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Exclusive: David Anderson talks about the Stardust@home project

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Following the return of the Stardust space capsule from its encounter with the Comet Wild 2, NASA scientists have come up with a novel approach to dealing with the samples of “interstellar dust” that have been collected; they want help from the public.

The Stardust spacecraft carried an aerogel-based dust collector, which was exposed to space in varying orientations during different phases of the mission.

Wikipedia has more about this subject:

Only one side of the collector was exposed towards the stream of particles coming off the Comet Wild 2 during the encounter in 2004, while the other side was used to collect interstellar dust at an earlier point in the spacecraft’s journey.

Although scientists have seen the particles captured from comet Wild 2 when they examined the aerogel, they have not examined any of the particles expected on the other side of the collector due to their smallness. They will be examined after they are found with the help of Stardust@home. It is believed that on the order of 50 interstellar dust particles impacted the aerogel, each now resting inside a tiny crater.

Stardust traveled nearly three billion miles and its mission lasted seven years. At times it was traveling at 8 miles a second. Thats fast enough to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles in one minute.

Stardust set a new all-time record for being the fastest spacecraft to return to Earth, breaking the previous record set in May of 1969 during the return of the Apollo X(10) command module. Don Brownlee of the University of Washington, Seattle said “our spacecraft has traveled further than anything from Earth ever has – and came back. We went half-way to Jupiter to meet the comet and collect samples from it. But the comet actually came in from the outer edge of the solar system, out beyond the orbit of Neptune, out by Pluto.”

In a move similar to some distributed computing projects, the analysis work for the project will be spread among volunteers on the Internet, who are being asked to participate in this scientific undertaking.

Wikinews reporter Jason Safoutin investigated the Stardust@home project, and discussed its goals with one of its founders. Via email, he interviewed David P. Anderson, a founder of the SETI@home project, and one of the creators of the Virtual Microscope which will be used to search for captured particles from interstellar space.

I was wondering If I could get some questions answered or if you could give me some “insider” info for the project. I am aware that you are taking place in the development of the VM (Virtual Microscope)…Could I know more about that? The ‘virtual microscope’ lets you scan through a set of images as if you were turning the focus knob on a microscope. The images are fairly large (about 100 KB each) so it’s important to pre-load the images. While you’re looking through one set of images, the VM is busy downloading the JPEG files for the next set.

At first we thought we’d have to do this with a Java applet or Flash program – something tricky and complicated. My contribution was to point out that it could be done fairly easily using Javascript, and I wrote a prototype of this.

Will this project use the BOINC Platform/Program?

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No. We thought about using some parts of BOINC (like the database and web pages for creating “accounts”) but it was easier just to do this from scratch.

How long will the project take?

It depends how many volunteers participate, and how fast they look at the ‘focus movies’. It will probably be just a month or two.

Anyone can join but they have to take a test before they can participate. What will the test include?

Looking at some focus movies and deciding whether they contain a dust particle. Participants see a lot of training examples before they take the test. It’s easy, not like a test in school.

How many will be allowed to participate?

No limit as of now.

When will the project start?

I think in about 2 months. It will take that long to transport the aerogel to the laboratory, and photograph it with the microscope. The software is ready to go.

Will the VM project analyze any of the particles or just look for them?

Stardust@home will only locate the particles. When they are located, they will be cut out of the aerogel and physically analyzed.

Thank you for your time David. And great work on the upcoming project and SETI@home.

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Genetic link to migraines discovered by researchers

Monday, September 27, 2010

New research published in the journal Nature Medicine has shown a link between a faulty gene and migraines. Scientists hope that this discovery will lead to improved pain management treatments for sufferers, with possible benefits for pain treatment generally.

The breakthrough involves a gene known as TRESK, thought to control the brain’s reaction to pain: if it is defective, then many normal activities and actions will be painful. Migraine sufferers (thought in the United Kingdom to number about eight per cent of men and eighteen per cent of women) often complain that light, noise and touch cause pain. TRESK can potentially be affected by drugs that would change the point at which it reports pain, which would alleviate the suffering of those with migraines. Now researchers will need to find such a drug.

