Agregador de notícies

NASA Chief Defends Obama's Space Plan

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Boston MA (SPX) May 13, 2010 - In a lecture on Monday at MIT, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. defended President Barack Obama's controversial plans for the U.S. space agency's future and touted the president's plan to invest billions of dollars in basic science research.

Some in Congress have criticized Obama's proposal to cancel the Constellation program, which would have sent humans to the moon by 2020, saying such a move will effectively cede U.S. space leadership to other nations. But Bolden noted that the White House's plan would also invest an additional $6 billion in NASA over the next five years, including a 60-percent increase in earth sciences research funding, as well as a 20-percent increase in planetary sciences research.

Such an expansion could revitalize NASA's ties with institutions like MIT, which has played an instrumental role in the agency since NASA was founded in 1958.

"The frustration for me is that we always talk about the cancellation of Constellation," former astronaut Bolden said of his appearances before Congress and interviews with the media, in which he has been grilled over the president's plan. "But we are adding an incredible amount of money for research."

Bolden was at MIT to deliver the 20th annual Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) public lecture, titled "Looking Ahead to the Future of NASA." Headquartered at MIT, the MSGC's primary goal is to represent NASA in Massachusetts by supporting space exploration and research by the state's students and teachers.

David Mindell, the Frances and David Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing and director of MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society, said that Bolden's defense of Obama's proposal wasn't surprising, given that it's his job to do so.

"But the proposal does recommend a fresh approach that, though risky, could reinvigorate human spaceflight in the U.S. and restart research - at MIT and many other places - that had been sacrificed for the Constellation program," he said.

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems Dava Newman agreed, saying that the proposal would strengthen - not weaken - U.S. leadership in space.

"The budget for science, engineering and technology development, testbeds and flight experiments is extraordinary, and if realized, will help NASA once again become the agency to realize exploration (both human and robotic) and major technological breakthroughs both in space and here on Earth," Newman said.

"It's very exciting to think of this future investment in science, engineering and technology and to think that MIT students and faculty will be part of the community to shape NASA's future and to realize this vision.

Looking ahead
During his talk, Bolden said NASA was going through what he called a "difficult, but very interesting" period.

As a former astronaut who completed four space flights, Bolden expressed sadness about the prospect of ending NASA's space-shuttle fleet, admitting he is "emotionally attached" to the shuttle program.

But he insisted that NASA is "committed" to Obama's new era of space exploration, which calls for a flexible path approach for NASA to gain progressively more experience, such as a lunar fly-by or exploration of asteroids, before making a trip to Mars.

The plan also calls for developing a "heavy-lift" system to launch spacecraft into deep space, as well as technologies to protect humans from long-term radiation. In the future, NASA would lease vehicles from private companies to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

"The president, with my full agreement, made a change - a big change," Bolden said of Obama's decision to undertake a new direction for NASA, adding that the agency's fundamental goal "to boldly advance the human presence beyond the cradle of Earth," has not changed, and that Mars remains an "especially compelling target."

Bolden outlined several tracks that NASA has proposed to achieve its goals, such as developing robotic technologies to scout new targets and test precision landings. He said the agency remains focused on using the International Space Station to learn more about human health issues, referring to ongoing work by ISS researchers to develop a salmonella vaccine.

He pledged NASA's commitment to develop a commercial launch industry for carrying humans into low Earth orbit, but said that the agency was still fine-tuning specific operations details, such as whether a crew would be trained at NASA facilities. He also said the agency was honoring Obama's request to collaborate with other countries like Saudi Arabia to foster science research.

When pressed to name a timetable for a manned mission to Mars, Bolden said it was "pretty vague," but that if NASA started to develop the architecture for a heavy-lift launch vehicle right now, it could be as soon as the early 2020s that a spacecraft orbits the moon, and maybe 2025 for a spacecraft or robot to land on an asteroid. Those advances could make travel to Mars a reality by 2030, he said.

Regardless of a timetable, Bolden insisted that NASA's future must include increased collaboration with research institutions like MIT, noting that, "we can't carry out this work without engaging the public."

Rock And Roll: Titan's Gem Tumbler

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 13, 2010 - It appears flash flooding has paved streambeds in the Xanadu region of Saturn's moon Titan with thousands of sparkling crystal balls of ice, according to scientists with NASA's Cassini spacecraft. By analyzing the way the terrain has scattered radar beams, scientists deduce the spheres measure at least a few centimeters (inches) and maybe up to a couple of meters (yards) in diameter. The spheres likely originated as part of water-ice bedrock in higher terrain in Xanadu.

"What we believe happened in this area is a lot like what creates polished river rocks on Earth," said Alice Le Gall, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the lead author of the study, which used the Cassini radar instrument. "Bouncing downstream smoothes out the edges of rocks."

As foothill residents know in southern California and other areas, sudden rains can trigger mudslides and flooding at the mountainous fringes of desert areas. Those flows can pick up boulders and debris and tumble them downstream. On Titan, the flows appear to have occurred periodically for eons, on a catastrophic scale.

The process on Titan, however, involves rain made of liquid methane and ethane, rather than Earth's water rain. Titan's rocks are believed to be made primarily of water ice frozen into a hard mass about minus 180 degrees Celsius (minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit), rather than Earth's mineral rocks.

Earth-like river rocks have already been observed on Titan at the landing site of the European Space Agency's Huygens probe, near the equator in the borderland between the Adiri and Shangri-la regions. The landing site also showed signs of flash flooding that deposited cobblestones about 2 to 20 centimeters (1 to 8 inches) in diameter.

But the spidery channels in this southern lowland part of Xanadu looked brighter to Cassini's radar instrument than the Huygens landing area. In fact, the channels, which were scanned by Cassini in May 2008, are among the brightest features ever seen on Titan by the radar instrument.

In a paper now available online in the journal Icarus, Le Gall and colleagues concluded that the most plausible explanation for the extreme brightness of the Xanadu channels was a collection of transparent spherical sediments, packed more tightly together than the cobblestones at the Huygens landing site. The effect would be similar to bejeweling an area with light-catching rhinestones.

The spheres appear to be made of water ice - possibly doped with ammonia - that would look bright to the microwaves used by Cassini's radar. Spheres are good at sending light back in the direction it came from. This property has actually led manufacturers to use plastic spheres in reflective paints and tape, Le Gall said.

Xanadu may be an especially good gem grinder because of its broad expanse and gentle southward slope. Flows could have traveled long distances there and tumbled the chunks for hundreds of kilometers (miles). The subtle work to shape them into spheres could have come from fine grit rubbing against the rocks in the flowing methane. Or, ice may be malleable in Titan's cold temperatures, deforming plastically during the collisions rather than fracturing. The flows that transported these icy spheres probably traveled around 1 meter per second (2 mph).

"It's been really hard for a long time for people to understand why Xanadu is so bright," said Steve Wall, a radar team member at JPL. "You might not expect these kinds of geometries in a natural setting, but we believe this can explain the enigma."

The radar team plans to continue looking for other instances of small, smooth spheres in nature to increase their confidence about the explanation. They also said more study is needed on the mechanical properties of water ice at such cold temperatures.

"Here is yet another example of Titan as a world with Earth-like processes," said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at JPL. "As the seasons change on Titan, maybe we'll get a chance to see methane flow through some of the river channels."

