India rocket launches asteroid-spotting satellite

Not about water but cool being protected from asteroids with suitcase sized Canadian satellite! Excerpt from article: India’s PSLV-C20 satellite launch vehicle, carrying the SARAL Indo-French satellite as one of its payloads, lifts off from the launchpad at Sriharikora on February 25, 2013, in a photo released by the Indian presidential palace. India launched a rocket Monday carrying seven satellites into orbit, including a Canadian orbiter that will scan for asteroids that could be hurtling toward Earth. India launched a rocket Monday carrying seven satellites into orbit, including a Canadian orbiter that will scan for asteroids that could be hurtling toward Earth. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle blasted off from the Sriharikota rocket launch centre located on an island off the coast of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The launch, witnessed by Indian President President Pranab Mukherjee at the space mission control centre, “was perfect”, Devi Prasad Karnik, an official of the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation, told AFP. The suitcase-sized Canadian satellite, which the Canadian Space Agency calls a “sentinel in the sky”, will circle the globe every 100 minutes, scanning space to pinpoint asteroids that may come close to Earth.

White out conditions on Antarctic adventure as Sir Ranulph Fiennes is forced to quit – Telegraph

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has pulled out of an expedition to cross Antarctica during the region’s winter after developing a severe case of frostbite. The 68-year-old and his five-member team had hoped to conquer what has been called one of the last great polar challenges – traversing nearly 2,500 miles in a place where temperatures often dip as low as minus 70 Celsius. The expedition, dubbed The Coldest Journey, said in a statement on Monday that the team is working toward evacuating Sir Ranulph from Antarctica, but that the evacuation is being hampered by a blizzard. The rest of the team plans to continue on. Expedition organizers are trying to raise $10 million for the charity, Seeing is Believing” which seeks to prevent blindness. An idea of the difficult conditions faced by Ranulph Fiennes and his team can be seen in this video post from last week by expedition member Ian Prickett.

A. Michael Spence and Mark Zandi: Prospects for U.S. Economy in 2013 | Ideas Lab

Excerpts from Michael Spence economic outlook for 2013: In posts for the Council on Foreign Relations Moody’s Chief Economist argues that next year will be bright for the U.S. economy. CFR’s A. Michael Spence agrees, but cites concerns that could stymie growth. A. Michael Spence, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations The economic outlook for the United States in 2013 is marginally brighter. The economy is adapting structurally, albeit slowly, to an altered and more sustainable growth pattern. The deleveraging process is further along, which, in turn, has spurred domestic demand. A divided Congress appears to be serious about reducing debt and long-term non-debt liabilities, and may come together around a credible stabilization path that will reassure business, reduce uncertainty, and boost investment. However, disruptive technology, global market forces, the education gap, and skills deficit mean that long-term unemployment will remain a problem. Looser monetary policy, designed to buy time for politicians to enact needed policy changes, may push the economy back toward the defective leveraged-growth model and delay long-overdue structural adjustments.

Background Briefing on Secretary of State Kerry’s Trip to Great Britain, Germany, and France

Segment from State Dept interview: “I’ll leave it to the Secretary to talk about his ideas on Syria and just simply say again, on all these burning and pressing issues, this one is at or very near the top of the list, and I’m sure he’ll discuss it with each of the leaders. And as you know, he also took the initiative to try to get together with a group of leaders, not just the Europeans but from the regions – from the region a little bit later on the trip. But I’ll leave it to him to talk about the approach that he wants to take on Syria. The Russia piece we’ve been focused on for some time, because we’ve been absolutely clear that there needs to be a political transition, and we felt that Russia could play a key role in convincing the regime and everyone that there needs to be that political transition. That’s what we met about, and a lot of you were there in Geneva last year. We’re following up on that, and I’m sure at the top of his agenda with Minister Lavrov we’ll be urging Russia to support what we all believe to be true, which is that we need to move on from the regime and have a political transition in Syria.

Can the Chicago River be saved? –

Excerpt from Salon on Chicago river: More than a century ago in this exact spot, human ingenuity shaped nature to its will, smashing through the earthen barrier that separated the Mississippi River drainage area from the vast freshwater reservoir of the Great Lakes, stitching together the commercial energies and distinct ecosystems of the North American continent. The consequences of that decision are still playing out today in a metropolis where more than seven million people draw their drinking water from Lake Michigan — and where those same people pump their sewage back into the river. Myriad threats, from water pollution to flooding and invasive species, have made the question of what to do about the Chicago River one of the most important questions facing the city. And simply by asking it, Chicagoans are acknowledging a basic existential struggle. That struggle is between two competing visions. One is remedial and pragmatic, the province of engineers and bureaucrats. In their eyes, the river can and should be cleaned up only to the point where it can operate as a safe, functional waterway that exists to meet the demands placed on it by commerce, flood control, and the dispersal of wastewater. In the alternate vision, however, the river meets all of these demands — and more. Its proponents seek nothing less than to turn the Chicago River into a civic treasure, its newly cleaned banks lined with parks and homes and restored ecosystems, its very presence a clear and shimmering symbol of a great city built on making, trading, connecting: a symbol of American history’s inexorable flow toward progress. And in the bargain, they seek to make the river a living — and flourishing — example of environmental innovation and ecological stewardship, one that generations of Chicagoans will cherish.

MV Lyubov Orlova reappears after adrift for 2 months

MV Lyubov Orlova reappears 1300 klm from Ireland after being adrift for 2 months. She had been docked on coast of Newfoundland for last couple of years amd recently bought by Neptune Enterprises for scrape. She disappeared in the North Atlantic while being towed.

She was built as Lyubovy Orlova is a 1976 Yugoslavia-built ice-strengthened Mariya Yermolova class cruise ship. Once known for Antarctic cruises, the ship made headlines after it was abandoned dockside in St. John’s, Newfoundland and then became a floating derelict in the North Atlantic Ocean in 2013.

Lyubov Orlova was named after the Russian film star Lyubov Orlova. The ship was built for the Far East Shipping Company based in the Soviet Union. She served as an expedition cruise ship, like her equally unlucky sister MV Clipper Adventurer. Her hull was built to withstand impacts with ice, and she often sailed in Antarctica and the Arctic.

Lyubov Orlova was refurbished in 1999, and chartered by Marine Expeditions for cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula in 2000. She underwent extensive renovations in 2002 and was subsequently chartered by Quark Expeditions for the Antarctic and Cruise North Expeditions the Arctic.

Kyrgyzstan to return radioactive cars to Japan: Voice of Russia

Kyrgyzstan intends to return Japanese cars imported after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. A statement by the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry says that some of the cars are emitting radiation exceeding permissible levels by several times despite being deactivated. About 50,000 used cars are imported into Kyrgyzstan annually, nearly a half of them from Japan. Voice of Russia, TASS