U.N. developing asteroid defense plan

Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 @ 8:37 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 @ 8:37 AM

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If you first heard about the truck-sized meteorite that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia back in February on social media …

You’re not alone. So did the world’s space agencies. Not the most comforting news, right? (Via YouTube / earlynewzneeded

 — which is why the United Nations says it’s taking matters into its own hands with the creation of an asteroid defense group.

According to Scientific American, here’s how it will work: “If astronomers detect an asteroid that poses a threat to Earth, the U.N.’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will help coordinate a mission to launch a spacecraft to slam into the object and deflect it from its collision course.”

It’s estimated there are about a million asteroids large enough to damage or even destroy a major city. But, scientists have only been able to identify less than one percent with telescopes. (Via Discovery

Come on Harry, press the button.

And while the film Armageddon made blowing an asteroid to pieces look relatively easy, it’s actually a lot more work.  

As a former NASA astronaut explained to Popular Science, at least 10 years notice is needed to deflect an incoming asteroid. “The curve goes from millimeters per second to meters per second pretty quickly … The job rapidly goes from 'easy- easy' to almost impossible starting at about a decade.”

“You can predict a hundred years that’s something going to hit. If we don’t find it until a year out, make yourself a nice cocktail.” (Via American Museum of Natural History)

Again, hardly comforting news. Aside from the timing issue, there’s another problem. No single country has the responsibility of  deflecting asteroids. There’s a reason for that, according to one expert who told Space.com: “If something goes wrong in the middle of the deflection, you have now caused havoc in some other nation that was not at risk. And, therefore, this decision of what to do, how to do it, and what systems to use have to be coordinated internationally.”

And this might help. The B612 Foundation, a group committed to defending Earth against asteroids, says its developing an infrared asteroid-hunting telescope to be launched in 2017.

- See more at Newsy.com

PricewaterhouseCoopers identifies man responsible for Oscars Best Picture mix-up

Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 10:16 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

            PricewaterhouseCoopers identifies man responsible for Oscars Best Picture mix-up

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for organizing results and monitoring distribution of awards at the Oscars, has identified the man responsible for a snafu Sunday night in which "La La Land" was mistakenly announced as Best Picture instead of "Moonlight."

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After releasing a statement apologizing to Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty and the casts and crews of "Moonlight” and “La La Land," the company released another apology, acknowledging that an accountant with at firm is to blame for the mistake.

"PwC takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night's Oscars," the statement says. "PwC partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed the back-up envelope for Actress in a Leading Role instead of the envelope for Best Picture to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

"Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner. We are deeply sorry for the disappointment suffered by the cast and crew of 'La La Land' and 'Moonlight.' We sincerely apologize to Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Jimmy Kimmel, ABC and the Academy, none of whom (were) at fault for (Sunday) night's errors.

"We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to each of them for the graciousness they displayed during such a difficult moment. For the past 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC with the integrity of the awards process during the ceremony, and last night we failed the Academy."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences also released a statement about the incident.

Oscars 2017: Academy issues statement on Best Picture mishap

"We deeply regret the mistakes that were made during the presentation of the Best Picture category during last night's Oscar ceremony," the statement reads. "We apologize to the entire cast and crew of 'La La Land' and 'Moonlight' whose experience was profoundly altered by this error. We salute the tremendous grace they displayed under the circumstances. To all involved — including our presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the filmmakers, and our fans watching worldwide — we apologize.

"For the last 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC to handle the critical tabulation process, including the accurate delivery of results. PwC has taken full responsibility for the breaches of established protocols that took place during the ceremony. We have spent last night and today investigating the circumstances, and will determine what actions are appropriate going forward. We are unwaveringly committed to upholding the integrity of the Oscars and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences."

Tim Ryan, a senior partner and U.S. chairman at PwC, told Variety that he has spoken with Cullinan about the incident.

"He feels very, very terrible and horrible. He is very upset about this mistake. And it is also my mistake, our mistake, and we all feel very bad," Ryan said.

According to Cullinan's Twitter bio, he is a Cornell alumnus who is a managing partner for PwC's Southwest region. He is based out of Malibu, California. 


Oscars 4 mins ago

Van hits high school band members at start of Alabama Mardi Gras parade

Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 11:51 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 12:10 PM

            Van hits high school band members at start of Alabama Mardi Gras parade

A van plowed into a group gathered at the start of a Mardi Gras parade Tuesday in Alabama, injuring at least 11 people and prompting officials to cancel the day's celebrations, according to multiple reports.

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Footage from the parade route in Gulf Shores on Tuesday morning showed multiple people being checked and treated for injuries on the street.

According to WALA, a vehicle hit several Gulf Shores High School band members who were lined up to march in the Fat Tuesday parade.

WKRG reported that 11 band members were injured. Three of them were in critical condition immediately after the accident.

"A teenage band had just started to march down the parade route when they were struck from behind," Gulf Shores spokesman Grant Brown told WKRG. "The vehicle was a part of the parade."

