Saturday, August 15, 2009

A cargo ship spotted off the African island nation of Cape Verde could be the missing MV Arctic Sea.

The Maltese flagged MV Arctic Sea disappeared off the French coast sometime after July 29. Owned by the Russian Arctic Sea company she was operated by the Finnish Solchart Management company and had a Russian crew.

French intelligence sources have found a ship matching the Arctic Sea’s description about 400 Nautical miles north of São Vicente.

The Arctic Sea was on a scheduled route from the Finnish seaport of Pietarsaari to the Algerian seaport of Béjaïa with a cargo of timber when it was boarded in Swedish waters between the islands Öland and Gotland on the night of July 24. The alleged boarders left the ship the same day according to its crew and the ship continued her voyage although it would have been expected to anchor at the nearest port.

The last official contact with the ship was with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Britain on July 28. Viktor Matveyev, the director of Solchart Management says the ship radioed that it was off the coast of Portugal on July 31. The 98-meter-long ship has so far not reached the Straits of Gibraltar and is now being sought by the Portuguese Navy and Russian Navy.

If proven this could be the first case of piracy in Europe in the modern era. There is speculation as to the reason for the ship’s hijacking, as its cargo of wood, valued at 1.3 million euros, is not especially valuable. Suggestions include possible contraband, and the possibility of a commercial dispute between the crew or some other party and the ship’s owners.

By David H. Urmann

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right wood paneling and wood wall paneling. Get some tips to make sure it will complement your interiors.

About Wood Paneling

Wood paneling is a method of covering up a wall that started during the 1970s and 1980s. It is used as an option to the more usual painted or textured wallpaper and drywall. It is also sold almost in 4 by 8 foot sheets.


Wood paneling could be used in new installations on top of whatever material is currently on the wall. This is possible because wood paneling is extremely thin, usually under inch thick and needs only minor adjustment for outlet and trims if done properly. This is a great way to cover large areas quickly as each panel is rather big. Wood paneling are lightweight enough for a person to handle with ease.


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All wood paneling comes in about 4 by 8 foot sheets. The bead-board and some kinds of wood paneling are usually made of thin lumber. These are usually between 3 to 7 feet in width with an average thickness of 3/8 inches. The standard sheets of paneling could vary from approximately 1/8 inch in thickness to 3/8 inch for the extremely highest quality of veneer types.


Many wood paneling are similar and varying only in type and quality of wood. Durable veneer sheets are very thin and cover up a lower quality sheet of wood, which serves as the base. Another option is to use paper skin on the low quality base. Other types are made from extremely thin durable strips of lumber, commonly about 3 to 6 feet wide. This strip is fitted with groove and tongue edges in order to fit. It is the most costly type available because it is solid wood rather than the plywood.

Factors to Consider

Wood paneling must not be used in several environments because of humidity and other ecological factors. It must not be used in the bathroom as wood is quite absorbent.

About Wood Wall Paneling

Wood wall paneling comes in several styles, species and could be finished in variety of ways, painted or natural. The application to the wall could also be achieved by a large number of methods, groove and tongue, shiplap, reverse board and batten and board and batten. Wood wall paneling could also strengthen the structure to storms and high winds.


Despite of the different materials and styles, the wood wall paneling starts at the sawmill and is cured in large drying kilns. From kilns, the board of wood all paneling are planed to thickness and done to the right width. Throughout the sizing of width, the board is then edged to suit the type of paneling, to be put on the wall.


Wood wall paneling may come in a wide variety of lengths and sizes. The most usual for tongue, groove and shiplap may be a random length as the structure of grooves allows for tight joins. The batten and board usually comes in 8 foot length as the application to the wall is frequently vertical. The tongue, groove and shiplap could be put on the walls in either vertical or horizontal fashion.


Certain species may be applied to homes, which may have pest problem as several woods are resistant to insects and rot. The Cypress and Easter Red Cedar are the two wood varieties that both rot resistant and provides deterrent to insects infestation.

