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SpaceX scrubs Falcon I rocket launch

Monday, November 28, 2005

SpaceX called off the much-delayed inaugural launch of their new Falcon 1 rocket on Saturday from Kwajalein’s Omelek Island launch site. The intent was to launch the U.S. Air Force Academy’s FalconSat 2 satellite, which will monitor plasma interactions with the Earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetosphere.

The launch was delayed, then finally cancelled after an oxygen boil-off vent had accidentally been left open. The oxygen was unable to cool the helium pressurant, which then proceeded to evaporate faster than it could be replenished. A main computer issue, probably serious enough to cause a scrub on its own, was also discovered.

This long-anticipated flight was originally expected to be launched in January 2005, however a series of setbacks forced a series of delays, with the flight most recently scheduled to be in early 2006. It was intended to be launched from the Kwajalein atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The maiden voyage was originally intended to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with a Naval Research Laboratory satellite and a Space Services Incorporated space burial payload.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=SpaceX_scrubs_Falcon_I_rocket_launch&oldid=3172503”
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Squash lines up for the 2016 Olympics

Monday, May 26, 2008

Squash is among the seven sports considered for new events in the 2016 Olympics. The other nominated sports are baseball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby and softball. Of these, four were nominated for the London 2012 Olympics, but none were chosen.

At the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Singapore 2005, squash won the vote to get into the Olympic program, but did not get the 2/3 majority needed for adoption. The new sports for 2016 are baseball and softball, with baseball having been in the Olympics before as a “test” sport, however it did not succeed and was only on the program for one event before it was removed.

Squash is among the favourites because it already in 2005 proved to be favourite for the IOC members at that time. Since 2005, according to the World Squash Federation (WSF), there has been a lot of work to get squash into the Olympic Games. A marked rise in players across the world has occurred, and approximately 13 new countries have been adopted into the WSF.

However, baseball is also considered among the favourites, because it has been tried before and because it is a major sport in the United States and growing in the rest of the world. Notably, Chicago is bidding to host the 2016 Olympics, and therefore a major US sport could be the natural choice.

The last of the three favourites is golf, because it is by far the most played sport of the candidates. However, it is seen as a disadvantage that the Olympic tournament may not be the top priority for the players, who may feel they would rather concentrate on the US or European tours.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Squash_lines_up_for_the_2016_Olympics&oldid=4630346”
Vehicle Tracking

Safe And Secure Way For Computer Recycling

By Adriana Noton

Computers emerged as a necessity in today’s technology-driven world. Computer and computer related devices such as iPads, are now used in almost every aspect of our daily lives whether it is for such purposes as: entertainment, business, social, research, shopping, and much more. In this era of rapidly evolving technology, it is important to consider green solutions when disposing of computers and computer related devices. There is a lot of waste generated from these devices such as toxic chemicals, metals, and plastics. Computer recycling is an important method of safely and securely disposing of these electronic devices.

Computer recycling is the process of recovering or salvaging the computers, by which they can be disassembled in a safer way and used for an entirely different purpose or in different products.

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The major purpose of recycling computers and other electronics is to ensure that toxins do not end up in landfills where they can leach into the soil and affect the environment, including the water table. As well, reusing computers such as refurbishing them means less computers are being constructed which means less metals such as tin, silicon, iron, and aluminum are being used and less waste is being generated in the manufacturing of the computers.

Whether you recycle your computer, give it to a charity, or sell it, it is important to delete the data so that someone else does not find sensitive personal information. Deleted data can often be retrieved if the data is not permanently destroyed. If not properly deleted, the data points are still retrievable so someone with the right tools can retrieve data on the drive. Measures you can take to permanently delete data include taking a hammer to the disk and there are companies that put the disk through a shredder which physically alters it and thereby alters the magnetic storage media. A certificate confirming that the data has been destroyed will be given to you.

There are a number of methods of recycling computers which include: consumer recycling, corporate recycling, donation, and return to the company. Consumer recycling is giving the computer to a needy charity. Returned to the company will involve the company with a established recycle program taking the computers back for proper disposal or refurbishing.