The accident was reported at 10 a.m. CST as the parade was set to kick off. Just minutes after the scheduled start time, city officials took to social media to warn revelers that the parade would be delayed.

The parade was ultimately canceled "due to an injury at the start of the lineup," according to Gulf Shores officials.

Girl who got new heart at 18 months fights again for life after organ rejection

Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 11:03 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 11:03 AM

            Girl who got new heart at 18 months fights again for life after organ rejection

An Arizona girl who received a heart transplant at 18 months old is fighting again for her life after her body began rejecting the donor organ.

Jordan Drake, 5, complained of stomach pains last week, so her mother, Esther Gonzalez, took her to the hospital, according to 3TV in Phoenix. Doctors treating her found that her heart function was so poor that her life was in danger.

Jordan is now at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, hooked up to a machine that is performing her heart and lung function for her. Her poor heart function was also causing problems with her kidneys and liver. 

Gonzalez told 3TV on Sunday that Jordan’s vital signs had shown some improvement, but that she still had a long road ahead.

“She's been really touch and go for a few days and on the fence, not knowing what would happen,” Gonzalez said. “Just today, I was actually at church just in the past hour, her numbers have improved so much. She's doing great. We're going in the right direction.”

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A post Tuesday morning on Jordan's Facebook page, Jordan's Heart, indicated that her heart function was continuing to improve. 

Jordan's heart looks DRAMATICALLY better! She even keeps trying to wake up!! The doctors and nurses said that we have a...

Posted by Jordan's Heart on Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Jordan’s mother with her medical expenses. As of Tuesday morning, the page had raised more than $4,800 of its $10,000 goal.

Jordan was born with a congenital heart defect that required a valve replacement, according to Jordan’s Heart. While the replacement surgery was initially a success, blood clots that formed around the mechanical valve led to seizures and a stroke.

The toddler recovered from the stroke, but further complications led to bleeding on her brain and, ultimately, a heart aneurysm that required a transplant. The June 2013 transplant was a success, and she was healthy until last week.

Happy third heart birthday Jordan!! I'll post a few pics soon from our private family celebration. Jordan is still in perfect health and doing better than ever! We are so thankful for her life!

Posted by Jordan's Heart on Thursday, June 23, 2016

Jordan’s story made national headlines last year after she met the mother of the 7-month-old boy whose heart she received. Jordan’s life was one of three saved by the donation of Lukas Clark’s organs.

Lukas’ mother, Heather Clark, wept last January when she held a stethoscope to Jordan’s chest and heard her son’s beating heart once again. Jordan also gave Clark a special gift -- a Build-A-Bear stuffed bear covered with hearts and with a recording of Lukas’ heartbeat inside.

The two families formed a special bond following that meeting. Clark posted a prayer request on Facebook after learning of Jordan's declining health, saying that "Lukas isn't ready for a new friend yet."

Please keep Jordan in your prayers!!! She's not doing so well. Her heart is rejecting and she's having issues with her kidneys. Lukas isn't ready for a new friend yet. Keep fighting baby girl!!!

Posted by Justice For Lukas Scot Clark on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lukas died June 21, 2013, three days after he stopped breathing while in the care of a babysitter. The San Bernardino Sun reported that charges were filed against the babysitter’s boyfriend, Ryan Garcia, after law enforcement officials determined the boy had been abused.

Garcia, 25, of Ontario, California, is charged with murder and felony child abuse, the Sun reported. He remains in the San Bernardino County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond while awaiting trial. 

Thieves using new trick to lure victims at gas stations

Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 3:39 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 3:39 AM

            Thieves using new trick to lure victims at gas stations

Criminals are using decoys to rip off unsuspecting people at gas stations.

“It’s a new twist to an old crime,” Fairburn, Georgia, police Sgt. Mario Jones said.

The crime was caught on tape when three people threw a handbag out the window of a silver Lexus at a South Fulton County gas station and waited for their victim to take notice.

>> Woman's warning after finding shirt around car windshield wiper goes viral

“When he picked it up to take it inside the store here, that's when the crooks moved in,” Jones said.

Surveillance video captured the 54-year-old man as he stepped away from his car to take the purse inside. Within seconds, a man can be seen jumping from the back of the Lexus and into the victim’s car, stealing a wallet and iPhone.

Harold Byrd told WSBTV.com that he rents his basement apartment to the victim in the video.

“He thought he was being a good Samaritan by taking this handbag to a store clerk, thinking someone had dropped it at the gas station off Senoia Road. But the store’s surveillance video shows something different,” Byrd said.

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The Lexus also was stolen, and police believe the handbag tossed from the window was taken the same way just an hour before, Jones said.

“They got his pocketbook, all his information, my address on it. I worry about that. I’m 82 years old,” Byrd said.

Jones said this could become a new trend.

Byrd told us he won’t rest easy until the suspects are caught.

Anyone who may know the suspects are urged to call police.