A festival in Somerset has declared itself the first festival ‘micronation’.
Those attending Sunrise Festival, running from 30 May to 2 June 2013, will explore the idea of living in a free independent state and will be invited to gain ‘citizenship’ by actively participating in creating a new vision of society. Artists will also have a say in how the festival is shaped, with main stage headline acts selecting support bands to fill the rest of their night’s line-up.
Though not officially recognised as a micronation, the festival – formerly Sunrise Celebration – aims to adhere to the main principles of a micronation, operating as open a democratic model as possible and providing the chance for anyone to raise issues, discuss the functioning of the nation and collectively decide what it will become.
“We’re turning on its head the idea of what a nation is, not just mimicking the standards of a nation, many of which are oppressive,” says Sunrise co-director Dan Hurring. “We very much want the people to make this their nation.
“Our independent state aims to offer an alternative view of life: a vision of a society that is not just functional, but beautiful; not just sustainable, but abundant and flourishing.”
An electric solar wind sail, or e-sail, developed in Finland, is being tested for the first time in space.
An Estonian small satellite, EstCube-1, was launched from France on Tuesday, 7 May. The satellite will deploy a ten-metre-long electric sail, which was developed by ETLA, the Electronics Research Laboratory of the University of Helsinki’s Department of Physics.
Once deployed, the e-sail will use solar wind momentum for producing thrust without the use of any propellant. The e-sail could also be used for bringing a satellite back to Earth’s atmosphere after its mission is over.
The e-sail was invented by Pekka Janhunen at the Kumpula Space Centre in 2006. The invention is based on long and extremely thin metal wires, or tethers, which interact with solar wind or other plasma flows. The e-sail is somewhat similar to the more well-known solar radiation pressure sail, which is often called the solar sail.
BYD’s electric taxis hit Hong Kong roads with big ambitions
Warren Buffett-backed Chinese carmaker BYD Co Ltd rolled out Hong Kong’s first electric taxi fleet on Wednesday, marking a milestone for its all-electric battery car that highlights its promise and its limitations.
“We expect to increase the number of e6 taxis in Hong Kong to 5,000 in three years,” said Liu Xueliang, general manager of BYD Asia Pacific sales, after the company announced it is making a push in the former British colony to encourage the use of its all-electric e6 taxi.
“Please join us in congratulating identical twins Kirstie and Kristie Bronner, they have been named co-valedictorians for Spelman College Class of 2013 with a 4.0 GPA. The Bronner sisters are Atlanta natives who are making history as the first twins to receive the designation in the history of Spelman College.”
Out of a total of 655 entries, Shire was shortlisted along with six other African up-and-coming poets.
The 24-year-old Kenyan born, England-raised poet has read her work globally, and her poetry pamphlet Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth was published in 2011 by flipped eye.
The judges praised Warsan’s poetry for its combination of substance, beauty and drama. Her work was described as “…beautifully crafted, subtle and understated in its use of language and metaphor yet still able to evoke a strong sense of mood and place that touches the reader.”
“I’ve never been to Somalia, and I’m Somali. So the poems for me are a way of creating a connection to a country I’ve never been to. I don’t know how it feels to belong, or to be home or anything like that,” - Shire
A 27-year-old man has become one of the first patients in the UK to have his kidney stones removed using “micro instruments” which are only millimetres in size.
Doctors used the 3.5mm apparatus to remove Graham Edgley’s kidney stones.
Medics hope that using the instrument, which is 70% smaller than the conventional kit, will mean that patients can be treated in a day rather than having to stay in hospital for two or three days. It will typically only leave a 3mm scar, compared to the 1cm scar left after laparoscopic surgical equipment is used.
Surgeons at The Royal London Hospital, who are the first in the UK to use the apparatus, believe the minuscule equipment will be suitable for half of the patients requiring the removal of kidney stones.
Saudi Arabian girls will be allowed to play sport in private schools for the first time in the latest in a series of incremental changes aimed at slowly increasing women’s rights in the ultraconservative kingdom.
Saudi Arabia’s official press agency, SPA, reported on Saturday that private girls’ schools are now allowed to hold sport activities in accordance with the rules of sharia law. Students must adhere to “decent dress” codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the education ministry’s requirements.
The decision makes sport once again a stage for the push to improve women’s rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics.
Officials celebrate as electric vehicle-to-grid technology sells power to PJM power grid
Joined by government and industry leaders, the University of Delaware and NRG Energy celebrated an important milestone for their eV2g project on Friday, becoming an official resource of PJM Interconnection and proving for the first time that electric vehicle-to-grid technology can sell electricity from electric vehicles (EVs) to the power grid.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and senior officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and the state were among those who participated in an event at UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus to mark the achievements.