About the Author: For more information on

Real Wood Paneling


Stone Paneling

.Please visit our website.


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Monday, August 22, 2005

About 90 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies broke up what they said was a rave party on public and private property in the Diamond Fork area of Spanish Fork canyon, an hour outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday (5:30 Sunday UTC).

According to the county, the Sheriff’s Office had been investigating similar parties since the beginning of the season. In a press release from the Sheriff’s Office in Utah County, the department states that previous allegations of sexual abuse at other raves, as well as various firearm and theft violations, were reasons for the investigation. The release continues on to state that the proper permit was not obtained before the event started.The promoters deny this allegation and insist that all permits were legally obtained before the event.

Armed with semi-automatic assault rifles, tasers, and tear gas, the police used dogs to sweep the crowd for narcotics. At least one helicopter was used in the operation, which served as a large spotlight for the ground teams. Prior to raiding the show, several unnamed police informants had reportedly told police that they had observed some “illegal activities”.

The promoter says the party took place on private property, named Child’s Ranch, with express permission from the owner. The property owner has apparently had at least one previous lawsuit with police over a similar event. Utah County requires a permit, bond and county commission approval for all gatherings with more than 250 people present and which can be expected to continue for 12 hours or more. DJ time slots and Pro Audio and Lighting contracts show that the party was scheduled to go on for no more than ten hours. According to a DJ at the event, “They presold 700 tickets and they expected up to 3,000 people total.” He added that by the time police arrived “the crowd was about 1,500”.

The police have publicly stated that only a permit from the health department was obtained, and that a Utah mass gathering permit was needed. The promoters have stated that they had the required permit, and have given a permit number (# 2005-11). Jay Stone, who handles mass gathering permits for the Utah County Health Department’s Bureau of Environmental Health Services, has confirmed that the permit was applied for and granted for the party. Officials also claim that the party had spilled over onto public land, and that more than 60 arrests were made in total – for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, underage drinking, drug possession and distribution, resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, and one instance of a weapons offense, a pistol which was found in the home of the private property owners. Among the confiscated items and drugs found were cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, mushrooms, alcohol, and drug paraphernalia. Some of the drugs may include those confiscated from attendees by private security guards – who were also arrested.

Amateur video from the scene shows a number of SWAT police (Sheriff’s press release places the figure at 90) screaming orders at the DJs to “Shut it down now!” and yelling at others to “get out now, or I’ll kick your ass in jail.” Armed police are also seen tackling two attendees, Alaisha Matagi and Paul Maka. It is unclear from the video footage whether these actions were provoked or not. However, those shown on the two-minute long footage that are being forced to the ground do not appear to be resisting arrest. Both Matagi and Maka are charged with failure to obey a police officer and resisting arrest – Maka is also charged with interfering with police. Sheriff Jim Tracy stated in an email that both of them were tackled and arrested after assaulting a deputy, however, neither of them are being charged with assaulting a police officer.

A first hand account from a DJ booked to play at the party stated that while police were arresting a man accused of possession, the suspect was beaten to the ground and continually “kicked in the ribs” by four armed “soldiers” dressed in camouflage. The item was not shown on the video footage. According to the account, nobody resisted the policemen, and the crowd was orderly, but tear gas was thrown at the partiers as they attempted to leave as instructed. The DJ also states that police were attempting to confiscate video equipment, but an amateur video has still surfaced on the internet (see sources below). The video appears to have been taken near the DJ stand before it was moved to show more of the action.

Several attendees felt they should have the right to attend an event where drugs may be present, so long as they don’t personally use them. “While it may be true that some individuals choose to take drugs at said events like this, myself as well as many others choose to go for the music. Just like anything, you have bad apples, but you shouldn’t cut down the tree,” said one attendee. “Raves are not the only musical gatherings where drugs are used and distributed,” said another.

