Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control
July 5th, 2019 by x9NC9k

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

Saturn moon Enceladus may have salty ocean

Saturn moon Enceladus may have salty ocean
July 5th, 2019 by x9NC9k

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NASA’s Cassini–Huygens spacecraft has discovered evidence for a large-scale saltwater reservoir beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. The data came from the spacecraft’s direct analysis of salt-rich ice grains close to the jets ejected from the moon. The study has been published in this week’s edition of the journal Nature.

Data from Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and usually low in salt far away from the moon. Closer to the moon’s surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an “ocean-like” composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt-water. When water freezes, the salt is squeezed out, leaving pure water ice behind.

Cassini’s ultraviolet imaging spectrograph also recently obtained complementary results that support the presence of a subsurface ocean. A team of Cassini researchers led by Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, measured gas shooting out of distinct jets originating in the moon’s south polar region at five to eight times the speed of sound, several times faster than previously measured. These observations of distinct jets, from a 2010 flyby, are consistent with results showing a difference in composition of ice grains close to the moon’s surface and those that made it out to the E ring, the outermost ring that gets its material primarily from Enceladean jets. If the plumes emanated from ice, they should have very little salt in them.

“There currently is no plausible way to produce a steady outflow of salt-rich grains from solid ice across all the tiger stripes other than salt water under Enceladus’s icy surface,” said Frank Postberg, a Cassini team scientist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

The data suggests a layer of water between the moon’s rocky core and its icy mantle, possibly as deep as about 50 miles (80 kilometers) beneath the surface. As this water washes against the rocks, it dissolves salt compounds and rises through fractures in the overlying ice to form reserves nearer the surface. If the outermost layer cracks open, the decrease in pressure from these reserves to space causes a plume to shoot out. Roughly 400 pounds (200 kilograms) of water vapor is lost every second in the plumes, with smaller amounts being lost as ice grains. The team calculates the water reserves must have large evaporating surfaces, or they would freeze easily and stop the plumes.

“We imagine that between the ice and the ice core there is an ocean of depth and this is somehow connected to the surface reservoir,” added Postberg.

The Cassini mission discovered Enceladus’ water-vapor and ice jets in 2005. In 2009, scientists working with the cosmic dust analyzer examined some sodium salts found in ice grains of Saturn’s E ring but the link to subsurface salt water was not definitive. The new paper analyzes three Enceladus flybys in 2008 and 2009 with the same instrument, focusing on the composition of freshly ejected plume grains. In 2008, Cassini discovered a high “density of volatile gases, water vapor, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, as well as organic materials, some 20 times denser than expected” in geysers erupting from the moon. The icy particles hit the detector target at speeds between 15,000 and 39,000 MPH (23,000 and 63,000 KPH), vaporizing instantly. Electrical fields inside the cosmic dust analyzer separated the various constituents of the impact cloud.

“Enceladus has got warmth, water and organic chemicals, some of the essential building blocks needed for life,” said Dennis Matson in 2008, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“This finding is a crucial new piece of evidence showing that environmental conditions favorable to the emergence of life can be sustained on icy bodies orbiting gas giant planets,” said Nicolas Altobelli, the European Space Agency’s project scientist for Cassini.

“If there is water in such an unexpected place, it leaves possibility for the rest of the universe,” said Postberg.

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News briefs:June 16, 2010

News briefs:June 16, 2010
July 1st, 2019 by x9NC9k
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California teamsters picket Orange County transit system in contract dispute

California teamsters picket Orange County transit system in contract dispute
June 26th, 2019 by x9NC9k

Sunday, July 8, 2007

In an ongoing labor dispute from May of this year in California, United States, Teamsters Local 952, which represents the Orange County Transportation Authority‘s 1,200 coach operators, went on strike at 12:35 a.m. (0035 hrs) PDT Saturday morning after a cooling-off period declared by State Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger expired.

Sanctioned picket lines have been formed outside Authority facilities in Garden Grove, Anaheim, and Santa Ana. About 200,000 regular passengers are affected.

