Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Google News submitted patent applications both in the United States and world-wide in September 2003 for a system of ranking search returns. The patent protection filings seek to control Google’s approach that filters headlines through a complicated algorithm, including the quality of the news organization. How much of this system is currently in use by the search engine giant is unknown.

Primitive search engines are expected to organically evaluate links based on how closely the keywords typed in the search field match an object link, and how many other links are attached to the object. Then a measure of relevance is calculated before returning a reply.

It seems some measure of the work being done at Google is a reaction to search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns which can, if done effectively, skew results to certain domains. A challenge for Google is to develop its technology to nullify efforts on the dark side of SEO and link-spamming.

What also seems to be coming out from this, according to research from the Internet Search Engine Database, is that Google does indeed have a ‘sandbox’ where domains are evaluated first by a human factor before being released into its algorithms.

In its first ever Securities and Exchange Commission filing since the company went public last year, Google indicated that it intends to spend US$500 million on technology development, more than double the $177 million it spent two years ago.

The language used in the lengthy patent application itself is difficult to understand. An excellent article titled “Google United – Google Patent Examined” found below, describes some of the nuts and bolts of Google’s techniques.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A man who was trying to protect the driver of a vehicle that had hit a child pedestrian was killed by an angry crowd the evening of Wednesday, June 20, in Austin, Texas.

The man was identified today by Austin police as David Rivas Morales, age 40. The driver had just dropped Morales off at his sister’s townhouse moments before. Then while still in the parking lot, he allegedly bumped the toddler with the vehicle. The child was not injured and was not taken to the hospital. A group of 3 or 4 men confronted the driver and Morales came back to assist him. The assailants then turned on Morales. Police indicated the driver, who had escaped the scene of the crime, was cooperating with the investigation. Morales died at the hospital from injuries that included a cracked skull and brain hemorrhaging.

The neighborhood was crowded at the time with some 2,000 to 3,000 people who were participating in the annual Juneteenth celebration, which commemorates the day the emancipation of slaves was announced in Texas. It was not immediately known whether any of the attackers had been part of the celebration.

In a news conference on Wednesday, members of League of United Latin American Citizens called on the community not to assume the killing was racially motivated solely because Juneteenth celebrants are predominately African-American and the victim was Latino. Police officers stated that early reports were incorrect in implying thousands of potential witnesses, as investigations suggested only 10 to 15 people had been in the parking lot when the incident occurred and most of these were residents of apartments nearby.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Nine firefighters were killed on Monday while battling a massive fire at a furniture warehouse in Charleston, South Carolina.

Firefighters were called to the scene of a massive blaze at the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, S.C. at around 6:30 p.m. EST. At around 7 p.m., nine firefighters were sent inside the inferno to rescue people who were trapped inside the building. They rescued two before the ceiling collapsed on top of them. All nine firefighters who were inside the warehouse died. They are:

  • Capt. William Hutchinson, 48
  • Capt. Mike Benke, 49
  • Capt. Louis Mulkey, 34
  • FF Mark Kelsey, 40
  • FF Bradford Baity, 37
  • FF Michael French, 27
  • FF James “Earl” Drayton, 56
  • FF Brandon Thompson, 27
  • FF Melven Champaign, 46

The disaster recalls Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire that killed six firefighters on Dec. 3, 1999, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The chief of the Worcester Fire Department flew down to South Carolina for the memorial service.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

London, England— Tuesday, following her team’s 62–37 win over Mexico in the quarter-finals at the North Greewich Arena, Wikinews interviewed Amber Merrit of the Australian women’s national wheelchair basketball team.

In their next match, the Gliders will face the victors from the United States versus Canada, having suffered their first loss of this year’s Games to Canada on Sunday night by seven points.

((Laura Hale)) I’m excited to see you in London, because you were so fantastic in that interview.

[Wikinews previously interviewed Merrit, and teammates in July. —Ed.]

Amber Merrit: Thank you.

((WN)) Which state are you from?

AM: I’m from WA. [Western Australia —Ed.]

((WN)) You wheel change! What was wrong with your wheel?

AM: I smashed out three spokes. Someone hit me, and I lost three spokes in my chair.

((WN)) was that because you were playing really aggressively against Mexico?

AM: Yeah, or they were playing really aggressive against us.

((WN)) Watching that game it didn’t seem that they were playing that aggressive, in terms of they came in with set pieces; they weren’t doing the full-court press; they didn’t seem prepared for your offensive and defensive tenacity. ((Hawkeye7)) You kept on all holding them out, where they weren’t even getting across the centre line

AM: I think we have a really physical style of basketball where we’re going to press, and when we press we try to stop chairs and make sure they don’t get over that halfway line. They’re going to come out and play as hard as they can against us and sometimes there is that odd mishap where they might smash a few spokes cause they hit us. It happens.

