Ten April Fool’s pranks of 2009

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20
Feb

Friday, April 3, 2009

April Fools’ Day pranks harmlessly pervaded worldwide again this year. Media outlets and internet sites have joined family, office workers, and friends to provide a wide variety of practical jokes. Ireland, France, and the United States celebrate April Fools all day, whereas a few countries celebrate jokes only until noon such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa.

Car and Driver claimed that GM and Chrysler were ordered out of NASCAR by the White House by the end of 2009 in order to receive any more government loans. There are press releases about this short-lived prank which received controversial feedback.

The Swiss Tourism Board has announced that volunteers were desperately needed, The Association of Mountain Cleaners “makes sure that our holiday guests can always enjoy perfect mountains. Using brooms, brushes, water and muscle power, they clean the rocks of any bird droppings.”

This year Gmail produced a new autopilot feature for April 1, 2009 which can read your email and automatically respond to every message.

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BMW released its new Magnetic Tow Technology which allows your BMW to magnetically attach to the vehicle ahead of you. This enhanced technology allows the driver to remove their foot from the gas pedal and turn off the motor.

The Guardian proposed its move to Twitter, which would allow the newspaper to fit its article content into 140 character messages or “tweets”. Included in this venture was the archiving of past events reported by The Guardian, such as, “1927 OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day otherwise *sigh*”

Google’s technological break through for April Fool’s Day was CADIE, (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity). By extracting internet search patterns combined with Brain Search, a part of CADIE technology, Google can now search your thoughts and memories.

Wikipedia even fooled Fox News who claimed that “every item on the home page of the user-generated site Wikipedia is fake. The featured Wikipedia article regaled the “Museum of Bad Art” in Boston.” However, each item on the main page was based on reality — even news articles such as NASA reports a shower of diamonds over the Republic of Sudan, which was based on a meteorite which passed over Sudan whose fragments did reveal diamonds upon discovery.

The Conficker Internet worm had been in the news warning of a worst case scenario when computers worldwide would be affected by the virus. Even the chief security adviser for Microsoft, Ed Gibson, didn’t want to make any predictions about what would happen. Experts just knew that it was set to go off on April 1. Several anomalous happenings were attributed to Conficker including Leroy “Mac” MacElrie who claimed to be the programmer of the Conficker worm and turned himself in to police.

Hotels.com ran an advertisement offering hotel room bookings on the moon which would be offered on European websites starting at £800 a night.

Qualcomm ingeniously revealed a new wireless networking technology called wireless convergence. Making use of the flight patterns of pigeons. They then use innovative solutions to converge the birds with wolves to protect the internal improvements.

Media outlets were not the only ones pulling pranks. Gaming websites across the internet Blizzard, Joystiq, and affiliates posted reviews and announcements of games with tongue in cheek. YouTube offered viewers a unique April Fool’s experience as videos were offered upside down. In Ireland, U2 fans received a U2opia concert on a shopping centre roof top concert rather than the real thing.

Atlas V rocket launches with Inmarsat satellite

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20
Feb

Friday, March 11, 2005

A Lockheed-Martin built Atlas V launch vehicle, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 21:42 UTC (4:42 p.m. EST). It placed the Inmarsat 4 F-1 communications satellite into orbit. This was Lockheed-Martin’s second try to launch the satellite. Yesterday’s attempt ended in a scrub when the flight control computer passed a red-line with less than three minutes remaining in the countdown.

This was the fifth launch of the Atlas V vehicle, and the first launch where the rocket used three of the first stage, Aerojet built, solid rocket motors. It also had the narrower 4 meter payload fairing.

For the first part of the flight, the rocket was powered by a common booster core with two RD-180 rocket engines plus three solid rocket motors. When their fuel was expended the solid rocket motors burned out and were jettisoned.

The common booster core then continued pushing the payload and upper stage, with its two RD-180 engines producing 806,000lbf of thrust. The common booster core expended its fuel around four and a half minutes into the flight. At this point the first stage common booster core separated from the upper stage and payload.

After the stage separation, the Centaur upper stage started its engine and burned for nearly ten minutes. During this burn, the payload fairing separated from the spacecraft, leaving the satellite exposed on the nose of the rocket in the vacuum of space. When the ten minute burn was up, the Centaur coasted with the satellite for another ten minutes waiting to get to the optimal point for the final burn. At around 24 minutes into the flight, the final burn of the Centaur stage occurred, placing the spacecraft in a super-synchronous transfer orbit. After this burn was complete, the Centaur separated, leaving the spacecraft on its own.