It is important to take personal responsible to reducing waste in a proper and safe manner. When recycling computers, it is important to do it the right way and give to to the right organization. This will ensure the computer is properly recycled since there are risks involved in losing your data. However, you can take advantage of methods that will ensure your data is properly destroyed which will eliminate the risk of financial loss and identity theft. Recycling your computer in a safe and secure way to dispose of your old computer and it helps protect the environment. The next time you are replacing your computer or other electronic device, make sure you properly recycle it to help the environment and to help someone who cannot afford a brand new computer.

About the Author: Specializing in Hamilton laptop repair, wireless network installation and on-site Ottawa Laptop Diagnostics Repair services in Toronto and Montreal.

Source: isnare.com

Permanent Link: isnare.com/?aid=751893&ca=Computers+and+Technology

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United States spies accused of illegally bugging the United Nations headquarters

Monday, August 26, 2013

German weekly publication Der Spiegel yesterday accused the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) of spying on the United Nations headquarters in New York. The magazine claims to have access to official NSA documents, provided by former NSA and CIA computer specialist and current fugitive Edward Snowden.

If the allegations of bugging are confirmed, it would mean that the United States has breached International Treaties including the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. The Treaty states that countries must not carry out covert operations that relate to the UN’s activities.

“The property and assets of the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action”, the Convention stipulates.

The documents analysed by Der Spiegel indicate that the NSA runs bugging programs in more than 80 embassies and consulates across the globe, in what is reportedly called the “Special Collection Service”.

Der Spiegel claimed that, according to their intelligence, the NSA was able to bug the UN headquarters by hacking into its video conferencing system in the summer of 2012. Their article included quotes from the leaked documents like ““The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!)”.

Allegedly, decoded UN communications rose from 12 to 458 within three weeks of the NSA gaining access. Analysed documents also indicated the NSA found evidence Chinese spies were also monitoring the UN, and began logging what the Chinese were accessing.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the European Union are said to be among the organisations NSA spies have been targeting. The US government has previously denied any wrongdoing by the NSA, although President Barack Obama this month announced plans to curb government spying activities.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=United_States_spies_accused_of_illegally_bugging_the_United_Nations_headquarters&oldid=4404330”
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Canada’s Scarborough-Agincourt (Ward 39) city council candidates speak

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Scarborough-Agincourt (Ward 39). Two candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Wayne Cook, Mike Del Grande (incumbent), Samuel Kung, Lushan Lu, Sunshine Smith, and John Wong.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Canada%27s_Scarborough-Agincourt_(Ward_39)_city_council_candidates_speak&oldid=435100”
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Rocketeers find possible impact crater in Nevada

Friday, March 9, 2007

Imagine coming back from a camping trip in the desert. Then a few months later you notice in your photos from the trip that you camped inside a giant impact crater so big that no one documented it before. Could it happen?

During several trips to the Black Rock Desert, mostly while supporting the Stratofox Aerospace Tracking Team for suborbital space rocket launch efforts, Ian Kluft KO6YQ noticed some oddities in rock formations. He had a little experience with volcanoes, and some rocks in the area looked unusual. There seemed to be some lava here and there – but where was the volcano? He observed that even a large caldera should have mostly volcanic rocks. He then noticed some curved geographic structures in satellite imagery which made him curious if it might be an impact crater.

A TV documentary about meteor impacts mentioned some characteristics of impact craters. He went to the Internet to learn more. He noticed some of his own pictures of the area had cone shaped structures which might be “shatter cones” due to an impact shock wave that passed through the rocks. Discussion with others produced suggestions and volunteers who joined the effort. More circular features in satellite photographs were found. Igneous dikes through white layers of rock had been described and were visible in many photos.

The possible impact crater is 30 miles (48 km) wide east-to-west and 40 miles (64 km) north-to-south centered around 40.984045 N, 118.916016 W. That is in northwestern Nevada halfway between Reno and the Oregon border. The apparent ancient geological structure is so old that much of it is eroded away. The forces that eroded the Black Rock Desert itself, whether glacier or stream, have apparently cut through the crater rims and floor to do it.

Following an expedition to the area in late January, more possible shatter cones were observed in one of the rock samples collected. These are only formed by the shock wave of an impact event or nuclear explosion. The nearest nuclear test was underground at Sand Springs Range in central Nevada. Atmospheric tests at the Nevada Test Site were at the southern, and opposite, end of the state. So that points toward an impact if confirmed. But professional geologists will want to have the final word on confirming them.

