TORONTO – How far we’ve come. Thirty years ago, astronomers theorized that planets could orbit other stars in our galaxy. Today, we know of more than 1,800 exoplanets with more than another 5,000 to be confirmed.
Now, two telescopes — using very different methods — have discovered two more unique and intriguing worlds orbiting far off stars.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope together with the W.M. Keck Telescope in Hawaii, has uncovered a planet roughly the size of Uranus. It used a method called gravitational microlensing, where the a star in the foreground amplifies the light of a background star. If the star in the foreground has planets, the planets may also amplify the light of the background star, however, for a much shorter period.
This discovery is particularly special as most giant planets so far catalogued orbit close to their stars, whereas this Uranus-sized planet…
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I have long been an admirer of John Newton. He has written many letters and hymns that not only address my mind but also my heart. He was not a “speculative” theologian but an practical or pastoral theologian. He is one of my “long distance” mentors- stretching across both time and geography thanks to God’s providential gift of the printing press. While I am surely not the pastor (and Christian) I want to be, I am a better pastor because of John Newton.
Tony Reinke has done people like me a great service with his contribution to Crossway’s series Theologians on the Christian Life. This is the first book I’ve read in the series. It makes me want to read more. But let’s look at Newton on the Christian Life: To Live is Christ.
As Reinke notes at the end, he doesn’t say everything Newton does, nor cover every…
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Some secondary school teachers are being trained through the Ministry of Education, in preparation for the integration of the Trafficking in Persons curriculum into different subject areas for the upcoming school year.
Last year, the Ministry of Justice handed over the curriculum, developed by the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons, to the Education Ministry for it to be introduced at the grade seven to nine level in high schools.
The curriculum, to be rolled out in a group of pilot schools this academic year, is to promote greater awareness among students and teachers about human trafficking.
According to Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Core Curriculum Unit, Dr Clover Hamilton-Flowers, the Trafficking in Persons curriculum will be treated as support material in the new National Standards Curriculum.
“So, it means we would be identifying those areas in the National Standards Curriculum that would provide the space to strategically treat that phenomenon,” she explained.
She said the Unit has identified areas in Social Studies, Religious Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Physical Education and Sports, as well as in History, in which topics from the curriculum will be integrated during lessons.
“We do the training with our teachers to help them understand the focus of the curriculum, the methodology they are supposed to use and then they will (incorporate it), based on their context,” Dr Hamilton-Flowers said.
A man accused of attempting to extort money from a woman was remanded in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court recently.
Charged with extortion is Ackeema Blackwood, 25, a security guard from Yallahs, St Thomas.
The allegations are that Blackwood and the female met in April and exchanged numbers, where they began texting each other daily.
The court heard that the complainant told the accused that she was not interested in a relationship because she had a boyfriend and Blackwood agreed to a friendship.
The complainant said the friendship soured after she asked Blackwood to take a break in their communication because she believed he was texting her excessively.
It was reported that Blackwood got angry and told the complainant that he would spread rumours about her giving him a sexually transmitted disease. The complainant denied having a sexual relationship with accused man.
It was further heard that on July 10 Blackwood told the complainant he would leave her alone if she had unprotected sex with him and gave him $10,000.
Blackwood sent a text lowering the demand to $5000 while the complainant was making an official report at the Hunts Bay Police Station.
The complainant agreed to meet the accused at Ocean Boulevard on July 15, an operation was conducted by the police and Blackwood was arrested and charged.
The complainant, a University of Technology student, told Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey that she wanted the charges to be dropped because she was uncomfortable with the issue being played out in public.
But RM Pusey told her Blackwood had acted outside of the law. “I am sorry but it is no longer in your hands, men such as this should not be on the road being able to use electronic devices to terrorise women,” said RM Pusey.
The defendant’s lawyer said Blackwood had been joking when he sent the text messages but RM Pusey said an incident like that was no joking matter.
Astronomers found the aurora light display around a brown dwarf 20 light years away.
Dr Stuart Littlefair, from the University of Sheffield, told the BBC it was the first confirmed sighting of such a phenomenon.
A brown dwarf is known as a ‘failed star’. It is an object too small to become a star but bigger than a planet.
But as the aurora – discovered using radio and optical telescopes – is a similar phenomenon to the Earth’s Northern Lights, the discovery provides further evidence to suggest that brown dwarfs are more similar to planets.
Dr Littlefair said: “Brown dwarfs span the gap between stars and planets and these results are yet more evidence that we need to think of brown dwarfs as beefed-up planets, rather than ‘failed stars’.”
He said it was already known that brown dwarfs had cloudy atmospheres like planets, but the discovery showed they also hosted “powerful auroras”.
The findings are reported in the journal Nature.
The aurora light display – created when charged particles enter the planet’s magnetic field and collide with gas atoms in the atmosphere – is however thousands of times brighter than the Northern Lights and more red than green in colour.
The California Institute of Technology’s Dr Gregg Hallinan, a lead scientist on the project, said: “We’re finding that brown dwarfs are not like small stars in terms of their magnetic activity; they’re like giant planets with hugely powerful auroras.”
The auroras, he said, were, “hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than any detected in our solar system”
British ministers on Wednesday convened for emergency talks on the mounting crisis, as Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged the situation in the northern French city of Calais was ‘very concerning.’
The man, thought to be in his late 20s and of Sudanese origin, was apparently crushed by a truck as he tried, with hundreds of others, to smuggle himself into Britain, seen as an ‘El Dorado’ for migrants.
Attempts to penetrate the sprawling Eurotunnel site have spiked in recent days, with migrants trying several times a night to outfox hopelessly outnumbered security officials and police.
Another Sudanese man in his 30s who gave his name as Abraham said: ‘I tried three times tonight but it was very difficult with all the patrols. I know it’s dangerous but I’m trying.’
French authorities said there had been around 2300 attempts to sneak into the Eurotunnel premises overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, revising up a previous figure of 1500.
France’s interior ministry said there have been ‘between 1500 and 2000 attempts per night’ in the past two months.
‘The migrants’ strategy is simple,’ said Bruno Noel from police union Alliance.
‘They arrive as soon as night falls. They lie in wait then sneak onto the premises and hide. As soon as a shuttle train takes off, they try and clamber onto it,’ said Noel.
In what appeared to be a new tactic to get to Britain, an Egyptian tried to jump from the roof of a train at Paris’s Gare du Nord train station onto the London-bound Eurostar and was severely electrocuted.
The migrant killed in Calais on Wednesday was the ninth such death since June and the rising toll is creating tensions between French authorities and Eurotunnel, the firm that runs the passenger and freight service under the Channel.
‘The pressure we are now under every night exceeds that which an operator can reasonably handle, and calls for an appropriate reaction from the states’ of France and Britain, the firm stressed in a statement.
Chief Executive Jacques Gounon told French radio that the firm was up against ‘systematic, massive, maybe even organised invasions.’
He said it was more of a bid to gain media attention ‘because, in the end, no one manages to cross the Channel Tunnel.’
Britain’s interior minister Theresa May, however, acknowledged that some migrants had indeed made it to British soil, as a source told AFP that ‘more than 100’ succeeded on Tuesday alone.
‘It was over 100 on a number of trains. It’s an unusually high number, normally it’s a handful or zero,’ the British source told AFP.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced he would send an additional 120 police officers to Calais but stressed that the responsibility must also lie with Eurotunnel.