Mr. Trump “is, of course, extravagant,” Mr. Putin said during a televised conference in the southern city of Sochi. “He simply represents the interests of simple people who criticize those who have been in power for decades.”
A unilateral assertion offered to and for consideration by the European Descended People of the fifty united States of America and all ...
27 October 2016
Donald Trump reflects the needs of average people “who don’t like that power is being transferred by inheritance.”
Mr. Trump “is, of course, extravagant,” Mr. Putin said during a televised conference in the southern city of Sochi. “He simply represents the interests of simple people who criticize those who have been in power for decades.”
MOSCOW—President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin has no preference in the U.S. presidential elections but Republican candidate Donald Trump does reflect the needs of average people “who don’t like that power is being transferred by inheritance.”
Mr. Trump “is, of course, extravagant,” Mr. Putin said during a televised conference in the southern city of Sochi. “He simply represents the interests of simple people who criticize those who have been in power for decades.”
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign has suggested that Russia is backing Mr. Trump, citing the hacking and leaking of emails from the Democratic National Committee, hacking that U.S. security officials blame on Russia.
Mr. Putin said that Russia’s support for Mr. Trump had been invented by Western media, and that it was part of a “political battle, an attempt to manipulate public opinion on the eve of elections.” He said the Kremlin would welcome any candidate who expressed a desire for improved relations with Moscow.
“For us, it doesn’t really make a difference but of course we can’t not welcome words, thoughts, intentions that are publicly expressed about normalizing relations between the U.S. and Russia,” he said.
The Kremlin has long been critical of the democratization agenda pursued overseas by the U.S. and supported actively by Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Putin has often accused Washington of using democracy promotion as a front for regime change, with the U.S. both openly and covertly funding groups supporting democracy in Russia.
He dismissed the idea that Moscow could have some impact on the U.S. elections.
“Does anybody seriously think that Russia could somehow influence the choice of the American people?” he said. “Is it a banana republic or something? America is a great power.”
Earlier this month, U.S. intelligence agencies directly accused the Russian government of trying to interfere in the elections by leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee and other entities.
Mr. Putin criticized the U.S. election campaign, saying that political issues had been “watered down.”
“Elections have stopped being an instrument of change, and have been reduced to scandals, to mudslinging, to questions of who pinched whom and who is sleeping with whom,” he said.
The Russian leader also criticized the West for propagating what he called the “fictional, mythical” military threat Moscow poses to the rest of the world.
“It’s truly a profitable activity. This way they can push through new military budgets in their countries, they can bend allies to the interests of one superpower, they can expand NATO and move its infrastructure, troops, and equipment closer to our borders,” he said.
Ties between Russia and the West were frayed by the Ukrainian conflict of 2014, and relations have soured further in recent months as a cease-fire in Syria, brokered by Russia and the U.S., broke down almost immediately. The U.S. said earlier this month it was suspending talks with Russia because of its role in Aleppo, where Russia has been accused of helping Syria in the aerial bombardment of the city.
Relations with Europe have withered, too. Mr. Putin canceled a trip to Paris after calls by the French foreign minister to investigate Moscow for war crimes for its role in the Aleppo bombings, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her government would consider new sanctions against Moscow. Over objections from Italy, European Union leaders backed off immediate threats of sanctions against Russia.
Mr. Putin on Thursday placed the blame for the breakdown of the Syrian cease-fire squarely on the U.S., where he said political forces had worked to undermine the deal.
“In Washington there were forces who did everything so that these [agreements over Syria] were not implemented in practice,” he said. “It would have seemed that after lengthy negotiations, huge efforts, and difficult compromises, we would have finally formulated a united front against terrorism, but that’s not what happened.”
25 October 2016
Computer simulations of the formation of planets orbiting in the habitable zones of low mass stars such as Proxima Centauri by astrophysicists at the University of Bern show that these planets are most likely to be roughly the size of the Earth and to contain large amounts of water.
In August 2016, the announcement of the discovery of a terrestrial exoplanet orbiting in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri stimulated the imagination of experts and the general public. This star is the nearest star to our sun, though it is 10 times less massive and 500 times less luminous. This discovery, together with the discovery in May 2016 of a similar planet orbiting an even lower-mass star (Trappist-1), convinced astronomers that such red dwarfs (as these low-mass stars are called) might be hosts to a large population of Earth-like planets.
What might these objects look like? What could they be made of? Yann Alibert and Willy Benz at the Swiss NCCR PlanetS and the Center of Space and Habitability (CSH) at the University of Bern carried out the first computer simulations of the formation of planets expected to orbit stars 10 times less massive than the sun.
