Police: Man killed 4 in Fresno, posted disdain for whites on Facebook

According to local media, a gunman opened fire in Fresno, California on Tuesday, killing three people before he was taken into custody.

Race is what drove a homeless African-American man in Fresno to shoot and kill three white men on Tuesday – bringing his homicide total to four since last week, the city’s police chief said during a news conference.

“We don’t believe it’s a terrorist act,” Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters about the Tuesday rampage led by suspect Kori Ali Muhammad. “We believe it’s a hate crime.

Dyer said the incident ended with Muhammad, 39, shouting “Allahu Akbar” – Arabic for “God is great” – as police took him down to the ground.

Muhammad sought to kill as many white people as possible, Dyer said. The shootings were random, he added. “This is solely based on race,” he said.

The Fresno police chief also told reporters that the suspect’s Facebook page included posts that expressed hate for white people.

Muhammad also was wanted in connection with the fatal shooting Thursday night of a security guard at a Motel 6 who was responding to a disturbance, Lt. Mark Hudson, Fresno police department public information officer, confirmed to USA TODAY.

The victim in that shooting also was a white male, Dyer said.

Dyer said Muhammad has been arrested in the past on weapons, drugs and false imprisonment charges and making terrorist threats. He had been associated with gangs but was not a validated member, police said. Muhammad was living on the streets and most people had “disassociated” themselves from him, the chief said.

Dyer told reporters that the victims were shot minutes apart as Muhammad made his way through downtown.

The shootings happened outside a Catholic Charities building, but spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez told the Associated Press that the charity does not believe the suspect was tied to the nonprofit organization.

Sayed Ali Ghazvini, imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, said Muhammad was not a member of his congregation and he did not recognize him. The imam said he is consulting with other faith leaders.

“We’re kind of shocked and surprised for what happened,” the Associated Press quoted Ghazvini as saying. “We are very sorry for this to happen. We offer condolences for the victims. We pray for the victims and their families.”

In a statement published to its Facebook page, the center condemned the killings and explained that “Allahu Akbar” is a prayer of peace.

“When someone utters these beautiful words and commits violent acts, it brings pain to our community and crushes our hearts,” the statement read. “We condemn the acts of this criminal in the strongest terms and we stand with our community and city in support and brotherhood.”

Muhammad first fired shots late Tuesday morning into a Pacific Gas & Electric vehicle, killing the passenger, police said. He shot at a second person on the street, but missed, police said. He then shot and killed two more people near the who, Dyer said, might have been clients of nearby Catholic Charities.

PG&E released a statement following the shooting: “Our hearts are very heavy today, as we have lost a member of our PG&E family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our employee, and all those impacted by this tragic event.”

Muhammad faces four counts of murder and two of attempted murder, according to Dyer.

Following the shooting, Fresno city spokesman Mark Standriff said county offices were placed on lockdown, and people were urged to shelter in place.

Credit: Usatoday.com

Why China is beating the U.S. at innovation?

For decades, America lost factories and jobs to China but retained a coveted title: the world’s leader in inventing and commercializing new products.

Now, even that status has been eroded, and it’s hurting the economy.

While the United States is still at the top in total investment in research and development — spending $500 billion in 2015 — a new Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study released Monday has made a startling finding: A couple of years ago, China quietly surpassed the U.S. in spending on the later stage of R&D that turns discoveries into commercial products. And at its current rate of spending, China will invest up to twice as much as the U.S., or $658 billion, by 2018 on this critical late-stage research.

In other words, the U.S. Is doing the hard work of inventing new technologies, and China, among other countries, is reaping the benefits by taking those ideas and turning them into commercial products,the report says.

“Other countries are free-riding on the U.S. investment,” says Justin Rose, who co-authored the BCG study.


The slippage is a significant blow for the U.S. economy, costing the country tens of billions of dollars a year in manufacturing output and hundreds of thousands of factory jobs over the past decade or so, BCG says. Companies that lead in commercializing ideas also typically build factories near their research centers so scientists can test products before making them.