The study involved scientists from the Medical Research Council Functional Genomics Unit at the University of Oxford and from Canada. They looked at the DNA of 110 people with migraine and members of their family, and found that TRESK was a major component in migraines. One of the Oxford researchers, consultant neurologist Zameel Cader, described it as a “once in a generation find” and said that it could “potentially lead to a treatment for pain in general.” Before this study, no genes had been directly linked to migraines, although parts of the DNA that raised the general risk had been found.

Migraines are described by the World Health Organisation as a major worldwide cause of disability. In Britain, it is estimated that migraines affect 20 per cent of the population, with about 190,000 migraines occurring daily and over 25 million lost days from work every year. Lee Tomkin, director of a sufferers’ charity, Migraine Action, described the news as “fantastic” and “genuinely a really great step forward.” Professor Peter Goadsby from the Migraine Trust termed it “a novel direction to consider new therapies in this very disabling condition.”

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Embellishing Your Home With Metal, Wood And Leather Crafts

Embellishing Your Home with Metal, Wood and Leather Crafts

by

Jessica Thoms

Decorating ones house to convert it to a home is a pleasure beyond explanation. So much thought goes into it that for some decorating their house to perfection almost becomes a sort of obsession. Many people hire interior decorators to get the right balance of elements during decoration.

Home d cor uses all sorts of materials and textures to create a magnificent effect. It all boils down to the looks. You can use wood, metal, abstract art, painting, or even simple wall hangings, but the end result is what matters. To accomplish this feat most of the above mentioned d cors are used in certain combination to give the house or the room its character.

Wood

wood crafts

come in various forms, colours and textures. Wooden furniture, pelmets for hanging curtains, coffee table, all of these make certain impression on the room. Wood imparts its character to the room and gives the sense of durability. Typically, wooden craftsmen charge a fortune for bespoke creations and they should, because most of the work is hand done and takes lot of effort. One single peck table can take a week to create.

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Wood from oak, teak, elm, cherry, rosewood, birch and fir are used a lot as they are durable and can be carved easily. Wood also gives an antique look. If you wish to create an old English feel, try installing wooden d cor.

Wood also includes bamboo and rattan furniture. These can be used to lighten up the heavy mood set by the wood.

Metal

Metal have a totally contrasting effect to wood. It is more contemporary and goes extremely well with whites, greys and pale palette. Typically metal furniture are used to accent delicate features such as swirls. But neo modern metal furniture uses solid structures to keep a futuristic feel to the room. It would be a bold choice to mix wood and metal crafts. But not balancing might result in an awful result. Accenting, however, with metal crafts is the best way to get along with wood and vice versa.

Leather

Leather is suitable as a home d cor material only for furniture. Leather wall hangings too are acceptable, but anything more than that would just be like stuffing too much of leather. The room might end up looking like a tannery for all you know.

Moreover, leather need slot of care. Can you imagine spending week after week taking care of leather furniture in addition to sofas? Accents of leather here and there along with wood and metal make a perfect combo.

home decorations

need lot of care. They also guzzle quite a bit of your money. Hence, pay attention to what kind of look you want to create and stick to that while buying the d cors.

For more insights and further information about

home decorations

visit our site http://www.craftsinindia.com/

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

As the Eurovision entrants return home, the home crowds weigh in

Monday, May 18, 2009

Most of the Eurovision entrants have returned home from their sojourn in Moscow, Russia, and the newspapers across Europe have varied opinions. Most national newspapers congratulated their entrants on a job well done, while others trash-talked other entrants, and still others called for their countries to pull out of the Contest.

Here are some interviews, articles and opinions that made it to the front pages of newspapers and to their sanctioned blogs.

Norway’s mass media was filled with stories revolving around the winner, Alexander Rybak, but a secondary story that received press coverage was outcry against NRK‘s Eurovision commentator, Synnøve Svabø, who was criticized for talking incessantly during the event, making leering comments regarding the contents inside the male entrants’ tight pants, and making a joke about stuffing sweatsocks in her own bra. When asked for a statement by Aftenposten, Svabø said, “I guess people think I should have put the socks in my throat.” NRK did not comment on Svabø’s commentating or whether she will be returning next year.