Other event-goers felt that the use of force in the shutdown was excessive – numerous eyewitness accounts by concertgoers describe people being beaten, tasered, or attacked with dogs. An email from Sheriff Jim Tracy stated that dogs and tasers were present at the raid, however, he also states that the tasers were not used on anyone, and that no dogs were deployed against concertgoers.

One account from an attendee, identified as “Colby”, states:

“I saw at least two people being beaten on the ground while barking, snarling dogs are held just a few feet from them. Weapons were being pointed at unarmed, peaceful civilians. A friend of mine was forced at gunpoint to put his hands on his head and turn around, because he asked if he could get his things from the tent.”

Utah County sheriff’s Sergeant Darren Gilbert also alleged that a 17-year-old girl was found overdosed on ecstasy, and was treated and released to her parents. According to an advertisement for the event, an attorney was present at the party. The local sheriff is scheduled to appear on Utah TV.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Robert Mugabe, president of the Republic of Zimbabwe bitterly slated opposition and the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe’s former colonial ruler, in a speech he made earlier today. This is his first speech after the recent disputed elections in which Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won the parliamentary voting. However announcement of an overall victory for the MDC has come to a standstill as results from 23 out of the 210 constituencies are still being recounted.

Mr. Mugabe asked his 15,000 strong audience to “maintain utmost vigilance in the face of vicious British machinations and the machinations of our other detractors, who are allies of Britain” while speaking at the Gwanzura Stadium in Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare.

The audience wore shirts adorned with Mugabe portraits and waved banners reading “Defending our land from imperialists” and “Zimbabwe has no place for sell-outs” in support of Zanu-PF policies. “Down with the British” was chanted, Mr. Mugabe saying the British are “like thieves fronting their lackeys among us, which they pay to confuse our people”.

“We, not the British, established democracy based on one person, one vote – democracy which rejected racial or gender discrimination and upheld human rights and religious freedom,” he said in response to the international criticism he has lately received, especially from Gordon Brown.

The speech was made in a celebration of 28 years since the day of Zimbabwean independence, which Mr. Mugabe called the day on which his nation “finally shook off the chains of British racist settler colonialism”.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Information technology organizations have to change their paradigm radically. Given that IT organizations of the future would be increasingly using cloud services, it’s apparent that data center infrastructure services would be less relevant. Furthermore, with more and more SaaS solutions used, even apps services would lose their relevance. Nevertheless, there are several new technology trends coming up, which make IT use even bigger this year.


It seems that the evolution of machine, data and technologies would never end. 2017 has been a wonderful year of the technology world, at the same time holding some dreadful stories. 2018 will be with some exciting as well as shocking IT trends as well. The uses of information technology in business as well as individuals could not be denied. For a tech geek interested in knowing IT predictions, there are top IT trends this year to look into to tame the knowledge hunger or to make something out of it.

1. AI and Machine Learning. Deep learning and machine learning is at the heart of AI. Better machine learning algorithms means better implementations of artificial intelligence that interlinks the two giant technologies. The growing interest of tech pioneers, paced up research is making sure that it would remain as the most influencing trend in 2018. This year, expect better visual, better text and voice recognition algorithms to empower futuristic products.

2. Internet of Things and Edge Computing. Edge computing means the advanced technology for on-device processing and analytics of hyper-connected world. Since 95 percent of new products would be using IoT in any form by the year 2020, 2018 would be remarkably taken over by the IoT. During this time, edge computing will not make any lesser impact. It could enable an array of IoT apps. It has the power to boost obstacle detection, face identification, object recognition, security procedures and natural language processing capacity. The duo of the technologies make for a revolutionary and amazing pair and thus, certainly a thing to watch out this year.

3. Data analytics and intelligent applications. Marketing and sales experts take the data analytics very seriously as they take into account that narrowing down the target list could boost successful conversions and more business. Seeing the benefits, it could be considered that analytics and data mining efforts would grow in each business niche. At the same time, there is an array of new generation apps that are ready for sneak-peak. The smarter apps use data analytics, machine learning and AI learn to perform intelligent tasks. One example are virtual personal assistants. There would be increase in the use of supply chain management, HR as well as other business operations.