"Our models succeed in reproducing planets that are similar in terms of mass and period to the ones observed recently," Alibert says regarding the results of the study, forthcoming as a letter in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. "Interestingly, we find that planets in close-in orbits around these type of stars are of small sizes. Typically, they range between 0.5 and 1.5 Earth radii with a peak at about 1.0 Earth radius. Future discoveries will tell if we are correct," the researcher adds.
Ice at the bottom of the global ocean
In addition, the astrophysicists determined the water content of the planets orbiting their small host stars in the habitable zone. They found that around 90 percent of the planets harbour more than 10 percent water. For comparison, the Earth has a fraction of water of only about .02 percent. The situation could be even more extreme if the protoplanetary disks in which these planets form persist longer than assumed in the models. In any case, these planets would be covered by very deep oceans at the bottom of which, owing to enormous pressure, water would be in form of ice.
Water is required for life as we know it. So could these planets be habitable? "While liquid water is generally thought to be an essential ingredient, too much of a good thing may be bad," says Willy Benz. In previous studies, the scientists in Bern showed that too much water may prevent the regulation of the surface temperature and destabilize the climate. "But this is the case for the Earth; here, we deal with considerably more exotic planets that might be subjected to a much harsher radiation environment, and/or be synchronous," he adds.
Following the growth of planetary embryos
To start their calculations, the scientists considered a series of a few hundreds to thousands of identical, low-mass stars, and around each of them, a protoplanetary disk of dust and gas. Planets are formed by accretion of this material. Alibert and Benz assumed that at the beginning, there were 10 planetary embryos in each disk with an initial mass equal to the mass of the moon. In a few day's computer time for each system, the model calculated how these randomly located embryos grew and migrated. What kind of planets are formed depends on the structure and evolution of the protoplanetary disks.
"Habitable or not, the study of planets orbiting very low-mass stars will likely bring exciting new results, improving our knowledge of planet formation, evolution, and potential habitability," summarizes Benz. Because these stars are considerably less luminous than the sun, planets can be much closer to their stars before the surface temperature becomes too high for liquid water to exist. Considering that this type of star also represents the overwhelming majority of stars in the solar neighbourhood and that close-in planets are presently easier to detect and study, it is easy to understand why the existence of this population of Earth-like planets is of importance.
"evolving voter demographics that ceaselessly favor Democrats"
For all but one of the past 15 presidential elections dating back to 1952, it would have been an act of political malpractice to send a Democratic first lady to Arizona in late October to campaign for a Democratic presidential candidate.
The state has voted Republican in every presidential election except 1996, when incumbent President Bill Clinton won. But Michelle Obama traveled to Phoenix last week, exhorting voters to support Hillary Clinton — an example of the changing makeup of battleground states and evolving voter demographics that ceaselessly favor Democrats.
When Ronald Reagan was president, it was still possible for a candidate to win nearly all 50 states. Reagan won 44 states in 1980, and he carried 49 states in 1984, losing only in Democrat Walter Mondale’s home state of Minnesota.
Since the Reagan era, however, presidential campaigns increasingly have focused on a dozen or so “swing” states where there is true competition for electoral votes — places such as Florida, Ohio and perhaps 10 other states that fluctuate from cycle to cycle. Growing minority populations, and white voters’ dwindling share of the overall electorate, have contributed to candidates devoting most of their time and resources to those swing states.
Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster at Public Opinion Strategies, said the demographic shift in the voting-age population “has changed at lightning speed.”
“When Reagan was first elected, the percentage of the electorate that was white was around 87 percent,” Mr. Bolger said. “This year, it’s going to be around 70 percent.”
The shifting voter demographics, coupled with Republican Donald Trump’s particular challenges with white women voters this year, are causing Democrats to compete in states where they didn’t stand a chance eight years ago.
Georgia too appears to be in play. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Friday showed Mr. Trump with a 44 percent-to-42 percent lead over Mrs. Clinton. Georgia has not supported a Democrat in a presidential race since 1992, when Mr. Clinton carried the state.
Even Texas, which hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1976, is considered hopeful territory for Democrats this year. A University of Houston poll had Mr. Trump leading by only 3 percentage points.
“Texas, which is getting 200,000 new Hispanic voters registered every cycle, is definitely trending toward Democrats,” said Democratic pollster Steve McMahon of Purple Strategies. “Democrats think Texas is 20 years away from being reliably Democratic, but Trump may have accelerated that. As the state gets less white and more brown, then the Republican Party becomes more antithetical to Hispanic voters. It’s pretty hard to imagine that it could go the other way.”
States can turn from red to battleground to blue relatively quickly. Virginia, which hadn’t voted for a Democrat since 1964, was considered a swing state in the past two presidential elections won by Barack Obama, and analysts now see it moving solidly into the Democrats’ camp.