“Moving innovative ideas out of the classroom and into the marketplace is critical to growing our economy,” said Markell. “The partnership between NRG and the University of Delaware perfectly illustrates the potential for research institutions to spur economic development.”
Jason Collins, 34-year-old center in the National Basketball Association, is the first openly gay athlete in major American sports.
He wrote this piece for Sports Illustrated detailing his decision:
I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.
I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.
This is huge. This is so huge. Follow-up to come; we’ll be talking about this one for a while.
Iraqis Vote in First Election Since U.S. Withdrawal
Iraqis cast ballots in regional elections Saturday amid tight security, marking the country’s first vote since the U.S. military withdrawal and a key test of its stability.
The results will not directly affect the shape of Iraq‘s national government. But the vote will be an important barometer of support for Iraq’s various political blocs heading into 2014 parliamentary elections, and the outcome could exacerbate sectarian tensions.
Saturday’s vote will also test the Iraqi army and police, who face a reviving al-Qaida insurgency and are for the first time since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion securing an election on their own.
As in past elections, officials have ratcheted up security precautions to thwart attempts by insurgents to disrupt the vote.
Security cordons are set up around polling places, and only authorized vehicles are being allowed on the streets in major cities. Voters dipped an index finger in ink after casting ballots to ensure each person voted only once.
There were no immediate reports of violence in the hours after voting got underway at 7 a.m. local time.
Scientists produce best image yet of atoms moving in real time
Call it the ultimate nature documentary. Scientists at the University of Toronto have recorded atomic motions in real time, offering a glimpse into the very essence of chemistry and biology at the atomic level.
Their recording is a direct observation of a transition state in which atoms undergo chemical transformation into new structures with new properties – in this case the transfer of a charge leading to metallic behaviour in organic molecules. It is described in a study reported in the April 18 issue of Nature.
“It’s the first look at how chemistry and biology involve just a few key motions for even the most complex systems,” said U of T chemistry and physics professor R. J. Dwayne Miller, principal investigator of the study. “There is an enormous reduction in complexity at the defining point, the transition state region, which makes chemical processes transferrable from one type of molecule to another. This is how new drugs or materials are made.”
The initiative will be launched in May. It has taken 18 months to finalise and been piloted by FNB to ensure the system operated properly, CIPC’s senior manager Rehelda Williams told Parliament’s portfolio committee on Thursday.
(Photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
BETHLEHEM, Israel — Jesus’ traditional birthplace has long been linked to tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. On Sunday, around 1,000 athletes took a step towards transforming Bethlehem’s modern image by running in the first official Palestinian marathon.
Whole Foods Market® and Gotham Greens to build nation’s first commercial-scale rooftop greenhouse above Brooklyn store
Whole Foods Market is proud to announce Gotham Greens as its operating partner of the nation’s first commercial scale greenhouse farm integrated within a retail grocery space. The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, currently being constructed on the roof of the forthcoming Whole Foods Market store in Gowanus, Brooklyn, is scheduled to open later this fall. Gotham Greens will grow premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round in the greenhouse for Whole Foods Market Gowanus, as well as other Whole Foods Market locations throughout New York City.
“Gotham Greens has been a valued local supplier of high quality, flavorful and fresh produce to Whole Foods Market since early 2011, making this greenhouse project a natural and extremely exciting next step in our relationship,” said Christina Minardi, Whole Foods Market Northeast Regional President. “We’re particularly excited to partner with a local organization with roots right here in Brooklyn and a mission in line with our own, in that we both care deeply about providing local, fresh and sustainably produced food.”
The new greenhouse will be designed, built and operated by Gotham Greens in partnership with Whole Foods Market. The specially designed rooftop farm will include advanced irrigation systems that use up to 20 times less water than conventional farming as well as enhanced glazing materials and electrical equipment to reduce overall energy demand. Based on the farm’s proximity to Whole Foods Market stores in New York City, the project will eliminate long distance food transport and its associated emissions, while ensuring product freshness, quality and nutrition for thousands of customers in the area.
New Zealand leads way in Pacific with gay marriage law
ABC News: New Zealand has become the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.
The bill was passed by parliament 77 votes to 44, making New Zealand the 13th nation worldwide to take the measure. The law redefines marriage as a union between two people, rather than a man and woman.
Photo: New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. (Phil Walter / Getty Images, file)