Greenland glacier calves ice island 4 x Manhattan

A University of Delaware researcher reports that an “ice island” four times the size of Manhattan has calved from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier. The last time the Arctic lost such a large chunk of ice was in 1962.

“In the early morning hours of August 5, 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan was born in northern Greenland,” said Andreas Muenchow…

Satellite imagery of this remote area at 81 degrees N latitude and 61 degrees W longitude, about 1,000 km south of the North Pole, reveals that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 70 km-long floating ice-shelf.

Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service discovered the ice island within hours after NASA’s MODIS-Aqua satellite took the data on Aug. 5, at 8:40 UTC (4:40 EDT), Muenchow said. These raw data were downloaded, processed, and analyzed at the University of Delaware in near real-time as part of Muenchow’s NSF research.

Petermann Glacier, the parent of the new ice island, is one of the two largest remaining glaciers in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves. The glacier connects the great Greenland ice sheet directly with the ocean…

“In Nares Strait, the ice island will encounter real islands that are all much smaller in size,” Muenchow said. “The newly born ice-island may become land-fast, block the channel, or it may break into smaller pieces as it is propelled south by the prevailing ocean currents. From there, it will likely follow along the coasts of Baffin Island and Labrador, to reach the Atlantic within the next two years.”

Enough ice for Congressional martinis for one election cycle.

Time enough to debate, stall and otherwise ignore serious questions about energy policy – again.

Air Canada repairs wheelchair after “Twitter pressure”

Pressure from Twitter users has made Air Canada fix a terminally ill boy’s wheelchair after it was damaged during a flight, his family has said.

Appeals for help from the aunt of 10-year-old Tanner Bawn went viral on the micro-blogging website.

An airline spokesman said they had acted as soon as they had heard about it. It has now promised to send the boy to Disney World…

Tanner Bawn’s $15,000 wheelchair arrived at New York’s La Guardia Airport in pieces, during a trip to the city for a charity run…

The airline is reported to have contacted an overnight repair centre after hearing about the boy’s problems from other Twitter users and had the specialised chair returned to Tanner a day later.

“I’m impressed with how Air Canada has stepped up. But I’m still distressed that it took the internet shrieking loudly at them for it to happen,” Mr Bawn’s aunt, blogger Catherine Connors, told the Globe and Mail newspaper.

She added: “If my sister and Tanner had been here on their own with no blogging or without the vast social-media network to help them, it wouldn’t have turned out this way.”

Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the airline had acted as soon as they had heard about the problem…

Air Canada has promised to make permanent repairs when the group returns home to Kamloops, British Columbia.

Two thoughts:

I can’t believe anyone other than a journalist or pundit actually said “vast social-media network”.

More to the point – though I often support online advocacy, mobilizations, social pressure on stodgy institutions – I also firmly believe in trying to get an issue kicked upstairs at the point of conflict.

Same circumstance, I would have pressed and pushed to the highest majordomo for Air Canada at the airport – and tried for higher if refused. But, then, I never said I was a nice guy.

OTOH, a bajillion Tweets makes a helluva impression!

Turkish man accused of wife beating in NZ ‘was dancing’

A Turkish man accused of beating his wife has told a court in New Zealand they were actually performing a traditional dance.

Allaetin Can said witnesses mistook the dance for domestic violence as it involved moves that resemble punches, kicks, slaps and choking.

The dance, named the kolbasti, is thought to have been first performed by drunks in a Black Sea resort town. The name translates as “caught red-handed by the police“.

Mr Can said he and his wife Elmas were dancing outside his family’s kebab shop in Hawera on New Zealand’s North Island, to celebrate a good day’s takings when a passer-by called the police…

“We’re always dancing, I’m happy to dance with my wife and family, but people here understand fighting not dancing,” he told New Zealand media outside the court.

The trial judge has instructed police to view a video of the kolbasti before deciding if charges should be dropped.

Har!

What the coppers really need to see is a “blocking the road dance” from southern China. That’s scary.

Warrantless GPS bug on cars ruled illegal

Giving privacy-rights advocates and civil libertarians an important victory, a federal appeals court ruled that police conducted an illegal warrant-less search by planting a GPS device in a drug-case suspect’s car and tracking him for a month.

In ruling that the police violated the suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that by almost any measure, planting a GPS device, then following a person for several weeks conflicted with an individual’s reasonable expectations for privacy.

