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Mon, 29 Nov 2021
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Images of American flag taken by Apollo 14 astronauts provide fuel for conspiracists

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© unknown
Astronaut Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin poses next to the U.S. flag July 20, 1969 on the moon
Did all the manned U.S. lunar landings between July 1969 and December 1972 actually take place or were they hoaxes?

A Canadian book publisher has taken a closer look at images acquired by the Apollo 14 astronauts just before they left the moon 40 years ago.

What Robert Godwin uncovered will probably provide more ammunition for those who doubt a U.S. astronaut ever set foot on Earth's celestial neighbour.

Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are credited with being the first humans to set foot on the moon, on July 20, 1969.

One frequently used argument is that video of the Stars and Stripes planted on lunar soil appears to show the flags blowing in the wind - even though there's no atmosphere on the moon.

Godwin says two frames of film taken from the Apollo 14 lunar lander in February 1971 may lead some people to believe that's true.

In one frame, the American flag is pointed to the right, while in another frame, it's pointing in another direction - to the left.

Godwin, 53, says he was drawn to Apollo 14 after viewing high-resolution images of that landing site which were taken recently by a lunar reconnaissance satellite.

Bad Guys

My electric shock nightmare at the hands of the CIA's evil doctor

Living as an actor is rather like living life on the trapezes in a circus. Every time you jump on, you have to pray that when the time comes for you to jump off there is another trapeze swinging your way.

I have been very lucky. So far they have kept swinging by and over the years I have had more than my fair share of roles on stage and television, including Upstairs Downstairs, The Darling Buds Of May, Dinnerladies, Acorn Antiques and Cranford.

Then there are the films, parts that have, to my surprise, given me quite a saucy reputation. After Calendar Girls, people might well think of me as something of an exhibitionist. I am not.

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© Unknown
Famous friends: Celia Imrie, above left, with Helen Mirren and Julie Walters in the hit British film Calendar Girls.

Eye 1

Workers struggle to plug leak at Japan nuclear plant

Tokyo -- A first attempt to plug a cracked concrete shaft that is leaking highly radioactive water into the ocean off Japan failed Saturday, so officials are now exploring alternatives, spokesmen for Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.


Power plant workers had been trying to fill the shaft with fresh concrete, but that did not change the amount of water coming out of the crack, the spokesmen said at a news conference that ran late into the night Saturday.

Their "plan B" is to use polymers to stop the leak, the spokesmen said. A Tokyo Electric expert will visit the site Sunday morning and decide what polymer to use before the work begins.

Workers will then break the shaft's ceiling and insert the polymer in a different spot from where they tried to place the concrete, they said.

Nuke

Japan Says it May Take Months to End Radiation Leaks

worker wearing a protective suit
© Reuters
A worker wearing a protective suit points at a cracked concrete pit near its No. 2 reactor of the Tokyo
Japan's government warned on Sunday it may take months to stop radiation leaking from a nuclear plant crippled by a huge earthquake and tsunami three weeks ago, as more bodies were recovered in devastated areas of northeast Japan.

An aide to embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the government's priority was to stop radiation leaks which were scaring the public and hindering work on cooling overheated nuclear fuel rods.

"We have not escaped from a crisis situation, but it is somewhat stabilized," said Goshi Hosono, a ruling party lawmaker and aide to Kan.

"How long will it take to achieve (the goal of stopping the radiation leakage)? I think several months would be one target," Hosono said on a nationwide Fuji TV programme on Sunday.

Bug

Plant disease raises questions on modified crops

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© Seth Perlman / Associated Press
Bob Hogan climbs back into his combine while harvesting soybeans in Pawnee, Ill., in October. A disease called sudden death syndrome has plagued the heartland and the nation's soybean industry.

Bouncing down a dirt road a couple of summers ago, past a gentle patchwork of barnyards and soybean fields in central Iowa, farmer Kent Friedrichsen strained over the steering wheel of his van and stared through the windshield in dismay.

His soybean fields, where he'd used seeds developed by Monsanto Co. and sprayed with its popular glyphosate weed killer Roundup Ready, were littered with yellowed leaves and dead plants. Four days earlier, the plants had been waist high and emerald green.

Nearby, in fields where he had planted seeds that weren't genetically engineered and didn't use glyphosates, the soybean plants were still healthy and lush.

Black Cat

Rat 'Epidemic' Could Invade New York City This Summer

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Rats "bigger than kittens" are set to lay siege to New York City, according to people who used to be paid to get rid of them.