Major sticking points in the negotiation appear to be related to cost-of-living increases and pension funding allocations. The strike was declared after the Authority’s bargaining agent said he lacked authority to approve a union counter proposal, which he said had to be taken before the OCTA’s board of directors, who will not be available to meet until Monday the 9th at the earliest.

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Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One

Reflections, Lichtenstein, two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s Modern One
June 25th, 2019 by x9NC9k

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This weekend saw the opening of two new exhibitions at Edinburgh’s National Gallery of Modern Art. Wikinews attended Thursday’s press preview for the event where a full contingent of the capital’s press turned out to see the striking collection of paintings, photographs, and other works. Presented below are a selection of images captured at the preview.

REFLECTIONS: A Series of Changing Displays of Contemporary Art, billed as a showcase of a “diverse range of internationally-renowned contemporary and modern artists” is to display major works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, alongside important loans. Alongside this broad range of works, a three-room display of pieces on-loan from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation — with a dramatic painted steel relief, ‘borrowed’ from the Tate in London — runs from March 14 through to January 10 next year.

Admission to both exhibitions is free; being located in Dean, to the north-west of Edinburgh’s city centre, a free Gallery bus service is available.

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Five hundred cattle die of neglect on West Australia property

Five hundred cattle die of neglect on West Australia property
June 21st, 2019 by x9NC9k

Thursday, February 17, 2005 RSPCA inspectors found about 500 cattle dead on a remote station in Western Australia. Water is being trucked in to care for another 2500 cattle on Windidda station, east of Wilun, which is leased to an Aboriginal corporation.

State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says the propery was found abandoned and only two of the property’s 13 watering stations were working.

“The lease is owned by an aboriginal corporation (but) the precise of identity of the corporation is somewhat obscure,” Mr Chance said.

WA RSPCA spokesperson Kelly Oversby said they made the shocking discovery after an anonymous tip-off.

“Experienced inspectors have told us it is the worst case of animal cruelty they have ever seen,” Ms Overby said.

“As well as the cattle, brumbies, camels, dogs and kangaroos have all perished.”

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Indonesia warns Australia over West Papuan asylum seekers

Indonesia warns Australia over West Papuan asylum seekers
June 17th, 2019 by x9NC9k

Friday, February 3, 2006

Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia has warned that relations between the two neighbors could be “strained” if the Howard Government grants political asylum to a group of refugees from the troubled Indonesian province of West Papua.

The 43 West Papuans, pro-independence activists and their families, arrived on Cape York, Australia on January 18 after a five-day voyage in an outrigger canoe. They were later taken to an immigration detention facility on Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean.

A spokesman for the group says they fear they will be killed if returned to Indonesian-controlled Papua, where a pro-independence movement has been operating since the 1960s.

Jakarta’s ambassador warned of strained relations if they are granted asylum. Indonesia’s ambassador, Teuku Mohammad Hamzah Thayeb, said the group had nothing to fear from Indonesian authorities. Asked if granting asylum to the group would strain Australia/Indonesia relations, Thayeb said: “I would hope it will not, but it certainly would have an effect. That’s why we have to manage this together and find a solution.” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has also guaranteed the group’s safety should they return.

Queensland National Senator Barnaby Joyce, who met with the 43 refugees on Christmas Island, said they appear to have a genuine asylum claim and had been persecuted because of their Christian beliefs. “There are documented cases of members within their families being shot,” he said. “There’s certainly on the record experiences of them being jailed and tortured so I think they would be under risk if they went back,” he said.

The group, which includes seven children, arrived carrying a banner accusing Indonesia of terrorism and genocide in the province. Indonesian troops have been repeatedly accused of rights abuses in Papua province, which was taken over by Jakarta in 1963. Over 100,000 Papuans, one-sixth of the population, have died in military operations.

Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said, “if they ask for protection we will consider the claim appropriately and if it is appropriate to offer it, we will offer it.”

The leader of the asylum seekers, Herman Wainggai, says the Indonesian military treat indigenous Papuans “like animals”. Mr Thayeb disagreed: “We have changed fundamentally within ourselves,” he said.