The burgeoning commercial drone market is a prime example of the shift. The U.S. military developed drone technology throughout the 20th Century for reconnaissance and other purposes, adding microchips for better wireless control and longer-lasting batteries. But China’s Da-Jiang Innovations has refined the unmanned vehicles to better avoid obstacles and has become the world’s largest builder of commercial drones. It sells them to U.S. real estate and construction firms for applications such as aerial photography and mapping. DJI has three factories in Shenzhen.

The U.S. has also given birth to a Smithsonian-worthy collection of breakthrough technologies — including flat-panel displays, digital mobile handsets, notebook computers and solar panels — only to fumble away their development to other countries, particularly China and Japan.

The next big thing: Drones supplying U.S. troops
The BCG study concludes the U.S. has the potential to reverse the trend through better collaboration among private industry, universities and research consortia. Such a shift would increase annual manufacturing output by 5%, or $100 billion, and add 700,000 factory jobs and another 1.9 million in other sectors through ripple effects.

Yet while President Trump is focused on narrowing the nation’s trade deficit, his proposed budget would slash federal funding for R&D, potentially snuffing out a significant source of U.S. manufacturing jobs that could help accomplish that goal. Last year, the U.S. had an $83 billion trade gap in advanced technology products, according to the Census Bureau.

The country is still the global leader in “basic and applied” R&D, which makes early discoveries and further refines them. About a third of the $500 billion the country spends on R&D is funneled to those activities. But while two-thirds of the total goes to later-stage “development” R&D, China invests 84% of its R&D money on advances that yield commercial products. For the past decade, “development” R&D has been growing 20% a year in China, versus 5% in the U.S., the BCG report says. As recently as 2004, the U.S. spent four times as much as China.

In China, many technology companies are state-owned and so they don’t have to worry if massive R&D spending yields losses until a product is commercialized, and even the research of private firms is often subsidized by the government, says Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The Chinese government, he says, also gives the private sector specific timetables for achieving dominance in areas such as solar, printers, robots and drones. And China routinely steals technology and fails to enforce patent laws, Atkinson says

“They have huge advantages,” he says.

China eyes global economic leadership as U.S. turns inward
There’s ample opportunity for a U.S. turnaround, BCG says, with 75 of the world’s 200 highest-rated universities located in the U.S. But there’s little cooperation among the schools, which do the lion’s share of basic and applied research, largely through federal grants, and private companies, which do most of the development research.

The Study:

An Innovation-Led Boost for US Manufacturing
Among the obstacles BCG identified:

• Schools do a poor job of promoting their latest research and putting it in a digestible form for manufacturers. And researchers are focused on securing tenure, while companies are seeking a return on their investment. When companies do partner with universities, it’s often for a limited, product-specific purpose rather than for developing industry-wide solutions that take longer to bring to fruition but can create many more jobs.

“Companies are being gun-shy and risk-averse and not wanting to make big bets on transformative technology,” Atkinson says. Instead, the’re focused on quarterly profits, which typically determine executives’ bonuses.

• U.S. manufacturers are reluctant to collaborate with other companies because they don’t want to share the fruits of their research with competitors.

• Manufacturers are reluctant to work with suppliers to establish industry-wide standards that can reduce costs and speed implementation of technologies, fearing the suppliers would share the information with competitors.

Why China matters in Trump’s economic policy
The study says the government should set up a central repository for federally-funded university research; school research should be geared toward commercializing products; manufacturers should build long-term relationships with universities, such as Procter & Gamble’s link-up with the University of Cincinnati; and public-private research consortia should focus on developing industry-wide solutions. Since 2008, P&G has invested millions of dollars in a university computer simulation center to enhance its consumer household products, their packaging and manufacturing processes.

“If we want to be the leader in product development for things that matter in people’s lives, pushing money into developing important (products) is what we should be focused on,” BCG’s Rose says.

Credit: Usatoday.com

Facebook video of shooting prompts debate over sharing graphic images

In the hours before Facebook announced that video of a murder prompted the social network to examine its practices surrounding the reporting of graphic images and offensive content, the platform was flooded with impassioned pleas — “please take down this video” and “please have respect for this innocent man killed in cold blood” among them.