The court rejected the government’s argument that the behavior of police was permissible because the suspect, Antoine Jones, had no reasonable expectation of privacy since his travels over the weeks he was being monitored could’ve been viewed by any member of the public.

The court also rejected the government’s assertion that the use of the GPS device in this case was simply a variation on another practice federal courts have ruled to be constitutional, the use of beepers placed by police on car bumpers to track a suspect.

But the appeals court said the precedents the government pointed to failed to make their case since beepers were used for more limited time periods and to follow a suspect from one place to another. They weren’t used for weeks on end to track a suspect going to dozens of locations.

“… We hold the whole of a person‘s movements [.pdf] over the course of a month is not actually exposed to the public because the likelihood a stranger would observe all those movements is not just remote, it is essentially nil. It is one thing for a passerby to observe or even to follow someone during a single journey as he goes to the market or returns home from work. It is another thing entirely for that stranger to pick up the scent again the next day and the day after that, week in and week out, dogging his prey until he has identified all the places, people, amusements, and chores that make up that person‘s hitherto private routine.”

Because the GPS evidence played a significant role in the prosecution’s case which resulted in the jury’s guilty, the court overturned Jones’ conviction.

Should I wax nostalgic? I remember the “good old days” when you could expect an FBI agent – or a local Red Squad copper – to hammer a crack or a hole in one of your car’s taillights with his gun butt to make following you in traffic easier at night.

They didn’t ask for warrants then, either.

HP CEO Mark Hurd resigns after sex probe


Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Mark Hurd resigned as chief executive officer after an investigation found he had a personal relationship with a contractor who received numerous inappropriate payments from the company.

Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak, 51, will take over as interim CEO. While an investigation didn’t find a violation of the company’s sexual-harassment policy, Hurd “demonstrated a profound lack of judgment that seriously undermined his credibility and damaged his effectiveness in leading HP,” General Counsel Michael Holston said.

Shares plunged 9.3 percent in late trading after the announcement.

The departure leaves Hewlett-Packard, the world’s biggest maker of personal computers and printers, in search of a new CEO and chairman after more than five years under Hurd. On his watch, the Palo Alto, California-based company regained leadership in the PC market from Dell Inc. and used acquisitions to expand into new areas, such as computer services. The company’s stock-market value increased $44.6 billion, rising to $108.1 billion, since Hurd took the helm on April 1, 2005…

HP initiated the investigation on June 29 after the contractor made a claim of sexual harassment. The woman, who HP declined to identify, worked on marketing tasks for two years, the company said. The probe found violations of HP’s standards of business conduct, though it didn’t find violations of the harassment policy.

Hurd submitted receipts for expenses ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 over two years, including meals and travel, that should have been labeled as personal and not related to business, said a person familiar with the situation. Hurd, who is married and has two children, intends to pay the company back the entire amount.

Hurd will get a severance payment of $12.2 million, plus other benefits; so, don’t worry too much about whether or not he can afford his country club membership.

Hurd is also on the board of News Corp.

Which will give Ol’ Rupert a chance to moralize. Or not.

Winnie the Pooh leads coppers to Mafioso arrest

One of Italy’s most wanted mafia godfathers has been arrested after seven years on the run after police traced him to his wife’s mobile registered in the name of Winnie the Pooh.

Vittorio Pirozzi, 58, who was on Italy’s 100 most wanted mafia gangsters list, had been a fugitive from the Italian police since 2003, during which time he allegedly ran drug-trafficking operations in Spain and Belgium.

He remained in close contact with his wife but changed the SIM card in his mobile phone every two weeks in order to avoid his location being traced.

His wife, however, was not so prudent, calling and texting her husband on a mobile phone which was registered under the alias of AA Milne’s character.

Police managed to crack a code that Pirozzi used when he called his wife’s mobile at a fixed time on the same day every two weeks.

After intercepting calls, they followed his wife to Brussels this week and discovered that Pirozzi, a senior member of the Naples-based Camorra mafia, was living in a modest apartment in the centre of the city.

Police and Interpol agents raided the flat on Wednesday night, apprehending Pirozzi on an international arrest warrant issued by Italian judges. Police said he was not armed and did not put up any resistance.

Winnie the Fracking Pooh leads to his arrest. He deserves extra time in the slammer for that one.