Susan Sarandon Creates an Online Petition Calling for Banks to Divest in DAPL

Nov 15, 16 Susan Sarandon Creates an Online Petition Calling for Banks to Divest in DAPL

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It may seem as though Americans’ trust of banking institutions has plummeted since the 2008 collapse of the housing bubble and consequent recession, but in fact, the level of confidence in U.S. banks has never been overwhelming. In 1980, just 60% were confident in their own banks, while in 2014, following the Great Recession, nearly one third of that number expressed confidence, at just 21%. But distrust of big commercial banks runs deeper than poor financial handling, data breaches, and scamming. Some are concerned with banks’ personal interests. Susan Sarandon, an award-winning American actress and staunch humanitarian, launched an online petition recently, calling for members of Bank of America, HSBC, UBS, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Citibank to withdraw the entirety of their bank accounts and take their business elsewhere until these banks no longer support the Dakota Pipeline. While supporters of the pipeline have argued that it would decrease foreign oil dependency, opponents are far more focused on the environmental impact that oil drilling would have, in addition to the destruction of sacred Sioux land at the Standing Rock reservation. The banks singled out in Sarandon’s petition are named in a number of SEC filings as lenders or partners in supporters of the pipeline. Alan Elias, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo, says that the bank does business “only with companies that have demonstrated a strong, ongoing commitment to complying with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations,” yet respects differing opinions regarding the pipeline. Bank of America spokesperson Kelly Sapp says that the bank is not a lender in the project’s financing, and that it has contributed to Native American communities through a number of initiatives. However, SEC documents show that Bank of America is partnered with Energy Transfer Partners, which is the parent company of Dakota Access LLC. In the body of the petition, Sarandon wrote: “The Standing Rock Sioux’s only water source will be endangered by this pipeline. They have put their bodies on the line to stop the construction and defend their...

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Speeding Reported to Be A Top Mistake in Many Fatal Teen Driving Accidents

There are many factors that affect the rate of fatal car crashes for teens. For instance, the rate of these crashes for 16-year-olds is nearly twice as high at night. But in a new report from AAA, speeding was reported as one of the top factors in fatal crashes involving teen drivers in the past five years. The report stated that more than 4,200 of the 14,000 fatal crashes involved speeding. These accidents don’t just affect teens, of course. “Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen,” said Bill Van Tassel, AAA’s manager of Driver Training Operations. In the report, 65% of driving instructors responded to a survey stating that parents aren’t preparing their kids to be good drivers, as compared to 10 years ago. Instructors noted that many dangerous behaviors, such as speeding 15 mph over the limit and using cell phones while driving, were learned from parents. “Most teens are learning important driving skills from watching their parents, and they are picking up bad behaviors along with the good ones. So it’s up to today’s parents to set a good example. It may end up saving their children’s lives,” said AAA Director of State Relations Jennifer Ryan. Distracted driving was also a big factor in fatal car accidents, and is becoming a bigger problem with drivers in general. About 77% of drivers between the ages of 35 and 55 stated that they talked on the phone while driving, and 68% of teens admitted their phones were a big distraction while...

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Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Offers Feedback on Student Protests

Nov 08, 16 Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Offers Feedback on Student Protests

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Sports have emerged as one of the many unlikely battlegrounds for cultural conflicts in recent years. Most recently, Colin Kaepernick started a wave of protests that has swept over the NFL and touched numerous college football teams. However, Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban has offered his own feedback as a coach on the recent protests. Players at Michigan stood with raised fists and bowed heads during their last game, and more recently, a group of Alabama students sat during the national anthem before their game with Kentucky. While there have been no protests within the Alabama football players, their coach has offered his own take on the protests that have been occurring. “I would first of all listen to what the players had to say and really try to understand their point of what they want to do and respect their opinions and what they need to do,” Saban said. He said that in his position, he’s never been in many of the situations that players across the country are protesting for. Saban explained that the only similar situation he was involved in was while he was a student at Kent State University. The situation that Saban referred to happened in 1970 when he was a freshman at Kent State. Students were protesting the war in Vietnam when the National Guard was at the school. Four of the students protesting were gunned down by members of the National Guard. It’s still not clear why the National Guard opened fire on the students. Over 36 million kids play organized sports every year, and some of their role models have recently spoken out about the injustices occurring in America today. Even high school and college students have taken to joining in on the protests. Just last weekend at Alabama’s game against Kentucky, a group of 30 university students sat through the national anthem in an act of protest. The most recent protest was the second at an Alabama game, which students announced and promoted with...

