Wikinews’ overview of the year 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Also try the 2008 World News Quiz of the year.

What would you tell your grandchildren about 2008 if they asked you about it in, let’s say, 20 years’ time? If the answer to a quiz question was 2008, what would the question be? The year that markets collapsed, or perhaps the year that Obama became US president? Or the year Heath Ledger died?

Let’s take a look at some of the important stories of 2008. Links to the original Wikinews articles are in all the titles.

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30,000-year-old Austrian statue traced to stone from Italy

Saturday, March 5, 2022

In findings published on Monday in Scientific Reports, scientists from the University of Vienna and Vienna Natural History Museum, Austria found the stone used to carve the Venus of Willendorf came from northern Italy, hundreds of miles from its origin, on the other side of the Alps.

The 30 thousand-year-old sculpture is one of the oldest examples of human art. It stands about 4.3 inches (11 cm) tall. Like many prehistoric statuettes, it shows a female figure with a large stomach and breasts. However, while most of these other examples were carved from ivory or bone, the Venus is made of a stone called oolite, a type of limestone. Scientists believe it was carved by people of the Gravettian culture, probably with flint tools. Scientists named it after Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

Scientists compared rock samples from as west as France and as east as Ukraine to microscopic views of the Venus. Because oolite is a sedimentary rock formed by layers of silt and other materials building up over time, it is possible to discern individual grains and bits of shell that make up the stone. One of the tiny shell fragments in the statue came from a creature that lived during the Jurassic period, though the stone itself would have been harvested and carved much later.

Unlike previous examinations of the Venus, which evaluated only the exterior of the work, scientists used computed tomography to look inside the statue without damaging it. The scan showed the Venus had little resemblance with oolites near Willendorf, but that it was almost identical to those from Lake Garda in Italy, on the other side of the Alps and the Danube river, over 350 miles (563 km) away. A less possible site of origin is in Ukraine, over 1,600 kilometers (994 mi) east of where the statue was found in 1908, in Wachau, Austria.

Lead author Gerhard Weber speculated the stone may have moved during a migration: “When the climate or the prey situation changed, [people] moved on, preferably along rivers,” he said.

The scientists say these findings have implications for the way prehistoric humans in and around the Alps traveled from place to place.

The study was funded by the state of Lower Austria.

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Computer professionals celebrate 10th birthday of A.L.I.C.E.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005File:Turing1.jpg

More than 50 programmers, scientists, students, hobbyists and fans of the A.L.I.C.E. chat robot gathered in Guildford, U.K. on Friday to celebrate the tenth birthday of the award winning A.I. On hand was the founder the Loebner Prize, an annual Turing Test, designed to pick out the world’s most human computer according to an experiment laid out by the famous British mathematician Alan Turing more then 50 years ago. Along with A.L.I.C.E.’s chief programmer Dr. Richard S. Wallace, two other Loebner prize winners, Robby Garner and this year’s winner, Rollo Carpenter, also gave presentations, as did other finalists.

The University of Surrey venue was chosen, according to Dr. Wallace, not only because it was outside the U.S. (A.L.I.C.E.’s birthday fell on the Thanksgiving Day weekend holiday there, so he expected few people would attend a conference in America), but also because of its recently erected statue of Alan Turing, who posed the famous A. I. experiment which inspired much of the work on bots like A.L.I.C.E. University of Surrey Digital World Research Centre organizers Lynn and David Hamill were pleased to host the event because it encourages multi-disciplinary interaction, and because of the Centre’s interest in interaction between humans and computers.File:ALICE Birthday Cake.jpg

Dr. Wallace gave a keynote address outlining the history of A.L.I.C.E. and AIML. Many people commented on the fact the he seemed to have moved around a lot in the last ten years, having lived in New York, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Maine, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, while working on the Alicebot project. The A.L.I.C.E. and AIML software is popular among chat robot enthusiats primarily because of its distribution under the GNU free software license. One of Dr. Wallace’s PowerPoint slides asked the question, “How do you make money from free software?” His answer: memberships, subscriptions, books, directories, syndicated ads, consulting, teaching, and something called the Superbot.

Rollo Carpenter gave a fascinating presentation on his learning bot Jabberwacky, reading from several sample conversations wherein the bot seemed amazingly humanlike. Unlike the free A.L.I.C.E. software, Carpenter uses a proprietary learning approach so that the bot actually mimics the personality of each individual chatter. The more people who chat with Jabberwacky, the better it becomes at this kind of mimicry.

In another interesting presentation, Dr. Hamill related present-day research on chat robots to earlier work on dialog analysis in telephone conversations. Phone calls have many similarities to the one-on-one chats that bots encounter on the web and in IM. Dr. Hamill also related our social expectations of bots to social class structure and how servants were expected to behave in Victorian England. He cited the famous Microsoft paperclip as the most egregius example of a bot that violated all the rules of a good servant’s behavior.

