Nearly 8,000 resign from Finnish church after same-sex marriage vote

By RT

READ MORE: Same-sex marriages get green light from Finland’s MPs

By late Saturday, around 7,800 people had officially resigned from the state-supported Lutheran Church via an online service, which was specifically created to ease the registration process.

The resignation frees the individuals from obligatory church membership taxes, which is where the majority of the Lutheran Church’s income comes from. By the end of 2013, some 75 percent of Finns – 4.1 million people – were listed as members of the church.

The media suggested that the main catalyst was a comment made by the Archbishop of Turku and Finland, Kari Mäkinen, in support of the Friday-passed law for same-sex marriages. In a Facebook post, the church leader stated that he “rejoiced” after the vote passed.

“I know how much this day means for rainbow people, their loved ones and many others. I rejoice with my whole heart for them and with them,” Mäkinen said. “We are in the same situation as our neighboring Nordic Churches: our concept of marriage needs a fundamental examination. Speaking for myself, I think it is time for reconsideration.”

Media reported that most of the comments under the resignations express disapproval of the archbishop’s statements.

The Finnish Parliament approved the “gender-neutral” unions by a narrow margin of 105-92 on Friday.

The law gives homosexual marriages in Finland the same rights as heterosexual ones – couples will be allowed to share a surname and adopt children.

Finland became the 12th European nation to allow same-sex marriages.

Via:: RT.com

Quadrocopters for quadriplegics: New tech allows disabled to ‘pilot drone over Grand Canyon’

By RT

Stuart Turner was an MIT undergraduate a decade ago, when he was diagnosed with cervical spina bifida – a split spine – and a host of other conditions, which resulted in him gradually but irreversibly losing function in his extremities, until in the final year, he could no longer type his assignments.

Unable to complete his course, Turner dropped out, and became a virtual recluse, living in his Manchester bedsit. He spent his years modifying his vocal software, which first allowed him to speak clearly, and eventually code again.

But working from home for a big software company wouldn’t be enough for the self-described “tinkerer.”

“I really wanted to fly a quadcopter!” Turner wrote in an email after being contacted by RT.

“It’s amazing to fly around a distant space when you can’t move your own body. I really can’t describe it.”

The key was combining a fairly straightforward and affordable Parrot AR drone – “basically a big toy that you fly with your phone” – and the innovative and “time-consuming” re-programing of open source technology for Turner’s needs.

Even now, the skills required to fly a drone, make Dark Souls, or the piloting of a real jet, look like a cakewalk.

“I have a camera sitting on top of my laptop, which tracks a reflective dot on my glasses, so if I move my head up and to the left that’s where the cursor moves to on my screen. Under my right index finger I have a switch, which mimics left mouse clicks on my computer and it’s a combination of these two things gives me basic control over my laptop,” explains Turner.

“I repurposed a plug-in, which enables me to fly the drone via a web browser. This enables me open up my web browser and see the video feed coming from the camera mounted on the front of the drone. The plug-in also enables you to use different keystrokes to move the drone in different directions, so if you pressed ‘T’ the drone will take off and if you press ‘L’ the drone will land.”

And did this go well straight away?

“There were many, many crash landings and there continue to be some spectacular ones even now,” says Turner.

Once Turner’s software was perfected, with “free help from some members of the open source community,” without whom “none of this would be possible,” the prototype caught the attention of the technological community.

Last month, Turner conducted a triumphant remote demonstration from his Manchester house for the awestruck audience of the Wired 2014 conference in London, while speaking eloquently about his history, condition and ambitions.

Now, Turner plans to seek “a small amount of funding” for a custom-made quadriplegic drone, which he believes will be “amazing.”

“At the moment I think we are very much in the Model T stage of the process, so I think it’s impossible to say where it might go. But remote presence for people who can’t leave their houses is going to be huge hopefully, to be able to give somebody who suffers from locked in syndrome, who lives in the UK, the ability to fly over the Grand Canyon would be incredible. There are already people who are working in these areas, and I will do anything to make this a reality.”

Via:: RT.com

Quadrocopters for quadriplegics: New tech allows disabled to ‘pilot drone over Grand Canyon’

By RT

Stuart Turner was an MIT undergraduate a decade ago, when he was diagnosed with cervical spina bifida – a split spine – and a host of other conditions, which resulted in him gradually but irreversibly losing function in his extremities, until in the final year, he could no longer type his assignments.

Unable to complete his course, Turner dropped out, and became a virtual recluse, living in his Manchester bedsit. He spent his years modifying his vocal software, which first allowed him to speak clearly, and eventually code again.

But working from home for a big software company wouldn’t be enough for the self-described “tinkerer.”

“I really wanted to fly a quadcopter!” Turner wrote in an email after being contacted by RT.

“It’s amazing to fly around a distant space when you can’t move your own body. I really can’t describe it.”

The key was combining a fairly straightforward and affordable Parrot AR drone – “basically a big toy that you fly with your phone” – and the innovative and “time-consuming” re-programing of open source technology for Turner’s needs.

Even now, the skills required to fly a drone, make Dark Souls, or the piloting of a real jet, look like a cakewalk.