Mr. Trump is running TV ads there but is campaigning in the state infrequently, including a stop on Saturday in Virginia Beach.
“Virginia is definitely purple, and it may be blue this year,” Mr. McMahon said. “That may be because of Tim Kaine [the Virginia senator who is Mrs. Clinton’s running mate]. But there are others states, such as North Carolina. It used to be that Democrats didn’t have a prayer in North Carolina. They’re getting younger, more diverse and, in particular, more Hispanic. And the Republicans are de-positioned among Hispanic voters — that’s the most generous way to say it.”
The growing Latino population’s alignment with Democrats, and the dwindling share of white voters, is one of the biggest challenges facing the Republican Party. Mr. Bolger portrays it as close to an existential challenge.
“It’s marginalizing us,” he said. “Mitt Romney did better with white voters in 2012 than George W. Bush did in 2000. And yet Bush won, and Romney lost. The math is changing. We’ve got to either keep up with it, or we’re going to consign ourselves to not winning presidential elections.”
Perhaps nowhere is the shift more clear than in Arizona. In the 2006 midterm election, Latino voters represented 9 percent of all votes cast. In the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, Latinos accounted for 12 percent of all votes cast statewide. And in the 2012 presidential election, Latinos were a record 17 percent of all voters in Arizona.
In 2014, with the most recent Census data, the Pew Research Center said Arizona’s Hispanic population was 31 percent of all state residents, with 992,000 eligible to vote — about 22 percent of all eligible voters statewide.
Mr. Bolger said the trends are exacerbated this year in states such as Arizona and Georgia because of Mr. Trump’s unique candidacy.
“Democrats have talked about getting there in those two states for quite some time, but they really hadn’t gotten closer except now with Trump and the challenges he brings,” he said. “That’s why those two states are suddenly in play. If it was another Republican candidate, they would not be in play.”
23 October 2016
At a commemoration of a 1956 anti-Communist uprising, Hungary's right-wing leader Viktor Orban said his country must stand up to Europe's "Sovietization" and defend its borders against mass migration.
Orban, a critic of the European Union and an early opponent of the recent migration wave into the continent, said freedom in Europe depended on the nation state and Christian traditions.
"People who love their freedom must save Brussels from Sovietization, from people who want to tell us who we should live with in our countries," the prime minister said to cheers from a crowd of several thousand.
"We want to be a European nation not a nationality within Europe," he said.
A few hundred opposition protesters whistled loudly as Orban spoke, and brawls broke out in the crowd between his supporters and opponents.
"We cannot create freedom while this despicable leftist opposition exists," said Laszlo Barta, an Orban supporter with a Hungarian flag flung across his shoulders.
Along with other ex-Communist countries in eastern Europe, Hungary opposes a policy that would require all EU states to take in some of the hundreds of thousands of mainly Muslim migrants seeking asylum in the bloc after arriving last year.
Orban has led resistance to the stance taken by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has said EU states have an obligation to share the burden of taking in refugees.
He responded to the influx last year by sealing Hungary's southern borders with a razor-wire fence and deploying thousands of soldiers and police.
"As heirs to 1956 we cannot allow Europe to cut the roots that made it great and helped us survive the Soviet suppression. There is no free Europe without nation states and thousands of years of wisdom from Christianity," he said on Sunday.
"We must close the border to stop the mass migration that flows from the south."
Polish President Andrzej Duda, the guest of honor at the commemoration, assured Hungarians of support from Warsaw.
"You can count on Poland, we march together in the toughest moments," Duda told supporters waving Polish flags. "Two countries which were built on Christian foundations and are now free in the unified Europe."
20 October 2016
Germany's anti-invasion party chief said on Thursday U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump offers the prospect of change in U.S.-Russian relations which could help reduce conflict in Ukraine to Berlin's advantage.
Frauke Petry, whose Alternative for Germany (AfD) has hurt Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in a series of regional elections this year, also said in a Reuters Television interview that Germany should take a "balanced position" toward Russia.
She said the EU should then drop sanctions imposed on Moscow over its role in Ukraine's pro-Russian separatist rebellion as soon as possible.
Asked if she would like to see change at the U.S. election, Petry said: "I believe that democratic change per se is not bad; whether it will be for the better we cannot predict."
Trump is challenging Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election to replace President Barack Obama, a Democrat.
"One sees that Trump may offer possible alternatives," Petry said. "Whether he can actually deliver that we do not know. But if Mrs Clinton continues the path of Obama, then we may have an expanded war in Ukraine and that cannot be in German interests."
