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November 30, 2012

Locally designed, low emissions car launched in Qatar

Locally designed, low emissions car launched in Qatar

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Qatari non-profit organization Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD) launched a low emissions car at the 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 18) in Doha. The car was designed and developed in Qatar.

Revealed during a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Centre, the car in addition to an internal combustion engine, includes an automotive thermoelectric generator designed to capture waste heat to produce hydrogen. GORD expects the heat waste collecting system to be compatible with any gasoline or compressed natural gas car.

GORD chairman Dr Al-Horr summarised the key concepts of the invention in a statement saying, “Our car produces electricity at no cost by capturing thermal waste energy, reducing costs and eliminating the need for an external source of electricity. Also, bulky compressed-hydrogen cylinders are a thing of the past, as our concept accomplishes the production of hydrogen by using water through fuel cells integrated within the car.”

Most of the energy in Qatari vehicle comes from the the car’s gasoline tank, supplemented by a thin film photo-voltaic panel on the roof. Normally in a combustion engine, chemical energy stored in a fuel, such as gasoline, is converted into heat energy through combustion. This heat energy is then converted into mechanical energy, manifested as an increase in pressure in the combustion chamber due to the kinetic energy of the combustion gases. The kinetic energy of these combustion gases are then converted into work; because of the inefficiencies in converting chemical energy into useful work, internal combustion engines have a theoretical maximum effiecincy of 37% (with what is achievable in day to day applications being about half of this). Of the chemical energy in the consumed fuel used by an internal combustion engine 40% is dissipated as waste heat. However, the Qatari vehicle uses a thermoelectric generator to convert this waste heat into electricity. Such generators are used in space vehicles, and produce electricity when thermoelectric materials are subjected to a temperature gradient, the greater the gradient the greater the amount of electrcity produced. In the GORD vehicle the electricity produced is used to electrolyse potable water to produce hydrogen which can be introduced into the vehicle’s existing fuel system.

The researchers showed that the heat waste collection engine caused a decrease in the car’s emissions, including a decrease of carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide emissions by more than 50%, the fuel efficiency increasing by 20%. On its website, GORD said that the heat waste collector engine is universal, “Any car can be adapted to accommodate the system as it doesn’t alter any electro-mechanical systems”.



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Locally designed low emissions car launched in Qatar

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Friday, November 30, 2012

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Flag of Qatar

Qatari non-profit organization Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD), launched a low emissions car at the 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 18) in Doha. The car was designed and developed in Qatar.

Revealed during a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Centre, the car in addition to an internal combustion engine, includes an automotive thermoelectric generator designed to capture waste heat to produce hydrogen. GORD expects the heat waste collecting system to be compatible with any gasoline or compressed natural gas car.

GORD chairman Dr Al-Horr summarised the key concepts of the invention in a statement saying, “Our car produces electricity at no cost by capturing thermal waste energy, reducing costs and eliminating the need for an external source of electricity. Also, bulky compressed-hydrogen cylinders are a thing of the past, as our concept accomplishes the production of hydrogen by using water through fuel cells integrated within the car.”

Most of the energy in Qatari vehicle comes from the the car’s gasoline tank, supplemented by a thin film photo-voltaic panel on the roof. Normally in a combustion engine, chemical energy stored in a fuel, such as gasoline, is converted into heat energy through combustion. This heat energy is then converted into mechanical energy, manifested as an increase in pressure in the combustion chamber due to the kinetic energy of the combustion gases. The kinetic energy of these combustion gases are then converted into work; because of the inefficiencies in converting chemical energy into useful work, internal combustion engines have a theoretical maximum effiecincy of 37% (with what is achievable in day to day applications being about half of this). Of the chemical energy in the consumed fuel used by an internal combustion engine 40% is dissipated as waste heat. However, the Qatari vehicle uses a thermoelectric generator to convert this waste heat into electricity. Such generators are used in space vehicles, and produce electricity when thermoelectric materials are subjected to a temperature gradient, the greater the gradient the greater the amount of electrcity produced. In the GORD vehicle the electricity produced is used to electrolyse potable water to produce hydrogen which can be introduced into the vehicle’s existing fuel system.