((WN)) You tipped a lot in previous games. You haven’t tipped so much in this series.

AM: No, I’ve managed to keep my balance this time. Or maybe they haven’t hit me hard enough to put me down on the floor.

((WN)) Part of the appeal of wheelchair basketball, and I feel guilty admitting it, it watching you guys tip.

AM: And fall out. It’s embarrassing but I like it.

((WN)) You’ve got your next game coming up, which is going to be against the winner of the United States or Canada later today

AM: We’re not 100% sure yet who that’s going to be.

((WN)) Looking forward to meeting them?

AM: Yeah! Looking forward to coming up against them.

((WN)) Who would you prefer?

AM: I don’t know if I have a preference, to be honest. Whoever its going to be, we’re still going to go out there and play as hard as we can and take it to them as a team.

((WN)) Do you think you’ve been adequately prepared coming in to this, with your tournament in Sydney, your tournament in the Netherlands?

AM: Yeah, I think we’ve come in very well prepared for this tournament. We’ve been together for a while now as a team. Of course we had the Gliders and Rollers world challenge. We also went to Arnheim in the Netherlands for a pre-tournament, and we’ve trained together in Cardiff. And then after Cardiff we came in to London; so we’ve had that time together as a team and we’re doing really well.

((WN)) Does that give you an advantage over other teams?

AM: I’m not sure, because I don’t know what other teams have been doing behind the scenes as their training.

((WN)) Thank you very much.

AM: No worries!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Jean Chrétien, one of Canada’s former prime ministers, received quadruple heart bypass surgery yesterday at Montreal’s Heart Institute.

“I just talked to him a few minutes ago. He’s well and he’s recuperating very well at the moment. His outcome is excellent,” said Chief of surgery, Dr. Michel Pellerin.

He could have risked his life as he was diagnosed with unstable angina. It is caused by obstructed arteries, which causes heart pain in a person’s body.

Pellerin performed the surgery on Chrétien, 73, early Wednesday morning. It took 73-minutes to 90-minutes.

However, hospital doctors say Chrétien is expected to stay in the hospital for up to seven days, and it could take up to three months for a full recovery.

Chrétien was at the recent Presidents Cup at the Royal Montreal Golf Club, when he asked another golfer with whom he was golfing with at the time, luckily a cardiologist, for help.

The golfer told him to see a doctor as soon as possible.

“He was very lucky. He had a bit of discomfort and mentioned it because there was a doctor there,” said a friend of Chrétien, Eddie Goldenberg. “The doctor asked him a couple of questions and said, ‘You better come and see me.’ “

Chrétien’s mother, who had heart disease, means that it could have been a genetic link, doctors say.

He had to postpone his speech at the Asia-Pacific mining conference in Vancouver, B.C..

Are You At Risk Of Contracting Diabetes



It is unbelievable, but today there are at least 20 million people living with diabetes in America and the sad part is that it was possible to prevent and heal pre-diabetes and diabetes type 2 naturally with balanced nutrition, and basic exercise.

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People at risk of getting the disease drop by a staggering 60 percent if they manage to lose just 10 pounds by following a healthy diet and engage in regular exercise such as walking, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (May 3, 2001). Pre-diabetesThis term means that you are at risk for getting type 2 diabetes and also heart disease. The good news is if you have pre-diabetes you can reduce the risk of getting diabetes type 2 and even return to normal blood glucose levels if you follow the guidelines in this article. Type 2 diabetes Formerly called adult-onset diabetes, this is the most common form of diabetes. This form of diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body cannot use insulin properly. People can develop this type of diabetes at any age and is usually associated with today’s modern lifestyle of fast food, stress and no exercise. Being overweight and inactive increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes dramatically. Traditional treatment includes taking diabetes medicines, aspirin daily, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol with prescription drugs.But with modest weight loss and moderate daily physical activity, you can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes and lead a normal life. Lets look at a few steps you can use straight away in your daily life that will make a big difference to your condition.Strength Training – Researchers have reported a 23% increase in glucose uptake after four months of strength training. Because poor glucose metabolism is associated with adult onset diabetes, improved glucose metabolism is an important benefit of regular strength exercise.Nowadays you do not have to live in a gym to put on functional muscle. Short High Intensity sessions performed once a week is all that is required to improve glucose metabolism and lose weight.The strength training technique I use requires just twenty to thirty mins per week. Gone are the days of the five-day a week program with 6 to 12 sets per body part that, method has never worked. One short intense strength-training workout a week will elevate your metabolism more than you ever thought possible. The two main components of this technique are the intensity of the exercise and the recovery after the exercise. Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is what is needed to increase functional lean muscle and improve glucose metabolism. Nutrition – The way to lose body fat and maintain muscle is to have a food program for life. Quality food and more energy output are the basics you’ll need to go for. Bulk foods that fill you up and don’t fill you out, foods that are low in fat and sugar which aren’t refined should be the ideal.Small frequent meals should be consumed during the day each containing a little protein to maintain muscle and energy levels. Foods with vital vitamin and mineral supplements should also be taken on a daily basis. A high quality broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement should also be taken on a daily basis.As before get the calories from high quality food but if you can’t, utilize a blender to make concoctions from skim milk with whatever additives you want to use, just as long as you keep count of the calories for your daily total.Now use these blender mixtures and solid food for your daily feedings. Spread it out over many small meals a day instead of the traditional three meals a day. The way to keep track of weight loss is to buy a calorie counter and record your daily calorie intake for a week. Exercise – Fat is burned from the body when cells oxidize to release energy in the form of exercise. When the exercise is done slowly to moderately then the majority of energy is taken from the fat stores.The key to effective aerobic training that burns off maximum fat is long-term consistency not intensity. It doesn’t matter if you run a mile, jog a mile or walk a mile you will burn exactly the same amount of calories.The best exercise by far for the purpose of fat-loss is fast walking either indoors on the treadmill or outdoors. Other aerobic activities are the treadmill, bike, climber or any other training gear found in or out of the Gym.Make no mistake about it you can do a lot to lower your chances of getting diabetes. By exercising regularly, reducing fat from your diet and losing weight can all help you reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes?

