News briefs:July 12, 2010
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Today on Wikinews : A bomb blasts in Uganda kill dozens; Spain wins the 2010 World Cup and makes an octopus proud; the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft passes the Lutetia asteroid and, in history, the inventor of money-back guarantees, buy one get one free, and some very fine china is born in 1730.
Today is Monday, July 12th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.
Two bomb explosions in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, killed at least 64 people earlier today, according to police reports.
Authorities say the explosions took place at an Ethiopian restaurant, where customers were watching the World Cup final.
Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura commented that "[t]hese bombs were definitely targeting World Cup crowds. [...] This was a terrorist attack. It was a deliberate, calculated attack to inflict maximum damage."
Felix Kulaije, an army spokesperson, suggested that the Somali rebel group al-Shabaab might be behind the attacks, saying that "[w]e suspect it's al-Shabaab because they've been promising this for [a] long [time]."
An unnamed commander for al-Shabaab spoke to the Associated Press earlier today regarding the incident. Although he didn't indicate whether his group was responsible for the attacks or not, he said he was happy the bombings took place, saying: "Uganda is one of our enemies. Whatever makes them cry, makes us happy."
If the group did indeed organize the bombings, then it would be the first time they had conducted attacks outside Somalia.
The bombings in the African nation dampen the relatively peaceful events of the 2010 World Cup on the African continent where
Spain defeated the Netherlands in extra time 1–0 to win this year's FIFA World Cup championship. The winning goal came in the last few minutes of the match, which saw thirteen yellow cards and one red card.
Yesterday's win marked Spain's first World Cup victory, in their first World Cup final appearance, making the Spanish team the eighth distinct team to have won the championship since it began in 1930. It was the second time that the European champion for that year won the World Cup as well, the first being West Germany's victory in 1974. It was also the first time that a European team emerged as the World Cup victors on a continent other than Europe. For the Dutch, it was the third time they have lost in the World Cup finals, having done so in 1974 and 1978.
The final match, played in Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium, stayed tied at 0–0 for all of regulation time. Called "a very difficult match" by Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque, the game started with a slow first half. The Dutch had an opportunity to take the lead in the second half, but Arjen Robben's shots were blocked by Spanish captain Iker Casillas. The Netherlands were forced to play with only ten players near the end of extra time after John Heitinga was kicked out of the game.
The winning shot of the match came from Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta in the 116th minute, just four minutes from the end of extra time. He managed to kick the ball past Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg from just 8 metres (26.2 feet) away. If Iniesta had not made the goal, and game stayed scoreless until the end of extra time, the game would have been decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Spain's victory was correctly predicted by the now famous (or infamous, depending on who you were cheering for) Paul the Octopus. Paul's 2010 FIFA World Cup prediction record stayed at 100 per cent as a result.
- Music credit "Moments in Space" by spinmeister (feat. DJ Rkod)
The unmanned Rosetta spacecraft made its closest approach to the Lutetia asteroid this past Saturday. Rosetta flew within 3,162 kilometers of the asteroid taking high-resolution photos and searched for traces of an atmosphere and magnetic effects. The spacecraft also studied the composition and mass of the asteroid.
Holger Sierks of the Max Planck Institute stated "I think this is a very old object. Tonight we have seen a remnant of the Solar System's creation." Around 400 photographs were taken during the flyby; however, it will take several days for in-depth data to be transferred to Earth.
"Little is known about asteroid Lutetia other than it is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) wide," says American project scientist Claudia Alexander, "Allowing Rosetta's suite of science instruments to focus on this target of opportunity should greatly expand our knowledge of this huge space rock, while at the same time giving the mission's scientific instruments a real out-of-this-world workout."
The Lutetia asteroid is the largest asteroid yet visited by a spacecraft. Throughout its 4.5 billion year lifespan, its surface has been bombarded repeatedly by other space debris. Very little is known about the asteroid and scientists hope that this flyby will help determine the asteroid's origin. They hope to make their findings public at the Europlanet conference in Rome, Italy, late this September.
The Rosetta spacecraft, a project led by the European Space Agency, flew by the asteroid on its way to the Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Launched in 2004, the spacecraft is expected to arrive at its final destination in 2014. Once there, it will deploy the Philae lander to explore the comet's surface. The spacecraft's visit to this asteroid marks the final major scientific milestone before it is put into hibernation mode to be reactivated in 2011.
Speaking of rejuvinating from hibernation,
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Reutimann won his first race of the season after leading fifty-two laps on Saturday during the 2010 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. The victory gained Reutimann two places in the current point standings, moving him closer to point leader Kevin Harvick, but he still lags by 555 points and remains in fifteenth position.
It was his second career victory in the US's leading professional stock car series. His previous victory came during the rain-shortened 2009 Coca-Cola 600. After the race, Reutimann said, "I heard so much stuff for winning a rain-shortened event... everybody said we didn’t earn it... We earned this one. Nobody gave it to us and that feels really good."
Carl Edwards finished in the second position, ahead of Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer in third and fourth, respectively. Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, and Paul Menard rounded out the top ten positions. The race had a total of four cautions and ten lead changes among seven different drivers. Jimmie Johnson led the most laps by leading ninety-three.