Those were some of the emotional reactions from members of the public after suspect Steve Stephens, 37, allegedly posted video of himself shooting and killing Cleveland grandfather Robert Godwin Sr., 74, and after many others opted to share it. Although Facebook removed the graphic video, it continued to be shared across the social media platform. That led some Facebook users to complain of being disturbed and heartbroken by the contents and to ask posters to remove the video. One woman wrote that the scene automatically began playing on her Facebook account before she realized what was happening. After viewing the video, she wrote, she had been crying non-stop.

When media personality Donnie Simpson posted a link to the video, warning followers of its graphic nature, Facebook user Mary Bradley asked him to delete it, w. She wrote, “Please remove this post, Donnie Simpson. I am in Cleveland. Mr. Godwin’s family is distraught.”

Neither Simpson nor Bradley could be reached on Monday, but Simpson later took down the post, offering condolences to the Godwin family and saying he deleted the video “because it’s so disturbing and upset a lot of people.” Simpson further explained, “I understand that and feared that it would — that’s why I warned people about watching it — but decided to post it because it was all over the internet and every TV station in the country.”

Media experts said Facebook’s move on Monday afternoon was the right thing to do and that allowing the sharing of the video only served prurient interests and morbid curiosity. Facebook said it was examining its current process in which users may report inappropriate or offensive content, looking at how technology can better help identify similar situations and how Facebook can hasten the reporting process.

The social network said that it never received a report of an initial video posted by Stephens in which he reported that he was going to commit murder, and that reports of the second video that included the killing did not reach the network until more than an hour and 45 minutes after posting. Facebook reported that it disabled Stephens’ account 23 minutes after receiving a report of the murder video.

“It was a horrific crime — one that has no place on Facebook, and goes against our policies and everything we stand for,” read the post from Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s vice president of Global Operations. “Keeping our global community safe is an important part of our mission. We are grateful to everyone who reported these videos and other offensive content to us, and to those who are helping us keep Facebook safe every day.”


Benjamin Mullin of the Poynter Institute told USA TODAY that when similar situations have cropped up, Facebook has stressed it is not a media company, but circumstances such as the one involving the Cleveland video are forcing Facebook and other social media sites to address the same questions as media and news organizations.

“I think that we’re already seeing that the outcry has elicited a response from Facebook,” said Mullin, Poynter’s managing editor. “Facebook has enormous power given its massive user base — 1.8 billion people per month — and that massive reach can be used for good but it can also be used, as Sunday evening showed, to broadcast some terrible things. I think you’re seeing Facebook go through some of the same issues that news organizations did.”

Mullin referred to situations such as the live shooting suicide on television of Pennsylvania state treasurer R. Budd Dwyer in 1987 and the live shooting suicide of Florida television anchor Christine Chubbuck in 1974. In 2015, WDBJ-TV television journalists Adam Ward and Alison Parker were fatally shot on live television by gunman Bryce Williams. In all these situations, media organizations grappled with separating news from unnecessary and tragic pictures.

“It’s clear to me that Facebook is going through some of the growing pains that media companies experienced,” Mullin said.

Author and media observer Eric Schiffer also applauded Facebook’s move. He tweeted on Monday that Facebook has a “duty” to monitor video of “cold blooded murders.”

“I think it’s great,” Schiffer told USA TODAY regarding Facebook’s decision. “This is a guy who’s sick and who I think was partly inspired by his ability to get notoriety.”

Members of the public should complain and not share graphic videos if they want to help change the culture surrounding such videos, Schiffer said. “I think that this is an all-out war that needs to happen against these types of videos being easily spread so that those who intend to do this are not going to get secondary benefits.”


Trump’s new rules could swamp already backlogged immigration courts

In San Antonio, an immigration judge breezes through more than 20 juvenile cases a day, warning those in the packed courtroom to show up at their next hearing — or risk deportation.

A Miami immigration lawyer wrestles with new federal rules that could wind up deporting clients who, just a few weeks ago, appeared eligible to stay.

Judges and attorneys in Los Angeles struggle with Mandarin translators and an ever-growing caseload.




