Thursday, January 29, 2009

Voyager Mission Objective

The mission objective of the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM) is to extend the NASA exploration of the solar system beyond the neighborhood of the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun's sphere of influence, and possibly beyond. This extended mission is continuing to characterize the outer solar system environment and search for the heliopause boundary, the outer limits of the Sun's magnetic field and outward flow of the solar wind. Penetration of the heliopause boundary between the solar wind and the interstellar medium will allow measurements to be made of the interstellar fields, particles and waves unaffected by the solar wind.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Team Wales pulls out the stops for former ASW staff

Team Wales has provided a rapid response to the closure of Allied Steel and Wire in Cardiff and immediate first-class support to redundant workers, said Welsh Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies.

The Team Wales partners involved in the response met earlier this week to review their work and the progress being made.

Andrew Davies, said: "Unlike the Corus crisis of last year, there was virtually no warning of the closure of ASW. It is an enormous credit to all the agencies, ELWa, Jobcentre Plus, Careers Wales, the WDA and others, including Steel Partnership Training and Cardiff County Council, that we have made terrific progress in helping former ASW employees improve their interview techniques, find new work and claim their entitlements.

"The other main emphasis of the Welsh Assembly Government is to continue to support the sale of the ASW plant to a new buyer as a going concern.

"After the bitter blow of losing their jobs and facing serious uncertainty about their pension and redundancy entitlements, ex-ASW staff have every right to expect an immediate and first class response from support services. That is exactly what is being provided and we have been co-ordinating this work.

"The Welsh Assembly Government has also campaigned hard to ensure that ex-ASW staff qualify for the one-off ISERBS payment that DTI allows to be paid to redundant steel workers in recognition of the severe restrictions on state aids to the industry. I am delighted that this has been achieved and that all eligible redundant ASW staff, and a number of contractors, are already having their ISERBS claims processed."

Of the 600 ASW staff made redundant on 31 July over 400 have been seen by Job Centre Plus and Careers Wales, mostly at the specially set up multi-agency office at the Railway Club in Tremorfa. It is thought that Around 85% of those made redundant live in the Splott, Tremorfa, Grangetown, Adamsdown and Butetown areas.

ELWa and Steel Partnership Training (SPT) are providing support for a range of advice, guidance and training packages, including courses for HGV licences and fork-lift truck driving certification. The Council is assisting with IT training, CV preparation and improving interview techniques. SPT has seen nearly 700 ex-ASW staff and contractors in the last few weeks alone. Training and support are very much tailored to the needs of the individual with all the various agencies working closely together. For example, ELWa is providing support for one bilingual former steel worker who wants to become a Welsh teacher in Butetown while the WDA is supporting another who wants to set up his own boat building business.

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said: "Steel workers are a special breed and highly skilled and combining an independent spirit with a powerful work ethic. Our recent experience with Corus and with previous steel closures going back many years is that they are not out of work for long. The Welsh Assembly Government and our partners will do everything in our power to ensure that this remains the case."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

YELLOW-POPLAR - Liriodendron tulipifera, Linn

TULIP POPLAR AND TULIP TREE are other names for yellow-poplar. Tulip-like, greenish-yellow and orange flowers account for these names, and even the leaf looks somewhat like a cross-section drawing of a tulip. Actually, the tree is not a poplar at all but rather a member of the magnolia family. In Missouri it is native only to the counties in the southeast corner of the state. However, it has been widely planted as an ornamental. On good soils in the Appalachian Mountains it attains its best growth. Growing to a maximum height of 200 feet and 6 feet in diameter, it is the tallest of the hardwood trees. Yellow-poplar will not grow in the shade.

The leaf is alternate, borne simply on long, slender stems with four main lobes. The upper two lobes form a notch. This distinctive shape is shared by no other tree. The surface is dark yellow-green and smooth, while the under-surface is pale.The fruit is a cone-like cluster of winged, angled seeds. The flower is very showy and attractive. It is two inches across, greenish-yellow, orange and waxy.

The twigs are dark red or brown, moderately stout and often contain a powdery frost-like bloom. They often are smooth and turn shiny with age. The buds are flattened like a miniature duck's bill and valve-like with two large scales.

On good soil it is a fast growing tree, has excellent form and is disease resistant. The wood of younger trees is light yellow in color. On old trees the heartwood becomes greenish in color. It makes excellent lumber and is easy to work and fasten. It is used for furniture, interior finish, boxes, crates and veneer. It is one of our most valuable trees.

Precautions should be taken to protect the tender young bark of ornamental trees since it is subject to sunscald. Cloth or burlap can be wrapped around the main stem to protect it from the direct rays of the sun for the first few years.

The yellow-poplar scale is an insect which attaches itself in large numbers to tender young twigs, removing sap from a small area, forming small breaks in the bark. This insect can become serious since the infested twigs eventually die.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Copper and You: How Much Is Too Much?

Today's limit for the amount of copper you can safely consume in a day—10 milligrams for adults—might need to be downsized.A study to learn more about how the body handles excess copper showed, for the first time, that long-term intake of 7.8 milligrams of copper a day can result in a potentially unhealthy accumulation of this mineral. That's based on analyses of blood, urine and other samples from nine healthy male volunteers, age 27 to 48, who went on a high-copper regimen for approximately 4½ months of the 5½-month investigation.

The high-copper stint lowered one standard measure of the volunteers' levels of antioxidants—healthful compounds that protect cells, the scientists found (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, volume 81, pages 822-828). The regimen also interfered with some immune system defenses, reducing the volunteers' ability to fight off the Beijing strain of the flu, for instance. And, even though copper excretion increased during the high-copper regimen, the ramped-up excretion rate wasn't sufficient to remove excess copper.The findings are of interest to nutrition researchers worldwide, as well as to the experts who recommend daily intake levels for essential nutrients, and the companies that make vitamin-mineral supplements.