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"Old Ironsides" sails again: world's oldest commissioned warship USS Constitution marks 220 years and US Navy's 242nd birthday

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The world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat got underway for the first time in three years as the USS Constitution got underway from the ship’s berth in Charlestown, Massachusetts, on Oct. 20, in commemoration of the ship’s launching 220 years ago and the U.S. Navy’s 242nd birthday.
At 11:40 a.m., Constitution performed a 21-gun salute which was returned by the Concord Battery and 101st Field Artillery near Fort Independence on Castle Island. Fort Independence is a state park that served as a defensive position for Boston Harbor from 1634 to 1962.

The ship also fired an additional 17 shots at 12:15 p.m. as she passed the U.S. Coast Guard Station, the former site of the Edmund Hartt shipyard where Constitution was built. Each round of this salute honored the 16 states that comprised America when Constitution launched in 1797 and one in honor of the ship.

“Getting Constitution back on the water has been my mission ever since I took command in 2015,” said Cmdr. Robert S. Gerosa, Jr., Constitution’s 74th commanding officer.

USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy, named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America.  read more »

Scotland: world 1st floating wind farm, built by offshore oil company, begun in 2016 now delivers electricity powering 20k homes

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18 Oct 2017 - First floating wind farm, built by offshore oil company, delivers electricity - Anchored, floating turbines allow offshore wind installations in deep waters.
The world’s first floating offshore wind farm began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid today.

The 30MW installation, situated 25km (15.5mi) from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.

The installation, called Hywind Scotland, is also interesting because it was built by Statoil, a Norwegian mega-corporation known for offshore oil drilling. Statoil has pursued offshore wind projects in recent years, using the company's experience building and managing infrastructure in difficult open sea conditions to its advantage.

Hywind Scotland began producing power in September, and today it starts delivering electricity to the Scottish grid.

The five 6MW turbines are the first commercial turbines to lack a firm attachment to the seafloor. The towers extend 176m (577ft) above the water and 78m (256ft) below it. Each tower is capable of pitching its blades to reduce unwanted motion and optimize power output depending on the wind direction and strength.  read more »

France: streets of Lyon, Sheep bleating, bells tinkling, farmers protesting and demanding protection from wolves attacking

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Lyon (AFP) - Animal lovers may be delighted that wolves are roaming the French mountains once again -- but the predators' increasing attacks on sheep have farmers longing to get their guns out.

On Monday, farmers flooded the streets of the city of Lyon with hundreds of sheep, demanding more government action after what authorities say were more than 10,000 animal deaths blamed on wolves last year.

Some farmers wore t-shirts emblazoned with photos of their bloodied livestock as they marched alongside their flocks, who filled the city air with the sound of bleating and tinkling bells.

"When you discover the body of one of your sheep with its throat ripped out by a wolf, it is horrible. It's traumatic," said Nicolas Fabre, a 38-year-old farmer from Cornus in the southern Aveyron region.

Wolves have targeted his flock twice in recent months, killing three sheep.

Wolves used to be common in France before dying out in the early 1930s. They reappeared naturally at the beginning of the 1990s and are now believed to number around 360.

Farmers across Aveyron, a sunny agricultural region famed for its pungent Roquefort blue cheese, say they have tried protecting their flocks with dogs, fences and netting, but to no avail.

And they say it is impossible to watch permanently over their animals, which are often spread over hilly, wooded land stretching dozens of hectares.

"There are 800,000 sheep in Aveyron," says Francois Giacobbi, a breeder in charge of the issue for the local farmers' association. "It's basically a pantry for the wolves."  read more »

Solar vs Coal: same power output from simplest equation: 1 square mile = 4 million barrels of oil

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Last Pacific Coast Coal Terminal Nixed - Industry’s dream to export U.S. coal to Asia is dead
The state of Washington's Department of Ecology has rejected a necessary water-quality permit sought by Millennium Bulk Logistics for its proposed coal-export terminal at Longview, Washington. Barring a successful appeal of the decision, this means the end of the line not only for Millennium's dream of building the largest coal-export facility in North America, but also for the coal industry's larger scheme to ship vast amounts of U.S. coal to Asian markets.