Coast to coast, immigration judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys are straining to decipher how the federal immigration rules released in February by the Trump administration will impact the system — amid an already burgeoning backlog of existing cases.

The new guidelines, part of President Trump’s campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration, give enforcement agents greater rein to deport immigrants without hearings and detain those who entered the country without permission.

But that ambitious policy shift faces a tough hurdle: an immigration court system already juggling more than a half-million cases and ill-equipped to take on thousands more.

“We’re at critical mass,” said Linda Brandmiller, a San Antonio immigration attorney who works with juveniles. “There isn’t an empty courtroom. We don’t have enough judges. You can say you’re going to prosecute more people, but from a practical perspective, how do you make that happen?”


Today, 301 judges hear immigration cases in 58 courts across the United States. The backlogged cases have soared in recent years, from 236,415 in 2010 to 508,036 this year — or nearly 1,700 outstanding cases per judge, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data research group at Syracuse University.

Some judges and attorneys say it’s too early to see any effects from the new guidelines. Others say they noticed a difference and fear that people with legitimate claims for asylum or visas may be deported along with those who are criminals.

USA TODAY Network sent reporters to several immigration courts across the country to witness how the system is adjusting to the new rules.


Cynthia Adriana Gonzalez stood before Immigration Judge G.W. Riggs and awaited instructions. She’s an undocumented immigrant from Mexico with no criminal record and three children born in the U.S.

Gonzalez’s attorney asked for “prosecutorial discretion,” a common practice under the Obama administration in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) didn’t push to deport undocumented immigrants with no criminal record.

The new directives vastly broaden the pool of undocumented immigrants considered for deportation. The result has been a jarring shift in which the government seeks deportation in nearly every immigration case, said Clarel Cyriaque, a defense attorney who represents Haitians in South Florida. Dozens of his clients were under consideration for prosecutorial discretion based on their years in the U.S., steady employment and clean records.

“That’s off the table now,” he said. “As soon as Trump took office, everything stopped. They got new marching orders. Their prime directive now is enforcement, as opposed to exercising discretion that would help good people.”

Homeland Security says its attorneys can still practice discretion on a case-by-case basis. But a statement released after Trump signed his executive order on immigration in January states, “With extremely limited exceptions, DHS will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement.”
In another courtroom, Judge Rico Sogocio rescheduled until September the hearing of a young Haitian man to give him time to find an attorney. Through a Creole translator, the man asked the judge what would happen if he gets picked up by enforcement agents before then.

Sogocio pointed to a sheet in the man’s stack of documents that proves he has been attending his court hearings. “I suggest, sir, if you want to be as safe as possible, you carry that with you,” the judge said.

The man clutched the document, whispered “Thank you” and walked out.


On the eighth floor of a skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles, Judge Lorraine Muñoz hears cases with such efficiency that immigration lawyers nicknamed her list of cases the “rocket docket.”

Immigrants, clad in the orange jumpsuits of federal custody, answer questions about how and why they entered the country. Lawyers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aggressively examine their explanations.

One case involved a Chinese man who allegedly flew to Tijuana, Mexico, on a tourist visa, climbed over the border fence and turned himself in to U.S. Border Patrol agents. He was seeking asylum in the U.S., claiming he was persecuted for being a Christian in his rural farming village.

At his hearing, the ICE lawyer asked him to repeat his story multiple times, pointing out changes in the narrative. At one point, the man said, police officers hit him in the head after arresting him.

“Last time you told us you were only hit in the stomach and chest,” the lawyer said. “So at the last hearing you forgot where you were struck?”

His lawyer, who was filling in for another attorney and had not met this client before, did not object to the questioning.

Ultimately, the judge denied the man’s asylum request, but he had a chance to file an appeal.


Muñoz heard more cases. One detainee didn’t have a lawyer and was given time to find one. One woman didn’t have a lawyer and started to cry. Another had a sponsor but was declared a flight risk.

Translators were a problem. In one case, confusion erupted over whether people had changed their stories or misheard the translation.

Yanci Montes, a lawyer with El Rescate, a non-profit that offers free legal services, said that since the new rules were announced, prosecutors are more likely to pursue charges and deportations, and judges set higher bonds for immigrants at detention centers.