Now the spacecraft must attempt to open its solar arrays and place itself in the final geostationary orbit. Because of this special type of orbit, where the spacecraft goes around once every 24 hours, the satellite will appear to sit in one place over the equator. From this location, Inmarsat will use it to provide BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) which is a 3G compatible, 432kbit/s data service, to much of the world.

The Atlas vehicle was rolled out of its vertical integration facility 1800 feet from the launch pad early yesterday morning (before the first launch attempt). The reason for this launch day move is because of the clean pad concept.

Past American rockets (with the exception of the Saturns and Space Shuttles) have always been assembled on the launch pad. In the case of a delay in launching, this would cause delays in all the rockets that needed to be launched after the one that experienced the delay. With the new clean pad concept, rockets can be assembled and checked out before being moved to the pad, saving delays in the schedule.

The launch tower and rocket move out to the pad along a set of railroad tracks, making the 1800 foot journey in approximately half an hour, topping out around two miles per hour.

Because of the clean pad concept, none of the launch control electronics or spacecraft environmental systems are on the pad. Instead, they are run along the railroad tracks with the rocket as it moves to the pad on launch day. When they get there, they slide into concrete enclosures so that they are not destroyed during the rocket launch.

Maruti Suzuki- Preferable Choice of Consumers by RobtjacksonMaruti brand is extraordinarily popular amongst the Indian masses and with the introduction of latest models, it is giving tough competition to other leading brands in auto sector. Maruti Suzuki cars are exceedingly efficient on roads and give tremendous mileage. The high selling models of Maruti placed in high priorities are cars include Alto, Swift, Esteem, Wagon R Baleno, Versa and Zen. Maruti Suzuki is the most reliable brand amongst all the leading brands in the world. The brand occupies national as well as international market with its great efforts and intelligent making. The company’s new exciting and fuel-efficient models have latest technologies in the market, which had made dealers and customers buy Suzuki cars. Many Bollywood celebrities and Democrats of our nation encouragingly support Suzuki brand. Maruti Suzuki is one of the leading brands present in the automobile industry. This brand is enjoying its leading position since many years and still occupying that top most place with pride and dignity. The range in which this company produces and manufactures its products is the most commendable thing, as the variety of models supported makes it easily approachable by many lower-middle and middle class population. The price ranges of the models vary between two lakh fifty thousand and above. The Suzuki Cervo is one of the several models of Maruti, which starts from the price range of one lakh fifty thousand to two lakh fifty thousand. This stylish and great looking car supports looks of a sports car, and is in high demand by younger generation. The main specifications of Cervo are the arching roofline, sporty and stylish headlamps and fog lamps placed along the both sides. It is a petrol engine car with 660 cc engine producing a great power. The model is available in different ranges of color lines including the metallic colors like black, grey and silver. The Cervo holds up a four-box gear box, Bluetooth functionalities and is a hatch back car with amazing looks. Maruti brand is extraordinarily popular amongst the Indian masses and with the introduction of latest models, it is giving tough competition to other leading brands in auto sector. Maruti Suzuki cars are exceedingly efficient on roads and give tremendous mileage. The high selling models of Maruti placed in high priorities are cars include Alto, Swift, Esteem, Wagon R Baleno, Versa and Zen. The interiors of Maruti Cars are eye catchy giving a feel of comfort along with elegant looks. The Maruti SX4 and Swift are the highest selling brand showing superior customer satisfaction and highest durability in terms of engine functionality.The slogan of Swift desire is well written which says The Heart Car. Maruti Suzuki Cars For Sale in India do occupy our heart with a special place and is actually the highest selling and reselling car amongst the Indian population. If you wish to sell used Maruti Suzuki cars, always keep into consideration advertising is the key factor to sell used car. To fetch good buyers, advertise in local newspapers, magazines or choose certified used car dealer.Robtjackson is an author for Free ads Classifieds. Free ads Classifieds gives a one-stop solution for all your free ads like Used Cars.Article Source: eArticlesOnline.com

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Wiki loves the European Parliament in Strasbourg

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20
Feb

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Last week fifty volunteers, from nine countries covering nineteen languages, spent four days at the European Parliament buildings in Strasbourg photographing and filming members of the parliament (MEPs). This being an effort to significantly increase the audio-visual content available in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects.