Gary Matthews is the author of the popular fitness eBooks Maximum Weight Loss and Maximum Weight Gain. Please visit http://www.maximumfitness.com right now for your ‘free’ weight loss or muscle building e-courses.

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Are You At Risk Of Contracting Diabetes}

Sunday, March 15, 2009

200,000 litres of oil leaked into waters off the coast of Brisbane from the Pacific Adventurer when their fuel tanks were damaged in rough seas on Wednesday. The figure is about ten times higher than the original estimate of twenty thousand litres of oil. The devastating diesel oil spill has spread along 60 kilometres (37 miles) of the Queensland coast. In addition, 31 containers with 620 tonnes of ammonium nitrate fertiliser flew overboard during the violent storm.

Questions are being asked why the Hong Kong cargo ship was out in seas with nine meter waves caused by Cyclone Hamish, a Category 5 tropical cyclone, as well as why the fertiliser containers were not properly secured. One of the overboard containers ruptured the hull of the Pacific Adventurer, causing between 30 to 100 tonnes of oil to spew from the severely damaged ship.

If the ammonium nitrate mixes with the heavy oil, an explosion could occur. None of the containers have been recovered. Some of these may float, but it is believed that they may have sunk which then may cause algal blooms.

Disaster zones have been declared at Bribie and Moreton Islands, and along the Sunshine coast.

The vessel’s owner, Swire Shipping, reported that a second leak began on Friday, when the ship began listing after docking at Hamilton for repairs. “As full soundings of the vessel’s tanks were being taken at the port to determine how much oil had leaked from the vessel, a small quantity of fuel oil escaped from the Pacific Adventurer,” it stated. The ship was brought upright, and a recovery vessel was used to suck up the oil from the water. The leak produced a 500m-long oil slick down the Brisbane River. Booms were placed around this oil spill so that a skimmer could clean up the second spill.

Swire Shipping could face clean up costs of AU$100,000 a day as well as fines up to AU$1.5million (US$977,000; £703,000) if found guilty of environmental breaches or negligence.

Sunshine Coast beaches are slowly starting to be reopened. The beach of Mooloolaba was still closed following reports of burning sensations from swimmers. 12 beaches remain closed; however, 13 have been reopened.

Over 300 state government and council workers are using buckets, rakes and spades in the clean up effort. Sunshine Coast Mayor Bob Abbott says the majority will be gone by Sunday afternoon. The full environmental impact on wildlife is not yet known. One turtle and seven pelicans have been found covered in oil.

There are concerns that the drinking water of Moreton Island is at risk, as the island uses water from the underground water table near the oil spill site.

“Every bucketload of contaminated sand has to be removed from the island by barge, and each bucketload from a front-end loader weighs about one tonne. It’s just an impossible task,” said Mr Trevor Hassard of the Tangalooma Dolphin Education Centre.

The commercial fishing industry has suffered from the incident. Trawlers won’t resume operations until Sunday evening, and any catches will be tested for human consumption.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into threats made against Democratic members of the US House of Representatives. The threats were directed at members of Congress who supported the recent health care reform legislation.

Virginia’s 5th district representative Tom Perriello’s brother’s home had its gas line cut early Wednesday. Another Democrat, Louise Slaughter of New York’s 28th district, had a brick thrown through her offices window.