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the United States and several European countries.

ESA Giving A Spare Arm To Space Station

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Paris, France (ESA) May 13, 2010 - Space Shuttle Atlantis, ready for liftoff on Friday, will deliver important hardware from Europe to the International Space Station: spare portions of the European Robotic Arm and the first Russian payloads to use the arm.

The European Robotic Arm (ERA) is the second 'intelligent' robot arm for the International Space Station (ISS). The first, used extensively for ISS assembly for almost 10 years, is Canadarm-2 - an iconic part of the ISS photos. The second arm, for launch in 2012, will be based on Russia's Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), from where it can 'walk' to other locations. "Already now more than a third of the pressurised Station elements are built and designed in Europe and European knowhow is keeping Station in operation," says Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight.

"Launching the ERA spare arm is an important step in keeping the ability for demanding robotic operations in case of technical failures - these may happen during the prolonged life of the ISS."

A new ERA in ISS robotics
ERA will be used to service the Russian segment of the ISS and to transfer small payloads directly to space via MLM's special airlock, liberating astronauts from time-consuming, fatiguing and potentially hazardous tasks outside the Station.

The Shuttle's main cargo is Russia's Mini Research Module 1 (MRM-1), with ERA's spare mid-section attached. Hopefully, it will never be needed. Atlantis is also carrying the MLM airlock, a portable work platform and an MLM radiator.

ERA's other spare parts can be delivered later on smaller, unmanned craft, if needed, but this long and bulky composite of two limbs and elbow joint needs the Shuttle's help.

A walking arm
The complete operational ERA will be launched in 2012 by a Proton rocket, attached to the MLM.

ERA consists of two 'end-effectors' - dexterous hands, attaching the arm to the Station and routing power and command links - two wrists, two limbs and an elbow joint, together with electronics and cameras. Both ends can act as either a hand or the base.

Longer than 11 m, ERA can walk around the ISS under its own control, hand-over-hand between base points. Astronauts can control it from inside or outside the Station.

European hi-tech
"The importance of this launch is wider than just the launch of a spare arm without hands," explains Philippe Schoonejans, ERA project manager.

"The fact that the Russian space agency launches on this flight with MRM-1 several pieces of hardware designed for operation by ERA makes this launch a precursor for the operational phase of ERA."

ERA was developed by a European consortium led by Dutch Space, with subcontractors in eight countries.

"The launch of the spare hardware highlights the enormous effort put into the development of the European Robotic Arm by all parties involved over the past years," says Bart Reijnen, CEO of Dutch Space.

"Looking forward, it is an important milestone towards the peak of the ERA project, the launch of the flight model."

Sun's Constant Size Surprises Scientists

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 13, 2010 - A group of astronomers led by the University of Hawaii's Dr. Jeff Kuhn has found that in recent times the Sun's size has been remarkably constant. Its diameter has changed by less than one part in a million over the last 12 years.

"This constancy is baffling, given the violence of the changes we see every day on the Sun's surface and the fluctuations that take place over an 11-year solar cycle," commented Kuhn, the associate director of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA) who is responsible for Haleakala Observatories.

Kuhn's work is part of worldwide efforts to understand the influence of the Sun on Earth's climate. "We can't predict the climate on Earth until we understand these changes on the Sun," he said.

Kuhn and his colleagues (Dr. Rock Bush from Stanford, Dr. Marcelo Emilio from Brazil, and Dr. Isabelle Scholl at IfA) used NASA's long-lived Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite to monitor the Sun's diameter, and they will soon repeat the experiment with much greater accuracy using NASA's new Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which was launched on February 11.

According to Kuhn, the ultimate solution to this puzzle will depend on probing the smallest observable scales of the solar surface using the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST), which is scheduled for completion on Haleakala in 2017.

"To be able to predict what the Sun will do, we need both the big picture and the details," said Kuhn. "Just as powerful hurricanes on Earth start as a gentle breeze, the analogs of terrestrial storms on the Sun start as small kinks in the Sun's magnetic field."

Bonds And Beads Of Courage Fly On Atlantis

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Washington DC (SPX) May 11, 2010 - Soldiers, policemen and firemen risk their lives every day serving their country or community. Each day people stumble upon accidents or jump into frozen rivers to save survivors of plane crashes. We recognize these heroes for their acts of courage; medals, decorations and other rewards are bestowed upon them by an appreciative public official or superior officer.

How do you recognize and encourage a young child fighting a battle against a life-threatening disease? A battle that is no less dangerous and harrowing? A battle where the outcome is as uncertain as the dangers faced by more well-known heroes?

You present that child with a Bead of Courage.

Jamie Newton, an employee of CIBER Inc., a support contractor at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., knows about Beads of Courage. His six-year-old daughter, Sydney, has been battling cancer for more than a year. During that time, Sydney has received more than 450 beads - each representing an entirely separate event in the process of her treatments.

"There really is no way to fully explain how the past year has affected us all; affected our family," said Newton. "It's been a really tough year. Sydney has done everything she's been asked to do and more."

Early this year, Newton developed the idea of asking NASA about the possibility of flying some very special beads for Beads of Courage Inc., of Tucson, Ariz., on one of the final space shuttle missions.

Space Beads of Courage
Beads of Courage is the organization that provides the Beads of Courage Program and other innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.

Together, Beads of Courage and Newton developed the idea of sponsoring a contest for the best designs of a new bead of courage. These special beads of courage would highlight the role of the space program as space beads of courage.

Newton thought "nothing could be more encouraging to a child fighting cancer than to see a symbol of courage - a bead - actually flown to space by the very people who ride into orbit on the space shuttle. That act represents one of the most courageous things other human beings do for all of us."

The contest to design the space beads of courage ran from mid-March to mid-April and concluded with the selection of 17 bead designs. Realizing that only a handful of shuttle launches remained before the end of the shuttle program, Newton and Beads of Courage submitted a request to fly the beads to NASA.

The Space Shuttle Program Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston approved the request to fly the beads as part of NASA's Official Flight Kit.

The space beads, designed by talented bead artists, will fly aboard space shuttle Atlantis with Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Steve Bowen, and Piers Sellers. The shuttle and its crew are scheduled to lift off on Friday, May 14 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

After Atlantis returns from its mission, NASA will present the string of beads to Beads of Courage Inc. as a symbol of courage to sick children everywhere.

"It is a great honor to be a part of and support a wonderful organization like NASA," said Newton. "This opportunity to fly the Space Beads of Courage onboard space shuttle Atlantis will help children battling cancer and hopefully inspire them to be among the next generations of astronauts and engineers; making it possible for all of us to see what lies beyond our Earth."

"Since 2005, we have been working to transform the treatment experience for children coping with chronic, life threatening illness through our arts-in-medicine programs," explained Jean Baruch, founder of the Beads of Courage program. "We are honored to work with the NASA family on this worthy effort."

Nuclear fusion: North Korea claims Holy Grail of energy

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Paris (AFP) May 12, 2010 - North Korea's claim on Wednesday to have carried out nuclear fusion touches on a vision of cheap, green, endless energy that is mustering billions of research dollars among advanced economies and, say experts, may take decades to achieve.