Clinton accused Trump during Wednesday's presidential debate of being a "puppet" for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Petry spoke after Merkel hosted Putin for talks on Wednesday at which she criticized Moscow over Russian air strikes on civilians in Syria's war carried out with the stated goal of fighting terrorism. Russia is the Syrian government's main ally in its war with rebels and Islamist militants.
Founded in 2013 as an anti-euro party, the AfD has in the last year played to voters' fears of difficulties in integrating almost one million migrants who entered Germany last year.
Mainstream German politicians have avoided engaging in debate with the AfD. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that angst drove people toward isolationism and that politicians must dissuade them from this course.
Asked about comments Trump has made about women that his wife has described as "offensive to me", Petry said there was a "very weird" situation in Germany with regard to sexism.
"We have German politicians that are attacked for calling someone 'a little mouse' or 'darling' or something like that - and this causes uproar in the German media," she said.
"We don't see this uproar when we talk about women being harassed, being sexually attacked by migrants."
Petry declined to confirm German media reports that she met Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front (FN), in July. "In my opinion, the chancellor should meet Ms Le Pen, who may become French president next year," she said.
Petry described the policies of the European Central Bank as "catastrophic" and warned that the euro zone risked breaking up. The ECB on Thursday held interest rates at historic lows.
19 October 2016
Australian scientists have worked with researchers in Germany to create the most detailed map of the Milky Way, using the world's largest radio telescopes.
The HI4PI project, which is a combination of an Australian survey and a German survey, provides the most sensitive and detailed view of all of the hydrogen gas in and around the Milky Way and will help solve the mysteries of our galaxy.
Team leader for the Australian survey, Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths from The Australian National University (ANU), said the study revealed for the first time the fine details of structures between stars in the Milky Way.
"Very small gas clouds appear to have helped form stars in the Milky Way over billions of years," she said.
Professor McClure-Griffiths said her research group at ANU was using the data map to answer the big questions about the Milky Way and neighbouring galaxies.
"How does the Milky Way get the new gas it requires to continue forming stars? And where are all of the small dwarf galaxies that must surround our Milky Way? The next steps will be exciting," she said.
Professor McClure-Griffiths said her research group would use the map to hone their work with the Square Kilometre Array and the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, which will provide even more detailed maps of the Milky Way.
The HI4PI project used the largest fully steerable radio telescopes in the southern and northern hemispheres, Australia's 64m CSIRO Parkes dish and the 100m Max-Planck telescope in Effelsberg, Germany.
The project improves the previous neutral hydrogen study, the Leiden-Argentine-Bonn (LAB) survey, by a factor of two in sensitivity and a factor of four in angular resolution.
The HI4PI project involved ANU and the University of Western Australia in Australia, and the University of Bonn and Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany. The research article, titled 'HI4PI: A full-sky Hi survey based on EBHIS and GASS', is published in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
18 October 2016
When our universe first
blasted sprouted into existence with a Big Bang Seed almost 14 billion years ago, it looked much different than it does today. Instead of planets, stars and galaxies, there was an inflating ball of hot plasma.
The universe cooled as it expanded, and over time the different ingredients of our universe froze out as temperatures plummeted. Quarks froze out first, then protons and neutrons, followed by electrons. Finally, after about 380,000 years, hydrogen – the first atoms – started to form. Some of these atoms were pulled together into stars, where they fused into carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, iron and all of the other elements from which planets and life are built.
However, when our universe was about one billion years old, it appears that nine out of every 10 of those original hydrogen atoms were destroyed before they ever found their way into galaxies. Exactly when and how were those first atoms in the universe destroyed? Astronomers have puzzled over these questions for decades. I’m leading a new experiment – known as the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA) – that we hope will help answer what happened.
With the formation of those first hydrogen atoms – each made of one negatively charged electron and one positively charged proton – the universe entered a period cosmologists call the Dark Ages. During this time, the universe quietly waited for clouds of hydrogen to obey the influence of gravity and collapse into the very first stars and galaxies. The ignition of the first stars marks the end of the Dark Ages and the beginning of our “Cosmic Dawn,” some 100 million years after the Big Bang. For the first time, our universe began shining with a light other than the afterglow of the Big Bang.
Leading up to our Cosmic Dawn, the entire universe was filled with hydrogen. However, starlight consists of photons with enough energy to split hydrogen apart, reionizing it back into protons and electrons. As more and more stars lit up, larger and larger holes of ionization got carved out of the primordial hydrogen clouds.
Other, more exotic objects also began forming inside galaxies. As stars exhausted their hydrogen fuel, they’d explode in spectacular supernovae. Some stars left behind black holesthat devoured nearby stars and generated powerful x-ray jets. In the centers of galaxies, supermassive black holes were growing, with the masses of millions of suns.
