UN chief Ban Ki-Moon has called for an independent investigation in the Democratic Republic of Congo into the death of a human rights activist.
Floribert Chebeya’s body was found in his car after he was called to a meeting with the national police chief, which did not take place, on Tuesday.
A senior UN investigator said the circumstances of the death “strongly suggested official responsibility”.
Lately I’ve been reading the 19th and early 20th century traveler’s accounts of what is now known as the Western Rift Valley and the Ituri Forest, Congo. Some are written by the famous ‘explorers’ such as H.M. Stanley, others written by scientists on expeditions in the area, and still others by missionaries. Reading these accounts puts me in mind of my own experiences, as a scientist working in that same area, with the missionaries that live and work, or sometimes just visit, there.
So, a few missionary stories are in order.
Continue reading On a Mission from God
Or, at least, it may not be “protected” speech.
Continue reading Anti-gay protesters at funerals may not be “free speech.”
Rocks examined by NASA’s Spirit Mars Rover hold evidence of a wet, non-acidic ancient environment that may have been favorable for life. Confirming this mineral clue took four years of analysis by several scientists.
An outcrop that Spirit examined in late 2005 revealed high concentrations of carbonate, which originates in wet, near-neutral conditions, but dissolves in acid. The ancient water indicated by this find was not acidic.
NASA’s rovers have found other evidence of formerly wet Martian environments. However the data for those environments indicate conditions that may have been acidic. In other cases, the conditions were definitely acidic, and therefore less favorable as habitats for life.
Laboratory tests helped confirm the carbonate identification. The findings were published online Thursday, June 3 by the journal Science.
“This is one of the most significant findings by the rovers,” said Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Squyres is principal investigator for the Mars twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and a co-author of the new report. “A substantial carbonate deposit in a Mars outcrop tells us that conditions that could have been quite favorable for life were present at one time in that place. ”
Spirit inspected rock outcrops, including one scientists called Comanche, along the rover’s route from the top of Husband Hill to the vicinity of the Home Plate plateau which Spirit has studied since 2006. Magnesium iron carbonate makes up about one-fourth of the measured volume in Comanche. That is a tenfold higher concentration than any previously identified for carbonate in a Martian rock.
“We used detective work combining results from three spectrometers to lock this down,” said Dick Morris, lead author of the report and a member of a rover science team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.”The instruments gave us multiple, interlocking ways of confirming the magnesium iron carbonate, with a good handle on how much there is.”
Read the rest of the story, see pretty pictures, here.