrs. May announced on Friday that she would be stepping down as leader of her Conservative Party and then as Britain's prime minister, after repeatedly failing to win Parliament's approval for a deal to withdraw the country from the European Union.
A successor to Theresa May will be chosen before Parliament's summer break, the Conservative Party chairman said. She will continue as prime minister until the leadership contest is finished.
[...] Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, Mrs. May said it was in the "best interests of the country for a new prime minister" to lead Britain through the Brexit process. She announced plans to step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, with the process to replace her beginning the following week.
Previously: Theresa May: UK's Next Prime Minister?
May spoke outside 10 Downing Street after a meeting with Graham Brady, the head of the 1922 Committee of Conservative Party backbenchers. She said she will step down on June 7. Her resignation will trigger a party leadership contest, and whoever wins that contest will take over as prime minister.
[...] Her announcement could complicate the upcoming June 3 state visit by President Trump to London to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, where he will also meet with Queen Elizabeth II.
May will still be in office during that visit, meaning it will nix the chance for a new prime minister to forge ties with the American president at a time where such relations are vital. A U.S.-U.K. trade deal is a top priority for the U.K. as it looks to depart from the European Union and begin making its own trade agreements -- and Trump has said "the potential is unlimited" for such a deal.
Thomas Daniel "Tim" Conway passed away today, Tuesday May 14, 2019 at the age of 85.
He gained his first national following as Ensign Charles Parker on McHale's Navy in the 1960s. He was possibly best known for his being a regular cast member on The Carol Burnett Show where he frequently attempted -- and often succeeded -- in getting his fellow cast members to "break character". He'd ceaselessly ad-lib lines and employ mannerisms that led them to bust out laughing.
Wikipedia has a full write-up on his life and career that I was only fortunate enough to experience a small fraction of his comedic genius. His humor was self-effacing, self-deprecating, and his comedic timing was unparalleled.
My favorite skit was his portrayal of a dentist, fresh out of dental school, and his difficulties with helping a patient (Harvey Korman) who was complaining of a toothache. (Video available on YouTube. (Watch Harvey Korman struggling to maintain his composure.)
The world is a darker place for his passing.
What were your favorite scenes, skits, or memories?
He died at his North Texas home surrounded by his family, read the Twitter statement.
[...] He was discovered by producer Charles H. Schneer while working as a hospital attendant in London, and cast in Ray Harryhausen’s “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.” The next year, he was cast as Chewbacca, the 200-year-old Wookiee.
[...] His height was not due to gigantism, but he measured 7 feet 3 inches at his highest. George Lucas originally had his eye on bodybuilder David Prowse, but Prowse decided to play Darth Vader instead and Lucas went with the even taller Mayhew.
The Hollywood Reporter notes:
While Mayhew did not provide the voice of the 200-year-old Wookiee (that was created by sound designer Ben Burtt), many credit the body language and the expressiveness of the eyes the actor brought to the role in making Chewbacca a fan favorite. It was a part that Mayhew would take on his whole life and well beyond the movies. He reprised the role for appearances on the Donny and Marie Show and The Muppet Show and, more recently, Glee.
Finnish-born basketball player-turned-actor Joonas Suotamo took over for Mayhew in some installments, including Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Mayhew worked as a consultant on The Last Jedi (2017) to pass the baton to Suotamo, and at that film's premiere in 2017 spent time chatting with his young protege, as well as Star Wars star Mark Hamill.
"Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, and Peter's development and portrayal of this beloved Wookiee has spread so much joy around the globe," Suotamo wrote after the casting was announced. "Peter's guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love."
A private memorial will take place June 29, while in December in Los Angeles there will be a gathering for fans at EmpireConLA. Mayhew is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children.
See also: Twitter announcement
and coverage at The Guardian.
According the Beeb (BBC):
At least 137 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, police and hospital sources say.
At least eight blasts were reported. Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo's Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services.
The Shangri-La, Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and a fourth hotel, all in Colombo, were also hit.
A curfew has been imposed from 18:00 to 06:00 local time (12:30-00:30 GMT).
The government also said there would a temporary block on the use of major social media networks.
No group has yet said it was responsible for the attacks.
Update:"At least 207 people have been killed and 450 hurt in explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, police say."
Pardon the brevity; submitted via my mobile phone.
[Update (20190418_203255 UTC) --martyb]
I was listening to the radio while running an errand when I heard the Mueller Report had been released. The above link was the first that came up when I did a search. I quickly posted the story using my mobile phone to get it to the community as quickly as possible. Here are additional sources as well as the MD5SUM and resultant file sizes from downloading each. The CNN file has a different size from the others. A quick inspection suggests that it contains searchable text (presumably through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) processing) whereas the others contain images of each of the pages in the report.
