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Employees killed in Foxconn manufacturing factory
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Friday evening, an explosion in Chengdu, China caused partial shutdown of a facility operated by Foxconn, one of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers and a major supplier to companies like Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sony, Apple, Motorola and Nokia. Initial investigations now suggest the explosion was caused by poor ventilation, which lead to high concentrations of combustible dust.

The blast happened at 7:18PM, around the time workers change shifts. A fire followed. Emergency services had control by 7:30PM. At least three people were killed, at least fifteen injured. Foxconn halted production to investigate, saying “All operations at the affected workshop remain suspended and production at all other workshops that carry out similar processing functions have also been halted pending the results of the investigation. All other production operations in our facilities in China continue operating normally.”

On Monday, city officials gave the cause as combustible dust in the air at a polishing workshop. Hong Kong-based labor rights group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior said they reported aluminium dust problems in March when they reviewed working conditions at Foxconn. After the explosion, they commented that workers were complaining “the ventilation of the department is poor. Workers polish the iPad cases to make them shiny. In the process, there is lots of aluminum (aluminium) dust floating in the air. Workers always breathe in aluminum dust even though they put on masks. When workers take off their cotton gloves, their hands are covered with aluminum dust.”

Foxconn responded by saying the group was trying to “capitalize on the tragic accident” and misrepresented “Foxconn’s commitment to the health and safety of our employees.”

Foxconn is responsible for making iPads and iPhones for Apple. Research group IHS iSuppli said the explosion may cause loss of production of 500,000 iPads during this quarter of the year. They said there is a larger facility in Shenzhen, but it cannot cope with re-compensating the possible loss.

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Category:June 9, 2010
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New Zealand government denies financial assistance for Overlander
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Monday, September 25, 2006

The New Zealand government today has announced that they will not provide financial assistance to the Overlander train service between Auckland and Wellington, which is set to stop service on September 30, if no assistance is forthcoming. ONTRACK will retain the North Island main trunk line, while looking for tourism operators to start a tourist rail service.

Trevor Mallard, acting Finance Minister, said: “In making this decision… Cabinet recognised that there was no prospect of the current Overlander service becoming commercially viable. It was not a fuel-efficient operation and at an average passenger rate of 50 passengers each way per day, it was used by relatively few people.”

It is cheaper and faster to travel either by bus or plane rather than the 12-hour train journey. “The fares already overlap with airfares, and the reality is that the service is just not well-used. It can not compete with low-priced air travel and coaches. Cabinet considered the regional implications of ceasing the Overlander service and accepted that the current bus services run by the InterCity Group met the needs of those communities,” Mallard said.

There has been numerous petitions from the public and from the Green Party of New Zealand to continue the Overlander train service, including one petition signed by 16,000 people presented at the Parliament Buildings on September 14, 2006. “While there have been a number of propositions about retaining the Overlander service, all of the propositions would require government funding in one form or another,” said Mallard.

Mallard said that the government will only support rail services if it significantly benefitted the community.

The Government estimates that financial assistance to the Overlander train service would cost NZ$1.75 million a year.

“Finally, the government does recognise and value the importance of a viable and efficient rail network in New Zealand’s transport infrastructure. This was a critical factor in the government’s decision to buy the rail network back from Tranz Rail. The government has also committed $200 million to upgrade the national rail network between 2004/05 and 2007/08. A further $600 million has been provided to upgrade the Auckland rail network between 2005/06 and 2009/10.”

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Ford offers US$78 million for Romanian auto plant
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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Ford Motor Company, the U.S. car maker, will reportedly pay €57 million (US$78 million) for a 72.4 percent stake in the Romanian assembly plant Automobile Craiova, a Romanian official said Friday.

“The offer of Ford Motor Company for a 72.4 percent stake is €4.1556 per share or €57 million overall,” said Sebastian Vladescu, head of the State Property Agency (AVAS), after opening Ford’s improved offer. Vladescu added that the contract may be signed on September 12, during the auto show in Frankfurt.

The Romanian government bought back the Craiova-based car maker from Daewoo Motors, in late 2006 for US$51 million. As the Korean company was bankrupt, the government had to pay another $10 million for debts stemming from past loans. Ford is the only bidder for the purchase of the factory.