In addition to shatter cones, rock samples were thought to contain shocked quartz because the criss-cross fractures looked like examples in online documents. But this group of volunteers doesn’t have equipment for proper photography of shocked quartz. If found, that would be another way to prove the impact origin of the rocks.

Columnar jointed columns hundreds of feet tall appear on some bluffs in locations that appeared consistent with part of a slowly cooling crater floor. But that alone only helps as part of a bigger picture, because volcanoes can have lava cool in columnar joints as well.

They also found local geological studies which described oddities which could be explained by an impact event. Layers of rocks in the mining district called Sulphur left geologists with a mystery about the cause of chemical alterations since 1980. The group compared it with information in online geological texts like “Traces of Catastrophe” by Dr Bevan M French of the Smithsonian Institution. Layers of impact ejecta seemed to explain the rock layers better than the previous theory about acid uniformly cooking the rocks across the region, and only in one layer of rocks. A separate 1980 study 40 miles away identified an immense air-fall tuff layer in the Soldier Meadows area as having been deposited in a single unit, yet couldn’t locate the volcano which produced this enormous volume. Fault diagrams published online by a mining operation at Sulphur on the edge of the circular structure from the satellite photo also look like curved terraced faults in the wall of a crater.

The mining geologists who wrote papers from 1980 to 2002 had not mentioned the possibility of a crater. But they were each gathering single puzzling pieces of information. A larger image seemed to be forming when putting the pieces together. The group hopes the information will be helpful to geologists who do further work in the region.

The theory hasn’t been put to any test by professionals yet. Some responses point out that the elliptical region reported as the possible impact crater could also be the volcanic caldera that the 1980 study was looking for. If so, such a large volcanic caldera would still be a significant discovery for the region.

This will remain officially a mystery for a while until the professional geologists get to study it. There is a lot of information available online for those who are interested.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Rocketeers_find_possible_impact_crater_in_Nevada&oldid=568227”
Scaffolding

What Options Do First Time Buyers Have In The Current ‘Credit Crunch’ Market?

By Joseph Kenny

The average cost of a house in the UK is now 130,000 this can be a pretty daunting figure for first-time buyers. But there are still options for first time buyers in the current market.

The first option may or may not be suitable for you, but it’s something worth considering. In the North of England, the average house is price considerably lower than in the south, especially compared to the southeast. The gap is nowhere near as great as it used to be, but 5% deposit on 90,000 may be an easier option, with lower monthly mortgage payments.

Under new tax rules, there is a tax exemption scheme known as ‘Rent-a-Room’, which will allow you to earn 4,600 each year by renting out one room in your home. This additional income is often taken into account when lenders are considering giving you a mortgage. They may allow you up to four times that income, which would add nearly 20,000 to the size of the mortgage you could obtain.

Another common practice is to buy a property jointly with a friend, or maybe your brother or sister. This requires a legal agreement properly drawn up which takes into account how much cash each person is investing in the property. This is in terms of amounts of cash deposit, and also if the mortgage payments are equally split or not. This is essential to avoid arguments, should you have a disagreement or when you sell the property.

If you’re fortunate and your family have a little money set aside. You may be able to ask them to contribute towards the deposit amount. Another way they could assist you is by acting as guarantor for your loan. But this would mean that if you cannot make the payments they would become obliged to make them for you.

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One of the better options for first time buyers in the current market could be to purchase a brand new property. The advantage of a new property is that it comes with all new fixtures and fittings. And will be in good condition, requiring little maintenance. Many builders will now give very generous deals for first-time buyers.

Properties previously owned by the local council are usually of very solid construction with good size rooms. They potentially offer excellent value for money in comparison to houses that have always been private.

Shared ownership schemes are now becoming popular, and are run by housing associations all over the country. They are set up to help people on lower incomes who want to become property owners. Under this type of scheme, you only buy a share in the house of for example, 50%. You then only need a mortgage for 50% of the value of the property.

You will also have to pay rent on the other half of the house, but this is usually set at a much reduced rate. Over time you can buy more shares in your house up to the full 100%. When the house is sold you are entitled to your share, for example 50%, including half of the profit.

Auctions can provide interesting options for first time buyers in the current market. Properties that are sold via auction very often sell for far less than if the same house was sold by the local estate agent. It will be possible for you to view properties before they are auctioned. It is necessary to arrange a mortgage before bidding, and you will be required to put down a deposit if you are the successful bidder of around 10%.