Bots have advanced a long way since philanthropist Hugh Loebner launched his controversial contest 15 years ago. His Turing Test contest, which offers an award of $100,000 for the first program to pass an “audio-visual” version of the game, also awards a bronze medal and $2000 every year for the “most human computer” according to a panel of judges. Huma Shah of the University of Westminster presented examples of bots used by large corporations to help sell furniture, provide the latest information about automotive products, and help customers open bank accounts. Several companies in the U.S. and Europe offer customized bot personalities for corporate web sites.

Even though Turing’s Test remains controversial, this group of enthusiastic developers seems determined to carry on the tradition and try to develop more and more human like chat bots.Hugh Loebner is dedicated to carry on his contest for the rest of his life, in spite of his critics. He hopes that a large enough constituency of winners will exist to keep the competition going well beyond his own lifetime. Dr. Wallace says, “Nobody has gotten rich from chat robots yet, but that doesn’t stop people from trying. There is such a thing as ‘bot fever’. For some people who meet a bot for the first time, it can pass the Turing Test for them, and they get very excited.”

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Bathurst, Australia’s new hospital to be almost doubled in size

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Bathurst Regional Council, the local government responsible for the city of Bathurst and its surrounds in Central Western New South Wales, Australia yesterday revealed it had received a development application for the new Bathurst Base Hospital.

The new hospital is to be built behind the current hospital on the same site and is expected to cost the New South Wales government AUD96 million. The Bathurst Hospital will be the first in the Bathurst-Orange-Bloomfield redevelopment project.

The new hospital will have 149 beds, up from 85 for the current hospital. The hospital will also feature a mental health unit – previously psychiatric patients had to travel to Orange to the Bloomfield Hospital for treatment.

The Bathurst Hospital is expected to have state-of-the art facilities and will share some services with the to be constructed Orange Base Hospital.

The Bathurst Regional Council has approved the demolition of 12 buildings on the hospital site for enabling works. The hospital site is heritage listed although council decided that as the buildings do not contribute to the streetscape they may be demolished.

The demolitions are expected to take place late next month and will take around six weeks to complete. A temporary driveway will then be built to replace the current service entry for food and linen as it will become part of the work site.

Upon completion of the new hospital, the current ward block will be demolished leaving the original building from the late 19th century intact. The original building is expected to become an education centre and consulting rooms.

The original building was opened in 1834. Since then the facility has undergone numerous upgrades and add-ons, with the present ward block being opened in stages from 1978 to 1982.

Other buildings expected to be retained include the Daffodil Cottage (a cancer care centre) and the original Nurse’s quarters known as Poole House.

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How To Make Money In The Forex Market?

Theforex market is the place where buying or selling of currencies happens. Pair is made up of two different currencies, where one is called the base currency, while the other is called the quote currency.

What is the forex market?

Have you ever heard of a dog fight? That is what the forex market is, except that the dogs are not really dogs in this pit but the different currencies.

However, the idea of foreign exchange can be when a traveller travelling from his or her home country to a different country has to get the currency changed into the fiat currency that is prevalent in the host country. While this is the basic idea, forex trading takes everything up a notch by adding many different features in the whole game.

What are the ways to earn in the forex market?

There can be various ways to earn in the forex market. The basic ways to the most complex of the. All have one thing in common, and that is buy low and sell high. Now let us look at the different ideas of trading in forex to earn money.

What is Leverage?

Most traders take leverage as a bad way and think that it is primarily the way of losing money more than rapidly, but the truth is that if used carefully, leverage can help a lot of traders to attain their financial goals much earlier than they thought it would take.

The way leverage works is very interesting. Let us assume that a broker is offering leverage of 1:500. The trader here can enter a market of five hundred dollars with just one dollar a capital. A trader can enter a market of five hundred thousand dollars with just five hundred dollars.

This is more than better for a novice since they generally have less capital, and forex is the most profitable market.

The forex market is responsible for more than six trillion dollars traded in one single day. Since the market is that liquid, there are various money-making opportunities for the traders which assure massive returns.

What are future contracts?

This is another trading strategy that can help a trader earn some quick money. A futures contract involves two parties where one party predicts that the market is either falling or rising and then make the bets accordingly. Another party that thinks that money can be made off of this deal enters the deal. Shortly, when the contract’s maturity date arrives, both parties have seen the result.

How does a futures contract work?

When a party speculates that an asset’s price will fall (the asset is a currency pair here) and another party predicts rates will rise, they enter a contract. This contract has an opening date and a closing date.