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NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Narrowly Avoids Serious Damage From Hurricane Matthew

Nov 07, 16 NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Narrowly Avoids Serious Damage From Hurricane Matthew

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NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida was in the direct path of Hurricane Matthew in the beginning of October, but seems to have avoided major damage. “We’re closely monitoring the weather conditions and working with our partners at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force State to safeguard facilities and personnel in the potentially affected areas, said an official spokesperson for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center. According to The Verge, as original radar models predicted, the space center would receive a direct hit from the storm, with the eye of the hurricane being roughly 26 miles away from Cape Canaveral. The Kennedy Space Center saw windspeeds around 90 miles per hour, with individual gusts topping 107 miles per hour, which is the most the center has ever seen, but luckily, the building was made to withstand gusts of up to 135 miles per hour. “While there is damage to numerous facilities at KSC, it consists largely roof damage, window damage, water intrusion, damage to modular buildings, and to building siding,” said NASA’s official statement regarding Hurricane Matthew. “There does not appear to be damage to flight hardware at this time.” It’s recommended that the average homeowner or property owner get their roof inspected at least once a year, but NASA space stations near Florida’s coastline should have inspections done much more frequently. Although structural damage is unwanted and can provide setbacks for various NASA programs, a technical issue or launch pad problem would be much more serious. According to Fox News, NASA’s original report stated that there was limited structural damage and that there was water and electrical service issues within the building. Despite the debris scattered throughout the property and some damage to the building’s structure, America’s Space Coast is relatively unscathed by Hurricane Matthew, which could have been much...

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Like Humans, This Japanese Robot Sweats to Cool Down

Nov 03, 16 Like Humans, This Japanese Robot Sweats to Cool Down

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The average person has up to 4 million sweat glands acting as the body’s coolant system to protect it from overheating. However, humans aren’t the only things that can overheat. Machines, particularly humanoid robots, also generate heat as they perform tasks. Unfortunately, robots have never had the capacity to sweat it out like humans do — until now. To combat this heat-generating problem, engineers typically use mechanical systems like fans and radiators. This kind of cooling infrastructure, unfortunately, takes up space and adds mass to a machine. However, at last month’s IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Japanese researchers introduced a novel way to cool humanoid robots much more efficiently. They suggested that engineers design these robots to be able to sweat water out of their “bones.” Led by Professor Masayuki Inaba from the University of Tokyo’s JSK Lab, the team of researchers had been trying to figure out a way to add a cooling system to their musculoskeletal humanoid robot named Kengoro. There was simply no room for all the tubes, fans, and radiators among all of Kengoro’s other structural components, gears, motors, and circuit boards. Instead of adding more mass to the five-and-a-half-foot, 123-pound robot, the researchers came up with the idea of using the metal frame as a coolant-delivery system. If the researchers had simply run water channels through the frame, they would have still needed a radiator. This would not have solved their problem. Instead, they let the water seep out through the metal frame and around the motors to cool them by evaporation. Basically, Kengoro sweats. With just one cup of deionized water, Kengoro can function for a whole day. In fact, the robot can do push-ups for 11 minutes straight without overheating its motors. Just like humans, however, Kengoro needs to stay hydrated. “Usually the frame of a robot is only used to support forces,” said the lead author of the study, Toyotaka Kozuki. “Our concept was adding more functions to the frame, using it...

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