Instead of splitting the atom -- the principle behind the atomic bomb and present-day nuclear reactors -- fusion entails ramming the nuclei of light atomic elements together to make heavier elements and in the process release huge amounts of energy.

In essence, it is the same principle that powers the stars. In the Sun, mighty gravitational forces crush hydrogen atoms together to produce helium, with solar energy the byproduct.

Replicating stellar power on Earth, though, means overcoming a daunting array of technical and financial hurdles and drawing on expertise from many fields and different countries.

So the sketchy claims by the impoverished, enclosed Communist state are bound to be eyed with scepticism.

Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of Pyongyang's ruling communist party, said the North's experts had developed nuclear fusion using a "Korean-style" thermonuclear device.

"The successful nuclear fusion marks a great event that demonstrated the rapidly developing cutting-edge science and technology of the DPRK (North Korea)," it said.

Under fusion, a huge jolt of heat, to nearly 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) would kickstart the process, fusing atomic nuclei and containing them in a charged gas called a plasma.

Getting the process started is only one problem. Another is how to how to sustain it and contain the plasma so that the cloud of particles do not escape.

Then there is the big energy equation -- the cost in energy it takes to pump up the plasma to such high temperatures in comparison with the yield this brings.

So far, despite steady improvements, no one has achieved a self-sustaining fusion event longer than a few minutes and input/yield ratios remain low.

Current projects in nuclear fusion are only at the early experimental stage and have each required commitments of billions of dollars just to be initiated.

A European-led initiative is the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), located Cadarache, southern France, scheduled to start plasma experiments in 2018 and if successful lead to a commercial reactor in the 2030s.

The backers in the 10-billion-euro scheme are the European Union (EU), which has a 45-percent share, China, India, South Korea, Japan and Russia as well as the United States.

The idea is to have fusion in a reactor fuelled by two isotopes of hydrogen -- deuterium and tritium -- with helium as the waste product in addition to the energy.

The plasma would be contained in a magnetic field in a doughnut-shaped vessel called a tokamak.

Looking at the key issue of fusion ignition, the United States has built the world's largest laser, a 3.5-billion-dollar behemoth covering the size of two football pitches, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

The idea is for 192 laser beams to zap fuel tiny pellets of beryllium, plastic or high-density carton, so compressing the fuel that temperatures of 111 million C (200 million F) are briefly reached.

Tested for the first time in January, the lasers fire 40 times more power than the average consumption of the entire planet, albeit for only a few nanoseconds.

Fusion's supporters say the abundance of raw materials is almost infinite and the energy itself and its waste products are far safer than with fission, for there is no critical mass. Critics say the research billions would be better spent on improving current clean renewable sources, such as wind, solar and wave energy.

Making light work: The 50-year odyssey of the laser

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Paris (AFP) May 12, 2010 - Fifty years ago next Sunday, a 32-year-old engineer called Theodore Maiman switched on a gadget at Hughes Research Laboratories in California, and watched as pulses of light sprang from a pink ruby crystal.

It was a geek eureka: the moment when the laser was born. And the world would change forever. But not just yet.

When Maiman's great invention was announced, the response was essentially "Doh?" as people tried to figure out what it was and what use could be made of it.

That was swiftly followed by an "Eek!" when the press came up with some scary headlines.

"LA Man Discovers Science-Fiction Death Ray," said one, reflecting the zeitgeist of 1960, when the Cold War mixed promiscuously with B-movies about aliens.

Since then, the laser has revolutionised life. It brings, sends and stores data in vast batches at light speed, measures material and cuts it with sub-millimetric precision.

It can be found in things as everyday as supermarket bar-code scanners -- the first scanned object was a packet of Wrigley's chewing gum in 1974 -- just as it can be found in hi-tech self-targeting bombs, sniper's sights, adaptive optics in astronomical telescopes and research into nuclear fusion, the ultimate in clean energy.

Lasers drive your CD and DVD player. They make holograms and light shows. They probably marked, cut and welded the frame of your car. They will smooth your wrinkles, zap your cancer, correct your short-sightedness.

And if you are reading this story online, think of the lasers that got it to you -- more than million lasers power the Internet, shuttling terabytes of data through optical fibre.

"The story of the laser is incredible," Tim Holt, head of the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, said in an interview.

"Along with the integrated circuit, the laser has been the most revolutionary technology of the last 50 years."

The conceptual pathway that leads to the bog-standard laser pointer starts with the brain of Albert Einstein.

In 1917, Einstein put forward the theory of stimulated emission, in which a photon, or light particle, causes an excited atom to emit an identical photon.

It was 1953 before the US physicist Charles Townes put the phenomenon to the test, with a "maser" -- Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation -- in which microwaves were used as the atom-exciter.

Townes and a colleague, Arthur Schawlow, then had the idea of using visible light rather than microwave, although it was Maiman who made the concept work. "Light" replaced "Microwave" in the acronym, and the word Laser entered the vocabulary.

The first laser beam was light amplified by a solid ruby rod, but within months this was followed by a helium neon laser, devised at the rival Bell Laboratories, also in 1960.

In 1962 came the first big practical breakthrough, a laser made of a diode of gallium arsenide, whose principle provides the backbone of small commercial laser devices today.

More than 10 Nobel prizes have been awarded for laser research, both in conceptual work but also in the practicalities of using laser pulses for storing and moving data.

Today, the top end of research is "femtosecond" lasers, in which ultra-fast lasers alter the "spin" of electrons in individual atoms to provide a more compact, denser storage on hard drives.

A prototype femtosecond laser tested by French physicists last year is able to retrieve data with a burst of just a millionth of a billionth of a second, a performance that notionally could accelerate the performance of present hard discs by up to 100,000 times.

"Lasers have given us a step in capability that is truly mind-boggling," said David Hanna, a professor in opto-electronics at the University of Southampton, England.

"Their possibilities will not be fully digested or exhausted for a very long time to come."

NASA Ames Stimulates Economy With Jobs And Innovation

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Moffett Field CA (SPX) May 11, 2010 - NASA's Ames Research Center generated 5,300 jobs and $877 million in total annual economic activity in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area in 2009, according to a new economic benefits study.

The study found that nationally, NASA Ames supports more than 8,400 jobs and generates $1.3 billion in annual economic activity. Coordinated by the NASA Research Park Office and prepared by Emeryville-based Bay Area Economics (BAE) in association with Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations and Management's San Francisco office, the study also reported that NASA Ames produced 5,900 jobs and contributed $932 million to California's economy in 2009.

The study also forecast that NASA Ames' total economic impacts will grow significantly as its NASA Research Park (NRP) is completed.

"As Ames explores space and our planet, it stimulates economic growth by employing scientists and engineering professionals, promoting technology innovation, and preparing the workforce of the future - all to enhance the health, growth, and long-term competitiveness of the Bay Area and the nation," said Ames Director S. Pete Worden.

Currently host to more than 70 on-site industry, university and non-profit partners, NRP will ultimately comprise 5.7 million square feet of new construction for research and development offices, university classrooms and laboratories, rental housing, museums, and a conference and education center.

New construction at NRP is expected to total approximately $2.8 billion, generating an average of 1,700 construction jobs annually over the next 15 years in the Bay Area, 1,900 in California, and more than 2,800 nationally.