The usual amount of the deposit required by banks and building societies is a minimum of 5%. They require this not so much because they want you to have the money to put down. It is more a case of you proving that you can put by a regular amount of money every month for a couple of years. That says to them that you are both disciplined and serious about your mortgage commitment.

Not all options for first time buyers in the current market require a deposit, someone lenders will now offer 100% mortgages to first-time buyers. Interest rates tend to be, slightly higher than if you had put down a deposit.

There are even a handful of lenders that may allow the first-time buyer slightly more than 100% of the value at the house. This is to cover such things as legal fees. On the surface this can be a good deal, the only drawback is that some companies will impose what are known as, indemnity premiums, which can be quite high.

As you can see from everything above, there are still options for first time buyers in the current market. And a capable broker should be in a position to assist you to find a suitable mortgage, depending upon your situation.

About the Author: Joe Kenny writes for Glitec.org, offering cheap

online mortgages

and

homeowner loans

or visit Rebuild.org for great

mortgages

.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=232720&ca=Finances

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Wikinews interviews biologist Chris Simon about periodical cicadas

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In May, periodical cicadas with 17 years life cycle emerged on the East Coast of the USA after underground development as juveniles since 1996. Researchers and scientists worked to map and study the rare wave, and the locals prepared for the noisy event. First recorded in 1666, the Magicicada septendecim species recently emerged in 1979, 1996, this year, with a next wave due in 2030.

This week, Wikinews interviewed Chris Simon, an ecology and evolutionary biologist at University of Connecticut, about the cicadas.

((Wikinews)) What caused your initial interest in periodical cicadas?

Chris Simon: As an undergraduate student, I was interested in the formation of species so when I went to graduate school I looked for a study organism that was likely to be in the process of forming new species. I chose periodical cicadas because they are broken up into reproductively isolated broods (or year classes). Reproductive isolation leads to speciation so I planned to study biochemical differences among the broods.

((WN)) You study the emergence of the periodical cicadas. What do you study? What observations are you making?

CS: We record exactly where each cicada population emerges (using GPS automated mapping and crowd sourcing). We record the presence or absence of each of the three morphologically distinct species groups of periodical cicadas (Decim group, Cassini group, and Decula group). We collect specimens for DNA analysis. We look for cicadas coming up one and four years early and late. We dig up cicada nymphs and monitor their growth rates.

((WN)) What equipment do you use?

CS: Nets, shovels, automated GPS recorders, cameras, laptop computers, automated DNA sequencers.

((WN)) Do you study the periodical cicadas with anyone else? What is their role?

CS: Yes, there are a large number of people studying periodical cicadas in my lab and in other labs. My lab is made up of Research Scientists, Postdoctoral Researchers, a technician, graduate students, and undergraduates. Research Scientist John Cooley is the leader of the GPS mapping project; he invented the automated GPS recorder; he built our crowd-sourcing website, and he is instrumental in public outreach. Postdoctoral research David Marshall also participates in the mapping project and leads the part of the research related to the mapping of stragglers. John and Dave and Technician Kathy Hill all study periodical cicada mating behavior and conduct mating and hybridization experiments. One of my graduate students Beth Wade has participated in the nymph collections and will soon start genetic work involving genome wide association mapping designed to locate genes related to life cycle. My graduate student Russ Meister is studying the genes of the bacterial endosymbionts of cicadas. My current undergraduate honors student Erin Dwyer is also studying the development of Magicicada nymphs and is helping to design a lab exercise for college students around the eastern US to do the same. Many of my past undergraduate students have studied the biochemical genetics and development of periodical cicadas. See the Simon Lab website.
CS: We are collaborating with Teiji Sota at the University Kyoto and Jin Yoshimura at Shizuoka University in Japan. They are studying the phylogeography of Magicicada. We are collaborating with John McCutcheon of the University of Montana who is studying the endosymbiont genomes.
CS: We are also collaborating with ecologists Rick Karban and Louie Yang, both professors at UC Davis who have an interest in cicada population dynamics and nutrient cycling in the ecosystem.

((WN)) You studied the periodical cicadas in 1979 and 1996 too. What changes with time?

CS: I have studied periodical cicadas since I was a student back in 1974. What changes with time is increased human development constantly shrinking the patch size of cicada populations.

((WN)) What are your thoughts on the long life span of the periodical cicadas? Why could it be so? What advantages and what disadvantages does it have?