Sweden’s newspaper Aftonbladet wrote that the “Swede of the evening” was not Sweden’s entrant Malena Ernman, but Malmö-raised Arash Labaf, one of the two singers placing third for Azerbaijan. Markus Larsson wrote, “21st place? Well, this is our second-worst result ever…Malena Ernman fell so far and deep that she almost ended up in Finland. That is to say, almost last.” When asked if she was disappointed, Ernman responded, “No, but I am sorry if the Swedes are disappointed.” She went on to quip, “Europe is simply not ready for my high notes.”

Finland, despite placing last, wrote upbeat stories; Helsingin Sanomat published an interview with Waldo and Karoliina from the Finnish act, Waldo’s People, who announced how happy they were to have participated and will be going right back to work with performances and recordings as soon as they return to Finland.

Most British newspapers in past years published lengthy screeds regarding their bad luck in the Contest and whether they should send an entrant at all. This year all that talk subsided, and newspapers published articles congratulating Jade Ewen on her fifth place ranking. Sir Terry Wogan, former Eurovision commentator for the BBC, said to the Daily Express about this year’s voting overhaul, “I think my protest about the voting was totally vindicated by the changes that were made to the scoring this year. It made a real difference. It was the change that Eurovision needed.” One of the headlines in Monday’s Daily Mail reads: “She did us proud.” Andrew Lloyd Webber, who worked with Ewen, said, “Jade performed brilliantly. After years of disappointing results, the UK can finally hold its head high.”

Spain’s newspaper El Mundo published an article entitled “Soraya’s fiasco,” outlining Soraya Arnelas‘s failure to receive points from 37 of the 41 other voting nations, with the writer remarking, “After a whole year trying to forget [Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, Spain’s “joke entrant” from 2008], Soraya jumped on-stage with strength…Spain’s experiment ended with longing [for] Rodolfo Chikilicuatre.” When asked about her performance and the result, Arnelas said, “I’ll hang on to the experiences I had, the great friends that I made and I’m happy because now I’m known in Europe.”

French newspapers and blogs were muted compared to other countries, but the overall feeling was still very supportive of Patricia Kaas, who placed eighth. In an interview with Le Figaro, Kaas said, “Eighth place, that’s not so bad. It was a great moment for France, we held our head high.” France Soir noted, “[Kaas’s] emotion does not seem to have found a place with competitors that have relied on heavy artillery choreography worthy of those like Shakira, and glamorous outfits, to ensure a place on the podium.”

German newspapers published lengthy stories analyzing why Germany was in the bottom quartile for the third straight year. Die Welt wrote, “The Germans have become accustomed to it: winning the Eurovision Song Contest just does not work [for us]. [Compared] to the total failure of last place with No Angels last year, [this] result is almost a sensational success.” Bild commented, “For years we have had little success. Germany’s placement, despite all efforts, will not be better. Why are we still participating in the Eurovision Song Contest?”

Ireland, who failed to make it to the final, led the cry to pull out of Eurovision. In the Irish Independent, Ian O’Doherty wrote, “Ireland managed something quite rare and rather gratifying last week — we actually managed to produce a Eurovision song that didn’t make you want to rip off your own eyelids so you could stuff them in your ears to stop the horrible sounds…[Sinéad] Mulvey’s elimination is proof of one thing: we need to pull out of this pile of rubbish as soon as possible.”

The Netherlands, another nation that did not make it past the semi-final round, has been very apathetic toward the Contest in recent years, and this year was no different. De Telegraaf conducted an opinion poll of Dutch television viewers, and 90% of them believed the Netherlands should not enter the Contest anymore. Despite the stated apathy, 2.5 million Dutch viewers watched De Toppers compete in the second semi-final, an improvement of 800,000 from last year’s semi-final, where Dutch entrant Hind also failed to advance. De Toppers singer Gordon, in an interview with De Telegraaf, said that the Netherlands should continue to compete: “One time, we will succeed.”