According to Washington Post, many auto-part makers have set up in the new European Union member country, attracted by cheap labor, favourable tax rates and the rising output of Renault’s Dacia plant. The vice president of Dacia, Constantin Stroe, said that the price Ford offers is not important. “It’s important to have the factory working as soon as possible”, he added. “With this production facility, Romania will become an important auto production center in Europe”, concluded Stroe, cited by HotNews.

Millions of old New Zealand coins still to be handed in

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Millions of old New Zealand coins still to be handed in
Published in January 13th, 2019
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On November 1, 2006 the old five, ten, twenty and fifty cent coins will be illegal tender, but the Reserve Bank of New Zealand says there are still at least 100 million still to be returned.

According to the Reserve Bank, most of the old coins have been lost in drains or buried in rubbish. “We think there is still another 100 million sitting around in people’s homes,” Brian Lang, currency manger for the Reserve Bank, said.

Lang said: “So far, just over 280 million coins have been returned, but there are more out there. Since 1967 the Reserve Bank has issued more than a billion of the old ‘silver’ coins. So if you don’t want to be stuck with loads of old coin – there’s never been a better time to empty your coin jars, sweep the car glove box and rummage behind the couch cushions.”

The coins still awaiting to be handed in, by either spending them, taking them to a bank or donating them to charity, are estimated to be worth between NZ$5 million and $50 million.

“A last-minute burst of publicity may convince people to bring the coins in. It’s a bit of a hassle though. Human nature being what it is, people just don’t care,” Lang said.The Karori Wildlife Sanctuary located in Wellington say that they have collected over $9,000 in old coins. Sanctuary spokesman, Alan Dicks said: “The campaign was particularly fitting because the old coins depicted tuataras and kiwis, both of which can be found living at the sanctuary. The money will go towards supporting general ecological restoration of the sanctuary. We want to get over ten grand, but the more the better.”

Lang said: “Though the coins will no longer be legal tender, banks will continue to exchange them until at least the end of the year,” and the Reserve Bank will always exchange them. “We are still getting people coming in with two-dollar notes,” Lang added.

Saturn moon Enceladus may have salty ocean

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Saturn moon Enceladus may have salty ocean
Published in January 13th, 2019
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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.

German warship undergoes repairs after firing on itself

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German warship undergoes repairs after firing on itself
Published in January 13th, 2019
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Monday, May 14, 2007

The Lübeck, a Bremen class frigate of the German navy, is undergoing repairs after accidentally firing upon itself during a training mission off the British coast.

According to Korvettenkapitän Jan Ströhmer, the accident happened near Plymouth, Devon on May 2nd, where the Lübeck was taking part in an Air Defence exercise; unmanned drones towing targets for ships in the Royal Navys South Coast Exercise Areas. During the practice, the ship’s 76mm artillery gun experienced problems, possibly due to jamming. When the crew turned the gun in order to investigate the trouble, the weapon discharged. No one was hurt and the ship was not critically damaged.

The Lübeck subsequently returned to Wilhelmshaven, her home port, for repairs.

With a length of 130 meters and 3800 tonne displacement the primary role of the Lübeck is anti-submarine warfare (ASW) however she retains capabilities in anti-surface (ASuW) and anti-aircraft warfare (AAW). Her ships company numbers roughly 203.

Elwood Norris receives 2005 Lemelson-MIT Prize for invention

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Elwood Norris receives 2005 Lemelson-MIT Prize for invention
Published in January 12th, 2019
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

MIT has announced that Elwood “Woody” Norris, inventor of potentially revolutionary technologies of Hypersonic Sound beams and AirScooter flying vehicles, will receive this year’s Lemelson-MIT prize for invention this Friday, April 22. The prize comes with an award of US$500,000, making it the largest single award for invention given in the United States.

Contents

  • 1 Hypersonic Sound beams
  • 2 AirScooter flying vehicles
  • 3 Woody Norris
  • 4 Sources
  • 5 Press Releases
  • 6 External links

Australia/2006

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Australia/2006
Published in January 12th, 2019
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Contents

  • 1 January
  • 2 February
  • 3 March
  • 4 April
  • 5 May
  • 6 June
  • 7 July
  • 8 August
  • 9 September
  • 10 October
  • 11 November
  • 12 December

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