CS: Most or all cicadas have long life cycles compared to your typical annual insect. Examples have been found of two-year to 9-year cycles in different species. Periodical cicadas evolved an even-longer life cycle and I think that part of this relates to the evolution of their synchronized life cycles and peculiar safety-in-numbers strategy for survival. To become synchronized, periodical cicadas had to evolve an exact length life cycle and all adults would have to appear in the same year. Because the nymphs grow at different rates underground, a longer life cycle and a way of counting years must have evolved so that the individuals that get to the last nymphal (underground juvenile) stage first would wait long enough for all other individuals in the population to become ready to emerge.

((WN)) News reports mention this is ‘Brood II’ of the periodical cicadas. What are the distinctive features of this specific species and what is its full scientific name?

CS: The same species exist in multiple broods. No species is restricted to Brood II. The three species present in Brood II are: Magicicada septendecim, M. cassini, and M. septendecula. These same three species are found in every 17-year brood (except the farthest north which only has M. septendecim).

((WN)) At what depth do the cicadas juveniles live underground?

CS: Most live within the top foot of soil but some have been found deeper. We do not know if they go deeper in winter. We need to do much more digging to understand the nymphs.

((WN)) How do people prepare for the cicada emergence?

CS: Of course various people prepare in different ways. Ideally, everyone prepares by studying information available on the web (especially on our websites Magicicada Central and Magicicada.org).

((WN)) Do cicadas affect transport in the local area?

CS: No, not really. Occasionally individuals can be seeing flying across highways and sometimes they smash into cars.

((WN)) Do cicadas usually stay outside or do they also invade houses too?

CS: They stay outside. One might accidentally fly in through an open window but that would be rare.

((WN)) What do the cicadas eat?

CS: Cicadas suck xylem fluid (the watery fluid coming up from the roots of plants) in deciduous forest trees and herbs. Essential amino acids in the cicada diet are supplied by their bacterial endosymbionts. There are two species of endosymbionts. One makes 8 essential amino acids and one makes two essential amino acids.

((WN)) Do cicadas damage crops or city vegetation? What damage?

CS: Cicadas do not chew leave so they do not damage crops like other insects. They can inflict some damage by their egg laying. Cicadas lay eggs in pencil-sized tree branches. If there are not enough branches available, too many female cicadas may lay eggs in a single branch weakening it and making it susceptible to breakage by wind. This can sometimes cause damage in fruit orchards. If the branches break, the eggs die so this behavior is selected against by natural selection.

((WN)) Thank you.

CS: You’re welcome. I am happy to have this opportunity to communicate with your readers!
Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_biologist_Chris_Simon_about_periodical_cicadas&oldid=2283939”
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Scottish prosecutors keeping quiet about Lanarkshire surgical deaths

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Crown Office are staying quiet about possible prosecutions after an inquiry found medical failures caused three deaths at NHS Lanarkshire.

In response to a specific question as to the possibility of prosecutions, a Crown Office spokesperson told Wikinews today that “The three deaths were fully investigated by the Procurator Fiscal and reported to Crown Counsel [laywers] to consider. Crown Counsel concluded that, given the facts and circumstances of the deaths, a Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) was the appropriate forum to consider the circumstances of the deaths.” It was further noted that “[a] FAI cannot make any findings of fault/blame against individuals.”

However, Crown Office did not specifically rule out prosecutions for offences such as cuplable homicide despite the spokesperson noting this was a direct response to such a question. They also declined to comment on National Health Service care as “it would not be appropriate to comment on the provision of NHS services” and entirely ignored questions about Crown Office satisfaction in the inquiry’s outcome and the length of time it took to reach a conclusion. The inquiry wrapped up last week but the deaths were in 2006.

Agnes Nicol, George Johnstone, and Andrew Ritchie died within a three-month period following keyhole surgery to remove their gall bladders.

Later expanded to look at all three deaths, the inquiry initially established to look into the case of Nicol, 50, who received surgery in late 2005. A surgeon at Wishaw General Hospital mistakenly cut her bile duct and her right hepatic artery. Whilst suturing her portal vein, her liver was left with 20% of its normal blood supply; the errors were not discovered until her transfer to liver specialists at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary.

By then, her liver was seriously damaged. She developed septicaemia, dying from multiple organ failure in March 2006.