The researchers showed that the heat waste collection engine caused a decrease in the car’s emissions, including a decrease of carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide emissions by more than 50%, the fuel efficiency increasing by 20%. On its website, GORD said that the heat waste collector engine is universal, “Any car can be adapted to accommodate the system as it doesn’t alter any electro-mechanical systems”.



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Official website

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Sandra Fluke nominated by Time magazine for Person of the Year

Sandra Fluke nominated by Time magazine for Person of the Year

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Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke has been named as a candidate by Time magazine for their Person of the Year.

Sandra Fluke (2012)
Image: nmogburn.

Sandra Fluke was the focus of media in February after attempting to testify before a Republican-controlled committee in the United States House of Representatives about contraception and women’s health. Kate Pickert of Time wrote in her profile, “Fluke … weathered the attention with poise and maturity and emerged as a political celebrity.”

Cquote1.svg Fluke … weathered the attention with poise and maturity and emerged as a political celebrity. Cquote2.svg

Time magazine

Time concluded Fluke helped give U.S. President Barack Obama an edge in his presidential re-election campaign: “Democrats gave her a national-convention speaking slot as part of their push to make reproductive rights a central issue in the 2012 presidential campaign — one that helped Barack Obama trounce Mitt Romney among single women on Election Day.”

Cquote1.svg Honored to be listed for Time’s Person of Year. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

Fluke responded to the nomination via Twitter, and stated she was “Honored to be listed for Time’s Person of Year”. In the same statement she also drew attention to the scarcity of women on the list of candidates.

An analysis of Fluke’s candidacy by Peter Roff of U.S. News & World Report called attention to her role in the political phenomenon in the recent election cycle known as the “War on Women” which drew significant attention to issues of women’s rights. Roff gave advice to the Republican party on the way it relates to women, “Once the Republicans become comfortable talking about all issues as though they were women’s issues too — issues like unemployment, economic growth, job creation, education, and healthcare as well as the so-called social issues — they will be demonstrating that women have a home in the GOP. Until they do however it will be the Sandra Flukes of the world that continue to carry the day when it counts.”

Journalist Leslie Marshall observed some conservative political commentators were critical of Time for its nomination of Fluke for Person of the Year.

Cquote1.svg … she showed true strength over adversity. And she has since become a women’s health activist. For these reasons alone, she belongs on this list. Cquote2.svg

Leslie Marshall

Marshall argued Fluke belongs on the list: “She should be credited with reminding women on both the right and the left; that many of us agree on the issue of women’s reproductive rights. Although some of us might be Democrats and some Republicans, our gender unites us. She brought more women to the polls, reminding us of the decades it took to be where we are and what was at stake for women if we did not re-elect President Obama. In speaking at the Democratic National Convention, she showed true strength over adversity. And she has since become a women’s health activist. For these reasons alone, she belongs on this list.”

However, Marshall stated she wouldn’t be voting for Fluke’s candidacy, but would instead cast her ballot for Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old female education activist who survived a Taliban assassination attempt.

Fluke was a featured speaker on September 5 at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fluke spoke to attendees at the convention about the consequences for women of electing Republican candidate for U.S. President, Mitt Romney, over incumbent President Barack Obama. Fluke has campaigned with President Obama in his bid for re-election.

She was recognized April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee at a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crack down on human trafficking and domestic violence.



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UK\’s Labour Party wins by-elections in Croydon North, Middlesborough, Rotherham

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Friday, November 30, 2012

In the United Kingdom, the has won by-elections in the constituencies of Croydon North in London, Rotherham in and Middlesbrough in North Yorkshire. Voting percentages for the political party increased in all three constituencies from the previous by-elections.

Sarah Champion, who won the Rotherham by-election, said UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the “have shown what they think of Rotherham, and today this result tells David Cameron what Rotherham thinks of the Tories.” Middlesbrough winner Andy McDonald said as part of as a victory speech that the people of his constituency now “have a new voice in Westminster, a voice that will speak up for working families who are having their budgets squeezed, young people who are struggling to find their first job and the millions ignored by this Tory-led government.”