"With the unemployment rate in the Bay Area for construction workers at 30 per cent, the development of the NASA Research Park may create thousands of jobs that will help put people to work and stimulate the local economy. It is these types of projects that create a triple bottom line: higher education, economic development and good jobs," said Neil Struthers, chief executive officer of the Santa Clara and San Benito Building and Construction Trades Council.

Upon full occupancy, NRP partners may further stimulate the local, state, and national economy with new jobs and economic activity. Bay Area Economics estimated that NRP would trigger $4 billion in new annual economic activity resulting in an additional 21,400 jobs in the Bay Area region. The study also predicted that nationally, NRP will contribute $5.8 billion in new annual economic activity and 33,800 new permanent jobs.

The NRP was developed in partnership with the neighboring cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale. "For many years the City of Mountain View and NASA Ames have enjoyed a close partnership. This Economic Benefits Study quantifies Ames', and particularly the Research Park's, employment and economic output contribution to our region, and the city looks forward to continuing this partnership to enhance these benefits for our community," said Mountain View City Manager Kevin C. Duggan.

The study concluded that NASA Ames also plays a critical role in supporting the nation's drive to promoting future economic growth. NASA Ames has forged numerous partnerships with private industry, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations that have contributed to breakthroughs in climate change research, disaster response capacity, commercialization of space, robotics, supercomputing, nanotechnology, small satellites, and green/clean technology.

"NASA Ames fuels innovation through exploration that creates jobs and helps power the Silicon Valley economy," said Silicon Valley Leadership Group Chief Executive Officer Carl Guardino. "This is but one more stellar example of NASA Ames' contributions to our region, state and nation."

NASA is working to educate the next generation of scientists, engineers, and technical professionals, and operates a comprehensive set of educational programs that teach students and train teachers in science, technology, engineering and math.

The NRP's educational partners include the University of California Santa Cruz, Carnegie Mellon University, Santa Clara University, Foothill / De Anza Community College, United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation, and Singularity University.

"In addition to the NRP research and development collaborations, we are developing more formal multi-party relationships, including science, technology, engineering and math education and regional disaster assistance, with the fundamental premise of leveraging all parties' expertise, facilities and resources to accomplish more than we can as individual organizations," said NRP Director Michael Marlaire.

NASA Ames Research Center is one of 10 NASA centers with an annual budget of approximately $750 million and more than 2,500 onsite civil servant and contractor employees. NASA Ames is located on approximately 2,000 acres adjacent to the cities of Mountain View and Sunnyvale in California's Silicon Valley.

NASA Ames conducts scientific research and research and development in the fields of astrobiology; Earth and life sciences; artificial intelligence; information technology; supercomputing; airspace systems; entry, descent, and landing systems; and small satellites and related technologies.

HTC strikes back at Apple with patent complaint

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Washington (AFP) May 12, 2010 - Taiwan-based mobile phone maker HTC Corp. filed a patent infringement complaint against Apple on Wednesday seeking a ban on imports of Asian-manufactured iPhones, iPods and iPads into the United States.

HTC, the target of a patent suit by Apple in March alleging infringement of 20 iPhone patents, said it had filed its complaint with the Washington-based US International Trade Commission.

The HTC action alleges that Apple products infringed five HTC patents and seeks to have them barred from being imported into the United States from their manufacturing facilities in Asia.

"We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones," HTC vice president of North America Jason Mackenzie said.

"HTC believes the industry should be driven by healthy competition and innovation that offer consumers the best, most accessible mobile experiences possible," Mackenzie said in a statement.

HTC, which stands for High Tech Computer Corp., is Taiwan's leading smartphone maker.

The company makes handsets for a number of leading US companies and is the manufacturer of the Nexus One unveiled by Apple rival Google in January.

Apple in March accused HTC of infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the "user interface, underlying architecture and hardware" of the iPhone.

Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, filed the lawsuit in a US District Court in the state of Delaware and with the US International Trade Commission.

In the suit, Apple, which has sold more than 50 million iPhones worldwide, asked for unspecified damages and an injunction to prevent HTC from making or selling products using the patents in dispute.

Patent lawsuits are a regular occurrence among technology giants and Apple is currently being sued by Nokia for patent infringement. Apple has fired back a countersuit against the Finnish mobile phone giant.

Canada's Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, has also had its share of patent woes and was accused of patent infringement by US mobile phone maker Motorola in a suit filed in January.

NASA And JPL Assets Aiding In Oil Spill Response

SpaceDaily.com (anglès) - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 10:10
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 13, 2010 - An advanced JPL-built optical sensor flying aboard a NASA research aircraft is among several NASA remote-sensing assets being mobilized to help assess the spread and impact of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at the request of U.S. disaster response agencies.

As part of the national response to the spill and at the request of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA deployed its instrumented research aircraft, the Earth Resources-2 (ER-2) to the Gulf on May 6. The ER-2, outfitted with JPL's Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) and the Cirrus Digital Camera System, supplied by NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., was sent to collect detailed images of the Gulf of Mexico and its threatened coastal wetlands.

NASA is also making extra satellite observations and conducting additional data processing to assist NOAA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Department of Homeland Security in monitoring the spill.

"NASA has been asked to help with the first response to the spill, providing imagery and data that can detect the presence, extent and concentration of oil," said Michael Goodman, program manager for natural disasters in the Earth Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

"We also have longer-term work we have started in the basic research of oil in the ocean and its impacts on sensitive coastal ecosystems."

NASA pilots flew the ER-2 from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California to a temporary base of operations at Johnson Space Center's Ellington Field in Houston. Along the way, the plane collected data over the Gulf coast and the oil slick to support spill mapping and document the condition of coastal wetlands before oil landfall. The ER-2 made a second flight on May 10, and more flights are planned.

The AVIRIS team, led by JPL's Robert Green, is measuring how the water absorbs and reflects light in order to map the location and concentration of oil, which separates into a thin, widespread sheen and smaller, thick patches. Satellites can document the overall extent of the oil but cannot distinguish between the sheen and thick patches. '

While the sheen represents most of the area of the slick, the majority of the oil is concentrated in the thicker part. AVIRIS should be able to identify the thicker parts, helping oil spill responders know where to deploy oil-skimming boats and absorbent booms.

Researchers also plan to measure changes in vegetation along the coastline and assess where and how oil may be affecting marshes, swamps, bayous, and beaches that are difficult to survey on the ground. The combination of satellite and airborne imagery will assist NOAA in forecasting the trajectory of the oil and in documenting changes in the ecosystem.

From the outset of the spill on April 20, 2010, NASA has provided satellite images to federal agencies from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites; the Japanese Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on Terra; and the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) and Hyperion instruments on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. All of these observations have been funneled to the Hazards Data Distribution System operated by the USGS. The ASTER U.S. science team is located at JPL.

With its very wide field of view, MODIS provides a big picture of the oil spill and its evolution roughly twice a day. The Hyperion, ALI, and ASTER instruments observe over much smaller areas in finer detail, but less often (every two to five days).

Other NASA satellite and airborne instruments are collecting observations of the spill to advance basic research and to explore future remote-sensing capabilities. From space, the JPL-built and managed Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer (MISR) instrument on Terra, JPL's Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument on Aqua, and the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) on the joint NASA-France CALIPSO satellite are collecting data.