These events injected huge amounts of energy into the surrounding hydrogen clouds, heating and ionizing them, until, as we look out today, we see that all of the intergalactic hydrogen has been destroyed – reionized into its component particles, protons and electrons.
We astronomers are still struggling to disentangle all of the complex processes that led to the formation of stars and galaxies and the simultaneous destruction of the universe’s hydrogen.
Using our most powerful optical telescopes, we are finding galaxies so far away that their light, emitted when the universe was only one billion years old, is just now getting to us. The glimpse we get of these galaxies in the final throes of reionization is as the last remnants of intergalactic hydrogen are being burned away. Yet as we try to look deeper, the hydrogen itself confounds us. It absorbs the very starlight that we use to observe distant galaxies, acting as a blanketing fog that conceals the chaos behind it.
To solve this problem, my colleagues and I designed a new kind of telescope: an array of radio dishes that, instead of searching for distant galaxies, maps the intergalactic hydrogen itself throughout the process of being heated and reionized. Our Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array combines cutting-edge supercomputing hardware with low-cost antenna construction in a unique design that gives it both the sensitivity and precision to create what will be the largest maps in the universe.
HERA is sensitive to a specific kind of radio wave produced when the magnetic fields of the proton and electron inside of hydrogen switch their north-south polarity with respect to each other. Just as two oppositely aligned bar magnets attract each other and release energy in the process, the switching polarity of the electron and proton causes hydrogen to release a small amount of energy. This hyperfine transition produces radio waves with a characteristic wavelength of 21 centimeters.
As a result of the continuing expansion of the universe since the Big Bang, 21-cm radio waves from intergalactic hydrogen have been stretched by different amounts, depending on how old the universe was when they were originally emitted. For example, when the universe was 770 million years old, it was eight times smaller than it is today. A 21-cm radio wave emitted by hydrogen at this time in the history of our universe would be stretched by a factor of eight on its way to us; we would see it with a wavelength of 168 cm. On the other hand, the same radio wave emitted when the universe was 940 million years old would be be stretched only by a factor of seven, appearing to us with a wavelength of 147 cm. By measuring the wavelength of the light, we can know exactly when and where in the universe it was emitted.
By mapping the sky at many wavelengths between 150 and 350 cm, HERA can produce a series of images from the early childhood of our universe. We will be able to watch step by step as the light of the first stars and galaxies destroys the clouds out of which they formed. We expect to see large clouds of hydrogen glowing with 21-cm emission, with dark pinpricks of ionization sprinkled in. As we move to parts of the universe that are closer to us and where more time has elapsed, we should see larger and larger voids where 21-cm emission is missing, until finally, these voids swallow everything and the 21-cm signal that signifies the presence of hydrogen is gone.
Our HERA team was recently awarded US$9.5 million from the National Science Foundation. We’ll use the funds to construct a hexagonal array of 240 14-meter radio dishes in Karoo Radio Reserve of South Africa over the next three years. Our collaborators hail from 16 institutions from around the world. The plan is to work in parallel to conduct the observations that will be used to produce HERA’s groundbreaking results.
Observations with the new facilities in the next several years are poised to transform our understanding of the first stars, galaxies and black holes, and their role in driving reionization at the end of cosmic dawn. HERA’s observations of neutral hydrogen will provide unique insights into this formative period in our universe. Indeed, in the early universe, 21-cm emission provides the only direct way to probe the complex interplay between the first luminous structures and their surroundings. To trace the story of the first atoms in the universe, stay tuned as HERA begins observing over the next few years.
17 October 2016
The growing alliance between Russia and China represents a challenge to the US control of the world's money markets which will lead to a fundamental change in global politics, Iranian political scientist Abdoulkarim Firouzkalaei told Sputnik Persian.
"One of the most important reactions by Russia, aimed at reducing the effects of Western sanctions and strengthening the country's economy, has been the expansion of cooperation with China," Firouzkalaei said.
The expert identified several distinct areas of development in Sino-Russian relations after the US, EU and a handful of their allies imposed sanctions against some Russian companies following Crimea's decision in March 2014 to join the Russian Federation in the aftermath of the Maidan coup d'etat.
Russia, one of China's biggest energy suppliers is set to increase its supply with the Power of Siberia gas transportation project.
Russia's Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) have agreed on the construction of two pipelines, which will transport gas from Yakutia and Irkutsk gas production centers to Russia's Far East and on to China. The "Western" and "Eastern" pipelines will transport 30 and 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year respectively to China. "Contracts for the export of Russian natural gas to China are already being executed. At the same time, several different routes for the transportation of Russian gas to China will compensate the Chinese for a possible shortage of gas, and also increase the ecological safety of the contracts," Firouzkalaei said.