They told AM New York that deep cuts to the city's pest control staff could cause a spike in rat infestations.

From AM New York:
Citywide, the 311 hotline received about 10,500 rodent complaints in 2010, up more than 5 percent from 2009. In 2011, complaints are up 9 percent through the beginning of March compared to the same period a year ago.
"There's going to be a major epidemic during the summer with the rodents," said Rosemarie Vasquez, a former city pest control aide.

Attention

US: DOH confirms 4 cases of dengue fever on Oahu, more pending

sarah park
© Unknown
Dr. Sarah Park
The Department of Health says: it's an outbreak. There are now FOUR confirmed cases of dengue fever on Oahu - with results of 12 more suspected cases still pending. But, health officials are hoping this epidemic can be contained to small numbers.

Hawaii health officials have an all-points bulletin out for the aedes albopictus. It's a type of mosquito that has bitten at least four adults - three from the same family, plus their neighbor - who all live in Pearl City.

"I'd sent a medical alert to all Oahu physicians, letting them know about what we were investigating and to basically heighten their awareness," says state epidemiologist, Dr. Sarah Park.

Health officials don't want to release the specific area in Pearl City because they don't want to give others a false sense of security that the outbreak can't happen elsewhere. In fact, the 12 suspected cases of dengue come from all over Oahu.

Bad Guys

Transocean Hails 'Best Year' in Safety, Gives Execs Bonuses, Despite Gulf Spill

The company that owns the now-infamous
Deepwater Horizon ablaze
© USCG
The BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig ablaze.
Deepwater Horizon, the oil rig that caused immeasurable damage to the Gulf, recently applauded itself for the "best year in safety performance in our Company's history." The company, Transocean Ltd., rewarded its executives millions in bonuses for the achievement, according to the annual report it released yesterday.

Steven L. Newman, Transocean's president and CEO, awarded himself $4.3 million in cash bonuses, stocks and options.

Eleven people died as a direct result of the disaster in the Gulf, nine of them Transocean employees, according to Forbes.

"Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate. As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company's history, which is a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident free environment, all the time, everywhere," the company wrote in their annual statement to shareholders.

Transocean leased the Deepwater Horizon to BP, so it contends it has no liability for the spill and explosion.

2 + 2 = 4

The Truth About Vegetarianism

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© Unknown
The vegetarian myth tells us that not eating meat leads to a sustainable diet. But eating plants won't solve the planet's problems.

I was a vegan for almost 20 years.

I know the reasons that compelled me to embrace an extreme diet, and they are honorable - even noble. Reasons such as justice, compassion and a desperate, all-encompassing longing to set the world right. To save the planet - the last trees bearing witness to ages and the scraps of wilderness still nurturing fading species, silent in their fur and feathers. To protect the vulnerable, the voiceless. To feed the hungry. At the very least, to refrain from participating in the horror of factory farming.

These political passions are born of a hunger so deep it touches on the spiritual. They were for me, and they still are. I want my life - my body - to be a place where the Earth is cherished, not devoured; where the sadist is granted no quarter; where the violence stops. And I want eating - the first nurturance - to be an act that sustains rather than kills. This is an effort to honor our deepest longings for a just world. And I now believe those longings - for compassion, for sustainability, for an equitable distribution of resources - are not served by the philosophy or practice of vegetarianism. Believing in this vegetarian myth has led us astray.

Comment: For more information about vegetarianism and veganism, see this Sott link:

The Naive Vegetarian


Binoculars

Lucky escape as dogs plunge 150ft down cliff

Two pet dogs had a miraculous escape after plunging over a 150ft-high cliff after chasing a rabbit.

Excited playmates Sasha and Moby were enjoying a walk at Southerndown when they spotted the rabbit.

Owner Lyndsey Rudd was horrified to see the pair disappear over the edge of the cliff, which is known as a notorious suicide spot.

She feared the two dogs would be killed but the pair survived the fall.

Both Sasha and Moby were lying injured but were still breathing and are expected to make a full recovery.

Lyndsey, 28, lives in Oxford but was visiting her parents in the Vale of Glamorgan.

She was walking her spaniel-cross Sasha and her friend Dannii Thomas' border collie Moby, when the accident happened.

Comment: For more information on situations in Bridgend, see this Sott link:

More Weirdness in 'Suicide County'! Bridgend, South Wales: Town terrorised by 250 wild horses 'abandoned by gypsies who can't afford to feed them'