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“Junk” foods may affect aggressive behaviour and school performance

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Dr. Stephen Schoenthaler, a Professor of Criminal Justice at the California State University in Stanislaus, has long argued that there is a link between a healthy diet and decreased aggressive behaviour, as well as with increased IQ and school performance.

Dr. Schoenthaler is well-known for a youth detention center study where violations of house rules fell by 37% when vending machines were removed and the cafeteria replaced canned food by fresh alternatives. He summarizes his findings by saying that “Having a bad diet right now is a better predictor of future violence than past violent behaviour.” In a very large test, Schoenthaler directed a study in meals at 803 New York City schools, in low-income neighbourhoods, finding that the number of students passing final exams increased by 16%.

Critics have questioned some of Dr. Schoenthaler findings, due to the lack of placebo control groups. However, more recent work by Dr. Bernard Gesch, a physiologist at the University of Oxford, has placed some of the work on a more scientific footing. Dr. Gesch found that nutrition supplements produced a 26% drop in violations of prison rules over a placebo, and a 37% decrease in violent offences. The Netherlands has embarked on a wider scale dietary research program in 14 prisons.

The short term behaviour consequences of ingesting sugar are well understood: an initial burst on energy, followed a sugar low in which your body produces adrenalin, which makes you irritable and explosive. However, Schoenthaler and Gesch suggest that there are long term impacts over and above the short term consequences of blood sugar variations.

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20 percent of Victorians drive on worn tyres

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

A survey released today by the RACV and Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce found that 20 percent of cars in Victoria have at least one worn or unroadworthy tyre.

The study looked at 1,000 cars last month and found of those 200 had at least one tyre that had worn.

Chief engineer for the RACV, Michael Case said that driving on worn tyres could increase the distance it takes a car to brake and road safety. “Increasing the braking distance can increase the chance of running into the car in front of you and having an unnecessary collision and if that collision is serious enough certainly it can cause injuries” said Mr Case.

It is widely accepted that tyres are one of the most important parts of a vehicle. As tyres are the only part of a vehicle in contact with the road, they affect acceleration, braking and cornering.

As well as the safety issues associated with driving a vehicle with a worn tyre, drivers can be fined for “driving an unsafe vehicle” and fined AUD$171, in addition police may “defect” the vehicle, restricting its use until repaired. Victorian law requires that tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.

Wikinews investigated the average price of each tyre on a typical large and small Australian sedan, and SUV and found the cost to be AUD$129, AUD$105, and AUD$191 respectively.

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Should Your Life Insurance Policy Be Written In Trust?

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By Michael Challiner

According to one of the largest UK life insurance companies, just 1% of life policies are written in trust. That is disgraceful and reflects poorly on the financial industry.

Let’s explain.

If your life insurance policy is Written in Trust then, in the event of a claim, the insurance company pays out directly to the beneficiaries you name on the policy. The significance of this is easily missed.

It means that if the policy is Written in Trust, the proceeds from the policy never form part of your legal estate and are not subject to Inheritance Tax. The importance of this is illustrated by the following figures:

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Take Mr A. He’s a widower and wants to leave everything equally to his two sons. He owns his home which is currently worth 245,000 with a 10,000 outstanding mortgage. His investments are valued at 52,000 and his car and other chattels are worth 18,000. He also owns a life insurance policy for 100,000 which is not written in trust. We assume that the costs of administering his estate and obtaining probate would be 5,000.

If Mr A were to die now, his estate would be worth 400,000 less Inheritance Tax. Inheritance Tax is currently levied at 40% on the value of his estate over and above 275,000 that means that the taxman will walk off with 50,000 and his sons would each receive 175,000.

Now lets assume exactly the same figures except that in this case the life insurance policy is Written in Trust with Mr A’s sons as equal beneficiaries. Because the life insurance company pays out directly to his sons, they each receive 50,000 straight away and non of the money is included in Mr A’s estate. This means that his estate is now worth 300,000 and the taxman can only walk away with 10,000. Each of his sons receives 20,000 more and tax-free!