CNN (searchable): http://www.cnn.com/2019/04/18/politics/full-mueller-report-pdf/index.html provided a link to:
Size: 140,352,112 bytes
Size: 145,509,756 bytes
NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/04/18/708850903/read-the-full-mueller-report-with-redactions provided a link to:
Size: 145,509,756 bytes
PBS: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/read-the-redacted-mueller-report provided a link to:
Size: 145,509,756 bytes
The deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the cathedral had suffered "colossal damages", and the emergency services were trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral. A cathedral spokesman said the entire wooden interior was burning and likely to be destroyed.
Sounds like the whole thing may go up in flames. There's a reason for modern building codes.
A structure made entirely out of wood, is a huge bonfire, waiting to happen. Thankfully, at this time, there are no reported deaths.
[Update: 2019-04-16 @ 0222: The Cathedral is not "made entirely out of wood" as was suggested above. There is a great deal of stone work in its construction which can be readily seen on its Wikipedia page. I was at work when I heard news of the fire, immediately took a break, loaded the story queue on my phone, saw a story submission on the fire, and pushed it out to the community. In my haste to get the story out, I failed to notice the erroneous claim about wood construction. I apologize for the error. --martyb]
Assange associate Ola Bini has been arrested in Ecuador for alleged involvement in hacking government computer systems. A large quantity of electronic equipment and credit cards were allegedly found in his suitcase and during a raid of his home.
Julian Assange's arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was carried out in a specific way to prevent him from pressing a mysterious panic button he said could bring dire consequences for Ecuador, its foreign minister said.
[...] It is not clear exactly what form the "panic button" took: whether it was a physical device or a metaphor for some other easily activated insurance measure. It is also unclear what leverage Assange thought he had over Ecuador.
Assange's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on the nature of the button and whether it existed. According to Valencia, though, it was serious enough for Ecuador to warn British authorities and carry out the raid in such a way that Assange was not able to get back into his room after learning of his imminent arrest.
More than 70 MPs and peers have signed a letter urging the home secretary to ensure Julian Assange faces authorities in Sweden if they want his extradition.
[...] In their letter to Sajid Javid, 70 parliamentarians - chiefly Labour MPs and peers - urged him to "stand with the victims of sexual violence" and ensure the rape claim against the Wikileaks founder could be "properly investigated". "We do not presume guilt, of course, but we believe due process should be followed and the complainant should see justice be done," the letter said. Labour's Stella Creasy tweeted a copy of the letter sent to Mr Javid. The same letter was also sent to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.
See also: The U.S. Government's Indictment of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom
Sweden Considers Request to Reopen Rape Investigation of Julian Assange
Four theories about Julian Assange's cat (also at NPR)
Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
The Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court.
Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno said it withdrew Mr Assange's asylum after his repeated violations to international conventions.
But WikiLeaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Mr Assange's political asylum "in violation of international law".
[...] Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum.
After his arrest for failing to surrender to the court, police said he had been further arrested on behalf of US authorities under an extradition warrant.
He doesn't look happy, to say the least.
Update: As this is a breaking story, more information is coming out regularly - one source that updates their reports frequently is Zero Hedge - thanks boru!
Previously: New Analysis of Swedish Police Report Confirms Julian Assange's Version in Sweden's Case
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities
UK Said Assange Would Not be Extradited If He Leaves Embassy Refuge
Inadvertent Court Filing Suggests that the U.S. DoJ is Preparing to Indict Julian Assange
U.S. Ramping Up Probe Against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Says
Ecuador Denies That Julian Assange Will be Evicted From Embassy in London
At least two people confirmed dead and some are believed to be trapped inside FR Tower in the Bangladeshi capital.
At least two people have been confirmed dead after fire broke out in a 19-storey commercial building in Dhaka on Thursday, officials have told Al Jazeera, weeks after a deadly fire in the Bangladeshi capital left at least 70 people dead.
"Nineteen fire-fighting units are working at the scene. Bangladesh navy and air force have also joined to fight the fire," said Duty Officer Mohammad Russel from Dhaka's central fire service control room.
Several people are believed to be trapped inside the tower in the Banani area of the Bangladeshi capital, according to The Daily Star news website.
Helicopters dropped water on the burning building while hundreds of panicked onlookers crowded the streets in the upmarket commercial district of Banani.
[...] Al Jazeera's Tanveer Chaudhry, reporting from Dhaka, said "at least six people have jumped off the building."
"There are 95 emergency services working and helicopters hovering above ... trying to rescue some people from the roof as well.
"The fire took place on the 9th floor of the building but we don't know under what circumstances."
A massive blaze in Dhaka's old quarter last month killed at least 70 people and injured 50 others.
Had a fire in my apartment building a while back and had to evacuate. Scary.
"Be assured this is just the beginning of the work we'll be doing," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference on Thursday.
[...]Ardern said she expects a new law to be in place by April 11 and buy-back schemes will be established for outlawed weapons.
"Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics [MSSA] and assault rifles in New Zealand," Ardern said.
She said the man arrested in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques had purchased his weapons legally and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines "done easily through a simple online purchase".
"Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.
"In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country," she said.
That was quick.