Another NASA research aircraft, the King Air B-200 from Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., was previously scheduled to fly to California this week but changed its flight plan to collect data over the area of the oil spill. It completed its first flight over the spill on May 10.

The High Spectral Resolution Lidar onboard the plane uses pulses of laser light to locate and identify particles in the environment. Led by Chris Hostetler of Langley, the lidar provides measurements similar to those from the CALIOP instrument on CALIPSO. Data from these space-based and airborne lidars will be used to investigate the thickness of the oil spill below the surface of the water and evaluate the impacts of dispersants used to break up the oil.

"Although NASA's primary expertise is in using remote-sensing instruments to conduct basic research on the entire Earth system, our observations can be used for societal benefit in response to natural and technological disasters like this oil spill," said Goodman.

Runaway Star

A heavy runaway star is rushing away from a nearby stellar nursery at more than 250,000 miles an hour, a speed at which one could travel to the our moon and back in two hours. This is the most extreme case of a very massive star that has been kicked out of its home by a group of even heftier siblings. The homeless star is on the outskirts of the 30 Doradus Nebula, a raucous stellar breeding ground in the nearby Large Magellanic Cloud. The stellar nusery is seen at the center of this image. The finding bolsters evidence that the most massive stars in the local universe reside in 30 Doradus, making it a unique laboratory for studying heavyweight stars. Also called the Tarantula Nebula, 30 Doradus is roughly 170,000 light-years from Earth. Tantalizing clues from three observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope's newly installed Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), and some old- fashioned detective work, suggest that the star may have traveled about 375 light-years from its suspected home, a giant star cluster called R136. Nestled in the core of 30 Doradus, R136 contains several stars topping 100 solar masses each. Visit Hubble Catches Heavyweight Runaway Star for more information. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, C. Evans (Royal Observatory Edinburgh), N. Walbom (STScI), and ESO

Miquel Soriano: 'El vot per internet de la Diagonal no seria vàlid en unes eleccions'

Vilaweb - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 06:00

El sistema de vot per internet en la consulta sobre la Diagonal no seria vàlid en unes eleccions perquè no és pas el més segur. Així ho ha declarat a VilaWeb el professor Miquel Soriano, un dels experts encarregats de vetllar per la seguretat del procés de votació. Ahir el president del PP a l'Ajuntament de Barcelona, Alberto Fernández Díaz, es va trobar que algú ja havia votat per ell. 'El risc era conegut', diu Soriano, que admet que el mètode més segur hauria estat només demanar el DNI electrònic, però que es va preferir aquest altre sistema per fomentar la participació. El sistema de vot en la consulta fou aprovat per tots els grups, tret del PP, que es va abstenir.

Quan Fernández Díaz va anar a votar ahir presencialment li van comunicar que ja ho havia fet per internet i que no hi podia tornar. El dirigent del PP va quedar sorprès i es va haver de dirigir al Punt de Consulta Presencial per notificar que algú li havia usurpat la identitat, va anul·lar la votació falsa i va tornar a votar.

Un dia abans, el votant fraudulent havia cercat i havia trobat el número de DNI i la data de naixement de Fernández Díaz a internet. Després va introduir aquestes dades en el formulari per fer la votació des de la web de la consuta i va escriure-hi el número de telèfon mòbil on li interessava de rebre la clau de votació. Amb aquestes dades ja en tenia prou per votar en nom d'Alberto Fernández Díaz.

Un sistema fràgil

Qualsevol ciutadà que consti en el cens d'aquesta consulta es podria trobar amb aquest problema, per la fragilitat del sistema de votació per internet. Per entendre el perquè d'aquesta fragilitat VilaWeb va parlar ahir amb Miquel Soriano, que juntament amb Josep Casanovas i Manel Medina són els professors de la UPC que presideixen el comitè auditor del sistema electrònic de votació.

Soriano explica que el sistema de votació per internet permet d'identificar els usuaris fraudulents perquè el número de mòbil que s'utilitza per rebre la clau de votació queda registrat. És un sistema amb què es pot identificar qui fa el frau quan s'ha comès, però no el pot evitar. Tot seguit reproduïm la conversa amb Soriano:

- Si algú fa servir la meva identitat i jo no acabo votant, ningú mai no sabrà que aquell vot és fals, perquè jo no he votat i, per tant, ningú no haurà pogut alertar de la irregularitat.

Si algú usurpa la seva identitat assumeix un risc que no sé si per una consulta de la transformació de la Diagonal val la pena assumir, perquè seria fàcilment identificable i podria tenir conseqüències legals per aquesa persona.

- Ara, si algú assumeix el risc, el sistema no impedeix pas que hi hagi vots fraudulents si mai no són denunciats.

D'entrada això era una consulta sobre un carrer, i entenc que no és el mateix que una votació per triar el president de la Generalitat. Si fos aquest cas i es volgués fer una votació electrònica l'únic document vàlid hauria estat el DNI electrònic. N'estic segur. Però aquest cas és diferent, és una consulta, i es va intentar fomentar la participació. El risc era conegut, però la capacitat dissuasòria també hi és.

- No sembla pas un sistema gaire segur.

Ara mateix, amb els sistemes d'identificació d'usuaris per internet, el principal problema és l'autentificació de l'usuari. Com es fa una bona auntentificació de l'usuari? Doncs a través del DNI electrònic. Però si s'hagués fet amb el DNI electrònic, poca gent hauria pogut votar. Quanta gent sap votar amb un DNI electrònic? Un 3%? I segurament encara vaig massa lluny i tot…

- Vist així, per voler més participació ha acabat havent-hi menys seguretat.

Si hagués estat una votació d'una altra cosa, les mesures de seguretat haurien estat unes altres, sens dubte. Hi ha un mecanisme totalment segur amb xarxes de telecomunicacions? No n'hi ha cap. Hi ha riscos fins i tot en la votació presencial. És diferent el risc que pots assumir si és una votació al president de la Generalitat que no en una consulta ciutadana.

- S'ha optat per un dels sistemes menys segurs, doncs.

Cap sistema és totalment segur, i sempre s'acaba arribant a una solució en funció del principi de proporcionalitat.

- Què vol dir aquest principi?

Que a casa meva no vull que em robin, però no hi tinc pas un guarda de seguretat. No té sentit que inverteixi els diners que val, perquè el sistema de defensa que posi anirà en funció de l'atac que pugui rebre. A la consulta sobre la Diagonal la mesura de seguretat que hem implantat és dissuasòria: si algú usurpa la meva identitat assumeix un risc elevat per la transformació d'un carrer…

- Però així la validesa dels resultats és qüestionable.

Jo no me la jugo usurpant identitats. I tampoc no puc fer usurpacions massives en aquest cas, només puc votar per una persona. Com a molt canvio un vot. No puc fer un atac massiu, perquè amb un mòbil només en puc fer un, de vot.

- Un vot és un vot.

Un vot també es pot arribar a canviar en un sistema de votació normal.