Members of the team, who were all granted guest press accreditation, began arriving at the hotel in the small town of Kork, not far from the France–Germany border, on Saturday. The team base, Hotel Ochsen, has an interesting history. Placards on the courtyard wall explain it served as headquarters for Field marshal Kollowrat-Krakowsky battling Napoleonic forces in the 1796 Siege of Kehl.

Those arriving later came directly to the Louise Weiss building, which hosts the parliament’s plenary sessions and all voting on EU matters. Whilst staying in the hotel, the Wikimedian group met two MEPs who chose it in-preference to dramatically more-expensive Strasbourg accommodation. One of the ushers from the parliament also chatted with volunteers at the hotel, self-depricatingly describing his ceremonial attire as a “penguin suit” due to the long-tailed jacket.

One of the first day’s MEPs to introduce themselves to the visiting Wikimedians was Christian Engström; delivering copies of his book, The Case for Copyright Reform, co-authored with Swedish Pirate Party founder Rickard Falkvinge. Engström explained that, in the book, he argues Wikipedia is one of the losers under current copyright legislation. One of numerous MEPs who recorded video introductions in multiple languages, he was more-confident than some colleagues — the most-challenging taking thirteen takes to successfully record.

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Over 1,000 new, high-quality, photographs were taken and uploaded for use on Wikimedia projects during the visit. The second and third days in the parliament saw the highest number of MEPs coming to see the visiting Wikimedians and have their photographs taken. Once photographed, MEPs were encouraged to make video introductions in languages they were comfortable speaking in. In excess of 200 video clips of MEPs introducing themselves were captured; this providing freely-reusable audio and video records available via Wikimedia Commons.

Parliamentarians became more-enthusiastic about the project in its later days, with significantly more turning up to be photographed and filmed. Given some turned up as Wikimedians were packing up on the last day, some still lack freely-licensed photographs for their Wikipedia entries. French MEP, and National Front member, Bruno Gollnisch was amongst those disappointed when turning up after much of the equipment was packed up; although Gollnisch has already provided some video recordings, he had returned with additional prepared texts — including Japanese — for use in a video introduction.

Despite much of two levels within the parliament set aside for the press, the event received little coverage from mainstream media. France TV’s channel three broadcast a report on the Thursday, making footage available via their website on the Friday.

In contrast the Voice intro project (WikiVIP) started by Andy Mabbett, and brought to a far-wider audience with Stephen Fry’s endorsement, saw Mabbet give an interview from one of the parliament’s radio studios with United States’ public radio network NPR. With Fry’s recording catching the attention of the press, that project has received coverage from as-far afield as Italy, Russia, and Japan.

Audio for use on Wikipedia is to be extracted from video recordings of MEPs for use on Wikimedia projects. As available storage and bandwidth increases, it is a longer-term goal of the Wikimedia Foundation to increase freely-available, and reusable, multimedia content across all projects hosted by the Foundation.

The project also served as an opportunity to emphasise that all Wikimedia content is created through people donating their time and effort. Whilst MEPs knew anyone could edit Wikipedia, meeting a group representing all ages, and much of Europe, served as an effective public-relations exercise.

 Correction — May 30, 2005 As noted below, there is no relationship between the “Piano Man” and Geoffrey Betts. While the speculative nature of this article was clearly pointed out from the beginning, Wikinews would nevertheless like to apologize to Mr. Betts for any inconvenience it may have caused. (See also Wikinews editor CGorman’s apology.) 

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Wikinews reported on May 17 that several weeks earlier British police had picked up an unidentified man wandering the streets of Sheerness, United Kingdom. The man who has thus far refused to talk, has demonstrated himself to be an excellent pianist—earning him the nickname Piano Man.

Since publication of our first article, we have been contacted by a fellow wiki contributor informing us that the Piano Man may be a British actor named Geoffrey Betts. Although our contact strongly believed he knew the identity of the man and contacted the relevant authorities in regard to his belief, this has turned out to be false. While Betts was not reachable by phone or e-mail, his website was recently updated to the effect that he is not the man in question. In the meantime, the search for the identity has been narrowed down to three leads by authorities.

The original interview between Wikinews editor CGorman and contributor Steve Magruder is reproduced below.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The US economy added 173,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. The unemployment rate fell from 5.3 to 5.1 percent, the lowest since April 2008.

Although August job gains were lower than most economists forecast, job growth numbers for June and July were revised upwards by a combined 44,000. Average job gains over the past three months stand at 221,000, compared to March-May’s 189,000 monthly average. Over the past twelve months, job growth has averaged 247,000 per month.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent, or 8 cents, marking the largest increase in earnings in seven months. Hourly earnings had risen by 6 cents in July. Wages have risen by 2.2 percent over the past year.