“Before Trump became president, things were a lot smoother,” she said.

Meanwhile, the cases mount. The backlog at immigration courts has spiked over the past decade as resources poured into immigration enforcement, said Judge Dana Leigh Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.

Funding for immigration courts increased 70% from fiscal years 2002 to 2013, from $175 million to $304 million, and budgets for ICE and Customs and Border Patrol rose 300% — from $4.5 billion to $18 billion — in the same period, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

“There is concern and frustration” among the judges about the latest guidelines, Marks said. “The people in the field are feeling very disconnected from the decision-makers and are not aware of much, if any, of the specifics of how these broad, aspirational goals will be implemented.”


Courtroom 7 at the San Antonio Immigration Court is a small room on the fourth floor of a nondescript building near downtown, with the few wooden benches almost always full.

On a recent afternoon, Judge Anibal Martinez heard case after case of juvenile immigrants seeking asylum. They were from Honduras, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico.

Martinez smiled at the youngsters and, through an interpreter, thanked them for their patience. Of the 25 juveniles listed on the docket, just four had legal representation. About half of the kids didn’t show up.

“You’ve been excellent in bringing your daughter to court today,” the judge told one woman. “But if she misses the next hearing, I may order her removal in absentia. Whether or not you have an attorney, you must show up.” The mom nodded in agreement.

Brandmiller, the immigration attorney, said many immigrants are too scared to appear in court. “I try to tell them it’s the opposite — if you don’t show, there’s a greater chance you’ll be deported,” she said. “But there’s such a deep fear out there right now.”

A floor below Martinez, in Courtroom 4, Judge Daniel Santander called adult cases until all 20 had been heard in the course of a morning. He spent just a few minutes on each; most were rescheduled for later dates.

Then, at 1:30 p.m., he heard the case of Juliana Navarro, 51, of Chimbote, Peru, his only hearing of the day involving an immigrant in custody. Navarro said she had escaped from an abusive husband last year with her two grown children and crossed the Mexican border into the United States.

Speaking by video conference from the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, where she was being held, Navarro detailed how her ex-husband would beat her with an extension cord and sexually assault her during their 25 years of marriage. Through sobs, she said she was afraid that if she stayed in Peru he would find her, and he frequently threatened to kill her and himself if she ever left him.


She explained how it took six attempts to cross the Rio Grande into the U.S. and how she initially gave border agents a fake name and said she was from Mexico so they wouldn’t return her to Peru. She described being held in a federal detention facility nicknamed el hielero — “the cooler” — for the frigid temperatures of the holding cells before she was transferred to Hutto.


Santander listened intently through her testimony, pausing several times to allow Navarro to sip water and regain her composure. “Take a deep breath,” he said through an interpreter. “It is not my intention to embarrass you. It is my intention to find the truth.”

After 1½ hours of testimony, Santander asked a few questions, followed by questions from the prosecutor representing ICE who wanted to know why Navarro didn’t move into one of her siblings’ homes in Peru or Chile and what role, if any, the Peruvian government played in her ordeal.

Santander thanked Navarro for her testimony and said he would write his decision and have it delivered to her. The process could take 30 to 60 days.

“What do I do now?” Navarro asked.

“You can hang up the phone, drink some water and let the officers take you back to your room,” Santander said. “Just relax. It’s in my hands now.”

Jervis reported from San Antonio and Gomez from Miami. Solis, who writes for The (Palm Springs, Calif.) Desert Sun, reported from Los Angeles.


Syria photographer picks up injured boy

Every so often, a photograph cuts through the grim cacophony of the war in Syria and pierces viewers’ hearts.

It happened in 2015 with an image of the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi, face down on a beach in Turkey, who drowned in the Mediterranean fleeing the war.
It happened last year when a photographer captured little Omran Daqneesh sitting in an ambulance, his body bloodied and dusty after his home was bombed in Aleppo.
And it happened again last weekend, when a bomb hit a convoy of buses carrying evacuees from besieged Syrian villages, killing 126 people.