Categories: Notícies generals

La confirmació del judici a Camps tensa encara més la política valenciana

Vilaweb - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 06:00

El Tribunal Suprem va desestimar ahir l'arxivament del 'cas dels vestits', la branca de la trama Gürtel que esquitxa el president Francisco Camps. D'aquesta manera el president de la Generalitat pot haver de seure com a acusat. Aquesta decisió ha fet crèixer novament el clam per a la dimissió de Camps en cada cop més sectors de la societat valenciana. Aliè a les crítiques, Camps anuncia de nou que vol liderar el partit i tornar a ser candidat a les eleccions a les Corts de l'any vinent.

El cas que relaciona el president de la Generalitat Valenciana, Francisco Camps, amb els regals dels vestits per part de l'empresa Orange Market, epicentre del cas Gürtel al País Valencià queda reobert. És per aquest motiu que s'han alçat les veus de tots els partits de l'oposició i dels agents socials que reclamen un acte, la dimissió de Camps, que dignifiqui la institució i la política valenciana. En canvi, el PP valencià ha tancat files al voltant dels encausats i neguen la gravetat de la situació.

El portaveu de Compromís a les Corts, Enric Morera, considera que les declaracions del president Camps reafirmant la seva innocència i anunciant que serà candidat a les eleccions 'són un desafiament a la direcció estatal del seu partit' (comunicat de Compromís). Morera diu que les afirmacions de Camps 'són preocupants, perquè signifiquen una provocació a la justícia i a l'estat de dret'. Segons el portaveu parlamentari, Camps 'ha dit que no li importen els tribunals i que serà candidat passi el que passi, prenent el tron d'un nou rei Sol'. Morera ha recordat que Camps havia 'mentit moltes vegades a les Corts' i ha demanat que el president 'digui la veritat i demani disculpes públiques al parlament i al poble que representa'.

Per la seva banda, el secretari general del PSPV, Jorge Alarte, va demanar ahir al president Camps que 'faci un últim acte de dignitat i dimiteixi a les Corts Valencianes'. 'Que demà vagi a les Corts, que es convoqui un ple, que doni les explicacions polítiques que toquin, dissolgui el parlament i marxi i, sobretot, que es deixi de vergonyes, mentides i reprobacions', va sentenciar Alarte.

Hores més tard de l'anunci del Tribunal Suprem espanyol, la direcció del PP es reunia a la seu del partit a València per escenificar la unitat al voltant de Camps. A l'entrada de l'edifici s'hi va concentrar un centenar de manifestants que van rebre els dirigents populars amb crits de 'Camps dimissió, prou corrupció'. A més, EUPV ha convocat per avui concentracions a diverses ciutats per demanar la 'dimissió immediata' de Camps. Les mobilitzacions es faran a les 20.00 hores i se celebraran simultàniament a València davant el Palau de la Generalitat (plaça de Manises), a Castelló davant la Casa dels Caragols (carrer Major, 76), a Alacant a la Casa de les Bruixes (avinguda Doctor Gadea,10) i a Torrevella a la plaça de la Constitució.

Categories: Notícies generals

Manel Medina: 'El vot per internet de la Diagonal no seria vàlid en unes eleccions'

Vilaweb - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 06:00

El sistema de vot per internet en la consulta sobre la Diagonal no seria vàlid en unes eleccions perquè no és pas el més segur. Així ho ha declarat a VilaWeb el professor Manel Medina, un dels experts encarregats de vetllar per la seguretat del procés de votació. Ahir el president del PP a l'Ajuntament de Barcelona, Alberto Fernández Díaz, es va trobar que algú ja havia votat per ell. 'El risc era conegut', diu Medina, que admet que el mètode més segur hauria estat només demanar el DNI electrònic, però que es va preferir aquest altre sistema per fomentar la participació. El sistema de vot en la consulta fou aprovat per tots els grups, tret del PP, que es va abstenir.

Quan Fernández Díaz va anar a votar ahir presencialment li van comunicar que ja ho havia fet per internet i que no hi podia tornar. El dirigent del PP va quedar sorprès i es va haver de dirigir al Punt de Consulta Presencial per notificar que algú li havia usurpat la identitat, va anul·lar la votació falsa i va tornar a votar.

Un dia abans, el votant fraudulent havia cercat i havia trobat el número de DNI i la data de naixement de Fernández Díaz a internet. Després va introduir aquestes dades en el formulari per fer la votació des de la web de la consuta i va escriure-hi el número de telèfon mòbil on li interessava de rebre la clau de votació. Amb aquestes dades ja en tenia prou per votar en nom d'Alberto Fernández Díaz.

Un sistema fràgil

Qualsevol ciutadà que consti en el cens d'aquesta consulta es podria trobar amb aquest problema, per la fragilitat del sistema de votació per internet. Per entendre el perquè d'aquesta fragilitat VilaWeb va parlar ahir amb Manel Medina, que juntament amb Josep Casanovas i Miquel Soriano són els professors de la UPC que presideixen el comitè auditor del sistema electrònic de votació.

Medina explica que el sistema de votació per internet permet d'identificar els usuaris fraudulents perquè el número de mòbil que s'utilitza per rebre la clau de votació queda registrat. És un sistema amb què es pot identificar qui fa el frau quan s'ha comès, però no el pot evitar. Tot seguit reproduïm la conversa amb Medina:

- Si algú fa servir la meva identitat i jo no acabo votant, ningú mai no sabrà que aquell vot és fals, perquè jo no he votat i, per tant, ningú no haurà pogut alertar de la irregularitat.

Si algú usurpa la seva identitat assumeix un risc que no sé si per una consulta de la transformació de la Diagonal val la pena assumir, perquè seria fàcilment identificable i podria tenir conseqüències legals per aquesa persona.

- Ara, si algú assumeix el risc, el sistema no impedeix pas que hi hagi vots fraudulents si mai no són denunciats.

D'entrada això era una consulta sobre un carrer, i entenc que no és el mateix que una votació per triar el president de la Generalitat. Si fos aquest cas i es volgués fer una votació electrònica l'únic document vàlid hauria estat el DNI electrònic. N'estic segur. Però aquest cas és diferent, és una consulta, i es va intentar fomentar la participació. El risc era conegut, però la capacitat dissuasòria també hi és.

- No sembla pas un sistema gaire segur.

Ara mateix, amb els sistemes d'identificació d'usuaris per internet, el principal problema és l'autentificació de l'usuari. Com es fa una bona auntentificació de l'usuari? Doncs a través del DNI electrònic. Però si s'hagués fet amb el DNI electrònic, poca gent hauria pogut votar. Quanta gent sap votar amb un DNI electrònic? Un 3%? I segurament encara vaig massa lluny i tot…

- Vist així, per voler més participació ha acabat havent-hi menys seguretat.

Si hagués estat una votació d'una altra cosa, les mesures de seguretat haurien estat unes altres, sens dubte. Hi ha un mecanisme totalment segur amb xarxes de telecomunicacions? No n'hi ha cap. Hi ha riscos fins i tot en la votació presencial. És diferent el risc que pots assumir si és una votació al president de la Generalitat que no en una consulta ciutadana.

- S'ha optat per un dels sistemes menys segurs, doncs.

Cap sistema és totalment segur, i sempre s'acaba arribant a una solució en funció del principi de proporcionalitat.

- Què vol dir aquest principi?