The fate of the contract is decided on the day it closes or matures. Suppose the price does fall, then the selling party is in a loss or the price rises, then the selling party is in profit. It has to be kept in mind that the asset’s price on an opening day does not matter, the price on the closing day is what matters the most, and that is how they win or lose situation is decided.

What is Trading forex in options?

Options trading is almost the same as a futures contract or trading in contract for differences. Here the trader has liberty, not a liability, to actually own the underlying asset on which the trade is conducted. In trading for CFDs or contracts for differences, the traders have to show that they have ample space for the number of assets they are betting on, just in case they actually have to store them.

For example, a trader trading CFDs in oil barrels might have to shoot if he or she has the space to hold, say, 1000 barrels of oil.

This is not the case with options trading. Here, there are two types of calls: the put and the call. The put-call means that the trader is open to selling, and the “call” means that the trader is open to buying. If a trader sees a market move that is about to move in a favourable direction, he or she makes the buy to make a profit, and when there is a chance of the market falling, traders generally look at selling their options.

Conclusion:

Entering the forex market is relatively easy because of trading tools like leverage, margin trading, and some of the features mentioned above. But the fact is that all of these can also harm the traders in an unprecedented way. The traders are advised to sue them carefully because once the market turns on to the trade, there is nothing but chaos.

Looking up to a good broker can be of great help. One such broker is HFTrading. The broker has been around for a lot of ties and works around New Zealand and Australia.

Monster.com aquires Yahoo’s HotJobs service for $225 million

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yahoo announced plans to sell its HotJobs employment search service to Monster Worldwide for $225m, the companies said yesterday. Monster currently controls one third of online jobs postings in the United States. The two companies also struck a three-year agreement under which Monster will provide career and job content for the Internet giant’s homepage in the U.S. and Canada.

Terms of the deal include Monster being paid for providing job-related postings for Yahoo’s homepage in the US and Canada for three years and other expressions of interest. Yahoo, who bought HotJobs in 2001 for $436 million, last month agreed to sell email provider Zimbra to VMWare Inc. for an undisclosed amount, having it acquired for $350 million two years ago.

“HotJobs with its significant customer base plus the traffic agreement are an ideal complement to Monster’s innovative recruitment solutions and global reach,”

“HotJobs with its significant customer base plus the traffic agreement are an ideal complement to Monster’s innovative recruitment solutions and global reach,” said Sal Iannuzzi, chairman, CEO and president of Monster Worldwide. “Monster will be able to offer its employers a significantly larger pool of candidates across diverse geographies and industries,” the company said in a statement.

Buying Yahoo out of the online recruitment business leaves Monster with only one major competitor, Careerbuilder.com. “We have substantially added quality traffic, while substantially increasing our customer base,” he added.

HotJobs averaged 12.6 million unique visitors a month, according to Media Metrics comScore. HotJobs generates annual revenue of about $100 million while Monster’s revenue totalled $905 million in 2009. Alexa.com rates HotJobs at rank 3 while Monster.com at rank 531.

== Sources ==

*Mike Swift. “Yahoo to sell HotJobs employment service to Monster for $225 million” — Mercury News, 3 February, 2010

*Nick Zieminski and Alexei Oreskovic. “Monster to pay $225 million for Yahoo’s HotJobs site” — Reuters, 3 February, 2010

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CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Max Lombardi running in Cambridge

Friday, September 26, 2008

On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. New Democratic Party candidate Max Lombardi is standing for election in the riding of Cambridge. Lombardi is an information technology specialist who has lived in Cambridge for 25 years.

Held since 2004 by Conservative Gary Goodyear, the riding of Cambridge includes the city of Cambridge, Ontario and the Township of North Dumfries, Ontario. Also running in the riding are Gord Zeilstra (Liberal) and Scott Cosman (Green).

Wikinews contacted Max Lombardi, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, listed below.

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FAA orders review of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following week of incidents

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered a review Friday into the design and manufacture of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, following five incidents in five days involving the aircraft and two Japanese airlines.

On Monday, an electrical fire broke out aboard a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston’s Logan International Airport, when a battery pack which powers the auxiliary power unit, for when the plane is on the ground, caught fire. The fire was discovered by maintenance workers after passengers and crew disembarked following their flight from Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

The next day, a separate Japan Airlines 787, also at Logan International Airport, heading to Tokyo, suffered a fuel leak that spilled around 40 gallons, which was spotted by the crew of the aircraft taxiing behind them. “That Japan Air may know it, but they’ve got fuel or something spilling out the outboard left wing. Quite a bit,” said the pilot of aircraft behind them on local air traffic control frequencies.

Wednesday, in Japan, an All Nippon Airways 787, the launch customer for the aircraft, cancelled a flight after a brake problem was reported.