4. Blockchain technology and crypto-currencies. From $750 last year to $17,000 in December of last year, Digital Currency Bitcoin and Blockchain has been a huge surprise for everyone. The distributed digital ecosystem, used for crypto-currency exchange, already has started gaining attention of millions of people. Some predict that crypt would fail badly while others think of it as the future. In the meantime, the ups and downs would continue to keep people engaged this year as well.

5. Data as a Service or DaaS. Data is the fuel, which is crucial for efficient mining and better analytics results. Because of the involvement of data in small to big operations, it’s important that the entire organization shares the data. At present, numerous departments have their own restricted data libraries. Streaming data in real-time, from cloud-based repositories could solve the issue. Companies have understood it already and soon DaaS would be the hype.

6. Digital workspaces. Already, Facebook has started offering workspace services from last year, but was only the beginning of the IT trends. This year would revolutionize workspaces as well. It would be known to shape the infrastructure and offices of the future. Smart workplace with intelligent-enabled buildings would come to exist.

7. Importance of Video and Voice Data. Voice and video marketing searches have begun to make new and soon it would be essential for any business to optimize their web entities for voice and video searches too. It could be considered as the next-level content revolution.

8. Augmented reality. Already, virtual reality and 3D gaming are trending and have gained ample publicity last year. Today is the time for AR to sprawl. It’s a strong contending technology among which would stay hinged to the top IT trends this year. More developed 3D projectors, more realistic results and movement detection algorithms would make the idea of overlaying digital visuals in real-world would be more fascinating.

9. Cyber Security. 2017 would be remembered for the huge cyber-attacks and the lack of cyber security. The consequences have shifted the world’s attention to the relevance of securing networking, tightening cyber ethics rules, boost privacy and adoption of strong security deployment. Thus, expect cyber security to be more stringent in blockchains, IoT, wireless communication, cloud computing and a lot o more growing technologies.

10. Robots and Bots. AI bots will be more powerful this year. Expect that the boring and unrealistic scripts, being used in online chat systems on the business sites would be removed soon. On the other hand, robotics would remain interesting as usual. Chances are that it used in industries and in public would be more normal. The uses of information technology are enormous. As technology continues to evolve, expect a whole lot of tech apps and solutions to come up this year and beyond. Aside from the top IT trends this year, there is a lot more in store as the year moves ahead. Individuals and business organizations all over the world will have to keep on speculating the up and coming IT trends that will shine this year and in the years to come.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Evansville, Indiana, United States — This past week marked the opening night of an Andy Warhol exhibit at the University of Southern Indiana. USI’s art gallery, like 189 other educational galleries and museums around the country, is a recipient of a major Warhol donor program, and this program is cultivating new interest in Warhol’s photographic legacy. Wikinews reporters attended the opening and spoke to donors, exhibit organizers and patrons.

The USI art gallery celebrated the Thursday opening with its display of Warhol’s Polaroids, gelatin silver prints and several colored screen prints. USI’s exhibit, which is located in Evansville, Indiana, is to run from January 23 through March 9.

The McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries at USI bases its exhibit around roughly 100 Polaroids selected from its collection. The Polaroids were all donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, according to Kristen Wilkins, assistant professor of photography and curator of the exhibit. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts made two donations to USI Art Collections, in 2007 and a second recently.

Kathryn Waters, director of the gallery, expressed interest in further donations from the foundation in the future.

Since 2007 the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program has seeded university art galleries throughout the United States with over 28,000 Andy Warhol photographs and other artifacts. The program takes a decentralized approach to Warhol’s photography collection and encourages university art galleries to regularly disseminate and educate audiences about Warhol’s artistic vision, especially in the area of photography.


