How NASA Defended Its Assembly Facility From Hurricane Katrina

An anonymous reader writes: Tomorrow marks the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s arrival in New Orleans. Though that time was filled with tragedy, there were survival stories, and a new article gives an insider’s account of how NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility weathered the storm. Michoud was their key fuel tank production location, and if it had been lost, the space program would have gone off the rails. A 17-foot levee and a building with four water pumps capable of moving 62,000 gallons per minute stood between the storm and catastrophe for NASA’s launch capabilities. “Water was merely the primary concern of the first 24 hours; Hurricane Katrina left its mark on the facilities even if Michoud was the rare speck of land to escape flooding. Roofs were lost to strong winds, one building even blew out entirely. External Tank 122 took some damage.” Members of the “ride out” team spent much of the next month at Michoud, working long days to inspect and repair issues caused by the water. They maintained the facility well enough that it became a base for members of the military doing search and rescue operations. Amazingly, they did it all without any injuries to the team, and NASA didn’t miss a single tank shipment.

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‘Body Worlds’ exhibit to open Sept. 4 on Portland watefront

A a world-renowned and sometimes controversial exhibit that features preserved human bodies and organs is slated to open to the public on Friday, Sept. 4.

The Portland Science Center’s “Body Worlds” exhibit was developed by German anatomist Gunther von Hagens more than 20 years ago. The exhibit uses a technique called plastination to reveal the insides of preserved bodies. The exhibits have toured the world, drawing more than 40 million people and some protests over the display of actual human remains.

In 2012, for example, a group led by Ohio State faculty protested a “Body Worlds” exhibit in Columbus. To counter some of the controversy, the “Body Worlds” website includes a pledge that all bodies used were willingly donated, as well as an “ethical review” of the exhibit organized by the California Science Center.

The bodies are donated directly for the purpose of the exhibit, and the donors consent to have their bodies put on display, according to the “Body Worlds” website. Von Hagens invented the plastination procedure for preserving bodies for study in 1977.

Previous “Body Worlds” exhibits have been in large cities, including London, Brussels and Berlin. In the United States, host cities have included Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tickets will be $19.50 for adults, $17.50 for seniors, military members and students; and $15.50 for children 12 and under. Children 3 and under may enter free. Tickets may be purchased online at portlandsciencecenter.com or at the box office starting Friday, Sept. 4. Hours for the exhibit will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The exhibit is expected to run in Portland through 2015.

The Portland Science Center is located at 68 Commercial St., on Maine Wharf, one wharf west of the Maine State Pier, and is run by The Gold Group, a Massachusetts-based company that promotes and produces educational exhibits. Exhibits promoted by the group in other cities include “Dead Sea Scrolls,” “Sea Monsters Revealed” and “Pompeii.” The center is expected to host two such exhibitions a year in Portland.

Foes are diving for discarded records in abortion clinic dumpsters

The scene in front of abortion clinics is often tense, with clinic workers escorting patients past activists waving signs and taking photographs. But increasingly, another drama is unfolding out back. There, abortion opponents dig through the trash in search of patient information. Using garbage as their ammunition, anti-abortion activists – …

Jurors resume deliberations in St. Paul’s prep school rape case

CONCORD, N.H. — A jury on Friday began its second day of deliberations in the trial of a former student at an elite prep school charged with raping a freshman last year as part of a tradition of sexual conquest days before he graduated.

Owen Labrie, of Tunbridge, Vermont, faces nine charges, including three felony sex assault charges that carry sentences of 10 to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors say he raped the 15-year-old as part of a practice at St. Paul’s School known as Senior Salute in which seniors try to romance and have sex with underclassmen.

Labrie, now 19, testified the two had consensual sexual contact that stopped short of intercourse.

In their final arguments Thursday, lawyers on both sides criticized the school and offered different interpretations of email and Facebook messages the teens exchanged after the encounter in a campus building’s dark and noisy mechanical room on May 30, 2014 — two days before Labrie graduated.

He was bound for Harvard on a full scholarship and planned to take divinity school classes but testified that his plans are on hold.

His accuser testified she fought to keep Labrie from removing her underwear during the encounter. She said she told Labrie “no no no.”

She testified she was “frozen” and blamed herself for not doing more to try to kick and push him off.

Prosecutor Joseph Cherniske said the girl, now 16, didn’t report the rape for several days because she didn’t want to disrupt her sister’s graduation and because she “thought she could handle it all.”

“She thought she could handle going with an 18-year-old boy for a Senior Salute,” Cherniske said. “She thought she could say no by holding onto her clothing and saying no and make it stop.”

Labrie testified the two never had sex but acknowledged he bragged to friends that they had.

Labrie’s lawyer, J.W. Carney, told the jury the girl testified she had no recollection of telling her best friend earlier what sex acts she was prepared to perform on Labrie because to admit that “would destroy the whole image she’d been trying to create.”

“If you conclude she was not being truthful then I submit it taints her entire testimony,” Carney said. “In order to put forward this story, she was willing to tell a lie about a critical fact right in front of you.”

The jury of nine men and three women deliberated Thursday for more than three hours. They returned to court Friday morning.

York condo project raises parking, traffic concerns

YORK, Maine — Parking. Traffic flow. And parking again. That was the refrain from several York Beach business owners Thursday at a Planning Board site walk of the Kearsarge House, which is expected to make way for the York Beach Residence Club fractional-share condominiums. Inn on the Blues owner Joe …

It’s a boy! National Zoo says panda cub is a tiny dude

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Testing on the surviving giant panda cub of the twins born on August 22 at the National Zoo has confirmed that it’s a boy and the offspring of Tian Tian.

His recently deceased twin brother, the smaller of the two cubs, was also male and the son of Tian Tian. The cubs were fraternal twins

The gender of the cubs was confirmed when a Y chromosome was found in both cubs during DNA testing. Scientists at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics used DNA markers to compare the cubs’ genotypes to their two potential father Read more…

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CDC: Fewer Maine parents rejecting vaccines

Fewer Maine parents are refusing immunizations for their kindergartners, according to new federal data indicating skepticism about vaccines is weakening. During the 2014-2015 school year, parents opted out of vaccines for 4.4 percent of Maine’s kindergarten students, ranking Maine 10th in the nation for vaccine opt-outs, data from the U.S. …

Nobleboro accident slows traffic

NOBLEBORO, Maine — A Damariscotta woman who appeared to be suffering from fatigue drove into a ditch on East Pond Road in Nobleboro Wednesday, Aug. 26, a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputy said. According to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy First Class Mark Bridgham, Lucille Crowley, 64, of Damariscotta, was …

Apple will help the Pentagon develop military-grade wearables for soldiers

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Apple will play a part in helping the Pentagon develop stretchable electronic sensors that soldiers can wear, according to a Reuters report.

Apple will be one 162 companies, universities and other groups in the FlexTech Alliance working with the U.S. Department of Defense on developing “high-end printing technologies,” such as 3D printing. Boeing and Harvard are other members of the alliance also aiding the Pentagon.

According to the report, a defense official says the flexible, wearable tech “could ultimately be used on ships or warplanes for real-time monitoring of their structural integrity.” Read more…

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