In October 2014 Russia's central bank and the People's Bank of China made an agreement to enable bilateral currency swap deals in the Russian ruble and Chinese yuan, in order to stimulate bilateral trade and direct investment between the two countries. The three-year deal is worth 815 billion rubles ($13 billion), and 150 billion yuan ($22.2 billion).
Russia and China have also increased their defense cooperation, as they share joint concerns over the activities of the US in the Far East and Europe, where Washington is intent on installing anti-missile defense shields and giving itself an "umbrella" of rocket sites.
As recently as last month the two countries carried out joint naval exercises in the South China Sea, and Firouzkalaei foresees further bilateral cooperation in the military-industrial sphere. "The foundation is there for Russia and China to enter into closer and longer-term cooperation, including manned spaceflight, which would be really beneficial and efficient for both parties. Such cooperation may be used in the framework of military-technical cooperation between the two countries."
The analyst believes that the US has in fact committed an own goal by sanctioning Russia, which has led to Moscow turning East and forming a partnership with China that threatens the global hegemony of Washington.
"The cooperation of Russia and China now, in the period of the Ukraine crisis, is much larger than ever before and Western sanctions against Russia have only enabled that increase." "The strengthening of cooperation between Russia, China and independent partner countries forms the essential basis of a new alliance in opposition to the US," Firouzkalaei concluded.
“It’s a serious concern. It becomes an existential concern. It’s all about situational awareness. We don’t have the tools to look centrally,” one of the diplomats told The Financial Times.
EU leaders are going to discuss intelligence data indicating that Russia is allegedly supporting various European far-right parties and movements, according to media reports.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The alleged links between Russia and far-right populist movements will be discussed during the EU summit that will take place on October 20 – 21 in Brussels, The Financial Times reported citing senior EU diplomats.
EU intelligence services accuse Russia of interfering in internal affairs of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, France as well as the Netherlands, where in April people voted against the EU-Ukrainian association agreement.
At the same time, according to The Financial Times, no concrete decisions are expected to be made during the summit because of lack of evidence.
15 October 2016
A new study suggests there are at least two trillion galaxies in the universe, and 90 percent are hidden from view
A new study from a team of international astronomers, led by astrophysicists from the University of Nottingham with support from the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), has produced some astounding results: The universe contains at least two trillion galaxies, 10 times more than the highest previous estimates. What's more, the new study suggests that 90 percent of all galaxies are hidden from us, and only the remaining 10 percent can be seen at all, even with our most powerful telescopes. The paper detailing the study was published today in the Astrophysical Journal.
"We are missing the vast majority of galaxies because they are very faint and far away," said Nottingham Astrophysics Professor Christopher Conselice in an RAS press release. "The number of galaxies in the universe is a fundamental question in astronomy, and it boggles the mind that over 90 percent of the galaxies in the cosmos have yet to be studied. Who knows what interesting properties we will find when we study these galaxies with the next generation of telescopes?"
For two decades, astronomers have used the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Deep Field images to try to estimate the number of galaxies in the observable universe. The previous estimate was 100 to 200 billion, and now we believe that huge number was too small by a factor of 10 or 20, depending on where your original estimate falls.
It is no easy task to count the galaxies in the entire universe. For one thing, as previously mentioned, we cannot see the vast majority of galaxies with our telescopes because they are too far or too faint or both. For another, the farther away we peer with the HST, the smaller the area of the sky we are observing is—Hubble Deep Field images cover about one millionth of the total area of the sky. This animation shows just how small an area a Deep Field image covers.
The results in the new study are the culmination of 15 years of work. An initial grant from the RAS allowed undergraduate student Aaron Wilkinson, now a phD student at Nottingham University, to perform initial galaxy-counting analysis work that laid the foundation for the larger study.
Professor Conselice, in partnerships with researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Leiden University in the Netherlands, used Wilkinson's work and data from telescopes around the world, particularly Hubble, to create 3D maps of different parts of the universe. Mathematical analysis of the models using the calculated density of the galaxies and the volume for each mapped region of space allowed the researchers to deduce how many galaxies we are missing in our observations, and in turn, how many there are in total spread across the universe.
In addition to pinning down a total number, the study analyzed the number of galaxies that were present in the distant past compared to the number of galaxies that exist now. By peering 13 billion light-years into the past, shortly after the Big Bang, the researchers found that there were 10 times more galaxies in the ancient universe than there are now (most of which were small, about the size of the satellite galaxies that orbit the Milky Way).
"This is very surprising as we know that, over the 13.7 billion years of cosmic evolution since the Big Bang, galaxies have been growing through star formation and mergers with other galaxies. Finding more galaxies in the past implies that significant evolution must have occurred to reduce their number through extensive merging of systems."