In the point standings, Harvick and Gordon remained in the first and second position. Johnson maintained the third position while Hamlin moved to fourth. Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Burton, and Matt Kenseth followed in the top eight points positions. Stewart remained in the ninth position, as Edwards gained two positions to be in tenth. Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top twelve, and are currently in the Chase.
On this day in history (8:14)
- Music credit Silver Blue Light
The English potter, credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery, Josiah Wedgwood, was born in 1730.
A prominent abolitionist, Wedgwood is remembered for his "Am I Not A Man And A Brother?" anti-slavery medallion. He was also a member of the Darwin-Wedgwood family as he was the grandfather of Charles Darwin and Emma Darwin.
Born in Burslem, Staffordshire, England, he was the twelfth and last child of Thomas Wedgwood and Mary Wedgwood, both of whom were of English Dissenters, Christians who separated from the Church of England in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries who opposed state interference in religious matters.
Josiah survived a childhood bout of smallpox to serve as an apprentice potter under his eldest brother Thomas Wedgwood IV. Smallpox left him with a permanently weakened knee, which made him unable to work the foot pedal of a potter's wheel. As a result, he concentrated from an early age on designing pottery rather than making it.
In his early twenties, Wedgwood began working with the most renowned English pottery-maker of his day, Thomas Whieldon. He began experimenting with a wide variety of pottery techniques, an experimentation that coincided with the burgeoning of the nearby industrial city of Manchester. Inspired, Wedgwood leased the Ivy Works shop in his home town of Burslem. Over the course of the next decade, his experimentation (and a considerable injection of capital from his marriage to a richly-endowed distant cousin) transformed the sleepy artisan works into the first true pottery factory.
Josiah worked in pottery, and his work was of very high quality. It is rumored that if he saw in his workshop an offending vessel that failed to meet with his standards, he would smash it with his stick, exclaiming, "This will not do for Josiah Wedgwood!" He was also keenly interested in the scientific advances of his day and it was this interest that underpinned his adoption of its approach and methods to revolutionize the quality of his pottery. His unique glazes began to distinguish his wares from anything else on the market.
As a burgeoning industrialist, Wedgwood was a major backer of the Trent and Mersey Canal dug between the River Trent and River Mersey, during which time he became friends with Erasmus Darwin. Later that decade, his burgeoning business caused him to move from the smaller Ivy Works to the newly-built Etruria Works, which would run for 180 years. The factory was so-named after the Etruria district of Italy, where black porcelain dating to Etruscan times was being excavated. Wedgwood found this porcelain inspiring, and his first major commercial success was its duplication with what he called "Black Basalt".
Not long after the new works opened, continuing trouble with his smallpox-afflicted knee made necessary the amputation of his right leg. In 1780, his long-time business partner Thomas Bentley died, and Wedgwood turned to Darwin for help in running the business. As a result of the close association that grew up between the Wedgwood and Darwin families, Josiah's eldest daughter would later marry Erasmus' son. One of the children of that marriage, Charles Darwin, would also marry a Wedgwood — Emma, Josiah's granddaughter. This double-barreled inheritance of Wedgwood's money gave Charles Darwin the leisure time to formulate his theory of evolution.
Josiah was also an active member of the Lunar Society, a dinner club and informal learned society of prominent figures of the day who would meet during the full moon, as the extra light made the journey home easier and safer in the absence of street lighting. The members cheerfully referred to themselves as "lunaticks", a pun on lunatics. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1783 for the development of a pyrometer, a device which can be used to determine the temperature of an object's surface.
Wedgwood was a prominent slavery abolitionist. His friendship with Thomas Clarkson - abolitionist campaigner and the first historian of the British abolition movement - aroused his interest in slavery. Wedgwood mass produced cameos depicting the seal for the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and had them widely distributed, which thereby became a popular and celebrated image. The Wedgwood medallion was the most famous image of a black person in all of 18th-century art. The actual design of the cameo was probably done by either William Hackwood or Henry Webber who were modelers in his Stoke-on-Trent factory. From 1787 until his death in 1795, Wedgwood actively participated in the abolition of Slavery cause, and his Slave Medallion, which brought the attention of the public to the horrors of the Slave trade, was very effective in bringing public attention to abolition.
In the latter part of his life, Wedgwood's obsession was to duplicate the Portland Vase, a blue and white glass vase dating to the first century BCE. For three years he worked on the project, eventually producing what he considered a satisfactory copy in 1789.
After passing on his company to his sons, Wedgwood died at home, probably of cancer of the jaw, in 1795. He was buried three days later in the parish church of Stoke-on-Trent. Seven years later a marble memorial tablet commissioned by his sons was installed there.
Wedgwood's company is still a famous name in pottery today (as part of Waterford Wedgwood), and "Wedgwood China" is the commonly used term for his Jasperware, the blue (or sometimes green) china with overlaid white decoration, still common throughout the world.
He is also credited as the inventor of modern marketing, specifically direct mail, money-back guarantees, traveling salesmen, self-service, free delivery, buy one get one free, and illustrated catalogs.
And those are the top headlines for Monday, July 12th, 2010
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