Syria photographer

Photographer Abd Alkader Habak captured this image of the bombing aftermath.
Photographer and activist Abd Alkader Habak was there working and was briefly knocked out by the blast. When he came to, he began trying to help the wounded.
“The scene was horrible — especially seeing children wailing and dying in front of you,” Habak told CNN. “So I decided along with my colleagues that we’d put our cameras aside and start rescuing injured people.”
The first child he checked on was dead.
He ran towards another. Someone shouted at him to stay away — the child was already dead, they said.
But he wasn’t. Habak could see the boy was barely breathing.
He picked him up and began to run towards safety. His camera was still on, recording the chaos.
“This child was firmly holding my hand and looking at me,” he said.
An image taken by another photographer, Muhammad Alrageb, shows Habak dashing towards an ambulance, the child and his camera in his arms.
Algareb said he also helped some of the injured but then began taking photos.
“I wanted to film everything to make sure there was accountability,” he said. Also, he added, “I feel proud that there was a young journalist there helping save lives.”
Habak said he left the injured boy, who must have been only 6 or 7, at the ambulance. He doesn’t know if the boy survived.
Then he ran back to scene of the bombing to help others. He came across another child on the ground. This one, too, was dead — one of 68 children killed in the attack.


After rescuing one boy, Habak is overcome with grief beside the body of another victim.
Overwhelmed, Habak collapsed.
An image, shot by another photographer, shows him on his knees sobbing near the boy’s body.
“I was overcome with emotion,” he told CNN. “What I and my colleagues witnessed is indescribable.”

Credit: Cnn.com

Space salad? Plant experiment hitching a ride to space station

A second plant growth system, named the Advanced Plant Habitat, will hitch a ride on an Atlas V rocket and travel to the International Space Station to increase our understanding of growing plants in space. Wochit

CAPE CANAVERAL — A Kennedy Space Center-led effort to bolster our understanding of growing plants in space will hitch a ride on an Atlas V rocket to the International Space Station on Tuesday.

Astronauts on deep-space missions could one day munch on fresh produce thanks in part to NASA’s Advanced Plant Habitat, a mini fridge-sized experiment that will join 7,600 pounds of science, cargo and supplies bound for the orbiting outpost. The 194-foot rocket is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41 with an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft at 11:11 a.m. ET, the opening of a 30-minute window.

APH is scheduled to depart exactly three years after its predecessor, the Vegetable Production System, launched to the space station aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Dubbed “Veggie,” that experiment — also spearheaded by KSC scientists and still active — in 2015 produced lettuce that became the first NASA-grown food to be consumed by astronauts.


SpaceX Dragon capsule splashes down in Pacific
Astronauts will zip to safety in event of emergency at launch pad
APH might be launching years later, but it isn’t without advantages. Whereas Veggie’s plants were covered and relied on unaltered air from inside the station, the new system has the ability to control the environment within a plant chamber. To stimulate growth, it features a brighter array of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, but now includes white and infrared light, bringing its total output to four times that of Veggie.

But the biggest difference, according to program manager Bryan Onate, is the inclusion of 180 sensors and the reduction in crew time they will bring.

“It’s really a way for the scientists to modify the environment the light, the water, the atmosphere,” Onate said during a conference call with reporters in March. “We’ll learn a lot of invaluable information as we move on beyond low Earth orbit and move out to Mars and do food production out there in the future.”

Photos: Advanced Plant Habitat ready to head to ISS
Dr. Oscar Monje, a research scientist, pours a growing
Dr. Oscar Monje, a research scientist, pours a growing substrate called arcillite in the science carrier of the Advanced Plant Habitat at Kennedy Space Center. NASA/Bill White


Aided by cameras, the system’s sensors will relay real-time information to scientists on the ground at KSC, who will control everything but maintenance, such as plant thinning and, ultimately, harvesting. The plants are grown in a science carrier, which sits at the bottom of the habitat and is about the size of a large pizza box, Onate said.

Two seed varieties — arabidopsis, a small plant related to cabbage, and dwarf wheat — will be grown after installation as a checkout of APH’s systems and performance. If successful, arabidopsis will be the main crop for the first experiment named Plant Habitat 1.