Meanwhile, Croydon North by-election winner Steve Reed said his victory sent “a clear message” from the people of the constituency to the Prime Minister. “He cannot be the one-nation prime minister Britain needs if he stands by doing nothing while Croydon faces one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in London,” Reed stated. This sentiment was shared by Labour Party leader and Leader of the Opposition , who said voters in these three constituencies “have put their faith in a One Nation Labour Party standing up for young people trying to find work and standing up for people whose living standards are being squeezed”.

Below are tables detailing the full 2012 by-election results in Croydon North, Middlesbrough and Rotherham, respectively.

Political party Candidate Votes  % ±%
Labour Andy McDonald 10201 60.48% +14.60%
UKIP Richard Elvin 1990 11.80% +8.10%
Liberal Democrats George Selmer 1672 9.91% -10.00%
Conservative Ben Houchen 1063 6.30% -12.48%
Peace Imdad Hussain 1060 6.28% N / A
BNP Peter Foreman 328 1.94% -3.90%
Trade Unionist and Socialist John Malcolm 277 1.64% N / A
Independent Mark Heslehurst 275 1.63% N / A
Trade Unionist and Socialist Ralph Dyson 261 1.22% N / A
Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.24% N / A
Independent Clint Bristow 29 0.14% N / A
Political party Candidate Votes  % ±%
Sarah Champion 9866 46.25% +1.62%
UKIP Jane Collins 4648 21.79% +15.78%
BNP Marlene Guest 1804 8.46% -1.96%
Respect Yvonne Ridley 1778 8.34% N / A
Simon Wilson 1157 5.42% -11.32%
English Democrats David Wildgoose 703 3.30% N / A
Independent Simon Copley 582 2.73% -3.58%
Michael Beckett 451 2.11% -13.87%
Trade Unionist and Socialist Ralph Dyson 261 1.22% N / A
Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.24% N / A
Independent Clint Bristow 29 0.14% N / A



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Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez returns to Cuba for medical treatment

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez arrived to Cuba early Wednesday morning to seek hyperbaric oxygenation therapy, a treatment typically given to help cancer patients repair bone and tissue damage caused by radiation, among other illnesses. His announcement has once again caused public speculation regarding his health, as the president declared himself free of pelvic cancer nearly five months ago.

In an interview with state television that same day, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said that the president will be back no later than January 10th, the inauguration date for his fourth presidential term.

According to Villegas, Chávez is undergoing “complementary treatment.”

“The people voted for Chávez, as is.” Villegas said. “As we all know, coming out [of radiation therapy] is a difficult process for any human being. Yet he did not listen to those who told him not to get involved in the campaign. He campaigned with an effort exemplary of the extraordinary leader that he is.” He added that “Chávez is a human being. He gets sick.”

Under Venezuelan law, the president must request permission from the National Assembly when leaving the country for longer than five days. In a note read by National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello less than 24 hours before the president’s departure, Chávez explained that his doctors in Cuba recommended that he begin the treatment along with physiotherapy to help strengthen his recovery.

Despite having announced that he is “totally free” of cancer, opposition politicians and lawmakers have continued to question the president’s health, citing the administration’s “lack of transparency” during his medical operations as well as a sharp decline in public appearances. Prominent Chávez critic and journalist Teodoro Petkoff recently nicknamed the president “the invisible man.” Meanwhile, opposition assembly member Alfonso Marquina accused Chávez of “attempting to create uncertainty” after Tuesday’s announcement.

Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, told Bloomberg News that Chávez’s sudden departure is an indication that his medical condition is more serious than stated. “You’d anticipate that if he were really doing well he’d want to show that publicly.”

Citing an anonymous sources, Spanish newspaper ABC reported Thursday that Chávez’s pelvic cancer has returned and that he is also suffering from bone metastasis. According to the report, intelligence sources believe Chávez left for Cuba because his cancer returned, as hyperbaric oxygen chambers are available in Venezuela.