Johnstone, 54, underwent the same procedure at Monklands District General Hospital on May 9, 2006. A consultant surgeon accidentally damaged, possibly severing, his bile duct. He died two days later in intensive care from the combined effects of multiple organ failure and a heart ailment.

Ritchie, 62, died in intensive care a week after an operation in June 2006. He died from intra abdominal haemorrhage caused by errors during the surgery.

Different surgeons were involved each time and the inquiry, under Sheriff Robert Dickson, found no evidence of poor training or inadequate experience. Dickson noted that in each case there was lack of action on a “growing body of evidence that there was something fundamentally wrong with the patient” and surgeons failed to contemplate their own actions as potentially responsible. He agreed with two professors that it may have been possible to save their lives “had the post-operative care been to the standard which they expected, and had there been a proper management plan which staff could have worked to” and noted that all the patients suffered from a lack of adequate medical notes being available after their surgery. He described the care as having “clear faults”.

NHS Lanarkshire apologised and said improvements had been made regarding “these types of cases” as well as with document management. Wikinews got in touch seeking details of the changes made but the health trust failed to respond.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Scottish_prosecutors_keeping_quiet_about_Lanarkshire_surgical_deaths&oldid=4627121”
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U.S. President Obama’s farewell address focuses on accomplishment

Thursday, January 12, 2017

United States President Barack Obama gave his official farewell address on Tuesday night from McCormick Place in Chicago, reflecting on personal and national accomplishments. This is expected to be his last major speech before officially handing the reins to president-elect Donald Trump on January 20.

“Its why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.”

Obama’s speech was wide-ranging. He thanked his family and the nation, spoke of the need for unity, noted the country’s accomplishments and need for improvement in areas like education and civil rights, and spoke about the need for pride in U.S. accomplishments, citing milestones of U.S. history and of his presidency specifically. “It’s why GIs gave their lives at Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima; Iraq and Afghanistan – and why men and women from Selma to Stonewall were prepared to give theirs as well.”

The president also addressed his country’s troubled history with race and racism, an issue many black citizens feel he has avoided. Despite this, Chauncy Devega of Salon described the president as “a role model of calm, cool reflective black masculinity: a man utterly at home in his own skin.” Obama described the concept of a post-racial U.S. “unrealistic” and particularly cited the need for reform in education and the criminal justice system and greater acceptance of scientific evidence, particularly evidence supporting action to counteract climate change.

However, publications including The Washington Post and Salon have given particular focus to another aspect of the president’s address: the country’s increasing political tensions and controversies involving access to news and information, both accurate and inaccurate. “We become so secure and our bubbles,” said Obama, “that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there,” calling this trend “a third threat to our democracy.”

The Washington Post characterized Obama’s comment, “If every economic issue is framed as a struggle between a hard-working white middle class and an undeserving minority, then workers of all shades will be left fighting for scraps while the wealthy withdraw further into their private enclaves,” as a “not-so-subtle jab” at the campaign tactics of President-elect Donald Trump. The Telegraph describes Obama’s warnings about the need to protect democracy as “a thinly veiled slight to the divisive rhetoric of Donald Trump’s election campaign, which included attacks on Muslims, the disabled, women and immigrants.” The president went on to call on the public to “reject the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties that make us one America. We weaken those ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so corrosive […] We weaken those ties when we define some of us as more American than others when we write off the whole system as inevitably corrupt and when we sit back and blame the leaders we elect without examining our own role in electing them. It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy.”

Despite this, when the mention of Donald Trump brought boos from the crowd, Obama reiterated the importance of the long history of peaceful transfers of power from one president to the next: “No no no no no. […] I committed to President-elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me.” However, this was not unaccompanied by a call to action. Near the end of the speech, he insisted citizens dissatisfied with elected officials should “lace up your shoes, grab a clipboard, get some signatures and run for office yourself.”

Overall, the departing president’s speech focused on accomplishment, echoing the “Yes we can” slogan from his 2008 campaign: “If I have told you eight years ago, that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry, and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history. If I had told you, that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, take out the mastermind of 9/11[…] If I had told you that we would win a marriage equality and secure the right to health insurance for another twenty million of our fellow citizens. If I had told you all that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high. But that’s what we did.”

But when the crowd began shouting “Four more years! Four more years!” Obama, with a small laugh, answered, “I can’t do that.”

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