Que a casa meva no vull que em robin, però no hi tinc pas un guarda de seguretat. No té sentit que inverteixi els diners que val, perquè el sistema de defensa que posi anirà en funció de l'atac que pugui rebre. A la consulta sobre la Diagonal la mesura de seguretat que hem implantat és dissuasòria: si algú usurpa la meva identitat assumeix un risc elevat per la transformació d'un carrer…

- Però així la validesa dels resultats és qüestionable.

Jo no me la jugo usurpant identitats. I tampoc no puc fer usurpacions massives en aquest cas, només puc votar per una persona. Com a molt canvio un vot. No puc fer un atac massiu, perquè amb un mòbil només en puc fer un, de vot.

- Un vot és un vot.

Un vot també es pot arribar a canviar en un sistema de votació normal.

Categories: Notícies generals

Els veïns de Ciutat Vella acusen el regidor socialista Carles Martí de reobrir ràpid els projectes polèmics que l'ex-regidora González havia frenat

Vilaweb - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 06:00

Quan encara no fa un mes de la dimissió de la regidora del districte de Ciutat Vella, Itziar González, les associacions de veïns del barri ja han denunciat que amb el nou regidor, Carles Martí, que ja ocupà aquest càrrec en l'anterior mandat, s'han reactivat els projectes urbanístics més polèmics, que amb González s'havien frenat. En aquest vídeo, Remei Gómez, portaveu de la Xarxa Veïnal de Ciutat Vella, una nova entitat que aplega les associacions de veïns del districte, enumera aquests projectes, explica que el traficants de droga s'han apoderat dels carrers del Raval i denuncia la 'desídia' de l'ajuntment a l'hora de combatre la corrupció.

'No van tardar ni 48 hores d'ençà de la dimissió d'Itziar González per tornar a obrir el projecte de l'hotel del Raval Sud, a l'avinguda Drassanes, i una setmana després vam saber a través de la web que s'havia obert el concurs públic per a l'anomenat projecte dels ascensors de la Barceloneta; amb l'anterior regidora, tots aquests projectes s'havien frenat i s'estaven negociant en un procés de diàleg amb els veïns, que ara s'ha trencat completament', explica Gómez.

A més, la Xarxa recorda que fa pocs dies el batlle Hereu 'va reactivar el projecte de l'hotel de luxe', quan va dir que el projecte era encara vigent, malgrat que l'octubre passat l'ajuntament va aprovar per unanimitat en un ple extraordinari de paralitzar el projecte. L'entitat tem que el consistori cerqui una estratègia per presentar un altre projecte i 'tirar l'hotel endavant'.

Per la presidenta de l'entitat, Maria Mas, que ahir va fer una conferència de premsa a la seu de la Federació d'Associacions de Veïns de Barcelona (FAVB), la iniciativa de l'hotel del Palau es troba 'contaminada per la corrupció'. Mas va instar l'administració a preguntar-se per què es va portar a terme la Modificació del Pla General Metropolità (MPGM) per construir l'hotel que va impulsar Fèlix Millet i a 'fer marxa enrere per a recuperar la qualificació anterior' i impedir així la construcció de l'hotel. Tant Mas com Gómez recorden que el ple de l'ajuntament va acordar l'octubre passat de paralitzar l'hotel, 'cosa que ara sembla no tenir cap valor'.

Gómez, per la seva banda, també explica que al Raval s'hi concentren alguns dels principals problemes del districte, especialment causats pels traficants de drogues, que s'han apoderat d'alguns carrers. Gómez reclama més actuació de la guàrdia urbana que, explica, 'ha estat molts mesos desapareguda al Raval i tot just ara sembla que ha tornat'.

Finalment, la portaveu de l'associació també lamenta la 'manca de compromís' de l'ajuntament a l'hora de combatre la corrupció. 'Feia molt temps que les associacions de veïns alertàvem de pràctiques corruptives entorn a l'atorgació de llicències a Ciutat Vella', diu Gómez, que lamenta que no s'escoltés els veïns i recorda que ara hi ha dos professionals vinculats a l'ajuntament a la presó per suborn en l'atorgació de llicències, un dels quals era un funcionari que fou promocionat quan ja era suposadament investigat.

 

Categories: Notícies generals

Montilla aplaudeix les mesures de Zapatero mentre els governs valencià i balear en recelen

Vilaweb - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 06:00

El president del govern espanyol va anunciar (discurs) ahir una retallada del 5% del sou dels funcionaris i la congelació de pensions com a mesures per reduir en 15.000 milions en dos anys el dèficit públic de l'estat. El pla ha estat aplaudit per la Generalitat catalana, que també retallarà sous i estudia apujar alguns impostos. En canvi, el govern valencià retreu a Zapatero una 'improvisació' mentre que el govern balear qualifica les mesures de 'molt dures'. També en recelen els sindicats, que han anunciat mobilitzacions.

El president de la Generalitat de Catalunya, José Montilla, va anunciar ahir un pla de mesures d'austeritat que preveu una retallada 'exemplar' dels sous dels membres del govern i dels alts càrrecs. Durant la sessió de control parlamentària, Montilla va fer una defensa aferrissada de l'actuació del govern per lluitar contra la crisi i va retreure a l'executiu espanyol que 'arribava una mica tard'. Tanmateix, el cap de l'oposició, Artur Mas, critica que el govern espanyol retalli drets socials en congelar les pensions i retreu a Montilla que vagi 'a remolc' de Zapatero.

Els qui no veuen clares les mesures anunciades són els governs del País Valencià i de les Illes Balears. Els primers consideren que el govern de Zapatero ha improvisat i alerten que aquesta improvisació, 'la tornaran a pagar els ciutadans'. Segons que va explicar ahir el conseller Rafael Blasco, 'Zapatero no té cap proposta per sortir de la crisi' i és per això que va demanar eleccions generals avançades. El govern valencià critica que durant temps l'executiu espanyol negués la crisi i que hagi ajornat les decisions per fer-hi front. A més, considera que les mesures no són les més adients i demana que, en comptes de 'retallar drets socials', suprimeixi 'ministeris que no serveixen per a res o en fusioni uns altres'.

Per la seva banda, el president Francesc Antich va qualificar ahir les mesures de 'molt dures' i va recordar que les Illes eren la comunitat que havia fet 'més esforços' per reduir el dèficit. De fet, Antich va recordar que les Illes ja havien reduït els pressupostos un 6% i és per això que demana que es valori aquest 'esforç'. Sobre la possibilitat que el govern balear apliqui les mesures anunciades per Zapatero, Antich va dir que encara calia veure quins efectes tenien aquestes en les administracions autonòmiques, tot i que no va voler valorar, de moment, cap mesura en concret.

Les mesures del govern espanyol

A més de retallar un 5% el sou dels funcionaris a partir del mes que ve i de congelar el sou el 2011, el govern espanyol també suprimirà la revalorització de les pensions, tret de les mínimes i les no contributives, i de la prestació de 2.500 euros del xec nadó des de l'1 de gener vinent. Amb aquestes mesures d'austeritat, el govern espanyol vol retallar 0,5 punts més del PIB, equivalents, en dos anys, a 15.000 milions d'euros. D'aquesta manera, situaria el dèficit públic al 3% el 2013, tal com s'havia compromès amb la Unió Europea.