That "significant evolution" is the continuous merging of smaller galaxies into the larger ones we see today, and the new model could help researchers piece together the formation story of the modern universe with greater accuracy than ever before.
The sheer difference in the number of galaxies has far-reaching implications as well. Probabilistic equations that estimate the number of hypothetical alien civilizations, such as the Drake Equation, will need to be modified to account for the dramatic increase in the number of estimated galaxies out there—which makes it even more astronomically unlikely that we are alone among intelligent species.
In the face of such an expansive universe, it is easy to feel both awe and a sense of insignificance here on Earth. It is reminiscent of Carl Sagan's thoughts on the Pale Blue Dot image, a photo taken of Earth by Voyager 1 from a distance of 6 billion kilometers, almost as far as Pluto.
Life exists in a myriad of wondrous forms, but if you break any organism down to its most basic parts, it's all the same stuff: carbon atoms connected to hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. But how these fundamental substances are created in space has been a longstanding mystery.
Now, astronomers better understand how molecules form that are necessary for building other chemicals essential for life. Thanks to data from the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory, scientists have found that ultraviolet light from stars plays a key role in creating these molecules, rather than "shock" events that create turbulence, as was previously thought.
Scientists studied the ingredients of carbon chemistry in the Orion Nebula, the closest star-forming region to Earth that forms massive stars. They mapped the amount, temperature and motions of the carbon-hydrogen molecule (CH, or "methylidyne" to chemists), the carbon-hydrogen positive ion (CH+) and their parent: the carbon ion (C+). An ion is an atom or molecule with an imbalance of protons and electrons, resulting in a net charge.
"On Earth, the sun is the driving source of almost all the life on Earth. Now, we have learned that starlight drives the formation of chemicals that are precursors to chemicals that we need to make life," said Patrick Morris, first author of the paper and researcher at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech in Pasadena.
In the early 1940s, CH and CH+ were two of the first three molecules ever discovered in interstellar space. In examining molecular clouds—assemblies of gas and dust—in Orion with Herschel, scientists were surprised to find that CH+ is emitting rather than absorbing light, meaning it is warmer than the background gas. The CH+ molecule needs a lot of energy to form and is extremely reactive, so it gets destroyed when it interacts with the background hydrogen in the cloud. Its warm temperature and high abundance are therefore quite mysterious.
Why, then, is there so much CH+ in molecular clouds such as the Orion Nebula? Many studies have tried to answer this question before, but their observations were limited because few background stars were available for studying. Herschel probes an area of the electromagnetic spectrum—the far infrared, associated with cold objects—that no other space telescope has reached before, so it could take into account the entire Orion Nebula instead of individual stars within. The instrument they used to obtain their data, HIFI, is also extremely sensitive to the motion of the gas clouds.
One of the leading theories about the origins of basic hydrocarbons has been that they formed in "shocks," events that create a lot of turbulence, such as exploding supernovae or young stars spitting out material. Areas of molecular clouds that have a lot of turbulence generally create shocks. Like a large wave hitting a boat, shock waves cause vibrations in material they encounter. Those vibrations can knock electrons off atoms, making them ions, which are more likely to combine. But the new study found no correlation between these shocks and CH+ in the Orion Nebula.
Herschel data show that these CH+ molecules were more likely created by the ultraviolet emission of very young stars in the Orion Nebula, which, compared to the sun, are hotter, far more massive and emit much more ultraviolet light. When a molecule absorbs a photon of light, it becomes "excited" and has more energy to react with other particles. In the case of a hydrogen molecule, the hydrogen molecule vibrates, rotates faster or both when hit by an ultraviolet photon.
It has long been known that the Orion Nebula has a lot of hydrogen gas. When ultraviolet light from large stars heats up the surrounding hydrogen molecules, this creates prime conditions for forming hydrocarbons. As the interstellar hydrogen gets warmer, carbon ions that originally formed in stars begin to react with the molecular hydrogen, creating CH+. Eventually the CH+ captures an electron to form the neutral CH molecule.
"This is the initiation of the whole carbon chemistry," said John Pearson, researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and study co-author. "If you want to form anything more complicated, it goes through that pathway."
Scientists combined Herschel data with models of molecular formation and found that ultraviolet light is the best explanation for how hydrocarbons form in the Orion Nebula.
The findings have implications for the formation of basic hydrocarbons in other galaxies as well. It is known that other galaxies have shocks, but dense regions in which ultraviolet light dominates heating and chemistry may play the key role in creating fundamental hydrocarbon molecules there, too.