  • 1 University exhibits
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  • 3 Warhol’s photographic legacy
  • 4 USI exhibit
  • 5 Sources

Wikinews provides additional video, audio and photographs so our readers may learn more.

Wilkins observed that the 2007 starting date of the donation program, which is part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, coincided with the 20th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s death in 1987. USI was not alone in receiving a donation.

K.C. Maurer, chief financial officer and treasurer at the Andy Warhol Foundation, said 500 institutions received the initial invitation and currently 190 universities have accepted one or more donations. Institutional recipients, said Mauer, are required to exhibit their donated Warhol photographs every ten years as one stipulation.

While USI is holding its exhibit, there are also Warhol Polaroid exhibits at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York and an Edward Steichen and Andy Warhol exhibit at the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. All have received Polaroids from the foundation.

University exhibits can reach out and attract large audiences. For example, the Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro saw attendance levels reach 11,000 visitors when it exhibited its Warhol collection in 2010, according to curator Elaine Gustafon. That exhibit was part of a collaboration combining the collections from Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which also were recipients of donated items from the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program.

Each collection donated by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program holds Polaroids of well-known celebrities. The successful UNC Greensboro exhibit included Polaroids of author Truman Capote and singer-songwriter Carly Simon.

“I think America’s obsession with celebrity culture is as strong today as it was when Warhol was living”, said Gustafon. “People are still intrigued by how stars live, dress and socialize, since it is so different from most people’s every day lives.”

Wilkins explained Warhol’s obsession with celebrities began when he first collected head shots as a kid and continued as a passion throughout his life. “He’s hanging out with the celebrities, and has kind of become the same sort of celebrity he was interested in documenting earlier in his career”, Wilkins said.

The exhibit at USI includes Polaroids of actor Dennis Hopper; musician Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran; publishers Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone Magazine and Carlo De Benedetti of Italy’s la Repubblica; disco club owner Steve Rubell of Studio 54; photographers Nat Finkelstein, Christopher Makos and Felice Quinto; and athletes Vitas Gerulaitis (tennis) and Jack Nicklaus (golf).

Wikinews observed the USI exhibit identifies and features Polaroids of fashion designer Halston, a former resident of Evansville.

University collections across the United States also include Polaroids of “unknowns” who have not yet had their fifteen minutes of fame. Cynthia Thompson, curator and director of exhibits at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said, “These images serve as documentation of people in his every day life and art — one which many of us enjoy a glimpse into.”

Warhol was close to important touchstones of the 1960s, including art, music, consumer culture, fashion, and celebrity worship, which were all buzzwords and images Wikinews observed at USI’s opening exhibit.

He was also an influential figure in the pop art movement. “Pop art was about what popular American culture really thought was important”, Kathryn Waters said. “That’s why he did the Campbell Soup cans or the Marilyn pictures, these iconic products of American culture whether they be in film, video or actually products we consumed. So even back in the sixties, he was very aware of this part of our culture. Which as we all know in 2014, has only increased probably a thousand fold.”

“I think everybody knows Andy Warhol’s name, even non-art people, that’s a name they might know because he was such a personality”, Water said.

Hilary Braysmith, USI associate professor of art history, said, “I think his photography is equally influential as his graphic works, his more famous pictures of Marilyn. In terms of the evolution of photography and experimentation, like painting on them or the celebrity fascination, I think he was really ground-breaking in that regard.”

What do you think of Andy Warhol’s place in photography?
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The Polaroid format is not what made Warhol famous, however, he is in the company of other well-known photographers who used the camera, such as Ansel Adams, Chuck Close, Walker Evans, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Helmut Newton.

Wilkins said, “[Warhol] liked the way photo booths and the Polaroid’s front flash looked”. She explained how Warhol’s adoption of the Polaroid camera revealed his process. According to Wilkins, Warhol was able to reproduce the Polaroid photograph and create an enlargement of it, which he then could use to commit the image to the silk screen medium by applying paint or manipulating them further. One of the silk screens exhibited at USI this time was the Annie Oakley screen print called “Cowboys and Indians” from 1987.