Dr. Howard Levine, chief project scientist for the habitat, said its size and enhanced light production for photosynthesis will allow astronauts to one day grow larger, more nutritionally dense plants.

“It will be able to accommodate larger plants than have often been used,” Levine said. “This will allow you to grow many of the non-traditional, but valuable food crop plants that previously we weren’t able to accommodate.”


While most of the habitat’s hardware will launch on Tuesday’s Atlas V mission, some additional components will fly aboard SpaceX’s next Falcon 9 launch to the ISS, Levine said. The system was developed by NASA and ORBITEC of Madison, Wis.

Other experiments packed into the spacecraft include an investigation named “ADCs in Microgravity” that could improve cancer-fighting chemotherapy drugs; magnetized tools that will help reproduce Earth-like cell cultures on the space station; and Saffire III, an experiment that will begin after Cygnus departs the ISS in July.


The Saffire investigation, which aims to better understand how to detect and clean up after fires in space, will light a fire on a panel for about 20 minutes before the spacecraft burns up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Cygnus will also deploy 38 CubeSats, which are miniaturized satellites designed for research purposes, primarily built by university students from around the world.

The launch of Atlas V was delayed from March after two separate issues with hydraulics. While working to fix the first hydraulic issue on ground support equipment, ULA found a second issue with a booster hydraulic line. Officials said earlier this month that both issues had been resolved.

SpaceX, meanwhile, is expected to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from KSC’s pad 39A no earlier than April 30. That mission will launch a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, designated NROL-76. The rocket’s first stage will attempt to land at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Landing Zone 1.

In a historic first for the company and the industry, SpaceX launched and landed a “flight proven,” or refurbished, Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

space salad

Credit: usatoday.com

Manchester United should keep new formation vs Chelsea

Man Utd vs Chelsea produced maybe the best tactical performance yet from Jose Mourinho and it could be the defining moment in his tenure.

Mourinho should keep back three formation

The personnel was questionable but the formation wasn’t. Unlike Louis van Gaal’s dicey start, Jose Mourinho’s United have the players to make a back three formation a success and it was testament to their belief in their manager they beat Chelsea without their three most prolific players in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata.

United players’ focus was immaculate and it was patent from the first few moments, when Ander Herrera was onto his teammates, that the set-up was a perfect fit to counter the Premier League leaders. Every starter knew his cue and United were so comfortable in the system you might have thought they had played in it since August.

The arrangements were tailored to counter Chelsea but United were fluid and intense. Marcus Rashford played with Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba when he was aged just 12 and the trio’s telepathy unnerved a Chelsea side who expected to handle Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s muscularity.

United might be better without Ibrahimovic

When the number 19 flashed up Mourinho turned to the south stand, raised his arms aloft, nodded his head emphatically and put his hands together as Rashford strolled towards the touchline.

United’s best performance of the season came without their player of the season. Ibrahimovic will doubtless plant the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year trophy onto his packed mantlepiece but he might have sat uncomfortably as his exuberant teammates flourished without him.

The attack was more energetic and more mobile without the Swedish figurehead. Rashford epitomised it with his willing running did not wane even after the excellent Lingard, a worthy foil, was withdrawn.

It is just one performance, of course, but United chose the best team in the league to prove they can thrive without their top scorer and Ibrahimovic should not be guaranteed a return to the line-up against Anderlecht on Thursday.

Darmian saves best for Conte

Rashford had the game of his life for United and so did Matteo Darmian. He was an unsung hero during Mourinho’s masterclass and the Italian’s performance might have flown under the radar had his manager not singled him out for praise during his press conference.

Darmian has performed consistently poorly this season but against his former Italy coach Antonio Conte he displayed a defensive nous United fans expect to see from a player nurtured on a diet of catenaccio at AC Milan.

The versatile full-back was unspectacular but disciplined as he helped maintain United’s balance even when Mourinho tweaked the formation in the second-half.

Pogba bosses Kante

The hysterical hype surrounding N’Golo Kante evidently piqued Paul Pogba. The United midfielder boasted before the game he had scored more goals than his compatriot and, unlike on previous occasions, that cocksure brashness was transferred onto the pitch.