Els sindicats s'hi oposen

Les mesures d'austeritat no han estat només criticades per l'oposició, sinó també pels sindicats, que han anunciat mobilitzacions. Per a CC OO, les mesures, que 'només castiguen funcionaris i pensionistes', posen les bases per a 'trencar el diàleg' i alerta d'un 'conflicte social', en paraules del secretari general a Catalunya, Joan Carles Gallego. Per la seva banda, el secretari general d'UGT a Catalunya, Josep Maria Álvarez, considera que 'Zapatero ha trencat els seus compromisos socials' i li retreu que hagi carregat als treballadors la reducció del deute públic en comptes d'adoptar mesures per reformar el sistema financer, lluitar contra el frau fiscal o apujar els impostos a les grans fortunes.

Per a la Taula d'Entitats del Tercer Sector Social, els plans del govern espanyol són 'inacceptables' i 'suposen una amenaça' per a les polítiques socials i per als més desfavorits. L'organització critica especialment la retirada de la retroactivitat de la llei de la dependència, fet que ha considerat 'un retrocés inacceptable en drets socials'. La Taula ha demanat al govern espanyol que mantingui 'ara més que mai' les polítiques socials perquè el contrari agreujaria 'una situació que ja és prou complicada per si sola'.

Categories: Notícies generals

Lluís Recoder: 'Les consultes són resultat d'un sentiment conjuntural'

Vilaweb - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 06:00

El batlle de Sant Cugat del Vallès, Lluís Recoder, explica en una entrevista amb VilaWeb que ara no és el moment de parlar de possibles successors d'Artur Mas si aquest no aconsegueix la presidència de la Generalitat, perquè considera que és fer 'política ficció'. Recoder defensa el lideratge de Mas per governar el país i explica que encara no sap en quina posició anirà a les llistes de Convergència i Unió (CiU).

El batlle de Sant Cugat, que va participar en un xat amb els lectors de Vilaweb, diu que se sent identificat amb el catalanisme tal com l'enten l'historiador Josep Termes des d'una perspectiva integradora i inclusiva. Recoder no descarta un govern amb PSC i ERC, ni tampoc solament amb ERC, però no és la seva primera opció. La prioritat de Recoder és un govern en solitari de CiU i que, si no és possible, ja s'estudiarà quines opcions i amb quins projectes s'han d'impulsar.

Lluís Recoder també comenta les consultes sobre la independència que ha impulsat els darrers mesos la societat civil a centenars de municipis de Catalunya. Considera són el resultat d'un sentiment conjuntural i que no són necessàriament el camí que cal seguir. Tanmateix, el batlle convergent admet que potser caldrà 'tirar pel dret' tard o d'hora, però no té clar 'el com i el quan'.

Categories: Notícies generals

Mollerussa celebra avui un segon 'Acte d'estat'

Vilaweb - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 06:00

L'emblemàtic Teatre de l'Amistat de Mollerussa vol reviure avui l'esperit unitari, transversal i solemne que va congregar un miler d'independentistes a Sabadell el passat 3 de març. A partir de dos quarts de nou del vespre intervindran en el segon 'Acte d'estat' la periodista Núria Cadenes, el sociòleg Salvador Cardús, l'eurodiputat Oriol Junqueras, el president del Barça Joan Laporta, el jurista Alfons Lòpez Tena i l'ex-diputat republicà Víctor Torres.

L'Ateneu Popular de la Plana d'Urgell és l'organitzador de l'acte. Víctor Costa, membre de l'entitat, explica que aquest dimarts ja s'havien venut quatre-centes entrades anticipades, d'un aforament proper al mig miler. Les últimes cadires disponibles es podran adquirir per cinc euros a la taquilla del teatre.

L'acte d'avui té un doble objectiu. D'una banda, saber quin és el camí que ha de seguir el país per esdevenir un nou estat i, d'una altra banda, donar continuïtat a la mobilització que han representat les consultes sobre la independència. Les més de cinquanta comissions ciutadanes de les comarques de Ponent que fins ara han organitzat aquest referèndum podran brindar amb cava en finalitzar l'acte.

A més, la cantautora Meritxell Gené interpretarà poemes musicats de Màrius Torres, per commemorar el centenari del naixement del poeta lleidatà. Gené ha presentat recentment el nou treball 'Sota els llençols'. Els assistents també podran veure un curt-metratge de ficció que mostra els moments culminants del discurs de l'estat de la nació pel govern de l'estat català.

Categories: Notícies generals

El Parlament aprova per unanimitat la Llei dels drets de la infància i l'adolescència

Vilaweb - Dj, 13/05/2010 - 06:00

El Parlament de Catalunya va aprovar ahir per unanimitat la Llei dels drets de la infància i l'adolescència. Tots els grups de la cambra catalana van votar favorablement el text, tot i que durant el procés d'elaboració el PP havia presentat una esmena a la totalitat. La consellera d'Acció Social de la Generalitat, Carme Capdevila, destaca que la norma actualitza tota la legislació referent a aquest col·lectiu i posa les eines per aconseguir que els infants i adolescents siguin ciutadans 'lliures, crítics i solidaris'. Els grups de l'oposició van avisar a la consellera que, tot i el vot favorable, vigilaran que es destinin els recursos necessaris per fer efectives totes les mesures previstes.

La consellera Capdevila va defensar al ple del Parlament que amb el nou text, l'interès superior de l'infant 'preval sempre' i no només en cas de conflicte. Va explicar que s'incorpora la perspectiva dels infants a totes les polítiques públiques i per fer-ho possible ha anunciat un pla sectorial en què hi participaran tots els departaments i que comptarà amb les entitats expertes en l'àmbit de la infància. Aquest pla serà renovable cada quatre anys i anirà acompanyat d'una memòria econòmica.

Capdevila diu que la norma no només es basa en la protecció, sinó que també impulsa la promoció, la prevenció i la participació. A més, ha destacat el reconeixement de drets, el treball per eradicar la pobresa i la creació de nous mecanismes de participació, com la creació dels consells de participació territorials, així com un de nacional.

'Tolerància zero' amb el maltractament infantil

El text dedica un capítol sencer a la 'tolerància zero' cap als maltractaments infantils: crea serveis d'atenció immediata, estableix que en cas de maltractament sigui el maltractador qui abandoni el domicili familiar i crea un registre unificat de maltractaments i també un centre d'investigació sobre aquest aspecte. Capdevila també explica que es limiten els terminis per oposar-se a les resolucions administratives per evitar que els infants estiguin 'anys i anys entre processos administratius i judicials'.

CiU avisa que el seu sí 'no és un xec en blanc'

El diputat de CiU Josep Lluís Cleries va mostrar la seva satisfacció pel text final de la llei però va afirmar que la voluntat de pacte de la seva formació 'no és un xec en blanc al govern sinó una col·laboració legislativa per tenir la millor llei d'infància'. Per la seva banda, els grups que donen suport al govern van celebrar l'aprovació de la norma, que arriba després d'anys de treball.

Preocupació pel finançament

Els diputats de CiU, PP i el Grup Mixt van mostrar la seva preocupació pel finançament de la llei i van fer referència a l'anunci de retallades per fer front a la crisi. Així, van demanar que les polítiques adreçades a la infància i l'adolescència no pateixin possibles restriccions.

Categories: Notícies generals

Contingut sindicat