Wilkins also said Warhol was both an artist and a businessperson. “As a way to commercialize his work, he would make a blue Marilyn and a pink Marilyn and a yellow Marilyn, and then you could pick your favorite color and buy that. It was a very practical salesman approach to his work. He was very prolific but very business minded about that.”

“He wanted to be rich and famous and he made lots of choices to go that way”, Wilkins said.

It’s Warhol. He is a legend.

Kiara Perkins, a second year USI art major, admitted she was willing to skip class Thursday night to attend the opening exhibit but then circumstances allowed for her to attend the exhibit. Why did she so badly want to attend? “It’s Warhol. He is a legend.”

For Kevin Allton, a USI instructor in English, Warhol was also a legend. He said, “Andy Warhol was the center of the Zeitgeist for the 20th century and everything since. He is a post-modern diety.”

Allton said he had only seen the Silver Clouds installation before in film. The Silver Clouds installation were silver balloons blown up with helium, and those balloons filled one of the smaller rooms in the gallery. “I thought that in real life it was really kind of magical,” Allton said. “I smacked them around.”

Elements of the Zeitgeist were also playfully recreated on USI’s opening night. In her opening remarks for attendees, Waters pointed out those features to attendees, noting the touches of the Warhol Factory, or the studio where he worked, that were present around them. She pointed to the refreshment table with Campbell’s Soup served with “electric” Kool Aid and tables adorned with colorful gumball “pills”. The music in the background was from such bands as The Velvet Underground.

The big hit of the evening, Wikinews observed from the long line, was the Polaroid-room where attendees could wear a Warhol-like wig or don crazy glasses and have their own Polaroid taken. The Polaroids were ready in an instant and immediately displayed at the entry of the exhibit. Exhibit goers then became part of the very exhibit they had wanted to attend. In fact, many people Wikinews observed took out their mobiles as they left for the evening and used their own phone cameras to make one further record of the moment — a photo of a photo. Perhaps they had learned an important lesson from the Warhol exhibit that cultural events like these were ripe for use and reuse. We might even call these exit instant snap shots, the self selfie.

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Children enjoy interacting with the “Silver Clouds” at the Andy Warhol exhibit.Image: Snbehnke.

Kathryn Waters opens the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

At the Andy Warhol exhibit, hosts document all the names of attendees who have a sitting at the Polaroid booth.Image: Snbehnke.

Curator Kristin Wilkins shares with attendees the story behind his famous Polaroids.Image: Snbehnke.

A table decoration at the exhibit where the “pills” were represented by bubble gum.Image: Snbehnke.

Two women pose to get their picture taken with a Polaroid camera. Their instant pics will be hung on the wall.Image: Snbehnke.

Even adults enjoyed the “Silver Clouds” installation at the Andy Warhol exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

Many people from the area enjoyed Andy Warhol’s famous works at the exhibit at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

Katie Waters talks with a couple in the Silver Clouds area.Image: Snbehnke.

Many people showed up to the new Andy Warhol exhibit, which opened at USI.Image: Snbehnke.

At the exhibit there was food and beverages inspired to look like the 1960s.Image: Snbehnke.

A woman has the giggles while getting her Polaroid taken.Image: Snbehnke.

A man poses to get his picture taken by a Polaroid camera, with a white wig and a pair of sunglasses.Image: Snbehnke.

Finished product of the Polaroid camera film of many people wanting to dress up and celebrate Andy Warhol.Image: Snbehnke.



Tuesday, February 14, 2006

In response to the Iranian newspaper Hamshari’s announcement of an anti-semitic cartoon contest inspired by the Jyllands Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, an Israeli group announced its own anti-semitic cartoon contest yesterday, open to Jewish cartoonists only.