Earlier Friday, two All Nippon Airways suffered separate incidents in Japan. An oil leak was noticed in the engine after one aircraft had landed in Miyazaki, coming from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Another flight, flying between Haneda Airport and Matsuyama said the pilot’s side window in the cockpit suffered a crack.

The FAA in a statement said “In light of a series of recent events, the FAA will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly.” Further adding, “The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety.”

According to the statement, “The review will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.” The Boeing 787 relies more on electrical, as opposed to mechanical, systems than past aircraft from the manufacturer including having electronics operate hydraulic pumps and using electric brakes. Large portions of the plane’s structure use lightweight carbon fiber composite instead of more traditional metal airframe.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “The safety of the traveling public is our top priority […] This review will help us look at the root causes and do everything we can to safeguard against similar events in the future.”

“We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening,” said newly sworn-in FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

Boeing released a statement saying, “[The company] is confident in the design and performance of the 787. It is a safe and efficient airplane. The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily.”

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The Uk Provisional Driving Licence

The UK provisional driving licence

by

Shola Ogunlokun

If you want to legally drive a car in the UK you need a full driving licence which can be obtained by either exchanging your foreign licence if it is on the DVLA list of acceptable countries or learning to drive on a provisional licence if you don’t have one or have no previous driving experience.

You can apply for a provisional licence 2 months before your 17th birthday or 16th if you are on higher rate of disability benefit. You are not allowed to drive on the public roads until your provisional licence arrives (unless you have an international driving permit) and you reach your 17th birthday (if under 17).

To apply for a provisional licence, you need a D1 application form which is available from most UK post offices, and the current application fee (Nov 2008) is 50. A few of the following documents will be required to complete your licence application form.

A current full passport

An identity card issued by a member state of the European Union (EU) with the exception of Sweden.

Appropriate travel documents issued by the Home Office

A UK certificate of naturalisation

YouTube Preview Image

If using your birth certificate, you will need one of the following in addition:

NI card or letter from Department for Work and Pensions containing your NI number

photocopy of front page of a benefits book or an original benefits claim letter

P45, P60 or pay slip

marriage certificate or divorce papers (decree nisi or absolute)

College or University union card or school record

Certified passport sized photograph.

The D1 application form will let you know how many of the above you need to enclose when applying for your provisional licence.

Digital UK passports owners can apply for their provisional licence online at the DVLA Website.

Once you’ve received your provisional licence, you can start learning to drive either with a professional instructor, a family member or a friend.

Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions attached to your provisional licence, as you need to abide by the law, and don’t get penalty points on your licence as these will drive up insurance premiums for you, and any points on your provisional licence will transfered to your full driving licence once you pass the driving test.

On your first driving lesson, your driving instructor will check both parts of your provisional licence (photocard and counterpart), so make sure you take good care of these documents. You also will need to produce both parts of your licence when you take your theory and practical tests.

Conditions of Provisional Licence

It is important as a provisional driving license holder that you are fully aware of the law governing how you learn to drive in the UK, and the terms of your license.

As a provisional license holder, you can not drive a car unsupervised. The terms of your license state that you must be accompanied by a full license holder who is over 21 and has held their license for 3 years or more.

If you are caught driving unsupervised as a provisional licence holder, you could be fined, and have penalty points added on your license.

A foreign license holder with an international driving permit can drive unsupervised provided your car is not displaying ‘L’ plates and are driving within the first 12 months of their first arrival in the UK

Shola Ogunlokun is an approved UK driving instructor, he runs a

driving school

blog where he provides free advice, tips and videos to

proisional driving licence

holders on passing the UK driving test.

Article Source:

The UK provisional driving licence

ADP says US economy lost 742,000 jobs in March

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

According to the payroll services company ADP, United States private sector employers cut 742,000 jobs in in March. The figures were almost 80,000 more than the average analyst prediction of 663,000 losses. This is the largest monthly payroll decline since January 2001, when the ADP began tracking job activity.

ADP also updated its job loss statistics for February, from 697,000 to 706,000.

“The sharp employment declines among medium- and small-size businesses indicate that the recession continues to spread aggressively beyond manufacturing and housing-related activities to almost every area of the economy,” said Joel Prakken, the chairman of the company that conducts the ADP survey, Macroeconomic Advisors LLC.

“Despite some recent indications that stock prices, consumer spending, and housing activity may be bottoming out, employment, which usually trails overall economic activity, is likely to remain very weak for at least several more months,” he added.

The US Labor Department‘s report for employment statistics for March is due to be out on Friday. Analysts predicted that the department will announce the unemployment rate increased to 8.5% with 660,000 jobs eliminated in March. However, the bad news from ADP has prompted some to think that the current forecasts are too optimistic.

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