Indonesia offered Papua special autonomy in 2001 in an effort to quell unrest from the Melanesian population in the resource-rich area. Mr Wainggai described the Papuan autonomy as a “sham”, and said there have been many reports of the Indonesian military “murdering and raping people, and destroying villages since autonomy came into force.”

Papua controversially became an Indonesia province after a vote in 1969 overseen by the United Nations called the “Act of Free Choice”. The Act of Free Choice was drafted by the UN and gave every adult the right to vote on the issue of independence. However, only 1022 people hand-picked by the Indonesian authorities were allowed to vote. Reinforcing the dubious nature of the poll, the voters gave 100 per cent approval to become part of Indonesia.

Indonesia’s ambassador said there was no reason for the West Papuans to seek asylum as they were not criminals.

The Australian Greens said the Indonesian ambassador’s assurances that West Papuan asylum seekers would be safe if they returned home should not be believed.

“The new Indonesian Ambassador’s assurances about the safety of West Papuan refugees if they are returned to Indonesia are not credible,” Senator Nettle said. “The escalating repression of the independence movement and generalised suppression of the people of West Papua is well documented.”

“The Australian government should not give in to Indonesian pressure,” Senator Nettle said.

Senator Joyce said the group of native West Papuans were Christian, which meant they are ethnically, religiously and politically isolated after an influx of Indonesians to the province.

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Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews Joe Schriner, Independent U.S. presidential candidate
June 12th, 2019 by x9NC9k

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Journalist, counselor, painter, and US 2012 Presidential candidate Joe Schriner of Cleveland, Ohio took some time to discuss his campaign with Wikinews in an interview.

Schriner previously ran for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008, but failed to gain much traction in the races. He announced his candidacy for the 2012 race immediately following the 2008 election. Schriner refers to himself as the “Average Joe” candidate, and advocates a pro-life and pro-environmentalist platform. He has been the subject of numerous newspaper articles, and has published public policy papers exploring solutions to American issues.

Wikinews reporter William Saturn? talks with Schriner and discusses his campaign.

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APEC leaders wear Driza-Bones for group photo

APEC leaders wear Driza-Bones for group photo
June 12th, 2019 by x9NC9k

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Leaders attending the APEC summit in Sydney, Australia have worn Driza-Bone coats for their traditional group photo in front of the Sydney Opera House. In APEC tradition, leaders wear attire which draws inspiration from the host nation’s national costume.

Australia’s choice was made by Prime Minister John Howard and his wife Janette. Australia does not have a national costume. In an APEC statement it was revealed that Driza-Bone had been consulted to produce an outfit that “captures the essence of Australia’s culture and environment.”

“Driza-Bone coats were born over 100 years ago when a sailor fashioned waterproof coats out of windjammer sails for protection against the harsh Australian trade winds,” the statement said.

“These coats were also perfect for people working on the vast Australian continent and have since been adapted into the perfect riding and outback attire.”

The custom-made knee-length coats worn by the leaders were the traditional dark brown of all Driza-Bones and had differing colours for the lapels and linings – slate blue for Australia’s vast coastline, mustard yellow for the sun and sand; red ochre for the outback and eucalyptus green for the bush. Leaders were given the choice over which highlight colour they wanted.

The choice of costume was a closely guarded secret by Australia officials, with speculation rife throughout the media. It has been suggested that the costume could include “budgie smugglers” (male swimwear)- and thongs (flip flops) to represent the beach;blue singlets and shorts favoured by labourers or khaki gear in memory of Steve Irwin.

The group photo is said to be one of the most anticipated parts of the APEC summit, with people wanting to see which leader looks the “silliest”. In the past leaders have been dressed in silk tunics, leather bomber jackets and Batik-print shirts.

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Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoes law placing Supreme Court under power of ruling party

Polish President Andrzej Duda vetoes law placing Supreme Court under power of ruling party
June 7th, 2019 by x9NC9k

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

President of Poland Andrzej Duda promised on Monday to veto the Senate’s plans to change the arrangement of the country’s Supreme Court. The new law, which passed 55 to 23 on Saturday, would place the selection of judges in the hands of the ruling political party, the Law and Justice Party (PiS). The proposed law was met with protesters across Poland asking Duda to veto the bill and objections from officials of the European Union, who described the measure as anti-democratic. Duda also planned to veto another law that would have placed the council that proposes candidates for judgeship under the power of government officials.