Job growth in August was primarily concentrated in the health care and social assistance, financial activities, and professional and business services sectors. Those three areas of the economy added a combined 108,000 jobs. Food service and drinking places employment increased by 26,000 over the month, and other economic sectors saw employment hold steady. Manufacturing, on the other hand, saw employment decline by 17,000 in August. A stronger dollar and worldwide economic weakness make US exports less desirable, leading to a flattening in manufacturing employment so far this year after steadily rising in the early years of the US economic recovery.

The solid overall job gains led analysts to slightly raise expectations for a decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month. Investors raised the likelihood of a September rate increase from 26 percent before the jobs report to 30 percent, and stocks dropped by over one percent on Friday. “The payrolls data is certainly good enough to allow for a Fed rate hike in September,” said Deutsche Bank’s head of currency strategy, Alan Ruskin. “The big question is still whether financial market volatility will scupper the plans.”

“This is the first time the market has looked at a Fed meeting and really has no idea what the Fed is going to do,” said Mark Kepner, a New Jersey equity trader with Themis Trading. “Right now you’re looking at the overall uncertainty and that’s what’s hanging on the market. I don’t think this number in and of itself changes how somebody’s going to vote.”

Few Key Features To Reduce Your Pain By Using Theramine Product Solution

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Category:July 15, 2010

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 Correction — Aug 2, 2010 Nader referred to the 1999 repeal of the 1933 Glass-Steagal Act. The Wikinews article omitted the word “repeal” from the account of Nader’s speech. 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Independent U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader had harsh words for the Democrats who engineered yesterday’s passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, a bailout of the U.S. financial system. At a campaign stop in Waterbury, Connecticut on Saturday, Nader said that Democrats passed up a chance to enact re-regulation of the financial system and instead gave Wall Street everything it wanted.

According to Nader, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), and other Democrats considered but rejected measures such as a tax on transactions of derivatives (a “speculation tax”) because of their financial ties to Wall Street and its lobbyists. He said that Representative Chris Murphy (D-CT), who represents Waterbury, had “become a toady” of Nancy Pelosi. He drew enthusiastic applause by calling Murphy “a dynamic fraud”, and referred to Senator Joe Lieberman as “the Hermaphrodite of American Politics”. For Murphy and Representative Chris Shays (R-CT), Nader said, supporting the bailout despite the opposition of constituents was a “profile in betrayal”. Because there were no public hearings where taxpayers and experts could weigh in on the bailout, Nader characterized it as a return to “taxation without representation“—under “King George IV” 225 years after the 13 colonies were taxed under King George III.

Asked about causes of the financial crisis, Nader pointed to the deregulation of the financial sector with the 1999 Glass-Steagall Act and further deregulation in 2000, as well as the rise of overly complex financial derivatives. He outlined a four-part reform plan:

  1. Re-regulation of financial markets
  2. Increasing shareholder control of corporations
  3. Taxpayer equity as part of any bailout, as in the 1979 bailout of Chrysler Corporation
  4. Making speculators pay by enacting a 0.1% tax on derivatives transactions (which Nader said will amount to over $500 trillion this year)

Regarding the equity warrants included in the passed bailout, Nader relayed word from an unnamed source that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had told Wall Street executives “don’t worry, it’s not enforceable”.

Nader told reporters that he had abandoned the Green Party because “Greens are not disciplined, and they’re not mature”, and also lack the fund-raising capabilities to break into mainstream political discussions. “They bicker and bicker,” he said, pushing out their best people. However, he endorsed several local Green Party candidates, including Chris Murphy’s opponent Harold Burbank.

The virtual media blackout for third party campaigns by national newspapers and networks has been a source of continual frustration for the Nader campaign, as well as the campaigns of Libertarian Bob Barr and Green Cynthia McKinney and the post-campaign activities of Republican Ron Paul. According to Nader, reporters tell him that editors of national media are “very bigoted against third party and independent candidacies”. Even journalists for taxpayer-supported media, such as National Public Radio‘s Terry Gross and the Public Broadcasting Service‘s Jim Lehrer, have shut him out during this campaign. Debates, he lamented, are controlled by corporate interests through the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Nader spoke to a supportive crowd of about 60 people and his campaign raised over $2000 at the event, their third visit to Waterbury. The event took place in the former building of a closed-down bank.

News briefs:June 16, 2010

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Feb
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