"It's still a mystery how certain molecules get excited in the cores of galaxies," Pearson said. "Our study is a clue that ultraviolet light from massive stars could be driving the excitation of molecules there, too."
12 October 2016
Scientists want to form a new country with residents on Earth but a territory that consists solely of one satellite in orbit
Plans to create the first "nation in space" were unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. They are nothing if not ambitious.
The new nation will launch its own satellite in 2017 and dedicate itself to opening up access to space. The goal is to foster world peace, as well as protect earth from rogue asteroids and space debris.
The new space country will be called "Asgardia," named for the city in the skies ruled by Norse god Odin.
We aren't talking about an actual orbiting city or space station where humans will live. Instead, it's more a scientific, legal and technological experiment being led by Russian nanoscientist Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli, founder of the Aerospace International Research Center and newly appointed chairman of UNESCO's Science of Space committee.
"Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect -- to serve entire humanity and each and everyone, regardless of his or her personal welfare and the prosperity of the country where they happened to be born," Ashurbeyli said in a release.
A rather simple website for Asgardia launched after a press conference Wednesday to kick off crowdsourcing the new country's flag, insignia and anthem. It will also allow wannabe Asgardians to register their interest for citizenship. The idea is that once Asgardia has 100,000 people applying for citizenship, it is then eligible to apply to the United Nations for official nation status, according to Ashurbeyli.
Supposedly all Asgardians would remain physically in their current resident nations, but also be citizens of this other country with its sole territory in the galaxy being a satellite circling the Earth. It's the access to space the satellite represents that is really the point of the whole thing.
"The mission of Asgardia (is) to create opportunities for broader access to space, enabling non-traditional space nations to realize their scientific aspirations is exciting," said Professor David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute at Rice University.
The way space works now is that there's something called the Outer Space Treaty that most (but not all) nations have signed. It essentially says that whatever country sends a mission to space is then responsible for that mission. So if NASA or an American company like SpaceX sent up a satellite that crashed into and destroyed a Russian satellite, Russia can hold the United States Government accountable.
In turn, this means the US Government has to regulate American companies working in space to avoid such international incidents.
So it's easy to see Asgardia as simply a way to either side-step the Outer Space Treaty or perhaps do an end-run around government regulations that are a key part of making the treaty work by forming a new government accountable to nobody but the space enthusiasts that formed it.
I contacted space lawyer (yes, that's a thing) Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, who is editor-in-chief Emerita of the Journal of Space Law, and she told me that Asgardia is likely to have trouble in its quest to be recognized as a country.
"Under international law, there are specific criteria for an entity to be recognized as a nation. It must have territory and a population, and be recognized as a nation by other nations, among other things. Just declaring that a nation exists is not enough," she told me via e-mail. "There are (a) number of entities on Earth whose status as an independent nation have been a matter of dispute for a long time. It is reasonable to expect that the status an unpopulated object that is not on Earth will be disputed."
There's also at least one other independent nation in space that's already been declared and disputed.
In 1949, American James Mangan filed paperwork with Cook County, Illinois laying claim to all of space beyond Earth, declaring it the "Nation of Celestial Space" (also known as "Celestia") with himself as founder and representative. Mangan had similar designs on securing peace in space and quickly set about defending his claim by notifying the US, Soviet Union and a few other nations that his country had banned atmospheric nuclear tests. In the early days of the space race he would also send letters to the Americans and Soviets protesting their encroachment on his territory.
The world, including the United Nations, politely ignored Mangan's persistent requests for acknowledgment for decades. He passed away in 1970 and little has been heard from Celestia since.
Asgardia has the benefit of the internet to organize its claim to existence and perhaps raise funds for the satellite that would give it a physical territory in the universe and some basic utility for its "citizens" to rally around.
It still remains to be seen if the United Nations and the rest of humanity will see Asgardia as any more legit than Celestia, but that hasn't stopped over 4,000 potential Asgardians from registering their interest in under 12 hours.
09 October 2016
The Beast is resorting to every mans at its disposal.
If Trump Were Sexually Interested In Men, It Would Be Politically Incorrect To Say Anything About It
The presstitute media are doing everything that propagandists can do to anoint Hillary to the Oval Office.
The main issue facing the electorate is whether the next administration will lead us into military conflict with Russia and by implication with China, not Trump’s sexual interest in women. The conflict would be thermo-nuclear. Trump is in the oligarchs’ crosshairs, because Trump disavows conflict with Russia.
A subsidiary issue is that Trump, unlike Hillary, is not owned by the oligarchs. If Trump were able to form a government that reflects this difference, there would be hope for peace and for Washington to turn its attention from service to the One Percent to service to the 99 Percent.
by Paul Craig Roberts