“I have decided to send back to parliament — in which case to veto — the law on the supreme court, as well as the law on the National Council of the Judiciary.” These laws “would not strengthen the sense of justice in society,” Duda told the public. He said he made this decision after extensive consultation with experts in a variety of areas, including legal experts, and particularly anti-communist activist Zofia Romaszewska.

Specifically, the law would require every one of Poland’s more than 80 Supreme Court justices resign and would empower the justice minister of the governing party to choose which justices will return to the bench and which must be replaced, and with whom. It would also require that judges take religious values into account in their work: “In social life, apart from legal norms there also operates a system of norms and values, undefined in law but equally established, derived from morality and Christian values […] The supreme court should take this duality into account in its rulings,” it reads.

Duda expressed his intent to sign a third bill that would allow the justice minister under some circumstances to select judges and assign cases for Poland’s local courts.

Supporters of the laws argued they are needed to eliminate corruption and render the court system more efficient. Deputy Justice Minister Marcin Warchol said the laws would prevent justice from “becom[ing] a form of privilege” and ensure all Poles are subject to the law. Warchol said in an essay, of PiS’s legal reforms in general, “If we do not ensure a minimum of democratic control over the judiciary, there will be no counterbalance for the growing corporatism of judges. And that would mean the creation of a new order: a judiciocracy instead of democracy.” Since coming to power in 2015 on a populist and anti-immigrant platform, PiS has taken control of Polish public media, limited the authority of the constitutional tribunal, the body that can rule acts of Parliament unconstitutional, and attempted a no-exception anti-abortion law, though plans for this last were cancelled in response to widespread protests. Some of these measures have been passed without any opportunity for public commentary or during nighttime sessions.

“Courts in our opinion are the stronghold of post-communists in Poland,” said party leader Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski. He went on to accuse the supreme court of “protecting people who had served the old [Communist] regime” and of being “controlled by lefties” and foreign elements.

Miko?aj Pietrzak of the Warsaw Bar Association told the press, “The courts are sometimes too slow, some of the fees payable by citizens are too high, the system of legal aid is inadequate and under-financed — we can see the problems […] But this is like going to the doctor with the flu and he treats you by amputating your leg.”

The protesters numbered in the tens of thousands in Warsaw alone, some of them singing “Highway to Hell” outside the Presidential palace, in reference to Duda’s location at the time in his vacation home on the Hel Peninsula. Protests across Poland continued through the weekend, with many holding up signs reading “3 X veto,” calling for President Duda not to support the new laws and candlelit vigils on Sunday night.

Some protesters did support the government’s decision. When ombudsman Adam Bodnar gave a speech asking the Senate not to pass the bill, spectators called out, “Who elected you? No one! No one!”

University of Warsaw constitutional law expert Marek Chmaj told Gazeta Wyborcza, “The act means the abolishment of the Supreme Court in its current shape, creating a substitute court composed of completely new judges […] Moreover, a disciplinary chamber is being created to watch the obedience of judges and representatives of legal professions.”

The State Department of the United States, one of Poland’s NATO allies, issued the following last Friday: “The Polish government has continued to pursue legislation that appears to undermine judicial independence and weaken the rule of law in Poland […] We urge all sides to ensure that any judicial reform does not violate Poland’s constitution or international legal obligations and respects the principles of judicial independence and separation of powers.”

The European Union threatened legal proceedings if Poland were to enact this measure, which it sees as a lapse in Poland’s treaty obligations to uphold democracy and the rule of law. President of the European Council Donald Tusk, himself a Pole, said, “It is my conviction that they are a negation of European values and standards, and that they put our reputation at risk […] Politically, they move us back in time and space — backward and to the East.” Legal action could result in economic sanctions or a loss of Poland’s voting rights, though this last would require a unanimous vote among the E.U.’s other 27 countries, and Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary — one of the 27 — likened the plans for measures against Poland to an “inquisition campaign.”

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