So simply by signing a few forms, Mr A saves 40,000 tax!

Is there a catch? No all the documentation is standard and is provided totally free of charge by the life insurance company. Your broker through whom you buy the policy, should complete the documentation for you, again free of charge. All you have to do is give the details of the beneficiaries to the broker and sign the form. Solicitors are not required. In the event of a claim, the life insurance company then has to pay out directly to the beneficiaries. Job done! Poor Mr Taxman!

Even if your policy is designed to repay a mortgage, it should be Written in Trust for your partner. Then, rather than your estate receiving the money and using it pay off the mortgage, the money can be paid directly to your partner. This saves legal delays, solicitor’s and probate fees and loads of hassle. Your partner can then use the money to personally pay off the mortgage. Whether this also saves you Inheritance tax will depend on the value of your estate and how you have structured your Will.

So we believe that a life insurance policy Written I Trust is a win win situation. And there aren’t many of those around these days! We can’t see any drawbacks.

Bye the way, no matter what you decide to do, always ensure that you have an up-to-date Will.

About the Author: Express Life Insurance specialise in

life insurance quotes uk

but also offer both

critical illness cover

and life assurance policies.

Source:

isnare.com

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Hell Pizza condom advertisements: complaints upheld

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A record number of complaints, over 600, against the New Zealand restaurant chain Hell Pizza for its advertising campaign using condoms delivered via letterbox have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Family First “welcomes heavenly decision from ASA on Hells Pizza.”

Hell Pizza delivered sealed foil condoms in a cardboard box to households nationwide. On the outside of the box were the words: “Our pizza for meat lovers!” and the restaurant logo. The inside of the box included the condom and explicit instructions on how to use it. Hell Pizza delivered 70,000 condoms to households. An additional 100,000 were distributed to health and community groups who the chain said were “very supportive.”

Bob McCoskrie, director of Family First, said: “This is a victory for the protection of families from grubby advertising by companies like Hell’s Pizza, and is also a message to other companies who cross the line of what is decent and acceptable to our community. This is a pizza delivery company taking the moral high ground on sex education and telling parents how to give sex education to their kids, implying that all parents have failed at this, and kids as young as five should be exposed to this type of material.”

S. Nicholas filed a formal complaint and said in the complaint:” Any child can open the box take out these condoms and play with them. These are contraceptive devices, not playthings. The package also gave full instructions ‘how to use the condom’ in case some young person wanted to ‘experiment’! It shows lack of taste and is irresponsible.”

Other complainants said that it is inappropriate to promote food with a condom, the text “meat lovers” was offensive, that it undermined family values, and removed the right for families to teach sex education to their children. Condom use instructions that came with the advertising campaign were unnecessary and unacceptable and that there are health and safety issues if the condom broke during delivery.

The ASA said that three code of ethic rules were broken. They were basic principle 4, advertisements should follow a sense of social responsibility to both the consumers and society; rule 4, advertisements should not contain anything generally offensive and rule 5, advertisements should not contain anything that would cause serious widespread offence.

The agency Cinderella, acting on behalf of Hell Pizza, said that they “most certainly did approach this campaign with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society.”

Cinderella said: “From the very beginning, the company’s marketing activities were unconventional and memorable… HELL has built a successful brand by utilizing a limited marketing budget in ways that sought to grab attention and secure significant additional media coverage that would never have been able to be sustained using conventional, paid-for, advertising techniques.”

“LUST and sex are, in our experience, often found not far apart. One generally follows the other. And enjoying great food either before or after is also not such a stretch.”

Replying to the instructions that have to be printed, Cinderella said: “The terms are not really sexually arousing and the suggestion made by one hysterical complainant that they could then go and act out the instructions on the next door child is just not plausible and probably not even physically possible. It borders on insane to believe that this is a credible risk. …there has not been an explosion of sexual assault of children after being exposed to government health warnings.”

The ASA then considered all information given to them by both complainants and the advertiser.

