Home' Greymouth Star : March 21st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Friday, March 21, 2014
e bulk of the missing
Malaysia Airlines aircraft would
be at the bottom of the ocean if
it had crashed into the sea, an
Chari Pattiaratchi, from the
University of Western Australia,
said the search area was known
for its high winds, which create
huge swells and waves.
"You may have debris at
the surface but the bulk of
the aircraft would be at the
bottom of the ocean," Professor
Pattiaratchi told the Sydney
"It's very deep down there
--- about 5km. Trying to get
something out from 5km in the
roughest part of the world is
going to be extreme."
e currents in the area move
from west to east, he said.
"So if it has been in the water
for about 10 days it would have
drifted about 300km to 400km
to the east towards Perth."
e debris would likely have
been travelling about one nautical
mile per hour, or one knot.
"If it keeps going it'll go to
the south of Perth or south of
Australia," he said.
Oceanographer David Gallo,
who co-led the search for
Air France Flight 447, which
crashed in the Atlantic Ocean
in 2009, speculated that if the
debris really was 24m long, as
reported, it could be the tail
But he told CNN the size gave
him a degree of concern. "It's
a big piece of aircraft to have
survived something like this," he
Wreckage from the Air France
ight, which killed 216 people,
was spotted ve days after it
crashed. However, it took almost
two years to recover the black
Aircraft and ships ploughed
through poor weather in search
of objects oating in remote
seas o Australia that Malaysia's
government called a "credible
lead" in the trans-continental
hunt for the Boeing 777 airliner
missing for nearly two weeks.
A Royal New Zealand Air
Force P-3K2 Orion which
returned from a two and a half-
hour search mission in the Indian
Ocean early today, said it had
found nothing that could have
come from the Malaysia Airlines
Boeing 777 which disappeared
on March 8.
" e crew never found any
object of signi cance," Air Vice-
Marshal Kevin Short told Radio
"Visibility wasn't very good,
which makes it harder to search
the surface of the water," he said,
adding that the plane had own
about 1000 feet over the sea.
e large objects which
Australian o cials said were
spotted by satellite four days
ago are the most promising nd
in days as searchers scour a vast
area for the plane lost with 239
people on board.
A Nor wegian merchant ship
arrived in the area on ursday,
but o cials cautioned it could
take days to con rm if the
objects were part of the aircraft.
Malaysia's government said the
search would continue elsewhere
despite the sighting in the
southern Indian Ocean.
e area where the objects
were spotted is about 2500km
south-west of Perth, roughly
corresponding to the far end of a
southern track that investigators
calculated the aircraft could have
taken after it was diverted.
"Yesterday I said that we wanted
to reduce the area of the search.
We now have a credible lead,"
Malaysian Transport Minister
Hishammuddin Hussein told
reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
A search for the plane that
began in the tropical waters o
Malaysia's east coast has now
switched to the vast, icy southern
oceans between Australia,
southern Africa and Antarctica.
In addition to the RNZAF
aircraft, two Royal Australia
Air Force AP-3C Orions and
a United States Navy P-8
Poseidon were involved in the
search, which resumed today.
ere have been many false
leads and no con rmed wreckage
found from Flight MH370
since it vanished from air tra c
control screens o Malaysia's east
coast early on March 8, less than
an hour after taking o from
Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
Hishammuddin said the
information on the objects
received from Australia had been
"corroborated to a certain extent"
by other satellites, making it
more credible than previous
e larger of the objects
measured up to 24m long and
appeared to be oating in water
several thousand metres deep,
Australian o cials said.
e second object was about
"It's credible enough to divert
the research to this area on the
basis it provides a promising lead
to what might be wreckage from
the debris eld,"Royal Australian
Air Force Air Commodore John
McGarry told a news conference
e satellite images, provided
by US company Digital Globe,
were taken on March 16,
meaning that the possible debris
could by now have drifted far
from the original site.
Australian o cials said an
aircraft had dropped a series of
marker buoys in the area, which
will provide information about
currents to assist in calculating
the latest location.
A Norwegian car carrier
diverted from its journey from
Madagascar to Melbourne and
had arrived in the search area,
the ship's owner said. A Royal
Australian Navy ship equipped
to recover any objects was also
China's icebreaker for Antarctic
research, Xuelong, or Snow
Dragon, will set o from Perth
to search the area, Chinese
state news agency Xinhua cited
maritime authorities as saying.
About two-thirds of the 227
passengers on Flight MH370
were Chinese nationals.
777 wreckage doubts
Oscar Pistorius plans to sell the upmarket
Pretoria house where he shot dead his
girlfriend last year to cover the legal fees for
his murder trial, his lawyer says.
"It has become necessary to sell Mr
Pistorius's home in the Silver Woods Country
Estate in Pretoria in order for him to raise the
necessary funds to cover his increasing legal
costs," the 27-year-old's lawyer Brian Webber
said yesterday in a statement.
" is is due to the unexpected extension of
the trial beyond the initial three-week period
for which it was originally set down."
e Paralympic athlete has been paying
his own legal fees since he shot dead Reeva
Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year,
according to the statement.
e costs, reportedly as high as $9977 a
day, are said to include at least three full-
time lawyers in court, ballistics and forensics
experts, as well as an American crime scene
Since the shooting, Pistorius has been living
at his uncle's house in Pretoria.
e authorities turned the runner's home in
the gated community back over to him over a
year ago and he had planned to keep it sealed
until the trial nished.