From their February 13 release:

Amitai Sandy (29), graphic artist and publisher of Dimona Comix Publishing, from Tel-Aviv, Israel, has followed the unfolding of the “Muhammad cartoon-gate” events in amazement, until finally he came up with the right answer to all this insanity – and so he announced today the launch of a new anti-Semitic cartoons contest – this time drawn by Jews themselves!
Mr. Sandy said, “We’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!” :said Sandy “No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!”

Already organizers have received mixed responses to their contest and have published a number of them, including the following:

“This is a fantastic idea: A people or religion that can laugh at itself is a confident, strong and self secure. It can show the Islamic world that humor and self deprecation is a healthy psychological exercise. The one who can face his demons can overcome his weaknesses”
Ash, NJ
“I know that unemployment is low in Israel, but does not justify your new venture. This will be my last time visiting your site, and assure you, that this business will not succeed.
the next time you start a new venture, please try to focus on what good will your product deliver to anyone. in your case it only makes me sad to see Israelis like you turn against an entire nation to make an extra buck. You are a LOOSER!”

Not hesitating to set an example, the group has adopted three logos showing three anti-semitic figures. They set a deadline of March 5, 2006 but due to an unexpectedly large response are considering extending it.

Amitai Sandy was interviewed on 16 February 2006 by the National Public Radio program Fresh Air.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

A University of Tokyo group of researchers, led by bioengineer Shoji Takeuchi, has made an electronic sensor capable of smelling gases. The sensor uses genetically engineered frog cells. Since previous sensors were not very accurate, the scientist decided to try a biological approach. The invention was revealed in a US scientific journal yesterday, and is supposed to be used to design better machines to detect polluting gases in the atmosphere.

Previous smell sensors were based on quartz rods, which vibrate when a substance binds to them. The gases are distinguished by their molar masses, which can be similar for molecules with different structure, thus relatively often triggering a false positive. Trying to find a more accurate solution, Takeuchi decided to follow an example from insect world. As he explained, “when you think about the mosquito, it is able to find people because of carbon dioxide from the human. So the mosquito has CO2 receptors. When we can (extract) DNA (from the mosquito) we can put this DNA into the frog eggs to detect CO2.”

Genes of several insects (the silk moth, diamondback moth and fruit fly), injected into African clawed frog Xenopus laevis eggs, allowed them to produce relatively inexpensive and useful sensors. The choice of the species was caused by their widely studied and well-understood protein expression mechanism.

The modified cells responded to three kinds of pheromones and one odourant, which have similar chemical properties. When a molecule of an odorous substance adhered to the receptor on the membrane protein, ion channels opened for a certain period of time, and a current was generated. Its magnitude was clearly different for all four tested substances, allowing to distinguish between them accurately.

The colleagues embedded the sensor into a mannequin, so that it could shake its head when a gas was detected. It was easier to observe. Pheromones and molecules with quite similar molecule structure produced clearly distinguishable reaction, with higher accuracy than other biological or human-made sensors. As the research group said, the detection sensitivity of the odor sensor is several tens of parts per billion (ppb), and it is as high as the sensitivity of an existing odor sensor that uses an oxide semiconductor. The distinctive feature of the new sensor is its capability to selectively detect some odorous substances, rather than its sensitivity. Very few false positives were possible due to the biological mechanism involved.

At normal temperature, the sensor lifetime is about 12 hours, which can be extended by putting it into a refrigerator before first use.

Shoji Takeuchi says has a great hope for research use in future, since the frog eggs are very practical for genetic engineering, and can be conveniently used to develop smell sensors for a wide range of gases. He said, “The X. laevis oocyte has high versatility for the development of chemical sensors for various odorants. We believe that a shared ability to smell might open a new relationship between man and robot. .. The research will have wide implications… If the sensor is embedded in a nursing robot, it will be able to identify certain mouth odors or body odors. Also, it can be used for detecting CO2, air pollution, water pollution and food. It’s very important for the environment.”

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