“I have a camera sitting on top of my laptop, which tracks a reflective dot on my glasses, so if I move my head up and to the left that’s where the cursor moves to on my screen. Under my right index finger I have a switch, which mimics left mouse clicks on my computer and it’s a combination of these two things gives me basic control over my laptop,” explains Turner.

“I repurposed a plug-in, which enables me to fly the drone via a web browser. This enables me open up my web browser and see the video feed coming from the camera mounted on the front of the drone. The plug-in also enables you to use different keystrokes to move the drone in different directions, so if you pressed ‘T’ the drone will take off and if you press ‘L’ the drone will land.”

And did this go well straight away?

“There were many, many crash landings and there continue to be some spectacular ones even now,” says Turner.

Once Turner’s software was perfected, with “free help from some members of the open source community,” without whom “none of this would be possible,” the prototype caught the attention of the technological community.

Last month, Turner conducted a triumphant remote demonstration from his Manchester house for the awestruck audience of the Wired 2014 conference in London, while speaking eloquently about his history, condition and ambitions.

Now, Turner plans to seek “a small amount of funding” for a custom-made quadriplegic drone, which he believes will be “amazing.”

“At the moment I think we are very much in the Model T stage of the process, so I think it’s impossible to say where it might go. But remote presence for people who can’t leave their houses is going to be huge hopefully, to be able to give somebody who suffers from locked in syndrome, who lives in the UK, the ability to fly over the Grand Canyon would be incredible. There are already people who are working in these areas, and I will do anything to make this a reality.”

Via:: RT.com

Spectacular ‘Wishing Well’ star cluster displayed on video

By RT

READ MORE: Supermassive black holes could be part of an interstellar cosmic web

The image, which allows viewers to see part of the constellation up close, was captured by the Wide Field Imager instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in the Chilean Atacama Desert. Combined with a wider hi-resolution view of the surrounding Milky Way, it reveals the amazing number and variety of stars present in just a tiny segment of the observable universe.

The individual stars in the constellation resemble colorful, shining coins in a wishing well. There are some 300 of them in total, and the constellation is 300 million years old.

The cluster has stars that are both blue and orange in appearance. The blue ones have moderate masses, and the orange and red ones have already burned off their hydrogen and are subsequently much heavier. There are even some red giants which glow with an orangey hue.

The star cluster NGC 3590 in the constellation of Carina pic.twitter.com/difGy3Crzj

— ★El Último Mohicano© (@toucheggs) August 20, 2014

The cluster earned its ‘Wishing Well’ name because it resembles the bottom of a well scattered with coins. However, it also goes by Caldwell 91, or the Football Cluster. It was first discovered by astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1752.

READ MORE: Cosmic Chaos: Turbulence prevents cluster galaxies from forming stars (PHOTO)

The star group was described as a binary-rich cluster by John Herschel in the 1830s, which made it somewhat unusual. Binary stars move as a pair around a common center of gravity.

My recent wide field photo of the Carina constellation and surroundings: #astrophotographyhttps://t.co/kvogNheH2b

— AstroTanja (@AstroTanja) May 12, 2014

Because the constellation is in a very busy part of the Milky Way, there are also several fainter stars that can be seen both within and outside the cluster, contributing to its beauty.

READ MORE: Black hole at Milky Way center may be emitting mysterious neutrinos, NASA says

Via:: RT.com

Spectacular ‘Wishing Well’ star cluster displayed on video

By RT

READ MORE: Supermassive black holes could be part of an interstellar cosmic web

The image, which allows viewers to see part of the constellation up close, was captured by the Wide Field Imager instrument at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in the Chilean Atacama Desert. Combined with a wider hi-resolution view of the surrounding Milky Way, it reveals the amazing number and variety of stars present in just a tiny segment of the observable universe.

The individual stars in the constellation resemble colorful, shining coins in a wishing well. There are some 300 of them in total, and the constellation is 300 million years old.

The cluster has stars that are both blue and orange in appearance. The blue ones have moderate masses, and the orange and red ones have already burned off their hydrogen and are subsequently much heavier. There are even some red giants which glow with an orangey hue.

The star cluster NGC 3590 in the constellation of Carina pic.twitter.com/difGy3Crzj

— ★El Último Mohicano© (@toucheggs) August 20, 2014

The cluster earned its ‘Wishing Well’ name because it resembles the bottom of a well scattered with coins. However, it also goes by Caldwell 91, or the Football Cluster. It was first discovered by astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in 1752.

READ MORE: Cosmic Chaos: Turbulence prevents cluster galaxies from forming stars (PHOTO)

The star group was described as a binary-rich cluster by John Herschel in the 1830s, which made it somewhat unusual. Binary stars move as a pair around a common center of gravity.

My recent wide field photo of the Carina constellation and surroundings: #astrophotographyhttps://t.co/kvogNheH2b

— AstroTanja (@AstroTanja) May 12, 2014

Because the constellation is in a very busy part of the Milky Way, there are also several fainter stars that can be seen both within and outside the cluster, contributing to its beauty.

READ MORE: Black hole at Milky Way center may be emitting mysterious neutrinos, NASA says

Via:: RT.com