National and International News: Smaller Cell Phones, Sardines, and Unrest in Ivory CoastMarch 9, 2011 —
Satellite Takes Second
Thought your cell phones were getting smaller? Well Cornell University engineers just released a new satellite one – one hundredth of the normal size that placed second in the University Nanosatellite Program. This program is run by the Air Force research academy and the winner is able to finalize plans for an actual space launch date. The satellite was aptly named Violet for the built in ultraviolet spectrometer and packs a lot of power with new control moment gyroscopes. These CMGs provide torque for the satellite and makes the smaller satellite more agile. This agility is unmatched, with Violet sporting eight CMGS compared to the normal two or three used my other satellites. Violet can be used in earth imaging programs as well as space exploration projects, making the satellite versatile as well. Although the Cornell satellite didn’t win, the aerospace industry took enough of a liking to it, that there could be a 2012 launch for Violet.
Sardine Plague a Sight to Sea
The expression ‘packed like sardines’ took on an entirely new meaning this week at the King Harbor in Redondo Beach California. Around one million sardine fish were found floating dead in the marina Tuesday March 8th. With about fourteen-hundred boats docked, many of them were unable to move because the sardines were packed as high as eighteen inches in some spots. Researchers concluded that pollutants were not the cause of this event, and according to the Fish and Wildlife Department, the phenomenon is a natural occurrence. In order to escape high winds, sardines took refuge in the marina bank. Crowding and the inability to find their way out lead to a lack of oxygen causing widespread deaths. As Bacteria began to feed, more oxygen was depleted causing an exponential rise in the death rate. All is not lost in this situation as the fish will be recycled into fertilizer to avoid any further public health risks.
Protest and Unrest in Ivory Coast
BBC news reported Tuesday a march protesting the killing of female demonstrators has left four more (Three men and one woman) dead in Abidjan in this week. There has recently been uprising against President Laurent Gbagbo who refuses to step down from the seat after losing in last year’s vote to Alassane Ouattara. The Ivory Coast is economically stimulated by the cocoa industry which would fuel a desire and struggle to stay in power. The cocoa prices and trading have resulted in sanctions and halted exports as well as effects from bank collapses. The four demonstrators were acknowledging International Women’s Day when presidential rogue officers were believed to fire shots. The ivory Coast has bred unrest the past weeks with three hundred thousand residents seeking refuge from the fighting and seventy thousand crossing to find calmer environments in Libya. A ceasefire still upholds between Ouattara rebels and Gbagbo army in the north and south respectively, however after Gbagbo refused to attend an African Union meeting Thursday. It’s hard to tell how long it will last.
written by Kristina Brooks for Slope Weekend Update