However, Vice President Nicolas Maduro told a group of government workers Thursday that the president “is fine, doing very well, and will return even better than before.”

Henrique Capriles Radonski, the main opposition candidate in last month’s presidential elections and Chávez’s biggest political opponent, urged the administration to “speak with absolute transparency to avoid rumors that create anxiety and uncertainty. That is the last thing we want to have in Venezuela.”

His treatment in Cuba comes at an inopportune time for his ruling coalition. Nation-wide gubernatorial elections are scheduled for December 16th, and the opposition, led by Capriles, is looking to strengthen its political base after their candidate’s near 11-point defeat in the October 7th elections.



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Sandra Fluke nominated by Time magazine for Person of the Year award

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Women’s rights
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Women's rights
More information on Women’s rights at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
  • Women’s rights
  • Women’s health
  • Female education
  • Feminism portal

Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke has been named as a candidate by Time magazine for their Person of the Year award.

Sandra Fluke (2012)
Image: nmogburn.

Sandra Fluke was the focus of media in February after attempting to testify before a Republican-controlled committee in the United States House of Representatives about contraception and women’s health. Kate Pickert of Time wrote in her profile, “Fluke … weathered the attention with poise and maturity and emerged as a political celebrity.”

Cquote1.svg Fluke … weathered the attention with poise and maturity and emerged as a political celebrity. Cquote2.svg

Time magazine

Time concluded Fluke helped give U.S. President Barack Obama an edge in his presidential re-election campaign. “Democrats gave her a national-convention speaking slot as part of their push to make reproductive rights a central issue in the 2012 presidential campaign — one that helped Barack Obama trounce Mitt Romney among single women on Election Day.”

Cquote1.svg Honored to be listed for Time’s Person of Year. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

Fluke responded to the nomination via Twitter, and stated she was “Honored to be listed for Time’s Person of Year”. In the same statement she also drew attention to the scarcity of women on the list of candidates.

An analysis of Fluke’s candidacy by Peter Roff of U.S. News & World Report called attention to her role in the political phenomenon in the recent election cycle known as the “War on Women” which drew significant attention to issues of women’s rights. Roff gave advice to the Republican party in the way it relates to women, “Once the Republicans become comfortable talking about all issues as though they were women’s issues too—issues like unemployment, economic growth, job creation, education, and healthcare as well as the so-called social issues—they will be demonstrating that women have a home in the GOP. Until they do however it will be the Sandra Flukes of the world that continue to carry the day when it counts.”

Journalist Leslie Marshall observed some conservative political commentators were critical of Time for its nomination of Fluke for Person of the Year.

Cquote1.svg … she showed true strength over adversity. And she has since become a women’s health activist. For these reasons alone, she belongs on this list. Cquote2.svg

Leslie Marshall

Marshall argued Fluke belongs on the list, “She should be credited with reminding women on both the right and the left; that many of us agree on the issue of women’s reproductive rights. Although some of us might be Democrats and some Republicans, our gender unites us. She brought more women to the polls, reminding us of the decades it took to be where we are and what was at stake for women if we did not re-elect President Obama. In speaking at the Democratic National Convention, she showed true strength over adversity. And she has since become a women’s health activist. For these reasons alone, she belongs on this list.”

However, Marshall stated she wouldn’t be voting for Fluke’s candidacy, but would instead cast her ballot for Malala Yousafzai a 15-year-old activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban after she spoke out in favor of female education.

Fluke was a featured speaker on September 5 at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fluke spoke to attendees at the convention about the consequences for women of electing Republican candidate for U.S. President, Mitt Romney, over incumbent President Barack Obama. Fluke has campaigned with President Obama in his bid for re-election.

She was recognized April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crackdown on human trafficking and domestic violence.