The ASA agreed that the advertisements were in breach of basic principle 4 because: “Unsolicited, unaddressed delivery of a condom to letterboxes to promote a food brand did not meet [the basic principle 4] standard.” The standard “required all advertising to be prepared with a due sense of social responsibility to consumers and society.”

The ASA then reviewed whether or not the advertisement programme had breached rule 4 and rule 5. “The method of distribution was a key factor in considering whether or not the promotion had breached the Rules, taking into account the random context, medium, audience and product. The majority of the Board noted that it was difficult to target specific groups or ages using unaddressed letterbox distribution. In addition, it was concerned that such a method of distribution allowed any member of a household access to the advertising.” The majority of the ASA board did not find the instructions offensive but did agree that it would cause widespread offense. The advertisement programme is in breach of rule 4 and rule 5.

Some of the ASA board said: “…While the promotion had caused offence to some, this was offset by the possibility that the promotion had reached an audience that may not access the safe sex message via other media.”

The ASA decided to uphold the complaints, “complaints were unanimously upheld.”

“Our message to Hell’s Pizza is simple – stay out of the bedroom and get back into the kitchen,” Mr McCoskrie said.

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European MEPs abolish right to opt-out of Working Time Directive

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Legislation

By a majority of 378 to 262, Members of the European Parliament have voted to abolish the right of European Union countries to opt out of Working Time Directive. If the Council of Ministers agrees, the right to opt out of the directive will be phased out over a period of three years.

Under the “derogation” provision of the directive, individual workers can waive the right to work no more than 48 hours per week. Among the member states, only the United Kingdom uses this provision.

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FEMA employees pose as fake reporters during press conference

 Correction — September 10, 2013 The headline should not contain the word fake: the employees posed as reporters; they didn’t pose as fake reporters, on the contrary they were fake reporters posing as real reporters. We aopologize for the error. 

Friday, October 26, 2007

The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is under fire after the agency held a fake press conference with fake news reporters in regards to individuals affected by the California wildfires and the assistance they could receive.

The agency called a press conference on Tuesday, giving the press only 15 minutes to show up. When many did not, FEMA brought in agency officials to pose as fake reporters and ask questions. The option for reporters to call into the conference was also available, but the ones who did call in only got to listen to the press conference, and could not ask questions. No reporters were actually present during the conference, parts of which were carried live on Fox News and MSNBC.

During the briefing, FEMA employees asked Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson a series of what The New York Times called “decidedly friendly questions” such as “What type of commodities are you pledging to California?”, “What lessons learned from Katrina have been applied?” and “Are you happy with FEMA’s response so far?”. The briefing followed the format of a press conference, with FEMA’s press secretary at one point cautioning that he would allow just “two more questions”, then calling later for a “last question”. Officials who posed as fake reporters included the deputy director of public affairs Cindy Taylor and Director of External Affairs John “Pat” Philbin.

White House officials said that they do not condone FEMA’s actions and also state that they had no idea that the conference was taking place.

“FEMA has issued an apology, saying that they had an error in judgment when they were attempting to get out a lot of information to reporters, who were asking for answers to a variety of questions in regard to the wildfires in California. It’s not something I would have condoned. And they — I’m sure — will not do it again,” said Dana Perino, the White House’s press secretary in a statement.

FEMA apologizes for the mishap and says that their intentions were only to get the information to the citizens of California.

“[The purpose was] to get information out as soon as possible, and in trying to do so we made an error in judgment. Our intent was to provide useful information and be responsive to the many questions we have received. We can and must do better,” said Harvey E. Johnson, the agency’s vice administrator. “The real story — how well the response and recovery elements are working in this disaster — should not be lost because of how we tried to meet the needs of the media in distributing facts,” a FEMA statement said.

FEMA is currently deciding whether or not any officials should face punishment for the incident. One of the officials responsible, Pat Philbin, is going on to be the new head of public relations for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

This is not the first time that the Bush administration has come under fire for planting reporters at press conferences. In February of 2005, White House reporter Jeff Gannon was accused of being planted to ask softball questions to President Bush. FEMA itself had earlier undergone criticism during Hurricane Katrina for using disaster workers for public relations in 2005.

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