"He has been forced to revisit this decision,"
according to Webber, who said the statement
was meant to pre-empt media speculation
about the sale.
Prosecutors have charged the double-
amputee sprinter with intentionally killing
Steenkamp, 29, and are expected to wrap up
their case early next week.
Pistorius insists he shot the model through a
toilet door after mistaking her for an intruder.
e trial resumes on Monday. --- AFP
Pistorius selling home to cover legal bill
Oscar Pistorius is selling the home where he shot his lover.
A Spanish island hopes to become
the rst in the world fully powered by
renewable energy later this year when it
launches a new wind and water energy
plant, a spokeswoman says.
e Gorona de Viento plant is due to
launch in June on El Hierro, the smallest
of the Canary Islands o the Atlantic
coast of Africa, project spokeswoman
Cristina Morales said overnight.
"It will introduce energy into the
system gradually. By the end of this year,
if all goes well, we will be able to reach
100%" of the power used by the island's
Two sets of turbines, one powered by
wind and one by water currents, have a
capacity of 11.5MW each, far exceeding
the total 8MW used at peak times on the
To test a system of 100% renewable
energy, the volcanic island of 278 square
kilometres "is the ideal place because it
is so small," Morales added. e plant
cost $110m to build and Morales said
the local government hopes to save the
same amount over 20 years by using this
cheaper renewable energy. --- AFP
We may not compete with
Lassie, but humans have a greatly
underestimated sense of smell,
new research has shown.
In fact, scientists now believe
the human nose can sni the
di erence between one trillion
di erent odours --- probably
Previously, experts thought
for decades that we could
discriminate between 10,000
smells at the most.
e gure is cited in scienti c
journals and quoted in popular
magazines, but the estimate,
which was made in the 1920s,
was more of a guess than a
scienti c nding.
"Our analysis shows that
the human capacity for
discriminating smells is much
larger than anyone anticipated,"
Dr Leslie Vosshall, from Howard
Hughes Medical Institute in the
United States and who co-led
the new study, said.
"I hope our paper will overturn
this terrible reputation that
humans have for not being good
Previous research has shown
humans can distinguish between
2.3 million and 7.5 million
di erent colours and around
340,000 audible tones.
But testing smelling ability is
much more di cult, because
odours are so complex.
For instance, the characteristic
scent of a rose has 275
components, with only a small
percentage dominating the
ower's perceived smell.
To overcome this problem, Dr
Vosshall's team asked volunteers
to distinguish between smelly
mixtures with some components
e trick was to use the
percentage of overlap between
more than one mixture to
measure the sensitivity of an
individual's sense of smell.
Like skilled perfumers, the
scientists created their mixtures
using 128 di erent odorant
Individually, the molecules
evoked well known scents
such as grass, oranges, aniseed
and spearmint, but combined
together randomly, they became
Volunteers were given three
vials to sni , two containing
identical mixes, and were asked
to pick the odd one out. Each
of the 26 volunteers made 264
e tests, reported in the journal
Science, allowed the scientists to
extrapolate how many di erent
scents an average person could
detect if presented with all the
possible mixtures available from
the 128 odorants.
e result was "at least" a
staggering one trillion. --- PA
Humans sniff out a trillion smells
Vatican library going on-line
e Vatican library began a project overnight
to digitise thousands of historical manuscripts,
dating from the origins of the Church to the
20th century, and make them available on-line.
Working with the Japanese technology group
NTT Data, the library intends to scan and
digitally archive about 1.5 million pages from
the library's collection of manuscripts, which
comprises some 82,000 items and 41 million
pages. e initial project will take four years and
may be extended.
e Vatican library dates from the late 14th
century and forms one of the world's most
important collections of historical documents.
It includes 1.6 million books and large coin
and picture collections as well as its manuscript
" e manuscripts that will be digitised extend
from pre-Columbian America to China and
Japan in the Far East, passing through all the
languages and cultures that have marked the
culture of Europe," said Monsignor Jean-Louis
Brugues, archivist and librarian of the Holy
e library will use NTT scanners to record
the manuscripts and archive software to
manage the collection. Technicians from the
Japanese company will work alongside Vatican
"At the end of the four years, the involvement
of NTT could lead to a further phase of
engagement which could cover the entire
collection," said Monsignor Cesare Pasini,
prefect of the library.
NTT is donating the equipment and the
work of its technicians. e initial phase of the
operation, worth some $25.04m, is expected to
cover some 3000 handwritten documents over a
four-year period, NTT said. --- Reuters
e Reverend Fred Phelps Senior, the
ery founder of a small Kansas church
who drew international condemnation
for outrageous and hate- lled protests
that blamed almost everything, including
the deaths of Aids victims and United
States soldiers, on America's tolerance
for gay people, has died. He was 84.
Daughter Margie Phelps said Fred
Phelps, whose actions drew international
condemnation, died about midnight
Wednesday local time.She did not provide
the cause of death or the condition that
recently put him in hospice care.
roughout his life, Phelps and the
Westboro Baptist Church, a small
congregation made up almost entirely of
his extended family, tested the boundaries
of free speech. God, he preached, had
nothing but anger and bile for the moral
miscreants of his creation. --- AP
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