House Majority leader Steny Hoyer held a press conference about the threats and multiple instances of vandalism involving the offices of Congresspersons who voted on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Hoyer said that “[t]he incidents of threats whether in person or through telephones or through other communication devices, have given great concern to members, for the safety of themselves and their families.”

House Minority leader John Boehner said that the incidents show the American peoples’ feelings for the new bill, but “violence and threats are unacceptable.” He added, “that’s not the American way, we need to take that anger and channel it into positive change.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the oil and gas industry are creating earthquakes. New information from the Midwest region of the United States points out that these man-made earthquakes are happening more frequently than expected. While more frequent earthquakes are less of a problem for regions like the Midwest, a geology professor from the University of Southern Indiana, Dr. Paul K. Doss, believes the disposal of wastewater from the hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) process used in extracting oil and gas has the possibility to pose potential problems for groundwater.

“We are taking this fluid that has a whole host of chemicals in it that are useful for fracking and putting it back into the Earth,” Doss said. “From a purely seismic perspective these are not big earthquakes that are going to cause damage or initiate, as far as we know, any larger kinds of earthquakes activity for Midwest. [The issue] is a water quality issue in terms of the ground water resources that we use.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique used by the oil and gas industries which inject highly pressurized water down into the Earth’s crust to break rock and extract natural gas. Most of the fluids used for fracking are proprietary, so information about what chemicals are used in the various fluids are unknown to the public and to create a competitive edge.

Last Monday four researchers from the University of New Brunswick released an editorial that sheds light on the potential risks that the current wastewater disposal system could have on the province’s water resources. The researchers share the concern that Dr. Doss has and have come out to say that they believe fracking should be stopped in the province until there is an environ­mentally safe way to dispose the waste wastewater.

“If groundwater becomes contamin­ated, it takes years to decades to try to clean up an aquifer system,” University of New Brunswick professor Tom Al said.

While the USGS group which conducted the study says it is unclear how the earthquake rates may be related to oil and gas production, they’ve made the correlation between the disposal of wastewater used in fracking and the recent upsurge in earthquakes. Because of the recent information surfacing that shows this connection between the disposal process and earthquakes, individual states in the United States are now passing laws regarding disposal wells.

The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak.

“The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak,” Doss said. “A perfect case-in-point is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, that oil was being drilled at 18,000 feet but leaked at the surface. And that’s the concern because there’s no assurance that some of these unknown chemical cocktails won’t escape before it gets down to where they are trying to get rid of them.”

It was said in the study released by the New Brunswick University professors that if fracking wastewater would contaminate groundwater, that current conventional water treatment would not be sufficient enough to remove the high concentration of chemicals used in fracking. The researchers did find that the wastewater could be recycled, can also be disposed of at proper sites or even pumped further underground into saline aquifers.

The New Brunswick professors have come to the conclusion that current fracking methods used by companies, which use the water, should be replaced with carbon diox­ide or liquefied propane gas.

“You eliminate all the water-related issues that we’re raising, and that peo­ple have raised in general across North America,” Al said.

In New Brunswick liquefied propane gas has been used successfully in fracking some wells, but according to water specialist with the province’s Natural Resources De­partment Annie Daigle, it may not be the go-to solution for New Brunswick due its geological makeup.

“It has been used successfully by Corridor Resources here in New Bruns­wick for lower volume hydraulic frac­turing operations, but it is still a fairly new technology,” Daigle said.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with U.S. states to come up with guidelines to manage seismic risks due to wastewater. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA is the organization that also deals with the policies for wells.

Oil wells, which are under regulation, pump out salt water known as brine, and after brine is pumped out of the ground it’s disposed of by being pumped back into the ground. The difference between pumping brine and the high pressurized fracking fluid back in the ground is the volume that it is disposed of.

“Brine has never caused this kind of earthquake activity,” Doss said. “[The whole oil and gas industry] has developed around the removal of natural gas by fracking techniques and has outpaced regulatory development. The regulation is tied to the ‘the run-of-the-mill’ disposal of waste, in other words the rush to produce this gas has occurred before regulatory agencies have had the opportunity to respond.”

According to the USGS study, the increase in injecting wastewater into the ground may explain the sixfold increase of earthquakes in the central part of the United States from 2000 – 2011. USGS researchers also found that in decades prior to 2000 seismic events that happened in the midsection of the U.S. averaged 21 annually, in 2009 it spiked to 50 and in 2011 seismic events hit 134.

“The incredible volumes and intense disposal of fracking fluids in concentrated areas is what’s new,” Doss said. “There is not a body of regulation in place to manage the how these fluids are disposed of.”

The study by the USGS was presented at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America on April 18, 2012.


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