"This is the end," says Bruce Nilles, senior campaign director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. "Almost exactly seven years ago, Peabody Coal proposed its first project to move huge amounts of coal around the globe. This is a testament to the tens of thousands of people who raised their voices and said, 'Hell no.'"

Shipping coal abroad was supposed to be a lifeline for the U.S. coal industry, given plummeting domestic demand as renewables became cost-competitive with fossil fuels. With vast coal reserves readily available in the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, coal companies pinned their hopes on exporting it to Asia via seven proposed terminals on the West Coast. With Longview blocked, coal opponents are now seven for seven in stopping those terminals. (The others were to be at Cherry Point and Grays Harbor in Washington; Port Westward, Coos Bay, and Port of Morrow in Oregon; and Oakland, California.)

(unquote)  read more »

145.5 million personal data stolen. US adult population: 249 million. Equifax CEO apologized and quit. His fault? Hardly so

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12 September, 2017
Equifax CEO Richard Smith Apologizes for the 'Most Humbling Moment in Our 118-Year History'
Equifax CEO Richard Smith has apologized for the massive cybersecurity breach at the company, which he described as "the most humbling moment in our 118-year history" and resolved to "make changes" to ensure nothing similar happens again.

28 September, 2017
Equifax Promises A New Lifetime Service, As New Leader Offers An Apology
Equifax is promising consumers new control over access to their personal credit data — for free, and for life — as interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. apologized to people affected by the company's recent data breach. He said the company had failed to live up to expectations.

"On behalf of Equifax, I want to express my sincere and total apology," Barros wrote in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.

In the piece published behind the Journal's online paywall, but that doesn't seem to have been reproduced on Equifax's own site, Barros also unveiled plans for a new credit-monitoring tool:

"By Jan. 31, Equifax will offer a new service allowing all consumers the option of controlling access to their personal credit data. The service we are developing will let consumers easily lock and unlock access to their Equifax credit files. You will be able to do this at will. It will be reliable, safe and simple. Most significantly, the service will be offered free, for life."  read more »

Nature's wonder wild bison wanders back into Germany for 1st time after 250yrs, immediately shot and killed by order of official

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Conservationists are expressing outrage after an official in Germany ordered hunters to shoot the first wild bison seen in the country in more than two centuries. Calling the killing a criminal offense, the World Wildlife Fund says it will file charges against the official who gave the order, the Local reports.

“After more than 250 years a wild bison had been spotted again in Germany and all the authorities could think to do is shoot it," says Chris Heinrich, a WWF board member. The bison was seen by the river Oder near the eastern town of Lebus on Wednesday. Thinking the beast was a threat to public safety, a local official sent a pair of hunters to take care of it. It was unclear if any of them knew the European bison is classed as a "vulnerable" species and on Germany’s list of "strongly protected animals." The victim was likely a bull that had wandered across the border from Poland from its home in a national park. While they may be the continent's largest land mammals, weighing up to 2,200 pounds, the bison are not considered dangerous. If they were, says the local environmental minister, then "half of Poland, where the animal is a national symbol, would have to be declared a danger zone." Hunted to near extinction in Europe in the early 20th century, the bison are making a comeback thanks to conservationists, with more than 1,200 now roaming around Poland, per the Telegraph, which published a video showing bison fleeing, then standing up to, a pack of wolves. (The US bison is the country's first national mammal.)  read more »

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Before man to blow to right
The wind once blew itself untaught,
And did its loudest day and night
In any rough place where it caught.

Man came to tell it what was wrong:
It hadn't found the place to blow;
It blew too hard - the aim was song.
And listen - how it ought to go!

He took a little in his mouth,
And held it long enough for north
To be converted into south,
And then by measure blew it forth.

By measure. It was word and note,
The wind the wind had meant to be -
A little through the lips and throat.
The aim was song - the wind could see.

— Robert Frost

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