Kante’s PFA Player of the Year recognition provoked Pogba into producing the kind of performance United supporters expected more regularly. His committed first-half tackle on Diego Costa set the tone for a bullish team performance.

Perhaps, like Darmian, Pogba was also spurred by his old mentor Conte’s presence in the dugout. Pogba was abysmal in both of United’s Stamford Bridge defeats and responded with verve and vibrancy to force Conte into a midfield change that did not disturb United.


Herrera has to be United’s next captain

Ashley Young was tremendous and tireless with the armband strapped to his bicep but, just like at Anfield in October, it was apparent Herrera is Mourinho’s on-pitch lieutenant.

He exemplified it best not through his incisive pass for Rashford’s opener or the second-half clincher, but by punting the ball into touch. Herrera followed up his clearance by sprinting as energetically as the Battery Bunny before hollering at Fellaini to push higher up.
Whatever the changes to United’s squad next season, the Basque will be staying.

Credit: usatoday.com

After having breakfast at first traffic signal, Bengaluru man eats his lunch at 2nd signal

Bengaluru: Sripad M, a techie, working for a reputed MNC in Whitefield area follows his doctor’s advice of eating meals on time. Colleagues travelling with Sripad in office cab have seen him completing his breakfast at first signal, by the time they reach second signal, it would be lunch time for him.
“One day while having routine blood test found my sugar levels were high. I was in pre-diabetic condition. Doctors advised me unless I do lifestyle corrections like eating on time, regular exercise, I will struggle being a diabetic forever,” said Sripad while speaking to us.

“First correction I did was to shift little near to office. Instead of earlier six hours, now it takes about four hours in one way. Normally I will get in to my office cab around 8 AM in morning. By 8:15 AM, I will be having my breakfast peacefully sitting somewhere on the last row,” said Sripad.

Sripad added, “To reach office we need to cross two major signals, one at silk board junction during breakfast time, if everything goes right, Kundalahalli gate by lunch time. Our office cab driver is a smart guy. He knows how to avoid traffic signals, for that if he has to travel fifty kilometers extra that is fine. He would take some inside roads, as vehicles would be moving, nice breeze coming in, no one minds the extra nap inside cabs. More often than not, before noon I would be at the second signal to have my lunch.”


When we asked Sripad, eating is ok, what about exercise, he said, “We keep kits inside cab as we play tennis ball cricket matches on the way. At Silk Board junction one can play 10 overs a side match and in Kundalahalli Gate we get time to play one 5 overs match in nearby vacant government land. Techies from other office cabs, BMTC commuters including drivers, conductors join us as everyone knows traffic will not move for an hour at least. Looking at the demand we are planning to organize a tournament near these two signals.”

“When I started my career here in Bengaluru, it was 2 hours in traffic and 8 hours in office, now it is reverse. One has to adapt,” said Sripad before getting down.

Credit: Firstpost.com

‘Survivor’s’ Jeff Varner says he was fired after outing trans contestant

After Survivor: Game Changers contestant Jeff Varner outed fellow castaway Zeke Smith as transgender, Varner faced public backlash. Now, he’s dealing with professional repercussions.

Jeff Varner

“I was devastated (and not) given the chance to explain or right the wrong,” he said about being let go from Allen Tate Real Estate. “I didn’t even find out from my company. Suddenly, my real estate license was inactive and my current clients (were) left in the dark. It took hours after my press junket (for Survivor) to get anyone with the company on the phone to tell me personally, and even longer to calm my clients. … My former boss told me that I was in a news story they wanted nothing to do with.”

‘Survivor’ contestant outed as trans in tense, enlightening episode
Varner, a former local news anchor who has competed three times on Survivor, says he’s talking to other real estate firms and preparing to bring his former clients “with me to my new firm.”
Since outing Smith during tribal council in the episode that aired last Wednesday, Varner has apologized, calling the outing “the worst decision of my life.” Smith has written about the experience of being outed by someone in a column for The Hollywood Reporter.

Credit: UsaToday.com