Related news

Sister links

  • Wikisource-logo.svg Author:Sandra Kay Fluke
  • Commons-logo.svg Sandra Fluke
  • Wikiquote-logo.svg Sandra Fluke

Sources

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

November 29, 2012

Of cabbages and things: Dutch researchers study wasp hyperparasitoid

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Of cabbages and things: Dutch researchers study wasp hyperparasitoid

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White cabbage, the first item in the food chain

A Pieris rapae caterpillar, the second item in the food chain

A Cotesia glomerata wasp, the third item in the food chain

A Lysibia nana, the fourth item in the food chain

Dutch researchers have discovered that cabbage volatile odour released in response to white butterfly caterpillar attack can attract multiple parasites making the food chain unbeneficial to the plant. The study, published in journal PLOS Biology Tuesday, highlights the possible side effects of parasitoid use for pest control.

A second parasite, called hyperparasitoid, is attracted by the cabbage odour only after a first parasite infects the caterpillar. The researchers performed both laboratory and field experiments to verify the data.

As described by the study, the food chain starts when a white butterfly caterpillar, Pieris rapae, attacks a cabbage leaf. In response, the cabbage releases volatile odour to attract the caterpillar parasites. The odour attracts parasitical wasps, such as Cotesia glomerata, that infect the caterpillar with their eggs. Such behaviour is called parasitoid, when larvae lead a parasitical lifestyle and the adult individuals don’t. Such reaction favours the plant.

However the odour also attracts a hyperparasitoid wasp, Lysibia nana, which infects the Cotesia glomerata’s larvae and takes over the food chain. Field study confirmed the hyperparasitoid’s behaviour is well tuned to the environment: it does not follow cabbages nearly as much until they are infected by the first parasite, too.

Dr Erik Poelman, the research leader, commented about the specifically well adapted behaviour of the parasitoids, “In controlled laboratory assays as well as under field conditions, hyperparasitoids were offered plant odours coming from two types of plant: ones damaged by healthy caterpillars, and ones damaged by parasitoid-infected caterpillars. We found that they preferentially detected odours of plants damaged by infected caterpillars. We were excited by these results as they indicate that hyperparasitoids rely on a network of interactions among plant, herbivore and parasitoids to locate their host”.

The scientists hypothesised the saliva of infected caterpillars is different and affects the cabbage odour. The study involved collecting air around healthy, infected, and twice infected cabbage plants. Then the researchers checked the hyperparasitoid reaction to the collected odours. The hyperparasitoid attraction to the twice infected cabbage odour was nearly five times more compared to the odour of a cabbage infected only with caterpillars.

The researchers also carried out tests of hyperparasitoid attraction to the healthy and infected caterpillar saliva alone, without the cabbage. There was no such attraction, confirming the cabbage odours are affected by the saliva.

The scientists say, “Our results show that hyperparasitoids may parasitize up to 55% of the parasitoid offspring, therefore potentially playing a major role in parasitoid population dynamics. … Overexpression of herbivore-induced plant volatiles [HIPVs] in crops or field application of synthetic parasitoid attractants may not benefit pest control in conditions where the responses of hyperparasitoids to HIPVs cause major mortality to parasitoids.”



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November 28, 2012

Damien Thomlinson set to head to IPC Nor-Am Cup

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Australian Paralympic alpine development team set to leave Australia and head to IPC Nor-Am Cup on December 5, ahead of the December 10 start of the event with the team having been chosen two months prior. According to national team coach Steve Graham and Australian Paralympic Committee General Manager of Knowledge Services Tony Naar, this will be the first major event for the team in the northern hemisphere skiing season, with the whole team being there in preparation for qualifying for the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games. The team includes Damien Thomlinson.

Australian commando, rally car navigator, swimmer and para-snowboarder Damien Thomlinson joined the Australian Army in 2005, and went on to serve in Afghanistan. While serving with the 2nd Commando Regiment in Tarin Kowt District in April 2009, the vehicle he was in drove over an improvised explosive planted by the Taliban, which resulted in multiple injuries including his legs being amputated. He is attempting to qualify for the 2014 Winter Paralympics.

Following the IPC Nor-Am Cup, the team will next come together for the March 2013 Winter Paralympics test event in Sochi, Russia.



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